Friday, July 10, 2015

From Ian:

Report: Thousands of Israeli Arabs, Palestinians Post ‘Death to Jews’ on Their Facebook Profiles
Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs have added the tagline ‘Death to the Jews’ to their Facebook profiles, Israel’s 0404 News reported on Thursday.
Facebook has been “flooded” with the murderous phrase, written in Hebrew, 0404 said.
An initial inquiry by the website found over 300 profiles of Israeli residents, “from Jerusalem all the way to the towns up north,” bearing the hateful tagline on their pages.
In response, some Israelis posted, “Death to the Arabs” on their profiles, 0404 said. The site suggested that pro-Israel users instead use the phrase “Am Yisrael Chai” (“the nation of Israel lives”) as a less hateful alternative.
“This would be the best response towards these who want to destroy us,” said the report. The website also encouraged Facebook users to take screenshots of pages carrying the phrase “Death to the Jews” and report them to the police. (h/t Alexi)
David Keyes Punks Iranian Nuclear Negotiators in Vienna
Human rights activist David Keyes was in Vienna for the nuclear negotiations with Iran and punked several Iranian negotiators.
The United States and other world leaders are currently in tense negotiations with Iran, but Keyes looks to ease the tensions.
Keyes used humor and satire to confront several Iranian negotiations about their country’s abuse of human rights.
“Who is your favorite political prisoner?” Keyes asked several Iranian officials.
Keyes also compared United States human rights violations to Iran violations with reporter Oliver Towfigh Nia.
“I don’t think human rights in the United States is much better, you know?” Towfigh Nia said. “You have some problems too. Kill a few blacks and shooting them and like you know. And talking about gays you know.”
“No, that’s true. There are some similarities,” Keyes said. “America just allowed gays to marry and Iran hasn’t hung a gay person in at least a few hours.”
Punking Iran's Nuclear Negotiators in Vienna

Douglas Murray: What Politicians Say vs. What People Can See
President Obama is right to say that no ideology can be destroyed on the battlefield alone. The destruction of Nazi fascism in the 1940s was completed not only by its wholesale military defeat but by the world's awareness of the evil of the Nazi ideology and its wholesale moral and ethical failure. If the destruction of ISIS's ideology is to be complete, this too will have to be understood. But the U.S. and its allies ought to be wondering what is going wrong here. Although the numbers of citizens we are losing to ISIS constitute only tiny pockets of our own societies (if larger numbers across the Middle East and North Africa), we ought to consider how we are even losing people in ones and twos in a public relations war with this group.
While the Nazis tried to hide their worst crimes from the world, the followers of ISIS repeatedly record and distribute video footage of theirs. Between free and open democratic societies, and a society which beheads women for witchcraft, throws suspected gays off buildings, beheads other Muslims and Christians, burns people alive, and does us the favour of video-recording these atrocities and sending them round the globe for us, you would have thought that there would be no moral competition. But there is. And that is not because ISIS has "better ideas, a more attractive and more compelling vision," but because its appeal comes from a specific ideological-religious worldview that we cannot hope to defeat if we refuse to understand it.
That is why David Cameron's interjection was so important. The strategy Barack Obama and he seem to be hoping will work in persuading the general public that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam is the same tactic they are adopting in the hope of persuading young Muslims not to join ISIS. Their tactic is to try to deny something that Muslims and non-Muslims can easily see and find out for themselves: that ISIS has a lot to do with Islam -- the worst possible version, obviously, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, but a version of Islam nevertheless.
ISIS can destroy its own credibility among advocates of human rights and liberal democracy. The question is how you destroy its credibility among people who want to be very Islamic, and think ISIS is their way of being so. Understand their claims and their appeal, and work out a way to undermine those, and ISIS will prove defeatable not only on the battlefield but in the field of ideas as well. But refuse to acknowledge what drives them, or from where they claim to get their legitimacy, and the problem will only have just started.
Melanie Phillips: The deadly tragicomedy at the UNHRC
When the UN Human Rights Council voted last week to back the report by Mary McGowan Davis on the 2014 Gaza war, the behavior of two council members in particular provoked protests in their home countries.
The report, which used skewed and selective reports falsely to condemn Israel for war crimes along with the true war criminal, Hamas, was a travesty. The resolution, which failed to blame Hamas for war crimes but accused Israel of such behavior not just last year but also in the 2008/2009 war, piled malice upon malice.
Only the US voted against the UNHRC resolution. Five countries abstained: Kenya, Ethiopia, Macedonia, India and Paraguay. But what caused a stir was that two countries, the UK and Germany, voted for it.
In Germany, this was denounced by the Christian Democratic Union party. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of hypocrisy. Only last April he had robustly supported Israel’s actions in Gaza, declaring there was “such a difference” between indiscriminate attacks upon Israel and its attempt to defend itself against them.
Yet now the UK had voted for a motion that inverted this difference.
What’s more, the UK had also voted against Israel last May when, by 104 votes to 4, Israel was singled out by the World Health Organization as the only nation on earth to be condemned for violating health rights. Voting twice in support of motions designed to demonize, delegitimize and destroy Israel was behavior scarcely fitting one of its allies.

IsraellyCool: The BBC Shills For Hamas And Melanie Phillips Calls Them On It
Yesterday on Twitter, Melanie Phillips unleashed a devastating barrage of tweets against a forthcoming BBC program about Gaza.
Noted Israel hater Ben White (we’ve mentioned him many times) took exception to this:
Now Melanie Phillips has written the following on Facebook:
Ben White tweeted today as shown above.
My response:
Venomous rubbish. Your “blockade-busting commercial tunnels” were used by Hamas to smuggle into Gaza not just routine supplies but also arms and ammunition whose sole purpose was to murder as many innocent Israelis as possible, including children.
I cited the JCPA report on the falsification of Gaza casualty figures. (1) This noted:
“An old news item resurfaced during Operation Protective Edge saying that 160 Palestinian children were killed while digging Gaza tunnels. The original story appeared in the Journal of Palestine Studies 39 in an article entitled ‘Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon,’ by Nicolas Pelham. In December 2011, Pelham toured the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. He found ‘nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies. At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials.’
“There was no international outrage against Hamas at the time for leading children to their deaths in underground passageways, nor is it clear how many Palestinian children died in the summer of 2014 – and were counted as civilian casualties – as a result of Hamas forcing them to serve as human shields and soldiers in its ongoing war against Israel.”
Western Scandals in the Middle East
The result of this UN report -- and all the previous reports -- only perpetuates the Palestinian problem. All the UN agencies condemn Israel, but no one ever helps the Palestinians. It is scandal of global proportions that the UN in general and UNRWA in particular -- as well as the EU -- ignore the hundreds of thousands of killed and maimed and the millions of refugees desperately in need of aid in the neighboring Arab countries. It hurts us because it gives Hamas moral legitimacy at the expense of the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas wanted to use the national consensus government as a conduit to transfer funds from Qatar to the Gaza Strip, because the president of Egypt had closed the tunnels Hamas needed to smuggle arms and money into the Gaza Strip.
The sad truth is that Hamas started the last war against Israel. The real question is, Why was all this necessary? Why did Hamas not use the billions it had received over the years to build what should have become the Singapore, or the Riviera, of the Middle East?
It is no wonder the Israelis feel that if they withdraw from the West Bank, they -- and Jordan -- will have to contend not only with another Hamas-run state on their eastern border, but with ISIS on their border as well.
Hamas, ignoring its damaged buildings in Gaza, clearly has sufficient funds (supplied by Qatar and Turkey) to rebuild its attack tunnels and replenish its rocket arsenal -- while it exports its terrorism to us on the West Bank, with the goal of toppling the Palestinian Authority. It remains unclear why Americans remain silent in the face of Qatar's continuing activity as a global terrorism-sponsoring state.
The history – and the BBC Trust decision – behind Lyse Doucet’s mistranslation of ‘yahud’
Anyone toying with the idea of making a complaint to the BBC on this issue should be aware that this is not the first time that the BBC has mistranslated the Arabic word ‘yahud’. In February 2013 the same issue arose in a series of multi-platform reports by Jon Donnison – the BBC’s Gaza correspondent at the time.
“Another version of the same story was also featured on Radio 4’s ‘PM’ programme on February 26th […]. In that version, at 43:37, one can hear a translator interpret the words of interviewee Nour Adwan as “If we meet an Israeli and they are speaking in Hebrew..”. Sharp eared listeners will notice that the fifteen year-old actually says the word “Yahud” – Jew – in Arabic rather than “Israeli”, but for some reason, the BBC chose to modify that in translation.”
A member of the public submitted a complaint concerning that obvious mistranslation and in October 2013 the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee produced a decision which raised some very interesting issues concerning its interpretation of the BBC’s editorial guidelines on accuracy.
The ECU wrote:
“The Committee considered that the decision to translate the girl’s words as “an Israeli” was an appropriate exercise of editorial judgement. In taking this view the Committee emphasised that no interpretation of the Editorial Guidelines requires content producers to make direct word-for-word translations without also taking account of relevant context.”
As was noted here at the time:
“In other words, the programme-makers’ “professional judgement” led them to believe that Hamas makes a distinction between Israelis (the enemy) and Jews (not the enemy) and intended by means of this translation distortion to clarify that.
Dore Gold: Trusting Iran to stop terrorism is like inviting an arsonist to join the fire brigade
Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has written an op-ed in the Financial Times which sets forward a distinct sequence for ostensibly resolving the daunting security challenges of the Middle East.
First, the P5+1 - the group of powerful nations negotiating with Iran - should come to a deal over its nuclear program. As a result, he argues, Tehran will "open new horizons" and join "the international battle" against "the increasingly brutal extremism that is engulfing the Middle East."
The idea that Iran is a partner in the fight against terrorism is not only disingenuous but also absurd. What Zarif is seeking is a leap of faith by his Western readers, who are asked to believe that a country which has been repeatedly identified as the largest state supporter of terrorism in the world will suddenly be altered by an agreement over its nuclear program into an ally against terrorism. He is asking the world to simply trust Iran that this transformation is about to happen.
There is no evidence that the trust Zarif seeks is warranted in any way. Iran operates globally through cells controlled by the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), often backed by operatives of Hizbollah. During the nuclear negotiations, this network has not been reduced in size; it operates in some 30 countries and on five continents - Iranian-backed attacks have taken place in such diverse locations as Argentina, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India, Thailand and even the United States.
Indeed, in October, 2011, the US uncovered a plot by an IRGC operative to recruit members of a Mexican drug cartel to conduct a mass casualty attack in Washington DC aimed at the Saudi Ambassador to the US. Since that time IRGC activity has only intensified. Yet another Iranian terrorist cell was discovered in Cypus just last month.
Israel’s lethal land-for-peace laureates
In the last four decades, three Israeli prime ministers have won the Nobel Peace prize: Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres (who, at the time, was foreign minister). Paradoxically, indeed perversely, the geo-political situation that the policy for which the prestigious prize was awarded has not only made peace increasingly remote, but is making Israel’s existence increasingly untenable.
In each case, the prestigious prize was awarded for undertaking a policy of land-for-peace – i.e. for embracing the doctrine of territorial withdrawal and political appeasement of despotic regimes.
Thus, Begin surrendered the entire Sinai Peninsula (won in a war of anticipatory self-defense) with all its strategic depth, mineral wealth and economic potential, for his co-laureate Anwar Sadat’s promise of “No more war, no more bloodshed.” In so doing, he also, in effect, surrendered any chance of Israel maintaining a land-based second strike capability against an unconventional first strike. (Today Israel is compelled to rely largely on its small, diesel-powered submarine fleet for this.) Likewise, Rabin and Peres abandoned, with great fanfare, Judea and Samaria, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, and the Gaza Strip, to mendacious arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, for his patently disingenuous “Peace of the Brave.”
Wherever, and whenever, it has been applied, the doctrine of land-for-peace has failed miserably. History abounds with chilling examples that underscore the futility of trying to assuage bellicose tyrants by complying with their territorial demands.
Egypt, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Gaza…
It’s official: there is now no place Israel has withdrawn from in the interests of peace that has turned out to be an orderly, thriving area. No Israeli soldiers has decidedly not helped stability.
First it was the Sinai, back after the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace deal. While this deal was certainly beneficial, we have seen today that the Sinai is a festering wound for Egypt. With over fifty people killed at Egyptian army posts, and the resulting counter-operation that Egypt claimed killed 241 militants, one might hope peace is coming soon. Unfortunately, this seems unlikely, as the increasing force used in the Sinai has failed to stymie the violent urges of Wilayat Sinai.
Then came the West Bank, back in the Oslo Accords, when Israel decided to leave Area A entirely and (ideally) gradually expand it and Area B. Area A was restricted to many Jewish troops, some of whom complained that they could not enter areas they were taking fire from, even when under attack. The West Bank, while under the iron fist of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has gradually worsened. It is constantly on the brink of seeing a coup leading to a Hamas takeover, and only mass arrests and torture are keeping Hamas and groups like it at bay. But even this may not last forever; Abbas lacks a chosen successor, is in his eighties, and has fomented a population that is both afraid to criticize him and also believes that Jews are “barbaric monkeys”, at least if they listen to and watch Palestinian Authority television.
Arab Peace Initiative is unacceptable, says Israel’s peace talks chief
Since it was first tabled in 2002, the initiative was voted on several times at various the Arab League summits, and Shalom charged that the Saudis agreed to three major changes that render it more problematic.
Firstly, the initiative now calls for any agreement to be based on the 1967 lines. “That wasn’t in the (original) Saudi initiative,” Shalom said. Furthermore, the updated scheme calls for Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria, he said. Lastly, it requires the full implementation of the Palestinians’ right of return, the minister said.
“It’s very nice to talk about the Saudi initiative, but it underwent three major changes at the hand of the Arab League in Beirut, and the only proposal on the table is that of the Arab League,” Shalom said.
“Let’s just say it’s very difficult to get to negotiations on the basis of the 67 lines, including the Golan, and the right of return. I don’t think that the current Israeli government — or any other Israeli government — would agree to negotiate on basis of this document.”
Even former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who negotiated extensively with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his stint as premier, did not adopt the Arab League initiative, Shalom noted. “It’s not something that we, ‘the radicals,’ aren’t doing,” Shalom said, referring to the fact that Olmert is perceived as less hawkish than the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. If the Arab League were to issue another initiative, “we will deal with it,” said Shalom, who is a member of Netanyahu’s Likud
Iran is a Nuclear Hitler with 56% Of the World’s Oil Supply
Comparing the danger Iran poses to the Judeo-Christian and Sunni Worlds with those dangers that existed from 1939 due to Hitler may sound good, but is in reality an optimistic delusion. Iran’s current danger to the free world is exponentially greater than any threat Hitler ever posed, even after he occupied France in 1940.
It looks like Obama will either allow total nuclear concessions to Iran so as to render any “agreement” a meaningless paperweight, or will let Iran do anything it wants anyway without any “agreement.” Either way, Iran is getting a nuclear arsenal in the medium-term. In order to understand how bad the situation really is we should compare Iran’s threat to Hitler’s threats.
First, Hitler didn’t have nukes. If Hitler had had nukes, he would have wiped out London and Eisenhower’s entire invading army of over 2,000,000 allied troops waiting to cross the English Channel in June-August of 1944 without so much as blinking. Iran will use a nuclear bomb against anyone as surely and unhesitatingly as Hitler would have used a nuke against Stalin’s Moscow before the Red Army ever crossed in Germany.
And Iran will have dozens of nukes spread everywhere throughout their far-flung country, so they will always be able to deliver a nuke to an American City somehow.
Marketing a bad nuclear agreement
We are about to receive an Iranian product, which changes the balance of power in the region, with bright and aggressive American marketing. Had this US administration ran the Cuba crisis in 1962, the world would be controlled by the Russians today.
Washington has already prepared the festive "achievements speech" of the agreement with Iran, which leans on two legs wallowing in a tremulous swamp. One leg determines that Iran will be one year away from making a breakthrough towards enriched material for the creation of its first nuclear bomb. The second leg has to do with a tight supervision regime which will last about 10 years.
All the rest – how will the supervision be carried out in the future, what will Iran expose about its dark past in the nuclear area, when will the sanctions be removed and under what conditions will they be restored – is a swampy mixture of legal terms which will swallow the White House's alleged achievements over time.
The Iranians, on their part, are continuing to abuse the Americans up to the very last moment. In the beginning of the week, they suddenly raised a new demand which had not been part of the negotiations. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif brought a nuisance into the room in the form of a demand to lift all the restrictions on the production of ballistic missiles, in violation of all the understandings related to the missile technology control regime (MTCR). (h/t Yoel)
America's Next Top General Already Slamming Iran
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made some tough comments regarding Iran during a Thursday hearing in front of Congress, saying the country would remain a “malign” force working to sabotage U.S. interests even if a final agreement is reached on the country’s nuclear program.
If confirmed, Dunford, currently the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, will be the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military. Even before landing the post, however, his remarks at the hearing, as well as the 75 pages of pre-prepared answers he supplied to possible questions, are full of tactfully warnings to the Obama administration not to ease up pressure on Iran.
Dunford’s comments come as the United States is trying to hammer out a final deal with Iran over its nuclear program. Any finalized deal is likely to involve removing sanctions that have frozen billions of dollars in Iranian overseas assets — the so-called “signing bonus.”
Dunford said those assets, even if not used for nuclear purposes, could easily be directed towards causes harmful to the U.S.
Kerry Announces Extension of Nuke Talks That Is “Not Open-Ended,” But Doesn’t Give Deadline
In a brief statement today in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the nuclear negotiations with Iran will be extended once again, though they are “not open-ended” and that the United States was “absolutely prepared to call an end to this process.”
The Times of Israel reported:
“Some tough issues remain unresolved,” Kerry said, adding that “we will not rush and we will not be rushed.”
Kerry did not specify an end date during his brief statement to reporters outside of the Vienna hotel where the negotiations are taking place, but stated that the negotiations were “not open-ended.” He said that the president had made that “very clear to me last night.”
“If the tough decisions don’t get made, we are absolutely prepared to call an end to this process,” the secretary of state said.
Tens of Thousands of Christians Urge World Powers to Take Firm Line in Iran Talks
Tens of thousands of Christians signed on to a global petition organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) urging world powers involved in the Iranian nuclear negotiations to take a firm line with Iran.
The petition calls on the Western powers involved in the talks—U.S., U.K., France, and Germany (not including the non-Western P5+1 countries, Russia and China)—as well as the European Union and United Nations to “hold firm in demanding the complete dismantling of the Iranian nuclear facilities until any sanctions relief is given to Tehran.”
Specifically, the petition calls for Iran to completely dismantle its nuclear program and for sanctions to remain in place until the Islamic Republic “relinquishes its destructive goals of spreading terrorism, destroying Israel, and achieving regional hegemony.”
Israel Won’t Release Terrorists in Return for Israelis Held in Gaza, Official Says
Israel has “no intention of releasing terrorists in exchange for the two citizens who entered Gaza,” an Israeli security official said Thursday after a gag order was lifted to reveal that two Israelis have been held by the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip for 10 months.
“On the one hand, the state is committed to protecting them because they are Israeli citizens, but on the other hand, these are not soldiers who were kidnapped. They are two mentally unstable individuals who crossed into Gaza voluntarily. This is not a classic abduction, it is something different. This incident is on a humanitarian level,” the official said, Israel Hayom reported.
Avera Mengistu, 28, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent, is being held in Gaza after crossing the border fence into Gaza last September. It was also revealed that a mentally unstable Israeli Bedouin crossed the border fence in April and is being held by Hamas. His identity remains under a gag order.
Hamas Reiterates Demands for Talks on Kidnapped Israelis
Hamas is continuing to demand massive concessions from Israel as a precondition for even starting talks over two Israeli citizens held captive in Gaza.
In an interview Thursday with Turkish media, senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar reiterated conditions set by the terrorist group Thursday for opening talks over 26-year-old Avraham Mengistu and another as-yet unnamed Israeli civilian it is holding hostage, as well as the remains of two soldiers still held by Hamas since last year's Operation Protective Edge.
Chief among those conditions is the release of dozens of terrorists who were released from Israeli prisons under the 2011 prisoner swap to release IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and were later rearrested after returning to terrorist activities.
More than 1,000 terrorists were released - many of them convicted murderers - in exchange for just one Israeli soldier in the lopsided Shalit Deal. Analysts warned that enormous price would merely encourage further kidnappings.
As part of the deal released terrorists had to sign a written guarantee they would not resume terrorist activity, and that if they did they would be rearrested and forced to serve the rest of their previous sentences.
Among the 71 rearrested Shalit Deal terrorists are a number serving life sentences.
Relative of missing Israeli Beduin: If he's in Gaza, his life isn't in danger
The missing Beduin youth, whose identity has yet to be released, is feared to be in Hamas captivity, as is Ashkelon resident Avera Mengistu, who was also announced as missing on Thursday after a gag order on the two separate instances was lifted. Hamas has not confirmed that it is holding either of the Israeli citizens, however Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Thursday that the two men were "in Hamas's hands."
A relative of the missing Beduin youth said Thursday that "he crossed the border once to Jordan, once to Egypt and once to Gaza - in February 2010 - and in all three cases he was returned to the family. The fourth time he must have entered Gaza again and didn't return."
The missing youth's relative claimed that "nobody in the security forces shared information with the family on this incident." He added that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has brought the youth home from Egypt and Gaza in the past. "I hope that he is in Gaza again and that he will come back to us in peace," the relative said. "He is mentally ill and this is not the first time he's gone missing."
He said the family "feared that he was killed, but when we heard the news that he was in Gaza - we relaxed. We are not sending any message to Gaza, because if he is there, then his life is not in danger, and we are hopeful that he will be brought back to us soon, because we have no family in Gaza."
Arab Website Calls Israeli Hostages ‘Soldiers’
The Alresalah Arabic-language wrote that the two Israelis being held by Hamas are “soldiers.”
It reported:
An Ethiopian-Israeli soldier, identified as Abraham Mengistu, entered to the Gaza Strip by mistake on September 8, 2014.
The second Israeli, a Bedouin from the southern city of Hura, was not identified. Israel also has kept a veil of secrecy on his disappearance, but Hura’s reputation for crime and terror leaves open the possibility that the missing Bedouin entered Gaza with the cooperation of Hamas.
Nevertheless, Alresalah referred to him as a soldier, also.
The Latest Rage in Rachel's Tomb Terror: Slingshot Explosives
Rachel's Tomb located adjacent to Bethlehem in Judea, which is the site where the Jewish Biblical matriarch Rachel is buried, has turned into a key terror target - now a new trend has flared up with Arab assailants firing explosive charges into the compound.
A., a member of the compound staff, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Friday about the new scourge, noting that there have long been rock attack attempts and riots given the proximity to the hostile Arab population in Bethlehem.
"Thank G-d the Border Patrol warriors in the area know how to deal with it strongly and effectively," said A. of the status quo until now.
But recently to the rock throwing and protests has been added a new attack which hasn't garnered attention in the media, apparently because up until now no one has been wounded by even though the danger is life-threatening to the extreme.
"Recently explosives have started falling. That's new," said A., explaining that the explosives were fired in by a sort of catapult slingshot that has been used in a smaller form to launch rocks.
The terrorists fire the explosives at a distance of roughly 100 meters (around 330 feet) from the protective walls of the compound, and aim at a section of the wall that is slightly lower - the point is where students of the compound's yeshiva go outside to get some fresh air, and is also a parking area for visitors to the site.
Video: Security forces thwart possible stabbing attack at northern Jerusalem checkpoint
Security forces on Thursday thwarted a possible stabbing attack after neutralizing a Palestinian youth who was carrying a knife while advancing toward the troops' position at the Ras Bidu checkpoint in northern Jerusalem.
The security forces arrested the 17-year-old suspect after noticing him approach their post in a suspicious manner.
The Palestinian youth withdrew a knife while advancing toward the forces, but halted and dropped the weapon after the Israeli troops withdrew their guns, and apparently scaring the suspect.
During initial investigations at the scene, the suspect admitted that he had intended to carry out a stabbing attack.
Israel bars Palestinian-funded TV channel from operating
An Israeli cabinet minister signed an order Thursday barring a Palestinian TV channel geared toward Israel’s Arab citizens from operating inside the Jewish state for the next six months.
In the order, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said F48 — or Palestine 48 — television was not authorized for broadcasting in Israel. The channel, which is funded by the Palestinian Authority, was launched in the predominantly Arab Israeli city of Nazareth last month.
The station’s name refers to 1948, the year Israel was established and which Palestinians mark as their national catastrophe, or “Nakba” in Arabic.
Erdan said he won’t allow “Israel’s sovereignty to be harmed” or for the Palestinian Authority to gain a “foothold” in the country. He said the channel will be prevented from operating “anywhere within the state of Israel” for six months.
Riad Hassan, the head of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, called the decision “illegal.” He said it would affect Israeli production companies that produce two programs for the channel in Nazareth, and warned that the companies would challenge the decision in Israel’s Supreme Court.
PreOccupied Territory: We Palestinians Are Free To Criticize Anyone Abbas Lets Us Criticize By Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (satire)
It is time to put to rest the notion that the Palestinian Authority suppresses free speech. Palestinians under President Mahmoud Abbas’s rule are free to say anything, criticize anyone, as long as the sentiments have been approved by Abbas’s officials.
Reports of Palestinians arrested by Mr. Abbas’s security forces for expressing views or demands not in keeping with the official PLO line distract from the main point, which is that Palestinians enjoy complete freedom of expression within the boundaries of what the PLO leadership countenances. News reports of Palestinians arrested for expressing views outside that clearly defined realm of acceptable discourse, if those reports are ever carried by Western news organizations, give the false impression that some sort of oppression is happening. Quite the opposite. No one is oppressed except by the Zionists.
It is the Zionists who create false, impossible standards of free expression to make Palestinian society look bad in Western eyes. A well-orchestrated charade gives the impression that Israeli politics and culture is replete with criticism of the government as if that is a good thing. They are right that it is good – but only because Israel deserves all criticism, not because free-flowing criticism is a value. No one should allow himself to be fooled by the Zionist ruse that freedom expression means what they would have you think it means. That freedom has limits, and those limits are defined by Mahmoud Abbas.
Patriotic, loyal Palestinians know that by nature, certain things lie beyond the bounds of expression. The Palestinian Authority and its enforcement organs merely serve the public by underscoring those boundaries. It is not a violation of freedom of expression to imprison those who have forfeited their right to freedom by attempting to undermine society with seditious speech. If one were to ask the hundreds of Hamas members currently incarcerated in Palestinian Authority prisons whether their freedom of expression has been curtailed or violated, those prisoners would inevitably answer in the negative if they knew what was good for them.
UN Report: Refugees From Syria’s Civil War Now Exceed 4 Million
After Turkey received a massive influx of refugees last month fleeing Syria’s civil war, the United Nations has now put the total number of refugees from that conflict at more than four million, The New York Times reported Thursday.
More than 24,000 people crossed into Turkey to escape fighting in northern Syria in June, pushing the number now sheltering in neighboring countries past four million, increasing the Syrian refugee population by one million in just 10 months, the United Nations refugee agency reported. …
“This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation,” Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement. Mr. Guterres, once again, warned that international aid was not keeping pace with the scale of the crisis, and that many refugees were “sinking deeper into poverty.” …
The latest influx into Turkey raised the number of Syrian refugees there to 1.8 million, giving it the biggest refugee population in the world, the United Nations reported. As many as 1.2 million Syrians are now sheltering in Lebanon, more than 629,000 are in Jordan and close to quarter of a million have fled to Iraq.
Washington Post Editorial: White House “Failed” in Syria by Targeting ISIS But Not Assad
The Obama administration’s decision to target the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but not the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad was a “half-measure” that has led to the “latest U.S. failure in Syria,” a staff editorial appearing Wednesday in The Washington Post argued.
The latest U.S. failure in Syria is particularly striking because, as Mr. Obama emphasized in an appearance Monday at the Pentagon, the foundation of his policy in Iraq and Syria is to train local forces that the United States can support. The president conceded that “this aspect of our strategy was moving too slowly”; in fact, it has failed in both countries. According to Mr. Carter, the 3,500 U.S. personnel deployed in Iraq since last year had trained just 8,800 Iraqi army and Kurdish militia soldiers. Just 1,300 Sunni tribesmen have been recruited, though Mr. Carter said such Sunni forces were essential to retaking cities captured by the Islamic State.
Administration officials have a penchant for blaming Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis for lacking the “will” to fight, without considering why that might be. A couple of the principal reasons are the product of Mr. Obama’s policies. Sunni leaders don’t trust the United States to defend them against the Iranian-backed Shiite militias that operate in concert with the Iraqi government. They wonder why the White House still refuses to deploy Special Operations forces advisers or tactical air controllers to the front lines with Iraqi units, even though, as Gen. Dempsey testified, that “would make them more capable.”
Syrian Sunni fighters want to join a force that will take on the Assad regime as well as the Islamic State, but the Obama administration won’t even commit to defending the fighters it is training if they are subjected to the regime’s signature “barrel bomb” attacks. “That decision will be faced when we introduce fighters into the field,” Mr. Carter told the Senate panel. Unless Mr. Obama is prepared to make a more decisive commitment to training and defending U.S.-allied forces, there won’t be many of them.
United States Wants UN to Investigate Syria Chlorine Attacks
The United States on Thursday asked the UN Security Council to set up an investigative panel to identify those behind deadly chlorine gas attacks in Syria, AFP reported.
The panel, comprised of experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), could be able to establish whether President Bashar Al-Assad's forces are carrying out the attacks, as western countries claim.
A draft resolution presented to the 15-member council calls on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to present recommendations within 15 days on the "Joint Investigative Mechanism" that would undertake the probe.
Investigators would be asked to "identify to the greatest extent feasible, individuals, entities, groups, or governments who were perpetrators, organizers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemical weapons" in Syria, according to the draft obtained by AFP.
The team of experts would be allowed to travel to Syria, speak to potential witnesses and review all of the documents compiled by a fact-finding mission of the OPCW.
Discussions on the text were to begin next week and it remained unclear when the draft resolution would be put to a vote in the council, according to the news agency.
Moroccan Women Face ‘Gross Indecency’ Charges for Wearing Dresses
Moroccan officials arrested two women, ages 23 and 29, last month because they wore skirts. The arrests occurred after a market trader caused a ruckus over the outfits.
The officials accused the women of “gross indecency” because their dresses were “too tight” and therefore provocative. If found guilty, Article 483 of the penal code states the offenders could face up to two years in prison.
A woman named Majda S. started an online petition over the arrest. As of publication, over 26,000 people signed the document. Her goal is 30,000. She explained the case “is a violation of freedom and equality between men and women.” She hopes the petition causes a wave:
‘Selfie’ Is The Arab World’s Hot New Show, And ISIS Hates It
One satire TV show is causing a stir in the Middle East, mocking Islamic State, confronting the Sunni-Shiite divide and sparing no taboo.
Precisely because “Selfie” confronts such dicey topics, daring to satirize the gruesome jihadi organization, it has garnered impressive ratings. But backlash has been severe. Lead actor, Naser al-Qasabi, and top writer, Khalaf al-Harbi, received death threats from Islamic State supporters online, The Associated Press reports.
Qasabi, 53, isn’t alarmed.
“God is my protector. I’m an artist, and the artist’s essential role is to reveal society’s challenges even if he pays a price,” Qasabi told Al-Arabiya. “Warning the people about ISIS is the true jihad, because we’re fighting them with art not war.”
In one episode, Qasabi’s character attempts to start an Islamic State-style militia but is weighed down by inept partners. The caliph, played by Qasabi, pleads for an execution method distinct from Islamic State, suggesting hostages be put in a freezer, according to the AP.
But Selfie’s dark humor doesn’t end there. Another episode showed a father trying to rescue his son from Islamic State in Syria, only to join the terror group himself.

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