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Kushner says US Peace Plan Very Detailed, Border Redrawn

By DEBKAfile &

Although Jared Kushner says the US peace plan deals with all core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he offered no timeline for its presentation. In an interview with Sky News in Arabic on Monday, Feb. 25, Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's adviser, said that he and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt had "formulated practical and just solutions to the issue that will be relevant for 2019. "The US peace plan is very detailed and focuses on drawing the border and resolving key issues," he said. Washington also hopes to see "reconciliation between the Palestinian leadership in Gaza and the West Bank" and the Palestinians "united under one leadership." Kushner went on to say: "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been used for years to incite extremism. For years resistance to the nation of Israel has united the region, but now it is changing … We see that Iran is the greatest threat in the region." Kushner did not say clearly that the plan on which he and Greenblatt have been working for nearly two years is finished or ready for presentation. According to our sources, some elements are still a work in progress. The US administration's hope of bringing the Palestinians under one leadership – meaning reconciliation between the warring Fatah and Hamas factions in Ramallah and Gaza – is unrealistic. The Arab mediators who worked long and hard to bring this about have given up. New Right party leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded to Kushner's interview by warning that a Palestinian state was in the offing and central Israel was in danger. Israeli media accounts of the Sky interview with Kushner omitted certain important points to bring his comments in line with the prevailing pre-election political atmosphere, DEBKAfile's sources reported. The main burden of his remarks was that the Palestinian economy must be addressed – and a new economic infrastructure created – before approaching political solutions. The presidential adviser is in the course of a tour of Gulf capitals. His interview was intended to set the stage for his talks with their leaders. "The US peace plan will deal with all the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Kushner and that he and Greenblatt had "formulated practical and just solutions to the issue that will be relevant for 2019. The plan is very detailed and focuses on drawing the border and resolving key issues…The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been used for years to incite extremism. For years resistance to the nation of Israel has united the region, but now it is changing … We see that Iran is the greatest threat in the region." Earlier this month, Kushner told the Middle East summit in Warsaw that the peace plan would be presented after the Israeli elections on April 9. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that the "Deal of the Century", a reference to the American peace initiative, and any other political plan that does not rely on international legitimacy resolutions will fail, if it does not lead to the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Exposed: Links between Top Corbyn Aide and Anti-Israel Terror Groups

By The Algemeiner

A top aide to controversial UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has long-standing ties to anti-Israel terrorist groups and would likely be denied a security clearance. As a result, a new report has revealed. Seumas Milne, Labour's head of strategy and communications, is considered so influential that he has been referred to as "Corbyn's brain," and Corbyn, who is considered anti-Semitic by the vast majority of British Jews, reportedly relies upon him completely. According to a weekend exposé by The Mail on Sunday, Milne's links with terrorist groups dedicated to destroying the Jewish state are decades old. A party staff member, speaking anonymously, said, "Seumas has been supporting groups that deny Israel's right to exist for many years." While he was at Oxford University in 1977, Milne traveled to Lebanon and met with PLO terrorists. According to a New Statesman profile, Milne "learned Arabic, heard shots fired in anger, escaped from a blown-up building, and was briefly captured by militiamen." Palestinian activist Hussein Agha, who has known Milne for years, related that the political adviser "went to Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank — a young boy on a Leftist grand tour. He adopted a Palestinian accent. He used to speak English with Arabs the way they spoke to him." He added that Milne met with Fatah members while the group still openly called for Israel's destruction and the ethnic cleansing of its Jewish population. "I met him when he came back," he told The Mail. "He was not anti-Semitic, but he was very, very anti-Israel." Returning to Oxford, Milne co-founded the Oxford Palestine Campaign, an extremist anti-Israel group. The organization disseminated PLO propaganda and aggressively denounced the 1978 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, saying, "We must now expect the Palestinians to react in the only way that is left to them: to escalate their armed resistance." Agha, who has since been involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, remarked that Milne "thinks I have sold out, become too soft. He is a purist." According to the Mail report, Milne eventually developed links with Hamas and took Corbyn to the Middle East to meet with leaders of the Islamist terror group, which still openly states that its goal is Israel's destruction. In 2009, Milne said, "The idea that Israel is a racist state is largely uncontroversial" and charged that Israel was "built on ethnic cleansing." In response to the Mail report, a Labour source said: "Seumas Milne does not endorse the Hamas charter. He has criticized it." The source added, "Seumas has never advocated violence. The right to resist illegal occupation is enshrined in international law." On the overlap between Milne's and Corbyn's views, one Member of Parliament noted anonymously, "Without a shadow of a doubt, Corbyn trusts Milne more than anyone. I actually think Corbyn is a little bit thick. It's no exaggeration to say that Milne is Corbyn's brain." Milne has been heavily involved in Labour efforts to deal with accusations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn and the party. "Again and again, MPs have asked to see Corbyn to talk about anti-Semitism, and when they got to his room, they found themselves talking to Milne," the MP said. In addition to Israel-related issues, The Mail said Milne had defended Russia's invasions of Afghanistan and Ukraine and said an IRA attempt in 1984 to assassinate then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a "very daring attack." After 9/11, he wrote that Americans do not understand that they are "hated with such bitterness" because of their "unabashed national egotism and arrogance." He has also defended the theocratic Iranian regime, which calls for the destruction of Israel, and called protesters against it "Tehran's gilded youth." Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of British intelligence agency MI6, said that as a result of Milne's history, it would be impossible for him to pass the required security checks to see classified information if Corbyn becomes prime minister. "Anyone with his sort of background could not be let anywhere near classified information. It would be out of the question," said Dearlove. "I am alarmed enough by Corbyn's past associations, but Milne's put him beyond the pale. That means Corbyn could not make the judgments and decisions a PM has to make unless he stopped consulting him," he explained. "There would be a recommendation made by the head of MI5, who would have to see the PM and say, `This man cannot be allowed to see any classified information.' Either Corbyn would have to cut contact with him — or the head of MI5 would have to threaten to resign, and do it if he still refused. It would blow up into a major constitutional issue, and it would be huge," Dearlove added.

Islamic Jihad: Our Missiles can Hit Netanya and Beyond

By World Israel News &

Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) showed off its newest missile facilities on Iranian television Sunday, claiming that their supply of rockets for use against Israel is more accurate and has better range than ever before. "Our rocket force and missile units will surprise the enemy following any foolish act it may do in the future," a masked PIJ spokesman says in the documentary. "Stupid acts against the Gaza Strip and its inhabitants will turn into hell [directed] at the occupied cities and villages, Inshallah [God willing]." This seemed to be a reference to the IDF's defensive response to the violent mass rioting that has gone on for some 11 months at the Gaza border. Using riot-dispersal methods and live fire when their lives are in danger, Israeli troops have been dealing with rock and bomb-throwing as well as attempted infiltrations into Israel in what Hamas has labeled "peaceful demonstrations." The group boasted that with the aid of Iran, its engineers have managed to do better than merely replacing the missiles that Israel had destroyed in airstrikes and previous rounds of fighting. Now the terror group can strike Tel Aviv, Netanya "and even further," with precision missiles, it threatened. PIJ said that "proof" of their abilities was provided "in the last round, with the rocket to Ashkelon." In the video, they called their projectile the "Hell of Ashkelon." Last November, a Palestinian man was killed and two women seriously injured when a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit an apartment building in the coastal city. This was during a 36-hour period in which Hamas and its allies launched hundreds of missiles and rockets at Israel. In an interview with Al-Alam TV, Abu Hamza said that Islamic Jihad engineers had succeeded in developing missiles capable of hitting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and even north of it, stressing that what was taken by force would only be returned by force. He warned the "Zionist enemy" by saying that the Islamic Jihad's missile unit was prepared to respond to any foolish act Israel would commit by turning the towns and communities in Israel into "hell. The Zionist enemy has no place on the land of Palestine, it has to get out of this blessed land or it will suffer severe blows one by one," he threatened. In another instance, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhala called the Israelis "the new Nazi murderers."

Meir Kahane's Legacy is Again Haunting Israeli Politics


In the 1980s, Israel's right and left fought three fiercely close elections over the direction of the country, splitting the vote so evenly in one case that they were forced to share powers. Throughout it all, however, the Likud and Labor parties agreed on one thing: Rabbi Meir Kahane, the right-wing extremist, was unfit to serve in Israel's parliament. Kahane called for Arabs to be expelled from Israel, and his Kach party had a history of harassing Israeli Arabs. Before coming to Israel, Kahane was the leader of the militant Jewish Defense League in New York City. Kahane served time in prison both in the United States and Israel. When Kahane was elected to the Knesset in 1984, despite widespread opposition, the other legislators responded by walking out of the parliament en masse whenever he rose to speak. American Jewish groups also frequently spoke out against him. "This dangerous phenomenon will pass because no public figure or member of Knesset supports it," Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once said about Kahane, according to Haaretz. Shamir also called Kahane a "dangerous character." More than three decades later, times appear to have changed: The current Likud prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has pushed for Kahane's ideological successors to run for Knesset. Fearing that Israel's right wing will lose power, Netanyahu orchestrated a merger between Jewish Home, a religious Zionist party, and Jewish Power, an extremist right-wing party led by Kahane's disciples. The merger will increase the united party's chances of gaining enough votes to enter Knesset. It's unclear whether any of Jewish Power's candidates will win the election or what influence they might have if elected. But several major American Jewish groups, as well as Israeli public figures, are opposing the move as an endorsement of the extremism once rejected by previous Israeli governments. "I never thought I would see this day," Yossi Klein Halevi, an American-Israeli author who was a follower of Kahane in his youth and now stridently opposes the ideology, told i24 News. "Every society has its fringe fanatics. But what Prime Minister Netanyahu has done, because he's desperate, because he's in an increasingly tight political race, is open the door to evil." A chorus of centrist and liberal American Jewish organizations opposed the merger. The Reform movement, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and several other groups called the encouragement of Jewish Power an unacceptable condoning of extremism. Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, called the merger "very disturbing" in an interview with the Associated Press. The statements did not appear to be made on behalf of the conference itself. "He obviously has some political calculation that drove him to it, but politics can't dictate everything," Hoenlein said, referring to Netanyahu. "You have to take into consideration all of the ramifications and all of the concerns." On Friday, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby, seconded the American Jewish Committee's condemnation and noted that it has a policy of not meeting with Jewish Power. Centrist Jewish organizations, especially AIPAC, usually hesitate to criticize Israel on internal politics. "The views of Otzma Yehudit are reprehensible," read a statement by the American Jewish Committee, a large, centrist pro-Israel group, using the party's Hebrew name. "They do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel." The statement went on to say: "Historically, the views of extremist parties, reflecting the extreme left or the extreme right, have been firmly rejected by mainstream parties, even if the electoral process of Israel's robust democracy has enabled their presence, however small, in the Knesset." Neither the AJC statement nor AIPAC's referred specifically to Netanyahu or his deal with Jewish Power. A coalition of left-wing groups was not as reticent. "This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, keen to shore up his electoral position, orchestrated the unification of the extreme right-wing party Otzma Yehudit (`Jewish Power') with the National Union so that it could enter the Knesset in a consolidated right-wing bloc," read a statement by eight groups, including the New Israel Fund, J Street, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reconstructionist movement. "We are outraged that right-wing political parties and their leadership have reversed course and opened the door for Kahanists to enter into the Israeli political mainstream." No major right-wing Jewish groups have condemned the merger. The National Council of Young Israel, a traditionalist Orthodox synagogue association, defended Netanyahu's actions. The council called out a past instance when the Israeli left relied on votes from Arab-Israeli parties to pass a peace deal. "Prime Minister Netanyahu acted to get right-wing parties to merge to meet the threshold necessary to secure a victory in the election," read a statement made Monday by Farley Weiss, President of the National Council of Young Israel. "We understand what Prime Minister Netanyahu did, and he did it to have ministers of the national religious and national union parties in his coalition." Most American Jewish groups also opposed Kahane's activities in the United States and Israel in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. In the United States, Kahane's group militantly protested on behalf of Soviet Jews, including bombing Soviet diplomatic missions in New York. After serving time in the U.S. for violating probation after making a firebomb, Kahane moved to Israel, where he went to prison for violating an order barring him from entering the largely Palestinian city of Hebron. Despite legislative efforts to ban his party, Kach, it won one seat in the 1984 Israeli elections — enough to get him into Knesset. He used the position to advocate for expelling Arabs from Israel and otherwise disseminate racist statements. Parties condemned him across the spectrum, as well as Israel's Chief Rabbinate and American Jewish groups. "There can be no hesitation, no ambiguity, no equivocation in voicing our rejection and condemnation," Marshall Grossman, a Jewish community leader in Los Angeles, said in 1984. Kahane "violates both the letter and the spirit of Israel's declaration of independence, which accords freedom and equality of citizenship to all people regardless of race and religion." Israeli government officials also tried to block Kahane with legal and legislative tools. Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek proposed an anti-racism bill to bar Kahane's speeches. The Knesset House Committee removed Kahane's franking privileges, which allowed him to send mail for free. The attorney general urged the Knesset to pass a resolution effectively barring Kahane from Arab population centers. The police minister looked for ways to prevent Kach rallies from taking place. "I feel that this phenomenon is shameful, disgusting and dangerous," the attorney general, Yitzhak Zamir, told the Knesset in 1984. "A silence by the Knesset, or taking no stand at all on the issue, could be interpreted as acquiescence to Kahane's expressions and actions." Kahane's defenders and critics of the Israeli right, meanwhile, said he was only saying out loud what was unspoken in right-wing politics: that by rejecting autonomy for Palestinians, the right had either to support the expulsion of Arabs or commit to the permanent control of a restive population. Speaking in New York City in 1984, Kahane said that "no Arab wants to live in a Jewish state" and called expulsion a quid pro quo for the mass expulsion of Jews from Arab countries following Israel's independence in 1948. In 1988, Kahane was suspended from the Knesset for swearing at an Arab member and waving a noose at him. That same year, with Kahane's party poised to win more than 10 seats in elections, it was banned from running due to its racist platform — at the urging of Likud. Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990, and two years later, the Israeli Supreme Court barred successor parties from running. But are the present-day parties run by Kahane's followers the same? Israel's Central Elections Committee has said no — that they, in fact, can run. In 2012, the committee rejected a petition to ban Power to Israel, a far-right party led by Michael Ben-Ari, who leads this year's Jewish Power. And Ben-Ari did previously serve in the Knesset, from 2009 to 2013. Regardless, Ben-Ari will only be elected this year if his party wins enough votes to have five seats in Knesset. And if that happens, he will be the lone representative of his ideology in the body — just like Kahane 35 years ago.

When were `Palestinians' Invented?

By Jerold S. Auerbach, The Algemeiner
Millennia before Palestinians appeared on the world stage following the Six-Day War, the "West Bank" was already known as Judea and Samaria. "Palestine" dates from the League of Nations Mandate (1923) that granted England governing power over the land, including Trans-Jordan that was previously controlled by the defeated Ottoman Empire. The Mandate recognized "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine." "Palestinians" were not mentioned; Arabs in the Land of Israel lacked national consciousness as a people. Two decades after the birth of Israel, following the Six-Day War, they borrowed so extensively from Jewish and Zionist sources as to virtually constitute historical plagiarism. "Palestine" had emerged as an abbreviation of "Syria-Palestine," imposed by Roman conquerors in the 2nd century CE to obliterate the Jews' connection to their biblical homeland. Modern conceptions of Palestine did not appear until the 19th century when British artists and writers began to explore the"Holy Land." Jews, wrote Rev. Alexander Keith, are "a people without a country" while "their own land . . . [is] a country without a people." Several years later Lord Ashley Cooper described "a country without a nation" needing "a nation without a country." That nation, he asserted, was "the ancient and rightful lords of the soil, the Jews!" During the early years of the British Mandate, Arabs in Palestine still had little awareness of a distinctive national identity. Testifying before the Peel Commission in 1937, Syrian leader Auni Bey Abdul-Nadi asserted: "There is no such country as Palestine. … `Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it." Even Columbia history professor Rashid Khalidi, an expert on Palestinian identity, would acknowledge that before World War I "Palestine" did not exist in Arab consciousness. Zionist land development served as a magnet for Arabs from Middle Eastern countries who came to Palestine in search of a better life and eventually became "Palestinians." Shortly before the birth of the State of Israel, Arab historian Philip Hitti conceded: "There is no such thing as Palestine in history." Even the UN General Assembly Resolution in 1947 referred to the area west of the Jordan River as Judea and Samaria. A distinctive Palestinian identity did not emerge until the humiliating Arab defeat in the Six-Day War. Why was it, wondered Walid Shoebat from Bethlehem, that "on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian. … We considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem." Most striking about the belated Palestinian identity is its derivation from Jewish sources. Like other Middle Eastern Muslims, Palestinians claim Ishmael, Abraham's son by his servant Hagar, as their ancestral link to "their" patriarch Abraham. The Canaanites have been adopted as their own victimized ancestral people. Ironically, their insistent claim of a "right to return" for Palestinian refugees (and their descendants) emulates the Israeli Law of Return. Palestinian teenagers have preposterously compared themselves to Anne Frank, suffering from an Israeli "Holocaust." Writing in the Jewish News Service (February 9), Zionist activist and author Lee Bender points out that one-quarter of the Palestinian localities in Israel, Judea and Samaria have ancient biblical names. Among them: Bethlehem (Beit Lechem), Hebron (Chevron), Beitin (Beit El), Jenin (Ein Ganim), Silwan (Shiloach), and Tequa (Tekoa). Allegations endlessly repeated by the United Nations, Palestinians, and, to be sure, The New York Times, that Israel has no legitimate claim to the territory now commonly known as the "West Bank" (of Jordan) are fallacious, if not mendacious. They lack any familiarity with the history of Jews in the Land of Israel — and the absence of any identifiable "Palestinian" presence or identity until quite recently. But old falsehoods never die; they may not even fade away. Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of "Print to Fit: The New York Times, Zionism and Israel," 1896-2016, to be published this month by Academic Studies Press.

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