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February 10, 2016 / 1 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Mahmoud Abbas’

U.S. ‘Re-Issues Old Labeling Requirement’ But Ignores its Original, Now Invalid, Basis

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Things continue to go downhill in the diplomatic world of U.S.-Israel relations. This week the U.S. State Department re-issued a nearly 20 year old regulation – written at a very different time, under very different circumstances – and insists it will “strictly enforce” this ancient rule which requires any goods produced in the disputed territories be designated as place of origin other than “Israel.”

This old-new restriction came up in one of the most unlikely of places, the Cargo Systems Messaging Service, which is part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The very short introduction explains that the message was issued in order to “provide guidance to the trade community regarding the country of origin marking requirements for goods that are manufacture in the West Bank.”

This latest message from the Cargo Messaging Service was issued literally in the dead of night – 12:53 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23. Hmmm.

And the “requirements” to which that message is referring, are ones that require labeling of goods produced in the disputed territories, or as the U.S. likes to call them – despite chastising Israel constantly for “creating facts on the ground” – the West Bank and Gaza but not Israel.

Although the labeling requirements are the very same ones recently at issue when the European Union forbade goods produced in the disputed territories to have Israel as an option and only permit labels such as “Gaza,” “Gaza/West Bank” or “West Bank,” the reason for the 20 year old U.S. regulation has a very different origin.

The U.S. requirements were imposed in the wake of the infamous Oslo Accords – those withered on the vine principles recently rejected in a public statement to the United Nations by acting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The Accords are referred to in the U.S. Regulations by its formal name, the “Israel-PLO-Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements.” Yeah, that long-dead horse.

And the original, and therefore controlling reason why the U.S. source labeling rule came into play had nothing to do with promoting a boycott of Israel, or even, as some now claim, a “truth in advertising” initiative.

The situation that was understood to need correction back in the 1990’s had to do with fair trade agreements. The U.S. and Israel had such an agreement, but the U.S. could not have an FTA with Gaza or with the now-Palestinian Authority controlled area in the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria).

In the wake of the Oslo Accords, when peace was threatening to break out all over, the U.S. decided it also made sense to create an FTA between the U.S. and the Palestinian Arab government. And that was an additional impetus for creating new labels for items produced by Palestinian Arabs in Gaza or in the “West Bank.”

In an additional and unintentional point of irony, the Palestinian Authority, back in the 1990’s, urged the State Department, and the State Department acquiesced, to the joint labels of Gaza and West Bank “so as to reaffirm the territorial unity of the two areas.”

What a joke.

During Thursday’s daily press briefing, Deputy State Department Spokeperson Mark C. Toner assured journalists the matter was “simply a restatement of previous requirements” which “in no way supersedes prior rulings or regulations, nor does it impose additional requirements with respect to merchandise imported from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, or Israel.”

Toner emphasized, with respect to the resistance of the old requirements: “there’s nothing new. This is simply a reissuance of guidance.”

The basis for the original regulation – the one everyone insists is all that is in play – was the Oslo Accords and the creation of a new state – one that remains stillborn – and the wrongly anticipated unification of Gaza and the Palestinian Arab governing force in the “West Bank.” Those bases were weak back in 1997, but they are now long-decayed legs upon which to place this labeling requirement.

And that’s the reason the regulations have not been enforced until now. There is no viable Palestinian State. There is no enforceable Oslo Accords. There is no unity Palestinian Arab government.

If that is all true, the new-old regulations should remain null and void.

MK Avigdor Liberman: ‘It’s Israel’s Turn to Help Support Diaspora Jewry’

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

In a small sparsely-furnished office, containing a cherry wood desk, a matching credenza, an Israeli flag, some small personal photos and a large framed print of the father of Zionism, Vladimir Jabotinsky, is seated a man larger than life, the head of Yisrael Beiteinu and former Foreign Minister of Israel: Avigdor Liberman.

When the JewishPress.com met with Liberman late one morning this past week, he was told that most non-Israeli Jews really don’t have a good sense of who he is. So he was asked to explain himself.

ALIYAH, JEWISH CONTINUITY, ABSORPTION

Liberman began this way:

“First of all, my highest priorities are Aliyah, Jewish Continuity and Absorption. My positions are clear right wing without compromise, but very pragmatic.”

One of his pet projects combines all three priorities: he envisions schools of Jewish education everywhere in the Diaspora, along the lines of American schools abroad. Those schools would focus on both Judaism and Zionism.

Liberman explained the need for this educational initiative: “At the Saban meeting, people like [American Jewish journallist] Jeffrey Goldberg talked about the problem of the younger Jewish generation not being so supportive of Israel.”

“He said that the decline in support was due to Israeli government policies. But that’s not the problem,” Liberman said.

The problem is that the “younger generations of Jews don’t really know much about and so don’t care much about Israel.”

This dovetails with Liberman’s preoccupation with Jewish assimilation. He cites statistics and surveys which predict the near total extinction of Jews in only a few more generations.

“Fewer than 10 percent of American Jews have a Jewish, Zionist education. In places like France, Russia, even Canada, there is a 70 percent assimilation rate,” Liberman explains, with horror.

Naturally, the first question is who would fund such a project? Knowing that even many American Jewish Federations have turned away from significant contributions to Jewish day schools, the prospect seems bleak.

But Liberman isn’t looking to the Diaspora as the primary funding source. He explains: “during the 1940’s and ’50’s, Israel was a small, poor country and needed tremendous financial and political support – which it received – from the Jewish Diaspora.

“Now, with Israel’s vibrant economy, it’s our turn to give back and our turn to help support the Jewish people. We are a strong country with a huge budget,” explains Liberman.

Liberman believes that Israel must contribute something on the order of $365 million – which should be met with matching funds – to this vitally important enterprise.

The suavely-dressed, slimmed-down, blue-eyed politician sees this contribution by Israel not just as providing moral support to the waning Diaspora Jewry, but as a crucial investment, “it is for our future as well.”

The idea was first pitched by Liberman nearly a year ago in a speech in the United States. The concept was immediately overshadowed by the subsequent Israeli elections and, increasingly, by the nation’s focus on the then-looming and seemingly catastrophic Nuclear Iran Deal which the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the U.S., the U.K., France, China and Russia), plus Germany (the P5+1) was negotiating, and then concluded, with Iran.

Liberman believes his concept is critical if there is to remain a global Jewry outside of Israel. Not surprisingly, one of the reasons Diaspora Jewry with a strong Jewish and Zionist identity matters so much is as a steady source for Aliyah.

But the current governing coalition “does not care about the Diaspora,” Liberman said.

This discussion led naturally to the question of why Yisrael Beiteinu walked away from being in the ruling coalition. It’s of course harder to promote enormous new projects from the outside.

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.

O’Malley Upgrades – or Downgrades – Jesus from ‘Palestinian’ to a ‘Refugee’

Friday, December 25th, 2015

Jesus was “a refugee child who fled death gangs,” according to Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley can forget about the Orthodox Jewish vote. His crass comment that managed to implicate Biblical Jews as “death gangs” also once again re-event Jesus into a politically correct figure.

The Palestinian Authority reinvented Jesus as a the first “Palestinian” in recent years,  but PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas this year settled  for simply calling him “a symbol for all Palestinians.”

It is not clear what the symbol means to the Palestinian Authority, but the Abbas regime does not look like it has any chance of being resurrected.

A recent poll by the respected  Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research revealed that only 45 percent of respondents support “the two-state” proposal and 65 percent believe that it is no longer practical.

As for Abbas, he is in the cellar among the respondents. If elections were held today, six years after Palestinian Authority Arabs were supposed to vote for a chairman, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would handily defeat Abbas by a 10-point margin.

O’Malley’s Christmas Eve comment on Jesus as a refugee was a barb to Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who wants to deport hundreds of illegal immigrants.

Trump is not the only one. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly is planning to deport hundreds of immigrants from Central America who fled violence.

Nevertheless, O’Malley tweeted:

A Christmas Refugee Roundup sounds like something [Trump] would concoct. Remember: Jesus was a refugee child who fled death gangs.

 

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.

Abbas: ‘Palestinian Authority No Longer Exists’ – We Are a ‘State’

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas proclaimed Monday at a news conference in Athens that the entity formed under the internationally recognized Oslo Accords — the Palestinian Authority — no longer exists; it has officially been replaced by the “State of Palestine.”

Following his meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Abbas said:

“Regarding this issue of a passport under the name Palestine State, we are about to proceed to the passport replacement and the issuance of a new passport within one year or even less.

“We have already changed all documents issued by ministries and public services and they now bear the name ‘State of Palestine,’ he said.

“We no longer accept from anyone to use the name ‘Palestinian Authority.’”

The declaration made by Abbas — if taken seriously — could have some unique ramifications for those who live within PA-controlled territories and are “citizens” of those areas.

Israeli security personnel quietly support the entity in some delicate situations and basic energy infrastructure such as electricity, water and gas is provided through Israeli cooperation. Tax monies are also collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and transferred to the entity on a monthly basis, with a great hue and a cry if there is any delay.

If in fact Abbas now runs an entirely new nation, clearly there is no longer any need for any of this: all Israeli services can and may be cut off, possibly instantaneously.

Any aggression against Israel emanating from its territory could be construed as an act of war, perhaps justifying a “proportionate response.” How soon then might it be until Israel really invaded and re-occupied the territory that Arab instigators whine about as “occupied” ?

Meanwhile, although the Greek parliament voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a resolution recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a new independent Arab country, the vote does not bind its government in any way.

There will be no formal recognition by Greece, according to a statement released by the Greek foreign ministry, so as “not to disturb good relations with Israel.”

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recently met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, in addition to his meeting with Abbas in Ramallah. The meeting between Tsipras and Netanyahu ended with both in good spirits.

“We must underline the imperative need to begin a substantial, a credible peace process, but with a clear political target,” Tsipras told reporters Monday after meeting with Abbas.

“A process that will give again hope to the Palestinian people, but also to the Israeli people, for a better future, for a peaceful coexistence of two peoples in the same region.”

More than half of PA citizens (60 percent) polled in September (1,397 adults) by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, however, clearly support stabbing attacks and a violent intifada. Moreover, 66 percent believe an uptick in violence will serve them well.

In addition, more than half (54 percent) expressed outright opposition to the so-called “two-state solution” that has been consistently forced on both Israel and the Palestinian Authority by the United States and the European Union for decades. Even more – 70 percent – are opposed to a single-state “solution” in which Arabs and Jews will coexist with equal rights.

The bottom line: Palestinian Authority Arab citizens have not wavered one iota from their original belief in 1948 that the State of Israel must be annihilated and the Jews either exterminated or otherwise somehow removed from the region. The only question in their minds is how best to accomplish that goal.

For anyone outside of this region to delude themselves into thinking otherwise, and to form any foreign policy involving Israel’s interests based on such an error would be foolhardy and utterly dangerous for all Israeli citizens, be they Jews, Christians or Muslims.

Mahmoud Abbas in Greece, Waiting for PA Recognition as New Nation

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived Sunday in Athens for a two-day official visit to Greece.

Abbas is set to meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday, Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday he is scheduled to address the Greek Parliament, where the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee unanimously called on the government to recognize the PA as an independent sovereign Arab nation.

This comes in the wake of a meeting between Tsipras and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that left both in good spirits. Tsipras, whose party has long been a supporter of the Palestinian Authority, also met with Abbas in Ramallah during that visit.

The Greek government followed that meeting with a decision to ignore the recent European Union directive to its members to remove the “Made in Israel” label all products imported from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Other countries ignoring the anti-Israel directive include Hungary and most recently, the Czech Republic.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mahmoud-abbas-in-greece-waiting-for-pa-recognition-as-new-nation/2015/12/21/

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