Friday, September 04, 2015

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: A glorious defeat
We will only be able to measure AIPAC’s power after the 2016 elections.
Given that the nuclear pact will fail, there will be plenty of Democrats challengers who will be eager to use their Democratic incumbent opponents’ support for Obama’s nuclear madness against them. AIPAC’s public fight against the deal has set the conditions for it to extract a political price from its supporters who preferred Obama to US national security.
If AIPAC extracts a price from key Democratic lawmakers who played crucial roles in approving the nuclear deal with Iran, it will prevent Obama from turning support for Israel into a partisan issue and emerge strengthened from the fight.
On Wednesday, after Maryland’s Sen. Barbara Mikulski became the 34th senator to support Obama’s nuclear deal, PBS’s senior anchorwoman Gwen Ifill tweeted, “Take that, Bibi.”
Obama’s win is Bibi’s loss. Bibi failed to convince 12 Democratic senators and 44 Democratic congressmen to vote against the head of their party. But by fighting against this deal, Netanyahu removed the main obstacle that kept Israel from taking action that will prevent Iran from going nuclear. He reduced Obama’s power to harm Israel.
The fight strengthened American and American- Jewish opposition to the nuclear deal, paving the way for a Democratic renewal after Obama leaves office. And finally, Israel’s public battle against Obama’s deal paved the way its abrogation by his successor.
All in all, a rather glorious defeat.
Palestinian prevents lynching of 5 lost American yeshiva students in Hebron
A Palestinian man saved five American yeshiva students from Brooklyn from being lynched in Hebron after they took a wrong turn Thursday on their way to the Cave of the Patriarchs.
The students entered the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal Johar after having been misdirected there by the navigational system Waze, according to security sources.
Palestinians on the street who saw their car immediately threw stones and a firebomb at the vehicle. The yeshiva students were able to escape from the car before the Palestinians torched it.
A Palestinian resident of the neighborhood helped rescue them and sheltered them in his apartment.
Fayez Abu Hamdiyeh, who lives in the neighborhood, said he let five Jewish “settlers” into his house after he noticed they were being chased by Palestinian youths.
He said the “settlers” told him that they had entered the neighborhood with their car before being pelted with stones.
Abu Hamdiyeh said he used the mobile phone of one of the students to phone the police and ask for help.
VIDEO: How the IDF extracted American yeshiva students in Hebron
New footage shows Israel Defense Forces soldiers extracting five American yeshiva students from Hebron on Thursday, after they became trapped in the West Bank city following riots triggered by their presence.
The five were given shelter by a local Palestinian when their car was set alight after a wrong turn en route to the Tomb of the Patriarchs took them into the predominantly Arab southern part of the city.
The grainy video shows the five, dressed in a traditional ultra-Orthodox manner, being instructed by the soldiers to thank the man who rescued them. One of the men, with clearly visible blood stains on his shirt, blows a kiss in the Palestinian man’s direction.
“We are evacuating you now in ambulances in the direction of Kiryat Arba, okay?” says one of the soldiers, referring to the Jewish settlement on the outskirts of Hebron.
The footage also shows soldiers securing the area around the house, before bringing yeshiva students outside and into a waiting Israel Police jeep.
Two of the students, from Brooklyn in New York were lightly-to-moderately injured in the riot that ensued after they accidentally entered the area.
Faiz Abu Hamadiah, 51, took the men into his home and dispatched local youths to inform the IDF at a nearby checkpoint of their presence.

And Tonight’s Headliner Is….Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz will be the headliner this Friday night at the Comedy Cellar, the storied club in Greenwich Village.
That’s not a joke. But Dershowitz won’t be doing any stand-up. Instead, the Harvard Law School professor (now emeritus) is part of a panel that will debate the merits of President Obama’s Iran deal. He’ll be joined by Georgetown professor Matthew Kroenig, MIT scholar Jim Walsh, and Slate columnist Fred Kaplan.
Dershowitz’s most recent book is titled The Case Against the Iran Deal, so it’s a safe bet that he will not come out in favor of the Iran deal, which now appears to have the Senate backing it needs to survive a Congressional challenge.
So, why is a political debate happening in a comedy club? Club owner Noam Dworman told Tablet that his late father, who owned the Comedy Cellar before him, loved debate and politics. “He and Jon Stewart used to have knock-down-drag-out fights about whatever was going on at the time.”
Dworman had been looking for a chance to host some kind of political conversation in the club. He was also following the Iran deal debate closely. When Dershowitz, in a Boston Globe op-ed, wrote that he would “gladly debate any responsible administration defenders on the deal’s merits and demerits,” Dworman saw an opportunity. And when the professor agreed to come, Dworman canceled a sold-out show and prepared to turn the Cellar into a salon.
JPost Editorial: Fighting a bad deal
Criticism has also been leveled at AIPAC and other Jewish lobbyists for devoting so many resources to fighting the deal. First, it has been claimed that the organization risked undermining its bipartisan image. Second, it has been said that AIPAC undermined its own reputation as one of the most powerful lobbying groups on Capitol Hill.
But opposition to the deal is not a partisan issue. Republican opposition to the deal might be stronger. But a number of Democrats are opposed, as well such as New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. Also, polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans – including many Democrats – opposes the deal. And even when Democrats come out in favor they do so reservedly.
Past experience has shown that even when AIPAC loses a battle on Capitol Hill it does not risk its status as a bigleague lobbyist. In a 1981 a showdown with the Reagan administration, the most popular Republican administration among American Jews in recent history, AIPAC lost its fight against the sale of AWAC planes to the Saudis. Nevertheless, AIPAC made a name for itself as a force to be reckoned with at a time when it was still a young organization.
In 1991, AIPAC once again fought a losing battle, this time against the Bush administration’s decision to tie $10 billion in loan guarantees to a settlement freeze. Once again AIPAC suffered no drop in its influence in Washington.
Indeed, after both these incidents, donations to AIPAC increased along with its influence.
Leading an aggressive campaign against the Iran deal was the right thing to do both morally and tactically.
There are times in history when leaders must make a stand regardless of the chances for success. When the motives are pure, even opponents show respect.
Foreign Ministry DG: I never said Israel tried to block Iran deal
A day after President Barack Obama mustered enough votes to see through the nuclear deal with Iran, Israel’s Foreign Ministry chief said Israel had tried to raise awareness about the perils of the accord, but denied that he had ever said it was the Jewish state’s aim to prevent the agreement being approved.
Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold disputed a claim by an Army Radio interviewer Thursday that his previous comments had made clear that Israel was working to overturn the deal.
“I never committed myself either to you or anyone else,” said Gold, a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I never went into those specifics.”
Gold also rejected the suggestion that Obama’s success in mustering enough support to uphold a veto of an anti-deal vote was a rout for Israel.
“Certainly not at all,” Gold said. “Most of Congress is against the deal.”
Elliott Abrams: Netanyahu and AIPAC: Right to Fight
News stories announcing that President Obama has the votes to protect his Iran deal from Congressional disapproval have led to debates here and in Israel over the campaigns against that deal by AIPAC and by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
These are not new debates, and the arguments are clear. Netanyahu’s political opponents in Israel are saying this was always a losing fight; he should never have opposed an American president this way; he has damaged U.S.-Israel relations; and Israel will now appear weak because it lost this fight. Similarly, critics of AIPAC argue that it has been defeated and thus its influence (and reputation as a powerful lobby) will diminish.
Wrong both times—as to Netanyahu and as to AIPAC.
Netanyahu has always seen the issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons program as existential for Israel. In that case, how could he not try to change the political calculus in the United States? Should he have pulled his punches, said less, made this a smaller issue—not tried, that is, to win the argument?
Actually, Netanyahu has won the argument: most Americans are highly skeptical of the Iran deal and don’t like it, and it will be disapproved in both houses of Congress. In the last months opinion has shifted against the deal, and he can take some credit for that. But his critics don’t blame him for losing, they blame him for trying--damaging Israel’s relations with the United States and its own credibility.
Parchin inspection plan won’t work, IAEA’s credibility on the line, says ex-deputy
It remains unclear how exactly the IAEA will conduct its inspections at Parchin, which are meant to provide definitive answers on Iran’s nuclear activity at the site prior to the deal. According to a leaked draft of the agreement, published last month by The Associated Press, Iran will provide the agency with photos, videos and environmental samples.
“The key question is: will the IAEA be present during the sample-taking or not?” Heinonen wondered. “It looks to me that they might be witnessing the sample-taking through some camera view, or from a distance. If that’s really the case I have a lot of reservations about the reasonability and credibility of the arrangements.”
Heinonen — who worked for the IAEA for nearly three decades and headed the agency’s Department of Safeguards — explained that taking samples at a site suspected of having hosted illicit nuclear activity is no simple feat.
“You need to know what you sample, how you sample, and if the sample is representative of the object you sample,” he said. It’s difficult to assess changes that might have been done to the facility — such as the installation of false walls or efforts to hide or sanitize equipment — by merely looking at photo or video material. “You need to be present and see physically the place. Therefore, for the IAEA to do a credible job they need to get to that chamber and take independently their samples.”
The IAEA’s mission in Parchin is not merely to take environmental samples but also to examine the site’s diagnostic equipment and technical arrangements, the Finnish-born Heinonen continued. “This is not only just to take swipe samples and then that thing gets resolved. This is much more wider thing the IAEA wants to investigate. Therefore, again, the camera view is not satisfying for that,” he said.
Kerry’s Speech Tops Chamberlain’s Remarks
In his speech yesterday on the Iran deal, Secretary of State Kerry mentioned “Israel” or “Israeli” 26 times – protesting a bit too much about his concern for the ally put at existential risk by the Obama administration’s cascade of concessions. Even eerier was the similarity of Kerry’s words to those of Neville Chamberlain in the British parliamentary debate on the Munich agreement in 1938. Here is Kerry’s assertion about Israel, together with his concluding words:
The people of Israel will be safer with this deal, and the same is true for the people throughout the region. … [H]istory may judge [the Iran agreement] a turning point, a moment when the builders of stability seized the initiative from the destroyers of hope, and when we were able to show, as have generations before us, that when we demand the best from ourselves and insist that others adhere to a similar high standard – when we do that, we have immense power to shape a safer and a more humane world. That’s what this is about and that’s what I hope we will do in the days ahead.
In the debate on the Munich agreement, Chamberlain’s claims were actually more modest than Kerry’s. He acknowledged the criticism he had received for saying that the agreement signaled “peace for our time,” and he said he hoped Members of Parliament would not “read into words used in a moment of some emotion, after a long and exhausting day, after I had driven through miles of excited, enthusiastic, cheering people – I hope they will not read into those words more than they were intended to convey.” He said he knew “weakness in armed strength means weakness in diplomacy” and he had a program to accelerate Britain’s re-armament.
Iran Lobby Seeks to Shut Down Vote on Nuclear Deal
The president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the controversial group promoting closer ties with Iran, admitted in an email to supporters Wednesday that he wants to prevent a Congressional vote on the nuclear deal with Iran from occurring.
An alert written by NIAC founder and president Trita Parsi celebrated securing the 34th Democratic Senate vote for the nuclear deal, which would prevent Congress from overriding President Barack Obama’s veto of their disapproval. With some Senators still on the fence, Parsi urged his followers to lobby the Senate to reach 41 “yes” votes, which would allow deal supporters to filibuster to prevent a vote from going forward at all.
We need 41 votes in the Senate to win the vote outright, preventing the President from having to resort to a veto. A deal protected merely by the President’s veto pen faces an uphill battle in future administrations. A different president can use the same pen to kill the deal.
We must be ready to double down our efforts on the remaining 7 Senators to ensure we seal this deal without a veto.
Three more Democratic senators back Iran deal
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, and North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced their support for the Iran nuclear deal on Thursday.
In a statement, Booker detailed deep misgivings about the international agreement that aims to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions.
“I nonetheless believe it is better to support a deeply flawed deal, for the alternative is worse. Thus, I will vote in support of the deal,” Booker said. “But the United States must recognize that to make this deal work, we must be more vigilant than ever in fighting Iranian aggression.”
Booker had been closely watched because of pressures from New Jersey’s Jewish community to oppose the deal. Also, New Jersey’s other Democratic senator, Bob Menendez, opposes the deal.
Cory Booker Backs ‘Deeply Flawed’ Iran Nuclear Agreement
Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) voiced tepid support for the Iran nuclear deal though the announcement of his decision fell short of an endorsement of the Obama administration’s championed agreement.
Booker acknowledged the deal as “deeply flawed” in a Medium post, outlining several of its weaknesses and claiming that it ultimately falls short of “eliminating Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.”
“We have now passed a point of no return that we should have never reached,” Booker explained, “leaving our nation to choose between two imperfect, dangerous and uncertain options. Left with these two choices, I nonetheless believe it is better to support a deeply flawed deal, for the alternative is worse.”
Booker described the deal as “rewarding” Iran for its past deceit surrounding Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.
“With this deal, we are legitimizing a vast and expanding nuclear program in Iran,” the New Jersey lawmaker wrote. “We are in effect rewarding years of their deception, deceit, and wanton disregard for international law by allowing them to potentially have a domestic nuclear enrichment program at levels beyond what is necessary for a peaceful civil nuclear program.”
Wasserman Schultz Split on Iran Deal, Will Decide Based on 'My Jewish Heart'
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is finding herself in a political pickle. Either she supports President Obama's Iran deal and prove her loyalty, or she breaks from the party line and sides with her Jewish allies and constituents.
"Wasserman Schultz is fiercely loyal to the president, who made her chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee," reported Florida's Sun Sentinel, shortly after a fervent speech on the deal delivered Thursday by Vice President Joe Biden in front of Jewish leaders in the southern tip of the state.
However, as the report indicates, Wasserman Schultz also happens to be the first Jewish woman from Florida to serve in Congress and has always offered her support of Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu. In her Florida district, she represents a Jewish population of over 15 percent.
In a recent statement on the deal, the congresswoman said:
There are a number of questions and concerns that I have, along with my constituents and community leaders, about the agreement. Ultimately, I will make this most consequential of decisions based on what I believe is the best way to prevent Iran from achieving their nuclear ambitions.
Fox: Nuclear Deal ‘The Fulfillment of An Iranian Wish List’
Liam Fox, currently a Conservative member of Parliament, said in an interview that the United States and Western countries are surrendering their leverage against Iran by granting it as much as $150 billion in sanctions relief, in exchange for modest restrictions on its nuclear program. Tehran will use the cash infusion to quickly upgrade its military and civilian infrastructure, he said.
The United States and other world powers caved into several Iranian demands during the nuclear negotiations, he said, including the eventual lifting of embargoes on the shipment of conventional arms and ballistic missiles into Tehran.
“This isn’t so much a deal as the fulfillment of an Iranian wish list,” he said.
Iran’s terrorist proxies and partners in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the Assad regime in Syria, all stand to benefit from the sanctions relief under the nuclear pact, he said. The Obama administration has defended the deal in part by saying that Iran will devote most of the extra funding toward reviving its moribund economy, and that Tehran already siphoned resources to its proxies despite the previous economic restrictions.
Fox called this an “extremely optimistic if not utterly perverse view of the world.”
“If they regarded them as so much of a priority that they were willing to fund them when they had little money, I think it’s reasonable to assume that they will get the same level of priority amongst that new funding,” he said.
“We had leverage that we have just thrown away.”
Devastating Iran Deal Video: The Devil Is In The Details
This new web video from National Review should send a chill up every American and Israeli spine. The more we learn about the deal (or in some cases, the less we learn), the less tolerable it becomes, and polls show most Americans know it.
From NRO:
Yesterday, President Obama clinched enough support in the Senate to ensure the nuclear deal with Iran will go through. Unfortunately, America moves forward with this deal at our own peril. In a new, exclusive video from National Review, we showcase the reasons why the deal would be disastrous for the future of our country — and the world as a whole.

MEMRI: Iranian Regime Celebrates Its Victory In The Nuclear Agreement
After Iran and the P5+1 announced the JCPOA on July 14, 2015, top Iranian officials, headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said that the country was a superpower with standing equal to that of the U.S., and that this status would become even stronger because of the agreement. They boasted of Iran's might and said that it had forced the superpowers to surrender to it and its demands.
Following are highlights from these statements:
Iranian Defense Minister: The Superpowers Surrendered To Iran And "Obeyed The Iranian Rights"
At an armed forces general command ceremony on August 30, 2015, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said: "Today, Iran has attained such status that the superpowers have surrendered to it, because of its majesty, its steadfastness, its resistance, and its unity. Despite their great pride, the regime of the arrogance [the West, led by the U.S.] sat humbly behind the negotiating table and obeyed the rights of the Iranian nation."[1]
Leader Khamenei: "Those Who Levelled Sanctions Against Us Yesterday Are Dying Today – Because Iran Has Become The Region's Foremost Military Power"
Iranian general vows to ‘cut off hands and fingers’ of enemies
A senior commander of Iran’s Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Thursday vowed to “cut off [our] enemies’ hands and fingers” should the Islamic Republic come under a military strike.
“We monitor their acts day and night and will take every opportunity to set fire to all their economic and political interests if they do a wrong deed,” said Brigadier General Hossein Salami, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
In an apparent reference to Israel and the US, Salami said that if Iran was attacked, it would “cut off [our] enemies’ hands and fingers will then send its dust to the air.”
MEMRI: On August 29, 2015, the Iranian news agency Tasnim, which is affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published a video clip of film and still photos taken by an IRGC naval plane during a reconnaissance mission to identify an American aircraft carrier in the Strait of...
On August 29, 2015, the Iranian news agency Tasnim, which is affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published a video clip of film and still photos taken by an IRGC naval plane during a reconnaissance mission to identify an American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz.
The 46-second clip, complete with dramatic soundtrack, is filmed from two angles – from high above the aircraft carrier, and from alongside it. It clearly shows the American crew looking straight at the camera as it passes by. The report also states that the aircraft that carried out the mission was a Harbin Y-12.
Below is the clip released by the IRGC and, following that, Tasnim's report on the mission and on how the filming was done, with photos.
Russian S-300 Missiles to Iran: Groundhog Day or Game-Changer?
Ironically, the continued delays may suit Russia just fine. Moscow views Iran with a mixture of deep distrust (due in large part to its ability to threaten Russian interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia) and exasperation (due to the difficulty of previous negotiations), so the Kremlin seems content to use the prospective S-300 sale as leverage over the United States and Israel (e.g., pressuring them to refrain from arms transfers to Ukraine). From a political perspective, the possibility of a sale is more valuable to Russia than a done deal, so it may have an interest in encouraging Tehran's propensity to string negotiations out.
The transfer of S-300s to Iran seems far from a foregone conclusion, and Russia's latest bid to resurrect negotiations over the missile system may simply be another attempt to use threatened arms transfers to achieve other goals. Although the deal may go through eventually, it seems unlikely to happen quickly. U.S. and allied consideration for Moscow's vital interests in various arenas may be the best way to further delay the deal, which continues to face significant military-technical and strategic obstacles -- not least Tehran's tendency to exasperate potential partners by overplaying its hand in negotiations.
Iranian Official: Restrictions on Iran’s Missile Program Will Be Lifted Along With Sanctions
Abbas Araghchi, who also served as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in talks with the P5+1, made his remarks during a briefing on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to Iran’s Assembly of Experts, a deliberative body of Islamic theologians charged with electing or removing the Supreme Leader of Iran, and supervising his activities while he is in power to ensure they comply with the ideals of the Islamic Revolution.
Araghchi assured the Assembly that Iran’s negotiating team had adhered to the red lines laid down by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei during talks with Western powers. “The Islamic Republic of Iran, overall, has achieved what it was seeking in the negotiations, while protecting its national glory, imposing its will on the powers,” Araghchi asserted.
“We worked hard and succeeded in fixing the unalienable right of the country to enrichment which is a grave red line for the system; enrichment would never be suspended even for a single day; on the other hand, the P5+1 abandoned their initial demand that Iran should have a ‘zero’ enrichment program,” Araghchi said.
Khamenei’s Anti-American, Antisemitic Twitter Blitz: ‘We’re Not Like Some Retarded Countries’
A Twitter account linked to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran was “not like some retarded countries,” and fired off a barrage of oblique antisemitic tweets on Thursday.
The firebrand Iranian ruler invoked familiar tropes against the United States and Israel, including claims that America was a two-faced negotiator and that Israeli entities were steering U.S. policy.
He accused the U.S. government of “global arrogance,” and said “Zionist companies” and “economic cartels” were behind it.
He also ridiculed Israel for apparently claiming that a putative Mossad campaign to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists a few years ago, as part of a covert program to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, was not terrorism. Israel has never admitted to organizing the brief spate of assassinations in Iran.
“Enemy and global arrogance is not an illusion; it’s a reality, and its utmost epitome is U.S. government and Zionist and economic cartels backing it,” he said. He warned that the “short-term” cooperation with the United States should “not deceive us.”
Why Does Iran Keep Taking American Hostages?
And Iran gets away with it, in part, thanks to relatively low interest among the American public. People are not displaying yellow ribbons en masse as they did during the Iran hostage crisis. Many updates go unnoticed by the media and the hostages’ families battle the perpetual peaks and valleys of public awareness campaigns.
“Maximum press coverage usually sees a release of those individuals. Pressure on the Iranian government increases so much,” Alfoneh says. But without this kind of coverage, American hostages “end up rotting in prison for years and years.”
American government policy is not helping the situation. Indeed, Naghmeh Abedini was told by the State Department—which did not issue a statement on the issue until almost six months after her husband was taken into custody—to wait and see how things developed. This is typical. And as the U.S. dithers, the hostages’ families are being run ragged by years of campaigning for their loved ones, knowing they can’t sit and wait.
Representative Kildee holds out hope that Iran can be pressured to do the right thing.
Iran Hints at Prison Swap for Jailed American Reporter
The speaker of Iran's parliament hinted in a radio interview Thursday at the possibility of a prisoner swap to free detained Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian, AFP reports.
The comments made to National Public Radio were the latest recent clue that a prisoner swap could be on the table, as U.S. authorities seek to free Rezaian -- held in Iran for over a year on espionage charges -- and other prisoners.
Asked by NPR whether he sees a "practical way" that Rezaian and other prisoners could be released, Ali Larijani replied, "There are practical ways, of course. For example, there is a number of Iranians in prison here."
He added, "Definitely for matters of this sort, one can come up with solutions. I think your politicians know about those ways."
Larijani made his comments in New York, where he had traveled for a week of meetings at the United Nations, and for roundtable gatherings with business leaders and academics.
NPR raised the Cuba-U.S. prisoner swap that took place in December as relations between those two countries thawed, asking whether a similar deal might be possible for Tehran and Washington.
"That's one way," Larijani replied, before saying it was ultimately up to Iran's judicial system.
PBS Ombudsman: Anchor's 'Take That, Bibi' Tweet 'Inexcusable'
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler issued a blistering response to PBS reporter Gwen Ifill's "inexcusable" jab at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday.
Ifill's tweet followed the announcement Wednesday that President Obama had secured enough Democrat votes in the Senate to protect his Iran deal against an congressional override of his veto.
"Take that, Bibi," Ifill tweeted mockingly.
Getler, who is tasked with looking into complaints against PBS, got what he deemed an unconvincing explanation for the unprofessional and petty tweet, concluding that she had damaged the "credibility" of PBS.
"[T]o personalize it by saying, 'Take that, Bibi' is, in my book, inexcusable for an experienced journalist who is the co-anchor of a nightly news program watched by millions of people over the course of any week," wrote Getler. (h/t tp495)
Palestinians protest as Israelis gather for pro-IDF rally near West Bank village
“All the honor to the army, you are the best, we love you.”
A man with a small yellow car had parked on the side of the 465 in the blazing sun and was shouting encouragement at a squad of soldiers standing in a field below the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh. A week ago a video of a soldier attempt to detain 12-year old Mohammad Tamimi went viral when the soldier was pounced on by female relatives of the boy.
This Friday the army and the Israeli Jewish civilians seemed determined that the scene would not be repeated.
Hundreds of Israelis, mostly from communities like nearby Halamish in the central West Bank, gathered to show support for the army.
They carried Israeli flags and danced in circles.
Some handed out popsicles and ice cream to the platoon of IDF and Border Police who had gathered to prevent Palestinians stoning the road.
The army stayed relatively close to the road and used tear gas canisters to keep the Palestinian activists away; the commanders did not seem inclined to order the soldiers to chase after stone throwers.
At Temple Mount gate, banned Muslim activists vent their anger
“Are you Jewish?” asked the sheikh dressed in white, standing near the Chain Gate of Temple Mount. When I answered that I was, he forbade the crowd of mostly middle-aged women standing around to speak to me. “You can get our photos from the policemen over there,” he said dryly.
Since they were banished last week from the Temple Mount during morning visiting hours on orders of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, a few dozen Islamic activists have been gathering every morning near the gate, where tourists exit the Temple Mount, to voice their protest. They are known as Murabitat, a loaded Islamic term denoting religious steadfastness at a time of battle.
“You ask who we are? We are not terrorists!” chanted the women in unison, confined to one side of the cobblestone alleyway by police, as curious tourists passed by. “You ask who we are? We are banned from al-Aqsa!”
Funded by the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, the Murabitat formed learning circles on the Temple Mount plaza, where they would study Quran and disrupt the increasingly frequent visits by religious Jews to the site, with shouts of Allahu Akbar (God is Great) and physical assaults.
Report: Female Islamist Extremists Banned from Temple Mount
Israeli authorities on Thursday distributed a list of 40 Arab women who are banned from entering the Temple Mount, local sources told the Bethlehem-based Arab news agency Ma'an.
The women, who are members of the Islamic Movement's “Murabitat” group, are reportedly banned from entering the Mount for periods between 10 and 60 days.
Ma'an cited Jerusalem police commander Avi Bitton as saying on Wednesday that the list is made up of women who "cause trouble and damage" at the site, but that other Murabitat women not on the list would be allowed entry. Bitton reportedly said that the the recent restrictions were imposed “to prevent any tensions in the area, as they violate order, and present a threat to visitors.”
Elishama Sandman, Director of Yera'e, a Jewish Temple activists' group, told Arutz Sheva Friday that after eight days in which police prevented female rioters from entering the Mount between 7 and 11 AM, Jews who ascended the Mount on Thursday did encounter some Murabitat who disturbed them, but that these were few in number and that the situation is a “a great improvement” compared to the past. He confirmed that Arabs said that police have banned several dozen Murabitat from entering the Mount.
Critically injured Syrian transferred to Israeli hospital
A critically wounded Syrian man was transferred to Ziv Medical Center in Safed for treatment late Thursday night, following severe injuries to his chest and stomach in which he is said to have lost a massive amount of blood.
The man, said to be in his twenties, was airlifted to the hospital by an Israel Defense Forces helicopter, in the first such transfer to the medical center since a violent mob attack by Druze villagers on an ambulance carrying two wounded Syrian fighters two months ago.
The ambulance was en route to medical center when a mob of people, apparently thinking the ambulance could be carrying Syrian jihadist rebels, attacked the ambulance, being escorted by an army jeep, near the town of Majdal Shams. The convoy made its way to the nearby town of Neve Ativ, but was also met with resistance there by Druze who followed the ambulance. One of the Syrian casualties was killed and two IDF soldiers were hurt in the incident.
Since the attack, wounded Syrians crossing into Israel have been taken to hospital in the Galilee city of Nahariya, according to Ynet.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian factions call for boycott of PLO parliament-in-exile meeting
Seven Palestinian factions on Thursday called for boycotting the upcoming session of the PLO parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC).
At a press conference in Gaza City, the factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, warned that convening the PNC “poses a threat to the Palestinian national project and a breach of the Palestinian Basic Law.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO leadership called the PNC session to elect new members of the PLO Executive Committee.
The faction representatives accused Abbas of working toward tightening his grip on power with the help of the PNC. They said that they would not abide by any decision taken by the PNC, which is expected to convene in Ramallah later this month.
The factions warned that anyone who participates in the meeting would be “consolidating the divisions among Palestinians” – a reference to the ongoing dispute between Fatah and Hamas.
Hamas Setting Ambushes Along Gaza Fence
Hamas is stepping up its military activities along the border with Israel, according to Makor Rishon. The newspaper reported Friday that besides preparing attack tunnels and carrying out training and patrols along the security fence, the terror organization that runs Gaza has begun setting nightly ambushes against IDF soldiers. Hamas said that it is doing this after identifying penetrations by IDF forces into Gaza territory.
Hamas recently paved a “security road” alongside the border fence which its forces patrol routinely. In addition, military positions and defensive dirt berms have been set up.
Makor Rishon says the IDF believes Hamas may did tunnels all along the new road, in a tactic similar to Hezbollah's, from which its fighters will be able to emerge to fight an Israeli invasion, in the next round of heavy fighting.
Hamas's New Propaganda Gimmick: IDF Soldier 'Jail'
Gazan students belonging to the Islamic Bloc, Hamas's student branch, have come up with a new attention-grabbing gimmick.
They built a model of a central prison with solitary confinement cells. Each cell contains a picture of an IDF soldier who was "taken captive" during last summer's Operation Protective Edge.
The "prison" is is surrounded by 70 meters of barbed wire fence on which more pictures of missing IDF soldiers are hung. There is also a sign reading "Count your soldiers," a veiled claim that the number of missing Israeli soldiers is higher than what Israel publicly admits.
The attraction has been open to the public for three days, and a member of the al-Qassam Brigades stands guard at the entrance.
Four U.S. troops, two international peacekeepers wounded in Sinai blasts
Four American and two international peacekeepers from Fiji were wounded Thursday in two bomb blasts on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and required medical evacuation, defense officials said.
All six troops were with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), an international coalition set up to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel after a treaty was reached between the two nations at Camp David, Md., in 1978. The two international troops hit an improvised explosive device with their vehicle, and then the four Americans were hit with a second explosion on another vehicle while attempting to respond and provide help, said Maj. Roger M. Cabiness II, a military spokesman at the Pentagon.
The multinational force evacuated the soldiers by air with non-life-threatening injuries, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, another Pentagon spokesman, in a statement. The attacks occurred in the northeastern section of the Sinai, which has become increasingly volatile as militants inspired by the Islamic State have launched several large attacks.
The attacks occurred around 2 p.m. in Egypt while the troops were conducting supply and recovery convoys, the MFO said in a statement released Friday. All six soldiers were sent to Israel, and are in stable condition. It’s expected they will be released Friday night following additional medical tests.
New video shows ISIS in Sinai likely has advanced Russian weapons
A new video produced by ISIS’s Wilayat Sinai branch in the Sinai Peninsula released on Wednesday reveals that the group has new sophisticated weaponry, which it hopes to use to launch a war against Israel.
The new 37-minute video, produced in ISIS’s well-known sleek style, opens by criticizing Egypt’s “apostate” relationship with the State of Israel over a clip from the Camp David Peace Accords in 1978. Calling Sinai the “southern gates to Jerusalem,” and “an opening to fight a war against the Jews,” the video also includes clips of the Temple Mount, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak shaking hands with former Israeli president Shimon Peres, as well as talking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and even includes animation from Israel’s Channel 10 showing a terrorist attack on an Israeli bus in 2011 on its way to Eilat.
In the video, Wilayat Sinai, then known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis [Supporters of Jerusalem], boasted its responsibility for the 2011 attack, as well as various rocket attacks, which they claim were revenge for Israel’s actions in Gaza.
The ‘Palestinian’ Art of Stone -Throwing
In Beit Ommar, Judaea & Samaria, in August 2013 Muhammad Abu Hashem who is 17 years old, was arrested for the fourth time in three years for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and Jewish inhabitants. His five brothers — three older and two younger — have all faced similar charges. Last year, three Abu Hashem boys, and their father, were in prison at the same time.
Muhammad explained weeks before his most recent arrest.
“Children have hobbies and my hobby is throwing stones. A day with a confrontation is better than a free day.”
That to me pretty much sums up the mindset of these people and what a shame these minds can’t be put to better use like going to school. Maybe then they can break this dreadful cycle of violence.
‘Rock-throwing 101: An overview‘ makes some very interesting points.
In civilized countries, the act of throwing rocks at people or moving vehicles is considered a serious crime, because victims can be, and have been maimed and killed, as a result. In many states in America, this crime is classified as a felony, or attempted murder. As the research organization CAMERA noted:
In 1986, a U.S. teenager was sentenced to life in prison for throwing a stone from an overpass that killed a toddler in a car below. In 2010, two South Carolina teenagers were indicted on first degree murder charges after killing a woman sitting in the front seat of a car with a stone hurled from an overpass. And, in 2002, even when stone throwing resulted in no injuries, the teenaged perpetrators were charged with assault and battery with intent to kill and malicious injury to personal property. As the Sheriff’s Department explained, throwing rocks “is not a prank. This is extremely dangerous. You could kill somebody doing this.”

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