PA warned Paris that Gaza border clashes financed by Iran — report
The Palestinian Authority informed the French government last month that Iran was financing and encouraging the weeks of violent protests along the Gaza border, Channel 10 reported Tuesday.
“Iran is fully financing and pushing the Hamas demonstrations,” Salman al-Harfi, the Palestinian ambassador to France, reportedly told a government official. “The PA has no choice but to support the demonstrations because so may of the participants are demonstrating against the economic situation.”
While the Ramallah-based PA does not support the Hamas-led protests, the Palestinian ambassador said it “does condemn Israel’s response, because most of the protesters are non-violent.”
Last week Iran agreed in principle to renew its funding for the Hamas terror group, according to a report published in a London-based Arabic daily.
The move reportedly sparked anger in Iran, which is experiencing an economic crisis and in recent days Iranian protesters have been throwing away charity boxes for the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation after a film showed it gave millions of dollars to Palestinians rather than direct the money to needy Iranians.
No cliché has dominated the discourse on the Gaza situation more than the perception of Palestinian violence as a corollary of the Strip’s dire economic condition. No sooner had Hamas and Israel been locked in yet another armed confrontation over the past weeks than the media, foreign policy experts, and politicians throughout the world urged the immediate rehabilitation of Gaza as panacea to its endemic propensity for violence. Even senior members of the Israel Defense Forces opined that a “nonmilitary process” of humanitarian aid could produce a major change in the Gaza situation.
While there is no denying the argument’s widespread appeal, there is also no way around the fact that it is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth. For it is not Gaza’s economic malaise that has precipitated Palestinian violence; rather, it is the endemic violence that has caused the Strip’s humanitarian crisis.
For one thing, countless nations and groups in today’s world endure far harsher socioeconomic or political conditions than the Palestinians, yet none has embraced violence and terrorism against their neighbors with such alacrity and on such a massive scale.
For another thing, there is no causal relationship between economic hardship and mass violence. On the contrary: in the modern world it is not the poor and oppressed who have carried out the worst acts of terrorism and violence, but rather the militant vanguards from among the better educated and more moneyed circles of society – be they homegrown terrorist groups in the West or their Middle Eastern counterparts.
Yasser Arafat, for instance, was an engineer, and his fellow arch terrorist George Habash – the pioneer of aircraft hijacking – a physician. Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was a schoolteacher, while his successor, Sayyid Qutb, whose zealous brand of Islam fired generations of terrorists, including the group behind the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, was a literary critic and essayist. The 9/11 terrorists and certainly their multimillionaire paymaster, Osama bin Laden, as well as the terrorists who massacred their British compatriots in July 2005 and those slaughtering their coreligionists in Algeria and Iraq, were not impoverished peasants or workers driven by hopelessness and desperation but educated fanatics motivated by hatred and extreme religious and political ideals.
US Caused 500 Civilian Casualties in 2017. (What does this have to do with Israel?)
On May 16, 2018, during an “Ask the President” session at Egypt’s fifth national youth conference, held in Cairo, Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi replied to questions from citizens that had been sent in in advance. One of the questions concerned Egypt’s position vis-à-vis Israel in light of the escalation in the Gaza Strip and the Return March at the Gaza-Israel border. President Al-Sisi answered that Egypt was in contact with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and was sending them messages in an attempt to help calm the situation and prevent it from escalating further. However, he said, Egypt could do nothing beyond this.
Al-Sisi said: “Egypt is employing a clear and stable policy regarding the issues connected to the Palestinians. We have a vision, and we proceed in light of it; at every one of our meetings with international and regional forces, our statements remain in this framework. We have not changed [our positions], and also in the next four years our policy will not change…
“With regard to what has been happening in the recent period, [i.e. the Return March and the escalation at the Gaza-Israel border], our efforts [to calm the situation] are unceasing, and they did not begin with the outbreak of these events… We are keeping the Rafah crossing open in order to ease conditions for the people living in the Gaza Strip. [We are sending] ambulances and medicines and doing everything to ease the situation there. Additionally, we are in contact with the Israeli side and with the Palestinian side so that this bloodshed will stop. We want to send, from here, a message to our Palestinian brothers: [We hope that] their protest against the decision [to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem] will not lead them to do anything to cause additional victims. From the Israelis, we expect an understanding that the Palestinian reaction to this matter is legitimate, and that for this reason their handling of it must be in such a way as to safeguard even more the lives of the Palestinians. Can we do more than this? No. We cannot…
Fires rage in Southern Israel but there’s global silence. A silence built upon the notion that Jews are somehow deserving of punishment. That Jews must be bad to be so hated. Little reinforces Zionism more than the way Israel’s treated. The world will wake up when Israel responds pic.twitter.com/sr88cgkhDi
— David Collier (@mishtal) June 5, 2018
Veteran playwright Yehoshua Sobol sparked controversy Tuesday when he expressed support for Palestinian kite terrorism, which has caused dozens of fires and millions of dollars in agricultural damage in southern Israel, but Sobol is not retracting his remarks.
Israel Hayom reported Sobol’s statement to the press Monday at the Olive Tree Forum, a joint meeting of Jewish and Arab artists, in which he said, “I tried to imagine myself as a kid in the Gaza Strip these days, my neighbors being killed or wounded or family members coming home disabled or as corpses. As a kid, what would I do?” Sobol asked.
“I would send over a fire kite,” he stated.
“I remember myself as a child in the Sharon [north of Tel Aviv] in the 1940s. We flew kites – not incendiary kites because we weren’t desperate. But when a person is desperate, when youth are desperate, they don’t care about anything. They’ll leave scorched earth,” Sobol said.
Since the Hamas-organized riots on the Gaza border began on March 30, some 600 flaming kites have been released in Israel’s direction. Israel has intercepted about 400 through various methods, but some 200 landed and sparked fires. Nearly every day, Fire and Rescue Services and Jewish National Fund personnel battle fires in fields, which have cost millions of dollars’ worth of damage, and brush fires.
Sobol’s remarks sparked outrage on social media, with users slamming what they called his support of terrorism.
If I were a child in the Gaza Strip, I would send incendiary kites toward the homes of the heads of Hamas for reducing the Strip to a failed Sparta. Billions have been poured into Gaza – how much of that was stolen, and what has been done with the rest? The criminal gang that controls the Gazans (who elected it) has no interest in their welfare, only in silly preparations for a war against Israel. The Hamas leadership is committed to destroying Israel; until it does, it destroys its own people. In its own defense, it is busy from morning to night blaming Israel. The lack of responsibility for their own fate is the root of the failure of the Arab world as a whole and the Gaza Strip in particular. But the self-righteous Left in Israel and the world won’t allow the Arabs in the Middle East to throw off that culture because it justifies their wretchedness.
In the summer of 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip – even disinterring its dead from their graves. Since then, Gaza has not flourished. Of course not. Since we were exiled from our land [after the destruction of the Temple], it was desolate. Until we returned. The Arabs of the region have no interest in nurturing it or building it up, only in setting it alight. Or more accurately – in setting fire to the Yahud [Jews] who fulfilled the prophecy in Muslim tradition about the Jews returning home.
Playwright Yehoshua Sobol is a big lump of sentiment. He thinks this gives him moral countenance. He said that if he were a child in Gaza, he’d fly incendiary kites “because they are desperate.” From the earliest days of Zionism, a certain stream in Hebrew literature and culture has internalized the false claims of the Arabs in the region about the “original sin” of our resurgence on the ruins of an imaginary “Palestine.” In his story “Facing the Forests” (1963), A.B. Yehoshua describes an intellectual divorced from reality who works in a JNF forest and helps an Arab and his daughter burn down the trees to expose the remains of an Arab village abandoned in the 1948 War of Independence.
Honest Reporting: “The Week Junior” Gets an F
British youth publication “The Week Junior” gets a failing grade: for a history essay that even a student would find embarrassing to have written.
Entitled “Violence and Protests as the US opens an Embassy in Jerusalem,” the article goes beyond common journalistic failings such as lack of context or minor errors, and entirely misstates both history and current events.
Special thanks to an HonestReporting reader and primary school teacher for forwarding us a photo of this article, which can also be found online:
Hamas spokesman Marti Ibn Zvuv talks candidly with The Mideast Beast (TMB) about success, failure, and hopes for the past.
TMB: With huge support from the UN and world media, you must be pleased with the outcome of your recent activities
MIZ: Actually, we are still suffering. Seems that we can’t put money into trying to destroy Israel and provide for our people simultaneously.
TMB: Why a time machine?
MIZ: Since the 2005 Israeli disengagement, our living standard has plummeted. Frankly, we weren’t prepared to rule ourselves. Under Israeli rule we had jobs and agriculture. We’ve sourced a flux capacitor from an Israeli hi-tech company, but the problem is the PA won’t pay for the 1.21 Gigawatts we need to go back pre-2005.
TMB: Have you tried other ways to return to how things were?
MIZ: We were hoping Israel would invade Gaza! Thousands of rockets aimed at civilians didn’t provoke re-invasion, so we tried mass breaching of their border and they just refuse.
Israel regarded former US president Barack Obama’s decision to wait for a Congressional vote before launching air strikes in Syria with great concern, former ambassador to the US Michael Oren said on Tuesday, disputing the version of events written by Ben Rhodes, a former senior aide to Obama.
In 2013, Obama sought to attack Syrian President Bashar Assad’s positions in response to his use of chemical weapons against civilians, but he asked Congress to vote on it first, delaying the strikes – which in the end were never carried out.
Rhodes, then Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, wrote in his new book that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among several world leaders Obama called to update them on his decision to wait for a vote. In an excerpt published by The Atlantic, Rhodes relates that Netanyahu told Obama that “your decision was right, and history will be kinder than public opinion.”
But Oren, now Deputy Minister for Diplomacy, said that while he was not on the phone with Netanyahu and Obama during that conversation, what Rhodes wrote does not reflect Israel’s position at the time.
“People say all kinds of things on the phone,” he said. “We were very concerned. No one will tell you we thought it was a good move.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron met Tuesday evening at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
“My colleagues in Europe and I think that there is a need to preserve the nuclear agreement, but we are concerned about Iran’s activities in the Middle East,” Macron said at a joint press conference after the meeting.
“France supports the two-state solution,” he said. He criticized the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem and said that its transfer caused death, as he puts it.
Regarding the events in the south, Macaron said, “I made it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that I am concerned about the events of the last few weeks on the Gaza border that threaten the peace process.”
“We condemn violence against civilians, including the violence of Hamas. France wants to be part of the solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he added.
“We want to bring stability to the Middle East, and the nuclear agreement is part of that, but it should be extended by an additional 10 years, and we should consider Iran’s aggression in the region and its ballistic missile program,” he said.
Argentine senators began discussions on Tuesday on the possible removal of former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s immunity from prosecution — less than a week after a federal court in Buenos Aires ruled definitively that Alberto Nisman, the federal prosecutor who was investigating the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in the Argentine capital, along with the Kirchner government’s alleged cover-up of Iran’s culpability, was assassinated in January 2015.
Nisman’s body was found in his Buenos Aires apartment hours before he was due to present a formal complaint to Argentina’s Congress that detailed the alleged role of Kirchner and her government colleagues in covering up Iran’s responsibility for the AMIA atrocity. Eighty-five people died and hundreds more were wounded when a truck packed with explosives rammed into the AMIA building in downtown Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994.
While government-appointed investigators initially tried to depict Nisman’s death as a suicide, in December 2017 federal judge Julian Ercolini issued the first ruling that Nisman had been murdered. In the same month, the federal judge investigating Nisman’s original complaint against the former Kirchner government, Claudio Bonadio, indicted the ex-president and several of her close colleagues on treason charges related to a secret pact that effectively exonerated the Tehran regime for the AMIA bombing. Bonadio also requested formally that the Argentine Senate — of which Kirchner is an elected member — remove her legal immunity.
The radio announcer who claimed Egyptian troops had reached Tel Aviv when they had actually suffered a crushing defeat in the Six Day War with Israel has died at the age of 93.
Ahmed Said, who died Monday, worked for the Voice of the Arabs, a Cairo-based station used by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to whip up Arab nationalism.
During the 1967 war, Said told listeners that Egypt had shot down dozens of Israeli warplanes. In reality, Israel had destroyed nearly all of Egypt’s air force on the tarmac.
In just six days, Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza from Egypt, the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
The Israeli military shot dead a Palestinian during a raid in the West Bank on Wednesday, saying a soldier fired back after a man pelted him with a rock.
The Palestinian Information Ministry claimed Israeli forces had killed Ezz El-Deen al-Tamimi, 21, in “cold blood.”
In a statement, the military said more than 10 Palestinians tried to disrupt a force carrying out arrests in the village of Nabi Saleh and that one of them threw a rock at a soldier, striking him in the head.
“The soldier responded by firing at the Palestinian, who was wounded and given medical treatment at the scene,” it said. “He was treated at the scene and he was later declared dead. None of our troops were hurt. The incident will be investigated.”
The Israeli Navy successfully completed a complex exercise last week led by its missile boats flotilla, the military announced Wednesday.
The drill included two major attack and defense scenarios at sea.
In the first scenario, an aircraft simulated a missile threat against an Israeli gas rig. The threat was detected on board a Sa’ar 4.5 missile boat, and was shot down by an interceptor missile launched from the ship.
The navy noted that the ship was recently fitted with state-of-the art detection and observation systems, including the new Fire Sickle radar system which officials said significantly improves vessels’ tracking capabilities.
Last week’s drill was the first live test of the ship in its new configuration.
A storm took the Knesset plenum Wednesday, following MK Hanin Zoabi’s remarks during the presentation of her own bill, which deals with awarding additional funding to parties with a high female representation.
Shortly after MK Zoabi had taken the podium with her bill, she said, “When you talk about women in Gaza, theirs is not a pain that was created out of thin air. We talk about full Israeli responsibility for this suffering. After the State of Israel destroyed the civil and agricultural infrastructures in Gaza, it now tells the women and men in Gaza what to eat and how to eat. You should be banned. The people in Gaza are refugees, their land is here. Not to mention the people being murdered by the soldiers. Democracy is a nightmare in this Knesset.”
If you thought “Not entirely coherent,” you were right. The Joint Arab List MK, who functions normally at 11 on the rage scale, lost it, and was on the verge of tears when the Knesset ushers, directed by the Deputy Speaker on hand, moved in to remove her for using language that is not permitted in the House (the Knesset eschews calling Israeli soldiers “murderers”).
The distraught MK refused to budge from the podium and was finally removed by force.
The Parole Board on Wednesday denied Ahed Tamimi’s request for an early release from prison based on her refusal to express regret, her non-participation in any rehabilitation program and what it considered to be potential harm to public safety.
Tamimi’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, had argued to the board that her actions were mostly political speech and had not really endangered anyone.
On March 21, the Judea Military Court sentenced Tamimi to eight months in prison as part of a plea deal in which she confessed to incitement as well as to some of the 10 or so charges of disturbance and of trying to rough up IDF soldiers.
The ruling on Wednesday meant she will serve about five more months, since she had already served three months, besides for the need to pay a NIS 5,000 fine.
Human Rights Watch responded to a plea deal at the time, saying, “Ahed will be home in a few months, but Israel is putting this child behind bars for eight months for calling for protests and slapping a soldier, after threatening her with years in jail. Plea bargains are the norm in Israel’s military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials.”
The IDF rejects criticism of plea bargains, arguing that they are the norm in many Western legal systems.
Seizing an opportunity to glorify terrorists, Fatah’s Student Movement Shabiba at Birzeit University put photos of terrorists on greetings it distributed wishing students good luck on their exams.
The cards featured pictures of the following heads of terror organizations:
Founder of the Hamas terror organization Ahmed Yassin
Former PLO and PA Chairman and founder of Fatah Yasser Arafat
Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Abu Ali Mustafa
Founder of the Islamic Jihad terror organization Fathi Shaqaqi
Posted text: “Pictures from the distribution of greetings and pens to students today [May 30, 2018] at several of the examination halls Good luck to our precious students #[Fatah_]Shabiba_Student_Movement”
The “good luck” greetings from Fatah’s Shabiba also took on a religious nature, carrying a quote from the Quran:
“‘[Moses] said, “My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance]; and ease for me my task; and untie the knot from my tongue; that they may understand my speech”‘ [Quran, Sura 20:25-28, Sahih International translation] In the name of Allah the Savior, nothing is easy other than that which You have eased, O Most Merciful”
[Facebook page of the Fatah Shabiba Student Movement at Birzeit University, May 30, 2018]
Fatah Official Abbas Zaki: “Americans in Iraq should have both their legs broken” pic.twitter.com/P7sncCixvo
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 6, 2018
The Obama administration skirted key U.S. sanctions to grant Iran access to billions in hard currency despite public assurances the administration was engaged in no such action, according to a new congressional investigation.
The investigation, published Wednesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, further discloses secret efforts by top Obama administration officials to assure European countries they would receive a pass from U.S. sanctions if they engaged in business with Iran.
The findings confirm earlier reports by the Washington Free Beacon surrounding efforts by the Obama administration to go above and beyond the terms of the landmark nuclear deal to appease Iran and grant it billions in hard currency, as well as access to the U.S financial system, despite multiple assurances to Congress this was not the case.
Congressional investigators have now confirmed that the Obama administration ordered the Treasury Department to issue a secret license granting Iran access to the U.S. financial system and American dollar, a process that played out at the same time these senior administration officials were testifying to Congress that they were not engaged in such activities.
Iran’s declaration that it could increase its uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart risks sailing close to the “red line,” France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“It’s always dangerous to flirt with the red line,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday.
But Le Drian said plans to save the nuclear agreement remained intact.
Tensions between Iran and the West have resurged since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran last month, calling it deeply flawed.
Le Drian was speaking a day after Israel’s leader urged France to turn its attention to tackling Iran’s aggression in the Middle East, saying he no longer needed to convince Paris to quit a 2015 nuclear deal between various world powers with Tehran as economic pressure would kill it anyway.
The United States warned governments and the private sector on Tuesday to crack down on what it described as Iranian efforts to exploit them to fund its support for terrorism, destabilizing actions in the region and rights abuses at home.
The appeal, in a speech by the senior U.S. Treasury official for terrorism and financial intelligence, follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s May 8 decision to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and to reimpose U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic.
“You must harden your financial networks, require your companies to do extra due diligence to keep them from being caught in Iran’s deceptive web and make clear the very significant risks of doing business with companies and persons there,” Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said.
“Companies doing business in Iran face substantial risks, and those risks are even greater as we reimpose nuclear-related sanctions,” she added. “We will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account.”
The U.S. decision to leave the pact, under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions, has antagonized its other parties: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
European refiners are winding down oil purchases from Iran, closing the door on a fifth of the OPEC member’s crude exports after the United States imposed sanctions on Tehran, company and trading sources said.
Although European governments have not followed Washington by creating new sanctions, banks, insurers and shippers are gradually severing ties with Iran under pressure from the US restrictions, making trade with Tehran complicated and risky.
US President Donald Trump on May 4 announced his decision to quit a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. The sanctions on Iran’s petroleum sector will take effect after a 180-day “wind-down period” ending on Nov. 4.
“We cannot defy the United States,” said a senior source at Italy’s Saras, which operates the 300,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) Sarroch refinery in Sardinia.
Saras is determining how best to halt its purchasing of Iranian oil within the permitted 180 days, the source said, adding: “It is not clear yet what the US administration can do but in practice we can get into trouble.”
A drop in crude trading between Iran and Europe could complicate efforts by the European signatories of the nuclear deal — France, Germany and Britain — to salvage the agreement.
Ministers from Germany, France and Britain have written to senior US officials urging them to protect European companies working in Iran from getting caught up in Washington’s new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
In the June 4 letter, the foreign and finance ministers singled out key areas where they expected exemptions for EU firms, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy, automotive, civil aviation, infrastructure and banking.
Washington said last month it would impose new economic penalties after pulling out of a 2015 pact that world powers signed with Iran, under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
Germany, France and Britain were all signatories to that deal and said in the letter they were still committed to keeping it going.
“An Iranian withdrawal from the (nuclear agreement) would further unsettle a region where additional conflicts would be disastrous,” said the ministers and the EU’s top diplomat in the letter to the US Treasury Secretary and US Secretary of State seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged from their 90-minute meeting in Berlin on Monday still disagreeing about the merits of the Iranian nuclear agreement, but in accord about the need to push Iran out of other countries in the Middle East.
Germany, Merkel said at a press conference with Netanyahu after their meeting, “will exert our influence in such a way that Iran is pushed out of this region,” and that Berlin will take a “very close look at Iran’s activities in the region and seek to contain it.”
Netanyahu said that pushing Iran out of Syria is not only important for Israel, but should also be important for Germany because of the prospects of a “religious campaign” inside the country that will push even more refugees toward Germany.
“The Iranians military presence right now in Syria includes about includes 18,000 Shi’a militia, commanded by Iranian commanders,” Netanyahu’s said, noting that they come from Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
Iran, he warned, has both a military goal and a religious one.
The emir of Qatar last week embraced a prominent Islamic scholar who has encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq and expressed hope for another Holocaust, according to newly surfaced photographs.
Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on Wednesday hosted an iftar banquet for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in honor of religious leaders, Qatari media reported. One of the theologians present was Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a radical Egyptian preacher and Muslim Brotherhood leader who is based in Doha, Qatar, and was banned from visiting the United States because of his calls to kill Jews and Americans.
The Anti-Defamation League’s David Weinberg flagged al-Qaradawi’s attendance on Twitter, noting some of the theologian’s past radical statements. Al-Thani can be seen hugging al-Qaradawi in one photograph and appears to have given the preacher the seat of honor next to him.
First Saudi Women Obtain Their Driver’s License – Saudi Government Broadcast pic.twitter.com/GIRZx4uiHt
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 6, 2018
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