Posted by Albert Gersh - April 20, 2016
Experts and Congressmen from both sides of the aisle indicated their opposition to a UN resolution imposing terms of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a hearing in the House on Tuesday.
Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) lambasted the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its efforts to “delegitimize and isolate Israel on the international stage at the UN and other similar efforts.” She and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee Ted Deutch (D-FL) urged the Obama administration to oppose any efforts to circumvent direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, including a potential UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution that imposes terms and deadlines of a peace deal on Israel. Deutch insisted that “the only path to two states for two peoples is through direct negotiations between the two parties. This should be encouraged by anyone who considers themselves to be a friend of Israel and by anyone who claims to want what’s best for the Palestinian people.”
David Makovsky, who served as a senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry on peace talks, stated
that he is “rather skeptical regarding efforts to put forward parameters at the UNSC,” warning that they “would be interpreted by both sides as an imposed solution and could serve as a baseline for defiance rather than bringing the parties closer.” The experts at the hearing also discussed the threats Israel faces from Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian incitement and consequent lone-wolf terrorism. Noting that “the same Europeans who call for tough love of the US towards Israel are not willing to administer that in their own relations with the Palestinians,” Makovsky argued that the US should urge the EU to use its leverage with the PA to persuade the Palestinians to stop sending funds to families of terrorists and to put an end to their anti-normalization policy towards Israel.
The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a 2012 law that allows over 1,000 American victims of terrorism to collect damages from $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.
The 6 – 2 decision is a legal victory for 1,300 people who were seeking the funds from Iran’s central bank, also known as Bank Markazi. The assets were initially held in a CitiBank account and later transferred to a trust account awaiting the outcome of the case. The claimants against Iran include victims of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut and of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, and their families.
“We are extremely pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision, which will bring long-overdue relief to more than 1,000 victims of Iranian terrorism and their families, many of whom have waited decades for redress,” said Theodore Olson, who represented the victims before the Supreme Court.
Jeff Lamken, who argued on behalf of Bank Markazi, did not respond to requests for comment.
In her opinion for the majority, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that “Congress may indeed direct courts to apply newly enacted, outcome-altering legislation in pending civil cases.” Chief Justice John Roberts, in the minority opinion, held that Congress overstepped its bounds and dictated an outcome that should have been decided by the judiciary.
Matthew D. McGill, a lawyer for the victims, said that Supreme Court decision “removes the last remaining legal impediment” to releasing the money, and that the next step is to request the distribution of the funds to the victims and their families.
A New York court ordered Iran to pay more than $10 billion to victims of the 9/11 terror attacks last month.
The Supreme Court decision (.pdf) referred to the “evidence-based judgments against Iran together amounting to billions of dollars” in the cases covered by the lawsuit. News items in recent years have also drawn attention to Iran’s role in anti-American terror. It was established that Ahmed al-Mughassil, who was arrested last year for masterminding the Khobar Towers attack, was trained in Iran. Intelligence has also implicated Hossein Dehghan, Iran’s current defense minister, in the Marine barracks bombing. (via TheTower.org)
The largest water sports festival in Israel is now underway at the Tel Aviv Marina. Sailors, surfers, kayakers, SUP boarders, swimmers and marine fans are all taking part in the Sail Tel Aviv-Yafo (April 18-28) Passover holiday event.
The highlight of the water festival is a rally on April 28 featuring all types of vessels as they sail across the coastline between Tel Aviv Port and Jaffa Port. “The city of Tel Aviv-Yafo cultivates values of pluralism, entrepreneurship and innovation. We at Atarim endorse the same values and have set ourselves a challenge to develop and expand the Tel Aviv coastline. Our projects include accessible beaches to everyone encourage and develop water sports and tournaments as well as positioning Tel Aviv as an attractive beach destination for tourists and residents alike,” said Yaron Klein, CEO of Atarim — the municipality’s department in charge of the city’s coast. Also on April 28, four competitions will run throughout the day: The sports competitions and main events will take place on April 28th, activities will include: a professional sailing competition, a SUP competition, a kayak contest, and an open water swimming event. The kayak competition is unique in that it will feature 150 paddlers replete with nets and one common goal: to collect the largest amount of waste from the sea. (via Israel21c