Friday, July 03, 2015

From Ian:

Rocket explodes in southern Israel
A rocket exploded in Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip Friday afternoon, and security officials were checking whether the launch had come from the Palestinian territory or the Sinai peninsula.
There were no reports of casualties or damage in the attack.
The launch set off “Color Red” warning sirens in the Eshkol Regional Council, which borders the southern Gaza Strip as well as the Egyptian peninsula. Security teams were scouring the area for the impact site.
Palestinian media also reported explosions in northern Gaza, according to Walla News.
There has recently been in increase in sporadic attacks by terror elements in the Strip. Recent weeks have seen several rocket launches from Gaza, the first significant attacks since the conclusion of the war between Israel and armed groups in the coastal territory last summer.
'UNRWA, Hamas are two sides of the same coin'
Little is known about the second U.N. report on Operation Protective Edge, waged in the Gaza Strip last summer. While the U.N. Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission, headed by American jurist Mary McGowan Davis, looked into alleged war crimes committed during the fighting, the second, 207-page report, penned by retired Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, focused solely on the damaged sustained by U.N. Relief and Works Agency facilities during the 50-day military campaign.
Cammaert's report is classified, and only a fraction of it, some 27 pages, has been made public, garnering little attention. The findings concluded that 44 Palestinians were killed and 227 others were injured while taking shelter in U.N. facilities in Gaza. An addendum to the report said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was "shocked that militant groups had endangered U.N. schools by using them as weapons caches."
One can understand why the Cammaert report was downplayed. Terrorist groups' continuous use of UNRWA facilities across the coastal enclave is a source of much embarrassment to the U.N. The "shock," however, should be taken with a grain of salt, as Israel has been warning for years about the interaction between Hamas and other terrorist groups and UNRWA. These ties have been recorded in dozens of files, and two new reports published in recent days, one by the Institute for Zionist Strategies and one by the Center for Near East Policy Research, indicate that the symbiosis between Hamas and UNRWA in Gaza is only growing stronger.
UNRWA itself recorded the terrorists' use of its facilities in the Strip, and the findings were corroborated in the Cammaert report, detailing dozens of cases when weapons, munitions, and missiles were hidden in schools, and how school buildings were used as cover for rocket launching sites.
JPost Editorial: Horror in Sinai
On Wednesday, cowardly terrorists killed more than 100 Egyptian police and civilians. As terrorism hit the Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian security forces swept in and killed nine armed men in Cairo just days after the top state prosecutor was assassinated.
Egypt is experiencing tumultuous times. It is a reminder that Egypt and Israel, as well as the region as a whole, confront similar enemies; extremism and terrorism.
In each country there are those elements that seek to spread murderous ideologies and harm civilian life.
The rise of Islamic State in Sinai is the latest culmination of years of turmoil in the peninsula. Under Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, the extremists were encouraged to strike down roots. According to interviews Egyptian security officials gave to foreign media, the harm done to civilians and security in Sinai was at the heart of then-Gen. Adbel Fattah al-Sisi’s outrage at the mismanagement of Egypt under Morsi.
Morsi ordered the army to give free rein to extremists, who often victimized Egyptians in the area.
Northern Sinai has long been home to localized Islamist groups, such as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. These groups have bombed Beduin shrines and sought to impose their strict version of Islamist ideology on the inhabitants.



Islam’s Tenuous Connection to Jerusalem
Despite 1,300 years of Muslim Arab rule, Jerusalem was never the capital of an Arab entity. Oddly, the PLO’s National Covenant, written in 1964, never mentioned Jerusalem. Only after Israel regained control of the entire city did the PLO “update” its Covenant to include Jerusalem.
Overall, the role of Jerusalem in Islam is best understood as the outcome of political pressure impacting on religious belief.
Mohammed, who founded Islam in 622 CE, was born and raised in present-day Saudi Arabia; he never set foot in Jerusalem. His connection to the city came years after his death when the Dome of the Rock shrine and the al-Aqsa mosque were built in 688 and 691, respectively; their construction spurred by political and religious rivalries. In 638 CE, the Caliph (or successor to Mohammed) Omar and his invading armies captured Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire. One reason they wanted to erect a holy structure in Jerusalem was to proclaim Islam’s supremacy over Christianity and its most important shrine, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
More important was the power struggle within Islam itself. The Damascus-based Umayyad Caliphs who controlled Jerusalem wanted to establish an alternative holy site if their rivals blocked access to Mecca. That was important because the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca was (and remains today) one of the Five Pillars of Islam. As a result, they built what became known as the Dome of the Rock shrine and the adjacent mosque.
Does Israel actually occupy the Gaza strip?
It’s often described as a war of narratives. And few things highlight the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more than discussions over the status of the Gaza Strip.
One of the main points of contention: Is the coastal Palestinian territory occupied by Israel?
We asked two Israelis and two Palestinians to lay out their views on that question. Their responses, below, have been edited for length and clarity.
First, a little background:
Most Palestinians see Gaza as part of the territories occupied by Israel. They also say the coastal enclave is under “siege,” with Israel controlling who and what goes in and out. The United Nations also calls Gaza occupied territory, most recently in a report commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council that concluded that both Israel and armed Palestinian factions in Gaza may have committed war crimes. The United Nations says it does not matter that Israeli soldiers are not based inside the strip; they have “effective control.”
Israelis, however, argue that their withdrawal from Gaza 10 years ago means that the enclave is not occupied — unlike the West Bank.
How IDF Intelligence failed to predict 'Hamastan' in Gaza following Israeli pullot
A year before the evacuation, the Southern Command warned of 'Hamastan in Gaza,' but Army Intelligence was quick to dismiss it, while the Shin Bet estimated Hamas was interested in calm; those who did try to alert of the dangers of leaving Gaza were pushed aside, while the rest toed the line.
The first time the GOC Southern Command, Dan Harel, heard about the plan to evacuate Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip was on the radio, while driving his car. This was in December 2003. He was listening to prime minister Ariel Sharon's speech at the Herzliya Conference when he suddenly realized that a dramatic decision has been made in secret and without his knowledge, and that one of the most meaningful events the Israeli society and the IDF will ever experience was going to happen under his command.
The research division at Army Intelligence, which was supposed to provide the intelligence for the Gaza disengagement, was also unaware of what was happening in the prime minister's close circle.
It is not unreasonable to assume that the prime minister and defense minister would be interested in hearing the opinion of Army Intelligence officials on what are the security consequences such an unprecedented move. But even the head of the research division at the time, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, heard about the disengagement for the first time only when it was already a done deal.
'Americans never presented Israel with full security plan for West Bank withdrawal'
US President Barack Obama, in an interview earlier this month on Channel 2, said that he sent some of his top military advisers to Israel during the negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013-2014, to hear Israel describe “the worst case scenario” of what it needed to protect itself after a withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian state. He was referring to a US team led by Gen. John Allen.
“And the truth is that we have ways in which we could deal with issues like the Jordan Valley,” he said.
Former US Middle East envoy Martin Indyk, in a speech in May 2014 soon after the breakdown of negotiations, said that “under the leadership of Gen.
Allen, we have done unprecedented work to determine how best to meet Israel’s security requirements in the context of a two-state solution.”
But Ya’alon, in a meeting with diplomatic reporters in his Tel Aviv office, said that while Allen tried to come up with a plan during the period of negotiations, he presented only part of a plan. And even that part, he said, was not sufficient and did not meet Israel’s security requirements.
“There is no US security plan, and the part that was presented was not enough,” Ya’alon said.
UN Conference-goers Condemn "Judaization" in the Name of Mideast "Peace"
Although the United Nations claims to condemn bigotry and racism, UN meetings routinely feature antisemitic language. The UN's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People sponsored a two-day conference entitled "UN International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace" in Moscow on July 1-2, 2015. On day one, the representative of Morocco lamented the Jewish presence in Jerusalem and implied that authentic Jerusalemites are not Jewish. In his words: "Morocco's King ... was sponsoring field projects to help Jerusalemites preserve their religious and cultural landmarks in the face of the Judaization of the city. "
Notwithstanding this effort to rid Arab-claimed land of Jews, and create what will be "apartheid Palestine," Riad al-Maliki, Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority said: "It is either a two-State solution on the 1967 borders or an apartheid reality the world cannot tolerate," and Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, accused Israel of being the "last outpost of apartheid in the twenty-first century. "
More accurately, one-fifth of Israel's population is Arab, with more democratic freedoms than in any Arab state.
At UN Conference, "Israeli-Palestinian Peace" Means Delegitimization of Israel
Moscow is playing host to a two-day conference, entitled "UN International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace," and sponsored by the UN's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
The event featured Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi, who used the UN opportunity to delegitimize and harm the same state in which he serves as an elected member of the legislature. The UN press release reports that Tibi:
- "commended all States, businesses and organizations that supported the movement to boycott Israel and called on the international community to adopt a legal position to end settlement expansion in the West Bank and the Judaization of East Jerusalem."
- said the Israeli government is actively working to ensure " the Israeli apartheid became systematic."
- "We [Arabs] are the rightful owners of the country, we are not guests."
Security Expert: Jews Are ‘Soft Target’ for Competing Islamic State and Al-Qaeda
Jewish sites are a “soft target” for Muslim extremist groups vying for influence in the radicalized Muslim world, Nick Kaderbhai, a research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London told the Jewish Chronicle on Thursday.
“Jews are an obvious target, a soft target. An Islamist could call for an attack on a piece of infrastructure but in the end it’s easier to go and firebomb a shul,” he said.
Peter Neumann, the director at the ICSR said Jewish institutions would suffer the turf and ideological war between Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, both Sunni extremist groups that are engaged in conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and elsewhere.
Their comments underline concerns among Jewish communities in Europe that feel especially vulnerable after deadly terrorist attacks in France and Denmark earlier this year, and Belgium last year.
In March, a European anti-terrorism official warned that Al Qaeda could launch terrorist attacks on the continent to prove it had not lost the leadership of global jihad.
‘Weak’ Cameron Schooled By Douglas Murray On The Prime Ministerial Response To Islamic State
On last night’s edition of BBC’s Question Time the Prime Minister was schooled in the proper way to react to Islamic State by the journalist and commentator, Douglas Murray.
Murray flagged up the debate that arose earlier this week, calling it the Prime Minister’s “battle with the BBC about what we call these terrorists.” He said that indulging in the debate is a “big mistake” which doesn’t help, continuing:
“We never called the IRA the ‘so-called IRA’ and the Islamic State is the Islamic State. It is what it says it is. It’s what it claims to be. It’s very Islamic and it claims to be a state.”
Rather than adopting “ludicrous” alternatives, labelled by Murray “a demonstration of weakness”, he explained the role of the Prime Minister:
“It is not the role of the Prime Minister of this country to tell the BBC what the Islamic State should be called and nor is it the role of a Prime Minister to get into that kind of wordplay. It should be the role of a Prime Minister, I think, to say 30 British citizens were killed in cold blood, now Britain as a state should respond to that very forcefully.”
In doing so, Murray earned a rare round of applause for a conservative voice on Question Time.
Obama’s counterterrorism policy facing mounting criticism
At the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, it was a cause for celebration: Meticulous intelligence analysis backed by Hellfire missiles had paid off, once again.
The CIA launched a drone strike last month on a Yemeni beach at three men it determined were al-Qaeda fighters. One of them turned out to be Nasser al-Wahishi, about as important a figure as agency man-hunters could hope to eliminate. He had been both al-Qaeda’s second in command and the leader of the group’s dangerous Yemeni affiliate.
American officials touted the death as a big victory. But did the demise of another senior extremist, the latest in a long line to be taken off the battlefield, make the United States and its allies any safer?
To many experts, including a growing number of former Obama administration national security advisers, that proposition is less convincing by the day.
Charles Krauthammer: The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history
The devil is not in the details. It’s in the entire conception of the Iran deal, animated by President Obama’s fantastical belief that he, uniquely, could achieve detente with a fanatical Islamist regime whose foundational purpose is to cleanse the Middle East of the poisonous corruption of American power and influence.
In pursuit of his desire to make the Islamic Republic into an accepted, normalized “successful regional power,” Obama decided to take over the nuclear negotiations. At the time, Tehran was reeling — the rial plunging, inflation skyrocketing, the economy contracting — under a regime of international sanctions painstakingly constructed over a decade.
Then, instead of welcoming Congress’ attempt to tighten sanctions to increase the pressure on the mullahs, Obama began the negotiations by loosening sanctions, injecting billions into the Iranian economy (which began growing again in 2014) and conceding in advance an Iranian right to enrich uranium.
It’s been downhill ever since. Desperate for a legacy deal, Obama has played the supplicant, abandoning every red line his administration had declared essential to any acceptable deal.
Ignoring Iran Cheating is North Korea Redux
So, when Iran gets caught cheating or, to be more generous, not upholding its commitments, the U.S. negotiators, Obama administration officials, or State Department proxies bend over backwards to exculpate Iran or diminish the significance of its failure to abide by its commitments.
It’s déjà vu all over again. Consider North Korea: In early 1987, analysts suspected that North Korea intended to produce plutonium. Satellites the following year spotted a new structure at Yongbyon, two football fields long and six stories high. It appeared to be a smoking gun. But some intelligence analysts, eager to avoid conflict, suggested the building might be a factory producing something akin to nylon. This was nonsense, but it was enough to inject uncertainty into the debate and avoid offering politicians a cut-and-dried case to establish North Korean cheating. That was under the George H.W. Bush administration, but Clinton would be no more serious. Shortly after Clinton took office, the White House pressured the IAEA to downplay North Korean noncooperation. To describe events accurately might precipitate a crisis. Later, when South Korean President Kim Young Sam told the New York Times that the Dear Leader was simply buying time, the State Department was furious. When he repeated his criticism the following year, Clinton blew his top.
By 1997, there was little doubt that the 1994 Agreed Framework had failed, but diplomats refused to accept the intelligence community’s findings. Nicholas Burns, the State Department spokesman (and a proponent of the current Iran talks), asserted, “We are absolutely confident . . . that the agreed framework, put in place two and a half years ago is in place, it’s working. We are absolutely clear that North Korea’s nuclear program has been frozen and will remain frozen.” Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, also insisted that the Agreed Framework was on track. Nothing was further from the truth.
Iran takes hard line on inspections, sanctions at nuke talks
Iran took a hard line Thursday on two of the biggest demands of world powers in a final nuclear accord, rejecting any extraordinary inspection rules and threatening to ramp up enrichment of bomb-making material if the United States and other countries re-impose sanctions after the deal is in place.
Speaking to reporters in Vienna, where diplomats are trying to clinch a comprehensive nuclear pact, a senior Iranian negotiator said the U.N. nuclear agency's standard rules governing access to government information, sites of interest and scientists should be sufficient to ensure that Iran's program is solely for peaceful purposes. Anything beyond that, he said, would be unfair.
The U.S. and some other negotiating countries want Iran to go further.
"We should be realistic," said the Iranian official, who briefed members of the news media on condition he not be quoted by name. He also questioned the legitimacy of countries that don't accept the International Atomic Energy Agency's jurisdiction demanding that Iran be subject to tougher requirements than any other nation. RIA-Novosti reported that Russia also backed Iran's position that additional inspection guidelines for Iran weren't necessary.
The official was making a clear reference to Israel, a state widely presumed to maintain an undeclared nuclear arsenal.
Western Diplomats Say Khamenei’s “Red Lines” are Preventing Breakthrough in Nuke Talks
Khamenei also declared that scientists who have worked on Iran’s nuclear program are off-limits to inspectors. A report in today’s New York Times explained why this access is essential to any deal.
For more than a decade, the C.I.A. has closely followed the workings of one Iranian officer and his sprawling nuclear empire: Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the relentless driving force behind what Western intelligence agencies say was Iran’s Manhattan Project, its effort to design a compact nuclear weapon that could fit atop a missile. …
In 2003, two National Intelligence Estimates have since concluded, Mr. Fakhrizadeh was told to take his foot off the pedal of his many projects, though there is some evidence that his work has sputtered ahead. No international inspector has met him or stepped into his laboratories. But an accurate assessment of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program is impossible without the participation of him and his colleagues.
Palestinian stone-thrower killed by IDF troops in West Bank
A Palestinian teenager was shot and injured by IDF troops early Friday morning near the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, after the youth threw stones at a military vehicle. He later died of his wounds.
The Israel Defense Forces said troops driving a vehicle near the West Bank village of al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, came under a hail of stones and boulders, which shattered their windshield. The soldiers exited the vehicle and called to the stone-throwers to stop, firing a warning shot into the air. When the attack continued, according to the IDF, the troops opened fire, injuring one of the attackers.
According to Israeli media reports, the Palestinian teen, named as Muhammad al-Kasbeh, 17, was shot by the commander of the Binyamin Brigade, Col. Yisrael Shomer, who was traveling in the military jeep.
Officials Defend Commander Who Shot Terrorist Dead
A seemingly routine IDF self-defense procedure, in which Binyamin Region Brigade Commander Col. Yisrael Shomer shot dead a Palestinian rioter who attack his car with rocks in Qalandiya, has elicited strong reactions from defense officials and politicians Friday.
Military officials affirmed to Walla! News that Shomer acted according to protocol.
"The images that come out left no doubt: this was a real danger to the unit," a senior official said. "The brigade commander responded decisively as expected of him. It is a place full of disturbances."
"It is important to emphasize the word 'stone' downplays what happened there," he added.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan also defended Shomer.
"Only a few months ago we buried [4 year-old] Adele [Biton], who was murdered by rock-throwers," Dagan stated Friday. "The Binyamin Brigade operated in the manner required against an enemy who seeks to kill."
Bennett after commander shoots stone-thrower: Stones kill, just ask Adele Biton
Responding to the Friday incident in which an IDF commander opened fire and killed a Palestinian who threw stones at his vehicle, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he backed the commander's decision completely.
"If someone seeks to kill you, rise up and kill him," Bennett wrote on twitter, in a quote from Jewish sources.
"I back completely the Binyamin Brigade Commander who acted against a terrorist in order to defend his soldiers," Bennett wrote.
"Stones kill, just ask Adele Biton," Bennett added, referring to the toddler who was seriously injured in a stone-throwing terror attack in the West Bank in 2013.
Palestinians Ambush, Stone Israeli Firefighters After Igniting Fires in Jerusalem
Palestinian vandals ignited fires in Jerusalem with Molotov cocktails and then ambushed and stoned firefighters who arrived at the scene to extinguish the flames, Israeli news site 0404 exclusively reported on Thursday.
The incident, according to the report, occurred in Jerusalem’s suburb of Pisgat Ze’ev.
First Sergeant Hezi Shimon, the commander of the responding firefighting force, told 0404 that “in the evening we rushed to a fire occurring in the wadi separating Pisgat Ze’ev from Shuafat.” Shimon noted that he had “extensive experience with fires in this area.”
“From the beginning,” he said, “this was a planned ambush by youths and masked attackers from Shuafat.”
Shimon said the method of the attackers was “simple.” They would, “throw Molotov cocktails towards the woods and vegetation, then lie in wait for us on the fence with stones, [more] Molotov cocktails, iron bars and everything else in sight.”
IDF shuts route along Egypt border after IS-linked Sinai attack
The IDF ordered the closure of Israel’s Highway 12, which runs along the border with Egypt, starting Friday morning and until further notice.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot gave the order late Thursday night, a day after a deadly attack by Islamic State-affiliated extremists killed over 70 Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula. The closure was approved by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
The measure is meant to be temporary, Israel Radio reported.
Israel was on high alert following the sophisticated attack on Egyptian security services in neighboring Sinai. The Israel Defense Forces beefed up its presence along the border with Sinai following the attacks, as security officials cautioned that the IS-affiliated group Wilayat Sinai could attempt to overrun the Gaza Strip.
Israeli General Says Hamas Aided Sinai ISIS Group in Major Egypt Attacks
An Israeli commander said on Thursday that the Jewish state had “clear evidence” that Hamas was extending aid to Wilayat Sinai, the terrorist group affiliated with the Islamic State in the Sinai peninsula which killed at least 17 in a string of attacks on Wednesday, Israeli Channel 2 reported.
“We have clear evidence that Hamas is supporting the ‘Wilayat Sinai’ organization, which is affiliated with ISIS,” Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said in an Arabic-language interview with Al Jazeera.
“In the recent terrorist attacks, Hamas gave weapons and logistical support to the group that is affiliated with ISIS,” said Mordechai, adding that, “we have examples of Hamas commanders who actively participated in this assistance.”
Mordechai specified “Wael Faraj, a brigade commander in the military wing of Hamas,” as one of the individuals who provided Wilayat Sinai with aid by “smuggling wounded [ISIS fighters] from Sinai into Gaza.”
Mordechai gave more examples of connections between the two organizations, including the transfer of equipment from Hamas to ISIS as well as the training of operatives to carry out terrorist attacks.
The Threat From the Hamas-ISIS Connection
That’s why Hamas has a vested interest in creating more chaos in Sinai than exists along its border with Israel. No matter what their opinion of each other might be, Hamas understands that the Egyptian government is a far more dangerous threat to its continued survival than is Israel. Under the circumstances it doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to believe that Israel’s intelligence about Hamas’s involvement in ISIS activities in Sinai has the ring of truth.
This realization ought to do more than cause concern in both Cairo and Jerusalem. The Sinai had already been transformed into something of a Wild West for terror in the years since a bloody Hamas coup allowed the group to seize control of the independent Palestinian state (in all but name) that currently exists in Gaza. But with ISIS moving into the void of security that the Sinai has become, a low level conflict with terrorists may be about to turn into something far more serious.
More to the point, this tacit alliance between otherwise rival Islamist terror groups ought to cause some foreign policy experts who have regarded Western acquiescence toward Hamas’s continued grip on Gaza as a given to rethink that assumption. If Gaza is no longer merely a launching pad for rockets and tunnels aimed at terrorizing Israelis but is also a base for terror aimed at toppling moderate Arab governments, continued tolerance of its sovereignty in Gaza is not only morally wrong; it is a suicidal proposition for the West.
Just as the Israelis have refrained from toppling Hamas in Gaza lest they be stuck governing the dysfunctional strip, so too do Western nations have a distaste for regime change in the strip. But perhaps it is time that those who were so quick to criticize Israel for launching a counter-attack against Gaza-based terrorism last summer realize that the perpetuation of Hamas rule there is a threat to more than the Jewish state. So long as an Islamist terror group has a secure base next to both Egypt and Israel and is getting aid from Iran, it is reasonable to assume that it will be undermining the security of both of those states as well as the rest of the region.
Rather than seeking to loosen up the blockade of Gaza that Israel and Egypt have been enforcing to limit Hamas’s ability to project terror abroad, perhaps the West should understand that pressure on the Islamist state needs to be heightened not diminished.
Hamas Rejects Claims it's Working with ISIS as 'Propaganda'
Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas on Friday dismissed as "propaganda" an Israeli claim that it provided support related to this week's jihadist attacks against Egyptian soldiers in Sinai.
"The occupation's (Israel) statements about Hamas helping IS are stupid accusations... and propaganda that aims to incite against Hamas," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP, referring to the Islamic State terrorist group (also known as ISIS), whose fighters carried out the attacks.
"Hamas has made efforts and taken stated measures to secure the border" between the Gaza Strip, which it controls, and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, he said. "We are intent on (preserving) Egypt's security."
Israeli Major General Yoav Mordechai said in an interview in Arabic with Al-Jazeera television Thursday that Hamas had provided help to "groups supporting IS" for the attacks, claiming also that wounded jihadists had been smuggled into Gaza.
Arabs Sexually Abuse Jewish Women on TA Beach on Ramadan
The Israel Police has reported that Arab residents of Judea and Samaria are taking advantage of the unprecedented concessions for the Muslim month of Ramadan to sexually abuse Jewish women on Tel Aviv beaches, in a state of affairs that repeats itself every year.
Police have revealed that the Ramadan "gestures" granting Arabs entry permits and direct buses to pray at the Temple Mount - where the Jordanian Waqf forbids Jews from praying - have been manipulated by many to stay on in Israel and visit the coastal beaches. There, many of the Arab visitors have reportedly been harassing Jewish women.
Take the case of Ahmed Hadid, a 19-year-old resident of Hevron in Judea who was arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing two women on the Tel Aviv coast this Tuesday after having received an entry permit for Ramadan, according to the Hebrew news site Walla!.
At a discussion on extending Hadid's detainment on Thursday, senior police investigator Sgt. Maj. Yona Hirschhorn said, "every year on the month of Ramadan we are confronted by this phenomenon."
Poll: Majority wants to remove leniencies on Palestinians
Israel should be tougher on Palestinians and cancel leniencies on their freedom of movement, in response to the recent wave of terrorist attacks, a majority of Israelis believe, according to a Panels Research poll broadcast Thursday on the Knesset Channel.
Fifty-one percent of Israelis favor responding to the attacks by removing the leniencies, 12% favor breaking off ties with the Palestinian Authority, and 23% called for responding to the attacks by advancing a diplomatic agreement, the poll found.
Jerusalem Arabs Attack Light Rail in Shuafat, Again
Arabs hurled rocks at the Light Rail in two separate attacks Thursday night as the train passed through the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.
None of the passengers were physically injured in either attack, although some were traumatized by the events.
In addition, at least one of the cars was taken out of service due to damage from the attack. The line has lost millions of shekels due to the necessity of having to repair the cars over and over again after they’ve been damaged by rock-throwing Arabs.
Jerusalem District Police are sweeping the area in a search for the attackers.
Arabs Call For 'Third Intifada' At Abu Khder Memorial
Police prepared in large numbers Thursday for what could be a restive weekend as Arabs in Jerusalem commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of Mohammed Abu Khder. The youth, 16, was kidnapped from eastern Jerusalem on July 2 and burned to death. Three Jews – a 29 year old and two 16 year olds – have been indicted on charges of murdering the youth, in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas terrorists.
Arabs were out in force Thursday night in the Shua'fat neighborhood of Jerusalem, where Abu Khder lived. A procession was held from the family's home to Abu Khder's grave. While the procession was relatively orderly, several members of the crowd shouted catcalls at police, and said that they demanded “a third intifada.”
Police have been ordered to hold back and interfere only in the event of a major disruption. Airborne cameras are photographing and recording the event in high resolution.
PA arrests 108 Hamas members in West Bank
According to reports in Hamas-affiliated media, the raids began early Thursday morning and continued overnight Thursday-Friday. The arrests included senior Hamas officials, according to the reports.
The raids were conducted in Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem, Walla News reported.
Hamas spokesman Husam Badran told the Palinfo news site that the “crazy” security measures undertaken by Palestinian Authority forces against Hamas in the West Bank were meant to stop the recent spate of deadly Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
He accused Palestinian security forces of working for Israel and said the group holds Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas personally responsible for the “persecution and terror” applied by his forces. Hamas will continue attacks against Israelis in the West Bank, he said.
Badran also called on all factions to unite against PA measures, “which are tearing at the fabric of the Palestinian people.
Hamas Claims it Has Achieved 'Deterrent Balance' With IDF
The Hamas terrorist organization has claimed that it has achieved a deterrent balance of force against the IDF as it continues to expand the missiles, weaponry and terror tunnels in Gaza.
In a festive event on Thursday celebrating the completion of a military course, senior Hamas official Ahmed Bahar, who is the first deputy of the Palestinian Legislative Council chairman, said that all the weapons of the Gaza terror groups are aimed at the "occupation."
The statement may be meant to play down tensions with a local affiliate of Islamic State (ISIS), which has threatened to destroy Hamas. At the same time, Hamas has reportedly been cooperating with ISIS in its fight against Egypt in the Sinai.
Bahar said the terror groups intend to liberate jailed terrorists, Jerusalem, and all of "Palestine."
British Museum on high terror alert to protect priceless antiquities from ISIS fanatics
Neil MacGregor, the museums outgoing director, revealed he is considering "all eventualities" due to the "range of threats" in the past two years.
Treasures which may be considered as idolatrous by lunatic ISIS fanatics must be protected, he added.
The revelation comes as museum workers at Louvre in Paris expressed their concerns that the iconic French gallery might also be targeted by "cultural terrorists" in copy-cat style attacks.
Phillippe Marquis, a curator at the museum, said he agreed Western museums were at high risk.
He said: "We are now in a new world. We need to have long lasting policies and strategies in order to cope with these problems."


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Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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