Saturday, November 14, 2015

From Ian:

Brussels arrests suspects over Paris terror; IS claims responsibility for bloodbath that killed 129; Hollande decries IS ‘act of war’
Three terrorists said to come from Belgium; Greece says one passed through country as migrant; other attackers carried Syrian, French, Egyptian passports; Tel Aviv holds solidarity rally; PM urges unified fight against terror
Belgian media is reporting that three of the terrorists involved in Friday’s attacks in Paris came from Belgium.
Several people were arrested in Brussels during police raids connected to the attacks in Paris, Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens says.
Geens says on RTBF television that these arrests “can be seen in connection with a grey Polo car rented in Belgium” found near the concert hall in the French capital where scores of people were killed.

Netanyahu: Civilized world must unite and fight Islamist terror plague
Prime Minister Netanyahu sends his “deepest sympathies” to the families of the victims brutally murdered in Paris.
Speaking at the Prime minister’s Office, he says Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Paris in the struggle against Islamic extremism that is roiling the Middle East and beyond.
Speaking in French, Hebrew and English, he says he has instructed Israel’s intelligence and security services to offer all possible input and assistance to France and others grappling with the terror onslaught.
He has also ordered tightened security at Israeli missions and Jewish sites that might be potential targets.
He decries the “systematic and deliberate” attacks on innocents, and says there can never be justification for terrorism; it must be condemned and fought.
He says the world faces increasing militant Islamic terrorism. It attacks Israel and others because it wants to destroy us, he says. All terrorists must be fought without hesitancy, he says.
“I urge the entire civilized world to unite and defeat the plague of global terror,” he concludes.
Where the terrorists struck in Paris
The Islamic State terror group on Saturday claimed responsibility for multiple terror attacks in Paris late Friday in which more than 120 people were killed.
Hundreds more were injured, and dozens of people were being treated in critical condition at Paris hospitals on Saturday.
Eight terrorists are known to have died.
Here is where the killers struck in what French President Francois Hollande called an “unprecedented” wave of terror attacks in his country.
The Paris terror attacks: What we know
Clues to the attackers
The main lead for French police is a Syrian connection. A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the assailants and police believe members of the group may have trained in Jihadist areas. The attackers seemed to be fit and well-trained, a police source said. Witnesses say they were young and very self-assured.
Police identified a Frenchman, previously known to police, as “very likely” being one of the assailants.
One or more of the attackers shouted out in French, which points to others also being French nationals.
French newspaper Liberation reported that an Egyptian passport was found on another attacker.
Germany’s interior minister said Saturday that authorities have not yet established if a man arrested in Bavaria last week with a car-load of weapons was linked to the Paris killers. “There is a link to France, but it is unclear if there is a link to the attacks,” said Thomas de Maiziere. Police arrested the man on November 5 during a routine check on a motorway, saying “many machine guns, revolvers and explosives” were found in the suspect’s vehicle.
Authorities hope DNA tests and fingerprinting on the attackers’ corpses will yield further clues.
GALLERY: Buildings around world light up in colors of French flag after attacks
A provisional toll from Paris attacks on Friday put the number of dead at 128 while another 99 were in critical condition, a source at the French prosecutor's office said on Saturday.
In a show of solidarity with France buildings around the world lit up in red, white and blue, the colors of the French flag.

Douglas Murray: Will politicians finally admit that the Paris attacks had something to do with Islam?
The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.
In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. It was what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris in January. And it is all that most politicians will be able to come out with again after the latest atrocities in Paris.
All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent.
Yet today our political class fuels both cause and nascent effect. Because the truth is there for all to see. To claim that people who punish people by killing them for blaspheming Islam while shouting ‘Allah is greatest’ has ‘nothing to do with Islam’ is madness. Because the violence of the Islamists is, truthfully, only to do with Islam: the worst version of Islam, certainly, but Islam nonetheless.
Douglas Murray: Paris terror attacks: Europe must confront failed integration
The body-count in Paris currently stands at 128, with another 100 severely wounded. But it is a mark of twenty-first century Europe that none of this is surprising.
The suicide bombers at a football stadium, the hostage-taking at a Parisian theatre and drive-by shootings at a restaurant have become normal.
Will it take another attack like this to remind people that an effectively borderless continent with free internal movement was always a security disaster waiting to happen?
The truth is that France, like the rest of our continent, has effectively been inhabiting two realities. On the one hand there is the politically correct, politically acceptable discussion which says that terrorism and "radicalisation" must be confronted at home and abroad.
More eager to tackle it abroad than at home, the French authorities - like the British government - pretend to be working on ‘integration’ within their own country. In fact, in France - even less than in Britain - such a thing barely occurs.
And it is not only Muslim migrants who notice this. Even before this year’s wave of terror, 74 per cent of the French public said that Islam itself was "incompatible" with the values of French society.
These people know that the actual terrorism is committed by a small segment of the Islamic community. But they also know that too many people urge on that small segment or think it is in some way justifiable.
What will not be said
The year in Paris is winding down the same way it started, with multiple, linked atrocities against civilians. It’s too soon to have all the details and we don’t know which particular subhuman sect is responsible this time*. Most of the journalism, a lot of real & virtual ink, is yet to come. Still, it’s a safe bet that certain things will not feature in the coming news.
The BBC, Time and CNN will not lean on the tired, dishonest euphemism “militant”. They might even find that this is a time when “terrorist” is appropriate**, though so far they’re all going with “attacker”, which at least implies actual aggression.
Neither Ban Ki-moon nor the leaders of Europe and America will be calling for “all sides to show restraint”, nor will they want to discuss a cycle of violence. No one is going to accuse France of a disproportionate response (even though M. Hollande within hours declared a state of emergency, sealed the borders and swore to respond “without mercy”) and no UN investigation will take statements from aggrieved Syrians or France’s neglected and discriminated-against Muslim minority.
No governments, NGOs or respectable media outlets will suggest that France, as by far the stronger, richer and better-armed party, must offer concessions to its enemies as the only way to achieve peace.
Am I making comparisons with the way the world responds to Israel’s struggle against terrorism? Yes, of course. Isn’t it bad taste to make this about Israel at a time like this? Yes again. It’s completely tasteless but perhaps that’s too bad, because it’s necessary. It may be only at a time like this that Europe, in particular, stands a chance of being able to recognise the hypocrisy, injustice and self-harm that it inflicts by its discriminatory treatment of the Jewish state. Only when there’s blood in its own streets might it understand that it’s in exactly the same fight. While Paris’s tragedy is not all about Israel, it is also about Israel. Decades of excusing, justifying and flattering haters, of denying motives and downplaying effects, of buying off terrorists and appeasing bullies, has not only cost Israeli lives but validated the methods that are now coming back home to Europe, and the fight is going to be that much harder when Europe has spent the past 50 years refining the arguments and sharpening the weapons that have been used to counter every defence Israel has tried to use.
Israeli leaders express condolences, declare 'wake up' call against Muslim extremism
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent condolences in the name of the Knesset, and said “the terrorist attacks must be a wake-up call to all countries in the free world and their leaders. Wake up and declare, once and for all, an all-out war on extremist Muslim terrorism, before the entire West turns into the scene of a bloody terrorist attack.”
Culture Minister Miri Regev pointed out that the EU removed Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations and said that “in the eyes of Europeans, the murderous terrorist attacks in Israel and the massacre of innocent people are a legitimate struggle…[but] France said they would act to put Hamas back on the black list.
“France didn’t know that in less than a year it would bleed and hurt as we do from the day we were founded, but it apparently did know that the threat of Muslim terror is not only on Israel, but on the whole world,” she added, offering condolences to the families of those killed.
Regev expressed hope that the blood of the victims was not shed in vain and that the world will fight radical Islam around the world.
“Israel is not the problem in the Middle East, it is the solution,” she said.
Jewish owners recently sold Paris’s Bataclan theater, where IS killed dozens
The Bataclan theater, targeted in Friday night’s Paris terror attacks, was Jewish-owned for decades, but was sold two months ago, its former owners said.
French magazine Le Point said early Saturday that the Bataclan, where at least 80 people were massacred by Islamic State gunmen on Friday night, has for years been the target of anti-Zionist groups as the Jewish owners often put on pro-Israel events. The publication quoted a member of the extremist group Army of Islam, who told French security services in 2011 that, “We had planned an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jews.”
The Eagles of Death Metal, the band performing at the theater when the attacks began, played in Tel Aviv’s Barby club in July.
Pascal Laloux, one of the theater’s former owners, said Saturday that the theater was “sold in September after 40 years.”
“We’re devastated because we knew everyone who worked there,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 news.
His brother Joel, the co-owner, told Channel 2 that they sold the theater on September 11, and he recently immigrated to Israel. He said he took a call from the theater at the time of the attack “and I could hear the gunfire.”
Report: Concert Hall May Have Been Targeted for Jewish Link
In the wake of the terror assault in Paris Friday evening, a leading French news website has suggested that the most deadly location, the Bataclan theater, may have been chosen for its known Jewish and Israel connection. More than 100 people were murdered and scores more injured after gunmen threw explosives, opened fire and subsequently executed hostages in theater as part of a coordinated assault at six different locations in Paris, killing more than 150 people. No group has claimed responsibility, though the AP cited a number of experts suggesting the sophisticated, coordinated attack was most likely conducted by Islamists.
According to the French newsmagazine Le Point, the theater has been the target of threats for years because of its frequent hosting of Jewish and Israel-focused events.
According to the report, an interrogation of a member of the “Jaish al-Islam” group in 2011 led to the suspect’s claim that “We had a planned attack against the Bataclan because the owners are Jews.”
Similarly in December 2008, as seen in the video below, a group of youths wearing kaffiyehs descended upon employees of the theater protesting a planned gala event for the Israeli Border Police.
According to the report, subsequent Israel-focused events were often accompanied by a flurry of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic hate-speech online.
The specific event targeted this evening also had a known Israel connection. The southern-California band, Eagles of Death Metal, performed in Israel this past summer despite public efforts to convince them not to, led by former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters. According to YNet, the band resisted the call vigorously, with guitarist Jesse Hughes claiming to have answered Waters “F– you.” (h/t Alexi)

French Jewish Council Calls for ‘World War’ Against ‘Jihadist Fanaticism’
As the French mainstream media tiptoed around the Islamist identity of the attackers in Friday’s Paris massacre, the Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) has called out the radical jihadists behind the slaughter, calling for a “world war” against them.
“No words can describe the horror that befell France,” the CRIF said in a statement.
“Our country is bloodied by all those innocent lives cut short by the bullets of these new barbarians. The world war against the monstrosity of jihadist fanaticism must become the top priority of democratic nations,” it said.
“We must combat them tirelessly and without pity, until they are defeated,” the group added.
Six of the coordinated attacks on Friday night were accompanied by cries of “Allahu akbar!” and one of the apprehended jihadists declared, “I am from the Islamic State.”
Devout Muslims were reportedly celebrating the attacks on social media.
Meanwhile, hours before the attacks, President Obama said that the Islamic State (ISIS) is not getting stronger: “we have contained them.”
Ex-Aussie PM Warns Europe: ISIS Terrorists Are Hiding In Syrian Migrant Invasion
Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists are hiding in plain sight among the Syrian asylum seekers now invading Europe and tough border controls are needed to seal porous frontiers against people who regard western civilisation as ‘Satanic’.
That is the grim warning of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in the aftermath of Friday night’s horrific attacks in Paris that killed 127 people.
Mr. Abbott, who was deposed in a party coup last September, told the Sydney Telegraph newspaper there was a genuine risk terrorists were hiding among the flood of migrants fleeing ISIS in Europe and taking advantage of Europe’s open borders.
“This is right. I don’t think we can leap to the conclusion that the people responsible for this in Paris are recent refugee arrivals,’’ Mr. Abbott said.
“I think it would be quite wrong to the conclude that. But it is absolutely crystal clear that whether they are recent arrivals, whether they are second generation Parisians, the problem of Islamist extremism is severe.
Liberal Activists Upset Paris Terrorist Attacks Are Getting Attention, Not Mizzou Protests
Upon hearing of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the massive loss of life, social media focused on sympathy and prayers for the victims. But some people were upset not over the massive loss of life, but because the attention they’d been getting for protests over perceived racial injustices on college campuses was now being directed toward the 160 innocent murder victims in the capital of France.
War Is Interested in You
The American-led experiment meant to determine whether the Western world could live with the existence of the virulent Islamic State ended in failure last night. It ended when at least eight men armed with automatic weapons and suicide belts conducted one of the most daring and coordinated attacks on a Western target the world has seen in over a decade. It ended when suicide bombers detonated their devices at a sporting event attended by the French president. It ended when the guests at posh restaurants and shopping centers were gunned down. It ended when more than one hundred Parisians taken hostage at a theater were methodically executed, some of them managing to get out a text message or two begging for police intervention before they met their fates. The targets were familiar; decadent, Western, civilization. The perpetrators were familiar, too.
Much has yet to be confirmed about the terror strike that claimed at least 128 lives and wounded more than 200 others, many of them critically. What we know now is that that the level of coordination in this attack indicates substantial and long-term planning, support, and a level of technological capability alien to European-based terror cells. This operation was conducted with foreign sponsorship. While one of the attackers allegedly professed to being a member of the radical Islamic proto-caliphate ISIS, and that organization has since claimed responsibility for the attack, the Islamic State’s culpability will need to be more firmly established. In a way, however, the task ahead of the West is one that is not dependent on establishing ISIS’s culpability. The West cannot exist alongside the Islamic State. As we know them, one or the other must cease to exist.
Lip service aside, American policy has not been to eliminate it but to confine the Islamic State to its fluid borders. Barack Obama reluctantly swore to lead a multinational coalition designed to “degrade and destroy” the organization, but the practical effects of his nearly 18-month-long campaign have been to do what he admitted yesterday: to “contain” the Islamic State. The West is war-weary. We wanted nothing less than renewed war in the Middle East, but the resulting disengagement is precisely what allowed the ISIS threat to mature and to metastasize. Even if the Paris attack is linked to another terrorist network in the region, it is a clear indication that a terrorist incubator in Iraq and Syria cannot be allowed to survive. This is a proto-state that must be crushed, not only in service to the shared human values and treasures this organization has busily been destroying but in service to the preservation of national security.
The Paris Horror Was Not ‘Contained’
The evidence is strong that the costly and controversial efforts by the United States over the past 14 years to make it extremely difficult to stage such an assault have done the trick so far. Plots have been broken up; drone strikes have killed plotters and designers of such plots; and all the annoying things we have to put up with, from shoe removal at airports to having to show ID to get into a suburban office building have raised the difficulty level to a point at which groups may figure the risk of attempting a mass atrocity is not worth the reward.
Still, there is no security without vigilance. Here in New York City, even under Bill De Blasio, vigilance is the order of the day when it comes to terrorism. But it cannot be a good sign for the nation’s vigilance that our president, a mere 10 hours before the attack, went on ABC and said we “have contained” ISIS. As a matter of pure fact, it wasn’t true. As a matter of strategy, it was a disastrous thing to say for a man who had promised only a year ago to destroy the group — a signal that once again he was circumscribing a goal he himself had set. And it suggests what the president wants most of all is for Americans to believe they are not at risk. This was his shameful goal in 2012 when he denied the truth about the Benghazi attacks in order to preserve his campaign slogan about ending wars rather than beginning them. And it was his shameful goal as well in that ABC interview.
Those are words he will not speak again — unless he continues to speak them to himself, denying the threat that is right in front of him, jamming its nose into his face, as he turns his neck so he can pretend it isn’t there.
Assad says France's 'flawed' Middle East policy partly to blame for attacks
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday condemned Friday's deadly attacks by Islamic State in Paris but said the West's "flawed" policies in Syria, especially that of France, was partly to blame.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a coordinated assault by gunmen and bombers that killed 127 people at locations across Paris. President Francois Hollande said amounted to an act of war against France.
France launched air strikes against Islamic State in Syria in September, saying it wanted to prevent the group from carrying out attacks against French interests and protect Syrian civilians.
"The flawed policies pursued by Western countries and especially France as regards what is happening in our region ... contributed to the spread of terrorism," Assad was quoted as saying on Syrian state media.
"What France suffered from savage terror is what the Syrian people have been enduring," he said. Assad met with a French delegation on Saturday, state media reported, though this appeared to be unconnected to Friday's attacks. The report gave no further details.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad condemn Paris attacks
Two Palestinian Islamist terror groups on Saturday condemned the Paris attacks that killed at least 128 people.
Senior figures in Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is considered by the US and EU to be a “terrorist” group, and Islamic Jihad criticized the terrorist killings that rocked the French capital late Friday.
Dr. Bassem Naim, head of the Council of International Relations for Hamas, told AFP the group condemned “the acts of aggression and barbarity,” while Islamic Jihad called it a crime against innocent people.
The jihadist Islamic State group, an Islamist movement that controls much of Syria and Iraq, said it carried out the Paris attacks.
Naim, a former health minister in Gaza, said he condemned the “barbarity” of the attack in France and hoped for “stability and security” there.
He denied the attack had anything to do with Islam.
“Terrorism has no religion,” he said.
Lebanon arrests one Palestinian, five Syrian suspects in Beirut bombings
Lebanese authorities arrested five Syrians and a Palestinian suspected of being implicated in the twin-suicide bombings in central Beirut on Thursday, a senior security source said on Saturday.
At least 43 people were killed and more than 240 wounded in the blasts claimed by Islamic State in a crowded residential district in Beirut's southern suburbs, a stronghold of the Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah.
The explosions were the first attacks in more than a year to target a Hezbollah stronghold inside Lebanon, and came at time when the group is stepping up its involvement in the Syrian civil war -- a fight which has brought Sunni Islamist threats and invective against the Iran-backed Shi'ite group.
The blasts occurred almost simultaneously late on Thursday and struck a Shi'ite community center and a nearby bakery in the commercial and residential area of Borj al-Barajneh, security sources said. A closely guarded Hezbollah-run hospital is also nearby.
Father and son killed in Hebron attack named as Ya’akov and Netanel Litman
The two Israeli men killed in a terror attack south of the West Bank city of Hebron Friday afternoon were named as Rabbi Ya’akov Litman, 40, and his son Netanel, 18.
The two, who were killed when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the family as they drove to an event to celebrate their daughter’s upcoming wedding, were to be buried in Jerusalem on Saturday evening.
Other family members traveling in the car — the mother, a 16-year-old boy and three young girls aged 11, 9 and 5 — were all lightly wounded, suffering mostly from bruises and shrapnel injuries. The fourth daughter preparing for her wedding was not in the car.
Ya’akov Litman was initially hit by the gunfire while driving and swerved into the opposite lane, where he crashed into rocks by the side of the road. His older son called rescue services but was then also shot dead. The younger brother then called Magen David Adom’s hotline to report the attack. He said a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance drove by the scene without stopping.
According to a report on Channel 2, one of the shooters, after critically wounding Ya’akov and Netanel, came closer to fire further bullets. He did not fire at the girls.
Newly widowed mother tells her girls their father, brother are dead
Three young Israeli girls, aged 11, 9 and 5, were informed late Friday, hours after a deadly terror attack in the West Bank, that their father and older brother had been murdered.
None of names of the family members’ was cleared for publication.
The remaining members, a widowed mother, 16-year-old boy and three young girls were all lightly wounded, suffering mostly bruises and shrapnel injuries.
The mother, according to Channel 2, was assisted by professional staffers at the Soroka Hospital when she needed to muster the courage to break the news to her children.
The family was driving to a Shabbat Chatan, a Jewish ritual celebrated on the weekend preceding a wedding; the fourth daughter of the family was not in the car, preparing for her wedding.
Terror victim: Red Crescent ambulance saw us, drove away
The recording of the call made by the 16-year-old after his 40-year-old father and 18-year-old were shot dead near the settlement of Otniel was played on Israeli television on Friday night. The boy, his mother and three sisters were evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. The boy suffered shrapnel wounds to his lower body and his mother and sisters were treated for shock.
The father, hit by gunfire, swerved into the opposite lane, where he crashed into rocks by the side of the road. His older son called rescue services but was then also shot dead. The younger brother called Magen David Adom’s hotline to report the attack.
In the recording the boy can be heard saying there are “at least two wounded” with one suffering a head injury. He is then heard to say “there is a Red Crescent ambulance here.” When the operator asks the boy for more details on the wounded, to discern how many ambulances to dispatch to the scene, the boy tells her, “there are two wounded here, but we have the Red Crescent with us.” He then says “the Red Crescent ambulance drove away from us, I don’t know why.”
The operator tells the boy that help is on the way and asks him to confirm the number of the Israeli ambulance that then arrived. “Is it 163?” she asks. He says a different vehicle arrived. The operator recognizes the number: “It’s Negev 197,” she says.
Palestine Red Crescent denies refusing to treat wounded Israelis in West Bank
The Palestine Red Crescent Society on Friday denied Israeli accusations that its paramedics intentionally neglected to offer first aid treatment to the Israeli family who came under fire as they were driving along Route 60 in the southern West Bank hours earlier.
In response to the claims, the Red Crescent issued a denial on its web site late Friday, accusing Gendelman of "disseminating falsehoods and rumors."
The organization said that its ambulance did in fact reach the scene initially after the shooting.
"A few minutes later, ambulances belonging to the IDF and Magen David Adom arrived," the organization said. "Once the paramedics approached the victims, they revealed they were carrying weapons," which prompted the Palestinian first responders to leave.
"In light of the fact that Israeli paramedics arrived on the scene and began treating the wounded, the Red Crescent team left the scene, which had become unsafe in their view," the statement read.
Israel Sends Army Reinforcements to Southern Judea After Fatal Terror Attack
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israel Defense Forces to send reinforcements to southern Judea hours after a fatal shooting terror attack that killed a Jewish father and son, ages 40 and 18, in the southern Hebron hills region.
Ya’alon issued the order after consulting with army high command and other defense chiefs, including IDF chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot, Shin Bet security agency director Yoram Cohen, Military Intelligence head Herzi Halevi, and the coordinator of government activities in the territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the family—killing father Ya’akov Litman and his son, Natanel—as they were traveling to the Jewish community of Othniel near Hebron. The terrorist has not yet been found.
“[Ya’akov and Natanel] were showing no signs of life, and there was no other choice but to pronounce them dead at the scene,” said Noam Bar, a Magen David Adom paramedic.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will reach the despicable murderers and we will bring them to justice, as we have in the past.”
Abbas declines to condemn murder of Israelis - 'We are despaired by occupation'
As Israelis ushered in the Jewish Sabbath with the grim news of the brutal murder of a father and son near Hebron, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declined to offer a condemnation on Friday.
During a joint press conference with the president of Cyprus, the Palestinian rais told journalists in Ramallah that "our people are living under difficult conditions which have become intolerable."
"The continued Israeli occupation of our country and the escalating violence by settlers who are harming our property is filling us with despair," Abbas told the visiting President Nicos Anastasiades.
Though the president was asked specifically about Friday's shooting, he sidestepped the issue, instead accusing Israel of "obstinateness" and blaming the escalation in violence on "a lack of a diplomatic horizon."
The Palestinian leader praised the European Union's recent decision to issue guidelines for labeling of products originating in Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad welcome attack near Hevron
Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad welcomed Friday’s terrorist attack near Otniel, in which terrorists ambushed a family vehicle and sprayed it with bullets, killing two people.
In a statement, Hamas praised what it called the "heroic operation carried out by the resistance south of Hevron."
The attack, said the terrorist organization, "represents a qualitative development in the Al-Quds Intifada. It proves that the resistance can deter the occupation, which only understands the language of force".
Similarly, the Islamic Jihad said that the attack was a response to "the crime committed by the occupation in the Hevron hospital yesterday", a reference to the IDF’s operation to apprehend a wanted terrorist who was in a hospital in Hevron. The terrorist's cousin was killed during the operation after he resisted arrest.
In Friday’s attack, Arab terrorists opened fire on the vehicle of the victims, killing a 40-year-old man and his 18-year-old son.
Venezuela unveils bust of ‘peace hero’ Arafat
The mayor of a Venezuelan municipality unveiled a bust of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, celebrating him as a fighter for peace and freedom.
Libertador Mayor Jorge Rodriguez emphasized during a speech at the unveiling Wednesday that the bust was meant “to honor the hero that fought for peace, freedom and sovereignty.”
The state-owned Correo del Orinoco showed a picture of the bronze bust of a smiling Arafat, perched on a tall stone block decorated with a relief of an olive branch.
Wearing a keffiyeh around his neck — a Palestinian national symbol – the mayor of the Caracas-area suburb added, “This homage expresses our brotherhood with the Palestinian people and repulsion at the aggressions they have suffered.”
What is Yik Yak? On Many Campuses, It’s How Anti-Semitism Spreads
College campuses across the country have been inundated with anti-Semitism from a new source: Yik Yak, a social media smartphone app that allows people to post anonymous messages. Yik Yak is localized — one must be within 1.5 miles of a particular Yik Yak “feed” in order to post on it. There is a specific Yik Yak feed for Stanford University, another one for Princeton University, and even one for Tel Aviv (Yik Yak is not limited to college students, although it is far more popular among them). Picture a college-only Twitter feed, but one in which everyone is anonymous.
It is no coincidence that many of these Yik Yak posts sprung up on campuses that were facing active BDS campaigns.
At Stanford’s divestment hearing, Jewish students explained that divestment made them feel unsafe, and that they had faced anti-Semitism at Stanford. A pro-BDS student told us to calm down. “It’s not like we’re going to draw a swastika, or anything,” he said glibly, to cheers from the audience. Jewish students’ claims of facing anti-Semitism are often ignored — or worse. I was told I was “crying wolf” by claiming that anti-Semitism still exists in America.
Two months later, a swastika was spray-painted on a Stanford fraternity house.
It is impossible to know if a Yik Yak post is coming from an actual student on the campus, or merely someone who is visiting or just lives nearby. And there is no publicly-available data on the demographics of the user base. Nevertheless, the vast majority of posts on college-related Yik Yak feeds tend to be very campus-specific. A quick glance at my Yik Yak feed at Stanford, for instance, contains posts referring to Stanford classes, Stanford professors, Stanford’s meal plan, Stanford-only rules (“quiet hours”), and Stanford study spots and dormitories. It is dominated by posts almost surely made by students.
Stand With US: Don't be fooled by the deception and selective justice of the boycott movement (BDS) against Israel.

Anti-Israel ads okayed to run in Boston subways
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority approved the display of an anti-Israel ad it had previously rejected.
The poster, which features a large photograph of a child and the word “violence” in large, bold letters, accuses Israel’s military of using US tax dollars to kill 2,000 Palestinian children since September 2000, and calls for the end of US military aid to Israel.
It is one of three ads that was initially approved by the MBTA in June 2014, but later removed. At the time, the governing body of the state’s public transportation system said the ads violated its policy against language that demeans or disparages individuals or groups.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the rejection on behalf of the Palestinian rights organization, Palestine Advocacy Project. The group, formerly called Ads Against Apartheid, asserts that the poster is a form of protected First Amendment speech and should be allowed in a public space. The agency’s decision to approve came after the ACLU persuaded it that the ad does not violate the MBTA’s policy against demeaning ads, according to Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of the ACLU’s Massachusetts branch.
German Protestant church denounces founder’s anti-Semitism
Germany’s main Protestant body has distanced itself from the anti-Semitism of its founder, Martin Luther, and pledged to confront the dark side of its roots.
In a unanimous decision Wednesday by its 120 members, the EKD Synod, the decision-making body of the Evangelical Church in Germany, renounced the 16th-century theologian’s calls to persecute and banish Jews. Luther had wanted Jews disenfranchised and expelled from Germany.
“We cannot ignore this history of guilt,” given the approaching 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the statement read. The EKD, an umbrella body for German Lutheran, Reformed and United churches, will mark its Jubilee in 2017.
The statement came several days after Josef Schuster, who heads of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in an address to the Synod raised the issue of Luther’s teachings.
According to the Protestant online news site, Schuster — who last June said he hoped for a clear sign from the church on the matter — said he was disappointed that the topic seemed to be dealt with only vaguely at the Synod’s annual meeting, where wide-ranging themes are discussed.
Comedian fights Holocaust denial with jackets
Thinking of buying a new windbreaker jacket? Before you opt for one of the established brands, you might consider buying a jacket from Summit Ice, comedian Nathan Fielder’s new outerwear company.
Not only will you acquire an attractive water- and wind-resistant all-season softshell jacket, but you’ll also be supporting Holocaust education.
With his deadpan demeanor, it’s sometimes hard to know when Fielder, whose “Nathan for You” show is on Comedy Central, is being serious and when he is joking. However, it seems that Summit Ice is a bona fide non-profit endeavor directing all its profits to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.
“I’ve launched it as the first outdoor apparel company to openly promote the true story of the Holocaust,” Fielder, 32, recently told Conan O’Brien.
So, how exactly does one come up with the idea to promote Holocaust awareness by selling windbreakers at $109.99 a pop? Well, it has to do with making amends for Fielder’s inadvertently having worn on camera for years a jacket made by Taiga, a Vancouver-based company that had published a tribute to known Holocaust denier writer Doug Collins. The tribute was published in Taiga’s winter catalogue in 2002, but Fielder only became aware of it this year.
Fielder, who is Jewish and grew up in Vancouver, decided it wasn’t enough to just take off the offensive jacket.
Nathan Fielder’s New Clothing Line

Major Surge in Israeli Girls Trying to Enter Elite Air Force Pilots Course
The Israeli Air Force’s elite pilot training course has seen a 60% jump in the number of young women applying to become military pilots, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported on Friday.
According to the report, 174 young women made it to the trial period before official selection in 2015, which tops the 109 mark in 2013, and 150 in 2014.
This increase began after the IDF removed quotas for the number of women who could apply for the pilots course four years ago. Today, there are no caps on the number of men and women who can apply for the pilot training course, but applications are only accepted from candidates who have passed stringent IDF screening.
The new figures come 20 years after South African-born Israeli Alice Miller successfully petitioned the High Court of Justice to allow women to be accepted as flight candidates.
“Women can be pilots of the same caliber as men,” said one Maj. Efrat, adding that the reason there were fewer women pilots than men was simply because fewer women applied. Efrat has been a cargo pilot out of Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv for 11 years.
A year on, Israelis honor hero cop of Jerusalem synagogue massacre
A year after terrorists carried out a massacre at a synagogue in Jerusalem, thousands of Israelis paid tribute Friday to Druze police officer Zidan Saif, killed as he tried to end the November 2014 attack.
Three thousand people turned out at Saif’s home town of Yanuh-Jat in the Galilee for a march to honor him, Israel’s Ynet website reported. Among the attendees were members of the Bnei Torah synagogue’s congregation, acting Israel Police Commissioner Bentzi Sau and other senior officers. Saif’s comrades also attended.
“We invited people from all over the country,” said one of the organizers from the town, “especially from Jerusalem — the ultra-Orthodox who have stood by our side throughout the past year and who also held ceremonies for [Saif], and so we wanted to remember those who died by his side at the synagogue.”
Participants in the march carried Israel flags and banners reading: “Together we will win.” The event concluded with speeches by members of the Saif family, including his widow, as well as by senior police officers.
“A shared fate has brought us here today, to march as one family to honor Zidan’s memory,” said Jerusalem police chief Moshe Edri. “Even in these tense times as the security situation becomes more grave … it is a duty and a right to come here today to share in this important event to remember our officer and our friend.”

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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