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The Daily TIP: U.S. Announces Closure of PLO Mission in Washington in Dispute over Peace Plan

Posted by Tip Staff - September 11, 2018

U.S. Announces Closure of PLO Mission in Washington in Dispute over Peace Plan
British MP of Palestinian Descent Condemns “anti-Semitic” Posters, as Labour Party Investigates Infiltration by Iran
Iran's Revolutionary Guards Launch Deadly Ballistic Missile Strikes On Kurdish Dissidents In Iraq
Israeli Medical Team Teaches Medical Course to Doctors in Kenya

U.S. Announces Closure of PLO Mission in Washington in Dispute over Peace Plan

The White House announced Monday that it is closing the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) diplomatic mission in Washington over what U.S. officials say is the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to participate in the peace process and attempts to get an international court to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes, The Times of Israel reported.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) repeatedly has reiterated its unwillingness to engage with a U.S.-led regional peace initiative, which enjoys the support of Arab states, as well as to negotiate with Washington’s envoys, including senior adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

“The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said during a speech to the Federalist Society. “The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

He added: “The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC (International Criminal Court), or any other organization, to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense.”

The U.S. State Department confirmed Monday that it was ordering the closure of the PLO office. “We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

She described the move as part of a widening U.S. pressure campaign on Palestinian officials amid stalled Middle East peace prospects. “The PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel, Nauert said.

“To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise. As such, and reflecting congressional concerns, the administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point.”

The move was praised in Israel, where the Prime Minister’s office said the U.S. was taking a clear stance against the Palestinian refusal to negotiate.



British MP of Palestinian Descent Condemns “anti-Semitic” Posters, as Labour Party Investigates Infiltration by Iran

A British Member of Parliament of Palestinian Arab descent has denounced the defacing of bus-stops in London with "Israel is a racist endeavour" posters as "blatantly anti-Semitic,” The Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who represents Oxford West and Abingdon, told the BBC: "I'm a Palestinian... The fact that this has come from a group that purportedly is speaking for Palestinians, I take great offence at myself, because I think it is blatantly antisemitic." She clarified that “there are extremes in the Israeli government… But to say that an entire country is racist is entirely wrong."

Moran was responding to comments made by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who stated that "It is not at all anti-Semitic to describe a state as racist."

The posters were meant to mock the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which Labour reluctantly adopted in full last week with a caveat vowing "free speech" on Israel. The IHRA definition, which gives calling "a state of Israel... a racist endeavour" as an example of anti-Semitism.

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan on Thursday ordered the signs to be taken down and described them as “offensive.” A spokesman for Corbyn refused to condemn the posters because Labour was not officially involved in the campaign by Palestinian activists.

The party, meanwhile, has come under fire again, after an Iranian state-owned TV station, which had its license revoked in Britain in 2012 over claims that editorial decisions were being made in Tehran, carried footage of a local party meeting passing a vote of no confidence in the Enfield North MP, Joan Ryan.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ryan said that Iranian journalists from Press TV had “infiltrated” the party and had targeted her because of her support for Israel: “I’m horrified that they’ve infiltrated the Labour party in this way and I think it needs to be investigated, because it is incredibly serious.”



Iran's Revolutionary Guards Launch Deadly Ballistic Missile Strikes On Kurdish Dissidents In Iraq

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is behind an attack on Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region that killed at least 11 people and wounded numerous others on Saturday, The Algemeiner reported.

Iranian ballistic missiles targeted the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party - Iran (KDP-I) and the Democratic Party of the Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), as well as an Iranian Kurdish refugee camp in the Erbil Province’s Koya.

United States Vice President, Mike Pence, on Monday condemned Iran’s rocket attacks against the Kurdistan Region and, in a phone call with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, called the attacks by Iran “an effort to threaten and destabilize its closest neighbour [Iraq].”

The two men also discussed counter-terrorism efforts, “and reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the Kurds and the United States.”

In a September 9 statement, released by the semi-official Fars news agency, the IRGC said it had fired seven missiles in the attack on Rojhilati Kurdish dissidents. “In a successful operation, the Guards’ aerospace unit, along with the army’s drone unit … targeted a criminal group’s meeting and a terrorist training center with seven short-range surface-to-surface missiles.”

Iran’s target were armed opposition groups fighting for greater autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish community, which have been banned from the country for opposing the rule of the mullah regime.

In an op-ed published in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Seth J. Frantzman observed that the attack on Kurdish groups in the Erbil Governorate was “a message from Tehran to the region that it can do what it wants, not only in neighboring Iraq, but throughout the Middle East…It shows how the IRGC operates across borders and throughout the region, seeing Iran’s policy in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as linked into one larger program.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the nuclear deal with Iran from which the Trump administration withdrew in March, failed to curb Iran's ballistic missile program and, according to critics, was one of the major flaws of the agreement.



Israeli medical team brings CPR skills to Africa

Into a country where medicine, manpower and equipment are all in short supply came the Israelis. Their goal: to teach advanced CPR in the heart of Africa.

A senior delegation from the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa recently gave an emergency medicine course to local doctors and nursing staff in the village of Nakuru, Kenya.

The course, which included lectures, simulations and individual training, was initiated by Prof. Ruth Margalit, who is responsible for Global Medicine at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.

“It’s very important to understand what we were up against,” explained Prof. Itay Shavit, director of Rambam’s Pediatric Emergency Department and head of the medical team.

The Rambam team taught their local counterparts CPR equipment maintenance, case-management techniques, basic and advanced resuscitation methods and how to use equipment they had never encountered before. The Israelis brought medical equipment and simulation dolls.

“Because the gaps are great, the challenge is great, but it was exciting to see how quickly the changes were made and how easy it is to make a difference,” said team member Ravit Idelman, a senior nurse in Rambam’s ER department.

Rambam has given similar courses in Romania.

“When we accepted the proposal to hold the course in Africa, we did not hesitate for a moment,” added Dr. Hadas Levin Kanani, a senior ER physician. “Knowledge and skills help save lives in places where the need is greatest.”

The team intends to return to Africa to do more training on a regular basis and “to reach any place where we and our experience can help,” Idelman said.

Rick Hirschhaut, National Executive Director of American Friends of Rambam Medical Center, described the team’s work in Africa as “the highest humanitarian values of global citizenship.”