Sunday, January 08, 2017

From Ian:

Don’t Defund the U.N., Just Say ‘Go!’
We are voluntarily underwriting an institution that — with Obama having formally boarded the anti-Israel train — is joining the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. The General Assembly, which is steered by the sharia-supremacist Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has just created a BDS database to target companies that do business with Israeli settlements in what the U.N. has declared is “Palestinian territory.”
What else is new? As UN Watch has reported, in 2015–16, the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions condemning Israel, compared to just three against the rest of the planet — including none against such favorite U.N. human-rights havens as China, Russia, Cuba, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.
Now consider this: There is one reason and one reason alone why the U.N. is relevant: because the United States is in it. It is not our financial support that the U.N. needs; it is our participation. The U.N. is a corrupt institution that is hostile to our interests and system of government while living off our prosperity, banking on our rule of law, and luxuriating in the very society it so routinely condemns. And we continue to legitimize it.
Of course the United States must have robust, vibrant international relations. We need friends with common interests, and we have to deal with the hostiles. We do not need the U.N. for any of that. We do not need the U.N. at all — it needs us. And if we were out of it, we could still deal with it and support what little good it does.
It is not enough to cut off funding from a bad organization. We should disassociate from that bad organization. We should stop helping it be a consequential bad organization by denying it legitimacy. Don’t defund the U.N. Just say, “Go!”

The United Nations Has Broken All Its Promises to Israel
A lot has been written about the UN Security Council resolution declaring all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to be illegal. Even so, there is an important point I haven’t seen made.
The West Bank was “created” by the armistice agreement of 1949 that ended Israel’s War of Independence. The agreement was brokered and monitored by the UN. It did not require any Arab recognition of Israel, nor did it require either side to give up any claims to territory on the other side of the line. It reads: “It is also recognised that no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations.”
It must be remembered that when this agreement was actually in effect, it provided no legitimacy or safety to Israel. No Arab country recognized these borders. It was only when they lost the West Bank after the 1967 war (which they started) that they supported this “border.” But a border has to work both ways if it is to mean anything at all.
The armistice agreement was with Jordan, not with the Palestinians. And only two countries (Pakistan and the UK) recognized the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank as legitimate. Yes, King Hussein gave the West Bank to the Palestinians in 1988. But it was never his to give.
In passing the latest resolution, the UN has clearly reneged on the armistice agreement. So why should Israel trust the UN or any government that voted for (or abstained from) this resolution? Every conceivable “solution” to this conflict requires Israel to give up something tangible for the false promise of security and peace. The UN has broken its word to Israel time and time again.
So if no one feels obligated to keep its word with Israel, then Israel has no reason to trust any promise that the world, or the UN, makes.
David Singer: Congress rebuffs Obama and Kerry for abandoning American Policy on Israel
Here, hot on the heels of his previous must-read article (see previous post), is Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer's latest incisive contribution.
He writes:
The US Congress has swiftly moved to rebuff the efforts by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reverse long-standing American policy in relation to Israel. By a vote of 342:80 Congress resolved on 5 January 2017:
“the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti-Israel, reversing decades of bipartisan agreement”
Congress’s decision goes a long way to restoring America’s reputation and integrity.
Congress now needs to rectify Obama’s abandonment of the written commitments made to Israel by President Bush in his letter to then Israeli Prime Minister Sharon on 14 April 2004 (“Commitments”)
Congress has a vested interest in seeing those Commitments restored - because it overwhelmingly approved Bush giving those Commitments to Israel by a massive vote of 502 to 12.
Among those voting to support those Commitments was Senator Hillary Clinton.
Senator John Kerry – whilst not casting a vote in the Senate – made his position very clear to moderator Tim Russert on Meet The Press on 18 April 2004:

Kerry warns Trump: Moving US embassy would cause regional ‘explosion’
Moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would cause “an explosion” in the region and have a detrimental effect on Israel’s relationships with Jordan and Egypt, outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry said over the weekend.
In an interview with CBS News on Friday, Kerry said the move promised by President-elect Donald Trump would cause “an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”
It would also “have profound impact on the readiness of Jordan and Egypt to be able to be supportive and engaged with Israel as they are today,” he warned.
Kerry also said any alternative to the two-state solution “would be extraordinarily dangerous for Israel, our friend… The simple reality is you cannot be unitary — one state — with more non-Jews than Jews and remain a democracy or a Jewish state. It’s impossible. You can’t do it.”
New York Times Finds News of Pro-Israel Vote in Congress Not Fit to Print
Yet there’s at least one area in which the Times is still in need of improvement, and that is in its coverage of Israel. The US House of Representatives voted on January 5 to approve a resolution objecting to UN Security Council Resolution 2334 as “biased against Israel” and calling for it to be repealed or fundamentally altered. The approval came on a 342-80 vote that included majorities of both Republicans and Democrats.
The Times didn’t even assign a staffer to report that news. Nor, at least as far as I can tell, was the news published in the print newspaper. The Times instead handled it only on its website, relying on a couple of Associated Press dispatches (Lawmakers Vote to Rebuke U.N. for ‘Anti-Israel’ Resolution; Israel’s Netanyahu Thanks US House for Vote to Rebuke UN).
Contrast that to the second-coming-type coverage — top-of-the-front page headlines, long editorials, multiple ecstatic op-ed pieces, wave upon wave of staff-written news articles — that accompanied the UN Security Council vote. When Israel is condemned, the Times is all over the story. Yet when the condemnation of Israel is itself condemned by a wide bipartisan majority in Congress, the Times editors don’t consider it news “fit to print.” Here’s hoping that when it comes to their failure to cover the Congressional vote in response to the UN resolution, the Times editors attempt a make-up call like the ones they did on the yeshivas and the art exhibit. It’ll be a fine test of Mr. Baquet’s promise to listen to the paper’s readers.
PBS' Judy Woodruff Fails to Correct Ben Rhodes on 'Thousands of New Settlements'
In an otherwise fair interview, PBS' Judy Woodruff fails to challenge or correct Ben Rhodes, President Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, on his outrageous and completely false claim that Israel has built "thousands of new settlements."
In the Dec. 23 "Newshour" interview, Rhodes falsely states:
The fact of the matter is, though, I think if you look at the map of the West Bank, if you look at the future of the two-state solution, these settlements are encroaching further and further beyond the separation barrier that the Israelis themselves built, thousands of new settlements are being constructed and, frankly, if these trends continue, it will be impossible to realize a two-state solution.
After Woodruff raises bipartisan criticism of the Obama administration's decision not to veto United Nations Security Resolution 2334 asserting that Israeli settlements have "no legal validity," Rhodes digs himself into a deeper ditch, speaking of "tens of thousands" of settlements:
Well, look, we respect, of course, friends on both sides of the aisle who have expressed different views on this. Again, I think the question is going to be when history looks at these types of decisions, when people look back and they say, you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed, you saw as was addressed in the resolution, incitement to violence on the Palestinian side.
According to the anti-settlement organization Peace Now, there a total of 228 settlements, including established settlements founded by the Israeli government decades ago, along with wildcat outposts considered illegal under Israeli law, founded since the 1990s' without government approval.
4 killed as driver plows truck into troops in Jerusalem terror attack
A truck rammed into a group of soldiers on a promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, killing at least four of them, in a vehicle-ramming attack on Sunday afternoon, police said.
Police chief Roni Alsheich called the incident a vehicular terror attack.
The soldiers were getting off a bus at the promenade, a popular tourist spot in southern Jerusalem, when a large flatbed truck ran into them.
At least 16 more people were injured, two of them very seriously, according to Jerusalem hospitals.
The four soldiers — three women and one man — who died were in their 20s, the Magen David Adom rescue service said.
According to police, the terrorist accelerated as he struck the group.
Netanyahu: All signs indicate Jerusalem terrorist inspired by ISIS
The terrorist who carried out the deadly truck ramming attack in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon was apparently a supporter of Islamic State, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu made his comments at the scene of the attack, where he received a briefing along with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Soon after visiting the site, he was scheduled to convene a meeting of the security cabinet.
“We know the identity of of the attacker , and according to all the signs he is a supporter of Islamic State,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said there may be a connection between this attack and similar attacks recently in France and Berlin. “We are fighting this plague, and will defeat it,” he said.
The terrorist, identified as Fadi al-Qanbar, came from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber. Netanyahu announced that Jebl Mukaber has been cordoned off in light off the attack, and that “we are taking other actions that I will not detail here.”
“We will overcome this terror, just as we overcame overcame other attacks,” he said. “There are a number of actions that we will not specify at this time, which we will have to take to ensure that incidents such as these do not recur.”
Public security minister: Israel won’t return terrorist’s body
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vowed Israel would never return the body of the terrorist who carried out the truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on Sunday.
“This was an atrocious, painful and especially serious attack which could lead to other copycat attacks,” Erdan said. “We will not allow this vile terrorist or his family to hold a funeral where he is treated with honor, encouraging other attacks.
“His body will be buried but only by the security forces and in a place to which the family and his supporters will not have access.”
The attacker was identified in media as Fadi al-Qunbar. According to reports, he spent time in an Israeli prison and worked in construction.
Construction Minister Yoav Galant, told Army Radio that Israel must deal harshly with the terrorist and his family. “The price must be demolishing homes, expelling families – even if they are Israeli citizens,” he said, “and revoking citizenship of anyone who is connected to this incident.”
Deputy FM: Terror attack is Palestinian response to Paris peace conference
A terrorist truck-ramming in Jerusalem that left four soldiers dead was inspired by the upcoming Paris peace conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Sunday, lashing out at the international community in the wake of the attack.
Hotovely, a hawk from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said the attack, in which an East Jerusalem man drove his truck into a group of soldiers, was proof the Palestinians were not interested in peace.
“The world has received a clear answer from the Palestinians to the peace conference coming up in Paris: More terror,” Hotovely said. “I again call on the international community to demand an end to terror and the industry of education toward it.”
Paris is slated next week to host an international conference aimed at establishing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Israel, which only backs bilateral peace talks, has said it will not attend and panned the summit as a misguided effort.
Father of terrorist reportedly arrested as Hamas hails ‘heroic’ attack
The father of the driver of a truck that plowed into group of soldiers Sunday on a promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, killing four people and injuring 16 others, was arrested by Israeli security forces just after hours after the attack, Palestinian reports said.
Earlier, Hebrew media had reported that a large number of heavily armed Border Police officers had surrounded the terrorist’s house in the Jabel Mukabar neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said there was “no prior warning” of what he labeled a vehicular terror attack.
He added that the driver sought a high victim count and had driven around the area in Armon Hanatziv to find a large group of people before plowing his truck into the group of soldiers.
Alsheich also said the terrorist was a resident of East Jerusalem.
Foreign officials express horror, condemn Jerusalem terror attack
Foreign dignitaries on Sunday afternoon rushed to condemn the vehicular terror attack in Jerusalem that killed four soldiers and injured several others.
Mere minutes after news broke of the attack, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro tweeted, in Hebrew: “I harshly condemn the terror attack in Jerusalem in which IDF troops were killed. Condolences to the families of the deceased and prayers for recovery to those injured.”
The UK’s ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, also took to Twitter to condemn the attack. There can “be no justification for terrorism anywhere,” he wrote, adding that his thoughts are with the victims and their families.
Australian envoy Dave Sharma condemned “unreservedly [the] vicious Jerusalem terrorist ramming attack targeting IDF soldiers.”
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also took to social media to express his outrage over the attack.
VIDEO: Security camera captures deadly Jerusalem truck attack
Security footage has emerged of the Jerusalem ramming attack in which four were killed and 13 were wounded on Sunday.
The footage shows the moments leading up to the the truck ramming into a group of Israelis visiting an observation post in the capital's Jewish neighborhood Armon Hanatziv.
Police have confirmed that the perpetrator was neutralized. Authorities suspected terror motives in the incident. Police Commissioner, Insp.- Gen. Roni Alsheich, identified the attacker as a resident of east Jerusalem.
Security camera armon hantziv

Man who shot Jerusalem terrorist: Soldiers hesitated to shoot because of Elor Azaria
The military trainer that shot and purportedly killed the terrorist who rammed his truck into a group of people killing four in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on Sunday claimed that IDF soldiers on the scene were hesitant to shoot due in part to the conviction of IDF soldier Elor Azaria on manslaughter charges.
The military trainer, identifying himself as Eitan, told Army Radio that "after rolling back on the grass, I saw the truck go in reverse, and then I realized that it wasn't an accident."
Eitan said, "I ran toward him and emptied my whole clip. He drove backward and onto the wounded again. I saw them quiet, some wounded and some scared. It wasn't a good scene."
Eitan said that he then began trying to evacuate the wounded and call for help.
He claimed that the soldiers who were on the scene were hesitant to shoot at the truck that slammed into the group of people. The fact that Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for shooting a wounded terrorist was the reason for this hesitation, according to Eitan.
"There was hesitation to open fire. I have no doubt that this was a significant factor, because all they tell them recently is to be careful. It could be that a few minutes less of hesitation and the situation would have been better," he added.
IDF says 2 soldiers fired at attacker, despite report of hesitation
The head of the IDF officers’ training school said that “at least two” of his cadets shot at the terrorist who rammed his truck into a group of soldiers in Jerusalem on Sunday, in the face of a claim made by a guide who opened fire himself that the troops hesitated to respond or entirely failed to do so.
The army also said there was no connection between the soldiers’ response to the truck-ramming and the recent Hebron shooting case, in which IDF soldier Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian assailant many minutes after he was incapacitated.
After the attack, Col. Yaniv Alaluf, who commands the officers’ training course, visited the scene to conduct a preliminary investigation into the truck-ramming, in which four soldiers were killed and 16 more were injured, the army said.
Eitan Rund, a civilian tour guide who was with the soldiers and shot at the terrorist, said he felt the troops “hesitated” during the attack and blamed the Azaria case for their delay in responding.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Why Didn’t The IDF Just Shoot The Truck Out Of The Driver’s Hands? By Ken Roth, Human Rights Watch (satire)
The attack today on civilians in Jerusalem was terrible, of course, but that does not excuse Israeli soldiers from using excessive force in neutralizing the Palestinian driver. Instead of riddling him with bullets as he drove into the crowd of youths, they should have shot the truck out of his hand.
This profligate use of force by Israeli security personnel must end. I say this not to justify the alleged murders, which by the way took place on what the international community accepts as illegally occupied territory, and I am going to bring up that point at every opportunity, all the while insisting it is immaterial to the event, which of course the illegal occupation does not justify. But keep it in mind anyway.
Anyone who has been exposed to films about gun use has encountered the practice of shooting a weapon out of an attacker’s hand. It is disingenuous to argue that Israeli army and police cannot incorporate such skills in their training and engagement procedures. The fact that they have not done so raises suspicions that they care little for the human rights of a man driving a truck into a crowd, an act that I will not attempt to justify by reminding you all that Palestinians are under occupation. You just remember that on your own.
The conviction last week of an Israeli soldier in the shooting death of a disarmed and wounded Palestinian attacker further demonstrates my point. In that case, as well, if, as claimed by the soldier’s defenders and advocates, there was concern whether the disarmed man was wearing or carrying explosives, why didn’t the IDF soldier just shoot the explosives off of the man, instead of shooting him in the head? You could hardly ask for a clearer indication of this problematic dynamic than the events of the last several days. Also, remember this occurred in an area occupied by Israel since 1967.
Report: Israeli official recorded discussing 'take down' of British MPs
An Israeli official in London has been caught on camera saying how he would like to “take down” anti-Israel MPs, including Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan.
Shai Masot, a political officer at the London embassy, was recorded by Al Jazeera speaking in a clearly undiplomatic manner about a number of British MPs, including Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, whom he called "an idiot."
Regarding Duncan, however, Masot said he was "doing [sic] a lot of problems," while his dinner partner said the comments "sounded like a conspiracy."
Masot was in conversation with Maria Strizzolo, a senior aide to another Conservative Minister, Robert Halfon, at a restaurant in Kensington, central London.
Strizzolo proposed "a scandal," however the pair did not elaborate in the footage released by Al Jazeera.
Israel sorry for embassy employee plot to ‘bring down’ UK lawmakers
The Israeli ambassador to London has apologized to a UK minister after an employee was caught on film conspiring to discredit British politicians, notably Foreign Office deputy minister Alan Duncan, who is perceived as being unfriendly to Israel.
Ambassador Mark Regev had spoken with Duncan and made it clear that the remarks made in the video about UK lawmakers were “unacceptable,” embassy spokesperson Yiftah Curiel wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account Sunday.
“The Embassy of Israel rejects the remarks concerning Minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable; the comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly,” the statement said.
“Ambassador Regev on Friday spoke with Minister Duncan, apologized for the comments and made clear that the embassy considered the remarks to be completely unacceptable,” Curiel wrote.
Daily Mail and Telegraph turn boastful dinner chatter into an “Israeli plot”
The boastful chatter, in which Masot fished (unsuccessfully) for information on Sir Alan Duncan, Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, was turned into a something akin to a conspiracy to destroy Mr. Duncan by reports in the British media.
Indeed, despite the fact that Israeli embassy last night issued a formal apology and explained that his employment will end “shortly”, some media outlets framed the story as a dark Israeli “plot” against Duncan – which is quite ironic given that Duncan himself was widely criticised for a 2014 speech which evoked classic anti-Israel conspiracy theories.
As Stephen Pollard, the editor of The Jewish Chronicle, put it, “boastful idiots do not a plot make”.
The worst offenders were the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. The Daily Mail actually used the term “Israeli plot” in their headline, whilst one Telegraph report included a headline erroneously claiming that the “plot” was hatched by Ambassador Mark Regev himself.
‘Employee of Israel Embassy Does Job’
Today’s Sunday Mail front page story is headlined “Israel plot to ‘take down’ Tory minister”.
It is based on the Al Jazeera ‘sting’ to be broadcast as part of four half-hour documentaries from 15 January.
The correct headline should be “Employee of Israel Embassy does job”. (UK Media Watch has complained). It is a non-story. But a non-story upon which the Mail’s Political Editor, Simon Walters, chooses to hang some truly vicious - but anonymous – barbs of bigotry from an ‘ex-Minister in David Cameron’s government’.
And the incident in question was not an “Israel plot.” It was a lunch where a temporary employee (not a career diplomat) of the Embassy talked to a Parliamentary aide. The type of encounter that happens every day in Westminster or Washington - or any capital city.
An Israeli employee of the Embassy – Shai Masot – is shown asking Robert Halfon’s aide to ‘take down’ Alan Duncan. ‘Take down’ is unfortunate phraseology – but all it means is to promote negative publicity about him. (Remember Masot is not a native speaker). The type of thing that happens in Westminster constantly. It is perfectly legitimate for foreign governments to attempt to lobby politicians and their aides to try to get more favourable treatment of their countries. Perfectly legitimate despite the Mail’s lame attempt to make out that Masot is working for Mossad as a spy (‘Ambitious Mr Masot’s CV has the hallmarks of a spy’).
IsraellyCool: Is The Daily Mail In Hock With Alan Duncan On Anonymous Anti-Israel Op-Ed?
The Daily Mail has taken a pretty big step for a UK Newspaper: they’ve run an anonymous opinion piece by a “Minister who served in David Cameron’s government”.
This comes at the end of their article unveiling the Al Jazeera hidden camera infiltration of the junior ranks of the Israeli Embassy in London.
The anonymous author claims: ”it is time to end the problem of Israel buying UK policy”. The anonymous Op-Ed begins:
Last month Theresa May, like David Cameron each year before her, spoke to the annual lunch of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI).
She oozed praise for Israel as a democracy, spoke of the constant terrorist threat they face, and condemned the way that Palestinians supposedly incite violence and anti-Semitism.
Her own policy that considers Israeli settlements on Palestinian land illegal received only a passing mention.
Top American academic group rejects BDS bid
The MLA, in addition to rejecting the motion, approved a separate measure that calls on the association to “refrain from boycotts.”
“It’s not only racism and anti-Semitism, it smacks of McCarthyism,” said one opponent of the boycott measure during the debate, according to Haaretz.
The decision was praised by the American Jewish Committee advocacy group.
“The MLA has firmly repudiated those who try to exploit American colleges and universities to delegitimize the State of Israel,” AJC CEO David Harris said in a statement.
“The MLA today has sent a message to the entire academic community that American and Israeli campuses benefit greatly from academic cooperation and that boycotting Israel, the only democratic nation in the region, and a country which has been seeking peace with its neighbors since its rebirth in 1948, will not be tolerated because it does not in any way advance peace,” he added.
LegalInsurrection: Massive DEFEAT for BDS at Modern Language Association
The Modern Language Association (MLA) Delegate Assembly voted today on three resolutions: One in favor of a boycott of all Israeli universities (Resolution 2017-2); the second, opposing academic boycotts in general (Resolution 2017-1); the third, condemning the suppression of academic freedom at Palestinian universities by the Palestinians themselves (the Palestinian Authority and Hamas)(Resolution 2017-3).
An exhaustive discussion of the resolutions and history of BDS activity at MLA is set forth in our prior post, Israel Boycott vote at Modern Language Association on January 7. Opposition to the BDS motion was led by a group calling itself MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights, including Cary Nelson (U.Illinois), Russel Berman (Stanford), Rachel Harris (Illinois), Marty Schichtman (Eastern Michigan), Gabriel Noah Brahm (Northern Michigan), Jonathan Skolnik (UMass), Eric Aronoff (Michigan State), Yael Halevi Wise (McGill). The pro-BDS push was led by the usual cast of faculty who lead efforts at almost every faculty association in the Humanities.
The vote just took place, and the BDS resolution lost, and the anti-BDS resolution passed:
2017-2 pro bds: 79 yes 113 no
2017-1 antibds : 101 yes against 93
The third resolution vote is pending. (UPDATE: The third Resolution was table indefinitely at the request of the anti-BDS people who proposed it. It became superfluous to the anti-BDS fight once BDS was defeated.)
We will have a full write up from someone in the room, probably tomorrow, but here is a taste of how the debate unfolded.
BBC promotes political NGO in coverage of Azaria verdict
On January 4th the BBC News website published two articles relating to the topic of the verdict in the Elor Azaria case: “Israeli soldier Elor Azaria convicted over Hebron death” and “Israeli PM Netanyahu backs pardon for manslaughter soldier“.azaria-art-1
The third version of the first article (which was promoted by the BBC in a push alert) included a quote from the political NGO Human Rights Watch and a link to a highly partisan report on its website.
“Human Rights Watch said on Monday that there had been more than 150 instances since October 2015 in which Israeli security forces fatally shot Palestinian adults and children suspected of trying to stab, run over, or shoot Israelis.”
The superfluous and misleading term “suspected” (a quote from the linked report) was later removed by the BBC
German Foreign Minister Walter-Frank Steinmeier’s Disconnect on Israel
Steinmeier welcomed UNSC Resolution 2334,demanding Israel return to its 1948 indefensible ceasefire lines. Steinmeier, on the other hand, is part of a government that upholds Israel’s “right to exist,” whatever that means.
Ethnic cleansing of Jews is not democratic. Endorsing a ban on Jews in Eastern Jerusalem and their holiest site, the Western Wall, shames Steinmeier, both as a German and as a western foreign minister.
Steinmeier would do well to understand his own history that includes not only Augustine and Luther’s legacies, but also his predecessor, Walther Rathenau, the only Jewish cabinet minister in German history. He was murdered by fanatical German nationalists in 1922. As a Doctor of Law, Steinmeier could also read opinions of international jurists such as Stephen Schwebel and Jacques Gauthier about the Israeli occupation’s legality.
Having endorsed Kerry’s advice to Israel, Steinmeier should now hasten to return the honorary doctorate he received in 2015 from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, which is partly in “occupied territory.”
Why would he flout the very resolution he supports?
Iran plotted assassination of pro-Israel official in Germany — report
A Pakistani man accused of spying on a German government official on behalf of Iran was reportedly part of a wider plot to assassinate pro-Israel activists in Europe.
German prosecutors on Monday indicted 31-year-old Pakistani student Syed Mustafa H. on espionage-related charges for allegedly spying on Reinhold Robbe, a former lawmaker and ex-head of the German-Israeli Society in 2015, a pro-Israel advocacy group.
The indictment accused Mustafa of spying for an unnamed Iranian intelligence agency from mid-2015 to his arrest in July 2016.
German security agencies believe Robbe was being eyed by Tehran as a possible assassination target in retaliation for an Israeli operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities, German media reported over the weekend.
According to the indictment, Mustafa in 2015 was recruited by the Iranian intelligence to follow Robbe, and complied a thorough “movement profile” of the former German-Israeli Society chairman.
Mastermind of 1994 Buenos Aires Bombing Rafsanjani Dies of Heart Attack
Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died on Sunday, IRNA reported Sunday. He was hospitalized due to heart attack in a state-run hospital in the Iranian capital earlier in the day.
Rafsanjani was sought by the Argentinian government for ordering the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires. This was based on the allegation that senior Iranian officials planned the attack in an August 1993 meeting, which included Ayatollah Khamanei, the Supreme Leader, Mohammad Hejazi, Khamanei’s intelligence and security advisor, Rafsanjani, then Iran’s president, Ali Fallahian, then intelligence minister, and Ali Akbar Velayati, then foreign minister.
In 1997, during the Mykonos trial in Germany, it was declared that Rafsanjani, then president of Iran, together with Ayatollah Khamenei, Velayati and Fallahian, directed the assassination of Iran’s opposition activists in Europe.
ISIS calls on recruits to copy arson terror method used in Israel
Islamic State called upon its supporters and recruits to set fires as a form of terrorism in the January 6 issue of its monthly print publication, Rumiyah. In the article, entitled "Just Terror Tactics," ISIS cited the most recent wave of fires that spread across Israel in November 2016 as an example of an effective use of fire as a terror method. Through arson, operatives can "impose terror on an entire country," the terror organization stressed.
"The whole world witnessed the devastating fires that ravaged Jewish settlements in Palestine, destroying around 700 Jewish homes," the English-language article said.
"Irrespective of the motive, this deliberate act of destruction demonstrated the lethality [sic] of such an effortless operation. The attacks likewise demonstrate that with some simple and readily accessible materials (i.e. flammables), one can easily terrorize an entire nation. This is just a quick option for anyone intending to join the just terror campaign," they added.
Recruits should target "ideal locations" such as "houses and apartment buildings, forest areas adjacent to residential areas, factories that produce cars, furniture, clothing, flammable substances etc., gas stations, hospitals, bars, dance clubs, night clubs, banks, car showrooms, schools, universities, as well as churches, Rafidi temples, and so forth," the article explains.
Detailed instructions on how to make various types of Molotov cocktails were then provided, noting "the gasoline can be acquired from any local gas station... the procedure should not arouse any suspicion."
Hamas angry after Facebook blocks its pages
Hamas on Saturday blasted Facebook’s administration after the social media giant blocked dozens of accounts and pages supporting the movement, the Ma’an news agency reports.
Facebook’s crackdown on Hamas-affiliated pages followed the launch of a social media campaign by the group promoting the actions of archterrorist Yahya Ayyash.
Ayyash, nicknamed The Engineer, was a Hamas terrorist who built the bombs used in a number of the group’s suicide attacks which killed dozens of Israelis in the 1990's.
Israel eliminated Ayyash in January of 1996 using an explosive-laden cellular phone.
Husam Badran, a Hamas spokesman, said on Saturday in a statement quoted by Ma’an that Facebook had closed more than 90 pages supporting Hamas, in addition to 30 personal accounts affiliated with the movement.
Israeli patch saves baby born with intestines outside body
Ahmed and Tamam, a couple from the Arab village of Kfar Kassam 12 miles east of Tel Aviv, named their baby girl Ibtihaj (Joy) and it’s not hard to understand why.
Ibtihaj was born with a rare defect, omphalocele, in which the intestines and sometimes other organs develop outside the abdomen in a sac. The condition was noticed on a prenatal ultrasound and their local doctor advised them to have an abortion.
“We were devastated,” said Ahmed. “The doctors we saw in other big centers also recommended an abortion. While we were absorbing this news, we happened to see a TV program about a baby with a similar problem who had been saved at Hadassah Hospital. We drove to Jerusalem. Dr. Dan Arbell, a pediatric surgeon, showed us photos of children with worse conditions who were now preteens and doing fine. It turns out that our baby was not in such desperate straits as the doctors had said. He gave us hope.”
A month before Tamam was due to give birth, they came for a check-up at Hadassah’s Ein Karem campus. At the exam, the staff determined that the baby needed to be delivered immediately.
Only 17 hours after her birth, she underwent surgery during which Arbell and his team put the organs back in place. They had done this type of procedure before but this time they closed the wound with TopClosure Tension Relief System, a patch invented in Israel originally for wounded soldiers on the battlefield.
‘Supernatural’ Actor Mark Pellegrino: Kerry On Wrong Side Of History With Israel Speech
Supernatural actor Mark Pellegrino slammed the United Nations and the U.S. for the “unethical” Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
Pellegrino was visiting Israel for the first time last week with a group of fellow actors and other professionals from the entertainment industry. The trip, organized by Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy and America’s Voices in Israel, coincided with Secretary of State John Kerry’s controversial address on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The actor, who is best known for playing Lucifer in the Warner Bros. series, lambasted Kerry for condemning Israel in his speech.
“[Kerry] was on the wrong side of every historical event and this was no different,” he said in an interview.
He further slammed the United States for abstaining from the vote on Resolution 2334, which calls Israeli settlements a “flagrant violation of international law.”
“Leave it to the UN to do the absolute wrong thing and save it for posterity’s sake in the form of the resolution,” Pellegrino said.

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