Wednesday, July 13, 2016

From Ian:

MEMRI: With Publication Of High School Finals Results, Palestinian Authority Press Notes Deaths Of Students Who Carried Out Stabbing Attacks, Stresses: 'Dying As A Martyr Is The Path Of Excellence And Superiority'
The July 11, 2016 release of high school seniors' final exam results by the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Education is being widely covered in the Palestinian media. As part of this coverage, on July 12, PA dailies published articles on high school seniors who had been killed during the school year carrying out, or attempting to carry out, stabbing attacks against Israelis, and who thus would never graduate. The articles praised the teenagers' martyrdom, playing with the Arabic word shahada, which means both "diploma" and "martyrdom." The lead article in the PA official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida listed 16 Palestinian students whom, it stated, had not been able to take their final exams, but had "passed the difficult [test] of dying as martyrs for the sake of the homeland" with flying colors. It added, "Dying as a martyr is the path of excellence and superiority."
The list included 16-year-old Ahmad Abu Al-Rab, who participated in the February 3 shooting and stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem in which a female Israeli Border Guard was killed, and Labib 'Aazem and Muhammad Zaghlawan, both 17, who carried out the March 2 stabbing attack at Har Bracha, wounding two Israeli soldiers.
PMW: PA Monument for Murder
Next week, the Palestinian Authority and the PLO will be dedicating a monument to Abu Sukkar, a terrorist who murdered 15 by filling a refrigerator with explosives and detonating it on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem in 1975.
The PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs posted an invitation to the event on Facebook, which stated that it is being held “under the auspices of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, the Ramallah and El-Bireh district, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, the Turmus Ayya municipality, and the Supreme Council for Monitoring Prisoners’ Affairs.” It also encouraged people to attend, stating that their presence would be “a sign of loyalty to the Martyrs and the prisoners”:
“We are honored to invite you to participate in the dedication of the monument to the Martyr (Shahid) fighter Ahmad Jabarah ‘Abu Sukkar’
On Sunday, July 17, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. at the village of Turmus Ayya
Your presence is a sign of loyalty to the Martyrs and the prisoners”
[Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, July 13, 2016]
The Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake and District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam have honored this murderer before. Last year, Palestinian Media Watch documented that the two officials called the murderer of 15 “a great fighter,” promised to “follow his path,” and praised him as “setting an example.”

Israel and European allies working to stop UNESCO from ignoring Jewish ties to Temple Mount
Israel has enlisted the help of three European countries — the United Kingdom, France and Germany — to sway UNESCO against passing a resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
“There is an intense diplomatic effort on behalf of Israel to counter this text,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon.
He spoke in response to a push by Jordan and Palestine to sway the 21-members of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to approve a resolution that speaks of the Temple Mount solely as how it is referred to in Islam, al-Haram al-Sharif.
The Committee is meeting in Istanbul from July 10 to 20 to vote on new sites for its World Heritage List. On Tuesday and Wednesday it will also be affirming and adding new sites to its endangered list.
Jerusalem and its Old City Walls, which were first inscribed on the World Heritage List by Jordan in 1981, is also on the endangered list. Palestine, which is accepted as a UNESCO member state, placed the Church of the Nativity on that list in 2012, and the ancient terraces of Battir in 2014.
On Tuesday the committee reaffirmed their placements on the endangered list. A Jerusalem resolution was not discussed at that point or even mentioned.

Elliott Abrams: Israel, Secrecy, and American Meddling
The Israeli Knesset has just passed a law requiring that NGOs who receive more than half their budget from foreign governments and organizations state this publicly. A clamor has arisen, with critics denouncing the new legislation as anti-democratic.
This strikes me as ridiculous, and let’s do some hypotheticals. The UK is facing the Brexit referendum, and the government of France secretly funds pro-Remain groups. Is that fair or democratic? In the past decade several states in our country held referenda over same-sex marriage. How would we feel if it turned out groups proposing a “yes” vote had been funded by the government of Sweden? We would feel, as the Brits would feel in my first example, that our internal debate was being thwarted and distorted by foreigners. That is precisely how the Israeli lawmakers who voted for the new law felt. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the new law will “prevent an absurd situation in which foreign countries meddle in the internal affairs of Israel.” He’s right.
In Israel, many leftist groups that endlessly attack not only the current /government and its policies but the legitimacy of Israel and the conduct of the IDF have been funded largely by European countries. The new Israeli law does not prevent this, and does not interfere with free speech, but merely says the financial facts must be stated in all public communications by the recipient Israeli group. No doubt the net effect will be to undermine the credibility of such groups, or so it seems to me–and presumably to the new law’s drafters. If you learn Monday that the Netherlands loudly denounced Israel in the UN, and Tuesday that some Israeli group denouncing the government is funded by the Netherlands, you may well put two and two together. In any event, you ought to have the relevant information.
Is this really a problem, though? Is foreign intervention in Israeli politics a serious issue?
The Real Threat to Israeli Democracy
The problem with the NGOs in question is that, unlike the sorts of groups that get U.S. funding in Eastern Europe or Asia, the Israeli left is not really interested in promoting democracy. Their basic goal is to delegitimize the Jewish presence in parts of the country and to undermine the efforts of the government and the army to keep tabs on and to suppress Palestinian terrorism. The funding they get from the European Union and other largely hostile foreign governments is not about making Israel more democratic. It’s about building support for pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, to undermine its claims to disputed territory and to handicap its counter-terrorism work, as the support for the anti-Israel Defense Forces group called Breaking the Silence attests.
Israelis are free to support those positions and some do. But their problem is that while the majority of Israelis may not be happy with the current stalemate with the Palestinians, they also view Western pressure to force their country into more suicidal territorial retreats as unreasonable and unfair given the intransigent nature of the Palestinian Authority and its Hamas rivals. Moreover, they view groups like Breaking the Silence and others like them as crossing the line between loyal opposition into sympathy for their country’s avowed enemies. They also keep electing Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners and have relegated left-wing parties that sympathize with the NGOs to marginal status. So the left must rely on foreign governments rather than Israelis or even Diaspora Jewish donors to keep their groups going. If most Israelis, including the majority that elected the current government as well as some opposition parties that are equally hostile to groups like Breaking the Silence, resent such efforts, who can blame them?
So while the NGO bill does nothing, the arguments about foreign funding are about something important: respecting democracy. Right-wingers who obsess about foreign involvement in Israel’s affairs are a bit hypocritical since their side also benefits from money raised elsewhere. But the Israeli left needs to stop looking abroad for support they can’t find at home. They should concentrate their efforts on persuading Israelis, not the EU, to back their positions. Until they do, they will remain a permanent and increasingly unpopular minority. And that is something that no legislation can save them from.
Israel’s Phantom Isolation
It’s doubtful that anyone in Cairo, let alone Jerusalem or Ramallah (or Riyadh, for that matter) actually thinks Abbas is willing to make peace with Israel under any circumstances. The PA has demonstrated time and again that its worst fear is to be put in the same position it found itself in during the Camp David Summit in 2000 or the meeting in Annapolis, Maryland in 2008, when first Arafat, and the Abbas, turned down Israeli offers of statehood and peace. Since it cannot recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn without being seen as betraying the anti-Zionist cause that is at the heart of Palestinian national identity, Abbas believes such talks must be avoided like the plague, and he has acted accordingly in recent years.
Unlike in the past, when Arab governments viewed support for Palestinian rejectionism as a cost-free and popular exercise, both the Egyptians and the Saudis are no longer interested in helping Abbas. At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise, Israel remains hated on the Arab street. But Arab governments understand that Israel means them no harm and is a useful ally against more pressing enemies like ISIS and Iran. Moreover, with the cracks in the Third World wall of isolation that were shown during Netanyahu’s Africa tour, Israel’s warm ties with former Arab enemies is evidence that Abbas is the one with few friends in the region.
The hijinks at UNESCO are evidence of the impact of the anti-Semitism that is sweeping the globe. But the idea that Israel is isolated—promoted as much by leftist Jewish critics of Netanyahu as by the Palestinians—is clearly bunk. Many in the Arab world and elsewhere have grown tired of pushing for justice for a Palestinian cause that isn’t interested in making peace with the Jewish state at a time when the old war against Zionism is a distraction from more pressing threats. That spells failure for Abbas and a not insignificant victory for a Netanyahu government that has proven that it is not the disaster for Israel that its foes claim it to be.
Right-wing lawmakers pan US ‘intervention’ in Israeli elections
Ze’ev Elkin, Likud’s minister of Jerusalem affairs, slammed the “callous intervention in the Israeli democratic process, which only proves the necessity for transparency laws for foreign state funding of political organizations.”
He added: “The people in Israel choose a government that will look after the national and security interests of the citizens of the State of Israel, and not to carry out the dangerous plans that foreign states are trying to arrange for us.”
The inquiry findings “prove conclusively that there was a crude, clear intervention from the US State Department in the internal affairs of Israel,” MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) said in a statement. “This is scandalous, a callous attempt to replace the government of Israel through funding from the US government.”
He vowed to advance his own “V15 bill,” which would restrict the use of foreign funding in Israeli political campaigns.
According to the report, authored by the permanent subcommittee on investigations of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the State Department gave grants totaling $349,276 to One Voice’s Israeli and Palestinian branches “to support peace negotiations” over a 14-month grant period that ended in November 2014.
Republican platform takes strong pro-Israel stand
The draft platform formulated by the Republican Party ahead of its 2016 National Convention is expected to include groundbreaking pro-Israel language.
The draft recognizes Jerusalem "as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state," and called for the American embassy "to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law." This is a dramatic departure from the platform the GOP introduced before the 2012 presidential elections, which made no mention of Jerusalem.
The suggested platform also sidesteps the two-state solution, saying the party supports "the establishment of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region," and "opposes any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and calls for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so."
The GOP Platform Subcommittee, which drafted the platform, blasted the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as anti-Semitic and called for "effective legislation to thwart actions intended to limit commercial relations with Israel."
The draft further says the Republicans commit to "ensuring Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over all adversaries, and supports Israel's right to defend itself in conventional warfare as well as against legal, economic, and cultural warfare."
Corbyn Hires Bianca Jagger as Social Media Director (satire)
Noted rock star ex-wife and activist Bianca Jagger got into a bit of a pickle yesterday when she inadvertently (we think!) tweeted out a list of British Members of Parliament who had voted for the Iraq War. The list, helpfully compiled by the White Nationalist site Metapedia, included such pertinent information as the race, sexual orientation (with details!), and sometimes even the religion (We’ll give you three guesses which religion they singled out, and the first two guesses don’t count) of individual MP’s. But it’s all good because she tweeted at 4 AM and forgot to like read the link and stuff.
Yet out of Crisis comes Opportunity. Upon seeing Ms. Jagger in action, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn reached out to her and offered her the position of Social Media Director. Labour Spokesperson Liam C. explained. “With Mr. Corbyn, the strategy is all about keeping his opponents off-balance as they try to figure out if he’s malicious, obtuse, or just inept. And Ms. Jagger’s tweet certainly demonstrated that she has what it takes to join our team.”
Isi Leibler: No permanent allies or enemies, only permanent interests
Netanyahu can be said to have absorbed Lord Palmerstone’s philosophy: “We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”
Our relationship is based upon the reality that in many cases, the enemy of our enemy has common interests with us. But that does not mean that the enemy of our enemy is necessarily a permanent friend.
In this context Netanyahu has employed sophisticated diplomacy, retaining remnants of eroding traditional alliances but vigorously seeking to extend Israel’s diplomatic relationships to broader levels. To maximize this he must also strengthen our ailing Foreign Ministry and ensure that only top-quality diplomats serve as envoys. Today we have a number of outstanding diplomats serving simultaneously with the most appallingly ill-suited personnel representing us in critical locations.
For the foreseeable future many Arab states are likely to remain our bitter enemies. But there have been historic occasions when alliances based on realpolitik led to overcoming long-standing ethnic tensions as was the case between Germany and France. I remain the eternal optimist and believe the day may come when our neighbors will become reconciled to our existence and our grandchildren will live in harmony with them.
The reality is that Israel today is independently strong and able to resist global pressures. The US remains our most important ally and the only country in which shared traditions and personal relationships do impact on foreign policy and have prevented anti-Israel elements from abandoning us. Ironically, if we succeed in our current policy of broadening relations and become even more independent, it will actually strengthen our relationship with the Americans.
Turkey, Egypt, Africa: How ‘hard-liner’ Netanyahu pulled off a diplomacy trifecta
The conventional wisdom has it that earning the sobriquet “the most right-wing government in Israeli history” does not lead to diplomatic successes.
In recent weeks, on the Turkish, Egyptian and African fronts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is proving the conventional wisdom wrong.
How is it that the head of a government beating a hasty retreat from the two-state solution scored a triumphant tour of Africa, hosted a convivial summit with an Egyptian foreign minister for the first time in nearly a decade and renewed full ties with Turkey?
Here’s a look at what Netanyahu’s diplomatic successes mean – and their limitations.
Oh, Bibi, Bibi, it’s a wild world
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, talks about retreating from America’s preeminent role in the world. Although he is adamant that he is pro-Israel, Trump has suggested he could charge Israel for the billions in defense assistance it receives.
Similarly Europe, overwhelmed by a refugee crisis, is becoming more insular and, for the first time in decades, faces the prospect of falling apart as a common political force, with Britain’s planned exit from the European Union and other countries contemplating similar actions.
Meantime, calls to target Israel – or its settlements – with boycotts are increasing across the continent.
Israel to join the UN Security Council?
One year after former Likud MK Danny Danon made the transition from the Knesset to the United Nations, Israel's Ambassador to the UN spoke with Arutz Sheva regarding the trends now shaping the international body, and the possibility of Israel receiving its first voting seat on the UN Security Council.
'We can win in the UN'
While the United Nations still has a strongly anti-Israel slant, the Ambassador told Arutz Sheva, the Jewish state has made great strides in recent years – with the possibility of even greater accomplishments yet to come.
"There is no love for Israel in this building," Danon acknowledged, "but the days when they could just smear us are gone. We need to dare to believe that its possible for us to win in the UN. I was the first Israeli chosen to chair a UN committee. That's a great accomplishment."
Israel on the UN Security Council?
Despite the recent election of Danon as committee chairman, a first for Israel's Mission to the UN, the Ambassador isn't resting on his laurels.
"In another two years Israel will be a candidate for membership on the Security Council," Danon noted.
JPost Editorial: Egyptian opportunities
Egypt might not want to be put in a position where it continues to impose an embargo on Gaza while Turkey develops trade relations. For its part, Israel already has taken steps to improve ties with Egypt, which was permitted to break the Camp David Accords prohibiting the entry of Egyptian troops into the Sinai. Both troops and air support are now operating there.
Israel also has agreed to Egypt’s transfer to Saudi Arabia of two small islands at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba – Sanafir and Tiran – to Saudi Arabia, even though this could threaten Israel’s continued access to the Straits of Tiran.
More importantly, Egypt is concerned about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile. Egypt stands to lose large amounts of water – at least temporarily – which will seriously impact the amount of electricity it produces from the Aswan Dam.
Israel has leverage in Ethiopia that Sissi wants Netanyahu to use to Egypt’s benefit.
If Israel can show genuine willingness to make headway with the Palestinians, this could lead to improved relations not only with Egypt but with other “moderate” Sunni states, as well. However, if Israel is intransigent, this could have negative impact on Egypt’s newfound readiness for public displays of cooperation with the Jewish State such as the one witnessed this week in Jerusalem.
Abbas says Cairo peace summit only after settlement freeze
Palestinian leaders have presented several preconditions for participating in a trilateral Israeli-Egyptian-Palestinian peace summit in Cairo, including a freeze on Israeli settlement construction, a Palestinian official told The Times of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reportedly told Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry he would be willing to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo for talks hosted by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
The Prime Minister’s Office did not deny the report by the Saudi-owned, pan-Arab news outlet Al-Arabiya. It said in a statement that “whether the issue was discussed or not, Israel has always said it is prepared to conduct direct bilateral negotiations with no preconditions.”
The senior Palestinian official said Tuesday that Abbas had conditioned his participation on Israel agreeing to stop settlement construction and accepting a set timeline for negotiations. Israel would also have to acquiesce to negotiations based on the pre-1967 lines and pledge ahead of time to implement any agreements reached in the talks.
Citing ‘pro-Israel bias,’ Arabs seek to block Quartet report at UN
Arab nations are calling on the UN Security Council not to endorse a report aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process that the Palestinians see as biased in favor of Israel, the Palestinian envoy said Tuesday.
The report by the Middle East quartet — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States — calls on Israel to halt settlement expansion and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence.
The criticism of Israeli settlement building was expected, and has long featured in such reports. But the quartet’s substantial focus, too, on Palestinian incitement to violence against Israel infuriated the Palestinian Authority and seemed to mark an internalization of long-standing Israeli complaints.
Arab diplomats agreed during a recent meeting to try to block any move by the council to adopt a US-drafted statement backing the long-awaited report’s recommendations, Riyad Mansour told reporters.
Egypt, which represents the Arab group on the council, was told “not to allow a statement to be adopted welcoming and endorsing the recommendations,” Mansour said as the council met to discuss the report.
Israel warns UN: Hezbollah has 120,000 missiles aimed at us
Hezbollah now possesses 17 times the number of missiles it did 10 years ago when UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was adopted at the end of the Second Lebanon War, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Council Tuesday.
Hezbollah now has “more missiles below ground in Lebanon than the European NATO allies have above ground,” Danon said as he presented recent IDF intelligence about the terrorist organization to the Security Council, including aerial photographs revealing Hezbollah positions and statistics about the organization’s weapons stockpiles.
The Israeli mission to the UN told The Jerusalem Post the intelligence was classified and cleared by the IDF especially for use by Danon during the meeting.
Israel fumes at French FM for meeting with Hezbollah officials
Israel has responded with anger to a reported meeting between the French foreign minister and members of the Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah, suggesting the move was comparable to meeting with representatives of the Islamic State group.
Jean-Marc Ayrault met with a political delegation of Hezbollah in Lebanon on Tuesday, according to local media reports.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry released a statement urging France to follow the example of Arab states that have blacklisted Hezbollah as a terror organization.
“It’s a shame that the French foreign minister didn’t consult with Arab states that do not make a distinction between the military and political arms of Hezbollah,” read the Tuesday statement. “It’s clear that Foreign Minister Ayrault would not meet with the ‘political wing’ of Islamic State.”
In bid to curb violence, IDF takes aim at West Bank guns
Israel has seized dozens of weapons, shuttered arms-making factories and arrested weapons dealers in a crackdown in the West Bank meant to quell an ongoing spate of Palestinian violence, an Israeli military official said Tuesday.
Col. Roman Gofman, a commander of a West Bank brigade, said the crackdown is making it more difficult and expensive to carry out attacks with guns.
Gofman said the 10-month outburst of violence had reached a new intensity with an increasing amount of attacks using guns. Last month, two Palestinian attackers killed four people when they opened fire on a Tel Aviv restaurant, and earlier this month, a man was killed after his car was shot at in the West Bank. Most of the violence has been carried out by knife-wielding Palestinians.
He said some 200 guns had been seized since the start of the year and that 16 factories forging crude weapons had been closed.
Israeli forces targeted in suspected West Bank car-ramming; suspect shot dead
During a raid on an arms production workshop in the Palestinian town of Al-Ram, northeast of Jerusalem, security forces were targeted by a vehicle traveling at high speed towards them early on Wednesday.
The IDF said the joint IDF-Border Police force felt its life to be in dangers, and fired on the vehicle.
One suspect in the car was shot dead, and the second was sustained gunshot wounds, before being evacuated to hospital. Security forces arrested a third suspect for questioning.
The suspect who died was said to be twenty-two-year-old Anwar al-Salaimah, reportedly from the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Qudsnet new agency, he was married two months ago.
The IDF said an investigation into the details of the incident is underway.
Bedouin who crossed into Gaza identified as 19-year-old
An Israeli citizen who crossed into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday was identified Wednesday as Juma Ibrahim Abu Anima, 19, a resident of an unrecognized Bedouin settlement in the south of Israel.
Abu Anima, is from Hashem Zana, a village in the northern Negev.
Details about Abu Anima, who was reportedly undergoing emotional distress, were permitted for publication Wednesday, a day after he was spotted by the IDF crossing the border fence into the Gaza Strip.
Abu Anima had been suffering from mental illness for some time although his family believed that recently there had been an improvement in his condition and had been encouraging him to try to find work, Israel Radio reported.
Abu Anima had traveled to visit his brother, a shepherd tending his flock in an open area near Kibbutz Be’eri. He used the opportunity to head to the border and an IDF watchtower saw him attempting to climb the fence into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
Trove of gadgets seized at Gaza border
The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that border officials had seized a dizzying collection of electronic and surveillance equipment as it was being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
Among the items found were 14 small unmanned aerial vehicles and components, security cameras, satellite communications equipment, surveillance cameras, packages of motion sensors binoculars, laser pointers for weapons, communications equipment and electronic boards, tasers, weapons components, diving watches equipped with flashlights, flippers, miniature cameras, GoPro cameras, DVR cameras, and other banned electronic components.
“The discovery was unusual, even to those familiar with the most creative smuggling attempts and methodologies,” the ministry said of the find which was made at the Erez border crossing.
The materials were confiscated and an investigation was opened to identify those behind the smuggling attempt.
Sources: Turkey Arrests 13 Gaza Jihadists on Suspicion of Islamic State Membership
Thirteen Gazans have been arrested in Turkey over the last month on suspicion of supporting the Islamic State organization, jihadi sources and the relative of one of the suspects in Gaza told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The Palestinians, who have lived in Turkey as students for more than a year, were arrested as Turkey stepped up measures against IS following a string of terror attacks, the sources said.
The relative of one of the suspects said that the family member’s culpability is yet to be established, “though the arrest is probably a preventative measure, as Gaza is known as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism, and we expect him to walk free very soon.”
The relative said the detainee and two of his friends went to Turkey “for the sole purpose of studying and finding employment,” given the dire situation in Gaza.
Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas officials have been lobbying the Turkish government for the men’s release, vouching for their abstention from terrorism, so far to no avail.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Gulf Nations Gave To Gaza At The Office (satire)
Arab and Muslim countries who pledged to help fund the rebuilding of Gaza Strip homes and facilities after the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel reassured inquirers today that they had indeed made good on those pledges, separately, at their workplaces.
“We gave at the office,” promised Saudi Arabia, which according to World Bank figures committed to providing half a billion dollars in reconstruction aid, but has so far given only one tenth of that. “Yeah, there was this guy who came around collecting, and we gave the rest of the money to him. The Palestinians should see it in their bank accounts as soon as the transaction comes through.” The kingdom then excused itself, saying it was already late for an important meeting.
“Oh, you mean they haven’t gotten the money yet?” answered an uneasy Qatar. “That’s weird. I had the receipt right here a minute – oh, wait. It must be in my other suit.” Qatar pledged a full billion dollars, but has made good on only 15% of that amount.
Other nations not bordering the Persian Gulf had similar reactions. “What do you mean we haven’t paid?” protested Turkey, looking around to see who might witness the interaction. “We support the Palestinians in Gaza one hundred percent!” Turkey has paid about 64 million dollars of its $200M pledge, or 32 percent.
UN court nixes trial for Hezbollah commander
The special UN court set up to prosecute the killers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri on Monday overturned an earlier decision to try in absentia a Hezbollah military chief who is thought to have died in May, AFP reported.
The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon's (STL) appeals chamber found by a majority "that sufficient evidence had been presented... to establish the death of Mustafa Badreddine," it said in a statement.
The court's judges last month insisted they would continue with the trial of Badreddine and four others, despite thousands attending Badreddine funeral in Beirut.
The tribunal's appeals judges, however, had a different opinion and "ordered the Trial Chamber to terminate proceedings against the accused" -- but said the case could be reopened should new evidence come to light proving Badreddine is still alive, according to AFP.
Badreddine was the highest-ranking Hezbollah member to be killed since the group joined Syria's civil four years ago. He died in an explosion on May 12 near Damascus international airport, in circumstances that are still shrouded in mystery.
Hezbollah has said that “Islamist extremists” killed Badreddine, though it did not name any particular group and there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
Hezbollah finds fighting in Syria less popular than battling Israel
In front-line villages of south Lebanon, the posters of Hezbollah members killed fighting Israel 10 years ago still stand, but have faded. Now rising up around them is a new generation of posters, bearing the faces of young fighters from the militant group killed in Syria.
They reflect the Shiite group’s radical shift from decades fighting Israel, a cause that at one time earned it soaring popularity across the Arab and Muslim world, to the far less popular role fighting fellow Arabs in defense of Syria’s president, Bashar Assad.
It is a venture that is proving costly. The war in neighboring Syria is bleeding Hezbollah, considered a terror group by Israel, of fighters and experienced military commanders, and has left the group more vulnerable to accusations of complete subservience to Iran, which rallied Hezbollah to intervene in the war. So far, more than a thousand of the group’s fighters, including several founding members, have been killed in Syria, a toll higher than the one incurred by the group in nearly two decades of fighting Israeli forces.
Rumblings of discontent
Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria has also changed the public discourse around the group in the Arab world. At home in Lebanon, its domination of politics is unshaken: With a bloc of allies in the Cabinet and parliament, it vetoes any decisions it doesn’t approve of, including preventing parliament from electing a new president. But it is much more openly criticized. Public opinion is sharply polarized among those who see the group as dragging Lebanon into the Syria morass, and others who support it.
Iran says it could restart nuclear program if needed
Iran’s president said the Islamic Republic could restore elements of its nuclear program that were halted under its landmark deal if world powers that signed the agreement don’t live up to their end of the bargain.
President Hassan Rouhani made the remarks televised on state TV on Wednesday, a day ahead of the one-year anniversary of the deal between Tehran and the United States and other world powers.
The deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States) limited Tehran’s atomic program in return for the lifting of some international sanctions, which took effect in January.
Rouhani hailed the nuclear deal as widely beneficial, saying it promotes peace and stability and that violating it “will harm everyone.”
But he also assured Iranians that Iran is “completely ready” and able to restore its nuclear program quickly if other parties violate the deal.
Obama vows to veto Iran trade restrictions
President Barack Obama pledged to veto three pieces of legislation because they contain language that would scuttle implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.
A White House news release on Tuesday said the bills passed this month by congressional Republicans, with little resistance from Democrats, contradict the easing of sanctions that the US promised Iran in return for rolling back its nuclear program.
The measures would expand existing sanctions, hinder Iran’s international financial transactions and prevent the United States from procuring Iran’s heavy water.
The White House said the bills would undermine the ability of the United States to meet its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is called.
“The President has made it clear that he will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of the JCPOA,” the news release said.
‘Pokemon Go’ a Hit in Arab World Despite Fatwa Against ‘Zionist’ Franchise
The mobile phone-based game Pokemon Go has become a hit in the more affluent regions of the Arab world despite a long-standing fatwa on the Japanese game series accusing the monsters of inspiring deviance and promoting “Zionism.”
The game, in which players engage in a scavenger hunt to find creatures in the real world using their phone’s GPS function, is not yet officially available outside of the United States and Australia/New Zealand, but players have found a way to change their phone’s location settings to play. Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have become hotspots for the game, Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya reports.
“Fans in Dubai are running around the city, eyes glued to their phones, in a bid to catch the virtual Pokemons. Meanwhile downtown Lebanon last night witnessed people hunting for the fantasy characters,” Al Arabiya notes, citing millions of tweets from players in those nations’ urban centers as evidence of how widespread play has become.
There are at least two Facebook pages dedicated to Saudi players of the game, with one player posting screencaps showing how prominent Riyadh landmarks appear in the game.
Pokemon Go player claims he has captured a virtual monster at AUSCHWITZ: Nazi death camp becomes the most inappropriate place yet for gamers to hunt bizarre creatures
The hugely popular virtual reality game Pokemon Go has sparked new controversy after reports that the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz has become a potential destination for gamers chasing down animated monsters.
The 'augmented reality' game allows players to capture creatures at real world landmarks but its creators have come under fire after some were located at places such as the US Holocaust Museum and war cemeteries.
The latest site that features in the game appears to be Auschwitz-Birkenau based on a screen grab of the game made by a visitor to the site, reports More than a million people, mainly Jews, died at the largest concentration camp established by the Nazis during the Second World War.
The game - based on the computer game that swept the world in the 1990s - has been a huge hit in the countries where it has been launched so far including the United States and Australia.
Based on Google's mapping technology, it allows players to wander around their neighbourhoods and wider afield to capture creatures that appear on their phones.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
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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