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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Corker-Cordin law describes what the President must do every 90 days:

COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATION.—After the review period provided in subsection (b), the President shall, not less than every 90 calendar days—
“(A) determine whether the President is able to certify that—
“(i) Iran is transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement, including all related technical or additional agreements;
“(ii) Iran has not committed a material breach with respect to the agreement or, if Iran has committed a material breach, Iran has cured the material breach;
“(iii) Iran has not taken any action, including covert action, that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons program; and
“(iv) suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the agreement is
“(I) appropriate and proportionate to the specific and verifiable measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program; and
“(II) vital to the national security interests of the United States; 
Much of the media is reporting that President Trump didn't certify based on condition 1, that iran is not implementing the agreement, or condition 2 or 3 or even 4(II.) . But what Trump did was to decertify based on condition 4(I), that the suspension of sanctions are not "appropriate and proportionate to the specific and verifiable measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program."

Trump said this explicitly:
When the agreement was finalized in 2015, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure that Congress’s voice would be heard on the deal. Among other conditions, this law requires the President, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is “appropriate and proportionate” to measure -- and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.
Given that Iran does not allow the IAEA to inspect its military facilities, meaning that there is no transparency on what Iran is actually doing, and the sanctions were removed anyway, this is quite accurate. It is consistent with what Trump has said all along about the deal.

This was explained on NPR by NSC spokesperson Michael Anton to clueless reporter Rachel Martin:
MARTIN: If President Trump thinks this is such a bad deal, why not just rip it up altogether? Why this half measure of punting the issue to Congress?
ANTON: Well, a couple of things. First of all, you know, when you - in the lead-in, you used the phrase decertify, which isn't exactly accurate. And the other point I want to make, which is a related point, is we're talking about two different things. The action that the president declined to take on Friday was an action under U.S. law, the so-called INARA, or Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. And it really does not directly relate to the deal. That's a law that Congress passed because the prior administration did not submit the deal to Congress as a treaty but made it an executive action only. And Congress wanted to have a say. One of the things they did is they put this 90-day requirement into a law that says an administration has to tell Congress if they think Iran is working in good faith in four particular areas.
MARTIN: But the bottom line is the president believes that Iran is not complying with the deal.
ANTON: No, that's not what he said. What he said was - again, there are four criteria. And what he said - one of those criteria - is the deal - the sanctions relief provided under the deal appropriate and proportional to the benefits? And he has said all along, since he first started running for president, that he thought the main flaw of this deal was that it gave Iran too much for too few concessions. That is a criteria that Congress wrote into the INARA law. And that is the criteria in which the president cited when he declined to certify the deal.
MARTIN: Then how does that change? Because now you've said Congress sits in your court. But Congress can't unilaterally renegotiate what was a deal that was...
ANTON: No.
MARTIN: ...Brokered between many allies.
ANTON: Right. That's not what we're asking Congress to do or what we're working with Congress on. What we're asking Congress to do is to set new conditions in U.S. law that hold Iran accountable and that - to a standard. So for instance, what we want to say is if Iran gets within one year of a breakout period where they can achieve a nuclear weapon, then American sanctions automatically step back. Everything that we're asking Congress to do are things that are designed to prevent Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon. And if the goal of the nuclear deal is to prevent that, it's hard to see how anybody could oppose these measures.
MARTIN: Do you think that's likely to happen? I mean, Congress, even with Republicans holding the majority, have struggled to move ahead with a whole lot of things the president has called them to act on. So do you think Congress is going to get in line?
ANTON: We'll see. We're very hopeful. As I said, there doesn't seem to be, in my view, any constituency in Congress for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. So the passage of some new, tough measures to ensure that that never happens should not be controversial.
MARTIN: The president has put a lot of stock in the opinions of his military advisers, talking often about the generals, how much he values their advice. But both the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joe Dunford, and the secretary of defense, James Mattis, have said the president should stay in the deal unequivocally. What are they missing?
ANTON: There's no - this is a misinterpretation of comments that they've made. What they said is right now it's in the national interest of the United States to remain in the deal. Well, guess what? The United States is still in the deal. The principals, that is including General Mattis, General Dunford, the secretary of state and others, presented the president with a consensus recommendation of what to do this time, which was to remain in but seek to address the deal's flaws both in U.S. law and working with allies.
And the one thing, too, that I need to make clear, which is a fundamental point here - what the president did on Friday was much more than announce his decision on what to do with a certain 90-day certification requirement in U.S. law. Although he did announce that, he - what he really did more fundamentally was roll out a comprehensive Iran strategy that puts forth ideas and plans for the United States to counter the full range of Iranian malign behavior, which includes nuclear weapons activities but also includes ballistic missile development proliferation, support and funding for terrorism - they're the world's No. 1 state sponsor of terror - and regional destabilization, including fueling the Syrian civil war.
Too bad the media doesn't want to get this right.

(h/t TIP)





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From Ian:

David Collier: Inminds Jew haters gather. Fools, conspiracy theorists and antisemites
On Saturday 14 October, a group of anti-Israel activists went to protest outside of Jason Atherton’s ‘Little Social restaurant’. The group behind the demonstration was ‘Inminds’, a small, highly active, and particularly thuggish group, whose activists clearly have an issue with Jews. This time, they gathered to protest a restaurant participating in ‘Round Tables‘, an international culinary festival in Tel Aviv. As is so often the case now, you can become a target for these haters merely for not being antisemitic yourself.

When I arrived, Jonathan Hoffman was already there. Standing by the door of the restaurant with an Israeli flag. Taking this position meant the Inminds crew wouldn’t be able to crowd the restaurant door and intimidate the restaurant’s clients. Three other counter demonstrators arrived, Richard Galber, Tony Jacobs & Stephen Franklin. These four Zionists spent their Saturday lunchtime, countering an attack on the legitimacy of the State of Israel.

On the other side of the argument, the Inminds crew arrived. In the end there were fifteen protestors in total (not counting two children). As is always the case when dealing with material of this sort, many of the links on this page may not be safe to open at work.
MEMRI: Algerian Journalist In Antisemitic Article: 'Our Dispute With The Jews Is A Religious One'
In an article published August 10, 2017 in the Algerian daily Al-Shurouq, journalist Sultan Barkani wrote that the Muslims' dispute with the Jews is religious rather than political. He stated that the Jews have been plotting against the Muslims since the days of the Prophet Muhammad, and that they are responsible for most of the disasters that have befallen the Muslim ummah. By controlling media, cinema, art and fashion, he said, they control the Muslims' minds and character, inciting them to promiscuity and depravity and causing them to be feeble and defeatist. He called on Muslims to search their souls and return to Islam before it is too late and before the Jews and their secularist agents strip the Muslim ummah of everything it has.

The following are excerpts from his article.
"We all know that the Jews hated the Prophet Muhammad and fought his da'wa [call to Islam]. We also know that they plotted against the [Muslim] ummah after the Prophet's time, that the Righteous Caliphs [the first four Caliphs] were killed because of their slander and the quarrels they sparked, and that the disagreement among the [Prophet's] companions broke out because of their treachery and deception. We know that the Jews continued to plot against the Islamic Caliphate until they eventually managed to topple it in the first quarter of the 20th century,[2] and that they exploited the ummah's weakness to conquer the blessed land [of Palestine] and turn it into the headquarters of their scheming against the ummah. But is that all the Jews did and are still doing against us and our ummah?

"Today, many among us believe that our conflict with the Jews is only because they occupied Palestine, but the truth is that our conflict with them is a religious one, because they hated our Prophet and plotted against our religion and faith, and continue to do so. They were also behind most of the calamities that befell the ummah before the toppling of the Caliphate and the conquest of Palestine, and they continue to be behind most of the troubles that afflict it. It was they who acted to divide the ummah into small countries. [Then] they appointed unambitious rulers to head them and embroiled them in corruption and immorality scandals, so [they could] pressure them and carry out their plans in the Muslim countries.

"It is the Jews who control the media that afflicts the ummah today – media that spreads lust and religiously-dubious [ideas], fills the Muslims' hearts with feebleness, turn food, drink, clothing, cosmetics and cars into their greatest desires... causes them to fear the power and the weapons of the enemies, and turns them into empty-headed cowards. This media fights good traits and morality [by] spreading corruption and depravity, destroys the family unit, and encourages wives to tease and oppose their husbands and daughters to rebel against the authority of their fathers.
Why is the Center for Jewish History celebrating anti-Zionism?
The campaign demanding the firing of David N. Myers as CEO of the Center For Jewish History has been covered by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and countless other media outlets including establishment Jewish newspapers such as the New York Jewish Week and Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

Allowing Mr. Myers, who mourns the “nakba” (the term meaning catastrophe, used by the Arabs for Israel's Independence Day) to remain in his role, seems to mean that events celebrating forms of anti-Zionist activity become the norm at the Center for Jewish History. Events as these are the direct result of having a CEO who supports a boycott of the Jewish state. If, for no other reason than the fact that in the course of two weeks, multiple events have been planned which are Anti-Zionist, Is there no reaction to an organizational leader hosting events which are violently Anti-Israel?

Mr. Myers remains an active board member of the New Israel Fund, an organization which Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett has called upon to be boycotted (as does Birthright Israel). Bennett said that he would “boycott whoever persecutes Israeli soldiers,” and “not apologize for it.” Bennett went on: “Members of the New Israel Fund, listen carefully: Whoever harms, slanders and persecutes Israeli soldiers are not my brothers. The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes, of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the UN and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal.”

How can the leader of the Center for Jewish History sit on a board that persecutes Israeli Soldiers?

We call upon the board of the Center for Jewish History, including Bruce Slovin, Ira H. Jolles, Martin Karlinsky, Bernard Blum, David Dangoor, Michael Jesselson, Ed Stelzer as well as the American Sephardic Federation, Yeshiva University Museum, American Jewish Historical Society, Leo Baeck Institute and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research to stand up and replace David N. Myers as head of the Center for Jewish History.



NGO Monitor: The Origins of “No Way to Treat a Child”:
INTRODUCTION
Since 2015 in the US and August 2017 in Canada, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) led by Defense for Children International Palestine’s (DCI-P) have been conducting a campaign under the label of “No Way to Treat a Child” (NWTTAC).1 This initiative calls on government officials “to use all available means to pressure the Israeli government to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian children” and will “continue until the occupation is ended.”

The centerpiece of these lobbying efforts is the allegation that there is “widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.” This language echoes a March 2013 UNICEF report, “Children in Israeli Military Detention,” which has been extensively quoted in the context of NWTTAC, as well as by European parliaments, UN frameworks, and other NGOs.

However, as demonstrated in this study, the 2013 UNICEF report is thoroughly discredited. When examined in detail, and despite numerous references, the 2013 UNICEF report, written by political and ideological actors rather than experts, reflects a complete distortion of international law and of rudimentary criminal law concepts and procedures.

Crucially, the UNICEF report was almost entirely based on unverified claims made by the NGOs behind the NWTTAC campaign, which now cite UNICEF as an independent assessment. UNICEF also provides significant funding to many of these same groups (see NGO Monitor’s forthcoming report on UNICEF’s funding to political NGOs).

The factually inaccurate and misleading content, produced in close collaboration with DCI-P and other Palestinian advocacy groups, demonstrates UNICEF’s own political agenda, rather than careful research aimed at enhancing the protection of children, reducing conflict, and promoting positive change in the region.
NGO Monitor: No Way to Represent a Child: Defense for Children International Palestine's Distortions of the Israeli Justice System
In April 2016, the Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO) Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) launched its No Way to Treat a Child campaign, which aims to lobby governments to “use all available means to pressure the Israeli government to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian children.” In this campaign, DCI-P makes numerous false and misleading claims about the IDF and Israeli Military Courts.

NGO Monitor’s analysis shows that the main allegations made by DCI-P, are not credible.1 In addition, research shows that the group has alleged links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

Significant funding for DCI-P and its campaigns is provided by European governments.
Many of the claims made in DCI-P’s “No Way to Treat a Child” report are selfincriminating. For example:
  • States that innocent Palestinian minors accused of involvement in violent crimes accept plea bargains, even if they are innocent. This occurs when DCIP staff lawyers ostensibly represent these minors in court. If true, this would be an ethical violation, if not malpractice.
  • Claims that Palestinian minors’ confessions were acquired through violence and torture. If true, DCI-P had a duty to report this to the proper authorities and raise it before the court to achieve a dismissal. Again, failure to do so would be an ethical violation, if not malpractice.
  • In 2013, the IDF Military Prosecution suggested, inter alia, to DCI-P lawyers be included on a list of attorneys with whom Palestinian minor suspects could consult. DCI-P refused to be part of this initiative.
NGO Monitor: Addameer: The PFLP’s Network's Prisoner Advocacy Wing
I. Introduction
In December 2015, the Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO) Addameer published “The Israeli Military Court System.” This report claims to present a number of faults with the Israeli justice system in the West Bank and implies that Israeli courts do not have the right to prosecute Palestinians committing acts of terrorism. The report goes on to make a number of false legal claims regarding the implementation of law and the Israeli military courts in the West Bank – emblematic of the NGO’s contextually, factually, and legally misleading campaigns.

After providing background on the NGO and its funding, the following analysis systematically deconstructs Addameer’s claims in its 2015 report on “The Israeli Military Court System.”

II. Background
Addameer is one of the primary organizations active in campaigns aimed at delegitimizing the State of Israel’s justice system in order to bolster Palestinian lawfare efforts. The organization advocates on behalf of Palestinians prisoners convicted of terror offenses, including those guilty of planning terror attacks and the murder of innocent civilians, referring to them as “political prisoners.”

Addameer further refers to the Israeli army as the “Israeli Occupying Forces,” and accuses Israel of “collective punishment,” “war crimes,” and a “policy of using Palestinian prisoners as pawns to achieve political and military gains.”
The Guardian: TfL bans ads displaying Palestinian objections to Balfour declaration
Adverts highlighting Palestinian objections to the Balfour declaration of 1917, when Britain promised to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine, have been blocked by Transport for London on the grounds that the issue is politically controversial.

Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, has accused TfL of censorship. Organisers had hoped to see the adverts displayed at key underground stations and on buses in the run-up to the centenary of the first world war pledge on 2 November.

Theresa May and her Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, are expected to be the guests of honour at a London dinner celebrating the occasion, the most high-profile of several events. There are planned protests demanding that the UK, which has refused to apologise for the declaration, work to advance Palestinian rights and recognise the injustice and continuing consequences of its promise.

The advertising campaign, called Make It Right, was commissioned by the Palestine Mission to the UK. It included contrasting images of Palestinian life before and after 1948, when Israel won its war of independence and some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes. It also quoted the declaration’s famous qualification that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. It did not mention Israel.
Germany’s Left Party withdraws anti-Israel initiative calling 'to end occupation'
After weeks of criticism, Germany’s Left Party in the country’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) appears to have withdrawn its anti-Israel initiative.

On its Twitter account on Sunday, the Left Party in NRW said, “Motion to the situation in Palestine will not be dealt with.” The NRW Left Party did not immediately respond to The Jerusalem Post’s queries on Monday.

The initiative was proposed for passage at the NRW’s Left Party congress on Sunday. The motion called on Israel “to end the occupation and the Gaza blockade” and urged the European Union to end its association agreement with Israel because of the Gaza blockade and Israel’s “construction of a border wall that violates international law.”

In response to the motion in early October, Martina Renner, a Left Party MP, wrote on Twitter that the “motion sounds like it was written from Israel boycott groups. From this the executive board of @dielinke clearly distances itself.”

Some of the signatories to the motion blasting Israel have, over the years, been accused of stoking antisemitism and hatred of the Jewish state in Germany. The Simon Wiesenthal Center included MP Inge Höger, one of the motion’s supporters, on its list of top 10 antisemitic/anti-Israel incidents in 2014.
German Left Party leader calls MP a 'sneaky Jew'
The head of the German Left Party in the city of Saarlouis, situated in the state of Saarland, used an antisemitic phrase on his Facebook page to denigrate an MP in his party, according to a Monday report in the regional paper Saarbrücker Zeitung.

Mekan Kolasinac, the chairman of the Left Party in Saarlouis, called the party's federal head, Bernd Riexinger, a "sneaky Jew."

Kolasinac told the paper he wrote the anti-Jewish entry but regrets it. He said it was a mistake and he intended to write "Judas" instead of "Jew." Kolasinac said he apologized on his Facebook page and apologized to "my Jewish friends."

Birgit Huonker, a spokeswoman for the Left Party in Saarland, said: "Antisemitism in one's party. Bad."

The Saarbrücker Zeitung said the background to Kolasinac's verbal attack on Riexinger is a BILD paper article, in which Riexinger allegedly sought to oust the party's parliamentary head Sahra Wagenknecht. Riexinger is co-chair of the federal Left Party.
The British Labour Party’s ‘Kosher Stamp’ for Anti-Semitism
The most noxious aspect of the anti-Zionist redefinition of Jewishness is the eagerness of anti-Zionist Jews to leap to the defense of the most outrageous statements by the most extreme figures in the Labour Party. Time after time, JVL has acted as Freedland describes: providing kosher cover for the nastiest elements on the far left. When Ken Livingstone pronounced Hitler a supporter of Zionism, Jenny Manson, now chair of JVL, issued a statement insisting his comments were “not offensive, nor anti-Semitic in any way.” In doing so, she referred to her Jewish identity and the fact her mother had fled Ukraine to escape pogroms. Defending Ken Loach over his Holocaust remarks, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi said he was simply “pursuing an argument about the importance of free speech when he was called upon to comment upon an ambiguous sentence mentioning the Holocaust.” He had “stuck to his line of argument” and hadn’t agreed that questioning the veracity of the Holocaust was unacceptable because it was “blindingly obvious.”

In August, senior Labour MP and Corbyn ally Chris Williamson claimed anti-Semitism was being “weaponized” in a “proxy war against the leadership” and described complaints about it as “smears and lies and dirty tricks.” After the Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned Williamson’s intemperate outburst, JVL sided with the MP and, in conspiratorial tones, said he had merely “put his finger on the connection between charges of anti-Semitism and the onslaught that he expects Corbyn to face from his opponents before the next election—a connection that [the Board of Deputies] does not wish to be exposed.”

So what do the anti-Zionist activists in groups like JVL get out of being used as a kosher stamp for anti-Semites—aside from proving their loyalty to the Labour Party leadership? Hirsh suggests a deeper motivation: “They would rather live in a world where anti-Semitism was provoked by Jews—and so, therefore, could notionally be stopped by Jews—than in a world where anti-Semitism was irrational. They prefer to imagine that Jews are in control of their own destiny than that they are simply victims of anti-Semitism.”

Meanwhile, Labour, once a proud party with a strong anti-racist tradition, is mired in the filth of anti-Semitism. It will remain there as long as Jewish Voice for Labour is the only Jewish voice the Labour leadership wants to hear.
What is to be done?
In the same way as the Jews were blamed for the world’s ills in the 1930’s, Israel is now the centre of all that is wrong with the 21st Century. The progressives in the Labour Party have adopted this thesis with enthusiasm. When the likes of Len McClusky talk about pro-Palestine, they really mean anti-Israel. The only solution to the ‘conflict’ proposed by those claiming to be pro-Palestinian is the destruction of the Jewish state, whether it is the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or War on Want.

What is frightening now is that Labour believe they have fixed the problem, whereas they have just reinforced it. It is not just that you can criticise Israel with a free rein, you can do so with malice and be praised for it. And to such an extent that Jews are only welcome in the Labour Party if they give up their desire to the right of self-determination, both as a Jew and as a nation.

So, what is to be done? The time for believing that dialogue is the answer is well and truly passed. What is needed is an acceptance by the Jewish community that those of the left who seek the destruction of Israel are expressing legitimate criticism are just liars. And those in the media who use their status to promote boycotting of the Jewish state, and bring pressure to bear on actors or singers not to work in Israel just hate the idea of the Jews having control of their destiny; anti-Semitism in its purest form.

Calls to these people to atone, apologise or explain are just a waste of effort. It is as Canute demonstrated, as effective as commanding the sea to defy the power of the moon. The time has come to expose the reality of these people‘s efforts to reduce the Jews to inferior, second class citizens.
Austrian University Students Overwhelmingly Condemn BDS Movement as ‘Antisemitic’
The Austrian National Union of Students on Friday condemned the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel as antisemitic, and urged for it to not be given funds or event space.

The resolution received near unanimous support, with no votes against it and one abstention.

The union also adopted a version of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, which includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

Leaders of the BDS movement have repeatedly gone on record claiming that Israel has no right to exist.

The Austrian Union of Jewish Students applauded the passage of the resolution, saying in a statement on Friday, “This has been a big step in the fight against antisemitism and we are very happy that after our lobbying effort almost all factions have supported the motion.”

The group extended a “special thanks” to the Greens and Alternative Students (GRAS) for “their continuing support in the fight against all antisemitism.
IsraellyCool: Roger Waters to Collaborate With “Palestinian” Music Group
I am willing to guess the results of this collaboration will not include any love songs for Israel.

Last week, the acclaimed Palestinian musical group Le Trio Joubran performed in front of a fascinated crowd of hundreds and the shifting waves of an autumn sea.

Their performance in Beirut’s Music Hall theatre was marked by story-telling, sampling the rhymes of Palestine’s renowned poet Mahmoud Darwish.


Ever the showmen, the brothers retained a major declaration until the center point of the performance informing a fully enthralled crowd that they would soon be collaborating with former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.


The brothers are actually Israeli Arabs, but consider themselves palestinian. In other words, the stuff Roger Waters’ wet dreams are made of.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Harvey Weinstein To Lead Palestinian Committee On Women’s Rights (satire)
Influential Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein agreed to accept chairmanship of a Palestinian committee advising President Mahmoud Abbas on women’s rights and related issues, a spokesman for the producer announced today.

Fox Henhaus, a representative of Weinstein, informed reporters at a joint press conference with Palestinian Minister of Politicization Nabil Shaath that the two sides had agreed on terms Monday night. Beginning next month, stated Henhaus, the committee would convene at a luxury hotel in Beverley Hills to keep abreast of developments in the field and to formulate recommendations for specific avenues of activity.

“We are pleased to announce that Mr. Weinstein and the Palestinian Authority have come to agreement on his chairing a committee on women’s issues for President Abbas,” declared Henhaus. “Mr. Weinstein will bring to the table his formidable experience with women and the issues of concern to them, and will help the Palestinian government grapple, as it were, with the myriad ways in which current societal power structures are exploited. We of course have hundreds of years of experience, but an outside perspective always helps.”

Weinstein, for decades a pivotal figure in the movie-making industry and a key player in Democratic Party funding, will bring his expertise in women’s issues to a committee that already boasts Palestinian personnel, all men, well-versed in domestic abuse, honor killings, child marriage, and disempowerment of women. “This is a victory for diversity,” asserted Minister Shaath. “We do not insist that the committee comprise only native Palestinians. Mr. Weinstein has already demonstrated an affinity for progressive causes, and we are excited to have him at our sides as we tackle these topics.”
C-SPAN Pairs with Palestinian Panelists Purveying Anti-Israel Propaganda
Providing anti-Israel misinformation to potentially millions of viewers, Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) aired a panel discussion, “One State or Two State Solution: What's Best for the Palestinians?” The discussion (1.4 hours) constituted the first such event of the annual conference of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) held in Washington D.C (Marriott Wardman Park hotel) beginning on Sept. 22, 2017. C-SPAN aired the discussion later on that same day (at 10 p.m. Eastern) and repeated it again the next day. The network typically didn't bother to issue a standard broadcast disclaimer such as "Points of view expressed in this program are not necessarily those of this network."
Eliminating the Jews

The four Palestinian American panelists reject the two-state solution, characterizing it as unjust, unworkable and unlikely, while advocating either a (Palestinian-dominated) one-state solution or all-out resistance to the presence of Jews in the entirety of what is now Israel and the West Bank.

Panelists for the ADC discussion, One State or Two State Solution: What's Best for the Palestinians are Noura Erakat, Christopher Hazou, Nizar Farsakh and Amer Zahr:

Any doubts as to the mean-spirited nature of the discussion were dispelled by the lack of any objection by the panelists to hateful remarks. At 35 minutes into the broadcast, California-born Erakat (professor of law, human rights attorney) likens Israeli “settler colonization” (by which she means the presence of any Jews between the Sea and the River Jordan) to a cancer, charging that either the two-state solution or the one-state solution is like

using Tylenol to address the cancer… instead of chemo …the thing we need to do is remove the cancer… If we admit that the West Bank is occupied we have to admit that Tel Aviv and Haifa are occupied as well as Jerusalem.

This solution, of course, amounts to ethnic cleansing of Jews from their ancestral land while the one-state solution would be unviable for Jews given the predilections of Arab Muslim pluralities particularly a Palestinian one. The attitude generally of those anywhere who promote the single state solution can be reasonably characterized as “22 Arab Muslim states is fine but one Jewish state is one too many.”
BBC WS radio listeners told that Nazareth is a ‘Palestinian city’
Later on in the interview (40:53) listeners heard the following statements from Bethlehem born, Saudi raised, US educated Annemarie Jacir:

Jacir: “I think the Palestinians that are living in, you know, historic Palestine in a city like Nazareth – which is the biggest Palestinian city [sic] in Israel – they aren’t…who are they represented by? You know they are Israeli citizens on paper but they’re second, third class citizens. They don’t have the same rights. They’re not represented by the Israeli government for sure. They’re definitely not represented by the Palestinian Authority and so I feel like it is a community that lives a contradictory life and they’re struggling to find an identity…the identity and also, yeah, a political representative.”

Arab-Israelis living in Nazareth or anywhere else in Israel of course have the same rights as any other citizen – including the right to vote for their chosen parliamentary representatives. Eighteen (i.e. over 20% – reflecting the proportion of minorities in the population as a whole) of the current members of the Knesset are Arab-Israelis, Druze or Bedouin representing six different political parties (three of which – in contrast to Jacir’s claim – are part of the current coalition government) and surveys repeatedly indicate that the majority of Arab-Israelis view Israel in a positive light.

Despite that, Razia Iqbal failed to present any challenge whatsoever to Jacir’s politically motivated, inaccurate and materially misleading claims and swiftly moved on to the next topic.

And yet, the BBC continues to claim that it provides its funding public with “accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards”.
Haaretz Prints Correction on BDS Activists That Weren't
Haaretz's caption error — misrepresenting anti-BDS activists as BDS activists — ironically accompanied a column in which David Rosenberg argues that the BDS campaign is an "imaginary demon." As the subheadline puts it: "Israel isn't under any threat from a boycott movement, but fighting a phony BDS war is too temping for many to pass up. Even, [sic] the U.S. congress has been enlisted in the fight."

In response to communication from CAMERA's Israel office, Haaretz published the following correction on page two of yesterday's print edition:

The caption accompanying an Associated Press photograph of a pro-Israel rally in New York ("Exorcising an imaginary BDS demon," by David Rosenberg, October 13) incorrectly identified some of the participants as pro-BDS activists.

CAMERA commends Haaretz on the timely and forthright correction.
Spanish newspaper slammed for soccer team 'Jewish origins' piece
British soccer clubs have condemned an article in a Spanish daily newspaper that reported the “Jewish origin” of the Tottenham Hotspurs has caused the team to be hated by rival clubs’ fans.

The Madrid-based daily sports newspaper Marca published the article on Monday ahead of a match between the Spurs and Real Madrid as part of the Champions League play.

“Their Jewish origin has made them into a club hated by rival fans. But in their 135 years of existence they have always had style and great players,” the article said, in part.

In a clarification issued after publication, senior reporter Enrique Ortega wrote: “That ‘hatred’ that Tottenham suffers is very focused on the radical and racist groups that are hiding in the social mass, especially Chelsea and West Ham.”

“I regret the confusion that has been created in this respect. The intention was not to damage the image of Tottenham, a club we respect, value… and we do not want to serve as a speaker to these racist minorities who use any pretext to expand their hate messages, which we reject head-on,” he also wrote.
When a New York Times Correction Needs a Correction
Describing Rubble Rubble, the Times originally wrote:
Mr. Fishback’s play, which was to get its first full public reading at the historical society on Dec. 14, tells the dual stories of a settler family in modern day Israel and a Jewish family caught up in revolutionary politics in early-20th-century Russia.

That wording implies that Israelis living inside the Green Line — whether Tel Aviv, Tiberias or Taibeh — are settlers, so of course, a correction was called for. The Times revised the article, but also added a problematic editor’s note at the bottom of the page. First the revision, which doesn’t raise my hackles:
Mr. Fishback’s play, which was to get its first full public reading at the historical society on Dec. 14, tells the dual stories of a modern-day settler family in the West Bank and a Jewish family caught up in revolutionary politics in early-20th-century Russia.

But the editor’s note?
The article also referred incorrectly to a fictional family in Dan Fishback’s play “Rubble Rubble.” The modern-day Jewish settlers live in the West Bank; they do not live in Israel.

JVPIf the Times were to call the West Bank disputed, I wouldn’t bat an eye. Israelis and the Palestinians have been trying to negotiate peace, including borders, in fits and starts for nearly a quarter century now.
BBC WS history show yet again promotes political narrative
Maisoon Bashir describes herself as follows:
“I have been asked to introduce myself. I am wondering how I should, as an activist or a journalist, who tries to raise the voice of Palestine? Both are true, but I prefer to introduce myself just as a Palestinian girl, because my nationality is a testament to the authenticity of my homeland and the injustices borne by my people.”

Her activism is given a platform at a site called ‘We Are Not Numbers’ that is linked to a political NGO currently called ‘Euro Med Rights’ (which has Richard Falk as chair of its board of trustees) and which was founded by a self-described “social justice activist” called Pam Bailey who is also associated with Code Pink. Bashir’s writings have also been posted at the Hamas linked outlet MEMO.

BBC audiences, however, were not informed that they were in fact listening to a political activist (in breach of BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality) and neither were they given any insight into how Mike Lanchin was introduced to her story or why he visited the Gaza Strip (where the BBC has a staffed local office) to interview her.

Once again we see that the radio show touted by the BBC World Service as a ‘history’ programme is in fact used as a vehicle for the advancement of one-sided political narrative.
German neo-Nazi convicted of Holocaust denial — again
A well-known German neo-Nazi has been convicted again of Holocaust denial and sentenced to six months in prison.

Ursula Haverbeck was sentenced at a Berlin district court Monday for saying at a January 2016 event in the German capital that the Holocaust did not take place and that there were no gas chambers at the infamous Auschwitz death camp.

The German news agency dpa reported that Haverbeck, 88, said the trial against her was incomprehensible.

Haverbeck can appeal the verdict. She has previously been charged with Holocaust denial, a crime in Germany, for the content of several articles she wrote for a magazine called the Voice of the Reich.
Twitter account tied to 'the Mooch' publishes Holocaust poll
A website promoted by and named after a former White House aide, Anthony Scaramucci, posted a Twitter poll on Tuesday questioning the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The account, called the Scaramucci Post, asked followers whether less than 1 million, between 1-2 million, between 2-3 million or more than 5 million had been murdered by Nazi Germany.

Anthony Scaramucci is not directly responsible for posting on the site, but teased its initial launch, and in an interview with local New York radio earlier this month took ownership over the venture.
Suspect nabbed for swastika and ‘kikes’ graffiti at UK synagogue
A suspect was arrested in connection with anti-Semitic graffiti painted on the sign of a synagogue in northern England.

Police in Leeds on Monday told British media that they had arrested the man at the end of last week after a second incident occurred outside the Etz Chaim synagogue. Staff members of the anti-Semitism watchdog group Community Security Trust were harangued with anti-Semitic abuse by the suspect outside of the synagogue before his arrest, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

On October 11, a swastika and the word “kikes” was painted in red on the sign of the synagogue facing the main road.

Both incidents currently are under investigation, according to police. The man was released after his arrest pending the results of the investigation.
Man Caught Spray Painting Swastika On College Campus Is Black, Report Says
A 52-year-old black man is being charged with destruction of property after allegedly getting caught spray-painting a swastika inside campus living quarters, according to Fox5.

Officials for the school discovered the swastika on a trash cart inside the fifth floor of Hagerstown Hall.

One student, apparently bewildered by the news, didn’t seem to recognize the possibility of Ronald Alford Sr.’s artwork being an attempt to stage anti-Semitic sentiment at the college.

“I guess it proves that you don’t have to be a certain race to hate people,” student Abby Gorun told Fox5. “But I mean, it’s just you would think that someone, especially from a race that has been subjected to hate before, you would think why would you want to reciprocate that to somebody else?”

Alford is also being charged with disturbing the operations of a school, and will be barred from entering campus, according to Fox5. A hearing in court is slated for sometime next month.
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba to open Israel R&D center
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has announced that it is opening an R&D lab in Israel. Speaking at Alibaba's Computing Conference in China, CTO Jeff Zhang unveiled a $15 billion global research program, which includes opening seven R&D labs worldwide over the next three years in Tel Aviv, Beijing, Hangzhou, San Mateo, Bellevue, Moscow, and Singapore. Zhang said that Alibaba is initially seeking to recruit 100 talented researchers from around the world.

Zhang said, "Research areas will cover data intelligence, the Internet of Things, fintech, quantum computing and human-machine interaction. Within those areas, you’ll see a focus on such real-world applications as machine learning, network security, visual computing, natural language processing, among others."

Zhang will head the academy overseeing the worldwide R&D labs, which will be called DAMO – Academy of Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook.
Work on Israel-Cyprus-Greece electricity link to start 2018
Work on an undersea electricity cable linking the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece is on track to start in the first quarter of 2018 after Greek and Cypriot regulators approved the project, according to officials.

Nasos Ktorides, who heads the EuroAsia Interconnector project, said Monday that Israeli regulators are expected to give their approval next month.

The 1,520-kilometer (945-mile) undersea electric cable with a 2,000-megawatt capacity will transmit electricity to and from the three countries involved.

Work on the cable is expected to last until 2022. The first phase will have an estimated cost of around 3.5 billion euros ($4.1 billion).

The project emerged amid improved relations between the three counties, coupled with the discovery of gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean that could be used to generate electricity.
Australians keen on Israeli shares as offerings rise
The increase in investments in Israeli shares offered on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), along with the strong performance of these stocks, is a reflection of the Australian investment community’s keen interest in Israeli technology developments, a senior official at the exchange said.

“There is no doubt that the engagement and focus” on Israeli stocks has increased,
Max Cunningham, the general manager of listings at the exchange, said in a phone interview ahead of a visit to Israel in October. This is Cunningham’s fourth trip to Israel in the past 12 months, with the aim of drumming up more Israeli share offerings for the hungry exchange.

Cunningham will be accompanied by the CEO of the exchange, Dominic Stevens, who is heading a delegation of capital market professionals and investment banks from Down Under.

“We have two goals,” Cunningham said. “For those who come to Israel for the first time we want to make sure they see the dynamic Israeli entrepreneurship, the economy, the history of the country, the survival instinct that drives so much of the innovation that comes from Israel.”
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Bollywood Stars Filming in Israel…and Loving It Here
India and Israel’s love affair seems to be continuing, with the cast and crew of the Hindi action comedy Drive here shooting scenes, the first time in history Bollywood movie scenes are being shot here.

And the movie’s stars Jacqueline Fernandez and Sushant Singh Rajput are clearly enamored with Israel.

We may not have heard of them, but they clearly have huge followings: Jacqueline has 22M Likes on Facebook, 14.9M followers on Instagram, and 8.85M followers on Twitter, while Sushant has 1.1M Likes on Facebook, 3.6M followers on Instagram, and 801K followers on Twitter.
Israeli doctor to head prestigious global medical organization
Israeli Medical Association Chairman Professor Leonid Eidelman has been chosen to serve as the next president of the World Medical Association.

Medical association heads from across the globe, representing more than 9 million doctors worldwide, elected Eidelman at the organization's annual convention in Chicago over the weekend.

Eidelman, who ran against Dr. Heikki Palve from Finland, won two-thirds of the final vote, with 98 in favor of his candidacy and 43 for Palve.

Eidelman, 65, will succeed India's Dr. Ketan Desai to lead the organization beginning in October 2018.

Israel is often attacked in the international arena, including repeated calls to expel Israeli medical organizations from international bodies. The appointment of an Israeli doctor to the most prestigious position in the medical world, with great influence on the most important decisions regarding the behavior of doctors, carries considerable significance.
Netanyahu Touts Jerusalem’s Religious Freedom at First-of-Its-Kind Christian Media Summit
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday welcomed representatives from about 70 Christian media outlets as they convened in Jerusalem for a first-of-its-kind summit.

“You know, you are joining us as we celebrate 50 years since the holy city was liberated and united; 50 years of religious freedom for all,” Netanyahu said at the Israel Museum.

“You know that because you walk around, you go to the holy sites, you go to the churches, others go to the mosques, and you know this is a free city,” he said, adding he looked forward “to the day when the embassies of all your countries move to Jerusalem.”

Israel has “no better friends” in the world than Christian communities, Netanyahu said.

“Israel is the one country in a vast region where Christians not only survive, they thrive,” the prime minister said.

The four-day event — sponsored by Israel’s Government Press Office, Foreign Ministry and Jerusalem Affairs Ministry — involves the participation of 140 Christian media associates.

During their time in Israel, participants will engage in conference sessions on topics related to news coverage of the Jewish state, and will visit various sites including Gush Etzion (Israel’s largest bloc of communities in Judea and Samaria), Bethlehem and Jerusalem’s Friends of Zion Museum.
Faces of Holocaust victims projected on Prague synagogue
Prague’s Jewish Museum has launched a new project to honor the victims of the Holocaust.

Starting on Monday, the faces of some Czech Jews who were killed by the Nazis during World War II are being projected on the outer wall of a Jewish bath at the Pinkas Synagogue after it gets dark.

The synagogue’s inside walls bear the names of almost 80,000 victims.

Jana Splichalova from the museum’s department of Shoah history says that “our goal was to give a name a face.”

Monday’s projection included the faces of 52 people screened repeatedly in a five-minute loop.

The museum has received thousands of photos and other personal belongings from the relatives and contemporaries and will gradually add more photo loops.



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Saudi Arabia's Al Watan looks at Nobel Prize statistics:

Over the history of the award, Jews who make up 0.2 percent of the world's population and 2 percent of the population of the United States received 179  of the Nobel Prize winners. For example, Jews accounted for 22% of the recipients of the award between 1901 and 2009, and 36% of the Americans who received the Nobel Prize in the same period in the fields of scientific research in chemistry, economics, medicine and physics...

31 Jews won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry which is 20% of the world's total. 13 Jews won the Nobel Prize for Literature, 12% of the total recipients in the world. 9 Jews won the Nobel Peace Prize. 47 Jews won the Nobel Prize in Physics.  Fifty-three Jews were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, accounting for 27% of all of them.
 On the other hand, the total number of Muslims in the world to about one billion people, or 20% of the world's population. Muslims and Christian Arabs received seven Nobel Prizes in literature, peace and medicine. 
This is a mystery to the Saudi writer.

At first glance, it may be understandable why so many Jews win in the branches of medicine, physics, chemistry and economics. But the number does not seem logical. There is no scientific theory of their association with a particular race or religion.
In the fields of literature and peace, the exaggeration of Jewish favoritism among Israelis and non-Israeli Jews is revealed to a large extent. To name but a few, where is the peace created by Yitzhak Rabin - who wanted to break the bones of the Palestinians in the first Palestinian intifada,  - and Shimon Peres, godfather of the Israeli nuclear project, and who was turning the Middle East into a new Hiroshima ?.
Arafat, of course, deserved his prize. After all he was the father of modern terrorism and a pioneer in pretending to be peaceful in some venues while planning terror attacks in others.

Every once in a while I see a story in the Arab media that notices the Nobel disparity between Arabs and Jews and it causes a little bit of self-reflection. Not this time. The Jews obviously control the Nobel Prize.



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The PA's official Wafa news agency reported on Sunday:

Palestinian locals Sunday managed to foil an Israeli settlers’ attack against olive pickers  in the village of Qaruot to the south of the West Bank district of Nablus, said a local activist.

Ghassan Daghles, monitoring Israeli settlement activity in the north of the West Bank, told WAFA settlers coming from 'Eli’ and 'Shilo’; two illegal Israeli settlements located along Nablus-Ramallah highway, attacked Palestinians harvesting olives in the village of Qaruot.

Locals scuffled with settlers and managed to fend off their attack. No injuries were reported.
Yisrael Medad, who lives in Shiloh, checked out the story and it is complete fiction.



Long time readers of the blog may recognize the name of the person who made this accusation, Ghassan Daghlas.

Over the years, his accusations have been published in Arab media - almost invariably without a single photo or video to corroborate his accusations.

He is literally paid by the Palestinian Authority to make up these stories. His job is to "monitor Israeli settler activity." And he knows that no one will check his stories.

Wire services and major newspapers will quote him without the slightest reservation.

Hundreds of times.

Daghlas has been busy during this start of olive season, with daily stories in Wafa. Yesterday he claimed that Israelis stole the entire olive harvest of two villages and today that the exact same thing happened with two more villages.

Evidence? Photos? Names? No need. Daghlas knows that his stories will end up in Ma'an and Mondoweiss, and with luck Reuters and the New York Times. As long as they are quoting him, without saying that his record of truth-telling is virtually nonexistent,  he has no fear about lying again and again - being paid with your tax dollars.






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From Ian:

Caroline Glick: The opportunities and risks of Trump's Iran initiative
So long as the US continues to maintain a policy based on the false view that all that is necessary to destroy the threat of a nuclear armed Iran is a combination of the nuclear deal and economic sanctions, it will continue to ensure that Iran and its nuclear program remain a major threat. Distressingly, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, the most outspoken supporter of decertifying Iranian compliance in the Trump administration, told NBC on Sunday that the US intends to remain in the nuclear deal.

To understand what must be done we must return to Trump’s speech and its strategic significance.

By taking a holistic view of the Iranian threat – grounded in a recognition of the inherent hostility of the regime – Trump opened up the possibility that the US and its allies can develop a holistic policy for confronting and defeating Iran and its proxies. If the Iran deal and sanctions are two components to a larger strategy rather than the entire strategy, they can be helpful.

A wider strategy would target Iran’s regional aggression by weakening its proxies and clients from Hezbollah and Hamas to the regimes in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. It would target the regime itself by empowering the ayatollahs’ domestic opponents. It would pin down Iranian forces by arming and otherwise assisting the Iraqi Kurds to defend and maintain their control over their territory along the Iranian border while strengthening the ties between Iranian Kurds and Iraqi Kurds.

Friday, Trump created the possibility for such a strategy. It is up to members of Congress, and US allies like Israel and the Sunni Arab states to help Trump conceive and implement it. If they fail, the possibility Trump created will be lost, perhaps irrevocably.

Amb. Dore Gold: There Is a Precedent for Renegotiating Flawed Agreements
Is it realistic to try to deal with the flaws in the Iran agreement and change them? In fact, there's precedent for it. In 1979, the Carter Administration negotiated the SALT-2 treaty with the Soviet Union. Whereas the Iran agreement was never a formal treaty, SALT-2 was a negotiated treaty.

But the SALT-2 treaty was flawed. It did not adequately address the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. It put a limit on the growth of the nuclear forces of the two superpowers, but it didn't reduce them.

Subsequently, however, a new administration came into power under President Ronald Reagan and he decided a different approach was necessary. It was called START - strategic arms reduction talks. Rather than limiting the growth of nuclear weapons, it reduced them, and this became the preferred approach.

During the last few weeks a number of flaws in the Iran agreement have come out, but the one that received the most focus was "Section T" of the JCPOA. What Section T tries to do is define activities in the area of weaponization that are prohibited. But, of course, Iran has not allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency or anyone to do proper verification to see that Section T in the Iran agreement has been addressed by them.

This is a huge flaw. One has to remember that in the May 2011 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, there are frightening details about the Iranian nuclear program that include weaponization activities. It says that the Iranians were conducting design work and modeling studies involving the removal of the conventional explosive payload from the warhead of a Shahab-3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload.

Presently, President Trump's strategy to reopen the Iran agreement to remove the flaws and produce an agreement that will safely protect the interests of the West is the only reasonable approach.




Benjamin Netanyahu commends Trump's decision on Iran
Joining me right now is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Prime Minister it's wonderful to see you. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Good to be with you.

BARTIROMO: You congratulated and commended the president's action on this deal. Why was it so important for President Trump to make this move?

NETANYAHU: Well, look, Iran is the foremost terrorist state of our time. It hangs gays, jails journalists, subjugates women, and foments terrorism throughout the world and wild aggression in the Middle East. To have a regime like this, that is -- whose economy is 30 times the size of North Korea, to have a rogue regime like that acquire an arsenal of nuclear weapons in 10 years' time, which is what the Iran agreement now provides Iran to do, is a terrible folly.

So I commend the president for taking a historic and bold decision to avert this danger in time.

He could have kicked the can down the road. He could have said it's not going to happen on my watch so I'll just let it go. But he didn't. And he's faced up to this danger. And I think he gave an opportunity for all of us in the Middle East and beyond to fix this deal, fix it or nix it, because it could be very, very dangerous if it just went through.


Netanyahu Fires Blistering Attack On Iran's Foreign Minister
On Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javid Zarif, sent a chilling message on Twitter, urging all Iranians to view themselves as members of Iran’s murderous Revolutionary Guard.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back on Twitter with a blistering attack on Zarif and a message to the beleaguered Iranians held captive by the theocratic regime in Iran; Netanyahu envisioned a brighter day when the Iranian people will be free. The text of Netanyahu’s message is below:

I hope you’re sitting down, because this one’s a whopper. Iran’s Foreign Minister just tweeted that all Iranian boys and girls, all Iranian men and women, see themselves as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

I’d love to know what the Iranian people think of that tweet. Sadly, the Iranian regime bans them from using Twitter. Ironic, don’t you think? Apparently I have a higher opinion of the Iranian people than their leaders. See, I’m sure that ordinary Iranians aren’t proud when the Revolutionary Guard murders innocent men and women around the globe. I’m sure that ordinary Iranian mothers and fathers wouldn’t have blown up a Jewish community center in Argentina filled with little children. Because that’s what the Revolutionary Guard did. I’m sure that ordinary Iranians want to live in peace, and don’t want their governments to shoot students in the streets, hang gays from cranes, torture journalists in prison.

One day the Iranian people will be free; free to tweet; free to express how they felt when their dictators compared them to the Iranian version of ISIOS.

So I have a simple message for Iran’s Foreign Minister: Delete your account.


JCPA: How the Palestinian “Unity” Talks Put Iran in the Mix
On October 16, 2017, the Fatah leadership met in Ramallah (the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority) and took no decision to remove the penalties they imposed on Gaza. Hamas’ official website reacted angrily. The movement’s mouthpiece Al-Risala sought the views of the spokesmen of “the organizations,” and they all said they were disappointed that Fatah was not responding to Hamas’ positive measures and was acting to scuttle the reconciliation efforts.

Why is this important? Because the next stop in the “road map” prepared by Egypt is a large conference of “the organizations” in Cairo aimed at hitching them to the reconciliation train and committing them to an agreement if it is reached.

Who are “the organizations”? All of them are armed, radical groups that are not prepared to give up the struggle against Israel; they include the Popular Front, the Democratic Front, Islamic Jihad, and others. Because Iran has a strong standing among several of these groups, such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front, adding them to the reconciliation process also entails adding Iran as an actor seeking to obstruct and thwart it.

Behind the organizations’ backs, Hamas has been proclaiming that it expects the penalties Mahmoud Abbas imposed on it to be lifted and that if this is not done, the whole process will come to a halt. Hamas says that it will not be to blame, but rather Ramallah will be at fault and that it will be “the organizations,” not Hamas, that will put a stop to the process.
Tony Blair: ‘We were wrong to boycott Hamas after its election win’
Tony Blair has said for the first time that he and other world leaders were wrong to yield to Israeli pressure to impose an immediate boycott of Hamas after the Islamic faction won Palestinian elections in 2006.

As prime minister at the time, Blair offered strong support for the decision – driven by the George W Bush White House – to halt aid to, and cut off relations with, the newly elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority unless it agreed to recognise Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous agreements between its Fatah predecessors and Israel. The ultimatum was rejected by Hamas. The elections were judged free and fair by international monitors.

Blair, who became envoy of the Middle East quartet – composed of the US, EU, UN and Russia – after leaving Downing Street, now says the international community should have tried to “pull Hamas into a dialogue”. The boycott and Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza, which began the following year, are still in force today. A UN report two years ago said the combined effects of the blockade and the three military offensives conducted in Gaza by Israel since 2009 could make the territory “uninhabitable” by 2020. Humanitarian conditions have worsened markedly since the report was written.

Interviewed for my new book Gaza: Preparing for Dawn, out later this month, Blair said: “In retrospect I think we should have, right at the very beginning, tried to pull [Hamas] into a dialogue and shifted their positions. I think that’s where I would be in retrospect. (h/t Serious Black)
PMW: Union threatened Palestinian artists with expulsion if they engaged in "normalization" with Israel
In accordance with the Palestinian Authority’s policy of rejecting any joint event or peace building activity with Israel - referred to as “normalization” - the General Union of Palestinian Expressionist Artists demanded that Palestinian artists not participate in the Mekudeshet Festival in Jerusalem last month.

Before the festival, the union of Palestinian artists announced that it would “expel” any Palestinian artist who participated in the festival:

“The General Union of Palestinian Expressionist Artists has demanded that all artists not participate in the festival as it is a normalization festival that serves the Israeli agendas.
Secretary of the Artists' Union Musa Al-Hafez said to [the independent Palestinian news agency] Wattan that ‘The union rejects the participation of any Palestinian artist in the rally, and it will expel any artist who is proven to have participated in any ceremony or festival whose goal is to create normalization with the occupation.'”

[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 7, 2017]

Palestinian Media Watch has previously documented similar examples of the PA’s rejection of joint events between Palestinians and Israelis. After the Gaza War in 2014, Palestinian boys met with Israeli boys to play football. This bridge building activity was described by PA sports official Jibril Rajoub as “a crime against humanity”:

Jibril Rajoub, then Deputy Secretary of Fatah's Central Committee and Head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs:
"Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2014]
UN Elects more Human Rights Abusers to its "Human Rights" Council: Will Trump Fulfill Promise to Pull Out?
A new group of human rights violators has been elected by the UN General Assembly to the UN's top human rights body, and Islamic states have increased their choke-hold over the institution. On October 20, 2017, the UN General Assembly chose new members of the UN Human Rights Council, each given three-year terms starting in January 2018. With today's election, human rights authority figures on the Council will now include the likes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, and Angola, along with Qatar which was re-elected. The process and the outcome are diametrically opposed to the Trump administration's demand for UN reform, making a pullout from the Human Rights Council compelling and timely.

Seats on the Council are divided into five regional groups, with the African and Asian regional groups holding the majority – 26 of 47 seats in total. After today's results, 13 members of the African and Asian regional groups (50%) will be from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, increasing the power of Islamic states to use the Council to demonize Israel and wreak havoc on the protection of human rights.

The "election" was more sham than anything else. The process allowed UN regional groups to submit fixed slates, in which the number of states running was equal to the number of seats that the regional group was allotted. As part of the African regional group's fixed slate, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Angola won guaranteed seats. The fact that both are ranked by Freedom House in the lowest possible category of human rights protection ("not free") proved irrelevant. Angola received 187, and the DRC 151, of the 193 votes cast by the member states of the General Assembly - an extraordinary and appalling stamp of approval.

Also irrelevant to the "election" of the DRC, was the fact that the country had not even bothered to make a pledge to protect human rights. The UN General Assembly resolution that created the Council back in 2006 was heralded for providing "when electing members of the Council, Member States shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto."

The DRC did manage this colorful one-page handout on the day of the election – claiming this notorious human rights abuser and contributor to refugee crises was a force of "stability of the African Continent."
Haley slams UN for electing Congo to rights council despite abuses
The United States and human rights groups sharply criticized Monday’s UN election for 15 new members of the Human Rights Council, singling out conflict-torn Congo’s victory despite accusations of serious rights abuses and an investigation by the UN’s top human rights body.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley called the election “yet another example of why the Human Rights Council lacks credibility and must be reformed in order to be saved.”

Haley previously dangled the possibility that the United States could quit the council during a visit to its Geneva headquarters in June, when she lambasted the 47-nation body as a “forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion” that allows rights abusers to whitewash their images and foes of Israel to criticize the Jewish state unfairly.

In a statement after the 193-member General Assembly voted Congo onto the Human Rights Council as part of an uncontested African slate for a three-year term starting Jan. 1, Haley said the rights organization “cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless.”

Haley called Congo “a country infamous for political suppression, violence against women and children, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unlawful killings and disappearances” and said its unopposed election is another spur to US-led efforts to reform the Human Rights Council.
The Australian Ed: UN human rights reform vital
"Australia's election to membership of the controversial, 47-nation UN Human Rights Council is a significant success for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the protracted global campaign waged by our diplomats to win the seat. There should be no illusion about the challenge we face, however, in achieving what Ms Bishop has rightly identified as one of our main goals in joining: achieving long-overdue reform of a body whose hypocritically pontificating membership includes some of the world's most egregious human rights abusers, ever ready to point fingers at others. States such as Venezuela, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt have helped ensure, as US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has pointed out, the council's focus is perpetually on denouncing the purported human rights depredations of one country, Israel. At the same time, the council has been far less concerned about atrocities such as the bloodbaths in Syria and Yemen and the plight of Myanmar's Rohingya minority.

Israel, uniquely, is a fixed item on the UNHRC's agenda. As Ms Haley has said, 'When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong.'

Paradoxically, coinciding with Australia's election, the Trump administration is preparing to quit the UNHRC following its decision last week to abandon membership of the Paris-based UNESCO, one of the UN's biggest and most important agencies. The reasoning in both instances is that neither UN body is doing its job and is fixated by 'anti-Israel bias'.
Scolding UNESCO, GOP lawmakers introduce resolution on Jewish ties to Jerusalem
After the Trump administration withdrew the United States from UNESCO over what it called its “anti-Israel bias,” two GOP lawmakers introduced a resolution that condemns the UN cultural organization and affirms Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

The UN body has, in recent years, passed a series of its own resolutions denying a Jewish link to the holy city.

On Israel’s Independence Day this year, the UN cultural agency passed a motion that many Israelis saw as denying Jewish historical or religious ties to Jerusalem. Such measures were cited as one reason the US decided to pull out of the agency last week.

On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, followed up on the move by authoring a resolution that “recognizes and affirms the historical connection of the Jewish people to the ancient and sacred city of Jerusalem.”

It goes on to cite archaeologically excavated sites, like the City of David, that contain vast quantities of antiquities from the ancient Jewish and Christian presence in the city.
Netanyahu pushes for bill to ban Breaking the Silence, BDS NGOs
New legislation supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would shut down any organization that seeks to harm IDF soldiers or try IDF soldiers in international courts.

The bill would also ban NGOs that promote a boycott of Israel or any area in its controls, meaning that it would apply to settlement boycotts, Channel 2 reported on Monday night.

The new details followed Sunday’s unanimous decision by the coalition to launch a two-pronged attack on foreign funding of political NGOs, consisting of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into “the involvement of foreign governments in the funding of political organizations and activities to harm IDF soldiers,” and legislation that will be more stringent than the current laws requiring organizations to report foreign funding and announce it publicly if more than half of their budget comes from a foreign political entity.

The vast majority of organizations that are mostly funded by foreign governments – 25 of 27 NGOs listed by the Justice Ministry in 2016 – are left-wing.
Amid jitters over far-right, Austria’s Kurz vows no anti-Semitism in coalition
Austria’s election winner Sebastian Kurz, who may form a coalition with the far right, vowed “zero tolerance” on anti-Semitism in any future government, in an interview published in Israel on Tuesday.

“The battle against anti-Semitism and our policy of zero tolerance against all anti-Semitic tendencies is very important to me,” Kurz told the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper.

“It is a clear precondition for the formation of any coalition under my leadership,” the 31-year-old conservative told the paper, which is a firm backer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kurz’s People’s Party (OeVP) won 31.5 percent of the vote on Sunday, near-complete results show, and his most likely coalition partner is seen as the populist Freedom Party (FPOe), third at 26%.

Media reports said the two parties were already engaged in intensive behind-the-scene talks, with the FPOe demanding key ministerial positions.
IsraellyCool: American Jewish
Congress’ Huge Gaffe
Oh American Jewish Congress, you didn’t!
Trump's critics on Iran are wrong
On Friday, President Trump announced he will not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor. I’m sure most of us spent the weekend inundated with thought pieces declaring this a major misstep or some kind of politically motivated gambit that plays fast and loose with global security. But they’re all wrong. With this bold action, we’re finally on the path toward a safer Middle East.

Iran remains an immense threat to the United States and our allies, and decertification is a serious first step towards mitigating the harm Tehran is causing around the globe. Today’s less covered announcement by the Treasury Department that it would apply further sanctions to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is an important second step, too.

Both of these actions must be viewed through a lens that’s wider than the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action itself. They’re not about the Iran deal, they’re about U.S. policy toward Iran. Viewing the JCPOA as an island unto itself was one of President Obama’s key mistakes. Fixing that mistake will make us all safer.

First, it’s important to understand exactly what President Trump announced. When President Obama entered into the agreement, he didn’t seek approval from the Senate, which has the constitutional obligation to ratify all international treaties, because the deal was extremely unpopular. Instead, Congress reached a compromise and passed a bill called the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, requiring the administration to certify every 90 days that the JCPOA is advancing our national security interests.

Decertifying the JCPOA doesn’t end it. It doesn’t mean that the United States is pulling out of the agreement either. But it does provide an opportunity for Congress to reevaluate whether the deal is advancing our national security interests.

The answer to that question is easy to determine. We know for a fact that Iran is preventing international inspectors from doing their jobs at military sites. We know for a fact that Tehran’s work on ballistic missiles continues unabated. We know that the deal’s sunset clauses will allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon with international support if they just wait a few more years, too.
Stressing AMIA bombing link, Netanyahu looks to highlight IRGC’s terror role
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of being centrally involved in carrying out the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. But was it really the IRGC, a part of Iran’s military forces, that was behind the deadly attack?

Netanyahu has long blamed the Islamic Republic for commissioning the bombing, but has previously stated that it was the Lebanese-Shiite militia Hezbollah that carried it out — as established by the Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

“Iran initiated, planned and carried out these horrible attacks through its proxy, Hezbollah,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony at the site of the bombing last month.

The IRGC was in the news lately as the US administration leveled additional sanctions against its officials and threatened to declare it a foreign terrorist organization.

“The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia,” US President Donald Trump said Friday.

“It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad. This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region, and even plotting to bomb a popular restaurant right here in Washington, DC.”
Iran Vows to ‘Follow N. Korea’ Nuke Pathway After Deal Decertification
Senior Iran leaders praised the North Korean regime this weekend and claimed the Islamic Republic is encouraged to follow Pyongyang's nuclear pathway following the Trump administration's decision last week to decertify Iranian compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement.

Iran's threat to become the next North Korea, which has itself played a longtime and key role in providing the Islamic Republic with nuclear technology and know-how, is likely to set the stage for increased confrontation with the United States following President Donald Trump's decision to request that Congress reconsider the nuclear agreement to make it far tougher for Iran to continue its military buildup and pursuit of nuclear equipment.

Iran is more likely to follow the North Korean nuclear model—which includes the illicit transfer of nuclear technology and the routine test of this equipment—despite the U.S. decision to remain a party to the nuclear agreement in the short term. Congress now has 60 days to decide whether it will reimpose all economic sanctions on Iran that were lifted by the Obama administration as part of the agreement.

Iranian leaders spent a large portion of the weekend threatening the United States and vowing to "continue the path" to a nuclear weapon as a result of Trump's decertification and nascent moves by Congress to level a series of harsh new penalties on Iran.
Netanyahu to Russian defense minister: Israel won't allow Iranian presence in Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday that Israel will not allow a permanent military presence in Syria.

Netanyahu's comment came a day after Israel's destruction of an SA-5 anti aircraft battery in Syria. Both Russia and Iran are key backers of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister's Office, most of the meeting dealt with Iranian efforts to set up a military permanent presence in Syria. “Iran needs to understand that Israel will not allow that,” Netanyahu told Shoigu.

The Iranian nuclear deal, and US President Donald Trump's recent decision to decertify the deal, was also discussed, with Netanyahu repeating Israel's position that if the deal is not changed, then Iran will acquire a nuclear arsenal within eight to ten years.

Following Trump's announcement last week, Russia said that there was no place in international diplomacy for aggressive rhetoric, and that his effort was doomed to fail.
Trump warns 'total termination' of Iran deal still on the table
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday renewed his threat to fully withdraw the United States from the landmark Iran nuclear deal, while holding out the possibility that amendments to the accord may prevent an American pullout.

Justifying his decision last week to decertify the 2015 pact under U.S. law, Trump said the United States had been exploited in the negotiations led by his predecessor, President Barack Obama, and that he was tired of it. He said that was why he refused to confirm to Congress that the deal is in America's national security interest.

Trump decertified the pact on the grounds that Iran has committed several violations of the deal and is receiving disproportionate relief from international sanctions for the concessions it made.

But he did not announce a withdrawal from the agreement. Instead, he kicked the future of U.S. participation to Congress.

"I feel strongly about what I did," Trump told reporters at a meeting of his cabinet in the White House on Monday. "I'm tired of being taken advantage of as a nation. This nation has been taken advantage of for many, many years, for many decades, frankly, and I'm tired of watching it. But the Iran deal was something that I felt had to be done."

Lawmakers now have 60 days to snap back sanctions on Iran that had been suspended, keep the status quo, or, as the Trump administration has suggested, amend or replace the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act – which compels the president to reaffirm Iran's compliance with the deal every 90 days. The law's requirements could be broadened so that sanctions relief for Iran is contingent on things beyond the nuclear deal, such as Iran halting ballistic missile testing.
Gabbay’s own colleagues reject his ‘no dismantling settlements’ remarks
Lawmakers from his own faction on Monday were quick to distance themselves from Labor chairman Avi Gabbay after he announced that he would not evacuate West Bank settlements as part of a future peace deal with the Palestinians, in what would be a major shift in policy for the center-left parties.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said Gabbay’s statement was his personal opinion, and did not reflect the position of her Hatnua party, or the Zionist Union Knesset alliance, to which the Labor party and Hatnua belong.

“The opposition to evacuating settlements is not the position of the Zionist Union,” she said.

“We have to separate from the Palestinians,” Labor MK Nachman Shai tweeted. “We will have to evacuate settlements with pain and sorrow.”

Fellow Labor MK Itzik Shmuli called the two state solution “within our own existential interest,” and said it would require some “painful” concessions on Israel’s part.

“Otherwise my generation will have to choose between a Jewish dictatorship and an Arab state.”
Report: Palestinian Teen Girl Flees to Israel to Escape 'Slave' Conditions in Forced Marriage
A 14-year-old Palestinian girl from Hebron, Fatma Sema, fled her home to Israel a few weeks ago, allegedly to escape a forced marriage in which she was living under slave-like conditions, according to a report in the Jerusalem-based Palestinian publication Al Quds.

The newspaper detailed the reasons that allegedly pushed Sema to flee, centered on what she said was a marriage that she was forced to enter because of her family’s financial distress. The events led her to try suicide multiple times, as well as several attempts to flee her husband’s home. She considered stabbing an Israeli soldier so she would be imprisoned.

According to the report, Sema was forced to marry an Arab Israeli, a Bedouin living near Beersheva. Fatma had lived in poverty with her family in Hebron with five sisters.

Sema’s neighbors said she was given over to social services after a suicide attempt, but this did not protect her from living with her husband, where a family acquaintance said she lived as a “slave.”

One of the neighbors said that, on one occasion, while still bleeding after cutting her wrist, Sema tried to go to an IDF roadblock to stab an Israeli soldier, hoping to find salvation in Israeli prison. This attempt was also unsuccessful and Sema was returned to her family in Hebron, the neighbor said.

The neighbor added that Sema was just 13 when she was forced to marry the Arab Israeli after he paid her father 10,000 shekels (apx. $2,850). Sema disappeared after going to live with her husband in southern Israel, but appeared again a few weeks ago after fleeing his house, where a neighbor alleged Sema experienced severe violence from her husband.
East Jerusalem Arab burns hand hurling petrol bomb; arresting officers treat him
A man was arrested Sunday after he injured himself throwing a Molotov cocktail at security forces in the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of A-Tur.

The suspect threw the incendiary device at a police and border police patrol, but burned his hand in the process, police said in a statement.

Officers administered medical treatment to the suspect and then detained him for questioning.

There were no reports of injuries to security forces.

A-Tur is located on the Mount of Olives and has a population of some 18,000, most of whom are Muslim, with a Christian minority.
Israel thwarts Hezbollah plot to orchestrate attacks in Israel
Israeli security forces recently thwarted a Hezbollah plot to recruit a Palestinian resident of the Balata refugee camp near Nablus for the purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks in Israel, a senior government official said Monday.

After being arrested by Israeli security forces, the suspect told investigators that he was recruited by the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist organization several months ago via Facebook.

According to his indictment, he was to receive funds from his Lebanese handler and purchase a laptop with which to communicate with Hezbollah operatives through encryption software. He was also to receive payments for planned terrorist attacks.

The suspect has also been charged with dealing in illegal weapons and participating in terrorist activity targeting Israeli soldiers in Judea and Samaria.

The suspect was indicted in the Samaria military court.
Lebanon grants oil, gas exploration license for waters bordering Israel
The Petroleum Administration in the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water has announced that an international consortium won two licenses for exploration for oil and gas, one of which borders on Israel's exclusive economic zone.

Israel has not yet decided how to respond to this development, against the background of the border dispute between the two countries that has continued since Israel withdrew from its security zone in Lebanon in 2000.

According to the Lebanese Petroleum Administration announcement, two bids were accepted in an auction of oil and gas exploration licenses in Lebanon's exclusive economic zone. Both bids were submitted by a consortium comprising French company Total S.A, Italian company Eni unit International BV, and JSC Novatek from Russia. The consortium will receive blocks 4 and 9. Ten blocks were offered in the auction, but only the two bids from this consortium were received, which represents partial failure for the Lebanese government.

The southern perimeter of block 9 borders the line separating Israel and Lebanon's exclusive economic zones. The two countries are in dispute over where precisely the line should be drawn. As a result, a disputed area exists forming a triangle of which the apex is at Rosh Hanikra (on the Israeli side of the Lebanon-Israel border) and of which the base borders the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. Attempts have been made to mediate between the sides, among other things through a US envoy to the region, but, according to Israel, a compromise proposed four years ago was rejected by Lebanon.
PMW: Belgium and PA officials to meet in response to PMW report

Belgium froze aid for PA school construction following PMW's exposure of the PA's renaming of a school built with Belgian money after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi

Meeting between Belgian and PA officials is this Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, according to official PA daily

PMW spoke with the Embassy of Belgium and urged that Belgium take this opportunity to create a more peace promoting environment in PA education. Belgium can use its leverage as donor to demand the PA change the names, not only of the Dalal Mughrabi School Belgium helped build, but also of the other 4 schools named after the same terrorist - and preferably all the 31 schools PMW has documented the PA has named after terrorists

PA Ministry of Education expressed "great sorrow" over Belgium's freeze of its support to school construction

PA ministry noted that the reason Belgium suspended its support was over the naming of the school after Dalal Mughrabi but did not distance itself from the name or its policy of honoring terrorists. The PA also did not mention anything about the other schools named after terrorists or any plans to rename them
'A Palestinian child has no free choice'
Itamar Marcus, the founder of Palestinian Media Watch, attended the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem Monday.

Marcus spoke to Arutz Sheva about how the Palestinian Authority's incitement harms chances for peace and its effect on the next generation.

"The Palestinian children are the key to peace, and the messages to the Palestinian children by their leadership will determine if we're going to have peace in the next generation," Marcus said.

"Israel is educating for peace," he said, but the PA is not. "We have researched the Palestinian schoolbooks, we have researched the Palestinian educational media, and we find that the media are filled with lies, filled with demonization. They don't give a Palestinian child free choice."

"Any normal Palestinian child, based on the hatred that he receives from his leadership, through his education, will instinctively hate Israelis, even if he's not a bad person. Just the opposite, good Palestinian children are going to end up hating Israelis because of all the lies and demonization they've received from their leaders.
Unity deal could allow Hamas leader to become PA president
Hamas' decision to sign a reconciliation deal with Fatah last week may have been motivated by more than just a desire to reconcile after years of bitter rivalry, Israel Hayom learned. A cunning plan to pave the way for senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to win the Palestinian Authority presidency after current President Mahmoud Abbas may have been the true aim behind Hamas' willingness to compromise.

This new information was confirmed by senior Palestinian officials as well as Egyptian intelligence officials involved in mediation between the rival factions. According to these sources, one of Hamas' principal aims in the agreement – after the terrorist organization had nixed all previous reconciliation efforts – was to replace the aging Abbas with Mashaal, the former head of Hamas' political bureau.

Mashaal headed the organization's political bureau for almost two decades, and is still thought of as the strongest member of Hamas, despite having resigned and been replaced by the former Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, who won secret elections recently.

Senior Palestinian officials told Israel Hayom that despite resigning as the head of the organization's political bureau, Mashaal has made no effort to disguise his ambition to clinch the coveted PA presidency. In private conversations, he even reportedly told his companions that he would back significant reforms to the Hamas charter to allow the organization to join Palestine Liberation Organization institutions – a move that would allow a Hamas candidate to compete in elections for the presidency.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Arab MKs Call Jewish Invocation Of Wind, Rain In Prayers ‘Appropriation’ (satire)
As of last Thursday, Jewish liturgy calls for the thrice-daily prayers to begin mentioning God as the source of wind and rain, a practice that politicians from Israel’s Arab community are characterizing as colonialist appropriation of native resources.

MKs Haneen Zoabi, Ahmad Tibi, Jamal Zaalke, and Aida Touma-Sliman joined the mayors of several Arab municipalities to decry the Jewish practice, in a statement that accused the Likud-led government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of fomenting, encouraging, and failing to stem the continued appropriation of Arab culture by the Jewish majority.

“You are foreigners,” declared the group, addressing a people that originated in the land long before the advent of Islam and the Arab conquest. “You mock our culture by saying that your god controls the wind and rain, when everyone knows Palestinian wind and rain is Palestinian wind and rain. No matter how many times a day you recite it, it will never be yours.”

The statement reserved special criticism for Netanyahu. “The whole world is familiar with your racist policies and rhetoric,” it continued. “No one should be surprised that the leader of this country condones, even encourages, Jews to treat Palestinian wind and rain as their own. But the world knows better.” The statement then cited an impending UNESCO resolution declaring the meteorological phenomena of Israel to be part of the Palestinian cultural heritage, and calling for them to be protected from “plunder” by Israel.

Government officials appeared unmoved by the statement. “I don’t know what they’re talking about, actually,” admitted a spokesman for Netanyahu. “When’s the last time the prime minister opened a Jewish prayer book?.”



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