Archive for January 11, 2018

In Epic Twitter Rant, Khamenei Blasts U.S., Israel for Iran Protests, Threatens a “Response”

January 11, 2018

Source: In Epic Twitter Rant, Khamenei Blasts U.S., Israel for Iran Protests, Threatens a Response – The Tower

{Khamenei says, “Iranian people have lived a life of dignity and honor, and by God’s grace their economic problems will be solved.” Well, Mr. Khamenei, I have a question. By whose grace gave your people the economic problems in the first place? – LS}

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s, said in a string of comments posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday that the “U.S and Zionists” were behind the anti-government protests in the Islamic Republic and threatened this action would have consequences.

“U.S. officials should know that, firstly, they have missed their target: and if they target Iran again, they will fail. Secondly, they have inflicted damage upon Iran in recent days, and they should know this won’t be left without a response,” Khamenei tweeted.

The supreme leader also boasted about Iran’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East and the political and military advances it enjoyed in the 2010s. The Obama administration launched a round of dialogue and rapprochement with the regime that ultimately resulted in the nuclear accord signed in 2015.

“The U.S. President says the Iranian establishment is terrified by their power,” Khamenei wrote. “Well, if we were so terrified by you, how did we kick you out of Iran in late 70s and send you packing, out of the entire region, in the 2010s?” he asked.

“The U.S. is utterly angry….They’re angry at everyone and everything, the nation, the establishment, and the Islamic Revolution of Iran; because they’ve been defeated by your great movement,” Iran’s Supreme Leader continued.

He also denied the grim economy conditions in the country. While the Iranian people suffer great poverty, the regime has invested the financial windfall from the nuclear accord in military adventurism and terrorism across the region. “Iranian people have lived a life of dignity and honor, and by God’s grace their economic problems will be solved!” Khamenei claimed.

He also appeared to enter the debate over allegations about the mental health of President Trump. “Thirdly, this man who sits at the head of the White House— although, he seems to be a very unstable man–he must realize that these extreme and psychotic episodes won’t be left without a response,” he said.

In the United States, politicians of both parties have declared support for the protests, which swelled in major cities across Iran in recent weeks, and which claimed the lives of at least 22 activists and resulted in the arrest of thousands more. Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Tehran’s top prosecutor have all dismissed the unrest as a U.S.-led scheme supported by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

President Donald Trump quickly announced America’s backing of the Iranian people against the regime and United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley,  called a U.N. Security Council emergency session to condemn Iran’s human rights abuses last week.

 

Palestinian Authority paid jihad terrorists and their families nearly $350 million in 2017

January 11, 2018

By

Source: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2018/01/palestinian-authority-paid-jihad-terrorists-and-their-families-nearly-350-million-in-2017

{The truth is in the numbers. – LS}

But deep down, they really, really want peace!

Yes, of course, I’m being sarcastic. But there are respected policy analysts in Washington at this very moment who actually believe that.

“Palestinian Authority Paid Terrorists and Their Families Nearly $350 Million in 2017,” by Deborah Danan, Breitbart, January 10, 2018:

TEL AVIV – In accordance with its “pay-for-slay” law, the Palestinian Authority last year paid terrorists and their families over $347 million, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday.

Citing the PA’s own data, terrorists with three to five year prison sentences receive $580 dollars a month – equivalent to the average Palestinian income, Liberman told a session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

Terrorists sentenced to 20 years or more – usually for the murder of Israeli civilians – receive more than $2,900 per month for their entire lives, five times the amount of a “small time” terrorist.

On top of the PA salary, Arab terrorists who hold Israeli citizenship receive a $145 bonus, more than the average Israeli income of around $2,700.

In addition, there are additional stipends for wives and children.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, “The PA pays over a billion shekels a year to terrorists and their families, thus encouraging and perpetuating terrorism.”

“The minute the amount of the payment is decided according to the severity of the crime and the length of the sentence – in other words, whoever murders and is sentenced to life in prison gets much more – that is funding terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. There is nothing that better illustrates the PA’s support for terrorism. We must stop this,” he added.

Liberman also presented his bill proposing to deduct the amount paid by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families from monies owed by Israel in taxes.

The PA has paid out NIS 4 billion ($1.12 billion) over the past four years towards terrorist salaries, as per PA law. According to Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, who served as the director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the longer a Palestinian security prisoner is jailed, “the higher the salary. … Anyone who has sat in prison for more than 30 years gets NIS 12,000 ($3,360) per month.”…

In August, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that PA President Mahmoud Abbas told President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner that he wouldn’t stop payments to convicted terrorists until his “dying day.”

After his meeting with Kushner, Abbas issued a statement on Facebook in which he vowed again: “I will never stop [paying] the allowances to the families of the prisoners and released prisoners, even if this costs me my position and my presidency.”

“I will pay them until my dying day,” he added.

Trump flipflop: US bases to stay in post-war Syria for blocking Russian-Iranian consolidation

January 11, 2018

Source: Trump flipflop: US bases to stay in post-war Syria for blocking Russian-Iranian consolidation – DEBKAfile

 President Trump’s decision to keep US troops in post-war Syria comes ahead of his Friday deadline for re-certifying the nuclear accord with Iran, DEBKAfile reports exclusively from Washington.

The decision to retain US bases in northern Syria after the Islamic State’s defeat not only poses a challenge for the plans Moscow has drawn up for Syria, but is another slap in the face for Tehran. It is a reversal of the former White House policy, designed by Trump’s advisers led by National Security Adviser Gen. HR McMaster, to try and work together with President Vladimir Putin on the shape of post-war Syria. They had recommended the drawdown of US troops in the country, following the removal of all foreign forces, especially Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hizballah and the various pro-Iranian Shiite militias fighting for the Assad regime.

This approach, our Washington sources reveal, was turned on its head by certain momentous events in the past week, most significantly the arrival of game-changing Iranian weapons to Syria, without a demurral from Moscow. Putin was emerging not as America’s partner in Syria’s future, but the active associate in Tehran’s scheme to establish itself permanently in Syria after the war was over. DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that Israel’s three air strikes of the al Qutaifa base west of Damascus (not east as widely reported) focused on a single target. US military sources noted later than when an air raid is repeated on the same target, it is evidence of an undivided resolve to wipe it off the face of the earth. The same sources also pointed at Russia’s silence on the Israeli air strike and its consequences, although it was the heaviest Israel has staged in many years.

Trump’s flipflop for keeping US boots where they are in northern Syria (see attached map) puts Syria back in the role of central US arena of contention against Russia and its alliance with Iran and Turkey.

Trump Threatens to Deal Another Blow to the Palestinian Cause

January 11, 2018

Trump Threatens to Deal Another Blow to the Palestinian Cause, Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, January 10, 2018

Trump may be rash and unfamiliar with the stagnant Middle East peace process, but his political instincts are probably correct. Polls show that less than 20 percent of Americans support the Palestinian cause. Many U.S. citizens are tired of subsidizing those who claim that they do not like their benefactors in the United States.

It finally may be time for the Palestinian factions to fund their own causes and go their own ways.

********************************

President Trump set off another Twitter firestorm last week when he hinted that he may be considering cutting off hundreds of millions of dollars in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinians. Trump was angered over Palestinian unwillingness to engage in peace talks with Israel after the Trump administration announced the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Given that the U.S. channels its Palestinian aid through third-party United Nations organizations, it’s unclear how much money Trump is talking about it. But in total it may exceed $700 million per year, according to reports.

A decade ago, the U.S. row with the Palestinian Authority would have been major news. But not now.

Why?

The entire Middle East has radically changed — and along with it the role and image of the Palestinians.

First, the U.S. is now one of the largest producers of fossil-fuel energy in the world. America is immune from the sort of Arab oil embargo that in 1973-74 paralyzed the U.S. economy as punishment for American support of Israel. Even Israel, thanks to new offshore oil and natural gas discoveries, is self-sufficient in energy and immune from Arab cutoffs.

Second, the Middle East is split into all sorts of factions. Iran seeks to spread radical Shiite theocracy throughout Iraq and Syria and into the Persian Gulf states — and is the greatest supporter of Palestinian armed resistance. The so-called “moderate” Sunni autocracies despise Iran. Understandably, most Arab countries fear the specter of a nuclear Iran far more than they do the reality of a democratic and nuclear Israel.

A third player — radical Islamic terrorism — has turned against the Arab status quo as well as the West. Because Palestinian organizations such as Hamas had flirted with Iran and its appendages (such as the terrorists of Hezbollah), they have become less useful to the Arab establishment. The terrorist bloodlettings perpetrated by groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida have discredited terror as a legitimate means to an end in the eyes of the Arab world, despite previous support for Palestinian terrorists.

Third, the world itself may have passed the Palestinian issue by.

Israel was founded in 1948. Palestinian rhetoric that they would push the Jews into the sea is by now stale. There have been seven decades of failed intifadas and suicide bombing campaigns, along with full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.

Equally futile were endless “peace processes,” “peace initiatives,” “road maps” and “multiparty talks,” plus Middle East “conferences,” “summits” and “memoranda” all over the world, from Madrid and Oslo to Camp David.

In the meantime, most other “refugees” the world over have long ago moved on. Around the time Israel was created, some 13 million German speakers were ethnically cleansed from East Prussia and Eastern Europe. The word “Prussia” no longer exists as a geographical or national label. Seven decades later, the grandchildren of refugees do not replay World War II. “Prussians” do not talk about reclaiming their ancestral homelands in present-day Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. German-speaking youth do not demand a “right of return” to their grandparents’ homes to the east.

Fourth, the Palestinians have never been able to craft a successful, transparent, consensual government. After 30 years of waiting, the world has mostly given up on their rhetoric of self-government and reform on the West Bank.

Since the Palestinian proclamation of independence in 1988, there have been only two “presidents”: Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Neither has allowed open and transparent elections. A Palestinian president gets power by seizing it. He loses it only by dying in office. Over the same period, Israel has elected seven different prime ministers from a variety of political parties.

The Palestinian political party Fatah is engaged in a deadly rivalry with the terrorist-inspired Hamas organization that has run Gaza for over a decade. The beef is not over democracy, but over which faction will bury the other.

The Palestinians’ inability to rule the West Bank in constitutional fashion is why hundreds of thousands of expatriate Palestinians voice their solidarity from a safe distance while living in North America or Europe. More than a million Palestinians prefer to stay put in Israel. They are convinced that they will have more security, freedom and prosperity in a democratic state than under dictatorial Palestinian rule a few miles away.

Trump may be rash and unfamiliar with the stagnant Middle East peace process, but his political instincts are probably correct. Polls show that less than 20 percent of Americans support the Palestinian cause. Many U.S. citizens are tired of subsidizing those who claim that they do not like their benefactors in the United States.It finally may be time for the Palestinian factions to fund their own causes and go their own ways.

History Channel – Israel’s Mossad Documentary 

January 11, 2018

 

 

BDS banned! – Hear them whine

January 11, 2018

BDS banned! – Hear them whine | Anne’s Opinions, 10th January 2018

Back in August I wrote about anti-Israel boycotters being banned, and the irony of their complaints at having a taste of their own medicine.

Last week the Israeli government expanded on their original decision by publishing a list of about 20 anti-Israel organizations whose members will be denied entry to Israel:

“We have switched from defense to offense,” said Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.

“The boycott organizations need to know that the State of Israel will act to stop them and prevent their representatives from entering the country to harm its citizens.”

The list features BDS groups who, according to the ministry, carry out campaigns of “falsehood and incitement” in an effort to undermine Israel’s legitimacy worldwide.

The blacklisted groups “consistently and continuously act against the State of Israel by pressuring groups, institutions and states to boycott Israel,” the ministry said.

Among the groups on the list are six US based organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace, and 10 European organizations, including leading BDS groups in Italy, France, Norway and Sweden.

The ban is set to be enforced beginning in March and will be limited to people who hold senior positions or who are very active within the organizations.

“The formulation of this list is another step forward in our battle against the incitement and lies of the BDS organizations. No country would grant entrance to visitors who seek to harm it, especially ones whose goal is to terminate Israel as a Jewish state,” said Erdan.

The ministry added that it will be passing the names of the organizations over to the Interior Ministry and border patrol.

Interior Minister Arye Deri said, “As the minister in charge of the Israel Entry Law, I made it perfectly clear that I would use my authority to prevent individuals and representatives of groups, whose sole purpose is to harm Israel and its security, from entering its borders.”

“These people are trying to take advantage of the law and our hospitality in order to act against and defame Israel,” he added.

Erdan claims a certain degree of success in this new method for deterring BDS:

The ministry pointed out that this approach is successful in curtailing BDS efforts, highlighting the recent announcements by Denmark and Norway, who said they would toughen their stances against the funding of pro-Palestinian organizations.

The ministry also touted their efforts which they claim led 24 US states, as well as the federal government, to pass anti-BDS legislation.

The BDS-ers themselves dispute this of course:

The organizations on the list, however, seem undeterred by the latest tactic. Several organizations on the list issued statements on Sunday, claiming that Israel’s move only serves as proof that the BDS movement is spreading and having an impact.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, issued a statement and said the ban was “disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms and rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to demand freedom.”

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a statement via its Facebook page and said being on the list was a “badge of honor” and that it was “in good company.”

In fact Prof. Gerald Steinberg, director of NGO Monitor, warned that the ban, while a good idea in theory, might backfire by giving the haters free publicity:

Professor Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of the NGO Monitor watchdog group, told JNS that the government’s move signals that Israel “won’t turn a blind eye to those who work to delegitimize it — but the downside is that it also serves to raise the profiles of these groups.”

The list drew fire from “rights” groups – that is, rights for everyone except Jews. I can’t say I am surprised or even disappointed. They are acting precisely as I expected.

See these tweets for example:

The blogger Edgar Davidson has a nifty graphic illustrating the hypocrisy of the boycotted boycotters:

And here is the full list of the banned organizations – or at least the leaders of the following organizations:

United States:
• AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
• AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
• Code Pink
• JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
• NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
• USCPR (US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)

Europe:
• AFPS (The Association France Palestine Solidarité)
• BDS France
• BDS Italy
• ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
• FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
• IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• Norgeׂׂ Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
• PGS Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (Palestine Solidarity Association in Sweden)
• PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• War on Want
• BDS Kampagne

Latin America
• BDS Chile

South Africa
• BDS South Africa

Other
• BNC (BDS National Committee)

In my humble opinion the ban does not go far enough. There are many more such hateful organizations, plus the ban should include everyone who has been active in these groups, not just the leaders. Why should anyone working to undermine the State of Israel, and especially those trying to harm it, whether physically or politically, be permitted to enter and carry out their despicable work on our own turf? Let them try to do it by remote.

If you would like a further reminder of what BDS is all about see this post of mine about the malicious aims of BDS.

Europe, Iran to meet on backing nuclear deal as Trump decision looms

January 11, 2018

Source: Europe, Iran to meet on backing nuclear deal as Trump decision looms | The Times of Israel

Washington sends mixed signals on whether it will withdraw from accord as Europeans lobby to preserve pact, Iranians warn of revamped nuke program

File: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, and the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini arrive to attend a press briefing after their meeting, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, April 16, 2016. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Europe and Iran are to put on a united front in support of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal at talks in Brussels Thursday as Washington mulls reimposing sanctions on Tehran.

The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France will unite to defend the accord, which placed limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the relaxing of punishing sanctions but which US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized and threatened to leave.

While EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini wants to keep the nuclear issue separate from other contentious issues with Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will also face tough questions about recent anti-government protests which left 21 people dead.

Trump, who in October refused to certify Iran was complying with the deal but stopped short of withdrawing from it, is expected to decide on Friday whether to extend waivers on nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

US officials and others familiar with the administration’s deliberations told the Associated Press Wednesday that Trump had decided to extend relief from economic sanctions to Iran as part of the nuclear deal, citing progress in amending US legislation that governs Washington’s participation in the landmark accord, potentially staving off a crisis if the US withdraws from the pact. However, two other US sources told AFP that Trump had not yet made a decision.

The EU and other world powers have repeatedly warned it would be a mistake to abandon the deal, thrashed out with Iran over 12 years by the US, Britain, France, China, Germany and Russia.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) shakes hands with his British counterpart Boris Johnson during a meeting in Tehran on December 9, 2017. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

British foreign minister Boris Johnson called the deal “a crucial agreement that makes the world safer.”

“It is vital that we continue to work with our European partners to preserve the Iran deal, and with it the security and prosperity it is bringing to the people of Iran and the world,” he said.

Iran warning

Iran, which on Monday warned the world to get ready for Washington abandoning the deal, has said if the US walks away from the agreement it is ready to give an “appropriate and heavy response.”

Zarif, who traveled to Moscow on Wednesday to seek Russian support, criticized what he called Washington’s “destructive policy.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on January 10, 2018. (AFP Photo/Pool/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

“The United States must understand the unity of the international community over the nuclear deal and change their position as a result,” Zarif said, urging world powers to “resist the hostile actions” of the Trump administration.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said Iran is keeping up its side of the agreement, most recently in November.

After talks in Moscow on Wednesday Zarif tweeted a warning. “Everyone agrees it is imperative that ALL live up to their obligations under JCPOA. IAEA has verified Iran’s full compliance, but continuation will depend on full US compliance,” he wrote. JCPOA is the official name for the deal.

Punishing Tehran

Mogherini, who played an important role in crafting the nuclear accord, has vowed to preserve the deal and has lobbied US lawmakers in Washington.

The US Congress is working on a way to punish Iran for its continuing ballistic missile program and meddling in Middle East conflicts such as Yemen and Syria.

Johnson said these issues would be “an important part of our conversation” in Brussels on Thursday — along with the recent unrest in Iran.

“I will be making it clear to Foreign Minister Zarif, on the subject of the recent protests in Iran, that the right to peaceful demonstration within the law is central to any truly thriving society,” Johnson said.

The 28-member EU has condemned the “unacceptable loss of human lives” in the protests and stressed that peaceful protest and freedom of expression are “fundamental rights.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report