July 21, 2019

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12/06 Links Pt1: Fatah: If Hamas is a terrorist organization, so are we; IDF finds 2nd Hezbollah tunnel inside Israel; calls on UN, Lebanon to destroy it; Oren: Thank you, Mr. President


From Ian:

PMW: Fatah: If Hamas is a terrorist organization, so are we
Today the UN General Assembly will be voting on a US-proposed resolution to condemn Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and inciting violence. The resolution demands that Hamas and other terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad cease their “militant” activities, including the use of airborne incendiaries.

Despite the rift between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah, Fatah has come to the defense of Hamas. – In fact it has come to the defense of all Palestinian terrorists!

The resolution prompted one Fatah official to declare that if Hamas is considered a terrorist organization, then the entire Palestinian people is “involved in terrorism.” Rather, he claimed, all the Palestinian factions are “national liberation movements”:

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki: “If Hamas, which is involved in resistance, is considered a terrorist movement, this means that all groups of the Palestinian people are involved in terrorism. This contradicts reality, as Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions are national liberation movements that are involved in resisting an Israeli occupation that is implementing terrorism against the members of our people… Hamas is part of us and we are part of it if a resolution is passed against it that defines its resistance as a crime. This is because Hamas – regardless of the internal and political differences of opinion – constitutes a state of resistance, whether we want it or not. It has a broad Palestinian presence, and we cannot abandon it to fight alone on the battlefield.”
[Palestine Today, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 2, 2018]

Similarly reacting to the proposed UN resolution, Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Shtayyeh denied all Palestinian terrorism. He stated that Abbas’ Fatah Movement will not accept that “any Palestinian organization” be declared a terrorist organization:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: No Difference Between Hamas and Fatah

It is supposedly fine for Abbas and his officials to condemn Hamas on a daily basis. It is supposedly not fine, however, for the US administration to condemn Hamas for its terrorist attacks against Israel. This is the logic of the Palestinian Authority, which has also been imposing financial and economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip in the past year. The sanctions include, among other things, the suspension of salaries to thousands of civil servants, cutting financial aid to needy families in the Gaza Strip, and refusing to pay for fuel and electricity supplied by Israel to the residents living under Hamas.

Abbas and Hamas have been working separately to thwart the US draft resolution at the UN General Assembly. Abbas has instructed his envoy to the UN to make an effort to foil the anti-Hamas resolution, while Hamas leaders have been urging Arab and Muslim leaders and governments to help thwart the US initiative.

“Despite all our differences with Hamas, we are categorically opposed to the American and Israeli attempt to label Hamas a terrorist group,” explained Osama Qawassmeh, a senior Fatah official. We will fight to thwart the US resolution.”

Another senior Fatah official, Abbas Zaki, was even more adamant in his defense of Hamas. “Hamas belongs to us and we belong to Hamas,” he said. “If Hamas, which is practicing resistance, is considered a terrorist organization, this would mean that all Palestinians are practicing terrorism. Hamas, like all Palestinian factions, is a national liberation movement.”

Abbas and Fatah are defending Hamas not out of love for Hamas, but because they despise the Trump administration to the extent that they are willing to go to bat for their arch-rivals in Hamas. Judging from the statements of some of Abbas’s top officials, it is nevertheless clear that they fear that a condemnation of Hamas would pave the way for similar moves against other Palestinian factions, including the Palestinian president’s own Fatah.

As Palestinian political analyst Emad Omar put it, “The proposed US resolution is harmful to the Palestinians’ right of resistance. As president of the Palestinians, Abbas is forced to defend Hamas and any other Palestinian faction.”

Hamas, for its part, has expressed gratitude to Abbas and Fatah for their strong opposition to the US-sponsored draft resolution.

Does all this mean that Fatah and Hamas have agreed to patch up their differences and open a new page in their relations? The answer, of course, is no. This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. Abbas wants to score points on the Palestinian street by showing that he is capable of challenging the US administration at the UN. For now, Abbas is prepared to swallow the bitter pill of defending Hamas. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.

IDF finds 2nd Hezbollah tunnel inside Israel; calls on UN, Lebanon to destroy it

The Israeli military on Thursday located a second Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnel today in the western Galilee, after uncovering an underground passage two days earlier in the eastern part of the region, the army said.

The tunnel originated in the Lebanese village of Ramyeh underneath a number of homes and crossed into Israeli territory near the village of Zarit, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel launched its operation to find and destroy Hezbollah tunnels — called Northern Shield — late Monday night, announcing it publicly the next morning.

The first tunnel was discovered south of the Israeli village of Metulla in the northern tip of the Galilee panhandle.

The Israeli military said it believes the tunnels were meant to be used by Hezbollah as a surprise component of an opening salvo in a future war, alongside the mass infiltration of operatives above ground and the launching of rockets, missiles and mortar shells at northern Israel.

A senior Israeli official on Thursday said the tunnels discovered inside Israel were large enough to be used by “entire battalions” to enter Israeli territory in order to “carry out killing sprees and kidnappings and to capture Israeli towns and villages.”

Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah showed his true colors

Nasrallah is a bitter enemy and Hezbollah is a mini-‎army of highly motivated terrorists, who are skilled ‎in battle and are armed with 150,000 missiles that ‎threaten Israel nationwide. ‎

We must also remember that Hezbollah would be ‎willing to contain Operation Northern Shield as long ‎as it takes place on the Israeli side of the border. ‎Should the IDF deem it necessary to cross into ‎Lebanese territory Hezbollah will retaliate, even ‎though its tunnels’ infringement on Israeli ‎sovereignty is just as grave, if not graver, than a ‎potential IDF infringement on Lebanon’s sovereignty.‎ Moreover, if Israel decides to target Hezbollah’s ‎missile-production facilities in Beirut, harsh ‎retaliation by the group is all but guaranteed. ‎

Meanwhile, both parties are waging a psychological ‎war, but this time, Israel has the upper hand in ‎terms of public diplomacy.‎

This goes beyond the clear-cut evidence that ‎Hezbollah’s tunnel enterprise blatantly violates ‎U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and Israeli ‎sovereignty, as here, a picture is worth far more ‎than a thousand words: Hezbollah’s TV channel Al ‎Manar airs daily propaganda videos showing the ‎group’s “fearless fighters” training for battle with ‎Israel, but now, an IDF video showing Hezbollah ‎operatives flee in panic from the exposed tunnel has ‎gone viral, dealing morale a well-aimed blow. ‎

Exposing the tunnels also exposed Nasrallah’s true ‎colors as one who, while professing to be Lebanon’s ‎‎”defender,” actually has no qualms about sacrificing ‎its interests to please his Iranian patrons. ‎

On Wednesday, commentator Ahmed Ayyash wrote in An-‎Nahar daily that Hezbollah was dragging Lebanon down ‎the tunnels with it, warning that Beirut will not be ‎immune to the consequences of Nasrallah’s ‎ ‎recklessness.‎

Top official: Due to IDF action, Hezbollah only has few dozen accurate missiles

Russia has deployed troops on the Syrian-Lebanese border to prevent the transfer of weapons and precision-guided technology to Hezbollah, a senior diplomatic official said on Thursday.

The official said that this deployment, as well as IDF actions inside Syria to disrupt the transfer of these weapons and technology to turn ordinary missiles into precision-guided ones, has had a significant impact, and that Hezbollah has only been able to convert “a few dozen” of their estimated 140,000 missiles in Lebanon into precision-guided weapons

The official said that Hezbollah had hoped by now to have converted thousands of missiles into precision-guided ones.

As the route to transfer arms and technology from Iran, through Syria and into Lebanon has become increasingly difficult, there have been numerous reports of a direct air route from Iran to Lebanon, with planes landing at Beirut’s international airport bearing arms.

The official warned that if there is a direct route from Iran to Lebanon, that would constitute a “huge entanglement” for Lebanon, since Israel has made clear that it will act against efforts to arm Hezbollah with precision-guided missiles.

The official said there was a “reasonable possibility” that Israel will have to take action in Lebanon.

Ex-defense minister admits officials lied about Hezbollah tunnels for years

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday acknowledged that Israeli officials lied about the existence of Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels for years before the military announced this week that it planned to destroy them in a new operation dubbed Northern Shield.

“We did it to mislead the other side,” he told Army Radio.

Ya’alon joined a chorus of Israeli officials criticizing the manner in which the army’s effort to destroy the Hezbollah attack tunnels was revealed to the public.

A number of former military officials and opposition politicians have accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of overdramatizing the operation, though they nevertheless acknowledged its importance to Israel’s security. Some took issue with referring to Northern Shield as an operation — which gives an impression of an offensive campaign — rather than as an effort or an action.

“There’s an exaggeration in the way it was presented, and I hope that doesn’t hurt us,” Ya’alon said. “But the decision [to do it] was professionally made and came from within the military.”

UNIFIL sends team to inspect Hezbollah cross-border tunnels in Israel

The United Nations peace keeping force UNIFIL announced Thursday that it sent a special team to Israel on Thursday to inspect the situation on the northern border, after UN and European Union officials denounced the Hezbollah attack tunnels into Israel.

“The building of tunnels from one country to another for military purposes is wholly unacceptable,” Stephen Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told reporters in New York on Wednesday.

He spoke after Israel launched a military operation on its side of the Lebanese border this week, to destroy attack tunnels, which the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon had dug into Israeli territory.

The IDF announced on Thursday a second attack tunnel was found stretching into Israeli territory. The IDF destroyed it on the Lebanese side of the border, the army said.

Dujarric added that the “UN will be sending a military delegation from United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) tomorrow to meet with the IDF to get some facts.”

The UN Spokesperson’s Twitter account later commented that tunnels built underground by Hezbollah into Israel were considered a territorial violation.

Hezbollah’s Violations of UNSC Resolution 1701

Hezbollah blatantly violates UNSC Resolution 1701, including breaching Israeli sovereignty for the sake of harming Israeli civilians. Hezbollah must be stopped.

Every 3rd Home in Lebanon

Look at your next-door neighbors’ houses. If you were living in southern Lebanon, at least one of you would have Hezbollah terror assets in your basement.

London, Berlin condemn Hezbollah tunnels, back Israeli border operation

British and German diplomats on Wednesday backed Israel’s right to combat Hezbollah tunnels dug beneath its northern border and strongly condemned the Lebanese terror group for its actions.

Alistair Burt, British Minister of State for the Middle East, said Hezbollah actions were “a blatant disregard of UN resolutions, threatening Israel and Lebanon’s stability.”

Meanwhile German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer said her government “strongly condemns the aggressive behaviour of Hezbollah, as manifested in the tunnel system built in violation of Israel’s territorial integrity.”

The statements joined those of US National Security Adviser John Bolton who on Tuesday expressed “strong support” for Israel’s “efforts to defend its sovereignty.”

Russia on Wednesday expressed tacit support on Wednesday for the efforts to expose Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels, while calling on both sides to show restraint lest the volatile situation on the Lebanese border escalate. Russia does not consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Israel has a right to defend itself, EU ambassador says

Israel has the right to defend itself, EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret said Thursday, after Israel launched Operation Northern Shield to destroy Hezbollah attack tunnels on its border with Lebanon.

Giaufret said in a Twitter message that he was “closely following news re: Northern Shield” and was in “close contact” with Israeli authorities.

Giaufret also said that UNIFIL had a “key role” to play and needed full support to fulfill its mandate to “maintain stability and prevent escalation.”

In May, Giaufret made similar statements backing Israeli action against terrorist attacks when he condemned rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip as “totally unacceptable.”

“I know the resilience of communities in southern Israel but indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable and [deserve] to be condemned unreservedly,” he tweeted in May following an uptick in tensions along the Gaza-Israel border.

Michael Oren: Thank you, Mr. President

Strategically, the president’s commitment to Israel has given credence to his threats to use force against North Korea if Kim Jong Un didn’t stop firing missiles at Japan. One result was the U.S.-North Korean summit – North Korea saw that Trump lives up to his words, dialed back its threats, and held the summit.

A year has passed since the president stood up at the White House and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since then, other countries – including the Czech Republic and Brazil, have declared their intentions to follow suit. Likewise, stringent American sanctions are back in place against Iran and most businesspeople in the world – including in Europe, which fought so hard to protect the nuclear deal – have been forced to cooperate.

Only this week, the Chinese announced that they were willing to significantly increase their purchase of American products. The most dramatic effect was seen in the Arab world. Arab leaders know they can’t step between the U.S. and Israel and that they can depend on the president when it comes to Iran. That has led to an unprecedented rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Muslim world, a most welcome development, and not only on Iran but also for current and future American efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

This is all good news for Israel. No one disputes that our diplomatic situation is better now than it was in 2016, and much of that is due to the policies of the current U.S. administration. But not only Israel – the entire world can now enjoy the advantages of being able to depend on an uncompromising American position.

David Singer: Trump Stand Shames UN Rejection of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The preamble to the Jerusalem Embassy Act overwhelmingly passed by the United States Senate (93-5) and the House (374-37) on 24 October 1995 sets out the following facts that underscore the total lack of legal and moral integrity of the United Nations:
1. Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.
2. Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.
3. The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions.
4. The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths.
5. From 1948-1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.
6. In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six Day War.
7. Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy sites within the city.
8. The United States maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except in the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel.
9. In 1996, the State of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry.

The United Nations – in discarding these inconvenient truths – has done the cause of world peace a grave disservice whilst the groundwork for a humanitarian disaster affecting both Arabs and Jews is being plotted by the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

President Trump made it crystal clear that his decision was:
“not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved”.

Trump’s principled stand on Jerusalem is morally justified and accords with international law. Guatemala has already moved its Embassy to Jerusalem – Brazil is planning to follow.

The United Nations continues to ignore Trump’s message at its peril and to its eternal shame.

Jewish, Christian Groups Urge Australian Leader to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

Several leading Australian Jewish and Christian groups are calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the country’s embassy there.

In October, Morrison, who is an evangelical Christian from the right-wing Liberal Party, said he was “open to” the move, describing it as a “sensible” proposal.

“The orthodoxy that’s driven this debate says issues like considering the question of the capital are taboo. I think we have to challenge that,” he said at the time.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, just ahead of the last parliamentary session before the holidays, the coalition of Jewish and Christian groups called upon the Australian government “to give formal recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to announce the Australian embassy located in Tel Aviv will be relocated to Israel’s government precinct in Jerusalem as soon as feasible.”

“Jerusalem is Israel’s seat of government, and the location of the nation’s parliament, ministerial offices, supreme court, and the official residences of the president and prime minister,” the statement read. ‘‘Recognition of Jerusalem is therefore a pragmatic acknowledgment of an existing reality that it is Israel’s functioning capital.”

Israeli Ambassador: ‘I Hope the Polish Embassy Soon Relocates to Jerusalem’

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer expressed a wish on Monday that Poland move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem soon.

Despite the tensions between the two countries, exemplified by Poland’s Holocaust speech law (even though its criminal penalties were scrapped), Dermer made this remark at a joint occasion hosted by the Israeli and Polish embassies in Washington, remembering 100 years since Polish independence and 70 years of Israeli statehood.

Nonetheless, the Israeli envoy said, “The relationship between our two countries is so strong that I remain hopeful that next year, the Polish ambassador to Israel will follow in the footsteps of the American ambassador to Israel and light a menorah in a Polish embassy in Jerusalem.”

“I’m pleased that our two governments were able to reach an agreement that enables us both to respect the past and work together to build a common future,” added Dermer.

Regarding a possible move of the Polish embassy to Jerusalem, Polish Ambassador to the United States Piotr Wilczek told Haaretz that “our Israeli friends often express such hopes, but I’m not aware of any plans regarding this at the moment.”

JPost Editorial: A UN vote worth taking

“The world scene today is remarkable for a multiplicity of grave issues and for the marginal role of the United Nations in their solution.”

Who said that? Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon? US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley? Good guesses.

But those opening words were spoken by Abba Eban on October 8, 1968, in his landmark address to the UN outlining Israel’s nine-point peace plan – in response to the Palestine National Covenant issued three months earlier that rejected any possibility of compromise with Israel.

It is unbelievable that the same words can and still need to be said, but things could soon change.

At 3 p.m. Thursday local time, the UN is set to vote on another Middle East proposal, but this vote is unlike any other: This is a proposal by the United States slamming Hamas – by name, for the first time – and asking UN members to condemn the terrorist organization “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” according to a draft text.

The resolution also demands that Hamas “and other terrorist actors, including Islamic Jihad cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices,” a reference to the Molotov cocktail balloons and kites that have been launched from Gaza across the border into Israel and have burned thousands of acres of Israeli land.

Outcome aside, UN vote condemning Hamas a ‘win-win’ for Israel — envoy

Thursday’s vote in the United Nations General Assembly on Hamas is a “win-win” for Israel, even if the US-sponsored resolution condemning the Gaza-based terrorist organization fails to pass, according to Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

“The mere fact that the entire world now deals with Hamas, with all ambassadors sending this resolution to their capitals, is already a great accomplishment for us,” Danon told The Times of Israel.

“It’s a win-win. If we win, it will be a historic achievement. And if we don’t win, at least we succeeded in putting Hamas’s activities on the global agenda,” he added.

The vote, which is scheduled to be held between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Israel time, will be preceded by a vote on whether the resolution requires a basic or two-thirds majority to pass.

While it was possible that, for procedural reasons, a two-thirds majority was needed for the resolution to pass — which would dramatically decrease the text’s chances of passage — there was a “very good chance that at least a majority of voting countries would support the draft.

“We need to wait for the vote, but I am sure that we will get a majority of the countries to vote in favor of the resolution,” Danon said.

“We worked hard — our mission and also the American delegation. We believe that we will get the majority today at the General Assembly, something which in the past nobody would have believed could ever happen,” he added.

Ambassador Danny Danon: No more the Palestinians’ home turf

In a few hours, ambassadors from around the world will step into the United Nations General Assembly and vote on a historic resolution.

“The U.N. General Assembly condemns the rocket fire and incitement to violence by Hamas against the State of Israel,” the proposed resolution will read. The moment they vote, the ambassadors will decide which side of history they are on – the side of a murderous terrorist organization or the truth. Unprecedented activity was behind the vote, the result of which we will know Thursday evening. For many weeks we went from ambassador to ambassador, from small countries and big, because every vote counts and every vote is equal. We told them this was a historic moment.

“Your vote will determine whether you are for or against terror,” I told my fellow ambassadors, “terror from a murderous organization that is holding hostage Israeli civilians and the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.”

Hamas, having understood the significance of the resolution, has turned to the Assembly presidency, begged for help from Iran, enlisted its own enemies in the Palestinian Authority and has threatened the European Union. It was obvious to all that in its desperation Hamas was revealing its true face. Ahead of the vote, we saw early signs of success – we rallied the EU to the initiative and cultivated a lively discussion in the U.N. hallways about Hamas and the Iranian regime, which is orchestrating and funding global terror. Slowly but surely, numerous countries stopped vacillating and joined the united front spearheaded by Israel and the United States. In the past, the Arabs were automatically embraced by the U.N. In recent years, however, the attitude toward Israel has changed and the support we enlisted for this proposal is undeniable evidence of this. We showed that an aggressive approach breeds success.

UN to vote on Haley’s last stand: Condemning Hamas

The UN General Assembly will vote Thursday on a US-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinian terror group Hamas, in what could mark US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s parting gesture at the United Nations.

If adopted, it would mark the first time the 193-nation assembly has taken aim at Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Haley, who will step down as UN ambassador at the end of the year, has repeatedly accused the United Nations of an anti-Israel bias and has strongly supported Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas in Gaza.

The United States has won crucial backing from the European Union, with all 28 countries set to support the US measure, which condemns Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demands an end to the violence.

Parents of soldier whose body is held by Hamas seek UN condemnation

The latest draft of the resolution, entitled “Activities of Hamas and Other Militant Groups in Gaza,” also makes explicit mention of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terror group with a significant presence in the Gaza Strip.

The draft “condemns Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk” and demands that “Hamas and other militant actors including Palestinian Islamic Jihad cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices.” It further condemns Hamas’s use of resources in Gaza to “construct military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas, when such resources could be used to address the critical needs of the civilian population.”

But it does not mention the two Israeli civilians and two bodies of fallen soldiers held by Hamas in the territory. The civilians, both believed to be mentally ill — Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — entered Gaza of their own volition in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The two soldiers are Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, both killed in the 2014 Israel-Gaza war.

In a letter to Netanyahu, Leah and Simcha Goldin note, “In an unusual step, and after a great deal of effort, the American administration is bringing for the UN General Assembly’s approval a sharp message of rebuke at Hamas’s activities in Gaza.

“It’s inconceivable that such a condemnation does not include the IDF soldiers that Hamas is holding in Gaza,” they charge.

Unsurprisingly, Turkey Sides with Hamas on UN Resolution Condemning Gaza Rocket Attacks

Turkey, a NATO ally, plans to oppose an American-sponsored draft resolution at the United Nations condemning Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terror factions for their attacks on Israel. A vote on the resolution is scheduled for Thursday.

The resolution specifically condemns “Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk.” It also demands that Palestinian terror factions stop using “airborne incendiary devices” against Israel.

Turkey will vote against the resolution, Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported this week, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu promised Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh that Turkey would do everything it could to stop its passage. Haniyeh lobbied the Turks to help Hamas thwart the American effort. Hamas called the resolution “aggression against the rights of the Palestinian cause” in a communiqué posted on its website, and claimed that the measure was an assault on “the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves.”

Çavuşoğlu vowed that his country would “remain alongside the right of Palestine and Palestinians, and that its position is constant on the Palestinian Cause.”

Turkey has become a key Hamas ally and protector. Çavuşoğlu condemned the US decision to classify Haniyeh as a specially designated global terrorist, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared last May that Hamas was not a terrorist organization. Turkey also gives military assistance to Hamas through a private military company called SADAT International Defense Consulting, which is run by a top Erdogan military adviser, Israel’s Shin Bet disclosed earlier this year.

Bahrain’s FM denies plan for Netanyahu to visit Gulf kingdom

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa has denied the existence of a plan for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the Gulf kingdom.

“There is no plan for a visit of Israel’s prime minister,” Khalid told the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. “There are no communications regarding [a visit]. The reality is nothing has happened.”

The Bahraini official’s comment comes days after Hebrew-language news sites reported that Israel was working to normalize ties with Bahrain, citing an unnamed senior official. At least one site also recently reported that officials in Jerusalem assessed that Bahrain would be the next Arab country without formal diplomatic ties with Israel to host Netanyahu.

In October, the prime minister made a surprise visit to Oman and met Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Muscat.

At a press conference last week, Netanyahu said he would visit more Arab states soon, without naming which countries.

Despite his denial of an imminent plan, the top Bahraini diplomat, however, said if a visit for Netanyahu were planned, the Gulf country would “not hesitate to announce it.”

PLO: In Oman, Netanyahu told leader he’s ready to cede land not security control

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said that he is ready to cede territory, but not security control, to the Palestinians, a senior official in Ramallah briefed on the the prime minister’s comments said.

Netanyahu traveled to Muscat in late October and met Qaboos there, becoming the first Israeli prime minister in more than two decades to publicly visit the Gulf country.

Few details from Netanyahu and Qaboos’s meeting have been reported, giving rise to considerable speculation about the matters the two leaders discussed.

“The Omani foreign minister informed us of what Netanyahu told Sultan Qaboos,” Azzam al-Ahmad, a top Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organization official, told The Times of Israel Tuesday. “He told us Netanyahu said to Qaboos he is ready to make some territorial concessions, but said he will not give up security control.”

Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi made a rare visit to Ramallah in late October and met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

International court sees progress in probe of Palestinian crimes

International Criminal Court prosecutors intend to complete “as early as possible” a long-running preliminary investigation into allegations of crimes in the Palestinian territories, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The annual report by ICC prosecutors on progress in nine so-called preliminary examinations underway at the court, said that the Palestinian territories probe “has advanced and significantly progressed” analysis of whether legal conditions for opening a case have been met.

Those legal conditions include whether alleged crimes were serious enough to be dealt with at the global tribunal and whether local authorities are investigating and prosecuting the crimes. The ICC is a court of last resort that only takes on cases when local courts cannot or will not prosecute.

ICC prosecutors have been conducting a preliminary inquiry since 2015 in the Palestinian territories, including Israel’s settlement policy, crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict and Hamas rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians.

Israel is not a member of the court and doesn’t accept ICC jurisdiction. But Israeli forces could face charges if they are suspected of committing crimes on Palestinian territories. The court has accepted the “State of Palestine” as a member.

Recent Polls Suggest Many Palestinians Would Accept Compromises Unthinkable to Their Leaders

In two surveys by respected pollsters of Palestinians in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, surprising numbers of respondents expressed a willingness to make necessary compromises in exchange for statehood. David Pollock writes:

[T]he data suggest that a peace plan advancing Palestinian aspirations, even at the price of major concessions, would be accepted at the popular level—despite its likely rejection by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. . . . Two-thirds of Gazans say Palestinians should accept that the “right of return” would not apply to Israel, but should only [allow Palestinians living abroad to settle in] the West Bank and Gaza, if that is the price of a Palestinian state. When asked about their own personal preferences, a mere 14 percent say they would “probably” want to move to Israel, even if they could. . . .

West Bankers are approximately evenly split on the suggestion that refugees not enter Israel. . . . But a mere 5 percent say they would probably move to Israel even if they could. Moreover, two-thirds would accept the permanent resettlement of diaspora Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza even if their families originated inside Israel. . . .

This essential (but rarely posed) question [in the survey] asks if a two-state solution should either (a) “end the conflict and open up a new chapter in Palestinian history,” or (b) “not end the conflict, and resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated.” West Bankers pick “end the conflict” by a sizable margin. . . . Meanwhile, Gazans are almost evenly split: 47 to 49 percent. East Jerusalem Palestinians, who maintain everyday contact with Israelis, decisively choose “end the conflict” by a margin of 73 to 22 percent.

PMW: PA daily describes Israeli MP’s visit to the Temple Mount as an “extensive invasion,” calls Jewish holiday of Hanukkah “one of the holidays most connected to ‘the alleged Temple’”

Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida – Dec. 4, 2018
Headline: “The extremist Glick leads extensive invasions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”
“Israeli Member of Parliament extremist Rabbi Yehuda Glick led an extensive invasion of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque yesterday morning [Dec. 3, 2018]… These invasions were held on the anniversary of the Hebrew Festival of Lights, or what is called ‘Hanukkah’… This Talmudic (i.e., Jewish) holiday is one of the holidays most connected to ‘the alleged Temple.’”

The PA and its leaders consider all of the Temple Mount an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore they view any presence of Jews on the mount as an “invasion.” It should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount only enter some sections of the open areas, and do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Israeli police ban Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount because of threats of violence by Palestinians.

Caroline Glick: Israel’s Deep State Takes Aim at Netanyahu

Israel’s administrative state is out of control.

The Israeli police’s announcement on Sunday that the department is recommending that Israel’s Attorney General indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and breach of trust is not a testament to the investigators’ bold determination to see that justice is done even among the most powerful.

Rather, it is a testament to the determination of Israel’s “deep state” to unseat a popular and popularly elected leader.

How do we know this? First, the case against Netanyahu – and his wife Sara, whom the police also recommend indicting – makes no sense.

Netanyahu’s alleged crimes relate to decisions he made during his tenure as Minister of Communications. Netanyahu held that portfolio in addition to serving as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister from 2015 through 2017. His allegedly corrupt actions involve the Communications Ministry’s decision to approve the merger of Bezeq – Israel’s telecommunications giant and former monopoly — with YES, Israel’s satellite television provider.

Netanyahu is accused of approving the merger that allegedly gave a billion shekels – or some $300 million – in regulatory and tax breaks to Yes, enriching Bezeq owner Shaul Elovich. Elovich and his wife Iris are friends with Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

Elovich allegedly repaid – that is, bribed – Netanyahu for his allegedly preferential treatment by providing the prime minister and his wife Sara with positive coverage on Israel’s Walla Internet news portal, which is owned by Bezeq.

Neither the “quid” – that is, preferential regulatory and tax treatment – nor the “quo” – positive coverage on a website – stand up to scrutiny.

IDF special forces discovered by Hamas had been in Gaza Strip for weeks – report

An Israel Defense Forces special unit, which last month fought its way out of the Gaza Strip in a deadly gun battle after being discovered by Hamas security personnel, had been operating inside the Palestinian enclave for weeks, Hadashot television news reported on Wednesday.

The Israeli team rented an apartment and was posing under the cover of workers in a non-government medical equipment charity, “Bamasa,” which has two branches, one in Khan Younis and one in Gaza City, according to a Palestinian source familiar with the Hamas investigation into the incident cited by Hadashot.

The Times of Israel could not independently confirm the existence of a charity by that name.

During its time in Gaza the IDF team engaged in handing out medical equipment, mostly wheelchairs, the source told the news channel. Hamas located the apartment where the team was allegedly based and investigators found medical equipment, wheelchairs and evidence that the force had been there for weeks.

On the night of November 11, the Israeli unit was exposed inside the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis following a search of their vehicle at a Hamas checkpoint, resulting in a firefight in which an Israeli lieutenant colonel was killed, along with seven Palestinian gunmen. “Something out of the ordinary” about those in the vehicle prompted Hamas suspicions, the Hadashot TV report said.

Elite commando unit was interrogated by Hamas for 40 minutes

The commandos that were involved in last month’s botched special forces mission in Gaza were interrogated for 40 minutes by Hamas before the gunfight erupted, Channel 2 reported.

The soldiers were stopped while driving in Gaza by Hamas terrorists, who decided to detain them after finding inconsistencies in their story. The undercover operatives them opened fire in order not to be taken into custody and fled while being pursued by several patrol vehicles manned by Hamas terrorists.

The IDF dispatched several unmanned aircraft which opened fire on the Hamas terrorists pursuing the Israeli agents.

During the pursuit, one of the Israeli vehicles struck a wall, forcing the team members to continue on foot. An IDF helicopter later managed to land inside the Gaza Strip and evacuate the team.

The report also said that the troops had entered Gaza two months earlier and were installing highly advanced surveillance gear inside Gaza, including attempts to tap Hamas’ communications network.

A 41-year-old Israeli lieutenant colonel, identified solely by the initial “M”, was killed in a pitched battle with Hamas terrorists deep inside the Gaza Strip, near the city of Khan Yunis.

Amnesty International: Palestinian woman tortured in PA prison

Amnesty International on Thursday called on the Palestinian Authority to investigate the alleged torture and ill-treatment of Suha Jbara, a Palestinian mother of three, who is being held in a PA prison in Jericho.

Jbara, who is a US and Panamanian citizen, was arrested by the PA security forces during a raid on her home in a village north of Ramallah on November 3.

She is suspected of involvement with Islamic charities that provide financial aid to families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel.

In a statement, Amnesty International quoted Jbara as saying she had been beaten, slammed against a wall, and threatened with sexual violence by her Palestinian interrogators.

On December 4, Jbara met with Amnesty, telling a representative about her ordeals in prison. She also told the organization she had suffered relentless harassment from officials to end a hunger strike she began on November 22 in protest of her detention and torture.

Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Advisor to PA President: Men May Only Beat Their Wives When They Are Disobedient

Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who is an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the only situation in which a man is ever permitted to beat his wife is when she is “being disobedient, crossing the line, [and] violating the sanctity of matrimony.” He said that even under these circumstances, the man may not hit his wife in the face or in a fashion that causes harm, injury, or excessive pain. He said that men must remember that their wives are partners rather than maids or slave girls. Al-Habbash was interviewed on Palestine TV (Palestinian Authority) on December 1, 2018.

Qatar transfers $15 million to Gaza through Israel

Qatar transferred $15 to Gaza through Israel on Thursday, sources in Gaza told Ynet News.

As a result of the transfer, the salaries of Hamas officials will be paid on Friday. This is the second round of Qatari funds sent to Gaza, with Israel’s agreement.

“The heavy rain currently falling on Israel won’t wash away the shame of paying protection money to Hamas,” MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu) responded to the report. “All the ministers, who share a common responsibility for this disgrace, are holding on tightly to their chairs and prefer to betray everything they believe in and allow the transfer of funds to a terrorist organization.”

“Mr. Prime Minister, you yourself said that money doesn’t stop terror,” MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) said. “So how do you allow the Qatari money to go through? It’s protection money sponsored by the state of Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had defended the decision to permit Qatar to pay the salaries of thousands of civil servants in Gaza early in November as “the right step.”

Netanyahu said the deal with Qatar, approved for humanitarian reasons, was backed by both the military and his top-level political security cabinet.

PA TV Host Dana Abu Shamsiya Praises Palestinian Who Stabbed Israeli Policemen

During her opening monologue on a November 23, 2018 morning show on Palestine TV (Palestinian Authority), TV host Dana Abu Shamsiya said about Abd Al-Rahman Abu Jamal, a Palestinian from Jerusalem who stabbed four Israeli policemen: “I am a Palestinian lion cub, planted in my land… The blood of the martyrs throws through my veins… I harvest souls on the battlefield. I am a guardian of Al-Aqsa and the [Dome of] the Rock… I am feared by the armies of betrayal. I am desired by the black-eyed virgins [of Paradise]… Liberation shall come at the hands of the lion cubs.” Abu Shamsiya is also the editor of the show.

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