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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Credit: יעקב via Wikimedia Commons
Credit: יעקב via Wikimedia Commons
Beit El, Binyamin Regional Council, May 23 - Housing starts in this community north of Jerusalem were put on hold this week following revelations that the development plans for the new homes had only been included in settlement watchdog groups several dozen times, a figure that does not meet official criteria for generating the impression that Israel is expanding Jewish settlements at a blistering pace and not, as the reality on the ground indicates, more slowly than any other government in the country's history.

Clerks at the Ministry of Housing and Construction reported Monday they were putting a provisional stop on the scheduled construction of fifty-five free-standing and semi-attached houses in Beit El, now that they discovered the deficient figures. According to precedent, development plans beyond the 1967 armistice line with Jordan must be included in no fewer than eighty reports by groups such as Peace Now and Yesh Gvul before actual construction may proceed. Without repeated mention of the same housing units as if they represent many different ones, explained a ministry official, the world will understand the actual figure, and remain unable to characterize Israel's settlement policy as "radical," "strangling hopes for a two-state solution," "pounding mails into the coffin of a peaceful resolution," or "beholden to far-right settlement zealots."

"There's cultural and political precedent we have to respect," noted Deputy Secretary-General of the ministry Gad Demmitt. "It's kind of a ritual. The government announces approval of certain plans, the international community condemns them, some time passes, the approval lapses, gets approved again, and Peace Now makes sure not to note the approval applies to units that had already received approval, so everyone thinks there are twice as many houses for Israelis going up than originally planned, but in fact it's zero. Repeat."

"Once the requisite number of watchdog reports have been issued, contractors bid for the project," continued Demmitt. "In this case, however, because of a bureaucratic oversight, the tender was issued without provoking the necessary outrage quotient from the usual suspects, and we will be forced to place a hold on this building initiative until that deficiency is remedied."

This incident marks the second time is as many months that such a bureaucratic failure has stymied government projects. In early April, the Ministry of Defense shelved an initiative to train the IDF Spokesman's Office in better use of social media because the six-month quota of UN resolutions against Israel had not been met.

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:

Sohrab Amari: The EU Picks Iran and Hamas
From the mullahs’ nuclear-weapons program to Hamas’s calculated campaign to rush the barrier fence with Israel to the Iranian-led insurgency in Yemen, Mogherini and the EU see only diplomatic challenges to overcome. And the answer is always, always to convene a gabfest in Basel, Lausanne, Vienna or some other plush Continental city, where civilizational clashes and historic animosities and sharp moral contrasts can be dissolved in technical solutions.

Never mind that the Iranian nuclear deal on its own terms puts Tehran on the glide path to the bomb, and never mind that it fails to address the mullahs’ missile program, regional aggression, and human-rights violations. “We had a process,” say the Brussels mandarins, “and that process must be preserved at all costs.” Never mind that Hamas is constitutionally committed to the destruction of world Jewry and has been staging terror attacks and bloody stunts for decades. “We had a process,” say the mandarins, “and Trump’s embassy move disrupts the process.” In this worldview, the likes of Iran and the Palestinians can appear as friends and good guys, because they cynically embrace European process games. All the while, the U.S. and Israel are cast as the bad guys since they don’t play geopolitics the European way.

Along with Mogherini, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel epitomized this bankrupt mindset. One of the three, Obama, has already exited the world stage. The tectonic electoral shifts underway in Europe mean the other two are likely to fade sooner than later.
PMW: PMW posters of terrorists and their PA salaries distributed to Israeli MPs at committee hearing
Palestinian Media Watch was invited to the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense committee once again last week for the latest debate on new legislation to deduct the amount the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families from Israel's tax transfers to the PA.

In order to impress upon members of Parliament the horror of the PA practice of paying salaries to terrorists, PMW produced 13 small posters with information about a number of Palestinian terrorists, their hundreds of victims and how much money the PA has paid each of the terrorists since they were arrested.

PMW's Director, Itamar Marcus, and Head of Legal Strategies, Maurice Hirsch, both actively participated in the debate. In addition, PMW had invited relatives of terror victims who also spoke at the hearing, demanding that Israel not transfer any money to the PA that might go to pay salaries to the murderers of their loved ones. Some of them held up PMW's posters while they spoke, documenting how much money the PA has already paid the terrorist who murdered their relatives.

Caroline Glick: Pompeo Presents the Trump Doctrine
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech Monday at the Heritage Foundation marked a pivotal moment in U.S. foreign policy.

Pompeo made several important arguments in the course of his half hour address, in which he set out President Donald Trump’s policy regarding Iran in the wake of his May 8 announcement that he is abandoning Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

The key line in his speech was, inarguably, “As President Trump said two weeks ago, he is ready, willing and able to negotiate a new deal [with Iran]. But the deal is not the objective. Our goal is to protect the American people.”

The basic insight that there is no intrinsic value to any agreement – or foreign policy initiative of any sort – that does not advance the interests of the United States or protect the American people is striking, because it has been absent from American foreign policy in relation to rogue regimes and entities for better part of the last generation.

In 1994, when then president Bill Clinton sought to contend with North Korea’s illicit nuclear program, the first fantasist president, Jimmy Carter, turned up in Pyongyang to see if there was a deal to be had.

Palestinians: Americans Now Legitimate Targets
Why are the Palestinians doing this? This is a bullying tactic to scare the US administration into supporting their cause and abandoning its "bias" in favor of Israel. This is a new/old tactic that the Palestinian leadership has long used to extract political support and financial aid from the world. It is like saying: Give me everything I want or I will exact revenge.

The Palestinians consider the present US administration one of the most hostile American governments in history towards the Palestinians. They are hoping that the bullying, threats and violent attacks on US citizens and officials will make the White House backtrack on its support for Israel and start appeasing them.

Ultimately, it is all about money. The Palestinian Authority is desperate for US financial aid; without it, the Palestinian leadership would not be able to survive. So the Palestinians are hoping to extort protection money from the Americans. It is like saying, "You see what will happen to you if you stop funding me? It could always get worse for you. I suggest that you restore my accountability-free funding, and perhaps I will see to it that you do not get hurt."

The Americans should call the Palestinian bluff and send a warning to the Palestinian leadership that there will be consequences for their rhetoric and actions if they do not cease the incitement and brainwashing. The US should use the money as leverage to demand this from the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority needs your money and you have the right to demand something good in return for it. There is no reason why any American should be funding the same Palestinian propaganda machine that is inciting not only against Israel, but also against the US and its citizens.
Israel lost the PR battle over Gaza. Was it unwinnable or just mismanaged?
While the army of Israel succeeded in fending off repeated infiltration attempts from the Gaza border during mass protests and clashes over the past seven weeks, the State of Israel lost the fight for public opinion — resoundingly, according to some.

“There’s a war being waged, and we’re not even on the battlefield,” Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy Michael Oren told The Times of Israel.

The story accepted by much of the world appears to be one of largely peaceful Palestinian protests met by overwhelming, disproportionate lethal force by the powerful Israel Defense Forces, said Oren. This beat out the Israeli narrative that says this was a military campaign by the Hamas terrorist group, which regularly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, using human shields as a cover for its attacks along the fence with the intention of getting as many of its own civilians shot by Israeli troops as possible, he said.

Universal sympathy for Israel was never likely.

Israeli officials repeated that Hamas was trying to get mobs of Gazans through the fence, including its own gunmen, potentially to carry out attacks inside Israel, and that the IDF’s prime obligation was to ensure this did not happen. But precisely because it didn’t happen, this was a mere claim on Israel’s part — and it was set against actual pictures of dead and injured Gazans.
How Palestinian Education and UNRWA Incitement Lead to Innocent Deaths
Teachers work hard to find real-life examples to help pique the interests of their skeptical students. Teachers in UNRWA schools face the same challenge. But to teach science to Palestinian students in Gaza, the West Bank, and parts of East Jerusalem, these teachers rely on textbooks that promote a program of incitement and violence against Jews.

A seventh-grade science textbook has an illustration of a boy with his head wrapped in a kiffeya, aiming a sling shot at Israeli soldiers.

The text reads: During the first Palestinian uprising, Palestinian youths used slingshots to confront the soldiers of the Zionist Occupation and defend themselves from their treacherous bullets. What is the relationship between the elongation of the slingshot’s rubber and the tensile strength affecting it? What are the forces that influence the stone after its release from the slingshot?

The consequences of these teachings — and more like them throughout the curriculum — were tragically revealed in the horrific events at the Gaza border this week.

First, the lessons violate UNESCO’s standards of peace and tolerance and respect of “the other.” The drawing of the soldiers as children — smaller than the stone thrower, as if they were harmless — falsely encourages young children to face a deadly enemy without fear. The subliminal message is that the stone thrower has a fighting chance against the armed soldier.
Barbara Kay: Hamas will always win the PR war, even as Israel wins the military victories
Manelis states that IDF soldiers “acted with courage and restraint, following strict rules of engagement to ensure minimum civilian injury and loss of life while still protecting the border.” The optics did not favour Israel, naturally, because the truth can’t make much headway when an enemy is prepared to put its own women and children in harm’s way, calculatedly using their bodies for propaganda purposes.

The IDF policy was indeed to warn first and shoot as a defensive action. Their first priority was, quite rightly, self-defence and defence of Israeli civilians. And as Manelis writes, “The soldiers of the IDF won this week by keeping Israeli families safe and by stopping Hamas from accomplishing its stated goals.”

But yeah, Hamas is winning the propaganda war, and the proof is that even a seasoned and objective journalist like Terry Glavin is so frustrated with the human cost of this reckless, feckless and essentially futile act of jihad, that he’s essentially asking Israel to find a way to stop it, as if there were some magical, casualty-free solution the IDF could employ, if only it chose to, in defending a border against a rabid mass of suicide-prone enemies.

Israel is constantly subjected to double standards — by the UN, by biased journalists, by anti-Semites on social media. In choosing to use this morally charged locution, “abomination,” with regard to the IDF, even the brilliant and knowledgeable and honourable Terry Glavin, whose writing on foreign affairs I greatly admire, has not only succumbed to uncharacteristic rhetorical carelessness, but in doing so, has given comfort and ammunition to polemical jackals for whom he normally and justifiably feels the greatest contempt.
Gil Troy: Even critics should praise Netanyahu’s statesmanship
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu masters the US embassy relocation, the Iranian threat, the Syrian chaos, the Gaza border invaders, the Russian-Vladimir Putin Rubik’s cube, the Donald Trump tsunami, and his new fragile alliance with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, amid the usual media lies, I confess, I’m glad Netanyahu’s in charge. I’m not happy enough to regret my previous calls that he resign. Had he retired gracefully – with a full pardon for himself and his wife – this summer, with his security credibility intact, Israel wouldn’t have a leader in this wobbly world reeking of ethical sloppiness.

Had he retired then, Israel would have a new leader building a reputation by now – and maybe relying on a still-credible Netanyahu for security advice. But I’m happy enough with Netanyahu’s careful statesmanship to betray the Bibi bashers – and today’s all-or-nothing partisans – by cheering what’s cheer-worthy.

The greatest threat Israel faces is the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah menace. Netanyahu’s policy has been clear: you draw red lines and follow through on threats – unlike Barack Obama bowing to chemical weapons in Syria. Iran is scary. Yet since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the regime has had zero capacity for casualties.

With its economy weak, demonstrations spreading, and US pressure growing – finally! – this dictatorship will continue to try extending its influence by sacrificing other pawns – Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, Israelis.
The Cradle of “Fake News”
What it comes down to is that principles such as the protection and the sanctity of borders, the right to self defense and use of military force to defend one’s country, that are a matter of fact anywhere else, are rights that Israel is denied.

This is a travesty when accompanied by journalists who openly support one side in the conflict and claim objectivity. A Reuters event in Jerusalem features a known Arab terrorist in a comic role; BBC reporter weeps on air for terrorist leader – these are but two examples of the conduct of the foreign media covering the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For years the media failed to accurately cover Arab terror while romanticizing the “Palestinian” narrative. Many of them fraternized with terrorists and willingly complied with censorship demands by Islamic extremists, and in so doing contribute to advancing the cause of extremists around the world. Feeding the phenomena of “Fake” news.

Until the emergence of social media, the public had no alternatives for getting information outside of the media. The public drew all the knowledge about the world from journalists. This gave journalists an almost religious standing, similar to the clergy of the Catholic Church of the past. Very much like the Church, the media chose to abuse their power. They broadcast whatever they liked according to their political beliefs.

The false idols are being smashed and the public are getting the truth from other sources. Much like the Reformation, we are today witnessing a rebellion against what were once considered trusted sources yet are now abusing that trust.
Why Has The Rainbow Nation Fallen For Hamas' Darkness And Deception?
South Africa's withdrawal of its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, hands a momentary victory to Hamas in its war of deception and terror. Hamas, the Islamic government and terror group, rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist without regard for human or civil rights — including the persecution, torture and killing of Palestinian Christians.

While the South African government likely views the Gazan side as the weaker and therefore "just" party regardless of terror actions or declarations of jihad against the Jews, Hamas' terror crusade has sent young Gazans to their deaths by inciting and compensating them thousands of dollars to penetrate the Gaza-Israel border fence in to kill innocent Israeli citizens, including children, to "retake Palestine" from the Jews.

South Africa must understand that its diplomatic break from Israel merely strengthens the Islamic Republic of Iran's hidden hand guiding Hamas' Gaza jihad and weakens the cause of peace, justice and self-determination for Palestinians and Israelis.

Hamas has long proved its terror bona fides in line with its 1987 covenant expressing its religious duty to destroy the Jewish people and its nation state. Since 1993, Hamas has killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in mass-casualty suicide attacks throughout Israel. Hamas' current terror crusade in Gaza has been engineered by Muslim Brotherhood groups in Europe and by Yahiya Sinwar, Hamas' new president, who has been a commander in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, Hamas's military wing.

Sinwar is widely considered Hamas' most ruthless leader since the organisation's founding in 1987.
Seth Frantzman: Gaza Strip: A look back at how we got here
In 1998, US president Bill Clinton flew into Gaza International Airport with six helicopters. Palestinian and American flags fluttered.

Yasser Arafat met Clinton, and they enjoyed ceremonies, meetings, speeches, a meal of lamb and three kinds of fish, according to reports at the time. Palestinians said they felt Clinton’s visit was a recognition of their demands for statehood. Twenty years later, the Gaza airport is in ruins, its runways and terminal, whose opening Clinton had overseen, are bulldozed and destroyed.

It’s been 20 years since Gaza had high hopes of being something other than the Hamas-run isolated tragedy it has become.

With the eight weeks of the “Great Return March” from March to May, the Palestinians in Gaza sought to put themselves back on the map of world attention. They may try again on the anniversary of the Six Day War, “Naksa Day,” to stage more protests. It’s still unclear if Hamas or the tens of thousands who turned out for the rallies, and the thousands who were wounded by live fire during the protests, succeeded in changing anything in Gaza. It’s worth pausing to consider how we got here.

The population of the Gaza Strip has increased from around 100,000 in 1947 to 500,000 in 1967 and 1.9 million today.
Palestinians ask International Criminal Court to probe Israel’s ‘crimes’
The Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Tuesday that he had asked the International Criminal Court to open an “immediate investigation” into alleged Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. Israel rejected the request as “cynical” and “absurd.”

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he submitted the “referral” to the court during a meeting with the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in The Hague on Tuesday.

Malki said the complaint seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since the Palestinians joined the ICC in June 2014.

He said that included Israeli settlement policies as well as recent violence in the Gaza Strip. Since March 30, tens of thousands of Palestinians have taken part in weekly “March of Return” protests, which Israel says are orchestrated by the ruling Hamas terror group and used as cover for attempted attacks and breaches of the border fence.

Malki called the request an important “test” of accountability for the ICC.
ICC prosecutor won’t be rushed to probe Israel’s ‘crimes’
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court signaled that she will not be rushed into making a decision on whether to launch an investigation into alleged “crimes” by Israel against the Palestinians.

In a statement issued after Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki called for an immediate investigation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Tuesday noted that she has been conducting a preliminary probe since January 2015 to establish whether she should open a full-blown investigation.

She said the “preliminary examination has seen important progress and will continue to follow its normal course” guided by provisions in the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

Bensouda said she must consider “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility, and the interests of justice” in deciding whether to open an investigation.
White House mulling possible move against Palestinian mission over ICC push
The White House is considering action against Palestinian diplomats in Washington after Ramallah asked the International Criminal Court on Tuesday to investigate alleged Israeli crimes, The Times of Israel has learned.

According to a US law passed in December 2015, the Palestinian Authority is subject to penalties if it pursues the prosecution of Israelis at the Hague-based ICC. One of those ramifications includes the closing of their diplomatic mission to the United States, run by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“We are reviewing this latest development to determine if it requires changes to the operating status of the PLO office in Washington, D.C., which has been limited to activities related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians since November 2017,” a National Security Council spokesperson said.

Last November, then US secretary of state Rex Tillerson refused to certify that the Palestinians were complying with that Congressional mandate, initiating intense speculation over whether the Palestinian facility in the capital’s Georgetown neighborhood would close.

The measure gives the sitting US president 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are engaging in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

If US President Donald Trump determines they are, the Palestinians can keep the office. If not, he has the right to shutter it.
MFA: Israel: Palestinian Referral to ICC Is Legally Invalid
The State of Israel takes a severe view in relation to the purported Palestinian referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is a cynical step without legal validity. The Palestinians continue to exploit the Court for political purposes, rather than work towards resuming the peace process with Israel.

It is absurd that the Palestinian actions vis-à-vis the Court come at a time when the Palestinians continue to incite to acts of terrorism, while exploiting women and children as human shields for violent attacks against the security of Israel's citizens.

The purported Palestinian referral is legally invalid, and the ICC lacks jurisdiction over the Israeli-Palestinian issue, since Israel is not a member of the Court and because the Palestinian Authority is not a state.

Israel expects the ICC and its Prosecutor not to yield to Palestinian pressure, and stand firm against continued Palestinian efforts to politicize the Court and to derail it from its mandate.

Israel acts in accordance with independent and thorough judicial review mechanisms, befitting a democratic state, and in accordance with international law.
State Dept: U.S.: Bringing Israel before ICC Is Counterproductive
QUESTION: The Palestinians today took the – took their brief or complaints against Israel to the International Criminal Court. And I am wondering: one, what you make of that move by the Palestinians; and secondly, if this is going to have any impact on the way the administration now approaches the Palestinians either legally or any other way.

MS NAUERT: Well, we have long believed that these types of actions are not conducive to peace. We are not a party to the International Criminal Court, as many of you know. We oppose the actions taking place against Israel at the International Criminal Court because we see that simply as counterproductive.

We have spoken about this many times before. Our position on this matter is well known. We oppose actions against Israel as – at the International Criminal – Criminal Court – pardon me – because it doesn’t help the cause for peace. And that is one of the priorities of this administration, getting the Israelis and Palestinians back to the table where they can have a good, concrete negotiation about the peace process going forward. And the ICC just doesn’t do that.

QUESTION: Okay. But the ICC was created – and I realize that the U.S. is not a member of it, but it was created to provide accountability. So is there anything that you think that Israel needs to be accountable for to the Palestinians?

MS NAUERT: Look, I’m not going to get into that question. I think we have long talked about the situation going on in Gaza. We’ve long talked about the misery that the people face in Gaza is because of Hamas. We have seen and have watched as the previous clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians and those of Gaza have taken place. We’ve continued to call on Hamas to take better care of its people; it’s not taking care of its people. And I don’t have really much beyond that to give you right now.

QUESTION: Just on the Gaza thing.


QUESTION: I want to ask you about Ambassador Friedman’s op-ed column. Is it the position of the administration, as it appears to be the position – the personal position of the ambassador, that the quote-unquote “liberal media” have blood on their hands for their coverage?

MS NAUERT: Matt, I can tell you I’m aware of the ambassador’s editorial. I don’t have anything to say about that. I could just refer you to Ambassador Friedman for any questions about that.
British politicians: Don’t let Israel be its own judge and jury in Gaza
British parliamentarians attacked their government for its failure to support the launch of a UN Human Rights Council probe against Israel for the 102 Palestinians allegedly killed on the Gaza border in the last seven weeks.

“If you are an ally of the government you can get away with breaking international law with impunity and you can also be allowed to be your own judge and jury, too,” charged British shadow (opposition) foreign secretary Emily Thornberry of the Labour Party.

She made the comment during a heated debate in the House of Commons on Monday during which British Foreign Secretary Alistair Burt fielded questions from parliamentary supporters and opponents of Israel.

The UK was one of 14 UNHRC member states that abstained from the resolution.

Burt said the government wanted to see an independent investigation into the deaths that occurred over the last seven weeks during the “Great March of Return”.

But it did not believe that a biased inquiry focused solely on Israel and not on Hamas would shed enough light on the situation.
IDF strikes underground Hamas terror target, seaport in Gaza
Israeli Air Force jets targeted underground terror infrastructure in the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning, the IDF said. Two further targets belonging to Hamas naval forces in Gaza were also targeted.

Local residents said the strikes destroyed a boat moored in Gaza City, with no reports of casualties. They said the boat, which was set ablaze, was due to sail to meet a flotilla of boats hoping to reach Gaza.

The IDF did not provide further details regarding the nature of the underground infrastructure.

The army said the strikes came in response to an arson attack on an Israeli military position by a number of Palestinians who infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning and ongoing attempts to harm Israel using drones and kites.

"The Hamas terror organization is accountable for all threats originating from the Gaza Strip, above and below ground, and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and Israeli sovereignty," said the army.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the arson attack, IDF forces targeted a Hamas observation post in the southern Gaza Strip.
Twenty-two Gazans transfered to Jordan to receive medical treatmen
On Tuesday, 22 Palestinians and their relatives were transferred from the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Jordan, according to the IDF spokesperson.

The transfer was facilitated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) at the request of Jordan's King Abdullah.

Jordanian ambulances transferring 22 Gazans to Jordan to receive medical treatment. (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)Jordanian ambulances transferring 22 Gazans to Jordan to receive medical treatment. (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Three Jordanian ambulances who had entered the country via the Allenby Bridge crossing in the morning transferred the injured Palestinians through the Erez Crossing out of the Gaza Strip.

Last week, the IDF coordinated the transfer of eight truckloads of vital medical equipment through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

However, Hamas turned away two large truckloads of Israeli humanitarian aid intended to relieve medical shortages in the Gaza Strip, with hospitals struggling to treat Palestinians wounded in clashes on the Israel-Gaza border. Hamas has frequently refused Israeli aid in the past.
Iran is Funding Hamas’s Violent ‘Protests’ at the Border, Media M.I.A.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is behind the recent Hamas-orchestrated violent demonstrations—dubbed the “March of Return”—at the Israel-Gaza border, according to Israeli authorities. Yet many major U.S. news outlets have failed to report Tehran’s role.

Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, stated:

““From the information we have, it appears Hamas is encouraging and sending protesters to the border fence in order to carry out violent acts and damage security infrastructure. In addition, it was found that Iran is providing funding to Hamas in order for it to carry out these violent activities along the Gaza Strip’s border fence.”

As CAMERA has detailed (see, for example “Palestinian Nazi Flags and Hamas Talking Points,” JNS, April 26, 2018) Hamas and other U.S.-designated terrorist groups have been organizing the demonstrations, interspersing armed operatives among civilians being used as human shields. Most of those killed in the demonstrations by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have been linked to terror organizations.

Hamas is one of many terror groups funded by the Islamic Republic, which the U.S. State Department has listed as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The group has long supported Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and others participating in the “March of Return.” Like Hamas, Iran’s ruling theocrats have called for Israel’s destruction and genocide of the Jewish people.

Indy falsely claims Israeli soldiers “were ordered to use live fire” on 40,000 demonstrators
Since March 31st, Hamas-led violent riots have been staged on the Gaza border. The terror group’s leaders have been clear that the intent of what’s termed the Great Return March – reportedly funded by Iran – was to have masses of Palestinians infiltrate the Israeli border to exact ‘revenge’ on Israelis and implement the so-called “right of return” for millions of Gazans. The political aims, also acknowledged by Hamas leaders, was to sacrifice Palestinian lives in order to bloody Israel’s image.

Naturally, Israel resolved to defend its border, as any sovereign nation would do, and protect its civilians from the potentially calamitous impact of a proscribed terrorist group breaching the border. Their strategy employed non-lethal means, such as warnings, rubber bullets and tear gas, and, as a last resort, live-fire. The admission by Hamas leaders that most of those killed in recent clashes were Hamas members suggests that the IDF’s use of live-fire was judicious, and certainly consistent with the rules of engagement that the armies of most democratic countries would use when confronted with a similar threat by an armed terror group.

However, the media, beginning with the first protests, decided on its own narrative, one completely at odds with the facts: Israeli troops open-firing on non-violent Palestinians “protesters”. So, stories almost exclusively focused on the body count and images of Palestinian suffering, whilst erasing from the equation the violent nature of the riots and the context of Hamas’s cynical decision to win the media war by sacrificing Palestinian lives.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Already Interviewed 6 Times Since Killed By IDF (satire)
Near the Erez Border Crossing, May 23 – A man slain at the hand of an Israeli sniper during disturbances at the fence separating the territory from Israel has appeared multiple times on news networks since the incident last Monday to talk with foreign correspondents about the brutal manner in which he was cut down.

Nasser Ashraf, 22, has granted interviews to six media outlets in the nine days that have elapsed after he participated in a riot some distance from the border fence and was fatally shot, including CNN, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Associated Press, and the New York Times. During each interview the man has offered a vivid depiction of the moments in which he was engaging in unprovocative, nonviolent assembly, then collapsed and had to be removed on a stretcher by others at the protest scene.

“It was barbaric, it was horrible,” he told Declan Walsh of the New York Times. “I was shot in the abdomen like three times and bled to death before anyone could help me. I could barely get off the stretcher after the cameras stopped pointing at it.” Walsh included Ashraf’s story in his coverage of the ongoing disturbances.
European official said to warn Israel: ‘Trump won’t be president forever’
As Jerusalem basked in tight-knit ties with Washington, a senior European official was said on Tuesday to have recently warned Israel not to “disparage” the EU, adding that US President Donald Trump’s legacy could be scaled back just as quickly as that of his predecessor Barack Obama.

“Trump won’t be president forever,” Hadashot TV on Tuesday quoted the unnamed official as saying during a recent visit to Israel.

“Just like nobody imagined that the Obama legacy would be erased so quickly, it can happen to the other side,” the source added.

“You shouldn’t disparage Europe. Look at the numbers: We are still your biggest trade partners. You don’t understand that we are under immense public pressure against Israel,” the senior official added.

Israel and the EU have lately been at loggerheads over the IDF’s handling of mass protests and riots on the Gaza border, as well as over Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal — as Prime Minister Benjamin had urged if it couldn’t be “fixed” — with Europe calling for the accord to remain in place. Israel has also hailed the US relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem last week, a move Europe has rejected.
French PM cancels planned trip to Israel, citing domestic reasons
France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has canceled a scheduled trip to Israel next month, citing domestic obligations, his office said on Wednesday.

Philippe, who had also planned a trip to Ramallah in the West Bank, had been expected to visit Jerusalem on June 1 to open the France-Israel Season of Culture together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry also confirmed the cancellation, saying it was due to “internal French reasons.”

The culture festival is due to last through November and to focus on the themes of innovation, creativity and youth.

Some 400 events across a wide range of disciplines — from the arts to education, economics and sciences — have been planned for 50 French towns and around 20 Israeli ones.

In Israel, the sponsors include the Prime Minister’s Office and a number of ministries, including the Ministry for Strategic Affairs which, under its current minister, Gilad Erdan — who is also public security minister — is focused on battling the worldwide Boycott, Divest, Sanctions campaign against Israel.
It’s too late to reform the ABC
There are unfortunate parallels between the UN Human Rights Council and the Australian Broad­casting Corporation.

Both have lofty ambitions, the former to promote human rights and expose abuses, the latter to represent Australian voices and deliver quality news. Both suffer from an intractable culture of bias that works against them fulfilling their charter.

So it was with yawning predictability that ABC’s premier Sunday political show, Insiders, went “straight to the politics” as host Barrie Cassidy said during a panel chat to deride Australia’s decision to vote against a UNHRC resolution to launch an inquiry into the deaths of almost 60 Palestinians in Gaza last week. In fact, the resolution went much, much further than that, but more on that later.

Cassidy kicked off discussion with this: “There are 47 organisations on this Human Rights Commission. Two opposed the ­inquiry — two of them. Who are they, Karen?”

“The United States and Australia were the only two countries, Barrie, to oppose this resolution in the HRC,” said Karen Middleton, from The Saturday Paper. “Australia’s campaigned to get on to the HRC for a couple of years, and it seems in order to vote no.”

Then it was the turn of Fairfax’s David Crowe: “If Theresa May’s government can abstain, surely that would be an option for Australia to abstain. Britain, Germany and Japan all abstaining, that’s certainly a legitimate option.”

“Absolutely. You wonder why we’re on the council,” added ­Middleton.

For bias and shallow analysis, it’s hard to go past three people all miffed that Australia voted no to a resolution from a UNHRC with a core prejudice against Israel. Gerard Henderson was the token conservative.

Notice the constant outnumbering of any conservative voice on the ABC? This makes a mockery of its charter that the ABC should reflect the diversity of Australian voices. Instead, our ABC keeps breaking its end of the $1 billion deal it gets from tax­payers to abide by its charter.

Given that Insiders didn’t provide informed and fair analysis of the UNHRC and the resolution last Friday, let’s do it here.
Sharri Markson on the latest ABC bias in discussing Israel - letting a Muslim academic rant for minutes on end about Israel's evil, and then cut off Greg Sheridan when he tried to put the other side.

IsraellyCool: Rowan Dean Rips Bob Carr for Legitimizing Terrorism
Fresh from agreeing to headline an event in support of the so-called palestinian “Right of Return” along with an outright terror supporter (before withdrawing after I exposed it), former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has disgraced himself again, this time condemning Israel for protecting herself.

Thankfully, Bob Carr does not represent all Australians. There are also those like Rowan Dean, who appeared on The Bolt Report to inject some truth in to the debate, as well as rip Carr for legitimizing terrorism.

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Last week Hamas terrorists stood on principle.

They turned away 2 Israeli trucks of medical supplies, including IV fluids, bandages, pediatric equipment, disinfectants and fuel for hospital generators.

This despite the fact that hospitals in Gaza are suffering from shortages.

But Hamas did not turn everything away. They did accept 4 shipments from the Palestinian Authority and 2 from UNICEF.

So what was Hamas trying to prove?

Keep in mind that whatever point they are trying to make, Hamas is not above making that point at the expense of their own people.

Earlier this year, Israeli reported that when Gaza was suffering from power shortages, Hamas was stealing electricity from power lines leading into the southern Gaza Strip. There was a video to support the claim:

In fact, despite the economic situation in Gaza, in 2014 Forbes Israel ranked Hamas as one of the 10 wealthiest terror organizations -- ahead of Hezbollah, Al-Qaida and Taliban, and second only to ISIS.


Former Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh (far right) aboard his private plane

So when Hamas turns back medical essentials at a time that hospitals in Gaza don't have enough of the supplies it needs, it is unlikely Hamas expects to suffer the natural consequences of their actions.

After all, we are talking about the same terrorists who have no problem using their people as human shields.

In fact, we know that Hamas has no problem affording themselves the best medical treatment in the region - from Israel.

Former Hamas PM Haniyeh sets the example:

April 2012: Haniyeh's brother-in-law was treated in Israel for a serious cardiac episode that could not be treated in Gaza. According to Al Arabiya, Haniyeh's brother-in-law and his wife "had the option of going to a more advanced medical center in Egypt but chose to go to the Israeli hospital instead." Haniyeh did not stand in their way.

o  November 2013: Haniyeh's granddaughter was admitted Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva in serious condition for acute infection of the digestive tract.

o  June 2014: Haniyeh's mother-in-law was admitted to the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, by the Mount of Olives

o  October 2014: One of Haniyeh's daughters was admitted to an Israeli hospital for emergency medical treatment after she suffered complications from a routine procedure.
Haniyeh is not alone.

In November 2014, the sister of Hamas senior official Moussa Abu Marzouk was treated in an Israeli hospital for cancer

Actually, Hamas does generally allow regular Gazans into Israel for medical treatment.

According to Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which coordinates with Palestinian authorities on border crossings, about 20,000 Gazans enter Israel per month, mainly for medical treatment.

Hamas treads a fine line, making a show of rejecting Israeli aid.

But the fact is that as things stand now, Hamas leaders are as much in need of Israel and the help it provides as the people of Gaza are.

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While Israel gets crucified for killing actual Hamas terrorists trying to infiltrate into Israel, something far worse is happening in Turkey under the radar of the media and most "human rights" NGOs.

[Deadly] incidents have become increasingly common in the past three years since Turkey ended the open border policy it adopted when the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011. Since then, Turkey has erected a wall and fences along its 900-km border with Syria and sought to set up what it calls safe areas inside Syria for those displaced by the fighting.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported last week that it had documented more than 360 cases of Syrian civilians killed by Turkish border guards between August 2015 and April 2018. Those casualties include 68 children and 32 women, it said.

Since the beginning of 2018, six civilians from the area of Ras al-Ayn have been killed and five wounded by Turkish border guards, according to officials at the local hospital where all of the victims were taken.

Of the six killed, four died trying to cross the border, while the remaining two were targeted while working in fields along the frontier, the officials said.

“I know three of the victims who died under torture after they were captured by the (Turkish) gendarmerie,” said Izedin Salih, a local reporter who closely follows the issue.

He said the bodies of victims were dropped on the border by Turkish security forces and then picked up by Syrian residents or local authorities.

Further west along the border, residents of the Syrian town of Tel Abyad said they had been living in fear after more than a dozen civilians were fired at by Turkish border guards while working in the fields in the past 10 months. At least three of them were killed, local sources said.

A woman who went by the name of Um Sami told Ahval that her 62-year-old husband died at the local hospital in December two days after he was shot at by Turkish guards. The husband was working on his farm outside Tel Abyad when the shooting happened.

“My husband had been working on the farm for more than 40 years,” said Um Sami. “He was the only breadwinner of our family. He wasn’t trying to cross the border or anything. His only crime was that his farm was on the border.”

Similar cases have been reported in Kobani, another Kurdish-held town on the Syria-Turkey border. At least six civilians were targeted, the Kobani Media Centre said.
Turkey is doing exactly what the world is falsely accusing Israel of doing. Without the criticism.

There are major music concerts planned for Turkey in upcoming months, including Wiz Khalifa, Joe Satriani, Liam Gallagher and Imagine Dragons. No one is calling on these artists to boycott Turkey because it kills hundreds of civilians a year just on the Syrian border alone - not counting what else it does.

Hypocrisy is the norm.

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Sari Bashi, the "Israel and Palestine advocacy director" at Human Rights Watch who never advocates for Israel, writes in Foreign Policy another anti-Israel screed that shows just how hateful and ignorant HRW is towards Israel.

First of all, Bashi completely ignores the point of the demonstrations, to incite tens of thousands of civilians to breach the fence and attack Israeli civilians with guns and knives. Bashi doesn't even mention the word "return" in his entire article, claiming that the protests were both about the US Embassy and about general anger at the "siege."

Once Bashi falsely frames the protests - something she does deliberately, since she selectively quotes the social media of the riot organizers and ignores the point of the "Great Return March" - she goes on to claim that Israel did not use the correct methods to defend itself from a threat that she doesn't admit exists:

[U]nder the international standards for policing demonstrations, even the use of rocks or firebombs does not justify lethal force, absent an imminent threat to life.Yet under the international standards for policing demonstrations, even the use of rocks or firebombs does not justify lethal force, absent an imminent threat to life. It doesn’t matter whom the protesters support or who, if anyone, encouraged them to demonstrate. Lethal force can only be used when strictly necessary to protect against an imminent threat to life.
The Israeli government acknowledges the international law enforcement standard but says its forces will fire live rounds even before a threat to life becomes imminent, because it believes that Hamas will exploit the presence of thousands of demonstrators to breach the border fences. That essentially empties the word “imminent” of any meaning. It ignores the nonlethal means, such as tear gas, skunk water, and rubber-coated steel pellets, that Israel can and should exhaust to protect its border.
It took me maybe 30 minutes of research to find out exactly why Israel cannot accurately or effectively use those means to protect against thousands of  violent rioters hell bent at breaching the fence and pouring into Israel. But the teams of researchers at HRW confidently claim not only that these means would work, but also that Israel isn't using them as much as it can, without saying what facts back up that claim. Beyond that, HRW is implying that Israel wants dead civilians, because there is some secret way that HRW knows that Israel could use non-lethal means in ways that Israel refuses to use: 

Even if those methods were to fail (and they haven’t been exhausted), Israel would be justified in using lethal force only if a border breach presents an imminent threat to life. Israeli troops and snipers currently fire from well-fortified positions inside Israel, behind two fences, and, in key locations, behind ditches dug to prevent border crossings. They receive footage from drones hovering over Gaza and have backup from additional personnel and equipment located farther inside Israel. 
Essentially, Bashi is arguing that Israel is too aggressive in stopping Gazans from cutting through the fence and pouring through the breach by the thousands - and then, even if thousands would rush through and aim towards Israeli communities, the IDF must wait until they take out their knives and raise their arms to stab Jews before the IDF can intervene.

How insane is that?

If the IDF would follow HRW's advice, it would be forced to kill hundreds of people, rather than the few dozen that were killed.

Moreover, Sari Bashi of course does not mention that even Hamas admits that the vast majority of those killed with Hamas members - which proves that Israeli snipers were only aiming to kill the militant organizers of the protests who were directing their human shields to breach the fence while Hamas -which openly admits its militants were disguised as civilians - would take advantage of the chaos to infiltrate Israel and kidnap Jews, its major military goal for years.

The entire riots are military operations to breach Israel's border, and civilians are used to cover the military aims.of Hamas. Arguably, the laws of war are the proper framework for Israel, not the laws of domestic police work as HRW tries to frame this.

Yet even under HRW's framework, Israel is doing everything possible to limit civilian deaths. Given that the number of civilians killed is quite small compared to the number of militant organizers, it is apparent that Israel's actions at the border saved far more civilian lives than HRW's proposed solution of waiting for the fence to be breached and for thousands of Gazans to attempt to run into Israel and enter civilian communities before the IDF can respond with deadly force.

(h/t Ari)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I’m reading a book that again reminds me how much we’re leaving unused our most potent argument for creating attachment to Israel among not just Jews but everyone else in the world.
Leading a Worthy Life by Leon Kass is not about Judaism, Israel or the Middle East (although the author is the child of Jewish immigrants). Rather, it distills decades of thinking and writing by its remarkable author into a set of essays that tries to establish what it means to live, truly live, rather than just exist in modern times.
Kass is most well known as a bio-ethicist who warns about promises made by bio-tech utopians offering brave new worlds of human advancement, oblivious to what Aldous Huxley had to say on the matter of Brave New Worlds. But Kass is also a self-educated humanist who “pivoted” later in his career to teaching literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago and the “great-books centered Saint John’s College.
Like others intimate with his cultural legacy, Kass understands that the components of time on earth worthy to be called a life are unchanging: work that allows you practice and experience excellence; a meaningful and loving relationship (preferably leading to children); genuine friendship; commitment to something greater than yourself (a community, nation; and/ or higher order); and life of the mind dedicated to seeking out truth and beauty.
In our present age, the choices leading to a worthy life are under assault by the wider culture. Work has become a means to an end (usually involving making enough money to live in comfort). Commitment to marriage is diminishing, even as the right to marry has expanded, with many couples not bothering to seal a life-long bond or breaking that bond once made. In such a world, Eros has been separated from love through emotionless “flings” or steady diets of pornography.
Regarding life of the mind, an abandonment of the very texts that inspired Kass in favor of not just trendy multicultural replacements, but pragmatic subjects like business and computer programming, means most students today are not striving to understand what it means to be human, but are rather lost in a sea of ever-expanding life choices all leading nowhere. It is this “lostness” that creates openings for snake-oil salesmen offering politics in the classroom as a replacement to genuine thinking and reflection, or radical experiments in lifestyle that further deteriorate the culture while bringing participants no closer to living vs. merely existing.
Despite what he’s seen happen to our culture over the last half century, Kass is actually an optimist. For in teaching young people over the decades, he has not seen any diminishment in their hunger for all the things he sees as adding up to a worthy life. Despite easy availability of one-night-stands and Internet porn, they want a life where their intellectual, emotional and erotic selves are tied to those of someone else. They understand that Facebook friends are not the same as real ones. And they are ready to ask (and attempt to answer) tough questions such as “What is true?”, “What is beautiful?” and “Who am I?”
This list of components of the worthy life helps unravel mysteries surrounding the topic near and dear to readers of this blog. Why, for example, are Israelis so damn happy despite living under existential threat few of us in the comfortable West even understand, much less experience? They are happy because their life has purpose, for each one of them is responsible for building and defending a nation, rather than just living off unearned inheritance. Such purposefulness equates to happiness that no level of threat or insult from Israel’s enemies seems able to shake.
Existence defined by worthy purpose might also explain why Israel’s high-tech nation (with its focus on life-saving technologies) seems so much more serious than even our own robust start-up culture which tends towards giving consumers ever more choices and pastimes. The fact that Israel is the only westernized nation where parents are committed to having children beyond replacement level also demonstrates an ongoing commitment to something more than the self and the now.
That’s good news for our Israeli cousins. But what do these observations provide to those of us who fight on the behalf of the Jewish state who may not live under similar existential conditions?
Some thoughts on that next time…

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From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: The media's misplaced sympathy for the Hamas lynch mob
As evidence mounts that Hamas intended to murder Israeli children, women and men after breaching the border fence to Israel, Hamas apologists must ask themselves why they are on the wrong side of morality.

The recent border attack and attempted invasion of Israel by Hamas was anything but a peaceful protest. It was a lynch mob targeting Israeli day care centers, schools, and homes. The goal of the lynchers, according to Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas political leader, was to “take down the border” and “tear their hearts from their bodies.” According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Hamas posted maps for their operatives showing the quickest routes from the border to Israeli homes, schools and day care centers near the border.”

Yet many in the media, and many Hamas sympathizers on the left, insist on portraying this invasion as a peaceful demonstration, comparable to those conducted against the Ku Klux Klan by Martin Luther King and his fellow civil rights demonstrators.

I was part of those demonstrations back in the 1960s, and it is a gross insult to the memory of King and his followers to compare his peaceful tactics to the murderous goals of Hamas. One of Hamas’ co-founders, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, recently told the truth in an interview with Al Jazeera: “When we talk about ‘peaceful,’ we are deceiving the public.”

Many in the public seem all too eager to be deceived because Hamas has succeeded in portraying themselves as the civil rights demonstrators protesting against the Israeli Ku Klux Klan. But in reality, the roles are reversed. Hamas is the Ku Klux Klan, violently rioting to break down the protective barrier so they can lynch innocent Jewish children and other civilians, the way the Klan lynched innocent black citizens.

The Gaza hypocrites
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo organized by former (and perhaps future) presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the group demanded that the Trump administration address the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. They described the “return” march as a response to the blockade of the strip being conducted by Israel and Egypt. It specifically and repeatedly mentioned the actions of “Israeli snipers” and cited inflated casualty figures produced by Hamas. But at no point did it reference the terrorist group or acknowledge its responsibility for what happens in Gaza, in addition to noting the ongoing international sanctions on an area that even the Europeans know is a terrorist haven with which normal commerce is impossible.

Just as outrageous, the 13 Democratic senators—a list that included Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Edward Markey (Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Thomas Carper (Del.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.)—also demanded that the United States restore funding to the United Nations Relief Works Agency, a body that has not only existed solely to perpetuate rather than solve the Palestinian refugee problem, but which has been infiltrated by and exploited by Hamas as part of its ongoing military campaign.

Why did so many Senate Democrats deliberately ignore Hamas’s role in an effort that, as its name indicated, had as its purpose an attempt to wipe out 70 years of history and destroy the Jewish state? Why did they seek to blame only Israel and call to end Gaza’s isolation? Opening the border to Gaza wouldn’t really help Palestinians, who can have no hope for a better life while they are still being ruled by terrorist theocrats who “govern” the strip like tyrants. The only possible outcome of their appeal would be an influx of Iranian weapons and material that would allow Hamas to strengthen its fortifications and its ability to carry on its fight against Israel.

The unfortunate answer is that within the Democratic Party, there is now a faction that not only fails to think clearly about terrorism and the reality of Hamas-run Gaza. This group also seeks to appeal to the intersectional left leading the “resistance” to U.S. President Donald Trump, and which falsely claims a connection between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Palestinian war on Israel.

Fortunately, not all Democrats agree, and this struggle will play out as America heads towards the 2020 presidential race, in which the party’s left wing will seek to assert its control of the party. If the Democrats are to remain a pro-Israel party, those who care about Israel’s survival must speak out against these senators and others on the left who serve as Hamas’s dupes.

As much as Democrats are currently focused on “resisting” Trump, giving Sanders and his friends a pass for a stand that undermines any hope for progress towards peace, as well as undermines U.S. security, will compromise the integrity of their party. Contrary to the assertions of Israel’s left-wing critics, the Sanders’ letter and the left-wing hypocrites who support it show that the coming battle will be not so much for the soul of the Jewish state as it is for that of the Democratic Party. Those who care about Israel can only hope that sane moderates will step up and ensure that Sanders, Warren and their allies don’t prevail.
PMW: At championship dozens of terrorist murderers honored by Fatah, tournament named after arch-terrorist Abu Jihad
Arch-terrorist Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir), who organized terror attacks in which 125 Israelis were murdered, has been made into one of the greatest heroes by the Palestinian Authority. One of the PA and Fatah's ways to promote Abu Jihad as a role model to Palestinians is by naming sports tournaments after him.

Thus Fatah's Bethlehem branch organized the
"Martyr Khalil Al-Wazir [Abu Jihad] and Loyalty to the Bethlehem District Prisoners [Futsal] Championship"
[Official Fatah Facebook page, May 1, 2018]

At this tournament, in addition to glorifying arch-terrorist Abu Jihad, Fatah also glorified other terrorists and murderers from the Bethlehem district who are serving numerous life sentences for murdering over 100 people. The terrorists' families were invited to a ceremony and given honorary posters with pictures of their imprisoned terrorist relatives.

The terrorist prisoners who were honored by Fatah at the Abu Jihad Championship in the Bethlehem district included:
[All photos are from the Facebook page of the independent Palestinian news agency Al-Hadath, May 1, 2018]

Ali Abu Hleil - Palestinian terrorist involved in two suicide bombings on buses in Jerusalem - one on Gaza Street on Jan. 29, 2004, in which 11 were murdered, and one on Emek Refaim Street on Feb. 22, 2004, in which 8 were murdered. Over 100 people were injured in the two bombings. Abu Hleil is serving 21 life sentences.
On Abu Hleil's poster is also written: "Heroic prisoner Ali Abu Hleil - life sentence"

Seth Frantzman: Five takeaways from Pompeo’s Iran speech
In a half-hour speech at The Heritage Foundation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to chart the way forward after the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He pointed to Israel’s intelligence operation that showed Iran has been lying about a nuclear weapons program. Pompeo’s Iran speech is supposed to be part of a larger US strategy against Iran. Here are several takeaways:

The US made a “losing” bet on the JCPOA

In criticism directed at the former administration, he said the US had gambled that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the "Iran deal," would curtail Iran’s rogue activities. Instead, Pompeo showed how Iran’s tentacles have spread across the region, fueled by the deal. In Syria, 11 million Syrians have been displaced by war, at least in part due to Iran’s militias. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is emboldened. In Yemen, Iran is supporting the Houthi militias, he said. In Iraq, the Ayatollahs are also supporting Shi’ite militias. He also claimed Iran was supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pompeo’s list of Iran’s nefarious activities was long. He mentioned US citizens held in Iran and accused Iran of being the world’s “largest sponsor of terror.” This was a speech aimed initially at showing how the JCPOA was a failure and justifying the US decision to withdraw.
No guns blazing, Pompeo demands Iran’s unconditional surrender
“It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously warned in 2006.

In that vein, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s landmark speech Monday, in which he insisted Iran embark on a “fundamental strategic shift,” was reminiscent of the 1943 Casablanca Conference, where US president Franklin D. Roosevelt declared he demanded nothing less than “unconditional surrender” from the Axis powers.

Everyone knows how World War II ended: both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan surrendered unconditionally about two years later.

How the American standoff with Iran will end is still entirely open. Supporters of the US administration’s new hardline position argue that only the stick will get the ayatollah regime to change its evil ways. Others wonder whether there is a Plan B should Tehran reject Washington’s maximalist demands and new sanctions fail to have the desired impact.

In Israel, support for Pompeo’s requirements for Iran — including entirely abandoning its nuclear program, ending support for Hezbollah, ceasing the sponsorship of terror and threats of Israel’s destruction, withdrawing all troops from Syria — and his threat of “the strongest sanctions in history,” is a matter of consensus.

“We believe this is the right policy. We believe it’s the only policy that could ultimately guarantee the security of the Middle East and peace in our region,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday evening in Jerusalem, mere moments after Pompeo delivered his speech at the The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC.
Elliott Abrams: The Palestinian National Movement Has Reached a Point of Crisis
With Hamas having failed to achieve anything through several weeks of demonstrations and violence, and Mahmoud Abbas reduced to giving rambling anti-Semitic speeches, Palestinian aspirations seem to have hit a brick wall. Elliott Abrams explains:

[Neither] Fatah [nor] Hamas offers Palestinians a practical program for national independence. . . . [The current situation] leaves Palestinians high and dry, with no way forward at all. Whatever the criticism of the “occupation,” Israelis will certainly not abandon the West Bank to chaos or to a possible Hamas takeover. Today the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is simply too dangerous to Israel and to Jordan to be contemplated. . . . There are only two other options. The first is the “one-state solution,” meaning union with Israel; but that is a nonstarter that Israel will reject no matter who is its prime minister. The other option is some kind of eventual link to Jordan.

In polite diplomatic society, and in Palestinian public discourse, such a link cannot be mentioned. But younger people who visit there, Palestinians have explained to me, can see a society that is half-Palestinian and functions as an independent nation with a working system of law and order. Jordanians travel freely, rarely suffer from terrorism, and [can vote in regular] elections, even if power is ultimately concentrated in the royal palace. The kingdom has close relations with all the Sunni states and the West, and is at peace with Israel.

The fundamental question all this raises is what, in 2018, is the nature and objective of Palestinian nationalism. Is the goal sovereignty at all costs, no matter how long it takes and even if it is increasingly divorced from peace, prosperity, and personal freedom? Is “steadfastness” [in refusing to compromise with Israel] the greatest Palestinian virtue now and forever? These questions cannot be debated in either Gaza or the West Bank. But as Israel celebrates 70 years and the “occupation” is now more than a half-century old, how much longer can they be delayed? . . .
Caroline Glick: Endgame for the U.S.-Turkey Relationship
On Monday, NATO ally Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Washington. The severe step is meant to punish the U.S. for opening an embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

Also Monday, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador to Turkey. It had already withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv.

In a speech at Chatham House on Monday, Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a “terror state,” and accused Israel of carrying out a “genocide.”

Indicating his view that the U.S. is also responsible for the so-called “genocide,” Erdogan said, “I condemn this humanitarian drama, this genocide, from whichever side it comes, Israel or America.”

Turning his attention to Washington, Erdogan accused the U.S. of violating international law by recognizing Israel’s capital and moving its embassy to Jerusalem. He insisted that following the embassy move, the U.S. can no longer mediate the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

As Erdogan was condemning Israel and the U.S. in London, protesters in Ankara were burning Israeli and American flags at a mass rally. One speaker at the rally referred to the American people as “dogs.” The rally was organized by Turkey’s Islamist IHH group. IHH, which is aligned with Hamas and al Qaeda, has close relations with the Erdogan regime.
Caroline Glick: 'Support for Trump continues to grow'
Caroline Glick, editor and senior columnist at the Ma’ariv and the Jerusalem Post newspapers, explained on Thursday how the inauguration of the American embassy in Jerusalem created a new reality that has not yet been seen in Israeli-U.S. relations.

"There is a change here in the American policy which had been based on denial of facts and today is based on facts and this is a wall-to-wall change," Glick told Arutz Sheva. "For 70 years they acted as if our capital was not in Jerusalem for a variety of reasons, be it to appease the Arabs at the expense of the most basic rights of the State of Israel, or to use the Israeli currency while buying Arab support.”

"All this was not necessary because the Arabs need the Americans much more than the Americans need them. That was true in 1948, in 1967 and remains true to this day, but that's how they operated and it did not lead them anywhere good and it clearly did not help us in any way either,” she continued.

Now, said Glick, the facts speak for themselves. "Now that their policy says they accept reality as it is, that is that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel, and this will be the basis of American policy, especially of this administration, it will also affect any future administration that will be unable to build a policy toward us and towards the Arabs which has no basis in reality."

Glick estimated that hostile governments will find it difficult to return the embassy to Tel Aviv, saying, "When the embassy was in Tel Aviv, there was no American recognition of our basic right as a sovereign state to determine our capital city to be wherever we want it to be.”
Gaza and the Fallacy of Moral Equivalence
Rarely does the photo, four columns wide, of a dead baby appear on page one of The New York Times as it did on May 17. The sorrowful death of Layla Ghandour became, for the Times, “fodder for competing narratives.” But, in fact, a dead Palestinian baby is grist for a newspaper eager to blame Israel first.

The accompanying article was written by Times Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh. He told the poignant story of an eight-month-old Gaza girl with sparkling eyes that he actually never saw. Held “in the arms of her grandmother when a cloud of tear gas engulfed them” at Monday’s Gaza protest, when 50-plus Palestinians were killed as they attempted to breach the border with Israel, Layla supposedly inhaled “acrid gas.” Dying several hours later, her story “shot across the globe, providing an emotive focus for outrage” not directed at the politically zealous family members who brought her there but, predictably, at Israel.

Layla’s photo was taken by Gaza photographer Mahmud Hams, who described his specialty as “shots of children crushed in the rubble. Parents weeping beside lifeless little bodies. Death. Destruction. Funerals of men, women, children, sometimes very young children.” It is, by implication, always Israel’s fault. Walsh describes “the pressures of life” in Gaza under “an Israeli blockade” that contributed to Layla’s death.

But he inadvertently describes a family’s tragic, zealous dysfunction. Layla was dozing at home when the call sounded from a nearby mosque that a bus awaited passengers heading to the Gaza border fence. Her 12-year-old uncle, assuming that her mother was already on board, took Layla with him. Later that afternoon, when she began to cry, the boy carried her toward the border to find her grandmother, who was busy shouting at Israelis across the fence. Tear gas fell nearby, an hour later Layla died.
NGO Monitor: NGO Statements to the UNHRC Following the Gaza “March of Return” Riots
On May 18, 2018, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) held a “special session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” Many of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that participated in the session condemned Israel for allegedly committing “war crimes” and denied the legitimacy of Israel’s right to self-defense. These NGOs accused Israel of committing “crimes against humanity,” “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” acting with “impunity,” and pursuing “colonial” policies, while also calling for sanctions and an arms embargo against Israel. The NGOs similarly urged the international community to push for an independent commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as part of the wider NGO campaign to exploit international legal frameworks as a weapon against Israel.

The NGO statements show a consistent pattern of erasing the violent context of the events along the Gaza border, including Molotov cocktails, explosive devises, and arson, as well as attempts to breach the border fence with Israel. These statements similarly ignore the Palestinian use of human shields and the central role of terror organizations, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in orchestrating the violent protests. Furthermore, the NGOs ignore that the majority of deaths were of members of terror organizations.

These developments closely resemble previous UN inquiries into Israeli military responses to Gaza violence. NGO claims, submissions, and reports are central in the current UNHRC initiative, just as they were in Palestinian appeals to the ICC, the Goldstone Report on the 2009 Gaza war, as well as the UN’s Schabas-Davis commission that reported on the 2014 Gaza war. In these previous cases, Palestinian, Israeli and international organizations- often funded by European governments- shaped the results of the commission of inquiry.
Palestinian Authority takes Israel to task at ICC over alleged war crimes
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki met with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at The Hague on Tuesday and said that further delay to decide on the alleged war crimes issues would allow Israel impunity.

Maliki and the PA are accusing Israeli soldiers and officials of war crimes relating to the IDF's killing of over 100 Palestinians on the Gaza border during the crisis there over the last six weeks. The complaint also relates to the 10,000 new units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that are part of the settlement enterprise and the 2014 Gaza War.

While Maliki was said to be giving new information to Bensouda regarding these issues, no major new specifics were shared with the media at a press conference beyond references to what has been publicly reported to date.

Israel's Foreign Ministry hit back at the PA, saying it views the push for an ICC war crimes probe "with great severity...and as a cynical process with no legal basis."

"The PA continues to exploit the ICC for problematic political purposes in place of acting to advance the diplomatic peace process," a ministry statement said.

Further, the foreign ministry said that, "it is preposterous that the Palestinians are doing this when they continue incitement to terror and to use women and children as human shields as camouflage for their violent attempts to harm the security of the citizens of Israel."

The Western Nakba: Hating Israel
After the clashes in Gaza that cost the lives of 62 Palestinians Arabs (a Hamas official, Salah Bardawil, said on television that 50 of the victims were members of the terrorist group), a series of diplomatic crises have taken place. While the African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa, compared Israel to Nazis, Turkey humiliated the expelled Israeli ambassador at the airport.

However, another rift between Israel and European public opinion is being defined on Gaza.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung, the best-selling newspaper in Germany (one million copies), has published a cartoon with Benjamin Netanyahu dressed as Netta Barzilai and in military boots, a missile in his hand and the star of David instead of the “V” of Eurovision - and a cloud saying “next year in Jerusalem”. After the clamor, the newspaper published the apologies by the director Wolfgang Krach, according to whom the cartoon was a “mistake”.

Britain's The Guardian came out the day after the events in Gaza with a cartoon by Steve Bell. You see an Israeli tank who goes fishing, except that in the net instead there are dozens of Palestinian bodies.

The Volkskrant, one of the most important Dutch newspapers, has published the cartoon of an Israeli soldier wearing sunglasses and a star of David, shooting against unarmed masses of Palestinians on the border of Gaza to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the independence of the Jewish State. After putting a disarmed Palestinian to the wall, the Israeli shoots a burst to write “Happy Birthday to me”.
Israelis Respond to Biased Coverage of Gaza Riots
A couple of weeks before the Gaza riots began, the pro-Israel media watchdog CAMERA put up across from the New York Times building a massive billboard: "The New York Times At it AGAIN: Defaming Israel with distorted ‘news.'" Although its strategic location made it impossible to miss, Israelis nearly universally agree that the Old Gray Lady didn't get the message—and that the Times is but one of a slew of global media outlets copying from the same script, according to which IDF soldiers randomly kill peaceful protesters.

While the Israeli public is accustomed to anti-Israel bias in the international media, coverage of the Gaza riots appears to have a struck a nerve, perhaps because foreign coverage of "peaceful protests" is so at odds with what Israelis see on their local TV. On Israeli TV they see swastika-painted kite bombs setting alight Israeli fields, bullets lodged into the window sills of nearby Sderot homes, Hamas fence-cutting units crying "Khaybar, Khaybar"—a battle cry referring to the Muslim massacre of Jews in that Arabian town in 628 A.D. When these aspects of the story don't make it to Western media outlets, Israelis are understandably aggrieved.

Nizar Amer, a deputy spokesperson at Israel's foreign ministry, says that from the Israeli government's point of view, most of the coverage in the international media fails to provide the full picture. "You didn't see many media outlets saying that Hamas led and organized this campaign. There's a gap between what's happening on the ground and what the media is reporting." A pundit on Israel’s Channel 20, a news channel with a nationalistic bent, argued that the country should start ejecting journalists who print falsehoods about Israel. Amer says given the importance of freedom of the press, he doesn't see Israel doing that.
Palestinians cross Gaza fence, set fire to empty IDF post
A group of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip breached the security fence on Tuesday morning and set fire to an empty IDF position on the other side, the army said.

In response, an Israeli tank fired on a nearby Hamas observation post, the military said.

The suspects got through the fence east of the Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The target of their arson attack was a tent that had been used by Israeli snipers during recent riots along the border.

The army said it had been monitoring “the event since it began.”

The suspects fled back into the Gaza Strip after setting fire to the position.

No injuries were reported.

With few exceptions, Israel holds the Hamas terrorist group, which rules Gaza, responsible for all violence that emanates from the coastal enclave, regardless of who carries it out.

Erdogan says Turkey may ban some Israeli products over Gaza events
President Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that Turkey might consider imposing a ban on imports of some Israeli goods over the killing of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces on the Gaza border, media reported on Tuesday.

Erdogan, who is campaigning for re-election in June, last week hosted Muslim leaders who condemned the events in Gaza and the opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem.

Speaking to reporters on a return flight from Bosnia on Sunday, Erdogan said the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had recommended that a boycott be imposed on Israeli goods.

"I hope that OIC member countries implement a boycott decision in line with the recommendation. Consequently, no product should be brought from there any more. Naturally we will assess this situation in the same way," Hurriyet newspaper reported Erdogan as saying.

A declaration by the OIC on Friday repeated a call for countries to ban "products of the illegal Israeli settlements from entering their markets," referring to goods produced in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

It did not seek a ban on all Israeli goods.

The declaration also called for "economic restrictions (on) countries, officials, parliaments, companies or individuals" who followed the United States and moved their embassies to Jerusalem.
In bid to buy influence, Turkey gives out money in east Jerusalem
The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency has handed out about $420,000 in $500 checks to east Jerusalem merchants and residents in recent days as a gift for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Israel Hayom discovered Monday.

The move exacerbates already tense relations between Israel and Turkey, which on Friday called for Israel to be tried at the International Criminal Court for its use of force to deter violent weekly demonstrations along the Gaza border.

TIKA is an agency within the Turkish government.

In addition to the money, TIKA, which takes pride in its involvement in Jerusalem, also handed out Turkish flags with the name of the organization printed on them. After taking the handout, some east Jerusalem store owners hung the flags at the entrances to their businesses.

This comes at a time when Turkey, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is waging a campaign to defame Israel at every opportunity.

The agency's activities in Jerusalem are part of the "dawah," an Islamic concept that means "calling," specifically to Islam. Activities that fall under the dawah include preaching, proselytizing and other forms of "silent" jihad.
Are Gaza Gunmen "Protesters"? NY Times Refuses to Say
After repeatedly insisting that "Israeli soldiers killed 60 protesters" during clashes last Monday, May 14, the New York Times is refusing to clarify whether its count of supposed protesters includes the eight armed Hamas fighters who, according to the Israeli army, opened fire on on Israeli soldiers.

A Times article first published on May 15 reports that 60 Gazans were killed during the classes, attributing that number to Palestinian officials. It goes on to say that, according to the Israeli army, "eight of the dead … were armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes who tried to storm the fence in northern Gaza and attacked Israeli forces with grenades and pipe bombs before being killed in a shootout" while another three were killed "while laying an explosive device." So far so good.

But if at least 11 of those killed were reportedly armed fighters engaged in hostilities, why do subsequent New York Times pieces claim that "60 protesters" were killed that day?

When CAMERA asked about this apparent misuse of language, the Times insisted that its reporting on the events is accurate. When asked to clarify whether that means its reporters concluded, contrary to Israel's assertion, that none of the 60 killed were in fact shooting at Israelis or planting explosives, or if not whether it means the newspaper feels comfortable describing armed militants among the 60 dead as "protesters," editors declined to comment.
Nick Ferrari sustains blood libel against Israel in clumsy attempt at 'even handedness'
Nick Ferrari is the commentator beloved by Britain's 'official Jews' because they claim he is a 'friend of Israel'. Anybody following this blog will know how nonsensical this claim is (see links below). Now, several days after the 'baby killed by Israel gas' blood libel was completely debunked he is still pushing the same narrative (and stretching it to to include the nonsense 'seven other children killed'). The fact that this is a clumsy attempt at 'even handedness' - suggesting that the parents should not have taken the children to such a demonstration - does not excuse the fact that he is still promoting the 'Israel kills babies in Gaza' narrative.

Of all the 'official Jews', including, for example, those who invited Ferrari to host the recent Israel 70th celebration event at the Savoy Hotel, is there not one able to inform him of the fact that at least 54 of those 62 claimed to have been killed at the border were members of terrorist organisations and that this includes two who were 16 and 17 (i.e. the 'children killed by Israel')? If Ferrari wanted to be even handed why did he not use his column to inform his readers that the terrorist organisations themselves are the ones who have stated that it was their members who were killed. This would have been extremely helpful given that the main stream media has been careful to keep these claims quiet as it contradicted the lies in their previous reporting.
World Council of Churches Gets It Wrong On Gaza
Tveit’s statement, titled “WCC calls for a just peace and an end to impunity in the Holy Land,” is yet another example of the WCC’s corrupt witness when dealing with issues related to the Jewish state. Like many other Christian statements about the conflict, the text expresses more animus toward efforts to protect Jewish safety and welfare than it does toward efforts to place Jews in danger.

The text, declares that the “protesters” who gathered at the barrier between the Gaza Strip and Israel were “exercising their civil rights to express their objection at the current situation for them as Palestinian people.” The text also declares that “unarmed civilians — including children — are shot at with live ammunition, even killed and many injured — cannot be defended legally or morally as an expression of “the right to self-defense of a state.”

The WCC got it wrong and egregiously so. How do we know this? Because leaders of Hamas, the terror group that organized the riots, said so. In the days after the WCC issued its statement, these leaders issued a number of statements that indicated that the “protests” were not intended to be peaceful. In fact, one Hamas expressed the hope that Palestinians would be killed in the confrontations.
EU to give 30 million euros to reconstruct Kerem Shalom crossing
The EU announced Friday it will provide 30 million euros to reconstruct the Kerem Shalom crossing—the main passage of diesel and other fuels into the strip—following it being set ablaze by Palestinians last week.
Gazans Officially Run Out of Things to Set Fire To (satire)
Following weeks of protests and riots along the Gaza border with Israel as part of their “March of Return”, one Hamas spokesman has announced that Gaza has officially run out of things to set fire to, and has declared a state of emergency.

“It’s official”, the spokesman said in a statement, “we’ve literally run out of things to burn. We’ve got nothing, zilch, nada. Frankly, this is a disaster as it will leave tens of thousands of Gazans even more unemployed than they were before, as the closest we ever got to providing mass employment out here was encouraging people to set fire to things. Like Fahrenheit 451, but with more rock throwing.”

It is understood that Hamas is looking for flammable alternatives but is facing problems doing so. “We’ve used up all the tires we could find, and our kids are still crying about the fact that we took all their kites away to set them on fire and fly them into Israel”, one Hamas source has revealed. “Then we went for the fuel pipelines which come into Gaza from Israel. In fact, we set fire to those three times, but those bastard Israelis keep repairing them, so that’s no fun. One operative suggested we resort to hurling flaming kittens over the fence but even though we’re a genocidal organization which deliberately puts children in danger in periods of conflict, we’re not that heartless. Those critters are just so goddamn cute. Plus you get lot more bang for your buck with donkeys.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: As A Gaza Protester, I Don’t Know How Actual Injured People Use These Crutches By Hussein Jabari (satire)
I’ve been lugging these crutches around for days, participating in staged incidents that purport to showcase Israeli brutality against innocent Palestinians – I play the role of a wounded youth; thus the accessories – and I have to tell you: I have no idea how people who genuinely need crutches handle the damn things.

At first I thought it would be a cinch: you just rest the top part in your armpit and maneuver the crutches with your hands. But it turns out that’s not such an easy thing to accomplish when you’re negotiating unpaved ground as I have. I keep losing my concentration and using my “bad” foot by mistake, and that ruins the entire effect we want to generate for the cameras.

On top of that, some nitpicker decided that fake injury or not, it’s a bad idea to put any weight on the armpit, because of pressure on nerves or something, and has been bugging me to adjust the crutches to a shorter setting, and that means learning how to use them all over again. I’d rather concentrate on hobbling in a convincing manner away from the tear gas, burning tires, and general mayhem to participate in creating a picture of Israeli-inflicted misery that can be neatly packaged as atrocities by the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, and the New York Times.
David Singer: Israel Condemns PLO Lies as Trump Contemplates PLO Demise
For Israel – it was just the latest shot in a litany of lies that had its genesis in the 1964 Charter of the PLO – subsequently revised in 1968 – which still remain unamended despite false claims to the contrary.

The 1964 Charter had stated in Article 24:
“This Organisation 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, organisational, political and financial fields.”

Yet the 1968 Charter deleted this clause after Jordan and Egypt’s 19 years-occupation of these territories was ended in 1967.

The PLO had suddenly discovered an inalienable right to regional sovereignty in every square meter of these areas. Amazingly this claim has been swallowed hook line and sinker by the United Nations.
Such a recent claim is certainly novel and now must be weighed against Israel’s claim – whose roots in these territories were established 3000 years ago and can be visibly verified in 2018.

JCPA: The Mystery of Mahmoud Abbas’ Health
Abbas was hospitalized on May 20 for the third time in Ramallah after undergoing an operation on his ear last week.

The al-Hayat newspaper published in London claimed on May 21, 2018, that according to knowledgeable Palestinian sources, Mahmoud Abbas is suffering from severe pneumonia. His temperature was above 40 degrees, and his doctors are trying to bring it down. He is conscious, but he was breathing on a respirator.

Nonetheless, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the PLO’s steering committee, stated on May 21 that Abbas’ medical condition is good and he will be discharged soon.

Abbas, aged 83, is also suffering from severe heart problems. Although he has had three catheterizations, he remains a heavy smoker.

Over the past few months, Abbas has begun to prepare for his retirement from Palestinian politics and has taken two significant steps in this regard.

1. He passed a resolution before the Fatah’s Revolutionary Committee that if he were to become incapacitated, his vice-chairman, Mahmoud al-Aloul, would replace him for 60 days as the chairman of the movement until primaries and the election of a new chairman could be organized.
2. He passed a resolution before the Palestinian National Council (PNC) allowing the transfer of the PNC’s authority to the PLO Central Committee, which has 115 members, turning it into the body for making the most important decisions, including the election of a new PA chairman. This way, Mahmoud Abbas has pushed Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament) out of the struggle over the succession, leaving it within the Fatah movement only, which is the backbone of the Palestinian Authority.
Security threat to the 70th birthday celebrations in New York
Security officials at the Israeli consulate in New York have forbidden representatives of the Foreign Ministry and official Israeli emissaries from New York to attend a festive event marking Israel's 70th anniversary, which will take place next week at Times Square, News 2 reported.

According to the news report, security officials fear that the presence of the representatives at the event will increase the security risk, and that they could be targets for terrorist attacks or violent protests.

The security officer of the Israeli Consulate in New York wrote to diplomats and other Israeli emissaries that "this is a very sensitive incident at a very sensitive time. The security team has no security responsibility for the external event.

"We prohibit any participation and any presence of the emissaries and employees at this event, which is a very sensitive event with no adequate security response, and the NYPD, including the highest echelons, stresses that this is a very high risk event," wrote the security officer.
Nation’s defense firms to lose over $1b. annually with U.S. aid deal
The Israeli arms industry is expected to lose $1.3 billion in revenue each year and as many as 22,000 workers could lose their jobs when the latest agreement for military aid from the US kicks in at the end of this year, the Defense Ministry warned at a Knesset Finance Committee meeting on Monday.

Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) called to renegotiate the 10-year aid agreement with the US, because it “will increase aid, but our society will crumble from the inside.”

The Memorandum of Understanding negotiated between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-US president Barack Obama’s administration changed the previous terms of military aid. Until now, up to 26% of the aid, adding up to billions of shekels each year, could be spent inside Israel. In the new deal that will gradually be phased out beginning at the end of the US’s government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (i.e., on October 1, 2018), until all American military aid will have to be spent in the US, resulting in losses for local industry.

The estimated loss is NIS 4b. per year in defense purchases, which could lead to the closure of 130 factories, many of which are in the periphery.

Gafni expressed concern about the MoU’s “severe ramifications for the delicate fabric of the State of Israel, harming its security.

“We won’t let something like this pass,” he added.
Media Fail: Majority Support U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
The latest Rasmussen poll shows that a majority side with President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite the best efforts of America’s establishment media to depict last week’s opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem as a debacle.

Moreover, the trend lines in the poll clearly show that Trump won the national debate on this issue against a vast media and establishment propaganda campaign to portray it as an amateurish mistake that would explode the Arab world.

Late last year, when Trump announced the move, only 40 percent of those polled supported the president’s decision, while a near-equal number of 36 percent were opposed. Basically, the country was evenly split.

Today, however, that division has evaporated. While a majority of 51 percent support the move, only 29 percent disagree.
Panama says not opening a Jerusalem embassy
Panama has no plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem even though it holds that west Jerusalem is part of Israel, its President Juan Carlos Varela told The Jerusalem Post.

“Panama is keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv,” said Varela, whose three-day trip to Israel from Wednesday to Friday was sandwiched between the more high profile ones from the leaders of Guatemala and Paraguay, who both opened Jerusalem embassies in the last week.

Varela’s country is known as a friend of Israel and is one of only four Latin American nations that have not recognized Palestine as a state. It was one of the 37 nations that supported Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949.

It has, however, no intention of making history twice by following in Guatemala and Paraguay’s footsteps with regard to a Jerusalem embassy.
Panama's president says terrorism behind 1994 plane crash
Panama's president said on Monday a 1994 plane explosion in the country that killed 21 people, most of them Jewish, was the result of a terrorist attack and called for the case to be reopened.

President Juan Carlos Varela told reporters that Israel provided reports late last year about the plane crash, whose victims included prominent Jewish Panamanian businessmen and which stirred suspicion of hate-motivated sabotage.

The 1994 crash came soon after a bomb at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires killed 85 people, raising concerns that Jews worldwide could increasingly become the targets of militants amid tense peace talks in the Middle East.

Varela told reporters he will ask Panamanian and Israeli authorities to reinvestigate the incident.
Kosovo Jails Eight for Plotting to Attack Israeli Soccer Team in 2016
A court in Kosovo jailed eight men on Friday for plotting to attack the Israeli national soccer team in Albania in a World Cup qualifying match in 2016.

The court in the capital handed the defendants, who are all from Kosovo, jail terms ranging from 10 years to 18 months, totalling more than 35 years.

A ninth defendant was ordered to pay a fine of 2,500 euros.

The prosecution said the group had planned to attack the Israeli team with explosives and automatic rifles.

The plan was thwarted when Kosovo police got wind of the plot and tipped off Albanian authorities who moved the game from a stadium in Shkoder, near the border with Kosovo, to a town closer to the Albanian capital, Tirana.

The prosecution said some of the defendants received orders to carry out an attack from Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a prominent Islamic State member from Kosovo and the self-declared “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq.”

Muhaxheri was killed in Syria, police and family members say.
Israel the first in the world to conduct strikes with F-35 jet, army says
Israeli Air Force commander Amikam Norkin revealed on Tuesday that the F-35 fighter jet conducted airstrikes on at least two occasions, which he said made Israel the first country to use the American-made stealth aircraft operationally.

“I think that we are the first to attack with an F-35 in the Middle East — I’m not sure about other areas,” Norkin told a conference of air force chiefs visiting Israel from around the world.

The Israeli military later went further, saying that this was the first operational use of the fighter jet in the world, not only in the Middle East.

“The Israeli Air Force has twice carried out strikes with the F-35, on two different fronts,” Norkin said.

The air force chief did not specify when those two attacks took place, but said the F-35 did not carry out strikes during Israel’s massive bombardment of Iranian targets in Syria on May 10.
Incoming Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin salutes during a ceremony at the Tel Nof Air Base on August 14, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Norkin revealed the F-35’s operational uses while showing the visiting air force officers a photograph of the stealth fighter jet flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, in what could be seen as a tacit threat to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group. (The army refused to release the picture to media outlets.)
US lawmakers look to block sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers has introduced a motion to stop the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, arguing that Ankara is growing “increasingly hostile and authoritarian by the day” and expressing fears that the country was growing closer to Russia.

Congressman David Cicilline, a Democrat of Rhode Island, filed the bill along with six colleagues from both parties last Thursday, saying the US “cannot turn a blind eye to Turkey’s thuggish, reprehensible behavior.”

Turkey, a key US ally in the Middle East, is slated to purchase more than 100 of the ultra-high tech aircraft.

“The Turkish regime, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has grown increasingly authoritarian in recent years, cracking down on dissent and free speech. They have even held American citizens in captivity in order to use them as bargaining chips with the US Government,” Cicilline said in a statement.

“There have to be consequences for any regime that commits such horrific human rights abuses and constantly steps out of line with our own interests,” said Cicilline, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
IAF commander: Iran launched 32 missiles toward Israel in early May
Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen.Amikam Norkin said Tuesday that Iran launched 32 missiles toward Israel in early May.

“Iran launched 32 missiles and we intercepted 4 of them and the rest fell outside Israeli territory,” Norkin said at the IAF senior Air Force Conference in Herzilya on Tuesday.

The IDF had said earlier that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s Quds Force had launched 20 Fajr-5 and Grad missiles towards Israel’s front defensive line in the Golan Heights.

According to Norkin, Syria fired over 100 anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli jets and in response Israel destroyed the anti-aircraft batteries.

Israel struck 50 mainly Iranian targets in Syria in an operation called “House of Cards.”

According to Norkin, Israel has been “managing a campaign against Iranian forces, especially on Israel’s northern border” for the past two years.

Israel had been preparing for a direct attack from the Quds force since mid-April in response for a strike allegedly carried out by the Jewish state against an Iranian operated airbase in Syria which killed seven IRGC soldiers.
PMW: PA Mufti: Prosecute everyone who eats in public during Ramadan
As Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, has just begun this week, the Palestinian Authority Mufti has called to "go after" everyone who eats in public and "put them on trial":

"[PA] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories and [Palestinian] Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman Muhammad Hussein called to preserve the sanctity of the month of Ramadan (i.e., Muslim month of fasting).
In a statement yesterday the grand mufti demanded that the owners of the restaurants and cafés close them during the daytime hours of the month of Ramadan in order to preserve the sanctity of the month. He called on the responsible parties to go after anyone who publicly breaks the fast and put them on trial."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 15, 2018]

This instruction is similar to calls by the highest religious PA authority in previous years. Palestinian Media Watch reported in 2017 that the mufti called on the PA police "to act against anyone who breaks the fast in public, in preparation for legal steps against them." Likewise, the PA's Supreme Fatwa Council announced that "breaking the Ramadan fast in public is one of the greatest sins." The council quoted Islam's Prophet Muhammad:

Iran Calls on Muslims to Revise Trade Ties With US After Jerusalem Move
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday urged Muslim countries to revise their economic ties with the United States in response to its relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem.

“I call on countries to totally cut their relations with the Zionist regime (Israel) and also to revise their trade and economic ties with America,” Rouhani said in a speech at a summit of Muslim nations in Istanbul, broadcast live on Iranian state TV.

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