Rouhani: 'Criticism different to violence'
"Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith. This turned the much-vaunted peace process into a charade." Avi Shlaim, 12-9-2013
But Palestinians and Israeli supporters of a two-state solution said the moves revealed the true colors of the country’s ascendant right wing.
“We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the U.S. administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said . “Rather, its main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine.”
Mr. Netanyahu has publicly said that he supports a two-state solution even as his government has expanded settlements on the occupied West Bank. But Mr. Trump’s support has tilted the scales, leading members of Mr. Netanyahu’s government to conclude that Israel can take a stronger position without fear of forceful foreign intercession.
Arguably the most provocative, though least substantive, of the flurry of Israeli actions was a nonbinding but unanimous vote on Sunday by the central committee of Mr. Netanyahu’s party, Likud, to support the “free construction and application of Israeli law and sovereignty in all liberated areas” in the West Bank.
Mr. Seidemann, of Terrestrial Jerusalem, said that measures applying Israeli law to Israelis living in the occupied territories would formally set up a democratic system for Israelis while leaving Palestinians subject to military rule. “That narrows the comfort zone between Israel and the a-word rather dramatically,” he said, referring to apartheid.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to demand action against a terrorist Iranian opposition group he accused of fomenting ongoing protests.
“We criticize the fact that a terrorist group has a base in France and acts against the Iranian people… and we await action from the French government against this terrorist group,” Rouhani told Macron in a phone call, according to Iranian people.
He was referring to an exiled Iranian opposition group based in Paris and called the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, according to reports.
The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK, PMOI or MKO) is an Iranian political–militant organization in exile that advocates the violent overthrow of the current regime in Iran, while claiming itself as the replacing government in exile.
Flashback: Nasr al-Hariri to head Syrian opposition delegation
Turkey's foreign ministry warned against violence and provocations in Iran, expressing hope that there will be no foreign intervention in the country.
In a statement released Tuesday, the foreign ministry said that Turkey is concerned about the protests in Iran, which turned violent and that the protection of peace and stability in the country is important.
It said Iran is a friend and brotherly country to Turkey, which attributes great importance for the preservation of social peace and stability.
"In this context, we believe the statement of President Hassan Rouhani [of Iran] that people have a right to peaceful protest but the law should not be violated and that public property should not be harmed should be taken into account, and violence and provocation should be avoided.
"We wish for peace in the country to be ensured, as soon as possible, and that common sense would prevail to prevent the escalation of the incidents, and that provocative rhetoric and external interventions would be avoided."
Meanwhile on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the phone regarding the latest developments in protests.
Iranian Parliament's General Director for International Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, reacting to the recent protests across the country and foreign interventions, said the triangle of US-Israel-Saudi Arabia will never succeed in breaking the will and spirit of the Iranian nation.
He made the remarks in a tweet on Wednesday, adding “Mr. Trump! Iran is that powerful and dignified country which eliminated the US-backed ISIL terrorism in the region with the help of its allies.”
“Iran is the cradle of democracy and security, not a place for turmoil, terror and division,” he stressed.
The Iranian official’s remarks were in reaction to the support of US, Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia for the escalation of violence and unrest in Iran following six days of public protests in a number of cities over mostly economic issues.
"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.“ Rumi
The nationwide strike which the anti-government demonstrators scheduled for Tuesday, Day Six of their protest, failed to come off for lack of an identified leader to get it off the ground. No work stoppages occurred in any of the big or small towns across the country and the markets were as busy as usual.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources note that the protest movement is running out of steam – not least also because of its failure to attract essential support from the most powerful classes of society, the intelligentsia, the middle class, the bazaar merchants and the students. By Tuesday night, therefore, the number of rallies had declined by a third and participation by almost half.
Many of the protesters took fright from the menacing words they heard from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday. He accused “foreign intelligence agents” of providing the protesters with “cash, arms and intelligence.” This raised the specter of being arrested for treason and collaboration with enemy agents, charges that carry the death sentence.
The regime also showed gaining confidence in its ability to weather the upheaval by the way it was handled, DEBKAfile reports.
No shooting or violent crackdowns. Instead, after three days, the demonstrators were still free to reach their rallying-points in the town centers, but when they arrived, they met thousands of regime loyalists and police reinforcements waiting quietly there and were often outnumbered.
DEBKAfile’s sources stress if the movement fails to bring masses out to the streets after Friday prayers (jan 5), it will continue to fade away...
In the wake of the demonstrations and the regime’s brutal attempts to suppress them, President Barack Obama repeatedly failed to express America’s solidarity with the Iranian protesters. The last administration’s refusal to act ultimately emboldened Iran’s tyrannical rulers to crack down on the dissent...
Today, the Iranian people are rising up to demand freedom and opportunity, and under President Trump, the United States is standing with them. We will not be silent.
Months before the protests started in Iran, the president predicted that the days of the Iranian regime were numbered.
Speaking at the United Nations in September, he said, “The good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most.”
These words now ring truer than ever. Where his predecessor [Barack Obana] stayed silent, Trump swiftly offered the Iranian people America’s unwavering support. He has also committed to provide assistance in the days ahead.
More broadly, the president declined to certify the previous administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, which flooded the regime’s coffers with tens of billions of dollars in cash — money that it could use to repress its own people and support terrorism across the wider world.
We have already issued new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the president is weighing additional actions to punish the regime for its belligerent behavior and assault on its own citizens.
Unfortunately, many of our European partners, as well as the United Nations, have thus far failed to forcefully speak out on the crisis in Iran. It’s time for them to stand up.
The president and I call on leaders of freedom-loving nations across the world to condemn Iran’s unelected dictators and defend the Iranian people’s unalienable right to chart their own future and determine their own destiny.
Palestinian leaders said Wednesday they will not be "blackmailed" after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid worth more than $300 million annually, his latest provocative move that could upturn years of careful diplomacy.
Relations between Trump's White House and the Palestinians were already tense after the US president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last month.
The December 6 announcement concerning the disputed city led Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to say the United States could no longer play any role in the Middle East peace process.
Trump's threat in a tweet on Tuesday to try to force the Palestinians into negotiations led to further outrage, though Israeli ministers lauded the move.
"We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect," Trump tweeted. "With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"
Abbas's spokesman said they were not against negotiations, but that talks should be "based on international laws and resolutions that have recognised an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital".
"Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions," Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement that "we will not be blackmailed".
"President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice," she said. "Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!"
The Israeli Knesset approved on Wednesday a first reading of the death penalty bill which would allow the authorities to execute Palestinian prisoners accused of taking part in “operations against Israeli targets...”
The bill was proposed by the right-wing leader of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennet; it was approved by a vote of 52 to 49 but needs a second and third reading before it becomes law.
Extremist Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Moldovan-born Defence Minister, endorsed the bill, which he said would increase Israel’s deterrence effect. In televised comments last week, Lieberman said that the law would specifically target Palestinians convicted of attacking Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Last year, at a rally following the death of three Israeli police officers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support for the death penalty for Palestinians, whom he described as “terrorists with blood on their hands.”
Israel applies civilian law to illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians, however, face military courts and military law.
The proposed death penalty would only be applicable in military courts. In the already unlikely event of an Israeli being convicted for killing a Palestinian, the accused would never face the death penalty.
“The fact that Israel lacks a constitution allows its prime ministers to enact legislation that serves the interests of their respective racist governments,” explained Mohammed Dahleh, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs.
“Israel refuses to adopt a constitution. This also allows it to create laws — or modify them — to suit its expansionist tendencies.”
According to international lawyer Yasser Al-Amouri, the proposed Israeli law violates basic international legal tenets.
“The conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is not criminal in nature but nationalist,” he pointed out. “This means Israel cannot sentence Palestinian prisoners to death under the provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the treatment of prisoners of war.”
Washington's attempt to call for a special session of the UN Security Council on recent developments in Iran is aimed at undermining the Iran Deal not rallying support for the Iranian protesters, said Russia's representative to the UN.
Today, we are witnessing again that how the United States is manipulating the UN Security Council, said Vasily Nebenzya during the UNSC special session held on the request of Washington Friday evening to allegedly deal with recent protests in Iran.
The US administration continues to ignore the UN role in promoting peace and security and everybody is aware that today's session is in contradiction to the existence of the UNSC, Nebenzya said.
'The United States is abusing the platform of the Security Council,' he said.
The problem is that there is an allergy of some kind to Iran and this makes it difficult for others to see the clear image of the country and some even remain to be illusionary about the country, he said.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations then touched on the recent street demonstrations in Iran, which were staged mostly to protest bad economic conditions, and emphasized that it is due to Iran to address its domestic issues. 'Let Iran deal with its own problems,' he said.
'The real reason for convening today is not protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people, but rather a veiled attempt to continue to undermine the Iranian nuclear agreement,' Nebenzya said.
He added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed Iran's commitment to the nuclear deal between Tehran and the world powers, known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
But the United States continue to put more and more restrictions on Iran, he said.
Do you have any leverages other than sanctions, the Russian envoy asked, wondering why Americans do not come to the table of negotiations.
Nebenzya called on the UNSC members to instead of wasting the world body's energy, let it use all focus on addressing the crises in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.
Hundreds of people have staged a protest on the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, to express their frustration with the presence of anti-Damascus militants in the region as government forces gain more ground there.
The residents of Beit Sahem, Yalda and Babbila took to the streets on Friday, demanding that armed groups leave their towns, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.
According to local sources, the demonstrators also called for reconciliations with the Syrian government that consolidate regional security and stability.
The protesters stressed their commitment to Syria’s national unity, noting that terrorism has brought nothing but destruction and devastation to their homeland.
Members of the Jaysh al-Ababil militnat group opened fire to disperse the participants at Friday’s rally, the local sources said.
Under increasing battlefield pressure, members of the al-Nusra Front terrorist outfit lately agreed to surrender Syria’s southwestern areas and move to Idlib Province.
The US and its allies have been supporting the militants fighting to topple the Syrian government since an armed conflict erupted in Syria in 2011. Recently, the anti-Damascus elements have suffered heavy blows at the hands of the Syrian and allied forces.
anti-assad-islamists in aleppo, supported by 'the friends of syria'
A work meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imad Khamis, was held Friday at Aleppo Governorate building to discuss the strategic goals and plans to develop the economic and tourist sectors, infrastructures and transportation in the city.
Participants in the meeting stressed the necessity of developing the tourist sector in Aleppo through a new urban project, preserving the unique feature the old city of Aleppo and re-building it according to the historical quality of the buildings.
They also underlined importance of paying attention to the environmental improvement, protecting groves and maintaining an active and frugal transportation, including the establishment of a metro and tramway network.
Khamis stressed the importance of integration, partnership and cooperation between the governmental team and all economic and popular bodies, institutions, organizations, unions and figures in supporting the developmental process in Aleppo province.
The government delegation comprises 16 ministers and started on Friday a work visit to Aleppo, to inspect the economic and services situation in the province.
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Hakkı Uygur, the deputy chair of the Center for Iranian Studies in Ankara, pointed to economic hardships, rivalries in domestic politics and the foreign pressure that has been mounting on Iran as the main reasons that led to political unrest in the country.
Uygur highlighted that the Iranian economy has been going downhill for the last two years, and the people's expectation of economic relief with the nuclear deal was shattered when U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office.
The Iran expert stressed that the Trump administration has prioritized Iran since they believe that the previous administration allowed Iran to expand. Therefore, to prevent its further expansion, the U.S. and Israel would continue to problematize Iran he contended.
Trump's tweets supporting the protests have also fed arguments concerning foreign meddling in the protests.
In addition to the economic hardships, the political rivalries in politics have caused uneasiness in society. Uygur said Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is struggling with the ensuing problems of the rivalry between former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Hassan Rouhani.
- Daily Sabah: What is your take on the protests in Iran? Why did these protests take place?
-- Hakkı Uygur: There is a significant rivalry and conflict between former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Hassan Rouhani. These kinds of rivalries and conflicts have always been a part of Iran's political scene; however, when Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei intervenes, these discussions and conflicts used to end immediately.
Yet, recently when Khamenei called both Judiciary head Sadeq Larijani and Ahmadinejad to cease their conflicts, Ahmadinejad did not heed his call. No one could even imagine Ahmadinejad not heeding Khamenei's call in the past couple of years. Still, it took place nowadays. In short, there is a conflict in Iranian politics, and Supreme Leader Khamenei is losing control. This is one way to interpret the current situation in Iran.
There is also an economic aspect; Iran has been suffering from an economic crisis in the past three or four years because of the sanctions. The very anti-U.S. Khamenei approving the government to ratify the nuclear deal was because of these economic conditions. Iran's oil-based economy was going through hard times due to decreasing oil prices and embargoes.
There were expectations that Iran would be relieved economically with the ratification of the nuclear deal during the Obama era; Iran was anticipating the return of funds that were blocked and the subsidence of the embargo.
However, this deal became obsolete in practice with the election of Trump and the economic relief that was promised to Iranian citizens was not realized.
Trump's pressure on Iran also discouraged those who wanted to deal with Iran.
Interestingly, China started to freeze the assets of Iranians living in China two months ago. In general, China is the last country to follow these trends. Normally, it would try to protect Iran as long as it could and cut ties when the costs surpass the benefits. Yet, China's initiative indicates that Trump is about to crack down on Iran, and other countries do not want to take risks.
I believe the Halkbank and Reza Zarrab-Hakan Atilla trials could be interpreted as a part of these developments. The U.S. is trying to intimidate other countries through these trials, demonstrating that it will punish any country that deals with Iran without U.S. approval, even if they are NATO allies.
The economy is on the verge of collapse, living costs are expensive; the Iranian parliament approved a 50 percent rise in oil prices, while this means a more than 100 percent increase for the people themselves. This is because they lack a transparent economy...
Recently, Rouhani made a speech in parliament. He said that a quarter of Iran's economy is controlled by six groups that he was unable to interfere with. He indicated that he had to talk with the Supreme Leader to interfere with these groups. Nevertheless, he was unable to interfere with these groups because of internal pressure. How could you enact reforms in such a country?
-- DS: Beside economic reasons, some are claiming that the most recent protests are the reflection of the internal power struggle between reformists and conservatives. How do you evaluate this allegation?
-- Hakkı Uygur: In Iran, neither conservatives nor reformists are on the streets. Ethnic minorities are also not on the street. Some people who affiliate themselves with these movements may be on the streets, but not in mass. That's my point.
None of the prominent conservative and reformist figures have announced their support for the ongoing protests. Some might allege that they are not able to do so because of the harsh conditions in Iran. Yet, this is simply not true; during the 2009 protests, certain figures of the Iranian state were openly supporting the protests. Today, no one is supporting the protests...
The Iranian state is clear about the ongoing protests; they believe it is being supported by foreign powers..
On the heels of the first protests to hit the Iranian regime, Washington will turn the screw by negating financial benefits afforded by the nuclear deal. To this end, President Donald Trump will use the deadlines he faces as of next week for certifying the Iranian nuclear deal and approving sanctions waivers. This intent was indicated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an AP interview Friday, Jan. 5.
Since the president had demanded that the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran be either “fixed or cancelled,” Tillerson said the administration was working with lawmakers on legislation for making it more acceptable to the president.
Last October, Trump reluctantly waived sanctions for another three months. However, since sanctions relief was not incorporated in the nuclear deal, which Iran signed with six world nations three years ago, the US may set them aside without being accused of non-compliance. The US may therefore certify the framework while emptying it of the economic benefits the Obama administration granted, which funneled hundreds of billions of dollars to the Iranian treasury.
This is what Tillerson meant by “fixing” rather than “cancelling” the nuclear accord...
These steps are components of the drawn-out, staged war of attrition the Trump administration has begun orchestrating against 'the revolutionary Shiite regime in Tehran' for the year of 2018.
Iran is prepared for all possible scenarios regarding the nuclear agreement, said the deputy foreign minister of Iran in the Second Tehran Security Conference on Monday.
'In case the JCPOA [in full: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is cancelled, the region will suffer the most,' said Abbas Araqchi at the panel on security in West Asia.
Araqchi said that the JCPOA was a successful experience adding that it is, de facto, the only experience of peaceful solving of a 10-year crisis in the contemporary time through negotiations.
The biggest lesson of the JCPOA is that 'we should still have hope in diplomatic solutions for big problems,' said Araqchi. 'Issues like Daesh and countering the occupiers cannot be solved through negotiation.'
Araqchi also said that the JCPOA should be a pattern for win-win talks; the US should be committed to it because killing the deal will not create a better region for the people.
'The US tried to destroy the JCPOA in the past year and may destroy it in the coming days; the world should be ready for that.'
'If the Europeans are interested in keeping the JCPOA, they should take some special steps to encourage the European companies and banks to cooperate with Iran,' Araqchi added.
In a meeting with economy minister and ministry deputies on Monday, President Hassan Rouhani said that people have the right to demonstrate against the government, warning against enemies' plots to put country in turmoil.
According to the Iranian president official website, Rouhani described serving religion, revolution, country and people as the responsibility of all the authorities and said "we have a great nation. Authorities are not infallible and all authorities can be criticised and if this criticism is accompanied by hope, will and right solution, it will be very fruitful".
Stating that the root cause of the problems is the distance between us, as authorities, and the young generation, Dr Rouhani added "one cannot impose [an old-fashioned] lifestyle on future generations".
People are right to say 'see us, listen to us, and respond to our demands', he continued...
Dr Rouhani also added "to solve problems, individuals and the status quo should be criticized, rather than negation," saying: "Authorities are not infallible and all authorities can be criticised and if this criticism is accompanied by hope, will and correct solution, it will be very fruitful."
The "Culture of Waiting" [for Imam Mahdi's reappearance] means rising against injustice and having hope of a better future, said Rouhani adding: "Criticism is useful; but if it is accompanied by hope, will and the right solution."
He also went on to say "it is a misleading and insulting point of view that people's demands are only limited to economic issues."
People have economic, political, cultural and social demands, he continued, saying "if we fully accept that people are everything, the problems will be solved. If we talk with people transparently, our problems will be solved."
He said that "the path of economic engagement of people should be facilitated; the first step is cultural development."
Stating that the most important part of the economy is the re-distribution of revenues, such as taxes and zakat, the President said "in our budget bill, we have anticipated some notes on the elimination of absolute poverty; the Majlis and its members should not retreat for any reason."
He also said "it is the responsibility of the parliament to complete, help, and reform; not change the nature and purpose of the budget bill," adding that problems like employment and poverty cannot be resolved through slogans. "Everyone should go to the glass room so that people can know and judge them..."
It is an honour for the government to defend people's right to have access to information, the president added, saying "the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) must echo the nation's opinions, not a single faction."
Stating that unrest leads to escape of capital and damages the employment process, he said "banks must be fully connected to the capital market." The President also went on to say "development of buildings and administrative sectors freezes banks' capital. Banks should release funds for helping the economy."
"Paying taxes must become a public culture, even if it is minimal," Rouhani continued saying.
"The culture of insurance must be developed so that people's lives suffer less from incidents," he said, adding: "Insurers should not think about high profits; insurance should be competitive in the interests of people."
Stressing that choosing services is the right of the people and no individual or institution must interfere in it, he said "people should be informed about who receives budget from public resources".
"With transparency, criticism is heard better and corruption and problems will be eliminated," the President emphazised.
The Lion and the Sun, or The Sunny Spirit of the Mahdi
You cann't bring a person back to life,
Contrary to what anti- Islamic iranian nationalists say, the old standard of Iran, the Lion and Sun, does actually have an Islamic background. The Lion stands for Ali, the sword it is holding is the zulfiqar, and the sun represents the light of God.
Persian Zoroastrism was a Fire-religion (Aries, Leo, Sagitarius)
The Mahdi - horoscope based on Sjia-birth-dataThe lion and sun symbol is based largely on astronomical and astrological configurations: the ancient sign of the sun in the house of Leo, which itself is traced backed to Babylonian astrology and Near Eastern traditions.
The motif has many historical meanings. First, it was only an astrological and zodiacal symbol. Under Safavid and the first Qajar kings, it became more associated with Shia Islam.
Imam Mahdi (AS), savior of humanity, is the only son of Imam Hassan Askari (AS) the 11th Imam, who was born on the dawn of 15th of Shaaban 255 A.H. (869 C.E.) in Samarra, Iraq. He became the God-appointed Imam when his father was martyred in 260/874. Imam Mahdi (AS) went into occultation (disappearance) at the same time. He will reappear when Allah wills. (Shia-Info)
The Ocean of Light
Mohammed refers to him as "Master of the World," "Master of Time," "God's President," and "God speaking and advising."
From the Bihar Al Anwar (Ocean of Light) a compilation of discourses by the Prophet Mohammed and some of the Shia Islam Imam's. It was compiled in the 17th century by Mohammed Baqir Majlisi, a famous early Shia scholar.
Astrology: MAHDI - Sun in house 1
MAHDI - LEO rising sign
Those born with Uranus in the 1st house can be described as having unusual and unconventional qualities. Since the first house represents our physical appearance as well as our personality, there may be something non-conformist about the way these people dress or behave.
The individual is viewed as a rebel, reformer, or highly unusual in their manners, appearance and attitude. Sometimes these people enjoy being different and unpredictable. Uranus here likes to do what they please regardless of customs and norms.
The individual really wants to make a difference in the world, make progress and great changes. Uranus in this position can sometimes be disruptive, and they like to shake, rebel and shock others. The individual always wants to shatter other people’s expectations.
Uranus is associated with new discoveries, risk taking and scientific or occult exploration. Uranus in the 1st house wants to be autonomous, independent and freedom orientated....
Leo-Aquarius-people: Barack Obama, Carl Jung, J.K Rowling, Henry Moore..
One person was killed on Monday during clashes between security forces and protesters in a Tunisian town, the government said, as demonstrations over rising prices and tax hikes spread in the North African country. The protest turned violent when security forces tried stopping some youths from burning down a government building, witnesses said. Five people were wounded and taken to a hospital, state news agency TAP said.
Protests against rising prices and tax increases spread to around 10 towns across Tunisia. Police fired tear gas and clashed with hundreds of people protesting against unemployment, high prices and new taxes, residents said.
Dozens of protesters, mainly belonging to the “Fech Nestannew” campaign (“What are we waiting for” in Arabic), demonstrated against increased consumer in prices on Bourguiba Avenue in the capital Tunis on Sunday, January 7
Tunisia, widely seen as the only democratic success among nations where "Arab Spring" revolts took place in 2011, is suffering increasing economic hardship. The dinar hit a record low on Monday on trade deficit data and other factors.
On 1 January, the government raised the price of gasoil and some goods as well taxes on cars, phone calls, internet services, hotel accommodation and other items, part of austerity measures agreed with its foreign lenders.
The economy has been in crisis since a 2011 uprising unseated the previous government and two major militant attacks in 2015 hit the tourism sector, which comprises eight percent of GDP and is a key source of foreign revenue.
The EU has called Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for a meeting on Thursday in Brussels with his French, British and German counterparts in efforts to preserve the hard-fought deal to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
The meeting between Zarif and the three European parties to the landmark 2015 agreement comes after Iran warned the world on Monday to prepare for the withdrawal of the United States.
Iran signed the accord with six world powers, agreeing to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of many international sanctions, but US President Donald Trump has condemned the deal and threatened to pull out.
Trump has kept the unrest in Iran in the global spotlight by tweeting his support for protesters almost daily since demonstrations began in late December, although he has stopped short of calling for regime change.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Deputy Police Chief and Spokesman Brigadier General Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi announced that calm has restored to all parts of the country following the recent riots and unrest.
He underlined that the police forces reacted to the recent protests and unrest with deterrent weapons and practiced self-restraint to calm the situation.
Montazer al-Mahdi expressed pleasure that the people with economic grievances withheld their presence in the street protests to leave alone those who were damaging public properties and were turning the protest rallies into riots and unrest.
Last week, a number of peaceful protests began in several areas across the country, with the participants calling on authorities to address their economic issues.
However, the economic protests in a number of Iranian towns in the past few days turned into riots each comprised of a few hundred protesters after the peaceful gatherings were overshadowed when armed elements and vandals showed up among ordinary protesters and began to launch attacks on public property, police stations and religious sites.
The original protesters soon left the streets upon calls by the authorities so security forces could deal with the rioters and sporadic violence, which continued in some towns and cities for several days.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli attended at a big meeting with elite economists and top entrepreneurs at the hall of the ministry in Tehran on Wednesday, january 10. (Mehr News)
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops beat the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) back from four more regions in Southeastern Idlib as the terrorist group has been withdrawing from a number of villages and towns in recent days, field sources confirmed on Wednesday.
The sources said that the army men captured the villages of al-Adeliyeh, Tal al-Aowja, Rasm al-Ward and Marijab Jamlan after heavy fighting with Al-Nusra gunmen and their militant allies.
The sources said that a large number of Al-Nusra terrorists have been killed or wounded and a large volume of their military equipment has been destroyed in the army operation to liberate Abu al-Dhohour airbase in Southeastern Idlib in recent days.
Battlefield sources reported on Tuesday that the army men pushed Al-Nusra back from the village of al-Khariba and closed off the road connecting Abu al-Dhohour to the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman.
They added that the army's artillery and missile units targeted the Al-Nusra movements near Abu al-Dhohour and inflicted major losses on them.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urged Iran and Russia to realize duties as guarantor states in Syria and stop Assad regime violations against the moderate opposition forces in Idlib.
Speaking on Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk, Çavuşoğlu said that Russia and Iran have no excuses for attacks by the regime, noting that violations cannot happen without the support of the two countries.
Çavuşoğlu said that they were expecting some ceasefire violations, but the latest situation went beyond the limits.
The violations taking place in besieged areas, including Idlib, where some terrorists were able to enter, especially pose threats to civilians, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that it is not logical to completely shell besieged areas.
"If there is a terrorist organization in a region, its location needs to be determined through field work and intelligence sources, and careful operations can be carried out against them accordingly" he said, adding that what is currently happening in Idlib is unacceptable as civilians and moderate opposition forces are being attacked on the pretext that the Nusra Front and other terrorists are located there....
The foreign minister also noted that they plan to hold a meeting on Syria with like-minded countries in Turkey, following the summit that will be held in Russia's Black Sea city of Sochi. He highlighted once again that attacks by the Assad regime need to be stopped immediately in order to get results in Sochi.
De-escalation zones are designed to exclude Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, and only apply to non-jihadi rebel groups.
Also, the Russian-sponsored process is envisioned as a way to temporarily de-escalate the conflict, rather than a way for the opposition to build political and governance structures.
But events since the weekend speak of different dynamics at play. In the space of two days, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham turned from being the subject of an imminent military campaign to practically being a partner, in a zone that Russia and Iran want to be free of the former Al Qaeda franchise.
The breakthrough for the opposition’s interim government, even though not directly related to the de-escalation zone in Idlib, is relevant to the Turkish campaign in the north west.
For more than a year, the interim government pleaded to the armed groups in Idlib, including Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, to allow it to relocate to their areas.
As The National reported in June, Jawad Abu Hatab, the body’s chief, presented the jihadi group with an offer that would give it and other jihadi and Islamist groups control of the police and the courts in exchange for allowing his government to operate from Idlib.
Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham ("Organization for the Liberation of the Levant" or "Levant Liberation Committee"), commonly referred to as Tahrir al-Sham and abbreviated HTS, also known as al-Qaeda in Syria], is an active Salafist jihadist militant group involved in the Syrian Civil War. |
The group was formed on 28 January 2017 as a merger between Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra Front), the Ansar al-Din Front, Jaysh al-Sunna, Liwa al-Haqq, and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement.
Hashim al-Sheikh, also known as Abu Jabir, who had previously been the head of the now-rival Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, was named its new leader.
After the announcement, additional groups and individuals joined. The merger is currently led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and former Ahrar al-Sham leaders, although the High Command consists of leaders from other groups. Currently, a number of analysts and media outlets still continue to refer to this group by its previous names, al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Despite the merger, Tahrir al-Sham has been accused to be working as al-Qaeda's Syrian branch on a covert level. However, Tahrir al-Sham has officially denied being part of al-Qaeda and said in a statement that the group is "fully independent and doesn't represent any foreign body or organization". Some analysts reported that the goal of forming Tahrir al-Sham was to unite all groups with al-Qaeda's extreme ideology under one banner, and to obtain as many weapons as possible. They also reported that many of the former Jabhat Fateh al-Sham fighters still answered to al-Qaeda... Russia claims that Tahrir al-Sham shares al-Nusra Front's goal of turning Syria into an Islamic emirate run by al-Qaeda,
Chris Tomson, Al-Masdar News, 11/03/2017:
There are growing signs of a rapprochement between Tehran and Hamas after approximately three years of difficulties caused by Hamas’s reservations regarding the Islamic Republic’s support for the Assad regime, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center says.
This “rapprochement has been manifested by an increasing number of visits by Hamas delegations to Iran and by public statements from senior Hamas figures about” the importance of Iranian military support, the center said in a report late on Tuesday
"Every time we realize that the Muslim Brotherhood have not abandoned their hypocrisy. Their main concern remains power and ruling rather than religion or the interests of the country..." President Bashar al-Assad, 6-7-2013
Flashback - Qaradawi: "[Political] Islam will prevail"
Of the many fascinating reports in Michael Wolff’s "Fire and Fury" book on the Donald Trump White House, perhaps most troubling for Americans and for the world were the new insights into how the United States today shapes its Middle East policies.
After spending the last three months in the US and interacting with numerous people and organisations that deal with Mideast issues, I see several problem categories in Trump’s Mideast actions.
The key ones are:
the adolescent and personalised nature of how pivotal officials engage with Middle Eastern leaders, based on personal chemistry more than studied national strategic realities;
Washington’s working to change Arab leaderships like trading Monopoly properties;
the massive sway that extremist, pro-ultranationalist Zionist American donors have in the White House;
the disdain that Trump and his associates seem to feel for Arab leaders and countries;
the exaggerated and dominant fears of Iran that shape US policies; and,
the presumptuous, mostly ignorance-based and unilateral decisions on critical issues such as the status of Jerusalem.
The quotes in the book are not a comprehensive overview of US policy making in the region or the world, to be sure, but the consistency and tone of the sentiments expressed by White House officials — especially former chief strategist and American White-ultranationalist Steve Bannon — reflect a manner of decision making in the most powerful office in the world that should frighten us all.
The bottom line for me is that major decisions on existential issues that impact the lives of 600 million people in the wider Middle East are being made largely on the basis of policy preferences among the Israeli and Saudi Arabian leaderships, and intermediated by mostly ignorant, and often very young and inexperienced American officials like Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The revelation that President Trump’s White House last year managed Middle Eastern issues mainly through the Israeli, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian leaderships, with an overarching desire to push back Iranian influence in the region, helps explain why the United States finds itself in confusing situations across the Middle East.
The main problem with the Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian combine as Washington’s preferred entry point into the Middle East is that these four countries’ leaders appear to be totally blind to the conditions, rights, sentiments, and aspirations of the 400 million people in Arab countries, and the other 200 million Middle Easterners in surrounding states.
US-backed Israeli, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian policies in the region are among the leading causes of the tensions and conflicts that plague us all, but they are not solely to blame, due to many other problematic policies by Arab, Iranian, Turkish, Russian, British, and other countries.
Last month’s decision by Washington to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital captures in one fell swoop everything that is wrong and destructive about the Trump approach...
I thought the most striking revelation in the book was the quote by Steve Bannon that Jordan should take control of the West Bank and Egypt of the Gaza Strip, saying the US should “let them deal with it — or sink trying”.
Such disdain towards two long-standing Arab allies of the US like Jordan and Egypt should be a red flag to all leaders in the region who might want to rely on the US as a consistent partner.
It should also be a warning sign to Arab leaders that they should wake up and figure out how to regain and exercise their own sovereignty, in order to ensure the well-being of their own citizens. Otherwise, they will wake up one day and realise that they have become little more than properties on a Monopoly board that adolescent airheads in the White House buy, sell, and discard at the whim of wild men in the US waving campaign donation checks.
Russian artillery has destroyed a depot storing militants' drones located in the Idlib province.
The Russian Defense Ministry has announced that the group of militants that conducted a massive mortar attack targeting the Russian Hmeymim base in Syria on December 31 were eliminated in the course of a special operation.
"During the final stage of the operation, a group of Russian Special Operations Forces established the location of the subversive group of militants near the western border of the Idlib province.
Upon the terrorists' arrival at the facility where they were preparing to board to a minibus, the entire sabotage group was destroyed by a Krasnopol high-precision artillery shell," the Russian military said in a statement.
According to the Defense Ministry, the operation involved all the forces and means of a multi-level system of Russian military intelligence in Syria.
Separately, Russian military intelligence units have discovered and destroyed a depot in the Idlib province controlled by so-called "moderate opposition" used to store strike drones used to attack two Russian bases in Syria on January 6, the ministry added.
The Russian base in Syria was targeted by two attacks in less than a week, as the Hmeymim base came under mortar shelling on December 31 killing two servicemen, and was later attacked by drones on January 6.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday (jan 12) gave the Iran nuclear deal a final reprieve but warned European allies and Congress they had to work with him to “fix the terrible flaws” of the pact or face U.S. withdrawal.
Trump said he would waive sanctions against Iran lifted as part of the deal but only as a “last chance” and would not do so again.
The ultimatum puts pressure on Europeans - key backers and parties to the 2015 international agreement – to satisfy Trump, who has called the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program “the worst ever.”
Trump wants the deal strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the international pact, warning: “No one should doubt my word.”
“This is a last chance,” Trump said in a statement. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.”
While Trump approved the sanctions waiver, the Treasury Department announced new, targeted sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran’s judiciary.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter that the deal was not renegotiable and that Trump’s stance “amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement.”
Underscoring the difficulty now facing Europeans, a European diplomat, speaking under condition of anonymity, said: “It’s going to be complicated to save the deal after this.”
Trump laid out several conditions to keep the United States in the deal. Iran must allow “immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors,” he said, and that provisions preventing Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon must not expire.
Trump said U.S. law must tie long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs together, making any missile testing by Iran subject to “severe sanctions.”
Nearly 15 years after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, his loyalists are showing signs that they are abandoning their endeavours to topple the country’s Shia-led government and are following a softly-softly approach to get involved once more in the country’s politics.
The United Nations, which is pushing to break the political stalemate in Iraq and end the turmoil that followed the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, is believed to be seeking to marshal support for the new approach by Saddam’s former ruling Baath Party apparatus.
Since the US-led invasion, the former Baath Party has been divided into several factions over positions on Iraq’s Shia-led government, but die-hard leaders such as Saddam’s deputy Ezzat Ibrahim Al-Douri have taken on prominent roles in the anti-government Sunni insurgency.
With the military campaign to drive IS militants from their last main strongholds now over, attention in Iraq is turning to post-IS stabilisation and putting an end to the country’s communal divisions. A series of media reports has recently suggested that at least one faction of the Baath Party is even thinking of participating in the country’s forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for May.
Al-Douri’s faction said it was now envisaging “an independent, democratic, pluralistic and strong Iraq.”
In a statement marking Iraqi Army Day, the party faction made no mention of its long-standing aim of restoring its rule to Iraq and ridding the country of the Iran-backed Shia-led government.
“Our party is in the forefront of the ranks of those wanting to achieve a comprehensive solution to Iraq’s crisis that will ensure the freedom of the people, security and stability, the protection of the dignity of citizens and an end to corruption,” the faction said.
Iraqi media have reported that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has drafted a new reconciliation plan that proposes easing restrictions on the former loyalists, including ending the de-Baathification laws imposed on the party after the US-led invasion.
The measures meet one of the main benchmarks that Iraqi Sunnis have demanded of the Shia-dominated government, with the aim of providing places in it for the Saddam-era ruling elite and former army officers.
Other demands include the release of Sunni prisoners in government jails and resuming the paying of pensions to senior officials and army and security officers from the Saddam era.
Under Iraq’s de-Baathification laws of 2003, thousands of party members from the defeated Iraqi army and government bureaucracy were stripped of employment and denied pensions, leaving many disgruntled and angry.
The UN plan also reportedly calls on the Iraqi government to ensure that Sunni grievances of marginalisation and exclusion are addressed and a way is found for the country’s various groups to live together in order to achieve reconciliation at both the community and national level.
UNAMI has not divulged details of the plan, but its head, Slovakian diplomat Ján Kubiš, told the UN Security Council on 9 November that the Iraqi government’s undertakings in the post-IS era should include building a peaceful and united Iraq.
The Baath Party’s new and conciliatory tone has also been manifested in public statements by its leaders and discussions they have joined in recent meetings abroad.
The discussions in France, Spain, Qatar, Tunisia, Turkey and Switzerland sponsored by NGOs or government agencies were meant to display a moderate image of the party.
Iraq’s Sunni Arab neighbours are believed to be backing efforts to rehabilitate the Baathists...
Al-Douri and many other Baath Party leaders in exile are reportedly receiving financial, logistical and political backing from some of the regional Sunni powerhouses.
Many of the country’s Shia groups have expressed reservations about the rehabilitation of the Baath Party which could resurface as a potential Sunni force that could threaten their power.
Al-Douri & The Naqshbandi Order
The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order (JRTN) was originally composed mainly of groups wishing to restore the old order under the Ba'athist ideology.
It is a Sufi Islamic organization with Iraqi and Arab nationalist tendencies.
JRTN is linked to the "New Baath Party" led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, an adherent of the Naqshband Order. Since the JRTN is led by Saddam's former deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, and contains many former Ba'athists, Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism, Ba'athism as well as Sufi Islamism and Sunni Islamism have all become an important part of its ideology.
The group has declared itself to be fighting to maintain Iraq's unity, along with its Arab and Islamic character. As such, the group can be seen as pursuing a nationalistic, as opposed to religious, line.
The group recognises a direct return to Baathist control is impossible; the group instead focuses on infiltrating former Baathists into positions of power to try to dominate a future nationalist government.
The group then wishes to portray itself, and the wider Baath party, as a technocratic alternative to a currently incompetent Islamist government that is incapable of delivering services. (Wikipedia)
Behind the word "Naqshband" stand two ideas: naqsh which means "engraving" and suggests engraving the name of Allah in the heart, and band which means "bond" and indicates the link between the individual and his Creator.
This means that the Naqshbandi follower has to practice his prayers and obligations according to the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to keep the presence and love of Allah alive in his heart through a personal experience of the link between himself and his Lord. (sufimeditationcenter)
A return to Arab Nationalism
April 2015 Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who lives in hiding, released a rare audio recording just days before the alleged ISIS executions in which he slammed ISIS and called for a return to Arab nationalism.
“The bitterest enemies of the nation are the followers of takfiri ideas because they do not recognize the Arab nation,” Al-Mada Press cited Douri as saying Sunday in a voice recording released by a pro-Baathist website.
“Many friends wrote to me [suggesting] that we [should] incline towards the ideas and the doctrine of those who want religious ideas that endanger Shiites and Sunnis to spread.”
“I told them we would not turn away from progressive, emancipatory Arab nationalist ideas.”
Flashback 2003: SHOCK & AWE
U.S. Gen. Tommy Franks, in his first comments on the U.S.-led war with Iraq, said Saturday that allied forces were encountering resistance from Saddam Hussein's troops but had not seen evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Arab Writers Union expresses firm stance in support of unity of Syrian soil
Russia, as well as the European Union, remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, despite the recent US waiver of sanctions against the country.
Moscow would oppose any attempts to undermine the existing nuclear agreement between P5+1 countries and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stated. "The JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] cannot be amended and we will oppose any attempts to hamper it," Ryabkov said.
The minister went on by saying that Trump's move raises questions concerning his negotiability on international issues, adding that Moscow will insistently explain to Washington the viciousness of its sanction policy towards both Tehran and Pyongyang.
"We have a very negative stance on yesterday's decisions and statements announced by Washington, our worst expectations are coming true," Ryabkov said commenting on Trump's words, saying that the US thus demonstrate their preference for the use of power to solve issues...
"The prospect of the US withdrawal from the Iran deal will deliver a very serious blow to the whole system of international agreements and to the enhancing of the nuclear non-proliferation regime," Ryabkov said.
The minister called on the international community to consolidate efforts aimed at securing the Iranian nuclear deal.
"We think that in this context, the international community should double its efforts aimed at consolidation of the approach to the protection of the JCPOA shared by Russia, the Europeans and China in favor of its strict and full implementation by all the participants," Ryabkov said.
Trump names David Schenker new Middle East head at State Department
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a spin-off the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is an influential beltway think tank whose members have advocated a host of hawkish, “pro-Israel” policies over the years. |
It is considered a core member of the “Israel lobby,” a constellation of policy and advocacy groups devoted to pushing an Israel-centric U.S. agenda in the Middle East.
Many of WINEP’s current and former scholars have been closely associated with neoconservatism, and the organization has generally been supportive of the “war on terror” policies pushed by groups such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Right Web)
Flashback: US and EU must arm the Syrian rebels
Neocons in the Iraq War
Donald Trump: "So much Fake News is being reported"
Trump is a man at war. He’s a man in search of American Gothic. He wants to turn back the clock. Before it’s too late.
So yes, Trump did say, “Why are we having all these people from shit-hole countries come here?”
He denies the slur, but either way, there’s OMG delirium from sensitive Liberals and even a few ever so touchy Conservatives.
All of whom find only flaws in Trump but perfection in themselves…like Senator Dick Durbin putting on airs and feasting on Trump’s apparent snafu.
What’s the UN if not exactly that – a hellhole that near unanimously votes against the only Democracy in the Middle East, Israel, every Monday and Thursday?
Where exactly did Trump go wrong except for putting too much salt on the truth?
Democrats want to swarm America out of existence. That is no secret anymore. Democrats want to rule through the votes they see coming from those millions of infiltrators. Democrats want our Jewish/Christian values expunged.
No wonder of all the other nations of the world, Trump favors Israel. We think alike.
Democrats won’t be satisfied until America becomes a hellhole like the rest of the world.
Only a month ago, 128 nations at the UN voted to disgrace the United States for siding with Israel as regards Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration. Does anybody really want those shit-holes coming here?
Breaking with Zionism can be a life-shattering experience.
In Israel, the Jewish-Israeli society is by and large Zionist – in degrees varying from the so-called ‘liberal-Zionist’ to the fundamentalist Zionist. There is not really, necessarily, much of a difference when one speaks of this breaking experience in one faction or the other. The thing with Zionism is, that its adherents basically see it as a kind of ‘essence of life’.
Raanan Gissin, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s top adviser and spokesman (2001-2006), says that Sharon — a secular Jew — has long been calling for more Jewish text study in the secular schools...
Narratives challenging the factual veracity of the ‘survival’ notion, like pointing out the thriving Jewish existence elsewhere, is rather meaningless for Zionists.
Under the Zionist meta-narrative, this is all temporary. Jewish thriving is temporary, and simply awaits a point in time wherein the gentiles will again ‘turn on the Jews’, because that’s what happens “in each and every generation”, as the Passover chant goes.
And the Zionist answer to this supposedly perilous, eternal state of affairs, is a Jewish nation-state. So in the bigger paradigm, Zionists simply see the solution – the Jewish nation-state, as a survivalist solution.
They are therefore not inclined to see any ‘problems’ ensuing from it, such as human rights violations and challenging of international law, as more than mere obstacles or challenges facing this ‘special case’ – Israel...
In other words, Zionism renders the supposed values of ‘liberalism’ meaningless. It may well be that ‘liberal Zionists’ consider liberal values to be their highest goal, but when it comes down to the competition between Zionism and liberalism, Zionists will go Zionist...
So when a break occurs, it is a break that will inevitably lead one to reconsider the totality of the indoctrination and set of values one was brought up with.
Zionists perceive this as a suggestion that they, the Zionists, are regarded as ‘others’ of lesser values, and instinctively register that regard as an offense, even throwing them back to the ‘anti-Semitic’ idea of Jews as lesser beings (even when it is a Jew breaking with Zionism). This is offensive to a Zionist’s whole being, on so many levels. They will inevitably feel a natural aversion to the person...
People who are in such a society – the one which upholds and enshrines Zionism – know all this instinctively. The price of breaking with Zionism can be high. It’s not only a breaking with society, it’s a breaking with one’s past. For most people, such a price is considered simply too high.
Read also: Why are Israeli children brainwashed to hate? (Monoweiss, 7-5-2017)
Mahmoud Abbas has sharply criticised Donald Trump, saying the Palestinian Authority (PA) will never accept the US president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The PA president made his comments on Sunday at the start of a two-day central council meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah.
"Politically, Jerusalem is our capital; in our religion, it is our capital; geographically, it is our capital," said Abbas. "But it was removed from the map with a tweet from Mr Trump," he added.
"Now we say 'No' to Trump, we won't accept his plan - we say the 'deal of the century' is the slap in the face of the century," noted Abbas, referring to the US president's pledge to achieve the "ultimate deal" - peace in the Middle East.
The Palestinian leader also said that Israel had "ended" the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s with its actions, and also called the US ambassadors to the UN and to Israel - Nikki Haley and David Friedman - a "disgrace".
In his speech, Abbas criticised Hamas and Islamic Jihad for not attending the central council meeting. He said that this was a time where the Palestinians needed to get together because Jerusalem is the religious, cultural and political capital of Palestine.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) was offered the Jerusalem-area Arab town of Abu Dis as the capital of a future "Palestinian state," PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday. Speaking at a meeting of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Council, Abbas said, "Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine...our future is in danger."
"What would you want if Jerusalem were to be lost? Would you want to make a state with Abu Dis as its capital?
That’s what they are offering us now. Abu Dis."
Abbas said he had refused the offer. "We won’t take orders from anyone," he said. "We will not accept it."
(Arutz Sheva, 15-1-2018)
Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of the YESHA Council, the official representative organization for the 450,000 Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria, released the following response to Abbas' speech:
Flashback: The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas
"Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine," is an idea created after the Six Day War and further developed after the Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993. Arafat turned it into a mantra, while official Israel – Shmon Peres, Yossi Beilin, Alon Liel and their cohorts – did nothing to stop him. They told us that the expression is meant for a Palestinian Arab audience, i.e. for "internal use" only.
"Millions of shahids are on the march to Jerusalem!!" Arafat shouted day and night, but they told us to ignore it, that these were empty words, merely a pipe dream.
The world, led by Europe, went along with this Palestinian house of cards, financing it with billions of dollars over the years in the hopes of turning it into a real concrete structure, simply ignoring reality.
The world did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and allowed Jerusalem to turn into another major bargaining chip in the "Peace talks".
The world perpetuated the "Palestinian refugee problem" despite the fact that not one refugee remains of all the others who existed in the 1940s. Even Germany, which absorbed and rehabilitated the Sudetenland residents expelled from Czechoslovakia, did not demand that the Arab world do the same and absorb the "Palestinian refugees".
That double standard is what perpetuated the Palestinian Arab refugee problem, turning it into a central bargaining chip in negotiations between Israel and its neighbors...
" the Palestinian problem is now seen by them as nothing more than a nuisance"
Donald Trump understood that the Palestinian structure is made of cards, left standing only because of the world's going along with European leadership, American liberal circles, the Arab states and a few Israelis suffering from burn-out.
Trump understood that the Palestinian ideological structure is full of holes and decided to pull two foundational cards out of the ephemeral structure: the Jerusalem card and the refugee card...
Trump pulled the refugee card from the house of cards by announcing that he would cease to fund, support and perpetuate it. That act is a thousand times worse than recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, because the refugee issue has been capitalized on for seventy years, with billions of dollars poured into it, all going to waste.
Without adequate funding, the "refugees" are liable to spread out and be absorbed in the areas to which they move on, within the Arab world and outside it. The "refugee problem" and its threat to Israel might even disappear.
Abbas understands that his house of cards, lacking Jerusalem and refugees, is about to collapse and disappear... The feeling that he has lost his compass is what made him lose his temper and abandon the discretion that has always characterized his behavior, leading him to return to the depths of Arabic culture with an imprecation aimed at Trump –"May your house be destroyed."
Abbas does not have the Arab world standing behind him. Quite the contrary, the Iranian issue has pushed many Arab states closer to Israel and since the Arab nations are mired in a plethora of their own internal problems, the Palestinian problem is now seen by them as nothing more than a nuisance.
Abbas' speech this week, one in which he dug his own grave, symbolized the collapse, death and burial of the "Palestinian issue"..
Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.