Archive for March 31, 2019

Ayaan Hisri Ali: “No compromise with islamists

March 31, 2019

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https://voiceofeurope.com/2019/03/ayaan-hisri-ali-no-crompromise-with-islamists/

In order to actually make Islam the religion of peace, the majority of Muslim people should change in five aspects, Somali-born Dutch-American activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali told Mandiner.

 

According to Hirsi Ali, Muslims should change their attitude to the Quran and Muhammad instead of taking everything literally; appreciate actual life more than life after death; the sharia and the concept of jihad should be changed and they should change the norm of not reporting radicals to the police.

Speaking to Hir Tv, she warned the Islamisation is an actual threat in Europe, financed by countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with daily Magyar Hirlap, Hirsi Ali pointed out that while compromises can be found among the various groups in democracy, it is not possible to reach a compromise with Islamists.

Netanyahu not calling security cabinet meeting for political reasons, Bennett says

March 31, 2019

Earlier that day, Bennett, a cabinet member, had written a letter to Attorney-General Avihai Mandelblit calling on him to require Netanyahu to call a meeting.

By Lahav Harkov
March 31, 2019 13:50
https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Netanyahu-not-calling-security-cabinet-meeting-for-political-reasons-Bennett-says-585330
Naftali Bennett (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu (R). (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the first Security Cabinet meeting called since Hamas escalated its attacks on Israel last week, a move that New Right leader Naftali Bennett has said is politically motivated.

The meeting was set for Wednesday and then canceled soon after on Sunday.

Earlier that day, Bennett, a cabinet member, had written a letter to Attorney-General Avihai Mandelblit calling on him to require Netanyahu to call a meeting.

In light of Hamas launching rockets at the Tel Aviv suburbs over 2 weeks ago, last week’s rocket attack, which destroyed a home in Moshav Mishmeret, near Kfar Saba, and an onslaught of launches at towns in the south, together with over 40,000 rioters at the Gaza border over the weekend, Bennett said Netnayahu’s reticence to call a cabinet meeting “doesn’t make sense.”

According to Bennett, the actions taken so far “have not created the necessary deterrence against Hamas’ actions, which are meant to hurt the security of Israeli citizens.”

He also expressed concern at reports that Israel is negotiating with Hamas.

“It is not reasonable, in my opinion, for the Prime Minister and security establishment to manage such important security events on their own, without the Security Cabinet ministers, who carry the responsibility [for Israel’s response] by law, giving their opinions,” Bennett wrote to Mandelblit.

After the meeting was canceled, Bennett said it was a political move, and that Netanyahu is “holding residents of the South hostage for a political campaign.

“Netanyahu is avoiding calling a cabinet meeting, because he knows that, just like with the operation to destroy Hamas tunnels in Protective Edge, I will oppose a shameful deal with Hamas and will lead a creative initiative to defeat Hamas,” said Bennett, who seeks to be appointed defense minister in the next government.

Spokespeople for the prime minister did not respond to requests for comment.

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Greenblatt: US recognizes Golan annexation ‘for the safety of Israel’ 

March 31, 2019

Source: Greenblatt: US recognizes Golan annexation ‘for the safety of Israel’ – Israel Hayom

Attempts to label U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Israeli Golan Heights as move to boost Netanyahu’s re-election chances “cynical,” U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt says • Move necessary given increased security threats from north, he says.

JNS and Israel Hayom Staff // published on 31/03/2019
   
U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt 


U.S. Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt said on Thursday it was “cynical” to label this week’s U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as a move to boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election chances just weeks before Israelis go to the polls on April 9.

“That’s a cynical response,” Greenblatt told JNS. “This is necessary for the safety of Israel. We see more and more security risks coming from the north. People will define it the way they want to define it, but what I think [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump did was absolutely the right decision.”

On Monday, the president signed a proclamation to make what he tweeted last week become official.

“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability!” he wrote on Twitter.

Greenblatt reiterated to JNS on Thursday that the move was a “historic and bold” but also “necessary announcement, similar to the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, followed by the relocation of the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv in May the following year.

Greenblatt, who spoke at the World Values Network’s International Gala, said that “Trump has been clear about Israel’s absolute right to defend itself in the face of terror and aggression, including most recently the attacks from [the] Gaza [Strip].”

“That is why Trump has recognized Jerusalem and moved our embassy there and just this week signed a proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights.”

He also discussed the widely anticipated Middle East peace plan that is expected to be released after the elections. Greenblatt said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “one of the most complex and difficult conflicts in human history.”

“Many well-meaning and talented teams had attempted to mediate. We studied why these attempts had not succeeded,” he said. “Peace can only be built on truth.”

 

Iran urges Palestinians to resist Trump’s pro-Israel moves 

March 31, 2019

Source: Iran urges Palestinians to resist Trump’s pro-Israel moves – Israel Hayom

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Golan Heights as part of “illegitimate Zionist regime” shows Palestinian resistance, perseverance is the right path • Trump to host Egypt’s el-Sissi at White House next week.

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff // published on 31/03/2019
   
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif 


Iran’s foreign ministry on Friday called on Palestinians to be steadfast in their resistance against U.S. President Donald Trump’s moves in support of Israel on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

In a statement on the eve of “Land Day,” an annual commemoration of the deaths of six Arab Israelis killed by Israeli security forces during demonstrations over government land confiscations in northern Israel in 1976, the foreign ministry said: “The U.S. president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital … and the occupied Golan Heights as part of the illegitimate Zionist regime … shows clearly that Palestinian resistance and perseverance as symbolized by ‘Land Day’ is the right path.”

In remarks carried by state television, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said accused the U.S. of “breaking international law on a daily basis … and recently in regards to the Golan Heights.” He said, “We should resist this and, God willing, we will come out victorious.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed a decree recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. The decision, which was criticized by Arab states, came as Israel gears up for elections on April 9. The U.N. Security Council has declared the annexation “null and void and without international legal effect.”

EPA
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Golan decision would help resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians by removing uncertainty. White House advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt have been working on a peace proposal to address the conflict.

Meanwhile, the White House announced that U.S. President Donald Trump will host his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the White House on April 9 for talks on strengthening their strategic partnership and working on shared priorities in the Middle East, the White House announced on Friday.

In a statement, the White House said the two leaders would discuss “building on our robust military, economic and counterterrorism cooperation” as well as regional economic integration and “Egypt’s longstanding role as a lynchpin of regional stability.”

The visit by el-Sissi comes at a time of renewed tensions between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza after a rocket fired from the coastal enclave wounded seven Israelis near Tel Aviv.

Israel responded with airstrikes and warnings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel was prepared to wage a broad military campaign in Gaza if needed.

 

5 rockets fired from Gaza despite supposed ‘understanding’ 

March 31, 2019

Source: 5 rockets fired from Gaza despite supposed ‘understanding’ – Israel Hayom

Despite attack, Israel opens border crossings • Hamas: Israel offering economic incentives in exchange for calm • 40,000 Palestinians gather for mass marches Saturday, far less than 100,000 initially predicted • Four Palestinians killed in border riots.

Lilach Shoval, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff // published on 31/03/2019
   
Palestinian protesters neat the Gaza-Israel border fence, Saturday 


Palestinian terrorists fired five rockets from Gaza into Israel early Sunday, the IDF said, following a day of Palestinian mass protests along the Israel-Gaza border fence. Four Palestinians, including three teenagers, were killed and dozens were wounded by IDF soldiers.

The rocket fire threatened to undermine Egyptian-mediated efforts to cement a deal that the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers hope will ease an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the territory.

No casualties were reported from the rockets and no Palestinian group claimed responsibility.

Despite the rocket attack, meanwhile, Israel reopened the two crossings with the Gaza Strip after days of hostilities in a sign that cease-fire talks may be advancing.

Israeli and Hamas officials confirmed Sunday that the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings were opened for the first time since Monday.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in the Gaza Strip to mark the one-year anniversary of their mass protests along the Israeli border.

Most demonstrators kept their distance from the border, though crowds of activists approached the border fence and threw stones and explosives toward Israeli troops on the other side..

Hamas had pledged to keep the crowds a safe distance from the fence to avoid inflaming the political atmosphere during negotiations of a possible easing of the blockade.

Hamas officials said that Israel is offering a package of economic incentives in exchange for calm along the volatile border.

Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, said the group had received “positive signs” from the Egyptians. He added that the Egyptian team was to return to Israel on Sunday to continue the talks. “We will continue our marches until all our goals are achieved,” he said.

Saturday’s protest came at a sensitive time, with Israel and Hamas, bitter enemies that have fought three wars and dozens of smaller skirmishes, both having a strong interest in keeping things quiet.

Hamas, meanwhile, faces growing unrest in Gaza as a result of worsening economic and humanitarian conditions. Earlier this month, Hamas violently suppressed several days of public protests, staged under the slogan “We want to live,” over the dire conditions.

Speaking on the group’s Al-Aqsa TV station, Hamas’ top leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, praised the protesters. “With this big turnout, our people say, ‘We want to live!'”

His use of the protesters’ slogan appeared to be aimed at diverting the recent criticism of his group. Hamas blames the Egyptian-Israeli blockade and punitive measures by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority for worsening the living conditions.

The fence protests haven’t delivered major improvements.

Saturday’s demonstrations were held at five rallying points along the border with Israel. Dozens of volunteers in fluorescent vests were deployed to restrain demonstrators, and rainy weather also appeared to affect enthusiasm.

The IDF estimated 40,000 Palestinians were gathered at the marches, far fewer than the 100,000 it had initially predicted.

“The rioters are hurling rocks and setting tires on fire. In addition, a number of grenades and explosive devices have been hurled at the Gaza Strip security fence,” the army said in a statement.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the army’s preparation and performance in maintaining “calm.”

While bloodshed was not avoided, it was far less than previous high-profile protests. Over 60 people were killed during intense protests on May 14, the day the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem.

As Saturday’s protest was winding down, organizers vowed to continue the marches and said they would gather again as usual next Friday.

The army also said it caught two young Palestinian children who had tried to cross the border with a knife. The children were returned to Gaza through a border crossing.

Earlier on Saturday, Gaza health officials said Israeli troops shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian man near the perimeter fence, hours before the mass rally.

The army said about 200 Palestinians “rioted during the night along the fence” and that the army used riot dispersal means against them.

Egypt has repeatedly tried to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, stepping up efforts in recent days after a Gaza rocket struck a house in central Israel earlier this week, wounding seven Israelis and threatening renewed escalation.

 

Off Topic:  Ilhan Omar can declare victory 

March 31, 2019

Source: Ilhan Omar can declare victory – Israel Hayom

Ari Blaff

Defying the odds, accusations and invective, U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) has won.

At the very least, she has succeeded in shifting the bounds of acceptable debate on the topic of Jewish power and influence. Omar’s repeated comments on Jews buying politicians, Israel hypnotizing the world and her promoting the canard of dual loyalty has resonated with a growing faction of the Democratic Party. Such statements have now been translated from fringe rhetoric to unspoken policy.

It came with little surprise, then, that leading Democratic presidential nominees decided to refrain from attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. That list of luminaries included Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke. Their absence was optical: a signal to American Jews and Israelis alike that a growing faction of the Democratic Party is questioning old orthodoxies, starting with Israel.

The move was spurred on by the progressive organization MoveOn, which denounced AIPAC for opposing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and undermining Palestinian self-determination.

In conjunction with earlier comments by Omar (herself an icon of American progressivism), these developments underscore a deeper shift unfolding within the Democratic Party. Although much outrage and condemnation were dispensed in the wake of the congresswoman’s comments, the choreographed vitriol proved to be little more than political doublespeak: “We condemn the promotion of Jewish conspiracy theories but, effectively, we will follow your lead.” Simply a polished version of the anti-Semitic myths parroted by Omar.

Omar and MoveOn are not out of sync with the Democratic Party: They are the progressive pacesetters, the trailblazers, illuminating where liberal politics in the United States is bound. Nor are they out of step with other liberals. According to MoveOn polling, more than three-quarters of members supported the boycott in an online survey. Such findings were reiterated by an Economist-You Gov survey showing that cross-sections of the Democrats – millennial, liberal and female – no longer support Israel much.

This is the progressive core that Omar and her ilk pander to. And for these political forces, ideologies decrying the harm of Jewish influence, money and power are well and fair: “punching up,” speaking truth to power.

Nowhere has this veneer of acceptability been more tolerated than when directed at Jews.

When asked about American Jewish concerns with the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, who has been linked to the leadership of the Women’s March, progressive political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry called it “weird.” Harris-Perry maintained that only Farrakhan’s ability to enact, to carry out, his bigotry could drive her to denounce him. The progressive magazine Salon condemned alt-right anti-Semitism in 2017 as a “bellwether of society.” However, when the shoe was on the other foot – and Omar as well as other progressive figures, including Women’s March leaders Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, waded into the shoals of Jew-hatred – Salon conveniently moved the yardsticks. In its view, the political establishment had mobilized to crush Omar.

This is the ultimate irony that American Jews are only now beginning to digest: that Jews are not part and parcel of the “diversity” progressives have in mind. Jews are now too successful, too white and too powerful. In other words, Jews, or perhaps more aptly, those who support Israel, are not welcome.

This article is reprinted with permission from JNS.org.

Ari Blaff is a journalist whose writings have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, National Post, Israel Studies, Quillette and Marginalia.

Russia grabs the reins on Mideast peace 

March 31, 2019

Source: Russia grabs the reins on Mideast peace – Israel Hayom

Mickey Ahranson

In one of his first comments as Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh said other countries, chief among them Russia, would support Palestinian rejection of the Trump administration’s “deal of the century” for Israeli-Palestinian peace. It wasn’t for nothing that Shtayyeh highlighted Russia.

In recent years, Russia has expressed an interest in getting involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, due to its own regional and global interests of restoring its status as a superpower. Hence Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently refloated the idea of hosting talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Moscow. Over the years, Moscow has on multiple occasions proposed advancing a peace agreement via a Moscow summit, but Israel has preferred to let the United States spearhead the process. The current Russian interest in the conflict is a reflection of Moscow’s ambitions to establish a presence in the Middle East as a mediator, within the prism of a zero-sum game against the Americans, and amid the view that U.S. clout on the Arab street is waning. Russia, from its perspective, assumes this activity is only beneficial: The cost, in any practical or abstract sense, is insignificant, and the expected returns of restoring Russia to prominence in the Arab and Muslim world are self-evident to the Kremlin.

Russia also illustrates its desire to be a mediator on the global stage by saying and doing certain things to paint itself as a critical cog in any peace process. This always occurs simultaneous to, or immediately after, the Americans unveil their own initiatives. In 2017, for example, as talks were progressing over moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Russia announced its desire, as a member of the Quartet, to advance a peace deal. At the time, Russia issued a surprise declaration that it recognizes west Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel, regardless of the establishment of a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem. The Kremlin also supported direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians and expressed its interest in facilitating an agreement. The declaration emphasized Russia as a key player due to its membership in the Quartet and its permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. Lavrov also denounced the “deal of the century” and stressed Russia’s commitment to a peace deal based on U.N. resolutions and the Arab peace initiative.

In recent months, as the American “deal of the century” has gained more exposure, Moscow has intensified its efforts to advance intra-Palestinian reconciliation, including repeatedly inviting Palestinian factions for talks in Moscow. Hamas is shunned to varying degrees by the U.S. and European Union, and Russia wants to signal it can hold dialogue with the PA and the regime in Gaza.

Last month, for instance, Hamas representatives flew to Moscow and were given the opportunity to present an alternative solution to the conflict. Among the principles put forth were the rejection of the “deal of the century” and opposition to any form of normalization with Israel. Although these principles are irrelevant to negotiations with Israel, voicing them in Russia strengthens the narrative that Moscow is grabbing the reins as the only mediator capable of communicating with all the Palestinian factions, especially when they are all united in opposing the “deal of the century.”

The United States and Israel must assume from past experience that as the “deal of the century” approaches its deadline, two processes will take place. First, we can assume that ignoring Russia will provoke a Russian attempt to enlist an Arab and international lobby against the U.S. proposal. Additionally, Russia will advance its own alternatives for resolving the conflict, which the Palestinians can view as a basis for negotiations, such as the summit in Moscow, the Quartet path or any other platform that will include Russia as a member of the international “club.”

This situation makes it increasingly likely for a scenario to unfold in which Israel, not the Palestinians, is painted as the rejectionist side, particularly in light of the fact that a plan such as the one presented by Hamas in Moscow in completely unfeasible from Israel’s perspective. In all likelihood, if it were possible to establish an international framework for a peace accord, which would include Russia, such as the Quartet, it would probably rise to the forefront. Because, among other things, Russia has expanded its leverage with the Arab world and it very much wants to partake in the prestigious “club” of nations.

Micky Aharonson was head of the foreign relations directorate of the National Security Council in the Prime Minister’s Office and is a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security