November 22, 2017

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09/12 Links Pt1: Abbas’ advisor: US Ambassador “motivated by satanic urge”; Israel Rescues the Middle East, Again

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2017/09/0912-links-pt1-abbas-advisor-us.html

From Ian:


PMW: Abbas` advisor: US Ambassador was motivated by “satanic urge”
Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor Mahmoud Al-Habbash has described US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman and Americans in general, as being motivated by a “satanic urge” and having “lost all morals.”
In an interview Friedman gave to The Jerusalem Post, he rejected that Israel occupies any land by using the term “alleged occupation.” Abbas’ Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and the PA’s Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash referred to Friedman’s statement as “idiocy,” and added that he and “these people,” presumably Americans in general, are motivated by “satanic urges” and “have lost all morals”:
Al-Habbash: “One of the representatives of the superpowers – who some people consider to be the most expert and knowledgeable people, the greatest supporters of justice, and the greatest democrats – one of them [US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman] spoke several days ago about the occupation, which is clear even to the biggest idiot, and all the more so to a wise man. Regarding the Israeli occupation of the land of Palestine – he [Friedman] said that it is an ‘alleged occupation,’ in other words: ‘You claim there is an occupation? It isn’t really an occupation.’ What idiocy is this? What satanic urge motivates these people? These are people who have lost all morals, who watch the oppressed and support the oppressors and stand by their side.” [Friday sermon in presence of PA Chairman Abbas, Official PA TV, Sept. 8, 2017]
Al-Habbash said this during his Friday sermon at the mosque at the PA headquarters in Ramallah, in front of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen. The sermon was broadcast live on official PA TV.

Caroline Glick: The State Department’s strange obsession

The law of Occam’s Razor, refined to common parlance, is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
If we apply Occam’s Razor to recently reported positions of the US State Department, then we can conclude that the people making decisions at Foggy Bottom have “issues” with Jews and with Israel.
Last Friday, JTA reported that the State Department intends to abide by an agreement it reached in 2014 with the Iraqi government and return the Iraqi Jewish archives to Iraq next year.
The Iraqi Jewish archives were rescued in Baghdad by US forces in 2003 from a flooded basement of the Iraqi secret services headquarters. The tens of thousands of documents include everything from sacred texts from as early as the 16th century to Jewish school records.
The books and documents were looted from the Iraqi Jewish community by successive Iraqi regimes. They were restored by the National Archives in Washington, DC.
The Iraqi Jewish community was one of the oldest exilic Jewish communities.
It began with the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem 2,600 years ago. Until the early 20th century, it was one of the most accomplished Jewish communities in the world. Some of the most important yeshivas in Jewish history were in present-day Iraq. The Babylonian Talmud was written in Iraq. The Jewish community in Iraq predated the current people of Iraq by nearly a thousand years.
It was a huge community. In 1948, Jews were the largest minority in Baghdad.
Jews comprised a third of the population of Basra. The status of the community was imperiled during World War II, when the pro-Nazi junta of generals that seized control of the government in 1940 instigated the Farhud, a weeklong pogrom. 900 Jews were murdered.
Thousands of Jewish homes, schools and businesses were burned to the ground.
With Israel’s establishment, and later with the Baathist seizure of power in Iraq in the 1960s, the once great Jewish community was systematically destroyed.

Israel Thrives: We cannot sit still for this

The JTA has reported over the weekend that the Iraqi Jewish Archive will return to Iraq in September 2018 with the end of its exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Baltimore. According to the article, the State Department announced that the return of the archive to Iraq can be delayed as long as there is an agreement between the Iraqi government and an institution that will exhibit it. The Iraqi government claims that the archive is part of the country’s patrimony and could serve as a domestic education tool of the country’s Jewish history. I need not tell readers of this blog the Iraqi government came into possession of the archive by looting it from the Iraqi Jewish community. The issue is what to do about it.
As a stopgap, it is possible that another institution could make an agreement with the Iraqi government to host it for another period of time. However, that would only be a stopgap. To permanently prevent the archive’s return would require either the United States Government to renege on the agreement or for the Iraqi government to decide to waive its rights. There have been voices in Congress pushing for the US Government to do exactly as I describe. However, their voices have not gained traction for wider publicization. Without broad awareness of the archive’s existence, let alone the travesty of it returning to Iraq, the State Department will not consider holding the archive without the Iraqi government’s permission.
Similarly, the Iraqi government will not consider waiving its rights unless they are shamed into acknowledging that their possession of it is a result of looting the Jewish community. Shaming them will require mass awareness. A few things we need in order create this mass awareness. One is that we need protests at Iraqi diplomatic missions highlighting that the archive is looted. The second part is to get friendly voices in the media to write about and broadcast about it in outlets that are viewed by the large public. This isn’t to claim that doing so will definitely prevent the archive’s return to Iraq, but can anything think of a better approach than shaming the Iraqi government and is there any way to shame the Iraqi government without creating mass awareness?

Israel Rescues the Middle East, Again

In the months after 9/11, George W. Bush warned Americans to prepare for a long twilight conflict. The 16th anniversary of the attacks provides grim proof of just how prescient the 43rd president was–whatever else he got wrong in the following years.
The Arab world continues to radiate danger and instability; wide swaths of the Middle East and Africa are ungoverned; vicious new Islamist outfits have eclipsed al-Qaeda; the civil war in Syria continues to rage, and millions of desperate people are on the move. The successes that do come the West’s way are tentative and incomplete at best. But we should still celebrate them.
Last week’s apparent Israeli airstrike in Syria was one such victory. In the early hours on Thursday, Israeli warplanes targeted a Syrian military position near the town of Masyaf, in Hama province. That’s according to a statement from the Syrian army, which claimed that two of its troops had been killed in the strike.
What was Bashar Assad up to in Masyaf? The generally reliable Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that the targeted facility had been associated with Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre, the outfit that manufactures Assad’s chemical weapons. You know, the ones he was supposed to have given up in the Russian-brokered deal that persuaded President Obama to back off his red line in 2013. The Masyaf site had also been used to store ground-to-ground rockets, and Iranian and Hezbollah personnel had been observed there.
The Israel Defense Forces kept mum as usual. But Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a radio interview after the airstrike that “we will do everything to prevent the existence of a Shiite corridor from Iran to Damascus.” He added: “We are determined to prevent our enemies from harming or even creating the possibility of harming the security of Israeli citizens.”
The latest strike followed the pattern of several previous Israeli interventions in the Syrian war, nearly always aimed at preventing the transferring of strategic weapons to Hezbollah, Iran’s Shiite terror proxy in Lebanon. A decade ago, Israel bombed Syria’s Ali Kibar reactor, which Assad was almost certainly using to develop nuclear weapons with North Korean assistance.

Iran: See a Pattern?

This week, the Israel Air Force destroyed a “research center” in Syria, one that “researched” chemical weapons. The attack came the morning after U.N. investigators said the Syrian government was responsible for a sarin gas attack in April 2017. Israel has conducted approximately 100 strikes inside Syria in the six years of civil war, not to change the course of battle or support one side over the other, but to eliminate weapons and facilities deemed unacceptable threats to Israel — including missile factories, a nuclear reactor and now a chemical weapons factory.
Here is the lesson. Focus on the real regional threats and push off peripheral issues.
  • Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas — oddly enough, Shiite Iran is Sunni Hamas’s biggest backer both militarily and financially. There are more than 100,000 rockets and missiles in southern Lebanon, controlled by Hezbollah and aimed at Israel.
  • Iran and its occupation of Syria, as the Russians seek to nail down their bases but prefer to exercise influence from Moscow without a large military presence in the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Israel’s interests in Syria “would be taken into account,” but with Russia hoping to leave and Iran planning to stay, Russia’s leverage is questionable.
  • Iran and its unconventional weapons – it was Iran that facilitated the Syrian chemical weapons program, and Iran and North Korea that built the nuclear facility in Syria that Israel destroyed in 2007.
  • Iran’s physical presence in the Sunni areas of Iraq in pursuit of a land-bridge from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea. Iran’s harassment of U.S. and other ships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, encircling Saudi Arabia in the south and potentially cutting off Israel and Jordan’s access through the Bab el-Mandeb Straits to the Indian Ocean. The “Shiite Crescent” is a “Shiite Encirclement.”

See a pattern?
Those problems must be dealt with directly by countries able to take action — primarily the United States and Israel. President Trump’s March order to bomb Syria’s al Shayrat air base — from which a chemical attack was mounted against Syrian civilians — was an excellent example of focus on the key threats. Use a facility to violate international law on chemical use and you will be punished. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said: “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”
That was Israel’s playbook. Have the world’s greatest sponsor of terror build a facility to do “research” or build chemical weapons in violation of international law, and you will be punished.

After the Ebbing of Warfare in Syria, the Refugee Problem in Europe Will Only Get Worse

Misled by the smokescreen of the war against ISIS, the world failed to notice that Tehran was taking over considerable parts of Syria. The tide turned in Syria in 2015 when the Russians forced Turkey to stop supporting the rebels and ISIS.
The Kurds in northeastern Syria will never again agree to be at the mercy of the Arabs, having lived as grade-D citizens until 2011. Hence, it can be assumed that the Kurds will keep their enclave autonomous to a large extent, or be forced to fight the regime for their rights.
About half the citizens of Syria – ten million people – have become refugees; half are inside Syria and half outside. It is difficult to foresee a massive return of Syrian refugees from outside. During six years of savage war, large parts of Syrian cities have been reduced to rubble. In most of Syria’s cities and towns, the electricity, water, sewage, and communications infrastructure has been partially or completely destroyed. Entire neighborhoods require leveling and rebuilding. Refugees will not agree to exchange their tent in Jordan for a ruin with no infrastructure in devastated Syria.
There is another reason the refugees will not return: the Sunni refugees’ fear of the country’s new landlords, the Shiites. Iran has been transferring Shiite citizens from Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan to Syria with the clear intention to change the country’s demographic composition from a Sunni to a Shiite majority.
The ruling Alawites want to prevent a future uprising, and the sure way to do so is to alter the population’s makeup. Hence, they will not allow Sunnis to return to their homes.
The new demographic situation in Syria will convince the Sunni refugees that they no longer have anything to return to. They will therefore do all they can to move from Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to any country in the world that will agree to accept them, preferably in Europe or North America. Instead of a return of refugees after the Syrian “peace,” there will likely be a mass flight of more refugees and Sunni citizens.

At sites of bombings, PM vows Israel will relentlessly confront Iranian terror

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday attended memorials marking massive bombing attacks on the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish community center here, accusing Iran of continuing to export terror and asserting that Israel will continue to fight Iranian aggression.
“Israel has been and will continue to be a spearhead in the struggle against global terrorism, and we will continue to act with determination, in various ways, to defend ourselves from the aggression and terrorism of Iran and against terrorism in general,” he said at an event at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina Jewish community center, known as AMIA.
Hours after landing in Buenos Aires, the prime minister’s delegation headed to the site of the former Israeli embassy, which was rocked by a suicide bombing on March 17, 1992.
Twenty-nine people were killed in the Iranian-sponsored attack, including four members of Israel’s foreign service, the deadliest ever attack on an Israeli mission. Three Israelis whose loved ones were killed accompanied the prime minister from Israel for the memorial.
“Iran stood behind these events,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony at the site, referring to Iran’s role in orchestrating both the 1992 embassy attack and the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994.
“We are determined to fight Iran’s terrorism, and we are determined to prevent it from establishing itself near our border,” he declared.

Israel & Argentina – Historic Friendship, Promising Future

Netanyahu to Receive Huge Archive Documenting Argentina’s Nazi Ties

Argentine media has reported President Mauricio Macri will commit to the transfer of archives to Israel documenting ties between Argentina and the Nazi regime during World War II, and especially in the years following, when the regime of Juan Domingo Perón assisted Nazi officials who fled to Buenos Aires to seek refuge.
Macri is expected to anounce the transfer to Netanyahu during his visit to the country. The reports quoted a local source who claimed that there was documentation of the ties between the government of Argentina and Germany and that the information that would be transferred to Israel would be “of great value to the Jewish people.”
In recent months, the Israeli ambassador to Buenos Aires, Ilan Sztulman, has been overseeing the planning of the archival transfer.
The trove is expected to include scans of 139,544 photographs and documents taken during the Holocaust and post-war years that Argentina’s Foreign Ministry has yet to share with Israel. Information inside the hitherto classified sources will also enable historians to shed light on the conduct of Argentine diplomats during the most murderous chapter in Jewish history.
The transfer to Israel of documents relating to the period of World War II and the Holocaust is not unprecedented, however. In June, the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires completed the transfer of 38,779 documents to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, consisting of letters, telegrams and newspaper articles.

Hotovely in US: Palestinians not refugees

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely will arrive Monday in Washington, DC where she will meet US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.
“During this meeting, we intend to discuss mainly regional challenges, all the changes in the area following the deepening of Iranian hold north of Israel, at our border with Syria,” Hotovely said during the train ride from New York to Washington.
“Of course we will talk about threats the US is facing – North Korea and North Korea’s attitude toward the Iranian issue,” she said.
“This trip will focus on a very important matter: I intend to raise the issue of UNRWA, the same refugee agency that the United Nations has been cultivating all these years through massive contributions from several countries. The United States is one of the donors to UNRWA.
“And I mean: so many generations after our War of Independence, the Palestinians are not refugees. We have to change the definition of their refugee status and we have to start a new chapter with regard to the refugee camps and, of course, to the UNRWA schools.”

EXCLUSIVE – John Bolton: Time to Abolish UN’s Palestinian ‘Refugee’ Agency

Speaking during a radio interview, former United Nations ambassador to the UN John Bolton advocated for the Trump administration to withhold funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which ministers to Palestinian “refugees.”
Bolton argued the financing should be held back until UNRWA is abolished and any of its “legitimate functions” absorbed into the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which attends to all refugees worldwide besides Palestinians.
“I think that UNRWA ought be abolished and it’s legitimate functions folded into the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which, as you mentioned, is the UN agency that deals with everybody else,” stated Bolton.
“It is anomalous to say the least that refugee status can be deemed to be inheritable. That is something that the world has never seen before. And I have seen UNRWA’s work on the ground. And it is highly politicized.”
Continued Bolton on UNRWA: “Its culture is very anti-Israel. It would be anti-American more visibly if we didn’t give it hundreds of millions of dollars every year. And I think the only way to shake things up is to abolish this agency and to put its functions into the High Commissioner’s office.”

UN Human Rights Chief blames Israel for exercising self-defense, ignores Palestinian terrorism

Despite continual Palestinian terror attacks that have left nine Israelis dead since January 1, 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights claimed that only one party in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” was violating human rights law – Israel. In his address at the opening of the 36th session of the UN Human Right Council in Geneva on September 11, 2017, Jordanian Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein condemned Israel for defending against Palestinian terrorism, but did not condemn the Palestinian perpetrators of terror attacks. Instead, the High Commissioner generically noted his concern “about the continuing violence,” and equated the murders of Jews in terror attacks with the deaths of Palestinian attackers and those killed in violent clashes with security forces.
In his words:
“The Occupied Palestinian Territory continues to witness serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by the Israeli authorities. I am concerned about the continuing violence: from 1 January until 28 August 2017 nine Israelis and 46 Palestinians were killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Instances of excessive use of force, forms of collective punishment, and arbitrary detention continued to be of serious concern.”
Not a “serious concern”? Terrorism. Incitement to violence by Palestinian officials and media was also not a concern for the human rights chief.

Friend of Slain American Veteran: Taylor Force Act “Will Stop Incentives to Terror”

If the Taylor Force Act is passed it would “stop incentives to terror,” a friend of the army veteran who was killed in Jaffa by a Palestinian terrorist in March of last year was quoted as saying in an op-ed written by Bradley Martin, published Tuesday in The Hill.
If passed, the bill “will stop incentives to terror and give Palestinians a reason to wake up in the morning and live rather than die,” Ronen Gurievsky, described as Force’s best friend, who is a tour guide in Tel Aviv told Martin, “Taylor is the kind of person who would want to give people a reason to live.”
“I am in favor of anything to stop bloodshed,” Stuart Force, Taylor’s father added. “I feel that rewarding people for terrorism is totally out of the realm of decency. Taylor would have been proud of the effort to pass this act and know we were behind it. That is what keeps us going.”
Martin, a Senior Fellow with the Haym Salomon Center, wrote that the stabbing death of Force and wounding of ten others by a knife-wielding Palestinian “spurred the creation of the Taylor Force Act, which would stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA ceases paying stipends to terrorists and their families.” If enacted as law, the Taylor Force Act would penalize the PA for paying stipends to families of murderers “equal to several times the average monthly Palestinian wage.”

Abbas: We won’t leave our land

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the Arab determination to hold onto land at all costs.
In a meeting Monday with a delegation from the ‘Organization for the Struggle against the Fence and the Settlements,’ Abbas said that “we remain in our land and adhere to it. We will not leave it, and we will build our land through the arms and struggle of our people.”
Following the meeting, Abbas received the organizations annual report on Israeli ‘human rights violations in the territory of the State of Palestine in 2016,’ as well as a population survey of Area C in Judea and Samaria.
Wafa, the official PA news agency, reported that Abbas instructed the Arabs to act in accordance with the plan to strengthen their presence on the land by stressing the importance of “the popular struggle in a peaceful way that embarrasses the occupation and exposes its criminal face to the world.”
Last year, Abbas called a wave of stabbing attacks a “legitimate peaceful protest.”

Trump supports $75m. additional aid to Israel beyond Obama-era MOU

The Trump administration will support Congress’s effort to provide Israel with more aid than was guaranteed in a formal defense package negotiated by former US president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
That agreement – a memorandum of understanding meant to govern US defense assistance to Israel through the coming decade – provides Israel with $38 billion through 2028. During the 2016 negotiations, Israel’s leadership signed a side letter promising to return any aid appropriated by Congress exceeding the $3.1 billion set aside for this fiscal year. But Congress ignored that provision, cutting Israel an additional $75 million in aid in its latest appropriations bill.
A report in the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon published over the weekend claimed that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wanted Israel to return the check, as promised in its letter to the Obama team. But a senior State Department official said that report was incorrect.
“The administration is committed to ensuring that Israel receives the assistance that has been appropriated by Congress,” the official said, confirming that Trump will work to ensure the $75 million in additional aid is delivered.
In September of last year, shortly before the MOU was originally signed in a public ceremony in Washington, the Israeli government sent a letter to the White House promising it would “return any check” that amounted to more than what was agreed.

Shmuley Boteach: Jewish Leaders Must Not Meet With Emir of Qatar — Whose Country Funds Hamas Terrorism

The emir of Qatar is coming to America, and he is bearing gifts.
As in years past, the emir will use the podium of the UN General Assembly to falsely present his extremist, terror-funding regime as one that is defined by balance and moderation.
This year’s visit, however, will present something of a novelty. Whereas the emir sought previously to con the world, this year he seems to be taking the bolder step of focusing on conning American Jewry.
If Qatar were to truly change its stance and stop funding international terror and using Al Jazeera to incite the world against Israel, we would be right to welcome their transformation. But in place of real change, they have chosen an artificial PR makeover. This year, the richest per-capita country on the planet will seek to soothe American Jews in much the same way that they engage almost all of their problems — with money.
As part of the emir’s attempt to end the isolation imposed on him for funding terror, Qatar has hired a Jewish PR and lobbying firm — and a succession of high-level meetings are being arranging between the emir and Jewish leaders during his visit to New York.
It seems incredible that Jewish leaders would meet with the leader of a country that finances the murder of Jews. That’s why my organization, the World Values Network, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times this weekend to condemn the PR effort, stating clearly, “Meeting with Qatar condones murder.”
Since there has been no substantive change in Qatar’s actions — nor its financing of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s moves are nothing but a halfhearted attempt to white-wash their notorious sponsorship of worldwide terrorism and antisemitism.

Why was the landmark Africa-Israel Summit shelved?

The story behind the story of the Africa-Israel Summit stretches back to Theodor Herzl via Golda Meir to Avigdor Liberman.
Liberman, still wearing a tie but no jacket after a grueling 18-hour day, wove his way from the first-class cabin through a herd of Israeli business leaders to the quiet back end of the unmarked charter plane somewhere over central Africa to confer.
For hours and hours, darkness flew by, with no lights visible below. In 2014, the then-foreign minister, was midway through a historic, five-nation African tour of Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya, tilling the diplomatic soil ‒ after decades of neglect since the Golda Meir era ‒ for a major push into Africa by the State of Israel.
This year’s summit, in Lomé, on October 23-27, was expected to attract African heads of state and key ministers, at least four Israeli cabinet members, the Knesset’s chair of the Africa-Israel Caucus, MK Avraham Neguise, and swarms of Israeli business people and diplomats from across the continent. Interestingly, the summit was also going to be attended by delegations from AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington as well as the American Jewish Committee, which lobbies African UN ambassadors. Their scheduled attendance signaled that Africa has become a new frontier for the US-Israel strategic relationship and a concern for world Jewry.
From the start, the summit had its detractors, who worked hard to undermine African attendance and cancel the gathering.
A little over a year ago, Israeli flags adorned East African capitals, as the prime minister received thunderous, royal welcomes in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia. He made an upbeat repeat performance with 18 African heads of state at the General Assembly at the United Nations last September, along with seven Israeli companies that advance social and economic development in Africa. And Netanyahu ‒ to the consternation of the king of Morocco who sought the privilege ‒ became the first outside speaker to address ECOWAS, the economic union of 15 West African states, which met in Monrovia, Liberia, this past June. I was alongside the prime minister on all these missions and will be heading a green-energy investment delegation to the summit.
The Russian-accented Liberman, who naturally focused a fair amount of his tenure as foreign minister on the former Soviet states, was impressive on this maiden voyage to Africa but his message needed some fine-tuning. “Speak more the language of partnership,” I counseled him, as we stood in the back of the chartered plane. “Africa is a proud continent. Business in Africa is all about the speed to trust. We have no colonial history, just historic goodwill. If you project a philosophy of true partnership, Israel could become a superpower of goodness in Africa.”

Jewish groups: Fire German official who called pro-Israelis ‘traitors’

The Düsseldorf Jewish community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem called on Monday for strong penalties, including dismissal, against a Social Democratic Party official, amid widening criticism of his claim that pro-Israel supporters are betraying the German state.
In July, Social Democratic Party (SPD) official Stefan Grönebaum labeled pro-Israel members of the SPD and other supporters of the Jewish state, an “organized, good networked ‘fifth column’ in the interests of Israel’s policies.”
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post that Grönebaum’s attack on pro-Israel activists means “giving a green light to incitement and possible violence against Jews.” Zuroff said, “The SPD should expel him.”
Grönebaum’s employer – the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia – sent the Post an email on Thursday stating that Grönebaum said: “If I hurt feelings with my political criticism, I regret it very much. Israel’s right to exist is, in view of our history, beyond all questioning. I apologize to those who found my criticism as anti-Israel, anti-Jewish or antisemitic. That was meant in no way.”
Matthias Kietzmann, a spokesman for the ministry, told the Post that the ministry made clear to Mr. Grönebaum “that it decisively rejects his Facebook comments and has prohibited him from making a connection to the ministry in his private comments.”
Zuroff said Grönebaum’s “apology is insufficient. Anyone who believes this is an apology is simply ignoring the problem.”

Bipartisan, pro-Israel resolution of the Australian House of Representatives

Mr ROBERT (Fadden) (11:11): I move:
That this House:
(1) supports the right of Israel to defend its citizens against terrorist attacks by organisations or by individuals;
(2) calls on the Palestinian Authority to cease incitement of its population to attack Israel and Israelis;
(3) further calls on the Palestinian Authority to take seriously the task of educating its people on the options, process and potential for peace;
(4) urges the Palestinian Authority to abide by the Oslo Accords and specifically to cease attacking Israel in an unfounded manner in international forums;
(5) further urges the Israel and the Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations in good faith and without preconditions;
(6) acknowledges and affirms the Jewish connection to the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel; and
(7) condemns the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement as inherently anti-Semitic and calls on all Australian political parties and institutions to disavow it.

“This Passport is Valid For All Countries Except Israel”

This story is actually from the beginning of the year, but just came to my attention now.
From World of Buzz:
Malaysia Has The 5th Most Powerful Passport In The World!
Last year, the Malaysian passport ranked eighth place according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). But now Arton Capital, a financial advising firm has come out with another index which puts the Malaysian passport in the fifth place in a list of the most ‘powerful’ passports in the world.

I really do not care about the news itself; check out the photo accompanying the story.

Yes, this is really a thing.

Boy’s song replaces Israel with “Palestine”: “Palestine, my land… from Aqaba to Rosh HaNikra”

Liberman warns Hezbollah next war will end with ‘decisive’ Israeli victory

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a stern warning to Hezbollah on Tuesday that a future conflict would “end with a decisive victory for the IDF and the State of Israel.”
The minister made his remarks during a visit to observe a large, ongoing IDF exercise simulating a war with the terrorist group and came a day after he made a separate threat aimed at Syria.
Visiting the IDF’s “Or Hadagan” exercise Liberman said he was “impressed by the preparedness, determination, and professionalism of the different forces and among the commanders.”
The defense minister added that the drill — the military’s largest in nearly 20 years — “is a reminder to anyone who is plotting to harm the security of Israel’s citizens.”
While Liberman did not address Hezbollah by name, as the 10-day exercise specifically simulated a war with the terrorist group, the subject of his warning was clear.

‘Israel to occupy parts of south Lebanon in next conflict with Hezbollah’

In the event of another war with Hezbollah, the IDF’s objective would be to occupy parts of southern Lebanon where the group has support and infrastructure, in order to force a UN resolution that improves the security situation on the northern border, a senior IDF officer said on Monday.
Thousands of soldiers from the 319th Armored Division, aka the Mapatz (“Bang”) Formation, the majority of them reservists, are currently drilling such a scenario during the second and final week of the Northern Command’s Or Hadagan exercise, the IDF’s largest in nearly 20 years.
According to a senior officer involved in the drill, Israel would not aim to occupy Lebanese territory for a significant period, rather it would be with the aim to end the conflict with Hezbollah as quickly as possible by destroying the Lebanese Shi’ite group’s capabilities and infrastructure.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was briefed on the drill while visiting the IDF’s Northern Command alongside Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, head of the Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick and Maj.-Gen. (res) Udi Adam, said that “this exercise is a reminder to anyone planning to harm the security of the citizens of Israel, that the next confrontation, if it breaks out, will end with a clear decision in favor of the IDF and the State of Israel.”

Shin Bet chief: Hamas setting up in Lebanon with Iran’s support

The head of the Shin Bet security service said Sunday that Hamas is setting up a base in Lebanon with Iranian support as part of its ongoing efforts to deepen its connections with the Islamic Republic’s “Shiite axis.”
Speaking to ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, Nadav Argaman warned that the Palestinian terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, has “continued to invest considerable resources in preparation for a future conflict, even at the cost of its citizens’ welfare.”
According to the Shin Bet chief, Hamas, more than three years after the previous round of hostilities, is “ready for a conflict with Israel.”
However, he said, the group is also in “strategic distress,” caught between trying to maintain its truce with Israel, placate its population and rearm itself.
Argaman noted that the past three years since the 2014 Gaza war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge, have been the quietest in “three decades.”

Lebanese film director detained over Israel visits

Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri, who was detained briefly for previous visits to Israel, lashed back against critics who accused him of normalization with the Jewish state, saying Monday that his work is for the good of Lebanon and the Palestinian cause.
It was not clear why the Paris-based Doueiri, director of the award-winning civil war film “West Beirut,” was detained Sunday night, as he has visited Lebanon several times since traveling to Israel.
Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war, and Beirut bans its citizens from visiting Israel or having business dealings with Israelis.
Doueiri told reporters after three hours of questioning at a military court in Beirut Monday that authorities found that he had “no criminal intentions against the Palestinian cause.”
After winning the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, Doueiri’s latest film, “The Insult,” is set to open in Lebanon this week.
Doueiri said that Kamel El Basha, the Palestinian named best actor at the Venice Film Festival, spent two years in Israeli jails. He said some journalists are trying to sabotage his work ahead of the film’s Beirut release Thursday.
Doueiri’s previous film, “The Attack,” was banned in Lebanon and most Arab countries. The movie is about a Palestinian surgeon living in Tel Aviv who learns that a suicide attack in the city that killed 17 people was carried out by his wife. The movie was filmed in Israel and features several Israeli actors.

Human rights NGOs refuse to help Arab victims of PA torture

In July, the Jerusalem District Court gave an unprecedented ruling stating that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was responsible for the unlawful detention and torture of collaborators with Israel since the 1990’s, which cleared the way for victims to file a lawsuit against the PA.
However, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs – all of whom are Arabs – were faced with a problem: Every human rights organization they turned to for assistance in finding a doctor to determine damages refused to help them. “Every NGO we turned to refused to help us. They said they only assist people that sue Israel” attorney Barak Kedem told NRG.
Kedem added that finding the right medical support was crucial in the effort to sue the PA for damages resulting from the torture his clients experienced. “These are people that are suffering from several disabilities, including ones of the physical, psychiatric, and urological nature” he said.
Human rights organizations in Israel are often criticized for their one-sided approach to the conflict, In 2016, Ezra Nawi, who identifies as a ‘human rights activist’, was documented admitting that collects information on Palestinian Arabs interested in selling land to Jews and has them executed by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

World Bank calls for steps to bolster Palestinian economy

Even in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, steps can be taken now that could significantly brighten a gloomy Palestinian economic situation, the World Bank said on Tuesday.
In a new report, the World Bank said addressing external constraints on the Palestinian economy “is the most important factor” in any turnaround, but the Palestinian Authority, which administers around 38% of the West Bank, also had to do its part to cut red tape stifling business activity.
Removing Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement in Area C in the West Bank — where Israel maintains civil and security control — could boost the size of the West Bank’s economy by one third in eight years, the World Bank said.
“Such growth would not only be enabled by better access to critical scarce resources, notably land and water, but also other natural resources that would allow Palestinian businesses to take advantage of Area C’s comparative advantages in agriculture, mining and quarrying, and tourism,” it said.
Area C, designated by interim peace deals signed in the 1990s, represents 61% of West Bank territory, and Israel cites security concerns for the restrictions it imposes there.
According to the World Bank, currently less than 1% of Area C, which is already built up, is designated by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian use, while the remainder is heavily restricted or off-limits to Palestinians.

Hamas says ready to reconcile with Fatah without preconditions

Hamas says it is ready to talk reconciliation with the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas without preconditions.
Hamas had previously demanded that Abbas halt a series of measures taken against the terrorist group before sitting down to discuss a reconciliation deal.
Abbas cut electricity to Gaza and slashed the salaries of tens of thousands of public servants in a bid to compel Hamas to dissolve a contentious committee it formed to run the territory in defiance of Abbas’ government.
In a statement following a meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo, Monday, Hamas said it was prepared to dissolve the committee.
The rival Palestinian factions split in 2007 when Hamas violently routed forces loyal to Abbas from Gaza. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have since failed.

Iraqi parliament rejects Iraqi Kurdish referendum

Iraq’s parliament voted on Tuesday to reject an Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum planned for Sept. 25, authorizing the prime minister to take all measures to preserve Iraq’s unity, a lawmaker said.
“Kurdish lawmakers walked out of the session but the decision to reject the referendum was passed by a majority,” Mohammed al-Karbouli said.
Kurdish lawmaker Majid Shingali said Kurds would reject the decision.
“This decision has no value and we will not implement it,” he told Reuters.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government had previously rejected the referendum as unilateral and unconstitutional.
The United States and other Western nations fear the September vote in Iraqi Kurdistan could ignite a new conflict with Baghdad and possibly neighboring countries, diverting attention from the war against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Turkey, along with Iraq, Iran and Syria, also opposes the idea of Iraqi Kurdish independence, fearing separatism could spread to their own Kurdish populations.
Kurds have sought an independent state since at least the end of World War One, when colonial powers divided up the Middle East and left Kurdish-populated territory split between modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

MEMRI: Marking 9/11 Anniversary, IRGC-Affiliated Iranian Daily States: ‘No Need To Fear The Roar Of A Paper Tiger’

The September 11, 2017 editorial of the Javan daily, which is affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), focused on the 9/11 attacks 16 years ago. The following are the main points of the editorial.
“Sixteen years have passed since that summery evening, Iran time, when the entire world, including Iran, watched on television the frightening images of the airplanes [crashing into] the Twin Towers in New York…
“From the first instant, the White House blamed the Muslims [for the attack] and launched a strong wave of Islamophobia.
“Then-U.S. President [George] Bush announced to the entire world on those first days that the attacks on New York and on Washington were a declaration of war against America, and that the latter would respond in equal measure. Congress authorized these positions, allowing Bush to wage, as necessary, a military campaign against all the countries, organizations, and individuals involved or suspected of involvement in the 9/11 terror operation, wherever in the world they are.
“The military machines of the arrogant [the U.S.] invaded the Middle East, and Iran was also in the sights of the threat. Less than a year previously, then-president of Iran [Mohammad Khatami] had designated 2001 the Year Of Dialogue Among Civilizations, and [President] Bush called the ‘lovers of Washington’ in Tehran [i.e. the reformers and those calling for reconciliation with the U.S.] ‘The Axis of Evil.’
“Following this event [9/11], ‘those [in Iran] who yearn for the West’ carried out symbolic activities, such as lighting candles and signing a memorial [petition] at the office of the United States Interests Section [of the Embassy Of Switzerland] in Tehran so as to express solidarity with the residents of the White House…

Report: Trump to weigh more aggressive US strategy on Iran

U.S. President Donald Trump is weighing a strategy that could allow for a more aggressive U.S. response to Iran’s forces, its Shiite Muslim proxies in Iraq and Syria, and its support for militant groups, according to six current and former U.S. officials.
The proposal was prepared by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and other top officials, and presented to Trump at a National Security Council meeting on Friday, the sources said.
It could be agreed and made public before the end of September, two of the sources said. All of the sources are familiar with the draft and requested anonymity because Trump has yet to act on it.
In contrast to detailed instructions handed down by some of his predecessors, including former President Barack Obama, Trump is expected to set broad strategic objectives and goals for U.S. policy, but leave U.S. military commanders, diplomats and other U.S. officials to implement the plan, said a senior administration official.
“Whatever we end up with, we want to implement with allies to the greatest extent possible,” the official added.
The White House declined to comment.

New North Korea Sanctions Get the UN Go Ahead, NY Times Spins as Trump Failure

Monday, the United Nation Security Counsel approved more sanctions designed to punish North Korea for their recent nuke testing.
Bloomberg reported:
The United Nations Security Council approved new sanctions aimed at punishing North Korea for its latest missile and nuclear tests after the U.S. dropped key demands in order to win support from Russia and China.
The 15-member Security Council passed the resolution unanimously Monday following a week of talks that began when Kim Jong Un’s regime tested its most powerful nuclear bomb. The resolution seeks to cut imports of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels a year, ban textile exports and give countries the ability to freeze assets of cargo ships whose operators don’t agree to inspections on the high seas.
“We are acting in response to a dangerous new development,” U.S. envoy Nikki Haley told the Security Council after the vote. “These are the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea,” she said, adding that the U.S. remains willing to act alone to stop Kim’s nuclear program if necessary.
While the U.S. can claim a victory in persuading Russia and China — which hold veto power on the Security Council — to agree to the restrictions, the result is less than Haley had sought when she pushed for a ban on oil and a freeze on Kim’s assets abroad. And it’s unlikely to persuade Kim to halt his nuclear program and return to the negotiating table.
“Despite the tough talk, the U.S. is willing to water down its demands to get support of Russia and China, and that is a calculation that we are more influential when there is Security Council unity,” said George Lopez, a professor of peace studies at the University of Notre Dame and a former UN expert on sanctions against North Korea.

The administration’s requests for a full oil ban in addition to the freezing of Kim’s foreign assets did not survive negotiations, largely due to China’s fear that banning oil would result in the full collapse of North Korea. Because that part of Haley’s request was taken off the bargaining table in exchange for necessary votes from China and Russia, the New York Times is framing the sanctions as an administrative failure.

North Korea says will make US suffer over ‘vicious’ UN sanctions

North Korea Tuesday condemned “vicious” new UN sanctions imposed over its sixth and largest nuclear test, warning it would make the US “suffer the greatest pain” it has ever experienced.
The new sanctions imposed unanimously by the UN Security Council Monday ban North Korean textile exports and restrict shipments of oil products.
The resolution, passed after Washington toned down its original proposals to secure backing from China and Russia, came just one month after the council banned exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to the North’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
North Korea Tuesday categorically rejected the new measures, with UN ambassador Han Tae-Song saying in Geneva that the US had “fabricated the most vicious sanction resolution” and warning of retaliation.
“The forthcoming measures by DPRK (North Korea) will make the US suffer the greatest pain it has ever experienced in its history,” he told a disarmament conference in the Swiss city.
United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, center, raises her hand as she votes yes to levy new sanctions on North Korea during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council concerning North Korea at UN headquarters, in New York City, September 11, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)
US ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday at the UN the tough new measures were a message to Pyongyang that “the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.” But she also held out the prospect of a peaceful resolution to the crisis.



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