Posts Tagged ‘Israelis’

Netanyahu sees ‘many’ nations following U.S. move on Jerusalem — “We must recognize reality, both historic reality and modern reality”

December 7, 2017


JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that “many” countries would follow the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and that such contacts were already under way.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Speaking at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu did not name any of these countries. He said some might relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before the U.S. move, which the Trump administration expects to take several years.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by


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The White House repeatedly referred to the recognition and embassy move, which will likely take years, as “acknowledging a reality,” noting the city’s role as the seat of Israel’s government but disregarding Palestinian claims there.

“He views this as a recognition of reality, both historic reality and modern reality,” one official said.

“While President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue, he does not think it will be resolved by ignoring the truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, its Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s residence, and as such, it is the capital of Israel,” one of the officials said.

US officials, along with an outside adviser to the administration, said they expected a broad statement from Trump about Jerusalem’s status as the “capital of Israel.” The president isn’t planning to use the phrase “undivided capital,” according to the officials.

The officials added that Trump “recognizes that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final-status negotiations for such an agreement.”

They also added that this action does not change the “status quo of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.”

Jerusalem split between ire and joy by ‘historic’ Trump shift — Donald Trump: Unabashed Israel Supporter

December 6, 2017


© AFP / by Majeda El-Batsh and Joe Dyke | A man takes a picture of the Dome of the Rock mosque in the city of Jerusalem, on December 4, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israelis and Palestinians reacted with shock, anger or joy on Wednesday to US President Donald Trump’s plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but the disputed city remained calm despite calls for protests.The US leader is due to make the announcement at 1800 GMT from the White House, upending decades of US policy and ignoring warnings that it could trigger a surge of violence in the Middle East.

An outpouring of emotions is expected after Trump speaks, with a major protest set for the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday and the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip Hamas calling for a day of rage Friday.

But already ahead of the announcement there were signs of the rising tensions.

Hundreds of angry Palestinians in the Gaza Strip burned American and Israeli flags and pictures of Trump at demonstrations.

Meanwhile there were relatively small clashes at the entrance to the Al-Arroub refugee camp near the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

In Jerusalem itself the situation was calm on a cold and wet Wednesday morning — with Palestinian responses varying from fury to resignation.

“How can he bring the embassy from Tel Aviv to here?” 50-year-old Mohammed Nabarak said.

“There will be new problems again. There will be a new intifada,” he said, referring to the two previous bloody Palestinian uprisings.

“The Western countries are even more against it than the Arabs.”

Salah al-Shawish, 49, said that the decision would “make things worse”.

“It is natural for the corrupt Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, because the Arab world is torn and its leaders weak,” he said.

– ‘It is about time’ –

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most hotly contested issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel seized control of the east of the city in 1967 and later annexed it in moves never recognised by the international community.

Israel considers the city its undivided capital, but Palestinians believe the east is illegally occupied and see it as the capital of their future state.

There are no clear walls or barriers separating east and west, only invisible lines known to the residents.

In the Old City, populated largely by Palestinians, heavily armed Israeli forces patrol the streets and control access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a key site for Muslims.

“If they recognise Jerusalem as the capital or they don’t, what will change? We are living under occupation,” Abu Abed, a Palestinian in the Old City, said Wednesday.

At least until Trump’s announcement, no countries currently fully recognise Israeli control over the city, with all foreign embassies located in Tel Aviv.

For Israelis in Jerusalem the Trump announcement was a major moment.

Emmanuel Posen, 44, said he had been smiling all morning after hearing the news.

“It is about time — 3,000 years later than it should have been,” he said, referring to the long Jewish history in the city.

He insisted he was not concerned about potential violence as Palestinians react to the move.

“If I was afraid for every step I am making (because of) what the Arabs will do I wouldn’t do anything,” he said.

Eugene Kontorovich, a campaigner for moving the embassy and head of international law at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a Jerusalem-based conservative think-tank, lauded it as an “extraordinary development of historic proportions.”

“Since the birth of the state of Israel (in 1948) no president has recognised Jerusalem as being part of the country.”

by Majeda El-Batsh and Joe Dyke

U.S. President Donald Trump looks towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while delivering an address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. . (photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)

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‘President Donald J. Trump’s Unabashed Love Of Israel: The Historic 2016 AIPAC Speech’ brings you the Truth about a critical relationship held dear in the heart of our 45th president.

What the author accomplishes in 36 pages is not to pass along the author’s personal opinion mixed with facts as window dressing or media bias. The voice heard in this book belongs to Israel’s friend: Donald J. Trump. It’s his words, unfiltered, as spoken at the 2016 AIPAC Conference.

From the back cover: “Pres.-Elect Trump, my friend. Congratulations on being elected President of the United States of America. You are a great friend of Israel. Over the years, you have expressed your support consistently. And I deeply appreciate it. I look forward to working with you to advance Security, Prosperity and Peace. Israel is grateful for the broad support it enjoys among the American people. And I am confident that the two of us – working closely together – will bring the great alliance between our two countries to even greater heights.” — Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

“I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish faith and tradition. For me, respect and reverence for Judaism is personal. My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders. Together we will make America and Israel safe again. We love Israel. Our true friend and we’re going to protect Israel 100%. We will fight for Israel 100%!” — Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America

President Trump: When the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise. And rises exponentially. That’s what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States. We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people – Jerusalem! And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.” (From the AIPAC Speech)

“The Heartland of America will sleep better knowing Bibi remains the voice of reason and strength in the beautiful nation of Israel; for when Israel is safe, we are safe.” — Gov. Sarah Palin

“Sarah Palin takes no prisoners. Authentic. She has a story to tell. Her story is real and her story is America.” — Rush H. Limbaugh III

Donald J. Trump: “Thank you very much. I want to thank my Jewish daughter. This is a great honor for me and all of the folks associated with this dinner. I am here. I am not making speeches. I am just going to say, thank you all very much. It’s a tremendous honor. We love Israel. We will fight for Israel. 100%! One thousand percent! It will be there forever. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.” (This quote, as well as the one below, are excerpted from “Algemeiner ‘Jewish 100’ Gala, 2015”)

“Well, it’s important. First and foremost, I am here to support my father. He’s receiving really a great recognition of the tremendous work that he has done over his lifetime to support Israel. And so, I am very excited to be a part of this. And, obviously, something that’s very important to me as well. He has used his voice often, and loudly, in support of Israel. In support of developments within Israel. In support of security for Israel. And in support of the idea of the Israeli democracy. Tonight, we’re honoring that. We’re honoring his long commitment to Israel.” — Ivanka Trump

‘President Donald J. Trump’s Unabashed Love Of Israel: The Historic 2016 AIPAC Speech’ is dedicated to a strong, reliable friend of America – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.

Trump speaks with Palestinian leader Abbas: source

December 5, 2017


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday amid reports the United States is planning to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a source familiar with the call told Reuters.

A senior administration official said last week that Trump would likely make the announcement on Wednesday, a decision that would break with decades of U.S. policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East. Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said the president had not yet made a final decision.

Trump Calls Palestinian President Abbas as U.S. Decision on Jerusalem Nears

December 5, 2017


Story developing…

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Palestinan President Mahmoud Abbas amid speculation on the status of Jerusalem and whether he will declare the city as Israel’s capital.

The Trump administration announced on Monday that it has not reached a decision yet on whether or not to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, despite the fact that Monday was the legal deadline for signing a presidential waiver on the matter. A White House spokesperson said that “no action will be taken on the waiver today. We will share a decision on the waiver in the coming days.”

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“But maybe going against the conventional wisdom is a good thing.”

Iranian Imperialism, Jew-Hatred Could Spark a New Israeli-Hezbollah War

November 29, 2017

By Eric Rozenman  

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah chant slogans and gesture during a rally marking Al-Quds day in Beirut’s southern suburbs in Lebanon on June 23, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri’s November 4 resignation was reported as the latest development in a Middle East power struggle between Shi’ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia. That conflict already featured coalition and proxy wars in Syria and Yemen and growing Iranian influence in Iraq.

Hezbollah claimed the Saudis hoped Israel would help them by striking it, the Lebanese  “Party of God,” on its home territory. Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in 2006, sparked by the latter’s deadly raid into Israel to kidnap soldiers and accompanying launch of hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilian and military targets.

But not just Iranian strategic maneuvers—including efforts to complete a “land bridge” from Tehran through Iraq and Syria to Beirut—would underlie a second Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Ideology, specifically Jew-hatred, also would play a role.

Both Iran’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, use Nazi-like language and imagery in describing Jews and their state. To the Third Reich, Jews were “bacilli” and “vermin” that had to be “exterminated.” Khamenei and Nasrallah describe Israel as “a cancer” that must be “cut out” of the Middle East.

For example, this February Khamenei, blaming Israel founding nearly 70 years ago for current Middle East upheavals and hallucinating that no people ever suffered more than Palestinian Arabs under Israeli control, termed the Jewish state a “cancerous tumor.” He called for a “holy intifada” to destroy it.

Khamenei is both consistent and insistent. In 2015, speaking at Friday prayers, he vowed that “if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help.” Israel is a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”

Hezbollah and its apologists claim the movement is anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish. As if it were possible to deny statehood for the Jewish people while insisting on it for many others—and especially the Palestinian Arabs, a people unknown even to themselves until the 20th century—without somehow being antisemitic.

‘Notice I say Jews’

But Nasrallah at times has discarded that pose, for example saying, “If the Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” He’s also opined that “if we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.”

Sa’ad Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, was seen as Riyadh’s man in Beirut. His father Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister also considered close to the Saudis, opposed Syrian occupation of Lebanon. The elder Hariri was murdered in a 2005 car-bomb attack that killed 22 people. Massive protests led to withdrawal of Syrian troops, though not Damascus’ covert agents.

In 2010, a U.N. inquiry reportedly fingered Hezbollah and Syria for the crime. It indicted four men, two identified as Hezbollah members, the next year.

If Israel were to fight a second war in Lebanon against Hezbollah, it probably would be devastating to both countries. Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel has said improvements mean his forces could undertake in the first two or three days of conflict the same number of strikes made in the entire 34-day 2006 war. He warned that in any new fighting, residents of southern Lebanon should leave their homes since Hezbollah uses them as “launching bases for missiles and rockets.”

Ironically, defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria by a combination of forces allied variously with the United States, Russia, Iran, and the governments of Syria and Iraq could make a second Israeli-Hezbollah war more likely. Israel has said its “red lines” for Syria include no Iranian or Iranian-allied forces (including Hezbollah) near the Israeli-Syrian border, no arms shipments from Iran through Syria to Lebanon and no raids into Israel.

Of all parties involved or interested in post-ISIS Syria, only Israel may be both able and willing to enforce those lines. Hezbollah has gained valuable experience fighting in Syria on Iran’s behalf to bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah threats of or actual attacks against Israel, from Syria or Lebanon, would make holding those red lines more complicated for Jerusalem.

“The Party of God” has been consistently violent. A Hezbollah precursor calling itself the “Islamic Jihad Organization” blew up the U.S. embassy in Beirut in April, 1983, murdering 63 people. In October of that year IJO bombed the U.S. Marine barracks in the Lebanese capital, killing 241 service members and civilians. The U.S. State Department designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. More than one year after al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of New York City’s World Trade Center and attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. killed nearly 3,000 people, Under Secretary of State Richard Armitage still called Hezbollah “the A-team” of international terrorism.

Strategic-Ideological Double-Helix

The long-range goals of the “Party of God” complement those of its Iranian founders, funders and trainers. These are safeguarding the Islamic Revolutionary regime in Tehran, expanding Persian-Shi’ite influence and if possible dominance over the Arab-Sunni Muslim majority in the Middle East, protecting Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons, ousting the United States from the region and eventually defeating the “Little Satan” and “Great Satan” of the ayatollahs’ ideology—Israel and the United States, respectively. It is not by accident that the slogan of Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels is “God is great! Death to America! Death to Israel! A curse upon the Jews! Victory for Islam!”

The Iranian-Hezbollah supremacist, imperialist ideology is one reason—Iran’s drive toward regional dominance is another—that Israeli leaders like the Air Force’s Eshel warn that in a new conflict Lebanon itself and not just Hezbollah would suffer widespread destruction. That’s because Hezbollah now dominates Lebanese politics and government, its militia is superior to the Lebanese military and it bases itself extensively among Lebanon’s civil population.

Before the 2006 war, Israel estimated the “Party of God” possessed 10,000 to 15,000 short-range missiles and rockets. Today the figure is put at 100,000 or more short- and medium range missiles, some with greater accuracy and larger warheads than available 11 years ago.

In 2006, approximately 500,000 Israelis temporarily evacuated homes in the northern part of the country. Israeli fatalities totaled 160, most of them combatants. Now it is assumed Hezbollah’s weaponry can reach virtually all of Israel and to much more destructive effect.

Lebanese deaths 11 years ago were put at approximately 1,200. Though many news outlets then, and some now claim most were civilians, Israeli military figures and other sources estimate at least half were Hezbollah members or other combatants.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, adopted as part of the diplomacy that ended the 2006 war, requires, among other things, Hezbollah to disarm. In this it reiterated a provision of Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004).

Iranian and Hezbollah threats against the Jews and their state would seem to violate also the U.N.’s 1951 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (General Assembly Resolution 260).

The “international community” has yet to see to these resolutions’ enforcement.

A key political-strategic lesson of the past century has been that when anti-democratic leaders and movements both threaten violence and possess the means to employ it, they should be taken seriously. The possibility of a second Israeli-Hezbollah war should be seen in that context.

Israeli settlers scuffle with police at W.Bank outpost demolition — Israelis illegally-built structure on private Palestinian land

November 29, 2017


© AFP | Israeli policemen evacuate Jewish settlers who barricaded themselves inside an illegally-built structure on private Palestinian land to prevent its demolition, in Elazar south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank

NETIV HAAVOT (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – Jewish settlers scuffled with Israeli police in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the demolition of a building at a rogue settlement outpost.AFP journalists said hundreds of young settlers at Elazar south of Bethlehem, in the Etzion settlement bloc, barricaded themselves in a carpentry workshop and resisted orders to leave peacefully.

They set fire to vehicle tyres festooned with barbed wire to try to block access to the building but riot police and border police broke through and carried the protesters away.

“Security forces completed the demolition of the illegal structure,” an army statement said.

There were no reports of arrests or injuries.

Several homes at the outpost, a satellite of Elazar settlement, are also to be demolished by court order, but residents have until March 2018 before the ruling is implemented.

The court accepted Palestinian claims that they were built on private Palestinian land and must be vacated.

About 430,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank — occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War — among 2.6 million Palestinians.

The settlements are illegal under international law and seen by a large part of the international community as a main obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Etzion bloc has over the years grown into a large cluster of settlements south of Jerusalem, and officials expect it to form part of Israel under any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Mohammed bin Salman should learn from Anwar Sadat and help Israelis believe in peace again

November 25, 2017

 NOVEMBER 25, 2017 08:18

Sadat made Israelis see a better future, a vision that is lacking today.

Bin Salman should learn from Sadat and help Israelis believe in peace again

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Anwar Sadat. (photo credit:REUTERS/GPO)

It was November 19, 1977, and when the door opened, Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president, appeared at the top of the stairway.

He was greeted with a salute by an IDF officer who told him: “Mr. President, the guard of honor of the Israeli Defense Forces is ready for your inspection.”

This was how Sadat was received when he landed in Israel 40 years ago this week, a trip that heralded a new era for Israel, the Middle East and the entire world.

Sadat’s visit came a mere four years after the bloody Yom Kippur War, during which Israel lost its confidence – as well as 2,688 of its soldiers. While Israel managed to hold on to the Sinai and the Golan Heights that it conquered during the Six Day War, the country now carried a renewed sense of vulnerability, one not felt since the founding of the Jewish state.

On the other hand, the war was also traumatic for Sadat. It made the Egyptian leader understand that Israel could not be destroyed, and that the only way for him to retrieve the Sinai was by coming to terms with Israel’s existence and entering into peace talks with a country, that until then, was considered his arch nemesis. It was a transformative moment for Sadat, who finally realized that, in the Middle East, only peace would last.

For Israel, it also was a transformative moment, and Sadat’s visit left a deep mark on the Israeli psyche. Until then, the Jews who had returned to their homeland believed the Arabs would never come to terms with their existence and never stop trying to destroy them.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stand together at Ben Gurion Airport after Sadat’s arrival on November 19, 1977. (GPO)

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stand together at Ben Gurion Airport after Sadat’s arrival on November 19, 1977. (GPO)

By coming to Israel, Sadat made Israelis understand that they would not have to “forever live by the sword” – as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously declared a few years ago – but could actually be accepted by their Arab neighbors.

That was the true significance of Sadat’s visit. Yes, it was important for the Arabs to understand that Israel could not be destroyed; but it was just as important for Israelis to understand that a better, more peaceful future was also possible. Continued war and hostility did not have to be Israel’s destiny.

Sadat made Israelis see a better future, a vision that is lacking today when trying to achieve a sustainable peace deal with the Palestinians.

Today, Israelis appear to be mostly disenchanted with the prospects for peace. They see what happened when Israel pulled out of parts of the West Bank in the late 1990s.

That move was met by a suicide-bombing campaign and the Second Intifada.

They see the tens of thousands of rockets Hamas and Islamic Jihad have accumulated and launched from the Gaza Strip and the countless IDF operations since Israel pulled out in 2005. They think back to the summer of 2006 and the war against Hezbollah, provoked by the abduction of two IDF reservists six years after the army pulled out of its security zone in southern Lebanon.

Now, go try to convince Israelis that another withdrawal, another risk – as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state – are in their interests. There might be a potential demographic time-bomb on our hands, but that is difficult to explain and too far away to see. In the immediate-term, Israelis see mortars landing on the runways at Ben-Gurion Airport and ISIS cells slipping into the West Bank over an unguarded Jordan Valley.

The litmus test for whether people want to make a peace deal now is Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. If the right-wing camp in Israel announces a rally to protest the lack of construction in settlements, it will fill the square. If the left-wing camp announces a rally to call on the government to enter peace talks with the Palestinians, it’s doubtful the square would fill up even by half.

The reason is because Israelis suffer from a combination of disenchantment and apathy.

The economy is booming and people – while they justifiably complain about the high cost-of-living here – live a relatively safe and secure life. Who wants to think about what is happening a mere 20-minute drive from downtown Tel Aviv when you don’t have to? Moreover, 40 years after Sadat’s visit, Israelis look around the region and see that not that much has really changed.

While we now have peace with Jordan and Egypt, neither of those countries’ leaders is willing to step foot in Israel. It is true that Israel has covert contacts throughout the Gulf, but when the Israeli national judo team competed recently in Abu Dhabi, the judokas had to remove the Israeli flags from their uniforms.

And when one of the judokas won a gold medal, he had to stand on the podium and watch as the International Judo Federation’s anthem was played and its flag was raised, instead of Israel’s blue-and-white and “Hatikva.”

So Israelis ask themselves: Why would this suddenly change? Why should we take risks for something that seems so dangerous?

This apathy and disenchantment are important to keep in mind, because if people don’t demand something of their leadership, there is no reason for the leadership to take action that is politically risky. If Israelis aren’t demanding that Netanyahu make peace with the Palestinians, then why would he?

Yes, there is pressure from the United States and Europe, but all of that can be managed like it was during the eight years under the Obama administration. Without real pressure from the Israeli public, there is no real reason to expect a change.

How can this change? With a modern-day Sadat. Imagine for a moment that Muhammad bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, traveled to Jerusalem, spoke at the Knesset, visited Yad Vashem, and announced his desire to normalize ties with Israel.

This would provide Israelis with a glimpse of a reality that currently does not exist.

If the king of Bahrain or the president of the United Arab Emirates came, it would have a similar effect. A visit by King Abdullah of Jordan or Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt would also leave Israelis impressed.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gestures during a military parade (Saudi Press Agency/Reuters)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gestures during a military parade (Saudi Press Agency/Reuters)

So why don’t they visit? When asked, officials in the Gulf explain that they can’t just come to Jerusalem. “We have public opinion in our own countries,” they answer, saying their people would be angry if they visited the Zionist state at a time when the Palestinian people remain stateless.

In addition, these Arab leaders don’t see why they need to come to Israel without Israel first making serious concessions and taking real steps toward peace.

While they might think they have a point, they are missing a true understanding of Israel. Despite almost 70 years of statehood, Israel is the only country in the world that still faces calls for its destruction, and whose citizens hold a passport banned from travel to more than a dozen countries. Recognition by Saudi Arabia and a visit to Israel by one of its leaders, would have an impact that Gulf leaders cannot yet full appreciate.

Such a visit would tell Israelis that their country is legitimate. It would tell a people, that not long ago was on the brink of extinction, that it will continue to survive and thrive. It would give Israelis a sense of confidence not felt since Sadat came here in 1977.

While a visit by Crown Prince bin Salman would not automatically create peace, it would create a ripple effect that would force Israel to respond, an act of significance that neither the Israeli people nor its leadership would be able to ignore.

Sadat, it seems, understood just that, and ultimately paid with his life. Forty years later, the Israeli people are still waiting.


Palestinians reject ‘extortion’ in face of US move to close PLO’s DC office

November 18, 2017

Top PA diplomat says ‘ball is in American court’ as Trump administration says law prevents it from certifying diplomatic mission if Ramallah hounds Israel at ICC

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki speaks during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 11, 2015. (FLASH90)

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki speaks during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 11, 2015. (FLASH90)

The Palestinians will not give in to “extortion” after a US threat to close their diplomatic mission in Washington, the Palestinian foreign minister said Saturday.

In an interview on Palestine Radio on Saturday, Riad Malki said the Palestinians are waiting for further communication from the US government.

“The ball is now in the American court,” he said.

US officials, citing US law, said Friday that the Trump administration has put the Palestinians on notice that it will shutter their office in Washington unless they enter serious peace talks with Israel. President Donald Trump has 90 days to make a decision.

Malki said the US move may be aimed at putting pressure on the Palestinians. “The Palestinian leadership will not accept any extortion or pressure,” he said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to certify on Friday that the Palestinians are complying with a 2015 Congressional mandate, which induces penalties if the PA pursues the prosecution of Israelis at the International Criminal Court.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to staff members at the US Mission to the UN, in Geneva, Switzerland, October 26, 2017. (AP/Alex Brandon, Pool)

The specific penalization, according to a provision in a US law passed in December 2015, is the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission to the United States, located in Washington, DC.

“We were unable to make a new certification, and have notified the PLO accordingly,” a State Department official told The Times of Israel on Friday evening. “The secretary concluded that the factual record, in particular certain statements made by Palestinian leaders about the ICC, did not permit him to make the factual certification required by the statute.”

During his speech to the UN General Assembly in September, PA President Mahmoud Abbas urged the ICC to “open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people.”

The law states that the US President can reverse the move if he determines that Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

President Donald Trump has made it a signature priority of his to renew negotiations between the sides and reach a comprehensive peace deal.

The US official stressed that the move did not mean the administration was walking away from those attempts.

“This measure should in no way be seen as a signal that the US is backing off those efforts,” the official said. “Nor should it be exploited by those who seek to act as spoilers to distract from the imperative of reaching a peace agreement.”

“We are not cutting off relations with the PLO, nor do we intend to stop working with the Palestinian Authority,” he continued. “Our relations with the PLO and PA extend well beyond contacts with the PLO office in Washington. We remain focused on a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians that will resolve core issues between the parties.”


U.S. Warns Palestinians: Enter Peace Talks With Israel, or You May Lose U.S. Embassy

November 18, 2017

Move by Tillerson is based on provision to U.S. law that stipulates Palestinians must close their U.S. office if they try to prosecute Israelis for war crimes

Amir Tibon (Washington) Nov 18, 2017 5:36 AM
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FILE – In this May 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after making statements to the press in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. Palestinia Evan Vucci/AP

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has notified the Palestinian Authority that unless it enters serious peace negotiations with Israel, the U.S. could shut down the Palestinian diplomatic delegation in Washington, D.C. within the next few months.

The message was relayed to the Palestinians by the U.S. State Department recently, but it did not include a firm timeline. It was first reported on Friday by the Associated Press.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Palestinians that this decision was reached as a result of statements made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who called on the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel and prosecute actions by Israelis.

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FILE- In this Oct. 30, 2017, file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Trump administration put the Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The State Department said that the statements made by Abbas go against a U.S. law which stipulates that the Palestinian mission should be closed if the Palestinians try to take action against Israel at the ICC.

The report by the AP made it clear, however, that this was not an immediate threat, and that the United States was still engaging the Palestinians in the hopes of renewing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The White House, the Israeli embassy and the PLO delegation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A State Department official told Haaretz on Friday night: “We are not cutting off relations with the PLO, nor do we intend to stop working with the Palestinian Authority.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 24, 2017. HANDOUT/REUTERS

“Our relations with the PLO and PA extend well beyond contacts with the PLO office in Washington. We remain focused on a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians that will resolve core issues between the parties. This measure should in no way be seen as a signal that the U.S. is backing off those efforts. Nor should it be exploited by those who seek to act as spoilers to distract from the imperative of reaching a peace agreement,” they said.

The same State Department official told Haaretz that the issue was mostly technical, stating that “under U.S. law, to waive statutory restrictions on the PLO and its Washington Office, the Secretary [of State Tillerson] must certify the PLO has complied with conditions imposed by Congress.

“In December 2015, Congress introduced a new condition concerning certain Palestinian actions related to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The most recent certification period ended in November. We were unable to make a new certification, and have notified the PLO accordingly. The Secretary concluded that the factual record, in particular certain statements made by Palestinian leaders about the ICC, did not permit him to make the factual certification required by the statute.”

The official added, however, that “the same statute allows for a waiver of restrictions on the PLO in the U.S., including operation of its Washington office, if after 90 days the President determines the Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.  We are hopeful that this closure will be short-lived.”

The PLO Delegation has been operating in Washington, D.C. since 1994. The Trump administration, like previous Democratic and Republican administrations, has been in constant touch with the delegation, which is headed by Ambassador Hosam Zomlot, a close adviser to Abbas.

Zomlot recently published a video on his social media platforms about the importance of keeping the delegation active in Washington. The video included a joint picture of Zomlot and President Trump in the White .

read more:

Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

November 7, 2017

Take this with a grain of salt…

Zero Hedge

Early this morning, Israeli Channel 10 news published a leaked diplomatic cable which had been sent to all Israeli ambassadors throughout the world concerning the chaotic events that unfolded over the weekend in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, which began with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s unexpected resignation after he was summoned to Riyadh by his Saudi-backers, and led to the Saudis announcing that Lebanon had “declared war” against the kingdom.

The classified embassy cable, written in Hebrew, constitutes the first formal evidence proving that the Saudis and Israelis are deliberately coordinating to escalate the situation in the Middle East.

The explosive classified Israeli cable reveals the following:

  • On Sunday, just after Lebanese PM Hariri’s shocking resignation, Israel sent a cable to all of its embassies with the request that its diplomats do everything possible to ramp up diplomatic pressure against Hezbollah and Iran.
  • The cable urged support for Saudi Arabia’s war against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
  • The cable stressed that Iran was engaged in “regional subversion”. 
  • Israeli diplomats were urged to appeal to the “highest officials” within their host countries to attempt to expel Hezbollah from Lebanese government and politics. 

Left: Israeli PM Netanyahu, Right: Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman

As is already well-known, the Saudi and Israeli common cause against perceived Iranian influence and expansion in places like Syria, Lebanon and Iraq of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called “Shia crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. For Israel, Hezbollah has long been its greatest foe, which Israeli leaders see as an extension of Iran’s territorial presence right up against the Jewish state’s northern border.

This is a EXPLOSIVE thread that proves how Saudi and Israel are deliberately coordinating to escalate the situation in the MidEast. 

The Israeli reporter who obtained the document is Barak Ravid, senior diplomatic correspondent for Channel 10 News. Ravid announced the following through Twitter yesterday:

  • I published on channel 10 a cable sent to Israeli diplomats asking to lobby for Saudis/Harir and against Hezbollah. The cable sent from the MFA in Jerusalem [Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs] to all Israeli embassies toes the Saudi line regarding the Hariri resignation.
  • The Israeli diplomats were instructed to demarch their host governments over the domestic political situation in Lebanon – a very rare move.
  • The cable said: “You need to stress that the Hariri resignation shows how dangerous Iran and Hezbollah are for Lebanon’s security.”
  • “Hariri’s resignation proves wrong the argument that Hezbollah participation in the government stabilizes Lebanon,” the cable added.
  • The cable instructed Israeli diplomats to support Saudi Arabia over its war with the Houthis in Yemen. The cable also stressed: “The missile launch by the Houthis towards Riyadh calls for applying more pressure on Iran & Hezbollah.”

1 \ I published on channel 10 a cable sent to Israeli diplomats asking to lobby for Saudis\Hariri &against Hezbollah 

האיום האיראני: ישראל מיישרת קו עם סעודיה נגד מעורבות טהראן וחיזבאללה בלבנון

משרד החוץ שיגר מברק הנחיות לכל שגרירויות ישראל בו התבקשו לפעול נגד המעורבות של חיזבאללה ואיראן במערכת הפוליטית בלבנון

Watch today’s Hebrew broadcast Channel 10 News report which features the Israeli diplomatic cable – the text of which is featured in Channel 10’s screenshot (below) – here

Below is a rough translation of the classified Israeli embassy cable using Google Translate as released by Israel’s Channel 10 News:

“To the Director-General: you are requested to urgently contact the Foreign Ministry and other relevant government officials [of your host country] and emphasize that the resignation of Al-Hariri and his comments on the reasons that led him to resignillustrate once again the destructive nature of Iran and Hezbollah and their danger to the stability of Lebanon and the countries of the region. 


Al-Hariri’s resignation proves that the international argument that Hezbollah’s inclusion in the government is a recipe for stability is basically wrong. This artificial unity creates paralysis and the inability of local sovereign powers to make decisions that serve their national interest. It effectively turns them into hostages under physical threat and are forced to promote the interests of a foreign power – Iran – even if this may endanger the security of their country.


The events in Lebanon and the launching of a ballistic missile by the signatories to the Riyadh agreement require increased pressure on Iran and Hezbollah on a range of issues from the production of ballistic missiles to regional subversion.”

Thus, as things increasingly heat up in the Middle East, it appears the anti-Iran and anti-Shia alliance of convenience between the Saudis and Israelis appears to have placed Lebanon in the cross hairs of yet another looming Israeli-Hezbollah war. And the war in Yemen will also continue to escalate – perhaps now with increasingly overt Israeli political support. According to Channel 10’s commentary (translation), “In the cable, Israeli ambassadors were also asked to convey an unusual message of support for Saudi Arabia in light of the war in which it is involved in Yemen against the Iranian-backed rebels.”

All of this this comes, perhaps not coincidentally, at the very moment ISIS is on the verge of complete annihilation (partly at the hands of Hezbollah), and as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have of late increasingly declared “red lines” concerning perceived Iranian influence across the region as well as broad Hezbollah acceptance and popularity within Lebanon.

What has both Israel and the Saudis worried is the fact that the Syrian war has strengthened Hezbollah, not weakened it. And now we have smoking gun internal evidence that Israel is quietly formalizing its unusual alliance with Saudi Arabia and its power-hungry and hawkish crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.