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Resources updated between Monday, September 10, 2018 and Sunday, September 16, 2018

September 16, 2018

September 15, 2018

An IED connected to a remote control receiver, which the IDF found on the Gaza border and destroyed in a controlled detonation on September 14, 2018.

The Israeli military found and destroyed an improvised explosive device along the southern Gaza border on Friday, the second such case in two days.

In addition, a cluster of balloons carrying an unlit explosive detonator, which was apparently launched from the Gaza Strip, landed in a playground in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat.

The army said the improvised explosive device had been hidden underneath a pile of dirt next to the security fence, east of the Gazan city of Khan Younis. It had a receiver attached to it, allowing the device to be set off remotely, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The device was detonated by IDF troops in a controlled blast, the army said.

"There were no injuries, and no damage was caused," the military said in a statement.

This was the second such explosive device planted along the southern Gaza security fence and discovered by the IDF this week.

The military accused the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group of being behind the attempted attack.

"Hamas continues to try to harm defensive infrastructure and security forces in the security fence area, while using residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields and as cover for terrorist activities," the army said in a statement.

In Kiryat Gat, police officers were called to the playground on Friday morning where the airborne explosive device was located shortly before 7 a.m.

"Police forces, including a police sapper, were called to the scene and took care of the suspicious object and removed all danger," the police said.

On Thursday, the Israeli military also detonated a large bomb that had been placed along the Gaza security fence by Palestinians during a recent riot, the army said.

The IED, which was placed inside a blue jerry can, was found earlier this week by the IDF next to the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to the IDF, the bomb was placed along the fence during a riot earlier in the week.

"The planting of the explosive device by the terrorist cell under the cover of a violent demonstration is further evidence that the Hamas terror group is working to maintain the conflict in the fence area," the army said at the time.

On Monday, several thousand Palestinians rioted along the Gaza security fence, burning tires and throwing rocks at IDF troops on the other side, the army said.

In response, Israeli troops fired tear gas canisters and, in some cases, live gunshots at the Palestinian rioters, according to the IDF.

No significant injuries were reported on either side.

A surge of violence in Gaza began in March with a series of protests along the border that were dubbed the "March of Return." The clashes, which Israel says are being orchestrated by Gaza's Hamas rulers, have included regular rock and Molotov cocktail attacks on troops, as well as shooting and IED attacks aimed at IDF soldiers and attempts to breach the border fence.

Since the protests began, at least 127 Palestinians have been killed in clashes, according to a tally from The Associated Press. Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, has acknowledged that dozens of those killed were its members. Others have been identified as members of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, the second-largest terrorist organization in the Strip. During that time, a Gaza sniper killed an Israeli soldier.

During the demonstrations, protesters have also launched incendiary kites and balloons into Israel, sparking fires that have destroyed forests, burned crops and killed livestock. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials.

Israeli army finds another IED on Gaza border; police disarm boobytrapped balloon Document

September 14, 2018

An IED placed along the Gaza fence

Palestinians throw pipe bomb at IDF troops on Gaza fence Document

September 13, 2018

An improvised explosive device placed along the southern Gaza security fence by Palestinians, September 13, 2018

IDF detonates large bomb placed on Gaza fence by Palestinians, foiling attack Document

Syrian babies receive treatment after a chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta region of Syria

U.N. documents further Syrian government use of banned chemical weapons Document

UNRWA sign in Jerusalem

UNRWA perpetuates the refugee problem Article

September 12, 2018

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (File photo)

U.N. boost of Palestinians 'one more step in the direction of chaos, non-cooperation, and violence' Article

The PLO Office in Washington, D.C.

Michael Oren: Trump Decision to Close PLO Office Advances Peace Article

September 10, 2018

The PLO office in Washington D.C.

"The Trump administration is expected to announce Monday that it will close the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, administration officials said Sunday night, widening a U.S. campaign of pressure amid stalled Middle East peace efforts.

'The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel,' national security adviser John Bolton planned to say in a speech he is scheduled to deliver Monday, according a draft of his prepared remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

'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 is planned to add.
Mr. Bolton also plans to threaten to impose sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it moves ahead with investigations of the U.S. and Israel.

'If the court comes after us, Israel or other allies, we will not sit quietly,' Mr. Bolton is planned to say, according to his prepared remarks..."

Trump Administration to Close Palestine Liberation Organization Office in Washington for Violating U.S. Law Article

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton

"'Protecting American Constitutionalism and Sovereignty from International Threats'

Thank you, Gene [Eugene Meyer], for your kind introduction. I want to thank Gene, as well as Dean Reuter, for the invitation to be here today. It is a true honor to address all of you this afternoon.

I am here to make a major announcement on U.S. policy toward the International Criminal Court, or ICC.

After years of effort by self-styled 'global governance' advocates, the ICC, a supranational tribunal that could supersede national sovereignties and directly prosecute individuals for alleged war crimes, was agreed to in 1998. For ICC proponents, this supranational, independent institution has always been critical to their efforts to overcome the perceived failures of nation-states, even those with strong constitutions, representative government, and the rule of law.

In theory, the ICC holds perpetrators of the most egregious atrocities accountable for their crimes, provides justice to the victims, and deters future abuses. In practice, however, the Court has been ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright dangerous. Moreover, the largely unspoken, but always central, aim of its most vigorous supporters was to constrain the United States. The objective was not limited to targeting individual U.S. service members, but rather America's senior political leadership, and its relentless determination to keep our country secure.

The ICC was formally established in July, 2002, following the entry into force of the Rome Statute. In May, 2002, however, President George W. Bush authorized the United States to 'un-sign' the Rome Statute because it was fundamentally illegitimate. The ICC and its Prosecutor had been granted potentially enormous, essentially unaccountable powers, and alongside numerous other glaring and significant flaws, the International Criminal Court constituted an assault on the constitutional rights of the American People and the sovereignty of the United States.

In no uncertain terms, the ICC was created as a free-wheeling global organization claiming jurisdiction over individuals without their consent.

According to the Rome Statute, the ICC has authority to prosecute genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. It claims 'automatic jurisdiction,' meaning that it can prosecute individuals even if their own governments have not recognized, signed, or ratified the treaty.

Thus, American soldiers, politicians, civil servants, private citizens, and even all of you sitting in the room today, are purportedly subject to the Court's prosecution should a party to the Rome Statute or the Chief Prosecutor suspect you of committing a crime within a state or territory that has joined the treaty.

To protect American service members from the ICC, in 2002 Congress passed the American Service members' Protection Act, or ASPA, which some have branded 'The Hague Invasion Act.'

This law, which enjoyed broad bipartisan support, authorizes the President to use all means necessary and appropriate, including force, to shield our service members and the armed forces of our allies from ICC prosecution. It also prohibits several forms of cooperation between the United States and the Court.

I was honored to lead U.S. efforts internationally to protect Americans from the Court's unacceptable overreach, starting with un-signing the Rome Statute. At President Bush's direction, we next launched a global diplomatic campaign to protect Americans from being delivered into the ICC's hands. We negotiated about 100 binding, bilateral agreements to prevent other countries from delivering U.S. personnel to the ICC. It remains one of my proudest achievements.

Unfortunately, we were unable to reach agreement with every single nation in the world, particularly those in the European Union, where the global governance dogma is strong. And last fall, our worst predictions about the ICC's professed and overly-broad prosecutorial powers were confirmed.

In November of 2017, the ICC Prosecutor requested authorization to investigate alleged war crimes committed by U.S. service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan-an investigation neither Afghanistan nor any other State Party to the Rome Statute requested. Any day now, the ICC may announce the start of a formal investigation against these American patriots, who voluntarily went into harm's way to protect our nation, our homes, and our families in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The ICC Prosecutor has requested to investigate these Americans for alleged detainee abuse, and perhaps more-an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation.

Today, on the eve of September 11th, I want to deliver a clear and unambiguous message on behalf of the President of the United States. The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.

We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC.

We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.

The United States bases this policy on five principal concerns about the Court, its purported authority, and its effectiveness.

First, the International Criminal Court unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and U.S. national security interests. The Prosecutor in The Hague claims essentially unfettered discretion to investigate, charge, and prosecute individuals, regardless of whether their countries have acceded to the Rome Statute.

The Court in no way derives these powers from any grant of consent by non-parties to the Rome Statute. Instead, the ICC is an unprecedented effort to vest power in a supranational body without the consent of either nation-states or the individuals over which it purports to exercise jurisdiction. It certainly has no consent whatsoever from the United States.

As Americans, we fully understand that consent of the governed is a prerequisite to true legal legitimacy, and we reject such a flagrant violation of our national sovereignty.

To make matters worse, the Court's structure is contrary to fundamental American principles, including checks and balances on authority and the separation of powers. Our Founders believed that a division of authority among three separate branches of government would provide the maximum level of protection for individual liberty.

The International Criminal Court, however, melds two of these branches together: the judicial and the executive. In the ICC structure, the executive branch-the Office of the Prosecutor-is an organ of the Court. The Framers of our Constitution considered such a melding of powers unacceptable for our own government, and we should certainly not accept it in the ICC. Other governments may choose systems which reject the separation of powers, but not the United States.

There are no adequate mechanisms to hold the Court and its personnel accountable, or curtail its unchecked powers when required.

ICC proponents argue that corrupt or ineffective judges can be removed by a two-thirds vote of parties to the Rome Statute, and that a prosecutor can be removed by a majority vote.

However, I ask everyone in the room today: would you consign the fate of American citizens to a committee of other nations, including Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and entities that are not even states, like the Palestinian Authority?

You would not. I would not. And this Administration will not.

The ICC's Assembly of States Parties cannot supervise the Court any more than the United Nations General Assembly can supervise the UN bureaucracy.

Recent allegations of mismanagement and corruption among ICC personnel make this perfectly clear. The first Prosecutor elected by the Assembly of States Parties attempted to protect a high-ranking government official from prosecution, assisted a businessman with links to violations in Libya, and shared confidential court documents with Angelina Jolie.

In short, the International Criminal Court unacceptably concentrates power in the hands of an unchecked executive, who is accountable to no one. It claims authority separate from and above the Constitution of the United States.

It is antithetical to our Nation's ideals. Indeed, this organization is the Founders' worst nightmare come to life: an elegant office building in a faraway country that determines the guilt or innocence of American citizens.

Second, the International Criminal Court claims jurisdiction over crimes that have disputed and ambiguous definitions, exacerbating the Court's unfettered powers.

The definitions of crimes, especially crimes of aggression, are vague and subject to wide-ranging interpretation by the ICC. Had the ICC existed during the Second World War, America's enemies would no doubt be eager to find the United States and its allies culpable for war crimes for the bombing campaigns over Germany and Japan.

The QUOTE 'crime of aggression' could become a pretext for politically motivated investigations. Was the mission of U.S. Navy SEALs that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan a crime of aggression? What about the U.S. and coalition strikes in Syria to protect innocent children from chemical weapons? How about U.S. military exercises with allies and partners around the world? Or Israel's actions to defend itself on countless occasions?

In the years ahead, the Court is likely only to further expand its jurisdiction to prosecute ambiguously defined crimes. In fact, a side event at the Assembly of States Parties recently included a panel discussion on the possibility of adding 'ecocide,' environmental and climate-related crimes, to the list of offenses within the Court's jurisdiction.

And here we come directly to the unspoken but powerful agenda of the ICC's supporters: the hope that its essentially political nature, in defining crimes such as 'aggression,' will intimidate U.S. decision makers, and others in democratic societies.

As we know, the ICC already claims authority over crimes committed in States Parties, even if the accused are not from nations that have acquiesced to the Rome Statute.

The next obvious step is to claim complete, universal jurisdiction: the ability to prosecute anyone, anywhere for vague crimes identified by The Hague's bureaucrats.

Third, the International Criminal Court fails in its fundamental objective to deter and punish atrocity crimes. Since its 2002 inception, the Court has spent over $1.5 billion dollars, while attaining only eight convictions.

This dismal record is hardly a deterrent to dictators and despots determined to commit horrific atrocities. In fact, despite ongoing ICC investigations, atrocities continue to occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and many other nations.

The hard men of history are not deterred by fantasies of international law such as the ICC. The idea that faraway bureaucrats and robed judges would strike fear into the hearts of the likes of Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Stalin, and Gadhafi is preposterous, even cruel. Time and again, history has proven that the only deterrent to evil and atrocity is what Franklin Roosevelt once called 'the righteous might' of the United States and its allies-a power that, perversely, could be threatened by the ICC's vague definition of aggression crimes.

Thus, we see, paradoxically, that the dangers of the International Criminal Court stem from both its potential strength and its manifest weakness.

Fourth, the International Criminal Court is superfluous, given that domestic U.S. judicial systems already hold American citizens to the highest legal and ethical standards. U.S. service members in the field must operate fully in accordance with the law of armed conflict. When violations of law do occur, the United States takes appropriate and swift action to hold perpetrators accountable. We are a democratic nation, with the most robust system of investigation, accountability, and transparency in the world. We believe in the rule of law, and we uphold it. We don't need the ICC to tell us our duty, or second-guess our decisions.

ICC proponents argue that robust domestic judicial systems are fully consistent with the Court because of the so-called complementarity principle. According to its supporters, the ICC functions only as a 'court of last resort.' If nations have taken appropriate steps to prosecute perpetrators of crimes, the ICC will take no further action.

And yet, there is little precedent for the ICC to determine how to apply the complementarity principle. How is the ICC Prosecutor to judge when this principle has been met? Under what circumstances will the ICC be satisfied? How much sensitive documentation would the ever-toiling bureaucrats in The Hague demand from a sovereign government? And, who has the last word? If it's the ICC, the United States would manifestly be subordinated to the Court.

If the ICC Prosecutor were to take the complementarity principle seriously, the Court would never pursue an investigation against American citizens, because we know that the U.S. judicial system is more vigorous, more fair, and more effective than the ICC. The ICC Prosecutor's November 2017 request of course proves that this notion, and thus the principle of complementarity, is completely farcical. The ICC Prosecutor will pursue what investigations it chooses to pursue, based upon its own political motives, and without any serious application of the complementarity principle.

Fifth, the International Criminal Court's authority has been sharply criticized and rejected by most of the world. Today, more than 70 nations, representing two-thirds of the world's population, and over 70% of the world's armed forces, are not members of the ICC.

Several African nations have recently withdrawn or threatened to withdraw their membership, citing the disproportionate number of arrest warrants against Africans. To them, the ICC is just the latest European neocolonial enterprise to infringe upon their sovereign rights.

Israel too has sharply criticized the ICC. While the Court welcomes the membership of the so-called 'State of Palestine,' it has threatened Israel-a liberal, democratic nation-with investigation into its actions to defend citizens from terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Gaza. There has also been a suggestion that the ICC will investigate Israeli construction of housing projects on the West Bank.

The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel. And, today, reflecting Congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel, the State Department will announce the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office here in Washington, D.C. As President Reagan recognized in this context, the Executive has 'the right to decide the kind of foreign relations, if any, the United States will maintain,' and the Trump Administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel. The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC, or any other organization, to constrain Israel's right to self-defense.

In sum, an international court so deeply divisive and so deeply flawed can have no legitimate claim to jurisdiction over the citizens of sovereign nations that have rejected its authority.

Americans can rest assured that the United States will not provide any form of legitimacy or support to this body. We will not cooperate, engage, fund, or assist the ICC in any way. This President will not allow American citizens to be prosecuted by foreign bureaucrats, and he will not allow other nations to dictate our means of self-defense.

We take this position not because we oppose justice for victims of atrocities, but because we believe that perpetrators should face legitimate, effective, and accountable prosecution for their crimes, by sovereign national governments.

In April of 2016, it was right here, at the Mayflower Hotel, that President Trump gave his first major foreign policy address during his campaign. At that time, candidate Trump promised he would 'always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else.'

Today, it is fitting that we reassert this fundamental promise within these walls. This afternoon, we also make a new pledge to the American People.

If the Court comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies, we will not sit quietly. We will take the following steps, among others, in accordance with the American Servicemembers' Protection Act and our other legal authorities:

We will negotiate even more binding, bilateral agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering U.S. persons to the ICC. And we will ensure that those we have already entered are honored by our counterpart governments.

We will respond against the ICC and its personnel to the extent permitted by U.S. law. We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States.

We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and, we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.

We will take note if any countries cooperate with ICC investigations of the United States and its allies, and we will remember that cooperation when setting U.S. foreign assistance, military assistance, and intelligence sharing levels.

We will consider taking steps in the UN Security Council to constrain the Court's sweeping powers, including ensuring that the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans and the nationals of our allies that have not ratified the Rome Statute.

This Administration will fight back to protect American constitutionalism, our sovereignty, and our citizens. No committee of foreign nations will tell us how to govern ourselves and defend our freedom. We will stand up for the U.S. Constitution abroad, just as we do at home. And, as always, in every decision we make, we will put the interests of the American People FIRST.

Thank you very much. I am now happy to take questions from members of the Federalist Society."

Speech Transcript: John Bolton on U.S. Policy Toward the International Criminal Court Article

Christians in China

The Chinese government is destroying cross, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith as the crackdown on religious congregations in Beijing and several provinces intensifies.

The suppression of religious freedoms comes as an official government campaign to "Sinicize" religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party and removing any potential challenge to the party's power in the country.

"The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief," Bob Fu of China Aid, said.

"The situation for Chinese #Christians becomes more dire by the day. We are working tirelessly to put maximum pressure on China stop the persecution," Jay Sekulow, President Trump attorney and Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), wrote in a tweet.

The persecution of Christians in China is nothing new. A report by the watchdog group Freedom House found that Christians and other religious groups in China have been persecuted since 2012, Fox News reported.

A third of all religious believers in China who belong to a faith group were also found to face "high" to "very high" levels of persecution, which ranges from bureaucratic harassment and economic exploitation to harsh prison terms and even violence, the report said.

But experts and activists say the Chinese government is now waging the most severe suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedoms were granted by the Chinese constitution in 1982.

The escalating anti-Christian campaign coincides with President Xi Jinping recent consolidation of power that made him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, the notorious communist leader responsible for millions of deaths.

Activists reportedly filmed footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms declaring that the signatories had rejected their faith. The authorities allegedly forced the believers to sign the forms or risk being expelled from school or loosing welfare benefits.

A Christian Pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang, whose name was identified out of fear of retaliation by the authorities, reportedly confirmed that crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5.

He added that local authorities were in discussions with the church about reforming it, but no agreement had been reached.

According to Chinese laws, religious believers are allowed to worship only in government-sanctioned congregations. But many millions of Christians belong to underground or house churches that ignore government regulations.

Officials reportedly disputed the allegations raised by Christians, saying authorities respect religious freedom.

The anti-religion campaign affected not only Christian denominations. Around 1 million Uighurs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the country's northwest have been detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the Communist Party.

The Chinese government denied setting up the camps for indoctrination, but stressed the importance to tackle extremism.

China has an around 38 million Protestants, and some have predicted that the country will have the world's largest Christian population in a few decades.

Chinese officials burn bibles, close churches, force Christians to denounce faith amid 'escalating' crackdown Document

Palestinians walk in front of a UNRWA office

"The news that the Trump Administration wants to strip refugee status from millions of 'Palestinians' should be welcomed by all people of sense. For the 'Palestinian' refugees now include every single descendant of those who left Palestine just before, during, and after the 1947-49 war. That means that if your grandfather, or great-grandfather, left in 1947, thinking he would return as soon as the invading Arab armies finished destroying the nascent state of Israel, you, too, are allowed to call yourself a 'Palestinian refugee,' and more importantly, to receive all kinds of aid through UNRWA. The lists of these 'Palestinian' refugees kept by UNRWA keep growing; no descendant ever loses his 'refugee' status.

There are more 'Palestinian' refugees born every day. It's an extraordinary situation. No other group of refugees in the world is defined in this most peculiar way. For all other (i.e., non- 'Palestinian') peoples, a refugee is someone who had to leave a particular place to avoid persecution, but his offspring, born in a new country, are not considered to be refugees. Henry Kissinger is a German Jewish refugee. His son is not. Nor is his grandson. Nor his great-grandson. But were Kissinger a 'Palestinian,' all of his descendants would be considered to be 'Palestinian' refugees. This ever-expanding roll of UNRWA refugees also increases what UNRWA demands, and gets, from bamboozled donors. One more twist to the tale: the 'Palestinian' refugees seldom declare that one of their number has died, so dead 'Palestinians' remain on the rolls forever.

The millions of 'Palestinian' refugees have learned to enjoy the large amounts of aid lavished on them, and they are now long used to the culture of permanent dependence fostered by UNRWA. They find it agrees with them.

But now another note is being sounded in Washington..."

UNRWA's Bloated Farce Article