Monday, February 01, 2016

From Ian:

The U.S. Spies While Hamas Digs
What conclusions should we draw from this?
First, no one should be shocked. All nations spy on each other, including allies. Israel is still getting over the Jonathan Pollard scandal even though it took place over 30 years ago. Given the damage that foolish operation caused both for the U.S.-Israel alliance, it’s likely that the Jewish state hasn’t repeated the blunder and is keeping its word about not spying on the Americans. But although the White House continues to say that the U.S. doesn’t spy on everyone without a “specific, validated national security reason” for the effort, thanks to Snowden’s illegal leaking, we know that the U.S. devotes quite a lot of effort to spying on Israel. In particular, reports have told of the expenditure of a great deal of U.S. effort seeking to snoop on Prime Minister Netanyahu during his long argument with Obama over the Iran nuclear deal.
Second, from an Israeli frame of reference, there ought to be a hue and cry about the failures of its vaunted spooks. For decades, Israeli intelligence has had a legendary reputation that gave it enormous prestige abroad and its leaders tremendous influence at home. This persisted despite a history of intelligence catastrophes that often left the country surprised by technological advances on the part of its enemies. That doesn’t make them unique but it ought to remind Israelis that there is a reason why civilians should have the ultimate decision-making power over operations, not spies or generals.
This is especially relevant because a number of former heads of Israeli intelligence have taken on a political role in recent years, seeking changes in policy regarding the Palestinians and opposing even the idea of a strike on Iran despite support from elected leaders. History will tell whether or not they or Netanyahu was right. But this fiasco ought to put their claims to omniscience in perspective. Israeli intelligence is no more infallible or in possession of unique insight than the CIA. And no one, even those of us that greatly admire the work of the people who toil bravely for U.S. intelligence would like them to be in charge of American policymaking. Israel’s “Gatekeepers” need to account for their own failures (along with what are, no doubt, their many successes) before
Last, there is the question of how much effort the U.S. is expending on seeking to restrain Israeli measures of self-defense while largely ignoring the efforts of both Hezbollah and Hamas to prepare for a new war against the Jewish state.
PMW: Torture in Palestinian detention centers exposed by Palestinian human rights organization
Last month, the Palestinian organization the Independent Commission for Human Rights exposed that torture is being used in Palestinian Authority and Hamas detention centers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to make suspects confess during interrogations, the independent Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
General Director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights Dr. Ammar Dwaik explained that torture like "whippings, hanging a person from his hands while they are tied behind his back, verbal abuse, sleep deprivation and whipping the soles of feet" is being carried out in Palestinian detention centers by individuals despite the fact that it is against the law. The report stated that this happens with the knowledge of PA security forces. There were more complaints in the Gaza Strip than in the PA:
"The Independent Commission for Human Rights received 292 complaints from citizens regarding torture, maltreatment, and physical assault in the West Bank, and 928 in the Gaza Strip this year [2015]... most of the types of torture and physical assaults take place during demonstrations, detention, and interrogations in detention centers in order to extract confessions." [Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 16, 2015]
PMW: Swedish MP questions aid to PA after PMW presentation
Following Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus' presentation of PMW findings on Palestinian Authority and Fatah hate incitement and terror promotion to opposition MPs, Swedish MP Mikael Oscarsson (Christian Democrats) called to reconsider Sweden's aid to the PA:
"The [Swedish] government has decided to double its aid to Palestine after the recognition [as a state], but we cannot just continue to give money without taking this hate propaganda into account."
[Världen Idag (Swedish daily),Jan. 20, 2016]
MP Oscarsson had invited Itamar Marcus to Swedish Parliament to inform Swedish MPs about the content of Palestinian messaging and its impact on terror and peace. MP Oscarsson suggested that because of Sweden's role as a major donor to the PA, it is also Sweden's obligation to question PA policies and conduct in light of PMW's "important information":
"The purpose of the meeting [with PMW's Itamar Marcus] was for the MPs to receive important information. Sweden is a large contributor to Palestine and therefore we must also present counterclaims [to the PA]." [Dagen (Swedish daily), Jan. 22, 2016]

Ban fires back at Israeli criticism of UN speech: 'Don't shoot the messenger'
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon penned an op-ed in the New York Times on Sunday, defending his statements at the United Nations last week on the current wave of violence in Israel, which some, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu felt justified Palestinian aggression.
"In Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, 2016 has begun much as 2015 ended — with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse," Ban began in his piece.
"That polarization showed itself in the halls of the United Nations last week when I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation," he said, restating what he had said in his speech last week.
He then went on to accuse those who were critical of his statements of "shooting the messenger" by "twisting his words" to seem as though he was justifying the use of violence.
Israel's UN ambassador, Danny Danon, responded to the article on Monday, saying: "The Palestinian incitement machine produces terrorism, and the words of the UN Secretary General gives legitimacy to terrorism."
"Ban chooses to ignore the reality in Israel ... and backs the Palestinians who incite terrorism. The role of the United Nations is to fight terrorism and not to encourage it," Army Radio quoted Danon as saying.
Ban Ki-Moon and Israel: When Being Fair-Minded Goes Wrong
Normally we think that when people do wrong acts, we should not accommodate them. But Ban’s “fair-minded” remarks suggest the opposite: that the more Palestinians do these wrong acts, the more we should accommodate them.
Once you’ve decided an action is wrong, you must act appropriately. Don’t merely say you condemn but take concrete steps such as these: call for discipline, punishment, disincentives for the wrong action, incentives toward alternate actions, and so on.
I’m not saying there is no place for “explanation.” Nor am I defending the “occupation” here, or any particular Israeli practices. That is for another conversation.
What I am saying is that if you condemn the Palestinian attacks on Israeli Jews, then don’t busy yourself explaining and understanding. Save those for other contexts. For when you combine them with your condemnations then your words of condemnation don’t merely become hollow.
They become justification.
And if you are truly fair-minded, including toward the Jewish victims of these attacks, then you should not be justifying them.

Hamas: UN chief is prejudiced in favor of the 'occupation'
Hamas was unhappy on Sunday with remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who a day earlier expressed concern by Hamas’s announcement that it intends to continue developing its terror infrastructure in Gaza in order to continue attacking Israeli civilians.
In a statement posted on its website, the group said it “slammed” Ban’s remarks regarding Hamas’s terror tunnels.
“The tunnels are defensive,” Hamas claimed, noting that “they were built for the purpose of fending the Gaza Strip against invasion by the Israeli forces.”
“Those remarks are prejudiced in favor of the Israeli occupation,” blasted the terrorist movement.
Ban’s statement of concern came a day after deputy Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh confirmed the group is rebuilding its terrorist tunnel infrastructure.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas: Collapsed Gaza tunnel was used to 'kidnap' body of IDF soldier Oron Shaul
The tunnel that collapsed east of Gaza City last week is the same one that was used to kidnap IDF soldier Oron Shaul during Operation Protective Edge, Khalil Al-Hayeh, a senior Hamas official, revealed on Sunday.
Seven Hamas members were killed in the tunnel collapse last week; four others survived.
Hamas said that the seven men were members of its military wing, Izzadin Kassam. They were renovating the tunnel that was partially destroyed during the war, Hamas said.
Al-Hayeh denounced UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, who criticized Hamas for building the tunnels.
“The tunnel in which the Al-Qassam men were martyred is the same one that was used to kidnap the Zionist soldier Oron Shaul during the aggression against the Gaza Strip,” the Hamas officials said during a ceremony in Gaza City to commemorate the slain the Hamas members.
“The weapons that we possess are for defending our people and holy sites,” Al-Hayeh said.
“Ban Ki-moon and all the others need to know that these weapons are for self-defense.”
Stop pretending terror attacks don’t target Jews
The fantasy of resistance put forth primarily by Jewish Israeli voices, presents every Palestinians who stabs, shoots, throws stones or commits any act designed often to kill, against anyone they have deemed Israeli, as some sort of well thought out, sanitized act of fighting oppression. Stabbing a pregnant woman, or running over a 2 month old baby, becomes an understandable sanitized deed hiding behind “resisting.” It is part of the Western colonial mindset that cannot judge the other by the same standards as the self and thus presents any act by the other as naturally good and without judgement, because the other is seen as incapable of choice and through, and moves with robotic perfection to “resist.” If the “resistance” was being done by people in America against British rule, or Spain against Napoleonic rule, and someone hacked to death some three month old baby, the same writers would be able to separate out the “resistance” against British soldiers, and murdering innocent civilians. There is a need by those who excuse the nature of terror and murder to dehumanize the actions of the perpetrators, so that any act by any Palestinian against anyone they have deemed “Israeli” is excusable.
The argument that those carrying out stabbing or other attacks are just trying to fight the occupation allows those carrying out the attacks to be the judge, jury and executioner. It allows the perpetrator of the Beit Horon attack where two men stabbed a 23 year old woman, to commit an extra-judicial assassination, simply because the men are assumed to be “resisting conquest.” When two men stab a defenseless woman, are they “resisting” conquest or perpetrating murder? If Corsican nationalists stabbed some random French woman in Corsica, or Basques did it in Spain, one knows exactly what the reaction would be. Stabbing an innocent Spanish or French woman, by two Spanish and Frenchmen is not a form of resistance, it isn’t bringing Basque or Corsican independence any closer. It’s just a brutal murder.
The Palestinian perpetrators of attacks have a variety of motives and targets. Comparing the 13 year old girl who ran at an Israeli guard at Anatot to the Palestinian security officer who shot three Israeli soldiers on January 31 at the DCO checkpoint and presenting them both as part of the same “resistance” conflates and confuses. What does a 13 year old girl throwing her life away in an act of young anger have to do with an adult male trained to use a handgun and who employed it after careful consideration, which he explained on Facebook, and employed it purposely against an Israeli military target. To glorify and excuse it all as just some kind of “resistance” to oppression misses the human element in each case. It dehumanizes the Palestinians by not allowing them to have the same life choices as others, by pretending their society doesn’t have diverse elements, some of whom are psychopaths and murderers, some of whome are just angry kids committing a form of suicide-by-cop, some of whome are well-trained fighters. The presence of Israeli troops allows for acts that otherwise might be carried out against others, to be carried out against them, such that the young girl seeking approval or due to anger, might seem an attack with no chance of success on an armed security checkpoint as a way out, rather than the American kid who conducts a school shooting. Presenting it as all “resistance” removes the human element.
Are Palestinian teens committing ‘suicide by soldier’?
What is motivating the terrorists in Israel’s current wave of knife, car-ramming and shooting attacks? What goes through the head of, say, a young Palestinian who enters a supermarket and plunges his knife into the neck of a woman he’s never met?
According to sources within the Israel Defense Forces, aside from the ostensible ideological motive, many of these attacks are a form of “suicide by cop,” or “suicide by soldier.”
“Most of the people have personal problems with their families or they themselves are unbalanced,” a senior IDF officer in the Central Command told The Times of Israel.
Referring to the terrorist who killed two Jews and a Palestinian near the Jewish settlement of Alon Shvut, including 18-year-old Ezra Schwartz, the officer suggested, “He may have owed people money.”
“They all have their personal reasons,” the officer continued. “You have 12- and 13-year-old girls, a 14-year-old boy. There was also that old woman in Hebron who tried to ram her car. Or that woman from Silwan, 40 years old, with four kids, from a wealthy home.”
Let’s play the ‘blame Israel game’ with The New York Times
Following The New York Times’s tortured search for the reasons behind the “anger” that causes Palestinian violence is like watching an episode of “Finding Bigfoot.” Tantalizing hints, frustrating glimpses — but the solution to the mystery always seems to be just out of reach.
No matter how hard the Times tries, it can never quite find the elusive answer to the question of why Palestinians keep murdering Jews.
But just like those intrepid Bigfoot hunters, the Times won’t give up the search. It could be a reality show: “Finding Palestinian Anger.” But it might grow tiresome pretty soon because of its utter predictability: every possible answer the Times comes up with involves pointing an accusing finger at Israel.
The latest offering: a huge January 20 article, occupying almost an entire page, headlined “Anger in a Palestinian Town feeds a Cycle of Violence.” Correspondent Steven Erlanger believes he has uncovered an explosive clue: no less than 12 of the “young Palestinians killed over three months” all came from the same town, Sa’ir.
Erlanger offers details about the deaths of five of those twelve.
Member of PA Security Services Who Wounded 3 IDF Solders in Shooting Attack Posted Warning on Facebook: ‘We Will Win in Allah’s Name’
The member of the Palestinian security services who committed Sunday morning’s terrorist attack, in which three IDF soldiers were seriously wounded, hinted that he was going to do something drastic in a post on Facebook, the Hebrew news site Walla reported.
Amjad Abu Omar, 34, wrote on Saturday: “Every day we hear on the news about death. Forgive me, but I may be next.”
On Sunday, according to Walla, he followed up with a similar post on his Facebook page. “It is worth living in this country, but unfortunately I don’t see anything that justifies life as long as the occupation darkens our souls and kills our brothers and sisters, may they rest in peace. God will heal our wounds and release us from our suffering. You are the first and we, with God’s help, will follow.”
Along with this post, Abu Omar added a photo of himself ostensibly on the way to the Focus checkpoint, where he later committed the shooting attack, with the comment: “Morning. We will win in the name of Allah…There is no god other than Allah and our prophet Mohammed is his slave and emissary.”
Netanyahu blasts Abbas for not condemning attack by PA officer
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening once again called out Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas for failing to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis.
Netanyahu argued that Abbas should especially condemn the shooting attack in Beit El, north of Jerusalem, earlier in the day, as the terrorist who carried it out was identified as a Palestinian Authority police officer.
“The Palestinian terrorist who shot three IDF soldiers today near Beit El was a member of the Palestinian Authority's security forces. Mahmoud Abbas has not condemned this attack that was carried out by one of his men,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook.
“I demand that the international community stop its hypocrisy and do everything in its power to pressure the Palestinian Authority to stop its incitement against Israel,” added the Prime Minister.
It represents the latest case in which members of the PA security forces have acted - apparently of their own accord - to carry out or aid attacks against Israelis.
Israel demands PA prevent attacks by security personnel
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday that coordination between Israeli and PA security forces continues despite an attack on Sunday in which three soldiers were wounded by a Palestinian Authority security officer.
“The issue was raised overnight in a meeting between our security officials and Palestinian security officials,” he told Israel Radio. “First of all, they’re distancing themselves from this – [these attacks] are not their policy — but we are certainly demanding explanations and oversight of the employees of various security services.”
Ya’alon said that, on average, Palestinian security forces succeeded in foiling 20 percent of planned attacks against Israelis, while Israel was able to prevent 80%.
The Palestinian attacker, Amjad Sakari, 35, opened fire at an IDF checkpoint near Beit El in the West Bank, wounding three soldiers, two of them seriously. He was shot dead by soldiers at the scene.
Palestinian Authority police praises member of its ranks that carried out shooting attack
The Palestinian Authority police praised the Palestinian policeman, Amjad Sukkari, who carried out the shooting attack at the Focus checkpoint leading to Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement on Sunday morning.
In a statement it released following the attack, the Palestinian police announced that "with great pride, the members of the Palestinian police eulogize the brave martyrdom of their colleague, Master Sergeant Amjad Sukkari, "Abu Omar", who committed the operation at V.I.P checkpoint in Beit El."
In addition, an officer in the Palestinian National Security Forces in Gaza released a video of himself praising Sukkari. In the video, the officer claimed that "al-Aksa is waiting for the revenge of the Palestinian Authority's brave soldiers," arguing that "the brave martyr, Amjad Sukkari, understood this and avenged Palestinian blood."
Hamas Confirms Beit El Terrorist Was Member of PA Security Force
The attacker drove up from Ramallah to an IDF checkpoint next to the Jewish community of Beit El on Sunday afternoon, got out of his car with a handgun and shot three Israeli soldiers at point-blank range. Two were seriously wounded and a third less severely so. Other soldiers immediately returned fire and killed the terrorist on site.
Gaza’s ruling terror group “hailed the heroic resistance operation carried out … by PA security forces member Amjad Sukkari,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told the Alresala newspaper.
He deemed the shooting a “natural response to the Israeli field executions of Palestinians.
“This attack showcases the rejection of security coordination with the occupation, even among members of the PA security forces,” Abu Zuhri pointed out.
The Hamas official claimed that Sukkari worked as an escort for the chief of the Ramallah prosecution office.
Comment: Shooting attack in Beit El signals the start of an armed intifada
The terror attack yesterday [Sunday] in Beit El seems to mark the beginning of the next armed intifada we have so far sought to avoid.
The telltale signs are thus: Firstly, the perpetrating terrorist's profile - he was a member of the Palestinian [Authority] security forces, aged 29 and married with children. This profile is not the same as that of the youth assailants that have been prevalent so far. Secondly, each terror attack spurs inspiration on the Palestinian side, which could lead to imitation attempts by members of the Palestinian security forces turning their weapons against Israeli citizens.
Despite the stabbing and vehicular ramming attacks in the current wave of terrorism, the proper operating of security officials and security coordination between the Palestinians and the IDF has allowed both sides to maintain reasonable routine. Palestinian workers have remained permitted to work in Israel as Israeli citizens relatively upkeep their daily routines.
Shooting terror attacks that increase the number of casualties on both sides are likely to lead to a downward spiral that will require drastic security measures. This will catalyze an immediate loss of confidence and undermine the level of security coordination, which will have damaging impact on daily routine.
IDF partial blockade in Ramallah response to alerts of future attacks from city
The IDF has placed a partial blockade around Ramallah on Monday morning, allowing only residents of the Palestinian city to enter and leave it.
An army spokeswoman said the partial closure placed around the major city – the first since the wave of terrorism began four months ago – came following "concrete alerts regarding future acts of terrorism originating in the city," as well as a spate of recent attacks, including the shooting attack by a PA policeman on IDF soldiers on Sunday.
In line with a security evaluation held by Central Command, the partial closure was imposed on Monday, based on the condition that all humanitarian journeys and goods can flow freely in and out of the city.
Senior Palestinian officials can enter or leave in coordination with the IDF Civil Administration's local coordination branch. East Jerusalem Palestinians working in Ramallah who have Israeli residency can enter and leave freely.
Palestinian tries to stab soldiers in West Bank, is shot dead
A Palestinian teenager was shot dead by IDF soldiers Monday morning when he pulled a knife and attempted to stab them near the settlement of Salit in the Sharon region in the western West Bank, the army said.
The Palestinian had attempted to cross the security barrier into Israel and was confronted by IDF soldiers who rushed to the scene.
They attempted to arrest the youth, who was hiding in a bush, and then shot him when he pulled a knife on them, the army said.
Palestinian reports identified the Palestinian as Ahmad Abed Alatif Toba, 17, of the nearby village of Jamal.
“[Soldiers] identified a suspect infiltrating the security fence near the community of Salit, east of Kfar Saba,” an army statement said. “When forces arrived at the scene the assailant drew a knife and attempted to stab the soldiers. Responding to the imminent threat, the force fired towards the attacker, resulting in his death.”
Dozens protest at hearing for suspected car-ramming attacker
Dozens of Israelis gathered outside the Jerusalem District Court on Monday to protest against a hearing for Khaled Koutineh, who ran over and killed Shalom Sherki in an alleged vehicular attack in the capital’s French Hill neighborhood last April.
In the hearing, Koutineh and his attorneys were expected to plead insanity, prompting Sherki’s family to call for the demonstration to pressure the court to not grant the suspected attacker’s request.
Sherki, 25, was the son of Rabbi Uri Sherki, a community rabbi in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, and the brother of Yair Sherki, a reporter for Channel 2 news.
Last week, Yair Sherki issued a call on social media for a public protest against Koutineh.
60% of Jordanian students have never heard of 'Al-Aqsa'
A new survey published by the University of Jordan raises a startling statistic which challenges quite a few deeply-rooted fundamental assumptions surrounding the Temple Mount.
The survey, conducted among 6,000 Jordanian students, asked only one question: What is al-Aqsa Mosque? The result: More than 60 percent of the students did not know how to answer.
Following the embarrassing results, the Islamic Council of Jerusalem, which operates in the Muslim University, presented the data as a severe blow and implemented new rules requiring students to pass a course on the "Jordanian Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Meir Zemach of the Lach Yerushalayim organization, which works to promote Israeli sovereignty of the capital, responded to the survey by saying this should strengthen the understanding in Israel that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in particular, are merely being used by Islamists as a pretext for acts of terrorism in recent times.
Since the emergence of the Muslim religion in the 6th century, its two holiest cities were Mecca and Medina. Islamic scholars - including the Waqf - openly acknowledged that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the holiest site of the Jewish faith, and had only minimal religious significance to Muslims.
Opposition head calls for IDF to bomb Gaza tunnels
The Israeli army should bomb tunnels apparently being dug by Hamas terrorists into Israeli territory, the head of the political opposition said Sunday, attacking the lack of action from the government on the threat.
Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog made the comments as Israel Defense Forces officials and southern residents have raised fears that Hamas is rebuilding a series of subterranean passages, used for attacking Israel, which were destroyed during the 2014 war between Israel and Gazan fighters.
“Hamas brags, and we are idle,” Herzog told regional council heads.
The government was guilty of “zero activity” in the wake of reports that Hamas is working around the clock to build tunnels from which to attack Israelis within the country’s borders, he added, according to the Walla news site.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Supervillain Concerned Hamas Tunnels Getting Near His Underground Lair (satire)
800 meters underground somewhere near Suja’iya, February 1 – A criminal mastermind who maintains a secret facility far below Earth’s surface voiced worry today that continued Hamas digging in the area might expose his clandestine headquarters.
The Dark Mole, whose evil superpowers include the ability to see even in pitch-black environments and a special talent for creating machinery to dig elaborate networks of underground warrens, said Monday that the militant movement governing the Gaza Strip had twice come close to damaging one of his lair’s passageways by excavating too close.
“I took tremendous precautions when I designed this place years ago,” explained the villain. “My base, which I like to call Ground Minus Zero, has enough room for me to store all the money and valuables that I steal, enough space for me to relax as I plan my next evil scheme, and just the right number of tunnels to confuse an intruder but not so man that maintenance is too much of a hassle.”
All that has changed now that Hamas has been digging ever-deeper tunnels with which to infiltrate into Israel, he complained. “The reinforcements I installed in my facility are more than adequate to the task of accounting for normal seismic movements. But a couple of times in the last few months Hamas brought in heavy digging equipment, with pneumatic drills, that caused some serious shaking in part of the complex. I haven’t seen any of the hideout’s structural integrity compromised, but that might only be a matter of time.”
Hebron Jewish families to try to move into disputed buildings today
Some 20 Jewish families are to attempt to return to two disputed buildings in the West Bank city of Hebron, just nine days after the IDF forcibly removed them.
The families claim to have purchased the structures from their Palestinian owners, but moved into the buildings on January 21 without obtaining the necessary permits from the Defense Ministry.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to update the government on Sunday in regard to the legalization of the homes.
An aide to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the process of document authentication is complicated and time consuming, adding that it will not be completed by Sunday.
But Shlomo Levinger, a spokesman for the Hebron families, said the authorization is expected to arrive on Sunday.
Meretz removes call to boycott Kosher restaurant
A city council member from Meretz called upon the people of Raanana to boycott a restaurant in the city for having taken upon itself to become kosher and to be closed on Shabbat. The boycott initiative was written by council member Edith Diamant on the Meretz Raanana facebook page.
On Friday the post was removed due to the overwhelming critique which the post received.
"On Friday a post that expressed a personal and inappropriately placed opinion was removed from the Meretz Raanana facebook page. We apologize for the misunderstanding and for causing offense to anyone due to this post. It is our way to promote and encourage places of entertainment to be open during the weekend. However, we also respect everyone's legitimate right to choose how they wish to do business," a post on the site said.
The restaurant "River" is located on one of Raanana's main intersections, and has recently made the decision to become kosher and close on Shabbat.
Grand Mufti condemns new Jewish egalitarian prayer section at Western Wall
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussien, condemned Israel's decision to establish a new Jewish egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, claiming that the designated area is an inseparable part of the Islamic waqf property.
In a press statement released on Monday, Hussien claimed that the prayer space adjacent to the Western Wall is “the property of the Islamic waqf that was taken by the Israeli occupation in 1967.”
The Grand Mufti added that Israel's decision is “a brutal attack on the waqf and additional evidence of the Israeli aggression against Muslim holy places, in an attempt to Judaize Jerusalem.”
Hussien also attacked Israel for preventing the repair of terraces on the Temple Mount and for demanding that the Islamic waqf department receive authorization to carry out the work. He said that such procedures amount to Israeli intervention in issues related to Islamic holy places in Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority envoy commemorates Holocaust in Brazil
The ambassador of the Palestinian Authority in Brazil joined several Jewish and non-Jewish officials to commemorate the Holocaust at a ceremony in Brazil’s capital.
“I could not be absent. It is very important to remember this date,” the PA envoy, Ibrahim Alzeben, declared at the event in Brasilia in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The ambassadors of Germany, Poland, Russia and Ukraine also attended the Jan. 27 event. The majority of Brazil’s 120,000-strong Jewish community, which is mostly Ashkenazi, has origins in those countries.
However, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was absent for the third year in a row.
“By keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, we alert the present and future generations about the moral abyss we face when prejudice becomes the rule and intolerance becomes the practice,” said the Rousseff statement read by Civil House Minister Jacques Wagner, who is Jewish.
Iranian leader gives out medals for detention of US sailors
Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday awarded “medals of conquest” to five naval commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for their arrest earlier this month of 10 US sailors whose two vessels strayed into Iranian waters.
Ayatollah Khamenei, whose duties also make him head of the army, presented the awards to Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi and other commanders, the Iranian Tasnim news agency reported.
He also gave the green light for others involved in the operation to be promoted.
The American sailors were detained on January 12 and released a day later. The US Navy said the crew members were returned safely and there were no indications they had been harmed while in custody, but the incident, and Iranian boasting about it, served to chill ties between Tehran and Washington that had recently thawed slightly.
Last week, Khamenei told the naval crew that had taken the American sailors captive that divine forces had delivered the seamen to Iran.
Iranian General: ‘We Will Never Reconcile With US’
A senior Iranian military commander rejected the possibility of reconciliation between his country and the United States, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Al Arabiya reported on Sunday.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Forces commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh stressed that Iran would maintain its antagonistic position towards the US. “We will never permit the establishment of [friendly] relations with the United States, and no such relations will ever arise,” said Hajizadeh. Quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini, he went on to say that the relationship between Iran and America was like that of a “lamb and a wolf.”
Hajizadeh was responding to comments made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said that ties between the two countries could improve if Washington ceased its “hostility” towards Tehran.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Jesus Keeps Turning Muhammad’s Water Into Wine (satire)
The founder of Islam has submitted a grievance to the Almighty alleging that Jesus has been harassing him in the supernal realms by transforming his water into a forbidden alcoholic beverage as Muhammad is about to drink. Alcoholic beverages are proscribed under Islamic law.
The complaint, filed this afternoon, alleges that the Son of God repeatedly and frequently tries to trick Muhammad into imbibing the forbidden intoxicating beverage by sneaking up behind him and waiting until the prophet has already raised the cup to his lips. In the complaint, Muhammad claims that these antics of Jesus have resulted in at least two instances in which the wine made it into the prophet’s mouth before he realized what had happened, and he spit it out lest he swallow even a single forbidden drop.
Ministering angels report that Jesus’s practical jokes targeting Muhammad began to increase following the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy of 2005, which saw violent riots throughout the Muslim world in response to forbidden depictions of the prophet. “He just couldn’t resist, I suppose,” observed the archangel Michael. “I must say, it was a welcome change at first, because the new prank is more theologically sophisticated than what he used to do all the time – cause a fig tree to wither whenever anyone would reach for its fruit. Of course by now it’s getting old, but when you experience a thousand human years as a single day, ‘old’ is a relative term.”
Saudi Cleric Ali Al-Malki: West Tampers with Burgers, Whiskey to Induce Birth of Girls among Muslims
In a 2013 show on the Saudi channel Dana TV, Saudi cleric Ali Al-Malki warned viewers that Western burger chains, such as McDonald's and Harvey's, tamper with the meat in order “to kill the male genes” among Muslim men and women and make them give birth to girls rather than boys. Sheikh Al-Malki further complained that Saudi Arabia exports all its prime agricultural produce to America and in return, America exports whiskey to Saudi Arabia. “Some of that whiskey is not fresh,” he said. “It’s defective.”

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Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

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