Tuesday, September 08, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Does It Really Matter Who the Next Palestinian President Is?
It is hard to understand why some Westerners believe that Abbas's departure could boost the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. To many Palestinians, it is clear that the PLO or Fatah official who replaces Abbas will not be able to make any concessions to Israel. Any Palestinian leader who dares to make the slightest concession to Israel will be denounced as a traitor and will be lucky if he stays in power or stays alive.
The West needs to understand that no Palestinian leader is authorized to make concessions to Israel for the sake of peace. Neither the PLO nor the Fatah leaderships would ever approve of such concessions. And, of course, Hamas also will never accept any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, except one that leads to the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic empire in the region.
Saeb Erekat has been negotiating with Israel for the past two decades and his position has never changed. Like Arafat and Abbas, he too will never sign a peace agreement with Israel that does not include 100% of the territories captured by Israel in 1967. Erekat is not authorized to make any concessions on Jerusalem or the "right of return" for Palestinians to their former homes inside Israel.
Abbas's successor will undoubtedly declare that he intends to follow in the footsteps of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas may go, but his legacy, like that of Arafat, will not.
How bad is the Iran deal? Let’s count the ways
A fatwa that doesn’t exist, a wish list that no one signed, a resolution that contradicts the wish list, a protocol that no one has seen…
These are the elements with which President Obama claims he has concocted a strategy to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions and stop it exporting murder and mayhem.
Supposedly issued by Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, the fatwa declares nuclear weapons as “illicit” (haram) in Islam.
Obama cites it as “proof” that Iran does not intend to build a bomb. The president has never said he has seen the fatwa, which, in any case, would have no legal or religious weight.
However, those who refer to the fatwa, including some mullahs, always credit Obama as the source of their information. In the 18th century, Mullah Sadra liked to say that “you will see only if you believe.” He has a disciple in Obama.
Samantha Power sides with the oppressor
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power recently wrote a piece for Politico arguing the Congress not reject the nuclear deal with Iran.
In short she argued that rejecting the deal would leave the United States, not Iran isolated and the ability of the United States would be greatly compromised in its ability to influence outcomes globally.
What makes Power’s plea so inexplicable is her record. As Claudia Rosett explained back in July:
Thirteen years ago, Samantha Power made a name for herself with her Pulitzer prize-winning book, “‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide.” In this book, she explored the history of America’s reluctance to intervene to stop or prevent genocides. Prescribing American intervention as justified on grounds both “moral” and in service of “enlightened self-interest,” Power asked how something so clear in retrospect as the need to stop genocide could “become so muddled at the time by rationalization, institutional constraints, and a lack of imagination.”
In her argument for making the nuclear deal with Iran, one word from Power was missing, “Syria.”
Power, following her area of expertise, has been very vocal about the terrible carnage inflicted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on his country. In August she blasted the regime for its use of barrel bombs and threatened to hold Assad and members of his government responsible for the use of chemical weapons.
But given the way the United States has acted in reaction to Assad’s crossing of a “red line” two years ago with a chemical weapons attack, these words are empty. After suggesting that he would use military force in response to the atrocity, President Barack Obama suddenly chose not too.

Isi Leibler: Passionate political conflict and civility
Passionate political conflict and civility
The bitterness of the debate in the United States in relation to Iran has again raised questions ‎concerning civil discourse when contentious and emotional issues arise.‎
Israeli politicians are renowned for resorting to hyperbole and even outright abuse. One need ‎only observe the behavior in Knesset debates with individual MKs verbally assailing one ‎another like animals. In contrast, Americans conduct their congressional proceedings with ‎greater decorum and civility. ‎
However, U.S. President Barack Obama unleashed unprecedented anger in his own country ‎by his obsessive determination to enshrine his legacy by consummating a deal empowering the ‎Iranian terrorists, irrespective of the cost. This, despite the fact that even in the midst of the ‎negotiations, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed calls of "death to America" and adamantly ‎reiterated that the destruction of Israel would remain a primary objective of Iran. ‎
Obama effectively agreed to transform Iran into a threshold nuclear power and released ‎billions of dollars of frozen funds, much of which the Iranians proudly boast will be directed ‎toward bolstering their terrorist surrogates. If that wasn't sufficient, the administration also ‎agreed to trust the duplicitous Iranians to supervise their own compliance.‎
IAEA chief: Much work remains to detail past Iran nuclear efforts
It will take a lot of work to determine by the end of the year whether Iran was previously developing nuclear weapons, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said on Monday.
Alongside the July 14 political agreement with six world powers world powers, Iran reached a road map accord with the International Atomic Energy Agency which requires Iran to pass on enough information about its past nuclear program to allow the U.N. body to report on the issue by December.
"With regard to clarification of PMD, much work needs to be done," Yukiya Amano, IAEA director general, told a news conference, referring to the term "possible military dimensions."
The assessment is a vital part of the deal between Iran and the six powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.
Israel develops palm-sized flying nuclear detectors
Israeli nuclear researchers have developed a micro-copter capable of tracking nuclear radiation in difficult terrain.
The palm-sized drones, developed with funding from the US Department of Energy, were invented in Israel’s Negev Nuclear Research Center, better known as the Dimona nuclear facility, where foreign governments believe Israel developed and may house a nuclear arsenal, Haaretz reported Tuesday.
The micro-copters are essentially undetectable and can collect data on radioactivity emanating from underground sites, even in rugged terrain that can be difficult to reach on the ground or view from space.
While the miniature drones were developed to track radiation levels at radioactive sites without risking the lives of human technicians, and Israeli officials say they were developed purely for defensive purposes, the applications for Western enforcement of Iran’s nuclear program are clear.
US-Israel spat over Iran may sideline Palestinians
In recent months, many in the Middle East had assumed — some in hope, others with concern — that once the Iranian nuclear issue was resolved, the United States would make another push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But the opposite seems more likely.
After a drawn-out confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iranian nuclear deal, the White House seems to have little appetite for what would almost certainly be a new round of tensions with the Israeli leader over the terms of Palestinian statehood. With the odds of success slim and US elections approaching, President Barack Obama seems more interested in repairing his tattered relationship with Israel, leaving the Palestinian issue to his successor.
In recent comments, Obama has spoken of boosting security cooperation and providing upgraded military hardware to make up for Israeli misgivings over the nuclear deal. Speaking to the Jewish newspaper The Forward last week, he likened his differences with Israel to a disagreement inside a family and predicted relations would survive the test. “I think it is important for everybody to just take a breath for a moment and recognize that people on both sides of the debate love the United States and also love Israel,” Obama said. He made no mention of the Palestinian issue.
Did the Administration Out-Maneuver Itself on Iran Deal, Spelling its Defeat?
There are currently circulating several proposals to send the negotiators back to the negotiating table. All of them rely on straight readings of the law. In fact, it is the administration that already voided the deal by failing to follow the procedures laid out in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.
As former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy first pointed out on Sept. 5 in the National Review, and as Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-4) and attorney David Rivkin pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed published on Sept. 6, the very first section of the INARA requires the president to provide Congress with the JCPOA, “including all related materials and annexes.’
Congress should have been given all information about the agreement, including that information which we now know is contained in the secret side deals, neither of which the President nor his negotiating team informed Congress existed. It was only by chance that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Rep. Pompeo learned of the existence of those side deals from International Atomic Energy Agency employees in July, while meeting with them in Vienna
And providing the information now is too late, according to the INARA, as McCarthy points out: the act dictates that it was to have been done “not later than five days after reaching the agreement” — meaning July 19, since the agreement was finalized on July 14.
West Virginia senator fourth Democrat to oppose Iran deal
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin will oppose the Iran nuclear deal, he told reporters Tuesday, putting a possible filibuster on the vote nearly out of reach.
Manchin said the Iranian regime had shown no signs of changing its behavior and the deal it reached with six world powers does “nothing to guarantee that behavior changes.”
The senator had been one of five yet to declare how they will vote.
He had earlier said he was leaning toward supporting the deal, according to the Charleston Gazette.
Manchin will become one of four Democrats to oppose the deal, along with senators Chuck Schumer of New York, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Ben Cardin of Maryland. The Obama administration now needs the support of three of the remaining four undecided senators to manage a filibuster, which would keep the deal from being voted down and thus obviate the need for a presidential veto.
Iran Deal: Why Debbie Wasserman Schultz is Crying
Wasserman Schultz’s defense can be summarized as follows. 1. She cares deeply about Israel’s existence, which ought to mean she has made the right decision. 2. The Iran deal protects Israel because it prevents Iran from “ever” gaining access to nuclear weapons. 3. The Iran deal allows the world to shift focus to the regime’s terrorism. 4. The president will offer Israel an “enhanced security package” that will be “essential” in the aftermath of the Iran deal.
None of these arguments is convincing. Let us take each in turn.
1. Wasserman Schultz may care about Israel, but that is not reflected in her political leadership. During her time as chair, the Democrats have moved away from pro-Israel positions–most visibly in the floor fight at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. People can care about an issue and still be wrong. And, quite possibly, she cries because she really does care–and knows she is wrong.
2. Wasserman Schultz is wrong that the deal prevents Iran from “ever” attaining nuclear weapons. It is, at best, a temporary deal. The so-called “permanent” provisions citied by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are non-binding and voluntary. Even the deal’s defenders–such as, lately, Colin Powell–acknowledge that the deal merely kicks the can down the road. If Wasserman Schultz thinks otherwise, she is deeply confused.
3. The Iran deal does not shift the world’s focus to terrorism. Clearly, it does the opposite by providing the regime with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief that even the Obama administration admits will be used, at least partly, to fund terror. Confronting Iran’s terror in the region would also require a dramatic escalation in the U.S. military presence in the region. The Obama administration is plainly moving in the opposite direction.
4. Unlike the Saudis, who have traded away their public opposition to the Iran deal in exchange for sophisticated weaponry, the Israeli government has resisted the Obama administration’s offers of military aid in exchange for supporting the Iran deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees this as an existential and moral issue, and has refused to be bought. And if the Iran deal makes Israel safer, why does it need new weapons in the aftermath?
Economist uses Neturei Karta photo to illustrate US Jews’ support for Iran Deal
Early this morning, The Economist tweeted the following link and photo to promote a featured story on their website (Fighting Talk, Sept. 5th) with the same image of ‘American Jewish protesters’, with the caption “The disputatious diaspora”.
Of course, as tweeters quickly pointed out to The Economist, the group highlighted in the photo (Neturei Karta) represents a very strange editorial choice in story about American Jewish opinion about the Iran Deal.
It is narrowly true, as the article points out, that polls suggest that Jews are indeed more supportive of the Iran Deal than Americans overall.
However, Neturei Karta is of course a fringe, extremist movement which believes that Zionism is “a demonic force in the world”, and it’s extremely misleading for Economist editors to highlight the group in a story about Jewish support for the Iran Deal without even noting their miniscule numbers and ideologically extreme views.
Steinitz Demanding Extreme Steps if Oslo Accords Are Canceled
Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz said that the Palestinian Authority has in large measure already eliminated the Oslo Accords, because they hardly adhere to any of their accords-related obligations. Speaking on Israeli Radio, Steinitz said measures must be considered should Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announce the unilateral cancellation of the 1993-5 agreements. Steinitz believes Israel’s response on the ground should be harsh, and economic, political and security sanctions should be considered. He reiterated that the Prime Minister was willing to meet with Abbas and to resume negotiations without preconditions.
The Arab news agency “Maan” reported, citing a senior PLO member, that Abbas is expected to announce later this month, at the UN General Assembly, the elimination of all the Palestinian Authority’s agreements with Israel, including the Oslo Accords. The source, former Palestinian Authority government minister Ahmed Majdalani said the PA leadership has already approved the cancellation of security and economic cooperation between the PA and Israel.
Another Palestinian Authority official told Israel Radio that their leadership has not yet confirmed the announcement but stressed that the threat is serious, and that everything will change after Abbas’s speech at the United Nations later this month.
New Poll Shows Why Palestinians Have No Interest in Peace
Indeed, that’s precisely why Palestinians have rejected repeated Israeli offers of a state on most of the West Bank and Gaza: Not only isn’t this their ultimate goal, but they don’t even think it’s conducive to their ultimate goal. The only way they would sign such a deal is if they change their minds and conclude that it would actually further their goal of destroying Israel – in which case Israel clearly shouldn’t be signing it.
All this means that there will not and cannot be a final resolution of the conflict in the foreseeable future. Consequently, Israel urgently needs a long-term strategy for coping with a conflict that has no end in sight.
In an essay in Mosaic earlier this month, I described in detail what such a strategy might look like in four different areas: negotiations, public diplomacy, military action and the home front. But one element of that strategy is particularly relevant to the Fikra poll’s findings: the crucial importance of tirelessly explaining Israel’s legal and historical rights to this land.
As the poll shows, the crux of the conflict is the Palestinian belief that “Jews have no rights to the land.” Palestinians also believe they are succeeding in converting the rest of the world to this view, which merely fuels their conviction that they will ultimately succeed in destroying Israel.
Until both these beliefs change, no solution to the conflict will be possible. And only Israel can make the case for its own rights; nobody else will do so in its stead.
Khaled Abu Toameh: PLO leaders postpone controversial meeting of Palestinian National Council
PLO leaders decided on Monday to indefinitely postpone a meeting of the organization’s parliament- in-exile, the Palestinian National Council, Palestinian sources said.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was planning to announce his resignation from his post during the session, which was scheduled to take place on September 14 and 15 in Ramallah.
Earlier this month, the PLO Executive Committee called for the holding of an extraordinary session of the PNC to elect its new members.
No reason was given for the decision to delay the PNC session.
The planned session, however, had already drawn sharp criticism from several Palestinian factions that claimed Abbas was hoping to take advantage of the PNC meeting to get rid of his opponents in the PLO and Fatah.
When will the Left wake up?
A giant mirror was placed in front of the Israeli Left on Monday, and justly so, given the Left's self-righteousness in the diplomatic and socioeconomic realms. Joint Arab List MK Dr. Jamal Zahalka revealed what Israeli Arabs truly feel about the Left. Indeed, if, as the Left usually puts it, we are "thieves" in the heart our land, Judea and Samaria, the cradle of our people, then, God forbid, Zahalka is right and we are also "thieves" throughout the entire land. There is no such thing as being half-right.
After centuries in exile, we returned to Zion, and Zion is Jerusalem and its surroundings, the mountains of Judea and Samaria -- the land of the Bible and the prophets. During biblical times, the coastal plain was controlled by the Philistines for some centuries. On Monday, Israelis who now live on the coastal plain and call the pioneers in the mountains "thieves" were put on notice by Zahalka. "You are bandits who occupied our homeland," he told them.
In reality, however, it was Muslims who occupied the land of Israel in the seventh century and in a historical process pushed Jews living here to either convert to Islam or go into exile. The system of building kibbutzim on the ruins of Arab villages, which Zahalka accused the Left of, was learned by the Jews from the Muslims who built the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque on the ruins of the most holy site of the Jewish people and now claim that no Jewish temple ever existed there.
Labor Zionism 'invented racism,' says Joint List MK
Zahalke's ire was especially piqued by MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union), who sent a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein demanding that he investigate if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the Joint List funds for Arab municipalities in exchange for its MKs skipping the gas deal. The Joint List was also angry at Zionist Union for voting in favor of the anti-terrorism law, among other legislation the Joint List perceived as anti-Arab.
"Miss Social Justice Stav Shaffir has never said a word to me. She's never even said hello to me! I am transparent to her. Arabs do not exist! Racist! Racist of silence! Racism of ignoring; I will tell you what that is! Ignoring the existence of a person! Since you are in the Knesset you have never spoken to me! You don't say hello to me! I try and you don't say hello back! Racist!" Zahalke said.
"What a lie," Shaffir shouted back at him.
Zahalke continued, calling the Labor Party, which makes up most of the Zionist Union, the "mother and father of racism."
"You invented racism," he said. "The people who took our land, who expelled us, weren't the ones who chant 'death to Arabs.' They're the ones who said 'we're bringing peace to you.' Shame! You should be embarrassed by the racism and discrimination!...You are condescending, wealthy, comfortable Ashkenazim! Give us back the land you took from us...in the name of universal values!"
"Who harmed us more, the Likud or Labor? Labor, of course. Likud built settlements next to Arab residents. You built your kibbutzes and your socialism on the ruins of our towns. Your faces are ug-ly, ug-ly, ug-ly," Zahalke stated. (h/t Phil)
PreOccupiedTerritory: Joint List MK Says Labor Killed Arab MKs, Stole Their Seats (satire)
Joint Arab List Member of Knesset Jamal Zahalka laced into lawmakers from the Labor Party this afternoon, saying that they had massacred Arab legislators and stolen their seats in the Knesset.
Zahalka directed his words at MK Stav Shaffir, who sparked his ire by not smiling in greeting as the two passed in the hallway outside the plenum chamber. “You and your Labor Party forebears built your Knesset delegation on the ruins of Arab seats you destroyed,” he said. “Go back to the European Parliament.”
Zahalka’s remarks came amid the backdrop of tensions within the Opposition over an impending vote on the Coalition’s plan for natural gas resources. Zionist Union lawmakers uniformly oppose the plan in its current form, but other Opposition elements are less vehement in their objections, and one Joint List delegate implied that his party could be persuaded to vote in favor in exchange for various budgetary allocations. Perhaps to allay fears that he had moderated his position on the illegitimacy of Jewish sovereignty, the Balad Party legislator felt compelled to assert that there were no Jewish Knesset members before the establishment of Israel, and that Labor and other Zionist parties’ representatives could only have attained their positions over the dead bodies of Arabs.
Fellow Joint List legislator Ahamd Tibi exapnded on his colleague’s accusation, saying that the Jewish-held Knesset seats were built on the charred remains of Al-Lodofissis, where hundreds of his ancestors came from. “The Zionist legislators mercilessly leveled the sacred village of Al-Lodafissis and exiled whomever they did not murder,” railed Tibi. “In fact the term ‘Knesset’ is merely a corruption of an indigenous Arabic name for the region, Knish.”
'Rivka Didn't Bow to Pope' – the True Story
Various news sites and social media rumor mills have been spreading a photo of a haredi woman standing grim faced in front of Pope Francis, and telling a story to go along with it. Sopposedly, the woman – Rivka Ravitz, Bureau Chief of President Reuven Rivlin – refused to bow to the pope, because of the cross that was hanging from his neck.
The pope even apologized for the cross and was quick to hide it, according to the tale, after Ravitz explained that she was halachically forbidden to bow to him because of the cross.
The story appears to be largely fictional, however.
The photo, taken by the Government Press Office during President Rivlin's visit to Rome last week, does show Rivka Ravitz, and it does show the pope bowing to her. However, according to a source in the President's Residence, Ravitz did bow to Francis a moment before the photo was taken.
Ravitz – the daughter in law of Rabbi Avraham Ravitz ztz”l, a longtime Knesset member – does not shake hands with male diplomats, because she is observant of halakha (Jewish law).
First female Israeli envoy to Arab country presents credentials in Amman
Israel’s new envoy to Jordan presented her credentials to King Abdullah in a ceremony in Amman Monday, becoming Israel’s first woman to serve as ambassador to an Arab country, the Foreign Ministry said.
Israel announced Einat Shlein’s appointment last year, one of seven women who were nominated to 12 new diplomatic positions.
Shlein is an expert in Middle East affairs and previously headed the international division of the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic research center.
She served in Amman at the beginning of her diplomatic career, as well as in Israel’s embassy in Washington.
Shlein is replacing Israel’s previous ambassador to Jordan Daniel Nevo.
‘Lone Wolf’ Palestinian Terrorists Are Not So Alone
There was an interesting twist to news media coverage of the most recent Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis.
The stabbings, car-rammings and other Arab attacks were “isolated” incidents, the Associated Press declared. New York Times correspondent Diaa Hadid emphasized, in the second sentence of a recent dispatch, that the attackers “appear to be acting alone and without the backing or instruction of any organization.”
Why are the major news media, and other Palestinian sympathizers, so intent on presenting the attackers as lone wolves?
The first reason is that many pro-Palestinian journalists are genuinely hoping that such attacks signal the start of a new wave of popular “intifada” violence. The latest attacks are “raising fears of a renewed wave of violence,” the AP reported. It didn’t say who exactly it is that has such “fears.” It didn’t have to. We all remember the slew of articles in the international news media, several months ago, hopefully predicting a “third intifada” undertaken by the Palestinian masses.
Palestinian sympathizers actually look forward to such violence. They hope it will drive the Israelis out of the rest of Judea-Samaria. They are genuinely surprised and disappointed when an attack or two turn out to be just an attack or two, and not part of a full-scale wave of daily violent assaults on Israeli Jews.
IDF Arrests 11 Wanted Suspects Overnight
IDF forces arrested 11 fugitive suspects overnight. Five of them are suspected of so-called “popular terror” and violence toward civilians and security forces.
Three suspects were arrested at Nabi Salah, northwest of Ramallah, where an IDF soldier was attacked by members of the Tamimi clan two weeks ago.
Arutz Sheva asked the IDF Spokesman if the arrests there were connected with that incident. The spokesman's unit said in response that it would not be giving further details regarding the arrests at Nabi Salah.
Other arrests were made in Marka, southwest of Jenin; in Fahma, also southwest of Jenin; at Beit Likya, southwest of Ramallah; in Silwad, southeast of Ramallah; at El Hader, west of Bethlehem; in Bethlehem; at El Fawar, southwest of Hevron, and at Rabud, southwest of Hevron.
Family Targeted By Hamas Bullets Leaving Home
The Beider family, whose children were nearly hit by bullets fired from a Hamas training facility in Gaza last week, has decided to move to another house. The new house is located in the same community – Netiva Ha'asara – but is further away from the border. Unlike their present home, which has plaster walls, which were easily pierced by the bullets, the new one has concrete walls, and it does not face Gaza.
“The incident affected us greatly,” the father, Yishai Beider, told Channel 2 Online news Tuesday. “We see no other possibility.”
Beider said that the decision to move was made immediately after the bullets hit, although initially, the family told media they were only “considering” moving. “During the day, the children are calm, but during the nights they are afraid. It was too close and we had a miracle, and we are concerned that such a miracle will not happen again.”
In any case, it seems the community is not buying the IDF's assessment that the bullets were probably “strays,” and is convinced that someone was trying to murder the Beiders' children. the bullets nearly missed the family's two children, who were watching television. Bullets also struck another home in the same incident.
Jew Arrested for Making Blessing over Water on Temple Mount
A 21-year-old Jewish man was arrested Tuesday afternoon on the Temple Mount on suspicion of making the customary blessing before drinking from a water bottle.
According to a witness also visiting the Temple Mount, the detainee requested permission from a police officer to drink from the water fountain on the site. When the officer refused, another policeman offered the youth a bottle of water.
The youth thanked the policeman, made the blessing over water and drank, whereupon he was informed by police officers that he was being detained on suspicion of making a blessing.
The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, and also houses the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. The entire area is administered by the Jordanian-run Waqf Islamic trust, and despite its holy status to them Jews are forbidden from carrying out any forms of worship there.
The Honenu legal aid organization is working for the release of the young man.
American Jews Who Survived Near-Lynch Return to Hevron Yedidya
Two of the five American haredi Jews who suffered a near-lynching at the hands of Hevron Arabs last week were back in the City of Patriarchs Monday, to say selichot prayers at the Cave of Machpela and thank God for the great miracle that befell them.
Following the prayers, they asked to meet nationalist activist Baruch Marzel and Lehava Chairman Bentzi Gopshtain, and told them of the terrifying ordeal in which their car was pelted with rocks and firebombs and set aflame. The first people on the scene were rescue services, they said, and the police arrived some time later.
The two young men thanked the Arab man who saved them and put them in his house, and told Marzel and Gopshtain that they felt that their lives were in danger, and that dozens of rioters had "murder in their eyes."
They said that they would continue to visit Hevron and Marzel suggested that they stay over at his home on Shabbat.
Israeli firefighters increasingly under attack in East Jerusalem
The Israeli Fire Department has reported a sharp increase in violent attacks against its firefighters in East Jerusalem over the past two years.
"It's dangerous, and it's mostly sad, and a shame," a source in Jerusalem's Fire Department said. "We come to rescue civilians, and their neighbors attack us with serious violence."
Firefighting teams answering calls in East Jerusalem face barrages of stones and Molotov cocktails, violent physical attacks, spitting and verbal abuse.
Only a few dozens incidents were reported in 2013, while in 2014, the number of reported incidents has surpassed 100. In the first half of 2015, meanwhile, over 70 violent incidents have been reported already - mostly in Isawiya, Shuafat and Beit Hanina.
Firefighters were wounded in several incidents and required medical treatment and, more often, damage was caused to fire trucks.
PMW: PA daily: Prosecute all patrons of normalization with Israel
Palestinian Authority leaders openly speak out against what they term "normalization" with Israel, whether it is in the sphere of culture, sport or business. Recently, the official PA daily published an op-ed calling for nothing less than “prosecution” of Palestinians involved in “normalization” activities with Israel:
“[We] should prosecute all the patrons of normalization, expose their disgrace to the Palestinian people.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 22, 2015]

A joint embroidery project for Palestinian and Israelis meant to help women with limited incomes was termed part of “a scheme” against the Palestinian people by op-ed writer Atef Abu Al-Rab. He described such “normalization” projects as deliberately trying to create internal rifts among Palestinians, and trying to present the conflict as non-existent:
“These projects strive to cause breaches in the Palestinian society and create non-Palestinian sources of authority for some groups, including women and young people... [The project] sends a message to the world that the two nations live in security, peace, and good neighborly relations, and therefore the Palestinian conflict with the occupation is not an essential matter.”
ICRC: Why is the ICRC holding seminars on the law of war with Hamas?
Despite the fact the Geneva Conventions state that humanitarian behavior by an armed group does not confer on it any political legitimacy, in real life we all know it will be used to polish one’s reputation. Is it a bad thing? If it translates into better respect, less abuse – it’s good. Now, is it always right to, say, organize a workshop on IHL with any political and military group? The answer is no.
If no corrective action is taken by the party, or, worse, if it is a means to perpetuate or aggravate the abuse, it definitely can be a wrong, irresponsible thing to do. In such a case, we will reconsider, and not be fig-leaves or accomplices.
In this polarized environment, opposing sides go to lengths to blame the other side for any past violation of IHL. What the ICRC brings to the table is its unique work with the parties on what can be done to prevent future violations.
Last summer, during and after the Israel-Gaza war and its unacceptable human cost, the ICRC, while providing much-needed aid in the field, independently assessed how hostilities were conducted. It produced two separate, referential – and confidential – reports. We stepped up our engagement with both sides to look at the realistic measures that need to be taken by each side to prevent such a tragedy in the future. If the parties are really serious about it, they can make a difference. Our job is to tell them they must – and encourage them in that direction.
Do we equate the one with the other, morally or politically? Of course not. Neither do we “challenge the right to defend oneself vs the right to resist.” The ICRC is neutral, remember? Our way is to engage positively with all parties to conflict, wherever they are, whoever they are – as long as it is in the ultimate interest of the people affected by war. Close to them, in the rubble, amid the blood, the tears and the anger.
We leave the yelling names, and the blame game, to others.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas-Hezbollah Rockets Programmed To Avoid Leftists (satire)
The system, the Missile Exclusion Robot for Enhancement of Targeting Zionists (MERETZ), uses social media data to identify and triangulate the locations of Israelis who oppose their government’s and military’s efforts to defeat enemies. An early MERETZ prototype was tested during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, and the results of those tests helped the organization refine development of the system, which was provided to Hamas in time for the three rounds of fighting with the IDF that have since occurred in and around Gaza.
“The public relations front is gaining greater and greater importance in modern military conflict,” notes Norwegian expert Vidkun Quisling. “This system, if it performs as expected, will enhance these organizations’ capacity to undermine the other side’s consensus for maintaining its efforts. It represents both a tactical and technological achievement.”
Funding for the development of MERETZ came mostly from Iran, which also handled recruitment of software engineers from Russia. The engineers, in turn, used their expertise in breaching the cybersecurity of various sensitive American military computer systems to get their hands on precision guidance software, and then the engineers worked to adapt the code to the 75,000 rockets at Hezbollah’s disposal. MERETZ is also used to support some Hamas units, but delivery has been complicated by Egypt’s closing of its border with Gaza and the Egyptian military’s effort to destroy any remaining smuggling tunnels into Gaza.
A Hamas spokesman declined to offer details of how the movement will deploy MERETZ, citing operational security. “I cannot give exact information, obviously, but I can say that physical passages are not the only way to tunnel into the enemy’s rear,” said Ayam Kimfilbi.
Asked if the precision of their systems would prompt the organizations not to hit civilian targets, both Hamas and Hezbollah spokesmen said their systems did not have the precision necessary to abide by that provision of the Laws of armed Conflict.
29 jihadists killed in Sinai ‘major operation’
Egypt’s army said Tuesday it had launched a “major military operation” against the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 29 jihadists and leaving two soldiers dead.
The army said it launched the operation on Monday morning to “eliminate terrorist elements” around the north Sinai towns of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and El-Arish.
It said in a statement that 29 jihadists were killed along with an officer and a soldier in the fighting.
The army often reports large death tolls among the insurgents but they are impossible to verify and there has been little noticeable impact on the ability of IS to carry out deadly attacks on the security forces.
Islamist Mob Stones Turkey's Hurriyet Newspaper Offices Shouting 'God is Great'
A swarm of angry pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) protesters led by an Istanbul member of Parliament attacked Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper with stones, shouting “God is great” and asserting that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would continue ruling the country regardless of the upcoming election’s outcome.
Hurriyet estimates the crowd before their offices at 150, mostly men gathering to throw stones at the offices– breaking at least one glass door, and attempting to enter the office. Police subdued the crowd before more than property damage could occur. The attack, occurring late Sunday night, followed a tweet by the newspaper’s social media account quoting Erdogan in a manner his supporters deemed out of context and incorrect.
In response, supporters, including AKP Istanbul MP Abdülrahim Boynukalın, called for protesters to assemble at the headquarters of the newspaper. Zaman, another Turkish newspaper, describes the campaign as being organized by “pro-government trolls and columnists.” Zaman identifies a number of columnists for pro-AKP newspapers as the “trolls” calling for a protest on Hurriyet.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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