December 18, 2018

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06/14 Links Pt1: The silver lining in the UN’s almost-condemnation of Hamas; Hamas threatens to launch 5,000 fire kites, balloons Friday; Why Abbas Refuses to Ease Sanctions on Gaza

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/06/0614-links-pt1-silver-lining-in-uns.html

From Ian:


‘Times Are Changing’ at UN: US Wins Plurality of Votes to Condemn Hamas During General Assembly Day of Drama
The 50-year-old reputation of the UN General Assembly as a trusty platform for incitement against the State of Israel acquired its first blemish on Wednesday evening, when a plurality of member states voted in favor of a US-sponsored amendment condemning Hamas for the deadly violence on the border between Israel and Gaza.

“The UN bias against Israel runs very deep, but the fact that the American amendment against Hamas won a voting plurality in the UN General Assembly shows that times are changing,” an official at the US mission to the UN told The Algemeiner after the vote.

The official’s observation followed an afternoon of high drama over a resolution submitted by Arab and Islamic member states that blamed Israel for the Gaza violence, ignored Hamas entirely, and demanded “international protection” for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The US amendment — holding Hamas responsible for rocket attacks against Israel, the destruction of crossing points delivering humanitarian aid from Israel into Gaza, and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields — won the support of 62 member states, but only after an attempt led by the Algerian delegation to prevent a vote outright failed.

As Miroslav Lajčák, the president of the UN General Assembly, attempted to call a vote on the American amendment, the Algerians, backed by Cuba, the State of Palestine and Venezuela among others, invoked a procedural rule to prevent the vote from taking place at all. Speaking from the floor, US Ambassador Nikki Haley countered that “denying a vote on the US amendment would be the height of this body’s hypocrisy.”

Haley Lambasts U.N. Opposition to Amendment Condemning Hamas

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called on U.N. member states Wednesday to vote on an amendment condemning the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

Haley touted the U.S. amendment implicating Hamas in the violence and incitement in Gaza to balance the resolution put forward condemning Israel for “excessive violence” in response to the riots. Turkey and Algeria brought the resolution on behalf the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Haley criticized members who are quick to denounce Israel but scared to oppose Hamas.

“Nothing in our amendment is controversial; it would condemn Hamas for launching rockets, diverting resources to build military infrastructure, and obstructing humanitarian aid,” Haley said. “These are issues where we should be united in opposing Hamas. This motion suggests that these issues are not even worthy of a vote in the General Assembly. What are you afraid of to vote on this amendment?”

Later Wednesday afternoon, the General Assembly voted to adopt the non-binding resolution without the U.S. amendment mentioning Hamas. Assembly members voted in favor of the U.S. amendment but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed, so the amendment failed.

Haley has strongly opposed the U.N.’s myriad denunciations of Israel and recently vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council. The rioting and violence along the border between Israel and Palestinian-controlled Gaza involved attacking Israeli soldiers and resulted in about 120 Palestinians being killed, most of whom were members of terror groups.

She concluded by saying Hamas’ actions worked against the cause of peace.

Netanyahu praises Nikki Haley for strong defense of Israel at U.N.

Even before the U.N. passed a General Assembly condemning Israel for “excessive use of force” in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised US ambassador Nikki Haley for Wednesday night her spirited defense of Israel in the U.N. and her efforts to get an amendment to the resolution added that would condemn Hamas violence.

“Israel appreciates the firm support of the Trump administration in Israel at the United Nations and Ambassador Haley’s resolute statement today, which exposed the hypocrisy of the bias against Israel at the U.N.,” he said in a statement

The U.N. resolution condemning Israel passed by a vote of 120-8, with 45 abstentions. Haley’s amendment also passed by a simple majority of 62-58, with 42 abstentions, but because of a procedural ruling that a two-third majority was needed, that amendment was not adopted.

“The unceasing focus of the United Nations in Israel shames the organization, it also diverts attention from other burning issues that require the attention of the international community,” Netanyahu said.

Regarding the situation in Gaza, Netanyahu said “Hamas is responsible for the difficult situation there, for the loss of life and suffering resulting from the violent riots it has been waging in recent weeks.”

Netanyahu said that Instead of improving the lives of Gaza residents, “Hamas uses the Palestinian population as a human shield in the ongoing war of terror against Israel. President Abbas only exacerbated the humanitarian distress in Gaza by cutting salaries in Gaza and refusing to pay for the electricity supplied to Gaza.”

UN General Assembly condemns Israel for ‘excessive’ force at Gaza border

With a huge majority, the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Israel for using “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate” force during the recent clashes at the Gaza border and calling for an “international protection mechanism” for Palestinian civilians.

The dramatic, down to the wire session saw the United States attempt to add a paragraph condemning Hamas, which was ultimately rejected on procedural grounds though most member states supported it. The resolution, proposed by Algeria and Turkey, then passed with 120 “yes” votes, 8 “no” votes and 45 abstentions.

The eight countries that voted against the resolution were the US, Israel, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and the Solomon Islands.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement issued before the actual voting took place, condemned the resolution, entitled “Protection of the Palestinian civilian population.”

“The UN’s incessant focus on Israel not only brings shame to the organization. It also draws attention away from so many other pressing issues that demand the attention of the international community,” he said.

The silver lining in the UN’s almost-condemnation of Hamas

Surprisingly, 78 countries — including all European Union member states, and yes, even Sweden — opposed Algeria’s move. Only 59 countries — the usual suspects from the Arab bloc and the Non-aligned Movement — supported it.

Abba Eban would have been stunned.

But the defeat of Algeria’s effort to protect Hamas was not even the most dramatic thing that happened on Wednesday afternoon in Turtle Bay.

Haley’s amendment, which blasted Hamas for firing rockets at Israel and for “inciting violence” at the Gaza border, and demanded the group “cease all violent activity and provocative actions,” went on to garner a majority of votes.

It was a slim majority — 62 to 58, with 42 abstentions — but it was dramatic nonetheless. It underlined that Israel’s enemies don’t automatically win every single vote in the international body, and showed that more countries wanted to temper the anti-Israel resolution they were about to support with a condemnation of Hamas than not.
Ambassador Danny Danon addressing the General Assembly (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)

“Thanks to the combined efforts with our American friends and our allies from around the world, we proved today that the automatic majority against Israel in the UN is not destiny and can be changed,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon said.

Haley, too, observed that the “ common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing.”

“We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side,” she said. “By their votes, those countries recognized that peace will only be achieved when realities are recognized, including Israel’s legitimate security interests, and the need to end Hamas’ terrorism.”

PMW: PA’s worship of Martyrs’ blood – now on game show

In a game show to entertain Palestinians during Ramadan, the Palestinian Authority TV host glorified the Palestinian ideal of Martyrdom-death. Welcoming viewers to The Box, the host opened at least twice with praise for the “heroic Martyrs,” emphasizing that they “water the land of Palestine with their blood”:

Official PA TV host: “A thousand blessings always to the souls of our heroic Martyrs who water the land of Palestine with their blood every day, until the independent State of Palestine whose capital is Jerusalem arises. Whoever doesn’t like it – let them bang their head against the iron of the Damascus Gate.” [Official PA TV, The Box, May 28, 2018]

Official PA TV host: “A thousand blessings in honor of our heroic Martyrs who sacrificed their bodies and souls so that we will build a homeland worthy of this Martyrdom. All love, appreciation, and solidarity to their families behind them.” [Official PA TV, The Box, June 5, 2018]

This is yet another example of the PA culture focusing and honoring Shahada – Death for Allah. It should be noted that the game show had nothing to do with Martyrdom and yet the PA TV host chose to open the show this way. Palestinian Media Watch has exposed the ongoing promotion and glorification of Shahada by the PA and its leaders. For example, a few days after US President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem (Dec. 6, 2017), PA TV broadcast a music video in which Palestinians are asking Allah to grant them Martyrdom in Jerusalem:

MEMRI: Kuwaiti Cleric Sheikh Jihad Al-‘Ayesh Denies The Holocaust And The Existence Of Gas Chambers: How Big A Bakery Would You Need To Make 50,000 Loaves Of Bread?

Kuwaiti cleric Sheikh Jihad Al-‘Ayesh delivered a speech in which he said that the figure of six million Jews killed in the Holocaust was a “historical lie,” but that Hitler “knew the truth about the Jews” and therefore began “tormenting and persecuting them.” “The Jews were banished, tortured and annihilated because of their deeds. They were not banished for being Jews,” he said. In an effort to dispute the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz, Sheikh Al-‘Ayesh, who heads the Bait Al-Maqdis Documentary Studies Center, which has a branch in the Gaza Strip, drew the following analogy: “Imagine that you want to build a bakery. What size of bakery would you need to make 10,000 loaves of bread?… What if you wanted to make 50,000 loaves of bread an hour? You would need a larger bakery. How many ovens would you need to burn six million human beings?” Sheikh Al-‘Ayesh’s posted his address on his personal YouTube channel on May 26. The video was also posted on the Facebook account of Bait Al-Maqdis Documentary Studies Center.

In the past, Al-‘Ayesh has talked about the Rothschild family, which he said had taken an oath to “divide the world and rule it.” Al-‘Ayesh made the claims that the Rothschild family had introduced usury into Europe in the 17th century, had founded Nietzscheanism, Bolshevism, and Nazism, and now controlled Hollywood, the world’s major news agencies, and the price of gold (see MEMRI TV clip no 6180 Kuwaiti Cleric Jihad Al-‘Ayesh: The Rothschilds Control Hollywood and Price of Gold, Assassinated U.S. Presidents, Founded Usury and Nazism (Archival)).

Confronting Iran after the U.S. Withdrawal from the Nuclear Deal

Identifying four different paths Tehran could take in response to Washington’s decision to jettison the 2015 nuclear agreement, Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein recommend possible Israeli and American courses of action for each. In the two bleaker scenarios, the Islamic Republic would resume the production of highly enriched uranium that had ceased when negotiations with the Obama administration began or, worse, simply try to make a bomb. Yadlin and Heistein write:

In [the former case], the United States and Israel, in order to avoid an unintended war while still preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, would need to demarcate a clear red line that Iran’s nuclear program would not be allowed to cross. . . . [T]he red line should not focus only on enrichment levels but also on the enrichment of large quantities of uranium to a low level or spinning a large number of centrifuges, two alternative routes that could bring Iran within a short breakout period to the bomb.

And then, there’s the worst-case scenario. Iran may adopt an extreme response to the change in U.S. policy by leaving the nuclear deal and the Nonproliferation Treaty, [which Iran signed in 1968 and has not renounced], and then breaking out to a bomb. That would raise the chances of military confrontation.

Military action to prevent the ayatollahs from acquiring a nuclear weapon would have much broader diplomatic support than in the previous scenario—in the U.S. as well as Europe. However, Israel would be well-advised to note that President Trump’s explicit promise to reduce U.S. involvement in the Middle East makes him less likely to order U.S. forces to strike. In this case, Israel would probably find itself acting alone, albeit with a “green light” and support from Washington. Israel would have to consider exercising the Begin doctrine, which calls for preventing any regime that seeks to wipe it off the map from acquiring nuclear weapons. . . .

Caroline Glick: Unlike Netanyahu, Trudeau Expects America to Do All the Hard Work

In other words, Trudeau has embraced posturing over substantive policymaking. Rather than presenting Trump with a deal that could make sense for the U.S. and Canada, Trudeau has presented himself as a progressive hero, standing up to the Left’s greatest enemy.

Given Trudeau’s behavior, it was just a matter of time before trade talks between Washington and Ottowa blew up. Canada’s leader offered Trump no alternative to confrontation.

The disparity between Trump’s treatment of Israel and Canada tells us two important things.

First, when Trump criticizes American allies for expecting the United States to defend them and pay for the privilege, he isn’t doing it to blow off steam. Trump believes that for alliances to be meaningful, they have to be alliances between independent states that come together to pursue common interests.

True, the U.S. is the strongest party. But it cannot be expected to do what its allies could do themselves yet refuse to do. When Trump discusses NATO reform, there can be little doubt that he envisions an alliance of states that actually defend themselves.

Second, Trump’s disparate treatment of Netanyahu and Trudeau shows that the conventional, contemptuous view of Trump’s foreign policy is wrong.

This week, the Atlantic dismissed the Trump Doctrine as “We’re America, Bitch!” (albeit quoting an administration official).

Trump’s actual doctrine is that the U.S. will help its allies and foes when they pursue goals the U.S. shares. And the U.S. will spurn allies – and enemies — who expect America to do their bidding as they mistake posturing for policymaking, and attitude for work.

Hamas threatens to launch 5,000 fire kites, balloons Friday

Hamas on Thursday threatened to send 5,000 fire kites and balloons deep into Israeli territory on Friday, when the Gaza border will see another of the weekly “March of Return” mass protests, Palestinian and Israeli media reported.

The Palestinian terror group, the de facto ruler in the Strip, said at a press conference that the incendiary devices will be launched from various locations in Gaza during the protest, which will also mark the first day of the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday.

Hamas’s “kite unit” said that if Jerusalem “doesn’t make use of the opportunity we are giving it” to end the Gaza siege, Israeli communities near the enclave would “live under a siege of kites,” which it claimed would reach a range of 40 kilometers inside Israel.

The comment seemed to be a reference to reported indirect talks between Israel and Hamas for a long-term ceasefire in exchange for an end to the blockade on Gaza, which Israel maintains to keep Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip from building up military capabilities.

Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched hundreds of kites and helium balloons bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, into Israeli territory, sparking near-daily fires.

IDF fires warning shot at Gazans preparing ‘fire balloons’, launches airstrike

The Israeli military fired a warning shot at a group of Palestinians who were preparing to launch an incendiary helium balloon toward Israel from the central Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, followed by another airstrike on “infrastructure” to prepare the arson devices.

“A short while ago, an aircraft fired a warning shot at a cell that was preparing to launch incendiary balloons in order to drive them away,” the military said in a statement.

A short while later, the Israel Defense Forces said it carried out an airstrike in the same area. The army identified the target as “infrastructure,” but would not elaborate.

According to media reports, the “infrastructure” was an outdoor facility that was being used by the cell to inflate the balloons and make the incendiary devices.

“We view the use of incendiary balloons and kites very seriously and will continue to act to prevent their use,” the army said in a statement.

This was the second time in less than 24 hours that Israel shot at Gazans as they attempted to start fires in Israeli territory with airborne arson devices.

There were no reports of injuries in either of the Israeli strikes.

‘Peace plan will not be presented unilaterally’

A US administration official involved in formulating President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” for negotiations between Israel and the PA told Arutz Sheva that for now, there is no deadline for presenting the plan, as long as the PA refuses to talk to the US.

“The peace plan will not be presented unilaterally. We are still far from the moment we will bring it to the sides, because at the moment there is only one side that is dealing with us in intensive dialogue,” the official said.

He admitted that as of now, the Americans are not succeeding, even through intermediaries, in reaching a dialogue with the PA. Next week, US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner are due to arrive in Israel. The two will hold several meetings on the program with senior Israeli officials, including the prime minister, but they will not reach Ramallah, where they are not considered welcome.

In recent days there has been a growing number of reports that the Americans are on the verge of formulating a peace plan to be presented soon. On the Israeli side, however, there have been a number indications that the arrival of Kushner and Greenblatt is intended to present ideas for a plan that has not yet been finalized – and to try to find a target date for its presentation, while the attempts to bring the PA to the table continue, mainly with the help of Saudi and Egyptian pressure.

MEMRI: Articles In Palestinian Authority Press: Trump Is A Second Version Of Hitler; U.S. Is Hostile To Palestinians

Following the March of Return events at the Gaza-Israel border, during which dozens of Palestinians were killed[1], Kuwait put forward a draft resolution in the UN Security Council condemning Israel’s “excessive, disproportionate, and indiscriminate force” against Palestinian civilians, and demanding that the Palestinian people be provided with “international protection.”[2] The U.S. submitted, in response, a separate draft resolution containing various amendments to the Kuwaiti draft, describing Hamas as a terrorist group, condemning the firing of rockets into Israel, and condemning the Palestinian factions’ diversion of resources for military infrastructure to be used against Israel.[3] Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN, said of the U.S. draft, which was rejected in a vote: “These amendments are hostile to our people.”[4]

The U.S. was the only one to veto the Kuwaiti proposal, with 10 in favor and four abstentions.[5] Following the vote, Palestinian officials responded harshly. For example, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan ‘Ashrawi said: “The U.S.’s idiotic behavior reflects a morally bankrupt policy and arrogance of power, which is leading it to a confrontation with all the international values and constitutes another crushing blow to the credibility and fairness of the international community as manifested at the UN.”[6] She went on to call for “prosecuting the U.S. and Israel’s leaders at the International Courts.” She added that the U.S. had “changed the rules of play and was clearly and fully biased in favor of the occupation authorities.”[7] Additionally, the Palestinians launched diplomatic efforts aimed at garnering support for moving the vote on the Kuwaiti draft resolution to the UN General Assembly, under the UN General Assembly “Uniting for Peace” Resolution 377A of 1950.”[8]

The Palestinian press reacted to the U.S. veto of the Kuwaiti draft resolution by publishing articles highly critical of the U.S. and its leadership, continuing the blatantly anti-U.S. line taken in recent months by the Palestinian Authority (PA) press following the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.[9] The articles accuse the U.S. of being hostile to the Palestinians, trampling the values of humanity and the principles of the UN, encouraging terrorism, and leveraging its might to advance its own and Israel’s interests over others’. President Trump himself, one stated, is “brandishing the sword of war and terrorism” at the world; another called him “the second version of Hitler.”

IDF Releases New Anti-Kidnapping App

After the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers—Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah—the Israel Defense Forces began developing an application that would enable soldiers facing similar circumstances to alert the authorities with the push of a button. Released earlier this week, the GPS-based app, aptly called Distress Signal, would enable soldiers to push a button and immediately alert three different HQs: a special operational division in Tel Aviv dedicated to providing rapid response in cases of emergency; the closest division to the soldier’s geographical location; and the soldier’s unit.

The application, created by the IDF in collaboration with an unnamed civilian software developer, will only begin tracking the soldier once he or she presses the distress button, and will otherwise disable its location-based function, a senior IDF officer familiar with the project told the Israeli press. And, cellphones being private rather than army property, no soldier will be obligated to download the application.

Assuming that the app’s deployment will trigger a wave of false alarms, the IDF recently briefed relevant officers and soldiers on proper response to incoming distress calls. But the army’s greatest challenge, the officer said, was making sure that the app was safe from cyber attacks.

UN construction in J’lem – only with approval of Israel

The Jerusalem District Court ruled this week that until a coordination mechanism is established between the state and the UN, the UN will not begin any work at a compound in the neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv.

A petition submitted by the Regavim organization in March 2017 revealed that the UN had committed a large number of building offenses in the Armon Hanatziv compound and that it had invaded acres of state land beyond the area allocated to it by the State of Israel.

After the submission of the petition, the state admitted that extensive building offenses had indeed been committed and that it would conduct diplomatic negotiations to formulate a coordination mechanism regarding the UN building plans in the area.

The state’s updated announcement said this week that “the diplomatic contacts are taking a long time, so that the coordination mechanism that the parties are working on has not yet been formulated,” but the talks are held “to the satisfaction of the state.”

The Regavim movement noted that the diplomatic contacts began more than a year ago, and the end is nowhere in sight, indicating that the parties are not close to agreements.

Judge Oded Shaham accepted the state’s update and ordered that another update regarding the contacts be given in November. Until then, the UN will not begin any new work on the site.

‘Left pressured Arab to claim land ownership’

Journalist Moriah Kor this morning confronted former Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer over the expulsion of 15 families in Netiv Ha’avot and the expected destruction of their homes.

In the beginning Kor said she herself had been offered a home in the neighborhood, but the uncertainty about the place’s future dissuaded her. She criticized settler leadership, who she said planted in residents the belief that “it’ll be okay” and that the place would be neither evacuated nor destroyed.

Later in the interview she claimed the one leading petitions against the village were not Arab landowners -who are often unaware of their ownership – but leftist organizations.

She says she herself met the Arab landowner in Netiv Ha’avot and wondered why he would not agree to receive compensation for the land instead of evacuating the residents. Kor noted there was no doubt that even after the expulsion and destruction the Arab would not be able to make use of the land, while monetary compensation would have been an appropriate solution for him as well.

Jewish Afula Residents Protest Against Home Sales to Arabs

A group of 150 residents in the northern Israeli city of Afula held a protest on Wednesday after discovering that a fellow resident had sold his home to an Arab family.

The protest against the city becoming a mixed Jewish-Arab community was similar to one held two and a half years ago, when 43 Arab-Israeli families purchased homes in Afula.

“We are against a mixed city,” said Afula resident Adiel Eluz. “If we wanted to live in a mixed city, we would go to Nazareth Illit, Carmiel or Acre.”

The protesters waved Israeli flags and carried signs reading “Afula is not for sale.”

Former Mayor Avi Elkabetz, who this year is running for mayor again, joined the demonstration.

“The residents of Afula aren’t racist – they just want a Jewish city. I am committed to making sure that Afula doesn’t become a mixed city, just as its founders wanted,” Elkabetz said.

Police: Explosion in east Jerusalem caused by bomb-making attempt

An explosion in Shuafat Refugee Camp in east Jerusalem late Wednesday night occurred during an attempt to build an explosive device, Israel Police said after a preliminary investigation.

One person was critically injured in the explosion and was taken to hospital.

Police said it found further explosive material in the apartment in which the explosion took place. Police arrested eight suspects after the explosion, and they were taken for questioning.

“The Israel Police will continue to investigate and act openly and covertly against all those involved and possessing explosive material intended for the preparation of explosive devices,” police said in a statement following the incident:.

While leaving at the refugee camp, police clashed with local residents. A Jerusalem Police spokesman said that no injuries were reported in the clashes.

Shuafat Refugee Camp, a neighborhood inside Jerusalem, is located behind the West Bank security barrier and Palestinians have free access into it.

JCPA: Erdogan’s Turkey Intensifies Involvement in Gaza and Jerusalem

Who Implements Turkish Policy?

Aside from the Turkish organizations representing Turkey’s interests, local figures are also involved. Prominent among them is the leader of the northern Islamic Movement in Israel, Raed Salah, and the leader of the Supreme Muslim Council on the Temple Mount, Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri.

This advertisement for an event in honor of Jerusalem called “Evening of Resurrection 2” describes the leader of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah as the “governor” or Muhafiz of Jerusalem, and his assistant named Husam Abu Leil.

Sheikh Husam Abu Leil is an extreme Muslim cleric from Ein Mahil in the Galilee. According to his Facebook page,18 he is deeply involved in what is happening on the Temple Mount and is known to the security services in Israel.

Has Turkey already secretly set up its own administration in east Jerusalem? What does it mean that the role of “governor” of the city has been assigned to an Israeli citizen?

With this in mind, it should be noted that its main representative, Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri, already wears white priestly clothing representing the Turkish religious establishment. Is he supposed to serve as the Mufti of Turkey on the Temple Mount?

According to sources in east Jerusalem, he is very close to Erdogan and has a direct telephone line to him. Many people in east Jerusalem use his services to liaise with the Turkish ruler.

IPT Exclusive: U.S. and Turkish Ties to Malaysia’s Hamas Lobby

The April assassination of a Hamas engineer in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur helps show the increasingly significant role Malaysia plays in Hamas operations.

Fadi Albatsh, who helped the terrorist group build drones and rockets, was shot and killed while on his way to a mosque. Albatsh reportedly also helped facilitate deals with North Korea to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has a significant presence in Malaysia and routinely recruits Palestinians studying there to launch terrorist attacks against Israel. An operative captured during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict told Israeli authorities that he, along with nine others, received paragliding training in Malaysia from members of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. They were supposed to use that training to paraglide from Gaza directly into a southern Israeli town to launch an attack. Around the same time, Hamas recruited another operative in Malaysia with a doctorate in computer science. The operative served as a courier for encrypted messages for the al-Qassam Brigades.

Malaysia turns a blind eye to Hamas-related terrorist activity on its soil and anti-Semitism runs rife among the country’s top leadership. New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad even said he was “glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.” At an Organization of the Islamic Conference Summit in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, Mohamed called on Muslims “to strategize and then to counterattack” because “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.”

Meanwhile, Hamas backers in Malaysia – including some that form the country’s core leadership – have close ties to U.S.-based Hamas apologists, an Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) investigation finds.

JCPA: Who is Responsible for the Harsh Humanitarian Situation in Gaza?

The Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah blames Hamas for controlling the Gaza Strip and exploiting its resources for its own private ends and abusing Palestinian residents, while taking advantage of their difficult situation.

Human rights organizations in Israel and around the world repeatedly claim that Israel is still an “occupying power” in the region and responsible for the severe humanitarian crisis there despite Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The Human Rights NGOs claim that being the “occupying power” makes Israel totally responsible for the condition of the Palestinian population in Gaza.

On June 12 and 13, 2018, the struggle between bitter rivals Hamas and the Palestinian Authority flared up in demonstrations against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, where there was a show of support for Gaza and Hamas. The demonstrators called for the lifting of the PA’s sanctions on Gaza. These demonstrations expose the reality in the Gaza Strip, as reflected in the position of the Palestinian Authority itself.

In an official notice at the end of its weekly meeting on June 12, 2018, the Palestinian government, led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, accused Hamas of unlawfully seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, imposing its rule upon the residents, exploiting existing resources for its private interests, and abusing the Palestinian people while taking advantage of their difficult situation.

Why Abbas Refuses to Ease Sanctions on Gaza

The two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are paying the price for the political rivalry between Fatah and Hamas.

This week, the Israeli government’s Security Cabinet decided not to make any further humanitarian concessions to Gaza as long as Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas stands firm in his refusal to remove the sanctions that he imposed on Gaza a year ago.

The PLO’s Action Committee set up a higher council to discuss the issue of Gaza. This council met on June 9 and recommended the payment of 50 percent of the salaries of Palestinian Authority (PA) clerks in the Gaza Strip before Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim celebration marking the end of Ramadan. Let’s see if this actually happens.

The Al-Hayat newspaper reported on June 12 that, according to a senior Fatah official, after Eid al-Fitr the movement will launch a reconciliation process with Hamas based on arranging general elections, establishing a unity government, and following the principles of “one law, one security, and one weapon.”

None of the residents of the territories place much faith in this report. Egypt, which was leading the conciliation process, had to bring it to a halt following a request from Fatah, which announced that it would not attend the meetings with Hamas representatives in Cairo.

Not only did Abbas refuse to remove the sanctions that he had imposed on Gaza, but he also refused to discuss allowing humanitarian concessions.

In Gaza, unpaid Palestinian Authority salaries dampen Eid joy

Hani al-Laham sits down to a family dinner after a long day of fasting, but he has little to celebrate as the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches.

Despite Laham having a monthly salary of NIS 1,700 ($475), tied to a job in the security services, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has repeatedly failed to pay him.

He is one of nearly 60,000 Palestinians in Gaza on the PA’s payroll. More than a decade ago the PA ordered its employees in the enclave to stay at home, over a dispute with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, promising to continue paying their salaries.

But now the money has been cut back.

“This is a disaster, Gaza is collapsing,” said Laham, whose financial woes have seen the family evicted from their rented home in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians Protest Palestinian Authority Sanctions on Gaza—and the Media is M.I.A

In a move that has prompted protests, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is refusing to ease sanctions on the Gaza Strip—and the media is refusing to provide coverage of the authority’s decision. The PA is dominated by the Fatah movement and rules the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Fatah is a longtime rival of Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group that controls Gaza.

PA president and Fatah head, Mahmoud Abbas, approved sanctions against the Gaza Strip in the spring of 2017. Abbas called for taking “painful and unprecedented” measures against Hamas in order to “force the terror group to dismantle its de facto government” in Gaza (“Hamas calls on PA government to lift sanctions or disband,” The Times of Israel, Feb. 13, 2018).

Among other actions, the PA approved salary cuts to its employees living in Gaza, suspended social assistance to hundreds of families, and forced the retirement of thousands of civil servants. The authority also reinstated the collection of taxes from Gazans, who had been exempt from paying taxes since 2007. Importantly, the authority also decided to stop paying Israel for the electricity and fuel supplies that the Jewish state was providing to the Strip—resulting in severe power shortages for Gaza residents.

Abbas hoped that the pressure would force reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, resulting in the latter taking over the Gaza Strip. In 2007, Hamas seized control over the area after a brief and bloody war with Fatah.

Netanyahu: Iran has brought 80,000 Shiite fighters into Syria

Israel has attacked Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim militias in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, casting such actions as potentially helping to stem a Syrian Sunni Muslim refugee exodus to Europe.

Israeli officials have previously disclosed scores of airstrikes in Syria to prevent suspected arms transfers to Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah fighters or to Iranian military deployments, who have been helping the Syrian regime beat back the seven-year-long rebellion.

But Israel has rarely provided official details on the operations, or described non-Lebanese militiamen as having been targeted.

Speaking at the International Homeland Security Forum in Jerusalem on Thursday, Netanyahu accused Iran of bringing in 80,000 Shiite fighters from countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan to mount attacks against Israel and “convert” Syria’s Sunni majority.

This is “a recipe for a re-inflammation of another civil war – I should say a theological war, a religious war – and the sparks of that could be millions more that go into Europe and so on,” Netanyahu said.

Report: Hezbollah refused Russian demand to leave south Syria

A Syrian human rights monitoring group reported on Thursday that the Hezbollah terror group’s leadership has refused to accede to a Russian request that its forces vacate a number of locations in southwest Syria near the Lebanese border.

Moscow, which has served as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chief patron in the war-ravaged country, reportedly demanded that the terror group withdraw from the southern and western suburbs in the Homs locality and the Lebanese vicinity as part of a wider effort to return Russian troops back to certain positions in the area away from Hezbollah.

Despite the refusal, no dispute or fraying of relations were detailed in the report. The rights group said that Hezbollah is sporadically “renewing its ranks” in military posts straddling the Syrian-Lebanese border, serving as proof that it has no intention to evacuate the area.

One of the locations in which the Shi’ite terror group plans to maintain its presence is the western Syrian city of Al-Qusayr, 35 kilometers south of Homs. Last month, a Hezbollah airfield in the area was bombed in a strike that was widely attributed to the Israel Air Force.

In May, Arab news outlets, including the Syrian rights organization, reported that Russian forces had withdrawn from the Homs vicinity and would soon be replaced by Assad’s army. No indication, however, was mentioned in the report that the Russian withdrawal has yet been implemented.

US sanctions force Nike to drop Iran soccer shoe deal

US sporting goods giant Nike confirmed Monday it had stopped supplying Iran’s soccer team with soccer shoes ahead of the World Cup due to sanctions.

A statement from Nike said the company was forbidden from supplying kit to the Iranian team as it prepares for its opening World Cup game.

“US sanctions mean that, as a US company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian National team at this time,” Nike said.

“Sanctions applicable to NIKE have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law.”

In Show of Support, Tens of Thousands of Iranians Tell Twitter: #WeStandWithIsrael

Following a video message to the Iranian people by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, thousands of Iranians took to Israel to express their support and love for the Jewish state.

According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the hashtag #WeStandWithIsrael was featured in tens of thousands of tweets written by Iranians who took part in a campaign to separate their opinions of Israel from that of the strongly anti-Israel Iranian regime.

Sharona Avginsaz, the Foreign Ministry Persian-language digital-media manager, told Mako news that the “Israel in Persian” Twitter page has been gaining serious steam, with approximately 60,000 followers, despite the fact that the Twitter social-media platform is actually banned in Iran.

The campaign was set to coincide with “Quds Day,” an annual day established by the extremist Muslim Iranian regime to support Arab claims to Jerusalem and decry Israeli control of the historic city.

According to Avginsaz, Iranian Twitter users decided to take the anti-Israel day and turn it into a show of Iranian support for Israel and disapproval of the controlling Iranian government.



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