Turkey 'won't be duped' by US in Syria

US troops are seen during a patrol near the Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria, Nov. 4, 2018.

Washington’s decision to place a bounty on the heads of the PKK leadership has been met with suspicion and derision in Ankara.

Turks have a saying for occasions when they receive unexpected gifts that leave them suspicious about the givers’ motives rather than delighted: “It’s not a holiday, so why did my brother-in-law kiss me?”

This was the feeling among Turkish government officials after US Deputy Secretary of State Matthew Palmer announced last week that the Americans had put bounties on the heads of the leaders of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is outlawed by Turkey as a terrorist organization.

Contrary to expectations on the American side, the unexpected announcement was met with caution in Ankara.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar called it a positive development, but lamented that it was “too late” in coming and repeated Turkey’s demand that the United States sever its ties with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria. The PKK and YPG are one and the same for Ankara, which has also designated the YPG’s political wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD) a Kurdish terrorist organization.

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Biggest Israel-Gaza firefight since 2014 ends in ceasefire

Fire and smoke billow following Israeli air strikes targeting Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Sderot, Israel (CNN) A renewed ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza has brought an end to the most severe round of fighting between the two sides since the 2014 war.

Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, announced the ceasefire in a joint statement. “The resistance will abide by the ceasefire agreement as long as the Israeli occupation adheres to the Egyptian-brokered truce,” it said.

Egypt and the United Nations had been working to bring a halt to hostilities along and around the Gaza border since Monday evening.

The Israeli Prime Minister's Office did not comment on the ceasefire reports, in line with its response to previous restorations of the ceasefire.

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First Muslim Women in US Congress Misled Voters About Views on Israel

    “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” — Ilhan Omar, in a tweet, November 2012.

    “When a politician singles out Jewish allies as 'evil,' but ignores every brutal theocratic regime in the area, it's certainly noteworthy….” — David Harsanyi, New York Post.

    “With many Jews expressing distaste for an 'illiberal' Israel, it's little surprise that the bulk of American Jewry isn't overly bothered about the election of Socialists who are unsympathetic to the Jewish state or consider Zionism to be racist.” — Commentator Jonathan Tobin.

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Harbi Tlaib of Michigan will be the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the US Congress. Most of the media coverage since their election on November 6 has been effusive in praise of their Muslim identity and personal history.

Less known is that both women deceived voters about their positions on Israel. Both women, at some point during their rise in electoral politics, led voters — especially Jewish voters — to believe that they held moderate views on Israel. After being elected, both women reversed their positions and now say they are committed to sanctioning the Jewish state.

America's first two Muslim congresswomen are now both on record as appearing to oppose Israel's right to exist. They both support the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Both are also explicitly or implicitly opposed to continuing military aid to Israel, as well as to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — an outcome that would establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Instead, they favor a one-state solution — an outcome that many analysts believe would, due to demographics over time, replace the Jewish state with a unitary Palestinian state.

Ilhan Omar, who will replace outgoing Rep. Keith Ellison (the first Muslim elected to Congress) in Minnesota's 5th congressional district, came to the United States as a 12-year-old refugee from Somalia and settled in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in the late 1990s.

In her acceptance speech, delivered without an American flag, Congresswoman-elect Omar opened her speech in Arabic with the greeting, “As-Salam Alaikum, (peace be upon you), alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah.” She continued:

“I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name. The first woman of color to represent our state in Congress. The first woman to wear a hijab. The first refugee ever elected to Congress. And one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”

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U.S. Claims Iran Is Spending $1 Billion A Year Backing Hizballah, Other Allies

A Hizballah fighter holding an Iranian-made antiaircraft missile (file photo)

The United States is claiming that Iran spends nearly $1 billion a year providing support to Hizballah, Hamas, and other allied militant groups in the Middle East.

U.S. Ambassador Nathan Sales, a coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, told reporters in Washington late on November 13 that Iran spends about $700 million a year on Hizballah, the Lebanese militia that has fought wars with Israel and has provided critical support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his seven-year civil war against Sunni rebels.

In addition, Sales said Tehran gives Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, and other “Palestinian terrorist groups” another $100 million a year.

He did not specify where the rest of the funding goes, but he claimed the total spending by Iran supporting militant activities primarily in the Middle East is close to $1 billion a year.

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Liberman: Government has given “immunity” to terrorist leaders in Gaza.

Outgoing defense minister Avigdor Liberman addresses soldiers during a farewell tour of the Gaza border region, November 16, 2018 (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

In a final shot as defense minister, Avigdor Liberman on Friday lambasted his former colleagues in the security cabinet, saying they’d “effectively” given the leaders of the Hamas terror group “immunity” during this week’s intensive round of violence.

“It simply makes no sense that after Hamas launches some 500 rockets at Israeli communities outside Gaza, at the south of the country, the heads of Hamas effectively get immunity from the Israeli security cabinet,” he said during a farewell visit to the south.

Liberman, who tendered his resignation on Wednesday, also warned that Israel’s policies toward Gaza were threatening to allow the Hamas terror group to become akin to Lebanon’s mighty Hezbollah terrorist army…

“We are currently feeding a monster, which if we don’t stop its rearmament and force-building — in a year we will get a twin to Hezbollah — with all that entails,” he said.

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