Posted tagged ‘PLO’

The State Department blinks in the face of Palestinian threats

December 3, 2017

Posted under a slightly different title: The State Department reverts to form | Anne’s Opinions, 3rd December 2017

Last week we were cheering on the State Department, that bastion of anti-Israel attitudes in every American administration, for telling the PLO that their mission was to be closed due to their non-engagement in the “peace process” and for their threats to bring Israeli officials before the International Criminial Corut.

As expected the Palestinians huffed and puffed. Unfortunately they blew the State Department down (metaphorically speaking – so far)/ The State Department blinked, and gave in to the Palestinian threats. As Caroline Glick writes, the State Department dropped the ball:

in response to Tillerson’s notification, the PLO lashed out as the US. Abbas and his advisers launched an all-out assault against President Donald Trump and his team of Middle East envoys led by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his senior negotiator Jason Greenblatt.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump

 

 

PLO-controlled media outlets published a flood of stories which trafficked in antisemitic conspiracy theories against Trump and his Jewish American advisors. The PLO media renewed its allegations that Kushner, Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman are more loyal to Israel than to the US.

Abbas’s media outlets also escalated their criticism of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE for their focus on combating Iranian aggression. These regimes are selling the Palestinians down the river, the PLO outlets have proclaimed, as Abbas’s flacks have insisted that the PLO will not accept any regional peace.

Relations between Arab states and Israel, the PLO insists, cannot be fostered so long as Israel fails to capitulate to all of the PLO’s demands.

In commentary published at the Gatestone Institute website, Palestinian commentator Bassam Tawil alleges that the Palestinian rejection of the requirements of US law and its assaults against the Trump administration and Sunni Arab states may serve as a pretext for another Palestinian terror campaign against Israel, which will be justified as a response to an American-Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian plot against the Palestinians.

Given that the US is a superpower and the largest state financier of the PA, not to mention the foundation of the PLO’s claim to legitimacy on the world stage, the US might have been expected to respond harshly to the PLO’s threats and slanders. But then, that isn’t the State Department’s way of doing things with the PLO.

Saturday, The Hill online newspaper reported that the State Department had changed its mind. It is no longer interested in following the law. Instead, it has rewritten the law. Now, it’s fine for the PLO to operate in Washington while trampling US law. It just needs to pretend it isn’t doing what it is doing.

According to the State Department spokesman who revealed State’s about face to the media, the PLO mission can continue to operate, but its operations must be “related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

And if they aren’t, well, under this new interpretation of the law, the State Department can pretend it hasn’t noticed.

By empowering the PLO to continue to breach US law – with the full expectation of continuing to receive US assistance to the tune of more than $500 million a year – the US has made itself a laughingstock. Neither Hamas nor the PLO will take the US seriously. Any pressure the US attempts to apply toward the PLO to moderate its stand toward Israel will be ignored by Abbas and his cronies in the PLO and Hamas alike.

The Palestinians have taken the Trump administration’s measure. By beating a hasty retreat from its initial decision to stand with the law against the PLO, the State Department has told the PLO that the Trump administration is a paper tiger, at best.

The Trump administration will do nothing against them. Instead, in the face of this contemptuous slap in the face to the US, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Ramallah next month and have his picture taken with Abbas the “moderate” leader and peace partner.

This then brings us to the second question of how surrendering to PLO threats will influence the US’s regional position. As Tawil reported, Al Quds, a Palestinian paper that reflects the views of Abbas and his associates, blasted the Arab League for focusing on Iran at its most recent foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo.

For more than a generation, the State Department, and through it US Middle East policy as a whole, have been captivated by the myth that nothing can happen in the Middle East without Israel first capitulating to PLO demands.

By reversing course on closing the PLO mission, and groveling to the threatening PLO, the State Department made a laughingstock of the US and President Trump. The decision to reverse course should itself be reversed, in accordance with US law and in the interest in restoring what it is still possible to restore of US credibility in the Middle East.

There is still a chance for the Untied States to recover its credibility – by moving its embassy to Jerusalem. All it needs is for Donald Trump to refuse to sign the waiver which permits the embassy to remain where it is. Will he refuse to sign and thus move the embassy at last? The media is rife with reports and rumours that Vice President Mike Pence is going to make the fateful announcement on Wednesday – but given the State Department’s record, can we actually rely on this happy event taking place? I’m not so sure. From Arutz Sheva’s account:

Will President Donald Trump fulfill his campaign promise of moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as recent reports citing unnamed administration officials claim? Or will the president settle with a symbolic move of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as other senior sources have claimed?

Last week, a number of unnamed senior US and Israeli officials were cited in reports claiming that the Trump administration is planning on finally implementing 1995 law requiring the executive branch to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

Other reports claimed that the White House was not planning an embassy move in the near future, but was poised to declare that it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

While White House officials publicly refused to verify the claims, officials in Jerusalem have noted the timing of Vice President Mike Pence’s comments at the 70th anniversary of the United States General Assembly vote on Resolution 181, endorsing the establishment of a Jewish state.

The Palestinians, as expected, have reverted to form and are issuing threats in all directions:

Palestinian President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas has called on the leaders of eight Arab and other nations to intervene with Trump to prevent the embassy move. As with the closure of the PLO offices, the Palestinians threatened to abandon the peace process – which is surely the most cynical move ever made given that the only reason the peace process has stalled is because of the refusal of the Palestinians themselves to accept a Jewish presence anywhere in the Middle East:

Abbas “warned categorically that taking such a step would lead to the destruction of the peace process and would bring the region into an uncontrollable situation,” according to his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

Mahmoud Abbas, President for life

On Wednesday Abbas ordered his foreign minister to demand the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation hold emergency sessions regarding the possible US measures.

On Friday, a delegation from the Palestinian Authority reportedly met with presidential adviser Jared Kushner to warn that if the White House announces the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or if Trump makes remarks acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, this would mark the end of the peace process, according to Israeli news reports.

Any such steps “will kill the negotiations,” the PA delegation — which included Majed Faraj and Saeb Erekat, senior officials close to Abbas — told Kushner, Hadashot news reported.

Hamas is still determined to remain relevant (even while begging Fatah to take over the running of the Gaza strip), and has threatened another intifada if the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Caroline Glick had plenty to say about this as well in her article “From Amman to Jerusalem“. She starts by reminding us of a diplomatic incident that almost spiralled out of control, which King Abdullah did nothing to quell:

Five months ago, 28 year old Ziv Moyal, an Israeli security officer at Israel’s embassy in Amman, was stabbed in his apartment by a Jordanian assailant, whom he shot and killed.

Moyal also accidentally killed his Jordanian landlord, who was present on the scene.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, incited by the state-controlled media, the Jordanian public was whipped into an anti-Israel frenzy. In short order, a mob surrounded the embassy, to which Moyal and another 20 Israeli diplomats fled immediately after the shooting.

Violent demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in Amman

For 24 hours, those Israeli diplomats, led by Ambassador Einat Schlein were besieged.

Despite the fact that they are barred from doing so under the Vienna Convention, Jordanian authorities demanded to interrogate Moyal. By refusing to enable the diplomats to safely return to Israel until Moyal submitted to questioning, they effectively held Schlein and her colleagues hostage.

Jordan is still playing its duplicitous game:

But Jordan isn’t interested in ending the crisis it deliberately precipitated.

On Thursday, Reuters quoted a Jordanian diplomatic source saying that a new Israeli ambassador “will not be welcome in Jordan until a due legal process takes its course [against Moyal] and justice is served.”

So, unless Israel criminally prosecutes its diplomat who was attacked in his home by a terrorist, Jordan will continue to breach its peace treaty with Israel and bar the Israeli embassy from operating in Amman.

Jordan’s latest round of diplomatic war against Israel took place while Abdullah was in Washington on a “working visit.”

And here is where this story ties in with the State Department, the Trump administration and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

According to the Jordanian media – which he controls – Abdullah is devoting significant time in his meetings with senior administration and Congressional officials to attacking Israel.

Specifically, Abdullah is lobbying against President Donald Trump’s intention to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, in accordance with US law.

According the Times of Jordan, Abdullah told senior US lawmakers that “moving the embassy… could be potentially exploited by terrorists to stoke anger, frustration and desperation in order to spread their ideologies.”

Jordanian King Abdullah meets with American VP Mike Pence

During his visit, Abdullah also met with Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.

Although Jordanian media reports of those visits did not include information regarding the possible move of the US embassy, it stands to reason that Abdullah made similar points to Pence, Tillerson and McMaster.

It can only be hoped that Abdullah’s warnings were rebuked by his American interlocutors.

Because, if terrorists are motivated to act in the wake of a US decision to move the embassy, Jordan will hold a significant share of the blame.

Glick reveals more of the nasty side of Jordanian politics, including a deep-seated antisemitism (stoked by the media with the encouragement of the elites), which can clearly be seen in the following story:

Last March, for instance, Abdullah rejected the US’s extradition request for Hamas terrorist and mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem.

Fifteen people, including eight children were murdered in the attack. Tamimi selected the Sbarro pizzeria as her target because of the large number of children who frequented the eatery during summer vacation.

She was sentenced to 16 life-in-prison sentences, but was released in Israel’s exchange of Hamas terrorists for captive IDF sergeant Gilad Schalit in 2011. Upon her release, she moved to Amman where Abdullah gave her the red carpet treatment. In her new home, Tamimi hosts a show on Hamas’s television station. She uses her platform to incite terrorism and indoctrinate her viewers to aspire to murder Israelis, as she did.

Several of Tamimi’s victims at Sbarro were American citizens, including 15-year-old Malki Roth and 31-year-old Shoshana Judy Greenbaum.

Greenbaum was five months pregnant when her body was blown apart.

The vile terrorist Ahlam Tamimi who murdered 15 Israelis in the Sbarro bombing – publicly thanks Jordan’s judiciary and leaders for getting her off the hook with the FBI and the US Department of Justice – though the pursuit continues [Source]

By harboring Tamimi, Abdullah tells his subjects they are right to hate Israelis and to work toward Israel’s destruction.

Arnold and Frimet Roth, the parents of Malki Roth who was murdered in that terror attack, have been relentless in following Tamimi’s doings and pulling every string, contact every diplomat and politician possible, in order to have her extradited – all to no avail so far. You can follow their endeavors at their blog This Ongoing War.

Returning to Caroline Glick’s article:

This brings us to the question of Trump’s possible decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Israel’s capital.

By having his media spew a constant diet of genocidal antisemitism, Abdullah is all but guaranteeing that the terrorism he warns of will occur if Trump enforces US law and moves the embassy. So he is not speaking as a worried friend when he tells his American hosts of the dire consequences of moving the embassy. He is threatening them with an outcome for which he will have significant responsibility.

One of the reasons Abdullah feels comfortable making the argument that moving the embassy will provoke terrorism is because that is the argument that has been used successfully to block the transfer of the US embassy to Israel in the past.

But, in October, we received a clear indication that these Chicken Little warnings are untrue.

In October, Trump overruled Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster, and chose not to tell Congress that Iran was in compliance of the nuclear deal the Iranians were breaching. Supporters of the nuclear deal in the administration and outside of it warned that such a move would have a deeply destabilizing impact on the region and endanger the US.

As the past three months have shown, those warnings were entirely wrong.

The world did not explode after Trump rejected the received wisdom of the foreign policy establishment in Washington. Instead, the US’s Sunni-Arab allies have been empowered to join forces to combat Iran. Economically and diplomatically, Iran is far more isolated globally today than it was three months ago.

… if Trump disregards Abdullah’s threats posing as warnings, and disregards the advice of Abdullah’s many friends in Washington, and moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the sky will not fall. By recognizing the basic fact that Jerusalem is and always will be Israel’s capital, Trump will give himself the ability to develop Middle East policies that are similarly grounded in reality.

Unfortunately, the State Department did not follow through on Trump’s new strategy. They blinked in the face of Palestinian threats of violence, and retracted their threat to close down the PLO offices.

Will they blink again when it comes to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem? I fear they will but am prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

More Middle East changes

November 23, 2017

More Middle East changes | Anne’s Opinions, 23rd November 2017
In some good news related to my previous post, the Trump administration has threatened to close down the PLO offices in Washington in retaliation for the PA attempting to bring Israelis to the International Criminal Court:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Saturday night expressed its surprise over threats by the United States to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Trump administration had put the PLO on notice that it will shutter their office in Washington unless they entered serious peace talks with Israel.

According to AP, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians ran afoul of a provision in a U.S. law that says the PLO mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

A State Department official said that in September, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas crossed that line by calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis.

The law now gives President Donald Trump 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” If Trump determines they are, the Palestinians can keep the office. An official told AP it was unclear whether the U.S. might close the office before the 90-day period expires, but said the mission remains open at least for now.

The Palestinians then threatened to cut their ties to Washington (a bonus as far as Israel is concerned):

“The State Department notified us in an official letter that they cannot certify the continued opening of the PLO office in Washington, DC, due to the fact that we are pursuing the ICC,” Erekat told Israeli public broadcaster Kan.

“We responded to them in an official letter that in case they officially close the office of the PLO in Washington, DC, we will put on hold all communications with this American administration,” he added.

Watch Saeb Erekat’s statement here:

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Abbas, said on Saturday night the surprise stems from the fact that the meetings between Abbas and Trump were characterized by a full understanding of the steps necessary to create an atmosphere that would allow the resumption of the peace process.

He said that the American threat represented an unprecedented step in the history of U.S.-Palestinian relations and could have dangerous implications for the peace process and the relations between the United States and Arab countries.

Reports of the threat to shut down the PLO mission in Washington came several days after the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved the Taylor Force Act.

The bill, named for U.S. army veteran Taylor Force, who was murdered in a terrorist stabbing attack in Tel Aviv in March, 2016, would cut funding to the PA unless it stopped its payments to terrorists and their families.

All I can say is it’s about time that someone finally held the PLO and the PA to account for their support of terrorism and for scuppering the peace talks with Israel every step of the way.

Bassam Tawil, a Middle East-based Muslim, explains in the Gatestone Institute why the Palestinians will not accede to any demands made upon them by Trump or any other American administration:

  • The Palestinians have made up their mind: The Trump peace plan is bad for us and we will not accept it. The plan is bad because it does not force Israel to give the Palestinians everything.
  • If and when the Trump administration makes public its peace plan, the Palestinians will be the first to reject it, simply because it does not meet all their demands.
  • Trump will soon learn that for Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians, 99% is just not enough.

Caroline Glick talks about holding the State Department to account as an extension of the threat to close the PLO mission:

Aside from the fact that the US has refused to hold the PLO accountable for its actions for a quarter century, the PLO has another good reason to be shocked by Tillerson’s letter: the US consulate in Jerusalem operates as almost a mirror to the PLO mission in Washington.

And yet, as Yisrael Medad has exhaustively documented, the Jerusalem consulate maintains an effective boycott of both these dual nationals and Israeli nationals who live in its area of operation. All of the consulate’s activities for US citizens are directed specifically and openly toward “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

The consulate also openly rejects the notion that Israel and Jews have ties to its area of operations. For instance, Blome went on a hike around Judea and Samaria in July where he effectively erased the Jewish heritage sites in the areas. The consulate echoed UNESCO’s Jew-free version of the history of the land of Israel in a press release that celebrated his walk along the “Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil” trail in celebration of “the connection of the people with the land.” Jews were not mentioned in the press release. And the historical name of the route he took is “Abraham’s path.”

Scholarships to study in the US and jobs listed on the website are open to “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

In other words, while the PLO missions are pushing the BDS agenda in the US, the US consulate in Jerusalem is implementing it on the ground in Israel.

In a congressional hearing on the issue of moving the embassy to Jerusalem on November 8, Rep. Ron DeSantis said that transfer of the embassy may be delayed due to the Trump administration’s “efforts to pursue a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.”

DeSantis argued that until the embassy is moved the Trump administration should take “incremental steps” that move it toward the goal.

Among the steps he advocated, DeSantis said “the American consulates in Jerusalem should report to the American embassy in Israel, not directly to the State Department.”

Tillerson’s letter to Zomlot was shocking because it represented the first time since 1993 that the PLO has been held accountable for its actions. The time has come for the State Department, too, to be held accountable for its behavior. And the best way to start this process is to follow DeSantis’s advice, subordinate the US consulates in Jerusalem to the US ambassador and end their boycott of Jews – US citizens and non-citizens – who live in the Jerusalem area, in Judea and Samaria.

With this in mind it is nothing short of astonishing that the following video appeared, in which Kuwaiti writer strongly defended Israel, calling it a legitimate state, not an occupier:

I think we should ask Mr. Al-Hadlaq to provide some urgently-needed background information to the State Department! Kol hakavod to him. I hope he stays safe.

Along with the daring fatwa of Saudi Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh condemning Hamas as another terror organization and forbidding fighting against Israel , is this another harbinger of better times ahead for Israel in the Middle East? I hope I’m not being too optimistic in hoping so. There have been too many of these talks, statements, interviews and fatwas to think there is not a sea-change starting to occur in the Arab world. Let us just pray it continues.

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 .

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.

PLO claims it can’t pay terror victims, spends $13 mil on palace

August 26, 2015

PLO claims it can’t pay terror victims, spends $13 mil on palace, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, August 26, 2015

obamaarafat

Maybe once it’s done, there’ll be room there for an Obama sleepover.

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The PLO’s Palestinian Authority is constantly experiencing an economic crisis. Maybe that’s because

1. Their imaginary country doesn’t actually produce anything and is funded by the UN, the EU and the US

2. They spend $144 million a year paying the salaries of convicted terrorists in prison and the families of suicide bombers

The PLO recently lost a major lawsuit against terror victims in the United States. The PLO claimed it couldn’t pay, even though it kept on paying terrorists. And Obama intervened to aid the terrorists.

A judge in New York on Monday ordered the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to post $10 million in cash or bond while they appeal a jury’s finding that they supported terrorist attacks in Israel, Reuters reported.

At a court hearing in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge George Daniels said the defendants must also deposit $1 million each month pending the appeal of a February jury verdict worth $655 million in favor of 10 American families.

The order came a week after the Obama administration took the unusual step of urging Daniels to “carefully consider” the PA’s financial condition, saying too high a bond could compromise its ability to function.

Just think. The PLO might not be able to afford to pay terrorists… or build a palace for its terror boss.

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas is building a $13 million palace for himself in Ramallah, the PA governmental seat in Samaria, as revealed in an official website recently.

The palace is to sprawl over 27,000 square meters of land, and is itself to be 4,700 square meters in size. Along with the palace, a “building for the Presidential Administration and Guards” is also to be built spanning 4,000 square meters.

Two helipads for helicopter transport are also to be built on the grounds of the palace, which according to architectural sketches on the site – that can be viewed here – is to be nothing short of royal in terms of its design and scale.

Pretty nice for a “concentration camp” where no one has any room to live. And it’s being paid for by American taxpayers. We’re funding another Saddam building himself palaces while American families are losing their homes.

Maybe once it’s done, there’ll be room there for an Obama sleepover.

Palestinians, Iran to work together for Israel’s nuclear disarmament, official says

August 10, 2015

Palestinians, Iran to work together for Israel’s nuclear disarmament, official says

via Palestinians, Iran to work together for Israel’s nuclear disarmament, official says – Middle East – Jerusalem Post.

The Palestinian Authority and Iran have agreed to work together toward holding an international conference to seek the nuclear disarmament of Israel, a senior PLO official who visited Tehran in the past few days said.

Ahmed Majdalani, member of the PLO Executive Committee, held talks in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Zarif. He also delivered a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas to Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani.

Majdalani said on Monday that his visit to Iran resulted in agreement on reviving the idea of an international conference to rid the region of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and weapons of mass destruction. Voicing support for the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, Majdalani said that the accord would create a positive atmosphere for ensuring security and stability in the Middle East.

The PLO official said that his visit to Iran was aimed at refuting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Iran’s nuclear program poses a threat to Israel and peace. He claimed that Netanyahu was using the Iranian issue to avoid fulfilling Israel’s obligations toward the peace process.

The Palestinians are now hoping that the Palestinian issue would return to the center stage as the essence of the Middle East conflict.

Majdalani said his talks in Iran also focused on Israeli “assaults” against Palestinians. He accused the Israeli government of failing to work toward achieving peace with the Palestinians and expressed hope that Tehran would support Palestinian diplomatic moves in the international arena.

The rapprochement between the PA and Iran is also likely to pave the way for the restoration of the Palestinians’ ties with Syria. Relations between Syria and the Palestinians have been tense since the beginning of the civil war there.

Majdalani said that the PA’s position toward the Syrian crisis is based on the need to find a peaceful, rather than military, solution. He said that the Palestinians were very keen to see an end to the crisis because they have paid a heavy price due to the continuation of the civil war. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011.

 

Israel’s ISIS Option

July 7, 2015

Israel’s ISIS Option

Why an ISIS Gaza might help end terrorism.

July 7, 2015

Daniel Greenfield

via Israel’s ISIS Option | Frontpage Mag.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Long after the PLO had outlived its role as an even halfway plausible peace partner; Israel was forced to keep the terrorist group on life support as a bulwark against Hamas.

PLO leaders posture about having the UN declare a state, but not only would that state instantly be more bankrupt than ten Greek economies piled on top of each other, but its collection of terrorists who are great at running drugs and shaking down West Bank storekeepers for protection money would last all of 5 seconds in a grudge match with Hamas.

We know that last one is true because that was how it went when the PLO tried to take on Hamas in Gaza. The PLO had American weapons, training and support. Its illegal military slash police force had been nurtured by the United States and the European Union. They still lost fast and they lost hard.

The PLO’s crack troops, who were experts at sniper attacks on Jewish babies or drive-by attacks on Israeli families headed home from weddings, ran away faster than an Iraqi army division.

The billion dollars in security assistance lavished on the Palestinian Authority forces bought nothing except panicking PLO terrorists fleeing Gaza; some of whom had to be evacuated by Israel. That year, the US had promised around $50 million in security assistance to PLO boss Abbas’ 4,700 member elite “presidential guard”. $3 million was to be sent to terror boss Mohammed Dahlan who has been accused of trying to undermine Hamas by funding Al Qaeda groups in Gaza. Those groups are now turning to ISIS.

By trying to find moderate Islamic terrorists to fight extreme Islamic terrorists, the US helped create ISIS in Gaza. The second best way to stop Islamic terrorism is to stop supporting moderate terrorists.

The PLO pretended to run the first Palestinian state in the West Bank while disavowing such legal niceties as elections and Hamas ran its second Palestinian state in Gaza. Despite all the PLO’s rants about Israel, if Israel ever stepped aside, Hamas could take the West Bank with a few hundred gunmen. The PLO has gambled all along that Israel would never actually let Hamas win.

The PLO was the only alternative to Hamas. And Hamas’ terrorists were the real “extremists”.

Now with the rise of ISIS, Hamas is being passed off as the bulwark against the Islamic State and Iran. The old extremists are the new moderates. The Saudis and Egypt want to polish up Hamas, put it on a shelf and offer it a lot of goodies in exchange for cutting its ties with Iran. Israel is supposed to go along.

Hamas is committed to wiping out the Jews and taking over Egypt, but for the moment it’s a cheap way to keep ISIS out of Gaza. Just like the PLO was supposed to keep Hamas out of Gaza.

And even those who know better will mumble, ”What’s the alternative?” No one wants ISIS taking over Gaza do they? Just think, if ISIS controlled Gaza, it might fire rockets into major Israeli cities and drag opponents around main streets face down tethered to motorcycles.

You know, the sorts of things that Hamas does.

If Hamas, a genocidal terrorist group that is part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s world terror network bent on global conquest, is a reasonable moderate alternative to ISIS, then can’t ISIS one day come to seem like a reasonable alternative to some even more horrifying Islamic terror group?

ISIS is a chip of the old block of the Al Qaeda network and Al Qaeda is a splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A splinter group of ISIS that will be even more dementedly vicious than it is an almost certain development. One day we’ll look back on its beheadings, drowning and auto-da-fés as relics of a simpler time before terrorists from SuperDuperJihad or IslamAwayAllInfidels weren’t engaging in ritual cannibalism and child rape on camera. And that ISIS state in the Sinai will be considered moderate.

 When it comes to terrorists, “moderate” and “extreme” are mostly meaningless terms. When the moderates are mass murderers, they don’t look any better just because the extremists are worse.

It’s not clear that the Islamic State taking over Gaza would be any worse for Israel. It might even be a good deal better if Gaza were run by an Islamic terrorist group that couldn’t count on weapons from Iran and support from the Democratic Party’s Code Pink donors. Even they might actually draw the line at ISIS, if only because the Free Gaza activists would be beheaded as soon as their boat landed.

Protecting the PLO from Hamas has improved Israel’s security situation in the short term, while worsening its overall situation in the long term as the PLO and Hamas trade off diplomatic and terrorist attacks. Protecting Hamas from ISIS would be an even bigger disaster. If this madness goes on, Israel will have to protect ISIS from SuperDuperJihad while absorbing terrorist attacks from the greater and lesser evils.

The Israeli strategy after the collapse of Oslo was to prove that the PLO does not want peace. That strategy has failed for the same reason that politicians won’t stop calling Islam the religion of peace or insisting that ISIS is un-Islamic. It’s easier to simplify and ‘niceify’ problems than to deal with reality.

Believing that you can prove a point to anyone using reason and logic is a notorious Jewish weakness. In the Talmud any issue can be resolved using a complex set of proofs. In real life most issues are resolved with fait accomplis. In one of the first diplomatic exchanges, the biblical judge Jephthah dispatched a missive to the King of Ammon laying out a claim to the land based on history, religion and logic tying reason and emotion together into an irrefutable argument. The King of Ammon invaded anyway.

If American liberals have a weakness for wishful thinking, Netanyahu has a weakness for reasoned argument. These arguments will fail because they lack the seductiveness of Obama’s promises.

The current efforts at drawing Hamas into some sort of anti-ISIS and anti-Iran coalition may be in the interests of the Saudis and Egypt, but they are not in Israel’s interests. And despite the unbridled enthusiasm among some in the pro-Israel camp over these new ties, both countries continue to consider Israel a useful enemy. This is the same old attitude that they have had before.

Israelis should know by now better than anyone else that Islamic terrorists cannot be defanged.

The Islamic State is a threat to Israel, but less so than Hamas or the PLO. ISIS is an opportunity because it is undisguised Islamic terrorism. ISIS not only refuses to deal with Israel, but with any of the enablers of Hamas and PLO terrorism in Europe and America. Whatever strengths it has, it is incapable of exploiting the greatest strategic weakness of its enemies for appeasement.

If ISIS were to take over Gaza, Israel would have no choice except to fight it. And no one in the world would be able to offer any other options. There would be no last minute diplomatic rescues for ISIS, the way that there were for Hamas and the PLO. Israel would not be forced to tolerate the bombing of its cities due to worthless accords rammed through by Washington D.C. and Cairo.

The destabilization of the Middle East threatens the rest of the region far more than it does Israel. The unweaving of tribal and religious ties among Muslims can’t take down Israel the way that it could Egypt, Syria and Jordan. While having terrorists on every border would be a serious threat, every one of Israel’s neighbors has already been providing sanctuary to terrorists targeting Israel.

If they want Israel’s help keeping ISIS away, then instead of letting them aid Hamas, Israel should make ending their support for terrorism into the price for its aid.

If they want secure borders, Israel should be able to expect secure borders in return.

Israel has spent too long protecting the PLO and Jordan from their neighbors. Expecting it to protect Hamas from ISIS is simply insane. It might be time for Israel to step back and let the natural course of terrorism have its way. The end result will be ugly, but it will end Israel’s obligation to nurture its foes.

The Jewish State has tried its best to find a middle ground that works. It’s time to let the “moderate” terrorists and their foreign appeasers live with the consequences of their terrorism.

When reason can’t win the argument, reality eventually wins the debate.