Monday, May 08, 2017

From Ian:

The PA's quandary
Lately, there have been numerous reports that U.S. President Donald Trump is demanding that Abbas stop his payments to imprisoned terrorists. It is unlikely he will succeed where the EU has failed. Sources in the EU claim that in recent years, Abbas has cunningly put a billion dollars in donations aside to be used for welfare payments to imprisoned "martyrs" and their relatives. A senior Fatah official, Rawhi Fatthouh, told Europeans who are not well-versed on the topic: "These are innocent civilians who were living peacefully in their homes and were suddenly arrested by Israel. ... Entire families were killed in the 2014 operation [Operation Protective Edge]."
Trump's advisers would be wise to clarify to him that Abbas, the ruler of the "Palestinian entity," governs something of a hybrid between a failed state and a third-world country. In this strange body, the national agenda is dictated to the rulers by imprisoned terrorists. During the great crisis between Fatah and Hamas in 2006, Abbas and former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal authorized the prisoner leadership to pen the settlement document. Imprisoned terrorists top the lists of donation recipients. Thousands of terrorists -- some would even say tens of thousands, if you include the security forces and "reserves" -- have adopted a policy of "I have earned this with my sacrifice."
Raising the demand that Abbas halt the payments to terrorists and their families is therefore more likely to embarrass the person making the demand than the Palestinian leader himself. Abbas will refuse. He faces no greater threat than the threat of imprisoned terrorists.
In Israel, every home needs a balcony. In the territories, every home needs a prisoner. In the war over the Palestinian street, the one with the most prisoners on his side wins. Abbas could threaten to resign and "hand back the keys," or even flee the region. It would be easier for Abbas to resign and escape than it would be to go down in history as the man who made Palestine a normal country, free of terror and incitement. Abbas would rather refuse Trump than be remembered as the Palestinian leader who forced Hamas to beat its swords into plowshares and made PLO operatives turn their spears into pruning hooks.
PMW: Abbas refuses to stop salaries to terrorists
PA Chairman Abbas and numerous other Palestinian Authority leaders have rejected the demands of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and many other governments and legislators to stop the payments of salaries to imprisoned terrorists.
Following the demand made by Israel and just before Abbas' meeting with Trump last week, Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake announced Abbas' "absolute refusal":
"The President [Abbas] emphasized his absolute refusal of the Israeli demands to stop the allowances of the families of the prisoners and Martyrs (Shahids), and emphasized his absolute support for them (i.e., for the payments).'"
[Amad, independent Palestinian news website, April 29, 2017]
There are two recurring Palestinian defenses of the payments. (See additional sources below.) The first is that the prisoners are not terrorists but "freedom fighters" and therefore rightfully are being rewarded. The second claim is that the payments are actually "social welfare for the families," and therefore not a reward for terror. Both of these claims are false.
Who's telling the truth, Abbas or Netanyahu?

Palestinians: Abbas's "Culture of Peace"
Thanks to Abbas's falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about "Jewish invaders and settlers storming" Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.
Perhaps by a "culture of peace" Abbas means calling -- as he and his top officials regularly do -- Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe "culture of peace" means calling all Jews "occupiers" and "colonists" -- or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers?
Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists -- a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas's "culture of peace," one has to wonder what he would consider a culture of war?

To Pursue Peace, Stop Rewarding Palestinian Terrorists
When Mahmoud Abbas visited the White House last week, President Trump reportedly requested that he put an end to the policy of paying generous salaries to Palestinians held in Israeli jails for acts of terror. Shortly thereafter, one of Abbas’s top advisers commented that ceasing these payments would be “insane.” All the more reason for Congress to pass the Taylor Force Act, which would withhold funding from the Palestinian Authority until it stops using its money to reward the murder of Israelis. Douglas Feith and Sander Gerber write:
Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA) colleagues are bound and determined to perpetuate the conflict with Israel. Their personal interests require it. If the conflict ended, they would lose foreign aid, which makes their lucrative corruption possible. They would stop receiving invitations to the White House and other gratifying diplomatic attention. They would cease to be the leaders of a long-standing and proudly uncompromising national struggle, forfeiting their self-respect and prestige especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds. For them, peace would be hell.
Peace could enormously benefit the Palestinian people, however. It could open a path to greater freedom and prosperity for them and save their children from the fatal lure of “martyrdom.” Those interests, alas, don’t influence PA policy. . . . [But] that’s the context in which Congress should consider the Taylor Force Act.
New Hamas policy paper on Israel a 'hateful document,' PM says
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday symbolically tossed into a bin a Hamas policy paper published last week that set out an apparent softening of the Palestinian Islamist group's stance on Israel.
In a document issued last Monday, Hamas said it was dropping its longstanding call for Israel's destruction, but said it still rejects the Jewish state's right to exist and continues to back an "armed struggle" against it.
The Israeli government has said the document aims to deceive the world that Hamas is becoming more moderate.
In a 97-second video clip aired on social media on Sunday, Netanyahu said news outlets had been taken in by "fake news." Sitting behind his desk with dramatic music playing in the background, he described the policy paper as a "hateful document" and said Hamas "lies to the world." He then pulled up a waste paper bin, crumpled the document into a ball and tossed it away.
"The new Hamas document says that Israel has no right to exist, it says every inch of our land belongs to the Palestinians, it says there is no acceptable solution other than to remove Israel. ... They want to use their state to destroy our state," Netanyahu said in the video.
"Hamas murders women and children, it's launched tens of thousands of missiles at our homes, it brainwashes Palestinian kids in suicide kindergarten camps."
Ever wonder what fake news is?

Three things you should know about the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike:

Prison service snared hunger strike leader Barghouti – report
The Israel Prison Service reportedly planted food in Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti’s prison cell in order to obtain, and then release, footage of him eating.
An unnamed IPS official told Channel 2 on Monday that video clips of Barghouti eating, leaked a day earlier, were obtained as part of an IPS scheme to induce the hunger strike’s leaders to eat by hiding food in their cells. Most of them, however, resisted the temptation, the official said.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan appeared to confirm that the footage of Barghouti was obtained as part of a setup, acknowledging that it was highly unlikely that Barghouti could have acquired the food himself while in solitary confinement.
In an interview with Army Radio on Monday, Erdan also said that the IPS has been taking a number of measures in order to undermine the hunger strike, but refused to go into detail.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Starving Palestinians In Yarmouk Camp Just Thrilled Barghouti Eating Wafers (satire)
Remaining residents of the besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the Syrian capital voiced satisfaction that a hunger-striking leader has been sneaking chocolaty snacks while they starve, and that his political stunt has garnered more international attention by far than their prolonged misery.
Yarmouk residents, whose numbers in the camp have plummeted from over 100,000 before the Syrian Civil War to under 10,000 today, suffer constant aerial and artillery bombardment, and a military tug-of-war has seen the camp change hands multiple times over the last several years. Palestinian militias in the camp backing Syrian President Assad’s government initially clashed with the Free Syrian Army, followed eventually by infighting among multiple Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-allied groups, the latter of which currently control most of the camp despite the bombardments. The Syrian army’s ongoing siege has made starvation, disease, and lack of medical care rampant in Yarmouk, and the few Palestinians left in its confines offered aspiring Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti congratulations today on his decision to scarf a chocolate-covered wafer on the toilet in his prison cell Friday in the midst of a hunger strike he declared in the Op-ed pages of the new York Times two weeks ago.
“I man has to eat to keep up his strength, as we well know,” gushed a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command fighter named Mustafa Snaq. “And his hunger strike is crucial – I don’t know where the Palestinian people would be without it. Me, I haven’t seen a packaged wafer, let alone a chocolate-covered one, in four years.” He added that it had been approximately that long, as well, since he had last sat on a working toilet.
IsraellyCool: Who Stole The Cookie From The Cookie Jar?

PreOccupiedTerritory: We’re Allowed To Lie Because Our Cause Is Just By Saeb Erekat (satire)
We are a nation and a culture that values truth, and this is the truth: we will go to the greatest rhetorical lengths to demonize the Zionist enemy, facts be damned, because nothing is more sacred than our struggle to liberate the land from the yoke of Zionist oppression. The truth is that the truth must serve a higher purpose. If that requires deviating from the truth in flagrant fashion, so be it. Our cause is just, so we are allowed to lie as much as we want.
Once you internalize this principle, the actions of the Palestinian leadership become understandable. I, for example, repeatedly spout the contention that the ancestors of the Palestinians predate all other civilizations in the land, despite the assertions’ manifest and glaring contradiction with the historical and archaeological record – and despite my family’s documented history as arriving in the area from further south on the Arabian Peninsula in the nineteenth century, like many other Bedouin clans. Hardly the Canaanites or Natufians, whoever the hell they were. And I alternate among claiming Palestinian descent from those two nations and from the Philistines, in addition to our being Arabs, who didn’t really get to Palestine in large numbers until about 1500 yeas ago, but so what? Truth must not stand in the way of the Palestinian cause.
This realization makes it easier to place the statements of President Abbas in context, as well. He just told President Trump that Palestinian children are taught values of peace and tolerance, even as Abbas personally ensures that Palestinians who killed Israelis are rewarded financially – and the greater the bloodshed, the higher the monthly stipend. But Abbas’s goal is the liberation of Palestine, so truth will have to take a back seat. That is the harsh truth.
'Israel is not the United Nations' punching bag anymore'
Still fuming about UN Resolution 2334, which passed in December just before Donald Trump became US president, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told attendees at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Sunday that Israel has a partner in the Trump administration in fighting all illegal UN resolutions.
“Israel is not the United Nations’ punching bag anymore,” she said, calling Resolution 2334, which declared the settlements, including the “settlement blocs” illegal, “nothing more than antisemitism and delegitimization of Israel.”
“We reject UN Resolution 2334. We reject it on legal, moral and ethical grounds!” Shaked said, detailing her belief that the situation at the UN has changed.
We can see the change with Nikki Haley as the US ambassador to the United Nations… Israelis finally feel that we have someone leading the fight for justice and morality in a place without it. We feel like our voice will finally be heard in the halls of the General Assembly.
She has given us hope, and we look forward to seeing her continue on the path she started.”
Israel's science minister denounces idea of Palestinian state
Speaking strongly against the establishment of a Palestinian state, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said, “Jews have had a connection to the land of Israel before anyone else was walking on this land,” in remarks on Sunday at The Jerusalem Post annual conference in New York.
A Palestinian state would place a direct security risk on all the citizens of Israel, Akunis said. “We don’t need another terrorist state in the Middle East. Israel needs stable and defensible borders... I promise you, so long as I am elected in my country, a Palestinian state will not be created.”
Shimon Peres, for years, spoke of a new Middle East, said Akunis. Indeed there a “new” one has developed, but only for the worse, as more and more organizations deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its homeland. It is an Arab winter and not an Arab spring, he insisted.
Akunis denounced attempts made by enemies of Israel to “rewrite history. Most of the lies come from terror-supporting states.” Among the main lies is that “Palestinians are ruled by Israel,” he said, adding, “the truth is that the Palestinians have been ruling themselves for 23 years already. They run their educational system, health care, security, financial system, justice and the media, under the Palestinian Authority.”
But, said Akunis, the PA uses its influence to glorify violence and death. “Their textbooks are filled with hatred for the Jews and Israelis,” he said.
Ambassador Daniel Taub interview (h/t Daphne Anson)

Abbas, UNESCO, and the Test of Diplomacy
In its latest resolution on Israel, UNESCO speaks about the Bilal Bin Rabah mosque in Bethlehem. Where did they get this? From the Palestinian Authority, which has taken Rachel's Tomb, a famous Jewish holy site, and converted it into an exclusively Islamic site.
The irony is that in the documents of the Ottoman Empire, an imperial firman (decree) by the Ottoman Sultan describes Rachel's Tomb as a Jewish site. Moreover, Bilal Bin Rabah, the first muazzin of Islam, was buried in Damascus, not in Bethlehem, according to Islamic tradition. UNESCO is supposed to be responsible for maintaining educational truth, but it doesn't do so.

Jewish Trump confidant US president has convinced Abbas to make concessions
US President Donald Trump has succeeded in persuading Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to make the kind of concessions that will enable the diplomatic process to move forward, World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder told Israeli politicians at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York.
Lauder is the Jewish leader closest to Trump: their families have been friends for decades; he has free access to the president; and he has advised him on how to advance diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East. He also has built up ties with Arab leaders for decades and was Netanyahu’s unofficial envoy to Syria in the latter’s first term as prime minister.
Behind the scenes at the conference, Lauder briefed ministers Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Ofir Akunis, as well as opposition leader Isaac Herzog on his impressions from talking to Trump about how to solve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
“Trump is very optimistic that he can renew the peace process,” one of the politicians told The Jerusalem Post after speaking to Lauder. “Lauder understands from Trump that he believes Abbas can be convinced by him and Arab leaders to come back to the table and make concessions.”
Lauder served as president of the conference.
Trump eludes Palestinian efforts to document him at Arafat's grave
The vigilance of the advance team preparing U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to the Middle East and Israel later this month has prevented an embarrassing and potentially serious diplomatic incident.
A senior Palestinian source told Israel Hayom on Sunday that as part of Trump's visit to the Muqataa compound, the seat of the Palestinian Authority's government in Ramallah, his hosts had planned to lead the American president to the site of the official reception past the nearby gravesite of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Footage of Trump at Arafat's gravesite could be construed as an official visit to the grave, which would have placed the American president in a diplomatically awkward situation. Such a visit would undoubtedly anger Israel and could trigger a serious diplomatic incident between Jerusalem and Washington.
The Palestinian Authority welcomes all foreign dignitaries with official ceremonies in the Muqataa and some dignitaries choose to visit Arafat's grave. The site is under constant security, and the changing of the guards is said to include an impressive ceremony.
Israel Hayom has learned that the Palestinian Authority had given Trump's advance team a list of several sites for the visit, which the Secret Service vetted and disqualified citing security concerns. But the Muqataa, which is surrounded by a sterile zone that includes the reception area and Arafat's gravesite, was cleared for the visit, triggering hectic preparations by the Palestinians.
German president lauds good relations between Germany, Israel
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier reiterated the good relations between Israel and Germany in a speech he delivered on Sunday to students and staff at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Steinmeier also met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday as part of his official four-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Both leaders praised the strong relationship between the two states, after a diplomatic incident last month between Netanyahu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel over the German minister's meeting with Breaking the Silence, an NGO critical of IDF conduct in the West Bank. Steinmeier decided to visit Israel as planned, despite the incident.
Steinmeier said some people had advised him to cancel or postpone his visit over the spat, but he had decided otherwise "not because I agreed with your prime minister's cancellation of the meeting with the German foreign minister, but because I believe that I would be amiss if I allowed the relationship between the two nations to get deeper into a dead end, which would harm both sides."
"The relationship between Germany and Israel will always remain unique. We must not forget then when it is difficult and the wind is a bit stormy. Especially in such times, we are called upon to protect this precious heritage," Steinmeier said.
India-Israel Ties: Not Just About Defense
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July 2017, in a year which marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties, will be closely observed, not just in the two national capitals, but far beyond. That’s only fitting, since Modi’s trip will have significant ramifications. Even though India and Israel established diplomatic relations 25 years ago, Modi’s visit is the first by an Indian prime minister to Israel. Modi’s planned trip follows a similar visit by the president of India in 2015 and reciprocal visit to India by Israel’s president in 2016.
In the past 25 years, the divergence between both countries have been considerably reduced, for a number of reasons. Improvement in India’s ties with the United States, along with the reduction of tensions between Arab states and Israel in recent years, are of course significant factors. The India-Israel bilateral relationship has witnessed massive strides, and not just in the most-watched area of defense. Trade is estimated at $5 billion (not including defense agreements) and Israeli foreign direct investment (FDI) in India over the past decade and a half (between 2000-2016) is estimated at over $100 billion. Cooperation in other spheres, like agriculture and education, has also witnessed a significant rise.
This is not to say that there is no friction. The elephant in the room remains Iran. Ties between Tel Aviv and Tehran have been strained, while New Delhi has a strong economic and strategic relationship with Iran. During Modi’s visit to Iran in May 2016, an agreement was signed for the joint development of Chabahar port, promising deeper-still cooperation. Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon, who has been openly pitching a more robust relationship with India, has been quite forthright about differences between India and Israel on this issue.
Rivlin thanks French victor Macron for stance against anti-Semitism
President Reuven Rivlin on Monday congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the French presidential elections, thanking him for his strong opposition to anti-Semitism and offering Israel’s help in countering terrorism.
“I want to thank you for your strong stance against anti-Semitism, and all forms of racism, which have once again raised their ugly heads around the world,” Rivlin wrote in an official letter.
“Standing up to such voices of intolerance and hatred, defending our citizens against vicious acts of terror, is a task of paramount importance that stands before us all, and Israel is your partner in this mission,” he told Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker who has never held elected office before.
Macron, a centrist, won the presidency on Sunday with 66 percent of the vote, beating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen of the National Front party. He will be sworn in next Sunday.
French Jews ‘relieved’ Macron won but worried over Le Pen gains
Leaders of French Jewry expressed relief at the defeat of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential election but concern that she received more than a third of the vote.
Le Pen, whom the chief rabbi of France and the CRIF umbrella of Jewish communities have decried as dangerous to democracy and minorities, received 34.2 percent of the vote compared to the 65.8 percent for the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, according to a report by Le Monde based on exit polls from Sunday’s final round of the elections.
“I am happy with the result of Emmanuel Macron being elected president, which constitutes a veritable relief for all our nation and for the Jewish community of France,” Joel Mergui, the president of the Consistoire, wrote Sunday evening in a statement by his group, which is responsible for providing religious services to Jews.
Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who is employed by the Consistoire, also spoke of his satisfaction from the vote. But in his statement, Korsia also referenced concerns over the support shown to Le Pen – a nationalist who seeks a ban on wearing Jewish and Muslim religious symbols in public, ritual slaughter and the provision of pork-free meals in school cafeterias.
The vote was the best electoral result ever obtained by her National Front party, which was established in the 1970s by her father, the Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews. He clinched 18 percent of the vote in the 2002 presidential elections — the first time that National Front made it to the final round.
Saying ‘anti-Semitism defeated,’ Israelis fete Macron victory
Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum welcomed the victory of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in France’s presidential election on Sunday, breathing a sigh of relief over the defeat of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Pro-European Macron overwhelmingly won France’s landmark presidential election, according to first estimates, heading off a fierce challenge from the far-right in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe.
“I look forward to working with President Macron and together to take on the shared challenges of our two democracies,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement which included his congratulations.
“One of the greatest threats facing the world today is extremist Islamic terror, which carries out attacks in Paris, Jerusalem and many other cities around the world. Israel and France have a long-standing alliance and I am sure that we will continue to deepen our connections,” said Netanyahu.
Macron Rules Out Unilateral Recognition of Palestinian State
France’s presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron on Friday said he would not unilaterally recognize the state of Palestine if he is elected on Sunday.
In a French television interview, centrist Macron, who is some 24% ahead of far-right rival Marine Le Pen, said he backs a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that unilaterally recognizing Palestine would cause instability and would harm France’s relations with Israel.
He recalled that he when visited Israel — as economy minister in 2015 — “I defended the principle of a two-state solution, and France’s commitment to that.” He also recalled that he criticized the Israeli settlement enterprise. “Those are my consistent positions,” he said.
Elaborating, Macron said that “unilateral recognition of Palestine, right now, will undermine stability.” It would also “have implications in the loss of the entire [French] relationship with the state of Israel.”
French presidential candidate blasts Torah study
French presidential hopeful and former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron sparked an uproar in the French Jewish community, following the publication of an interview earlier this month of an interview touching upon religious schools in France.
A former member of the Socialist Party now running as an independent, centrist candidate, Macron served in the French cabinet under incumbent Francois Hollande from 2014 until the end of August of this year.
Speaking with Marianne earlier this month, Macron warned of the influence of religion in French schools generally and decrying Jewish schools for emphasizing the Torah.
“It is very important to maintain neutrality in the public sector,” Macron said. “Religion cannot be present in school. But I hear few people becoming concerned by the consequences of this phenomenon, [with] more and more children being sent to religious schools which teach them to hate the Republic and teach mainly in Arabic, or,” Macron added, “in other places [Jewish schools] teach the Torah more than general studies.”
Members of the French Jewish community pushed back against Macron’s comments.
“The Torah is the basis of Judaism,” one representative of the French Jewish community told Israeli haredi news site Kikar HaShabbat, “and to ban its instruction would mean the annihilation of the Jews.”
US planes to fly in Israeli Air Force exercise this week
American and Israeli pilots will take to the skies for a joint exercise near the southern city of Eilat this week, the army said.
The drill will take place at the Israeli Air Force’s Ovda air base, just north of Eilat.
Ovda is the home of the air force’s Flying Dragon Squadron, also known as the Red Squadron, which plays the role of enemy aircraft during simulations. It is made up of F-16 fighter jets and Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.
“In the coming days, an international exercise, in cooperation with the American air force, will take place at the Ovda air base,” the army said in an email. “The exercise is part of the annual training plan.”
The Haaretz newspaper reported that US Air Force F-15 fighter jets will take part in the exercise.
Palestinian teen charged with attempted murder in Tel Aviv terrror attack
The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s indicted a Palestinian teenager on four counts of attempted murder and a terrorist act for a Tel Aviv stabbing attack that left four people lightly injured.
Imad Agbar, 18, from Nablus is charged with entering the Leonardo Beach Hotel on April 23 and attacking three people after stabbing a 70-year-old nearby.
According to the indictment, Agbar confessed to the attack and sought to “kill Jews because they are Jews.”
The indictment stated that he sharpened his belt buckle in order to pass a weapon through the security checkpoint to enter Israel from the West Bank.
After leaving the tour group in Hayarakon Park in northern Tel Aviv, the defendant allegedly located a 70-year-old man and stabbed him with the belt buckle and hit him repeatedly.
Later Agbar entered the Leonardo Beach Hotel where he took wire cutters and entered an antiques shop in the hotel lobby and stabbed the clerk near the neck.
Palestinian family sues Israel for failing to prevent deadly arson attack
Relatives of the July 2015 Duma arson attack victims, the Dawabshe family, on Monday filed an NIS 15 million civil wrongful death damages claim against the Israeli government, claiming it negligently failed a duty to prevent the terror attack.
In the claim, filed by the grandparents and relatives of the Dawabshes, the plaintiffs accused the government of failing to evacuate the West Bank outpost from where the perpetrators came, along with other outposts that are illegal. The lawsuit also charges that Israel failed to arrest and restrain Jewish extremists who had been attacking or inciting against Palestinians. In light of those accusations, the plaintiffs argued that the state was legally responsible for the incident and obligated to pay damages.
The attack was allegedly perpetrated by Jewish extremist Amiram Ben Uliel who was indicted in January 2016 for the attack which killed Saad and Reham Dawabshe and their 18-month-old son, Ali, and wounded their elder son Ahmad.
To protect Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) intelligence sources, agents and interrogation tactics, virtually all of the ongoing trial has been closed to the public.
Israeli textbooks may be handed out free in east Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Municipality and the Education Ministry have begun to discuss the possibility of providing free schoolbooks to east Jerusalem students who study according to the Israeli curriculum from the next school year.
The decision followed a report in Israel Hayom on Sunday saying that students in east Jerusalem who follow the Palestinian curriculum receive their textbooks for free, while those who follow the Israeli curriculum so as to take the Israeli high school matriculation exams have to pay hundreds of shekels each for their textbooks. The Palestinian textbooks often contain content that incites against Israel, and the state invests some 6 million shekels ($1.7 million) a year to edit and reprint the books. Nevertheless, copies of the uncensored textbooks continue to be distributed to students.
Parents and educators in east Jerusalem claim the policy discriminates against the Israeli curriculum and in effect pushes parents to choose the Palestinian curriculum.
Moshe Tur-Paz, who head the municipality's education department, says the municipality has asked the Education Ministry to distribute Israeli textbooks for free, as a way to encourage more east Jerusalem residents to choose the Israeli curriculum and fight incitement.

Palestine to Legalize Weed, Become the “Occupied Holland of the Mideast” (satire)

While smoking a joint decorated in the colors of his nation’s flag, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced today that his country will become the first in the Middle East to allow the production, sale and consumption of cannabis.
Explaining his surprising decision, Abbas said: “With the tax revenue and skyrocketing export income, we’ll bulldoze the West Bank’s refugee camps and build their long-suffering residents houses that put the red-roofed faux villas of the settlers to shame. We’ll also prove that, contrary to Zionist propaganda, we’re not terror-loving sub-humans but enlightened progressives dedicated to protecting every person’s inviolable right to personal choice.”
Abbas’ announcement unleashed a wave of excitement among many otherwise disgruntled West Bank Palestinians. As one farmer from Jericho, 41-year-old Farid, told the Mideast Beast: “Just wait to the world get its lips and lungs on my innovative hydroponic strains, Al-Aqsa Gold and Arafat’s Poison!” Another farmer, 27-year-old Hasan, echoed Farid’s optimism: “Instead of blowing up Jewish bodies, my Hebron Haze and Super Suicide Brain will blow their minds!”
Israel, however, has vowed to stymy the policy, reportedly in response to lobbying from the Union of Israeli Medical Marijuana Growers, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fear that it could undercut his constant negative portrayal of Abbas. Said IDF Central Command Maj. Gen. Nisan Ya’alon: “Let’s see how the Palestinians manage to produce quality product when we control the vast majority of the West Bank’s land and water resources, let alone get it through the territory’s border crossings for export – all of which are administered by us.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Egypt Demolishes Gaza Smuggling Tunnel, Cutting Supply Of Luxury Cars (satire)
Egyptian military forces detonated charges inside a tunnel connecting the Hamas-controlled and Egyptian-controlled portions of this city yesterday, further restricting the movement of goods and people between the two locations and bringing closer the prospect of a shortage of high-end vehicles and other luxury merchandise for buyers on the Palestinian side.
The demolition of the underground passageway – wide enough to accommodate passenger vehicles and large cargo – represents but the latest in an ongoing Egyptian campaign to exert control over the movement of people and merchandise across the border, and to help enhance security in an area plagued by Islamic-State-allied terrorist groups. The policy, however, has had dire consequences for officials and connected businessmen in the Gaza Strip who wish to purchase BMW, Mercedes, or other luxury vehicles, the smugglers of which rely on the tunnels to bring in their wares.
Ali Mustafa, who used to manage a smuggling tunnel until it was sealed by the Egyptian military last year, has struggled to make ends meet since then. “There’s all this demand for expensive cars, especially among senior Hamas people, but I can’t get my hands on those anymore,” he lamented. “There are fewer and fewer tunnels available via which to bring in the cars, so while the prices have gone up, that’s because it’s harder and harder to supply those goods. If I still ran a tunnel I could be making a tidy sum.”
Hamas, the militant Islamist movements that governs Gaza, charges a toll for each use of the smuggling tunnels, and the destruction of so many tunnels between the two Rafahs over the last several years has put a dent in the organization’s revenue stream from the smuggling. Overall, the decline of such revenue has not adversely affected Hamas’s finances, as it still collects hefty taxes from the more than two million Palestinians in Gaza, plus generous support from patrons such as Qatar, Turkey, and occasionally Iran. However, the hostility evident in the Sisi administration in Cairo toward Hamas, an offshoot of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, comes through in the tunnel demolition effort, and frustration has spiked among Palestinians who wish to display their social status by cruising around the Gaza Strip in the latest European sports sedan.
Former Obama DHS Official On ISIS Slaughtering Egyptian Christians: ‘What Goes Around, Comes Around’
A former Obama administration official at the Department of Homeland Security said Sunday that when it comes to the Islamic State slaughtering Egyptian Christians, “what goes around, comes around.”
In a tweet posted Sunday, Mohamed Elibiary, who formerly served as senior member of the DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council, stated, “Reading ISIS’s latest mag ‘otherizing’ Egypt’s Copts. Subhanallah how what goes around comes around. Coptic ldrs did same to MB Egyptians.”
“Subhanallah” is Arabic for “Glory to Allah,” and so in this tweet, Elibiary is expressing praise to Allah for the fact that ISIS is killing Egyptian Christians as apparent retribution for Coptic leaders doing the same to members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The first article in the new issue is titled “The Ruling on the Belligerent Christians,” and explicitly praises the recent ISIS terror attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt, also calling for more deadly attacks against Christians and their property. Elibiary referred to this call and other contents in the article as “otherizing” in his tweet.
Isis defends killing women and children as terror group loses territory and troops
Isis has launched an “extremely defensive” propaganda effort to defend its slaughter of women and children as it struggles to retain territory, troops and attention.
The latest edition of the terrorist group’s Rumiyah magazine celebrated bombings that killed at least 45 people marking Palm Sunday at Coptic churches in Egypt.
Hundreds of people attended the victims’ funerals, with Egyptians of all religions uniting to condemn the bloodshed and the government threatening a new crackdown.
Jean-Marc Rickli, a research fellow at King’s College London and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, said that even for some of Isis’s supporters attacks on churches in the Arab world is “crossing a red line”.
“Isis is really seeking to justify its actions, not only in the Middle East but also in the West and Asia. It’s very defensive,” he told The Independent.
“They’ve got a double challenge – as well as Isis is losing position, al-Qaeda is reinforcing theirs – especially in Syria.
Iran Threatens to Destroy Saudi Arabia, Except for Holy Sites, If It Does Anything ‘Ignorant’
Iran will hit back at most of Saudi Arabia with the exception of Islam's holiest places if the kingdom does anything "ignorant", Tehran's defense minister was quoted as saying on Sunday after a Saudi prince threatened to move the "battle" to Iran.
"If the Saudis do anything ignorant, we will leave no area untouched except Mecca and Medina," Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying.
"They think they can do something because they have an air force," he added in an apparent reference to Yemen, where Saudi warplanes regularly attack Iran-aligned Houthi forces in control of the capital Sanaa.
Dehghan, speaking to Arabic-language Al-Manar TV, was commenting on remarks by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said on Tuesday any contest for influence between the Sunni Muslim kingdom and the revolutionary Shi'ite theocracy ought to take place "inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia".
Saudi Arabia and Iran compete for influence in the Middle East and support rival groups in Syria's civil war. Iran denies Saudi accusations that it sends financial and sometimes armed support to groups hostile to Riyadh around the Arab world.
Hot new kids’ toy has roots with Palestinian rock-throwers
The inventor of the original version of the latest craze in children’s toys, the fidget spinner, says she got her idea for the device more than two decades ago while on a visit to Israel during which she heard about Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli police during clashes and demonstrations.
Catherine Hettinger, who lives in Orlando, Florida, said she wanted to come up with a device that would distract and soothe children, ostensibly from the violence they were witnessing.
“It started as a way of promoting peace, and then I went on to find something that was very calming,” she told CNN Money in an interview on Friday.
In a separate interview with the UK’s Guardian, she said the product was a result of a “horrible summer” when she was suffering from health problems while caring for her young daughter.
“I couldn’t pick up her toys or play with her much at all, so I started throwing things together with newspaper and tape then other stuff,” she said. “It wasn’t really even prototyping, it was some semblance of something, she’d start playing with it in a different way, I’d repurpose it.”

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