In blow to Palestinians, US places Jerusalem consulate under embassy
The State Department announced Thursday that it would bring its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians under the auspices of the US Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, marking an implicit downgrading of the facility’s status and a fresh blow to its already strained ties with the Palestinians.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was meant to “achieve significant efficiencies and increase our effectiveness” following the opening of the embassy in May. He insisted the merger of the two missions did not signal a change in US policy on the status of Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza Strip.
“The United States continues to take no position on final status issues, including boundaries or borders,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.”
He added that US President Donald Trump was commitment to a “lasting and comprehensive peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. “We look forward to continued partnership and dialogue with the Palestinian people and, we hope in the future, with the Palestinian leadership,” he said.
Pompeo said US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman would be in charge of the tie-up and that the new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the embassy would remain, as before, at the consulate general building on Agron Street in the western part of Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested a Palestinian-American citizen on suspicion of involvement in a real estate transaction with Jews in east Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The man’s family has notified the US State Department of his arrest.
Palestinian sources said that the man, a resident of Bethlehem, had worked for the PA Ministry for Local Government.
“The 55-year-old man, who is a US citizen, is being interrogated by the Palestinians security agencies in Ramallah for his role in the sale of an Arab-owned house in the Old City of Jerusalem to a Jewish organization,” the sources told The Jerusalem Post.
They said the man was suspected of acting as a “solicitor” between the owner of the house and the Jewish organization that bought the house.
A senior PA security official in Ramallah refused to comment on the arrest of the US citizen.
The Post has obtained a copy of the man’s US passport, but due to the sensitivity of the case has chosen not to publish his name.
US government officials said they were aware of the arrest and expressed concern that he would be treated fairly. They said the State Department was in touch with the PA regarding the arrest.
Any lingering thought that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) would have any role to play in President Trump’s soon-to-be-released peace plan has vanished – after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that $165 million had been deducted from funding to the PLO because of its continuing “pay for slay” policy in breach of the Taylor Force Act.
Jordan has now signalled its preparedness to replace the PLO by publically supporting Trump in an article written in the Jordan Times by Walid Sadi – a retired Jordanian diplomat with over 35 years’ experience and himself a former editor of the Jordan Times.
Sadi’s CV is impressive – having headed the Jordanian Delegation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Conference in Rome and been the Chairperson of the ICC’s Working Group on Crimes against Humanity. He also represented the Jordanian government in Washington, Moscow, Ankara and London.
The Jordan Times is published by the Jordan Press Foundation – in which the government-owned Social Security Investment Fund has a majority stake. Sadi’s endorsement of Trump could only have been published with the knowledge and approval of Jordan’s King Abdullah.
Sadi makes no bones in airing his reasons for Trump’s success on the world stage:
“World leaders fear him because they know he is capable of anything and his finger is so close to nuclear weapons capable of blowing hostile capitals to smithereens with no qualms or hesitations. And above all, he seems to get away with anything as if he is immune to any mischief from within or outside his country.”
Housing Minister and former IDF Southern Commander Yoav Gallant hinted on Thursday that Israel will carry out a stronger response against Hamas in the Gaza strip.
“I do not refer to the content of the cabinet discussions, but I can say one thing very explicitly – The game is about to change. We will no longer accept the fire terror,” Gallant said.
According to the Israeli news sources, the implementation of how Israel will deal with the demonstrations by the Gaza Strip fence will begin on Friday.
The security cabinet met in the early hours of Thursday morning in Jerusalem to discuss the latest developments in the south after a rocket hit and damaged a residential home in Beersheba.
Hamas denied responsibility for the attack, but IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis stated that “Only Hamas and Islamic Jihad have these type of rockets.”
Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevy said that “Hamas claims to control the Gaza Strip and tells Gazans that it is trying to improve their situation. In truth, the lack of restraint at the fence, the launching of explosive devices, incendiary balloons and rockets, are making the situation for Gaza residents worse.”
The double, deceitful game played by Hamas and Islamic Jihad was exposed on the morning of October 17, 2018, when they fired two rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. One rocket hit a house in Beersheba, while the other, which was fired toward central Israel, landed in the Mediterranean Sea.
These upgraded Grad rockets were “home-made,” manufactured in Gaza, and carried a large quantity of explosive material. They are used only by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The rocket raid occurred at the peak of efforts by Egypt to prevent an explosion in the Gaza Strip. A senior delegation from Egyptian intelligence was in the Gaza Strip for talks with Palestinian factions with regard to reconciliation and calm with Israel. Egyptian Intelligence Minister Gen. Abbas Kamel was supposed to arrive in Israel on October 18, 2018, for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed by a meeting in the Palestinian Authority’s Muqata headquarters in Ramallah with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The Egyptian wanted to convince Abbas to cancel new sanctions on Gaza, which would only make the current situation more complicated and lead to a violent eruption.
The IDF responded to the rocket fire by attacking more than 20 Hamas targets, including terror tunnels in southern Gaza. The targets included underground infrastructure, Hamas bases with military infrastructure, rocket manufacturing sites, and the excavation shaft of an attack tunnel exiting to the sea for naval commandos.
Representatives of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish Federation of Montreal provided immediate financial assistance on Wednesday to the Tamano family from Beersheba whose home suffered a direct hit earlier that day by a rocket fired from Gaza.
The house suffered massive damage from the rocket strike, with mother Miri Tamano only just managing to drag her three sons into the building’s bomb shelter before the rocket hit.
In response, the Jewish Agency provided the family with NIS 4,000 from Diaspora donations which is intended to help the family in making urgent arrangements following the destruction of their home.
At a later stage, the family will receive up to 25,000 NIS for further needs and rehabilitation.
And the Jewish Federation of Montreal, together with the Beersheba and Bnei Shimon Regional Council through the Jewish Agency’s Partnership Together program, granted the family an additional NIS 4,000.
“The Jewish Agency, through its Terror Victims Fund and its housing company, Amigour, will continue to help and assist the residents of the South and of the Gaza border area to cope with the damages inflicted by waves of terror,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog on Wednesday.
Honest Reporting: Gaza Rocket Attack: Who Covered It and How?
A mother and her three children narrowly escaped with their lives in the early hours of Wednesday morning when a rocket fired from Gaza landed on their house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
So often, media like to play the numbers game, using casualty figures as a moral barometer – if fewer Israelis are dying than Palestinians then this is somehow unfair and Israelis are clearly the aggressors goes the argument.
This, of course, fails to tell the real story and Israelis are not going to apologize for protecting themselves from murderous Palestinian intent. Indeed, the only reason the family in Beersheba survived is thanks to the reinforced safe room that all modern Israeli buildings have by law.
Israeli security forces at the scene where a building was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, on October 17, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
But how did the international media report on an incident that had (and still has) the potential to develop into a significant military escalation?
Unfortunately, some major media failed to file stories at all.
At 03:38 on the morning of October 17th sirens warning of incoming missiles sounded in the southern Israeli town of Be’er Sheva and surrounding areas. Minutes later a direct hit on a house in Be’er Sheva was identified. Fortunately, the mother had managed to get her three sleeping children to their safe room before the Grad rocket hit their home. They and several other civilians were taken to hospital.
At 05:30 it became clear that an additional rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip at the same time towards the Tel Aviv area but had landed in the sea. The IDF responded to the attacks with strikes on terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Later in the morning sirens also sounded in the districts closer to the border with the Gaza Strip and school was cancelled for the day.
Furious over the attack, the Egyptians demanded an emergency meeting with Hamas leaders and the heads of the other armed groups in Gaza, which resulted in the aforementioned statement.
It is obvious that the Hamas-Islamic Jihad censure of the incident was meant to appease the Egyptians more than anything else, as Cairo’s wrath places Gaza officials in danger.
Along those lines, it will not be unreasonable to conclude that some of the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Wednesday, which struck Hamas positions not far from where the Egyptian officials were staying, were designed to be both seen and heard by Cairo’s delegates, so as to further drive the point home.
Hamas has decided to scale back the violent weekly protests along Gaza’s border with Israel in an effort to bring down the number of casualties among the protesters, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported Thursday.
A Palestinian source in the Gaza Strip told Al-Hayat that the organization had made its decision after being pressured by a delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials that arrived in Gaza on Tuesday to mediate a cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Gaza rulers. The decision was made before two long-range rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel Wednesday, one of which demolished a family home in Beersheba.
Hamas has denied any responsibility for the rocket attacks.
The newspaper reported that the Egyptian officials had persuaded Hamas to de-escalate the tensions with Israel after a Hamas operative was killed in a retaliatory Israeli missile strike on Wednesday.
Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad both were quick to deny launching rockets from Gaza Wednesday, after a Grad rocket fired on Israel scored a direct hit on a Beersheba home and another landed in the sea, off the coast of a major central Israeli city
Six people, including a woman and her three children, managed to survive the Beersheba rocket attack with only minor injuries. In response, Israeli fighter jets struck 20 Hamas positions in Gaza, and the flare-up sparked concerns that a rapid escalation may be inevitable.
”There is only one element that wants to see a war in the Gaza Strip right now, and that is Iran,” former National Security Adviser Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror noted. “So we have to ask ourselves which of their proxies in Gaza have long-range rockets, then counter them.”
It would be a “very big mistake,” he warned, if Israel were to “fall into the Iranian trap and launch a military operation in Gaza. That would play directly into the Iranians’ hands.”
A group called Jews Against Zionism tweeted this video today, decrying the IAF they say “murdered” a palestinian civilian:
Notice the symbol in top left corner and the Hebrew in bottom right corner? Those are there because the video is from the IDF spokesperson. Except these haters edited it to advance their false narrative.
You see Naji Ahmed al-Za’anin was no innocent, as the full video shows. He was attempting to launch a rocket!
Once again, the haters have to lie and use deception in order to advance their narrative because the truth is certainly not on their side.
Update: Ma’an goes one better with this headline for a report including the full video:
El-Ad’s presence will prove one thing: that he is nothing more than a puppet. He is the token Israeli our enemies use to pretend that their efforts to defame and slander Israel are legitimate and have domestic support.
However, nothing is further from the truth. The Israeli public opposes B’Tselem’s policies and, more importantly, its activities. While our vibrant and healthy democracy allows for a wide range of opinions, we take great care to keep our debates within our borders. Learning from our history, Israelis are rightfully wary of foreign powers who want to inject themselves into our internal affairs. And we eye with deep suspicion those who consort with and help these powers.
Yet, El-Ad is doing just that. He is joining our enemies on the biggest international stage, and enabling their campaign of lies. Like some Arab MKs and other radical leftist organizations, he is bringing his grievances to the UN, instead of trying to convince the Israeli public of the justness of his cause.
El-Ad wrote that his “resistance is nowhere near strong enough to play a significant role” in Israeli policy and decision-making. This is because B’Tselem has already lost: Israelis across the political spectrum reject its actions and ideology. We reject a civil society organization that denigrates our soldiers, slanders the IDF, and refuses to call Hamas a terror organization.
That is why El-Ad is going to the UN. He joins the Arab and European countries because they are the only ones that will welcome him. To his everlasting shame, he is joining our enemies on the world stage to demonize Israel.
Two Israelis will sit around the Security Council table today. On the side of our enemies will sit a representative of B’Tselem. He will sit next to a representative of the Palestinian Authority, the same organization that allocates 7% of its budget to terrorize and murder Jews.
I will sit opposite. I will sit on the side that is against Palestinian incitement, that is against organizations that ignite the flames of hatred against Israel, that is against the disgraceful lies of B’Tselem.
I will sit on the side of truth.
Israel on Thursday harshly criticized the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor for issuing a statement the day before in which she warned Israel that its planned demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank may constitute a war crime.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Israel official lamented that the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in her statement said that she is closely watching violence perpetrated by actors on both sides of Gaza border but failed to mention a rocket that hit and severely damaged a house in Beersheba, in which a woman and her children stayed.
“It is alarming that the Office of the Prosecutor repeatedly proclaims its commitment to independence and impartiality, but ignores missile fire directed at Israeli civilians, that nearly killed a mother and her three young children, only hours before the publication of its statement,” the senior official told The Times of Israel.
“Unfortunately, these and other actions by the Office of the Prosecutor raise serious questions whether ‘independence and impartiality’ are merely slogans to which lip service is paid, rather than principles to which the prosecutor is genuinely committed.”
Deputy Minister Michael Oren on Thursday also voiced disapproval of the court.
“The ICC considers accusations of war crimes not against Iran for aiding the massacre of 500,000 in Syria but for the relocation, 4 times approved by independent courts, away from a dangerous highway of 180 illegal squatters by Israel,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
“The victims of all real war crimes cry out,” he added.
Don’t think ICC has said that re Crimea where Russia remolding thousands of structures for various reasons. Russia has a plan to demolish 30,000 buildings: ICC prosecutor has not thought to issue warning https://t.co/4sMZ7ERtV7
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) October 17, 2018
The international community’s approach to Israel, most commonly from nations not part of the liberal democratic family, has been one of demonisation. UN Watch calculated that of the 97 United Nations resolutions criticising countries between 2012 and 2015, a whopping 83 were against Israel.
This is substantially more condemnation than of hermit state North Korea, economic basket case Venezuela, or Saudi Arabia where the big human rights breakthrough in recent months is that women will be able to drive for the first time.
There are some that will never recognise the right of the Jewish people to self-determination; there are some who will continue to target the one Jewish state for special criticism and treatment.
Australia’s foreign policy should be driven by our values – not by the potential for backlash from nations that are both less liberal and less democratic than ourselves. Israel is the only functioning liberal democracy in the Middle East. It deserves our moral and symbolic support. In an increasingly polarised world, we will only be respected by our neighbours and allies if we stay true to our beliefs. Now is not the time to waver.
As Winston Churchill is often quoted as saying: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
An Australian decision to move the embassy would right a historical wrong, stay true to our liberal democratic values, and put the State of Israel on an equal footing with the rest of the international community.
Given the topical interest currently, in the prospect of Australia moving its Israeli Embassy to Israel’s capital: Jerusalem; it is instructive to review Daniel Pipes’ essay, published in 2001 about the history of Muslim “interest” in the holy city.
Politics, not religious sensibility, has fueled the Muslim attachment to Jerusalem for nearly fourteen centuries; what the historian Bernard Wasserstein has written about the growth of Muslim feeling in the course of the Countercrusade applies through the centuries:
This pattern has three main implications.
First, Jerusalem will never be more than a secondary city for Muslims; “belief in the sanctity of Jerusalem… cannot be said to have been widely diffused nor deeply rooted in Islam.”
Second, the Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else.
Third, the Islamic connection to the city is weaker than the Jewish one because it arises as much from transitory and mundane considerations as from the immutable claims of faith.
Mecca, by contrast, is the eternal city of Islam, the place from which non-Muslims are strictly forbidden. Very roughly speaking, what Jerusalem is to Jews, Mecca is to Muslims – a point made in the Qur’an itself (2:145) in recognizing that Muslims have one qibla and “the people of the Book” another one. The parallel was noted by medieval Muslims; the geographer Yaqut (1179-1229) wrote, for example, that “Mecca is holy to Muslims and Jerusalem to the Jews.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday a multibillion-dollar free trade agreement with Indonesia will be signed this year, despite Indonesian concern over an Australian proposal to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
Morrison said on Tuesday he was open to Australia moving its mission from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the United States did in May to the delight of Israel but to the fury of Palestinians.
Morrison’s willingness to reverse decades of foreign policy and follow the U.S. lead alienated many of Australia’s Asian neighbors that have close alliances with Palestinians.
It also drew condemnation from 13 Arab ambassadors in Australia who called the suggestion regrettable and asked Morrison to reconsider or risk damaging Australian ties in the region.
Morrison, who faces a critical by-election on Saturday that will determine whether his government keeps its one-seat majority, said his government had been assured Indonesia would honor its commitment to the deal worth more than 16 billion Australian dollars ($11 billion).
“There’s been direct communication between myself and the president as well as between our foreign ministers and with the trade ministers,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra, referring to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo.
“The Indonesian trade minister has made it very clear on the public record that is not an issue of concern to them,” he said.
In an appeal to Australian ministers on Wednesday, Australia’s spy agency warned that Prime Minister Morrison’s proposal to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may “provoke protest, unrest and possibly some violence in Gaza and the West Bank,” according to Guardian Australia.
The warning came in light of Prime Minister John Morrison’s announcement the day before about a shift in his Middle East policy, and his decision to relocate Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Morrison also said that he is considering withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.
The newspaper Guardian Australia obtained an Australian secret bulletin, Asio, marked secret, AUSTEO (Australian eyes only),which was passed around to government ministers on October 15th, the day before Morrison announced his decision. The bulletin stresses that Morrison’s shift in Middle East policy would “attract international attention.”
“We expect any announcement on the possible relocation of the Australian embassy to Jerusalem or consideration of voting against Palestinians in the United Nations may provoke protest, unrest and possibly some violence in Gaza and the West Bank,” the bulletin says. It added that Australian facilities may be endangered by any public announcement by the government, and “attacks and violent protests” have occurred in the past when political tensions were high.
Asio also noted that Australian interests in Iran may be targeted as well if the Australian government withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
The article ended with a section headed “Why is the status of Jerusalem so contentious?” in which the BBC’s standard framing of related topics was to be found. As usual, BBC audiences were led to believe that nothing of relevance happened before 1967 and they heard nothing of Jordan’s 19-year occupation of parts of the city.
“Israel regards Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war – as the capital of a future state.”
A problematic video by Yolande Knell dating from December 2017 was however recycled in this latest report.
Readers found the BBC’s usual partisan framing of ‘international law’ and ‘settlements’ with no mention of the fact that some of the Jerusalem neighbourhoods it chooses to define as such were inhabited by Jews until the Jordanian occupation.
“Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.”
Since late 2016 the BBC’s coverage of stories relating to the relocation of foreign embassies to Jerusalem has been characterised by very specific framing of such decisions as ‘controversial’ and the absence of key background information which would enhance audience understanding. As we see in this latest report, that unhelpful editorial policy continues.
This makes 14 articles on the Australia PM mulling the possibility of moving their embassy to J’lem
— UK Media Watch (@UKMediaWatch) October 18, 2018
PreOccupiedTerritory: Australia To Consider Recognizing Jerusalem As Capital, Pope As Catholic (satire)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this week his administration will weigh the relocation of its Tel Aviv embassy to Israel’s declared capital, following the lead of the United States earlier this year, acknowledging the political reality of the city’s status despite Arab and Palestinian objections. Morrison also told reporters he will similarly take under advisement a proposal to declare the head of the Roman Catholic Church a Catholic.
A spokesman for the premier elaborated on the plans at a press conference on Thursday. “American President Donald Trump spearheaded what is likely to become a trend,” acknowledged Morrison adviser Arbor Urscat. “Australia must reexamine the question of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, having ignored reality for decades. At the same time we will tackle a separate but analogous issue, one that, while less obvious than Jerusalem being Israel’s capital, nevertheless demands redress, and that is that Australia has never officially recognized the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, the Holy Father, as a member of the Roman Catholic Church. We intend to consider such a declaration, as well, even though it may seem controversial.”
Urscat addressed several concerns raised by journalists at the conference. “We anticipate some blowback from hard-liners on the pope thing,” he stated. “It’s not a popular position in certain parts of the world. But it’s never constructive or helpful to live in denial, which is what not recognizing His Holiness as a Catholic is, essentially. So we’re going to give due consideration to such a formal statement of recognition. And the Jerusalem thing, well, that’s a no-brainer by comparison. It’s been the de facto Jewish capital since ancient times.”
The Old Testament is read by Christians with the same reverence as the New Testament. The purchase of Machpela by Abraham as a burial site for his wife and family is part of their understanding of the ages, cultures and history that came before Jesus. Jesus did NOT send the money changers out of the Al Aqsa Mosque
The Europeans have abandoned their understanding of biblical history because they have abandoned their religion.
And that makes them different from us — thus far.
Americans are accustomed to thinking of Europeans and the British as our intellectual, ideological, historical, and religious forebears and our best political friends. The rise in Europe of democratic institutions, capitalism, Christianity and Western intellectual, literary and artistic accomplishments are part of American history. France and Poland helped the Colonies separate from Britain, but Britain remained our closest ally. “Lafayette, we are here,” meant something. We were there for them again during World War II. We organized the Marshall Plan and NATO to stabilize Western Europe and even let Germany into the club after its abysmal performance earlier in the century.
But Europe is becoming something else.
It would be crude, given Europe’s Jewish history, to abandon Israel openly and entirely. While European leaders (except Jeremy Corbyn) routinely pronounce their support for Israel, and while boycotts of Israel made only marginal strides on the Continent as Israel-Europe trade reached record levels in 2017, European governments have found other ways to express hostility to Jewish statehood on historic Jewish land.
During a nighttime operation Wednesday in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, IDF forces posted flyers and distributed leaflets warning residents against assisting Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa, the Palestinian assailant who carried out the deadly terrorist attack at the Barkan Industrial Park, Palestinian media reported.
Na’alwa has been on the run since killing Israeli citizens Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi in the October 7 attack.
“Anyone who aids the wanted person will be subject to legal consequences,” the leaflets announced, including long-term imprisonment, house demolition, and the revocation of all permits and those of related family. “We will not hesitate to punish anyone who helps the wanted person.”
As part of the IDF operation, a loudspeaker broadcast called on Na’alawa to immediately hand himself over to security forces, according to this report.
Earlier this week, the IDF informed Na’alawa’s family that their home in the village of Shweika would be demolished.
During an Arab riot in the village of ‘Urif near Yitzhar, in Samaria, an IDF officer fired at an Arab youth who had physically assaulted one of the soldiers, endangering his life.
The incident began as part of the disturbances that Arabs have been carrying out in and around the village of ‘Urif in recent months, during which they march up the mountain towards one of the Yitzhar hills. On Thursday morning, some 15 Arabs from ‘Urif marched menacingly towards the settlement.
Israeli residents who were in the area descended at the Arabs in order to push them away, and a confrontation ensued.
Security forces arrived at the scene, and while a Border Police unit moved the settlers back toward Yitzhar, IDF Paratroopers Brigade soldiers moved in to push back the Arabs.
The IDF force tried to talk to the rioters, ordering them to return to their village, but quickly dozens of Arabs began attacking the soldiers, throwing rocks at them at close range.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Palestinians Do Not Have a Parliament
In the absence of a parliament, the Palestinians have no address to express their grievances. They cannot write to or phone their elected legislators to complain about anything. All they can do is resort to social media, especially Facebook, to air their views.
As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not tolerate criticism particularly well, he doubtless feels more comfortable delivering speeches at international forums such as the United Nations, the European Parliament and his own Fatah and PLO institutions than at the Palestinian parliament. The others are places where no one takes him to task for his tyranny.
In the past few years, scores of Palestinians have been harassed, arrested and interrogated by Abbas’s security forces for posting critical comments on Facebook.
Almost immediately after the 2003 invasion, Iraq became a battleground between the U.S. and Iran, as the latter sent troops, money, and arms to foment and support an insurgency. The war on Islamic State, along with the Obama administration’s effort to align itself with the Islamic Republic, led to a temporary truce, but also gave Tehran-backed militias a great deal of power. Iran has also established a major conduit of supplies through Iraq to support its efforts in Syria. Meanwhile, it is hard to say if the recent elections have brought a government to Baghdad that will be pro-American or pro-Iranian. Eldad Shavit and Raz Zimmt comment how these developments might affect Israel:
Although statements by the U.S. administration have addressed Iran’s overall activity in the region, they appear to emphasize the potential for confrontation in Iraq. First and foremost, this [emphasis] stems from the U.S. perception of this arena as posing the greatest danger, in light of the extensive presence of U.S. military and civilian personnel operating throughout the country, and in light of past experience, which saw many American soldiers attacked by Shiite militias under Iranian supervision. The American media have reported that U.S. intelligence possesses information indicating that the Shiite militias and other elements under Iranian auspices intend to carry out attacks against American targets and interests. . . .
In light of Iran’s intensifying confrontation with the United States and its mounting economic crisis, Tehran finds it essential to maintain its influence in Iraq, particularly in the event of a future clash with the United States. The Iranian leadership has striven to send a message of deterrence to the United States regarding the implications of a military clash. . . .
A recently published report also indicates that Iran transferred ballistic missiles to the Shiite militias it supports in Iraq. Although Iran has denied this report, it might indeed attempt to transfer advanced military equipment to the Shiite militias in order to improve their capabilities in the event of a military confrontation between Iran and the United States and/or Israel, or a confrontation between [the militias] and the central government in Baghdad.
UNHRC rep Idriss Jazairy protests “knowledge embargo” barring Iran & N. Korea from sending their people to study nuclear physics in Europe. Jazairy was appointed by UNHRC to shield murderous regimes from Western sanctions. We see why Nikki Haley refused to legitimize this farce. pic.twitter.com/uzmnbn0x7x
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) October 17, 2018
Iranian TV Children’s Show: Standing Next to Missiles, Children Sing in Praise of Jihad and Martyrdom pic.twitter.com/fraLplQ6G7
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 18, 2018
MEMRI: Columnist ‘Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, An Unconventional Voice In The Qatari Press: Defeating Terror Requires Not Only Military Action But A Comprehensive Ideological, Cultural, Educational And Religious Campaign
On September 17, 2018, several days after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Dr. ‘Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, a columnist for the Qatari daily Al-Watan and the former dean of Islamic Law at Qatar University, wrote about the lessons to be learned from the events of 9/11. Al-Ansari, who is an unconcentional voice in the Qatari press, noted that the identity of the 9/11 attackers, who were educated and from well-off families, belies the claim that it is factors like poverty and oppression that lead young people to commit terrorism. Rather, it is burning faith – the profound belief that they are serving a lofty goal – that motivates terrorists, and consequently no force in the world can prevent them from sacrificing themselves. Al-Ansari also rejected the conspiracy theories claiming that U.S. intelligence apparatuses were behind the 9/11 attacks, on the grounds that the same misguided ideas continue to motivate terrorism in the Muslim and Arab countries, as well as in Africa and the West. Therefore, he argued, military action is not enough in order to counter terrorism. Such action must be accompanied by efforts to fight the terrorist idea, which is the most dangerous factor. To this end, he said, there is need for a comprehensive ideological, cultural, educational and religious campaign, involving all sectors of society, to immunize the youth against the terrorist idea and supplant it with values of equality and tolerance.
The following are translated excerpts from this column: 
“It has been 17 years since Al-Qaeda’s terror attack on the U.S., that terrible catastrophe which cost the lives of 2,752 innocent victims, of various nationalities and religions… What lessons and conclusions can be derived from these terror attacks on the emblems of American pride?
“The first lesson: When the ideology of sacrifice for the sake of a goal that is perceived as lofty and worth dying for takes over a person’s mind and soul, no force in the world can stop that person from sacrificing himself, regardless of whether others consider [his ideology] correct or not. A person in the grips of such an ideology heeds nothing on the way to realize his goal. That is the logical explanation for the fact that terrorism and suicide operations have persisted and will continue in the future – for Al-Qaeda’s terror activity and the violence of ISIS have not abated. Although the two states [apparently a reference to ISIS’s Islamic State in Syria and Iraq] no longer exist; [although] the leader of Al-Qaeda has been killed, many of the terrorists have been eliminated and those who remain are hunted everywhere, besieged and deprived of their sources of funding; and despite all the efforts of the international community to besiege [terror] and fight it, terror is still alive and kicking, striking everywhere and killing victims of every gender and religion.
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.