Wednesday, May 20, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Fatah's Armed Militias Warn Israelis: "You Must Leave!"
Many in the international community often refer to the Palestinian Fatah faction, which is headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, as a "moderate" group that believes in Israel's right to exist and the two-state solution.
What these people do not know is that Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), consists of several groups that hold different views than those expressed by Abbas and other English-speaking Fatah officials.
Some of these Fatah groups do not believe in Israel's right to exist and continue to talk about the "armed struggle" as the only way to "liberate Palestine and restore Palestinian national rights."
One of these groups is called The Aqsa Martyrs Brigade - El Amoudi Brigade.
The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is Fatah's armed wing, established shortly after the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000. Although the Palestinian Authority leadership maintains that the group has been dissolved and its members recruited into its security forces, scores of gunmen continue to operate freely in Palestinian villages and refugee camps in the West Bank.
Based in the Gaza Strip, the El Amoudi Brigade, which consists of dozens of Fatah gunmen, is named after Nidal El Amoudi, a top Fatah operative killed by the Israel Defense Forces on January 13, 2008, after he carried out a series of armed attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers during the second intifada.
During the last war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas ("Operation Protective Edge"), the El Amoudi Brigade claimed responsibility for firing dozens of rockets at Israeli cities and IDF soldiers.
US Reps. Grace Meng and Lee Zeldin: It’s Time to Give Israel the Means to take out Iranian Nukes
The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have engendered furious debate in Washington and in capitals across the world. But there are steps outside of the nuclear talks that President Obama can take to help ensure that the United States and its allies are stronger and more secure the day after a deal than they were the day before.
One such step would be to provide Israel with GBU-57 30,000-pound bunker-buster bombs (known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrators, or MOPs) and the means to carry them, in a quantity sufficient to destroy Iran’s most deeply buried nuclear sites.
At present, Israel possesses US-supplied 5,000-pound bunker-buster bombs. But experts doubt these bombs could seriously impede Iran’s nuclear development. On the other hand, there is little doubt that MOPs, which Israel lacks, are capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear sites.
As Michael Makovsky and Lt. Gen. David Deptula noted in a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed, the Defense Department has MOPs to spare, aircraft in storage that could carry the MOP payload and legal authority to transfer such arms to the Israelis.
Newsweek Mangles the Green Line
A story in Newsweek includes the following paragraph:
More than 350,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, with a further 200,000 in east Jerusalem. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the international community considers it illegal for Israel to encroach on Palestinian land by building settlements outside the Green Line, which was set out in 1949 to demarcate the Palestinian state following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
The 1949 so-called Green Line certainly did not set out to “demarcate the Palestinian state.” The Green Line refers to demarcation lines that separated Israeli and Arab forces at the conclusion of the 1948 War of Independence. These armistice lines were never intended to set permanent borders. In addition, the West Bank that Newsweek refers to was occupied by Jordan until 1967.
Following HonestReporting’s correspondence with Newsweek, the following correction has been added to the article:
Correction: This piece was updated on May 20 to clarify the definition of the Green Line as a demarcation line set out between Israeli and Arab forces following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Green Line was not set out to demarcate a Palestinian state, as previously reported.



Palestinian Statehood - Separating Fact from Fantasy
The irony is that there never was a “peace process” except in the minds of the Western media and most Western leaders who have bought into all these lies and deceptions. The intention, rather, was to use international diplomatic pressure to force Israel into making strategic concessions that would ultimately lead to its destruction ….. as Arafat openly admitted in Johannesburg over twenty years ago.
Critics should note as well that the Palestinian educational system includes Palestinian poetry, schoolbooks, crossword puzzles and children’s music videos that teach Palestinian children that “Jews are the descendants of pigs and monkeys” and must be killed, and Palestinian leaders have openly declared that any future Palestinian state would be “Jew-free”. They are also using US and European foreign aid dollars to pay Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons as well as the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, and they continue to name marketplaces, town squares, tournaments, and cinemas after these suicide bombers whom they hail as “heroes” and “martyrs”. Nor is mention ever made of Hamas’s founding Charter that openly calls for the murder of Jews wherever they are, and for the destruction of their State.
The sad truth is that the Palestinians want a state not beside Israel, but in place of it. If critics would take the time to read what the Palestinians are saying to each other in Arabic (as translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute and Palestine Media Watch) as opposed to what they are saying to Western leaders and the Western media in English, they would understand the Islamic concept of taqqiyah (deception) and discover the real truth behind the Arab-Israeli conflict – not Israel’s refusal to accept a State of Palestine, but the Arab refusal to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state on what they consider to be Islamic lands.
Netanyahu’s new government needs to reject any such pressure to recognize a Palestinian state under current circumstances as should all Western leaders. To give up further lands in exchange for a deceitful peace is something that Israel tried in the 1990s with tragic results. It should not be repeated again.
Hotovely to Mogherini: The Palestinians, not Israel, walked out of negotiations
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is committed to a diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and it is the Palestinians who abandoned US-led negotiations a year and a half ago, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday.
According to Hotovely’s office, the newly appointed deputy foreign minister told Mogherini that Israel's message to the Palestinians is that in order for a diplomatic process to take place they need to return to the negotiating table and not take unilateral steps against Israel in the international arena. .
Referring to the Jerusalem terror attack earlier in the day in which two Border Police officers were hurt by a Palestinian terrorists who tried to run them down, Hotovely said that Europe should strongly condemn terrorism, as well as back Israel’s demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.
Hotovely welcomed Mogherini's comment that she was interested in coming now after the establishment of the new Israeli government to listen to both sides, saying that her visit had a “great deal of importance.”
Hotovely to Norwegian FM: Press Palestinians to recognize Israel as Jewish state
Israel expects Norway to pressure the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel as the Jewish national home, newly appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende on Tuesday.
Hotovely, in her first high-level diplomatic meeting since her surprise appointment last Thursday, said it is very important for Israel that Europe and the Norwegian government do not support unilateral Palestinian steps in the international arena.
Hotovely, who has come out against a two-state solution, told Brende that a government was established in Israel which “represents a will for dialogue and is opposed to Palestinian unilateral moves.”
The deputy foreign minister told her guest Norway needs to understand that there is a consensus in Israel regarding preserving the unity of Jerusalem.
Not Pro-Peace? Judge Palestinians By the Same Standard as the Israelis
That’s a key point that Western Israel-bashers consistently forget. Israel has already offered the Palestinians statehood and almost all of the territory they demanded three times between 2000 and 2008 and refused to talk seriously to Livni last year in what amounts to a fourth “no” to peace. Were they to come to the talks prepared to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn they would find that no Israeli government would be able to resist taking them up on a two-state solution. But they can’t or won’t, a fact that renders the identity of the Israeli negotiators a piece of meaningless trivia.
But even if you want to be cynical about Shalom’s commitment to the process, it bears asking why the same people who think him insufficiently devoted to peace have no problem accepting and even praising Palestinians who do far worse. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat has regularly denounced Israel and engaged in libelous attacks on it while always denying it the right to be a Jewish state. His boss, PA leader Abbas, embraces and honors terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands, and has also incited Palestinians to attack Jews in order to compete with Hamas for popularity with a public that links bloodshed with political legitimacy. There has never been a Palestinian negotiating team that hasn’t stated positions that are far more extreme than anything Shalom ever said, yet never are they denounced as obstacles to peace.
Unlike with the Israelis, no one says Erekat’s belief in the “right of return” disqualifies him for the talks even though that marks him as a man that will never accept Israel’s existence. But Shalom’s skepticism is treated as proof that Israel won’t negotiate. Instead of worrying about the Israelis, who have already shown they’ll trade land for the hope of peace (and got terror instead), it’s time for the international community to start holding the Palestinians accountable. Until they do, they’ll never have an incentive to start talking in good faith.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Says Better Iran Deal Still Possible (VIDEO)
A “better deal” over Iran’s nuclear program that will not “scare [U.S.] allies half to death” has yet to be achieved, but is still possible, contended former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in an interview with Face the Nation on Monday.
To achieve a good deal, sanctions must be phased out over time “based on performance,” which Gates said was always the U.S. position, and which Iran’s leaders reject in favor of immediate relief.
He said Iran was likely to cheat unless an “on-demand inspection at all facilities, including military facilities” is established.
The former defense secretary said he had “several concerns” over the current framework, which faces a June 30 deadline and needs congressional approval.
As talks resume, Iran vows no inspection of military sites
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday ruled out allowing nuclear inspectors to visit military sites or to question scientists, state media reported.
“We have already said that we will not allow any inspections of military sites by foreigners,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
“They also say that we must allow interviews with nuclear scientists. This is interrogation. I will not allow foreigners to come and talk to scientists who have advanced the science to this level,” Khamenei said.
Other Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that inspectors would not be given freedom of access to nuclear facilities — directly contradicting US officials who tout comprehensive inspections as being a key element of a final deal.
Iran willing to extend nuclear talks
If Iran and the world powers powers fail to hammer out a nuclear accord by a July 1 deadline, Tehran would be willing accept an extension of talks, an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday.
In a framework deal signed between the sides in early April, Iran agreed to curb some aspects of its contentious nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.
Israel has warned that the deal in its current form is insufficient and may still enable Iran to to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear project will be used for peaceful purposes only.
“We have said that if the path of drafting the text and reaching a possible agreement requires prolonging the talks, we won’t have any problem and will be ready to do it,” Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said, according to Fars News.
Clifford D. May: The summit that wasn't
I'd venture to guess that most of what you heard about U.S. President Barack Obama's summit last week was ‎wrong. To start, it wasn't a "summit." That term, coined by Winston Churchill, implies a meeting ‎of heads of government. But the most important Arab leader invited by Obama, King ‎Salman of Saudi Arabia, stayed home, as did the rulers of the United Arab Emirates and Oman. ‎King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain decided his time could be spent more productively at ‎the Royal Windsor Horse Show outside London.‎
You also may have heard that the reason the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council ‎didn't attend was that they were put off by the prospect of international travel. Trust me: Flying ‎in one's own customized jet is a lot less wearying than going coach.‎
It is true that by not showing up they were making a statement. But to say they "snubbed" the ‎president, as several commentators did, is imprecise. They were demonstrating not disdain but ‎distrust: They know Obama wants to convince them that the agreement he's bending over ‎backwards to conclude with the Islamic Republic of Iran will help stabilize a Middle East that ‎grows more chaotic by the day. They're not buying it. So they sent envoys empowered only to ‎say: "Thank you, Mr. President. I will convey your views to His Majesty."‎
Negotiations with Iran were intended to prevent the world's leading sponsor of terrorism from ‎acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. At this point, they are veering toward providing Iran's ‎rulers with two paths to that capability: a slow but sure one if they abide by the agreement's ‎stipulations; a faster one if they violate their obligations -- as they have in the past.‎
Elliott Abrams: 7 years in prison for 7 Baha'i leaders
This week marks a landmark in the Islamic Republic of Iran's crimes against that country's ‎small Baha'i community: Seven years ago this week, the regime imprisoned seven peaceful ‎Baha'i leaders. What is the true nature of Iran's clerical regime? The answer is visible in its ‎continuing brutal treatment of this religious minority, just 300,000 people in a nation of 70 ‎million -- less than 0.5% of the population.‎
From its early days, the Islamic republic has singled out the Baha'i for discrimination and ‎then persecution. They are seen as apostates from Islam, because their faith originated in ‎Iran in the 19th century. The existence of the Baha'i international headquarters and shrine ‎in Haifa, Israel have led to repeated accusations of spying and treason. Hundreds of Baha'i ‎were killed and thousands imprisoned in the early decades of theocratic rule after the ‎revolution in 1979. Baha'i institutions were all closed in 1983; Baha'i marriages are not ‎recognized; Baha'i's are discriminated against in employment; their holy places have been ‎destroyed; and Baha'i children are kept out of universities. The U.N.'s "special rapporteur on ‎the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran," in his March 2015 report, ‎noted one emblematic and shameful incident: When roughly 1 million students took the ‎national math exam in 2014, a Baha'i student placed 113th in the entire country. But he was ‎nevertheless barred from attending a public university.‎
Expert: Turmoil and Repression in Kurdish Iran Exposes Regime’s Fears of Ethnic Separatism
The recently suppressed unrest in the Kudish region of Iran, “is an indication not of the regime’s strength, but of its potential weakness,” Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center, wrote in a column for The Jerusalem Post on Friday.
The suppression of any hint of Kurdish separatism has remained in place ever since. Education in Kurdish remains forbidden; any sign of attempts at political organization is ruthlessly suppressed by the Revolutionary Guards.
The hostility of the Iranian regime to the slightest hint of separatism derives not solely or mainly from ethnic tensions between Persians and Kurds. Even the most modest Kurdish demands for greater local autonomy raise the specter for the regime of ethnic separatism. Iran is a divided society ethnically, with only 49 percent of the population consisting of ethnic Persians; the rest are a mixture of Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds and Arabs.
Thus, the brutal and total repression of Kurdish demands is an indication not of the regime’s strength, but of its potential weakness. Tehran fears that were the demands of one minority ethnicity to be accommodated – even partially – this would risk opening the floodgates for other demands.
Washington Post Reporter’s Espionage Trial in Iran To Start Next Week
According to the report, Rezaian’s defense lawyer, Leila Ahsan, confirmed that Rezaian had “been charged with ‘espionage’ offences, but said it was unclear whether the trial would be open to the public.”
Rezaian is charged with, among other things, having ties with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), an organization that supports stronger ties between the United States and Iran.
In a statement released today, Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, criticized the injustice of Iran’s judicial system, and revealed the paper’s efforts to send an editor to Iran to observe the trial.
MEMRI: Iranian Attempt To Break The Saudi Sea Blockade On Yemen Could Lead To Violent Confrontation
In MEMRI's assessment, neither Iran nor the Saudis are going to back down in this matter. Saudi Arabia will only allow the Iranian vessel through after it undergoes UN inspection, and Iran will not permit the Saudis to board it. Either a violent confrontation or a Saudi takeover of the ship is likely.
It should be noted that the Iranians would like the Saudis to instigate a violent confrontation, in which Iran would play the role of a provider of humanitarian aid that is being attacked.
This tense scenario could erupt into a localized conflict at sea that could escalate to a broader confrontation in the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has, in recent days, made diplomatic efforts. Alongside this Iranian provocation, it convened the May 18-19 Riyadh summit, an intra-Yemeni dialogue among all Yemeni political parties except the Houthis, passing resolutions backing the position of Saudi Arabia and the coalition for resolving the Yemen crisis on several levels – domestic, regional, and international – via the UN.
Under these circumstances, it can be assumed that the U.S. will intervene to try to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis; such a solution might be attainable, although in light of the stances of both sides, this cannot be certain. However, even if a last-minute diplomatic solution is found, this skirmish could exacerbate the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran and lead to a violent escalation at some point in the near future.
In this context, it should be mentioned that the five-day ceasefire that began on May 12 has not been renewed, and, according to Yemeni Foreign Minister Yassin, the ceasefire collapsed following violations by the Houthis – thus legitimizing the ongoing Saudi airstrikes against them.
Defying US, Iranian warships escort cargo vessel toward Yemen
Two Iranian warships have joined a cargo ship that Tehran says is carrying supplies to Yemen.
US Army Col. Steve Warren said the ships linked up overnight Monday, setting up a possible conflict as the US insists the supplies go to Djibouti, where the United Nations is coordinating humanitarian aid for Yemen.
A US official said there’s no evidence the Iranian ship is carrying lethal or military aid. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The vessel, the Iran Shahed, is carrying nearly 2,800 tons of aid including flour, rice, canned food, medical supplies and bottled water, all urgently needed in the conflict-wracked and impoverished state, according to Iran. It is expected to reach port on Thursday, and entered the Gulf of Aden on Sunday.
American, Foreign Activists on Iranian Flotilla to Yemen
There are some important things to know about the Iranian cargo shop Iran Shahed, which left Bandar Abbas, Iran on 11 May and expects to get to the Houthi-held port of Hodeidah, on the Red Sea, on 20-21 May. Iran claims the ships is carrying only humanitarian-aid cargo.
1. The ship itself is on the U.S. Treasury list of vessels and shipping entities under sanction due to complicity in arms proliferation.
2. We aren’t going to do anything about that.
3. The Saudis have imposed a blockade on Yemen and are determined to prevent the importation of arms (i.e., from Iran to the Houthis) by air or sea.
4. Iran is escorting Iran Shahed with naval ships, and has basically threatened to fight if the Saudis try to stop the ship.
5. There are two Americans riding Iran Shahed, along with activists from France and Germany, and members of the Iranian media – because in radical circles, the ship’s mission is now a cause célèbre like the occasional “flotilla” attempts to break the blockade of Gaza’s coast.
Potential Iran Deal Sends Terror Stocks Soaring (satire)
Leaks from Washington, Tehran, and Switzerland of an imminent nuclear deal roared through Wall Street today sending terror stocks soaring in afterhours trading. Reports indicate than any deal will include the release of over $100 billion in frozen Iranian funds. Noted hedge fund manager, Gree D. Bassard, seemed to speak for the mood. “$100 billion’s a lot of scratch. And what are the Iranians going to spend it on? Give you a hint – it won’t be booze or bacon.”
Of course this isn’t the first time that investors risked getting burned in the terror market. The sector slumped after President Obama announced his plan for the US to leave Iraq. Despite a brief spike, the sector failed to make much progress after ISIS burst onto the scene. Market analysts forecast that this time it will be different. “Iran has a lot of unfulfilled demand for these sorts of supplies,” Ms. Brea KN Rekrd said in a conference call. “This sector’s awash in undervalued assets. I’ve already made strong buy recommendations for e-Shrapnel.com and C4-4U. I’m telling you – this sector is going to explode.”
As if to prove this prediction, CNBC reported that Mad Money host Jim Cramer was killed today as he urged his viewers to “dive in” and buy Boomy Vest, a manufacturer of explosive clothing. Cramer was wearing one of the company’s top of the line, ‘Martyr Makers’ at the time of the explosion. Boomy Vest CEO, Herman Lipshitz, issued a statement. “My heart goes out to the Cramer family. I would note that our vest took out half of Jim’s crew and injured 20% of the live audience. And that was without the optional rat poison laced shrapnel! We make a quality product.”
Terrorist shot dead after running down 2 Border Police officers in east Jerusalem
According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the attack took place shortly before 10 a.m. when the unidentified assailant rammed his car into a male and female officer, who sustained light-to moderate wounds to their legs and hips.
“The terrorist drove into them while they were on patrol in A-Tur and both were treated at the scene and then evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem and Shaare Zedic Medical Center,” he said.
“A police officer at the scene shot the terrorist, leaving him in critical condition,” Rosenfeld continued. “He died shortly after from his injuries.”
Rosenfeld said multiple police units arrived to cordon off the area and initiated an investigation to determine if the suspect acted alone.
Hit-and-Terrorist Cousin of Mercaz HaRav Mass Murderer
The Jerusalem Arab terrorist who ran over two police officers and tried to kill them is the cousin of the driver who carried out the massacre of eight Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva students in Jerusalem in 2008, according to Arab media.
Wednesday’s hit-and-run terrorist was identified as Amran Omar abu Dahim, 42, from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood located between the Talpiot and A-Tur neighborhoods in southeastern Jerusalem.
He is the cousin of Ala abu Dahim, who drove his vehicle in 2008 to the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem, entered the building with a violin case and then pulled out a rifle and gunned down yeshiva students,.
The massacre shocked the world, even the bleeding-heart liberals since it occurred at a widely-known yeshiva that is located less than a mile from the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem.
More Than a Dozen Terror Suspects Arrested in West Bank Raids
Israeli soldiers detained more than a dozen suspected terrorists overnight Monday into Tuesday in raids across Judea and Samaria. A total of 17 suspects were arrested.
Seven of the detainees were members of the Hamas terrorist organization, according to IDF officials.
Two were taken into custody in the village of Fara’a, located northeast of Shechem (Nablus.) Two others were detained in a raid carried out southwest of Jenin, in Jaba’a.
Another member of the Gaza-based terror group was arrested in Beit Fajar, southwest of Bethlehem and quite close to the Gush Etzion junction. Three other suspects – including two alleged Hamas members – were arrested in nearby Hebron.
Israelis Mock New Hamas Propaganda Video Seeking to Scare IDF Recruits
Israelis mocked a new Hamas propaganda music video that appeared on the Facebook page of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency on Tuesday meant to scare the country’s citizens away from joining the Israeli Army and confronting the terror group.
The soundtrack in the clip, which is sung to the tune of “Be A Man” by popular Israeli singer Zohar Argov, quickly went viral in the Jewish state.
The video sought to demoralize Israelis and discourage them from joining the ranks of the IDF through highlighting the benefits that a non-military life has to offer, like clubbing and partying. It features an Israeli who wants to be a soldier, but instead enjoys various luxuries of the civilian high-life including a flashy car and a house in Savyon, one of Israel’s most affluent neighborhoods.
The video has attracted almost 120,000 views so far, many of them from Israeli web surfers who took a humorous and nonchalant approach to what they termed a “great Zohar Argov cover song.”
“Hamas puts out the anthem of the summer,” said one. Another commented that Hamas was “continuing the grand tradition” of soldiers making complaint songs about their army service, “so they deserve some applause.”
New York Times Report Reveals Libya New Leader ‘Sought Discreet Relationship With Israel’
The exposé of personal correspondences between Hillary Clinton and a longtime friend and adviser reported by the New York Times on Monday indicated, among other things, an inchoate back channel facilitating new ties between post-Gaddafi Libya and Israel.
The emails between Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal about the inner-workings of Libya following the death of the North African country’s dogged dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, included one correspondence that suggested new Libyan leader, Mohamed Magariaf, would “seek a discrete relationship with Israel.”
Clinton, encouraged by the news, forwarded the message to her deputy Jake Sullivan — a current adviser to the Obama administration for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program — saying he “should consider passing to Israelis,” according to the Times report that was released on Monday.
Libya and Israel had no diplomatic ties under Gaddafi, and neither do any exist today. From 2011 to 2012, when these Clinton-Blumenthal intelligence-style correspondences were written there were no open relations between Libya’s de facto National Transitional Council government, either.
But in 2011, politically active French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy generated a brief scandal when he apparently outed the NTC’s plan to forge better ties with the Jewish state.
Smuggled ISIS Rings Seized at Tel Aviv Airport: Israel Officials

The "delivery of 120 rings bearing an insignia associated with Daesh terrorist organization" was intercepted at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel's main international hub, according to a statement released by the Israel Tax Authority. Daesh is the the group's acronym in Arabic.
Israeli officials told NBC News that the seizure had taken place around two-and-a-half weeks ago but they would not give a specific date. News of the rings only came out on Tuesday.
The jewelry, which had been imported from Turkey, was classified as "prohibited propaganda" and destroyed, the authority added.
Israel denies talks with Hamas on seaport, prisoner swap
An Israeli official denied a Jordanian report Tuesday that Israel was negotiating directly with Hamas over the establishment of a floating seaport between Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus and the Gaza Strip.
Quoting unnamed “Western diplomatic sources,” ad-Dustour daily claimed that Israeli and Hamas negotiators have been meeting both in Israel and in various European capitals to discuss the establishment of the commercial port, a long-sought demand by Palestinians in Gaza.
According to the report, they also discussed the exchange of a body of an Israeli-Ethiopian man who had entered Gaza in recent months for a number of Hamas prisoners serving time in Israeli jails.
Speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, an Israeli official denied “any negotiations with Hamas.”
Has the Pentagon Found a Solution to 'Terror Tunnels'?
Detecting such tunnels is currently extremely difficult, but the US military may have developed a solution.
According to Channel Two, at a recent Department of Defense exhibition held by the Pentagon developers showcased a new system which can detect tunnels up to eight meters underground, and even track tunneling progress in realtime.
The system uses both soundwaves and vibration receptors to track underground tunnels, and has reportedly already proven itself after being deployed along the US border with Mexico, where drug-smuggling tunnels are a major problem.
Each time a tunneler drills or strikes the ground the sensors pick up the vibrations and are able to track them back to their source, providing operators with an accurate location.
The technology could also provide a solution to growing concerns along Israel's northern border with Lebanon over possible attack tunnels dug into Israel by Hezbollah.
The next Gaza war that nobody wants
Israel and Hamas would probably rather not go to war again this summer, but rogue Hamas factions may push the two into conflict again.
Hamas’s Gaza-based political leaders, who have failed to attract funding to rebuild homes and other key civilian needs after Israel laid waste to much of their military infrastructure, understand that another war would be devastating. Likewise, Israel would rather keep its powder dry for more serious threats, including Hezbollah to its north, Islamic State in Syria, and possibly even Iran.
Of the two, Hamas’s political leadership is probably more wary. The regime in Egypt, which sees Hamas as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood movement it toppled in 2013, has destroyed an estimated 2,000 smuggling tunnels – and even flooded some with tear gas – thereby cutting off Hamas’s access to weapons, cash and goods. Hamas leaders know that if they are ever to convince Egypt to open its borders, they will need to charm Cairo’s financial patrons in Saudi Arabia, who are busy leading an air campaign in Yemen against the Iran backed Houthis in Yemen.
Hamas knows that another war with Israel, especially one fought with Iranian weapons, will not necessarily earn the favor of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Sunni states. Between the Iranian nuclear threat, the expansion of the Islamic State and other regional threats, the Sunnis don’t want any more conflict in the region – even against Israel – if it can yield Iran any more leverage than it currently has.
Hamas Using Truce to Prepare for Next Clash With Israel
In the nine months since Hamas fought a 50-day war with Israel, the terrorist group has exploited the months of recent quiet to prepare itself for the next clash, which it assumes will inevitably come.
Hamas is in the midst of a full-scale rocket rearmament and tunnel reconstruction drive. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is also preparing its responses for the next time the Gazan regime attacks.
Despite its extremist ideology, Hamas does not appear interested in sparking another costly and damaging war now – and yet, a large number of potential triggers are in place that could start one anyway.
The Hamas military wing, the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, has restarted its domestic rocket and mortar production program, and built, in all likelihood, more than 1,000 rockets since the August 26 ceasefire went into effect.
IMF Calls for Donor Support for PA Territories
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on Tuesday for more donor aid to support the economic recovery of the Palestinian Authority (PA)-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and of Gaza, AFP reported.
The IMF said in a report that the reconstruction process in Gaza following last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas "is moving far more slowly than expected."
The economic cost of the 50-day war is estimated at $4 billion for Gaza, the IMF noted.
"While notable progress has been made recently with the provision of materials for the repair of individual homes, larger construction projects that are required for a job-creating economic recovery are still pending," the report said.
According to the IMF, of the $3.5 billion promised for the reconstruction of Gaza at the Cairo Conference in October, only about 27 percent had been disbursed by mid-April.
Egypt: Police Accused of Sexual Assault on 'Massive Scale'
Egyptian authorities are using sexual assault on a 'massive' scale against detainees, NGO the International Federation for Human Rights said Tuesday.
The report suggested that men, women, and children are being abused systemically to "eliminate public protest," according to the BBC.
Charges state that police, intelligence officers, and the military are subjecting prisoners to "virginity tests" and rape as they await trial. Students, human rights activists, homosexuals, and children are the most common victims, it said.
Egypt has refused to respond to the allegations until it sees a copy of the report.
Kurdish musician in Turkey sentenced to 10 years in prison for singing in Kurdish
If you are planning to visit Turkey soon, keep in mind that singing a Kurdish song, choosing a Kurdish name for your child, or just saying a few Kurdish words is still unacceptable and might even constitute a crime.
Nudem Durak, 24, a musician who sings and teaches Kurdish folk songs at the Mem û Zîn Culture and Art Center in the Kurdish town of Cizre has recently been arrested and sentenced to 10.5 years in prison for “being a member of a terrorist organization.”
“All kinds of activities that Kurds engage in – cultural, linguistic or even personal ones – are used as evidence against them in their court files,” Rojhat Dilsiz, Durak’s lawyer said. “Even the telephone conversations that Durak had with fellow artists were used as evidence against her.”
Durak was first arrested in 2009 and spent about eight months in jail until her first trial, as a result of which she was released pending trial. But after the Supreme Court approved of her punishment, she was arrested again.
Teen Girl Shot in the Head for Appearing in Turkish Version of The Voice
A teenage Turkish woman competing in a televised singing contest similar to The Voice is in critical condition after being shot in the head Monday.
The Daily Mail reports Mutlu Kaya, 19, previously received death threats for her decision to join Turkey’s Sesi Çok Güzel competition on the country’s private channel Fox.
According to the site, the young woman once told producers, “When they heard that I was going to join the competition, they told me they would kill me. I am afraid.”
Her fears were validated Monday as she rehearsed inside her home in the Ergani district of Diyarbakir province, when an attacker broke into her backyard and shot her through a back window from the residence’s garden, striking her in the head.
The state Anatolia news agency said Tuesday a suspect in the shooting had not been named, but the New York Daily News reports one of four people who have been arrested in connection with the attack is the woman’s former-boyfriend.
The country’s Posta newspaper reported prior to the attack that Kaya had been threatened by someone within her own family for going to Istanbul to take part in the show.


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