03/21 Links Pt1: The International Community Justifies, Funds Palestinian Terrorism; Erdoğan is paying the price
Ben-Dror Yemini: Erdoğan is paying the price
The Islamist trend led by President Erdoğan has succeeded above and beyond. Maybe even a bit more than it appeared. The Turkish regime tried to claim that the Kurdish resistance (the PKK) was behind the terrorist attacks. The truth has been revealed. It was jihad. In fact, this isn’t surprising.
Because the states that tolerate terrorism the most are the states with the highest concentration of supporters of radical Islam, Wahhabism and Salafism. It’s happening in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Nigeria and in Libya. The fact that Muslim states and Muslims are the principle victims doesn’t deter terrorism’s supporters. They commit suicide inside of mosques in Nigeria just like in Pakistan. They’re not Sunnis against Shiites. They’re Sunnis against Sunnis.
One could argue that terrorism is a result of changes in alliances, and maybe even the cessation of Turkish support for ISIS. This is not exactly correct. Because terrorism flourishes wherever radicalization grows.
On Saturday, terrorism tried to wound Turkey and Turks. Israelis apparently were injured unintentionally. Erdoğan is leading Turkey to Islamization. Turkey is paying the price. There’s no paradox here. To the contrary: this is the obvious result. Almost predictable. So Erdoğan has only himself to blame.
Daniel Pipes: Turkey’s Erdoğan Gambles and Loses
Erdoğan’s error of backing ISIS and other Sunni Islamist organizations in Syria has hurt him in another way, leading to a massive influx of Syrian refugees to Turkey, where, increasingly unwelcomed by the indigenous population, they cause new social and economic strains.
Which brings us to Erdoğan’s latest gambit. The many Syrian refugees wanting to go on to northwestern Europe provide him with a handy mechanism to blackmail the European Union: pay me huge amounts of money (€6 billion at latest count) and permit 80 million Turks to travel visa-free to your countries, or I will dump more unwelcome Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis, et al. on you.
So far, the ploy has worked. Led by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Europeans are succumbing to Erdoğan’s demands. But this may well be a Pyrrhic victory, hurting Erdoğan’s long-term interests. In the first place, forcing Europeans to pretend they are not being blackmailed and to welcome Turkey with clenched teeth, creates a foul mood, further reducing, if not killing off, Turkish chances for membership.
Second, Erdoğan’s game has prompted a profound and probably lasting shift in mood in Europe against accepting more immigrants from the Middle East – including Turks – as demonstrated by the poor showing of Merkel’s party in elections earlier this month.
This is just the start. In combination, these errors by Erdoğan point to more crises ahead. Gökhan Bacik, a professor at Ipek University in Ankara, notes that “Turkey is facing a multifaceted catastrophe,” the scale of which “is beyond Turkey’s capacity for digestion.” If Iran is today the Middle East’s greatest danger, Turkey is tomorrow’s.
JPost Editorial: Terror in Istanbul
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced doubt that the horrific suicide attack in Istanbul on Saturday was directed at Israelis, although it took a heavy toll: Three of the four dead were Israelis – Yonatan Suher, 40, Simcha Damri, 60, and Avraham Goldman, 69. Suher and Goldman also held American citizenship. The fourth fatality was an unnamed Iranian citizen. Half of the 22 wounded were Israelis, and Israel dispatched planes to fly those who could travel home.
Damri, a retired kindergarten teacher from Dimona, was in Istanbul with her husband, Avi, taking part in a culinary tour along with other Israelis. She is also survived by three sons (two of whom flew to Istanbul to be with their father) and a daughter.
Suher had been on vacation with his wife, Inbal, to celebrate his 40th birthday. He is survived by Inbal, who was wounded in the attack, and their two children.
Goldman, who lived in Ramat Hasharon, worked as a tour guide, mostly taking important visitors around Jerusalem.
He is survived by his wife, Nitza, three children, and eight grandchildren.
Each of the three Israelis killed in the Istanbul suicide bombing on Saturday had gone to Turkey to celebrate a happy milestone, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Sunday.
Avraham Goldman, 69, who held dual Israeli-American citizenship, was a married father of three and grandfather of eight from Herzliya. According to a friend of the family’s, Goldman, who became a tour guide later in life, took his wife to Turkey to celebrate her birthday. “When he told me he was going, we spoke about the security concerns. He was a very responsible person, and there was no travel warning. On the other hand, as a person who toured Israel and knew that things aren’t as they appear and sound from abroad, and don’t always reflect the reality on the ground, he didn’t cancel the trip… sadly,” the friend told Walla.
Yonatan Shor from Tel Aviv — who also held dual Israeli-American citizenship — was in Turkey celebrating his 40th birthday with his wife, Inbal (and mother of the couple’s two children), who was wounded in the attack and underwent surgery in Istanbul.
Shor, originally from Kibbutz Kvutzat Shiller (also known as Gan Shlomo) in central Israel, did his military service with the Border Police, completed a law degree and worked in high-tech.
For Nadav Damri, his family’s nightmare began with a phone call from his father in Istanbul on Saturday.
“I don’t wish on anyone to receive a call like the last one I got from Dad. He told me, there was a terror attack, I’m hurt and they can’t find mom. This is when our nightmare began.”
Damri spoke of the nightmare phone call on Monday before hundreds of loved ones in Dimona who came to say farewell to Simcha Damri, a local mother of four known for her charity work, who was murdered along with two other Israelis and an Iranian citizen during a suicide bombing in Istanbul on Saturday.
“We are so much alike, we always shared everything and now I don’t have anyone to share things with,” he said, breaking down and sobbing for the woman he called not only his mother, but his best friend as well.
According to the Turkish media outlet Haberturk, security cameras revealed that the terrorist who perpetrated the attack that killed five people including three Israelis in Istanbul on Saturday followed the group before he detonated himself.
The attack, in which 36 people were wounded, took place on the popular Istiklal pedestrian mall.
Haberturk said police had been examining CCTV footage and that it appeared the suicide bomber had followed the group of Israeli tourists for several kilometers from their hotel, then waiting outside the restaurant where they ate breakfast before blowing himself up as they emerged.
Turkish authorities identified the suicide bomber behind the attack as a member of Islamic State born in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said on Sunday.
“We have determined that Mehmet Ozturk, born in 1992 in Gaziantep, has carried out the heinous attack on Saturday in Istanbul. It has been established that he is a member of Daesh,” Ala told a news conference broadcast live on television.
Israeli victims gave harrowing accounts of Saturday’s Istanbul terror attack that killed four people, including three Israelis, and wounded another 36.
“We were a group of Israelis on a tour; he just exploded on us,” Naama Peled, who was on a culinary trip to Turkey with 13 others when the attack occurred, told the Hebrew-language Walla website. “I am now going into the operating theater,” she said. “I was the most lightly wounded [of the Israelis],” she added.
“We were sitting in a restaurant and then the bomber came in and there was an explosion,” Peled told the Ynet news website.
“I saw the terrorist with my own eyes. It is hard for me to talk. I don’t know what happened to everyone and there are a lot of friends that I cannot find,” she said.
Turkish security forces were searching for three Islamic State operatives still on the loose with orders to strike again in Turkey, local media reported Monday.
According to a report by the Dogan news agency, Haci Ali Durmaz, Yunus Durmaz and Salas Yildiz — who was a prime suspect in Saturday’s Istanbul bombing — are using fake identities and have orders to carry out additional terror attacks.
Pictures of the suspects were run in morning papers across the country, just days after a suspected Islamic State bombing on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue left four dead — three of them Israeli — and dozens injured.
Turkey’s interior minister on Sunday identified the suicide bomber who killed four foreign tourists in Istanbul as a militant with links to IS.
British police and special forces are reportedly on standby to tackle up to 10 simultaneous terror attacks in London, including the possible use of weapons of mass destruction.
Fearing an offensive in multiple locations by British terrorists returning from Syria, reminiscent of the attacks in Paris last summer, the UK National Crime Agency has focused on locating illegal firearms brought into the country, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
“We used to plan for three simultaneous attacks but Paris has shown that you need to be ready for more than that,” an unnamed minister was quoted in the report as saying. “We are ready if someone tries with seven, eight, nine, ten.”
An army counter-terrorism bomb disposal unit has also been preparing a team at Vauxhall Barracks in the town of Didcot in Oxfordshire to deal with a possible chemical or biological weapons attack. Meanwhile, additional regiments are on standby outside London.
Lone-wolf terrorism has becom a new component of Palestinian society. No longer is it just about desperate and frustrated kids, mostly from Jerusalem, who take a knife or a pair of scissors and go out looking for death. Now, young men and women, from all over the West Bank, are perpetrating terror attacks that constitute an armed struggle.
Terror cannot exist in the long term without support from the society from which in emerges and in whose name it operates. Lately, it has become more and more apparent that Palestinian society, on all levels, is giving lone-wolf terrorism a warm embrace, and maintaining its momentum.
President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership justified the wave of terror as “muqawama sha’abiye,” which is Arabic for “popular resistance.” This has been heard in statements of support and published documents regarding the deaths of the supposed “shahids” or “martyrs,” and in support of their struggle.
The “shahids” are looked up to as heroes, and their families are entitled to financial benefits. In cities and villages, full color posters with their pictures are distributed; Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are quick to print out these posters and co-opt the “heroes.”
Shamefully and immorally, many in the international community have justified Palestinian terrorism. For instance, in November 2015, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom stated that the choice for Palestinians is that they “must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.” She asserted that killing Palestinian terrorists in the midst of committing murder was a “disproportionate” reaction by Israel, and constituted “extrajudicial executions.”
Aside from the immorality, Wallstrom’s remarks reflect profound double standards directed towards Israel and Jews. When Swedish police fatally shot a sword-wielding man who had killed two people in October 2015, Wallstrom did not call it an extrajudicial execution.
Similarly, just days after the shocking murder of Dafna Meir, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon stated that Palestinian terrorism was understandable because it is “human nature to react to occupation.” In other words, the murder of Israeli civilians at cafes and supermarkets, on buses, in their homes, and in their cars is logical and understandable.
In conjunction with immoral statements of political leaders, the international community, notably the European Union and European governments, provide tens of millions of dollars annually to NGOs for campaigns that foster incitement, promote a bogus “right of resistance” (i.e. justifying deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians), and disseminate antisemitic themes and imagery.
A fire at the home of a key Palestinian witness in the case against the Jewish terrorists responsible for the deaths of a Palestinian toddler and his parents last year is being treated as suspicious. Unsurprisingly, Palestinians have blamed “Jewish settlers” for this latest incident.
According to Israeli media, however:
But the Israel Police and Shin Bet, in a joint statement Sunday night, said mounting evidence indicated it was not a nationalistic attack. “The findings thus far at the scene are not consistent with the characteristics of a deliberate arson attack by Jews,” it said.
A number of media outlets, including the LA Times and Wall Street Journal included this piece of important information.
So did the AFP in its wire report, which was also picked up by The Guardian.
But a comparison between the two articles reveals that The Guardian has edited out parts of the original AFP copy. The Guardian’s story no longer contains any reference to the statements of Israeli authorities calling into question the assumption that Jewish extremists were responsible.
This is a serious case of selective omission where it appears that a copy editor has deliberately removed entire paragraphs of the original piece, thereby skewing the story against Israel.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Abbas Torches Office Of NGO Working To Make Palestinians Not A Parody Of Selves (satire)
An organization that aims to help Palestinian society and government defy the stereotype of them as backward, violent, repressive, and self-defeating has been declared illegal in Palestinian-controlled areas, a spokesman for the group said today.
Representatives of the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Service stormed the Ramallah offices yesterday of Stop the Madness, a group established four years ago to encourage Palestinians and their institutions to adopt modes of thinking and expression that do not further reinforce the perception that they are antidemocratic terrorist bigots. The PSS personnel removed computers, documents, cash, and personal items, then piled furniture and office supplies together and set them alight. The PSS then rampaged through the office, damaging the walls, plumbing fixtures, decor, and windows. Upon completing their task and roughing up the staff of three volunteers, they sealed the door and hung a sign warning that StM had been deemed illegal by presidential order, and anyone who associates with representatives of the group would face torture, imprisonment, and crippling fines.
A spokesman for the organization’s office in Tel Aviv told reporters that the three volunteers were still being held at an undisclosed location by the Palestinian security apparatus, and they have been unable to establish contact or ascertain their welfare. “We are still waiting for word on our volunteers’ condition,” said StM director Ahira Mess. “This incident serves to demonstrate exactly why our work is necessary, unfortunately.”
David Horovitz: AIPAC braces for Trump, the ‘most pro-Israel’ contender
Sunday’s AIPAC proceedings were troublingly inconvenienced by pro-Palestinian protesters outside the convention center, an annual irritant that was more serious this year. Trump’s appearance on Monday, however, brings trouble and division within. AIPAC may have had no choice but to invite Trump; but plenty of AIPAC participants are unhappy that he will be here and are looking for respectful ways to make that clear.
It is most certainly not AIPAC’s fault that those American voters who have had a say thus far have made Trump the leading Republican presidential contender. It is also not AIPAC’s fault that the only Jew left in the race, Bernie Sanders, opted to make his excuses and give Washington a wide berth.
And so we find ourselves with the Jew who chose not to be seen with the pro-Israel lobby. And the “most pro-Israel” candidate with whom many in the lobby would much rather not be seen. It’s only the latest implausible moment in this surreal, punditry-defying American election campaign.
And to think that we Israelis used to come to AIPAC thinking that our political battleground was the crazy one.
Reflecting on his recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Vice President Joe Biden told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) 2016 policy conference on Sunday that there is currently “no political will, among Israelis or Palestinians” to move forward with serious peace negotiations.
“After extensive meetings with leaders on all sides, including the different [political] parties in Israel, I must tell you I didn’t walk away encouraged,” Biden said.
Biden condemned what he called actions on both sides that undermine trust between the Israelis and Palestinians, including Palestinian efforts to marginalize Israel at the United Nations and Israeli settlement activities. Biden drew some boos from the AIPAC crowd when he said that settlements are “eroding prospects” for a two-state solution—a solution that the vice president asserted is the only way for Israel to maintain its identity as a Jewish and democratic state.
While he said he knows that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “talking about it (a two-state solution), and I hear it being talked about on the Palestinian side,” Biden argued that such talk is not being backed up by actions.
“I know we have to work on renewing that will for peace…The terrorist attacks must stop, the rhetoric that incites violence against innocents…it must stop. The acts of retribution and revenge must stop,” Biden said.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is holding its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C. There are 18,000 attendees.
Today was a rally for Palestine, and the marchers (200-300 based on the videos posted online) marched to the AIPAC conference location where protesters heckled people trying to enter. There also were the usual Code Pink antics, such as trying hard to get arrested by blocking doors (so far this year, no arrests). The main Code Pink protest is Monday, and I’m sure they will try hard to get arrested for publicity, as they did last year.
But there were far more aggressive and dangerous people in the crowd, as this video shows.
Language Warning on all videos
(added) The Townhall reporter on the scene, Leigh Wolf, recounts how the anti-AIPAC crowd falsely is claiming a journalist was attacked by AIPAC attendees:
The “journalist” is ANSWER coalition member Mike Prysner. Far from a journalist, he is in fact with the organizers of the Anti-Israel protest….
But the journalist who is claiming he was attacked by an AIPAC attendee seems to forget that I filmed him threatening two conference attendees.
The first video is the incident itself showing AIPAC members fleeing an angry mob.
The Anti-Israel crowd could be heard screaming “run inside” and “that’s what you get. …
The second video is my interaction with the journalist who claims he was attacked. This video was taken moments before the incident. He can be heard warning AIPAC attendees that they are “lucky” the police are close by.
A group of pro-Palestinian Arab activists on Sunday interrupted Arutz Sheva’s crew as they were reporting from the protest outside the AIPAC policy conference, blaming Israel and Arutz Sheva for “killing babies”.
The masked protesters claimed they were from the Anonymous group of hackers and said they came to protest outside the conference “to support Palestine”.
“People should stop dying. We’re all humans,” said one of them, who also admitted he’d never actually been to Israel but added, “I don’t want to see people dead.”
“Our tax dollars should not go to fund your bulls**t,” said another masked activist. “No one asked me if I wanted to kill Palestinians….You’re a f***ing dot on the map.”
The activist also claimed that Israel “created ISIS..through our tax dollars, through the Mossad and the CIA.”
This weeks AIPAC policy Conference is the largest ever- with over 18,000 in attendance. Jews and their diverse allies from all over the country have gathered in Washington DC in solidarity and support of a strong relationship between the US and Israel.
And of course, there are protests and planned disruptions.
Where else but an an AIPAC policy conference can “Jewish” Voice for Peace, Code Pink, Al-Awda and International ANSWER find common cause with the Westboro Baptist Church?
“Do not negotiate! We must keep fighting!” declared Abbas Hamideh, co-founder of Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, to the few hundred pro-Palestinian activists gathered before him in front of the White House on Sunday.
They were there to protest the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, widely known as AIPAC, America’s most influential pro-Israel lobbying group, on the first day of its annual policy conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Beyond AIPAC, the purpose of the protest was to “advocate for the right of Palestinians all over the world.” To this end, the protestors were calling for the creation of a new Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, an area within which the entire state of Israel is located, and for all Palestinians around the world to have a right to return to this land.
Al-Awda hosted and organized the protest along with co-sponsor the ANSWER Coalition, an anti-war group.
Ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference in Washington D.C., Donald Trump suggested that Jews would support his approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, the Republican frontrunner evaded questions regarding his comments ahead of the South Carolina primary in which the New York billionaire pledged to be “neutral” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
When pressed to lay out the framework for his policy vis-à-vis Israel, Trump instead replied that “a deal would be in Israel’s interests.” He then claimed that Jews were unanimous in their support of a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“I’ll tell you what,” Trump said, “I don’t know one Jewish person that doesn’t want to have a deal, a good deal, a proper deal, but a really good deal.”
When pressed by Stephanopoulos as to the contours of such a deal, including whether it would entail territorial concessions by Israel, Trump again avoided offering specifics.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke on Monday morning at the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington D.C. The Democratic frontrunner highlighted the importance of the US-Israel alliance, and demanded an end to the Palestinian Authority’s incitement against Israel and celebration of terrorists.
“These attacks must end immediately, and Palestinian leaders must stop inciting violence, stop celebrating terrorists as martyrs, and stop paying rewards to their families.”
Referencing the recent terror wave in Israel, Clinton spoke of “brutal terror attacks” including stabbing attacks.
Clinton repeatedly condemned incitement in the Palestinian Authority, but also linked support for terrorism and construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
“Terrorism should never be encouraged or celebrated, and children should not be taught to hate in schools, that poison’s the future,” she said. But, Clinton continued, “Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements.”
Marco Rubio’s withdrawal from the presidential race this week will not relieve Hillary Clinton from affirming or disavowing the following pledge made by Rubio during his failed campaign:
“I will revive the common-sense understandings reached in the 2004 Bush-Sharon letter and build on them to help ensure Israel has defensible borders”
The terms of Bush’s letter – dated 14 April 2004 – were overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407:9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95:3 on 24 June 2004.
The letter backed Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza and promised to support Israel’s following positions in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority over the previous 11 years:
1. Israel would not cede its claims to all of the territory captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War
2. Millions of Palestinian Arabs would not be resettled in Israel and
3. Israel must be recognised as the state of the Jewish people.
Israel’s insistence on these conditions had been major stumbling blocks in the PLO rejecting Israel’s offer to withdraw from more than 90 per cent of the West Bank during negotiations brokered by President Bill Clinton in 2000/2001.
The Bush Congress-endorsed letter had put America squarely in Israel’s corner.
In November 2015, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign surprised TV network CBS when it insisted on minimizing foreign policy content in the channel’s Democratic debate, even though the face-off was taking place right after deadly ISIS massacres in Paris had left 130 people dead. As Politico reported at the time, CBS sought to alter the debate format to address the attack, but was stymied by Sanders’ campaign:
Sanders’ team forcefully opposed any changes–and, to the amazement of the network and the other Democrats who decried his tone-deafness, crowed publicly about limiting the foreign policy component to spend more time discussing economic inequality and other issues central to the Vermont senator’s candidacy.
Months later, this moment stands as the ultimate expression of Sanders’ strategy to make his presidential campaign about domestic issues, to the exclusion of foreign affairs. “Sanders appears to have no foreign policy at all,” wrote Vox foreign editor Max Fisher in February. “He has no direct experience, no major policy proposals, not even, as best anyone can tell, a single foreign policy staffer or adviser. When asked about foreign policy, he tends to change the subject or merely argue for maintaining Obama administration policies.” It’s a savvy scheme which plays to Sanders’ strengths and experience while pivoting away from those of his rival, Hillary Clinton, a former Secretary of State.
It’s also why Sanders was never going to address the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C. this year, even as all the other Democratic and Republican candidates will be doing so. Simply put, a presidential contender who has yet to give a single speech devoted to foreign policy during his entire campaign is not about to start with Israel/Palestine, one of the most fractious and controversial international issues of all. (Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has delivered multiple foreign policy addresses during her campaign, from the Council on Foreign Relations to the Brookings Institute.)
Noted pundit Max Blumenthal dropped a bombshell of an accusation earlier today: that Israel’s Clandestine Service undertook a secret program that slowly and deliberately transformed him into a hack writer who cashes in on the connections of his father, noted Hillary Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal. The Daily Freier sat down with Max at a local Starbucks to get the whole Megillah.
“It all started about 10 years ago. I was a somewhat intelligent, if not particularly original college graduate. I guess the Mossad saw that as a threat. So they must have given me some sort of serum I guess. Or subliminal messages in my TV. Or maybe put a virus on my Mac…. Anyhow, within a couple of years I realized that I had degenerated into a cliché-ridden anti-Israel hack writer. And yeah, Dad did not like that at all.”
The Daily Freier pressed Mr. Blumenthal for details on his alarming accusation.”I still don’t totally get it myself. Things just got….weird. For example, this German politician called me an Anti-Semite. So somehow the Mossad got me to follow him into a public restroom so I could yell at him. Now I’m banned from the Bundestag. [NOTE: THIS REALLY HAPPENED]. Real crazy stuff. And then, get this, the Israeli’s got a guy at that right-wing magazine ‘The Nation’ to describe my book as having been written for “The Hamas Book of the Month Club”…. I gotta admit, that’s pretty clever…..But yeah, Dad fixed that guy good.“
Khaled Abu Toameh: More Palestinian Empty Threats
For Abbas, security coordination with Israel is indeed “sacred”: it keeps him in power and stops Hamas from taking over the West Bank.
Abbas cannot tell his people that security coordination with Israel is keeping him on the throne. That is a topic for Israeli ears only.
So what are the threats to end security cooperation about? Money. Here is Abbas’s take-home to the world: “Send more money or we will cut off security cooperation with Israel.”
Halting security coordination with Israel would spell both his end and that of the PA in the West Bank. The international community is simply hearing a new version of the old bid for yet more political concessions and yet more cash.
Members of the United States Congress are delaying a payment of $159 million in aid allocated for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in an effort to pressure the PA to relaunch negotiations with Israel, the PLO’s ambassador to Washington said Sunday, according to the Ma’an news agency.
According to the agency, the envoy, Maen Erekat, confirmed earlier reports that Congress was blocking the payment, which came at the request of House Republican Kay Granger, the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, who explained her request in the fact that the PA supports terrorism.
According to Ma’an, the Obama administration allocated $440 million in aid to the PA, including $131 million for economic and development projects by USAID and $70 million for PA agencies and security agencies, while $80 million in aid was deducted following Israeli criticism of the PA’s incitement against Israel last October.
Erekat claimed that some “pro-Israel” Congress members are continuing to pressure the PA to relaunch diplomatic negotiations with Israel, and prevent Palestinians from joining international organizations and conventions.
A bipartisan coalition of 30 senators is calling on top appropriators to fully fund several joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense systems that help protect the Jewish state from terrorist rocket attacks, according to a letter sent by the lawmakers to the Senate’s Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The lawmakers, led by Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), are seeking to ensure that these missile systems receive the full amount of funding amid a sharp rise in the number of terror attacks occurring in Israel.
The joint defense systems—which include Iron Dome, the Arrow III interceptor, and David’s Sling—have been in the works for years, and have proven capable of destroying missile threats before they strike land.
Congress allocated more than $487 million for the programs in 2015, including around $55 for the Iron Dome system, which has garnered international headlines for its ability to knock down crude rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
The other systems are still being perfected, but are expected to be capable of targeting more sophisticated missiles, such as those supplied by Iran to the terror group Hezbollah.
Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor said Monday he did not believe that a Palestinian who was found dead in Sofia last month was murdered, although a probe has not yet been completed.
Omar Nayef Zayed, 51, who was wanted by Israel over the killing of a Jewish Israeli three decades ago, was found dead in the courtyard of the Palestinian Embassy in Sofia on February 26.
Zayed’s family accused Israel of assassinating him and last week said Bulgarian investigators were keeping them in the dark about their probe.
“At present, we do not think that it was a murder,” the prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, told journalists on Monday.
“All that has been established is that the cause of death was a fall from the third floor of the (embassy) building. We have not found any other possible causes of death,” he added.
Dozens of Gazans, whose homes were destroyed by Israeli bombing in the 2014 Gaza war, have demanded the Palestinian Authority immediately pay them Kuwaiti grant money for the reconstruction of Gaza on Sunday.
The landlords of the destroyed homes gathered Sunday morning outside the building of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, raising banners demanding that the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah intervene and force the Palestinian Authority to release the grant to the residents whose homes were destroyed.
During a Gaza donor conference that took place in November 2014, the Kuwaiti government announced that it would grant $200 million dollars for Gaza reconstruction.
“The unity government headed by Rami Hamdallah did not fulfill its promises to the Kuwaiti grant beneficiaries and decided to postpone the subject,” Umm Radi al- Nagar, a 60-year-old resident who participated in the demonstration told al-Arabi al-Jadid news site.
In what appears to be an attempt to detach itself from its mother organization in Egypt, Hamas has removed all signs of the Muslim Brotherhood from the streets and mosques in Gaza.
All the pictures and slogans related to the group have been taken down and removed from public view.
The London-based Arab daily A-Sharq al-Awsat reported Monday that Hamas’ Public Works Department started removing images of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including the image of the movement’s founder, Hassan al-Banna, and ousted Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi.
Hamas has also removed a major banner which was hung in central Gaza over the past few years. The banner contained the images of the current and previous emirs of Qatar, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and two of Hamas’ senior leaders, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal, with the caption: “Jerusalem waits for the men.”
Some of the last Jews living in Yemen were brought to Israel in a secret mission in recent days, the Jewish Agency announced.
Clandestine activity of the Jewish Agency culminated in the aliya of the 19 Jews, fourteen from the town of Raydah and a family of five from the capital Sanaa.
According to Channel 2, the US State Department was involved in the mission and helped coordinate the complex transfer of the Jews after the group faced persecution on its way to Israel.
Among the new immigrants was Rabbi Saliman Dahari who arrived with his parents and his wife and met his children upon arrival at the absorption center in Israel. The rabbi brought with him a torah scroll that is 500-600-years-old.
The father of one of the new arrivals on Monday was Aharon Zindani, who was murdered in an anti-Semitic attack in 2012. Also in 2012, a young Jewish woman was abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forcibly wed to a Muslim man. The Jewish Agency said that as Yemen has descended into civil war and the humanitarian situation in the country has worsened, the Jewish community has found itself increasingly imperiled. (h/t Yenta Press)