Jonathan S. Tobin: U.S. Middle East Initiative, while Futile, Is Also a Breath of Fresh Air
The Palestinian Authority has already made clear that it won’t negotiate on the basis of the new U.S. peace initiative. Under the current circumstances, Palestinian leadership and the political culture that sustains them simply won’t allow it. But that is not the only way to look at the plan.
By sticking to a plan that puts economics first and refusing to prioritize pandering to Palestinian intransigence, the U.S. is creating a template for peace that makes sense, one that is being welcomed by most of the Arab world. That means that even after they torpedo progress toward peace, it will be the Palestinians who will be more isolated than ever, not the U.S. Convening an economic summit in which Israelis and Arab states will openly work toward greater cooperation will enhance America’s standing in the region.
The Palestinians have already repeatedly rejected peace deals that would have given them statehood in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem in 2000, 2001, and 2008. What’s more, they refused to negotiate seriously during Obama’s eight years in office despite his nonstop efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in the Palestinians’ direction.
The notion that the Sunni Arab states will blame the U.S. for trying to make a peace that the Palestinians will again reject is absurd. When the dust settles from the rollout of the American plan, the Arab states will be firmly in America’s corner no matter what the Palestinians do.
What would a Palestinian state actually look like? There have been four Palestinian quasi-states that provide ample data – in Jordan (1968-1970); in Lebanon (1970-1982); the Palestinian Authority in parts of the West Bank and Gaza (1993-onward); and the Hamas regime in Gaza (2007-onward). To the extent that the Palestinian movement has gained any semblance of self-rule and territorial control, it has built quasi-states that are militant and dictatorial – much to the detriment of the Palestinian people themselves.
Whenever the Palestinian movement has attained a modicum of self-rule over a stretch of territory, it has subjugated its own people and waged war against Israel. No honest error or inexperience with governance can explain this pattern. It reflects the ideas animating the leading factions of the Palestinian movement.
Some argue that we should suspend judgment until a sovereign, independent Palestinian state is realized. That’s absurd. Why expect that handing authoritarians and theocrats more political power will convert them into champions of individual freedom? The idea of national self-determination cannot be a license to subjugate. No self-identified national community has the moral right to create a tyrannical regime.
Melanie Phillips: How are our new best friends in Saudi Arabia doing these days?
After last year’s grisly murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, it looked like it might be curtains for Saudi reformist crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, who was accused of ordering his killing. As I revealed last October, however, Khashoggi was no reformer but an Islamist extremist. A one-time friend of Osama bin Laden, he called on all Arabs to join the “resistance” against Israel; and he opposed MBS because he wasn’t jihadi enough. My own sources suggested the Khashoggi killing was an attempt by MBS to kidnap him back to Saudi Arabia that went badly wrong.
Until recently, Saudi Arabia was the principal exporter to the world of the Wahhabi strain of Islamic extremism, which has radicalized countless millions to the jihadi cause. Now, the kingdom is no longer trying so hard to do so. It has been almost completely replaced by Qatar as the main source of funding for global Islamist education, and Saudi newspapers regularly publish diatribes against Islamist extremism.
Does the Saudi thaw toward Israel go any deeper than a tactical alliance against a common foe – Iran? Some of what is now being said in the kingdom, necessarily with the tacit consent of its regime, goes further than might be expected from merely tactical considerations. During the most recent rocket onslaught from Gaza, several prominent Saudi journalists and intellectuals expressed support for Israel that went beyond merely blaming Turkey and Iran for being behind the attacks.
Saudi reform is moving at a glacial pace. With a population and culture steeped in Islamist fundamentalism and anti-Semitism, to move too fast would produce a violent backlash. But Saudi Arabia is inching in a direction that until very recently would have been thought utterly impossible. And that is a big deal. The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK).
Some of my reports about President Donald Trump’s peace envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, have been very critical. But despite those reports, I believe Greenblatt is far from being an enemy of the settlement enterprise, or of Israel.
I also happen to believe that Jason Greenblatt represents the first American administration which actually understands the Arabs, and has come up with a viable plan to rein them in for the sake of their own future and Israel’s.
I believe that I understand Greenblatt’s plan and that it could work. I’m merely committed to pointing out the inevitable and sometimes terrifying risks to Israel and to the Jewish settlements in the liberated territories, which is the only thing I truly care about.
In a recent lecture at Tel Aviv University about the lessons of Oslo, Yaakov Amidror, a former major-general and National Security Advisor to several Israeli prime ministers, commented on the common Israeli complaint that the PLO never produced their own David Ben-Gurion, and therefore can’t make Ben-Gurion-type decisions, by which they refer to Israel’s political founder’s willingness to settle for less in order to gain more in the future.
According to Amidror, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat was every bit as able to make Ben-Gurion decisions as Ben-Gurion himself had been, but we can’t appreciate it because we don’t understand Arafat’s plans.
In 1992, Arafat was in a much worse position than Ben-Gurion had been in 1947, when he accepted the UN partition plan that awarded Israel less than half the territory of Mandatory Palestine. Ben-Gurion was already there, on the land – Arafat desperately needed to be allowed in.
And so, to Arafat, Amidror argued, embracing the Oslo agreements was his path to the promised land.
Arafat knew that everything he said about doves and olive branches and good neighbors was reversible, but his capturing of Judea, Samaria and Gaza could never be reversed.
Arafat in the Oslo story was the Trojan horse, while the entire Israeli political and military establishment played the role of the naïve Trojans.
Alan M. Dershowitz: Why is The New York Times Trying to Abort the Trump Peace Plan?
No one ever lost money betting against peace between Israelis and Palestinians…. It would be far better if The New York Times waited until the plan was released and then commented on its specific provisions rather than stacking the deck against it by quoting only its most strident critics.
There are those who will criticize any plan, no matter how positive it may be, if it emanates from the Trump administration. When President Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, many Democrats who would have favored such moves if they had been done by Barack Obama, opposed them only because these same moves were done by President Trump. These Democrats do not want to see Trump succeed at anything, even if his success would be good for America, for Israel and for peace.
If the editors of The New York Times refuse to separate opinion and analysis from hard reporting, every reader has an obligation to make that separation for herself or himself. Bear this in mind when you read The New York Times.
In 2006, Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israel’s opposition leader, captured the essence of the Arab-Israeli conflict in a single quote. “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms, there would be no more Israel,” he said. “If the Arabs were to put down their arms, there would be no more war.” Netanyahu, now Israel’s prime minister, articulated a hard truth: much of the Middle East does not recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state in the region, and would gladly watch it disappear from existence.
Netanyahu’s quote also applies to the narrower Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, each year, the Palestinian Authority, or PA, allocates hundreds of millions of dollars of its budget to pay terrorists and their families for carrying out attacks against Israelis. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has previously suggested that ensuring payments to terrorists is the PA’s top priority. Furthermore, under Palestinian law, selling or attempting to sell land to Jews is a crime, punishable by hard labor, imprisonment, and even execution. Most importantly, Palestinian leadership refuses to accept Jews’ right to self-determination. On numerous occasions, Abbas has said that the Palestinians will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, thus rejecting the basic premise of a two-state solution: two states for two peoples, one Arab and one Jewish. As I explained last month, “The Palestinians have repeatedly refused to compromise on any agreement that would acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state, even if that agreement would also create an independent Palestinian state alongside it.” Israel has, multiple times, offered the Palestinians the best deal realistically possible, only to be rebuffed. The bottom line is this: the Palestinians have shown that thwarting Israel is more important than realizing their own goals. Until the Palestinians care more about their own happiness than denying Israelis theirs, there will never be peace.
The 72nd assembly of the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) voted 96-11 this week for a resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab bloc and the Palestinian delegation, which singled out Israel over “health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east[ern] Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
The assembly in Geneva gathers annually to discuss internal and external questions facing the U.N. health body, with topics including market transparency for medicines; vaccines and other health technologies; the rise of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; World Health Organization reforms; strategies for addressing snake bites; the shortfall of health workers; universal health coverage; and, finally, a condemnation of Israel for treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Syrians in the Golan Heights.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental organization U.N. Watch, condemned the delegates’ abuse of the U.N. body as a forum to target Israel. “Singling out Israel is a perversion of the truth and a perversion of the values under which the World Health Organization was founded,” he told JNS.
“This is the annual meeting of health delegations around the world, focusing on communicable diseases like tuberculosis to AIDS, and suddenly, out of nowhere, there is this peculiar politicization where suddenly one country is singled out and effectively portrayed as the only violator of health rights,” he commented, calling it a “thinly veiled attempt to scapegoat Israel.”
“Out of 21 items on the meeting’s Agenda, only one—Item No. 14 against Israel—focused on a specific country. There was no agenda item or resolution on any other country, including Syria, where hospitals and medical infrastructure have suffered devastating bombings by Syrian and Russian forces; Yemen, where 19.7 million people lack access to health-care service due to the current crisis; or Venezuela, where the health system has collapsed, causing millions to flee the country.”
Jens Spahn, a prominent member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, played a critical part in rolling-back Germany’s anti-Israel voting record for the first time at the World Health Organization in Geneva.
Hanno Kautz, a spokesman for Spahn, told The Jerusalem Post by email on Thursday, “Germany’s voting behavior during this World Health Assembly was closely coordinated by federal minister Spahn with federal minister Maas.”
Heiko Maas is the social democratic foreign minister in Merkel’s cabinet who has faced criticism from the Free Democratic Party for greenlighting scores of anti-Israel votes at the UN.
“The federal ministry of health is responsible for the World Health Organization and thus also for the positioning of Germany during the World Health Assembly in Geneva,” Kautz explained. “Federal minister Spahn is head of the German delegation at this year’s World Health Assembly and thus makes the final decision in close coordination with the ministries involved.”
Germany’s ambassador Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg voted against the resolution titled “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.
Spahn is member of the Christian Democratic Union party and was a candidate to succeed Merkel as chairperson of the party when she steps down in 2021. He lost a three-candidate contest to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in December.
Israel’s ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff tweeted: “I welcome Germany’s vote in WHO Geneva against a politically motivated one-sided resolution in the Palestinian context. This is a significant vote after the declaration by FM Heiko vMaas (11/5) on Israel’s role in UN fora and by virtue of Health Min[ister] Jens Spahn‘s important support.”
The UNHRC just released its Agenda for upcoming 41st Session opening on June 24th.
It has a separate agenda item focusing on a single nation—Israel—which does not occur in any other context, for any other country.
Universal standards applied so selectively are not universal. pic.twitter.com/pyVORh9twx
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) May 24, 2019
Great to arrive in Tel Aviv where on Monday I’ll speak @INSSIsrael conference on the 70th anniversary of Israel at the UN, featuring UN peace envoy @Mladenov & former Israeli Ambassadors to UN Dan Gillerman, Gabriela Shalev & Dore Gold.
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) May 24, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg told a gathering of liberal Jews Thursday that the United States should pressure Israel to change its policies.
NBC News reported Thursday evening that “Buttigieg told a group of influential liberal Jewish leaders on Thursday that the United States should guide Israel’s government away from steps that he says are harmful to both the U.S. and Israel.”
NBC did not mention any particular particular Israeli policies that Buttigieg believes should be changed.
It also did not name any recognized “Jewish leaders,” but rather minor figures and political operatives, such as a Democratic pollster and a former Obama administration official, among a few others.
NBC reported that Buttigieg also criticized the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights — both of which were welcomed by Israelis across the political spectrum.
According to NBC, Buttigieg called these steps “a decision to intervene in Israeli domestic politics through American policy,” and said the decisions should only have been taken in the context of peace negotiations. (Syria has refused to negotiate with Israel for decades; the Palestinians have also rejected peace negotiations for several years.)
The European media has speculated that immigration policy will cause Europeans to turn Right. According to Israeli officials, the results of the elections alone will increase the split in the EU.
French President Emmanuel Macron changed the voting rules in his country, abolished the electoral districts and established a European-French party. Therefore, the new parliament will contain a large French party, which has great influence. Lately, many new parties have popped up. In light of disagreements over immigration, or the fact that the EU is made up of 28 countries, the voter turnout which is yet unknown, and in light of difficulties in polling (this past week polls in Australia missed their mark), and the horribly complicated structure of the EU and other European institutions — these elections will most probably lead Europe toward a crisis or split.
What does that mean for Israel? It should be careful of any predictions, but there is a good reason to reckon that the final results of the election will improve EU-Israel relations. The past few years have revealed that the more Europeans are stuck dealing with domestic politics, the less likely they will be concerned with what happens in Israel.
The rules of the EU require member states to reach compromises and even a consensus. The wider the split grows – the more difficult it will be to pass resolutions and policies that are unfavorable to Israel. However, it will be even more difficult for relations to warm without a consensus of opinion. Also, the European Right is more favorable toward Israel, and this could make it easier for Israel in the long run.
A former Israeli envoy to the EU noted that “the attitude of the EU toward Israel is the least common denominator.” That is now irrelevant.
Israel is fast becoming NATO’s premier partner country. NATO can tap into over seven decades of counterterrorism experience, learn from a cyber powerhouse, and deepen intelligence ties with a tested and vibrant democracy perched on the shores of the Levantine powder keg. Living at close quarters with radical Islamist terrorists is business as usual for Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) can share invaluable experience in asymmetric warfare against terrorist armies that use its own population as human shields and can give crucial advice to NATO commanders as they face similar challenges. Israel has pioneered advanced techniques to help protect civilians in residential combat zones.
On countless occasions, Israel has fed NATO allies life-saving intelligence. Just last year, Israel prevented a blood bath at a political rally in Paris plotted by diplomats of the Iranian regime. Israeli warnings also foiled an ISIS attack at a soccer match between NATO ally Albania and Israel in 2016.
A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:
Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.
[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .
Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.
Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil’s first president to attend an Israel Independence Day ceremony this week.
An ardently pro-Israel Christian, the right-wing politician was honored at a Wednesday event marking Israel’s 71st anniversary at the Israeli embassy in Brasilia, where he received a commemorative plaque.
“What connects us to Israel is much more than what happens here today. Our friendship ties have never been stronger,” Bolsonaro declared.
“My first trip to Israel was chilling to my soul,” he added.
Several senior Brazilian politicians and officials attended the event, including the Brazilian Senate President Davi Alcolumbre and Supreme Court President Dias Toffoli.
“Brazil will always have open arms for the entire Brazilian and global Jewish community,” said Alcolumbre, who recently became the very first Jew elected to preside over the Brazilian Congress’s upper house.
Israel’s Ambassador Yossi Shelley highlighted the special relationship between both countries.
Focusing on May’s record on issues close to the heart of British Jews specifically, van der Zyl wrote recalled that her “government has adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism; marked the Balfour Centenary with pride; banned terror organization Hezbollah; increased security funding,” opposed “anti-Israel bias at the UN Human Rights Council,” among other policies,
British Jews, van der Zyl added, “will always appreciate her friendship and support.”
The Conservative Friends of Israel, a parliamentary group, hailed May as a “steadfast supporter” of the Jewish state and “a champion” of British Jewry.
“Theresa May has fiercely fought anti-Jewish racism and it is thanks to her that the community has received record levels of financial support for its security at this difficult time,” the group’s parliamentary chairmen said in a statement.
“Under her leadership, the UK-Israel relationship has gone from strength to strength with record bilateral trade, the much anticipated first ever official visit to Israel by a member of the Royal Family took place, and the Hezbollah terror group was proscribed,” the statement added.
Wildfires raged across Israel on Friday for the second day in a row, as officials warned the public to stay away from parks and forests and an initial investigation indicated an electrical short sparked some of the blazes on Thursday.
Gripped by unseasonably scorching weather, a spate of fires across the country on Thursday devastated towns and forests, forcing thousands out of their homes.
The fires picked up again on Friday afternoon, when residents of Neguhot in the South Hebron Hills were evacuated by authorities after a wildfire threatened the settlement. The Israel Fire and Rescue Services later announced firefighters were able to contain the blaze and residents were allowed to return to their homes.
Fifteen people were being treated for smoke inhalation in Neguhot, according to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services, one of whom was hospitalized.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday thanked Egypt for sending two helicopters to back Israel’s firefighting efforts, and said the Palestinian Authority and Russia were among those that offered to help Israel battle a spate of wildfires that forced thousands from their homes a day earlier.
The prime minister also said he was considering expanding Israel’s squadron of firefighting planes, as neighboring countries dispatched backup aircraft to Israel, a day after the blazes devastated towns and forests.
As temperatures soared across the country on Friday afternoon, the wildfires picked up again.
Residents of Neguhot in the South Hebron Hills were evacuated by authorities after a wildfire threatened the settlement. Firefighters were working to extinguish a second fire raging near the West Bank settlement of Peduel.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan were briefed on the damage by firefighting and rescue officials.
“I am considering expanding the squadron, for both day and night operations, and other changes, and I certainly plan to implement it in the coming year,” said Netanyahu.
Israel Police officers on Friday morning arrested an Arab who was documented setting fire to a number of locations in Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus area, 0404 News reported.
The suspect was identified by lookouts and his actions were documented. Forces called to the area searched for and located the suspect, arresting him.
A security source told 0404 News that the arson was nationalistically motivated.
Separately, Walla! reported that Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael believes the Ben Shemen Forest fire, which devoured at least 30% of the forest, may have been arson. However, the investigation is still ongoing and official conclusions have not been released.
In addition to the Ben Shemen fire, thousands of dunams of forest in both the Eshtaol and Tsor’a areas have been destroyed.
The Palestinian government “will work on gradually disengaging from Israel,” PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh asserted on May 20. As its first step toward disengagement, the PA had decided to freeze issuing referrals to Palestinians seeking medical care in Israel.
“This is a game of false pride and honor,” a source in Israel’s Civil Administration said. “They are endangering the lives of the patients, mainly children and babies.”
The PA does not have many alternatives to the treatments provided by Israel for cancer patients or people suffering from genetic diseases, a relatively prevalent condition among local Palestinians due to marriage among close relatives.
The second stage of the Palestinian disengagement process is to encourage local production to halt reliance on importing products from Israel. But according to Israeli sources, the PA is disregarding the reality in which it lives. Most of the raw materials the PA imports arrive via Israeli seaports or airports. The PA does not have its own currency. The Israeli shekel is the official legal tender in the West Bank as well as in Gaza.
Because the Palestinian market is small and limited, the cost of production for creating alternative products would be high. Moreover, Palestinian consumers are familiar with Israeli products, and lower-quality, higher-priced alternatives will simply not survive market forces.
The U.S. has recruited Qatar, Bahrain and other wealthy Gulf states to provide financial backing for the peace plan it will unfurl next month. The commitment of the Gulf states to the U.S. is significant.
Abbas has almost no economic alternatives beyond Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and they are acting in their own interest to maintain good relations with the U.S. In other words: The Saudis and the Gulf states will not lift a finger to save Abbas from the dangerous corner that he is painting himself into.
When the US and Israel enacted legislation in 2018 to combat the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-for-slay” policy – a policy by which the PA squanders hundreds of millions of dollars every year to pay financial rewards to terrorist prisoners, released terrorist prisoners and the families of dead terrorists – many commentators responded by saying that the move would potentially negatively affect Israeli-Palestinian security coordination.
When the US passed the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), which conditioned the provision of any aid to the PA on its acceptance of the jurisdiction of the US courts to hear cases against the PA for its involvement in terrorism, the PA responded by rejecting all the US aid, including the more than $60 million a year devoted to the security coordination.
The fear of negatively effecting the security coordination even spurred some to suggest an amendment to the ATCA to provide a loophole to continue funding the security coordination.
What these commentators fail to understand is that while Israel reaps the partial benefit of arresting Hamas terrorists, the security coordination is not in danger since it serves the PA and Fatah no less than it serves Israel.
Throwing money at the PA has always proved to be ineffectual at influencing its decisions. If Abbas decides to end the security coordination, he will do so as a result of his desire to reconcile with Hamas, and not because of any aid the PA may or may not be receiving.
MEMRI: Fatah Central Committee Member Jamal Muhaisen At Pro-Maduro Rally Outside The Venezuelan Representative Office In Ramallah: The Whole World Suffers Because Of Crazy, Stupid Trump; We Salute Maduro
A pro-Maduro protest was held in Ramallah outside the Venezuelan representative office. The protestors chanted: “Oh Hugo Chavez, oh martyr… We will not relinquish your goals… America, you are terrorism… To the dustbin with your Deal of the Century… Trample on those who normalize [relations with Israel] and on the spies.” Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen, who was present, conveyed a “message of solidarity” to the “brotherly” people of Venezuela. He said that he is convinced that the people and the army of Venezuela will rally around President Maduro and successfully thwart the American “plot” that is trying to “bring the world to its knees.” Muhaisen also said that the world is suffering because of the “stupid and crazy” President Trump. He saluted Maduro, the Venezuelan army, and the people of Venezuela and added that the Palestinian people pledge to “bring down” the Deal of the Century. The video of the protest was uploaded to the Internet on May 21, 2019.
Jamal Muhaisen: “In the name of Allah, the merciful, the Compassionate. Your excellency, my brother, the ambassador of brotherly Venezuela, we are here today – as political forces, civil society activists, and religious leaders – in order to convey a message of solidarity with the brotherly people in Venezuela, who are confronting this American attack that is targeting the regime and the people. We are convinced that the rallying of the army and the people around the Venezuelan leadership and around President Maduro will thwart this American plot, which is trying to bring the entire world down to its knees. Today, the entire world is suffering because of the U.S. president – a stupid and crazy president, who is trying to ignite conflicts all over the world.
“He has now become a threat to peace and security, not only in Venezuela and Latin America, or in the Arab Gulf, or in confronting Iran, China and Russia, but in confronting the world in its entirety. Just as we, the Palestinian people, pledge to bring down the Deal of the Century, we are convinced that the Venezuelan people, with its rallying around its leadership, and the Venezuelan army, with its rallying around its leadership, will also thwart this American plot to interfere in the internal affairs of the Venezuelan people. The Venezuelan people will remain – as we have always known them to be – a free people that does not accept being enslaved to the U.S. or to anyone else. We salute President Maduro, and we salute the Venezuelan army that has rallied around its leadership. We salute the Venezuelan people. We are convinced that the free people in the world will thwart all Trump’s plots, together with this entire fascist regime that leads the American administration today.”
Fatah Central Committee Member Jamal Muhaisen at Pro-Maduro Rally: The Whole World Suffers because of Crazy, Stupid Trump; We Salute Maduro pic.twitter.com/sGPTh1CbVg
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) May 23, 2019
Roughly 3,000 Palestinians clashed with IDF forces along the Gaza Security fence during Friday March of Return protests, Maariv reported.
Hamas officials are taking part in the violent clashes, which include throwing explosives on IDF soldiers and attempts to breach the fence.
A Palestinian medic was injured due to an IDF gas grenade East of khan Younis, Palestinian media reported. A yet unknown number of protesters was also injured.
The Friday protest takes place three days after Israeli media reported that an early agreement to a cease fire deal was reached between Israel and Hamas. These reports were quickly dismissed by both parties.
What if Gaza’s rulers actually fed their own people instead of spending all their money on rockets & terror tunnels, which cost tens of millions? https://t.co/t2vcWTw8sC
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) May 23, 2019
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has launched another conspiracy-theory laden attack on US policy toward his country, claiming that the Trump administration’s rhetorical barbs against the Islamic Republic were “written by Zionists word for word.”
In a speech on Tuesday night in the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan, Rouhani — a key supporter of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the former Obama administration — stated that “current US actions against the Iranian nation are not just war and sanctions, but a crime against humanity.”
The Iranian president also alleged that when he last visited New York, “a well-known world leader told me that in his meeting with [Trump] the previous day, the US president had told him not to help Iran for just three months, and there would be no Islamic Republic.”
Rouhani said he responded by telling his interlocutor, “Iran is more united and integrated than at any other time.”
Rouhani said two groups — “extremists” and “Zionists” — were dominating America’s toughened stance towards Iran.
The “Zionists” were a group whose “words and sentences we can distinguish,” Rouhani said.
India has ended all imports of oil from Iran, its ambassador in Washington said Thursday, becoming the latest country to grudgingly comply with threatened US sanctions.
India had already sharply decreased its imports from Iran and bought one million tons of crude in April, the last month before Washington stepped up its pressure campaign against Tehran and ended all exemptions to sanctions, Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.
“That’s it. After that we haven’t imported any,” Shringla told reporters during a briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory.
Shringla said that energy-hungry India has also ended all imports from Venezuela because it considered itself a partner of the United States — but said the shift had caused pain at home, with Iran formerly supplying 10 percent of India’s oil needs.
Calling Iran “an extended neighbor” of India with longstanding cultural links, Shringla declined to say if New Delhi shared US President Donald Trump’s concerns about Tehran.
Recently, the Qatari Al-Jazeera Media Network apologized for an antisemitic video on the Holocaust that was released via Facebook and Twitter by network affiliate AJ+Arabic. The video questioned the number of Jewish Holocaust victims and added that Israel is the biggest “winner” from the Holocaust and that it uses Nazi justifications for annihilating the Palestinians.
Following MEMRI’s translation and release of the video, Al-Jazeera removed the video from the AJ+ social media accounts, suspended two journalists involved in its production, and stated that that the video “contravened its editorial standards.” 
However, MEMRI’s ongoing monitoring of the Qatari media, and particularly of the Al-Jazeera network, reveals that the release of the antisemitic video by AJ+ is no exception. For years, Qatar’s media have served as a platform for the dissemination of antisemitic and Holocaust denial content. Particularly noticeable are extreme antisemitic statements uttered over the years by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi, founder and, until recently, head of the Qatar-backed International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). Al-Qaradawi, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is known for praising jihad and martyrdom operations, as well as for antisemitic statements. Born in Egypt, he found asylum and a base for operating in Qatar – where he enjoys the protection and sponsorship of current Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Aal Thani and before that of his father, Sheikh Hamid bin Khalifa Aal Thani, who stepped down as emir in 2013 – whereas Western countries, including the U.S., the U.K., and France, have banned him from entering their territory due to his extremist views.
In a January 2009speech, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV, Al-Qaradawi called for a second Holocaust, saying, “Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers” – i.e. the Muslims. Less than two weeks ago, the Qatari government daily Al-Arab published a Ramadan religious lesson by Al-Qaradawi in which he stated that the Jews had opposed Muhammad and therefore Allah cursed them and turned them into apes and pigs.
According to the Canary Mission, several staff members of Al Jazeera and its online channel AJ+ who appeared in the video have expressed “repeated disdain for Jews and Israel” on their social media profiles.
Among those profiled by the Canary Mission include a “filmmaker for Aj+” who has called for violence, glorified the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad, shown support for Hamas and expressed support for terrorists.
A “video editor and sometimes producer at AJ+” has spread anti-Semitism, defended the terrorist organization Hezbollah and expressed support for terrorists, the report says.
A senior producer at Al Jazeera+ has according to the report expressed support for Hamas, promoted terrorists, spread anti-Israel conspiracy theories and defended violent anti-Israel agitators. She has also demonized Zionism and undermined Muslim interfaith dialogue with Jews.
Another journalist in the station has, according to the report, spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, defended Hamas and Hezbollah, glorified terrorists and demonized Israel. In December 2010 she tweeted: “Behind US support for Israel there is a huge Zionist lobby with economic and media power.”
A “social content producer” at AJ+ has spread hatred of Israel, equated Zionism with Nazism and expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement on social media. On March 8, 2013, she tweeted: “Zionism is hate. Zionism is evil. Zionism is the modern-day Nazism. don’t be fooled. the tide is turning [sic].”
MEMRI: Dr. Ahmed Al-Raissouni, Head Of The International Union Of Muslim Scholars Which Was Founded By Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi In Dublin: Questioning The Holocaust Is Not Just A Right But An Obligation
On May 22, 2019, Dr. Ahmed Al-Raissouni, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), posted an article titled “Why It Is Necessary to Question the Holocaust” on the IUMS website and on his personal website and Facebook page. In the article he claimed that the Holocaust has acquired an “exaggerated halo” and that questioning its veracity and scope is not only a right but an obligation. Listing ten reasons to justify this view, he stated, inter alia, that the Holocaust narrative, fabricated by the Zionist movement, has been sanctified and imposed on the world, to the extent that there are “campaigns that slander, intimidate, exclude and besiege anyone who dares to think independently about it or about any of its fake details or statistics.” Moreover, the Holocaust narrative consists of claims that are “politically slanted and questionable” and many of which cannot be verified, he said. He called to subject the issue of the Holocaust to scientific scrutiny, free of all exploitation, threats and intimidation.
The IUMS was founded in 2004 in Dublin, Ireland by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi, who also headed it until recently. Al-Qaradawi, who is considered to be a major ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, resides in Qatar and has been supported and sponsored for decades by the Qatari regime. The IUMS under his leadership promoted an extremist discourse, including rhetoric against Jews and Christians and encouragement of jihad and martyrdom. This Ramadan, a Qatari daily published a series of religious lessons by Al-Qaradawi, including one in which he claimed that the Jews opposed Allah and He therefore transformed them into apes and pigs, and that the Christians were afflicted by ideological blindness and strayed from the path of righteousness.
It should be noted that the IUMS is supported not only by Qatar but also by Turkey. In an interview Al-Raissouni gave on Al-Jazeera in November 18, 2018, shortly after he replaced Al-Qaradawi as the head of the IUMS, he revealed that Qatar has supported the organization since its inception and that Turkey now funds it as well, and said: “There is nothing wrong with that and we don’t hide it. On the contrary, we are proud of it and we urge all the countries to follow in the footsteps of those two.”
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