Friday, April 29, 2016

Hag Sameach - A joyous holiday - the festival on the last day of Passover

Peace and blessings to all, 
and for the Jewish readers, wishes for a joyous holiday.

May we all be free and safe, 
rejoicing in Hashem's great goodness and hesed,
next year in rebuilt Jerusalem!!

Regular posting will resume on Saturday night, G-d willing. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The "Two State Solution": Irony and Truth - Louis René Beres

by Louis René Beres

"The establishment of such a [Palestinian] state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces into Judea and Samaria ... In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel's existence..." — Shimon Peres, Nobel Laureate and Former Prime Minister of Israel, in 1978.

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964; three years before there were any "occupied territories." Exactly what, then was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
  • Both Fatah and Hamas have always considered, and still consider, Israel as simply part of "Palestine." On their current official maps, all of Israel is identified as "Occupied Palestine."
  • "You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel, and establish a purely Palestinian state. ... I have no use for Jews; they are and remain, Jews." — PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, January 30, 1996 (2.5 years after signing the Oslo Peace Accords).
  • In view of these repeatedly intolerant Arab views on Israel's existence, international law should not expect Palestinian compliance with any agreements, including those concerning use of armed force -- even if these agreements were to include explicit U.S. security guarantees to Israel.
There is no lack of irony in the endless discussions of Israel and a Palestinian state.

One oddly neglected example is the complete turnaround of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres. Recognized today as perhaps the proudest Israeli champion of a "Two State Solution" -- sometimes also referred to as a "Road Map to Peace in the Middle East" -- Peres had originally considered Palestinian sovereignty to be an intolerable existential threat to Israel. More precisely, in his book, Tomorrow is Now (1978), Mr. Peres unambiguously warned:
"The establishment of such a (Palestinian) state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces into Judea and Samaria this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other military equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. ... In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel's existence..."
Now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in apparent agreement with this original position of Peres on Palestine, is nonetheless willing to go along with some form or another of a Palestinian state, but only so long as its prospective leaders should first agree to "demilitarization." Netanyahu, the "hawk," is now in agreement with the early, original warning of Peres, the "dove." Peres's assessment has been Netanyahu's firm quid pro quo.

For Israel, as Mr. Netanyahu understands, legal mistakes and misunderstandings could quickly give rise to potentially irreversible harms. With reference to the particular matter of "Palestine," the underlying hazards are complex, longstanding, and possibly global. These hazards would also only be exacerbated by any newly mandated (by the U.S., Russia, and/or United Nations) Israeli return of the Golan Heights to Syria. Then, armed militants could once again start shooting down at the farmers below, laboring on the Israeli plain.

History can help us better to understand the real outcome of any "Two-State Solution." From the beginnings of the state system, in 1648, following the Thirty Years' War, and the Peace of Westphalia, states have routinely negotiated treaties to provide security. To the extent that they have been executed in good faith, these agreements are fashioned and tested according to international law. Often, of course, disputes arise when signatories have determined that continued compliance is no longer in their presumed national interest.

For Israel, its 1979 Peace Treaty with Egypt remains fundamental and important. Still, any oscillating regime change or Islamist ascendancy in Cairo could easily signal an abrogation of this agreement. These same risks of deliberate nullification could apply to an openly secular Egyptian government, should its leaders (today, this would mean President el-Sisi) decide, for absolutely any reason, that the historic treaty with Israel should now be terminated.

Any post-Sisi regime that would extend some governing authority to the Muslim Brotherhood, to its proxies, or to its jihadist successors (such as ISIS), could produce a sudden Egyptian abrogation. Although the cessation of treaty obligations by the Egyptian side would almost certainly represent a serious violation of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the governing "treaty on treaties," there is little if anything that Israel or the so-called "international community" could do in response. In the still-insightful words of seventeenth-century English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes: "Covenants, without the sword, are but words...." (Leviathan).

Back to Palestine. As recently as last Friday, Palestinian Authority (PA) television, not Hamas, threatened the Jews, not just Israelis, with genocide:
PA TV Preacher: "Allah, punish Your enemies, the enemies of religion, count their numbers and kill them to the last one, and bring them a black day. Allah, punish the wicked Jews, and those among the atheists who help them. Allah, we ask that You bestow upon us respect and honor by enabling us to repel them, and we ask You to save us from their evil." [Official PA TV, April 22, 2016]
That is just part of a wider security problem. Under law, Israel has a "peremptory" (irrefutable, not open to challenge or appeal) right to remain "alive." It was, therefore, entirely proper for Mr. Netanyahu to have previously opposed a Palestinian state in any form. After all, both Fatah and Hamas have always considered, and still consider, Israel as simply part of "Palestine." On their current official maps, all of Israel -- not just West Bank, Judea and Samaria -- is prominently identified as "Occupied Palestine." As for Jerusalem, an April 15, 2016, UNESCO resolution was expressly dismissive of "so-called" Jewish sites, including the Western Wall.

Palestine, while not yet a fully sovereign state, is still a "nonmember observer state" of the United Nations. In that more limited capacity, "Palestine" had already been admitted into UNESCO, and, unsurprisingly, joined enthusiastically in the April 15, 2016 resolution calling into question all "Jewish sites."

In the strict Islamic view, and not merely in narrowly jihadi or Islamist perspectives, Israel is described as the individual Jew writ large. The Jewish State, in this doctrinal view, must be despised and uprooted on account of the allegedly innate and irremediable "evil" that purportedly lurks within each and every individual Jew. This insidiously murderous viewpoint is a far cry from the more fashionable idea that Israel is somehow despised in the region "only" for legitimate political reasons, that it is supposedly an "occupier." In reality, the Israeli is routinely despised in the Islamic world because its people do not submit to Islam. This alleged Jewish infirmity can never hope to be "healed."

A current Egyptian textbook of "Arab Islamic History," used widely in teacher training colleges, expresses these basic and crudely determinative sentiments:
"The Jews are always the same, every time and everywhere. They will not live save in darkness. They contrive their evils clandestinely. They fight only when they are hidden; because they are cowards. ... The Prophet enlightened us about the right way to treat them, and succeeded finally in crushing the plots they had planned. We today must follow this way, and purify Palestine from their filth."[1]
In an earlier article in Al-Ahram by Dr. Lutfi Abd al-Azim, the famous commentator urged, with complete seriousness:
"The first thing that we have to make clear is that no distinction must be made between the Jew and the Israeli....The Jew is a Jew, through the millennia ... in spurning all moral values, devouring the living, and drinking his blood for the sake of a few coins. The Jew, the Merchant of Venice, does not differ from the killer of Deir Yasin or the killer of the camps. They are equal examples of human degradation. Let us therefore put aside such distinctions, and talk only about Jews."[2]
Writing also on the "Zionist Problem," Dr. Yaha al-Rakhawi remarked openly in Al-Ahram
"We are all once again face to face with the Jewish Problem, not just the Zionist Problem; and we must reassess all those studies which make a distinction between "The Jew" and "The Israeli." And we must redefine the meaning of the word "Jew" so that we do not imagine that we are speaking of a divinely revealed religion, or a minority persecuted by mankind ... we cannot help but see before us the figure of the great man Hitler, may God have mercy on him, who was the wisest of those who confronted this problem ... and who out of compassion for humanity tried to exterminate every Jew, but despaired of curing this cancerous growth on the body of mankind."[3]
Finally, consider what Israel's original Oslo Accords "peace partner," Yasser Arafat, said on January 30, 1996, while addressing forty Arab diplomats at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Speaking under the title, "The Impending Total Collapse of Israel," Arafat remarked unapologetically, and without any hesitation:
"We Palestinians will take over everything; including all of Jerusalem. ... All the rich Jews who will get compensation will travel to America. ... We of the PLO will now concentrate all our efforts on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps. Within five years, we will have six to seven million Arabs living in the West Bank, and in Jerusalem. ... You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel, and establish a purely Palestinian state. ... I have no use for Jews; they are and remain, Jews."

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat at the Oslo Accords signing ceremony on September 13, 1993. In 1996, Arafat publicly stated: "We Palestinians will take over everything ... You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel, and establish a purely Palestinian state. ... I have no use for Jews; they are and remain, Jews." (Image source: Vince Musi / The White House)
In view of these repeatedly intolerant Arab views on Israel's existence, international law should not expect Palestinian compliance with any pre-state agreements, including those concerning use of armed force. This is true even if these agreements were to include certain explicit U.S. security guarantees to Israel. Also, authentic treaties can be binding only upon states, therefore any inherently non-treaty agreement between a pre-state "Palestine" and Israel could quickly prove to be of little or no real standing or effectiveness.

What if the government of a new Palestinian state were somehow willing to consider itself bound by the pre-state, non-treaty agreement? Even in these very improbable circumstances, the functioning Palestinian government could still have ample pretext, and opportunity, to lawfully terminate the agreement. Palestine, for example, could withdraw from the "treaty" because of what it would regard as a "material breach" -- a purported violation by Israel that had allegedly undermined the "object or purpose" of the agreement. It could also point toward what international law calls Rebus sic stantibus ("fundamental change of circumstances").

Here, if Palestine might decide to declare itself vulnerable to previously unforeseen dangers -- perhaps even not from Israel but from other Arab armies or their sub-state proxies -- it could lawfully end its previous commitment to remain demilitarized.

There is another factor that explains why Prime Minister Netanyahu's conditioned hope for Palestinian demilitarization remains misconceived, and why Prime Minister Peres's earlier pessimism remains well-founded. After declaring independence, a new Palestinian government, one possibly displaying the same openly genocidal sentiments, could point to particular pre-independence "errors of fact," or "duress," as appropriate grounds to terminate the agreement. Significantly, the usual grounds that may be invoked under domestic law to invalidate contracts can apply equally under international law, both to actual treaties, and to less authoritative agreements.

Any treaty or treaty-like agreement is void if, at the time of entry, it is in conflict with a "peremptory" rule of international law, a rule accepted by the community of states as one from which no deviation is permitted. Because the right of sovereign states to maintain military forces for self-defense is always such a rule, "Palestine" could be well within its lawful rights to abrogate any agreement that had, before its independence, compelled demilitarization.

In short, Benjamin Netanyahu should take no comfort from any legal promises of Palestinian demilitarization. Should the government of a future Palestinian state choose to invite foreign armies or terrorists on to its territory, possibly after the original government had been overthrown by more militantly jihadist or other Islamic forces, it could do so not only without practical difficulties, but also without necessarily violating pertinent international rules.

The core danger to Israel of any presumed Palestinian demilitarization is always far more practical than legal. The "Road Map" to "Palestine" still favored by U.S. President Barack Obama and most European leaders, stems from a persistent misunderstanding of Palestinian history, and, simultaneously, of the long legal history of Jewish life and title to disputed areas in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Jerusalem. At a minimum, President Obama and, even more importantly, his successor, should finally recognize that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964; three years before there were any "occupied territories." Exactly what, then was the PLO planning to "liberate"? This is a primary question that still cries out for a reasonable response.

A Palestinian state, any Palestinian state, would represent a mortal danger to Israel. This danger could not be relieved, even by the stipulated requirements of Israel's current prime minister, or by any pre-independence Palestinian commitments to "demilitarize."

Ironically, if by chance, a new state of Palestine would actually choose to abide by such pre-state commitments, it could then become more susceptible to a takeover by a jihadist organization such as ISIS.

In a staggeringly complicated region, filled with ironies, there are legal truths that should assist Israeli leaders to choose a more promising remedy to war and terror than an illusory "Two-State Solution." Shimon Peres's early warnings about "Palestine" were on-the-mark and should be heeded today.
Louis René Beres is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue University. He can be reached at:

[1] Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, W.W. Norton, 1999, pp. 218-19.
[2] "The Arabs and the Jews - Who Will Destroy Whom?", Dr. Lutfi Abd al-Azim, Al-Ahram Iktisadi, September 27, 1982.
[3] Al-Ahram, Egypt, Liberal Party, July 19, 1982.

Louis René Beres is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue University. He can be reached at:


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The BDS Movement's Terror Ties - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Washington think tank provides insight into malevolent workings of pro-BDS group and its terrorist connections.

Much has been written about the nefarious motives behind the anti-Semitic Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as well as its primary campus sponsor, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). An exhaustive and authoritative account tracing the movement’s history, its radical roots and maximalist goals was authored by Dan Diker for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is a must read for anyone wishing to gain further insight into the inner workings of BDS.

Of perhaps greater concern however, is the terror link between BDS and the Hamas terrorist organization. As outlined by Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) at a Joint Hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the connections are deeply rooted and masked by a labyrinth of various entities and subgroups.

Particular interest centers on two pro-BDS groups, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and its fiscal sponsor, Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation (AJP). Though AMP is a not-for-profit corporation, it does not possess 501c3 tax-exempt status and is not required to file IRS form 990 thus shielding the organization from scrutiny. The AMP however receives tax-exempt contributions from the AJP, which is a 501c3. The two organizations share officers and maintain the same offices but under the law, they are deemed to be two separate and distinct entities.

If this sounds confusing, that’s because it is and those responsible for forming these entities were likely trying to circumvent transparency laws for reasons set forth below.

According to research conducted by the FDD, the AMP is extremely active on college campuses and one of the driving forces of the BDS movement. The organization provides training, funding and propaganda material for SJP campus groups across the United States. In 2014, the group spent $100,000 on campus activities, the bulk of which was channeled into anti-Israel, pro-BDS causes.

Even more disquieting is the fact that several current members of the AMP or individuals who are otherwise tied to the AMP were former members of groups that were shut down or held civilly liable by the United States for funneling money to the Hamas terrorist group. That figure includes three individuals who had previously belonged to the now defunct and notorious Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), the Hamas front group that according to the U.S. Treasury Department sent approximately $12.4 million overseas to fill the Hamas coffers.

Another four members of the AMP gravitated from two other terrorist front groups, similarly shut down or held civilly liable by the United States. In total, at least seven individuals who are current AMP members or otherwise perform work for the group had prior associations to organizations targeted by the United States because of their involvement in terror funding.

Judging from its literature and propaganda, the AMP seeks nothing short of the destruction of Israel. It was founded in 2005 and according to a video posted on its Facebook page, was chartered to “educate Americans on ‘Palestine’ and to keep its cause alive.” A poster in Arabic on display in their Chicago headquarters betrays a more ominous purpose.  The poster includes the phrase “No Jew will live among them in Jerusalem.” Ironically, part of the AMP’s propaganda includes the false canard that Jews ethnically cleansed ‘Palestine’ of its indigenous Arab inhabitants but the AMP sees nothing wrong with ethnically cleansing the land of its Jewish inhabitants.

FDD’s research further establishes that the AMP’s donor list includes groups and entities whose members, affiliates or associates maintained ties to various terrorist groups including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) the Qassam Brigades (the military arm of Hamas) and al-Qaeda.

Over the years, the AMP-backed SJP has become more aggressive in its methods. The group has subjected Jewish and pro-Israel students to a relentless campaign of harassment, sometimes crossing the line into physical assaults. They have introduced dozens of resolutions at student government councils aimed at furthering the group’s pernicious Jew-hating goals. Often, these resolution initiatives are hastily convened and scheduled on or during during Jewish holidays with the aim of minimizing dissent.

SJP activists frequently disrupt Israeli or Jewish themed events thus preventing students from expanding their understanding of the complex conflict. The most recent example is the disgraceful episode which occurred at San Francisco State University on April 7, when SJP hooligans disrupted a talk given by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat while helpless police stood idly by.  A week later, a leader of Harvard Law School’s SJP, Husam El-Qoulaq, hurled an anti-Semitic trope at an Israeli member of parliament during a question and answer session.

The SJP’s outrageous antics have prompted strong pushback with a growing number of state lawmakers calling for the group’s expulsion from college campuses. The FDD’s research into the AMP-BDS-SJP-Hamas connection adds a new dimension to the activities of the SJP and its genocidal sponsors. The time has come for university and college officials to act more resolutely in confronting the SJP. Their presence on any college campus represents a malign influence that must be eradicated.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The PA’s billion dollar fraud - Itamar Marcus and PMW staff

by Itamar Marcus and PMW staff

The PA’s claim that it no longer pays salaries to terrorist prisoners is false

Claiming to have complied with demands of international donors, the PA announced in August 2014 that it had stopped funding salaries to terrorist prisoners, and that the PLO would fund those salaries instead
  •  This PMW report documents that the PA's claim to have stopped funding terrorist prisoners' salaries is false. The PA Ministry of Finance continues to make the decisions and allocate the money for salaries.
  • The PA's pledge that it fulfilled donor countries' demands is false. Therefore, the PA today is fraudulently receiving the $1 billion/year it receives in foreign donor money
2011: PMW exposes that the PA pays high salaries to terrorist prisoners jailed in Israel, among them murderers serving many life sentences.
2012-2014: Western donor countries condemn these payments and threaten to cut off funding unless the PA meets their demand and stop paying salaries to imprisoned t! errorists .
August 2014: PA claims to acquiesce to international pressure, announces that it has closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, and that salaries to prisoners will no longer be paid by the PA but by a newly formed PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs.
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The new PLO Commission is identical to the old PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs in everything but name. The Commission and the salary payments to prisoners remain under the "supervision" of the "Palestinian presidency," i.e., Mahmoud Abbas. The PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs became the director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs.
2014-2016: Western donors accept PA assurances that the PA has stopped paying salaries to terrorist prisoners and the PA continues to receive foreign aid.
April 2016: This PMW report shows that the PA has misled donor countries and in fact continues to fund salaries to terrorists. The PA today is fraudulently receiving aid from Western donor countries of approximately $1 billion/year.

- The PA Ministry of Finance is identified by official PA sources as the body responsible for paying salaries to terrorist prisoners.
- The PA Ministry of Finance continues to be responsible for policies regarding salaries to terrorists.
- PA officials openly talk about the PA's continued payment of salaries to prisoners based on current PA law that mandates that the PA pay them salaries.
- When the PA was short on cash, it announced that it cut salaries to terrorist prisoners (and civil servants) by 60%.
- In 2014, the last year the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs operated, its budget was 442 million shekels. The year after the "closure" of the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, the PA raised the amount it transfers to the PLO by 481 million shekels: from 294 million (2014), to 775 million (2015). The additional 481 million shekels ($128 million) the PA gave to the PLO in 2015 is the amount the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs needed to take on the respon! sibilitie s of the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, which is primarily paying terrorists salaries. The previous year's amount, 442 million shekels, plus approximately 10% yearly rise matches the additional 481 million shekels the PA gave the PLO in 2015.
- The source of the money for salaries to terrorist prisoners thus continues to be the PA.
- Western donors are being intentionally misled by the PA, which continues to fund the salaries to imprisoned terrorists.
- By creating the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs in order to hide that it continues to fund salaries to terrorists, the PA has succeeded to fraudulently receive $1 billion/year in foreign aid from the donor countries.
Executive Summary
The Palestinian Authority receives over a billion dollars in international aid yearly. Several EU countries and the US threatened to stop funding the PA after Palestinian Media Watch exposed in 2011 that the PA pays high salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorists. Among the terrorist prisoners on the PA payroll are murderers who are serving many life sentences for killing Israeli civilians and orchestrating suicide bombing attacks, such as Abdallah Barghouti who is serving 54 life sentences for building bombs that murdered civilians in cafes, buses, and at the Hebrew University.
To counter the international condemnation and to continue receiving donor funding, the PA anno! unced in August 2014 that it had closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs and established a new institution, the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, which the PA claimed would instead fund the salaries from non-PA sources.
However, the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs was new only in name. The PLO Commission has the same responsibilities and pays the exact same amount of salaries to prisoners. The payments are based on PA decisions and PA law. The former PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Iss! a Karake, became the director of the new PLO Commission and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas retained overall supervision of the PLO Commission. (All sources appear below.)
In spite of these mere cosmetic changes, the international community accepted the PA's assurances that the PA was no longer paying the salaries to terrorist prisoners. One example is this statement issued by the Dutch Government:
"The responsibility for payments to prisoners was transferred to the PLO and will no longer be charged to the budget of the PA, and these [payments to prisoners] are not funded by PA tax revenues or donor funds. The PLO pays such costs from their own income, where the [Dutch] Cabinet has no access."
[Question and Answer session, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 22, 2015]
The United States apparently also accepted that this change was enough. When challenged by a member of Congress to cut funding to the PA because of the salaries the PA paid to terrorists, Assistant US Secretary of State Patterson, three months before the announced closing of the PA ministry, explained ! that the US was aware the PA would "phase that out" and therefore it was not necessary to cut US funding to the PA:
"I frankly know that they're going to try and phase that out and we should give them an opportunity to do so."
[House Committee on Foreign Affair! s' websit e, April 29, 2014]
Palestinian Media Watch has uncovered extensive and definitive evidence from official PA sources, proving that the PA assurances to the Netherlands, the US and other donors are false (all sources in full below):
- In August 2014, the PA announced that salaries to prisoners would no longer be paid by the PA but by the PLO. Yet, in October 2014, two months later, the PA announced that there were more than 200,000 recipients of PA salaries, which "includes the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and wounded, as well as the prisoners' and released [prisoners]."
- In January 2015, five months later, the PA Ministry of Finance announced that the PA budget for the Gaza Strip includes salaries to prisoners from there who are in Israeli jails.
- When Israel withheld PA tax money in early 2015, the PA announced that prisoners receiving more than 2,000 shekels/month would only receive 60% of their salary- the same reduction that was imposed the previous day on all PA civil servants. W! ere the P LO paying prisoners' salaries from non-PA sources, Israel's holding up tax money from the PA would have no impact prisoners' salaries. Clearly, PA money is still the source paying terrorist prisoners' salaries.
- In December 2015, an internal dispute started within the PA. The PA, not the PLO, had decided to stop salary payments to a small number of prisoners and released prisoners for various reasons. This is significant because the PLO Commissioner of Prisoners' Affairs and PA officials all criticized the PA Ministry of Finance for stopping the salaries. No one complained to the PLO, as they should have, were it the PLO that paid the salaries. Nearly ! a year an d half after the PA claimed not be involved in salaries, the PA was still deciding and allocating the money for the terrorist prisoners' salaries. Significantly, the head of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Karake, personally complained to the PA Ministry of Finance over the new PA policy regarding salaries to prisoners. Why would he complain to the PA if he himself and the PLO were in charge of the salaries?
- When released prisoners were protesting against new conditions to receive salary payments that had recently been imposed, they protested in the offices of the PA Ministry of Finance and not in the offices of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs.
- Finally, PMW has uncovered PA Ministry of Finance documents that indicate a money trail, showing the transfer of money from the PA to the Palestinian National Fund (PNF), the body that funds the PLO, in the amount needed to pay the salaries to terrorist prisoners:  
A. In 2014, the budget of the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, which then paid the sa! laries to terrorist prisoners, was 442 million shekels.   
B. In 2015, after the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs was closed, the PA raised its annual transfer to the PLO via the Palestinian National Fund by 481 million shekels ($128 million):
2014 transfer - 294 million shekels
 2015 transfer - 775 million shekels    
C. The additional 481 million shekels the PLO received from the PA in 2015 was the amount it needed to fund the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, undertaking the responsibilities of the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs. The transfer of 481 million is virtually identical to the budget of the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs in 2014 (442 million), plus 10% yearly growth due to rising prisoners salaries. According to PA law, the salaries of terrorist prisoners rise the longer they are in prison.)
D. This route - money transfers from the PA to the PNF and then to the PLO - is the way the PA is transferring money to the PLO in order to continue funding salaries to terrorist prisoners, and to keep their payments hidden from donor countries.
All the above documentation shows that while the PA fraudulently claims to donor countries that the PLO is paying salaries to terrorist prisoners from non-PA sources, in fact the PA continues to be the source ! of the rewards to the terrorists.
Unaware that the PA continues to fund salaries to terrorists, the donor countries continue to contribute nearly one billion dollars a year to the PA.

Itamar Marcus and PMW staff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Jerusalem returns fire at UN over the Golan Heights - Nitsan Keidar

by Nitsan Keidar

In response to Security Council rejection of Golan staying Israeli, Foreign Ministry retorts: 'they're disconnected from Syrian reality.'

Jerusalem on Wednesday morning responded to the UN Security Council statement from the day before, according to which the Council rejects that the Golan Heights will remain Israeli.

The Security Council statement came as a rejection of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's declaration that the Golan will always stay in Israeli hands, made earlier this month at an historic Cabinet meeting in the region that was liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.

In response to the Council's backlash, the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Wednesday morning condemned its statement as being disconnected from the reality on the ground.

"The statement of the Security Council ignores the reality in Syria," said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.

"Who is Israel supposed to hold negotiations with on the future of the Golan, Da'esh (Islamic State)? Al Qaeda? Hezbollah? The Iranian and Syrian forces who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people?"

The Foreign Ministry added that "in light of the war raging in Syria and the stability and the security that Israel has established in the Golan for the last 50 or so years, the suggestion that Israel go down from the Golan is not reasonable."

In its statement, the Security Council notably stopped short of any drastic statements such as a call for Israel to withdraw from the 1,200 square kilometer (460 square mile) region, despite pressure from Arab states to do so.

Earlier Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon also slammed the Security Council statement, saying, "the Council must not allow politically interested groups to use it as a battering ram against the State of Israel."

Nitsan Keidar


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Dutch Intelligence: Competition Could Fuel Jihadi Plots - Abigail R. Esman

by Abigail R. Esman

A "large scale, spectacular attack in Europe or the US"

A "large scale, spectacular attack in Europe or the US": this is the prediction of the Netherlands' Intelligence Service (AIVD).  And, they say, it could happen very soon.

The AIVD's report on 2015, released last week, analyzes the threat of terrorism, cyber-terrorism, and other national security issues based on the past year's events and global intelligence-gathering.  The agency found that ongoing competition between jihadist groups is proving even more dangerous than the threat of continued "lone wolf" attacks and localized bombings by jihadists who have either returned from the Islamic State or were inspired by them.  That competition, particularly between al-Qaida and ISIS, is likely to lead to major attacks on the West in order to "demonstrate to one another that each is the real leader of jihadism," the AIVD report says. This is particularly crucial for al-Qaida, which may stage an attack soon in order to re-assert its prestige and power at a time when ISIS seems to be getting the most attention.

These predictions align with similar warnings from former CIA operative Brian Fairchild,  who last fall also warned of  "another 9/11," driven by rivalry among the terrorist groups.

That rivalry is intensifying as various factions continue to battle for power in the Levant.  Al-Qaida, for instance, recently published a statement accusing ISIS of "lies and deceit," and describing them as "one of the biggest dangers today in the jihadi fields."  And in a video, al-Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri called ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi,  "illegitimate." ISIS, according to al-Qaida, "invoked the curse of Allah" on its opponents, specifically on Jabhat al Nusra.  Al Nusra, which has pledged allegiance to al-Qaida, is considered another powerful rival of ISIS.

Like the AIVD's 2005 report, "From Dawa To Jihad," now something of a classic in the literature about the radicalization of Western Muslims, many insights presented in this year's overview are likely to be taken seriously by intelligence agencies and counter-terrorism strategists globally.  Alongside concerns about a major attack in the near-term, for instance, the AIVD report offers an analysis of the complexities of Islamic terrorism at this moment – and the vastness of its reach.

Those complexities again put the lie to notions that Islamic extremism breeds in impoverished neighborhoods, among the unemployed and disenfranchised. They defy, too, ideas that immigration is to blame, or that simply "closing the borders" will solve the threat. As the report notes:
"The attacks in Europe present a disturbing illustration of the threat Europe currently faces: people from our own homelands, who grew up here and mostly were radicalized here, stand ready and willing to take up weapons against the West [....]  So, too are jihadists who return from the battlefields of jihad prepared to perpetrate similar atrocities [at home] – and jihadists who had planned to join the foreign battle, but never succeeded [in making the trip]. Young, inexperienced jihadists can perpetrate attacks, but those jihad-veterans known to intelligence officials and who have long been quiet may also suddenly come roaring back."
Similarly, "attacks could be planned and attackers sent from outside Europe, or they can be planned and activated from within; they could be major attacks, arranged by professionals far in advance, or relatively simple and small-scale," the AIVD report says. "The threat can come from organized groups and networks sent in to commit attacks but also by individuals or small groups who sympathize with a certain jihadist group."

Moreover, the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra (JaN), which often is misleadingly characterized as "moderate," poses an additional threat. "JaN is a jihadist organization connected with al-Qaida and whose purpose, in part, is to commit attacks against the West," the report says.

And while the death of many al-Qaida leaders may have caused some disruption, this does not mean that the organization is weakened, or that the threat of another al-Qaida attack against the West has vanished. Rather, battling for the mantle of dominant jihadi group could strengthen its determination to wage spectacular attacks.

And it isn't just violent attacks. While the AIVD has found a rising interest among Dutch Muslims in obtaining weapons, the agency notes that in at least one case, the purpose was to perform a series of armed robberies in order to finance terrorist groups in Syria.

What is certain is that Salafism, the radical Islamic ideology that supports violent jihad, is very much on the rise in the Netherlands. Added to this development is the ISIS propaganda machine, which the report's authors say, sends the message that terrorism is a form of heroism. Combined, the two forces stand to raise radicalization and the probable involvement in terrorism in the homeland.

For the Dutch, as for other Europeans,  the danger does not just come from jihadists at home and those in Syria. Belgium, with its many extremist and terrorist groups, is just across the Dutch border. Paris is a short, high-speed train ride away.  And as officials increasingly crack down in those two countries, the chances are great that terrorists there will travel elsewhere, looking for the nearest place to hide – and kill.  The result is a multi-pronged threat that hovers over the country, and increasingly, over Europe.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.


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Islamic State Moves to Libya - Jonathan Spyer

by Jonathan Spyer

-- the goal is to seek to replicate the model for success in Iraq and Syria: once a territorial base is established, a military force can be built up that can be used aggressively to expand the holding.

Excerpt of an article originally published under the title "Islamic State Moves to Libya with the Promise of Fresh Plunder."

... The importance of the Islamic State holding [in Libya] derives from its location and the number of fighters under Islamic State command in the area.

Islamic State controls an area of about 200km around the city of Sirte on the Libyan coast. The greater part of this area was secured last year against the backdrop of Islamic State setbacks in Iraq and Syria, and general chaos in Libya. The location of Sirte offers the possibility for Islamic State of infiltration into Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb. Sirte was the birthplace of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. It has extensive infrastructure, including an international airport, a seaport and oil installations.

Islamic State is thought to have about 4000 to 5000 fighters in Sirte, and is recruiting African migrants making their way to the coast. The movement also derives the depth of its support in the Sirte area from the loyalty of tribesmen Clearly, the goal is to seek to replicate the model for success in Iraq and Syria: once a territorial base is established, a military force can be built up that can be used aggressively to expand the holding.

Members of Islamic State parade through Libya's coastal city of Sirte in a photo released by the Islamist media outlet Welayat Tarablos.
Islamic State achieved its greatest successes this way, when its forces swept from eastern Syria into Iraq in 2014. In Libya, as in these countries, central government effectively has collapsed and the country is in a state of civil war. Two rival governments vie for power: an internationally recognised authority in Tobruk in the east and an Islamist de facto power in the capital, Tripoli, in the west.

The Islamic State area of control is situated between the two. The organisation hopes to expand east and west. Its immediate targets are the city of Misrata, halfway between Sirte and Tripoli, and Ajdabiya to the east, near the Sidr oil port and the refinery at Ras Lanuff. Notably, Islamic State propaganda has begun to place increased stress on its Libyan holding. New recruits are being encouraged to head for this area rather than for the Levant. Some prominent commanders of the movement are reported to have relocated to Libya, too.

As in Iraq, Islamic State has found support in Libya from former regime loyalists.
Islamic State was able to take Sirte last year because it faced little resistance. The local tribes were largely affiliated with the Gaddafi regime and had little reason for loyalty to either of the administrations in the country. Indeed, Islamic State may serve a purpose as a new structure of loyalty and protection for them, analogous to the process in which Sunni former loyalists of the Saddam regime found a home with Islamic State in Iraq.

For a while, both Libyan governments and the West appeared content to let Islamic State fester in its small desert domain. The Tripoli and Tobruk governments are mainly concerned with ruling their own areas rather than striking out against one another. However, as Islamic State prepares to expand towards areas vital for the Libyan oil industry, the issue becomes more urgent and has begun to appear on the radar screens of European policymakers.

In February, US special forces carried out a raid on the town of Sabratha in which 40 Islamic State men were killed. Reports have appeared in the British and French media concerning the presence of special forces from both countries close to Islamic State's holding in Sirte. British and French aircraft are carrying out reconnaissance missions over Sirte. Le Monde described what it termed a "secret war" being conducted by French intelligence and special forces personnel against Islamic State on Libyan soil.

At the same time, there appears to be no prospect of a large-scale involvement of Western forces on the ground to vanquish Islamic State in Libya. Rather, the strategy appears to resemble that employed in Syria and Iraq: namely, use air power to partner with local allies identified by intelligence and bolstered by the discreet presence of Western special forces.

Attempts to bring together the two rival administrations in Libya are ongoing but have run aground. An agreement reached for a unity government on December 17 remains unimplemented.

At the same time, the two governing entities with their Western support are far from helpless, and Islamic State, with its 5000 fighters, is far from invincible. This means the Islamic State enclave is unlikely to score major territorial advances. But it is also unlikely to disappear.

Ultimately, Islamic State is part of a much broader problem: the collapse and fragmentation of several formerly centralised Arab states. It grows and flourishes in the environments left by this collapse. Will McCants, an expert on Islamic State and Sunni Islamism recently said more generally that the record suggested such movements tended to overreach themselves. Their inability to accept a limited role leads to their enemies uniting to destroy them.

This may well be the final fate to be suffered by Islamic State. In the interim period, however, it remains powerful and dangerous. ...

Jonathan Spyer is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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God, Comey, and the Clinton Email Scandal - Jonathan Keiler

by Jonathan Keiler

Barring divine intervention, Hillary will win the Democrat nomination, because Jim Comey has lost his ability to control that outcome, assuming he ever had it.

The Wall Street Journal had an otherwise interesting editorial the other day that discussed Hillary Clinton's rising unpopularity despite effectively securing the Democrat nomination "barring an act of God or FBI Director Jim Comey[.]"  I won't quibble about God, who presumably could easily short-circuit anyone's nomination, assuming that was on the heavenly agenda.  But I do have a problem with the second part of the assertion, which is commonplace among conservatives these days, even in the rarified offices of the Journal, and a little disturbing in its flippant disregard of pretty obvious realities.  Neither I nor anyone else seems to know what the FBI director's intentions are in the Clinton email affair, but whether he intends to refer charges to the Justice Department or not, Hillary Clinton – barring supernatural intervention – is going to win the Democrat nomination.

The corruption, vanity, insouciance, and socio-pathology evident in the tormenting and dangerous email scandal are merely typical of Hillary Clinton.  She cares not a whit for what she's done, or that the consequences continue to roil the country, so that even a relatively moderate and not entirely unfriendly media giant like the Journal plays a guessing game as to the outcome of criminal inquiries before acknowledging that Clinton will be the Democrat nominee.  But to the extent the guessing game represents some degree of hopefulness that perhaps the Democratic Party's well laid plans for Obama's liberal successor come a cropper before or during the convention, it is fairly nonsensical.  Whether you are on the Journal's editorial board or just a conservative who doesn't like Mrs. Clinton, hoping for her nomination to be derailed by the FBI is, first, fanciful, and second, not obviously desirable. 

As AT editor Thomas Lifson pointed out before Clinton won the New York primary, the heretofore unthinkable possibility that Bernie Sanders could win the nomination and the general election then stared the country in the face.  With her victory in New York, Clinton has effectively secured the nomination, but should the Almighty act, or if Comey really does have the ability to derail her nomination, is that something a conservative could reasonably desire?  Not if Bernie Sanders becomes the nominee, which would almost have to be the case, given his current popularity with Democrats and the surprisingly strong campaign he's waged.  The idea that the sloppy and incoherent Joe Biden would step in, or another white knight like Elizabeth Warren could step into such a scenario, is hardly viable any longer. 

Sanders would probably be the nominee, and polling at this point indicates he would convincingly defeat either likely Republican nominee (Trump or Cruz) in the general election.  We are – in the now highly unlikely event that Hillary lost the nomination or was forced to drop out – looking at the realistic possibility of President Sanders.  While Hillary's election would continue the painful and slow dismantling of this country as we've known it, Sanders's election would be a complete and perhaps irreparable catastrophe.  This is partly a case of being careful what you wish for. 

While I loathe the idea of Hillary as president, I'd take her over Sanders, both as an electoral opponent for the eventual Republican nominee and, if it came to it, as chief executive. 

But relax.  Barring divine intervention, Hillary will win the Democrat nomination, because Jim Comey has lost his ability to control that outcome, assuming he ever had it.  I've played the game of analyzing FBI tea leaves as much as anybody.  It really is a fool's errand, based as it is on leaks of unknown provenance and reliability.  Are there 147 agents on the case, 47, or 4?  Has a grand jury been empaneled?  Seems highly unlikely, but who knows for sure?  Was Brian Pagliano really granted immunity, and if so, was it transactional or use immunity?  Did Justice agree to allow the four Hillary aides closest to the scandal (other than Pagliano) to retain the same well-connected attorney despite obvious conflicts of interest?  Nobody outside the inner circles of the FBI and Justice Department actually knows any of this.

I don't think at this point that the FBI will refer charges to Justice for reasons explained here, though I could very well be wrong.  But the fact is, even if Director Comey were to do that, there is next to no chance that the Justice Department will pursue an indictment against Clinton.  President Obama has vouched for Clinton and stated his opinion that national security was not endangered by her actions.  All that may be improper, but it clearly communicated his preference that Justice not pursue an indictment.  His designee at Justice, Loretta Lynch, will make those determinations (in theory), and given Obama's clearly stated views, she is about as likely to endorse Trump for president as she is to seek an indictment against Hillary before the Democrat convention.  And along those lines, remember that the thought of Sanders getting the Democrat nomination is as distasteful to that 
establishment as the idea of a Trump nomination is to the Republican one.    

Director Comey might have been the most powerful man in Washington last autumn, when Hillary's position was less secure and Joe Biden seemed to offer a viable Democrat alternative.  That power is now gone.  Comey perhaps never had it or coveted it, though more likely he has just played a safe political game to preserve his own career and, arguably, the bureaucratic interests of his agency in the likely event that another Democrat is elected president. 

Though Comey has perhaps lost the king- (or queen-) making power he once held, he could still do the right thing and make a referral to Justice, even though it will go nowhere under a Democrat administration.  That would vindicate the law at least in part and his supposed reputation as a "stand-up guy."  Plus it just might be enough to tip the general election against Hillary.  Perhaps the Almighty will intervene and make him do it, because otherwise I would not count on that happening, either. 

Jonathan Keiler


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British MP apologizes for call to ethnically cleanse Israelis - JTA

by JTA

Labour party lawmaker quits post as private secretary to shadow chancellor, following post calling to relocate Israeli Jews to US.

A British Labour Party lawmaker who apologized for "for any offense" caused by a Facebook post in 2014 that called for the relocation of Israelis to the United States has resigned her post as private secretary to a shadow chancellor.

Naz Shah, a lawmaker from Bradford West, located in Yorkshire in northern England, also promised Tuesday to expand her dialogue with the Jewish community and work to combat all forms of anti-Semitism. She will stay on as a member of Parliament, where she serves on the House of Commons' Home Affairs Committee investigating the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain.

In the post from two years ago Shah, who is Muslim, showed a graphic in which a small silhouette of the map of Israel is laid inside the map of the United States under a headline that reads "Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict - Relocate Israel into United States."

The graphic adds: "America has plenty of land to accommodate a 51st state"; "the transportation cost will be less than 3 years of defense spending," and "Palestinians will get their land and life back." It also says: "Middle East will again be peaceful without foreign interference"; and "Oil prices will go down, inflation will go down, whole world will be happy."

Shah added her status to the post: "Problem solved and save u bank charges for 3 billion pounds you transfer yearly."

The post was shared before Shah was elected to the Parliament. It was first publicized Monday on the Guido Fawkes British politics website. All of Shah's Facebook posts from 2014 have since been deleted.

In a statement Tuesday, Shah said: "This post from two years ago was made before I was an MP, does not reflect my views and I apologize for any offense it has caused."

Later the same day she announced her resignation from the appointed private secretary post. She remains a member of Parliament.

"I made these posts at the height of the Gaza conflict in 2014, when emotions were running high around the Middle East conflict. But that is no excuse for the offense I have given, for which I unreservedly apologize. In recognition of that offense, I have stepped down from my role as PPS to the shadow chancellor John McDonnell," Shah wrote in announcing her resignation.

"I will be seeking to expand my existing engagement and dialogue with Jewish community organisations and will be stepping up my efforts to combat all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism."

The Labour Party has declined to comment on the incident to British media, including the Guido Fawkes website. The party has come under fire in recent weeks amid a string of party scandals involving alleged anti-Semitism.

Shah in May 2015 elections defeated incumbent George Galloway, the leader of the tiny Respect Party who is known for his strident anti-Israel rhetoric. Prior to the elections, Galloway had declared his district off-limits to Israelis, including tourists.

The Jewish Chronicle also reported Tuesday that Shah posted a tweet in August 2014 with a link to a blog that claims Zionism has been used to "groom" Jews to "exert political influence at the highest levels of public office," and which compared Zionism to al-Qaida. The article, titled "Colonization, Israel, Palestinian resistance and ...," from a blog called Walk Together, claimed Zionism, "like Al Qaeda, was and is a political movement layered with religious symbolism."

In July 2014, during Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza, Shah posted a link on Facebook to a newspaper poll asking whether Israel had committed war crimes, according to the Jewish Chronicle. She wrote: "The Jews are rallying to the poll," and called on her followers to vote "yes."



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