If the Palestinians Want Independence, They Will Need to Pay a Lot More for it Now
When the Palestinians turned down peace deals – that would have given them statehood as well as a share of Jerusalem – from Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton in 2000 and 2001, and then an even more generous offer from Ehud Olmert with the backing of George W. Bush, they believed time was on their side. They assumed that eventually the Americans and the rest of the world would force the Israelis to acquiesce to all of their demands.
But that’s not the way the Trump team looks at it. As far as they are concerned, Israel’s economic and military strength, combined with the declining support for the Palestinians from much of the Arab world – and their focus on Iran, has altered the terms of the conflict. They view the Palestinians as the moral equivalent of a landlord stuck with an overpriced, run-down property that nobody wants.
As Adam Entous wrote recently in the New Yorker, privately, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman compared the U.S. approach to structuring a “bankruptcy-type deal” for the Palestinians. If they expect to get anything from either the Americans and the Israelis, they’re going to have to take less than they initially hoped, not more.
The Trump team see the Palestinians’ walking away from Barak and Olmert’s offers as akin to missing out on a chance to buy Google stock 20 years ago. Much as they would like to get that bargain price they might have had before, if they want independence, they will need to pay a lot more for it now.
Abbas wasted Obama’s presidency. Obama was more sympathetic to the Palestinians and more inclined to pressure Israel than any of his predecessors, yet Abbas never even met him halfway and actually undermined his efforts with futile forays at the UN.
The conflict with Zionism has never been about real estate or drawing lines on a map. After a century of Palestinians contesting Israel’s right to be there, it’s not clear Abbas has the will or the ability to accept a state on any terms. But the sad truth for the Palestinians is that the value of what they are likely to be offered in the future is going down, not up.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh – spokesman for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – has angrily reacted to President Trump’s intensive diplomatic efforts seeking to enlist Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in advancing Trump’s long-awaited “deal of the century” to end the Arab-Jewish conflict. Rudeineh fulminated:
“The American delegation should abandon the illusion that creating false facts and falsifying history are going to help it sell those illusions.”
Creating false facts and falsifying history has been the province of the PLO and the United Nations (UN) for decades.
The 1968 PLO Charter declared the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1922 Mandate for Palestine and everything subsequently based on them to be null and void.
The United Nations publication “The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem 1917-1988” (“Study”) – published by the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat for, and under the guidance of, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People – falsely claimed:
“After investigating various alternatives the United Nations proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish…”
The UN proposal – Resolution 181(II) – actually referred to:
“Independent Arab and Jewish States”…
Resolution 181(II) clearly denied the existence of any distinctly identifiable Palestinian people in 1947 – yet the Study falsified this narrative.
Caroline Glick: Erdogan’s Win Means U.S. Must Cancel F-35 Sale to Turkey
When Erdogan indirectly accused the Obama administration — which went out of its way to embrace and support him – of sponsoring the failed coup of July 2016, Turkish public opinion was already primed to believe him. Since the coup — which was defeated by Erdogan’s shock troops — U.S.-Turkish relations have gone from bad to worse.
As he has cultivated hatred for America at home, Erdogan has gone to great lengths to cultivate closer ties to Russia. Russia has supported Turkey’s assaults on the Kurds in northern Syria. And Turkey has signed a deal to purchase Russia’s S-400 surface to air missile system. The latter deal lit every possible red light in Washington. As a NATO ally, Turkey is required to purchase systems that are interoperable with NATO platforms. The S-400 is not interoperable. Moreover, if Erdogan chooses to, once he receives his order of 100 F-35 combat fighters, he will be able to share the stealth technology with Russia and China and thus endanger the viability of the U.S.’s fourth-generation jetfighter.
Moreover, given his strategic ambitions, there is every reason to be concerned that Erdogan will deploy his F-35s against U.S. allies.
Cognizant of Erdogan’s anti-Americanism — which, among other things, is manifested in the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson on trumped up charges of involvement with the coup attempt — earlier this month the Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill for 2019 that bars the Pentagon from carrying out its deal with Turkey to sell Erdogan’s regime the F-35s.
Last week, the U.S. officially transferred the first two aircraft to Turkey. To a certain extent, the plane delivery was more apparent than real. The planes were transferred from a base in Texas to a base in Arizona, where Turkish flight crews and ground operators are being trained to use them. The training could last for as long as the U.S. wishes. And until it is completed, the F-35s will not be transferred to Turkey.
But the fact that they were formally transferred the week before Erdogan was elected the all-powerful neo-Ottoman leader of Turkey makes clear that the U.S. government has either not come to terms with the reality of Erdogan’s Turkey, or that it has come to terms with reality, but hasn’t figured out how to deal with it.
The United States, under the leadership of President Donald Trump, will not stand idly by in the face of such bigotry. At the president’s direction, Ambassador Haley has made it clear that America stands with Israel and will support its right to defend itself from murderous neighbors.
Unfortunately, it is clear that if the United States isn’t willing to act, nobody else would. The bullies of the UN would win.
They won in 2016, when Obama shamefully refused to exercise America’s veto, allowing the passage of Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning Israel and fomenting Palestinian intransigence. During that dark day at the UN, Israel was let down by its number one ally.
Obama liked to talk about how he “had Israel’s back,” but his words were empty.
With President Trump leading the way, the United States is once again standing up to the UN hypocrites and defending our friends.
We’re about to release a 60-page report documenting 10 years of staggering, system-wide @UN inaction on antisemitism. This oped ignores that. It rightly praises @AntonioGuterres for deleting a biased report, yet shortchanges @NikkiHaley who made him do it. https://t.co/znTfwuUGIf
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) June 28, 2018
Fifteen fires broke out in Israel Friday due to incendiary balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip. Firefighters doused the blazes.
Around 2,000 Palestinians were demonstrating along the border, a drop from participation at the height of the rallies and riots in May, when tens of thousands took part.
Around 35 people were reported wounded during the protests from tear gas and Israeli fire. Several Palestinian medics were also said hurt from smoke inhalation.
Palestinians claimed a small Israeli drone downing incendiary kites and balloons was brought down in central Gaza.
On Thursday an Israeli tank fired on two Palestinians as they attempted to break through the security fence east of Rafah in southern Gaza. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said one of the two later died of the injuries he sustained in the incident.
Likud MK Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet security service, said Friday that the incendiary kites and balloons being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel could lead the two sides to renewed open conflict.
“Israel will find a way to stop this, even if that way turns out to be yet another military operation,” he said in an interview with Tel Aviv radio station 103FM.
Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, lashed out at Hamas, which he said had been weakened by setbacks for its patron Iran in Syria and Yemen.
“These people don’t care about burning natural landscapes [with incendiary kites] — and they don’t care about burning human beings either. Israeli blood is meaningless to them. We won’t let this terrorism harm us,” he said.
He cautioned against going to war without careful consideration.
“No one likes to see this situation, definitely not residents of the south. But Israel has to consider its steps carefully…. When you launch a military campaign, you know full well that there will be casualties, so you ask yourself what are the chances that it will spark new terror or stop the current terror.”
But, he said, Israel was guaranteed to stop the kite attacks either through a technological solution or a military one.
“Hamas knows Israel’s power is by orders of magnitude greater, more varied and more effective than theirs. For over a decade they dug tunnels, and they’ve seen that dream go up in smoke before their eyes when Israel found a solution,” he said.
Hamas Arson Terrorism
A briefing document sent by Jeremy Corbyn’s office to Labour MPs on Gaza accused the IDF of “war crimes” in the recent border violence, the JC has learned.
Despite evidence that Hamas ordered thousands of Gazans to try and breach the border fences with Israel, often using violent methods, Mr Corbyn’s briefing accuses the IDF of “wilful killings” and “war crimes” in the violence that has left scores of Palestinians dead and many more injured in recent weeks.
One Labour MP told the JC they found the document, sent to all Labour MPs ahead of a parliamentary debate, “disgustingly one sided.”
Another said: “It could have been written by Jeremy’s ‘friends’ in Hamas.”
The notes, which were sent to the JC, were designed to guide the Labour MPs to condemn how Israel’s military dealt with the ‘March of Return’ demonstrations during a Westminster Hall debate on Gaza on Tuesday.
Assessing the background to the recent protests, the Labour document does not mention any Hamas involvement in the planning of the weekly marches, stating: “Since March 30, a Palestinian movement (called the Great March of Return’) has been marching on the border between Israel and Gaza to protest against Israel’s illegal blockage of the area and the humanitarian crisis it is helping to fuel.”
It adds: “The protests were largely peaceful, although they regularly featured stone-throwing and the rolling of tyres at the border fence.”
The notes later suggest an acceptance that “while some protesters in Gaza may have engaged in some form of violence it does not justify the use of live ammunition.”
Trump administration officials believe the likelihood of a successful rollout of its upcoming Mideast peace plan are very low, three sources told Israel Hayom.
According to the sources, during Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt have communicated this sentiment in private conversations in the wake of their visit to the region, although there has been no confirmation from the White House as to the authenticity of this report.
The pessimistic outlook is based on the Palestinians ongoing boycott of the administration in the wake of the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
As a consequence of this realization, the two are reportedly reconsidering the proper timing for the plan’s unveiling. According to the sources who spoke to Israel Hayom, the two have said in private conversations that they are planning to revise the plan in the wake of the recent visit. The sources got the impression that a significant part of the plan will focus on economic development in the Palestinian Authority.
The sources say that during their visit to the region, Arab leaders told the two advisers that they were opposed to a plan that would talk directly to the Palestinian people by bypassing the Palestinian leadership. Jordan’s King Abdullah was particularly against such a move and expressed this during his visit to the White House this week. Abdullah reportedly said that unveiling the plan without coordinating with the Palestinians would be a “catastrophe.”
Since direct communication between the White House and the Palestinian Authority broke down last year following Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the president’s Middle East peace team has tried to engage its leadership indirectly, through intermediaries and the media, hoping to move on from their impasse to discuss potential paths forward in negotiations with the Israelis.
Their initial approach was to disengage: Allow PA leaders to vent their frustrations, thought Trump’s peace team, and they will ultimately return to their longtime American friends and patrons. But as Palestinian leaders, in particular President Mahmoud Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, continually increased the pace and pitch of their criticism over the course of six months, personalizing the feud and writing off any potential for amends, the public message became one-sided. The Palestinians were lobbing one earful after another at the peace team in the press, and the team kept on taking it.
And so Trump’s aides have chosen to begin speaking out in response. Their latest efforts came in the form of an op-ed from Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, and an interview with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, with a Palestinian newspaper. Their goal was to push back argumentatively against some of Abbas and Erekat’s harshest rebukes, but both Greenblatt and Kushner took pages from their books, criticizing them personally.
”Dr. Erekat– we have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement,” Greenblatt wrote. “Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better.”
Days later, Kushner told the Al Quds newspaper that Abbas “says that he is committed to peace and I have no reason not to believe him.”
“However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal,” Kushner said in the rare interview. “He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years. There has been no peace deal achieved in that time.”
The United States is no longer pressing the Israeli government to offer concessions or symbolic ‘gestures’ to the Palestinian Authority, a senior Israeli official told Arutz Sheva, marking a stark contrast with past US administrations.
For decades, both Republican and Democratic administrations have pressured Israel to relinquish territory in Judea, Samaria, and even Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state.
Since the beginning of the Oslo process in 1993, the US has also sought other concessions from Israel to the Palestinian Authority, touching on everything from security and civil control over greater areas of Judea and Samaria, to the release of security prisoners held in Israeli jails, and the removal of Israeli towns built beyond the Green Line.
During the Obama administration, the White House demanded unilateral “good-will gestures” from Israel as a pre-condition to talks with the Palestinian Authority, including the freezing of all construction projects in Israel towns in Judea and Samaria.
Now, however, says a senior Israeli official, the US has dropped the request for concessions and “gestures” from its dialogue with Israeli leaders regarding final status talks with the PA.
It is difficult not to recall this rather pungent maxim—widely attributed to Albert Einstein—in light of recent reports that the Israeli government is once again raising the issue of providing a port for Gaza.
In principle, of course, it may be possible to conjure up a more preposterous and pernicious proposal—but it certainly would not be easy…
A tale of two…islands?
Yet, despite being manifestly moronic, such potentially perilous propositions have been raised regularly with perplexing persistence. Moreover, quite apart from their clearly calamitous content, what makes these inane initiatives particularly perturbing are the identities of those promoting them—typically high ranking (past and present) IDF officers and senior government ministers serving in the present government.
In the past, attention was focused mainly on the bizarre idea of creating an artificial island (detachable in times of conflict), about three kilometers off the Gazan shore, whose construction would cost billions and take a good number of years to complete.
According to advocates of this “visionary” (read “hallucinatory”) enterprise, there will be desalination plants, power stations and even an airport on the man-made maritime platform—leading one to puzzle over why on earth such projects would be more successful if they were built several kilometers out to sea, rather than on the Gazan shore itself…
In the last few days, however, a new and even more ludicrous version of the “port for Gaza” concept has emerged—reportedly with the backing of the Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman—involving another island, this time a naturally occurring one and one much further removed from Gaza: Cyprus!
Demonstrations currently causing unrest in Iran prove that international economic pressure against the Islamic Republic is working, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.
The U.S. decision to withdraw from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions is causing “economic upheaval” and undermining public support for the government, the prime minister told an audience at the Israeli Air Force’s pilot training graduation ceremony in southern Israel.
“Not only has the reimposition of sanctions not united the Iranian public around the regime, the complete opposite is happening,” he said. “Many in Iran understand that the regime of the ayatollahs is wasting precious resources on foreign military subversion instead of investing in civilian needs at home.”
The prime minister has been an outspoken opponent of the nuclear deal and welcomed the U.S. withdrawal in May.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu spoke directly to the Iranian people in a video recording, hailing their “courage in the streets of Iran.”
According to the official report seen by i24NEWS, the State Department will consider assistance to the West Bank and Gaza to “directly benefit” the Palestinian Authority if it is the “primary beneficiary”, “end user” or “direct recipient” of the assistance; if the assistance “involves payment to Palestinian Authority creditors”; and if the aid provided “directly replace(s) assistance or services provided by the Palestinian Authority”.
Once implemented, these criteria would compel the State Department to no longer directly transfers fund to Palestinian Authority, contribute to international programs that divert money to it, or help to pay off the Palestinian Authority’s debts.
It is unclear, however, how broadly the State Department will interpret its own prohibition on aid that “directly replace assistance or services provided by the Palestinian Authority”.
The USAID mission in the West Bank invests in projects covering water, infrastructure, transport, energy, and sanitation. The State Department could interpret its criterion broadly, saying that the aid directly replaces services for which the Palestinian Authority would otherwise be responsible. It could also, however, opt to release the bulk of the funds, arguing that USAID makes up for a genuine need by replacing services that were not being provided.
About two weeks after she almost lost her life in a stabbing attack, Shuva Malka, 18, of Migdal Ha’emek, was taken back to the emergency room of Rambam Hospital Thursday with fever, headaches and shortness of breath.
She underwent another operation Thursday afternoon, to try and fix a large tear in her lung that has not healed.
Before heading out to the operating room, Shuva and her parents, Gabi and Michal, sang together and prayed for the success of the operation.
“It strengthens us to see how much the Nation of Israel is praying for Shuva,” said Michal, according to Makor Rishon. “You feel that you are not alone, and that you are not the one who was hurt, but that the Nation of Israel was hurt.”
“We are simply the emissaries here, standing by a representative of the nation that was hurt, who is our daughter. It is clear to us that this is a public mission, and we are very connected and strong.”
An in-depth analysis of more than 100 petitions filed in Israel’s Supreme Court against illegal construction in Judea and Samaria revealed preferential treatment given to leftist groups, according to a report by Arutz Sheva.
The newly released “Measure for Measure 2018: An Index of Judicial Parity,” published by the Regavim organization, studied petitions brought by leftist, pro-Palestinian groups against Jewish settlements as well as petitions brought by nationalist Zionist organizations against illegal Arab builders, based on data from reports in 2010 and 2015. Regavim is a pro-Israel NGO monitoring and pursuing legal action in Israeli courts against illegal Palestinian construction in Israel.
Almost all of the petitions were based on identical points of law.
The study found that for petitions filed by leftist groups against Jewish construction, the state was allowed an average of 18.5 days to file a preliminary response. For Israeli nationalist groups against Arab construction, that number soared to 30.5 days, a 150 percent disadvantage for the Jewish petitioners.
Jewish petitioners waited an average of three months longer for a first hearing. Pro-Palestinian groups were found to receive seven times more interim orders and temporary injunctions than pro-Zionist groups.
In a landmark ruling, the Jerusalem District ordered the Palestinian Authority to pay compensation of 13.2 million shekels (approximately $3.5 million) to dozens of suspected collaborators with Israel who were systematically tortured while incarcerated in PA jails.
Hadashot news reported Thursday the plaintiffs hope that Israel will be able to collect the compensation from the Palestinian Authority, and that if not, it could be raised by offsetting tax revenues collected by Israel on the PA’s behalf.
The 51 plaintiffs alleged they had been arrested on suspicion of providing Israeli authorities with information and assistance.
The court last year ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in an 1,800-page summary following 90 court sessions and years of deliberations, with judge Moshe Drori saying the testimonies and evidence proved the allegations beyond any reasonable doubt.
Many of the plaintiffs were arrested by the PA’s forces from within Israeli territory — mostly East Jerusalem — and/or have Israeli citizenship. The Jerusalem court therefore ruled it had the jurisdiction to preside over the case.
Egyptian authorities will close the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for three days starting on Friday, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Thursday.
No reason was given for the closure.
Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, though they have temporarily reopened the crossing several times since that attack, mostly for the passage of humanitarian cases.
The crossing has been open since the start of the month of Ramadan, under the orders of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in order to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Just last week, the administration of the border crossing said it would remain open until further notice.
Egypt has kept the crossing closed as it blames Hamas terrorists for providing the weapons for the lethal 2014 attack, which killed 30 soldiers, through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai. Hamas denies the allegations.
King Abdullah II of Jordan won the 2018 Templeton Prize Wednesday for facilitating peace between differing Muslim sects, becoming the second Muslim to win it.
Abdullah II joined the ranks of Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Billy Graham, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other distinguished historical figures as laureates of the prize. He is also the second Muslim to ever win the award, the first being Inamullah Khan, founder of the Modern World Muslim Congress, who won it in 1988. The John Templeton Foundation said the king had led a “reclamation” of Islam from extremist ideologies and fostered peaceful cooperation between Sunnis and Shiites. (RELATED: Trump Thanks Jordanian King For Calling Him Humble)
“King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who has done more to seek religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions than any other living political leader, was announced today as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate,” the foundation said in a statement.
The JTF praised Abdullah II for undertaking great personal risk to combat what he sees as distortions of Islam, to cultivate peace and to establish cooperative dialogue between Muslims, Christians and followers of other religions. Foremost among the king’s efforts to combat extremism was his launching of The Amman Message in 2004, which “sought to declare what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not.”
Israel is preparing for the possibility that an onslaught by the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad could see tens of thousands of Syrian refugees heading for the Israel border. The IDF is gearing up to prevent a mass breach of the frontier, but also to provide humanitarian aid to the displaced, military sources said Thursday.
With Russia’s help, Assad’s army has battered the south for more than a week with air strikes, rocket fire and crude barrel bombs, forcing more than 50,000 people to flee in search of safety. Many of them have fled toward the border with Israel, saying it was the safest since the regime wouldn’t dare strike in that area to avoid angering Jerusalem.
The UN has warned that more than 750,000 lives are at risk in the south, which is meant to be protected by a ceasefire put in place last year by Russia, Jordan and the United States.
Most of the 50,000-plus people who already fled have headed to the sealed Jordanian border. Officials in Nawa, a rebel-held town heavily hit in strikes on Thursday, issued a statement asking Jordan to take in refugees.
But Amman has said the border will remain closed. The kingdom already hosts more than 650,000 registered Syrian refugees and estimates the actual number is closer to 1.3 million.
With Jordan closed, Jerusalem fears they could head to the Israeli border.
An opposition MK called on the government Thursday to set up a temporary refugee camp to provide humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes in southern Syria by the Assad regime, who Israel estimates may arrive on its border.
“The situation on the Syrian Golan Heights cries out for a creative solution,” Zionist Union MK Saleh Saad said in a statement. “The State of Israel cannot remain indifferent to the humanitarian situation of the displaced citizens.”
“I would like to propose as a solution that we establish a temporary town on the border for the Syrian refugees which will provide humanitarian necessities until the international community can decide on a permanent solution,” he said.
Saleh, from northern Israel, is a member of the Druze community.
Israel is preparing for the possibility that an onslaught by the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad could see tens of thousands of Syrian refugees heading for the Israel border. The IDF is gearing up to prevent a mass breach of the frontier, but also to provide humanitarian aid to the displaced, according to military sources.
With Russia’s help, Assad’s army has battered the south for more than a week with air strikes, rocket fire, and crude barrel bombs, forcing more than 50,000 people to flee in search of safety. Many of them have fled toward the border with Israel, saying it was the safest option as the regime wouldn’t dare strike in that area and risk angering Jerusalem.
Israel transferred several dozen tons of humanitarian aid to refugee encampments in southwestern Syria in an overnight operation late Thursday, as tens of thousands of Syrians are fleeing an offensive in neighboring Daraa province by Bashar Assad’s forces and the Russian military.
The IDF said it would likely continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the area, but insisted it would not allow Syrian refugees to cross the border.
“The IDF is monitoring what is going on in southern Syria and is prepared for a variety of scenarios, including continuing to provide humanitarian aid to fleeing Syrians. The IDF will not allow Syrian refugees into Israeli territory and will continue to act to protect Israel’s security interests,” the military said in a Hebrew-language statement on Friday.
The operation lasted “several hours,” the army said, and delivered some 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical supplies and 30 tons of clothes and shoes to the refugees.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said following the aid operation that Israel was “prepared to provide any humanitarian assistance to civilians, women and children,” but stressed that “we will not accept any Syrian refugees into our territory.”
Last night, during a special operation, humanitarian aid was transferred to Syrians fleeing hostilities who are living in tent camps throughout the Syrian Golan Heights pic.twitter.com/k81H4ZeRvs
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) June 29, 2018
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