Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander Joffe: The United Nations’ Palestinian refugee industry
This naïveté regarding “universal values of tolerance and respect” is both disturbing and far-fetched, given the kind of Hamas-style education administered in UNRWA schools, which celebrate jihadism and Islamism. More to the point, nothing has changed over the past six years to suggest that the UNRWA education system has changed even a little. UNRWA schools have long been a primary mechanism for teaching the Palestinian narrative of displacement, resentment and resistance against Israel.
What was true six years ago is still true today: accountability and transparency are hard to come by at UNRWA, given its monopoly over Palestinians. If Palestinian statehood is a real goal, then the creation of institutions that foster civil society and democratization should be a priority. UNRWA acts in direct opposition to Palestinian statehood and to the Palestinian Authority.
It is worth highlighting just how unprecedented the situation really is. On the one hand, a United Nations organization created in 1949 for refugee relief is providing an ever-increasing range of services to the third- or fourth-generation descendants some 68 years later. This is utterly unprecedented. And on the other, those descendants still demand to be regarded as refugees and supported by the international community, while still being forbidden to resettle in the Arab countries where they have lived for decades (except for Jordan). All this is expected to continue until the Palestinians’ preferred resolution to the conflict is realized — namely, the end of Israel and their return to a world that no longer exists.
If the Canadian government is truly concerned about the vitality of Palestinian society and its future, it should seriously reconsider its contribution to UNRWA. It is past time to remove UNRWA from the scene and give the Palestinians the freedom — and the responsibility — to build their own society. Western tax dollars would be better spent promoting independent Palestinian organizations and private-sector growth.
France on the Verge of Total Collapse
France did not perceive it at the time, but it placed itself in a trap, and the trap is now closing.
In the 1970s, the Palestinians began to use international terrorism, and France chose to accept this terrorism so long as France was not affected. At the same time, France welcomed mass-immigration from the Arab-Muslim world, evidently as part of a Muslim wish to expand Islam. France's Muslim population has since grown in numbers while failing to assimilate.
Polls show that one-third of French Muslims want the full application of Islamic sharia law. They also show that the overwhelming majority of French Muslims support jihad, and especially jihad against Israel, a country they would like to see erased from the face of earth.
"It is better to leave than flee." -- Sammy Ghozlan, President of the National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism. He was later mugged, and his car was torched. He left.
Villiers also mentions the presence in "no-go zones" of thousands of weapons of war. He adds that weapons will probably not even have to be used; the Islamists have already won.
Originally, France's dreams might have been of displacing America as a world power, accessing inexpensive oil, business deals with oil-rich Islamic states, and the prayer of no domestic terrorism.
Daniel Pipes: Israel's relationship with Muslim countries
Ezra Levant of TheRebel.media asks Middle East Forum founder about Israel's relationships with its Muslim neighbours.
Ellison's extremism wrong for the DNC
Ellison's early radicalism only continued after he was in office. In a July 2007 speech, he called for an investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks and explicitly compared them to the 1933 Reichstag fire — in which Nazi agents burned down the Reichstag themselves in order to justify seizing dictatorial power. At that same speech, Ellison called Vice President Cheney a "totalitarian" dictator.
Rep. Ellison is a regular speaker at events organized by the Council for American-Islamic Relations. CAIR was founded in 1994 by three officials of the Islamic Association of Palestine, a Hamas front group. Because of its extremist associations, the Obama Justice Department banned its personnel from working with CAIR in 2009. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates designated CAIR as a terrorist organization due to its links with the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2008, Rep. Ellison spoke at the annual banquet of CAIR-Tampa. At that banquet, he expressed his support for convicted terror financier Sami Al-Arian, the North American head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian was no mere community activist, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was a major player who had set up several front organizations for supporting terror activities; these included the Islamic Committee for Palestine, which was in fact a key fundraising arm for Palestinian Islamic Jihad's terror operations, and the World and Islamic Studies Enterprise. Both of these organizations were shut down by Federal investigators in 1995 for involvement in terrorism.
If Rep. Ellison's constituents in a safe Minnesota district want to keep him in office, that's their business. But the Democratic Party should recognize the potential harm to their own future (to say nothing of to the country as a whole) in elevating him to lead the DNC.
ADL Allies With Anti-Israel Activists Against Trump
The media’s story is that Trump’s win unleashed anti-Semitism on the right. Instead it’s unleashing anti-Semitism on the left. From the elevation of Keith Ellison to head the DNC, despite his ugly history with anti-Semitism, to the mainstreaming of Islamist anti-Semites from CAIR, ISNA and other hate groups with a history of supporting anti-Semitic terror, the atmosphere on the left has only grown uglier.
Equally troubling is the way in which anti-Israel hatred is being mainstreamed within the Jewish community under the guise of a collective front to oppose Trump. The groups taking the lead in these protests include some of the ugliest anti-Israel organizations around, including JVP and If Not Now.
From the beginning they have camouflaged attacks on centrist pro-Israel groups, such as AIPAC and ZOA, in anti-Trump rallies. Their real agenda isn’t opposition to Trump, but to the Jewish State.
And many establishment Jewish groups that claim to be pro-Israel have proven all too willing to mainstream anti-Israel groups and their hostility to Israel to be able to hold anti-Trump events.
Given a choice between supporting Israel and opposing Trump, they have made their priorities clear. They have chosen to attack Trump and give aid and comfort to those working against the Jewish State.
These stats will help put the troubling spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes in context.
A report titled ‘Islamophobic attacks in US are now as high as post 9/11 levels’ was published on Nov. 22nd at i100 (The Independent’s BuzzFeed style brand).
The article, based on recent FBI hate crime statistics, by i100 contributor Louis Dore, correctly reports that there were 91 anti-Muslim assaults in 2015, up from 51 such assaults the previous year and nearly the same number reported for the year of the 9/11 attacks.
Of course, even one act of anti-Muslim violence is one too many, and any such statistical increase should be taken seriously.
However, the i100 report neglected to put the number in context.
Religious based hate crimes against Muslims are far less common than such crimes against Jews – based on the most recent FBI report, as well as statistics going back to 1996.
JPost Editorial: Voting for peace
As he prepares to enter the 13th year of his four-year term of office, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas might meet his successor next week. On Tuesday, his Fatah Party is scheduled to elect leaders to the movement’s two authoritative bodies, the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council, and set a strategy for the coming five years. The last time this happened was in 2009, and before that in 1989. It is a contest whose outcome could point toward continuing stagnation in attempts to resolve the conflict between our peoples or to a glimmer of hope for peace.
The Fatah leadership election to take place on November 29 is a prelude to the postponed vote next month for the PLO’s main decision-making body, the Executive Committee. The approach of both contests has been marked by violence between PA security forces loyal to Abbas and Fatah factions in Palestinian refugee camps, resulting in increasing instability, even lawlessness.
This state of affairs is generally attributed to Abbas, who has cultivated incitement against Israel and endruns to the United Nations in pursuit of statehood rather than accept numerous invitations by Israel to negotiate a peace agreement face to face. In doing so, the PA leader has ignored the damage his policy of encouraging the BDS movement has had on the Palestinian economy, whose breadwinners suffer from 30% unemployment.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his willingness to meet Abbas anywhere and at any time. All Abbas has to do is say yes.
Netanyahu: Israeli technology and anti-terror capabilities can bring peace
The country’s position in the international community is changing fundamentally because of the world’s need for Israeli technology and anti-terrorist expertise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday at the annual Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.
“Israel is in the midst of a historic revolution in its place among the nations,” he said.
“That revolution is born of a fundamental change of global economics.”
The rapid change of the world’s economy to a technologically driven one plays to Israel’s strengths, Netanyahu said. “Israel is right in the nexus of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence. That affects everything. Nothing remains without technology. Nothing.”
The premier’s only reference to the Palestinian issue during his nearly 25-minute address came when he said that in his meetings with world leaders, after security and economic issues are discussed, his interlocutors always ask what they can do on the Palestinian issue.
“I say, ‘Yes,’ you can help, there is one thing you have to do, it is the acid test, invite me and Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to a meeting right now, in your capital. I am willing to come,” he said.
David Singer: Trump Triumph Requires Direct Negotiations Between Jordan and Israel
Israel's current negotiating partner, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, has consistently refused to accept the inevitability of any territorial subdivision of Judea and Samaria since the Bush-Congress pronouncement. There appears to be no chance of any change of heart by the PLO to please a Trump administration.
Trump will therefore need to find another Arab interlocutor to replace the PLO to negotiate with Israel on the allocation of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. Sovereignty there has remained unresolved since Brexit 1948 - the year Great Britain pulled out of Palestine and left the United Nations to deal with the consequences of the invasion of Western Palestine the very next day by the armies of six neighbouring Arab States.
Jordan was the last Arab State to occupy Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967.
Jordan and Israel – at peace since 1994 – both enjoy longstanding American financial and diplomatic support – which can be leveraged by a deal-driven Trump to induce Jordan joining Israel as its negotiating partner on the territorial carve up of Judea and Samaria.
Without this diplomatic breakthrough Trump's dream of pulling off the deal of the century will remain just a dream.
Analysis: Unwittingly pushing anti-settlement moves at UN
A few minutes after Bennett spoke, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro took the stage and said that the US remains committed to the two-state solution, and bewailed negative steps on the ground threatening to overturn any chance at a two-state solution. Among the negative steps he spelled out that could lead to a “slide” into a one-state, binational reality was – of course – Israeli settlement construction.
During his address, Shapiro gave no indication of what outgoing Obama might do on the Middle East in his final months in office. However, Murray McCully, New Zealand’s foreign minister, was in the country last week, and Wellington – according to Western diplomatic sources – has not ditched the idea of bringing a Mideast resolution to the UN Security Council before the end of the year.
Yes, New Zealand. Why? Because its two-year temporary seat on the UN Security Council will expire December 31, and – like so many other countries – it is looking to leave some kind of diplomatic legacy, some footprint that says, “New Zealand was here.” And what better place to do that than in the Middle East? For almost the entire two years that it has been on the Security Council, there has been talk that New Zealand would sponsor some kind of Mideast resolution. Last year the talk was first that it would co-sponsor a resolution with the French, then that they would sponsor a more declarative, less prescriptive resolution than the French had in mind.
And now the French have seemingly backed away from their intent to bring a resolution to the Security Council, New Zealand is at it again – discussing the possibility of a resolution dealing with the settlements.
And Bennett’s comments, as well as comments by others on the Right saying that the new Trump administration provides a great opportunity for a new construction push, only give greater incentive to those who want to see such an anti-settlement initiative at the UN move forward.
Ironically, New Zealand is having a hard time finding a lot of backers.
'US influence in the Middle East has eroded significantly'
The influence of the United States as a superpower in the Middle East has eroded significantly, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon told the audience at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
According to Ya’alon, the Middle East has “become a very tough region,” saying there is no doubt that ongoing and chronic instability is the future of the region as “keeping the Middle East in a vacuum for one’s own interests will only have negative consequences.”
Iran, Ya’alon said, is exploiting the current situation.
“They are no longer politically isolated. There are no longer any crippling sanctions and they do not feel there is any threat militarily whatsoever. They’ve succeeded in gaining hegemony, not only in Tehran, but also Baghdad, Damascus, Lebanon and Yemen, challenging Western interests in the region.”
Ya’alon added: “We have clear evidence of them [the Iranians] breaking UN resolutions,” regarding the proliferation of arms and support of terrorism. “The Iranian aspiration,” he said, “is to dominate the region.”
But it’s not only Iran which poses a threat. Following the Arab Spring, many groups have risen to power, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State.
“The objective should be to defeat IS[IS] on the ground, and we can do that, wherever they are found,” Ya’alon said, referring to the several so-called Islamic State “provinces.”
Bennett: Netanyahu must tell Trump 'no' to Palestinian state
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could prevent the creation of a Palestinian state by ruling it out in his first meeting with US president-elect Donald Trump when he takes office, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said Wednesday at The Jerusalem Post Conference at the capital’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Bennett came to the conference directly from New York, where he met with Trump advisers, which angered Netanyahu. The prime minister issued a warning to his ministers to leave Trump to him, but the warning came after the meetings took place.
On the sidelines of the conference, Bennett declined to reveal which Trump advisers he met with and whether Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was one of them.
“The next few weeks present a unique window of opportunity for Israel,” Bennett told the audience. “Since 1967 there have always been external reasons for Israel to not do what is right for itself. When Prime Minister Netanyahu meets President Trump, what will he say? Will he continue the long standing approach of forming a Palestinian state in the heart of Israel or take a new, fresh approach?” Bennett said he was eagerly awaiting the answer from Netanyahu when it comes.
“I want to hear what we want for ourselves,” he said. “Israel was put in a unique position to say what it wants.
A letter to the Palestinian friends – I don’t have
The rules of the game have changed. It was US President-elect Donald Trump’s adviser on Israel and Middle Eastern affairs, David Friedman, who saw it first. In fact, Friedman’s comments were a sober, intelligent and mostly very rational diplomatic analysis. The crux of what he said was that the Trump administration had no intention of pressuring Israel to make concessions to its enemies.
There is a simple reason for that. Up until now, the Palestinians have succeeded in making the Western world, which became addicted to “political correctness,” believe that they are the victim of the conflict which they themselves created. That they want peace, and that Israel is the rejectionist which refuses to give up its security assets, withdraw from the lands of its homeland and hand them over to the Palestinians – innocent Muslims whose only wish is to establish a civilized country which will live in peace with its neighbors.
The leaders of the Western world, who have been captured by this doctrine, have refused throughout the past decades to ask themselves – and mainly the Palestinians – how does all this external Palestinian innocence match the education to hatred in all their educational systems, or the fact that the donations which were transferred to the Palestinians by the world’s countries have been stolen and used to build an infrastructure of killing, murder and spreading jihad in the world.
Please read the last three lines again: The donor countries transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to support the hungry Palestinians, and because it is “politically incorrect,” they fail to stipulate real supervision as a condition for giving the donations, in order to ensure that the money is not stolen or used to established a terror infrastructure.
Zionists backed Trump to retain ‘global power,’ says DC imam
Zionists brought Donald Trump to the White House, and did so in order to “maintain their global power,” a Muslim hate cleric charged in a speech at a Washington, DC, mosque.
“They [the Zionists] will bring a fool to power any time they can to do their bidding,” said Arkansas-born Imam Abdul Alim Musa in a sermon last week at the Al Islam Mosque, documented on Wednesday by the watchdog Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri).
It was up to Islam to “rescue the poor, dumb American people,” he said.
White Americans “don’t think too much,” he said. “And I don’t mean to be sounding racist – negroes ain’t no better, just so you know.”
The imam — an African American convert to Islam — accused Zionists of creating “a Hitlerian” environment “exactly like the one that existed in Germany before World War II.”
A Proper Contempt for the UN
The most enjoyable signal telegraphed by the selection of Governor Haley to lead the American mission to the UN is the due disdain it conveys for an ambassadorial culture at the UN that views diplomatic process as its own end.
Haley is not a career diplomat, and she has almost no foreign policy experience. Her views on foreign affairs are not widely known, save the extent to which she joined her fellow conservatives in criticizing Donald Trump’s support for retrenchment and a restrictive immigration regime. She did not rise through the ranks of the foreign-policy establishment, and that has those who did in a tizzy.
Following in Obama’s model, the post of United Nations ambassador will remain a Cabinet-level position. Obama chose to elevate it in order to curry favor with the United Nations following what Democrats perceived to be the disrespect shown the institution by George W. Bush’s administration. That’s not the first time this has occurred—Ronald Reagan made the post a Cabinet-level position when he appointed Jeane Kirkpatrick to the role, as did Dwight Eisenhower when he appointed Henry Cabot Lodge to the mission—but it is auspicious. Ironically, in seeking to augment the influence the UN had over American foreign policy, he diminished it.
By reshaping the role from an ambassadorship to a functional White House advisory post, the UN ambassador is compelled to spend much less time in New York City and more time in Washington D.C. Haley, like her immediate predecessors Samantha Power and Susan Rice, will be limited in her ability to conduct informal consultations with her fellow diplomats. Formally, the UN ambassador reports to the Secretary of State but, under Obama, she has had far more influence over American diplomatic affairs but not much autonomy. While this will surely lead to conflicts within the administration over foreign affairs, this appointment bodes well for Republicans who feared that a conspiratorial semi-isolationist worldview would emerge dominant in Donald Trump’s West Wing.
The United Nations has become a cesspit of contemptible anti-Americanism that serves only to give the authoritarian nations undue influence over the course of global affairs. Its legations rewrite history so as to edit Jews out of Jerusalem. Its human rights commission elects by secret ballot human-rights violators like Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya and Saudi Arabia to lead. It is the font of scandals, including abuse of the Iraqi Oil for Food program and the allegations that the UN covered up the sexual abuse of minors by peacekeepers in war zones. The United Nations regularly infringes on U.S. sovereignty by imposing on it climate regulations, restrictions on maritime navigation rights, and attacks on American freedoms in the Bill of Rights.
Will Nikki Haley make a good ambassador to the United Nations, whatever that means? It’s difficult to say. She will, however, be a welcome departure from a corrupting culture and an important voice advising President Donald Trump.
Donald Trump’s U.N Pick Was First Governor to Sign Anti-BDS Legislation
Gov. Nikki Haley (R., S.C.), President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was the first governor in the country to enact laws that combat the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanction movement.
The law that Haley signed last summer banned South Carolina from doing business with any company that is participating in a boycott “based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the targeted person or entity.”
South Carolina’s law was seen as crucial to opponents of the boycott movement who feared that large government entities such as state universities could be pushed to cut ties with the Israeli state.
Haley has been an outspoken supporter of Israel. In her response to President Obama’s State of the Union address this year, Haley was critical over the way Israel has been treated by his administration and pledged that it would be different under Republicans.
“If we held the White House,” Haley said, “we would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.”
South Carolina also maintains a research and development agreement with Israel.
Jared Kushner, Cast as Potential Player on Israel, Is Little Known There
Mr. Kushner was in Israel during the war with Gaza that summer, which seemed to unnerve his wife. “We have small children, and Ivanka didn’t like the idea of me being here,” he told the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. “As an American who listens to the news every hour, and hearing about 90 missiles hitting Israel on a daily basis, she asked me, ‘What the hell are you doing?’”
Later that year, as the Phoenix deal was unraveling, his parents traveled to Jerusalem to dedicate a new 11.5-acre campus for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center opposite Mount Herzl, named the Seryl and Charles Kushner Campus. The Kushners committed $20 million to the hospital and Seryl Kushner served on the national board of an American committee supporting Shaare Zedek.
Charles Kushner has been a participant in the Faire Fund, an Israeli-American real estate investment fund, for more than a decade. “The family has been involved very much in all sorts of activities with regard to Israel,” said Zalman Shoval, a former ambassador to the United States and one of the founders of the fund.
His partner, Shlomo Grofman, a real estate developer and friend of the elder Mr. Kushner’s, said he had tried to involve Jared in Israel as well. “I brought Jared and Ivanka to Israel,” he said. “I invited them and they came.”
Now, it seems possible that Mr. Kushner will be a more regular visitor, gathering information and perhaps more for his father-in-law. To those who have talked with Mr. Trump, there is little doubt that Mr. Kushner is a powerful voice on issues involving Israel.
Boaz Bismuth, the foreign editor for Israel Hayom, a newspaper owned by Mr. Adelson, recalled interviewing Mr. Trump in December. “The first thing he mentioned was Jared — he spoke of him as someone he counts on,” Mr. Bismuth said. “He told me then that Jared knows Israel, follows what’s going on here.”
Now, instead of just following it, Mr. Kushner may have a chance to lead.
Turkey, Russia among countries rushing to Israel's aid to fight fires
Turkey, which recently resumed full diplomatic ties with Israel, offered to send a large fire-fighting aircraft to Israel to assist efforts to douse the fires ravaging the country.
The two countries resumed full diplomatic ties last week with the mutual naming of new ambassadors, after six years of downgraded ties following the Mavi Marmara incident. Turkey sent two planes to Israel in December 2010 to fight the Carmel forest fire, at the height of the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
In 2011, Israel dispatched mobile homes to Turkey following a massive earthquake there. In 2014, however, Turkey rejected Israeli assistance – as well as assistance from a number of other countries – following a mining disaster that killed nearly 301 people.
Israel accepted the Turkish offer for the firefighting plane, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he appreciated the Turkish offer for assistance.
Teen terrorist sentenced to 13 years in jail for stabbing attack
The Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday sentenced a 16-year-old Palestinian girl to 13½ years in prison for a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market in November 2015.
The sentence was presented to the court as part of a plea bargain the defense had struck with the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office. The court also ordered the girl to pay 30,000 shekels ($7,700) in damages.
The terrorist's name is subject to a gag order, as she is a minor.
The girl and her 14-year-old cousin stabbed a 70-year-old Palestinian man, whom they mistakenly identified as a Jew, in the neck and back with scissors while he sat on a bench near the market. Their victim sustained moderate injuries in the attack.
The teen attacker was injured when police intervened to neutralize the two, and her 14-year-old accomplice was shot and killed. A security guard who attempted to neutralize the terrorist was also lightly wounded in the altercation by a stray bullet.
According to the indictment, the girls committed the attack as revenge for a relative's death.
Defend Yourself with Krav Maga
Abbas in a Race against Time to Choose Successor
Sources close to Abbas’ family told the website that in the PA chairman’s recent meeting with the ruler of Qatar, Prince Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the two agreed on arrangements for Abbas’ permanent resettlement in Qatar, where he would join relatives who already live there.
The sources said further that Abbas has Qatari citizenship and that four years ago his sons set up six new investment firms in the country.
Some of the Abbas family’s business ventures, however, are in the Palestinian territories. Abbas wants to make sure his successor will safeguard their continued existence and not take measures against his sons, accused by some in Fatah of financial corruption.
It appears at present that, with presidential elections ruled out by the sharp disputes with Hamas, transferring Abbas’ mantle to his successor by appointing a deputy PA chairman is being seriously considered. That individual would be a member of Fatah, the ruling party.
Such a step, however, would be seen as a unilateral move by Fatah and would deepen the rift between it and the other Palestinian factions, even further hindering the chances of achieving a national reconciliation.
Water Situation in Gaza Growing Worse
Most Palestinians in Gaza, he said, do not trust the water quality from their taps and so buy water from tankers, a solution that is expensive and has its own health risks.
“There are some 150 operators who provide some kind of desalinated water that has been filtered to make it acceptable for drinking and for cooking,” Adnan Ghosheh, a senior water and sanitation specialist with the World Bank told the Media Line. “It’s more expensive and not an improved source of water, according to our definitions of water clean enough to drink.”
That water can have bacteria, Al-Sheikh says, and the bacteria can grow as the water sits in people’s homes.
“It can affect their digestive systems,” he said. “Sometimes people go to the hospital and they don’t even know what caused their illness.”
Part of the problem is political. Under the 1993 Oslo accords, Israel agreed to supply a certain quantity of water to Gaza.
But the population in Gaza has grown significantly, and the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee has not met in years. Israeli officials say the Palestinians are not interested in meeting, while Palestinian officials say they will not approve more water for Jewish communities inside the West Bank, which already receive large allocations.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the Islamist Hamas movement, which both the US and Israel see as a terrorist organization.
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi Retracts Fatwa Permitting Palestinian Suicide Bombings: No Need for Them Anymore
Egyptian movie star reveals a Jewish mother
One of Egypt’s best-known young actors has surprised his fans by revealing to a talk show host that his late mother was Jewish.
The move by movie star Karim Kassem has received a positive response. It is seen as a bold step in a society where not only anti-Israel but also antisemitic sentiment is palpable, although Kassem was careful to stress that his Jewish forebears were anti-Israel.
Egypt, which had a Jewish population of more than 65,000 in 1947, today has fewer than 100 Jews, and the associations of most Egyptians with Jews are from media reports of Israelis mistreating Palestinians rather than firsthand experience.
According to a report in the London-based The New Arab website, Kassem, 30, made the revelation recently before a live audience during an interview with talk show host Mona al-Shazly.
“I feel as if I am lucky that I come from a mixed background. My whole life I have observed all religious celebrations, Christmas, Ramadan and Jewish New Year,’’ he said.
'Muslims, Jews and Christians must unite to defeat Islamic State'
The war on terrorism and defeating Islamic State are top international priorities and a priority for Islam, Jordan's King Abdullah II told Australia's ABC television Wednesday, adding that defeating the jihadi terrorist group cannot be achieved without help from Christians and Jews.
"We're actually all in the same trench -- Muslims, Christians and Jews -- against what I keep calling the outlaws of our religion. It's the enemy that want to create this atmosphere that is actually us against them, and this is where, I think, we're going to fall into major trouble over the next couple of years if it's 'us-against-them' mentality," he said.
"I think the destruction of ISIS [Islamic State] should be everybody's priority, and I keep saying this is where the global war is today. We look at it as a war, a civil war inside of Islam, but we can't do it without the help of Christians and Jews, and other religions and other nations, because this thing is not just located in Syria or Iraq, it's in Libya we're dealing with Boko Haram and Shabab, you have the Taliban, and actually, in this neck of the woods, you also have [other] challenges. So unless we look at this in a global, holistic approach, we're never going to win."
Commenting on the Iranian nuclear deal and whether the new American administration should maintain or repeal it, the monarch said, "Iran has been responsible in inciting sectarian conflict in our area, and, again, when you look at the Iranians, they have several cards that they play, so one of them is the nuclear card. ... They do support organizations that sometimes are considered terrorist in nature. So I think when you look at Iran, you have to look at it in its totality; and, again, it's too early for us to understand where the new American policy is going to be on that. Everybody's going to have their opinion, but I think we've got to keep it in the bigger picture aspect of things."
Syria Milestone Highlights Iran Lies
One of the defining characteristics of Secretary of State John Kerry’s tenure at the State Department has been the relationship he has established with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Indeed, the personal rapport between the two has been oft-commented upon, and even Kerry has remarked that it is his relationship with Zarif that allows him to cut through what might otherwise be intractable problems. As Kerry’s term winds down, some even wonder where bilateral ties might go when Kerry moves on.
The problem with Kerry’s reliance on Zarif, however, is that Zarif’s track record shows him to be an inveterate liar. Consider this, this, or this. It’s not just that Zarif lies, but that he is pathological about it. In effect, Kerry has put his faith in the Iranian equivalent of “Baghdad Bob.”
Consider Zarif’s statement last year that Iran was not militarily involved in Syria. That Syrian rebels killed an Iranian general around the same time that Zarif was assuring Kerry that Iran’s hands were clean was embarrassing enough. Now comes word that Iranian casualties in Syria have surpassed 1,000. That’s an indication of a full-scale intervention, and not the training and advising mission which is how the Iranians describe their activity to credulous diplomats.
Russia and Hezbollah ‘officially’ working together in Syria
Russia and Hezbollah have begun “official” military coordination in Syria at the behest of Moscow, according to a report published Thursday on a pro-Hezbollah news site.
The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese website al-Akhbar reported that Hezbollah officials met with “senior” Russian officers in the embattled city of Aleppo last week in the “first official and direct” meeting between the two sides since the start of Moscow’s year-long military involvement in the Syrian civil war.
The report notes that Russian and Hezbollah officials have met before in non-official capacities, such as in battle operations rooms.
The meeting, reportedly arranged by Russia, was said to have established “continual” communication and shared channels between the two sides over what’s happening on the battlefield and includes future plans.
Russia is especially interested in coordinating with Hezbollah’s infantry on the ground in Aleppo, where airstrikes are less effective in the densely packed city, the report said.
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