Tuesday, May 31, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: France continues funding PA general budget which pays salaries to terrorists
Following Palestinian Media Watch's exposure that the Palestinian Authority general budget funds the PA hate and terror promotion and rewards terrorist prisoners with high salaries, the US, the EU, Norway, and other European donors all stopped giving money to the PA general budget so that their money would not go directly to pay salaries for Palestinian terrorists.
This is not true for France. The PA announced last week that France signed agreements to give the PA money for various projects and in addition: "financial aid directly to the public treasury in the amount of 8 million euro."
The PA general budget that France is contributing to pays monthly salaries to terrorists like Hamas bomb maker Abdallah Barghouti, whose bombs murdered 67 people, and Abbas Al-Sayid, who planned two suicide bombings in which 35 were killed, as well as all other Palestinians imprisoned for terror crimes.
The French government should note that the PA pays more than $12 million a month in salaries to terrorist prisoners. [Official PA TV, June 11, 2014] Accordingly, France's 8 million euro ($8.9 million) will cover approximately three weeks of terrorists' salaries.
The PA salary payments to terrorists have been documented extensively by PMW since 2011, most recently in the report The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud, which documents that despite having promised international donors that it had ceased rewarding terrorists with salaries, the PA still continues this practice.
MEMRI: Terror Show at a Gaza Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony; Islamic Jihad Leader to Israelis: We Are Not Terrorists, Don’t Force Us to Kill You

The Other Middle East Lobby
The influence of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington remains a subject of intense debate in the United States. However, as uncertainty grows throughout much of the Middle East -- and a geopolitical and economic cold war blossoms between two regional heavyweights -- rulers across the region are increasingly vying for the attention of America’s elected officials.
Few do a better job of covering the comings and goings of Mideast power brokers on Capitol Hill than Al-Monitor’s Congressional Correspondent Julian Pecquet. The Memo reached out to Pecquet this week for his thoughts and insights on Mideast lobbying efforts in the nation’s capital.
RCW: Among other things, Al-Monitor tracks Mideast lobbying on Capitol Hill. Which Mideast country -- or countries -- might surprise the casual American observer for its outsize influence in our nation’s capital?
Morocco has to be one of the most interesting cases. The kingdom spends upwards of $3 million a year on more than a half-dozen lobbying and PR firms -- not to mention a seven-figure donation to the Clinton Foundation -- to project a friendly image. Mind you, we’re talking about a relatively poor country that’s still eligible for Millennium Challenge Corporation grants. All of that lobbying is directed at one main goal: obtaining U.S. approval -- or at least tacit acquiescence -- for its exploitation of the disputed Western Sahara, where Sahrawi activists have long demanded a vote on independence. The campaign has been largely successful, with neither the State Department nor Congress in any great rush to upset the apple cart and undermine a longtime Western ally by ushering in a potentially ungovernable new state on its borders.
Another player with outsize influence is Jordan, whose King Abdullah II has parlayed the kingdom’s strategic position and his personal popularity with Congress and the executive branch into a $1.275 billion aid package this year, and all without any need for lobbyist middle-men.

Solve Arab-Israeli conflict without UN
Even worse, the U.N. has symmetrically attacked and compromised economic progress between Palestinians and Israelis by endorsing the boycott of Israeli ‎products, which results in our Palestinian brothers and sisters losing employment opportunities in Israeli ‎companies. This pushes Palestinians toward ‎hopelessness and radicalization and further kills the potential for peace.‎
In addition, the U.N.'s proposed solutions to the conflict are all based on outdated ‎circumstances that could have been applicable to the situation decades ago but not today. ‎For example, Jordan has been ignored as a major part of the peace puzzle. The U.N. has failed to include Jordan as a major potential partner for establishing a true ‎peace through the offer of equal economic, political and civil rights to all of its citizens and ‎ending the regime's systematic discrimination against Jordanians of Palestinian, Bedouin ‎and northern peasants heritage.‎
In the dynamic aftermath of the Arab Spring, the U.N. sticks to solutions that are based on the Middle East of six decades ago. Today, things are much more fluid: Governments change, regimes ‎fall and the future is highly unpredictable. It is unrealistic to think that anyone would accept the U.N.'s outdated ‎solutions. ‎
The world must realize that we, the people of the region, Arabs and Israelis, can solve our problems without outside influence or U.N. involvement. The Jordanian Opposition Coalition strongly believes the U.S. government must seek to ‎neutralize the U.N.'s influence on the peace process while enhancing peace between ‎Arabs and Jews through economic, social and civil integration.‎
Caroline Glick: The old generals’ old plan
There is no Palestinian constituency for peace with Israel. The more Israel offers the Palestinians, the less interested they are in settling.
By announcing that Israel renounces its claims to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and treating the Jews east of the 1949 cease-fire lines as second class citizens, the generals will not only widen Israel’s social cleavages. They will tell the Palestinians that they are right to feel contempt for us. The worse they behave, the more we will offer them. The more Jews they murder, the more the Jews will turn against one another.
As for improving Israel’s international position, it is hard to understand why the generals refuse to learn the lessons of the Gaza withdrawal. Despite the fact that Israel uprooted 24 Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria, and removed its military forces from the area, without exception, the international community insists that Israel still “occupies” Gaza. How can the generals expect the world to act more fairly towards a more limited withdrawal plan from Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem? As for Gaza, Operation Protective Edge brought out into the open the fact that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Arab states support Israel in its war against Hamas. They do so because they fear Islamic State and Iran more than they hate Israel, whose power they trust.
If Israel announces its intention of leaving Judea and Samaria, which the Arabs know will become a Hamas enclave faster than Gaza did, the Arab faith in Israel’s power will diminish. As a consequence, if Israel follows the generals’ advice our relations with the Sunnis will worsen, not improve.
It is a tragedy for Israel that the generals have allowed the Left to use them in this way. Their role in perpetuating Israel’s destructive adherence to the devastating two-state policy model diminishes their past contributions and endangers Israel’s future.
Israel braces itself for Paris peace confab… by doing nothing
This coming Friday, foreign ministers from some of the world’s most powerful countries, including the United States, Russia and Germany, as well as a handful of Arab states, will gather in Paris to discuss ways to reanimate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The two parties at the heart of the conflict will not send official representatives to this week’s conference, a precursor to a second gathering later this year that Israelis and Palestinians are urged to attend.
How is Jerusalem bracing for an event that will likely lead to additional demands on Israel to make concessions toward a peace deal?
Israeli officials this week refused to speak on record about their preparations ahead of the confab, but in private conversations indicated that Jerusalem is against the initiative, has not been invited to it, and is therefore not doing anything about it.
Paris "Peace" Talks the Usual Charade
This Friday’s one-day “peace conference” in Paris, convened by the French government to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, has a wearisome, all-too-familiar look to it: same farce, different day.
Representatives of some 20 political entities will be sharing their “thoughts” about the conflict for several hours, sandwiched between photo opportunities and a fine meal. Thankfully, such reliably constructive actors as the Arab League, Turkey, Saudi Arabia
and Indonesia have been invited.
France, which in diplomatic matters famously regards itself as superior to all others, and to the U.S. in particular, has looked a good deal like Abbott and Costello when it comes to the Mideast. Eager to curry favor with its large Muslim population in advance of upcoming elections, it recently backed a Palestinian resolution in UNESCO denying any link between Jews and Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Within days French President Francois Hollande announced that his government’s vote was the result of a “misunderstanding.”
The government that was unable to “understand” what the Palestinians were seeking to do by its UNESCO gambit — and so many others like it — or to “understand” the ceaseless Palestinian con job, will be chairing the peace conference. That should come as excellent news for those hoping for peace.
In surprise move, Netanyahu says he’s ready to negotiate based on Saudi peace initiative
Israel is prepared to hold peace talks based on the Arab Peace Initiative, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprisingly declared Monday just moments after new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took the oath of office, ending a month-long saga over which party would join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
“I remain committed to making peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors,” Netanyahu said in a press conference following the swearing- in ceremony. “The Arab peace initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians.
“We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002, but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”
The controversial Arab Peace Initiative – long rejected by Jerusalem and also known as the Saudi Initiative – calls for normalizing relations between Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for a complete withdrawal by Israel to pre-1967 lines and a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
UN envoy welcomes comments lending support for Arab peace plan
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on Tuesday welcomed statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman lending some support for an Arab peace plan.
Nickolay Mladenov said the comments made a day earlier could “help advance negotiations on achieving a two-state solution.”
In a dramatic move, Netanyahu on Monday partially endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative, offering to negotiate with the Arab world regarding the parameters of the plan, which promises Israel full diplomatic ties with 57 Arab and Muslim states in return for cementing a peace accord with the Palestinians.
Mladenov said that the Middle East Quartet, which brings the United Nations, the US, the European Union and Russia together to mediate an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, had “repeatedly emphasized the significance and importance of the Arab Peace Initiative with its vision for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict and as an opportunity for building a regional security framework.”
Liberman quick to proclaim: I support the 'two-state solution'
Newly sworn in Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was quick to announce on Monday evening that he supports the “two-state solution” to solve the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict.
In a joint statement, Liberman and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed support for the recent call by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for the sides to reach a peace agreement.
“I am committed to peace with our Palestinian neighbors and with all our neighbors,” the Prime Minister said in the statement. “The Arab peace initiative includes essential elements that can help restore constructive negotiations with the Palestinians. We are ready to negotiate with the Arab countries on updating the initiative, to reflect the dramatic changes since 2002, and to maintain the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”
“We welcome the recent speech of al-Sisi and his willingness to promote peace in the region,” added Netanyahu.
Incoming Defense Minister Liberman said in the statement, “I agree to everything, including the two-state solution. I often spoke about recognition of the solution of two states for two peoples. I certainly agree that the Arab initiative has several very positive elements that allow for a serious dialogue with the countries of the region.”
Top Palestinian official: Israeli peace overtures just a PR campaign
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Tuesday rejected comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman lending some support for an Arab peace plan, saying it was a PR campaign designed to distract the world from Israel’s “continued settler-colonial policies and rejectionist positions.”
In a dramatic move, Netanyahu on Monday partially endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative, offering to negotiate with the Arab world regarding the parameters of the plan, which promises Israel full diplomatic ties with 57 Arab and Muslim states in return for cementing a peace accord with the Palestinians.
A statement from Erekat’s office described the position adopted by “war minister” Liberman and Netanyahu as “new public relations strategies promoted by the occupying government to shield Israel from having to adhere to the will of the international community and distract from its continued settler-colonial policies and rejectionist positions.”
Hamas slams French initiative as Abbas’s ‘personal step’
Ahead of next week’s Middle East peace summit to be held in Paris and attended by foreign minsters of 20 countries, the Hamas terrorist group reaffirmed Monday its rejection of the initiative.
The group called the initiative a “personal step” by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, despite the fact that the Arab League passed a resolution on Friday adopting the French peace push.
“The French initiative is an attempt to distract the Palestinian people and circumvent their national rights, especially the right of return,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement, referring to the Palestinian demand that all refugees from the 1948 war in Israel — as well as their descendants, around five million people — be allowed to settle in Israel.
“Mahmoud Abbas’s response to this initiative is a personal step and does not have any national consensus,” the statement said.
PFLP calls for 'mass struggle' against French initiative
The Communist terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has called for a "mass struggle" to stop the French initiative, which seeks to impose peace talks on Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Just last Sunday French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited Israel in an attempt to garner support for the initiative, even as Israel reiterated its rejection of the move. PA Chairperson Mahmoud Abbas for his part has eagerly embraced the international effort.
The French initiative - which is to hold a meeting of foreign ministers from a range of world powers on June 3 ahead of a meeting with Israel and the PA in autumn - is based on the 2002 Saudi initiative, which called for Israel to make massive concessions in exchange for paper promises not to attack from its Arab neighbors.
But the PFLP did not see fit to back the international initiative to press Israel into concessions, rejecting any negotiations with the Jewish state.
American Jewish Group: Move Over, Israelis, We’re Taking Over
A group of prominent American Jews, in tandem with a group of retired, left-wing Israeli military and security officials and an American security think tank, is seeking—via the next U.S. president, whoever he or she will be—to force policies on Israel that its government and a large majority of its population oppose.
Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:
In a rare and sharp split with Israeli government policy, a group of Jewish community leaders wants to get a proposal for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the next president’s desk….
Elements of the proposals…are radical departures from the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current government…. Tactically, getting the next president to kick-start new talks is also anathema to Netanyahu, who regards outside pressure as counterproductive.
Kampeas explains that the organization behind this initiative, the Israel Policy Forum,
was established in the early 1990s at the behest of then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who went over the head of what was then a hawkish pro-Israel establishment to seek U.S. Jewish backing for his peace talks with the Palestinians.
In other words, Rabin made that move during the early euphoria over achieving “peace” with Yasser Arafat and his PLO. From that point until Arafat’s death in 2004, well over a thousand Israelis were killed in unprecedented waves of terror attacks.
Turkish Deputy PM: Jerusalem Conceded on 2 of 3 Conditions for Reconciliation; Ankara Won’t Relinquish Demand That Israel Lift Gaza Blockade
Though Jerusalem has conceded on two out of three demands made by Turkey during reconciliation talks with the Jewish state, Ankara will not relinquish its insistence that the blockade on the Gaza Strip be lifted, a representative of the government in Ankara said on Monday, the Hebrew news site Walla reported.
In a conversation with journalists following a cabinet meeting, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus called the lifting of the security blockade a “necessary condition” for normalizing relations with Israel.
Turkey is also demanding an official apology and monetary compensation for the deaths of 10 activists on the Mavi Marmara – one of the ships of the “Free Gaza” flotilla in 2010 – at the hands of Israeli commandoes.
Though, according to the report, the Israeli government has agreed to the apology and compensation, it ruled out lifting its naval and aerial blockade on the Hamas-controlled enclave that shares a border with southern Israel and Egypt.
Israel Daily Picture: The Long History of Jewish/Israeli Ties with Jordan
History books provide glimpses of nearly a century of ties between Hashemite rulers and Jewish leaders, starting with the pre-state of Israel. Dr. Chaim Weizman of the Zionist Organization met with Emir Faisal in January 1919 and signed an agreement of understanding. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) was the interpreter for the meeting, but it is not certain to this day just how much of an "agreement" it was. Nevertheless the acts of meeting and dialogue were monumental.

Days before Israel's declaration of independence in May 1948, Golda Meir travelled to Jordan disguised as an Arab peasant to meet with King Abdullah to urge him to stay out of the pending Arab attack on the soon-to-be state. (He didn't.)
On September 25, 1973, Abdullah's grandson, King Hussein of Jordan, secretly visited Israel to warn Prime Minister Golda Meir of imminent attacks on Israel by Egypt and Syria. (Tragically, his warnings were not given their due seriousness.)
These two photographs, however, fill in some of the years. The first shows Emir Abdullah's personal bodyguards in 1922 -- armed Jewish Yemenite warriors from the Habani tribe. The three men were brothers -- Sayeed, Salaah, and Saadia Sofer. Notice their traditional side curls (peyot). The men of the Habani tribe were known as tall, muscular and fierce warriors.
Hashemites also used Circassian bodyguards.
Jerusalem now home to 10% of Israelis
Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel, data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reveals Tuesday, as part of data released in honor of Jerusalem Day (Sunday).
870,000 people lived in the Holy City in 2015, about 10% of the national population. Its population grew by over 20,000 people over last year, including 19,800 by birth and 3,700 through Aliyah. At the same time, some 3,500 people left Jerusalem.
Beit Shemesh, Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak residents are major 'feeder populations' for Jerusalem, i.e. the main cities people leave to go live in the capital. Emigrants of Jerusalem, likewise, often live in Beit Shemesh and Tel Aviv, as well as Givat Ze'ev.
The total fertility rate (average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifetime) in Jerusalem was 3.91 children per woman. This is higher than the national average (3.08).
78% of Israelis support unilateral annexation of Ma'ale Adumim, poll finds
The Knesset Land of Israel caucus called to annex Ma’aleh Adumim Tuesday, citing a poll showing nearly 78 percent of Israelis agree to it, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he’s ready to negotiate based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
The controversial Arab Peace Initiative – long rejected by Jerusalem and also known as the Saudi Initiative – calls for normalizing relations between Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for a complete withdrawal by Israel to pre-1967 lines, which Ma’aleh Adumim is beyond. Most calls for a two-state solution on pre-1967 lines with land swaps put the city east of Jerusalem on the Israeli side of the proposed border.
Still, Land of Israel Caucus chairmen MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) submitted legislation calling to apply Israeli law to Ma’aleh Adumim, which would be de facto annexation of the city.
The MKs called for the right-wing government, newly infused with a five-seat boost from Yisrael Beytenu, to “realize the will of the people and apply sovereignty to Ma’aleh Adumim.”
Palestinian teen stabs, lightly injures soldier in Tel Aviv
A soldier was lightly wounded Monday evening during a stabbing attack in the center of Tel Aviv.
Security forces arrested a Palestinian teenager near the scene of the attack, after he fled and tried to hide in a residential building. Police said the stabber likely had nationalistic motives and they were therefore treating the incident as terrorism.
The attacker was identified as a 17-year-old resident of the West Bank.
Eyewitnesses said the teen shouted “Allaha akbar” — the Arabic for “God is great” — during the incident. The attack was apparently carried out with a screwdriver, Channel 2 news reported.
Medical personnel at the scene administered first aid to the 19-year-old soldier for injuries to his upper body before taking him to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital.
The hospital said the soldier was likely to be discharged within several hours.
Israel to demolish home of Dafna Meir's killer
Israel's Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the demolition of the home of Murad Bader Abdullah Adais, who stabbed to death a Jewish mother in front of her children last January in the Judean community of Otniel.
Dafna Meir was repeatedly stabbed as she fought desperately to prevent the young Arab terrorist from entering her house and massacring three of her children who were home with her at the time.
Though the mother of six succeeded in heroically fighting him off, she herself was fatally wounded in the attack.
Her killer fled the scene, but was eventually captured by security forces.
Under interrogation, he claimed he had been inspired to carry out the attack by incitement broadcast on the Palestinian Authority's official TV channel.
In handing down its ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court noted that it had been proven that the murderer's family actively supported his terrorist actions.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Islamic Martyrs Seem Disappointed With 72 White Grapes (satire)
Supernal sources are reporting that recent arrivals in the Islamic Martyrs Pavilion in Heaven are expressing bewilderment and disappointment at the delights that they were given as promised for battling the infidel.
Archangels and their aides told reporters this week that since approximately 1980, an increasing number of shaheeds, or holy martyrs, who entered Heaven by virtue of fighting non-believers and other enemies of Islam, appear confused and angry that they receive seventy-two white grapes, a rare delicacy on Earth. The huri, as the term appears in Arabic, is the reward guaranteed by Muhammad to all who give their lives for Islamic causes – but the last two or three generations of shaheeds seem unimpressed.
Archangel Gabriel was the first to notice the trend. “We have guys sitting around, supposed to be enjoying everlasting bliss, but there’s this obvious undercurrent of resentment that rears its head every time one of our Islamic martyrs is offered huri,” he explained. “It’s what they were promised they would enjoy once they got here, and there’s no end to the promotion of the white grapes as the eternal reward for Islamic warriors in Earthly Islamic media, so it’s unclear to me what the problem is.”
Digging terror tunnels to carry 15-year jail sentence
Israel's new anti-terrorism legislation will soon face its second and third Knesset readings, after its final draft was approved for a parliament vote. The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday backed the bill with a vote of 10 in favor versus two against.
The legislation proposal, which seeks to reconcile Israel's need to fight terrorism with the need to maintain democratic values, civil and human rights, and the demands of international law, was first presented to the 18th Knesset in 2009. Debated during the 19th and 20th Knesset's terms, the final, 100-page draft includes 135 articles that have weathered 165 objections filed by opposition MKs.
The bill grants law enforcement agencies, particularly the Shin Bet security agency and the Israel Police, more tools to fight terrorism and terrorist organizations. It includes articles meant to fight terrorism in a global age, as well as amendments to existing terrorism-related offenses.
One of the amendments introduced in the bill concerns the offense of incitement to commit acts of terror: Where the law once demanded "clear and imminent probability" that such incitement would result in actual acts of terror, the amended article now states a "clear call to commit an act of terror" -- regardless of imminent probability -- will constitute criminal incitement.
IsraellyCool: The Background Clue To The PLO’s Hatred Of Jews
Saturday (May 28th) was the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the PLO. Earlier this year, I uncovered a New York Times report from May 31st of that year. I recommend you read it again, to get some insight into the PLO and their goals, as well as what they meant by “Palestine.”
Ma’an News has reported that 52 years on, the different palestinian terror groups are disillusioned with the PLO – mainly for not delivering on destroying Israel. But it is the photo accompanying their report that piqued my curiosity.
That poster in the background looks suspiciously like Jesus nailed to a Star of David. Heck, it is not just a suspicion – that is what it shows.
Which begs the question: If the PLO and the other groups were only about liberating “Palestine”, then why the antisemitism? I think the answer is that this not just about “liberating” the land but doing so from those filthy, rotten Jews. And when you understand the contempt with which they view us, it might just help explain why peace has been so elusive.
Palestinian factions attack 'meaningless' PLO on anniversary
Numerous Palestinian terror organizations spoke out in criticism of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after it marked its 52nd anniversary on Saturday.
The PLO was established by arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat in 1964 in order to wage "armed struggle" to "liberate Palestine." The group's pro-terror stance has remained constant, with one PLO official last October calling the murder of Jews a "national duty."
It was an internationally recognized terrorist organization until that status was removed in the 1994 Oslo Accords - even though the group never rejected terrorism or recognized Israel's right to exist.
But on its 52nd anniversary, the PLO came in for criticism from numerous terror groups including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), reports the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency on Monday.
"There is a big difference between the beginnings and the result of the PLO," said Yahya al-Abadsah, a Palestinian Authority (PA) lawmaker affiliated with Hamas. The PA was created in the 1994 Oslo Accords.
Navy shoots Gaza fisherman who leaves ‘designated zone’
Israeli sailors shot a Palestinian fisherman in the leg off the coast of the Gaza Strip Tuesday, after his vessel and a second boat didn’t obey orders to halt, the military said.
The two boats had been sailing in the waters near central Gaza, when they “deviated from a designated fishing zone” and “turned toward the south,” the Israel Defense Forces said.
“IDF troops called for the vessels to halt, firing warning shots into the air. Upon the suspects’ continued advance, forces fired toward one of the vessels,” the army said.
One of the fisherman on board the ship was struck in the leg by a bullet, a military spokesperson said.
Russian raids on Syria hospital, mosque kill 60 civilians
Turkey said Tuesday that heavy air raids carried out by Russian forces on a hospital and a mosque in the Syrian city of Idlib, a provincial capital held by al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and its allies, resulted in 60 dead and some 200 injured, Reuters reported.
Al-Nusra is not party to a Russia- and US-brokered ceasefire that went into force on February 27 between Moscow-backed government forces and Washington-backed non-jihadist rebels.
“The airstrikes are the most intensive on Idlib since the beginning of the truce,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
“Even though Idlib is not covered by the truce, it had been relatively calm with only intermittent raids,” he added.
At least five children were among those killed in the strikes, which hit several residential areas and near a hospital and a public garden, according to the Observatory.
Rouhani: Iran at turning point after defeating ‘Zionist plots’
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that Iran is at a “historic turning point” after overcoming the sanctions on its nuclear program, which he partly attributed to “Zionism.”
“We lie at a historic turning point after passing through the plots of the Zionism and the arrogance which had put us under sanctions,” Rouhani said, according to the state-run Press TV.
He also said that post-sanctions Tehran was “intent on opening the road of exports to the world countries.” The first step, he said, was “for the government to open the doors that were shut in the past.”
Rouhani told his audience in Urumieh, in northwest Iran, there was a marked rise in visits by foreign trade delegations since the sanctions were lifted, and agreements had been reached for the first investments.
Ex-Miss Turkey sentenced ‘for insulting Erdogan’
A Turkish court Tuesday found a former Miss Turkey beauty queen guilty of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media, handing her a suspended sentence of over one year in jail.
The Istanbul court sentenced model Merve Buyuksarac, 27, to one year and two months in prison for “publicly insulting” Erdogan in a satirical poem she posted on her Instagram account, the Dogan news agency reported.
The punishment has been suspended, it added, without giving further details.
The “Master’s Poem” — which was shared by the model while Erdogan was serving as prime minister — criticizes the Turkish strongman with verses adapted from the national anthem.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Assad Furious Olympic Firing Squad Unable To Compete In Rio (satire)
Syrian President Basher Assad is reportedly fuming at a decision of the International Olympic Committee not to recognize execution by firing squad as an Olympic sport for this year’s set of contests, scheduled for August in Brazil.
Assad had hoped to showcase his country’s firing squad on the biggest stage in international sports, but the IOC issued a ruling today that the inclusion of execution by firing squad in an Olympiad will happen no sooner than 2020, possibly 2024. Aides to the president said he was considering retaliatory steps against the IOC, but remains wary of measures that might alienate allies with vested interests in the Committee, such as Russia.
Trainers and staff with the Syrian firing squad team have been practicing intensively for years, often gunning down hundreds of people a week. A member of the squad told PreOccupied Territory that he and his teammates were looking forward with a mixture of anticipation and curiosity to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but now all the preparation appears to be for naught.
“I can’t tell you how many magazines I’ve emptied into the bodies of regime opponents and their relatives, friends, neighbors, business associates, and old schoolmates, getting in shape for Rio,” said Shoudhim Shoudhim, 30, a squad leader. “We were all looking forward to finding out who the targets would be for the Olympics – does Brazil have many political prisoners? Would they import them from Guatemala? Venezuela? Or would we have to bring our own? We have plenty.”

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