Period: July 2017
End-Time Church / Pluralism
Global Politics


Daniel 9:27 "And he [the Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

Heisnear.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hegafJOQB3k

The US-born Netanyahu confidant and former chief of staff has signed an agreement to testify against his old boss
By Times of Israel staff August 5, 2017 - Those who know Ari Harow describe him as a straight arrow. Now some believe he could be the one to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
For years Harow, 44, has been one of Netanyahu’s closest confidants and a chief cog in his political machine. But despite this, he has remained largely unknown to the Israeli public until now, when it was revealed on Friday that Harow had signed an agreement to turn state’s witness as part of ongoing investigations into alleged corruption by Israel’s premier.
Harow is very “low-key and discreet,” Odelia Karmon, a former Netanyahu adviser told Channel 2 news, calling him very modest and someone who was never involved in the political intrigue that so often dogged Netanyahu’s inner circle. “He is a very straight man.”
Harow fits the mold of the type that Netanyahu has frequently chosen to head his office; young American-Israelis from the national religious camp. While others have sought the limelight like Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, or current Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, Harow stayed largely in the background despite several stints in the high-profile position as Netanyahu’s chief of staff.
Harow was born in Los Angeles but moved with his family to Israel in 1985, when he was 12, living in the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron. After completing his army service he moved back to the US to study in New York, before returning again to finish a Master’s degree in Political Science from Tel Aviv University.
It was at this time that he first stated working with Netanyahu, volunteering for him in 2002 as an adviser on Diaspora affairs, and more crucially on fundraising. He then moved back to the US for several years where he headed the American Friends of Likud.
It was during this period that he was first linked to allegations of financial irregularities surrounding Netanyahu and the so-called Bibi Tours scandal in which, as finance minister a decade ago, Netanyahu had private donors and organizations fund most of his trips as well as cover travel expenses for his wife and children, and failed to clear the information with the Knesset.
According to the Haaretz daily, the American Friends of Likud were also paying the salary of Karmon, who was working as Netanyahu’s media adviser. The Bibi-tours issue was first reported by Channel 10 in 2011 and, while a state comptroller’s report found ethical problems, no charges were ever filed. By 2008, Harow was back in Israel and started working for Netanyahu as the head of his office and was with him when he returned to power in 2009.
Harow left politics in 2010 to start a political consultancy firm, which works with politicians and political campaigns. He served a second stint as the PM’s bureau chief in 2014, and directed the election campaign that kept Netanyahu in office in the 2015 national elections. But police began investigating Harow on suspicion that when he came back to work for Netanyahu in 2014, he fictitiously sold his consulting firm.
On Friday police announced that Harow is expected to receive six months of community service and a NIS 700,000 fine ($193,000) on breach of trust charges in exchange for his testimony against his former boss. His former colleagues said that Harow was a particular favorite of Netanyahu and very trusted. He is expected to have crucial information in both cases against Netanyahu.
“Ari Harrow, you have to understand, sat on the seam between the political and the personal, between the family of Netanyahu and the national, between the bureau and the home,” Yoaz Hendel, a former communications director for Netanyahu told Channel 2. “On these seams — all the grey episodes happened.”
In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.
Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister hobble a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, through Knesset legislation in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.
Harow is expected to provide information in both probes, having served as chief of staff during the time of the alleged deal with Mozes and while Netanyahu is said to have received gifts worth thousands of shekels.
The recordings of Netanyahu’s conversations with Mozes were made on Harow’s phone and discovered by police during their investigation into his sale of his consultancy.

In key development, Ari Harow, under investigation since 2015, signs deal; said set to offer testimony in two corruption probes involving PM
By Raoul Wootliff and Times of Israel staff August 4, 2017, 1:39 pm 24
Ari Harow, a former chief of staff and aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, signed a deal on Friday to turn state’s witness as part of ongoing investigations into alleged corruption by Israel’s premier.
According to a statement from the Israel Police, Harow is expected to receive six months of community service and a NIS 700,000 fine ($193,000) on breach of trust charges in exchange for his testimony against his former boss.
News of the deal, seen by observers as a turning point in the police investigations, follows a gag order imposed Thursday on details pertaining to the case. It came a day after Israeli police explicitly said for the first time that a number of corruption investigations involving Netanyahu deal with “bribery, fraud and breach of trust.” The police stopped short of saying that the Israeli leader was directly suspected of these crimes. Harow has been under investigation since mid-2015 on suspicion of using his ties to Netanyahu to advance his private business interests. Police have recommended he be indicted for bribery and breach of trust in the case, but the attorney general has yet to file formal charges.
The investigations into Harow sparked at least one corruption investigation of Netanyahu himself, after investigators uncovered recordings on Harow’s computer of meetings between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in late 2014 and early 2015. In the recordings, the two seemed to discuss an illicit quid pro quo deal that would have seen the prime minister hobble a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, through Knesset legislation in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.
That investigation, dubbed Case 2000 by police, is ongoing, as is a separate corruption investigation - Case 1000 - into allegations the prime minister received illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors. Harow is reportedly willing to provide information in both probes, having served as chief of staff during the time of the alleged deal with Mozes and while Netanyahu is said to have received gifts worth thousands of shekels. Harow first worked for Netanyahu as foreign affairs adviser during his stint as leader of the opposition. He then spearheaded the 2009 election campaign that catapulted Netanyahu back into office. Following the election, he served as the prime minister’s bureau chief until 2010, managing Netanyahu’s schedule and advising him on a range of issues. Harow took a break from politics in 2010, when he founded 3H Global. He later returned as chief of staff of the Prime Minister’s Office in 2014, serving there for a year before leaving to run the 2015 election campaign for Netanyahu’s Likud party. http://www.timesofisrael.com/pms-former-chief-of-staff-turns-states-witness-report/

BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF - August 9, 2017 - Thousands rally for Netanyahu as scandals multiply. The corruption scandals plaguing Netanyahu and his family, explained Ex-Netanyahu aide received money from group tied to billionaire Lauder - report
n a battling speech to thousands of supporters who gathered in Tel Aviv to support him on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the left and the media of using ever-widening corruption investigations against him and his family to try to oust him from power in what he called “a coup against the government.”
“They don’t want to just take me down, they want to take us all down,” he told the partisan crowd of about 3,000 from his Likud party. “They know that they can’t beat us at the ballot boxes, so they are trying to circumvent democracy and topple us in other ways.”
“But we keep winning in the ballots because we’ve brought Israel to the best place it has ever been in Israel’s history,” he said.
Netanyahu used the speech to argue that preserving him and the “national camp” in power was crucial to Israel’s well-being. He said that when Likud PM Yitzhak Shamir was ousted in 1992, what followed were the “disastrous” Oslo accords and a wave of terrorism, and that when he himself lost power in 1999, the second intifada followed. In both cases, he claimed, the media had ousted a right-wing leadership by using false accusations.
He also asserted that the ostensibly illicit effort to oust him was designed to achieve an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, but vowed that this would not happen. He and his supporters would “proudly carry the flag of Israel… for many more years,” he promised, and vowed that the Likud would grow from 30 to 40 seats in the next elections “with God’s help.”
“We know that the left and the media — and we know that it’s the same thing — is on an unprecedented witch hunt against me and my family with the goal of achieving a coup against the government,” he said.

By Todd Beamon - August 03, 2017 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of bribery and other charges in two cases, police confirmed on Thursday — and a spokesman slammed the "unfounded claims," vowing that any effort to change the government was "destined to fail." Israel Police confirmed the charges, which also included fraud and breach of trust, during a hearing in Israel Supreme Court, Haaretz reports. Authorities disclosed the information as it sought a gag order in trying to obtain the cooperation of Netanyahu's former chief of staff in its investigation. For his assistance, the former aide, Ari Harow, "would receive immunity from prosecution for alleged crimes involving his own government relations firm," Haaretz reports. The gag order is effective through September 17. "We completely reject the unfounded claims made against the prime minister," a Netanyahu representative told Haaretz in a statement. "The campaign to change the government is underway, but it is destined to fail, for a simple reason: there won't be anything because there was nothing." Netanyahu, 67, who was elected to a fourth term in 2015, has been under investigation for allegedly receiving gifts from wealthy supporters. They include Australian billionaire James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/netanyahu-indictment-bribery-fraud/2017/08/03/id/805640

BY AVI ISSACHAROFF - August 8, 2017 - Deespite the Palestinian Authority’s formal insistence that security coordination with Israel remains frozen, PA forces earlier this week arrested two relatives of an assailant who attempted to stab IDF soldiers and was shot dead. The uncle and cousin of Abdullah Takaatka were detained outside Bethlehem in the aftermath of his July 28
attack at the Gush Etzion Junction, Palestinian sources said. PA security forces have also recently arrested several Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, according to reports on Palestinian social media.
This activity is taking place despite the formal position set out by PA officials that its security coordination with Israel remains on hold in the wake of the Temple Mount tensions last month. PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced a freeze in all contacts with Israel on July 21. Abbas’s adviser Mahmoud al-Habash said in a Thursday morning interview with the Palestinian Ma’an news
agency that the PA had a number of conditions Israel needed to meet in order for the security coordination
to resume. http://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-issues-new-demands-of-israel-but-is-quietly-still-arresting-terror-suspects

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - August 8, 2017
American troops are en route to Lebanon to take their place in an unlikely alliance with terror group Hezbollah and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in a development that one prominent rabbi and
a noted expert on Middle Eastern politics agree could be the final stage preceding the War of Gog and Magog.
On Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon acknowledged that, following a request from Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to President Donald Trump, US special forces would be providing training and support to the Lebanese Armed Forces.
The only problem: Lebanon has recently begun coordinating its military efforts with Hezbollah and Syrian troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad in order to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) and its allies.As political experts struggle to understand this bizarre situation, some have come to spiritual conclusions that this unholy alliance may indeed be the precursor to the prophesied Biblical war of Gog and Magog – a war which is characterized by unprecedented and all-encompassing confusion, explained Rabbi Yosef Berger,
the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion. President Donald Trump and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, July 25, 2017. (Screenshot)
“The prophets wrote that the War of Gog and Magog will be entirely inexplicable,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Since it is a war that is the result of Divine intervention, it will not make political sense, historical sense, or follow the laws of nature.”
The story began to unfold last week when Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hariri met with President Trump and requested American support in fighting the ISIS-affiliated Al Nusra network threatening his northern border with Syria, political analysis site Debka reported. As part of the fight against terror, Trump agreed. Lebanon has cooperated with Hezbollah and the Syrian army, led by American enemy Assad, in its battle against ISIS. As a result, by fighting alongside Lebanese troops, American forces will also be fighting in
an alliance that includes terrorist organization Hezbollah and the Syrian regime. Read more at

Most Israelis, Palestinians are tired of fighting. Jared Kushner, the man entrusted by the president of the United States with reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, admitted this week that he had no idea how to do it. Summary: Print Israeli right-wing legislators do all they can to keep the two-state solution at a distance, yet a majority of Israelis still support it.
By Akiva Eldar - August 3, 2017 - TranslatorRuti Sinai - “Everyone finds an issue” that blocks progress, the Trump son-in-law and senior White House adviser complained in a closed-door meeting with a group of congressional interns July 31. He suggested that instead, “let’s focus on, how do you come up with a conclusion to the situation." True, there are those who specialize in finding “issues,” but the people undermining the solution to the “situation” are those who invent problems where none exist. Thousands of words have been written about the diplomatic implications of the Temple Mount metal detector problem invented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (the detectors were placed at the site after the July 14 attack on Israeli police officers). People say that once bitten, twice shy. Netanyahu is among those who once bitten rushes into the lion’s den — or, in this case, East Jerusalem. Unfortunately for him and for us, there is no trained, experienced handler to save him and us from this trouble.
The newbie negotiator told the interns that he had read enough books and did not require a history lesson on the conflict. Kushner would be well advised to add to his reading list the record of a July 26 Knesset debate, which would instruct him on another “issue” Netanyahu is inventing under his very nose. If Kushner did not fall asleep during the lesson on the role of Jerusalem in the Israeli-Palestinian, Jewish-Muslim conflict, then after reading the record he should either ask his father-in-law for permission to twist Netanyahu’s arm or hand Trump back the peace mandate. If anyone needed additional proof that Netanyahu and his friends had put the kibosh on the 1993 Oslo Accord on Israeli-Palestinian peace, the proposed legislation approved in a preliminary vote at the end of that Knesset debate can serve as the epitaph on the tombstone of that agreement. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/israel-palestinians-jerusalem-netanyahu-jared-kushner.html

July 31, 2017. (photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts) Trump’s plan for Mideast peace fades By now it is obvious that the "ultimate deal" between Israelis and Palestinians, which President Donald Trump promised in his first days in office, was little more than an optical illusion. A series of conversations with Israeli, Palestinian and diplomatic sources depicts a very different picture. The diplomatic process is bogged down. President Trump is not involved in any way, nor does he have any interest in getting involved. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is severely disappointed with the United States, and the US "peace team" has lost what limited credibility it had on the Palestinian side. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government is rubbing its hands eagerly beneath the table and dismissing all the serious concerns that sullied the mood of the past few months. Nothing will happen, because there is nothing there, ministers from the Likud and HaBayit HaYehudi whisper with smug satisfaction. We can all calm down. Summary: Print Israelis and Palestinians both feel that President Donald Trump and his administration have abandoned his ambitious peace initiative with his focus more on internal affairs.

By Ben Caspit - July 31, 2017 - TranslatorDanny Wool - The story that best illustrates this situation occurred last week when the Temple Mount crisis threatened to ignite the entire Middle East in a global conflagration originating in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Throughout that entire crisis, the US administration was effectively AWOL. Although they attempted to take credit for some deep involvement in efforts to reach a solution, the truth is that the Americans were not a significant factor during the harshest days of the crisis, when it looked like the entire Middle East would spiral downward into a new round of violence.
President Trump himself was not involved in events as they unfolded. His special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, lost his standing as an "impartial mediator" in the very first days of the crisis. One senior Palestinian source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that "Greenblatt picked a side and represented Netanyahu throughout the crisis." According to a senior Palestinian source who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Americans adopted the Israeli government's positions at every stage. "When the metal detectors were installed, they supported that. Then they supported the installation of smart cameras, and then, when there was talk of manual checks, they supported that too."
The Americans' behavior throughout the crisis only furthered the feeling prevalent in Ramallah over the past few weeks that Greenblatt and Jared Kushner are irrelevant. "It's not a nice thing to say," another Palestinian source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, "but they are both ardent supporters of the settlements. They are completely unfamiliar with the other side, they don't understand the region and they don't understand the material. You can’t learn about what is happening here in a seminar lasting just a few weeks."
At one point, matters reached a head. In response, Abbas decided to send Greenblatt for an intimate conversation with his close adviser, Saeb Erekat, and the head of Palestinian intelligence service, Majid Faraj, considered to be the most powerful person in the West Bank. A senior Palestinian diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity described the talk as a "reprimand." He said, "Greenblatt received a very firm explanation about the way things stand. He was told to go back to Netanyahu and tell him to remove everything that was installed on Temple Mount. 'There is no other solution, nor will there be one,'" Erekat and Faraj told him.
A top Palestinian source claimed that Greenblatt displayed utter ignorance throughout the entire incident, failing even to understand the various sensitivities pertaining to the Temple Mount. Once the Palestinians explained their positions, he began to look pensive. At times he expressed surprise and amazement. At some point he even admitted to them that he wasn't aware of some of the information that was relayed to him.

Image by Hugo Goodridge/Al-Monitor
It is no secret that there is a considerable rift between the Donald Trump administration and the European Union. Trump fulfilled his election promises of an “America First” policy, objecting to globalization, regionalization, the European Union, free trade deals and climate change. He vehemently objects European immigration and refugee absorption policies. He does not hide his dislike of Europe’s strong women, namely German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On Syria he cooperates mainly with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the Israeli-Palestinian issue, he largely works solo, in cooperation mainly with Egypt and the Arab Gulf states. He has developed a better personal relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron, mainly in order to have a European partner on anti-terror issues. Summary: Print With US President Donald Trump largely working solo on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the EU is preparing its own initiative, which might be launched next fall.
By Uri Savir - July 30, 2017 - Translator Inga Michaeli - Brussels has witnessed a major shift in the EU-US relationship in the respective outlooks on economic and security policies. A senior EU official close to Federica Mogherini, the European Union high commissioner for foreign affairs and security policy, told Al-Monitor that given the internal and external situation, Brussels is compelled to develop a more independent foreign policy, including on Middle Eastern issues. Following the Brexit, the EU is headed today mainly by a German-French alliance - Merkel and Macron. With the economic might and influence of the EU in the international arena, Brussels, Berlin and Paris are determined to run an effective and more independent foreign policy.
The senior EU official told Al-Monitor that Brussels is particularly concerned with the Israel-Palestinian issue on the backdrop of recent violence outbreaks in the aftermath of the July 14 terror attack near the Temple Mount. Mogherini has been consulting lately on this issue with the German, French and Italian leaderships. They are all concerned that violence will spiral out of control, turning into an armed intifada. Mogherini is also in constant contact with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but the US administration does not involve the EU in the ongoing efforts of its envoy Jason Greenblatt, except for periodic updates.
The way the EU sees the current situation, there is a real danger to the stability of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ regime. Abbas is coming under considerable fire from Hamas in Gaza, from allies of his Fatah rival, Mohammed Dahlan, and from radical Fatah members in the West Bank. The pragmatic Arab countries offered Abbas only rhetoric support in these difficult times.
Brussels foresees a prolonged crisis; not only in relation to the imminent events around Al-Aqsa Mosque, but also, and more so, concerning the general stalemate in the peace process. Adding to the developing crisis is the growing rift between Fatah and Hamas. In an attempt to support Abbas, the EU will enhance its economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority and keep an ongoing dialogue with the president.
Abbas met with Macron on July 5. Macron stuck to the traditional French position in favor of a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as a shared capital. With that, the EU official claimed that until the 2017 UN General Assembly meeting in September, Europe will not take any concrete initiative so it won’t be seen as disrupting the US efforts. Also, no joint European foreign policy decision will be made until after the Sept. 24 German elections. According to the official, one can assume that if the United States does not launch a regionally-backed two-state solution process, Merkel (assuming she wins as expected in the upcoming elections) and Macron, together with EU headquarters, will launch a European initiative on the terms of reference for a two-state solution and a peace conference to be convened in Brussels. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/07/israel-eu-france-germany-us-federica-mogherini-rex-tillerson.html

WASHINGTON — A faction of Iran hawks in the Donald Trump administration appears to have been dealt a blow in recent days. Several officials allied with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon have been removed from the National Security Council (NSC).
Summary? Print A civil war for the soul of the Donald Trump administration has emerged into the open, pitting a motley array of anti-globalists and Iran hawks against more moderate national security professionals.
Author Laura RozenPosted August 3, 2017
Among them are NSC senior director for intelligence Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was removed Aug. 2; NSC senior director for the Middle East Derek Harvey, who was asked to resign last week; and NSC director for strategic planning Rich Higgins, reportedly for writing and circulating a bizarre memo alleging a conspiracy of globalists, leftists and Islamists trying to undermine Trump, according to The Atlantic.
The arrival on Monday of new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who previously served as Trump’s secretary of homeland security, appears to have bolstered the authority of national security adviser H.R. McMaster to make such firing decisions, which he has long sought. Combined, the personnel moves aim to bring more coherence and discipline to a sometimes chaotic, unpredictable foreign policy-making process that has often seemed undermined by competing power centers inside the administration as well as by Trump’s own personality.
Though McMaster officially removed Bannon from the NSC principals committee after taking over from Mike Flynn in February, recent reports and sources indicate that Bannon has continued to operate a kind of parallel power center that has drawn in fringe thinkers who favor regime change in Tehran. A faction around Bannon has been thinking about how to destabilize Iran but is constrained by the fact that Trump tells them he does not want another big war, a military analyst whose mentors in the US national defense community have participated in the discussions told Al-Monitor.
“The challenge is that the administration wants to do North Korea and Iran in Year One, to go into 2018 with national security capital,” the military analyst told Al-Monitor, describing what his associates have heard in discussions with Bannon.
“Thus far … no one in the administration can move Trump to start a war because he doesn't want to have his Iraq,” the military analyst said, referring to the 2003 US invasion. “With Iran, they are looking at regime change but coming up empty. There are no good plans, no decapitation strikes possible, like in North Korea.”
“Regime change would come, in theory, from economic recession in Iran combined with ethno-nationalist revolts in areas such as [the southeast region of] Balochistan,” the military analyst explained. “A combined series of events that would degrade the Islamic Republic.”

July 18, 2017. (photo by REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein)
Palestinians warn Abbas could dismantle PA in 2018 - The Temple Mount crisis and violence has left the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah extremely frustrated. While the goal to restore the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif was achieved and the Israeli government indeed dismantled all security measures July 25 at the entrances to the Temple Mount, the credit for this in the Palestinian public opinion went to the radicals. The Palestinians feel that Hamas and the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, not President Mahmoud Abbas or King Abdullah of Jordan, are the ones who forced Israel to capitulate. Summary: Print Palestinians warn that President Mahmoud Abbas might decide at the beginning of 2018 to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and cancel the Oslo Accord.
By Uri Savir - August 6, 2017 - Translator Inga Michaeli - A senior Palestinian minister, an official with an extensive security background who is close to Abbas, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the Fatah leadership is currently extremely concerned over the nature of the Palestinian struggle in the eyes of the Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim world. The leadership fears that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security measures near Al-Aqsa Mosque added a religious layer to the national conflict.
The senior Palestinian official said, “The Israelis do not understand the enormous dangers involved in a religious war. It would bring Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to the forefront of the armed struggle and endanger the pragmatic elements in the Palestinian leadership. If Israel contrives to make Al-Aqsa a cause celebre, it is doomed to confront later on Islamic fundamentalist neighbors that will not shy away from any military, terrorist or popular violence.”
The official warned that turning the Palestinian struggle into a religious one in nature would create an existential threat to the secular majority in the Palestinian leadership. “The day will come that you will miss [PLO leader] Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas — especially if Israel’s government continues to be led by messianic settlers,” he added. He defined Netanyahu’s current policies as pyromania.
The official noted that given recent events, the diplomatic window of opportunity regarding any possible initiative by US President Donald Trump and his team may close in the months after the UN General Assembly meeting in September. Given the current crises and the painfully slow process led by Trump’s envoys, he said, the Palestinian leadership has begun to question its own future.
According to the official, Abbas has altered his rhetoric in internal leadership deliberations and is threatening, in the case of diplomatic failure and greater violence, to resign at the end of the year and dismantle the Palestinian Authority (PA). Abbas’ mood is more militant nowadays. The official recounted that Abbas was disappointed with the lack of Arab support during the Temple Mount crisis, and he found the US intervention through envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt very lacking. Even during this crisis, Abbas was ready to call for the first time in many years on the military wing of Fatah, the Tanzim, to get involved in the protection of Al-Aqsa and its worshippers.
The official added, “We were closer to an outburst of an intifada than Israel acknowledges.” What concerns the Palestinian leadership most is the split between the more religious and fundamentalist forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the more secular ones led by Fatah. Therefore, Abbas has decided to espouse a very nationalistic line, attempting to overshadow the religious one.
The official claimed that Abbas still objects to violence, as he always has, and that for him the last resort is the dismantling of the PA, placing the onus of the total diplomatic stalemate on Israel and the Arab League. The official said, “Abbas has a clear vision of how this could take place. In his eyes, dismantling the PA would constitute a shock therapy to encourage the international community to act on a two-state solution.” If Abbas pursues the idea of dismantling the PA, he could make a series of announcements at the beginning of 2018. These could include the dismantling of the PA, the abolition of the Oslo Accord, the end of any security coordination with Israel, the temporary relocation of the Fatah leadership to Cairo and the distancing of the PLO from the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
The official warned about dismissing such a possibility and said that the status quo must change — for better or worse.
A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official told Al-Monitor that Israel senses the weakness of Abbas, 82, and that his health might be frail. The Israeli source argued that the security establishment in the PA would not allow Abbas such a move, as it wants to keep the clout of Fatah as strong as possible in its struggle against Hamas. Still, the source acknowledged that given the relative passivity of the international community, including that of the United States, which Israel welcomes, a crisis with the PA is looming. Such a crisis, he said, might occur sooner than Israel expects. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/israel-palestinian-authority-mahmoud-abbas-temple-mount.html

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens to an adviser at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Israel, Aug. 6, 2017. (photo by REUTERS/Gali Tibbon)
On Aug. 4, the investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned from dark clouds hovering over his head to the perfect storm. Netanyahu’s twice former chief of staff Ari Harow, the person who served as Netanyahu’s ultimate confidante, with access to all of his most intimate chambers, signed an agreement with the State Attorney's Office. Harow agreed to be a state witness against Netanyahu. Summary: Print Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former Chief of Staff Ari Harow has many secrets to tell about Netanyahu’s relations with rich businesspeople.
By Ben Caspit - August 7, 2017 - Translator Danny Wool - It is hard to imagine Netanyahu receiving any more of a resounding blow. Harow gave detailed testimony against the prime minister, giving a major boost to Case 1000 (the gifts allegedly received by Netanyahu from businesspeople in exchange for favors) and Case 2000 (Netanyahu's conversations with the publisher of Yedioth Ahronot Arnon Mozes for a positive coverage deal). It is also conceivable that Harow will provide information on other cases involving Netanyahu, such as the submarine affair or the far-reaching investigation into Bezeq phone company and the Ministry of Communications.
Once Harow signed the agreement with the State Attorney's Office, the question whether the prime minister will eventually be indicted suddenly became irrelevant. Unless something completely unexpected happens, all that is left to be asked is when he will be indicted. While Israeli law states that a prime minister can continue in office until he is convicted, Netanyahu's situation is desperate. Poll results released by Channel 10 on Aug. 6 show that some 51% of Israelis do not believe the prime minister's version of events, as compared to 27% who do. When asked whether Netanyahu will have to resign if and when he is indicted, 66% of respondents answered "yes."
This is very bad news for Netanyahu, but there is more. The polls now show that if Netanyahu resigns and is replaced as leader of the Likud, the number of seats the party stands to win rises from 27 to 31. While Netanyahu should find these numbers disconcerting, what really keeps him up at night are the ongoing investigations.
Harow was born in Beverly Hills, California, 44 years ago to a religious Jewish family with deep Zionist roots. He was the director general of Friends of the Likud in America, and it is suspected that he broke the law by using this position to help fund various activities by Netanyahu and his family. But this kind of help was just the beginning of the romance between Harow and Netanyahu. Over time, Harow became one of the people closest to the prime minister. He was responsible for the entire fundraising campaign and for relations with dozens of foreign billionaires who maintained relationships with Netanyahu. It was in this capacity that he is suspected of helping Netanyahu raise money for political purposes, not always in accordance with the law.

By Osama Al Sharif - August 11, 2017 - Jordanian King Abdullah’s Aug. 7 visit to Ramallah, his first in five years, was symbolically important for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and was also intended to send signals to a number of other parties. Abdullah flew by helicopter from Amman to Abbas’ headquarters in the wake of two incidents that have tested Jordan's tenuous relations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Israel: the crisis over Haram al-Sharif (to Jews, the Temple Mount) that erupted July 14 and the killing of two Jordanians in Amman on July 23 by an Israeli security guard at the Israeli Embassy, which remains closed.
Abdullah's two-hour visit to Ramallah was seen by some observers as a snub to Netanyahu and a morale booster for Abbas. Palestinian sources told Al-Monitor that having suspended security coordination with Israel on July 30 to protest unilateral security measures it took at Haram al-Sharif, the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Abbas preferred to stay in the occupied territories rather than request a permit from the Israelis to travel abroad in accordance with bilateral agreements. Some reports suggested that he was confined to his residence by Israel in retaliation for his decision. He was also reported to have checked in to a local hospital, suffering from exhaustion. The king’s short visit was meant to show solidarity with the Palestinian leader and to emphasize Jordan’s support for the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, stressing that the kingdom stands by them in seeking to establish an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” according to a royal court statement. Abbas gave credit to the king for defusing the crisis over Al-Aqsa, according to the same statement. For Abdullah, it was important to underline his personal role as a custodian and guardian of Muslim and Christian holy places in East Jerusalem. The royal court statement said that Jordan “will continue to safeguard holy shrines by working with the international community,” stressing the “need to preserve the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem, warning that any meddling will have negative consequences on the region.”

By Daoud Kuttab - August 16, 2017 - At a time of political indecisiveness and the absence of a vision or agreed-upon strategy, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is seriously considering calling a full session of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), its decision-making body. At an Aug. 9 meeting, Fatah's Central Committee recommended convening the PNC “with the participation of all parties,” a clear reference to Hamas. Such a session could bring new blood to the organization. A full PNC session convened with a quorum would allow members to approve a new political direction for the PLO and elect members to the PLO’s Central Committee and Executive Committee. Such changes would set the stage for a leadership transition. Palestinian President and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, 82, who is having health issues, has repeatedly said that he will not run for president in future general elections.
The PLO is the highest body in Palestinian politics, and its highest institution is the PNC. The PLO established the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a provision stemming from the 1993 Palestinian-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding and the 1995 Interim Agreement — the Oslo Accords — signed with Israel. The PA is therefore subject to the PLO's decisions. PNC member Hamadeh Faraneh explained to Al-Monitor, “Only full [PNC] sessions can elect the various institutions of the organization. The last time the PNC met in full session, it was held in Gaza, in 1996.” The absence of PNC meetings is the result of some logistical, but mostly political considerations linked to a shift in power from the PLO in the diaspora to the PLO leadership in Ramallah. The resumption of PNC sessions can be seen as a reversal of this two-decade-old shift, since the Oslo Accords. Kayed Miari, founder of the Nablus-based Witness Center for Citizen’s Rights and Social Development, told Al-Monitor that convening the PNC is a positive move. “It can rejuvenate the institutions of the PLO and its role, which has been declining for some time now,” he said. Abbas rallied his Fatah movement on Aug. 15, when he met with nearly 1,500 Fatah activists in Ramallah. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, “Abbas called Fatah the ‘initiator’ of the Palestinian national unity project. The movement is the best hope for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.”

By Uri Savir - August 20, 2017 - While the corridors of power and media in Jerusalem and Ramallah are buzzing with rumors over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' successions, there may be a scenario that could sustain their rule, at least for some time. According to the White House, President Donald Trump is dispatching his Middle East peace process team to the region to resume talks with both sides. At the end of August, senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, envoy Jason Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell will arrive for a new round of talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
A senior PLO official with good ties to the Trump administration argues that the US president would like to explore ways in which a negotiation process could be launched in 2017. His analysis is that a peace process surrounded by some media drama could serve the political interests of all three leaders: Trump, Netanyahu and Abbas. Trump and Netanyahu are deeply concerned about domestic inquiries. The liberal political and media circles that have an interest in the speedy conclusion of the investigations into Netanyahu could shift their attention to a breakthrough in the Mideast peace process, the Palestinian source says. Also, Trump is obviously challenged by the crisis with North Korea, yet a solution may take time and would depend mostly on China and Russia. Abbas may have similar interests, given the despair in Palestinian public opinion.
A senior US Embassy diplomat told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Washington is seeking to explore ways to advance peace negotiations later this year under Trump's auspices. The diplomat believes that Netanyahu is ready to engage with the president and his team, although Netanyahu’s basic positions and conditions have not changed. According to the diplomat, Netanyahu has been given the green light from his right-wing political partners to begin talks with the Palestinians without a full freeze of settlement construction. The diplomat is of the impression that Abbas may show flexibility in the conditions for negotiation, as long as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia back him. The United States is also talking with Cairo, Amman and Riyadh. The diplomat said the United States is interested in exploring three simultaneous approaches for progress. The first is creating a platform for the launch of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on all permanent status issues. Pragmatic Arab states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Arab League, would partake in the opening of such negotiations. These talks would launch under Trump's auspices, with the United States facilitating the overall progress.

By Shlomi Eldar - August 21, 2017 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas surprised participants of an Aug. 20 meeting at his Ramallah headquarters with members of the left-wing Israeli Meretz Party when he launched a broadside attack on the Trump administration just days ahead of a planned visit to the region by Trump's top envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. Abbas said he had met with the American representatives 20 times since Trump took office in January, but he was no closer to understanding what Israeli-Palestinian peace plan they have in mind. “Each time they reiterate their commitment to a two-state solution and the stop to settlement building. I urge them to tell [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu that, but they refrain,” he said.
The Israelis were not the only ones taken aback by Abbas’ remarks. Senior Palestinian officials present at the meeting were, too. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has, after all, trod wearily with the Americans until recently in an effort to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the new administration. Abbas set up a top-level team, including experts on US politics, in a bid to decipher the nature of the new president and the best way to approach him. The group even scored some points: Trump rolled back his election campaign commitment to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and even hosted Abbas last May at the White House less than four months after moving in. But since then, the Palestinians are under the impression that the Trump administration is not interested in getting entangled in the complex task of restarting the moribund Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have been the undoing of many previous administrations that were far more focused. “I don't understand their conduct toward us, as inside his country the administration is in chaos,” the Palestinian president was quoted as saying.
Al-Monitor has learned that Abbas’ remarks to the Meretz delegation were only the prelude to far harsher talking points he has prepared for his Aug. 24 meeting with the Trump envoys. A senior Palestinian source who spoke on condition of anonymity said a decision had been reached after lengthy negotiations at top PA levels, including consultations with its team of Trump experts, to present Kushner and Greenblatt with a clear ultimatum: Unless progress is made within 45 days on launching talks with the Israelis, the Palestinians will consider themselves no longer committed to the US channel and will turn to an alternative plan on which they have been working for the past two years.
The Palestinian source explained that Abbas is running out of the time he has to govern and cannot spend what little time he has left as president on “games.” The source believes a month and a half is sufficient time for the White House to decide whether to take an active and real part in mediating between the Palestinians and Israel — in other words, whether the administration plans to publicly declare that the United States regards the two-state solution as the only solution and demand that Netanyahu stop creating facts on the ground (that is, building settlements) and settle down to real negotiations. “If we don’t hear within a month and a half that the American team has stopped talking and started doing, Abbas intends to mobilize anyone and everyone he can for the UN General Assembly session on the establishment of a Palestinian state, regardless of the Israeli and American reactions,” said the official from Ramallah.http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/israel-pa-us-donald-trump-jared-kushner-mahmoud-abbas.html

Chris Mitchell - 05-30-2017 - CBNNews.com
JERUSALEM, Israel – The capture of Jerusalem's Temple Mount 50 years ago sent shockwaves throughout the Jewish world. It also raised hopes for the building of the third temple. On June 7, 1967, Israeli Brigade Commander Col. Motta Gur made an announcement that Jews had waited to hear for some 2,000 years.
"The Temple Mount is in our hands! The Temple Mount is in our hands!" he declared.
Retaking this ground was important for a number of reasons. For one, it's where King Solomon built the first Jewish temple. After the Babylonians destroyed it, Zerubbabel (the head of the tribe of Judah when the Israelites returned from the Babylonian exile) laid the foundation stone for a second temple that was later expanded by King Herod. That temple fell in 70 AD at the hands of the Romans.

Amanda Casanova - Religion Today - May 30, 2017 - Rabbi Richman, director of the International Department of The Temple Institute, says he is committed to rebuilding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Israeli Brigade Commander Col. Motta Gur captured the Temple Mount in 1967. After the capture, he announced: “The Temple Mount is in our hands! The Temple Mount is in our hands!”
Retaking the temple was important to the Jewish world because the site was where King Solomon built the first Jewish temple. When that temple was destroyed, a second temple was built, only to later fall in 70 AD to the Romans.
Recapturing the site meant the Jews could have their long-awaited third temple. "It would be hard, I think, not to see what's happened in the past 50 years as a tremendous – not just fulfillment of prophecy – but a tremendous jump start, a tremendous fast forward," Richman said. "It's more than prophetic. It's like a kiss from Heaven. It's like a divine kiss. It's like an intimate brush with the reality of God's compassion and love. He keeps His promises."

White House in Talks With Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians to De-escalate Temple Mount Crisis US not demanding removal of the metal detectors from the Temple Mount Israel says Jerusalem mosque metal detectors to stay, may be reduced Temple Mount: Alternatives to metal detectors to be implemented tonight
Israeli troops on high alert as violent protests continue in Jerusalem
... Sends more troops to West Bank Saturday after stabbing, unrest Trump Officially Hands Syria Over to Russia and Iran. Russia, Syria reach agreement on 'safe zone' boundaries Russia likes to 'stick it to America,' CIA chief says
Iran announces production of new air defense missile Hezbollah Carries Out Rocket Strike on Terrorists Near Syrian-Lebanese Border.
WARS - Turkey could be 'more dangerous version' of Iran Don't interfere in Turkish affairs, Erdogan tells Germany
Trump, on New Aircraft Carrier, Urges Military Funds Boost Assange: 'CIA Not Only Armed Syria's Insurgents-It Paid Their Salaries' WHITE HOUSE - President cuts over 850 regs, signs 42 laws - including 15 to roll back more regs!

By ed el-Komi- July 27, 2017 - AhmGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Video footage showing Nidal Aboud, a young Palestinian Christian man, reading his Bible amid a crowd of Muslims performing Friday prayers July 21 in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem created a buzz on social media. Palestinian activists saw the video as an example of coexistence between Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem and an expression of a shared fate against Israeli measures in the city. Palestinians have been staging sit-ins for a week and a half now in the streets of Jerusalem and around Al-Aqsa Mosque denouncing Israel's attempt to install metal detectors at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque to search worshippers.
Palestinian Christian youths and activists have also participated in these sit-ins to express their rejection of these measures, even though they target Al-Aqsa Mosque, a religious symbol of Muslims. Aboud, 24, from Mount Olivet in Jerusalem, seen praying among thousands of Muslims, told Al-Monitor that he participated in the sit-in in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque as an act of patriotism. He said, “A day before the sit-in, I saw on TV an elderly Palestinian in a wheelchair crying because he was not allowed to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. I was deeply touched and felt I must act out to end this. This is why I decided to take part in the sit-in in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque and took my cross and Bible with me. I was there at 8 a.m. the next day in front of one of the mosque's entrances.”
Aboud noted that Israeli soldiers at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque prevented him and a number of elderly Palestinians from entering the mosque and fired tear gas at them, describing the scene as “devoid of humanity and appalling.” “Because I am a Palestinian national it is my right to defend all of my country’s religious sanctities,” he said. He noted that he was unaware media outlets were reporting live, saying, “I was thrilled with how Muslim activists and friends welcomed me among them. Their warmth was genuine, and it gave me the strength to stay with them.” Aboud added that when they started praying, he was asked to join them. “They were very welcoming and they placed me in the center. At that moment, I began to recite Bible verses. We were all praying with great fervor,” he said. Denouncing Israel's attempt to install metal detectors at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque, he stressed that Christianity is an integral part of the Palestinian cause. “I would not accept such metal detectors to be installed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, so why would I accept them to be installed at Al-Aqsa Mosque?” Aboud said. Pointing to the efficient role and participation of Christians in sit-ins and protests around Al-Aqsa Mosque against Israeli measures, he noted, “Jerusalem needs us — even if we are a minority. The Palestinian cause needs all Palestinians. This is the land of peace.” http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/07/palestine-al-aqsa-christian-protester-security-israel-bible.html

August 6, 2017 - A Jewish teacher transforms the society in which he lives. After he dies, there are rumors he will be raised from the dead. Sure enough, his followers soon claim he is appearing and maintain there are miracles being performed in his name. And his return is supposed to begin a whole new era for the Jewish people.
Sound familiar? It’s not the story you think. Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, a leader in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, died in 1994. But some of his followers claimed he was the Messiah and would eventually return from the dead. Now, Zev Porat, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi who preaches the Gospel, claims just such a movement is underway in his homeland of Israel.
Porat explained the story in a recent appearance on “Freedom Friday” with Carl Gallups, author of the end times examination “When The Lion Roars” and ‘The Rabbi Who Found Messiah,” an examination of the revival of Messianic Judaism in Israel. Porat explained it is this very revival of belief in Jesus Christ as the Jewish Messiah which may be inspiring the startling claims about the late Rabbi Schneerson.
“Rabbi Schneerson is one of the leaders of the Lubavitcher organization in New York and of course also in Israel,” Porat explained to Gallups. “He passed away in 1994… and right now we’re in the middle of 2017 and his followers are saying that he has resurrected and that he’s walking around somewhere right now in the world and that he’s going to appear to the people, and he’s doing a lot of miracles right now. This is really amazing. And I’ll tell you right now, Carl, it’s because they for years have been saying that Yeshua cannot be God, cannot be the Messiah because it is impossible God would manifest Himself as a man. And now, they’re doing the same thing. They’re not saying Schneerson is God but they’re glorifying him in the same way, meaning they’re actually using the words they were once using against us [Messianic Jews].” Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/has-famous-rabbi-been-resurrected-from-dead/

By AFP - August 22, 2017 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday what he calls Iran's "aggression" and attempts to expand its military presence in neighbouring Syria. Iran is Israel's arch-enemy, and Netanyahu along with Israeli security officials have repeatedly expressed concern over what they see as the country moving to expand its presence in the Middle East. Netanyahu will meet Putin at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Wednesday. Both Russia and Iran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the war. "I will raise the problem of Iran trying to establish a military presence in Syria," Netanyahu said in a statement on Tuesday. "This proves that Iran's aggression has not diminished since the nuclear agreement, which has become a problem not only for Israel, but for all the countries of the Middle East and the entire world."
The head of Israeli spy agency Mossad, Yossi Cohen, and Netanyahu's newly named head of his national security council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, will join him on the trip. Netanyahu opposes a southwest Syria ceasefire recently agreed by Russia and the United States because he believes it would enable Iran to solidify it s presence in the country, an Israeli official has said.
An Israeli intelligence official said in April his country fears an "Iranian crescent" may be forming in the Middle East because of Tehran's influence in Syria and its connections with regional Shiite groups. Beyond concerns over Iran, Netanyahu's talks with Putin are also likely to involve coordination in Syria. Russia and Israel have established a "hotline" to avoid accidental clashes in the country.

By Ben Cohen - AUGUST 21, 2017 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin this week for the first time since the Russia-US deal on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria was announced in July - but Jerusalem should not expect any concessions from Moscow over Iran's growing military presence in Syria, a leading expert on Russian policy toward the Middle East said on Monday. "Putin is not going to say anything that's going to surprise Russia analysts," Anna Borshchevskaya - the Ira Weiner Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank - told The Algemeiner. Netanyahu arrives in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Wednesday with the issue of Iran's footprint in Syria uppermost in his mind. Announced on July 7 following the first encounter in person between Putin and US President Donald Trump, the exact details of the Syria ceasefire deal have remained sketchy. While both leaders said that concerns about the potential spillover of the Syrian war had been taken into account, Israel is known to be deeply concerned that the so-called "de-escalation zones" in Syria - created under a separate agreement between Russia, Turkey and Iran, without US involvement - will provide a major opportunity for Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to continue establishing weapons factories, command posts, missile launch sites and other threats that directly endanger Israel. These worries led Netanyahu to publicly reject the deal, as other influential Israelis warned that Jerusalem would not hesitate to militarily destroy Iranian and Hezbollah assets in Syria should the imperative arise.

By Ben Cohen - August 21, 2017 - As a high-level negotiating team headed by US President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner heads to the Middle East this week, Palestinian and Arab leaders have underlined that they will not consider any solutions that deviate from the 2002 Saudi-backed peace initiative - which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
Kushner will arrive in the region on Thursday accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, the administration's special envoy for international negotiations, and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell. The team will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, before heading to further meetings in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.
In a joint declaration in advance of the American visit, the Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo, welcomed US involvement in advancing the peace process, but implicitly warned against any flirtation with political solutions that do not involve a separate Palestinian state. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki asserted that the "united Arab position" was that "there will be no peace without the establishment of a Palestinian state within the '67 borders," while his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman al-Safadi, said the Americans needed to understand that "we are not coming up with a new proposal." Behind the scenes, however, Palestinian leaders are said to be increasingly disillusioned with Kushner and his team. In part, this is because of the Trump administration's tougher stance on the PA's policy of paying monthly salaries to convicted terrorists and their families - a practice widely regarded as incentivizing terror, at an annual cost of $300 million. After his last meeting with Kushner on June 23, Abbas was reported to have been furious at an American demand that the PA cut the payments to the families of 600 Palestinian terrorists serving life imprisonment sentences in Israeli prisons. Should the forthcoming session of Congress pass the Taylor Force Act - which would severely restrict US aid to the PA until the State Department certifies that it is no longer inciting and funding terrorist violence - the PA's relationship with Kushner and his team is likely to be further strained. https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/08/21/kushner-team-heads-to-middle-east-as-arab-leaders-emphasize-no-peace-without-palestinian-state/

By JNS.org - AUGUST 21, 2017 - Steve Bannon. Photo: Screenshot.
JNS.org - In the wake of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's ousting, reports detailing his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have started to emerge.
Bannon aggressively petitioned President Donald Trump to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but was blocked by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Vanity Fair reported on Sunday. Trump promised to relocate the embassy during his election campaign in 2016, but he signed a six-month waiver June 1 to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv - in line with every president's actions since Congress passed legislation calling on the US to move the embassy in 1995. Bannon also reportedly lobbied Trump to take a more aggressive stance regarding Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. When Abbas visited the White House in May, Bannon reportedly boycotted the meeting, sending a text message to a friend stating that he would not "breathe the same air as that terrorist," according to Vanity Fair.
With Bannon's departure, his alleged West Wing rival, Kushner, and others are slated to have greater influence over Trump's decision-making regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and overall foreign policy.

By Ben Caspit - August 21, 2017 - On Aug. 12, an ultranationalist in a far-right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killed 32-year-old left-wing American activist Heather Heyer. A short time later, Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, posted a comment on his Facebook page. “To put things in perspective,” wrote Yair. “I’m a Jew, I’m an Israeli [and] the neo-Nazi [...] in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out. However, the thugs of Antifa and BLM [Black Lives Matter] who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.”
He took care to publicize the post in Hebrew and English. A public storm broke out in Israel almost immediately. In contrast to his father, Yair does not even try to hide behind a fake mask of political correctness. He made the exact same comparison as did US President Donald Trump a few days earlier when Trump denounced extremists from “both sides” after the Virginia events.
Yair went beyond Trump’s words. According to the doctrine of Yair, considered by his family as “the official heir,” the damage done by left-wing organizations and organizations fighting for the rights of blacks is greater than the “marginal” damage inflicted by neo-Nazis and white power supremacists.
Yair, 26, is viewed as the strongest, most dominant figure in the official Jerusalem residence. Gossip about the power of Sara Netanyahu and her ability to manipulate her husband’s decisions has been heard in Israel for eons. Now, it seems, it is actually the firstborn son who rules the roost over both of them. Netanyahu has an older daughter from a previous marriage, but his family at the Jerusalem residence does not really count her as important. It is the son who rules both the father and mother; Yair is the "holy spirit."






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