Thursday, March 03, 2016

From Ian:

What a Palestinian State Looks Like
When European nations and even some American Jews proclaim their support for Palestinian statehood, one must always ask which state are they talking about? Is it the demilitarized one that is prepared to live in peace with Israel that everyone fantasizes about? Or will it resemble the only Palestinian Arab state that has ever existed — the one that has transformed Gaza into an Islamist tyranny in which even the leaders of the group can be purged with impunity.
We may not have much sympathy for Mahmoud Ishtiwi, whose secret private life might have been revealed because of charges of embezzlement. But, like others who refused to conform to Hamas theocratic dictates, there was only one fate possible for him in the Palestinian state. The nature of Palestinian society may not justify Israel holding onto territory that might be traded for peace if an end to the conflict was possible, which is unfortunately not the case with either Fatah or Hamas. But so long as Palestinians are oppressed by theocrats whose priority is a terrorist war to destroy Israel, more Israeli withdrawals are out of the question.
Yet far from being tangential to the question of theoretical land-for-peace deals, there is very little chance of the Palestinians ever embracing coexistence and ending their century-long war against Zionism so long as they are lead by the sort of group that would execute a gay man for the crime of being gay.
As a lively and free democratic country, Israel’s reputation doesn’t need to be pinkwashed because of the freedom that gays enjoy there. But those crying for Palestinian freedom should start by campaigning to free the Palestinian people from their gay-killing Hamas tyrants before worrying about Israel’s actions. Until they do, those claiming that human rights are only an issue if the topic can be used against Israel should be labeled as hypocrites and liars.
JCPA: Palestinian Authority Funding to Terrorists and their Families
Blood Money Incitement
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for one more nefarious form of incitement to attack Jews – paying large bounties to the attackers and their families. An attacker can go out to commit murder assured that if he is arrested he will receive a monthly salary; if he is killed, his family will receive a monthly pension; and if his family home is destroyed, the family will receive a very generous award to rebuild their home.
Rather than being deterred by the harsh consequence of their terrorist attack at Israel’s hand, the perpetrators are actually encouraged and incentivized by the Palestinian leadership. According to one study published by the Gatestone Institute, “Terrorists in prison receive higher average salary than PA civil servants and military personnel.”
An Israeli government 2014 memorandum, citing official PA budgetary reports, noted that $75.5 million had been paid out in stipends to convicted terrorists and their families in 2012.
The instructions for compensation payments come from the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed website in February 2014: “The Jerusalem Martyrs’ families and the National ‎Campaign to Return the Bodies of the ‎Martyrs confirmed that ‎President Mahmoud Abbas promised to ‎compensate the Jerusalem Martyrs’ ‎families for their homes, which the ‎occupation forces demolished or ‎damaged.”
Guy Bechor: Meanwhile in Syria, the pseudo-ceasefire
The Americans are not talking about any violations of the 'cessation of hostilities' in Syria, because to them, there aren't any. Europe pays the price of Washington's failed foreign policies, while Israel stands firm.
The Americans' delusional foreign policy is not just in Syria but also in Iraq. Just recently, Obama was boasting that ISIS was retreating and had weakened. So how come ISIS managed to commit a serious attack 10 kilometers from the international airport in Baghdad, the lifeline of the Shiite Iraqi regime? Not to mention the way ISIS is fooling Iraqi soldiers in Ramadi and other cities, succeefully killing hundreds of people every month in attacks. The Iraqi army hesitates to directly fight ISIS, which continues to grow in strength and draw Sunnis into its fold.
Where were the Americans in the battles on Sunday? According to Iraqi reports (which were also sort of delusional) ISIS retreated, but it is also remains everywhere in the western and northern part of the country. Even the US understands that its bombings don’t really help. Will Obama put American boots on the ground? I doubt it. That is why the Americans are stuck with no way out in Iraq as well, despite their many attempts.
They overthrew Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Qaddafi, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Ali Abdullah Saleh because of their delusions. Took down the leaders and caused a storm.
And they didn't just do this in Syria and Iraq, but also in Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Tunis, and among the Sunnis in the land of Israel (who used to be called "Palestinians"). Was it not John Kerry who tried to reach a peace agreement here two years ago and failed? Then, like today, this was a policy of delusions.
Just like there can be no arrangement with the mass murderer Assad, there can be no arrangement with Abbas' gang, and now it's Europe’s turn to pay the price of this foreign policy. The only country that remains with its feet firmly on the ground and did not capitulate to the imaginary reality produced by the West - was Israel.

4 Israelis wounded in latest Palestinian terror spate
A 43-year-old Israel Police officer was lightly wounded on Thursday morning when he was stabbed by a 14-year-old female Palestinian terrorist in the village of Al-Auja in the Jordan Valley, north of Jericho.
At the time of the stabbing, the police officer was directing traffic on Route 90 after a collapsed tree had blocked part of the road.
After the stabbing, the wounded police officer chased the attacker and arrested her without firing a shot. The police officer, who suffered a shoulder wound, was later transported to Emek Medical Center in Afula for treatment.
Overnight Wednesday, shots were fired at a police vehicle near the community of Rehelim in Samaria. One police officer was lightly wounded and was treated at the scene. IDF troops launched searches in the area in an effort to capture the perpetrators of the attack.
On Wednesday evening, two soldiers from the IDF's Kfir Brigade were wounded -- one moderately and one lightly -- in a stabbing attack carried out by two Palestinian terrorists at an isolated military position near the community of Har Bracha in Samaria. The terrorists were able to flee the scene and IDF troops launched searches in the area in an effort to capture them.
'They jumped on me with clubs and broke into the house'
Roi Harel, the resident of the Hayovel neighborhood of Eli in the Binyamin region of Samaria who fought off two Arab terrorists who broke into his house and attacked him on Wednesday morning, later described the attack.
The two 17-year-old terrorists from the adjacent Arab town of Karyut were waiting outside the door and forced their way in while armed with a knife, clubs and an improvised handgun. Roi, a reserve soldier, was lightly wounded as he pushed them out, and was hospitalized at Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem. The terrorists fled, before being shot dead by security forces.
"I went to leave the house, to put things in the car, and two terrorists were standing at my door, youths, they looked around 15 or 16, dressed in dark clothes with wooden clubs in their hands," Harel told Army Radio.
"They jumped on me with the clubs and succeeded in entering the home."
Harel described how the terrorists nearly made it all the way to the bedrooms where his wife and five children were.
Israel’s ‘Ghost Warriors’ Stealthily Combating Terror, Says US Expert on Confronting Palestinian Uprisings (INTERVIEW)
“Israelis have been masquerading as the indigenous Arab population since the turn of the twentieth century in order to infiltrate areas that otherwise would have been denied to them,” US-based author Samuel M. Katz told The Algemeiner, to describe a key method of combating terrorism that is still being used today, in the face of what has come to be called the “lone-wolf intifada,” perpetrated over the past few months by mainly young, knife-wielding Palestinians.
The release of Katz’s new book, The Ghost Warriors: Inside Israel’s Undercover War Against Suicide Terrorism, came on the heels of this current surge. And though it deals with how the special anti-terrorist forces of the IDF and Israel Police operated during the Second Intifada — the Hamas-driven suicide-bombing war against Israelis that began in 2000 and was curbed by Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza – he explained its relevance today.
“When the wave of violence that has swept over Israel since September erupted, Border Police (or Border Guard) units carried out ‘low-key’ operations, infiltrating gangs of Palestinians hurling stones and Molotov cocktails, and they have carried out larger operations apprehending wanted terror suspects that intelligence identified as planning elements of the violence or plotting future attacks,” said Katz, author of previous books Relentless Pursuit and Israel Versus Jibril. “The importance of the undercover units is that they can move in and out of volatile — downright explosive — locations with stealth: silently, efficiently and without the need for the ‘shock and awe’ of larger-scale forces.”
This kind of activity, said Katz, is known in Hebrew as “avodat pintzeta” or “tweezer work” – what he called “the selective plucking of a suspect in for questioning — a pinpoint operation without collateral damage.”
Gazan indicted for planning attacks on Jews in Ukraine, Israel
A Gazan who spent years living in Ukraine was indicted on Thursday in the Beersheba District Court for attempting to plan terror attacks against Jews in Ukraine and in Israel.
Sami Haviv, 30, was charged in an indictment filed by the Southern District Attorney's Office with several counts relating to terror activities, spying and falsifying documents. The terror plots, hatched from Ukraine between 2014-2016, included luring a high ranking IDF general to the Sinai to kidnap him and bring him to Hamas in Gaza or to attack a bus of Israeli tourists in Ukraine with gunfire or a bomb.
Haviv also assisted Hamas fighters in various ways during the 2008-9 Gaza war and in general from 2006-2010.
He was arrested while trying to get into Gaza through Israel from Jordan on January 31.
Two Arab Israelis charged with plotting ISIS-inspired attack
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Israel Police in a joint operation recently arrested two Arab-Israeli men who allegedly supported the Islamic State and who are suspected in connection with the execution of a terrorist attack.
The two men, Bahaa Aldin Ziad a 19-year-old man from Yafia and Ahmed Nabil Ahmed Ahmed 21-year-old man from Nazareth were arrested in January and February.
The Shin Bet investigation revealed that in the past months the two prayed at the al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem every week. The two decided that on one of their journeys to the mosque they would open fire on Israeli security forces as an act of identification with Islamic State and the desire to carry out jihad in the group's name.
The two allegedly collected money to purchase a gun to use in the attack.
The two were charged on Wednesday at the Nazareth District Court with providing aid during war to an enemy of Israel. The accused Ziad was also charged with having contact with a foreign agent and supporting a terrorist organization.
IDF preps attacker’s home for razing, despite family turning him in
Israeli forces took steps overnight to prepare the demolition of the family home of a Palestinian man who attacked a security guard with an ax in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim last week, despite the fact that he was turned in by a relative, the army said Thursday.
Saadi Ali Abu Ahmad was arrested on Saturday after a relative of his called police earlier that night and said that the suspect was staying with him and was prepared to turn himself in after attacking and critically injuring Tzvika Cohen.
Police officials said the relative may have turned Abu Ahmad in to avert the demolition of the suspected attacker’s family home, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The army said forces mapped the home of Abu Ahmad, approximately 20 years old, in the village of al-Eizariya adjacent to Ma’ale Adumim.
Abu Ahmad possessed a permit to work in Israeli settlements, the Shin Bet said, and according to reports may have known his victim.
Abbas: Terror wave is a 'legitimate peaceful protest'
Abbas said that there is a need to convene an international peace conference in order to end the current deadlock in the peace process, and also said that the Palestinians intend to appeal to the UN Security Council in order to have resolutions passed calling for the "end of the settlements in all the Palestinian territories."
Abbas called the current terror wave, which Palestinian Arabs have referred to as the “Al-Quds Intifada”, as a "popular peaceful uprising” which, he claimed, was initiated in response to the behavior of the "occupation", Israel's non-commitment to implement signed agreements, damage to the holy places of Islam and Christianity, arrests, house demolitions, killing of Palestinians, expulsions, closures on Palestinian Arab towns and the “siege” on Gaza .
He further declared that the Palestinians will not comply with the agreements as long as Israel does not implement them, adding that the PA is awaiting Israel's response to its demands and will act accordingly. He also once again expressed his strong opposition to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
Abbas has consistently refused to condemn the terrorist attacks carried out by his own people against Israelis, claiming they are the result of Palestinian “frustration”.
Gun factories multiply in Palestinian Authority
Weapons factories producing makeshift firearms are becoming more common, Reuters reports.
Israeli security officials have seen a rise in the number of weapon factories in Judea and Samaria, while experts familiar with the Palestinian Authority black market note the flood of locally produced of guns.
While an authentic M-16 assault rifle costs upwards of $18,000 in the PA black market, guns produced in local metal foundries can be found costing as little as $500.
A raid by Israeli security forces last week uncovered one such foundry, used to produce sniper rifles and pistols.
Often times the weapons are domestic knockoffs of big-name foreign guns. The Carl Gustav submachine gun, for instance, inspired the Carlos guns produced inside the Palestinian Authority.
Israeli Self-Defense Termed “Deadly Retaliation”
A story in The Guardian opens with the following paragraph:
Binyamin Netanyahu has threatened to expel families of Palestinian attackers to Gaza after a five-month wave of violence against Israeli citizens and targets that has met with deadly retaliation from security forces.
The story is attributed to Guardian staff and agencies. Since we can find no major press agency e.g. Associated Press, Reuters, AFP, that has used this language, we can assume that it is The Guardian’s own decision to refer to “deadly retaliation” by Israeli security forces.
The simple dictionary definition of retaliate is “to do something bad to someone who has hurt you or treated you badly : to get revenge against someone.”
Israel is not taking revenge against Palestinians, which implies some level of malevolent intent or malice. And Israeli security forces taking actions to defending Israeli citizens or themselves from Palestinian terrorists or rioters is not inherently “bad,” it is legitimate self-defense.
Congress: Israel-Arab peace deal must include Jewish refugees
A bipartisan coalition of 14 congressional lawmakers have cosponsored a bill intended to rectify the losses suffered by Jewish refugees who fled their homes across the Middle East following the establishment of the State of Israel.
According to a statement released on Wednesday by the office of New York Democratic congressman Eliot Engel, the Displaced Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries and Iran Act would require the President “to ensure resolution for Jewish refugees displaced from Arab countries and Iran.”
The President would be required to include provisions for Jewish Middle East refugees in any future Arab-Israeli negotiated settlement.
A joint statement released by the bill’s sponsors recognized the hardships faced by the ancient Jewish communities across the Middle East and North Africa, and the oppression they suffered under local Arab governments.
“The Arab governments subjected hundreds of thousands of Jews to displacement, political marginalization, or property confiscation with no compensation.”
“The Displaced Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries and Iran Act ensures that the interests of all refugees displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict are fairly considered in any final settlement of Arab-Israeli peace.”
The Arab World Must Break the Silence on Israel
Last week, the Israeli Foreign Ministry hosted a delegation of Arab journalists who live in Europe in a very interesting initiative meant to break the negative Israel stereotypes within the Arab world. The four journalists were of Iraqi, Syrian, and Egyptian descent, respectively. They write from Europe for a variety of Arabic-language news outlets, including Asharq Al-Awsat, Sky News, BBC Arabic, Deutsche Welle Arabic, and Kitabat.
The initiative was part of a wider Foreign Ministry campaign seeking to inform the Arab world about Israel. It includes an Arabic-language Facebook page, which already has more than 750,000 followers and where the videos posted have garnered over 1 million views.
G.M., an Iraqi journalist living in exile in Germany (the journalists had asked that their identities not be revealed, as they feared not only for their jobs, but also for their lives if it became known that they had visited Israel) had the following to say: “The visit to Israel was exciting and unique. It is a shame that most people in the Arab world are still filled with blind hatred and prejudice toward Israel.”
Another journalist said, “Our exposure to Israel is welcomed. We can argue about things, including the Palestinian issue, but we must not fall into the trap of hatred and incitement. This visit to Israel changed the way we think about all of you.”
Isi Leibler: A regrettable cancellation
Israel today has few genuine friends willing to stand up and defend it and counter the many nations that apply bias and double standards in ongoing harassment.
Australia, an important Western middle power, has a track record of friendship dating back to the State of Israel's birth that, with the exception of a few minor blips, would place it among the Jewish state's most consistent and loyal friends.
Australian governments not only befriended Israel but played important and, to a large extent, unknown roles in other Jewish issues. These included the struggle for Soviet Jewry, the campaign to rescind the infamous U.N. "Zionism is racism" resolution, and discreet initiatives that helped to pave the way for diplomatic relations between Israel and India and China.
The current government, headed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, occupies a similar position of genuine friendship toward Israel as that held by Canada until recently, under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Last month, President Reuven Rivlin announced a five-day state visit to Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, scheduled to commence on March 13. It was to have been the first visit to Australia by an Israeli president in over a decade.
The Irish election: More trouble for Israel in the Emerald Isle
It may take weeks to sort out the recent Irish election and crown a new government in Dublin, but one thing is already certain: Israel’s position in the Emerald Isle is about to go from bad to worse.
Though it is not clear whether the ruling Fine Gael will form a coalition together with its bitter political rival Fianna Fail, or whether Fine Gael will form a minority government, it is clear that pro-Israel candidates were roundly defeated across the board, while pro-Palestinian candidates enjoyed a good day Friday at the polls.
For instance, Fine Gael’s Alan Shatter, the sole Jewish MP who served from 2011 to 2014 as both justice and defense minister, and who has been the victim of anti-Semitic swipes for his willingness to speak up for Israel, was defeated.
As was Joanna Tuffy, a Labor Party parliamentarian who headed the small Irish-Israel parliamentary friendship caucus. In fact it is not clear whether there will even be such a group in the next parliament, as the three or four members of this group were either voted out or retired.
On the other hand, new MP Gino Kenny, from the Anti-Austerity Alliance, celebrated his election victory on Saturday by waving a Palestinian flag. (Imagine the reaction were a congressman from Oklahoma to celebrate his victory on election night by waving not the US flag, but rather the blue and white banner of Israel.) Another candidate who won, Independent John Halligan, launched his candidacy in January in the presence of Palestinian Authority Ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek.
Did senior US officials meet with pro-terror Arab MK?
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List), the outspoken anti-Israel representative of the Arab nationalist Balad faction of the Joint List Party, is in Washington DC today, and State Department representatives are conspicuously mum about who she's been meeting with.
Zoabi visited the Arab Center Washington DC, a pro-PA political think tank this week. The rest of her itinerary, however, is something of a mystery.
The self-described "Palestinian MK" has drawn international attention recently as the target of proposed legislation which would allow the Knesset to expel members who express support for terrorism or negate Israel as a Jewish state. The controversial proposal has aroused criticism among Netanyahu critics both in Israel and abroad.
When a curious journalist smelled a story after hearing that Zoabi had held a number of "meetings" in the capitol, he asked US State Department spokesman Mark Toner in a daily briefing on Wednesday if he could divulge who Zoabi had met with.
Toner declined to answer the question, responding "I don't - I can't - I apologize", claiming he was not privy to that information.
In rare move, IDF returns over 1,700 dunams to Palestinian landowners in Area C
The IDF this week returned 1,700 dunams (420 acres) to Palestinian landowners by rescinding military seizure orders from the 1970s and 1980s.
The land was taken on the basis of four different seizure orders – two in 1978, one in 1980 and another in 1984.
But the military never used the land, except for two small bases that were built on the property. Those bases were abandoned in the 1990s.
The Palestinians, however, were not allowed to use the land, which belongs to the Palestinian villages of Jalud, Duma, Kusra, Mikhmas and Deir Dobwan, all located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule.
OC Central Command revoked the seizure orders in response to two separate petitions to the High Court of Justice. The Israeli nongovernmental organization Yesh Din filed the petitions last year on behalf of Palestinians in the villages who argued that the imperative to hold onto the land no longer existed.
Plot thickens after mysterious death of PFLP terrorist
A Palestinian Authority investigatory commission arrived in Bulgaria on Tuesday to examine the circumstances regarding the death of a convicted PFLP terrorist on the grounds of a PA embassy in Bulgaria.
Last Friday, employees at the Palestinian Authority embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria found Naif Hassan Omar Zaid lying dead in the embassy garden.
Zaid, an escaped PFLP terrorist who had been living for the past 22 years in Bulgaria, had found refuge in the embassy after Israel demanded his extradition.
With conflicting claims about Zaid’s condition when he was initially discovered, some suggested that he was killed by Mossad agents.
But the first doctor to examine Zaid, Hani Yousef, believes there was no foul play involved. Yousef, a Bulgarian of Palestinian extraction, told Al Jazeera that Zaid appeared to have suicidal thoughts and was emotionally unbalanced. The most likely cause of death, Yousef argued, was suicide, with Zaid leaping from the first story of the embassy.
Hamas and Fatah play the blame game following acid attack on Palestinian teacher
Palestinian Authority security services accuse Hamas of standing behind an acid attack on a Palestinian teacher in a school in Hebron Wednesday afternoon, Palestinian media reported.
The teacher, Nadia Abu Eisha, was slightly injured after an unknown group of people had thrown acid in her face while she was heading to work in a Hebron school. Abu Eisha arrived at the school even though her colleagues in the West Bank have been striking for the past three weeks to demand the Palestinian Authority raise their salaries.
In an interview with the Quds News Network, Abu Eisha said that one of the gang's members told her: "Since you want to break the strike, I will distort your face." This remark raised suspicion among Palestinian Authority security forces that Hamas, which supports the teachers' strike, is responsible for the attack against the Palestinian teacher.
While Abu Eisha refused to accuse Hamas of the acid attack, the head of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Services, Adnan Damiri, wrote a post on his Facebook page unequivocally accusing Hamas of the attack. The post read: "Throwing acid on girls is a method Hamas used during the first intifada."
Palestinian MP stages sit-in protest at parliament
A Palestinian lawmaker has been squatting in the parliament building for the past week in protest at what a rights group said Wednesday is an illegal arrest warrant against her.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that after Najat Abu Bakr said a member of the cabinet was corrupt — without naming names — the attorney general issued the warrant, ignoring parliamentary immunity.
“The Palestinian Center for Human Rights stresses that the arrest warrant was issued in violation of… the Palestinian Basic Law and calls upon the attorney general to respect the law and revoke the arrest warrant,” it said in a statement.
It said that Abu Bakr, a member of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, began her sit-in at the parliament in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 25.
She told AFP that she would continue “as long as necessary.”
Hamas terrorist killed in tunnel collapse
A Hamas terrorist was killed on Thursday and five other terrorists were wounded when a tunnel collapsed in Khan Yunis, located in southern Gaza.
The Hamas health ministry identified the killed terrorist as 31-year-old Mohammed Mussa al-Astal.
The death restarts the series of tunnel fatalities in Gaza after a break of nearly a month. Early last month the tally reached as high as 11 Gazans who died while digging tunnels, in collapses that came in quick succession.
Except for one civilian working on a smuggling tunnel into Egypt, all of those who died were Hamas terrorists.
Aside from Hamas, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) Communist terror group has also recently bragged that it is building tunnels, in preparation for the next war against Israel.
The IDF has warned that Hamas is focusing its tunnel digging efforts on one central terror tunnel, where over 1,000 terrorists are working to dig far under the security barrier so as to enable an attack deep in Israeli territory.
Egypt parliament expels lawmaker for meeting Israel’s envoy
Egypt’s parliament voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to revoke the membership of MP Tawfik Okasha for hosting the Israeli ambassador for dinner at his home last week.
Okasha, a popular TV talk show host, has been engulfed in controversy since Thursday, when Israeli ambassador Haim Koren posted a picture on the embassy’s Facebook page of the two of them meeting the evening before at the MP’s home.
Okasha also talked about the meeting in an interview in the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily, saying the two agreed Israel “has a key role in the issue of the dam” being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile.
The parliament’s official website said 465 deputies — or more than two-thirds of its members — voted to deprive Tewfiq of his seat on Wednesday.
“The penalty is not over his meeting with the ambassador of a foreign country, but because of the issues discussed during this meeting, in relation to Egypt’s national security,” it said. (h/t Alexi)
Israeli ambassador invites any Egyptian to talk with him
Koren said he knew the meeting with Okasha had “sparked debate and controversy within Egypt.”
“Nevertheless,” said the Israeli diplomat, “as an embassy and staff, we welcome anyone who wants to set up a meeting with us. We would be happy to do this. It is incumbent upon us to accept others’ opinions in order to establish economic, cultural and social relations between the two countries.”
On Sunday evening, Koren said on Israel’s Channel 10 television that he meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and members of his government regularly.
“Both countries have a shared interest in fighting terror organizations such as the Islamic State and Hamas,” he said.
Official relations between Jerusalem and Cairo have been relatively warm since Sissi became president of Egypt in July 2013.
In September 2015, Israel reopened its embassy in Egypt after it was shuttered for four years.
Iran: Hezbollah is the vanguard of resistance against the Zionist regime
Iran accused Gulf Arab neighbors on Thursday of jeopardizing Lebanon's stability by blacklisting the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, state television said, a move likely to stoke tensions in the regional power rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh.
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization on Wednesday, opening up the possibility of further sanctions against the group that wields influence in Lebanon and fights in Syria.
Leading Sunni Muslim power Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Muslim Iran compete for influence across the region and back different factions in sectarian-riven Lebanon and in Syria's civil war.
"Lebanon's Hezbollah is the vanguard of resistance against the Zionist regime (Israel) and Iran is proud of the group, which is also the champion of the fight against terrorism in the Middle East," Iranian state TV quoted deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying.
"Calling Hezbollah a terrorist group ... will harm the unity and security of Lebanon."
Russia, Syria deliberately bombing hospitals — Amnesty
Russian and Syrian government forces have been targeting hospitals as a strategy of war in Syria’s conflict, according to a report released by a rights group Thursday.
Amnesty International said it has “compelling evidence” of at least six deliberate attacks on medical facilities in the Aleppo governorate over the past twelve weeks, which killed at least three civilians, including a medical worker, and injured 44 more. It said the attacks amounted to war crimes.
Aleppo witnessed some of the country’s fiercest fighting in the buildup to the partial cease-fire that came into effect Friday as government forces backed by Russian airstrikes cut off a rebel supply route from Turkey.
A supply route to an opposition stronghold in the eastern part of Aleppo city remains open through another border crossing with Turkey, but it is far narrower and more dangerous than the one that used to run to the north.
Amnesty said the attacks on medical facilities aimed to pave the way for pro-government ground forces to advance on northern Aleppo.
WH Prefers Calling ISIS's Slaughter of Christians 'Tactics' Rather Than 'Genocide'
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was recently asked if the Obama administration is considering the murders of Syrian Christians by ISIS as genocide. The short answer was, "No."
However, Earnest preferred beating around the bush a little:
Well, we have long expressed our concerns with the tendency of -- well, there's not a tendency -- a tactic employed by ISIL to slaughter religious minorities in Iraq and in Syria.
Earnest's remarks to the press continue to baffle but are just an echo of the leadership in the administration. TruthRevolt reported last week that Secretary of State John Kerry is in need of "additional evaluation" to determine if "genocide" is the correct term to describe what is happening to Christians in the Middle East.
Even though the press secretary assured reporters that President Obama is indeed doing all he can to protect Christians in the region, it seemed the press were confused why they he was shying away from a definitive declaration.
EXCLUSIVE – ‘Next Time in Jerusalem’: Islamic State Supporters Celebrate Deadly Baghdad Suicide Bombings
Internal messages obtained by Breitbart Jerusalem show Islamic State supporters celebrated the deadly suicide attacks carried out by the organization’s operatives in a Shi’ite part of Baghdad on Sunday, rejoicing in the death and injury of “more than 100 infidels.”
The string of suicide attacks in the Iraqi capital’s Abu Ghraib and al-Sadr districts left at least 70 people dead and many more wounded.
IS released a somewhat laconic statement claiming responsibility, but its supporters were jubilant in messages exchanged in a private encrypted chat utilized by IS and its supporters, vowing that the next such operation would be in Jerusalem.
“Allah is great, my brothers, our jihadi fighters surprised the enemy infidels at the gates of Baghdad,” wrote Abu Jaafar Albagdadi, a high-profile IS operative. “We hurt them and the American officers who fled in panic from our fighters. Today in Baghdad, tomorrow in Jerusalem and Palestine with Allah’s help.”
Bin Laden Letter: “Iran is Our Main Artery for Funds, Personnel, and Communication”
Osama bin Laden ordered his al-Qaeda deputies not to attack Iran, which he called a “main artery” for his terror organization’s operations, recently-disclosed documents from his Pakistan compound reveal.
The order was part of a collection of 112 letters taken from bin Laden’s compound by U.S. special ops forces after he was killed in 2011. The collection was made public Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In a 2007 letter, bin Laden criticized an operative for threatening to attack Iran. “We expect you would consult with us for these important matters, for as you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages,” he wrote.
Ties between Iran and al Qaeda have been reported for years, with numerous ways by which Iran served as al-Qaeda’s “main artery.”
Nanny beheaded four-year-old 'in revenge for Russian bombing of Syria'
The nanny who beheaded a four-year-old child has said she committed murder in revenge against Vladimir Putin for bombing Muslims in Syria, according to a video posted online.
In a video apparently made during interrogation by Russian police, Gyulchekhra Bobokulova, 38, said she committed the murder as “revenge [against] those spilling blood,” and had planned to move to Syria.
Asked who she was talking about, she said: “Putin bombs from planes.”
“Why do you bomb us Muslims? Why does no one say anything? They also want to live … look, little, little children,” she added.
Asked to confirm that was why she killed the child she said: “Yes. As revenge.”
Ms Bobokulova, a citizen of Uzbekistan, was found clutching the head of a child and pacing the streets near the Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station in northwestern Moscow on Monday morning.
Witnesses said she shouted “Allahu akbar,” and claimed to be a terrorist and to have a bomb. Police found no explosives when they arrested her.
She said at a court hearing on Wednesday that “Allah commanded” her to kill Nastya M, a four-year-old girl whose parents hired her as a nanny 18 months ago.

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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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