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Thursday, July 6, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: Murdering 22 children is heroic, says PA TV
Recently the PA has emphasized this message to Palestinians by glorifying the Ma'alot massacre - a terrorist attack in 1974 in which Palestinian terrorists took over a hundred Israeli children and their teachers hostage in a school. When Israeli forces tried to rescue them, the terrorists attacked the hostages with guns and grenades, murdering 22 of the children and 4 adults.
Palestinian Media Watch recently reported on the square in Jenin, which was named after Khaled Nazzal who planned the attack. Israel subsequently removed the monument, after which Abbas' Fatah Movement vowed to rebuild it.
In addition to the Khaled Nazzal Square and the monument in Jenin, the Jenin district has now further named a street after terrorist Nazzal in the town of Burqin:
Headline: "In response to the removal of the monument, [the] Jenin [district] names a street after Khaled Nazzal"
"The town of Burqin, which is located southwest of Jenin, yesterday, Wednesday [July 5, 2017], named one of the town's streets after Martyr (Shahid) Khaled Nazzal in response to the occupation authorities' decision to remove and destroy the Martyr Nazzal monument in Jenin."
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, July 6, 2017]
Official PA TV has also joined this campaign of praising the murders in Ma'alot. A TV narrator called it "an act of heroism" when she described how a Palestinian prisoner, whom Israel allegedly had brought in to persuade the terrorists to release the hostages, instead encouraged them to continue the attack and "do what they came for." According to PA TV, the act of dying while murdering 26 Israelis meant that the terrorists' "souls would float as Martyrs above the skies of Palestine."
Official PA TV glorifies Ma’alot massacre, praises terrorists who murdered 22 kids


Israeli-Indian statement ignores two-state solution
Thirty years after India became the first non-Muslim state to recognize the “State of Palestine,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed off on a joint statement on Wednesday that mentioned the Palestinian-Israel diplomatic process, but made no reference to a two state solution.
The 20th clause of a 21-clause document that was issued following the two leaders’ lengthy working meeting referred to the diplomatic process.
“The two Prime Ministers discussed the developments pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process,” the statement read.
“They underlined the need for the establishment of a just and durable peace in the region. They reaffirmed their support for an early negotiated solution between the sides based on mutual recognition and security arrangements.”
Not only will Modi not be visiting the Palestinian Authority during his 49-hour visit, but the first day and a half of the visit passed without him once publicly referring to the Palestinian issue.
One senior Indian official said it was not his country’s style to engage in “megaphone diplomacy,” or go to other countries and lecture them on what they need to do. He said this is because to a large degree, India does not like it when other countries come to India and lecture it about relations with Pakistan.
Palestinian Authority Feels Slighted by Indian PM Modi’s Decision Not to Meet With Abbas During Israel Visit
Palestinian leaders have expressed disappointment over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision not to visit Ramallah, the political center of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as he continues with his three-day trip to Israel — the first ever by a sitting Indian prime minister to the Jewish state.
“We expected him [Modi] to visit both Israel and Palestine,” Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister Tasir Jaradat told the Qatari-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera. “To play an important role between the two sides and to be able to spread the message of peace, one should visit both.”
“The PA is talking in terms of surprise, rather than outright criticism, that Narendra Modi has decided not to make time for its president in the course of a three-day visit,” an Al Jazeera correspondent in Jerusalem reported.
Modi last met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in May. Speaking after their encounter in New Delhi, Modi said India’s goal was ”to see the realization of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, coexisting peacefully with Israel.”
Part of Modi’s approach to enhanced relations with Israeli is based on what Indian analysts have called “de-linking” — engaging in bilateral cooperation with both Israel and the Palestinians and treating the two parties as separate entities.



Analysis Israel-India ties and the rise of Hug Diplomacy
The importance of personal equations in diplomacy is arguable. In an ideal world, the affairs of the state must be guided by its interests and not of those who rule it. But this is not an ideal world, which is why, when two leaders meet, much is made of their personal chemistry. In the case of Modi and Netanyahu, it has gone to a whole new level.
Modi got the reception reserved for the Pope and the US President. Netanyahu was on the tarmac with his entire cabinet to welcome him. They met like old friends. Netanyahu even tried his hand at Modi-style acronyms - I-square plus T-square – India and Israel, Talent and Technology (with a silent P-square in the equation perhaps, Pakistan and Palestine). On his part, Modi praised Israel as the leader in innovation. These aren't just niceties. There's an unmistakable element of personal admiration here. Modi appreciates, even emulates, the Israeli no-nonsense way of doing business.
One of the things that the Indian Prime Minister has consistently done is reach out to the diaspora wherever he goes. From Madison square to Wembley, his team has organized events equaling rock-star shows in scale and buzz. He went to the Tel Aviv Convention Centre bearing gifts of OCI cards and better flight connectivity. Why should a politician spend this kind of effort and energy on wooing people who aren’t even his potential voters? The only other Indian Prime Minister who did something like this, in his own style, was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The country that has mastered this outreach is Israel, tapping into the resource and influence of Jews the world over.
Jews are only 0.2 percent of the world population. Yet they repeatedly make up half of the top hundred lists of the powerful and the rich. There are almost as many Jews in the US as in Israel, a lobby that pushes for the cause of the latter. Google and Facebook have major set ups in Israel, their founders Larry Page, Sergei Brin and Mark Zukerberg are all Jewish. From media magnates to Nobel prize winners, top bankers to successive presidential advisors, Jews in positions of power give back to Israel. The most influential couple in the white house right now, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, are practicing orthodox Jews. Indian PM Modi, very early in his term, took a leaf out of the Israeli book to leverage people of Indian origin abroad.
Narendra Modi’s Arrival in Jerusalem Heralds Israel’s Integration into the Non-Western World
On Monday India’s prime minister arrived in Israel on a trip that none of his predecessors has ever made. The visit marks a major policy shift in New Delhi, which for many decades had no diplomatic relations whatsoever with the Jewish state. Now the two countries are bound by a lucrative arms trade, agricultural assistance, technological and security cooperation, and ever-growing economic ties. To Walter Russell Mead, this new alliance signifies something even more important:
[T]his is not just a story about a transactional exchange of arms, money, and expertise. It is also about the successful expansion of Israeli diplomacy away from Europe. From the Persian Gulf to Africa to all across Asia, Israeli diplomacy is more active and diversified than ever before.
This is important for many reasons, but fundamentally it reflects a recognition that Israel is not a West European state. Much of Israel’s population consists of refugees from the Arab world, many of whom fled or were driven from their ancestral homes by Arabs enraged and humiliated by Israeli victories in 1949, 1957, and 1967. Others come from parts of Russia that were never part of the West. Israel’s integration into the non-Western world was delayed by Arab hostility. But Arab power is weakening. . .
Westerners who judge Israeli leaders solely by their willingness to make concessions to the Palestinians have long considered Benjamin Netanyahu a frustrating figure and a poor strategist. Frustrating he may be, but Israel’s steady progress in reducing its diplomatic isolation while diversifying its exports on his watch is a significant accomplishment. It’s difficult to think of any Western leaders who have done as much to advance their countries’ interests. The fact that Netanyahu has done more to build Israeli ties with the Third World than Barack Obama managed to achieve for the U.S. is one of the ironies of the modern world.
India's Pro-Arab Stance Was Never Rewarded by the Arab World
In a historic first, Narendra Modi is currently in Israel, thereby becoming the first Prime Minister of India to visit the country.
Modi had visited Israel as chief minister of Gujarat in 2006. And as Indian Prime Minister, he had met his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, a few times already.
Though the President of India and a number of Modi government ministers have already been to Israel in the last three years, Modi's visit marks a new phase in a relationship that has been becoming robust over the last few decades.
Hallmark
A hallmark of Modi's foreign policy has been a self-confident assertion of Indian interests.
This is reflected in his government's moves vis-à-vis Israel, marking a distinct break from unnecessary and counterproductive diffidence of the past.
Despite sharing 25 years of diplomatic ties and working closely on defence, counter-terrorism, agriculture and energy-related issues, no Indian PM has ever visited Israel.
When it comes to India's Israel policy, hypocrisy has been the norm.
Modi ends historic three day visit to Israel
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left Israel on Thursday afternoon after an historic three day visit to the country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompanied him to Ben-Gurion airport where a special ceremony took place in honor of the occasion.
Modi now departs to Hamburg for the annual G20 meetings.
Earlier in the day he got a chance to see first hand some of Israel's newest technologies Thursday morning, touring a desalinization plant north of Hadera and even riding together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a newly developed vehicle that can transform sea water into drinking water.
The two leaders also took time to cool off from the heat by dipping in the Mediterranean.
Modi began his third and last day of his historic visit to Israel by paying respects at the Indian military cemetery in Haifa on Thursday morning.
Modi mentioned the 1918 Battle of Haifa on Wednesday, during statements he gave following his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Visiting Indian PM honors fallen Indian soldiers at Haifa cemetery
"

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Christian Cemetery in Haifa Thursday morning, laying a wreath in honor of the Indian soldiers who died fighting the 1918 battle to liberate Haifa from the Ottoman Empire in World War I.
Thursday concludes the Indian prime minister's highly successful visit to Israel, which was jam-packed with treaties, ceremonies and official meetings.
Of note, Modi and Netanyahu on Wednesday signed technology and agriculture cooperation agreements, three of which dealt with space and others with the water infrastructure in India.
"What a great day," Netanyahu said in a joint press conference Wednesday with Modi. "We are making history together. ... I have a feeling that today, India and Israel are changing our world. ... Because this is a cooperation, it's a marriage really made in heaven but we're implementing it here on earth."
Netanyahu added that the collaboration between Israeli technologies and the Indian market will not only break new ground in India but also promote India-Israel collaboration in Africa.
Netanyahu accepts Modi invite to India as leaders ink cooperation deals
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to visit Delhi, as the two leaders signed a raft of agreements aimed at bolstering anti-terror and economic cooperation.
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Modi is currently making the first-ever trip by an Indian prime minister to Israel, where he is being feted by Netanyahu for three days as Jerusalem touts its growing ties with the second-most populous country in the world.
At the end of a ceremony in Jerusalem to mark the signing of several bilateral agreements, Modi formally invited Netanyahu and his family. Netanyahu immediately responded: “I accept.”
According to the “India-Israel Joint Statement” that diplomats from both countries issued during the ceremony, Modi extended a “warm invitation” to Netanyahu to visit in India “at a mutually convenient time.”
The visit had already been in the works and Indian officials said last week the trip would likely take place toward the end of 2017.
In Tel Aviv, jubilant Indian Israelis go gaga for Modi
Stand back, Britney Spears — you’re no longer the only act in Tel Aviv drawing unchecked excitement and unabashed fandom.
On Wednesday, thousands of Indian Israelis gathered in the city to greet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a glitzy, wild welcome for the first premier from their home country to visit the Jewish state.
Brightly colored Indian saris mingled with jeans and t-shirts — and not a few kippot and religious headscarves — at Wednesday’s event, which began with several Bollywood dance acts and a concert.
In the corner of the room, two 10-foot cardboard cutouts of Modi were thronged by teenagers and adults clamoring for selfies. Indian and Israeli flags were waved furiously by participants, and each act drew thunderous applause when the two countries’ banners were paraded on stage together.
Outside the hall, a billboard urged users to download a special mobile phone app created for the visit to “connect with the prime minister as never before.”
In visit focused on economy, Netanyahu, Modi quietly talk terror
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held discreet talks on Wednesday on enhancing security cooperation between the two countries, according to Hebrew-language media.
Modi is currently making the first-ever trip by an Indian prime minister to Israel, where he is being feted by Netanyahu for three days, as Jerusalem touts its growing ties with the second-most populous country in the world.
In public, Modi’s visit has focused on economic and technological cooperation, with New Delhi said to be keen to de-emphasize defense ties, in order not to hurt India’s economic links with Iran and other countries hostile to Israel.
But in a Wednesday meeting between Netanyahu and Modi, the two leaders were joined by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen for a discussion on bolstering intelligence and security cooperation, especially against international terror groups such as Islamic State.
Son of Murdered Chabad Emissaries Tells Indian Leader He Will Return to Mumbai, Follow in Parents’ Footsteps
The son of the two Chabad emissaries murdered during the co-ordinated Islamist terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai on November 26, 2008 — a date Indians refer to as “26/11” — told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday of his ambition to one day be the director of the Chabad center at Nariman House that his parents ran.
“When I get older, I will live there [in Mumbai],” said Moshe Holtzberg, now 11 and living in Israel, as he stood with Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is accompanying the Indian premier during his three-day visit to the Jewish state.
“I will be the director of our Chabad House, with God’s help,” Moshe said.
Moshe was rescued from the attack — in which his parents, Gavriel and Rivka, were killed — by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, who earlier told The Hindu: “Moshe himself will go to India when he grows up. He knows Nariman House is his house, his father’s house and he will visit there.”
Moshe currently lives in Jerusalem with the family of his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Shimon Rozenberg.


Indian PM Modi Watches Demonstration of Water Purification at Israeli Desalination Plant
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday witnessed a demonstration of sea water purification at a desalination plant here.
"PMs view demo of tech pioneered by Israel for desalination of sea water and purification in disaster-hit and remote areas," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.
The two leaders stopped at Dor beach on their way from Haifa to Tel Aviv to view the demonstration at the desalination plant.
India is looking to Israel for cooperation in water management and recycling as the country is renowned for its expertise in these areas.
On Wednesday, following bilateral discussions led by Modi and Netanyahu in Jerusalem, India's Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources on a national campaign for water conservation in India.
An MoU on state water utility reform was also signed between the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of Israel.
Beach stroll by Modi, Netanyahu makes internet waves
A beach stroll by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his counterpart Narendra Modi caused online waves on Thursday, with the two men seen wading barefoot into the surf together.
The beach trip came on the last day of Modi’s visit to Israel, the first-ever by an Indian prime minister. They had gone to the beach to see a demonstration of a mobile water desalination unit.
It was closed to journalists, but images and video were distributed by the Israeli government showing the two men walking together into the water barefoot at Olga beach in northern Israel.
Some on social media took Netanyahu to task for not sufficiently rolling up his pant legs, with the images showing them getting wet. Others joked about a budding “bromance.”
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Why Indian PM Modi Came To Israel in a White Suit
Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel seems to be going really well, with real affection being displayed between him and Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as our president Rueven Rivlin.
Not to mention the substance of the visit.
But there is even more to the level of respect and affection than meets the eye. The Times of India explains that even PM Modi’s fashion choice was meant as a tribute to Israel.
Why PM Modi reached Israel in a white suit


In Israel, Modi Announces Direct Flights to India
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced the inauguration of a flight service to Tel Aviv from Delhi and Mumbai.
Speaking at an event for the Indian community in Israel, Modi also promised to ease requirements for Israeli military veterans of Indian heritage to receive Overseas Citizen of India and Person of Indian Origin cards, The Times of India reported.
There are an estimated 80,000 Jews of Indian origin in Israel. Modi makes a point of holding large gatherings of Indians when he travels abroad, and has held similar events in New York, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Australia.
The Jerusalem Post characterized Modi’s outreach as a sign that he views the Indian diaspora as a “valuable diplomatic asset.”
Modi met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin earlier in the day, saying he “welcomed me so warmly, he broke protocol. This is a mark of respect for the people of India.”
Trump in Warsaw Speech: Future of Western Civilization Is at Stake
US President Donald Trump has argued that the future of Western civilisation is at stake in a keynote speech in the Polish capital Warsaw.
Holding up Poland as an example of a country ready to defend Western freedoms, he warned against the threats of "terrorism and extremism".
Criticising Russia, Mr Trump urged Moscow to "join the community of responsible nations".
Mr Trump is in Poland ahead of a G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
In Warsaw, he addressed a large, cheering crowd from the monument to the 1944 Uprising in the city, on Krasinski Square.
Poland's conservative government shares Mr Trump's hostile view of immigration and strong sense of sovereignty.
Trump connects Europe's Soviet and Nazi past with global war on terror
US President Donald Trump on Thursday commemorated the darkest chapters of Polish and Jewish history in a speech given at the Polish capital's Warsaw Uprising Monument on Krasinski Square. The speech was part of an official visit ahead of the G20 meeting in Hamburg later in the week.
"Under a double occupation, the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The destruction of this beautiful capital city and the deaths in nearly 1 in 5 Polish people."
Trump then made mention of Poland's Jewish history, stating, "A vibrant Jewish population, the largest in Europe, was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland's Jewish citizens along with countless others during that brutal occupation."
He went on to pay tribute to the Warsaw Uprising, the largest military operation undertaken by a resistance group during the Second World War.
"In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising."
In Warsaw With Father, Ivanka Trump Honors Polish Jews Killed During Holocaust
While in Warsaw on Thursday, Ivanka Trump visited the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
In a social media post, President Donald Trump’s Jewish daughter called the experience “deeply moving.”
“It was a privilege to be able to pay my respects and remember with gratitude those who fought with such tenacity against all odds,” she wrote.
Ivanka Trump — joined by her husband Jared Kushner — is accompanying her father during his current trip to Poland and Germany.
In a speech delivered in Warsaw’s Krasinski Square on Thursday, President Trump warned against the threats of “terrorism and extremism.”
“As the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,” Trump said. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”
UNESCO Vote Condemning Israel as ‘Occupying Power’ in Jerusalem Invokes ‘Jewish Fake Graves’ Conspiracy Charge
A resolution condemning Israel as the “occupying power” in Jerusalem passed on Tuesday by the UN’s global cultural agency, UNESCO, took as one of its foundations an earlier resolution that falsely accused Israel of planting “Jewish fake graves” in Muslim cemeteries.
At Tuesday’s session of UNESCO’s annual World Heritage Committee in the Polish city of Krakow, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other Arab delegations pushed through a resolution that “regrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works, projects and other illegal practices in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law.”
But one of the earlier UNESCO resolutions cited as a precedent for Tuesday’s vote accused Israel of “violations” of Palestinian properties around the Temple Mount, including two Muslim cemeteries where “Jewish fake graves” were being “planted.” That resolution was passed by UNESCO’s Executive Board in April 2016 at a meeting in Paris.
The only source for that claim — described by the Geneva-based UN Watch NGO as a “wild conspiracy charge” — was the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, a Palestinian organization.
PMW: Does Fatah see new UNESCO resolution as endorsement of violence and terror?
This week UNESCO passed a resolution denouncing Israel's activity in the Old City of Jerusalem, particularly its archaeological excavations. It also stated that Israel is "the occupying Power" in East Jerusalem, including the Old City of Jerusalem.
Judging from a statement by a Fatah leader in Jerusalem, Raafat Alayan, Fatah possibly sees this resolution as an endorsement of violence and terror against Israelis in Jerusalem:
"This international resolution confirms the right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation..."
[Amad, independent Palestinian news website, July 5, 2017, emphasis added]
As Palestinian Media Watch has documented, "resistance" and similar terms in the lexicon of Palestinian leaders include the use of violence and terror.
Alayan's reaction to the new UNESCO resolution brings to mind Fatah's reaction to a UN Security Council resolution last year, which declared Israeli settlements illegal. Fatah seemed to interpret that resolution as the UN's permission for them to kill Israelis.
Palestinians: UNESCO vote proves Israel’s Jerusalem narrative false
UNESCO has proved that Israel’s narrative with regard to Jerusalem is false, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas said on Wednesday after the World Heritage Committee disavowed Israeli sovereignty over the city.
Hamas spokesman Abudllatif al-Qanoun, in a statement to the press, claimed that UNESCO’s resolution demolishes the false Israeli narrative and asserts the Palestinian right in Jerusalem and al-Aksa Mosque.
PA spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud made a similar statement to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Mahmoud called on the international community to “enforce these decisions on the ground in order to lift injustice, oppression and domination practiced by the occupying power against our steadfast people in the city of Jerusalem and against its Islamic and Christian holy places.”
Hamas praises UNESCO for panning Israel’s Jerusalem activity
The Hamas terror group on Wednesday praised a resolution by the United Nations’ cultural body condemning Israeli activity in East Jerusalem and the Old City, and urged the UN to prevent the “Judaization” of those areas.
Tuesday’s Jordan-sponsored resolution in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Council called Israel “the occupying power” in the Old City of Jerusalem and reaffirmed previous UN resolutions denying the country’s claims to East Jerusalem.
Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem has never been recognized by the international community.
A Hamas spokesman, Abdel Latif al-Qanua, said in a statement that the UNESCO resolution demolishes the false Israeli narrative and asserts the Palestinian right in Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque, the organization’s website reported.
French president tells Abbas he supports 2-state solution
French President Emmanuel Macron gave his support to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday for a two-state solution in a meeting between the two leaders at the Elysee Palace.
The French president lamented the Israeli government's continuing policy of settlement expansion, saying it had reached "unprecedented levels" since the beginning of the year.
"Our choice is the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders. ... Our people must obtain [their] independence and freedom in [their] state with east Jerusalem as its capital. We must resolve the issues regarding the final status on the basis of the resolution and international law and the Arab peace initiative," Abbas told Macron.
"The two-state solution to which there is no viable alternative, is today threatened, on the ground but also in the minds, and the causes of this erosion are known. France has always condemned and continues to condemn the ongoing colonization [settlement] process, which remains illegal with regards to international law," Macron said.
Poll: Israelis Pessimistic About Prospects for Resumed Peace Talks With Palestinians, Foresee New War With Hamas
Israelis are pessimistic about the prospects for renewed peace talks with the Palestinians, despite US President Donald Trump’s stated goal of brokering a deal, a new poll published on Wednesday found.
According to the Israeli Democracy Institute’s latest monthly Peace Index, 63% of the country’s Jewish citizens viewed the chances of an imminent resumption of negotiations as low.
Despite the stalemated peace process, 66% of Israeli Jews characterized the country’s security situation as good.
However, 56% of Israelis Jews thought there was a high likelihood of a new war with Gaza Strip-ruling Hamas in the coming year (the last Israel-Hamas conflict took place three years ago, in the summer of 2014). Potential conflagrations with Israel’s other enemies — including Hezbollah, Syria and Iran — were considered by poll respondents to be far less likely.
Benjamin Netanyahu vetoes bill for 300 homes in Beit El settlement
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have guaranteed the construction of replacement homes for settlers who had been evicted as a result of High Court of Justice petitions.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) had submitted the bill to the Ministerial Legislative Committee after a campaign by residents of the Beit El settlement to sway Netanyahu to market 300 homes designed for their community located outside of Ramallah in the Binyamin region of the West Bank.
Netanyahu, however, blocked the bill, before it could come to a vote. Smotrich charged that Netanyahu had done so out of fear that ministers would pass it in spite of his opposition.
“The prime minister apparently understood that he is in the minority within his government on this matter,” Smotrich said.
Paralyzed Israeli border policewoman testifies against Arab assailant
Border policewoman Tsippi Yacovian, who was critically wounded and partially paralyzed after her spinal cord was severed during a September terrorist attack near the Old City’s Herod’s Gate, testified this week against the man accused of repeatedly stabbing her.
Yacovian, 38, a married mother of two, is now confined to a wheelchair and has spent nearly 300 days at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus because her home is not presently equipped to accommodate her considerable medical needs.
The severity of her wounds, which doctors did not think she would survive, requires intensive support, including 24-hour care and expensive specialized equipment, as well as making her home wheelchair accessible.
A crowdfunding campaign was launched Monday to help her family raise NIS 1 million to equip a suitable new residence. Until then, Yacovian must remain at the hospital.
PreOccupiedTerritory: 4 Injured In IDF Warehouse When Mishap Opens Cans Of Whup-Ass (satire)
Two soldiers and two civilian contractors suffered injuries this morning when a mishandled fork lift at an Israeli army weapons storage facility knocked the contents of a crate onto the floor and caused the cans of whup-ass inside to open.
A spokesman for the base commander told reporters that at approximately 8:30 Thursday morning, the rear wheel of a fork lift struck the leg of a shelving unit on which a crate of whup-ass cans was sitting, causing the collapse of the unit. The crate burst upon impact with the concrete floor, and six of the eighteen cans of whup-ass ruptured. The fork lift driver suffered moderate injuries, and three other people present were treated for lacerations and shock. Residents of the area reported hearing a series of large booms, which they initially mistook for Hamas rockets from the nearby Gaza Strip hitting the ground.
“Our preliminary investigation into the incident points to carelessness on the part of the fork lift operator,” declared Major Ahi Fashla. “He should have taken proper precautions and adhered to the lines painted on the warehouse floor. But we are also considering disciplinary action against the warehouse manager, who may have violated safety protocols by resting cans of whup-ass on such an unstable surface. Army regulations call for cans of any substance as volatile as whup-ass to be secured in such a fashion that they are not subject to sudden impact.”
Gaza sewage forces shutdown of Israeli beach
Gaza’s sewage situation is so dire that the Health Ministry was forced to shut down Zikim Beach in Ashkelon on Wednesday due to fecal contamination from the Strip.
With dwindling electricity supplies unable to power the Strip’s already meager wastewater treatment infrastructure, raw sewage is flowing not only through the channels in Gaza, but also to the Israeli beaches of Ashkelon and the Nahal Hanun riverbed.
To address the problem, Water Authority representative Baruch Nagar said there are plans to build a NIS 3 million pipeline to pump the Gazan sewage to Sderot for treatment.
He spoke at an emergency session of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Wednesday, which had been called by MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) and MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union).
Palestinian support for violence drops, survey finds
The majority of the Palestinian public is opposed to actions being made by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, fearing they could lead to further separation between the two territories, according to a new survey conducted among the Palestinian population.
The survey was conducted by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research of Dr. Khalil Shikaki and interviewed Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Among one of the most important issues facing Palestinian society today is the matter of electrical power. According to the survey, 84% of respondents oppose the PA's decision to stop paying Israel for the electricity it supplies to the Gaza Strip. Additionally, 88% of Palestinians expressed opposition to PA salary cuts to Hamas government officials in the Gaza Strip.
40% of Palestinians believe these two moves by the PA are meant to put Gaza under economic strain in the hope that it well lead to an uprising against Hamas. Furthermore, respondents indicated that the punitive measures will not lead to reconciliation between the two governing entities.
Hamas chief Haniyeh: Prisoner swap around the corner
Newly elected Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday suggested that Hamas is close to reaching a prisoner swap deal with Israel, in his first major speech since assuming the position.
“Their [Palestinian prisoners] liberation has become closer than any time in the past,” said Haniyeh, who resides in the Gaza Strip’s Shati refugee camp, speaking before a number of Gaza-based Hamas leaders.
Channel 11 reported last week that Hamas and Israel are negotiating a prisoner swap through an unnamed third party.
Hamas and Israel carried out a prisoner swap in 2011, in which Israel freed some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for former IDF tankgunner Gilad Schalit, who had been in Hamas’s captivity.
Hamas leader hails turning of ‘new page’ with Egypt
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday, in his first speech as head of the terror group’s political bureau, hailed an era of new relations with Cairo that would ease the blockade of Gaza, and made clear that Hamas has not changed its goal of liberating all of historic Palestine.
In a speech that was meant to show Hamas’s priorities under its new leadership, the 54-year-old native Gazan, speaking from a hotel in Gaza city, strayed little from the tone and content of his predecessor, Khaled Mashaal.
With his characteristic preacher zeal, he railed against “Israeli violations” in Jerusalem and against the al Aqsa Mosque, promised to free Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and emphasized that “not one inch” of Palestinian land could be relinquished.
“We will remain faithful to the principles of the Palestinian people, and at the forefront is the liberation of the land, of Jerusalem, of the al-Aqsa Mosque, the prisoners, the realization of the Palestinian right of return, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
Trump Admin Authorizes Strikes on Iranian-Backed Forces
U.S. forces have been instructed to take all measures needed to protect American interests in Syria, including military measures, as part of an effort that comes after top officials in the Trump administration assessed that Iran is deliberately probing American weaknesses and reactions on the Syrian battlefield, according to senior Trump administration officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah, have already initiated multiple encounters with the United States by violating agreements worked out between Washington and Moscow aimed at preventing the various factions targeting ISIS inside Syria from coming into conflict. This is part of a campaign that analysts inside and outside the White House believe is aimed at testing the Trump administration's resolve, sources said.
"That was very clearly a process of the Iranians and Hezbollah and [the] Syrian regime probing and testing our limits, and testing how much we were willing to do," one senior Trump administration official said. "In every case, it was a matter of them testing and probing, and us responding by defending ourselves."
These clashes were the result of pro-Syrian regime forces, including Iran and Hezbollah, "violating a de-confliction measure that had been worked out with the Russians," the official said. "The forces violated the measure."
Interpol Kicks Turkey Out of Database for Uploading 60,000 ‘Gulenist’ Profiles
According to a Turkish media report, Interpol blocked Turkey from accessing its criminal database after the Turks uploaded about 60,000 individuals wanted for the “crime” of having connections to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, one-time friend and now arch-enemy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey refers to Gulen’s followers as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” or FETO. The Erdogan government fingers Gulen, who has long dwelled in Pennsylvania, as the mastermind behind last July’s failed coup attempt. Apparently, Turkey wanted these suspected Gulenists in the Interpol database so they would have trouble using their passports to travel to Europe and the United States.
Quoting Turkish-language media, Hurriyet Daily News reports an exasperated Interpol began blocking Turkish access to its database almost a year ago, which means the Gulenist uploads must have begun shortly after the coup was completely neutralized.
However, Turkey told Interpol that “the names were not picked randomly, that legal investigations were being carried out regarding thousands of suspected FETÖ members, and that the names were determined after years of legal investigations,” according to Hurriyet.
Outcry as Turkey removes evolution from curriculum
A move by the Turkish education ministry to remove evolution from the national school curriculum has sparked an outcry and accusations that the government is “brainwashing” students.
The government says the change — part of a broad revision of the school curriculum — will modernize learning.
But critics see it has a step back from scientific rigor towards creationism by the Islamic-rooted authorities under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The head of the Turkish education board, Alparslan Durmus, said in a video message evolution would no longer be taught in biology lessons in high schools from September onward, as it was “controversial.”
“We have left aside some controversial subjects because we know it is not possible for our students to have the necessary scientific or information background to understand them,” Durmus said.



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