Tuesday, June 24, 2014

From Ian:

Hamas chief claims 3 kidnapped youths were soldiers
In a lengthy interview with Al-Jazeera on Monday evening, Mashaal insisted that Gil-ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach, abducted while hitchhiking in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem, were “settlers and soldiers in the Israeli army.”
“No one claimed responsibility so far. I can neither confirm [Hamas's responsibility] nor deny it,” Mashaal said, quickly adding that the circumstances of the kidnapping were more important than the perpetrators.
“Blessed be the hands that captured them,” Mashaal said. “This is a Palestinian duty, the responsibility of the Palestinian people. Our prisoners must be freed; not Hamas’s prisoners — the prisoners of the Palestinian people.”
The “disappearance,” as he termed it, took place in the West Bank, an area he said was considered occupied “even by the United States.” Secondly, the three were not “youths, as Israel calls them, but first and foremost settlers … and not even regular settlers, but armed ones.”
Mashaal promptly produced a photocopied page, reproduced from a viral Palestinian Facebook post juxtaposing the photo of Naftali Fraenkel with that of Israeli “Big Brother” contestant Itai Wallach posing with blindfolded Palestinians during his military service. Mashaal claimed the two were one and the same.

Netanyahu Calls out Hamas's 'War on Israel'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal's blessing toward the abductors of three yeshiva students Tuesday, calling the terror organization out on the difference between its face to the international community and its statements to the Arab world.
"Last night we heard Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, praise and defend the brutal kidnapping of the three innocent Israeli teenagers who were making their way home from school," Netanyahu said. "Meshaal once again made clear that Hamas remains committed to its war against Israel and its war against every Israeli citizen, and coincidently, against every Jew around the world."
The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's condemnation of the abduction, but clarified that he will be tested in actions, not words.
"How can President Abbas make an alliance with these terrorists who extoll kidnapping?" he asked. "I appreciate what President Abbas said a few days ago in Saudi Arabia, rejecting the kidnapping. I think these were important words."
"Now, if he really means what he said about the kidnapping, and if he is truly committed to peace and to fighting terrorism, then logic and common sense mandate that he break his pact with Hamas. This is the only way that we can move forward."
PA Donors' Money Promised to Hamas
Their concerns were brushed off dismissively by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki: "This was the creation of an interim technocratic government. Obviously, at some point there will be elections. This is an interim period. As we've long stated, we'll – we're continuing assistance if we – but we'll be watching closely and if something changes, so we'll act accordingly."
Well, something has changed with the announcement made by Mofid al-Hasayneh. But obviously Ms. Psaki has not been "watching closely." Not only has she not reacted to that official announcement that Hamas personnel will be on the PA payroll within days. She also missed the reports about that intention that were circulating ever since the Palestinian unity government was formed.
In view of the prospect that US money will soon go to Hamas personnel via the PA, the US Congress has every right to stop that financial aid. We still think, however, that it would be smarter to condition such aid money on a Palestinian commitment to remove all the rockets from Gaza under international supervision.
Getting rid of those rockets, it hardly need be said, would revolutionize the prospect of advances in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Moreover, the PA is hardly in a position to refuse that demand. Not only is the Hamas regime virtually bankrupt, the PA itself is almost totally dependent on funds from non-Palestinian sources.



Deputy Minister Fires at UNHRC's 'Lack of Shame'
Earlier Tuesday, the UNHRC skewered Israel at a meeting to discuss the operation to find the boys, in a hearing comprised almost entirely of anti-Israel testimonies.
Wild accusations made included claims that Israel is occupying both Syria and Lebanon, that Israel imprisons Palestinian children and the elderly, and a pro-Palestinian NGO's claim that Israel has "kidnapped Palestinian mothers" in comments just after the emotional speech of the mother of kidnapped teen Naftali Frenkel.
Likud's Elkin: We must make it clear to Hamas that kidnapping doesn't pay
We must make it clear to Hamas that kidnapping doesn't pay, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud Beytenu) said Tuesday, visiting the spot in Gush Etzion where three teenage boys were abducted earlier this month.
Elkin visited the area with Jewish journalists from around the world and briefed them on the abduction and the IDF's response.
Ya'alon Denies IDF to Scale Back Hamas Crackdown After Pressure
The Security Cabinet may have decided Tuesday afternoon to end the wider campaign to eradicate Hamas, IDF Radio reported Tuesday, and only focus on the search and rescue for kidnapped teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Eyal Yifrah (19), and Gilad Sha'ar (16).
The decision was allegedly made on the basis of concerns over the upcoming Islamic holiday of Ramadan, which could cause Palestinian Arab violence to get out of control.
Ministers also allegedly noted the waves of international criticism against Israel after the operation, with critics claiming that the raids are interrupting the pace of daily life in the Palestinian Authority (PA).
You Can Help ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’
Our IDF soldiers are working day and night to find Eyal, Gilad and Naftali and bring them safely home.
The least we can do for our brave soldiers is let them know we support them, appreciate all they are doing and pray for their safety.
Standing Together and JewishPress.com are working together to distribute vital personal items to IDF soldiers who are currently stationed in the Hebron area.
Diamonds in the Rough: Finding Weapons Nobody Else Can


Palestinians: We Are Not Helping Israel Find Kidnapped Teens
The Palestinian Authority really isn't cooperating with Israel on finding three kidnapped Israeli teens – or on anything else, according to Rami Hamdallah, the PA's Prime Minister. Appointed last month, Hamdallah was a compromise candidate agreed to by Fatah and Hamas to head the PA's new government.
There is no security cooperation between Israel and the PA, he claimed – just security “coordination,” which he defines as joint activities “to ensure the well-being and daily activities of Palestinians.” The PA is certainly not helping the IDF in the search for kidnapped Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16), and Gilad Sha'ar (16), he stressed.
Palestinian Analyst: Hamas is Behind Kidnapping of Israeli Teens

Fatah Spokesman Ahmad Assaf Blasts Hamas: They Behave Like Greedy Criminals and Thugs


NGO Monitor: B’Tselem’s Callous and Tasteless Campaign on the Kidnapping Operation
On June 22, 2014, B’Tselem initiated a campaign in response to Israel’s military operation to locate the three kidnapped teenagers and weaken the Palestinian terror infrastructure in the West Bank. In it, B’Tselem accuses Israel of “cynically exploiting the deep concern for the abducted teens” to “implement sweeping actions which intensify harm to the human rights of Palestinians.”
The title of the campaign, “Hitching a ride,” is itself an immoral and cynical exploitation of the circumstances of the kidnapping, which apparently occurred while the teens were hitchhiking. B’Tselem also created a poster to accompany the campaign, featuring pictures of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon – reflecting the NGO’s partisan, political agenda.
NGO Monitor: Islamic Relief’s Alleged Hamas Links Implicate European Funders
On June 19, 2014, Israel's Defense Minister declared Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a British-based non-governmental organization (NGO), as illegal and banned it from operating in Israel and the West Bank. This decision was based on information regarding IRW’s alleged fundraising for Hamas, a designated terror organization by Israel, the U.S., EU, and Canada.
According to news reports, the decision was made after “the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the coordinator for government activities in the territories, and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IRW.” Specifically, IRW is charged with channeling funds to Hamas.
Fatah-Hamas merger on thin ice
Hamas said on Monday that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has buried the reconciliation agreement with Fatah even before it started.
Mohamed Nazzal, a senior Hamas official, accused Abbas of evading his commitments in accordance with the reconciliation agreement that was signed in the Gaza Strip in late April.
This was the first time since the signing of the agreement that Hamas spoke about the end of the reconciliation with Fatah.
Legalists to UN Chief Ki-Moon: “Retract all Acceptance of PA to the UN”
The Legal Forum for Israel, a body representing hundreds of lawyers and jurists from various countries, has sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon last week demanding that he retract all acceptance within the UN of the Palestinian Authority and reject the Palestinian request to accede to international conventions. Relating to the abduction of the three boys form Gush Etzion, author of the letter Alan Baker, former legal adviser of Israel’s foreign ministry, former ambassador to Canada and Director of the International Action Division of the Legal Forum for Israel, writes: “We are, first and foremost, at the time of writing this letter, most distressed at the tragic situation in which one or more Palestinian terror groups, affiliated to what you and the UN regard as the “State of Palestine”, considered to be a non-member state observer in the UN, have taken three Israeli youths hostage, in clear violation of all basic humanitarian norms and conventions. We feel that this action, together with the dangerous situation presently prevailing, is directly connected to, and emanates from the enhanced status that you and the UN have attributed to this Palestinian entity. By any basic criterion of international law and practice, this entity should never have been, and cannot be considered to be a state.”
Abbas' Fatah movement to Israelis: "Death is near"
Only four days after the kidnapping of the three Israeli youths, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement posted a video on its Facebook page promising Israelis: "Death is near." [Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page," June 16, 2014]
The song promotes violence and destruction in the name of Allah, as it calls to "smash the fortress of the hopeless" and "shout: 'Allah is Greater'" and states that "the remains of our bodies and our blood are a song of rage."
Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, is described as "the rival in the land who burns the foreign enemy" and who will "reach the enemy everywhere." Israelis and/or Jews are addressed directly and promised death:
Fatah song: "Smash the fortress of the hopeless"


Abbas: Israel "would have destroyed the Al-Aqsa [Mosque]" if it could


FM Liberman: Assad forces behind Golan attack that killed Israeli boy
An anti-tank missile fired from Syria across the frontier fence killed Mohammed Qaraqara, 13, drawing Israeli tank fire and air strikes on Syrian army positions, which killed three Syrian soldiers.
"We got all the analysis, all the intelligence and it was clear it was Syrian authorities, Assad's forces, who fired on the Israeli boy ... and they must pay the price," Liberman told Israel Radio. "I hope Damascus got the message," he said.
US prevents UN condemnation of Israel over West Bank deaths
The UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement that would have deplored the deaths of Palestinians in Israeli operations following the abduction of three Israeli teenagers.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current council president, told reporters he proposed the press statement after listening to a Palestinian appeal for council action, but one council member wanted stronger language and one didn’t want any reference to Israel.
Diplomats said Jordan insisted that “deploring” wasn’t strong enough and US Ambassador Samantha Power said any language directly criticizing Israel would be “a red line” for the Americans. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the consultations were closed.
Five Palestinians indicted for attempted kidnapping
Five suspects, all current or former Palestinian security prisoners in Israel, were indicted Monday for planning to kidnap an IDF soldier or officer who could then be traded for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
The indictment, which charges that Hamas was to provide funding and arms for the operation, comes as Israeli forces are engaged in a mission to locate three Israeli teens thought kidnapped by Hamas operatives to bargain for a similar deal.
Palestinians Provide Proof Of Zionist Death Pigs(TM)
Regular readers will know that the palestinians are constantly blaming us for Zionist Death Pigs,TM pigs they claim we deliberately release towards their farmlands.
Now Shehab News - who just recently brought us many images of kids making the “Three Shalit’s” gesture – brings “proof” of this.
Leaving aside the fact they have in the past blamed “settlers” – not the IDF – for unleashing the beasts, the evidence seems overwhelming.
I mean, an army jeep photographed near pigs.
Smoking gun or what?
(h/t NormanF)
Sisi, crack down on mass murder, torture in Sinai!
Human rights organizations have not been able to raise awareness, the world shrugs its shoulders amid the rest of the chaos and bloodletting and sickening crimes in region.
A new documentary, called Sound of Torture and directed by Israeli Keren Shayo, was featured at the recent Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival in Tel Aviv. In it she worked with activist Meron Estafanos, an Eritrean woman in Sweden who has a radio program and has been telling the stories of torture victims. We often focus on the torture aspect, and several websites have been founded to assist victims of torture (Sossinai.org and stopsinaitorture.org for instance) and many videos online document the abuse; but the real story must also include the mass murder.
Egypt Jails Christian Teacher for Insulting Islam
An Egyptian appeals court jailed a female Coptic Christian teacher for six months after parents of her students accused her of evangelizing and insulting Islam, her lawyer said on Monday.
Demiana Emad, a 23-year-old social studies teacher, was arrested on May 9, 2013 after the head of the parents' association of Sheikh Sultan Primary School in Luxor filed a complaint against her.
The primary school teacher had appealed after a court in the southern city of Luxor fined her 100,000 Egyptian pounds (around $13,980). The prosecution, which also appealed the original sentence, had asked for a jail sentence.
Assad’s feared brother resurfaces 2 years after rumored attack
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s feared younger brother Maher has re-emerged in public two years after he was said to have been seriously wounded in a bombing, in a picture on the Internet.
Beirut-based Syrian singer George Wassouf downloaded on his official Facebook page a picture showing Maher wearing a navy blue T-shirt, jeans and looking relaxed.
The picture shows Wassouf standing next to the two brothers on a recent visit to Damascus.
Syria hands over remaining declared chemical weapons
Syria finished handing over to Western powers Monday the 1,300 tons of chemical weapons it acknowledged possessing, completing a deal reached last fall under threat of U.S. airstrikes.
The most dangerous material will be transferred to an American ship, which will move into international waters and use specialized equipment to destroy the chemicals over the next two months. Other material will be disposed of at toxic waste sites in various countries.
Questions persist over whether Syrian President Bashar Assad is hiding undeclared poison gases or attacking rebels with chlorine, a toxic industrial gas that is not specifically classified as a chemical weapon.
Iranian child bride who killed husband faces execution
An Iranian woman who was forced to marry at 14 and who shot and killed her husband at 17 is facing execution, contrary to international law, human rights groups campaigning on her behalf have said.
Razieh Ebrahimi, who had a child at 15, said her husband had abused her physically and emotionally during their marriage. Upon her arrest she admitted to shooting him with his own gun and burying his body in the garden.
She expressed remorse for the act, telling Iran’s Mehr news agency, “I married our neighbor’s son when I was only 14 because my dad insisted… My dad insisted I should marry him because he was educated and was working as a teacher…My husband mistreated me. He used any excuse to insult me, even attacking me physically.”
Iran, Russia said close to nuclear plants deal
The announcement came as Russia’s Rosatom deputy chief Nikolai Spassky arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit during which he will meet senior nuclear officials.
Spassky will also meet Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, a senior negotiator in talks with world powers on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the official IRNA news agency reported, without elaborating.
Iran arrests three for World Cup clip
Iranian police have arrested three people who appeared in an online video of young men and women singing and dancing in support of the country’s World Cup football team, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday.
Provincial police chief Col. Rahmatollah Taheri was quoted as saying the video clip, produced by the London-based Ajam Band, features scenes from outside and inside Iran, including the city of Shahroud, where two 23-year-olds appearing in the film and a 26-year-old photographer were arrested.
The video shows young people, including women not wearing the mandatory headscarf, singing and dancing in support of Iran’s national team, interspersed with footage from matches. They are shown waving Iranian flags and dancing in cars, streets, homes and public parks. (h/t Yenta Press)
International Pressure Reverses Shariah Court Death Sentence for Sudanese Christian Mother
Earlier today, an appeal court in Sudan overturned Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag’s death penalty and released her from jail.
Ibrahim is the woman who had never embraced her absent father’s Muslim faith and whose mother brought her up as a God-fearing Christian. Shariah law demands that such a woman is an apostate and demands either execution or “reversion” to Islam. That, Meriam refused to do. She was willing to die for her faith.
This was her only crime—a refusal to convert or revert to Islam. This exceptionally beautiful woman was arrested and brutalized in a medieval fashion: Chained up in a dark dungeon and forced to give birth on the filthy floor of that very dungeon in chains. The fact that her husband is an American citizen and that her two children, including the daughter born while she was imprisoned, are also American citizens did not sway the Sudanese authorities.
Jordan to sue Jordan? Arab site falls for hoax
What’s in name? A lot apparently, if you fall for a hoax that revolves around one glamor model named Jordan “suing the state of Jordan for copyright infringement.”
That’s what Arab news site, al-Rai al-Youm did, angrily reporting on a fake story on Sunday carried by The Pan-Arabia Enquirer, a satirical website that is becoming increasingly high-profile in the Middle East and beyond.
In the story British glamour model, Katy Price, known as Jordan, was to sue the Arab country for damages over the similarity in name.


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