Friday, December 1, 2017

The Great Palestinian Shakedown: Have the Arabs Had Enough? - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab countries are obviously fed up with the recurring attempts by the Palestinians to blackmail them and extort money from them.

  • Many people in the West are not aware that the Palestinians are trying to torpedo any peace initiative in order to blame others.
  • The Palestinians are crying Wolf, Wolf! -- but only a few in the Arab world are listening to them. This, in a way, is encouraging and offers hope for them finally to be released from decades of repressive and corrupt governance.
  • These are just some of the challenges Saudi Crown Prince is facing. It is important to support him in the face of attacks by some Palestinians and other spoilers.
A young Saudi man has posted videos on social media in which he calls the Palestinians "dogs" and "pigs." The man says that Saudi Arabia has provided the ungrateful Palestinians with "billions of dollars" during the past few decades. "The Palestinians," the Saudi man charges, "have been milking us for decades."

The videos, which have since gone viral, have understandably drawn strong condemnations from Palestinians, who say they would not have been made public without the tacit approval of the Saudi authorities. For the Palestinians, the abusive videos represent yet another sign of increased tensions in their relations with Saudi Arabia.

Further evidence of Saudi disdain for the Palestinians was provided in a video posted by Saudi Arabia featuring a Palestinian gunman as a terrorist.

Last July, the Saudi ambassador to Algeria, Sami Saleh, shocked many Palestinians when he described Hamas as a terror group. Hamas responded by saying that such remarks were "harmful to Saudi Arabia and its record and stances towards the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."

The apparent shift in Saudi Arabia's position towards the Palestinians should not come as a surprise. Like most Arab countries, the Saudis too have finally realized that the Palestinians are ungrateful and untrustworthy. Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab countries are obviously fed up with the recurring attempts by the Palestinians to blackmail them and extort money from them.

Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab countries are obviously fed up with the recurring attempts by the Palestinians to blackmail them and extort money from them. Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas embraces Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 30, 2015. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/Palestinian Press Office via Getty Images)

The Palestinians were ungrateful to Kuwait when they supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of the tiny emirate in 1990. Kuwait was one of the wealthy Arab countries that used to give the Palestinians millions of dollars in aid. The Palestinians were ungrateful to Lebanon, a country that opened its doors to them and allowed the PLO to create its own state within Lebanon. The Palestinians played an important role in tearing the country apart and brought disaster and death to Lebanon, until they were finally expelled in 1982.

Before that, in Jordan, in the armed conflict known as "Black September" (1970-71), the Palestinians did the same thing until the late King Hussein ordered his army to eradicate the PLO and all the terror groups in the country.

Now, the Palestinians are being disrespectful towards Saudi Arabia -- a country that has provided them with billions of dollars over the past few decades. It is no wonder, then, that a growing number of Saudis are beginning to voice their disgust for the way the Palestinians are behaving and talking.

The Palestinians seek to continue holding Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab countries hostage. In fact, the Palestinians wish to retain their death grip against Israel at the cost of their Arab brethren. Any Arab who dares to challenge the Palestinians is denounced as a traitor and a Zionist.

Palestinian officials say that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who visited Saudi Arabia in early November, left the kingdom with a bad taste in his mouth. A senior Palestinian official was quoted as saying that Abbas feels that Saudi Arabia and some Arab countries are would like to see him removed from power and replaced with someone who would be more acceptable to the Americans and Israelis.

The Palestinians believe that Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is personally spearheading his country's rapprochement with Israel. Some of them are even convinced that it is only a matter of time before Saudi Arabia and Israel establish diplomatic ties as part of a peace treaty.

The general feeling among the Palestinian public is that their Saudi brothers have decided to "throw them under the bus" by signing a peace treaty with Israel. The Palestinians claim that Saudi Arabia has accepted the Trump administration's "ultimate solution" for peace in the Middle East -- a plan the details of which remain largely unknown, but is said to promote peace between the Arab countries and Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is solved. Their biggest fear is that once Saudi Arabia embarks on such a dramatic move, many other Arab countries will follow suit, leaving the Palestinians isolated in the international arena and abandoned by their Arab brethren.

The Palestinian Authority, however, is keen not to be seen as taking a public stance against a powerful and wealthy country such as Saudi Arabia. In an attempt to defuse tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians, some Palestinian officials have come out in defense of the kingdom.

Mahmoud Al-Assadi, the PA Consul-General in Jeddah, for example, said that reports claiming that Saudi Arabia was headed towards normalizing its relations with Israel were false and based on malicious rumors. "Saudi Arabia's position towards the Palestinian cause and people is historic and consistent," Al-Assadi said in an interview. "The Saudi leadership has repeatedly made it clear that there will be no normalization with Israel until the Palestinian issue is solved."

The PA ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bassam Al-Agha, has also taken pains to exonerate the kingdom from the "allegation" that it is seeking to normalize its relations with Israel. In an interview with a Saudi newspaper, Al-Agha heaped praise on Saudi Arabia for its continued support for the Palestinians. The Palestinians, he added, "Will always remember Saudi Arabia's generosity, hospitality and support."

The public statements of Palestinian officials, however, stand in jolting contrast with the sentiments of the Palestinian public, which seems to be overtly hostile towards Saudi Arabia and its crown prince.

The Palestinians believe that the abusive videos posted by the Saudi man and other derogatory remarks by Saudi citizens in the past few days are part of a larger campaign by the Saudi authorities to prepare the Saudis for a peace treaty between the kingdom and Israel.

The Palestinians point to a Twitter campaign launched by Saudi citizens under the title of "Riyadh is more important than Jerusalem." The campaign is accompanied by abusive remarks against the Palestinians, who are blamed for the "loss of Jerusalem and Palestine." The campaign also repeats the charge made by many Arab countries, namely that the Palestinian "dogs" have always been ungrateful in the face of massive financial aid from their Arab brothers.

The Palestinians have been firing back with full force to this unprecedented online onslaught by the Saudis.

"This is a media campaign spearheaded by the boys of the [Saudi] monarch to pave the way for Saudi normalization with Israel," commented Khalid Omar. He and many Palestinians claimed that Mohammed bin Salman was behind the online campaign "that smears and discredits the Palestinian cause."

Yusef Jadallah wrote in response:
"We're not surprised to hear some Saudis say that Riyadh is more important than Jerusalem. The Saudis are returning to their Zionist origin, which is hostile to Arabs and Muslims. We used to say that the Saudis support us. Unfortunately, the Saudis support Israel publicly."
Another comment from Radwan Al-Akhras, of the Gaza Strip: "This online campaign is aimed at fomenting strife among the Arabs and Muslims. The only ones who benefit from it are the Zionists and those who are trying to be Zionists."

The Palestinians also point to more troubling voices emerging from Saudi Arabia in recent days.

Here, for instance, is what Saudi academic Sa'ad Al-Hussein tweeted on November 25, in reference to the 2007 Fatah-Hamas "reconciliation" agreement:
"History relates that it's the Palestinians who sold out their cause. History is also witness that the Palestinians fought amongst each other and betrayed and violated the Mecca accord."
Again, many Palestinians took to social media to attack the Saudi academic and the royal family in Saudi Arabia. They accused the academic of being "ignorant" and "illiterate" and claimed that his charges were also designed at paving the way for normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Mustapha Anan, a Palestinian, retorted: "You are a trivial and despicable person; shame on you and your king!"

Another Palestinian, Yusri Yusef, responded:
"What's the secret behind this Saudi smear campaign against the Palestinians? If you [the Saudis] want to make peace and form an alliance with the Zionists, that's your business. But why these unjustified attacks on the Palestinians?"
Echoing the Palestinian public's sentiment, Palestinian political analyst Majed Abu Diak also voiced concern over the apparent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. He accused the Saudis of bowing to pressure from the Trump administration.

"Saudi Arabia and Israel appear to be in a hurry to normalize their relations," Abu Diak claimed.
"The Saudi regime is preparing for Mohammed bin Salman to succeed his father. That's why the regime is prepared to pay the price [to the Americans], which includes normalizing relations with Israel as a way to improve Saudi relations with the US. For Israel, this is an old-new dream of ridding itself of the status of an alien body in the Middle East."
Most Arabs, in fact, do not seem to care about the Palestinian "cause" any more, as pointed out in a previous article, which showed how the Arab League ministers were focusing on Iran and Hezbollah while ignoring the Palestinians.

Many people in the West are not aware that the Palestinians are trying to torpedo any peace initiative in order to blame others.

The Palestinians are crying Wolf, Wolf! -- but only a few in the Arab world are listening to them. This, in a way, is encouraging and offers hope for them finally to be released from decades of repressive and corrupt governance.

These are just some of the challenges Saudi Crown Prince is facing. It is important to support him in the face of attacks by some Palestinians and other spoilers.

The question now is whether the Saudis and the rest of the Arabs have had enough of the great Palestinian shakedown.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.


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'Historic UN partition vote on Israel against international law' - Shimon Cohen

by Shimon Cohen

Researcher Ze'ev Jabotinsky says international law gives Jews right over entire Land of Israel, not just part of it.

Map of Israel
Map of Israel
Today, November 29, marks the anniversary of the non-binding United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, which endorsed the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state in the Land of Israel. 

Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the grandson of the father of Revisionist Zionism who bore the same name, is a scholar who has probed the issue of Israel's rights under international law.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Jabotinsky asserted that the Partition Plan pushed by UN General Assembly Resolution 181 was, in fact, not in accordance with international law.

"The decision is contrary to international law, it’s very simple. We are commemorating the wrong event. The November 29 decision was made in contravention of the UN Charter. It was passed by the General Assembly, which sent a committee to examine the situation in Palestine and make recommendations, and the recommendations that were submitted were not adopted by those who were supposed to accept them: The British Mandate, and not the Arabs, as many think. The Mandate did not accept and did not fulfill the recommendations."

"Why recommendations? Because any resolution adopted at the United Nations Assembly is considered a recommendation rather than an operative decision. An operative decision is only made under Article 7 of the UN Charter and the Security Council."

"The recommendation was not accepted, and there are those who might think that as a result, the legal basis for our rights to the Land of Israel had been dropped, but this is not the case. The international legal basis was established on another date, which we do not celebrate and do not mention at school. This is when the League of Nations adopted the British Mandate in a vote in which all the League members unanimously accepted the Mandate and thus the Mandate became international law, and in this Mandate the rights of the Jewish people to establish a national home in the Land of Israel are recognized."

"It was part of the process that began with the Balfour Declaration, which was a declaration of intentions by the British government and a kind of commitment, but it was not yet part of international law. It was passed through the Paris Peace Conference, where an international hearing was held on who would be the sovereign nation in the Land of Israel. King Faisal, who was at that time considered king of all the Arabs, was invited there. He received from the British a promise of control over the whole of the Middle East. The British could not fulfill this promise because part of his kingdom was supposed to be Syria, and the French had been promised Syria and Lebanon. A clash ensued and the British crowned him over Iraq and his brother over what today is called Jordan.

"The British Mandate obliged the British to grant the Jewish people via the Zionist movement sovereignty over the Land of Israel if the Jews became the majority in the Land of Israel, and that is essentially the source of our right in international law. When Ben Gurion declared the state, he did it eight hours before the end of the British Mandate, in order to step into the shoes of those rights. Therefore, according to international law, only the Jewish people has the right to sovereignty by means of the Zionist movement over the western Land of Israel - at first it also included the eastern side of the Land of Israel, but we gave up the eastern part."

In Jabotinsky's view, the Jewish people marks the wrong date when it celebrates November 29, while it is really worth marking the day when the international legal right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel began: July 24, 1922, the day of the ratification of the British Mandate, in which the decision to grant the Jewish people the right to reestablish their national home in the Land of Israel appears. 

"The word 'reestablish' is important because it recognizes the historical right of the Jewish people to the land."

Jabotinsky added that "the only body that could have been authorized to relinquish rights granted to the Jewish people by the League of Nations is an elected body of the Zionist movement. This body made no decision to relinquish rights. What actually happened is that the Arab countries tried to completely erase the Zionist enterprise, failed in this, but succeeded in conquering parts of the western Land of Israel - but that does not mean that we agreed to it."

"The only body that can give up [our right to the land] today is the Knesset because it is the sovereign and representative of the Zionist movement that brought about the establishment of the Knesset. Not the Prime Minister, and not the government, but the Knesset is the sovereign representative - or the people in a referendum.”

As for the Oslo Accords, which may include recognition of another sovereign in Judea and Samaria, namely, the Palestinian entity, Jabotinsky said that even in these agreements it was decided to postpone the discussion of sovereignty to the permanent discussions between the parties. Jabotinsky mentioned that the Oslo accords were supposed to have been concluded within five years, and that after this period ended, they are no longer relevant according to international law.

Shimon Cohen


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Verbal Combat: Iran vs. Israel - Joseph Puder

by Joseph Puder

Might it lead to war?

U.S. voices at the United Nations (UN) and in the U.S. Congress are warning of the dangers of relying on Russia to curb Iran’s incursion deep into Syria, and warning of the treat this poses to U.S. allies, Israel and Jordan.  Yet, the Trump administration seems to consider the status-quo in Syria, (minus ISIS), acceptable, essentially conceding the field to Russia when considering the future of Syria.  In the meantime, verbal combat is occurring between Iran and Israel that might lead to a real war.

Earlier this month, the State Department announced a deal with Russia to expand “deconfliction zones” in southwestern Syria.  It is allegedly designed to keep Iranian, Hezbollah, and Iranian recruited Shiite militias from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen, away from Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan.  But, if the Trump Administration is sincere about stopping Iran’s advance toward the Mediterranean Sea, or preventing a major conflict in the Middle East, it certainly falls short on this score.  Moreover, Russia is using its air power to protect Iranian backed ground forces.  The U.S., on its part, plans to end its involvement in Syria and Iraq once the Islamic State is defeated and ejected from the region. Regrettably, unlike the Russians, who have protected their Middle East allies, the U.S. appears to be abandoning their hitherto allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are predominantly Kurds.  This would allow the dictator, Bashar Assad, whose army slaughtered most of the 500,000 fellow Syrians using outlawed chemical weapons, to stay in power under Russian and Iranian protection.

At the UN last week, Russia vetoed the extension of a UN panel set to investigate Assad’s regimes use of chemical weapons, called the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).  Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, twitted that “By using the veto to kill the mechanism in Syria that holds users of chemical weapons accountable, Russia proves they cannot be trusted or credible as we work toward a political solution in Syria.”

At a counterterrorism conference hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington DC, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) (leading member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees) had this to say about the Iranian threat to Israel. “Iran’s aggression against Israel has become much more widespread.  It’s a very dangerous advance that Iran is making through northern Iraq and southern Syria.  Iran is now providing not just rockets, it’s helping build precision-guided munitions factories in Syria, on the border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah can manufacture its own precision-guided munitions to use against Israel.” Cotton added, “We can’t allow the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to have unmolested, resupply lines going from Iran to the Levant.  It is not in the interest of the U.S. to have a revolutionary cause backed with the powers of a nation state expanding its influence throughout the region.”

The Iranian regime may be a threat to U.S. vital interests in the Middle East, as stated by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, but it is a definitive existential threat to Israel.  Tehran’s threats to Israel are not confined to rhetorical remarks by its leaders. It has now developed capabilities that will enable it to carry out its intentions to “destroy Israel.”  The 2015 Nuclear Deal, which Iran is clearly subverting in various ways, includes developing long-range ballistic missiles and the accompanying delivery system.

Earlier this year, Mojtaba Zonour, a senior member of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and a former Revolutionary Guards official, commented that, “Only 7 minutes is needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv.”  He also warned that his country (Iran) “would immediately strike Israel if the U.S. makes a mistake.”

Reuters reported (11/18/2017) that Iranian military chief-of-staff General Mohammad Baqeri said that the Islamic Republic would not accept Israeli violations of Syria, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).  Baqeri stated during a visit to Damascus that, “It is not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate Syria anytime it wants.”

Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on a visit to Israel’s northern border last week stated that, “Israel is prepared and ready for all eventualities.”  He added that Israel will reserve its absolute freedom of action.  He said that Israel won’t allow Iranian bases in Syria, and will not permit southwestern Syria to become a forward outpost against Israel.

Lieberman was accompanied on his visit with Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eizenkot, and senior IDF generals.  It reflects Israel’s concerns over the recent Iranian moves that includes efforts to erect a permanent base on Syrian soil.  Iran, it appears, is seeking to upgrade its threats against Israel, should her nuclear facilities be attacked, hence, an Iranian presence in Syria is extremely dangerous for Israel.  In addition, Israel fears that in the near future, Iran might transfer to Syria advanced anti-aircraft and land-to-sea missiles that will directly threaten Israel’s freedom of navigation and its aircraft.

Behind the warlike declaration delivered over microphones, Israel is investing heavily in worldwide briefings, and in particular, appealing to Washington.  Israeli representatives are explaining to officials the dangers of a permanent Iranian presence in Syria.  Hitherto, the U.S. administration has shown little interest in acting on it.

When the dust of war clears over Syria, Bashar Assad, the butcher of Damascus, will be the winner in the civil war.  The true rulers of Syria will be however, the Russians.  Putin’s diplomats tell every side what they want to hear, including Israel.  It is clear nonetheless that the Russians see their interests coincide with that of Iran.  Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign Minister, confirmed that last week when he suggested that the Iranian presence in Syria is “legitimate.”  On October 16, 2017, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, visited Israel after Israeli Air Force (IAF) planes conducting a photography mission over Lebanon, were fired upon by an anti-aircraft SA-5 battery of the Syrian army. A quartet of Israeli jets took off from an IAF base, and with four precise bombs, made direct hits and destroyed the radar unit launcher and the firing battery.  In meetings with PM Netanyahu and DM Lieberman, Shoigu offered little practical solutions in dealing with Iranian expansionism. 

According to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, Russia has rejected Israel’s request for a 40 kilometer buffer zone from the Israeli Golan Heights border, but was willing to expand a 10-15 kilometer zone, which will be off-limits to Iranian forces.

The escalating war of words between Jerusalem and Tehran can easily turn from verbal volleys to missiles flying on all sides.  Although none of the parties want to be dragged into a war, the escalating threats and counter threats have their own dynamic force, and wars break out as a result of misunderstandings between enemies.  This is an explosive situation that the Trump administration must not ignore.  It is time for the U.S. to flex some muscle in Syria.

Joseph Puder


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The State Department Drops the Ball - Carolilne Glick

by Carolilne Glick

Reversing course on closing the PLO mission sends a dangerous message.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Over the weekend, The New York Times published its latest broadside against US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for what the newspaper referred to as his “culling” of senior State Department officials and his failure to date to either nominate or appoint senior personnel to open positions.

But if the State Department’s extraordinary about face on the PLO’s mission in Washington is an indication of what passes for US diplomacy these days, then perhaps Tillerson should just shut down operations at Foggy Bottom. The US would be better off without representation by its diplomats.

Last week, in accordance with US law, Tillerson notified the PLO’s Washington envoy Husam Zomlot that the PLO’s mission in Washington has to close within 90 days because it has breached the legal terms governing its operations.

Specifically, Tillerson explained, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas breached US law when he called for the International Criminal Court to indict and prosecute Israeli nationals during his speech before the UN General Assembly in September.

Tillerson explained that under US law, the only way to keep the PLO mission in Washington open is if US President Donald Trump certifies in the next 90 days that its representatives are engaged in “direct and meaningful negotiations” with Israel.

The PLO didn’t respond to Tillerson with quiet diplomacy. It didn’t make an attempt to appease Congress or the State Department by for instance agreeing to end its campaign to get Israelis charged with war crimes at the ICC. It didn’t put an abrupt end to its financial support for terrorism and terrorists. It didn’t stop inciting Palestinians to hate Israel and seek its destruction. It didn’t disavow its efforts to form a unity government with Hamas and its terrorist regime in Gaza.

It didn’t join Saudi Arabia and Egypt in their efforts to fight Iranian power and influence in the region. It didn’t end its efforts to have Israeli companies blacklisted by the UN Human Rights Committee or scale back its leadership of the international boycott movement against Israel.

The PLO certainly didn’t begin “direct and meaningful negotiations” with Israel.

Instead of doing any of these things, in response to Tillerson’s notification, the PLO lashed out as the US. Abbas and his advisers launched an all-out assault against President Donald Trump and his team of Middle East envoys led by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his senior negotiator Jason Greenblatt.

PLO-controlled media outlets published a flood of stories which trafficked in antisemitic conspiracy theories against Trump and his Jewish American advisors. The PLO media renewed its allegations that Kushner, Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman are more loyal to Israel than to the US.

Abbas’s media outlets also escalated their criticism of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE for their focus on combating Iranian aggression. These regimes are selling the Palestinians down the river, the PLO outlets have proclaimed, as Abbas’s flacks have insisted that the PLO will not accept any regional peace.

Relations between Arab states and Israel, the PLO insists, cannot be fostered so long as Israel fails to capitulate to all of the PLO’s demands.

In commentary published at the Gatestone Institute website, Palestinian commentator Bassam Tawil alleges that the Palestinian rejection of the requirements of US law and its assaults against the Trump administration and Sunni Arab states may serve as a pretext for another Palestinian terror campaign against Israel, which will be justified as a response to an American-Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian plot against the Palestinians.

Given that the US is a superpower and the largest state financier of the PA, not to mention the foundation of the PLO’s claim to legitimacy on the world stage, the US might have been expected to respond harshly to the PLO’s threats and slanders. But then, that isn’t the State Department’s way of doing things with the PLO.

Rather than shrugging their shoulders and acknowledging that Abbas and his comrades have absolutely no intention whatsoever of abiding by the terms of their mission’s operations in Washington and shutting it down, the State Department began to stutter.

Obviously we wish to continue our good relations and our position as mediator between the Israelis and the PLO.

Obviously we wouldn’t wish the PLO any harm and really, really don’t want to close down its mission in Washington.

It’s just that we have this stupid law and we have to follow it, State Department officials insisted.

And then, less than a week after Tillerson sent his letter to Zomlot, the State Department beat a hasty retreat from its earlier decision to actually abide by US law when it comes to the PLO.

Saturday, The Hill online newspaper reported that the State Department had changed its mind. It is no longer interested in following the law. Instead, it has rewritten the law. Now, it’s fine for the PLO to operate in Washington while trampling US law. It just needs to pretend it isn’t doing what it is doing.

According to the State Department spokesman who revealed State’s about face to the media, the PLO mission can continue to operate, but its operations must be “related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

And if they aren’t, well, under this new interpretation of the law, the State Department can pretend it hasn’t noticed.

Two questions arise from the State Departments reversal. First, how does this decision advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians? And second, how does this decision impact the Trump administration’s bid to realign the balance of forces in the Middle East away from Iran and toward the US’s Arab allies, led by Saudi Arabia? The answer to the first question is straightforward. By empowering the PLO to continue to breach US law – with the full expectation of continuing to receive US assistance to the tune of more than $500 million a year – the US has made itself a laughingstock. Neither Hamas nor the PLO will take the US seriously. Any pressure the US attempts to apply toward the PLO to moderate its stand toward Israel will be ignored by Abbas and his cronies in the PLO and Hamas alike.

The Palestinians have taken the Trump administration’s measure. By beating a hasty retreat from its initial decision to stand with the law against the PLO, the State Department has told the PLO that the Trump administration is a paper tiger, at best.

They can get away with publicly trashing Trump. They can get away with antisemitic attacks against Friedman, Greenblatt and Kushner. Abbas and his deputies can get away with their war to delegitimize Israel in the West and harm its economy through their boycott campaign.

And the PLO can finance terrorism, sign a unity deal with Hamas and side with Hezbollah in Lebanon against Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration will do nothing against them. Instead, in the face of this contemptuous slap in the face to the US, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Ramallah next month and have his picture taken with Abbas the “moderate” leader and peace partner.

This then brings us to the second question of how surrendering to PLO threats will influence the US’s regional position. As Tawil reported, Al Quds, a Palestinian paper that reflects the views of Abbas and his associates, blasted the Arab League for focusing on Iran at its most recent foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo.

“The meeting ignored the Palestinian cause,” the paper complained.

“We are facing new Arab alliances against Iran, all under American pressure.

This will have a negative impact on our cause,” it warned.

For more than a generation, the State Department, and through it US Middle East policy as a whole, have been captivated by the myth that nothing can happen in the Middle East without Israel first capitulating to PLO demands.

Today, 17 years after the PLO rejected statehood and peace at Camp David and in so doing, made clear that no Israeli capitulation short of national suicide will satisfy it, and with the Sunni Arab world now eagerly working with Israel to defeat Iran and its proxies, it is clear that it is time for the US to cut the cord on the PLO.

By reversing course on closing the PLO mission, and groveling to the threatening PLO, the State Department made a laughingstock of the US and President Trump. The decision to reverse course should itself be reversed, in accordance with US law and in the interest in restoring what it is still possible to restore of US credibility in the Middle East.

Carolilne Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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Gaza: 'A very serious attack' - David Rosenberg

by David Rosenberg

Islamic Jihad pounds IDF position with mortar fire, prompting airstrikes, tank fire in response. 'This is just the beginning.'

Terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip fired at least a dozen mortar shells at an IDF engineering team inside Israeli territory near the border with Gaza Thursday afternoon, prompting the Israeli military to respond with airstrikes and tank fire.

Twelve mortar shells were fired at the engineering team which was carrying out work near the Gaza border fence. No injuries were reported, but the sudden attack prompted temporary shutdowns of the train system in Ashkelon and Sderot.

In response to the attack, Israel Air Force fighters struck targets inside the Gaza Strip. IDF tank units inside of Israel also opened fire on terrorist positions inside Gaza. A total of four targets were hit during the IDF operation.

Following the mortar attack, the IDF’s chief spokesperson, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, claimed that the Islamic Jihad terrorist group was responsible for the mortar fire.

Manelis noted that the attack took place exactly one month after Israel destroyed a terror tunnel which extended from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

The demolition killed a dozen terrorists, most of them affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror group. Israeli forces managed to recover the remains of five Islamic Jihad terrorists, and has refused to return them to Gaza.

In a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Manelis said the incident constituted a serious escalation.

“This was a serious attack by Islamic Jihad, in which 10 to 12 mortars were fired at an army position north of the Gaza Strip, where work is being conducted on the fence.”

Manelis added that the IDF’s airstrikes and tank fire were only the “initial response” and that more actions would be taken against Islamic Jihad.

“The IDF’s initial response included strikes on four [terrorist] targets. Two of them belonged to Islamic Jihad, while two were [operated] by Hamas.”

David Rosenberg


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Sow the Free Love Wind, Reap the Sexual Debasement Whirlwind - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

The bitter fruit of a destructive generation.

Bruce S. Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The explosion of sexual harassment and assault claims, some going back forty years, is the inevitable consequence of the sexual revolution. Long before Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual escapades led him to impeachment, our culture had normalized public sexual behavior and mores once hidden away in the private realm, and kept there by laws, morals, and customs. Like many of our social pathologies today, our sexually saturated public culture and the unleashing of sexual predators are the bitter fruit of the free love movement of the Sixties.

Those who didn’t live through that period cannot imagine how quickly and radically our society was transformed. And that change was encouraged by certain species of dubious Pop-Freudian psychological ideas that had been combined with left-wing theories of political revolution. This synthesis was predicated on the delegitimization of the “bourgeois” virtues, morals, and values that had created the “false consciousness” empowering capitalist oppression. “If it feels good, do it” and “Fuck authority” became the most important personal and political imperatives.

Thus sexual liberation became an instrument of political “liberation,” and both revolutions enabled personal liberation, a weird mash-up of radical individualism and communist collectivism. Listen to Herbert Marcuse, denizen of the Frankfurt School and guru of the New Left:
The civilized morality is reversed by harmonizing instinctual freedom and order: liberated from the tyranny of repressive reason, the instincts tend toward free and lasting existential relations––they generate a new reality principle.
So too another popular intellectual of the Sixties, renegade classicist Norman O. Brown:
The life instinct, or sexual instinct, demands activity of a kind that in contrast to our current mode of activity can only be called play. The life instinct also demands a union with others, and with the world around us, based not on anxiety and aggression but on narcissism and erotic exuberance.
One can see this political justification for “free love” in the 1969 Wellesley commencement address of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wrote her senior thesis on the most consequential theorist of modern left-wing activism, Saul Alinsky. “We’re searching for more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating modes of living,” Rodham said. Her three sexually charged adjectives reveal the by then preposterous union of the sexual and the political revolution that starts with “questions about our institutions, about our colleges, about our churches, about our government,” Rodham continues, and enables “human reconstruction,” a phrase echoing the leftist “new man” necessary for achieving the collectivist utopia of social justice and equality.

The women’s movement in particular embraced this theory. Sexual mores were a tool of patriarchal power, the means for keeping women “barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen,” as the cliché went. Taking away women’s sexual agency and autonomy prevented them from “raising their consciousness” and “acknowledging their repression” by the bigoted, puritanical values of retrograde Catholics and “fundamentalist evangelicals” striving to “roll back the clock.” Emboldened by sexual liberation and its empowering pleasures, women now could demand freedom from “bourgeois” rules that denied them sexual ecstasy and personal expression. Now the “double standard” of sexual codes would be abolished, and women would become the equals of men, needing only laws to be changed or written that encoded that equality.

Validated by such ideas, the powerful human sex-drive, which smarter peoples before us knew had to be controlled to minimize its destructive consequences, now began to run riot. No one has captured the consequence of “revers[ing] civilized morality” as well as Tom Wolfe does in his brilliant 2000 essay “Hooking Up.” The “sexual revolution” had by then become a “lurid carnival.” Public life and popular culture from movies and magazines to television and the Internet were filled with pornography both soft and hard. Perversions like sadomasochism became chic, its appurtenances fashion statements, and later its practice the theme of a best-selling series of novels. Divorce lost its stigma, and men were now free to dump the mother of their children for “trophy” wives half their age without tainting their careers or prestige.

Meanwhile, Wolf goes on, sexual stimuli bombarded the young so incessantly and intensely they were inflamed with a randy itch long before reaching puberty. At puberty the dams, if any were left, burst . . . From age thirteen, American girls were under pressure to maintain a façade of sexual experience and sophistication. Among girls, “virgin” was a term of contempt . . . The term “dating” was now deader than “proletariat” or “pornography” or “perversion.”

The consequences of this casting aside of traditional morality and embracing the “liberation of the instincts” have by now become obvious: Children raised without fathers, the dismantling of the family, venereal plagues, high rates of divorce, the sexual precocity of teenaged minors, millions of abortions and their psychological trauma, the humiliation and dishonor that comes from being used as a thing for another’s pleasure, and all the wider social dysfunctions that have followed.

And women have borne the brunt of these changes. No amount of pop-theorizing or feminist bluster has erased the natural differences between the sexes. And men, by nature sexually predatory, have been the biggest beneficiaries. Wolfe again:
The continuing vogue of feminism has made sexual life easier, even insouciant, for men. Women had been persuaded that they should be just as active as men when it came to sexual advances. Men were only too happy to accede to the new order, since it absolved them of all sense of responsibility, let alone chivalry.
And for progressive men, who are receiving the bulk of today’s charges of harassment and assault, the specious leftist theory of “liberation” that enabled sexual excess provided the perfect camouflage for their sexual predations. Likewise, the therapeutic cult of feeling––which replaced Christianity’s contrition, repentance, and penance––has given harassers and assaulters a cheap atonement merely by mouthing treacly clichés of sorrow for hurt feelings, and promises of self-improvement, especially a recommitment to the tenets of institutional feminism that they habitually had mouthed even as they preyed on women beholden to their power and influence.

The notion that sex identity is not a product of nature, but a cultural construct serving political power, led women to believe that they could act like men. But millennia of human experience have shown that men and women are fundamentally different. Before modern science, women were hostages to their bodies, especially the unpleasant monthly reminder of the reproductive imperative, the existential risk of childbirth, and their physical weakness compared to men. All these natural limitations have been mitigated by modern technology and changing social mores. But the emotions and mentalities attendant on their subjection to the reproductive imperative have not.

Finally, sexuality is not a cost-free vehicle for pleasure and liberation, as the ancients understood. “Eros [is] a killer,” as Sophocles wrote, a powerful force filled with the potential for destructive behavior. If women want to enter that venue of unfettered sexual agency, they need to remember that, as Camille Paglia’s prophetic 1994 essay is titled, there is “no law in the arena.” In the bad old prudish days, religion and social customs like male chivalry and female honor helped to defend women from the sexual predator. Now the regulatory state has attempted to perform that role, but its agents can’t be everywhere, and its motives cannot be separated from partisan politics. This means that an ethic of self-reliance and personal responsibility must be a woman’s armor. Unfortunately, with a culture of riotous sexual freedom, an ideology that equates hedonism with political revolution, and an educational system and popular culture that have endorsed this dangerous narrative, such advice will be dismissed as “blaming the victim” and “slut-shaming.”

So here we are, watching self-proclaimed feminists who once sang “I am woman, hear me roar,” but now cower like Victorian ingénues, whimpering victims who turn to the statist Big Daddy for protection and redress.

Obviously, sexual violence against women is a despicable crime to be severely punished. Men who use any sort of coercion to obtain sexual favors are cads and creeps whom every respectable person should look on with contempt. But apart from the charges of sexual violence, the bulk of the current sexual harassment complaints involve clumsy flirting, juvenile humor, unwanted touching, unsolicited sordid cell-phone pictures, sexual quid pro quos, and other techniques of the inept sexual suitor.

Women who have been raised with a healthy suspicion of the male’s potentially canine proclivities, with a character of proud self-reliance and confidence, and with a self-respect that will not allow them to sacrifice their dignity for career advancement, will be better able to handle these Beta Males. And then they will be truly liberated.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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North Korea Ships Chemical Weapons to Syria: Nukes Next? - Debalina Ghoshal

by Debalina Ghoshal

North Korean support for Syria is nothing new.

  • Syria could, of course, also acquire nuclear weapons from North Korea. Syria already possesses ballistic missiles; the chemical weapons are already there.
  • In the past, North Korea has shipped ballistic missiles to Hezbollah and Hamas via Syria; they will probably continue to do so, and to terrorist organizations as well.
North Korea is reported to be shipping chemical weapons to Syria. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has stated that activity has been intercepted during the past six months and that North Korea is also shipping conventional weapons there. Furthermore, a Syrian government entity, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, has apparently established cooperation with the Korean Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), North Korea's key arms exporter, and blacklisted by the UN Security Council

Shipping weapons and chemical weapons to Syria brings cash-strapped North Korea hard currency, Meanwhile Syria, thick in a civil war, can only acquire sophisticated weapons and weapons of mass destruction through a black market; so a sanctioned North Korea is ideal.

This news should not come as a surprise. North Korean support for Syria is nothing new. In 1995, a CIA report confirmed that Syria's Scud B and Scud C missile systems had been acquired from North Korea. By 1997, a State Department report confirmed that North Korea was providing Syria with crucial equipment for its missile development program. Der Spiegel reported in 2015 that Syria was again trying to build nuclear bombs.

A nuclear reactor being built by North Korea in Syria was destroyed by Israel in 2007. In 2012, North Korea was sending Syria artillery components through China while using sophisticated techniques to avoid interception.

In April 2017, Kim Jong-un called a US missile strike on Syria, in response to Syrian use of chemical weapons on its own citizens, an "unforgivable act of aggression." North Korea's aid to Syria in developing chemical weapons, however, is also nothing new.

Lately, North Korea has again been providing Syria with chemical weapons as well as assisting its ballistic missile program.

All these activities have been carried out despite the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-proliferation Act, which "authorizes the United States to impose sanctions against foreign individuals, private entities, and governments that engage in proliferation activities."

North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs have been both alarming the US and destabilizing the Middle East.

North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs have been both alarming the US and destabilizing the Middle East. Pictured: A mobile ballistic missile launcher at North Korea's 2013 Victory Day parade. (Image source: Stefan Krasowski/Flickr)

Syria could, of course, also acquire nuclear weapons from North Korea. Syria already possesses ballistic missiles; the chemical weapons are already there.

Syrian forces have used these chemical weapons against rebel forces and civilians; the main delivery systems for chemical warheads have been artillery rockets, ballistic missiles and aerial bombs.

Syria's chemical weapons stockpile still exists, despite the country acceding to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013. Syria's agreement to the CWC is most likely why it has been seeking chemical weapons clandestinely.

Although Syria is also a party to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it could just as easily clandestinely acquire nuclear weapons from the black market rather than build nuclear program that would be easily detectable by satellites.

To add to this, Russia has vetoed renewing the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) due to have expired in November 2017. The JIM, a mechanism of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons under UN Resolution 2235, set up in the year 2015, aimed at determining the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

In the past, North Korea has shipped ballistic missiles to Hezbollah and Hamas via Syria; they will probably continue to do so, and to terrorist organizations as well.

Debalina Ghoshal, an independent consultant specializing in nuclear and missile issues, is based in India.


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'They surrounded the cave and threw rocks at us' - Yoni Kempinski

by Yoni Kempinski

Youth recalls attempted Arab lynch of Jewish children in Samaria. 'They came in from all directions and surrounded us.'

One of the youth present during the lynch attempt in Samaria earlier today, Thursday, described the events to Arutz Sheva.

“We left Migdalim and walked under the cliff - and they threw rocks at us,” he said.

“We entered a cave so they wouldn’t hit us. We were there for awhile - and then Arabs came from all directions and closed us in.”

“They threw rocks at us, sticks, sprayed pepper gas,” he described. “They hit children and punched us. They successfully kept away the Arab who wanted to throw rocks at us until the army arrived and got us out of there.”

Earlier, it was reported that a group of children from Samaria, who left Thursday for a planned trip approved by the IDF near the Samaria town of Migdalim, was attacked by an Arab lynch mob.

Medics treated two Jews who were lightly injured in the attack. They have been evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah.

Some 25 children and two adult escorts departed on the trip, which took place a significant distance from Arab villages.

At a certain stage dozens of Arab rioters began to attack the participants in a planned ambush. The rioters threw stones and rocks at the children and the youths, and the group was forced to take refuge along the steep cliffs nearby, thus facing danger to their lives both from the rocks thrown at them and the dangerous terrain.

Miraculously, the group found a cave in the area, where it hid until the arrival of the army. During the stay of the young men in the cave, the rioters attempted to enter the cave and lynch the hikers.

A military source said the boys were on a private bar mitzvah trip and were hiking from Migdalim toward Kida. Dozens of rioters then arrived in vehicles, attacked the boys and lightly injured three of them. A parent of one of the youths who was escorting the group was forced to open fire on the attackers.

One of the rioters was hit by gunfire, and despite attempts by IDF medics at the scene to resuscitate him, one was declared dead at the scene.

Yoni Kempinski


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'An anti-Semitism panel led by anti-Semites' - Tzvi Lev

by Tzvi Lev

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind unloads on Linda Sarsour after she participated in panel discussion on anti-Semitism.

Linda Sarsour
Linda Sarsour
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind unloaded on Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour for being a panelist at a conference discussing anti-Semitism. The conference, which was held at the New School in New York City, had drawn widespread criticism for the selection of marginal, far-left figures, some of whom have themselves been accused of anti-Semitism.

Hikind wrote on Facebook that the panel "is like a scene from a Mel Brooks film. An anti-Semitism panel led by anti-Semites. Pinch me—I must be dreaming!"

"But it’s not a dream. It’s another scene from a nightmare—the one about certain far-left liberal Jews so far removed from reality that they believe embracing Israel bashers will help them live happily ever after in non-Jewish lands. It’s the nightmare that says some Jews are so far removed from Jewish values, so distanced from Jewish identity that they “identify” as progressive and embrace any overtures to progressive values. Even when those values are being touted by wolves in sheep’s clothing."

"Avowed hate-peddler Linda Sarsour is lecturing us on anti-Semitism," continued Hikind. "Linda Sarsour, the unabashed apologist for terrorists whose glorification of Palestinian children throwing rocks became a Tweet heard ‘round the world. This is the individual the New School roped in to share pearls of wisdom.

"Granted, Sarsour has some small measure of expertise on the subject. After all, she’s been spreading anti-Semitism her entire public career."

"And now Sarsour has stepped up her game," added Hikind. "She’s surrounded herself with Jews who don’t know any better; Jews who assume that as long as she’s willing to visit their Temple, she must be ok. Jews who dismiss Sarsour’s venomous anti-Israel propaganda as acceptable in light of her publicized fund raiser for a Jewish cemetery. Sarsour has a fondness for dead Jews."

Hiking also blasted the New School's "absurd panel on anti-Semitism" and Sarsour for comparing President Trump to known anti-Semites around the world. "Sarsour made it clear that the threat to the Jews isn’t from radical Islamists who rent trucks and mow down innocent people in the streets—or those who teach their children that murdering Jews is the greatest act they can aspire to—but rather from the “fascist” White House" he wrote.

The event, titled “Antisemitism and the Struggle for Justice”, had drawn attention due to its slate of far-left and anti-Israel speakers. The panel included Leo Ferguson, from the Jews for Racial & Economic Justice group; Rebecca Vilkomerson, chair of the radical anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace organization; JVP activist Lina Morales; Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman; and co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March, Linda Sarsour.

The addition of Sarsour to the list was controversial due to her long record of anti-Zionist remarks. The 37-year-old Brooklyn-born activist had been criticized in the past for having compared Zionist Jews to neo-Nazis, praising Arab stone-throwing terrorists who target Israeli Jews, and musing that female critics of Islam should be sexually mutilated.

In April, Sarsour shared a stage with convicted murderer Rasmea Odeh, lauding the PFLP terrorist who murdered two Israelis before illegally immigrating to the US.

The Anti Defamation League (ADL) also criticized the choice of panelists, saying in a statement that "having Linda Sarsour & head of JVP leading a panel on #antisemitism is like Oscar Meyer leading a panel on vegetarianism. These panelists know the issue, but unfortunately, from the perspective of fomenting it rather than fighting it.”

“Seriously there’s not a single Jewish organization that studies this issue and/or fights this disease would take this panel seriously, let alone the institution that put it together."

Tzvi Lev


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