Archive for May 2, 2017

Terrorist ultimatum: Hamas gives Israel 24 hours to respond to hunger strikers

May 2, 2017

Demands range from better medical care to phone access.

Source: Terrorist ultimatum: Hamas gives Israel 24 hours to respond to hunger strikers – Israel National News

Marwan Barghouti Flash 90

Hamas’ armed wing on Tuesday gave Israel 24 hours to respond to the demands of hunger-striking
prisoners, warning the Jewish state it would face consequences for failure to act.

“We warn the enemy not to ignore the just and legitimate demands of the prisoners, and we say we are giving the enemy leadership 24 hours to respond,” a spokesman for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said in a recorded speech.

Otherwise, he warned, Israel would “pay the price every day they delay responding to the demands”.

The statement did not list all potential responses but said the number of prisoners demanded in any future prisoner exchange would be increased.

The hunger strike over prison conditions began on April 17, with those taking part ingesting only water and salt.

They have issued demands ranging from better medical care to phone access.

The Palestinian Authority says around 1,500 prisoners are refusing food, though an Israeli minister said Sunday around 300 had recently abandoned their claim, putting the number of remaining strikers at 980.

The protest is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a senior figure in the Hamas’ rival Fatah who is in jail over the deaths of five Israelis during the second intifada, or uprising.

Barghouti accused Israel of “inhumane” treatment of prisoners and “judicial apartheid” in a New York Times opinion piece published last month outlining the reasoning for the strike.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized the newspaper for referring to Barghouti as a “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian” while failing to note his five convictions for murder and history as a commander of Arab terrorist organisations.

In 2011 Israel released more than 1,000 Arab prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped five years earlier.

Hamas claims to have two current Israeli soldiers, though the Jewish state says they are dead but still wants their bodies.

The Islamist movement is also believed to have detained two Israelis who entered Gaza separately, both of whom allegedly have serious mental health issues.

Earlier Tuesday thousands of Arabs demonstrated in several cities over Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza.

During one of the marches senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said in a statement carried on Hamas media that a prisoner exchange was “always on the table” but it depended on Israel’s willingness to compromise.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008, the most recent in 2014.

White House: Trump and Putin Had ‘Very Good’ Conversation on Syria

May 2, 2017

BY:
May 2, 2017 3:54 pm

Source: White House: Trump and Putin Had ‘Very Good’ Conversation on Syria

Putin looks tired

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump. © Reuters

AP

The White House released a statement that President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “very good” phone conversation on Tuesday about Syria.

It was their third conversation since Trump took office, and it marked their first talk since Putin criticized Trump’s military strike last month against Syria, a Russian ally, in retaliation for the Assad regime killing more than 80 people with chemical weapons.

“President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence,” the statement said. “The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons.  The United States will be sending a representative to the cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 3-4.”

The statement added that the pair discussed eradicating terrorism in the Middle East and how to resolve the “very dangerous situation in North Korea.”

Trump’s call w/ Putin focused on Syria, touched on North Korea pic.twitter.com/MflFlbXs06

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in April and acknowledged that relations between the two countries were at a “low point.” Among the sticking points for the two nations are disagreements over Syria, Ukraine, and Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Congress blames State Department after draft sanctions bill leaked to pro-Hezbollah media

May 2, 2017

Congress blames State Department after draft sanctions bill leaked to pro-Hezbollah media, Al-Monitor

People walk outside Lebanon’s Central Bank in Beirut November 6, 2014. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi/File Photo – RTSEJDF

Congress is blaming the State Department and the US Embassy in Lebanon after draft sanctions legislation was leaked to the Lebanese media, setting off a political and diplomatic firestorm.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., began devising a new bill targeting Hezbollah last year amid concerns that the Barack Obama administration was slow-walking implementation of a previous effort that was signed into law in December 2015. Royce shared an early draft with State Department experts for their input, sources on and off Capitol Hill told Al-Monitor, but got burned when a media outlet close to Hezbollah got wind of it. 

The State Department has not officially acknowledged or denied being involved. Royce declined to comment.

As a result of the leak, numerous newspaper articles in Lebanon over the past month have picked apart — and possibly distorted — an unfinalized draft that only a handful of people in Washington have heard about and fewer still have seen. Even House Foreign Affairs ranking member Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., a natural ally on sanctions legislation, has yet to see the proposed draft, according to a Democratic aide. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is working on a similar effort in the Senate.

Lebanese officials say destabilizing sanctions would be ill-advised while tiny Lebanon is struggling to absorb more than a million refugees from Syria.

“We are surprised by all the leaks about new sanctions,” Lebanese member of parliament Yassine Jaber, a former economy minister who met with administration officials during the congressional recess two weeks ago, told Al-Monitor in an email. “We don’t see a need for further legislation, we feel that all these leaks about further legislation to come, only hurts Lebanon, its economy and banking sector, at a moment of very high weakness and vulnerability.”

According to Lebanese media accounts, the 20-page draft bill has also caused a panic in Lebanon because of its potential political impact. While the 2015 bill unnerved a banking sector that is one of the pillars of the country’s economy, the new draft has government leaders fretful that Congress is now coming after them.

The Royce draft, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said last week during a meeting with the Washington-based American Task Force for Lebanon, “would harm Lebanon and its people greatly.” Critics are worried that the draft bill paves the way for sanctioning Lebanese allies and political parties that are close to Hezbollah, including Aoun, the Christian Free Patriotic Movement headed by his son-in-law and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and the Shiite Amal Movement of parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

In response, the Lebanese government is planning to send a delegation to Washington later this month of government officials, lawmakers and other dignitaries, possibly including Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh. The government hopes to have representatives of the private banking sector tag along to play up any potential threat to the financial sector, a Lebanese source told Al-Monitor, but the main concern appears to be with the bill’s political ramifications.

“This is more about the political groups of the speaker, etc., being nervous rather than the issues of the banks,” the source said. “Politicians — and the government, actually — are trying to get the private banks involved in their effort. I can tell you the private banks do not like that: They do not want to come with politicians here.”

The Association of Banks in Lebanon spent $200,000 in the first three months of this year to discreetly lobby Congress about the bill and other matters, according to lobbying records. The banks would prefer to wait until President Donald Trump fills in top spots at the Treasury Department before organizing their annual visit to Washington, the source said.

Hezbollah claims to get all its funding from Iran. US experts, however, have long suspected that much more comes from Lebanese expatriates, illegal activities and other sources, fueling Congress’ desire to crack down on as many funding streams as possible.

The Lebanese source, who has seen a draft of the bill, said it does not designate Hezbollah’s allies as terror groups. Rather, it would require the Trump administration to publicly report on their financial links to the Shiite militia, including estimates of the net worth of some top Lebanese officials.

“Obviously they don’t want their net worth to be mentioned,” the source said. “I totally see how Nabih Berri could be panicking even if his own party knows how much money he has.”

 

UCLA: Coddling Hamas on Campus While Trampling the First Amendment

May 2, 2017

UCLA: Coddling Hamas on Campus While Trampling the First Amendment, Front Page MagazineSara Dogan, May 2, 2017

(Israel seems to be doing very well despite these and similar jerks. Please see, Israel’s 69th Independence Day: Remarkable Achievements, Continuing Dangers. If only freedom of speech in academia were doing half as well as Israel, it would be a great improvement. — DM)

Editor’s note: UCLA is the latest school to be named to the Freedom Center’s report on the “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” It joins the campuses of Brooklyn College (CUNY), Tufts University, Brandeis University, and Vassar College on the list. These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech critical of Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.

Last night, the Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between SJP and Hamas terrorists on the UCLA campus. UCLA administrators such as Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Jerry Kang have previously labeled similar Freedom Center posters “ethnic slander” and an effort to “trigger racially-tinged fear.” These posters pose a challenge to the UCLA administration to abandon these attacks on speech that exposes the truth about SJP and its ties to terrorism, and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to uphold the First Amendment on campus.

University of California-Los Angeles: Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Gene Block, Chancellor:

UCLA Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang has undergone  extreme intellectual and political contortions in defending the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as “an officially recognized student organization, based on political commitments, that is also in good standing” despite SJP’s constant manifestation of Jew hatred on the Los Angeles campus.

In one widely noted expression of the group’s anti Semitism, SJP members illegally questioned student government candidate Rachel Beyda about whether her status as a Jew would bias her decisions on campus matters. It also attempted to create a litmus test for student government candidates by introducing an initiative that would require them to sign a pledge to not take trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.

Such incidents violate UCLA’s Principles of Community which state, in part, “We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue, in a respectful and civil manner, on the spectrum of views held by our varied and diverse campus communities.”

Despite his title as the UCLA administrator in charge of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Vice Chancellor Kang has ignored SJP’s continual violation of these Principles of Community, disregarding the harassment of Jewish students forced to endure SJP’s mock “apartheid walls” plastered with Hamas propaganda and its rallies decrying the founding of the Jewish state as “Al-nakba” or “the catastrophe.”  But when the David Horowitz Freedom Center hung posters on campus exposing SJP’s ties to anti-Israel terror group Hamas, and naming campus activists who had worked to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state, both Kang and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block were quick to condemn them.  In an email to the entire 50,000 member UCLA community, Kang said the posters were  “designed to shock and terrify,” and accused the Freedom Center of using “the tactic of guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander, and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially-tinged fear.” In a second diatribe, he claimed the posters caused “chilling psychological harm” and “focused, personalized intimidation.”

University Chancellor Gene Block also reacted to the posters by stating “Islamophobic posters appeared on campus, in complete disregard of our Principles of Community and the dignity of our Muslim students. But we can, and we will, do our best to hold ourselves to the standards of integrity, inclusion, fairness and compassion that are the hallmarks of a healthy community.”

Quick to defend SJP and its violent rhetoric, Kang and Block have been missing in action when Jewish students faced intimidation and harassment from anti-Semitic speakers and Hamas propaganda plastered across campus.

In addition to the incidents listed above, UCLA SJP holds an annual “Palestine Awareness Week” on campus featuring speakers who endorse the genocidal BDS movement against Israel. SJP’s 2016 event featured journalist Max Blumenthal, who stated during his address that suicide bombing against Jews is justified by “the occupation” and described Palestinian terrorists as “young men who took up arms to fight their occupier.” He also compared Israel to the Islamic state, calling it “‘JSIL,’ the Jewish State in Israel and the Levant.” Another speaker, Miko Peled, also defended Palestinian terrorism, renaming it “a struggle for freedom and justice and equality,” and describing terrorists as “very brave Palestinians who are engaged in fighting this brutal occupation.” Peled also described Jews as analogous to Hitler, calling Jewish soldiers “young little Jewish gestapos,” and further accused Israel of “massive, violent, brutal oppression,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” and of being “a colonialist, apartheid, racist system.”

Nor is such hate speech directed at Israel and Jews restricted to SJP events. In 2015, UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies held a conference on “Palestine and Pedagogy” during which speakers compared Israel to the Nazis, praised anti-Israel terrorism and supported the BDS movement against Israel. UC Irvine Professor and Director of the UC Institute for Humanities Research Theo Goldberg accused Israel of practicing “eliminationist racism” similar to the Nazis’ and claimed Israelis view Palestinians as  “vermin, cockroaches, rats, snakes…that take boots on the ground to get rid of.” Goldberg further charged that Israelis make “snuff films” featuring the deaths of innocent Palestinians which go viral resulting in “an orgasm” for Israelis. Meanwhile UC Riverside Professor David Lloyd called Israel “a colonial Zionist project that has become a…nightmare, ever more rigid and oppressive” and endorsed the right of Palestinians to take up arms against Israel.

This hate speech was ignored by Kang and Block and other appeasement-minded UCLA administrators.

Kang’s support for SJP and its pro-terrorism agenda was also evident in his lack of support for second year law student Milan Chatterjee, president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at UCLA.  When he attempted to keep the GSA out of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction controversy on campus, Chatterjee was subjected to such severe harassment by SJP and Kang that he resigned. He later announced he was leaving UCLA to continue his law degree elsewhere because of the “hostile and unsafe campus climate” created by groups supporting the BDS movement on campus in concert with the UCLA administration.

Chatterjee wrote in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block: “It is unfortunate, indeed, that your administration has not only allowed BDS organizations and student activists to freely engage in intimidation of students who do not support the BDS agenda, but has decided to affirmatively engage in discriminatory practices of its own against those same students. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact is that the UCLA campus has become a hostile and unsafe environment for students, Jewish students and non-Jewish, who choose not to support the BDS movement, let alone support the state of Israel.”

In comments made to the media, Chatterjee also stated, “I filed a complaint with the office of Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang, who took zero action and refused to investigate… This is very disturbing behavior and shows a double standard at play at UCLA. If SJP files a complaint, they will bend over backwards. If it’s anyone else, they don’t care.”

In their zeal to defend pro-terrorist campus organizations like SJP, both Kang and Block have not hesitated to violate the First Amendment rights of their critics. The taxpayers of the state of California would be well advised to take note of their actions.

Israel’s 69th Independence Day: Remarkable Achievements, Continuing Dangers

May 2, 2017

Israel’s 69th Independence Day: Remarkable Achievements, Continuing Dangers, PJ MediaP. David Hornik, May 2, 2017

Israeli youths wave national flags as they enter Jerusalem’s Old City through Damascus Gate during a march celebrating Jerusalem Day, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel’s growth is not, of course, merely quantitative; today it punches far above its weight in a wide range of fields. It was recently ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world. Compared to Israel’s 8.7 million people, the seven countries ranked above it have populations of: United States, 324 million; China, 1.37 billion; Japan, 127 million; Russia, 142 million; Germany, 81 million; India, 1.27 billion; Iran, 83 million.

Israel shines its light to the nations from a dark region, and its emergence as an incubator of optimism, vitality, and creativity is one of the great stories of our time.

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Today, Israel marks its 69th Independence Day. The country is a success beyond what anyone could have dreamed when independence was declared on May 14, 1948. (Today is May 2; Israeli holidays are guided by the Hebrew calendar.)

Around this time of year, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics publishes its annual data. Some of this year’s highlights:

Israel’s current population of 8.7 million is almost eleven times its population of 800,000 when it was established. Back then, 6 percent of the world’s Jews lived in Israel; now it’s home to 43 percent of world Jewry.

Since last Independence Day, the country’s overall population — Jews and non-Jews — has grown by 159,000: 174,000 births, 44,000 deaths, 30,000 new immigrants. Estimates show the population will reach 15 million by 2048; by then the Jewish portion of it should, by current trends, constitute a considerable majority of world Jewry.

In 1948, the “ingathering of the exiles” was a Zionist slogan. Today it’s a statistically demonstrable fact.

Since that era, large numbers of Jewish immigrants have come to Israel — particularly from post-Holocaust Europe, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet nations. At a time when Western countries’ fertility rates are falling perilously, Israel’s fertility rate keeps growing — and is far beyond that of any other Western country.

Israel’s growth is not, of course, merely quantitative; today it punches far above its weight in a wide range of fields. It was recently ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world. Compared to Israel’s 8.7 million people, the seven countries ranked above it have populations of: United States, 324 million; China, 1.37 billion; Japan, 127 million; Russia, 142 million; Germany, 81 million; India, 1.27 billion; Iran, 83 million.

How does Israel do it? By having incredible capabilities to offer in various domains.

Just some examples: Only the United States and China have more companies listed on the NASDAQ. Last year, a top Google official ranked Israel’s tech sector as second only to Silicon Valley for innovation. Israel also has “one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed” and “the 2nd highest publication of new books per capita.”

In the crucial field of desalination and water management, tiny Israel is the world’s leader. It’s also a “powerhouse in medical innovation.” And it’s a leader in disaster relief; last year the UN – which is generally hostile to Israel — ranked its army’s emergency medical team as “No. 1 in the world.” Israeli agriculture, too, is exceptionally innovative, and feeds a considerable part of the planet’s population.

Because of its circumstances, Israel has had to excel not only in saving and sustaining life but also in protecting it. It has the world’s most technologically advanced army and is “rapidly becoming the world leader” in cybersecurity. The prowess of its intelligence agencies, particularly the Mossad, has an almost mythological status.

When you’re so good at so many things, others want to benefit from it. The past few decades have seen a dramatic increase in the number of countries having diplomatic ties with Israel. From a pariah status in the 1970s, as of last year Israel had diplomatic relations with 158 of the world’s 193 countries. Apart from Arab and Muslim countries that still — at least officially — boycott Israel, that means almost all of the world’s countries.

That trend has included, perhaps most dramatically, rapidly growing ties with the world’s two largest countries, China and India. Both were formerly hostile to Israel, but are now — despite their size — eager to gain from what it can offer.

For all that, the world’s per capita most innovative, productive, beneficent country remains, almost seven decades after its birth, the only country specially marked for annihilation in some quarters.

Whereas decades ago Arab states led the push to eradicate the world’s only Jewish state, today the dubious mantle has passed to the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies. Second only to that axis is the worldwide BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, which uses the Goebbels big-lie technique to spread canards about “Israeli Apartheid” and the like — particularly on Western campuses where minds are being formed.

But after almost seven decades at the front line of civilization, danger and hostility are not new to Israel. Despite the pressures, the aggressions, and the losses, Israel ranks — perhaps surprisingly — high in yet another, more subjective domain. This year’s UN Happiness Index ranked Israel 11th in the world; other surveys have placed it in the top 10.

Israel shines its light to the nations from a dark region, and its emergence as an incubator of optimism, vitality, and creativity is one of the great stories of our time.

China demands ‘immediate’ halt to THAAD deployment in South Korea

May 2, 2017

Beijing has called for an immediate stop to the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea and is ready to protect its interests, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Source: China demands ‘immediate’ halt to THAAD deployment in South Korea — RT News

Protesters and police stand by as trailers carrying US THAAD missile defence equipment enter a deployment site in Seongju, early on April 26, 2017. © YONHAP / AFP

Beijing has called for an immediate stop to the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea and is ready to protect its interests, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang voiced the government’s position against the move during a briefing on Tuesday.

Read more

FILE PHOTO: China's Liaoning aircraft carrier conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea © Reuters

“We oppose the deployment of the US missile system to South Korea and call on all parties to immediately stop this process. We are ready to take necessary measures to protect our interests,” he said, adding that “China’s position on the THAAD issue has not changed.”

The spokesperson didn’t specify what protective measures China had in mind. However, responding to the THAAD installation, China announced on Thursday that it will stage live-fire exercises and test new weapons to protect its security.

Beijing has previously voiced concerns over the THAAD system and joint US-South Korean drills near the Korean Peninsula, consistently urging all the parties involved to find a peaceful solution to the volatile situation in the region.
Backed by Russia, it also proposed a halt to military drills in exchange for an end to Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests during a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session held in New York on Friday.

Moscow considers the stationing of the THAAD system to be an “additional destabilizing factor for the region” amid alarmingly increasing tensions. It has called on Washington and Seoul to reconsider the decision.

READ MORE: ‘Ready to intercept North’s missiles’: US THAAD missile defense system goes operational in S. Korea

Recently installed in South Korea, the THAAD system is aimed at detecting and shooting down missiles. It became operational on Monday and is able “to intercept North Korean missiles and defend the Republic of Korea [South Korea],” according to US Forces Korea spokesman Col. Rob Manning.

The deployment of the US defense system triggered protests in South Korea, with citizens saying that it would only provoke an attack from their northern neighbor.

Seoul was also reportedly asked to pay for the US missile shield, as President Donald Trump called on South Korea to cough up for the “phenomenal billion-dollar system.” He received a firm rebuke in response, however.

READ MORE: Trump wants S. Korea to foot $1bn THAAD bill, Seoul says no

The THAAD deployment comes as a part of other US steps to deter North Korea from testing nuclear and non-nuclear missiles. Pyongyang held two failed missiles tests in April, also threating to sink US warships and submarines in South Korean waters in the event of any provocation.

Boeing Reps Meet With Iranian Terror Leader Who Threatened to ‘Destroy’ U.S. Forces

May 2, 2017

Boeing Reps Meet With Iranian Terror Leader Who Threatened to ‘Destroy’ U.S. Forces, Washington Free Beacon, May 1, 2017

The first Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane is pictured during its rollout for media at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington on March 7, 2017. /Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

Boeing’s efforts to ink multi-billion dollar deals with Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, has prompted outrage on Capitol Hill and currently is being reviewed by the Trump administration, which will have the final say on whether Boeing is granted licenses to sell new planes to Iran.

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Leaders from Boeing reportedly traveled to Tehran recently to meet and sign a deal with a top former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) member who threatened to blow up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, raising new questions about the U.S. aerospace company’s continued efforts to ink multi-billion dollar deals with the Iranian regime.

Representatives from Boeing traveled to Iran last month to meet with Hossein Alaei, CEO of Aseman Airlines, which is owned and controlled by the state. Boeing is moving forward with a $3 billion dollar deal to sell new planes to Aseman despite fierce opposition on Capitol Hill and direct evidence Iran has used commercial aircraft to ferry weapons and fighters across the region.

A photograph from the meeting shows a Boeing representative shaking hands with Alaei, who has been identified by Congress as a “prominent and longtime member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” which is responsible for killing and wounding scores of U.S. troops. The Boeing representative was not named in reports from the Iranian-controlled press or in information provided by U.S. foreign policy insiders.

Alaei, who was a senior figure in the IRGC before being installed as CEO of Aseman Airlines, served as commander of the IRGC Navy until 1990. Alaei oversaw the harassment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and efforts by the IRGC Navy to plant mines in international waters.

Alaei was quoted during this time as threatening to “destroy” U.S. Navy assets in the region.

“We have drawn up plans whereby we will utilize all our military capability to destroy the U.S. fleet and solve the Persian Gulf issue once and forever,” Alaei was quoted as saying in 1987. “The Americans are here to fight us.”

Photo via @mdubowitz Twitter

Boeing’s efforts to ink multi-billion dollar deals with Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, has prompted outrage on Capitol Hill and currently is being reviewed by the Trump administration, which will have the final say on whether Boeing is granted licenses to sell new planes to Iran.

Boeing’s deals with Iran are reported to be worth more than $16 billion.

The aerospace company has lobbied Congress aggressively to back the deal and was a key supporter of the Obama administration’s efforts to forge the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, which provided Tehran with billions in economic relief and cash windfalls.

“According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, an aerospace sale of this magnitude creates or sustains approximately 18,000 jobs in the United States,” Boeing said in a statement carried in Iran’s state-controlled media. “Boeing continues to follow the lead of the U.S. government with regards to working with Iran’s airlines, and any and all contracts with Iran’s airlines are contingent upon U.S. government approval.”

Senior sources on Capitol Hill who are working to stop the deal told the Washington Free Beacon that Boeing’s reported meeting with Alaei crosses the line. Representatives of major U.S. corporations should not be posing for pictures with senior IRGC members who have explicitly committed to killing U.S. soldiers, these sources said.

“If Boeing is trying to convince us they are doing their due diligence, they’re not doing a very good job,” said one senior congressional source working on the matter. “These photos of Boeing executives smiling and glad-handing with a prominent member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are truly sickening. No self-respecting American should shake Hossein Alaei’s hands. They have American blood on them.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) recently petitioned President Donald Trump to shut down these sales, citing Alaei’s role in the IRGC and Iran’s use of commercial planes to facilitate terrorism.

“Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, has systematically used commercial aircraft for illicit military purposes, including to transport troops, weapons, and cash to rogue regimes and terrorist groups around the world,” the lawmakers wrote. “The possibility that U.S.-manufactured aircraft could be used as tools of terror is absolutely unacceptable and should not be condoned by the U.S. government.”