Wednesday, October 19, 2016

From Ian:

Ben-Dror Yemini: A victory in self-deception
The Palestinian ‘narrative’ has scored another victory, this time at UNESCO. But it’s not a victory; it’s actually a defeat. The addiction to lies does not change reality or solve any problem—it pushes away the chance for reconciliation or peace.
Dr. Omar Jaara of An-Najah University appeared on Palestinian television four years ago and said that Moses had led the Muslims out of Egypt and that the subsequent Israeli conquest of the land was “the first case of a Palestinian liberation through an armed struggle.” He attributed the battle between David and Goliath to the Palestinians as well.
For a moment, it seemed like a satire program, but it was completely serious. “This is our logic, and this is our culture,” Jaara explained in the interview, which was recorded by Palestinian Media Watch.
Four years have passed and the historian is celebrating. The Palestinian “narrative” has scored another victory, this time at UNESCO. Allegedly, this not just a victory but an overwhelming victory: Although Brazil and Mexico expressed reservations over the resolution on Tuesday, there was no new vote, and the decision remained unchanged. The Palestinians even managed to convince Christian countries, as Israeli diplomat George Deek tweeted, to adopt a resolution which means that “Jesus was a liar.”
There is no big surprise here. After all, we are living in the era of narratives, which is the post-factual era. It possible that in a year or two, UNESCO or another international organization will adopt a resolution confirming Jaara’s narrative about the Exodus from Egypt.

PMW: Abbas' Antisemitic advisor's duplicity
Abbas' Antisemitic advisor's duplicity: With Israeli President last week, he is for: "eradication of religious hatred"
Yet to Palestinians he preaches religious hatred: Jews represent "evil," "falsehood," "the devils," and "the satans" and Israel is "Satan's project" [Official PA TV, Oct. 23, 2015]
Earlier this month, Israel's president Reuven Rivlin met with Mahmoud Abbas' Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, at a meeting with Israeli rabbis and Palestinian religious leaders. [The New York Times, Oct. 13, 2016]
The meeting was "intended, according to organizers, to forge a joint effort against religious violence, and to promote peace and coexistence," the New York Times wrote, citing a statement released by the participants:
"We believe the deliberate killing of or attempt to kill innocents is terrorism, whether it is committed by Muslims, Jews or others. In this spirit, we encourage all our people to work for a just peace, mutual respect for human life and for the status quo on the holy sites, and the eradication of religious hatred." [The New York Times, Oct. 13, 2016]
This example of Al-Habbash participating in a "co-existence" event with Israelis and presenting himself as a peace-seeking moderate is typical of the Palestinian Authority leadership's duplicity. To his Palestinian audience, Al-Habbash does not ever try to "eradicate religious hatred," but just the opposite. He promotes religious hatred and even preached that according to Islam it's prohibited to recognize Israel's existence of even a millimeter of land.
In addition to being Abbas' advisor, Mahmoud Al-Habbash serves as the PA's Supreme Shari'ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice.
Abbas advisor: "Jerusalem... and the [Western Wall]... are all purely Islamic"

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Fatah Prepares for War with Israel
"We have pledged to prepare an army of fighters by devoting our full abilities and energies to consolidate the option of armed struggle as the only means to liberate Palestine." — The armed wing of Fatah, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Martyr Nidal Al-Amoudi Division.
The international community continues to perceive Fatah as the "moderate" Palestinian party with whom Israel should make peace. Yet Fatah is far from a single united bloc; many groups within the faction continue to seek the "liberation of Palestine" through armed struggle. Moreover, neither Abbas nor any of his senior Fatah loyalists have repudiated the war-set Fatah militias. Crucially, many of these Fatah militiamen continue to receive salaries from the Palestinian Authority.
These Fatah gunmen who are preparing for war with Israel are indirectly receiving their salaries from Western donors, including the US and many EU countries, who fund the Palestinian Authority.
These groups believe that they represent the real Fatah, the one that never recognized Israel's right to exist and holds on to armed struggle as the only way to "liberate Palestine." They are not breakaway groups. That is why they continue to operate under the name of Fatah.
Fatah is a two-faced hydra; one face tells the English-speaking international community what it wants to hear, namely, that it supports a two-state solution and seeks a peaceful settlement to the conflict with Israel, while the other tells the truth: it is committed to an armed struggle and the "liberation of Palestine," and is even preparing for war with Israel.

Backgrounder: Recognizing Palestinian Statehood
With the New York Times calling on Obama to "lead the Security Council to put its authority behind a resolution to support a two-state solution" in an October 6 editorial, it is surely too late to persuade the president that peace-less recognition of Palestinian statehood is intrinsically a bad idea. But there may yet be time to deter the president from putting his beliefs into action.
MEF Washington Project Director Clifford Smith argues in The American Spectator that Congress can make clear its intention to sanction any unilaterally-declared Palestinian state, completely cut hundreds of millions of dollars in annual U.S. direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), mandate that any newly-created Palestinian state be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, and update decades-old federal laws prohibiting U.S. funding of UN agencies that accord the PLO "the same standing as member states."
This doesn't mean the United States should oppose Palestinian statehood as an aspirational goal. MEF Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow Alexander H. Joffe and MEF writing fellow Asaf Romirowsky argue that the international community should defund UNRWA, which perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem by creating a cycle of dependence, and instead give aid directly to the PA. While "fully acknowledging that the PA is corrupt," they suggest that obliging it to "take responsibility for its own people" is more conducive to the development of a stable, responsible Palestinian state than continuing to fund UNRWA (see Clifford Smith's op-ed on his recent visit to an UNRWA camp).
"When Palestinians stop chanting for the death of Jews and Israel, and start working to secure their own state, they will achieve it," writes MEF Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow Tarek Fatah. Until then, helping Abbas t
Were the Arabs Indigenous to Mandatory Palestine?
The Rape of Palestine, 1st ed. By William Ziff. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1938. Reprint. Mansfield Centre, Conn.: Martino Fine Books, 2010. 630 pp. $60.
The assertion that Palestinian Arabs are the indigenous population is central in their dispute with Israel. The message is that Jews stole and now occupy the land of the indigenous Arab population. Rarely challenged, the claim is widespread, such as this statement from Henry Cattan, a Palestinian Christian jurist and writer born in Jerusalem:
The Palestinians are the original and continuous inhabitants of Palestine from time immemorial.
Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas elaborated this claim in a recent speech:
Our narrative says that we were in this land since before Abraham. I am not saying it. The Bible says it. The Bible says, in these words, that the Palestinians existed before Abraham. So why don't you recognize my right?
Saeb Erekat, the PA's chief negotiator, stated:
I am the son of Jericho. ... the proud son of the Netufians and the Canaanites. I've been there for 5,500 years before Joshua Bin Nun came and burned my hometown Jericho.
To be sure, some Arabs are descendants of the indigenous occupants. But waves of immigration into the Holy Land brought Jews, Arabs, and others to the territories, to the point that most of today's Arabic-speakers do not trace their roots back for centuries.
A number of analyses address the subject of Arab immigration to Palestine: Joan Peters' From Time Immemorial, Arieh Avneri's The Claim of Dispossession, and Fred M. Gottheil's essay, "The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931." But, William B. Ziff's little remembered The Rape of Palestine, published in 1938, adds an important first-hand source to these recent studies. None of the modern authors used Ziff as a source, so this is new information to present-day analysts.
IsraellyCool: Palestine Office Tourism Website Illustrates Absurdity Of Palestinian Narrative
Travel Palestine is a website described as “The Official Site For Tourism In Palestine.”
Here is what you are greeted with when you visit the site.
Welcome to Palestine
With a history that envelops more than one million years, Palestine has played an important role in human civilisation. The crucible of prehistoric cultures, it is where settled society, the alphabet, religion, and literature developed, and would become a meeting place for diverse cultures and ideas that shaped the world we know today. Its rich and diverse past, abundant cultural heritage, and the archaeological and religious sites of the three monotheistic faiths including the birthplace of Jesus Christ, make Palestine a unique centre of world history.
For Palestinians, this cultural diversity is viewed as a source of wealth, and each part of the million years of settled life plays an integral part in wider human heritage of those that call this land home. This past makes up a large part of the contemporary Palestinian philosophy of sustainable development, which seeks to keep active the cultural identity of the Palestinian people.
UNESCO’s failed history test
This resolution is not about heritage or preserving it, it’s about replacing it.
It is a modern pogrom against Jewish history – a campaign of delegitimization against the Jewish people’s connection to the land.
UNESCO’s stated mission is to “build peace in the minds of men and women.” Denying reality, the facts on the ground and thousands of years of history will not lead to peace.
It is this very attitude that currently exacerbates the Arab-Israeli conflict. If UNESCO wants, as its director-general states, to “foster this spirit of tolerance and respect for history” I suggest they begin by ensuring their judgments are based on historic fact, not deliberate denial to suit a religious agenda.
How can the nations and their elected representatives respond to a vote that either denies or overwhelmingly sits on the fence of history? By introducing legislation to begin the movement of their diplomatic missions and embassies to the historic capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel – Jerusalem.
Moving embassies to Jerusalem will not only uphold a right afforded to every other nation in the world, but will send a message to the surrounding Arab nations that introduced this UNESCO resolution: while Jerusalem may be a city revered by three faiths, it has only ever been the capital of the Jewish people despite ample opportunity for conquerors to make it their own. Or in the words of the great statesman Winston Churchill: “You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem; it was they who made it famous.”
Why Hamas Praised UNESCO's Jerusalem Resolution - Hillel Neuer on i24

Hillel Neuer on UNESCO's outrageous Jerusalem resolution

Israel faces stiff fight next week over newest UNESCO vote on Jerusalem
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to contact many of the leaders of 21 member nations of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Executive Board in hopes of swaying them not to support next week’s vote on a resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Carmel Shama-Hacohen said that Israel faced a stiff battle before that committee because it’s composed of countries with a history of voting against Israel.
“There is a will to stop this chaos [of such resolutions] which harms everyone,” Shama-Hacohen said. But he acknowledged that the World Heritage Committee which meets in Paris from October 24 to 26 “will be a tough playing field.”
Shmuley Boteach: Jesus at the Aksa Mosque – the UNESCO version
UNESCO not only rewrote Jewish history, it turned Christian history on its head as well. In UNESCO’s world Mathew 21:12 would read: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, Al Aksa Mosque/Al Haram al-Sharif, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the Aksa Mosque/Al Haram al-Sharif, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves.”
It is hard to find a silver lining in the UNESCO universe, but it was encouraging to see that more countries voted against (six) or abstained (26) than voted in favor of the resolution. The only countries that stood up for the truth were the US, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia.
UN Watch said the inflammatory text’s failure to obtain a majority was a moral victory. The amount of countries abstaining increased by seven from the 17 who supported a similar text in April, with France, India, Argentina, Spain, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Guinea and Togo shifting their votes from “yes” to “abstain.”
It was indeed a positive step in the context of the UN to see all the EU members abstain considering several regularly back anti-Israel measures. Still, by abstaining rather than voting against the resolution they showed a lack of backbone. Moreover, France forfeited its much desired role in the peace process by failing to stand up to the Palestinian assault on Israel’s legitimacy.
David Singer: Obama, Clinton and Trump Must Affirm America’s Crucial Commitment To Israel
Both Trump and Clinton have remained silent up till now on stating whether they would uphold this American commitment to Israel.
Clinton was among those Senators overwhelmingly endorsing America’s commitment by 95 votes to 3.
Clinton needs to publicly commit that she will honour this commitment to Israel if elected President Trump has so far failed to say whether he will do likewise – although his rival Marco Rubio pledged at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum:
“I will revive the common-sense understandings reached in the 2004 Bush-Sharon letter and build on them to help ensure Israel has defensible borders”
Trump needs to follow suit.
The third presidential debate also gives Trump the perfect opportunity to state his position if he is elected president.
Hopefully the moderator, Chris Wallace, will ask them both this crucial question – or they volunteer an answer themselves.
America’s reputation and trustworthiness for keeping its promises are on the line.
Daniel Pipes: Islamist Violence Will Steer Europe's Destiny
While visiting predominantly Muslim suburbs emerging outside nearly all northern European cities, one question keeps recurring: Why have some of the richest, most educated, most secular, most placid, and most homogeneous countries in the world willingly opened their doors to virtually any migrant from the poorest, least modern, most religious, and least stable countries?
Other questions follow: Why have mostly Christian countries decided to take in mostly Muslim immigrants? Why do so many Establishment politicians, most notably Germany's Angela Merkel, ignore and revile those who increasingly worry that this immigration is permanently changing the face of Europe? Why does it fall to the weaker Visegrád states of eastern Europe to articulate a patriotic rejection of this phenomenon? Where will the immigration lead?
There's no single answer that applies to multiple countries; but of the many factors (such as secularization) behind this historically unprecedented acceptance of alien peoples, one stands out as most critical: a west European sense of guilt.
Why do politicians welcome immigration that is changing the face of Europe?
To many educated western Europeans, their civilization is less about scientific advances, unprecedented levels of prosperity, and the achievement of unique human freedoms, and more about colonialism, racism, and fascism.
The brutal French conquest of Algeria, the uniquely evil German genocide against the Jews, and the legacy of extreme nationalism cause many Europeans, in the analysis of Pascal Bruckner, a French intellectual, to see themselves as "the sick man of the planet," responsible for every global problem from poverty to environmental rapacity; "the white man has sown grief and ruin wherever he has gone." Affluence implies robbery, light skin manifests sinfulness.
Pascal Bruckner argues that European remorse for past sins prompts self-hatred.
Bruckner labels this the "tyranny of guilt" and I encountered some colorful expressions during my recent travels of such self-hatred. A French Catholic priest expressed remorse over the record of the Church. A conservative German intellectual preferred Syrians and Iraqis to his fellow Germans. A Swedish tour guide put down fellow Swedes and hoped he would not be perceived as one.
Indeed, many Europeans feel their guilt makes them superior; the more they dislike themselves, the more they preen – inspiring a strange mix of self-loathing and moral superiority that, among other consequence, leaves them reluctant to commit the time and money required to bear children. "Europe is losing faith in itself, and birth rates have collapsed," notes Irish scientist William Reville.
Stabbing attack thwarted at Tapuah Junction, terrorist killed
Security forces thwarted a terrorist attempting a stabbing attack against IDF soldiers at the Tapuah Junction in the West Bank on Wednesday.
No Israelis were wounded in the attack. The terrorist, a 19-year-old Palestinian woman, was shot and killed by security forces.
According to police, a woman approached Border Police officers at Tapuah Junction, failing to heed their warnings to stop. She then pulled out a knife attempting to stab the officers.
The officers opened fire on the woman, killing her.
Tapuah Junction was partially closed off following the incident,
Shomron Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan said following the attack that "this additional attempt to hurt the routine of our lives, not to mention that it comes during one of our holidays, will not succeed."
‘Southern Israel is secure, but Hamas is getting ready’
Communities near Gaza have enjoyed a prolonged period of quiet since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, a calm that is shattered every few months by Salafi jihadist rocket attacks from the Strip – a reminder of the fragility of the “calm.”
Since the end of the 2014 war, the Eshkol region has experienced a population growth of around 8%, as new families settle in the area – a reflection of the sense of security that is widespread in the area, despite the presence of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups just across the border.
Lt.-Col. (res.) Ilan Aizekson is the security coordinator for the Eshkol Regional Council, a role that places him in a gray area between the military and civilian worlds. Aizekson communicates continually with the officers of the Southern Gaza Territorial Brigade, and receives the latest security updates. When necessary, he ensures that the Eshkol Council snaps into emergency mode.
A reservist battalion commander in the Southern Gaza Brigade, Aizekson told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the connection between local military forces and the Eshkol Council is at the highest possible level. “Nothing happens in this sector without the brigade updating me about it. If civilian events occur, I update them,” he said.
“Not a day passes in which we do not update one another.
This creates resilience among civilians. They know there is a [council] security department that is strongly linked to the IDF, Border Police and police,” he said.
IDF probe: Israel was unready for Gaza tunnel threat in 2014
A military investigation found that officers were unprepared for the threat of Hamas attack tunnels during the 2014 Gaza war, despite prior knowledge by Israel’s political leadership, Army Radio reported Tuesday.
A number of tunnels were used by Hamas fighters to infiltrate Israel and carry out deadly attacks on troops during the Gaza Strip conflict in the summer of 2014. During that campaign, dubbed in Israel “Operation Protective Edge,” Israeli forces discovered and destroyed at least 34 tunnels, many of them leading into Israeli territory.
The internal Israel Defense Forces report, which was prepared after the war, found that the army was aware tunnels were being used by Hamas but combat units were not prepared sufficiently to deal with the threat, according to Army Radio.
“On the eve of the operation the attack tunnels were an unknown entity to the officers of most of the active forces. The threat was known, but their magnitude and significance were not understood,” the report, parts of which remain classified, is said to state.
Turkish national arrested on suspicion of espionage deported
A Turkish national was arrested in Israel on suspicion of security offences, authorities revealed Wednesday.
The suspect Orhan Buyruk, 32, was arrested upon arrival at the Ben-Gurion International Airport some three weeks ago. He was released and deported back to Turkey on Wednesday.
A gag order was placed on the case. It was partially lifted Wednesday, after reports in the Turkish media of Buyruk's release.
"On Sept. 29, 2016, Orhan Buyruk, a Turkish citizen born in 1984, was detained for investigation, on suspicion of committing security offenses," the Shin Bet security agency said in a statement.
"At the conclusion of the investigation it was decided to send him out of Israel and he was returned to Turkey."
Turkish media reports said Orhan Buyruk was suspected of ties with Iranian intelligence. He had traveled to Israel several times as part of his work as a tour guide.
In Latest Sign of Growing Ties, Israel and Egypt Discussing Large-Scale Economic Projects
Israeli and Egyptian officials both believe that failing to improve the Egyptian economy will lead to social unrest, which, they fear, could “precipitate the pouring of Muslim Brotherhood forces into the streets to undermine the rule of [el-Sisi].” Israel and Egypt’s shared concerns about security and stability are one of the chief reasons for the rapprochement, leading to unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation in order to combat ISIS and Hamas (which is the Palestinian affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood). Egypt has been destroying underground tunnels between Sinai and the Gaza Strip in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons and fighters between the two groups, which closely cooperate with each other. ISIS forces in the Sinai perpetrated major attacks against Egypt, and Hamas has both trained ISIS fighters and provided them with medical care.
The growing Egyptian-Israeli alliance was epitomized in July, when Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Israel to offer his government’s assistance in restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Shoukry’s visit marked the first time an Egyptian foreign minister had visited Israel since 2007. Later that month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin attended a reception at the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv in honor of Egypt’s National Day.
In addition to improving relations with Egypt, Israel has within the past year opened a diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates, reconciled with Turkey, and has gone increasingly public about its relations with Saudi Arabia.
US expects Islamic State to wield chemical weapons in Mosul fight
The United States expects Islamic State to use crude chemical weapons as it tries to repel an Iraqi-led offensive on the city of Mosul, US officials say, although adding that the group's technical ability to develop such weapons is highly limited.
US forces have begun to regularly collect shell fragments to test for possible chemical agents, given Islamic State's use of mustard agent in the months before Monday's launch of the Mosul offensive, one official said.
In a previously undisclosed incident, US forces confirmed the presence of a sulfur mustard agent on Islamic State munition fragments on Oct. 5, a second official said. The Islamic State had targeted local forces, not US or coalition troops.
"Given ISIL's reprehensible behavior and flagrant disregard for international standards and norms, this event is not surprising," the second official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity, and using an acronym for Islamic State.
US officials do not believe Islamic State has been successful so far at developing chemical weapons with particularly lethal effects, meaning that conventional weapons are still the most dangerous threat for advancing Iraqi and Kurdish forces - and any foreign advisers who get close enough.
Iran says Kerry’s Remarks on Sanctions ‘Unacceptable’
Iran has rejected remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry that its policies in Syria and Yemen are blocking efforts to encourage banks to do business with it.
In an interview published Friday, Kerry told Foreign Affairs magazine that Iranian support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and Yemen’s Huthi rebels made it “very difficult” to help Iran improve its banking system and business practices.
“Mr Kerry’s comments are totally unacceptable,” Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, told state television on Sunday night.
“We are surprised. During the nuclear negotiations, we clearly said that questions of security, defence, ballistic missiles and our regional policies were not negotiable and are not linked to the nuclear talks,” he said.
“It is unacceptable that Mr Kerry is today talking of new conditions.”
Hezbollah Cell Charged With Laundering Colombian Drug Money in Miami
Three men linked to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah were accused of laundering drug money on behalf of the Colombian cartel after authorities said they illegally moved $500,000 into Miami banks, the Miami Herald reported Tuesday.
The apparent ringleader of the money laundering scheme, 31-year-old Mohammad Ahmad Ammar from Medellin, Colombia, “was quietly booked into a Miami-Dade jail last week to face state felony money laundering charges,” the Herald wrote. Ammar’s arrest “underscores increased law-enforcement scrutiny on the role of Middle Eastern terror groups who use financial networks in Latin America to earn untold millions off drug profits,” the paper added.
Another Hezbollah operative who was charged in the case is Hassan Mohsen Mansour, a dual Lebanese and Canadian citizen. He is currently detained in Paris and facing similar but separate prosecution in South Florida.
A third member of the cell, Ghassan Diab, is believed to be on the run either in Nigeria or Lebanon. According to court papers, he is a relative of a “high-ranking member of Hezbollah who has access to numerous international bank accounts.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Israel To Have Russia Bomb Gaza So World Stays Silent (satire)
The relative equanimity with which the international community has greeted Russia’s role in flattening Aleppo from the air has led Israeli leaders to consider subcontracting its next offensive in the Gaza Strip to Putin’s forces in order to avoid the inevitable global opprobrium that accompanies each Israeli attempt to defend itself from Hamas.
Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Force officials issued recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to use improved ties with Russia to military and political advantage, specifically regarding the ongoing threat of Hamas rockets and invasion tunnels. A five-month strategic assessment will present its conclusions Wednesday to the committee, and it released a preliminary summary in advance of that meeting, to the effect that a Russian bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip would enable the use of far more brutal and destructive – and therefore effective – methods than the IDF allows itself to employ.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Gadi Eizenkot told reporters that the possible new tack would carry immense advantages for Israel. “Russia faces none of the diplomatic and political obstacles that we do in terms of allegations of human rights violations and civilian casualties,” he explained. “They have never needed to constrain themselves and to consult with law experts in advance of every operation to ensure compliance with the Laws of Armed Combat, the way the IDF does. The various international bodies that erupt in cries of ‘War crimes!’ at every act of Israeli self-defense are unlikely to care what Russia does, given the precedent of Aleppo. And Abkhazia. And Chechnya. And Ukraine. I’m sure there are others.”

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