Wednesday, May 27, 2015

From Ian:

Michael Totten: The Borg of the Middle East
ISIS has conquered Syria’s spectacular Roman Empire city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site long known affectionately as the “bride of the desert,” and in all likelihood is gearing up to demolish it. We know this because they’ve done it before. ISIS used hammers, bulldozers, and explosives to destroy the ancient Iraqi cities of Hatra and Nimrud near Mosul, and they did it on video.
“These ruins that are behind me,” said an ISIS vandal on YouTube, “they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah. The Prophet Muhammad took down idols with his bare hands when he went into Mecca. We were ordered by our prophet to take down idols and destroy them, and the companions of the prophet did this after this time, when they conquered countries.”
Muslims have ruled this part of the world for more than 1,000 years. All this time, they’ve been unbothered by the fact that Palmyra, Hatra, and Nimrud include pagan monuments, temples, statues, and inscriptions that predate Islam. Only now are these places doomed to annihilation. ISIS is more belligerently Philistine than any group that has inhabited the region for a millennium. The only modern analogue is the Taliban’s destruction of the ancient Buddhist statues at Bamiyan with anti-aircraft guns, artillery shells and dynamite in March 2001, mere months before their al-Qaida pals attacked New York City and Washington.
This attitude toward history harks back less to the seventh century than to the twentieth, when Pol Pot reset the calendar to Year Zero after the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia, and when Mao Zedong’s Chinese Cultural Revolution murdered millions in the war against everything “old.”
JPost Editorial: Unhealthy resolution
WHO’s annual assembly last week condemned Israel for “violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan.”
This is a travesty in every conceivable aspect. While the bloodbath in the region continues unabated, the international forum has found nothing else worth focusing upon but Israel. Only Israel was singled out by the WHO assembly.
This comes despite the fact that Israeli medics and hospitals provide indisputably altruistic treatment to spiraling numbers of civilians and enemy combatants from Syria, fleeing that country’s killing fields. The most cutting- edge medical care is given critically wounded victims who reach the Golan border.
But most disheartening of all is the fact that this disgraceful resolution was adopted in Geneva by a whopping majority of 104 to 4, with 6 abstentions and 65 no-shows. Israel, unjustly accused and unjustly convicted in another UN kangaroo court, was condemned even by European delegations, which purport to occupy the high moral ground – although they ought to know all about blood libel.
Gallingly, the Syrian government – which has been mass-murdering its own citizens – submitted a document that urged WHO to “intervene immediately and take effective measures to end inhuman Israeli practices that target the health of Syrian citizens.”
Elliott Abrams: IMF Realism About the West Bank and Gaza
The report then usefully compares the Palestinian situation to that in other countries that were dependent on aid—but made real progress.
Several countries with similarly high aid flows have successfully reduced aid dependency. Examples include Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda and Botswana. Ghana, Mozambique and Rwanda still receive very high aid flows today, but aid ratios to government spending have fallen in all three countries in recent years. Botswana was one of the poorest countries in the world at the time of its independence in 1966, when it relied on grants from Britain for development and most of its recurrent spending. Although aid provided critical resources in the early years of independence, its role declined over time, and by 2006/7 it accounted for less than 2 percent of GDP.
Why recount all of this?
In the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations the United States has sought a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the PLO, and failed to achieve this time after time. There has been a real opportunity cost from this search for a final status agreement complete with handshakes on the White House lawn and Nobel prizes. The cost has been that we focused solely on the diplomatic process and largely ignored real life as it is lived by Palestinians, and might be improved. The IMF report shows that much could be done, even within current constraints, to improve the Palestinian economy. It’s undramatic, the details are boring, and some of the analyses are technical. No prizes, no time on the evening news. But that is how Palestinian institutions will be built, and how the institutions of a state must come into existence—not at the State Department and not at the United Nations.
The IMF report is a reminder that speeches, great conferences, and dramatic donor pledges (that are never met) do not benefit the Palestinians. And of course efforts to hurt the Israeli economy through boycotts will not help but will actually harm the Palestinians as well. It is long past time to take a more serious approach, and the IMF’s report shows some ways this could be done if the genuine goal is progress rather than taking credit and casting blame.



Netanyahu two-faced on two states? Maybe not
On the one hand, Netanyahu said (during his joint press conference with Mogherini last week) that he supports the principle of two states for two peoples and desires the speedy resumption of peace talks. On the other hand, he said (in the closed meeting with Mogherini that followed) that the Palestinians are running away from peace, taking unilateral hostile actions against Israel and posing preconditions that make an agreement impossible.
It is no wonder that the Europeans left the meeting skeptical, heartened by Netanyahu’s declared commitment to Palestinian statehood but still unsure about the sincerity of his words.
But the truth is that Netanyahu’s position is not all that difficult to figure out. In principle, he knows that a one-state solution would lead to a bi-national state, which would spell the end of the Zionist dream. This realization, joined with ever-increasing international pressure, led him to endorse the two-state solution.
He first expressed the willingness to accept a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognized Israel as the Jewish homeland in a historic 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech. And several statements geared to a right-wing electorate ahead of the recent elections notwithstanding, Netanyahu has never really reneged on his commitment to the principle of two states for two peoples.
At the same time, however, he is convinced that the current geopolitical realities would turn a future Palestine into a hotbed for terrorists that would jeopardize Israel’s survival. Furthermore, he interprets the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as an indication that the current Palestinian leadership is not ready to drop all claims against Israel once and for all and coexist peacefully.
Lastly, his political base is such that it can swallow a rhetorical commitment to the two-state solution, but he fears it would rebel if he were to make concrete moves to divide the Land of Israel.
It’s the clash between what Netanyahu considers a dreamy ideal and the harsh reality that dooms his position on Palestinian statehood to a debilitating deadlock.
How Does Obama Plan to Make “Palestinians” a “Free People On Their Land”?
So Obama went down to his crony Jeffrey Goldberg’s synagogue and put on the usual performance aimed at the dumber sort of liberal Jews. He mentioned Martin Luther King so many times that you might have thought it was MLK Day. He equated Betty Friedman with Einstein and Jonas Salk as the Jewish contribution to America. That’s like classing Al Sharpton with George Washington Carver.
After enough flattery about Jewish values, he got to the Israel-bashing point, stating, “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people on their land, as well.”
Let’s set aside the obnoxious hijacking of Hatikvah worthy of the sort of BDSers who wear shirts with Anne Frank in a Keffiyah, how exactly does Obama plan to achieve the “free part”?
His buddy Abbas hasn’t held an election in a long time. Gaza is run by Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood totalitarian terror group, making effectively two Palestinian states.
Neither of them free.
While Obama and Kerry constantly berate Israel, they haven’t tried to force Abbas to hold an actual election. The West Bank is currently run by the PLO Council rather than by a democratically elected government. Gaza is probably run by some combination of Iran and Qatar.
PLO Blows Up Netanyahu’s ‘Peace Process’ Renewal
The Jewish Press.com reported here on Tuesday that Netanyahu simply was leading Mogherini along her rosy path while knowing full well that the Palestinian Authority is not interested in resuming negotiations.
Lo and behold, the Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem, published Wednesday morning an amazing statement by Palestinian Authority negotiator Saed Erekat, who said:
If Mr. Netanyahu wants to have meaningful negotiations ending the occupation that began in 1967, he should recognize a Palestinian State on the 1967 border and honor Israel’s obligations including a halt of settlement construction and the release of the Palestinian prisoners.
There never has been a clearer admission of the Palestinian Authority’s understanding of the word “negotiation,” which it defines as “give us everything we want and then we will talk about, hmmmm, uh, about expelling Israel from FIFA, assuming it survives charges of wholesale bribery.”
Netanyahu Says Nuclear-Armed Iran is ‘Thousand Times’ More Dangerous Than Islamic State
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (D-LA) that a nuclear-armed Iran is a “thousand times” more dangerous than the threats posed by the Islamic State.
In his meeting with Cassidy, Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s position on the Iran nuclear deal as a “very bad” one and said that the world powers should not “rush” into a deal for the sake of it.
“I see no reason to rush to a deal, and certainly not a bad deal that paves Iran’s path to the bomb, but also fills Iran’s coffers with tens of billions of dollars to pursue its aggression throughout the Middle East and around Israel’s borders,” Netanyahu said.
At the same time, Netanyahu said that the threat of the Islamic State, or ISIS, is nothing compared to a terrorist state with nuclear weapons.
“I will say this: ISIS is in the news. Its murderous actions are horrific,” he said.
Netanyahu added that “as horrific as ISIS is, once Iran, the preeminent terrorist state of our time, acquires nuclear weapons, it will be a hundred times more dangerous, a thousand times more dangerous and more destructive than ISIS.”
Russia, US close to deal on Iran ‘snap-back’ sanctions
Moscow and Washington are close to agreement on a formula that bridges differences over US demands to quickly re-impose UN sanctions on Iran if Tehran violates its commitments under a nuclear deal, officials told The Associated Press Tuesday.
Such an understanding would resolve a US-Russian dispute that threatened to scuttle an agreement meant to impose long term cuts on Iran’s nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions relief.
Washington sees a “snap-back” mechanism that allows previously lifted sanctions to be quickly reinstated as a cornerstone of any deal. Ben Rhodes, US President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told reporters last week that such a concept remained “the basic premise of our approach to sanctions.”
But Russia opposes any automatic triggers.
Video exposes divisions among Iran lawmakers over nuke talks
Iranians have been captivated by a video circulating on social media this week that shows a hard-line lawmaker trading barbs with the country’s foreign minister over the ongoing nuclear negotiations with world powers.
The video, which surfaced Monday, shows Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and hard-line lawmaker Mahdi Kouchakzadeh in a heated exchange, apparently at the end of a closed session of parliament.
The hard-liner calls Zarif a “traitor,” claiming he speaks for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which then prompts an angry reaction from the minister, who becomes obviously upset and chastises the lawmaker saying he has no right to speak for the country’s top leader.
There are speculations that the poor-quality footage was filmed, most likely with a mobile phone, and leaked by one of the lawmakers present at the session. Several lawmakers have demanded that authorities uncover the person behind the leak and prosecute the individual.
Site inspections must be part of Iran deal: IAEA
If Iran signs a nuclear deal with world powers it will have to accept inspections of its military sites, the head of the UN’s atomic watchdog Yukiya Amano told AFP in an interview.
The question of inspections is shaping up to be one of the thorniest issues as world powers try to finalize a deal by June 30 to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
Amano said Tehran has agreed to implementing the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that allows for snap inspections of its nuclear facilities, and if required, military sites.
However, differences have emerged over the interpretation of the protocol and the issue is far from resolved.
France: No Iran Deal Without Full Access to Military Sites
France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday his country would not back any nuclear deal with Iran unless it provided full access to all installations, including military sites.
“France will not accept (a deal) if it is not clear that inspections can be done at all Iranian installations, including military sites,” Laurent Fabius told lawmakers .
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week ruled out international inspection of Iran’s military sites or access to nuclear scientists under any nuclear agreement. Iran’s military leaders echoed his remarks.
Fabius said he wanted other countries negotiating with Iran in the framework of the so-called P5+1 – also including Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States – to adopt France’s position.
“‘Yes’ to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb. That is the position of France which is independent and peaceful.”
Iran nuclear deal unlikely by June 30, French envoy to US says
An Iran nuclear deal is not likely by June 30 because technical details will remain to define and Iran will not get sanctions relief before the end of the year in the best of cases, western ambassadors said on Tuesday.
Six major powers are seeking to negotiate an agreement under which Iran would limit its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions that have crippled its economy.
Envoys to Washington from Britain, France and Germany, three of the P5+1 group that also includes China, Russia and the United States, sketched out their expectations for the end game as a self-imposed June 30 deadline approaches.
"It's very likely that we won't have an agreement before the end of June or even (right) after," French ambassador Gerard Araud said in an appearance at the Atlantic Council think tank.
Iran willing to extend nuclear talks past deadline
Talks between Iran and world powers aimed at finalizing a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program could go beyond a June 30 deadline, a senior Iranian negotiator said Wednesday.
“We are not at the point where we can say that negotiations will be completed quickly — they will continue until the deadline and could continue beyond that,” Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
Araqchi has been attending a fresh round of talks between Iranian representatives and officials from the P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany — which got under way in Vienna on Tuesday.
The two sides signed a framework agreement on April 2 and aim to seal a final deal by the end of next month to prevent Iran from developing an atomic bomb, in exchange for an easing of crippling economic sanctions.
Iran’s Third Path to a Bomb
The emerging agreement with Iran that President Obama sees as his legacy will give Iran three paths to a bomb: it can break out, wait out, or sneak out of the agreement. Iran will pocket its huge signing bonus; take reversible steps toward “compliance”; then either break out (perhaps after a dispute about implementation, or while the U.S. is involved in some other crisis), or wait out (after which, President Obama concedes, Iran will face no further barrier to a bomb), or sneak out (using secret sites and undetectable methods). In an important new paper entitled “Deterring an Iranian Nuclear Breakout,” Michael Eisenstadt, director of the Military and Security Studies Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writes that “the most likely scenario” is “an Iranian breakout using undeclared facilities”. Congress should read the paper carefully before it signs onto ObamaPeace in our time.
Eisenstadt cites the November 2014 testimony of former CIA and NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, in which he said that “[a]bsent an invasive inspection regime, with freedom to visit all sites on short notice, American intelligence cannot provide adequate warning of Iranian nuclear developments.” Eisenstadt notes that Iran’s fact sheet on the “framework” says its implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol will be “voluntary” and “temporary,” and he describes the U.S. “fact sheet” as “too good to be true”:
Iran has already stated that enriched uranium will not be sent out of the country, that IAEA inspectors will not have access to military facilities, and that all sanctions should be lifted immediately upon conclusion of the agreement. The stockpiling of enriched uranium – even in dilute form – would vitiate much of the purpose the accord. Denial of access to military facilities could create no-go zones in which Iran could engage in undeclared activities and build clandestine facilities. And the immediate lifting of sanctions would instantly reduce the international community’s leverage over Iran …
And not only that: an “even greater monitoring challenge” will be presented by the transfer of nuclear fissile material or a weapon from North Korea, which will “likely remain a critical weakness of any monitoring effort in Iran.”
Obama’s UN Favor for Israel All About a Selling a Bad Iran Deal
After giving the Israelis a scare, the Obama administration stepped in at the last moment last week and spiked a proposal for a United Nations conference on nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The conference would have targeted the Jewish state for its nuclear program and weapons and the Netanyahu government was quick to express gratitude to the administration for at least this one instance, having, as it keeps saying it does, Israel’s back. But contrary to the spin about this coming out of the administration that was reported by the Wall Street Journal, the move tells us nothing about whether President Obama will keep other commitments to Israel or, if necessary, “walk away from a bad deal” with Iran. To the contrary, as welcome as the U.S. stand on this conference was, it was all about keeping Israel and its friends quiet about an impending nuclear deal with Iran that is likely to be terrible.
There’s no question that Israel is greatly relieved about the U.S. keeping its word and heading off what would have been yet another UN-sponsored Israel-bashing festival. With so many senior administration officials issuing thinly-veiled threats about abandoning Israel at the UN out of pique at the re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the U.S. decision to stick to its longstanding policy of backing Israel’s public ambiguity about its nuclear arsenal was a pleasant surprise. But any predictions about this being an indications that relations between Israel and the United States will start to warm up in the last 20 months of the Obama presidency are likely to prove misleading.
This gesture and other moves, such as the president’s speech at a Washington, D.C. synagogue last Friday, are clearly aimed at walking back previous administration efforts to distance the U.S. from Israel and specifically to antagonize and treat Netanyahu as a pariah. But the purpose of this new Jewish charm offensive is tactical, not strategic. As negotiations with Iran head into the homestretch in the coming weeks, the administration is characteristically focused more on the politics of an agreement than on the policy implications of their effort to craft an entente with the Islamist regime.
On NIAC’s (and Christiane Amanpour’s) Selective Outrage
On May 22, Sen. Lindsay Graham apparently spoke disparagingly about Iranians and truthfulness. While Graham was criticizing the Iranian negotiating record—and the Islamic Republic’s decided lack of truthfulness—he phrased himself poorly and appeared to castigate all Iranians. Culture matters, but racism is wrong. If Graham meant to suggest that all Iranians are liars, then he should be condemned. What is ironic, however, is that the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a lobby group which tends to promote the foreign policy platform of the Islamic Republic and vehemently oppose sanctions on the Iranian regime, has demanded an apology:
“The Senator’s repulsive remarks are racist, period,” NIAC President Trita Parsi said. “This type of discourse should have no place in American politics.”
This is ironic, as Parsi and NIAC often engage in far worse discourse including crudely anti-Semitic generalizations and insinuations of Jewish dual loyalty. Back in January, for example, they suggested that Congress was following Israel’s orders rather than acting as the representatives of the United States. Indeed, they targeted Graham in their solicitation by taking out-of-context a statement alleging that he told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that “We will follow your lead.” That was a slander which NIAC adopted after notorious racist David Duke and the Ron Paul Institute picked it up, stripped away context, and suggested dual loyalty.
Washington Post Reporter Goes on Trial Behind Closed Doors in Tehran
Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian went on trial on espionage charges behind closed doors in Tehran on Tuesday, 10 months after he was arrested at his home and imprisoned, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
His wife Yeganeh Salehi and a woman described as a photojournalist, who were detained with him in July but later released, also went on trial, the official IRNA news agency said without giving any details on their charges.
The three, all U.S.-Iranian, were in court for around two hours before the session was adjourned, IRNA added.
Iranian authorities have not released details of any charges and pressed on with the case in the face of calls from U.S. President Barack Obama, family members and rights groups for Rezaian’s release and more information on the charges.
The case has put pressure on U.S.-Iranian relations, while Tehran, Washington and five other world powers have been trying to hammer out a deal to end a decade-old standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.
“He (Rezaian) has been charged with espionage for collecting confidential information … and handing it to hostile governments, writing a letter to Obama and acting against national security,” lawyer Leila Ahsan told Tasnim.
Rezaian’s brother Ali told Reuters Television on Monday that family members had been barred from attending the Revolutionary Court session.
“I think the only reason you could possibly imagine that the trial would be closed would be to prevent people from seeing the lack of evidence,” Rezaian said.
Netanyahu: Hamas responsible for all fire from Gaza
Israel views Hamas as responsible for every rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.
Netanyahu, in his first public comments on the rocket fire from Gaza Tuesday evening, said that the IDF responded immediately to the fire, in line with the government's policy.
“We will do everything needed to preserve the quiet attained through Operation Protective Edge,” he said, referring to last summer's operation in Gaza.
Netanyahu's comments came at the start of a meeting in Jerusalem with visiting Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Israel warns Hamas of ‘heavy price’ for rocket fire
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon delivered a stern warning to Hamas on Wednesday morning following a rocket attack on the south the night before. Hamas, he said, must rein in any attempts by factions in Gaza to attack Israel, or “pay a heavy price.”
Earlier, Israeli Air Force jets bombed four targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket, which hit near near the town of Gan Yavne, outside Ashdod, causing neither casualties nor damage.
The army alleged that it was fired by Islamic Jihad activists due to an internal dispute in the organization.
“Israel has no intention of ignoring attacks on its citizens like the one carried out last night by Islamic Jihad forces,” Ya’alon said in a statement. “We will not abide any threat on the residents of the south. If it isn’t quiet in Israel, the Gaza Strip will pay a heavy price.”
When two Gazans fight, Israel suffers
As of Wednesday morning, the latest violent flareup between Israel and the Gaza Strip appears to have come to a quick conclusion, as expected.
The rocket barrage that Islamic Jihad launched — due to internal tensions within the group — drew a limited, measured Israeli response that included bombardments of two of its targets in Rafah and Khan Yunis, the headquarters of the Popular Resistance Committees, and a Hamas position in the northern Gaza Strip. All the positions were empty and no one was injured, evidently due to an Israeli effort to prevent loss of life that likely would have drawn an additional Palestinian attack.
Despite the rocket attack on the Ashdod area, Hamas and Israel seem to have a clear interest in keeping things calm between them. Israel’s measured response was a message to Hamas that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government wants to maintain the status quo. In other words, calm will be answered with calm, and Israel will work to enable Gaza’s economic survival.
Hamas Says It Arrested Terrorists Who Fired Rocket
Hamas arrested the terrorists behind the rocket launched Tuesday night at southern Israel, a Hamas source told Ynet on Wednesday.
"What happened yesterday (the rocket fire) goes against the interests of the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and against our national interests," the Hamas source said. "We consider the rocket fire to be a dangerous thing."
"Right after the rocket fire, our security forces were deployed to different places across the Strip and hunted for the shooters until they were found and arrested," the source added.
Hamas informed Egyptian authorities that it is not interested in escalation with Israel, following the firing of a rocket at Gan Yavne Tuesday and the retaliation by the IDF early this morning, sources in Gaza said.
Palestinian Rocket Attack: Time Magazine’s Headline Fail
It appears that internal fighting within the Islamic Jihad terror organization led to the rocket fire. Israel launched limited air strikes on Gazan terrorist infrastructure in response.
Most of the international media’s headlines, while leading with the air strikes, did include mention that these followed a Palestinian rocket attack. Not Time magazine however, which ran this chronologically inverted headline:
"Israeli Jets Launch Air Strikes on Gaza Strip"
Time follows a familiar pattern whereby the emphasis placed on Israeli responses to Palestinian terror create the impression of Israel as an aggressor deploying “disproportionate force.”
Hamas Rocket Attack Fails, as Gazan Civilians Unharmed (satire)
Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip Tuesday night were deemed a failure by the militant group Hamas, as no Palestinian civilian injuries were reported.
Hamas officials expressed disappointment that the missiles launched by the group, which landed in southern Israel, failed to strike any Palestinian schools or UN camps or draw an Israeli response that could be condemned by the international media.
“We were sure at least one of the rockets would fall short of Israel and land in an apartment building, or that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu would announce some new settlements in response,” one senior Hamas official complained. “We just wasted five perfectly good rockets for nothing.”
Several left-wing NGOs and celebrities also expressed their aggravation, saying they had rushed to their computers to draft a press release condemning Israel for genocide only to be disappointed.
“I was getting ready to tweet and use the #Gazaunderattack hashtag and show everyone how political and compassionate I am,” whined actor Mark Ruffalo. “Then I read that no one was killed. What a letdown!”
IDF Drill Prepares for Terror Surge in Judea and Samaria
The same day that Gaza terrorists fired rockets at Israel, with a Grad rocket striking near Ashdod, a wide-reaching logistical drill was held on Tuesday by the IDF's Central Command to prepare for multiple security incidents occurring simultaneously.
Lt. Col. Oren Asado, head of the Central Command's logistic branch, spoke about the importance of the drill which was held by the Judea and Samaria division.
"If in the large drill held by the IDF around two months ago the focus of the training was on mobilizing the forces and on an operational response, in the drill held yesterday, the entire logistical branch of the command was tested," said Asdo.
He explained that the drill involved "the mobility of thousands of fighters on roads which likely will be the focus of riots and breaches of public order."
Describing the challenge, he noted it involved "controlling hostile village spaces while providing a logistical response to transferring equipment, food, and water both to the population and to the fighters, all while under riots, gunfire, firebombs and more."
Archaeologist Slams 'Islamic Brutality on the Temple Mount'
Archaeologist Dr. Gabi Barkay, director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that the extent of the damage inflicted to the ancient mosaic floor of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount may never be known.
"The rugs that were donated by Abdullah the King of Jordan have already been attached to the floor, there is no documentation of the floor under the rugs - I was there and they didn't let me in," Barkay said. "The information we know is only from videos spread on the internet by Islamic sources."
According to the archaeologist, the ancient floor is located above historical sites of the highest importance, aside from being located on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
"A portion of the floor is in halls surrounding the building since the Crusader Period, the other portion is in a more ancient cave, perhaps from 3,000 years BCE, and part of it is likely to be from the days of the Second Temple," said Barkay.
TA college syllabus featuring alleged traitor outrages students
Students at the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Academic College were surprised to discover that the reading list for the course "History of Political Ideas" includes an essay from a book edited by former Israeli Arab Balad MK Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel following the 2006 Second Lebanon War after authorities suspected that he might have supplied Hezbollah with coordinates for missile strikes against civilian targets.
The Emmanuel Kant essay assigned as part of the required reading appeared in a volume edited by Bishara titled "Enlightenment: an Unfinished Project." Bishara also wrote the introduction to the book.
"It's immoral and doesn't make sense that Azmi Bishara -- someone who [allegedly] gave information to the enemy and evaded trial -- is part of the education of students in Israel, and what's more -- about enlightenment and morality," one student enrolled in the course said.
The student added that "the lecturers at the college have gone a step too far. Bishara doesn't compose music that has nothing to do with his actions. He's writing sentences that presume to reflect morality in society. Teaching [his work] is moral insanity.
Two wounded from Syria war cross into Israel to be treated in hospital
Two wounded Syrians arrived overnight Monday and were taken to Poriya Hospital near Tiberias, Israel Radio reported.
One of the injured was 27 years old with shrapnel in his upper body. The other was 26 with a bullet lodged in his spine. So far the hospital has treated 176 wounded from the war in Syria, said the report.
“Fighting continued all night between the Syrian rebels and the Syrian regime on the Syrian side of the border,” Mendi Safadi, an Israeli Druse who in the past served as Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara’s chief of staff, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Safadi, who has traveled in the region, met with activists and claimed that he relayed messages from them to the Prime Minister’s Office, said that he had been on the Golan last night and most of Tuesday.
“At night one can see and hear the fighting from Syria.”
Asked about the injured Syrians that are being treated in Israel, Safadi speculated that they are either from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army or ordinary civilians that got caught up in the crossfire.
Egyptian Court: We Can't Designate Israel a 'Terrorist State'
A court in Egypt on Monday rejected a lawsuit demanding the designation of Israel as a “terrorist state”, The Cairo Post reported.
According to the report, the Abdeen Court of Urgent Matters stated it has no legal authority to consider the suit, which was filed by the Nedal Center for Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF).
The group, which filed the case against the Egyptian President, Foreign Minister and Minister of Defense, asked them to issue a decree labelling Israel a “terrorist state.”
NCHRF cited alleged “human rights violations” committed by Israel, as well as supposed Israeli-led espionage cases in Egypt between 1985 and 2013, according to The Cairo Post.
The case also called for banning the sale of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and Liberation newspaper in Egypt over “blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed.”
The court in question is the same court which previously banned the activities of the April 6 Youth Movement, and which blacklisted Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades and the Muslim Brotherhood.
MEMRI: Head Of Jordanian Authors Union: Salafi-Jihadi Organizations Draw Their Methods From Jewish Talmud
In a December 24, 2014 column in the Jordanian daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm, Jordanian Authors Union head Dr. Muwaffaq Mahadin claimed that there are ties between Salafi-jihadi organizations and global Zionism and Judaism. The jihadi groups, he said, have even drawn their methods of operation from Zionism and the Talmud, including mass murder, abductions, and the stripping away of human dignity, which he calls "clear Talmudic methods lacking all connection to Islamic heritage."
"The facts and findings on the ground point to a connection between takfiri [jihad] organizations and Zionist circles, but what is more important is the ideological or philosophical dimension that these groups share with global Judaism and its secret circles.
"When these [jihad] organizations carry out mass murder, with suicide operations and various explosive devices, or with other barbaric collective operations such as demanding that a sectarian mob trample and kick someone they have detained, and so on – these are clear Talmudic methods lacking any connection to Islamic heritage and its lofty traditions and practices.
Egyptian Sheik Khaled Kholif: We Must Commence Our War with the Shiites
In a May 15 Friday sermon titled "Let's Start with the Shiites, before the Jews," posted on the Internet, Egyptian cleric Khaled Al-Kholif said that Sunni Muslims should commence their war with the Shiites or else "the Jews and Crusaders will become the decision-makers" in our own countries.


Egyptian Deity changes name to ‘The Goddess Formerly Known as Isis’ (satire)
The Egyptian Goddess of Magic and Life announced yesterday that after several months of being confused with the terrorist organization ISIS, she would change her name to the The Goddess Formerly Known As Isis, or TGFKAI for short.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce today that I will now be known as the The Goddess Formerly Known as Isis,” the deity said in a press conference surrounded by other well-known ancient gods. “Over the last several months, my name, which has long represented magic and health, has become soiled by a bunch of nuts – err, sorry Nut – sociopaths.”
While TGFKAI was composed throughout the conference, The Israeli Daily caught up with her afterwards for an exclusive interview; “Frankly, I’m pissed. I’ve spent thousands of years building my personal brand, and then these little pieces of shit come a long and ruin it within a few months. After my own son decapitated me, I had to use my magic to restore my head. Now these little bastards are doing the same thing all over Iraq and Syria, and using my name!”
Newly Revealed Bin Laden Documents Reveal Extent of Antisemitism as Motivating Factor for Attacks
Newly declassified documents and correspondences found in Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound have underlined the extent to which Al Qaeda used antisemitism “as a valuable motivating factor for terrorism,” the Anti-Defamation League blog reported on Tuesday.
“References to Jews were far more frequent in propaganda pieces and in items discussing plans for propaganda than in strategic memos or other letters,” said the ADL.
According to the report, the word “Jew” appears 36 times among 103 documents, Israel 16 and Zionist 6, but this does not include Al Qaeda portmanteaus such as “Ziocrusade” or Qur’anic quotes on other topics, according to ADL.
The group commonly adopted antisemitic ideology that singles Jews out for controlling finances and enslaving the Western world for its devices.
One article lambastes the “filth of [the Americans and Europeans] Zionist capitalist masters producing the money and manpower which their masters utilize to seek to destroy Israel’s enemies and to rob the people of the globe of their minds, honor, land, resources, chastity, minerals, oil and lives.”
Often, the group used violence against Jews as a litmus test for the commitment of potential affiliates to jihadi causes.


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