Saturday, June 28, 2014

From Ian:

Rocket fired from Gaza slams into Sderot factory
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip slammed into a factory in the southern city of Sderot on Saturday evening, setting the building ablaze.
Emergency services were on site to battle the fire.
Three employees were reportedly inside the factory at the time, but managed to escape unharmed. One person was lightly injured and was being treated at hospital.
Another rocket likely landed in open territory, according to initial reports.
Gaza surveillance cameras pick up Israeli strike on terrorists
The footage shows a vehicle driving along a coastal road before being struck. Passersby remain seemingly unharmed.
Israel confirmed carrying out the targeted killing of Osama Has​sumi, 29, and Mohammad Fatzih, 24, on Friday, charging that they were involved in a cell responsible for repeated rocket fire on Israel’s southern cities over the past several weeks and were planning terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
“​Militants, like Hassumi and Fatzih, attacking Israel from Gaza, are not safe, do not have immunity, and will not be free to plan, plot and operate. We will continue to strike the instigators and agitators with patience, determination and precision. Gaza rocket terrorism does not pay,” said IDF spokesperson ​Lt. Col. Peter Lerner on Friday.

Israel strikes Gaza in response to rocket barrage
Residents of the coastal enclave reported multiple explosions, and the IDF said in a statement that it targeted “two terror activity sites and a weapon manufacturing facility in the central Gaza Strip, and a weapon storage facility in the southern Gaza Strip.” The Israeli military confirmed direct hits.
Saturday’s pre-dawn Israeli Air Force hits on the Gaza Strip came amid an escalation of hostilities along Israel’s southern border with the Palestinian enclave as IDF troops scour the West Bank for three missing Israeli teenagers. Israel has accused Hamas of carrying out the June 12 abduction of the teens.
Earlier on Friday evening, Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted two rockets launched at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip following the targeted assassination by Israel of two Gaza operatives the Israel Defense Forces said were responsible for recent rocket fire and attacks on civilians.
IDF Targets Gaza Terror Sites in Response to Ongoing Rocket Attacks


"The Jewish News" promotes anti-Israel blood libel
The editorial claims that "six Palestinians have been killed" as a result of what it implies is Israel's disproportionate response in attempting to find the kidnapped boys. In particular, it says this includes a "3-year-old Palestinian girl". There is no reference to such an incident in the paper itself, but it is almost certain it refers to the case covered here (by Elder of Ziyon) in which even the Palestinian propaganda agency Maan confirms a 3-year-old girl was killed on 24 June 2014 by a Hamas rocket targeted at southern Israel but which fell short. The implication that Israel killed the 3-year-old in response to the kidnappings is therefore a clear blood libel.
It is also interesting to note that the newspaper provides no evidence to support the implication about the other 5 Palestinian deaths. In fact, two of these reported deaths were of Hamas operatives involved in firing rockets from Gaza, and so are also completely unconnected with the kidnappings (except in the sense that Hamas has increased the number of rocket launches since the kidnappings). The other three reported deaths were all of Palestinians involved in violent clashes with Israeli security forces.



18 more arrests, 64 homes searched, but still no breakthrough
Israeli troops arrested 18 more West Bank Palestinians overnight Friday-Saturday and searched 64 homes in their hunt for three Israeli teenagers kidnapped by Hamas from a hitchhiking post in the West Bank on June 12. But military sources said Saturday they had still made no breakthrough in tracking down the abducted trio – Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach — and their kidnappers.
On Sunday night in Tel Aviv, a rally is planned to highlight the plight of the three, under the title, “Singing Together for Their Return.” President-elect Reuven Rivlin is expected to be among those addressing the gathering.
Not all Israeli Arabs are like Hanin Zoabi
Op-ed: Arab educator promises kidnapped teens' parents that most of State of Israel's Arab citizens oppose any type of terrorism.
As an educator, I believe that in these moments we must exercise restraint and not let ourselves get dragged by radical acts or radical statements, like the ones heard unfortunately in recently days. The only purpose of these statements is to make political gains at the expense of your immense suffering.
As a person who is proud of his Arab identity and Israeli civil identity and supports Jewish-Arab coexistence and peace, and as an Education Ministry official responsible for the non-formal education of Arab youth in the country, I feel a moral and humane obligation to publicly express my deep solidarity with your suffering.
I and many of my friends, educators in the Arab and Jewish societies, have been doing a lot of work in a bid to bring the two nations together. Our activity focuses on the Arab and Jewish youth, while looking for the common denominators, points of agreement and joint work – and mainly out of mutual respect.
Peace Process Gets a Boost: Indyk Quits
Years ago while planning out a story on Israel’s Labor Party, I called a former Clinton administration official who had been part of the White House’s Mideast diplomatic team. He declined to comment, saying he simply doesn’t talk about Israeli domestic politics. I was surprised but understood. Yet I couldn’t figure out quite why I was surprised until I saw a different U.S. official, Martin Indyk, talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Indyk, who the AP reports is now resigning from President Obama’s Mideast team, had the opposite policy of the official I had called seeking comment. Indyk never hesitated to prattle on about Israeli domestic politics to any reporter who would listen. I was reminded of this when Indyk was universally identified as the source for bitter complaints about Israel to the Israeli press after Indyk failed miserably as the Obama administration’s peace envoy. As Elder of Ziyon noted, Indyk’s meddling in domestic Israeli politics while working for Bill Clinton was so egregious and out of control that Knesset member Uzi Landau lodged an official complaint with Clinton over it in 2000, writing: (h/t Yenta Press)
PM said to feel Indyk was unfair to Israel, ‘won’t ever work with him again’
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants nothing more to do with American diplomat Martin Indyk, who announced his resignation Friday as US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, an Israeli TV report said Friday night.
As far as Netanyahu is concerned, Indyk “is burned,” the Channel 10 report said, quoting an unnamed Israeli official.
A Tale Of Two Countries: America And Australia
It is critical to note the solid legal basis for the position that no part of Jerusalem is actually “occupied.” As Prime Minister Netanyahu has said, “hypocrisy and ignorance” abounds regarding this matter.
Jerusalem can simply not accurately be termed “occupied” – for no modern-day country other than Israel was ever legally sovereign over it. Yes, Jordan controlled the eastern half of the Holy City between 1948 and 1967, but no nation in the world other than Britain and Pakistan recognized this. For this reason, as well, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention – which states that an “occupying power” may not “deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” – does not apply.
BBC News report on kidnapping suspects downplays Hamas connections
On the same evening an article titled “Israel identifies two suspects in hunt for teenagers” was published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. The report opens as follows, once again presenting the kidnappings in ambiguous terms:
“Israel has named two men as suspects in the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers believed abducted in the West Bank earlier this month.
The Shin Bet security service said Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha were associated with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.” [emphasis added]
In fact, officials from that internationally designated terrorist organization (rather than mere “militant group” as the BBC euphemistically describes it) have confirmed that Qawasmeh and Abu Aisha are members of Hamas rather than merely “associated” with it.
BBC Monitoring’s news: repetition of an anonymous BTL comment
That, apparently, has now changed but notably the writer of this report chose to end it with the following paragraph.
“The decision to air the matches free-to-air can’t end soon enough for one viewer, who complained to Al-Nahar that the Israeli commentators were biased against “the Muslims of Bosnia” during their match against Argentina.”
Did BBC Monitoring even bother to fact check that anonymous accusation from a person writing in the below the line comments to an internet article before electing to highlight and amplify it on the pages of the BBC News website as “news”?
Guardian’s output of Israel related commentaries continues to decline
Though it isn’t easy to empirically measure how the Guardian’s coverage of Israel has changed over the years (in a qualitative sense), one quantitative metric we’ve used relates to the volume of Israel related news reports and commentaries published by the media group.
Though in 2011 and 2012 we revealed the disproportionate degree of Israel related coverage at the Guardian and its blog ‘Comment is Free’ in comparison to their coverage of other countries, we thought it would be interesting this year to isolate just their Israel related commentaries, and see how the output has changed since 2010, the first full year of this blog’s operation.
The results are interesting, and consistent with our sense that their institutional obsession with Israel, for any number of reasons, has decreased in some respects.
BBC News website gives platform to political campaigning article
In 2006 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Nassers could re-register their land according to Israeli law, but that apparently has yet to be done. However, the section of land upon which the trees which are ostensibly the topic of this article were planted is apparently not included in that Supreme Court decision because it is a separate plot of state land. Our colleague Dexter Van Zile has documented the case and aerial photographs and maps of the land in question are viewable here.
It is important to note that the subject of land ownership in Area C – where the Nasser farm is situated – is far from simple, with old Ottoman, British and Jordanian laws complicating the matter considerably.
The photograph of the Nassers’ land deeds from 1924 presented in this BBC article, for example, clearly shows that it is classed as ‘Miri’ land – a specific category under Ottoman land law.
UN: Klos-C weapons came from Iran, were intended for Sudan
The arms shipment that was seized by Israeli forces aboard the ship Klos-C in the Red Sea in March did indeed originate from Iran, as Israel claimed — but was bound for Sudan, a UN panel of experts said.
The panel’s 14-page report, which was leaked by Reuters on Friday, does not confirm that the shipment of rockets, M-302 missiles and other weapons on board the Panamanian-flagged vessel was intended for terror groups in Gaza, as Israel alleged after intercepting it.
After seizing the shipment, Israel claimed that the weapons were to have been unloaded at Port Sudan, then taken overland to Gaza to be added to the stockpiles of Palestinian terrorists there. However, this week’s report said that Sudan was meant to have been the weapons’ final destination.
Israeli Naval commandos intercepted 40 M-302 missiles,181 122-mm mortars, and 400,000 7.62 caliber bullet in the arms cache on the ship while it was sailing off the coasts of Eritrea and Sudan.
The experts did not speculate on why Iran had sent the weapons to Sudan. They said only that by doing so, Tehran had violated the UN’s arms embargo on it.
Iran denied any involvement, and Sudan said it had no connection with the vessel which it said was in international waters.
5 Injured as Israeli Arabs Riot, Call to Kidnap Soldiers
A demonstration by Israeli Arabs against the IDF operation to locate three kidnapped Israeli teenagers turned violent on Friday afternoon, as five people were injured.
The protesters, who gathered in the Wadi Ara region in north-central Israel, waved Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags and blocked roads, while calling for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and for the release of all terrorists who are serving time in Israeli prisons.
Police officers who tried to disperse the demonstrators used tear gas, and the protesters responded by throwing rocks at the officers.
Anti-Assad rebels said to seize 95% of Syrian Golan Heights
Almost the entire Syrian side of the Golan Heights is now under the control of rebel forces, including radical Islamist groups, a senior Israeli military commander in the area said Friday.
Only the Quneitra border area is still in the hands of forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, Lt.-Col. Anan Abbas, deputy commander of the Golan Brigade, told Israel’s Channel 10. About 95 percent of the Syrian side of the Golan is in the hands of anti-Assad rebels, including radical Islamic groups such as the Al-Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaeda, a rival of the burgeoning Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, better known as ISIL or ISIS.
One of two Syrian army brigades that used to control the area has completely disappeared, the officer said.
'Nipsters?' German Neo-Nazis Market 'Nazi Hipster' Lifestyle
Neo-Nazi culture has traditionally been a legion of counterculture, with many skinheads taking pride in shirking the badge of multiculturalism the West proudly donned post-Holocaust.
But now, an entirely new generation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists seek to slip their hate ideology into mainstream culture - a worrying trend to top off a year of dramatic escalation in anti-Semitic activity.
Rolling Stone released an in-depth report on the "Nazi hipster" - or "nipster" - movement earlier this month, providing a close look at the blending of pop culture and hate culture.
The weapon of choice seems to be the unexpected, as young neo-Nazis utilize viral videos, street fashion, and even hip-hop to spread their racist ideologies. There is even a popular "neo-Nazi vegan" blog.
Holocaust victims’ mass grave in Ukraine raided
The raid occurred on June 20 near Volodymyr-Volynsky, a western city located just north of Lviv, according to Jewish Kiev group which monitors anti-Semitic attacks in Ukraine.
Nazis and local collaborators were responsible for mass executions in Volodymyr-Volynsky, where 18,000 people were buried. Grave robbers raided the area in 2010 and 2011, according to Vladimir Muzhichenko of the Jewish Kiev group, who complained authorities did little to go after perpetrators.
“There is every reason to believe the desecration will continue,” said Muzhichenko.
The robbers seek gold teeth and valuables that the victims may have carried on their person when German soldiers shot them into trenches that they and locals had dug in advance in 1941.
American Jews leave African Union summit after protests
On Thursday morning, the group settled in to watch the opening ceremonies, when the Egyptian delegation, noticing that some of the men wore kippahs, objected to their presence, calling them an Israeli delegation.
The South African delegation also complained.

An AU organizer told Hoenlein of the objections, and Hoenlein told him that it would be “outrageous” to complain about an Israeli delegation, but that in any case, the people in his group were Americans.
The organizers returned to engaging with the Egyptian and South African delegations, Hoenlein said, but the group – which had planned to leave right after the opening ceremony – left two hours early.
“The behavior was unacceptable and we decided to leave,” he said. “It demonstrates again, whether we’re Israelis or Americans, it’s the Jewish part of us” that some people object to.
Hoenlein said that afterwards AU officials expressed their regret for the incident.(h/t Max)
VIENNA'S CONTROVERSIAL HOLOCAUST MONUMENT- A STREET WASHING JEW
I had just left the Mozart Café in the heart of Vienna where horse-drawn carriages ply this historic district, and after noticing a tour guide with his group nearby looking at a sculpture, I stopped to see what it was.
The monument situated on the triangular site next to the State Opera House and Albertina Museum featured a sculpture of a Jew forced to kneel and scrub the streets after Austria was annexed by Hitler's Germany in 1938, in what is known as the Anschluss. As the English sign nearby explained "After 12 May 1938, the Jewish citizens of Vienna were forced to scrub the streets that had been smeared with slogans. The bronze rendering of a kneeling street washing Jew is a reminder of the degradation and humiliation that preceded merciless persecution." (h/t Canadian Otter)
Turkish academics attend Yad Vashem seminar
Fifteen academics participated in the event, a joint Yad Vashem and Aladdin Project endeavor, also supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and the ICHEIC Humanitarian Fund.
Yad Vashem said the Turkish participants experienced in-depth tours of the museums, archives and monuments at Israel’s Holocaust memorial site, in addition to discussions with prominent historians and experts in Holocaust history, research and education. It was the first visit to Israel for most of the participants, most of whom hold PhDs in history, political science and international relations.
The incubator that fast tracks innovations for the disabled
Drill down into the heart of Israel’s startup nation and you’ll see a growing number of high-tech startups for people with disabilities or disadvantages. Now they have their own project accelerator — A3i, Accelerating Inclusion in Israel, run by the NGO PresenTense in Jerusalem.
The idea is to create a fast-track series of workshops so that socially inspired startups can find their legs. It’s not easy building a company when the big-picture mission is to give people a better quality of life.
Czech synagogues make comeback thanks to EU grant
After its Jewish faithful perished under the Nazis, the Brandys synagogue in central Czech Republic sat for 40 years forlorn and forgotten, used by the Communist regime as a drugs repository.
Today, golden stars twinkle on its sky blue ceiling and bright pink columns support upstairs prayer galleries reserved for women.
A glossy wooden bimah — a raised platform from which the Jewish holy book, the Torah, is read — and benches have been restored to their former glory, all thanks to a grant from the European Union aimed at reviving the near-extinct heritage of Czech Jews.
JPost Holy Land: The Last (Biblical) Frontier
Tucked away at the northernmost end of the country lies one of Israel's largest and most prominent archaeological sites: a large tel (the elevated area created when generations repeatedly live and rebuild on the same spot) south of the Tanur Waterfall and the lovely border town, Metulla.
This mound, Tell Abil al-Qamh, has been identified with the town of Abel Beth-Maacah, which appears in several biblical narratives. In one of these dramatic tales, a local Wise Woman (an oracle of sorts) had Sheba Ben Bichri beheaded, as he took refuge in the town after fleeing from Jerusalem in the wake of a rebellion he initiated against an infuriated and vengeful King David. The town was saved by her actions, only to be destroyed twice more – once by the Arameans in the 9th century BCE, and then again by the Neo-Assyrians in the 8th century BCE.


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