Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Puerile Palestinians. A Message For All. Is Trump's Foreign Policy Confused Or Are His Options Limited? Humor. News Distortion.

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A must watch: Israel Video Network <avi@israelvideonetwork.com
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Two responses from  long time friends and fellow memo readers regarding Congressional sexual harassment: "And just think that this is one of the few issues where Congress is not impotent. Ha! J.R"

And

"If Moore is guilty, he should not serve but if just accusing someone without due process turns out to be successful, then all future political contests will be solved by who can shout the loudest at one's opponent with unproven  accusations . F---"

As for Roy Moore, the mass media stated Trump endorsed Moore when in fact he defended him for having denied the allegations which allegedly occurred over a forty year span and did speak against his opponent but there was no formal endorsement.  Another attempt to write headlines that mislead in order to to pursue of their agenda, ie distort the news.
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If they do not get everything they feel the are entitled to, want and demand then, like children, they will take their marbles and go home.  (See 1 and 1a below.)
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Rosenthal posted this op ed as advice to fellow Jews but this should be read by people of all faiths who believe in peace and seek justice because Iran is not going to stop at Israel.  (See 2 below.)
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This from a very dear friend and fellow memo reader:

"Your comments on sexual harassment were extremely appropriate! I'd like to add one additional comment: sexual activities are part of the life on Capitol Hill.  I didn't spend much time up there, but certainly saw a lot. I think sex is a part of life for many of the people up there. Alcohol also plays a role sometimes. I won't describe the incidents ,but they certainly changed the way in which I regard our Congress and Senate. The users of the slush fund should be prosecuted. B--"
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Maybe Trump's foreign policy initiatives are not as confused as first thought or the mass media would have you believe .

Trump has few options and time is not his ally.  He inherited a dangerous mess. 

Obama did as well but he made it worse.

Time will tell. (See 3 below.)
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Belated Thanksgiving Humor. (See 4 below.)

And

You gotta love Larry. (See 4a below.)
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Dick
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1)BREAKING: Palestinians freeze ties with US

BREAKING: Palestinians freeze ties with US
Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki (AP/Nasser Nasser)

The Palestinians are reportedly following through with their threat to sever ties with the US after Washington orders closure of the PLO mission in the American capital.
By: World Israel News Staff and AP
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced it is freezing all ties with the US as a result of the State Department’s announcement on Friday that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) can no longer operate its Washington office.  The US decision followed the Palestinian move to petition the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israelis for alleged crimes against Palestinians.  Washington says that the Palestinian action violated its legal mandate and resulted in the mission closure.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined that the Palestinians crossed that line in September, when Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas called on the court to investigate and prosecute Israelis, according to State Department officials. They weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the situation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Under the law, Trump now has 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” If Trump determines they are, then the mission can reopen.
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP on Tuesday that “by closing the office they (The US) are freezing all meetings and we are making that official.”
A PLO spokesman confirmed that it had received instructions from PA head Mahmoud Abbas “regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans.”
Cutting off ties carries great risks for the Palestinians. It raises questions about the veracity of the anticipated US Middle East peace plan. It could also antagonize the Trump administration and result in cancellation of US aide to the Palestinians.
Following the initial US announcement about the closure of the PLO office in Washington, the Israeli prime minister’s office issued a statement saying, “we respect the decision and look forward to continuing to work with the US to advance peace and security in the region.”

1a)
Gatestone Institute
Latest Analysis and Commentary
by Bassam Tawil  
  • The Palestinians have made up their mind: The Trump peace plan is bad for us and we will not accept it. The plan is bad because it does not force Israel to give the Palestinians everything.
  • If and when the Trump administration makes public its peace plan, the Palestinians will be the first to reject it, simply because it does not meet all their demands.
  • Trump will soon learn that for Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians, 99% is just not enough.

The Palestinians are once again angry -- this time because the Trump administration does not seem to have endorsed their position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians are also angry because they believe that the Trump administration does not want to force Israel to comply with all their demands.

Here is how the Palestinians see it: If you are not with us, then you must be against us. If you do not accept all our demands, then you must be our enemy and we cannot trust you to play the role of an "honest" broker in the conflict with Israel.

Last week, unconfirmed reports once again suggested that the Trump administration has been working on a comprehensive plan for peace in the Middle East. The full details of the plan remain unknown at this time.

However, what is certain -- according to the reports -- is that the plan does not meet all of the Palestinians' demands. In fact, no peace plan -- by Americans or any other party -- would be able to provide the Palestinians with everything for which they are asking.
Palestinian requirements remain as unrealistic as ever. They include, among other things, the demand that millions of Palestinian "refugees" be allowed to enter Israel. Also, the Palestinians want Israel to withdraw to indefensible borders that would bring Hamas and other groups closer to Tel Aviv.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader, 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four-year term, continue to insist that they will accept nothing less than a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with east Jerusalem as its capital, on the entire lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

Most dangerous is that even in the unlikely event that Abbas would sign some deal, another leader can come along later and legitimately say that Abbas had no authority to sign anything as his term had long since expired.

Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist terror group controlling the Gaza Strip, maintains that it will never accept the presence of Israel on "Muslim-owned" land. Hamas wants all the land Israel supposedly "took" in 1948. Translation: Hamas wants the destruction of Israel in order to establish an Islamic Caliphate where non-Muslims would be granted the status of dhimmi ("protected person").

Unlike the Palestinian Authority, Hamas deserves credit for being clear and consistent about its true goal. Since its establishment three decades ago -- and despite recent illusory hopes expressed by Western pundits -- Hamas has refused to change its ideology or soften its policy. It resolutely sticks to its stance that no Muslim is entitled to give up any part of Muslim-owned lands to non-Muslims (in this instance, Jews. The same held true for "cleansing" Turkey of Armenian and Greek non-Muslims).

The Janus-faced Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, continues to speak in multiple voices, sending conflicting messages both to its people and the international community. No one really knows whether the PA has a clear and unified strategy in dealing with Israel.
Mahmoud Abbas knows how to sound extremely nice, and often does so when he meets with Israelis and Western leaders. But when he speaks in Arabic to his own people, sometimes it is hard to distinguish Abbas from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Some of Abbas's top officials sound even more extreme than Hamas. Except, of course, when these soft-spoken, Western-educated Palestinian officials are dispatched to talk to Westerners. Then, all of a sudden, comes the honey.

Because the Palestinian Authority leaders and their surrogates speak in more than one voice, they send conflicting messages to the world about their actual intentions, often managing to fool everyone. Too often the world believes the messages they want to hear instead of the less-comfortable real ones.

The Palestinian Authority's contradictory messages have created the impression that it is both a peace partner and an enemy -- depending on whom you heard and when you heard him.

One thing is clear: from the Palestinian angle, there is no love lost between the US and them. From their point of view -- and this is a point of view that they have held for an exhaustingly long time -- the US is unable to play an unbiased role as a mediator in the conflict with Israel. What eats at the Palestinians is the strong and strategic alliance between the US and Israel.

The Palestinians have accused every US administration over the past four or five decades of being "biased" in favor of Israel. The Palestinians would certainly like to see the hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid every year they receive from the US continue. Yet, no matter what the US does for the Palestinians, the Americans will always be denounced for their alleged bias in favor of Israel.

The Trump administration is about to receive a lesson in Palestinian politics. If and when the Trump administration makes public its peace plan, the Palestinians will be the first to reject it, simply because it does not meet all their demands.

Mahmoud Abbas knows that he cannot come back to his people with anything less than what he has promised his people: 100%.

The past few days have already given us indications of the Palestinian response. Here, for instance, is what Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, had to saywhen he was asked to comment on reports concerning the peace plan and the US threat to close down the PLO's diplomatic mission in Washington: "The American administration has lost its ability to play the role of mediator in the region. The US can no longer be seen as the sponsor of the peace process."

Abu Rudaineh's remarks were rather more restrained than comments concerning the Trump administration made by other Palestinian officials and factions.

The PLO's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, went as far as threatening that the Palestinians would suspend all communication with the US if the PLO's diplomatic mission is shuttered.
Of course, no one seems to take Erekat's threat seriously. Suspending contacts with the US is tantamount to suicide for the Palestinians. Without US financial and political support, the Palestinian Authority and Erekat would disappear from the scene within days. At this stage, it remains unclear whether Erekat's talk about suspending contacts with the Americans includes the refusal to accept US financial aid.

Yet, Erekat's threats should be seen in the context of growing Palestinian rage and hostility toward the Trump administration. This anger is now being translated into a rhetorical onslaught against Trump and his administration. Palestinians are now accusing the current administration of working and conspiring towards "liquidating" the Palestinian cause with the help of some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The Palestinians have made up their mind: the Trump peace plan is bad for us and we will not accept it. The plan is bad because it does not force Israel to give the Palestinians everything. For the Palestinians, the plan is bad because it is viewed as part of a conspiracy concocted by Jared Kushner and Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The Palestinians have convinced themselves that Trump wants to "liquidate" their cause, not solve it.

Trump is about to go through the same process that President Bill Clinton experienced at Camp David 17 years ago. Then, much to the astonishment of Clinton, Yasser Arafat turned down flat an astoundingly generous offer by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Trump will soon learn that for Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians, 99% is just not enough.

Bassam Tawil, a Muslim, is based in the Middle East.
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2)

Urgent advice to my fellow Jews

Right now, today, is a critical point in Jewish history. Maybe you don’t think so, because it’s easy to be distracted by the small stuff. But we need to step back and look at the forest instead of the trees.
Israel, a Jewish state reborn after almost two millennia, is facing a real threat to its survival – perhaps as great or greater than at any time since 1948. The threat is from Iran, which a) has taken control of Lebanon and built a massive rocket and missile installation aimed at our critical infrastructure, b) has achieved strategic dominance of critical territory in Iraq and Syria, will soon have its own troops and proxy militias on our Syrian border as well (with the acquiescence of the US and Russia), and c) either already has or could presently have nuclear weapons.

Iran’s enmity to Israel is a result of religious dogma, and of Iran’s determination to dominate the Mideast and become a world superpower by defeating the US. In the past few years it has moved steadily toward its strategic goals, which include eliminating the Jewish state that it sees as both an outpost of the US and the major obstacle to its local ambitions.

Some day historians will ask why an American president, Barack Obama, did so much to help one of America’s most dangerous enemies – and also to hurt the Jewish people. But that’s not my subject today.

At the same time that the Iranian threat grows, there is a pandemic of Jew-hatred spreading throughout the world. Europe at times seems to have regressed to pre-WWII conditions or worse, with Jews caught between re-empowered right-wing Jew-baiting, fierce Islamic hatred, and left-wing “intersectional” antisemitism. Similar phenomena exist in the US, although less severe so far – except possibly on university campuses.

But while some European Jews are starting to worry about their future, in America and in  Israel – where they absolutely should know better – they are acting irrationally, busying themselves  with trivia or even doing exactly the opposite of what’s needed to ensure their survival and that of the Jewish state and people.

To European Jews – and here I include the UK – I have a simple message: get out. The natives don’t like you (they never did, as Herzl noticed), and Islamification is proceeding apace. It can’t get better, only worse. I would like to see you make aliyah, but I understand the economic realities, and also the risk from the coming Mideast war. This is a decision you will have to make yourselves.

The US and Canada together have about half the world’s Jews, 90% of these are non-Orthodox, and the majority of them don’t have a clue about Jewish history or the Jewish state and the conflicts and issues surrounding it. They are geographically far from the Middle East, and can’t read Jewish texts or anything else in Hebrew. For most of them, their Judaism has become attenuated and even replaced by a form of liberal humanism that makes them blind to the dangers they face and drives them away from the Jewish state.  For these Jews I have several messages, depending on which of several groups they fall into.

To the supporters of J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now, the New Israel Fund, and so on: if you still have positive feelings about the Jewish people, please believe me that you are not doing it any favors, and find some other cause – helping the homeless in your own country is a good one – that will allow you to feel good about yourself without hurting your people.

To those who think that it is their duty to make Israel a better place by activism on behalf of Jewish pluralism, improving the treatment of our Arab citizens, protecting the rights of illegal immigrants or Palestinians, or even promoting the (impossible) “two-state solution:” please understand that you know less than nothing about these issues; and the fact that your parents were Jewish does not give you the right to intervene in our affairs. If you want to change things here, then make aliyah, vote, and send your kids to the army. Otherwise leave us alone.

To those that think that they are making things better by engaging in interfaith dialogue with Muslims, fighting “Islamophobia,” and favoring increased immigration from Muslim countries, you are being used. Don’t complain when the US and Canada have the same problems as Europe.

And now some suggestions for my fellow Israelis, for whom ignorance is not an excuse.

If you are the Prime Minister  you should be meeting with the Chief of Staff and insisting that he develop a plan and a timetable to fight and win the inevitable war with Iran and its proxies. Waiting to see what will happen and then responding is not a strategy for victory: preemption is.

If you are the Minister of Defense, in addition to assisting in planning for the unavoidable war, you should be directing massive resources toward strengthening the home front, especially in the north of the country, which will bear the brunt of Hezbollah’s 130,000 rockets when war breaks out.

If you are the police commissioner, you should investigate the seditious publisher of Ha’aretz Amos Schocken, his poison-pen writer Gideon Levy, or the arguably treasonous Breaking the Silence organization, rather than engaging in politically-motivated harassment of the Prime Minister and his wife.

If you are a Member of the Knesset, you should ask yourself whether the “status quo” concerning whether markets should be open on Shabbat in Tel Aviv is really a question that is worthy of your time right now.

The world and especially the region that we live in is undergoing great strategic shifts, and their direction is not to our advantage. It seems as though events are driven according to the plans of Iran and Russia, and we are playing defense.

Israel is a powerful country, but one with little strategic depth or capacity to absorb a surprise attack. The coming war promises to be extremely destructive, both for us and for our opponents. In addition to conventional warfare, it will see cyber attacks and possibly the use of electromagnetic pulse weapons.  Even the employment of nuclear weapons by one or both sides is not unimaginable.
Israel must be ready to win the “kinetic” war, the cyber battles, and the psychological warfare that will come along with them, while protecting her population and infrastructure. Not an easy task – but one that requires focus and unity of purpose. There are few obvious signs of this.

Of course I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Maybe the PM is sitting with the Chief of Staff every day (after his regular police interrogation). Maybe they are working to ensure adequate shelters for the population in the north of the country. Maybe Schocken is planning to close his “newspaper” and move to Germany.

Most importantly, maybe the courageous decision has finally been made to launch a preemptive attack and not wait for thousands of rockets to fall.
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3)

Only an Outsider Sees the Obvious

A sensible policy on Iran and North Korea.


Almost a year into the Trump presidency, this administration’s foreign policy could be best described as confused. Reports suggest that the president is in a constant state of displeasure with his subordinates in the foreign-service establishment, and the feeling is mutual. On issues ranging from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s conflicts in Yemen and Qatarto the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the president and the administration he leads frequently contradict one another. Trump’s reckless antagonism toward strategic competitors like China strikes a perplexing contrast with his conciliatory appeals toward Russia. And no one in the White House seems to know what the trade deficit is.
This chaotic approach to the pursuit of American interests abroad can lead observers to overlook or even ignore altogether the strides this administration is making to correct the foreign-policy mistakes of past administrations. The Trump administration’s welcome shifts are most evident in a review of its approach to containing two of the three remaining members of George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil”—North Korea and Iran.

On Monday, the president announced that North Korea would again be formally designated a state sponsor of terrorism. President Bush removed Pyongyang from that list in 2008, not because North Korea ceased to sponsor terrorism abroad, but as a reward for verifiably halting some of its nuclear activities. This was an illusory foreign policy success for an administration that was bereft of them at the time, and it perverted the intention of the list of state terror sponsors.

Almost a decade later, the error of this decision is self-evident. North Korea’s suspension of nuclear activities was only a ploy to extract concessions from the West. It is today on the cusp of achieving a reliable and deliverable nuclear deterrent. More important, the DPRK never stopped sponsoring terrorism. In February, Pyongyang deployed VX nerve agent—a compound the United Nations classifies as a weapon of mass destruction—on foreign soil to assassinate Kim Jong-un’s half-brother. This was the first overt act of foreign terrorism linked to North Korea in decades, but its covert support for bad actors abroad has remained steadfast.

Pyongyang has exported conventional weapons and nuclear and missile technology to other U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran and Syria, and terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah. It helped to construct a nuclear reactor in Syria, which Israel thankfully destroyed just a few years before the region in which it was built fell into the hands of the Islamic State. Pyongyang was blamed for a number of high-profile cyber-attacks, as well as attacks that went overlooked. In 2009, for example, the DPRK was accused of being responsible for 35 separate attacks on South Korean and American infrastructure. Perhaps most important, as the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea’s Joshua Stanton complained, America’s standard for defining a state sponsor of terror were rendered “vague and inconsistent” by North Korea’s expulsion from that list. Pyongyang’s relisting has restored some consistency to its North Korea policy.

Since Trump has taken office, the administration has been busily restoring sanctions on the Iranian regime that were relieved as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the Iran nuclear deal. President Trump’s decision to punt the Iran deal back to Congress is likely to preserve the deal while avoiding responsibility for that outcome. Yet his administration’s outward determination to abrogate the agreement has allowed it the freedom to call balls and strikes when it comes to the Islamic Republic, even if that angers America’s “partners” in Tehran.

Take, for example, the U.S. Treasury Department’s most recent sanctions on Iran. On Monday, Treasury singled out a network of Iranians believed to be responsible for counterfeiting hundreds of millions in Yemeni bank notes for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force. The scheme allegedly circumvented European sanctions and allowed the IRGC to support what Secretary Steven Mnuchin called “destabilizing activities” in Europe and the Gulf States. Trump declared the IRGC a terrorist network last month, providing the Treasury with all the authority it needed to take action against this plot.

This is not the first time Iran has been implicated in currency counterfeiting. In 2010, U.S. military officials seized at least $4.3 million in counterfeit American dollars in Iraq. Some of it, officials said, was crude and easily detected while many of these $100 notes were printed on special presses using sophisticated ink and paper—a revelation that indicated some level of complicity by or cooperation with the Iranian government or its regional proxies. The sudden influx of false notes was believed to be part of a campaign by Iran to influence forthcoming elections in Iraq, which was apparently successful. Within days of those elections, three of the country’s four major political alliances sent delegations to Iran for political guidance. The head of Iraq’s secular, anti-Iranian bloc noted at the time that America’s silence was deafening. Now, with a new round of Iraqi elections scheduled to take place next year and amid increasing sectarian divisions and Iranian interference, the United States is abandoning its self-defeating neutrality. Try as we might, the U.S. cannot pretend it has no stake in Iraq’s political evolution.
Donald Trump’s flatterers like to reinforce this administration’s image as a group of outsiders “draining the swamp” of its corrupt professional class. That’s a self-serving narrative that confounds the diplomatic class and has led to a confused foreign policy. At the same time, though, declaring North Korea and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps supporters of terrorism is a decision that seems obvious only to those who are not steeped in granular diplomatic contrivances. In May, I noted that no American governmental institution would benefit more from an outsider-led shakeup than the diplomatic corps. The Trump administration’s actions over the last 48 hours show how true that was.
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4) BAD PARROT 

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. 

Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. 

John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary. 

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. 
Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. 

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly,

"May I ask what the turkey did?" 


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

4a) LARRY MAY BE MY NEW FAVORITE
  


A new teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses. She started her class by saying, 'Everyone who thinks they're stupid, stand up!' 
After a few seconds, Little Larry stood up. The teacher said, 'Do you think you're stupid, Larry?' 

'No, ma'am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself!'



Larry watched, fascinated, as his mother smoothed cold cream on her face. ' 
Why do you do that, mommy?' he asked. 'To make myself beautiful,' said his mother, who then began removing the cream with a tissue. '  

What's the matter, asked Larry 'Giving up?'



The math teacher saw that Larry wasn't paying attention in class. 
She called on him and said, 'Larry! What are 2 and 4 and 28 and 44?'  

Larry quickly replied, 'NBC, FOX, ESPN and the Cartoon Network!'



Larry's kindergarten class was on a field trip to their local police station where they saw pictures tacked to a bulletin board of the 10 most wanted criminals. 
One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a wanted person. 'Yes,' said the policeman. 'The detectives want very badly to capture him.  
Larry asked,"Why didn't you keep him when you took his picture ? "



Little Larry attended a horse auction with his father.  

He watched as his father moved from horse to horse, running his hands up and down the horse's legs and rump, and chest.  

After a few minutes, Larry asked, 'Dad, why are you doing that?' His father replied, 'Because when I'm buying horses, I have to make sure that they are healthy and in good shape before I buy.  

Larry, looking worried, said, 'Dad, I think the UPS guy wants to buy Mom ....' 
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