Jordan terminating peace treaty annexes start of a process, not the end
Jordan’s announcement on Sunday that it wanted to opt out of annexes from its 1994 peace treaty with Israel that leased two border areas that historically were difficult to delineate to Israel is a sign that not all is well in ties between the two countries. .
More precisely, not all is well in ties between Israel and the Jordanian people.
The government to government ties between Jerusalem and Amman are strong, with both sides recognizing that while the other might not always do what they want, both their interests are supremely served by peace and cooperation. Where there is a problem is at the people to people level, or, more precisely, at the Jordanian people.
In very general terms, it’s fair to say that the 1994 peace agreement did not filter down to Jordanian masses. The Jordanians might already be drinking Israeli water, are scheduled to be heating their homes with Israeli natural gas in 2020, and benefit in numerous ways from security cooperation with Israel, but, for the most part, they don’t like Israel.
And this is something that King Abdullah II has to take into account.
Jordan’s announcement on Sunday regarding the Naharayim (Baqura) area near the Kinneret and part of Zofar (al Ghamar), in the Arava, did not knock anyone off their chair in Jerusalem. There has been talk for months inside Jordan of the need to regain those two areas. There have been debates in parliament, and even protests on the streets – much of it led by Islamic elements inside the Hashemite Kingdom.
Abdullah is in vice. While he needs the peace treaty with Israel for the security of his regime, he has domestic Islamic elements to deal with and at times placate. He is also dealing with Syrian crisis, which has not only inundated his country with refugees, but also put Iran perilously close.
The language Abdullah used in announcing the move – Jordanian land, Jordanian interests– is a bone thrown to the Islamists.
The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin saw the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan as one of his most important diplomatic achievements, if not the most important one. Unlike the skepticism he expressed over the Oslo Accords and then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s commitment to them, Rabin was sure that King Hussein would live up to his word.
There is something symbolic in the fact that on the anniversary of Rabin’s assassination according to the Hebrew calendar, King Abdullah announced that he would not renew one of the annexes his father signed 24 years ago, leasing agricultural borderlands to Israel.
The Jordanian announcement is neither a big surprise nor a move that has far-reaching strategic significance. After all, these are Jordanian lands and it stands to reason that Jordan would have reimposed its sovereignty over them at some point, as no country in the Middle East would ever agree to relinquish territories over time.
Saudi Arabia did the same with respect to Tiran and Sanafir islands, which were administered by Egypt for years before Riyadh reimposed its sovereignty over them in 2017.
The problem, therefore, is not in the move per se, but in the manner and timing in which the Jordanians chose to declare they were essentially disavowing the spirit of the 1994 peace agreement and turning their backs on the partnership forged between Rabin and Hussein.
Several analysts said that while the king’s decision was likely the result of heavy lobbying by opponents of the peace agreement with Israel, it was still possible for Israel to maintain its access to Naharayim and Tzofar.
“I think that the negotiations between the two sides may result in a different situation whereby the two governments may agree to continue, to extend the validity of this annex concerning to these two pieces of land between them,” said Oded Eran, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies and former Israeli ambassador to Jordan.
“We have leverage. There are so many interests that we have with Jordan,” said Robbie Sabel, a former legal adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry who was involved in the Israeli-Jordanian peace negotiations.
Water and security are just two of the main areas where Jerusalem and Amman cooperate very closely, he noted.
“What we want to do is solve this issue quietly. We’re not going to threaten Jordan; that would not be in our interest. It is in Israel’s interest to have a secure and stable Jordan. Jordan is a strategic ally, though it’s not an ally based on friendship.”
Alan Baker, another former Foreign Ministry legal adviser who played an important role in drafting the 1994 peace treaty, said there was fifty-fifty chance that Israel could get Jordan to rethink its decision to terminate the annex about Naharayim and Tzofar.
While the Hashemite kingdom was perfectly in its right to reclaim these areas, Israel has “sovereign prerogatives of our own that Jordanians enjoy,” such as the right to fly over Israeli airspace.
“This is not a one-way street,” he said. “There are two sides. The Jordanian government, public and security establishment all enjoy various aspects of the peaceful relationship, and they want to continue to enjoy it and even enhance it. Hence, there’s plenty of room to discuss the nature of the bilateral relationship.”
Under Oslo Agreements, PA obliged to ensure “free access” and worship – even bus stops – for 12 specified Jewish Holy Sites. Today, all remain completely unaccessible. Instead of free access & worship, they are just free of worship. Hello @UNESCO @UNHumanRights @hrw @AmnestyCIJ? pic.twitter.com/s08kBlR9WW
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) October 22, 2018
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday declared that Israel had exhausted efforts at reaching an arrangement with the Hamas terror group to end months of violence along the border with the Gaza Strip, and that the time had come for the cabinet to make a decision on military action.
Liberman’s comments came days after a Palestinian rocket attack on Beersheba that drew a series of Israeli airstrikes on targets in Gaza. Egyptian and United Nations mediators have been working to reach an agreement between the two sides to calm the situation.
Speaking at the start of a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Liberman said the aim was to return the situation to the way it was before the end of March, when Palestinians in Gaza began weekly violent protests at the border.
“We have exhausted all of the options, and now it is time to make decisions,” he said. “My position is very clear: We need to deliver a powerful blow to Hamas — that is the only way to get the situation back to the way it was before and to lower the level of violence to zero, or nearly zero.
“That needs to be a decision by the cabinet,” Liberman continued. “I hope the cabinet will make the correct decisions. We have arrived at the point of no choice.”
Iran may be influencing the Hamas terrorist organization to “light things up” in Gaza to deflect Israeli military attention away from countering the ongoing Iranian military presence in Syria, Breitbart Jerusalem chief Aaron Klein contended.
Klein made the comments during a panel discussion on Israel’s i24NEWS.
Speaking on the news network’s Spin Room program, hosted by Ami Kaufman, Klein stated:
I think Hamas is very nervous right now about the economic situation in the Gaza Strip. You’ve got Qatar pouring in fuel bypassing Hamas, bypassing the Palestinian Authority. And Hamas has to turn the anger of the Palestinian population again somebody and so they are trying to turn it against Israel.
And by the way I am also wondering if Iran is sort of hijacking what is going on in the Gaza Strip as well because they are very nervous right now in Syria. And it looks like they might be telling Hamas to light things up in Gaza.
Klein was speaking following a week of escalated attacks against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip, including ramped up violent border riots, an increase in the number of incendiary devices being launched into Israel, the planting of an explosive device at the Israeli border fence, and the firing of two rockets toward central Israel. One rocket landed on an Israeli home in Beersheba, a city of 200,000, while a second rocket reportedly hit near the Tel Aviv area but fell into the sea.
Klein criticized the Israeli government for its willingness to continue negotiating a truce with Hamas while Israeli cities come under fire.
On May 14, 2018, President Donald J. Trump moved the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem. Now Trump has made another decision with tremendous courage and foresight: to merge the United States Consulate in Jerusalem with the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
As a member of the Trump Faith Initiative, I cannot praise this president enough on the incredible steps he has taken not only in Israel, but for the entire Middle East. The merging of the two entities will give US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who is the first United States Ambassador honored with the privilege to serve in Israel’s eternal and undivided capital, the ability to serve in all of Jerusalem.
Unknown to most, the United States Consulate in Jerusalem has a long-standing reputation of working against the State of Israel, as well as against the status quo. The US Consulate is located in western Jerusalem, however, it serves Arabs who live in eastern Jerusalem and works directly under the US State Department, instead of rightfully under the American Ambassador to Israel. It is the US Ambassador, David Friedman, who works directly under the president of the United States and will ensure the continued strengthening of the US-Israel relationship.
This major move will once again affirm Israel and the Jewish people’s connection to all of Jerusalem, a city that King David united and that has been the center of Jewish life for over 3,000 years. The merging of the two entities will also play an important role in the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated again and again: “A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality.”
Thank you President Trump. You have once more recognized reality and made history in Jerusalem, the city of truth.
Australia should ignore critics warning against relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and instead make the move, argued Breitbart Jerusalem chief Aaron Klein.
Klein made the comments (video above) during a panel discussion on Israel’s i24NEWS.
Amid reports that Australia is considering a change in its policy toward Jerusalem, some naysayers argued that such a move could ignite regional violence or impede peace talks.
Speaking on i24NEWS’ Spin Room program, hosted by Ami Kaufman, Klein urged the Australian government to sidestep those critics:
This is the same argument that we heard against moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. What violence? We were talking here about the end of the world. The Arab street would revolt. It was largely silent. So first of all, let’s not feed into this paranoia about the Arab street when it comes to moving embassies to Jerusalem.
And then second, the other argument is that this somehow impedes peace efforts. As if again the Palestinians haven’t refused numerous statehood offers with a capital in Jerusalem. But actually it doesn’t impede any effort because easily if the Palestinians accept a state, then America and others can open up an embassy or a consulate in the eastern sections of Jerusalem. And Australia has traditionally stood with American foreign policy and I think that they are doing that now, as well.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed in a statement that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison informed the Israeli leader during a phone call that his government is “weighing officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem.”
Honest Reporting: Antisemitism: Judas Slur on Jewish Voters
An Australian by-election has taken on local, national and international significance as Australia’s ruling Liberal party fought to hold its a one-seat majority in the parliament. (They didn’t succeed.)
It is not for HonestReporting to take a public stance on the outcome of the Wentworth by-election. However, it is no secret that the Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, was and is a great friend of the country and the Jewish community.
By virtue of this and Wentworth’s large number of Jewish constituents, a controversy broke out as Prime Minister Scott Morrison floated a trial balloon that he was “open” to moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Given the timing, he was accused of trying to cynically buying Jewish votes through foreign policy.
This is a legitimate debate to be had. But an opinion piece by award-winning journalist Tony Walker republished by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), however, goes too far, leading off:
In the Gospel of Matthew 26:15, it took 30 pieces of silver for Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. In modern Australian politics it has taken the prospect of a loss of a byelection for a political leader to opportunistically upend longstanding policy.
It’s one thing for Walker to suggest that Jewish voters in Wentworth have been paid off for their vote. It’s quite another to draw a parallel with the story of Judas and the 30 pieces of silver. When applied to Jews, this is a classic antisemitic trope.
As we’ve noted in a series of Tweets, the Guardian has been obsessed with comments made by Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison expressing a willingness to consider moving Australia’s embassy to Jerusalem. The remarks, made days before a by-election in the community of Wentworth, were interpreted by many as an appeal to the Jewish residents (who make of 13% of the district) to vote for the Liberal Party candidate David Sharma, Australia’s former ambassador to Israel.
Over the course of three days, the Guardian went into full pro-Palestinian advocacy mode, publishing 15 articles and op-eds on Morrison’s comments, some of which were borderline hysterical, focusing not only on predictable Palestinian criticism and the possible diplomatic fallout with Indonesia, but also on what editors seemed to believe would be the inevitable political upheaval and violence if the policy was enacted. The Guardian’s predictions of calamity if Australia moved their embassy mirrored their alarmist predictions ahead of the US decision to move their embassy, prophecies of regional doom which, of course, didn’t come true.
However, at the end of the day, Sharma lost the election, which resulted in the prime minister’s party losing its razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, presumably rendering the prime minister’s Jerusalem comments moot.
But, Guardian contributors still weren’t finished with vilifying the proposal. Their cartoonist ‘First Dog on the Moon’ published a graphic take on the fallout of the election titled ‘Wentworth and the charred remains of the Morrison government’s hopes and dreams’. Whilst most of the cartoon deals with Australian political issues unrelated to Morrison’s embassy comments, it devoted a frame to the row, here:
The head of a German Jewish community has been reported to be, in fact, a non-Jew falsely claiming Jewish heritage.
Wolfgang Seibert, 71, has since 2003 been heading the Jewish community of Pinneberg, a town near Hamburg in northern Germany, and publicly identifies as a Reform Jew.
But family documents show that neither he nor his parents and grandparents are Jewish, and that he hasn’t converted to Judaism, according to a report Friday by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, which called him a “scammer.”
Research revealed that Seibert was born to Christian Protestant parents in Frankfurt and baptized at the age of three days, according to the report.
An Israeli soldier was lightly injured in an apparent stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday morning, the army said.
The assailant was shot and subdued by the serviceman and other troops on the scene, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
“A terrorist tried to stab a soldier near the Tomb of the Patriarchs and lightly wounded him. The soldier and additional forces at the scene responded with live fire,” the army said.
The soldier was a member of the Defense Ministry’s liaison unit, known formally as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
He was walking with an officer from COGAT’s Hebron coordination office when he was attacked. After a brief struggle, the soldier distanced himself from the assailant and shot him.
Pictures from the scene that were posted to social media appeared to show the alleged stabber dead, his body covered by black plastic sheeting.
An indictment was filed on Monday against the terrorist who murdered Ari Fuld, on September 16, 2018, according to IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Fuld,45, was stabbed in the back by 17 year-old Palestinian, Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin, outside the Gush Etzion shopping center.
Mortally wounded, Fuld chased his Palestinian attacker, jumped over a short stone wall and shot him before collapsing. He was evacuated to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds.
Jabarin, who was shot by Fuld and another armed civilian, was evacuated in moderate condition and fully conscious to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
“If there is one word to describe my brother, it was a hero,” Fuld’s brother told mourners at the funeral.
National Union leader and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called the murder “a tremendous loss of a precious person, a hero who fought until his last breath to prevent other citizens from being harmed.”’
iriam Fuld, the widow of Ari Fuld who was murdered last month in a terrorist attack in Gush Etzion, sent a letter to the head of the IDF Central Command calling on him to demolish the home of the terrorist who murdered her husband.
“I have a simple question,” wrote Fuld in a letter addressed to head of the IDF Central Command, Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan, “Why is the decision to demolish the home of the depraved terrorist being delayed?”
“It’s important for me to emphasize,” continued Fuld, “that the desire to advance the home demolition of the murderer does not stem from a place of revenge. Rather, this demand is intended to increase deterrence in order to save lives.”
Fuld added: “Ari won’t return to his family, but I know that he would act as I am, out of a desire to prevent even one more family from experiencing the same pain and suffering that we have.”
Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch, former chief IDF prosecutor in Judea and Samaria, said that the delay is incomprehensible.
“In his last breath, Ari acted with extraordinary courage to protect other citizens from being killed,” said Hirsch. “The family now expects for the security forces to act, like Ari, to protect the citizens of Israel against other murderers and increase deterrence by means of demolishing the terrorist’s home.”
Two top Palestinian officials arrested by Israeli forces over the weekend were held on suspicion helping abduct a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, who was also a US citizen, their lawyers said on Sunday.
Israeli forces arrested Palestinian Authority Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith and Jihad Faqih, the Jerusalem director of the PA General Intelligence Services, on Saturday, but declined to say why.
However, the two are suspected of having assisted in abducting a resident of Jerusalem two weeks ago, who has since been held by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, their lawyers told the Reuters news agency. Both men deny the charges.
Hadashot news reported that the man who had been abducted was wanted by the Palestinians for selling an Arab property in Jerusalem’s Old City to Jewish investors.
The Palestinians frequently hand out the death penalty to those convicted of selling land to Israelis, though PA President Mahmoud Abbas has not authorized the implementation of such executions since his election in 2004.
Instead, he has imposed a sentence of hard labor for life on “anyone diverting, renting or selling land to an enemy state or one of its subjects.”
The Law for the Implementation of the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area – Restriction on Activity – 1994 bans the PA from carrying out any type of activities within the area of Israel, including in east Jerusalem. The purpose of this law is to ensure compliance by the PA concerning the restriction of their activity, and to prevent political, governmental or similar activities within that area.
Last Friday, the Post revealed that PA security forces arrested a Palestinian-American citizen on suspicion of involvement in the sale of a house in the Old City of Jerusalem to a Jewish organization. A US official expressed concern over the arrest of the man and said the State Department was following up on the case with the PA. On Sunday, it was not clear whether the two senior officials, Geith and Fakih, were connected to the arrest of the Palestinian-American.
In recent weeks, the PA and the ruling Fatah faction have been investigating the sale of another Old City house to the Jewish organization, Ateret Cohanim. The Joudeh family, who owned the property, has denied selling the house to Ateret Cohanim. Documents presented by the family show that the house was originally sold to an Arab businessman from east Jerusalem last August.
PA and Fatah officials have described the real estate transaction as an act of “high treason.” Palestinian religious authorities in east Jerusalem reaffirmed a fatwa (religious decree) banning Palestinians from selling property to Israelis. The PA government has formed a commission of inquiry in order to investigate the circumstances surrounding the sale of the house, which is located in the Muslim Quarter.
“The arrest of Geith and Fakih is a new crime against the Palestinian people,” the PA government said in a statement. “It’s also a crime against the Palestinian leadership and our eternal capital, the occupied Arab city of Jerusalem.”
Yusef al-Mahmoud, spokesman for the PA government, accused Israel of seeking to “isolate Jerusalem from its natural surrounding” by arresting the two officials.
A 2,000-year-old antiquities city near Afula were damaged by two antique robbers with a backhoe loader, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery.
The excavation site of Horvat Devora, which has been identified as the biblical city of Dovrat and the Roman-era Jewish town of Davrita, was pillaged last week by looters.
Two Arab brothers in their 30s from the nearby town of Daburiyya are charged with destroying underground tunnels and displacing large ancient building blocks, including pieces of Hellenistic Period basalt grindstones, which were once used to grind flour.
Dovrat was a significant city during its day and a major hub for Jewish activity, with the site featuring the infrastructure of an ancient settlement, including water pits and graves.
The Nature and Parks Authority suspected looters when it detected damage to the site days prior to the discovery, putting Horvat Devora under surveillance.
Nir Distfeld, an IAA northern sector inspector, was quoted by Ynet as saying the “brutal, illegal excavations cause horrible damage to archaeological sites, and irreversibly hurt the historical research that concerns everyone’s history.” The site has apparently suffered repeated robbery attempts from Arabs from the same town.
“The damage is heartbreaking. Luckily, they were arrested before a greater loss was caused,” Distfeld was quoted as saying. “It is important to note that excavating an archaeological site is a felony punishable by up to five years incarceration.”
The Israeli military on Monday accused the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group of conducting clandestine activities along the border with Israel under the guise of an environmental group known as “Green Without Borders.”
The Israel Defense Forces made a similar claim in June 2017, identifying five observation posts owned by the non-governmental organization, which the army said were actually being used to carry out intelligence and reconnaissance work for the Iran-backed terror group.
“Now we are revealing a new position,” said a senior official from the IDF Northern Command.
The alleged Hezbollah observation post was located in the Lebanese town of Aadaysit Marjaayoun, less than a kilometer from the border and from the Israeli community of Misgav Am, according to the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We see them gathering intelligence on Israeli activities,” the official told reporters.
The officer said the military believed that Hezbollah was using that information in order to prepare to commit attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets.
The senior official said the IDF had notified the peacekeeping United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) about the site and hoped it would inspect the observation post.
“We expect UNIFIL to surveil these positions and visit them. Until now, they haven’t done so,” he said.
UNIFIL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
IDF Blog: Hezbollah’s Fake Environmental Organization
“Green Without Borders” would be a great name for an environmental organization. Too bad Hezbollah made it up to disguise their terror activity along the Israel-Lebanon border.
In recent weeks, residents of the Upper Galilee region have witnessed trucks unload countless mounds of sand and watched artificial hills slowly rise, with a tank or armored personnel carrier parked atop each one.
“The hills are being built close to the cement barrier the IDF has been building in recent months along the border,” an area resident told Israel Hayom, referring to Israel’s border with Lebanon. “Judging from what I’ve seen, they are being built opposite Hezbollah watchtowers in a manner that allows [Israeli soldiers] to see past the cement wall, into Lebanon.”
“While they were building the [cement] barrier, I saw a tank overlooking the work, and now we see the same tank on the hill itself,” he said.
However, defense officials told Israel Hayom that there was no connection between the location of Hezbollah’s watchtowers and the location of the artificial hills where the tanks and APCs have been deployed.
According to one Israeli official, the purpose of the new positions is to give the IDF a field of vision beyond the cement barrier that has been built along the border in recent months.
The artificial sand hills are higher than the cement barrier, which is between and 6 to 8 meters (20 to 26 feet) tall.
The sand mounds are part of the army’s broader efforts to erect obstacles along the Lebanese border.
While IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot was in the Gaza Division on Friday to closely monitor the border fence riots, Fox News reported that American and other Western intelligence officials estimate Iran has recently increased the frequency of its advanced weapons deliveries to Hezbollah.
As far as Eisenkot is concerned, this is the real headache he leaves to his successor, who has not only yet to be announced, but will also not have enough time for on-the-job training. According to Fox News’ report, the latest shipments included GPS components meant to upgrade rockets and turn them into precision-guided missiles. Senior officials told the TV network that one of the flights landed in Lebanon on Tuesday. The plane, a Boeing 747, first touched down in Damascus and then continued to Beirut.
Fox News’ report follows another report that noted that “accuracy kits” meant for the long-range missiles the Iranians having in Lebanon, are smuggled on commercial passenger airplanes going directly to the Beirut airport, where they enjoy cooperation from local authorities. This is how Iran overcomes the main obstacle to arms shipments—the possibility they’ll be attacked by Israeli aircraft, as has happened more than once in the past.
This modus operandi is consistent with the pressure Russia has been exerting on Iran in an effort to maintain the quiet in Syria since the Russian intelligence plane was shot down in the Latakia area over a month ago. But this is not enough for Hezbollah, as in addition to the GPS components the Shi’ite terror organization wants more long-range missiles as well as additional components to upgrade the accuracy of the existing missiles.
U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on Thursday: Some in the international community still labor under the misimpression that the Iranian regime might be a responsible international actor, or might abide by the laws of a civilized society. Many, many things about the Iranian regime contradict this premise.
One of the most glaring is the continued use of children to fight and die in Iranian aggression abroad. The use of child soldiers is a moral outrage that every civilized nation rejects, while Iran celebrates it. In the Iran-Iraq War, 36,000 school-aged Iranian children were killed acting as human mine sweepers.
The Basij Resistance Force is a paramilitary force operating under Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Basij indoctrinate school children and provide combat training to children as young as 12 years old. These children are then coerced into fighting abroad for the IRGC. The Basij also targets Afghan immigrants in Iran, some as young as 14 years old, to fight in Syria. Last week, we identified the sources of the Basij’s funding, and took action to cut them off from the global economy and financial system.
The sanctions the United States is leveling against Iran are broad and deep – and for good reason. Any company or individual that does business with this Iranian network is complicit in sending children to die on the battlefields of Syria and elsewhere.
When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (known as MbS) consolidated his power as successor to the throne and de-facto ruler, many in the West had high hopes for him. He allowed women to drive, initiated important economic reforms, cracked down on the export of an intolerant and fundamentalist brand of Islam, and tacitly realigned his country with Israel. But the kidnapping of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his death in custody—whether intentional or accidental—have, in Elliott Abrams’ words, demonstrated the crown prince’s “ignorance about the United States, impulsiveness, brutality, or all three.” Abrams explains how the U.S. should respond:
[T]he image that MbS so carefully built has been smashed. Everyone has been reminded there is no modernizing of the Saudi government, just the sometimes praiseworthy and sometimes disgraceful efforts of one thirty-three-year-old man. Moreover, that man has decided that criticism is tantamount to treason. He has decided that to force the pace of change in the kingdom, as he believes he must, all opposition—whether it comes from within the royal family or from elements of broader Saudi society—must be crushed. No doubt he sees himself as an enlightened despot who must seize all the reins of power or see the brighter future slip away.
This cannot work, for us or for Saudi Arabia. That conclusion is based not only on sentiment or on moral revulsion at what was done to Jamal Khashoggi, whom I knew, but on a realist view of Riyadh. It would not be fair to say that the current Saudi arrangements inevitably led to the gruesome scene in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but that denouement was more a logical byproduct than an accident. . . .
MbS is today crown prince, deputy prime minister (the king always has the additional title of prime minister), defense minister, head of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, head of the Council on Security and Political Affairs, and more. That arrangement is unprecedented for Saudi Arabia and is alien to every other Arab monarchy. . . . Whatever MbS loses in his ability to force through beneficial changes must be given up now, because unrestrained, unlimited power has too often been used badly.
French-Algerian Activist: In Five Years, the Smell of Zionists Will No Longer Be on This Earth
French-Algerian activist Yahia Gouasmi said that there is “no repentance” for Zionism or for Wahhabism and that Zionism would be “uprooted from the land of Palestine.” “We believe that it will not take more than five years, and your smell will no longer be on this Earth,” said Gouasmi, who is the founder of the Shiite Zahra Center and head of the Anti-Zionist Party of France. He made the remarks in an address posted on his YouTube channel on June 3, 2018.
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