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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

US State Dept Attacks Its Ally, Israel Over UNRWA Human Shields

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

The U.S. State Department has attacked its ally, Israel, for returning fire in combat when Hamas and allied terrorists shelled its soldiers or fired rockets at Israeli civilians from within and around UNWRA facilities.

It is standard military practice that American own troops have carried out thousands of times in Afghanistan, Mosul and elsewhere around the world without ever issuing even one leaflet of warning to the population, let alone a phone call requesting residents to leave.

The buildings under discussion are owned by the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) and were sheltering Gazans who were displaced by the combat initiated by Hamas. The situation made a very juicy, deliberate photo op for the terrorists, as noted in the terrorist training manual captured earlier in the summer by the IDF.

The terrorists were exploiting the United Nations facilities as rocket launching sites and in some cases, as weapons storage facilities, and were operating very close to the buildings where the Gaza civilians were staying, in a deliberate and cynical use of human shields. All this has been documented.

An UNRWA health center and attached distribution center in Jabaliya were exploited by Hamas terrorists for use as a rocket firing site from which to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. Satellite imagery documented the evidence.

An UNRWA health center and attached distribution center in Jabaliya were exploited by Hamas terrorists for use as a rocket firing site from which to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. Satellite imagery documented the evidence.

And all of which seemingly has been ignored by the State Department, which scored Israel for returning fire to the source of attacks on its civilians and soldiers.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at a briefing this past Thursday, “We were horrified by the strikes that hit UNWRA facilities.”

As a matter of fact, it is not at all clear that any Israeli shells actually hit UNRWA facilities while they were occupied. There is satellite imagery and video documentation that the buildings were empty at the time that a single Israeli shell struck an UNWRA building.

Other shells that struck around UNRWA buildings and in a courtyard and were aimed directly with surgical precision at the terrorists who were being targeted precisely because they were firing rockets at Israeli civilians, and at Israeli soldiers.

Synagogue in Ashdod destroyed by Hamas rocket fire launched from Gaza.

Synagogue in Ashdod destroyed by Hamas rocket fire launched from Gaza.

None of which apparently mattered to the United States, even though the use of human shields does not preclude the legal right to wage war against a legitimate military target in international law.

“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians,” Harf said. “Israeli authorities say they’re investigating. We expect these to be investigated thoroughly and promptly, and we’ll continue pushing them to do so.”

A bit hostile for a representative of a nation that bills itself as Israel’s “greatest friend in the world,” no? She’s starting to sound a lot more like a few other leaders we could name, none of whom are friends of Israel these days.

Harf’s remarks followed a report issued earlier in the day by the Human Rights Watch organization, which has accused Israel of committing war crimes with “indiscriminate targeting of civilians” at three UNRWA schools — without offering evidence to back up its claims, of course.

What Could Possibly Still Be On the Table?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

I’ve got to believe that today’s story about Kerry trying to restart Israeli final status talks with the Palestinian Authority is the product of a delusional mind.

Let’s step back a second, and ask what could possibly still be on the table after the summer we just had.

1) PA control over the Jordan Valley?

Nothing would make ISIS happier than no more Israeli forces poised to defend Jordan from invasion and takeover. Not to mention no Israeli forces protecting Israel’s border.

Would the State Department really abandon Jordan that way?

2) Israel pulling out of parts of Judea and Samaria?

Nothing would make Hamas happier than Abbas no longer having IDF protection, so they can more easily overthrow the PA there too.

Would the State Department really abandon Abbas that way?

3) Israel releasing the recidivist terrorists it just recaptured?

Nothing would make Hamas happier or more popular on the street than the release of its terrorists.

Would the State Department really strengthen Hamas that way?

I know there are cynical people that would say the answer to all these questions is yes.

But does anyone really believe the State Department is so delusional, shortsighted and determined to hurt America’s only real ally in the Middle East?

OK. Don’t answer that.

Arab Sources: State Dept Again Pressuring Israel to Restart Talks

Monday, September 1st, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State of John Kerry has again begun to ‘remind’ Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that it’s time to restart the final status talks with Palestinian Authority leaders.

Kerry allegedly phoned Netanyahu over the matter, adding a suggestion that Israel consider releasing that fourth group of terrorist prisoners that were held back from the final tranche that was canceled when the previous set of talks crashed and burned.

But Israel’s prime minister didn’t see things the same way, according to a report in the London-based Al Quds al-Araby – prompting Kerry to cancel his scheduled visit to Israel next week.

It is worth mentioning at this point that such reports are often best viewed with at least a large tablespoon of salt.

A source quoted in the Palestinian Authority also told the newspaper that a PA delegation to include chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat and intelligence head Majid Faraj said they would travel to Washington tomorrow (Tuesday) to meet instead with Kerry there, and present a new initiative.

Another PA delegation headed by PLO official Mustafa Barghouti is set to arrive today (Monday, Sept. 1) in Cairo as well. There, too, discussions will include – in addition to the follow-up to cease-fire arrangements with Gaza – the issue of restarting talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

It’s the same PA officials who plan to charge Israel with war crimes and violations of international human rights laws.

(Allegedly the PA has said they are planning to “delay” their applications to the UN Security Council and other international commission, IF an agreement is reached within four months.)

It’s also the same PA unity government that includes the Hamas terrorists who kidnapped three Israeli teens and murdered them in Gush Etzion on June 12.

The same PA government that is led by the Fatah faction, which includes the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist wing – which participated in the firing of rockets, missiles and mortars at Israel from Gaza.

The same PA government that has reneged on every agreement and backed out of every negotiation deal it has ever made with Israel.

The same PA government that has never managed to meet even the most basic obligations about working towards a ‘language of peace’ it agreed to under the Oslo Accords that established its existence as an entity in the first place.

The countless publications of the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) organization, which monitors PA media publications and broadcasts make it clear there have been no changes whatsoever in the glorification of terror at the government level from Ramallah. So how does Mahmoud Abbas differ from Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal?

Simple. He wages war with words, encourages terror at the diplomatic and educational level.

It’s the most dangerous terrorism of all, and the United States and Europe both fund his efforts, full throttle.

Lawmaker Says ‘Obama People Looking for Fight With Netanyahu

Friday, August 15th, 2014

A New York lawmaker says officials at the White House have “almost been looking for a fight” with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since the day President Barack Obama entered the White House.

U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) the New York Post on Thursday, “The Obama people came into office with almost a chip on their shoulder against Netanyahu. He was treated worse than most enemies are treated. They were almost looking for a fight with Netanyahu and they got it.”

King made his remarks against the background of a piece published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week describing the outrage of officials at the White House upon their discovery that Israel was about to receive a routine delivery of Hellfire missiles from the United States via the Pentagon.

There was nothing unusual about the transaction, which was a standard military-to-military order, as confirmed to media by spokespersons for defense departments on both sides of the Atlantic. But the Obama White House is still relatively unfamiliar with “standard operating procedures” in military matters — as many have pointed out — and upon discovering the weapons about to be sent to Israel, immediately put the delivery on hold.

According to the WSJ report, the Obama White House subsequently put the brakes on every military delivery to Israel, requiring future intense scrutiny of every single item henceforth.

A second lawmaker who has just returned from a visit to the Jewish State — U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-LI), was less than pleased at the news.

“I can tell you firsthand,” he said, “When terrorists are firing rockets, it’s no time for behind-the-scenes speculation.”

State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf, meanwhile, made a lukewarm effort at damage control, claiming it’s “natural” to review such shipments “in any crisis.”

Jordan’s Arab Bank Goes on Trial in NY for Terror Financing

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A worldwide legal earthquake is about to begin in Brooklyn, where the Jordan-based Arab Bank goes on trial today (Monday) for authorizing money transfers from terror entities to Hamas members abroad.

The case, a lawsuit by the families of US victims of terror, has been 10 years in the making and revolves around ‘martyr payments’ to the relatives of Hamas suicide bombers via the Jordan-based Arab Bank through its New York branch during the second intifada.

The plaintiffs claim in their suit the Bank has violated Section 2339B of Title 18 of the US Code, which makes it illegal for an entity within the United States to provide material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations. Hamas is included on that list. Attorney Gary Osen of Osen LLC is the lead attorney in the case.

This is the first-ever civil trial targeting terrorist financing, one that has dragged on for a decade because Arab Bank has worked just that hard to fight it — or at least to delay the proceedings as long as possible. When the Supreme Court rejected the Bank’s petition to hear the case in June, the way was paved for today’s hearing in Brooklyn.

In April 2013, a New York Federal Court penalizing the Bank with an order imposing sanctions for refusing to submit documents for review by the plaintiffs to determine whether they could be used as evidence in the case.

That order raised Cain between three agencies at the federal level in the Obama administration – the US State Department, the Justice Department, and the Treasury Department – as officials tried to decide just how to deal with this delicate but dirty matter that affects not one, but at least two or more of America’s closest allies in the Middle East.

The Bank claimed it refused to submit the documents because it could have violated bank secrecy laws in Jordan and Lebanon. The lower US court was having none of that and ruled a jury could interpret that to mean an automatic admission of guilt on the part of the Bank.

In a pre-trial statement to Forbes, the Bank commented, “The facts show that Arab Bank provided routine banking service in compliance with applicable counter terrorism laws and regulations, and had no intention of providing support to Hamas or any other known terrorist organization.”

The Bank is accused of facilitating massive money transfers from 1998 to 2004 to Hamas leaders and institutions, as well as to the families of jailed Hamas members and suicide bombers. The money allegedly came from insurance benefits provided by the Saudi Committee and the Hezbollah al-Shahid Foundation. Both supported the intifada by providing benefits to the families of those who “martyred” themselves or who became injured or captured by the IDF in the process.

The insurance was “ultimately designed to provide substantial material support to Palestinian terrorist organizations and to provide a meaningful incentive both to prospective recruits and to individuals contemplating the commission of independent acts of violence in the name of the ‘popular resistance’,” according to the complaint, as quoted by Business Insider.

There were five attacks specified in the complaint in which Arab Bank allegedly facilitated money transfers to the relatives of Hamas terrorists. One was the October 2003 case of John Linde Jr., murdered with two other security officers while escorting US diplomats to interview Palestinian Arab candidates for Fulbright Scholarships. The three were killed by an IED (improvised explosive device, also known as a ‘homemade bomb’) in northern Gaza. A second involved 3-year-old Tehilla Nathansen, killed while sitting on her mother’s lap when terrorists blew up the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem in August 2003. A third child, 8th grader Jacob Mandell, was killed in a hail of rocks hurled by attacking Palestinian Arabs along with another friend while hiking in May 2001. And so on.

US Calls for Israeli Restraint Under Rocket Fire, Arab Violence

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

While calling on Israel to exercise “restraint” in the face of incessant rocket fire and nationwide Arab rioting, the United States says Hamas is not really part of the Palestinian Authority unity government.

Moreover, the U.S. contends that PA unity government leader Mahmoud Abbas carries no responsibility for its actions.

Abbas has yet to break his ties with Hamas and dissolve his Fatah faction’s unity pact with the terrorist organization that rules Gaza.

At a State Department news briefing on Monday, spokesperson Jen Psaki admitted to reporters Secretary of State John Kerry had asked Israel – “as he’s urged both parties” — to exercise restraint and “avoid steps that could further destabilize the situation.”

In response to an immediate question from a journalist as to whether Kerry had also spoken with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in the same manner, Psaki responded:

“He has spoken with him over the course of the last several days or week. I don’t – let me see if I have anything specific over the last – he spoke with him – let’s see – I know last Tuesday. He’s been in – I think it’s important to reiterate here we’ve been in touch on the ground very closely with both parties.”

The journalist persisted, noting, “Well, but you’ve seen the comments that are coming out of Hamas. And now that the U.S. has, in effect, kind of accept the fact that Hamas is now in this unity government, you would think that as leader of this unity government it would be incumbent on President Abbas to rein in or take – try and maintain some kind of control over the activities of Hamas. Isn’t that correct?”

Psaki’s reply: “Well, you’re right. I mean, we’ve stated – you’re right in the sense that we have stated from the beginning that we would judge the interim government by its actions, composition, and policies. And based on what we know now, this hasn’t changed. We don’t believe that Hamas plays a role in the government. However, to your point, it is difficult to see how other aspects of the reconciliation process can move forward in this current atmosphere, and we’ve conveyed that as well.”

The journalist did not let up. “Well, I mean, I understand that you – that maybe it’s a technicality that Hamas doesn’t play a part in this government, but it is a unity government that includes Hamas. And I’m just wondering, now does President Abbas more so than ever bear responsibility for the actions of Hamas?”

Psaki: “No. But we have – President Abbas himself has suggested that there would be serious consequences for whatever party carried out the crimes that we’ve been talking about over the last several weeks. And as I mentioned, it’s difficult for us to see, given this current atmosphere, how other aspects of the reconciliation process could continue.”

Journalist: “Just one quick last one. Did Secretary Kerry mention the specific case of this Israeli-Palestinian teen that was beaten?”

Psaki: “I don’t have any other further details, but I think it’s safe to assume when he’s talking about the escalating tensions on the ground, he’s talking about all of the reports that you’ve seen in the news that we’ve all been discussing.”

Journalist continues: “Did you have a response, reaction – and forgive me if I missed it – to the Palestinian teenager who was killed, this cousin of this – or did that happen over the –

Psaki: “I believe we’ve put out something over the weekend. I can double-check that and certainly. . .

Journalist: “Okay. Thus far, have you seen both sides exercising the kind of restraint that you think is necessary?”

North Korea to Indict 2 Detained Americans

Monday, June 30th, 2014

North Korea has announced it plans to indict two American citizens being held in custody for unspecified crimes.

In a four-sentence statement issued by state-controlled media, North Korea said Matthew Miller, 24, and Jeffrey Fowle, 56, two tourists, had been investigated for “perpetrating hostile acts” after entering the country. The country had evidence and testimony from both about their alleged actions, the statement said.

The two entered on separate tours with Miller’s arrest first announced on April 25, two weeks after his arrival.

According to Japan’s Kyodo News, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Fowle was detained subsequently after arriving on a group tour in April, due to a Bible left in his hotel room.

The dates of the trials have not been announced, and it is expected to two may be forced into “confessions” of “criminal acts.” The State Department has updated its travel warnings, urging American citizens not to go to North Korea, pointing out the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/north-korea-to-indict-2-detained-americans/2014/06/30/

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