July 4, 2020

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11/08 Links Pt1: Dutch MPs call to cut PA funding, following terror survivor’s testimony; The U.S. Must Punish Iran for Its Human-Rights Violations


From Ian:

PMW: Dutch MPs call to cut PA funding, following PMW and terror survivor’s lectures
Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus spoke to members of Dutch Parliament yesterday documenting the many ways in which the Palestinian Authority in itself is the fundamental impediment to peace. Marcus documented PA’s vicious Antisemitism, its indoctrination of children to hatred and terror, as well as the PA’s continued monthly payments to terrorist prisoners and families of killed terrorists.

Members of Dutch Parliament expressed their condemnation of these PA activities and discussed steps that should be taken to stop the funding by their own government.

MP Kees van der Staaij: “I think it’s also important to have now further steps [by the Netherlands] and to stop each payment to Palestinians as long as there is no real progress.”
[Parliament of The Netherlands, Nov. 7, 2018]

The MPs were also addressed by Kay Wilson, a British-born Israeli tour guide who survived a brutal terror attack in 2010. Kay was bound, gagged, and stabbed 13 times with a machete and left for dead, while her Christian friend, Kristine Luken, was murdered.

Kay Wilson: “I watched in horror as a Palestinian terrorist butchered my Christian friend to death right in front of me only because he thought she was a Jew. A second Palestinian terrorist stabbed me 13 times with his machete, snapping my ribs and shattered more than thirty bones. The PA’s rewarding of those two killers and all the other thousands of terrorists in prison is both morally abhorrent and incomprehensible.”
[Parliament of The Netherlands, Nov. 7, 2018]

MEMRI: Contrasting Reactions In Arab World To Gulf States’ Harbingers Of Normalization With Israel

Three events in three Arab Gulf states in the past week have reflected these countries’ process of normalization with Israel. On October 26, 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman, accompanied by the head of the Mossad; the visit was extensively covered by Omani media. Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi declared on several occasions that Israel is a Middle Eastern country that must be accepted as such.

On October 25, Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev arrived in Abu Dhabi to join the Israeli judo team participating in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam; while Israelis had previously participated in this competition, it was the first time their national symbols were allowed to be displayed. The Israeli anthem was even played twice when Israeli judokas won two gold medals. During Minister Regev’s stay in the country, she visited the Sheikh Zayed mosque, named for the founder of the UAE.

The previous week, an Israeli gymnastics team had competed in the 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, under the Israeli national flag.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Oman took place a few days after a similar visit by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ‘Abbas. Omani Foreign Minister bin Alawi stated that ‘Netanyahu’s visit was aimed at presenting the Israelis with ideas to help renew the political process with the Palestinians, but stressed that his country had no intention of serving as a mediator, since that role was reserved for the U.S. Following Netanyahu’s Oman visit, the Omanis sent several messages to ‘Abbas about it. On October 28, Omani Sultan Qaboos’ envoy Salim bin Habib Al-‘Omeiri arrived in Ramallah with a letter for ‘Abbas, and three days later, on October 31, ‘Abbas met with the Omani foreign minister, who conveyed to him a “direct message” from the sultan. The London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that Oman wanted to play an important role in settling both the Palestinian-U.S. and the Palestinian-Israeli disputes.[1]

Additionally, it has been assessed that Netanyahu’s visit also concerned the issue of Iran. The Omani daily Oman reported that Netanyahu and Sultan Qaboos discussed kickstarting the peace process and also “several issues of shared interest that serve security and stability in the region,”[2] perhaps hinting at discussions on that subject.

MEMRI: Kuwaiti Journalist Calls On Arabs To Change Their Attitude Towards Minorities

n a column titled “The Christian Here and the Muslim Over There” in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas, liberal journalist Ahmad Al-Sarraf called for greater tolerance towards religious minorities in the Arab world. He recommended to learn from countries like Senegal and Ethiopia, in which members of religious minorities served as heads of state, and from Europe and America, where Muslims serve in prominent positions.

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

“The following text is attributed to the late Sudanese MP Muhammad Ibrahim [Nugud]: ‘If a Muslim governs me, this will not guarantee me a place in Paradise; if an infidel governs me, he will not keep me out of Paradise, and if I am governed by one who guarantees employment, freedom and self-respect for me and my children, I will stand up to show him my respect and appreciation.

“‘The issue of [attaining] Paradise depends upon my faith and my actions. [So] stop fighting for power in the name of religion, believing that this will lead you to Paradise. The government’s job is not to get people into Paradise, but to provide them with a Paradise here on earth, which may help them attain the heavenly Paradise.’

“Reading this text, I remembered the great African poet Leopold Senghor, who served as President of Senegal for 20 years, from October 1960, when [Senegal received its] independence [from France] until 1980, at which time he voluntarily stepped down in favor of his successor, President Abdou Diouf. Senghor is widely regarded as a world-renowned writer and one of the most important African thinkers of the 20th century. Although 94 percent of the Senegalese are Muslim and only 5 percent are Christian, they elected the Christian Leopold Senghor (b. 1906) to be their president, and reelected him several times before he stepped down of his own accord, and died in France in 2001.

Yoav Gallant: Hamas holding Gaza hostage, lacks military solution

And with a decrease in violence in recent weeks and thanks to a steady supply of fuel to Gaza paid for by Qatar, Palestinian residents have begun to report of an increase in the supply of electricity to as much as 12 to 16 hours a day, almost double the daily average Gazans saw over the past year when electricity was limited to between four and six hours.

But, Gallant stressed, Israel is not responsible for the situation in the coastal enclave.

“We didn’t choose Hamas. The people of Gaza chose Hamas and it is Hamas holding them hostage, not us,” the minister said. “We left Gaza 13 years ago, have they built one school? No. They built tunnels and rockets and continue increasing their terror activities. Gaza is being held hostage by a terror group. There’s no freedom. There’s nothing different than North Korea. It’s the same thing.”

According to Gallant, there is no group or individual who could take over from Hamas, not even the Palestinian Authority “who likes us to fight for them, to sacrifice our soldiers for them.”

Nevertheless, he stressed, no side wants war. Israel also does not want to return to Gaza, nor does it want to reoccupy the Strip.

“Whoever wants to reoccupy Gaza needs to think of the consequences,” he said, explaining that Israel must “strengthen the situation and not destroy it. As long as Hamas keeps Gaza hostage, the first and only solution is to make sure the humanitarian situation is ok.”

“If you give us flowers you will get candy,” Gallant said. “But if you give us rockets, you will get bombed.”

Report: Al-Sisi persuades Abbas to agree to Hamas-Israel ceasefire terms

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has persuaded Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to a ceasefire understanding between Israel and Hamas, which the Egyptian intelligence has worked for months to achieve, according to a report in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat.

Abbas agreed that the ceasefire understanding, which gives Gazans “an opportunity to breath,” would take effect two stages: the first within two weeks and the second within six months, Al-Hayat reported.

According to the report, Israel has agrees to transfer US $90 million from Qatar to Hamas for paying the salaries of Hamas’ government officials for six months, as long the transfer takes place under the auspices of the UN. The Egyptian intelligence delegation, led by General Ahmad Abdel Halik, conveyed Israel’s consent to Hamas. Funds will arrive in the coming days.

It was also reported that Israel agreed to expand exports from the Gaza Strip in the first stage,including fresh produce, furniture and clothing. It was the first time in several years that Gazans were allowed to export merchandise.

PA: No change in Abbas’s stance toward Gaza truce after Sisi meeting

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has persuaded Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, Palestinian sources told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.

However, a senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that he was unaware of any change in Abbas’s position towards the proposed truce between Israel and Hamas.

“President Abbas agreed with the Egyptian president that there was a need to alleviate the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip,” the official said. “But President Abbas also emphasized that Hamas was not authorized to reach any agreement with any party on behalf of the Palestinians.”

Abbas and several senior PA officials have voiced strong opposition to a truce between Hamas and Israel, arguing that such a move would consolidate the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and pave the way for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

According to the paper, Sisi briefed Abbas during their recent meeting in Sharm al-Shiekh on Egypt’s efforts to achieve “calm” in the Gaza Strip and end the ongoing dispute between Hamas and the PA president’s ruling Fatah faction.

The sources quoted Sisi as telling Abbas that the Egyptian efforts were aimed at giving “breathing space” to the residents of the Gaza Strip. Abbas, the sources said, agreed that indeed there was a need to give the residents of the Gaza Strip “breathing space.”

Fmr. Kuwaiti Minister On “Deal of the Century”: Palestinian Cause Is One of Missed Opportunities

During an interview on the Egyptian Mehwar TV channel, Kuwait’s former Minister of Information Sami Abadullatif Al-Nesf praised Oman for supporting the “Deal of the Century” and for wanting to arrive at realistic solutions to the Palestinian issue. Al-Nesf said that the Palestinian cause has paid the price for choosing bad leaders who made bad decisions, and that the Palestinian cause has become the cause of missed opportunities. He also said that nobody has harmed the Palestinian cause as much as the extremists have, and criticized those who claim to love Palestine for wanting “war and fighting down to the very last Palestinian child.” He said that the “Deal of the Century” should not be rejected out of hand, and that those who reject it should offer an alternative. The interview aired on October 27, 2018.

Israeli Officials Let Down Guard On Trump, Kotel

Israeli leaders are tired of hearing the litany of complaints American Jewish leaders have about the growing rift in the diaspora-Israel relationship, with much of the blame directed at the Netanyahu government.

And yet, in a kind of candidness you hear only away from the glare of the cameras, they also understand how queasy the Trump-Bibi bromance makes many American Jews feel, and the policy implications that are at stake regarding the relationship.

Those are two of the takeaways I have from spending the last two weeks in Israel and talking to officials there, in mostly off-the-record conversations.

Yes, these officials will admit in private, we understand that many Conservative and Reform Jews feel like second-class citizens in the eyes of the Chief Rabbinate, and that American Jews have a hard time seeing how our coalition politics — namely the clout of the charedi parties — upended the compromise agreements with diaspora leaders over easing conversion requirements and making the Western Wall area more open to egalitarian prayer.

Further, some officials say they understand that religiously and politically liberal Jews, who make up the great majority of American Jewry, are troubled when members of the Jerusalem government praise President Trump for his full-throated support of Israel while overlooking or dismissing his coarse behavior and divisive political style on a range of domestic and foreign policy issues.

Rivlin, promising peace, joins protest from Gaza border communities

Meeting Israelis students en route from the Gaza border to Jerusalem’s Knesset, President Reuven Rivlin vowed to the protesters that the government would support communities that have suffered under Hamas rocket attacks.

“I promise you: We will not, must not, let the red alert air raid sirens become a routine,” Rivlin said to the students Thursday. “Red will stay the color of the wildflowers.”

The students, part of the “Black South” campaign, began their five-day march on Tuesday to protest against six months of incendiary balloon terror.

As he walked with students, Rivlin said, “I came to march with you on behalf of every citizen of Israel who is following you and is marching with you in spirit.”

Since United States President Donald Trump moved the American embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in May, Hamas has been using incendiary balloons and kites to damage Israeli areas near the Gaza border.

“Eighty-one towns in the Gaza border communities no longer look the same,” the “Black South” students said in a video released before the protest began. “32,000 dunams were scorched because of incendiary kites terror.”

In Jerusalem, new envoys from Cairo and Amman recommit to peace with Israel

The incoming ambassadors of Jordan and Egypt on Thursday recommitted to their respective countries’ peace agreements with Israel, while stressing the need to achieve progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Both Ghassan Majali of Jordan and Khaled Azmi of Egypt handed their letters of credence to President Reuven Rivlin in his Jerusalem residence, officially taking up their positions.

In separate meetings with the two envoys, Rivlin hailed the peace deal with Israel as an anchor of regional stability, but expressed the wish for warmer relations with the Jordanian and Egyptian peoples as well as with their governments.

Both envoys lauded the peace agreements and said there was a need for Israel to also reach an arrangement with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

“Our peace treaty stands as a pillar of stability in the Middle East,” Azmi said in unprepared remarks.

Majali, who previously served as the Jordanian ambassador to Spain, said Jordan was “look[ing] forward during this coming year to witness a breakthrough in the peace process that will enable all parties to enjoy comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”

King Abdullah II “considers reaching peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis a cornerstone to peace and stability in our region and throughout the world,” Majali said in prepared remarks. He said the king considered Israeli-Palestinian peace a top priority.

Sky News Arabia falsely claims Jordan has custody over Jerusalem’s Christian shrines

Sky News Arabia is a joint venture between the UK-based Sky News and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation. As several previous posts have shown, though they claim to strive for unbiased journalism, the network’s website often distorts facts and omits key information in a manner which paints Israel in the most negative possible light. The following article, titled “Coptic Anger after an ‘Israeli assault’ on Deer As-Sultan in Jerusalem”, clearly falls under the “distorting facts” category.

The Arabic article from October 24th covered a recent confrontation between Israeli police and Coptic protesters over a site that constitutes part of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher compound in Jerusalem. Perhaps to justify a potential Jordanian response to the Israeli police’s actions at the compound, the article’s anonymous author writes the following:

“It bares mentioning that the Muslim and Christian shrines in Jerusalem are under the custody of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, according to the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan”

However, the agreement regarding Jerusalem holy sites does not, in fact, deal with Christian shrines at all. It recognizes Jordan’s special role regarding only Muslim shrines, as quoted on the Jordanian government’s website, which includes the full peace agreement: (Article 9, Paragraph II)

FT Skews Khan al-Ahmar Every Which Way

The case of the Bedouin encampment Khan al-Ahmar has become a cause célèbre for many foreign media outlets as well as European governments and non-governmental organizations.

After a decade-long legal battle, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled in September that the Bedouins failed to demonstrated ownership of the land, clearing the way for the government to demolish the ramshackle collection of structures located right next to a main highway east of Jerusalem between the Israeli settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. Currently, the demolition order has been frozen on orders of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to continue the search for a solution that avoids removing the Bedouin residents by force.

That the case has been framed almost entirely as a ‘human rights’ issue has skewed the coverage. After all, cold facts and legal arguments carry little weight when confronted with images of Israeli soldiers and bulldozers ranged against screaming Bedouin women and children fighting for their homes.

It’s these scenes that dominate a five and a half minute video report from the Financial Times that deliberately frames the dispute against Israel with scant regard for Israel’s side of the argument. (And yes, it is an argument with two sides as demonstrated by the exhaustive legal battle that has taken place.)

How did the BBC’s Yolande Knell frame Israeli visits to Gulf states?

Knell’s framing of this story – which places the Palestinian reaction to events unrelated directly to them at the focus of her reports – is obviously noteworthy. Under the sub-heading “Palestinians wary” readers of the written report were told that:

“However, Palestinians are alarmed by the new alliances, developing as President Trump promises to present his “Deal of the Century” plan to end their conflict with Israel.

They fear his administration is looking to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others to pressure them into accepting a peace agreement that does not meet their long-standing demands.

“This kind of attempt to normalise Israel within the region, without Israel normalising its relationship with Palestine and remaining as an occupying power, is counterproductive and dangerous,” says Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) official.

She suggests the latest developments threaten the legitimacy of the Arab Peace Initiative – which the 22 members of the Arab League signed up to in 2002.

It offers Israel normal diplomatic relations with Arab states only in exchange for its full withdrawal from Arab lands it captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East War.”

Knell made no effort to explain to her readers why an initiative launched over 16 years ago has to this day made no progress or why they should take Hanan Ashrawi’s word that it is at all relevant.

In nod to Palestinian statehood, Belgium upgrades PLO mission

In a nod to its support for unilateral Palestinian statehood, Belgium on Wednesday upgraded the status of the PLO mission in its country.

Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders tweeted about the upgrade, after meeting in Brussels with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, but did not provide further details of the upgrade.

The European Union, of which Belgium is a member, holds that Palestine should only be recognized as a state upon conclusion of a final status agreement with Israel for a two-state solution.

To date, Sweden is the only western EU member to break with EU foreign policy. It recognized Palestine as a state in 2014. A number of EU member states that had been part of the former Soviet Union, conferred statehood status on Palestine decades ago when they were part of the Soviet bloc.

Most of the western EU member states recognize PLO representative offices, but do not award them the full embassy status that would be given to sovereign nations with diplomatic ties to Brussels.

Israeli minister pans France’s Macron for praising Nazi collaborator

Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday rebuked French President Emmanuel Macron for praising a victorious World War I general who subsequently collaborated with the Nazis in World War II.

Marshal Philippe Petain was complicit in the 1942 deportation of 13,000 Jews from France in the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup that was part of the Holocaust.

“Marshal Petain sanctioned and facilitated the expulsion and mass-murder of Jews,” Bennett said in a statement. “It is unacceptable to suggest that previous deeds mitigate such atrocities.

“I would urge President Macron not to offer excuse or defense for the Nazis and their supporters – in the past, present, or future,” Bennett advised.

Petain led the French army to victory in Verdun in 1916, but gained infamy and a conviction for treason for his actions as leader of Vichy France in 1940 to 1944.

Envoy: US Hopes Russia Will Continue to Let Israel Hit Iran in Syria

The United States said on Wednesday it hoped Russia would continue to allow Israel to strike Iranian targets in Syria, despite Moscow’s supply of the S-300 air defense system to the Syrian government.

“Russia has been permissive, in consultation with the Israelis, about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria. We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue,” Ambassador James Jeffrey, Washington’s Syria envoy, said in a conference call with reporters.

Moscow said in October it had delivered the S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Syria, after accusing Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military jet by Syrian air defenses following an Israeli air strike nearby.

Like Russia, Iran is a key military supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Israel regards the Islamic republic as its most dangerous enemy and has staged repeated air raids against its military and allied militia deployed in Syria.

“Israel has an existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems … inside Syria to be used against Israel. We understand the existential interest and we support Israel,” Jeffrey said.

IDF Troops Attacked Outside Joseph’s Tomb In Shechem

Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers battled Palestinian rioters in the Samaria city of Shechem overnight on Tuesday, when local Arabs attacked in response to the arrival of worshippers who came to pray at the ancient tomb of the biblical Joseph.

Soldiers who were at the site to protect approximately 1,000 Jews who had coordinated with the army to pray at the site during the nighttime were met with firebombs and even live fire by Arabs from the city, which they call Nablus.

Two makeshift bombs were found inside the tomb, but were defused by sappers.

The IDF reported that the Jewish group was able to pray at Joseph’s Tomb without incident.

The Tomb of Joseph, son of the biblical Jacob, is located in Shechem, which became part of Area A in the Oslo Accords. Now under complete Palestinian Authority control, Israel’s military engages in security missions in the city as necessary.

Jewish Israeli citizens are typically prohibited from entering Area A; however, limited, coordinated visits to Joseph’s Tomb have become increasingly popular on a once-a-month basis.

Police recommend charging PM’s former lawyer, others in massive submarine bribery case

Police on Thursday asked state prosecutors to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former lawyer and other high profile figures over bribery suspicions involving the purchase of military naval vessels worth hundreds of millions of dollars, in what has been called one of the largest graft schemes in the country’s history.

Authorities said they had evidence to indict David Shimron, Netanyahu’s cousin and former attorney; former National Security Council deputy head Brig. Gen (res.) Avriel Bar-Yosef; former navy chief Eliezer Marom; David Sharan, a former Netanyahu chief of staff; Brig. Gen (res.) Shay Brosh and former minister Eliezer Sandberg.

The six are accused of offenses including bribery, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and other lesser charges, police said in a statement.

Police said the investigation had revealed numerous faults in government bodies’ operating practices in relation to defense acquisitions, and called for a serious review in order to improve the process and prevent illegal schemes from recurring.

The police recommendations will now be reviewed by state prosecutors who will need to decided whether to prosecute.

Palestinian Terrorists Open Fire on a Bus Traveling From Beit El to Jerusalem

Two Israelis suffered minor injuries Wednesday when ‎a bus traveling across the Binyamin area of Samaria ‎came under fire. ‎

According to available details, Palestinian ‎terrorists opened fire on the bus as it was making ‎its way from Beit El to Jerusalem. The driver and ‎one of the passengers were lightly wounded by glass ‎shards.‎

Magen David Adom paramedics treated both on site ‎before transporting them to the Hadassah Mount ‎Scopus Hospital in Jerusalem for further treatment.‎

IDF and Border Police troops launched a search for ‎the terrorists. ‎Magen David Adom paramedic Shalom Galil recalled, ‎‎”When I arrived at the scene, I saw a bus standing ‎there with its window shattered. A 35-year-old man ‎who sat in the front seat and a 30-year-old bus ‎driver suffered minor injuries from glass shards.‎

‎”We treated them and then evacuated them to the ‎hospital. It’s a miracle that an incident like this ‎ended with only minor injuries,” he said. ‎

Palestinian said killed by Israeli fire in central Gaza

A Palestinian man was shot and killed Thursday in the southern Gaza Strip by Israeli troops, the Hamas-run health ministry in the coastal enclave said.

A ministry spokesman said the man, whom he did not name, was shot by Israeli forces during low-level clashes east of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces said it was aware of the reports and looking into them.

The man would be the first Palestinian to die from IDF fire in Gaza in 10 days, as both Israel and Hamas have been negotiating a truce via Egyptian mediators.

The incident came as the Hamas-run ministry said a Palestinian shot last month during protests on the Israel-Gaza border succumbed to his wounds.

Ahmad al-Najar, 21, was shot by Israeli fire east of Khan Younis and was later transferred to the West Bank for treatment, a health ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Hamas launches rehabilitation projects in Gaza amid ceasefires talks

The Hamas terror group announced a series of large-scale projects in Gaza on Tuesday, with the main one being creating temporary jobs for 10,000 university graduates in the coastal enclave.

The Hamas Labor Ministry representative, who announced the project during a press conference in Gaza, did not elaborate on the nature of the work, its duration, and its funding sources.

Nevertheless, Hamas’s announcement might trigger a significant change in the strip, since the unemployment rate among Gaza’s university graduates is over 50 percent.

Two possible funding sources are Qatar and the UN, which promised Hamas financial support in exchange for reaching calm on the Israel-Gaza border.

A representative of Hamas’s Finance Ministry said that Qatar would pay Hamas officials 60 percent of their salaries—at least NIS 1,400—which was one of the chief conditions set by Hamas during negotiations talks.

Palestinians Say Egyptian Fire Kills Gaza Fisherman; Cairo Denies

Egyptian naval forces fired on a Palestinian fishing boat and killed a fisherman on Wednesday, Gaza’s Interior Ministry said, but an Egyptian military source denied the report.

Egypt’s navy has in the past shot at Gazans whom it has accused of crossing the maritime border. There was no initial information on whether the fishing boat had crossed into Egyptian waters.

Wednesday’s incident took place off the coast after dark near the southern border town of Rafah, said Gaza’s Interior Ministry, which is run by officials loyal to Hamas.

“Egyptian naval vessels fired toward a Palestinian fishing boat near the southern sea border of Gaza Strip which led to the death of Mustafa Abu Odah, 30,” the ministry statement said.

In Cairo, an Egyptian military source denied the report, without elaborating.

Israel maintains a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and sets a varying fishing limit, which currently extends to a maximum of nine nautical miles.

Anti-Israeli Cleric Elected to Head Group of Muslim Scholars

A Moroccan cleric who says that Israel’s destruction is a duty for “the entire Muslim Ummah” has been elected to head an influential global Muslim scholars group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ahmed al-Raissouni will lead the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which has a long history of supporting terrorism. More than 1,500 members of the IUMS’s General Assembly elected al-Raissouni on Wednesday during a meeting in Istanbul.

The delegates came from all over the Islamic world and from the United States, Turkey’s pro-regime newspaper Yeni Safak reported.

Al-Raissouni made his comments about destroying Israel in 2006 after a Hamas electoral victory. He also signed a declaration in 2015 calling for the overthrow of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

“Striking an alliance with the Zionist aggressors [and] protecting and defending them, while showing hostility to the Palestinian resistance, conspiring against it and besieging it by destroying Sinai and deporting its people — all these constitute treason against the faith and the homeland and contempt for the way of the Prophet,” the 2015 declaration said.

Al-Raissouni succeeds IUMS founder Yusuf Qaradawi, 93, who stepped down last weekend. Qaradawi has been the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential religious scholar for decades. He is best known for his endorsement of Palestinian suicide bombings and for encouraging Muslims to move to Europe and America to Islamize them.

The U.S. Must Punish Iran for Its Human-Rights Violations

Washington has now put into force a wide array of sanctions on Tehran’s nuclear activities, but it has not fully taken advantage of the legal channels available to punish the ayatollahs’ brutal treatment of their own people. As Tzvi Kahn, Ahmed Shaheed, Rose Parris Richter, and Irwin Cotler demonstrate in a detailed report, this repression is overseen by the highest echelons of the Iranian government and works through an organized and complex bureaucratic machinery. Cotler writes:

It is crucial that the international community not turn a blind eye to what I have termed the fivefold Iranian threat—the nuclear threat, state-sponsorship of terror, regional hegemonic aggression that includes mass criminality in Syria, state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, and massive domestic repression. In particular, sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program should not distract from, or even sanitize, the ongoing massive domestic human-rights violations, which should be a centerpiece of international containment and sanctioning of the Iranian regime in solidarity with the . . . suffering of the Iranian people.

It is now possible to sanction human-rights offenders on a global level, [by making use of] the U.S. Global Magnitsky Human-Rights Accountability Act. [The] naming, shaming, and sanctioning of specific human-rights violators [is] indispensable to mobilizing a critical mass of global advocacy to address and redress human-rights violations in Iran. This can also include, as takes place in the Canadian parliament, holding an annual Iran Accountability Week in the U.S. Congress to shine the spotlight on human-rights violations in Iran through public hearings, witness testimony, and the like. This can further include developing an Iranian political prisoner-advocacy project in which members of Congress can take up the case and cause of Iranian political prisoners in concert with their fellow parliamentarians in Canada and elsewhere.

Contradicting His Iranian Hosts, Antisemite Louis Farrakhan Denies Leading ‘Death to America’ Chant in Tehran

Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam (NoI), on Wednesday angrily denied that he had led chants of “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” during a visit to Iran last week — despite claims to the contrary from his Iranian regime hosts.

Farrakhan claimed in a statement released on Wednesday that he had asked students attending his speech at Tehran University on Sunday “a question about how to pronounce the chant in Farsi…and an examination of the video shows just that.”

However, according to a flattering report of the speech carried by the Iranian regime’s Tasnim News Agency, “Iranian state TV released a video of [Farrakhan’s] remarks addressing students at the University of Tehran, in which he led the ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ slogans.”

Farrakhan flatly contradicted his hosts’ claim. “I never led a chant that called for the death of America or Israel, contrary to misreporting in US, British and Jewish publications and the intentional, malicious and false reinterpretation of my words,” the NoI chief said.

Nonetheless, Farrakhan’s rambling, lengthy statement was clear that he regarded Iran as a superior society to the US.

Trump Says He’ll Lift Sanctions if Iran Keeps Farrakhan (satire)

Offering the ayatollahs what he called the “ultimate deal,” US President Donald Trump has offered to lift all sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran if they agree to keep Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Farrakhan, who is visiting Iran, made headlines for leading a “Death to America” chant during his visit. Though Trump had previously promised to ratchet up sanctions, he is now willing to end his efforts to isolate the country in order to be rid of the radical preacher.

“Frankly, I don’t care what you do with him,” Trump told Iranian leaders in a news conference. “You can make him Supreme Leader, or you can go all-out Saudi on his ass. As long as he doesn’t come back here.”

According to sources in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is discussing the deal with senior officials but is concerned about what effect Farrakhan’s presence would have in his country.

“Frankly, he is a bit too anti-Semitic for us,” one high-ranking ayatollah told The Mideast Beast.

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