Monday, July 13, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Palestinians Cannot Make Peace with Israel
Americans and Europeans fail to acknowledge that in order to achieve peace, the leaders must prepare their people for compromise and tolerance. If you want to make peace with Israel, you do not tell your people that the Western Wall has no religious significance to Jews and is, in fact, holy Muslim property. Palestinian Authority leaders who accuse Israel of "war crimes" and "genocide" are certainly not preparing their people for peace. Such allegations serve only to further agitate Palestinians against Israel.
If Yasser Arafat was not able to accept the generous offer made by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the 2000 Camp David summit, who is Mahmoud Abbas to make any concessions to Israel? Arafat was quoted then as saying that he rejected the offer because he did not want to end up drinking tea with assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the first Arab leader to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
No Palestinian leader has a mandate to reach an everlasting peace agreement with Israel. No leader in Ramallah or the Gaza Strip is authorized to end the conflict with Israel. Any Palestinian who dares to talk about concessions to Israel is quickly denounced as a traitor. Those who believe that whoever succeeds Abbas will be able to make real concessions to Israel are living in an illusion.
Bassem Eid: Gaza one year later: From bad to worse
One year has passed since ‘Operation Protective Edge,’ the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We have seen many articles by analysts this past week, but they fail to report the Palestinian perspective. The burning question in the minds of the Gazan people is why has there been a one year delay in the reconstruction?
The answer is simple — both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas want to hold the purse strings of the reconstruction funds, which donor nations pledged at $5.5 billion. Donor nations may be skeptical about the shaky unity government, which almost failed in the past year since its establishment in the April 2014 ‘Shati Agreement’. Abbas nearly declared an amendment in establishing a new government, splitting the unity government and repeating Yitzhak Rabin’s’ famous declaration, ‘let’s throw Gaza to the Sea’.
Egyptians created a 2-kilometer buffer zone in removing the smuggling tunnels that made Hamas leaders into billionaires. Hamas’ top priority is to reconstruct its military capabilities and terror tunnels. Now that the funds have dried up since the smuggling tunnels have been destroyed, Hamas has issued a new tax upon the Gazan people.
A recent report by The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), states that “According to testimonies submitted to ICHR by citizens from different social categories, these taxes, which are imposed on different commodities and services in the Gaza Strip, aggravate the suffering of the people. Citizens who wish to import goods are bound to pay taxes to receive “import permission”. This implies that the competent authorities have started to implement the Solidarity Tax Act. In fact, prior to the import, the authorities identify the quantity of the goods and then decide on what tax to enforce. These taxes that are imposed under the pretext of “normal rise of prices” have a negative economic impact on the consumers. Furthermore, the taxes are imposed on governmental services.” The ICHR calls for Hamas to reverse this new tax.
One Year Later, the Gaza Blockade, Rebuilding and Reuters
Numerous news outlets have marked one year since the beginning of last summer's war between Israel and Hamas with reports on the slow civilian rebuilding efforts and on the humanitarian conditions of the Gaza Strip. Reuters was among them, and unfortunately misled with a recent graphic about the blockade as well as with photo captions and articles concerning rebuilding efforts. Following communication with CAMERA, editors agreed with criticism about a graphic on the blockade.
Whose Blockade? Whose Crossing?
The July 10 Reuters graphic titled "Gaza blockade" includes text which refers only to Israel's blockade while ignoring the more restrictive Egyptian blockade. The text reads:
Israel has blockaded Gaza, placing restrictions on people and goods leaving the enclave and goods entering it, since the Islamist group Hamas won power in Gaza in election in 2006. The blockade has isolated Gaza from the rest of the world.
Then, inexplicably, the graphic includes a chart showing activity at Rafah crossing, despite the fact that the crossing is controlled by Egypt. By including Rafah under a text that notes only the Israeli blockade, Reuters gives news consumers the false impression that Israel controls Rafah as well.
But the figures for passage through Rafah are so low because Egypt has maintained a strict blockade of its own, one that has been exceedingly more restrictive than Israel's and which has prohibited virtually all passage of people and goods for most of the last several months. Yet the Reuters graphic about "Gaza's blockade" completely ignores the Egyptian blockade.
Indeed, while the graphic focuses singularly on the "Israeli blockade," the data shows that over 400 people cross through Erez to Israel every day, while an average of approximately just 10 people cross on a daily basis through Rafah to Egypt. (Most days this year, not a single person crossed through Rafah into Egypt.) But readers cannot draw the proper conclusions given that the item since the graphic never mentions Egypt. Why the unjustified, inappropriate singular focus on the Israeli blockade?
CAMERA's Israel office posed this question to Reuters editors, who agreed with these concerns, and agreed to raise the issue with the bureau that produced the graphic. Stay tuned for news of any updates.

Yolande Knell’s political campaigning continues in BBC ‘Gaza anniversary’ coverage
All three of Knell’s reports include interviews with the Shuja’iya resident Abdul Karim Abu Ahmed whom she has also interviewed on at least two prior occasions over the past year. As was the case in the previous content she produced, no effort is made to inform audiences why the English teacher who claims to have been “shocked” and that he “didn’t expect to see my house, my street [….] destroyed like this” is being disingenuous.anniversary Knell filmed
As was noted here back in September 2014:
“As can be seen from the IDF’s aerial map of the neighbourhood, at least five missiles were fired from close proximity to Abu Ahmed’s house and yet Knell neglects to inform listeners of that fact and amplifies his feigned surprise at the consequences.”
Knell closes her written report with the following words:
“Without long-term political solutions to solve Gaza’s underlying problems, many warn of social unrest, instability and the increased risk of further hostilities.”
Gaza’s underlying problem is of course that it was taken over by a terrorist organization in a violent coup in 2007 and that foreign funded terrorist group and others continue to wage war on its neighbours. Somehow, though, one doubts that is what Yolande Knell intended her readers to understand.
The fact that none of these three latest reports by Knell bring any new information or insight to BBC audiences who have seen, read and heard countless similar ones in the past twelve months raises questions about the editorial considerations behind their production and broadcast. Obviously, these reports are not an attempt to report news or to provide audiences with a comprehensive, accurate and impartial “understanding of international issues“. What they are is the latest installment in Yolande Knell’s BBC endorsed political campaign to influence public opinion on the issue of the border restrictions on the Gaza Strip made necessary by the terrorism she never mentions.
Analysis: IDF vs. ICC phase 2 - More talking, more controversy
It’s time for phase two.
Phase one of the legal battle over alleged war crimes during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge entailed numerous interim reports from the IDF and Israel’s human rights critics, with no serious questioning of IDF commanders, no talking between Israel and the International Criminal Court prosecutor and everyone waiting for the UN Human Rights Council’s June report.
Then came the UNHRC’s report creating a more hostile environment legally for Israel in some ways, but it was much more toned down helping leave more space for dialogue between Israel and ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
And now that dialogue is happening for the first time in years.
There was a degree of quiet and sometimes indirect dialogue from 2009-2012 when the ICC prosecutor was deciding whether to intervene in the 2008-9 Gaza war crimes allegations legal battle (it did not in the end, stating that there was still no “State of Palestine” to file complaints).
But as of last week, there will be direct dialogue, even as Israel says it will be limited to its arguments about why there is still no State of Palestine (a position the ICC prosecutor has rejected) and why the ICC cannot second-guess the IDF’s own investigations of its soldiers.
ICC 'War Crime' Delegation On Its Way to Israel
It was revealed Monday that a delegation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is set to visit territories under the rule of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the near future, in a probe to gather information about the PA's claims charging Israel with "war crimes."
Issam Younis, General Director of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights located in Gaza, announced the ICC probe visit in comments to the Hamas paper Palestine on Monday.
Younis said the ICC is intending to launch a "serious investigation," and that the initial information gathering stage has already begun in which the PA together with other organizations have passed alleged testimony on "the crimes that the occupation forces committed."
The Gaza-based organization head called on the international community to side against Israel and punish it for its "crimes" in defending itself from Hamas's terror war last summer.
Younis added that media publications in Israel on the shelling of a "medical clinic" used as a military site - a day after Hamas snipers killed an IDF soldier shooting from the clinic - could be used at the ICC to attack Israel.
Report: 3,000 Palestinians Killed in Syria, No ICC Investigation
Palestinian Authority officials are quick to accuse Israel of deliberately “targeting innocent Arabs” when IDF soldiers fire at rock-throwers and others who engage in acts of terror against Israelis, but they have yet to comment on the nearly 3,000 Palestinians killed in Syria in recent years.
To be precise, at least 2,910 residents of Syria identifying as Palestinians have been killed since March 2011 through July 12, 2015 – the day a report on the matter was released by the “Action Committee for Palestinians in Syria” on the matter. Most of those deaths have been extremely violent, the report said – with hundreds killed each month in bombings, firefights, torture in prison, starvation, mass executions, and drownings as they try to escape to Europe.
The number - like other casualty figures from the Syrian civil war - only includes those Palestinians whose deaths have been definitively confirmed, and does not include those missing or otherwise unaccounted for - meaning the toll is likely higher still.
Information about the prison torture – in which, the report said, nearly 80 Palestinians have been killed – was smuggled out by a freed Syrian prisoner, who sneaked photos and videos of the torture out of prison. At least 46 Palestinians have been beheaded by ISIS, which took over a neighborhood of Allepo where many of them live.
Abbas: Israel is in Talks to Give Hamas a State in Gaza
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claimed in a recent interview with an Egyptian paper that the Hamas terrorist group, which he signed a reconciliation treaty with early last year, is holding secret negotiations with Israel to establish an Arab state in Gaza.
Speaking with the paper Raz Al-Youssef last month in statements that were just recently translated by MEMRI, Abbas criticized Hamas for starting last summer's terror war against Israel, blaming it for the destruction to Gaza caused by the clash.
He said former US President Jimmy Carter had visited him after the war in an attempt to sign an accord on forming a full unity government between Hamas and PA ending the feud between them, to which Abbas said he had no need of such agreements and instead wanted PA elections held within three to four months. According to him, Carter left at that point and never came back.
But Abbas, who has remained in office since his term ended in January, 2009, said, "I cannot declare elections, because it would mean severing the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. I do not want that. I only want a whole homeland that includes Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem."
Abbas then claimed that "there is security coordination on the border between Hamas and the Israeli occupation. There is a stretch of 50-60 meters beyond the border that acts as a route along which both sides move freely" under an agreement signed with former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
Analysis: It took three decades, but in 10 years Iran will be able to run, not sneak, to A-bomb
Netanyahu -- who has charged that this is a “very bad agreement,” and that what happened in Vienna was a foolish “march of concessions” that amounted to a near total capitulation to Iran -- will not now throw up his arms in surrender.
Rather, now his argument will move to Congress, the last place where changes in the accord might possibly still be made. If then ambassador Michael Oren -- as he writes in his recent memoir -- was given instructions to call congressmen and say “Israel felt abandoned” after US President Barack Obama delivered a speech in 2011 adopting an Israeli-Palestinian deal based on the 1967 lines with land swaps, then one can only imagine what Oren’s successor, Ron Dermer, will tell the congressmen when he calls about Iran.
And that type of campaigning in Congress against a policy that Obama sees as his foreign policy “legacy,” and which US Secretary of State John Kerry views as his possible Nobel Prize winning ticket, is not bound to win Netanyahu any points in the White House, where his credit is already depleted. The final year of the Obama-Netanyahu era, therefore, will most likely be much more fraught than even the fraught seven years that came before.
But Netanyahu will go ahead -- feeling duty-bound as a son of the Jewish people so soon after the Holocaust, and as the prime minister of the world’s only Jewish state -- to do whatever he can to try and override the agreement. If not to stop it, at least change it so that when the history books are written, it will be noted that he – alone among the world's leaders – did whatever he could to keep one of the world's most extreme regimes from getting the world's most lethal weapon.
Three key issues snag marathon nuclear talks
Disputes over attempts to probe Tehran’s alleged work on nuclear weapons unexpectedly persisted at Iran nuclear talks on Monday, diplomats said, threatening plans to wrap up a deal by midnight — the latest in a series of deadlines for the negotiations.
The diplomats said two other issues still needed final agreement — Iran’s demand for a lifting of a UN arms embargo and its insistence that any UN Security Council resolution approving the nuclear deal be written in a way that stops describing Iran’s nuclear activities as illegal. They demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the negotiations.
With a temporary deal set to expire at midnight Monday Vienna time (6 p.m. ET), diplomats said they hoped to complete and announce a final agreement before day’s end.
But they warned there was no guarantee, and some said the talks could stretch into Tuesday despite there being little appetite for what would be a fourth extension of the interim agreement since the current round began on June 27.
Grim-faced foreign ministers from the countries negotiating with Iran declined to answer questions about another possible extension as they gathered for a group meeting at the 19th Century palace that has been hosting the talks.
“No one is thinking of another extension,” Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for the Iranian delegation, said on Twitter. “Everyone working hard to get to yes today, but political will (is) still required.”
Iranian Media Outlines Nuclear Deal - And It's Very Bad Indeed
Semi-official Fars news agency in Iran has published an outline of the expected nuclear agreement between Iran and Western powers.
The most notable aspect of the deal is that "all economic, financial and banking sanctions against Iran will be terminated for good on day one after the endorsement of the deal."
Iran currently faces economic pressure from several different sources. The United Nations began sanctioning Iran in 2006, after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the Islamic Republic was ignoring restrictions on developing nuclear weapons. The United States then began sanctioning the country in 2011, and the European Union followed the next year.
Most previous reports on the current negotiation suggested that only the UN sanctions would be immediately lifted, while the US and EU sanctions would remain, at least until Iran guarantees its good will.
The Fars report also states that “the upcoming UN Security Council resolution – that will call all the previous five resolutions against Iran null and void - will be the last resolution to be issued on Iran’s nuclear program and [the UN will withdraw] Iran’s nuclear dossier from under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. This last resolution will remain valid and will be implemented for a specifically limited period of time and will then automatically end at the end of this period.”
Netanyahu: We are obligated now more than ever to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran
Speaking at a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu slammed the world powers for capitulating to Iran, accusing the P5+1 negotiators of chasing a deal at any price.
"Even this weekend, when Iran continued to get more and more concessions at the negotiating table, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani led a march through the streets of Tehran in which the masses yelled, 'Death to America, Death to Israel,'" Netanyahu said.
"If even after these unequivocal calls for annihilation, the negotiators continued to make concessions, then they are probably ready to make a deal at any price - and there is no plan or desire to avoid a bad deal," he stated.
Netanyahu answered criticism from Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who said that the prime minister had failed to uphold his campaign promise to prevent a deal with Iran.
"We did not promise to avoid a deal or prevent a deal, certainly not the one that the world powers are prepared to sign off on at any price," Netanyahu said. "We did vow to prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon - and indeed, without our efforts over the years, Iran would already have been capable of building an atomic bomb long ago."
Israel ready to defend itself, by itself, defense minister says
Meanwhile, in Israel, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon warned on Monday against what he called a "bad deal" with Iran.
Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hours before the deal was anticipated to be finalized, Ya'alon said that "at the bottom line, we are headed toward a bad deal, after which we will continue to be ready to defend ourselves, by ourselves."
"The deal that is taking shape in Vienna will affect our diplomatic-security status more than anything else, and as we understand it, it will be signed very soon," Ya'alon said.
"Even if there are last-minute improvements, it will still be a bad deal that will allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state, with everything that entails.
"The agreement in effect launders everything that Iran has done, contrary to the Security Council resolution. Neighboring countries are now talking about their own need to arm themselves, which could spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey are talking about it. Not to mention the fact that the agreement doesn't require [Iran] to decommission even a single nuclear facility or destroy even a single centrifuge."
Battle to thwart Iran nuke deal not over, Foreign Ministry chief vows
Israel won’t be shy about making its views on the Iran deal heard on Capitol Hill, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold indicated, in his first major interview since taking up the post last month. While Israel needs to express its concerns with civility, he stressed, the government is gearing up to firmly advocate its position in discussions with all the relevant players in the US government. “We’ll do it respectfully, but we have to tell the truth,” he said.
Speaking to The Times of Israel Sunday, as the Iran nuclear deal, bitterly opposed by Israel, was reportedly being finalized in Vienna, Gold framed the imperative to thwart Iran’s ambitions in global terms, and invoked the Cold War. “Imagine you could stop the Soviet Union in 1945 from getting nuclear weapons. Imagine you had no Cold War. That would have been a much safer and better world,” he noted. “It’s understandable how it happened, how the Cold War emerged from World War II. But here, with Iran, you have the chance to prevent it. And if you don’t prevent it, you’re setting the stage for the next global struggle.”
Gold, 62, has sought to galvanize Israeli diplomacy in his short period in the job. Since the Connecticut native was tapped for the post in May, he has chalked up several foreign policy breakthroughs: shortly before starting at the ministry, he held a rare public meeting with a former top official from Saudi Arabia; once formally in the post, he flew to Cairo to meet with the deputy foreign minister of Egypt, which agreed to send its first ambassador to Israel since 2012; and he has also held strategic bilateral talks with his counterparts from Turkey and India.
Lawmakers warn Iran deal won’t have easy time in Congress
As reports emerged from Vienna that a nuclear deal could be struck as early as Sunday night, Washington’s leading congressional point people on nuclear talks with Iran warned that the Obama administration would have a tough time selling the pact in Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News Sunday that the deal “is going to be a very hard sell for the administration,” amid reports that both sides are looking for ways to sell the deal at home once it is reached.
If an agreement is reached between Iran and the P5+1 member states, Congress will have 60 days to review the deal, and then can vote either on a resolution of approval or disapproval of the agreement.
During his interview, McConnell suggested that the Senate would consider a resolution of disapproval, and said that he believed that a number of Democrats would join the Republican majority in the Senate in voting against the deal.
“I know there will be a strong pull not to go against the president on something as important as this is to him, but I hope there will be enough Democrats willing to look at this objectively,” McConnell added.
Far-Left NGO 'Hounding' IDF, Justice Minister Fires
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) on Monday sharply criticized the decision to open an investigation into Binyamin Regional Commander Col. Yisrael Shomer, over an incident in which he shot dead an Arab terrorist who attacked his vehicle.
The IDF, along with other Israeli officials, had initially backed Shomer over his actions, noting the danger to his life presented by a group of Arab youths hurling large rocks at his car, as illustrated in the serious damage inflicted to the vehicle.
But following a video released by the European-funded NGO B'Tselem, the military said it had in fact opened an investigation into Shomer, as it does automatically in any incident in which someone is killed.
The video - taken from footage from CCTV at a nearby gas station - shows only part of the incident, and not the moment the shots were fired. In it, Arab youths including Mohammed al-Kasbeh can be seen waiting in ambush for Shomer's car, and then pouncing, hurling a number of projectiles at the vehicle.
Two IDF soldiers get out and give chase, which the far-left B'Tselem claims is proof Shomer broke IDF protocol and shot al-Kasbeh while he was defenseless - despite no evidence of that in the video.
Contrary to Guardian claim, new video does not ‘confirm’ that Palestinian was shot in the back
In ‘Video raises doubts over account of Israeli officer who killed Palestinian teenager‘, July 13th, Beaumont features the following video.
As you can see, the video shows Kasbah hurling rocks at the soldiers’ vehicle, the soldiers giving chase and aiming their weapons, and then the seconds before the Palestinian was actually shot. The soldiers then can be seen returning to their vehicle. We don’t see Shomer firing his weapon, or what Kasbah was doing as he was shot.
Indeed, Beaumont, in one passage, acknowledges this fact:
The footage – acquired by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem – was recorded by a security camera on a nearby petrol station and, although it does not show the moment of the lethal shooting itself, shows the preceding seconds.
Yet, Beaumont, a few passages later, makes the following leap:
The video confirms multiple witness accounts supplied to investigating journalists and human rights works workers – including medical evidence – that Kasbeh…was shot in the back.
The video certainly does not “confirm” that Kasbeh was shot in the back, as the video – per Beaumont’s own acknowledgement in the preceding passages – doesn’t show the actual shooting, only the “preceding seconds”. We have no idea was Kasbeh was doing, or in what direction he was facing, the moment he was shot.
The video may raise some doubts over Shomer’s testimony, but it does not disprove the officer’s claim that his life was in danger, nor does it prove that the 17-year-old Palestinian was shot in the back.
Deadly Highway Attack Thwarted
A potentially lethal terror attack was averted earely Monday morning after terrorists placed a gas canister inside burning tires near the Maccabim checkpoint on Highway 443.
IDF forces identified the burning tires at about 3:00 a.m. on the shoulder of the highway that connects Jerusalem with Modiin, about 500 meters from the Maccabim checkpoint.
A gas balloon had been placed inside one of the canisters.
A police sapper was called to the scene. He used controlled fire to neutralize the danger.
The highway was reopened to traffic after being blocked for about an hour.
Meanwhile, security forces arrested seven wanted suspects in Judea and Samaria overnight.
Dozens of Jerusalem Arabs Attack Police with Rocks
Dozens of Arabs in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat attacked Border Police with rocks late Sunday afternoon during an arrest of a suspect.
Border Police employed riot-dispersing methods and seriously injured one of the rioters with a “sponge bullet” when the mob tried to prevent officers from leaving the area with the suspect.
There may be complaints that the police response was “disproportionate” because they did not retaliate with rocks.
Couple Narrowly Avoid Death in Highway 6 Rock Attack
A Jewish couple narrowly averted death Saturday night in a terror attack that took place in central Israel, on Highway 6 (Kvish Shesh) that crosses Israel from north to south.
Tova Hoyman of Afula described the attack, which took place near the Arab town of Baka Al Gharbiya.
"We spent Saturday with our daughter in central Israel,” she told Arutz Sheva. “Shabbat ended late and we started driving home at around 11:30 PM. At around 12:30 AM we reached the Baka Al Gharbiya region and a huge rock was dropped on us from the bridge... A terrible, frightening boom. I immediately understood that it was a rock and told my husband to accelerate.”
The huge rock smashed the rear windshield in the Hoyman's car. As they drove away, Tova called the police and was told to stop the car and wait at the roadside for a police car to arrive. Tova refused.
"I told them that I have no intention of stopping at the roadside and we drove onward. I was seized by a terrible fear. I was trembling all over. I was very confused and I told them that I was going home and that they should send a police car to my home. I had numerous conversations with them on the way home. The Afula police sent a squad car to my home, wrote down a report and other than that, there was not much they could do.”
IDF: Rules of engagement now same for Jewish offenders, Palestinians
The Israel Defense Forces has revised its rules of engagement in the West Bank to address violent acts by Israeli settlers, who will now be treated in the same fashion as Palestinians who endanger soldiers, residents or property.
Against a backdrop of attacks by some far-right Jewish activists on Palestinians, army installations and vehicles, and even soldiers, new orders have instructed that soldiers eliminate the distinction between Palestinian and Israeli attackers in enforcing the law, the Ynet news site reported Monday.
According to a senior IDF officer quoted in the report, soldiers who refuse orders to confront and detain settlers may face prosecution.
“We explain to the soldiers that there is no difference between a lawless Palestinian and a Jew; there is no special procedure for arresting Palestinian suspects [over Jewish ones],” the officer explained.
“A Jew who breaks the law is an enemy. A soldier who stands by only harms the IDF,” he said.
Computer hack reveals identity of Syrians in contact with Israel
Computer hackers likely working for the Syrian regime and Hezbollah have managed to penetrate the computers of Israeli and American activists working with the Syrian opposition, exposing sensitive contacts between the sides.
Al-Akhbar, a newspaper serving as Hezbollah’s mouthpiece in Lebanon, published a series of articles over the weekend purporting to divulge correspondence between Mendi Safadi, a Druze Israeli and former political adviser to Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara, with members of the Syrian opposition around the world, taken from taken from Safadi’s computer.
The article also contains screenshots of word documents and text message exchanges saved on Safadi’s computer.
The article alleged that Safadi, working on behalf of the Israeli government, tried to recruit Israeli agents in Syria and Lebanon, smuggle weapons into the hands of Islamist rebel groups in Syria, and locate targets within Syria to be bombed by coalition forces.
Speaking to The Times of Israel on Sunday, Safadi acknowledged that his computer was indeed hacked approximately seven months ago by agents of Hezbollah and Assad’s cyber-warfare units, a fact first discovered by Israeli security agencies.
Eilat-bound jets get anti-missile defense pods
Missile defense systems have reportedly been installed on Israeli commercial flights servicing the southern city of Eilat.
According to a report Monday in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, the Israeli defense establishment gave the order to deploy the SkyShield missile defense systems to Arkia and Israir flights to Eilat two weeks ago, after an Islamic State-affiliated group carried out a major offensive against the Egyptian military in the Sinai.
The new defensive measure, the report said, was introduced in response to concerns that terrorist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula may try to attack planes flying near the border between Israel and Egypt.
The Defense Ministry announced last year that it had completed testing the SkyShield system, which was deemed “100 percent successful.”
The system combines lasers and a thermal camera to thwart ground-to-air missiles and change the inbound projectile’s trajectory.
Deputy FM: Leftists Were Cured by Visiting Samaria
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) paid a visit to Samaria late last week, where she met residents and public figures and discussed the revolutionary effect that tours of the region have made on politicians and public opinion leaders.
"It changed the positions of outright leftists to be in favor of settlement, thanks to smart trips combining the beauty of Samaria, produce of Samaria and the good things in the area together with ideology," said Hotovely.
The deputy minister said the trips first of all provide a chance to get to know the land, noting, "most of the debates take place between Tel Aviv and the Army Radio studio in Yafo or Neve Ilan. It doesn't happen here at all."
An election for the post of Samaria Regional Council head is currently underway, and weighing in on the matter, Hotovely gave high praise to Yossi Dagan who currently is serving as acting head of the Council and is running in the elections.
"Samaria needs people who can bring real achievements on the ground together with true concern for the welfare of the residents," said Hotovely.
"Samaria needs the incredible experience that Yossi brings with him from all ranks of the political system. The ability to realize ideology in reality is the motivating leadership force that Yossi Dagan brings."
Israeli who fought ISIS 'to prevent another Holocaust' returns to Israel
The young Israeli-Canadian woman who stirred both controversy and admiration by leaving her comfortable life in Tel Aviv and taking up the fight against the Islamic State, returned to Israel on Monday after almost a year in Iraq and Syria.
Gill Rosenberg, 31, originally from Vancouver, shed light on the reasons she joined the Kuridsh Perhsmerga forces, telling Army Radio that "we Jews always say of the Holocaust - never again. In my opinion that's true not only for the Jews, but for all mankind - and especially for the women and children in Syria and Iraq."
"I saw children and women raped, murdered and sold into sexual slavery because of their religion," Rosenberg explained, adding that she felt that she had to do something about it.
Using Facebook, Rosenberg initially made contact with the Kurdish forces, who instructed her on how to reach them in Iraq.
"I went to Jordan and from there I flew to Erbil, which is in Iraq," Rosenberg revealed.
"From there I made contact with a number of Western volunteers on Facebook and they sent someone to collect me."
Rosenberg explained that she could not be fully transparent with all of her Kurdish comrades about her Jewish identity, despite it being one of the main drivers of her expedition to the war-torn region.
"The Kurds love Israel and the Jewish people, but there were locals that were possibly not so supportive," Rosenberg said.
"My commanders told me to be discreet about my Jewishness and just to say that I was Canadian."
Hamas: In the End, Israel Will 'Pay the Price' For Mengistu
In an effort to increase its price for them, Hamas on Sunday continued its propaganda campaign over two missing Israelis. Although Hamas has officially denied that it is holding Avraham Mengitsu and a still-unnamed Bedouin Arab, Hamas terror officials have been making other statements.
On Sunday, Dr. Faiz Abu Smalla, who is a Hamas expert on Israel, wrote in his weekly column in the official Gaza newspaper, Filastin, that Israel's efforts to ignore Mengistu, from an Ethiopian immigrant family, will end up being a source of pressure on Israel to “pay the appropriate price” for his return.
Israel has said that there are no talks going on for Mengistu's release. Last Thursday, Hamas denied that it was holding the Israeli, saying that it had released him after determining that he was not a soldier.
According to Israeli officials, Mengistu crossed the fence into Gaza last September due to mental illness and that the move was not in any way a deliberate security risk. According to reports, the IDF spotted him and attempted to stop him, but he ran across before he could be apprehended; Hamas arrested him upon his arrival in Gaza.
The same fate is in the cards for the Bedouin prisoner, Abu Smalla wrote. Although he is an Arab and should therefore be treated with dignity, he wrote, Israeli Arabs are “known” to serve in the IDF, which makes them fair game. Sooner or later, he wrote, Israel would also “pay the price” for forcing Arabs into serving in the army.
Hamas has ‘more bargaining chips,’ says senior official
A senior Hamas official denied Sunday reports that Israel and Hamas were discussing the release of two Israelis held by the Gaza terror group, and said the group had “more bargaining chips that have not yet become public.”
Speaking to the Hamas-affiliated Al Resalah news site, the group’s foreign policy chief Osama Hamdan said there was no contact between Hamas and Israel regarding the captive Israelis, the Haaretz daily reported.
Two Israelis, Avraham Mengistu and a second captive, an unnamed Bedouin, have been held in Gaza for months. A court-imposed gag order on the story was lifted Thursday following a court petition by two Israeli media outlets.
Israel officials say they believe both are alive and being held by Hamas, despite mixed signals from the group.
PA TV: Palestinian mothers teach children that they were created to be Martyred
PA TV narrator: “Palestine – a mother that gives birth only to heroes. When she ‎conceives, she says to the baby in her uterus: ‘You were created only to be free or to ‎die as a Martyr’" [...]‎
Mother of “Martyr” Muhammad Al-Qatari: “He always said to me: ‘Mother, I want to die ‎as a Martyr,’ and we would argue... I told him: ‘My Dear, you have grown, I want to ‎marry you [off], Muhammad. We want to rejoice for you, Muhammad.’ He told me: ‘I ‎don’t want to marry. This is it, Mother, I want to die as a Martyr.’ He is the one who ‎wanted Martyrdom (Shahada).”‎
Father of “Martyr” Muhammad Al-Qatari:‎ ‎“I was a little strict with him on this topic... I ‎didn’t want it to happen. Every father, every person, wants to protect his son. As a ‎father, when I bring up my son until the age of 19, of course I don’t want to lose him in ‎one moment...”‎
Friend of “Martyr” Muhammad Al-Qatari:‎ ‎“Muhammad loved Martyrdom very much and ‎loved the homeland for which we sacrifice our lives. He always went to throw stones at ‎the [Israeli] army.”‎ ‎[Official PA TV, June 8, 2015]‎

Is the Mahmoud Abbas crony circle disintegrating?
It would be greatly overstating things to say we admire the Palestinian Arab leadership.
About Hamas, any extra words are superfluous.
The kleptocratic PA/PLO/Fatah insiders who have gotten away for years with the pretence of being a democratically-elected regime in search of peace with their Israeli neighbours are in reality a cosy bunch of past-their-use-by-date clique comrades. Not a single one of whom has asked (or has even been required to ask) Palestinian Arab voters for their electoral support for almost a full decade.
Their most recent parliamentary election took place on January 25, 2006. The last PA presidential election took place more than a year before that, on January 9, 2005, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four year term that he keeps extending indefinitely. What he has wrought in the years since then has been a disgrace. It's painfully obvious, as well, that there is a sort of gentlemen's agreement among Western countries not to mention this embarrassment publicly. Undermining the legitimacy of Abbas and the merry men of his inner cabal seems to be perceived as diminishing the chances for the fair, just and equitable peace that is about to break out and just around the corner. Needless to add, that tacit support is one of the key issues in ensuring peace remains perpetually around the corner and even further away.
Abbas is now 80 years old. It's evident that age has not diminished his passion for suppressing the opposition, particularly among the closest of his colleagues:
A Taste Of “Concentration Camp” Gaza: Technogym
Shehab News has posted the following video of a Gaza kid at the Technogym in Gaza.
Clearly, he was placed on a Zionist Stretching Machine of Death[TM]..but lived to tell the tale (and star in the video).
In other news, “Concentration Camp” Gaza has a Technogym, which has, among other things
A fancy reception area:
A fancy spinning bike room:
A fancy cardio room:
A fancy human body analyzer (whatever that is)
A fancy pool (water shortage, anyone?):
And a fancy spa:
More photos here, which shows this gym is not just for “rich foreigners”, like some Israel haters claim when confronted with these kinds of scenes.
Israeli NGO Urges FC Barcelona to Boycott Qatar over Hamas Ties
Legal rights organization Shurat HaDin has taken on world soccer (football) on Monday, after writing to the current President of FC Barcelona, Josef Maria Bartomeu, and asking him to cut the team's sponsorship ties to Qatar.
The Israeli group accuses Qatar of being a major funder of international terrorism and allowing senior Hamas leadership to operate from its territory.
FC Barcelona allegedly receives almost $90 million annually in endorsements from the wealthy Gulf nation.
The issue of continuing Qatar's sponsorship of the world renowned team has become a central issue in the hotly contested elections. Bartomeu's chief opponent Joan Laporta has already declared that he will sever ties to Qatar if elected. Bartomeu, for his part, supports maintaining Qatari sponsorship - despite, among other issues, the country's controversial position in the world football association (FIFA) corruption scandal as well.
Shurat HaDin accuses Qatar of providing hundreds of millions of dollars annually to Hamas in Gaza, and notes that politiburo leader Khaled Meshaal is based out of the Gulf nation and directs terror operations safely from there. The group also accuses Qatar of providing funding and safe haven to al Qaeida and Taliban officials and of providing funding to ISIS.

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