May 19, 2019

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10/30 Links Pt1: Glick: Jordan’s King Abdullah — Weak, Untrustworthy, and Irreplaceable; No disguising Abbas’ anti-Semitism; Restore deterrence in Gaza now

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/10/1030-links-pt1-glick-jordans-king.html

From Ian:


Caroline Glick: Jordan’s King Abdullah — Weak, Untrustworthy, and Irreplaceable
It is an open secret, seldom discussed, that the regime of King Abdullah II of Jordan is extraordinarily weak.

He is viewed in the U.S. as a close ally, whose counsel is sought by senior officials and foreign policy practitioners. But more than an ally, Abdullah is a dependent. Without the U.S. — and to a similar degree, without Israel — the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan would not long survive.

The weakness of the Kingdom has two sources. First, Jordan is poor. It lacks natural resources, and due to the regime’s failure to liberalize the economy or reform the legal system in order to cultivate economic growth and productivity, there are few opportunities for private advancement. The average Jordanian lives in poverty. Per capita income in Jordan is $3,238 per year.

The second source of the Kingdom’s weakness is the unpopularity of the regime. The Hashemites are Beduins. They were installed as monarchs of the area by the British in the aftermath of World War I. The vast majority of the population is Palestinian, not Beduin. The Palestinian majority in Jordan is systematically discriminated against by the regime. That regime-based discrimination has escalated steeply in recent years. Palestinians have been ejected from the military and denied the right to work in various professions.

The Hashemite regime is based on an alliance it built with the other Beduin tribes east of the Jordan River. But the bonds between the Hashemites and the other Beduin tribes have been steadily eroding. Over the past year, the Beduin have been leading mass, countrywide protests against the regime. They demand the transformation of the monarchy from an effective dictatorship, where Abdullah controls all aspects of the government, into a constitutional monarchy along the lines of the British monarchy. Several of the tribes are allied with Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda.

The weakness of the Kingdom of Jordan is the cause of King Abdullah’s abrupt announcement on Sunday that Jordan is canceling two annexes of the 1994 peace treaty it signed with Israel. The annexes in question set the terms for Israel’s 25-year lease of lands along the border with Jordan, at the Tzofar enclave in the Arava desert in Israel’s south, and at the so-called Isle of Peace at Naharayim, adjacent to the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

No disguising Abbas’ anti-Semitism

One can feign understanding for Abbas’ ability to ‎defraud the Israeli Left, and even for his resolve ‎to keep paying terrorists’ stipends, but one cannot ‎accept the malevolence of a Holocaust denier like ‎Abbas when he tries to belittle the Jewish tragedy ‎by repeatedly enlisting the number “6 million” to ‎inflate his bogus claim of refugees. Arabs who fled Israel during its 1948 War of Independence numbered, at most, around 700,000.

When piercing the motivation of sanctimonious ‎Holocaust deniers and examining their arguments ‎against Israel one always circles back to their ‎anti-Semitism. Some boycott “only” the “occupation”; ‎some disguise their desire to destroy us with their ‎‎”profound concern” for the Palestinians; some ‎boycott Israel out of “concern for its fate”; and ‎some “only target Zionists, not Jews.”‎

But getting to the core of the multilayered facade ‎of these “lovers of Zion” is akin to pulling apart a ‎matryoshka doll, whose hollow core houses wooden ‎dolls of decreasing size. It is only in the very ‎last piece that the truth – pure anti-Semitism – ‎lies. ‎

The matryoshka doll principle also applies to the ‎mudslinging between the Israeli Right and Left. ‎Beyond the Left’s grudges and false claims about ‎political failures and corruption, the heart of the ‎matter – the smallest doll, if you will – is the ‎Left’s regret that time and again it cannot regain ‎the reins of power. ‎

And last but by all means not least: The Pittsburgh ‎synagogue shooting demonstrated that Jews are being ‎killed simply for being Jews. A gunman does not stop ‎to check if one is a BDS supporter, a virulent ‎critic of Israel in the U.N., a New Israel Fund ‎lobbyist or merely a naive ideologue. Your death may ‎be banal, just because you are a Jew.‎

Mahmoud Abbas: We Will Continue to Pay The Families Of Martyrs, Prisoners, And The Wounded

Speaking at a PLO Central Council meeting, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian government will continue to pay salaries to the families of martyrs, prisoners, and wounded Palestinians, even if salaries are subtracted from Palestinian money held by Israel. He said that the families are sacred, and stated: “Even if we only have one cent left, it should go to them and not to the living.” Abbas also denied the claim that there are only 40,000 Palestinian refugees left, and said that today there are six million Palestinian refugees. Abbas’ remarks aired on Palestine TV on October 28, 2018.

In dramatic move, PLO pulls out of all agreements with Israel

The Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central ‎Council declared that it was suspending its ‎recognition of Israel until Israel agrees to acknowledge an ‎independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders ‎and with east Jerusalem as its capital, Ramallah’s Wafa news agency reported Monday.‎

The council further decided to suspend all security ‎and economic ties with Israel, as outlined in the ‎‎1994 Paris Economic Protocol.‎

The decision, announced after a ‎two-day meeting ‎in Ramallah, is declarative and nonbinding, the ‎report said.‎

According to the report, the PLO essentially wants ‎to cease compliance with the 1993 Oslo Accord, on ‎which the Israeli-Palestinian peace ‎process is founded. ‎

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would ‎‎have to ratify the council’s decision for it to ‎‎actually spell the PA backing out of the Oslo ‎‎Accords. ‎

‎”In view of Israel’s continued denial of the signed ‎agreements, the PLO Central Council, in confirmation ‎of its previous decision and considering that the ‎transitional phase no longer exists, hereby decides ‎to end the commitments of the PLO and the ‎Palestinian Authority toward its agreements with the ‎occupying power, suspend recognition of the State of ‎Israel until its recognition of the State of ‎Palestine on the June 4, 1967 borders with al-Quds [‎Jerusalem] as its capital; end security ‎coordination in all its forms, and disengage ‎economically from Israel on the grounds that the ‎transitional phase, including the Paris Economic ‎Protocols, no longer exist,” the PLO said in a statement ‎quoted ‎by Arab media.‎

Israeli politicians: PLO torpedoing peace with vote to not recognize Israel

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon slammed the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday, after the PLO Central Council decided to suspend its recognition of the state of Israel late Monday night.

The PLO said that it would rescind its recognition of Israel until the Jewish state recognizes the state of Palestine at the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital. The decision taken on Monday night at the end of the two-day meeting in Ramallah, is non-binding.

“This is a big mistake,” Kahlon, who is chairman of the Kulanu Party and a member of Israel’s security cabinet, told Army Radio. “Over the last year, Ramllah has become more and more extreme and is torpedoing any chance of an agreement. Their desire is to starve the Gaza Strip.”

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said that the PLO’s decision was a “bad joke.”

For all we care, they can decide not to recognize the sun, the invention of the wheel, and gravity,” Lapid said. “We established a glorious state with our own hands without asking anyone. We will continue to build strong and safe Israel and when the Palestinians decide to recognize reality they are more than welcome to give us a call.”

MEMRI: Fatah Revolutionary Council Member And Columnist In Palestinian Authority Daily Presents Distorted Version Of Israeli Anthem: ‘We Shall Thrust Our Spears Into The Chests Of The Enemies And See Their Spilt Blood And Severed Heads’

In an October 28, 2018 article, Muwaffaq Matar, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council and a regular columnist for the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, attacked Arab countries for normalizing their relations with Israel, especially the UAE and Qatar, which are hosting Israeli athletes as part of the 2018 Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi and the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Doha. He called this a violation of the principles of the Arab League and of the resolutions of the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which state that normalization between Israel and the Arabs will happen only after an agreed-upon solution is found for the Palestinian problem. He condemned the playing of the Israeli anthem at the tournaments, and presented its words, claiming that it includes lines such as “we shall thrust our spears into the chests of our enemies and see their spilt blood and severed heads.”

The following are excerpts from his article:
“Who could have imagined such a situation? The Palestinian leadership achieves breakthroughs on the front against the Israeli occupation state, [a front] that stretches from Europe to every corner of the world, and attains political and diplomatic achievements for the Palestinian people and their just cause, which is the chief cause of the Arab nation. [Yet] at the same time, the Israeli occupation state achieves significant breakthroughs in terms of normalization [with countries] within our own strategic Arab depth, and attains achievements that serve the claim of the racist Binyamin Netanyahu, head of the extremist and terrorist [Israeli ] coalition government, that ‘Israel and the Arabs form a single front against Iran’!

“We understand perfectly well that [various] Arab countries and their governments have their own interests, which nobody should interfere in, but we [nevertheless wish to] remind our Arab brothers of the Arab [peace] initiative, which they signed at the 14th [Arab League] summit in Beirut in 2002, which stated as follows:

“‘As part of adopting the Saudi initiative by the [Arab] summit council as an Arab peace initiative, the council requests that Israel reconsider its policies and incline towards peace, and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.

“‘The council further demands the following from [Israel]:
“‘A. Full withdrawal from all the Arab occupied territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied territories in the south of Lebanon.
“‘B. Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
“‘C. The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

PMW: Fatah to Arabs in Jerusalem: Boycott today’s Israeli municipal elections

Today, municipal elections are held all over Israel, and Arabs with either citizenship or residency status are able to vote and have influence.

Yesterday, Abbas’ Fatah Movement followed the lead of the PA’s religious leaders who have prohibited running and voting in the elections as an Islamic ruling, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch. Fatah posted five posters on Facebook calling Palestinians to “boycott the occupation’s municipal elections.” The movement even had a special logo for this, showing a ballot box which is crossed out. Text on the logo says: “Boycott the occupation’s municipal elections.”

This image shows Arab residents confronting Israeli soldiers as a building is being demolished.

Posted text: “The municipality is the arm of the occupation in Jerusalem
Boycott the occupation’s municipal elections”
Text on left side of image: “The municipality is the arm of the occupation arm in Jerusalem
The National and Islamic Forces in Jerusalem”

Isi Leibler: Restore deterrence in Gaza now

Israel was created as a haven for the Jewish people. It has an obligation to protect all its citizens, yet it has failed to do so for the residents living close to the Gaza Strip border.

The time has come to say to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman: Enough is enough.

To summarize the situation:

  • Hamas’ unyielding objective is the destruction of the Jewish state and murder of Jews.
  • Most Gazan residents are unemployed and impoverished but foreign aid has been diverted to military purposes.
  • Iranian financial and military support has created a military infrastructure throughout the Strip utilizing mosques, hospitals and schools as weapon storage bases and launching sites.
  • Hamas dispatches terrorists into Israel to murder Jews. Those who succeed are hailed as heroes and financially rewarded.
  • Hamas has built many tunnels to infiltrate terrorists behind Israeli lines. The IDF possesses sophisticated equipment that has identified and destroyed most of the tunnels.
  • Hamas orchestrates a protest campaign that, since March 30, regularly brings thousands to the Israeli border for “peaceful demonstrations” that include hurling firebombs, firing weapons, throwing rocks and storming the border. The IDF seeks to avoid lethal responses, but when endangered, it has taken firm action. Over 200 Palestinians – many identified as Hamas operatives – have been killed.
  • The Palestinians have been floating balloons into Israel carrying flammable material and bombs. To date, they have destroyed thousands of acres of agricultural land, impoverishing many farmers in the area.

Washington Institute [anti-Israel site]: New Polls Show Most Gazans Want Jobs, Not Mobs

Behind the headlines of violent border protests by Hamas against Israel, the reality on the ground among ordinary Palestinians in Gaza looks very different. Two new, reliable Palestinian opinion polls taken inside Gaza this month demonstrate that the majority of its people actually oppose those protests—and at least half would even support a formal cease-fire with Israel.

More surprising still, most Gazans say they want direct dialogue with Israelis, and would like Israeli companies to provide jobs for them inside that Hamas-ruled territory. Most also blame Hamas, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, or the UN, not Israel, for their severe economic woes. Moreover, remarkably, a plurality of Palestinians in Gaza say they want Hamas to change its rejectionist position and agree to make peace with Israel.

The findings of these unexpectedly moderate views are based on two face-to-face, standard probability polls among representative samples of approximately 500 randomly selected respondents during the period of October 3-15. One poll was supervised by the highly experienced, Bethlehem-based Palestine Center for Public Opinion. The other, a condensed version with selected key questions, was run by a different but equally qualified Ramallah-based organization. To optimize access and validity, both organizations used local Gazan interviewers and field supervisors exclusively.

Adding to the credibility of this quite contrarian picture, the data sets from these two polls are broadly similar (though with some differences noted below). Also, to ensure maximum reliability, I traveled to the region during the fieldwork to consult in person with the pollsters and interviewers, help edit and translate the questionnaires into Arabic, confirm their technical proficiency and quality controls, and iron out any practical problems—of which there were mercifully few.

More specifically, regarding the weekly Hamas-led border protests, just 36 percent of Gazans support this tactic, while 62 percent say they oppose it. Conversely, a formal cease-fire with Israel garners more support than opposition: 73 to 25 percent in one poll; 51 to 45 percent in the other.

Israeli-Arab MK Zoabi: Gazans will not give up because they are right

MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) denounced Israel’s policy responding to violence along the Gaza border, saying Monday, “this regime does not stop at any point, not even [at] the most humiliating.”

Calling Sunday’s deaths of three Palestinian children a murder, Zoabi wrote on Twitter, “[Defense Minister Avigdor] Liberman is waging a war for his master.”

“The residents of Gaza will not give up because they are right,” Zoabi wrote.

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip late Sunday night, demanding revenge for the deaths and called on the Islamic Jihad to fulfill the promise they made over the weekend of “blood will be answered with blood.”

According to the IDF, its aircraft struck “a squad of three terrorists who tried to sabotage [the Gaza security barrier] and apparently planted an explosive device” near it.

Palestinian media reported that the dead were two 13-year olds and one 14-year old from Khan Younis.

In a swift response to Zoabi’s tweet, MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu), a member of Liberman’s party, shot back, writing “it’s funny that some people think that you’re not a terrorist. As in the case of the killers of Gil-Ad Shaer, Yaakov Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, may God avenge their blood, you also give your backing to these terrorists,” referring to the three boys that were kidnapped and killed in 2014, which lead to Israel launching the military Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

“Those who support terrorists and set out on terror flotillas are terrorists,” Forer tweeted.

JCPA: Iran Pushes for Escalation of Violence in Gaza

Iran is unhappy with Egypt’s involvement in the mediation between Israel and Hamas to achieve calm in the Gaza Strip.

Toward the end of October 2018, Israel and Hamas were very close to reaching an understanding for temporary calm in Gaza. On October 26, 2018, the Al-Hayat newspaper reported that understandings had been achieved to reduce the violence. The launching of incendiary balloons and Molotov cocktails and attempts to infiltrate into Israel would all stop in exchange for Israel easing the embargo on Gaza.

This developments led to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, during a tour of the area of the Kerem Shalom crossing, to express hope that Friday, October 26, would be calmer. In fact, matters immediately spun out of control, and five Palestinians were killed in riots on the Gaza border. Islamic Jihad, directed by Iran, decided to react to the Israeli “slaughter” by firing dozens of missiles at Israeli civilian towns.

Islamic Jihad has a new leader, Ziad Nahlah, who is based in Beirut, Lebanon. His finger is quick on the trigger, and he is yearning to prove himself very quickly, just one month after his election to his new position.

Nahlah created Islamic Jihad’s military wing, known as Saraya al-Quds (the Jerusalem brigade). Previously, he served as deputy to the organization’s previous leader Abdullah Ramadan Shalah, who is incapacitated as the result of a serious stroke.

Nahlah is bound by money and extreme ideology to Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian al-Quds brigade of the Revolutionary Guard.

Iran is bankrolling all the activities of Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the West Bank, and providing it with new weapons. Islamic Jihad is the second largest organization in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, and there is a very high level of coordination between both groups.

Egyptian intelligence officials in Gaza for resumption of ceasefire talks

Egyptian intelligence officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday for the latest round of talks aimed at brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, according to Arabic-language media outlets.

The new round of talks follows a reported demand by Hamas leaders on Saturday that Israel permit the transfer to the Gaza-based terror group of $15 million in cash from Qatar every month in order to prevent further escalation in the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli officials have roundly rejected the demand, Hadashot TV news reported.

In the document handed to Egyptian officials, the group’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar said the organization expects Israel to transfer the money by Thursday, the report said.

According to the news station, the demand for cash is intended to circumvent the Israeli coordination and supervision mechanism that was in place until now, according to which the Palestinian Authority would pay Gaza worker salaries transparently.

Tensions along the restive border once again ramped up over the weekend, with heavy rocket fire on Israeli communities in the south and retaliatory strikes from the IDF, threatening to bring the sides back to the brink of war.

IDF to investigate soldiers’ role in death of Gaza medic

The IDF on Monday said it would open an investigation into the death of Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najar, who was killed during a Gaza border fence riot in June. The Military Advocate General’s Office decided to act after studying the findings of an initial inquiry, a statement said.

The military said in June that initial findings from the investigation showed she was not deliberately shot by soldiers.

Gaza health officials and witnesses said soldiers shot and killed Najar, 21, a volunteer medic, as she ran toward the border fence, east of Khan Younis, in a bid to reach casualties in a border riot.

Also Monday, a Palestinian man was killed and 25 were wounded during violent protests along the Gaza Strip’s beachfront border with Israel, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

Witnesses said dozens of protesters in the north of the Hamas-controlled enclave burned tires and threw stones at Israeli troops positioned behind the border fence and that soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas.

The Gaza Health Ministry said a 27-year-old Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire.

The IDF, estimating the crowd at around 3,000 protesters, said explosive devices were also thrown at troops deployed on the Israeli side of the fence along the beach.

Has Intra-Islamic Violence in the Middle East Finally Peaked?

Much of the bloodshed that has wracked the Middle East in the past decade has been motivated by intra-Islamic religious differences—most often pitting Shiites against Sunnis, but also Sunnis against Alawites (the ruling religious minority in Syria) and Islamic State against everyone who has not accepted its own particular brand of Sunnism. To Hassan Hassan, this violence has marked the culmination of four decades of sectarian conflict in the Muslim world that began with the Islamic Revolution in Iran in the late 1970 and the subsequent rise of the Salafist-jihadist ideology that motivates al-Qaeda and Islamic State. He now believes this period is coming to an end:

In May, Iraq held its first nonsectarian election since 2003. In contrast to previous elections, public sectarian discourse was noticeably absent. Most of the political blocs campaigned with cross-sectarian slogans. . . . Before the election, it also became common to hear politicians and commentators emphasizing the need to rise above sectarianism and vengefulness in order to stabilize the country. . . .

The rapprochement between Shiite leaders like Moqtada al-Sadr and Iraq’s Sunni neighbors is reinforcing this trend. The cleric—once notorious for his hardline views, his prominent role in Iraq’s post-2003 bloody civil wars, and his [followers’] attacks against American soldiers—visited Riyadh last year. The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, also visited Baghdad six months earlier. Within Iraq, Sadr is now known for his comparatively moderate political and religious views that emphasize the inclusion and better treatment of Sunnis in Iraq. . . .

Recent changes in Saudi Arabia’s posturing, [meanwhile], might help to close off a major source of the new brand of sectarianism [as well]. Since the rise of the new crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has taken a different direction. Bin Salman has specifically referred to 1979, [the year the kingdom began exporting its own intolerant brand of Islam and encouraging anti-Shiite sentiment], as a year that changed the kingdom and said that he wanted to shift away from the policies that followed. His rhetoric, as many now recognize, is just that—rhetoric. But some aspects of his policies will have a real, positive impact. . . .

MEMO [anti-Israel site]: 15 Arab, Islamic Countries Cooperate with Israel

Twenty per cent of the Arab and Islamic countries possess diplomatic relations with Israel, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) global campaign reported yesterday.

“Nine Arab countries possess full diplomatic ties with the Israeli occupation, while six others who are experiencing lower-scale relations with Israel,” BDS said in its recent reports entitled “The reality of normalisation in the Arab and Islamic world.”

BDS warned the Arab states of what it described as a “dangerous reality” resulting from the “Arab countries’ unprecedented normalisation with Israel.”

The Palestinian-led campaign called on all the Arab and Islamic countries “to renounce normalisation with the occupation [Israel] as well as pressuring them to recognise the rights of the Palestinian people.”

The anti-Israel organisation pointed out that it has been following what it described as “formal and informal normalisation” across the Arabic region, accusing some complicit countries of “committing an unforgivable crime.”

“Palestinians won’t forgive anyone who normalises with the Zionist entity [Israel],” the boycott organisation stressed.

New Palestinian “Concern” for International Conventions

Thus, the HRW report confirms what the Gatestone Institute has been reporting for years: that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have been cracking down on dissent and illegally incarcerating and torturing Palestinians.

Hamas and the PA have yet to respond to the serious allegations of arbitrary arrests and torture. Instead of responding to these charges, the two Palestinian parties are busy inciting against Israel. The proposed Israeli law is a temporary measure, aimed at forcing Hamas to release information about the four Israelis held in the Gaza Strip. There would be no need for the law were Hamas prepared to honor international and humanitarian conventions and allow visits by the ICRC and other international agencies to the Israelis it is holding.

Hamas is a terrorist group that flouts international laws and norms. It tramples the rights of its own people, whom it arbitrarily arrests and tortures — how would any Israeli who falls into its hands fare?

The families of the Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons know where their sons are. They also know that their sons are receiving proper medical treatment and are whiling away their days reading, exercising and watching television. But the Israelis held by Hamas can only dream of seeing daylight as they languish in captivity. When Hamas cries foul over the proposed Israeli law, the true foulness rests in their two-faced barbarity.

Brazil’s New President, Like Trump, Is Strong On Israel

The new right-wing president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, is a staunch supporter of Israel who once said, “My heart is green, yellow, blue and white,” referring to the Brazilian and Israeli flags. Bolsonaro won 53% of the vote in the general election; his chief rival, far-left Fernando Hadad, won 42% of the vote.

When Bolsonaro gave his acceptance speech on Sunday, broadcast from his home, there was a Jewish menorah in the background. Bolsonaro’s middle name, Messias, literally means “messiah.”

Bolsonaro has said he will move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv; he has also said his first international trip will be to visit Israel. In addition, he has vowed to close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia. He said recently, “Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here. You do not negotiate with terrorists.”

Brazil’s former president, Dilma Rouseff, who was impeached, hated Israel; in 2014, the Brazilian government recalled its ambassador to Israel when Hamas went to war with Israel; a former special adviser to Rouseff called the IDF actions during the war a “massacre.”

Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, told JTA, “Bolsonaro stood out among the many candidates for including the State of Israel in the major speeches he made during the campaign. He is a lover of the people and the State of Israel.”

After 13 Years as Chancellor, Merkel to Step Down in 2021

With her popularity waning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will step down from her position and as leader of the right-wing CDU party in 2021, having served 18 years as party leader and almost 13 years as chancellor.

“I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends,” she announced at a news conference on Monday.

“As chancellor and leader of the CDU, I’m politically responsible for everything—for successes and for failures,” she said.

“When people are telling us what they think of how the government was formed and what they think of our work during the first seven months of this parliament … then it is a clear signal that things can’t carry on as they are,” she continued. “The time has come to open a new chapter.”

Merkel’s party was heavily weakened in Sunday’s poll in the state of Hesse, contributing to a series of problems for CDU, which has lost voters to the far-right AfD party.

According to preliminary results, the CDU and its national coalition partners, the Social Democrats, trailed by 11 percentage points in the poll to 27 percent—the party’s worst showing in the state, having dominated the area over the last 19 years.

Australia Unmoved by Indonesia’s Threat of ‘Mass Rallies’, Boycotts if Embassy Moves to Jerusalem

Australia has been warned that any attempt to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would risk a backlash in Indonesia including “mass rallies” and boycotts of Australian products.

Canberra announced the move earlier this month as a sign of support for the only free democracy in the Middle East. However a Human Rights Watch researcher warned on Tuesday that Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, will not look favourably on the matter.

Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, told SBS News he predicted “mass rallies” and “massive traffic jams” around the Australian embassy in the capital Jakarta if the plan was implemented.

“Of course, the protests will be aimed at Australian embassies, consulates, Australian companies,” he said.

Israel has already applauded the Australian intention to move its diplomatic presence, a sign of the warm relations between the two countries:

Senior official: Israel has attacked Syria since Russian spy plane downed

Israel has attacked targets in Syria since the downing of the Russian intelligence plane on September 18, a senior Israeli official said on Monday.

The official said that the military coordination with Moscow is continuing as it did before the downing of the plane, in which 15 Russian airmen were killed.

That incident, where Syria downed the Russian plane after an Israeli attack on an Iranian target, triggered a mini-crisis in ties between Jerusalem and Moscow, and led Moscow to transfer S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries to Syria.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman alluded to continued Israeli attacks in Syria during a KAN Bet radio interview earlier this month, saying that just because you don’t hear something, doesn’t meant nothing is happening.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said three weeks ago that he would be meeting “shortly” with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Syria following the downing of the plane, may meet with the Russian leader in Paris at the end of next week.

Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to Paris on November 10 for two days to take part in events marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. French President Emmanuel Macron has invited some 80 world leaders to attend, including Putin, Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.

In first, Israel names woman as ambassador to Egypt

The Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee named Amira Oron as Israel’s next ambassador to Egypt, which will make her Jerusalem’s first female ambassador to Cairo since diplomatic ties were established in 1980.

Oron, a veteran diplomat, previously served as Israel’s charges d’affaires in Ankara. Turkey expelled Israeli ambassador in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara incident, and Oron was the highest ranking Israeli diplomat in the country from 2015 until a new ambassador – also since shown the door following yet another crisis in relations between the two countries – was appointed in 2016.

Other positions she held at the ministry include deputy spokesman and head of the ministry’s Arab Media Department. Oron will replace David Govrin, who has held the position since 2016.

Is America ready for Iran’s plans in Jordan and Lebanon?

Every time America tries to pivot its foreign policy toward China and the Far East, the Middle East comes calling. If policy makers in Washington think it’s a binary choice between the challenges of China and North Korea vs. the recurring malignant variants of Shi’ite and Sunni Islamism undermining our national security interests, they are sadly mistaken.

America is safer and the world functions better when America is engaged throughout the world, leading from strength and not from behind. Those who equate engagement with only military action mislead the conversation, as military strength leverages diplomacy, economic sanctions and other tools.

Predicting what’s next in the Middle East is a slippery slope. Who would have predicted the Khashoggi debacle or the 2011 Arab Winter? Yet, it is still imperative for the United States to invest the time and resources to analyze the likely possibilities of what’s coming next to create flexible strategies.

The US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute says, “One of the Department of Defense’s most important tools for strategy development under uncertainty is scenario planning… using alternative future scenarios to test prospective capabilities, concepts, and policies.”

We must therefore plan for how America will respond to the dangerous and inevitable situations brewing in both Lebanon and Jordan.

First, there is little doubt Israel will attack Iranian-controlled precision missile factories in Lebanon just as it did in Syria.

Second, the precarious Hashemite hold on Jordan due to the deteriorating economic conditions is being exploited by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, which is trying to undermine King Abdullah’s government.

Iranian president’s mobile phone was tapped, official says

Iranian officials say President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone was tapped, without providing details on who was behind it or what information they might have gleaned.

The semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency on Monday quoted Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of a military unit charged with countersabotage operations, as saying Rouhani’s phone was tapped “recently” and would be replaced with a more secure device. He did not provide further details.

Iran moved to boost its cyber capabilities in 2011 after the Stuxnet computer virus destroyed thousands of centrifuges involved in its contested nuclear program. Stuxnet is widely believed to be an American and Israeli creation.

Congress Goes to War With Treasury Department Over Saving Iranian Financial Access

Congress is working to pass new legislation that would completely cut Iran’s access to international financial systems amid criticism by Iran hawks that the Trump administration’s Treasury Department is seeking to keep these financial lines open, a major concession to Tehran and European allies scrambling to save the landmark nuclear agreement.

U.S. officials familiar with Congress’s effort to take the reins on tough new Iran sanctions ahead of a Nov. 4 snapback deadline have been battling with the Treasury Department over its efforts to allow Iran to remain connected to the SWIFT banking system, which facilitates cross-border transactions and has provided Iran with a key lifeline to the West.

Iran hawks on Capitol Hill are said to be frustrated over the Treasury Department’s efforts, telling the Washington Free Beacon that some officials in the Trump administration are walking back the president’s promise to reimpose a bevy of new sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the nuclear deal.

The Free Beacon first reported last week on the internal battle in the administration over the extent of sanctions and efforts by some European allies to pressure the United States into keeping Iran involved in the international marketplace.

While Trump and top officials such as National Security Adviser John Bolton have publicly advocated for a hardline on Iran, pressure from the Europeans appears to have worn down the Treasury Department, which first told the Free Beacon last week that Iran’s connection to SWIFT could remain intact.



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