Saturday, June 9, 2018

Who leads Israel? - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

According to our generals, Israel needs to shower Hamas with stuff. Food, medicine, water, electricity, medical supplies, concrete, cold hard cash, whatever Hamas needs, Israel should just hand it over in the name of humanitarian assistance.

Israel has a problem with its security brass. And this week we received several reminders that the situation needs to be dealt with.

Since the Hamas regime in Gaza announced in March that it was planning to have civilians swarm the border with Israel, through this week’s Hamas-Islamic Jihad mortar and rocket assault on southern Israel, the IDF General Staff has been insisting there is only one thing Israel can do about Gaza.

According to our generals, Israel needs to shower Hamas with stuff. Food, medicine, water, electricity, medical supplies, concrete, cold hard cash, whatever Hamas needs, Israel should just hand it over in the name of humanitarian assistance.

Every single time reporters ask the generals what Israel can do to end Hamas’s jihadist campaign, they give the same answer. Let’s shower them with stuff.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority is blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza makes no impression on the generals. For months now, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas has refused to pay salaries to Hamas regime employees or pay for Gaza’s electricity and fuel. Hamas, for its part, destroyed the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal two weeks ago, blocking all transfer of gas and food to Gaza. And this week it blew up its electricity lines with a misfired mortar aimed at Israel.

Hamas’s determination to use civilians as human shields for its terrorists is a pretty clear message that it does not care about the people it controls. But for whatever reason, it didn’t register with the General Staff. As residents of the South were rushing to bomb shelters every 10 minutes or so on Tuesday, generals were briefing reporters that Israel must give them medicine.

When Hamas then refused to receive medical supplies from Israel, the generals doubled down and said that the only card Israel has to play is to give Gaza humanitarian aid. And they told reporters that their job at the next security cabinet meeting will be to convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers that Israel needs to give the Hamas regime stuff.

Then there is the issue of terrorist bodies.

Hamas holds the bodies of Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, both killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Hamas also holds Israeli civilian hostages Avra Mengistu and Hisham a-Suwaid.

In January 2017, the security cabinet decided that Israel will retain the bodies of terrorists rather than transfer them to Palestinian authorities for burial. The purpose of the decision was to pressure Hamas to release the Israeli hostages and remains of the IDF personnel it holds.

Despite the cabinet decision, since the cabinet made its decision, Israel has transferred to Hamas the bodies of five terrorist murderers. Each time, the IDF General Staff stood behind the move.

Currently, the government is holding the body of Hamas terrorist Aziz Awisat who just died in prison.

Media reports indicate the IDF is pushing for the government to appease Hamas again and transfer his body to Gaza for burial. To block the move, Goldin’s parents petitioned the High Court on Monday and demanded the government inform them 72 hours in advance of any transfer of a terrorist’s body to Hamas. The government agreed to the Goldin family’s demand on Thursday morning.

It is inarguable that these bodies of terrorists are valuable bargaining chips in the government’s efforts to repatriate its hostages and the remains of its soldiers. The fact that the IDF General Staff repeatedly undercuts the government’s efforts to secure their release, by surreptitiously transferring the terrorists’ bodies to Hamas, is of a piece with its irrational belief that it is Israel’s responsibility to ensure a quality of life for denizens of Hamasland.

If the IDF General Staff’s chronic insubordination on behalf of Hamas terrorists weren’t enough, there’s also Iran.

In 2012, former Mossad director Meir Dagan first revealed to celebrity leftist reporter Ilana Dayan that in 2010 he went behind Netanyahu’s back and informed then-US defense secretary Leon Panetta that Netanyahu had just ordered the IDF and the Mossad to prepare an attack against Iran’s nuclear installations.

In 2016, after Dagan passed away, Dayan released a tell-all interview with Dagan where he detailed precisely how he blocked Netanyahu’s order; Dagan told Dayan that he used both the Obama administration, and an appeal to Israel’s legal establishment, to block Netanyahu from ordering the IDF and Mossad to attack Iran’s nuclear installations.

On Thursday morning, Dayan was at it again.

Her show, Uvda, released a preview of an interview set to air that evening with Dagan’s successor, recently retired Mossad chief Tamir Pardo. In his interview, Pardo relates that a year after Dagan scuttled Netanyahu’s order to prepare an attack against Iran’s nuclear installations, it was Pardo’s turn.

Pardo told Dayan that in 2011, Netanyahu again ordered the Mossad and the IDF to prepare the security services to attack Iran’s nuclear installations within 15 days. Pardo told Dayan that as he saw it, he had two choices: comply or resign.

So he chose a third option: legal subterfuge.

Dagan insisted at the Jerusalem Post Conference in 2015 that Netanyahu did not have the legal authority to order an attack against Iran. Only the security cabinet had the authority, he said. Dagan said he demanded that Netanyahu receive the approval of the security cabinet for the attack.

Apparently, Dagan based his legal position on a unique interpretation of the law regarding authority to declare war.

Under the law, the security cabinet is authorized to declare war. Dagan decided that Netanyahu’s order to strike Iran’s nuclear installations constituted a declaration of war. And so he said Netanyahu lacked the authority to order the attack. Perhaps afraid that he wouldn’t have the votes, perhaps afraid his plans would leak in the larger forum, Netanyahu stood down.

Pardo told Dayan that like Dagan, to get out of his dilemma of obeying Netanyahu’s order or resigning, he applied Dagan’s radical interpretation of the law to Netanyahu’s order.

Instead of resigning, or preparing the attack, Pardo said he went behind Netanyahu’s back to then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein, to get him to sign on to the Dagan-Pardo legal theory of what constitutes a declaration of war. And just as Pardo assumed would happen, Netanyahu stood down again.

Thanks to Pardo and Dagan, Iran’s nuclear expansion went on unimpeded. Thanks to Pardo and Dagan, then-US president Barack Obama had a clear path to negotiate his 2015 nuclear deal with the mullahs that gave them an open path to a nuclear arsenal by 2025 and $150 billion to finance their regional aggression.

Early last month, the media and opposition lawmakers expressed outrage when the Knesset amended the law for declaring war. Under the amended law, under certain extreme circumstances, the prime minister and defense minister are empowered to declare war without security cabinet approval.

The media and opposition lawmakers presented the amendment as an arbitrary move. Netanyahu, the commentators and opposition lawmakers insisted, was giving himself dictatorial powers.

Cabinet ministers were embarrassed into action.

Last week, they voted to freeze the amendment and retain all power to declare war, even in extreme circumstances, in the cabinet’s hands.

Given that the normal interpretation of the phrase, “power to declare war,” would not include “power to order a strike against an enemy state’s nuclear installations,” no one made the connection between the amended law and the subversive behavior of two Mossad directors. No one realized that the purpose of the amendment was to prevent insubordination at the top levels of the security community. No one realized that the move was a means to ensure Israel’s elected leaders have the minimal authority they require to order the military and the intelligence services to take actions they deem necessary to ensure the national security of Israel.

But now, with Pardo’s interview, and recalling Dagan’s subversive actions, the need for the amendment is obvious.

It is past time for Israel’s political leaders to rein in our generals. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Israel’s civilian responsibility for Gaza ended the moment the last soldier shut the gate.

Hamas is not Israel’s enemy because it lacks money or electricity. It is Israel’s enemy because it is a jihadist terrorist group committed to the annihilation of the Jewish people. No amount of free electricity or medicine will change this basic truth.

Hamas will not transfer the bodies of Israel’s fallen soldiers or release the Israelis it holds hostage because Israel gives it money or concrete. Hamas will not embrace Israel if Israel purifies the Gaza water supply which Hamas deliberately polluted by over-drilling.

The fact that the IDF General Staff hasn’t figured this out does not speak well of our generals’ cognitive capabilities.

In response to Pardo’s revelations, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel Radio on Thursday morning, “It seems problematic to me that the head of the most secret security organization we have is describing the [national security] decision- making process. And the fact that he placed doubt in the legality of the orders he received from Israel’s prime minister seems deeply problematic to me.

Erdan added, “If security or intelligence officials began questioning their orders, I assume they did great damage to Israel’s deterrence. Everyone who undermined Benjamin Netanyahu’s ability to advance his policies toward Iran over time has been deeply wrong.”

Over the past several months, the IDF General Staff’s handling of Hamas’s offensive along the border, like its handling of this week’s rocket and mortar offensive, has been marked by a lack of creativity.

Rather than consider new ways to handle old threats, the IDF repeated the tactics it has used to inconclusive ends for the past decade.

As for Iran, Netanyahu’s revelation of the Mossad’s stunning capture of Iran’s nuclear archive makes clear that Mossad officers have the capacity to do the impossible. Had Dagan and Pardo unleashed those capabilities in 2010 and 2011 rather than subverting Netanyahu’s authority, there is every reason to believe that Iran would not constitute the multidimensional threat to Israel it poses today.

Lt. Goldin’s parents, Simcha and Leah Goldin, told reporters this week that if the cabinet would simply implement its own decision to hold terrorists’ bodies, they would have had no need to petition the High Court against it.

They are right, and not just about the bodies of terrorists.

The cabinet – and the Knesset – must take ameliorative action against the security brass to end their subversion of our duly elected leaders. A first step in that direction would be to unfreeze the amendment to the war declaration law and give the prime minister and defense minister the ability to stand up to insubordinate commanders.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

Caroline Glick


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

Mired in delusions - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Still trying to achieve impossible unity and swayed by Islamic interpretations of reality, the Arab world has made little progress since 1967.

Fifty one years have passed since the Six Day War, fifty one years during which Israel has advanced on every front, in economics, technology, its society (it switched from a socialist to a nationalist regime) and, most significantly, in its geo-political situation: Two Arab countries bordering Israel, Jordan and Egypt, signed peace treaties with the Jewish State, and a number of Arab states have relations with Israel behind the scenes. Israel is an honored member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its per capita GNP approaches $40,000 per annum. 

Has Israel solved all its problems? Not at all. Israel had to continue to fight for its survival after 1967.  It fought a War of Attrition during the years 1968-70, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the First Lebanon War in 1982 and the Second Lebanon War in 2006, fought unending terror between those wars and is now dealing with the massive problem of Iran. 

Except that Iran is a war that can be dealt with while, in contrast, the Arab world has still not recovered from the Six Day War, mainly because Arab culture has a hard time dealing with failure and its attendant humiliation. Admitting failure is naturally followed by an inquiry into the reasons for that failure – and by seeking those responsible for it – and also makes it imperative to act so as to prevent another defeat.  This process is problematic by definition because, for the most part, the regime holds the responsibility for defeat, and in the 1967 Arab world it was forbidden for citizens to criticize the regime – in this case, Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, King Hussein in Jordan and Hafez al Assad in Syria.

Israel started the war with an aerial attack that destroyed the air forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syrai on the ground and damaged those of Iraq and Lebanon. Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's president, and King Hussein of Jordan could not face the shame and in a telephone conversation decided to announce in the news that it was the American air force that attacked their airbases and destroyed the aircraft. Israel's Intelligence Services picked up the conversation and broadcast the conversation  on Voice of Israel after the Egyptian and Jordanian radio stations reported the "American attack."

Israel Radio's broadcast showed up the two dictators as the liars they were and Nasser felt he had to resign as a result of the damage to his credibility. Masses of Egyptians burst into the streets in government-organized demonstrations, and he "gave in to the will of the people" and withdrew his resignation. Three years later Nasser died of heart failure, probably helped by the shame he endured in the Six Day War defeat and the humiliation suffered when Israel broadcast his conversation with King Hussein.  

Syria's president Salah Jadid and its Defense Minister Hafez el Assad, who also commanded the air force, also suffered great humiliation. They were seen as responsible for the defeat because of the fact that one year earlier, in 1966, when they took over the rule of Syria, they got rid of half the army's officers whom they suspected of disloyalty to the new regime. A large number of officers were sentenced to death, resulting in the Syrian army's utterly disastrous performance in the  war.  That defeat was one of the excuses Assad used to remove Jadid from his presidential post in November 1970.

In the Syrian case, Israel brought much shame on Jedid and Assad when it conquered Kuneitra, the capital of the Golan, on June 10th.  Israel broadcast a false news report on official Syrian radio, and the announcer – an IDF soldier whose family had immigrated from Syria – declared that Kuneitra had been defeated before the actual battle had even begun. The Syrian forces defending the city heard of its supposed fall and fled without lifting a finger to fight, each one sure he was the only soldier left in the city.

Assad suffered from deep depression that recurred each year on June 10th, caused by the loss of  the Golan Heights and the way Kuneitra fell into Israel's hands. During the 30 years of his reign, Assad failed to recover the Golan for Syria and thus could not restore his lost honor. Old, ill and feeble, he died of heart failure on June 10, 2000.

The Six Day War defeat brought about a lessening of the popularity of the united Arab ideology promoted by Gamal Abdel Nasser and used by him to control other Arab nations in order to create so-called "Arab Unity."  Only Syria was persuaded to join Egypt and form the "United Arab Republic," which lasted for three years, from 1958 to 1961. All the other Arab rulers realized that "Arab unity" was simply an excuse for Nasser to gain control over their countries and refused to be part of the initiative.

The wane of the Arab unity idea brought about its replacement by an individualistic ideology that saw each Arab state as one that must remain separate and independent. At the same time, it brought about a religious revival as many of the Arab populace looked for religious messages to explain the defeat. Imams and preachers claimed that the two ideologies that had previously guided the Arabs – nationalism in Egypt and  Baath socialism in Syria  - were inherently anti-religious ideologies because they put the nation and society in the center, while pushing  Allah to the sidelines. The defeat, according to the mosque preachers, was the punishment meted out by Allah on those countries because they turned their backs on him. 

This religious approach to the Six Day War defeat was a main feature of the Muslim Brotherhood's exhortations as it tried with all its might to take over Egypt and Syria. It was the rise in the Brotherhood's popularity that led Nasser and his successor Anwar Sadat to regularly execute leaders of that organization. In Syria, they organized in secret and only rebelled publicly in 1976. Assad fought them mercilessly and put an end to the rebellion with the Hama massacre of February 1982.

Islam's ascension as a political alternative to secular, modern ideology over the past 50 years is also seen as a result of the Six Day War defeat and the bankruptcy of secular ideologies. That is why the Islamic terror from which the entire world suffers today, can be seen as a belated reaction and indirect result of the Six Day War.

Israel named the war "The Six Day War" in order to emphasize how it took only six days to defeat three Arab nations. Arab media make a point of calling it "The June 1967 War" to  make it seem as though the war went on for an entire month, some even making an effort to call it the "1967 War" giving the impression that  it went on for an entire year.

Syrian media do not even call it a war, but an example of  aggression, because war is waged between two countries while aggression is pitted by one country against another, with only one side doing the fighting. Presenting the war as "aggression" makes it seem as though Syria was not defeated because it did not even wage war.

Up until the Six Day War, Jordan ruled Judea and  Samaria, strangling any attempt by its residents to develop nationalistic Palestinian sentiments independent of the Hashemite Kingdom. Liberating these territories from Jordanian occupation freed the Arab populace there from the fear of the Jordanian intelligence network. Israel allowed them to speak, write and publicize the idea of Palestinian nationalist aspirations, just as long as they did not act overtly against Israel. Paradoxically, the Six Day War allowed the Arabs of  Judea, Samaria and Gaza to invent the idea of a "Palestinian people" and develop it to the proportions it has reached, to the point where  its spokesmen are able to convince the Argentinian soccer team to cancel their planned trip to Jerusalem to play a friendly game against Israel's team.

On the other hand, the entire idea of "Palestinian nationalism" has been falling apart in front of our eyes, ever since its main proponent – the  PLO – signed a peace treaty with Israel in September 1993. The PLO even  cooperates with Israel's security forces in order to stifle other organizations . Hamas destroyed the Palestinian nationalist idea when it carried out a coup in Gaza in June 2007.  It seems that the idea was not any stronger than the nationalist Arab idea that was a victim of the Six Day War.

This rather bleak situation has Arabs, stuck on the front lines, running from one modern ideology imported from Europe – and destroyed in the Six Day War – to another, despite the fact that the only form of government that can work in the Arab world is the tribal situation created by the Middle Eastern culture of tribe and desert. The Gulf Emirates are the only success story in the region because each of them is based on one dominant tribe.

It is about time for the Arab world to awaken from its delusions, and put an end, with Western and Russian aid, to the artificial, failed states established in the region  by colonial powers. On the physical and ideological ruins of those states the world could create successful, prosperous emirates ruled by the local families, like those in the Gulf.

Written in Hebrew for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

It's the Trump Economy, Stupid - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

Those who claim that Trump merely inherited a rising trend line from Obama ignore their own predictions of economic disaster after Trump won.

That’s the common sense opinion of two key economists who argue that you can’t have every economic and environmental policy you put in place repealed by your successor and then claim as yours the economic growth that results:
Economists Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer wrote in The Wall Street Journal Friday that President Donald Trump deserves credit for the economy’s improvement, not former President Barack Obama.
Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and Laffer, the chairman of Laffer Associates, write that “Mr. Obama might be justified in taking credit for today’s economy if his successor had adopted and carried on his policies. Instead, Mr. Trump has reversed nearly every Obama rule, edict and law that he can legally overturn. At its core, the Trump economic strategy wasn’t complicated: systematically repeal Mr. Obama’s ‘accomplishments’ -- the tax increases, the regulatory blitz on business, the welfare expansions, the war on American fossil fuels, and so on. As a result, the economy would pop like a cork pulled from a shaken champagne bottle.”
Trump didn’t need a “stimulus.” All he needed was to remove the shackles from America’s entrepreneurs and let nature take its course. He let entrepreneurs know that they could take risks without fear of being punished for their success. Winners and losers would be determined by the talents of the participants and not bureaucrats who wasted billions on “shovel-ready” jobs that didn’t exist. It was Trump who let the economic dogs out.

Obama didn’t cut taxes, didn’t slash regulations, didn’t rein in the EPA, didn’t free American energy, or end the war on coal and fossil fuels. All these raised the cost of doing business if business could be done at all. He gave us Solyndra, the poster child for the failure of a command economy. He gave us ObamaCare and its punitive taxes such as the now-repealed individual mandate which put the economy into hibernation as businesses were unable to hire or expand without punitive costs.

At one point it got so bad that the Obama administration actually required businesses to “attest” on their tax forms that they weren’t shedding employees or making hiring and employment decisions to avoid ObamaCare taxes and regulations under penalty of perjury:
On Monday, a Treasury Department unconcerned with the necessities of the free market said that businesses will need to "certify" that they are not shedding full-time workers simply to avoid the mandate and its costs.
Officials said employers will be told to sign a "self-attestation" on their tax forms affirming this, under penalty of perjury.
ObamaCare has created a class of employers known as the "49ers," companies who decide to stay out of health care reform's clutches by not exceeding, or by slimming down to, 49 employees, one fewer than the 50-employee threshold for providing health coverage.
There is also a class of employees known as the "29ers." Their hours are limited or reduced to one fewer than the 30-hour threshold for being considered a full-time employee for whom coverage must be provided…
The CBO has announced that under ObamaCare the projection of hours worked will represent "a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024."
Trump removed this and other job-killers that kept the economy in hibernation. This is his economic boom caused by his policies and no greater proof is found than in the manufacturing job numbers, jobs that Obama famously said, in a speech to Carrier employees, would never come back.

In June, 2016, Obama mocked Trump’s desire to keep employers like Carrier from leaving the country. Obama called them the “jobs of the past” and in effect said good riddance to them:
In June, President Obama participated in a PBS townhall and was asked about Trump's promise to keep Carrier's Indiana plant in the U.S. The townhall participant -- Eric Cottonham, a member of the Steelworkers Union employed by Carrier -- asked Obama if anything could be done to stem the tide of jobs flowing out of the country, as Trump had recently promised to do.
"I see here you’re doing a lot of things, but in Indianapolis, there’s nothing there for us," he asked. "I mean, what’s next? I mean, what can we look forward to in the future as far as jobs, employment, whatever? Because all of our jobs has left or in the process of leaving, sir.”
"Those jobs of the past are just not going to come back," Obama told Cottonham.
Instead, Obama advised workers losing their jobs to learn how to adapt their skills to "some of these new technologies," in particular, the "clean energy sector."
"Let's focus on those," he suggested. "The days when you just being able to -- you just being willing to work hard and you can now walk into a plant and suddenly there’s going to be a job for you for 30 years or 40 years, that’s just not going to be there for our kids because more and more, that stuff’s going to be automated."
Fast forward to Trump’s election and another speech with a slightly more optimistic message -- president-elect Trump announced a deal had been reached with air conditioner manufacturer Carrier to keep 1,100 manufacturing jobs in Indiana rather than being shipped to Mexico. Suddenly the business climate was friendlier.

In his Carrier speech, Trump announced the promise by Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies, to spend upwards of $16 million to renovate its Indiana plant in a firm commitment to next-generation manufacturing. Trump said in his speech:
So, United Technologies has stepped up. And I have to say this, they did it in such a nice and such a professional way. And they’re going to spend so much money on renovating this plant. And I said, Greg, say that number. You know, he said $16 million. Well, the minimum number is 16. It’s going to be, in my opinion, a lot more than that.
Whatever the number, it will surely bear more fruit than Obama’s failed investments in “the clean energy sector.” It is Solyndra, not Carrier, that is the poster child for crony capitalism, an investment in failure to reward an Obama donor.

Not only did Carrier stay but also others who left have returned. The economy is hitting on all cylinders. As Larry Kudlow, assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the White House’s National Economic Council, notes:
The U.S. economy has been growing close to 3 percent over the past year -- a rate once thought impossible -- and is on track to get even growthier in the second quarter. Business is booming as corporate spending on new capital equipment has surged in 2017 and 2018. Hiring and wages are rising, too. Household net worth has soared to an almost unimaginable level of $100 trillion.
The most recent jobs figures show extraordinary job growth and an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, the lowest level since 2000. Since the president took office, 3 million new jobs have been created, including more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs. The share of the workforce filing new unemployment claims is at a record low. Small-business confidence stands near 35-year highs.
And we see in Mays jobs report, the fruit from Trump’s economy:
Businesses added 223,000 jobs for the month, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.8% -- its lowest rate since April 2000 and matching the lowest rate ever, first set in 1969, according to the Labor Department…
And it's happening in a broad swath of industries: education, health care, retailing, restaurants, hotels, construction, you name it. Oh yes, and wages rose to an average $26.92 an hour, a 2.7% gain from a year ago.
Looking at the separate household measure of jobs, a different measure kept by government, there were 128.657 million full-time jobs in the U.S. in May. That's a 904,000-job increase in one month, the largest jump in the data's history. All told, 155.474 million Americans have jobs, a record.
Those now who claim that Trump merely inherited a rising trend line from Obama ignore their own predictions of economic disaster after Trump won and began dismantling Obama’s economic policies. The policies in place are not Obama’s and neither are the successful results.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications. 


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

'PLO office in the United States exists in violation of the law' - Arutz Sheva North American Staff

by Arutz Sheva North American Staff

Senator Cruz and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen urge Pompeo and Sessions to take action to close PLO office in Washington.

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have penned a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in the United States.

In the letter, they urge the Administration to begin taking the necessary steps and instituting the necessary legal action to close the PLO office, citing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987.

“Thirty years ago, Congress found, as part of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, enacted as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (Public Law 100-204), that the PLO and its affiliates were terrorist organizations threatening the United States. Congress therefore prohibited the PLO, among other things, from establishing or maintaining an office anywhere in the United States. Decades of PLO actions have confirmed the wisdom of that conclusion,” the Members wrote.

“Congress has sought an explanation from the Administration as to the legal basis for permitting the PLO to maintain its office in the United States despite a clear statutory command to the contrary,” they added.

“Over the years, using various authorities, Congress has permitted the President to waive that prohibition in one of two ways,” wrote Cruz and Ros-Lehtinen. 

“First, the President can waive § 1003 of P.L 100-204, and allow the PLO to maintain an office in the United States, if he certifies to Congress that the Palestinians have neither obtained membership in the United Nations, nor initiated or actively supported an International Criminal Court investigation against Israeli nationals for alleged crimes against Palestinians. In November 2017, President Trump and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson correctly refused to make that certification in light of statements by PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which baselessly called on the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute Israelis,” they pointed out.

“Second, if the President cannot make that certification, he can, no less than 90 days later, issue a secondary waiver if he certifies to Congress ‘that the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.’ To date, President Trump has not made this certification either.”

“Because these waivers have not been issued, the PLO office in the United States has existed and exists today in violation of U.S. law. Congress has spoken clearly on this issue through the statutory text, and it has charged the Attorney General with ‘tak[ing] the necessary steps and institut[ing] the necessary legal action’ to close the PLO office. But we have become increasingly concerned that this is not occurring, and that Congress may have to take new steps to reassert its prerogatives over the use of funds to support the PLO and the existence of a PLO office.”

The U.S. threatened to shut down the PLO mission in New York back in November, when then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to the Palestinian leadership warning that the delegation might be shut down as a result of Abbas's call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel and prosecute Israelis.

Later, however, State Department officials said that it was decided to keep the delegation open for at least 90 days, and at the end of that period, Trump could announce that he is prolonging its activity because it is vital for supporting "meaningful" Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Late last month, the PA official in charge of foreign affairs, Riyad al-Maliki, met with the chief prosecutor of the ICC to push for an investigation of Israeli war crimes after more than 60 Gazans were killed last week during violent riots along the border.

Arutz Sheva North American Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

Kite terror sparks 17 fires in Israel - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

IDF hits Gazans preparing 'terror kites' for use against Israel.

Riot on the Gaza border
Riot on the Gaza border
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
Kite terror on Saturday ignited seventeen fires in Israel.

In one large fire near Kibbutz Nir Am, firefighters worked for several hours before gaining control of the flames. In another incident, an incendiary kite caused a fire near Sderot's train tracks and train station.

Another kite fell in the Lachish region near the Gazan border. Israel Police said the kite was attached to an operating system.

Local authorities requested residents not touch the explosive kites, since they may be armed with additional weapons.

Arab media reported that the IDF attacked a stockpile of kites which had been prepared for use. The IDF also confirmed that soldiers had fired warning shots at Gazans preparing balloons armed with explosives for use against Israel.

"The IDF takes the use of incendiary and explosive balloons and kites very seriously, and will work t prevent their use," the IDF said in a statement.

Separately, the IDF arrested a Gazan terrorist attempting to infiltrate Israel on Saturday evening. The Gazan was found to be in possession of a slingshot.

Arutz Sheva Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

Marching for Terrorism in London? No Problem - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

An afternoon of racism is in store for Londoners on Sunday, but as long as the hate is directed against Jews by Muslims, British authorities apparently have no problem with it.

  • The leader of last year's London Al Quds Day rally, Nazim Ali – director of the "Islamic Human Rights Commission", which organizes the annual march – called for the annihilation of Israel. They also carried banners that said, "We are all Hezbollah," (what a comforting thought for the British). If, however, like the scholar Robert Spencer, one reports on these activities, one is barred from entering England.
  • An afternoon of racism is in store for Londoners on Sunday, but as long as the hate is directed against Jews by Muslims, British authorities apparently have no problem with it.
On Sunday June 10 in London, the yearly so-called Al Quds Day march -- Al Quds is the Arabic name for both Jerusalem and for the day, invented by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led Iran's 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah -- will take place. The march is, basically, a call for the destruction of Israel, sometimes also Jews in general. Many other cities, among them Toronto, Berlin and Tehran, will also be "celebrating" the day.

Last year in London, around 1000 people waved countless Hezbollah flags, in honor of Iran's proxy terrorist organization, while chanting slogans such as "Zionists/ISIS are the same, only difference is the name" and "From the river to the sea - Palestine will be free". They also carried banners that said, "We are all Hezbollah," (what a comforting thought for the British).

Pictured: The 2014 Al Quds Day march in London, England. A Hezbollah flag is held aloft at upper-right. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The leader of last year's London Al Quds rally, Nazim Ali – director of the "Islamic Human Rights Commission", which organizes the annual march – called for the annihilation of Israel and accused British Jews -- falsely -- of being behind the 2017 fire in London's Grenfell Towers apartment complex. "This demonstration calls on justice for Grenfell. Some of the biggest supporters of the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell". He also made it known to the crowd that he thought the UK should effectively become free of Jews: "We are fed up of the Zionists. We are fed up of their rabbis. We are fed up of their synagogues. We are fed up of their supporters."

"It's just an opinion," a female police officer said.

After complaints about Ali's statements, the Metropolitan Police investigated, but the Crown Prosecution Service declared in December 2017 that he would not face prosecution:
"We considered whether offences of inciting racial or religious hatred or a public order offence had been committed, in line with the tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We concluded that the evidential test in the Code was not met and therefore no charges have been authorised."
In the UK, calling for the annihilation of an entire people – the Jews – as well as blood libeling and inciting against British Jews is not considered "inciting racial or religious hatred" and apparently does not even lead to charges. British authorities apparently consider marching with terrorist flags while calling for the death of Jews a legitimate activity.

If, however, like the scholar Robert Spencer, one reports on these activities, one is barred from entering England.

Not only was Nazim Ali never charged, but he will have ample opportunity to have another go on Sunday.

Last year, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wrote to then Home Secretary Amber Rudd asking her to close the legal loophole that makes it legitimate for terrorist supporters to fly Hezbollah flags on the streets of London. The loophole is the fact that the "political wing" of Hezbollah is not proscribed in the UK. In response to Khan, Amber Rudd wrote:
"The group that reportedly organised the parade, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, is not a proscribed terrorist organisation. This means they can express their views and demonstrate, provided that they do so within the law. The flag for the organisation's military wing is the same as the flag for its political wing. Therefore, for it to be an offence under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000, for an individual to display the Hizballah flag, the context and manner in which the flag is displayed must demonstrate that it is specifically in support of the proscribed elements of the group".
In other words, showing support for the terrorist group Hezbollah in the UK is legitimate, because the authorities make believe that the support is for the "political wing". As someone once said, "If the Salvation Army had a wing called Murder Inc. that would be fine."

This year, Khan has again written to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, but it is unlikely that the letter will yield a different response from last year's. According to the mayor's spokesperson:
"Anti-Semitism or hate crime of any kind has no place in our city or in our society. Sadiq has written to the Home Secretary to raise his deep concerns about the support shown for Hezbollah at the annual Al Quds Day march. He has called on him to urgently reconsider his predecessor's decision not to take action to stop this."
This year, the vicar Stephen Sizer, who has suggested that Israel was behind 9/11 and was banned from social media by Church of England authorities for six months for sharing "clearly anti-Semitic" material, will be one of the main speakers at the Al Quds march. Sizer has also apparently met top Hezbollah officials in Lebanon and participated in a 2014 conference in Iran where he was to deliver a speech on the "Israeli lobby". The conference was reportedly attended by several Holocaust deniers; it was intended to "unveil the secrets behind the dominance of the Zionist lobby over US and EU politics".

Jeremy Corbyn defended the vicar at the time, claiming that he had been condemned because he had "dared to speak out against Zionism".

Mick Napier, of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, will also be speaking at the march. An activist who promotes isolating Israel to destroy it economically, Napier was convicted of aggravated trespass against an Israeli cosmetics store in 2014 and of failing to follow police orders to leave the store.

An afternoon of racism is in store for Londoners on Sunday, but as long as the hate is directed against Jews by Muslims, British authorities apparently have no problem with it.

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

Pelosi beclowns herself in weekly presser - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

One pundit noted that the presser was like "a boxing match in which a boxer somehow knocks herself out while throwing a punch at an opponent."

Democrats are expressing increasing unhappiness with Rep. Nancy Pelosi as their leader in the House. Yesterday, during her weekly press conference, Pelosi only added fuel to the fire.

Pelosi – dubbed "negative Nancy" by the GOP – has been highly critical of the economic success of the Trump administration. She famously referred to the Republican tax cut as "crumbs," and last week, she pooh-poohed the record low unemployment rate.

This week, as consumer confidence hit an 18-year high, Pelosi beclowned herself.
Washington Times:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that consumer confidence, which is at an 18-year high, is a sign that the economy under President Trump is dragging.
Mrs. Pelosi's remarks came during her weekly press conference after a reporter mentioned the nation's 3.8 percent unemployment rate, prompting her to use skyrocketing consumer confidence as a kind of political litmus test.
"Well, as I said, unemployment rate is one indication," the California Democrat said. "The fact is, and this has happened before, that people say, 'Oh my goodness, that people are saying the unemployment rate is down, why isn't my purchasing power increasing? ... So, this isn't just about the unemployment rate, it's about wages rising in our country, so that consumer confidence is restored."
Her comment sent the Republican Party scrambling to put up another installment in its series of "War Room" videos, framing the Democrat as "Negative Nancy."
Ben Shapiro's conservative website then likened the press conference to a boxing match in which a boxer somehow knocks herself out while throwing a punch at an opponent.
MarketWatch predicted "steady U.S. growth" in the months ahead on May 29 when the consumer confidence index rose to 128 versus April's 125.6.

You have to wonder why Democrats keep the ancient harridan around.

Fox News:
But while Pelosi rails against Trump and company, she is facing increasing criticism both from the right and left of the Democratic Party.
On the left, Pelosi is viewed as too moderate at a time when the party is embracing the socialist politics of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and openly campaigning for some form of socialized medicine and greater government regulation of the economy.
She drew fire after confirming the party will abide by the fiscally conservative pay-as-you-go budget rule if the party regains the majority after November elections. The budget-neutral rule requires tax cuts or increases in spending to be covered by tax increases or cuts in spending.
U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., criticized Pelosi and other Democrats for conceding and promising to adopt the rule.
"The pay-go thing is an absurd idea now given the times and given what's already been done to curry favor with corporate America," Grijalva said, according to the Hill.
"It's a stupid rule. It is entirely counter-productive to progressive policy goals," wrote Esquire's Charles Pierce. "In case nobody in the Democratic leadership has noticed, the rising energy in the party is not coming out of the budget-hawk cryptkeepers."
"Right now, the country is giving serious consideration to things like Medicare-for-all and some sort of free college. This isn't the time to go all Al From again. It also guarantees a serious intraparty skirmish that's already underway," he added.
Well, Bernie Sanders and the Democrats are giving "serious consideration" to those cockamamie ideas, not a majority of the country.

But those who wonder why Pelosi is still the leader of the Democrats after all her gaffes need only look at the power she wields. Few members dare stand against her when she has the ability to adjust committee assignments or cut a member off from vital PAC money needed for re-election. She can even reassign office space if she chooses. In ways both large and small, Pelosi can make or break the careers of most Democratic congressmen.

So despite her embarrassing the party on a regular basis, Democrats are stuck with her – for the time being, anyway. A win in November will probably embolden the radicals to name one of their own as speaker. A loss would almost certainly be pinned on her. The odds are pretty good that come next January, Nancy Pelosi will be put out to pasture, and a group of leaders even more radical than Pelosi will take the reins of the Democratic party on the Hill.

Rick Moran


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

If The EU Refuses To Support The U.S. Economic Pressure On Russia – Moscow Will Help EU Start De-Dollarization - MEMRI


"Macron And Merkel Were Asked To Create A 'Petro-Euro' – They Can't Do It Without Moscow"

An article published by the Russian news agency, headlined "Macron And Merkel Were Asked To Create A 'Petro-Euro' – They Can't Do It Without Moscow," stresses that during the May 24-26, 2018 St. Petersburg International Forum,[1] Russian, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, openly offered Russia's European partners a kind of barter along the lines of "the EU refuses to support the American economic pressure on Russia, and Russia helps the EU start de-dollarization." 

The article suggests that if Europe does not want be the "vassal" of the U.S. and chooses "freedom," then it will have to challenge the dollar, and will find it impossible to refuse Russia's offer.

The following are excerpts from the article:[2]


The St. Petersburg International Forum Proved That Russia Is One Of The Poles Of The New, Multipolar World Order

"Judging by the Western mass media, the most important thing in the economic forum in St. Petersburg was that political and economic global game changers came to Russia: Emmanuel Macron, Shinzo Abe, Christine Lagarde. For a few days, St. Petersburg also became a center of attraction for those who want to feel which way the wind of world politics and economy blows, as well as for those who count on making big money from cooperation with Russia or work in Russia. Somehow, it became evident that Russia's supposed isolation from the world community is nothing but a long-expired myth of dull-witted Western propagandists, who can no longer explain to their readers why Patrick Pouyanné, chairman of the French oil giant Total, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, president of the Central African Republic, and writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb are all rushing to St. Petersburg at the same time.

"From the perspective of demonstrating that Russia is one of the poles of the new, multipolar world order, and that it one cannot do without it when solving any even slightly important geopolitical or geoeconomic issue, the forum has already undoubtedly achieved its goal.

"At the same time, it should be pointed out that a few rather interesting proposals have already been expressed during the meeting. They have been vastly underestimated by the Western mass media, but their implementation may have a strong impact on the future balance of power in the world.

"For example, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, almost openly offered Russia's European partners a kind of barter trade along the lines of 'The EU refuses to support the American economic pressure on Russia, and Russia helps the EU start de-dollarization.' This is the right way to interpret the Russian official's phrase about Moscow's readiness to use euros instead of dollars for financial settlements with the European Union.

"'Therefore, if our European partners do not support the U.S. economic policy towards Russia, we definitely see a way out in using the European currency and European infrastructure organizations for financial settlements, for payments for goods and services, which often fall under various kinds of restrictions today,' noted Siluanov. He also pointed out that Russia is already trying to use national currencies in financial settlements with other countries. Apparently, he meant the CIS countries, Iran, and, of course, China.

"If one calls things by their proper names, the European Union has been offered quite a feasible plan to create a 'petro-euro,' which can easily edge out the petrodollar in the global market or, at least, in the eastern hemisphere. The geopolitical consequences of this development cannot be overestimated.

"Have you ever wondered why the American system of financial dominance is based on the petrodollar? The U.S. does not produce anything that the world would have to buy for dollars, thereby creating demand for this currency.

"In modern world, one could maybe name American processors (and only by a long stretch of the imagination) as such a 'super-necessary' product. But the volume of trade in processors is not that great, and many third world countries do not need them. However, oil is needed by everyone, and, by making the entire world pay for oil (not produced in the U.S., by the way!) in dollars, the Americans have managed to secure constant demand for U.S. currency, and created a situation in which refusing to work with the dollar system is not an inconvenience but an economic disaster."

Should Europe Decide It Is Strong Enough To Choose Freedom, It Will Find It Impossible To Refuse Russia's Offer

"In fact, it is not American knowhow, but a modernized scheme used by the British Empire: Back in its prime, it created a situation in which copper and other metals necessary for the development of industry could be bought almost exclusively for British pounds and almost exclusively on the London Exchange.

"To challenge the dollar system, its opponents must possess several elements at once – elements that are rather difficult to find in one state. On the one hand, they need a powerful and very well-developed financial system, which would be open to external players and trusted by other countries.

"On the other hand, they need control over certain resources, the consumption of which is not an option but a vital necessity for all those participating in global trade. Moreover, they need a sufficiently deep and rich national market that uses a specific currency.

"And a cherry on top (but a necessary one): One must have a well-developed army, able not only to defend its own territory but to effectively project its military power to other regions on the planet in order to expand and protect the zone in which the specific rival to the dollar is used. If this military shield does not exist, any competing currency zone will be easily shrunk with the help of American aircraft carrier groups.

"China has a relatively deep domestic market, but its financial system does not inspire great trust in the world, and even Chinese officials themselves acknowledge (and try to solve) its problems with being open to the outer world. As for controlling resources and the ability and readiness to project its military muscle, the situation in China is far from ideal.

"The European Union, in contrast, has a well-developed financial system, which enjoys considerable trust in the world, and it has a deep and rich European market. But its control over resources and its ability to project military power are a disaster, and the U.S. is trying to maintain this disastrous state of affairs, blocking deliveries of Iranian oil to the EU and trying to make the EU switch to American LNG (liquefied natural gas).

"Russia, unfortunately, cannot boast of a deep and financially reliable market that could rival the markets of the EU, China or the U.S. in appeal. We cannot – and will not be able to in the near future – boast of a developed financial system with worldwide reach and recognition. But we have key resources, as well as the ability and readiness to effectively use military force to defend our national interests. It is easy to see that synergetic cooperation along the line of Russia-EU or Russia-China, or even in the Russia-China-EU triangle, practically offers itself. And it is natural for the mere possibility of such cooperation to provoke a severe allergic reaction on the other side of the Atlantic.

"Now, the European Union, or rather, the European political and economic elite, must determine (primarily for its own benefit) the answer to the question asked by French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire: 'Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the U.S. while clinging to the hem of their trousers?' If Europe decides it is strong enough to choose freedom, it will find it impossible to refuse Russia's offer."



Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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