Senior UN official blasted for floating Israel’s suspension from world body
A United Nations human rights expert is under fire after suggesting Israel could have its member status at the world body suspended over alleged violations of international law.
Michael Lynk, the special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories, made the remarks at a side event during a July session of the Human Rights Council — the controversial panel the U.S. withdrew from last month.
Audio of the event, “Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Systematic Violations with Impunity,” was obtained by Fox News from NGO Monitor — a Jerusalem-based research institute analyzing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) claiming to advance humanitarian agendas.
In that audio, Lynk describes Israel as an “illegal occupant,” and says “the international community has not simply the ability, but also the responsibility and obligation to bring [settlements] to an end.”
He then goes on to say that there are “a number of tools” that the international community can use to bring Israel back in line.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon harshly criticized a suggestion by UN official Michael Lynk that Israel be suspended from the world body over what the United Nations characterizes as violations of international law, Fox News reported Wednesday.
Lynk’s comments is “another reason why the [Human Rights Council] lost its credibility,” Danon said.
“Mahmoud Abbas knows that actions such as this do nothing to encourage peace,” Danon said in an interview on Fox News. “In fact, it actively works against it, and encourages incitement and a culture of hate.”
“The international community has not simply the ability, but also the responsibility and obligation to bring [settlements] to an end,” Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories for the UN, told a July session of the Human Rights Council, adding that there are “a number of tools” the international community can use to change Israeli actions.
“It may mean reviewing or suspending Israel’s privileges as a state member in the United Nations,” Lynk said. “It may mean that countries in the world, particularly those with significant trading or political relationships with Israel, would review their relationships with Israel in the military, political, diplomatic and economic investment spheres. It may mean that Israel would face some forms of restrictions in its abilities to wind up trading.”
The United States withdrew from the Human Rights Council in June, citing what it characterized as the body’s biased treatment of Israel and its failure to address serious abuses throughout the world.
Elliott Abrams: Saudi Arabia and Canada
What was the Canadian action that led to this fierce reaction? A tweet from Canada’s foreign minister saying “Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi’s sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia,” and that “Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this difficult time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.” And the following day a tweet from the foreign ministry saying “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.”
These are not harsh or shocking statements. The Raif Badawi case has long been a matter of international concern and comment. The United States commented in 2015 that “We are greatly concerned by reports that human rights activist Raif Badawi will start facing the inhumane punishment of a 1,000 lashes, in addition to serving a 10-year sentence in prison for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and religion. The United States Government calls on Saudi authorities to cancel this brutal punishment and to review Badawi’s case and sentence.” This is surely tougher than the Canadian comments. Moreover, the United States had no actual link to the case whereas Badawi’s wife and three children are now Canadian citizens. In addition, there has been plenty of comment about the current combination in Saudi Arabia of social and economic reform with the government’s absolute insistence on setting the pace of change—and punishing Saudis who seek to increase it. For example, just days before the kingdom allowed women to drive it punished women activists who had long sought that change.
The Saudi position amounts to this: no government may comment on anything that happens in the kingdom. Any such comment is a violation of Saudi sovereignty. Thus the phrase in the Saudi statement that the Canadian comments were “against basic international norms and all international protocols.”
Once again, Justin Trudeau has let Canada get played like a fool.
As I recently reported, the Trudeau government gave $50 MILLION of our taxpayer dollars to the Palestinians.
“$12.65 million will go to the Palestinians through the United Nations and other ‘international organizations,’ while most of the rest will go towards other NGOs who will disperse the money.”
But did that get us any goodwill?
After relations between us and the Saudis broke down, the Palestinians sided with Saudi Arabia and condemned us:
As noted in a recent report, “Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Monday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stands with Saudi Arabia in a political row with Canada, rejecting what it called Ottawa’s “blatant interference” in Riyadh’s internal affairs. He also called on the Arab countries to stand by the Kingdom to reject and condemn the Canadian intervention in its internal affairs.”
So, Justin Trudeau took $50 million away from the Canadian People, and gave it to the Palestinians, who then sided with our opponent and condemned us.
How stupid can a government possibly be?
Why the hell are we giving our money to people who hate us and oppose everything we stand for?
In the years to follow, Hamas continued to misuse funds and supplies in Gaza. Over $120 million worth of concrete originally intended to develop civilian infrastructure was used to build terror tunnels to infiltrate Israel. These tunnels were used as early as 2006 in the kidnapping of IDF soldier, Sergeant 1st Class Gilad Shalit.
Since then, Hamas has continued to waste concrete on terror tunnels, and in the construction process, has killed more than 400 Palestinians, including at least 160 children. Attempts were made to smuggle weapons into Gaza via the Mediterranean Sea, which led to the imposition of a legal naval blockade. Additionally, rocket and mortar shell fire continued, inflicting wide-spread damage and trauma on Israel’s southern residents in particular, which lead to the development of the Iron Dome aerial defense system.
Today, the relationship between Israel and Gaza remains tense. Yet Gazan civilians are still allowed to enter Israel to receive medical treatment, pray, study, travel, and work on a daily basis. Israel regularly facilitates the transfer of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, even in times of conflict, including during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Hamas remains accountable for controlling the Gaza Strip, and continues to put its terror-based goals above the needs of its people. They insist on inciting violence and wasting vital supplies on terror activity. The IDF will continue to operate as necessary to safeguard the security needs of the State of Israel, and is ready to defend Israeli civilians and sovereignty.
A truce between Hamas and Israel will be officially unveiled by the end of August, according to Turkey’s official news agency Anadolu, quoting a Hamas source.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that as part of the deal, which was brokered by Egypt and the UN with input from Turkey and Qatar, Hamas and Israel would initially observe a two-week trial cease-fire.
The truce, which is planned to last five years, would include the release of four Israelis: the remains of two fallen IDF soldiers and two living, mentally handicapped men who wondered across the Gaza border including two soldiers.
The Anadolu report did not specify at which stage of the truce the release would be carried out, nor whether or not it would involve releasing Hamas terrorists who are behind bars in Israel.
Under the agreement’s terms, according to the same Hamas official, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip would be opened on a permanent basis, and Israeli restrictions on the Kerem Shalom border crossing would also be eased “dramatically.”
The military closed off a highway in southern Israel on Wednesday out of concerns that the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip may open fire at Israeli vehicles as revenge for an exchange the day before in which the army killed two Hamas members.
The military said the decision to close Route 25 and several smaller service roads near the border was made in light of recent threats by Hamas and after IDF soldiers saw that the terror group had begun abandoning several of its positions in the Strip — a move Hamas generally takes as a precaution before carrying out attacks against Israel.
“In light of Hamas statements and the evacuation of Hamas outposts, the Southern Command decided to increase readiness and to close a number of roadways in the Gaza periphery,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Terrorists from the Gaza Strip opened fire on civilian workers engaged in the construction of the barrier along the security fence near the northern Gaza Strip Wednesday afternoon.
According to the IDF, an engineering vehicle was struck by gunfire from Gaza.
No injuries were reported.
Earlier Tuesday, the IDF Southern Command decided to reinforce the Gaza Division and close several access routes in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip in response to threats from the Hamas terrorist organization.
A UN aid agency on Wednesday urged Israel to let emergency fuel into the Gaza Strip to avert the shutdown of hospitals and sanitation facilities.
Jamie McGoldrick, from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called Israel’s restriction of fuel imports “a dangerous practice, with grave consequences on the rights of people in Gaza.”
Israel halted the supply of petroleum and natural gas to Gaza last week after there was no pause in incendiary kites and balloons launched from Gaza into southern Israel, arson attacks that have gone on for months accompanied by border clashes. The violence has at times escalated into exchanges of fire on the border, rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israeli cities, and Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets.
Israel temporarily suspended fuel shipments to Gaza in July for similar reasons. The airborne arson attacks have started hundreds of fires that consumed thousands of acres of farmland and countryside, causing millions of shekels in damage.
A tour around “the Gaza Envelope,” the western Negev, reveals a conventional life dealing with unconventional circumstances.
Along open roads are bomb shelters, some even painted with beautiful patterns to make something so unnatural not seem intimidating to children who rely on fleeing to these shelters often on a daily basis – or even multiple times a day.
Some playgrounds are indoors, like the Indoor Recreation Center in Sderot. With a mere 15 seconds to run for cover, playing out in the open is a luxury children of the South can ill afford.
“We established the world’s first protected playground with the amazing Jewish National Fund-USA, spearheaded by CEO Russell F. Robinson, who invested heavily in the playground so children could play without fear,” remarked Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi.
“Sadly, the hundreds of kids who come here every day are used to this,” playground manager Shmuel Ohayon laments. “They are used to frequent drills in school, running to bomb shelters at home, and if there’s trauma, they have psychologists to speak to. Seventy-four percent of them have some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD].”
As Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Advisor for World Communities, part of my job is to listen to what people around the world have to say. Much of what I have heard from critics following the passage of Basic Law: Israel – Nation State of the Jewish People is mistaken and misinformed. The accusations about the new law’s effects on Israeli democracy have no connection to the actual content or context of the law.
The new Basic Law was passed to fill a constitutional void. Israel, like the United Kingdom, lacks a written constitution and instead relies on a set of basic laws. Israel already has basic laws to protect individual freedoms (such as Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty). Israel lacked a basic law defining the identity and purpose of the state.
During the seven-year debate surrounding the Nation State Law, there was a broad consensus that a basic law was needed to define the identity of the country. However, the new basic law does not contradict or supersede the basic laws that protect and guarantee individual rights of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender.
The new law does not erode a single right or protection of any minority. It actually reaffirms Israel’s commitment to minority groups.
The new law also, for the first time, constitutionally enshrines Arabic as a language with “special status.” It affirms that “the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect will not be harmed.”
Isi Leibler: Hysteria over nation-state law
Most Israeli Arabs are happy to live in Israel – the only democracy in a region of barbaric conflict and dictatorships. They enjoy a higher standard of living and better opportunities than they would in any Arab country. An increasing number are engaged in professions and one need only enter an Israeli hospital where Arab and Jewish medical staff treat Jewish and Arab patients on a basis of equality, in order to repudiate slanders of apartheid or racism.
The rule of law applies to Arab citizens as it does to any other Israeli. They enjoy freedom of religion and do not live in fear of punitive amputations or decapitation as prevails in much of the region.
This law was designed to ratify classical Zionism, reject post-Zionism and reiterate that Israel is a Jewish state. Yet not a single clause can be construed as racist, denigrates minorities or suggests that they will be denied state support. Israel remains a democratic Jewish state with or without the law, which merely seeks to reinforce its identity.
There are legitimate grounds for criticizing the law, particularly errors of omission by the government due to a lack of foresight, but the hyperbole used by some of those opposing it is malicious and will foment hatred within Israel and provide aid to those nations seeking to besmirch us.
What’s all the fuss about? The spirit of the nation-state law has engulfed Israel for decades already. The law says that the land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people; and that the state established in this land is the nation-state of the Jewish people in which they are realizing their natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination. According to the law, the realization of the right to self-determination in the State of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish people.
Here are a few other trivialities: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Hebrew is the national language, and Arabic has a special status. The nation will be open to aliyah [Jewish immigration] and to an ingathering of the exiles. The state will be responsible for ensuring the safety of its citizens and other members of the Jewish people who are in distress or imprisoned because of their Jewishness or their Israeli citizenship. The state will work in the Diaspora to uphold the ties between it and the Jewish people abroad and will work to preserve the Jewish people’s cultural, historical, and religious legacy in the Diaspora. The state sees national value in developing Jewish settlement and will take steps to encourage and promote new and existing settlements.
Any honest person will admit that the nation-state law is a clear expression of the political consensus in Israel. Most members of the Zionist parties would certainly sign a declaration like this one, if it wouldn’t cause a political scandal. What’s more, the vast majority of high school graduates can’t understand the objection to it.
The European Union has formulated a plan to establish a transportation infrastructure to connect Gaza to Judea and Samaria without informing or involving elements in Israel.
According to today’s report on Reshet Bet as part of the plan it is proposed to build huge infrastructures also including “Area C” – places retained in the Oslo Accords under full Israeli control.
Formulation of the plan in the European Union took 18 months and is scheduled to take 30 years to implement. According to the plan, air- and seaports will be established, plus an extensive network of railways and roads that would connect all parts of Judea and Samaria to Gaza.
Although the plan includes many areas under Israeli control including in East Jerusalem, the EU did not bother to update the Civil Administration or other elements in Israel.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said the plan was known to him. “I made it clear that Gaza will not connect to Judea and Samaria. All their plans are on paper and are completely unacceptable,” Katz said in an interview with Reshet Bet.
Brazil’s front-running presidential candidate has announced he will close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia in addition to moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here,” Jair Bolsonaro, a lawmaker from the Social Liberal Party, declared on Tuesday when the National Congress reopened after a three-week recess. “You do not negotiate with terrorists,” he added.
He particularly slammed the fact that Palestinian Authority diplomatic representation is located less than two miles (3.2 kilometers) from the Planalto Palace, Brazil’s government headquarters.
The right-wing lawmaker is a strong admirer and supporter of Israel. Elections are scheduled to be held in Brazil on October 7.
Brazil recognized Palestine as an independent state in 2010 as part of former far-left President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva’s alignment with extremist governments such as Iran and Libya. At that time, Brazil donated $10 million to the Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip and is vowed to Israel’s destruction. Lula’s political heir, Dilma Rousseff, continued the anti-Israel sentiment during her term until she was impeached in 2016.
A year ago, Macron said he would visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the spring of 2018 to push for the renewal of Israeli-Palestinians peace talks. The visit was then postponed from the spring to the fall, and has now been cancelled entirely.
Paris did not provide a reason for the cancellation, but it is likely tied to the political crisis Macron is facing at home after his bodyguard was filmed assaulting May Day protesters.
The incident sparked the biggest political crisis of Macron’s tenure. Critics say Macron’s office failed to properly punish the head of his security detail or refer him promptly to judicial authorities over the incident. They say Macron’s handling of the case shows he has lost touch with ordinary people since taking office 14 months ago.
Footage showed the bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, hitting a male protester and dragging away a woman while off duty and wearing a riot helmet and police tags.
“I alone bear responsibility. They can come and get me. I answer to the French people,” Macron told a gathering of members of parliament from his party.
Does the plan work?
Sometimes it backfires. The attempts on Arafat fed his legend and lent him stature among Palestinians. Israeli commandos in 1988 killed Khalil al-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, in Tunis in 1988. Abu Jihad, Arafat’s second-in-command, also was among the Palestinian leaders seeking accommodation with Israel. The killing did nothing to stop the first intifada. Israeli leaders believed that Abu Jihad was directing its violence, but it was a homegrown affair.
Other times, when a critical actor is killed, it appears to have results. The 1996 assassination of Ayyash, “The Engineer,” was followed by a rash of bus bombings believed to have been planned before his death – and then several years of relative quiet.
Schanzer said the policy may work in conjunction with an overall strategy. The campaign against Iran’s nuclear scientists, he said, was coupled with cyber warfare that for a time crippled Iran’s uranium enrichment and tough sanctions that slowed its nuclear program.
“Israelis have always used targeted assassination as not the only means but as one element of a broader strategy,” he said.
Israel and Russia have reached an understanding to ensure the preservation of the 1974 cease-fire line on the Golan Heights, according to Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren.
According to a TASS Russian News Agency report, Koren – who met with Russian journalists in Stavropol in southern Russia Monday – said, “we coordinated the arrangement under which Russia pledged to make sure, as it were, that the Syrian Army will not cross the cease-fire line established under the 1974 agreement. It looks like everything is functioning for the time being. I hope it will be so in the future, as well.”
Koren said Israel insisted on the full withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria.
The 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria, which followed the Yom Kippur War, separated Israel and Syrian troops and created a 235-km. buffer zone in the Golan Heights. Israel demands the buffer zone be respected, even as it is deeply concerned that Iranian or Shia forces moving south with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops may try to violate it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed during his visit to Moscow in July that respecting the Separation of Forces Agreement was a red line for Israel in Syria.
Italian Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col replaced Irish Maj. Gen. Michael Beary as the new commander of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon on Tuesday — a development that was welcomed by a top Israeli diplomat.
“UNIFIL is an important force, with more than 10,000 soldiers,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in a statement. “Its more robust mandate is designed to push back against the blatant, unauthorized arms buildup of Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, in southern Lebanon. With a new commander, there is a new opportunity to fulfill more of this important mission.”
Danon’s office explained: “UNIFIL’s mandate has been to restore peace and security to the Israeli – Lebanese border. Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, its mandate was expanded to include monitoring the area between the Blue Line and Litani River, and keep it free of armed personnel, other than Lebanese government or UNIFIL forces. Last September, the US and Israel worked together to further expand UNIFIL’s mandate by authorizing patrols with Lebanese forces and requiring reports when peacekeepers run into Hezbollah roadblocks.”
Recent UNIFIL commanders — including Beary, who assumed the position in July 2016 — have all served terms of 2-3 years.
Israel’s Amit Mdah advanced to the semifinals at the IFMA Youth Muaythai World Championships in Bangkok this week when his Iraqi opponent refused to compete in their quarterfinal match.
Mdah, 17, a resident of the village of Kisra-Sumei in the Western Galilee, holds the European title and won a bronze medal at the World Youth Championships a year ago. This time he was guaranteed a medal after his Iraqi rival Mohammed Jalal did not appear in the battle against him. Before that he won 10-9 against Hamdan Mohammed from the United Arab Emirates.
The protest of the Druze community in the wake of the Nation-State Law occupies one of the main topics of discussion in Israeli society these days. However, Druze athletes continue to represent the country successfully, bring honor, and also suffer from anti-Israeli behavior by competitors from Arab countries.
Mdah, who competes in the under-57 kg category, faced Russian Mohammed Yusuf Momonhomov late Tuesday in the semifinals.
The Israeli delegation to the championships includes eight male athletes and two female athletes, aged 11 to 17. Before the competition, the young athletes were in a training camp in Thailand.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), headed by Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokun, prepares every year for the passage of thousands of Arabs from all over Judea and Samaria to Mecca, Saudi Arabia via the Allenby Bridge.
In a post to the Arabic COGAT Facebook page, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun wrote to the Palestinian Authority residents: “We are prepared for a quick and easy passage for all the pilgrims from Judea and Samaria who are observing the holiday. I wish you and the Muslim world a pleasant and happy journey, and a blessed holiday.”
Approximately 5,200 PA residents are expected to cross the Allenby Bridge this week to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is known as the Hajj. The pilgrimage is being coordinated with the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the Airports Authority. 88 buses were organized to bring the pilgrims across on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
In addition, a special area was established in the city of Jericho, called “State of Al-Khawaja”, to arrange and register residents in advance for the Allenby Bridge buses. From the Allenby Bridge the pilgrims continue on buses through Jordan to Mecca.
Three Palestinians were sent to 36 days in prison on Tuesday for damaging and attempting to rob a major archaeological site in the northern West Bank last month.
The men, whose names haven’t been released, were arrested at 1:00 a.m. on July 18 at the location of the ancient town of Sebastia, which contains overlapping layers of history dating back nearly 3,000 years.
They were caught by an inspector for the archaeology division of the Civil Administration, the Israeli body that oversees civilian affairs in the West Bank, while carrying digging equipment and a metal detector. The site, just outside the city of Nablus, was found vandalized, Hebrew-language media reported.
A hilltop capital of biblical kings later ruled by Roman conquerors, crusaders, and Ottomans, Sebastia — also known nowadays as the Samaria National Park — is caught between conflicting Israeli and Palestinian jurisdictions, and the site has been largely neglected by both sides for the past two decades. Beyond the decay, unauthorized diggers and thieves have taken advantage of the lack of oversight to make off with priceless artifacts.
The New Face of Palestinian Protest: Ahed Tamimi
We’re all looking for role models, and news we can trust. We deserve to know the full story, so we can make our own decisions. AJ+ interviewed Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi. Here’s what they left out. #MonitorTheMedia
Congress recently approved new legislation that would force foreign-owned media organizations such as Qatar’s Al Jazeera to register as a foreign agent under U.S. law.
The legislation, included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, would mandate that foreign-owned media organizations register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, a move that would shine greater sunlight on these organizations’ ties to foreign governments.
Al Jazeera in particular has become a poster child for those in Congress backing the legislation. A delegation of lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), have been championing the legislation for months, arguing that Al Jazeera and others should be forced to admit their close ties to foreign governments.
Proponents of the legislation argue that media outlets such as Al Jazeera have tried to hide their agenda behind the guise of objective journalism. Al Jazeera, for instance, recently faced intense scrutiny on Capitol Hill for running a secret, months-long spy operation on American Jewish activists and their allies in Congress on order from the Qatari government.
As the Iranian regime reels under the strain of renewed sanctions, the Trump administration is already preparing the next phase.
We see too little of it in our press, but Iranians are increasingly taking to the streets and the clerics’ hold on power is weakening.
And it’s about to get worse for the regime. A new round of US sanctions, announced in advance, kicked in Monday. It restricts currency transfers and bans trade in gold, silver, aluminum, steel and other metals.
Most of the new sanctions have already been factored in, changing the way the world does business in Iran. European politicians, who’ve sanctified President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, are calling on companies to stay put and do business in Iran, as the seven-party Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action dictates.
But business is business.
After the nuke deal was signed, France’s Renault was eager to position itself for the day all sanctions would be removed, cutting deals to dominate Iran’s car market. Anticipating Monday’s sanctions, however, Renault announced an end to all its Iran businesses in July — even though it sells no cars in America.
The first round of U.S. sanctions reinstated against Iran this week makes clear to the Islamic Republic the Trump administration’s willingness to financially squeeze the regime until it curbs its destabilizing behavior, according to regional experts.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that firms doing business with Iran would be blocked from the U.S. market as new sanctions hit the country despite appeals from Washington’s allies.
The sanctions are part of a steadily increasing pressure campaign implemented after Trump in May decided to withdraw the United States from the Obama-era Iran nuclear accord that sought to limit Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The administration will ratchet up pressure on Tehran’s economy in early November when U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil are due to snapback.
The renewed U.S. sanctions go into effect as protests escalate against Iran’s hardline ruling party over its immense military spending, which has crippled an already weak Iranian economy.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is quietly convincing German companies to discontinue business with Iran.
Grenell has scored a series of victories in recent days by successfully lobbying against a $400 million payment from the German central bank to the Islamic Republic and convincing car company Daimler to cancel expansion plans in the country.
Many German businesses rushed to do business with Iran after the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015.
The Trump administration, however, has pulled out of the nuclear deal and announced Monday that it would re-impose the same economic sanctions on Iran that the Obama administration removed as part of the deal. The new economic sanctions will limit Iranian ability to use the U.S. dollar, to trade in precious metals, and target its import/export businesses to the United States.
The sanctions also affect any business that wishes do business with U.S. entities.
“The Trump administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran, and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences,” the White House warned in a Monday release.
Will the economic sanction imposed by Washington on Iran cause it to abandon the path of terror? For the time being, as one expert told Israel Hayom on Tuesday, the answer appears to be no.
“To understand the influence of sanctions on the Iranian regime’s behavior, you must first understand the modus operandi of Iranian banks and the Revolutionary Guard Corps,”explained Yossi Mansharof, a researcher of Iran and Shiite militias at the University of Haifa’s Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.
“More than a few Iranian banks were included in the sanctions that were in place before the nuclear deal in 2015, because they were involved in money laundering for the Revolutionary Guards. Over the past six years, several European banks have been fined billions of dollars by the American authorities after admitting to helping the Iranian regime bypass the sanctions and launder billions of dollars,” he said.
“The method that keeps recurring in Iran is the use of straw companies, which the U.S. authorities keep trying to expose, just as we saw in the United Arab Emirates recently. The U.S. administration still has its work cut out for it in this department, it appears,” Mansharof said.
Addressing the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on December 9, 2015, Mirza Ismail, founder and chairman of the Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International, said, in part:
“We Yezidis are desperate for your immediate help and support. During our six-thousand-year history, Yezidis have faced 74 genocides in the Middle East, including the ongoing genocide. Why? Simply because we are not Muslims. We are an ancient and proud people from the heart of Mesopotamia, the birth place of civilization and the birth place of many of the world’s religions. And here we are today, in 2015, on the verge of annihilation. In response to our suffering around the World there is profound, obscene silence. We Yezidis are considered ‘Infidels’ in the eyes of Muslims, and so they are encouraged to kill, rape, enslave, and convert us.”
“I am pleading with each and every one of you in the name of humanity to lend us your support at this crucial time to save the indigenous and peaceful peoples of the Middle East.”
Three years after this impassioned plea, Yazidis are still being enslaved and sold by ISIS, with Turkish involvement, while the life of the journalist who exposed the crime is threatened. Reuniting the kidnapped Yazidis with their families and bringing the perpetrators to justice should be a priority of civilized governments worldwide, not only to help stop the persecution and enslavement of Yazidis, but also to defeat jihad.
The question is whether NATO member Turkey is a part of the solution or part of the problem. Should Turkey, with the path it is on, be allowed even to remain a member of NATO?
The Trump administration announced on Wednesday that it is offering $10 million for information leading to the location, arrest, or conviction of two top al Qaeda leaders, doubling the bounty from its previous amount of five million dollars.
The bounty was first placed on the al Qaeda leaders in December 2000, but the United States has yet to apprehend or locate the individuals.
“The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program is increasing reward offers for information leading to the location, arrest, or conviction of al-Qaida key leaders Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah and Sayf al-Adl to $10 million,” the State Department said in a release. “This represents a doubling of the previous reward offers of $5 million each announced in December 2000.”
“Both individuals served as members of al-Qaida’s leadership council, and al-Adl also served on the group’s military committee,” according to the State Department.
The terrorist leaders were initially charged by a federal grand jury in November 1998 for their role in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and in Nairobi, Kenya.
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