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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Credit: Vincent van Zeijst
Credit: Vincent van Zeijst
Tel Aviv, February 22 - Following the sentencing of an IDF soldier for a manslaughter conviction after he killed a wounded, neutralized Palestinian terrorist, members of the Joint List of mostly Arab parties in the Knesset voiced concern today that the severity of the sentence might be sufficient to demonstrate that Israel's military justice system functions properly, and the International Criminal Court might therefore not accept cases against Israeli leaders.

A military court sentenced Sgt. Elor Azaria to eighteen months' imprisonment yesterday for the shooting death of a Palestinian attacker who had attempted to stab soldiers in Hebron last year. The court determined earlier that Azaria knew that the attacker, who had already been shot and lay on the ground, was no longer armed, and that the lack of a continued threat to those present had been established when he pulled the trigger. A military court sentenced Azaria to a year-and-a-half behind bars, a punishment that critics deemed laughable for such a crime, but which still carries the potential to avoid international legal complications. That prospect has lawmakers from Balad, Hadash, Raam-Taal, and the United Arab List worried that the country to whom they have sworn loyalty as Members of Knesset may end up not facing international criminal sanction.

"This is a serious development," declared a subdued Ahmad Tibi. "Obviously anything short of the death penalty is a miscarriage of justice. But what makes matters worse is that the decision-makers in The Hague will look at the process and determine that Israel has a reliable mechanism for apprehending, trying, and sentencing official State functionaries who commit crimes against the Palestinians, and decline to assert its authority. That would be a lamentable setback for anyone who cares about undermining the stability and security of this country."

"We are more than a little disappointed," agreed Haneen Zoabi. "The penalty for killing a Palestinian hero freedom fighter should be much more severe than imprisonment - that is, if the perpetrator is a Jew. We couldn't care less if Assad's forces or allies do it, to the tune of thousands of our brethren. At this point we who are devoted to the delegitimization of Israel have only one clear course of action: since the only way to invite ICC action is to demonstrate Israeli disregard for due criminal process regarding those who harm Palestinians, we have to amplify our incitement so as to increase Palestinian violence, which will invite Israeli measures to counter or prevent it, some of which might well be fodder for another criminal case."

"It's the only reasonable option anyone has," she added.

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.
From Ian:

A US embassy shift to Jerusalem would right a historic wrong
If Donald Trump fulfils his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the decision would be a long-awaited recognition of Israel’s historic capital by its closest ally. And although the proposed relocation is accompanied by some risks, smart and co-operative diplomacy can mitigate the dangers.
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s greatest and longest-serving prime minister, offers a guide for our current leaders. Responding to the 1949 resolution of the UN, which internationalised Jerusalem and thereby separated Israel from its capital, he conceded neither to the declaration nor to the gloomy predictions of the consequences of defying it. Instead, Ben-Gurion pronounced the city a vital element of the country’s history and immediately relocated the Knesset from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: the move was defiant yet the repercussions were hardly catastrophic.
Opponents of the US president’s proposal note that it risks obstructing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, would cause the deterioration of Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbours and could incite Muslim terror groups worldwide.
All these warnings are overblown. Claims that the embassy move will derail a peace process comatose for nearly a decade ring hollow. The exact opposite might be true: the decision could prompt the Palestinians to re-evaluate their strategy of refusing direct negotiations, which has paralysed the peace process.

And now, Israeli fake news
We may be living in the age of instant communication but Haley's speech reached the Israeli audience three days after it was delivered – and that, too, appears to have happened only thanks to Hillel Neuer's UN Watch, which published it online in its entirety.
It was only after the video went viral and garnered over three million views that it broke through the iron curtain of ideological censorship and reached the Israelis. To the best of our knowledge, no news source in Israel published it before noon Tuesday, Israel time.
Moreover, Haley's heartwarming praise of Israel was actually spun as negative news. On Thursday, Israelis were told by their media that the UN Ambassador had thrown cold water on the President's remarks, a day earlier, in which he said that the US was open to other options beside the two-state solution.
Her remark about the two-state solution was presented as a backtracking and clarification of Trump's statement. In fact, she had simply repeated that statement, saying that "we support the two-state solution, but we support peace and stability even more".
The New York Times and the AP also spun her remarks in that fashion. It is only in the past 24 hours that media in the world have been waking up to what she really said, and some are even comparing it to former UN Ambassador's fiery rejection of the UN resolution equating Zionism and racism, in 1975.
In the end, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu uploaded a translated version of Haley's rousing words to his Facebook account. As of now, it has received close to 470,000 views. Fake news has been faked out.
David Singer: While in Australia, Netanyahu Needs To Expose PLO Hoax
Their signatures are a sad testament to their embrace of Security Council Resolution 2334 and to its claim that the Jewish Quarter, the Kotel and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and the Machpelah in Hebron are “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
If they did not understand that is what they were endorsing then they should withdraw their signatures immediately.
Interestingly they also signed up to “supporting the application of international law to Israel and Palestine”
International law indisputably establishes:
1. The right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Jerusalem, Hebron and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) pursuant to the provisions of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine
2. The preservation of such vested legal rights under article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – Israel’s “partner for peace” has:
1. declared this established international law to be “deemed null and void” under its Charter
2. claimed in its 1964 Charter:
"Article 24. This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields."

This article remained unamended when UN Security Council Resolution 242 was passed after the Six Day War. Article 24 was removed from the Charter in 1968 but no claim to sovereignty replaced it.

‘Obama, not Netanyahu, blocked 2015 peace initiative’
It was the Obama administration, and not Israel, that poured cold water on the idea of a wider regional diplomatic process, following a meeting in Aqaba in early 2016 among Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and US leaders, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Tuesday.
According to a report Sunday in Haaretz, a meeting among Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian President Fattah Abdel al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and former US secretary of state John Kerry took place in late 2015, but did not bear any practical fruit because of Israeli opposition.
But, according to the senior official, it was US opposition that stymied the process, much as the insistence in incorporating Qatar and Turkey into a cease-fire framework to end Operation Protective Edge in 2014 ended that particular process. The cease-fire went into effect, the official said, only after the US was nudged to the side and an agreement was reached between Israel and Egypt.
According to the official, the Americans wanted to “dictate terms” that were unacceptable to Israel, apparently meaning that Kerry wanted the parameters he has since laid out as the way forward in the diplomatic process to form the core of this agreement.
Media and politicians overhype chances of Israeli-Arab regional deal, experts say
The chances of a formal peace agreement and normalization of relations between Israel and the wider Arab world in the near future are slim, contrary to media reports and the posturing of Israeli opposition politicians, experts say.
Citing unidentified former senior Obama administration officials, the Haaretz newspaper reported Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met with Egyptian and Jordanian heads of state in a secret meeting last year in Jordan, in order to promote a regional peace agreement. The talks led nowhere, and Haaretz’s report blamed Netanyahu for the negotiations’ failure because he backed out over opposition from within his governing coalition.
Israeli opposition leader Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) jumped on the report Monday to blame Netanyahu for failing to reach a peace deal with the Arabs. Yet it is possible that the story is being overhyped by the Israeli political left, since the former Obama administration officials quoted in the report may have been seeking to do no more than present Netanyahu as obstructing peace. The article, meanwhile, did not mention that the gaps between Israel and the Arab world remain too large to bridge for an imminent peace deal.
Notably, word of the Jordan peace summit was kept under wraps until it was leaked to Haaretz this week, revealing the sensitivity of the issue for Jordan and Egypt, which both have peace treaties with neighboring Israel.
“This was a one-sided leak by Obama officials, suggesting there is no reason to believe there was any real prospect of negotiations on serious terms,” Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law and an expert on international law, told
It’s Time to Sack the ‘Two-State Solution’
The Palestinians divided themselves into an autocratic PA in the West Bank, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, and a theocratic terrorist state in Gaza. Without Israel’s support of the PA, Hamas would oust Abbas and take over the PA-controlled territories as well. To expect that these two murderous warring factions, one a corrupt kleptocracy and the other an Islamic terror enclave, could set aside their differences and live in peace with Israel is like believing that pigs can fly.
What’s more, longstanding Palestinian brainwashing of its population against Jews and Israel has resulted in vehement Palestinian opposition to a negotiated “two-state solution.”
A 2016 poll of Palestinian public opinion in the PA-controlled territories and Gaza reveals this stark and consequential reality:
  • 57 percent oppose mutual recognition of Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples.
  • 62 percent oppose a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria unless Israel receives no territory east of the Armistice Line (Green Line).
  • More than two-thirds oppose West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • 67 percent oppose Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem’s Jewish quarter and the Western Wall.
  • 67 percent oppose recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, even if it leads to peace.
The US, EU and UN have been unwilling to look at these current realities, but Israelis understand that there’s no rational reason to believe that a Palestinian state would be anything other than a dangerous, antisemitic, religiously intolerant, homophobic, misogynistic country that is home to Islamist terror groups, just a stone’s throw away from Tel Aviv and Haifa.
In his book The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump admonishes the reader not to “reward failure by promoting those responsible for it, because all you get is more failure.” Let’s hope President Trump realizes that offering the Palestinians a “two-state” deal yet again, and expecting a different result, is the height of foolishness. It’s time to move beyond the failed “two-state” construct.
Maajid Nawaz: For Israel, the new road to peace runs through Mecca
Israel has been the perennial “what about” excuse used by Arab despots seeking to silence their domestic opponents as “Zionist collaborators.”
A universal peace between Israel and these Arab regimes would finally do away with this.
A critical mass of Arabs, Muslims and leftists still struggle with Israel’s historic legitimacy, leading us all to constantly overplay our hand in peace negotiations.
Like a broken record, we are guilty of repetitive sloganeering, lazy thinking, emotional decision-making, and a dogmatic approach to what should be the art of politics.
We have allowed our political, religious, and ideological tribalism to shape our emotional response.
Our unwillingness to hear outside our own echo chambers has severely limited our ability to innovate solutions. It is post-truth.
When new thinking on any issue is instantly labeled treacherous, only inward looking violently inbred and dogmatic ideologies such as jihadism can thrive.
All the more reason why creative thinking on this issue among Arabs, Muslims, and the left generally is so important. Peace is more important than our pride.
JPost Editorial: Israel, Sisi and a regional peace initiative
Improved relations between Israel and Egypt are also reflected in the Sisi regime’s attitude to the peace treaty with Israel. Sisi, like Mubarak before him, sees peace with Israel as a strategic asset. But, unlike Mubarak, he also seems to have a positive attitude to normalization and sees benefits not only in military ties, but also political and economic ties.
Sisi reinstated the Egyptian ambassador to Israel in early 2016 and in July, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry made a much-publicized visit to Israel, the first of its kind in nine years, to push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Upon returning to Egypt, Shoukry visited a top-ranked Cairo high school and reportedly told students there that he refuses to define Israel’s military actions against Palestinians as terrorism, though his office later issued a clarification.
Egypt has a vested interest in promoting normalization between Israel and other Arab nations so as not to remain the only Arab state cooperating so closely with the Jewish state.
Sisi participated in a secret summit together with Jordan’s King Abdullah, then-US secretary of state John Kerry and Netanyahu during which ideas were presented on how the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt could help promote a regional peace initiative.
Netanyahu raised the idea of a regional initiative during his press conference last week in Washington with President Donald Trump. Egypt’s participation in such an initiative is crucial to its success.
Sisi’s attempts to emphasize the positive aspects of relations with Israel have been met with skepticism inside Egypt. Large swathes of Egypt’s population from Nasserites and left-wing activists to trade union members and Islamists are hostile to the Jewish state. However, improved relations with the Palestinians achieved via a regional initiative together with Sisi’s positive leadership could bring about a sea change in Egyptian public opinion over time.
The Sisi regime presents a unique opportunity. Israel should welcome the Sisi era.
Egypt, Jordan say two-state solution is non-negotiable
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and King Abdullah II of Jordan agreed Tuesday there could be no concessions on establishing a Palestinian state, the presidency said after talks in Cairo.
The meeting between the leaders of the two Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel came after US President Donald Trump’s administration suggested it would not insist on a Palestinian state for a Middle East peace agreement.
“The two sides discussed ways to push the stagnant Middle East peace process, especially in light of US President Donald Trump’s administration coming to power,” a Cairo presidential statement said.
A two-state solution “with a Palestinian state… with East Jerusalem as its capital is a nationalist principle that cannot be conceded.”
Netanyahu Down Under - 'Australia Courageously Willing to Puncture UN Hypocrisy' on Anti-Israel Resolutions
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday praised Australia for being “courageously willing to puncture U.N. hypocrisy” on anti-Israel resolutions.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull marked the first visit to Australia by a serving Israeli leader by writing an opinion piece in Wednesday’s The Australian newspaper that backed Netanyahu’s criticism in 2015 that the United Nations General Assembly had adopted 20 resolutions critical of Israel in the preceding year and only one in response to the Syrian war.
“My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticizing Israel of the kind recently adopted by the U.N. Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimize the Jewish state,” Turnbull wrote, referring to the Dec. 23 resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law.
The United States abstained from that vote and Australia, while not a member of the security council, was one of the few countries to publicly support Israel’s position.
Netanyahu said he was delighted to read the article at the start of his four-day Australian visit.

PM Netanyahu and Australian PM Turnbull Meet Jewish Community in Sydney

New York Times Hypes Australia Opposition to Netanyahu Visit
Before Prime Minister Netanyahu even begins his visit to Australia, the New York Times is out with an article amplifying the voices of his critics in that country while minimizing his supporters.
I can understand the impulse to preview the trip, though it’s hard to think of a world leader other than President Trump or Pope Francis whose international travels are subject to such extensive scrutiny by the Times.
What’s strange is the way the Times goes out of its way to more or less declare the trip a failure before it even happens. What was “intended to be a warm meeting,” the Times claims, “is generating a bit of pushback. Sixty notable Australians, including political, religious, cultural and business figures, have signed a letter opposing Mr. Netanyahu’s visit because of his government’s policies toward the Palestinians. And small groups of protesters have demonstrated in Melbourne and Canberra against the visit.”
The phrase “sixty notable Australians” made me chuckle. Beyond, say, Rupert Murdoch and Elle Macpherson, neither of whom now live in Australia full time, are there even 60 notable Australians? The Times doesn’t name any of the signatories to the letter, but a click through makes clear that they are mostly a motley assortment of junior professors and longtime Palestinian activists.
Even the Times itself seems to concede, in a kind of backhanded way, that the backlash isn’t particularly newsworthy. “A bit” of pushback, the Times says. “Small” groups of protesters. Why is this even worth a story in the Times?
Andrew Bolt: Labor turns on Israel to win Muslim votes
THERE is a simple and sinister reason Labor is now attacking Israel. It’s after Muslim votes.
Every federal seat with big Muslim minorities except Reid is now held by Labor, most in western Sydney.
And it shows. Labor’s NSW branch in particular is now leading a push to overturn Labor policy and formally recognise Palestine as a state, despite the refusal of Palestinian leaders to make peace with Israel.
That push is backed by Labor “elders” Bob Hawke, Gareth Evans, Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd, who also needs the support of Arab nations for a good United Nations job.
For Labor to push so hard to reward the Palestinians makes no moral sense — and is dangerous.
What exactly is the nature of this country it wants to recognise?
The Palestinian Authority’s president is Mahmoud Abbas, who 12 years ago was voted into the job for four years. That’s right: there hasn’t been an election since.
That’s in part because a key part of this “nation” — the populous Gaza Strip — is actually run by the Islamist Hamas party. These guys not only hate Abbas but Jews as well. In fact, their official charter calls for jihad to destroy Israel.
Netanyahu praises Trump for ‘strong stand’ on anti-Semitism
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised US President Donald Trump for condemning a recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents in the US, saying that “it is very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-Semitism.”
Trump’s condemnation of denunciation of anti-Semitism as “horrible,” “painful” and a “sad reminder” of evil on Tuesday came after the US president faced mounting criticism from US Jewish groups for failing to explicitly denounce anti-Semitism.
The US president’s comments came a day after bomb threats were issued against Jewish community centers across the United States for the fourth time in just over a month, and after gravestones were toppled at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.
Speaking at an event for the Jewish community Wednesday at the Great Synagogue in Sydney, where he is on a state visit, Netanyahu described anti-Semitism as a growing trend that needs to be combated.
“We have a battle against those who seek to demonize our people and against the resurgent anti-Semitism we see in many parts of the world,” he said, adding that “it is something that we need to fight together.”
Israeli Military Expert on Newly Appointed US National Security Adviser McMaster: ‘The Right Man in the Right Place’ for America, Jewish State
General Herbert Raymond (H.R.) McMaster is “the right man in the right place” for both America and the Jewish state, an Israeli military expert told the Hebrew news site nrg on Tuesday about the US president’s appointment of his new national security adviser, who will replace the recently resigned Michael Flynn.
Dr. Eitan Shamir — a senior research associate at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University — said that nobody could be “better suited for the job.”
Shamir recounted being contacted some 10 years ago by McMaster, who had read and liked his book, Transforming Command: The Pursuit of Mission Command in the US, UK and Israeli Armies.
“He is a very warm person,” Shamir said. “The first time we met in person, he embraced me. Since then, we have remained in touch, visiting one another in Israel and the US, and exchanging emails.”
This warmth, Shamir added, extends to McMaster’s feelings about the Jewish state. “He was in the country many times; he has many Israeli friends, and I remember an event at which he called Israel an ally which fights with the US, just as Canada, Britain and Australia do,” Shamir said. However, he added he was not sure what the new US national security adviser’s positions were on specific internal Israeli issues.
Meet Jewish filmmaker behind Trump's 'fake news' on Sweden
Pressed to explain his false claim that something terrible had happened in Sweden last week, President Donald Trump traced the canard back to the reporting of Ami Horowitz, a gonzo Jewish-American filmmaker who spoke about Sweden’s problem with Muslim immigrants on Fox News.
On Saturday, during a campaign-style speech in Florida on border security and immigrants, Trump urged listeners to “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” leading to widespread puzzlement and mockery from Swedes who said no terrorist attack had taken place there the previous day or even recently.
Karl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden, wondered on Twitter what Trump “is smoking," and the Aftonbladet paper ran a daily roundup from Friday featuring nothing more sinister than a small northern avalanche.
Later Saturday afternoon, Trump indicated that he meant for people to look at what the media broadcast and that the only thing that happened Friday is that he caught Horowitz talking about Sweden on Fox News.
'Why does US consulate in Jerusalem refuse to hire Jews?'
Dear Senators Graham, Corker, Cotton, Paul, and Rubio,
I am a US citizen living in Israel. Over the past decades I have had numerous occasions to utilize the services of the US Consulate in Jerusalem. In all those years, I have observed that I have never seen a Jewish Israeli at any of the various service points where consular staff interact with the public.
All such staff are either from the US or local Arab staffers. Not only is this consistently the case at all consular services inside the consulate, but also it can be seen, shockingly, that even the security staff are often Arabs. I can assure you that there is no shortage of qualified Jewish Israelis who could fill such consular positions - and so the question is begged: is the US State Department systematically choosing, over the course of decades, to not hire Jewish Israelis, while singularly preferring all local staffers to be selected from the Arab population?
The second matter is different but definitely potentially connected to my first query. A perusal of consular activities as reflected on the official website shows that all programming efforts are geared towards and in concert with local Arab populations in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
PreOccupiedTerritory: The Rules Say We Palestinians Get To Reject 3 More Peace Agreements Before We Lose by Saeb Erekat (satire)
One of the talking points one hears many times in the realm of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the Palestinians have rejected peace offer after peace offer. Putting aside the accuracy of the claim, it ignores one of the fundamental rules of the game: we’re allowed to reject up to ten final-status peace initiatives before being disqualified.
It’s all right there in the rulebook. We didn’t lose the right to reject a further nine proposals when the Peel Commission came to its conclusion in the 1930’s. We were perfectly safe, in terms of the number of violations allowed, when we and our allies – really just ambitious neighbors who wanted a piece of this land for themselves – said No to the 1947 UN Partition Plan. We were still in the game. Those are the rules. Are you trying to cheat?
Just because Arafat rejected Barak’s peace proposal, and Abbas rejected Olmert’s, and he continues to avoid negotiations toward a final-status agreement – none of that means we’ve run out of rejections. We’ve got a few more available. It’s not like baseball, where it’s three strikes and you’re out, or basketball, where a player is ejected if he commits too many fouls. We’re still in this game. We have more peace initiatives to reject before anyone can tell us to sit down.
For some reason no one ever talks about the number of times Israel has rejected initiatives. How many do they have left? Are you going to disqualify them from this competition? I don’t hear you saying that because Israel refused to cooperate with the 1948 effort to append Palestine to Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, the country lost its right to engage in further efforts to resolve the conflict.
Hezbollah, Hamas have no fight in them, IDF chief says
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot downplayed the chances for a fresh war with either the Hezbollah or Hamas terror groups in the near future, saying they were both uninterested in a new conflict and, in the Lebanese group’s case, demoralized as well.
Speaking at a closed-door meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Eisenkot said that despite having gained battlefield experience as a result of its military invention in Syria on behalf of the regime of Bashar Assad, Lebanese terror group Hezbollah had been left significantly weakened the fighting in Syria.
“Hezbollah’s [military] operations in Syria have brought about a morale and financial crisis within its ranks,” the Hebrew-language Ynet news site quoted him as saying.
Eisenkot’s comments regarding Hezbollah’s intentions were made following a number of hawkish statements from the Shiite organization’s leader Hassan Nasrallah in the past week, including a threat Monday that the group will not abide by any “red lines” in a future war with Israel.
Israeli jets strike outside Damascus – Syrian media
Syrian media reported that Israeli aircraft targeted Syrian Army positions, including a convoy bearing weapons for the Hezbollah terrorist group, early Wednesday morning.
The strike was said to have occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m., in the Qalamoun Mountains, northeast of Damascus, close to the Lebanese border.
According to Arab media, outposts of the Syrian Army’s 3rd Division were targeted in the strikes.
The Syrian Shaam news service quoted a spokesperson for the nearby city of Yarboud who said the Israeli jets fired six missiles at the various targets.
Some were directed toward military positions, while others targeted weapons caches near Ba’albak, in the eastern Qalamoun range, and set alight a Hezbollah convoy, according to the spokesperson, Abu al-Jude al-Qalamouni.
Anonymous security sources confirmed to the Lebanese al-Mayadeen outlet, which is supportive of Hezbollah, that missiles had been fired into Syria, but said that no damage or injuries were caused.
Hezbollah claims IDF entered Lebanese territory
The IDF has concealed spyware and surveillance equipment near the Lebanese village of Mis El-Jabl, in the area adjacent to the Blue Line defined by the UN as the border demarcation between Israel and Lebanon, according to claims by the Hezbollah terrorist organization.
The organization claims that IDF soldiers crossed the border in the region of the Blue Line at 1:20 A.M. and buried the spyware equipment.
"The Israeli enemy penetrated through the technological barrier surrounding the village of Meiss Ej Jabal, in the Qurum a-Shiqui region near the Blue Line, and planted spy gear in the area," Hezbollah posted on one of its Twitter accounts.
Arab media outlets reported that Israeli Air Force fighters struck Syrian army positions just outside of Damascus early Wednesday morning. Some reports have claimed that the strikes also targeted a bus carrying Hezbollah terrorists.
Minister flies with basketball team after Turkey balks at Israeli security
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev traveled with the Ironi Nahariya basketball team to its game in southern Turkey Wednesday, ending a showdown between Israeli and Turkish security authorities on Wednesday.
Regev joined the team’s flight on Wednesday afternoon to Gaziantep after Turkish officials refused to allow Ironi Nahariya to be accompanied by armed security forces without the presence of a minister, according to government sources.
Earlier this week, the Shin Bet lifted its opposition to the squad flying to the restive city near the Syrian border after the team agreed to charter a special flight and bring its own security.
Nahariya is set to face off against Gaziantep for the second leg of a Europe Cup match Wednesday night. The Israeli team took the first leg 96-75.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Accuses Israel Of Stockpiling Civilians (satire)
The Islamist Hamas movement unleashed a new round of criticism at Israel today, accusing the Jewish state of amassing over eight million civilians.
Israel and several Islamist militant groups, chief among them Hamas, have been trading fire for years, even after Israel withdrew its settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Hamas routed its more moderate rival Fatah in 2007, gaining control over the coastal area. Israel has since maintained a naval blockade of the area for fear that any materials allowed in would permit Hamas to construct weapons. The movement has fought three wars with Israel since then.
The new charges come amid heightened tensions, with southern Israel the target of rocket and mortar attacks, and the IDF responding with air strikes, tank and artillery fire. Several Palestinians have been killed, including a number of civilians, and civilian life in southern Israel has been disrupted as people are instructed never to remain more than fifteen seconds from a location shielded from rockets.
“The Zionist enemy’s military power comes from its civilians,” said outgoing Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, using the organization’s term for Israel, whose legitimacy it does not recognize. “The enemy has been amassing them for decades, while the international community does nothing to stop it. But the Islamic Resistance will continue to strike at this vital Zionist resource,” he told reporters.
EU parliamentarians demand to enter Gaza
Five European parliamentarians said Wednesday that Israeli authorities had prevented them from entering the Gaza Strip.
"The refusal of access to Gaza by the Israeli authorities to the European Parliament on arbitrary grounds is unacceptable," Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis said in a statement.
Similar delegations of European lawmakers have been barred from entering the Palestinian coastal enclave since 2011, the statement added, though a team led by the head of the European Parliament's budget committee was allowed to visit once.
"What is there to hide from us?" it said, condemning what it called "systematic" entry bans.
Israel explained parliamentarians were not among those allowed to enter the territory.
"Israeli policy allows professional and humanitarian officials to cross between Israel and the Gaza Strip for the development of the Gaza Strip in the field of economy and infrastructure, in addition to foreign diplomats serving in the Palestinian Authority or Israel," the Defense Ministry body responsible for approving entry told AFP.
What EU shift in financial support policy means for Gaza
It is no secret that the Palestinian Authority's (PA) financial crisis is mounting with declining foreign support. This has prompted Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and former minister of public works and housing, to confirm Feb. 13 that donors' funding is decreasing and the PA's financial crisis is ongoing.
Shadi Othman, the communication and information officer at the European Commission in Jerusalem, said Feb. 3 that a new financial support policy for 2017 was adopted by the European Union, and that the EU contribution of 30 million euros ($32 million) that had gone to pay the salaries of PA civil servants in the Gaza Strip will be used to support families in need, provide job opportunities and fund development and infrastructure projects.
On Feb. 7, the PA government replied in a statement that the new EU approach will further increase the budget deficit. It said that last year, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah launched efforts to prevent the EU decision, but to no avail. According to the statement, this means that the PA’s financial burden will grow and the $39 million monthly budget deficit will increase.
A European diplomat in the Palestinian territories, who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, said, “The new EU approach came to implement the recommendations of the European Monitoring Committee’s report of 2013, which rejected that civil servants who do not punch the clock be paid their paychecks by the EU, in the absence of any valid justification for the European taxpayers explaining why their money is channeled to these civil servants. Thus, the EU did not cut the funding, but rechanneled these funds to another sector, namely the families in need, instead.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Ismail Haniyeh’s Gay Ex-Lover To Release Tell-All Book (satire)
The leader of the militant Islamist movement that runs Gaza faces embarrassment as a former same-sex romantic partner is preparing to publish a memoir of the intimate relationship, sources in Gaza City reported today.
Ismail Haniyeh, who will soon assume political control of Hamas’s international relations, has been trying to prevail upon Fellat Asbang, currently residing in Britain, to reverse his decision to release On My Knees: In The Bedroom With Ismail Haniyeh. Asbang, 50, has engaged bodyguards to prevent intimidation or attempts on his life by agents or supporters of Hamas.
In a telephone interview from a concealed location, the entrepreneur insisted he will go ahead with the April release as planned. “It’s crucial that the world know these things about a public figure,” he argued. “I’ve seen what happens to publishers that run afoul of Islamist intimidation, so I’m self-publishing the book. The people under Hamas rule in Gaza aren’t permitted to criticize Haniyeh or Hamas, so it’s up to Palestinians elsewhere to raise the alarm.”
Asbang declined to elaborate on the duration or extent of his romantic relationship with the Hamas leader, only disclosing that it soured three years ago. “It was beautiful for a long time, but then it wasn’t. Suffice it to say I got tired of him prioritizing politics over our closeness.”
Arab Social Media Blasts Egypt’s Sisi for Meeting American Jewish Leaders
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Sisi met with Jewish-American leaders in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the Middle East and the political and economic challenges his country faces.
Alaa Youssef, the president’s spokesperson, said he met with Jewish leaders in an attempt to strengthen cooperation, adding that Egyptian-American relations are extensive and of strategic importance. The delegation was from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella organization that represents over 50 major U.S. Jewish groups.
“The coming challenges require that we strengthen that relationship,” he said.
At the meeting, Sisi discussed the war on terror, Egypt’s financial challenges, the campaign against corruption and perks for investors. Youssef said that Sisi’s American counterparts expressed their appreciation of the president’s efforts on a number of fronts, namely the war on terror and Egypt’s leadership role in the region.
Sisi was on the receiving end of criticism on Arab social media for the meeting with American Jewish leaders.
“Sisi is the biggest Zionist in the Middle East,” Saleh Almansoori tweeted.
'Israel's success is an embarrassment to us'
Egyptian journalists writing for the al-Mizri, al-Yom, and al-Aharam newspapers criticized Israel's presence and successes in invention and science as an embarrassment to the entire Arab world, reported MEMRI.
Al-Mizri journalist Matulei Salam wrote in his article, "Countries which appreciate knowledge see inventions as a god and as the epitome of investment. The Egyptian government and populace are not interested in inventions. This is an embarrassment, since Israel is rated second-highest in the world in the area of inventions. Scientific research in Israel is also very advanced and continues to advance, and is considered to be among the best in the world. But we ourselves have a backwards mentality, and our interest in science ends with our philosophical discussions in cafes and clubs.
"Unfortunately, we are a nation which has fallen. Once we were one of the best nations, and now we are one of the worst. In the meantime, Israel is making a place for itself in the sciences we ignore. Those of us who have master's degrees and doctorate degrees are few, and they have to search for work so that they can live while wasting their academic knowledge."

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Jordanian classroom

If you are a Jordanian student and you don't like your Christian teacher, it is easy to get rid of her.

A Coptic teacher employed at a state school was arrested for supposedly saying "Wipe this shit off the blackboard" referring to a Sura from the Quran from the previous Islamic Studies class.

The kids complained to their parents who went to officials in the education department. Eventually this reached the head of the Minya governate who contacted security authorities. An investigation is underway and apparently the teacher has been suspended, so far.

The accusation seems highly unlikely. Copts have a sense of self-preservation. No teacher is that dumb to insult the Koran in a Muslim-majority classroom.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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A month ago, the news came out that Hamas is working on a new charter that would eliminate its antisemitic parts, while still calling for the destruction of Israel:

A senior Hamas official said on Wednesday that the terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, is rewriting its charter in a way that will remove its anti-Semitic language, but also made plain the group’s ongoing rejection of the Jews’ right to statehood in Israel.

The charter, written in 1988, contains a cocktail of Nazi, communist and Islamist anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories, including that Jews were behind the French and Russian revolutions and the two world wars, that they control the media and the UN, that they infiltrated the Freemasons and that they funded colonialism with their wealth.

“We will have a clear political document, which is supposed to be in the near future, clarifying all those points,” the official, Osama Hamdan, told Al-Jazeera on Wednesday.

“You will find in this document clear words that we [sic] against the Zionists, against the occupation of our lands and we will resist the occupiers, whoever they were. And we are not against anyone regarding to this religion or to his race,” he said.
If you look at the Al Jazeera interview where these claims were made - in English - Hamdan never said that the charter would be replaced, but that there would be a new "political document." Hamdan is allowing the listener to assume that they are one and the same - but they are not.

In Arabic, senior Hamas leader Salah al Bardawil said explicitly "This new document of the Hamas organization will never be considered to constitute an alternative to  the organization's founding charter."

The media already got this wrong before the new manifesto is released. Get ready for more idiotic media claims that Hamas is "moderating" after it is released.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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Official Palestinian Wafa news agency reports:

Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Tuesday described the 18 months jail sentence a court had earlier issued against an Israeli soldier who shot and killed a wounded and incapacitated Palestinian as a travesty.
“This is a travesty of justice,” said Ashrawi in a press release. “It is apparent that the Israeli judicial system has become compromised with the systemic racism, injustice and the culture of hate that is plaguing the Israeli occupation.”
Really? Ashrawi is casting aspersions on the Israeli justice system?

I was going to see if I could find any cases of Palestinian courts sentencing any Palestinian ever for attacking Jews, but then I realized - in over a decade of following Palestinian media, I can hardly remember a big court case in the Palestinian Authority.


Hamas sometimes sentences people to death, but what does the Palestinian Authority court system do?

I went through Ma'an's English articles over the past year, and while there are dozens of articles about the Israeli justice system, I could only find a single mention of "Palestinian court" - in April 2016:

 A Palestinian court on Tuesday found a 37-year-old Palestinian man guilty of murdering his wife in 2006 in Ramallah district and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor.
In the years since the killing, the suspect was held in detention while the Palestinian public prosecution carried out investigations, eventually leading to his conviction 10 years later.
 The term "Palestinian appeals court" also came up with exactly one case, in December, also for murders or women that occurred ten years prior:
A Palestinian appeals court in Ramallah on Monday sentenced a man to a lifetime of hard labor after he was found guilty of killing his two sisters in 2006 in Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank, local sources told Ma'an Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
The man had confessed to the murders, saying in his defense that his sisters "dishonored the family reputation."
The "High Court" suspended elections that were planned in a case that was almost certainly decided by the PA itself, not the court.

Finally, Haaretz reported on a fourth court case that was also rubber-stamping the desires of Mahmoud Abbas:
 A Palestinian court sentenced on Wednesday Palestinian lawmaker Mohammed Dahlan to three years in prison after convicting him in absentia of stealing $16 million.
Dahlan left the West Bank for the United Arab Emirate in 2011 following a power struggle with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 
I haven't found any other cases in the media, in English or Arabic.

From everything I can tell, the Palestinian justice system does next to nothing. The police hold people in custody for years (and torture them) without them going to trial. On the rare occasions when Abbas does need to the court to put a legal cover for his edicts, the courts are happy to do so.

It is a complete joke.

They have courts. They have judges. They open up new facilities. But unless every trial is done in secret, they hardly have any cases.

If you think about it, this utter lack of a functional justice system reveals a lot about the Palestinian Authority.

This dysfunctional and irrelevant system, 20 years after autonomy, shows that the Palestinian authority has no interest in real state building. A working justice system is an essential component of any legitimate state. The Palestinian Justice Ministry is, from everything we can see, a corrupt and do-nothing gravy train for political cronies. .

Maybe Hanan Ashrawi shouldn't talk too much about the Israeli court system, because if anyone really took a look at the Palestinian justice system - if there are any real reporters left in the region, that is - she might not like what is discovered.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From Ian:

CAMERA: Analyzing Palestinian Propaganda on CNN: Rashid Khalidi on "Fareed Zakaria GPS"
On Feb. 12, 2017, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi was invited onto CNN's global affairs program hosted by Fareed Zakaria (Fareed Zakaria GPS) to defend and justify the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. This followed an interview on the same program a week earlier with French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy where he charged the BDS campaign with being "an anti-Semitic campaign" which "takes its roots a long time ago, 60 years ago, in the fringes of dying Nazism." Lévy's words so enraged Khalidi and other proponents of the anti-Israel campaign that Khalidi complained to the host, then appeared himself on the show the following week.
Khalidi, an experienced propagandist, used classic propaganda tactics (name-calling, transfer/association, glittering generalities, logical fallacy, bandwagon, plain folks, and card stacking, as described by the The Institute for Propaganda Analysis) to defend BDS, and to delegitimize Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, much as he had done several weeks earlier on WBEZ's Worldview.
Fareed Zakaria, with a history of skewing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, helped Khalidi along, not only providing him with an unfettered platform to disseminate his misinformation, but having photos and drawings televised to illustrate Khalidi's deceptive analogies, and in the case of Jerusalem, disseminating some half truths of his own.
Here are the facts on BDS and Jerusalem, followed by an analysis of the propaganda disseminated on Zakaria's CNN program.

IsraellyCool: Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Rips UN And BDS
Following my previous post on The Australian editorial against recognition of a Palestinian state comes further positive signs from Australia – from none other than Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has condemned the UN and BDS.
Malcolm Turnbull has strongly condemned the UN, accusing it of a prejudiced attack against Israel over a Security Council resolution that accused the Israeli ­government of violating inter­national law with its settlement activity.
On the eve of a historic visit by Benjamin Netanyahu, who ­arrives in Sydney today as the first sitting Israeli leader to visit Australia, the Prime Minister also charged those who promoted or supported a boycott campaign with a deplorable attempt to ­­­de-legitimise the Jewish state.
In an exclusive commentary article published in The Australian today, Mr Turnbull denounces the UN for what he claims is bias, citing 20 resolutions ­between 2014 and 2015 that are critical of Israel when only a ­single resolution had been issued on the Syrian war.
While Mr Turnbull has been critical in the past of anti-Israeli resolutions, rarely has he been so forceful in his language. “My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticising Israel of the kind recently adopted by the Security Council and we ­deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimise the Jewish state,” Mr Turnbull writes.
PMW: Kids jump for Jihad at European-funded dance competition
Like many western cultural centers, the Yafa Cultural Center in Nablus recently hosted a folk dance competition for youth. But unlike their western counterparts, children at this competition danced to calls for violence and waltzed to words of war:
“We replaced bracelets with weapons
We attacked the despicable [Zionists]...
Jihad is needed
Pull the trigger.”

The Yafa Cultural Center, which receives funding from the German development agency GIZ, Norway, and the European Union, recently posted to its website photos from the first Yafa Folk Dance Competition. The gold prize winner danced to the song Pull the Trigger. The following is a longer excerpt from the song's lyrics:
“The Zionists coveted [our] homeland,
compounding damage and enmity
But the popular revolution awaits [them]
The orchard called us to the struggle
We replaced bracelets with weapons
We attacked the despicable [Zionists]
We do not want [internal] strife or disputes
While this invading enemy is on the battlefield
This is the day that Jihad is needed
Pull the trigger.
We shall redeem Jerusalem, Nablus and the country.”

This song was previously broadcast on PA TV in 2010.

Defeating radical Islam
Who is the enemy? It’s been over 15 years since Sept. 11, 2001, and this fundamental question still rattles around. Prominent answers have included evildoers, violent extremists, terrorists, Muslims, and Islamists.
As an example of how not to answer this question, the Obama administration convened a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group in 2010 and included participants who turned up such gems as: “Jihad as holy war is a European invention,” the caliphate’s return is “inevitable,” Shariah (Islamic law) is “misunderstood,” and “Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms because terrorism is not Islamic by definition.” The result? The group produced propaganda helpful to the (unnamed) enemy.
In contrast, then-candidate Donald Trump gave a robust speech in August 2016 on how he, as president, would “Make America Safe Again.” In it, he pledged that “one of my first acts as president will be to establish a commission on radical Islam.” Note: he said radical Islam, not some euphemism like violent extremism.
The goal of that commission, he said, “will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.” The commission “will include reformist voices in the Muslim community” with the goal to “develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners.”
On Feb. 2, Reuters reported that, consistent with the August statement, the Trump administration “wants to revamp and rename” the Obama administration’s old CVE effort to focus solely on Islamism. Symbolic of this change, the name Countering Violent Extremism will be changed to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” (or a near equivalent).
To make the most of this historic opportunity, the Middle East Forum has crafted a comprehensive plan for a White House Commission on Radical Islam for the administration to use. Here’s a summary of how we see the commission working and having an impact:
Book review – The weapon wizards: how Israel became a high-tech military superpower
In 2011, Dan Senor and Saul Singer wrote in Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, how Israel, a country of 7 million and only 60 years old was able to produced more start-up companies than Japan, China, India, France, South Korea, Canada and the UK.
Jump 6 years and military reporters and defense analysts Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot do the same in a fascinating and compelling new book: The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower (St. Martin’s Press 978-1-250-08833-8). Here, the authors focus on how Israel became a military supplier extraordinaire.
The authors write that in days after Israel gained its independence, they didn’t have enough bullets to fight. They also were limited to whom they could procure military equipment from. Yet a few decades later, they become the world’s 6th largest arms exporter. Israel’s impressive array of state of the art products includes drones, missiles, satellites, cyberdefense systems and much more.
At its core, the authors write that Israel was forced into the situation given that Israel has no natural resources. It was forced to use human capital and ingenuity as its main resource. The primary question the book attempts to answer is how did Israel develop so many cutting-edge products, often years before the US and other countries. They answer that there’s no single characteristic, rather several factors; all of which they detail.
Beyond that, Israel has made numerous long-term strategic decisions that created an environment to be a world’s leader in arms developments. Several factors the authors note is that despite its small size, Israel invests more than any other country in research and development, roughly 4.5% of its GDP.
IsraellyCool: Know Your History: Nazi-Arab Collaboration In Palestine, 1930s
Co-operation between the Zionists and Nazis made headlines last year, after comments by former London Mayor “Red” Ken Livingstone regarding the Haavara agreement. And now The Forward has published a disgraceful piece about Zionist-Nazi cooperation. Livingstone and The Forward ignore the critical fact that any deals done by the Zionists were aimed at saving Jewish lives.
What is lesser known is cooperation between the Arabs in Palestine and the Nazis. Sure, much has been said about the Grand Mufti’s relations with, and support of, the Nazis. But the cooperation happened on a more micro level.
Newspapers from the time provide more insight into this. For instance, The Sentinel, Thursday, July 11, 1935, reported about the establishment of a Nazi club for Arab youths.

Jerusalem fumes as Israeli envoy’s talk in Dublin nixed by protests
A talk at a Dublin university by Israel’s ambassador was canceled following protests by pro-Palestinian students, with Jerusalem calling on Irish authorities to take action against the demonstrators.
Ambassador Ze’ev Boker was due to take part in a conversation with the Society for International Affairs, also known as SOFIA, in Dublin’s Trinity College Monday night.
About 40 pro-Palestinian students holding flags and placards took over the venue, forcing the cancellation of the event after police and university security were unable to move the protesters.
The event was billed as a short talk by the ambassador followed by a question and answer session, against the backdrop of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent talks with US President Donald Trump, according to the Facebook event page.
Antisemitism Watchdog Calls on UK's University of Exeter to Take Action Against Student Gov't Candidate Tweeting 'Proud to Be Called a Terrorist'
A Jewish rights group has called on a UK university to take action against a candidate for student government who tweeted, “I am so proud to be called terrorist [sic].”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) told The Algemeiner that Malaka Shwaikh — who is reportedly running unchallenged for vice president of the University of Exeter’s Students’ Guild, where she currently serves as a trustee — “was clearly breaching the school’s disciplinary code” by posting messages encouraging violence against Jews and Israelis from her now disabled Twitter account.
According to the CAA, Shwaikh’s tweets included: “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s”; “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”; and, “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.”
“[T]he university has obligations under the government’s ‘Prevent’ counter-extremism strategy…naturally, Ms. Shwaikh can be held accountable for any crimes she has committed,” the CAA spokesperson said, noting that the student’s position as an Exeter instructor adds to the concern.
University cancels Israel Apartheid Week event
The University of Central Lancashire has cancelled an event which was due to take place as part of "Israel Apartheid Week" activity on its campus.
The session was organised by the university's Friends of Palestine group and was billed as a panel discussion looking at the boycott of Israel.
It was due to feature speakers including anti-Israel activist Ben White and pro-Palestinian academics.
But a spokesperson for the university said “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine" contravened the definition of antisemitism adopted by the government and was “unlawful”.
In a statement on behalf of the university in Preston, Lancashire, the spokesperson said: “The UK government has formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes antisemitism.
Israel Activist at McGill Lauds Student Government for Demanding Resignation of Rep Who Tweeted ‘Punch a Zionist’
An Israel activist at Montreal’s McGill University told The Algemeiner on Monday that he’s “happy the student government finally took a strong stance” and requested that a representative who tweeted “punch a Zionist” step down.
Simon Paransky said, “I hope Igor [Sadikov] heeds the call to resign,” referring to the member of the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) who justified his call for violence on the grounds of Israeli “dispossession and colonization of Palestinian land.”
The SSMU’s recommendation that he quit his post over “incitement to violence” came days after the body rejected a motion to impeach him, at which time SSMU had explained that it “stands in support of freedom of expression and the right of representatives to hold a diversity of political beliefs.”
As McGill’s alternative newspaper, Prince Arthur Herald, reported late last week, the about-face seems to have resulted from direct involvement by the university’s principal, Suzanne Fortier.
NFL’s Cameron Jordan During Trip to Holy Land Rebuffs Twitter Follower Accusing Him of ‘Doing PR for Israeli Apartheid’
An NFL star currently on a week-long tour of Israel batted away criticism from a social media user on Saturday who accused the player of “doing PR” for the Jewish state’s “apartheid system.”
“PR? I’m goin on a trip for the spiritual and historical layout of a country I’ve always wanted to go to. I’m learning more,” New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan shot back.
Cameron Jordan
@neshoba77 PR? I'm goin on a trip for the spiritual and historical layout of a country I've always wanted to go to. I'm learning more
Cameron — one of five out of an original group of 11 NFL players scheduled to take the Feb. 13-20 trip who did not succumb to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and cancel his participation — also posted positive reviews of the country, along with photos of fun-filled activities and visits to Christian sites.
The trip was sponsored by Israel’s Tourism Ministry.
Are Anti-Israel activists attempting to hijack the People's Climate march?
The People's Climate March is scheduled for April 29 and we're already seeing the tell-tale signs of infiltration and co-option.
This email is being shuffled around various "social justice" e-lists. Its all about "peace". Sounds innocuous enough, right?
This email originated with "World Beyond War"
The advisory board of World Beyond War includes anti-Israel activists who were involved with the Gaza flotilla, including Mairead Maguire, Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright and Kathy Kelly. Their support and participation in the flotilla, a challenge to the sovereignty of the state of Israel and its right to secure its own borders cheapens their talk of "peace". These are people that reject the existence of a nation state of the Jewish people within ANY borders. Their vision of "peace" is a world without Israel.
This is the genesis of how a well-meaning and singularly focused event gets hijacked by the anti-Israel cru. If the People's Climate March agrees to add "peace" to their agenda, it opens the door to groups like World Beyond War, who will no doubt offer to provide signage and speakers that will invariably alienate the Climate march core.
Stay in your lane, People's Climate March. Don't allow groups with an extremist agenda to hijack your message. We've seen this happen before.
What is a Killer Imam Doing in Public Libraries in Canada?
How is it possible that books that advocate violence and extremism meet the "selection criteria" of the Ottawa Public Library, but those that speak out against violence and extremism do not?
The presence of these Islamic books, and these books alone, in Canada's public libraries, without any others to contradict them, gives them legitimacy. They are seen to represent a certain form of Islam that the government of Canada and the City of Ottawa recognize.
This indicates that there is official support for the extremist and terrorist version of Islam, and at the same time no support for a humanist interpretation of Islam.
This surah [4:74] also indicates that if you are a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country, then you are in a state of war against your host country. If you are a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country, then you are living with the enemy.
If we are to reject this danger, it is important that libraries and other institutions have books that reject these Islamist views and confront their hatred, extremism and violence.
BBC’s sketchy reporting on Gaza power crisis highlighted
BBC reporting on the topic of the perennial electricity shortage in the Gaza Strip has long been noteworthy for its failure to inform audiences of the full background to that crisis.
The latest example of that style of reporting was seen at the beginning of this month in Tim Franks’ radio report from Gaza for the BBC World Service and it was also evident in two BBC News website reports published a couple of weeks earlier.gaza-power-crisis-2
The Times of Israel recently published an interview with the Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip which once again highlights the fact that BBC audiences are being serially denied the full range of information necessary for understanding of this topic.
Jewish Defence League alleges hate crime
Toronto’s Jewish Defence League says it will file a “hate crimes” complaint with Toronto Police alleging there were “troubling” words in sermons at a downtown mosque, including inciting the “killing of Jews.”
“We are going to speak with the police,” said JDL National Co-ordinator Meir Weinstein, who alleged Monday that “these are anti-Semitic hate crimes.”
But first the JDL is to hold an emergency meeting to decide how to proceed after bringing to light several videos taken from within the downtown mosque Masjid Toronto, part of the Muslim Association of Canada.
The videos, featuring a 2016 sermon in Arabic, were initially posted online by the mosque. They were subsequently posted on YouTube by CIJnews co-founder Jonathan Halevi, a linguist who speaks several languages.
According to Halevi, the sermon included the following:
“O Allah! Give them victory over the criminal people, O Allah! Destroy anyone who killed Muslims, O Allah! Destroy anyone who displaced the sons of the Muslims, O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them, O Allah! Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!”
For clarification, the “purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” refers to the famous mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.
'No Jews' posted in Toronto condo building
Toronto police are investigating a possible hate crime after anti-Semitic notes were found on the doors of several units at a condo building in the Willowdale neighborhood of the city.
Post-it notes bearing a swastika and reading “No Jews” were found on the front doors of several Jewish residences in the building, reported the CP24 news channel.
Some of the notes contained anti-Semitic slurs and some residents reported that their mezuzahs had been vandalized.
A total of seven residents reported receiving the notes or having the mezuzahs on their doors vandalized.
Speaking with CP24, one resident who came home to find her mezuzah vandalized said she was “shocked.”
“It’s naturally very disturbing,” the resident, Helen Chaiton, said. “I come from the Holocaust – my parents came to Canada in 1948 after the war. So I’m very familiar with anti-Semitism and I know historically what ensues.”
Israeli glass tech can help car windows show ads
Gauzy, an Israeli developer and manufacturer of liquid crystal glass panels, or smart glass, has developed a new way to communicate location- and time-based messages on car windows in partnership with Daimler AG, the German car maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The technology was demonstrated at the AutoBahn Expo Day in Stuttgart, Germany, last week, when startups that took part in the StartUp AutoBahn accelerator presented their projects in front of over 1,200 people, including Daimler’s board and other global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The accelerator, run by Daimler, gave 13 startups the opportunity to work with large OEMs for 100 days to develop new automotive technologies which will be incorporated into serial production by companies like Mercedes Benz.
In its collaboration with Daimler, Gauzy created what it says is the “thinnest dark retro-fit liquid crystal film” which can be applied to the existing windows of a car, as opposed to being laminated between two pieces of glass during the manufacturing phase. This film allows images and videos to be projected onto opaque windows in HD quality. Gauzy’s liquid glass technology enables car windows to switch from transparent to opaque on demand.
“Israeli Innovation Is Powering the American Economy”: Investors Descend on Jerusalem
More than 6,000 investors and entrepreneurs crammed the Israel Convention Center in Jerusalem Thursday for the annual OurCrowd Investors’ Summit, braving Jerusalem’s freezing rain to attend what was billed as the largest gathering of investors in Israeli history. Including investors from 82 countries and corporate representatives from close to 300 companies, as well as 250 venture capital firms, the convention promoted Israeli innovation in fields as diverse as agricultural, automotive, financial, medical and sports technology. The summit, which has grown sixfold since it was first held in 2015, mirrors the growth of venture capital in Israel in general, and of firms like OurCrowd, which manages a portfolio of more than $400 million invested in Israeli startups.
Speaking to the plenary, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat focused on the development of the startup environment in Israel’s capital. “Jerusalem is a city not only of the past, but also of the future,” he said, pointing to the more than 600 startups that are now headquartered in Jerusalem, including the automotive company Mobileye, which is at the forefront of the development of autonomous vehicles and was Israel’s largest IPO in the US, raising $890 million when it went public in 2014, and today enjoying a market capitalization of nearly $10 billion.
Jon Medved, the founder and guiding force behind OurCrowd, explained Israel’s contribution to American economic growth. “Israeli innovation is powering the American economy in a number of ways. Our innovative companies, when they want to go to market they set up shop in America. They start hiring Americans,” he told Medved cited a recent study that found over 200 Israeli companies now headquartered in Boston alone. “They directly employ 9,000 people, and indirectly through subcontractors another 27,000. They’re generating $18 billion of annual economic activity, which represents 4 percent of the Massachusetts GDP.”
IAI Completes ‘Integrated Underwater Harbour Defense and Surveillance System’ for Indian Navy
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has developed and delivered comprehensive security and protection systems, known as the ‘Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System’ (IUHDSS). The Indian Navy, tasked with defending the subcontinent’s 4,670 miles long coastline, raised the need for such systems.
Developed by IAI subsidiary, Elta Systems, IUHDSS comprises surveillance, observation, surface, and underwater sensing arrays that can detect, locate, and track various threats – whether from small boats and submersibles, swimmer delivery vehicles (SDV), swimmers or divers.
IUHDSS is a modular system, tailor-made to meet specific customer needs. The system includes an advanced command and control system, a range of coastal surveillance radars, diver-detecting sonars, electro-optical sensors, and automatic threat identification systems. The central command and control system provides automatic integration of all sensors, creating a common situational picture for port defense.
Nissim Hadas, IAI Executive VP & ELTA President, said in a statement, “We are proud to deliver another project to India, our strategic partner. Many of IAI’s systems play a role in India’s maritime and coastal defense. Since becoming operational, this system has proved itself, and we look forward to continuing our long-term strategic cooperation with India for a bright and safe future.”
Leviathan partners raise $1.75b. from international lenders
In a key step toward furnishing Israel and its neighbors with a robust natural gas supply, the Leviathan reservoir partners have secured $1.75 billion in loans for the basin's development.
The partners signed the financing agreement with a consortium of about 20 international and Israeli lenders, led by J.P. Morgan Limited and HSBC Pank Plc, according to a report submitted to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning. The funds are expected to support the A1 development stage of the Leviathan project.
Once developed, the 613-billion cubic meter Leviathan gas reservoir – located about 130 km. west of Haifa – is expected to not only boost domestic gas supplies, but also to serve as an export outlet for Israel's immediate neighbors and the wider Mediterranean region.
Houston-based Noble Energy holds a 39.66% share of the Leviathan reservoir, while the Delek Group’s subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil each have 22.67% and Ratio Oil Exploration has 15%.
Vatican to join with Rome Jewish community on menorah exhibition
The Vatican and Rome's Jewish community on Monday presented an ambitious exhibition on the menorah which will bring together 130 works featuring the iconic Jewish candelabrum, an ancient symbol of the faith.
The show on the seven-candle Hebrew lamp will run simultaneously from May 15 to July 23 at the Vatican museums and the synagogue complex in a city which once housed one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.
The artifacts are being loaned by nearly 20 museums around the world, including London's National Gallery and the Louvre in Paris.
Among them will be one of the earliest known depictions of a menorah, an engraved stone found at the site in Israel where a synagogue from the Second Temple period was discovered by archaeologists in 2009.
Christian medieval candlesticks inspired by the menorah, as well as the works of contemporary artists, will also be on display.
But history's most precious menorah, made out of solid gold, will be missing.
The menorah, depicted on the Arch of Titus in Rome, was one of the spoils brought back to the city by the Romans after they sacked the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Hebrew carvings on column lend weight to Galilee village’s Jewish past
A pair of 1,800-year-old Hebrew inscriptions carved into a capital found last week in the Druze village of Pekiin may lend support to a tradition linking the Galilean village to an ancient center of Jewish scholarship.
The inscriptions, etched into a limestone block buried beneath a courtyard of a building adjacent to the village’s 19th-century synagogue, were found during restoration work, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.
The antiquities authority was tight-lipped about the find and refused to disclose the text of the inscriptions, saying they were still being studied and wouldn’t be published until they appear in a scholarly journal.
The IAA also wouldn’t say how archaeologists who inspected the inscriptions determined they were 1,800 years old. The IAA did disclose that the inscriptions appeared to be dedications by donors to the synagogue, lending support to the tradition of a Jewish presence during the Roman period.

U.N. showcases a country that's a force of nature, Israel's natural beauty is celebrated with riveting photography display
Israel prides itself on its variety of natural landscapes and unspoiled scenery. And no wonder: the country's biodiversity is impressive. Its landscape is dotted with everything from snowy mountaintops and sunburnt deserts to evergreen forests and pristine beaches.
This visual variety is on show in a new exhibit at the United Nations in New York City. Titled "The Natural Side of Israel," it brings together a beautifully curated selection of nature photographs captured by Israeli photographers. Here's a sampling of what's in the show:

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A few weeks ago there was news that Hamas was using social engineering techniques to fool IDF soldiers into downloading malicious software on their phones by pretending to be European women.

It turns out that the software is more sophisticated than previously thought, but still possible that  Hamas could have possibly done.

Security firm Kaspersky, working with the IDF, analyzed the malware.

Israel HaYom reports:
The cybersecurity company engaged by the Israel Defense Forces to help crack the Hamas 'honey trap'  plot exposed last month has released a report about the security breach that includes new information. Hamas operatives had used fake social media profiles of alluring young women in order to entice IDF soldiers into downloading malware onto their mobile devices that would allow Hamas to collect information.

According to the report by Kaspersky Lab, released Thursday, the cyber attack is still in its initial stages and apparently ongoing. The report noted that the Hamas operatives behind the cyber plot were focusing mainly on soldiers and officers serving in and around the Gaza Strip, and that over 100 soldiers of various ranks had fallen prey to the attack, which turned the soldiers' personal Android mobile phones into spy machines for Hamas. The report said that the malware soldiers were tricked into downloading gave Hamas access to information about location, conversations, correspondence and also access to the devices' microphones and cameras. The attackers also managed to send out updates to the malware that increased their abilities to manipulate the users' smartphones.

The report said that after a victim was identified on Facebook, a fictitious profile of a young woman would tempt him into downloading a fake app granting the attackers user access. One version of the malware package included an invite to a fake YouTube app, while others offered fake messaging apps. Once the user downloaded one of the apps, the malware code would be installed on the device. One malware pack titled WhatsApp Update has been identified as having the ability to both execute commands on demand and conduct automatic data mining activity. Most of the data mining took place while the soldiers were using a wireless Internet connection.
I find it interesting that the IDF is cooperating with Kspersky. Kaspersky is widely believed to be close to Russian intelligence.

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From Ian:

The Impossible Deal: Establishing a Peaceful Palestinian-Arab State
Similarly, as Netanyahu explained in 2009 during his speech at Bar-Ilan University, any Palestinian-Arab state needs to be “demilitarized” – meaning that it cannot have an army, control its airspace, forge military pacts with the likes of Hezbollah and Iran, and import weapons, and must be subject to strong measures to prevent weapons smuggling. The PA opposes all of these Israeli security requirements.
Still another irreconcilable issue is that because a Palestinian state deal asks Israel to give up irreversible tangibles (i.e., land) for intangible peace promises, Israel needs partners who keep their promises. But the PA broke its repeated Oslo and other agreements to combat and stop inciting terror, collect illegal weapons, outlaw terrorist groups and preserve and provide Jews access to Jewish holy sites in PA territory.
Finally, the PA’s unrelenting goal is to destroy and replace all of Israel with a Palestinian-Arab state that no Jews can step foot in. This goal is clearly laid out in the PA ruling party Fatah Charter and in PA President Abbas’ speeches condemning the Israeli “occupation” since 1948 – and in the PA maps, stationery, official emblems, stamps, media and atlases showing all of Israel as Palestine. The PA leadership assures its people that any concessions it obtains are “stages” towards their final goal of destroying the Jewish state. Additionally, the PA is politically aligned with Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction and the murder of every Jew.
Israel cannot agree to commit suicide – or give the PA a stronger base for advancing the Palestinian-Arab “struggle” for Israel’s total annihilation.
Caroline Glick: Senator Menendez and the Pollard effect
During his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu chose not to bring up Pollard and Pollard’s scandalous parole terms. Instead, Netanyahu sufficed with discussing Pollard’s plight at his meeting with Vice President Mike Pence. According to media reports, the two men agreed that Ambassador Ron Dermer will work with the administration on the issue. What that means was left open to interpretation.
Given the devastating role the Pollard affair has played in US-Israel relations, it is understandable that Netanyahu wouldn’t want to bring up Pollard at his first meeting with Trump. Who wants to bring up unpleasant subjects when you’re trying to build a new relationship with a new US president?
But while understandable, Netanyahu’s decision to minimize his discussions of Pollard’s plight and then delegate the issue to his ambassador was the wrong way to build that relationship.
Every day Pollard is subjected to prejudicial treatment by the US justice system is another day that the US is officially persecuting an American Jew, not because he breached his oath to protect US secrets, but because he did so as a Jew.
And as Menendez’s bigotry toward Friedman made clear, every day that this continues is a day when it is acceptable to slander loyal American Jews simply because they passionately support Israel. Every day that Pollard languishes under effective house arrest is another day when it is acceptable to question the good intentions of America’s greatest ally in the Middle East.
In other words, to rebuild its alliance with the US, Israel needs more than a warm embrace at the White House. It needs to receive Pollard at Ben Gurion Airport.
Shmuley Boteach: Cory Booker Condemned David Friedman While Giving Iran a Pass
And for too long, our ambassadors have blamed Israel for the ongoing dispute with the Palestinians rather than acknowledge that the obstacle to peace is the Palestinians’ refusal to accept the idea of a Jewish state coexisting next to a Palestinian state.
J Street has every right to its harsh opinions about Israel. But sitting in the comfort of homes 6,000 miles away may not give them the same perspective as Israelis who face threats of genocide from Hamas to the West, Hezbollah to the North and Iran to the East. J Street does not believe Jews have a legitimate claim to Judea and Samaria or the right to live in all of their homeland. The group is also out of step with Congress and mainstream Jews who support moving the US embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Prodded by J Street, Friedman has been challenged about his past support for Jews in the community of Beit El. The world may villainize the families there as settlers, but in my view, they have every right to live in the land of Israel.
The Palestinians have been offered the possibility of statehood no fewer than seven times going back to 1937, and missed every opportunity because of their refusal to accept a Jewish state.
While Democrats have united in opposition to Trump’s cabinet nominations, support for Israel has always been bipartisan — because Republicans and Democrats recognize that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, the only reliable US ally in the region and a nation that shares American values and interests. President Obama undermined that bipartisan tradition, which is why staunch Democratic supporters of Israel like Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Robert Menendez of New Jersey had the wisdom to vote against the Iran nuclear deal.
Cory supported the deal. He had that right. But he must show consistency. If you’re going to criticize an ambassador-designate, then at least condemn the Iranian regime that has pledged death to America, and its foremost ally, Israel.

Ruthie Blum: Nikki Haley's first hurrah
Four months ago, when South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was nominated by the president-elect as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, I wrote that there was reason to hope she would live up to the legacies of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and John Bolton as "shining beacons in the Midtown Manhattan snake pit."
Though at the time I could not judge whether she was the right person for the job, it appeared that she possessed the kind of moral clarity and tough skin required in an arena filled with people whose key purpose is to cloud the distinction between good and evil. Indeed, it takes a special kind of envoy to maneuver the Orwellian universe in which the international body operates, where Western values are on a lower hierarchical rung than third-world culture, and where a mockery is made of the concept of human rights, the championing and upholding of which the organization was originally established to safeguard.
One indicator that Haley seemed to fit the bill was that she, the daughter of Indian immigrants who went through legal channels to become Americans, signed a law to crack down on illegal immigration. Another was her introduction of legislation to outlaw boycotts, divestment and sanctions "based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin of the targeted person or entity." Since Israel has been the focus of BDS campaigns everywhere, it was clear what she had in mind. No wonder her appointment caused Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour to flinch.
Mansour was right to be worried, just as I now believe my high hopes were well-founded when Haley was confirmed.
The Offer that Turns the Gaza Strip into Singapore
Last week, Hamas received an offer that no sane entity would turn down. The offer did not come from Hamas's allies in Iran and the Islamic world. The offer, to turn the impoverished Gaza Strip into "the Singapore of the Middle East," came from Israel.
"The Gazans must understand that Israel, which withdrew from the Gaza Strip to the last millimeter, is not the source of their suffering -- it is the Hamas leadership, which doesn't take their needs into consideration... The moment Hamas gives up its tunnels and rockets, we'll be the first to invest." — Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Hamas does not want a new "Singapore" in the Middle East. Hamas wants Israel to disappear from the face of the earth. The welfare of the Palestinians living under its rule is the last thing on the mind of Hamas. The dispute is not about improving the living conditions of Palestinians, as far as Hamas is concerned. Instead, it is about the very existence of Israel.
Hamas deserves credit for one thing: its honesty concerning its intentions to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Hamas does not want 40,000 new jobs for the unemployed poor Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would rather see these unemployed Palestinians join its ranks and become soldiers in the jihad to replace Israel with an Islamic empire.
Egyptian Presidential Spokesman: Report of El-Sisi’s Part in Clandestine Peace Summit in Jordan Last Year Includes ‘False Information’
A spokesman for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi railed against a report in the Israeli media about his country’s part in a clandestine Mideast peace summit in Jordan last year, hosted by King Abdullah II and attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Monday.
According to nrg, Alaa Youssef demanded to clarify that the Haaretz report “included false information.”
Youssef was referring to the Haaretz article which said Egypt was “sparing no effort” to reach a just and comprehensive two-state solution, which involves the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967 borders.
Youssef said that, “contrary to the false report,” Egypt’s position has been to “lead the way towards a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue and to safeguard the rights of the Palestinian people by hearing and weighing various opinions from the involved parties and is prepared to examine initiatives aimed at reviving the peace process.”
Youssef, who failed to say what about the Haaretz report was false, added, “Reaching a final solution to this issue will lead to a new reality that guarantees the safety and security of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, and will provide hope to anyone who wants to achieve economic and social development in the region.”
Egypt, Jordan leaders say two-state solution not up for compromise
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah said in a Cairo meeting on Tuesday that they were committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sisi's office said in a statement.
"The two sides discussed future movements to break the gridlock within the Middle East peace process, especially with US President Donald Trump's administration taking power," the statement said.
"They also discussed mutual coordination to reach a two-state solution and establish a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as a capital which is a national constant that cannot be given up."
Last week, Trump said that he was open to ideas beyond a two-state solution, the longstanding bedrock of Washington and the international community's policy for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
‘Gaza-Sinai’ state idea a danger under Trump, warns Gaza analyst
Naji Shurrab, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, believes there will now be American, Israeli and Arab attention to the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza. He does not think Sinai’s inclusion will be discussed immediately because of Egyptian refusal, but that could eventually change if Israel were willing to transfer land from the Negev to Egypt in a regional arrangement. “I think that for the US, Israel and the Arab states establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza is an option that will be on the table in the future,” he said.
“A Palestinian state in the West Bank will be refused strongly by Israel but Israel may receive the support of the new administration to think of a Palestinian state in Gaza,” he said.
Most analysts think that is a non-starter. “Gaza is not a solution, it keeps the problem alive in the West Bank, it’s not a serious thought,” said Ghassan Khatib, vice president of Bir Zeit University in the West Bank. He believes that Netanyahu’s plan is simply to maintain the status quo. “There’s no pressure on him, nothing is bothering him and he can expand the settlements.”
“Talking about a Gaza state is a way of escaping the inevitable outcome which is two states and avoiding that settlement expansion is illegitimate, and goes against international public opinion and international law. It deviates the discussion and attention from the issues that need to be looked at to non-issues,” he said.
Australian Editorial: Don’t Recognize “Palestine”
With the backdrop of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s impending visit to Australia, and former Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calling to recognize “Palestine,” The Australian has run an editorial which is a welcome change from what I have seen in the Australian media.
Predictably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival tomorrow has prompted demands for Australian recognition of a Palestinian state. Kevin Rudd is the latest Labor figure to join the clamour, adding to the calls by Bob Hawke, Gareth Evans, Bob Carr and others for the Turnbull government to overturn its firm stand against unilateral recognition without a negotiated peace accord between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Recognition would add to the delusions of Palestinian leaders that they can achieve statehood through the back door, using the UN as a conduit. Proponents of recognition overlook the reality that Palestine lacks the most fundamental prerequisites of statehood, including defined borders, which can be achieved only through a negotiated settlement with Israel — not shuffling documents around the UN.
Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are right in rejecting demands for Australian recognition. Doing so would reinforce the Palestinians’ past rejections of generous peace terms (in 2000, 2001 and 2008) and their refusal to return to the negotiating table. It would merely add another country to the list of those fostering the Palestinians’ absurd belief that they can achieve statehood without negotiating with the Israelis.
Will Australian Labor Adopt the Fake "Palestine" narrative?
How will it help ANYONE to "recognise" a fake national identity and create yet another failed, brutal Islamic terrorist entity? (Look at what happened in Gaza.)
In the 2000 years that Palestine was ruled by foreign empires, including the 400 years of Ottoman rule, there was never a Palestinian-Arab movement for self-determination. Even when Israel declared an independent Jewish state, opposition to it was seen as a pan-Arab movement, and the 1948-9 war was waged against Israel by the Arab League.
The PLO was first formed in the 1960s, at which time its manifesto explicitly renounced any ambitions to self-determination in Gaza and Judea/Samaria (the "West Bank"), which were then ruled by Egypt and Jordan. The only land they wanted to "liberate" was the land ruled by Jews (inside the 1948-9 Armistice Line).
Since 1967, the PLO manifesto was altered, and they now claim the additional land, which they previously renounced but is now controlled by Jews, as their "ancient homeland" ...
The entire narrative of Palestinian nationhood is a fiction, a tool to destroy Jewish self-determination, rather than an ambition for Palestinian-Arab self-determination.
BBC Radio 4 amplifies PLO interpretation of the two-state solution
Listeners then heard Manuel Hassassian again promote the inaccurate notion that the two-state solution was included in the Oslo Accords. They also heard him make the false claims – completely unchallenged by Shaun Ley – that the 1949 Armistice lines are “borders” and that the definition of the two-state solution is that a Palestinian state would be established on all of the land occupied by Jordan and Egypt in 1948.
Hassassian: “For the last 24 years when we embarked on the peace process, everybody agreed that the two-state solution would be the solution that will end the conflict and end the occupation – meaning that the Palestinian will have a state on the borders of 1967 as a result of the Security Council resolutions 234 and 388. There is a international consensus. International community talking all the time about a two-state solution.”
Seeing as UNSC resolution 388 relates to Rhodesia, Hassassian may have intended to say 338. However, neither UN Security Council resolution 234 nor 338 make any reference to a Palestinian state but Ley failed to challenge Hassassian on that too,
Trump says antisemitism is 'horrible' and has to stop
US President Donald Trump denounced antisemitism in the United States in an interview on Tuesday after he was asked about a spate of threats to Jewish community centers around the country.
"I will tell you that antisemitism is horrible and it's going to stop and it has to stop," Trump said in an interview with NBC.
Trump later said, while speaking at the African American History Museum in Washington, that "antisemitic threats targeting our Jewish communities and our Jewish community centers are horrible, and are painful."
Shortly before Trump's remarks, Hillary Clinton condemned a recent streak of "troubling" antisemitic incidents, and called for action first and foremost from the president.
"JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped," she wrote on Twitter. "Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS."
Ivanka Trump, White House condemn bomb threats targeting Jewish centers
The White House responded to a reporter’s query about the latest string of bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers by saying “these actions are unacceptable.”
“Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom,” reads a statement, attributed to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that was shared Monday afternoon by NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander. “The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.”
The statement did not specify that the threats targeted Jewish institutions, although it came in reply to a query about threats to JCCs.
Alexander posted Spicer’s response on Twitter, adding, “@PressSec responds to my request for comment about wave of threats to Jewish community centers.”
Separately, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who is Jewish, condemned the threats in a Tweet that pointed to the fact that the targets were Jewish.
“America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance,” she said. “We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers.” She ended the tweet with the hashtagged acronym for Jewish community center, “#JCC”.
An Orthodox Rabbi Responds To Trump’s Press Conference Answer On Anti-Semitism
As an Orthodox Jew and a Rabbi, I am alarmed. What's missing from the conversation is that Jake Turx was serving in the capacity of a journalist. A journalist, by definition, isn't just representing himself. He is representing the public. Turx correctly stated that people in his community are concerned about an uptick in anti-Semitism. While some in the Orthodox Jewish community may not have that concern, his question did represent a concern of many. The President should care that citizens, many of whom supported him, are concerned. Whether Jake Turx understands and is sympathetic to the President's frustrations is irrelevant. A question was asked of the President, and he refused to answer it on the basis that the question inherently was repulsive and insulting.
Without a doubt, Jake Turx and Ami magazine are in uncharted territory. Their response to this difficult situation, and their future standing and access to the White House, should have no bearing on how we as a public interpret events. Looking through Turx's twitter feed, one can see that he is quite conflicted by what happened. If he forgives the President for his reaction during the press conference, that's a right that he has as a citizen.
The issue of anti-Semitism, however, is a relevant issue that any President should address when there's a perceived uptick. If President Trump feels frustrated by the issue to the point where he's insulted when a journalist asks about it, then we as citizens have a right to be concerned. If we aren't concerned, or if we criticize the journalists that bring it up, then that's on us.
Over 170 headstones vandalized in St. Louis Jewish cemetery
More than 170 gravestones were damaged in a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis which has served the community for more than 100 years.
Vandals pushed over headstones on the Jewish graves on Sunday in the suburb of University City, Missouri.
”Numerous plots were damaged and [headstones were] pushed over,” Lt. Fredrick Lemons of the University City Police Department told The Huffington Post.
When asked whether he considered the attack to be a hate crime, Lemons replied that “Right now, everything is under investigation. We’re looking into all possible leads.” He added that police were reviewing video surveillance footage
Police said that it was likely there was more than one perpetrator, Fox2News reported.
Some of the graves, in the oldest section of the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery, date back to the late 1800s. The cemetery holds an estimated 20,000 graves.
In 2012 Speech, Incoming National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster Emphasized Importance of Remembering the Holocaust
US President Donald Trump announced on Monday that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster has been chosen to serve as his next national security adviser, replacing Michael Flynn, who resigned last week less than a month into the job.
McMaster, 54, is a 1984 West Point graduate who served overseas in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of a decorated three-decade military career.
“He is a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump said on Monday of McMaster. “I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everybody in the military, and we’re very honored to have him.”
On August 26, 2012, McMaster spoke at the dedication of a new Holocaust exhibit at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in Georgia. The transcript of his remarks — in which he talked about the importance of remembering the Holocaust — was unearthed by The Algemeiner on Monday and can be read below:
How the Media Fabricated Bannon's "Fascist" Connection
According to the New York Times, Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon admires radical Italian philosopher Julius Evola. An examination of Bannon's statements shows the opposite
Enter Steven Bannon, whom the media has crowned Trump's "grey cardinal." Mr. Bannon is very relevant to our lives, and any link to Evola should be disturbing; except for the fact that he never alluded to Evola in his prepared remarks. The New York Times headline is deceptive, and every media outlet that followed its lead was fooled. These sensationalist articles contradict the very raw material made public by Buzzfeed, even while referencing it. The Buzzfeed article contains an unedited transcript of a speech Bannon gave via Skype to a Vatican conference in 2014. The conference covered "human dignity" and the consequences of economic order. In that speech, Bannon supported "enlightened capitalism," and condemned two dangerous deviations: "kleptocracy," a political-economic order in which capitalist corporations merge with the higher echelons of the state bureaucracy to get rich at the expense of the impoverished worker, and unrestrained libertarianism, which in his opinion objectifies humanity. The speech itself made no mention of Evola. Repeat. The speech never mentioned Evola.
When did his name come up? In the question and answer stage, when Bannon was asked about his attitude towards Putin's Russia. His oral answer was, and I quote, "When Vladimir Putin, when you really look at some of the underpinnings of some of his beliefs today, a lot of those come from what I call Eurasianism; he’s got an adviser who harkens back to Julius Evola and different writers of the early 20th century who are really the supporters of what’s called the traditionalist movement, which really eventually metastasized into Italian fascism."
In other words, Bannon said that Putin is influenced by an advisor — who is easily identified as Alexander Dugin — who, in turn, is influenced by Evola, among others. That's it, that's the only mention of Evola. But perhaps, you'll say, Bannon supports Putin and Dugin and Evola's ideology? After all, we're told that Trump admires Putin, so Bannon must feel the same way. Well, later in the lecture, Bannon summarizes exactly what he thinks about Putin, his regime, and his goals:
Trump to Build ‘Third Temple Trump Hotel’ on Site of Temple Mount (satire)
Calling it a perfect solution to longstanding tension over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, President Trump has proposed a plan to raze the entire site and replace it with the ‘Third Temple Trump Hotel and Mosque.’
Trump unveiled his plans days after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After considering how to accommodate Jewish access to the site of the First and Second Temples and Muslim access to the Al Aqsa Mosque, Trump said he believed the best solution for all would be a five-star resort that paid homage to each of the major religions.
While Al Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, will be demolished, there will be an ‘Al Aqsa Bar and Casino’ within the resort, where Muslims who can recite a passage from the Quran will receive 20 percent off drinks at the bar. Trump will also replace the Western Wall, a section of wall surrounding the historic Temples, with a golden replica.
Hebron soldier sentenced to 18 months in prison, amid calls for immediate pardon
Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, convicted on manslaughter charges for shooting and killing an incapacitated terrorist in Hebron last March, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison, minus the nine days the spent in custody over the course of the legal proceedings. He was also demoted from sergeant to private.
Around 100 protesters went to the military court in the IDF's Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv in a show of support for the soldier.
Military Court Judge Maya Heller read out the ruling, saying: "The standard punishment for manslaughter is 20 years in prison, to teach us about the gravity that the legislature attributes to the crime of manslaughter. But in the State of Israel, punishment is individual. ... The defendant was drafted to the IDF in July 2014 as an infantryman in the Kfir Brigade; he successfully passed a paramedics' course. The defendant has no disciplinary past."
Heller described Azaria's family history and situation, saying he had had a difficult time adjusting to life as a combat soldier, but he had not received any help for his distress from the military. She also mentioned his father's testimony that he had suffered a stroke during the trial and that Azaria's mother had lost weight due to their distress over their son's legal proceedings.
Israeli ministers call for Elor Azaria to be pardoned
Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded to the sentencing of IDF soldier Elor Azaria on Tuesday, calling for him to be immediately pardoned.
"The security of Israel's citizens necessitates an immediate pardon for Elor Azaria," he said.
Bennett stated that Azaria, who was sentenced to 1.5 years in jail, "was sent to defend the citizens of Israel during the height of a Palestinian knife terror wave and the entire investigative process was contaminated from the start."
The Bayit Yehudi leader said that "even if he made a mistake, Elor must not serve time in jail. We will all pay the price."
Transportation Minister Israel Katz (Likud) also called for Azaria to be pardoned.
"The court has had its say - due process has been carried out. Now the time has come for a pardon. We must bring Elor back home."
Azaria supporters vow to fight, protest Hebron shooter's sentencing
Shouts of “pardon him!” erupted from protesters outside a Tel Aviv military court on Tuesday where IDF solider Elor Azaria was sentenced to 18 months in jail for killing Palestinian attacker Abdel Fatah al-Sharif in March 2015, as he lay immobilized in a Hebron street.
“His life is ruined!” said Sigal Cohen, 48, who was protesting in support of Azaria. "This boy is a solider, who was doing his job. He is our son, every mother should feel that. We are not going to swallow this. We are going to flip the government.”
Azaria’s defense has vowed to appeal the ruling, and had previously urged the court to delay the beginning of the sentence until an appeal is submitted. Azaria's representation requested 15 days to submit the main claims of an appeal.
Around 100 protesters gathered to support Azaria and once the court announced the sentence, a bit after 1 p.m., they vowed to continue to seek Azaria’s release. “We are here to fight until Azaria is returned home,” one man said.
Guardian home page: Azaria verdict relegates 74 dead migrants to 2nd place
A couple of hours ago, Israeli military judges sentenced IDF soldier Elor Azaria to 18 months in prison for killing an incapacitated Palestinian terrorist in Hebron last year. The case drew widespread media attention both in Israel and abroad. Sure enough, the Guardian published a report on the verdict, by their Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont, less than 30 minutes after it was announced.
The article wasn’t especially problematic.
However, one element of the Guardian’s coverage of the incident was extremely telling, and speaks to a larger problem relating to British media coverage of the region.
In surprise attack, IS affiliate captures land near Israeli-Syrian border
An Islamic State-affiliated group on Monday captured territory in south-western Syria, near the convergence of the Israeli and Jordanian borders, after launching a surprise attack on more moderate rebel fighters near the Golan Heights.
The Khalid Ibn Al Walid Army used dozens of armored personnel carriers and several tanks in a dawn attack against positions held by the Free Syrian Army, rebel sources said, according to Reuters.
“In a surprise attack, Islamic State made an attack on positions held by the Free Syrian Army FSA groups which no one expected to happen so fast,” Colonel Ismail Ayoub, a Syrian opposition army defector, said.
Jordanian army units on the border were ordered to assume a heightened state of readiness, a Jordanian security source said; explosions from the battle could be heard across the border.
Iran's Khamenei calls on Palestinians to pursue intifada against Israel
Iran’s Supreme Leader called on Palestinians on Tuesday to pursue an uprising against Israel, suggesting the Israeli government was a "cancerous tumor" that should be confronted until Palestinians were completely liberated.
"... by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to his website.
The Supreme Leader’s bellicose comments, made during a two-day conference in Tehran focused on its support for the Palestinians, come at a time of increasingly heated rhetoric between Iran, Israel and the United States.
While on a visit to Washington last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News that Israel and the United States had a "grand mission" to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran.
Nasrallah: Hezbollah will have 'no red lines' in next war with Israel
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday continued in his string of threats against Israel, charging that his Lebanese terrorist group will have "no red lines in the next war with Israel."
In an interview with Iran's Channel 1 News, Nasrallah reiterated previous threats regarding Hezbollah's alleged capabilities to strike Israel's nuclear facility in the southern town of Dimona and the Haifa ammonia plant, which is now slated for closure.
"Israel should think a million times before it goes to war with Lebanon," he said. "Hezbollah is ready for any threat."
When asked if his Iranian-backed Shi'ite terrorist organization would recognize the state of Israel in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Nasrallah indicated that animosity would remain Hezbollah's underlying sentiment toward the Jewish state.
"Even if there is a peace deal with Israel, it won't remove the terror label and the occupation from it [Israel]," he told the Iranian news station.
"Israel is lying when it comes to the two-state solution, and will be deceiving the Palestinians if they agree to it," he added.
Russian deputy FM to ‘Post’ Hezbollah will leave Syria when conflict is over
The Syrian government invited Iran and Hezbollah to aid it in the Syrian civil war, and when the war is over they, along with all armed groups, “will leave,” Russian Federation Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Syromolotov told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“I understand the fears of Israel relating to Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards in Syria, and you of course fear that they will stay in Syria after the war,” he said.
He noted Israel’s concern over what will become of the involvement of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Syrian conflict.
“For us, Hezbollah is part of the politics of Lebanon, and an important part of the population of Lebanon supports them and they are a part of the parliament,” Syromolotov said. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is also part of the military structure of Iran.
“For that reason, there is no way to put them on the list of international terrorists,” he said.
Iran bans chess players for 'bad hijab,' match against Israeli
Two Iranian chess players have been banned from the Iranian National Chess Team, as well as domestic chess tournaments, one for playing a chess match against an Israeli and the other for not wearing a hijab at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, Radio Free Europe reported.
It was not immediately clear whether the dismissed players, siblings 18-year-old Dorsa Derakhshani and 15-year-old Borna Derakhashani, would face legal prosecution back home in Iran.
Iran forbids athletes from competing against Israelis in sporting events; often players will feign illness or injury to avoid matches.

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