Abbas’s appalling record
Next week, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will once again stand at the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, an American administration is begging Abbas to put on his “moderate” mask, and not to “exacerbate” the situation with an inflammatory speech or with extreme moves against Israel.
I say that this not a real test of presumed Palestinian moderation. The real question is: How far can Abbas go in opposing real negotiation and compromise, encouraging violence, venerating terrorists, and pushing the criminalization of Israel internationally – while still being considered a paragon of peace by the global community?
Consider: For almost two decades, Israelis have been told that Mahmoud Abbas was the most reasonable Palestinian leader they could hope for; that he was Israel’s best partner for peace; that he was the moderate with whom a grand compromise deal could be reached. Israelis wanted to believe this so very much.
But then came the Abbas who walked away from prime minister Ehud Olmert’s outrageously generous territorial offer in 2008; and the Abbas who refused peace talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even after Netanyahu froze settlement construction; and the Abbas who left US secretary of state John Kerry out in the cold in 2014.
Then there was the “PaliLeaks” opportunity to ready the Palestinian public for compromise with Israel. But Abbas ran away from that gateway, too, vigorously denying the hints of compromise with Israel (about refugees, Jerusalem, and borders) that were in the leaked documents.
Ever since then, Abbas has used every international forum to spew forth extremist vitriol against Israel and seek the criminalization of Israel. His record of speech-making at the UN General Assembly is particularly appalling.
A documentary broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV called Tunisia in Palestinian Memories featured a song, which demonized Israel as “the snake’s head”:
Tunisian journalist Rashid Al-Buka’i:
“Oh Palestinians, [the Zionists] shot you with a rifle
The Zionists kill your doves at the holy sites.”
Song writer Sheikh Imam:
I want to go and be with you
With fire in my hands,
and together with you my hand
will strike the snake’s head [Israel].”
[Official PA TV, “Tunisia in Palestinian Memories,” Sept. 5, 2017]
The song was also performed at a Fatah event in 2011 in front of Mahmoud Abbas, and other senior PA and Fatah officials. It has been broadcast several times since by PA TV and PA TV Live, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch. Other versions of the song have been broadcast as well.
Portraying Israel as the enemy who is a “snake” is a repeating symbol in Palestinian imagery. In a terror promotion video during a Palestinian terror wave, a Fatah fighter demonstrated that he was able to eat a live snake, possibly symbolizing “the enemy”:
Twenty-two people were hospitalized following an explosion on a London Underground train on Friday morning, in what local police later declared to be a terror attack.
The Metropolitan Police said on Twitter that counter-terrorism units were leading the investigation after the blast at the Parsons Green station “is declared a terrorist incident.”
Witnesses reported seeing passengers who had suffered facial burns and had hair coming off, with at least two women seen being treated by medics amid scenes of panic during rush hour.
London emergency services confirmed 22 people had been hospitalized after the attack. None of the injuries were serious or life-threatening, the ambulance service said.
“Explosion on Parsons Green District Line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door,” said Twitter user @Rrigs, who posted pictures of a white bucket smoldering on the train.
The bucket looked like the type used by builders and there appeared to be cables coming out of it. According to Sky News, investigators suspect the device did not fully detonate.
The station was closed, as well as an entire section of the District Line where it is located and police urged people to stay away from the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said that Israel stands with the people of Britain in the “common fight” against terror after a homemade bomb exploded on a London subway train, wounding 22.
“We stand with PM May and the people of Britain in our common fight against the forces of terror,” tweeted Netanyahu, who is on a trip visiting Latin America and the US.
Netanyahu’s message comes as hundreds of London police embarked on a massive manhunt Friday, racing to find out who placed a homemade bomb on a packed London subway train during the morning rush hour.
The explosion wounded 22 people and ignited a panicked stampede to safety.
A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier on patrol in central Paris on Friday but did not cause any injuries, police said.
The attacker lunged at the soldier at the central Chatelet metro station around 6:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), making reference to Allah, a police source said. The soldier quickly brought the man under control.
The attacker was not previously known to police, a source said.
The incident came with France still on high alert following a string of terror attacks which began in January 2015 when jihadist gunmen stormed the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12.
Following that attack, the government launched an operation known as Sentinelle, deploying some 7,000 troops across the country to guard high-risk areas such as tourist sites and religious buildings.
Since then, there has been a string of assaults by individual attackers targeting these soldiers, including at Paris’s Orly airport, sparking a debate over whether the troops should remain on the streets.
The Trump administration declared its firm support Thursday for a bill that would suspend US financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it ends what critics have described as a long-standing practice of rewarding Palestinians who kill Americans and Israelis.
The State Department announcement comes nearly six weeks after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee backed the measure. The legislation, which is named after an American who was stabbed to death in Israel by a Palestinian, reflects bipartisan outrage over what lawmakers have termed a “pay to slay” program endorsed by the Palestinian Authority.
“The Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act, which is a consequence of Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization’s policy of paying terrorists and their families,” the State Department said.
The department added that President Donald Trump “raised the need to end any part of this program that incentivizes violence against Israeli and American citizens with President Mahmoud Abbas last May in both Washington and Bethlehem.”
The Palestinian Authority has disputed the accusations and called the bill misinformed.
Dear Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret, Welcome to Israel. As the European Union has often given doubtful advice to Israel, I take the liberty of making some suggestions in order to make your assignment here more successful.
Please remember that you represent the greater part of a continent where antisemitism has been ingrained in the culture for over a thousand years. The leading academic scholar of antisemitism in our generation, the late Robert Wistrich, has shown that almost all Europe’s ideological currents during those centuries were antisemitic.
Please also be aware that in the past decades EU members have let in – without a selection process – millions of people from countries where most citizens are antisemitic. To make matters worse, in the past two years large numbers of such people have been given the opportunity to immigrate to the EU. The fact is that all Jews who have been killed in Western Europe for ideological reasons in the current century were murdered by Muslim immigrants or their descendants.
Your predecessor, Mr. Ambassador, repeatedly told Israel that “settlement construction was a hindrance to peace.” Sometimes he went so far as to threaten us. For instance in 2014, he stated, “if Israel’s settlement policies wrecked the current US-led peace efforts, then Israel would be held responsible for the failure of the negotiations.” He did not point out that the Palestinian Authority continuously pays high “salaries” to the families of murderers of Israeli civilians.
Not mentioning how big a hindrance to peace this is was one of many ways he undermined the EU’s credibility in Israel. He should also have admitted publicly that European countries who finance the PA indirectly reward the murderers of Israelis.
Following reports that Israel is campaigning for the dissolution of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and its integration in the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC), PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) bodies and officials said that Israel is acting to thwart the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes. They stressed that there will be no concessions on this issue, and that the only possible solution to the refugee problem is implementing UN Resolution 194 on their right of return.
The following are excerpts from some of the statements.
The Refugee Problem Will Be Resolved By Implementing UN Resolution 194; There Will Be No Concessions On This
A statement released by the Palestinian Information Ministry on September 12, 2017 said: “The right of return is anchored in UN resolutions and in particular in Resolution 194. There will be no Palestinian concessions on the right of return. The persistent, toxic attempts by Israel and its leaders [to deny this right] are not new. The founder of Israel, David Ben Gurion, said about this: ‘The old refugees will die and the young will forget’… The most appropriate response to the attempts to eliminate the issue of the refugees is to remind the world that it opposes the occupation and that, decades ago, it voted in favor of [the refugees’] return and compensation, and also to ask Israeli diplomats about the hundreds of Palestinian cities and villages that the Zionist gangs destroyed in 1948 and about the crimes, ethnic cleansing and expulsion that occurred there. The [PA] Information Ministry stresses that the dissolution of UNRWA, and the cessation of its services, will take place one day after the UN resolutions regarding the refugees’ return and compensation are implemented to the letter. This is the time for the UN to seriously consider placing full responsibility for the Nakba on the occupying entity [i.e., Israel] and charging it with financing all of UNRWA’s needs, on the force of international law and the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions.”
Senior U.S. and Israeli officials deny the relationship between the two countries has been strained over differences in how to deal with the threat of Hezbollah, according to multiple senior government officials from both countries who told the Washington Free Beacon that recent reports of a yelling match between senior Trump administration and Israeli government officials are false.
Recent media reports allege the Trump administration and Israel have been in conflict over the best way to deal with the threat posed by Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terror organization that has played a major role in bolstering embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Tensions are said to have come to a head during a high-level August meeting between the countries in which White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is alleged to have yelled at his Israeli counterparts and dismissed concerns about Hezbollah being a terror organization—a charge that multiple senior U.S. and Israeli officials denied in conversations with the Free Beacon.
Further allegations that the Israeli delegation asked White House National Security Council staffer Mustafa Javed Ali to leave the room over concerns that he does not view Hezbollah as a terror organization also are being called untrue, according to both U.S. and Israeli officials who were present in the Aug. 17 meeting.
A copy of the official list of U.S. and Israeli officials participating in the high-level meeting shows that Ali was never scheduled to attend, according to a copy of that list viewed by the Free Beacon.
The situation is being portrayed in the U.S. and Israeli media as further proof of tension between McMaster’s NSC and their Israeli counterparts.
A senior Israeli official on Thursday denied reports that Russia rebuffed Jerusalem’s demand to ensure that Iranian forces and Iran-backed Shiite militants not be allowed to operate within 60-80 kilometers of the Syrian frontier with Israel in the Golan Heights.
The demand was initially raised by Israel in July, when negotiations were underway for a ceasefire deal in southern Syria between President Bashar Assad and Syrian rebels, under the auspices of Washington and Moscow.
Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi to discuss the entrenchment of Iran and Iranian-backed forces in Syria, and to present Israel’s position.
“Israel is satisfied with the talks in Sochi,” the official said, insisting on anonymity.
According to reports Thursday on Israel’s Channel 2 television and the Haaretz newspaper, Russia rejected Netanyahu’s plea. Instead, the reports claimed, Moscow committed only to keeping Iranian forces five kilometers from the Golan Heights frontier.
Israel had wanted a buffer zone of between 60 and 80 kilometers from the border on the Golan Heights, and has been repeatedly warning against Iran’s military ambitions in the area, Tehran’s bid to establish a territorial “corridor” all the way to the Mediterranean, and an increased Iranian presence on Israel’s northern border, according to the reports.
In the past month or two, the defense establishment has identified unprecedented Iranian activity north of the border. In light of this, perhaps last week’s reports by foreign media outlets that Israel attacked a weapons facility in Syria on Sept. 7 seem more understandable.
Aside from the aforementioned alleged airstrike, the IDF carries out hundreds of operations year-round within the framework of its so-called “war between the wars.” Only a small portion of the IDF’s activities come to light in the foreign media, but these operations include special intelligence gathering, land-based missions and a variety of other measures aimed at staving off the next war.
In recent weeks, we have also heard Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issue harsh statements about Iran’s encroachment into Syria, along with reports that the Islamic republic is trying to build precision-missile factories in Lebanon and Syria. According to foreign reports, the target of last week’s airstrike was one of these factories.
Thus far, terrorist organizations have been unable to acquire precision strike capabilities. The IDF, meanwhile, views Hezbollah’s aspirations in this regard as a “severe strategic threat,” because such missiles can accurately hit strategic installations in Israel, such as air force bases, the chief of staff headquarters and other sensitive sites. It is important to note that despite Israel’s air-defense systems – Iron Dome, David’s Sling – it is impossible to intercept every enemy missile.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Russia, Iran and Turkey on Friday agreed a deal to jointly police a fourth safe zone around Syria’s Idlib province as part of a Moscow-led plan to ease the six-year conflict.
In a joint statement after two days of talks in Kazakhstan the three powers said they agreed “to allocate” their forces to patrol the zone covering rebel-held Idlib province and parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo regions.
The talks in Astana are the sixth round of negotiations Moscow has spearheaded since the start of the year as it seeks to pacify Syria after its game-changing intervention on the side of leader Bashar al-Assad.
Like Russia, Iran supports the Assad regime Turkey has sided with the rebels.
Russia had previously deployed military police to patrol the boundaries of three zones agreed in the south of Syria, in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, and in part of the central Homs province.
While Hizballah might now be too involved in Syria to desire conflict with Israel, writes Tony Badran, it is only a matter of time before the organization decides to turn its attention southward. And it will do so from a position of much greater strength, leading to disaster in Lebanon. The U.S. can, and should, try to prevent war:
[T]he war [in Syria] has significantly boosted Hizballah’s strategic position, because it has boosted Iran’s, and Hizballah is simply an extension of Iran. So despite its serious losses, Hizballah has managed to . . . establish territorial contiguity and strategic depth through western Syria. Hizballah and Iran have expanded their direct control over Syrian areas adjacent to the Lebanese border and the Damascus area with its airport. They [also] expanded their presence in southern Syria and are trying to move on eastern Syria to connect with Iran’s assets in Iraq. . . .
Iran and its proxies [now] need time to connect their Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese assets. Hizballah will then use that territory for, among other things, striking Israel, transforming its presence in Syria from a constraint to an enormous advantage. The clock is ticking for Israel. . . .
U.S. policy in the region needs an urgent adjustment to tackle the strategic mess of President Barack Obama’s policy of realignment with Iran. This means that priority should be given to undoing Iran’s position in Syria, and to preventing its deployment of strategic weapons and establishment of military infrastructure there.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed optimism on Thursday for a more peaceful Middle East, given recent developments in the region.
Speaking at the “From Balfour to Brexit” Conference held at Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem, Blair said Arab leaders were beginning to rethink their decades-old opposition to the Jewish state.
“Changes in the region are creating new alliances and new opportunities,” Blair said. “There is an Arab leadership starting to formulate a view of their history which does not involve a demonization of Israel.”
“For any government in Israel to make a deal with the Palestinians is tough unless there are regional underpinnings. Many in the region can be partners to help solve the situation and not just point the finger.”
In addition to Blair, the conference also featured Lord Roderick Balfour, the 5th Earl of Balfour, and descendant of Lord Arthur Balfour, Leader of the Opposition MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and former Israeli Foreign Minister MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union), among many other British and Israeli politicians, diplomats, journalists and other opinion-shapers.
Prime Minister Theresa May has told a Jewish audience attending a Rosh Hashanah reception at 10 Downing Street that she is a “proud supporter of Israel” ahead of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.
She said: “Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country….As Prime Minister, I am proud to say that I support Israel. And it is absolutely right that we should mark the vital role that Britain played a century ago in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people.”
May used the annual address to reassure the community on security funding and counter-extremism efforts, saying that she was hoping to establish the Commission for Countering Extremism as a statutory body, with extra power to tackle hatred.
She also said she would “actively encourage” use of the newly-adopted working definition of anti-Semitism put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance by the “police, legal profession, universities and other public bodies”.
The IHRA definition has caused controversy since it expands the remit of actions and comments that can be considered anti-Semitic to include criticism of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday heaped effusive praise on Mexico, asking for a “pardon” for not visiting the country earlier.
His laudatory comments may have been an effort to fully repair bilateral ties, which underwent a serious crisis earlier this year after Netanyahu expressed support for US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.
“This is a milestone,” Netanyahu said at a joint appearance with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. He noted that, “as incredible as it sounds,” his visit to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico this week marked the first time an Israeli prime minister came to Latin America.
“I would say it’s an unpardonable lapse, but we want a pardon. We’re here,” Netanyahu went on. “We think we correct now a historic lapse, because Mexico is a great country. It’s one of the world’s great economies. It’s great nation, a great people, a great culture. We want to be close, even closer, to Mexico. And this is what this meeting signifies.”
The prime minister then congratulated Mexico on its Independence Day, on Saturday, and expressed condolences to those who lost their lives in last week’s devastating earthquake. “We have, as you said, offered any help that we can give to Oaxaca and Chiapas and anything that you deem appropriate, we stand ready, because we stand with you.”
The actions of countries in South and Central America has a huge impact on U.S. domestic policy. It is for that reason it is encouraging to see a number of countries, led by President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, seek to build better relationships with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israeli prime minister is undertaking a 10-day tour of the region and the visit is far from ceremonial. It highlights a shift in policy from countries including Argentina, Columbia, Paraguay and Mexico paving the way for them there to form a greater allegiance with Israel.
Common interest between South America and both Israel and the U.S. on topics such as the rise of international terrorism and the danger posed by Iran and Hezbollah are a uniting force. It has been reported that South America has been used for the purpose of laundering money from Hezbollah and many are fearful that this could develop into larger criminal and perhaps even terrorist activity. Israel’s intelligence and expertise will be beneficial to countries across the Americas. We will all be in a better position to fight these evils if relationships are solidified and there is better collaboration.
Israel’s burgeoning technology sector also means that trade links can continue to grow. I have long advocated for Science Diplomacy and I have facilitated programs offering technology to countries in Africa, encouraging improved relations and dialog with the U.S. and Israel. This visit has the potential to have a similar impact. If Israel is able to improve health care or facilitate cleaner water to those who have limited access, it will have positive repercussions for political ties.
A team of investigators in Argentina has reportedly determined that Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who investigated the Iran-ordered 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires, was murdered and did not commit suicide as claimed by the defense, according to a Spanish-language report Thursday.
Twenty-eight experts in different areas, from ballistics to psychology, determined that Nisman was murdered by a shot to the head, and that the murderer (or murderers) then attempted to cover their tracks at the scene of the crime, according to a report in the Argentine news site Infobae.
Argentinian officials have has not confirmed the report, which comes just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the first-ever visit by an Israeli premier to Argentina.
Netanyahu brought the issue up in his talks with Argentinean President Mauricio Macri. Israeli officials were told Monday that the investigation was advancing, and that they can expect an official announcement soon. Officials in the prime minister’s delegation said that the timing of the Thursday report was coincidental.
Nisman was discovered shot dead in his apartment in January 2015, hours before he was scheduled to appear in Congress. Nisman had been about to present allegations that then-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner orchestrated a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ role in the AMIA bombing. Kirchner denied the allegations and judges threw out the case.
Gomez emphasized the benefits of Netanyahu’s visit to commercial relations between Mexico and Israel. “Since our 2000 free trade agreement, we have tripled trade and have increased technology and education cooperation dramatically,” he said.
“There are any number of opportunities that our countries are working closely on, including not only technology in general, but aerospace in particular,” Gomez said. “We are creating new ties between our flag carrier, Aeromexico, and El Al, as well as a direct air cargo route.”
Hoyos said that Netanyahu’s visit to Colombia was similarly important in terms of economic ties. “We need stronger links with Israel especially on the transfer of knowledge and technology, and this might be achieved through the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and Israel,” Hoyos said. “I wish more Israeli investment would come to Colombia, to our rural areas and cities — Israel is very much welcome in our country.”
Both Hoyos and Gomez stressed the importance of local Jewish communities boosting ties with Israel. “Our Mexicans of Jewish descent have an enormous positive influence on our country: one of the aspects of this is in making sure that Mexico and Israel maintain strong relations,” Gomez said, going on to praise Mexico’s Jewish representative body for working with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) “to create regional, North America-wide cooperation with Israel.”
Jewish leaders in the U.S. have slammed Qatar’s attempts to woo the Jewish community by arranging meetings this week with high-level officials – including the emir and crown prince himself – on the basis that the Gulf state continues to be the chief backer of Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
Qatar has reached out to several American Jewish leaders to ask if they would like to meet Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and other member of the ruling family on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
However, some heads of Jewish groups have rebuffed the Gulf state’s overtures over its heavy ties with Hamas and have urged other leaders to do the same.
Judea Pearl, a Chancellor’s Professor at UCLA and the president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, told the Algemeiner on Wednesday that he urged “Jewish leaders to refrain from meeting the emir of Qatar, and thus bestow credibility onto a country that has served as the hub of terrorism-breeding ideology in the past two decades.”
Pearl went on to recount how his late son, Daniel, a senior Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and then murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan in 2002, had interviewed the Muslim Brotherhood’s top cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian living in exile in Qatar, one month after 9/11 happened.
“That was when the sheikh first proclaimed the idea that Israeli citizens are legitimate targets of terrorism, because ‘Israeli society is generally armed,’” Pearl said. “Three months later, Daniel fell victim to Qaradawi’s ideas.”
Security forces in the capital apprehended a wanted terrorist Thursday evening, following warnings by intelligence sources that the suspect was preparing for an attack in Jerusalem, possibly as early as Thursday night.
Police and Border Police units were on high alert throughout much of the day, with fears of an imminent attack in the capital. Security forces closed off a number a number of entrances and crossing points into the city during the high alert, Channel 2 reported.
The suspect, a resident of the Isawiya neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, was located along with his vehicle on Mount Scopus. Police took the suspect into custody and transferred him to intelligence officials for questioning.
Forty-eight percent of parents whose children are enrolled in schools in east Jerusalem do not want them studying the curriculum provided by the Palestinian Authority, according to a recent poll conducted by the Jerusalem Municipality.
The city, which polled hundreds of parents of east Jerusalem students, found a sharp decline in parents’ satisfaction with the Palestinian curriculum, which is used in Arab schools in the east of the city, as well as a notable rise in demand for the Israeli curriculum. For decades, as part of the status quo in the city, students in east Jerusalem studied the Jordanian curriculum. When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, its leadership had pressured Jordan and the residents of east Jerusalem into using the PA’s curriculum for students in east Jerusalem.
But now more and more residents of east Jerusalem are pointing out the failures of the Palestinian curriculum and expressing a desire to use the Israeli curriculum, which is used by Arab public schools elsewhere in Israel.
Just before the school year opened on Sept. 1, some east Jerusalem parents put up posters that read: “Our Arab Israeli brothers study the Israeli curriculum and they are no less loyal to their people than we are. … We encourage students’ and parents’ right to choose. Whoever wants to study the Palestinian curriculum will, and whoever wants to study the Israeli curriculum is fully entitled to do so.”
An Arab woman who attacked MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) at the Temple Mount two years ago was sentenced to a half-month in prison Thursday.
The sentence handed out by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court is in addition to the prison sentence she is currently serving. The attacker was also given a four month suspended sentence and a fine of NIS 500 ($140).
Judge Ilan Sela wrote in his decision: that “on November 3, 2014, when the defendant was on the Temple Mount when MK Shuli Moalem arrived, the defendant began to shout at her in Arabic, ‘Go away!’ and ‘Allahu Akbar!’ She pushed her to prevent her from visiting her holy site.”
In response to the court’s decision, MK Moalem said: “There has recently been a clear change in the attitude of the authorities regarding the Temple Mount. In fact, the court ruled here that the Temple Mount is a sacred place for the Jewish people and anyone who prevents Jews from going around is committing a criminal offense.”
Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, on Thursday urged the UN to publish its blacklist of companies that do business in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem.
Erekat stressed the importance of publishing the blacklist of companies, institutions and personalities that help the “colonialist settlement.”
He demanded that the international community, especially the U.S. administration, declare that “settlements” are illegal and destroying the two-state option.
Erekat’s remarks came during a meeting with diplomatic representatives, including the Russian ambassador, the French consul-general and the American consul-general.
The UN Human Rights Council voted to approve the database of companies last year, despite objections from the United States and Israel. The Trump administration has been trying to persuade the UN not to publish the list.
A delegation representing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party is expected to visit Cairo soon amid talks of a unity Palestinian government being formed with Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas, i24News reported on Tuesday.
Fatah Central Committee member, Azzam al-Ahmad, welcomed the ongoing reconciliation initiative being mediated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government.
Reports of the Fatah party’s visit to Cairo to resolve its dispute with the Palestinian terror group follow Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s announcement on Monday that his organization was prepared to form a unity government with Abbas’s Fatah, without preconditions.
Hamas was ready “to hold a dialogue with Fatah in Cairo immediately, to come to an agreement and set the terms for its implementation,” said Haniyeh in a statement published on the terror group’s website.
North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, deepening tensions after Pyongyang’s recent test of its most powerful nuclear bomb.
The missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) east of Hokkaido, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
Warning announcements about the missile blared around 7 a.m. (2200 GMT Thursday) in parts of northern Japan, while many residents received alerts on their mobile phones or saw warnings on TV telling them to seek refuge.
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the launch “put millions of Japanese into duck and cover,” although residents in northern Japan appeared calm and went about their business as normal after the second such launch in less than a month.
The missile reached an altitude of about 770 km (480 miles) and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3,700 km (2,300 miles), according to South Korea’s military – far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam.
The top commander of US nuclear forces said Thursday he assumes the September 3 nuclear test by North Korea was a hydrogen bomb, suggesting a heightened US concern that the North has advanced to a new level of nuclear firepower, even as it launched yet another ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of Strategic Command, told reporters that while he was not in a position to confirm it, he assumes from the size of the underground explosion and other factors that it was a hydrogen bomb — which is a leap beyond the fission, or atomic, bombs North Korea has previously tested.
Just moments after Hyten spoke at his headquarters near Omaha, word spread that North Korea had launched a mid-range ballistic missile over Japan. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was with Hyten at Strategic Command headquarters at the time of the launch, said afterward that it was a reckless act.
“It was fired over Japan and put millions of Japanese in the duck-and-cover,” he told a small group of reporters. “Landed out in the Pacific.”
Asked about a possible American military response, Mattis said, “I don’t want to talk on that yet.”
The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would once again waive sanctions against Iran’s banking and oil industries in line with the 2015 nuclear deal, but signaled that it would take a tougher stance towards enforcing the deal’s implementation.
The announcement of the waiver came hours after the United States Treasury Department imposed new non-nuclear sanctions against a number of businesses and individuals for helping Iran’s ballistic missile program and launching cyber-attacks against the U.S.
“The new sanctions on non-nuclear matters signal President Trump’s determination to confront Tehran over actions the United States considers destabilizing to the region and in defiance of the intent of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal,” The Washington Post reported.
“The administration seeks to bring a change in Iran’s behavior,” a senior administration official told the Post, identifying Iran’s continued ballistic missile development program, its support of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, its use of Shiite militias in neighboring countries, and its ongoing human rights abuses including its jailing of Americans and other foreigners, as examples of the behavior that the administration seeks to change.
The continued waivers on sanctions have been described by the administration as a “holding action” until October, when Trump will decide whether or not to decertify the nuclear deal according to the terms in the Corker-Cardin legislation that states how the U.S. government would handle the nuclear deal.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday slammed Iran for violating “the spirit” of the nuclear deal it signed with world powers in 2015.
“The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen, certainly at a minimum the spirit of the deal is atrociously kept,” Trump said aboard Air Force One, according to AFP.
“The Iran deal is not a fair deal to this country. It’s a deal that should not have ever been made,” he added.
Trump has long been a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed during the term of the Obama administration, describing it as “the worst deal I’ve ever seen negotiated”.
The US Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Iran Thursday, AFP reported.
The sanctions target 11 companies and individuals accused of aiding Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or cyber attacks on US banks.
The new sanctions were announced the same day the Trump Administration was expected to announce the extension of the sanctions relief from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
US President Donald Trump had criticized the deal reached by his predecessor, Barack Obama, but has not yet decided whether or not to dismantle it, NBC News reported.
According to NBC, the administration is also considering designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.
Two years after the nuclear deal was signed by Iran and world powers, the Islamic Republic is reported to have boosted its financial support to Hezbollah to $800 million a year, a dramatic increase from the $200m. it was said to be giving its proxy when sanctions were in place.
Hezbollah, one of the most prominent terrorist organizations in the world, has become bogged down fighting in Syria for Bashar Assad. Of its approximately 22,000 fighters, about 7,000 are fighting for the Assad regime, and some 2,000 have been killed in the four years the group has spent in Syria.
The US and European countries lifted sanctions against Iran in January 2016, releasing roughly $100 billion in assets after international inspectors found that Iran had dismantled large parts of its nuclear program. According to US media, officials say President Donald Trump is ready to extend those waivers that were issued under the Obama administration.
According to IDF assessments, while Hezbollah has increased its military capabilities due to its fighting in Syria, the group has spread its troops across the entire Middle East and is hurting financially.
The finances of the Lebanese Shi’ite group, designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by dozens of countries around the globe, also has been hit hard due to years of sanctions by the United States.
Hamza bin Laden, son and would-be heir of late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has urged Muslims around the world to join the jihad in Syria against “crusaders” and Shiites.
“The cause of Syria is the cause of the entire worldwide Muslim community,” he said in an undated audio recording released on jihadist networks Thursday.
“In order for the people of Syria to resist the Crusader, Shiite and international aggression, Muslims — all Muslims — must stand with them, support them and give them victory,” he said.
“Wakefulness is essential, as is quick, serious and organised movement, to support the people of blessed Syria before it is too late.”
Hamza, who is in his mid-20s, has become active as an Al-Qaeda propagandist since his father’s death at the hands of US special forces in May 2011.
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising,” observed the American writer Mark Twain. Unfortunately, this principle applies to terror groups and tyrants every bit as much as it does businesses that use boutique public relations firms.
Terrorists of all types have long utilized the media for propaganda purposes—from the Irish Republican Army timing bombings to ensure they appeared on the nightly news to al-Qaeda’s exploitation of the Al-Jazeera news network during the second Iraq War. Indeed, as long-ago as 1987, the analyst and psychiatrist Dr. Jerrold Post was pointing out that many terror groups had what he called the “vice president for media relations”; a person tasked with orchestrating press coverage.
Some are more skilled than others.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has attracted recruits via flashy videos that feature the beheading and immolation of their victims, among other heinous acts. The group also published a glossy magazine called Dabiq, which takes its name from a town in northern Syria where they believe the end-of-days battle will occur. The magazine—whose onetime editor was a University of Massachusetts-Boston grad named Abu Sulayman ash-Shami —featured editorials on topics as varied as the necessity of cutting off the limbs of the Sharia incompliant to the need for women to stay at home and support their terrorist husbands.
Al-Qaeda, the progenitor and rival of ISIS, was also a forerunner at media savvy. Videos of the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden in caves, invoked tales of the Islamic prophet Mohammad, who, it is said, received his first revelation in a cave called Hira near Mecca.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) also published an English-language magazine calledInspire, which terror analyst Bruce Riedel noted was “clearly intended for the aspiring jihadist in the U.S. or U.K.” The publication was thought to be the work of a New Mexico-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, who, prior to his death in a 2011 U.S. drone strike, was known for running a blog, a Facebook page and Youtube videos—all extolling the virtues of jihad (holy war) against the West and allies like Israel.
JCPA: Radical Islam 16 years after the 9/11 attacks – Israel Shrenzel
Interview with Israel Shrenzel, former chief analyst in the Arabic section of the research division of the Israel Security Agency
Q: In retrospect, 16 years after the 9/11 attacks, do you think that radical Muslims are more convinced that they are going to win eventually, or are they less convinced of that?
A: I believe that their expectations from the attack and the attacks that followed it were larger than what really evolved later. They, themselves, understand that they didn’t achieve the goals that they saw in front of them 16 years ago.
Q: Do you think that radical Muslims are going to lose faith and are we going to see a decline in the extent of terrorist activities, or are they going to learn the lessons from their lack of success and try to do more?
A: On the one hand, there are those who understand that this is not the way, and their understanding of this is based also on the failure of ISIS losing its main strongholds on the ground. On the other hand, within the radical ideology there are apparatuses that help the believers to stick to their beliefs, to get over what we call the “cognitive dissonance” and to explain to themselves the failures of ISIS and al-Qaeda as only obstacles in the way, and if they stick to the way of terrorism, finally they are going to emerge victorious.
It depends also on the resilience of the Western regimes because, first and foremost, there is a need to fight against them, to arrest them, to judge them, and then to try to encourage pragmatic Muslims, non-violent Muslims, to raise their voices much louder and instill in the Muslim community a non-violent spirit.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.