Saudi Arabia calls on Hezbollah to disarm, threatens its ouster from Lebanon

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Times of Israel

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir addresses a joint press conference with his French counterpart in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 16, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Fayez Nureldine)

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Thursday called on the Hezbollah terrorist organization to disarm, warning the group that regional efforts were underway to oust them from the Lebanese government.

At a press conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, al-Jubeir denounced Hezbollah as “a tool of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and “a first-class terrorist organization used by Iran to destabilize Lebanon and the region.”

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The Palestinian reconciliation agreement – context, consequences and open questions

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BICOM: Britain Israel Communications and Research Center


The Palestinian reconciliation deal was driven by a number of factors: Hamas’s new leadership; its failure to govern Gaza; the respective roles played by two arch-rivals Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and former senior Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan, who each tried to make use of Hamas’ strategic weakness to advance their own interests; the role of Egypt, which utilised its close relations with all the relevant parties to prise Hamas away from ISIS in the Sinai; and the upcoming launch of a US-initiated peace process.

The advantages for the UK, US and Israel are that this turns Hamas away from Qatar and towards Egypt and the UAE, creates the conditions to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and enhances the potential for a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas is being pragmatic but the unity deal with the PA does not represent a change of ideology. Hamas is not going to give up its military wing, forsake its Islamist character or agree to recognize Israel.

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What the political turmoil in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon means for Israel

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JTA

    Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, center, meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and his delegation in Riyadh, April 19, 2017.

What is MBS? Why did Lebanon’s prime minister resign — and why in Saudi Arabia? What’s Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas doing in Saudi Arabia? Where is Jared Kushner in all this?

And what does it all mean for Israel?

It’s been a busy week in the Middle East and, for a change, the two ground-shifting stories — they may be the same story, but we’ll get to that — don’t directly involve Israel.

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Jordan Reportedly Furious Over Palestinian Reconciliation Deal

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Algemeiner


JNS.org – Jordan’s King Abdullah expressed strong disapproval of the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal during a meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Palestinian and Jordanian sources told Israel Hayom this week.

In the meeting, Abdullah said he was apprehensive about the possibility that former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will vie for the PA presidency as well as the Gaza-ruling terror group’s influence in the West Bank. Those factors constitute a threat to Jordan since they will likely destabilize the internal security of the kingdom, Abdullah told Abbas, who heads the PA-controlling Fatah party.

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Ex-Hamas member Mosab Hassan Yousef addressing the United Nations, Sept. 25, 2017

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A Hamas member turned humanitarian addressed the U.N. human rights council today and called the Palestinian Authority the “greatest enemy of the Palestinian people.” See full speech below. “If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame; take responsibility for the outcome of your own actions,” said Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father was a founding member of Hamas. As recounted in the film The Green Prince, Yousef emerged as one of Israel’s prized informants, who disrupted lethal attacks and uncovered terror cells.

A Hamas member turned humanitarian addressed the U.N. human rights council today and called the Palestinian Authority the “greatest enemy of the Palestinian people.” See full speech below.

“If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame; take responsibility for the outcome of your own actions,” said Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father was a founding member of Hamas.

As recounted in the film The Green Prince, Yousef emerged as one of Israel’s prized informants, who disrupted lethal attacks and uncovered terror cells.

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Encouraging signs in Israel’s efforts to directly engage with Arab population

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JNS


Galvanized by common threats by Iran and Islamic extremism, Israel and the its fellow Sunni Muslim Arab states have seen an unexpected warming in relations in recent years. However, despite public and closed-door cooperation, Israel still remains deeply unpopular among the so-called “Arab street.”
Drawing on its high-tech prowess and unprecedented social media opportunities, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has strongly embraced new media channels to reach millions of viewers directly, including in the Arab world.

Ofir Gendelman, Netanyahu’s spokesman for the Arab media, told JNS.org in recent years “Israel has become a powerhouse of public diplomacy directed at the Arab world.”

“Israeli officials are now regularly interviewed on main Arab TV channels and Israeli pundits offer there their insights,” he said, adding that Israel is also active on social media in Arabic. With the aid of Arabic language spokespeople in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, and the IDF, there are millions of followers on the Arabic Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Hamas Is Restoring Its Alliance with Iran

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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

    Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif confirms the importance of the relationship with Hamas’ delegation to Tehran

By: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi. The renewed alliance with Hamas will enable Iran to strengthen its zones of influence along Israel’s borders, including within the West Bank where Hamas and Islamic Jihad give it a foothold.

During the first week of August 2017, a delegation from the Hamas Political Bureau visited Iran. The Islamic movement said the visit meant that the sides were opening a “new page” in their relations.

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When a murderer is called a martyr: The Palestinian Martyrs Fund is flush with blood money from America

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Washington Times

Ethics now get short shrift nearly everywhere, and what was once normal behavior is regulated only by moral ambiguity. But murder, whether by an angry spouse, street hoodlum or terrorist driven by religious fanaticism, still has no sanction. There’s no justification for outbursts of butchery, and cash doled out to Palestinian terrorists and to their families is blood money, and it’s to the shame of the U.S. government that some of that blood money is lifted from the pockets of Americans.

The practice of paying for murder is front and center now following the execution-style shootings of two Israeli Druze policemen at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. The families of three Israeli Arabs who carried out the attack are eligible for money from the Palestinian Martyrs Fund, as well as the families of the attackers who stabbed an Israeli policewomen at the Damascus Gate in June.

The Palestinian Authority, in its 2017 budget, allocates $355 million to “direct terror funding expenditures,” according to Palestinian Media Watch, and of that $158 million goes to “salaries” for imprisoned terrorists, an increase of 13 percent above last year. Another $197 million is paid to the families of “martyrs,” as terrorists slain in the act are called, an increase of 4 percent. Rather than encourage productive citizens, the Palestinian leaders encourage acts of terrorism, including murder, as a way of life.

More than 20,000 Palestinian families receive monthly payments, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and another 500 families of “martyrs” are eligible for a free religious pilgrimage to Mecca, paid by Saudi Arabia. It’s a telling indicator of where the powers that be place their priorities, that peaceful families with incomes under the poverty line receive smaller welfare payments than killers of Jews.

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Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Are Getting Their First Startup Fund

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Bloomberg

    Moshe Friedman

The first investment fund for Israel’s ultra-Orthodox startup community is about to close, offering a new springboard for religiously devout entrepreneurs whose centuries-old garb and insular ways haven’t made them a natural fit for the tech scene.

With a target of $5 million, the 12Angels fund is meant to encourage the slow but steady inroads the ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, community is making into an industry dominated by veterans of elite Israeli military units. Its first investment, of $150,000, was supplemented by the head of Facebook Israel, the chief scientist’s office and another fund. The company, developing a cyber tool for websites, raised $1 million in total.

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Arab humiliation and the Temple Mount

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Asia Times

    David P. Goldman

By David P. Goldman: In 2015, the last time Palestinians rioted over the Haram-al-Sharif – the Temple Mount to Christians and Jews – a handful of pious Jews had committed the offense of attempted prayer. This week’s protest over the presence of metal detectors takes the dispute to a new level of unreality. After Israeli-Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen with weapons hidden on the site, Israel installed metal detectors, a common sight at mosques in many Muslim countries. After Israel removed the metal detectors under apparent pressure from Washington, the Muslim religious authorities announced that they would not accept any Israeli security measures of any kind, including cameras and remote sensing devices. Cairo’s Al-Azhar University denounced any and all Israeli security measures as “irresponsible and provocative,” adding, “All measures taken by the occupation authorities at Al Haram Al Sharif in occupied Jerusalem are null and void and are not based on any humanitarian or civilized principle.”

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