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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘State Dept.’

Obama Asks NYC’s US District Court Judge to Waive Bond for PA, PLO

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

The Obama administration asked a United States judge on Monday (Aug. 10) to “carefully consider” the size of the bond he sets for the Palestinian Authority while it appeals an award for damages in the deaths and injuries of Americans in six terror attacks in Israel.

Both the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority were determined to be financial liable for the attacks in the civil trial that ended in a New York court in February.

Under U.S. anti-terrorism law, the jury’s award of $218.5 million was automatically tripled to a total of $655.5 million.

Attorneys for the defense argued the PA could not afford to post the bond for the appeal, typically 111 percent of the judgement. They asked the judge to waive the bond requirement altogether instead.

The Obama administration concurred, and took the highly unusual step late Monday night of filing a formal “Statement of Interest of the United States of America” with Justice George B. Daniels of the Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The plaintiffs, who were opposed to the request, included ten families of victims of terror, comprising some three dozen members, eight of whom were physically injured in the attacks and others who were related to those who were murdered in the attacks that took place between 2002 to 2004.

The attacks left a total of 33 dead and more than 450 injured, including a number of U.S. citizens. They were carried out by terrorists from the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Hamas.

“The United States strongly supports the rights of victims of terrorism to vindicate their interests in federal court and to receive just compensation for their injuries,” the Department of Justice wrote in the brief.

However, requiring the Palestinian Authority to pay “a significant portion of its revenues would likely severely compromise the PA’s ability to operate as a governmental authority,” wrote deputy secretary of state Antony J. Blinken.

“A PA insolvency and collapse would harm current and future U.S.-led efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

In court last month, Judge Daniels made it clear he intended to set the bond as a “significant demonstration” that the Palestinian Authority and PLO were both “willing and able to pay a judgment, if a judgment is entered and affirmed on appeal.” The families have taken the position that the defendants should deposit at least $30 million per month with the court as a show of good faith.

Blinken added in the DOJ’s brief Monday that the government was not taking a position on the merits of the case; only the impact of the bond itself.

There has been some friction over the case – and over the issue of intervening on behalf of the PLO and PA for the bond – between the State Department and the DOJ.

PA Media: Two Opposite Statements for Two People

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The Palestinian Authority’s most widely-quoted English news site reported that today’s hit-and-attack on three Israeli soldiers was a “suspected car attack” but in its Arabic version, it was described as a car accident.”

The Obama administration, the United Nations and foreign media in general for years have ignored numerous reports of “two statements for two people,” particularly when it comes to denouncing terror in English for the State Dept. to read while encouraging terror in Arabic for its future martyrs to read.

By all accounts, the Palestinian Authority driver intentionally rammed into the soldiers in Samaria, leaving one in a life-threatening condition. A second soldier suffered very critical injuries, and the third is in good condition with light injuries.

Ma’an reported in English:

Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man on Thursday after a suspected car attack which injured two Israeli soldiers, a Ma’an reporter said.

The man allegedly ran over two Israeli soldiers on Route 60 near the illegal settlement of Shilo, north of Ramallah, with Israeli forces shooting the suspect at the scene.

And for the Arabic version of Ma’an, it wrote, according to a translation by Google:

[They] were injured on Thursday described as serious injuries in a car accident.

The Palestinian Authority official WAFA website did not mention the attack – or accident – at all.

Unlike the Ramallah regime, Hamas was up front. It said the attack was “a natural” response to the occupation.

Does anyone in the Obama administration read Arabic or know how to use Google Translate?

Treasury Official Explains How US Will Stop Iranian Terror Financing

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

The U.S. says it will continue targeting Iranian support for terror even with the nuclear deal that is set to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

U.S. Treasury acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes Adam Szubin testified Wednesday before a Senate Banking Committee on the matter along with Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for public affairs.

Szubin said it will take at least six to nine months for Iran to fulfill the necessary conditions for initial sanctions relief to begin. “It will take until at least 2022 — even with sanctions relief — for Iran to get back to where it would have been absent our sanctions,” he claimed. “Iran has foregone approximately $160 billion in oil revenue alone since 2012, after our sanctions reduced Iran’s oil exports by 60 percent. This money is lost and cannot be recovered,” Szubin said in written testimony.

In addition, if Iran is found to be violating any of its commitments under the deal, U.S. sanctions could be reimposed “in a matter of days,” he maintained.

“When the JCPOA goes into effect, there will be no immediate relief from UN, EU, or U.S. sanctions. There is no ‘signing bonus.’ Only if Iran fulfills the necessary nuclear conditions—which will roll back its nuclear program and extend its breakout time five-fold to at least one year—will the United States lift sanctions. We expect that to take at least six to nine months. Until Iran completes those steps, we are simply extending the limited relief that has been in place for the last year and a half under the Joint Plan of Action. There will not be a cent of new sanctions relief.

“Upon “Implementation Day,” when phased relief would begin, the United States will lift nuclear- related secondary sanctions targeting third-country parties conducting business with Iran, including in the oil, banking, and shipping sectors. These measures were imposed in response to the security threat from Iran’s nuclear program; accordingly, they will be suspended in exchange for verifiable actions to alleviate that threat.

“As we phase in nuclear-related sanctions relief, we will maintain and enforce significant sanctions that fall outside the scope of this deal, including our primary U.S. trade embargo. Our embargo will continue to prohibit U.S. persons from investing in Iran, importing or exporting to Iran most goods and services, or otherwise dealing with most Iranian persons and companies.

“Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York, hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks. Nor will Iran be able to import controlled U.S.-origin technology or goods, from anywhere in the world. In short, Iran will continue to be denied access to the world’s principal financial and commercial market. The JCPOA provides for only minor exceptions to this broad prohibition.”

“As we address the most acute threat posed by Iran, its nuclear program, we will be aggressively countering the array of Iran’s other malign activities,” Szubin went on.

“The JCPOA in no way limits our ability to do so, and we have made our posture clear to both Iran and to our partners. This means that the United States will maintain and continue to vigorously enforce our powerful sanctions targeting Iran’s backing for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.

“In the last two months alone, for example, we designated 11 Hezbollah military officials and affiliated companies and businessmen. We will also continue our campaign against Hezbollah’s sponsors in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force; Iran’s support to the Houthis in Yemen; its backing of Assad’s regime in Syria; and its domestic human rights abuses. We will also maintain the U.S. sanctions against Iran’s missile program and the IRGC writ large.

Obama May Intervene in $218.5M Judgment Against Palestinian Authority

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is seriously considering an intervention in the judgment against the Palestinian Authority over the vicious terror attacks that killed and wounded dozens of American citizens more than a decade ago in Israel.

A jury in New York federal district court found the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) guilty of supporting terrorists in carrying out attacks in which Americans died.

According to a report by the Fox News network, the Department of Justice informed the court late last month that it was considering filing a “statement of interest” in the case by August 10. Officials did not elaborate on their intentions. The department previously had no involvement in the case. A source told Fox News the Department of Justice was working with the State Department on the matter.

A DOJ spokesperson told FoxNews.com, “Any filing would be made on behalf of the United States, not on behalf of any other party.”

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Kent Yalowitz, has requested the Palestinian leadership be required to place $30 million per month in escrow while the case is being appealed. He suspects the U.S. government is mulling an attempt to help the PA avoid the bond – a direct intervention by the White House on behalf of those who directly sponsored terror.

“An administration which claims to be fighting terror is planning to weigh in favor of the terrorists,” Yalowitz told FoxNews.com. “If our government actually came in favor of convicted terrorists, it would be a really sorry statement about the way our government treats terror.”

In the attacks, a total of 33 died and more than 450 other victims were wounded – including some who were permanently maimed.

The PA – which receives generous foreign aid from the United States and the European Union – pays stipends to the terrorists and their families who carry out the terror attacks. The bigger the attack and the higher the damage, the bigger the stipend, to this very day.

The lawsuit by 10 families was comprised of some 36 members was filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act which allows U.S. citizens who are victims of international terrorism to sue their attackers in United States court.

The international case had dragged on for a full decade before a decision finally was reached.

The PLO and PA were found liable over six shooting and bombing attacks between 2002 and 2004 in the Jerusalem area which were attributed to Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades terror group – linked to the leading faction of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority government – and Gaza-based Hamas. In two of the cases the attackers were actual PA police officers. One of the suicide bombers was closely linked to a PA military intelligence officer. In a 2004 suicide bombing of a bus, PA police and security officials also confessed to planning the operation and making the bomb.

All of the jailed terrorists and their families, as well as the families of the suicide bombers were paid for their actions by the PA government.

On the day the ruling was handed down, not one American national network carried the “breaking news” story when the verdict was announced, nor was it mentioned on the evening newscasts.

Obama Trying to Make US Leftist Jews “Mainstream’

Monday, July 6th, 2015

A recent meeting between National Security Council officials and the left-wing Breaking the Silence group barely made headlines but was a significant move in President Barack Obama’s agenda to justify his view that Israel is an “occupier.”

It was President Obama who succeeded in removing AIPAC as the default representative of what is called the “pro-Israel lobby” by opening the Oval Office to J Street, the left-wing group that thinks being “pro-Israel” means accommodating Hamas, expelling 600,000 Jews from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and granting statehood Palestinian Authority inside Israel’s borders.

Calling itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” and with generous funding from far-left billionaire George Soros, J Street’s launch in 2008 coincided with the campaign and election of President Obama.

Since then, Obama has shifted farther and farther to adopt the Palestinian Authority view of Israel as an occupier, and of Jews in settlements and even half of Jerusalem as “illegal” and “illegitimate.” Listening to leftist Jews telling him what he wants to hear has strengthened his belief that the “peace process” is the panacea for the Middle East.

Obama also has grabbed every opportunity to twist Judaism into his vision of a religion that can used to support his agenda, and he has plenty of support from Reform Jewish leaders to become a modern Korach, the Biblical figure who rebelled against Moses’ authority by claiming that the entire Jewish community is just as holy as he is.

The end of the story is that Korach and his 250 followers were swallowed up in the ground, which opened up to bury them alive, and that seems to be the same fate for President Obama’s foreign policy, especially when it comes to any place in the Middle East.

Instead of accepting reality, he is trying to hold on to an illusion. Breaking the Silence is a new pawn for President Obama to use in his chess game to check Israel, and particularly Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Senior White officials welcomed Breaking the Silence, which was formed by a disgruntled Israeli-American soldier whose agenda is the same as Obama’s. Both of them have adopted the Palestinian Authority  term  “occupation” to describe the presence of approximately 300,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria and another quarter of a million or so in half a dozen Jerusalem neighborhoods. Tens of thousands of the residents are from the United States.

Reform Jewish leaders , who call themselves rabbis, do not represent Judaism, J Street does not represent the pro-Israel lobby, and Breaking the Silence does not represent the views of more than a tiny minority of Israelis.

But President Obama is playing magician to try to show that all three groups are the Jewish establishment.

The meeting  between White House officials with Breaking the Silence was the first ever and was held only days after the anti-IDF organization staged an anti-IDF exhibition  with the sponsorship of the Swiss government.

The President shrewdly made sure the meeting would not be held in the White House, making it easier for him to get smart and drop Breaking the Silence before it costs him support from the real mainstream Jewish community that knows the Israeli Defense Forces separate Israel from annihilation.

Haaretz reported that the meeting took place “at the offices of an American nonprofit in the capital.” A good guess – and it’s only as guess – would be that those offices belonged to J Street or perhaps more likely the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, whose president Matt Duss arranged the meeting.

The group’s website states:

The Foundation for Middle East Peace was created in 1979…to promote a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through education and advocacy…. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [is] at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict….

In 1992, in view of the growing threat of Israeli settlements to peace, the Foundation introduced the bimonthly Report on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Breaking the Silence is trying to go mainstream. Obama’s “shared values” are more with the left-wing group than they are with the real mainstream in Israel and in the United States.

Egypt vs. ISIS: Victory or Death

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Egypt said it is in total control of the Sinai the day after massive and well-coordinated attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) on army and police posts.

Israel’s Channel 2 television reported that Israel has given the green light to Egypt to bring in heavy weapons into the Sinai, as required under the 1979 peace treaty that paved the way for Israel to surrender the Sinai a decade after the Yom Kippur War.

Positioning heavy weapons in the Sinai always carries the risk they can be used against Israel, but for the time being, Israel is the last enemy on Egypt’s mind.

Egypt may have done Israel a big favor by demanding the Sinai, which for years has become a fiefdom of Bedouin criminals and graduated into a no man’s land open for grabs by Bedouin, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and now ISIS terrorists.

Israel remains on high alert while Egypt said it will not stop its counter-offensive against Sinai jihadists until all of them are “eliminated.”

The ISIS attacks yesterday killed between a dozen and nearly 100 Egyptian army officers, soldiers and policemen, depending on whom you want to believe.

The numbers do not matter because the attacks on 15 different posts proved that ISIS is a very organized army.

Egyptian bombing raids continued into the night following the wave of attacks that were aimed at cutting off Rafah and El-Arish, which would have created a critical threat to Israel.

The IDF immediately shut down border crossings at Egypt and Gaza after the ISIS offensive, but re-opened the Kerem HaShalom crossing Thursday morning to allow trucks into Gaza with foods and merchandise..

Egypt will “exterminate” every jihadist in the northern Sinai, said its military spokesman.

Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said:

We control the situation in Sinai 100%.

The army claimed it killed more than 100 jihadists.

The cabinet of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Wednesday night approved urgent measures that call for “swift justice,” which can be translated as “don’t let democracy get in the way of survival.”

Four years after the rebellion against Hosni Mubarak, ostensibly because of his autocratic rule, his regime has been reincarnated.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Transitional Justice Ibrahim Al-Heneidy said that In the absence of the parliament, Al-Sisi has legislative powers.

Coincidentally or not, ISIS attacked the day after terrorists killed Egypt’s state prosecutor Hisham Barakat, who was riding in a motorcade. Barakat had said that if former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi is sentenced to death, the execution will be carried out.

Heneidy said that terrorists will face harsher punishment, meaning execution or life in prison.

The death penalty also will apply to anyone who funds terror, a classification that puts Muslim Brotherhood officials on notice that Al-Sisi is bent on destroying the organization that ruled Egypt only one year ago.

The process of appeal also will be shorted. “Under the current law, defendants are allowed to appeal verdicts twice, but under the amended draft, this process will be shortened to give defendants the right to appeal the verdict just one time,” said Heneidy. Furthermore, if a higher court accepts an appeal, the regime will be able to call for a retrial in the Court of Cassation, whose decisions are final.

So what did the Arab Spring rebellion and the Obama administration achieve by getting rid of Mubarak?

If the State Dept. has learned that transplanting American democracy in the Muslim Middle East is like feeding Muslims ham and eggs during Ramadan, it was worth everything to teach Washington a lesson.

The odd are heavy that the State Dept. has not yet learned.

US Policy: Passports of Americans Born on Israeli Golan Heights List ‘Syria’

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The U.S. passport of an Americans born on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights must state the birthplace as Syria, according to U.S. State Department. policy.

The JewishPress.com raised several questions with the U.S. Embassy following the recent Supreme Court ruling that ruled against Congress being able to overturn Executive Branch policy concerning the stated birthplace of an American born in Jerusalem.

The policy was and continues to be that the birthplace on the passport is “Jerusalem,” without a country, regardless of whether he was born in “West” Jerusalem or in the rest of the city that was reunited in the war.

But what would happen if there were a hospital on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and an American birth were registered there?

It may not even be a theoretical question in the near future. The NRG website reported last week that Druze in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights want to establish and maintain a hospital to treat their brethren wounded on the Syrian side of the border.

Regardless, this is American policy, updated in 2008 and stated under the bureaucratic section “M 1360 APPENDIX D  BIRTH IN ISRAEL, JERUSALEM, AND ISRAELI-OCCUPIED AREAS

(CT:CON-254)”:

  1. Background. As a result of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Government of Israel currently occupies and administers the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. U.S. policy recognizes that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory [bold-face added} and that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.

  1. Birth in the Golan Heights: The birthplace that should appear on passports whose bearers were born in the Golan Heights is SYRIA [capital letters appear in the original text].

Perhaps the State Department is not aware of it, but there are questions whether Syria even exists today. There is a “Syrian government” that controls a shrinking part of the country.

The Islamic State (ISIS) controls a good portion of Syria. Rebels control a healthy (or unhealthy) part. Al Qaeda also has claims.

But for now, Syria is Syria, including the Golan Heights, even if Israel annexed the strategic area 34 years ago, and even if half the population of the Golan Heights is Jewish.

Policy is policy, and if an American wants to test the unreal reality, it is only a matter of time before there really will be a need for a hospital there. By that time, perhaps Syria not longer will exist.  Since Foggy Bottom cannot possibly come up with the conclusion that the Golan Heights is in Israel, it would have to accept facts on the ground across the border. Perhaps an American born will see his passport stating, “Golan Heights, Islamic State.”

Who knows? Anything is possible with the State Department, anything except Jerusalem being recognized as Israel’s capital and the Golan Heights being considered part of the Jewish country.

The State Department regulations offer some other fascinating tidbits.

What if you were an American born before 1948, before Israel became an independent country, but in parts of Jerusalem that were only reunited in 1967? For example, let’s say you were an American born in 1947 in the Old City, which at that time was the home of Misgav Ladach Hospital.

Guess what would be written on the passport?

The policy states:

For persons born before May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, enter either PALESTINE or the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation.

“Palestine” was what all of the British Mandate was called, but the Palestinian Authority has adopted the name, which is on many of its official documents and which its schools teach means all of the Land of Israel. “All” means “all,” including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Eilat.

There is a lesson here about the formulation of American policy. Once it is established, it is written in stone, and even a Congressional act cannot change it. This is what was learned from the Supreme Court decision that said that the Congressional Act in 1998 recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not mean that the State Department has to agree to it.

The State Department formulated its policy long ago that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria. No negotiations, No compromise. No nothing. It is Syria, period, and if tomorrow it is the Islamic State, we’ll see.

The other side of the policy is that Judea, Gaza, Samaria and “eastern, southern and northern” Jerusalem “are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.”

The folks at the State Department cannot be that stupid to realize that there will be no negotiations. It must know there is no one with whom to negotiate. It must know that in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, there is nothing to negotiate except what color ink Israel uses to sign over the store, while the Palestinian Authority uses invisible ink.

Now we know why the Obama administration is so stubbornly fixed on the “peace process.’ It knows it has no chance, but policy is policy.

The State Department stated ages ago that the final status of the “territories” will be decided by negotiations, and that’s that. The world may change, but policy is a different story, especially if a change might help Israel.

The State Department decided way back when that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria, and that is why an American born there would have a passport stating “Golan Heights, Syria.”

And what if an American were born in the State Department? Is that part of the United States or is it territory occupied by policy-makers who cannot see past yesterday?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-policy-passport-of-americans-born-on-israeli-golan-heights-is-syria/2015/06/23/

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