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Review Category : Middle East

Trump delivers a sorely needed dose of reality therapy

Dec. 6, 2017, will be forever remembered as a day when a historic wrong had been righted. When President Donald Trump made his long-anticipated announcement that the U.S. not only recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but that he will take steps towards moving the American embassy there, he accomplished something remarkable—he brought some sorely needed reality therapy to the Palestinians.

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Press Release: EMET Strongly Applauds Groundbreaking Taylor Force Act

EMET Strongly Applauds Groundbreaking Taylor Force Act
 Legislation Holds Accountable the Palestinian Authority for Paying Terrorists and their Families
December 4, 2017 (Washington, DC) Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) praised U.S. Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Tim Scott (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Thune (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John Boozman (R-AR) for reintroducing the Taylor Force Act in February of this year, and leading the effort in Congress to pass this vital legislation.  The legislation will cut U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it stops paying the salaries of Palestinian terrorists who are imprisoned in Israeli jails, and financially rewarding their families.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the bill in August, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved it in November.  The bill will vote on the Taylor Force Act on Tuesday, December 5th.

The bill is named for former U.S. Army officer and Vanderbilt University graduate Taylor Force, an American citizen who served one tour of duty in Iraq and one tour of duty in Afghanistan and came home unscathed, only to be stabbed to death in Israel in March 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist.

The Act conditions aid to the PA until it stops the rewarding of acts of terrorism to Palestinians who have been incentivizing terrorism through their “martyrs’ fund” and “prisoners’ fund.” The Act also calls on the PA to takes steps to end acts of violence against the U.S. and Israeli citizens, including publicly condemning acts of terrorism, and helping to bring Palestinian terrorists to justice.

Congressman Doug Lamborn, the primary sponsor on the House side, has announced, “I am pleased to see the Taylor Force Act come to the House Floor for a vote on Tuesday, December 5.  It is critical that Congress pass this legislation to ensure that U.S. tax dollars do not go to supporting terrorism.”  He continued, “In Taylor’s memory, we must stop sending aid money to an entity that rewards his murderer’s family.  I urge my colleagues to vote ‘yes’ on this bill and hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for financing terrorism.”

Palestinian terrorists that are arrested and imprisoned by Israel are glorified by the PA as heroes and treated as employees of the PA government.  While in prison, these terrorists and their families are paid salaries and receive benefits as rewards for their service.  Since September 2015, 59 innocent people have been killed by Palestinian terrorists in Israel and Judea and Samaria, and more than 800 wounded.  They have been killed or harmed by car rammings, stabbings, shootings, and bombing attacks.  This includes many Americans, including U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force.

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, 69 innocent Americans, plus two unborn children, have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists.  Yet since 1991, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has refused to prosecute Palestinian terrorists who have killed or wounded Americans in Israel and Judea and Samaria, even though U.S. law gives American prosecutors the necessary tools to seek justice.  For well over two decades, EMET has been fighting for justice for those Americans victims of Palestinian terrorism in Israel and the disputed territories.  EMET has focused on the unwillingness of the DOJ to indict, extradite, and prosecute a single Palestinian terrorist with American blood on his/her hands.

Since 2005, there has been an office within the DOJ – the Office of Justice of Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT) – to pressure the DOJ to prosecute.  EMET’s Sarah Stern was instrumental in the initial creation of the OVT.  This DOJ unit is meant to monitor acts of terrorism against Americans outside the U.S., to assist the living victims and their families, and, most importantly, to pressure the DOJ to bring to justice those terrorists who have harmed Americans anywhere in the world.  Unfortunately, since its establishment, the office has not helped produce a single DOJ prosecution of Palestinian terrorists who have harmed Americans in Israel or Judea or Samaria.  Neither the OVT, nor the DOJ, have ever adequately explained their unwillingness to prosecute these Palestinian terrorists.

In the years since 2005, EMET has doggedly been working to educate Congress about the DOJ and the OVT’s unwillingness to do their job and make sure that any Palestinian terrorist who harms an American is brought to justice.  EMET has held a staff briefing on Capitol Hill, bringing in American victims and family members.  EMET has also met with more than 100 offices to explain to them this issue.  EMET has worked with a bipartisan group of House members, and Senators, to produce numerous letters to the DOJ, demanding prosecutions of these terrorists, and also assisted in finding co-sponsors for these letters.  In 2015, thanks in large part to EMET’s tireless efforts, a Senate Subcommittee led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) held an oversight hearing, primarily focusing on Iranian funded Palestinian terrorism and civil lawsuits.  And in 2016, EMET prompted another hearing by Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL), the Subcommittee Chairman for the National Security Subcommittee of Oversight and Government Reform, focusing on criminal prosecutions and the OVT.  EMET also assisted the Subcommittee in preparing for the hearing.  At the second hearing, for the first time ever, a DOJ representative, Brad Wiegmann, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, who supervises the OVT and these prosecutions, was called to account for the DOJ’s lack of prosecution.  He was also forced to agree to provide a report to the Subcommittee on DOJ/OVT progress.

For the past two Congresses, EMET also has arduously educated the Congress about the importance of the Taylor Force Act.

EMET Founder and President, Sarah Stern, said, “For far too long, the Palestinian Authority has glorified the virtues of terrorism.  That has been the very core of the problem for why there is no peace with Israel.  A culture of glorification of terrorism has been part of the zeitgeist of the areas under PA control. The more heinous the act of terrorism, the more innocent civilians who have been killed, the greater the salary that has been paid out by the PA to the families of the prisoners of the terrorists.  This is morally unconscionable.”

She continued, “The Palestinians need to understand that there are serious consequences for their moral, political, and material support of terrorism.  I strongly applaud Congressman Doug Lamborn and Senator Lindsey Graham, and all their Congressional allies, for reintroducing and passing the Taylor Force Act, which sends a very strong message to the PA and all would-be terrorists that America will not turn a blind eye towards Palestinian terrorism.  For far too long, people throughout the world have been fooled by the PA’s double message when it comes to terrorism, one to their own people in Arabic, and another in English to foreign diplomats and journalists. Fortunately, there are still Members of the United States Congress who are not willing to allow American tax payers’ dollars be a party to this culture of deification of terrorism.”

About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.

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Raqqa Report Highlights the UN’s Illogical Double Standard Against Israel

By Sarah Stern and Jennifer Dekel

The United Nations (U.N.) was founded in 1945 upon the loftiest of principles. The U.N. Charter, among other things, resolves to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”

However, anyone who has observed the behavior of the U.N. is aware that the institution has descended far from these magnificent goals. There is one small nation, Israel, which is constantly singled out for excessive and disproportionate condemnation.

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Three-Dimensional Chess, Middle East Style

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri recently shocked the international community by announcing his resignation. Hariri, a Sunni political leader, made this announcement from Saudi Arabia, where some speculate that he is being held under house arrest, while others believe he is there on his own accord because he fears for his very life. These fears are not unfounded. In 2005, his father, Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, was assassinated by a car bomb that is believed to have been planted by Hezbollah.

The Middle East is a mysterious region where suspicion hangs heavily in the air—under normal conditions. But the entire region, as of late, is mired in extraordinary circumstances. Since the Iranian nuclear deal of 2015, Iran has been vastly emboldened, empowered and enriched. The Iranians have been on the march throughout the region, sowing acts of aggression in Sana’a, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. They are attempting to establish a Shi’a crescent stretching from Tehran throughout the Middle East.

Lebanon has become a puppet state of Iran, and the Lebanese Armed Forces has now become dominated by Hezbollah. An important fact that many people do not know is that we still have a line item in the U.S. Defense Appropriations budget for $100 million towards Lebanon’s military.

There is no doubt that under today’s circumstances, that earmark falls, whether directly or indirectly, into the hands of Hezbollah. Unless and until Lebanon could rid itself of the presence of Hezbollah, American taxpayers’ dollars will be going into the hands of an organization that has been listed by our own State Department as a terrorist group.

Saad Harari knows how to read the tea leaves. The same week of his surprise announcement, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a missile that had been aimed to land at King Khalid National Airport near the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The missile was intercepted by Saudi-owned U.S. Patriot batteries.

Nov. 4, meanwhile, marked the most aggressive Saudi shakedown in recent memory. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, 32, purged the government of 11 members of the Saudi royal family and other business elites—in what he described as a “corruption crackdown,” but which may well be a rouse to consolidate his power and quash his political rivals, many of whom are in his own family. As Reuters reported, the Riyadh Ritz Carlton has been turned into a temporary—albeit luxurious—prison.

Adding to the intrigue, a day after the crown prince announced his palace purge, a helicopter carrying Prince Mansour bin Muqrin mysteriously crashed, killing a potential rival to the crown prince’s power.

The aggressive and ambitious young Saudi prince is not taking Iranian aggression in the region lightly. Saudi Arabia has urged its citizens to leave Lebanon. This sends a somewhat ominous message. In fact, on Nov. 6, Saudi Arabia’s minister of Gulf affairs wrote that Lebanon “has declared war on Riyadh.”

Some feel that this might be an indicator of a new war emerging between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims—the latest chapter in a 14-century-old dispute as to who will carry the mantle of Islam. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are experts at fighting proxy wars on someone else’s soil. As a joke that is making its rounds around Beirut goes, “The Saudis are willing to fight the Iranians, down to the very last Lebanese.”

In the meantime, there are at least 100,000 missiles staring down Israel from the Jewish state’s north. On Nov. 11, the Israeli Air Force intercepted a drone that fell on the demilitarized zone just north of the Golan Heights. A day earlier, the BBC reported that Iran has established a new  military base just south of Damascus.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated unequivocally last Saturday, “We will not allow the establishment of a Shi’ite axis in Syria as an operating base.”

Watch this space. In the Middle East, one cannot play checkers or chess. The game is three-dimensional chess, where the loss of a pawn on one board affects the positioning of the knights, queens and kings on two other boards.

Originally published at JNS.org.

Photo credit: State Department

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State Dept. Undermining Kurds, Our Long Time Allies

“The United States is deeply disappointed that the Kurdistan Regional Government decided to conduct today a unilateral referendum on independence, including in areas outside of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in September.

The United States State Department says what the State Department says, but what they say is usually wrong.

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The Enemies of Kurdistan are the Enemies of the US

“The Kurds have no friends but the mountains,” goes a traditional Kurdish saying. No friends but the mountains and Israel would be more accurate.

Israel stood alone when its political leadership embraced the Kurdish quest for self-determination. A “brave, pro-Western people who share our values,” is how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the Kurds. The deep affinity is mutual. Israeli flags were raised during pro-independence rallies in the Kurdistan region, the US and across Europe.

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VIDEO: “The Balfour Declaration: 100 Years Later”

“The Balfour Declaration: 100 Years Later”
October 24, 2017

Featuring Members of Congress:
Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. Ilean Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Brian Mast, Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. Steve Russell, Rep. Don Bacon, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Joe Wilson, & Senator James Inhofe

Edwin Black
New York Times Best-selling Author

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The Palestinian Dane-geld

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was the terror group that introduced the world to airline hijackings. Because of the PLO and other terror groups, the average air traveler must go through long security lines and metal detectors, remove his shoes and belt, and refrain from bringing large bottles of liquid onto the plane, among other items.

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