Monday, August 01, 2016

From Ian:

Abbas Sues History. Not a Parody.
But there is more to this than just a diplomatic evasion. By focusing on Balfour and treating it as illegal, what the Palestinians are doing is rejecting the very legitimacy of the Jewish presence anywhere in the country. It is not for nothing that Abbas has often referred to pre-1967 Israel as being occupied territory rather than just the West Bank.
For years, those intent on pressuring Israel into making more territorial concessions to the Palestinians have tried to claim that “moderates” like Abbas truly want peace. But every peace negotiation or Israeli gesture such as Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal of every soldier, settler, and settlement from Gaza in 2005 hasn’t budged the Palestinians from the same intransigent position they’ve held since they rejected Balfour, the Mandate, and the 1947 UN partition plan.
So rather than merely a nonsensical diversion into fantasy, the Palestinian lawsuit illustrates the plain fact that their goal remains reversing the verdict of history altogether; not merely a demand for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank and Jerusalem. This reflects the state of Palestinian public opinion and the fact that their national identity has remained intrinsically tied to the century-old war against Zionism. Not until they give up this futile quest will peace be possible–something that the majority of Israelis already understand but which has eluded the U.S. government and many liberal American Jews.
As the Obama administration and the Europeans plot their next move to pressure Israel into making the same mistake in the West Bank that Sharon made in Gaza, they ought to be paying attention to the signals Abbas is sending to the world. So long as the Palestinians are still trying to erase Balfour, the idea that they are prepared to accept the state of Israel is the real joke.

Khaled Abu Toameh: A Guide to the Palestinian Lexicon
Many Palestinians refer to cities inside Israel proper as "occupied." Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Tiberias, Ramle and Lod, for example, are often described in the Palestinian media as "Palestinian Cities" or "Occupied Cities." Jews living in these cities, as well as other parts of Israel, are sometimes referred to as "Settlers."
Many Palestinians have still not come to terms with Israel's right to exist. For them, this not only about the "occupation" of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The real "occupation", for them, began with the creation of Israel in 1948.
Non-Arabic speakers may find this assertion baseless, because what they hear and read from Palestinian representatives in English does not reflect the messages being relayed to Palestinians in Arabic.
It is no secret that Palestinian leaders have failed to prepare their people for peace with Israel, and deny its right to exist.
What the Arab League Meeting Reveals
The Arab League's precipitous decline in political clout was symbolically exposed by the failure of many key national leaders to attend the conference. The leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia did not attend. Only eight national leaders from the 22-member organization attended the conference.
However, the most significant aspect of this year's conference was the downgrading in significance of Palestinian issues on the agenda. Perhaps aware of this development, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas also decided not to attend. However, PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki explained that Abbas could not attend due to the recent death of his brother. Later, Maliki, somewhat quixotically, called upon the Arab League to help sponsor a UN Resolution to initiate a lawsuit against the United Kingdom for having embraced the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which made it official London policy to support the creation of a national home for the Jewish People.
Nevertheless, when the representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hectored delegates that they no longer seem to treat the depressed state of the Palestinian people as the overriding issue that should unite all Arabs, his pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears. The PFLP gave public evidence of the Palestinian issue's fall from priority, stating on their website that "this year's resolutions are no more than a carbon copy of the resolutions of the Arab Summits made in previous years. It reflects the situation too of the Arab League which long ago lost the Arab peoples' confidence."
Hamas also ruefully expressed similar frustration with the Arab League delegates, saying the summit "reflects the status of decline which the Arabs are suffering, even at the official level."

Report: Human Rights Organizations Refuse to Comment on Video of Palestinian Father Calling on Israeli Border Police to Shoot Toddler (VIDEO)
Human rights organizations have refused to comment on footage of a Palestinian father pushing his young child to provoke Israeli Border Police into shooting him, Israeli Channel 1’s English news reported on Sunday.
According to IBA News, the video clip of a weekly Palestinian protest at Nilin in the West Bank, originally uploaded to YouTube, has received more than 100,000 views on the Facebook wall of IDF foreign press spokesman Peter Lerner since Saturday. It shows the flag-waving toddler approaching the armed policemen, one of whom responds with a high five. The father then urges the boy to pelt the officers with stones.
According to IBA anchor Eylon Aslan-Levy, Amnesty International told the media outlet that it was “unable to comment,” and Human Rights Watch failed to respond to repeated requests for a statement.
The right target for the U.S. in Syria: Hezbollah
Washington could inform Tehran, Moscow and Beirut that Hezbollah should withdraw from Syria by a certain date or the United States would target any of its troops attacking non-extremist opposition forces in and around Aleppo and elsewhere. If Hezbollah failed to withdraw, the United States would then need to be ready to attack as soon as the ultimatum expired.
Hezbollah’s withdrawal or U.S. targeting of Hezbollah would send a strong but still limited message to the Syrian opposition and its allies in Turkey and the Persian Gulf: We are prepared to attack Shiite as well as Sunni terrorists, but it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity and come to the negotiating table ready to reach a serious political settlement. It would also send a strong but likewise limited message to Iran and Russia: We will not continue to tolerate your intervention in Syria without responding. The time for a political settlement is now.
How would the players in Syria react? Hezbollah would likely try to strike at accessible U.S. assets or citizens in neighboring countries, most likely in Lebanon or Iraq. It might also launch rockets into Israel. The Islamic State, which uses Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as a recruiting tool, would be undermined. Russia and Iran could in theory up the ante, escalating their involvement in Syria, but in practice they both appear to be close to the limit of lives and treasure they are willing or able to expend there. Assad would be outraged and promise revenge, but the Syrian government is even more clearly at the limit of its capabilities.
Meanwhile, the non-extremist Syrian opposition would applaud and press hard against the territory where Hezbollah is deployed. Gulf states would likewise welcome the U.S. action and redouble their efforts to support the opposition. Israel knows all too well how to react to Hezbollah attacks in order to reestablish deterrence. Turkey might complain that the United States was not also acting against the U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters whom Ankara regards as terrorists, but the Turks would still benefit from any consequent military progress against Assad by non-Kurdish forces.
In short, U.S. targeting of Hezbollah would mostly please and embolden Washington’s friends and discomfit its antagonists. It would also reassert U.S. commitment to fighting terrorism of all sorts, renew Washington’s commitment to holding Hezbollah accountable, hasten an end to the Syrian civil war and make a political settlement more likely. That is not a bad balance of risks and benefits.
Israel Gearing Up for Worst-Case ‘Day After’ Scenarios Against ISIS, Hezbollah if Russia-Brokered Syria Deal Materializes
Israel is gearing up for the “day after” an agreement is reached in Syria between the Assad regime and rebel forces, by preparing for worst-case scenarios, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Sunday.
According to the report, attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to broker such a deal are on the verge of bearing fruit, something that Israel is planning for both politically and militarily. Where the latter is concerned, the IDF is taking into account that after the two warring sides in Syria achieve understandings, jihadists will turn their attention to and aim their fire at the Israeli border. This possibility was behind a series of drills conducted by the IDF’s Golani Brigade along the Syrian and Lebanese borders last week, to train for combat against ISIS terrorists.
Though, as Walla reported, the IDF defines the Syrian border as “stable” – despite a number of incidents of stray fire and mortar-landings over the past few weeks – the Northern Command is bracing itself for a new reality. Northern Command chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi thus ordered drills to prepare for potential cross-border attacks and infiltrations. In such events, he said, the IDF would retaliate with force.
Turkey’s Hamas Hypocrisy
One of the defining characteristics of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey is its complete obliviousness to the precedent its leadership creates. Five years ago, for example, Erdoğan visited the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and said, “It is a natural and constitutional right for Macedonia to use that name [Macedonia]…. Macedonia’s decision to use its name should be respected.” On this, I happen to agree with Erdoğan, but does Erdoğan extend the same right to Kurds to call their homeland Kurdistan? Precedent dictates he should, but Erdoğan is a hypocrite: Good luck to any Kurd who refers to Diyarbakir as a city in Kurdistan.
Then, of course, there is the issue of Hamas. Erdoğan has openly embraced the Palestinian terrorist group for a decade, feting their most militant leaders in Ankara and pushing back on U.S. and European criticism by saying Hamas deserved legitimacy: It won an election, had popular support, and sought national liberation. He encouraged Turks to bypass the lawful blockade of Gaza to provide humanitarian assistance. Put aside the irony that Gaza surpasses Turkey in key demographic and health indicators. Bring up the plight of the Kurds, though, and the Turkish response is bluster and hypocrisy. If any foreign power sought to deliver even humanitarian supplies direct to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or its civilian political proxies, Turkey would consider it an act of war. At the very least, Erdoğan’s Hamas precedent means that no Western government should consider the PKK to be a terrorist group.
The latest bit of hypocrisy courtesy of Turkey’s leadership is that the United States must be responsible for the July 15 coup attempt because Fethullah Gülen, the man fingered by Erdoğan as responsible, lives in exile in Pennsylvania. Put aside the fact that the Erdoğan regime has provided no evidence: the logic is simply bizarre. In the United States judicial context, suspicion and political animosity are not synonymous with guilt. Still, the logic behind the statement of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım today is worth considering: If the United States is culpable for the attempted coup in Turkey because an ailing 75-year-old cleric lives isolated in the Poconos, then is Turkey legally responsible for Hamas attacks against Israelis and Americans because Hamas now calls Turkey home? If so, perhaps it’s time for victims of real terrorism to lawyer up and go after Turkish assets. Should they do so, their best witnesses might be Erdoğan and his proxy Binali Yıldırım.
Israel, US reach aid deal; PM dispatches defense official to DC
Israel and the US have reportedly resolved two key sticking points in drawn-out negotiations for a 10-year American aid package, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dispatched a senior defense official to Washington to finalize the agreement expected to be signed soon.
The new aid deal is set to come into effect in 2018, when the current one expires.
According to the Ynet news website, Israel will not request supplemental funding for the entire 10 years, and in the final half of the decade, will incrementally increase the amount it spends in the US per annum, until the entire amount of aid is being invested in the American domestic market.
Brigadier General (res.) Yaakov Nagel, the acting head of the National Security Council, set off for the US on Sunday, and will meet with his American counterparts to work on the final draft the new memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Negotiations on the deal have been going on for months amid tensions over the Iranian nuclear deal reached last year, which Israel vociferously opposed. Israel has charged that the accord signed between Tehran and six world powers, including the US, poses an existential threat to Israel.
Israel has already indicated that it will not seek additional military funding for 2017, which still falls under the terms of the last 10-year package. The defense aid for 2017 currently stands at $3.1 billion.
The Palestinians Are Trying to Manipulate Demographics — Here’s How
The July 11, 2016, Palestinian Authority report claiming that Jews are a minority west of the Jordan River is a classic case of “lies, damned lies and statistics.” The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics often manipulates statistics to misrepresent reality and mislead observers in a way that is deliberate and systematic, despite a powerful Jewish demographic tailwind and a rapid Westernization of Muslim demography west of the Jordan River, and throughout the Muslim world outside the sub-Saharan region.
Deliberate Palestinian misuse of statistics has resulted in unwarranted demographic pessimism and fatalism both in Israel and among Israel’s supporters. The key aim of this demographic manipulation has been to convince Israeli policymakers to hand over Judea and Samaria under the false assumption that it would be the only way to ensure an Israeli majority in Israel.
Despite the Palestinian statistics, and the display of gross negligence by the international establishment in accepting the data at face value without proper auditing, there is currently a solid, long-term, 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefitting from an unprecedented robust tailwind of Jewish fertility and immigration. Moreover, there is a gap of 1.15 million people between the number of Arabs the Palestinians claim are living in the West Bank (2.9 million) and the well-documented number of 1.75 million.
So how does the PCBS manipulate its population statistics?
Israeli Consul General in NY: I am proud to be a 'settler'
Sixty years later, my father – Moshe Dayan, a distant relative of the homonymous Israeli General - crossed another border coming from Israel into Guatemala. This time, as Israel’s ambassador to that country, he enjoyed immunity, was received with honors while carrying a diplomatic passport bearing the menorah of the sovereign Jewish State. A similar diplomatic passport I carry today as I arrive to New York to head Israel’s largest diplomatic mission in the world.
The tale of these three crossings symbolizes the dramatic change in the history of the Jewish people from the dark days of the first half of the 20th century until the prosperity and achievement of today. The creation of the independent State of Israel made these changes possible and its existence guarantees their permanence.
I bear all this in mind when I am told that representing an Israel led by a mostly conservative government in a predominantly liberal New York is not an easy task. As the global epicenter of economy, media, culture and civil society, not to mention the most vibrant hub of Jewish life outside of Israel, representing Israel to New York, is in fact representing Israel to the national and perhaps even to the global public opinion.
Some would be forgiven for thinking that the task will be even more challenging for someone with my political background. For decades I have resided in a town nestled within the hills of Samaria, overlooking Tel Aviv and Israel’s coastal plain, considered by many in the international community as a “settlement”. I am also not a career diplomat, but a political appointment by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These are both things that I am proud of and have never tried to hide. In fact, I see them as two of the greatest assets that I bring to New York. In my view, diplomacy is not a euphemism for a shallow exchange of platitudes that evades anything sensitive but rather a candid and incisive dialogue. We don’t have to agree, but we have to tell each other our truth.
'Arabs flooding the market with real estate across Israel'
Arabs across Israel and on both sides of the Green Line are increasingly willing to sell to Jews, says a Jerusalem city councilman, calling it a golden opportunity for Jewish buyers to redeem property in the Holy Land.
Jerusalem councilman Aryeh King, who has worked for years to redeem Jewish properties in what are now predominantly Arab neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem, is calling upon Diaspora Jews to take part in “rebuilding of Jerusalem”.
Ahead of a planned visit to a number of Jewish communities in the United States and Canada, King spoke with Arutz Sheva about the sudden surge of Arab properties available to Jewish buyers.
“The purpose of my visit to the US and Canada is because we are aware of a big change in the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, in Jerusalem, and in fact in all of Israel,” King said.
“More and more Arabs are offering properties for sale. Because of that the cost of properties that Arabs are selling is dropping and we are able to buy in areas that we never thought to buy. So this visit is really to expose the areas that we are already active [in] and to expose the properties to Jewish potential buyers".
French-Jewish Activist Recalls Slaughter of Peer on 14th Anniversary of Hebrew University Bombing (INTERVIEW)
On the 14th anniversary of the bombing at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which left nine dead and scores wounded, a US-based French Israeli who set up a scholarship in the name of one of the victims told The Algemeiner about the shift that has subsequently taken place in the attitude in France towards Islamist terrorism.
Noam Ohana, founder and president of Tsarfat, the “voice of French Jews in the United States,” recounted the story of David Gritz, a student at the prestigious Parisian university Sciences Po who was killed in the Hamas attack on July 31, 2002.
Ohana, a Sciences Po alumnus – who worked for the French Prime Minister’s Office and at the Israeli Consulate in New York – took it upon himself to honor Gritz, murdered by Palestinian terrorists all for being a Jew. But the educational institution was hesitant to memorialize their dead student “in any practical way.”
In addition, Ohana told The Algemeiner, “The mainstream media then was eager to explain away Palestinian terrorism and contextualize it. Even an attack on a campus cafeteria could not really be considered ‘blind’ terrorism, as all parts of Israeli society supposedly shared some blame for the plight of the Palestinians. One French intellectual, Étienne Balibar, wrote a particularly horrifying note to Le Monde, to basically try and justify David’s death: by pointing to his having traveled to Jerusalem and studying at the Hebrew University. David’s parents had to respond to this attack while still in the midst of their month of mourning.”
Family of slain girl determined to keep her memory alive
The family of the late Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the 13 year-old teen who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while sleeping in her Kiryat Arba home on June 30, is launching a special project in her memory. The family, which recently placed a tombstone on her grave as is customary following the first month of mourning, said it would host a special cultural event in her memory on Monday.
The event was to focus on Hallel's passion for the performing arts, with her friends dancing in her memory and family members recalling stories about her life and singing in her memory. Just before her death , she took part in a special ballet production in which she had a starring role.
The family also plans to set up a visitor center in Kiryat Arba that would be called "Hallel's Vineyard." The center will provide organized tours of the local winery, the vineyards and of the town itself.
"Hallel Yaffa loved the land; she loved working in winery," her mother Rina told Israel Hayom. "We though hard about the proper way to keep her memory alive. One idea involved building a visitor center where people would come and hear about the land, the people, the wine and the story of Hallel. This will cost money, and we invite everyone to take part in this project," she continued.
'We've prevented many terror attacks around the world'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a press briefing today (Sunday), during which he addressed Israel's role in helping other countries prevent terror attacks.
"On the subject of terrorism, we are a powerhouse of information," he said. All countries use our intelligence [for fighting terror]. Israel supplies it, and it has prevented many attacks around the world - [this is] something which raises [Israel's] value [in the eyes of the world]."
"The realization is sinking in among countries of the world that they are threatened by terror, and that they need Israel's help. My policy is to diversify pacts with other countries," he added.
Netanyahu rejected the idea that anti-Israel international bodies like the UN are necessarily reflective of nation-wide anti-Israel sentiment. "International bodies do not necessarily reflect [the true thoughts] of the member states within them.
"[Therefore], in recent years we have been increasing pacts with other countries," he said, emphasizing that this phenomenon was "not a [mere] substitute for relations with the US," possibly referencing his strained relations with US President Barack Obama.
IDF nabs 10 Palestinians suspected of aiding terrorist who murdered Rabbi Mark
IDF units raided the West Bank town of Dura overnight between Sunday and Monday, arresting 10 people suspected of abetting 29-year-old Muhammad Fakia, who shot dead Rabbi Michael Mark in a terrorist drive-by on July 1. Those arrested include Fakia's relatives.
Fakia was shot dead in a heavy exchange of fire with security forces in Tzurif, near Hebron, last week. During that raid, Fakia, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, opened fire on IDF units that raided his hideout, and soldiers returned fire using anti-tank missiles, before bulldozing the building in which had barricaded himself. Fakia was the gunman who fired from a moving vehicle on Rabbi Mark's vehicle on Route 60, killing him and injuring Mark's wife and two children.
During the overnight raid on Monday in Dura, security forces arrested weapons dealers suspected of assisting Fakia.
Separately, the IDF, Border Police, and Shin Bet intelligence agency shut down three weapons workshops in Kalkilya. Elsewhere across the West Bank, the IDF and Shin Bet arrested 27 wanted security suspects overnight.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Meretz TV Demands Government Funding For Sake Of Independent Press (satire)
Questions surrounding the establishment of a new government-owned corporation to manage public broadcasting continued to swirl today as the left-wing party Meretz said it would establish its own television channel that would require, in the interest of a robust press independent of the government, significant government funding.
Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Gal-On convened a press conference at the party’s headquarters this morning to discuss the initiative. Gal-On and like-minded legislators from the party such as MKs Ilan Gilon and Tamar Zandberg told reporters that for the sake of journalism that enjoys true editorial freedom without the psychological constraints of being dependent on the government for survival, the new government-owned corporate entity must be required to underwrite Meretz TV.
“Freedom of the press depends on this measure,” asserted Gal-On. “How can anyone credibly claim Israel enjoys freedom of the press when our ideas are relegated to the margins, in keeping with our electoral numbers and market demand, instead of being forced into the minds of news consumers regardless of their express interests?” She contrasted the free press that would prevail if Meretz TV were funded with the situation that obtains in the absence of such a government-funded initiative, and in which outfits such as Israel HaYom offer uncritical support to Meretz’s ideological opponents without being dependent on government funding.
“The independence of Israeli journalism rests on it receiving funding from the entity from which it is trying to assert its independence,” explained Gilon. “It sounds complex, but that’s only because you’re not part of the leftist elite, and therefore lack the intelligence to comprehend how it works.”
Why Palestinians are on the verge of civil war
More fundamentally, Abbas has already raised a Palestinian flag at Manhattan’s First Avenue UN headquarters and received blessings for a Palestinian state in places like Geneva, Sweden, Mauritania and the back pages of US party platforms. Yet, he has proved completely useless in creating a state on the West Bank.
And his attempt to pretend the last century of history, in which Jews created an independent and thriving state, never happened raises suspicions that Abbas never really was all that comfortable with the existence of Israel on lands Arabs consider their own.
At the age of 80, Abbas has now spent a dozen years in an office he’d been elected to hold for four. As he nears the end of his career, many in the West Bank wonder if he’s all there. This week’s anti-British gambit will only reinforce those questions.
And if he’s starting to fade? Well, Mr. Yesterday never prepared his people for tomorrow — that day after he steps down or dies. Several leader-wannabes will duke it out then, and — like Arab nations throughout the region’s volatile history — they’ll likely fail to resolve their differences peacefully or quickly.
So all those who get so exercised about how the two-state solution is represented in party platforms better relax. America, Britain, Europe and even Israel won’t prevent Palestinians from peacefully living and thriving in an independent state.
As they always have, only Palestinians will.
As for that other side of the vaunted two-state solution: Even Mr. Yesterday can’t turn back the clock to 1917, or any other time in history.
So Israel will continue to flourish, with or without Palestine by its side.
Hamas braces for Fatah crackdown, warns of undemocratic elections
Officials in the Gaza-based Hamas terror group are reportedly anticipating a crackdown by rival movement Fatah ahead of the upcoming local Palestinian elections, which are expected to yield significant gains for Hamas.
Hamas and Fatah agreed last month to hold municipal elections in both Gaza and the West Bank in October, for the first time in 11 years.
But a senior Hamas member decried the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing arrests of its members in the West Bank, Israel Radio reported Monday. He said the persecution of Hamas members showed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s government was uninterested in conducting fair and democratic elections.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since a bloody 2007 coup saw it oust Abbas’s Fatah movement from the coastal territory. The terror group has been a frequent critic of Fatah over the PA’s cooperation with Israel on security matters. PA security forces frequently arrest Hamas members in the West Bank, where Fatah is a dominant power fending off Hamas attempts to increase influence.
New Rocket Unveiled By Islamic Jihad At Gaza Family Festival
Islamic Jihad, a Gaza-based terror group, unveiled its newest rocket at the annual “Bond of Blood” family festival on Thursday, Palestinian news website Donia al-Watan reported.
The Al-Quds Brigades, the group’s military wing in charge of the unveiling, did not specify the rocket’s precise capabilities. However, the report said it was capable of striking Israel, saying, “the upgraded weapons show that the Al-Quds Brigades are ready to repel any Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
The festival honors terrorists who died or were wounded while carrying out attacks against Israel and features a “military parade” in which small children – including babies – are dressed as jihadi militants, armed with toy guns and other weapons.
During the 50-day Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Gaza-based terror groups launched Syrian-made long-range M-302 rockets at Israel’s major population centers, including Haifa and Tel Aviv.
Egypt rankled by Hamas’s burgeoning ties to Islamic State
Cairo is fuming over increasing cooperation between the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Islamic State-affiliated forces in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula, The Times of Israel has learned, despite attempts in recent months to alleviate the tension between Egypt and Gaza.
In an effort to curb that collaboration, Egypt has relayed to Hamas leaders that it is aware of the links between its senior activists in the Rafah border area and commanders in the Islamic State’s Sinai Province.
That cooperation has seen injured IS fighters routinely brought into the Strip for treatment, alongside ongoing weapons smuggling over the border. A few days ago, Cairo discovered that a group of IS fighters wounded during an attack on Egyptian Army soldiers – they were planting explosives on the beach at Al-Arish – were transferred to hospitals in Gaza for treatment.
Egyptian sources say they were likely smuggled into Gaza via tunnels overseen by Hamas’s military wing that facilitate the connection between the two Islamist terror groups.
Hezbollah releases boastful documentary on attack that sparked 2006 war
The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah publicized new footage from its July 2006 attack that launched the Second Lebanon War.
Three IDF soldiers were killed and two — Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev — were captured in the raid. Five more IDF soldiers were killed shortly thereafter in a failed Israeli rescue attempt.
The 34-day war, which saw thousands of Hezbollah rockets pummeling northern towns, claimed the lives of 165 Israelis, including 44 civilians. Over 1,100 Lebanese, including both Hezbollah fighters and civilians, were killed.
On Saturday, al-Mayadeen, a television channel affiliated with the Shiite organization, broadcast previously unreleased footage of Hezbollah fighters training for the attack.
The broadcast is part of a three-episode documentary series commemorating the war’s 10-year anniversary. It is seen in Israel as part of Hezbollah’s efforts to rehabilitate its image in Lebanon as the cause for the country’s suffering, both resulting from the 2006 war and due to its active participation in the Syrian civil war in support of Iranian and Assad regime forces.
5 killed as Russian military helicopter shot down over Syria
All five people on board a Russian military helicopter that was shot down over Syria on Monday are believed to have died, the Kremlin said.
"As far as we know from the information we've had from the Defense Ministry, those in the helicopter died, they died heroically, because they were trying to move the aircraft away to minimize victims on the ground," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
The Defense Ministry had earlier said there were five people on board the Mil Mi-8 helicopter.
Three of the five were helicopter crew members, while the other two were officers.
According to the Kremlin, the helicopter was shot down following completion of a “humanitarian aid” mission in Aleppo.
“On August 1, a Mi-8 transport helicopter has been shot down by ground fire in Idlib province after a delivery of humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo. Three crew members and two officers from the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria were on board."
Iranian Oil Exports to Asia Soar, Giving Regime Influx of Cash
Iranian crude oil exports to four major Asian buyers increased by nearly 50 percent from this time last year, Reuters reported on Friday.
Iranian oil sales reached the highest point in over four years in June, six months after the U.S. and European Union lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran under the framework of the nuclear deal. Iranian Communications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi claimed on Friday that exports would reach pre-sanctions levels in two or three months’ time, far faster than analysts had predicted.
Much of the increase in Asia comes from higher export volumes to four energy-hungry countries — India, China, South Korea, and Japan — which imported 1.72 million barrels per day in June according to government data.
Iran has complained in recent months that it has not received the economic benefits it should have from the nuclear deal, with some Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Central Bank of Iran governor Valiollah Seif, threatening that the accord could collapse if Iran doesn’t receive more investment and sanctions relief.
Iranian men don hijabs to protest modesty laws
Dozens of Iranian men have posted pictures of themselves in hijabs to social media in recent days, after a new protest movement urged the action in protest of the strict modesty laws the country imposes on women.
The New York-based Iranian social activist and journalist Masih Alinejad kick-started the anti-hijab movement My Stealthy Freedom when she posted a picture of herself driving without a headscarf in 2014.
She encouraged other women to post photos of themselves without their hijabs and received so many photos that she started a Facebook page, which has since garnered over one million likes.
Alinejad is an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime, but according to the page’s description, the initiative is not connected to any political group.
Lately, men have been joining in the protest using the hashtag #‎meninhijab‬.

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