Wednesday, August 09, 2017

From Ian:

Is the State Department Buying Arab Propaganda?
After centuries of Muslim persecution, often genocidal, or dhimmitude under sharia, Christianity in the Middle East has been stunted, if not effectively crushed. To avoid discrimination, Christians gave their children Arab names instead of Biblical ones. Their religious celebrations are kept indoors, lest Christian festivities offend Muslims. As in a Stockholm Syndrome, Middle East Christians often ended up defending and even praising Islam, even if that comes at the expense of their own religious rights.
It is stunning to see is how on the one hand, the US State Department and media play down the genocide going on today against Christians in the Middle East, but on the other hand, immediately believe Muslims when one of their leaders tells an American delegation that he does not fear Arabs but fears Jews.
With many branches of the US government apparently determined to distort reality, there seems to be a series of deliberate decisions to ignore -- and to prevent the American public from knowing -- what is really going on.
"Politically incorrect" language has been censored by the State Department, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the previous Executive branch, and, most recently, the National Security Council, which recently seems to have purged the entire department.
It is dangerous for the West to accept Arab anti-Semitic propaganda voiced by some Christian leaders in the Middle East; they are held hostage by the Muslim majority around them. Since the age of the internet, even many Arabs have stopped buying Arab propaganda.
A recent mark was retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State. Wilkerson recently said on MSNBC, during the recent Temple Mount crisis, that Jews pose the biggest threat to Christians in the Middle East. He learned this, he said, in 2002-2003 in Ramallah, during a business trip to meet with Yasser Arafat, from a Middle Eastern Catholic Bishop, who had told him that the biggest enemy for Christians in the region was not the Arabs but the Jews. So, Wilkerson, instead of condemning countless unprovoked terror attacks against Israelis, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It is most unfortunate that a former high-ranking State Department official decided to blame Israel during the recent crisis, in which Jews were the obvious victims. It is more than unfortunate that Wilkerson took the Bishop's statement at face value instead of recognizing the complexities of the Middle East, where "no" and "yes" rarely mean "no" and "yes".
Peace With the Palestinians Was a Bust. Here’s What Israel Should Do Next.
Half a century after the victory in the Six-Day War, 40 years after its most important political benefit in the separate peace with Egypt, half a decade after the implosion of the Arab structures around it, Israel needs a different strategy vis-à-vis the Palestinian issue. Israel should have adopted such a strategy at the latest when the “Peace Process” predictably failed in Oslo, Camp David, and Annapolis. But it’s not too late to finally abandon the fantasy of peace with the Palestinian national movement and move to an admittedly less desirable yet much more realistic proposition of unilateral disengagement from the overwhelming majority of the West Bank. Three questions beg a detailed and responsible answer: Why isn’t peace a possibility? Is there a viable alternative? How would it work?
Why no peace?
Peace, in the sense of termination of conflict and end of claims, where both sides are free to pursue their own separate nation-building projects—an Arab state of Palestine and a Jewish state of Israel—has been consistently rejected by the Palestinian national movement. Manipulative or ignorant Arabs, Westerners, and Israelis who claim that the Palestinians have all but abandoned their insistence on the “right of return”—the destruction of the Jewish state by demographic means—can no longer successfully cheat mainstream Israelis. “Let me put it simply,” said President Abbas, in January 2014: “The right of return is a personal decision. What does this mean? That neither the Palestinian Authority, nor the state, nor the PLO, nor Abu-Mazen [Abbas], nor any Palestinian or Arab leader has the right to deprive someone of his right to return. … The choice is yours. You want to return? You will return. … Even a father cannot forgo his children’s right.”
Palestinian leaders not only consistently rejected a state (notably in 1947, 2001 and 2008) but demonstrated their profound lack of interest in any constructive enterprise when the nation-builder they were lucky enough to have as prime minister—Salam Fayyad—could not muster any significant public support in the PA kleptocracy. For almost a quarter of a century of controlling most of their population—and with contributions, goodwill and assistance on a magnitude never before showered on a small people—Palestinian elites have produced little except for excuses and a discourse of perpetual victimhood. They have never taken responsibility for the consequences of their misguided decisions and have demonstrated no motivation to take charge of their future in an independent state.
Based on their national record since the emergence of a Palestinian people almost one hundred years ago, the State of Palestine, if it is born, will be a failed, violent, corrupt state, adjusted even less than other Arab entities in the region to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As long as they are under occupation the Palestinians have the supreme attention of the world, billions of dollars to live off and scheme bribes off, perfect excuses to invest nothing in their future, and armies of gullible supporters in Western democracies that help them delegitimize Israel. All this will go away if the Jews can no longer be blamed. Since the Palestinians are not willing to terminate the conflict and have no motivation to establish a state and undertake the responsibilities that statehood entails. Next to the Palestinian addiction to victimhood, the other unbridgeable obstacles for peace—including security and the barbaric Hamas regime in Gaza representing half their people—dwarf in comparison.
MEMRI: Motto Of Hamas Summer Camps This Year: 'Marching On Jerusalem'; Their Goal: To Train The Generation That Will Liberate Palestine, Jerusalem
Hamas's summer camps in the Gaza Strip, whose motto this year was "Marching on Jerusalem,"[1] opened on July 9, 2017 and were attended by 120,000 children and teens. According to Hamas officials, their goal is to train the generation "that will lead the campaign of liberation."[2] In addition to Quran lessons, sports and technology activities, games and entertainment, the camps also offered extensive military indoctrination and training, including weapons training.[3]
Explaining the rationale behind the camps' motto, Hamas's former education minister, Osama Al-Muzaini, said: "Jerusalem is the compass of the Palestinian cause and the central issue of the conflict with the occupier... It is part of the Islamic faith, and its liberation is first a religious duty and then a national one." He added that the camps' goal is "to train the generation of victory and liberation, which will have the honor of liberating Jerusalem and uprooting the occupation."[4]
Many of the camps had names alluding to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, such as the "We Are the Keepers of the Gates" camp, while others were named for Palestinian martyrs, such as the Muhannad Al-Halabi camp, named for a man whose stabbing of two Israelis in Jerusalem's Old City in October 2015 sparked off the Al-Quds Intifada,[5] or the "Eastern Area Martyrs" camp.[6]

Caroline Glick: Preparing for the post-Abbas era
Economically, Israel has already begun to limit the capacity of anti-Israel forces in the West to wage economic war against it by deepening its economic ties with Asia.
Politically, Israel must reform its legal system to limit the subversive power of the West in its Arab community and more generally in its political system. Foreign governments must be barred from funding political NGOs. Israel should wage a public campaign in the US to discredit foundations and other non-profits in the US that work through Israeli-registered NGOs to undermine its rule of law.
By applying its laws in full to Area C, and by asserting sole security control throughout the areas, while empowering the Israeli Arab majority that wishes to embrace its Israeli identity, Israel will empower the Palestinians in Areas A and B to govern themselves autonomously in a manner that advances the interests of their constituents.
As Agha and Khalidi note, the Palestinians have been in charge of their own governance since 1994. But under the corrupt authoritarianism of the PLO, their governance has been poor and unaccountable. As local identities have superseded the PLO’s brand of nationalism borne of terrorism and eternal war against Israel, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria well positioned to embrace an opportunity to govern themselves under a liberal rule of law without fear of the PLO jackboot.
The post-Abbas era will pose new threats and opportunities for Israel. It is up to Israel to ensure that the opportunities are maximized and the threats are neutralized as quickly as possible. Failing that, Israel can expect to contend with military threats in Judea and Samaria several orders of magnitude greater than what it has dealt with in the past. It can similarly expect to find itself under political assault from a combination of radicalized Israeli Arabs and Western governments that will challenge it in ways it has never been challenged before.
Melanie Phillips: Incitement, lies and the strange eclipse of the Dome of the Rock
To shed some light on this, I consulted two excellent and authoritative pieces of work: an article in Middle East Quarterly by Daniel Pipes entitled The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem, and a book-length paper by Nadav Shragai for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs entitled The “Al Aksa is in Danger” Libel: The History of a Lie.
These two essays contain much riveting detail showing how the claim that Temple Mount is sacred to Islam is a lie built on a series of lies, of which the claim that “al Aqsa is in danger” is the apogee – and which have all been used to incite war against the Jewish people and write them out of their own history.
Both the Dome of the Rock and al Aqsa, which had been neglected for decades, were renovated in the 1920s by the Islamic extremist and Hitler ally, the Grand Mufti of Jersualem Haj-Amin al Husseini, for whom the project was a means of boosting his power and authority.
It was al Husseini who first incited the Muslims with the cry that al Aqsa was “in danger” from the Jews who he falsely claimed were plotting to build the Temple there. In the resulting pogroms 133 Jews, mostly in Safed and Hebron, were butchered and 339 were injured.
Both Pipes and Shragai show, moreover, that over the centuries both Temple Mount and Jerusalem itself were regarded with indifference by the Islamic world until they took on political significance because other cultures laid claim to them. Then and only then were they elevated to the status of holy shrines. And that was done on the basis of lies.
The claim that al Aqsa was a sacred Islamic shrine was a fiction created to serve temporal political ends. In order to de-Judaise Temple Mount and Jerusalem – the most sacred places in Judaism – the Islamic world changed the age and status of al Aksa.
Shragai writes: “The process of Islamisation and Arabisation stemmed from the need to claim an Arab and Islamic historical right to the sacred land, before the Israelites were there – the ancient Jews, and the Christians. The new Muslim narrative determined, for example, that the al Aksa mosque was not built around 1300 years ago – which is what modern research finds – but rather by the first man, forty years after the mosque in Mecca was built.”
However, the fact remains that the Dome of the Rock was built before al Aqsa, and on the site of the Temple itself. So why was al Aksa given special significance?
As Pipes writes, the creation of the Dome of the Rock resulted from a revolt against the Damascus-based Umayyad dynasty in the seventh and eighth centuries by a dissident leader in Arabia.To fight him, the Umayyad rulers chose to exalt and glorify Jerusalem in order to undermine the status of Mecca. Accordingly the Umayyad ruler, Mu‘awiya, went to great lengths to build religious edifices, a palace and roads in the city.
The Battle for Trump's Foreign Policy
The ongoing purge of people loyal to U.S. President Donald J. Trump at the National Security Council, the main organization used by the president to develop national security policy, is part of a power struggle over the future direction of American foreign policy.
Trump campaigned on a promise radically to shift American foreign policy away from the "globalism" pursued by his predecessors to one of a "nationalism" which puts "America first." He also vowed to: "defeat" Islamic extremism; "tear up" the nuclear deal with Iran; "reset" bilateral relations with Israel by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem "on Day One" of his administration; and "direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator."
Trump's election has set in motion a bitter power struggle between two main factions: those led by White House strategist Steve Bannon — who are devoted to implementing the president's foreign policy agenda, and those led by National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond "H.R." McMaster — who appear committed to perpetuating policies established by the Obama administration.
Since becoming national security advisor in February, McMaster has clashed with Trump and Bannon on policy relating to Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Islam, Israel, Iran, Mexico, NATO, North Korea, Russia and Syria, among others.
McMaster has also been accused of trying to undermine the president's foreign policy agenda by removing from the National Security Council key Trump loyalists — K.T. McFarland, Adam Lovinger, David Cattler, Tera Dahl, Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, and Ezra Cohen-Watnick— and replacing them with individuals committed to maintaining the status quo.
An analysis of the foreign policy views of McMaster and some of his senior staff at the National Security Council shows them to be overwhelmingly at odds with what Trump promised during the campaign.
U.S.-Israel Teams Ramp Up Missile Interceptor Builds
Two U.S.-Israeli industrial teams working on jointly funded missile defense programs are ramping up production of three distinct interceptors that collectively defend against an entire spectrum of threats, from short-range rockets to Iran’s most advanced, medium-range ballistic missiles.
Intercepting missiles for all three heavily U.S.-funded missile defense programs — Arrow-3, David’s Sling and Iron Dome — are being built in large part in the United States through a network of prime partners, subcontractors and suppliers that extend across more than 30 of the 50 U.S. states.
“In accordance with congressional mandates and our government-to-government agreements, each one of these [intercepting systems] is being produed at least 50 percent in the United States,” Moshe Patel, director of the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization, told Defense News.
“It’s not just prime contractors, but a vast network of subcontractors spread out over a large part of the United States of America,” Patel said.
According to Patel, U.S.-based work on all three interceptor programs is transitioning from low-rate initial production, or LRIP, to full-rate production. “We’re in the final phases of LRIP for all these systems; and we’re very proud of the amazing cooperation at the government-to-government and at the industry-to-industry levels,” Patel said.
Facing Palestinian criticism, White House says closeness to Israel is an asset
One relationship put to the test was that with Jordan, which serves as custodian of the Temple Mount while Israel controls the security of the site. US officials coordinated closely with King Abdullah II of Jordan to “contain” the crisis, and largely credit him for its swift conclusion.
But when Abdullah visited Abbas in Ramallah on Monday, the Temple Mount crisis – now two weeks old – was still raw. The Jordanian king spoke to Abbas of the importance of engaging with the Trump administration in its efforts to advance peace, according to Amman officials.
“This is a way for the Palestinians to try and message the administration: We have to see some sign that you in fact take our interests into account,” said Dennis Ross, a senior Middle East diplomat and veteran of the George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations. “I see it as a way to try to influence the administration. I’m not surprised by it, but I’m not sure those in the administration are really going to be responsive to it.”
White House officials say that Abbas takes the Trump team more seriously knowing that Kushner and Greenblatt are personally close with the Israelis – a distinction from members of the Obama administration, who by the end of his first term had less leverage and trust with the Israeli government.
“What they mean to say is that, ‘because we’re close to the Israelis, we have the ability to influence Israeli behavior,’” Ross said. “And that indeed could benefit the Palestinians, to an extent.”
Palestinian officials were particularly struck by the administration’s refusal to take a stand on the introduction of new security hardware at a site where the status quo has long been considered fragile and valuable by the State Department: any new development there was bound to disrupt it, and this basic fact regarding the conflict seemed lost on the US team.
The White House stands firm that, while it seeks to respect the status quo on the holy site, it will not dictate security procedure. “We didn’t ask Israel to take down the security apparatus because we feel that Israel needs to make security decisions by itself,” a senior official said.
But from the Palestinian perspective, this was a line strongly suggestive of bias toward Israel. They did not believe Trump’s advisers understood the metal detectors represented more than the sum of their parts, and were in effect symbols to their people of Israeli control on that sacred ground.
Meet The Jewish Hedge Fund Manager Behind the Taylor Force Act
Tamar Elashvili, a research assistant at JCPA who worked closely with Gerber to publish the findings, told The Jewish Week he was “essential” to “uncovering and publicizing this data.”
“This was clearly driven by passion and a desire to see justice served,” said Elashvili.
“When I learned that the PA had laws to kill the Jews, I couldn’t sleep at night,” said Gerber, who eschews the limelight. “Even more disturbing was that I had been completely unaware. Frankly, I was ashamed of myself.
“This issue is not just about money,” he said. “It’s really about the nature and narrative of the PA, which lies to the West by not just allowing, but actually sponsoring a society that is focused on violence against Israel.”
Gerber’s work paid big dividends. In a press conference last Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) personally thanked Gerber for bringing the issue to light.
“Sander Gerber brought me this issue, explaining to me the Palestinian law is so corrupt,” said Graham, citing data unearthed by Gerber detailing how financial incentives to “martyrs” vary, based on the nature of the attack and if the assailant dies or not in the act. “It is a sick system. It needs to change,” Graham said.
Gerber showed the PA’s laws to Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Graham early in 2017. Graham immediately reintroduced legislation to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority until it ceased incentivizing terror; it was first introduced in the House in February. Philanthropist Haim Saban and Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.) were “instrumental” is gaining bipartisan support for the bill, said Gerber.
“Any resistance to the bill came from people who, like me, had been uninformed,” he told The Jewish Week.
Cape Verde denies it’ll start backing Israel at the UN
Cape Verde on Tuesday denied that it had decided it will no longer to vote against Israel at the United Nations, days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took credit for the West African nation’s ostensible new policy.
Responding to various news reports about the matter, Cape Verde confirmed its desire to advance relations with Israel, but indicated that its recent contacts with Jerusalem have not led to a change in Israel’s favor in its traditional voting patterns at international organizations.
In a statement posted on Tuesday on his Facebook page, the president of the African archipelago nation, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, explained that his country’s constitution puts the government and not the president in charge of foreign policy. While the president is head of state, it is the nation’s prime minister who is the head of government.
“In this context, the president of the republic supports the foreign policy guidelines defined by the government that privileges relations with the CPLP [Community of Portuguese Language Countries], the European Union, ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], the United States of America, China, Brazil and Israel,” the statement read.
During a meeting at the June 4 ECOWAS summit in Monrovia, Fonseca and Netanyahu discussed advancing bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, energy, tourism, security, the statement added.
Hezbollah runs wild as UN resolution falls flat
The failure to disarm Hezbollah has had other consequences for Lebanon, which has itself been the target of Hezbollah’s weapons. After the Lebanese government attempted to shutter Hezbollah’s private telecommunications network in May 2008, Hezbollah fighters clashed with Lebanese forces and captured portions of Beirut in what the government deemed an armed coup.
Yet, Hezbollah emerged politically stronger as a partner in Lebanon’s coalition government, thanks to a Qatar-negotiated agreement. In 2009, the Lebanese government issued a policy statement affirming Hezbollah’s right to bear arms.
Since then, Hezbollah has dragged Lebanon into the neighboring Syrian war. As a result, al-Qaeda, ISIS and other groups have murdered Lebanese civilians in attacks on Hezbollah-controlled cities and villages.
Hezbollah has also expanded beyond Lebanon’s borders into Yemen, where the internationally-recognized Yemeni government has accused it of training and fighting alongside Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia. If 1701 had been fully enforced, Hezbollah would be playing a much more diminished role — or no role — in these countries.
Hezbollah’s participation in the Lebanese government protects it from any government or military action, as it would surely trigger another civil war. Even while Lebanon is far from the front line in the fight against Hezbollah, the Lebanese government remains bound by U.N. Security Council resolutions and its own agreements.
Until the Lebanese government is willing and able to confront Hezbollah, the Security Council should at the very least expand UNIFIL’s mandate to actively combat Hezbollah’s rearmament. Sadly, 11 years after 1701 was passed, Hezbollah’s danger to the entire region has never been greater.
In light of terrorism, support for Israel in Iraq rises
Against the backdrop of the events on the Temple Mount and the recent terrorist attacks, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem was very surprised to see a dramatic increase in the number of Israel sympathizers in Iraq.
Yonatan Gonen, head of Arabic-language digital diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, who also runs the Foreign Ministry's Facebook and Twitter accounts, said that the ministry has been flooded with pictures and messages of sympathy, support and even a desire to establish relations between the two countries.
In addition, several new Facebook pages were opened, and even an Arabic-language website was created to bring Israelis and Iraqis together.
The reactions include harsh criticism of "the hypocrisy of the Arab peoples," with an emphasis on the Egyptians and the Jordanians, whose countries have signed a peace treaty with the State of Israel.
One of the main arguments raised by the respondents on the matter is that if they oppose normalization with Israel, they should act to cancel the peace treaty with Israel before they start complaining. Another central argument is based on the approach that normalization with Israel is not shameful, as long as the interests of both countries are preserved.
At the same time, some respondents admit that the desire to establish relations with Israel does not stem from their love for the country, but rather from their disappointment with the Arab states and their desire to eliminate terrorism in their country.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Jordan: Ministry Of Badmouthing Israel While Depending On Her For Survival Gets New Minister (satire)
King Abdullah of Jordan approved the appointment today of a new chief for the Ministry of Badmouthing Israel While Depending on Her for Survival, sources in the Hashemite capital reported today.
A spokesman for the ministry told reporters that the king had completed his review of the candidates and accepted Alkulb Ligha ‘Iisnan as the new minister, ending a prolonged period during which the office sat without a head. The urgency of the appointment increased over recent weeks, amid tensions over security measures at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where Jordan holds some sway, and an incident at the Israeli embassy in Amman in which two Jordanians were shot and killed as one attempted to attack a security guard.
“We are happy to welcome Mr. ‘Iisnan,” announced the spokesman. “It has proved unusually difficult to perform our regular duties without a formal minister at the helm of the ministry. We look forward to a fruitful period of his leadership in badmouthing Israel while depending on her for our national survival.”
Jordan relies on Israeli military equipment and support in the fight against Islamist militants, on Israeli natural gas for its energy needs, on Israeli sources for its water needs, and on Israeli tourism for a chunk of its economic needs. Nevertheless, traditional Arab opposition to Jewish sovereignty in the reason, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the kingdom, and the sizable population of Jordan that identifies as Palestinian make it difficult for King Abdullah, like his father Hussein before him, to adopt an openly pro-Israel stance. The job of the Ministry of Badmouthing Israel While Depending on Her for Survival, established by Hussein in 1994, has been to coordinate anti-Israel propaganda efforts while cultivating behind-the-scenes diplomatic, economic, and military development that brings the two governments closer together.
IsraellyCool: 16 Years On: Hamas Celebrates Sbarro Restaurant Massacre
Today is the 16th anniversary of the Sbarro pizzeria massacre, and Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV is in celebration mode.
Consider for a second the level of depravity here. Not only did they murder 15 civilians (including 7 children and a pregnant woman), wound 130 more, and adversely affect the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families, but they are now – 16 years later – looking back at it in celebration.
In case anyone wonders why there is no peace.
This is how we need to be spending this day – remembering the victims:
On a personal note, I would like to point out that back then, my wife and I were taking birthing classes in Jerusalem for our first-born. We used to eat at Sbarro every week. Only by Divine providence were we not there at the time.
Shmuley Boteach: Israel Tolerates the Intolerable by Allowing Terrorists to Live
Terrorists must know — without the shadow of a doubt — that when they stab, axe and pummel innocent men, women and children to death, they will never survive to celebrate their gruesome records in the streets of Gaza city.
There are those who will argue that by refusing to execute convicted murderers, Israel has opted toward a path that is more humane. After all, how, by killing those who kill, do we truly demote the act of killing?
To that, I answer that we are not calling for the killing of killers; we are calling for the killing of murderers. The Bible never says that one cannot kill. On the contrary, in the case of self-defense in a life-threatening situation, all ethicists agree that killing may be required. The prohibition, rather, is against murder. Murder is not just an act of killing. It is an act of killing the innocent: Those who did not deserve their deaths. Those who never received the most cursory of trials. Those who lived a life of peace and virtue, like the wholesome family of Halamish, yet were murdered with undisguised savagery.
Repentance, too, cannot be a part of this equation. The capital cases of terrorism are not those of an individual caught up in the heat of rage, or who’ve succumbed to a certain sickness, or were in a drunk and uncontrollable fury. These, rather, are individuals who carefully organize, plan and execute their evil plots. These are men who have lost their ability to see the humanity in their fellow man. These are people so steeped in the passion of their own hatred that it becomes an inextricable part of who they are.
McVeigh was executed after a fair trial and an appeal, with no public outcry whatsoever in the United States. Why? Because a man who takes so many lives so coldly has erased the divine countenance from his visage. Why would Israel lock up the most rancid, heartless and cold-blooded killers in its jails just so that they can serve as a lure for more Gilad Shalits to be kidnapped to force their release?
For the 1,027 murderers released in the Shalit deal, it would be logistically impossible to rearrest them, and give them the sentences that they truly deserve. It is also impossible to stop them from returning to blood-thirsty terrorism. But with the Halamish terrorist in custody, Israel ought to finally heed Netanyahu’s words: those who bring endless grief to innocent families should smile no more.
Think Tank sues Netanyahu's son over Facebook post
Facebook mudslinging between progressive think tank Molad – Center for Renewal of Israeli Democracy and the prime minister’s son Yair Netanyahu devolved into a lawsuit on Tuesday, with Molad suing Netanyahu for libel.
A week and a half ago, a woman who lives near the Prime Minister’s Residence wrote a Facebook post accusing Netanyahu of not cleaning up after the family dog, Kaya, and giving her the middle finger when she pointed it out to him.
“Sixty-One,” a Molad social media project, then posted a graphic listing “Five things you didn’t know about Yair Netanyahu,” including that he lives in the Prime Minister’s Residence and is the first son or daughter of a prime minister to receive around-the-clock security as an adult, and that he traveled abroad on Australian billionaire James Packer’s dime and stayed in his homes.
Yair Netanyahu turned 26 on July 26.
Molad is suing Netanyahu for NIS 140,474 over his response to the post, in which he called Molad “an anti-Zionist organization” that is funded by the “fund to destroy Israel,” an apparent reference to the New Israel Fund, which used to but no longer contributes to Molad.
According to Molad, the claim that it is anti-Zionist “has not a shred of truth, and is meant to shame” the organization and delegitimize it.
Israeli jets hit Hamas targets in Gaza following rocket strike
Israeli jets struck two Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday, injuring at least three people, hours after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave hit an open area in southern Israel.
The Israeli military said in a statement that in response to the projectile attack in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council earlier Tuesday, “IAF aircraft targeted two Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip.”
A Gaza security source told AFP that Israeli warplanes had struck two bases belonging to Hamas’ military wing, causing significant damage.
A medical official at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said three people were being treated for injuries, including a 26-year-old man who was in critical condition after being struck in the head with shrapnel.
Soldier who stopped Halamish terrorist to get commendation
A soldier who intervened during a terror attack in a West Bank settlement last month will be awarded a “citation of praise” for his actions, the army announced Wednesday.
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On July 21, a Palestinian terrorist, Omar al-Abed, entered the Halamish settlement in the central West Bank armed with a knife. He entered the home of the Salomon family, stabbing to death the father Yosef, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. The mother, Tova, was seriously injured.
The staff sergeant, who can only be identified by the first Hebrew initial of his name, “Ayin,” as he serves in the army’s elite canine unit, lives next door to the Salomons, and upon seeing that the family was in trouble, he ran over with his pistol.
When the soldier saw “the terrorist fighting in the kitchen with Yossi Salomon (may his memory be blessed), he fired a single shot from outside the house, through a window, at the terrorist, stopping him,” the army said in a statement.
IDF arrests father, brother of Halamish terrorist
Israeli security forces, in an operation overnight Tuesday in the Palestinian village of Kobar, north of Ramallah, arrested the father and a brother of a terrorist who stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family in the Halamish settlement last month.
Hours after the July 21 attack, the IDF raided Omar al-Abed’s home, mapped it for demolition and arrested another one of his brothers, whom officials suspect aided his brother in carrying out the attack.
In the ensuing days, the army also arrested Abed’s mother, Ibtisam, for “aggravated incitement,” after she appeared in a widely shared video praising her son’s actions.
Abed’s father, Abd al-Jalil, who was arrested in the Tuesday night raid, told the Haaretz daily last month that his son’s actions were understandable.
Hebron shooter Elor Azaria begins serving sentence for manslaughter
Former IDF soldier Elor Azaria on Wednesday entered the military prison where he will be serving his 18 month sentence for killing an incapacitated Palestinian terrorist. His imprisonment has been the center of widescale debate in Israel over military ethics.
Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter by a military court in January for killing Palestinian attacker Abdel Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron on March 24, 2016. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, 12 months’ suspended sentence after serving that term and demoted to private in February. He has since been discharged from the army.
A crowd of supporters saw Azaria off from his home in the city of Ramla. He was taken to the base in the center of the country, where the prison is located, in a car decorated with Israeli flags and plastered with stickers expressing support for him. His parents, his girlfriend and his lawyer Yoram Sheftel.
Speakiing to reporters, Sheftelsaid it was "a sad day for the IDF and a majority of Israel."
A crowd of dozens of people were also waiting for him at the entrance to the base.
Brazil to extradite settler who fled Israel after killing Palestinian
The Brazilian Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to extradite an Israeli settler convicted of killing a Palestinian taxi driver in 2004, local media reported.
The decision came two years after Israel submitted an extradition request for Yehoshua Elitzur, who fled the country after being sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing Sael Jabara al-Shatiya.
Elitzur, 46, had been placed under house arrest in the Itamar settlement prior to entering prison, but managed to flee the country, first to Germany and later to Brazil.
After a decade-long manhunt, he was captured by Interpol and Sau Paulo authorities in June 2015.
Elitzur shot and killed Shatiya, from the Palestinian village of Salem, in September 2004 on the side of Route 557 near the Elon Moreh settlement.
PMW: Palestinian “honor killing” of women condemned by Fatah leader
Palestinian women suffer from discrimination, violence, and honor killings emanating from "the cultural foundations of the Arab and Islamic societies," according to a Fatah leader. Writing an op-ed in the official PA daily, Muwaffaq Matar, a Fatah Revolutionary Committee member, called for fundamental changes in Palestinian society including legislation and new "enlightened attitudes" regarding women "and above all, we need a revolution in education." He blames the current violence against women on "the cultural foundations of the Arab and Islamic societies" which "consider crimes of violence against women and murder for honor and revenge as legitimate acts... [some] glorifying them as heroic masculine acts."
Palestinian Media Watch reported that university lecturer Yusuf Jabareen, while being interviewed on PA TV, likewise blamed Arab culture for violence against women:
Yusuf Jabareen: "Part of our identity is to kill women, for example, to kill women, to beat women..."
Host: "You generalize."
Jabareen: "No. I don't generalize."
Host: "Not everyone is the same."
Jabareen: "Part of our identity is to attack women - we must acknowledge it. Every society has its defects and its charms. Palestinian identity has its charms, but there are things we have adopted from Arab culture for centuries that harm the individual and the woman. For example, in recent months, look how many women were killed in Lod, in Ramle, and in Acre, and so on. That's part of our identity."
[Official PA TV, June 24, 2012]
PMW has reported in the past on the repeated criticism of the PA and its leader Mahmoud Abbas for being lenient regarding violence to women and honor killings and not enforcing laws that would protect women and punish the violent men:
PA arrests five journalists for "leaking" sensitive information
Five Palestinian journalists have been arrested in the West Bank by Palestinian Authority security forces in what a human rights monitoring group has termed a "serious blow to freedom of opinion and expression."
All five were arrested at or near their houses Tuesday night by the General Intelligence service, according to Shireen al-Khatib, monitoring and documentation associate at the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (Mada).
A senior security source quoted by the official Wafa news agency said four journalists were being held on suspicion of "leaking sensitive information to hostile authorities."
Ms Khatib identified the journalists as Tariq Abu Zayd and Ahmad Halaika of al-Aksa television, a Hamas-run station, Qutaiba Kasem who writes for Asdaa website, Mamdouh Hamamreh of the pro-Hamas al-Quds television and Amer Abu Arafa of the Shihab news agency, which supports Mohammed Dahlan, a rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abu Arafa was arrested after his home was searched and his computer and mobile phone seized, Ms. Khatib said.
The Ramallah-based Independent Commission for Human Rights, which monitors rights abuses in the PA, demanded the immediate release of the journalists and called on the authority to "stop the persecution of journalists for their journalistic work" It termed the arrests a "serious blow to freedom of opinion and expression."
4 Hamas terrorists petition Israeli court to reinstate family visits

Four Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israel have petitioned the High Court of Justice to reinstate family visits.
Last month, the International Council of the Red Cross demanded that Israel reinstate the visits in a letter to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, claiming the decision to prevent family members from visiting security prisoners is a "violation of the Geneva Convention."
Simcha Goldin, the father of the late IDF soldier Hadar Goldin who was killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and whose body is being held captive by Hamas, along with the body of fellow fallen soldier Oron Shaul, called the move "a demonstration of hypocrisy and inhumanity" from the Red Cross.
Referring to the letter sent by the ICRC to Erdan outlining its demands, Goldin remarked: "The letter went out with the knowledge that dead soldiers are being held hostage in Gaza while Hamas prisoners ... receive improved conditions according to any convention."
Sources in the Public Security Ministry told Israel Hayom at the time, "It is strange that the Red Cross is so concerned about members of a terrorist organization but isn't doing everything it can to ensure that Hamas lives up to the basic requirements of the Geneva Convention, like providing information on our captive soldiers and civilians."
To Encourage Investment, Gaza Entry Restrictions for Israeli Arabs Eased
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced on Monday it will grant some Israeli Arabs from eastern Jerusalem special permission to enter the Gaza Strip for the purpose of encouraging investment in the territory.
COGAT — the Israeli body responsible for implementing the government’s civilian policy in Gaza and the West Bank — said, “Businessmen and others who want to help improve economy, infrastructures, and humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip will be allowed to visit Gaza.”
The announcement marks an easing of Israeli policy on the Hamas-ruled territory. According to Palestinian media reports, the initiative is intended to improve the economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Under the program, those wishing to enter Gaza will be required to apply with COGAT ahead of visiting, and groups of up to 150 people at a time will be allowed to enter the territory.
What Next for the Islamic State?
The Islamic State may have lost much of its territory but, even if the loose international coalition fighting the would-be caliphate succeeds in ending its control of cities and towns, it is unlikely that ISIS will disappear anytime soon. There will be no formal surrender. Nor will the eventual defeat of the Islamic State necessarily delegitimize its apocalyptic theology.
The theological problem is this: The late Turki al-Bin’ali, the grand mufti of the Islamic State, cited a hadith attributed to Muhammad declaring that there would be 12 true and legitimate caliphs before the end of the world. He counted Baghdadi as the eighth, giving ambitious or megalomaniacal upstarts theological cover to be number nine, ten, or eleven. This creates a win-win situation for those who wish to emulate the Islamic State. Success proves theological legitimacy but failure doesn’t count because its authors can be dismissed, in hindsight, as imposters.
So what happens next? Both Syria and Iraq will likely face at least a low-grade insurgency or protracted terror campaign. Mosul may be liberated, but more Moslawis collaborated with the Islamic State than many of the city’s political leaders like to acknowledge. Beyond that, what might the Islamic State, its remnants, and its veterans do next?
Here, the work of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) is invaluable. Just two years old, ICSVE has distinguished itself for cutting-edge research based less on speculation and Washington group think than on provocative analysis founded on extensive interviews with Islamic State defectors and imprisoned returnees. It’s no surprise that the latest report by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) dedicates a page to the summary of ICSVE work.
US urges UN force to stop spread of weapons to Hezbollah
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday urged the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon to step up efforts to prevent the spread of illegal weapons in southern Lebanon, which she said "are almost entirely in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists."
Haley made clear in a statement that the United States is seeking "significant improvements" to the force, known as UNIFIL, when the U.N. Security Council renews its mandate, which is due to expire Aug. 31.
Her statement came in response to a letter to the Security Council from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying he intends to look at ways in which UNIFIL could "enhance its efforts."
But the U.N. chief stressed that the Lebanese armed forces have primary responsibility for ensuring that "there are no unauthorized armed personnel, assets or weapons" in the southern area between the Litani River and the U.N.-drawn Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, where UNIFIL operates.
"On its part, UNIFIL, in coordination with the Lebanese armed forces, remains determined to act with all means available within its mandate and capabilities on concrete information provided regarding the illegal presence of armed personnel, weapons or infrastructure inside its area of operations," Guterres said.
Israel has long maintained that Hezbollah terrorists operate freely in southern Lebanon.
AP: Lebanese Government “Based on a Partnership” With Hezbollah
Hezbollah’s recent defeat of Sunni jihadist near the Lebanon-Syria border and subsequent prisoner exchange underscores the degree to which Hezbollah and Lebanon are indivisible, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
The partnership received greater attention after President Donald Trump praised the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri for its efforts to fight terrorist groups including Hezbollah, a characterization which received much criticism. “Far from being an ally in the fight against Hezbollah,” the AP reported, “the Lebanese government headed by Saad Hariri is based on a partnership with the Shiite group, whose clout and dominance in the tiny country is on the rise.”
“The Iranian proxy is the single most potent military and political force in Lebanon, with an arsenal surpassing that of the country’s army,” the AP wrote of Hezbollah. “By many accounts, Hezbollah has brought disaster to the country by engaging in destructive wars with Israel, and, as Trump himself noted, it has fueled the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria where it has sent thousands of its fighters to shore up President Bashar Assad’s forces.”
In addition to its military might, Hezbollah operates its own secure telecommunications network, maintains control over vital Lebanese facilities, and holds “veto power in the Lebanese cabinet.”
“We have our opinion and Hezbollah has its opinion, but in the end, we met on a consensus that concerns the Lebanese people for the (good of) the Lebanese economy, security and stability,” Hariri conceded, calling the recent battles led by Hezbollah “a big achievement.”
North Korea's ICBM Test Is a Win for Iran
North Korea's recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile is a game changer. It holds the potential for North Korea to transfer this dangerous technology to another rogue regime, its longtime ally Iran.
For years, experts have suspected North Korea as being the key supporter behind Iran's missile and nuclear programs. Today, many of the missiles Iran would use to target American forces in the Middle East are copies of North Korean designs.
North Korean engineers are in Iran helping to improve its missiles to carry nuclear warheads, according to a report released last month by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the same opposition movement that exposed Tehran's secret nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak in 2002.
Iran is using North Korean blueprints to build as many as thirteen secret underground missile launch facilities and North Korean experts are assisting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' efforts to develop nuclear warheads and guidance systems.
This would enable Iran to launch nuclear weapons at the large U.S. bases in the Middle East that restrain Iran's expansionist ambitions.
The missile tested by North Korea in July demonstrated an ability that could put American cities as far as Chicago within its nuclear crosshairs. With North Korea outpacing our own expert expectations, Iran will likely not be far behind.
Daphne Anson: Onwards Christian Zionism!
By Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Michaela Frai, a research associate there, a disturbing article on Iranian influence in South America:
'Across the region, Iranian preachers and their local enablers have presented themselves as advocates of human rights and social justice to gain footholds among disenfranchised and marginalized communities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru. Relying on allies such as Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, Iran has established forward operating bases for the spread of their propaganda.'
The article focuses first on the visit to São Paulo, Brazil of Ayatollah Mohsen Araki, 'who openly calls for the “annihilation of Zionism” and has promoted friendly relations with the Taliban':
'Araki’s visit is yet another demonstration of how the Iranian regime is busy exporting its own brand of radical Islam, in order to radicalize Shi’a expatriate communities while spreading Tehran’s influence in the region.
The hosts for Araki’s lecture in Brazil on July 29th were none other than local Hezbollah-linked religious centers that promote Iran’s Islamic revolution. Guests from across the continent included Latin American and Iranian clerics who are disciples of Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attaché in Latin America and the mastermind of Argentina’s 1994 AMIA terrorist attack that left 85 dead at a Jewish center.
Since the 1980s, Tehran has worked diligently to create the infrastructure for both overt and covert operations in the Western Hemisphere. Araki’s visit is part of a well-orchestrated plan to indoctrinate and radicalize existing Shi’a communities while seeking new acolytes among local sympathizers of Iran’s political agenda.'
Iran arrests six for teaching Zumba dance – report
Four boys and two girls have been arrested in Iran for teaching “Western” dance moves including Zumba, a Colombian fitness routine, a local Revolutionary Guards commander said.
“The members of a network teaching and filming Western dances have been identified and arrested,” said Hamid Damghani, commander of the Guards in the town of Sharhoud in Iran’s northeastern Semnan province, according to Jamejam Online website late on Tuesday.
“The team attracted boys and girls, taught them Western dances and published their video clips on social media apps like Telegram and Instagram,” he added.
“They were arrested by the Guards’ intelligence forces while teaching and creating video clips… as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab,” he said.
They were charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab — Islamic regulations that require women to wear headscarves and ban revealing clothing in public.

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