Posted tagged ‘Israel’

The Agenda for the Trump-Abbas Meeting

April 27, 2017

The Agenda for the Trump-Abbas Meeting, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, April 27, 2017

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The day after Israel celebrates its 69th Independence Day, US President Donald Trump will greet PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. The date of their meeting, May 3, is notable not least for its timing.

The timing of the meeting presumes a linkage between the establishment of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is not merely obnoxious, it is also blind to reality.

In reality, an independent state of Palestine has existed for the past 12 years in Gaza. Rather than build that up and declare independence, Abbas and his comrades surrendered Gaza to Hamas in 2007.

Hamas, in turn, transformed independent Palestine into a base for jihad.

Abbas’s failure to declare independence in 2005 – and the subsequent failure of his US-trained forces to defend their control over Gaza in June 2007 from Hamas terrorists – is generally overlooked. But it is critical that Trump understand the significance of his behavior before he meets with Abbas.

Since the inception of the peace process between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the professed goal of the PLO has been to establish an independent Palestinian state on any territory over which it was able to take control from Israel. Yet 12 years ago, when Israel withdrew its citizens and military from Gaza, the PLO refused to take responsibility for the area insisting ridiculously that Gaza was still controlled by Israel.

Then 10 years ago, US-trained PLO forces fled to Israel rather than defend their control of Gaza when Hamas took up arms against them.

There are, it seems, two main reasons for Abbas’s behavior. The first is directly related to how he understood Israel’s decision to withdraw.

In December 2003, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon stunned the country when he adopted the platform of the Labor Party – which he had just massively defeated in the general elections – and removed all Israeli communities and military installations from Gaza, including from the border with Egypt, by the end of 2005.

Israeli society was nearly torn apart in the one year and eight months between Sharon’s surprise announcement and the expulsion of Gaza’s Jews in August 2005. The media hemorrhaged with continuous propaganda that demonized the Israeli residents of Gaza and the religious Zionist community in general.

A reminder of that toxic period came earlier this month, when Haaretz published a column by veteran reporter Yossi Klein in which he alleged that religious Zionists posed a graver danger to the State of Israel than Hezbollah.

Abbas and his lieutenants viewed the domestic chaos that engulfed Israel at the time as proof of Israel being on its way off the stage of history.

If this was how Israelis reacted to the destruction of 21 communities in Gaza (and four in northern Samaria) and the dispossession of 10,000 Israelis, it was clear to Abbas and his comrades that Israeli society would collapse if Sharon carried out his plan to reenact the Gaza withdrawal tenfold in Judea and Samaria after the 2006 elections.

Why accept Gaza if all of Israel was about to be destroyed – by its own hand? The second reason that Abbas didn’t declare independence in Gaza, is because he had no interest in being held accountable for his behavior – as leaders of independent states are. If he accepted sovereign power, then the Palestinians as well as Israel and, presumably, the rest of the world would be able to hold him to account for what happened within the territory he controlled. His ability to blame Israel for his failures would be diminished, at least in theory.

Far better, Abbas concluded, to pretend that Israel’s withdrawal was meaningless and blame Israel for his failure to govern his own territory.

Both reasons for Abbas’s rejection of responsibility over Gaza are important because they also reflect the views of the Palestinians as a whole.

Dan Polisar, from Shalem College, summarized in a recent article in the online magazine Mosaic, his study of more than 400 public opinion surveys of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza taken by professional pollsters over the past 23 years.

Like Abbas in 2005, the overwhelming majority of Palestinians believe that Israel isn’t long for this world.

In one 2011 survey, for instance, a mere 23% of Palestinians said they were certain that Israel will continue to exist 25 years hence. 44% were certain it would not.

The fact that more than three quarters of Palestinians are uncertain if Israel will survive is not only a function of Israel’s own self-destructive behavior – it is premised as well on Palestinian ideology.

The vast majority of Palestinians reject Israel’s right to exist. Indeed, a mere 12% of Palestinians believe that Jews have ties to the land of Israel.

Polisar showed that, whereas a plurality to a bare majority of Palestinians accepts the premise of a twostate solution, the overwhelming majority reject any deal that would leave Israel intact as a viable state capable of defending itself. Equally importantly, 68% of Palestinians believe that even if a Palestinian state is established in Gaza, Judea and Samaria with Jerusalem as its capital, they should continue to aspire to Israel’s destruction.

In other words, even if the PLO signs a deal with Israel that says the conflict has been resolved, for 68% of Palestinians the conflict will continue. They oppose ending the education of their children to seek Israel’s destruction and accepting Israel as a peaceful neighbor.

This then, brings us to Trump’s visit with Abbas, the day after Israel’s 69th birthday.

What does he intend to discuss with Abbas? From media reports, it appears that Trump intends to discuss the Palestinian Authority’s subsidization of terrorism to the tune of $300 million each year, which it pays out as salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons and as stipends to their families.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News earlier this week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged Trump to hold Abbas to account for his massive budgetary outlays to terrorists and their families. He asked that Trump demand as well that Abbas stop the PA ’s indoctrination of the Palestinians to seek the annihilation of Israel and the murder of its citizens.

This is well and good. But it seems a bit beside the point. The point is that 69 years ago, the Jews established our state. A Palestinian state was not established then or since, not because Israel was unwilling for such a state to come into being, but because the Palestinians refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist.

If any good is to come from Trump meeting with Abbas – on May 3 or at any other time – then he should send the following message to Abbas and to the rest of the world.

To date, the US has supported the goal of Palestinian statehood, because it convinced itself that the Palestinians were interested in a state that would live at peace with Israel. The US pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians in order to encourage them to accept Israel. And the US funded the PA thinking that doing so would advance the cause of peace. It trained and armed PA security forces for the same reason.

To date, the Palestinians, the PLO and the PA have not lived up to their side of the bargain – on anything.

They have not come to terms with Israel’s existence; they have not abjured terrorism; and they have not accepted responsibility for the areas under their control, either in Gaza, or in Judea and Samaria.

Since his is a new administration, Trump is willing to give Abbas the benefit of the doubt for three months. In that time Abbas needs to stop all financial transfers to terrorists and their families – in and out of prison; he needs to change the names of all the public sites now named after terrorists; and he needs to purge all anti-Jewish content from his PA -controlled media and mosques.

If Abbas fails to do all of these things by August 3, then the Trump administration will abandon its support for Palestinian statehood and its recognition of the PLO .

Jordanian Columnist In Muslim Brotherhood Daily: A Million Hitlers From All Over The World Will Appear And Eliminate The Jews

April 24, 2017

Jordanian Columnist In Muslim Brotherhood Daily: A Million Hitlers From All Over The World Will Appear And Eliminate The Jews, MEMRI, April 23, 2017

(Another brotherly article from the Obama’s friends in the Muslim Brotherhood. When are we going to designate it a foreign terrorist organization?–  DM)

In the last few months, Jamal Al-Shawaheen, a columnist for the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood newspaper Al-Sabil, published two virulently antisemitic articles. In an article from March 18, 2017 titled “The Jewish Entity [Is] the Problem of the Whole World,” he wrote that the conflict in the Arab world will not end as long as Israel exists and that the objective of eliminating it will remain on the Arab agenda “generation after generation.” He added that the Jews have nothing in common except their religion and thus do not constitute a genuine nation but only “concentrations of greedy crooks.” Moreover, “history indicates that a million Hitlers from all over the world will [appear and] eliminate them… because they are the problem of the whole world and not just of the Arabs.”

In an article from December 10, 2016, he denied the factuality of the Holocaust and accused the Jews of operating a “meat-grinder for human flesh” in which they exterminate Palestinians and Arabs using British and American tools. He added that the only way to put a stop to this was to eliminate the Jews themselves.

It should be mentioned that, prior to this, Al-Shawaheen published several other antisemitic articles in Al-Sabil that were translated by MEMRI.[1]  

The following are excerpts from his latest two articles:

Jamal Al-Shawaheen (image: paltimes.net)

Eliminating The Jewish Israeli Entity Will Forever Remain On The Arab Agenda

In his March 18, 2017 article Al-Shawaheen wrote: “The conflict in the Arab world will persist and intensify in every way so long as the Israeli entity exists. There is no solution except erasing and uprooting [this entity], otherwise the boundless war will continue, moving from arena to arena, and sooner or later [the war] with the enemy entity will flare up [again]… Whoever thinks that the enemy’s power is eternal is surely mistaken, since foreign bodies must be removed from the body, otherwise they destroy it. Foreigners, no matter how powerful, have no hope of survival – that is what history shows us and teaches us.

“The Arab peoples are not in the same situation as the Indians [of America] who were eliminated entirely to make room for other peoples and countries… The times are different and the situation is not as it was in the past, for what force can eliminate the Arabs for good?!

“The elimination of the Jewish Israeli entity will therefore remain on the Arab agenda generation after generation, and even if today [we] are in an unfortunate state of submissiveness, this will not forever be the case. The history of nations teaches [us] many lessons… The Chinese have endured for thousands of years, as have the Russians and all the genuine peoples. It can be said that, of all the peoples in the world, only the Jews lack any [common] features that make them into a people, except for their religion, and throughout history this has never been sufficient to make them into any kind of nation. They have always been, and still are, nothing but concentrations of greedy crooks. Even if wars will not defeat them today, history indicates that a million Hitlers from all over the world will [appear and] eliminate them and get rid of them forever. This will not be long in coming, because they are the problem of the whole world and not just of the Arabs.”[2]

“The Jews Founded [Their] Usurping State Thanks To… The Lie Of The Holocaust”

In his December 10, 2016 article Al-Shawaheen wrote: “The Jews founded [their] usurping state thanks to the sympathy Britain and other countries felt for them, [sympathy aroused] by the lie of the Holocaust. [The Jews] continue to take this criminal usurpation as far as possible, yet [their state] enjoys the support of several countries, chief of them the U.S. This great Jewish crime continues… Now that this crime has persisted, and even intensified, for such a long time, is it possible to see those who abet it as criminals too, given that ‘one who abets terrorism is a terrorist himself’?

“If the Holocaust, assuming it even happened, exterminated dozens of German Jews, then the only way to describe the elimination of tens of thousands of Palestinians and Arabs is as a grinder of human flesh that initially used British tools and later many American ones, as well as funds exhuding the smell of gas.

“Therefore, we must take heed and prepare. The Palestinian people is facing a new phase on the way to this meat grinder, for Trump will certainly not wish to stop it. Moreover, this [meat] grinder also operates simultaneously in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, but with one difference: [in those countries] those who directly operate it are not Jews in terms of their faith but rather in terms of their submission to their [Jewish] masters, [whom they serve] as lackeys [even] lowlier than Al-Alqami…[3]

“There is an American movie called The Meat Grinder, whose main premise involves a gang that murders poor people and grinds their flesh [to sell it] as canned dog food. After this meat becomes popular with dog owners, dogs who become used to [eating] it turn feral and attack [people] to eat them. The movie focuses on how, in order to eliminate the problem, [both] the customers [i.e., dog owners] and the dogs are killed.[4] It appears that, in order to get rid of the Jews’ [meat] grinder, we have no choice but to adopt the same solution. That is what needs to be done, by any possible means, since the goal is a noble one, and then the world will be rid of terrorism, all of which is blatantly Jewish.”[5]

________________________

[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.5733, Jordanian Journalist: Hitler Was A Million Times More Merciful Than Israel’s Leaders, May 7, 2014; Special Dispatch No. 6580, Jordanian Journalist In Three Antisemitic Articles: The Jews Want To Destroy Other Religions And Peoples And Endanger Europe; Depicting Them In A Positive Light Constitutes Brainwashing, August 18, 2016.

[2] Al-Sabil (Jordan), March 18, 2017.

[3] Ibn Al-Alqami, a Shi’ite minister in the court of the last Abbasid caliph Al-Musta’sim (1213-1258), rebelled against the Caliph and is accused of having a hand in the fall of the ‘Abbasid caliphate. His name is often used as a synonym for treason and collaboration with foreign enemies.

[4] Apparently a reference to a 1971 horror comedy The Corpse Grinders, in which a cat food company in financial trouble decides to utilize a cheap source of meat – the local cemetery – and mayhem ensues after the cats develop a taste for human flesh and start attacking people.

[5] Al-Sabil (Jordan), December 10, 2016.

Al-Qaeda Mocks Arabs for Submitting to Haley’s ‘Kick in High Heels’

April 21, 2017

Al-Qaeda Mocks Arabs for Submitting to Haley’s ‘Kick in High Heels’, PJ Media, Bridget Johnson, April 20, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks with media at UN Headquarters in New York on April 20, 2017. (Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa via AP Images)

Al-Qaeda mocked Arab rulers for being at the mercy of “the kicks of the high heels” of Ambassador Nikki Haley after her warning that things are going to change at the United Nations.

“I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because if I see something wrong, we’re going to kick them every single time,” Haley said in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference last month in Washington.

“So how are we kicking? We’re kicking by, No. 1, putting everybody on notice, saying that if you have our back, we’re going to have the backs of our friends. But our friends need to have our backs, too,” she continued. “If you challenge us, be prepared for what for what you are challenging us for because we will respond.”

In the most recent issue of al-Qaeda’s al-Nafir Bulletin, published in several languages and distributed online by the Global Islamic Media Front, the terror group said “the representative of the bearer of the Cross America” — Haley — “sent a message to the apostate Arab rulers filled with sarcasm and mockery.”

The bulletin added that America was “the Hubal of the era to its worshippers the Arab rulers,” referring to a moon god worshipped at Mecca before Islam.

“You will not go beyond your worth, and you will receive a kick in high heels as punishment for any statement… that criticizes the Zionists,” they summarized Haley’s message to Arab rulers after quoting her directly.

“American and its Crusader allies will never allow anyone to stand before their support of the Zionists and the apostates of the Arabs and foreigners from the Muslim rulers, and they will not accept to end their robbery of the fortunes and resources of the Ummah [Muslim community], and that any Islamic project that seeks to establish the Shariah, and spread justice, and distribute fairly the fortunes of the Ummah, will face bombs and guided rockets, with the supporter of the apostate rulers who are ready to receive the kicks of the high heels from the Zionist Haley in case they go beyond the allowed limit, and gave wrong criticisms of the nation of the sons of Zion,” the bulletin stated.

Al-Qaeda added that the only “salvation” for Muslims “out of this delusion in the sea of weakness” was “targeting the real enemy.”

“O youth of Islam, attack global infidelity headed by America, and show Allah what is required of you,” the terror group told followers. “Shake their thrones, and bring down their interests, and target their great criminals.”

Al-Qaeda has previously used issues of the al-Nafir Bulletin to call for action against the United States. In February, the terror group accused the U.S. of withholding necessary medication from “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind of the deadly 1993 World Trade Center bombing who died behind bars that month.

They also released a final statement from the sheikh complaining of strip searches that explored his private parts “front and back,” claiming that he could be poisoned behind bars and calling for “the most powerful and violent revenge” in the event of his demise.

Last month, the bulletin told jihadists to go forth and just kill Americans without any Islamic consultations first. Al-Qaeda called a U.S. airstrike that struck a mosque complex in Al-Jinah, Syria, “a horrible crime among the crimes of America and its damned president, Trump.”

Islamist Attacks on Holidays

April 20, 2017

Islamist Attacks on Holidays, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, April 20, 2017

Nearly 50 people were murdered on Palm Sunday when Islamic State terrorists bombed two Coptic churches in an Easter celebration-nightmare. The next day, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate launched rockets at Israel.

Just before Christmas, a terrorist claimed by the Islamic State rammed a truck into Berlin’s crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people. And in Australia, a group of self-radicalized Islamists planned to attack St Paul’s Cathedral. In 2011, Nigerian Islamists murdered nearly 40 Catholic worshipers in a Christmas Day attack.

Terrorists attack where and when they can. But they seem keenly aware that turning holidays into horror can carry greater shock and terror. In 2002, 30 Israeli civilians were massacred and 140 injured by a Hamas suicide bomber who blew himself up as they sat for the seder, the traditional Passover meal, at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

It isn’t just terrorists who see advantages in striking during holidays. The 1973 Yom Kippur War may be the most famous example, when the armies of two Muslim-majority states, Egypt and Syria, attacked Israel on the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar. That war produced an estimated 20,000 deaths.

Christians and Jews aren’t the only religious groups that have been targeted by Islamists during non-Muslim holy days. The Hindu festival of Diwali has also been attacked. In 2005, a series of bombs killed over 60 people and injured hundreds in Delhi; a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist group, the Islamic Revolutionary Front, claimed responsibility. Last October, Indian police arrested an Islamist cell inspired by the Islamic State for planning an attack during Diwali.

Muslims are also victimized by Islamist attacks in increasing volume. A 2015 mosque bombing in Yemen killed 29 people during prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid. Last July, also during Eid, three people were killed at a Bangladesh checkpoint when gunmen carrying bombs tried to attack the country’s largest Eid gathering, which attracted an estimated 300,000 worshippers.

Last May, as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approached, a spokesman for the Islamic State urged jihadists to “make it, with God’s permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere.” Days later, as Ramadan celebrations stretched past midnight in central Baghdad, a minivan packed with explosives blew up and killed at least 143 people.

Terrorists also target secular holidays. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian resident of France, killed 85 people and injured hundreds more in a truck-ramming terrorist attack as people gathered for a Bastille Day celebration. In New York last fall, dump trumps were deployed to protect the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, after the Islamic State called it an “excellent target.”

Holidays are often chosen because they are “optimal attack days,” in terms of gathering large crowds into soft targets like houses of worship, religious markets, ceremonial gatherings, and parades. Last November, U.S. officials warned that the coming holiday season could mean “opportunities for violent extremists” to attack.

A terrorist attack on a holiday is also more likely to attract media attention. And because holidays draw tourists, well-timed attacks can amplify the economic damage that would be wrought by terror even on a non-holiday. After a spate of attacks toward the end of 2015, “about 10% of American travelers have canceled a trip … eliminating a potential $8.2 billion in travel spending,” reported MarketWatch.

But ISIS, al-Qaida and other Islamist terrorist groups believe they are waging a holy war above all else. Attacking infidels, be they Christians, Jews or Muslims of other sects, motivates jihadis more than anything else. “Those who targeted churches on holiday celebrations tend to be professional terrorist groups,” Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, told the IPT. By contrast, “mob attacks happen either on a Friday, after an especially potent sermon, or whenever infidels need to be put in their place (e.g., a Christian accused of blasphemy, then the church in his village gets torched).”

In 2015, Islamic State warnings of future attacks against Christians noted that Christians were their “favorite prey” and no longer protected as “dhimmis,” a reference to non-Muslims in Islam who may, in exchange for paying the jizya tax, receive some state protection.

Thus, within the larger context of a holy war, attacks on non-Muslim holy days can be viewed as part of the more general Islamist strategy of humiliation, forced submission to Islam, and the denial of any competing religion. Attacking on Diwali or Christmas or Yom Kippur is essentially declaring that such “infidel” holy days ought to be desecrated rather than respected. The symbolic message is akin to the one communicated by the two Islamists who entered a French cathedral and beheaded an octogenarian priest, Jacques Hamel, during mass services last July.

Attacking places of worship on holy days – when they are most used by and relevant to their congregations – is also a good way to undermine these religious institutions and their supporters. If Islamist terror makes churches the most vulnerable on the days when they are most crowded, how will those houses of worship attract enough followers to sustain themselves? And how will their congregants practice their faith? The Coptic Pope curbed some Easter celebrations in Egypt after the recent Palm Sunday blasts.

Such questions may help to explain why Christians, who have lived in the Middle East – the birthplace of Christianity – for millennia now constitute only about 3 percent of the region’s population, down from 20 percent a century ago.

Indeed, the only non-Muslim country in the entire Middle East is also the safest place for non-Muslims in the region, including Christians, Druze, and Bahai. “Christians and other minorities in Israel prosper and grow,” says Shadi Khalloul, founder of the Israeli Aramaic Movement. “[W]hile in other countries in the Middle East, as well as in the Palestinian Authority, they suffer heavily from the Islamic movement and persecution – until forced to disappear.”

The UNRWA book battle

April 20, 2017

The UNRWA book battle, Israel Hayom, Jonathan S. Tobin, April 20, 2017

(More on the UN Rocket Warehousing Agency and the Palestinian authority. Please see also, UNRWA Won’t Be Changing School Textbooks and Curriculum. — DM)

It is an article of faith for the international community and the Jewish Left that the ‎Palestinian Authority is a moderate force that wants to make peace with Israel. ‎That belief has been undermined by many of the PA’s actions and statements since ‎its creation after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, yet somehow it survives and forms the basis for many of the assumptions critics make ‎about Israel’s government.

The latest proof that the PA is a principle obstacle to ‎peace rather than its best hope has not received any attention in the Western press. ‎But a discussion of the conflict that has arisen between it and the United Nations ‎Relief and Works Agency speaks volumes about everything that is wrong ‎with the PA.‎

UNRWA is the world body that is devoted solely to aiding Palestinian refugees. ‎Unlike the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is tasked with helping all other refugees around the world, UNRWA doesn’t try ‎to resettle refugees or resolve their problems. On the contrary, since its creation ‎after the Arab failure to destroy Israel in its War of Independence, UNRWA has ‎helped to perpetuate the clash between Israel and the Muslim and Arab worlds and ‎championed the “right of return” that would spell Israel’s end. Its schools and aid ‎projects have been hotbeds of radicalism aimed at erasing the existence of the ‎Jewish state and have even been used by Hamas. In particular, critics have noted ‎the way UNRWA schools in the West Bank and Gaza have curricula and textbooks ‎that teach up to 600,000 Palestinian youngsters to reject Israel’s legitimacy and ‎glorify the struggle to destroy it. ‎

But, like the rest of the U.N., UNRWA has been feeling some pressure to ‎reform. The Trump administration has shown a willingness to throw its weight ‎around that directly contrasts with former President Barack Obama’s support for the U.N. Under ‎new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who previously headed the U.N.’s other ‎refugee agency, efforts to promote the libel that Israel is an apartheid state were ‎rejected. So when the Arab press reported leaks about a shift in UNRWA’s ‎education policy, this seemed to indicate that even that agency was feeling some ‎pressure to change its ways.‎

According to those reports, UNRWA was planning to alter the textbooks it uses ‎in its schools. Among the planned changes, cities inside Israel would stop being labeled as Palestinian, a practice that instills a sense in readers that the Jewish state is ‎merely a colonialist intrusion built entirely on “stolen” Arab land. Other changes ‎included an effort to tone down praise of Palestinians who commit terrorism ‎against Jews and Israelis. Its teaching about Jerusalem would treat it as a city that ‎is as holy to all three monotheistic religions, rather than just Islam. That’s significant because Palestinian efforts to claim that shrines such ‎as the Temple Mount and even the Western Wall are ‎exclusively Muslim were part of a campaign of incitement that led to the recent ‎‎”stabbing intifada.” Perhaps just as significant is that the new texts would also seek ‎to correct gender bias that was part of the old books.‎

But rather than welcome reform, the Palestinian Authority has reacted with fury. ‎Last week, the PA announced that it was suspending ties with UNRWA over the ‎proposed changes, which have yet to be formally announced. It said the revisions ‎to the curriculum were an “affront to the Palestinian people, its history and ‎struggles” and that the suspension would continue until the agency’s “positions are ‎corrected.”‎

The PA Education Ministry issued the following statement:‎ “Any distortion of the Palestinian curriculum is a flagrant violation of the laws of the ‎host country, and any change to any letter to appease any party is a betrayal of the ‎Palestinian narrative and the right of the Palestinian people under occupation to ‎preserve its identity and struggle.‎”

The implications of the PA position for the prospects for peace in this or future ‎generations cannot be overestimated.‎

For more than a century, Palestinian national identity has been inextricably tied to the war on Zionism. Throughout two decades of failed peace negotiations, the ‎supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority has consistently rejected Israeli offers ‎of independence that would obligate it to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish ‎state within any borders. Any chance that this will change rests not so much on ‎more Israeli concessions but on a sea change in Palestinian political culture. ‎Leaving aside the role of Hamas, unless the PA’s future leaders are able to embrace ‎peace without fear that doing so will be seen as a betrayal, the failure of more talks ‎is foreordained. UNRWA’s proposed changes are a step in the right direction. The ‎PA’s opposition is more proof that it is an obstacle to any hope for a better life for ‎both Israeli and Palestinian children.‎

[UPDATED] Syria moves all its fighter jets to Russian base

April 19, 2017

Syria moves all its fighter jets to Russian base, DEBKAfile, April 19, 2017

The Pentagon disclosure came ironically just hours after a senior Israeli military officer confidently informed military correspondents in Tel Aviv that the mechanism introduced for Russian-Israeli air force coordination in Syria had been successfully adopted by other nations operating in Syria, such as Turkey and the United States. He reported that the arrangement included reciprocal visits once every two months by heads of the operations divisions of the two armies.

These visits will probably go the same way now as the entire arrangement.

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

Syria has moved all its fighter aircraft to the Russian Hmeimim air base in Latakia three weeks after 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles knocked out one-fifth of its air force at the Shayrat base, in retaliation for a chemical attack on civilians in Idlib. This was reported Wednesday night, April 19, by the Pentagon. The Russian high command in Syria has its seat at that base.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Syrian air force will operate henceforth under Russian protection and behind the advanced Russian S-300 and S-400 air defense shield without fear of US reprisals.

President Vladimir Putin’s response to the Trump administration’s call to distance Moscow from the Assad regime is therefore a flat rejection. He is instead fortifying Russian support for that regime.

The upsurge of Russian-US military tension places at risk the operational coordination accords prevailing between the air forces of Russia, the US and Israel in Syrian skies.

Syrian operational staff officers working in Hmeimim will now have access to the advanced Russian surveillance instruments tracking the movements of all foreign aircraft moving through Syrian air space. Syrian intelligence officers will also be close to Russian SIGINT facilities which the Russian spy agency GRU has installed there. In other words, by a single move, the Russians have substantially upgraded the Syrian air force’s operational and intelligence capabilities.

How does this affect the Syrian and Iranian air freight traffic ferrying military supplies from Iran? Where will they deliver their cargoes? Will they too be allowed to land at the Russian base in Latakia? If they are, the Israeli air force will be prevented from cutting down the flow of Iranian weapons for Hizballah. The new move more or less buries the Russian-Israeli agreements covering Syrian skies.

The Pentagon disclosure came ironically just hours after a senior Israeli military officer confidently informed military correspondents in Tel Aviv that the mechanism introduced for Russian-Israeli air force coordination in Syria had been successfully adopted by other nations operating in Syria, such as Turkey and the United States. He reported that the arrangement included reciprocal visits once every two months by heads of the operations divisions of the two armies.

These visits will probably go the same way now as the entire arrangement.

Why Is the US Still Funding Palestinian Terrorism?

April 19, 2017

Why Is the US Still Funding Palestinian Terrorism? Gatestone Institute, Shoshana Bryen, April 19, 2017

(Please see also, Towards the pending Abbas visit to Washington D.C. — DM)

Jamil Tamimi, 57, knew that if he committed an act of terror, he would be lionized by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and — perhaps more importantly — that, if he were killed or sent to prison, his family would be taken care of financially.

“The PLO Commission was new only in name. The PLO body would have the ‎same responsibilities and pay the exact same amounts of salaries to prisoners… PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas retained overall supervision of ‎the PLO Commission.” — Palestinian Media Watch.

In 2016 Bashar Masalha, who murdered U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force and wounded several others, was hailed on official PA media outlets as a “martyr.” A few months later, Abbas said on PA TV, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem…. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

The U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.

British exchange student Hannah Bladon was stabbed to death on a Jerusalem light rail train last Friday. Her murderer was identified as an East Jerusalem resident who had previously been convicted of molesting his daughter and had tried to commit suicide. Failing at that, he apparently opted for terrorism, on the assumption that the police would kill him. They didn’t. “This,” the Shin Bet said in a statement, “is another case, out of many, where a Palestinian who is suffering from personal, mental or moral issues chooses to carry out a terror attack in order to find a way out of their problems.”

“Suicide by cop” is not unheard of, but the real incentives need to be spelled out.

Jamil Tamimi, 57, knew that if he committed an act of terror, he would be lionized by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and — perhaps more importantly — that, if he were killed or sent to prison, his family would be taken care of financially.

To take the PA leader, Mahmoud Abbas, at his word, the PA itself does not pay salaries or pensions to terrorists in Israeli jails or to their families; the money — instead! — comes from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). That sleight-of-hand would make this a perfect time for the United States, an ally of the UK and properly appalled by terrorism, to take a step it has been avoiding for more than 25 years: to close the PLO office in Washington — preferably before the planned visit by Abbas in May.

The PLO was once understood to be a terrorist organization and a terror umbrella. It hijacked airplanes and threw an elderly disabled man in a wheelchair overboard from a cruise ship. Black September, an arm of the PLO, murdered 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich. The PLO has committed acts of horrific terror in Israel — including massacring bus drivers and their families on holiday. Twenty-five adults and 13 children were killed and 71 others wounded. The PLO has also committed acts of war against the United States by killing American diplomats in Sudan.

In the 1970s and 80s, the U.S. generally knew what it was looking at.

During the Reagan-to-Bush “41”-transition, however, the U.S. dropped its ban on officially talking to then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. (Full disclosure: Colin Powell, then national security advisor, gave this author a “heads up”: “Everyone has something to say,” he said. “The U.S. government already knows what Arafat has to say,” I said, and it is unacceptable.” He was not interested.)

Talking was not the same as opening an office; that move was still prohibited by the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987. However, in the post-Oslo Accords euphoria, Senate legislation permitted the PLO an official mission in Washington “to implement the accords,” and it allowed President Clinton to waive the law barring U.S. funds to international organizations that gave money to the PLO. The House passed similar legislation. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA) said at the time:

“This legislation provides a limited, temporary and conditional waiver of restrictions in United States law that would seriously impede the ability of Israel and the PLO to proceed with negotiating and implementing their landmark peace agreement.”

It was “conditional” on the PLO meeting its Oslo Accords obligations, including refraining from terrorism and renouncing international moves that would impede bilateral agreement on final status issues. While the legislation was, as Berman said, “temporary,” it came with the usual waiver provision, ultimately allowing Presidents to do as they wished.

Presidents, therefore, beginning with President Clinton, did exactly that, even as the Palestinian Authority supplanted the PLO as the “peace partner” and ignored the Oslo Accords at will.

In 2003, the height of the so-called “second intifada,” the Palestinian terror war against Israel, Colin Powell, by then Secretary of State, waffled through a statement suggesting that the Palestinians kindly refrain from not killing so many Jews. “We need to see a more concerted effort against the capacity for terrorist activity on the Palestinian side… It’s not enough just to have a cease-fire.” He then noted “progress in reducing attacks against Israelis” — but without mentioning that the IDF and Shin Bet had reduced them; not the PA. Nevertheless, President Bush exercised the waiver.

A 2011, a Palestinian bid for recognition as a full member of the UN failed, but the waiver remained. Over U.S. objections, “Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court in 2015. President Barack Obama waived the sanctions every six months — right through two Hamas wars against Israel.

Largely through the work of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the question of payments to terrorists and their families has come to the fore. Worried about foreign aid payments from the U.S. and the EU, in 2014 the Palestinian Authority claimed it stopped paying salaries and that future money would come from a new PLO Commission of Prisoner Affairs. However, PMW reported from Palestinian sources:

The PLO Commission was new only in name. The PLO body would have the ‎same responsibilities and pay the exact same amounts of salaries to prisoners; the ‎former PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, became the Director of the new ‎PLO Commission and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas retained overall supervision of ‎the PLO Commission.

Tower Magazine reported that in 2015, a year after the PA “officially” transferred authority over Palestinian prisoners to the PLO, it also transferred an extra 444 million shekels (more than $116 million) to the PLO — nearly the same amount that the PA had allocated in the previous years to its now-defunct Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.

Citing PMW, Tower wrote that the transfer to the PLO was meant to evade pressure from Western governments that demanded an end to terrorist salaries — specifically the United States and the UK, which froze payments to the PA in 2016 over the problem.

In the end, perhaps, it does not matter whose bank account transfers the money to whose bank account:

In 2016 Bashar Masalha, who murdered U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force and wounded several others, was hailed on official PA media outlets as a “martyr.” A few months later, Abbas said on PA TV, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

 

Abbas has not said much about Jamil Tamimi, last Friday’s murderer, and it is time to stop encouraging, threatening or demanding that he do so. Rather, the U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.