Thursday, April 26, 2018

Threatening Regional Storm Clouds - Isi Leibler




by Isi Leibler

We are fortunate that Netanyahu heads the nation at this crucial time.


Threatening regional storm clouds
A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces stands amidst the ruins of buildings near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO) 


Notwithstanding the exuberance of Israelis at the jubilant 70th Independence Day celebrations, justified in light of Israel’s extraordinary achievements and progress on both the diplomatic and defense fronts, the Jewish state will be facing major challenges over the next few months.

Until recently, largely due to the effective diplomacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel was in an ideal situation, receiving the support of the Trump administration as well as enjoying a unique relationship with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. This despite Putin’s determination to retain influence in Syria and his wish not to breach his cordial relations with the Iranians who, for their own reasons, have played a key role in assisting him to save Syrian President Bashar Assad from oblivion. However, this has encouraged the Iranians to create military bases in Syria while shamelessly and repeatedly proclaiming their determination to wipe Israel off the map, which Israel regards as serious, potentially existential threats.

Until now, frequent consultations between Israel and Russia have served to avoid conflict. Israel refrained from engaging in activities intended to bring about regime change or threaten Russia’s regional interests. In turn, the Russians did not react to Israel’s repeated bombing incursions in Syria to neutralize arms shipments to Hezbollah or prevent the Iranians from advancing toward its northern borders.
Unfortunately, Israel is now finding it extremely difficult to maintain this delicate balance.

Assad’s employment of chemical weapons against his own citizens has outraged the international community which, until only recently, had been passive while hundreds of innocent civilians were butchered weekly by Assad’s forces.

US President Donald Trump, who to Israel’s dismay had announced his intention to withdraw all American troops from Syria, then reversed his decision and succeed in persuading the French and British to join him in a joint military intervention to punish the Syrians. It was a strictly limited operation in which four major installations were destroyed, with minimal casualties because the Syrians were made aware of the potential targets and evacuated them in advance. It was not an attempt to achieve regime change. But even this limited operation contrasted starkly with former US president Barack Obama’s cowardly failure to follow up previous threats when the Syrians engaged in chemical warfare.

However, the tension between Israel and the Iranians has escalated. The Iranians have been employing Lebanese and Palestinian surrogates to carry out their terrorist activity and in February, in what was their first direct attack on Israel, the Iranians dispatched a drone from one of their Syrian air bases carrying explosives intended to devastate a location in Israel. It was shot down by an Israeli Apache helicopter.

Israel made it clear that Iranian bases in Syria were unacceptable and launched a retaliatory raid, targeting the major T4 air base in central Syria, in which an Israeli F-16 fighter jet was lost. In a second wave of strikes, Israel destroyed a significant percentage of Syria’s air defenses, which also incurred Iranian casualties. Although no Russians were wounded, the Putin government criticized Israel for this foray.

Following the Syrian chemical attack on April 9, Israel was alleged to have destroyed the Iranian control center and killed 14, including seven Iranians, one of whom headed the drone unit. The Russians protested and the Iranians swore to retaliate.

Against the backdrop of these tensions on the Syrian front, early this month Hamas initiated a campaign in which it enlisted thousands of Gaza residents to breach the Israeli border. Hamas gunmen and fighters hurling firebombs were interspersed with the civilian demonstrators. The IDF took defensive action, using live ammunition where necessary against those using assault weapons or trying to penetrate the borders. Thousands were injured and dozens, primarily identifiable Hamas terrorists, were killed.

Despite photographic documentation of the violence, the employment of human shields including women and children, and the repeated statements by Hamas leaders that the objective was to bring back the refugees and destroy Israel, the UN Security Council sought to condemn Israel for responding “disproportionately.” The resolution was vetoed by the US.

The atmosphere throughout the region is extremely tense and Israel is girding itself for the possibility that war could erupt at any time on any front.

We are fortunate that Netanyahu heads the nation at this crucial time. But he is treading on eggshells as he faces three challenges:

1) Preparing to engage in war, if necessary, to prevent the Iranians from setting up bases in Syria that threaten Israel.

2) Confronting any attempt by Hamas to breach Gaza’s borders, which will require tough military responses while seeking to limit casualties – sought by Hamas to present themselves as victims and encourage international pressure on Israel to make concessions undermining its security.

3) Employing his diplomatic talents both to maintain the alliance with Trump and retain the fragile relationship with Putin, currently under great strain in light of Russian activity in Syria.

To deal with these challenges and avoid being dragged into the heightened conflicts between the Americans and the Russians is an extremely tough balancing act. Despite Russian reprimands and even warnings that it intends to provide the Syrians with more sophisticated air defenses, as of now Israel’s lines of communication with the Kremlin are still open, albeit tense and fragile. Efforts are being made to retain maximum coordination, but Netanyahu must exert all his diplomatic skill to achieve this.


EVEN THOUGH Israel is stronger and more independent than ever, there are clear storm clouds on the horizon. Keeping 1973 in mind, we should never allow ourselves to be overconfident.

If the Iranians respond disproportionately, war could erupt at any time. They may be waiting to see if the Americans cancel the nuclear deal before launching a full military confrontation. Likewise, if Hamas intensifies its efforts, it will lead to an intensified armed escalation. In either case, Hezbollah is likely to become engaged and Israel would be obliged to decimate its bases in Lebanon.

This makes Israel’s alliance with the US critical. So far, the Americans have delivered, but Trump’s apparent determination to withdraw all American troops from Syria would be an enormous inducement to the Iranians to confront Israel.

In this context, we would need to rely on the Russians to restrain the Iranians and Hezbollah from their openly stated objective of decimating Israel. Could Netanyahu persuade the hitherto philo-Semitic Putin not to breach the uniquely good relationship with Israel and the Jews in the face of Russia’s conflicting interests and the undermining of his military aspirations in the region?

Clearly none of the parties at this stage seek an all-out conflict, but it would only take a few sparks to unleash a regional conflagration.

The IDF is geared up for such an eventuality and with the Saudis and moderate Sunnis uninvolved or even possibly supporting Israel, it is confident it could overcome the combined forces of its potential enemies.

But the extent of casualties – especially on the home front – would be heavily influenced by the role that the US and Russia assumed under such circumstances.

It is here that Netanyahu may face unprecedented obstacles in directing military conflicts and engaging simultaneously in diplomacy at the highest levels. Critics and supporters alike cannot conceive of any other leader at this stage possessing similar capabilities, experience or the extraordinary diplomatic skills needed to navigate the delicate balance.

Netanyahu must be allowed to focus all his energies on the crucial defense of the nation and not be obliged to spend at least half his time with defense lawyers and the constant bombardment by politicians and the media seeking to undermine him and force his resignation.

It is nothing short of criminal for the establishment to tolerate a situation whereby, in such critical times, it has created conditions for the nation to be led by a parttime prime minister who also acts as part-time foreign minister.

If there is no one who could currently lead the nation like Netanyahu, his critics should suspend their legal and political campaigns and at least unite temporarily behind him until the immediate threats confronting us have been overcome.

The author’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at ileibler@leibler.com. 



Isi Leibler

Source: https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Threatening-regional-storm-clouds-552626

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The status quo in Judea and Samaria poses a danger to the State - Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover




by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover

We are living next to a ticking time bomb and things are happening - every minute that passes, facts are being established on the ground. There is no status quo.

As part of our efforts to promote the vision of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, we appear before groups throughout the entire country. Military preparatory schools, high schools, religious and secular schools, from the Left and the Right, invite us for discussions, panels and lectures. Sometimes these meetings are held as part of what is called “Judea-Samaria Week”, when young students come to Judea and Samaria to meet with spokesmen from  across the political spectrum.

In these meetings we present the youth with our point of view, the main idea of which is that the Land of Israel belongs to us and we must not surrender it; the plan of “two states for two peoples” constitutes an existential, spiritual, ideological and security threat to our country. We lay out the plan for the application of sovereignty that we have been promoting in recent years before the visitors and hosts and explain the ramifications of applying sovereignty.

During the second part of these meetings there is a lively discussion where serious and profound questions arise. The young visitors demand real answers to various questions. One of the questions that comes up in almost every group goes something like this: “ It is clear to us that dividing the Land and establishing a hostile Arab state in its heart would be a disastrous step for the State of Israel to take, but it is also clear to us that the application of sovereignty is very complex and the main difficulty is the status of the Arabs. Therefore, maybe the best thing and most correct thing to do is to leave the situation as it is now- status quo.”

At a time when the status quo in every area has become almost sacred, apparently, why would it be wrong to take that approach in this area as well? The IDF’s deep and daily involvement in the field prevents terror attacks and maintains a relatively low level of terror (despite the deep pain and sorrow over any loss or injury that does occur) it sometimes seems that all is quiet and calm and “that we need not endanger ourselves by establishing a Palestinian state, but on the other hand, we also do not want to cope with the complexities of applying sovereignty and thus best is to simply keep the status quo.”

We hear things of this sort not only from the youths in the seminars and discussions, but also from average citizens, among them public figures and academics.

Here is where we explain one basic foundational fact. Even if it does not seem so, there actually is no status quo. The calm is nothing more than an illusion. We are living next to a ticking time bomb and things are happening - every minute that passes, facts are being established on the ground and are becoming a basis for additional facts on the ground and this phenomenon is growing and pushing the State of Israel off its Land. Beneath the camouflage of calm and quiet the Palestinian Authority is taking over more and more of Area C, land which even according to the Oslo Accords is to be under Israel’s exclusive authority. Every day, Salam Fayyad’s plan for the Arab takeover of land in this territory is being realized by strangling the development of Jewish settlement.


The residents of Judea and Samaria can see this reality happening around them every single day. Hills that were arid wasteland until recently, are being built up, funded and supported by the European Union, and the closer the construction is to the traffic arteries leading to the Jewish communities, the more support is given. And along with the illegal construction, there is illegal agriculture as well and illegal quarries,  lands that have been bought by Jews are becoming enclaves, surrounded by Arab construction and agriculture and sometimes these lands as well are being appropriated by Palestinians without the appropriate and necessary Jewish response.

The Palestinians are determining facts on the ground and with characteristic Arab patience are quietly building a state for themselves without any objection and without handshakes or signed documents in brightly lit halls. They understand well the value of land and we, with our diaspora complexes, still prefer a signed piece of paper of no real value.

And what about us? We are indifferent. We are convinced that the surrounding calm is evidence that the holy status quo is being maintained by the other side as well. Like fish that swim in an aquarium without knowing that someone has drilled a tiny hole in the bottom and the water is slowing leaking out.

Dear friends, we must wake up and understand – there is no such thing as the status quo. This is a dangerous and stupefying illusion that is allowing a Palestinian state to become a reality right under our noses, with all of the dangers that it presents to the long-term future of the State of Israel. We therefore repeat again that Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is an urgent necessity. The hourglass is emptying and the sand itself is being lost, the lands are also being lost and we are losing our hold on them. A decision must be made as soon as possible – either a Palestinian state with all of its existential dangers, or sovereignty, while coping with the complexities of the idea and the vision. Is Israel going to commit suicide with the establishment of a Palestinian state in its heart or cope with a localized headache that can be solved by the application of sovereignty? This is a time of critical decision.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav


Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover are co-Chairwomen of Women in Green (Women for Israel's Tomorrow  www.ribonut.co.il).

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/22055

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Russia to deliver new air defense systems to Syria 'soon' - News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff




by News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff 

Russian official warns of "catastrophic consequences" to any Israeli strike against S-300 systems


 

Photo: AP

Russia's advanced S-300 missile systems  
 
Russia plans to deliver new air defense systems to Syria in the near future, the RIA news agency cited Russia's Defense Ministry as saying Wednesday.

The ministry said it plans to study a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile captured by Syrian forces in a recent attack in order to improve Russian missiles' ability to counter regional and other threats, RIA reported.

Israel has asked Moscow not to deliver advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel may strike the Russian-made defense systems in Syria if they are used against Israel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Moscow had not yet decided whether it would deliver the S-300 systems to Syria, but it would not make the matter a secret it took such a decision, the TASS news agency reported.

A senior Russian official told the Kommersant newspaper that if Israel attacks the new air defense systems, it will suffer "catastrophic consequences."

Russian defense systems have been deployed in Syria for years, and the majority of the country's air defenses are Russian-made. Since stepping into the Syrian civil war in September 2015, Russia has deployed its S-400 systems to protect its soldiers in Latakia.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies are monitoring a series of cargo flights from Iran into Syria suspected of carrying weapons systems into Syria for potential use by Assad's regime or Iranian forces deployed in the war-torn country, CNN reported on Wednesday.

A Washington official confirmed to the news network that the United States and Israel are both concerned the cargo could potentially include weapons that could eventually be used to threaten Israel.

While weapons shipments into Syria are not uncommon, flights involving Iran have caught the attention of U.S. intelligence because they took place in the days after the April 13 U.S.-led airstrikes on the Assad regime's chemical weapons arsenal.

Rhetoric between Iran and Israel has also escalated in recent weeks over Iran's increased military presence in areas of Syria that can be used to potentially launch attacks against Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that Israel will not tolerate an "Iranian noose" around its neck, saying the Jewish state will not hesitate to foil such threats.

Israel reportedly struck several targets inside Syria earlier this month including a T4 airbase in Homs province where the Iranians are believed to have set up an unmanned aerial vehicles unit.

A senior Iranian security official said Iran would punish Israel for the recent airstrikes on the T4 air base in Homs. Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said Israel has not yet realized that the era of "hit-and-run" has come to an end and it should pay the price for such "stupidity."

"When a regime thinks that it is entitled to target counterterrorism troops in a move that comes with a planned violation of another country's airspace, it should have certainly thought of its repercussions and reactions," Shamkhani said.

"There will definitely be a punishment of the aggressor but naturally the time, place and quality of the response to this vicious act depends on the Islamic republic's will and choice."


News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/04/25/us-intelligence-concerned-by-recent-iranian-shipments-to-syria/

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Good morning, Europe - Eldad Beck




by Eldad Beck

Even if it adheres to the nuclear deal, Iran is still pushing ahead with its plan to destabilize the Middle East. Yet many Europeans view Trump as the problem, which attests to their inability to face reality.

This week's front page of Der Spiegel aptly illustrates the overriding mood in the offices of French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini: Underneath the headline asking "Who will save the West?" U.S. President Donald Trump is depicted as a menacing fireball facing a seemingly panic-stricken Merkel and a smiling, winking Macron holding a fire extinguisher with an EU sticker on it.

Trump is hosting the two leaders in Washington this week. Macron was able to identify in time the need to caress and embrace Trump, and he greeted the American president with a king's welcome when he visited Paris last summer – while other Western leaders treated him with contempt and revulsion. Macron, in turn, was welcomed by the American president warmly, as a friend.

Merkel was unable to overcome her aversion to Trump and forge a close relationship with him. It will be very interesting to see how Trump greets the German chancellor for a "work meeting" this weekend. Merkel would be wise not to get Trump "heated" and galvanize him to do the opposite of what she wants. Macron and Merkel's goal in Washington is to get "Hurricane Trump" under control, particularly as it pertains to the future of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Yes, the American president's unpredictable behavior does cause a fair degree of anxiety, especially among those who grew accustomed to the affable yet destructive foreign policies of his predecessor, Barack Obama. However, it's been over a year since Trump entered office and the leaders of Europe should have adopted a wiser approach to their new American ally by now: He hasn't triggered any wars.

Even his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. Embassy there didn't spark the violence and bloodshed that the European powers warned against. Quite the opposite: His unconventional, frenetic management of American foreign policy has substantially moved things forward that seemed stuck and intractable.

Such as the nuclear deal with Iran: The EU and European powers fully endorsed Iran's demand not to change the nuclear deal at all; but Trump's threats to reimpose sanctions, which would almost certainly "kill" the accord, prodded the Europeans to agree to a "complementary addendum" to partially iron out its most problematic wrinkles.

European and American representatives have met five times to discuss the matter. These meetings have produced a memorandum of understandings about the "core faults" of the nuclear deal: What happens after its 10-year expiration date? How can oversight of Iran's nuclear facilities be enhanced? What are the deadlines for punishing Iran if it continues developing ballistic missiles and pursuing its aggressive policies beyond its own borders across the Middle East?

In their meetings, Macron and Merkel will ask Trump to finalize this addendum to preserve the nuclear deal. The Europeans are now willing to admit the deal has significant holes. This is in large part due to the immense pressure applied by Trump via threats, tweets and special envoys. Even if Trump looks like the "bad guy" breaking the rules of the game, this approach will almost certainly lead to an improved nuclear deal.

The "bad guy" in this story continues to be Iran. Even if it completely adheres to implementing the nuclear deal, the Islamic republic is still pushing ahead with its plans to destabilize the Middle East and grow as a leading military power in the region. The menacing fireball is Tehran, not Trump. The fact that many Europeans struggle to recognize this attests to their inability or lack of desire to face reality.


Eldad Beck

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/good-morning-europe/

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Paul Joseph Watson Video: The Truth About Kanye - FrontPageMag.com




by FrontPageMag.com


The high priests of pop culture are panicking.




In this new video, Paul Joseph Watson unveils The Truth About Kanye and he reveals why the high priests of pop culture are panicking. Don't miss it!




FrontPageMag.com

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269963/paul-joseph-watson-video-truth-about-kanye-frontpagemagcom

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Europe wants unity on Iran while undermining Trump on Jerusalem - Caroline Glick




by Caroline Glick

Macron, Merkel, and European Union Foreign Policy Commissioner Federica Mogherini are waging a multifaceted campaign to undermine and discredit one of Trump’s most significant foreign policy initiatives: namely, Jerusalem.


trumpkotel

As French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel beat a path for the White House in back-to-back visits this week, the media coverage of U.S. – European Union relations is focused on efforts to convince President Donald Trump to keep faith with his predecessor Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Left largely unreported is that while the European leaders are is pressuring Trump to align his Iran policy with theirs, Macron, Merkel, and European Union Foreign Policy Commissioner Federica Mogherini are waging a multifaceted campaign to undermine and discredit one of Trump’s most significant foreign policy initiatives: namely, Jerusalem.

Since last December 6, when Trump officially recognized that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and announced his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Macron, Mogherini, and Merkel have been leading a major effort to undermine his policy.

On May 14, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is set to lead a 250-member American delegation to Jerusalem to participate in the opening of the U.S. embassy in Israel’s capital. Forty lawmakers and other senior officials, reportedly including President Trump’s senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, are also set to join. Vice President Mike Pence and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley may join the delegation as well.

Merkel, Macron, and Mogherini lobbied hard to convince Trump not to honor his campaign pledge to move the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital. All three warned that any change in U.S. policy on Jerusalem would destabilize the region in a dramatic way. Yet, as the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported, there was no significant increase in Palestinian violence against Israel in the six months following Trump’s announcement over the six months that preceded it.

When, unmoved by their fear-mongering, Trump went forward with his determination to recognize Jerusalem last December, Merkel, Macron, and Mogherini led the charge in condemning his move. Media reports indicate that key Arab states Saudi Arabia and Egypt have prevented major criticism of the U.S. move domestically. But in striking contrast, the EU has gone to great lengths to keep the criticism on a high flame.

In late December, EU members France, Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden joined the other ten UN Security Council members – aside from the U.S. – in voting in favor of a draft resolution demanding that the U.S. cancel its recognition of Jerusalem and retain its embassy in Tel Aviv. The U.S. stood alone in opposing the resolution and vetoed it in a 14-1 vote.

Unperturbed by the veto and by Ambassador Haley’s angry reaction, two days later, led by France and Germany, 23 EU member states voted in favor of a General Assembly resolution declaring the U.S. policy “null and void.”

The U.S. is not without its allies in Europe.

Out of respect for the U.S., five EU member states —  Romania, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, and Croatia — defied Brussels and abstained from voting in favor of the General Assembly resolution.

More significantly, in defiance of the EU’s position, Czech President Milos Zaman enthusiastically applauded Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem and said the Czech Republic would also move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital.

Last Thursday, Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party, told Romanian television outlet Antena3 that Romania would also relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.

“Yesterday the government adopted a memorandum deciding to start the procedure to effectively move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he said.

Mogherini and her colleagues were not amused. Israel Radio reported Saturday that Mogherini berated Romanian President Klaus Ionhannis and demanded that the government abrogate its decision. Israel Hayom reported that she acted in a similar fashion in meetings with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Mogherini’s strong-armed tactics brought results.

Hours after Dragnea’s announcement, Iohannis denied that Romania intends to move its embassy to Jerusalem. On Friday, Babis said the Czech Republic will not move its embassy to Jerusalem.

A few days before she put the screws on the Romanians and Czechs, Mogherini attended the Arab League summit in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, rallying the Arabs to stand against America’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Echoing the position of UNESCO — the UN’s cultural organization, which rejects any Jewish ties to the city that has served as the Jewish spiritual capital for more than 3,000 years — Mogherini said, “As Europeans and Arabs we share in particular an interest in preserving the unique status of our common Holy City, Jerusalem.”

In her speech to the General Assembly following its adoption of the anti-American resolution last December, Haley noted that President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem “reflects the will of the American people and our rights as a nation to choose the location of our embassy.” She deplored the General Assembly move to “single out” the U.S. for “exercising our rights as a sovereign nation.”

Haley opened her speech by drawing a parallel between UN’s institutional discrimination against Israel and its singling out the U.S. for rebuke over its decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The EU’s behavior has been particularly noteworthy in this regard.

The EU’s efforts to undermine American policy regarding Jerusalem are not limited to anti-American votes at the UN, or bids to scuttle support for the U.S. move among EU member states.

This week, the Israeli media reported that an EU-funded and Israeli registered anti-Israel non-governmental organization (NGO) called Ir Amim (City of Nations) has petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to block the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. It has listed the State Department as a defendant.

As NGO Monitor, an Israeli non-profit group that monitors anti-Israel Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, has documented, Ir Amim plays a major role in drafting the EU’s policy statements against Israeli sovereignty over Israel’s capital city.

NGO Monitor president Prof. Gerald Steinberg told Breitbart News that the EU’s statements, which are uniformly hostile to Israel’s assertion of its sovereignty over Jerusalem, “are taken almost word for word from EU-funded Ir Amim reports.” (Read more here.)

Ir Amim’s petition asks the court to block the embassy opening due to planning and building exemptions that Israel provided the U.S. government to expedite construction activities related to converting the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem into the U.S. embassy. But while its formal argument is environmental and procedural, in its public statements, Ir Amim insists that its goal is political. So long as the U.S. does not open an embassy to “Palestine,” in Jerusalem, it shouldn’t be permitted to open its embassy to Israel in the city, according to Ir Amim.

Incidentally, Ir Amim’s position is also the EU’s position.

For years, the EU has been spending millions of euros annually to fund the operations of anti-Israel NGOs. One of the major tactics these groups use in their anti-Israel – and EU-funded – activities is lawfare, and one of the favorite arenas for lawfare is Israel’s Supreme Court.

Israel’s Supreme Court has always had an unusual amount of power. Alone in the Western world, Israel’s Supreme Court sits as a court of first and last resort for any complaints against any government action that a petitioner claims is “unjust.” In the early 1990s, the Court expanded its powers by deciding that even without any plausible legal interest, petitioners could expect a ruling on the most political of matters. At the same time, the Court determined that it had authority to overturn parliamentary legislation that it found contradicted basic legal principles — as decided by the judges.

The Court was well aware of the revolutionary nature of its seizure of power. Justice Aharon Barak, later to become the radical President of the Court, depicted the Court’s new approach as part of a “constitutional revolution.”

Seizing on the opportunity to undermine Israeli policymaking that Barak created, the EU began pouring millions and millions of dollars into newly formed radical NGOs to finance their operations. Over the years, EU-funded NGOs have turned to the High Court to undermine government policies on everything from counter-terrorism, to immigration policy, to land policy, and to enforcement of planning and zoning laws and regulations.

The EU has hoped to undermine Israeli policy not just by changing its results, but also by creating judicial roadblocks that would disrupt Israeli decision-making and create a “blockage.”

While there is nothing new today about the EU’s practice of using the unchecked power of Israel’s Supreme Court, it is remarkable that they are exploiting it to try to subvert U.S. foreign policy.

As Prof. Eugene Kontorvich from Northwestern University, who directs the International Law Department at Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem, explains, “In this absurd lawsuit, an EU-funded organization is trying to use Israeli courts to block the U.S.’s exercise of its core sovereign prerogatives. In essense, EU agents are using the imperiousness of the Israeli judicial system to block U.S. foreign policy with which it happens to disagree.”

Kontorovich noted that “Ir Amin is almost certain to lose even in Israeli courts.” But as Steinberg points out, the purpose of the petition isn’t to block the embassy move, per se.

It is to embarrass the U.S.

“Let’s assume that the Court is wise enough to dismiss their petition, Steinberg begins, “Ir Amim still gets the publicity.

“This is about controlling the discourse about Jerusalem. Ir Amim gets publicity that presents it as an Israeli NGO whose positions are more legitimate than those of the Israeli government and, in this case, more legitimate than the U.S. government,” he explains.

On Tuesday it was reported that European pressure on the Trump administration to suffice with symbolic changes to the nuclear deal with Iran while keeping the substance of the agreement unchanged is making headway. President Trump is now weighing good relations with Europe over the need to block Iran from acquiring the means to wage nuclear war.

As he does so, the president should bear in mind that the same European leaders that are calling for “unity” on Iran are carrying out a multilayered campaign across several continents to undermine his most significant foreign policy achievement since entering office. They are seeking to undermine President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Originally published at Breitbart.com.


Caroline Glick

Source: http://carolineglick.com/europe-wants-unity-on-iran-but-undermines-trump-on-jerusalem/

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Has Europe Even Tried to Fight Anti-Semitism? - Yves Mamou




by Yves Mamou

The European Union has adopted anti-Israel policies out of fear of upsetting Muslims, but this fear of upsetting Muslims has been fueling Muslim anti-Semitism.

  • Each time an anti-Semitic attack in Europe receives media attention, politicians rush to condemn it. But verbal condemnations alone change nothing. Anti-Semitism just gets bigger.
  • The European Union has adopted anti-Israel policies out of fear of upsetting Muslims, but this fear of upsetting Muslims has been fueling Muslim anti-Semitism.
  • When European governments refuse to accept Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and when they urge "restraint" instead of affirming that Israel has the right to defend itself, they are indulging in appeasement. On one side, they condemn anti-Semitism but on other, they are just whipping it up.
On April 18, 2018, two young men, both wearing Jewish skullcaps, were insulted by a group of Muslims and whipped with a belt in a clearly anti-Semitic attack in Prenzlauer Berg, one Berlin's most fashionable neighborhoods. The violent assault, partly filmed by one of the victims, sparked national indignation in Germany. One of the attackers can be heard on the video clearly shouting "Yahudi" (Arabic for "Jew").

"It is intolerable for young men to be attacked here just because they are wearing a kippah," said Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister. "Jews must never again feel threatened here. It is our responsibility to protect Jewish life."


Pictured: A young Arab man attacks two young men wearing Jewish skullcaps in a Berlin street, on April 18, 2018. The attacker whipped the victims with a belt, while shouting "Yahudi" -- Arabic for "Jew". (Image source: CGTN video screenshot)

The incident echoes another case of anti-Semitism last December in Berlin. Then also, someone filmed a man, apparently born in Germany, insulting a Jewish restaurant owner, Yorai Feinberg, in the street. The aggressor made clear his understanding of the Holocaust and his compassion for the Palestinian cause. Although there was no violence, the case ignited public indignation.

On April 12, 2018, Kollegah and Farid Bang, two of Germany's most successful rappers, were given the award for best hip-hop/urban album at the ECHO Deutscher Muskikpreis -- Germany's biggest music awards ceremony. The two Muslim rappers, however, were under fire because of their song lyrics comparing their muscular physiques to the bodies of Auschwitz prisoners. Charlotte Knobloch, former head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, said that giving them an award for their album was a "devastating sign" amid growing signs of "anti-Semitism in our society, especially in schools." "The two rappers," she added, reach millions of mostly young people with their inhuman message."

These incidents reflect the complexity of the German situation in which imported Muslim anti-Semitism seems to be fueling a traditional German one.

In 2017, Germany saw an average of four anti-Semitic crimes per day, according to preliminary government data cited by Tagesspiegel. The final tally is expected to be higher. The Jewish German community is estimated at 150,000 people.

According to Tagesspiegel, police registered a total of 1,453 crimes that targeted Jews in 2017. This number consisted of 32 acts of violence, 160 cases of property damage and 898 cases of incitement. Among those crimes, 33 were attributed to foreign-born perpetrators, not including Islamists. In addition, 25 of the crimes were "religiously motivated," with some involving either foreign-born or German Muslims with extremist beliefs. Police were unable to determine a political motive in 17 of the cases, while one case of incitement was found to have a "left-wing" motive.

For Die Welt, this showed that "Germany is losing the battle against anti-Semitism, as [before that] France or Sweden".

In France, the battle against anti-Semitism was lost long ago. Between 2006 and 2017, fifteen French Jews were murdered by anti-Semitic Muslims. The stabbing and the burning of Mireille Knoll in March 2017 added one more victim to a list that goes through the murder of Sébastien Sellam in Paris (2003), the kidnapping and murder of Ilan Halimi (2006), the massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse (2012), the assault of a young Jewish couple in Créteil (2014), the attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris (2015), the machete attack on a Jewish teacher in Marseille (2016), the murder of Sarah Halimi in Paris (April 2017), the hostage-taking of a Jewish family in Livry-Gargan (September 2017).

"The Jewish community represents less than 1% of the French population (approximately half a million people) but were victims of 40% of all racist crimes" says Fredéric Potier, France's interministerial delegate against racism and antisemitism.

According to the 2017 report of the Ministry of Interior, anti-Semitic threats decreased by 7.2% in 2017 compared to 2016. However, stabbings, assaults and other violent acts targeting Jews increased by 26%. In other words, attackers and murderers of Jews do not necessarily speak first; they just stab. According to Nonna Mayer, Director of Research at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS):
"These figures reflect trends; they are not exhaustive. They largely underestimate ordinary anti-Semitism (spitting, insults, hostile looks) on a daily basis. Many victims do not file complaints. When they do, their complaint is not always recorded."
Great Britain: In 2017, hate incidents against Jews reached a record level, "with the Jewish community targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day," reports The Guardian.

In 2017, the Community Security Trust (CST), an NGO that monitors anti-Semitism in the UK, recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide.

"This was the highest tally that the trust has registered for a calendar year since it began gathering such data in 1984. The figure rose by 3%, compared to a total, in 2016, of 1,346 incidents -- a tally that itself was a record annual total", according to The Guardian.

The CST report -- perhaps because the organization has developed educational programs with Muslim organizations -- avoids targeting any Muslim anti-Semitism, except for terrorist attacks.

The uniqueness of Britain is that anti-Semitism has also spread widely among the political class. Accusations from the national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and other members of his party have provoked a huge controversy.

Sweden: In December 2017, after an arson attack on a synagogue in Gothenburg and anti-Semitic chants at a demonstration in Malmö, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven admitted: "We have a problem in Swedish society with anti-Semitism."

According to the most recent figures from Sweden's National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), an average of 228 anti-Semitic hate crimes against the tiny Swedish Jewish community (about 15,000 people) are reported each year. The figure has remained stable for the past decade, but has had a tendency to peak after heightened turmoil in Israel; in 2015, there were 277 reported anti-Semitic incidents compared to 182 the year after. Anti-Semitic hate crimes have occurred mainly in public places (24%) and online (20%).

Anti-Semitism in Sweden is apparently a multifaceted problem that cannot be reduced just to a problem of Muslim migrants. Right-wing groups spread hostility towards Jews, and "love to position anti-Semitism as a problem limited to Muslim groups and exploit the issue in order to cast suspicion on and stigmatize Muslims" according to Henrik Bachner, a historian and leading researcher on anti-Semitism in Sweden.

Two polls of attitudes toward Jews were carried by the Living History Forum, a Swedish public agency that works on issues of tolerance, democracy and human rights. Their most recent poll is from 2010 (the one before that was from 2005), and suggests that while 18% of Swedish high school students expressed anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews, "that number increased to 55 percent among students who identified as Muslim" according to the website TheLocal.se.

Belgium: In 2017, "35 Anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in Belgium (64 in 2016). These figures confirm the decline observed in previous years compared to the record number of incidents in 2014 (109 incidents)," according to the "Anti-Semitism in Belgium" report for 2017, published by Antisemitisme.be, a website supported by the Jewish Central Consistory of Belgium.

These "low figures" for 2017 can be explained by the fact that the 50,000 Jews of Belgium live mainly in Brussels and Antwerp and, as in France, their schools and synagogues are protected around the clock by the army and police. Also, as in France, many Jewish students have left public schools to avoid daily hostility from Muslims students. The report further states:
"Jews in general, and more specifically in Brussels, 'hide' their Jewishness (star of David, skullcaps...) in public, to diminish the likelihood of being harassed in public places" because "everyone knows they are Jewish."
Politicians Preoccupied with Islamophobia

Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany and President Emmanuel Macron in France regularly condemn anti-Semitic attacks in their respective countries. These reproofs have become frequent in Europe. Each time an anti-Semitic attack receives media attention, politicians rush to condemn it. But verbal condemnations alone change nothing. Anti-Semitism just gets bigger.

Worse, all plans, measures and laws go the same way: to protect anti-Semites. In Berlin, in December, 2017, Israeli flags were burned at the Brandenburg Gate after US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In response to chants of "Israel, murderer of children", the local police explained that flag-burning is protected by freedom of speech laws. In France, in 2017, a prosecutor appealed the acquittal of Georges Bensoussan, a prominent French scholar charged with being a "racist" for having publicly said that "in Muslim families, anti-Semitism is sucked with mother's milk".

The European Union has adopted anti-Israel policies out of fear of upsetting Muslims, but this fear has been fueling Muslim anti-Semitism. When European governments refuse to accept Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and when they urge "restraint" instead of affirming that Israel has the right to defend itself, they are indulging in appeasement. On one side, they condemn anti-Semitism but on other, they are just whipping it up.

Yves Mamou, author and journalist, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde. He is completing a book, "Collaborators and Useful Idiots of Islamism in France," to be published in 2018.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12211/europe-antisemitism-fight

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Sweden's Increasingly Lawless Immigration Policy? - Nima Gholam Ali Pour




by Nima Gholam Ali Pour

When members of the government presented their final version of the bill, the demand that unaccompanied youths should confirm their identity or present evidence that made their age probable, had been entirely removed.

  • Sweden's National Board of Forensic Medicine reported that in 83% of the cases where it had stated an opinion about the age of the asylum applicant, the applicant had not been a minor. Many asylum seekers had lied about their age simply because there is greater probability of getting a residence permit -- and more benefits -- if you are a minor. It is also easier for minors to bring their relatives to Sweden through family immigration.
  • Afghan demonstrators were saying that Afghans who returned home would die. This second report showed that the problem for Afghans returning home was not security. The problem was the economy.
  • When members of the government presented their final version of the bill, the demand that unaccompanied youths should confirm their identity or present evidence that made their age probable, had been entirely removed.
In 2015, when approximately 35,369 "unaccompanied minors" came to Sweden, 66% of them were from Afghanistan. This was a staggering number. (In 2016 and 2017, only 3,533 unaccompanied minors came to Sweden.) In 2015, the high proportion of Afghans among the unaccompanied minors made the migrant group "unaccompanied minors" virtually synonymous with Afghani youth. During the last ten years, approximately 33,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in Sweden from Afghanistan.

In mid-August 2017, some young Afghan migrants, many of whose asylum applications had been rejected, started a series of demonstrations in central parts of Stockholm. The young migrants were demanding that the Swedish Migration Agency stop deporting them back to Afghanistan. Behind the demonstrations was a network calling itself "Young in Sweden". It did not take long before the Swedish media hailed the spokesperson of these demonstrations, Fatemeh Khavari, as a heroine. Six weeks after the demonstrations began, Aftonbladet, Sweden's largest newspaper, wrote:
"The image of a girl with supernatural powers appears. In two years she has learned Swedish. The sit-ins she leads have spread across the country. Her goal is to become Prime Minister. In another time she would have been praised as a heroine. One who gets medals of honor from the king and is compared to historic human rights activists. Her movement would have been described as a generation of kids and youths who fought for life at any price."
By the end of August, one of the Afghani demonstrators had stabbed a Swedish police officer in the neck. A supposedly 17-year-old boy who turned out to be 25 was arrested for the attack and later sentenced to prison. Despite the attack, the demonstrations were allowed to continue. Similar demonstrations started around the country, and began to demand amnesty for unaccompanied youths whose asylum application had been rejected.

By September 2017, demonstrations were taking place outside the Afghan consulate in Sweden, and the speakers demanded that the government of Afghanistan renege on the Afghan-Swedish deportation agreement, so that Sweden would not be able to deport Afghans. The Afghan demonstrators also began using a slogan, "We are building the country" (In Swedish: "Vi bygger landet"), one of the Swedish labor movements' classical slogans. While the Swedish Green Party already had given its support for amnesty to these Afghan youths, some heavyweight Social Democratic commentators wrote an op-ed at the end of September, 2017:
"The parliament can decide some form of amnesty for the Afghan refugees that are now in Sweden. It is not unthinkable that such a bill from the government would also get support from Center Party, the Liberals and Left Party."
Also in September, the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket) published a report showing that in 83% of the cases where it had stated an opinion about the age of the asylum applicant, the asylum applicant had not been a minor. Many asylum applicants had lied about their age simply because there is greater probability of getting a residence permit -- and more benefits -- if you are a minor. It is also easier, if you are a minor, to bring your relatives to Sweden through family immigration.


Pictured: An "unaccompanied minor" asylum seeker from Afghanistan plays soccer during a training session for migrants organized by the Sandarna BK Football team on February 11, 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

That such a large proportion of the migrants had lied about their age, and that one had attacked a police officer, should have been enough for political support for the demonstrations to end. Sweden has, moreover, a transparent migration process whereby migrants can have their asylum application adjudicated by several different bodies. Those who have had their asylum application rejected, therefore, probably have no real reason to get a residence permit in Sweden.

Nevertheless, one month after that, in October 2017, sixteen Social Democratic Members of Parliament declared that they wanted to stop deportations to Afghanistan. Also in October, Uppdrag Granskning, a Swedish news program, produced a report about what actually happens to young Afghans who return to Afghanistan. This second report was notable because the Afghan demonstrators had been saying that Afghans who returned home would die. The report showed that the problem for Afghans returning home was not security. The problem was the economy.

The report, for example, mentioned Rohullah, a young Afghan who was deported to Afghanistan. Rohullah had claimed to be a minor when he arrived in Sweden, but had previously applied for asylum in five different European countries, three times with a false identity. As far as back in 2009, Rohullah had applied for asylum in Austria, where the authorities assessed that he was not a minor. Three other EU countries confirmed that Rohullah was an adult and estimated the year of his birth as 1990.

Despite the report showing that the Afghan demonstrations were based on false assumptions and that there was no immediate security threat to Afghan youths if they returned -- and that many had lied about their age and were not really refugees in the first place -- the demonstrations continued and support from Swedish politicians grew.

Increasingly, large parts of the Afghan youths' campaign had turned out to be based on lies. They had, for instance, put a picture on one of their Facebook pages of a child after a bomb attack, with the text:
"This is today's picture from Kabul Afghanistan, I have been trying to write something about it but no words came to my mind. Can any of you describe this picture???? — feeling sorry."
The picture turned not to be from Kabul, but of a child who had survived one of the Assad regime's attacks in Syria. These kinds of lies, however, were apparently not a problem for Swedish activists and politicians. They continued to give their support to the Afghans youths' amnesty movement.

By the end of November 2017, the Swedish government, consisting of a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Swedish Green Party, announced that a bill would be introduced making it possible for "unaccompanied youths" to seek a residence permit for four years. The idea was that the migrants could complete high school and then get a job; then, through that job, get a permanent residence permit. The bill would affect those who had waited 15 months or more, and whose asylum application had been adjudicated in court. The bill would address the needs of unaccompanied youths studying -- or planning to study -- in high school, and who had not committed crimes. The bill did not end the deportations and the age-assessment of the migrants, but meant that some "youths" whose asylum applications had been rejected would get a second chance.

Demonstrations seeking to end deportations to Afghanistan continued throughout December 2017, with Swedish high school students also taking part. In January 2018, the government presented a bill that would give an opportunity to 9,000 unaccompanied youths whose asylum applications had been rejected.

Is it only in Sweden that illegal migrants who lie about their age and the conditions in their country of origin, can convince the government to give them amnesty?

Evidently, despite the changes in Sweden's migration policy, the naive mentality in Sweden has not changed. The establishment still seems to consist of uninformed people who really believe that the situation in Afghanistan is somehow more dangerous than the situation in countries such as Syria and Iraq.

The first version of the government's bill received harsh criticism from different institutions. The Swedish Police were critical of the notion that to get a residence permit, an individual only had to show "probable identity". The police stated that lowering the standard of evidence required for people to identify themselves reduces the ability to have control over who is residing in the country.

The Council on Legislation, a government agency that reviews government bills before they are processed by the parliament, was critical that 2,000 people who were to be deported would receive residence permits through the government bill. The government was giving away residence permits to people who, according to the law, did not have the right to them. The government was simply handing out residence permits, and bypassing the Swedish judiciary and immigration authorities.

When members of the government presented their final version of the bill, the demand that unaccompanied youths should confirm their identity or present evidence that made their age probable, had been entirely removed.

In practice, the bill would mean that unaccompanied youths, most of whom are Afghans who will not confirm their age or identity, could stay in Sweden because they had declared an intent to study in high school sometime in the future.

The government would like parliament to vote on this bill before summer, and for the bill to pass into law in July. In the final version, there is no requirement to confirm either age or identity, so long as they say an asylum seeker intends, at some point, to study in high school.

Maybe more than anything else, this bill shows that instead of having an immigration policy based on the rule of law, the government has handed out residence permits to migrants who, according to Swedish law, had no right to one.

The laws of Sweden should presumably be deciding who stays and who goes, not protesters and the left-wing media. Even politicians should not be able sell off the basic principles of their nation and bend its laws in order to get votes. How is it that migrants who are not in the country legally should have the decisive say in official immigration policy?

The endgame of Sweden's liberal migration policy is a chaotic situation in which the rights of the strong and the loud -- usually young men -- are prioritized at the expense of those who really need a hand.

Nima Gholam Ali Pour is a member of the board of education in the Swedish city of Malmö and is engaged in several Swedish think tanks concerned with the Middle East. He is also editor for the social conservative website Situation Malmö. He is the author of the books "Därför är mångkultur förtryck" ("Why Multiculturalism is Oppression") and "Allah bestämmer inte i Sverige" ("Allah Does Not Decide in Sweden").

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12200/sweden-immigration-policy

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