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Egypt's Israeli-Hamas Deal Further Shakes Jordan's Hashemite Throne

By DEBKAfile

The Hamas activists who spearhead radical Muslim Brotherhood opposition to Jordan's King Abdullah were encouraged by Israel's consent to the deal with Gaza's Hamas rulers that was brokered by Egypt. They concluded from Israel's avoidance of a large-scale military operation that their Gazan brothers' terrorist tactics had bested the IDF's renowned military and intelligence capabilities. They are contemplating borrowing those tactics to give the already shaky Hashemite throne in Amman a final push. On the throne for 20 years, the 57-year old monarch's low spirits raised alarm in Western circles during his visit to Washington in early March. King Abdullah turned down every Middle East project put before him, especially President Donald Trump's Israel-Palestinian peace plan, when they were presented by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the president's special advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. The gloomy Jordanian King told them all not to count on him for any kind of cooperation in implementing US policies in the region. On March 29, when Gaza was on the brink of tipping over into a major clash, the Muslim Brotherhood quietly scored a victory by pushing through the Jordanian parliament for the first time a motion voiding the natural gas contract signed with Israel by the Jordanian electricity company. In an attempt to save the deal, the royal court referred the issue to the Jordanian constitutional court for a final ruling. The Gazan Hamas' long arm had clearly reached the Brotherhood in Jordan and succeeded in inflicting a disastrous blow to the kingdom's economy. King Abdullah has been trying to ward of the extremists' threats by distancing Amman from Washington and Jerusalem. He has publicly slammed the Trump administration's policies in the region and taken the lead in the campaign against Israel over Temple Mount and Jerusalem. For many years, King Abdullah counted heavily on military, intelligence and economic support to keep his kingdom afloat and stable. But now, when he is more in need of a helping hand than ever before, he is separating himself from his champions. Two big perils are becoming uncomfortably acute: The deepening economic crisis and attendant shortages have made the population as a whole restive and antagonized the middle class which was one of the throne's main props. Bedouin tribes, another important prop, have turned against the throne and are joining opposition protests against the king. The evolving pact between Iran and two of Jordan's neighbors, Iraq and Syria, is bringing large Iraqi militias under Iran's Revolutionary Guards' command to Jordan's back door. Abdullah has no doubt that his throne is seen as a major obstacle in the path of Iran's expansionist drive and is therefore dispensable. As matters stand, he is running out of defenders for his kingdom against this oncoming storm after turning away from Washington and Jerusalem.

IDF Spokesman: Islamic Jihad Preparing Big Attack – `Unknown to Hamas'


Unusual Islamic Jihad activity was picked up in the Gaza Strip on Monday, indicating preparations for a major assault including anti-tank rocket fire, explosive devices planted along the border fence and a possible break-in. The IDF spokesmen went on to say that the Jihad's plan was going forward "without the knowledge of the Egyptian brokers shuttling between Tel Aviv and Gaza – or even Hamas itself." DEBKAfile's sources wonder why Israel's military spokesmen is working so hard to give Hamas a clean bill of health, although Hamas' director of terrorist operations Saleh Arouri is in Beirut together with Jihad leader Ziyad Nahaleh, who gave the order, on a joint mission regarding their next steps against Israel from the Gaza Strip..

Bolsonaro Visits Western Wall, Palestinians Angry at Jerusalem Mission

By Reuters &

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro shortened his visit to Israel by one day, Channel 13 News reported on Monday night. According to the report, Bolsonaro canceled a meeting with immigrants from Brazil. Bolsonaro, accompanied by Israel's Prime Minister, visited Jerusalem's Western Wall on Monday as the Palestinians considered recalling their ambassador in Brasilia over a new trade mission to Israel in the holy city. As is customary, Bolsonaro placed a prayer note in between the stones. The ancient Western Wall, the most sacred prayer site in Judaism, is located in the eastern part of the city Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally. Israel has long considered all of Jerusalem as its eternal, indivisible capital, while Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state they seek in territory Israel captured in the 1967 war. President Donald Trump broke global consensus in 2017 by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the U.S. embassy there last May. Brazil on Sunday opened a new trade mission to Israel in the city, edging back from earlier signals it would follow the United States with a full embassy move. The Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of a Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The plaza above known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary is the third holiest site in Islam, containing al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Bolsonaro's original proposal to move Brazil's embassy to Jerusalem angered the Muslim world, and senior Brazilian officials backed away from it for fear of damaging ties with Arab countries and jeopardizing billions of dollars in Brazilian halal meat exports. Presidential spokesman Otavio Rego Barros said on Sunday the trade mission would not be a diplomatic representation, but the move angered the Palestinians. Netanyahu has said he hopes Brazil's Jerusalem trade office is a step towards moving the embassy to the city." There is no recognition of Jerusalem as the capital," Brazilian presidential spokesman Barros said. "Our president continues to evaluate this possibility (of moving the embassy), but that is not what we decided at this time."

Palestinian Ambassador in Brasilia Ibrahim Alzeban told Reuters that he may be recalled, although a response was still under consideration. "From what I was told, it will depend on how (Bolsonaro's) visit evolves," Alzeban said. "We wish that the subject of Jerusalem had not been touched upon." Alzeban said the Palestinians were also upset because Bolsonaro did not consider a visit to the Palestinian territories and did not coordinate his trip with Palestinian authorities.

Clinton Aide, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Takes Credit for Blocking Jonathan Pollard's Early Release

By World Israel News

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, took credit for convincing then-President Bill Clinton not to make Jonathan Pollard's release from prison part of the concessions demanded by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during Israeli-Palestinian peace talks 21 years ago. In a March 7th article for the Atlantic magazine, the two-term mayor of Chicago wrote about his role in the negotiations as part of his defense of American Jews' loyalty to their country. This was in reaction to the recent anti-Semitic tweets by Ilhan Omar, a freshman Muslim congresswoman who accused Jews of dual loyalty, leading to condemnations from both sides of the Congressional aisle. Emanuel wrote that just one day after leaving his position as senior adviser to Clinton, the president called him from the Wye House in Maryland, where Netanyahu was negotiating with then-Palestinian President Yasir Arafat. Since Arafat was demanding many concessions that endangered Israel, Netanyahu was asking for Pollard's release as something that he could take back to his government as a victory. Clinton, he said, was "frantic that the summit would collapse" if he didn't concede, and his advisers were divided over what to do. "I told Clinton not to give in on Pollard's release, believing that Netanyahu needed the agreement more than he did," Emanuel said. Netanyahu signed the Wye River Memorandum without getting Pollard in return. Emanuel also touted his dedication to American interests over Israeli ones as Barack Obama's chief of staff in 2009-2010. "I spoke out strongly against Netanyahu's policy of expanding Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories," he wrote. "For my troubles, Netanyahu labeled me [along with the presidential adviser David Axelrod] a `self-hating Jew.'" Pollard, who finished serving out his life sentence at 30 years on Nov. 20, 2015, has not been allowed to leave the United States as part of his parole conditions. Netanyahu has reportedly asked President Donald Trump and other American officials several times to let him move to Israel, but so far to no avail.

Eurovision Song Contest 'Irritated Enough' with Israeli Security


The European culture exhibition and competition known as the Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled to occur in Tel Aviv, has written a frantic letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and ministers expressing "irritation" and warning of "disastrous consequences" for the event should Israel not accede to their demand to assign bomb-sniffing canine units to the event. The letter did not specify who might pose a security threat to the competition, but it did claim with what might be described as disproportionate apprehension that "with the level of exposure of an event like the Eurovision Song Contest, it is essential that such K9 bomb search routine be undertaken in all parts of the venue." The letter went on to threaten that "work cannot resume without the K9 bomb search routine being appropriately undertaken. Without a rapid turnaround of this instruction, the delays entailed by the absence of this essential security measure will have severe and significant negative consequences on the ability to hold the rehearsals on time and thus on the budget and on the quality of the shows that will be broadcast out of Tel Aviv." Not sufficing with this warning, the letter went on to hint at diplomatic repercussions for Israel as "the EBU will have to inform the 41 delegations of this situation. As you may guess, in view of the recent events in Tel Aviv, this is already a delicate topic for the delegations. This new information will only raise more concerns and questions on the appropriateness of the security and safety measures implemented in Israel for the Eurovision Song Contest." The European letter concludes by urging the Prime Minister to "take immediate action to ensure that the K9 bomb search routine be undertaken promptly by the police today so that the work of the production team can resume ... consequences could be disastrous for the Eurovision Song Contest and Israel."

New Immigrants to Celebrate 'Week of the South'

Residents of Arad, Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, Sderot, Yeruham, Kiryat Gat and even Eilat may be hearing a lot of English and Hebrew with an American accent this week. It won't just be from tourists or Birthright students, nearly 2,000 Olim (immigrants) who made Aliyah with Nefesh B'Nefesh over the past decade are celebrating their love and connection to Israel's south. "Shavua Darom" is part of Nefesh B'Nefesh's ongoing Post-Aliyah programming and is in partnership with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Jewish National Fund - USA. During the week, a host of events will be held in the country's southern cities, to which the Olim, who today are proud Israeli citizens, will be invited. In Be'er Sheva the over 1,000 Nefesh B'Nefesh Olim who live in the city are invited to participate in a Mindfulness and Yoga event, in Arad there will be a picnic together with members of the local Bnei Akiva youth group, and in Ashkelon there will be a flower arrangement workshop. "The goal of Shavua Darom is not only to unite the Oleh community, but also to invite people from all over the country to taste the life of the vibrant community in the south," said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B'Nefesh. "We continue to see hundreds of Olim from North America and the UK every year choose to build their lives in that area. The excitement and passion these Olim have for their new communities attest to the quality of life the south has to offer." Shavua Darom is part of a larger effort to energize Israel's periphery through the joint Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) and Nefesh B'Nefesh "Go Beyond" initiative. The KKL-NBN joint "Go Beyond" initiative provides financial incentives and logistical resources for new Olim to move to those non-central regions, including enhanced Aliyah grants, personalized pilot trips, career counseling and resources, personalized education and community guidance, and other benefits.

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