When it comes to combating anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, “there’s a new sheriff in town,” United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley proclaimed on Monday at the AIPAC Policy Conference.
Haley cited two episodes that demonstrated her commitment to protecting Israel from unfair attacks. First, she recalled how she blocked the appointment of a former Palestinian Authority official to a high UN post. On Haley’s watch, she said, there will be “no freebies for the Palestinian Authority anymore” until the PA decides to negotiate with Israel in good faith. Haley also mentioned how she called UN Secretary-General António Guterres and told him to withdraw a UN agency report that described Israel as an apartheid state. Guterres withdrew the report, and the director of the agency that commissioned the report resigned.
Haley touched on the speech she made shortly after attending her first Middle East-related Security Council session, in which she expressed her surprise and shock that the session focused exclusively on Israel’s alleged sins, ignoring issues like ISIS and the Syrian Civil War. Haley recalled that she had heard that anti-Israel bias was an issue at the UN, but “until you hear it and you see it, you can’t comprehend how ridiculous it is.”
She also criticized the nuclear deal with Iran. When it comes to Iran’s behavior, she promised, “We’re gonna watch them like a hawk. We’re going to make sure that every single thing they do is watched, processed, and dealt with.”
Haley lambasted the Obama administration’s decision to abstain last year in a vote on UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which criticized Israeli activities in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“I wear heels,” Haley said. “It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because when I kick them, they’re going to feel it every single time.”
Follow the money--
Every year the Palestinian Authority dedicates hundreds of millions of U.S. aid dollars to rewarding terrorists—a staggering 8 percent of its entire budget, according to a Wall Street Journal article published Monday. The deadlier the attack, the larger the payment.
As reported earlier this month in Commentary: “Salaries start at $400 per month for terrorists incarcerated for up to three years. They rise to $570 for those in for three to five years, and $1,142 for five to 10 years. For those serving more than 30 years, the salary is $3,429. That’s per month. And this is a society in which the gross national product per capita amounts to $258 per month.”
Money also flows to the family members of convicted terrorists, such as spouses and children.
New legislation has been introduced in Congress to cut U.S. economic aid unless the Palestinian Authority changes its policy, but is controversial as critics say it risks destabilizing the PA. “By this logic the PA is the devil we know,” said the Journal.
Iran is seeking to establish an arc of influence through the Arab Middle East to the eastern Mediterranean, wrote Uzi Rabi, the Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. The Islamic Republic has been able to manipulate the rise of ISIS and the fracturing impact of the Syrian civil war to advance its hegemonic ambitions, “deploying in the entire region with malicious sophistication, seeking to create a territorial sequence from Iraq through northern Syria to Latakia, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.” Rabi called this “[a] perfect export of a revolution in relative silence, orchestrated by the Revolutionary Guards.”
The Iran nuclear deal, Rabi explained, has proved to be an “insurance policy” for the regime in Tehran – it has “legitimized Iran as [a] regular player in the community of nations,” allowing the “ruling elite” and the IRGC to tighten their grip over the country. Iran has been able to use its “improved economic assets” to step up assistance to groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Its reported construction of missile factories in Lebanon, providing Hezbollah with a domestic manufacturing capacity, combined with its alleged desire to build a military base in Latakia (which would place it under a “Russian air umbrella,” according to Levant specialist Tony Badran) all point to an Iranian attempt to “deepen[…] its hold on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.”
Iran has increased its support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen in recent months, and has also dispatched trainers, including many who have fought in Syria under the Quds Force, the IRGC’s external arm. The covert approach that Iran is taking toward Yemen was employed in Syria in 2014 before Iran became more open about its involvement and influence.
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has manufactured dozens of short-range, high-explosive rockets to launch against Israeli communities in the event of another war, Israel’s Army Radio reported Tuesday. “The range and the weight of the rockets suggest they are designed to maximize damage to Israeli towns bordering with the [Gaza] Strip,” Haaretz reported. Each rocket contains “hundreds of kilograms of explosive material” and “pack[s] an explosive punch unlike anything seen before in the hands of Hamas.”
“We are seeing frequent experiments in Gaza – [rocket] launches into the sea,” a senior Israeli Air Force officer said. “The production [of rockets] in Gaza is on a very large scale, more than in the past, because of the blockade and closed Egyptian border.”
Hamas is said to spend $100 million a year in preparation for its next war against Israel. Last week, Israel’s internal security agency announced that Hamas was seeking advanced targeting software in order to render their rockets more accurate. The Israel Defense Forces assessed in February that Hamas had also succeeded in building 15 tunnels into Israel.
Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out last year that Hamas has prioritized building up its terrorist infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”