Archive for April 29, 2018

Report: US plans to reveal Israeli-Palestinian peace outline after Jerusalem embassy opening

April 29, 2018

The US is reportedly expected to reveal a new outline for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after the US embassy opening in Jerusalem. The plan will include compensation to the Palestinians, a senior political source told Hadashot.

Maria Burtin
Netanyahu and Jared Kushner Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO
The new American outline for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will be revealed after the American embassy opening in Jerusalem and will include compensation to the Palestinians, a high-ranking source told Hadashot news on Saturday.

The compensation is meant to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, said the source. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to arrive in Israel today. Pompeo was confirmed last week by the Senate, and unlike his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, he seems interested in playing an active role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

 On Friday, US President Donald Trump said that he may visit Israel for the Jerusalem embassy opening in May, taking Israeli officials by surprise. Trump’s comment about his possible appearance at the ceremony was surprising since there is no plan for such a visit and Trump is not included in the list of attendees provided by the Americans, Hadashot news reported.

Trump also talked about the low moving costs of the embassy. According to the President, his suggestion to use and remodel a pre-existing building reduced the costs from $1 billion and the duration of the move to only three months.

Palestinians must make peace or shut up, Saudi crown prince said to tell US Jews

April 29, 2018

Israel’s Channel 10 news: In meeting last month in New York, Mohammed bin Salman castigated Abbas and predecessors for spurning opportunities for 40 years

Today, 9:06 pm

Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, attends a meeting at the United Nations in New York City, March 27, 2018. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP)

At a meeting with Jewish leaders in New York last month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman castigated the Palestinian leadership for rejecting opportunities for peace with Israel for decades, and said they should either start accepting peace proposals or “shut up.”

Citing what it said were multiple sources, Israel’s Channel 10 News on Sunday night quoted what it said were remarks made by the crown prince at the meeting that left those who were present “staggered” by the ferocity of his criticism of the Palestinians.

At a meeting with Jewish leaders in New York last month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman castigated the Palestinian leadership for rejecting opportunities for peace with Israel for decades, and said they should either start accepting peace proposals or “shut up.”

Citing what it said were multiple sources, Israel’s Channel 10 News on Sunday night quoted what it said were remarks made by the crown prince at the meeting that left those who were present “staggered” by the ferocity of his criticism of the Palestinians.

“It’s about time that the Palestinians accept the offers, and agree to come to the negotiating table — or they should shut up and stop complaining,” he reportedly went on.

Prince Salman also told the US Jewish leaders that “the Palestinian issue is not at the top of the Saudi government’s agenda” and elaborated, “There are much more urgent and more important issues to deal with — such as Iran,” according to the TV report.

Nonetheless, the crown prince reportedly stressed that there would have to substantive progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian accord before the Saudis and other Arab states would deepen their relationships with Israel. “There needs to be significant progress toward an agreement with the Palestinians before it will be possible to advance negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the Arab world and Israel,” he was quoted saying.

The TV report dated the meeting to March 27, during the prince’s extensive visit to the US. It did not name those present. The Saudi Embassy said that the crown prince was to have met that week with Jewish leaders, including Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Steven Wernick, head of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; and Allen Fagin, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. That meeting, however, which also included Christian leaders, took place on March 28.

The TV report was based on a cable to the Foreign Ministry from an Israeli diplomat in the New York consulate, who was briefed on the meeting by those present, and three other sources who were familiar with the content of the meeting. One of those present told the TV channel that the group was staggered by what the prince had to say, and all but fell off their chairs.

A number of news reports, including by The New York Times and Reuters, have claimed in recent months that the Saudi crown prince has pressured Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept a much-anticipated Trump administration peace proposal.

After he met with Jewish and Christian leaders on March 28, the Saudi Embassy in Washington said the meeting “emphasized the common bond among all people, particularly people of faith, which stresses the importance of tolerance, coexistence, and working together for a better future for all of humanity.”

A statement from the embassy added that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always, and will continue to champion expanding dialogue, building a better understanding among the faiths, and focusing on the shared humanity of all peoples.”

No specific details of what the faith leaders and crown prince spoke about were released.

In an interview published a few days later,  the crown prince recognized Israel’s right to exist and extolled the prospect of future diplomatic relations between his kingdom and the Jewish state.

In an extensive interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the prince laid out his vision for the future of the Middle East, including the possibility of cooperation with Israel.

Asked whether he believes “the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland,” he replied: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”

However, in keeping with the terms of his kingdom’s regional peace proposal, the Saudi crown prince added that an agreement with the Palestinians was a prerequisite to formal relations. “But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations,” he said.

Did he have “no religious-based objection to the existence of Israel?” he was further asked. To which the crown prince replied: “We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people.”

Asked about anti-Semitism in Saudi Arabia, he said: “Our country doesn’t have a problem with Jews. Our Prophet Muhammad married a Jewish woman. Not just a friend — he married her. Our prophet, his neighbors were Jewish. You will find a lot of Jews in Saudi Arabia coming from America, coming from Europe. There are no problems between Christian and Muslims and Jews. We have problems like you would find anywhere in the world, among some people. But the normal sort of problems.”

Israel and Saudi Arabia have no official relations and the kingdom does not recognize the Jewish state. Israel has hinted at clandestine ties with Saudi Arabia in recent years, stressing the two countries share an interest in countering Iran. The rumors of covert relations have been denied by Saudi officials. Still, a Saudi general visited Jerusalem in 2016 and met with Israeli lawmakers, and Saudi officials have met with Israeli officials on several occasions in public. Saudi Arabia also allowed Air India to fly to and from Tel Aviv via its airspace, last month.

Discussing whether a shared concern over Iran was bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia together, he said: “Israel is a big economy compared to their size and it’s a growing economy, and of course, there are a lot of interests we share with Israel, and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan.”

Salman also discussed the threat to the Middle East he said was posed by Iran, even saying that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, “makes Hitler look good.”

“Hitler didn’t do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. This is bad,” he explained. “But the supreme leader is trying to conquer the world. He believes he owns the world. They are both evil guys. He is the Hitler of the Middle East. In the 1920s and 1930s, no one saw Hitler as a danger. Only a few people. Until it happened. We don’t want to see what happened in Europe happen in the Middle East. We want to stop this through political moves, economic moves, intelligence moves. We want to avoid war.”

Shortly afterwards, Saudi King Salman reaffirmed his nation’s support for the Palestinians in a conversation with US President Donald Trump.

The king “reaffirmed the kingdom’s steadfast position toward the Palestinian issue and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.

WATCH: ‘You Occupy a Special Place in My Heart,’ US Secretary of State Tells Netanyahu

April 29, 2018

“You’re an incredibly important partner [and] occupy a special place in my heart too,” Pompeo told Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.

Apr 29, 2018

US Secretary Mike Pompeo (L) and PM Benjamin Netanyahu Haim Zach (GPO)

The prime minister congratulated Pompeo, the former CIA director, upon his new position, saying, “We are very proud of the fact that this is your first visit as Secretary of State.”

Pompeo replied, “You’re an incredibly important partner [and] occupy a special place in my heart too.”

Pompeo, a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear deal, is on his first trip abroad as secretary of state. His first stop was Saturday in Saudi Arabia, and Iran is reportedly top on his agenda.

Watch the video and see the warmth between the Israeli leader and the top US diplomat!

PM to discuss Iranian threat with visiting US secretary of state

April 29, 2018

Source: PM to discuss Iranian threat with visiting US secretary of state – Israel Hayom

Iranian foreign minister: US demands on nuclear deal ‘unacceptable’

April 29, 2018

Source: Iranian foreign minister: US demands on nuclear deal ‘unacceptable’ – Israel Hayom

Report: Iran’s supreme leader looking to oust Quds Force commander 

April 29, 2018

Source: Report: Iran’s supreme leader looking to oust Quds Force commander – Israel Hayom

Credit almost entirely belongs to Trump 

April 29, 2018

Source: Credit almost entirely belongs to Trump – Israel Hayom

Amnon Lord

The meeting between North Korean President Kim Jong Un, otherwise known as the rocket man, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in is more than an average feel-good news item. It is a turning point in the global geopolitical alignment.

Almost all the credit goes to U.S. President Donald Trump. The leaders of the two Koreas are officially ending their countries’ 65-year-old war and have set a mutual goal they aim to reach through continued negotiations – denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The next stage will be a meeting between the rocket man and the king of tweets, Trump – reviled by the journalistic punditry and American-international foreign policy establishments. About a year and a half ago, I interviewed one of the more renowned experts on the Iranian nuclear issue and the comprehensive policies toward Tehran, Mark Dubowitz, from the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

When comparing North Korea and Iran, Dubowitz said at the time, the Iranians were the more dangerous of the two. The main reason for this, he said, was that North Korea lacks global pretensions and is preoccupied with its own survival. Throughout this entire period, Kim Jong Un has appeared more menacing, as someone poised to plunge the world into nuclear war. It now appears clear that North Korea is the lesser problem. President Trump, by transcending the accepted norms of the American establishment, created a new situation presently conducive to fundamentally resolving – albeit still not completely or assuredly – the North Korean threat.

The success on the Korean front has to affect the Middle East as well, even though it is liable to ruin the appetite some pundits have for war with Iran.  Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are perceived as credible when it comes to their threats and actions. Trump has brought Islamic State to the brink of extermination – another achievement for which he receives no credit. He has attacked twice in Syria, displaying an ability to quickly rally Western coalitions for both offensive and defensive purposes.

Trump’s position would, of course, be better without the scandals at home and the Russian conspiracy investigations. It would make it easier for him to close a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yet this, too, will not deter Trump, making it exceedingly likely that a scenario similar to the Korean Peninsula will unfold with Iran and its nuclear and imperialistic regional ambitions.

French President Emmanuel Macron is now the unofficial leader of the European Union. His unexpected alliance with Trump is proving effective. They will now push toward two parallel goals: an addendum to the nuclear deal with Iran and a deal with Russia and Iran to contain the latter’s regional expansionism. This is within reach. Trump already intimated during his joint press conferences with Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week that he probably will not withdraw the U.S. from Iranian nuclear deal at this point. In exchange, the French and Germans will work on an agreement targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and the nuclear deal’s problematic expiration clause.