Tag Archives: islam

Palestinian Authority arrests Palestinian-American for property sale to Jews

The true Middle East bigots: The Palestinian Authority has arrested a Palestinian-American for aiding in the property sale of a house in Jerusalem to a Jewish organization that provides housing to orthodox Israelis.

“The 55-year-old man, who is a US citizen, is being interrogated by the Palestinians security agencies in Ramallah for his role in the sale of an Arab-owned house in the Old City of Jerusalem to a Jewish organization,” the sources told The Jerusalem Post. They said the man was suspected of acting as a “solicitor” between the owner of the house and the Jewish organization that bought the house.

A senior PA security official in Ramallah refused to comment on the arrest of the US citizen.

The Post has obtained a copy of the man’s US passport, but due to the sensitivity of the case has chosen not to publish his name.

US government officials said they were aware of the arrest and expressed concern that he would be treated fairly. They said the State Department was in touch with the PA regarding the arrest.

Last week, the Palestinian Islamic religious authorities in east Jerusalem reaffirmed a fatwa (religious decree) prohibiting Palestinians from selling their houses and lands to Israelis. Some Palestinians have called for imposing the death penalty on those who violate the ban. [emphasis mine]

1. If any American tried to outlaw the sale of a piece of property to anyone, solely because of their religion, we would call them a bigot.

2. This property is in Jerusalem, which is entirely under Israeli jurisdiction. That Islamic leaders are trying to impose their bigoted views on that country, despite its own laws forbidding religious discrimination, tells us all we need to know about Islam.

3. The arrested man might live in Israel, or in the West Bank, but he is also a U.S. citizen, and I suspect the Trump administration will not take kindly to this.

4. Finally, expect the Israeli authorities to step in. Already they have arrested three Palestinians for organizing a kangaroo court aimed at punishing everyone involved in the property sale.

Last week, Palestinian activists in east Jerusalem summoned Atari [the supposed Palestinian buyer] and a representative of the Joudeh family [the sellers of the property] for what some Palestinians described as a kangaroo court in an attempt to find out who sold the house to Ateret Cohanim [the Jewish organization]. A video of the “court” hearing that was later posted on Facebook has gone viral, with many Palestinians calling for the “execution” of those involved in the transaction for “high treason.”

On Thursday, the Israel Police arrested three east Jerusalem residents on suspicion of incitement for their role in organizing the “court” hearing and threatening Atari. The three are: Abdullah Alqam, Fadi Mtur and Kamal Abu Kweider. The three were arrested hours before the second “court” session was scheduled to convene on Thursday evening.

This whole story could get hot, as it reveals the bigoted and discriminatory behavior of the Palestinians, something I have written about previously. It also is occurring during a Trump administration that has decided to no longer look the other way when it comes to Palestinian corruption or injustice.

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Trump administration to shutter PLO office in DC

As part of its hard-nosed approach to PLO intransigence, the Trump administration has decided to shut down the Palestinian offices in DC.

National security adviser John Bolton is expected to announced Monday that the U.S. will shutter the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington, D.C., The Wall Street Journal reported. “The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” Bolton is expected to say, according to a draft of his speech reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

This is on top of cutting off all U.S. funding to the PLO.

Though I like this decision, as it ends U.S. support for these terrorist organizations, I doubt it will do anything to change PLO policy. The petty dictators who are in charge of Palestinian affairs, the PLO and Hamas, require the selling of hatred of Jews and Israel to survive. Everything else they have done has bankrupted the lives of the people living in the West Bank and Gaza. The second they change their tune, the people there might suddenly realize how bad their leadership is, and could very well string them up, much as the Italians did to Mussolini at the end of World War II.

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Trump administration cuts $200 million of Palestinian aid

The Trump administration today announced an additional $200 million cut of Palestinian aid.

“At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and provide value to the U.S. taxpayer,” the department said. “As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will redirect more than $200 million … originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza.”

“This decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation,” the notice said, without providing additional details.

As long as the terrorist leadership in Gaza and the West Bank refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist, they simply do not deserve any American aid. This is a reasonable position, and it is also one that follows laws that Congress itself has passed.

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Laid off workers supported by Hamas, take over UN refugee headquarters

Chaos in Gaza: Union workers for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have seized control of its headquarters in protest of lay-offs caused by the withdrawal of financial support by the United States.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced last month more than 250 staff in Gaza and Judea and Samaria would lose their jobs, after a $300 million cut in annual funding from the United States. The redundancies have prompted daily protests by the agency’s labour union in the enclave, which UNRWA’s Gaza head said have led to security concerns. “They have taken over the compound where my office and other offices are,” said Matthias Schmale.

The agency’s Gaza chief admitted UNRWA does not have full control over the site, in Gaza City, explaining he has not been able to access his own office for more than two weeks. “I am the captain of the ship which has 13,000 sailors on it and they have basically thrown me off the bridge and consigned me to my captain’s quarters,” he told AFP, referring to the number of employees in Gaza.

Schmale accused the labor union of multiple incidents of “threatening and intimidating other fellow Palestinian staff. For me that crosses a red line. … I am very concerned about the safety and security of my Palestinian colleagues,” he added.

It appears the take over is backed by Hamas.

What we are seeing here is the possible collapse of the entire UN/Arab structure that has for decades used the Arab refugees from Israel — and their descendants — as political pawns. Rather than repatriate these people into Egypt or Jordan, both countries as well as the entire Arab world, with the help of the UN and sadly a lot of U.S. money, forced them into refugee camps and thus used them as a hammer against Israel

Without U.S. financial support, however, this ploy cannot work. The protests and violence coming from Gaza in the past year has been a response to this collapse. Hamas has depended on that funding to keep itself in power. Without it, it cannot pay off its supporters.

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Israel considers a loosening of its gun laws

The Israeli government is considering a relaxing of its gun laws in order to allow more ordinary citizens the ability to own and carry guns for self defense.

Israel is mulling relaxing gun rules that will allow up to 40,000 more people to get weapons, the local media reports. Gun-lobbying politicians hope the measure will help ordinary citizens to neutralize “terrorists.”

The Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan proposed to allow any Israeli citizen who passed rifle training in the IDF to apply for a gun license, Tel-Aviv-based daily Haartez reported on Sunday. According to the paper, the required level of training for the license will be equivalent to the one of an IDF combat infantry soldier. If introduced, the measure will be a win for Israel’s gun lobby that had been fighting to lower the bar for gun ownership in order to help regular citizens defend themselves during terror attacks.

“Sending the citizens of Israel to protect themselves with pizza trays, selfie sticks, guitars and umbrellas is a crime of the state against its citizens,” politician Amir Ohana, who leads the gun lobby caucus in the nation’s parliament told Haaretz. “A law abiding citizen, who has the basic skill required, is entitled to be able to defend himself and his surroundings.”

It is simple common sense. It is the same common sense the required all citizens in the American west to know how to use a gun or rifle, and to be armed. Unfortunately, Israel does not have a second amendment, so the right to bear arms is something that the government can give or take, depending on who wins elections.

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Why Google blurs surface images of Israel, and why that blurring could end

Link here. A 1997 U.S. law requires that all satellite imagery of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank be blurred. The law also sets the resolution standard based on the best images produced by other commercial companies outside the U.S.

NOAA is now reviewing the law, since high resolution European commercial images have been available since 2012. If it decides this is the new standard, high resolution views of this very politically hot region could become publicly available for free.

The article focuses on the wonderfully good things in science and research this change would bring. It completely ignores the use that terrorist organizations, set on killing as many Israelis as possible, could put to such images.

In general, I prefer freedom and the wide distribution of information. In this case I am torn.

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U.S. suspends payments to Palestinian Authority

Years late: According to one Israeli news source, the United States has suspended all aid to the Palestinian Authority, beginning in May.

I24 News, which is based in Israel, reported Monday that the U.S. froze funding as part of the Taylor Force Act, which requires Palestinian officials to end payments to terrorist groups and take steps to stop those groups’ behavior.

The news outlet, citing a White House official and a Senate aide, also reported that certain Palestinian programs have been put on hold because the West Bank and Gaza office of USAID have not received a budget for the coming year. USAID provides funding for foreign development projects.

An official with one of those programs told i24 News that the U.S. stopped transferring funds at the end of May.

It appears that the Trump administration did this to underline the Palestinian leadership’s continuing support of terrorism and its unwillingness to accept any peace deal with Israel. It also appears that the Trump administration has successfully garnered the support of many Arab nations in this effort.

Without funds, the corrupt leadership in both the West Bank and Gaza will find itself very vulnerable. We could therefore see some very interesting and I think positive developments in the next year.

One more note: It is a disgrace that neither Bush nor Obama had the courage to do this earlier, even though it has been obvious for years that the Palestinian leadership was using U.S. aid to support terrorist acts. Their lack of action in this area suggests that neither was ever very serious about negotiating a peace deal.

Update: More information here concerning the Trump administration’s cuts to aid to Gaza.

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Satellite images of Iran’s missile program

Using images produced by the private satellite company Planet, experts have exposed Iran’s secret rocket program.

The images are fascinating and definitive. They even reveal what must be solid rocket motor test stands, with the ground scars left over after tests.

These pictures were the proof outlined in a recent news article that showed the joke that was the Iran nuclear deal.

ICBMs are not defensive weapons. They are by nature offensive weapons, used as a deterrent in some contexts, but the deterrent value lies in their offensive nature. They are designed to strike long distances away from borders and frontiers as a means of extending offensive capabilities. Paired with a nuclear-weapons program, they become an even greater offensive threat, one that would destabilize the entire region.

Defenders of the [nuclear deal] will argue that the deal eliminated the threat of that pairing, but that’s nonsense. Even if Iran abided by the terms of the [deal], it would only have had to wait ten years to produce a nuclear weapon. Having an ICBM platform available for a nuclear warhead to fit it would fit perfectly into a strategy of dominating the region by nuclear blackmail, and would force others in the region to develop or acquire their own systems to counter it.

This is just another reminder that we cut a deal with a terrorist state that didn’t do anything to restrict its terrorist or its ability to develop platforms for later use against us. If anything, the [nuclear deal] provided financial support for these efforts and others in the region, fueling conflict and pushing Iranian hegemony all the way to the Mediterranean, all without getting anything in return other than a piece of paper. We didn’t even get American detainees out of Iran. It’s a complete debacle, only becoming even more apparent with the passage of time.

But the leftist elitists who run our cultural and intellectual communities continue to think Trump is an idiot for pulling out of the deal. I ask, who is the real idiot here?

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Dozens killed, including armed terrorists, in Gaza border violence

They also call this cutting off your nose to spite your face: Dozens have been killed today in riots along the Gaza-Israreli border as thousands of Gazan protesters attempted to invade Israel.

More than 35,000 protesters amassed at a dozen locations along the security fence, with many engaging in skirmishes that pushed the death toll Monday to the highest in Gaza since a 2014 cross-border standoff between the militant group Hamas and the Jewish state, according to the Associated Press.

Gaza health officials told the news agency that 41 people so far have been killed in Monday’s violence, and at least 772 have been wounded.

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv, a key campaign promise of President Trump, has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital.

“Moments ago, an IDF patrol foiled a bomb-laying attack by a cell of three armed terrorists near Rafah, close to the border,” the Israeli military said Monday. “This is a particularly violent protest point. The troops responded with fire at the terrorists. The terrorists were killed.”

You want to live in peace? You show others that you mean it. You want others to see you as violent and a killer? You do things that prove it.

These demonstrations prove the latter. In the seventy years since Israel’s founding, that nation has shown, time after time, that it is more than willing to work with the Arabs, the Palestinians, the international community, anyone, in order to establish peaceful relations with its neighbors. Israel even unilaterally walked out of Gaza in order to show the world and the Palestinians that they are willing to allow an independent Palestinian state to exist side-by-side with Israel.

The Gazans here once again prove that they are unready to do so. They only hate, and want to kill, emotions that are hardly a good foundation for a reliable peace treaty.

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Riots prompted by Hamas have left Gaza with fuel crisis

This is called shooting oneself in the foot: The riots that the Hamas leadership of Gaza have been pushing this week have left the territory without cooking gas or diesel fuel, and no way to obtain more.

In Friday night’s attack, a large crowd broke into the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel, badly damaging a fuel and gas terminal and a conveyor belt for aggregate and animal feed.

Israel closed Kerem Shalom, saying it would take weeks or months to repair several million dollars in damages. It was not clear when the delivery of consumer goods by trucks would resume, said an army spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, adding that six trucks with medical supplies entered Gaza on Sunday.

There has been widespread speculation about the motives for the vandalism, with Israel holding Gaza’s rulers from the Islamic militant Hamas group responsible. Friday’s attack was the second on Kerem Shalom in a week, raising questions about why Hamas did not try to protect a key installation.

They estimate that Gaza only has about 7 to 10 days of fuel remaining.

It is unclear if Hamas leaders prompted the riot that destroyed the depot, or if the rioters themselves went out of control. No matter. It illustrates a madness in Gaza that has existed since Israel unilaterally left, giving them control of their own territory so they could rule themselves.

Rather than demonstrate that they were ready for their own state, the residents of Gaza have since chosen a terrorist organization as their leaders, destroyed the profitable infrastructure and businesses that the Israelis left them, and instead devoted their efforts to building missiles and bombs to fling at Israel.

This new destruction is merely par for the course. The riots that I expect tomorrow, when many Gaza residents will try to breach the border, under pressure from or in support of the Hamas leadership, is only going to cause more harm to those residents, and accomplish nothing good.

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The Middle East following Trump’s rejection of Iran deal

Many pundits had predicted that Donald Trump as president would lead to war with North Korea.

They were wrong. Completely, utterly, and foolishly. Instead, Trump’s hardline approach finally forced North Korea’s allies to force that nation to come to the negotiating table. For the first time in decades it appears we are going to see some substantive and positive changes in North Korea’s relations with the world.

This same pundit class, all operatives of the Democratic Party, have for the last few days been screaming that Trump’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal would also lead to war. Will these predictions be right this time? At this moment it is hard to say. Almost immediately after Trump’s announcement Iran and Israel exchanged missile fire. Overall, however, that exchange has turned out badly for Iran, the world’s biggest financier of terrorism and the instigator of most of the problems that presently exist in the Middle East.

First, it appears that militarily Iran did badly in the missile exchange, with Israel doing their capabilities in Syria serious harm. Second, Iran apparently did not tell anyone in Syria it was going to do use that country as a military launch site, and this is already causing them problems with their allies. For example, Russia announced today that it will not deliver new missiles to Syria, despite an earlier promise to do so.

Finally, a host of Arab Middle East countries have not only celebrated Trump’s actions, it has prompted some to reveal support for Israel, something that would have seemed impossible only two years ago.

It remains unclear if Trump’s actions will have the same positive effect on Iran as his actions did on North Korea. The two situations are not identical. Iran’s leaders have more flexibility and options that North Korea’s. Still, what Trump has accomplished is to get some important Arab nations to move to our side against Iran, and in doing so to increasingly ally themselves with Israel as well. This cannot be a bad thing.

Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic leader of Hamas announced yesterday that the protests next week in Gaza will be “decisive” and that many will die. Whether this really happens, it is apparent that such protests are not garnering Hamas the same worldwide support they once did. The same Middle East countries that have celebrated Trump’s actions have also made it clear they no longer support the terrorist tactics of the leaders in both the West Bank and Gaza. These Arab nations have quietly made it clear that they actually back Israel now.

Trump’s actions in the Middle East appear to have shifted the balance of power, and that shift has been in favor of Israel, the only democratically-elected nation in the area. This cannot be a bad thing.

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Trump pulls U.S. from Iran nuclear deal

As he promised during the campaign as well as several times since he became President, Trump today announced that the U.S. is leaving the Iran nuclear treaty that had been negotiated by the Obama administration.

Laying out his case, Trump contended, “If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

The administration said it would re-impose sanctions on Iran immediately but allow grace periods for businesses to wind down activity. Companies and banks doing business with Iran will have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S. government.

…Trump, who repeatedly criticized the accord during his presidential campaign, said Tuesday that documents recently released by Netanyahu showed Iran had attempted to develop a nuclear bomb in the previous decade, especially before 2003. Although Trump gave no explicit evidence that Iran violated the deal, he said Iran had clearly lied in the past and could not be trusted.

The AP article at the link is a decidedly anti-Trump partisan hit job, less interested in reporting this news story than telling us how terrible Trump’s actions are. Nor should we be surprised, as two of the AP writers who contributed to the story are based in Tehran.

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A detailed analysis of the recent seemingly pro-Israel remarks by the Saudi leader

Link here. The analysis takes a close look at what Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman really said about Israel’s right to exist, and found that, while much of what he said was hopeful, it was couched in enough vagueness that no one should celebrate too wildly.

In short, Muhammad said nothing revolutionary. He bore no glad tidings of a strategic shift in the Saudi Islam or in the manner that the Saudis relate to the world, including the Jews.

Which brings us back to the main question. What did we learn from this interview? The most significant thing that came out of the interview is that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is very keen to cooperate with the US and with Israel in everything related to defeating what he refers to as the “triangle of evil.”

The three sides of his triangle are Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the terrorist groups the Muslim Brotherhood has spawned, including al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Saudi Arabia is still an Islamic country run by the corrupt and violent Arabian culture. As noted elsewhere in the article,

The problem is that Muhammad’s regime is built on shaky foundations. Muhammad instigated a blood feud with powerful forces within his family when he carried out a string of arrests last year. Among those arrested were several prominent princes.

Rhode [a Middle East expert] explains that the Saudi ruling clan divvied up the organs of government among branches of the family. For instance, one branch controls the Defense Ministry, another controls the Education Ministry, and so on down the line.

“In the Islamic world, humiliation is worse than death,” Rhode notes. “When Muhammad arrested the other princes, he humiliated them,” Rhode says. “And they will never forgive him. They will wait for the day they can exact revenge for their humiliation even if it only comes when their great-grandchildren have succeeded them.”

We cannot trust them very much, but we can take advantage of their internal conflicts to push them in a more reasonable direction.

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44 Democrats waived background checks for Imran Awan

Every Democrat in the House who hired Pakistani Imran Awan to run their computers, 44 in total, also exempted him from the required background checks.

All of them appear to have waived background checks on Imran Awan and his family members, even though the family of server administrators could collectively read all the emails and files of 1 in 5 House Democrats, and despite background checks being recommended for such positions, according to an inspector general’s report. The House security policy requires offices to fill out a form attesting that they’ve initiated background checks, but it also includes a loophole allowing them to simply say that another member vouched for them.

Among the red flags in Abid’s background were a $1.1 million bankruptcy; six lawsuits against him or a company he owned; and at least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI and driving on a suspended license, according to Virginia court records. Public court records show that Imran and Abid operated a car dealership referred to as CIA that took $100,000 from an Iraqi government official who is a fugitive from U.S. authorities. Numerous members of the family were tied to cryptic LLCs such as New Dawn 2001, operated out of Imran’s residence, Virginia corporation records show. Imran was the subject of repeated calls to police by multiple women and had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving offenses, according to court records.

This story is particularly disturbing. Either all 44 Democrats were incredibly stupid, or they actually wanted Awan capable of passing classified information to his sources in Pakistan. Either way, everyone of these Democrats is culpable, and if the latter is true, they are also traitors.

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The Vegas Massacre Exposé: What Really Happened?

Link here. The article reviews the state of the investigation and notes the endless numbers of issues with it, from contradictory public statements to mysterious police actions to questionable events. The author raises good questions, and shines a light on a story that reeks of corruption and dishonesty, at the highest levels of the FBI and federal government.

There are those who will immediately begin speculating wild conspiracy theories. The story doesn’t require crazy theories, only simple but harsh ones, as noted by the author, linking the Las Vegas massacre to ISIS and some ISIS-allied Saudi power-brokers who have since been defanged by the Saudi government, all with the covert approval of the Trump administration, which also agreed to keep those Saudi links to ISIS and the Las Vegas massacre secret in order to help that friendly Saudi government.

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American embassy opens in Jerusalem in May

In order to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence, the Trump administration today announced that the American embassy will officially open in Jerusalem in May 2018.

Officials told Fox News the embassy would initially be located in the neighborhood of Arnona on a compound that currently houses the consular operations of the U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem. Initially, the embassy will consist of the Ambassador and a small team. Nauert said that the Consulate General would “continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate” from its Agron Road location.

An official also told Fox News that the hope is for the U.S. to develop only a “footprint” there in May, with a target of a fuller complement and facility by the end of 2019.

Much of this is therefore symbolic, but symbolism in diplomacy is often everything. More important, this action lends weight to the likelihood that Trump is firm in keeping this campaign promise, a campaign promise that every past Republican president since the 1990s failed to keep.

You might not like Trump, but an honest appraisal has to give him credit for one thing. He keeps his campaign promises. He said he’d cut taxes. He cut taxes. He said he’d shut down illegal immigration. Everything he has done indicates a sincere effort to do so. He said he’s cut regulation and neuter the EPA. He has done so, in a manner not seen by a president in my lifetime.

While I can certainly criticize Trump for a number of things, including his unwillingness to really cut spending and waste in the federal government, I would dishonest if I did not credit him for this.

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Tiny crowded Israel

Journeying through northern Israel

Much of the world’s political troubles are centered on the question of Israel in the middle of the Middle East. In both the Arab world as well as in some western intellectual circles, there are whole campaigns to make it go away (some peaceful, some genocidal). Politicians, pundits, and intellectuals argue incessantly about the rights of the Palestinians and the Jews, the best solution of achieving peace, and even the question of whether the Jews who have immigrated there have a right to stay.

I have just returned from spending two weeks in Israel, a trip I do somewhat regularly to see family. Each of these visits has given me an on-the-ground close-up look at the situation there, something that is difficult to get from the typically shallow media coverage of the region. And from each of these visits comes at least one essay, something I think is required because of Israel’s significance in much of the world’s political turmoil.

This year, we took a three day sightseeing trip to northern Israel, to visit some Roman ruins, the Sea of Galilee, and an incredible nature preserve that is the springtime home for thousands upon thousands of migrating birds. This excursion thus made this particular Israel visit far different from my half dozen or so previous trips, in that it was the first time I spent a considerable time in Israel proper. All my previous trips visiting family had me spend almost all my time going from one West Bank settlement to another. (That experience resulted in a series of essays on what those settlements are really like, which not surprisingly has no resemblance to their portrayal in the western press. My previous essay, A look at some Israeli West Bank settlements, provides a good summary, but it also provides links to all the previous essays, which are definitely worth the time to read if you want to find out what it is really like in the West Bank. I will give you one clue that might shock you: Hitchhiking is one of the most popular ways to get around.)

Anyway, this three-day trip allowed me to get my first look at Israel itself. The map above shows our route, as indicated by the dotted red line. The numbered Xs were our stops, of which I will discuss below.
» Read more

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The dying Palestinians in Syria

Link here. If you want to really understand the corrupt and evil nature of the Palestinian leadership, you need only read this one article.

A Palestinian refugee camp has been under siege for more than 1,660 days. Hundreds of the camp residents have been killed, while tens of thousands have been forced to flee from their homes.

Those who have remained in the camp — mostly the elderly, women and children — live in unspeakable sanitary conditions and drink polluted water. More than 200 Palestinians from the camp, which has been under siege since 2013, have died as a result of lack of food or medicine. The conditions in the refugee camp, by any standard, are horrific.

Why have most of us not heard about the hair-raising “living” conditions that characterize this camp? Because it is not located in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. The name of the camp is Yarmouk, and it is located about five miles from the Syrian capital of Damascus.

More than 100,000 Palestinians used to live in the 2.11 square-kilometer Yarmouk camp before the civil war erupted in Syria in 2011. By the end of 2014, the number of the camp residents had plummeted to 13,000.

And what has Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas done about this?

While his people are being killed, starved, displaced and denied medical treatment in Syria, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be more concerned about US President Donald Trump’s recent announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Picking a fight with the US administration has become a daily national sport for Abbas and his top officials in Ramallah. Hardly a day passes without another Palestinian Authority statement strongly denouncing Trump and his administration’s policies toward the Palestinians. But when it comes to the suffering of Palestinians in Syria, Ramallah is mute.

Palestinian leaders who hold regular meetings in Ramallah simply ignore the atrocities their people face in the Arab countries, especially Syria. Instead, the leaders devote most of their time to issuing condemnations of Israeli settlements and the Trump administration, as if Palestinians are not being killed by the thousands in an Arab country.

The 82-year-old Abbas, meanwhile, has made clear where his priorities stand. Instead of searching for ways to help his people in Syria and the Gaza Strip, where hospitals are facing a deathly shortage of fuel and medicine, Abbas has just spent $50 million to purchase a “presidential plane.” [emphasis mine]

Remember the last detail highlighted above the next time Trump announces that he is cutting funds to the Palestinian Authority. It is clear that any money given to them is not going where it should, and should therefore be cut off.

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Palestinian condemnation, from a Saudi Arabian

Link here. The story is about a Saudi Arabian video blogger who posted a two minute rant condemning the Palestinians as forcefully as can be imagined.

“You are the ugliest page in our history – like a bad memory that we’d like to forget. We want to tear this page out of [our history] and get rid of it completely, now and forever.

We’ve had to sacrifice having ties with Israel – the most advanced country in the Middle East because of you and your problems and your use of our religion, language, and the fact that you’re Arabs. [emphasis mine]

This quote is only a small part of the rant. I highlight it specifically because it reveals a recognition in Saudi Arabia of the reality that Israel is a far better ally for the Saudis than the Palestinians. For an Arab to say kind words about Israel in a public forum is quite astonishing, considering the history of the past sixty years. Furthermore, this blogger would not be saying it if he did not know that his government approves. There is no free speech in Saudi Arabia.

This is one more indication that a major shift is about to occur in the Middle East, with certain countries possibly abandoning the Palestinians as their leadership is presently constituted, two corrupt terrorist organizations with no interest in living in peace with their neighbors.

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Awan and cohorts made many “unauthorized” accesses to Congressional accounts

A House report has found that Pakistani IT specialist Imran Awan and cohorts made many “unauthorized” accesses to Congressional accounts, and worked to hide those accesses.

The presentation, written by the House’s Office of the Inspector General, reported under the bold heading “UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS” that “5 shared employee system administrators have collectively logged into 15 member offices and the Democratic Caucus although they were not employed by the offices they accessed.” It found indications that a House “server is being used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information” and “could be used to store documents taken from other offices.” The server was that of the House Democratic Caucus, a sister group of the DNC that was run at the time by then-Rep. Xavier Becerra.

The aides named are Imran Awan, his wife Hina Alvi, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and his friend Rao Abbas, Pakistani-born aides whose lives are filled with reason for concern. Abid’s Ukranian wife Natalia Sova and Haseeb Rana were also involved in the Awans’ activities but departed the House payroll prior to the investigation.

One systems administrator “logged into a member’s office two months after he was terminated from that office,” the investigative summary says.

The report also found that the Democrat leadership, which would have then been Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), poo-pooed the issue to its members, which then led 44 Democrats to not take actions to protect their systems, even after their accounts had been accessed improperly.

This scandal not only suggests a breach of American security by Pakistan agents, working for the Democrats in the House, but suggests that those Democrats either were fools, were being blackmailed to cooperate, or were traitors working in partnership with those foreign agents.

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Trump administration withholds $65 million from UN PLO agency

The Trump administration today withheld $65 million of a $125 million payment from the UN agency that is supposed to provide aid to Palestinian refugees but has instead been repeatedly found to use it to help the PLO and Hamas in terrorist acts.

In a letter, the State Department notified the U.N. Relief and Works Agency that the U.S. is withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million funding installment. The letter also makes clear that additional U.S. donations will be contingent on major changes by UNRWA, which has been heavily criticized by Israel. “We would like to see some reforms be made,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding that changes are needed to the way the agency operates and is funded. “This is not aimed at punishing anyone.”

The State Department said it was releasing the rest of the installment — $60 million — to prevent the agency from running out of cash by the end of the month and closing down. The U.S. is UNWRA’s largest donor, supplying nearly 30 percent of its budget. The agency focuses on providing health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Not surprisingly, the PLO is reacting like a five year old, throwing a tantrum, as if it deserves this money no matter what it does.

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Is Iran on the edge of collapse?

Link here. This short essay outlines a range of financial, economic, and fundamental problems facing Iran’s government that might lead to that country’s entire collapse.

Before we wax too eloquent about the democratic aspirations of the great Iranian people, we should keep in the mind that the most probable scenario for Iran under any likely regime is a sickening spiral into poverty and depopulation. Iran has the fastest-aging population of any country in the world, indeed, the fast-aging population of any country in history. It has the highest rate of venereal disease infection and the highest rate of infertility of any country in the world. It has a youth unemployment rate of 35% (adjusted for warehousing young people in state-run diploma mills). And worst of all, it has run out of water.

We might be observing the birth of Iranian democracy in the protests of the past few weeks, but it is more likely that we are watching the slow-motion train wreck of a once-great nation in all its gory detail. As I noted in an Asia Times analysis this morning, the most violent protests, e.g. the burning of a police station near Isfahan captured on this video, happened in the boondocks where water has run out. The river that runs through Isfahan, a legendary city of gardens in the desert, literally has run dry. Some Iranian officials warn that tens of millions of Iranians will have to leave their homes for lack of water. The country has used up 70% of its groundwater and its literally drying up major rivers to maintain consumption. It’s the worst ecological disaster in modern history.

If this analysis is even close to correct, things are going to get deadly interesting in the coming years. And it might not be just Iranians who face death. Iran will be like a cornered animal. The world, the Middle East, and especially Israel, will be in great danger because this particular cornered animal will have nothing to lose by doing very evil and violent things.

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U.S. freezes $125 million grant to UN agency that funds Hamas in Gaza

This is probably related to my previous post: The Trump administration has frozen the payment of a $125 million grant to the UN agency that supposedly does refugee work in Gaza but has been found in the past to help Hamas with its terrorist activities.

The amount frozen is one-third of the annual funding the United States provides the organization, according to the report.

The three diplomats, who asked to remain anonymous because of the political sensitivity of the issue, told Channel 10 the grant had been frozen until the end of the reexamination of U.S. aid to the Palestinians, which began in recent days. According to the diplomats, officials in the administration have informed UN officials in the past two days that President Donald Trump is considering cutting this amount completely and could even increase the cut to $180 million, which would be half the total U.S. funding for UNRWA.

From the article it appears that there are conflicting opinions about this action in the Israeli government.

UNRWA has been caught using its schools for Hamas anti-Semitic propaganda as well a place to store missiles. Let me repeat that: The UN and Hamas think there is nothing wrong with using schools to store weapons.

But hey, let’s give them millions so they won’t get upset at us!

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Trump administration suspends at least $900 million aid for Pakistan

The Trump administration, unsatisfied with Pakistan’s actions against Islamic terrorists, has suspended at least $900 million in military and security aid.

The U.S. State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration’s frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups that Washington says use sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan that have killed U.S., Afghan and other forces. The department declined to say exactly how much aid would be suspended, saying the numbers were still being calculated and included funding from both the State and Defense departments.

It is unclear from the article whether this suspension includes or is in addition to the $255 million suspended last week.

These actions against Pakistan are essentially the Trump administrations version of a shot across the bow to every nation in the world. What the administration is telling everyone is that they meant it when they said they were “taking names” and would punish those who took actions that were in opposition to the United States interests.

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An educated perspective on on the Iran protests

Link here. The author is a writer who has lived in Iran and seems very knowledgeable about the country and the specific cities where the protests are occurring. His comments about the city where the protests began, Mashad, are very revealing. They suggest that the Islamic mullahs that have been controlling Iran for the past few decades might have forgotten their base, and thus their base is now revolting.

He also notes this detail:

Now, there’s rioting in Qom. Qom is THE religious center for Shia Islam. Rioters burned a SEMINARY. Anti-mullah riots in Qom is a VERY BAD SIGN. That’s comparable to anti-Catholic riots in Vatican City. If you’re burning pictures of Khomeini and Khameini (two different people) in the religious center of Shia Islam… The Mullahs have lost their base and not just on the subject of payments.

So, this is, yeah, a very serious revolt. Not just some minor anti-government protests or some people arguing for better pay-offs. Posters weren’t being burned in Qom in the Green Revolution. (Which was very much centered on the middle class and students.) ‘Blue-collar’ protesters are chanting in favor of Reza Pahlavi, the guy who reestablished the Peacock Throne.

He also concludes by saying that if the mullahs do not stamp this revolt out soon this could very well end up to be a fight to the death.

Hat tip from reader Geoffrey Carman.

Update: More information here, including some details about why our mainstream press seems incapable of reporting on these protests with any knowledge or depth.

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Protests in Iran escalate

The protests in Iran this week that began over food prices and unemployment have now escalated into protests calling for the overthrow of the Islamic regime.

We shall see if these protests result in anything, or will be successfully squelched by the regime, as it did to similar protests in 2009. One difference between then and now is the American president. Obama spent most of his administration making nice to the Iranians, hoping that would make them less radical. He thus did nothing to support the protests, and if anything indicated his support for the regime at that time. Trump appears to think such an approach to be a waste of time, and has already indicated that he is sympathetic to the protesters, not the Iranian leadership.

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Trump administration cancels $255 million of military aid to Pakistan

Related to Awan IT scandal? The Trump administration has canceled the last payment of $255 million of military aid to Pakistan, out of a total $1.1 billion package.

“The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 in Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan at this time,” said a spokesperson of the President’s National Security Council in a statement to Hindustan Times. “The President has made clear that the United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan’s actions in support of the South Asia Strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance. The Administration continues to review Pakistan’s level of cooperation.”

The statement reflected and sealed the administration’s complete disillusionment with Pakistan, which had sought to brazenly disregard the explicit warnings issued by President Donald Trump personally and leading members of his cabinet, such as secretaries James Mattis and Rex Tillerson. “This could be the severest blow dealt to Islamabad by this administration if it indeed decided to withhold it,” said a leading US expert on Pakistan, who did not want to be identified. “There is more coming,” the expert added.

I am wondering if this action now might have some connection with the unfolding Imran Awan IT Congressional scandal. There is evidence there that Awan and his brothers were working with both Hezbollah and Pakistan to obtain classified information from the computers of congressional Democrats.

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How the Purge in Saudi Arabia might link to the Democratic computers in Congress

This essay is going to outline some interesting associations that appear to exist between a number of very unconnected news stories in the past few months, links that might help explain how recent events in Saudi Arabia might have something to do with the U.S. Congress and car dealerships in the U.S. and Africa.

First of all I want to emphasize that I really have no idea if the associations I am going to note even exist. I am no expert on foreign policy, other than being a very well-read follower of the news. However, my skills as a historian have often allowed me to spot connections between disparate events that further research very frequently confirms as true. In this regard I think it very worthwhile to reveal what I have noticed, and let the chips fall where they may.

This trail must first begin with President Trump’s first foreign policy trip in May as President, going first to Saudi Arabia followed by visits to Israel and Europe.
» Read more

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Trump declares Jerusalem Israel’s capital, delays moving embassy

President Trump today declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, though the move of the U.S. embassy to that city will be delayed for several more years.

Since the 1990s, when Congress passed a law that said the embassy should move but allowed presidents to waive that move repeatedly, every president issued a waiver because it was thought such a move would hurt the so-called peace process. Trump’s comments addressed this.

The President repeatedly addressed concerns about a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians being hindered as a result of the recognition. He argued failing to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as verified by law and Congress through the Jerusalem Embassy Act, has done nothing to move the region closer to a peace deal. “We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches,” Trump said. “The record is in, after two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a peace agreement.” [emphasis mine]

Trump is correct. We are no closer to Middle East peace now than we were in the 1990s. And I think the reason is illustrated by how the Palestinians (and their enablers) have responded to today’s announcement, with their usual grace and good will:

Gee, doesn’t the Palestinian response now kind of remind you of the gentle response of the Islamic community to some cartoons that were critical of Mohammad?

As I have written repeatedly, you can’t negotiate with someone who wants to kill you. When the Palestinians finally accept the fact that an Israeli state exists and will continue to exist, we will finally have peace. Not before, no matter how many deals get brokered by politicians.

I should also add that this announcement today does not fulfill Trump’s promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. It only makes believe that it does. Only when that embassy actually moves will Trump have done what he (and every previous Republican president or candidate since the 1990s) has promised.

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