Tuesday, May 19, 2015

From Ian:

PMW: Israel conducts “secret medical experiments” on prisoners
One of the ways the Palestinian Authority demonizes Israel is by spreading libels. One such libel claims that Israel conducts medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners, poisons them and deliberately kills them.
Last month, the official PA daily stated that Israel carries out medical experiments and speculated that it “perhaps” poisons them as well:
“The occupation authorities conduct medical experiments on the prisoners, giving them medicines and perhaps poison.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 12, 2015]
Director of the PLO Prisoners’ Affairs Commission and PA Parliament Member Issa Karake often reiterates this libel. Recently, after visiting a released prisoner, Karake stated that sick prisoners “are victims of severe crimes committed against prisoners in prisons, which expose them to deadly, chronic diseases resulting from secret medical experiments on their bodies, and their deliberate negligence.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 31, 2015]
He has also claimed that:
“[Israeli] prisons have become the source of an epidemic, a source of death and a source of dissemination of diseases in the bodies of the prisoners.” [Official PA TV, April 13, 2015]
The official PA daily has claimed that Israeli prisons have a “system called ‘slow death’” to do away with prisoners, and has compared Israeli treatment to the medical experiments of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who experimented on Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“[There is] an entire system called 'slow death,' which the Israeli establishment uses against Palestinian prisoners, from the moment of their arrest until they are released... The 'experiments' stage is perhaps one of the most dangerous stages in the slow death of released prisoners, who suffer from diseases, which they contracted in prison. This way, the Israeli jailers attempt to imitate the German Nazis, who were the first to use prisoners as guinea pigs, for testing the weapons and the deadly drugs, which they developed. The Nazi German doctor, Josef Mengele, was the most famous among them." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 17, 2011]
JPost Editorial: Nonproliferation
A centerpiece of US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been nonproliferation. But with Saudi Arabia more than just threatening to acquire nuclear capability “off the shelf” from Pakistan and with other Sunni states sure to follow, his dream of a nuclear-free planet seems more out of reach than ever.
Obama’s pursuit of nonproliferation goes back at least to his short tenure in the Senate. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he traveled to Russia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine to inspect nuclear facilities and developed an idea of international diplomacy. It was at this time that he began talking about initiating conversations with Iran.
In 2009 Obama, in a speech in Prague, made sweeping promises proclaiming that the US has a “moral responsibility” to lead the world toward a nuclear-free reality.
The following year, the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) with Russia was signed.
But the New START treaty was marred by Russia’s unwillingness to cooperate. It was barely ratified and generated no additional nonproliferation deals.
Elsewhere, the nonproliferation cause seemed to be falling apart as well. Not only did North Korea – despite diplomatic efforts – obtain nuclear capability, it began spreading its know-how elsewhere.
Where diplomacy failed, however, the use of force provided remarkable results.
Netanyahu: Jerusalem won’t be divided again
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed that Jerusalem would never be split in any peace deal with the Palestinians, and said construction throughout the capital would continue, despite international criticism.
In a Knesset speech marking Jerusalem Day, which was on Sunday, the prime minister goaded opposition leader Isaac Herzog to clarify his position vis-à-vis Jerusalem and concessions he would be willing to make to the Palestinians. The challenge prompted an angry response from Herzog, who maintained he would never divide Jerusalem, while accusing Netanyahu of calling its unified status into question.
“Jerusalem won’t be divided again,” Netanyahu said. “It won’t go back to being a frontier or a border town.”
The prime minister praised Israeli efforts to develop the capital, while conceding that “it doesn’t mean the unification is perfect.
“It doesn’t mean that there are no problems, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t tasks [ahead of us]. There is a lot to perfect, and a lot to improve, but we will not go backwards.”
Netanyahu said that, with regard to Jerusalem, “I have a clear position — we build in Jerusalem.



PA, Hamas Blast Netanyahu Over Comments on United Jerusalem
Later Monday, both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Hamas movement slammed Netanyahu over his remarks, according to the IANS news agency.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said in a press statement that Netanyahu's remarks contradict UN resolutions and violate international conventions.
"There will be no peace or settlement in the Middle East without having east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestinian state," Abu Rudeineh declared, according to IANS.
He also slammed earlier remarks made by an Israeli minister in Netanyahu's cabinet, who stated that the Jews would soon pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
"Such remarks will lead to a big fire that will be very hard to control either by the Arabs or the Muslims all over the world," warned Abu Rudeineh.
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in an emailed press statement that Netanyahu's remarks that Jerusalem would not be divided "shows the failure of the so-called peace process".
"Talking about the resumption of the so-called peace talks with the Israeli occupation while these remarks are mad is like thirsty people looking for water in the desert," Abu Zuhri said, according to IANS.
Top Turkish Cleric Gormez: We Should Not Accept Jerusalem As the Capital of Anyone but the Muslims
In a sermon delivered at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on May 15 and posted on the Internet, Mehmet Gormez, President of the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs, said: "We should not accept that Jerusalem be the capital of anyone else. It is the capital city of the Muslims. We ask Allah to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the aggressors."


The Vatican, Palestinian statehood and international law
Above all, Jerusalem must begin to argue vigorously against European Union guidelines, insisting that Palestine’s borders never be based upon pre-1967 lines. In the February 10, 2013 words of Israeli legal expert Ambassador Alan Baker: “The legality of the presence of Israel’s communities in the area [Judea and Samaria] stems from the historic, indigenous and legal rights of the Jewish people to settle in the area, granted pursuant to valid and binding international legal instruments, recognized and accepted by the international community.
These rights cannot be denied or placed in question.”
Accordingly, Jerusalem should finally affirm that Israeli settlement activity is entirely consistent with international law, and also that those jailed Palestinian terrorists who have murdered Israeli civilians will never be released as any so-called “good will gesture.” There is, in short, no defensible reason for Jerusalem to continue its participation in an asymmetrically suicidal diplomacy.
Promisingly, in this connection, the new coalition under Prime Minister Netanyahu is apt to acknowledge this conclusion, and to more vigorously contest any propagandistic Palestinian manipulations of the International Criminal Court.
Before a Palestinian state can be correctly declared, it will first have to satisfy all codified and customary criteria of governing international law. Neither the Vatican nor the European Union can permissibly justify any “end run” around this corpus of binding rules. Jurisprudentially, at least, the creation of Palestine can never be based upon a fully concocted hodgepodge of irrelevant and dangerous political arguments.
Motti Yogev: Annex PA, Give Arabs Limited Autonomy
MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) praised the appointment of Interior Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) as the minister in charge of peace talks and US-Israel relations, stating that it is a fitting choice.
"Bearing in mind the numerous matters occupying the time of Prime Minister, it is good to appoint a minister who will address this issue, the formulation and the implementation of paths to security and coexistence between us and our neighbors, even between us and the US, the EU and the international community," Yogev stated to Arutz Sheva Tuesday.
However, Yogev explained that Shalom and the entire political system must change their stance on both Israel-Palestinian Authority (PA) and US-Israel issues, and formulate a solution different from those which have been suggested thus far.
"There has not been a Palestinian state and there will never be one, and this ridiculous slogan that has taken hold, should be shattered and replaced with a different plan," he said, apparently referring to the "two-state solution" slogan.
Top EU diplomat heads to Mideast to reboot peace talks
The European Union’s top diplomat said Monday that she’s going to the Mideast to try to revive the moribund peace process, and to challenge Israel and the Palestinians to share their ideas on how to break the deadlock.
Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, said, “I believe that one thing is clear to everybody in the region, that the status quo is not an option.”
“My very early visit has a political meaning,” Mogherini told a press conference, according to a Reuters report. She took over as the head of EU foreign policy last November, taking over for Catherine Ashton.
Mogherini was set to meet with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during her two-day visit.
Follow Up, AP Correction on Pope's Disputed "Angel of Peace" Comment
The follow up articles examining the uncertainty of the Pope's remarks and the surrounding controversy include those by The New York Times ("Vatican Seeks to Quiet Uproar of Pope's 'Angel of Peace' Remark") and AFP ("Pope 'angel of peace' Abbas comment was encouragement: Vatican"). Reuters has also indicated that an article examining the disputed the statement is under way.
In addition, The Associated Press issued the following correction:
In a story May 16 about Pope Francis meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, The Associated Press erroneously omitted two words when quoting the pope. Francis told Abbas "you are a bit an angel of peace," not "you are an angel of peace." The original Italian quote was, "Lei e un po un angelo della pace."
In response to CAMERA query as to how the AP reached this new wording, we received the following statement from Paul Colford, Director of AP Media Relations:
AP Rome correspondent Nicole Winfield was in attendance and covered last week's exchange between Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
After others questioned AP's report that the pope said to Mr. Abbas, "you are an angel of peace," AP reviewed written notes and a videotape of the meeting that supported Winfield's English-language translation of the pope's remarks, except for the omission of two words, the Italian "un po," or "a bit."
A correction distributed by AP on Monday evening shows these two words within the pope's comment as it was originally reported by AP: "you are a bit an angel of peace."
Angering Pope Francis, Netanyahu to Address Cardinals on Recognition of Palestine (satire)
In a sign of growing tension between himself and Pope Francis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday he will address the College of Cardinals regarding the Vatican’s recent recognition of the State of Palestine.
“While I have great respect for the office of the papacy, it’s my duty as the leader of the Jewish nation to prevent the Holy See from making a grave mistake,” Netanyahu said, insisting the speech was not political. “The Cardinals are the only ones who can stop this bad deal.”
Within the College of Cardinals, members appear divided on the Israeli leader’s snub of the head of the Vatican’s executive branch. Supporters of the pope said they would not attend the speech in protest, though they admitted they were looking forward to the extravagant post-speech ice cream social planned by the Israeli embassy. The pope’s opponents, however, said they were eager to hear from the Israeli premier and blamed Francis for the deteriorating relationship between Rome and Jerusalem.
Arab, Israeli diplomats said to hold secret powwow in Jordan
Israeli diplomats and representatives of several Arab states that don’t have formal relations with Israel met in Jordan for clandestine talks, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
Envoys from the European Union and the United States also attended the meeting, which focused among other things on regional security cooperation should American influence in the Middle East diminish.
Some of the Sunni Arab diplomats expressed a desire to strengthen security ties between their governments and Israel, but said such cooperation would be contingent on advances in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the report said.
The countries in attendance were not named in the report.
A slew of recent reports indicate that covert ties exist between Israel and Gulf states because of their shared concern over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
How Did Clinton Conflict of Interest Schemes Work? Ask Sidney.
For the past two years, liberals have been laughing at Republican attempts to link Hillary Clinton to something incriminating or at least embarrassing about the Benghazi terror attack. But, as we saw with the issue of her emails that was uncovered by the investigatory efforts of the House special committee on Benghazi there is still plenty for her to be concerned about. Today, the latest shoe dropped in a depressing drip, drip, drip of scandal. As the New York Times reports, longtime Clinton family hit man Sidney Blumenthal was simultaneously advising Hillary on Libya during her time serving as secretary of state while also by employed by the Clinton Foundation and also working for other independent groups that were laying the groundwork for her presidential campaign. At best, this blatant conflict of interest raises questions, in the words of the Times, about the “blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.” At worst, it’s another sordid example of the corruption and bad judgment at the heart of the Clinton machine’s style of governing.
The Times goes on to detail the rather tangled web that Blumenthal and his associates wove. But the main questions we should be asking is what on earth was someone knee deep in a bizarre Libyan business scheme acting as an advisor to the secretary of state about a country with which he had previously had little to do.
Blumenthal was writing intelligence memos about Libya that were largely the product of the opinions of his business associates. Some of the memos he wrote made sense. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who would be murdered by terrorists in the Benghazi attack, shot others down. But whether or not they made sense, Clinton circulated them to her department as gospel, appended with notes praising their insight. But whether they were right or wrong, it is simply astonishing that someone who was on her family foundation payroll as well as working for other political outfits aimed at furthering her political future was put in a position where he could influence policy related to his business interests.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Authority advances bid to file lawsuits against Israel at ICC
Authority has submitted an official request to the International Criminal Court to set a date to discuss the possibility of two war-crimes lawsuits against Israel, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Monday.
The Palestinians want the ICC to sue Israel for war crimes it claims were committed during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge and for Jewish building over the 1949 Armistice Line in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Malki, who is currently visiting Italy, told the Voice of Palestine radio station that he submitted the request to the ICC two days ago.
“I have submitted a request to the court to set a date for us to present the files of settlements and Israeli war crimes,” Malki said. “We’re now awaiting the court’s response. This could take place in mid-June.”
Malki said that, once the ICC sets a date, he would head to The Hague to follow up on the case. He said a special Palestinian committee has been entrusted with preparing the files that would be brought before the ICC.
“The procedures have begun and we will work seriously and professionally in accordance with a timeline,” he added.
Iran-backed jihadi threat is top priority for new government, Netanyahu says
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally presented his new cabinet at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday, and vowed to put the fight against Islamist extremists at the top of his agenda.
“This government has been established at a time of great challenges and opportunities,” Netanyahu said. “Our first challenge is to ensure the security of Israel in the face of accumulating threats around us. Radical Islam is lapping at all our borders, nearly all in the form of factions and forces led by Iran and other radical elements.”
He said, however, that the country would seek to forge new alliances given the regional turmoil, hinting at Israel’s shared interests with Sunni states against Iran’s nuclear program.
“Many states in the area have joint interests with us and see eye to with us on the dangers. We will make every effort to translate that partnership into peace.”
Netanyahu added that Israel would seek “a responsible political settlement with the Palestinians.”
Sen. King: Iran Oversight Legislation Is Triumph of Policy over Partisanship
To that end, it’s very important that Congress has a productive and sensible say in approving or disapproving a deal. And in a rare triumph of thoughtful governing over partisan politics, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 earlier this month to make sure that responsible review can happen if a deal is reached. This bill would require that any final agreement with Iran be submitted to Congress for a 30-day review period before congressionally mandated sanctions on Iran could be waived or suspended by the president. A key element of the legislation is that the review would take place after any potential deal is reached with Iran, ensuring that any partisan gamesmanship doesn’t derail the ongoing negotiations.
I should note that the success of this bipartisan bill, which ended up passing the Senate by a vote of 98-1, did not happen overnight. I’ve been involved in the development of this legislation from the very beginning, when a bipartisan group of senators visited the Middle East back in January and began discussing the need for responsible congressional review of any deal. The group – which included me, Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., John McCain, R-Ariz., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., – laid the groundwork for what eventually became the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
Sen. Graham: Emerging Iran Nuke Deal Unenforceable Unless Strengthened
In order to ensure that the emerging nuclear deal will effectively prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the United States must insist on implementing eight principles to “achieve a sound, enforceable deal,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – S.C) wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today.
Graham wrote that the principles he is proposing have strong bipartisan support and “largely reflect President Obama’s negotiating position at the start of the process.”
The eight principles outlined by Graham before any restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program should be lifted are: limiting Iran to enough enriched uranium to feed a single commercial reactor; shutting down all of Iran’s hidden and fortified nuclear facilities, including Fordow; allowing “anytime, anywhere” inspections of all Iranian military and non-military sites without allowing Iran a veto over inspections; ensuring sanctions relief is conditioned on certification of Iranian compliance by the International Atomic Energy Agency; creating a well-defined process to “snap back” sanctions in case Iran is caught cheating on an agreement; forbidding Iran from developing advanced centrifuges that could reduce its breakout time; removing all enriched uranium from Iran, other than what is needed for a single reactor; and certifying that Iran has changed its aggressive, destabilizing behavior.

US Must Ensure Israel Can Destroy Iran’s ‘Deeply Buried Nuclear Sites,’ Reps Say
The U.S. must provide Israel with 37,000 pound bunker-buster bombs to ensure the Jewish state has the means to “destroy Iran’s most deeply buried nuclear sites,” two congresspeople wrote on Monday.
“A longstanding component of America’s Iran policy has been a credible military threat to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon … Providing Israel with a stronger capability to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities would help deter Iran from ever trying to break any [nuclear agreement] it may sign,” wrote representatives Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Lee Zeldin (R-LI) in an opinion piece for the New York Post.
The two called for the U.S. to boost Israel’s cache of bunker-busting bombs, which the representatives said no longer could destroy Iran’s most fortified nuclear sites, by providing the Jewish state with GBU-57 30,000-pound bunker-buster bombs, alternately known at Massive Ordnance Penetrators or MOPs.
Iran has developed underground nuclear facilities, such as the one at Fordow, to shield its research and development activities from military threats, especially from the United States and Israel.
Israel slams US for allegedly allowing Iran to violate sanctions
A senior Israeli official took a swipe at Washington on Tuesday over Iran's purchase of second-hand civilian aircraft, saying the acquisition violated US sanctions and went ahead despite a tip-off from Israel.
Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhoondi was quoted on May 11 by the Iranian Students News Agency as saying Tehran bought 15 used commercial planes in the last three months. He did not say who sold them or how they had been acquired.
A long-standing ban on the export of aircraft spare parts to Iran was eased under an interim nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers in late 2013, but the US sanctions regime continues to restrict sales of planes.
"Israel learned from intelligence sources about this very significant breach of the sanctions in advance of it occurring," the Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
"We flagged the issue to the US administration," the official said. "Unfortunately, the deal still went through and there was no success in preventing it."
Ayatollah Khamenei: US is Enemy to Both Sunnis and Shias in the Middle East
The United States is the enemy of both Shia and Sunni Muslims, as well as the world’s main sponsor of terrorism, said Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday.
Khamenei, who made the remarks during a meeting with a number of Iranian officials and ambassadors of Islamic countries in Tehran, said that Washington was the main sponsor of terrorism in the world and the chief architect of terrorist groups, Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar reported.
On the other hand, Iran “tackled terrorism, hit it in the face, bumped it in the head, and is going to do the same in the future,” he said.
Addressing the recent bill proposed by Congress in favor of arming Iraq’s Kurds and Sunni tribesmen, Khamenei asked rhetorically, “Are they really interested in the Sunnis?”
Khamenei adviser denies role in Buenos Aires bombing
An adviser to Iran’s supreme leader is dismissing accusations that he masterminded Argentina’s worst terrorist attack and says that he and the Islamic Republic are innocent.
Ali Akbar Velayati, who was foreign minister of Iran at the time of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, is now an adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Former Iranian officials have been on an Interpol capture list for years, but Argentine prosecutors have never been able to question them. Iran has long denied any role in the unsolved bombing that left 85 people dead.
Velayati said in an interview with Argentina’s C5N TV channel broadcast late Monday that he is innocent of the accusation that he masterminded the attack, as is his country. “We believe that this is a baseless accusation, false — a lie.”
“Argentina is under the influence of Zionism and the United States,” he said.
Arab Sentenced to 8 Months in Prison for Incitement on Facebook
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court sentenced Israeli Arab Sami Dais to 8 months in prison on Tuesday, for inciting and supporting terror on Facebook.
Dais, a resident of the neighborhood of A-Tur in Jerusalem, is accused of having published, among other things, a picture of a man dressed as an Orthodox Jew with guns aimed at his head and a knife and a gun over and above him with the caption: "Blood = blood! Kill them, death to settlers."
Several of the posts were made during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza; Dais's posts received many "likes" and "shares" from other users who spread the incitement.
On October 23, 2014, the day after one of the car attacks near the Jerusalem light rail which killed two people, Dais announced, "with dignity and pride, the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine announces the fall of the martyr Abdul Rahman Alslodi Shahid, who killed settlers in an attack in the French Hill neighborhood."
He also openly praised Hamas and the assassination attempt on Temple Mount prayer rights activist Yehuda Glick.
Israel holds Jordanian-Canadian national for alleged Hamas links
Israel has detained a Palestinian with dual Canadian-Jordanian citizenship suspected of links with the Hamas terrorist group, an Israeli security official told Reuters on Monday.
The official, who could not be named, said Ibrahim Siam, an auto parts dealer, was detained on May 5 at the Allenby Bridge as he tried to cross into Jordan from the West Bank.
Khalil Rezq, chairman of the Ramallah Chamber of Commerce, told Reuters that Siam had attended a business conference in Ramallah and accused Israel of "putting obstacles in the way of businessmen wanting to visit Palestine."
Jordanian and Canadian diplomats based in Israel confirmed to Reuters that Siam was being held. The Canadian diplomat said Siam was receiving consular assistance. Both declined to elaborate.
Hamas tunnel may reach into Israel, MK warns
Gaza terror group Hamas is expanding its network of underground tunnels, including one that may reach into Israeli territory, lawmaker and former IDF commander Omer Bar-Lev said Sunday.
Bar-Lev, a Zionist Union MK who sits on the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for their indecision and failure to act on thwarting the tunnel threat.
“Hamas has gone back to digging tunnels, and it is likely that at least one of them has even crossed the border fence, which is an affront to the State of Israel’s sovereignty,” Bar-Lev said at the opening session of the Israel Bar Association’s conference in Eilat Sunday night, according to a statement from his office.
Israel fought a 50-day war with Gaza-based fighters in July and August, aimed at stemming rocket fire and destroying a network of tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border fence.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Authority continues crackdown on Hamas supporters
Palestinian Authority security forces continued their crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank on Monday.
In the Hebron area, the PA General Intelligence Service arrested Anan al-Shahateet, a student at the Polytechnic University, and summoned for interrogation his colleague, Mohamed Rashaideh.
Meanwhile, the PA Preventive Security Service in Hebron arrested 15-year-old Mohamed al-Awawdah.
He is the fourth 10th-grade pupil to be taken into custody in recent days.
In Nablus, 37-year-old Majdi al-Qutub, who recently was arrested by PA security forces, was transferred to the hospital after suffering a health setback, sources close to Hamas in the city said. Two of his brothers, Said and Amjad, were Hamas members who were killed by the IDF during the second Intifada, they said.
Meet the new neighborhood terrorists in Gaza
As Islamic terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East sink to new levels of brutality, the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis and launched thousands of rockets at the Jewish state, finds itself facing a threat to its rule in Gaza.
Over the last month, Islamic State-inspired jihadist groups in Gaza, who ironically argue that Hamas has been too lenient towards Israel and has failed to implement Islamic Sharia Law, have launched a campaign entailing both propaganda and physical attacks on Hamas.
A Salafi terror group that calls itself the “Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem” recently threatened Hamas with a 72-hour ultimatum to release imprisoned Salafi extremists detained by Hamas or face attacks, after Hamas destroyed a mosque belonging to the group and arrested several of its members.
The Salafi jihadists followed up on their calls by launching mortar attacks on a Hamas base in southern Gaza and other attacks on Hamas security posts. Hamas has responded with a large crackdown, setting up checkpoints and deploying gunmen in Salafi strongholds.
Gaza police assault and arrest Al-Jazeera journalist
A Palestinian journalist covering a Turkish minister's visit to the Gaza Strip has accused Palestinian police of physically assaulting him on Sunday.
Muhammed Fayyad, a reporter for Al-Jeezera, told the Palestinian Journalists' Union that he was physically assaulted by multiple police officers at the Gazan Ministry of Endowments after asking why a plain-clothes security guard had shoved him while he took pictures of the minister's visit.
Fayyad added that he "was struck on the head by a police officer" as he was being taken out of the building, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
Fayyad then went to the police station to file a formal complaint, yet was shocked to find that authorities had already issued an arrest order against him.
He was briefly taken to al-Shifa hospital before being formally arrested, complaining that he was beginning to feel the effects of his earlier assault.
PreOccupied Territory: Siblings Accuse Teen Who Cleans Room Of ‘Normalization’ (satire)
A local high-schooler has been ostracized by her brother and sister for tacitly endorsing their parents’ demands that the children of the family take care of themselves and contribute to the family’s collective welfare.
Ohr Dagan, 17, faces shunning and hostility from her fourteen-year-old brother Nir and 12-year-old sister Shahar, after removing the dirty laundry from the floor of her bedroom Sunday afternoon. The two siblings contend that their older sister’s activities serve to cement the unfair control that their parents exert, and that no behavior of any sort that condones such oppression may be tolerated.
Since then, Nir and Shahar have threatened Ohr with retribution, and have repeatedly denounced her engagement in any behavior that smacks of normalizing their parents’ illegal occupation of their children’s lives, even those activities that would directly benefit the three siblings. The anti-normalization faction of the Dagan children argues that sacrificing some comforts is crucial of they are to succeed in generating pressure on their parents to get out of their lives.
Parents Yaron and Tamar, both 40, consistently impose demands and oppressive rules on their children, such as curfews, refraining from destroying the house, and respecting each member of the household. The children bristle under the parental dictatorship, and have resolved to boycott their father and mother so as not to distract from the need to overthrow the imposed rule.
MEMRI: Christians In Lebanon,Fearing ISIS And Jabhat Al-Nusra
As jihadist organizations gain power in the Middle East, including in Lebanon, and especially after large areas of Syria and Iraq have fallen under the control of the Islamic State (ISIS), which is attempting to impose radical Islam there, the Christian and Druze minorities in Lebanon have begun to fear for their future and even for their lives. Several incidents that occurred recently in Lebanon have exacerbated this fear: in early August 2014, ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN) invaded the border town of Irsalin northeastern Lebanon and abducted dozens of Lebanese soldiers and security officers there with the cooperation of Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees. Later militants identified with ISIS and JN also attempted to raid the town of Brital, south of Irsal. Following the fighting between the Assad regime and the rebels in the Al-Qalamoun area in Syria, near Lebanon's eastern and northeastern border,there are reports that these organizations plan further incursions into Lebanon. Furthermore, in early October 2014, armed groups affiliated with ISIS and JN, assisted by Syrian refugees, clashed with the Lebanese army in Tripoli and other northern regions. According to Lebanese military sources, these armed clashes were part of a comprehensive plan by ISIS and JN to take over this region in order to create territorial continuity with the Al-Qalamoun area in western Syria.
In addition, over the past year pro-ISIS graffiti appeared near churches and Christian schools in various parts of Lebanon, threatening that the Islamic State is coming and Christians will be slaughtered.
Lebanon's minorities fear not only the encroachment of ISIS and JN on Lebanon's eastern border and the active support these organizations receive from extremist Sunni groups and Syrian refugees within the country;they also fear that the Syrian civil war will spill into Lebanon. The Christians’ concern is exacerbated by the weakness of the central government and the inability of the Lebanese army to protect them, and by their suspicion that no external element will come to their aid except perhaps by granting them immigration permits.
Iran 'Proud' of Hezbollah Progress in Qalamoun
Iran is 'proud' of the achievements of Hezbollah and the Syrian army in a series of recent battles in Qalamoun, an adviser close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated Monday.
“We feel very proud as we have been watching in the last few days the new victories that the Lebanese resistance and Syrian army are achieving in Qalamoun,” Ali Akbar Velayati said, according to the Lebanese Daily Star. “This contributes to strengthening the axis of resistance not only in Lebanon and Syria, but in the whole region and worldwide.”
Velayati arrived in Lebanon on Sunday and was welcomed by Hezbollah MPs.
Hezbollah and Syrian forces killed 20 Al-Nusra terrorists last week, after seizing significant territory in and around Qalamoun. The Qalamoun region, which lies north of Damascus and runs along the Lebanese border.
Earlier this month, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah vowed to oust rebels from the Qalamoun region, saying the situation "needs radical treatment" but without saying when the assault would start.
Assad, under pressure, may need his friends more than ever
Despite the setbacks for Assad, Western diplomats are cautious about forecasting the end of a leader who has consistently defied forecasts of his demise in the four-year-long war.
Indeed, Assad may have capitalized on the crisis to galvanize some foreign backing: "The regime's attempt to hold together the alliance behind Assad seems to have borne the desired fruit," one Western diplomat said.
But Assad has not been able to convince Western governments including the United States they should engage him as a partner in the fight against Islamic State. A US special forces raid against Islamic State in eastern Syria was carried out without consulting Damascus.
And a senior Israeli intelligence official offered a sobering assessment for Assad and his backers: "His regime is stable, but with many threats. I can tell you that he is not having freedom of movement in Syria, nor is his family. He's doing many, many problematic things in order to preserve the security and the question is how long it will stay like that. I cannot say anything about the time."
Syria Accuses Jordan of Training 'Terrorists'
Syria on Monday accused Jordan of training "terrorists" on its soil and urged the UN Security Council to force an end to Amman's backing of rebel groups, AFP reports.
The accusation came in a letter sent by the Jordanian foreign ministry to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the UN Security Council, the official news agency SANA said.
The letter criticized the "public and systematic support provided by the kingdom of Jordan to terrorist groups, increasing the suffering of Syria's citizens because of crimes committed by these groups".
The letter alleges Jordan "provides logistical support to armed terrorist groups, including (Al-Qaeda affiliate) Al-Nusra Front", according to AFP.
It also accuses Jordan of having "set up terrorist training camps on its soil as well as operations centers to help these groups and facilitate the infiltration of thousands of terrorists a day (into Syria)."
Jordan is a leading supporter of the Syrian opposition, and this month the United States began training opposition fighters on Jordanian soil to fight the Islamic State group.
Syria's government refers to all those seeking Assad's ouster as "terrorists".
 JCPA: The Lessons of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Discovery
Implications for the Iranian Nuclear Deal
These developments and Western reactions carry ramifications that go beyond the Syrian context, with direct implications for the planned nuclear deal with Iran:
1. So long as the extent of supervision is dictated by the supervised party’s declarations regarding its facilities, and so long as that party’s intention is to retain prohibited capabilities, that party can conceal facilities or surreptitiously transfer assets to other sites relatively easily. In this context, Iran has made clear yet again that it refuses to allow unlimited access to its military facilities – or, implicitly, to its intelligence facilities and those of the Revolutionary Guard, which obviously could hide crucial components of the nuclear program.
2. The West’s intelligence capabilities are impressive but far from perfect, and sometimes they are not used at all so as not to reveal their existence. This is very plausibly how the Syrians were able to hide their chemical-weapons for so long – up to two years. It may well be, as some in the opposition claim, that in addition to the sites and the toxins we know of, there is still much else yet to be discovered. This would likely be the situation in Iran, too, in an agreement based on the Lausanne framework .
3. Once problematic information emerges, no matter how grave, the West makes no quick decision, let alone taking the required action. The lack of political will to be drawn into a conflict with the party under supervision leads to foot-dragging; the issue is sidelined and its importance downplayed. The chlorine-gas attacks on the Syrian population, for example, have become a humdrum matter that interests no one and is barely mentioned, let alone spurring a response.


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