Tuesday, March 08, 2016

From Ian:

The endlessly collapsing Palestinian Authority
On the other side of the coin many Israel supporters and commentators claim that the PA is the source of much of the “incitement” that encourages terrorism against Israel. Mort Klein and Daniel Mandel of the Zionist Organization of America wrote in The Jewish Press in 2012 that the PA has not fulfilled its Oslo “obligations to dismantle terrorist groups and to end incitement to hatred and murder against Israel in its schools.” Israeli political leaders from Likud regularly note that the existence of incitement means Abbas is no partner for peace.
Can all of this be true at the same time? The PA is both collapsing and Israel needs to divorce itself completely from many parts of the West Bank. The PA is both a source of collaboration with Israel that ensures security and a source of widespread incitement against Israel that encourages terrorism.
The irony is that yes, all of this is true. The one thing that is not possible is that Israel can play any role in reworking the Palestinian education system or that increased Israeli rule in the West Bank can somehow reverse the trends of incitement or hatred of Israel.
With Israel’s military control of the West Bank set to pass the 50-year mark in 2017, the idea that somehow Israel can change the perceptions of Palestinians is a fantasy. Israel’s almost 50-year rule in Jerusalem proves that. Is there any evidence that Palestinians living in Isawiya or Jebl Mukaber like Israel more than Palestinians in Ramallah? Israel has been administering those annexed areas for generations, and succeeded only in alienating people. The real evidence is that many Arab citizens of Israel resent and hate the country and dream of its demise one day. Israel can’t manage to administer its own laws in the Negev or deal with its own Arab citizens who lack basic infrastructure and planning. The idea that Israel can expand its role in the West Bank and meet anything but anger and opposition is a fantasy. Consider the two Israeli soldiers who drove into Kalandiya and were almost killed, in a scene similar to the lynching of two Israeli soldiers in 2000. And someone thinks that Israel can just go set up shop in Kalandiya and “stop the incitement”? The incitement is never going to stop. The photos of martyrs are never going to come down. Withdrawing doesn’t decrease them, and expanding doesn’t decrease them. The PA has many institutions that mitigate its coming collapse, whether it is American- trained security forces or its various bureaucracies.
There are a lot of parties with an interest in not having it fall into chaos, not the least of which are economic interests. People must accept the Janus-like contradictions inherent in this future. The two-state solution may be “dying,” but it is the only solution that exists.
The thing about bureaucracies like the PA is that once they are created, they don’t vote themselves out of existence. Israel should plan for increased chaos in the West Bank. It should not consider any plan that envisions expanding its control over Palestinian people, and it should be wary of plans that envision stripping Palestinians, like those in Jerusalem, of their residency rights, without asking them. At the very least, someone should accept that the Palestinians themselves also have rights to decide what they want.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Have The Donors Finally Woken Up?
Western donors want to see a list of the names of Palestinians who are on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the PA is not happy about it.
What is driving this demand? Thousands of Palestinian school teachers in the West Bank are striking for better conditions. The Palestinian leadership, in response, has ordered a security crackdown on the strikers.
To justify the crackdown, PA officials have claimed that the strike was organized by Hamas as part of a conspiracy to embarrass and undermine the regime of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
What is really happening is that the teachers are blowing the whistle on PA corruption. They have accused the PA Ministry of Education of wasting donors' funds and deceiving them by inflating the number of teachers. They claim that the list of employees (about 56,000) ostensibly hired by the ministry contains many fictitious names. These include teachers and administrative workers of the ministry.
The teachers also accuse the PA of lying to the donors about their salaries. The information provided by the PA to donors claimed that the PA pays higher salaries to the teachers than the teachers actually receive.
In other words, the striking teachers are exposing the PA as playing Western donors for suckers.
The PA's Finance Ministry has yet to publish the general budget for the years 2015 and 2016. The last time the budget appeared on the ministry's official website was in 2014. The striking teachers and other Palestinians say there is something fishy about the Finance Ministry's failure to make public the annual budget for 2015 and 2016. They call this a lack of transparency.
Where Has All The Money Gone?
Where Has All The Money Gone? For the last 25 years, a significant amount of money has gone to lining the pockets of corrupt Palestinian leaders, and has enouraged hate and violence within Palestinian society. Where are the playgrounds and schools? Infrastructure? Homes?


PMW: US and Israel spreading sex, pornography, and drugs in Arab world, says PA TV teacher of Islam
A Palestinian Authority TV host of a program who teaches Islam, Imad Hamato, explained in a recent TV interview that the US and Israel share the goal of destroying the morals and values of the Arab world and are trying to do this by spreading pornography and sex. It started with former US President Bush, Hamato claimed, quoting Bush as having said: "We will enter Iraq and bring in pornography and we will teach them the American civilization and culture.'' [Official PA TV, Feb. 29, 2016]
The issues with Israel go back even further, Hamato taught last year, because the Jews, according to the Quran, are inherently lacking in values:
"Those Jews, as it is said in the Quran, believe only in the body, not in the spirit.... In their eyes, everything physical is valuable, and thus 'you see that they are the people who strive more than anyone else to stay alive.' We won't say 'alive' definitively, but rather just life, no matter what life - life in the dumps, a life of cowardice. The main thing is to stay alive."[Official PA TV, June 12, 2015]
PA TV teacher of Islam: America intentionally spreads pornography in Arab world




3 Israelis hurt in separate terror attacks in Jerusalem and Petah Tikva
At least six people were wounded in a suspected terror stabbing in central Jaffa on Tuesday evening, according to initial reports.
Magen David Adom paramedics provided initial treatment to the wounded at the scene in southern Tel Aviv. According to MDA, three of the vicitims were in serious condition and three suffered moderate wounds.
According to Channel 10, the suspected terrorist stabbed two people at the entrance to the port in Jaffa and continued southward stabbing more victims.
Emergency teams evacuated three victims to nearby hospitals.
The incident occurred hours after three Israelis were wounded in two separate terror attacks that occurred within minutes of each other in Jerusalem and Petah Tikva.
Two Israelis were wounded in a shooting attack targeting security forces near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday afternoon, according to initial police reports. MDA paramedics said that both men were seriously wounded in the attack.
Israeli seriously wounded in Petah Tikva stabbing
An Israeli man was moderately wounded Tuesday afternoon in an apparent terror stabbing attack in the central city of Petah Tikva, police said.
The Palestinian assailant followed the man into a shop on the city’s central Brosh Street and began stabbing him in his upper body. At one point the victim “regained composure” and together with the owner of the store subdued the attacker, taking the knife from him and “neutralizing” him, police said.
Police confirmed that the attacker was killed when he was stabbed with his own knife. Reports said the victim pulled the knife out of his own neck before turning it on the stabber.
Initial reports had said the stabbing may have occurred during an altercation; however, the incident was later widely reported to have been a terror attack.
2 cops seriously hurt in East Jerusalem drive-by shooting
Two Israeli Border Police officers were seriously injured, with one of them described as “critical,” in a drive-by shooting attack on Salah a-Din Street, near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, on Tuesday afternoon, police said.
The gunman opened fire at the on-duty officers, striking one in the head. As he attempted to escape the scene, security forces engaged him in a firefight, during which he shot the second officer.
Israel Police spokesperson Luba Samri said the gunman was shot dead.
Both victims were taken to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem. Magen David Adom paramedics said the officers were 35 to 40 years of age.
A main thoroughfare, Salah-a-Din Street is home to the Border Police headquarters in East Jerusalem.
Female Arab assailant shot dead after attempting to stab Border Police officer in Old City
A knife-wielding Arab woman in her 50s was shot dead in Jerusalem Tuesday morning after attempting to stab a Border Police officer in the Old City’s well-travelled Haguy Street.
At approximately 10 a.m., police said the unidentified woman from east Jerusalem approached a group of officers carrying out security measures in the area, which have been considerably heightened for US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit.
“She pulled a knife from her bag and tried to stab one of the officers, who acted immediately and responsibly upon realizing he was in immediate danger and shot and killed the woman,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“She was pronounced dead at the scene, the knife was seized as evidence, and the area was immediately cordoned-off.”
Japanese Tourist Injured in Rock-Throwing Incident Near Jerusalem Church
A 69-year-old Japanese woman was injured Monday while she was touring with a group of visitors who were pelted with rocks from a roof near Saint Anne’s Church in Jerusalem, according to Israeli police.
The woman suffered light injuries and was taken to the Hadassah University Medical Center.
“I’m a tourist in Israel as part of a tour group of Japanese people who love Israel, I was very surprised by the stone-throwing attack,” said the wounded woman, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“At the time [of the attack] I was praying and I didn’t understand what had hit me,” she said.
Police are investigating the incident and searching for those responsible for throwing the rocks outside the Catholic church.
“I am still happy that I came to Israel and I do not regret it, I will continue the tours and I soon join back with the group after my treatment at Hadassah,” the woman, who remained anonymous, said.
Palestinian Authority President 'Abbas Sends Letter Of Condolence To Family Of Car-Ramming Terrorist
Following the March 4, 2016 killing of Amani Hosni Jawad Al-Sabatin after she carried out a car-ramming attack against a group of Israeli soldiers at Gush Etzion junction, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas sent a letter of condolence to her family in the town of Husan. In it, he praised Al-Sabatin as "a martyr who quenched the land of Palestine with her pure soul."
For reasons that are unclear, the letter was on the official letterhead of the Palestinian Embassy in Jordan.
The letter was then tweeted by the Fatah Recruitment and Organization Commission (@fateha1965).
Below is a translation of the letter:
"Embassy of the State of Palestine
"The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
"March 6, 2016"
"In the name of Allah the merciful and beloved,
"'And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision.'
"Distinguished residents of Husan,
"Distinguished Al-Sabatin family,
"With great sorrow and deep anguish we received the news of the death of the martyr Amani Hosni Jawad Al-Sabatin.
"We consider her to be someone who is with Allah, may He be exalted and elevated, as a martyr who quenched the land of Palestine with her pure soul.
PA security raids Hamas cell planning attacks against Israelis
The Palestinian security services in recent weeks uncovered a Hamas cell in Hebron planning terror attacks against Israel including shootings and kidnappings, senior Palestinian officials told the Times of Israel.
The first arrests were made by Palestinian intelligence units several weeks ago and since then there have a number of further arrests of Hamas operatives in the West Bank city.
Israeli sources confirmed the arrests.
The Hebron cell was operated by the terror group’s so-called West Bank bureau, which is situated in Gaza but overseen by Hamas operatives originally from the West Bank and deported to Gaza as part of the prisoner exchange for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.
The bureau is headed by Abd el-Rahman Ghanimat and Mazen Fuqha.
Ghanimat was formerly a member of the notorious “Surif squad” — a terrorist cell headed by Ibrahim Ghanimat responsible for a series of attacks against Israelis in the 1990s.
French prime minister says he understands Jews’ fear
France’s Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls says he understands French Jews’ fear amid heightened religious tension in the country after attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris last year.
Valls expressed his “solidarity” toward French Jews and strongly condemned anti-Semitism whether it comes from the “far-left” or the “far-right” at an event Monday organized by the country’s main Jewish organization.
“Yes, Jews of France are afraid to wear the kippa (the traditional skull cap), to go to the synagogue, to do shopping in a kosher market, to send their children to public school. That’s a reality, and a reality we do not accept,” Valls said at the annual dinner of the CRIF Jewish Council.
Many high ranking French politicians as well as Catholic and Muslim religious leaders attended the event.
Jewish boy, 13, attacked on the way to synagogue in Paris
A French anti-Semitism watchdog has condemned an attack over the weekend on a 13-year-old Jewish boy in Paris.
The boy , who was wearing a kippa, was walking to synagogue on Saturday afternoon in Paris’ 12th district, when he was attacked by three youths described as “of African origin,” the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, a Jewish nonprofit which monitors hate crimes against Jews, said in a report issued Monday.
The attackers called the boy a “dirty Jew” and punched him. The boy also reported that one of the attackers took his kippa off his head while a second grabbed him by the hair and slammed his head against a pole.
The attackers ran away when other people appeared on the street, according to BNVCA. The boy made it to the synagogue and later reported the attack to police.
Danish girl, 16, accused of plotting to bomb Jewish school
Danish prosecutors say a 16-year-old girl who was arrested in January was planning bomb attacks against a Jewish school in Copenhagen and another school in Denmark.
Prosecutors presented the preliminary charges against her and a 24-year-old man suspected of being her accomplice in a court hearing Tuesday in Holbaek, northwest of the Danish capital.
Prosecutor Kristian Kirk told The Associated Press after the hearing that the suspects obtained chemicals and tried to produce explosives with the intent to commit terror attacks against the two schools.
He said police thwarted their plans by arresting them. He declined to give other details.
The suspects, who were not identified, deny the charges. The court extended their pre-trial detention until March 30.
Alleged helpers of Danish synagogue killer go on trial
Four Danish men accused of aiding a Copenhagen gunman who killed a filmmaker and a Jewish security guard in twin attacks last year were to go on trial on Thursday.
The four stand accused of committing “terror offenses” by providing support for Danish-Palestinian Omar El-Hussein ahead of the second attack, which took place outside a synagogue.
El-Hussein, 22, was shot dead by police hours later, having killed two people and wounded five.
The prosecution said it could prove the four suspects were in close contact with El-Hussein in the hours after the first attack.
“There has been a very comprehensive investigation involving a very large number of police,” prosecutor Bo Bjerregaard told AFP.
Report: Obama considering peace push, including UN Security Council resolution
The White House is working on a plan to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process which has been frozen for almost two years, the Wall Street Journal reported prior to US Vice President Joe Biden's anticipated arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday afternoon for a two-day visit.
Last week, White House officials told reporters not to expect a break-through in the peace process during Biden’s visit. Similarly in November, the White House said that US President Barack Obama did not expect to arrive at a two-state solution before leaving office in January 2017.
In the absence of any US led initiative, France has since made a push for a multi-lateral regional summit and has spoken of a resolution before the United Nations Security Council to set the contours of a new peace process.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is considering changing its long standing opposition to using the UNSC as a vehicle to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, preferring instead for the two parties to resolve their issues through direct talks.
Israel has similarly insisted that negotiations are the only way to arrive at a two-state solution. It has argued that the Palestinians will never sit down and negotiate as long as they believe they can achieve their goals through the United Nations.
The Wall Street Journal speculated that Obama could launch an initiative through a presidential speech, possibly in the fall at the annual opening of the UN General Assembly in New York.
A US proposal, according to the Wall Street Journal, would be based on the pre-1967 lines with land swaps to allow Israel to retain a small portion of territory over the Green Line in exchange for giving Palestinians land within the Green Line.
The paper also theorized that the US could renew its push for Israel to freeze West Bank settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
JCPA: The Two States in the West Bank and Gaza Annul the Two-State Solution
The Palestinian Authority, which calls itself “the state of Palestine under occupation,” is pushing for international recognition of the state of Palestine along the 1967 lines or, in other words, in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem (pre-Six-Day War), and Gaza.
The French initiative for an international peace conference has won the support of the Palestinian Authority, which also wants to prod the permanent members of the Security Council to approve a proposed binding resolution for a full Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in 1967. The resolution would also stipulate providing the Palestinian people with protection against Israel and paving the way for official recognition of the state of Palestine.
The Palestinian foreign ministry (March 1, 2016) has again accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “continuing the campaign of fraud, deception, and incitement against the Palestinian people in an attempt to wriggle out of pursuing peace and putting an end to the occupation of the land of the state of Palestine.”
The Palestinian foreign ministry also asserted that: “The lack of determined international activity to bring an end to the occupation and settlement, and the lack of deterrent international responses to the Israeli positions, policy, and measures, enables the Netanyahu government to complete its plans and measures of Judaizing al-Quds [Jerusalem] and Area C [West Bank territories that are under Israeli security and civilian control] and thwarting all international efforts to salvage the peace process in keeping with the two-state solution.”
President urges ‘soul-searching’ over poll showing support for Arab transfer
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday said it was “unconscionable” that Jewish Israelis should view the State of Israel as a democracy only with regard to its Jewish citizens, and urged the public to engage in “soul-searching.”
The president was responding to the results of a major poll by the Pew Research Center, published Tuesday, which showed that nearly half of Jewish Israelis agree that Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel, and a solid majority (79 percent) maintain that Jews in Israel should be given preferential treatment.
“The idea that the State of Israel could be democracy only for its Jewish citizens is unconscionable and we must find a way to address this,” he said, after researchers from the Washington-based think tank presented him with the findings.
The poll also found that a majority of Israeli Jews (76%) said they view a Jewish state as being compatible with democracy – but the opposite trend was found among Arab citizens, with 64% maintaining that Israel cannot be both a democracy and a Jewish state (63% of Muslims, 72% of Christians, and 58% of Druze said they feel this way).
“It pains me to see the gap that exists in the public’s consciousness — religious and secular — between the notion of Israel as a Jewish state and as a democratic state. I believe that our democratic values are also born out of our Jewish faith, a ‘love for the stranger,’ and equality before the law – these are not foreign values, this is Judaism,” Rivlin said.
White House ‘surprised’ Netanyahu spurning offer to meet Obama
The White House on Monday expressed public surprise that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected an offer to meet with the president later this month, and said it only learned Netanyahu was canceling his trip to the United States from the media.
In a sign of yet another round of tension between the Israeli and American leaderships, the administration also publicly rejected earlier Israeli reports that the White House had been unable to schedule a time for the meeting as “false.”
Netanyahu’s extraordinary decision to spurn the presidential invite came a year after Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu in Washington, citing the proximity to Israeli elections, in what was widely regarded as a sign of the strain in ties between the two leaders; Netanyahu spoke in Congress during that trip against the Iran deal, without coordinating that appearance ahead of time with the administration.
Reports had been circulating for more than a week that Netanyahu might skip the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference later this month given that Obama would be out of the country at the time.

Peace Now looks to reignite controversy ahead of Biden visit
The Vice President harshly condemned the announcement, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton berated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during a 43-minute phone call.
The housing development, which was planned for 1,600 homes within the existing Jerusalem neighborhood, was shelved for years. In May, 2015, however, final approval was given for construction in Ramat Shlomo.
In light of the 2010 dustup, US officials have worked strenuously to prevent a repeat, circumventing the normal diplomatic channels and calling directly to Jerusalem city council officials and business leaders to freeze building plans for the Vice President’s upcoming trip to Israel. The officials noted, however, that housing projects intended for Arabs, however, “would receive their blessing”.
Netanyahu has also pressured Israeli officials to hold back on housing announcements, telling Knesset members to delay plans for construction in Ma’ale Adumim, just east of Jerusalem.
Peace Now, however, is aiming to create the very diplomatic tensions leaders in both Israel and the US have been looking to avoid. The group is working to publicize construction in Ramat Shlomo, the bone of contention during Biden’s last visit.
The organization has distributed pictures of work being done in the area, claiming Netanyahu purposely advanced the project to coincide with Biden’s second meeting in an effort to humiliate the Vice President.
Jerusalem’s Unilateral Delusion
How dead is the Middle East peace process? It’s so dead that not even the Obama administration is looking to pick fights with Israel’s government right now. As Vice President, Joe Biden heads to Israel for his first trip there since the announcement of a housing project in a 40-year-old Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem in 2010, which was labeled by the White House as an insult to the veep because he was passing through town. But this time, not only are the Israelis looking to keep things calm, even the administration understands it will accomplish nothing with another ginned up argument aimed at creating daylight between the two allies that will do nothing to entice the Palestinians to make peace. No matter how much the president may dislike Israel’s government, he understands that the Palestinians aren’t interested in a deal under virtually any circumstances. So the expectation is that Biden’s visit will pass without much controversy.
Thus, while the Jewish state’s foreign critics, as well as many of those that claim to be its friends, are still promoting the two-state solution, a political consensus has developed in Israel that has put the idea on permanent hold. But that doesn’t mean that everyone in the country is content to merely manage the conflict without succumbing to the delusion that it can be solved in some ways. As the New York Times reports today, the latest attempt to create some progress toward a livable solution has been forward by a group of some left of center Israelis involves an attempt to revive interest in a unilateral solution to the conflict. This theory, initially championed by the late Ariel Sharon during his time as prime minister, is that if the Palestinians won’t agree to a border between a Jewish state and a state of their own, then it is up to Israelis to draw one. Sharon’s attempt to go unilateral resulted in the disastrous withdrawal from Gaza that led to the creation of what is, for all intents and purposes, an independent Palestinian state in all but name there which is run by the Hamas terrorist group.
The new plan is not quite so ambitious as Sharon’s scheme, which also encompassed a withdrawal from most of the West Bank that never occurred. But by seeking to divide Jerusalem along Jewish and Arab terms, it hopes to set lines that could eventually serve to make part of the city become a Palestinian capital. But, as an opinion piece published in YNet.com from one of its sponsors, former Cabinet minister Haim Ramon, makes clear, the purpose is also to make it harder for Arabs to attack Jews.
We Don’t Need Your Favors, Israel. Now Give Us Everything, Free By Saeb Erekat (satire)
We Palestinians are a strong, independent people with no need to rely on the illegitimate, sullied hand of Israel to achieve anything. Now give us everything, Israel, or the resulting collapse of the Palestinian Authority will be all your fault.
The noble cause of Palestinian sovereignty, the removal of the cursed occupier, and the assertion of our inalienable rights – these pursuits give us the spirit and the fortitude to resist the Jews for eternity. Our cause is so manifestly just, the justice of it guarantees our victory. We need no assistance! Also, we call upon all Arab and Muslim countries, as well as the West and all other countries, to pressure Israel by whatever means possible so that we can achieve something.
Do not patronize us with your “generosity,” filthy Zionists. Just provide everything we need, as if we were productive members of your society. Or any society.
It would be a searing insult to the memory of the great Rais, Yasser Arafat, to have us accept even a gram of help from Israel in the form of money, infrastructure, health care, or security assistance. If you don’t continue providing those things unconditionally, we will have no choice but to declare the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, which would also mean our necks as Hamas, or the Islamic State, or whoever, takes over. So don’t do us any favors, understand? We don’t need you, you colonists without whom our necks would be severed faster than you can say, “Ahmad’s mad madrassa murderers murdered Muhammad’s mules.”
An Israeli-Palestinian lawmaker does not value the lives of his own people
The March 6 edition of The Jerusalem Post had a fascinating article that included a quote from the most senior member of the Joint List faction in the Knesset, Ayman Odeh. On a Saudi-owned satellite television station a few days earlier, he had said, “It’s not my place to tell the Palestinian people how they should resist” and that “a popular intifada is most beneficial for the Palestinians.”
This statement comes at a time when tens of Palestinians are losing their lives after committing acts of terrorism against Israelis throughout the land of Israel. It was said at a time when an increasing number of Palestinian teenagers and young adults seem to be motivated to commit violent acts. At the same time, the Palestinian leadership, both within the State of Israel and in Judea and Samaria, refuses to condemn the lethal acts being perpetrated by these Palestinians, which often result in the loss of their lives and the suffering of their families and loved ones.
It is difficult to understand the absence of any real leadership on the part of the Israeli Palestinians and the elected members of the Palestinian Authority. It is a sad state of affairs when these leaders refuse to value the lives of their own constituents.
Their claim is that their acts of violence are a result of the political situation that exists between Israel and the PA and the frustration over the failure to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Palestinians joining exodus to EU, says PLO's Erekat
Palestinians are joining the Middle East exodus to Europe in greater numbers because of the Syria war and Israeli occupation, a senior Palestinian official has said.
Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), told EUobserver from Ramallah in the West Bank that “thousands” had already left for Europe.
“What other options have they? We have people dying of starvation in al-Yarmouk refugee camp [in Syria], and thousands of Palestinians leaving Syria and Lebanon trying to reach Europe,” he said.
“The UN has said that Gaza will be unfit for human habitation by 2020, but Israel’s siege of Gaza continues.”
The Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza are home to some 4.5 million Palestinians.
Two million more live in refugee camps in Jordan in a legacy of wars in 1948 and 1967. Another 500,000 live in camps in Lebanon and a further 500,000 in Syria.
Frontex, the EU border control agency in Warsaw, said just six Palestinians were intercepted trying to enter the EU via irregular crossings to Greece in January of last year, but that figure rose to 488 in August. It peaked at 1,747 in October and stayed high (1,142) in January of this year despite bad weather.
The real number is likely to be much bigger because most Palestinians travel without ID papers, making them difficult to count.
Easo, the EU asylum agency in Malta, said up to 19,000 Palestinians applied for asylum in the EU last year, compared with 15,680 in 2014 and 9,590 in 2013.
UN-Hamas Joint Venture To Build Multi-Functional School/Rocket Launching Pad Facilities in Gaza (satire)
Amid rising tensions over lone-wolf stabbings, lack of progress in peace talks and increasing frustration over Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and with the region looking well on its way to renewing its 68th annual “Palestinians and Israelis F#cking Can’t Stand One Another” popular concert series, the UN and Hamas have teamed up to equip Gaza with a dual purpose elementary school and rocket Launchpad.
“In 2014 we received many complaints in our Facebook comment boxes about people being unhappy with using UN schools and hospitals as a launch pad for attacks,” explained Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri. “We took this feedback to heart and have decided to work with our own United Nations agency (UNRWA) to address this issue. The main thought was that there was too much ambiguity during the conflict, ‘Is it a school? Is it a terrorist base?’ Now people will be relieved to see there’s a clear answer: It’s both!”
In a joint statement, Hamas and UNRWA have promised to work hand-in-hand to ensure students have a place to study, while insurgents will be able to conduct operations comfortably, all from the same location. The facility will include technologically state-of-the-art classrooms affixed with double-pane glass windows, due to the annoying noise caused by fixed-rocket launching pads and incoming Israeli Hellfire missiles.
Saudis Awarded France's "Highest National Honor" For "Fight" Against Terrorism (not satire)
There is perhaps no more perverse relationship in the world than that which exists between the West and Saudi Arabia - or, “the ISIS that made it,” as Kamel Daoud, a columnist for Quotidien d’Oran, and the author of “The Meursault Investigation” calls the kingdom.
We’ve been over and over the glaring absurdity inherent in the fact that the US and its partners consider the kingdom to be an “ally” in the fight against terrorism and you can read more in the article linked above, but the problem is quite simply this: the Saudis promote and export an ultra orthodox, ultra puritanical brand of Sunni Islam that is virtually indistinguishable from that espoused by ISIS, al-Qaeda, and many of the other militant groups the world generally identifies with “terrorism.”
Wahhabism - championed by the Saudis - is poisonous, backward, and fuels sectarian strife as well as international terrorism. That’s not our opinion. It’s a fact.
But hey, Riyadh has all of the oil, so no harm, no foul right?
Even as the very same ideals exported by Riyadh inspire the ISIS jihad, the kingdom is so sure it has the political world in its pocket that it sought a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, even as the country continues to carry out record numbers of executions.
They even had the nerve to establish what they called a 34-state Islamic military alliance against terrorism in December. Of course the members don’t include Shiite Iran (the Saudis’ mortal enemy) or Shiite Iraq, both of which are actually fighting terror rather than bombing civilians in Yemen and engaging in Wahhabist proselytizing.
But while everyone in the world is well aware of just how silly the “alliance” is, the farce will apparently continue as French President Francois Hollande on Friday awarded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif France’s highest national honor, the Legion of Honor for “for his efforts in the region and around the world to combat extremism and terrorism.”
Indonesia defends allowing visit of Sudanese leader
Indonesia defended on Monday its decision to allow Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a suspected war criminal, into the country for a summit of Muslim nations.
The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 because of suspected involvement in crimes against humanity, specific war crimes and genocide. The charges stem from reported atrocities in the conflict in Darfur.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said Indonesia is not an ICC member state and has no legal mechanism or obligation to arrest al-Bashir.
"It is a matter between him and the ICC, not the question of Indonesia," he said.
The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta said it was "concerned" by al-Bashir's travel to Indonesia for a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Like Indonesia, the U.S. is not a party to the Rome Statute treaty that established the ICC.


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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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