Posted by Tip Staff - March 24, 2017
Senators introduce bipartisan bill targeting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, ballistic missiles
UN chief reaffirms ancient Jewish ties to Jerusalem
Former Israeli ambassador: Democracies should follow U.S. lead to help UN reform
Israeli archaeologists dig up liquor bottles from WWI
United States senators introduced
a bipartisan piece of legislation on Thursday placing sanctions on individuals connected to Iran’s ballistic missile program as well as on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the body entrusted with securing the Islamic revolution at home and expanding it abroad. The bill also “[r]equires the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities related to the supply, sale, or transfer of prohibited arms and related material to or from Iran.” Called the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, the legislation was introduced by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). Fourteen senators, from both sides of the aisle, sponsored the bill.
, “This legislation demonstrates the strong bipartisan support in Congress for a comprehensive approach to holding Iran accountable by targeting all aspects of the regime’s destabilizing actions.” He continued, “These steps will allow us to regain the initiative on Iran and pushback forcefully against this threat to our security and that of our allies.”
For his part, Menendez declared, “The spirit of bipartisanship of this important legislation underscores our strong belief that the United States must speak with one voice on the issue of holding Iran accountable for its continued nefarious actions across the world as the leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
Stating the obvious--
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated
his recognition of ancient Jewish ties to Jerusalem during a meeting with World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder. Guterres had previously made comments to Israeli radio in which he noted the existence of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.
A statement Wednesday by the WJC said Lauder and Guterres met earlier in the week in New York, and that Guterres would work towards quelling anti-Israel bias at the UN and its affiliates.
"There is a breath of fresh air coming from the United Nations,” Lauder was quoted as saying in the statement. “A long overdue breath of fresh air.”
The United Nations’ cultural body, UNESCO, made headlines last year when it adopted
two resolutions ignoring Jewish and Christian historical ties to the Temple Mount.
Western Democracies should join the United States in exerting pressure on the United Nations “to shed its reputation for bloated, ludicrous hypocrisy and restore trust and credibility to international institutions,” former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor wrote Wednesday in an essay
Prosor credited newly-installed United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and United States ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley for taking a principled stand against a report, written by two anti-Israel activists and issued by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) last week, which slandered Israel as an “apartheid state.” Haley unconditionally
condemned the report. Guterres first distanced himself from the document, then demanded
that ESCWA remove its from its website. ESCWA, which represents 18 Arab nations, removed the report accordingly, though the agency’s head Rima Khalaf resigned
in protest. She had two weeks left in her term.
Prosor called the chain of events “rare” good news from the UN, and pointed out that he had previously pushed for Khalaf to be fired in 2014, when she published a report comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.
However, “it will take more than one resignation to bring real change” to the UN, Prosor wrote. “Rima Khalaf was not a bad apple—there are more in the barrel—like Leila Zerrougui, Under-Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, who turns a blind eye to Assad’s barrel bombs while condemning Israel’s attempts to defend itself. Or Christopher Gunness, Chief Spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), whose schools have been used by Hamas to store weapons.”
Prosor also singled out the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), observing that the “paradoxically titled” agency fully embodied the UN’s failings. He praised the U.S. for boycotting
the council’s discussion of Israel earlier this week.
“At every meeting of the Council, Israel is the only country debated under its very own agenda item,” Prosor explained. “Between 2009 and 2016, the UNHRC adopted 42 resolutions
under Agenda Item Seven, which deals solely with Israel, and only 58 resolutions
under Agenda Item Four, which deals with the rest of the world.”
This built-in bias means that the “council comprising some of the most brutal human rights abusers in the world, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela, condemns the Middle East’s only democracy with such disproportionate zeal,” Prosor noted.
“At the Human Rights Council, other democratic states can take inspiration from America’s principled stance,” he concluded. “Now, instead of leading from behind, they can join the U.S. in leading from the front. European members of the Council, including major powers like the U.K. and Germany, should defend their stated values of fair play with renewed confidence.”
Israeli archaeologists excavating an area near Ramla prior to the construction of a new highway were expecting to find ancient artifacts but instead happened upon hundreds of liquor bottles belonging to British soldiers from the First World War. The excavation was carried out in the fields of Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, as part of the construction of Highway 200 that was initiated and financed by the Netivei Israel Company. At the dig site, the archaeologists found flint tools that are 250,000 years old from the Middle Palaeolithic period. But they were also astounded to find a fascinating reminder from WWI that included, among other things, hundreds of liquor bottles that are at least 100 years old. “The written historical evidence regarding the soldiers’ activities in the British army in Israel usually consists of ‘dry’ details, such as the number of soldiers, direction of attack, and the results of the battle. The discovery of this site and the finds in it provide us with an opportunity for a glimpse of the unwritten part of history, and reconstruct for the first time the everyday life and leisure of the soldiers,” said Ron Toueg, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. (via Israel21c