Moran’s rebuke, which was first reported by Politico, might not be the only formal action taken by Republican leaders. Several Senate Republicans called for cuts to UN funding over the vote.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., plans to introduce a “sense of the Senate” resolution issuing the rebuke next week. The formal condemnation resolution would be the first official action against the U.N. by the Senate GOP in response to the Security Council resolution, which passed because President Obama refused to veto it.
“I am committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats to make sure we stand with Israel and that the United Nations cannot be used as a forum to create policies that hurt our nation and its allies,” Moran said Friday.
The Security Council resolution was long feared by Israel and their congressional allies, as rumors percolated throughout the fall that the Obama administration would countenance a condemnation of Israeli settlement construction in disputed Palestinian territory. Read the rest of this entry »
From The Corner
“This was an election between Bibi and Obama — that was on the ballot. He did everything he could to unseat him, but he failed.”
“This was an election between Bibi and Obama — that was on the ballot,” he said on Wednesday’s Special Report. “He did everything he could to unseat him, but he failed.”
Krauthammer criticized “the pettiness and the petulance” from the Obama administration regarding Netanyahu’s victory, which included a backhanded congratulatory statement and a delayed phone call from secretary of state John Kerry rather than President Obama.
“It’s clear that Obama loathes Netanyahu more than any other world leader, meaning more than the ayatollah in Iran or Putin in Russia.”
“I think the reaction of the administration is now reaching levels where it’s become unseemingly,” he said….(read more)
Blizzards are quite rare in Jerusalem, so when a recent storm dumped around ten inches of snow on the city, some people were pretty excited. Farther south in Israel, some communities got snow for the first time since the 1990s. (read more)
LONDON — A video posted online on Tuesday, purportedly by the Islamic State extremist group, depicted a black-clad militant with a knife threatening to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours unless the government in Tokyo paid a ransom of $200 million.
“To the Japanese public, just as how your government has made the foolish decision to pay 200 million to fight the Islamic State, you now have 72 hours to pressure your government in making a wise decision by paying the 200 million to save the lives of your citizens.”
— Masked Islamic State Militant
The video, which could not immediately be verified independently, showed two men, identified as Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, kneeling on a rocky hillside, with the masked militant standing between them.
“Using human lives as a shield to make threats is an unforgivable terrorist act, and I am extremely indignant. I strongly demand that they be released unharmed immediately.”
— Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan
The militant linked the ransom demand to a Japanese offer of assistance to enemies of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, which controls a large amount of territory stretching from Syria into Iraq. The group says it is seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate and has previously shown videos of the beheading of two Americans, James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff, and two Britons, David Cawthorne Haines and Alan Henning.
From the Japan Times:
In an online video released Tuesday, the Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese citizens unless Tokyo pays a ransom of $200 million within 72 hours.
The hostage crisis developed as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on the final leg of a six-day tour to the Middle East to pledge $200 million in non-military aid to countries in the region.
Abe vowed to save the men…(read more)
“To the Japanese public, just as how your government has made the foolish decision to pay 200 million to fight the Islamic State, you now have 72 hours to pressure your government in making a wise decision by paying the 200 million to save the lives of your citizens,” the masked man said in the video, speaking with what sounded like a British accent. “Otherwise this knife will become your nightmare.”
The masked man, whose voice, manner and attire resembled those of a person who appeared in earlier videos showing beheadings, did not specify a currency, but a subtitle in Arabic identified it as dollars.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan made the promise of nonmilitary assistance to foes of the Islamic State on Saturday during a visit to Cairo on a Middle East tour.
The hostages in the video wore orange jumpsuits, the attire of many of the group’s captives in previous videos. The threat thrust Japan into the sort of high-profile hostage dilemma that has vexed the United States and Britain, which both say they refuse to pay ransoms. Read the rest of this entry »
Noah Rothman reports: President Barack Obama’s administration is reportedly considering putting some muscle behind its opposition to new settlement construction by Israelis in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to reports, the administration is weighing the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Israeli government.
“Senior Israeli officials said that White House officials held a classified discussion a few weeks ago about the possibility of taking active measures against the settlements,” Haaretz reported on Thursday.
When confronted with this rumor, administration officials did not deny it. “A few senior American officials approached by Haaretz did not deny this, but refused to disclose more details,” Haaretz continued. “National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan refused to comment.”
A discussion on such a sensitive and politically-loaded issue in the White House is extremely irregular and shows to what extent relations between the Obama administration and Netanyahu government have deteriorated. In recent years European states have imposed increasing sanctions against the construction in the settlements, while the United States has made do with denunciations.
An Israeli official who was briefed by the Americans on the issue said the administration started discussing it following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last meeting in the White House in early October and the public confrontation over the settlements that occurred later.
On Friday, spokespeople with both the White House and the State Department refused to comment on the rumor that the administration was considering sanctions on Israel.
While Earnest reaffirmed the strong bond between the two nations, he called the settlements “illegitimate” and said the U.S. was deeply concerned about the settlement activity. Read the rest of this entry »