Posted tagged ‘Jerusalem’

Arab Foreign Ministers Discuss Blocking U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem

March 6, 2017

Arab Foreign Ministers Discuss Blocking U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem, BreitbartDeborah Danan, March 6, 2017

(There have been credible reports that, when PM Netanyahu met with President Trump, he asked Trump to delay his largely symbolic move of the American embassy to Jerusalem because an otherwise likely and more important agreement with the Arab nations on combatting Iran’s involvement in their spheres of influence could well be jeopardized. — DM)

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

TEL AVIV – Ahead of the Arab League Summit later this month, foreign ministers of member states gathered in Cairo on Sunday and Monday to discuss how to prevent President Donald Trump from going through with his promise to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.

The “Palestinian issue,” along with the embassy move to “occupied Jerusalem,” were among 28 items on the agenda, according to a press release from the Arab League’s Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed Bin Hali.

In January, the League’s Assistant Secretary-General for Palestinian Affairs Said Abu Ali urged Trump to “reconsider” the embassy move or else the U.S. will be in danger of losing its status “as an objective sponsor of the peace process.”

Bin Hali said that another item to be discussed by representatives of member states is the “Arab League’s plan to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.” He added that ahead of the summit in Jordan on March 23, the representatives will discuss the terrorism spreading in the Arab world, and the role of Turkey and Iran in regional conflicts.

Bin Hali also told reporters that Iran’s meddling in other states’ affairs must be stopped and that the member states of the Arab League must view this, as well as Tehran’s nuclear aspirations, as a shared interest. According to Bin Hali, the lack of a “unified stance” on the part of Arab world was its biggest problem.

He said that despite efforts to that end, “there are still Arab officials who remain divisive and who seek to provoke tension in relations between Arab states.”

“We are all in the same boat. We are all affected by the regional security issues and therefore we must work towards resolving our internal strife,” he added.

Ahead of Netanyahu-Trump talks, Abbas woos Iran

February 13, 2017

Ahead of Netanyahu-Trump talks, Abbas woos Iran, DEBKAfile, February 13, 2017

He is warning Trump that the US embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem and the strengthening of US-Israeli ties would be countered by a parallel enhancement of Palestinian relations with Tehran. The message to Vladmir Putin is that, even though he is fully engaged in Syria, he can’t afford to abandon the Palestinians; Abdel-Fatteh El- Sisi, the Gulf rulers and Jordan’s monarch are put on notice that if they have a problem with rising Iranian influence in Baghdad, they had better be prepared to find Tehran’s imprint in Ramallah too.

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EXCLUSIVE: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has pivoted towards Iran in a move to pre-empt a possibly impending US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the friendly talks scheduled to take place in Washington Wednesday, Feb. 15, between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

This is revealed by DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence sources.

Our sources report that the Abbas has opened a direct channel of communications between Ramallah and Tehran as a permanent fixture. Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub is in charge of the Palestinian end of the relationship and will lead the first official Palestinian delegation to Tehran.

For some months now, he has served as Abbas’s senior spokesman and the Palestinian Authority’s “foreign minister.” In the third week of January, Rajoub declared: “In our opinion moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a declaration of war on the Muslims.”

Two weeks ago, Palestinian and Iranian delegations met secretly for the first time in a European country. Two more encounters followed and dealt with such urgent matters as the fate of Palestinians stranded on Syria’s battlefronts and in former refugee camps. They also discussed the Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon and their problematic relations with Iran’s Shiite surrogate, Hizballah.

At their third meeting, the Iranian delegates asked where the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah stood vis-a-vis a political resolution of the Syrian conflict. They decided to talk about this some more at the next Iranian-Palestinian meeting on a date this month and a location yet to be arranged.

As part of his pivot towards Tehran, Abbas made sure to send the Palestinian Authority’s warm congratulations to Iran’s rulers on the anniversary of their Islamic revolution: He asked God “to bring more stability and prosperity to Iran and its brotherly people as they celebrate this occasion, and more progress and advancement the brotherly relations between our peoples.”

Abu Mazen’s pro-Iranian shift is intended as a signal to five parties, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report: President Trump, the Presidents of Russian and Egypt, the rulers of the Gulf Emirates and King Abdullah of Jordan.

He is warning Trump that the US embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem and the strengthening of US-Israeli ties would be countered by a parallel enhancement of Palestinian relations with Tehran. The message to Vladmir Putin is that, even though he is fully engaged in Syria, he can’t afford to abandon the Palestinians; Abdel-Fatteh El- Sisi, the Gulf rulers and Jordan’s monarch are put on notice that if they have a problem with rising Iranian influence in Baghdad, they had better be prepared to find Tehran’s imprint in Ramallah too.

Palestinians Turn Jerusalem Into a Tool of Terror

February 2, 2017

Palestinians Turn Jerusalem Into a Tool of Terror, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, February 2, 2017

1960

Palestinian and other Arab leaders threatened violence in response to President Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. While Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also promised such a move as candidates, each backed off.

The terrorist who killed four Israelis in Jerusalem Jan. 8 by mowing them over with his truck expressed agitation after hearing a sermon at a local mosque criticizing Trump’s embassy relocation promise.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership reportedly instructed the mosques it controls to focus their religious sermons on the embassy relocation. Worse still, the PA promised the terrorist’s widow a lifetime, $760-per-month stipend for her husband’s “martyrdom for Allah.”

Arab reactions to Trump’s embassy plans are more heated than they were to those of candidates Bush and Clinton perhaps because of Trump’s pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the embassy there from Tel Aviv, not only as a candidate (including during his address at last year’s AIPAC Policy Conference) but also as president-elect, issuing public reassurances on the issue. Trump even planned to visit the Temple Mount as a candidate, although the visit never materialized and – as president – he said last Thursday that it was “too early” to discuss moving the U.S. Embassy.

Nevertheless, Palestinian and Arab leaders have warned that moving the embassy could lead to unrest and violence. Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called the idea “a declaration of war against Islam.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas said he could revoke the PLO’s recognition of Israel, while his Fatah party warned the move “would open the gates of hell.”

Such declarations by political and religious leaders give a green light to Palestinians to react violently, as the Jerusalem terrorist truck attack shows.

Palestinian leaders, including the “more moderate” Palestinian Authority, regularly deny that Jews have any historical or religious connection to the Temple Mount.

PA Jerusalem Affairs Minister Adnan al-Husseini demanded an apology Sunday after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was “completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple.” The statement “violated all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian customs and overstepped his role as secretary general,” al-Husseini said.

This is not the first time that the Palestinians, including the “more moderate” Palestinian Authority, manipulated Jerusalem into an incendiary trigger for terror.

As Palestinian Media Watch reported, Abbas led calls in 2015 for Palestinians to act violently to “defend” Muslim holy sites. He blessed “every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem” and presented violence in “defense” of holy sites and against the Jews’ “filthy feet” as a religious imperative.

Indeed, the “stabbing intifidah” was launched in 2015 by false rumors that Israel was trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.

“Arabs are convinced that Israel is set on destroying, desecrating or ‘Judaizing’ Haram al-Sharif, the Jerusalem compound that includes al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site,” Benny Avni wrote in the New York Post. Such incitement persists, Avni noted, even though “Israel points out that the arrangements that have existed since 1967, when it seized control of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, are intact, and will remain so: A Jordanian trust, the Waqf, maintains the Mount. Jews can visit, but not pray there.”

Even worse, President Obama’s State Department reinforced the dangerously false incitement about Jerusalem promoted by Palestinians.

Writing about the 2015 “Stabbing Intifida,” journalist Jeffrey Goldberg rightly pointed out that it was “prompted in good part by the same set of manipulated emotions that sparked the anti-Jewish riots of the 1920s: a deeply felt desire on the part of Palestinians to ‘protect’ the Temple Mount from Jews.”

In the 1929 Arab riots, Arabs killed more than 130 Jews, and nearly as many Arabs died when British police responded. Among the findings of a subsequent investigation by the Shaw Commission was that “the Mufti was influenced by the twofold desire to confront the Jews and to mobilise Moslem opinion on the issue of the Wailing Wall” (in Jerusalem) and that one of the chief causes of the riots was “Propaganda among the less-educated Arab people of a character calculated to incite them.”

Arab incitement against Jews happens regularly, often without the explosive element of Jerusalem. In a sermon broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV in early January, a Hamas leader name Marwan Abu Ras, accused Jews of sending “AIDS-infected girls to fornicate with Muslim youths.” He also claimed that Israel was allowing drugs to be smuggled through tunnels into Gaza, while blocking the entry of essential goods. “Their state is about to disappear,” Abu Ras said. “…My brothers, know that people, stones, and trees all hate [the Jews]. Everyone on Earth hates this filthy nation, a nation extrinsic to Mankind. This fact was elucidated by the Quran and the Sunna.”

But adding Jerusalem to Arab incitement against Israelis can make the resulting violence even more explosive.

Qanta Ahmed, a pro-Israel Muslim reformer who visited both the Jewish and Muslim holy sites at the Temple Mount, eloquently noted the Islamist thinking that enables the weaponization of Jerusalem: “Forbidding worshippers from entering holy sites in Islam, including non-conforming or pluralist Muslims who reject both the ideology and accouterments of Islamism is an impassioned pastime of fervent Islamists who foolishly believe only they are the keepers of our Maker…”

Unfortunately, Jerusalem has a long and bloody history of being manipulated by Muslim leaders into an explosive tool of incitement. But if Islam truly is a religion of peace, its leading practitioners should stop turning religious holy sites into weapons of war, and instead embrace Doctor Ahmed’s tolerance.

Palestinian Columnist In Response To UN Secretary-General’s Statements On Jerusalem’s Jewish Connection: The Jews Have No Connection To Jerusalem Or Palestine At Large

February 1, 2017

Palestinian Columnist In Response To UN Secretary-General’s Statements On Jerusalem’s Jewish Connection: The Jews Have No Connection To Jerusalem Or Palestine At Large, MEMRI, February 1, 2017

(Not only that, but Joseph, Mary and Jesus were Muslims, not Jews. — DM)

Fatah and PLO officials lashed out at the new secretary-general of the UN, António Guterres, for remarks he made on January 28, 2017 to Israeli Radio. Guterres said that there is no doubt Jerusalem is holy to all three major monotheistic religions today, but it is “completely clear that the temple which was demolished by the Romans was a Jewish temple.”[1]

The Palestinian officials said that Guterres’s remarks encourage Israel to step up its measures against Jerusalem, constitute direct aggression against the Palestinian people’s rights in the city, and deal a blow to international efforts for peace. They also undermine the UN’s credibility and contradict truth, history and UNESCO’s resolution from October 2016 stating that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a Muslim site.

‘Omar Al-Ghoul, a columnist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida who was an advisor to former PA prime minister Salam Fayyad, published a scathing article in which he demanded that Guterres apologize to the Palestinian people for the injustice of his remarks. Jerusalem and all of Palestine, from the river to the sea, belong to the Palestinian people, he wrote, and the Jews have no historical connection to them. He added that Jerusalem belongs to the Muslims and Christians alone, and that the Temple of Solomon never existed in Palestine.

The following are excerpts from his article and from other Palestinian responses to Guterres’s remarks.

guterresAntónio Guterres (image: english.alarabiya.net)

Fatah, PLO Officials: Secretary-General’s Comments Deal A Blow To UN’s Credibility, Encourage Terrorism Against Palestinians

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani called the UN secretary-general’s statements “a severe breach of policy and a blow to the UN’s credibility as an international body [reflecting] bias towards an occupying force.” He added: “The secretary-general should clarify his remarks, which undermine international efforts for peace and give the occupation a green light to step up its measures against Jerusalem… The UN secretary-general appears to be uninformed and not updated in the field in which he engages, and we remind him of the resolution by UNESCO, which considers the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the entire Haram Al-Sharif [i.e., Temple Mount] to be a sacred Islamic site designated for worship.”[2]

Fatah Revolutionary Committee deputy secretary Fayez Abu ‘Aita called the secretary-general’s statements “direct aggression against the Palestinian people’s rights in Jerusalem and [a show of] bias towards the occupation by legitimizing and empowering the illegal Israeli presence in Jerusalem.” He added that they “encourage Israel to use more terrorism against the Palestinian people, to attack the sites sacred to Islam and to Christianity, and to continue expanding settlement construction until the two-state principle is eliminated.”[3]

Columnist In PA Daily: Jerusalem And All Of Palestine, From The River To The Sea, Is Muslim Land

‘Omar Al-Ghoul, a columnist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and advisor to PA prime minister Salam Fayyad during the latter’s term in office, harshly condemned Guterres: “The world expressed great optimism at Mr. António Guterres’s recent appointment as UN secretary-general, especially in light of his promise to reform this leading international institution in order to develop it and in order for it to be able to follow events around the world more quickly and vitally. But that optimism is apparently misplaced, since someone who wants to reform and awaken the international organization does not deviate from the UN Charter, or from its resolutions and rules, but must instead be wiser and bolder when taking political positions, instead of making offhand comments according to whims and narrow interests.

“António Guterres made a clear and obvious mistake towards peace and the political process on the Israeli-Palestinian track when he stated… that he believes in the connection between Jerusalem and the Jews. The secretary-general argued, contradicting the UNESCO resolution, history and facts, that in his opinion – which deviates from the truth and the facts – it is as clear as the sun is clear that ‘the temple which was demolished by the Romans was a Jewish temple.’ Thus, the new secretary-general fell into the trap of his own unbalanced view, because the issue of Jerusalem and the Palestinian-Israeli blood feud are not resolved by personal opinions. [Mr. Secretary-General,] your personal opinion is yours alone and not a binding position held by the UN or by the nations of the world. You, as secretary-general, must not involve the UN in positions that it does not need and that do not correspond with its regulations and resolutions. Furthermore, you have no right to err in flattering Israel due to considerations easily understood by any observer – because your remarks do not correspond to history or to the existing data.”

Jerusalem Belongs To The Muslims And Christians, Not To The Jews; Guterres Must Apologize Immediately To The Palestinian People And Leadership

“If you are interested in history, and committed to it, Mr. António, [then you should know that] Jerusalem and all of Palestine from the river to the sea, belong to the Palestinian people, and their history is its history. The establishment of Israel based on the UN Partition [Plan for Palestine,] Resolution 181, adopted in November 1947, and the Palestinian people’s consent to peace and the two-state solution on the basis of the June 1967 borders, absolutely do not mean that the history of Palestine changes. Jerusalem is Arab-Palestinian and belongs to the Muslims and the Christians, and not to the Jews – although this does not mean that Jews should be prevented from visiting it. The so-called ‘Western Wall’ is actually the ‘Al-Buraq Wall’ [Al-Buraq is the winged horse on which Muhammad ascended to Heaven]. Solomon’s Temple does not exists and never existed in Palestine. The Israelis have been excavating across the entire land for nearly a century since fully occupying it in June 1967 and have found nothing related to Judaism in all of Palestine, not just in Jerusalem.

“So on what grounds do you voluntarily express incorrect positions that have no connection to reality? What is your interest in doing so? Are you serving the peace process, or entangling and threatening it? Additionally, you express irresponsible views, such as that you ‘do not intend to take the reins of initiative in any political process between the Palestinians and Israelis.’ Why? What is your role as UN secretary-general? Are you the U.S., or do you speak for it? Does this not constitute conspiring with the racist Israeli ethnic-cleansing state and giving it a green light to continue its imperialist settlements? Is this the reform you want to bring to the UN?

“This grave injustice committed by the new UN secretary-general in the matter of the Palestinian-Arab Islamic-Christian and human Jerusalem means that he must immediately apologize to the Palestinian people and leadership, and rectify this matter by issuing a clear, direct, and explicit position in line with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO, which issued two resolutions on this matter in October 2016.

“You may issue no personal decisions on your own, because ever since your appointment as UN secretary-general, you represent not yourself but the entire UN, including its peoples, member states, resolutions, treaties, and regulations. Therefore, you are not authorizedto say whatever you think or whatever you, or the deviant countries you flatter, wish you to say – particularly not Israel and its ally the U.S.

“Have you have the courage to acknowledge [that this is what you have done] and to correct this shameful injustice?”[4]

____________________

[1] Jpost.com, January 30, 2017.

[2] Wafa.ps, January 29, 2017.

[3] Wafa.ps, January 29, 2017.

[4] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), January 29, 2017.

Now That Trump Is in the White House, Can Israel Seize the Moment?

January 28, 2017

Now That Trump Is in the White House, Can Israel Seize the Moment? AlegmeinerMartin Sherman, January 27, 2017

(Please see also, Trump Will Keep Vow on Jerusalem Embassy Move, Giuliani Says. — DM)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, in New York, on September 25, 2016. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO *** Local Caption *** ??? ?????? ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ????? ?????????? ? ?????? ????? ?????, ????? ????? ? ??? ???? ?????

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, in New York, on September 25, 2016. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO

To date, there seems to be only one central pre-election commitment that the new administration appears uncharacteristically hesitant in embracing: the promise to transfer the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Of course, not all this regrettable reluctance can be blamed on the Trump administration. After all, the Israeli government itself has not been overly enthusiastic in promoting the embassy relocation.

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“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat.
And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

— William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene 3.

“If I am not for myself, who is for me? …And if not now, when?”

— Hillel the Elder, Ethics of the Fathers, Ch. 1:14.

In the first few days of his presidency, Donald Trump has acted with remarkable resolve to promote a number of his more strident campaign pledges, and to dismantle much of the edifice his predecessor had hoped to leave as his “legacy.”

Robust resolve

Thus, Trump moved to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which the New York Times dubbed “Obama’s signature trade achievement.”

Similarly, he instigated measures to begin rolling back “Obamacare,” the centerpiece of Obama’s domestic policy; approved the construction of two large oil pipelines (Keystone pipeline between the US and Canada, and Dakota Access Pipeline), which Obama had vetoed; cut funding of charities providing abortion services abroad, reinstating a 1984 bill that Obama had rescinded; and ordered a freeze on hiring federal government workers (apart from the military) in an “effort to reduce government debts and decrease the size of the federal workforce.

Then, later this week, Trump “signed directives to begin building a wall along [the] US border with Mexico and crack down on US cities that shield undocumented immigrants.” Likewise, he is reported to be drafting directives to be implemented “in the coming days [that] would…suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen while permanent rules are studied.”

So, regardless of whether one commends or condemns these policy decisions, they certainly reflect a firm — indeed, a seemingly unswerving — commitment to his campaign pledges, no matter how controversial or contentious.

With one notable exception.

Rare reticence 

To date, there seems to be only one central pre-election commitment that the new administration appears uncharacteristically hesitant in embracing: the promise to transfer the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Readers will recall that in October 1995, the US Congress passed a law (the Jerusalem Embassy Act) with broad bi-partisan support — including from Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry — that, in effect, recognized Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, and explicitly called for the relocation of the US embassy to the city by May 1999. The bill, however, included a proviso permitting the president to issue a waiver holding up the relocation of the embassy should he deem it in the US national interest. The waiver is renewable every six months and since the legislation of the bill, every president — both Democrat and Republican — has exercised the waiver option. Indeed, 36 such waivers have been issued in the past — including eight by Obama — the last of which was put through in December 2016 and is due to expire in June 2017.

Accordingly, all Trump really needs to do to fulfill his pledge to relocate the US embassy to Israel’s capital is, well…nothing. Indeed, he need take no proactive measures at all. He does not need to build a wall, lay a pipeline, pass new legislation or sign a contentious executive order. All he needs to do is let the current waiver lapse, and allow the existing 1995 legislation to take effect.

Yet, for some reason, it is precisely on this issue that the new administration is displaying rare reticence in moving briskly forward to deliver on its clear commitments.

Disturbing lack of enthusiasm…from Israel

Of course, not all this regrettable reluctance can be blamed on the Trump administration. After all, the Israeli government itself has not been overly enthusiastic in promoting the embassy relocation.

Reflecting Israel’s lack of fervor in applauding Trump’s pledge was Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s offhand apathy in addressing the prospect at last month’s Saban Forum in Washington. When asked by the moderator, CNN’s Jake Tapper, what he thought of Trump’s declaration that he would move the US embassy in very short order to Jerusalem, Lieberman was distinctly dismissive, indicating that he was skeptical as to the prospect: “You know, [what] we see before in every election is the same promise to remove the embassy to Jerusalem. But I think that we will wait and we will see.”

Then, virtually providing the administration with the justification to renege on its commitment, or at least significantly postpone it, Lieberman stated: “We have many other issues…we have enough challenges all around Israel. I think that it will be a mistake…to take the embassy as the focal point…We have many items on our common agenda. I think that maybe the Embassy will be one of the points.”

With such lethargic endorsement from the Israeli government, there would be little room for surprise if America’s new commander-in-chief does not push his proffered relocation vigorously forward.

Plethora of invalid arguments

A plethora of bad reasons has been advanced for not moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Typical of such baseless arguments was the one articulated in an Haaretz op-ed, in which the writer warned: “Relocating its embassy to Jerusalem would mean the US taking a partisan stance on a central and sensitive issue, a source of controversy between Israel and the Palestinians, and between Israel and the international community.”

But of course, quite the opposite is true. By not relocating the embassy even to the western portion of Jerusalem, the US is, in fact, taking a partisan stance against Israel. For, in effect, this endorses the Palestinian/Arab position disputing Israeli sovereignty over any part of the city, including the portion that was under Israeli control prior to the Six-Day War. After all, if the US does not dispute Israeli sovereignty of the city within the pre-1967 lines, surely there should be no reason to refrain from establishing the embassy there. Or am I missing something here?

After all, the western portion of Jerusalem is, undisputedly, the functioning capital of Israel. There sit the national parliament, the prime minister’s office, all the government ministries (apart from agriculture) and the Supreme Court. Any capitulation to the notion that the Palestinians have a legitimate claim to any part of it would immediately torpedo the chances of an agreement. Accordingly, abstaining from relocating the embassy to western Jerusalem implicitly sustains grounds for such a claim and, in effect, constitutes a partisan pro-Palestinian stance.

By contrast, relocating the embassy would send a strong, even-handed message that the US will not tolerate exorbitant and unreasonable Palestinian territorial demands.

Invalid arguments (continued) 

But, perhaps the most common argument advanced for not relocating the embassy is because the Arabs and Muslims will get really mad. The threat of uncontrollable rage due to grievous insult (which would not provoke any other segment of humanity to similar conduct) has frequently been raised as reason to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities. It has already almost completely curtailed free speech in much of Western Europe and Scandinavia, where Muslim thugs are free to ravage the domestic population in the name of moral relativism and cultural diversity.

Clearly, giving into Arab/Muslim extortion because of threats of violence is a slippery slope. Once you capitulate on one issue, there is little reason not to capitulate on another.

Indeed, if the menace of Muslim mayhem can coerce nations to forgo free choice, what is to prevent further far-reaching demands, such as universal application of Shariah law, the discrimination against females and the persecution of gays?

The threat of violence is no reason to refrain from establishing the US embassy in Israel’s capital, but rather the reason to do so — and it will convey to the Arab/Muslim world that brandishing “uncontrollable rage” is an unacceptable and counter-productive mode of conducting international relations.

Respite not redemption 

The election of Trump was a huge stroke of good fortune for Israel. Just how dire its position might have been had Hillary Clinton been elected to continue the Obama legacy was vividly conveyed by two recent incidents.

The first: a surreptitious transfer of almost a quarter billion dollars to the Palestinian Authority by the outgoing president in the final hours of his incumbency, in defiance of a congressional hold on the funds.

The second: a jarring disclosure made last week by former director-general of Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs, Ambassador Dore Gold, of an astonishing admission by Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice, that “even if Israel and the Palestinians reach an agreement, it is possible that the United States would oppose it” – because it might not do justice to the Palestinians.

These disturbing revelations starkly expose the blatant pro-Palestinian proclivities of the outgoing Obama administration and of the expected Clinton administration as the designated surrogate-successor.

Israel can be excused for feeling a huge sense of relief at the outcome of the November elections. However, a word of caution is necessary. For all the potential advantages involved in the Trump victory, it is — for the moment — merely a respite and still far from redemption. To attain that, there is yet much work ahead.

Catalyst or constraint?

There can be little doubt that the Trump victory harbors the potential for great opportunity for Israel. Not only is the incoming administration free from innate malice and anti-Israel bias that characterized the manifestly Islamophilic propensities of the previous one, but many in Trump’s inner circle are unabashedly pro-Zionist, and together with the wider Republican Party, unshackled to the failed “two-state solution.”

At last, after almost a quarter century, Israel has a real chance of being able to free itself of the deadly, debilitating tentacles of this pernicious paradigm — and to choose a new path that will allow it to extricate itself from the perilous cul-de-sac into which it had been led and allowed itself to be led.

The question now is whether the Israeli political class can rise to the occasion, and grasp the opportunity that destiny has provided. Will the nation’s leaders display the intellectual daring and the ideological resolve for which the hour calls? Will they be able to cast off the prevailing constraints of political correctness and forge new and sustainable paradigms for the conduct of the nation’s affairs, taking advantage of the new benign winds in Washington? Or will they, as it seems, remain captive to old molds of thought — and thus prove to be a constraint, rather than a catalyst, impeding rather than inducing the chances that the Trump administration may well afford them if they were to strike out in a bold new direction?

“There is a tide in the affairs of men…”

More than ever before, Israel’s destiny is in its own hands. The outcome of the US elections has given it a real chance to shape its destiny. The crucial question now is whether it will seize the moment or let it slip away.

Almost six months before the Trump inauguration, shortly after the Republicans had removed their endorsement of a two-state model in its party platform, I published a column entitled “What if the GOP wins?”. I called on the Israeli “Right” to prepare for the possibility of a Republican victory and formulate a credible alternative to the discredited two-state prescription.

However, I cautioned that haste to discard this failed two-state formula should not lead to the proposal/promotion of alternatives that are no less inimical than the ideas they were designed to replace.

I urged that, to reap the potential benefits of the Trump phenomenon:

Israel must prepare. It must formulate a cogent, comprehensive paradigm to replace the two-state folly, which addresses both its geographic and demographic imperatives for survival — lest it promote a proposal that threatens to make it untenable geographically or demographically — or both.

It must be a proposal that ensures that Israel retains its vital geo-strategic assets in Judea-Samaria and at the same time drastically reduces the presence of the hostile Arab population resident there — preferably by non-coercive means such as economic inducements…which, of course, is what brought the bulk of the Arab population here in the first place.

This is now becoming an urgent imperative, lest we miss the flood tide and find ourselves “bound in shallows and in miseries” that a lapse will inevitably entail.

Trump Will Keep Vow on Jerusalem Embassy Move, Giuliani Says

January 27, 2017

Trump Will Keep Vow on Jerusalem Embassy Move, Giuliani Says, Bloomberg, Michael Arnold and Jonathan Ferziger, January 26, 2017

(President Trump is not doing everything first. How odd. He must be very lazy. — DM)

trumpsalutesPresident Donald Trump salutes as he exits Marine One at the White House, Jan. 26. Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump will keep his pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said, despite Palestinian warnings that such a step would spark violence and sabotage the prospect of renewed peace talks.

Traveling to Israel with messages from Trump to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Giuliani said the new U.S. president and his advisers will probably take “six months or so” to develop a new strategy for American peace efforts in the Middle East. How and when the U.S. moves the embassy will be discussed when Netanyahu visits the White House in early February, Giuliani said.

“I think you’ve got to wait a little bit, but it will get done,” Giuliani said of the embassy move, speaking in an interview at the Tel Aviv offices of Greenberg Traurig LLP. He heads the law firm’s global Cybersecurity, Privacy and Crisis Management practice.

The fate of Jerusalem is among the most sensitive issues Israelis and Palestinians will need to address in any future peace negotiations. Israel took the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War and considers all of the city as its capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern portion as the capital of their hoped-for state.

Trump realizes the embassy decision “implicates four or five countries and how they’re going to react,” Giuliani said. “He needs to know how the prime minister of Israel is going to react and how he wants to see something like this done.”

Warm Relationship

Trump on Thursday told Fox News it was too early for him to speak publicly on the issue. Giuliani, who was known during his tenure for a hard-line attitude toward even petty crime in New York City, dismissed Palestinian warnings that moving the embassy would ignite the whole region.

“I think this country is capable of dealing with waves of violence,” the former mayor said.

Giuliani predicted Netanyahu and Trump would have a “very, very good, collaborative relationship,” as opposed to what he described as the “hostile relationship” between President Barack Obama and the Israeli leader.

The changed atmosphere was already evident in the first week of Trump’s tenure. While construction plans beyond Israel’s 1967 border were a recurring source of friction with the Obama administration, Trump was silent this week as Israeli officials approved plans for 2,500 housing units in the West Bank and hundreds of apartments in eastern Jerusalem.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, called the building plans a “flagrant violation of international law” and accused Israel of “exploiting the inauguration of the new American administration to escalate its violations and the prevention of any existence of a Palestinian state.”

Cybersecurity

Trump considered Giuliani for attorney general and secretary of state before ultimately naming him to head a committee on cybersecurity. Giuliani said he discussed cyberdefense with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials Thursday and will return in a few months for more substantive talks on the subject. Israel is among the global leadersin the field.

“We realize in the United States that we have a cybersecurity defense problem,” Giuliani said. His committee is tasked with organizing private-sector experts into groups that can help address the government’s cyber priorities, he said.

WATCH: Trump: ‘Too early’ to talk of moving embassy to Jerusalem

January 27, 2017

President cites Israel’s West Bank security barrier as successful example of wall, says US ties with Israel fixed as soon as he took office

January 27, 2017, 8:55 am

Source: WATCH: Trump: ‘Too early’ to talk of moving embassy to Jerusalem | The Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump discusses the potential transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in an interview to Fox News on January 26, 2017 (screen capture: YouTube)

US President Donald Trump said Thursday that it was “too early” to discuss moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a potentially politically fraught plan that has been welcomed by Israel’s government and sparked threats from the Palestinians and parts of the Arab world.

“I don’t want to talk about it yet. It’s too early,” Trump told Fox News pundit Sean Hannity in a far-ranging interview from the White House that also touched on banning refugees, his plan for a wall along the Mexican border and his support for a return to the use of torture.

The president on Thursday also declined to discuss his reported freeze on a $221 million transfer to the Palestinian Authority that his predecessor Barack Obama quietly authorized in the final hours of his administration on January 20.

“We’re going to see what happens,” Trump said. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

The Trump administration informed the PA earlier this week that it was freezing the transfer, Palestinian sources said, while the State Department said it would examine the payment and could make adjustments to ensure it comports with the new government’s priorities.

In his interview, Trump also touted Israel’s West Bank security barrier as an example of a successful deterrent to unlawful entry into a country. Israel built the barrier — a combination of fence, concrete wall and sophisticated sensors — in response to the massive wave of deadly Palestinian terrorism that hit the country during the Second Intifada at the start of the millennium, with suicide bombers traveling the short distances into Israel to carry out murderous attacks, and it saw a dramatic fall in suicide bombings.

“The wall is necessary,” Trump said. “That’s not just politics, and yet it is good for the heart of the nation in a certain way, because people want protection and a wall protects. All you’ve got to do is ask Israel. They were having a total disaster coming across and they had a wall. It’s 99.9 percent stoppage.”

The president also praised an upswing in relations with Israel, which he said had occurred the moment he was sworn in last Friday.

The relationship “was repaired as soon as I [took office],” he said, referring to the notoriously rocky ties between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Israel has been treated very badly; we have a good relationship.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meeting at the Trump Tower in New York, September 25, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meeting at the Trump Tower in New York, September 25, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Arab and Western leaders have warned of an “explosion” should Trump make good on his campaign promise to relocate the embassy, with some Palestinians officials calling it a declaration of war, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warning he might revoke recognition of Israel. While the White House has already lowered expectations that the move may be in the immediate offing — with press secretary Sean Spicer saying earlier this week that “there’s no decision” on the issue — the matter has continued to prompt near daily condemnations and warnings from some Arab leaders.

However, an IDF intelligence officer said Thursday that while the PA might see the proposed transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a “declaration of war,” average Palestinians don’t seem as aggravated by the notion.

The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity as per army regulations, said the conversation on the Palestinian street revolves more around internal problems.

“The facts don’t show that there’s a big trend here” of Palestinians fretting about the move, the IDF Central Command officer told reporters.

“The daily conversation in the West Bank is mainly about the electricity shortage in the Gaza Strip, not the embassy,” he said.

The US embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 14, 2016. (Flash 90)

The US embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 14, 2016. (Flash90)

Many Israeli elected officials have expressed enthusiasm for the move, which they say would constitute official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. Jerusalem is the site of the Temple Mount and Western Wall, Jerusalem’s holiest sites, and home too to numerous central Christian and Muslim sites, and is claimed by Israel as its capital. Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Old City in the 1967 war, and annexed the area in a move not recognized internationally.

Today, even Israel’s allies do not recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying the issue must be subject to negotiations with the Palestinians, who have claimed East Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

Palestinians have hinted that such a move would result in violence.

“In our opinion moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a declaration of war against Muslims,” Fatah Central Committee member and Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub told The Times of Israel in an interview earlier this week.

Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub holds a press conference on October 12, 2016 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub holds a press conference on October 12, 2016 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

“We are talking about a dangerous step that won’t bring stability to the ground,” he continued, adding that “it contradicts previous United Nations resolutions and the policy of the United States since 1967.”

The Jordanians, who have remained diplomatically engaged in issues surrounding Jerusalem, have also spoken out against the proposed move.

In a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan said earlier this week that such a step would be “crossing a red line.”