Friday, May 13, 2016

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Leaders and Child Sacrifice
The tragic death of three Palestinian siblings, killed in a fire that destroyed their house in the Gaza Strip on May 6, demonstrates yet again the depth to which Palestinian leaders will go to exploit their children for political purposes and narrow interests.
The three children from the Abu Hindi family -- Mohamed, 3 years old, his brother Nasser, 2 years old and their two-month infant sister Rahaf, died in a fire caused by candles that were being used due to the recurring power outages in the Gaza Strip.
The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip is the direct result of the continued power struggle between the two Palestinian rival forces, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
In recent months, the crisis has deepened, leaving large parts of the Gaza Strip without electricity for most of the day. Hamas blames the Palestinian Authority for the crisis because of its failure to cover the costs of the fuel needed to operate the power plants in the Gaza Strip. The PA has retorted by blaming Hamas's "corruption" and "incompetence."
The Abu Hindi family resides in the Shati refugee camp, where Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and other leaders of the Islamist movement live. But unlike the senior Hamas leaders, the Abu Hindi family could not afford to purchase their own power generator to supply them with electricity during the power outages. Instead, the tragedy-stricken family, like most families in the Gaza Strip, resorted to the cheapest alternative lighting method -- candles.
On that horrific evening, the Abu Hindi's three children went to sleep while the candles were burning. Hours later, the charred bodies of the three siblings were taken from the house while it was still on fire and engulfed with smoke.
In any other country, this incident would have been reported as a routine tragedy -- one of the kind that could happen in any city such as New York, London or Paris.
Here, however, the death of the three children is not just another personal tragedy. This was a case, rather, of child sacrifice: the Abu-Hindi children were sacrificed on the altar of the decade-long war being waged between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. And these children are far from the first or last such victims.
Caroline Glick: The fruits of subversion
From the perspective of democratic norms, the worst part of Dagan’s subversion is that he was proud of it.
By insisting his final interview be broadcast posthumously, Dagan showed that he wanted his subversion of the government to be his legacy. Dagan’s final act was to tell his countrymen that it is legitimate to place themselves above the law and above the lawful government and take independent actions that will obligate the entire country.
Ironically, there is no substantive difference between Dagan’s actions – or the generals’– and the actions of the so-called Hilltop Youth in Samaria whom the generals continuously condemn as the greatest threat to Israel.
Like the generals, right-wing extremist teenage outlaws reject the authority of the government. Like the generals, denizens of “the state of Judea” believe that they know how to advance Israel’s national security better than our elected officials.
True, the damage the generals cause the country by revealing state secrets to foreign governments and libeling the nation of Israel as Nazis is several orders of magnitude greater than the damage wrought by fanatical teenagers who vandalize Arab property. Indeed it is far greater than alleged acts of murder that a handful of Hilltop Youth stand accused of committing.
And by acting lawlessly and showing bottomless contempt for our elected officials, Dagan, Golan and their comrades tell the Hilltop Youth and the rest of us that the law is what they say it is.
Sixty-eight years ago, after declaring Israel’s independence, David Ben-Gurion set about dismantling the underground militias to ensure the survival of the state as a coherent political unit.
Sixty-eight years later, it works out there are still competing gangs trying to obligate the rest of us with their unlawful, anti-democratic and immoral behavior. If Israel is to survive for the next 68 years, we need to act firmly and forthrightly to end this state of affairs.
Martin Sherman: Five mendacious myths make one false narrative
Given the lies and distortions of Palestinian claims, what seems more credible: An offer to buy the Brooklyn Bridge or the Palestinian narrative?
Even a cursory analysis of historical events in this region will reveal that, in the case of Palestinians-Arabs, neither of these constituent elements exists: Not an identifiably differentiated people, desiring exercise of political sovereignty; nor a defined territory in which that sovereignty is to be exercised.
One need only examine the declarations and documents of Palestinians themselves to verify this, and discover that they have never really conceived of themselves as a discernibly discrete people with a defined homeland.
Accordingly, little effort is required to demonstrate that the Palestinian “narrative” – the ideo-intellectual fuel driving the demands for statehood – is nothing more than a motley mixture of multiple myths, easily identifiable and readily refutable. The inescapable conclusion is – or should be – that the entire edifice of Palestinian national aspirations is a giant political hoax, a massive sleight of political hand to serve a more sinister – and thinly disguised – ulterior motive.
What are the five constituent myths that comprise the noxious concoction of the Palestinian narrative?
Prof. Eugene Kontorovich at the House Committee on the Judiciary May 2016
examined how the Executive improperly ignored legislation pursuant to the Foreign Commerce Clause in implementing the Iran nuclear deal, also the funding of UN organizations.

Hezbollah terror chief blown up. Israel not blamed!
Mustafa Badreddine, the heir to Imad Mughniyeh as Hezbollah’s terror chief, had no shortage of enemies.
He was wanted in the US and in Saudi Arabia for his part in the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. He was the sworn enemy of opposition activists in Syria. Of Islamic State. Of Al Nusra Front. Of Israel. And that’s not the full list.
Badreddine was also involved in a great deal of the clandestine, illicit activities — drugs smuggling, weapons smuggling and more — by which the Shiite terror ground funds its various military actions.
Hard to know, then, who killed him.
In an official statement on Friday morning, Hezbollah didn’t claim to be certain. While pro-Hezbollah media had quickly pointed the finger of blame at Israel, the statement did not. It said only that “an initial investigation shows that Mustafa Badreddine was killed as a result of a large explosion at one of our bases near the Damascus International Airport. We are conducting an investigation to find out the circumstances of the explosion – whether it was caused by an aerial assault, artillery strike or a rocket. We will publish our findings soon.”
And the early reports on Al-Mayadeen, a website affiliated with Hezbollah, to the effect that Badreddine was killed in an Israeli airstrike, were subsequently taken down.
Hezbollah announces probe into killing of top Syria commander attributed to Israel
Lebanese-based terrorist organization Hezbollah said it was investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of its top commander in Syria, as media reports in Lebanon claimed he was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Damascus on Tuesday.
“According to preliminary information, a large explosion targeted one of our positions near Damascus international airport, killing our brother, commander Mustafa Badreddine, and wounding others,” said the group, which is battling rebels in Syria alongside the troops of President Bashar Assad.
“We will continue the investigation to determine the nature and causes of the explosion and whether it was due to an air raid, a missile or artillery fire,” the group said in a statement.
Badreddine’s funeral was to take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Beirut, a journalist for ABC News said. A minister from the group vowed that the fight in Syria would continue despite the killing, the reporter said.
Hezbollah MP says Israel responsible for commander's death and is starting 'open war'
Nawar al-Saheli, a Hezbollah member of Lebanon's parliament, accused Israel on Friday of being responsible for the death of their top commander, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, and called the attack part of an "open war."
"We do not want to get ahead of the investigation, but there is no doubt that Israel was behind his death," the MP told Hezbollah-controlled TV station Al-Manar.
"The resistance will carry out its duties at the appropriate time," he added.
Cabinet minister Zeev Elkin, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, declined to comment on the allegations in a interview with Army Radio.
BBC News amplifies unreliable source on Hizballah commander’s death
On the morning of May 13th the 14.3 million followers of the BBC News (World) Twitter account were informed that Israel had assassinated a Hizballah commander.
The BBC News website article to which audiences were directed in that (now non-existent) Tweet was titled “Top Hezbollah commander Badreddine killed in Israel strike” and it opened as follows:
“A senior Hezbollah commander has been killed in an Israeli operation in Syria, the Lebanon-based Shia militant organisation says.
It says Mustafa Amine Badreddine died in an Israeli air strike near Damascus airport.
Israel has so far made no public comment on the claim.”

Did Hizballah really issue such a statement and did the BBC independently verify its accuracy before informing millions of people around the world that Israel had killed Badreddine? Obviously not because the next version of the article – retitled “Top Hezbollah commander Badreddine killed” – revealed that the information had come from a less than reliable source.
Douglas Murray - Police Simulators Shouting 'Allahu Akbar'
Douglas Murray on the BBC making arguments so anodyne and painfully obviously, it's quite staggering they needed to be said in the first place.

Netanyahu to diplomats: Help me get a meeting with Abbas
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked heads of diplomatic missions and religious communities on Thursday to encourage Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept his offer to talk peace.
Netanyahu, who is also the foreign minister, said he is willing to sit down with Abbas in Jerusalem, Ramallah or anywhere else he might care to meet.
“You cannot make peace with anyone who refuses to sit down with you,” he said, adding that Israelis and Palestinians deserve enduring peace.
Speaking at the annual reception for diplomats, military attachés, honorary consuls and heads of religious communities that is traditionally held at the President’s Residence on Independence Day, Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, providing that a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People.
“It’s about time,” he declared.
Vowing that Israel will never give up on peace, Netanyahu said previously hostile states in the region are now forming deep partnerships with Israel, a development that gives hope to the possibility of a solution to the conflict.
Israel as a Security Asset – for Everyone
It may have something to do with NATO member Turkey’s increasingly perilous position in the Middle East. Facing increased Kurdish restiveness, spillover from the Syrian war, ISIS imposed genocide, and increasingly strained relations with Russia over Syria and Ngorno-Karabakh, restoring security cooperation with Israel might be a lifeline for Ankara. This would account for Turkey dropping its opposition to Israel’s NATO mission.
Or maybe NATO is reverting to its previous view of Israel as a security partner and moving closer to the traditional American position, regardless of the increasingly shrill tenor of European politics (we’re not the only ones). There is history here.
In 1979, I worked on what was called a "quick reference guide" to the capabilities Israel brought to U.S.-Israel security cooperation. Israel has:
- A secure location in a crucial part of the world
- A well-developed military infrastructure
- The ability to maintain, service, and repair U.S.-origin equipment
- An excellent deep-water port in Haifa
- Modern air facilities
- A position close to sea-lanes and ability to project power over long distances
- A domestic air force larger than many in Western Europe and possessing more up-to-date hardware
- Multilingual capabilities, including facility in English, Arabic, French, Farsi, and the languages of the (former) Soviet Union
- Combat familiarity with Soviet/Russian style tactics and equipment
- The ability to assist U.S. naval fleets, including common equipment
- The ability to support American operations and to provide emergency air cover
- A democratic political system with a strong orientation to support the United States and the NATO system. (h/t Zvi)
A new Mediterranean friendship amid regional instability
Israel and Greece have in recent years upgraded bilateral diplomatic and defense relations to a significant degree, creating a new Mediterranean alliance that developed quickly following Turkey’s plunge into Islamism.
Now, with reports surfacing periodically of a thaw in Israeli-Turkish relations, the partnership with Greece, carefully built up over the past six years, faces a new test.
The new friendship with Greece has flourished under various, often ideologically opposed, governments that have risen and fallen in Athens, which was once traditionally unfriendly to Israel. The partnership appears to be immune to political changes in Athens or Jerusalem, driven by national interests and shared concerns over regional developments.
In April 2015, the Israel Air Force held a large-scale training exercise in Greece for its combat and transport helicopters, enabling aircrews to gain valuable flight experience in mountainous terrain. Such training helps the IAF prepare for a range of missions, including potential long-range operations.
It came weeks after the IAF sent fighter jet squadrons to fly with the Hellenic Air Force.
Right-wing activists held over bids to ascend Temple Mount, block Muslims
Police arrested over a dozen right-wing activists in the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday, as they tried to hold an illegal march to the Temple Mount and keep others from reaching the area in two seemingly separate incidents.
Around 6 p.m., dozens of right-wing activists begin an unauthorized procession from downtown Jerusalem toward the Temple Mount, the police said in a statement.
The police commanding officer at the scene called on the marchers to disperse, as the event was taking place illegally. When the marchers refused, five were arrested.
Later, another 10 people were arrested as they formed a human chain at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City to try to keep Muslims from entering the area.
The Waqf member pointed, the rabbi was expelled
Rabbi Shimon Ben-Tzion of Kiryat Arba in Judea was distanced from the Temple Mount on Thursday, Israeli Independence Day, after a member of the Jordanian Waqf falsely claimed that he prayed at the site.
Despite Israel having liberated the Mount - the holiest site in Judaism - in the 1967 Six Day War, the Jordanian Waqf has been left in de facto control of the site, and Israeli police kowtow to the Waqf's discriminatory ban on Jewish prayer at the site.
Rabbi Ben-Tzion, who has a custom of visiting the Mount every Independence Day, told Galei Yisrael radio that "at 7:30 a.m. I went in to the Temple Mount with a group of Jews."
"Everything was permitted and arranged, and after a few minutes Waqf members encircled us as is their way," he said.
"Only one of them thought that I was praying, he saw me concentrating and decided that I was praying. He turned to the police officer at the site and told him, indicated to him: 'here's a Jew daring to pray and on Independence Day on the Temple Mount.'"
The police officer ordered to expel the rabbi from the Mount. Rabbi Ben-Tzion tried to explain, but to no avail.
The Left Marks Israeli Independence by Trying to Make Israel More Dependent
Just when you think they’ve run out of ideas, the American Jewish left has found a novel way to commemorate Israel’s Independence Day — by trying to make Israel more dependent.
In a full-page ad in the New York Times on Thursday, the S. Daniel Abraham Center demanded that Israel withdraw to the pre-1967 boundaries and accept creation of a Palestinian state.
The Abraham Center’s solution is a recipe for total Israeli dependence — on the goodwill of the Palestinians and the assurances of the international community. Which is probably not what Israel’s founders had in mind in 1948 when they established what was intended to be a free, proud, and genuinely sovereign state.
The New York Times ad began with the usual misleading claims. For example, it alleged that “the Jewish democratic character of Israel is at risk” because “Arabs are today 50% of the population between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Jews are 49% of that population.”
Well, if that’s the case — if the Arabs are already a majority — then how is it that Israel still exists as a Jewish state?
Saudi Arabia Says Jews Living in Arab-claimed Lands is a "Terrorist Act"
Saudi Arabia, well-known for having promoted violent extremism and terrorist narratives around the world, spoke at a Security Council session on "Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts: Countering the Narratives and Ideologies of Terrorism" held on May 11, 2016. Among other things, the Saudis accused Israelis existence on Arab-claimed land as "in itself a terrorist act":
"Israel continues to resort to all forms of violence and excessive force against the lone Palestinian people... And all of that, it is basing itself on extremist terrorist racial rhetoric that calls for killing, displacement, and destruction. Turning a blind eye to the dangers of this rhetoric based on violence and on the state terrorism, failing to expressly condemn it, failing to fight it, failing to hold accountable those who promote it, is closely linked to the growing hate rhetoric, the rhetoric of violence, extremism, and terrorism... The ongoing Israeli occupation of Arab occupied territories in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon is in itself a terrorist act that denies the Arab people in this region their legitimate rights."
Update on IDF Officer Wounded in Hizmeh Bombings
The condition of the IDF officer wounded in the multiple-bombing attack near Hizmeh on Tuesday night has improved.
As of Thursday evening, the soldier is recuperating after undergoing extensive surgery at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. He was wounded in the face and head from the explosions.
He is now listed as stable and in moderate condition.
A second soldier was lightly wounded in the leg from shrapnel from one of the bombs.
Four bombs blew up, while another 5 failed to detonate at the scene of the terror attack.
ISIS terrorist snuck into Gaza Strip through Hamas tunnels, Israel says
An Islamic State operative snuck into the Gaza Strip through Hamas’ system of underground tunnels connecting the Palestinian-ruled area with the Sinai Peninsula, Israel said on Friday.
In an interview with the Saudi news site Elaph, the coordinator for government activities in the territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said that the ISIS operative was due to undergo military training in Gaza.
Mordechai told Elaph that the ISIS gunman was admitted into the Gaza Strip in coordination with a senior Hamas official in Rafah, Said Abdel al-A’al.
The general said that this development is indicative of greater cooperation between the Palestinian Islamist group and the Sinai branch of the jihadist organization that has managed to capture wide swaths of Syria and Iraq in the last five years.
Mordechai said that Hamas has extended medical assistance to ISIS fighters who have recently been wounded in clashes with Egyptian security forces. In return, ISIS has given Hamas cash and weapons.
Days after terror tunnel revelation, Egypt lets cement into Gaza
Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai on Wednesday and Thursday for the first time in three months, and in the process allowed in cement - despite the recent exposure of Hamas terror tunnels breaching into Israel last week.
Just last Thursday Israel unearthed a terror tunnel leading under the security border to facilitate attacks in the second such tunnel found in recent weeks. Hamas fired mortars on consecutive days late last week to try and stop the tunnels from being exposed, and Gazan terrorists even fired a rocket on Saturday.
But nevertheless Egypt saw fit to allow trucks carrying cement through the Rafah crossing along with pedestrians, days after Hamas announced that new understandings had been reached with Israel to stop the clashes through Egyptian mediation.
The decision by Cairo has caused fury in the Israeli security establishment, reports Walla on Friday.
Security sources were quoted by the news site as saying the Egyptian move to allow in cement opposes the goal of the joint security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) as well as the UN, which tracks building materials entering Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
Israel last month decided to dramatically reduce the influx of cement to Gaza, after it was documented that Palestinian factories in Gaza transferred raw building materials to Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades, to build its terror infrastructure.
Hezbollah condemns US sanctions on banks that deal with it
Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc said Thursday that US sanctions on banks that knowingly do business with the militant group could threaten Lebanon’s financial sector, hinting that supporters may withdraw their money from local banks.
The bloc, known as Loyalty to the Resistance, criticized the central bank for saying it would abide by a US law that came into effect last month and which the Hezbollah lawmakers said violates Lebanon’s sovereignty.
The statement came after a Cabinet meeting Thursday in which officials discussed a decision by banks to shut down the accounts of at least two Hezbollah lawmakers, an official who attended the meeting told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the meeting with the media.
One of the two lawmakers refused to comment on the news, referring to the statement by the group’s parliamentary bloc. The other could not be reached for comment.
The official said Cabinet members are concerned the law could affect Hezbollah’s large network of social, educational and health organizations, which regularly deal with the government and provide services to needy Lebanese, not just supporters.
Morocco unravels IS plot to attack tourists, Western facilities
Morocco’s Interior Ministry said Friday that authorities have arrested a Chadian national affiliated with the Islamic State group and unraveled a “dangerous” plot to attack Western diplomatic buildings and tourist sites.
The Chadian was arrested Friday in a safe house in the northern city of Tangiers. The Interior Ministry statement did not identify him.
It said the suspect flew to Morocco from Chad on May 4, landing at the Casablanca airport. It said he had a mandate from IS to organize a terror cell comprised of Moroccans and Algerians to attack Western diplomatic buildings and tourist sites.
It compared the scope of the threat to the simultaneous bombings in Casablanca on May 16, 2003, that killed 33 people.
One Year after the Nuclear Deal, Iran remains leading financier of terrorism worldwide
One year after the Obama-backed Nuclear Deal came into effect, Islamic Republic of Iran remains the leading sponsor of international terrorism, says a policy paper published by British policy think-tank Henry Jackson Society. According to the report released on Wednesday at the House of Lords in London, Iran maintains a large and lucrative illegal financing network to bypass the remaining sanction that are in place to stop Tehran from funding terrorist outfits and regime.
The report quotes an economist close to current Iranian regime describing the extent of the network, stating that “between 5,000-10,000 people worked in the [illicit financing] network, handling deals worth between $300 billion and $400 billion over the past decade.” Even after easing of sanction by the U.S. and the West, Iran seems to have no intention of giving up this illicit financing network which also acts as a lucrative source of income for the members of the military and the regime.
The paper has been compiled by Dr. Matthew Levitt, an Associate Fellow of The Henry Jackson Society and Senior Fellow and Director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Dr. Levitt, who has also worked as a counterterrorism intelligence analyst at the FBI, is a leading authority on the risks emerging from global terrorism financing.
Revolutionary Guard (IGRC), the armed wing of Iran’s Shi’a Islamist regime, exerts control over the sectors of country’s economy and industry well beyond the military and secutiry establishment. IGRC uses civil aviation assets to supply arms and equipment to terrorist outfit Hezbollah and Syria’s Assad Regime, reports says:
Clifford D. May: Obama's 'Boy Wonder'
Among the most serious charges that President Barack Obama and his supporters have leveled against former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney: They "cherry-picked intelligence." The phrase suggests that, while in office, they sorted through the information provided by America's spy agencies, selecting the tidbits that supported their policies while discarding anything that might cast doubts on their conclusions.
So what has been Obama's record in this area? Thanks to an incisive essay by David Samuels in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, we now know.
To sell the Iran deal -- which Obama considers his signature foreign policy achievement -- the public was told there was "a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country."
Samuels asks Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director in the Obama administration, "whether it was ever a salient feature of the CIA's analysis when he ran the agency that the Iranian regime was meaningfully divided between 'hard-line' and 'moderate' camps." Panetta answers without equivocation: "No."
The intelligence community clearly understood that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps "ran that country with a strong arm." They faced no challenge from a rising moderate faction.
White House Angrily Reacts to Request That Rhodes Testify About Iran Deal Deception
White House spokesman Josh Earnest angrily reacted to the suggestion that embattled Obama aide Ben Rhodes testify in a hearing on the Iran nuclear deal on Thursday.
“With all due respect to the chairman, if he has an interest in a hearing about false narratives as it relates to the Iran deal then I’ve got some suggestions for people they should swear in,” Earnest said.
Earnest went on to name congressional members who either opposed the Iran deal or as the Earnest put it were “wrong or just lying.” Earnest admitted he did not know the procedure for swearing in members of the Senate to participate in the hearing. He then went on to read what a few senators have said about the Iran deal.
“Sen. Tom Cotton, who I know has a special relationship with the supreme leader, so maybe he’s got some interesting insight to the deal as well that he would like to share with the committee,” Earnest said referring to the letter that was sent to Iranian leaders and was signed by 47 Republican senators.
White House defends aide Ben Rhodes over Iran deal accusations
The White House locked horns on Thursday with a House committee chairman over whether a senior aide should testify before Congress about his role in crafting President Barack Obama’s public relations campaign in favor of the Iran nuclear deal.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest did not rule out the possibility that deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes would testify before the House oversight committee at a Tuesday hearing on “White House narratives on the Iran deal.” But Earnest tried to brush off the request from Chairman Jason Chaffetz by casting the Utah Republican’s hearing as political theater and challenging the GOP case against the agreement.
“I think there are some people who have some explaining to do when it comes to the wildly false accusations that they made about the Iran deal. And it’s not the administration. It’s Republicans who are demonstrably wrong when it comes to the Iran deal,” Earnest said, accusing several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, of being “wildly misinformed, mistaken or lying” when they made claims about the deal’s economic benefits for Tehran.
Chaffetz responded to Earnest on Twitter. “Dear @PressSec , @SenTomCotton will testify if @rhodes44 is man enough to show. Let’s discuss the truth,” he wrote.

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