- Boeing to sell aircraft to Iranian airline that transferred weapons and fighters to Assad regime and Hezbollah
Boeing’s planned sale around 100 planes to an Iranian airline previously sanctioned by the US Treasury rests on the hope that it will no longer be used by the Iranian military to transfer weapons and fighters to Iranian-backed terror and insurgency groups across the Middle East. The agreement with Iran’s largest airline, Iran Air, was signed on Tuesday and is the most lucrative business deal between Iran and America since the US Embassy takeover in Tehran in 1979.
The US Treasury designated Iran Air in 2011 for being used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics to transport military-related equipment including rockets and missiles. The Treasury asserted, “the IRGC is also known to disguise and manifest such shipments as medicine and generic spare parts.” The IRGC has in some instances taken control of commercial Iran Air flights with special cargo and discouraged Iran Air pilots from inspecting it. U.S. officials have not indicated that such activity has stopped. The administration used a technicality to drop sanctions on the airline, stating that it was sanctioned under an executive order relating to weapons of mass destruction, not terrorism.
Furthermore, on Wednesday, a report in The Daily Beast revealed that one of the principal advocates of the nuclear deal with Iran, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, serves as a paid consultant to Boeing and failed to disclose his relationship with the company, which now stands to benefit considerably from the nuclear deal. Pickering advocated in favor of the Iran deal in briefings for lawmakers, testimony before committees, and in several op-eds. Government transparency advocates have criticized his failure to disclose his connection to Boeing as a violation of ethical standards. Boeing also paid a firm to engage in lobbying work on “US-Iran relations” during several months of the nuclear negotiations in 2015.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for global terrorism and repeated a discredited canard that Jews are seeking to poison Palestinian water while addressing the European Union parliament a day after Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, The Times of Israel reported Thursday. Abbas also refused to meet Rivlin in a one-on-one meeting while in Brussels.In his speech, Abbas asked the EU to save the Palestinians from Israeli provocations, and cited for evidence a hoax story about rabbinic calls for Jews to poison Palestinian wells. The discredited charge, propagated by the PA’s Foreign Ministry’s earlier this week, was attributed to an Israeli rabbi and a council that do not actually exist, and has been refuted by Breaking the Silence, the group that supposedly broke the story. Canards about rabbis authorizing the poisoning of wells used by non-Jews have been used to incite violence against Jews since the Middle Ages.
Abbas also alleged that Israel is the cause of global terror, saying, “Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world.” (Palestinian terrorism pre-dates the Israeli occupation.) Abbas further ruled out making any compromises to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a maximalist plan backed by the Arab League.
The Palestinian president refused to meet with Rivlin during his visit, despite EUencouragement. Rivlin, who agreed to meet and reiterated the importance of direct talks to peace efforts, said that he found Abbas’ rejection odd. “On a personal level, I must say that I find it strange that President Mahmoud Abbas, my friend Abu Mazen, refused again and again to meet with Israeli leaders and turns again and again to the support of the international community,” he said. “We can talk. We can talk directly in a way to build confidence.”
Since 2000, the Palestinians have rejected a number of peace proposals. In July 2000 at Camp David, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of all of the Gaza Strip and 92% of the West Bank, offset by land swaps, along with a capital in eastern Jerusalem. After he left office, President Bill Clinton made it clear that Arafat was to blame for the failure at Camp David. Arafat responded to the offer by launching the Second Intifada.
In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented Abbas with a proposal for a peace agreement, which was also rejected. In an interview a year later, Abbas said he refused the offer because “the gaps were wide.” (Abbas again admitted his rejection of Olmert’s offer last year.) In March 2014, Israel accepted Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework for continued peace negotiations and agreed to proceed on the basis of it, while Abbas rejected it and the next month formed a unity government with the terrorist organization Hamas. In September 2015, Netanyahu said that he was willing to restart talks at anytime without preconditions. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, responded by calling Netanyahu’s bid a “PR stunt” and rejected the offer.