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Friday, July 14, 2017

From Ian:

Two Druze Police officers killed in Temple Mount terror attack
Two police officers were murdered on Friday morning in a terrorist shooting attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and a third was lightly wounded.
The officers have been identified as Command Sergeant Major Hayil Satawi and Command Sergeant Major Kamil Shanaan.
Satawi, 30, lives in the northern Druze town of Maghar, served his mandatory service in the Border Police and became a career patrol officer in the Temple Mount Unit. He left behind his wife (Arin) and a three-week-old son, as well as his parents and three siblings.
Shanaan, 22, lives in the northern Druze town of Hurfeish, and has served as a career police officer since his enlistment seven months ago as a patrol officer on the Temple Mount and in the Old City's police unit. He is the son of former Labor party member Shachiv Shanaan. He left behind one brother and three sisters.
Both officers were critically injured and transferred to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, where the doctors were forced to declare their deaths. The officer who was lightly injured was transferred to Shaarei Zedek Hospital, with shrapnel in his hands and neck.
The funeral of Satawi will be held in Maghar at 4:00p.m. Shanaan's funeral will be held in Hurfeish at 6:00p.m.
Initial investigations showed that three terrorists descended the Temple Mount after prayers armed with weapons and walked towards the Old City's Lions Gate. Seeing the police officers, the terrorists fired, then ran back towards the mosques on the Temple Mount.
Police officers chased them and eliminated the terrorists during a shootout. The terrorists were found to have two pistols and a rifle.
Haiel Sitawe, 30, and Kamil Shnaan, 22, named as officers slain at Temple Mount
Speaking to the press soon after the attack, Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said: “This was a tough morning for the police. We have two people killed, officers, who paid the dearest price in this battle.”
Sitawe, 30, hailed from the town of Maghar, a mostly Druze and Arab city in northern Israel.
Shnaan, 22, was from the Druze village of Hurfeish, also in northern Israel.
Sitawe joined the Border Police as part of his mandatory national service. He joined the Israel Police in 2012 and had served in the unit responsible for securing the Temple Mount ever since.
He leaves behind a wife, Irin, a three-week-old son, his parents and three brothers.
Shnaan joined the police directly after high school. He decided to stay on the police force seven months ago, signing on as a career officer.
He was the youngest son of a former Labor Party Knesset member, Shachiv Shnaan. His engagement party to his girlfriend was to be held next week.
Shnaan leaves behind his parents, one brother and three sisters.
Both Shnaan and Sitawe were posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant.
VIDEO: Dramatic new footage emerges of Temple Mount attack
Israel Police have released dramatic new footage of the Temple Mount attack that killed two police officers on Friday.
The video, released on Friday afternoon, shows two of the three attackers, armed with guns, approaching a male police officer and shooting him in the back.
The slain officers were named as Hail Stawi, 30, from Maghar and Kamil Shanan, 22, from Hurfeish, both in northern Israel.
The attackers were identified by the Shin Bet as 29-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Mahmoud Jabarin, Muhammad Ahmed Fadel Jabarin 19, and Muhammad Hamed 'Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19, from Umm el-Fahm in northern Israel.
'Neutralized' terrorist stands up and is eliminated
'Neutralized' terrorist stands back up to continue shooting policemen and is eliminated before he can fire.




On Temple Mount, police chief says ‘exceptional’ attack of international significance
Touring the Temple Mount complex, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich on Friday said the deadly shooting terror attack earlier in the day that left two Israeli police officers dead was an “exceptional” incident of international significance.
“This is an exceptional and extreme incident,” Alsheich said shortly after touring the holy site. “The shooting on the Temple Mount is a serious, sensitive and significant event on the political and international level and will be dealt with accordingly.”
The entire Temple Mount complex was closed to worshipers Friday while police searched for weapons. In a statement, the Israel Police emphasized the closure was solely for security reasons and did not represent a change in the status quo.
Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), released a video statement in Arabic, saying the terrorists had “defiled” the holy site.
“Therefore, now and for a short time, the Israeli security forces are taking steps to ensure that there are no more weapons in place. We want to maintain freedom of worship,” he said in a video released on social media, apparently to quell Palestinians concerns of changes to the arrangements at the flashpoint site.
“We hope the entire Arab world will condemn the attack in a clear manner,” he said. “The compound was evacuated and closed, and the Friday prayers were banned. Members of the Waqf are being questioned at the site.”
Benjamin Netanyahu Mourners' tents for terrorists must be removed
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the police on Friday afternoon to take down the mourners' tents set up in Umm al-Fahm for the three terrorists killed in the attack that killed two policeman near the Temple Mount earlier in the day.
The directives came following consultations Netanyahu had with the country's top security echelon, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, General Security Service head Nadav Argaman, and Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
Netanyahu also issued directives to significantly strengthen the security arrangements at the access point to the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem attacker on Facebook: ‘Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful’
One of the three men who carried out a deadly terror attack Friday morning at the Temple Mount posted on Facebook shortly before the shooting, saying “Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful, God willing.”
The text was accompanied by a selfie of two of the attackers — Arab Israelis who could not immediately be named in Israeli media under a Shin Bet gag order — showing them standing in front of the Dome of the Rock shrine at the holy site.
The post was published at around 7:00 a.m., moments before the attack.
Despite the gag order, the names and pictures of the assailants have been published widely on Palestinian social media.
The Facebook selfie garnered nearly two thousand likes and a thousand comments within three hours, the vast majority of which praised the attack.
Other pictures and videos from the attackers’ Facebook page showed intense interest in the Temple Mount and the Muslim holy sites located there.
One post from July 2016 shows a picture of the leader of the banned Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Raed Salah, next to the Temple Mount.
Israel detains grand mufti of Jerusalem in wake of Temple Mount attack
Israeli security forces detained Jerusalem’s top Islamic cleric as crowds gathered in the Old City following a shooting attack at the highly sensitive Temple Mount in which three Arab-Israelis killed two Israeli police officers, the cleric’s son said.
The grand mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the city’s highest Islamic authority, had earlier gathered in the Old City with others and condemned the closure of the holy site for prayers following the attack. Israel said it temporarily closed the site after the shooting for security reasons, including to search for weapons.
In his speech, Hussein called on Muslim masses to flood to the holy site, and condemned what he called Friday’s Israeli “aggression” there, Army Radio reported — a presumed reference to the closure of the site and/or to Israeli forces’ shooting of the assailants.
Terror in Old City is all too familiar, but Friday’s attack was something else
Nearly every aspect of Friday’s terror attack in Jerusalem, in which two police officers were gunned down, stands out as irregular, even after two years of almost weekly attacks in the Old City.
According to police, shortly after 7:00 a.m., three Arab Israeli men (all named Muhammad Jabarin) walked out of the Temple Mount complex and opened fire at a group of police officers standing guard nearby, at the Lions Gate entrance to the Old City, critically injuring two of them.
The terrorists then fled back into the Temple Mount, with police in pursuit. Two of the gunmen were shot dead, while the third was arrested, forced to the ground and surrounded by officers. He suddenly jumped up, brandishing a knife, and lunged at an officer before he too was shot and killed.
As details came out about the attack, it was immediately clear that this was not a normal shooting. Everything from its location to the identities of those involved and the responses to the attack were sui generis.
The attack occurred just outside the Temple Mount complex, an area that has seen significant unrest but few if any attacks of this sort.
The three shooters were not Palestinians, but Arab Israelis, apparently cousins from the city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. The victims were not Jewish, but Druze Israeli police officers, master sergeants Haiel Sitawe, 30, and Kamil Shnaan, 22.
Finally, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas quickly condemned the shooting, while Arab Israeli leaders went completely dark and didn’t issue statements of any kind until almost 10 hours later.
UNESCO gave the green light to kill Israelis on the Temple Mount
Unesco's two resolutions on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which gave Islam absolute sovereignty over Judaism's most holy site, did not mention the fact that the terrorist attacks “on behalf of the Mosque of Al Aqsa” had already counted thousands of victims in Israel. That this “noble sanctury”, a religious symbol, is a magnet of political riots, which has never been the case at the Western Wall (Muslims have never been attacked from below, while Muslims have hurled stones down at the Jewish faithful many a time).
But with the terror attack last Friday, Palestinian terrorism made a leap of quality: the use of the mosques as preparation to kill two Israeli police officers. For radical Islam and Palestinians, these places are the basis of terror against Israel. The Palestinian use of the holy places dates back to the era of the Grand Muftì of Jerusalem, the ally of Hitler Hajj Amin al Husseini, who hid weapons and terrorists in the mosques. Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, guru of the Muslim Brotherhood from which Hamas was born, theorized the role of the mosque in the Jihad, while ayatollah Khomeini, inspirer of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, defined the mosque as “fortress of Jihad”.
In the last month, London hosted two Islamist demonstrations dedicated to Al Aksa, where a South African imam called the Jews “fleas”. In its war against Israel, even in Gaza Hamas made use of the mosques. The mosque al Tafweek was destroyed by Israel because it was used as a launch ramp. Missiles were found in the wooden pulpit of the Atatür mosque.
And how to forget what happened in 2002 at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the siege of the second holy place of Christianity?
Temple Mount attack poses important test for Arab moderates
The Friday morning’s terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City will be a huge test for the Palestinian Authority and the moderate Arab world.
Following the early morning attack, in which three terrorists opened fire on a group of policemen near Lion’s Gate and then fled to the Temple Mount before being shot and killed by police, Jerusalem chief of Police Yoram Halevi ordered the area closed, evacuated, and cancelled Friday Muslim prayers.
Police were considering entering the Temple Mount complex to search for weapons caches.
It’s taken a lot less to ignite the Palestinian street, as has been witnessed from the first and second Intifadas and last year’s stabbing and vehicular attack sprees.
Will Israel’s response to Friday’s attack be the catalyst for another uprising?
It depends on the Arab leadership. If PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah and other figures in the Arab world use the attack to urge calm, condemn terror and let Israel do what it needs to secure its citizens, then the incident will likely pass quietly and things will return to their usual low-level tense reality.
If, however, instead of focusing on the attack, the Palestinian and Jordanian reaction only condemns the Israeli response and decries the military suppression and the lack of religious freedom for Muslims in Jerusalem, it’s bound to light a fire.
Temple Mount killers aimed to set the Middle East ablaze
Shafia Jabarin, uncle of Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, one of Friday’s Temple Mount terrorists, said later Friday that nobody in the family knew anything about the planned attack. “It was a complete surprise.”
The problem is that the Israeli security establishment — the Shin Bet, the police — also knew nothing ahead of time about the murderous plans of the three Arabs Israelis from Umm al-Fahm who killed two Druze policeman at the Mount. The trio, aged 19, 20 and 30, managed to stay under the radar of Israeli intelligence. They were able to strike without warning, and once again to fatally jar the exposed nerves of Israelis as regards the country’s Arab citizens.
The attackers capitalized on their great advantage: As Israelis, they carried blue identity cards, and were able to gain free access to the Temple Mount, undisturbed by roadblocks and checkpoints.
Getting guns was no problem, either. In the Arab sector, emphatically including their local Wadi Ara region, weapons are readily available — either stolen from the IDF, or home produced.
They selected the most resonant site, on the most resonant day of the week: The Temple Mount complex, on the day of Friday prayers.
The trio were inside the complex — as their relatives later confirmed, and as their own selfies attested — before they ventured out to open fire, fatally, on a group of police officers.
They knew that a shooting attack at the most incendiary spot in the Middle East would be likely to prompt a major escalation.
President Rivlin to Arab Israeli leaders: Condemn Temple Mount attack
President Reuven Rivlin, Likud MK Avi Dichter, a former chief of the Shin Bet security service, and Zionist Union MK and former IDF major general Eyal Ben-Reuven urged Arab Israeli leaders on Friday to condemn the Temple Mount shooting attack, which saw three Arab Israeli gunmen kill two Israeli police officers at the holy site.
“It is time for the Arab leadership in Israel, and even outside it, to express a clear position against this criminal attack,” said Rivlin in a statement several hours after the 7 a.m. attack.
“The murderous terror attack at the Temple Mount was stopped by the courageous Israeli policemen who placed themselves in harm’s way and prevented an even greater disaster. We cannot allow for agents of murder, who desecrate the name of God, to drag us into a bloody war, and we will deal with a heavy hand against all the offshoots of terror and its perpetrators,” added the president.
The slain police officers were identified on Friday as Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan, both hailing from Druze villages in northern Israel. Sitawe, 30, came from the town of Maghar, a mostly Druze and Arab city in northern Israel. Shnaan, 22, was from the Druze village of Hurfeish, also in northern Israel. Shnaan was the youngest son of former Labor MK Shachiv Shnaan.
“We are with our brothers today, the Druze community and the bereaved families who lost two beloved warriors,” Zionist Union lawmaker Ben-Reuven said in a statement Friday.
He added: “I call on the leaders of the Arab public in Israel to sharply condemn this despicable attack and offer condolences to the police officers’ families,” he said.
Abbas condemns Jerusalem attack, calls on Israel to reopen al-Aqsa
Following Friday morning’s deadly shooting attack on the Temple Mount, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbas denounced the incident but called for Israel to open the holy site which was closed by police over security concerns.
Two police officers were killed in the shooting, which took place just outside the Temple Mount. The terrorists, three Arab Israelis, fled back to the holy site where they were shot dead after an exchange of fire with police.
After the attack, Jerusalem Police chief Yoram Halevi canceled prayers for the day on the Temple Mount, ordering the complex cleared and the entrances to the holy site closed. Police also placed checkpoints at the entrances to the Old City.
According to a transcript of the phone call between Abbas and Netanyahu on the PA’s official news agency Wafa, Abbas “expressed his strong rejection and condemnation of the incident that took place in Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as his rejection of any violent incidents from any side, especially in places of worship.”
Fatah calls on Muslim worshippers to go to Temple Mount
Fatah called on Muslim worshipers to go to the Temple Mount on Friday, after Israeli authorities canceled Friday prayers at the site following a shooting attack there.
“Set out for the al-Aqsa Mosque,” Fatah said on its official Facebook page, referring to the mosque located on the Temple Mount. “We call on our people to go the al-Aqsa Mosque, pray there, and break the Israeli siege that aims to change the historical sites of the holy city and judaize them.”
Thousands of Muslims traditionally pray on the Temple Mount on Friday.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said there are no plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad lavish praise on ‘heroic’ Temple Mount shooting
Palestinian terror groups praised the deadly shooting attack at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Friday, while Palestinian social media was rife with accolades for the killers.
Two Israeli police officers were killed and a third was wounded in the shooting attack, carried out by three Arab Israelis, just outside the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem’s Old City. According to police, the attackers came from the Temple Mount shortly after 7:00 in the morning. They walked toward the Lions Gate exit, then opened fire at the Israelis.
After the shooting, the terrorists fled toward the Temple Mount and police gave chase. The officers then opened fire, shooting the terrorists dead inside the complex.
Sami Abu Zouhri, a senior spokesman for the Hamas terror group, said in a statement on Twitter that “the Jerusalem operation is a natural response to Israeli terrorism and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” and insisted that it proves “that the intifada continues and our people are united behind the resistance.”
The Islamic Jihad terror group also praised the “heroic attack.”
IsraellyCool: Vile Reactions To Jerusalem Terror Attack From The Usual Suspects
There are a few certainties in life.
Death, taxes…and these kinds of reactions to terror attacks on Jews, by the usual suspects.

Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen:
IsraellyCool: Terror in Jerusalem: Arabs Go On Shooting Rampage At Entrance to Old City (Updated)
Some more winning headines from the mainstream media:
The Mirror seems to think the idea the murderers were terrorists is in dispute:
The Guardian seems to think the real tragedy here is prayer cancellation
Same with albawaba
While IBT and ENCA lump the terrorists with the injured victims
Ex-intel chief: Israel should advance peace initiatives now, while we’re strong
The former head of Israeli army Military Intelligence and current director of a top Israeli think tank called for the country’s leaders to take concrete steps towards an agreement with the Palestinians while the defense and economic situation of the country is strong.
Speaking to the Jerusalem Press Club on Thursday, retired IDF general and head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Amos Yadlin described Israel’s security situation as being calm but precarious, as an Iran-backed Shiite coalition bolsters its forces across the Middle East, threatening both the Jewish state and Sunni Muslim countries.
According to the former general, Israel has found itself in an uncommon position of tranquility and should take advantage of it to further its interests.
“Israel has an opportunity that we haven’t had since the country was founded. Israel is very strong, very strong, [even] with all the threats around it,” he said.
Yadlin, a former fighter jet pilot who served as the Labor Party’s candidate for defense minister in the 2015 election, noted that Iran does not yet have nuclear capabilities, that Syria is in shambles, that ties are improving with many Sunni Muslim countries in the region, that Israel has lasting peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and that there’s a US president who at least appears to be supportive.
Ruthie Blum: Peace is light-years away
If the leaders of the Palestinian Authority had invested as much time, energy and ‎other people's money in building a flourishing society as they do in the pursuit of ‎death and destruction, there would be no need for outside efforts to broker ‎peace between them and their Israeli counterparts. It takes only about 30 minutes ‎to drive from the Muqataa compound in Ramallah to the Prime Minister's Office in ‎Jerusalem. Yet it is still easier for dignitaries from the United States and Europe to ‎spend hours on flights to Tel Aviv for the purpose of talking about a two-state ‎solution than it is for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to budge in any direction ‎other than backwards. ‎
Take this week, for instance, which began with the Palestinians' refusal to host ‎U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman -- whom U.S. President Donald Trump ‎has included in his Mideast peacemaking team, along with advisers Jason ‎Greenblatt and Jared Kushner -- in Ramallah. Friedman is too pro-Israel, as far as ‎Abbas is concerned. As a result, the meeting between American and Palestinian ‎officials on Tuesday took place at the King David Hotel in west Jerusalem. ‎
On Thursday, Greenblatt joined fellow envoys of the Middle East Quartet -- the ‎U.S. (which he represents), the European Union, the United Nations and Russia -- ‎in Jerusalem "to discuss current efforts to advance Middle East peace, as well as ‎the deteriorating situation in Gaza."‎
A Port Off Gaza: A Preposterous and Perilous Proposal
A little over a year ago, I wrote a column harshly criticizing the proposal for the construction of a port of any sort for Gaza, particularly one to be located on a detachable artificial island, to be built 3-4 km off the Gazan coast. What I wrote then is just as pertinent today.
Harebrained and hazardous
The opening line of the column was this: “Just when you thought that you could not possibly hear anything more preposterous on how to help resolve the conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs, somehow someone always manages to prove you wrong — and comes out with a policy proposal so glaringly absurd that it transcends what you mistakenly believed was the pinnacle of imbecility.”
I continued: “Disturbingly, precisely such a hopelessly hare-brained scheme is now being repeatedly bandied about by Israelis in positions of influence.”
Sadly these caustic remarks are still as relevant today, as unbelievable as that may seem.
For as harebrained, hazardous — indeed, hallucinatory — the idea is, it remains stubbornly on the agenda. It refuses to fade into the distant realms of fantasy, to where it clearly deserves to disappear.
Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Pakistan interrupt UN Watch


At Gaza war memorial event, Netanyahu, Rivlin call for return of soldiers’ bodies
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday called for the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers being held by the Hamas terror group, saying that Israel would keep striving to fulfill “this sacred mission.”
“Our commitment to return home Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul is still firm. We have not let up from this sacred mission, in particular in recent days. The same applies to Avraham Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, Israeli citizens who are held in the Gaza Strip by a brutal enemy,” Netanyahu said at a memorial event at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery marking three years since the 2014 Gaza conflict.
Goldin and Shaul’s bodies have been held by Hamas since they were killed in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, while Mengistu and al-Sayed are believed to also be held by the terror group after they entered the Gaza, as is a third man, Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima.
Rivlin also stressed would not cease working for the return of Shaul and Goldin’s bodies, saying it “is our moral and public obligation.”
Infant among 3 lightly injured in firebomb attack in Jerusalem
An infant girl was among three people injured in a firebomb attack in Jerusalem on Friday, hours after two Israeli police officers were killed in an attack by three Israeli-Arab assailants on the Temple Mount.
The Molotov cocktail was thrown at a family traveling in a community security vehicle in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, right near the Mount of Olives.
Paramedics who rushed to the scene treated the baby and the two adults for smoke inhalation. The child was then transported to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Police launched a search for the perpetrator or perpetrators.
British Cop Nominated for Bravery Award After Saving Man from Jerusalem Attack
A British detective sergeant has been nominated for a bravery award for saving the life of an Israeli man in Jerusalem, Jewish News reported Wednesday.
The off-duty policeman was nearly killed and sustained serious injuries to his head, after intervening in a brutal assault against a Jerusalem resident by three Arab men. The incident took place near the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion, where Richard Burgess was visiting the grave of Oskar Schindler, who saved hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust.
Together with friends from the police, Burgess was making his first visit to Israel in February 2016 on a pilgrimage tour arranged by his local church.
The detective sergeant, 45, told Jewish News, “I saw three Arab-looking males assaulting a Jewish man wearing a kippah. I saw him being dragged and assaulted, and some sort of noxious substance appeared to have been sprayed at his face, because his eyes were streaming.”
The policeman ran towards them “without a thought.” He added, “It wasn’t a good year for me, 2016. We went to Israel two days after my mother’s death and I had had a bad motorcycle accident which affected the use of my right arm.”
MEMRI: Palestinian Authority Holds Military Funeral For Terrorist
Muhammad Jibrin from the village of Taqua was killed on July 10, 2017 after wounding a soldier in a ramming attack and then attempting to stab other soldiers near the Israeli settlement of Teqoa. The PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam reported that he had been shot by Israeli forces "on the pretext" that he had tried to perpetrate an attack, whereas Palestinian news websites, such as the Hamas website palinfo.com, stated explicitly that he had "carried out a ramming attack."
Jibrin was given a large military funeral with PA soldiers in uniform serving as pallbearers. The funeral was attended by Kamel Hmeid, governor of Hebron and former head of Fatah's Bethlehem branch, and by other Fatah representatives. In addition, high-ranking PA and Fatah officials arrived at the mourning tent to pay their respects to the family, among them General Intelligence chief Majed Faraj, who is a close associate of Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas; Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen, who delivered a speech on behalf of 'Abbas and Fatah; and 'Abbas Zaki, also a Central Committee member, who delivered a speech on behalf of Fatah.
The following are excerpts from statements by PA and Fatah officials in praise of Jibrin.
Speakers at Jibrin's funeral condemned "the crimes of the occupation," and Hebron Governor Kamel Hmeid said: "Israel's state terrorism will not deter our Palestinian people and will not cause it to relinquish its just demands, first and foremost among them the right of return..." The head of Fatah's committee in Taqua said: "Fatah is burying one of its knights, a brave young man who believed in the justness of the Palestinian cause and in his people's struggle for liberty... Fatah promises the martyr Muhammad [Jibrin] and all the other martyrs to continue on the path [in pursuit of] the goals for which they were killed. Fatah will not hesitate and will not remain silent in the face of the occupation's crimes."
Palestinian killed in clashes with IDF near Bethlehem
Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian during clashes in a West Bank refugee camp south of Jerusalem on Friday morning, officials said.
According to the military, during an arrest raid in the Deheishe refugee camp, outside Bethlehem, Palestinians began throwing large rocks and explosive devices at the troops.
In response, the soldiers opened fire “in order to remove the threat,” the army said.
According to Palestinian officials, a resident of the refugee camp was shot and killed. He was identified as 21-year-old Ismail Hamamda by the official Palestinian Authority news outlet Wafa.
Military officials said they were aware of the Palestinian reports, but would not comment on their veracity.
No soldiers were reported injured, the army said.
Fearing more terror attacks, Egypt churches suspend activities
Egypt’s Coptic and Evangelical churches have suspended some of their activities for security reasons after a spate of jihadist attacks, church officials said on Thursday.
Conferences and church-organized trips will be suspended for three weeks after security services warned of more attempted attacks, said the Reverend Andrea Zaki, head of the Egyptian Evangelical Church.
“We are talking about conferences and travel for religious events, for three weeks, because we have information in cooperation with the responsible agencies that attempts to attack have been detected,” he told AFP.
Church services will not be affected, he said.
Coptic Church spokesman Bolus Halim confirmed the moratorium on some activities.
Since December, Islamic State group suicide bombers have targeted three Coptic churches, killing dozens of people.
In New Low, Amnesty Stands Up for ISIS
Who’s to blame when a group of savages take innocent people hostage, commit atrocities, and spur the forces of civilization to strike back, sparking a conflict that, regrettably, claims the lives of more innocent people? If you’ve followed the way the international community—that mythical body of self-appointment bureaucrats who see themselves as everyone’s moral betters—has dealt with Israel, you know the answer by now. To organizations like Amnesty International, the real culprits are never the Palestinian terrorists who use human shields or launch missiles at school children, always the Israeli army doing its best to defend its citizens without causing unnecessary loss of life on the other side. The term of art for this reprehensible approach is moral equivalence. And you won’t be surprised to hear that, having mastered the skill of both-sides-are-to-blame with Hamas, Amnesty is now extending the same courtesy to ISIS.
In a new report, released earlier this week and entitled “At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq,” the organization paid lip service to the idea that the Islamic State—purveyors of sexual slavery, beheadings, and other brutalities—inflicted some suffering on Mosul’s population before getting to the real culprit, the US-led coalition.
“Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces failed to adequately adapt their tactics to these challenges—as required by international humanitarian law—with disastrous consequences for civilians,” thunders the report. Then, lest you have any doubt what ought to be done next, the report ends with a call to action. “Don’t Let These Crimes Be Buried,” reads a bold headline, before making a list of demands, including a public acknowledgment of “the scale and gravity of the loss of civilian lives during the Mosul battle” and reparations for the victims and their families.
A Recently Translated Novel Lays Bare the Horrors of Assad’s Syria
In his semi-autobiographical novel The Shell (originally published in Arabic in 2008), Mustafa Khalifa—who spent the years from 1982 to 1994 as a political prisoner in the notorious Tadmor prison—tells the story of a Syrian arrested and held prisoner on trumped-up charges. The book, writes Kyle Orton, is not only a powerful and moving account but also one that can be instructive to those in the West still enamored of the idea of partnering with Bashar al-Assad to defeat Islamic State (IS):
The notion that IS, a symptom of the war Assad started, could be treated with a narrow counter-terrorism strategy—in isolation from broader conflict—was always a fantasy. The recent collision between the coalition’s anti-IS war and the [Syrian] civil war is merely the intrusion of reality: it was one war all along. As the U.S.-led coalition was destroying the caliphate, it was parceling out territory to various contenders in Syria, changing the political and military balance in the wider war—mostly against the rebels, from which IS had taken most of its territory.
Still, for many Westerners, there is something that just doesn’t quite compute; Assad is a bad guy, [Westerners admit], but IS [is composed of] monsters! They drown people in cages and enslave Yazidis—medieval savagery that must surely be everybody’s priority. . . . The Shell helps break down this illusion [of a moral distinction] between a jihadist organization that revels in its brutality and a regime that proceeds in silence with a system of near-indescribable cruelty on a scale Islamic State cannot even dream of.
IRAN: MORE THAN ONE EXECUTION EVERY FOUR HOURS IN JULY
Following a pause in executions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, executions in Iran have dramatically increased since Saturday July 1.
In the past twelve days, Iran Human Rights has reported on 56 executions carried out in Iran. 31 of the 56 prisoners were reportedly hanged on drug related charges. Only seven of the 56 executions were reported by official Iranian sources, including the Judiciary and state-run media.
Iran Human Rights considers the volume of executions in Iran inhumane and calls for their immediate halt. "In the past twelve days in Iran, we have witnessed more than one execution every four hours. This is unprecedented, even for the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is crucial that the international community reacts to this," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for Iran Human Rights.
"It is incomprehensible that the death sentences for prisoners with drug related charges are being hastily carried out at the same time that a bill is being reviewed by the Iranian Parliament to stop the death sentences for many prisoners with drug charges. It is possible that the Iranian authorities intend to carry out the death sentences for as many prisoners with drug related charges as possible before passing the bill. If this is the case, then we will be witness to a massacre."
Turkish director arrested for film of Erdogan ‘execution’
Turkish police on Thursday detained a prominent film director who has made a controversial movie showing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under gunpoint in a bloody coup d’etat, state media reported on Thursday.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said Ali Avci was detained on suspicion of links to the group blamed by Ankara for the — real life — failed coup that sought to oust Erdogan last year.
Avci’s new film “Uyanis” (Awakening) is not in theaters yet but its trailer has already stirred up controversy on the first anniversary of the July 15 attempted putsch Ankara says was masterminded by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen denies the charges. (h/t MtTB)



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