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‘Moderate’ Palestinian Leaders Oppose UN Resolution Condemning Hamas Terror

December 2, 2018 Special Feature

UN headquarters in New York. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The world is generally united against terrorism, but for some reason the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership is opposed to the United Nations condemning Hamas terrorism against Israel. The WAFA Palestinian news agency quoted a spokesman of the Fatah political faction that heads the PA as saying they “totally reject American-Israeli efforts to brand Hamas with terrorism at the UN.” Spokesman Usama Qawasmi further accused Israel—who has had to defend themselves against Hamas rockets and other violence aimed at their civilians—of sponsoring terrorism and committed to oppose “all hostile efforts to condemn” Hamas at the UN.

A resolution condemning Hamas terrorism, seeking to be the first of its kind passed by the UN, is backed by the United States and the European Union and references Hamas rockets and arson balloons . The resolution further calls for the Palestinian factions to reunite under the PA’s leadership. The US Mission to the UN said in a statement last Friday that the Palestinian representative at the UN requested a delay of a vote on the resolution from last week to next Thursday. In response, the US was clear on the importance of the vote.

“The issue before the United Nations on Thursday is not whether it supports one form or another of a Middle East peace plan. The issue is as plain as the resolution’s text,” said the US statement. “Each country will be asked to vote for or against the activities of Hamas, along with other militant groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad. If the UN cannot bring itself to adopt this resolution, then it has no business being involved in peace discussions.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Defends Israeli Forces in Judea and Samaria: ‘We Keep the Peace’

October 24, 2018 Special Feature

PM Netanyahu & JFNA Chmn. Sandler at the JFNA GA. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / GPO

The Palestinian Authority (PA) publicly laments the presence of Israeli security forces in the Judea and Samaria region (the West Bank), but if the IDF hadn’t been there, PA President Mahmoud Abbas wouldn’t be with us either. “Couple of years ago we uncovered a plot of 100 Hamas to kill [Abbas]. Not kill him politically—kill him,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. “So if we weren’t there, they’d not be there, which is exactly what happened when we left Gaza.”

Netanyahu, in comments to the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly published by his office, said he refuted a complaint from former US Vice President Joe Biden that a persistent Israeli security force in the Judea and Samaria region that would be part of a Palestinian state would prevent it from being a “fully independent state.” Netanyahu insists that Israel’s presence is necessary.

Netanyahu recalled his words to Biden at the time: “Okay, it is what it is. You can give it any name you want: state minus; autonomy plus; autonomy plus plus. Sounds like a rating agency or something. But that’s it—that’s the truth.” And the truth is clear in Gaza. … Continue Reading

US Closes Palestinian Office in Washington for Rejecting Peace Plan ‘They Haven’t Yet Seen’

September 11, 2018 Special Feature

The Palestinian office in Washington is no more. Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

The Americans increased the pressure on the Palestinians for obstructing peace again on Monday, as the United States government closed the office of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, D.C. The PLO is the official representative of the Palestinian government to the world and in peace negotiations with Israel, but lately, those peace efforts have been largely dormant. In a statement, the US State Department slammed the Palestinians’ rejectionism.

“The PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” said spokesperson Heather Nauert in the press release. “To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise.”

The US decision to close the PLO office follows a recent determination to cancel funding of the United Nations refugee agency that focuses solely on Palestinians as the Palestinians continue to push back against US peace efforts. Israel has supported both US actions, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the closure of the PLO office “the correct decision” in a statement on Tuesday. … Continue Reading

Israel Agrees as US Halts Funding for ‘Irredeemably Flawed’ Palestinian Refugee UN Group

September 2, 2018 Special Feature

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Yad Binyamin. Photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Citing a failed model of operations and the failure of other nations to do their financial part, the United States on Friday announced they were cutting off all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). US spokesperson Heather Nauert said UNRWA’s considering future generations of Palestinians eligible “refugees” from the 1948 and 1967 wars, instead of just the people who actually fled those wars more than half a century ago, played a role in the US decision to start looking for other ways to financially aid the Palestinians besides UNRWA.

“Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years—tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries—is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,” said Nauert in a press release from the State Department.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heartily agreed with the US decision, contrasting Israel’s handling of Jewish refugees who were absorbed into their country with the UNRWA situation. “They created a unique institution, 70 years ago, not to absorb the refugees but to perpetuate them,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “Therefore the US has done a very important thing by halting the financing for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA. It is finally beginning to resolve the problem. The funds must be taken and used to genuinely help rehabilitate the refugees, the true number of which is much smaller than the number reported by UNRWA.” … Continue Reading

Iran Ousts Economic Minister, Airlines Cancel Tehran Routes as US Sanctions Make Impact

August 26, 2018 Special Feature

Renewed US sanctions on Iran making an impact. President Donald J. Trump signs an Executive Order on Iran Sanctions. Illustrative. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The United States’ plan to use economic sanctions to pressure the Iranian regime to change their ways is already bearing fruit—including a change in the regime. Economic Minister Massoud Karbasian was forced out of his position by a vote of no confidence by the Iranian parliament on Sunday, and the economic impact of the US sanctions played a role in that decision according to the Fars News Agency.

What’s more, two major airlines—British Airways and Air France, ended their activity in Iran last week, joining a prior decision by KLM. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments released by his office during a visit to Lithuania last Thursday, said in response to the airlines’ decision, “That’s good. More should follow, more will follow, because Iran should not be rewarded for its aggression in the region, for its attempts to spread terrorism far and wide in the Middle East, into Europe… and to many other places in the world.” … Continue Reading

US Reimposes Sanctions on Iran; Israel Tells Europe ‘Time Has Come to Stop Talking’

US President Donald Trump signs an Executive Order on Iran Sanctions. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

United States President Donald Trump announced the first stage of renewed American sanctions on Iran on Monday, ahead of the official reimposition of sanctions at midnight on Tuesday. The anticipated move follows Trump’s decision in May to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond,” said Trump in a statement posted to the White House website. “…By exiting the JCPOA, the United States is able to protect its national security by applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime.”

The initial round of reset sanctions focuses on cars, precious metals and Iranian currency, according to Trump’s comments. In November, banking and Iran’s energy industry—including oil—will be targeted. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump for making the move on Monday, calling it an “important decision.” … Continue Reading

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