Trump seeks to prevent 'usable' Iranian nuclear bomb, Pence tells troops

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 3 hours 13 min ago

The vice president's staff said Iran policy will top his agenda in meetings with Israeli officials, and will dominate his remarks to the Knesset.

Turkey Launches Major Campaign Against Kurdish Fighters in Northern Syria

Breaking Israel News - 6 hours 7 min ago

Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria over the weekend against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), in a move that is likely to cause further strain in Istanbul’s relationship with Washington, DC.

The campaign, named “Olive Branch Operation,” is aimed at “protecting Syria’s territorial integrity and eliminating all terrorist elements in the region,” according to remarks on Twitter by President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman.  

The operation, which is targeting YPG fighters in the Kurdish-held Syrian region of Afrin, began as an air campaign on Saturday and expanded into a ground offensive on Sunday.

“Turkey expects its allies to support its fight against terrorism in all of its forms,” Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, added.

Although a member of the North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO), Turkey has not received much rhetorical support from the US and other leading  member countries in the military alliance.

“We encourage all parties to avoid escalation and to focus on the most important task of defeating ISIS,” stated Pentagon spokesperson, Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway on Saturday.

The US also implicitly rebuffed Turkey’s suggestion that the YPG is connected with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is recognized as a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the US.

“We recognize Turkey’s security concerns regarding the PKK, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization,” Rankine-Galloway continued. “The U.S. does not provide any support to PKK.”

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France for its part, has already called for the United Nations Security Council to meet on the matter.

Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin — France asks for an urgent meeting of the Security Council,” wrote French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on Twitter.

Le Drian also said in a statement that France has called on Turkey to “act with restraint.”

Predictably, the Syrian government did not take kindly to the Turkish campaign.

“The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns the flagrant Turkish aggression on the city of Afrin, which is an integral part of Syrian territory, stressing that this aggression is the most recent in a series of Turkish transgressions against Syrian sovereignty,” a source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.

Russia, a traditionally strong ally of the Syrian government, stressed that it was“concerned” over the operation.

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At least 19 dead after overnight battle at Kabul hotel in Afghanistan

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 6 hours 38 min ago

More than 150 guests were able to flee as parts of the building caught fire.

Afghan forces end deadly 13 hour Kabul hotel siege

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 9 hours 17 min ago

Explosions and heavy gunfire were heard as a 13-hour siege on a luxury hotel in Afghanistan's capital came to an end.

Iran's Rouhani wants to improve ties with Iraqi Kurds, he says

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 9 hours 20 min ago

The call came during a visit by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.

Turkish forces push into Syria as Kurds fight back

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 10 hours 33 min ago

The Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia, supported by the United States but seen as a terrorist organization by Turkey, said it had repulsed the Turkish forces and their allies after fierce clashes.

WATCH: Jordanians protest US Vice President Pence's visit

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 11 hours 40 min ago

Pence is the first senior official of the Donald Trump administration to visit the Middle East since Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel


Breaking Israel News - 11 hours 53 min ago

While the Prophet Isaiah uttered many pronouncements of rebuke, he is remembered for his prophecies of consolation and hope. Despite the bleak circumstances of the situation in which Isaiah found himself, Isaiah always described a brighter future which featured redemption and the Jewish people living peacefully in the Land of Israel. Many charitable organizations in the Land of Israel function in the efforts to help the children of Israel and bring Isaiah’s prophetic vision to fruition.

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‘We Don’t Care About Anti-Semitism in This Office,’ Senate Aide Allegedly Says

Breaking Israel News - 12 hours 10 min ago

A U.S. Senate staffer allegedly suggested that anti-Semitism is of lesser concern than discrimination against other minority groups, stating twice that “we don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office,” JNS has learned. The revelation has sparked concern among groups that work to raise American lawmakers’ awareness about anti-Semitism.

The remarks were purportedly made in a conversation that took place between Sarah Stern, the president of the pro-Israel group Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), and Jake Cornett, a senior policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (known as HELP).

Stern’s organization has been urging senators to support the nomination of Kenneth L. Marcus as assistant secretary of education for civil rights. Marcus’s confirmation hearing took place last month, and a vote on the nomination will be held in the coming days.

In the meeting with Cornett, at Murray’s office on Nov. 28, 2017, Stern spoke of Marcus’s work against anti-Semitism as one of the reasons that senators should support the nomination.

According to notes of the meeting that were taken at the time by Stern’s associate, Jennifer Dekel, Cornett responded, “We don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office. We care about transgenders, we care about blacks we care about Hispanics, we care about gays, we care about lesbians, we care about the disabled. We don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office.”

A spokesperson for Murray said in a statement to JNS, “In no way could a quote like this reflect the position of the HELP Committee Democrats or the office of the Ranking Member—and in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The office takes anti-Semitism in all its forms extremely seriously and is absolutely committed to fighting back against it however it can, wherever it exists.”

The statement continued, “The staffer in the meeting absolutely denies the quote attributed to him and regrets that what he did say in the meeting two months ago could have been misunderstood and misconstrued so badly. He does not believe, and in no way intended to convey, that the office considers fighting anti-Semitism to be anything less than a critical issue and an important part of the position that Mr. Marcus has been nominated for.”

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On Wednesday, a member of the senator’s staff “had a productive conversation to clarify what [Stern] took from the meeting and to make sure she understands the office’s clear position on this issue,” according to the spokesperson.

Stern, in response, told JNS, “I cannot believe that Senator Murray herself thinks anti-Semitism is not a genuine problem, or that Jewish concerns are somehow not as important as those of other groups. I am sure she will make it clear to her staff that such attitudes are unacceptable.”

Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, who has worked with Stern in Washington in his capacity as executive director of the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East nonprofit, described her as “a credible, honest professional who has worked on Capitol Hill for many years on issues of concern to the Jewish community.” Romirowsky told JNS that Stern “has always acted with the utmost integrity.”

“Sarah Stern is an eminently reliable person,” said Charles Jacobs, president of the Boston-based advocacy organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance. “And anti-Semitism is a serious and growing problem, especially on college campuses where Jewish students are not typically granted the same protections by college administrations as are other minority groups.”

The Marcus nomination has been supported by major Jewish organizations such as the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith. It is opposed by pro-Palestinian organizations, including the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Writing in the political affairs journal The Nation on Jan. 10, Dima Khalidi, leader of the organization “Palestine Legal,” accused Marcus of “targeting the First Amendment rights of students who are critical of Israeli policies and advocate for Palestinian rights.”

In response, supporters of Marcus point out that he and the organization he founded, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, pressed San Diego State University (SDSU) for action when a Muslim student was attacked there several years ago.

“While our organization primarily addresses the rights of Jewish college students, we support the right of all students to be free from invidious discrimination,” Marcus wrote to the SDSU administration at the time, urging the university to “hold educational forums to discuss the serious nature of this incident and what can be done to eliminate further hate crimes against students of any identity group.”

The post ‘We Don’t Care About Anti-Semitism in This Office,’ Senate Aide Allegedly Says appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Israel’s Wine Industry Grows Better with Age

Breaking Israel News - 13 hours 6 min ago

Israeli winemakers say that, just like the beverage they produce, their industry is growing better with age.

More than 50 Israeli wineries, together with international brands, were displayed in the “Sommelier 2018” exhibition from Jan. 15-16 in Tel Aviv. In the past, this gathering—Israel’s largest annual wine event—was only open to professionals in the industry. But this year, it was opened to the public in the evenings.

In the past few years, Israeli exports of wine and spirits have been consistently growing at around 6 percent annually, according to the Israel Export Institute.

“In comparison to how small and young we are, it’s quite amazing to see the accomplishments of Israeli wines,” said Ayala Singer, director of marketing development for the 35-year-old Golan Heights Winery, one of Israel’s veteran wineries.

Singer has seen the winery evolve dramatically during the last decade—on a parallel track with the Israeli wine industry.

“The industry has developed tremendously, and the amount of quality wine is growing year by year,” she told JNS. “Everybody wants to be at the cutting edge of quality and innovation, and is searching for the unique essence of Israeli wine. We like to believe that we have some say in the development of the industry and are leading the flag of wine culture.”

Most of the industry in Israel uses international grapes from Western Europe, brought by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild from France 150 years ago. But recent wine trends have seen a move towards the use of local Israeli grapes, specifically the ancient Bittuni and Marawi varieties, which flourish in their indigenous climate and soil.

Recanati Winery was the first to restore Marawi and Bittuni in the Judean hills of Bethlehem, and Barkan Winery is following suit.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); }); The Sommelier 2018 exhibition in Tel Aviv. Credit: Eliana Rudee.

Dr. Shivi Drori, co-owner of Gvaot Winery and head of the Wine Research Center at Ariel University, where he lectures on the indigenous grapes of Israel, said, “To understand the varieties, we are collecting archaeological remains of grapes from archaeological sites around Israel, matching them to existing varieties.”

“Surveying the whole country, we found more than 600 vines, and after analyzing them genetically, we found 80 unique Israeli varieties, which is a huge amount,” claimed Drori. “We are now characterizing them, trying to find which are suitable for quality wine production. We currently have in our hands 10 varieties that show high wine quality and make for very interesting, full-bodied wines.”

The local grape varieties have not only found success in entering the Israeli industry—they are also changing Israel’s wine narrative. Drori said, “Today the story of a wine is as important as it’s quality, if not more important. Part of my job to help the Israeli wine industry make its story, and reconnect to its biblical roots, to the 4,000-year-old story of winemaking.”

He argued that when pricing wine, one must compare 6-year-old and 600-year-old bottles not just on their quality, but also on their story. He hopes that in a few years, every Israeli winery will have at least one wine from local indigenous grape varieties.

“This will bring tourists to Israel,” he said.

“It’s not interesting to come for a cabernet wine, but the ones used 2,000 years ago in the time of King David? This is very interesting. People love the story,” added Drori.

Bottles from Ella Valley Vineyards winery at the Sommelier 2018 exhibition in Tel Aviv. Credit: Eliana Rudee.

But just as Israel has begun to reclaim its historical connection to the region through wine, proponents of the anti-Israel BDS movement have tried to change the story of the region.

For many wineries in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, the pressure of BDS is real. Singer recounted “a situation in Germany, where for a couple of hours, supermarkets took our wines off their shelves” but apologized hours later. But despite the BDS efforts, Golan Heights Winery’s exports are “rising year by year,” she said.

Likewise, Vered Ben Sadon, manager of marketing for Tura Winery in the Samaria region of Mount Gerizim, had sold grapes to wineries that have now terminated their partnership with Tura due to political reasons. But Tura has garnered awards in many international wine competitions, as blind tasting helps the Israeli wine industry dodge politics.

Ben Sadon and her husband Erez got married 22 years ago and as a young couple, they moved to Samaria to “to settle the land for religious reasons.” She said, “We began the winery in 2003 with 1,200 bottles. Today, we are producing 100,000 bottles a year. Our first wine came out in the market in 2006. We sent it to exhibition and got the first award internationally for our merlot, and today we have more than 50 awards, in the Czech Republic, France, England and in the most important competitions.”

“A big part of what we are trying to do is sell Israel as a product,” Ben Sadon told JNS.

She added, “Every day is like a miracle. We see it with our own eyes. Customers every year say they see a big change in wine quality. We are very proud of what we are doing.”

This article was first published by

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Perpetual Crisis

Breaking Israel News - 14 hours 18 min ago

President Trump ordered it and the State Department compiled: “The US State Department confirmed it began withholding money it originally planned to provide the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The US transferred $60 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) but held back on a further $65 million ‘for future consideration.” Washington Post (1/16/18)

SHATI REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip (AP) — Mahmoud al-Qouqa can’t imagine life without the three sacks of flour, cooking oil and other staples he receives from the United Nations every three months. (1/16/18)

Mahmoud can’t imagine life without monthly handouts because he and his parents and grandparents were always provided for. The provider is the United Nations, via a unique organization set up specifically to ensure that Arab refugees from Palestine (those residing in Palestine from June 1, 1946, until May 15, 1948) would be pawns in the Arab-Muslim plan to destroy Israel.

A word of explanation: the UN organ carrying out this inhumane program is UNRWA, built exclusively to “succor” Arabs who resided, however briefly, in the part of Palestine that became the State of Israel in 1948. Worse, UNRWA extends refugee status indefinitely to further generations, regardless of where they reside or what their nationality is. Therefore, Palestinian Arabs living in the Palestinian Authority are “refugees” if their grandfather was an itinerant Arab laborer who came to work in Haifa in 1946. They are refugees, even if they live in Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority or in Gaza. Additionally, if Palestinian Arabs who live in the US come to live in Ramallah, they are still “refugees.”

Note: of the approximately 8-12 million Palestinian Arabs alive today, UNRWA claims 5 million are “refugees.” (Who are the immortals of today? The Palestinian refugees, because they never die.)

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The granting of perpetual refugee status is unique to the Palestinian Arabs. The original refugees who left Palestine in 1948-49 number some 700,000 people, many of whom could have remained and become Israeli citizens. Their number is exceeded by the 800,000 Jewish refugees forced to leave Arab countries in the decades after Israel’s independence, places where they had resided for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years.

There was no UNRWA established for the Jewish refugees, nor did they choose to become beggars at the UN trough. Most importantly, they didn’t spawn a culture which generates terrorism. Instead, they settled in Israel and elsewhere and became productive citizens.

Unless UNRWA is dismantled or folded into the general UN organization dealing with all other refugees (UNHCR), the number of “Palestinian refugees” will grow exponentially. There will be scores of millions by mid-century!

President Trump took the first step toward sanity in dealing with this Palestinian Arab/Muslim strategy to destroy Israel by smothering it with Muslim refugees. It mustn’t be the last step. Once this unique group of people is free of the “refugee” camps/towns their Arab brothers consigned them to, they will have the chance to make decent lives for themselves, instead of being expendable ammunition for Jew haters.

The post Perpetual Crisis appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

6 Ways Israel & India are Innovating Together for a Better Future

Breaking Israel News - 14 hours 19 min ago

Israel, which has the most startups per capita worldwide, and India which is the top innovation destination in Asia, are utilizing their innovative spirit and technological resources to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Here are 6 ways Israel & India are innovating together for a brighter future.

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PM Netanyahu with Moshe Holtzberg at Chabad House in Mumbai

Breaking Israel News - 14 hours 48 min ago

Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Chabad House in Mumbai together with Moshe Holtzberg, who lost his parents at the Chabad House terror attack in 2008.

The post PM Netanyahu with Moshe Holtzberg at Chabad House in Mumbai appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Nine Syrian refugees freeze to death while fleeing to Lebanon

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 15 hours 11 min ago

The Lebanese army rescued six Syrians at a border crossing, one of whom later died in the hospital.

Oprahism and the Church of Obama

Breaking Israel News - 15 hours 18 min ago

(I wrote this article quite a few years ago. I feel that it’s relevant now in light of the Oprah for President movement.)

Obama’s political success was built on his ability to invoke values detached from belief systems. To break away symbols and ideals from religious and national value systems, and mix and match them into his own sound bites. Like the famous Hope poster, that mixed patriotic color schemes with socialist realism, or his own speeches which invoked the Founders in support of socialism.

The Obama wave was piggybacking on a culture where context had ceased to matter. Obama’s image had more in common with the way hip-hop artists sample songs than with a symphony. His campaign was the perfect trailer for a movie that would never be released. It was the marriage of corporate advertising campaigns, pop culture, radical politics, and Americana– thrown together in a pot and boiled into one indecipherable mix that was appealing, and yet completely void of meaning.

Obama kept on saying very little of substance, yet entertaining his audiences. His speeches called up spirituality devoid of religion, Americana devoid of patriotism and ideals devoid of ideas. He appropriated them all and used them as props in his show.

His obvious inspiration for this was not Jeremiah Wright, who did provide plenty of textual inspiration, but Oprah herself. Oprah’s success lay in marketing that same diffuse spirituality, not grounded in any actual belief system. Instead what she offered was an endless self-centered buffet, spirituality as self-empowerment, with herself and her chosen gurus as the center of a new commercial belief system.

Obama echoed that same self-centered appeal, telling audiences, “We are the ones we have been waiting for”, a quote from one of Oprah’s favorite authors, and appealing to their own search for meaning. A favorite Oprah theme. The search for meaning is a common enough crutch for the narcissist, who wants fulfillment on his or her own terms, rather than commitment. Oprah has been catering to her audiences’ endless search for meaning. Obama was just the latest of those gurus.

The implicit subtext of the commercial search for meaning is that the meaning itself can never be found, but searching for it is what makes you a better person. That search for meaning as identity defines Oprah, it also defined Obama, who turned that into his own brand with two separate books chronicling his search for meaning, as his identity.

Obama had daringly sold his journey as America’s journey, encouraging voters to not only identify personally with him but to position his own background as the embodiment of America. Rather than identifying with Americans, he expected them to identify with him. Structuring his campaign as a journey, he spoke to the need for drama by the detached and disaffected. People who were too busy looking for meaning, to understand that meaning cannot be detached from the larger religious and cultural ideas that define civilization.

Yet that was exactly what Obama appeared to offer, context-free ideas, faith without religion, hope without anything tangible to actually hope for.

If Oprah offered fast-food meaning on television, Obama offered fast-food solutions in politics. Paying for it was never an issue. Consequences were off the table as well. By clothing a self-centered appeal in altruistic clothing, people felt they were engaging in self-improvement when they were only being manipulated by professional egotists.

Oprah and Obama shared broken families and a profound greed and resentment that they learned to disguise professionally as empathy and ambition. By channeling the resentments of others, they could get what they wanted, without appearing harsh or abrasive. By selling other people on answers they did not believe in themselves, they could position themselves as spiritual leaders, without the fuss and limitations of organized religions, written creeds, and higher deities. Instead, they marketed their own life stories as a form of spirituality, convincing their followers to become invested in their success. Their own achievements were no longer personal, but national and global.

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Self-realization as religion is a self-indulgent faith, which is what makes it both hollow and appealing. It begins with religion as therapy and ends with therapy as religion. It borrows religious metaphors while discarding their meaning. That is the faith that Oprah and Obama have successfully sold millions on. A vaporous hope and faith, with nothing standing behind them. Both came with an innate understanding of the profound weakness of their followers in a post-modern age. They copied the templates of the intersection of religion and entertainment, removing any gods from the equation, and leaving behind personal narratives, feel-good cleaning rituals and of course, money.

Yet there is a larger problem behind Obama and Oprah, the problem of a culture that neglect context, and instead favors short-term entertainment. The Obama Administration may go down as the most expensive public entertainment in American history. And the same empty yearning, which Obama exploited so very well, will still be there.

There is a hole in our culture, and it is there because the verities that once defined us have been marginalized. Religion and national identity are relentlessly mocked by the same media culture that has usurped their place, with its own replacements like Oprah. What once provided meaning to people, lies by the wayside. And instead, people search for personal fragmented meanings, for happiness and self-realization, when the search itself represents a denial of the mature commitments that make happiness and self-realization possible. Behind that fragmentation is a culture at loss to understand its own identity filled with lonely individuals looking for something to hang on to, and predators whose own identities come from gaining their confidence and preying on them.

The left has always understood that it can only succeed by replacing religion and nationalism, either through direct assault or by dressing their own ideas up in mock nationalistic and religious colors. The left was never atheistic. Its religion was government, its functionaries and doctrines were its priests and its creed. And its depredations have left behind a West with a wounded soul.

It is not only the likes of Oprah and Obama who know how to exploit that wound. There are far worse predators drawing closer to the campfire. Islam is preparing to engulf a Europe that has turned its back on its own values. What predators will come to America in the night is still an open question. With Obama, we have seen the first ugly glimmer of what may be coming. But unless America reclaims its soul, worse predators drawn by the blood of a wounded culture will come.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

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Hezbollah's reign of terror: From Beirut and beyond

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 15 hours 45 min ago

Foreign governments continue to pursue inconsistent policies towards Lebanese leaders, thanks to Hezbollah's participation in the country's government.

Longtime Jewish Supporters of Peace Process: Abbas Disqualified as Negotiating Partner

Breaking Israel News - 16 hours 18 min ago

Some prominent Jewish proponents of the decades-long peace process between Israelis and Palestinians now claim that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s controversial speech on Jan. 14 disqualifies him as a negotiating partner, while other dovish Jewish leaders are accusing the Trump administration of provoking the Palestinian leader.

In a two-hour address to the Palestinian Central Council, Abbas called Israel “a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism.” He also claimed Jews from Arab countries did not want to come to Israel when the state was established, but were forced to do so by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

The PA leader also said he “categorically rejects” American and Israeli appeals to stop paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. “We are proud of them, and we will pay them before we pay the living,” Abbas vowed. Regarding the use of violence against Israel, Abbas said he himself would not declare war on Israel, then added, “If you have weapons, go ahead; I’m with you, and I will help you. Anyone who has weapons can go ahead.”

The Israel Policy Forum (IPF), a leading dovish group, declared that Abbas’s “unhinged screed” makes it “impossible to view Abbas as a viable negotiating partner, when he continues to deny the right of the Jewish people to their own national movement and when he continues to insist that the basic recognition of a Jewish homeland is the original sin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

IPF was established by Israel’s Labor party following the country’s 1992 elections as a support group for what later became the Oslo Accords.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a longtime peace activist and former president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), told JNS that while he still wants the international community “to keep the possibility of a two-state solution alive,” Abbas’s statements “were outrageous, ignorant and insulting to Jews and civilized people everywhere,” and demonstrate “that progress on the peace front is not possible at the moment.”

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ’s current president, issued a statement warning that Abbas’s remarks “undercut possibilities for a peace process” and “risk a new and very dangerous escalation of tensions.”

Jane Eisner, editor in chief of The Forward and a strong proponent of Palestinian statehood, blasted Abbas in a Jan. 17 editorial. Regarding Abbas’s claims about Israel’s nature and its founding, Eisner wrote, “If Abbas really thinks that is what happened, then he has no business pretending to be a partner for peace. And if he is repeating ugly rhetoric only to please his ever-thinning crowds, then such irresponsibility also disqualifies him.”

Investigative journalist and author Gary Weiss, a former activist in the New Israel Fund, told JNS, “I do not agree that [President Donald] Trump is to blame. That’s absurd. While I disagree with Trump on a great many things, he is simply speaking the truth on Jerusalem. If that causes Abbas to go bananas, that’s a reflection on Abbas, not Trump.”

Weiss was alluding to a statement issued by J Street, which claimed that Abbas’s statements “would not have come about if it were not for” the Trump administration’s appointment of David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel, its refusal to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state and its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The J Street statement said that while there is “no excuse” for what Abbas said, his remarks reflected his “frustration” and his “deep despair” over American policy. J Street contended that the U.S. government, not Abbas, “bears full responsibility for bringing us to the tragic juncture we’ve reached today.”

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But some J Street supporters are taking different positions. Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, a member of the J Street Rabbinic Cabinet and vice president for special projects at Hebrew Union College, said that while he hopes “Israeli-Palestinian discussions and cooperation” will continue, Abbas’s statement was “a despicable expression of hatred for Israel and for Jews and a disgusting statement of support for terrorists and their families.” As a result, “he has effectively removed himself near-term as a player in future negotiations,” said Kroloff.

Rabbi Andrew Paley, a veteran peace process backer who is involved with the J Street chapter in Dallas, told JNS, “For Abbas to blame Trump is just the most recent iteration of blaming everyone else for a situation on which he could have acted. To suggest that President Trump’s comments are to blame for what Abbas says just plain misses the point. Abbas was never a real negotiating partner, and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu couldn’t really move the process forward with such a tenuous state of the coalition.”

In contrast, Paul Scham, president of Partners for Progressive Israel (PPI), told JNS his group supports the J Street statement, because while “we condemn Abbas’s statement and the various untruths in it, Israel has no option other than making peace with the Palestinians.”

Americans for Peace Now (APN) agrees with J Street and PPI. APN President Debra DeLee said in a statement that while her group “condemns the offensive language that Abbas used and particularly the unacceptable conspiracy theories that he repeated,” the remarks were “the result of Trump’s miscalculation” regarding Israel and the Palestinians.

In an interview with JNS, APN spokesman Ori Nir said that Abbas was being “sarcastic” when he said, “If you have weapons, go ahead; I’m with you, and I will help you.” In Nir’s view, that “definitely [was] not a call for armed struggle against Israel.”

APN’s former president, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, told JNS that Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, followed by “the final, humiliating blow” of U.S. recognition of Jerusalem, were what caused Abbas to “suddenly crack and sound as crazy as Trump.” She urged American Jews to “put ourselves in the shoes of the Palestinians” and “understand the rage that motivates their statements and actions.”

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Abbas, You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

Breaking Israel News - 16 hours 19 min ago

President Donald Trump recently tweeted a clear, long overdue message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas: you can’t have it both ways.

Offended by Trump’s December speech, which clearly left Jerusalem’s final boundaries to be negotiated by both sides, Abbas overreacted with trademark false accusations and a huffy rebuttal of the US role as peace broker.

Like the proverbial farmer sawing off a tree limb but forgetting he’s sitting on it, Abbas overlooked the billions in US aid funneled to the PA since the mid-’90s, which last year alone totaled more than $730 million in all sectors – economic and humanitarian, security and justice, and UNRWA. Abbas’s tantrum backfired. It’s payback time.

Trump recently tweeted: “We pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. So why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” It’s about time America balanced these books.

The PA has long misappropriated the US and European aid to support jailed terrorists and their families, to the tune of more than half its annual budget – $300 million annually, and more than $1b. in the past four years. Convicted terrorists even got a 13% raise last year (their families gained 4%), according to Palestinian Media Watch. Though safeguards have been attached to US aid, some observers claim that evidence indicates the attempted controls did not significantly alter this practice, according to Jim Zanotti for the Congressional Research Service.

But that’s not all. PA leaders also siphon off foreign assistance for personal enrichment, for family members and cronies, at the expense of the Palestinian people.

The intent of development assistance is to “help the Palestinians build the physical and social infrastructure to enable the emergence of a sustainable, prosperous society.

But few seriously questioned how much money is sent and how it is used,” Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely told The Wall Street Journal.

Aid from Europe has also been misappropriated. The Times of London quoted an EU report on the “loss” of development assistance due to “bribes and misuse of aid” amounting to $2,405,421,820 to the West Bank and Gaza Strip from 2008 to 2012.

The PA’s abject trail of corruption began upon its inception in 1994, as money and aid for the Palestinian people were funneled to the Fatah budget, said Sawsan Ramahi for Al-Monitor.

“Money meant for the establishment of a state quickly turned into balances in Swiss bank accounts, personal projects in neighboring countries, and partnerships.”

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It surprised no one that the Panama Papers exposé of tax evasion and money laundering by international elites included leading PA figures, Adnan Abu Amer reported for Al-Monitor.

Just one example: Abbas’s son Tarek secretly owns, in partnership with the PA, a holding company in the British Virgin Islands worth more than $1 million. In addition to money laundering and tax evasion, there has also been theft of public money, bribes, transfer of government land to officials for private use and more, he said.

“The Panama Papers confirm that the PA is a nongovernmental entity,” Palestinian author Adel Samara said. Its model more closely resembles the infrastructure and clientelism of the Sicilian Mafia, which built its crime empire on illegal profits using bribes, extortion, threats, violence and murder – and filled its ranks by recruiting young boys and turning them into “soldiers” who did the dirty work and were lowest and least paid on the food chain.

“Corruption in the PA… gives the Palestinian ruling elite a strategic tool to control the popular bases…

maintain the status quo, dominate political and economic assets, and implement its political agenda without facing any effective opposition,” Amer said.

The Trump administration and the US Congress – which recently passed the Taylor Force Act – are taking a good hard look at US support for the PA and UNRWA. The president understands that perpetuating previous failed US policies could be catastrophic, especially with Abbas at the helm.

Perhaps Trump should make him an offer he can’t refuse.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

The post Abbas, You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Netanyahu, Mumbai Terror Attack Survivor, Unveil Plans for Living Memorial

Breaking Israel News - 16 hours 48 min ago

Ten years after terrorists killed close to 170 people and injured hundreds more in a series of attacks throughout the city of Mumbai, Moshe Holtzberg—the only child of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, who were murdered in their Chabad House—was joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to unveil the plans for a state-of-the-art Living Memorial at Chabad (Nariman) House, to commemorate the victims of the 2007 attacks, reportedThursday.

Netanyahu was welcomed to the center by Rabbi Israel and Chaya Kozlovsky, co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai.

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Moshe was invited to visit his former home by Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi during the latter’s visit to Israel in July. Netanyahu then invited the boy to join him on his trip to India this week.

Following the terror attack that killed his parents, the 11-year-old has been living in Israel with his grandparents, supported by a fund established by Chabad-Lubavitch that will see him into adulthood.

The post Netanyahu, Mumbai Terror Attack Survivor, Unveil Plans for Living Memorial appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Voices from the Arab press: the Tunisian revolution will not die!

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 16 hours 52 min ago

A weekly selection of opinions and analyses from the Arab media around the world.