Amid funding cut fears, PA purchases $50 million private jet for Abbas — report

Hadashot news reports plane will be delivered to Amman within weeks, will be stationed there for use by Palestinian leader


24 January 2018
The Times of Israel

Even as the Palestinian Authority faces major funding cuts from the US, it has purchased a new luxurious $50 million private jet to be used by President Mahmoud Abbas, Hadashot news reported Wednesday.

The report, which did not provide sourcing, said the plane was set to be delivered to Amman within weeks, and will be stationed there for use by the PA chief.

Funding for the plane was said to have been provided both from the PA budget ($20 million) and from the Palestinian National Fund ($30 million).

The report comes amid deep cuts to US aid to the Palestinians, and reports that further cuts may be coming.

When US President Donald Trump originally threatened to cut aid earlier this month, top PLO official Saeb Erekat said it would lead to starvation among Palestinian refugee children.

“Now, he is threatening to starve Palestinian children in refugee camps and deny their natural rights to health and education, if we don’t endorse his terms and dictations,” Erekat said, referring to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Israel’s prime minister does not have and has never had a private plane.

Hezbollah leader lauds Palestinian 'sublime Jihad spirit' against Israel

November 11, 2015
Jerusalem Post

Head of Lebanese terror group calls for Muslim solidarity in increased backing for the "new Palestinian Intifada."

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah lauded on Friday the Palestinians for the recent spate of terrorist attacks against Israelis, and condemned Arab states for under-supporting the "new Palestinian Intifada."

Speaking at a pro-Palestinian conference, the head of the Lebanese Shi'ite terror group praised the Palestinian for utilizing simplistic weapons, such as cars and knives, in near-daily attacks that have prevailed for more than a month.

"What is going on now in Palestine reflects a lofty and sublime Jihad spirit," Hezbollah-run website Al Manar quoted him as saying.

However, the Hezbollah leader call on the Muslim peoplehood to lend greater backing to the Palestinians, exclaiming that Israel remains strong.

"Despite the fact the 'Greater Israel' scheme has been frustrated, the Zionist entity is still powerful and threatens all the region's peoples," he said in his call for solidarity against the Jewish state.

Senior Kuwaiti Official: "Katrina is a Wind of Torment and Evil from Allah Sent to This American Empire"

In reaction to Hurricane Katrina and the destruction in its wake, a high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, who is director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment's research center, published an article titled "The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda." [1] The article appeared August 31, 2005 in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa.

The following are excerpts from his article:

"The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah…"

"…As I watched the horrible sights of this wondrous storm, I was reminded of the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah [in the compilations] of Al-Bukhari and Abu Daoud. The Hadith says: 'The wind is of the wind of Allah, it comes from mercy or for the sake of torment. When you see it, do not curse it, [but rather] ask Allah for the good that is in it, and ask Allah for shelter from its evil.' Afterwards, I was [also] reminded of the words of the Prophet Muhammad: 'Do not curse the wind, as it is the fruit of Allah's planning. He who curses something that should not be cursed – the curse will come back to him.'

"When the satellite channels reported on the scope of the terrifying destruction in America [caused by] this wind, I was reminded of the words of [Prophet Muhammad]: 'The wind sends torment to one group of people, and sends mercy to others.' I do not think – and only Allah [really] knows – that this wind, which completely wiped out American cities in these days, is a wind of mercy and blessing. It is almost certain that this is a wind of torment and evil that Allah has sent to this American empire. Out of my absolute belief in the truth of the words of the Prophet Muhammad, this wind is the fruit of the planning [of Allah], as is stated in the text of the Hadith of the Prophet.

"But I began to ask myself: Doesn't this country [the U.S.] claim to aspire to establish justice, freedom, and equality amongst the people? Isn't this country claiming that everything it did in Afghanistan and Iraq was for truth and justice? How can it be that these American claims are untrue, when we see how good prevails in the streets of Afghanistan, and how it became an oasis of security with America's entrance there? How can these American claims in the matter of Iraq be untrue, when we see that Iraq has become the most tranquil and secure country in the world?

"But how strange it is that after all the tremendous American achievements for the sake of humanity, these mighty winds come and evilly rip [America's] cities to shreds? Have the storms have joined the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization?"

"The Disaster Will Keep Striking the Unbelievers for What They Have Done"

"How sad I am for America. Here it is, poor thing, trying with all its might to lower oil prices which have reached heights unprecedented in all history. Along with America's phenomenal efforts to lower the price of oil in order to salvage its declining economy and its currency – that is still falling due to the 'smart' policy America is implementing in the world – comes this storm, the fruit of Allah's planning, so that [the price of] a barrel of oil will increase further still. By Allah, this is not schadenfreude.

"Oh honored gentlemen, I began to read about these winds, and I was surprised to discover that the American websites that are translated [into Arabic] are talking about the fact that that the storm Katrina is the fifth equatorial storm to strike Florida this year… and that a large part of the U.S. is subject every year to many storms that extract [a price of] dead, and completely destroy property. I said, Allah be praised, until when will these successive catastrophes strike them?

"But before I went to sleep, I opened the Koran and began to read in Surat Al-R'ad ['The Thunder' chapter], and stopped at these words [of Allah]: 'The disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done, or it will strike areas close to their territory, until the promise of Allah comes to pass, for, verily, Allah will not fail in His promise. ' [Koran 13:31]."


Iran's president: Israel must be 'wiped off the map'

The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's hard-line president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and said a new wave of Palestinian attacks will destroy the Jewish state, state-run media reported Wednesday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also denounced attempts to recognize Israel or normalize relations with it.

"There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad told students Wednesday during a Tehran conference called "The World without Zionism."

"Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury, (while) any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad also repeated the words of the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who called for the destruction of Israel.

"As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," said Ahmadinejad, who came to power in August and replaced Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who advocated international dialogue and tried to improve Iran's relations with the West.

Ahmadinejad referred to Israel's recent withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a "trick," saying Gaza was already a part of Palestinian lands and the pullout was designed to win acknowledgment of Israel by Islamic states.

"The fighting in Palestine is a war between the (whole) Islamic nation and the world of arrogance," Ahmadinejad said, using Tehran's propaganda epithet for the United States and Israel. "Today, Palestinians are representing the Islamic nation against arrogance."

Iran does not recognize the existence of Israel and has often called for its destruction.

Israel has been at the forefront of nations calling and end to Iran's nuclear program, which the United States and many others in the West say is aimed at acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Iran says the program is for generating electricity.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Ahmadinejad's comment "reconfirms what we have been saying about the regime in Iran. It underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear intentions."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Baptiste Mattei condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks "with the utmost firmness."

Harsh words for Israel are common in Iran, especially at this time of year, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In Iran, this Friday — the last Muslim day of prayer in the Ramadan holiday — has been declared Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day. Rallies were slated in support of Palestinians — and against Israel's occupation of parts of the city and other Palestinian lands.

Other Iranian politicians also have issued anti-Israeli statements, in attempts to whip up support for Friday's nationwide Quds Day demonstrations.

But Ahmadinejad's strident anti-Israeli statements on the eve of the demonstration were harsher than those issued during the term of the reformist Khatami and harkened back to Khomeini's fiery speeches. Ahmadinejad was a longtime member of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, which even operates a division dubbed the Quds Division, a rhetorical reference to Tehran's hopes of one day ending Israel's domination of Islam's third-holiest city.

After his election, Ahmadinejad received the support of the powerful hard-line Revolutionary Guards, who report directly to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Last year, a senior member of the guards attended a meeting that called for and accepted applications for suicide bombers to target U.S. troops and Israelis.

Iran announced earlier this year that it had fully developed solid fuel technology for missiles, a major breakthrough that increases their accuracy.

The Shahab-3, with a range of 810 miles to 1,200 miles, is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East.


Iran Leader Reiterates Anti-Israel Stance
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer
Friday, October 28, 2005

(10-28) 14:39 PDT TEHRAN, Iran (AP) --

Iran's ultraconservative president — spurning international outrage over his remarks about Israel — joined more than a million demonstrators who flooded the streets of the capital and other major cities Friday to back his call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood fast behind his assertion that Israel should be wiped off the map and repeated the call during the nationwide protests Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.

But in an apparent attempt to blunt international outrage over Ahmadinejad's comments, the Iranian Embassy in Moscow issued a statement saying the Iranian leader did not want to "engage in a conflict."

Marching alongside the protesters, the 47-year-old former mayor of Tehran and one-time Republican Guard commander renewed his criticism of the West.

"They become upset when they hear any voice of truth-seeking. They think they are the absolute rulers of the world," he said during the al-Quds — or Jerusalem — Day protest, which was among the largest since they were first held in 1979 after Shiite Muslim clerics took power in Iran.

His fellow marchers carried placards reading "Death to Israel, death to America." It is not uncommon for an Iranian president to join marches in the capital. Ahmadinejad was accompanied by five bodyguards, but otherwise security was not out of the ordinary for such an event.

Despite Ahmadinejad's continued harsh attacks on the West, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani tried to dial back the rhetoric, suggesting that Israelis and Palestinians hold a referendum to decide the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.

"If Muslims and Palestinians agree (to a referendum), it will be a retreat but let's still hold a referendum," Rafsanjani said in his Friday prayer sermon.

The Iranian Embassy statement in Moscow said Ahmadinejad "did not have any intention to speak in sharp terms and engage in a conflict."

But that was not the message carried by the at least 200,000 Iranians who massed in Tehran to unleashed virulent condemnation against Israel, the United States and the West in general, accusing them of oppressing Palestinians and Iran.

Some demonstrators chanted "Israel is approaching its death" and wore white shrouds in a symbolic gesture expressing readiness to die for their cause.

A resolution was read at the end of the rallies backing "the position declared by the president that the Zionist regime must be wiped out."

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki defended his president's comments, saying they represented Iran's long-held policy of not recognizing Israel.

"Unfortunately the Western countries have remained silent on the increasing inhuman activities of Israel," Mottaki said at the Tehran march.

Protests attracted at least 100,000 in each of Iran's eight largest cities, according to AP reporters. State television said millions of people assembled throughout the country. Major rallies also were held in other Middle Eastern countries.

In Beirut, the militant Hezbollah group marked the day by staging a parade that saw more than 6,000 guerrillas march in uniform through the streets of the Lebanese capital.

The Shiite group, which supports it Iranian mentors, has sought to strengthen its position in Lebanon after the withdrawal of Syrian troops.

At least 30,000 Bahrainis marched in their capital, Manama, burning Israeli and American flags and demanding their government rescind its recent decision to end its economic embargo of the Jewish state.

The United States said the Iranian leader's remarks have only underscored Washington's concern over Iran's nuclear program. Israel said Iran should be suspended from the United Nations. U.N. chief Kofi Annan expressed "dismay" at the comments in a rare rebuke of a U.N. member state.

The Vatican condemned as "unacceptable" statements denying the right of Israel to exist, although it did not mention Iran by name. The U.N. Security Council also condemned the remarks, while Russia summoned the Iranian ambassador seeking an explanation for the president's words.

Iran's seven state-run TV stations devoted coverage Friday to programs condemning the Jewish state and praising the Palestinian resistance since the 1948 creation of Israel.

Three stations also showed live coverage of crowds of people gathering Friday in streets throughout Tehran.

In Washington, the State Department said it was skeptical the demonstrators had gone into the streets voluntarily.

"I think you have over the past decade seen examples of the Iranian regime organizing protests in support of some of their more outrageous policies," spokesman Sean McCormack said.

After Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toppled the pro-Western Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979, he declared the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as an international day of struggle against Israel and for the liberation of Jerusalem. The founder of the Islamic regime had also called for Israel's destruction.


UK News
Muslim council to \'boycott\' Holocaust Memorial Day
Jan 5, 2006, 19:00 GMT

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is to maintain its \'boycott\' of Holocaust Memorial Day.

The MCB, the UK\'s biggest Muslim body, is refusing to join in commemorations of the systematic genocide of Jews by the Nazis because crimes against non-Jewish people, such as those in Vietnam, Rwanda, Bosnia and Chechnya are left unmentioned, according to the BBC.

Although the council describes the Holocaust as a \'monstrous cruelty\', it wants the day\'s name changed to Genocide Memorial Day, to be more inclusive in remembering the genocidal acts committed across Europe and elsewhere.

The event this year is due to take place at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on January 27th, but may take place a day earlier as Friday has \'implications\' for a number of faiths, organisers said.

Critics say the purported boycott will re-raise questions about the council\'s perceived anti-Semitic stance.

In recent days, MCB leader Sir Iqbal Sacranie caused more controversy by describing homosexuality as unacceptable.

He also denounced same-sex civil partnerships as \'harmful\' as they did \'not augur well\' for undergirding societal relations.

The council missed the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Holocaust Day last year.


Darfur genocide charges will be sought

President Bashir would be the first head of state charged with genocide by the international court.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor will ask for an arrest warrant for Sudan President Bashir next week, diplomats say.

By Maggie Farley, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 11, 2008


UNITED NATIONS -- The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor will ask judges to issue an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan next week on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, diplomats and an official close to the case said Thursday.

The prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, issued a statement Thursday announcing that he would submit evidence of crimes committed against civilians in Sudan's western region of Darfur over the last five years, though he will wait until Monday at the pretrial chamber to name names.

If the judges issue an arrest warrant, Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir would be the first sitting or former head of state to be charged with genocide by the 6-year-old international court in The Hague.

The prosecutor may seek the arrests of other senior Sudanese officials later, said the official close to the case, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the proceedings.

U.N. officials are concerned that the request for warrants could cause the Sudanese government to retaliate against peacekeepers and aid workers in Darfur -- or even eject them. But they have not asked Moreno-Ocampo to soft-pedal his charges against Bashir, said U.N. and court officials.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had tried to keep the court's quest for justice in Darfur on the margins of negotiations with Sudanese officials, concerned that it would disrupt the deployment of additional troops for a United Nations-led peacekeeping force. But Thursday, he told reporters that "in principle, I believe that peace and justice should go hand in hand."

The Sudanese envoy to the world body fueled fears that a request for Bashir's arrest would jeopardize U.N. operations in Darfur. "All options are open," Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem said. "It is playing with fire."

Darfur has been racked by violence since a rebellion against the central government began in 2003. At least 200,000 people have been killed, according to most estimates, most of the deaths blamed on militias that critics charge were unleashed by the government to put down the insurrection.

The U.N. in January took command of an African Union peacekeeping effort in Darfur. The force is expected to eventually consist of 26,000 troops, though it has grown only slightly from the original 9,000 African troops because of delays in deployment and supplies.

U.N. peacekeepers and aid workers, who have faced repeated attacks from gunmen, began retrenching in Darfur after an attack Tuesday on U.N. forces that killed seven and injured 20. The Sudanese ambassador blamed the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Unity rebel group, but U.N. officials say they suspect that the Sudanese army was linked to the attack.

Humanitarian groups have been withdrawing staff members from remote areas and preparing for demonstrations or attacks in response to Moreno-Ocampo's actions Monday.

"We take the situation quite seriously," said a humanitarian coordinator for Darfur, especially because nongovernmental organizations and the U.N. have faced frequent violence over the last six months. The coordinator requested anonymity for security reasons.

Sudan probably will not turn over its leader if a warrant is issued. Sudan has ignored arrest warrants issued last year for an official and a rebel leader, and even promoted the official, Ahmed Haroun, to oversee humanitarian affairs for the people he is charged with helping displace in Darfur.

"I swear to God, I swear to God, I swear to God, we will not hand over any Sudanese to the International Court," Bashir recently told a gathering of Sudan's Popular Defense Forces.

Moreno-Ocampo's strategy is risky, human rights groups and diplomats say. Besides potentially alienating the head of state who controls U.N. access to Darfur and triggering a retaliation, proving the crime of genocide is very difficult, said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch.

Moreno-Ocampo will have to show that the systematic killings in Darfur were ordered by Bashir with the specific intent to eliminate the Massalit, Zaghawa and Fur groups on the basis of their ethnicity.

The government claims that the conflict was triggered by rebels from those groups, and that the government and allied militias responded in self-defense. Any casualties occurred in the course of a counter- insurgency operation, and in intertribal warfare, officials have repeatedly said.

"If genocide is the charge that the ICC prosecutor is pursuing, he has set himself a high hurdle to get over," Dicker said.

Though warrants against Bashir would be a first for the ICC, its prosecutor would be following a path blazed by other tribunals.

A special court backed by the U.N. indicted Liberian President Charles Taylor in 2003 for atrocities committed during a 10-year civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. His trial is underway.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was indicted by the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1999, while he was still in office, and was turned over to authorities after he was overthrown in a popular uprising. He died of heart failure in 2006 during his trial in The Hague.

Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine who helped put his country's former ruling junta behind bars, has been called quixotic in his quest for justice while at the International Criminal Court. He has opened investigations of violent campaigns in the Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Uganda, Darfur and the Central African Republic. The court has issued 12 arrest warrants.

Moreno-Ocampo will be making his new far-reaching case against a backdrop of criticism after the recent collapse of his prosecution of a Congolese warlord accused of using child soldiers. The trial chamber suspended the trial of Thomas Lubanga after the court ruled that the prosecutor withheld evidence that could help the defense.

The Darfur case could help shore up Moreno-Ocampo's credibility, or undermine it.

"Charging a sitting head of state is going to generate a lot of commentary and controversy," Dicker said. "But given what has happened in Darfur since 2003, it is hardly a surprise that the trail of evidence leads to the head of state. It is an important step toward the end of impunity."