Author Archive

Syria says air defenses intercept Israeli missiles, in 2nd incident in 24 hours

May 19, 2019

State TV says military shot down ‘hostile targets coming from direction of occupied territories,’ a day after explosions heard in vicinity of Iranian and Hezbollah facilities

By TOI STAFF and AGENCIES18 May 2019, 9:39 pm 

Footage aired by Syrian state media shows an air defense missile after it was fired during reported Israeli strikes near the capital Damascus on May 17, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Syria claimed its air defenses on Saturday night shot down a number of missiles fired from Israel, for the second time in less than 24 hours.

The official SANA news agency said the military intercepted “hostile targets coming from direction of occupied territories.” Syrian state TV said the missiles were shot down over Quneitra and near Damascus.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Israel fired at least three missiles. Two of the strikes targeted a Syrian army brigade which supervises the country’s Quneitra province, he told AFP, while the third missile was destroyed by Syrian defenses.

On Friday night, Syrian state TV reported sounds of explosions near the capital, and aired footage of what it claimed were air defenses intercepting missiles fired from Israeli jets seen over Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights.

“Aerial defenses detected hostile targets coming from the direction of Quneitra and dealt with them,” the official SANA news agency quoted a military source saying, referring to a Syrian town in the Golan Heights bordering Israel.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported several explosions in the Al-Kiswah area outside the city, in the vicinity of Iranian and Hezbollah storage facilities and air defense batteries. The group added that it was not immediately clear if the explosions were caused by Israeli airstrikes or surface-to-surface missiles.

There was no response from the Israel Defense Forces, which rarely comments on reported strikes.

The Hebrew-language media reported Saturday night that Friday’s alleged strike was another episode in the confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria. Israel accuses Iran of seeking to set up a military presence in Syria that could be used to threaten the Jewish state.

In November 2017, Western intelligence officials told the BBC that Iran had established a permanent military base in el-Kiswah. Israel has reportedly hit the base several times.

The Israeli military has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in recent years on targets linked to Iran, which is backing President Bashar Assad’s regime in the Syrian civil war.


May 18, 2019

The United States has increased its forces in the Middle East, including aircraft carriers, B52 bombers and Patriot missiles, in response to intelligence information.


US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have agreed to a request for a renewed deployment of US forces to deter Iran, the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday.

According to the report, the deployment of the forces comes as part of the cooperation agreement between Washington and the Arab states in the Gulf, and will take place both at sea and on land. A Saudi source told the London-based newspaper that “the agreement was aimed at deterring Iran from a military escalation, including attacking American targets… and not with the aim of entering into a war with it.” Iran videotaped US aircraft carrier on its way to the Gulf, saying that although the Pentagon claims that it can attack thousands of targets, in a real situation it will not be the case. They claimed that the Iranians have been trained in this kind of fighting and use thousands of speedboats called Panthel, capable of launching a large number of mortars towards targets, and serve as a firewall for radar and warships.

The leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, met with leaders of Shi’ite militias in Baghdad and ordered them to “prepare for war by proxy,” the Guardian reported Thursday evening. Two intelligence sources told the newspaper that Soleimani had summoned the Iranian-backed militias about three weeks ago in light of the tension in the region. The move aroused concern in the US that there was a threat to American targets in the Middle East.

The United States has increased its forces in the Middle East, including aircraft carriers, B52 bombers and Patriot missiles, in response to intelligence information that the Iranian regime ordered its proxies to attack American forces in the region. 

Herman Wouk, the legendary author who brought Judaism into the mainstream

May 17, 2019

Wouk, an Orthodox Jew, embodied the new postwar possibilities for American Jews and his writing helped normalize Judaism within the larger American landscape

Today, 9:18 pm

BOSTON (JTA) — Herman Wouk, who died Friday at the age of 103, was an Orthodox Jewish author whose literary career spanned nearly seven decades and who helped usher Judaism into the American mainstream.

Wouk was the author of two dozen novels and works of nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Caine Mutiny” from 1951, which was a fixture on best-seller lists for two years, and the best-selling “Marjorie Morningstar” from 1955. Both books were later adapted for the screen. His novels “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” both became successful television miniseries. By the mid-1950s, Wouk’s popular and financial success as an American Jewish novelist was unmatched.

Even more unusual for a writer of Wouk’s celebrity was his Orthodox observance and treatment of Jewish religious practice in his writing. Wouk embodied the new postwar possibilities for American Jews and his writing was both cause and effect of the normalization of Judaism within the larger American Judeo-Christian tradition.

When he appeared on the cover of Time in 1955, the magazine described Wouk’s blend of worldly success and Jewish religious observance as paradoxical.

“He is a devout Orthodox Jew who had achieved worldly success in worldly-wise Manhattan while adhering to dietary prohibitions and traditional rituals which many of his fellow Jews find embarrassing,” the article said.

At the time, Wouk’s fame seemed like an incredible feat for an Orthodox Jew. Unlike other Jewish novelists, who had focused on Jewish immigrant culture and tended to portray religious Judaism as foreign and exotic, Wouk made Jewish religious observance appear mainstream in his books. Scenes of a Passover seder and a bar mitzvah service became scenes of middle-class American life in “Marjorie Morningstar.”

None of this escaped criticism. With the exception of “The Caine Mutiny,” critical reviews of Wouk’s works were typically mixed. Both Jewish and mainstream reviewers expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of his writing, his conservative outlook on politics and sex, and his treatment of Judaism. Some rabbis even criticized Wouk for mocking Jewish observance — though in the coming decade, Philip Roth’s fiction would radically change their perspective on what counted as literary denigration of Judaism.

In this file photo taken on May 7, 2006 writer Herman Wouk attends the Broadway Opening of ‘The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial’ in New York City. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images North America/AFP)

Meanwhile, fellow Jewish novelists like Roth, Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer viewed Wouk as conforming to middle-class American values that prioritized marriage, family, religion and service to country. Not only did he stay married to the same woman for more than six decades, but Wouk expressed pride in his military service, for which he received a US Navy Lone Sailor Award. Wouk in turn saw the others as bowing to fashionable literary trends of rebellion and shocking readers.

From his debut novel, “Aurora Dawn,” in 1947, to his last book, “Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author” — published in 2015 when he had reached a century — Wouk wove themes central to the American Jewish experience throughout his work. Even “The Caine Mutiny,” a less Jewish novel than later works, included Lt. Barney Greenwald, who gives a moving speech in defense of a lieutenant who helped keep Greenwald’s Jewish mother from being “melted down into a bar of soap” by the Nazis.

Set in the 1930s and ’40s, Wouk’s fourth book, “Marjorie Morningstar,” heralded a new era for American Jews. The novel followed the journey of a New York Jewish protagonist no different from any other bright and beautiful girl, an image further cemented by Natalie Wood’s portrayal of Marjorie in the 1958 film version.

Not since the 1927 film “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson, had a movie shown Jewish religious scenes. But unlike “The Jazz Singer,” Marjorie and her religion were not exoticized — Jewishness was portrayed as middle class and American. With Marjorie, Wouk had succeeded in making a story about Jews into an American story.

Marjorie also marked a turning point in his writing career. With confidence that he had readers who would follow him to less popular subjects, Wouk’s fourth book, his first work of nonfiction, took on the subject of Orthodox Judaism. Published in 1959, “This Is My God” was a primer about the Jewish religion intended for both Jewish and non-Jewish readers.

As other American celebrities would do, Wouk used his fame to draw attention to his little-understood religion. Serialized in the Los Angeles Times, “This Is My God” introduced readers to such Jewish particulars as the laws of kashrut and family purity and the holidays of Sukkot and Shavuot. The book showed, through anecdotes from Wouk’s glamorous Manhattan life, that it was possible to be both a modern American and Orthodox.

At a time when Jews still encountered quotas at universities and discrimination in hiring and housing, Wouk’s example provided inspiration. “This Is My God” became a popular bar mitzvah and confirmation gift for young Jews of all movements.

This May 15, 2000, file photo, shows Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk in Palm Springs, Calif. Wouk died in his sleep early Friday, May 17, 2019, according to his literary agent Amy Rennert. He was 103. (AP Photo/Douglas L. Benc Jr., File)

Born in the Bronx borough of New York City on May 27, 1915, Wouk was the second of three children of Esther and Abraham Wouk, both immigrants from Belarus. Abraham Wouk began work as a laundry laborer and found financial success in the laundry business. Herman spent his early years in the Bronx receiving basic Hebrew training from his grandfather. His childhood included the teasing and bullying that was common for bookish boys in rough neighborhoods.

From an early age, Wouk found a haven in reading, family and Judaism. After graduating from the public Townsend Harris High School, Wouk entered Columbia University, where he served as editor of its humor magazine. He also took courses at Yeshiva University.

Upon graduating, Wouk briefly abandoned his religious lifestyle when he became a radio dramatist, writing for the comedian Fred Allen. Although the work was lucrative, Wouk felt a void in a life without Jewish learning and religion, and he eventually returned to his previous level of observance.

In the coming years he would reside in the Virgin Islands, New York’s Fire Island, Washington, DC, Manhattan and Palm Springs, California — and in all those locales he was involved in setting up Jewish study and prayer groups.

Following Pearl Harbor, Wouk joined the Navy and served in the Pacific, where he was an officer aboard two destroyers, participated in eight invasions and won several battle stars. Wouk also started to write “Aurora Dawn” while aboard ship. After Wouk sent part of a draft to one of his former Columbia professors, the professor connected Wouk with an editor, and a contract followed.

While his ship was being repaired in California, Wouk met Betty Sarah Brown, a graduate of the University of Southern California and a civilian Navy employee. After her conversion to Judaism, the couple married in 1945 and had three sons. Betty, who died in 2011, would eventually become her husband’s literary agent.

Wouk is survived by two sons, Nathaniel and Joseph, and three grandchildren. His oldest son, Abraham, died in a 1951 swimming pool accident.

(Rachel Gordan teaches American Jewish studies at Boston University and Brandeis University. She interviewed Herman Wouk at his home in Palm Springs in February 2011.)

BDS is antisemitic rules German Bundestag

May 17, 2019

Germany is the first country in the European Union to rule that the BDS movement is antisemitic.

May 17, 2019 19:08
The German flag is pictured at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, November 7, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)

The German Bundestag ruled on Friday that the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is antisemitic, calling on German Federal offices and bodies not to collaborate in any way with events that advocate to boycott or delegitimize the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the Bundestag on its “important decision to recognize BDS as an anti-Semitic movement and that it is forbidden to support it.

I particularly appreciate the Bundestag’s call on Germany to stop funding organizations that work against the existence of the State of Israel. I hope this decision will lead to concrete action and I call on other countries to adopt similar legislation.”

Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan reacted to the decision by calling it “an important step in the war against the boycott and the new antisemitism” and argued that “the true face of the boycott movement had been exposed.”

He called on other countries in the European Union to follow Germany.
The spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Emmanuel Nahshon also lauded the decision. In a tweet he noted the large majority that supported the resolution.
Blue and White’s Yair Lapid said, “The decision by the Bundestag to label the BDS movement antisemitic and call on the German government to oppose all forms of BDS is an important and just step. BDS is the modern manifestation of an ancient hatred. Now is the time for the rest of Europe to follow Germany’s lead.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff tweeted,”The Bundestag has just adopted a Resolution condemning BDS and Anti-Semitism by a wide margin. We welcome this initiative by its sponsors. It has broader European significance given that BDS makes no attempt to build coexistence and peace between Israel and all of its neighbors.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon hailed the decision and called other world leaders to join Germany “and work to shape a future without hate of Jews and Israel,” a press release sent by spokesperson of the Israeli Mission in the UN reported on Friday.

“German showed BDS activists that lies do not carry with them immunity, but a heavy price,” he said.

Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog: “German Bundestag made a bold statement today resolving BDS as antisemitic. A significant step in fighting hate crimes on the rise throughout the globe. Leaders of the free world have moral responsibility to follow in Germany’s footsteps and stop this dangerous trend.”

The World Zionist Organization also welcomed the recent ruling, and expressed the wish to see other parliaments in Europe and the world pass similar votes, Walla reported on Friday.

The resolution was initiated by the governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

The motion, termed “Resisting the BDS movement decisively – fighting antisemitism,” calls on the government to “not provide premises and facilities under the administration of the Bundestag to organizations that express themselves in antisemitic terms or question Israel’s right to exist.”
In practicality, the motion is being understood as recognizing that Israel represents the Jewish people and is the home of the Jewish collective, therefore delegitimizing Israel is considered antisemitism.
Uri Bollag contributed to this report. 

Heeding left-wing generals’ advice got Israel where it is today

May 6, 2019

Left-wing generals never warn of any risks to their suicidal policies, and that’s why they are frauds. Knowing how to plan and conduct miitary operations and command soldiers does not make one a political prophet or statesman.

Mark Langfan, 05/05/19 20:20 | updated: 19:45

A remarkable piece from Arutz Sheva

Imagine, (G-d forbid) if your 60 year-old mother had a sore toe that she could walk around on, and that wasn’t fatal, but just a bother. It would get better with a little aspirin, but didn’t go away.  Now, a doctor, a medical expert, comes around and hysterically urges your mother to have a “fantastic” operation for her sore toe but was silent on any risks of the operation.  And, then, during the operation, she died.
You found out the procedure had a 97.6% risk of mortality, and 99.99% probability that her toe would still hurt after the operation no matter what and that the doctor never warned of the operation’s fatal risks.  The doctor would be guilty of not just negligence but criminal negligence and criminal assault for not adequately disclosing the procedure’s risks to your mother and you.  The doctor might even be guilty of criminal murder.

Let us look at Israel’s Left-wing generals, these “military experts,” who for decades advocated, based on their “professional military expertise,” that Israel withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the ‘West Bank’ and have a “Demilitarized” Palestinian State.

Did any of these Left-Wing Israel generals ever adequately warn Israeli and American Jews that:

1) there is a 99% risk that the “Demilitarized” Palestinian State would become a Palestinian terror hot spot and the Palestinian Arab terrorists would smuggle in and fire Katyusha rockets into pre-1967 Israel, and

2) that there is a 99% risk Israel will have to re-invade the “Demilitarized” areas to where the terrorists will have smuggled in 10 of thousands of of advanced anti-tank missiles and tens of millions of rounds of small arms ammo.

Checking the word “adequately disclosed,” have these Left-wing generals ever warned of any risks in their “Two-State Solution”?

The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. Left-wing generals never warn of any risks to their suicidal policies, and that’s why they are frauds.

Knowing how to plan and conduct miitary operations and command soldiers does not make one a political prophet or statesman.

When you go to a doctor, a medical expert, you don’t ask whether the doctor is a Labor, a Meretz, or a Likud doctor.  A doctor is a doctor is a non-political medical expert.  You are going to a doctor for his unvarnished medical advice and expertise, not his politics. A doctor’s political opinions should have nothing to do with his professional medical advice.  You expect the doctor to tell you the whole story and disclose all the risks, and allow you as the patient to make an informed decision on what procedure should be done.

A general is supposed to be a general who is supposed to be a non-political military expert.

The same way, when you go to a military general, a military expert, you don’t ask whether the general is a Labor, a Meretz, or a Likud general.  A general is supposed to be a general who is supposed to be a non-political military expert.  You are going to a general for his unvarnished military advice and expertise, not his politics.  A general’s political opinions should have nothing to do with his professional military advice.

You expect the general, if he can, to tell you the whole story and disclose all the risks, and allow you as the decision maker to make an informed decision on what military course of action you should vote for.

In fact, the entire basis of Israel’s generals’ legitimacy is that they give the appearance that their advice is “purely professional,” and not political.  Have you ever heard an Israeli general tell people, “I’m really a politician, and I have an undisclosed political agenda which is what lies behind my pronouncements” before he explains that Israel must create a Palestinian State in the Judea and Samaria aka ‘West Bank’?  Never!

When is the Israeli media going to stop treating them like oracles?

There is another possibility.  Maybe these Left-wing generals didn’t know the obvious military likelihood that the Palestinians would smuggle and fire rockets from Gaza.  That, however, would make them idiots – and they are not.

What happens when these Israeli Left-wing generals-cum-politicians get it all wrong, and force Israel to leave Gaza,, resulting in rockets fired into Israel?  They go to America and make countless millions telling American Jews how Israel is a fascist apartheid state.

It’s time an official Israeli governmental commission is convened to investigate these Left-wing generals and expose them for what they are.

What Are They Going to Do, Kill Us All?

April 28, 2019

What Are They Going to Do, Kill Us All?

Burning Synagoge Kristallnacht 9 November 1938

We are all frogs, my brothers and sisters. As the temperature around us slowly rises, we adapt and ignore the impending doom.

In director Stanley Kramer’s 1965 film, “Ship of Fools,” set on board a German ocean liner bound to Hamburg from Mexico in 1933, one of the Jewish passengers, Lowenthal, who is forced to share a table with other undesirables such as a dwarf named Glocken, says about the new Nazi regime: “Germany has been good for the Jews and the Jews have been good for Germany …. Anyway, what are they going to do, kill us all?”

My dear brothers and sisters in America, in the UK, in France, it is my unpleasant task to warn you: at some point in the foreseeable future, they are going to try and kill us all.

Holocausts, by definition, defy the imagination. “It couldn’t possibly happen here” is probably the most notorious comforting line spoken by Jews since the first Pharaonic policeman entered the first Israelite hut demanding to be handed the newborn Jewish male child to be drowned in the Nile.

I spent close to 40 years of my adult life in New York City. I am an American citizen, I love America, I follow the Yankees and the Jets but gave up on the Rangers and the Knicks, I love the Lower East Side where I used to know everybody as a local reporter and publisher, I am a registered member of the Harry S. Truman Democratic club, I used to be a regular in two different shuls in the neighborhood, and when I finally decided to leave and resettle in Israel, it had nothing to do with fear of anti-Semitism. It was entirely an economic move – things were going downhill in the US in 2007-8 and we decided to try our luck in Israel.

Ten years later, it’s no longer the economy.

There is a burgeoning coalition of intersectionality in the US of anti-Semites which includes white power Aryans, Farrakhan and Al Sharpton Blacks, and several varieties of radicalized Muslims and anti-Zionist students.

They’ve been terrorizing Jewish students in several key universities across America for at least a decade. Now we see the first bloody attacks on synagogues. This trend will not stop, it will only get stronger, it will certainly happen here too.

Like many of you, I am the son of a Holocaust survivor, and was taught at my father’s knee the lessons of a betrayal by a homeland that turned out not be my own.

My father grew up in a small town outside Łódź, in central Poland. The town’s elite were the Jews and the German expatriates – the Poles were the servants for both communities. The Jewish and German communities were intertwined, united by their terrible pidgin German. My dad described his shock as kids his age he went to school with and played soccer with started wearing the swastika armbands.

The writing was on the wall for all to see, at least since 1933, when Adolf Hitler became chancellor. Then hooligan violence against the Jews became a normal thing, police mistreatment and brutality was to be expected, and double standards against Jews, later coupled with anti-Semitic laws, set the stage for the mass execution of Germany’s Jews, or as Herr Lowenthal put it so eloquently, “What are they going to do, kill us all?”

We’ve all heard the boiling frog fable. It isn’t scientifically true, because frogs aren’t stupid. But it’s useful as a metaphor. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the same frog is put in room temperature water which is then brought to a boil very slowly, it will stay put and be cooked to death.

To illustrate: in 1939, a Jewish-German woman I once knew, who had already settled in Haifa in the ’30s, packed a suitcase and traveled back to Germany, where she visited all of her relatives, warning them about the coming Holocaust and inviting them to flee either to Palestine or to any other country where Jews could find shelter.

They all thanked her for her concern and reassured her that this Nazi crisis would soon become a thing of the past. Sooner or later, the Western democracies would put an end to Hitler’s shenanigans.

On September 1, 1939, half the Jewish people of my father’s town huddled together in my grandfather’s living room, where he had a radio. The Polish announcers described the German invasion, and everyone, without exception, according to my father’s recollection, were certain this was finally Hitler’s end. After all, two major European empires, France and England, had signed mutual protection pacts with the Polish government – let’s see Hitler win a battle against the French and the English, my grandfather’s guests were convinced.

We are all frogs, my brothers and sisters.

As the temperature around us is rising, we adapt.

Muslim members of Congress openly accuse us of controlling the banks, of dual loyalties – and they no longer get a rise out of anyone, not even us. Most Democratic candidates for president shun the AIPAC convention – and we understand, they need the Black vote. The social networks are full of conspiracy theories about how it was us, Jews, who felled the Trade Towers. Nazis march in the street of Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying torches and hollering, “Jews will not replace us,” and “Blood and soil,” and they’re doing it again, unmolested by our government. In today’s Germany, incidentally, they’d be thrown in jail.

Frankly, I don’t expect a single Jewish American person to read my appeal and reach the conclusion that five or fewer years from now could make so much sense: sell while you can and come home. Honestly, I doubt even I would have heeded the same advice. It’s too early. Incidentally, I must disclose my own personal interest in having a huge, Jewish-American Aliyah wave: I believe Israel so needs you – your democratic values, your open-mindedness, your academic excellence, your political savvy, your business acumen, your wealth – your culture of debate, for heaven’s sake, a rare thing to find in Israeli society.

But even if you don’t pack up and leave right away – I urge you to set up a second home in Israel.

I know our finance minister has done everything in his power to stop that kind of investment because, let’s face it, the man is not the shiniest shekel in the coin sack. But please, take out for yourself an insurance policy against unforeseen holocausts, and purchase a home in Israel. You’ll be amazed how cheap they can be if you stay away from Tel Aviv or Raanana. Use them on your vacations, send your kids to become familiar with the home country. You can sell them eventually (the home, not the kids), should I be proven wrong.

But I want you to be ready not because I expect you to flee to the home country. I only want you to take the approaching second Holocaust seriously because I love you and admire you and we’re all froggies from the same pond.

Arab League Pledges $100 Million to Palestinian Authority

April 24, 2019

AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi

TEL AVIV – The Arab League on Sunday pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to cover the funds suspended by Israel in taxes and tariffs owed to the PA over the latter’s so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme paying salaries to terrorists and their families.

Earlier in the day, PA President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to the Arab League in Cairo to support him in rejecting the Trump administration’s as-yet unveiled peace plan.

“The Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time,” Abbas said.

He noted that the U.S. could offer nothing to the Palestinians in light of the moves it has taken against them, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent transfer of the US Embassy there, as well as cutting aid.

“What’s left to offer us? Is there anything left to offer us that would make us happy? They took Jerusalem and the occupied territories, canceled the [rights of the] refugees and legitimized settlements. They want to fool us. They have nothing to offer us. Even if they want to offer something, it will be worse than anything else.”

“We can’t hear that the holy city of Jerusalem has been annexed to Israel,” he said. “After this crime, what can we expect?”

He also addressed President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

“We don’t accept the annexation of the Golan and Jerusalem,” Abbas said. “These are all Arab territories. They are all occupied territories, and Israel needs to quickly withdraw from them.”

He also asked Arab nations to help alleviate the PA’s dire financial crisis.

“A safety net must be provided,” Abbas said.

In February, Israel began cutting monthly funds to the PA over its payments to convicted terrorists and their families, totaling close to $140 million. The PA at the time responded that it would result in anarchy in the West Bank. Abbas also said that if Israel deducts even “one penny” from tax monies owed to the PA, the PA would not accept the money transfers.

France last week called on Israel to “change your decision to freeze the transfer of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority,” Israel’s Channel 12 news reported on Sunday.

Israel responded that the request itself was immoral and opposed to the EU’s own laws.

According to a new report from the World Bank, the Palestinian deficit is set to increase from $400 million last year to over $1 billion this year.

Last week, newly appointed PA prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused the Trump administration of facilitating Israel’s “financial war” on the Palestinian Authority.

“Israel is part of the financial war that has been declared upon us by the United States. The whole system is to try to push us to surrender” in order to force the PA into accepting Trump’s upcoming peace proposal, Shtayyeh said.

“This is financial blackmail, which we reject.”

Shtayyeh outlined some ways he’s hoping to alleviate the dire financial crisis, including cutting bonuses for PA officials, developing agriculture, receiving more aid from the Arab world and Europe, and seeking financial independence from Israel. The last proposal may include importing fuel from neighboring Jordan as opposed to Israel, and even introducing a Palestinian currency.