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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘embassy’

Palestinian Authority Embassy Opens at the Vatican

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

A new Palestinian Authority embassy is to open at the Vatican, according to a report by the official WAFA news agency.

The inauguration of the embassy, set for Friday, will be attended by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The Vatican officially recognized the Palestinian Authority as an independent Arab country a little more than a year and a half ago in a move that was slammed by Israel’s foreign ministry.

Hana Levi Julian

The Embassy Relocation Issue Heats Up

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Given the apparently resolute intention of President-elect Donald Trump to fulfill a campaign promise and promptly order the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it’s hardly a surprise that various forms of pushback have begun manifesting themselves.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly warned – perhaps even with a straight face – that the move would likely end any chance for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jordan’s King Abdullah declared that the act would cross an Arab “red line.” Other Arab leaders said it would constitute a “declaration of war” against the Arab world. The always predictable J Street whined that it would not be fair to the Palestinians.

Soon-to-be ex-secretary of state John Kerry and old State Department hand Martin Indyk predict Palestinian mayhem if the embassy is indeed moved, as if such would be a reasonable response to the move. Both have noticeably not called on the Arabs to refrain from violent reaction.

And we doubt Sunday’s terrorist truck attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, which killed four Israeli soldiers and injured seventeen others, was unrelated to the embassy issue. It would be quite a coincidence if there were no connection, as the site of the attack marks the geographical border between the so-called eastern and western halves of Jerusalem and is in close proximity to the current location of the U.S. Consulate General, which is considered a probable site for a relocated U.S. embassy.

In any event, the relocation issue places Mr. Trump at a crossroads of sorts, even at the outset of his administration. Relocation unavoidably touches on at least three key issues for the president-elect: He cannot cavalierly jettison a significant and oft-repeated campaign promise; he cannot be seen to use specious arguments in order to disobey the law; and he can ill-afford to be seen as kowtowing to the blandishments of foreign powers – especially when to do so would violate U.S. law.

We can only reiterate what we’ve said before: Moving the embassy would not just be the honoring of a campaign pledge but is actually a legal requirement.

Thus, the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995, required that the embassy, located in Tel Aviv, be moved to Jerusalem by 1999. It also declared that as long as such change did not take place, the State Department was to be restricted in the amount of congressionally allocated funds it could spend in connection with its overseas operations.

But because the spending restriction could have serious adverse effects on those operations, the president was also given the authority to waive the penalty provisions every six months. Nowhere, however, does the law permit the president to suspend the continuing legal requirement that the embassy had to be moved.

Unfortunately, all U.S. presidents since 1999 – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama – have opted not to move the embassy, disingenuously claiming that the waiver provision authorizes them to decline to order the move itself.

And there is another part of the 1995 law that deserves attention. Included in a provision titled “Statement of the Policy of the United States” is the following:

“(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which every ethnic and religious groups re protected and (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”

We are encouraged that the president-elect seems determined to fulfill his campaign commitment to move the embassy and in so doing follow the law and refuse to be intimidated by our adversaries.

Editorial Board

Palestinians Threaten President-Elect Trump W/Holy War If Embassy Moved To Jerusalem

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

{Originally posted to the author’s blogsite, The Lid}

Presidential Candidates since Bill Clinton have promised to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but not one has followed kept the promise once they took office.  All indications are that when he moves into the White House, Donald Trump will keep his promise and move the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. But the “moderate peace partners” of the Palestinian Authority are threatening Trump that they will react with violence if the U.S. Embassy is moved to Israel’s capital. The question is will their threats stop Trump from making the move?

The Palestinian Authority’s supreme Sharia judge and President Abbas’ advisor on religious affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash declared on during Friday prayers that a move of the embassy would be considered “a declaration of war” on all Muslims.  His sermon was broadcast live on Palestinian TV with PA President Abbas in the audience.

According to the translation published by Palestinian Media Watch, Al-Habbash said moving the embassy to Jerusalem “harms” Muslim faith, and then threatened: ”

“The new American administration intends to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem. In a simple, calm, and rational manner, in clear words that need no explanation and which are unambiguous: Such a step, for every Muslim, is a declaration of war on all Muslims. It’s a declaration of war on all Muslims. We are no one’s enemies, and we do not want to be. We are not enemies of the US and we do not want to be. However, when something harms our faith and our existence, we cannot stand by and do nothing. We will not agree to this under any circumstances. This will not pass in silence… The entire Muslim world will not accept it, and the entire Christian world will not accept it. Occupied Jerusalem is our eternal capital, the capital of our existence and the capital of our state. In politics there can be compromises here and there… In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises. Therefore, it isn’t possible to compromise on or negotiate over Jerusalem. This of course does not mean that we will prevent anyone from considering Jerusalem their direction of prayer. Our Jerusalem will remain open to all believers as it has been. Open to all of the monotheists.”

From the sound of it Al-Habbash isn’t a big believer in the Qur’an which refers to the existence of both temples in verse 17:7. In this passage, the Qur’an deals with God’s punishment of the Children of Israel for their transgressions:

(We permitted your enemies)
To disfigure your faces,
And to enter your Temple
As they had entered it before,
And to visit with destruction
All that fell into their power.

The word translated as “Temple” by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (and by the influential translator Marmaduke Pickthall before him) is masjid. This word, which is usually translated as mosque, has the meaning of a sanctuary wherever it appears in a pre-Islamic context. The usual Muslim exegesis of this verse (including that of Abdullah Yusuf Ali) holds that it refers to the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

Muslim tradition is especially adamant about the existence of the First Temple, built by Solomon, who appears in the Qur’an as a prophet and a paragon of wisdom. Verse 34:13 is an account of how Solomon summoned jinn (spirits) to build the Temple:

They worked for him
As he desired, (making) Arches,
Images, Basons
As large as wells,
And (cooking) Cauldrons fixed
(In their places)

Al-Habbash isn’t the only Palestinian Authority leader who is making threats about the U.S. Embassy move. Palestinian Media Watch also reported:

  • Abbas’ advisor on NGOs, Sultan Abu Al-Einein declared, “Transferring the American embassy to Jerusalem will lead to bloodshed”
  • Head of the Supreme Muslim Council and head preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ikrima Sabri said, “What this means is that America recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews, and in doing so America will declare a new war against the Palestinians and also against the Arabs and the Muslims”
  • Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat threatened, “If you transfer the embassy and agree to the annexation of the settlements in the West Bank, you will drag the region into a state of anarchy, extremism, and lawlessness”
  • The spokesman for President Abbas’ Fatah Party Osama Al-Qawasmi warned, “Any step regarding transferring the American embassy from Tel Aviv to East Jerusalem will directly cause an explosion”

These threats may represent the first test of Donald Trump’s resolve in foreign affairs. Will the Palestinian Authority attempts to blackmail the Trump Administration deter his plans to move the embassy?

It is very doubtful that the Palestinian incitement will deter or delay moving the embassy. Donald Trump is not the type to be intimidated, especially when one considers his campaign positions and not necessarily his positions about the Middle East. This is the man who has been promising to stand up to China, to force Mexico to pay for the border wall. Justifiably Trump criticized Barack Obama for not standing up to foreign threats and making the United States appear weak. If Trump was honest in his criticism of Obama’s feckless foreign policy (and I believe he was) he will not allow the threat of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority to dictate his foreign policy decisions.

Whether or not their incitement leads to violence, the Palestinians should be very careful because more than just trying to bully a U.S. president who can’t be bullied, they may be pushing the Congress and the President to re-think all that foreign aid the P.A. leadership is using to line their own pockets.

Jeff Dunetz

On Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

{Originally posted to the Emes Ve-Emunah website}

On June 8th of 2015 the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision denied petitioner Rabbi Ari Zivotovsky registering the birth of his son as having taken place in Israel. Even though he was born in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. The basis for the claim is somewhat irrelevant to this post. Suffice it to say that it seems pretty ridiculous to say that a Jew born in Jerusalem cannot be registered as being born in Israel.

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. I say this with pride as a Jew. That should be obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge about the bible, Israel, Jewish history, and the current facts on the ground. Jerusalem has always been considered part of Israel by the 2 of the major faiths: Christianity and Judaism. Even without that, the seat of government in Israel is in Jerusalem.

The American embassy should therefore be in Jerusalem. And an American citizen born in Jerusalem – was also born in Israel. But things are not always as simple as they might seem. There are a lot of forces out there working to deny recognition of that fact.

That said, Jerusalem has been recognized as Israel’s capital by every candidate running for President… promising to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And yet once in office they all refused to do so. Even though congress who funds the State Department has overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 requiring the State Department to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

How did these Presidents get around this act? There is a loophole that every President has used allowing them to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv – thereby not recognizing Jerusalem as even part of Israel – let alone its capital.

On the face of it this seems pretty outrageous – given all of the above – that the embassy is not located in Jerusalem and that someone born there cannot be considered born in Israel. And yet that is the way things stand now.

As most people know by now, candidate Trump had done what his predecessor candidates have done: Promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.  What’s different about Trump’s promise is that now as President-elect he says he intends to keep that promise – saying it is a high priority for him. His top advisers on Israel many of whom will be serving him in an official capacity (while others unofficially so) support him doing that. It therefore seems like a virtual certainty that the US embassy will be relocated Jerusalem where it belongs.

This has generated an unprecedented warning from outgoing Secretary of State, John Kerry:

“You’d have an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region,” Kerry said in an interview with CBS.

Not to be outdone, in the ‘dire warning’ department, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the government of Jordan said the following:

(Abbas) noted that moving the embassy would have “irreversible” consequences, and warned that if Trump did relocate it, the PA would “take steps” in response.

A government spokesman in Amman warned that moving the embassy may have “catastrophic” repercussions. Such a move could affect relations between the US and regional allies, including Jordan, Information Minister Mohamed Momani told The Associated Press.

This brings me to this morning’s news out of Jerusalem:

Four IDF soldiers were killed and 13 wounded after an industrial truck driven by a terrorist, rammed into a group of people adjacent to the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon.  Among the fatalities were three female soldiers and one male in their 20s. The terrorist was shot dead by security personnel at the scene…

The question is, ‘Is moving the embassy worth it?’ Is it the right thing to do?  What indeed will the actual repercussions be of such a move? Is moving the embassy to Jerusalem worth the ‘price’ of doing that?

I have mixed feelings about it. As I said, there is no question in my mind that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem. Even in the event that a 2 state solution is implemented – at least the western part of it of it where the Keneset is located will be a part of Israel. That was already conceded to Israel by Arafat at the Camp David peace conference under Clinton that almost produced a Palestinian State.

That there is so much opposition to it shows the irrationality that dominates the thinking on this issue. And yet I am not sure it is worth the terrible price we might have to pay if it happens. If this morning’s event is a precursor to the type of response from Palestinians we should expect, then it might just be a mistake. I’m not even sure what tangible benefit we would get out of it. How will it better anyone’s life if the US embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? What is gained versus what is lost must be considered when making a decision that could explode in our faces where God forbid much blood may be spilled.

That a response like that from the Palestinians is irrational is besides the point. They don’t need much of an excuse to attack Jews in Israel. I doubt that the fellow that plowed his truck into a crowd of innocent Jews in Jerusalem this morning had the American embassy in mind.

On the other hand, why shouldn’t a country have the right to call the place of its choice – their capital? One that has been its capital since its founding? And why hasn’t the United States placed its embassy there from the start? Had this been the case, we wouldn’t be having this discussion now.

I guess it’s all up to the President-elect when he takes office. If he does move that embassy, I will take pride in that. I just hope it isn’t short-lived by the explosive reaction that so many are predicting.  My pride is not worth what may follow.

I hope President-elect Trump has a plan to follow it up that will assure that peace is maintained; that security measures are put in place both in Israel and the US to protect their citizens from any possible reprisal type violence that might accrue. And to have serious consequences to those that would perpetrate or condone violence in its wake. So that an American Jew born in Jerusalem can say with pride that he was born in Israel and have it recognized by his country.

Harry Maryles

Al Jazeera Celebrates Fall of Israeli Embassy Official Who Shot Off his Mouth on Hidden Camera [video]

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Israel’s embassy in London apologized for the actions of its senior political officer Shai Masot, who had been taped describing his plan to “take down” British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s deputy, Alan Duncan, for opposing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Masot was speaking to a senior aide to Conservative Minister of State for Education Robert Halfon. Their conversation was filmed covertly in a London restaurant and obtained by The Mail from Al Jazeera on Sunday.

Al Jazeera has been preparing a four-part series based on a six-month undercover investigation, titled “The Lobby,” exposing the Israeli government as being in “the midst of a brazen, covert influence campaign in Britain.” by will reveal. Each episode will be broadcast daily on Al Jazeera starting January 15 at 22:30 GMT.

For half a year, an undercover reporter with the pseudonym Robin met with “members of Britain’s lobby network that enjoys strong support from the Israeli government by way of the Israeli embassy in London.” Posing as a graduate activist who supports Israel and hates the BDS movement, Robin discovered, among other things, how “an Israeli diplomat plotted to destroy the careers of senior politicians.”

Robin secretly filmed Shai Masot at a London brasserie asking Maria Strizzolo, then chief of staff to MP Robert Halfon, the deputy chairman of the ruling Conservative Party: “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you take down?”

Strizzolo responded: “Well you know, if you look hard enough I’m sure that there is something that they’re trying to hide.”

“Yeah. I have some MPs,” Masot told her, suggesting she knows “which MPs I want to take down … The Deputy Foreign Minister.”

Strizzolo told Masot that “a little scandal” might cause Duncan to lose his job.

Duncan called the settlements back in 2014 an “ever-deepening stain on the face of the globe,” and said the city of Hebron was under apartheid rule.

During the same dinner, Masot described British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as an “idiot … without any kind of responsibilities,” but who was also “basically good.”

Israel’s embassy said in a statement that the comments were “completely unacceptable,” and that ambassador Mark Regev had apologized to Duncan. It also announced that Masot would be terminated “shortly.”

David Israel

Iran Offers to Arm Lebanese Military (Again)

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Iran has made a serious offer to arm the Lebanese military, according to numerous reports in Lebanese media, all quoting Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament.

Boroujerdi publicly made the offer in a news conference after placing a wreath on the grave of former Hezbollah “Number 2″ terror chief Imad Mughniyeh, assassinated in Damascus in 2008, and that of his son, Jihad, also assassinated more recently.

Mustafa Mugniyeh was appointed by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah to take command of Hezbollah’s forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in place of his older brother, Jihad, in June 2015.

“Iran’s permanent and firm stance is to stand by the brotherly Lebanese Republic of Lebanon, government and people,” Boroujerdi said. “We therefore reiterate our firm will in the field of arming the Lebanese army.”

The Iranian official added that the issue “has been seriously discussed with [former] Defense Minister Samir Moqbel during his visit to Iran. The matter is at the disposal of the Lebanese government,” he said.

The offer comes on the eve of a visit to Saudi Arabia by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who reportedly is hoping to convince Riyadh to resume its multi-billion dollar aid package to the Lebanese military.

Saudi Arabia cut its funding to Beirut last February in response to the country’s deepening ties with Iran, the torching of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and a Saudi Consulate in Iran as well.

The destruction was part of a riot triggered by Saudi Arabia’s execution of an Iranian-backed Shi’ite cleric and activist. Riyadh cut its diplomatic ties with Tehran in January 2016 over the affair.

Aoun is a close ally of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization, which is involved in fighting Saudi-backed opposition forces against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

But although Iran has offered arms to Lebanon more than once since 2010, Beirut has been hesitant to accept, according to YaLibnan, due to suspicions about the intentions behind the offers.

Hana Levi Julian

Kerry, PA, Muslim Preachers, Warn Against Moving Embassy to Jerusalem

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

The Palestinian Authority on Friday instructed the mosques under its supervision in Judea and Samaria to dedicate their sermons to the possibility that the US would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as promised by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign.

The PA official TV channel broadcast segments of sermons imams had delivered throughout Judea and Samaria against the move. One Imam called it a blatant attack on the Muslim religion and on history. Another said it would violate the holy sites and the Al Aqsa mosque. Other called on the Islamic nation to awaken in light of the great offense.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday condemned attempts by the incoming Republican president to move the American embassy, saying such a move would send the Middle East peace process and the entire world into a “crisis.”

Soon to no longer be Secretary of State John Kerry also warned on Friday about “an absolute explosion” in the Middle East following Trump’s moving the embassy to Jerusalem. In a language disturbingly similar to the threats by the PA Imams and the PA chairman, Kerry, speaking to CBS News, assured Trump that “You’d have an explosion – an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region. The Arab world has enormous interest in the Haram al-Sharif, as it is called, the Temple Mount, the Dome [of the Rock], and it is a holy site for the Arab world.”

“And if all of a sudden Jerusalem is declared to be the location of our embassy,” Kerry complained, warning that such a move “has issues of sovereignty, issues of law that it would deem to be affected by that move and by the United States acquiescing in that move, and that would have profound impact on the readiness of Jordan and Egypt to be able to be as supportive and engaged with Israel as they are today.”

Perhaps. On the other hand, it’s more likely that the embassy move, which was promised by presidential Candidate Barack Obama back in 2008 (at an AIPAC conference – and he took it back the next day) is less disturbing to Jordan and Egypt than the growing instability of both regimes, for which they would desperately need support from the US and from Israel.

Abbas, for his part, said that although he is a man of peace, his administration would use “diplomatic and political methods” against moving the embassy. “I demand the American administration stop its duality in dealing with the political process, especially concerning talks of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem,” Abbas insisted. “We consider this aggressive speech that contradicts the political efforts underway on the Palestinian situation, which includes a solution where East Jerusalem remains as Palestine’s capital.”

Incidentally, speaking later to CNN, even Kerry couldn’t deny that having the American embassy in Jerusalem was the right thing to do. “We support the embassy being there one day,” Kerry said. “We want that to happen. But we have opposed unilaterally moving it without resolving the other surrounding issues.”

Next year in Jerusalem? Possibly.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-pa-muslim-preachers-warn-against-moving-embassy-to-jerusalem/2017/01/07/

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