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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Jerusalem, June 20 - Continued absence of a law defining the role of Israel's most senior judicial body has resulted in the court assuming jurisdiction over an increasing swath of the society's conflicts, with the most recent instance occurring when it agreed to conduct deliberations on whether a Ramat Gan child has the right to a bedtime no earlier than the latest he can discover among his friends.

The court agreed in a unanimous vote to hear arguments in Silber v Silber, dismissing the contention of the senior Silbers' attorneys that such a determination must remain the province of authority figures within a household or family, and not be subject to outside bodies such as the courts or law enforcement. A justice's note to the decision to accept explained that once the court had arrogated to itself the review of any legislation or government action, along with the power to annul such government actions, there exists no reasonable limit on the extent to which the court may assert that authority.

Ten-year-old Tal Silber's attorneys petitioned the High Court to rule on the legality of a 9 PM lights-out policy in the Silber household for children, of whom Tal is the oldest. The fifth-grader contends that "all of his friends" enjoy a bedtime of 9:30 on school nights and no curfew at all on weekends, in addition to being allowed to eat all the junk food they want.

In the petition to hear the case, lawyers for the plaintiff argue that the court, having assigned itself supreme authority to gauge the legality of any action, even those ostensibly in the purview of a different branch of government, must step in to decide on the proper bedtime for their client. That extension of authority includes all organs of administration, such as the household. Tal's parents, Shir and Tomer Silber, countered through their attorneys that barring threats to a child's health, safety, or welfare, or to others as a result, constitute the limits of authorities outside the home to override the decisions of a legal guardian. The court sided with the plaintiff, and will hear arguments as to the extent of parental capacity to impose a bedtime, beginning September.

"We are gratified at the Court's acceptance of our petition," stated the younger Silber's lead counsel, Pearl Clutching. "The tyranny of parents has seldom been given proper attention, and we look forward to striking a blow for the autonomy of ten-year-olds all over the country who bristle under unjust restrictions on their freedom."

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From Ian:

Pompeo, Haley Announces United States Leaving UN Human Rights Council
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced on Tuesday that U.S. would leave the UN Human Rights Council.

Citing the organization as being broken and filled with hypocrisy, Pompeo and Haley mentioned how they tried to work with other council members in order to reform the body, however, they were met with resistance.

"The Trump administration is committed to protecting and promoting the God-given dignity and freedom of every human being. Every individual has rights that are inherent and enviable," Pompeo said. "They are given by God and not by government. Because of that, no government must take them away."

"For decades, the United States has led global efforts to promote human rights, often through multilateral institutions. While we have seen improvements in certain human rights situations, for far too long we have waited while that progress comes too slowly or in some cases, never comes," Pompeo said. "Too many commitments have gone unfulfilled. President Trump wants to move the ball forward. From Day One he has called out institutions or countries who say one thing and do another, and that's precisely the problem at the Human Rights Council. As President Trump said at the UN General Assembly, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the Human Rights Council."

Pompeo mentioned the organization's bias against Israel as being an example of the council's misplaced priorities.

"Today we need to be honest. The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights. Worse than that, the Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy with many of the world's worst human rights abuses going ignored and some of the world's most serious offenders sitting on the Council itself," Pompeo said. "The only thing worse than a council that does almost nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human rights abuses and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change. The Human Rights Council enables abuses by absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those who have committed no offense."

Israel welcomes ‘courageous’ US pullout from UN Human Rights Council
Israel on Tuesday night welcomed an announcement that the United States will withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, praising the move as a “courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies” of the international body that UN ambassador Nikki Haley said harbors bias against the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US move, branding the council “a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights.”

“For years, the UNHRC has proven to be a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights. Instead of dealing with regimes that systematically violate human rights, the UNHRC obsessively focuses on Israel, the one genuine democracy in the Middle East,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office also read. “The US decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough.”

The PMO said that “Israel thanks President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Haley for their courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council.”

The statement followed Haley’s announcement that the US will leave the UNHRC, condemning the “hypocrisy” of its members and its alleged “unrelenting bias” against Israel.

Haley announced the decision alongside President Donald Trump’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Both insisted the United States would remain a leading champion of human rights.

Trump Happiness Montage

State Dept: U.S. Withdraws from UN Human Rights Council over Bias Against Israel
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday: "Today, we need to be honest - the Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights. Worse than that, the Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy - with many of the world's worst human rights abuses going ignored, and some of the world's most serious offenders sitting on the council itself. The only thing worse than a council that does almost nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human rights abuses and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change."

"The council's continued and well-documented bias against Israel is unconscionable. Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined....When organizations undermine our national interests and our allies, we will not be complicit."

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said: "It is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded. Human rights abusers continue to serve on and be elected to the council. The world's most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records....Therefore, as we said we would do a year ago if we did not see any progress, the United States is officially withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council."
Haley: Human Rights Council nations back Israel — but only behind closed doors
In a cutting op-ed published Tuesday night, the US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, excoriated the UN’s Human Rights Council for including repressive regimes and blocking investigations of human rights violations around the world. She also said that a wide range of countries talk about supporting Israel — but only in private settings.

The op-ed by the former South Carolina governor was published the The Wall Street Journal shortly after the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from the global body, citing, among other things, its “chronic bias against Israel.” It laid out more of the reasons for Washington’s departure from what she called “an organization unworthy of its name.”

The member nations’ intense focus on Israeli actions — coupled with its failure to address other countries’ malfeasance — was chief among them.

“In the past decade, this organization has passed more resolutions to condemn Israel specifically than to condemn Syria, Iran and North Korea combined,” Haley wrote.

That narrow focus on the Jewish state, she added, was reflected in the council’s refusal to eliminate its Agenda Item 7 (“the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”), which, she said, “targets Israel unfairly by mandating that each session include a discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Bolton: Withdrawing from Human Rights Council Was ‘Decades in the Making’
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday the U.S. decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council was "decades in the making" and "clearly the right decision."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced the decision to withdraw from the council on Tuesday. They cited the membership of known human rights abusers like China, Cuba, and Venezuela on the council, its fixation on condemning Israel and its inability or lack of desire to condemn true wrongdoers.

"This decision in many respects has been decades in the making," Bolton said on "Fox and Friends," calling the council a place where human rights were a priority. "It's clearly the right decision to get off. It's the right decision to defund the Human Rights Council."

Bolton said the U.S. was self-governing and didn't need advice from the U.N. or other international bodies on how to run itself. He noted he voted against creating the council when he served as U.N. Ambassador during the George W. Bush administration.

From 2006 to 2016, the Human Rights Council condemned Israel 68 times. In comparison, it condemned Syria 20 times and Iran six times.

"Israel is, as the saying goes, a canary in the mineshaft for the United States," Bolton said. "Countries that attack Israel do it because they think it's easier, but much of their criticism is really aimed at us."
Danny Danon: Trump and Nikki Haley are forcing the UN to change
All bureaucracies are slow to change, especially those most in need of such reforms. The United Nations is a case in point. Yet, despite its reluctance, the almost 73-year-old organization is finally feeling the winds of change, thanks to the United States.

The UN budget is bloated and priorities misplaced. This is why the United States, with the support of allies such as Israel, led the way in negotiating a $285 million reduction of the UN budget for 2018-2019. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also proposed his own reforms aimed at, among other things, increasing transparency and accountability.

But cutting waste isn’t enough. Real change will mean resetting the UN’s moral compass. That task, too, is being taken up by the Trump administration.

Since the president took office in 2017, his administration has made clear that blatantly anti-Israel actions at the UN will not go without a response. In March 2017, just two months after Ambassador Nikki Haley took office, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia issued an infuriating report declaring Israel an apartheid regime. Within hours, Haley and I issued public statements expressing our outrage.

The reactions were swift. UN officials quickly distanced themselves from the report, and two days later, agency chief Rima Khalaf quit.

A watershed moment occurred recently at the Security Council — the UN’s most significant organ. This was the very same body where an American abstention under the previous administration allowed the shameful Resolution 2334 to pass, designating the Jewish presence in Jerusalem’s Old City as “a flagrant violation of international law.”
Hillel Neuer interviewed about U.S. withdrawal from UNHRC on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland

NY Daily News: The UN's human wrongs: In defense of Trump's Human Rights Council pullout
Liberal critics Tuesday took a break from assailing the Trump administration’s indefensible policy of tearing children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to howl about America’s withdrawal from the UN’s Human Rights Council.

The timing of the move sure stunk, coming just a day after the world body’s human rights chief decried the family separations.

But the UNHRC has been used as a tool of dictatorial regimes, and a weapon against Israel, for years.

Its members now include serial human-rights abusers Saudi Arabia, China and Cuba. Over a decade between 2006 and 2016, it chose to formally rebuke Israel, the country with the most robust democracy in the Mideast, 68 times. Second-place: Syria, 20 times. Fourth-place: North Korea, nine times.

There’s a case to be made for America to stay engaged in the council to decry its insanity. But don’t pretend Trump is shunning a noble institution.
Anne Bayefsky: Trump's wise decision to quit the UN Human Rights Council -- It's an oxymoron not worthy of our respect or support
There is no doubt that the U.N. Human Rights Council is a productive tool for anti-Semites. Discrimination against the Jewish state is baked into procedures and output as well as into its composition.

The council reserves one permanent agenda item for every one of its regular sessions for condemning only Israel. All other 192 U.N. member states are considered together under a separate item, if they are discussed at all.

The council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on Earth, and nothing condemning almost 90 percent of the world’s states. The council has held more emergency special sessions on Israel than on any other country, including Syria – where at least 500,000 have died and up to 12 million people have been displaced.

But even beyond the disturbing fact that anti-Semitism thrives at the United Nations under the guise of human rights is that the “human rights” experts, the nongovernmental organizations and the academic entourage surrounding this whole apparatus, have the council’s back. For months, they have been flooding the airwaves and Haley and Pompeo’s email inboxes begging the Trump administration to stay on the council. In a nutshell, they make one basic point: the demonization of Israel, even if undeserved, is peripheral to the common good.

Pompeo and Haley have courageously decided to set them straight. Equal rights cannot be built on inequality for Jews and the Jewish state.

Playing minority groups against each other is not progress, it’s discrimination. And unless and until the common good has no Jewish exemption clause, the U.N. “Human Rights” Council is an oxymoron that does not deserve our respect or support.

The hypocrisy of the UNHRC
If the UNHRC was only influential in Arab nations or in China, it would not matter so much. The problem is that it is respected in western nations like Germany, France, Britain, and the U.S. that give the anti-Israeli body its legitimacy. The U.S. withdrawal from the UNHRC is good news. It is the beginning of delegitimizing a harmful entity based on attacking Israel and the Israel Defense Forces.

It is typical that the besmirched President Donald Trump is the one taking this important step – he and legendary U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who we are waiting with baited breath to announce her own candidacy for president.

We can compare these two to their predecessors, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power and President Barack Obama. Obama had a very specific policy of aggrandizing the U.N. as representing a sort of superpower, and through it, he used Israel as a pawn and even struck the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

"Human rights cannot be used as a platform for national suicide," former Chief Justice Aharon Barak said. In this generation, human rights are being exploited to assist terrorism, particularly Palestinian terrorism. International law enforcement entities are vital. But if they operate under Palestinian pressure to criminalize Israel, the system could use a good shaking up.
Seth Frantzman: Is the UNHRC an 'old boys club' of dictators?
Overall our finding was that the council is not disproportionately controlled by dictatorships, it mostly represents the increasingly totalitarian state of the world. In fact, out of the 106 states that have served since 2007, 46 states considered “free” by Freedom House have served on the council.

More democracies have served, but they do not serve for as long because their regions tend to rotate them more, whereas the same dictatorships cling to their seats through deals and lobbying. But that doesn’t mean they dominate.

Dictatorships have held seats 28% of the time on the council, ranging from 10 to 14 out of the 47 seats annually. The last five years have been the worst in the council’s history in this respect, with more dictatorships serving, and Haley is correct that it is not getting better. This is a structural problem of the UN’s regional system and the fact there is no check and balance to a country’s human rights record preventing it from being on the council.

However, if the council were reserved only for countries with the best rights records it would largely be a European club and be open to criticism of discriminating against the global south.
45 rockets, mortars fired toward Israel; IDF retaliates with 25 airstrikes
Some 45 mortars and rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, some exploding in Israeli communities, following IDF strikes against Hamas military targets.

In response to the rocket and mortar fire, Israeli jets struck over 25 Hamas targets - including an underground training area - in four military compounds in three waves of retaliatory strikes wounding at least three Palestinians.

“The Hamas terrorist organization led a severe rocket attack on Israel's home front and is leading the Gaza Strip and its residents to deterioration and escalation,” read the statement. “Hamas is responsible for everything that is happening in the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences for terrorist acts against Israeli citizens.”

On Wednesday afternoon an Israeli drone fired warning shots towards a group of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launching incendiary aerial devices into southern Israel. There were no reported injuries in the incident which came just hours after numerous sirens sounded throughout the night in communities bordering the coastal enclave.

Hamas Fires 45 Rockets From Gaza at Israeli Civilians

Frankfurt mayor defends Israeli response to Gaza rocket fire
Mayor of Frankfurt and long-standing Israel advocate Uwe Becker defended Israel's air strikes in response to rockets fired from Gaza on Wednesday, praising it for its "pinpoint accurate reactions" and its restraint despite frequent attacks emanating from the coastal enclave and a lack of international support.

"Imagine for a short moment that your country would be attacked by rockets day by day. Imagine that terrorists would send self-made firebombs attached to kites and gas-balloons towards your home, your garden or your kid´s kindergarten. Imagine terrorists would dig tunnels to infiltrate your country or break the borders to your country in violent riots with the aim to attack and kidnap you and your family," Becker pointed out on his Facebook account, posted alongside a picture of him at the Western Wall, going on to explain that exactly this is the reality for many Israeli families every day.

"How many years, months or weeks would you give your government while sleeping in a shelter? Not years, not months, not weeks but minutes or hours, right?"

"While other national governments would not hesitate to enter the region from where the own country is attacked, Israel is focusing on pinpoint accurate reactions against Hamas and other terrorist groups," Becker emphasized. "So Israel and its military forces concentrate on eliminating the sources of violence while Hamas is attacking Israeli families. [...] Israel is not the aggressor Israel is defending its people."

What's it like living under Hamas' rocket fire?

Red Cross: IDF fire causing 'unprecedented crisis'
Israel's use of live ammunition in defense of its border with the Gaza Strip has caused an "unprecedented crisis" in the Hamas-run enclave according to a Red Cross official.

Approximately 132 rioters and terrorists have been killed on the Gaza border since large scale riots began in March. Many of those killed were attempting to breach the border fence and break into Israel or engaged in attacks on Israeli soldiers.

The deadliest day of the riots occurred on May 14, when 62 rioters were killed. The Hamas terrorist organization acknowledged that 50 of those killed that day were members of the terror group.

Approximately 13,000 people have been injured or wounded, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Robert Mardini, the head of Middle East division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told reporters Monday that the "vast majority" of those hurt suffered "severe" injuries," including multiple gunshot wounds.

"This is I think a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in the Gaza Strip," said Mardini.
How did BBC News report the latest Gaza missile attacks?
Visitors to the BBC News website’s main homepage, its ‘World’ page or its ‘Middle East’ page on the morning of June 20th were all informed that the people who had fired forty-five military grade projectiles at Israeli civilian communities in the space of some five hours during the previous night are ‘militants’ rather than terrorists.

In typical ‘last-first’ style, the headline to the BBC News website’s report on that story read “Israeli jets strike Gaza after rocket and mortar fire” and the euphemism ‘militants’ was seen again.
“Israeli jets have hit militant positions in Gaza after Palestinians fired rockets and mortars into Israeli territory, the Israeli military said.

The military said 25 targets linked to the militant Hamas movement were hit, in response to a barrage of about 45 rockets and mortar shells.”

Quoting “Gaza’s health ministry” without informing readers that it is run by the same terror organisation which co-organises, funds and facilitates the ‘Great Return March’ agitprop, the report went on:
“The strikes follow weeks of confrontation along the Gaza border.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and thousands more wounded since a protest campaign began on 30 March, Gaza’s health ministry says.”

Readers were not informed that over 80% of those killed during the violent riots have been shown to be linked to assorted terror groups or that Hamas itself admitted that the vast majority of those killed on May 14th belonged to its organisation.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Left Outraged As Rabbi Rules Rockets From Gaza Need Not Be Returned To Hamas (satire)
Political and cultural figures railed against a Jewish religious leader today for informing an inquirer that he need not try to return to their previous known owners pieces of Hamas weaponry that he finds on the ground, despite overwhelming evidence who last held the items.

Activists and a handful of celebrities issued uniform criticism this morning of Rabbi Hefker Yiush, whose reply to an inquiry on the parameters of the commandment to restore lost objects to their owners was shared on social media. Several speakers accused the rabbi of racism and ethnocentrism.

“What a backward, supremacist view,” spat MK Tamar Zandberg of Meretz. “The people of Hamas have just as much attachment to their possessions as anyone else, and it is the height of hypocrisy and dehumanization to declare that the rules suddenly do not apply to items an Israeli finds in his back yard, or in close proximity to a daycare canter in Sderot – items that just so happen to have been in the possession of a non-Jewish organization in Gaza.”

“I know enough about Jewish law to realize that found objects with identifiable marks of ownership don’t automatically become the property of the finder,” sneered commentator Tomer Persico. “Anyone with a basic grasp of the internet can easily determine that the fragments of rockets they find all around the Gaza perimeter communities came from weapons in the possession of Hamas or one of the other militant groups operating within the Gaza Strip. It’s a special sort of bigot who rules that just because the rocket’s last known owner lives across the border, he doesn’t have any rights to the object anymore.”
Cash-strapped UN refugee agency to cut back operations in Gaza
Facing a major funding shortfall, the UN Palestinian refugee agency is planning to defer payment of salaries and suspend some of its operations in Gaza, an official said Tuesday.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees was thrown into severe financial crisis after the United States cut $250 million from its budget.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov told a Security Council meeting that UNRWA is “weeks away from painful cuts to its emergency assistance for Gaza and elsewhere in the region.”

“In Gaza, this would include a deferral of salaries to some of its workforce in July and the start of suspending core operations in August,” he added.

The United Nations on Monday will host a pledging conference for UNRWA in New York — the second such donors’ meeting in three months.

In March, it raised $100 million for UNRWA during a conference in Rome but fell short of the $446 million needed to keep the agency afloat.

Rare Gaza Strip Protest Directed At Hamas Ends In Familiar Way: Violence
Palestinians in the isolated enclave express frustration over ongoing divide with Abbas-ruled West Bank

Undercover Hamas operatives attacked Palestinian protesters on Monday during a march held in Saraya Square in the center of Gaza City.

The demonstration was part of the Prisoners Movement’s initiative to end the division between Hamas, the armed Islamic group that rules the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, the political party that dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

More than a thousand participants, mainly from the families of Palestinian prisoners, took part in the peaceful march which aimed not only to end the divide but also to remove various sanctions—including the cutting of salaries and benefits of Gaza-based PA employees—imposed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in April.

One organizer of the march claimed that families from all of the Palestinian political parties had been invited. A protester further explained that organizers had spent one week trying to get an official permit for the event from Hamas authorities.

In a speech to the protesters, the Director General of the Internal Security Forces in the Gaza Strip, Tawfiq Abu Naim, maintained that there was no intention to prevent the proceedings and that no security forces were embedded among the participants.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
At Elaph, a major pan-Arab news site, Mustafa El Sarraf writes a new bizarre variant on the discredited Khazar theory of the origins of most Jews.

According to El Saffar, most Jews who were in Persia under Cyrus the Great didn't emigrate back to Israel, but to the Balkans. The few who did go to Israel ended up converting to Christianity.

The Balkan Jews stayed there where they then convinced the Khazar king to convert the kingdom to Judaism. (Yes, the legend was over a thousand years later, but that's a distraction from the story El Saffar wants to tell.)

The article goes on to say that 92% of all Jews are Ashkenaz and therefore Khazars. Apparently the real Jews in the Balkans disappeared while the newly minted Jews took over. (This statistic would be a surprise to the roughly half of Israeli Jews who come from Arab lands.)

The writer is especially upset at anyone who says that  Jews and Arabs are cousins. No, he says, Jews are  "a bunch of criminals were and are still behind the ignition of wars to this day and who have has cursed God."

With all the NGOs around the Arab world, one would think that perhaps one or two would consider teaching basic journalism and fact checking instead of having major news sources allowing blatant lies and propaganda to brainwash readers.

Oh, sorry - when Jews are the victims of the propaganda, then anything goes.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
Here's a cute interview from the Al Quds Day rally in London on June 10, where the obligatory crazy anti-Zionist Neturei Karta member hilariously claims that Jews in Israel are less safe than those in Muslim countries like Yemen and Syria.

More fun from that rally, where speakers claimed that Jews put typhus in the water and called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the planet (to applause.)

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

On Sunday, Hamas issued a press release praising Human Rights Watch's latest report blaming Israel for responding to violent Gaza riots:
The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) received great satisfaction and high appreciation of Human Rights Watch's report regarding the violations of the occupation against the residents of the Gaza Strip and the demand for the protection of the Palestinians, which revealed the facts that confirm the involvement of the Israeli occupation in what appeared to be war crimes against Palestinian demonstrators As well as the use by the occupation of policies, laws, arguments and pretexts to justify and cover their deliberate killing and harm to Palestinians by using live and lethal bullets.

The findings of the report reflect a part of the reality of the suffering and injustice inflicted on the Palestinians by the unjust siege imposed on Gaza and its inhabitants twelve years ago. The suffering continues and escalates. As a flagrant form of Israeli violence threatening Palestinian life and rights through a long series of killings, sniping, starvation and siege, which constitute a flagrant and serious violation of international law and international humanitarian law that amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Today, it issued another statement, supporting the barrage of rockets into Israel last night:
All praise for the valiant resistance that responded to the Israeli shelling of its positions in Gaza. This is a legitimate right. The message of shelling is to confirm that the resistance is the one who determines the rules of engagement in its own way and will not allow the enemy to unite our people or impose any new equations .
On the one hand, Hamas pretends to care about humanitarian issues and to be against violence that targets civilians. On the other, Hamas praises shooting rockets at civilians.

And there is no contradiction. Because Human Rights Watch, like Hamas, doesn't really care about human rights of Jews. Its report mentioned, but didn't comment on, the incendiary kites and balloons that have devastated Israeli forests and fields and threatened lives. HRW didn't even pretend to be even-handed by saying a negative word about Hamas or the rioters.

The Gaza riots are primarily a public relations war; their main purpose is to force Israel to shoot and kill people so Gazans can cry in front of Western cameras. If they would be peaceful demonstrations, Israel wouldn't shoot anyone, so the riots are calibrated to appear like they are simply protests and meanwhile Hamas sends people, sometimes children, to try to breach the Gaza fence as well as to send incendiary objects into Israel. Hamas uses the trappings of non-violence to cover violence, and western "human rights" organizations buy into it.

The rare times that HRW and Amnesty issue reports against Hamas, those reports are "balanced" and include as much blaming of Israel as of the terrorists.  But their reports against Israel don't mention any responsibility by Hamas. That's why a terrorist organization is so effusive in praising a supposed human rights NGO.

HRW's report proved to Hamas that Israel's arguments about the purposes of the riots and its defensive measures are being ignored by the West. It proved to Hamas that the West completely buys the lies about peaceful protests and that Israel's response is cruel and wanton.

HRW proved to Hamas that it has little to lose by escalating things, because major western "human rights" organizations will support Arab violence against Jews but not Israelis defending themselves.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

From Ian:

Noah Rothman: The Triumph of Reason at the United Nations
This leads us to the UNHRC’s irredeemable flaw: Its institutional biases are so skewed in favor of murderers, dictators, and bigots that it serves primarily to legitimize the dregs of the earth.

The Council has a permanent agenda item—item seven—which obliges it to regularly survey potential abuses committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories. Item seven is such a blatant misuse of the Council’s time that Europe and North America boycott the group when that article is invoked.

In 2008, the commission appointed Richard Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Hamas apologist, to serve a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories. In 2011, Falk was reprimanded by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon for endorsing the idea that the U.S. was behind the attacks on its own territory.

Jean Ziegler, co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi International Prize for Human Rights—which is a real thing that has been awarded to such paragons as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Louis Farrakhan—currently serves in an elected role on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Council’s special rapporteur on “unilateral coercive measures,” Idriss Jazairy, is alleged by UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer in testimony before Congress to have executed an “aggressive campaign of non-democracies to muzzle UN rights experts.” One of Jazairy’s most recent reports to the UNHRC is a typical jeremiad attacking the civilized world for maintaining strict sanctions against Bashar al-Assad’s government as punishment for Damascus’s use of genocidal tactics and chemical weapons on civilian populations.

Despite Haley’s earned hostility toward the United Nations for its biases against both Israel and the general appearance of sanity, she has proven to be a particularly effective ambassador. Last week, amid a rote condemnation of the Jewish State for engaging in targeted self-defense amid a flare up on its border with Gaza, Haley managed to expose something new: cracks in the UN’s anti-Israel consensus.
The United Nations’ Flawed Condemnation of Israel
As a thought experiment, one may consider, “What was Israel to do?” It is a shame that there were innocent civilian casualties and injuries — Palestinians that did not take part in the violence were harmed. It is important, however, to make a clear distinction that Israel did not see these protests as an opportunity to kill as many Palestinians as possible. These protests, especially when they turned violent, thrust Israel into a position to defend its border. Of course, Israel and Palestine have differing stories on the militant status of the protestors killed.

During the protests, the IDF has been running a live twitter feed of their defensive actions with video recordings for reference. In addition to this, the IDF have on several occasions dropped leaflets from aircraft warning protestors not to approach the border fence.

In response to the Israeli defense, Hamas fired approximately 100 rockets toward heavily populated Israeli towns and cities. The Iron Dome Missile defense system was able to prevent the projectiles from causing any civilian casualties. Again, the UN failed to make any mention of this in their latest condemnation towards Israel, even after the United States proposed an amendment enumerating such.

In the UN general assembly chamber, Turkey, Algeria, and Palestine, some of Israel’s most outspoken critics, proposed a resolution condemning Israel for “excessive use of force.” The Palestinians also formally requested heavier security apparatus to defend themselves against the Israelis. A majority of countries also chose to neglect the defensive position Israel maintained or any mention of Hamas’ involvement. The only nations that voted against this measure were Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Togo, the United States, and Israel.

The greater community of the United Nations chose to forgo objectivity, and opt for a one-sided narrative.
Elliott Abrams: More Evidence that the UN's Automatic Majority Against Israel is Fraying
A few days ago (here) I analyzed the recent UN General Assembly vote on Gaza and concluded that the UN's automatic majority against Israel is fraying.

Now there is an important piece of new evidence. In his first address to the UN Human Rights Council, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said this:
I will say that we share the view that a dedicated agenda item focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace and unless things change, we shall move next year to vote against all resolutions introduced under Item 7.

Thus the British are now saying they will next year automatically vote against any and every resolution brought under this agenda item, regardless of its content. Britain's move is likely to open the door for others in the EU or the Commonwealth to follow suit, or at least give Israel and the United States a powerful new argument against that agenda item that singles out Israel. There are some good candidates on the Human Rights Council who ought to follow the UK--and, it should be said, Australia, which already takes this position. Among them are Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland in Europe and Japan outside it. They should be the targets of an American and Israeli campaign for some basic standard of fairness. The alternative will be the withdrawal of the United States from the Human Rights Council.

Having criticized the Foreign & Commonwealth Office recently (in this blog post) it is only fair to give credit where it is due. Hat's off to Johnson and the FCO on this one.

PMW: Murder an Israeli an become famous
Murder an Israeli and become famous - that is the repeated message from the Palestinian Authority to Palestinians.

The PA has reiterated this again by naming a plaza in the Palestinian town of Tulkarem after Israeli Arab terrorist prisoner Maher Younes who, together with his cousin, Karim Younes, kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980. Both murderers were sentenced to life imprisonment, which was commuted by former Israeli president Shimon Peres to 40 years.

"The Maher Younes Plaza" was inaugurated in Tulkarem in April at a ceremony that included scouts marching and playing music, and speeches by two PA officials: Tulkarem District Governor Issam Abu Bakr and Tulkarem Mayor Muhammad Yaqub. Terrorist Younes' mother cut the inaugural ribbon to the plaza, and the terrorist's sister gave a speech. The PA officials emphasized that Younes is "a great man" and "a hero":

Tulkarem District Governor Issam Abu Bakr: "We are proud of this great man, this fighter, this leader, Maher Younes, and raise our heads because of this man. This man, the cousin of Karim Younes (i.e., his accomplice in the murder) - they have spent over 35 years [in prison] for the Palestinian people, for the Palestinian people's freedom. We are proud of them."

Tulkarem Mayor Muhammad Yaqub: "The city of Tulkarem is honored to name this plaza after heroic prisoner fighter Maher Younes. The prisoner honors the city of Tulkarem, and not the opposite. The presence of a plaza named after him is a great honor for us. I say to the prisoner's mother, and to his sister, that their tears are pearls on the crown of the future Palestinian state, Allah willing. We'll continue to be committed, and we'll remain loyal to our heroic prisoners who are the leaders of the future and honor guards of the entire Arab nation."
[Al-Salam, Palestinian internet TV channel, April 17, 2018]
Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinian Authority Is Complicit in Its Own Economic Stagnation
The Palestinian leadership's rejection of normalized relations with Israel that were established in 1993 with the Oslo Accords has created an economic void, hurting the Palestinian public. The Oslo vision has been undermined, largely because of measures by the Palestinian leadership to publicly shun Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation and stifle domestic Palestinian business initiatives and innovation.

Without the existence of a viable independent economy, or government encouragement of the joint initiatives laid out in the Oslo Accords, many Palestinians in the West Bank have become largely dependent on Israel and private Israeli business and industry for their economic livelihoods.

In short, the Palestinian leadership has quashed any major joint initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians intended to benefit both publics. This unfriendly business environment has also discouraged foreign investors.

The Palestinian leadership and its NGO partners and supporters have distracted the international focus from addressing Palestinian economic development, liberalization, and infrastructural development.

Unlike much of the developing world, the Palestinian leadership has refused to develop its economy in conjunction with its economically thriving Israeli neighbor, who is potentially the prospective Palestinian state's strongest trading partner. Thus, the Palestinian leadership has been complicit in its own economic stagnation.

The Palestinian leadership would be well advised to follow the lead of its citizenry and cooperate closely with its Israeli neighbor, learning from and adapting to the Start-up Nation culture that Israeli entrepreneurs have attempted to share with Palestinian colleagues in an effort to forge a better common future.
Abbas aide slams reported US plans to raise funds for Gaza
A Palestinian official has condemned reported U.S. plans to secure funding from Persian Gulf states for major economic projects in the blockaded, impoverished Gaza Strip.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed Monday that such efforts aim to further distance the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas, from the West Bank, ruled by Abbas' Fatah. The rival factions have been at odds since Hamas violently routed Fatah from Gaza in 2007.

Facing hostility from Gaza, Israel has prevented most travel between Gaza and the West Bank for security reasons.

U.S. President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to visit Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia this week to discuss the situation in Gaza and present the administration's proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Abbas severed contact with the U.S. administration in December to protest what he says are its blatantly pro-Israel policies, chiefly Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Palestinians envision parts of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Hamas is sowing nothing but destruction
Since March, Hamas-led terrorists in Gaza have been setting fire to Israeli lands, using fire kites and explosive balloons. Hamas dedicates all its efforts to spreading terror, hate & violence against Israel. Hamas is sowing nothing but destruction.

Palestinian Fire Condoms of Doomᵀᴹ
Old and busted: palestinian fire kites and balloons

New hotness: palestinian fire condoms

I guess their motto is “Make war, not love.”

But seriously, if only they applied their inventiveness and creativity towards the pursuit of productive goals and things benefiting mankind.

Then they might be able to emulate Israel.
AFP Whitewashes Gaza's Serial Arsonists as 'Activists'
Numerous Agence France-Presse photo captions in the last couple of days misidentify Gazans responsible for airborne arson attacks which destroyed 28,000 dunums of Israeli farmland and nature reserve land. The smoke from these deliberately set fires two days ago caused 1000 turkeys to choke to death. The arsonists also launched explosives-laden kites and balloons across the border, reaching a highway and even the roof of a home.

AFP captions misidentified these serial arsonists as "activists" or "protesters." A sampling of these erroneous captions follows:

Palestinian activists fill hilum [sic] gas in a ballon [sic] that will be attached to flammable materials to be flown toward Israel, at the Israel-Gaza border, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 17, 2018. SAID KHATIB / AFP

A Palestinian protester holds a bag containing with flammable materials that will be attached to ballons [sic] and flown toward Israel, at the Israel-Gaza border, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 17, 2018. SAID KHATIB / AFP
Israelis Ponder The French Meaning Of ‘Ally’
French President Emmanuel Macron last week directed his United Nations representative to vote in favor of a General Assembly resolution calling for international protection for Palestinians within the context of denouncing Israel’s response to the so-called “March of Return” protests which ended in more than one hundred deaths, but which notably failed to mention the role of Hamas—recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union—in planning, fomenting and directing the violence in the Gaza Strip.

France was joined by Belgium, whose capital is the seat of the EU. Although choosing not to back the Israeli position, France’s European neighbors Germany and the United Kingdom elected to abstain, presumably because of the obvious lack of balance if for no other reason.

Although France only moments earlier had voted in support of an amendment to the resolution offered by the United States that attributed blame to Hamas, the motion failed after receiving a plurality but falling short of the required two-thirds majority.

Only weeks before, France had voted in favor of a Kuwaiti-drafted Security Council resolution which except for a U.S. veto, would have mandated the deployment of an international force to Gaza expressly to protect the Gazans. This, despite the “get home free card” to abstain rather than support the measure—as did London and Berlin—so vehemently opposed by its allies in Jerusalem by virtue of U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s promise to cast the American veto.
Report: Trump pledges not to pressure Israel on nuclear issue
Israel has managed to secure a written pledge from four successive U.S. presidents to safeguard its presumed nuclear deterrent, The New Yorker magazine reported on Monday.

According to uncorroborated reports in the foreign media, Israel has as many as 200 nuclear warheads as part of a presumed military nuclear program dating back to the 1960s. Israel has never publicly acknowledged these reports.

Israel has also pledged not to be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons in the region.

According to Monday's report, in the wake of the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, Israel felt that the unwritten understanding struck between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir in the early 1970s to ensure Israel would never be compelled to denuclearize was insufficient.

Eventually, Israeli policymakers convinced President Bill Clinton to put the Nixon-Meir understandings into writing.

"The first iteration of the secret letter was drafted during the Clinton administration as part of an agreement for Israel's participation in the 1998 Wye River negotiations with the Palestinians," said the report, by The New Yorker's Adam Entous.
Trump’s Moves With N. Korea Are Nothing Like Obama’s With Iran
In the wake of the Singapore summit with North Korea, many commentators and publicists, Democrats as well as figures from the NeverTrump Right, have argued that President Trump is legitimizing a dictator. Trump critics contend that had President Obama met with a dictator like Kim Jong-un, Republicans would be fuming. After all, Republicans criticized the previous president for negotiating with another despotic regime, Iran, over its nuclear weapons program. Accordingly, honesty and principle require Trump supporters to criticize the current president for doing precisely what would merit attacks on a Democratic president.

A cursory glance shows that the two situations are not at all similar. Iran does not yet have a viable nuclear weapon and North Korea does. The negotiations that led to Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, legitimized Iran’s path to the bomb, achievable within a little more than a decade. The purpose of Trump’s negotiations is to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Clearly, Democratic and NeverTrump political operatives are not making a serious argument. They’re posturing. Since this is a deadly serious issue, however, it’s worth getting it right.

Obama’s Realignment Effort
It’s vital to understand that Obama’s Iran deal wasn’t simply or even primarily an arms agreement. Rather, it was an instrument with which to realign American interests in the Middle East. The goal of realignment was to upgrade Iran and downgrade traditional American partners—especially Israel and Saudi Arabia—in order to facilitate a U.S. withdrawal from the region.
The Jekyll & Hyde Israel-Jordan Relationship
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Amman on Monday for a meeting with King Abdullah II, with the two leaders discussing “regional developments, advancing the peace process, and bilateral relations,” according to a statement released by the Israeli leader's office.

The trip comes as top White House envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are set to arrive in the region, a tour that will take them to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar, as well as Jerusalem and the Hashemite Kingdom. The American officials are expected to discuss when to present an 18-months-in-the-making Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, as well as seek ideas on how to solve the crisis in the Gaza Strip.

In this respect, a spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas already poured cold water on the Trump administration’s highly-anticipated peace proposal, describing the initiative as a “waste of time” that is “bound to fail.” Senior Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rudeineh likewise rejected Washington's plan to rehabilitate Gaza, claiming that the move to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the Palestinian enclave is guided not by humanitarian concern but, rather, geared towards creating a larger rift between the Hamas-ruled territory and the Abbas-ruled West Bank.

Perhaps more acute, then, are developments in Syria, where pro-Assad regime forces are in the initial stages of what is expected to be a major offensive to retake rebel-held areas adjacent to both the Israeli and Jordanian borders. To this end, Amman is party to a ceasefire agreement devised last year in conjunction with the United States and Russia that created so-called "de-escalation" areas in southwest Syria. Although there has since been little fighting in the effective buffer zones, the Assad regime, emboldened by its recent consolidation of control over Damascus, now aims to re-assert military dominance along the frontiers.
US envoy hails Netanyahu meeting with Jordan king on peace talks
The US envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peace on Tuesday hailed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting the previous day with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, ahead of his visit to the region to promote the American proposal.

“Happy to see King Abdullah and Prime Minister Netanyahu resuming meetings with regard to key issues. Very important to both countries and to the entire region,” Jason Greenblatt tweeted.

Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, are set to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel this week ahead of the expected unveiling of Trump’s plan to broker Mideast peace.

Netanyahu traveled Monday to Amman to meet with Abdullah for their first publicly confirmed meeting in four years.

“The king and the prime minister discussed regional developments and advancing the peace process and bilateral relations. Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The rare meeting came after months of strained ties between Jerusalem and Amman over the killing of two Jordanians by an Israeli embassy guard.
On Twitter, Iranians condemn, support arrest of alleged spy Gonen Segev
Iranian internet activists posted Twitter comments for and against Gonen Segev, the former Israeli government minister, in the wake of the Israeli government's June 19 announcement that Segev had been arrested on charges of spying for Iran.

While official Iranian media sources have been restrained in their coverage of the announcement, doing little more than citing Israeli sources, including The Jerusalem Post, Twitter users shared their visceral reactions with the hashtag #FreeGonenSegev, which had been tweeted some 4,500 times as of midnight that day.

User Abd al-Ali expressed his concern for Segev's fate. "The Zionist regime arrested an innocent man for his trips to Iran," he tweeted. "The family of Gonen Segev is very concerned for his life and calls on the international community to intervene. Defend this beloved individual with the hashtag #FreeGonenSegev so that everyone in the world knows about it."

Many of the Twitter comments deride Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for allowing the alleged spy to operate in their midst.
U.S. official to CNN: Israel behind strike on Syrian-Iraqi border
Israel, not the US, was responsible for a strike on Syrian regime linked positions near the Iraqi border, a US official told CNN on Monday. Earlier, Syrian state media said that US-led coalition aircraft had bombed the position, causing deaths and injuries.

Asked about the reported air strikes, an Israeli military spokesperson said: "We do not comment on foreign reports."

The attack took place in al-Harra, southeast of the town of Albu Kamal, state news agency SANA said, citing a military source. SANA said the attack caused an unspecified number of deaths and injuries.

A commander in the alliance fighting alongside Damascus told Reuters that drones that were "probably American" had bombed the positions of Iraqi factions between Albu Kamal and Tanf, as well as Syrian military positions.

The commander, who is not Syrian and spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the strike had killed and injured some Iraqi fighters but he did not give any numbers.

Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, a grouping of mostly Iran-backed Shi'ite paramilitaries, said a US air strike on the Iraqi border with Syria killed 22 of its members and wounded 12 others.
Under International Pressure Netanyahu Saves Illegal Arab Settlement While Demolishing 2 Jewish Neighborhoods
Hundreds of police and soldiers were mobilized this week for the evacuation and demolition of five illegal structures in the Bedouin settlement of Susya in the southern Hebron hills, in Area c, which, according to the Oslo Accords, is under complete Israeli control. But on Monday night, according to Ynet, the prime minister’s office was instructed to postpone the evacuation to an undetermined date. The reason, Ynet speculates, is the coming visit of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s envoys to the peace negotiations.

The fight against the demolition of Arab homes in Susya is one of the symbols of the PA struggle against Israel’s authority over Judea and Samaria, and the Netanyahu government has been under heavy international pressure, especially in recent weeks, to prevent the demolition, which is expected to receive extensive international coverage.

Meanwhile, unafraid of international rebuke over destroying Jewish property, over the past week Israeli security forces evacuated two Jewish neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria: Netiv Ha’Avot in Gush Etzion and Tapuach West in Samaria.

The Regavim movement, which champion a petition in the High Court of Justice against the rogue outpost in Susya, issued a statement saying: “In the past week Netanyahu has implemented the demolition of the Netiv Ha’Avot neighborhood and Tapuach West, but has refrained from destroying the Palestinian Authority outpost in the southern Hebron hills. Netanyahu can’t blame the High Court and the leftist NGOs, when in practice he is authorizing strict enforcement against the settlements, and at the same time he is being feckless against the intensive illegal activity of the Palestinian Authority.”
Court quashes minor’s confession extracted via torture in Duma terror case
A court on Tuesday threw out a confession given by a teenage accomplice accused of involvement in the deadly 2015 firebombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank town of Duma, saying in a dramatic ruling that the statement had been given under duress.

However, a confession given by primary suspect Amiram Ben-Uliel was cleared for use after judges determined that enough time had passed between when he was tortured and when he admitted to the crime.

The decision creates a major hurdle for the prosecution, which may now need to throw out the case against the unnamed minor accused of helping plan the firebombing of the Dawabsha family home on July 31, 2015, which killed toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha and parents Riham and Saad Dawabsha.

Another son, Ahmed Dawabsha, who was 5 at the time, underwent months of treatment for severe burns sustained in the attack.

The minor and Amiram Ben-Uliel, charged last year with carrying out the attack, have claimed innocence, insisting they only confessed to the crime after being subjected to torture at the hands of Shin Bet interrogators.
Arab Knesset member attends terror groups’ event
Knesset Member Ayman Odeh, leader of the Arab Joint List, participated Monday in an east Jerusalem conference on behalf of two Palestinian organizations which have been defined by Israel as terror groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

Several hours earlier, Jerusalem District Police Commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy signed a prohibition order against the conference.

Police officers arrived at the Ambassador Hotel in east Jerusalem to stop the event from going ahead. Six people were detained for questioning and one woman was arrested. The conference was supposed to focus on the issue of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine.

Upon the police’s arrival, Odeh said that “they will be defeated, and Jerusalem will remain for its people, standing strong, winning and the capital of Palestine.”

Russia says conference wasn’t initiated by terror groups

The Russian Embassy in Israel, however, denied that the conference marking Russia Day was initiated by the two Palestinian terror organizations.

The embassy said in a statement that the event was held by the Society of Palestinian-Russian Friendship.

In rare move, Egypt said to keep Gaza crossing open for 2 more months
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has reportedly ordered that the Rafah crossing on the border with the Gaza Strip remain open for humanitarian reasons until the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in late August.

Egypt had already opened the crossing longer than any other time in recent years, after last month it granted access in both directions for the entire month of Ramadan.

On Tuesday, Egyptian security sources, quoted by local media, said people and goods will be able to pass through the crossing for another two months to ease the burden on Gaza’s population.

For years, Egypt opened its sole border crossing with the Gaza Strip only sporadically and for short intervals, as it has fought an insurgency in north Sinai bordering the Palestinian enclave.

Eid al-Adha, or the “Festival of Sacrifice,” is planned to be marked this year by Muslims worldwide on August 21-25, although the exact dates may vary.

Hamas, the Palestinian terror group which rules the Strip, hailed the decision and said that “the residents of Gaza thank President Sissi and call for the Rafah Crossing to remain open.”

Lebanese General Bids to Circumvent Congress
Last Wednesday, the Lebanese press reported that the commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Gen. Joseph Aoun, is preparing for an official visit to Washington in the coming few days. According to the Lebanese daily Al-Joumhouria, Gen. Aoun will have a packed schedule of meetings at the Defense Department “to ensure the continuation of American military support.”

Emphasis on “continuation.” American military assistance to Lebanon has become not just routine but, thanks to a series of obfuscations established during the Obama administration, institutional. The Obama administration needed a cover to integrate Lebanon into its policy of realignment with Iran, and it found it in UNSCR 1701, the United Nations Security Council resolution that came out of Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah. That resolution called on the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah, a task which justifies American aid. But the Obama administration systematically wrote Hezbollah out of UNSCR 1701 and made it about combating “Sunni jihadists.”

This sleight of hand continues well into the Trump administration, as evident in this factually challenged State Department fact sheet from May, which claims that American security assistance “supports implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559, 1680, and 1701.” Having redefined the purpose of the UNSC resolutions away from anything having to do with Hezbollah, the U.S. could ignore that the LAF long ago became Hezbollah’s active partner as it continues to pour weapons to it. Take for instance U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard’s remarks at the delivery of four A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to the LAF, last Tuesday, ahead of Gen. Aoun’s reported trip to Washington. It was all framed in reference to the LAF’s skirmish with Sunni militants on the border with Syria last summer. It ended in the militants’ negotiated withdrawal, which the head of the Lebanese general security arranged with the Assad regime. Of course, Ambassador Richard conveniently omitted that the LAF had used American-supplied munitions to provide support to Hezbollah, which spearheaded part of the fighting. Gen. Aoun played up the charade, praising the LAF’s “dazzling achievements combating the threat of terrorism.”

American lawmakers are very slowly waking up to the scam, which may be why Gen. Aoun is rushing to D.C. In recent weeks, for instance, Sen. Ted Cruz introduced language into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019 trying to establish accountability. It was reportedly a bipartisan compromise agreed to by both the majority and minority on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
A British Hizbullah Ban Could Have Domino Effect In Europe
A British push to fully ban Hizbullah could have a domino effect throughout Europe, analysts say. On Tuesday, the Jewish Chronicle reported that United Kingdom Home Secretary Sajid Javid would ban the Lebanese Shiite group’s political wing by the end of 2018. The report, citing an unnamed senior Conservative source, claimed that Javid has vowed to take “decisive action” against Hizbullah, which is backed by Iran.

“I think that this is a very important step,” Oded Eran, a Senior Researcher at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and former Israeli ambassador to the European Union, told The Media Line. “There is no doubt that beyond being a military power in Lebanon, Hizbullah has become a very important political player. It is quite clear to everyone that Hizbullah became the long arm of Iran in Lebanon itself and in the region.”

The decision reportedly came following last weekend’s anti-Zionist “Quds Day” march through central London, in which some protesters waved the bright yellow Hizbullah flag. Though viewed entirely as a terrorist group by the United States, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and the Arab League, only the military wing of the Shiite organization is outlawed in other EU member states.

“It is important that the international community take a very clear stance on how it views Hizbullah because as long as the group is not boycotted in a clear way, it is legitimized in Lebanon,” Eran explained, adding that the ban could lead other European nations to follow suit.
CAA seeks dignity of a clear answer after utterly shameless Home Office response to Hizballah proscription petition
Campaign Against Antisemitism is appalled by the utterly shameless response of the Home Office to our Parliamentary Petition calling for the full proscription of Hizballah.

The petition, which has been signed by well over 14,000 people, from all but one of the UK’s 650 Parliamentary constituencies, calls for the full proscription of Hizballah as a terrorist organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000. Currently, the British Government lists only the “military wing” of Hizballah as a terrorist organisation, despite even Hizballah openly mocking the distinction.

As our Parliamentary Petition passed the 10,000 signatures needed to force the Government to respond, we also made written representations to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid.

Without wishing to go into detail, we came to the conclusion that Hizballah would be proscribed.

However the response to our petition gave the distinct impression that the Government’s position has not changed. It claimed that the annual pro-Hizballah parade through London was “peaceful protest” and “a vital part of a democratic society…however uncomfortable [the views on display] may be to the majority of us, provided that they do so lawfully.”

In a separate letter from the Home Office that we have seen, the Rt Hon. Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing, noted that Hizballah provides “social and political functions”, but that does not negate the fact that the entirety of Hizballah seeks the annihilation of Jews and actively promotes its own campaign of terrorism that, according to Hizballah’s own statements, are conducted by one united Hizballah which does not have distinguishable political and military wings.

Turkey: Glorification of Murder, Martyrdom and Child Soldiers
The celebrations are not just about the glorification of guns and killing for national or religious purposes. The events are also marked by historic revisionism in which the genocide victims are blamed for their own extermination.

There are many factors that drive the hysteria in Turkey extolling deaths, killings and attempts to brainwash children and turn them into "voluntary martyrs": Systematic racism, ultra-nationalism, Islamic jihad and belief in martyrdom as well as the denial of the Christian genocide combined with pride in having waged it.

The 2015 "Islam Law" of Austria, which Erdogan was protesting, states that "The freedom of religion is secured in the Austrian Constitution – individually, collectively and cooperatively" -- and that this freedom should not be allowed to be exploited by those who incite hate or violence for any group.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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