Thursday, January 12, 2017

From Ian:

Col Kemp: Call off the Paris conference
The planned Paris conference was born out of good will, but it comes at a very bad ‎moment. On the one hand, Resolution 2334, recently adopted by the U.N. ‎Security Council, has endorsed the Palestinian narrative that the core of the ‎problem comes down to a geographical issue: the settlements in the West Bank ‎and the 1967 borders. Yet this interpretation does not hold water. Every time Israel ‎has swapped land for peace, it has only earned more terrorism. The most striking ‎and visible case is the Gaza Strip: Since Israel carried out its unilateral ‎withdrawal in 2005, Hamas has ruled in that territory with total impunity and the ‎attacks on Israel have only continued. Thousands of rockets and missiles have ‎been launched from Gaza against civilian populations in Israel.‎
It is easy to believe that the conflict can be reduced to an issue of territories. But that's ‎false. The reality is different.
The real problem is that the Palestinians don't want ‎to give an inch of what the Israelis want, namely, that they recognize Israel as ‎the state of the Jewish people. It is as basic as that; nothing more, nothing less. ‎To demand that Israel renounce any claim to the Western Wall and other places ‎at the heart of Judaism is not just historical nonsense, it is the wrong move. The ‎Palestinians demand east Jerusalem today; tomorrow they will want the entire ‎city, and later, the entire country. In fact, that's what their propaganda teaches. ‎Their school textbooks, all paid for with EU taxpayers' money, are full of hatred, ‎incitement to violence, and clear denial of Israel and the Jewish people.‎
Peace cannot come out of incitement to hatred and violence. It would be good if ‎the participants in Paris would demand that Palestinian leaders end their ‎campaigns and indoctrination against Israel and assume once and for all that ‎Israel was created as the homeland of the Jewish people and that it will ‎continue to be so. The sooner they accept that, the better, so they can reach an ‎agreement with Jerusalem on the drawing of borders.‎
In the same spirit, this international conference would do well to demand that ‎the Palestinian state have transparent institutions, free from corruption, and ‎defend tolerance and peaceful coexistence with neighboring Israel. No ‎liberal democracy should be satisfied if what it establishes and recognizes is a ‎nest of corruption, nepotism, discrimination, and violence.‎
French Ambassadors Declare War on Israel
For our ambassadors, terrorism does not exist in "Palestine". They just whisper Quixotically about "the need for security" for Israel.
The obvious conclusion is that they are just trying to hide their own detestation of Israel behind the Arab one.
The problem is not Jewish "settlers" in "Palestine". Before 1967, there were no settlements, then what was the Palestine Liberation Organization "liberating" when it was created in Cairo in 1964? The answer, as the PLO was the first to admit, was "Palestine" -- meaning the entire state of Israel, regarded by many Arabs as just one big settlement. Just look any Palestinian map.
The problem is that these ambassadors are not as dangerous to Israel as they are to Europe and the free world, as they keep on succumbing to the demands of Islam.
Melanie Phillips: Perfidious Boris?
First of all, the Israeli settlements are not illegal. They are lawful several times over under international law which the UK Foreign Office persistently and wilfully misrepresents. Second, this profession of the government’s “strong support for a Jewish homeland in Israel” is simply nauseating in view of the fact that resolution 2334 falsely declares that Judaism’s holiest places in Jerusalem, to which the Jews alone have the overwhelming legal, historical and moral claim as the only people for whom Jerusalem was ever their national capital, belong to the Palestinians.
The UN resolution of which Boris Johnson is so proud says in effect that it is illegal for Jews to pray at the Western Wall. It is therefore not just a strike against Israel but a strike against Judaism itself.
Not satisfied with this hypocrisy, Boris Johnson added for good measure that Britain had supported UN resolution 2334 “only because it contained new language pointing out the infamy of terrorism that Israel suffers every day, not least on Sunday, when there was an attack in Jerusalem.”
But resolution 2334, of which Boris Johnson boasts, contributed to the atmosphere of incitement in which last Sunday’s murderous truck-ramming attack, which claimed the lives of four young Israelis and wounded many more, took place. The Palestinians – who thanked Britain and the other supporters of 2334 in a cartoon which threatened more violence against Israel – have ramped up their incitement to murder as a direct consequence of the UN having now endorsed in 2334 their exterminatory lies. Israeli officials have also observed that there has been a sharp rise in the number of violent attacks in the disputed territories, primarily rock-throwing incidents, since 2334 was passed.
No more funny guy, Boris. Perfidious Albion redux, indeed.

An Untenable Status Quo on the Mount
Despite 23 years on repeated failure, Martin Indyk remains convinced that he knows exactly how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Without a trace of embarrassment, he unveiled his latest plan in the New York Times last week, a “Jerusalem first” approach that calls for the Old City to be run by “a special regime that maintained the religious status quo and ensured that the three religious authorities continued to administer their respective holy sites.” But with characteristic disdain for reality, he ignored the elephant in the room: The status quo he seeks to preserve, especially on the Temple Mount, is actually unacceptable to both sides–and should be unacceptable to anyone who cares about the fundamental right of freedom of religion.
Unlike many veteran peace processers, Indyk doesn’t pretend that Jews have no connection to the Mount. He admits that it contains “the ruins of Judaism’s holiest of holies.” He simply seems to think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect Jews to forgo any contact, even the most tenuous, with their holiest site in perpetuity. Not, of course, that he puts it that bluntly. But when you consider what’s happening on the Mount even today, when Islamic authorities don’t yet have absolute control, it’s hard to imagine his “solution” producing any other outcome. And it’s equally hard to see why anyone should consider the current situation acceptable.
Just last week, for instance, Palestinian guards employed by the Islamic Waqf (religious trust) that runs the Mount’s day-to-day affairs tried to eject an Israeli archeologist from the site merely for daring to use the term “Temple Mount” in a lecture to American students. They demanded that he use the Mount’s Islamic name instead, and when he refused, they demanded that Israeli policemen on the site eject him. Other tour guides subsequently told the Times of Israel that this isn’t an uncommon occurrence.
Analysis: Hamas 'honeypot' operation shows a sophisticated cyber-espionage unit
The joint counter-espionage IDF Military Intelligence and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation against Hamas that was cleared for publication on Wednesday has revealed that the Gazan terror organization is now equipped with a cyber unit, which possesses considerable abilities. This Hamas cyber unit has been aided by foreign experts in the field.
Hamas's efforts to gain access to IDF soldiers' cellphones through seductive come-ons on social media, which went on for many months, bare witness to the great danger to information security and national security posed by the Internet, smart phones, social networks and all forms of digital communication.
This is not a new phenomenon. However, we are surprised anew each time that we see how exposed we are and how easy it is to gain access to our secrets. Once upon a time the IDF's Field Security unit launched a campaign entitled, "The enemy is listening," in order to increase awareness among soldiers not to run their mouths on communications networks, on phones (landlines) or in random street conversations.
The unit's name has since been changed to Information Security and the technology has become more advanced: All manner of computers have been added, as well as smart phones, which serve not only as communications devices, but also as cameras, recording devices and more. But the essence has not changed - loose lips can be a life or death matter.
Hamas's efforts to penetrate IDF soldiers' and officers' phones was initiated in order to obtain information on IDF units, on training exercises, on operational plans and on weaponry. They show how far the world of espionage has come and what changes it has undergone. Espionage requires fewer and fewer agents, who are very difficult to recruit, in order to obtain intelligence. Instead, the intelligence can be produced through Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and more.
Hamas's Cyber Tactics Exposed

UN Ambassador Power Dodges on Anti-Israel Resolution Abstention
The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, dodged questions Wednesday morning on her abstention vote last month on a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
CBS host Charlie Rose asked Power what the consequences would be of the Obama administration’s decision to let the resolution pass, which broke with decades of U.S. policy to defend the Jewish state at the U.N. The resolution condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“I would hope the consequence is that all the parties on the ground who have not been engaged in talks on a two-state solution for some time get motivated to come back to the table,” Power said. “I mean, that was a resolution that enshrined in it opposition not only to settlements but also to violence and incitement of the kind that helps give rise to the kind of attack we saw earlier this week against Israelis.”
Power did not address why the U.S. broke with past policy and allowed the resolution to proceed through the Security Council.

Trump Secretary of State Pick Tillerson Slams Anti-Israel Security Council Resolution, Vows to Make Fight Against BDS a Priority
The anti-settlement resolution approved by the UN Security Council last month was “not helpful” and “undermines” the chances of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks being renewed, Rex Tillerson — President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee — said at a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
“Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region,” the former Exxon Mobil CEO said.
Tillerson took aim at outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry, calling his recent speech in which he assailed Israeli settlement construction “quite troubling.”
The 64-year-old Texan also vowed to make fighting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement a State Department priority.
“Those countries [that support BDS] need to understand that it does shape our view of them,” Tillerson said.
Regarding a potential two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Tillerson said that was “the dream that everyone is in pursuit of.”
“Whether it could ever be a reality remains to be seen,” he went on to say. “I don’t think anyone would take a position that they don’t hope for peace in that area.”

Israel Calls for Anti-Terrorism Coalition with U.S. and Moderate Arab States
The US should establish a regional coalition to fight terrorism that would include, for the first time, Israel alongside moderate Arab states, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told The Jerusalem Post.
In an exclusive interview this week, Liberman, who became defense minister in May, spoke about the outcome of the Elor Azaria trial, the investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ways Israel can work with US President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration. The full interview will appear in the “Frontlines” section of Friday’s Post.
According to Liberman, this coalition would be similar to the one the US established ahead of the First Gulf War in 1991, but would this time include Israel. He is also confident that Arab states that do not have formal ties with Israel would join and serve alongside the Jewish state.
“The moderate Arab world understands that the real threat against it is not Jews, Zionism or Israel, but rather the radicals in the Muslim world,” he said. “I think they would come to a coalition with us, under pressure from the United States.”
According to Liberman, this coalition would help not only in fighting terrorism but also in building trust between Israel and the Palestinians.
Over 100 Congressional Republicans sign call for Trump to move embassy to Jerusalem
A large delegation of House Republicans is preparing to pressure US President-elect Donald Trump to follow through on a campaign pledge to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In a letter to be sent to the incoming president, which is currently being circulated to garner more signatures from Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Trump is encouraged to “take swift action to relocate our embassy to Jerusalem as soon as you take office,” according to a copy of the text.
The letter, which was initiated by Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis (R), has thus far amassed more than 100 signatories in the House GOP caucus to endorse the missive and implore Trump to formally recognize the holy city as Israel’s sovereign capital.
“Moving the embassy will strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and send a clear message to the world that we support Israel in recognizing Jerusalem as its eternal capital,” the text said.
US government agency to investigate UNRWA terror ties
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that it would begin its official investigation by the into the ties between UNRWA and terrorist organizations and incitement in official Palestinian Authority textbooks after President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20.
The GAO is the supreme audit institution of the US government and provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress.
The investigation was requested by Senator James Risch (R-Idaho), the Chairman of the Senate Near East Subcommittee, following briefings on UNRWA's indiscretions to Congress by the Center for Near East Policy Research over the past few years.
Sen. Risch requested that the GAO carry out the investigation of UNRWA in June, 2016. The GAO replied on July 21 that it had received the request from Sen, Risch, and that it would act upon it.
“This is a matter with which I am deeply concerned and I have asked GAO to investigate,” Risch told The Daily Signal news site last Jul.. “I anticipate that the investigation will take some time, however, so I will reserve my comments until after I receive and am able to assess GAO’s findings on the matter.”
Pro-Israel Group Set to Lobby Lawmakers on U.N. Resolution
An assembly of pro-Israel leaders will head to Capitol Hill Wednesday to urge support for measures that call to repeal a recent United Nations resolution and to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Over 260 members of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the country's largest pro-Israel lobby, will be pressing for those measures, as well as the confirmation of David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel, in a broad rejection of recent actions by the Obama administration. That includes a United Nations resolution critical of Israel, which passed in December with an abstention from the administration.
"Our leaders across the county have been appalled by the Obama administration's parting shots at Israel. They've been contacting us nonstop, asking that we speak out as effectively as possible," David Brog, the group's founding executive director, said in a statement. "We decided that this was one of those times when we needed to give these leaders an opportunity to come to DC and personally ask their senators to do everything in their power to counteract these anti-Israel moves."
Ahead of the Hill visit, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reaffirmed their support for the Jewish state and bucked the U.N. resolution, which describes the West Bank and east Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory and says that Israeli construction in those areas is a "flagrant violation under international law."
The UN Is Beyond Reform
President-elect Donald Trump has promised to get tough with the UN, a corrupt, bloated bureaucracy that for seven decades has existed to provide cushy jobs for international deadbeats, and to promote the interests of tyrannical regimes and anti-American pygmy states. Recognizing the UN’s failures and corruption, some commentators are calling for targeted reductions of the estimated $8-10 billion a year we spend on the UN and its 15 affiliated organizations, thus prodding Turtle Bay to reform. But the better argument is to withdraw completely. Changing the shade of lipstick on this multinational pig is not going to keep it from acting like a pig.
Indeed, “reforming” the UN is a mantra politicians periodically repeat in order to avoid doing what’s necessary to make significant changes. Remember the old UN Human Rights Commission? It was completely ineffective because it regularly seated some of the world’s worst human rights violators, including China, Zimbabwe, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Algeria, Syria, Libya, Uganda and Vietnam. At the same time, as stalwart UN critic Ann Bayefsky wrote in 2002, “Commission members seek to avoid directly criticizing states with human rights problems, frequently by focusing on Israel, a state that, according to analysis of summary records, has for over 30 years occupied 15 percent of commission time and has been the subject of a third of country-specific resolutions.” To add insult to the injury, that same year the Commission passed a resolution giving the Palestinian Arabs the de facto “legitimate right” to use terrorism against Israel.
The serial ignoring of Sudan’s responsibility for the human rights disaster unfolding in Darfur, and the election of Sudan to the Commission finally put an end to the UNHRC, which was replaced in 2006 with the “reformed” UN Human Rights Council. After ten years it’s obvious that the change was cosmetic, as the Council has repeated the same sins of its predecessor. It continues to seat members from nations like current members China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, all notorious for violating human rights. And it continues its chronic demonization of Israel, which it has condemned five times more than any other country. Nor is this vicious bigotry confined to the Council: last March, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) condemned only one nation, Israel, for violating women’s rights.
So much for “reform.”
Obama’s Anti-Israel Politics Could Cost Him a Golf Course Membership
President Obama’s love of golf has drawn a fair amount of scrutiny and criticism over the course of his presidency. As he wraps up Oval Office duties, focusing on a post-White House life, Dear Leader may find himself excluded from an exclusive golf course.
Turns out, the mostly-Jewish run Woodmont Country Club in Maryland is not sure they want to accept President Obama into their membership due to his contentious relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
“In light of the votes at the UN and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership,” a source told the New York Post:
But members of the mostly Jewish club are at each other’s throats over whether to accept the golf-loving president, with many saying he deserves to be snubbed for not blocking an anti-Israel vote at the United Nations, according to the sources.
Obama’s UN decision was followed by a speech by Secretary of State John Kerry that was seen by many in the Jewish community as hostile to Israel.
“In light of the votes at the UN and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership,” a source told The Post.
Greece Delivers $1.5 bln Investment Boost to Israeli Offshore Gas Project
Greek company Energean Oil & Gas plans to build its own production system in the eastern Mediterranean at a cost of up to $1.5 billion to tap two Israeli offshore gas fields, the group’s chief executive said on Wednesday.
Greece’s only oil producer is also looking to bring a financial partner into the project to develop the Tanin and Karish fields which are situated in deep waters around 100 kilometres (62 miles) off Israel’s coast and have combined gas reserves estimated at 2.4 trillion cubic feet.
Energean bought Karish and Tanin last August for $148 million from U.S.-Israeli partners Delek Group and Noble Energy, who are developing two much larger fields nearby and were required by Israel to sell off other discoveries in an effort to open up the sector to competition.
Rather than piggyback off that group’s infrastructure, an idea previously floated by some experts, Energean plans to lease its own floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel and build a separate pipeline to Israel.
“We are going to be a totally independent system,” CEO Mathios Rigas told Reuters, adding that a combination of local and international banks will help finance the $1.3-$1.5 billion needed.
Israel-Turkey pipeline hangs on Cyprus peace talks
Israel hopes to market its natural gas to Turkey, and via Turkey to the EU, but this aim may hang on the outcome of the potentially historic Cypriot peace negotiations currently underway in Geneva. Since an undersea gas pipeline from Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field to Turkey requires crossing Cyprus’s economic exclusion zone, failure to reach an agreement could force Israel to return to an older plan of marketing its natural gas via Egypt. However, in the new energy and geopolitical realities of the region that emerged in 2016, Israel’s selection of Egypt as its major export option could result in the Russia’s rise as a central player in Eastern Mediterranean energy.
The divided island of Cyprus has a “once in a generation” opportunity to resolve the conflict and unite the island. Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish counterpart Mustafa Akinci have worked assiduously toward an enduring solution, narrowing the gap between the two sides on the most vexing issues blocking reunification. The current talks between the parties in Geneva will turn into an international conference on January 12 to include the three guarantor powers – Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom – for the first time since 1960.
However, while Greek and Turkish Cypriot positions are closer than ever before, there has emerged a widening gap between their guarantors in Athens and Ankara. The attempt to arrive at a settlement at this singularly exceptional moment could falter on Greece and Turkey’s failure to agree on the issue of guarantees.
The greatest beneficiary of a failure in Geneva would be Russia and its efforts to further expand its widening strategic footprint in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Sierra Leone’s president wants to ‘reposition’ ties to what they were in 1960s
Saying that he is “heartened” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to rebuild relations with Africa, Sierra Leone’s visiting President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Wednesday he hopes to “rekindle” his country’s long-standing “fraternal relationship” with Israel.
Koroma’s comments came before a meeting with Netanyahu on the second day of his visit here, the first-ever visit to Israel by a Sierra Leonean president.
Koroma said he hopes to “reposition” the Sierra Leone-Israel relationship to what it was around the time of his country’s independence in 1961. He noted that both before and immediately after independence, Israel provided support for his country that resulted in the construction of numerous public buildings in the capital of Freetown.
Sierra Leone joined the bulk of other African countries in breaking off formal diplomatic ties with Israel following the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Iran, Syria ordered to pay nearly $200 m. over attack that killed Israeli baby
A US court this week ordered the governments of Iran and Syria to pay nearly $200 million to the family of an Israeli infant killed by a Hamas terrorist in a 2014 vehicular attack in Jerusalem.
The US District Court in Washington, DC ruled Tuesday that Tehran and Damascus were liable to provide compensation for damages amounting to $178,500,000 due to their financial backing of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
The Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin represented the family of dual Israeli-American citizen Chaya Zissel Braun, the three-month-old baby who was killed when Palestinian terrorist Abdel Rahman Shaludi rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people at the Ammunition Hill light-rail station in the capital. Israeli officials identified the perpetrator as a convicted terrorist who had previously served a prison sentence and had ties to Hamas.
Due to the infant's dual nationality, her parents and grandparents filed the case with the US court. The case was won on default judgement as at least one defendant failed to appear before the court.
“The criminal regimes in Tehran and Damascus are the biggest state sponsors of terrorism in the world," said Shurat HaDin lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. "This judgement sends a clear message that there is a very heavy price to be paid for financing terrorism and spilling innocent blood in the streets of Jerusalem."
The US State Department condemned the October 2014 attack "in the strongest possible terms."
Understanding Israel’s Message on ISIS-Inspired Terror in Jerusalem
Hamas praised the Jerusalem truck terror attack as “heroic.” The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group features a charter that reminds us of the popular motivation of the Palestinian struggle. It declares, “For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.”
Palestinian jihad in Jerusalem also enjoys PLO and Palestinian Authority financial and rhetorical support. Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser’s January 2017 Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs report “Incentivizing Terrorism: Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and their Families” confirms that official Palestinian Authority legislation guarantees more than $310 million dollars in annual allocations to terrorists and their families. PA and PLO leadership have long incited Palestinians to murder Israelis. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas both claim Israel is destroying the al-Aqsa Mosque. This libel was also one of the central sources of incitement to terror in Jabal Mukaber, according to Issacharoff.
Both the Netanyahu government and the Labor Party-led Knesset opposition equally reject the double standards some in the West apply to terrorism against Israel. Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog has noted the magnitude of the jihadi challenge. Following the 2015 ISIS attacks in Paris, Herzog said: “We need to be very precise. All the nations that seek peace and liberties, the democratic nations, are facing an enormous challenge from fundamentalist, extremist, Muslim terrorism – which is ISIS and all its precursors, al-Qaida and so forth. Terrorism is terrorism. There’s no two ways about it.”
Herzog’s warning reflects Netanyahu’s assessment of the similarities between ISIS and other jihadi truck terror in Berlin, Nice and Jerusalem.
Islamic jihadists in Europe and Jerusalem have heeded Herzog and Netanyahu’s latest warning in both rhetoric and action. That’s why the West must condemn and battle Islamic terror unconditionally, equally, and without reservation wherever it strikes.
Widow of Terrorist Who Committed Deadly Jerusalem Truck-Ramming Attack to Receive $760 Lifetime Monthly Allowance From Palestinian Authority
The widow of the terrorist who committed Sunday’s truck-ramming attack at the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem, killing four Israeli soldiers and wounding another 15, will receive a lifetime monthly stipend as a reward for her husband’s “martyrdom for Allah,” a prominent research organization reported on Wednesday.
According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Fadi al-Qanbar’s widow, a resident of the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood in east Jerusalem, will receive a total of NIS 2,900 (approximately $760) each month, in accordance with Palestinian Authority law.
PMW broke down the sum, based on the statute, as follows:
All families of “martyrs” receive a base monthly payment of NIS 1,400 ($365). Widows of “martyrs” receive an additional NIS 400 ($104). NIS 200 ($52) is paid for each of their children; al-Qanbar has four. And Jerusalem residents, such as al-Qanbar, receive an extra NIS 300 ($78).
In addition, within the next few months, al-Qanbar’s widow will receive a one-time grant of NIS 6,000 ($1,580).
In October, US Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dan Coats (R-IN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Taylor Force Act — named after the American military veteran who was stabbed to death in Tel Aviv in March by a Palestinian terrorist — which would cut off funding to the PA if it continues its policy of dispensing monetary rewards for terrorism.
Perpetrator of Jerusalem Truck Attack Is a Hero - Egyptian MP/TV Host Sa'id Hassassin:

Cop accused of killing Palestinian teen agrees to plea deal
Jerusalem prosecutors said Thursday that they had formally reached a plea bargain with a Border Police officer who in 2014 allegedly shot dead a teenage Palestinian protester in the West Bank, and was subsequently charged with wrongful death.
The family of the Palestinian teen, 17-year-old Nadeem Siam Nawara, has vowed not to accept the agreement, rejecting the defense’s arguments that the officer, Ben Deri, had not realized he was using live ammunition instead of rubber bullets when he was ordered to disperse a crowd of protesters during Nakba Day demonstrations in the West Bank village of Beitunia, near Ramallah, in May 2014.
A police investigation into the shooting found that Deri, who was 21 at the time of the incident, confirmed that he had used a live round rather than nonlethal munitions.
Nawara was killed along with fellow protester Muhammad Abu Taher, 22. A video released following the incident appeared to show that Nawara was shot while he was some distance from the demonstration and apparently posed no threat to Deri’s Border Police unit.
Nawara’s family had previously vowed to use every means possible to see justice served, including an appeal to the International Criminal Court.
Report: Qatar trying to broker Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange
Qatar has been trying to broker a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas that would see the Gaza Strip-based terrorist group return two captive Israeli citizens and the remains of two Israeli soldiers, the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab newspaper reported Wednesday.
According to the report, negotiations have been brokered by Mohammed al-Emadi, Qatar's envoy to the Gaza Strip and head of the Qatari National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza.
The report has not been corroborated by any Israeli source, and Hamas has denied any indirect negotiations are taking place.
Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil was quoted by Kul al-Arab as saying, "I'm not aware of any Qatari involvement, but there are talks between the parties on this issue."
IDF Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin were killed in the Gaza Strip in separate battles during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. Ethiopian Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed, both suffering from mental health issues, crossed into Gaza willingly in 2014 and 2015 and were captured by Hamas.
Police recommend indicting head of outlawed Islamic group
Police said Thursday they had recommended indicting Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of an outlawed Islamist group, on suspicion of incitement to terrorism and violence, as well as supporting an illegal organization.
In a statement, police said an investigation into Salah was completed last week and that the case had been passed to Haifa District prosecutors for review.
Salah is currently serving a nine-month sentence for a previous conviction of incitement and is due to be released from prison next month. Investigators began questioning the sheikh about the recent allegations in December. They apparently concern evidence from before he began serving out his prison sentence.
The investigation into Salah, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, by police’s Lahav 433 major crimes unit was launched with the approval of the State Attorney’s Office, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
PA to open embassy in Vatican during Abbas visit
The Palestinian Authority will open an embassy in the Vatican on Friday, capping a significant boosting of ties between Ramallah and the Holy See, the PA’s official news outlet Wafa reported on Thursday.
The inauguration will be attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and comes a little over a year and half after the Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a move that was then highly criticized by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Issa Kassissieh, Ramallah’s ambassador to the Holy See, called the opening of the embassy a “big achievement for the Palestinian people, considering the pope and the Apostolic Nuncio have adopted the moral legal and political position to recognize the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders.”
He added that the opening of the embassy was a result of “the long journey of sacrifices for our people, which led to the overall agreement signed between the state of Palestine and the Vatican.”
Gazans Defend Hamas Terror Tunnels: 'We'll Continue to Light Them With Our Blood!'
Residents of Gaza were outraged at criticism of Hamas’ cross-border tunnels, used mainly for smuggling, by the Palestinian Authority’s official TV channel.
The criticism emerged during a debate on the electricity crisis in Gaza, as the number of hours Gazans are provided with electric power decreased to three per day as opposed to eight.
Earlier this week, several demonstrations took place in Gaza over the increasingly difficult conditions, against the backdrop of a cold spell that struck the Strip.
Hamas has traded blows over the crisis with the Palestinian Authority, which they kicked out of Gaza in 2007. Hamas claims that the PA failed to pay the bills to their Israeli service provider and demanded that the tax on electricity in Gaza be increased, while the PA accuses Hamas of wanting free electricity, and while ordinary citizens bear the brunt of the crisis, Hamas’ tunnel network remains unaffected by the shortage.
The PA’s official TV channel organized a panel discussion on the matter, which was dedicated to placing the blame on Hamas. Supporters of the terror group were outraged, especially by a caption that read, “Gaza in total darkness… and the tunnels are lit.”
Hamas Announces New Rockets Capable of Hitting Their Own Schools (satire)
Leaders of Hamas’ armed military wing announced this week that its engineers had produced a new type of rocket with a maximum range of about 500 meters capable of reaching the Gaza Strip’s Hamas and United Nations-run schools.
One Hamas commander, Mahmoud Al-Tahabri, emphasized that in the past Hamas had tried to extend the range of its rockets to reach all Israeli cities, but that ultimately this was a failed strategy. He continued, “the rockets that we launch into Israel ultimately have little practical damage, other than the occasional bullseye. But every time a school blows up in Gaza, the entire world turns against Israel. Usually we have to bait the Israelis by launching rockets from either near or actually at the schools, and just pray for a stray Jewish missile. But now we’ve streamlined the process by firing the rockets directly at the schools. We expect that this will contribute heavily to winning the media battle in future conflicts with Israel.”
Reactions from Israeli officials have been mixed. Most have simply accepted the fact that these school attacks will be attributed to Israel despite the fact that Hamas admitted to these rockets on multiple international media platforms. Others on the ultra right-wing were quoted as saying “at least the Arabs are killing each other and not us.”
EXCLUSIVE - Source: Egypt Thaws Relations with Hamas Amid Ongoing Struggle with Islamic State
Hamas and the Egyptian government have agreed on a series of measures to alleviate the blockade on the Gaza Strip, a senior official in the movement told Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to the source, the outcome of the negotiations, led by Hamas’ deputy head of diplomacy Mousa Abu Marzouk (pictured) and Egyptian officials, was Egypt’s agreement this week to allow vehicles and goods into the Strip via the Rafah crossing. He said that the purpose of these measures is to benefit the Egyptian economy, and to bolster Hamas’ status and security along the Gaza-Egypt border.
“We cannot deny that Egypt’s gestures have been coordinated with Israel, but the bottom line is that Egyptian goods have entered the Strip, which benefits the Egyptian economy,” he said. “We, on our part, continue to enforce the peace along the border and prevent pro-Islamic State jihadists from using the territory as a launching pad for attacks against Egypt.”
He added that Abu Marzouk and Cairo agreed on setting up a joint command to fend of local Salafi extremism, and that he briefed the Egyptian intelligence on all the information Hamas had gathered from interrogating the jihadists it detained, which could serve Egypt in its ongoing effort to clamp down on Welayat Sinai, the local IS affiliate.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian Authority official, speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, accused Egypt of bolstering Hamas at the expense of the PA.
Listen to Qassem Soleimani
Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Republic Guard Corps’ elite Qods Force, is responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other terrorist except for the late Osama bin Laden. Soleimani has also worked tirelessly to supply Hezbollah, prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime, and support terrorist groups operating against Israel. Simply put, he should be at the top of the list to capture or eliminate under a Trump administration.
That said, U.S. diplomats could learn a great deal from Soleimani about how the Islamic Republic really works. The basis of Obama administration outreach to Iran under both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her successor, John Kerry, was that factionalism in Iran mattered. They believed that President Hassan Rouhani and his predecessors, Mohammad Khatami and the late Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were truly reformers, moderates, or pragmatists with whom true rapprochement might be negotiated.
But speaking against the backdrop of Rafsanjani’s funeral, Soleimani described the true Rafsanjani: He “possessed the same disposition from the beginning to the end” Soleimani said, but varied his tactics. “Otherwise, he [Rafsanjani] was against the Arrogance [the United States] and Zionism,” he added.
In other words, Iran’s master terrorist and chief military tactician acknowledged that what many in the West see as hope for reform is actually an elaborate game of good cop-bad cop which Iranians use to avoid accountability for terrorism and to relieve financial pressure.
Syrian Recovering in Israeli Hospital: “We Want Peace With Israel”
A Syrian man recovering in an Israeli hospital said that while the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is his enemy, the Syrian people “want peace with Israel,” The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.
Fadi, 45, arrived last week at Ziv Medical Center in Safed, which has treated some 800 wounded Syrians since February 2013. A former member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which fights against the Assad regime, Fadi sustained a shrapnel wound during a car bombing last year while distributing food to villagers. At the time, he came to seek treatment at Ziv and had a metal apparatus placed on his leg.
He has since returned to receive further treatment in the Israeli hospital, which he called “excellent. The most perfect care. I hope the leg will be fully treated and healed. If God wills it, I’ll be able to run.”
Fadi, his wife, and their four children were forced to leave their home village after it was devastated during the Syrian conflict, which has claimed more than 450,000 lives since 2011. “There has been complete destruction caused by the regime through artillery, planes, barrel bombs from helicopters and tanks,” he said.
He left the FSA three years ago “because people deviated from the goal to achieve justice for all people,” but said that he remained active in his local village council until the car bombing.
Fadi argued that Assad must be removed from power so that Syrians can have peace and “live in coexistence as one people without wars and to create a popular basis of friendship and brotherliness and to renounce violence.”

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