Thursday, February 26, 2015

From Ian:

US Congressman Dennis Ross Harassed By Muslim Agitators On The Temple Mount
Republican Congressman Dennis Ross (FL-15) visited the Temple Mount on February 18, 2015. The video clip clearly shows groups of fully covered female Muslim agitators following and harassing the Congressman and his group with calls of: "Allah Akbar" and "Leave!" among other things. The Congressman spent a full hour on the mount accompanying a group of Jewish visitors led by Yitzchak Reuven of the Temple Institute, during which he experienced anti-Jewish discrimination firsthand. He was witness to Jewish groups being separated and subjected to excessive security checks, then followed closely by Islamic Waqf guards to ensure that they don't partake in any form of prayer or non-Muslim worship. The group had to wait for over an hour before being allowed entry to the Holy Site, during which time hundreds of tourists ascended with ease. In addition the congressman's son was taken into a private room and body searched to ensure that he wasn't in possession of any religious paraphernalia.
When asked on camera, how he felt about the strange welcome he received, the Congressman responded: "It's a little bit of a different reception than what I am used to, but coming from a country that respects freedom of religion we respect what they are doing." He also commended the Jewish group for their perseverance and commitment to their own religious freedom at the site.
Yitzchak Reuven, who led the group commented: "It was a great honor to host Congressman Ross and his family on a tour of the Temple Mount, it was unfortunate that he had to witness the duress and harassment that Jewish visitors are subjected to on a daily basis. It is important to note that these agitators receive direct payment from extremist Islamic organizations for their efforts to intimidate us, but they will not scare us away. The number Jewish visitors to the site continue to grow."


Witness: Arab Women's 'Chain Mob' Keeps Jews Off Temple Mount
Jews who attempt to ascend to the Temple Mount have a great many obstacles placed in their way – and the latest consists of mobs of Muslim women who form human chains, effectively preventing anyone – especially Jews – from passing them.
Matan Nahum, a resident of Beit Horon, told Arutz Sheva that he and a friend who had attempted to visit the Temple Mount, and encountered just such a group – accompanied by mobs of children and youths who cursed, spit, and threw rocks at them.
The two then proceeded to an observation point on the north side of the Temple Mount, where viewers can see the site of the Holy of Holies, the most important part of the Temple – but, here, too, they were impeded by a “human chain” of veil-covered Muslim women, ululating, cursing, and spitting at the two Jewish youths who were unable to proceed, said Nahum.
“We found ourselves, two Jews, facing a huge crowd of Arabs who would not let us move,” Nahum said. “All the while, another large group of Arabs advanced on us, spitting and throwing objects, apparently planning to attack us.
Fatah Al-Awdah TV: Jews were corrupt and brought tragedy on Europeans
"Faced with the Jews' schemes Europe could not bear their character traits, monopolies, corruption, and their control and climbing up position in government. In 1290, King Edward I issued a decree banishing the Jews [from England]. Following him were France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Spain and Italy. The European nations felt that they had suffered a tragedy by providing refuge for the Jews. Later the Jews obtained the Balfour Declaration, and Europe saw it as an ideal solution to get rid of them."
[Originally broadcast on official PA TV, Jan. 1, 2013 and Nov. 11, 2014, re-broadcast on Fatah-run Awdah TV, Feb. 18, 2015]




Israeli doctors try to save Christian baby who fled Islamic State
Lina and her daughter Maryam are the first Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing IS to come to Israel for medical treatment. They were in Israel with Shevet Achim, a Jerusalem-based Christian NGO that brings children from neighboring countries into Israel for heart surgery.
A newborn named Malak, the first Christian refugee child to be accepted for treatment in Israel, was not so lucky. He died in Iraq while his family was waiting for a passport, which became prohibitively difficult to arrange after the fall of Mosul, the location of the nearest passport office.
Maryam was born with a hole in her heart, a life-threatening condition. Her family had arranged for treatment in Turkey over the summer, but when the family was forced to flee IS, the plans were scuttled.
Instead, Lina, Maryam, her husband, and two sons drove away from IS to the Kurdistan Region’s capital Erbil, where tens of thousands of refugees, many of them Christian, were taking shelter. Becoming a refugee overnight is hard enough, but fleeing home while caring for an ailing baby who doesn’t sleep or breathe well brings with it a whole new set of dilemmas.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs: Why is Obama Siding with Supporters of Terrorism?
Many Arabs and Muslims see the meeting between Obama and Qatar's al-Thani as a gift to Qatar for its continued support of Islamic radical groups across the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
On the eve of Obama's meeting, Egyptian sources revealed that Qatar was providing weapons and ammunition to members of the Islamic State in Libya. The sources said that 35 Qatari aircraft were involved in transferring munitions.
Arab political analysts are also concerned about Obama's ongoing attempts to appease Iran, which continues to expand its presence in Arab countries such as Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon -- as well as in Syria, where it is deeply involved in backing Hezbollah and operating along the border with Israel. A Reuters report revealed that Iran also has hundreds of advisors in Iraq.
Qatar is also one of the biggest funders of Hamas, whose leader, Khaled Mashaal, is based in Qatar's capital, Doha. During the past few years, Qatar has provided Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars -- money used to purchase and develop weapons to attack Israel.
By the time Obama leaves the White House, Iran will most likely be in control of more Arab countries, and Qatari-backed terror groups will be much stronger.
Abbas rejects Western push to restore PA rule over Gaza
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected an international effort to impose his government’s rule on the Gaza Strip, it was learned on Thursday.
Western governments sought to advance a United Nations Security Council resolution that would confer upon the Ramallah administration a mandate to rule Gaza, which is currently in the hands of Abbas’ arch rival, Hamas.
After they were presented with a draft of the resolution, the Palestinian Authority rejected the document out of hand.
The existence of the draft was first discovered by Aaron Magid, a Middle East researcher who is currently completing his Master’s degree at Harvard University.
The draft, which was formulated this past September immediately following the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, stipulates that the Gaza Strip and its border crossings must be effectively returned to administrative rule of the PA, headed by Abbas.
The resolution explicitly called for “effective and legitimate control of the Palestinian government over all the armed forces and weapons in Gaza.”
JPost Editorial: Kerry’s role
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s attitude toward Israel has always been Cassandra-like. He invariably dispenses prophesies of doom and disaster, but only to Israel.
The latest in Kerry’s long litany of dire predictions is his warning that the Palestinian Authority might not survive if Israel keeps withholding the tax revenues it collects for Ramallah.
Speaking at a press conference in London, he expressed concern, also on behalf of his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, “about the continued viability of the Palestinian Authority if they do not receive funds soon.”
Kerry cogitated on a chain of hypotheticals: “If the Palestinian Authority ceases, or were to cease, security cooperation – or even decide to disband as a result of their economic predicament, and that could happen in the near future if they don’t receive additional revenues – then we would be faced with yet another crisis that could also greatly impact the security of both Palestinians and Israelis and that would have the potential of serious ripple effects elsewhere in the region.”
Kerry failed to mention why Jerusalem had chosen to freeze the funds in question. This omission implies that Israel acted with out-of-the-blue arbitrariness.
Americans Split Over Palestinian Statehood, Gallup Poll Shows
A majority of Americans still does not support the idea, however, even though they elected to vote passively: only 42 percent of those polled favored the establishment of an independent Palestinian state comprised of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, a drop from the 46 percent of one year ago, and a full 20 percent would not express an opinion at all.
Just 38 percent were opposed to the idea, however. The numbers grow higher the older the sample.
Older Americans aged 55 and up were opposed (43 percent) to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Those younger (41 percent) were in favor – and 16 percent had no opinion.
Those with higher levels of education were more likely to favor PA statehood; however, 48 percent of Republicans opposed it, and just 33 percent of GOP members supported it. In the Democratic Party the majority supported PA statehood.
That last point in particular may have some bearing when it comes to U.S. national elections in 2016, and the run for the White House.
Kerry accuses Netanyahu of cheerleading 2003 Iraq war
The latest spat signals a further nosedive in relations between Netanyahu and the White House over a disagreement on how to tackle Iran’s nuclear program.
“The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq,” Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in an apparent attempt to delegitimatize Netanyahu’s evaluation of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program.
Netanyahu “may have a judgment that just may not be correct here,” Kerry said.
In 2002, as a private citizen, Netanyahu sounded the alarm on Iraqi WMDs during a talk to a Congressional committee.
Kerry, then a senator, voted in favor of the US invasion of Iraq on October 11, 2002.
Kerry: Netanyahu Was Wrong About Iraq--Why Trust Him on Iran?
Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. should be wary of trusting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings on Iran, because Netanyahu had also backed the Iraq War. Kerry’s remarks were hypocritical, since he also supported the war. And they raise the disturbing suggestion, beloved of conspiracy theorists, that Israel is dragging the U.S. to war. Yet it is worth asking whether Kerry’s criticism has merit.
Netanyahu’s vehement assertion in 2002–as a private citizen, testifying to Congress–that Saddam Hussein was pursuing weapons of mass destruction certainly looks foolish in retrospect. In his defense, it is what the world’s intelligence agencies also believed. It may even have been what Saddam Hussein himself believed. It was the only conclusion to draw from Saddam’s defiance of the United Nations inspectors, and it was only the war that allowed the question to be settled.
Moreover, Netanyahu was right about a number of other things. He correctly predicted that the Iraq war could destabilize Iran, which it did in 2009 (though President Barack Obama failed to take advantage). He correctly predicted that the Iraq war would discourage other states in the region that had similar weapons programs: Libya soon gave its programs up, and Iran suspended its work towards a nuclear weapon for a time. Netanyahu also predicted the democratization of the region.
Kerry: U.S. Aware of Illicit Iranian Nuke Facility
Secretary of State John Kerry admitted before Congress on Wednesday that the United States is aware of a secret Iranian facility that an Iranian opposition group identified this week as part of an undisclosed parallel nuclear program.
The group, the National Council of the Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has a history of disclosing the existence of Iranian nuclear facilities that the United States has been later forced to confirm were indeed part of a clandestine nuclear program.
Kerry, under questioning before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, acknowledged that the United States has evidence of the facility, but declined to elaborate to lawmakers about its nature.
“Did the [Iranian] regime tell us about existence of this new nuclear facility,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.) asked Kerry at the hearing.
“What you’re saying is it’s a nuclear facility,” Kerry responded. “That is yet to be determined, but we know about the facility, yes.”
“So had they disclosed that facility to us?” Rohrabacher asked.
“It has not been revealed yet as a nuclear facility,” Kerry insisted. “It is a facility that we are aware of, which is on a list of facilities we have. I’m not going to go into greater detail, but these things are going to have to be resolved [in negotiations] as we go forward.”
Reported Terms of Nuke Deal with Iran Raise Mideast Proliferation Fears
According to a report Monday by the Associated Press (AP), in the final years of an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, restrictions and verification measures would be lifted to “allow it [Iran] to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make nuclear arms over the last years of the agreement’s duration.” In the final stages of the deal, restrictions would be gradually relaxed giving Iran greater freedom to advance its nuclear program.
Additionally, the agreement contains a “sunset clause” that serves as an expiration date for when the restrictions imposed on Iran by the deal would end. A possible relaxation of restrictions even before the expiration date could serve to shorten Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear weapon even more. As talks began in November 2013, the U.S. sought a 20-year period, while Iran wanted the agreement to last only three to five years. The AP suggests that at the end of the term of the deal, restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities would be lifted.
Under these conditions, the Islamic Republic could acquire an unlimited amount of centrifuges, enrich unlimited amounts of uranium with no controls on the level of enrichment, and significantly expand the size of its nuclear program. Additionally, all United Nations Security Council restrictions would be rescinded including the one on the heavy water reactor at Arak, which could produce plutonium in sufficient quantities for a nuclear weapon. Essentially, Iran would be viewed as any other state with a civilian nuclear program, such as Germany or Japan, despite the fact that it has been found in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) since 2006.
Senior Israeli Minister Responds to Kerry’s Criticism of Netanyahu: ‘He Might Not Know What We Know’
Steinitz, a key Netanyahu loyalist, said, “[Kerry] might not know everything we know,” referring to Kerry’s implication on Tuesday that being as Israel is not involved in the minutiae of the upcoming agreement with Tehran about its nuclear program, it therefore cannot comment on the nature of the agreement’s outcome.
Steinitz’ remarks followed comments made by Secretary Kerry in a hearing before the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, where he argued that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s opposition to the agreement may be wrong.
Kerry claimed that despite the fact that Netanyahu, who is slated to address Congress next week, had previously expressed opposition to the Interim Agreement with Tehran, he later decided to support it after it was was clear that it succeeded in delaying Iran’s nuclear program.
American Iranian Spy Could Get Just 5 Years in Prison
An Iranian-American engineer in a key US company and nearly smuggled sensitive fighter jet plans to Iran has pleaded guilty. He could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and a million dollars in fines. Sentencing is scheduled for May 20. According to U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Reynolds, Muzafar Khazaee's crime deserves about five years in prison.
Khazaee, an American of Iranian descent, was caught when he tried to board a plane with 44 boxes that contained top secret mechanical information on the F-35 stealth jet fighter and the F-22 Raptor. Khazaee was arrested January 10 at Newark Liberty International Airport, before he could board a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, en route to Tehran.
Several figures have pointed out parallels Khazaee case to that of Jonathan Pollard's – with the difference that Pollard has been in jail for some three decades, and the possibilities of parole appear remote, despite Pollard's poor health. The Chairman of the Pollard Lobby in the Knesset, MK Nahman Shai, said the rulings once again highlighted the fact that Pollard is serving his 29th year in jail, despite spying for Israel, a friendly country.
What evidence? Guardian presents dodgy dossier on Iran's bomb project
The purported Mossad file, after all, is pretty clear about the existence of a clandestine military programme and Iran's desire to have that programme up to speed if "a political decision" were to be made to produce nuclear weapons.
Mr Netanyahu's main source of information for his public assessments of Iran's nuclear threat is the same Mossad that purportedly provided the briefing now in the Guardian's possession.
If a clash had indeed occurred, one would need to find the evidence somewhere, but the briefing offers none. Mr Netanyahu never removed his supposedly fierce critic, Meir Dagan, from the Mossad's directorate; and Mr Dagan's successor, Tamir Pardo, was very much of the same mind as his predecessor.
It is hard to imagine a clash, given that. The only available evidence is in a couple of bonkers stories and nothing more.
Finally, the briefing was for an intelligence service of a country, South Africa, whose commercial and diplomatic posture vis-à-vis Iran suggests the Israelis would be very guarded about sharing more than the minimum required by politeness and intelligence etiquette. Unsurprisingly, the document reflects information that already exists, for the most part, in the public domain.
#BibiSpeaks4Me Rally Planned for Day of Netanyahu Speech in Washington
Israel’s Voice and Voice of the Copts, along with other grassroots organizations, are organizing a rally in Washington, DC to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat.
The rally, which is bring promoted under the hashtag #BibiSpeaks4Me and will take place at 9 a.m. at US Capitol West on the day of the speech, has an estimated 1,000 confirmed attendees so far, Israel’s Voice President Michael Mendelson said.
Who’s Destroying the U.S.-Israel Relationship? Obama Deserves the Blame.
But it is on Iran, an entente with which seems to have become the chief obsession of the president’s second term, that Obama did most to damage the relationship. Though he had pledged that any deal would not allow Iran to keep its nuclear program, a string of concessions has now led to the point where it is clear an agreement would allow it to become a threshold nuclear power. The latest U.S. retreat is now an offer to allow Iran to do anything it likes with its nuclear toys after a ten-year freeze. Moreover, the president’s decision to acquiesce to Iran’s military moves in Iraq and the continuation in power of Tehran ally Bashar Assad in Syria have signaled a major U.S. policy shift. While moderate Arab nations and Israel are worried about Iran’s successful drive for regional hegemony, the administration appears to be encouraging it.
Just as important, it is the administration that has done most to make Israel a partisan issue by trying to break up the bipartisan coalition in favor of Iran sanctions on party lines. Throughout the last few months it has been Obama who has been playing the partisan card to stop Iran sanctions even though prominent Democrats like New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez were leading the charge against his dangerous policies.
It is these actions and not Netanyahu’s inept decisions that are truly damaging the relationship. Blame the prime minister all you want for allowing his speech to become the cause célèbre symbolizing the breakdown in relations under Obama, but it has always been the president who has been the prime mover in damaging the alliance.
White House Backs Rice's Comments on Bibi Speech
The White House on Wednesday backed comments by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who said in an interview that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's March 3 speech in Congress is "destructive" to the relationship between the two countries.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked about Rice’s comments and responded, “I believe what Susan was referring to is how reducing the U.S.-Israeli relationship to just a relationship between two political parties is destructive to a relationship between our two countries that for generations had been strengthened through bipartisan cooperation, not just in this country but in Israel.”
“The President himself has raised this concern. The President has said that the relationship between the U.S. and Israel can't just be reduced to a relationship between the Republican Party and the Likud Party,” added Earnest.
The White House spokesperson said that Washington hopes “that we'll continue to see leadership in this country and in Israel that will not allow the relationship between our two countries to be dragged down by party politics.”
Fox Commentator: Has Susan Rice Gone Off the Deep End?
Veteran Fox News commentator Greta Van Susteren slammed National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday, after Rice called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech before Congress "destructive" to the US-Israel relationship.
In a long Facebook post, which she asked supporters to share, Van Susteren asked incredulously, "Has President Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice gone off the deep end? What kool aid is SHE drinking?"
"Rice...just claimed to Charlie Rose on CBS that Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress next week is 'destructive' to the relationship between the US and Israel. Really? PM Netanyahu is the destructive one to the relationship?" Van Susteren continued.
The Fox commentator, who also hosts her own show called On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, then listed four instances where Rice's boss, President Barack Obama, was "destructive" to the relationship.
Rumsfeld: Obama Making a 'Big Mistake' in Treatment of Netanyahu
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that he is “shocked” at the way the White House has been treating Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“These statements not only deflect the conversation from the important issues to the peripheral ones, they also strengthen the states who oppose Israel, and aid those who support Iran,” Rumsfeld said.
In an interview with Yisrael Hayom, which will appear in the newspaper's Friday edition, Rumsfeld recounted the “shabby treatment” he argues Netanyahu has been experiencing at the hands of President Barack Obama, who has made it clear that the Israeli Prime Minister will be an unwanted guest in Washington when he speaks to Congress about Iran's nuclear program next week.
The “noise” surrounding Netanyahu's visit and Obama's opposition to it is diverting attention away from the main issue – namely, Iran, said Rumsfeld.
“The main issue must be a discussion about Iran,” Rumsfeld stressed. “This is a state that supports terror, is rabidly opposed not only to Israel and the United States, as well as others. Usually, when there is a difference of opinion with friendly states, you resolve them behind the scenes, instead of openly insult them.”
Black Ministers Defy CBC, Will Welcome Netanyahu
Defying leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus who are boycotting Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on March 3, claiming that the invitation from Speaker of the House John Boehner bypassed and showed disrespect to their leader, President Obama, some black ministers, along with Star Parker, the founder and president of The Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), a public policy think tank, plan to welcome Netanyahu to Congress.
Parker blasted the CBC on CURE‘s website, asserting: “While the Congressional Black Caucus claims it has 'consistently been the voice for people of color,' it seems this brazenly political move couldn’t be further from the voice of black Christians in America.”
CURE will join other leaders in the black community for a press conference on Thursday morning at the National Press Club to voice their support for Israel and discuss their plans for the Prime Minister’s welcome.
Israeli, Jordanian officials signing historic agreement on water trade
Bringing a historic deal to fruition, Israeli and Jordanian government officials on Thursday afternoon are signing a bilateral agreement to exchange water and jointly funnel Red Sea brines to the shrinking Dead Sea.
The full-fledged agreement, which is being signed on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea on Thursday afternoon, is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed among Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian officials on December 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
According to Thursday’s agreement, Jordan and Israel will share the potable water produced by a future desalination plant in Aqaba, from which salty brines will be piped to the Dead Sea. In return for its portion of the desalinated water in the South, Israel will be doubling its sales of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) water to Jordan on the countries’ northern border.
Palestinian activists enforce Israel boycott: 'You have 48 hours to get rid of Israeli products'
An entourage of about 20 people, among them the leaders of the Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli products in the West Bank and a number of Fatah officials, made their way through the Palestinian capital of Ramallah, enforcing what they called a "national duty".
The group moved in and out of different stores in Ramallah, embarrassing store owners who had yet to get rid of Israeli made products. Within seconds all products ranging from Tnuva's diary produce, Straus's sweets and goods from Osem and Elite were pulled from the shelves and hidden at the back of shops, as were Prigat and Jafora-Tabori juices.
The losses sustained by local retailers? Well that's their problem, activists say. The Palestinian struggle, claim the campaign leaders, trumps a grocer's bottom line.
"I'm with you, since the last war in Gaza I was the first to boycott everything Israeli," says a defiant local grocer, whose shop is located next to Al Jazeera's Ramallah office and still shelves Israeli products. "But who will pay us back for these goods," he asked, one of the few to dare talk back to the activits. "Reimburse me for these products," he demanded.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Fatah: 90% of Gaza’s residents want to leave because of Hamas
More than 90 percent of Gaza Strip residents want to leave because of Hamas, Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh said on Wednesday.
Addressing Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the Fatah spokesman asked: “Do you know that more than 90 percent of our people in the Gaza Strip want to emigrate, if given the chance, so they could escape from your regime? Do you feel any national responsibility toward the Palestinians and their cause?” Qawassmeh accused Hamas of killing Palestinians and lying. He claimed that Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007 was “one of the most important Israeli strategic goals.”
He accused Hamas of barring student, union and municipal elections in the Gaza Strip over the past eight years.
Qawassmeh accused Hamas of waging a smear campaign against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah after last summer’s military confrontation with Israel.
Hamas has been cracking down on Fatah members in the Gaza Strip by detaining and interrogating many of them, he added.
Hamas Stops Palestinian Authority Novelist from Going to Casablanca Book Fair
Hamas security forces stopped PA Arab writer, Atef Abu Saif, from attending a book fair in Morocco recently where the noted writer and the fiction award finalist had been nominated for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
According to a report in Al-Monitor, Hamas stopped Abu Saif at the Erez crossing on February 4, preventing the author from travelling to the Casablanca International Publishing and Book Fair. Abu Saif wrote that he was surprised by the travel ban and described it as “an act that cannot be justified” in an article he penned for the Al-Ayyam newspaper based in Ramallah, entitled “About Hamas and Culture.”
The Al-Monitor report pointed out that “this kind of incident has become the norm in Gaza.”
Gazan Women Train in Military Wing of Popular Resistance Committees
Al-Manar TV recently reported on Gazan women training on the use of weapons and explosive devices in the Al-Nasser Salah Al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. The report aired on February 20, 2015.


Old Lebanese synagogue now a home for destitute
In an alleyway in the Old City of Lebanon’s southern city of Sidon, a rundown synagogue that once served a vibrant Jewish community now houses destitute Syrian and Palestinian families.
There are only a handful of signs that the building — abandoned as Lebanon’s Jews fled the country in the last decades — was once a house of worship.
The sun shining on the blue paint peeling from its walls enters through a skylight adorned with wrought-iron stars of David.
The remains of a large mural in red and gold decorate the interior, though its Hebrew letters have been painted over.
For decades the building in the heart of Sidon’s Jewish quarter was central to the city’s Jewish community, which dated to the Roman era.
But for the last 25 years, Syrian Jihad al-Mohammed has known it simply as home.
Hezbollah campaign stalls on Syrian Golan Heights
Contrary to reports by Lebanese and Hezbollah-affiliated media outlets regarding a widespread, successful offensive designed to purify the Syrian Golan Heights of rebel forces, it turns out that the military operation carried out by the Assad regime and the Shiite terrorist group has not borne much fruit.
The major operation, which was devised with the assistance of Iranian officials, began about two weeks ago. During the first days of the offensive, Lebanese and Syrian media reported rapid gains by regime and Hezbollah forces in the Syrian Golan Heights, citing the occupation of a large number of villages that had previously been under opposition control.
In reality, however, the military achievements of the operation were poor and there have been no substantive gains in the region. A couple of thousand Syrian army soldiers along with a few hundred Hezbollah fighters indeed did take control of individual villages and several outposts, yet the Syrian opposition — both secular factions and members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front — also managed to capture several villages and outposts.
US warns citizens of terror threats in Jordan malls
A statement released by the US Embassy in Amman urged citizens to remain vigilant and cooperate with local law enforcement authorities.
“Extremist groups have repeatedly expressed interest in attacking so-called soft targets, such as malls and restaurants, in Jordan. US. citizens should expect to see an increased security presence at such establishments throughout Jordan, and especially in Amman,” read the statement.
“The threat is judged to be credible, although the possible timeframe and type of threat are unknown,” it went on.
Employees of the US Embassy in Amman were instructed to avoid these locations, and private citizens were urged to do the same.
Report: Jordan Furious After Pentagon Leaks Location of Anti-ISIS Training Camp
The Pentagon leaked that one of its training camps to help combat the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) is on Jordanian territory — information that the government of Jordan did not want disclosed.
While briefing reporters in the Pentagon on condition of anonymity last week, a U.S. Central Command (Centcom) official disclosed the location of the training site.
In an effort to hide its indiscretion, the Pentagon scrubbed the public transcripts of the press briefing of any mention of the training camp and Jordan.
The pro-U.S. Jordanian kingdom “had specifically requested” that the U.S. keep that information private, explained The Washington Times, adding that the disclosure by the Centcom official marks “the latest gaffe in a series of sensitive leaks coming out of the Department of Defense.”
‘Jihadi John’ named as Kuwait-born West Londoner
The Islamic State fighter known as “Jihadi John,” who has been seen in videos showing the beheadings of Western hostages, has been identified by analysts as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s from West London.
According to The Washington Post and the BBC, Emwazi was known to UK security services before traveling to Syria in 2012, but his name was withheld from the public for operational reasons.
Emwazi studied computer programming at the University of Westminster, the news outlets reported. The university confirmed that a student of that name graduated in 2009.
“If these allegations are true, we are shocked and sickened by the news,” the university said in a statement.
US Condemns ISIS Mass-Abduction - But Won't Say 'Christians'
The United States has condemned the abduction by the Islamic State terrorist group of dozens of Assyrian Christians in Syria and demanded their immediate release.
It was the first mass kidnapping of Christians in the war-torn country, although tens of thousands have already been driven from their homes by the jihadist Islamic State in its campaign of religious cleansing in both Iraq and Syria.
The abduction of at least 90 Christians appeared to be in retaliation for a major Kurdish offensive aimed at recapturing nearby villages, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday.
"ISIL's latest targeting of a religious minority is only further testament to its brutal and inhumane treatment of all those who disagree with its divisive goals and toxic beliefs," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, using another acronym for Islamic State.
"ISIL continues to exact its evil upon innocents of all faiths, and the majority of its victims have been Muslims," she added in a statement.
ISIS in Syria has abducted 220 from Christian villages this week, monitor says
Islamic State militants have abducted at least 220 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria during a three day offensive, a monitor that tracks violence in Syria said on Thursday.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the abductions took place when Islamic State took 10 villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority near Hasaka, a city mainly held by the Kurds, over the past three days.
Hundreds of Christians have now fled to the two main cities in Hasaka province, according to the Syriac National Council, a Syrian Christian group.
"ISIS now controls ten Christian villages," Observatory head Rami Abdulrahman said by phone, using an acronym name for Islamic State. "They have taken the people they kidnapped away from the villages and into their territory," he said.
ISIS Burns Mosul Library, Destroying over 8,000 Historic Books
The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) burned down the Mosul public library, which was home to over 8,000 rare books and manuscripts.
“ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library,” said library director Ghanim al-Ta’an. “They used improvised explosive devices.”
The terrorists regularly destroy shrines, tombs, books, and manuscripts as they attempt to implement their caliphate over Syria and Iraq. Elderly residents begged the men not to burn the building.
“900 years ago, the books of the Arab philosopher Averroes were collected before his eyes and burned,” said activist and blogger Rayan al-Hadidi. “One of his students started crying while witnessing the burning. Averroes told him… the ideas have wings… but I cry today over our situation.”
ISIS Destroys Archaeological Treasures in Mosul
In a video posted on the Internet on February 26, ISIS members are shown smashing statues and destroying archaeological remains in a museum in Mosul. A spokesman, standing in front of the scene of destruction, says that "Allah commanded us to shatter and destroy these statues, idols, and remains."


Juan Cole: The Islamic State is not Islamic
The Western intelligentsia is very, very anxious that you have a positive view of Islam. Thus we see a steady stream of articles in the mainstream (and in this case, the far-Left, but the distinction between those two is increasingly fine) media assuring you that the Qur’an is benign, the U.S. Constitution is Sharia-compliant, and the Islamic State is not Islamic. These articles come in a steady stream, and they have to, because they are asking non-Muslims to disregard what they see every day — Muslims committing violence against non-Muslims and justifying it by referring to Islamic texts — and instead embrace a fictional construct: Islam the religion of peace and tolerance. This takes a relentless barrage of propaganda, because with every new jihad atrocity, reality threatens to break through. It wasn’t accidental that Hitler’s Reich had an entire Ministry of Propaganda: lying to the public is a full-time job, as the cleverest of propaganda constructs is always threatened by the simple facts.
Here is another exoneration of Islam for the crimes of the Islamic State, courtesy none other than establishment academic Juan Cole. It is not irrelevant to note also that Juan Cole is on the Board of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has been established in court as a front group lobbying for the Islamic regime in Iran. Said Michael Rubin: “Jamal Abdi, NIAC’s policy director, now appears to push aside any pretense that NIAC is something other than Iran’s lobby. Speaking at the forthcoming ‘Expose AIPAC’ conference, Abdi is featured on the ‘Training: Constituent Lobbying for Iran’ panel. Oops.” According to the Daily Caller: “Iranian state-run media have referred to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) since at least 2006 as ‘Iran’s lobby’ in the U.S.” Iranian freedom activist Hassan Daioleslam “documented over a two-year period that NIAC is a front group lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime.” NIAC had to pay him nearly $200,000 in legal fees after they sued him for defamation over his accusation that they were a front group for the mullahs, and lost. Yet Juan Cole remains on their Board.
Turkish government commemorates Jews killed in 1942 ‘Struma’ tragedy
For the first time, the Turkish government hosted a commemoration event for 768 Jews killed on the Struma refugee ship, which was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in 1942 after Turkish authorities cast it adrift 15 km. off Istanbul.
Culture Minister Omer Celik represented the government at the ceremony held off the coast of Istanbul’s Sarayburnu district, where the Struma was anchored before it was led out and abandoned at sea, the Istanbul-based Daily Sabah reported on Wednesday.
“I extend condolences to Turkey’s Jewish community on behalf of the government, but this does not mean that the Jewish community is an entity separate from Turkey,” Celik said at the event.
“This is our shared pain,” he said. “This event, organized by the state for the first time, is a way to remember this pain that is a part of our history. We will continue marking this day in the coming years as well so that the history will not repeat itself and no Jews, Muslims or Christians will suffer from such a tragedy.
“We all pray to the same God, and today Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia threaten humanity more than ever,” Celik continued.


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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