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June 25, 2016 / 19 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

US Secy John Kerry, PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas to Meet in Jordan

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in Jordan on Sunday, according to the U.S. State Dept.

Kerry arrived in Amman on Saturday. The Secretary had meetings scheduled with Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Among the items on the agenda is the situation in Syria and the increasing impact the war is having on the Hashemite Kingdom.

Kerry and Judeh are scheduled to meet Sunday morning before the Secretary is to visit the king for a discussion on the military campaign against Da’esh (ISIS) in Syria.

According to Amnesty International, Jordan currently hosts approximately 635,324 refugees from Syria, about 10 percent of its own population.

More than 4.5 million refugees have fled Syria and are to be found in five host countries: Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt.

Kerry also discussed the Syria crisis with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Saturday morning in London, prior to his trip to Jordan.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a briefing the two men discussed efforts to broker a partial cease-fire in Syria, and ways to get humanitarian aid to civilians trapped and starving in villages and towns that are still under siege.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Shells Kurds in Syrian Border Village After Recapture

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Over the weekend, Turkish forces shelled the Syrian village of Maranaz and the Menagh airbase, both of which were re-captured recently by the Kurds.

Israel is watching the situation in Syria closely; events across the northern border have serious potential to affect Israeli national security. Although Israel coordinates its activities with Russia, that doesn’t mean every move by Moscow is one that works well for Jerusalem across the northern border. Nor does Russia necessarily take into consideration how its military activities might impact Israeli security. The same holds true for Turkey.

Coverage earlier in the day by international media claimed Turkish artillery was aiming its shelling at villages that were under the control of Jaysh al-Thuwar (Revolutionary Army), not YPG, (Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia). A Turkish government source told Reuters on Saturday that Turkey’s military force shelled YPG targets near the town of Azaz in northern Syria. The source did not explain the extent or reason for the shelling.

The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), like the YPG, is considered by Ankara to be a branch of the Turkish PKK terror organization.

The PKK is recognized by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist entity. However, neither considers the YPG or the PYD to be terrorist organizations.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the shelling struck areas of Aleppo, including Menagh, that were recently taken by YPG. The Syrian Kurdish YPG group confirmed the news in a tweet early Saturday evening. Local sources said the shelling did not have any major impact and was not hampering YPG efforts or operations at either location.

“It’s just a propaganda show to pretend they are not idle while al-Qaeda is smashed,” wrote a local source in a response on the Twitter social networking site.

But the artillery aimed Kurdish positions, rather than Da’esh targets, has raised more questions about the Ankara’s goals at a time when Turkey has turned up the pressure over its candidacy for European Union membership.

Moreover, as a member of NATO, Turkey has flatly stated that it expects the world organization to come to its aid in the event that its borders are breached.

But what if those borders are breached by desperate Kurds fleeing flaming wrecks of cities shelled by Turkish artillery?

Those same Kurds are viewed by Turkey as “terrorists” and yet the United States does not view them in the same light. How would this conflict be resolved among two members of NATO, sworn to protect each other under “siege” ?

Meanwhiel, special forces from the United Arab Emirates are reportedly being sent to Syria to help Sunni fighters recapture Raqqa, the northern Syrian city seized by Da’esh (ISIS) for use as the capital of its world caliphate.

It is not clear how many forces the UAE plans to send to Syria for the mission. But Saudi Arabia has also pledged to send forces to train and help local fighters recapture Raqqa.

Numerous Kurds fell in the initial battle to hold the city.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, warned other nations they not interfere in the Syrian conflict. Medvedev said in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt that more foreign intervention will only exacerbate the conflict and could lead to a “permanent war.”

Meanwhile, Israel could easily be caught between all parties and find itself dancing at numerous weddings all at the same time.

Having managed to maintain a cold peace with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for decades on the Golan Heights border, Israel has lately been forced to maintain a much closer watch in the area. The various groups jockeying for position in what is colloqually now being referred to as “the Syrias” are coming closer and closer to the Israel-Syria border — close enough to be seen with binoculars.

Hana Levi Julian

Kerry’s State Dept ‘Appalled’ by (Unnamed) Terrorist Attacks on Israelis

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Apparently attacking two defenseless women, one the mother of six, the other a pregnant woman, was too much for even Secretary of State John Kerry’s State Dept. to ignore.

About midday D.C. time on Monday, Jan. 18, the U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning the barbaric attacks on two Israeli women in less than 48 hours. One of the women was murdered at the door of her own home as several of her children watched or heard in horror. The other victim, a woman five months pregnant, was stabbed in a clothing store in her home community, who remains in Shaare Tzedek Meical Center’s Trauma Unit.

The U.S. acknowledged the horrific attacks on the two Israelis, mentioning each by name.

This is the full, six sentence, one paragraph condemnation issued by Kerry’s State Department’s spokesperson John Kirby:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attacks over the past two days against Israeli civilians. We were appalled and deeply saddened by the death of Dafna Meir, a mother of six, who was attacked on Sunday in her own home. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and community. Today, a pregnant Israeli woman, Michal Froman, was stabbed in the West Bank. We wish her a full and complete recovery. These horrific incidents underscore the importance of affirmative steps to restore calm, reduce tensions and bring an immediate end to the violence.

It is appropriate for the State Dept. to condemn these brutal attacks, as they do others even when far less brutal, when they occur in the region.

The title of the statement uses the term “West Bank” to note where the attacks took place, rather than simply stating Israel. On the other hand, at least neither the title nor the statement itself describes the places where the women were attacked as “settlements,” as did, for example, the BBC  and even the JTA, in their reports.

At least as significant is that while the U.S. condemned the savage attacks, no responsibility was placed on any actors. The “terrorist attacks” happened, but nothing was said about who committed the acts, or who directed the attacks. In both instances it is already known that Palestinian Authority Arabs were the terrorists who knifed the women, one to death. One of the terrorists was an Arab who had been welcomed in to work in the community where he stabbed to death the mother of six. The other terrorist was an Arab teenager from nearby Bethlehem who entered the yishuv through a hole in the fence surrounding the community.

Not assigning blame when Palestinian or Israeli Arabs stab, slash, shoot or ram innocent Israelis is part of the modus operandi of John Kerry’s State Department, as it also was when State was run by now presidential-candidate Hillary Clinton.

This time, at least, the victims were particularized, but the people and entity responsible were not. That’s a problem that allows the responsible parties to remain anonymous and blameless on the world stage, where Israel, Israelis and, in particular, the Israeli government is always named and blamed.

Just wait to see what is the response to the new dictate by the chief security officer for Gush Etzion, the area south of Jerusalem in which the pregnant woman was stabbed. Arabs will now be barred from entering any of the Jewish towns in the area. Collective punishment? Apartheid? It’s coming. Four…three….two….one.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Millions of Jews Inciting Muslims by Praying for Rebuilding Holy Temple

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

This is a blog post by Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

From the Muslim point of view, millions of Jews are inciting Mohammed’s followers by praying every day that the Holy Temple be rebuilt.

Arab media have made it a daily ritual, almost a prayer, to charge that the Israeli government and Jews visiting the Temple Mount are really plotting to rebuild the destroyed Temple.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has taken a tough stand against Jews who even try to utter a prayer on the Temple Mount, which boils the blood of Muslims who respond with violence, which nevertheless their clerics preach from Temple Mount mosques.

Perhaps the Obama administration is not aware of it, but millions of Jews, including those from the Conservative stream of Judaism, pray every day for rebuilding the Temple.

Arab media occasionally refer to the prayers as proof of the “plot” to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque by archaeological excavations that supposedly are carried out in order to weaken the mosque’s foundations and cause the mosque to collapse, if radical Islamic sacrilege don’t beat them to the punch and bring down the house on themselves

The next step, according to the Arab paranoia, is a construction crew entering and building the Third Temple.

Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Jordan, which is the formal “custodian” of the Temple Mount, has stated that worldwide Jewish prayers are incitement, but it may be just a matter of time.

American-Israeli journalist Maayan Jaffe wrote this week for JNS:

[Is] the current Palestinian uprising is solely political?

Not so, says Adnan Abu Amer, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the National University for Open Education. From his perspective, some worrying trends indicate, ‘we are regressing into a religious war….

‘We are seeing a politicization of religious values – people using religion for political purposes. This is dangerous.’

She also quoted Ofer Zalzberg, senior analyst with the Middle East Program of the International Crisis Group, as noting that “one-fifth of the Likud membership is national religious” and that Jews following “a Messianic, Temple-focused Judaism” believe they are fighting a “holy war.”

Zalzberg stated, “On both sides, eschatological beliefs are being misunderstood, abused and misused” and express concerns about the links between religious and violence.”

He told Jaffe:

What is the link between religion and violence? One is about things that because of your religious beliefs you want or even need them and therefore you would fight for them, use violence, to secure them….

The other is that you have needs or goals that are in fact not driven by religion, but for different reasons, religious leaders use religious discourse to grant them legitimacy. This is part of the dynamics we are seeing in the current escalation of the conflict.

Now that the Israeli government has more or less crushed the idea of Jews praying on the Temple Mount, radical Islamic leaders, whose existence is dependent on violence, may have to turn to universal Jewish prayer to drive their followers into a frenzy.

The traditional Jewish  prayers in the morning service are preceded by reciting Biblical and Talmudic passages about sacrifices, and conclude with the prayer that may it be God’s will that “the Temple should be built speedily in our days.”

If that is not enough to rankle radical Muslims, Jews recite three times a day in the silent “Amidah” prayer:

Return in mercy to Jerusalem Your city and dwell therein as You have promised; speedily establish therein the throne of David Your servant, and rebuild it, soon in our days, as an everlasting edifice. Blessed are You L-rd, who rebuilds Jerusalem…..

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Was Your Congressman One of 32 Who Called for Closing PLO Office in US?

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised Congressmen for demanding what the State Dept. rejected.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, running for the Republican party nomination for president, signed up 31 other Congressmen, as reported here last week, to write a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry demanding that the Obama Defense Minister close the PLO offices in Washington.

The Congressmen argued:

The United States government has an obligation to publicly denounce the PLO’s actions and should immediately revoke its waiver.

Allowing the PLO to maintain an office in Washington, D.C. provides no benefit to the United States or the peace process. Closing the PLO office in Washington, D.C. would send a clear statement that the kind of incitement to violence perpetrated by the PLO and its leaders will not be tolerated.

The State Dept. rejected the demand. The ZOA came to the Congressmen’s defense because “Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has never fulfilled its obligations under the Oslo Accords to outlaw terrorist groups, extradite terrorists, confiscate illegal weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled, media, mosques, schools and youth camps that fuels the conflict.”

The ZOA added:

The PA even gives pensions to families of Jew-killing terrorists. And the larger the number of Jews murdered-the larger the pension. President Obama and Secretary Kerry say nothing about any of these PA terrorist actions. The PA should be placed on the US list of terrorist entities, and should not have an office in our Capital.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein added, “Put quite simply, the PLO does not merit the diplomatic immunity and the status that comes with it. President Obama gave Abbas’ PA this upgrade despite the fact that the PA has not altered its behavior, even while receiving annually hundreds of millions of dollars in US tax-payer funded aid.

Below are the names of the Congressmen, all of them Republicans, who signed the letter:

Ted Cruz  and Randy Weber from Texas; Mark Meadows, North Carolina; Ilan Ros-Lehtinen,  Ron DeSantis, Jeff Miller, Carlos Curbelo, Ted Yoho, Bill Posey, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Curt Clawson from Florida;

Jeff Duncan, South Carolina; Doug Lamborn, Colorado; Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee;  Scott Perry, Pennsylvania; Jody Hice, Georgia;

Tim Huelskamp, Kansas; Lee Zeldin, New York, Gary Palmer, Alabama; John Fleming, Louisiana, Jim Jordan, Ohio; Morgan Griffith and David Brat from Virginia;

Matt Salmon, Paul A. Gosar and David Schweikert, Arizona; Stevan Pearce, New Mexico; Scott Garrett, New Jersey; and

Ken Calvert, Marlin Stutzman from California and David B. McKinley and Alex Mooney from West Virginia.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Kerry Winked at Oman’s Human Rights Record for Backing Iran Deal

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

John Kerry’s top advisers were so anxious to pacify Oman for backing the Iran nuclear deal that they blocked a report that would have put Oman dangerously close to being sanctioned for human rights violations, Reuters reported.

The news agency’s exclusive report stated that the unusual intervention by the Secretary of State’s top echelon “suggests the Obama administration placed diplomatic priorities over human rights to pacify an important Middle East partner.”

U.S. diplomats in its Middle East bureau and in a department whose objective is to fight human trafficking advised that Oman’s ranking on forced labor and trafficking in humans should be lowered by one level, which would have left it one notch above the category that would have placed the oil-rich ally on the list of countries that can be sanctioned.

Kerry’s staff simply delayed publishing the scheduled June date for publishing the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report in order to soothe Oman’s anger over the planned demotion, Reuters said.

The report was eventually published in July, but Oman’s ranking magically was left unchanged, an apparent gift for its supporting President Barack Obama’s efforts to strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear development, regardless of a nasty human rights record.

The State Dept, did not directly respond to Reuters when the issue was raised.

Oman used its importance to the United States as a lever to protest the scheduled downgrade in its human rights record, Reuters quoted Mark Lagon, the TIP office’s ambassador-at-large from 2007 to 2009 and now president of Freedom House, as saying, “I’m not aware of a case where something like this has happened before.”

If Oman had been dropped one level to “Tier 3,” it would have shared the embarrassing distinction of being on par with North Korea when it comes to trafficking in humans.

The news agency added:

A Reuters investigation published on Aug. 3 revealed a high degree of ‘grade inflation’ in this year’s rankings.

An unprecedented number of diplomatically sensitive countries such as Malaysia, China, Cuba, Uzbekistan and Mexico wound up with ratings higher than recommended by the State Department’s own human rights experts.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Legislators Press Kerry to Shutter US PLO Office for Funding Terrorism

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Some members of the U.S. Congress are pushing Secretary of State John Kerry to close the Washington, D.C. office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The reason? The PLO is not only a primary source of incitement for terrorism, including murder, against Israelis, it also is a direct funder of that terrorism.

In the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, Congress forbade the PLO from establishing or maintaining an office in the United States. However, each year since 1994, a President has signed a waiver allowing the PLO office in Washington, D.C. to remain open.

At the end of last week Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.-11) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and more than two dozen other legislators called on the State Department to revoke the PLO’s waiver to maintain an office in Washington.

The letter was signed by 32 members of Congress (see the list at the end of this article) who cited the very careful and credible news source Palestinian Media Watch report that “the PLO funds funds terrorism by paying “salaries” to Palestinians who are put in Israeli jails as a way of rewarding and incentivizing terror attacks.”

PMW revealed that the PLO, every year, provides about $150 million to convicted terrorists imprisoned in Israel’s jails or to their families of deceased terrorists. The worse the act of terrorism and the longer the prison term, the more money is “awarded” to each terrorist or terrorist survivor’s family. At least some of that money, by the way, can be traced to American government funds (i.e. U.S. taxpayer money).

The Secretary of State and President Barack Obama have repeatedly lectured the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs to “end the incitement,” as if the two were equally engaged in that wrongdoing. In addition to the calls from this administration to cease the incitement, both Houses of Congress just this fall unanimously passed resolutions condemning continued Arab incitement. But the legislators were outraged to learn that not only does the Palestinian Arab leadership openly agitate for attacks on Israelis and glorify murderers and attempted murderers of Israelis, but they actually pay the terrorists explicitly for committing that terror.

“Our close ally Israel is enduring another wave of Palestinian terrorism in the form of car-ramming, rock-throwing, and brutal knife attacks,” Sen. Cruz said. “These horrific acts of terrorism are due to the continued incitement and glorification of violence by Palestinian leadership.

“Just last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the recent attacks a ‘justified popular uprising’ following his remarks in September, in which he said, ‘We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.’

“It is long past time for the United States to hold the PLO and its leaders accountable for engaging in such rampant incitement, for celebrating the murder of Jews, and for providing payment to Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel and their families. We must make it clear such actions are blatantly unacceptable and close the PLO office in Washington, D.C.”

“For too long the PLO has not just tolerated acts of terrorism against the Israeli people – but incited others to commit acts of violence in the name of jihad,” Rep. Meadows said. “It goes against everything we stand for as an American people to allow the PLO to retain an office in our nation’s capital, considering its long and well-documented history of encouraging violence and terror against our Israeli allies. It’s time we send a clear signal that the United States does not tolerate extremism and demonstrate our unwavering support for our allies in Israel by revoking this waiver.”

What the legislators seek in their letter is for the U.S. government to recognize that the Palestinian Arab leadership is continuously not only verbally inciting terror, but paying people to commit the most heinous terror possible. And concomitant with that recognition must be an immediate revocation of the PLO’s waiver, and a shuttering of its U.S. office. Failing to make that acknowledgement and take the requested action makes a mockery of the U.S. government’s calls for an end to incitement and its repeated claims to be anxious to bring peace to the region.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-legislators-press-kerry-to-shutter-us-plo-office-for-funding-terrorism/2015/12/23/

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