Wednesday, November 22, 2017

From Ian:

Girl injured in 2011 Jerusalem bombing dies of her wounds
A woman who was wounded as a girl in a March 2011 bombing in Jerusalem succumbed to her wounds Wednesday, after more than six years in a coma.

Hodaya Asulin had been heading home to the Mevo Horon settlement when a bomb hidden in a backpack exploded at a bus stop outside the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

The blast killed British national Mary Jean Gardner and injured dozens of passersby.

In November 2013, a military court in the West Bank sentenced Palestinian Hussein Ali Qawasmeh to life in prison for orchestrating the terror bombing.


Asulin, who was 14 at the time of the attack, had been unconscious for the six and a half years since, receiving round-the-clock care from family, friends and volunteers.

She succumbed to her wounds early in the morning at the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem

“Her fight for her life inspired people to do so much good over these past six and a half years. It’s impossible to describe,” her uncle Rafi Asulin told The Times of Israel.
NY Post Editorial: John Kerry’s Mideast idiocy
Recordings have just surfaced of a speech the then-secretary of state gave in Dubai last December — where he explained that the failure to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is . . . Israel’s fault.

“The Palestinians have done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence,” he said — ignoring that fact that the Palestinian Authority rewards terrorists (“martyrs”) and their survivors with cash stipends and has its schools teach Jew-hatred.

And Hamas, which rules Gaza and is now once again partnering with the PA’s Fatah leadership, doesn’t even pretend to believe in nonviolence: It’s dedicated to Israel’s destruction and to atrocities against Jews.

Kerry also complained that “the majority of the Cabinet currently in the Israeli government has publicly declared they are not ever for a Palestinian state.” Actually, most simply won’t support one as long as Palestinians refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist.

The secretary even managed to ignore his own experience: Kerry spent months wringing concessions out of Israel for a possible peace deal — only to have PA chief Mahmoud Abbas reject the draft out of hand, and refuse further negotiations.

Sadly, President Barack Obama fully shared Kerry’s “up is down” denial of reality. No wonder their leadership left the world in such a mess.

PMW: Proud Palestinian parents of "Martyrs": "The blood... made gardens bloom"
A private university in Ramallah held a memorial for five student terrorists who died as "Martyrs." At the event, a mother of one of the terrorists spoke on behalf of the families and stated:

"The blood of the Martyrs has watered the ground and made gardens bloom"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 20, 2017]

The official PA daily further reported that she "expressed pride at being the mother of a Martyr who did not hesitate to sacrifice his blood and soul for his homeland and people."

Likewise a father of one of the terrorists "emphasized that the blood of the Martyrs is a beacon that lights the path to liberation and freedom."

Coordinator of the Fatah Shabiba Student Movement at Modern University College Hussein Ajouli "repeated the commitment and loyalty to... the blood of our people's Martyrs, among them the Martyrs of Modern University College who have ascended [to Heaven] in defense of the honor and for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, and Palestine." Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen was also present at the event.

Among the five terrorists, one attempted to ram his car into Israeli soldiers, another stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier, and a third attempted to stab an Israeli soldier. The fourth was injured during a confrontation with Israeli security forces and later died of his wounds, while the fifth died of a fatal disease after being released from an Israeli prison.



Israel thwarts attempt to smuggle tons of explosive material into Gaza
An attempt to smuggle tons of explosive material into the Gaza Strip has been thwarted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense's Crossing Authority, it was announced on Wednesday.

The attempt was foiled thanks to a new, advanced chemistry laboratory that was set up in recent weeks at Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza.

The new laboratory is a joint project of the Ministry of Defense's Crossing Authority, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police.

Advanced technology permits experts to precisely identify gases, liquids, powders, metals and other substances before they enter the Gaza Strip. The primary focus is to prevent substances which could benefit terror groups in the enclave.

During the laboratory's initial trial period, a truck transporting motor oil raised the suspicions of the border crossing's security inspectors.

Chemical testing subsequently revealed that the supposed vehicle oil was actually a dangerous substance, destined to assist the production of large quantities of explosive material by terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Only an Outsider Sees the Obvious
Since Trump has taken office, the administration has been busily restoring sanctions on the Iranian regime that were relieved as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the Iran nuclear deal. President Trump’s decision to punt the Iran deal back to Congress is likely to preserve the deal while avoiding responsibility for that outcome. Yet his administration’s outward determination to abrogate the agreement has allowed it the freedom to call balls and strikes when it comes to the Islamic Republic, even if that angers America’s “partners” in Tehran.

Take, for example, the U.S. Treasury Department’s most recent sanctions on Iran. On Monday, Treasury singled out a network of Iranians believed to be responsible for counterfeiting hundreds of millions in Yemeni bank notes for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force. The scheme allegedly circumvented European sanctions and allowed the IRGC to support what Secretary Steven Mnuchin called “destabilizing activities” in Europe and the Gulf States. Trump declared the IRGC a terrorist network last month, providing the Treasury with all the authority it needed to take action against this plot.

This is not the first time Iran has been implicated in currency counterfeiting. In 2010, U.S. military officials seized at least $4.3 million in counterfeit American dollars in Iraq. Some of it, officials said, was crude and easily detected while many of these $100 notes were printed on special presses using sophisticated ink and paper—a revelation that indicated some level of complicity by or cooperation with the Iranian government or its regional proxies. The sudden influx of false notes was believed to be part of a campaign by Iran to influence forthcoming elections in Iraq, which was apparently successful. Within days of those elections, three of the country’s four major political alliances sent delegations to Iran for political guidance. The head of Iraq’s secular, anti-Iranian bloc noted at the time that America’s silence was deafening. Now, with a new round of Iraqi elections scheduled to take place next year and amid increasing sectarian divisions and Iranian interference, the United States is abandoning its self-defeating neutrality. Try as we might, the U.S. cannot pretend it has no stake in Iraq’s political evolution.

Donald Trump’s flatterers like to reinforce this administration’s image as a group of outsiders “draining the swamp” of its corrupt professional class. That’s a self-serving narrative that confounds the diplomatic class and has led to a confused foreign policy. At the same time, though, declaring North Korea and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps supporters of terrorism is a decision that seems obvious only to those who are not steeped in granular diplomatic contrivances. In May, I noted that no American governmental institution would benefit more from an outsider-led shakeup than the diplomatic corps. The Trump administration’s actions over the last 48 hours show how true that was.
Mueller probing Kushner’s 2016 attempts to block UNSC settlement resolution
Special counsel for the United States Department of Justice Robert Mueller is investigating an attempt by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to block the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlement activity, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The probe is part of a larger investigation by Mueller into Kushner and his conversations with foreign leaders, including Israelis, during the two month transition period between the November election and the time that Trump took office.

Under the Obama Administration the US abstained and was the only one of the 14 countries on the UNSC not to approve the measure in December 2016.

But the decision not to use its veto power to block the move, something it did in 2011, was widely seen as a form of tacit approval by the Obama Administration.

The Trump team’s opposition was well known at the time. Trump, then president-elect, issued a number of tweets on the matter.
Lawmakers to Trump: Stop Stalling on Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
A group of leading House lawmakers have petitioned President Donald Trump to immediately move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem ahead of a deadline that could see the White House delaying the move for at least another six months, according to a letter sent to the president and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security, spearheaded the letter, which urges Trump to finally make good on a heavily scrutinized campaign promise to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Jewish state's capital city.

While Trump has promised to move the embassy—which Congress legally mandated in 1995—as one of his first moves in office, the White House sent shockwaves through the pro-Israel community earlier this year when it renewed a longstanding waiver that ignores the congressional mandate and requires the embassy to remain located in Tel Aviv.

Every president since the law was initiated has signed the waiver, claiming that moving the embassy would interfere with U.S. diplomatic efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Many observers in Congress and elsewhere thought Trump would finally break that cycle.

Since deciding to renew the waiver preventing the embassy's move, DeSantis and other lawmakers have been pressuring the administration publicly and privately to make good on its promise.
Egyptian envoy: Peace with Israel only ‘partial’ without Palestinian state
The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt remains incomplete as long as a Palestinian state has not been created, Cairo’s ambassador to Israel said Wednesday, urging Jerusalem to restate its commitment to a two-state solution and accept the terms of the Arab Peace Initiative.

At an event at the President’s Residence marking the 40th anniversary of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s groundbreaking speech to the Knesset, Hazem Khairat also urged Israel to support the reconciliation deal between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and the terrorist group Hamas.

“In the absence to a just solution to the Palestinian problem, never will there be a durable and just peace,” Khairat said, paraphrasing Sadat’s November 20, 1977, speech. “We cannot attempt to achieve partial peace and export the whole problem to future generations.”

In his address to the Knesset, which paved the way for the signing of an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty months later, Sadat had said that even if Israel achieved peace with all Arab states, “in the absence of a just solution to the Palestinian problem, never will there be that durable and just peace upon which the entire world insists today.”
How the ICC going after US for war crimes impacts Israel
From the Israeli perspective, there is both some bad news and some good news with regards to the legal bombshell that the International Criminal Court prosecutor dropped on the US on Monday.

The ICC prosecutor filed a formal submission to move the US’s conduct in the Afghanistan War and its interrogation of its prisoners to a full criminal war crimes investigation.

In short, the bad news for Israel is four-fold. The ICC crossed the Rubicon in daring: 1) to go after a democracy, the US, which said it had investigated itself, 2) to go after the world’s superpower despite the diplomatic consequences, 3) to go after “war crimes” beyond the traditional paradigm of prosecuting genocide, namely the US’s “torture” interrogations, which many thought the ICC would stay away from, and 4) to go after top US defense and intelligence officials and not just the rank and file.

Until now, Israel’s main hopeful defenses to keep the ICC out of its affairs have been: 1) that it is a democracy which said it had investigated itself, 2) that the ICC would be afraid to endure diplomatic sanctions from the US and other Israeli allies, 3) that it would shy away from going after non-traditional “war crimes” beyond genocide, such as the settlement enterprise or Israeli interrogations of Palestinians, and 4) it would be deterred from going after senior Israeli officials.

But if the ICC dared to go after the US despite all four of these issues, what will stop it from going after little Israel next? If it went after the Americans for torture (and after Malians for destruction of cultural heritage sites as war crimes), why won’t it go after Israel for settlements and interrogations – even if these have never been prosecuted as war crimes before? The simple answer is that the ICC going after the US ensures that it is more likely than ever that it will also go after Israel at some point.

And yet there is also good news from the Israeli perspective.

The ICC is not going after the US for its targeting decisions which killed Afghan civilians. This is despite its conclusion that the US and allied forces have killed at least 1,600 civilians.
The Trump administration says it wants to shut down the PLO mission. Now what?
In 1987, Congress passed legislation that declared there would never be an office of the Palestine Liberation Organization on US soil. US President Ronald Reagan agreed and signed the law.

Seven years later the law was still on the books. But that year the PLO opened an office in Washington — with the blessing of Congress and US President Bill Clinton.

Since then, a PLO office has remained in the US capital, navigating a persistent anomaly: The 1987 law officially bans the existence of a PLO office, but it remains open as long as the Palestinians abide by certain conditions.

Now, however, the PLO may have violated some of those conditions — consequently, its DC office may close.

Late Friday, the Trump administration announced that the PLO cannot operate a Washington office because it tried to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

Confused? You’re not alone. Here’s an explanation of the law and what’s happening.

The law is clear, but Congress has been lenient.
Washington rebuffs Palestinians’ claim they’ve frozen communications
The Trump administration on Tuesday rebuffed the Palestinian Authority’s claim that it has frozen communications with the United States over Washington’s recent threat to shutter the Palestine Liberation Office’s DC office.

“In our view, communications are not frozen,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in a briefing Tuesday afternoon.

“Conversations will be taking place,” she went on. “We are in contact with Palestinian officials about the status of that PLO office in Washington, as well as having conversations with them about our larger efforts on the part of a lasting and comprehensive peace process.”

A spokesman for the PLO confirmed that it had received instructions from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans.”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP on Tuesday that “by closing the office they are freezing all meetings and we are making that official.”
Palestinians downplay directive to suspend ties with US
Abbas' spokesman, currently with the PA president in Madrid, clarified that the directive issued by Abbas was issued only to low-ranking staffers in the U.S.

"Relations with the U.S. and its leader are excellent," Nabil Abu Rudeineh said. "U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Bethlehem next month will go ahead as planned."

A State Department official said on Saturday that under U.S. law, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could not renew a certification for the PLO office to operate "given certain statements made by the Palestinian leaders about the International Criminal Court."

Under the law, the PLO, the main Palestinian umbrella political body, cannot operate a Washington office if it urges the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for alleged crimes against Palestinians.

In September at the United Nations, Abbas called on the ICC "to open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggression against our people."

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a press briefing that the matter was under discussion and that, as far as she knew, the office was up and running.
Abbas adviser to Jpost: Contacts with US consulate, visiting American officials are frozen
The Palestinians have frozen ties with the US Consulate in Jerusalem and with American officials visiting the West Bank in response to the State Department’s decision not to renew the certification of the PLO’s representative office in Washington, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday.

The PLO representative office is the unofficial Palestinian Embassy in the American capital. Without a certification, it could be shut down.

“Communications with the consulate in Jerusalem and meetings between American and Palestinian officials in Palestine are currently frozen because of the decision not to renew the PLO office in Washington’s certification,” Abbas’s diplomatic affairs adviser, Majdi al-Khalidi, told The Jerusalem Post. “This is temporary until they clarify to us if the office is closed or open. If they tell us the office is closed, we will continue to freeze our communications.”

According to Khalidi, if Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, or Jason Greenblatt, the administration’s main peace envoy, came to the West Bank, PA officials would not be able to meet with them.

Khalidi added that the PLO representative in Washington, Husam Zomlot, and top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were in contact with the Trump Administration.

“Saeb Erekat and Ambassador Zomlot are meeting with the higher authorities in Washington to seek clarifications about whether the office is going to be closed or not,” Khalidi said. “We are still waiting to know if they actually plan to close the office.”
Outrage over German Green Party partnership with Hamas event
The policy organization for the German Green Party - the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation - is co-sponsoring November conferences in Gaza and Beirut with top Hamas leaders.

The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the program listing the German tax-payer funded Böll-Foundation as one of the partner organizations for the late November conferences titled: "The 1987 Intifada, : History and Memory, Commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the first uprising against the Israeli occupation."

The conferences are slated to take place in Gaza (November 24-26) and Beirut (November 28-30) and will feature the Gaza-based Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad and the Hamas movement leader Hasan Yusuf as listed speakers on the program.

The US, the EU and Germany classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Olga Deutsch, director of the European desk of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told the Post on Tuesday: "The record reflects years of support and cooperation between the Heinrich Boll Stiftung in Ramallah and other groups including those allegedly linked to terror organizations. The Stiftung's involvement in an event which lends a platform to a Hamas leader is unprecedented in its severity."

She added, "This sort of activity is inconsistent with the body of the Stiftung's activities and its values. The management's silence, as well as the silence of the Israel branch, is difficult to understand."
Dutch parliament rejects motions on Jerusalem, Palestinian state
A draft motion urging the Dutch government to recognize immediately a Palestinian state and a second urging it to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital foundered in the country’s parliament.

The motion on Jerusalem, which was voted on Tuesday at the Tweede Kamer, the lower house, received the support of parties accounting for 30 lawmakers out of 150, the Center for Information and Documentation, or CIDI, reported. The motion on recognizing a Palestinian state received the support of parties with a total of 64 seats.

The Jerusalem motion was submitted by the anti-Islam Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, who coauthored the draft motion with Raymond de Roon.

Denk, a radical pro-Muslim party, submitted a counter draft motion on recognition of a Palestinian state.

Both motions were submitted in connection with annual negotiations over the foreign ministry’s budget, which in the Netherlands also features scrutiny of the kingdom’s foreign relations.

“The results reflect the position of the Dutch government which has not changed for many years,” CIDI wrote on its website.
Pakistani Court Frees Alleged Mastermind of Deadly 2008 Mumbai Attacks — Which Included Assault on Jewish Center — From House Arrest
The alleged mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai — in which the Indian city’s Chabad center was one of the targets — was ordered released from house arrest by a Pakistani court on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Hafiz Saeed — the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity said by the US to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group — has been under house arrest since January.

Prosecutor Sattar Sahil told Reuters on Wednesday that a request by the government of Pakistan’s Punjab province for a 60-day extension of Saeed’s detention had been rejected by the Lahore High Court.

“His previous detention for 30 days is over, which means he would be released tomorrow,” Sahil was quoted as saying.

On November 26, 2008, ten LeT operatives entered Mumbai by sea and launched a coordinated gun-and-bomb assault on multiple sites in India’s most populous metropolis, killing 166 people — including six Jews at the Nariman House.
Belgium Says Construction of Palestinian Schools Still Suspended After Official Spotted at Inauguration of New West Bank Institution
Belgium is upholding its commitment to suspend construction projects with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, a spokesperson for Brussels told The Algemeiner after a Belgian official was spotted at the inauguration of a new Palestinian school.

Last month, the monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) revealed that a Palestinian school built with Belgian aid in the town of Beit Awwa was renamed in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, who in 1978 helped massacre 38 people — including 13 children — near Tel Aviv. The school’s logo also includes a map erasing Israel, while its Facebook page has posted pictures glorifying Palestinian attackers.

Didier Vanderhasselt — a spokesperson for the Belgian Foreign Ministry — told The Algemeiner at the time that Belgium was initially unaware of the name change, and has decided to “put on hold any projects related to the construction or equipment of Palestinian schools” while it resolved the matter with the Palestinian Authority.

However, PMW reported last week that a Belgian official — Eric De Muynck, representative of the Belgian Development Cooperation Institution — participated in the inauguration of a new Palestinian Authority school in the West Bank on October 18th, about two weeks after the announced suspension.
PM, Russian president discuss border security in postwar Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone on Tuesday and reiterated Israel's concerns about border security in postwar Syria, given Iran's military entrenchment not far from the Syria-Israel border.

The Kremlin said the call took place at Netanyahu's request.

Putin met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Russia on Tuesday. The two reportedly discussed potential peace initiatives for Syria ahead of a summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran and a new round of Syria peace talks in Geneva later this month.

Putin briefed Netanyahu, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Saudi King Salman on his meeting with Assad, the Kremlin said.

The Prime Minister's Office said Netanyahu and Putin spoke for about 30 minutes and that the prime minister "stressed to the Russian president Israel's security needs and its opposition to any Iranian presence in Syria."

Israel is particularly concerned that the American-Russian deal outlining the situation in postwar Syria, which intends to keep rival factions inside Syria away from each other, would effectively keep Iranian-linked forces only 5 to 30 kilometers (3 to 19 miles) from the Syria-Israel border, depending on current rebel positions on the Syrian Golan Heights
Saudi former minister, speaking to Israeli newspaper, denounces violence against Israel as 'un-Islamic'
A former Saudi minister said on Tuesday that there can be no justification for any violence, even in Israel.

Muhammad Bin abdel-Kareem Aleissa, the former Saudi justice minister, was reported by Israeli newspaper Maariv to have said, "any act of violence or terrorism that tries to hide behind religion has no justification whatsoever, not even in Israel."

Aleissa was appointed last year as the secretary-general to the Muslim World League, and is reportedly close to the Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman.

The Muslim World League is an international organisation, that while is based in Mecca, is not formally affiliated with Saudi Arabia.

Since his appointment, Aleissa has been vocally supportive of the reforms pushed by Bin Salman in his move to "fight extremist Islam". In a talk given before the Diplomatic Academy, he reiterated his country’s commitment to fighting terrorism and those that use religion to serve their own agenda.

When asked by the Maariv correspondent about acts in Israel or Jewish communities around the world that are framed as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Aleissa replied, "any act of violence or terrorism that tries to hide behind religion is unacceptable. Islam cannot be tied to politics, it is a religion of love, tolerance and respecting the other".

Aleissa added that conferences are being organised in the United States with various Jewish communities, and Saudi Arabia is keen on establishing friendly relationships.
Turkish Media Says Ankara Could Disable U.S. Radar Station that Would Warn Israel of Iranian Missile Attack
An editorial in a Turkish conservative pro-government newspaper said Ankara could leave Israel exposed to an Iranian missile attack by disabling a US radar station, in retaliation for a possible Washington ban on the purchase of F-35 fighter jets.

The editorial was published on Sunday by the Yeni Safak newspaper in apparent response to concerns voiced by a US Air Force official. Heidi Grant, the deputy undersecretary of the USAF for international affairs, had earlier said that Turkey’s deployment of the Russian-made S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missile system may expose vulnerabilities of the US-made F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. Turkey plans to purchase over 100 of the advanced warplanes from Lockheed Martin.

The newspaper called the implication that the planned deal may be frozen “blackmail” by Washington, and suggested that in retaliation Ankara could dismantle the Kurecik radar station. The powerful AN/TPY-2 X-band early-warning radar, which was set up by the US in the eastern province of Malatya in 2012, is part of NATO’s system of airspace surveillance in the region.

The newspaper says that unlike similar surveillance sites in Israel, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE, the Kurecik radar station can detect missile launches from the entire western part of Iran. With the site disabled, that airspace would no longer be properly monitored by NATO, the editorial said.

“In case Turkey decides to dismantle the Kurecik radar in response to the ongoing attempts by the US to use the F-35 jets to blackmail Turkey, Israel will lose its ‘early warning system’ in case of a missile launch from eastern or northern Iran,” the newspaper said.

Turkey’s hosting of NATO radar facilities is a matter of controversy in the country. In 2014, the ruling AKP party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minister, had to defend itself from opposition accusations which said the site only benefits Israeli security and fails to make Turkey safer. The accusations were part of a heated presidential race laden with anti-Israeli sentiment.
Parole Board Rejects Hamas Prison Release Request, Citing Hamas Refusal to Release Remains of IDF Soldiers
A parole board recently refused to grant early release from prison to a Palestinian from Gaza who was sentenced for a number of security-related crimes, citing the fact that Hamas is still holding onto the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

A gag order was placed on the prisoner’s identity, but he is said to be serving a three-year sentence for a list of offences, including establishing contact with foreign agents, training in an outlawed militia, weapons offences and affiliation with illegal groups—namely Hamas.

Among the reasons for the rejection, the parole board insisted that weight had to be given to the fact that the prisoner in question belongs to Hamas’s military wing, which has been holding onto Goldin and Shaul’s bodies since they fell in battle, and refuses to hand them back to Israel.

He joined the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and agreed with his brother to participate in riots. To that end, he crossed the border into Israel where he was arrested.

The parole board said that its decision was not guided by a desire to exert pressure on Hamas, but rather to maintain faith in the legal system.

“It is not the job of the parole board to produce levers to pressure Hamas for their (Shaul and Goldin’s) return, but the board believes that the early release of the prisoner who is affiliated with the Hamas terror organization could and would be harmful to the public’s confidence in the judicial system.”

Furthermore, the board went on to say that the onus rested on the prisoner to prove that he had repudiated the beliefs that resulted in his incarceration.

“The burden of proof is on the prisoner to show that he deserves to be released and that the release will not endanger public safety,” it was written in the board’s summary.
60% of Israeli Arabs say they are 'proud' to be Israeli, poll shows
Some 73% of Israeli Arabs feel a sense of belonging and 60% are proud to be Israelis, according to a new poll commissioned by Israel Hayom and conducted by the New Wave Research Institute that was released Tuesday. The poll questioned 426 Arab Israelis aged 18 and up, and did not include the Druze community.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (65%) defined themselves as not religious, while 35% said they were religious. Some 46% identified as Israeli Arabs and 42% identified as Palestinian Arabs, while only 3% identified as Israelis.

Almost three-quarters of the respondents (73%) believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about land, while 19% believe it is about religion. The remaining respondents either did not know or declined to answer.

A total of 60% said they were "very proud" or "fairly proud" to be Israeli, while 37% said they were "not proud" to be Israeli.

Most Israeli Arabs also said they believed that Jews have historic and religious ties to Israel. Some 82% said they had no desire to live under Palestinian rule, while only 14% said they did. Some 4% said they did not know or refused to answer.

The poll also showed sweeping support for a right of return for Palestinian refugees, and slightly less than half of respondents said they supported Israel's right to exist. Slightly more than half said they opposed Israel's right to exist.
Study finds Jerusalem Jews, Arabs work together despite tensions
About half the employed Arab residents of east Jerusalem, some 35,000 people, work in the Jewish sector, a new study has found. The study, by researchers Marik Shtern and Ahmed Asmar, is due to be published by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research.

Through a series of interviews, questionnaires and focus groups, Shtern and Asmar draw a complex picture of formal and informal ties between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem workplaces, both in periods of quiet and during waves of terrorist attacks. Often, the picture contains contradictions. For example, the study found that Jews are comfortable interacting with Arab employees, whereas the Arab employees often feel exploited.

The figures show that Arabs comprise 71% of workers in the construction sector and 57% of workers in public transportation. Arabs also make up 40% of workers in the hotel and restaurant industries, 20% of workers in municipal health care and welfare, and 46% of workers in water, sewer, and cleaning services.

Most Arab employees in Jerusalem come from a society in which 82% of families live below the poverty line and which features one of the highest school drop-out rates in the country (36%). City infrastructure in Arab neighborhoods – sewage, water, roads – is also for the most part substandard.
In surprise reversal, Lebanon's Hariri suspends resignation as PM
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Wednesday he would hold off from presenting his resignation in response to a request from Lebanese President Michel Aoun to allow more dialogue.

"I presented today my resignation to President Aoun and he urged me to wait before offering it and to hold onto it for more dialogue about its reasons and political background, and I showed responsiveness," Hariri said in a televised statement.

He said all Lebanese parties must commit to keeping Lebanon out of regional conflicts, a reference to the powerful, Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, whose regional role is a source of deep concern in Saudi Arabia. He said hoped his decision would open "a new gateway for a responsible dialogue."

Earlier Wednesday, Hariri participated in Independence Day celebrations, his first official appearance since he suddenly announced his resignation from Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4, stunning the country.

Hariri, who returned to Lebanon on Tuesday after his puzzling three-week absence, appeared on the parade's grandstand with Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
Beirut Jews live in hiding despite new synagogue
In 1848, some Jewish families came to Mount Chouf seeking sanctuary from growing anti-Semitic violence in Damascus. During this period, the Lebanese-Jewish community settled in Sidon, Hasbaya, and Beirut. Also, Jews immigrated to Beirut from different parts of the world, where the city’s Jewish quarter was home to Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews, Arabic and Berber speaking Jews from Morocco, and French-speaking Ashkenazi Jews.

Their presence ultimately proved to be pivotal to the economic growth of Lebanon’s most important city. Beirut’s Jewish quarter, Wadi Abu Jamil, became the center of Jewish worship in the city when the Magen Abraham Synagogue was constructed. Even after the neighborhood was deserted at the start of the civil war, it remained known as the Valley of the Jews.

Currently, Wadi Abu Jamil has virtually become Beirut’s safest neighborhood because of its proximity to the Grand Serail, the seat of Lebanon’s Prime Minister, in addition to the offices of several Lebanese politicians.

It is specifically from there, in Wadi Abu Jamil, that the Jewish community is attempting to rebuild itself, and rise from the ashes in a neighborhood that was reduced to rubble during Lebanon’s destructive war. This attempt was put under the spotlight when finally, after a lot of political back and forth, the decision was made to renovate the synagogue.

The main issue was obtaining guarantees from Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most dominant political party and paramilitary organization, for the safety of the workers involved in renovating the structure and the community members it was going to serve. Hezbollah subsequently came out with a statement welcoming the idea behind the project, and declaring that it had no problem with Lebanese Jews as long as they rejected political Zionism and denounced Israel.
MEMRI: Iranian Officials To Europe: Hands Off Our Ballistic Missiles – They're Not Aimed At You, And Can Even Serve Your Security Needs
After comments by French President Emmanuel Macron, and apparently also by other European elements, about a need for a discussion with Tehran on the issue of Iran's ballistic missile development program, Iranian regime spokesmen reiterated Tehran's position of rejection of any and all foreign interference in this matter.

This absolute rejection was expressed in two ways. Officially, Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, threatened harm to French national interests if France continued to act in this direction.[1] At the same time, Iranian Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Hashmatollah Falahat-Pishe reassured the Europeans and offered an enticement. He reiterated earlier statements by the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Ali Jafari, who had said that Iran had restricted the range of its missiles so that they would not reach Europe, and that therefore Iran was not a threat to Europe (see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1357, IRGC Commander Jafari In Message Meant To Reassure Europe: Right Now, We Are Settling For Missiles With 2,000-Km Range – A Range That Covers U.S. Forces In The Region, November 13, 2017). Moreover, he said, Europe could benefit from the security offered by Iran's missiles, which "can constitute a barrier to threats entering Europe," but gave no details about what such threats might be or who would pose them.

Falahat-Pishe stressed that Iran had made a strategic decision in 2011 not to threaten enemies situated beyond the range of 2,000 km, because, he said, U.S. President George W. Bush had depicted Iran as a threat to Europe. For this reason, Iran announced a halt to the production of its Shihab 4 missile, which has a range of over 2,000 km. It should be noted that according to a statement by then-Iranian chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi Iran had, in nuclear negotiations in 2013-2015, agreed to restrict the range of its missiles to only 2,000 km, covering Israel – which he said is a red line for the Iranian regime – and the Obama administration agreed to this.[2]

It should be noted that although Falahat-Pishe called the 2,000-km range strictly defensive, this range is accepted in the professional community as clearly offensive.
ISIS Calls For The Assassination Of Barron Trump
After calling for the assassination of Pope Francis, ISIS has called for the assassination of Donald Trump's 11-year-old son, Barron.

According to The Washington Free Beacon, "pro-ISIS internet channels are calling for the assassination of President Donald Trump's son, Barron, and have shared personal details of the child's life on its social media networks, including the address of his school."

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated a mass call for terrorists to assassinate Barron Trump that was disseminated on the widely-used Telegram app. The message not only shared the name of Barron's school, but also a Google map image pinpointing its location.

"Using the hashtag ‘handle the son of the mule of America,' the supporter, who uses the name "Dak Al-Munafiqeen,' Arabic for ‘striking the hypocrites,' wrote: ‘Barron Trump goes to this school in Washington,'" according to MEMRI. "The post was followed by a photo of Barron Trump. To widely disseminate the call for assassination, several pro-ISIS Telegram channels have shared and forwarded the post."

Thankfully for both President Trump and 11-year-old Barron, America's First Family is well protected by the Secret Service, though technology in coming years could make protecting the First Family outside the White House a difficult task.
'Post' uncovers Israeli medical treatment of Syrian gas attack victims
Three Syrian rebels wounded last week in an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad were sent for treatment in Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

If Syrians hurt in the attack entered Israel for treatment, it would be the first confirmed case.

“The [Syrian regime] forces shelled a strategic site controlled by the rebels named ‘Bardaya Hill,’ and three of the rebels who suffered suffocation as a result of the gases were sent to Israel for treatment,” Abo Omar al Golany, spokesman for the Revolutionary Command Council in Quneitra and the Golan, told The Jerusalem Post. “Helicopters belonging to the Assad regime threw explosive drums containing toxic gases on the hill.”

Al Golany said the chemicals were believed to be chlorine, which has been used by the regime in the past.

According to a separate source in Israel, Syrian casualties injured in a chemical attack were transferred to Ziv Medical Center in Safed. The hospital did not respond to the Post’s inquiry by press time.

The attack was part of an ongoing offensive by the Syrian government and its Hezbollah allies to retake an area around Mazra’at Beit Jinn near the Hermon. The offensive has attempted to pressure the rebels in a small finger of territory they control near the Golan and Majdal Shams extending 15 kilometers toward Damascus along the foot of Mount Hermon.

“In recent weeks, Assad was trying to push an offensive and there was difficult fighting on the night of the 15th-16th,” the source said. “They hit [the rebels] from helicopters and used gas in at least three places. The same day, the wounded came to Israel.”




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