Israel/Spain WC qualifier to be played in city boycotting Israel
The decision to hold a World Cup qualifying game between Spain and Israel in the city of Gijon has raised ire among officials in Israel due to the city passing a boycott resolution last January; ‘It is unclear to us why out of all places, Spain chose the hold the game in this city.’
The Israel national team’s World Cup qualifying game against Spain in Gijon has angered state officials because the city hosting the game has declared a boycott against Israel. Officials are also concerned that protests will accompany the game, which will be held on the 24th of March.
The Spanish national team holds games in many cities, so residents across the country have the opportunity to see the games.
In January 2016, the city council approved a boycott on Israel, which was initiated by extreme left-wing and socialist parties. Gijon Mayor Carmen Moriyón was opposed to the boycott, but her party and other centrist parties abstained and failed to overturn the decision.
Pro-Israel activists appealed the decision to the Administrative Court, but the judge rejected the appeal on the grounds that the action had no real practical significance, but was only a political statement.
While construction in Jewish settlements of the West Bank and neighborhoods of Jerusalem has long been carried out within the frame of the law and in accordance with proper licenses issued by the relevant authorities, the Palestinian construction is illegal in every respect.
The Palestinian goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground. The sheer enormity of the project raises the question: Who has been funding these massive cities-within-cities? And why? There is good reason to believe that the PLO and some Arabs and Muslims, and especially the European Union, are behind the Palestinian initiative.
The Jewish outpost of Amona, home to 42 families, is currently the subject of fiery controversy both in Israel and in the international arena. Apparently, settlements are only a “major obstacle to peace” when they are constructed by Jews.
The EU and some Islamic governments and organizations are paying for the construction of illegal Palestinian settlements, while demanding that Israel halt building new homes for Jewish families in Jerusalem neighborhoods or existing settlements in the West Bank.
The hypocrisy and raw malice of the EU and the rest of the international community toward the issue of Israeli settlements is blindingly transparent. Yet we are also witnessing the hypocrisy of many in the Western mainstream media, who see with their own eyes the Palestinian settlements rising on every side of Jerusalem, but choose to report only about Jewish building.
Israel may be accused of lacking sympathy for the refugees, but it lacks the power to improve conditions in Shuafat or other camps in the West Bank, let alone Hamas-run Gaza. The responsibility belongs solely to UNRWA and the Palestinian leadership, both of which remain content to continue the same cynical policies.
It also bears noting that Kushner’s article was published only a few days after Israel’s annual commemoration of the more than 850,000 Jews who fled or were forced to flee their homes in the Arab and Muslim world during the same time that the Palestinian refugee problem was born. Of course, none of those refugees or their descendants are still living in camps. They found new homes and lives in Israel or the West and did so without the assistance of the United Nations, instead relying on Jewish philanthropy.
The people of Shuafat may indeed be orphans. But if they remain in squalor and hopelessness, the fault lies with an Arab world that refused to do as the Jews did because they hoped to destroy Israel and with Palestinian leaders that feed the refugees hate instead of hope. The only real solution to this toxic mix is a peace that will end the century-old war against Zionism. But, like a rational resettlement plan, that is one solution the refugees and those who continue to exploit them seem unable to embrace. When a biased media ignores this fact, the biggest losers are the refugees.
It was an introspective US Secretary of State John Kerry who came to the closing session of the final Saban Forum of the Obama administration on Sunday.
For four years as secretary of state, the Massachusetts politician had made the short trek to the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in early December, updating an audience that leaned Democratic – and pro-Israel – about the hottest issues on the burner, whether they were peace talks or Iran nuclear negotiations.
Introspective Kerry knew that this was his last time to explain before Washington’s think-tank elite why on his watch, the United States had once again failed to untangle the Gordian knot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He wore reading glasses, sat rather than stood, and cited facts, figures and maps from a thick binder. And he delivered a thesis — not explicitly, but repeatedly: The United States had failed in its mission because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unwilling to demonstrate the kind of leadership shown by his predecessors.
Kerry was at pains to stress his engagement with the prime minister. He noted that he had spoken to Netanyahu over 375 times in the past four years for a total of 130 hours. He had traveled to Israel over 40 times, and met with the premier in a number of other countries as well, he noted. But to no avail.
Kerry stressed that “Bibi and I are friends, we really are,” recalling meeting for coffee at Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Charles Hotel. But the punchline of the story was not their friendship.
David Horovitz: Jeremiah Kerry laments an Israel that wouldn’t heed his warnings
It seems increasingly unlikely, though not impossible, that the Obama administration will lend its hand to a resolution that might discomfit the Israeli government at the UN, or otherwise seek to bequeath a framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry did a great deal more than discomfit the prime minister and his coalition on Sunday, however. In remarks at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC, Kerry unloaded almost four years of bitter frustration at Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues, warned that Israel is heading toward “a place of danger,” and cited the settlement enterprise as the central catalyst for that potential disaster.
A different, brighter future, he indicated, was attainable for Israel. But the settlers were destroying it, he said. And his unfortunate role, he made sadly clear, had been to serve these past four years as the prophet who can see the tragedy approaching, but whose warnings go unheeded.
No, said the secretary, ceding a point to Netanyahu, who had spoken by satellite just before him, the settlements “are not the cause of the conflict.” But, Kerry repeated several times, they most certainly constitute a core “obstacle” to its solution. “Let’s not kid each other here,” he advised. “You can’t just wipe it away by saying it doesn’t have an impact. It does have an impact.”
He didn’t blame Netanyahu personally for utilizing settlements with the deliberate goal of ensuring that there can be no two-state solution. But the Israeli right, Kerry said, was strategically bringing more and more Jews into the West Bank, and locating them in very specific locations, with precisely that goal — to ensure that there could be no viable Palestinian state. And Netanyahu was presiding over the process.
And the more serious question of the Muslim Brotherhood
The question is not whether a U.S. political party should be led by a Muslim man, but by this Muslim man. We are not talking about Namık Kemal or Robert Crane.
Keith Ellison is one representative. In the short term, the focus will be on the man — but in the long term, it will be on the movement.
Specifically, Congress has considered, and may revive, legislation supported by Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, as the Egyptians and the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council insist it is. The case is not too terribly difficult to make, and the main defense of the Muslim Brotherhood offered by critics such as Marc Lynch is that the organization is not what it used to be, that it is no longer the same group that founded Hamas and cultivated generations of Islamic radicals but is instead broken, scattered, and less significant. Perhaps it is so, but if it is so, this is precisely the sort of organization that you want to kick while it is down. More Democrats America Needs a Sane Left Keith Ellison’s Bad Week Keith Ellison’s Very Bad Week
The real problem is that the Muslim Brotherhood’s fingers are in practically every Islamic pie in the United States and much of the rest of the world, and turning over that rock almost certainly will expose any number of queasy reminders that the distance between the Islamic mainstream and Islamic extremism is not so great as we sometimes imagine. A great many media-friendly Muslims and so-called moderates will be put in a very difficult position — and we should welcome that. We have for too long made it too easy for the so-called respectable Islamist organizations in the West to play both sides of the fence.
Republicans should designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, based simply on the weight of the evidence. But if they’re feeling a little bit mean — and why not? — they should wait until the Democrats have put Keith Ellison in charge of their party to do it.
Seth J. Frantzman: Ellison’s speech was an Islamic-supremacist, chauvinist diatribe
In mid-November Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison announced he would run for chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. He received support from influential Democrats such as Bernie Sanders and Senator Chuck Schumer, who is expected to be the Senate minority leader in 2017.
Ellison’s personal story in many ways is the kind that makes America exceptional: a black man who converted to Islam and found himself at the center of American politics. As such he represents two minority groups, and has been outspoken in support of both.
What’s also exceptional is that he has supported extreme ethno-religious nationalism as well. In law school at the University of Minnesota he wrote passionately about the Nation of Islam and affirmative action in columns that might raise eyebrows today with terms like “white barbarism,” but surely were normal in hyper-racially-aware campus life.
An April 1990 op-ed The Minnesota Daily put online under Ellison’s pen-name Keith Hakim even proposes the creation of a black country in the US South. “Blacks, of course, would not be compelled to move to the black state, and, of course, peaceful whites would not be compelled to move away.”
The power struggles in Palestinian politics make the contest between Presidential candidates in American politics look likely a friendly game of chess, and that’s just among the “moderates” who include Holocaust deniers, and former stooges of the KGB. The incoming Trump administration must wise up to this and avoid Obama’s blindness
The mills of democratic politics in Palestinian organizations grind slowly, if they ever grind at all. This was borne out once again at the 7th General Congress of the Fatah section of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) held in Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank, on November 29, 2016, the anniversary of the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly approved the Partition of Palestine.
This was the first such conference since 2009. It was attended by 1,400 delegates compared with 2,355 last time.
The main function of the Congress was to elect the leader of Fatah, the Fatah Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council. The main event was the reelection of 81 year old Mahmoud Abbas, said to be suffering from a heart problem, and having undergone cardiac catheterization, as chairman of Fatah.
The stated term of office is five years, but it is unpredictable when it will actually end. The lack of adherence to rules and time restraints by Palestinian leaders is familiar. Mr. Abbas is presently in the twelfth year of his 4 year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, and appears ready to hold the post until destiny calls.
In the Congress in Ramallah, Abbas, not unexpectedly, was elected unanimously in spite of a possible challenge from his long time rival, the 55 year old Mohammed Dahlan, former leader of Fatah in the Gaza Strip, who is in exile in Abu Dhabi. Dahlan had been minister for Palestinian security for a short time in 2003 and had organized a paramilitary force in 2007.
And the Islamic terror organisation is reported to have recruited a number of new English speaking operatives in recent months in a major bid to communicate messages ahead of the event.
US special forces will be on high alert when Mr Trump takes over as 45th President of the United States on Friday, January 20, 2017, in Washington, DC.
But security analysts have been following communications between members of the group who are planning large scale attacks on that day, it has been claimed.
According to reports ISIS has expanded production of special editions of official videos with English subtitles in recent weeks and with a view to reinforcing targets on US soil.
And their ISIS-linked Amaq Agency Telegram channels have resumed posting on social networks after they were went temporarily offline following a terror attack in the US last Monday.
Ambassador Danny Danon in Special UN General Assembly Meeting
Just as a parade of Latin American leaders to Jerusalem created the impression that Israel’s relationship with that region of the world has rarely been better, along comes Ecuador to spoil the party Modi Efraim, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director- general for Latin America, summoned on Sunday the chargé d’affaires at the Ecuadorean Embassy to protest comments Ecuador’s ambassador to the UN made in the General Assembly last week equating Zionism with Nazism.
“We repudiate with all our strength the persecution and genocide that, in its time, unleashed Nazism against the Hebrew people,” Horacio Sevilla Borja said on the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. “But I cannot remember anything more similar in our contemporary history than the eviction, persecution and genocide that today imperialism and Zionism do against the Palestinian people.”
Efraim told the Ecuadorian diplomat that the speech was full of historical falsehoods and inaccuracies, “especially the comparison made between the treatment of the Palestinians to the horrors of the Nazi regime.”
Israel, Efraim said, “utterly rejects comparisons or comments such as these that are completely detached from reality.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he is looking forward to speaking with President-elect Donald Trump about the “bad nuclear deal” with Iran. “Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That has not changed and will not change,” he said.
Speaking via satellite at the 13th Annual Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington Sunday, Netanyahu said he opposed the Iran nuclear deal because “it doesn’t prevent Iran from getting nukes, it paves the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons.
“The Iranians are developing intercontinental ballistic missiles. And for those who forget, Israel and Iran are in the same continent, we’re in the same neighborhood. They’re not developing these ICMs for us, they’re developing it for you, for America.”
Netanyahu also lauded U.S.-Israel ties and said that “as an Israeli, I can say that we have no better friend than the United States of America, but as someone who is in the region I can say that America has no better friend than Israel. Actually, not only in the Middle East, but in the world. So strengthening Israel in the Middle East is strengthening American interests and values in the Middle East.
“I look forward to discussing with the new administration how we can continue to work together to strengthen Israel and confront the common threats that face both of us, and also seize common opportunities that have developed because of these common threats,” he said.
A Chilean court rejected lawsuits filed in the South American country against three current or former Israeli Supreme Court justices for endorsing the construction of the West Bank separation barrier and the seizure of lands and the property on them from Palestinians.
The Associated Press had access to the ruling Sunday.
Chile’s Palestinian Federation filed a war crimes lawsuit last week against current Justices Uzi Vogelman and Neal Hendel and retired justice Asher Grunis, who was president of the court in 2012-15.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the stretch of barrier is built on land the international community considers occupied and has separated Palestinians from properties and farmland.
The group contended that Chile’s international agreements allow for suits involving crimes against humanity committed in other countries. But in their ruling, the judges said they did not have the authority to intervene in another country’s court decisions.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Nicolas Pavez, said the group would appeal the ruling.
Chairman of the Joint Arab List MK Ayman Odeh on Monday demanded that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for encouraging anti-Arab incitement during the wave of fires that plagued Israel a week ago.
Speaking to a meting of his Knesset faction, Odeh said, “The Arab public continues to deal with the wave of incitement and igniting hatred by Netanyahu and his ministers during the fires.”
“Today everybody understands that the mountain gave birth to a tiny mouse,” Odeh continued. “There was no wave of terror, no arson intifada. If they find one or two [Arabs] who are guilty, our position is that they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but a wave of terror? Everyone knows there’s no such thing.”
In reality, Netanyahu, who was widely rebuked for warning rightwing voters they must hit the polls on election day in 2015 because the Arabs are bringing busloads to vote, did not actually accuse Arabs or even mention them in connection with the recent fires. Speaking at a press conference at an airforce base up north, the PM warned that “whomever tries to burn the State of Israel will be punished severely.”
“They arrested people left and right, but they never investigated the thousands of Jews who incited and called for the murder of Arabs,” Odeh charged on Monday, and informed his fellow MKs that “the Joint List has decided to appeal to the Attorney General – we accuse the prime minister of racist incitement and call on the AG to launch an investigation.”
A group of twelfth-graders in an upscale section of Israel’s hippest metropolis spent time this afternoon discussing their upcoming military service, and inquired whether the army provides environments free of ideas or experiences likely to challenge the validity or applicability of their cherished liberal worldview.
Upperclassmen at Yosi Sarid High School in North Tel Aviv had an open question-and-answer session with an IDF draft officer, in advance of their expected induction into mandatory service next year. Wary of venturing into contexts where their progressive upbringing and values might not find congruence with observed reality, the students sought to ascertain whether like their parents, the IDF takes significant steps to shield them from viewpoints or encounters at odds with progressive thought.
“We’ve become accustomed to a certain comfort level in our discourse,” explained Dor Tahapukhot, 17, who expects to serve in an intelligence unit because, he said, at least at a desk job he would not have to interact directly with the religious zealot extremists in the Occupied Territories who have no respect for democratic values or the rule of law. “The army has to understand that, and accommodate our feelings, because feelings are the most important thing.”
“It’s been years since I had to deal with any serious challenge to my way of seeing the world, and I’m not about to just throw that away,” added Annie Frekha, also a senior. “Daddy always makes sure I have the option of engaging only with people and ideas in my comfort zone. I hope the IDF understands my needs, and by extension, the needs of the entire incoming class of 2017 – we’re a woke bunch.”
Australia’s Major-General Simon Stuart will lead a multinational peacekeeping force on the Sinai Peninsula starting on March 1 2017, taking over from Major-General Denis Thompson from Canada.
The 1,600-strong peacekeeping force has since 1981 been charged with maintaining a decades-old buffer zone between Israel and Egypt under the direction of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).
“The MFO’s selection of an Australian to lead their force is testimony to the high regard in which our contribution is held by the international community,” Australia’s Defense Minister and New South Whales Senator Marise Payne said in a statement, adding that this is the second time in history that an Australian would lead the peacekeeping force after Major General David Ferguson commanded the Force from 1994 to 1997.
An Islamist insurgency in the desolate, thinly populated Sinai Peninsula has increased in violence and pace since the Egyptian military toppled former president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
Several illegal weapons and anti-Israel propaganda were seized Monday during a raid on a Hebron home, the Israel Police said.
Two men — a father and son — were arrested.
During the raid, carried out by the Israel Police, Border Police, and IDF, the troops confiscated a handgun, a shotgun, munitions, and a computer containing inflammatory propaganda.
A police statement said the raid was “part of ongoing operational activity to seize illegal weapons. The Israel Police will continue with its determined, uncompromising struggle against illegal weapons, and will work with all relevant bodies to decrease the number of weapons held illegally.”
A commission of inquiry formed by the Palestinian Authority has found former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan responsible for the death of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
Arafat died in late 2004, aged 75, in France, after a short illness. The cause of his death has since been debated, inspiring various conspiracy theories, many of them alleging assassination by poison.
The Palestinian inquiry’s findings, published Sunday, claim that Dahlan gave Arafat poisoned medicine during his 2004 hospitalization in Paris. The report further alleged that Dahlan loyalists were in contact with officials in a visiting foreign delegation, who delivered the poisoned medicine given to him. The individuals implicated later confessed to their crime, the report said.
The report also accused Dahlan of attempting to enlist senior officers and commanders in the Palestinian administration and stage a military coup in the West Bank to depose Arafat’s appointed successor — Mahmoud Abbas. The latter and his close associates also hold Dahlan responsible for Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, through the expulsion and lynching of Fatah members there.
Dahlan was forced into exile after the Fatah party accused him of corruption and treason for collaborating with Israel, an offense carrying the death penalty under the Palestinian constitution. Dahlan and his close associates deny the allegations, and maintain Abbas is using Palestinian security forces to run a smear campaign against him out of fear Dahlan may win in a democratic presidential election. (h/t Yenta Press)
In early October, it was announced that over the next 15 years, Jordan will purchase $10 billion in natural gas from Israel. Ever since, Jordanians have been demonstrating against the deal. Protesting Israel is a frequent pastime in the kingdom, but the low-level unrest is part of a much larger source of potential instability: Jordan’s persistently weak economy, which shows little sign of improving.
This summer, economic problems—especially that of unemployment—sparked Jordan’s most sustained demonstrations in three years. In May, 22 young men set up tents in the town square of Dhiban, 42 miles south of Amman, to protest the lack of available jobs. The peaceful sit-in lasted for nearly a month. In late June, Jordan’s gendarmerie, known in Arabic as the Derak, leveled the tents, sparking a series of violent clashes between police and the townspeople.
Videos subsequently posted on YouTube show the Derak launching tear gas grenades as protestors call for an end to the monarchy. A series of arrests ensued, resulting in a cycle of further demonstrations and incarcerations. After three Jordanian policemen in Dhiban were shot on July 22, Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki withdrew the Derak, leading to a decrease in tensions. The protests ended on July 28 when the final prisoner was released from jail.
Dhiban is a particularly depressed town, but in many ways the problems there encapsulate the challenges facing Jordan. In 2011, the official unemployment rate was over 13 percent. Five years on, after border closures with Syria and Iraq, plummeting investment, reduced remittances, and diminished tourism, unemployment stands at almost 15 percent, with joblessness among the youth approaching a staggering 40 percent.
US President Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation extending a decades-long sanctions law against Iran, the White House said Friday.
The announcement came one day after the Senate voted unanimously by a vote of 99-0 renew the Iran Sanctions Act — which was first passed by Congress in 1996 — and two weeks after the House overwhelmingly approved it 419-1.
“We believe the Iran Sanctions Act extension is not necessary, but we also believe it won’t interfere with the Iran deal,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said during a press briefing. “I would expect the president to sign this piece of legislation.”
The bill would grant a 10-year extension of the existing law. Obama administration officials have previously said they believed its enactment would not contravene the landmark nuclear accord reached in July 2015, which provided Tehran relief from crippling oil and financial sanctions in exchange for rolling back its nuclear program.
Proponents of renewing the law, which is set to expire at the end of 2016, view it as a critical instrument for holding the Iranian regime accountable against any violations of the deal or nefarious activities in the region.
The White House had earlier said it would reject any measure from Congress that would undermine the Iran deal.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani demanded Sunday that US President Barack Obama not sign an extension of US sanctions, saying the bill is a violation of a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
On Thursday, the US Senate voted to extend the Iran Sanctions Act by 10 years.
Speaking in an open session of Iran’s parliament Sunday, Rouhani said Obama is “obliged” to let the sanctions expire.
The nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers lifted a variety of international sanctions in exchange for limitations on the Iranian nuclear program. However, the US still maintains its own separate set of sanctions, which will expire on December 31 if Obama does not sign the extension into law.
Rouhani promised a “prompt response” from Iran if the US sanctions are extended.
Iran’s foreign minister condemned the US Senate’s extension of a piece of anti-Iran legislation, state TV reported Saturday.
On Thursday the Senate voted to extend the Iran Sanctions Act by 10 years. The measure will now be sent to outgoing President Barack Obama to sign. Iran’s state television quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying that the extension “shows the lack of credibility of the US government.”
On Friday, Bahram Ghasemi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, issued a statement condemning the extension of sanctions against Iran and said the act is a clear violation of the landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers last year.
Ghasemi said, “The US president has agreed within the framework of the nuclear deal that he would use his authority to prevent the legislation and enforcement of any measures in violation of the deal, such as the recent act by the Congress.”
As for the prevalence of anti-Semitism in Syria, it’s reasonable to assume we can get a fairly accurate picture based upon the ADL’s comprehensive findings from bordering countries.
• 92 percent of Iraqis, or 15 million individuals out of an adult population of 16.2 million, harbor anti-Semitic attitudes
• 81 percent of Jordanians, or 3.1 million individuals out of an adult population of 3.8 million, harbor anti-Semitic attitudes
• 78 percent of Lebanese, or 2.4 million individuals out of an adult population 3.0 million, harbor anti-Semitic attitudes
• 71 percent of Turks, or 35 million individuals out of an adult population of 49.1 million, harbor anti-Semitic attitudes
Given this information, it’s not farfetched to speculate that perhaps 80 percent of Syrians harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. Yet the ADL has been a steadfast proponent of Syrian resettlement in the U.S. and Europe. In 2013, the ADL joined with a number of other Jewish organizations to form the Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees, which not only supplies “refugees and relief workers with medical and other life-sustaining supplies,” but also provides “legal assistance with regard to resettlement applications.” In 2015, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, newly-appointed national director of the ADL, even knocked the timidity of his previous boss, President Barack Obama. Formerly special assistant and director of the office of social innovation and civic participation in the White House, Greenblatt slated the Obama administration’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrians the following year as “inadequate” and called upon the U.S. to “pledge” to take in 100,000.
A diploma in advanced mathematics isn’t necessary to deduce that the percentages in the ADL’s own index are troubling when it comes to admitting 1,000 Syrian refugees, let alone 100,000—or 250,000 accepted by Germany last year. Is the ADL then prepared to make the candid argument that the federal government and, hence, the American taxpayer should be burdened with the vetting of, at a bare minimum, 500,000 individuals to reach its 100,000-person target?
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