Friday, February 12, 2016

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: The IAF’s Achilles’ heel
The administration has rejected Israel’s requests for additional systems it could use to defend against Iran attacks.
This week Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told government ministers that he may wait for the next US president before signing a new military assistance deal with America. Israel’s current military assistance package is set to expire in 2018 and the new package is supposed to include supplemental aid to compensate Israel for President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. But to date, the administration has rejected Israel’s requests for additional systems it could use to defend against Iran attacks.
Last October, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon asked US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to provide Israel with a new squadron of F-15s that Israel would outfit with its own electronics systems. Carter reportedly rejected that request as well as one for bunker buster bombs.
Carter instead insisted that Israel use the supplemental aid to purchase more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, US-made missile defense systems, and the Osprey V-22 helicopter, which Ya’alon didn’t want.
The fact that the administration wants Israel to buy more F-35s instead of F-15s is alarming both for what it tells us about America’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge against Iran and for what it tells us about the F-35, which is set to become the IAF’s next generation combat fighter.
Before considering these issues, it is worth pointing out that the US is not the ally it once was.
IPT: Plenty of Palestinian Passes
Activists who genuinely want to see peace between Israelis and Palestinians need to internalize a memorably alliterative warning: plenty of Palestinian passes perpetuate the impasse. The more global opinion ignores or rewards irresponsible behavior by Palestinians, the more likely renewed violence (rather than peace) becomes.
There are enough instances of unfair and counterproductive "Palestinian passes" to fill a tome, but here are some recent examples.
Probably the most important pass currently given to the Palestinians is the global silence over news that Hamas is preparing to launch another war against Israel while distressing ordinary Israelis with their ominous tunneling sounds. Such silence by the world's most important media, international bodies, political leaders, NGOs and academics helps keep Hamas in power, and when Hamas eventually launches new hostilities against Israel, many of the same voices that are now silent will blame Israel for the resulting suffering.
Hamas bellicosity is constant, and constantly ignored. Rather than prepare Palestinians for peace, Hamas glorifies death and promotes viciously hateful ideologies. A Hamas TV broadcast announces, "We have no problem with death. We are not like the children of Israel...we yearn for death and Martyrdom...Every mother...must nurse her children on hatred of the sons of Zion."
120 Days of Terror
Incitement to racism and violence by Palestinian leaders is fueling stabbings, shootings, and other attacks against innocent Israelis. Incitement kills. Share this to raise awareness, and report incitement on social media when you see it.

Zero For 64: The U.S. Record On Prosecuting Palestinian Killers
Sixty-four American citizens have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel since the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords, including my daughter Alisa – yet the United States has not prosecuted even one of the killers. How is that possible?
That was the question that set off heated exchanges between members of Congress and a Justice Department official at a Capitol Hill hearing on February 2.
The hearing was called by Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-Florida), chairman of the national security subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee. His target: the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT) which, DeSantis said, has “completely failed” to carry out its responsibilities.
The OVT was established in 2005 after years of protests by Jewish activists over the failure of the U.S. to take action against Palestinian Arab killers of Americans. A total of 138 U.S. citizens have been murdered, and 193 wounded, since the 1960s. Sixty-four of the fatalities, as mentioned, have occurred since 1993.
Congress Members Move to Shut Down PLO Office in U.S.
For nearly 30 years there has been a U.S. federal law that prohibits the Palestinian Liberation Organization from maintaining an office in Washington, D.C. And for more than 20 years, in the wake of the Oslo Accords, the PLO office has been open. That is because American lawmakers assumed the Oslo Accords meant the PLO was no longer a terrorist organization.
On Wednesday, Feb. 10, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and more than a dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation to rectify that misunderstanding.
The original law that required the shuttering of the PLO office, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, allows that law to be circumvented by a mere waiver issued by the President of the United States.
The proposed law, however, requires that the President make affirmative representations that the PLO is not doing certain things – such as engaging in the promotion of terrorism or in attempting to take certain action it is prohibited from taking under the Oslo Accords. For example, the parties to that agreement are not permitted to “initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank” until the “permanent status negotiations” are concluded.
Machete wielding attacker wounds 5 in Ohio restaurant owned by Israeli
Police in central Ohio shot and killed a man who stormed into a restaurant owned by an Israeli Arab wielding a machete and randomly attacking patrons, authorities said.
Police were called to the Nazareth Restaurant on the northeast side at about 6 p.m. EST, after reports an armed man was attacking people in the building.
The owner of the restaurant, Hany Baransi, is an Israeli Arab originally from Haifa, according to his daughter Rachel Joy Baransi.
It was not clear if the attack was related to the owner’s ethnicity.
The suspect fled and police caught up with him about five miles away, authorities said. He was armed with a machete and knife and lunged at a police officer before he was fatally shot, media said, citing law enforcement officials.
At least five people inside the Middle Eastern-food restaurant were hurt, including one person who was in critical condition, officials said.
The suspect had walked into the restaurant and argued with an employee before leaving, returning with the machete a short time later and attacking customers, police said.
The attack appeared to be random.
Defying terror, stabbed jogger runs again
Dozens of residents of the Gush Etzion region of Judea took part on Friday morning in a joint run on the Derech HaAvot course, and joining the run was Tomer Ditor, the jogger who was stabbed while running in the region just this Tuesday.
Ditor was running outside the town of Neve Daniel when an Arab terrorist stabbed him and fled the scene; the terrorist has yet to be captured. The horrific attack was captured on security cameras, showing how Ditor was stabbed in the shoulder and moderately wounded.
After a miraculously short recovery period in the hospital, Ditor was back on his feet and on Friday morning joined the runners at exactly the point on the course where he was stabbed.
"We are thankful for the miracle that Tomer is running here together with us," said Gush Etzion regional council head Davidi Perl, who took part in the jog.
"Despite the attempt to place us behind barriers, we are not submitting to the terror and continue together with Tomer in our routine lives, and of course in joint runs of men, women and children in the breathtaking views of Derech HaAvot in Gush Etzion," he added.
Report: Car ramming attempt in Gush Etzion
A young Israeli woman reported on early Friday afternoon that a Palestinian Arab driver tried to run her over at a bus station at the entrance to Kfar Etzion, in the Gush Etzion region of Judea.
No one was wounded in the incident.
The report comes just minutes after police arrested an Arab man at Be'er Sheva's central station on Friday, on suspicion that he was planning to launch an attack.
He was arrested on intelligence information, although no weapons were found on his person at the time of the arrest.
The suspect was taken in for questioning at the police station.
Terror attacks in Israel drop back to pre-escalation level
The number of terrorist attacks recorded in Israel last month decreased by 32 percent over December, bringing the total to a level that was last observed prior to September’s escalation in violence.
The Shin Bet security service documented 169 terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israelis in January, compared to 246 such incidents the previous month, the Shin Bet wrote in its monthly report, which it published earlier this week.
It is the first time since July that the number of attacks dropped below the 171 mark observed in August, according to Shin Bet’s figures. In September, October and November, Shin Bet recorded 223, 620 and 326 attacks respectively.
In October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the escalation “a terror wave.” It was widely referred to in the Palestinian media as “the third intifada.”
Man arrested in Beersheba over suspicions of planning attack
An unarmed man was arrested by police at the Beersheba bus station over suspicions he was planning on carrying out an attack there Friday morning.
Police spokesperson Luba Samri said the Arab man matched the description of a suspicious person planning an attack that had been reported to police.
She said the suspect was arrested and taken for questioning, but did not offer any other details.
The suspect was not carrying any weapon, according to Walla news.
An Arab Right to Back Terrorism?
The answer to that question is obvious. No democracy would tolerate its elected officials doing what the three Israeli Arab MKs did recently when they met with the families of slain terrorists and observed a moment of silence in their honor. Doing so was not merely in bad taste. It was an open act of solidarity with those that had either slaughtered other Israelis or tried to.
That is, of course, not how the Arab MKs see it. While they demand, as is their right, to be treated as equals before the law with their Jewish compatriots, they see their identity as being Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. As such they reserve the right to not merely criticize the government and to advocate for the interests of their Arab constituents but to place themselves on the side of those engaged in making war on the state. Assuming they consider themselves, like the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, as being part of a century-long struggle against Zionism, such views are understandable. But those who are condemning supporters of the suspension of the Arab MKs — a measure that was backed by virtually all Zionist parties from right to left — must ask themselves how such sentiments are compatible with the goals of greater integration of the Arab sector into Israeli life, genuine equality and coexistence.
The plain answer to that query is that they are not. If Israeli Arabs want to join the war on Israel by supporting or engaging in terror, then it is they who are rupturing the compact with civil society, not Netanyahu.
Suspended Arab MK vows to keep visiting terrorists' families
Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, one of three Israeli Arab Knesset members suspended this week after visiting terrorists' families, said that he will not stop making such visits and referred to the deceased terrorists as "martyrs."
Ghattas was suspended from the Knesset Monday alongside fellow Joint Arab List MKs Hanin Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka when their meeting with families of terrorists, which included a moment of silence in honor of the terrorists, was determined to have constituted conduct unbecoming.
Speaking to Israel's Arabic-language television network Hala, Ghattas said of the terrorists: "They did not attempt to kill out of a criminal motive; they did so in the context of the just struggle against the oppressive occupation."
He went on to say that "the day that Arab MKs avoid visiting the families of martyrs, who lost their sons in the struggle against the occupation, is the day we turn in our keys and go home."
UN rights expert accuses Israel of excessive force against Palestinians
The UN human rights investigator for Gaza and the West Bank called on Israel on Thursday to investigate what he called excessive force used by Israeli security forces against Palestinians and to prosecute perpetrators.
Makarim Wibisono, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, also challenged Israeli authorities to charge or release all Palestinian prisoners being held under lengthy administrative detention, including children.
"The upsurge in violence is a grim reminder of the unsustainable human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the volatile environment it engenders," he said in a final report to the Human Rights Council.
Israel, backed by its ally the United States, accuses the Geneva-based forum of bias against it.
Twenty-seven Israelis and a US citizen have been killed since October in near-daily Palestinian attacks that have included stabbings, shootings and car-rammings. Israeli forces, for their part, have killed at least 157 Palestinians, 101 of them assailants, according to Israeli authorities.

Jordan’s king: Two-state solution key to defeating IS
A two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is vital to the defeat of the Islamic State, King Abdullah of Jordan argued Friday, saying that the decades-long dispute only served to benefit the jihadist group.
“[T]he community of nations cannot talk about universal rights and global justice, but continue to deny statehood to Palestinians!” he told the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of foreign and defense policy leaders, referring to IS by an Arabic acronym.
“This failure has created a festering injustice, and continues to be exploited by Daesh and its kind,” he said. “Left unresolved, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will become a religious conflict of a global dimension. And it is only a matter of time before we may be faced by yet another war in Gaza or in South Lebanon.
“This is why reaching a two-state solution should remain a priority for us all,” he said.
Senior Arab MK: No Point in Renewing Peace Negotiations
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) has told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al Hayat that there’s no chance for the renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and there’s no point in new meetings between Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA Chairman Abbas because, Tibi believes, Netanyahu would only use such meetings to further his own aims.
Tibi also held the US responsible for the current state of things, because it had given up on the Palestinian issue, and opted to put the blame on both parties, despite the fact that only Israel is to blame.
MK Tibi is probably the most controversial Arab politician in Israel, because of his deep relations with the late Yasser Arafat — he served as his political advisor from 1993 to 1999, and represented the Palestinians at the 1998 Wye River negotiations — and his unabashed attacks on Israeli policy, which have remained relentless and vociferous. The difference between himself and other anti-Zionist Arab MKs is his superior command of Hebrew (he often corrects his Jewish colleagues’ Hebrew), which allows him to spew his hate eloquently.
A Member of the Knesset since 1999, Tibi describes himself as Arab-Palestinian in nationality and Israeli in citizenship only.
BBC mum on Zionist Union party’s shift on two state solution
Given that portrayal of Yitzhak Herzog and his party as ‘the peace option’ less than a year ago, one might have thought that Herzog’s recent statements concerning the prospects of a two state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict would have been of interest to the BBC.
“Issac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the center-left Zionist Union party, said Wednesday that the two-state solution is not a realistic option in the near future.
Herzog’s party has since endorsed his views but to date BBC audiences have yet to be informed of this significant change of approach from the Israeli centre-Left and why it came about.
UK envoy: British-Israel relationship ‘probably stronger and deeper than ever’
Israel’s exports to the United Kingdom doubled since London imposed a voluntary labeling scheme on products from the settlements, rendering hollow concern that labeling is the beginning of a boycott, British Ambassador David Quarrey said on Thursday.
Quarry, interviewed by The Jerusalem Post at his residence in Ramat Gan, said Britain has “had our own national voluntary labeling scheme in place since 2009, and since that time the imports of Israeli goods into the UK has roughly doubled – so I think that shows very clearly that there is nothing about the labeling scheme that is a boycott.”
Prime Minister David Cameron, he said, made clear during his visit to the Knesset in 2014 – and has done so often since opposed to boycotts of any kind.
According to the British Embassy, Israel exports to the UK soared from some $1.6 billion in 2009, to nearly $3.2b. in 2014. Quarrey did not have figures, however, relating to products from the settlements in particular.
PM’s office reports progress in Turkey détente talks
There has been progress in reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, as the negotiating team dispatched by Jerusalem returned home from Switzerland.
The two sides met Wednesday in Geneva, as part of ongoing efforts to reach a détente between the once-close allies.
According to the PM’s office, just a few issues remain unresolved, and they will be discussed in the next meeting, which will take place in the near future, Channel 10 TV reported.
According to a high-ranking Israeli official quoted by Haaretz earlier in the week, the last two hurdles are Turkey’s demand that Israel end or ease its military blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip — designed by Israel to prevent Hamas importing weaponry — and Israel’s demand that Turkey put an end to the Hamas presence in its capital.
Ya’alon: Turkey reset impossible while it hosts Hamas
Restoring the frayed ties between Turkey and Israel may be impossible while Ankara hosts Hamas’s overseas headquarters, Israel’s defense minister said Thursday.
“Turkey is hosting in Istanbul the terror command post of Hamas abroad. We cannot accept this,” Moshe Ya’alon told a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, where he is on an official visit.
“The Turks support Hamas, and this needs to be discussed,” he added.
“I am not sure that it will be possible to reach an arrangement of relations with Turkey. Perhaps we’ll succeed, but they will have to address our conditions in order to overcome existing obstacles.”
The Pentagon’s vile ‘divided loyalty’ rules for Jews
Congress is rarely called upon to dispel conspiracy theories. But it needs to teach the Pentagon to separate fact from fiction, because American Jews are routinely denied security clearances based on nothing more than a fear that they are Israeli spies.
Consider Gershon Pincus, a 62-year-old dentist and lifelong New Yorker who sought a way to serve as he approached retirement. He found a position at a naval dental clinic in upstate Saratoga Springs, and started work in July 2014.
All was going well until this past September, when Pincus was informed that he wasn’t eligible for a security clearance. The rejection was accompanied by a Statement of Reasons that concluded “foreign contacts and interests may be a security concern due to divided loyalties.”
Incredibly, the totality of the concern about Pincus was his contact with his 89-year-old mother and his middle-aged brother and sister, who had moved to Israel as adults.
Jewish groups press Cruz to explain controversial backer
American Jewish groups have demanded that presidential hopeful Ted Cruz clarify his position on his provocative endorsement from an evangelical leader whose views on Jews are highly controversial.
The Texas senator has been touting the backing of Mike Bickle, a man who seeks to convert Jews to Christianity, who predicts there will be another era of concentration camps, and who has said that Hitler was sent by God to hunt Jews.
“It is profoundly troubling that Sen. Ted Cruz proudly trumpeted the endorsement of such a controversial figure who holds such offensive views,” the National Jewish Democratic Council, a lobbying group committed to promoting Jewish values and interests within the Democratic party, said in a statement.
“We call on Sen. Cruz to clarify his position and explain why he chose to highlight someone who is ‘notorious for having said that God sent Hitler to hunt Jews for not accepting Jesus as the messiah.'”
On January 21, 2016, Cruz issued a press release announcing the endorsement of evangelical leader Bickle, the founder and director of the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer.
After row over settler envoy, Brazil approves Israeli consul
Days after Israel agreed to withdraw a former settler leader as its ambassador to Brazil, Brasilia approved the appointment of a lower-level Israeli diplomat to Sao Paulo.
The Brazilian government formally approved Dorin Goren as Israel’s consul general in Sao Paulo on Thursday. His name was OK’d by Israel’s Cabinet on Jan. 17, but kept secret until Brazil signed off, in strict adherence to diplomatic protocol.
Fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish, Goren served as ambassador to Uruguay and held other diplomatic positions in Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia.
Spanish cartoon shows Israeli soldiers molesting Jesus, urinating on Palestinians
The Spanish Jewish community is threatening legal action for a Nazi-style cartoon published by a Barcelona- based satirical magazine portraying hook-nosed Israeli soldiers urinating on Palestinians and physically abusing Jesus.
In the most recent issue of the popular left-wing El Jueves, a publication similar in many respects to the irreverent French weekly Charlie Hebdo, illustrator Julio Serrano harshly criticizes the Jewish state, including allegations that Jerusalem’s Israel Museum keeps a Torah scroll wrapped in “the skin of my holy testicles,” and that any Jew who marries an Arab is stripped of his citizenship and expelled.
“This is absolutely outrageous and obviously we are going to be seeking legal remedies,” David Hatchwell, the head of the Jewish community of Madrid, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
While magazines lambasting religion and politics in an irreverent style are fine, he said, it is “absolutely unacceptable” to engage in “anti-Semitic attack and slanders against the Jewish people.
“This [cartoon] could be taken from the Nazis’ Der Stürmer and nobody would notice the difference,” he said, referring to El Jueves’s portrayal of Jews as having long hooked noses and seeking to dominate their gentile neighbors.
IMF: Palestinian economy stalled by slow aid, Israeli restrictions
The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that economic growth for Palestinians in the West Bank slowed to an estimated 2.8 percent in 2015 and was likely to remain below 3.0 percent this year.
In a statement concluding a week-long visit to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the IMF said Gaza rebuilding after the destruction of the 2014 summer war with Israel gave some boost to the coastal strip’s economy.
But it said that the recovery was “hampered by slow aid disbursements and (Israeli) restrictions on imports of construction materials, and the humanitarian situation remains dire.”
“Unemployment remains stubbornly high in the West Bank and higher still in Gaza, where two-thirds of young people are without a job,” it added.
Israeli officials say restrictions on materials into the Strip are necessary to keep material that can be used to build rockets, tunnels or other military infrastructure from getting into the area.
Hamas Preventing UN Staffer From Leaving Gaza
A United Nations official says the Islamic militant group Hamas has prevented a senior employee of the international organization from leaving the Gaza Strip.
The official said Mahmoud Daher, the Palestinian head of the World Health Organization’s Gaza office, was barred from leaving Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the incident.
The official said Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since a bloody 2007 coup against rival group Fatah, announced two weeks ago that international organizations would need a Hamas-issued exit permit when leaving the territory into Israel. The organization had previously been exempt from acquiring the permit. The UN asked for a month to study the request.
The move appears to be an attempt by Hamas to exert its influence on the UN, which provides assistance to hundreds of thousands of impoverished Gazans through its United Nations Relief and World Agency (UNRWA), a dedicated organization for Palestinian refugees.
DFLP brags about building Gaza terror tunnels too
Hamas may be leading the efforts in Gaza to build underground attack tunnels meant for murdering Israeli civilians and soldiers, but the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) has revealed it is busy building its own tunnels.
DFLP, one of the main factions in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), published a video from Gaza showing its terrorists in a tunnel it says is meant for the next clash with Israel, reported Walla on Thursday along with the footage.
In the video armed DFLP terrorists are seen walking around and training with their weapons in the fortified tunnel, with rifles, rockets and mortars seen beside them.
One of the terrorists is heard praising "the people of the tunnels, who sacrifice their blood and bodies in the heroic battle." He declared that they "will bring the victory."
DFLP is a Communist terror group that was founded in 1969 after having split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Gazan with ties to ISIS sanctioned by United States Treasury
The United States Treasury on Thursday blacklisted three people for working for the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group, including a Palestinian Arab accused of trying to establish a foothold for ISIS in Gaza, Reuters reported.
The Palestinian Arab in question is Husayn Juaythini, born in a refugee camp in Gaza, the Treasury said.
Another of those sanctioned is Faysal Ahmad Ali al-Zahrani, a Saudi citizen who the Treasury said is responsible for Islamic State's oil and gas activities in areas of northeastern Syria, according to Reuters.
The third man, Bahraini citizen Turki al-Binali, helps ISIS recruit foreign fighters, and as of March 2014, led a support network that recruited Gulf nationals to join Islamic State in Syria, the department said.
The sanctions freeze any property or interest in property the three have within U.S. jurisdiction and bans Americans from doing transactions with them.
Elliott Abrams: Kerry’s Fantasy Egypt
Kerry said Egypt is “going through a political transition.” That’s simply not so: it was a military dictatorship under Mubarak and is now under Sisi, only the human rights situation is considerably worse today.
Kerry said “We very much respect the important role that Egypt plays traditionally within the region – a leader of the Arab world in no uncertain terms.” That’s also a fantasy. Egypt has never had less clout in the region than it does today. It is not at all a leader of the Arab world, and no Arab head of state consults Sisi for advice.
Kerry said “the success of the transformation that is currently being worked on is critical for the United States and obviously for the region and for Egypt.” What transformation is “being worked on” in Egypt? The move from a general named Mubarak to a general named Sisi is no transformation. There is no transformative economic reform whatsoever, and in fact the Army’s control of the economy has grown considerably under Sisi.
Today’s Egypt is broke, and will over time receive less and less from its Gulf donors. The security situation in both the Sinai and the Western Desert is deteriorating, but Kerry did not mention that. The human rights situation is appalling, as Sisi crushes not only the Muslim Brotherhood but all political life. So much for “Civilian Security.”
The message Kerry transmitted in these remarks today is that he knows little about the real Egypt, or does not much care– or is afraid to say anything approaching the truth. The Egyptian government must itself wonder which of the three possibilities is the truth. Meanwhile, Ms. Sewall ought to come home. These remarks have left her swinging in the wind.
Pakistan Bans Valentine’s Day as ‘Insult to Islam’
Pakistani Minister for the Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has ordered a ban on Valentine’s Day for the capital city of Islamabad, promising “strict action” against anyone caught engaged in outward celebration of the festivity.
Reports state the reason for the ban is that Muslim hardliners find the holiday to be an “insult to Islam,” and therefore, unworthy of a Muslim nation. In past years, the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami had “disrupted” Valentine’s Day celebrations, but 2016 will be the first time that the celebration is officially banned.
Pakistan is not the only Muslim country cracking down on the Western—and originally Christian—feast day in commemoration of Saint Valentine.
As Breitbart reported Wednesday, the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh has also banned celebrations of Valentine’s Day, contending that the holiday violates Islamic law. The province of Aceh is the only region of the country ruled by Sharia law.
“Our society and the Muslim youth should certainly not be celebrating non-Islamic holidays,” declared Mayor Illiza Saaduddin Djamal. “The law says it is haram. The government is obliged to protect the public and younger generation from unlawful acts.”

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