December 7, 2022

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12/28 Links Pt1: Ben Shapiro: Time to defund the United Nations; Trump should crack down on UNRWA, finally end fiction of Palestinian ‘refugees’; UNRWA Steals Christmas

From Ian:

Ben Shapiro: Time to defund the United Nations
Last week, Democrats and many in the mainstream media became highly perturbed by the Trump administration’s suggestion that the United States might tie continued foreign aid to support for its agenda abroad. Foreign dictators agreed. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spent the last year arresting dissidents, announced, “Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic free will with your dollars, our decision is clear.”

Herein lies the great irony of the United Nations: While it’s the Mos Eisley of international politics — a hive of scum and villainy — and it votes repeatedly to condemn the United States and Israel, the tyrannies that constitute the body continue to oppress their own peoples. Among those who voted last week to condemn the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy to Jerusalem were North Korea, Iran, Yemen and Venezuela. Why exactly should the United States ever take advice from those nations seriously?

We shouldn’t. And we should stop sending cash to an organization that operates as a front for immoral agenda items.

The United Nations spends the vast majority of its time condemning Israel: According to UN Watch, the U.N. Human Rights Council issued 135 resolutions from June 2006 to June 2016, 68 of which were against Israel; the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization only passes resolutions against Israel; and the U.N. General Assembly issued 97 resolutions from 2012 through 2015, 83 of which targeted Israel.

Trump should crack down on UNRWA, finally end fiction of Palestinian ‘refugees’

While an official report was eventually sent to Congress, its contents were kept classified to deny the American public from knowing the truth. The Trump administration can take a giant step toward Middle East peace by declassifying that report, updating it and formally adopting a definition for Palestinian refugees that makes a clear distinction between refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants.

The administration and Congress should work together to change the way America funds UNRWA, making clear to taxpayers how much money goes to refugee assistance and how much subsidizes a culture of welfare and terrorism.

Future funding of the agency should be tied to a clear mission of resettlement, integration and economic self-sufficiency. A timetable and work plan should be established for UNRWA’s integration into UNHCR. Conditions should be set in the annual foreign bill, giving Haley the leverage she needs to force changes in the agency’s next biennium budget.

Nations of the world showed their true colors last week. Far too many cared more about castigating Israel than their relationship with the United States.

UNRWA is a case study in the institutional bias that America helps fund at the United Nations. Shining a light on this agency and making it a centerpiece of a new reform agenda would be a victory for American taxpayers and a defeat for the international movement to castigate our closest ally in the Middle East.

UNRWA Steals Christmas

United Nations problems bigger than inefficiency, overspending

For an entity that feels Iran and Saudi Arabia deserve to sit on a human rights panel determining the fate of women, it comes as no surprise that last year the same collection of miscreants brought 21 resolutions against Israel, with just 6 against the rest of the world.

U.N. Watch reported in November, “EU states have failed to introduce a single UNGA resolution on the human rights situation in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria, or on 175 other countries.”

The U.N. is more than an inefficient over-spender, it is a cancer that American taxpayers are funding to spread. The crimes of sex trafficking alone should be enough for the decent countries of the world to condemn and dismantle it.

Sexual predator Harvey Weinstein is still being internationally condemned and criminally investigated for abusing and assaulting actresses. President Trump is hunting down MS-13 for drug running and sex trafficking. While hugging Iran, Mr. Obama turning a blind eye to drug running, money laundering terrorists Hezbollah is finally revealed and shocking.

But the U.N. continues to operate, and we continue to fund it.

Reducing the billions of dollars we pay by a few hundred million is nothing. President Trump and Ambassador Haley must understand there is no benefit that now outweighs the calamity of the U.N.

Ironically, we can now only achieve the U.N.’s initial mission of making the world a safer place by dismantling the U.N. itself.

Top 10 most INSANE anti-Israel actions of the UN

PMW: “America is the snake’s head… it is the source of racism,” Says PA Parliament Member

Expressing her disgust with the United States after US President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, PA Parliament Member Jihad Abu Zneid said on official PA radio that “America is the snake’s head”:
“We have said in the past and we say today: As usual, the US is the snake’s head. Therefore, this is not something new. The US is the one that plans. The US speaks about democracy, [but] it is the source of racism.”[Official PA radio station The Voice of Palestine, A New Day, Dec. 7, 2016]

Fatah Movement Central Committee member Abbas Zaki demonized the US in the same manner when he protested against the American decision, claiming Trump has “joined terror”:
“This is a clear declaration that Trump has joined the terror, because the occupation is the highest form of terror… His declaration is worthless, and therefore we must boycott this administration, and have no contact with the snake’s head… One who pins his hopes on the Americans or on the illusion of peace is not a Palestinian.” [YouTube channel of Al-Mayadeen TV (Lebanon), Dec. 6, 2017]

PMW: Santa is a rock-throwing Palestinian and victim of Israel

On the occasion of Christmas, Fatah tweeted the cartoon above showing Santa Claus pouring rocks on an Israeli soldier with a Star of David on his helmet, who is running away in fear. Next to Santa a smiling Palestinian woman with a Palestinian flag on her dress is making the “V” sign for “Victory.” [Official Fatah Twitter account, Dec. 24, 2017]

Other Palestinian cartoons have presented children as victims of Israel and Santa Claus unable to help them:

An official PA daily cartoon shows Santa Claus visiting a handcuffed Palestinian child in prison. Santa Claus is on one side of a glass partition with a sack of gifts, the boy on the other. [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 24, 2017]

Another cartoon also printed in the official PA daily showed an armed Israeli soldier dragging a Palestinian child away from Santa Claus, who is on his hands and knees. Santa Claus and the child are reaching out for each other over barbed wire. [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 26, 2017]

A cartoon tweeted on the official Fatah Twitter account presented Santa Claus himself as victim. It depicted two Israeli soldiers conducting a physical search on Santa and his sack of gifts, as he stands with arms held up against the Israeli security wall. A church with a cross can be seen over the wall.

Future presidents may thank Trump for acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

While it may cost me my membership in the GOP foreign policy establishment’s fan club, I think that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was the right thing to do on several fronts. To begin with, the simple act of aligning campaign rhetoric and government policy is something we need more of — not less.

Much has been reported about previous presidents saying they would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital only to ignore their pledge after being sworn in. The fact that American presidents were expected to say one thing during the campaign and do another thing once they were elected is, on its face, an unhealthy way to conduct policy. The routine was not sophisticated, subtle or nuanced. It was phony, hypocritical and had devolved into serving our enemies more than our friends.

Of course, with Trump, the administration’s shift was a singular event, not connected to a broader strategy. It was ragged and uncoordinated. But that does not diminish the fact that it is a meaningful accomplishment with long-term consequences. That Trump’s decision to stand with Israel has been greeted with protests around the world and a high-profile vote of disapproval at the United Nations was, if not a teachable moment, certainly a good reminder of Israel’s isolation. Anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise, and the fashionable boycott of Israel continues to be exploited by the ignorant.

If Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants to end discussions with the United States over this, so be it. Abbas is cozy with all the usual suspects. He gets applause and approving nods from elite audiences around the world, but if something positive were going to happen under his leadership, we would know it by now. He has stayed in office long after his expiration date. At least policymakers can quit pretending that after more than a decade in office, Abbas can be part of a solution. So, now is as good a time as any to get every country, commentator and “expert” on the record. Trump may be criticized by Democrats, some members of the foreign policy establishment and foreign leaders, but he is putting American foreign policy in an honest place. Future presidents may thank him for calling out the timid, the pretenders and the malicious to stand up and be counted.

Guatemala: We weren’t pressured into embassy move

Guatemala’s Foreign Minister stressed on Wednesday that the United States did not pressure her country into announcing it will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“There wasn’t any pressure. There wasn’t any overture from the United States to make this happen. This was a decision by the government, the state and the foreign policy of Guatemala,” the minister, Sandra Jovel, told a news conference in Guatemala City, according to AFP.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced on Sunday that he was ordering his country’s embassy to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

His moved followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Morales’s declaration made Guatemala the first country to follow Trump’s footsteps on Jerusalem.

Guatemala, like the United States, has not said when its embassy move would happen.

On Tuesday, Jovel said Guatemala’s decision to move the embassy was a “sovereign” matter that should not affect ties with other countries.

Jerusalem, the State Department and the UN

The good news: Trump is at his core a good man, particularly when it comes to wanting to find some negotiated solution that will bring that elusive peace to Israel and its neighbors. However, he is the victim of too-often succumbing to the last voice that whispers geo-political and strategic guidance in his ear. Enter the tag team whisperers of McMaster, Mattis and Tillerson. That’s the bad news. They were the ones who convinced him, with a staged summit conference in Riyadh, that the Arabs stand with the US, as if they were Jeffersonian democrats with similar goals and ambitions. They are not. The only common ambition that is shared – and it is an important one – is the endeavor to neutralize Iran. The leverage ought to be controlled by the US. It is not.

The Arab role in the UN vote demonstrated that the Palestinian issue had not been relegated as less significant as the experts incorrectly perceived. The Palestinian question is undeniably front and center. With a State Department equivocating on the issue of the proposed embassy move, the Palestinians are once again the tail that wags the dog.

In the Middle East, it appears that facts, and the truth, don’t really matter. Nuance matters. As such, a second announcement by the US that it envisions the Kotel (Western Wall) as being rightly Jewish even after future negotiations, presupposes axiomatically that the future of the Temple Mount carries no such promise. Nor do any of the other territories under Israeli control.
With two mutually exclusive claims to Jerusalem, one legitimate and the other quite disingenuous, peace is not improbable – it is impossible. Common sense must prevail, and it demands that we cease to place hope over reality. Notwithstanding Trump’s courageous posture, the US State Department and the UN are certain to drive us to that conclusion.

Jerusalem, the State Department and the United Nations. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The two sides to the Arab vote on the UN’s Jerusalem resolution

It’s the Europeans

For Prosor, Arab support for the Jerusalem resolution is less concerning than the hypocrisy of European countries that supported the measure.

“They say they are really worried over the announcement on Jerusalem since it will create instability. This is a decision by the U.S. and the Europeans decide to go to the GA (General Assembly). When the Russians vetoed everything regarding Syria, did the French or the British go to the GA?” Prosor charged. Answering his own rhetorical question, he said, “The answer is absolutely not!”

“And until 1967,” the former envoy continued, “anyone could visit eastern Jerusalem, except for Jews. The Europeans supported that wholeheartedly.”

Prosor pointed out that “when Trump made the decision, there was an understanding that this was supposed to be one part of the puzzle which would have included a regional solution. But Abu Mazen’s (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s) remarks and the Palestinians’ emotional reaction effectively put an end to the larger peace plan the Trump administration was preparing.”

He added, “The change in the status quo of the status of Jerusalem was made not by Trump, but by the Obama administration. President [Barack] Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry refused to veto U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 [in December 2016], which called any Israeli presence in eastern Jerusalem a ‘flagrant violation under international law.’”

Despite Europe’s broad support for last week’s Jerusalem resolution, the Eastern European countries of Hungary, Croatia, Latvia, Romania and the Czech Republic broke with the continent’s consensus on the issue by abstaining from the vote.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Amid Security Concerns, US To Move Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon Embassies To Jerusalem Also (satire)

Continued unrest in the region following US President Donald Trump’s announcement two weeks ago that it will relocate its Tel Aviv embassy to Israel’s capital has prompted the administration to embark on a similar transfer to Jerusalem of all the country’s diplomatic facilities in the region, out of concern for the safety and proper functioning of those facilities.

Undersecretary of State for the Middle East and North Africa Al B. Grudging told reporters at a press conference this morning that rebel violence in Egypt, sectarian violence in Lebanon, threats of terrorism in Jordan, and Palestinian incitement to riot leave the United States no choice but to protect its interests and personnel by transferring its diplomatic facilities to the closest safe location for a new headquarters, namely Jerusalem. Officials from those surrounding countries wishing to conduct diplomatic business with the US will have access to American commercial and diplomatic contacts through a new diplomatic compound in the Israeli capital that will house whichever embassies cannot be located in the target Mideast country for safety or other reasons.

“We are considering adding Iraq to the list,” noted Grudging. “But the distance might prove prohibitive.”

Grudging explained that Egypt and Jordan already have diplomatic relations with Israel. “As far as Lebanon goes, well, they’re going to have to grow up and recognize Israel if they want to maintain ties with the US. We are considering suspending all aid to Beirut, in fact, if the country continues to use the Arab-Israeli conflict as an excuse to ignore its own development, entrench Iran’s hegemony in the Levant, discriminate against Palestinians in its borders, and stunt its own democracy. Whenever they’re ready, we’ll be waiting in Israel’s capital.”

‘Palestinian statehood means the end of the Zionist enterprise’

Former Education Minister Gideon Saar, who announced his return to politics earlier this year following a three-year sabbatical, and is often touted as a contender for leadership of the Likud following Netanyahu’s future retirement, warned Thursday that the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would mean the end of the Zionist enterprise.

Speaking at the Jabotinsky Leadership Conference in Har Herzl in Jerusalem Thursday, Saar said Palestinian statehood along Israel’s eastern border would spark a massive wave of Arab immigration into the area, threatening regional stability.

“We cannot agree to a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. The establishment of a Palestinian state would lead to Palestinian control over the borders. Immediately after such a state would be established, there’d be a flood of ‘refugees’ from Syria and other countries into the area.”

“Can anyone really guarantee us that within this flood of [migrants] there won’t be Islamist radicals who have sworn to destroy the ‘Zionist entity’? Zionism will be pushed backwards – the Zionist enterprise will be destroyed.”

Despite the threat posed by Palestinian statehood, Saar called for unity among Israeli Jews, warning that a split between the right and left could itself be a serious threat to the Jewish state.

State Dept: Reports Ambassador banned ‘occupation’ misleading

Reports that the US ambassador to Israel asked the State Department to stop calling Judea and Samaria “occupied” are misleading, a department official said.

Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Tuesday that David Friedman asked the US State Department to stop calling Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria an “occupation” in official documents. He reportedly recommended using the term “West Bank territory” instead of the “occupied territories.”

The State Department rejected the request, according to Kan, but agreed to take up the subject again in the future.

‎”This is a misleading, twisted report,” a State Department official told JTA in an email. The official did not say what about the report was misleading.

“The president is committed to facilitating a comprehensive peace agreement that will benefit both the Israelis and Palestinians and we remain hard at work on those efforts,” the official said.

In a September interview with Walla, Friedman said, “I think the ‘settlements’ are part of Israel.”

Israeli agreement grants tacit recognition to ‘Palestine’

A number of government ministers were surprised to discover this week that, without notice, under their noses, an agreement was signed with the European Union that could have very significant implications for the State of Israel vis-a-vis the PA, B’Sheva revealed this morning, Thursday.

This is an agreement called the “Transboundary Cooperation Program in the Mediterranean Basin” and is aimed at financing projects costing tens of millions of euros for 14 non-EU countries in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is also defined as a political entity.

The agreement includes, inter alia, a clause stating that for Israel, the agreement does not apply beyond the Green Line, in eastern Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights. In the areas under the Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, it applies without any qualifications. In other words, Israeli entities in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights will not be able to participate in the projects and receive funding. The PA is enjoying a privilege here that no previous agreement has given it: it will not only be responsible for projects in the Palestinian Authority, but will be able to seek support for projects in the areas that, according to the Oslo Accords and other agreements, are under Israeli sovereignty. These include Area C, which is certainly under Israeli control and eastern Jerusalem – where the Palestinian Authority has no legal status and, therefore, should not have a foothold as a decision-maker.

Saudi ban on Israeli chess players underscores limits of Gulf relations

Israeli athletes have a long history of being discriminated against by Arab countries. They are denied entry to them or forbidden from flying the Israeli flag and playing the national anthem during competitions; opponents forfeit matches against them or refuse to shake their hands.

It is a practice often described as an attempt to avoid “normalization” with Israel, and meant to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

The most recent victims of this tactic are seven Israeli chess players who were denied visas to Saudi Arabia for an international competition that kicked off on Tuesday.

But while Sunni Muslim countries publicly snub Israeli athletes, behind closed doors their officials are prepared to cooperate with the Jewish state, swapping intelligence and coordinating on the best ways to counter their mutual enemy: Iran.

There is also likely some direct or indirect sharing of missile defense methods, a field in which Israel is a world leader owing to repeated attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah over the years. It is also technology on which Saudi Arabia is increasingly relying, as Iran-backed Yemeni rebels have begun launching rockets at Riyadh.

In honor of Embassy move, Israeli town of Hofit renames itself “Covfefe” (satire)

Hofif Covfefe: The town elders of this hamlet in Central Israel are very excited after Donald Trump’s recent decision to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And now they want to do something to show just how much gratitude they have for the Donald. Therefore, as of 1 January 2018, the town of Hofit will heretofore be referred to as “Covfefe“. The Daily Freier set out to visit Hofit, so we took the train to Netanya in hopes of taking a bus from there. But since we don’t speak French, we couldn’t understand what anyone was saying and we missed the bus to Hofit and had to hitchhike. But we eventually got there and interviewed “the man (and woman!) on the street”.

“We just wanted to show President Trump how much we appreciated his courage.” explained City Manager Yoni C. “And what better way to honor Mr. Trump than to name our little town after that word he accidentally invented on Twitter last Spring.”

While Yoni was optimistic about the change, some residents had their reservations. Local Rabbi Avi T. explained. “First of all, nobody knows what Covfefe actually is. So we don’t actually know if there is a special Bracha that might be necessary. Secondly, we still aren’t positive how it’s spelled in Hebrew. With a Kuf or a Kaf? This might sound silly, but there are serious Gematric implications for this.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Out-Of-Order Toilet Stall In Knesset To Be Named For Trump (satire)

Reports of discussions surrounding a proposal to name a future train station near the Western Wall after US President Donald Trump in appreciation of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital led the Knesset Ceremonial Committee to develop and approve a smaller token of esteem for him, in the form of a dedication plaque on the door of a bathroom stall in the parliament building where the toilet suffers perpetual blockages and sits out of order more often than usable.

The Committee decided to honor the president after hearing reports Wednesday of intention to name the train station after him, amid realizations that construction of the station, which has yet to begin, will take years, and the power of the gesture will be lost. The clogged toilet in the Knesset’s second-floor bathroom, however, is already available. A dedication ceremony will take place Sunday, and invitations have been sent to US Ambassador David Friedman and other dignitaries.

“We would have liked to have Vice President Pence here for the occasion,” lamented Committee Chairwoman MK Asla Lavie (Tory). “But he had to postpone his trip till next month. It would have been fitting to have him affix the ceremonial plaque, but we can have Ambassador Friedman do it, and that will be OK.”

Jerusalem bus station stabber charged: acted to avenge Trump’s declaration

Jerusalem central bus station stabber Yasin Abu al-Qur’a, 24, was indicted on Thursday on charges of terrorist activity and illegal entrance to Israel. On December 10th Abu al-Qur’a stabbed security guard Asher Elmaliach in the chest, causing him critical wounds.

The Jerusalem prosecution indictment ties Abu al-Qur’a’s actions to US President Donald Trump’s declaration in which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“The accused [Abu al-Qur’a] heard about Trump’s declaration via Facebook,” the document reads.

“The accused resented the declaration and decided to carry out a stabbing attack, to murder Jews in Jerusalem. This, he claimed, was to defend Jerusalem and the al-Aksa mosque. The accused planned to stab as many Jews as possible until he getting killed and thus become a shahid [martyr].”

The night before the attack, Abu al-Qur’a posted on Facebook a phrase he remembered from his school years: “For god we have risen, wishing to wave our flag, to restore our religion to it’s might, to restore al-Aksa to its might, that our blood will be spilled. Our Blood is cheap for our homeland and for al-Aksa.”

Palestinian arrested for trying to smuggle pipe bomb into military court

A 16-year-old male Palestinian suspect was arrested Thursday afternoon for attempting to infiltrate the West Bank’s Samaria Military Courthouse with a pipe bomb, marking the third such thwarted attack in two months.

According to police, the suspects in each incident are residents of the adjacent Arab village of Salem, located in Jenin.

“At around noon, the suspect was found with a suspicious object, which was determined to be a pipe bomb,” Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

“The area was cordoned off and bomb disposal experts were immediately called to the scene to inspect and neutralize the bomb until safety measures were completed. The suspect is being held for questioning.”

On December 17, Border Police disarmed and arrested a would-be Palestinian suicide bomber, who attempted to smuggle two pipe bombs and a knife into the courthouse.

In October, police also disarmed and arrested a 17-year-old male suspect from Jenin when he unsuccessfully attempted to enter the same courthouse with a pipe bomb.

IsraellyCool: Palestinians Blame Israel For Injuries Sustained in Premature Explodation

A palestinian woman tries to detonate a car bomb at a checkpoint. Ends up only causing a fire in her car, resulting in her sustaining serious burns on her face, hands, back and chest, and resulting in her hand being amputated.

And in typical palestinian style, they have found a way to blame her hand amputation on Israel.

You read that correctly: she already had 8 fingers amputated following the attempted detonation. So losing her hand really means losing her remaining two fingers.

And what is deliberate negligence? Negligence is by definition a form of carelessness.

Incidentally, her story involves more lameness.

Her family says the incident was an accident and the fire in her car was caused by a faulty domestic gas cylinder she had in the back seat while she was in the process of moving to a new home in East Jerusalem — a decision she made so as to retain her Jerusalem residency.

And I am sure her shouting “Allah Akbar” (God is the greatest) right before the explosion was because she was just so happy to be moving house.

Liar liar, pants (and everything else) on fire.

Palestinians clash with IDF troops securing holy site for Jewish worshipers

Clashes broke out between Palestinians and IDF troops outside the tomb of Yehoshua bin Nun in the northern West Bank early Thursday morning.

The army was securing the holy site in the village of Kifl Haris, northwest of the Ariel settlement, for Jewish worshipers when Palestinians began hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at them.

Prayers at the tomb went on as planned for the some 1,000 worshipers, the army said.

There were no reports of injuries.

Separately, Israeli security forces arrested 14 Palestinians in overnight raids throughout the West Bank for alleged involvement in terror-related activities.

Rocks, molotov cocktails hurled at minister’s vehicle while touring Abu Dis

Stones and molotov cocktails were thrown at Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s vehicle as he toured the West Bank Palestinian town of Abu Dis with police on Monday.

Erdan was in the car at the time of the attack, Channel 10 reported.

Confirming the incident in a Wednesday statement, the minister’s office said that “the stone throwing from the Islamic University of Abu Dis simply further demonstrates the need to strengthen security in the area and increase aggressive activity against the terrorists.”

The statement added that the tour of Abu Dis was carried out using armored vehicles and that the stones were thrown from an unidentified location from the other side of the security barrier, which straddles the town.

Abu Dis is adjacent to East Jerusalem, but is not part of the Jerusalem municipality.

Palestinian teen caught planning stabbing attack — police

A Palestinian teen was arrested Wednesday after trying to illegally enter Israel and allegedly carry out a terror attack, police said.

The suspect, an 18-year-old female, was turned away at the Qalandiya crossing near Jerusalem, and later tried to cross again using her 7-year-old sister’s permit. When she was refused, she began arguing with border guards and tried to force her way in, a police spokesperson said.

During subsequent questioning, the teen admitted to planning an attack in the Jerusalem area.

A source with knowledge of the case told The Times of Israel that the Palestinian planned to buy a knife and stab a police officer.

The woman, from the town of Qataneh, was jailed, pending a remand hearing. Her name was not released by police.

The Qalandiya checkpoint was the scene of violent protests by Palestinians last week, in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The army said then that hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at troops and set tires on fire. The soldiers responded with nonlethal riot dispersal weapons, including tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Miffed Fatah changes its plans for marking anniversary of its founding

Fatah will mark the 53rd anniversary of its official founding this Sunday differently than it has in past years in light of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

While Fatah traditionally holds a number of rallies in the centers of Palestinian cities to celebrate the anniversary, this year it will host marches through the various regions of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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“The anniversary of the founding this year is taking place under exceptional and different circumstances,” Fatah Vice President Mahmoud al-Aloul said on Tuesday at a meeting of party officials in Ramallah. “All celebratory events will be turned into popular resistance events.”

Since Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, many small protests and clashes with security forces have broken out across the West Bank and on Gaza’s borders.

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki said that “Trump’s decision regarding Jerusalem killed any possibility of celebrating this year.”

Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister: I don’t deny Israel’s right to exist

Lebanese politicians on Thursday criticized Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil over a television interview in which he was shown saying that Lebanon did not have an ideological problem with Israel and was not against it having security.

Bassil, who is the in-law of current Lebanese president Michel Aoun, further said that ‘‘I don’t deny Israel [has a] right to exist. We are not blind. We are a people who wants to live with others.’’

The comments, made to al-Mayadin television channel during a long interview on Tuesday, had just started attracting attention.

Lebanon has no official relations with Israel and tensions have risen this year between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group. Israel and Hezbollah, the group it describes as the greatest security threat on its border, have fought wars against each other.

A former government minister called on Bassil to resign and a member of parliament also criticized him.

JCPA: Iran Ignores Israel’s Warnings

Iran continues to dispatch commanders and fighters from the Shiite Foreign Legion stationed in Syria to southern Lebanon.1 Recently, Hamza Abu Abbas, “the Syrian,” toured the border with Israel. Abu Abbas is the commander of the Iraqi “Al-Bakr Brigade” stationed in Syria as part of the Shiite Foreign Legion. During his visit, he declared on the group’s Facebook page, “Let Israel know that we are present on its borders and the day will come when we will break them.”2

Hamza Abu Abbas, the Syrian commander of the Iraqi Al-Bakr Brigade stationed in Syria, standing near the border with Israel.3

It was reported that Abu Abbas’ visit was part of a series of visits by commanders from the Iraqi Shi’ite militias, with future visits planned for commanders coming from the Yemeni Houthi militia, as well as from the Pakistani Fatimid and Afghani Abul Fadl al-Abbas contingents stationed in Syria.4

In southern Lebanon, there are already Iraqi and Afghani fighters from the Saraya al-Salaam organization belonging to Muqtada al-Sadr’s organization in Iraq, who came from Syria via Hizbullah. They set up a guard post and sent armed men to encircle the area of Arqoub, the eastern region of southern Lebanon.5

Qais al-Khazali, the commander of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, arrived in southern Lebanon in early December and toured the border with Israel accompanied by Hizbullah members.6 He expressed his “total readiness with Hizbullah to stand together with the Lebanese people and the Palestinian cause against Israeli occupation.”7

Anti-government protests break out in Iran over economic woes

Hundreds took to the streets of Iran’s second-largest city Mashhad and other towns on Thursday to protest high prices and unemployment, a reformist media group reported.

The protests were mostly directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s government, the Nazar media network reported.

“The demonstration was illegal yet the police confronted them with a lot of tolerance,” Mashhad governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Videos on Nazar’s Telegram channel showed people in Mashhad, an important religious center in the northeast of Iran, chanting “Death to Rouhani.”

But they also showed chants of “Death to the dictator” and “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran” — a reference to anger in some circles that the government is focusing on the wider region rather than improving conditions at home.

Two synagogues vandalized in Iran, Torah scrolls ripped

Two synagogues in the Iranian city of Shiraz were attacked by vandals who damaged Torah scrolls, prayer books and ritual objects.

The city’s Kashi Synagogue was attacked Sunday night, while the Hadash synagogue was attacked Monday afternoon, according to Sam Kermanian, senior advisor to the Iranian-American Jewish Federation, who has been in touch with Jews from Shiraz. The local Jewish community believes the attacks were committed by more than one person, but does not know who perpetrated them or why.

“Obviously they are scared,” Kermanian told JTA. “They’re not comfortable speaking freely, but overall, life goes on.”

The vandals ripped Torah scrolls, which are written on parchment, as well as some 100 prayer books, some of which were thrown in the toilet. They damaged and “soiled” prayer shawls and tefillin, the leather phylacteries traditionally worn by men during prayers. The attackers also broke glass and stole silver ornaments that adorned the synagogues’ Torah scrolls.

“In light of these clearly antisemitic incidents we call upon the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure the protection of all places of worship as well as all members of our community, and to bring the perpetrators of these criminal acts to justice,” read a statement by leaders of the Iranian-American Jewish Federation.

Turkish president ‘laughs off’ demand to arrest Sudan leader

Turkey “laughed off” a demand from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to arrest Sudan’s wanted leader when he attended a summit in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Thursday.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes, on December 13 attended a summit of Islamic nations called by Erdogan to denounce US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Erdogan told Turkish reporters in an interview that the ICC wrote a letter to Turkey saying it had information Bashir was in Istanbul for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit and he should be arrested and handed over to the court.

There was no immediate confirmation from the ICC, which is currently in recess, that it made such a demand.

“Something like this just makes you laugh,” Erdogan was quoted Thursday as saying on his presidential plane as he rounded off a four-day trip to Africa.

“Are we going to just go and hand over to you someone who is a member of the OIC and is taking part in such a summit?

Blast in Saint Petersburg supermarket injures 4, say officials

An explosion at a supermarket in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg injured at least four people Wednesday, officials said, with investigators working at the scene after moving shoppers away.

“According to preliminary information, an explosion of an unidentified object occurred in a store,” Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said in a statement.

“Four people have been hospitalized.”

She said the incident has been classed as attempted murder, without mentioning terrorism as a possible cause.

Police said the blast occurred in a supermarket northeast of the city centre, with sources telling Russian agencies that the exploding object was traced to a storage locker.

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