WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

 

 

Contents: | Weekly Quotes | Short Takes   | On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

                    

Having Missed The Boat, Palestinian Authority Is Sinking: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Jan. 15, 2018

The Trump Peace Plan: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Jan. 14, 2018

The Madness of the Anti-Trump Shrinks: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 11, 2018

For Tunisian Jews, Firebomb Attacks on Synagogue Open Old Wounds: Jesse Bernstein, Tablet, Jan. 11, 2018

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“This is the dawn of a new era in the great friendship between India and Israel that began with Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel, which created tremendous enthusiasm. It continues with my visit here, which I must say is deeply moving for my wife and me, and for the entire people of Israel. And I think it heralds a flourishing of our partnership to bring prosperity and peace and progress for both our people.” — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu accompanied by his wife, Sara, arrived in India on Sunday, the first visit to the country by an Israeli prime minister in 15 years. Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi signed a series of agreements for cooperation in energy, the film industry, aviation, cyber and investment. The nine agreements include beginning work on a free trade pact as well as an initial approval for Indian energy companies to explore for oil and gas in the Mediterranean. Netanyahu is scheduled to visit the Mumbai Chabad House, the site of a 2008 terror attack in which the Chabad emissaries Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, and four Jewish visitors were killed. India’s Jewish community is about 4,000, most living in Mumbai. (Jewish News, Jan. 16, 2018)

 

“We will not accept for the U.S. to be a mediator, because after what they have done to us — a believer shall not be stung twice in the same place…The deal of the century is the slap of the century…However, we’ll get back at them.”— PA Pres. Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas vowed to reject U.S. leadership of any peace talks and urged Palestinians to reconsider their signed agreements with Israel. “Israel has killed Oslo. It has terminated Oslo,” Abbas said. “Now we are an authority without any authority, and an occupation without land, and we will not accept this.” “Damn your money!” Abbas said of Trump. “He said, ‘I will give you a peace deal.’ The deal turned out to be a mess. He said, ‘We will not pay for the Palestinians because they stopped the negotiations.’ Where are the negotiations?” Abbas also confirmed that the Palestinians had been told they would be offered the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis as the capital of a future state. “If we lose Jerusalem, what do you want to do? Have a state with Abu Dis as its capital? This is what they’re offering now: Abu Dis,” he said. On Sunday, Abbas said, in reference to Trump, “may God demolish your house,” and described Israel as “a colonialist venture which is unconnected to Jews – they were exploited in order to facilitate this project, using terms such as the Promised Land. The Jews didn’t want to come to Palestine even after what they went through in Europe, with pogroms and even after the Holocaust. They didn’t want to come but Herzl said that anti-Semitism served the purposes of Zionism. That way Europe and the Zionist movement profited twice – the Europeans got rid of the Jews and the Zionists got to bring Jews here – that’s what happened.” (New York Times, Ha’aretz, Jan. 14, 2018)

 

“To say Israel is the result of a Western conspiracy to settle Jews in land belonging to Arab populations? To say that that the Jewish people has no connection with the Land of Israel? He forgot many things, and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.” — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Abbas’ attitude is “precisely what blocks us. In his words he is rejecting our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen [Abbas] knows very well that the Quran itself recognizes the Land of Israel as our land. Without this basic recognition we will not be able to build trust and move forward,” Rivlin said. (World Israel News, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

“If the Oslo process is dead, as suggested by Abbas, it would follow that the Palestinian Authority and its leadership are irrelevant.” — Oded Revivi, a spokesman for the Yesha Council, which represents 450,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank. “It’s time,” Revivi said, “to find alternative Palestinian leaders and alternative peace plans that focus on building bridges between real people on the ground instead of making people like Abbas rich and famous.” (New York Times, Jan. 14, 2018)

 

“Abu-Mazen [Abbas] has unveiled the roots of the conflict – a basic rejection of the Jewish state in any size…His rhetoric and what he has said helps us present the truth.” — PM Netanyahu. Netanyahu said that Abbas’ statements constitute “a great service to Israeli diplomacy,” and added that he estimates that the Palestinian leader fears a US initiative. “They were spoiled too long by the international community, which did not tell them the truth,” said Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Online, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

"No one should doubt my word…I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran." — President Donald Trump. Trump is once again extending the Iran nuclear deal, but will "terminate” the agreement unless Congress and European allies agree to strengthen it. "This is a last chance," Trump said. "[E]ither fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw." The statement implicitly sets a mid-May deadline for the deal's fate. That is when Trump must again choose whether to waive economic sanctions on Tehran which come up for renewal every 120 days. The Obama administration suspended those sanctions in 2015 as part of the agreement negotiated with Iran and five other nations that imposed limits on Iran's nuclear program. (Politico, Jan. 12, 2018)

 

"We are gradually coming to the conclusion that an internal decision by the US to leave the JCPOA has already been made or is close to being made…This could be one of Washington's big foreign policy mistakes." — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Iran rejected any modification of its nuclear deal with world powers after Trump demanded tough new measures to keep the agreement alive. It has the backing of all the partners to the agreement apart from the United States, with Russia warning Washington that withdrawing would be "a big miscalculation". Trump said the new deal should curb Iran's missile programme and include permanent restrictions on Iran's nuclear plants, removing expiration dates due to kick in after a decade. (Newsmax, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

“A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders…What can that terror army target but Turkey? Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born.” — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Washington announced plans to build a 30,000-strong force inside Syria, along the Euphrates River as well as at the borders with Turkey and Iraq. For much of the Syrian civil war, the U.S. and Turkey have worked together to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But relations between the two countries have been strained due to U.S. support for Kurdish fighters. The U.S. is working with the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia — a group Ankara links to the banned PKK organization waging an insurgency within Turkey. (Politico, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

“Just like there’s ‘Iron Dome’ for the air, there’s a technological umbrella of steel underground…I want to send a message to everyone who is digging or gets too close to the tunnels: As you’ve seen in the past two months, these tunnels bring only death.” — Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai of the IDF, speaking in Arabic to satellite TV station Alhurra. Mordechai said the Israeli military, helped by the “Jewish brain,” had devised a solution that would see all of Hamas’s cross-border tunnels into Israel destroyed. Earlier, the IDF destroyed a border-crossing Hamas attack tunnel, the third in recent months, in an airstrike. Zamir vowed the IDF would continue to destroy more tunnels in the coming months, as the Defense Ministry completes the construction of a barrier around the Gaza Strip designed to prevent underground penetration into Israeli territory. (Times of Israel, Jan. 14, 2018)

 

“To have a successful presidency, Trump needs to finish what he started and that means keeping a Republican Congress for four years. For that to happen, he must start behaving as if his future depends on every word he says every day. Because it does. And if he needs to blow off steam without blowing the lid off his presidency, he ought to remember the sage advice often attributed to President Harry Truman. If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” — Michael Goodwin. (New York Post, Jan. 13, 2018)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

TRUMP CUTS UNRWA FUNDING AMID ABBAS ASSAULT (Washington) — The Trump administration informed the UN Relief and Works Agency that it was cutting tens of millions of dollars in aid to the organization, amid an escalating diplomatic crisis between Washington and Ramallah. Trump agreed to deliver $60 million in US assistance to the UN body for now, as opposed to cutting all aid outright. But the remaining pledge— $65 million— has been withheld “for future consideration,” according to a letter sent to the agency. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 16, 2018)

 

REPORT: TRUMP TO TAP PRO-ISRAEL RUMSFELD ADVISER TO STATE DEP. (Washington) — President Trump is expected to tap an adviser to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for a key State Department position. According to a report, Trump is poised to announce the selection of David Schenker to serve as the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. The move would make Schenker America’s top diplomat to the Middle East. Schenker is currently a senior member of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israel think tank formed by former AIPAC members in the 1980s. (Arutz Sheva, Jan. 12, 2018)

 

PALESTINIAN CENTRAL COUNCIL ASSIGNS PLO TO SUSPEND RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL (Jerusalem) — The Palestinian Central Council, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s second highest decision-making body, decided to entrust the PLO Executive Committee with suspending recognition of Israel “until Israel recognizes the State of Palestine along 1967 borders, annuls its annexation of east Jerusalem and halts settlement building,” according to a declaration. The Central Council also decided to renew a decision it made at a past meeting to end security cooperation with Israel “in all its forms.” The last time the Central Council met in March 2015, it voted to suspend security coordination between the PA security forces and Israel. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

KOSHER SHOPS NEAR PARIS TORCHED (Paris) — A suspected arson attack on a French kosher grocery store revived fears of antisemitism, three years to the day since an assault on a Jewish supermarket by an Islamist gunman. Prosecutors said the Promo & Destock store in the suburb of Creteil caught fire days after it was hit by antisemitic graffiti. The incident occurred exactly three years after Amedy Coulibaly took hostages at a branch of Hyper Cacher in Paris on January 9, 2015, killing five people before police shot him dead. On January 3, five swastikas were daubed with red paint on Promo & Destock and a Hyper Cacher. The 2015 attack triggered deep concern among France’s Jewish community over antisemitism. That year, a record 7,900 French Jews emigrated to Israel. (Times of Israel, Jan. 9, 2018)

 

SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN BAGHDAD (Baghdad) — Two suicide bombers killed 38 people in Baghdad in the first major attack in the Iraqi capital since the government declared victory over I.S. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings, but officials immediately cast suspicion on I.S. sleeper cells, the target of Iraq’s intelligence and counterterrorism forces since major military operations ended in the fall. On Jan. 13, an insurgent detonated an explosive vest near a convoy carrying the head of Baghdad’s provincial government, wounding four Iraqi security forces. (New York Times, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

PROTESTS RESUME IN TUNISIA (Tunis) — Violent protests erupted on Sunday in Tunis and another town after a relatively calm two days, the latest protests against austerity measures. After nearly a week of at times violent protests, police used tear gas against dozens of protesters in renewed demonstrations over a tax hike. On Sunday, hundreds of Tunisians demonstrated peacefully against government austerity measures on the seventh anniversary of the ousting of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Almost 800 people have been arrested for vandalism and acts of violence. (Globe & Mail, Jan. 14, 2018)

 

BOMB PLANTED AT WEST BANK HOLY SITE, IS DETONATED SAFELY (Jerusalem) — Army sappers detonated an explosive device that was apparently planted by Palestinians at the entrance to the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the city of Nablus, ahead of a visit by approximately 1,000 Jewish worshipers, the army said. There were no injuries or significant damage caused by the controlled blast, and the pilgrimage to the shrine continued as planned. Pilgrimages by Israeli or foreign civilians to the Joseph’s Tomb holy site are frequent catalysts for violence. In the past, Nablus residents have attacked the groups visiting the site with rocks, Molotov cocktails and rifle fire. In October 2015, Palestinian rioters set fire to the holy site. It was restored and reopened a few weeks later. (Times of Israel, Jan. 16, 2018)

 

ISRAELI ARAB CHARGED WITH TRYING I.S.-INSPIRED ATTACK (Jerusalem) —An indictment was filed against a Taibeh resident on charges of conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack inspired by I.S. In the end, no attack was carried out. Police allege that in 2014 and 2015, Hassan Yousef felt an increasing ideological affinity with I.S., that he was exposed to information from the group on the internet and that he had looked into joining its ranks in Syria. Last summer Yousef reportedly tried to convince others to join him in committing terrorist assaults, including a shooting attack in Jerusalem, a car-bomb attack opposite the police station in Taibeh, and a stabbing attack. (Ha’aretz, Jan. 14, 2018)

 

WARNING OF BALLISTIC MISSILE INBOUND TO HAWAII A 'FALSE ALARM' (Honolulu) — Social media ignited Saturday after screenshots of cell phone emergency alerts warning of a "ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii" began circulating, which US officials dismissed as "false." The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency also confirmed there is "NO missile threat to Hawaii." The alert that some cell phone users received read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." The warning came across the Emergency Alert System, which authorities use to delivery emergency information to the public. (Newsmax, Jan. 13, 2018)

 

IRAN'S SECRET MISSILE SHIPMENTS IN YEMEN CONFIRMED BY U.N. (Tehran) — A leaked UN report has claimed that Iranian-made ballistic missiles have been supplied to Houthi rebels in Yemen. The report appears to confirm suspicions long held by the United States that weapons originating in Iran had made their way to Yemen, in breach of a U.N. embargo.  It appears that weapons fragments inspected by the UN include debris from a ballistic missile attack on Saudi Arabia two months ago. The missile, which is believed to have been fired by the Houthis, may have been manufactured in Iran, although it is not clear whether they were supplied by a third party. (Newsweek, Jan. 16, 2018)

 

GERMANY PERMITS IRANIAN MASS MURDERER TO FLEE THE COUNTRY (Berlin) — Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi – considered a successor to Supreme Leader Khamenei – fled Germany for Iran amid criminal complaints filed against him for crimes against humanity, after the cleric received medical treatment for a brain tumor. Critics accuse Shahroudi, who headed Iran’s judiciary from 1999 to 2009, of imposing executions on 2,000 people, including adolescents. Shahroudi’s presence in Hanover prompted protests and calls for Germany’s government to arrest and prosecute the religious leader. The German government said it provided him a visa for medical treatment. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 11, 2018)

 

GERMAN POLICE SEARCHING FOR IRANIAN AGENTS TARGETING JEWS AND ISRAELIS (Berlin) — German police in four states are searching for suspects who are believed to have spied on Israeli and Jewish targets for Iran. Federal prosecutors have identified 10 suspects, according to a report. They are believed to have worked for the Quds Force, a special operations branch of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards. Several Western intelligence services believe operatives for the Quds Force carry out assassinations for the Iranian regime and are implicated in assisting terrorist organizations, including ones fighting Israel and targeting Jews. (JTA, Jan. 16, 2018)

 

IMMIGRANTS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO VISIT NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS: GERMAN POLITICIAN (Berlin) — Amid accusations that some immigrants in Europe are antisemitic, a German politician is recommending that new immigrants be required to visit Nazi concentration camp memorials. The idea was proposed by Sawsan Chebli, a Palestinian-German legislator, who told a German newspaper that everyone, including new arrivals, should be obligated to see the former Nazi camps. “Concentration camp visits should become part of integration courses,” Chebli said. Germany has taken in over 1 million migrants and refugees over the past several years, many of whom were fleeing war and poverty in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and northern Africa. (Newsweek, Jan. 11, 2018)  

 

REPORTED HIJAB ATTACK ON 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL 'DID NOT HAPPEN' (Toronto) — An 11-year-old girl's report last week that a man tried to cut off her hijab as she walked to school didn't occur, Toronto police said. The girl reported Friday that a man attempted twice to cut off her hijab as she walked to school with her younger brother. Police said last week that the alleged attack was being investigated as a possible hate crime. The girl, along with her mother spoke to reporters after she had talked to police. Her story captured national attention, and drew public condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory. (CBC, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

PLAQUE WILL RECOGNIZE MURDER OF JEWS, ‘OTHER GROUPS’ (Ottawa) — Canada will officially commemorate the murder of six million Jews on the main plaque at the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, but also the fact "other groups" were targeted by the Nazis. The new wording comes after the first version drew condemnation for failing to mention Jews as the target of the genocide. The new plaque will not include a list of the all of the groups that were targeted by the Nazis, but the intention will be to recognize the organized murder of homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roma, communists and the disabled. The initial decision not to make reference to Jews was deliberate, with bureaucrats pointing out that not all Holocaust memorials mention targeted groups. (Globe & Mail, Jan. 15, 2018)

 

NYT ISSUES CORRECTION AFTER MOCKING COUNTRIES WHO BACKED U.S. ON JERUSALEM (New York) — Thanks to UN Watch, The New York Times issued a correction to an article that appeared to mock the countries that refused to support a resolution criticizing America for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “On Wednesday, the United States…held a cocktail reception for the nine countries that voted against the resolution…’’ NYT originally wrote, making sure to cite the names of “Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.” Yet it turns out, as UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer tweeted to the reporter, the reception was in fact held for 64 countries and that these included a diverse and cross-regional group of better-known countries, including Canada, Australia, Czech Republic, Poland, Argentina, Mexico and Kenya. (UNWatch, Jan. 12, 2018)

 

SEINFELD UNDER FIRE OVER VISIT TO WEST BANK ‘MILITARY CAMP’ (Jerusalem) — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is taking heat from fans after photos of him at a West Bank “anti-terrorism” course were posted online. The Caliber 3 training facility, located near the settlement of Efrat, posted the photos. Seinfeld put on performances in Tel Aviv and toured Israel with his family. After the training facility’s post Twitter erupted with a violent backlash against the comedian. “Jerry Seinfeld took his kids to play war games with the IDF. So cute, right? Now imagine the reaction if, say, Bella Hadid posed with the PFLP or DJ Khaled (brandishing a machine gun) hung out with Hamas,” wrote controversial academic Steven Salaita, who is known for his criticism of the Jewish state. (Times of Israel, Jan. 11, 2018)

 

$500 MILLION INDIA-ISRAEL PROJECT BACK ON TRACK (Delhi) — Almost two months after India scrapped a $500 million weapons deal with Israel, Indian media reported the deal for 8,000 “Spike” Anti-Tank missiles is back on track through a government-to-government route rather than a direct purchase from state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The Indian military reportedly prefers Rafael’s proven weapon to the indigenous Nag anti-tank guided missile developed by the country’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). (Breaking Israel News, Jan. 11, 2018)

 

On Topic Links

 

Having Missed The Boat, Palestinian Authority Is Sinking: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Jan. 15, 2018—Given the turbulent political climate, one wonders whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has any regrets and, if so, if he would gladly roll back time a decade.

The Trump Peace Plan: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Jan. 14, 2018—President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel occurred against the backdrop of his ambition to devise a comprehensive peace proposal for Israel and the Palestinians.

The Madness of the Anti-Trump Shrinks: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 11, 2018—In October, 125 psychologists and assorted mental health professionals marched to New York’s City Hall while wearing red tags warning, “DANGER.” Leading the march was Peter Fraenkel, author of Sync Your Relationship, Save Your Marriage, mournfully beating a drum in a solemn march.

For Tunisian Jews, Firebomb Attacks on Synagogue Open Old Wounds: Jesse Bernstein, Tablet, Jan. 11, 2018—Legend has it that the El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, a small island town just off the coast of Tunisia, has roots going back to the Babylonian Exile.