Trump Kicks America’s Palestinian Habit: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2018— It was probably a coincidence that US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley hailed the Iranian anti-regime protesters and threatened to end US financial support for UNRWA – the UN Palestinian refugee agency – and the Palestinian Authority more generally in the same briefing.
Time for Western Donors to Teach the PA a Lesson: Marcus Sheff, Times of Israel, Jan. 2, 2018— On December 10, 2017, Yasin Abu al-Qar’a got up early.
Palestinian Hostility to Peace Overlooked Following Trump Jerusalem Decision: John Rossomando, IPT News, Dec. 28, 2017— Commentators far and wide make it sound as if President Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the death knell of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
The Palestinians Should Take What They Can Get While They Can: Conrad Black, National Post, Dec. 8, 2017 — The American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an inspired move and the Canadian government’s decision to respond judiciously is very commendable.
Thousands in Gaza Protest Against Worsening Living Conditions: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, Jan. 4, 2018
New in the West Bank: A Credit Boom Waiting for a Real Economy: David Wainer, Bloomberg, Jan. 3, 2018
Trump's Jerusalem Move Could Provide a Pathway to Peace: Ahmed Charai, National Interest, Jan. 1, 2018
Palestinians: Always on the Wrong Side: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 3, 2018
Caroline B. Glick
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2018
It was probably a coincidence that US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley hailed the Iranian anti-regime protesters and threatened to end US financial support for UNRWA – the UN Palestinian refugee agency – and the Palestinian Authority more generally in the same briefing. But they are integrally linked. It is no coincidence that Hamas is escalating its rocket attacks on Israel as the Iranian regime confronts the most significant domestic challenge it has ever faced.
As IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said this week, Iranian assistance to Hamas is steadily rising. Last August, Hamas acknowledged that Iran is its greatest military and financial backer. In 2017, Iran transferred $70 million to the terrorist group. Eisenkot said that in 2018, Iran intends to transfer $100m. to Hamas.
If Iran is Hamas’s greatest state sponsor, UNRWA is its partner. UNRWA is headquartered in Gaza. It is the UN’s single largest agency. It has more than 11,500 employees in Gaza alone. UNRWA’s annual budget is in excess of $1.2 billion. Several hundred million each year is spent in Gaza. The US is UNRWA’s largest funder. In 2016, it transferred more than $368m. to UNRWA.
For the past decade, the Center for Near East Policy Research has copiously documented how UNRWA in Gaza is not an independent actor. Rather it is an integral part of Hamas’s regime in Gaza. UNRWA underwrites the jihadist regime by paying for its school system and its healthcare system, among other things. Since 1999, UNRWA employees have repeatedly and overwhelmingly elected Hamas members to lead their unions.
In every major missile campaign Hamas has carried out against Israel since the group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, UNRWA facilities have played key roles in its terrorist offensives. Missiles, rockets and mortars have been stored in and fired from UNRWA schools and clinics. UNRWA teachers and students have served as human shields for Hamas missile launches against Israel. UNRWA ambulances have been used to ferry weapons, including mortars, and terrorists. UNRWA officials have served as Hamas mouthpieces in their propaganda war against Israel.
In the UNRWA school curriculum, the overwhelming message in nearly every class, and nearly every textbook, is that students should seek martyrdom in jihad against Israel. They should strive to destroy the Jewish state. Hamas’s youth group, which provides children’s military training and jihadist indoctrination, gathers at UNRWA schools. Despite repeated demands by the US Congress, and the passage of US laws requiring UNRWA to bar Hamas members from working for the agency, UNRWA administrators have insisted for more than a decade that they have no way to conduct such screening. Yet rather than cut off US funding for the agency, successive US administrations have increased funding for UNRWA every year.
Given all of this, Hamas is comfortable using Iran’s $100m. to build attack tunnels and missile launchers, because it trusts that the US and other UNRWA donor countries will continue to underwrite its regime through UNRWA. If the US cuts off its assistance, then at least some of Iran’s money will have to be diverted to teachers’ salaries.
Hamas’s recently escalating rocket attacks on Israel may be happening because Iran wishes to deflect international attention away from its plan to brutally suppress the anti-regime protesters at home. So the more Hamas is financially squeezed by the US and other UNRWA funders, the more likely any Hamas-Iran war plans being advanced now will be placed on the back burner. So whether or not Haley realized it, her statement on cutting off US funding to Hamas strengthened the anti-regime protesters against the regime.
Those protesters, of course are demanding that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his henchmen stop raiding Iran’s treasury to finance Hezbollah, Hamas and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Haley’s comments, as well as President Donald Trump’s follow-on threat to end US funding of the PA, were more than a blow to Hamas. They marked end of the past 25 years of US-Palestinian relations…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Times of Israel, Jan. 2, 2018
On December 10, 2017, Yasin Abu al-Qar’a got up early. He calmly left his home outside Nablus, traveled to Jerusalem and plunged a knife which he had specially bought into the chest of a middle-aged Jerusalem bus station guard, Asher Elmaliach. During his indictment for attempted murder and as reported in The Times of Israel, al-Qar’a told his Shin Bet interrogators that he had identified Elmaliach as a Jew and that his attempt to kill was “based on what he’d been taught in Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks”.
The PA curriculum was recently overhauled, taking three years to write. PA Minister of Education Sabri Saidem touted it as a curriculum for the Steve Jobs economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sad fact is, rather than grasp the opportunity to teach values of progress, tolerance and peace, the new PA curriculum is a rallying call to extremism and martyrdom…
(The) new curriculum promotes radicalization to an even greater extent than before. The textbooks groom school children to sacrifice their lives and they promote hate. Negotiations with Israel are rejected, with children taught that a Palestinian state will be achieved only through violence and religious war. Martyrdom is preached as a life goal. Their reward is in heaven where 72 wives await. Girls find equality with boys through martyrdom. Dying, they are taught, is better than living.
Those who risk their lives are championed, while those who choose a path of nonviolence are denigrated as cowards. War is considered an eternal state of human nature, while even science is twisted to teach violence. The stated goal is to conquer Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, promoted through an Islamist and increasingly, a Salafist narrative. The curriculum’s focus is not merely on demonizing Israel, but to justify war as an ongoing and praiseworthy necessity.
Be in no doubt. Asher Elmaliach currently lies in intensive care as a direct result of the PA Ministry of Education’s carefully crafted curriculum, which systematically encourages young Palestinians to become expendable martyrs. What is almost as shocking as the content of the PA’s curriculum, is the source of funding which has made it possible. The PA Ministry of Education is funded by the European Union and EU member states, through programs of the American and Canadian governments, and by international organizations that are generously financed by the United States and Europeans. All in all, hundreds of millions of dollars are transferred to the PA for education, thanks to the unwitting generosity of American and European taxpayers.
When challenged directly with the grim reality of the curriculum, with the clear evidence of our report in front of their eyes, Western diplomats to the PA are often surprised. But their response is inadequate. At best, they insist that the matter has been raised with the PA Ministry of Education. These diplomatic niceties have brought no apparent change. Meanwhile other Western envoys revert to a culturally relativist narrative which ultimately infantilizes and demeans Palestinians. At a moment when around the Middle East, from Morocco to Jordan, governments are purging extremism from textbooks, fearful of radicalizing youth in their countries, the PA has made a strategic decision to do the opposite – to radicalize young Palestinians. Today, in schools across the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, 1.2 million Palestinian children are exposed to hate and encouraged to sacrifice themselves.
Change will not come from the diplomats on the ground. It will come through multilateral, international pressure, brought to bear on respective governments by elected representatives. Already, there is progress – from Members of Congress who oppose USAID funding of the PA while this curriculum remains in circulation, a Labour Party MP who is leading the charge in Britain, Finnish politicians who are demanding their government abide by its own principles of zero hate in schools when giving aid to the PA Ministry of Education. Meanwhile, an energetic and effective group of MEPs are determined to condition the European Union’s massive annual funding to the PA Ministry of Education on removing hate in PA textbooks and a leading Belgian newspaper is asking its government why it is involved in promoting martyrdom. 2018 needs to be the year when donor nations begin to take responsibility for what young Palestinians are being taught at the expense of their taxpayers. The alternative is a conveyor belt of ‘martyrs’ just like Yasin Abu al-Qar’a. And too many innocent victims, just like Asher Elmaliach.
IPT News, Dec. 28, 2017
Commentators far and wide make it sound as if President Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the death knell of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. In the process, they perpetuate their continual blindness to the fact the Palestinian Authority (PA), headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, considers Israel proper part of the disputed territories and wishes Israel's destruction.
The usual talking points blaming Israel and Trump appear ad nauseam. "This looks like a declaration of war on 1.6 [billion] Muslims, basically. They consider Jerusalem … they consider the holy site, the Aqsa mosque, the Dome of the Rock, as the most important, the third basically most important holy site for all of them," University of Miami Visiting Professor Rula Jebreal, also an Israeli Arab citizen, said , during a Dec. 6 appearance on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes." "… [T]here is no peace process anymore because Trump destroyed it de facto – and I think also the Israelis and the settlements [ended it]."
She conveniently ignores that Israel's seat of government has been in Jerusalem since late 1949. President Trump's decision doesn't prevent future Palestinian and Israeli governments from making East Jerusalem a Palestinian capital. Jebreal's statement also ignores that Jordan, not Israel, has custodianship of the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount. Jebreal's hyperbole isn't surprising considering her pro-Islamist bias, evidenced by her praise for Tunisian Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi and Mauritanian Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, both of whom endorse jihadist terror against Israel. Islam forbids normalizing relations with Israel, the International Union of Resistance Scholars declared in October. The conference's theme was, "The Extinction of Israel is an historical, definitive and Quranic fact." "Giving up Palestine and recognizing the right of the Zionist entity to establish its state on the land of Islam and the Muslims is a betrayal of Allah, His Messenger (Muhammad) and the rest of the believers," the conference's concluding document said.
A separate gathering earlier this month of 255 Muslim scholars representing 26 countries in Istanbul signed a "Charter of the Resistance to Normalization" forbidding normalizing relations with Israel. Participating groups such as the Association of Sunni Scholars and the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) have ties the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar. The charter said normalizing relations was against Islamic law. The IUMS issued a press release Dec. 6 calling Trump's decision a "red line" and urging Muslims to never "allow to compromise, even if they have to bring great sacrifices." IUMS founder Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi called for jihad "for the sake of Jerusalem." Qaradawi made a similar appeal in July, urging an "Islamic campaign" for Jerusalem. Qaradawi's name appeared first among the 255 signatories of the declaration condemning normalized relations with Israel.
Meanwhile, Iranian Quds Force leader Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani reaffirmed support for Hamas against Israel, and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed that the Jerusalem proclamation would "be the beginning of the end of Israel." Hamas leaders announced last week that they met with Hizballah leaders together with representatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad to reaffirm their unity against Israel.
Iran and its terrorist proxies aren't alone. "O Allah, liberate our mosque from the occupation's filth," a July Facebook post by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction said. A graphic showed two hands holding the Dome of the Rock. This absolute rejection of Israel's very existence is something too many analysts omit when forecasting doom in the U.S. embassy's move. "Trump's decision fulfilled a campaign promise, but it threatened to unravel one of his top foreign-policy pledges: to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians," Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, wrote in The New Yorker.
Wright cites Khalil Shikaki as an unbiased expert in supporting her thesis. But she fails to mention Shikaki's pivotal role as an intermediary between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group and its U.S. front groups. Wright's Wilson Center colleague and former U.S. peace negotiator Aaron David Miller focused on the issue of trust in the wake of the president's decision. His analysis made zero mention of the unequivocal Palestinian opposition to peace and recognition of Israel. "In a mere 11 minutes, Trump managed to undermine the U.S. role as an effective broker, disrespect Palestinian claims and the sensitivity of the Jerusalem issue and make it harder for Arab states to press the Palestinians and reach out to the Israelis," Miller wrote in a Dec. 11 Politico column…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
National Post, Dec. 8, 2017
The American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an inspired move and the Canadian government’s decision to respond judiciously is very commendable. Nothing useful in the Middle East peace process has occurred in 25 years, but the correlation of forces in the region and the ambitions of the Arab powers have evolved. For decades, Israel’s most fanatical enemies were Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and the first two countries have disintegrated and Saudi Arabia is now an Israeli ally with Egypt and against Iran. The Arabs dislike the Palestinians at least as much as they dislike the Jews and the Lebanese Christians — all are considered commercial elites where they have been minorities in Arab countries, and as there are no more Jews and very few Christians in Arab countries, that animosity has abated. For decades the Arab powers used the Palestinian question as a red herring to enflame the Arab masses and distract them from the chronic misgovernment the Arab rulers were inflicting on their peoples. Now, for the first time since the British relinquished Palestine, and Jordan and France vacated Lebanon and Syria, 70 years ago, there is a physical encroachment on the Arab world, from their ancient Persian enemy.
The Arab Spring was nonsense — the notion that democracy can easily take hold where it has never been and no institutions exist to promote it was a fantasy worthy of George W. Bush, whose aggressive championship of democracy handed Lebanon to Hezbollah and Gaza to Hamas, and contributed to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, where it had been the 900 pound gorilla in the Arab house for 75 years. (By the dumb luck of the Brotherhood’s incompetence, the West dodged the bullet and the Egyptian army took back the government.) The only way forward is authoritarian government seeking economic growth and gradual social progress. This was essentially the course followed by the Shah of Iran, the most enlightened ruler Persia has had since Alexander the Great’s transitory regime 23 centuries ago, and he lost control of events to mad medieval theocrats. Saudi Arabia, a state that has been a joint venture between the House of Saud and the Wahhabi radical Islamic leadership, is now modernizing and becoming a benign and more secular dictatorship, leading the resistance to Iran. The new government of Saudi Arabia has proposed to the Palestinians a settlement of its affairs with Israel less generous than the Israelis have themselves offered, and it implicitly acknowledges that Jerusalem is Israeli.
There will be no significant opposition to this move, apart from festive burnings of American flags and pictures of Donald Trump in the West Bank and Gaza. The Arab masses don’t care what happens to the Palestinians or Jerusalem (and the U.S. will presumably put its embassy in an uncontested section of Western Jerusalem). The Chinese and Russians object because they consider themselves rivals to the United States and are happy when the United States is mired in Middle Eastern conflicts as a prolonged, low-key Vietnam, as it was for 13 years under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. China has no dog in that hunt, and Russia fancies it has a role to play as champion of factions in several of the fictional or failed states in the region. The Western Europeans object because they think they have a role there as former colonial powers. In fact, there has never been a West European post-Second World War policy in that region except to await the American position and then stake out something more favourable to the Arabs.
We have just observed the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which Jews, or at least Israel, have generously celebrated as the first recognition of Israel’s right to a Middle Eastern homeland. In fact, and as I have had occasion to remark in the British House of Lords (I am a member of it), the British, more than any other country, created this mess by selling the same real estate to two buyers at the same time, and inciting the right to possession of both, with the professed ambition to create “a Jewish homeland” without compromising the “rights of the Palestinians.” This was moonshine and Britain checked out, leaving the new Jewish state, established on the motion of Stalin’s U.S.S.R. at the United Nations, seconded by President Truman’s America, to fight for its life. The Jewish people effectively faced a second attempt at annihilation just three years after the liberation of the Nazi death camps.
While the Arab sections of Israel have been under-served, the Arabs enjoy liberties they cannot exercise in any predominantly Arab country and have a large representation in the Israeli Knesset and full civil rights. To some extent, Israel has carried out the second part of the Balfour Declaration and observed Palestinian rights, difficult though it is when the official policy of the Palestinian leadership is the eviction or extermination of the Jews, yet again, and as so often before. It ill behooves Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, to say that President Trump has been “unhelpful.” The British dalliance in the Middle East was a disaster, except for British Petroleum, and ended in the ignominy of Suez in 1956, where Lester Pearson and Louis St. Laurent, with American encouragement, did what they could to salvage any decorum for Britain and France.
This recent and contemporary bunk about Israel as an apartheid state is the last gasp of the useful idiots of primeval anti-Semitism. The Jews are the majority, unlike the Afrikaaners; the Arabs have substantial rights; and Israel was not just admitted to the United Nations as a territory and jurisdiction, like Canada and the United States and other existing countries in 1945 were, but was created by the United Nations as a Jewish state. It is the ultimate, legitimate country. The agitation about Jerusalem as capital is nonsense — the Israeli Knesset and Supreme Court are there and Russia recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in April of this year, which makes their disapproval of Trump’s move this week a bit rich, even by the unvaryingly cynical standards of the Kremlin. Prior to 1967, when the Jordanians ruled East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Jews could not pray at the Western wall, could not attend the Hebrew University at Mount Scopus or be treated at the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, which Jews had founded decades before, and they could not live in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, where their ancestors had lived for 200 generations. Trump has undone the shame of Obama allowing the United Nations last year to condemn Israeli possession of these sites as “a flagrant violation of international law.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Thousands in Gaza Protest Against Worsening Living Conditions: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, Jan. 4, 2018—Thousands of Palestinians protested Thursday evening against the deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions in the Gaza Strip, local media reported, demanding that the Palestinian leadership provide them with solutions.
New in the West Bank: A Credit Boom Waiting for a Real Economy: David Wainer, Bloomberg, Jan. 3, 2018—The Palestinian economy is crippled by restrictions on trade, investments and access to natural resources, but driving around Ramallah you might get the impression it’s booming. Underground parking lots are brimming with Audis and BMWs, residential buildings are popping up at a frenetic pace, and cafes and restaurants are buzzing with customers.
Trump's Jerusalem Move Could Provide a Pathway to Peace: Ahmed Charai, National Interest, Jan. 1, 2018—The view has set in among Westerners that President Donald Trump’s choice to recognize the Israeli capital in Jerusalem isolated the U.S. diplomatically, cost Washington its role as an Israeli-Palestinian mediator and damaged prospects for a peace settlement overall. The evidence: violence in Palestine and Iran-dominated Arab enclaves, protests and official condemnation in other Muslim countries and a counter-resolution at the UN General Assembly.
Palestinians: Always on the Wrong Side: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 3, 2018—The Palestinians have an old and nasty habit of placing themselves on the wrong side of history and aligning themselves with tyrannical leaders and regimes. Every time the Palestinians make the wrong choice, they end up paying a heavy price. Yet, they do not seem to learn from their mistakes.