Monday, November 20, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: Muhammad ordered kids to throw rocks at Jews, according to PA-funded PLO magazine for children
A poem in the Palestinian youth magazine Zayzafuna teaches children that throwing rocks at Jews is something mandated by Muhammad, Islam's prophet. The funders of the magazine include the Palestinian Authority.

The following lines were part of the poem printed in the magazine's October issue together with the image above of a kid throwing rocks:
"O children of my country, sing to the occupied homeland so it will be liberated...
Sing by the order of Prophet [Muhammad] that we carry a rock that we will throw at the people of the Gharqad [tree]"
[Zayzafuna, October 2017]

That Jews are the intended target is clear from the reference to the Gharqad tree - "the tree of the Jews." According to Muslim tradition Jews will try to hide behind the Gharqad tree when the Muslims come to kill them on Judgment Day.

The story of a stone or tree beckoning a Muslim to kill a Jew appears in numerous Islamic texts. One example is the following Hadith from the Sahih Muslim book of Hadith:
"The last Hour will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them until the Jews hide behind a stone or a tree, and the stone or a tree will say: 'Muslim, or servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him'; but the Gharqad tree will not say [this], for it is the tree of the Jews."

Palestinian Media Watch has documented problematic content in the magazine before. One story, allegedly a dream by a young Palestinian girl, glorified Hitler and presented his killing of Jews as a positive accomplishment for the benefit of humanity. Another issue of Zayzafuna published sayings that it attributed to Hitler.
John Kerry Issues Another Huge Lie: Israel Doesn't Want Peace
The former Secretary of State for Barack Obama, John Kerry, who has been infamously lying since his formative years as a politician, beginning with his lies about Vietnam, decided to trumpet one of his biggest whoppers: that Israel doesn’t want peace with the Palestinians.

Recorded last year in Dubai, Kerry lauded the Palestinians, gushing, “The Palestinians have done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence. When the intifada took place [in 2015] they delivered non-violence in the West Bank.” He added, “This is overlooked by the general [Israeli] populations because it is not a topic of discussion. Why? Because the majority of the cabinet currently in the Israeli government has publicly declared they are not ever for a Palestinian state.”

Kerry continued, “If you see 40,000 kids marching up to the wall every day with signs saying, ‘Give us our rights,’ I mean I don’t think Palestine is going to be immune forever to the civil rights movements that have swept other nations in the world and somehow Israel’s ignoring this. That’s not leadership. … If you don’t have leaders who don’t want to make peace, if the equation doesn’t change, I’ll be amazed if within the next 10 years if we don’t see some young [Palestinian] leader come along who says, ‘We have tried non-violence for the last 30 years and look, it hasn’t gotten us anything.’”

The recordings were published earlier this week by Channel 10, an Israeli TV news station.

Kerry has hated Israel for years; in 2014, speaking to the Trilateral Commission a few days after PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity deal with the murderous Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, Kerry said that if Israel didn’t make a deal with the Palestinians, it would either cease to be a Jewish state or become “an apartheid state.” That ignored the facts on the ground showing the burgeoning Jewish birth rate obviated that possibility as well as the fact that if any areas should be labeled apartheid, they would be the Palestinian areas, which are Judenrein.

If the Palestinian National Movement Is to Succeed, “Armed Struggle” Must Go
“Without ‘armed struggle,’” wrote two Palestinian journalists in an essay published in the New Yorker last summer, the Palestinian “national movement had no clear ideology.” Robert Nicholson responds to this observation, taking as an example the case of three men named Jabareen who killed two Israeli policemen in July and were then shot and killed by police:
How could the Jabareens have possibly thought killing Israeli police officers would advance their cause? Didn’t they realize these senseless murders would make Israelis even more vigilant? Didn’t they understand that Palestinian violence has never worked since the time of the British Mandate? Apparently not. But the Jabareens aren’t alone. . . . Palestinian culture gives mythical power to the word shahid (“martyr”), making it impossible to contemplate gritty compromises like the 1947 partition plan and other peace deals. Far better to die in purity.

If martyrdom is the greatest Palestinian virtue, tatbi’a, or normalization, is the greatest Palestinian sin. A normalizer is a Palestinian who accepts Israel, cooperates with Israel, or suggests that Palestinians should get used to a Jewish state living next door. . . . This basic inability to cope with the fact of Israel is a major obstacle that needs to be overcome. . . .

The starkest difference between Israeli and Palestinian political culture is self-criticism. Israelis never stop criticizing each other and their policies; Palestinians almost never do, at least in public. . . .

The current position of the Palestinian Authority is that the future state of Palestine will be free of Jews—Judenrein, as [the Nazis] used to say. This is a position that Christians like me cannot endorse. Jews are an ancient people who belong there as much as [Arabs] do. . . . The real Palestinian martyr will be the one who stands up and delivers this bold message to his people, even if he is killed immediately afterward.



Time for a Peace Process Paradigm Change
The reason is that the essential element for peace is still missing. The Palestinians are still stuck in a mindset that rejects Israel’s legitimacy. The Palestinian Authority (PA) won’t accept a deal that ends the conflict for all time no matter where Kushner, Greenblatt and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman draw the borders between the two states, how much of Jerusalem the Palestinians receive, how many descendants of the 1948 refugees are allowed to “return” to Israel or even how much money is thrown at them. That’s because the Palestinians’ national identity as a people is still inextricably bound up in a futile century-old war on Zionism that its people have been taught to think they will eventually win.

At various times, the PA has declared a willingness to accept peace. Yet every such gesture has been undermined by its cradle-to-grave incitement that promotes a culture of hatred for Israel and Jews, and makes new rounds of bloodshed inevitable. The history of the last 24 years of negotiations since the Oslo Accords shows that peace is impossible so long as the Palestinians still hold onto hope of eventually winning this war. As with every other conflict, this one will only be settled when one side admits defeat and that is something no one, not even a Trump team that appears to be more realistic about Palestinian behavior and intentions than past administrations, seems willing to force them to do.

Critics of the #IsraelVictory idea mock its simplicity. But generations of would-be peacemakers have forgotten that it really is that simple. Once the Palestinians concede the war is lost rather than being paused and put aside their dreams of a world without a Jewish state, compromise would be possible. But if the compromises precede acknowledgement of an Israeli victory, then all the Jewish state will be doing is trading land for more terror, not peace.

The Trump team may not be listening to the #IsraelVictory caucus as it hatches its plans. But if the White House ignores the basic truths the caucus proclaims, it will be wasting its time and making the next round of violence more, rather than less likely.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar: The Ten Commandments for Israeli negotiations with Saudi Arabia
The media are rife with speculations during the past few days about the possibility of normalizing relations between Israel and the nations of the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar). This makes it crucial for Israel's government to know how to approach such negotiations, if they do take place, in a way that prevents a repetition of the mistakes made in the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.

The most basic rule in dealing with the Saudis and their friends is that Israel must not feel that it has to pay anything for peace, anything at all. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. If the Saudis want to live in peace with us, we will stretch out our hands to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. There is no other kind of peace agreement and if they do not want peace on those terms, then shalom ulehitraot (so long, it's been good to know you, Israeli-style).

The following are ten essential pointers to help Israel deal with the Middle Eastern culture of negotiation in an informed fashion, instead of the ignorance that led to its egregious errors in the accords with Egypt and Jordan.

(Note: From here on, when I write Saudis or Saudi Arabia, I refer to all the nations in the Arabian Peninsula, as listed above, as well as any other Arab or Islamist nation.)

1. It is of the utmost importance to realize that the Saudis do not really want peace with Israel. Had they wanted peace, they would have joined Anwar Sadat in 1979 or King Hussein in 1994. All they want is Israel's help in facing their formidable arch-enemy, Iran, now and in the future. If there were no Iranian threat, the thought of peace with Israel would not even enter their heads, and once that threat is gone (even if the price were an all-out Iran-Israel war that results in Israel paying a high price in casualties and destruction) there is no certainty that their relations with us would continue to be peaceful.
Diplomatic gestures
Demonstrative diplomatic gestures can lead to a paradigm shift in relations among nations. US President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Beijing ended more than two decades of estrangement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

The 1985 Geneva Summit initiated by former president Ronald Reagan with then-general secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev ultimately helped forge a relationship between the two men that was pivotal in ending the Cold War.

And the 1977 visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem 40 years ago this week symbolizes the power of a single diplomatic act to end decades of enmity and warfare.

Each of these cases is an example of how a creative and courageous leader can rise above the status quo to cause a sea change to the trajectory of history. Of course, demonstrative gestures alone are not enough. Mao Zedong would never have agreed to sit down with Nixon if he had not been concerned with Soviet hegemony; Gorbachev would have rejected engagement with the US if the Soviet regime had not been destabilized by a failing economy and the demands of keeping up the arms race; and Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem came only after Egypt’s repeated failures to destroy Israel on the battlefield.

Today, also, we believe that circumstances in the Middle East have created an opportunity for a bold leader to take the initiative and use a demonstrative diplomatic gesture to change the geopolitical balance of the region.

Perhaps, as Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman suggested in a Facebook post on Saturday, it could be a Sadat-like visit to Jerusalem by an Arab leader. Such as visit by, say, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, would be a breakthrough in relations between Israel and the coalition of Sunni Arab states that have aligned against Iran.
JCPA: Sadat and Me in Jerusalem 40 Years Ago
With few exceptions, Sadat’s Arab counterparts denounce his historic visit. Attacks against Egyptian facilities erupted in Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Jordanian and Saudi Arabian officials initially voiced muted criticism of the visit. In Greece, Arabs attacked the Egyptian Embassy, and were repulsed by gunfire.

On the West Bank, Palestinian Arabs failed to heed the PLO order for a general strike. Many dignitaries participated in prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque with Sadat and met with him on Monday. Among Palestinian Arab activists, however, there was bitterness and a sense of betrayal. In an interview with this writer prior to the Sadat arrival, one Arab – who spent over a year in an Israeli prison – refused to believe that Sadat would indeed come. And if Sadat arrived, the radical continued, he would then base his estimate of Sadat’s allegiance to the Palestinian cause on Sadat’s actions and posture during the ceremonial playing of the Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem expressing the Zionist dream.

As the entire world witnessed, Sadat stood at attention.

In Egypt, Sadat’s visit was widely acclaimed. Some observers here noted that the resignation of Foreign Minister Fahmy and his temporary replacement indicated an undermining of Sadat’s position. Zaglul Nasser, press secretary to Sadat, however, told reporters here that Fahmy resigned because “he feared for the well-being of the President and didn’t want the responsibility of his safety on his shoulders.”

Sadat’s most important pillar of support, of course, in his army, and prior to leaving for Israel Sadat met with officers and troops to reinforce their essential support.

Following Sadat’s unprecedented visit, the feelings here are that the cause of peace has been advanced. And thus, there is cautious optimism in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu: Israel's security must come first in any peace plan
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he has made clear to the U.S. that Israel's security concerns must come first as the White House tries to restart the peace process with the Palestinians.

His comments came after Israeli news reports claimed to detail the developing peace plan.

At the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that "we heard plenty of speculation this weekend" about President Donald Trump's peace efforts.

He then declined to comment further, saying only, "My position on this plan will be determined according to Israel's security and national interests."

Trump took office with hopes of forging what he calls the "ultimate deal" between Israelis and Palestinians.

The last round of peace talks collapsed in 2014.
David Singer: Israel, Jordan and PLO Apprehensive about Trump Peace Plan
President Trump has appeared to dampen expectations that his “ultimate deal” to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict will shortly emerge.

The only clue given so far is this statement from the White House:
“What we can say is we are engaged in a productive dialogue with all relevant parties and are taking a different approach than the past to create an enduring peace deal. We are not going to put an artificial deadline on anything and we have no imminent plans beyond continuing our conversations. As we have always said, our job is to facilitate a deal that works for both Israelis and Palestinians, not to impose anything on them."

Israel, Jordan and the PLO each have their own reasons to be apprehensive as to the different approach that Trump might be contemplating.

The approach for the last 24 years has concentrated on implementing:
1. The 1993 Oslo Accords (Oslo) signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and
2. The 2003 Bush-Quartet Roadmap endorsed by America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations (Roadmap) – agreed to by Israel – albeit with 14 reservations – and the PLO

These two internationally-sanctioned agreements sought to create a second independent Arab state – in addition to Jordan – in the territory comprised in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine.

Sovereignty in 95% of the Mandate territory had already been vested in:
1. Jordan since 1946 (78%) and
2. Israel since 1948 (17%).

Sovereignty remained unallocated in just 5% of the Mandate territory – Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza (“the unallocated territories”).
Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah
In a resolution long on criticism but short on concrete steps, Arab foreign ministers who convened in Cairo Sunday delivered a tirade of criticism against Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, warning that Tehran is destabilizing the region.

The emergency meeting was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia, with support from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait, to discuss means of confronting Iran's regional interventions.

They said they were planning to "brief" the U.N. Security Council on Iran's destabilizing policies in the region, particularly its support for Shiite rebels in Yemen, and planning to submit an anti-Iran Arab resolution at a later stage.

In what is perhaps the only concrete measure to emerge from the emergency meeting, the ministers said Arab telecommunications satellites would ban Iranian-financed television stations. The reason for the ban, they said, was that the networks exacerbate sectarian and ethnic tensions and pose a threat to Arab security.

"We are not declaring war on Iran at this stage," Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said. "We have not taken a decision to ask the Security Council to meet, but we are just briefing the council and maybe the next stage will be for us to meet and call for a Security Council meeting and submit a draft Arab resolution [against Iran]."
Arab League states condemn Hezbollah as 'terrorist organization'
Saudi Arabia ramped up its campaign against Iran's growing influence in the Arab World Sunday by persuading most of the 22 member states of the Arab League to condemn Iran's Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, as a "terrorist organization."
Arab foreign ministers gathered at the League's headquarters in Cairo Sunday for an emergency meeting called by Saudi Arabia. Lebanon's foreign minister, Gibran Bassil, did not attend, and the Lebanese representative at the meeting expressed reservations over the final communique.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari also did not attend the meeting. Iran, along with the US-led international coalition, has been a major supporter of Baghdad in its war against ISIS.

"We want to hold everyone responsible," Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said during the deliberations. "We want to hold countries where Hezbollah is a partner in government responsible, specifically Lebanon."
Al-Khalifa claimed that Lebanon "is subject to full control by this terrorist group."

The cabinet, led by outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, includes several ministers affiliated with Hezbollah.
Lebanon under ‘total control’ of Hezbollah, Bahrain says
Saudi Arabia warned Sunday that it would not stand idly by in the face of Iranian “aggression,” as Bahrain said the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah was “in total control” of Lebanon.

The foreign ministers of both Gulf states spoke at an extraordinary general meeting of the Arab League at its Cairo headquarters, called by Riyadh.

The Arab League meeting comes as tensions soar between regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, including over League member Lebanon.

Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, the predominant Shiite power, have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East including in Syria and Yemen.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir warned Iran that Riyadh will not stand idle in the face of Iranian “aggression.”

Saudi Arabia “will not hesitate to defend its national security to keep its people safe,” Jubeir said in opening remarks at the meeting.

“I trust the League’s council will take on its responsibility and take a decision regarding Iranian violations of Arab security,” he said ahead of Sunday’s talks.
Israeli minister reveals covert contacts with Saudi Arabia
An Israeli cabinet minister said on Sunday that Israel has had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, the first disclosure by a senior official from either country of long-rumored secret dealings.

The Saudi government had no immediate response to the remarks by Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of Netanyahu's Diplomatic-Security Cabinet. A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Both Saudi Arabia and Israel view Iran as a main threat to the Middle East, and increased tension between the Saudis and Iran has fueled speculation that shared interests may push Saudi Arabia and Israel to work together.

Saudi Arabia maintains that any relations with Israel hinge on Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines and progress on the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

U.S. President Donald Trump's peace envoys have visited Saudi Arabia several times since he took office, seeking an Israeli-Palestinian agreement with regional support.

In an interview on Army Radio, Steinitz did not characterize the contacts or give details when asked why Israel was "hiding its ties" with Saudi Arabia.
Lebanese president vows to resist Israel by 'all available means'
The Lebanese president appeared to defend Hezbollah as necessary to resist Israel on Monday, after an Arab League statement accused the group of terrorism and noted it is part of Lebanon's coalition government.

"Israeli targeting still continues and it is the right of the Lebanese to resist it and foil its plans by all available means," President Michel Aoun's office quoted him as saying in a Tweet.

The heavily armed Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah, formed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, fought Israel's occupation of Lebanon in the early 1980s and says its weapons are still needed against Israel.

Saudi Arabia, a regional rival of Iran, opposes Hezbollah's role as a military force in Syria and has accused it of helping the Houthi group in Yemen and militants in Bahrain.

The Arab League met on Sunday to discuss what it called Iranian interference in Arab countries, and accused Tehran's ally Hezbollah of terrorism.

Aoun said that Lebanon could not accept suggestions that its government was a partner in acts of terrorism, another Tweet quoted him as saying after meeting Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Beirut.

Aboul Gheit said in Beirut that nobody was accusing Lebanon's government of terrorism or wanted to harm Lebanon.
Lebanese Foreign Minister: We Will Defeat Israel in Any Future War
Lebanon will emerge victorious in any future conflict with Israel, the Cedar Republic’s foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, claimed in an interview published on Friday.

Speaking with the Russian government-funded RT media outlet, Bassil — the 47-year-old Maronite Christian head of the Free Patriotic Movement — stated, “We should not be provoking Israel into a war simply because it is likely to lose it. We should restrain Israel from starting a war exactly because Lebanon is sure to win it.”

Bassil went on to warn there would be “consequences for the whole region…[and] for Europe” if Hezbollah — the Iran-backed Shia terrorist group that is headquartered in Beirut and is part of the Lebanese government — was attacked by outside parties.

According to Bassil, Lebanon is able to counter “any threat” it faces.

Lebanon is on a knife’s edge following the recent resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the launch of a missile from Yemen at Riyadh — an “act of war” that Saudi Arabia blamed on Hezbollah.

In an interview published on Thursday by the Saudi newspaper Elaph, the head of the Israeli military, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, said the IDF had no intention of initiating an offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and accused Iran of seeking to escalate tensions there.
Iran is only in Syria to fight ‘terror,’ says Russia’s Israel envoy
Iran’s military presence in Syria is solely dedicated to the “war on terrorism,” Russia’s ambassador to Israel said Monday, seeking to defend a recent US-Russia agreement that would allow Iranian forces to remain in the war-torn country.

Jerusalem vehemently opposes any Iranian presence on its northern border, arguing that the Islamic Republic will use any foothold in Syria to attack Israel.

Writing on the embassy’s Facebook page, Alexander Shein said Moscow respects Israel’s security concerns, but reiterated Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s assertion that Iran’s presence in Syria is legitimate.

“The aim of this presence is confined to war on terrorism. To this end, Russia cooperates with Iran in Syria,” Shein wrote.
Foreign Policy: Israel Isn’t Going to Fight Saudi Arabia’s Wars
It is hard to imagine Netanyahu, who only once has acknowledged the dozens of Israeli air force strikes against Hezbollah’s weapon convoys in Syria, now deserting all caution and doing the Saudis’ bidding. If Hezbollah does not want war at this stage, why should Israel initiate one now? A war of choice is always an extremely delicate issue in the Israeli political arena — and with Netanyahu already facing enormous pressure because of his legal troubles, he would have to be uncharacteristically careless to choose such a path.

The fact that neither Israel nor Hezbollah are planning to launch a war, of course, is no guarantee that a conflict will not occur. Israel constantly seems two mistakes away from war in both Lebanon and Gaza. The prospect of an accidental war in Lebanon is the scenario the army is practicing for and what Israeli officials repeatedly brief their American counterparts about. But the Israelis are also aware of the consequences of another conflict in Lebanon: unprecedented devastation on the home front as a result of a massive rocket campaign by Hezbollah against both the civilian population and strategic infrastructure. In response, Israel would probably hit Lebanese state infrastructure, hoping to force Hezbollah to stop — and therefore risk criticism from the international community. Israeli officials have increasingly equated Lebanese state institutions with Hezbollah: Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently said that Lebanon’s army has become a wing of the militant group.

The greatest threat to stability on Israel’s borders right now isn’t Saudi Arabia’s plotting, but Iran’s attempts to solidify its military power in Syria. In the last few weeks, Netanyahu and Lieberman repeatedly warned that they will not allow the Iranians to build military bases in Syria or deploy Shiite militias close to Israel’s border on the Golan Heights. These are Israel’s new red lines in Syria — and here, more than in Lebanon, may be the place where a new serious military conflict may begin. (h/t Zvi)
Arab News: Containing Iran’s influence: The regional players’ wagers on Tel Aviv and Israel’s calculations
Hezbollah is convinced that Israel will not enter as a party to a war against it or against Iran. It is betting on thwarting what it believes to be a US-Saudi bid for Israel to take advantage of the crisis to deal a fatal blow to its rocket arsenal and missile manufacturing facilities run by Iran in Lebanon, and against Iran’s emerging military base near Damascus.

The question here is this: Will Israel continue to observe the historical truce-like relationship with Iran on the basis that its existential enemies are the Sunni Arabs? Or will it decide that the time is opportune for a quantum leap in its relationship with the Sunni world, and seize the limited opportunity it now has to destroy rockets and military bases not far from its borders?

The US factor is decisive in Israel calculations, especially under an unusual president who has entrusted to his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a pro-Israeli Jew, the supervision of a Middle East peace deal. With Trump in the White House, everything is possible and it would be a mistake to discount any possibility.
For this reason, all Lebanese players have an obligation to responsibly, rationally, prudently, and pragmatically assess the situation and act accordingly.

The first place where de-escalation can begin is Yemen. The Lebanese president must safeguard Lebanese higher interests and persuade Hezbollah to withdraw from Yemen to avoid incurring a price on Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia is not compelled by Lebanese calculations but by those of Saudi national interests, and it has economic cards, both direct or through the Lebanese expatriate workforce in the Kingdom, to put pressure on Lebanon and trigger a collapse despite what economists and bankers there are saying to reassure the public.

However, Saudi Arabia also has a responsibility to de-escalate in Lebanon, because punishing all of Lebanon for Hezbollah’s actions in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, and Iraq would add Lebanon to the list of failed states, rather than safeguarding Saudi influence there. (h/t Zvi)
How a Saudi-Israeli Alliance Could Benefit the Palestinians
It’s unlikely that many Palestinians share the degree of alarm that Israelis and Saudis feel about the growth of Iranian power in the Middle East, and particularly the emergence of an Iranian-controlled “land bridge” between Tehran and Lebanon and its Mediterranean coast. Yet this is a strategic game changer that, if consolidated, would greatly strengthen the regional clout of the most cynical exploiter of their issue in recent decades: Iran. Palestinians would be well advised to view the potential dialogue between Israel and Arab countries like Saudi Arabia as an opportunity to prevent their issues from being once again egregiously exploited or discarded.

In the longer term, a wider opening between Israel and the Gulf Arab countries that are now largely driving the broader Arab agenda, especially when they collaborate with Egypt and Jordan, is currently the only viable path toward the resurrection of a process that can bring about, eventually, an end to the occupation and the realization of Palestinian independence. In the meanwhile, if it flourishes, such a new regional reality is bound to involve some benefits to Palestinians, and to keep their cause central to the strategic thinking of Washington and its key Middle Eastern allies. Therefore, it would be wise for Palestinians to look for ways of maximizing how this dynamic can work for them rather than indulging in knee-jerk denunciations and recriminations that will gain them nothing. (h/t Zvi)
India cancels $500 million deal for Israeli missiles — reports
Indian media outlets reported on Monday that the country’s defense ministry had scrapped a $500 million deal to buy anti-tank missiles from the Israeli Rafael weapons manufacturer in favor of developing missiles domestically.

In response to the reports, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said it had yet to be “officially informed of any changes” to the contract.

The initial deal for the Spike anti-tank guided missile was signed in 2014. Though some aspects were still being negotiated, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems had started preparations for delivering the missile, opening a production facility in India in August with its local partner, the Indian industrial giant Kalyani Group.

According to the Indian Express news outlet, the reversal was made this week in order to protect the government’s Defense Research and Development Organization, which is working on creating its own anti-tank guided missile.


Indian military sources told the website that DRDO had already produced a few varieties of anti-tank guided missiles and was “confident” that it could produce one on par with the Israeli Spike.
Cleaning up east Jerusalem
This week, Jerusalem municipal officials and workers swept overnight into A-Tur on the Mount of Olives to clean up the neighborhood.

Under police protection, they hauled away abandoned vehicles, piles of garbage, and rubble from ruined buildings. They took down dangerously placed signs and illegal sheds. They erased graffiti, fixed broken street lights, and painted road safety markings. They enforced business codes by confiscating merchandise placed in public areas without permits, checked for violations of safety rules, issued fines for illegally commandeered parking spaces, and more.

The police also combed through the neighborhood with lists in hand to confirm that people under house arrest were really at home. They found an illegally held M1 rifle, and arrested 20 Arab residents of east Jerusalem suspected of throwing rocks and firebombs at civilians and police.

A similar “sweep and clean” overnight campaign in Isawiyah, conducted last month by tax and building code officials, bailiffs and police, culminated in 51 arrests.

“The campaign is designed to firmly handle anybody involved in criminal offenses, [violations of] public order and terrorism, while at the same time improving the lives of the regular, law-abiding residents of the neighborhood by arresting people who violate public order and break the law,” the police said in a statement.

At a conference on the “Challenges of United Jerusalem” conducted by the new Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, Jerusalem District police commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy said these operations are meant to create balance.
IDF Fires ‘Warning Shot’ in Response to Syrian Military Construction Near Israel
An IDF tank fired a “warning shot” across Israel’s northern border with Syria on Saturday in response to the Syrian military constructing an outpost in the demilitarized zone of the Golan Heights, in violation of the 1974 truce between the two countries.

The truce “prohibits the entry of heavy construction tools or military vehicles into the demilitarized zone,” the IDF stated.

The IDF also filed a complaint with the United Nations peacekeeping force stationed in the Golan Heights, which is responsible for supervising the demilitarized zone.

No casualties were reported as a result of the IDF warning shot. The Syrian construction occurred near the Druze village of Khader. Earlier this month, the Israeli military said it would defend that village against Syrian occupation.

Saturday’s incident comes amid increased tension in Israel’s north in recent weeks.

On Nov. 1, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) reportedly attacked a Syrian munitions factory, prompting Syria’s military to retaliate by firing a surface-to-air missile at the Israeli plane that allegedly carried out the strike.
IDF soldier injured as patrol comes under fire on Egypt border
An Israeli soldier was lightly injured when an army vehicle traveling along the border with Egypt came under fire early Monday morning, the army said.

The soldier was taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for treatment.

The IDF suspects that the gunfire was “spillover” from internal fighting between Egyptian forces and a Sinai-based Islamic State affiliate, but was investigating whether it may have been a deliberate attack, the army said.

Sinai borders Israel and also the Gaza Strip for a few kilometers at the northern end of the restive peninsula. Islamic State-affiliated gunmen attack Egyptian security forces, and vice versa, there on a regular basis.

In 2013, a 400-kilometer (245-mile) Israel-Egypt border fence was completed at an estimated cost of NIS 1.6 billion ($400 million), one of the largest construction projects in Israel’s history.
State to High Court: Arab Land Obtained in Good Faith May Be Used by Settlers
Israel wishes to use the legal concept of “market regulation” for the first time since 1967 in regard to Israeli settlers who purchased private Arab land in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Channel 1 TV reported Sunday. The state’s unprecedented use of the regulation was raised in its response to the High Court of Justice on Sunday, over a petition dealing with the outline plan for the settlement of Ofra in Samaria.

The market regulation, which is a modern variant of Jewish law, allows the buyer, if he has fulfilled certain conditions, to acquire ownership of the property despite the defect in the transfer of the property. The regulation balances ownership rights with the stability of the marketplace.

The market regulation is close to the legal concept of Marché ouvert (legal French for “open market”), which originated in medieval times, governing subsequent ownership of stolen goods. In general, the fact that one purchased stolen goods does not entitle them to the goods, but under “marché ouvert,” if said goods were openly sold in designated markets between sunrise and sunset, provenance could not be questioned and effective title of ownership was obtained.

Regarding real estate, Israeli law’s market regulation requires that the land in question is registered in the Land Registry (Tabo, or Tapo in Turkish); that the buyer paid compensation for the transaction and the transfer of the property was completed; it is assumed that those who have not completed their registration apparently still have not paid the entire consideration – and therefore the original owner will lose more if we leave the situation intact; in most cases, the full amount has already been paid and the waiting is only procedural; the buyer purchased the property in good faith without knowing that they belong to another person.
Torah Scrolls Stolen From Jaffa Synagogue Are Found in Hebron and Returned After Cooperation Between Israeli, Palestinian Police
Five Torah scrolls that were stolen from a synagogue in central Israel this week and taken to the West Bank have been found and returned, following a cooperative effort of Israeli and Palestinian law-enforcement authorities.

The holy texts — taken from the Beit David synagogue in Jaffa early Thursday morning — were tracked down in Hebron and handed over to Israeli officials on Sunday “thanks to coordination between the Hebron District Coordination Liaison, Israel’s Police and the PA Police,” the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) tweeted.

The Israel Police said the successful outcome was a result of its “positive relationship” with its Palestinian Authority counterpart force, which helps it deal with crimes carried out in Israel that originated in the West Bank, including cases of murder, drug offenses and property theft.
2 years on, Palestinian arrested for stabbing Israeli
Israeli forces last week arrested a Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a stabbing attack in which an Israeli man was injured two years ago, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

On November 6, 2015, the 29-year-old Israeli was stabbed outside a grocery store in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial park in the West Bank, and his attacker fled the scene.

The victim, Shmuel Raisman, was stabbed in the back and taken to the hospital in serious condition, medics said at the time.

Raisman, who lives in the nearby Tel Zion settlement, said he scared off his attacker with a bottle of pepper spray.

According to the Shin Bet, the terrorist — identified as Bara’a Issa — turned himself in to Palestinian Authority security services shortly after the attack and was in their custody until his arrest last week.

Though he was detained by PA forces for some two years, Issa never stood trial for the stabbing, the Shin Bet said.
PreOccupiedTerritory: I Don’t Actually Maintain My Own Naughty/Nice List – The Mossad Does By Santa Claus (satire)
Just before I get absorbed in the busiest part of our annual operation, I think it important to clear up a common misconception: the categorization of people into worthy or unworthy of receiving their desired gifts for Christmas occurs not at my headquarters, but has for decades been outsourced to Israeli intelligence.

That has not always been the case. For a time we had the KGB and Stasi covering various aspects of the surveillance, but when the Communist regimes of Europe collapsed in the late eighties and early nineties, those organizations had their hands full with more pressing matters. We held a quick round of proposal solicitations, and the Mossad submitted the most attractive package.

So far we’ve seen nothing but excellence in their work. Even when they clearly faced competing considerations, we never felt we were getting short shrift. Engineering 9/11 had to have taken years of preparation, but even an operation of that size and intensity never compromised the level of service they provided to us. On that point, by the way, while the NSA boasts a much more robust budget and arsenal of equipment, they didn’t see 9/11 coming. Oops. It was a little embarrassing when we pointed that out at their sales presentation. This decision was a no-brainer.

Some difficulties do come up on occasion. Every now and then we differ on the definition of “naughty,” for example: we tend to emphasize interpersonal conduct and let ideology slide, whereas they place greater emphasis on expressions of harmful political attitudes. We always resolve such disputes without rancor, because I know what those bastards are capable of doing to me if I get on their naughty list. Most of the times I have been able to sway them involve copious evidence that the offending person is more idiotic than malicious. That would be most of them, come to think of it.
EXCLUSIVE - Islamic Jihad Official: We Will Respond to Israel’s Detonation of Terror Tunnel
The Islamic Jihad organization and its so-called military wing, the Al Quds Brigades, have the right to respond to the detonation of a tunnel on the Israel-Gaza border that reportedly killed 12 of the terrorist organization’s jihadists along with several Hamas members, Ahmad al-Mudallal, a member of Islamic Jihad, told Breitbart Jerusalem.

“Israel’s threats won’t stop us from responding to the crime of the occupation army,” al-Mudallal said.

Palestinian terrorist groups largely consider the entire State of Israel to be “occupied” territory. Islamic Jihad, backed by Iran, is committed to Israel’s destruction.

The Israeli army detonated a terror tunnel that Israel says was dug by both Islamic Jihad and Hamas under the Gaza border with Israel. The IDF has since raised its readiness in fear of retaliation from Islamic Jihad.

Israel deployed an Iron Dome anti-missile battery to cover central Israel while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian organizations not to test Israel and that Israel’s response to any Palestinian attempt to take revenge for the tunnel detonation would be severe.
Filmed crossing into Israel with sick kid, mother says all Syrians want to come
In unprecedented footage, the IDF allowed an Israeli TV crew to film it opening the border gates to Syria, and allowing in a group of mothers and their children, who were then transported to an Israeli hospital for medical treatment.

The footage, broadcast on Sunday night by Hadashot News (formerly Channel 2), also included interviews with several of the Syrian mothers, who expressed profound appreciation to Israel for the medical assistance.

Israel, which also maintains a field hospital on the border and has sent humanitarian aid to Syria, has treated 3,000 Syrians since it began offering medical assistance in the course of the civil war across the border, of whom almost 1,000 were children with chronic conditions. “The rationale” behind the outreach “is clear,” the report noted: “A humanitarian imperative alongside a security need. Someone whose family or friend is given medical treatment in Israel will presumably change his attitude to the enemy.”

“It has become unremarkable” for Syrian civilians to come to Israel for treatment,” one mother told the TV interviewer. “Everyone wants to come here. Adults too; not just the children.”

None of the faces of the Syrians were shown in the report, since the mothers and children will return to Syria when doing so is medically possible, and could face deadly repercussions if their treatment in Israel were to become known.




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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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