Friday, October 02, 2015

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: Grandnephew of ‘father of human rights law’ killed for being Jewish
Eitam and Naama Henkin, two Israeli civilians, were gunned down in a drive-by shooting on a road in the West Bank yesterday. Four of their children were in the backseat of their car at the time.
The name Henkin will be immediately familiar to those interested in international law, because of Louis Henkin. Prof. Henkin was one of the defining figures in post-World War II international law. In a five-decade career at Columbia University School of Law, he pioneered the modern field of international law and has been called “the father of human rights law.”
Eitam’s grandfather was Louis Henkin’s brother; his parents are prominent Orthodox figures, associated with liberal approaches to Judaism. Eitam himself was a graduate fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a Jerusalem think tank I am also associated with. My colleagues there describe Eitam as “an extremely impressive scholar and human being.” The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has apparently admitted organizing the attack. I assume Eitam was a U.S. citizen (his parents both are).
Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas's Trap: The Big Bluff
Those who rushed to declare the death of the Oslo Accords fell into Abbas's trap.
Abbas's threats are mainly designed to scare the international community into pressuring Israel to offer Abbas more concessions. He is hoping that inaccurate headlines concerning the purported abrogation of the Oslo Accords will cause panic in Washington and European capitals, prompting world leaders to demand that Israel give Abbas everything he asks for.
Abbas knows that cancelling the agreements with Israel would mean dissolving his Palestinian Authority, and the end of his political career.
The tens of thousands of Arab refugees now seeking asylum in Europe could not care less about the "occupation" and settlements.
Ironically, Abbas declared that, "We are working on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence between our people and in our region." But his harsh words against Israel, in addition to continued anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media, prove that he is moving in the opposite direction. This form of incitement destroys any chance of peace.
 Jpost Editorial: Abbas’s speech
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas intended to escalate the tension with Israel when he declared on Wednesday that Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would no longer be bound by the Oslo Accords.
Perhaps his speech was a desperate attempt to gain the attention of a United Nations General Assembly rightly preoccupied with much bigger and more important issues, namely the sectarian bloodbath in Syria that has metastasized throughout the region and has created a major humanitarian crisis for Europe.
Whatever Abbas’s motivation, it is too early to know the operative ramifications of what he said. On the one hand, the Palestinian president was calling on the nations of the world to take punitive actions against Israel as a country that is supposedly illegally occupying another nation.
But, in what can be seen as a positive non-declaration, Abbas stopped short of calling for an end to security and economic cooperation between the PA and Israel. That’s because he understands that an end to such cooperation would lead to the collapse of the PA. And this would be a disaster for the Palestinians, as well as for Israel.
Tens of thousands of PA employees would stop getting paid. Everything from garbage collection to law enforcement would cease to function properly and Hamas and Islamic Jihad would take advantage of the situation.
Win $1 Million If You Can Prove PLO Accepted Israel
New York businessman William Langfan has offered an unprecedented $1 million prize to anyone who shows that the Palestinian National Council (PNC) has ever changed the PLO charter to accept Israel's existence, as is widely believed.
The offer is particularly timely, less than 24 hours after Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced that he no longer sees himself as bound by the Oslo Accords.
Probably the most important obligation in the “Peace Process” was a promise to annul the onerous clauses of their 1964 Palestinian National Charter. “The importance of the charter to the Palestinians can not be exaggerated,” according to Langfan. “To the Palestinians, it is virtually their 'Junior Koran.' These clauses in the charter declared the establishment of Israel illegal and void and called for armed resistance until Palestine is liberated.”
In an exclusive interview with Arutz Sheva's Baruch Gordon, Langfan explained that in 1993, when Israel and the PLO were about to sign the Oslo Accords, then-PLO chairman Yasser Arafat sent a letter to then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in which he agreed to cancel the clauses in the charter that called for an armed struggle against Israel, and promised to submit the matter to the PNC for approval.
That letter was then used for years as supposed proof that the PLO had recognized Israel.
However, Langfan noted that according to the charter itself, a two-thirds majority vote would be necessary to make changes in the charter.

Melanie Phillips: Putin and the West’s moral vacuum
By failing to expose the Big Lies about Israel, the West is complicit in both the rise of anti-Jewish bigotry at home and the paranoid hysteria against Israel and the Jews coursing through the Arab and Muslim world.
The paralysis of the West in the face of the chaos in the Middle East and the mass exodus of people from the developing world is causing some to predict the collapse of Europe (and the US isn’t immune from this cultural tsunami either).
The real issue, though, is not so much mass migration as moral collapse. And anti-Jewish attitudes are at the very core of that collapse.
The West followed its perpetration of and complicity in the Holocaust with an onslaught against the Mosaic laws at the root of western civilization. Those ethical codes were dumped in favor of self-gratification. Belief in western superiority over other cultures was replaced by moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism and defeatism.
Both Obama and the British Labour party’s new unashamed Marxist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, are regarded by critics as some kind of aberration. They are not. They are merely extreme exemplars of the liberal mindset which is now bringing the West to its knees.
Jews are understandably wary of making themselves the center of anyone else’s story.
But they are inescapably at the epicenter of the West’s convulsions. The West will only save itself if it finally grasps that to do so it needs fully to embrace Israel and the Jewish story.
The Delusional State of Denial
They deny our existence. They deny our heritage. They deny out history, our belonging. They even deny the walls and shrines that scream our name.
It’s not some state created in peace that they want. It is a delusional dream in which Israel doesn’t exist.
It’s not Filastin. It’s Fantasy Land.
And we are expected to play along with this deception, to ignore our own rights. Dispense with our ownership. Throw away our property rights.
For what?
To accommodate these liars, these rogues?
What are we doing to ourselves?
We are indulging in the same fraudulent delusion as our enemy.
To what end?
To sleepwalk to our own oblivion.
This is nonsense. This is madness. This is fevered insanity to which no nation on earth has ever subscribed.
At funeral of slain couple, president vows terror won’t halt settlement building
Thousands of mourners gathered in Jerusalem on Friday for the funerals of Eitam and Naama Henkin, who were shot to death in the West Bank on Thursday night.
Speaking at the funeral, President Reuven Rivlin asserted Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank and said settlement construction would continue. He stated that, in the same way that Israel never built because of terror, it wouldn’t stop building because of it.
Eitam Henkin’s mother, meanwhile, said the grandparents would raise the slain couple’s children, who witnessed the attack, as their own.
Hundreds of IDF soldiers join manhunt for Henkin killers
In the West Bank, hundreds of Israeli troops were hunting Friday for the suspected Palestinian terrorists. The Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades, a group affiliated with Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Israeli security forces were conducting an “intensive search” on the ground, combined with intelligence efforts, said army spokesman Arye Shalicar.
Apprehensive of rising tensions, the army said it would be deploying “four battalions in order to prevent an escalation of violence in the area adjacent to the location of the attack.”
An AFP journalist saw Israeli soldiers searching cars along roads around the attack site.
Also Friday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon toured the site of the attack with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen, and vowed the terrorists would be swiftly caught.
The security forces will “spare no efforts to arrest the killers and their sponsors,” Ya’alon said.
Netanyahu: Palestinian Temple Mount incitement responsible for terror attack that killed Israeli couple
Palestinian incitement over the issue of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is responsible for the terror attack that killed an Israeli couple as they drove home in Judea and Samaria with their four children on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“The killers knew that they were murdering a mother and father, the children were there [in the car]. It has been proven again that the wild Palestinian incitement leads to acts of terrorism and murder such as we have seen this evening,” said Netanyahu.
“We’ve witnessed how they have spoken of our ‘cruel acts’ on the Temple Mount, a charge that is baseless. Unfortunately, these kinds of words have consequences,” Netanyahu said. He added that he was disappointed that the Palestinian Authority had not immediately condemned the shooting death of Eitam and Naama Henkin, in the same way that Israel did.
Israel immediately condemned the July attack by [suspected] Jewish extremists who torched a home in the Palestinian village of Duma, killing Saad and Reham Dewabsha and their toddler, Ali, Netanyahu said.
He explained how he went to the hospital to visit the Dewabsha’s other son, Ahmed, who is recovering from his injuries in the fire.
“Compare this to the silence of the Palestinian leadership now, I have not heard their condemnation,” Netanyahu said.
ADL: PA Incitement to Blame for Horrific Murder
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed shock and outrage at the brutal murder of an Israeli couple at the hands of Palestinian terrorists on Friday, pointing to the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s incitement campaign as the direct cause of the murders.
“There are no words to sufficiently express our outrage, horror and sorrow over this heinous attack which left four orphaned kids who witnessed the murder of their parents," Carole Nuriel, Acting Director of the ADL Israel office, said in a statement.
"In a week where world leaders gather at the UN to discuss issues of peace and security, they should all take the opportunity to publicly condemn the attack and the incitement against Israel by the Palestinian Authority, which has created a fertile ground for the recent spate of violence in the West Bank [Judea-Samaria - ed.] and in Jerusalem."
Photos: Judea and Samaria Residents Protest Terror Attack
Residents of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria took to the streets on Thursday night to protest the deteriorating security situation in Judea and Samaria, following the shooting attack in which Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered in front of their children.
The protests took place at the Avnei Hefetz junction in Samaria, as well as near Yitzhar and Kedumim.
In another protest, dozens of residents of Kiryat Arba marched on the road towards the Arab village of Beyt Anun, and some started throwing stones at homes of Arabs. There were no reports of further clashes or injuries.
Residents from the town of Beit El arrived at the Givat Assaf junction, where they held a prayer in memory of the victims and called on the Israeli government to restore security immediately.
Where is the World When it Comes to 4 Israeli Orphans?
The images are tragic: Jewish bodies lying on the road and inside the car, Jewish blood all over the car, four Jewish orphans who fled the scene...A scene that is all too reminiscent of the Holocaust.
Jewish bodies turned into fountains of blood from delirious Islamist murderers who shouted "Allah Akbar".
Jewish children aged 4 months, 4, 7 and 9 years old witnessed their parents being gunned down,. Jews slaughtered just because they were Jews in the Biblical Samaria region.
A rabbi and dedicated educator, Eitam Henkin, and his wife, Naama Henkin, deleted from the face of earth.
They lived in Neria, a lovely, thriving Jewish community in the Binyamin area which the world calls a "settlement". The same town of the Schijveschuurder family, another Jewish family slain, five of them murdered at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem while enjoying a peaceful lunch.
PMW: Fatah claims responsibility for murder of young Israeli couple in front of their children
A senior official of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement posted on his Facebook Page that Fatah was accepting responsibility for yesterday’s murder of a young Israeli couple, Eitam and Naama Henkin, in front of their four children.
Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul posted:
“The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement Fatah, accepted responsibility for the Itamar operation (i.e., murder of Eitam and Naama Henkin), carried out against settlers, leading to their deaths.” [Official Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul, Oct. 1, 2015]
Hamas, Fatah Welcome Samaria Terrorist Attack
Both the Fatah and the Hamas organizations on Thursday night praised the terrorists who carried out the attack in Samaria, in which Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered in front of their four children.
According to Kol Yisrael radio, a Hamas spokesman said the group "welcomes the heroic attack and calls for more quality attacks. The Zionists will pay the price for Netanyahu’s criminal policy everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, often touted as a “peace partner” for Israel, welcomed the terror attack as well.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior member of the group’s leadership, was quoted by Kol Yisrael as having told Hamas’s Al-Quds TV: “The attack is a natural response to the crimes of the settlers and every action has a reaction.”
Meet The Henkins
Yesterday, a mother and a father were gunned down by Palestinian terrorists in front of 4 of their 6 children. This happened barely an hour after Benjamin Netanyahu finished his speech at the UNGA calling for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority in which he said to Mahmoud Abbas, “We owe it to our people.”
While the policy makers of Israel literally plea for peace at the UN, the policy makers of the Palestinian Authority do the exact opposite. Abbas called for the exact opposite at the UN and Israel’s hater are happy to go along for the ride.
The terrorists who killed the Henkins were all too happy to oblige. Here are just a few reactions either praising or justifying the horrific murder:
Furious NY Assemblyman: We're Dealing With Animals
A furious New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) responded to the murder of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin Thursday night by Arab terrorists, telling Arutz Sheva that Israel is dealing with "animals."
In the attack, which was claimed by the "armed wing" of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, the young couple were gunned down while driving in their car as their four children sat in the backseat, just outside of Itamar in Samaria.
"A six-month-old who was left without a mother, without a father," said a visibly shaken Hikind. "When does this murder end?"
"Who's to blame for this? None other than the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who incites the Palestinians on a regular basis."
EU Calls For Palestinian State After Henkin Murders
European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini on Friday released a condolence statement over the horrific murders of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin late Thursday night, but not without calling on both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs to impose "calm" despite the crime.
"Today we mourn once again the loss of human lives," Mogherini said. "The killing of an Israeli couple has left four young children orphaned and, once again, civilians have been targeted so as to cause terrible suffering and to try to undermine any possibility of a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
"The EU expresses its condolences to the Henkin family," she continued. "The perpetrators of this act must be brought to justice."
Mogherini warned, however, that "restraint and calm" are needed despite the terror.
US, UN condemn Palestinian terror attack on family of six
The United States and the United Nations on Thursday condemned the Palestinian shooting attack that killed an Israeli couple and urged all sides to refrain from continued action that would escalate an already tense situation.
“We extend our condolences to the victims’ family. We urge all sides to maintain calm, avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragedy, and work together to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the US State Department said.
The couple, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin, were killed by a Palestinian terrorist as they drove with their four children in the West Bank on Thursday night.
Eitam is assumed to be a US citizen. His mother Channa was born in the US and heads the Nishmat seminary for women in Jerusalem.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the attack during a prescheduled meeting he held with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York shortly after the incident.
US Ambassador Condemns 'Shocking' Terrorist Double-Murder
America's Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro condemned the murder of Israeli parents Naama and Eitam Henkin by Palestinian terrorists Thursday night.
As the couple's funeral took place Friday morning, Shapiro issued a series of messages on Twitter, in Hebrew and English, issuing the US government's condolences to the Henkin family and condemning the heinous murder of two parents in front of their young children.
"We strongly condemn the murders of Eitam & Naama Henkin, z"l, which orphaned their children. Support efforts 2 bring terrorists 2 justice," Shapiro tweeted.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Obama Rescinds Claim Of Responsibility For Henkin Murders (satire)
US President Barack Obama walked back earlier comments today, saying that he did not intend to claim credit for the terrorist attack last night that killed two Israelis, and that his words had been misunderstood.
Obama had initially said his administration was behind the attack, but this morning he modified that position, saying instead that while the actual terrorism was perpetrated by operatives of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, White House policies and diplomacy played a key role in making the murders of Eitam and Naama Henkin possible. The couple’s four children were unhurt in the shooting attack on the family’s car, a factor that Obama acknowledged made it easier to relinquish claiming credit for the act.
“I do not wish to steal the thunder of those who risked actual life and limb to destroy other people’s lives and limbs,” said the president at a press conference. “My remarks last night must be understood as underscoring the important role my administration continues to play in the Middle East, and not, heaven forbid, to imply that our friends and allies in the Palestine Liberation Organization are somehow uninvolved. My words were cobbled together in haste, and as such, were too easily prone to misinterpretation. For that offense I apologize.”
Sometimes, silence speaks louder than words
Netanyahu did make a very cogent point, when he entreated the world powers to take the restrictions placed on Iran after the nuclear deal more seriously than they took the restrictions placed on Iran before the accord was signed.
“As this deal with Iran moves ahead, I hope you’ll enforce it… how can I put this? With a little more rigor than you showed with the six Security Council resolutions that Iran has systematically violated and which now have been effectively discarded,” he said dryly.
Signaling that he has accepted that the Iran deal is actually going to be implemented, he made three suggestions that are hard to argue with.
“First, make Iran comply with all its nuclear obligations. Keep Iran’s feet to the fire. Second, check Iran’s regional aggression. Support and strengthen those fighting Iran’s aggression, beginning with Israel. Third, use sanctions and all the tools available to you to tear down Iran’s global terror network.”
It’s easy to dismiss his declared readiness to immediately resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians as mere lip service. It’s easy to be bored by his argument that the nuclear deal won’t solve any problems but rather will provide “theocratic Iran with sharper claws and sharper fangs.”
But it’s hard to disagree with Netanyahu’s assertion that now that the Iran agreement is a done deal, the world must not become complacent about a regime that adamantly persists in its aggressive behavior.
Listen to the Deafening Silence
It must be understood that the problem Israel faces isn’t a function of hostility to Netanyahu or even a product of the fractured relationship between the prime minister and Obama. As Netanyahu noted, in just the last year the UN passed 20 resolutions unfairly condemning Israel and only one noting the catastrophe in Syria. That tells us everything we need to know about the way traditional anti-Semitism has morphed into an ideology that masquerades as mere criticism of Israel or open anti-Zionism.
Though few may believe Abbas’s threats, Israelis must take the willingness of the international community to listen to and to even applaud the lies he spread about Israel and the peace process. The Palestinians killed Oslo 15 years ago when they answered an Israeli peace offer of statehood with a terrorist war of attrition. Abbas and other so-called moderates continue to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn. But still the Obama administration and the UN majority continue to blame the Israelis for the failure to craft a peace treaty that the Palestinians have no interest in ever signing.
Netanyahu was right. At the heart of all of Israel’s international diplomacy problems is a deafening silence about the threats to Jewish existence and the determination of Islamist forces to make good on those pledges via terror and possibly even nuclear weapons. The root of that silence isn’t dissatisfaction with Netanyahu, anger about Israeli settlements or even sympathy for the Palestinians or Iran. The silence begins and ends with hatred of Jews. Until the UN is cured of this malady and its halls cease to be a cesspool of prejudice, the silence will continue.
Obama Ordered Kerry and Samantha Powers to Snub Netanyahu at UN
President Barack Obama instructed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to be absent from the U.N. General Assembly during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech Thursday night.
Powers’ absence was reported by The Daily Caller, based on a source who informed former U.S. diplomat and Fox News contributor Richard Grenell of the snub.
MSNBC reported on Kerry’s absence.
The United States was represented at the speech by Daniel Shapiro, its Ambassador to Israel, and David Pressman and Richard Erdman, the U.S. Alternate Representatives to the United Nations.
The audience at the General Assembly interrupted Netanyahu’s speech several times with applause, but the U.S. delegates kept their hands in their laps. One of the ovations followed the Prime Minister’s charged that the nuclear deal with Iran already has resulted in more terror and that it will bring war, not peace.
Hotovely Confronts Jordanian Foreign Minister at UN
During a donor nation conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) engaged Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in a sharp exchange over the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
At the conference, Hotovely criticized Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's call for violence last month, when he said "the Al-Aqsa (Mosque on the Mount - ed.) is ours...and they (Jews) have no right to defile it with their filthy feet," and went on to praise terrorist "martyrs" spilling blood in Jerusalem.
"As long as the Palestinians continue to warp the historical truth and negate the rights of Jews to go up to the holiest site to Judaism - there won't be any advancement in the relations between the sides," warned Hotovely, noting that the Temple Mount is the site of the First and Second Temples.
"Jerusalem," continued Hotovely, "is the united capital of Israel, and it will remain that way, and those who breach the status quo systematically with violence are the Arabs."
Europe Gives More Money to UNRWA as Part of Its Solution to Migrant Crisis
Against the backdrop of the current refugee crisis that has swamped Europe, the European Union announced on September 30 that it will be providing more financial assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization that provides support for Palestinian refugees living within and around Israel.
“This is an investment in their future and at the same time an investment in the stability in Europe’s neighborhood,” said Commission for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. “This additional contribution will also allow UNRWA to bridge its financing gap in 2015 and to move forward in the implementation of its reform process.”
The assistance package, which increases the total amount of E.U. support for UNRWA this year to 125 million euros, comes as part of an agreement that was signed between Hahn and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. The extra money will be allocated for many of the services provided by UNRWA, such as education and healthcare.
New York Times: Abbas Has “Given Up” on Peace
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement Wednesday that he no longer considers himself bound by the Oslo Accords shows that he has “effectively given up” on a negotiated peace deal with Israel, The New York Times stated in a staff editorial.
It is hard to gauge what President Abbas’s declaration before the United Nations General Assembly amounts to. He did not specify what tangible actions might follow his rejection of Oslo, and it would be foolhardy for him to cut the existing security, economic and civil cooperation with Israel, or to incite the Palestinians to more violence, especially at a time of high tensions over holy places in Jerusalem. On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a brief statement that dismissed Mr. Abbas’s speech as “deceitful” without any notice of his main announcement.
There is no question that Mr. Abbas is an acutely bitter man. At 80, he has effectively given up on ever achieving a negotiated Palestinian state; he is increasingly unpopular among the Palestinians, and the Palestinian Authority he leads effectively controls only the West Bank since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. His chief preoccupation lately has been on a series of gestures, largely futile, to gain international recognition of a Palestinian state, like the official raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations on Wednesday.
British PM Criticizes Obama, Names Islamist Terrorism as World’s Biggest Threat
British Prime Minister David Cameron implicitly criticized U.S. President Barack Obama during a meeting of world leaders chaired by Obama at the United Nations Tuesday, pointing out that Obama’s point that “violent extremism is not unique to any one faith” does not fully address the fact that, in Cameron’s view, “Islamist extremist violence” is the “biggest problem we have today.”
The Washington Times reported more:
Well aware that Mr. Obama shuns the term “Islamist extremists,” the Conservative British prime minister reacted strongly at the meeting when the president, who chaired the session, advised the assembled foreign leaders to avoid profiling Muslims because “violent extremism is not unique to any one faith.”
“Barack, you said it and you’re right — every religion has its extremists,” Mr. Cameron said. “But we have to be frank that the biggest problem we have today is the Islamist extremist violence that has given birth to ISIL, to al-Shabab, to al-Nusra, al Qaeda and so many other groups.”
What does Jerusalem mean to the Muslims?
The situation on the Temple Mount and in the alleyways of the Old City, with Jews being humiliated for merely wishing to openly pray, is seen by many as an issue that is only important to religious people. That is not the case. Israeli Arab MK Jamal Zahalka once told me that he was an atheist, so what was he doing on the Temple Mount? What did it mean when he yelled, "This is my house, not yours"? After all, "this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Genesis 28:17) -- all peoples are invited to climb and pray at the Temple Mount. So what does a non-religious MK care about other people praying?
Along almost all of Islamic history, Jerusalem enjoyed a very marginal status. Research shows that the sanctity of Jerusalem in the Islamic tradition has been expressly influenced by the Jews' and Christians' reverence for the city. For many Muslims, more than the Crusaders' hold over the city, the Jews' sovereignty over Jerusalem after the Six-Day War was a real offense.
Both Christianity and Islam based their faiths on "replacement theology" -- the idea that God first chose the Jews as his chosen people, but when they refused to accept Jesus as the messiah or Muhammad as the prophet, God abandoned the Jews and chose a new people. That is why the theological rivalry between Christianity and Islam isn't very prominent, as opposed to the hundreds of years and millions of pages that both Christians and Muslims have devoted to confronting the Jewish faith and tradition.
Ever since the 1960s, a theological revolution has been underway in the Christian world in regard to the Jewish people and the validity of replacement theology. In recent years, I have reported on interesting voices in the Christian world who reject replacement theology, or at least acknowledge the fact that Christianity evolved from Judaism. Hence the Christian recognition of the Jewish people's historical and religious (and legal) link to their land.
Quebec’s judge states that Israeli military activity in Gaza is a righteous act of self-defense
Montréal judge Stephen J. Gallagher dismissed Palestinian’s appeal for Canadian refugee status, stating that his claim is resting upon his subjective views of the political situation in Gaza.
He determined that the argument that the state of Israel is specifically persecuting Palestinian people living in Gaza is invalid: “This is a conflict coupled with a security issue which has been and continues to be closely studied by an extensive range of international observers and human right organizations. In addition, this conflict is of very long standing. There are certainly arguments that Israel’s treatment of the population Gaza constitutes persecution but this is not the position of a range of authoritative experts and human rights groups.”
He also referred to the UK Operational Guidance Note for the Occupied Palestinian Territories , which concludes that “There is a generalised state of insecurity in the OPT, but current reports of tension and security breaches do not indicate that there would be a consistent pattern of gross and systematic violation of rights under Article 3 of the ECHR.”
Judge Gallagher asserted that it’s illogical to claim that Israeli government is targeting all Palestinians, when in truth Israel has been defending itself for years and “It is not a ‘political opinion’ to demand and work towards the destruction of another country and countries in international law have the right to defend themselves.” Due to the political situation, residents of Gaza are at constant risk of begin caught in the crossfire of efforts to destroy Israel by Hamas and armed militants. Thus, the Applicant is simply an individual who “would be caught in the cross-fire of various dangerous and destructive policies pursued by the leadership of several political organizations in the region including Hamas” and not someone who will be sought or targeted by anyone in Gaza.
Suspended Israeli Officer Defends Smashing of Journalists’ Cameras
“Aleph,” the deputy commander of a Givati Brigade unit that confronted journalists and broke their cameras, defended his actions to Israel’s Channel 2 on Thursday.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said that the commander was suspended from operational duty, adding, “The IDF considers the incident grave, and in contravention of its code of ethics and professional standards.”
“Aleph”‘s suspension came after an inquiry into the incident by Givati Brigade Commander Col. Yaron Finkelman, who found that “Aleph” had, “acted in a manner unbefitting of an IDF commander,” a finding that was upheld by Chief of Southern Command Staff Brigadier General Udi Ben Moha.
“Aleph” claimed that he did not attack the journalists, asserting that the video was edited. He also expressed his dismay at his suspension, saying, “They’re bleeding me dry. I’m very disappointed with my commanders, who gave me no support.”
He continued, “My commanders never taught me how to behave around journalists — especially not ones like these who were disrupting our operations.”
During his interrogation yesterday by the Military Police, “Aleph,” had said that “the photographers, actively and maliciously, were there for 15 minutes,” during which time they, “climbed into the [military] jeep and tried to photograph weapons and secret warfare systems that were there.”
Syria: Time to Reformulate the Rules of the Game
Consequences for Israel
In practice, Syria is already split internally and divided into areas under the influence of external powers. As the Russians deploy, the coastal region will all but come directly under their control. Northern Syria, especially the Kurdish region, is under Turkish influence. The central axis of Syria – from Damascus to Homs and Aleppo – and the Syrian-Lebanese border are, with Hizbollah’s help, under Iranian influence. Eastern Syria is the battlefield for the war by the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State.
The only area not claimed by an outside force as a critical interest is the southern Syrian expanse, including the Golan Heights. It is critical that Israel retain operational freedom of action in this sector and in Lebanon. Israel was therefore shocked once it became clear that Russia was sending forces and building military strongholds on the Syrian coast. This was the reason Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, rushed to Moscow: to formulate understandings on avoiding clashes between Russian and Israeli forces, especially aerial clashes, and preventing the arrival of advanced Russian weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles, that could impinge on the IDF’s operational freedom of action in Lebanon and southern Syria. Moreover, Israel is concerned that advanced weapons that Russia supplies to Assad’s forces will end up in Hizbollah hands, especially in Lebanon. Perhaps Israel was also testing the possibility of the Russian track being used in reaching understandings on rewriting the rules of the game with regard to the Iran-Assad-Hizbollah axis, based on the awareness of the shared threat inherent in the Islamic State.
Israel must thus undertake an in-depth analysis of the changing rules of the game, in face of the Russian involvement and Moscow’s determination to shape the future of Syria. This new situation changes the internal and external balance of power in Syria and increases the risk of events spilling over to Israel, such as the possibility that Salafist jihadi rebel forces will be drawn to southern Syria, the only Syrian sector currently free of active influence by external actors. The Israeli government must formulate its long term goals for the north, including willingness to fight for operational freedom of action, and the ability to establish an Israeli area of influence in southern Lebanon, the Golan Heights, and southern Syria.
Bar Kokhba-era antiquities site razed by Palestinian vandals
An antiquities site that served as an encampment for Jewish leader Shimon Bar Kokhba during his revolt against the Romans from 132 to 136 C.E. has been destroyed by Palestinian vandals.
Discoveries made at the Kiryat Arabia site, located near the village al-Arub in Gush Etzion, have been a vital source of information about the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and its destruction is a blow to research efforts.
In 1968, a winding, branching cave was discovered at the site, the first of the system of caves where Bar Kokhba hid to be discovered. A few years later, the Kfar Etzion Field School began conducting excavations at the site under the guidance of Professor Yoram Tsafrir, which turned up exciting finds and shed light on the final days of the revolt.
The cave was originally dug beneath the ancient community of Kiryat Arabia, which is mentioned in scrolls found at Nahal Hever in the Judean Desert. The Nahal Hever scrolls also include military correspondence between Bar Kokhba and his fighters.
Replacing Hamas: Iran's New Proxy Militia in Gaza
With millions of dollars in Iranian funding, a marginal PIJ splinter faction is aiming to establish a powerful, Hezbollah-style proxy in Gaza.
Since the start of the civil war in Syria, the Iranian-funded Palestinian militant group Hamas has irked Tehran in a number of ways. First, it refused to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of Iran's allies. Then it further provoked Tehran by establishing closer ties with Turkey, moving its headquarters from the West Bank to Istanbul. In July, top Hamas leaders sought to cultivate ties with another of Iran's enemies -- Saudi Arabia -- and even flew to Riyadh to meet with Saudi King Salman.
Iran has responded to Hamas' defiance by reducing funding and making a serious attempt at empowering another Palestinian terror group in the Gaza Strip. Over the past year and a half, the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, assisted by the Palestinian Operations department of Lebanon's Hezbollah, has financed and provided media exposure to the al Sabirin ("the patient") movement in the Gaza Strip. This new militant group seeks to emulate Hezbollah and the Iraqi Shiite militias such as the Badr Organization, known for its blatant pro-Iranian sentiments. Iran hopes that al Sabirin will become a reliable proxy militia in Gaza.

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