Sunday, April 09, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: PA defies US, will raise payments to Martyrs' families
In defiance of the US, which is demanding that the Palestinian Authority completely stop financial rewards to families of terrorist "Martyrs" (Shahids), the PA is now raising the payments to the "Martyrs'" families. These PA payments include lifetime monthly allowances to families of suicide bombers, and other murderers who were killed during or after committing their crimes.
Muhammad Sbeihat, the Secretary-General of the National Association of the Martyrs' Families of Palestine, which is the PLO organization dealing with the PA's payments to "Martyrs'" families, explained last week:
"In the upcoming period the allowances of the Martyrs' families will be linked to the cost of living index, which will cause an improvement in these allowances, if only slightly." [Al-Quds, April 4, 2017]
The fact that the PA is raising the amount of the allowances to Martyrs' families, even slightly, at this time is in direct defiance of the United States. Palestinian Media Watch exposed in 2011 that the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists and allowances to families of terrorist Martyrs, and in 2016 exposed that the PA was lying when they claimed to have stopped payments to prisoners.
Visa of Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi revoked hours before travel to Australia
The Immigration Department has refused to comment on exactly why it blocked the visa of a prominent Palestinian activist, but has argued it has a responsibility to protect the community from abuse or danger.
Bassem Tamimi, 50, had his visa cancelled hours before he was due to travel to Australia, on the grounds his opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could provoke anger in the community.
He had been given permission to travel to Australia on Tuesday, but the following day the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) revoked his visa.
The ABC asked Immigration Minister Peter Dutton about the exact nature of that new information and whether the cancellation was an example of curbing freedom of speech, and the DIBP responded on his behalf.
"The Australian Government supports freedom of speech and freedom of religious and political beliefs," a DIBP spokesman said.
"The exercise of this freedom does involve a responsibility to avoid vilification of, inciting discord in, or representing a danger to, the Australian community.
Mr Tamimi had been invited to Australia for a speaking tour by the Palestine Action Group in Sydney, the Friends of Palestine in Perth and the Socialist Alternative's Marxism Conference in Melbourne.
He has previously lobbied for an "intifada" against Israel during speaking tours in the United States.
PALM SUNDAY ATTACKS 43 dead, over 100 injured in ISIS bombings at 2 churches in Egypt
At least 43 people were killed and more than 100 injured in two separate Palm Sunday attacks at Coptic Christian churches in Egypt, each carried out by the ISIS terror group.
The first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.
Television footage showed the inside of the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.
A second explosion – which Egypt’s Interior Ministry says was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark's Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria -- left at least 16 dead, and 41 injured. The attack came just after Pope Tawadros II -- leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria -- finished services, but aides told local media that he was unharmed.
At least three police officers were killed in the St. Mark’s attack, the ministry told The Associated Press.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Aamaq media agency, following the group's recent video vowing to step up attacks against Christians, who the group describes as "infidels" empowering the West against Muslims.
Israel extends condolences to Egypt, urges united front against terrorism
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released a statement on Sunday extending Israel's condolences to Egypt and the victims of a deadly blast that occurred earlier in the day at a Coptic church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta.
"The world must unite and fight against terrorism everywhere," the statement read.
In addition, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely condemned the incident as a terrorist attack, saying it served as a reminder that Egypt is also under attack by terrorists.
Hotovely, in the first Israeli response to the Palm Sunday attack, said that terrorism does not stop at Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Berlin, London or Jerusalem.

JCPA: Does the U.S. Attack in Syria Risk a Regional War?
The U.S. made it clear that the attack in Syria was a one-time move, designed to convey the message to Assad about the prohibited use of chemical weapons against civilians. However, the U.S. intends to sharpen the message, as the U.S. Treasury Secretary recently announced, by imposing additional economic sanctions on the Syrian regime.
The Syrians are trying to link Israel to the American attack. Syria’s deputy foreign minister claimed that the attack followed the Israeli failure in Syria.
President Trump proved with the military attack in Syria that he is adopting the positions of Israel and the moderate Sunni Arab states in connection with the danger posed by the “axis of evil.”
The Sunni states are pleased that the new U.S. president is standing by them after what they viewed as a betrayal by former President Barack Obama, which strengthened Iran even more by his signing of the nuclear agreement.
President Trump has changed that direction. Until Assad’s chemical attack on the rebels, Trump focused mainly on the war against ISIS. After the attack, Trump understood how dangerous Bashar Assad is and might act to change his policy and topple the Assad regime.
These developments are dangerous and further complicate the war in Syria. They could become a snowball that has the potential to turn into a regional war. Israel must proceed with great caution.
Netanyahu urges world to rid Syria of chemical weapons
"Israel fully supports the American airstrike in Syria," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
"They did it for moral reasons, in the face of horrible sights from Idlib Province, but also to send out a clear message that there is a price to be paid for using chemical weapons."
"There is an existing commitment from 2013 to remove all chemical weapons from Syria, and as we saw [last week] this commitment has not yet been fully met," Netanyahu added. "We call on the international community to complete this task. This is an opportunity for American-Russian collaboration on this particular point. This job needs to be completed."
On Friday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called Netanyahu to thank him for his support of U.S. President Donald Trump's retaliatory strike in Syria. Pence briefed Netanyahu on the outcome of the strike and the details surrounding it. The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying, "In their conversation, Netanyahu and Vice President Pence emphasized the strength of the alliance between Israel and the United States."
Netanyahu doubles down on support for ‘moral’ US strike on Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday declared Israel’s full support for a US missile bombardment of a Syrian airbase, saying the military action was morally justified and showed that the use of chemical weapons would incur a cost.
Netanyahu also vowed that Israel will continue to care for Syrians wounded in the country’s civil war as part of its “humanitarian effort” to help the embattled country.
US warships fired 59 cruise missiles early Friday at the Syrian regime-held Shayrat Airfield, north of the capital Damascus, from which Washington believes a deadly suspected chemical weapons attack was launched three days earlier on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in the Idlib province. At least 86 people died in the gas bombing, including 27 children.
The US and other Western powers have blamed the regime of President Bashar Assad for the attack, while Damascus denied it used chemical weapons.
Syrian survivor to Trump: Thank you

Israel treats thousands of war-wounded Syrians
QUNEITRA CROSSING, Golan Heights — Seven wounded Syrians __ two children, four women and a man __ waited in pain for darkness to fall to cross into enemy territory. Under the faint moonlight, Israeli military medical corps quickly whisked the patients across the hostile frontier into armored ambulances headed to hospitals for intensive care.
It was a scene that has recurred since 2013, when the Israeli military began treating Syrian civilians wounded in fighting just a few kilometers (miles) away. Israel says it has quietly treated 3,000 patients — a number that it expects to quickly grow as fighting heats up in neighboring Syria in the wake of a chemical attack and, in response, an unprecedented U.S. missile strike.
While the numbers are a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded in the six-year Syrian war, both doctors and patients say the program has changed perceptions and helped ease tensions across the hostile border.
Dr. Salman Zarka, director of the Ziv medical center in the northern Israeli town of Safed, is a former colonel in the medical corps who served on the Syrian border.
He said he “couldn’t then have imagined setting up a humanitarian program for Syrians” Now his hospital has delivered 19 Syrian babies and sends prescriptions with patients back into Syria.
“All this makes it more human, more complicated,” Zarka said, adding that he worries about patients he knows on a first name-basis who have returned to Syria.
UN’s Haley: After chemical attack, Assad has to go
Washington’s UN ambassador said that Syria’s President Bashar aAssad cannot stay in power after a suspected chemical attack that prompted the first direct US military action against his government.
Nikki Haley’s comments in an interview airing Sunday came as part of an apparent shift in US policy towards Assad’s government after the alleged chemical attack last week on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed 87 people, including many children.
Images of civilians suffering the apparent effects of a gas attack, including convulsions, vomiting and foaming at the mouth, provoked international outrage and prompted US President Donald Trump to order a strike on a Syrian airbase.
In the interview with CNN, Haley said peace in Syria was impossible with Assad in power.
“There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” she told the “State of the Union” program.
Tillerson to press Russia on Syrian chemical weapons
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press Russia on its failure to prevent Syria’s use of chemical weapons in meetings this week in Moscow, he said in interviews aired Sunday.
Tillerson stopped short of accusing the Russians of complicity in a suspected sarin nerve gas attack April 4 that killed at least 87 civilians in Syria’s southern Idlib province.
“I don’t draw conclusions of complicity at all, but clearly they’ve been incompetent and perhaps they’ve just simply been out-maneuvered by the Syrians,” Tillerson said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” program.
Tillerson will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, just days after the United States fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation for the chemical attack.
Defeating IS remains ‘first priority’ in Syria, Tillerson says
The top priority for the United States in Syria is to defeat the Islamic State group even before stabilizing the country, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says.
Defeating the group and its self-proclaimed caliphate would eliminate not only a threat to the US but to “the whole stability in the region,” Tillerson told CBS television’s “Face the Nation” program in an excerpt released Saturday.
“It’s important that we keep our priorities straight. And we believe that the first priority is the defeat of ISIS,” Tillerson said in a clip made public on the eve of the Sunday talkshow’s air time.
“Once the ISIS threat has been reduced or eliminated, I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilizing the situation in Syria,” he said.
“We’re hopeful that we can prevent a continuation of the civil war and that we can bring the parties to the table to begin the process of political discussions.”
Ben Dror-Yemini: Free world is also to blame for mass murder in Syria
Op-ed: For decades, the international community—including Western states—has been showing forgiveness towards unenlightened states. For decades, human rights groups have been ignoring major human rights violations in the Muslim world.
The following article was written before the US strike on Syria on Friday.
Never again, many people thought after World War II. The mass and unnecessary slaughter, including the horrors of the Holocaust, encouraged the international community to create news rules for the game. One result was the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was aimed at protecting civilian populations. The murderous bombing in the Syrian town of Idlib—a chemical weapons attack—reminds us that there is a lot of talk but no action. What happened will happen again, and it will be even worse.
For a moment, it seemed as though a new, more ethical and more decent world was being created. Some 17 million people were killed in World War I, and about 40 percent of them were civilians. Some 64 million were killed in World War II, and about 60 percent of them were civilians. Never again, the international community hoped, and phrased the Geneva Convention.
Daniel Pipes: No to bombing Syria
The Obama Administration rightly stayed out of Syria through six painful, grisly years of civil war there. Yes, the fighting has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions. Yes, the uncontrolled migration of Syrians to Europe caused deep problems there. Yes, the Kurds are sympathetic. Yes, Barack Obama made a fool of himself when he declared the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons a "red line" and proceeded not to enforce it.
Despite all this, it was right not to intervene because Iranian- and Russian-backed Shi'ite pro-government jihadis are best kept busy fighting Saudi-, Qatar-, and Turkish-backed anti-government Sunni jihadis; because Kurds, however appealing, are not contenders for control of the whole of Syria; and because Americans have no stomach for another Middle Eastern war.
The direct American involvement that a few hours ago with nearly 60 cruise missiles in an hour attacking Shayrat Air Base implies siding with one side against the other, even though both of them are hideously repugnant. (While the regime has done the great preponderance of the killing, estimated at 94 percent, that's due only to its greater destructive power, not the humanitarianism of ISIS and its other enemies.)
I see this military action as an error. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires that American forces fight in every war around the world; this one should be sat out, letting enemies of the United States fight each other to exhaustion.
MEMRI: Putin's Choice: Trump Or Assad?
In an April 7, 2017 article for The Moscow Times, titled 'Russia Has Backed Itself Into a Corner in Syria', Russian commentator Vladimir Frolov claims that the angry public rhetoric by top Russian officials against the American airstrike on a Syrian regime airbase is deceptive. In private, there is anger at Assad and his Iranian backers for pushing the envelope too far with the sarin attack and catching the Kremlin by surprise. By launching the attack, Assad complicated Putin's efforts to achieve a rapprochement with the U.S. forged in the common fight against ISIS as well as Russia's recent attempts to pivot from combatant to peacemaker via the Astana process. Assad also exposed the fact that the 2013 U.S.-Russian agreement on removing Syria's chemical arsenal was a sham thus undermining Putin's status as a statesman. By forcing Trump's hand, Assad created a situation where Russia must choose between Trump and Assad.
Frolov recommends that Russia preempt the Americans by disciplining Assad itself, for example by using its assets in Syria to ground Assad's airforce. This would be a gesture appreciated by the Americans that could salvage relations with the Trump administration, while signaling Assad and the Iranians that Russia is not on board with a military solution to the Syrian civil war and they must not sabotage the negotiation process in which Moscow is heavily invested
We republish Frolov's article below:
Assad Wags The Russian Bear
"It seems bizarre that the fortunes of the U.S.-Russia relationship should rise and fall on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. In August 2013, after the horrendous sarin gas attack by the Syrian Army on Eastern Ghouta that killed over 1500 people, President Obama nearly ordered missile strikes in Syria but accepted the offer from President Putin to get Assad’s chemical weapons destroyed under international supervision.
The chemical weapons attack allows Putin to abandon Assad and Iran
Putin is drowning in Syria. Putin currently has no Syrian exit strategy, none at all. At $50 a barrel, Putin’s cash-flow approaches zero, and his sanctioned economy is dead in the water. Even though Putin’s sure to win his 2018 rigged-election, he still wants out of Syria before he has to campaign in earnest.
In addition, 80% of the world’s Muslims are Sunni and Putin is siding with Shiite Iran and Shiite/Alawite Assad to commit genocide on Sunnis. That is definitely not good. Close to 100% of the Muslims living in and near Russia are Sunni.
Putin needs a Syrian exit strategy, and needs one fast. With Assad’s Idlib Sarin nerve gas massacre, the opportunity exists for Putin to make a deal with President Trump to abandon Iran and Assad, but keep his naval base at Tartus.
The deal is simple. More importantly, as a preface and taking a step back, NATO, Russia and the United States actually have a common enemy: Radical Islamic Terror. They are all on the same team.
The broad outline of the deal is this: Russia abandons Assad and Iran in Syria in return for keeping Tartus and pocketing the ethnically Russian-speaking areas of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, but Russia allows Western Ukraine to join NATO. As an immediate pre-deal, the Minsk Agreement is implemented, and there is a pull-back from the Minsk Line by both parties.
Arab world lauds Trump for 'courageous' attack on air base
The Arab world has come out in support of the U.S. decision to fire more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airfield from which Washington said Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces launched a deadly chemical attack this week.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend and congratulated him on his "brave decision." According to the Saudi Press Agency, Salman said that the U.S. missile strike was appropriate, given the failure of the international community to stop the heinous crimes the Syrian regime continues to commit against its own people.
Similar praise came from Jordan and the Persian Gulf states, including Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
The Arab League, however, demanded all sides involved in the crisis in Syria halt what it called "the dangerous escalation."
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said that the league's 22 member states opposed attempts by countries in the region and world powers to boost their political standing on the backs of Syria's dead and at the expense of violating Syria's territorial sovereignty.
JPost Editorial: The great embassy race: US and Russia elbowing each other, eyeing Jerusalem
Last week witnessed two threshold events that signaled a profound change in the Middle East: the Trump administration’s cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base in retaliation for Assad’s latest nerve gas attack on civilians, and Russia’s surprise recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Both dramatic events took the world by surprise, representing nearly simultaneous reversals of the internationally accepted status quo.
Previously, Assad’s use of poison gas was just another facet of the ongoing barbarity afflicting the Middle East, one which former US president Barack Obama naively promised to stem, but did not follow through with military action. Suddenly there is a new sheriff in town who broke through the diplomatic inertia with long-awaited action. While all the consequences are yet to emerge, no one should ignore the nearly universal sighs of long overdue, hope-stirring relief.
This remarkable feeling was joined almost simultaneously by Russia’s unexpected announcement recognizing Israel’s eternal capital of Jerusalem, a dramatic decision that places Vladimir Putin against Donald Trump in a totally new big-power rivalry – the race to Jerusalem.
Many American and Israeli Jews have waited with mounting impatience for Trump to keep his campaign promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump Must Designate Muslim Brotherhood to Defeat Radical Islam
Hopes that the Trump administration will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization have hit rough waters, with anonymous officials citing concerns about diplomatic blowback and frayed relationships with Muslims at home and abroad. The leaks come on the eve of a historic visit to Washington by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a key Arab ally and devoted Muslim who is locked in a life-or-death struggle with the Brotherhood.
The irony is hard to miss, particularly given that Egypt and several other Arab countries have already designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
Whatever the truth behind the leaks, they underscore that the inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom — that the Brotherhood is "moderate" and so popular that designation would be seen as "a declaration of war against . . . Islam itself" — will not die as easily as many hoped.
This thinking is rooted in a failure to understand the difference between Islamists — a sizable but distinct minority of Muslims who adhere to a radical utopian ideology — and the majority of Muslims, among whom are found friends and allies. President el-Sisi, who has publicly called out extremism to clerics in Egypt, understands this. After all, Egypt is not the only state in which the Brotherhood engaged in attempts to kill its way to power. It did the same in Syria in the early 1980s.
Egyptians Urge US Lawmakers to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization
A delegation of Egyptian lawmakers traveling with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during his visit to Washington this week met with American lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), to gather support for designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in the US.
Hussein Wahdan, head of the Egyptian parliamentary delegation, said in a statement that the delegation met Cruz “to provide him with all the documents necessary to put Muslim Brotherhood on the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations,” Egypt’s Ahram reported.
“In our meetings with US Congress officials, we did our best to expose the terrorist nature of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Wahdan. “We agreed with Senator Ted Cruz that we should work together in the coming period to expose the crimes of the Muslim Brotherhood before American public opinion.”
Cruz, along with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), introduced a bill aimed at designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization back in 2015. In January, both lawmakers reintroduced the bill to blacklist the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Hundreds rally outside home of Jewish murder victim in Paris
Hundreds of demonstrators from the French Jewish community held a memorial rally on Sunday outside the house of an Orthodox Jewish doctor who was murdered by her neighbor last week, Israel Radio reported.
Jewish youth, some associated with the far-right Jewish Defense League group, were among the crowds outside the apartment of the victim identified as Sarah Halimi. Halimi was reportedly hurled by a Muslim neighbor to her death from the window of her third-floor apartment last Monday.
French riot police were called to disperse the gathering of demonstrators on Sunday after tensions arose between nearby residents and the Jewish youth, some of whom reportedly hurled objects at neighbors and attempted to enter their homes.
The masses dispersed after participating demonstrators sang the national anthems of both France and Israel and waved Israeli flags.
According to the Paris-based publication Le Parisien, local police last week apprehended a main suspect in the murder. The man, aged 27, was the victim's neighbor and is familiar to French authorities. He has been sent to a psychiatric examination in order to rule out any mental condition.
Norway police neutralize bomb outside Oslo subway station
Police in the Norwegian capital of Oslo said they neutralized an explosive device found in a busy area of downtown Oslo late Saturday night and said they had arrested a suspect.
Police Chief Vidar Pedersen confirmed that the device, initially described as “bomb-like,” was an explosive. The police Twitter account said it had been defused or neutralized.
Police would not give any details about the suspect, or further information about the device.
Pedersen said the device was found on the street just outside the Groenland underground station, and police swept through the area to remove people from bars and restaurants.
“Every restaurant was being closed,” said 23-year-old Malin Myrvold, who witnessed the scene from a fourth-story window. “You could see cops in heavy armor going in every store and restaurant.
“We were trying to see what was going on. The police were screaming at us to get back inside and stay where we were,” she added by telephone.
IsraellyCool: Hanan Ashrawi Complains About Org That Translates What They Said In Arabic
Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee Member and Teller Of Porky Pies, complains about MEMRI, which does a great job translating the hateful utterances the palestinians and other Arabs speak in Arabic, which are usually at odds with what they are telling a gullible Western audience.
Note how she claims they “distort Palestinian utterances.” MEMRI are not the only ones capable of translating Arabic, so they could not possibly get away with mistranslating anything. It is not like they are translating, say, Hobbit.
The reason Ashrawi finds them to be toxic is that they translate the Arabic correctly. And the utterances they translate contain the real toxic messages – messages of hatred and incitement, which are extremely inconvenient for professional liars like Ashrawi.
If you want to see a truly toxic organization, check out Ashrawi’s own MIFTAH, which disseminates antisemitism.
Death toll in clashes at Lebanon Palestinian camp rises to 5
The toll in two days of clashes in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon rose to five on Sunday, medics said, as local factions worked to implement a security plan.
Clashes erupted in the camp late Friday as Palestinian factions participating in a joint security force begun deploying throughout the area in the southern city of Sidon.
They came under fire from a local Islamic extremist group in part of the camp, prompting clashes that Lebanese and Palestinian medics said Sunday have now killed five people and wounded at least 30, mostly civilians.
Among the dead were two civilians, two members of the joint Palestinian security force and one member of the extremist group, the medical sources said.
The fighting has prompted security measures outside the camp, which Lebanese security forces do not enter by longstanding agreement.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinians Hope Refugee Camp Killings Show How Ready They Are For State (satire)
The clashes took place this afternoon (Sunday) amid ongoing sectarian tensions among Palestinian factions, showcasing the continued and worsening fractures of the Palestinian nation. That characteristic divided polity, say leaders, provides a foretaste of any eventual Palestinian State, which the world should work to establish as soon as possible.
“In the interest of stability of the region – indeed, of the world, given the specter of terrorism with Palestinian statelessness at its root – this culture of political violence and the utter lack of a central monopoly on force couldn’t be a clearer representation of our readiness to govern a sovereign state,” asserted Fatah official Saeb Erekat. “Of course all that needs to change is the oppression and occupation by the Jews, and the world can expect a peaceful, smoothly-functioning government apparatus of the State of Palestine.”
While previous iterations of deadly violence among Palestinians have highlighted the imminent preparedness of Palestinian society for a state, the most recent bout of intramural shooting has made the issue even more pressing, say analysts. “There’s are only so many ways, and so many times, Palestinians can make the point they are ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood,” observed John Kerry, until recently the US Secretary of State. “In addition to these incidents, we’ve had the phenomenon of international Palestinian terrorism since the 1960’s, such that by now, everyone should be aware of the Palestinian readiness for a functioning state. The fact that this aspiration continues to suffer frustration, for any number of reasons – I can think of the existence of six million Jewish Israelis, for example – has caused these demonstrations of Palestinian readiness to become more and more emphatic. Just ten years ago there was a mini-civil-war in Gaza, and the rifts have only worsened since. I don’t know how much longer we can expect the Palestinians to be so ready.”
Kerry noted how hard he worked to give the Palestinians their desires. “President Obama and I did everything we could to bring that dream closer,” he recalled. “We worked behind the scenes during the 2014 Gaza War against Israel to enable unbridled Palestinian violence, but unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. And it appears that under the current president, no real progress is likely. That’s a shame.”
Israel to Hamas: Pay your electric bills, or we'll shut power
Israel demanded Hamas pay its electric bill or suffer the natural consequences of not paying, reports said.
IDF Major General Yoav Mordechai said, "The cost of fuel to operate the power plant in Gaza is rising and Hamas is not willing to pay these costs or the cost of fuel it consumes on its own.
"If the situation is not resolved in the coming days, the production of electricity may be cut and it will be the residents of the Strip who face the dire consequences and pay the price.
"The responsibility lies with Hamas. We regret the fact that it will be the civilians in Gaza who will pay the price for this.
Gaza receives its power from the Israeli energy company Dor, but has not paid the company for several months. After the energy crisis a few months ago, Gaza received a supply of fuel from Turkey and Qatar sent three months' worth of funds, but both supplies are nearly spent.
40,000 Students Instructed in the Use of Weapons
A video presenting the graduation ceremony of a Hamas-run paramilitary training program in Gaza high schools was posted online by Khabar Press. For fifth consecutive year, 20,000-40,000 students attended the program, in which students learn urban and commando warfare and train in the use of various types of weapons, according to the program’s instructors.

No Honor at U. of Arkansas
The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies is an academic and research unit in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, dedicated to the study of the modern Middle East and the geo-cultural area in which Islamic civilization prospered and continues to shape world history.
It had planned a conference on 'honorcide', the Islamic cultural blight known as 'honor killings':
You'll notice that Phyllis Chesler's name is included.
But she won't be speaking.
I have been informed that three professors protested her inclusion, a Muslim student had 'promised' there would be Muslim group protests and trouble and that there were shattered windows at the Middle East Studies Center and at the current Director's home. Police came.
Seems the center got cold feet and caved in to the newest edition of fascist storm-troopers.
Dublin City Hall Wants To Fly Palestinian Flag To Mourn Israel Regaining Jerusalem
Between May 15 and June 15, the Palestinian flag will quite likely fly over the Dublin, Ireland city hall. Why? A Dublin city council subcommittee decided to fly the flag to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war in which Israel finally reunified Jerusalem as the eternal home of the Jewish people and retook its ancient home of Judea and Samaria.
The author of the motion to fly the flag, Councillor John Lyons, a member of the hard-left People Before Profit Alliance, called the action a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinians. He has previously called Israel an apartheid regime and claimed Israel has occupied Judea and Samaria. He blustered, “I think more and more people are of the opinion that the very state of Israel and how it’s behaving in an extreme manner are actually destabilizing its cause and argument.” The motion states:
Noting recent reports of diplomatic developments by the Irish state toward full recognition of the state of Palestine, aware also that Ireland accorded the Palestinian delegation in Dublin diplomatic status in 2014, the same year that witnessed both Houses of the Oireachtas pass motions in support of Palestinian statehood, this city council will fly the flag of Palestine over City Hall for the month of May 2017 in support of the above diplomatic moves and as a gesture of our solidarity with the people of Palestine living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, with the Palestinian citizens of Israel denied basic democratic rights and with the over 7 million displaced Palestinians denied the right of return to their homeland.
South Africa Delegation Resisting Hate
Disturbing antisemitism in South Africa did not and will not deter Israelis of all backgrounds from speaking the truth on a StandWithUs delegation.

German counter-intelligence investigates soldiers over 'Heil Hitler'
The Germany military's counter-intelligence agency is looking into 275 suspected right-wing extremists in its ranks, including a soldier heard saying "Heil Hitler," the Defense Ministry has told parliament in a letter seen by Reuters on Sunday.
About 143 of the cases were reported last year and 53 this year, the ministry wrote in its 15-page answer, detailing incidents of soldiers performing Nazi salutes or uttering racist remarks against servicemen with migrant backgrounds.
Public displays of Nazi symbols and salutes are illegal in Germany, where most people are repulsed by any degree of sympathy to the dictatorship responsible for the Holocaust.
The letter noted the lax manner in which some of the most serious cases have been dealt with.
France expels Swiss grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder
France on Saturday expelled controversial Swiss Islamist preacher Hani Ramadan who posed “a serious threat to public order,” the interior ministry said.
Ramadan, whose brother is the intellectual Tariq Ramadan and whose grandfather founded Egypt’s radical Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested in Colmar, eastern France, while attending a conference.
He was “known in the past to have adopted behavior and made remarks which pose a serious threat on French soil,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The interior ministry and the forces of law and order are fully mobilized and will continue to fight ceaselessly against extremism and radicalization,” Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said in the statement.
Leading Berlin Rabbi Seeks to Build First Jewish Campus Since the Holocaust
Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal doesn't get much sleep these days, but says it's well worth it. The community rabbi and head of the Jewish outreach group Chabad in Berlin has been campaigning relentlessly to turn his dream of creating a Jewish campus in Germany into a reality.
For years, he's lobbied the German authorities, raised millions of euros (dollars) in funds and bought a 3,000 square meter (32,000 square feet) plot of land next to Chabad's synagogue in the German capital's Wilmersdorf district.
More than just a new facility, Teichtal sees the center as a step toward Chabad's goal of re-establishing a vibrant Jewish community in the former Nazi capital, in part by welcoming and integrating Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union and encouraging interactions with non-Jews.
"Everyone in Europe talks about fears and uncertainties, we're talking about going forward," said the 44-year-old orthodox rabbi, looking across the large empty plot where a few containers have been set up as a temporary extension of Chabad's kindergarten.
The 19-year-old Israeli taking the fashion world by storm
Glancing at Maya Reik’s Instagram feed—with its elegant black-and-white portraits, Art Deco influences, and close-ups of intricately embroidered silk kimonos—you’d never guess that the sophisticated, well-traveled woman behind the page is a 19-year-old high school dropout. The self-taught Israeli designer, born and raised in the coastal village of Beit Yanai, founded her Tel Aviv-based line, Marei 1998, less than two years ago, and since then has designed two collections; assembled a bicontinental team; set up production at the same Italian factories that work with The Row, Gucci, and Stella McCartney; and presented during Milan fashion week—accomplishments that would be impressive even for someone twice her age.
Reik remembers her first trip to Rome, at age six, as the moment she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer. “I have this image of myself standing in front of the mirror wearing a huge fur coat that was much too big for me,” she recalls, noting that the memory later inspired the oversized cream-colored fur coat from her latest collection. So devoted was she to her dream, in fact, that she dropped out of high school at 14. “I was just not a school girl,” she says. “I couldn’t sit or listen; I was always in my own mind.” While most of her classmates finished school and prepared for the army (a two or three year military service is mandatory for all Israelis), Reik opted to enroll in drawing and fashion history courses at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, which counts fellow Israeli designers Alber Elbaz and Inbal Dror as graduates, and took sewing classes in Tel Aviv’s famous textile market. “All of the team that works with me are twice my age and more, so I learn a lot from them in everyday work,” says Reik, who does all of her own sketches. “I think I’m very independent.”
Tradition! Trump to keep Obama Passover custom alive with Seder Monday
US President Donald Trump will host a White House Passover seder Monday night, an administration official told The Times of Israel on Sunday, confirming that the new administration will continue a tradition started by former president Barack Obama.
Aside from the president, who is expected to attend, it is not yet clear which members of the administration will participate in the dinner, including Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka.
The White House Seder began as an annual tradition under former president Barack Obama, who hosted the first such event in 2009, in the Old Family Dining Room.
Obama sought to establish this ritual after he participated in a Passover dinner during his successful 2008 presidential campaign, when he surprised Jewish members of his campaign staff by holding an impromptu seder in a hotel ballroom in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Muhammad Zoabi Shares His Israel Story
Mohammad shares his powerful unique Israel story: a story of coexistence.

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