News Digest — 7/16/19

Netanyahu: EU Response On Iran Reminiscent Of Appeasement Of Nazis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned a European Union response on Monday (15th) to Iran’s breaches of nuclear limitations, saying it recalled failed diplomacy with Nazi Germany ahead of World War Two.

“(It) reminds me of the European appeasement of the 1930s,” Netanyahu said in a video statement in Hebrew that was posted on Facebook.

The comments came after EU foreign policy chief Federrica Mogherini said none of the parties to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran saw its increased uranium enrichment as “significant non-compliance.”

“Then, too, there were those who stuck their  heads in the sand and did not see the approaching danger,” said Netanyahu, who casts Iran’s nuclear projects as a mortal menace to Israel and the wider world.

“It seems there are those in Europe who will not wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles land on European soil.  But then it will be too late, of course,” Netanyahu said.

Israel’s main ally, the United States quit the Iranian nuclear deal last year, deeming it insufficient.  That left Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany as parties to the deal.

Israel has predicted that, should European powers join Washington in reimposing sanctions on Tehran, it could prompt the Iranians to enter talks on a more limiting nuclear accord.

Alluding to Israel’s long-standing threat of a last-resort war against its arch-foe, Netanyahu said: “In any event, we will continue to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran getting nuclear weaponry.”

The EU ministers drew no conclusions on the next action that should be taken to head off a feared U.S.-Iranian conflict.



Iran’s Zarif Confined To 6 Block Radius In Midtown Manhattan

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is in New York City for meetings at the United Nations, might be said to be under a six-block arrest.  Zarif’s visa comes with tough limits – he can’t roam beyond that distance from the Iranian mission in midtown Manhattan.

“U.S. diplomats don’t roam around Tehran, so we don’t see any reason for Iranian diplomats to roam freely around New York City either,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told The Washington Post on Sunday (14th).  “Foreign Minister Zarif uses the freedoms of the United States to come here and spread malign propaganda.”

“We don’t need to let Iranians roam freely in New York City,” Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook said, echoing Pompeo.

The restrictions will be enough for Zarif to travel between the UN, the Iranian UN mission and the Iranian ambassador’s office.

“Putting restrictions on his presence in some streets in New York will certainly not affect his work schedule,” said Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. 

Zarif arrived on Sunday (14th) in order to address the UN Economic and Social Council on sustainable development, which he will do on Wednesday (17th).  He will also meet with think tanks and journalists, The Washington Post  reports.  He has already conducted an interview with NBC.

Reuters reports that there are precedents for the restrictions placed on Zarif.  It notes that Iranian diplomats are already confined to a 25-mile radius from Columbus Circle in Manhattan as are envoys of North Korea, Syria and Cuba.



The Problem With Opposing Israel’s Occupation – Jonathan S. Tobin

→A two-state solution that would be predicated on Israel’s leaving the West Bank is a position endorsed by only a minority of Israelis under the current circumstances.  Most Israelis think that following that advice would be a rerun of Ariel Sharon’s 2005 experiment in which he withdrew every soldier, every settler, and every settlement from Gaza – only to see the creation of a terrorist state on their country’s southern border.  Israeli voters have made it clear that replicating that disaster in the larger and more strategically important West Bank would be insane.

→When Israel’s foes say “occupation,” they don’t mean a two-state solution that would create a peaceful Palestinian state alongside Israel.  To the contrary, when anti-Zionists and most Palestinians say they want to end the occupation or speak of justice for the Palestinians, they’re talking about a “one-state solution” in which the one Jewish state on the planet is eliminated.

→As far as the Palestinian Authority’s official media and education system are concerned, Tel Aviv and Haifa, including Jerusalem, are every bit as “occupied” by the Jews as the most remote hilltop settlement in the West Bank.

→The reason why a Palestinian state in the West Bank doesn’t already exist is because the PA has repeatedly rejected Israeli offers that would have given them one.  These refusals centered on the Palestinian leadership’s fear of being branded as traitors for agreeing to any pact that would recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders.

→The same is true for complaints about the checkpoints and the security fence that Palestinians say make their lives miserable.  They only exist because of the carnage that the Palestinians unleashed on Israelis during the Second Intifada, in which they answered a peace offer with a terrorist war of attrition.

→While the status quo in the West Bank isn’t ideal for either side, the obstacle for peace remains the Palestinians’ futile clinging to their fantasy of occupying all of Israel.  Americans should be wary of being lured into statements opposing “occupation.” What it really does is fuel the intransigence that makes peace impossible. 



Palestinian Challenges PA Over Denying His Daughter Treatment In Israel

A Palestinian father has been challenging the Palestinian Authority (PA) over denying his daughter treatment in Israel.

Journalist Fathi Sabbah’s daughter Rima suffers from a form of blood cancer.  She was one of the thousands of Palestinian patients affected by the PA’s decision to stop funding medical treatment in Israel for its citizens.  The cessation of services went into effect on March 26.

According to the news website Days of Palestine, Fathi Sabbah, was promised by PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shatayyeh that he would personally follow Rima’s case to make sure that she would receive the treatments she needs.  Shtayyeh contacted Sabbah via telephone after he shared his story on Facebook.

However the medical referral that Rima received for treatment at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, only covered a checkup and not the medications she needed. 

Previously, more than 20,000 permits had been granted annually to Palestinians living in the West Bank to enter Israel and receive treatment in the Jewish State, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The PA stopped the medical referrals, when in February 2019, Israel implemented the “Pay-for-Slay” law that instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of “martyrs” from the tax money it collects for the PA.  Afterward, the Palestinian Authority announced it would stop providing its citizens with medical treatment in Israel, and committed itself to trying to find alternative healthcare. 

Rima’s case caught the attention of U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, who tweeted about it on Sunday (14th). 



New Zealand Lawmaker Says Jesus’ Mother Was ‘Palestinian Refugee’

A lawmaker for New Zealand’s Green Party said Jesus’ mother and her husband Joseph were Palestinian refugees.

Golriz Ghahraman on Thursday (11th) wrote on Twitter : “They were literally Palestinian refugees.  And she (Mary) normally had her hair covered because that’s what modesty looked like in her culture…”

She had been answering a tweet suggesting that by the New Testament, the parents of Christ were refugees.

Ghahraman’s tweet, which has since been deleted without explanation, prompted criticism from Jewish community representatives.

A spokesperson of the New Zealand Jewish Council, Juliet Moses, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency: “Ms. Ghahraman, by refusing to acknowledge that Jesus was Jewish, including when many people pointed out her error, is continuing to erase that connection, a favorite tactic of those who aim to delegitimize the modern day Jewish presence in the land of Israel.”

She also said that, “Calling Mary and Joseph Palestinian refugees is ahistorical and disrespectful to the Jewish community, and no doubt the Christian community too.”

Judea was renamed Palestine by the Roman Empire, long after Jesus’ death.

Media reports that a spokesperson for Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson said Ghahraman was going to work with Jewish communities to improve dialogue.  

“Even though a Green Party spokesperson said Golriz had apologized for her poorly-worded remarks, there has been no apology from Ghahraman that I’m aware of,” said Moses.