NYPost Editorial: Trump is pushing the Middle East to face reality in Palestine
In a blow to decades of myth-based policy, Team Trump last week cut all US funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency — a special body that does as much to distort the peace process as to help Palestinian refugees.
Since its founding in 1949 to take care of, as The Post’s Benny Avni put it, the roughly “750,000 Arab refugees from the war Israel’s neighbors launched to erase it off the map,” UNRWA has worked not to end that refugee crisis but to prolong it.
Key to that perverse mission has been the decision to grant refugee status to the descendants of the original ones — a rule applied for no other refugees in all the decades since World War II and the founding of the United Nations.
Where a normal accounting would have the population down to a few tens of thousands, UNRWA recognizes some 5 million Palestinian “refugees,” including even great-great-grandchildren whose families have been citizens of Jordan and other nations for decades.
And Palestinian leaders continue to claim that any final peace deal must grant a “right of return” to Israel to all 5 million. Worse, UNRWA-overseen schools, media and so on work to keep those grievances fresh. UNRWA staff are also regularly caught enabling terrorists in attacks on Israelis.
The UNRWA cutoff needn’t, and shouldn’t, mean an end to US aid to Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, but the State Department will have to find partners who can provide the help without the ideology.
The United States has “thrown more than $10 billion” in aid to the Palestinians, but that spending has brought the region no closer to peace or stability, the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman charged Tuesday, in an address explaining why US President Donald Trump thought it was important to halt US funding to UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency.
Friedman lamented that US taxpayer funds, rather than be used positively, had been partly spent on Palestinian Authority stipends to terrorists, to fund inciteful education, and to finance an agency — UNRWA — that, by extending refugee status to descendants of Palestinian refugees, was perpetuating rather than helping solve the refugee problem.
“Since 1994, the United States has thrown more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians,” Friedman said in a Rosh Hashanah speech. “Without minimizing the importance of medical treatment and quality education for children — and we don’t minimize that, not even for a minute — we found that these expenditures were bringing the region no closer to peace or stability, not even by a millimeter,” he said.
“To spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund stipends to terrorists and their families, to expend funds to perpetuate rather than to mitigate refugee status, and to finance hate-filled textbooks — I ask you, how does that provide value to the United States or the region?”
Friedman added that the US would continue to seek other ways of supporting Palestinians.
“Make no mistake, the USA is a generous nation and we would love, truly love, to invest in this region for the return on investment of peace and stability in Israel and a better quality of life for the Palestinians,” he said. “Indeed, we continue to provide funding, 40 percent of the funding for the UN High Commission on Refugees. UNHCR, in contrast to UNRWA, seeks to end statelessness, not deploy it as a political weapon.”
U.S. Amb. @NikkiHaley: UNRWA should not be the one taking care of the people in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority should be taking care of the people in Gaza. We would much rather work directly with the Palestinian Authority and directly with Jordanians than we would with @UNRWA. pic.twitter.com/pXDBP2qxVW
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) September 4, 2018
The number of Palestinians registered by UNRWA as refugees is at least four times inflated, Dr. Einat Wilf, a former Labor Knesset member who served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told The Israel Project on Tuesday.
Of the 1.8 million Palestinians living in Gaza, 1.4 million are registered by UNRWA as refugees. “Almost all of them have been born in Gaza and lived there all their lives. By now their parents have been born in Gaza. Their grandparents have been born in Gaza. And yet they claim to be refugees from Palestine. I think we can all agree that Gaza is Palestine.”
Of the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees that UNRWA currently services, 40% live in Jordan as citizens and enjoy full access to state services, including health and education. “So 80% of Palestinians east and west of the Jordan River are not even refugees,” Wilf said.
She added that attempts to appease Gaza through financial investments and economic initiatives have failed because the vast majority of Gazans don’t care about the future of Gaza. They see it “as a temporary” home, before they can resettle in what is now Israel.
UNRWA is “wholly devoted to one political goal, which is the goal of return,” Wilf said. “But return was established at the end of the [1947-49] war as the continuation of the war by other means.”
Israel is well-known for its state of the art inventions and innovations within science, technology, and many other different fields.
Adding to the list of Israeli inventions, a Fatah official explained on official PA TV that Israel has come up with a way of injuring Palestinians that is undetectable by any camera. Even though it is possible for the eye to see “the blue and red marks” of the injuries, the camera cannot record it:
Fatah Salfit Branch Secretary Abd Al-Sattar Awwad: “When an Israeli soldier directly grabs a civilian in this way, his body immediately receives blue or red marks. They have a policy that they can injure in a certain way. They injure a person in this way despite the cameras. The cameras can’t reveal this policy that they implement. I’ve seen their bodies [injured] in this way – blue and red marks – by the occupation forces, which the cameras are incapable of revealing.”
[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, July 10, 2018]
What is Hamas? The face of oppression in Gaza.
Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar openly admitted on Tuesday that the weekly “March of Return” protests staged on the Gaza border in recent months were intended to avert an internal crisis and divert pressure onto the Israelis.
“After the reconciliation efforts (between Hamas and Fatah) reached an impasse, a number of factions planned to cause an internal explosion in the Gaza Strip, but the Marches of Return thwarted the plan,” Sinwar said during a Hamas conference in the coastal enclave.
“Palestinian officials collaborated with Israeli intelligence in order to sabotage the reconciliation efforts,” he claimed.
Sinwar also said that no arrangement has been reached with Israel to put an end to daily hostilities, despite the quiet that has prevailed on the volatile border in recent days.
“I will state clearly: So far there is no agreement and not outline for an agreement for a ceasefire with Israel,” the terror leader said.
Several Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire Tuesday as they protested near the territory’s main personnel crossing with Israel, Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said.
The Israeli military said Palestinians hurled rocks at the crossing in the Strip’s north and damaged infrastructure, prompting troops to respond with tear gas and live fire.
Such protests are rare at Erez, the only terminal for travel into Israel or the West Bank from Gaza.
The violent protest broke several days of calm, which came after understandings were reportedly reached between Israel and Hamas.
Gaza had seen a surge of violence since the start of the “March of Return” protests along the border in March. The clashes, which Gaza’s Hamas rulers have orchestrated, have included rock and Molotov cocktail attacks on troops, as well as attempts to breach the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers.
Israel announced the temporary closure of its sole pedestrian crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after the border terminal was damaged during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians.
Hundreds of Palestinians took part in a violent riot at the Erez Crossing on Tuesday, according to the Israel Defense Forces, during which infrastructure on the Palestinian side of the crossing was damaged by rioters.
“As a result, the crossing has been closed until the repairing of the damage caused as a result of the riot is completed,” the army said in a statement.
It did not indicate when the repairs would be completed.
The army added that the closure does not include humanitarian cases, which it said would be approved on a case-by-case basis.
An average of around 1,000 Gazans cross through Erez each day, mostly those in need of medical care but also businesspeople, students, and others, Israeli authorities say.
A second crossing with Israel, Kerem Shalom, is used for transporting goods. It was reopened by Israel on August 15 after it was closed on July 9 to everything but food and medical equipment, following weeks of violence along the border, including arson attacks.
Every day approx 1,000 Gazans enter Israel through Erez Crossing to work, study, or pray. Yesterday, hundreds of Gazan rioters damaged this same crossing, resulting in its closure for repairs. Passage will be permitted for individually approved humanitarian cases. pic.twitter.com/qWZ0WGaLNk
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) September 5, 2018
A majority of Israelis support ceasefire talks with Hamas, according to a poll released Wednesday, but oppose any deal with the Gaza-based terror group that does not include the release of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers it holds.
The survey, conducted as part of the Israel Democracy Institute’s monthly peace index, was released amid reports of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement that would end months of violence along the Gaza border and improve humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave.
Among Israeli Jews, 57 percent said they support holding talks with Hamas, with those numbers jumping to 70% and 81%, respectively, among voters on the center and left of the political spectrum.
Right-wing voters, however, were split, with 45% supporting and 47% opposing negotiations with Hamas, while 60% of Arab Israelis said they were in favor.
Despite majority support for talks with Hamas, 78% of Israeli Jews said they would oppose any agreement that did not include the return of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose remains have been held by Hamas since they were killed in the 2014 Gaza war.
Egypt’s efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip have come to a grinding halt, Arab media reported Tuesday.
Cairo has been trying to mediate a truce between Israel and the terrorist group that controls the coastal enclave for the past several weeks, in an effort to prevent the recent flare-up in hostilities – the worst in four years – from escalating into a full-fledged war.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past decade, in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Egyptian intelligence officials were able to broker a truce between the parties some two weeks ago, after a round of violence that saw Hamas terrorists fire nearly 200 rockets at Israel’s south and the Israeli military pound Hamas assets in Gaza in response.
While the tenuous cease-fire seems to be holding, officials on both sides expressed concern that with the long-term truce overtures deadlocked, the most recent lull will collapse as well.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has reportedly informed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the negotiations for a deal in Gaza have stalled.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Tuesday reiterated his denial that a ceasefire agreement had been reached with Israel, saying that hostilities will not end until the blockade of the coastal enclave has been lifted.
“Solidifying the ceasefire means not returning to the situation of a siege at all. So far, there is no agreement or any formula for a ceasefire,” he said.
Sinwar also claimed that the uptick in violence between Hamas and Israel since March 30 had resulted in a victory of sorts for the terrorist group, as it had forced Israel to reconsider its position vis-a-vis the Strip.
“History will write that our people in Gaza, despite the hunger and the siege and with basic tools like balloons, kites and the March of Return, were able to push the enemy to review its calculus.”
“We told Mladenov: ‘Your job has changed. Instead of the UN envoy for the peace process, you have become the UN envoy for preventing war,’” he added, referring to United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov, who played a key role, alongside Egypt, in deescalating the recent violence.
However, Sinwar said, it was not time for complacency.
“In one minute, we can turn the table on the occupation’s heads,” he said. Last week the terrorist leader warned that if hostilities resumed, Hamas could launch hundreds of rockets deep into the Jewish state.
In recent weeks, indirect contacts and negotiations have been taking place between Israel and Hamas, with Egyptian, Qatari and UN mediation, aimed at achieving an “arrangement” for a long-term ceasefire allowing the easing of restrictions on Gaza and the provision of humanitarian relief. Some proposals also include the launching of economic enterprises for Gaza’s benefit, such as the construction of a seaport and airport and the rebuilding of infrastructures. Alongside these talks, Egyptian elements have been working to promote the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and to restore Gaza to the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Amid these developments, a change has occurred in the discourse of Hamas, which has begun legitimizing the contacts with Israel. After years of attacking Fatah and the PA for their security coordination and talks with Israel and for halting the armed struggle against it, Hamas officials have begun stressing the need for indirect negotiations with the occupation and for a long-term ceasefire with it. This change was first apparent in late June on social media, as pro-Hamas journalists and activists in Gaza began posting messages in favor of a deal with Israel; these posts may have been intended to assess the public mood and its response to the idea. For example, pro-Hamas journalist Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, who writes on Hamas websites, wrote on his Facebook page on June 21: “I believe that Hamas will not oppose any deal in which Gaza will be freed and the siege will be lifted [by building] a seaport and airport, a prisoner exchange deal will be made, and the weapons will be stilled by means of a ceasefire, without relinquishing a single right of the Palestinian people…”
Ben-Dror Yemini: A Jordan-Palestinian confederation—why not?
After the Six-Day War, the “Jordanian Option” was the preferred option for a peace agreement. After all, the Arab world did not create a separate state in the two decades free from Israeli “occupation.” In 1987, a final attempt was made to implement the Jordanian Option as part of the London Agreement between King Hussein and Shimon Peres. Yitzhak Shamir, then prime minister, imposed a veto. It was an historic mistake.
If the Middle East behaved rationally, the connection between the people of the same nation would have been natural. After all, they all speak about Arab unity. Indeed, a string of Arab speakers, including Azmi Bishara (former Arab MK who fled the country after being suspected of espionage) for example, admitted that “there is no Palestinian people.”
It is easy to understand the existence of Egypt, Iraq and Syria, each of which has, to some degree or another, a history and a heritage that gives them a certain uniqueness. But the Jordanians and Palestinians? They have the right to self-rule. But separation, for what and why? What exactly distinguishes them? nothing.
The global left and Palestinian activists in the West Bank, as well as some members of the Israeli right, speak of “one state.” However, one state is established in similar and identical communities, which practice the same religion and share a similar culture, it is not established in two different communities.
Jordan is Palestine, and Palestine is Jordan. Czechoslovakia split into two entities, and Yugoslavia split into seven entities on the basis of religious and ethnic self-determination.
What was true there and considered right by most countries of the world— should also be true for the Middle East.
Therefore, assuming that the US administration, as Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas told us Sunday, recommended a peace plan that was based on a confederation with Jordan, it is an appropriate and correct recommendation.
It is not clear why Abbas is insisting on including Israel in such confederation.
Did the Croats invite the Slovenes to join them? It is true that 31 years after the failed London Agreement, it seems that the Jordanian option is no longer considered, but logic demands putting it back on the negotiating table.
And the new idea, a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation in Judea and Samaria? The attempt to bring the Jordanians into the Palestinian mess will make an enemy of a country that is currently cooperating with us under the radar. If they are brought into Samaria and Judea, we are dragging them into the next round of conflict with the Palestinians, and that would be a completely different kettle of defense fish. Jordan has a well-ordered Western army with 111,000 soldiers, and a Western air force that has already taken action against Israel.
Have no doubt: In a crisis between us and the Palestinians, Jordan (most of whose citizens are Palestinian) will stand by its Palestinian brothers in Judea and Samaria. Do we need Jordan to be another enemy, like it was in the past?
The past shows what will happen in the future: Since Israel was established, our Jordanian neighbor has hosted terrorists who set out to perpetrate attacks in Israel. For years, Jordan allowed Fatah to shoot at the communities around Beit Shean in the Jordan Valley. Even today, Jordan hosts terrorists, both willingly and unwillingly. This is why there is a travel warning about Jordan for Israelis. More proof? Former Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal was living in Jordan until the Mossad tried (and failed) to assassinate him. To free the Mossad agents who fell captive in Jordan after that operation, we were forced to pay Jordan in the form of releasing mass murderer Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who immediately upon being freed from prison started organizing suicide bombings that killed hundreds of Israelis.
We recall King Hussein coming to Beit Shemesh to console the families of the seven girls who were murdered by a Jordanian soldier, who shot them on the Island of Peace at Naharayim. We were all moved. But the killer himself has already been released from prison. Are the Jordanians our allies? We shouldn’t test them by forcing them to choose between the Jews and their own people.
The statement from the Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ comments on a new U.S. proposal for a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation was short and to the point: “The matter is not an option. Jordan supports a two-state solution and an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.”
According to senior Fatah officials, Abbas shared the proposal – which came from U.S. President Donald Trump – with a group of Peace Now activists with the goal of causing a public furor in Israel by demanding that Israel, too, be part of said confederation. He knows that Israel is afraid of becoming a Jewish minority among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Palestinians in Jordan, particularly after the passing of the nation-state law.
The Jordanian royal family has never forgotten the events of Black September in 1970, when Palestinian groups belonging to the PLO tried to seize the Hashemite kingdom and assassinate King Hussein, who was forced to declare war on them. As a result, 3,400 Palestinians were killed and tens of thousands wounded. The Jordanian security forces lost 537 people but successfully ousted the terrorist groups from the kingdom, securing the continued rule of King Hussein, the father of the reigning king, Abdullah II.
Those events are still scored into Abdullah’s memory. Make no mistake – his current alliance with Abbas stems from vested interested. He knows very well that the PLO has wanted to take over the Hashemite kingdom and oust the royal family from power for years, but he needs his Palestinian ally because he fears that Trump’s “deal of the century” will hurt Jordan’s special status as guardian of Islamic holy sites in east Jerusalem.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians, Jordanians slam confederation ‘conspiracy’
The Jordanians have also come out strongly against the idea, saying it threatens both the Palestinians and the Hashemite kingdom.
Many Jordanian officials, politicians and commentators warned that the confederation “conspiracy” was in the context of the US administration’s effort to pass Trump’s purported peace plan.
Any Palestinian-Jordanian confederation should take place between two independent states, and not while the Palestinians are still without a state, they emphasized.
Shortly after Abbas’s remarks appeared in the Israeli media, Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat dismissed the confederation idea and said it was not up for negotiations.
Hamdadeh Faraneh, a prominent Jordanian columnist, said that his country rejected not only the idea of a confederation, “but also a federation and a fusion and any unity relation between Jordan and Palestine.” The confederation plan, he argued, was aimed at “emptying Palestine of its people in line with the expansionist colonialist schemes. It is dangerous not only for Palestine, but also for Jordan because it will return the kingdom into a container for absorbing the Palestinians.”
Atef Tarawneh, speaker of Jordan’s House of Representatives, said that the talk about a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation would be possible only after the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. He warned that in the absence of a Palestinian state, the confederation plan would be regarded as an attempt to “rob” the Palestinians of their rights.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to use his speech at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly to declare a “Palestinian state under occupation,” the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Wednesday.
A senior official with the Palestine Liberation Organization said Abbas has briefed PLO officials of his intention to declare statehood at the world leader’s forum during his speech, scheduled for Sept. 27.
The official noted that Abbas’ declaration means to stress that statehood process launched with the 1993 Oslo Accords has effectively ended and that it was time to shelve the concept of the “Palestinian Authority” in favor of the “state of Palestine.”
An Israeli source said that a unilateral move of this nature on Abbas’ part would effectively mean the Palestinian Authority’s withdrawal from the Oslo Accords.
PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yousef told Asharq Al-Awsat that despite Abbas’ plan, the move has yet to be finalized. He noted that the PLO had already agreed in principle to declare an end to the 25-year-old Oslo process, but has yet to set up the necessary state institutions to take over for the Palestinian Authority, which will disband in the wake of such a move.
Over the years, Abbas has repeatedly threatened to exit the Oslo Accords and stop the Palestinian security forces’ coordination with their Israeli counterparts.
On September 3, 2018, the website of Dar Al-Ifta Palestine, the Palestinian fatwa institution, published an official statement by Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, in which he reiterated the fatwas banning both selling Palestinian land to “the enemies” and accepting compensation for land appropriated by Israel, and defining anyone who does so as an infidel and a traitor to Allah and the homeland.
The reiteration of this position apparently comes against the backdrop of rumors and leaks that the U.S. intends to redefine the status of Palestinian refugees, with the aim of decreasing the number of people eligible to such status and transforming the Palestinian problem into a humanitarian issue to be resolved as part of President Trump’s Middle East peace initiative, known as the Deal of the Century.
“‘Selling land to the enemies, and brokering its sale to them, meet [the definition] of deeds that turn those who carry them out into infidels, and are considered [an expression of] loyalty to the infidels and to those who rebel against Allah. This loyalty excludes [an individual] from the community of believers; anyone who does this is considered a murtadd – one who has abandoned Islam – and as having betrayed Allah, His Prophet, his religion, and his homeland. The Muslims must excommunicate him, must shun him, must not marry him, must not show him affection, must not attend his funeral, must not pray for his soul [after death], and must not inter him in a Muslim cemetery.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Protesters in Ramallah burn photos of Trump
Palestinian protesters in Ramallah have again burned photos of US President Donald Trump and US Ambassador David Friedman.
Similar protests have taken place in the West Bank since Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
Earlier this year, Palestinians hanged effigies of Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence during a protest in the refugee camp of Aida near Bethlehem. The “execution” took place after a Palestinian kangaroo court found them “guilty” of conspiring against the Palestinians.
In videos and pictures posted on several Palestinian media outlets on Tuesday, the protesters are seen burning the photos during a protest against the US administration’s recent decision to cut all aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
In addition to Trump, the protesters also burned photos of US Ambassador David Friedman and US presidential advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.
Fatah Central Committee Member on Trump Administration: American Clout in the World Is Diminishing
Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Al-Shtayyeh said that the “war” waged by U.S. President Trump “against UNRWA and against Jerusalem” was also a war against the United Nations and that the American clout in the world was diminishing. Al-Shtayyeh said that a Democrat win in the midterm elections would spell “complete paralysis of the Trump administration,” but added that things would be worse if Trump was impeached, because while Trump is “motivated by money and business,” VP Mike Pence is “driven by a Christian-Zionist ideology.” The interview with Al-Shtayyeh was posted on the Ma’an News Agency’s YouTube channel on August 29, 2018.
The High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that the West Bank Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar can be demolished after a week.
The ruling comes in the aftermath of a slew of last-minute petitions the villagers filled to the court, in an attempt to stave off the destruction of the village, which was illegally constructed.
Located right off of Route 1, below the Kfar Adumim settlement the encampment of shacks and tents is home to some 180 Bedouins, who were relocated to the area from the Negav in the early 1950s.
The international community, including the European Union and European countries had heavily lobbied the Israeli government to prevent the community’s demolition.
The community only plans to respond in the afternoon .
Right-wing Israeli politicians immediately issued congratulatory messages to the court, a body they have often accused of upholding Palestinian land rights in favor of those of the settlers and the state.
Syria on Tuesday accused Israel of bombing military positions in the Western province of Hama and the coastal city of Tartus.
Syrian and Arab media outlets reported of casualties in the strikes, but their numbers varied: Syrian state media said three people were killed and 23 others were wounded in the strike, while other Arab outlets said one person was killed and four were wounded.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three Syrian soldiers were killed and 23 people – 14 Syrian and nine Iranians – were injured.
An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to respond, saying the IDF does not comment on foreign media reports.
The Syrian military said its air defenses successfully intercepted several missiles launched by Israeli warplanes.
Citing a military source, the Syrian Arab News Agency said that Israeli aircraft had targeted “our military positions in the provinces of Tartous and Hama. … Syrian air defenses confronted and downed five of the enemy’s rockets.”
Damascus often inflates the number of missiles it intercepts.
Iran will never withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aka the Iran nuclear deal, because this agreement (once the limits it imposes expire) grants Iran the recognized legal status of a nuclear state, with the official recognition and seal of the UN Security Council.
The Nuclear Agreement Is A UNSC Resolution That Cannot Be Revoked; Russia And China Will Veto Any Attempt To Do So
The JCPOA is not an economic agreement; its economic advantages for both sides, important as they are, are not essential. What Iran sought to achieve through the JCPOA was recognition of its nuclear state status. In fact, a precondition for its entry into bilateral talks with the Obama administration was that the U.S. provide a written guarantee that it recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium, and President Obama provided this recognition before the start of the talks in 2012, and again at their conclusion. Iran also made sure to anchor this recognition in a UNSC resolution, rather than in a bilateral or multilateral agreement that depends on the will of the parties. The JCPOA’s status as a UNSC resolution (No. 2231) ensures that it cannot be revoked, because, in the existing global constellation, Russia and China are guaranteed to veto any attempt to cancel it.
Hence, Iran’s threats to withdraw from the nuclear agreement are spurious, and the concerns of European parties that it will withdraw unless compensated for the renewed U.S. sanctions are baseless.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed Iran’s position on this matter on August 29, 2018, saying: “The agreement is not an end [in itself] but a tool. If we come to the conclusion that this tool is not securing our national interests, we will set it aside.” It should be stressed again that the agreement recognizes Iran’s nuclear state status and thus will forever serve the Iranian regime’s national interests. Moreover, Khamenei refrains from explicitly stating that he will withdraw from the agreement but only saying that he will “set it aside.”
In his new memoir, published Tuesday, former US secretary of state John Kerry laments the toxic relationship between the Obama White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly the latter’s attempt to scuttle the Iran nuclear accord that Kerry had worked so relentlessly to broker.
Netanyahu, Kerry says, engaged in a “total departure from protocol and tradition” when he accepted then speaker of the House John Boehner’s backdoor invitation for him to address a joint session of Congress to lambaste the ongoing nuclear negotiations.
What’s more, he adds, the Israeli premier used that forum to misrepresent the contents of the landmark agreement (which, at that point, had yet to be finalized).
“It was no surprise that Netanyahu grossly distorted the agreement,” Kerry writes of Netanyahu’s 2015 speech. “He delivered a well-crafted but purely political statement, not an honest analysis of nonproliferation strategy or a substantive argument for how one would in fact make Israel safer without an agreement.”
“But then again,” Kerry goes on, “everyone understood that the speech was an appeal to the gut — an emotional screed calculated to mobilize his supporters in the United States and scare senators from approving the agreement.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday that President Donald Trump will chair a Security Council meeting on Iran during the annual gathering of world leaders in New York this month.
Haley said Tuesday that the meeting will address “violations of international law and general instability Iran sows throughout the entire Middle East region.”
She accused Iran of supporting terrorism and destabilizing activities in Lebanon, Yemen and Syria, adding that Iran’s leader could speak at the council meeting if he chooses to.
Haley was speaking to reporters at U.N. headquarters. She outlined the agenda for the United States’ monthlong presidency of the council during September. The council is the top decision-making body at the U.N.
Iran rial extended its slide on Wednesday, hitting a record low around 150,000 against the dollar, according to foreign-exchange websites, as the country’s economic fortunes ebb after the United States re-imposed sanctions.
The dollar was being offered for 150,000 rials, compared with about 138,000 rials on Tuesday, according to website Bonbast.com, which tracks the unofficial market. The website bazar360.com also quoted 150,000. Mesghal.online gave an exchange rate of 152,530.
The rial has lost more than two-thirds of its value this year because of a weak economy, financial difficulties at local banks and heavy demand for dollars among Iranians. Many fear the Washington’s pulling out of a 2015 nuclear deal and renewed US sanctions will cut into Iran’s exports of oil and other goods.
A set of US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry is due to take effect in November.
In an article published August 9, 2018 in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi author and researcher Fahd Al-Shkairan claims that Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden derived inspiration for his ideological and military activities from Iran’s Islamic Revolution, and that this was manifested later in the cooperation between the Al-Qaeda organization and Iran, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and Hizbullah. Al-Shkairan asserts that, although the Clinton administration was aware of this cooperation, it ignored it and even reached out to Iran and kowtowed to it. He bases his claims on testimony by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then-Saudi ambassador to the U.S., which is presented in a 2006 biography of the prince by William Simpson. According to this book, the Clinton administration disregarded evidence supplied by Saudi Arabia as to Iran’s involvement in the 1996 terror attack in the Saudi city of Khobar, in which 19 American soldiers were killed, and even deliberately buried the results of the investigation.
The Obama administration, says Al-Shkairan, likewise betrayed its allies while befriending Iran and, according to Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, even offered to make a deal with Hizbullah. Al-Shkairan adds that all this is a reflection of the feeble response of the international community in general and the superpowers in particular when it comes to Iran – the source of the terrorism in the world – and it explains the growing strength of this country and of the numerous militias it operates across the Middle East and Africa.
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