J Street seeks to block Friedman’s appointment as ambassador

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Left-wing org lobbies Senate to reject Friedman’s nomination as Ambassador to Israel, ‘accuses’ him of being friend of settlement movement.

J Street has begun a campaign to have the US Senate reject the nomination of David Friedman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

The Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on Friedman’s appointment by U.S. President Donald Trump this coming Thursday. As J Street says in its anti-Friedman campaign, “Friedman is a friend of the settlement movement who backs unlimited settlement expansion” in Judea and Samaria.

J Street, which states that it is a pro-Israel organization, has circulated a sample letter among its members that it recommends be sent to their Senators. The members are asked to “strongly urge” their Senators to “reject Donald Trump’s choice to be the next US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.”

J Street states that Mr. Friedman is “hostile” to the two-state solution, which it terms the “only way to ensure Israel’s future as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people.”

In fact, however, many politicians and thinkers on both sides of the Israeli spectrum have declared the two-state plan unworkable. Author A. B. Yehoshua, considered an “intellectual giant” of Israel’s left-wing, recently said, “I have believed in dividing the land for 50 years, and now I see that it cannot happen. 450,000 Jews in Area A [Judea and Samaria] can simply not be uprooted. Can Jerusalem ever be divided, realistically? We have to start thinking differently.”

J Street further accused Friedman of being a “friend of the settlement movement,” and even of having “made the case for Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.” Being a “friend of the settlement movement” is apparently a crime in J Street’s book.

Friedman supports the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and has said that he looks forward to working for peace in the Middle East “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem” – even before an official relocation of the embassy takes place.

J Street explains that it does not support BDS unconditionally, but does not oppose initiatives to boycott, divest from, or impose sanctions on Israel if these aid the progress towards a two-state solution, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and focus only on “occupied territory” beyond the Green Line.

Original Article: Arutz Sheva

Senator: US Should Designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a Terrorist Organization

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Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization, a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Thursday.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner made the comment in response to a question posed by The Algemeiner during a panel discussion on Capitol Hill — organized by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) — about the future of US policy on Iran.

In his prepared remarks at the start of the event, Gardner said President Donald Trump had the support of Congress “to reject the failed policies of the past and begin putting pressure on Iran to cease its illicit behavior.”

The sanctions announced by the Treasury Department last Friday, Gardner noted, were a “great start.”

“We must continue to impose additional sanctions on Iran related to their illicit missile tests, support for terrorism and human rights abuses,” he said.

Furthermore, Gardner went on to say, “Every global company should shun this regime as a matter of decent business practices.”

Regarding the July 2015 nuclear agreement reached by Iran and six world powers, Gardner stated, “I believe the administration must immediately take steps to begin negotiating a better deal, as President Trump promised on the campaign trail. We must make the case clearly to the Europeans, the Chinese and the Russians that a nuclear Iran a decade or 15 years from now is not in the interests of the international community…Our new Iran policy must regain the moral clarity that the Iranian regime is a threat to the United States, to our allies and not a partner for peace and stability in the region.”

Also speaking at Thursday’s event was former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton.

Referring to the Trump administration’s declaration last week that it was “officially putting Iran on notice” about its recent hostile actions — including a ballistic missile test — Bolton said, “I think it means that the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is about one heartbeat away from disappearing.”

“I don’t know what sort of broad political plan the administration has, but I don’t think it was accidental or just on the spur of the moment that [National Security Adviser] Mike Flynn made the comment about Iran being on notice,” Bolton said. “I think that’s a clear a signal as you can get that the administration understands what the game is.”

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that senior defense and intelligence officials had cautioned the Trump administration about the drawbacks of a potential executive order blacklisting the IRGC as a terror group.

Bolton said on Thursday that such a move should have happened already “ten years ago.”

“My view,” Bolton stated, “is it should be declared American policy to overturn the regime in Tehran, because that is the only way, ultimately, that we will get Iran to back off the pursuit of nuclear weapons…I don’t think it requires American military involvement. I think it requires support for the [Iranian] opposition. The regime is unpopular [in Iran], but it takes time.”

Original Article: Algemeiner

KHAMENEI TO TRUMP: NO ENEMY CAN PARALYZE IRAN

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Khamenei’s comments follow days of heated exchanges between US and Iranian officials.

Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed US President Donald Trump’s warning to Tehran to stop its missile tests, and called on Iranians to respond to Trump’s “threats” on Friday’s anniversary of the 1979 revolution.

“No enemy can paralyze the Iranian nation,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his website in a meeting with military commanders in Tehran.

“Trump says ‘you should be afraid of me’. No! The Iranian people will respond to his words on Feb 10, (the anniversary of revolution) and will show their stance against such threats.”

In his first speech following Trump’s inauguration, Khamenei also charged that Trump has shown America’s “real face” by proving Iranian allegations about American government corruption.

“We are thankful to [Trump] for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America,” he said.

“During his election campaign and after that, he confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the US ruling system,” he added.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have intensified after the Trump administration announced new sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic-missile program.

The US issued the new penalties in response to several Iranian missile launches that international powers say are in violation of Iran’s obligations.

Iran responded forcefully, proceeding with a military exercise that further tested its missile radar capabilities.

Iran’s officials vowed to continue launching “roaring missiles,” which they characterized as defensive in nature.

And they targeted US President Donald Trump himself calling him “reckless” and inexperienced.

Trump said on Twitter that Iran was “playing with fire.” And, in a statement, US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Iran’s “belligerent and lawless” behavior across the Middle East had only increased since it agreed to a deal with six foreign nations meant to govern its nuclear program for more than a decade.

“The international community has been too tolerant of Iran’s bad behavior. The ritual of convening a United Nations Security Council in an emergency meeting and issuing a strong statement is not enough,” Flynn said.

Iran last Saturday condemned the US visa ban against Tehran and six other majority-Muslim countries as an “open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation” and vowed to retaliate.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

CALM BEFORE THE STORM ALONG THE GAZA BORDER?

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Hamas and Israel both say they don’t want another war, but are ready for one.

A day after a large-scale Israeli retaliation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip gives a sort of misleading image of calm in southern Israel.

That same feeling of calm was also apparent shortly after Israel’s first retaliatory strike late Monday morning. A number of buses had just let out a dozen tourists who had come to the Black Arrow Monument, a memorial dedicated to fallen soldiers of the Paratroop Brigade in the years leading up to the Sinai Campaign of 1956, and which lies just 900 meters from the border with Gaza.

The tourists, who played musical instruments and took selfies with the blooming anemones, paid no attention to the smoke that was rising from the strip. It was indeed the quiet before the storm.

Over the course of the day on Monday, the IDF struck several Hamas targets with air strikes and artillery shells after the launching of a single rocket at southern Israel and later on gunfire targeting Israeli troops working on the border fence. The missile, whose launch was reportedly claimed by a small jihadist group, caused no damage or injuries when it hit in a field near Ashkelon.

Later on Monday evening, the IDF released a statement that the strikes were not only in response to the day’s attacks from Gaza, but also “for acts of aggression which have occurred over the course of the last month.”

Hamas released a statement saying that the terrorist group “holds the Israeli occupation fully accountable for the repercussions of the latest escalation that was launched against the Gaza Strip.”

Israel recently decided to change its policy regarding rocket fire from the Strip, deciding to no longer resort to a limited, measured response. The new policy, which was crafted by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, allows the IDF to strike all Hamas targets, assets and infrastructure in response to any rocket fire from the Strip.

That policy became apparent following the launching of a rocket at the southern town of Sderot in August by an Islamic State-linked Salafist group, when the air force struck Hamas targets 50 times – the most intense Israeli reprisal attack on Gaza since the Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Launches from Gaza in the past year have been infrequent, with fewer than 20 in 2016. Most of them have been claimed by small jihadist groups, many times as a means to pressure Hamas by raising tension between the terrorist organization and Israel. Hamas has cracked down on these small groups, recently carrying out a wave of arrests among Salafi, jihadist, and pro-Islamic State organizations.

Nonetheless, Israel considers Hamas to be responsible for any fire coming from its territory.

Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies, told The Jerusalem Post that while Monday’s retaliation was “significant, it was as per IDF considerations.”

Following a rocket strike “there is a scale that Israel determines” in order to assess what is a necessary response,” Schweitzer said, adding that in the August, the IDF may have taken advantage of the incident “to eliminate potential Hamas targets and to send a signal to Hamas.”

Since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has invested a significant amount of money and effort into its military capability.

In the next war, Hamas aims to inflict painful strategic blows on Israel with short- and long-range missiles, by kidnapping and killing Israeli civilians and soldiers via their attack tunnels, to using weaponized drones, infiltrating Israeli territory by the group’s naval commando forces and even cyber warfare against the IDF.

The terrorist group has also been investing in its drone capability.

While Hamas has yet to carry out an attack against Israel with drones, in recent years Hamas drones have sometimes breached Israeli airspace, causing the IDF to scramble jets.

Both the Islamic State group and Hezbollah have used weaponized drones to carry out attacks, and in October 2016 The New York Times reported that the Pentagon was struggling to deal with the aerial threat posed by ISIS. The terrorist group recently posted several pictures with advice on how to weaponize a small quadcopter with Russian-made anti-tank hand grenades, RPO anti-tank rockets and an anti-tank rocket launcher. The terrorists also claim to have used drones to drop explosive devices onto Iraqi and Syrian troops.

It is not hard to imagine that Israel could face a similar threat, as Hamas is reportedly producing drones that can carry explosive devices.

And while Israel has advanced anti-missile systems such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow, those systems don’t have 100% accuracy when shooting down small, but potentially dangerous, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can infiltrate Israeli airspace.

Like their attack tunnels, using weaponized drones is “a calculated risk,” Schweitzer said, adding that Hamas “must be very cautious about using this type of weapon.”

According to Schweitzer, “Israel must prepare for this threat, as its enemies will use this advanced technique to attack it.” Nevertheless, if the group does decide to use weaponized drones, “Hamas knows that if they use this, the retaliation will be very deadly, it will be an act of war.”

The group has also constructed military outposts along the border with Israel, patrolling the border area and arresting any individual who tries to cross into Israel. The Jerusalem Post has learned that individuals from Gaza try on an almost daily basis to cross into Israel, with an increase during the winter months, due in part to their desperation to escape the dire economic reality of the Strip.

According to a source in the Gaza Strip, Hamas considers anyone who wants to cross into Israel as suspicious, arresting and subjecting them to hours-long interrogations.

The worsening economic situation in Gaza led to widespread protests in the Strip in January, and while Turkey and Qatar stepped in to avert a crisis, the growing anger of Gaza residents is a ticking time bomb that can explode at any time. When that happens, Hamas may very well instigate a military escalation to deflect that anger toward Israel.

“I cannot say what will be the tipping point for Hamas, but they will be very cautious not to attack Israel,” Schweitzer said, stressing that, “If the group does retaliate, it will be a measured response.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

IN DC, JORDAN’S KING DISCUSSES US EMBASSY IN ISRAEL, ISIS, SYRIA

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Jordan’s King Abdullah is the first Arab leader in Washington for talks with the Trump administration.

Abdullah held a private breakfast with US Vice President Mike Pence and then met US Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon.

Pence and Abdullah discussed a range of issues from speeding up the fight against Islamic State, the crisis in Syria, and efforts to reach an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the White House said.

Abdullah also raised the issue of potential changes to the US embassy in Israel, the White House said in a statement.

Abdullah has just finished a visit to Russia where President Vladimir Putin thanked Jordan for supporting the Syrian peace process. Jordan is part of a US-led military campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria.

Less than a week into his presidency, Trump said in a television interview on Wednesday that he would “absolutely do safe zones in Syria” for refugees fleeing violence and that Europe had made a mistake by admitting millions of refugees from Syria.

The creation of safe zones would ratchet up US military involvement in Syria and mark a major departure from former President Barack Obama’s more cautious approach. Increased US or allied air power would be required if Trump chose to enforce “no fly” restrictions, and ground forces might also be needed to protect civilians in those areas.

Abdullah’s visit comes as Trump signed an executive order that would include a temporary ban on all refugees, and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Iran.

Jordan has been overwhelmed by the influx of refugees since the Syrian conflict began. The vast majority of refugees referred by the UN refugee agency to the United States come from Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq.

Trump is expected to greet Abdullah at a prayer event in Washington on Thursday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer separately told reporters in a daily briefing.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

 

No, Muslim Refugees Are Not Jewish WWII Refugees. Here Are 5 Reasons Why.

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In a desperately misguided attempt to placate the palpable fear of allowing thousands of Muslim refugees into United States without proper security screenings just days after an Islamic terrorist attack, several left-leaning media outlets have fallen back on comparing the Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust to Muslim refugees fleeing a chaotic Middle East.

The false analogy is incredibly offensive, not only to the victims of the Holocaust but history itself. Here are 5 reasons why Muslim refugees are not Jewish WWII refugees:

1. There was no threat of Jewish terrorists infiltrating the United States. The same cannot be said about Muslim terrorists.

As an ethno-religious group, Jews suffered tremendously under the genocidal programs of Nazi Germany. The West’s resistance to absorbing refugees was not informed by the actions of Jews themselves, but rather pre-existing isolationist policies developed as a consequence of WWI. The residue of European anti-Semitism may have been a factor as well.

In contrast, the threat of Islamic terror is self-evident. The litany of attacks against Western assets by Muslim fanatics cannot be overlooked.

“Jews who came to America were not themselves violent. They did not strap bombs on themselves and blow themselves up in theaters; they did not go into restaurants and execute diners, one by one,” notes American Thinker, adding, “they did not attempt to set up a caliphate wherever they moved to, although they did tend to dominate the deli, bagel-making, and stand-up comedy fields.”

2. Jewish victims of the Holocaust had nowhere else to go. Muslim refugees do.

Arab states have been notoriously resistant and outright hostile when confronted with an influx of Muslim refugees at their gates. “There are at least two dozen Muslim countries, many of them wealthy gulf states, who could easily afford to take in refugees. During the Holocaust, there was no Jewish state that could take in Jews. That’s a big difference,” asserts American Thinker.

At the time, there was no Jewish state of Israel or safe havens for Jews to flee to. Today, there are scores of Muslim-majority states and even Islamic theocracies that celebrate religious brotherhood with hypocritical zeal. Relatively stable Arab states even exploit the grievances of Muslim refugees from neighboring failed Arab states to deflect attention from human rights abuses at home.

Arab autocrats are heavily invested in the perpetuation of Muslim refugee crises; it gives them an excuse to blame the West and Israel for all the world’s ills, including hardships inflicted upon Muslim-majority populations by Arab leaders themselves. It’s far easier to blame the West and, of course, the Jews for crumbling infrastructure and poverty than address the problems head-on. Arab petro-dictators are far more inclined to raid the coffers of their own country’s wealth and maintain a regressive economic model that allows for corruption to flourish unchecked than welcome modernity and all of its potential benefits for the wider population.

3. The proliferation of Muslim refugees is a result of an intra-religious, Islamic civil war dating back to the founding of Islam in the 7th century. Judaism’s theological disputes are solved with the pen, not the sword.

Islamic religious apologists are selectively blind to the macabre history of Islam. Academic, historical, and scriptural accounts of the religion’s development all attest to the fact that Islam was indeed founded upon tribal schisms and bloodshed. The primary driver of violence in the Middle East today is Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence, a conflict stemming from the early days of Islam when warring factions quarreled over the rules of succession following the death of Muhammed.

As Leftist apologists are quick to point out, ISIS’s main victims are other Muslims. What they deliberately leave out, however, is the fact that ISIS is a Sunni-Salafist organization that targets non-Sunnis, including Shiites, Yazidis, Kurds, apostates, and anyone else they consider outside the framework of Muhammad’s carefully articulated framework of Islamic piety. Indeed, ISIS’s assaults are highly calculated and vindictive, attacking targets that have sought out revenge against Sunnis in the past, like Iraqi Shiites, or Westerners that have dared to question or criticize Muhammad.

Unlike Islam, Judaism, as a religion, has solved its theological disputes through intensive scholarship and oral arguments. The Talmud is the living testament of Jewish debate and exegesis. Contrary to their Islamic clerical counterparts, Rabbinical authorities have refrained from inciting violence in name of religion and have instead encouraged textual analysis and philosophical inquiry for the greater part of Jewish history and into the modern era.

4. Muslim refugees are far more religious (with many submitting to Qur’anic literalism) than Jewish refugees during WWII, an ethno-religious block that was predominately secular, assimilated into Western society, and already integrated into the mainstream European social fabric.

One of the main prejudiced complaints Hitler and the Nazis leveled against the Jews of Europe was that they were too integrated into society. Hitler sought a wholesale separation between Jews and Aryans based on eugenics-dependent racial lines. While anti-Semitism was still pervasive in Europe before the rise of the Third-Reich, the Jews nonetheless managed to thrive in a variety of fields, including the arts, literature, science, finance, and medicine. The Jews that were Orthodox practiced their faith in peace and privacy, without imposing their religion on wider society.

Today’s Muslim refugees come from relatively unstable, Islamic-centric societies where religion is both a public and private exercise. The wall of separation between personal Islamic faith and public Islamic law is virtually non-existent in Muslim-majority countries. Islam encompasses every aspect of life from marital relations to government administration.

As a result, Muslim refugees may have sympathies and views antithetical to Western values. According the a recent Pew Research Center poll highlighted in The Daily Caller, a significant proportion of Arab Muslims endorse sharia law as the ideal legal code for society and favor harsh punishments for non-believers that violate the tenets of Islam:

86 percent of Muslims in Pakistan, 84 percent in Afghanistan, 81 percent in the Palestinian territories, 80 percent in Egypt, 65 percent in Jordan, 57 percent in Iraq and 54 percent in Malaysia and Bangladesh favor stoning as a lethal punishment for adultery. A majority of Muslims in several countries also support the death penalty for Muslims who convert away from Islam, including in Afghanistan (79 percent), Egypt (88 percent), Pakistan (75 percent), the Palestinian territories (62 percent), Jordan (83 percent) and Malaysia (58 percent).

Ian Tuttle of The National Review explains the value-gap between Jews of the WWII era and Muslim refugees today, citing, “A recent Arab Opinion Index poll of 900 Syrian refugees found that one in eight hold a “to some extent”-positive view of the Islamic State (another 4 percent said that they did not know or refused to answer). A non-trivial minority of refugees who support a murderous, metastatic caliphate is a reason for serious concern. No 13 percent of Jews looked favorably upon the Nazi party.”

5. Muslim immigrants have disproportionately contributed to racist attacks against other minority groups, notably Jews. European Jews are still victims, rather than perpetrators, of anti-Semitic, white and Islamo-Supremacist, acts of harassment, bullying and intimidation.

According to the latest Pew Research Center polls, the majority of anti-Semitic attacks directed against Jews are initiated by members of the Muslim immigrant population. This is unsurprising given the culture of rampant anti-Semitism in the Arab world, particularly in Palestinian territories. “While European views towards Jews have become more negative, the deepest anti-Jewish sentiments exist outside of Europe, especially in predominantly Muslim nations. The percentage of Turks, Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Pakistanis with favorable opinions of Jews is in the single digits,” documents Pew.

Global Jewry’s numbers are dwindling dramatically, while Muslim populations across the world are skyrocketing. Muslims are one of the fastest growing groups in the world. In the West, Muslim birth rates are far higher than Christians, Jews, and the unaffiliated.

“The Muslim share of Europe’s total population has been increasing steadily,” cites Pew. “Muslims are younger than other Europeans. In 2010, the median age of Muslims throughout Europe was 32, eight years younger than the median for all Europeans (40).” The influx of Muslim refugees flooding the West will exacerbate this demographic shift as the overwhelming majority of migrants are male.

These male migrants import anti-Semitic ideologies and beliefs that may harm existing minority populations, especially Jews. When the Charlie Hebdo Islamic terrorists finished slaughtering French cartoonists they went straight to a kosher super-market to butcher Jews. The anti-Semitism of the Obama administration obscured the fact that the kosher super-market attack was religiously motivated. In a moment of shame that will live on in the historical annals of anti-Jewish bigotry, President Obama called the attacks “random,” as if random Islamic terrorists happened to randomly stumble upon random Jewish folks in randomly kosher super-market to commit mass slaughter.

Original Article: The Daily Wire

Fordham U. blocks Students for Justice in Palestine chapter

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College bars formation of chapter of anti-Israel group, says singling out single nation not permitted.

Fordham University will not allow students to form a Students for Justice in Palestine group because it does not allow groups that solely promote one country’s interests.

According to a Tuesday statement from Fordham, a Jesuit school in New York City, an SJP group would act more like a political lobby than a traditional campus club.

“Fordham has no registered student clubs the sole focus of which is the political agenda of one nation, against another nation,” the statement read. “The narrowness of Students for Justice in Palestine’s political focus makes it more akin to a lobbying group than a student club. Regardless of the club’s status, students, faculty, and staff are of course free to voice their opinions on Palestine, or any other issue.”

There is also no pro-Israel student group at Fordham. There is a Jewish students’ club, but its description does not mention Israel.

Palestine Legal, a pro-Palestinian legal advocacy group, sent a letter protesting the decision to Fordham President Rev. Joseph M. McShane. The letter says that denial of an SJP chapter could constitute a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

Fordham’s decision “not only violates the free speech, associational and academic freedom principles to which Fordham claims to adhere, but also raises civil rights concerns,” Palestine Legal’s letter read. “Fordham has betrayed principles of free speech to which it promises to adhere.”

Original Artricle: Arutz Sheva

Trump’s UN ambassador blasts world body’s anti-Israel bias

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Nikki Haley will blast the global body over its treatment of Israel at her Senate confirmation hearing.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, will blast the global body over its treatment of Israel at her Senate confirmation hearing, according to prepared testimony seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

“Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel,” Haley will say in the opening remarks for her appearance on Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Any honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers,” the speech says, according to Reuters.

Noting that the United States contributes 22 percent of the UN budget, far more than any other country, Haley’s speech says, “Are we getting what we pay for?”

She also promises to work with U.S. lawmakers to pursue what she described as “seriously needed change” at the United Nations, according to Reuters.

The UN’s anti-Israel bias is well-known and was even acknowledged by its former Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, before he stepped down at the beginning of this month.

Ban also admitted the UN’s anti-Israel bias during a 2013 session with Israeli students, though the comments were not widely reported by Israeli media at the time.

Despite his admission of the bias, the global body just recently passed a series of anti-Israel resolutions during its annual “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”.

Haley’s hearing comes weeks after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334 which was critical of Israel’s presence in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Some Republican lawmakers, led by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have threatened to cut U.S. funding for the UN following the anti-Israel resolution.

Graham and fellow Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas last week introduced a law that would block taxpayer dollars from going toward the UN, in response to Resolution 2334.

Original Article: Artuz Sheva

IDF ARRESTS FORMER PALESTINIAN GOVERNOR AND FATAH LEADER

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Israeli forces reportedly arrest former Tulkarem and Jenin governor, Talal Dweikat, early Wednesday.

The IDF arrested Talal Dweikat, a former Tulkarem and Jenin governor, who also served as a general in the Palestinian Authority intelligence services, early Wednesday morning for allegedly partaking in weapons trade.

“The occupation forces arrested Dweikat after raiding his house and searching his belongings in Askar,” Wafa, the official PA news site, reported.

A Shin Bet spokesman said that Dweikat was arrested “for his involvement in advanced weapons trade,” without elaborating on details.

In addition to Dweikat, the IDF arrested two others in Nablus and raided Dweikat’s brother’s home, Sarhan Dweikat, who also has the rank of general.

Dweikat, who was elected to the Fatah Revolutionary Council in December, formerly served as a head of the PA intelligence services in Nablus in the early 2000s and was appointed as Tulkarem governor in 2006, where he oversaw the rehabilitation of the PA security forces in the aftermath of the second intifada.

In 2012, Dweikat was appointed Jenin governor, serving until 2014 when he accepted a position as an advisor in the PA presidency.

Fatah spokesman Munir Jaghoub responded to Dweikat’s and other Palestinians’ arrests, saying that they confirm Israel’s hostile mentality.

“The Israeli arrests and attacks are intensifying day after day against Fatah’s leadership and cadres all over the homeland, sending a clear message to the Palestinian people and its leadership that the current situation is incredibly difficult and complicated…and that the occupation’s mentality is only that of killing, destruction, arrest, and denying Palestinian rights, requiring all of us to take a serious stand and confront its arrogance,” Jaghoub told Wafa.

The IDF holds that it carries out arrests of suspects, who pose a security threat to Israel.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

HAMAS HOLDS RALLY IN GAZA TO CELEBRATE TERRORIST RAMMING THAT KILLED 4 ISRAELIS

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“The message of our Islamic party Hamas is a message of encouragement and support for every jihadi who carries out an attack that puts an end to the acts of the Zionist enemy.”

Thousands of Hamas activists and supporters took to the streets of Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza on Sunday night to rally against Israel and praise the terrorist ramming attack in Jerusalem which killed four Israelis.

Earlier on Sunday, a Palestinian rammed his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers on a popular promenade in Jerusalem, killing four of them in an attack which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said had likely been inspired by Islamic State.

Chanting anti-Israeli slogans the protesters marched to the rally where sweets were handed out in celebration.

“The message of our Islamic party Hamas is a message of encouragement and support for every jihadi who carries out an attack that puts an end to the acts of the Zionist enemy,” Hamas leader Fathi Hamad, who led the rally, told Reuters.

The Palestinian Islamist group routinely praises those who carry out street attacks against Israelis.

The Palestinian attack in Jerusalem was the deadliest in months and targeted officer cadets as they disembarked from a bus that brought them to the Armon Hanatziv promenade which has a panoramic view of the walled Old City.

The military said an officer and three officer cadets were killed and that 17 others were injured.

Police identified the truck driver as a Palestinian from east Jerusalem and said he was shot dead. His uncle, Abu Ali, named him as Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qunbor, 28, a father of four from the Jabel Mukabar neighborhood.

Following the attack, Netanyahu said that access limitations were imposed in and around the east Jerusalem neighborhood and that further actions will be taken by Israel.

Late on Sunday, police were seen patrolling the area and stopping vehicles for checks. Palestinians threw fireworks at the forces, but no casualties were reported.

Actions inspired by Islamic State in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem have been rare and only a few dozen Arab Israelis and Palestinians are known to have declared their sympathy with the group.

A wave of Palestinian street attacks, including vehicle rammings, has largely slowed but not stopped completely since it began in October 2015 and 37 Israelis and two visiting Americans have been killed in these assaults.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Fatah: ‘Bloodshed will follow if Trump moves US embassy to Jerusalem’

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“I believe that any American act of stupidity will ignite the Palestinian territories,” says senior Fatah official.

The Palestinians will start a new violent uprising if Donald Trump’s incoming White House administration relocates the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a senior Fatah official indicated this week in an interview translated by MEMRI.

“I believe that any American act of stupidity will ignite the Palestinian territories,” Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu al-Einein told Egypt’s Alghad TV on Sunday.

Al-Einein, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also pointed to Israeli “arrogance” and settlement activity along with the potential US maneuver as provoking Palestinian violence.

“We must prepare for a confrontation with the new US administration, which has clearly and audaciously declared that Israel and its settlements are legitimate and legal,” he asserted.

The Palestinian official charged that Washington and Jerusalem “will bear responsibility for the return of the bloodshed in the Palestinian territories.”

The Trump team has said that the US president-elect considers moving the embassy a “very big priority.”

Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Trump repeatedly said he would move the US Embassy if elected – a political promise past US presidents have frequently made, yet has never been held.

Longstanding US policy is to treat the status of Jerusalem as an issue to be settled in final-status negotiations with the Palestinians.

Trump’s pledge to move the mission has been met with mixed reactions from Israeli officials.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has questioned whether it would be wise for Trump to prioritize moving America’s embassy upon taking office. Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer has backed the potential move as “a great step for peace.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

United States Congress plans targeted legislation against Iran and the United Nations

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Republican leadership on the Hill is waiting for Trump to take the lead.

As the House of Representatives plans to vote on a resolution this week that will condemn the UN for its targeting of Israel, its leadership has already planned additional measures sure to please the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its allies in Washington.

Over the course of the next hundred days, Republicans hope to punish the UN for its passage of a resolution condemning Israel over its settlement enterprise and Iran over its destabilizing actions in neighboring Middle East nations.

Members of the House and Senate are considering legislation that would cut funding to the UN after its vote. But it is “too early” to draft such legislation, said one senior congressional aide familiar with the deliberations, because leadership is not yet clear on the direction that incoming President Donald Trump will choose to go on the matter.

“Folks seem to want to see how President Trump defines our relationship with the UN before we talk about funding,” the aide told The Jerusalem Post.

Several GOP members are optimistic the Trump administration would support additional actions. But legislation sanctioning the UN would likely face Democratic opposition— even in the context of defending Israel from future condemnations.

While they wait, GOP leadership is preparing legislative options they believe will easily attract Trump’s support, specifically against Iran, which was a frequent target of the president-elect during the campaign.

Senior congressional aides say to expect a bill within weeks that would hike the tax rate and impose other penalties for companies doing business with Tehran. The bill will just be the first in a series that will test an international nuclear accord with Iran, which bans the US from imposing nuclear-related sanctions but allows for the passage of additional non-nuclear sanctions against Iran’s malignant activities in the region, its ballistic missile work and its human rights abuses.

To that end, an additional bill under consideration would target the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support of Bashar Assad in Syria. A third would attempt to thwart major Boeing and Airbus deals with Iran’s main airline, which Republicans argue provides dual civilian and military use and facilitates the transfer of weapons to Tehran’s proxy organizations.

Netanyahu is expected to support this legislation and push for an aggressive legislative agenda against Iran during his first trip to Trump’s White House.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post