Caroline Glick: David Friedman’s Jewish antagonists
David Friedman, US President- elect Donald Trump’s choice to serve as the next US ambassador to Israel, has his work cut out for him.
Right after Trump announced his appointment, the nameless bureaucrats at the State Department mounted a rebellion. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, the permanent members of the State Department’s Israel policy shop let it be known that Friedman is not to their liking.
“These are the people,” the Post’s Washington reporter Michael Wilner wrote, “behind the carefully worded reactions to breaking news developments in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.”
They operate on the basis of their shared catechism. Euphemistically stated, that writ of faith is that the US’s “influence… is only as strong as the legitimacy they maintain… as a fair and balanced arbiter.”
In plain English that means that the permanent bureaucracy believes the US must be hostile to Israel.
And now its members are worried. They “now fear that [their] influence may diminish under… Trump, after his announcement on Thursday night that… Friedman would be Washington’s ambassador to Israel.”
If the incoming Trump administration moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel, the prospect of a two-state solution will be over, and any hope of Israeli-Palestinian peace in the future will vanish, the top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned on Monday.
Speaking on a conference call organized by the Wilson Center policy forum in Washington, DC regarding expectations from the Trump administration, Erekat reeled off a list of what he said would be the consequences of President-elect Donald Trump honoring his campaign pledge and relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Erekat said he would immediately resign as the chief Palestinian negotiator, and that “the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel” as well as all previously signed agreements with Israel.
Furthermore, said Erekat, all American embassies in the Arab world would be forced to close — not necessarily because Arab leaderships would want to close them, but because the infuriated public in the Arab world would not “allow” for the embassies to continue to operate.
The son of a terror victim asked the police on Sunday to open a criminal investigation into the mayor of Nazareth, following a recent event in the city backed by the municipality that celebrated his father’s murderer.
On December 10, Nazareth, the largest Arab-majority city in Israel, held its “Nazareth reads” event, which saw hundreds of children sit and read in a line that stretched from the plaza of the Spring Square within Nazareth’s old city to the Church of the Annunciation, according to Palestinian Media Watch, which first reported the event in English.
The event honored Palestinian terrorist Baha Alyan, one of two men who attacked a bus in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on October 13, 2015, shooting and stabbing passengers. Police who arrived at the scene shot and killed Alyan. The other attacker, Bilal Abu Ghanem, was shot and injured and taken into police custody.
Among the three killed as a result of the attack was peace activist and educator Richard Lakin.
His son, Micah Avni, wrote to Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh on Sunday, asking for a criminal probe to be opened into Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam, “in light the offenses of sedition, incitement to terrorism, unlawful assembly, a breach of trust and illegal use of public funds, and in light of the serious blow to the feelings of the public and respect of the state.”
An Israeli man was wounded during Monday’s attack in Berlin and his wife is missing in the wake of the incident, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Tuesday.
The man, reportedly in his sixties, is seriously wounded, but has underwent surgery and his life is not in danger, the ministry said. His wife has been declared missing and the Israeli embassy is in contact with German authorities.
An Israeli diplomat in Berlin, Leora Givon, went to visit the victim in the hospital, the Foreign Ministry said.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany reacted “with great sadness” to Monday’s attack, but cautioned against letting terrorism spoil the spirit of the upcoming holidays. “We are deeply shocked. Especially in the pre-Christmas period, when our society focuses on values like charity, goodness and peace, our country was once again hit by this disgusting attack,” the group’s president Josef Schuster, said in a statement.
“Our thoughts are with the victims, their relatives and friends. We wish a speedy recovery.”
At the same time, Schuster said, “Our thoughts and deeds must not be overcome by fear and terror.” In a few days, the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays start, Schuster noted. “May the message of these two holidays give us strength in these difficult hours.”
The death toll after a truck rammed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin on Monday evening has risen to 12, with nearly 50 injured, according to officials.
Police said a suspect believed to be the driver was arrested nearby and a passenger died as paramedics were treating him.
There was no definitive word yet on the driver’s motive, but eyewitnesses said he did not appear to be attempting to stop the vehicle as he smashed through tables and wooden stands.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet, although there are many things pointing to one,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the public ARD television channel. “There is a psychological effect in the whole country of the choice of words here, and we want to be very, very cautious and operate close to the actual investigation results, not with speculation.”
Security sources cited by the DPA news agency said that the man behind the wheel was an asylum seeker from Afghanistan or Pakistan who arrived in Germany in February.
The daily Tagesspiegel said the man was known to police but for minor crimes, not links to terrorism.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that authorities believe a deadly rampage by a truck driver at a Berlin Christmas market was a “terrorist” attack likely committed by an asylum seeker.
Police were questioning a suspect described by media as a 23-year-old man from Pakistan or Afghanistan who had arrived via the so-called Balkan route early this year and was staying at a Berlin refugee shelter. However, they later said they were “uncertain” he was behind the attack.
Twelve people were killed in the attack.
Merkel said if it was confirmed that the man at the wheel had been part of the refugee influx to the country, this would be “particularly sickening in relation to the many, many Germans who are involved every day in helping refugees.”
Twelve people were killed and almost 50 wounded when the truck tore through the crowd on Monday evening, smashing wooden stalls and crushing victims, in scenes reminiscent of July’s deadly attack in the French Riviera city of Nice.
The mangled truck came to a rest with its windscreen smashed, a trail of destruction and screaming victims in its wake, with Christmas trees toppled on their side, days before the country’s most important festival.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday evening condemned the assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey at an art exhibition in Ankara.
“Israel condemns the brutal assassination of Ambassador Andrey Karlov this evening in Ankara. We send our deepest condolences to his family and to the Russian people. The murder of a diplomat serves as a stark reminder of the need for the civilized world to come together in fighting the forces of terrorism,” said Netanyahu.
The UN Security Council condemned the assassination as well and branded it a “terrorist attack”.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of terrorist attacks to justice,” the 15-member council said in a statement.
Karlov was shot dead at an art exhibition opening in Ankara by a Turkish policeman crying “Aleppo” and “Allahu Akbar”.
US President-elect Donald Trump on Monday called on the world to “change thinking” following deadly attacks on a Russian ambassador in Turkey and a Christmas market in Germany. On the social media website, Twitter, Trump said, “Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!”
In a statement issued by his transition team, Trump condemned the assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, on Monday, saying the killing was carried out by a “radical Islamic terrorist” and violated “all rules of civilized order.” The statement also offered condolences to Karlov’s family.
In a separate statement, Trump also condemned the attack at a Christmas market in Berlin that killed nine people and injured dozens more, linking that attack to “Islamist terrorists” before German police had said who was responsible. Trump said “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”
I thought I would compare to the typical US response after a terror attack in Israel.
Here is one from an attack on the Har Nof synagogue two years ago:
Statement by the President on Attack in Jerusalem
I strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack on worshipers at a synagogue in Jerusalem, which killed four innocent people, including U.S. citizens Aryeh Kupinsky, Cary William Levine, and Mosheh Twersky, and injured several more. There is and can be no justification for such attacks against innocent civilians. The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the victims and families of all those who were killed and injured in this horrific attack and in other recent violence. At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward towards peace.
Let’s break this one down too.
Again, we have strong condemnation, followed by thoughts and prayers to the victims and loved ones. But no offer to provide assistance, statement as to closeness of ties with Israel nor resolve to stand together with us and fight terror. In fact, it ends with a plea for Israeli leaders to work with palestinian leaders to lower tensions, as if this a part of a “cycle of violence” and not a scourge that needs to be fought.
The hypocrisy and double standards have never been so evident.
Here’s hoping the new US administration puts an end to this.
Islamic State sympathizers and militants are celebrating an incident on Monday in which a lorry ploughed through a crowd of shoppers in a busy Christmas market in Berlin, reportedly killing nine people and injuring more than fifty.
The messages, obtained by Breitbart Jerusalem, were posted to a closed chat group that utilizes the encrypted Telegram messaging service. The chat group serves as an internal Twitter of sorts for IS jihadists and sympathizers, and it has been used in the past to issue IS communications.
The messages also celebrated the assassination on Tuesday of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey. That murder, which was caught on video and was perpetuated at a public event in front of witnesses, was reportedly carried out by an off-duty police officer.
Ten teenagers suspected of planning terrorist attacks on Christmas markets were arrested in Belgium. Speaking for the Belgium prosecutor’s office, spokesman Eric Van Der Sijpt said the group had received instructions online as to how to make bombs and kill people.
“[The teenagers] were recruited by terrorist groups to prepare or commit terrorist acts,” the spokesman said.
The arrest follows the detention of a 12-year-old boy who tried to detonate a nail bomb at a Christmas market in Germany. He was described as being “strongly radicalized” and “incited and instructed” by an “unidentified member of ISIS,” according to investigators that spoke to the German Magazine Focus.
The boy reportedly planned to travel to Iraq and join ISIS last summer. He was not arrested because he is younger than the criminal age of responsibility in Germany. He was taken into foster care, however.
Citing “credible information,” the U.S. State Department issued a warning to its citizens about the “heightened risk” of terrorist attacks during the holiday season in Europe.
Russia is guilty of terrible war crimes in Syria and Ukraine. In Aleppo alone, Russian aircraft have undoubtedly been responsible for hundreds of deaths. But none of that in any way serves as justification for the assassination of Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey. The alleged culprit was a Turkish policeman who shouted, “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” after gunning down Karlov from the back.
This attack was all the more revolting and stunning because it was not just an attack on one man or even one country but on the very underpinnings of the international system as it has existed since time immemorial. As Encyclopedia Britannica noted, “The inviolability of diplomatic envoys has been recognized by most civilizations and states throughout history. To ensure exchanges of information and to maintain contact, most societies—even preliterate ones—granted messengers safe-conduct… In Roman law the unassailability of ambassadors was guaranteed even after the outbreak of war.” The doctrine of “extraterritoriality” was further refined by the 17th Century legal scholar Hugo Grotius and has been widely respected since.
The fact that diplomatic immunity is such an age-old, universal doctrine makes violations of its tenets–such as the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran or today’s assassination–all the more despicable and shocking. It does not, however, mean that we are about to see the outbreak of World War III as some of the more facile Internet analogies to the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand have suggested.
In the first place, Franz Ferdinand was not simply an ambassador; he was the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Secondly, his death at the hands of young Bosnian fanatics eager to create Yugoslavia (a state that would unite South Slavs) presented a convenient excuse for warmongers in Vienna to do that what they had been eager to do all along–to crush Serbia which they viewed as a threat to the Habsburgs’ remaining empire in the Balkans. That, in turn, drew Russia, Serbia’s ally, and Germany, Austria’s ally, into a wider European war.
Following the dramatic assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov on Monday, officials in both countries have begun to speculate on the killer’s origins, with some Russian leaders pointing the finger at NATO while Turkish officials claim Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen had a hand in the killing.
While the heads of state of Turkey and Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, have both abstained from speculating regarding whether the killer was sent by a terrorist faction, officials in both countries have begun to publicly air theories on the matter. The UK Independent notes that at least two members of the Russian legislature have publicly speculated that Western powers were involved in the assassination.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a member of the Duma who has been described as “Putin’s clown in chief“… “used to float radical opinions to test public reaction,” described the assassination as “a false flag operation by the West.”
“It can be ISIS, or the Kurdish army which tries to hurt Erdogan,” Frantz Klintsevich, deputy chairman of the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament’s defense committee, said. “But may be – and it is highly likely – that representatives of foreign NATO secret services are behind it.”
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) often finds itself the target of ill sentiment in Russia. Turkish police have not claimed to have any evidence linking Karlov’s killer to the organization, however, of which Turkey is a member. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement condemning the killing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Monday assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, calling the murder of Andrey Karlov a “stark reminder” of the need for unity in the face of terrorism.
“Israel condemns the brutal assassination of Ambassador Andrey Karlov this evening in Ankara,” a Monday night statement from the prime minister said. “We send our deepest condolences to his family and to the Russian people.”
“The murder of a diplomat serves as a stark reminder of the need for the civilized world to come together in fighting the forces of terrorism.”
Earlier on Monday evening, a Turkish policeman crying “Aleppo” and “Allahu Akbar” shot Karlov dead at an art exhibition in Ankara, apparently as an act of revenge for the Russian bombing of Aleppo in Syria.
Dramatic television footage showed the moment the veteran diplomat was shot as he attended the opening of a show of Russian photographs at the Ankara exhibition hall.
Turkish police detained a man who fired shots in front of the US embassy in Ankara early Tuesday, several hours after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was killed in an attack.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the man took out a pump action shotgun he hid in his coat and fired around eight shots in the air. He was overpowered by the embassy’s security guards.
As he was taken away, the man cursed and shouted, “Don’t play with us,” Turkish media reported, naming the suspect as “Sahin S.”
“An individual approached the US Embassy Ankara main gate and discharged a firearm,” the embassy said in a statement, adding that no one was hurt and the individual was detained.
The embassy said its missions in Ankara, Istanbul and the southern city of Adana would be “closed for normal operations on Tuesday.”
The incident took place at 3:50 a.m., hours after a Turkish policeman shot dead Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov as he was opening a photography exhibition.
From the 1980s, after Israel’s Jerusalem Law and the annexation of not only east Jerusalem but a wide swath around, the US continued its opposition to any change in “status” in Jerusalem. In the 1990s the Americans supported negotiations on the final status of the city, in a sense giving the Palestinians a veto over any chance Jerusalem would ever be recognized as the capital of Israel. Dennis Ross writes that during that period the idea was floated to include Abu Dis in the Jerusalem boundaries and thus allow for Palestinian institutions there to be part of the “capital” of Jerusalem, shared by both states. But even when it seemed clear the international custodianship concept for Jerusalem was dead, after 50 years, it was revived in 2000 at Camp David as a way to administer the Temple Mount.
For the past 16 years there has been no progress on the Jerusalem issue. Every discussion between the Palestinians and Israel still ends with Palestinian demands for a capital in the city and often with more Muslim claims to rights to the Western Wall, such that the overlapping claims are impossible to reconcile.
The problem with US policy is that it became intoxicated with the UN’s view of Jerusalem, which is based on the colonial- era concept that the international community has more rights to the city than the people that live in it. The partition plan was dripping with colonialism and yet remains in many ways the basis for discussions on the city. The unwillingness of the US to recognize Israel’s rights at least to west Jerusalem is rooted in that colonial past. It’s one thing for the US to refuse recognition of east Jerusalem as part of Israel, it’s another to still view the Knesset as existing on some international landscape.
This colonial history impacts Palestinians as well. There should be a US consulate in Ramallah to effectively provide Palestinians with services, so that they don’t have to beg for permission to visit Jerusalem just to attend consular events. Any US attempt to move the embassy to Jerusalem should be coupled with a deeper consular commitment to the Palestinians. FDR was right: local people should have self-determination and one should not rule over another without rights. At the very least, what was decided more than 70 years ago by Europeans should be discarded.
U.S. President Barack Obama may yet allow for anti-Israel resolutions to pass at the U.N., populist-right news site Breitbart reported, citing anonymous sources.
The resolutions, if passed, would increase pressure on Jerusalem and possibly even advance the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
According to the report, the Palestinians are now sending out a U.N. Security Council resolution draft determining that settlements are illegal and demanding that U.N. member states avoid offering any aid to Israel that could be tied to settlement activity. Other anti-Israel resolutions from New Zealand and Sweden are reportedly in the works.
Just last week, Breitbart reported, Palestinian leaders spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to convince the United States not to veto an anti-Israel U.N. resolution.
The report said sources indicated the Obama administration may ultimately avoid using its veto to prevent an anti-Israel Security Council resolution.
The final Knesset votes on controversial legislation that would legalize some 4,000 housing units in the West Bank built illegally on privately-owned Palestinian land have been postponed until after President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House on January 20, The Times of Israel has learned.
The information was confirmed by coalition chairman David Bitan.
After weeks of marathon meetings to hammer out the legislation, a committee meeting to finalize the bill for its second and third readings in the plenary was canceled on Monday. A new date to clear the bill for its final readings in the plenum was not immediately set.
A spokesperson for Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich, one of the sponsors of the legislation, said the committee votes to okay the bill in its final version would likely take place next week. He said it was possible the final plenary vote would be delayed until after the presidential inauguration, but that a final date had not been set.
The delay signaled a loss of political leverage for the Jewish Home party, which would no longer be able to condition their votes for the two-state budget — which must be approved by the end of the year — on the coalition’s support for the outpost bill.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his strongest statement in years on Monday in favor of construction in Judea and Samaria, giving hope to settler leaders that massive construction will begin when Donald Trump replaces Barack Obama as president of the United States.
Netanyahu told 60 Minutes last week that he was looking forward to working with Trump on a two-state solution.
But sources close to the prime minister said that neither Netanyahu nor the incoming president see West Bank construction as a hindrance to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Speaking at a Likud faction meeting on Monday, Netanyahu boasted of the success of the deal reached with residents of Amona that will allow more than half of them to remain on the hilltop in a different location. He told the faction that Amona was just the beginning.
“We will continue to strengthen and develop settlements, and I want to make clear: There is not, nor will there be, a government that gives more support to settling and cares more about settling than this government we in the Likud lead,” he said. “This will continue.”
Netanyahu is expected to be questioned about his plans for the Trump era and his support for increased West Bank construction on Tuesday when he meets with the foreign media at a pre-Hanukka event organized by the Government Press Office.
Sources in Bayit Yehudi said the party was preparing a list of what it will demand from Netanyahu after Trump is sworn in on January 20. The sources said the party views the election of a president unopposed to settlement construction and the appointment of settlement-supporting David Friedman as ambassador as a game changer.
The Israeli government has approved Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz’s (Likud) proposal to add more bulletproof buses in Judea and Samaria.
The buses will be used to transport students and residents in Judea and Samaria, allowing Israelis to travel without fear of a shooting, firebomb, rock or boulder-throwing attack.
The new plan includes the addition of 113 bulletproof buses between the years 2017 and 2021, and will cost the Israeli government 215 million NIS.
Katz said on Sunday morning, “I see great importance in adding bulletproof buses in Judea and Samaria. This will strengthen the communities and allow us to increase the frequency of buses to different communities, while at the same time ensuring the safety of Israeli citizens.”
Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan said, “This is a critically important decision.”
“I thank the Transportation Minister for finally bringing about this change, which will return Judea and Samaria’s residents to their natural place as Israeli citizens with rights equal to those of Israel’s other students and citizens,” he added.
On Israel’s border with Lebanon, all seems quiet. Just minutes away, IDF soldiers are watching those scenes with different eyes – and what they find can be a matter of life and death.
Reporting from the border
Outside, the view is peaceful and pastoral. There’s no indication that the villages and towns are controlled by the global terror group Hezbollah, whose rhetoric calls regularly for the destruction of Israel. Hezbollah is currently entangled in the war in Syria. This keeps the border quiet, as Israel doesn’t want an escalation – and Hezbollah can’t afford it.
We know that the quiet on the border is a deceptive quiet. If Hezbollah decides that the time is right to reopen a southern front, we need to be as prepared as possible to minimize the damage and respond quickly. This means knowing our enemy, and this is exactly what the IDF is looking out for.
Eyes on the field
In small rooms fortified by concrete blocks, about a dozen soldiers at a time man the Lebanon border’s control rooms. They sit in front of stations, each one scanning multiple screens that broadcast tens of images and live feeds at once. In one control room, just steps away from the border fence, a soldier calls to her officer. She can see a jeep traveling parallel to the fence, and she isn’t familiar with it. She enhances the video – like in the movies – and tracks it along the road. She does not take her eyes off the screens for a second; missing even a moment can mean losing vital information.
Shutting Down a Palestinian Gun Making Workshop
An Arab MK accused of passing telephones and SIM cards to a pair of Palestinian security prisoners is also suspected of handing “intelligence information” to one of the two, Channel 2 television reported Monday.
Channel 2 said that Walid Daka — who is serving a 37-year sentence for the 1984 kidnap and murder of 19-year-old IDF soldier Moshe Tamam — was searched after a visit by MK Basel Ghattas of the Joint (Arab) List following a tip-off to officials, and was found to have “significant” information hidden in his underwear.
Both Daka and the other inmate believed to have received items from Ghattas are members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has authorized police to question Ghattas under caution for alleged security breaches. The MK is suspected of smuggling cell phones to the prisoners at Ketziot prison, south of Beersheba in southern Israel. Police told Channel 2 that they believe Ghattas may have also, on at least one occasion, smuggled in SIM cards for the prisoners, hidden in a hollowed-out book.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Joint List MKs Sure There Was A Law That Permits Minorities To Commit Treason (satire)
Members of the Joint List alliance of mostly Arab parties in the Knesset spent Monday in an intense effort to find a law they could swear is on the books, a measure that allows an ethnic minority that considers itself persecuted to undermine the State by various means.
Following the publication of accusations that Balad-Party MK Basel Ghattas had smuggled mobile phones into prisons for Palestinians serving time or awaiting trial for various security crimes, Joint List lawmakers sprang into action, with several, including Ghattas himself, taking the traditional route of dismissing the reports as racist persecution, while the rest of the 13 legislators took up the quest to find the law that should by all rights permit Ghattas to engage in such activity because he is part of the Arab minority.
“It’s got to be here somewhere,” declared Raam-Taal MK Dr. Ahmad Tibi, leafing through an index of laws passed by the Knesset since 1949. “I just know it. How else could I explain so much of my own behavior over the years? It should be right here. Why can’t I find it?”
Balad MK Haneen Zoabi voiced similar exasperation at her and her aides’ inability to find the law they were all but certain is on the books. “Where did it go?” she wondered aloud. “Even Google is no help. Maybe there’s a Zionist conspiracy to hide the truth from the record?” she suggested.
The statement provides a useful reminder on a number of fronts. Despite the notion that Iran’s interference in the region—Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon—is motivated by sectarian concerns, the reality is that it goes broader. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, after all, is a Sunni organization. It is also a creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is naïve for diplomats to see Iranian pragmatism only as a path to peace; it can just as easily enable terrorism and advocate for genocide.
Also important is Khamenei’s condemnation of the previous treaties—most prominently the Oslo Accords—which today shape the Middle Eastern order. This violent opposition to the Middle East Peace Process is one of the reasons why there was bipartisan suspicion of the Islamic Republic from the Carter administration through the George W. Bush administration. If Khamenei is willing to advocate proxy terrorists work to scrap some treaties, why the assumption that he plans to abide by nuclear deals?
Lastly, the embrace of Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a deliberate provocation to American victims of terror. After all, it was the Palestinian Islamic Jihad murder of Americans like Alisa Flatow that contributed to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. That law directed that Iranian money held by the United States be used to compensate victims of Iranian terrorism. In order to ransom American hostages that the Iranian regime seized to use as bargaining chips or raise money, Obama returned those funds to Iran rather than use them for their legal purpose.
Khamenei’s embrace of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s leader is a sign that the Islamic Republic reaffirms terrorism. The only difference between its embrace of terror at the end of Obama’s tenure versus at its beginning is that now those within the system in charge of carrying out terror are far better resourced.
Relations between Egypt and Hamas are on track to go back to normal as the movement complied with Cairo’s demands to clamp down on Salafi jihadists, a senior official in Gaza told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Egypt has been warming to Hamas over the last few weeks as details of intense military action against Sinai-bound Islamic subversion have emerged, including many arrests.
In return, Egyptian authorities have started renovating the Rafah border crossing for reopening and allowed limited access for several days.
On Saturday, Egypt allowed 40 vehicles into the Gaza Strip. The official said that Egypt and Hamas have agreed on a large-scale development plan for the crossing, which will include the construction of commercial and industrial sections on both sides of the border. He added that at Egypt’s behest, several private businessmen are involved in the project.
The official added that a joint Egypt-Hamas committee has started debating a gradual alleviation of the siege on Gaza which, according to the official, signals a strategic overhaul in Cairo.
“Surprisingly, unlike in previous rounds, we weren’t under the impression that the Egyptians insist on including the Palestinian Authority and [President] Mahmoud Abbas in the process,” he said. “They probably realize that it’s futile to try to impose large-scale and far-reaching diplomatic measures on Hamas while the siege plays into the hands of Islamic State and its loyalists.”
As part of the thaw between Cairo and Gaza, Hamas has arrested 480 jihadists, a Salafi source said.
A top Iranian commander responsible for the deaths of Americans was photographed touring the war-torn city of Aleppo in Syria over the weekend, in violation of a United Nations travel ban that the Obama administration swore to enforce while selling the landmark nuclear deal with Iran to Congress, according to multiple sources and photographs.
Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani—a top general who leads Iranian militants across the globe and is directly responsible for the death of Americans—was recently photographed touring Aleppo in a demonstration of Iran’s waxing influence in Syria and disregard for international resolutions barring such behavior. Soleimani’s presence in Syria is a direct violation of the United Nations resolution governing the nuclear deal.
Soleimani’s visit coincided with moves by the terror group Hezbollah, which is controlled by Iran, to establish its own claim in Syria, according to regional reports and footage.
Iran’s public presence in Syria has not been met with action by the Obama administration, which has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to explain why it is not enforcing current sanctions against Iran. Soleimani continues to direct Iranian forces in both Iraq and Syria and has long been sanctioned for the murder of U.S. citizens.
Mutliple sources who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon about the matter disclosed that the Obama administration is taking a soft approach with Iran, including not enforcing sanctions, in order to preserve the nuclear deal and diplomacy with Tehran, which has threatened repercussions for any new sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Monday that he had fulfilled his pledge to replace the country’s centrifuges with the most advanced and modern ones – and that the plan to make a nuclear propulsion system operative is underway, the regime-aligned news agency Tasnim reported.
Rouhani’s declaration – made during a ceremony in Tehran to unveil Iran’s Charter on Citizens’ Rights — came a day after the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force boasted to a gathering of academics about the quality and quantity of Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities, according to the semi-official state news agency Fars.
“We will not stop enhancement of our capability, knowledge and production in defense fields, specially the missile industry,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh reportedly told the audience in Tehran on Sunday.
It also coincided with a statement made by Iranian Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, who told Reuters — according to Tasnim — that Tehran is “not concerned, though should not ignore the possibility” that the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump will derail the Islamic Republic’s deals with aviation giants Boeing and Airbus by imposing new sanctions.
Last week, Tehran undermined a Russian-Turkish deal to allow residents of Aleppo to flee the ruins of their city, so that it could use them as leverage in its plans to create a swath of Syria—stretching from Damascus to the Lebanese border—that will be free of Sunnis. Michael Chulov explains:
Aleppo is a crossroads in Iran’s project to build a land corridor to the Mediterranean coast. It is also likely to be a new center of Tehran’s geopolitical projection, which has been on open display elsewhere in the conflict.
Iranian officials have directly negotiated with the opposition militia, Ahrar al-Sham, about the fate of the battered opposition-held town of Zabadani, west of Damascus. Iran proposed a swap of the town’s Sunnis, who would be sent to Idlib province, for the residents of [the Shiite villages of] Fua and Kefraya, [located north of Aleppo], who would in turn be relocated to Zabadani. . . .
Calling the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate “one of the smartest, most knowledgeable people in my cabinet,” President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would appoint Gary Johnson as his administration’s next Ambassador to Syria.
“Nobody knows more about Syria than Gary Johnson, believe me,” Trump said in a news conference on the appointment. “When I Googled ‘Gary Johnson’ and ‘Syria,’ I got literally thousands of results. He’s going to be tremendous over there.”
While Trump’s campaign focused on extracting the U.S. from conflict in the Middle East, the position does hold particular importance, as the president-elect has revealed plans to open a Trump Tower in Aleppo.
“I know real estate, believe me, and Aleppo is really hot,” Trump said. “Every time I turn on the news, all I hear is ‘Aleppo, Aleppo, Aleppo.’ I’m not sure what’s going on over there but it’s huge.”
Reached by The Mideast Beast, Johnson said he was excited by the appointment.
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