Wednesday, March 02, 2016

From Ian:

PA TV kids poem: “To war that will… destroy the Zionist's soul”
A poem that directs Palestinian children to seek “war that will smash the oppressor and destroy the Zionist's soul” was chanted recently by a young girl on the PA TV program Children’s Talk. The PA TV host responded with excited applause and praise.
Palestinian Media Watch has documented that PA TV has broadcast several children reciting this same poem calling to “destroy the Zionist's soul” in the past:
Minas: “I am a Palestinian, my name is Palestinian
I’ve etched my name on all the town squares...
Saladin (i.e., Muslim conqueror of Jerusalem), calls to me from the depths of my heart
All my Arabness calls me to vengeance and liberation...
Thousands of prisoners and thousands who are jailed
call to this great nation and call to the millions
They say: To Jerusalem, the [first] direction of prayer in the faith [Islam]
To war that will smash the oppressor and destroy the Zionist's soul
and raise the Palestinian banner in the world’s sky
and strengthen my word that goes on: Palestinian, Palestinian, Palestinian."

Official PA TV host: “Superb, superb. Bravo, bravo, bravo. You are very talented.”
[Official PA TV, Feb. 19, 2016]


Edgy campaign seeks ICC war crimes case against Palestinian Authority TV
Oprah Winfrey isn’t giving away a car to her studio audience in the video; rather, she’s making a bold, bizarre call for violence that isn’t suitable for daytime TV, or any TV for that matter.
“America, kill Muslims”, Winfrey says, before she’s replaced by Kevin Spacey’s Congressman Francis Underwood from “House of Cards”, who leans into the camera and says “as soon as I get to the presidency I will kill Muslims and nobody can stop me”.
The dubbing is good enough, but truth be told the statements are part of a new campaign by the Israeli NGO Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center that is meant to highlight the incitement on Palestinian TV as part of a criminal complaint to be filed to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
“Of course American TV would never really call of the murder of Muslims, but Palestinian TV incites for the murder of innocent Jews every single day,” the NGO says in the video accompanying the campaign, before presenting a series of clips from Palestinians TV calling for the murder of Jews.
Shurat Hadin said in a statement on Wednesday that they intend to collect thousands of signatures which can be submitted to the ICC as part of a criminal complaint against the heads of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation Riad al-Hassan and Ahmed Assaf.
“In the recent wave of terror attacks many of the terrorists launched their attacks after they watched programming which called very clearly for the killing of Jews,” Shurat Hadin said in the statement.
The Things American TV Would Never Say About Muslims!


The Peace Process that Matters
I just returned from a few weeks in America, where the only thing from Israel that makes the news is the ongoing Palestinian violence. So it was a pleasant surprise to come home and discover that the peace process is actually progressing quite nicely. I don’t, of course, mean the one the West is fixated on, the consistently fruitless and currently nonexistent “peace process” with the Palestinians. I mean the far more important process of creeping normalization with the rest of the Arab world, which will not only improve Israel’s long-term security, but is probably essential for any progress on the Palestinian track.
As the Jerusalem Post reported last week, Israel is becoming an increasingly important player in the Arab world’s trade with Europe. Until a few years ago, the main overland route for this trade was through Syria. But with the Syrian civil war having made that impossible, a growing proportion now comes by ferry from Turkey to Haifa, then trucks across Israel to Jordan. This route is cheaper than the other main alternative, which involves shipping from Europe to Egypt.
Last year, some 13,000 trucks used the Israel route, up more than 25 percent from the previous year. And next month, a new shipping line between Turkey and Israel is slated to be inaugurated, enabling another 150 trucks per month. Israel’s Sheikh Hussein border crossing with Jordan is being expanded to handle the increase.
All this obviously benefits Israel’s economy, since Israel collects duties on every truckload. More importantly, however, it means that Israel – for virtually the first time since its establishment in 1948 – is playing a useful role in the broader regional economy rather than being largely isolated from it. And the more Israel’s Arab neighbors benefit from Israel’s stability, the more they will have an interest in trying to maintain that stability rather than disrupting it.



JCPA: The Delusion of Separation from the Palestinians
The Israeli center-left is slowly sobering-up from the dream of a Palestinian partner. Although many of its leaders and thinkers have already recognized the fact that there is no partner for real peace, they continue to blame Israel for the dead-end the diplomatic process has reached. And the others still refuse to “get in touch with reality,” as Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog recently put it.
In their intransigence to give up on the illusionary Palestinian partner the dreamers ignore or twist the Palestinian messages. For example, in his criticism of a previous article of mine (Haaretz, January 12, 2015), Matti Steinberg (Haaretz, January 19) shows that you can distort the messages of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas even while citing the text of his speech in Bethlehem. True, Abbas did not explicitly mention the “right of return.” He did say, though, that the Palestinians will insist on the fulfillment of all the Palestinian rights, which implicitly includes, in his mind the “right of return,” and that any agreement must be based on the Arab Peace Initiative.

At the heart of that initiative, of course, is a call for a just and agreed solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees based on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, from which the Palestinians derive the “right of return,” and the notion that there must be no naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Arab states that do not want it. Recognition of the “right of return,” then, means it has to be implemented inside Israel. That, in turn, is one of the reasons Abbas categorically refuses to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
The dreamers prefer to ignore the way in which the Palestinians themselves understand Abbas’ words. These members of the Israeli center-left make no mention of his refusal to condemn the terror attacks. They do not refer to his hosting the families of the most recent attackers whose bodies have not yet been returned, in his Ramallah office,4 or to the fact that he calls their sons shahids. They shut their ears to his praise for the current wave of terror attacks. To live in a dream is wonderful, but not to wake up even when you are being targeted by a terror campaign is a very special feat of denial.
Israeli man lightly hurt in attack on West Bank settlement
An Israeli father of five was lightly injured early Wednesday morning when two Palestinian men assaulted him after breaking into the West Bank settlement of Eli. The two were shot dead by the settlement’s security detail.
The victim, Roee Harel, was beaten and stabbed with a knife at his home and taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.
“A victim was brought to the trauma center of Shaare Zedek with a number of stab wounds to the upper body. He is in stable and in fair condition,” a hospital spokesperson said.
The two terrorists attempted to enter homes in the West Bank community and then hid, Army Radio reported. The two attackers were identified by Palestinian police as Labib Azzam and Mohammed Zaghlwan, aged 17 and from the village of Qaryut near the settlement.
“Upon the significant threat to the people of the community, forces shot the attackers, resulting in their death,” the IDF said in a statement.
No longer ‘lone wolves,’ Palestinian attackers pair up
We’ve seen this pattern in several recent incidents. We saw it in the January attack in Beit Horon, for example, in which the two terrorists who killed Shlomit Krigman, were relatives Ibrahim Al’an and Hassin Abu Ghosh — the former from the Qalandiya refugee camp and the latter from the village of Beit Ur al-Tahta — though they didn’t live in the same place or attend the same school.
They connected over Facebook, which has become a key platform for young Palestinian terrorists to incite one another to new attacks. Before leaving their homes for the attack, Al’an and Abu Ghosh posted on the social network that they were “going out to hunt porcupines.”
In the attack two weeks ago at the Rami Levy supermarket in Sha’ar Binyamin, in which Tuvia Yanai Weissman was killed, too, three terrorists acted together: one from Beitunia near Ramallah and the other two from the Jalazoun refugee camp. They were well known to the guard at the supermarket because they had shopped there in the past, and one was once caught trying to steal from the store.
In the February 3 attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, in which Border Police officer Hadar Cohen was killed, three terrorists from the town of Qabatiya in the northern West Bank acted together: Ahmed Abou Al-Roub, Ahmad Zakarneh and Mohammed Kameel. They first met at the school they all attended. The three spent the night before the attack in al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, and the following morning set out to the capital together.
Netanyahu advances bid to expel attackers’ families to Gaza
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said he was seeking to expel the families of West Bank Palestinians who attack Israelis to the Gaza Strip.
“Many terror attacks in recent months were carried out by terrorists who fit into the profile of ‘lone attackers.’ These attackers come from families that support and assist their actions,” Netanyahu wrote in a letter seeking Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s opinion on the matter.
“I am requesting your legal opinion regarding the possibility of expelling family members that support terror to Gaza,” Netanyahu wrote. “I am convinced that such a measure will lead to a significant decrease in the number of terror attacks against the State of Israel, its citizens and its residents.”
Right-wing politicians have long called for the deportation of attackers’ family members, including senior ministers from Netanyahu’s own Likud party. Only a few days ago Mandelblit shot down this idea in response to a query from from Likud ministers, arguing that it would contravene Israeli and international law.
The ministers have raised the expulsion option during cabinet meetings in recent weeks amid five months of near-daily attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians and security forces, Army Radio reported Sunday.
MK to PA official: We denounce terror, what about you?
A verbal confrontation broke out on Tuesday between the head of the Israeli delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Union, MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union), and the Palestinian Authority's (PA) representative Zuhair Sandoka.
Sandoka attacked Israel at the conference and called for the expansion of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement because, he said, "Israel is an apartheid state of occupiers."
Margalit hit back at Sandoka's remarks and noted that Israel condemns the killing of Palestinians by Jews, while PA leaders remain silent when terrorist attacks against Israelis occur.
"We condemned the murder of Ali Dawabsheh from top to bottom, including the prime minister and the president. And you? What about those who get up in the morning and murder Israelis? Does the Palestinian Authority condemn it? No, it names streets after them," said Margalit.
"Stop blaming Israel for everything already," he added.
Margalit's point is valid given that not only has PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas refused to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis, he has justified them by saying the murder of dozens of Israelis and the wounding of hundreds others is part of a "peaceful uprising."
PRI's The World Misinforms Listeners on the Spate of Palestinian Attacks Against Israelis
There is no mention of under what circumstances the Israeli military is "shooting at Palestinians." Unlike innocent Israelis, both civilian and security forces, killed in Palestinian ramming, stabbing and shooting attacks, most of the Palestinians killed in recent months were killed as they were perpetrating, or trying to perpetrate, attacks. The rest were killed in violent clashes with Israeli troops. As the Associated Press reported yesterday:
Tuesday's violence was the latest in over five months of near-daily Palestinian attacks on civilians and security forces that have killed 28 Israelis, mostly in stabbings, shootings and attacks where Palestinians used vehicles as weapons to ram into Israeli soldiers or civilians.
During the same time — since mid-September — at least 168 Palestinians have also been killed, most of them said by Israel to have been attackers. The rest died in clashes with troops.

Reporter Shaina Shealy reinforces the false notion that innocent Palestinians are being randomly shot dead when she elliptically reports:
Shama is another new mother. She went into labor hours after Israeli forces shot her brother.
Why exactly did Israeli forces shoot Shama's brother dead? Shealy doesn't say, and she does not provide any identifying information to track down the particulars of this case. But given that the majority of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces were either carrying out attacks, or attempting to attack, and the rest were killed during violent clashes with Israeli troops, it seems impossible that her brother was an innocent shot dead for no reason at all.
Lost IDF Soldiers Attacked by Rioters and the Press
What happened?
Two Israeli soldiers accidentally drove into the Qalandiya refugee camp because of a mix-up with their Waze navigation system. Palestinians in the camp attacked the lost soldiers: opening gunfire, throwing firebombs and rocks. The soldiers exited their vehicle and fled the potentially deadly attack on foot, before IDF forces arrived to rescue them.
Palestinians then attacked the rescue forces, injuring 10. Ten Palestinians were injured in the course of attacking IDF soldiers, and one Palestinian was killed while firing on Israeli forces.
What do the headlines say?
A number of headlines and accompanying photographs have been misleading to the point of outright surreal.
For example, the International Business Times led with the words “Palestinian killed,” failing to mention that the Palestinian in question was killed while actively confronting IDF soldiers. Further, the headline says that by following their GPS, the soldiers had sparked a riot. In fact the soldiers did not “spark” anything but merely got lost. Armed Palestinians then initiated attacks.
The Palestinian Authority Repudiates Oslo, and No One Reports or Cares
The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Maliki, said during a press conference in Tokyo on February 15, that he would never directly negotiate with Israel. Maliki’s comments — largely ignored by the US news media — violate the terms of the 1993 Oslo peace accords, under which the Palestinian Authority (PA) was created and funded.
In a September 9, 1993, letter from then-Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) head Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Arafat promised: “The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process and to the peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved by negotiation.”
As part of the 1995 Interim Agreement (Oslo II), PLO and Israeli representatives reaffirmed their desire “to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process.”
As historian Efraim Karsh has noted, Oslo threw the moribund PLO a lifeline. In the preceding years, Arafat’s PLO had retreated from Lebanon and was a US-listed terror group with its headquarters in Tunis. Infighting had increased, and Arafat had alienated key Arab allies and donors by supporting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
Oslo brought the PLO in from the cold — giving it a base for limited self-rule in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza Strip, much needed international donor funds, and the chance to establish a state through bilateral negotiations — provided that it renounce terrorism and incitement to violence, and agree to recognize Israel, among other conditions.
Arafat’s right-hand man during the Oslo negotiations was his successor, current PLO chairman and PA President Mahmoud Abbas — Maliki’s boss. If Abbas disapproved of his foreign minister’s remarks, he has yet to repudiate them.
‘No education toward 2 states in Palestinian textbooks,’ report finds
Israel is routinely left off maps, Israeli cities are said to be in Palestine, martyrdom is celebrated, and there is not a single mention of the Holocaust in more than 70 official Palestinian Authority textbooks, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
The state radio’s Palestinian affairs correspondent, Gal Berger, said he looked over textbooks for grades 1-12 with a diverse range of subjects, including history, geography and Islamic studies, and found what he indicated was a systematic blurring out of Israel’s existence.
“In the textbooks of the Palestinian Authority,” he said, “there is no education towards two states or a Palestinian state [alongside Israel] within ’67 lines.”
In the Palestinian history books for grades 10-12, there are full chapters dedicated to World War II but no mention of the Holocaust, Berger reported. “For a student in this [Palestinian education] system,” said Berger, “it is as if the Holocaust never happened.”
In his examination of the Islamic studies textbooks, Berger found excerpts that celebrated martyrdom, including a fourth grade textbook that invites the children to write about a Palestinian martyr of their choice.
Israel’s UN Envoy Blasts ‘Pure Antisemitism’ of Palestinian Foreign Minister
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Tuesday called on all nations of the world to deny entry to Israeli settlers, comments that Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon described as “pure antisemitism.”
“The international community must not deal directly or indirectly with the occupation system,” Maliki told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Maliki said that all nations of the world “must not allow the entry of illegal settlers.” He then called on the international community to “boycott the settlements and the products of settlements and threaten to impose economic sanctions on the occupying entity.” Maliki also urged the UN Security Council to pass a resolution condemning Israeli settlements, saying the resolution should be based on “the international community’s consensus on the illegal nature [of the settlements].”
Israel’s Danon harshly condemned Maliki’s statements, calling them “pure antisemitism reminiscent of darker times.”
“The international community must denounce the Palestinian foreign minister’s remarks and unequivocally condemn all manifestations of antisemitism,” Danon said.
Biden to visit Israel next week, Netanyahu’s office confirms
US Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Israel for a two-day visit next week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed Wednesday.
Talks between Biden and Israeli officials are expected to include further negotiations over a defense aid package and Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Other regional issues, such as fighting in neighboring Syria and including Turkey in a regional Mediterranean bloc, are also expected to be on the agenda.
In a statement, the Government Press Office said Biden’s arrival would not include any fanfare.
“His arrival will include leaving the plane, a red carpet and handshakes. There will be no welcoming ceremony and no speeches,” the statement read.
It was unclear whether Biden would visit the Palestinian territories. There was no comment from the White House on the trip.
The Shift in U.S. Policy Away from Saudi Arabia and Israel Is Not a Fluke
Since 2008, argues Michael Doran, the U.S. has moved away from its traditional alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern states while also abandoning the use of military deterrence against America’s enemies. As a result, an alliance led by Russia and Iran is gaining supremacy over those former allies. Doran further considers the possibility that the shift in America’s orientation is not a “historic fluke” but “a significant change in American policy that will be with us for a long time.”
Mr. Michael Doran, Hudson Institute, US Policy towards the Eastern Mediterranean


Patriots slam leftist MK: 'Irgun didn't shoot young children'
Panelists on the show The Patriots noted MK Ksenia Svetlova's (Zionist Union) comments yesterday that Palestinian terrorists are no worse than Israelis were before 1948 and that “there is a little Nazi in everybody.”
The host, Erel Segal, noted that “Although the underground movements used violence, it was aimed at the British Mandate... No one in the Etzel [also known as the Irgun] ever stood and aimed a weapon at a child's head.”
Dr. Hani Zubida added that there were no British civilians in Israel at the time, and that the Jewish underground movements only attacked British military targets.
“They jump to Hitler so easily. Let's say that we were also terrorists like the Palestinians, that doesn't matter,” offered Irit Linor. “The issue of 'it's all the same' and 'we were just as bad' means the reality doesn't matter. They are the enemy and we need to defeat them. It doesn't matter whether different circumstances would change things. They say it's all the same and we're all the same. No! We're all enemies or allies. We need to defeat the enemies and we need to support the allies.”
Gazan Islamic State fighter blasts group’s close Hamas ties
A bitter outcry over Hamas’s oppression of Islamic State supporters in Gaza, and its close ties to the IS affiliate in Sinai, has caused a stir among members of the self-declared caliphate, shedding new light on the tacit cooperation between Hamas and IS.
In a letter written by a Gazan, Abu Abdallah Al-Muhajir, who now fights in the ranks of IS in Syria, the jihadist group’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, is castigated for cooperating with the “apostate” Hamas even as Hamas actively pursues IS’s Gazan loyalists.
These “suspect and illegitimate ties,” writes Abu Abdallah in the latter, which was posted to social media on February 24, “are hidden from no one.”
The letter, which the writer calls “a complaint by a soldier in the [Islamic] State to the Caliph of the Muslims, against the actions of the brothers in Sinai Province,” is addressed to Islamic State’s leader, the self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Anti-Zombie Plan: Blame Israel (satire)
Like most national governments, the Palestinian Authority has developed contingency plans for a number of unlikely scenarios, the better able to confront those events in the unlikely case they do occur. PreOccupied Territory was allowed a glimpse of the outlines of some plans at Central Planning, including the outlandish scenario of a zombie invasion or outbreak – in which case the substance of the Palestinian emergency response can be summarized as Blame Israel.
Plans to cope with a zombie invasion have been noted before, including at the Pentagon. For most countries, development of the plans involves less an assumption that the scenario will actually occur and more an exercise in thinking outside the box to assist the defense establishment in functioning more flexibly. For the Palestinians, the opposite is the case: it provides their strategic thinkers with yet another way to apply their customary, established mode of thinking – how to attribute fault for the event to Israel and avoid shouldering responsibility for addressing it.
The approach has proved effective through several decades of Palestinian planning – economic, defense, and otherwise – as generations of Palestinians have been conditioned to sublimate all conflict and challenge into opposition to Israel, and the international community has seldom, if ever, disabused them of that as a valid approach. Consequently, the binder at Central Planning containing the plans for a zombie invasion also has plans for numerous other scenarios beginning with the letters W-Z, few of which contain anything more specific than “blame Israel” as the mandated official response.
Report: Turkey demands weapons from Israel as part of normalization effort
A representative appointed by Turkey's Defense Ministry has been sent to Israel in order to procure Israeli made weapons and aircraft equipment as a condition for the return to normalized relations between the two countries, Arab media reported Wednesday.
According to Kuwati based newspaper publication al-Jarida, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz sent a special envoy Tuesday to meet with Israel's security echelon in order to negotiate financial terms concerning weapons sales.
Israel in turn has demanded to know whether the weapons were intended to attack Kurdish rebels positioned on the Turkish-Syrian border, according to the report.
The Turkish government made clear that the weapons sales, including the purchasing of unmanned aerial vehicles, was part of a wider framework agreement in which the two countries would normalize relations, according to the al-Jardia report.
Gulf nations declare Hezbollah a terrorist group
A Saudi-led bloc of six Gulf Arab nations formally branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization on Wednesday, ramping up the pressure on the Lebanese militant group fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad in Syria.
The move by the Gulf Cooperation Council comes less than two weeks after Saudi Arabia announced it was cutting $4 billion in aid to Lebanese security forces. The kingdom and other Gulf states followed up that move by urging its citizens to leave Lebanon, dealing a blow to the tiny nation’s tourism industry.
A statement from GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani said the bloc decided to implement the terrorist designation because of hostile acts by Hezbollah within its member states. It said the designation applies to the militant group as well as all its leaders, factions and affiliates.
Al-Zayani accused Hezbollah of charges including seeking to recruit members within the GCC to carry out terrorist acts, smuggling weapons and explosives, and incitement to sow disorder and violence.
Those activities within GCC member states and in Syria, Yemen and Iraq “are incompatible with the values and moral and humanitarian principles and international law, and pose a threat to Arab national security,” he said.
The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
Saudi Minister: Hizbullah Is a Terror Organization that Wants to Turn Lebanon into a Failing State


Hezbollah launches social media campaign against opposing Shi'ite site 'operated by Israel'
Hezbollah supporters launched a social media campaign against a Shi'ite news site opposing the terror organization, describing it as an "Israeli agent," Lebanese media reported.
On Wednesday, the editors of the Shi'ite site Janubia announced that "the site has been witnessing threats from Hezbollah's activists on social media networks in the past few hours."
A statement released on the site about Hezbollah's campaign read: "The neutral and moderate policy of Janubia which opposes anything hurting Lebanese nationalism is considered by Hezbollah as espionage for Israel. Anyone opposing the Iranian project of Hezbollah and refusing to obey its policies is accused by the organization of espionage."
"The existence of a Shi'ite voice opposing Hezbollah poses a greater threat to the organization than the weapons of its Sunnis opponents, since it comes from within the country," the statement further read.
Jordan thwarts ISIS suicide bombing plot inside country
Jordan's security services said on Wednesday they had thwarted a plot by Islamic State militants to blow up civilian and military targets, in one of the US ally's largest sweeps in years against hardline sleeper cells.
The security services located the militants, who were carrying suicide belts, in a hideout in the northern city of Irbid near the Syrian border, they said in a statement carried by the state news agency Petra.
Seven militants were killed in clashes that began on Tuesday night and lasted till dawn and one police officer was also killed, the statement said. The security services seized automatic weapons, munitions and explosives from the group.
"After diligent and detailed intelligence gathering the intelligence department was able soon to thwart a criminal and destructive plot linked by the terrorist Daesh group aimed at destabilizing national security," the statement said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
Two security sources said dozens of special forces had been involved in the operation and that the militants had been holed up near a Palestinian refugee camp in the center of Irbid.
What the United States Is Really Doing in Syria
Kerry may well believe his peculiar definition of diplomacy. But what the administration has actually done is to force this definition exclusively on the rebel side. Kerry’s rhetoric, therefore, was cover for deliberately dragging the rebels into a set-up, and then leaving them out in the cold to be brutalized by Vladimir Putin—with the only possible escape route being to join a government with Assad and stop demanding his ouster. Or, to put it in even more concrete terms, the administration is leveraging Putin’s brutal military campaign to extract political concessions from the opposition that are tantamount to an effective surrender. And if they didn’t hurry and sign that surrender now, as Kerry reportedly told them, the Russian bombing is just going to get worse, and in three months, they’ll be decimated; the clock is ticking, folks.
By pressuring the rebels’ regional backers like Turkey and the Gulf states to de-escalate while Russia simultaneously shapes the military environment in Syria unopposed, the administration is actively cooperating with the Russians to back the regional states into a corner and present them with a fait accompli. The more defiant states, like Turkey, are being pressured through active U.S. cooperation with their enemies—which is front page news in Turkey, even if few in Beltway pundit circles appear to notice or care.
Aside from perpetuating the horrific slaughter of the Syrian people and overseeing a population displacement on a massive scale, one likely result of this policy will be the complete collapse not only of traditional U.S. alliances in the Middle East, but of post-World War II security structures elsewhere. The United States is now partnering with Russia to line NATO’s southern border with a consortium of terrorist militias protected by Russian air power and armed with advanced weapons. The message is hard to miss: The old American security treaties, like NATO, that were once the cornerstone of global security arrangements, are barely worth the paper they are printed on. If you are Ukrainian, or Polish, or Estonian, it is impossible not to notice—or to be tempted to start making other arrangements. It is hard to imagine that South Koreans or Japanese—indeed, anyone who has assumed the American security umbrella to be a fact of nature—feel any safer.
Israel says Syria used chemical weapons during ceasefire
Israel said on Tuesday that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons against civilians since the start of a ceasefire aimed at preparing the way for an end to the five-year civil war.
The truce, sponsored by Russia and the United States, began on Saturday and has been dogged by opposition charges of non-compliance by Damascus - something President Bashar Assad has denied. It does not apply to missions against jihadist rebels.
"The Syrians used military grade chemical weapons and lately have been using materials, chlorine, against civilians, including in these very days, after the supposed ceasefire, dropping barrels of chlorine on civilians," Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in a speech to a conference organized by the New Tech military and aviation group in Airport City, near Tel Aviv. He did not provide further details.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the Syria truce efforts on Sunday but said his country might still carry out attacks in the neighboring Arab state to thwart any threats to its security.
Syria: Opposition Claims Ceasefire Has Been Violated at Least 15 Times Already
The much-heralded “cessation of hostilities” in Syria does not seem to be holding up very well, as the Syrian opposition claims at least 15 violations so far.
Despite the ceasefire, bombs continued falling around the contested city of Aleppo. Several sources claimed these were Russian bombing missions in support of Syrian government troops, while Turkish media reported Turkey was still firing artillery barrages across the border, although the targets are now said to be the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) militants rather than Kurdish positions.
ISIS militants were also reportedly hit by airstrikes from U.S.-led coalition forces after launching an assault on the Kurdish-held town of Tal Abyad, along the Syrian-Turkish border. Reuters relayed a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that said at least 45 ISIS militants and 20 Kurdish militia were killed during the fighting. The ceasefire agreement does not include the Islamic State or al-Qaeda.
During a TV interview on Monday, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressed doubt that there was an “overall cease-fire in the country” and said that “attacks there are, unfortunately, continuing from position to position.”
Saudi-Iran tensions rise after gun attack on Saudi cleric in Philippines
The Saudi preacher Sheikh Aed al Qarni was severely injured in a shooting attack Tuesday afternoon during a lecture he had delivered in a religious center in the Philippines.
According to Saudi reports, the lecture took place in an Islamic religious center regarded as a stronghold of Shi'ites in the Philippines, while hundreds of clerics were present at the auditorium listening to the Sheikh.
Philippine authorities announced the killing of the gunman who carried out the attack.
Another Saudi cleric, Abdel Rahman Nassar, accused Iran of attempting to assassinate al Qarn. Nassar tweeted: "Iran does not want anyone to compete with it over the Philippines. It wants to frighten other clerics so it could Shi’itize the Philippine people."
If Nassar’s remarks are true, it is additional evidence of Iran's attempt to export its conflict with Saudi Arabia to the East Asian arena.
Video: Danish Imam Teaches Congregants to Stone Women to Death
As usual, we won't see any outrage or "calls for action" by feminists and other left-wing activists. No, their self-righteous indignation is reserved instead for right-wing Christians and frat-boy "predators" on college campuses.
If the Left truly cared about the well-being of women, minorities, and simply plain-old human rights in the broader sense, it would be up in arms over a recently released video featuring a prominent Danish imam teaching his congregates to stone women for engaging in sexual intercourse.
The footage, captured on a hidden camera and shared by Danish TV2, exposed imam Abu Bilal Ismail leading a class in which he explains the appropriate punishment for adulterers. Mind you adulterers to the imam include women who aren't even married. There are other valuable life lessons the imam teaches too, including other instances in which it is appropriate to kill and whip people. The LocalDK reports:
“If a married or divorced women engages in fornication, and she is not a virgin, she should be stoned to death,” Ismail says in the video clip.
“If someone violates their marriage, either man or woman, they commit adultery and their blood is thus halal [acceptable under Muslim law, ed.] and they should be killed by stoning. If the woman is a virgin, the punishment is whipping,” he says.
The clip also shows the imam advocating an “eye for an eye” policy.
“If someone kills a Muslim, then they should be killed,” he says, before adding that anyone who abandons their religion should also be killed.


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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"

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