UNESCO: Rachel’s Tomb and Cave of Patriarchs part of ‘Occupied Palestine’
The PX Commission of the Executive Board of UNESCO on Wednesday morning adopted resolutions 28 and 29, titled “Occupied Palestine,” which state that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are “an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian territory” and condemning the construction of the security fence and “other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian territory.”
Both resolutions were sponsored by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, and were approved within minutes at the commission’s meeting, which includes the 59 members of UNESCO’s Executive Committee. Israel is not a member of the Executive Committee.
The resolutions also refer to Israel as “occupier” and condemn “Israeli army violations against Palestinian universities and schools,” criticize the construction of the security fence, deplore the destruction of Palestinian schools, including in the village Khan al-Ahmar and regret Israel’s excavation projects in east Jerusalem.
UNESCO’s assistant director-general for external relations, Nicolas Kassianides, said at the meeting that the resolutions were adopted following close consultations between the member states, and welcoming “the spirit of constructive dialogue that enabled to reach a consensus.”
Kassianides further said the adoption of the resolution by consensus “confirms the positive momentum that started last year, especially on this subject which is very sensitive,” hailing in particularly efforts by the Palestinians, Jordan and Israel to reach agreement.
Over the years, UNESCO included both items in the final text adopted annually by the agency’s Executive Committee. But when Audrey Azoulay took office last year as head of UNESCO, a compromise was achieved, with the resolutions adopted as an annex, and not inside the body of the text. This was the case today as well.
After sending the Tenzer family a letter stating that the parents of the family live in “Jerusalem”, while their two children live in “Palestinian territories,” the Belgian consulate in Jerusalem has announced the error was due to a technical malfunction in its computers that has since been amended.
“We would like to inform you that due to a technical error in our computer, the addresses of your children Talia and Gilad were incorrectly registered, and since then the error has been corrected,” the second letter the consulate sent read.
The family reside in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood, which is located over the Green Line in eastern Jerusalem that was captured and annexed by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.
The first letter, which was sent to every Belgian citizen as the Western European country approaches its national elections, was intended to explain to all expats their rights and how to cast their vote.
The family said that all letters addressed to the family from the Belgian consulate have always referred to all its members simply as residents of Jerusalem.
Caroline Glick: Russia Raises the Stakes in Syria with S-300 Missiles
Last week, India signed a deal to purchase Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system. How likely is that deal to come to fruition if the U.S. and Israel expose the failings of the S-300? What about Turkey’s agreement to purchase the S-400?
While these key issues remain unknown, there are low-risk moves the U.S. can take in response to Russia’s adoption of a new, far more aggressive posture towards Israel and the U.S. that could serve to deter Russian adventurism and empower any moderate voices in Moscow that may have been sidelined since Sept. 17.
First, the administration could recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The move would empower Israel diplomatically and weaken the diplomatic position of Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime they control.
Second, the U.S. can launch a campaign to withdraw international recognition of the Assad regime.
Iran and Russia both base the legality of their operations in Syria on the fact that the Assad regime asked them to intervene in Syria. But the Assad regime only exists because of their support.
In truth, they are foreign aggressors asserting control over Syria and using a local Syrian proxy to legitimize their aggression. A U.S.-led campaign internationally to withdraw recognition of the Assad regime and remove regime representatives from international forums, including the UN, could weaken the Russian-Iranian political position in significant ways.
Third, the administration could ask Congress for a new, updated authorization for the use of force in Syria. Current authorization is based on the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria. The Obama administration’s strategy was to deploy U.S. forces to fight ISIS and take no action against Iranian or Russian forces in the country.
JPost Editorial: Behind the plan
President Donald Trump has the world in suspense. Everywhere in the Middle East, and in capitals around the world, everyone awaits the unveiling, the roll out, of America’s so-called “Deal of the Century.” What is the president’s peace plan, all are wondering? What is he going to throw out there that, we’ve been told, is way different than anything that’s ever come before?
It’s got everyone guessing, and there have been hints and unconfirmed reports along the way about this point or that – this neighborhood’s borders, or that country’s direct involvement, etc. – but nobody is sure what’s in it, and if they do know, they’re not talking.
But even while we don’t know the details, we do have an idea about what the US is thinking – from the man who’s helping to craft that peace plan: Jason Greenblatt.
Two weeks ago, Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations addressed the semi-annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The AHLC – established on October 1, 1993, less than a month after the signing of the Oslo Accords – is a 15-member committee of countries and organizations that serves as the central body bringing together international efforts to finance aid to the Palestinians. If anything in the Trump peace plan will include money, then what Greenblatt had to say to the committee has extreme importance.
“Let’s stop focusing on tired talking points and throwing more money at the same things we have been doing since 1993,” he said. “It is time to realistically evaluate what works and what does not.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday indicated that his country will not agree to any change of status for the Golan Heights, which Moscow, along with the large majority of the international community, considers occupied Syrian territory.
His comments followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call on the international community Monday to recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin appreciates how important the strategic plateau is for Israel.
“The status of the Golan Heights is determined by the resolutions of the UN Security Council,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. “Changing this status bypassing the Security Council, from my perspective, would be a direct violation of these resolutions.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War, and formally annexed the territory in 1981. UN Security Council Resolution 497 of that year declared that Israel’s annexation of the “occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.” It passed unanimously.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he told Russia’s vice premier in talks on Tuesday that Israel must continue to hit hostile targets in neighboring Syria, despite Moscow’s decision to equip Damascus with advanced air defense missiles.
Netanyahu said at a press conference that he told Maxim Akimov in talks in Jerusalem that Israel would continue to fight what it says are Iranian attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria and channel advanced weaponry to its Lebanese ally, the Hezbollah terror group.
Despite the delivery of the S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian military, Israel was committed as a matter of self-defense to continue its “legitimate activity in Syria against Iran and its proxies, which state their intention to destroy us,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli planes have carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets, but there have been no reports of suspected Israeli airstrikes since the accidental Syrian downing of a Russian plane during an Israeli air strike in Syria, an incident that raised tensions between Israel and Russia.
Seth Frantzman: Middle East divided on Nikki Haley’s legacy
“Sad news for Israel,” tweeted retired IDF spokesman Peter Lerner. “Nikki Haley’s role in the final destruction of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and her shameful and racist smearing of Palestinian protesters by Israel during the ongoing Grand Return March will always define my opinion of her,” tweeted writer Iyad el-Baghdadi. Across the Middle East, reaction to reports that US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is stepping down were as divided as the region.
Predictably, those supportive of the Palestinians and critical of US policy on Iran were critical of Haley, while those who tend to oppose the Iranian regime or sup- port Israel were shocked at her leaving. Haley was a strong voice against Iran’s policies in her speeches. In December 2017 she unveiled the wreckage of an Iranian Qiam ballistic missile at a speech, showcasing Iran’s involvement in Yemen.
Her departure comes as the US is dealing with a Saudi Arabia-Turkey crisis over missing journalist and former Riyadh insider Jamal Khashoggi that may involve a UN investigation or UN condemnation. The US is also seeking to pressure UNRWA, UNESCO and the UN Human Rights Council, and has withdrawn from various international bodies and treaties, including a treaty of Amity with Iran and a protocol in the Vienna Convention.
“Rest assured, Iran’s regime is terrified about who Trump/Pompeo will appoint next,” noted human rights activist and commentator Heshmat Alavi. He called her a champion supporting the people of Iran and noted her strong words against the Assad regime and Russia regarding their policies in northwest Syria. The Special Monitoring Mission to Syria, which covers the conflict there, tweeted that they hoped the new UN ambassador “will bring [a] more positive agenda to the international community from Washington.”
When Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that she would be stepping down as UN ambassador by the end of this year, the Israeli and pro-Israel laments poured out swiftly.
Haley didn’t simply defend Israel and its government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as her predecessors had under Democratic and Republican administrations. She led a game change: On her watch, and with the blessing of US President Donald Trump, support for Israel became a “with or against us” proposition. Slam the United States for defending Israel, and count on being slammed back, was the Trump-Haley credo.
A big chunk of Haley’s two years at the world body was about Israel.
“Thank you for your support, which led to a change in Israel’s status in the UN,” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said on Twitter.
Netanyahu offered his gratitude as well in a statement.
“I would like to thank Ambassador @nikkihaley, who led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country,” he said.
Haley’s predecessors had also robustly backed Israel in the body, but there had been hiccups. The latest came in December 2016 when US Ambassador Samantha Power allowed a UN Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s settlement policy in the waning days of the Obama administration, about a month before Trump was inaugurated.
It was a rare instance of a US official semi-endorsing UN criticism of Israel.
Netanyahu and the centrist to right-wing pro-Israel community sees the United Nations as a snake pit, and any concession is seen as a betrayal. That was the message in the American Israel Public Affair Committee’s farewell to Haley packed into a single word: “consistently.”
Major American Jewish groups and top Israeli politicians issued effusive praise of US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley following the announcement of her resignation on Tuesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Haley well, saying she “led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called Haley an “ambassador of truth” who defended the Jewish state’s “clear right to protect the security of our citizens.”
Israeli UN envoy Danny Danon said Haley would “always be a true friend of Israel.”
HaBayit HaYehudi leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted to Haley, who will be leaving her post at the end of the year, “Thank you for what you’ve done for Israel. We will not forget.”
For Israel’s supporters in America, Nikki Haley was a superstar.
She won them over with a memorable speech at the AIPAC convention in 2017, right after US President Donald Trump was elected and she became ambassador to the UN.
“I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because if I see something wrong, we’re going to kick them every single time,” she said, to enthusiastic applause. “So for anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”
She became the new darling of the pro-Israel crowd, and her appearances at AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups often included media reports that she received a “rock-star” ovation.
That’s for good reason. Unapologetically, calmly and intelligently, Haley passionately called out the UN over its anti-Israel bias; eloquently defended Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem; and firmly called the Palestinians out for the folly of many of their policies – such as insulting her and her boss.
Her uncompromising support for Israel at the UN conjured up memories of former US ambassadors to the UN, Daniel Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick.
Many American Jews, pleased with Trump’s policies on Israel but equally unhappy with Trump’s behavior and governing style, have said – some quietly, while others more openly – that they wished Haley were president. Maybe one day she will run for the Oval Office – and maybe quitting now is part of an overall strategy to do just that.
Human rights victims worldwide found a champion in Nikki Haley who fought for their freedom and human dignity with exemplary courage, eloquence & grace. History will remember her together with other legendary figures as one of the great American ambassadors to the United Nations. pic.twitter.com/lxVVI7rKCy
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) October 9, 2018
Amb. Danny Danon: Thank you, Nikki Haley, warrior for justice and truth
Over the years, we grew accustomed to seeing the United Nations as an institution of lies and twisted half-truths the likes of which are disseminated by Arab countries and our enemies around the world, but with Nikki Haley’s appointment as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., a new era was born.
Haley did not mind the criticism. She was not worried about being in the minority. She stood, head held high, with one goal in mind – to expose the truth. The change led by Haley at the U.N. Security Council, which brought an end to the automatic support for the unilateral moves by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to push forward resolutions condemning Israel and saw her voice her clear support for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, is just one example of her energetic activity for the State of Israel.
This was a period of real change, in which the tendency toward lies was replaced with the pursuit of truth, when the terror machines of Iran and Hamas and the lies of the PA were exposed to the world to reveal the true face of our enemies.
Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti said Tuesday that in the wake of Nikki Haley’s “shocking” resignation as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “there are people around the world who will miss [her].”
Continetti responded during an appearance on “America’s Newsroom” to Haley’s resignation announcement.
“It is very shocking. Haley has been one of the most successful U.N. ambassadors in decades. If she follows in that tradition of Jeanne Kirkpatrick, John Bolton, now national security advisor, as someone who stands up for American values as well as American interests, someone who advocates democracy and human rights at the United Nations, [and is] also a stalwart defender of the state of Israel – there are a lot of people around the world who will miss Nikki Haley.”
Continetti’s appearance preceded the official press conference between Haley and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, where Trump said Haley has been “very special” to him and lauded her accomplishments at the U.N. related to the Human Rights Council, Iran, Israel, and North Korea.
Continetti also praised Haley’s accomplishments.
“So often the U.N. has kind of been just the institution for dictators and thugs and human rights abusers,” Continetti said, “and it requires someone in that ambassadorial role, someone who is willing to stand up to these autocrats. I think Nikki Haley did that in her tenure.”
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) October 9, 2018
Whomever US President Donald Trump appoints to replace outgoing Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will have very large shoes to fill, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in response to Haley’s surprise resignation on Tuesday.
Haley was a godsend at the UN from Israel’s point of view, passionately, eloquently and calmly defending the Jewish State and calling out the world for its hypocrisy and bias towards the country.
It is a safe bet that whomever replaces Haley will reflect those policies as well, considering the Trump administration’s staunchly pro-Israel positions. But there is always that matter of style, passion and nuance – and that is where a difference might be felt.
No sooner had Haley announced her departure, then the speculation began as to whom Trump will tap as her successor. One of the first names mentioned was Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, whom Trump said would be “incredible “ in the job. She, however, made it clear that this was not going to happen, by tweeting Tuesday evening, “I know that the president will nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador Haley. That replacement will not be me.”
Here is a quick look at three of the leading names to replace Haley, and their involvement on Israel-related issues.
The Egyptian-born Powell, who is fluent in Arabic, joined the Trump team in March 2017 as deputy national security adviser, after a period of serving as an adviser to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner during the transition period.
Powell, who was a spokesperson in the US State Department under former president George W. Bush, with a focus on outreach to the Arab world, played a leading role planning Trump’s maiden visit as president in 2017 to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and became a part of Trump’s Middle East negotiations team that included Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Another leading candidate is Richard Grenell, a long-time US spokesman at the UN who has been the US Ambassador to Germany since May. Grenell has a close relationship with National Security Advisor John Bolton, with whom he worked when Bolton was an ambassador to the UN in 2005-2006.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Grenell briefly in Germany in May, shortly after the new ambassador rankled feathers in Europe by saying that he was excited about a “groundswell of conservative policies” in Europe that has resulted from “the failed policies of the left.”
Senator Bob Corker
Corker, the powerful head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has had a roller-coaster relationship with Trump, with the highs being his active consideration by Trump as a running mate in 2016, and the lows being a Twitter war with the president last year. After bearing the brunt of Trump insults, Corker, who has announced his retirement from the Senate at the end of his current term in 2019, had replied: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult daycare center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
Recently, however, Trump offered Corker the ambassadorship to Australia, a sign that the two have patched over differences to a certain degree and that it is at least conceivable that Trump would give the foreign policy maven the nod. Corker turned down the Australian job.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is a name to watch as speculation commences on who will replace outgoing United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, a source with knowledge of the administration’s thinking told the Washington Examiner.
“He’s a family favorite,” the source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said of Grenell.
Multiple members of the White House communications team did not respond to immediate requests for comment regarding Grenell being a potential replacement for Haley.
Grenell spent eight years serving as a U.S. spokesman and political appointee to the U.N., making him the longest serving appointee at the U.N. in history. The ambassador served as the U.S. spokesman during many of the most contentious and troublesome periods in recent decades. Grenell ran communications during the war on terrorism, ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, and the U.N.’s oil-for-food corruption scandal.
[Also read: Here are the notable Trump aides who have left the administration]
The president was livid with Senate Democrats for what he felt was slow-walking Grenell’s confirmation earlier this year. He said in March that his nominees were “being blocked and/or slow walked by the Democrats in the Senate.” Roughly one month after his tweet, Grenell made it through the Senate confirmation process.
Israel should stop administrative detentions of Palestinian minors, members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said Tuesday in Strasbourg, France.
PACE voted 47-11 to approve a report calling on Israel to work with UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross to “change laws, practice and attitudes so as to fully protect the rights of Palestinian minors in the Israeli justice system.”
Among those who voted against the report were representatives of the UK, Switzerland, Estonia and Moldova, who criticized it as not balanced.
Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie called the report “one-sided and distorted,” because it does not mention the participation of Palestinian minors in terrorism and violence, incitement in Palestinian textbooks, or the payments the Palestinian Authority makes to terrorists and their families.
“While you worked on writing this report in an air-conditioned room, an Israeli was arrested in a shopping center by one of the minors you seek to protect,” Lavie stated, referring to the murder of Israeli father of four, Ari Fuld, by Palestinian 17-year-old Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin last month.
“While you condemn the arrests of potential terrorists, two more Israelis were slaughtered in their place of work,” Lavie added.
“How many of the countries represented in this hall use administrative detentions to ensure their security? But when it comes to Israel, our right to defend ourselves is only on paper.”
On October 7, Global News broadcast an error-ridden report about the horrific terror attack in Barkan that saw a Palestinian terrorist shoot and kill two Israeli civilians and wound a third.
A Palestinian terrorist named Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, is suspected of carrying out the attack that saw 29-year-old Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and 35-year-old Ziv Hajibi murdered. As of this writing, his whereabouts are unknown and a manhunt is being carried out by Israeli and Palestinian forces.
Though it’s a positive that Global devoted coverage to this terror attack, its journalists erroneously claimed that the dead and injured Israelis were all soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. In fact, they were innocent civilians who were murdered.
Global’s Anchor wrongly introduced the report by saying:
Israel is blaming the deaths of two of its soldiers on an attack by a Palestinian gunman, a third soldier was injured when the gunman is alleged to have opened fire in an industrial park in the west bank…”
A balloon fitted with an explosive device, launched by Palestinian terrorists, landed outside a home in Givat Ze’ev, a suburb of Jerusalem, for the first time Monday.
Police sappers neutralized the device in the private yard of the Samaria home and transferred their findings to a laboratory for further review.
Several similar cases recently suggest that Palestinians in the West Bank may be trying to mimic a wave of recent arson attacks from Gaza and launch incendiary balloons into central Israeli cities.
On Saturday, incendiary balloons launched from Gaza sparked a fire in Shokeda Forest. Firefighters, Jewish National Fund workers and Israel Nature and Parks Authority teams worked together to extinguish the blaze.
Incendiary balloons also landed in Kibbutz Nir Am and Kibbutz Dorot, but fortunately did not cause damage.
Shaar Hanegev Regional Council security officer Tayel Hajbi told Israel Hayom, “Today, fortunately, there were no fires because there was early detection, and when the balloons reached the ground they were immediately extinguished.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Fatah blasts Qatar over fuel delivery to Gaza
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction on Tuesday accused Qatar of working with Israel to perpetuate the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Fatah also accused Qatar of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians.
Qatar has donated $60 million for help provide fuel for the Gaza Power Plant for the next six months.
For the first time, however, the payment process skipped over the Palestinian Authority. Typically, Qatar would have sent the money to the PA, which then would have purchased the fuel from Israel, to transfer to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.
This time around it donated the funds to the United Nations, which then purchased the fuel from Israel, thereby leaving the Palestinian Authority out in the cold.
The gestures alleviates the humanitarian suffering of the two million people in the Hamas-ruled Gaza enclave, who have been living on four to five hours of electricity per day, followed by 12 to 16 hours of blackouts.
Fatah and Abbas have reportedly expressed outrage over the move, which they say will help Hamas tighten its grip on the Gaza Strip and sabotage Egyptian efforts to end the rivalry between the two Palestinian parties.
Abbas has imposed severe economic sanctions on Gaza, including refusing to pay for fuel, in hopes of forcing Hamas to relinquish its 11-year hold on Gaza and allow for Fatah to rule the enclave. Funding the fuel harms those efforts.
A senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that any aid to the Gaza Strip should be channeled through the Ramallah-based PA government and in coordination with it.
Caving into Hamas pressure, La Repubblica journalist Francesca Borri, which interviewed Sinwar, was quick to post a video in which she states that she interviewed Sinwar on behalf of the Italian daily and a British paper, not Israeli media.
Yedioth’s claim that the interview was held on its behalf is false in its entirety. “I am a freelancer and my stories are translated into 24 languages. Sinwar knew it. I do not work for Israeli media,” she said.
”When Sinwar talked with me, he was addressing the world, including Israel, with aim of removing the siege the international community as a whole is responsible for,” she said.
She stressed that she asked him whether this was the first time he was granting an interview to ”Western media” – not “Israeli media,” as Yedioth claimed.
Borri further said that Sinwar “wouldn’t hear of ’normalization,'” cryptically adding that “at the end of the day, we’re all pretty smart. What happened is clear to everyone.”
Woe the disappointment. As it turns out, Hamas – the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and the sister-movement of Islamic Jihad, al-Qaida and Islamic State – has no intention of relinquishing its call for Israel’s destruction.
Sinwar has no intention of laying down his arms and setting aside the desire to murder Israelis. He simply explained that his “weakness” is the source of his “strength” as giant, impatient, nuclear Israel does not wish to eliminate him because it is not in its interest.
The bastard is right.
In Al-Aqsa Mosque Address, Palestinian Cleric ‘Issam Amira Encourages Honor Killings: We Are Ready to Kill Our Women If They Take Their Honor Lightly pic.twitter.com/iFyFKfFDDc
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 10, 2018
Khan Al-Ahmar Friday Sermon by PA Judge Sheikh Muhannad Abu Al-Rumi: The Jews’ Rabbis Sanction All Global Corruption pic.twitter.com/EDQWyrRHeq
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 10, 2018
Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi: I Do Not Regret Supporting Nasrallah, I Agree with His Positions against U.S. and Israel pic.twitter.com/fyOTb0BUT9
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 10, 2018
The U.S. State Department recently published an unprecedented report detailing the financial resources Iran invests in destabilizing the Middle East.
The report estimated that over the past six years, the Islamic republic has spent some $16 billion to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and fund Iranian-backed militias across the Arab world.
Assad has so far received about $4.6 billion from Tehran, which also gives its largest regional proxy, Lebanon-based Hezbollah, more than $700 million a year, in addition to supporting other militias in Iraq and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
According to the 48-page report, the Gaza Strip-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups have receives upward of $100 million from Iran in recent years.
”We know that Iran uses its economic revenues to finance terrorism. There is no country in the world that sponsors and supports terrorism more than Iran,” a State Department official said.
The report also touched on Iran’s ballistic missile program, saying that for years, Tehran has been violating the international restrictions imposed on it and has been delivering ballistic missiles to the Houthis.
Looking to avoid further international sanctions, 143 out of 268 Iranian lawmakers voted on Sunday to support a UN Convention to end terrorist financing, but the bill they passed contains loopholes for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Known as the “Combating the Financing of Terrorism,” the international convention “involves investigating, analyzing, deterring and preventing sources of funding for activities intended to achieve political, religious or ideological goals through violence and the threat of violence against civilians,” according to the online site Investopedia.
However, this development is unlikely to cease Iran’s role as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
“Both opponents of the bill and foreign-media reports failed to recognize that the bill carves out exemptions for the specific purpose of facilitating funds to support Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups designated abroad as terrorist organizations,” according to Saeed Ghasseminejad and Toby Dershowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“To that end, the bill excludes ‘struggles against colonial dominance and foreign occupation’ from its definition of terrorism,” they added. “The bill even acknowledges it will not fully comply with clause 1.b in Article 2 of the CFT, which prohibits any act ‘intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict.’”
The SAVAK’s infamous Evin prison, which once held as many as 5,000 of the Shah’s political enemies, soon held over 15,000 of Khomeini’s.
Erdogan once said that “Democracy is like a tram. You ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off.” It appears he has reached his destination.
As Prime Minister and then President of Turkey, Erdogan’s policies have become steadily more hostile to U.S. interests. He championed the Gaza flotilla, helped Iran transport weapons into Syria, and fought America’s Kurdish allies.
Imagine what the world would be like if the U.S. had stationed nuclear weapons in Iran prior to Khomeini’s takeover. Imagine what the world will be like if Erdogan seizes America’s nuclear weapons.
A pro-government Turkish newspaper on Wednesday published the names and photographs of a group of Saudi nationals who allegedly arrived in Istanbul on board two private jets the day journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post, went missing.
Turkish officials have said they believe the Saudi writer and government critic was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul after he visited the mission to obtain a document required to marry his Turkish fiancee. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations.
The Sabah newspaper, which is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, revealed the identities of what it called a “mysterious” 15-member “assassination squad” it said was involved in Khashoggi’s alleged death.
The paper printed pictures of the Saudi nationals that appeared to have been taken by security cameras during police control at an airport.
The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, and was never seen leaving it, is a trending topic in the Arabic press, particularly the Saudi press. Khashoggi, whom some Turkish elements surmise was murdered by the Saudis inside the consulate, is a veteran Saudi journalist well known in the Arab world, especially for his criticism of the Saudi regime and his support for the Muslim Brotherhood. In the past year Khashoggi even moved to the U.S. in fear for his life, and began writing a Washington Post column; in it, he was harshly critical of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
Prior to Khashoggi’s disappearance, and since his move to the U.S., there were numerous articles in the Saudi press attacking him, particularly in the ‘Okaz daily. The articles accused him of betraying his country, ranked him with the leaders of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and described him as being in the service of the enemies of Saudi Arabia, starting with Turkey, Iran and Qatar, out of greed. Three days after his disappearance, a similar article called him “conspirer with reactionary ideas” who is loyal to the enemies of the state and is working “to sway public opinion [against Saudi Arabia] and underme security and stability in the country.”
However, about a week after his disappearance, just as the accusations that Saudi Arabia had murdered him at the Istanbul consulate peaked, there was a reversal in the tone of articles in the Saudi press about him. Articles now expressed the country’s concern about him, and the hope of hearing that he was alive and well. These articles also denied that Saudi Arabia had had a hand in his alleged murder, arguing that the country had no history of eliminating oppositionists in that way and that such an act would in any event cause more harm than good. They also stated that Turkey, Iran, and Qatar, and the Qatari Al-Jazeera TV, by attempting to accuse Saudi Arabia of involvement in murder, were essentially implicating themselves.
This report will set out the change in tone in the Saudi press with respect to Khashoggi, prior to and immediately after his disappearance and a week later.
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 9, 2018
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