Tag Archive for: Palestinian Authority

Sanders, Warren, other Democrat Senators call on US to give Palestinian Authority and Hamas $75 million

As the economic crisis created by the coronavirus deepens, it is astounding that these Senators think this is a good use of the taxpayers’ money. Once this money arrived in the PA and Gaza, it would be used almost exclusively to line the pockets of various officials and to pay expenses related to the ongoing jihad against Israel.

“As Americans go Broke, Sanders Demands Taxpayers Give Hamas $75 Million,” by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, March 29, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

A group of Democratic senators called for the U.S. State Department to reverse its policy and give funding to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting that the government reverse its policy and resume giving monetary aid to the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria and the Hamas-led government in Gaza.

“Given the spread of the coronavirus in the West Bank and Gaza, the extreme vulnerability of the health system in Gaza, and the continued withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian people, we are concerned that the Administration is failing to take every reasonable step to help combat this public health emergency in the Palestinian Territories,” the letter read.

The Democratic politicians seek to squeeze $75 million in aid to the Hamas-led government in Gaza and the PA in Judea and Samaria under the guise of the FY 2020 Appropriations Act.

It should be noted that President Trump slashed funding to the PA in 2018 as per the Taylor Force Act, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), that cuts some aid to the Palestinians until they end stipends to terrorists and the families of slain attackers.

In 2016, the PA paid out about $303 million in stipends and other benefits to the families of so-called “martyrs”. The funds are disbursed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO/Fatah). The families of convicted Palestinians serving time in Israeli prisons receive $3,000 or higher per month, higher than the average Palestinian wage.

Any monies that go to Gaza must necessarily go through the government which is run by Hamas. Hamas, recognized by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, was elected as the ruling party in Gaza in 2006. Gaza receives billions of dollars of humanitarian aid, much of which is usurped by the Hamas government for use in terrorist infrastructures….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

First Thoughts On the Trump Plan and How Mahmoud Abbas Will Save the Day by Hugh Fitzgerald

“The Deal of the Century” turned out to be remarkably generous to the “Palestinians,” giving them far more than they had any right to expect. It promises them a state – the state of Palestine. It doubles the size of the territory under Palestinian control. The Palestinians will under the plan possess nearly 80% of the West Bank. They will also have their capital in East Jerusalem. The plan includes Palestinian use and management of facilities in Haifa and Ashdod ports, Palestinian development of a resort area in the north shore of the Dead Sea, and continued Palestinian agricultural activity in the Jordan Valley. Ultimately, the plan envisions “modern and efficient transportation links” through the future Palestinian state, including Gaza. The West Bank and Gaza will be linked through a tunnel.

Under the Trump plan, the Palestinians will be obligated to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad, must stop their Pay-For-Slay plan, must stop inciting terrorism, must end the rampant corruption in the PA, must respect human rights, and must guarantee a free press and religious freedom. We shall see if the PA is able to meet these conditions precedent to achieving a state. The PA’s record to date is not encouraging.

The plan also requires Israel to observe a four-year moratorium on any new settlements in the West Bank while negotiations with the Palestinians are going on, but says nothing about whether the moratorium would continue if, after four years, negotiations are still continuing. It makes provision for $50 billion in aid to be given to the Palestinians, as had previously been announced at the “Peace Through Prosperity” workshop in Manama last June. That is a huge sum, but who would pay it? One hopes that it will not be the Western Infidels paying for the Palestinians. The $50 billion ought by rights to come from fellow Muslim Arabs, those who live in the oil-rich states of the Gulf – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar.

The most important concession of all, according to Trump’s peace initiative, would be the recognition of a new state, the State of Palestine. This State of Palestine would have to agree to be disarmed, but how that disarmament would be enforced, and exactly what arms it would include, remains unclear.

Israel also gets certain concessions. Existing Israeli settlements (that is, towns and cities) in the West Bank would be recognized as sovereign Israeli territory. The Palestinians would have to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinian refugees, or “refugees” (the quotation marks indicate that these are the descendants of refugees, not true refugees themselves) would be integrated into the countries where they now live. There would be no right of return.

Netanyahu and Gantz have both declared themselves pleased with Trump’s peace plan. But can they truly be pleased with the recognition of a State of Palestine, with its capital in East Jerusalem? Perhaps they are pleased because the plan is better than any of the previous plans presented by Trump’s predecessors, and because they know that Abbas will never accept it, so they needn’t worry. They can afford to be pleased. There is no other state in the world that has been successfully disarmed. How likely is it that a State of Palestine, full of Jihadis, could be permanently disarmed, and not become a source of terrorism against Israelis, whether living in the West Bank or elsewhere in Israel?

The plan is generally good, but I confess that I expected even better. I did not think this administration would recognize a State of Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem. I envisioned instead an arrangement whereby the local Arabs (to be carefully referred to as “Palestinian Arabs”) in the West Bank would be given as much autonomy as was consonant with Israeli security, but not a state. The safer the Israelis, the greater the degree of local autonomy. I see that I was wrong.

However, there is one thing about this plan that makes it most welcome. And that is the assurance that neither Mahmoud Abbas, nor any of his successors in the Palestinian Authority, nor anyone in Hamas, will be willing to negotiate over this plan in good faith. The Palestinians rejected Trump’s plan before they knew what was in it; they reject it again now that they know what is in it. Much of the world will be able to see that even when the Palestinians are offered a state of their own, even when they are promised that that state’s capital will be in East Jerusalem, even when they are further promised $50 billion in aid, far more than any of the more than 100 developing countries have ever received In aid, that is not enough to satisfy them. They are the spoiled brats of the international community.

Other Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Oman, will urge the Palestinians to take the deal — “You get a state, you have your capital in Jerusalem, the Israelis have to stop building settlements, you’ll have 80% of the West Bank” – “or else.” “Or else” would mean only this: “We are tired of your whining, tired of the whole Palestinian problem; tired of your refusal to accept $50 billion in aid. We have so many bigger problems to think about, starting but not ending with Iran. Get with the program. Or count us out.” The refusal of the Palestinians to take the deal will only widen the gap between them and the other Arabs.

In agreeing to the Trump plan, Israel will have committed itself to not building new settlements in the West Bank for four years, while negotiations are going on. It’s a big concession. But if there are no negotiations, because the Palestinians continue to refuse enter into them, then the Trump administration has made clear that Israel is no longer required to refrain from settlement building. The Trump administration has noted that, in that case, it will support Israel should it decide to unilaterally incorporate other areas of the West Bank, beyond what it will already have annexed. And the offer of a State of Palestine will not be revived. And very few, at that point, will care.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

‘The Golan is ours’ — Israel Sovereignty and American National Security

A momentous joint press conference was held at the White House with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu on February 15, 2017. For the first time in recent memory, a U.S. President was not demanding that Israel relinquish sovereign territory that had been granted under international law. That meant that the Jewish nation was entitled to negotiate secure borders in the land west of the river.

Things appear to be changing in the Middle East among the Sunni Arab monarchies, Emirates and states recognizing that America’s democratic ally is the proverbial strong horse opposing the hegemonic aspirations of the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran. An Iran that in consort with its proxy Hezbollah is actively engaging in creating a Shia crescent from the Persian Gulf via Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean Coast of Lebanon. Moreover, Iran has control of two world maritime choke points in the oil trades; the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al Mandab (at the mouth of the Red Sea).

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The Golani tree symbol of the IDF Golani Brigade of the Northern command.

For Israel there is evidence that Iran’s IRGC Qods force and its proxy Hezbollah are ranging across the vital Golan Heights frontier. That is reflected in clashes that resulted in the deaths of IRGC Generals and a Hezbollah commander, son of the terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah.   A frontier that is also witnessing the expansion of ISIS militia on the southern portion of the Golan frontier.

The Golan is strategic to Israel’s national security reflected in its annexation by Israel’s parliament the Knesset in 1981. Yet, there have been efforts at the UN suggesting that Israel’s sovereign claim to the Golan is questioned. That despite it being included in the original Palestine Mandate granted to Great Britain at the Sam Remo conference in 1920. After two climatic wars fought in 1967 and in 1973, Israel is not about to give up its sovereign claim to the Golan.Further, Israel’s ears on the Middle East can be found on the summit of Mount Hermon at the base of the frontier monitoring digital communications.  IDF Golani units are deployed on the heights of this important bastion.  The UNDOF force in the demilitarized has been routed during the six plus years of the Syrian civil war. Israel has provided humanitarian aid and medical assistance to Syrian civilians and casualties of opposition militias often treating them in field hospitals and in emergency cases sending them to hospitals in central Israel.  The Syrian frontier on the Golan divides the Druze community, the Israeli branch of which are loyal citizens and yet understand the predicament of their cousins across the frontier.

There has been talk of establishment of so-called safe zones in southern Syria at the apex where Israel, Jordan and Israel meet.  At issue is what international forces would staff it. Given the record of the UN peacekeepers it is dubious that it could effectively defend the suggested safe zones. Israel’s experience in the Lebanon wars indicates that it is not about to take on the responsibility of a security zone in Syria. The one in Lebanon ended disastrously in the pell mell withdrawal from the Southern security zone   in 2000.

That apex at the conjunction of the three counties frontiers is now the target of the Islamic State. A recent Jewish Press report confirms the activity of Islamic State Salafist militia overrunning the apex area of Southern Syria, Jordan and Israel threatening the Golan frontier. It reports that the ISIS militia is lead by a Palestinian Salafist. While the IDF Chief of Staff Eizenkot would like the UNDOF to block further movement by the ISIS, their track record has been abysmal. Thus his assessment is that the IDF on the northern frontier could see intense fighting occur this spring.

Jonathan Schanzer and Marc Dubowitz crystallized in a Wall Street Journal article, “Golan,” stressing the vital importance of Israel’s sovereignty.  They noted:

Benjamin Netanyahu has achieved his primary objective of resetting ties with the U.S. after eight years of tensions. True, the Israeli prime minister and Donald Trump still need to bridge the gap on issues such as Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy and West Bank settlements. But they seem to be on the same page on a broad range of regional matters.

That could lead to a breakthrough on an issue of strategic importance to Israel. According to reports of the two leaders’ meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu asked for U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The move makes sense for both sides. It would provide the Israeli government with a diplomatic win while helping the Trump administration signal to Russia and Iran that the U.S. is charting a new course in Syria.

[…]

By recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan, the Trump administration would signal to Russia that, while Washington may now coordinate with Moscow on activities such as fighting Islamic State, it doesn’t share Russia’s goals for Syria.

Moreover, it would show that the U.S. will take a tougher line on the provision of arms and intelligence to Iran and Hezbollah.

Recognition of Israel’s Golan claims would acknowledge that it needs these highlands to hold off a multitude of asymmetric and conventional military threats from Syria—and whatever comes after the war there. Israel continues to target Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah to prevent them from establishing a base of operations on the Syrian Golan.

Recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan would also soften the Palestinians’ core demand for a state within the 1967 borders. If an international border can be revised along the Syrian border, the Palestinians will have a harder time presenting the 1949 armistice line along the West Bank as inviolable.

Against this background we reached out to someone who knows the strategic importance of what Messrs. Schanzer and Dubowitz have espoused, Ambassador Yoram Ettinger former Israeli emissary in Washington involved with Congressional liaison.

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Mike Bates

Mike Bates:  Good afternoon welcome back to Your Turn, this is Mike Bates. We continue with our conversation, our Middle East round table discussion. With me in studio is Jerry Gordon,  Senior Editor of the New English Review and his blog the Iconoclast.

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Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon: Glad to be back.

Bates: And joining us by telephone from Israel is Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli Congressional Liaison.

Yoram Ettinger: Thank you very much.

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Former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger

Bates: Ambassador Ettinger, from your perspective as a former Israeli Emissary involved with Congressional relations, how significant was the outcome of the joint press conference at the White House on January 15th?

Ettinger: I would say that the outcome of the meeting between the leaders of the US and Israel is very significant.  It signals reconnection of the US administration with Middle Eastern reality after eight years – and more years – of assuming that the Palestinian issue is the core cause of regional turbulence and the crown jewel of Arab policymaking. Now there is an Administration that realizes, with all due respect, the Palestinian issue is not the primary or secondary, not even tertiary issue when it comes to Middle East priorities. The current administration seems to focus on the major threats to the US as well as to Western democracies and the regional and global stability. These are: Iran’s megalomaniacal aspirations and its  aim to become a major nuclear power. Second is Islamic terrorism  and third, the need to minimize the clear and present danger to every  pro- American Arab regime in the middle east, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Oman.

On all of those issues – Iran, Islamic terrorism, and the need to stabilize the pro- American Arab regimes – Israel plays a very unique role. The question is, are you going to sacrifice the very essential cooperation between US and Israel on the altar of the Palestinian issue? It seems to me that President Trump and his advisors may or may not go along entirely with Israel’s view of the Palestinian issue.  They are not going to sacrifice dire American national security interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue, which is not, is not, a core cause as far as Arab policymaking is concerned.

Bates: Ambassador Ettinger, I realize Israel is a democratic country, and like every democratic country, the people are not unified in their view of the world any more so in Israel as it is in the United States. But I’m curious. If you can generalize, what is the sense of the Israeli people to President Trump versus what we had for the previous eight years, President Obama?

Ettinger: Certainly Israel is highly diversified as far as ideology, as far as world view, even as far as Judaism is concerned.  However, one should note that a major factor in Israel is a sense of patriotism. We see that on the occasion of wars, on the occasion of conflicts with Arab countries, and recently on the issue of the Palestinians.  We see coalitions of all the big groups in Israel.  In fact, something which is not common in the US. The  majority of our special operation forces are very Dovish, and I emphasize very, very Dovish in their world view, and the majority of Israel’s combat pilots are also very Dovish.

And, their worldview has nothing to do with the fact that they are first to be called to serve during wartime, and they serve superbly.

When it comes to President Trump, the perception in Israel is that he is supportive of Israel. The public has accorded him at this point very significant support, unlike the case of the eight years with President Obama – when many Israelis sympathized with him as far as personality is concerned, maybe as it was reflected by television, newspapers, radio – but most Israelis were aware that as far as President Obama was concerned, Israel was not exactly one of his top positive priorities. When it comes to President Trump, the sense is that he does regard the Jewish State as a cardinal, positive element on his agenda.

Gordon: Ambassador, what is the danger of having a Palestinian state adjacent to the Jewish nation of Israel?

Ettinger: When it comes to Israel, the clear and present lethal threat is highlighted at this time of global instability, violence, and intolerance, tenuous agreements, tenuous regimes and policies. With a Palestinian state, Israel would be once again constrained to an eight-to-fifteen mile sliver along the Mediterranean, over-towered and dominated by the mountain ridges of the West Bank of Judea and Samaria. This is not exactly a prescription for long life expectancy. It’s a prescription for suicide, I believe.

But the key point is not what it means for Israel. For your American listeners, the issue is what would the impact be on America’s national security. And Americans should know when it comes to a Palestinian State, based on its track record, we are talking about a definite erosion of America’s authority in the Middle East and definite injury to very important American national security interests. For instance, there is the American-supported Hashemite monarchy in Jordan. A Palestinian State on the one hand and Hashemite regime in Jordan east of the Jordan River constitute an oxymoron.

Top Jordanian military officers made it very clear to their colleagues in Israel that the top priority of the Hashemites  is to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. Now the issue is not merely one more, or one less pro- American Arab regime.  A change in regime in Jordan would cause tectonic ripple effects, which would not be limited only to Jordan, but a definite spill- over southward to Saudi Arabia and from Saudi Arabia to the rest of the pro- American  Arab Gulf states.

This means that a Palestinian state could trigger ripple effects all the way into the Persian Gulf area, playing into the hands of Iran, also possibly into the hands of Russia and China and certainly adversely effecting America’s interest. It could create an Iranian block from Iran through Iraq, Jordan, all the way to fifteen miles from the Mediterranean. That  would mean loss of pro- American control of two critical waterways, the Bab el Mandab and Hormuz Straits in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, two of the most critical waterways for oil tankers, which would have an impact on the  global economy and  American economies.

You might also find a guarantee of naval rights, landing rights for the Russian, possibly Iranian, maybe Chinese, naval and air force, in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, which once again would undermine vital American interests.

All this is based on the track record of Palestinians, which includes the waves of terrorism in the 1920s, 30s, 40s; collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War; collaboration with the USSR after the war; collaboration with Ayatollah Khomeini after the demise of the Shah of Iran; and very close ties with Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Bates: Ambassador  Ettinger there was a recent  The Wall Street Journal op-ed by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz of the Washington DC based Foundation for Defense of Democracies drew attention to the possibility of Israel asserting sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Why did Israel annex the Golan Heights in 1981 and what geo-political and national security significance does it have given the threats on the frontier from Iran’s proxy Hezbollah and Syrian Islamic opposition  and ISIS?

 Ettinger: First of all, the Golan Heights is not foreign terrain for the Jewish state. The Golan Heights is part of the Jewish homeland going back some 3,500 years .  As far as contemporary strategy is concerned, there are only two options when it comes Golan: will it be part of Israel, controlled by Israel; or will it be a platform for rogue organizations, rogue regimes. There is no other option, although again in the wishful la-la land of some western policymakers, one could transform it into an international, neutral area.  Certainly when you look at the Middle East there is no such thing as a neutral element or neutral space.

As far as the impact of the Golan Heights, once again on the region as a whole and on Israel. One can go back to 1970 when Syria was a major military Arab power, Syria invaded Jordan. With the US bogged down in Southeast Asia, there was no way it could stretch military hand and help the pro- American late King Hussain. They called Israel. Israel mobilized its troops and the following day – without firing a single shot, only through the posture of deterrence of the presence of Israel – the Syrian military withdrew back to Syria. That was possible because Israel controlled the Golan Heights in 1970, which meant we were at the point where we could reach Damascus and basically take over Syria.

Should Israel be off the Golan Heights, and once again there is violence which threatens pro-American Arab regime in Jordan, without the Golan (and certainly there would already be a Palestinian state), Israel would be in no position, have no power to exert any posture of deterrence to assist the US, assist pro-American Arab regimes. We are talking today about the proliferation of Islamic terrorist organizations, many of which operate in Syria, which means with proximity to the Golan Heights and should Israel get off Golan Heights, the only question would be: which rogue regime, which rogue organization, will then control the Golan Heights.

Bates: There is no question that the Golan Heights are critical to the security of Israel. I made a day trip through Golan Heights when I was in Tiberius a few years ago. It’s beautiful, sparsely populated area.  It is of  massive strategic importance. Why doesn’t the United States recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory and is there any chance that will change under a Trump presidency?

Ettinger: It’s true that Golan Heights is critical for Israel’s national security, but it’s also true that it is  very important for America’s own national security, America’s own posture of deterrence in the Middle East.  Israel on the Golan Heights, Israel on the mountain ridges of Judea Samaria extends the strategic hand of the USA. With Israel off the Golan Heights and certainly off the mountain ridges of the West Bank, Israel is going to be transformed from a national security asset to a national security liability and a burden on the US. And the US is facing, in my mind, intensifying, and not reduced, threats due to the current trends in the Middle East and throughout the world. The US cannot rely on Europe which has lost its will power gradually – and is also losing its muscle. Israel is the only element in the Middle East upon which the US can rely. It is probably the most effective force anywhere in the world upon which the US can rely on.

Bates: No, question about it Ambassador.

Gordon: Ambassador, what is behind Israel’s emergence as a world leader in high tech global investments and its impact on the country’s economy?

 Ettinger: Out of necessity, due to the attempt to strangle Israel territorially, militarily, economically; due to various attempts to boycott and sanction Israel; and due to real lack of natural resources, Israel had to rely on its brain power. We have managed not only to survive but we have managed to develop – I would say next to the US – a major global, high tech technological country, both commercially and militarily. Today, in Israel, we have 250 research and development centers operated by global high tech giants, most of them American, some European. These are the centers that develop for Intel and Microsoft, and Apple and Google, and other giants, the latest innovative technologies. Israel contributes to research and development in America, to the competitiveness of American industries in the global competition, and to America’s foundation of employment.

Bates: It is a huge benefit, Ambassador. We have been speaking with Jerry  Gordon of the New English Review and its blog the Iconoclast and  with Ambassador Yoram Ettinger.  You can find Ambassador Ettinger online at www.theettingerreport.com.

Thanks so much for joining us this afternoon on 1330amWEBY

Listen to the broadcast, here.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

VIDEO: Which is the Apartheid State? This sign says it all…

Have you ever wondered why there are so many people who refer to Israel as an apartheid state? Well, most have no interest in the truth. They simply hate Jews and this is just another way for the haters to hate.

While in Israel we came across a road sign to Jericho, a city located near the Jordan River in the Palestinian controlled West Bank, which reads:

This Road leads To Area “A” Under The Palestinian Authority. The Entrance For Israeli Citizens Is Forbidden, Dangerous To Your Lives And Is Against The Israeli Law.

This video of the sign demonstrates how APARTHEID the state of Israel really is NOT. An urban legend gone wrong:

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of the road sign leading to Jericho is by .

Landmark Victory In New York Federal Court for U.S. Victims of Palestinian Terror

Credit Nitsana Darshan -Leitner of Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) and US co-counsel for today’s verdict award by Federal Judge Daniels in a case brought against the Palestinian Authority arising from terrorist funding activities during the Second Intifada fomented  by the late Yassir Arafat of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. Newsweek reported:

In the first ruling of its kind, a U.S. court has found the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization liable for damages suffered by 10 American families whose relatives were injured or killed in attacks in Israel.

The six shootings and bomb attacks in question took place between 2002 and 2004, during the second intifada, or uprising, killing 33 and wounding more than 450. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 and was tried in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.

“This historic verdict against the defendants will not bring back these families’ loved ones nor heal the physical and psychological wounds inflicted upon them but it truly is an important measure of justice and closure for them after their long years of tragic suffering and pain,” Israel-based law office Shurat HaDin, which worked on the case, said in a statement after the verdict on Monday.

The plaintiffs argued that the two organizations supported the attacks—whether via direct involvement or assistance in the form of material support or training. They also allegedly paid those who carried out the attacks and continue to compensate perpetrators who were imprisoned as well as the families of those who died.

Since the plaintiffs are all U.S. citizens, the case was tried in the country under the Antiterrorism Act signed into law by then President Bill Clinton in 1996, which gives American courts jurisdiction over acts of terrorism that harm U.S. citizens abroad.

“We are truly grateful that an American court has heard the evidence against the Palestinian Authority and the PLO and determined that suicide terrorism was indeed their official policy during the Second Intifada,” said the statement from Shurat HaDin sent in an email to Newsweek. It continued:

We started out more than a decade ago with the intent of making the defendants pay for their terrorist crimes against innocent civilians and letting them know that there will eventually be a price to be paid for sending suicide bombers onto our buses and into our cafes. The defendants have already been boasting that they will appeal the decision and we will never collect on the judgment. We will not allow them to make a mockery of the US court process, however, and we continue to pursue them until it is paid in full. If the PA and PLO have the funds to pay the families of the suicide bombers each month, then they have the money to pay these victims of Palestinian terrorism.

The New York Times Breaking News report places both incumbent President Mahmoud Abbas and the Administration in a quandary, as the Netanyahu government has withheld $100 million in monthly tax revenue remittances used to fund the PA operations  because of the latter pursuit of claims of war crimes brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands. Perhaps the award of $218.5 million might be paid as compensation to Israeli and US victims of Palestinian terrorism from those taxation remittances witheld by Israel.  Kol Hakavod to Ms. Leitner and the team at Shurat HaDinand US co-counsel. Their motto is: “Bankrupting Terrrorism, One Law Suit at a Time.”

Below is the New York Times report:

Jury Awards $218.5 Million in Terrorism Case Against Palestinian Groups

The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured.

The jury in Federal District Court in Manhattan awarded $218.5 million in damages, a number that is automatically tripled to $655.5 million under the special terrorism law under which the case was brought.

The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian organizations responsible for the terrorist acts. And while the decision was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs, it also could serve to strengthen the Israeli claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces are directly tied to terrorism.

The financial implications of the verdict for the defendants were not immediately clear. The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, had serious financial troubles even before Israel, as punishment for the Palestinians’ move in December to join the International Criminal Court, began withholding more than $100 million a month in tax revenue it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf.

The verdict came in the seventh week of a civil trial in which the jury had heard emotional testimony from survivors of suicide bombings and other attacks in Jerusalem, in which a total of 33 people were killed and more than 450 were injured.

READ MORE »

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Palestinian Authority Rewards Jihadis for Number of Jews they Murder

Don’t you dare call it savagery, you racist, bigoted Islamophobe. “Palestinian Authority Rewards Terrorists for Number of Jews They Kill,” by Edwin Black, Algemeiner, February 8, 2015:

Last year, Congressional legislators were astonished to learn that the Palestinian Authority was issuing monthly payouts totaling between $3 and 7 million as salaries and other financial rewards to specific terrorists and their families.

The money was channeled, in part, through the Ministry of Prisoners pursuant to the Law of the Prisoner. The law set forth a graduated scale, pegging monthly salaries to the length of Israeli jail sentences, which generally reflects the severity of the crime and the number of people killed and/or injured.

Thousands of documents, newly obtained by this reporter through a lawsuit to unseal court-protected files, demonstrate that these payouts are not blind automated payments. Rather, senior Palestinian Authority officials as high as President Mahmoud Abbas scrutinize the details of each case, the specific carnage caused, and the personal details of each terrorist act before approving salaries and awarding honorary ranks in either the PA government or the military.

Ministry of Prisoners spokesman Amr Nasser has explained, “We are very proud of this program and we have nothing to hide.” Nonetheless, in response to the international furor, the Palestinian Authority announced that it would replace the Ministry of Prisoners with an outside PLO commission known as the Higher National Commission for Prisoners and Detainees Affairs.

The PA is dependent upon foreign donor countries to supply much of its budget, which now exceeds $4.2 billion annually. About ten percent of the PA budget, more than $400 million, is contributed annually by United States foreign aid. The U.S. and many other countries have enacted laws forbidding any payments when the monies directly or indirectly support or encourage terrorism.

The interdepartmental bureaucratic notations the Palestinian Authority has recorded on each terrorist before approving the level of salaried compensation is extensive. For example, one prominent case involved Ahmad Talab Mustafa Barghouti, who personally coordinated numerous terrorist acts. These included a January 2002 shooting spree on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, killing two and wounding 37; a March 2002 shooting spree at a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing three and wounding 31; and finally a March 27, 2002, attempt to smuggle an explosive suicide belt in an ambulance. The Israel Defense Forces arrested Ahmad. On July 30, 2002, a military court concluded that he was responsible for murdering 12 Israelis, and Barghouti was sentenced to 13 life sentences.

According to on-going internal Palestinian Authority security reviews dated February 3, 2009, and July 6, 2009, Barghouti’s special compensation began retroactively to July 1, 2002, the first of the month that the 13 life sentences were imposed. At the time of his arrest, Barghouti was a Sergeant in the Palestinian Police. As a reward, while in an Israeli prison, Barghouti’s annual salary of 12,953 Israeli shekels was continued and gradually escalated when he was promoted to First Sergeant.

Still in prison, Barghouti was promoted again, this time to Warrant Officer, pursuant to a November 13, 2008, Presidential Order 15999/3, according to Palestinian internal security records. One document lists Barghouti’s bank account as account 36079 at the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance in Ramallah. A related document tabulates additional monthly allocations for Barghouti’s two named beneficiaries, showing they jointly received 900 shekels monthly in 2002, beginning the month he was sentenced. That monthly allocation rose to 1,000 shekels in January 2004. The beneficiary payments were deposited into account 628134 at the Arab Bank’s al Bireh Branch 9030, the documents show….

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Florida Mayor takes bold stand against Terrorism!

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Mayor Kent Guinn, Ocala, Florida.

Mayor Kent Guinn took a bold stand against terrorism on Tuesday, when he and the City Council rejected attempts by terrorist sympathizer Manal Fakhoury (pictured above) to marry the city of Ocala, Florida to Ramallah, Palestine via  Sister Cities International, a United Nations driven initiative.

A request to formally align the City of Ocala, which is affectionately known as horse country and the city of Ramallah which is better known for anti-Semitism and  terrorism was submitted by Manal Fakhoury, a Palestinian herself, as well as Karin Dean, Cindy Grimes, and Lola Gonzales in the official capacity of Fakhoury Leadership International.

Ramallah, is the Capitol city of the Palestinian Authority.  The P.A. was birthed out of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO),  a federally designated Terrorist Organization which by all appearances changed its name in an effort to distance itself from its violent nature.

The  application which was meet with strong opposition and dated 10/16/2014 was heard by the City Council, on Tuesday 11/18/2014.  Some in support of the initiative to twining the cities of Ocala and Ramallah, showed up wearing Fakhoury Leadership International T-Shirts.  Those who spoke in favor of a formal agreement via Sister Cities International, framed the initiative as an attempt to to promote peace and mutual understanding.

Suggesting Ramallah as a stalwart city in any effort to promote peace and mutual understanding in light its long history of terrorism is a stretch to say the least.  Recent Jihadist attacks on Jewish citizens, attacks the Israeli Prime Minister attributes directly to PLO leader Mamoud Abbas who is headquartered in Ramallah add additional skepticism to Fakhourys’ stated mission.   Comments by Israeli leadership regarding recent attacks give a glimpse at the kind of influence Ocala could expect from such an alliance:

Prime Minister Netanyahu said incitement by Hamas and Abbas motivated attacks on Jews. “This is a direct result of the incitement lead by Hamas and Abu Mazen (Abbas), incitement that the international community irresponsibly ignores. We will respond with a firm hand to this brutal murder of Jews who went to pray and were scathed by despicable murder.”   

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said that “Abbas, one of the biggest terrorists to have arisen from the Palestinian people, bears direct responsibility for the Jewish blood spilt on tallit and tefillin while we were busy with delusions about the [peace] process.”   (Haaretz.com, 18 November 2014)

Manal palestine yasser arafat2

Manal Fakhoury posing with life size picture of Yasser Arafat, PLO terrorist.

Manal Fakhoury, is a tireless activist whose long history ties her to individuals and groups whose stated mission is to impose Sharia Law around the world, to include the United States.

In addition to membership in several Ocala organizations, Fakhoury is board member of United Voices for America (UVA) a spin-off of CAIR, as well as the Capitol Leadership Academy (CLA).  Co-founder Ahmed  Bedier launched UVA after jumping ship just prior to Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) being designated a Co-conspirator in the largest successfully prosecuted terrorism finance trial in U.S. history.  Members of CAIR have been convicted of terrorism, material support for terrorism, and it’s leadership has openly expressed their desire to replace the U.S. Constitution with sharia law.   This is not a freedom of speech or 1st Amendment issue, but is in fact a direct challenge to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution and its supremacy.

Ironically, CAIR was designated a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) just this past week along with the Muslim American Society (MAS), both Muslim Brotherhood entities, while at the same time both organizations enjoy unprecedented influence in local, state, and federal politics.

Capitol Leadership and similar Academies have sprung up in over 25 states, following the model set by Manal Fakhoury and Ahmed Bedier.  These Academies were designed to train 12-18 year old “minorities” almost exclusively Muslim to learn the ins and out of legislation, lobbying, and running for political office.

According to “student(s)” we placed inside two of these week long classes.  Ahmed Bedier said “I want clean Muslims in office in the next two years”.  In light of this information, it might be worth considering the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood used similar operations to gain legitimacy, influence, and eventually the Presidency in Egypt during the so called “Arab Spring”.

The Gainville Sun, reported that Mayor Guinn displayed an article detailing these connections titled “Manal Fakhoury: Possibly the Most Dangerous and Influential Woman in Florida Politics“, as well as other pictures of her beaming in front of pictures of Mamoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat.  Mayor Guinn stated:

“These are things I am concerned about, are the ties of Ramallah, Manal, and this group of people like pictured there,” Guinn said.

He added, “I am not going to pursue having a sister cities, twinning relationship, whatever you want to call it, for a lot of reasons, this being one of them.”

Sister Cities International, is a U.N. entity which facilitates the twinning of cities worldwide, providing guidance, formal agreements, and liaison between twinning cites and federal and international bodies.

One of the stated goals; is for the twinning to be mutually beneficial partnerships between peer communities to include exchanges in the fields of culture, arts, education, trade, municipal management, health agriculture and industry to name a few.  In addition, Cities may provide Sister City Organizations with financial support.

Historically, the Palestinian people have been a “refugee” people who have had little to offer in the way of agriculture and industry on a global basis.  Almost certainly any support would be directed towards Ramallah and not the City of Ocala or its residents.  Other than art and culture not much is left in the way of a mutually beneficial partnership.

Manal Fakoury PDF FB GAZA Photo enlarged  hate jewsEven CULTURE is suspect when you consider the following point(s):

Islam is a complete way of life for Muslims; meaning it is all encompassing and there is virtually no separation between the culture, religion, or the personal life of a Muslim.

Shabbir Mansori, founder of the Council on Islamic Education which is responsible for virtually all Islamic content in America’s public school textbooks succinctly illustrates the Islamic inseparability between culture and goals of Islam in regard to his statement regarding  his work America’s Public School system.

“I am waging a “bloodless” revolution, promoting world cultures and faiths in America’s classrooms”.

Gainesville Sister Cities Director Steve Kalishman said 20 percent of Palestinians are Christian and there is no fighting going on in Ramallah. He said Gainesville has a “great Sister City.” as reported in Gainsville Sun.   

This is a standard Muslim Brotherhood talking point which flies in the face of the fact that thousands of Christians have had to flee areas under P.A. control with a steady rise in attacks since the Oslo Peace Accords.  Christian population has dropped from 15% down to only 2% since just the 1960’s.

In her arrogance, Fakhoury said  “I don’t think he knows what he is talking about,” Fakhoury said of the mayor. “If he really had any concern, why wouldn’t he speak to me?” in regard to Mayor Guinn.

She said the Sister Cities program is a positive one and that if any city needed a sister city, Ocala did. she went onto say “I really thought our city was better than this. I think people know me”.

She said she has worked hard for the city of Ocala, a clear reference to her relentless outreach and involvement in dozens of groups.  Statements which on the surface suggest that the backward, redneck City of Ocala obligated to oblige her based on she had done for the community.

 She went on to affirm her commitment to terrorism, saying “There’s a ton of support in the city of Ocala. I just didn’t bother doing it that way. But we will continue our work (with Ramallah) without a relationship,” she said.

Fakhoury called commissioners’ lack of interest “disheartening” and “sad.” She said there is a blog online by ACT Jacksonville that is smearing her reputation.

By now it should be clear to those seriously considering the information provided in this article and links, that Manal Fakhoury is a passionate and driven woman.  Whose drive and support comes with certain expectations which may be diametrically opposed to the health and well being of our local, state, and ultimately national body politic.

Riayd and Manal Fakhoury’s, impact on Florida Politics has been significant on both sides of the isle.  They regularly fund and host fundraiser in their home for various Governors, Senators, House Members and Attorney Generals with Hamas Operative Ahmed Bedier frequently in tow.

It is very refreshing to see elected officials who have the discernment to recognize a clear and present danger, as well as the courage to act in the best interest of the community despite the risk of being labeled a racist?, hatemonger, bigot, or Islamaphobe.

Hat Tip to the City of Ocala, Mayor Kent Guinn, Council President John McLeod, James P. Hilty Sr., Brent Malver, Jay Musley, and Councilwoman Mary S. Rich.

American Jewish Baby Killed by Hamas Terrorist in Jerusalem

Baby-Killed-NY-Jerusalem

Insert is photo of three month old Chaya Zisel Braun. Photo courtesy NBC Channel 4 New York.

Three month old Chaya Zisel Braun was run down and killed at the Silwan Light Rail Station in Jerusalem by a Hamas terrorist, 21 year-old Abdel Rahman  Al-Shalodi. Eight other persons were injured in the crowd he ploughed into on the station platform. Ha’aretz reported:

According to witnesses, Al-Shalodi drove the car 14 meters on the tracks itself, hitting disembarking passengers and continuing on along the length of the track. He stopped after hitting a pole a few hundred meters down and then attempted to flee on foot, when he was shot, arrested, and hospitalized.

[…]

An eyewitness reported seeing the car hit the mother and baby and continue plowing through the crowd. “The stroller was shattered and the mother was screaming.

[…]

The stroller flew into the air and the baby was found 10 meters away from the stroller.”

Hamas issued a statement calling Al-Shaludi’s murder of Chaya Zisel an “act of heroism”.

Al-Shaludi  had served  time  in an Israeli prison on terrorist-related charges.  Chaya Zisel  parents and visiting grandparents from America, the Halperins, grieved for their loss. Shimon Halperin and his wife had just arrived in Israel on their first visit after their birth of their granddaughter to see Chaya Zisel. Instead they were rushed  to Hadassah Hospital  on Mount Scopus   Chaya  succumbed to her injuries and  was laid to rest  at a Jerusalem cemetery  at midnight, Wednesday, October 22nd.  Al -Shaludi’s  mother,  did not acknowledging her son’s murderous action.   The Times of Israel  reported 42 year old Inas Sharif  saying “I feel [Chaya’s mother’s pain, I am a mother after all. I don’t wish for any mother in the world to lose her child.”

 Biased media  obfuscated what occurred on Wednesday  at the Silwan Light Rail stop in Jerusalem located at the bottom of Ammunition Hill.

What passes for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA)  stoked the violence that broke out during the recent Sukkoth holiday.  The AP had an initial headline, “ Israeli Police shoot man in East Jerusalem”  and only after complaints about it being misleading changed it to read,  “Palestinian Kills Baby at Jerusalem Station. “ The  U.S. consulate in Jerusalem issued statement hours after the event  calling it a “traffic incident”.  When the news caught up  at Foggy Bottom  they called it an act of terrorism, but with the usual proviso of  “all parties remaining calm.”  Jen Psaki  State Department Press Spokesperson made  the following statement:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.

Jerusalem Mayor  Nir Barkat said:

We must restore peace to Jerusalem – as I said for months, the situation in Jerusalem is intolerable and we must be acting unequivocally against the violence taking place in the city,

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu put the blame squarely on the PA leadership. He said:

This is how Abu Mazen’s  partners in government act, the same Abu Mazen who – only a few days ago – incited  a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.

Khaled Abu Toameh  squarely put the blame for the eruption of violence in Jerusalem  on PA President Abbas in a Gatestone Institute article, today, “Abbas’s Responsibility for Murder.” Toameh wrote:

To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one need look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.

The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas’s speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas’s crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.

Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.

Toameh drew attention  to the record of incitement  perpetrated by Abbas and  his cohorts like chief negotiator Saeb Erekat .  They concocted  the hate that led to Wednesday ‘s vehicular homicide by  al-Shalodi.  There was  Abbas’ UN General Assembly speech in September accusing Israel of waging  a “war of Genocide” in the 50-day war against  terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.  This from a man who ordered Palestinian security to cooperate with Israel  during the rocket and terror tunnel conflict fomented by his partner in the unity government, Hamas.   Abbas used the Sukkoth visits to the Kotel to inflame Palestinian. That  resulted in Israeli police cordoning off the Al Aqsa Mosque preventing Palestinians from raining rocks and Molotov cocktails on  the festival crowd of observant Jews below.  Abbas railed about Jewish desecration of Islamic  holy places. Abbas said:

We must prevent them from entering the Noble Sanctuary by all means. This is our Al-Aqsa. Al-Aqsa is a red line: Israel must be aware that the ongoing raids and attacks on Al-Aqsa will cause a volcanic explosion in the area that will reach Israel. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine, and without it, there will be no state.

The flash point for al-Shalodi’s  terrorist act was reports that Jewish  “settlers” were buying buildings in the Silwan  section in Jerusalem.   The National , published in the UAE had  a  report that vaulted  to world coverage  when it popped up on Yahoo News, “By hook or by crook, settlers rack up gains in East Jerusalem.” The report looks suspiciously like hate filled PA agit-propaganda , tantamount to throwing oil on the fire of the “silent Intifada”.

By fair means or foul, Jewish settlers are notching up property gains in the heart of Arab east Jerusalem through a series of shady deals involving front men or straw companies.

The process by which such properties are acquired is shrouded in mystery, with the new Jewish occupants often moving in under the cover of darkness to avoid confrontation with residents.

The latest controversial acquisitions took place in Silwan, a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood on a steep hillside flanking the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

In the past three weeks, hardline settlers have moved into 35 apartments there, sparking anger and consternation among Palestinians who vehemently oppose such moves as a hostile attempt to Judaise Silwan.

Some were allegedly acquired fraudulently, and others legally.

Jewish groups buying up property in the heart of Arab neighborhoods is an explosive political issue because it touches on the future of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as capital of a future state.

The reality is that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal and undivided capital. East Jerusalem was formally annexed  by the Knesset on June 28, 1967, reunified following the Six Day War.. Earlier this month we posted on the Iconoclast:

The President and State Department condemned  Netanyahu’s announcement of 2,610 apartments in Givat Hamatos completing the Jewish areas of the municipality and separation from Bethlehem.   The Administration said the move would “poison relations” among Israel’s allies.  Nir Barkat , Mayor of Jerusalem,  took exception to the Administration’s criticism of the building program noting that it was anti-discriminatory and had been approved over two years ago.  Nearly half of those apartments were allocated for Arabs. There were death threats against Arab property brokers for sales of apartments to Jews in the Silwan section of Jerusalem, that prior to the War for Independence had been occupied by Jews.

Wednesday’s vehicular homicide of three month old Chaya Zisel Braun was perpetrated by Hamas terrorist al-Shaludi  with  PA President Abbas, as  an accomplice after the fact for inciting the terrorist act.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. Photos courtesy of NER.

“The Forces at Play” in the Palestinian Authority

‘Avenge’, ‘cycle’, ‘retaliation’, ‘disproportionate’.  Most media scripts of recent days could have been written by machines.  Three Israeli teenagers have been murdered, callously and ruthlessly.  Their abductions were barely covered by most of the non-Israeli press during the weeks in which they were missing.  But now that they have been confirmed dead the Western press really knows what to do and how to cover it.

As with the United Nations, and other international bodies, the story appears to start not when an outrage is perpetrated against Israelis but rather when Israel is thought to be considering a ‘response’.  So ‘calm’ was urged upon Israel by the UN while options were being ‘weighed up’.

And then we enter the period of ‘backlash’.

Unconnected to events in the West Bank, in recent days Israel has struck sites in the Gaza responsible for the ongoing barrage of rockets being fired into Southern Israel.  Does anyone other than Israel get accused of ‘pounding’ an enemy even when the action is targeted precision strikes?  Everything to do with Israel’s wars for security and survival is portrayed in this way.  And those in the West who are sanguine about this treatment when it is meted out to Israel need to reflect that this is the same situation in which they will find themselves when the time comes.

In the meantime, as we go through the latest replay of an endless media story it is all too easy to ignore the bigger movements which are going on behind this.  As we have often said here at HJS, the erasure of borders, the clarification of old alliances and revived fundamentalist hatreds are the real movements going on underneath the Middle East and North Africa region during this period.  And the events of recent days give a deep reminder of Israel’s long-term territorial questions.  ISIS – or the ‘Islamic State’ as it is now more simply known – is not only causing the Saudi Arabian army to mass on its own Iraqi border, but is attempting next to erase the borders of Jordan.  This should be a moment for specific clarity in a regional mess.

If the Palestinian Authority wants to achieve a state then it must show that its state would be law-abiding and peaceful.  In doing a unity deal with Hamas earlier this year, Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah showed that they were more interested in terror and annihilation than they were in peace. Fatah has tried to draw comparisons with the tragic murder of a Palestinian youth this week in Jerusalem to paint the Israeli government into a race to the bottom about which community should be more outraged. But this is nonsensical. Even if the worst fears are realised and extremist Israelis are found to have committed this act, the Israeli state cannot be held responsible for the acts of vigilantes. But the Palestinian Authority certainly can be for the behaviour of a constituent part of its leadership. And since Hamas is to blame for the killings of the Israeli teenagers, what does Fatah’s refusal to uncouple from it tell us?

Would a Hamas-Fatah state in the West Bank be a barrier to ISIS and ISIS-like organisations?  Or would it be a sponge for it?  Would it withstand the forces of the region or would it fall in step with them?  Given the responses of the Palestinian leadership in recent days, we have had an opportunity to stare into the future.  People often say that the window is closing on the two-state solution.  Unless something changes, this will become an inevitable conclusion.

IDF Raids Seek an American and Two Israelis Allegedly Abducted by Hamas

Saturday night, the IDF and Shin Bet arrested more than 80 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad activists in Hebron in the disputed territories. This is in connection with the abduction of three youths, one American and two Israelis. The IDF has committed a paratroop brigade to the operation sealing off the area of the abduction. The IDF and Israel’s General Security Service (Shin Bet) launched a massive manhunt last Thursday for the alleged Hamas abductors of 16 year old American Naftali Frenkel and two Israelis, Gilad Shaar, 16 and Eyal Yifrach, 19. They were allegedly abducted while hitchhiking home from religious school in the Gush Etzion bloc between Bethlehem and Hebron.  According to a Washington Post report, one of the abductees got off a cell call saying, “we’ve been kidnapped”.

Hamas is believed to be behind their abduction.  At a Sunday Cabinet meeting, Israeli PM Netanyahu said:

Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths were members of Hamas; the same Hamas that Abu Mazen (Abbas) made a unity government with. This has severe repercussions.

The WaPo report cited Israeli American Naftali Bennett, economics minister in the Netanyahu ruling coalition, saying: “We will respond with an iron fist to terror.”  Thousands of Israeli prayed for the safe return of the three youths at the Kotel, Western Wall, of the Temple in Jerusalem. The National Council of Young Israel in New York issued a call for a Prayer Service for the safe return outside the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan on Monday, June 16th. The announcement used the Twitter hashtag, #BringBackOurBoys.

Hamas issued a statement praising the abduction.   According to an updated report by The Daily Mail, Senior Hamas spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza called the accusation by PM Netanyahu “silly”. Really?   While cooperating with the Palestinian security service, Israel also relies on their own resources in the West Bank to identify the abductors and the possible location of the three teens. This despite PA senior official Hanan Ashrawi cited  by The Daily Mail saying , “this is something we have no information on”.  However, what can you expect from the Palestinian unity government with Hamas.  Its Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah acknowledges that it has no control over Gaza.

Secretary of State Kerry issued a statement today saying:

The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home. We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services. We understand that cooperation is ongoing.

We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement. As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.

Three Israelis? Frankel is a US citizen. The Daily Mail noted Frankel’s mother’s   public message to her son that reflected the concerns of many Israelis and Americans:

Mommy and Daddy and your brothers love you until the end of the world and you should know that the people of Israel are doing all they can to bring you back home.

Israelis and Americans are more than concerned about the fate of three abductees given prior occurrences, including former IDF Sgt. Gilad Shalit snatched during a cross border raid in 2006 and released in an exchange for more than 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in 2011.

Then there is the case of 13 year old Israeli American Koby Mandell and Israeli Yosef Ishran abducted and murdered while on a hike in the disputed territories near the Israeli settlement of Tekoa in May 2001. Mandell’s family had made Aliyah to Israel in the mid-1990’s. The US Congress passed the Koby Mandell Act in 2004 that authorized the Justice Department to arrest foreigners, including Palestinians, who had murdered Americans overseas.  The Koby Mandell Foundation was established in his memory to provide bereavement counseling to the parents and widows of terrorist victims.

In 2012, 52 members of Congress signed a letter sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) urging the Department of Justice’s Office for Justice of Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT), which was formed in 2005, to implement The Koby Mandell Act.  Sarah Stern of EMET said that the letter was to “ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against American citizens overseas remain a high priority within the Department of Justice.”  Z Street, of which this writer is a board member, was one of several sponsors of the EMET letter to prod Attorney General Holder to recognize the responsibilities of OJVOT.

Sherri Mandell in a Jerusalem Post oped during the EMET 2012 campaign cited the dismal OJVOT track record since the law’s enactment in 2004:

The OJVOT is supposed to investigate, apprehend, indict, extradite and punish terrorists. At least 54 American citizens have been killed, and 83 wounded here in Israel. Neither the OJVOT nor the Department of Justice has done anything to enforce American law in these cases. The only terrorist prosecuted under the law was the killer of a Christian missionary in Indonesia. I’m happy that the killers were prosecuted, but still one wonders. Why is there no communication, investigation, prosecution, or indictment here in Israel? The OJVOT is supposed to protect us. Instead it neglects us.

We sincerely hope the massive IDF-Shin Bet dragnet can free American Naftali Frenkel, Israelis Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and capture their abductors. In view of the abject failure of the US government to pursue justice for the families of the US victims in Israel and the disputed territories, we trust the Israeli government can bring these perpetrators to justice.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

The Two-State Solution is Dead. Long live what?

Ted Belman, editor and publisher of the blog Israpundit writes: The Two-State Solution is dead.  All that remains is for the US to declare it so. Palestinians leaders and Israeli leaders have made it clear.

In a speech on Jan 10/14, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud  Abbas made it crystal clear that he would never abandon the “right of return”, would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state and would never make a deal unless East Jerusalem was given to the Palestinians as their capital, all of which cross Israel’s red lines.

When the latest “peace process was getting started, Israeli leaders kept referring to Abbas as a moderate, contrary to the truth, and even referred to him as a partner in peace, also not the truth. No more.

Upon Israel’s release of the third batch of murderers in December and in response to the leaders of the PA celebrating them as heroes, PM Netanyahu said:

“Murderers are not heroes. [..] This is no way to educate toward peace. This is no way to make peace. Peace can be achieved only when the education toward incitement and toward the destruction of Israel is stopped. There will be peace only if our security and settlement interests are ensured. Peace will be established only if we could defend ourselves, by ourselves, against any threat.”

In the past week, Netanyahu, Yaalon and Bennett all criticized Abbas.

Netanyahu told VP Biden that recent comments by Abbas were proof that he does not want peace.

Min of Defense Boogie Yaalon said, Mahmoud Abbas “lives on our sword,” “Once we leave Judea and Samaria, he is finished. In fact, throughout the recent months, there is no negotiation between us and the Palestinians – but rather, between us and the Americans. The only thing that can ‘save’ us is that John Kerry will get a Nobel peace prize and leave us alone.” and “I live and breathe the conflict with the Palestinians, I know what they think, what they want and what they really mean,” he went on. “The American security plan that was presented to us is not worth the paper it was written on.”

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett denounced Abbas as “no different than Yasser Arafat,”

The fact that Yaalon was forced to apologize does not invalidate the truth of his remarks.

No doubt that Kerry is now looking for an exit strategy from his doomed efforts to force Israel to make concessions.

If not the Two-State Solution, then what?

Wm Galston writing in The New Republic on June 2011, said: “Benjamin Netanyahu offers no viable alternative to the status quo, and the opposition offers no viable alternative to Netanyahu. [..] The majority of Israelis actually seem comfortable to the point of complacency with today’s de facto truce and limited Palestinian autonomy.”

He was right. Netanyahu, Yaalon and many Israelis, though they prefer the Two State Solution on their terms, in its absence, are quite comfortable with maintaining the status quo.

But not everyone embraces the status quo. They fear Israel’s further isolation and deligitimation. They are clamouring to be pro-active rather than passive or defensive.

They all want to annex Judea and Samaria (West Bank) but differ on what to do with the Arabs that live there.

Deputy Minister of Transportation, MK Tzipi Hotovely recently said:

“The goal is for Judea and Samaria to be under Israeli sovereignty. It is ours and it was acquired legally in a bloody, defensive war. We must now implement the vision of the Greater Land of Israel and begin to apply sovereignty in all of the territory. This is the vision reflecting belief in the holy precept that the Land of Israel is ours and we have no right to revoke this precept. It is fidelity to the ideology of the Right and the religious public, which believes that this is our land.”

“We must begin a gradual process of 25 years under the heading of ‘annexation-naturalization’.”

‎” We must bear in mind that this is a hostile entity and it is impossible to ‎turn them into citizens overnight.”

Caroline Glick recently published her latest book, ‘The Israeli solution: A One State Plan for Peace in the Middle East’ arguing that whereas in Israel, the conversation has begun about alternatives to the ‘Two-State’ model, no such conversation is taking place in America. Instead American policy beginning with Nixon was and is to appease the PLO, now PA, at Israel’s expense.

“The only thing that should interest us is that Judea and Samaria is Israel,” she says and notes that even though providing the Palestinians with permanent residency and the right to apply for citizenship is not a perfect solution and will damage Israel on certain levels, “it is absolutely clear that it is better than establishing a Palestinian state. Such a state would be the ruin of Israel.”

Prof Martin Sherman, while totally supporting the annexation of Judea and Samaria, warns Glick and Hotovely, to “look before you leap” for reasons he makes clear.  He is adamantly against offering citizenship.

“Topping the list of bad ideas is the notion that, given the proven infeasibility of the two-state paradigm, Israel should extend its sovereignty over the entire area of Judea-Samaria and offer “immediate permanent residency to all its [Arab] Palestinian residents, as well as the right to apply for citizenship.” This is an approach so fraught with manifest disaster that it pains me that someone of the caliber of Caroline B. Glick, for whom I have the utmost regard and with whom I am seldom in disagreement, has chosen to advocate it.

“An almost childlike naiveté is required to entertain the belief that Israel could sustain itself as a Jewish nation-state with a massive Muslim minority of almost 40% – as the societal havoc that far smaller proportions have wrought in Europe indicate.”

Instead, he argues for a  “humanitarian solution” which envisages voluntary Arab emigration induced by generous compensation.

Glick rejects this and the Jordan Option as “irrelevant ideas that no one will accept, especially the Palestinians themselves.”

But were Sherman’s idea be adopted by the US and the EU, the conflict would be fully and finally solved in a decade.

Kerry for his part has resorted to threatening Israel with dire consequences should she not capitulate. In a November interview in Israel he said: “If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place on an international basis,” In fact Governmental sources report that US Secretary of State John Kerry is behind the European boycott threats on Israeli products and companies operating in Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

At the Saban Conference in November, he said “Force cannot defeat or defuse the demographic time bomb.”

What Demographic Bomb

While the left, the EU and the USA continue to threaten Israel with claims that Israel is losing the demographic war, the opposite is the truth.  Amb (ret) Yoram Ettinger has been studying the demographics in Israel for a decade and has often written that the demographic trend supports Israel now in the foreseeable future. According to him, Jews outnumber Arabs from the river to the sea, excluding Gaza, by a 2:1 majority and the numbers will only get better.

But the Two-State Solution carries with it a real demographic bomb. If a  Palestinian state was created, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan would demand that the descendants of the original refugees now living in their countries, numbering now over 4 million, be returned to Palestine. If the PA gives up the “right of return”, and most of these “refugees” were to return to Palestine, both Palestine and Israel would be greatly destabilized. So much so, as to require no return to Palestine either.

Glick advises:

“I brief the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate several times every year. Each time I present this plan on Capitol Hill, the response borders on euphoria. In the United States, just as in Israel, there are millions of people who understand that the ‘Two-State’ solution is a disaster. They are just waiting for someone to tell them that they can abandon it. My book gives them, and the Israeli public as well, the alternative that they are waiting for.”

Let’s hope they adopt it.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.