My Mideast Punchlines: yehreb beitak!

Judging from Sunday night’s address to the PLO Central Council, PA President Mahmoud Abbas is either divorcing himself from the Olso accords, reality, or both. He blamed Europe for sending Jews to Israel, blamed Israel for destroying the “dead” Oslo accords, blamed the US for mishandling peace efforts and blamed Hamas for undermining Palestinian unity. He also insisted that peace talks could only resume under international mediation.

But AP took note of one particular line addressing the US president, which raised a lot of eyebrows:

To laughter from the crowd, Abbas then added the phrase “Yehreb Beitak,” literally translated as “may your house be demolished.”

In colloquial Palestinian Arabic, the phrase can have different connotations, from a harsh to a casual insult, but its use in a widely watched speech seemed jarring.

Well, if we’re going to start hurling insults around, here’s my two-pennyworth: Mr Abbas, you are a liar, a cheat, an embezzler, a Holocaust denier and a jobsworth not worthy of giving Donald Trump a shoeshine. Oh, and while I’m in full flow, Yehreb Beitak!


My Mideast Punchlines: a warm and fuzzy feeling…

The IDF confirmed it destroyed a Gaza terror tunnel which stretched under the Israeli and Egyptian borders early Sunday morning. With an overall length of 1.5 km and extending 180 meters into Israeli territory, the tunnel passed directly under the Kerem Shalom border crossing, where Israel transfers humanitarian aid to the Strip.

The IDF said the tunnel was destroyed in Gaza by Israeli jets, marking the first official Israeli confirmation that it has indeed destroyed tunnels from the air. The IDF rejected Hamas claims that the tunnel was only for smuggling commercial goods. The Kerem Shalom crossing remained closed as this roundup was published.

The tunnel’s connection to the Egyptian Sinai puts Hamas in a difficult spot with Cairo, what with myriad Hamas-supported Islamist fanatics  gallivanting around the place. What is it about the subterranean that instils both fear and a warm and  fuzzy protective feeling? I’m sure the Hamas tunnelers felt these conflicting emotions while toiling away underground. No longer, however. All that effort has been vaporised by the IAF, God bless ’em. Now that really gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.


My Mideast Punchlines: put ’em up, put ’em up….

Breitbart’s Raheem Kassam socked it to Sky News, so I though I might add my two-pennyworth:

Until the advent of Donald Trump, political correctness had emasculated the United States to such an extent that America under Obama had become the laughing stock of the world. His supporting of the viciously anti-western Moslem Brotherhood and Iran to the attacks on America’s allies, Obama and the liberal-left dealt a crippling blow to champions of democracy everywhere. Good riddance, Obama and Kerry. Dumb and Dumber. Now we have a man in the White House who throws his enemies off guard every time he opens his mouth. Bravo! And never forget, one of the greatest foreign policy presidents of all time was a man who (expletive deleted!) shot his mouth off: Richard Milhous Nixon. Funnily enough, while I do not believe Trump is racist, Nixon certainly was. He was an anti-Semite. Yet, when push came to shove in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, his massive airlift of arms to a distraught Golda Meir was the greatest single act of support for the Jewish state in its history. I know. I saw it all as a foreign correspondent based in Tel Aviv. Nixon the anti-Semite is revered in Israel to this day.


My Mideast Punchlines: when a government licenses a Ponzi scheme…..

In an interview with Lee Smith at RealClearPolitics, Iranian banking expert Saeed Ghasseminejad revealed that in addition to squandering their earnings from sanctions relief, the regime has been stealing the savings of the Iranian middle class. First, regime-controlled banks, (including those that will be barred from the international financial system if Trump reinstates the sanctions) gave large loans to regime officials who never repaid them. The losses were passed to the regular account holders.

Second, Ghasseminejad related details of a regime-licensed Ponzi scheme. Private banks offering high interest rates appeared out of nowhere. Their high rates attracted middle class investors who deposited their life savings.

When depositors tried to withdraw their money, the banks declared bankruptcy.

No one has been prosecuted and a large number of formerly middle class Iranians are now impoverished.

Just reflect on the above when you feel like a good moan about our government and our banks. Trump should scupper the Iranian deal now and impose hefty sanctions. In the short term it might bring more pressure on the Iranian middle classes. But it also might just push the Iranian people into overthrowing the regime they despise.

My Mideast Punchlines: cap in hand…..

Later this month, Mahmoud Abbas will visit European Union officials in Brussels where he is expected to seek European backing for unilateral statehood moves and increased aid to offset threatened cuts from the US. More at the Times of Israel, which picked up on Arab media coverage.

Seek and ye shall find. I’m sure there are enough useful idiots in the European Union who would vote to increase the largesse to Abbas, and thus enable him to continue filling his personal coffers with our money. Cap in hand, indeed.

My Mideast Punchlines: why so much angst?

Gaza is still roiling over a video of a Palestinian member of Islamic State in the Sinai executing another Palestinian accused of collaborating with Hamas. The New York Times reports that two Gaza families, falling in line with Hamas, have disowned their sons.

Why so much angst? Palestinians executing other Palestinians has always been de rigeur. I wonder whether the two families would have disowned their sons if they had executed Israelis. On the other hand, I don’t wonder at all.

My Mideast Punchlines: time to get the vapors?

An Iranian official threatened Wednesday to greatly accelerate the pace of the country’s uranium enrichment beyond the levels seen ahead of the 2015 nuclear deal if the United States decides to back out of the landmark pact and reimpose punishing sanctions on Tehran.

“Iran is ready to increase the speed of its nuclear activities in various areas, especially enrichment, several times more than pre-JCPOA era,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in an interview with state television, using the technical acronym for the nuclear deal.

Iran’s threat exposes some of the deal’s shallowness. If Iran can so quickly kick the IAEA out and immediately start enriching uranium at a faster and higher rate of enrichment than pre-deal, what safety has the deal bought? Whatever transpires, Iran holds all the cards, which means that sooner or later the Iranian nuclear plants will have to be vaporised. Why not sooner? Another alternative is to adopt a radical policy of decapitation. This should only be used when the clear and present danger is of such a magnitude that there is no reasonable alternative. Imagine if we’d taken out Hitler and his leadership at the Nuremberg rally. Today it’s far easier. Smart bombs can take out everyone on the dais at a rent-a-crowd rally in Pyongyang or Teheran. The liberal-Left fellow travellers will cry gevalt, but deep down everyone will breathe a huge sigh of relief, as they did after Israel destroyed  nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria. Always remember, appeasement never ever works.

My Mideast Punchlines: agent provocateurs….

The Vienna police are pursuing criminal charges against three pro-Israel activists for waving an Israeli flag at a pro-Palestinian protest against the designation of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The police are seeking a 100 euro fine or two days in jail for the waving of the flag at the December 8 rally near the US embassy  in the capital.

The criminal notice, dated January 3, states that the activists “showed an Israeli flag at a rally in an extremely provocative way and manner that was visible for participants at the rally and thereby produced considerable offence and provocation among the Palestinian protesters.”

Agent provocateurs, indeed. Of course, in the topsy-turvy world we live in, the fact that the protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted such niceties as the Arabic battle cry to massacre Jews, ‘Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,’ and the Persian slogan ‘Death to Israel’ was not seen as producing considerable offence and provocation among the pro-Israel activists. Hitler would have been so proud of his home city’s police force.

My Mideast Punchlines: Truly ‘stipendous’….

The Palestinian Authority paid terrorists and their families over $347 million last year, according to its own records, the Defense Ministry reported to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.

The average income of a Palestinian is $580 (£428) per month, which is what the PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to three to five years in prison. The PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to 20 years or more in prison – in other words, those who committed more severe crimes, and likely were involved in killing Israelis – five times that each month for the rest of their lives.

Terrorists who are Israeli citizens receive a $145 (£107) bonus, which, when added to the amount PA pays for the most severe crimes, comes to over $2,900 (£2,139), more than the average Israeli income of around $2,700 (£1991) per month. There are also increases in pay for being married and for each child a terrorist has.

The first word that comes to mind is stupendous, although in this case perhaps that should read ‘stipendous’. And what’s more, we’re paying for it. However, while US President Donald Trump threatened funding to the Palestinian Authority in a tweet and in action at the UN this week, the Knesset bill to slash tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to pay terrorists, remained stuck on Wednesday, 10 months after it was proposed. That’s politics, folks. More stupid than stipend. You couldn’t make it up.

My Mideast Punchlines: gimme, gimme, gimme….

US funds earmarked for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency should instead be gradually transferred to a separate UN body responsible for aiding the rest of the world’s refugees, suggested Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Describing the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has overseen health care, schooling, social services and more for Palestinian refugees since 1950, the PM said:

“This is an agency that was established 70 years ago, only for Palestinian refugees, at a time when the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] deals with global refugee problems. Of course this creates a situation in which there are great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees but who are cared for by UNRWA, and another 70 years will pass and those great-grandchildren will have great-grandchildren and therefore, this absurdity needs to stop,” Netanyahu said.

But Netanyahu noted that “genuine” Palestinian refugees still need assistance, and proposes that UNRWA funds from the United States should be “gradually shifted” to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which has “clear criteria for supporting genuine refugees, not fictitious refugees as happens today under UNRWA.”

I’ll put it more bluntly: the greatest con-trick in history must be consigned to the waste basket. Clearly, UNRWA is a basket case and has been for decades. In Gaza, it effectively answers to Hamas and not to the useful idiot western donors who cough up year after year in order that the Palestinians need never learn how to stand on their own feet. Indeed, they are distinctly proud of being refugees in perpetuum, a stunning indictment of their gimme, gimme culture. To paraphrase the ABBA lyrics: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme money after midnight, won’t somebody help me stay here for ever….