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Friday, March 31, 2017

From Ian:

Convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh’s status as leftist icon untarnished by plea deal
She’s a convicted terrorist preparing to be deported for entering the United States illegally, but Rasmea Yousef Odeh has seen her status as a leftist celebrity remain intact.
The Palestinian and feminist activist is scheduled to speak this weekend at the Jewish Voice for Peace conference in Chicago despite agreeing last week to a plea deal in which she will admit to failing to disclose her criminal record on her visa application. In exchange Odeh will be sent to Jordan and receive no jail time.
Still, Jewish Voice for Peace has remained steadfast in supporting Odeh, a featured speaker at the left-wing group’s annual three-day meeting, which starts Friday at the Hyatt Regency.
“Rasmea has made the difficult decision to leave the home and community she has built in the U.S. over the last 20 years,” the organization said in a statement after the plea deal was announced.
Odeh is slated to speak at a session called “All In!” along with Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour, another Israel critic who leads the Arab American Association of New York.
“We are pleased that we will be able to host Rasmea at our National Member Meeting next week, to hear her story of resilience in the face of state violence and offer our enduring support in the next steps in her work and life,” Jewish Voice for Peace said.
Police: American Media Inspired Bomb Threats On Jewish Centers; Trump Push Nabbed Suspect
Despite months of our Fake News Media insisting that only Trump voters could be responsible for a wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions around the world and American Jewish Community Centers in particular, according to police, the real culprits are nothing of the kind. One suspect is a left-wing member of the same American media that spread all that defamatory Fake News. The other is a Jewish Israeli-American, a young cyber-criminal inspired by our media's malicious slander of Trump and his supporters to increase his reign of terror.
The 19 year-old recently arrested in Israel is considered to be responsible for most of the threats. According to Haaretz, this crime wave of cyber-attacks lasted for more than two years but only became a real focus for the American FBI because of President Trump. Unlike President Obama, it was Trump who made these crimes a top priority and the result was an important arrest:
The Jewish Israeli-American arrested this week on suspicion of making a host of bomb threats on Jewish institutions worldwide has been making such cyberattacks for two years, but only recently was his capture given high priority, according to police sources.
The sources attributed the turnabout to pressure from United States President Donald Trump. A few weeks ago, after Trump announced that the FBI would do everything in its power to catch the perpetrator, the agency sent 12 investigators from its cybercrime unit to Israel to assist the Israeli investigation.

Police sources also told Haaretz that the teen's muse, his inspiration, his North Star, his guiding light and actual modus operandi was … The American Anti-Trump Media!
Altogether, the teen has made hundreds of threats that the public never heard about, police said. When they got no media attention, he stopped making threats in those places. In contrast, the bomb threats to Jewish institutions in the U.S. in recent months received especially prominent coverage, not just in America but worldwide, so he began focusing his threats on those institutions.
In other words, the very same media that for years during the Obama administration, did not care even a little about these bomb threats (got to protect our Precious Barry!), is the very same media that inspired an increase in these threats as they politicized the attacks as a means to smear Trump and his supporters.
Ben-Dror Yemini: An open letter to Richard Gere
Hello, Richard Gere. You recently visited Hebron, guided by Breaking the Silence activists. They likely told you what they tell many other diplomats, journalists, parliament members and occasional guests, about Israel’s crimes, about the poor Hebron residents, and more. Your only response was that “it’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go… It was well understood. You didn’t cross over if you didn’t want to get your head beat in, or you get lynched.”
Let me tell you that I am not a supporter of the Jewish settlement in Hebron, or of the settlement enterprise in general. Far from it. I am in favor of a decent solution which will give the Palestinians welfare, prosperity, sovereignty and independence. If only they wanted that too. if only they would fight for themselves, rather than against Israel’s existence. But in order to contribute something to a reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, there are a few facts you should know.
Hebron is the Jews’ holiest and most important city after Jerusalem. Jews lived there even after the Arab occupation in the seventh century. They held the status of inferior citizens, the “dhimmis,” as was customary under the Muslim rule. In the 16th century, Jews were already banned entry to the Cave of the Patriarchs. There were riots against Jews in 1517 and 1834. There was no occupation, no Zionism and no Israel then. The major pogrom took place in 1929. Fifty-nine Jews were murdered by a rampaging Muslim mob, while a few Muslims, Righteous Among the Nations, hid Jews. Following the pogrom, the Jews were forced to leave and the Muslims took over the Jewish neighborhood and the Jews’ homes.

Melanie Phillips: As I see it: Brexit? Jexit was the first lesson in national self-determination
The die is now cast. On Wednesday of this week the British prime minister, Theresa May, triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the start of the process by which the UK will exit the EU.
Britain and the EU now enter stormy and uncharted waters. A geopolitical divorce on this scale is unprecedented and much remains contestable and unknown.
Underlying the specifics remains the big issue dividing those who wanted to remain in the EU – and who still hope the referendum result can somehow be reversed – from those who support Brexit.
That issue is nationalism, for so it is perceived in great alarm by Remainers – and by many in Britain’s Jewish community.
Nationalism has implications of aggression and bigotry. That’s what Remainers fear Brexit will revive. National identity, on the other hand, is benign. Yet national identity, or the revival of the spirit of the nation, is what Brexit is actually all about.
Only a nation can produce freedom and democracy, because only a nation binds people together in a shared project of unified cultural destiny, expressed through laws made by a nation’s sovereign parliament.
Telling the Truth Doesn’t Make Us ‘Right Wing’
Truth is not a political position. Yet some who disagree with the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) wrongly label us and similar groups as “right wing,” “ultra right” or even “extreme.” Hurling such labels avoids fair, reasoned and fact-based debate on the issues, and is merely an attempt to delegitimize anyone that the libelers disagree with.
It wasn’t “far right” or “right wing” for the ZOA to predict the Oslo Accords would lead to more terrorism and not peace. Why? Because on the very same date that the accords were signed in Washington, Yasser Arafat broadcast this “stages” message in Arabic: “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”
Arafat and later Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas failed to fulfill any of their signed agreements under the Oslo Accords. Arafat and Abbas did not stop inciting hatred and violence against Jews, they did not ban terrorist groups like Hamas, they did not collect illegal weapons. Instead, the PA named schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killers, and glorified terrorists with posters and parades. The PA’s official emblems, stationary, school atlases, maps, stamps and textbooks all show Israel as “Palestine.” The PA also teaches its children to use knives and car-rammings to “liberate” “Palestine,” and pays terrorists to murder Jews.
Opposing Oslo was a rational, centrist position.
Arrest British Jews who Join the IDF?
The former Home Office Minister Sayeeda Warsi claims that British Jews who go to fight for the IDF should be treated in the same way as British Muslims going off to fight for ISIS.
I left the UK to join the IDF when I was 21 and was inducted at the age of 22. The Israelis sent me to fight threats to Israel. They are facing attacks on their own soil, in their own cities and in their own homes. When I left for Israel the British Army had just been sent to Sierra Leone. It was pretty clear which homeland needed defending more.
Baroness Warsi was a member of David Cameron’s cabinet until she resigned in 2014 as a protest to ongoing British support for Israel. In an interview with the Middle East Eye she spoke about how British law doesn’t allow a British national to be prosecuted for service in a foreign army saying;
“The only reason we allow the loophole to exist is because of the IDF, because we are not brave enough to say if you hold British citizenship, you make a choice. You fight for our state only.”
Warsi’s argument is twofold, that it’s only because of the Jews that no one is prosecuted for serving in a foreign army and that Muslims are being arrested for fighting for ISIS while Jews are free to go and fight for Israel. This argument is abhorrent. It is also wrong on both counts.
Why I volunteered to serve in the IDF
Dear Baroness Warsi,
As a former Mahal volunteer to the IDF who grew up in Britain, I read about your latest comments with great interest. Seeing as I speak from first-hand experience, perhaps you might be interested in hearing what motivated my decision to serve.
First, a brief explanation of why Israel is, and has always been, a massive part of my life. Although I grew up in London, almost all my extended family live in Israel. My grandfather, a Jewish refugee from Iraq, started the trend in the 50s, and although he left for a number of years, eventually he, my grandmother, and all their children apart from my mother ended up making Israel their home. Yes, I may have grown up in London, but my family is Israeli. More generally, I speak as Jew. Jerusalem is my people’s spiritual home. Jews are indigenous to Israel; the Holy Land is our ancestral home and developments there have always been important to us.
In the early 2000s, I flew to Israel almost every summer as a mixed family visit/religious pilgrimage. My parents wanted our family to remain close, but many of my friends were scared away by the threat of suicide bombers and Molotov cocktails. Those were the bloody Intifada years. At its peak, bombs exploded daily, sometimes killing dozens of people at a time. Over a thousand Israelis were murdered in those years. There were too many tragedies to recount.
Just last week marked the 15th anniversary of one of the most shocking murders in the conflict – the shooting of Shalhevet Pass, a ten-month old baby who was shot dead in her pram by a Palestinian sniper in Hebron on 26 March 2002. Events such as this were seared my consciousness, and I realised that although I might live in the relative safety of London, my cousins, some of them babies, were at risk of being callously murdered by terrorists.
The Muslim Brotherhood: Peddling Sharia as Social Justice
Human Rights Watch, an organization that is supposed to look out for victims of human rights abuses, not abusers of human rights is begging US decision makers not to designate the Muslim Brotherhood -- which, if it had its way, would take away everyone's human rights and substitute them with sharia law -- a foreign terrorist organization.
"Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope". — Muslim Brotherhood motto.
Conveniently, Hamas -- which according to article two of its charter, is "one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine" -- is, it seems, working on a new charter. The new charter would declare that Hamas is not a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite its always having been so. That way, is the Muslim Brotherhood's "narrative" of newfound "nonviolence" suddenly supposed to become believable?
NGO Monitor: French and Swedish Government Funding Used to Target Israeli Banks
On March 29, 2017, a group of pro-BDS NGOs – Al-Haq, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), French League of Human Rights (LDH), Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), CCFD-Terre Solidaire, la CGT, Union Syndicale Solidaires, and Fair Finance France – released a report calling on the French government to force French banks and insurance companies to “disengage without delay from any financial link with Israeli banks.” The NGO action also lobbies for “a legislative proposal prohibiting enterprises from all sectors to invest in the settlements.” This is the most recent NGO-led attack against Israel, and, as in the past, is funded through European government frameworks.
Alleging “Dangerous Ties between French Banks and Insurance Companies with the Israeli Occupation,” the NGOs point to French banks’ direct and indirect “minority shareholdings in banks or businesses operating in the Israeli settlements.” One “notable case” mentioned in FIDH’s press release is the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC). The report states that a number of French Banks provided a €288 million loan to IEC, a company that “supplies directly to the settlements” and claims that this loan somehow causes violations of human rights. (This argument is contradicted by FIDH’s claim that denying electricity to Gaza would constitute a violation of human rights; the same ought to be true if the IEC denied electricity to settlements.)
BDS campaigners falsely claim that corporations operating over the 1949 Armistice Line violate international law. However, this claim has failed in every court case brought in Europe and North America, and in particular in France. All courts that have examined this issue have ruled that only states, and not corporations, are subject to international humanitarian law (IHL), and there is no international rule whatsoever imposing liability on corporations for allegedly aiding and abetting claimed violations of a state. For instance, a French court noted that building the Jerusalem Light Rail was not illegal because occupation law allows for the governance of occupied territory and includes the building of transportation infrastructure (see below).
The publication is funded by the Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) with analysis conducted by Profundo Economic Research Consultancy in the Netherlands.
Jerusalem municipality shuts down digital services after hack
The Jerusalem municipality announced Friday that due to suspected cyber attacks, all municipal digital services — including its website and smartphone app — have been shut down in order to prevent any harm to its servers.
Earlier this week, hackers attempted to target a new server that the municipality was testing. Jerusalem officials stressed in a statement that this server was not central to its operations. The hack was “discovered immediately and dealt with quickly and professionally,” it said.
The hacks came a week before the annual OpIsrael cyber campaign, during which an international collective of hackers known as “Anonymous” targets websites and social media accounts of the Israeli government and other major organizations, in solidarity with the Palestinians.
The event has been held on April 7 every year since 2013, where the participants have attempted to gain access to Israelis’ personal emails and credit card information.
In 2015, the hackers had warned of an “electronic holocaust” that would strike Israeli sites.
Jewish pro-BDS conference hosting convicted Palestinian terrorist begins Friday
Jewish Voice for Peace’s national conference, which caused much controversy after the group announced it will be hosting convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh at the event, will open in Chicago on Friday.
JVP, which “seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem,” vocally supports the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement. The conference, which will run from Friday to Sunday, is aimed at crafting strategies to “resist the right-wing extremism emboldened by the leadership of President Trump and his mirror in Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and to build community for the long haul.”
According to the conference schedule, Rasmea Odeh is scheduled to speak as part of the program’s “All In!” workshop, alongside three other panelists, including anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour.
Odeh, who is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was sentenced to life in prison in Israel for her role in two 1969 PFLP bombings in Jerusalem, which she confessed to, and for her membership in a terrorist organization. One of the attacks targeted a supermarket where two students – Leon Kanner, 21, and Eddie Joffe, 22 – were killed and nine other people were wounded.
Odeh was released in a prisoner exchange in the 1980s. She later moved to the US, but in 2014 she was convicted by a US federal jury of immigration fraud, for concealing her arrest, conviction and imprisonment for the 1969 bombings. Last week, she agreed to plead guilty to this. Odeh said she didn’t disclose her past because of post-traumatic stress disorder from being tortured in prison.
Minister ‘ashamed’ US Jewish group to host convicted terrorist
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan on Thursday lamented a Jewish organization’s decision to host a convicted terrorist at its weekend conference in Chicago, saying it made him feel “ashamed” as a Jew.
“As a Jew, I am ashamed that a conference filled with hatred for Israel, and that is hosting a terrorist as a central speaker, is led by a Jewish organization,” Erdan said.
The Likud minister, whose office oversees efforts to combat Israel boycott campaigns, was referring to the Jewish Voice for Peace group in a statement published by his office a day before the gathering began.
JVP, which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, is set to host Rasmea Odeh for a closing plenary session at the conference on Sunday.
Odeh confessed to planting the bomb that killed two students and injured nine others in a 1969 Jerusalem supermarket attack. She claims the confession was given under torture, but Israeli officials dispute this account.
Visiting Knesset Member to American Jewish Critic: Protecting Israel’s Security Is More Important Than Pleasing You
During a town hall meeting near Boston on Wednesday, four Israeli Knesset members — from across the political spectrum — each gave powerful responses to an audience member who questioned the Jewish state’s commitment to making peace with the Palestinians.
At the conclusion of the discussion — which was organized by the Ruderman Family Foundation and moderated by The Algemeiner editor-in-chief Dovid Efune — an American Jewish woman named Shifra came to the microphone in the sanctuary of Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline and warned the Israeli guests, “You are losing me and you are losing many, many, many people in the Jewish community…I cannot look the other way when three Israeli teenagers are brutally murdered, and the response is to kill 2,300 Palestinians” — a reference to Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 and the events that preceded it.
“I want to know what you are doing to make peace with the Palestinians,” she continued. “I want to know what the government is doing to make peace.”
Kulanu MK and former Jerusalem deputy mayor Rachel Azaria replied first, saying, “One of the challenges is that when you’re thousands of miles away, it looks simple. And it’s not. You know, I’m a mother of four. My four children are going to join the army. It terrifies me. That was my first thought when I realized that I [was] going to have a son. After I had my baby, that was my first thought. To think that we enjoy living in terror and living with our rifles, we hate it. We all hate it. But we can’t seem to find a solution that will keep us strong and sheltered. It’s not around yet…I think you have to trust us. If it would be easy, we would be there…I wish reality would be easier, God knows I wish, unfortunately it’s not. And that’s something we need to live with every day of our lives in Israel.”
Belgian plan to ban ritual slaughter upsets Jews, Muslims
The Muslim and Jewish communities in the Flanders region of Belgium have criticized a bill that would ban the slaughter of small animals that have not been stunned, which they say would contravene the Jewish and Muslim rules for ritual slaughter.
Under the draft bill, animals such as sheep and poultry would have to be stunned electrically before being killed, which most animal rights campaigners say is more humane than the Islamic halal and Jewish kosher rituals, both of which require that butchers slaughter an animal swiftly by slitting its throat and draining the blood. As larger animals such as cattle cannot be stunned without also fatally wounding them, the bill requires that such animals be stunned immediately after their throats are cut if they are slaughtered according to religious ritual.
"Unstunned slaughter is outdated," Ben Weyts, regional minister of animal welfare, said in a statement. "In a civilized society, it is our damn duty to avoid animal suffering where possible."
The bill has broad support in the predominantly Catholic region.
The issue could play with a wider audience, including right-wing politicians and animal rights campaigners, who generally support the legislation.
Student Union at Ryerson University Adopts Official Definition of Antisemitism, Following ‘Months of Lobbying’ by Pro-Israel Campus Groups
Jewish students at Toronto’s Ryerson University told The Algemeiner Wednesday that intense and long-standing lobbying to have their peers adopt an official definition of antisemitism finally paid off.
Rebecca Katzman, president of the school’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), and Tamar Jaclyn Lyons, the group’s vice president of communications and an Emerson fellow with Israel education group Stand With Us (SWU), said months were spent appealing to the Ryerson Student Union (RSU), after a “shameful” Dec. 2016 mass boycott of a RSU vote on instituting “Holocaust Education Week.” Subsequently, RSU President Obaid Ullah was caught lying about direct involvement in orchestrating the walkout.
“We have been in meetings with every executive of the RSU, and we told them that, to make up for some of the RSU’s actions regarding [the walkout], it was important that they pass Canada’s federal definition of antisemitism,” Katzman said, referring to the Ottawa Protocol, adopted by the Canadian parliament in 2010. The definition includes Holocaust denial, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and delegitimizing or applying double standards to Israel.
Katzman said she was “shaking” after the motion — the first of its kind at a Canadian university — was added into the RSU’s anti-oppression glossary late Wednesday night.
New Interactive Maps Detail Geography, Intensity of Campus Antisemitism
An interactive map project created by a watchdog group highlight “three key ingredients of campus antisemitism,” its initiator told The Algemeiner Wednesday.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, founder of the AMCHA Initiative, which monitors antisemitism on campus, said, “The maps show very clearly, in one glance…[the] intensity, geographical spread and mode of transmission” of the phenomenon at universities and colleges around the US.
One map tracks swastika graffiti; another tallies anti-Israel boycott motions passed by student governments since 2012; a third lists faculty members who have supported anti-Israel initiatives.
“We hope these new visual tools will help decision-makers better understand the pervasive nature of the problem, the schools where things are escalating most rapidly and the distinct vehicles that antisemitism uses to infest campus life,” Rossman-Benjamin said.
Activists To Undergo FGM To Show Feminist Opposition To Trump
In a bid to demonstrate that the president they accuse of misogyny does not control them, feminist activists announced today they will have portions of their genitalia cut off in a ritual associated with male domination of females, to show he does not control them.
Leaders of the women’s movement coalescing around opposition to Donald Trump vowed today to go beyond the symbolic donning of the hijab, a head covering for women that is mandated in Islamic societies, to show solidarity with Muslims in the US who face prejudice. The most prominent proponent of that prejudice, they charge, is President Trump, who sought to ban entry to the US from seven countries associated with terrorism that also have a large Muslim majority.
Activists asserted that Trump would only face stiffer and stiffer opposition if he continues down the path of sowing fear and repression. “Neither Trump nor his GOP cronies may control my body – as they might try to do by overturning existing abortion laws,” protested Linda Sarsour, an advocate for feminism and anti-feminist Islam. “To show that intolerant, woman-hating bigot who controls my body, I and my sister activists are going to have our clitorises removed, and some of us might even go far enough to have the entire labia excised,” in a ritual used by tribal cultures in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere to ensure male control over female sexuality.
“We have to fight manifestations of misogyny and Islamophobia wherever they occur,” concurred Medea Benjamin of Code Pink. “No one may stand by as Trump and his minions ride roughshod over the progressive values that define this culture. If this continues unabated, we may have no choice but to take our protests to the next level, whether it involves stoning blasphemers and adulterers or having women subjected to honor killings.”
Revisiting Jeremy Bowen’s facilitation of Hamas PR
Included in the written report was ‘analysis’ from Jeremy Bowen which was repeated on radio:
“He [Masha’al] seemed to be calibrating his comments on the conflict with Israel to catch the prevailing mood of anger towards Mr Netanyahu in the White House, after his sharp turn to the ultra-nationalist Israeli Right in the last days of the election campaign.
Mr Meshaal called for a sovereign independent Palestinian state and an end to the occupation of land captured in the 1967 Middle East war. So did the White House chief of staff earlier this week.”

The claim that Hamas has embraced the two-state solution and “agreed to accept the boundaries which existed before the 1967 Middle East war as the basis for those of a future Palestinian state” was of course as ridiculously far-fetched two years ago as it is now.
Nevertheless, one should not be surprised if that theme crops up again in BBC reporting in the near future because – as AP reports – the terror group is apparently in the final stages of creating a new PR stunt.
US Attorney General discusses recent bomb threats with Jewish leaders
Representatives of the umbrella organization of Jewish community centers discussed recent bomb threats against their institutions with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Officials from the JCC Association of North America met with Sessions on Thursday, a week after an Israeli teenager was arrested on charges of calling in over 100 bomb threats to JCCs and other American Jewish institutions.
Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman, said the meeting was “positive and productive” and that Sessions had praised the Jewish leaders “for their responsiveness, efficiency, calm and competence” in dealing with the threats.
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate hate crimes against Jewish communities or the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Prior said, according to media reports.
Greek Holocaust memorial smashed
A Holocaust memorial was vandalized in the town of Kavala in Greece Wednesday night, the Greek news site Ekathimerini reported.
The marble-coated memorial to the 1,484 Jews from Kavala who were murdered in Nazi death camps, which was erected a year ago, was reportedly smashed with a hammer.
“Every act of vandalism on a monument opens a new wound in regards to the history and culture of Kavala, a community that has always been open, always tolerant and respectful of other cultures and religions,” the municipal authority said in an announcement.
Kavala Mayor Dimitra Tsanaka visited the site Thursday morning to inspect the damage to the memorial. Afterwards she spoke with David Saltiel, the president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and condemned the act of vandalism.
French report questions existence of Islamic anti-Semitism
French authorities recorded a 58 percent drop last year in anti-Semitic incidents in a report that identified only far-right perpetrators and questioned the existence of anti-Semitism by Muslims.
The annual report by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, published Thursday on its website, counted 335 anti-Semitic incidents in 2016 compared to 808 the previous year — the sharpest drop on record since 2001, when the SPCJ security group of the Jewish community documented a 71 percent decrease to 219 cases. Data by SPCJ, which has not published its annual report, usually correspond with those published by the commission.
The commission also reported a 57 percent drop in anti-Muslim attacks to a total of 182 incidents in 2016.
According to the report, the decrease in attacks of Jews “is primarily due to security measures applied by the authorities as part of the Vigipirate plan.” The plan, which involves the deployment of thousands of troops around Jewish institutions and heavily Jewish neighborhoods across the country, was initiated in 2015 following the slaying of four Jews at a kosher store in Paris by an Islamist."
The terror attack referred to by the report took place on a Friday in 2015 at the Hyper-Cacher food store. The victims were buried in Israel.
Israelis develop a blood test to diagnose lung cancer
Israeli scientists from the Rehovot-based company Nucleix succeeded in developing a first of its kind blood test to diagnose lung cancer.
The new test is able to diagnose the disease long before it spreads in the body, thus increasing the chance of survival, as many patients usually die within a few months of the diagnosis.
Each year, approximately 1.8 million new lung cancer patients are diagnosed, a 1.59 million of whom will die within the first year post-diagnosis. Most cases are discovered by chance, after a screening test, or due to abnormal symptoms such as prolonged cough, bloody cough, breathing difficulties or weight loss.
Diagnosis of the disease is usually done via a CT scan, but its level of accuracy is not high, and in 25 percent of the cases, the lung scan shows lesions of which only 3% are indeed cancerous.
Azerbaijani US Ambassador: Israel Is a Pragmatic Partner and Good Friend, We Want it to Be Normal for Muslims and Jews to Be Allies
Over the past two and a half decades, the Caucasus nation of Azerbaijan — a Shiite Muslim-majority state — has become a close ally of Israel, manifested by deep economic and military bonds.
In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Baku, where he met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. “The world sees so much intolerance, so much darkness, and here is an example of what relations can be and should be between Muslims and Jews everywhere,” Netanyahu said at the time.
On Wednesday, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov sat down for an interview with The Algemeiner at his country’s embassy in Washington, DC and talked about a wide range of topics, including Azerbaijan-Israel ties, the Azerbaijani Jewish community, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran and the Trump administration, among other things.
First of all, for readers who are not familiar with Azerbaijan, speak about your country’s place in the world at the current moment in history.
“Azerbaijan is in a way very unique. You have a country on the shores of the Caspian Sea and it’s the only country in the world which borders both Russia and Iran. On a map, if you move from the Arctic Ocean down to the Persian Gulf, there are only three countries — big Russia to the north, big Iran to the south and small Azerbaijan in the middle. The other thing is that Azerbaijan has historically always been at the crossroads of many cultures and empires. So it has a very diverse environment.”
Israeli bird-watching event raises NIS 254,000 to save black storks
Under moonlight, some 200 ornithology enthusiasts headed to the Arava Desert for a 24-hour charitable competition to identify as many bird species as possible.
From 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
Tuesday, the bird-watching teams from Israel and around the world partook in the fourth annual “Champions of the Flyway” event, exploring a triangular territory stretching from Eilat in the south to the Arava junction and Nitzana in the northeast and northwest.
Through their participation, teams from 14 countries ultimately raised NIS 254,000 to save black storks and combat illegal bird-hunting in Turkey.
“Unfortunately, all kinds of species are hunted there – birds of prey, storks and other gliders – in the name of sport,” said Jonathan Meirav, the competition’s organizer and a senior ornithologist for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, before the event.
Administered by SPNI’s Israel Ornithological Center, the contest is jointly sponsored by the world’s largest birding organization, BirdLife International.
Pastors’ Israel Trip Highlights ‘Miracle of Christian-Jewish Brotherhood’
A delegation of 30 young evangelical pastors traveled to Israel earlier this month on their first visit to the Jewish state. Rabbi Pini Dunner, senior rabbi at California’s Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, accompanied the group in an expression of Jewish solidarity with evangelical Christians.
“The overwhelming miracle of Christian-Jewish brotherhood in the wake of the creation of the state of Israel is something that is under-recognized and under-appreciated, particularly of evangelicals, whose love for Israel is breathtaking and illuminating,” Dunner said.
The rabbi elaborated in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), saying, “The more that Jews realize that they have brothers and friends in the evangelical world…the greater the chances for the success of the state of Israel.”
Christian Aranza, a delegation member and pastor from Alabama’s Church of the Highlands, conveyed similar sentiments on Christian-Jewish camaraderie.
“Taking the journey really of the Jewish people and being able to walk that with them and then being able to now say, ‘I stand with Israel’…After seeing their journey, there’s no other side to stand on. You can’t grasp that unless you’re here,” Aranza said, CBN reported.
The delegation of millennial-aged pastors toured Israel as part of an initiative organized by Eagles’ Wings, a ministry based outside of Buffalo, NY.
230 new immigrants arrive in Israel from Ukraine
Some 230 new immigrants from Ukraine arrived in Israel over the past week.
The immigrants landed Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport on a flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
There were 78 families in the group, as well as four Holocaust survivors and more than 40 children.
Some of the new arrivals left war-torn areas suffering from civil unrest.
“Life in Ukraine has become life without a future, especially for families with children,” said a couple identified in a news release as Olski and Irina L. “Because of the continuing war the economic situation is also terrible. For us it was clear, if we are looking for a future for our children, it is better to do it in the land of Israel.”
Since the fellowship began bringing immigrants to Israel in 2014, 5,179 arrivals have some from Ukraine.
Israeli MMA Fighter Noad Lahat, From the Octagon to Gaza and Back
“It’s always Jews who want to know if I’m religious,” Noad Lahat told me over the phone from his Las Vegas home, followed by a chuckle as a dog barked in the background. I tried explaining that the existence of a Jewish professional athlete is interesting to other Jews, especially considering that earlier in our conversation he told me that his father is an Orthodox rabbi, which is not exactly the sort of job you expect for the father of a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter—one who’s a 5’8”, 145-pound slab of pure muscle.
“I don’t really like labels. I see myself as a Jew,” Lahat said. “Yes, I observe—I keep Shabbat, and eat kosher—but I really believe that it’s between me and God.”
Lahat does fight on Shabbat. I mean professionally, not the way most of us do when our families gather around the table. But that’s really neither here nor there.
One of the fighter’s younger brothers, Elon, said the need to be right is one of the things that drives Noad, that he attacks every verbal debate with the zeal of a man expecting the loser to be sentenced to death. It could be the Israeli in him; the country’s citizens aren’t known for being open to differing opinions—and Yemenite Israelis like Lahat might be the most stubborn of the bunch. But his friend and longtime manager, Bob Cook, had a different way of describing the fighter’s personality. “He’s definitely a man willing to speak his mind,” Cook said.
Doing good is going strong
One good turn deserves another, so 1.1 million good deeds deserve at least a mention in a humble column, especially as similar selfless acts are spreading from Israel around the world.
More than a million Israelis marked Good Deeds Day on March 28. Doing good is a growth industry. International Good Deeds Day will be held on April 2, when volunteers will be thinking and acting positively in 93 countries.
Good Deeds Day is one of Israel’s best exports, right up there with Waze and the disk-on-key (flash drive). It is a modern adaptation of an ancient precept: “Derech eretz kadma latorah,” that behaving as a decent human being comes before everything else.
Creating a specific day dedicated to doing good was the idea of businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison, who launched the project 11 years ago via Ruach Tova (Good Spirit), her nonprofit, which is part of the Ted Arison Family Foundation.
“We have built an immense infrastructure of good deeds,” Arison said in a press statement ahead of this year’s events. “Each individual can do a good deed, but togetherness creates power. Together we can shift the pendulum to the positive side, tapping into a tremendous source of hope.”

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Infected Mushroom April 6
Jean-Michel Jarre April 6
Lost Frequencies April 11
Justin Bieber May 3
Aerosmith May 17
Rod Stewart June 14
Jim Gaffigan (comedian) June 30
Tears for Fears July 5
Guns N' Roses July 15
Radiohead July 19
Pixies July 25
Amon Amarth July 27

Also, Foreigner is performing December 2. And rumors of Duran Duran in June.

While Roger Waters will not play, there is a Pink Floyd tribute band in Israel named Echoes.  I wonder if they pay royalties - and if Waters accepts them.

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From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Israel’s silenced majority
The Israeli public today recognizes that there is no deal to be had. The Palestinians will never make peace with Israel, because they remain committed to its destruction.
It doesn’t matter how effective the Americans are at negotiations. It doesn’t matter how many concessions they are able to extract from Israel in their endless attempts to coddle the Palestinians and convince them to negotiate. Indeed, the Americans’ collective refusal to come to terms with the reality that guides the Israeli public indicates that regardless of what their actual feelings toward Israel may be, in demanding Israeli concessions to the PLO, the Americans are implementing a policy that is stridently anti-Israel.
Under the circumstances, Netanyahu’s task, and that of his ministers, is not to convince the new administration to respect the legal rights to property of Jews in Judea and Samaria. Their duty is to represent and advance the interests and positions of the public that elected them.
Netanyahu and his ministers must make clear to Trump and his advisers that there is no point in trying to reach a deal with the PLO. Trump’s predecessors’ failure to reach an accord had nothing to do with their failure to master the art of the deal. They failed because there is no one on the Palestinian side who is interested in making a deal.
Moreover, Netanyahu and his ministers must explain to Trump that all previous attempts to reach a deal by extracting concessions from Israel did nothing but weaken Israel. And the Israeli public will no longer accept any such concessions from their government.
NGO Monitor: The black hole of Gaza aid
Last week, Israeli authorities revealed that, once again, Hamas has been stealing international aid money intended for the general Gazan population, and using it for its own purposes. In this case, Muhammad Murtaja, the local coordinator of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), has been charged with siphoning millions from Turkish aid donations….The modus operandi of infiltrating the ranks of foreign aid groups is not new to Hamas.
In the end, the noble desires of international humanitarian groups to provide aid come at the expense and danger that terrorists will appropriate all or part of it. For too many NGOs and their government funders, the risks have not been properly weighed. Simply stated, regardless of whether not a terrorist group controls the region, and illegally and immorally paying it off is the price of doing business, NGOs will continue single-mindedly on their “humanitarian” mission.
The need for more safeguards and oversight on the work of aid groups in Gaza (and in other conflict areas as well) is clear and imperative. The mere thought that funds and goods intended for aid purposes end up in the hands of terrorists should cause governments to hit the brakes and rethink what would be the best way to ensure that aid distributed actually reaches the people of Gaza. A pattern such as the one emerging in Gaza should bring about a complete overhaul of how international aid operations are conducted in the terrorist-controlled enclave.

Israel and the Secret History of the Iran Deal
In The Iran Wars, Jay Solomon tells the story of the warfare and diplomacy—sometimes overt, more often covert—between the United States and the Islamic Republic since the fall of 2001, when Washington became aware that Tehran was meddling in Afghanistan and harboring al-Qaeda fugitives. The book also documents a largely successful campaign of financial warfare begun by the Bush administration in 2006, slowed by President Obama almost immediately after he took office, and then used—or, perhaps, wasted—as leverage to obtain the nuclear deal. Jordan Chandler Hirsch writes in his review:
Solomon has excavated many of the deeper patterns that underlay the nuclear diplomacy. . . . John Kerry, whose role in The Iran Wars is as a kind of diplomatic Don Quixote, dashed around the region, proposing to visit Tehran in 2009 and floating massive U.S. concessions without full White House approval. . . . [The] Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, responded by tweeting “Happy Rosh Hashanah,” an act of ecumenism that reportedly astonished Obama staffers. A sweet greeting here, a moderate move there: the Islamic Republic’s rhetorical morsels fed an insatiable American appetite for fantasies of a Tehran transformed.
Yet those fantasies weren’t simply about Iran. They were also about redefining America’s role in the world. For a few key figures in the administration, the nuclear talks represented something much more than preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. . . . President Obama seemed to believe that history was trending in America’s direction and that the best approach was to avoid needless confrontations that could interrupt that process. If the goal was for the United States to get out of history’s way, the greatest threat to the project was the Iranian nuclear crisis. The possibility of war, after all, meant the possibility of American imposing itself once again in the Middle East and on the globe.

EXCLUSIVE - Israeli Law Center: Jordan Providing Haven for Palestinian Terrorist with 'Blood of Jewish Children on Her Hands'
The Shurat HaDin Law Center, Israel’s leading non-governmental organization (NGO), which is representing one of the victims injured by Palestinian terrorist Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi in the 2001 bombing of the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem, provided a statement exclusively to Breitbart News condemning Jordan for providing a safe haven for “a vicious and unrepentant terrorist with the blood of Jewish children on her hands.”
Chana Nachenberg was among those injured in Al-Tamimi’s terrorist attack and she remains in a coma in Israel to this day. Two Americans and several children were also murdered in the suicide bombing.
Shurat HaDin’s president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner writes:
We are shocked that Jordan, which calls itself a close American ally, has so flippantly rejected the US’s extradition request for al-Tamimi. Accordingly, the US needs to place massive pressure on the Hashemite Kingdom to turn her over for trial. It makes no sense that Jordan relies so heavily on American military support for its survival and at the same time would refuse the request and provide this mass murderer safe haven. Al-Tamimi is a vicious and unrepentant terrorist with the blood of Jewish children on her hands and she should not be allowed to find shelter and a soapbox in the capital of an American ally. The world Jewish community must join in the fight and demand that she be brought to justice. We don’t need any more symbolic acts, instead we must insist that those who carried out the suicide bombings which devastated Israel during the tragic years of the intifada be hunted down. Jordan needs to decide now whether it is a country that respects the rule of law or just another terror-infested Middle East regime that talks about fighting these criminals while really providing them support and resources.
When al-Tamimi was sentenced she vowed that she would soon be released from an Israeli prison and that Jews everywhere would be erased from the earth. Apparently, the first part of her prediction has come to pass. Let’s pray that the US can devise a way to arrest her and prosecute her for her crimes.
This land is our land
This week marks 47 years since the death of poet Nathan Alterman, and nearly 50 years since the 1967 Six-Day War. In the last three years of his life, Alterman, the most influential poet in all of modern Hebrew literature, set out to win his own battle, leading the charge without fear. Ten days after the great Six-Day War victory, he wrote in his column in Maariv:
"This victory is not only a victory of restoring the nation's most ancient and noble holy sites, etched in out memory and heritage above all else, to the hands of the Jews. The achievement of this victory is that it essentially erased the differentiation between the State of Israel and the Land of Israel. This is the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple that the Land of Israel is in our hands. The state and the land are now one and the same. From now on, the only thing [Israel] needs to reconnect to its history is for the people of Israel to take everything we've achieved and weave that three-way thread so that it cannot be broken."
Two months after the war, in August 1967, when the founding members of the Movement for Greater Israel first met, the poet defined the organization's chief goal: to win over the minds of the Israeli public and the world: "The idea is the Land of Israel being under the sovereignty of the Jewish people at this time. The idea is coming full circle on the deepest most fundamental of circles in the history of Israel and the Jewish experience. ... What we need now, what is still lacking in the people's minds, is the comprehensive nature of the thing ... how to communicate it to the Jewish people and pass it on to the world in a very concrete way, through speech and through printing texts in major newspapers and by meeting people and by recruiting influential Jewish writers around the world."
The same holds true today.
Though politically challenging, new settlement curb likely a win-win for Netanyahu
Israel’s announcement of a new policy of restraint in settlement expansion was well-orchestrated.
On Thursday morning, during a meeting with the Slovak president, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that later in the day the cabinet would greenlight a new West Bank settlement for the evacuees of Amona, an illegal outpost dismantled in February. “I promised at the outset that we would build a new community. I believe that I first gave that promise back in December and we will uphold it today,” he said.
At 10:25 p.m., the Prime Minister’s Office announced that the cabinet had indeed decided, in a unanimous vote, to create the first new officially sanctioned West Bank settlement in some 25 years. The announcement came just in time to make the Friday morning newspapers.
But once the papers’ deadlines had passed — at 1:21 a.m. — Israeli reporters were informed that the government had also decided to “significantly restrain” the expansion of settlements beyond their current boundaries, in a nod to the US administration’s concerns regarding settlement construction.
The timing of that announcement guaranteed that no newspaper would mention that important caveat in its reports on the first new settlement in decades, thus dramatically decreasing the chance of it becoming a topic for discussion at Shabbat dinner tables around the country on Friday evening.
Israel’s “new policy,” as the government itself called it, is a far cry from the “not one brick policy” of former US president Barack Obama, who vehemently opposed any settlement construction beyond the 1967 lines, including in Jerusalem neighborhoods that will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any conceivable peace agreement.
Israel will curb settlement expansion to satisfy Trump
Israel will curb construction in West Bank settlements as a goodwill gesture to US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of the security cabinet on Thursday night.
The announcement came hours after the security cabinet decided to establish a new settlement for families evicted from the razed Amona outpost, and does not apply to that community.
The specifics of the limitations were not immediately available, and it was not yet clear whether they constituted any significant change in policy beyond a general declaration of intent.
The Prime Minister’s Office said any future construction would be limited to existing settlement boundaries or adjacent to them. However, if legal, security or topographical limitations do not allow adherence to those guidelines, new homes will be built outside the current settlement boundaries but as close as possible to them.
Israel will also prevent the construction of any new illegal outposts, Netanyahu told his ministers.
Trump accepts Amona settlement exception, US official says
The Trump administration accepts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rationale for approving one exceptional new settlement for evacuees of Amona, an Israeli outpost in the West Bank that was dismantled last month, one senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Israel's security cabinet approved a new settlement that was promised by Netanyahu to former residents of Amona. Their outpost was evacuated after Israel's High Court ruled it was an illegal construction.
"We would note that the Israeli prime minister made a commitment to the Amona settlers prior to President Trump laying out his expectations, and has consistently indicated that he intended to move forward with this plan," the US official said.
Construction will take place in Emek Shilo, and will represent the first new settlement in the West Bank approved in two decades.
Settler group unfazed by West Bank building curbs
The Yesha Council on Friday also welcomed the security cabinet’s approval of the establishment of a new West Bank settlement for families evicted from the razed Amona outpost, the first new Jewish town in the territory since the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The organization further said that it would work to make sure Jerusalem’s decision to restrain any further construction of new settlements would not affect building in existing settlements.
“In light of the decisions and despite specific limitations, the understandings reached between the Israeli government and the US government will enable the continuation of settlement construction in all settlements in Judea and Samaria, and also the establishment of the new settlement for the residents of Amona,” a statement issued by the council read.
“In this case too, the real test will be an immediate renewal of the planning, construction and development throughout the settlements, as well as actions in the field. We will be vigilant and will work with the Israeli government to bring this plan to fruition.”
Palestinians, UN chief rap new settlement for Amona evacuees
The Palestinians and the United Nations on Friday condemned the Israeli cabinet approval for building the first officially sanctioned new settlement in the West Bank in more than 20 years.
The security cabinet gave its unanimous backing to the new settlement late on Thursday for the evacuees of the illegal Amona outpost, which was razed by court order last month.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said in a statement on Friday that the Palestinians will “hold Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist government fully responsible for the consequences of such violations.”
“We send a clear message to the US administration, the United Nations and to the European Union: Peace is not going to be achieved by tolerating such crimes,” he added.
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the move showed the government was pushing ahead with “their systematic policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, showing a total and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights.”
JPost Editorial: Trump’s peace push
There have been a number of signs in recent days that the Trump administration believes an Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement is possible – now. Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, spent the last few days in Jordan attending the Arab League summit there as an observer. He met with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia to discuss efforts to move the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process forward. His attendance at the summit was very unusual and it demonstrated the emphasis the Trump administration places on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
In briefings about those meetings, Greenblatt underscored the potential role of the Arab world in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace. On Wednesday, The Jerusalem Post reported that the administration is exploring whether to host a summer conference that would include Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
Trump has also reportedly conveyed to Netanyahu his determination to reach an Israeli-Palestinian deal via Alan Dershowitz, the Jewish-American law scholar. “The president told me a few times he wants to get a deal between Israel and the Palestinians,” Dershowitz told Haaretz, referring to comments made to him by Trump during a chance meeting earlier this month. “He knows very well the possible elements of the deal.”
Think Tank: Unilateral West Bank Withdrawal Would Expose Tel Aviv Area to Same Rocket Threats Faced in Southern Israel
A unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank would harm Israel’s security, according to a new video published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) think tank.
“While the current situation in the West Bank may not be desirable, unilateral moves represent a flawed and counterproductive response,” Hirsh Goodman — a senior JCPA researcher — said in the video.
Were it to pull out of the West Bank without a peace deal with the Palestinians, the JCPA emphasized, the Jewish state would be exposing its heavily-populated coastal region — including the Tel Aviv metropolitan area — to similar rocket threats already faced by residents of southern Israel for many years now.
“Israel’s ability to effectively contain, preempt or respond to threats will be limited and the essential intelligence benefits afforded by the current deployment would be adversely affected,” the video also noted.
Alan Baker — a former Israeli ambassador to Canada and currently the head of the JCPA’s Legal Forum — pointed out in the video, “Legally speaking, clearly no unilateral move could have any validity under international law, since all related agreements, including the Oslo Accords, commit both sides to seek a negotiated peaceful outcome of all outstanding issues. By definition, that means that anything one-sided or unilateral isn’t negotiated and therefore can’t be acceptable.”

IsraellyCool: WATCH: Nikki Haley’s Greatest Hits
Nikki Haley has been US ambassador to the UN for only a few months now, but she has already left an indelible impression with her no-nonsense attitude and strong support for Israel.
It is no secret I am a huge Nikki Haley fanboy. So going through her speeches and interviews to take out the best soundbytes for a greatest hits video was a pleasure.

'Appoint Israeli UN Under-Secretary General'
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Muhammad in New York to discuss necessary reforms for the organization to stop discriminating against Israel.
Hotovely brought up with the Deputy Secretary-General the issue of anti-Israeli reports produced at the UN and its institutions, saying, "It is inconceivable that those who write the reports rely on information from organizations that have never visited Gaza." The Deputy Minister praised Amina Mohammed for shelving the latest report from the ESCWA.
The Deputy Minister also addressed the shortage of Israelis in key UN positions and asked Deputy Secretary-General Muhammad to appoint a senior Israeli official to the position of UN Under-Secretary-General.
Another important issue raised by Hotovely is UNRWA. Hotovely sought to deal with Palestinian refugees according to the principles of the UN refugee agency UNHCR: "The situation in which the Palestinians have an organization that perpetuates fifth-generation refugee status must end and their refugee status must be the same as what is accepted by the UN refugee agency as limited to the first generation only. UNRWA must continue to function as an humanitarian organization only."
Later, Hotovely met with Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, and the two discussed continuing pressure on the UN to implement reforms.
Arab States to Challenge Israeli Sovereignty Over Jerusalem at Upcoming UNESCO Meeting
According to a resolution draft obtained by Israeli government officials, Arab states plan to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem at the upcoming UNESCO executive board meeting in Paris, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Although the text does not explicitly comment on the Temple Mount and Western Wall, it does classify Jewish holy sites such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as being “an integral part of Palestine.”
The resolution states: “Any action taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the city of Jerusalem, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.”
The text was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan on behalf of the Palestinians, and marks the first time Arab states have contested Israeli sovereignty in western Jerusalem.
A vote on the resolution will be cast at UNESCO on May 1.
On Display at Arab Summit: Division and Declining Influence
For years, the stage was almost as big as the larger-than-life strongmen that made it their own. Muammar Qaddafi. Saddam Hussein. Yasser Arafat.
At times both politics and pageantry, the annual gathering of leaders at the Arab Summit has been a guiding force in Arab politics and a source of drama for Arab citizens, who have rarely seen anyone challenge their autocratic rulers over the past half-century.
But many of the region’s strongmen have made their exit in recent years – voluntarily or forced – and humanitarian, security, and political crises have plagued the Arab world, which has yet to establish a new regional order.
This year’s Arab Summit in Jordan consequently is serving a different function, officials and analysts say: as a showcase of the lack of Arab leadership and the waning influence of the Arab League.
With several states reeling in uncertainty and strife after both the ouster of dictators and weakening of remaining autocrats, the League – like the Arab world itself – is divided, looking inward, and dominated by the Saudi rivalry with Iran.
Arab summit concludes with 'Amman Declaration'
The 28th Arab League Summit concluded Wednesday evening at the Dead Sea in Jordan with the "Amman Declaration." The declaration stressed that the Palestinian issue is still the central issue for Arabs, emphasized adherence to the 2002 Arab peace initiative, and called for the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which states that Israel's settlement activity has "no legal validity" and constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law.
Arab leaders said they would continue efforts to relaunch serious and effective peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis, as a comprehensive and lasting peace is still a strategic choice for Arab countries.
The peace deal offers Israel normalized diplomatic ties with Arab states if it withdraws from territories it seized in the Six-Day War in 1967.
"We want peace; we want peace that can last, a peace that can be comprehensive. In order for the peace to be lasting, in order for it to be comprehensive, it has to address the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and it is a peace that will ensure the emergence of an independent Palestinian state and it will guarantee security, acceptance and normal ties for Israel with all Arab countries," Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters following the announcement of the Amman Declaration.
The one-day gathering was attended by leaders from 21 member states
Can Egypt drive moderate Arab states to talk Mideast peace?
On the other hand, Egypt is a member of the Arab League and being part of the Arab world and of the Islamic “ouma” is embedded in its constitution. Can it then diverge from the Arab consensus regarding the core issues relative to the conflict, take the lead in the negotiations and bring about needed Palestinian concessions? Egypt has vehemently denied rumors, floated in some Israeli circles, suggesting it would be ready to give up a small area of Sinai to the Palestinians as part of a territory swap with Israel. Such a move would be totally in contradiction with clause No. 1 of its constitution, which stipulates that Egypt is one and indivisible. It is also contradictory to the core Egyptian belief that Egyptian land is sacred. Sisi’s failure to transfer to Saudi Arabia the islands of Tiran and Sapir is an illustrative example.
What about the other states, and especially Saudi Arabia? Could that country, keeper of the two holy sites of Islam and having the Koran for its constitution, endorse an agreement regarding Jerusalem (which, by the way, is not mentioned even once in the Koran) that would not leave the Temple Mount in Arab/Muslim hands? Undoubtedly, those states have an interest in cooperating with Israel and would like to see an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but cannot free themselves of their traditional positions. Even Egypt, which has the most to gain, is too mired in its own security problems and dissensions with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to change these positions.
Yet, there is a glimmer of hope.
US President Donald Trump is still feeling his way in the Middle East quagmire.
His new administration might try to revive the old pragmatic anti-Iran front of Arab countries that had been jettisoned by former president Barack Obama when he concluded a separate deal on the Iranian nuclear program without informing his allies.
It will not be easy. Saudi Arabia and Egypt would have to be brought around, a task made more difficult by the growing influence exerted by Russia in the region. Yet, it would be the only way to bring a measure of peace and stability to the Middle East – as well as bringing about peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Trump Admin to Host Convicted Palestinian Terrorist Despite Outrage
The Trump administration says it will permit a Palestinian official known for endorsing terrorism and murder to enter the United States next week for a series of high-level meetings on the Israel-Palestinian peace process, a move likely to prompt outrage in the pro-Israel community.
The State Department confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon late Thursday that it intends to permit Jibril Rajoub, secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, to participate in meetings with U.S. officials next week, despite his repeated calls for terrorism against Israel and a 15-year stint in Israeli prison for committing terror acts.
A State Department official who spoke to the Free Beacon acknowledged Rajoub's radical rhetoric, but maintained he can serve a positive role in peace talks set to take place between Trump administration officials and a Palestinian delegation including Mahmoud Abbas.
Pro-Israel organizations and victims of Palestinian terror attacks already have called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to bar Rajoub from entering the United States due to his calls for terrorism.
Legal experts claim that Rajoub's endorsement of terrorism should prevent him from obtaining a U.S. visa under current laws. U.S. law bars entrance to individuals who "endorse or espouse terrorist activity."
The Trump administration has no plans to acquiesce to this call, according to a State Department spokesman.
Bereaved father 'horrified' by TV show on terrorists
Ron Kehrmann, whose daughter Tal was murdered in a terrorist attack on an Egged bus in Haifa in 2003, on Thursday criticized the Israeli TV show “Megiddo,” which documents the daily lives of Arab terrorists in Israel’s Megiddo prison and humanizes the terrorists.
"I was horrified to see this, I am very upset. I do not understand why an Israeli reporter tries to paint these terrorists as humane, they are terrorists who murdered and do not regret and even take pride in what they did. Maybe this gets TV ratings but you don’t do things like this for money,” Kehrmann told Arutz Sheva.
"These prisoners do not have to be seen or heard. Let them rot in jail. Why do they want to show me their human face, where was their humanity when they murdered their victims or when they planned to carry out attacks? Is this truly freedom of the press?” he continued.
Kehrmann expressed concern that the show would encourage more terrorists to carry out murderous attacks.
"It encourages those young terrorists who see that it is not so bad to be in jail, and it encourages terror. Whoever gave the approval to film and broadcast this series should be ashamed. Maybe I’m more sensitive than others, but why do they suddenly give the terrorists a stage? Maybe they will also give broadcast hours to rapists and murderers,” he said.
IDF apologizes for releasing killer without notifying victims' families
The IDF has apologized to the families of the two IDF reservists lynched by a Palestinian mob in Ramallah in October 2000 after they complained they had not been informed that one of the perpetrators of the lynch, Hatam Magari, would be released from prison in a plea deal.
Relatives of Sgt. 1st Class Yosef Avrahami voiced the initial complaint on Wednesday. On Thursday, the family of Sgt. 1st Class Vadim Nurzhits joined them.
Michael Nurzhits, Vadim's brother, was harshly critical about not having received any official notification of the deal. Nurzhits said his mother was launching a hunger strike to protest Magari's release.
"The murderer's release is, for us, the straw that broke the camel's back," Nurzhits said.
"This murder is something that can never be forgotten. Vadim's son asks about his father all the time. He knows that he [his father] was murdered."
IDF Bolstering Anti-Drug Smuggling Efforts on Sinai Border, Partly Due to Concern Over Potential ISIS Attacks
The IDF is bolstering its anti-drug smuggling efforts on the border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Thursday.
Part of the reason for this move, the report said, was a concern that ISIS-affiliated militants in Sinai could use drug-smuggling routes to carry out attacks against IDF troops or Israeli communities adjacent to the border.
Millions of shekels are being invested in a number of new measures, including the purchase of high-speed all-terrain vehicles that can keep up with those owned by drug smuggling gangs in the region, according to the report.
In 2013, Israel completed the construction of an around 150-mile long fence along its border with Egypt, with the goal of curbing terrorist infiltrations, illegal migration and drugs and weapons smuggling. Earlier this year, Israel announced it had finished new upgrades to the fence.
There have been a number of exchanges of fire on the border in recent years between drug smugglers and Israeli soldiers.
Attorney for Elor Azaria submits request to file new evidence
A defense lawyer for IDF soldier Elor Azaria, convicted in January of manslaughter for fatally shooting a disarmed and incapacitated Palestinian assailant last year, has filed a request to submit new evidence in the case.
Last month, Yoram Sheftel, Azaria’s attorney, filed an appeal against the conviction and the 18-month jail sentence handed down by the Jaffa Military Court, which led the prosecution to file its own appeal asking the court to increase his sentence to between 30 months and five years.
On Thursday, Channel 10 reported that Sheftel asked to submit new evidence which includes documentation of at least 15 occasions where IDF soldiers shot at Palestinians and were not tried.
According to the report, some of the details of the incidents allegedly showing precedent were gathered from an investigation launched by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
Palestinian Authority pollutes Israeli water supply, again
Two months after the Civil Administration informed the organization Green Now that it had stopped the dumping of illegal waste near Givat Ze'ev, the organization's representatives learned that PA trucks had returned to dump waste on the road, which was also illegally built.
In an urgent letter sent by Green Now attorney Tomer Israel to the director of the control unit, Marco Ben Shabbat, he writes that the pollution is being carried out along the Ayalon river outlet, and the resulting waste water reaches the center of the country.
"There is no need to elaborate on the serious harm caused by this environmental damage. The severe damage is to the soil, vegetation and life, and the rehabilitation of the area is becoming more complex as the pollution continues," Israel wrote.
Israel demanded the "immediate cessation of the construction and expansion of the unauthorized road be undertaken as soon as possible in order to punish the offenders and act to rehabilitate the area."
Israel prepares for next war with Hezbollah in mock village
Amid a collection of concrete buildings daubed with Arabic graffiti designed to simulate a typical Lebanese village, dozens of Israeli army officers geared up this week for their next battle with Hezbollah guerrillas.
It is a mission the IDF has focused on intensely in the decade since it fought the 2006 Second Lebanon War against the Iranian-backed group. But this drill at a base in northern Israel took on added significance in the wake of rising tensions between the old adversaries. The friction includes a rare clash along the Syrian border this month in which Israel shot down an anti-aircraft missile fired at its planes as they were carrying out an airstrike on a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy from Syria to Lebanon.
In the past month alone, Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has also threatened to strike Israel's nuclear facilities if Israel attacks it, and Israel has detailed a contingency plan to evacuate up to a quarter of a million civilians from border communities to protect them from attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah or other Islamic terrorist groups. In another sign of the escalating feud, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot has revealed intelligence that Hezbollah's top military commander was killed in Syria in May 2016 by rivals within the group -- perhaps even on orders from Nasrallah himself.
Though officers taking part in the drill insisted their training was business as usual, the backdrop clearly offered a reminder of what could await.
Close to 40 Palestinian schools named for terrorists
Schools in the United States are often named for historical figures, with a large majority of them having the names of Presidents - Lincoln, Jefferson, Kennedy, Roosevelt – and other public and historical figures. The educational message transmitted is one of patriotism, continuity, and honor to those who so notably contributed to their country.
In the Palestinian Authority, however, the situation is somewhat different. There, dozens of schools are named for murderers. A list compiled by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) finds close to 40 schools named for terrorists who succeeded in murdering large numbers of Israelis, "thereby presenting murderers who targeted civilians as role models for Palestinian ‎children."
Names of ‎some schools glorify Martyrdom, and one is even named for a Hitler ‎associate and Nazi war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands. Children in ‎such schools interviewed on PA TV have explained that studying there turned the terrorists into role models for them, who then want to “reach ‎the level” of the terrorist their school is named after. ‎[Official PA TV, March 27, 2014]‎
Arab NGOs call on Hamas to reopen Gaza crossing
Arab NGOs and rights groups on Thursday called on the Hamas regime in Gaza to reopen the only foot crossing into Israel, after the Islamist movement closed it following an assassination.
The 'Palestinian NGOs Network,' a coalition of more than 100 charities and rights groups, demanded the "lifting of restrictions and restrictive measures which violate human rights", a statement said.
"Security goals should not come at the expense of human rights," it added.
Hamas, which controls Gaza, shut the Erez crossing into Israel on Sunday after blaming the Jewish state for assassinating a senior commander, Mazen Faqha, 38, in his home last Friday.
Former Lebanese Presidents, Prime Ministers Arouse Ire of Hezbollah for Letter to Arab Leaders Decrying Terrorist Organization’s, Iranian Interference
Five former Lebanese presidents and prime ministers aroused the ire of Hezbollah and its supporters this week for penning a letter to Jordanian King Abdullah II requesting that the Arab world cease allowing the Lebanon-based terrorist organization and its patron, Iran, to interfere in regional affairs, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the letter — signed by Amine Gemayel, Michel Suleiman, Najib Mikati, Fuad Al-Siniora and Tammam Salam — was published in the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar on Wednesday, ahead of the 28th Arab League summit in Amman. According to MEMRI, the epistle set out principles for Lebanon’s domestic and foreign policy — among these the “upholding [its] exclusive authority… and its security apparatuses to wield arms and opposing illegal arms,” an allusion to Hezbollah.
Other references to Hezbollah, without specifying the Lebanon-based terrorist organization by name, included opposition to its control of various parts of Lebanon, its involvement in Syria and its helping Iran to meddle in Arab affairs in the region.
The letter, translated by MEMRI, reads in part:
In light of the dangers threatening our homeland Lebanon and our Arab ummah, we, former presidents and prime ministers of Lebanon… emphasize [that Lebanon must adhere to the following principles]:
2. Lebanese commitment to its Arab affiliation, to the Arab consensus, and to the resolutions of the Arab League and of the legitimate international [bodies] regarding Lebanon and the Arabs – first and foremost [UN] Resolution 1701 that guarantees Lebanon’s security vis-à-vis Israel and upholds its right [to regain] its territories that remain under Israeli occupation.
US envoy to UN: Removing Assad ‘not our priority’
The US ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday that Washington is no longer focused on ousting President Bashar Assad as it seeks ways to end Syria’s civil war.
“You pick and choose your battles,” Nikki Haley told reporters. “And when we’re looking at this it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out.”
Haley was speaking after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had signaled a change in the US stance by admitting that Assad’s eventual fate was up to the Syrian people.
Speaking at the US mission to the United Nations, which is about to assume the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, Haley said Washington will focus on the push for a political solution.
“Our priority is to really look at how do we get things done? Who do we need to work with to really make a difference for the people in Syria,” she said.
State Dept.: Sanctions Alone Not Enough to Stop Iran’s Missile Program
Sanctions on Iran are not enough to stop the country's illicit ballistic missile program, according to senior State Department officials, who said on Thursday that a new package of sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic would not halt the country's missile development.
The Trump administration announced earlier this month a large package of sanctions targeting Iran, Syria, and North Korea for their efforts to transfer illicit materials and technology.
The sanctions, which targeted 30 entities in 10 separate countries, target a range of actors found to be complicit in the transfer "of sensitive items to Iran's ballistic missile program," according to the State Department.
The latest sanctions come as Iran continues to provide missile technology and support to terror organizations across the Middle East, including Hezbollah. Iran also continues to trade nuclear and missile technology with North Korea, which was also hit with sanctions under the most recent designations.
Iranian women pool players banned for ‘un-Islamic’ acts
Iran has banned some of its women players from billiard sports competitions for a year for violating the Islamic codes of conduct at a tournament in China, sporting authorities announced.
The Disciplinary Committee of Bowling, Billiard and Boxing Federation did not reveal the nature of the alleged offenses, saying it would name the transgressors later.
“Women sent to China Open (billiard) competitions will be banned from all domestic and foreign competitions for one year for violating the Islamic code,” it said late Thursday, according to the ISNA and Tasnim news agencies.
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has required women to wear the Islamic headscarf in public.
The Islamic code also forbids women touching, dancing or singing with men outside their families.
Women are only allowed to show their face, hands and feet in public and are supposed to wear only modest colors.

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From the Hamas-linked Palestine Information Center site:

Secret talks are being held in London between prominent Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders and Israelis, London Evening Standard military correspondent Robert Fox reported Thursday.

The background and contents of this first round of talks were revealed to the Standard on Thursday by British Israeli think tank BICOM.

The delegates, senior and recently retired academics and politicians from Israel and the PA, do not wish to be named as the talks are ongoing. They have established secret back channels which are still active.

Here's what really happened:
BICOM and Chatham House hosted private talks between Israelis and Palestinians in London last year to explore new ideas to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The meeting involved former and current officials, academics and security figures from Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The delegates expressed overwhelming support for a two-state solution but reached a strong consensus that a single model for peace will not succeed. Instead they agreed to adopt a mixed model based on the best of different ideas that have been proposed, blending them together for maximum flexibility.

During the talks the teams critiqued four different proposed solutions to the conflict: bilateral negotiations,a regional framework, unilateralism and an Israeli-Palestinian confederation.

BICOM has published a new report, based on the talks, that proposes a new ‘hybrid’ model for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The report includes a number of insights and common positions that arose from the discussions.
I haven't had a chance to look at the report yet, but you can.

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If you look at the video of the swearing-in ceremony of US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, you will notice that he slightly changed the words he was repeating from Vice President Mike Pence.

As Pence asked him, “Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. 'I, David Friedman, do solemnly swear..” Friedman said, "I, David Friedman, do solemnly affirm..."

This is because traditional Jews try not to swear, due to the seriousness of the prohibition of taking God's name in vain.

Traditionally, the swearing in ceremony used by Western governments was meant specifically to exclude Christians from being part of the government. The BBC notes:

Jews were excluded by the oath less deliberately, as it included the words ''on the true faith of a Christian", as well as being sworn on the Christian Bible. The Jewish Liberal David Salomons was elected to Parliament in 1851 and took the oath, taking it upon himself to omit the problematic phrase. He was ejected from his seat a few days later, with a £500 fine for voting illegally in Parliament. Jewish MPs were allowed to swear without the phrase by Jews Relief Act 1858.
Affirming, as an alternative to swearing, was introduced by the Parliamentary Oaths Act of 1866, but did not at first apply to atheists or agnostics. The law applied to "the people called Quakers" and anyone else who was already allowed to affirm in a court of law, but atheists were not supposed to affirm in court because the affirmation was made "in the Presence of Almighty God".
The right to affirm in Parliament was finally extended to atheists in 1888, after Charles Bradlaugh, founder of the National Secular Society, was thrown out of the Commons four times for atheism, and re-elected each time.
He had first of all tried to make the affirmation which was intended for Quakers, and then later tried to take the standard oath (perhaps, like the republican Tony Banks in 1997, with his fingers crossed) but MPs who knew about his beliefs refused to let him.
Bradlaugh administered the oath to himself and was expelled anyway. Only on his fifth election to Parliament in 1886 was he allowed to swear and take his seat, and it was his Oaths Act which in 1888 extended the right to affirm to atheists and anyone else who objects to swearing.
The Jewish objection to swearing for office today is not based on the problems of swearing to a Christian deity but rather to an extreme reluctance towards taking any kinds of oaths.

So even in the Israeli army, religious Jews have the option of saying that they "declare" instead of "swear" to perform their duties.

Of course, the refusal to say "I swear" is not a dispensation for lying under Jewish law. Antisemites like to pretend that the Kol Nidrei prayer on Yom Kippur which is meant to annul oaths is somehow a loophole to allow Jews to lie to non-Jews. It isn't.

Friedman placed a kippah on his head for the ceremony, and he placed his hand on a Hebrew Bible - Tanach, as can be seen in this detail from a photo tweeted by Shmuley Boteach. Clearly he took this ceremony seriously.

His presumed grandkids running around didn't seem to take it quite as seriously, though!

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Luc Descheemaeker (aka O-Sekoer) has been named the "cultural ambassador par excellence" for the city of Torhout, Belgium.

Belgian news site Nieuwsblad says he deserves the award because his cartoons have been shown worldwide.

This is true. He was a winner of Iran's Holocaust Cartoon contest with this entry.

The town of Torhout is quite aware of this because there was worldwide publicity for the school he taught at honoring him despite this clearly antisemitic cartoon.

And he has drawn other antisemitic cartoons as well, like this one that blames Jews for being blown up by terrorists:

This one with a similar motif doesn't bother with the seeming even handedness of the previous cartoon, squarely blaming Jews for terrorism:

There is no way for any honest person to interpret these cartoons as anything but antisemitism.

A JTA reporter in Belgium who covered the previous honor for Descheemaeker was shaken by the tacit support for antisemitic expression in Belgium:

I wanted to see whether the school can get away with defending the maker of blatant anti-Semitic imagery by claiming to be neutral on its celebrated teacher’s extracurricular activities. So I repeatedly queried the board of education, the royal house, the Queen Paola Foundation, the municipality where the school is located and Belgium’s federal center against discrimination. I received one written response, from the foundation, saying it had no comment for me.

This see-no-evil approach from government offices in a country whose leaders often declare a zero-tolerance attitude to anti-Semitism surprised me. But the real shock was the response from the Belgian media to JTA’s coverage of the affair.

De Morgen, one of Belgium’s largest and best-respected dailies, ran an article that omitted reference to Descheemaeker’s caricatures of Jews. It described the Iranian competition as a “controversial” affair “themed on the Holocaust,” which the paper said was instituted as a statement about freedom of expression following the publication of insulting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark.

(UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, had called the contest “a mockery of the genocide of the Jewish people.”)

Descheemaeker, who is described in the paper as an internationally acclaimed caricaturist, is quoted as saying in reaction to the uproar created by his work: “There is still such a thing as freedom of expression.”

Knack, a popular news site, took the same editorial line.

Confused, I reached out to Joel Rubinfeld, founder of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism and former president of the CCOJB umbrella group of French-speaking Belgian Jewish communities. I wanted to know whether Belgian education officials were more tolerant of expressions of anti-Semitism than their counterparts from other Western European countries.

“It’s a problem,” he said. “We’ve encountered a number of cases where schools did not take the necessary measures when Jewish pupils were targeted in anti-Semitic bullying, for example.”

A teacher who last year told a Jewish high school student, “We should put you all on freight wagons,” was allowed to keep his job following an internal inquiry. It ended with him apologizing while denying any anti-Semitic intent in the first place.

Cases involving anti-Semitic abuse among students are regularly ignored at Belgian schools, “which don’t apply the measures necessary to make these cases stop,” Rubinfeld said.

One student was forced to leave his public school and was enrolled in a private Jewish one last year following harassment, which included a threat to “break his skull” if he showed support for Israel. Also last year, the Belgian media reported on the online shaming by classmates of a pro-Israel high school student. He also left the public education system for a Jewish school.
This honor happened in January. No one in Belgium thought it was controversial enough to even raise an eyebrow based on media reports.

When naked Jew-hate is excused under "freedom of expression" that means that antisemitism is officially condoned in Belgium.

(h/t Rudi)

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