Sunday, December 03, 2017

From Ian:

PM likens Iran to Nazi Germany in its ‘commitment to murder Jews’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday compared Iran to Nazi Germany, pointing to Iran’s “commitment to murder Jews.” At the same time, Netanyahu said Israel would be the first country to re-establish ties with Iran once the regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei falls.

In a video broadcast to the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum in Washington, Netanyahu referred to Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman calling Iran’s supreme leader the “new Hitler of the Middle East” who must be stopped.

“Obviously, there are some important differences between Nazi Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Netanyahu said. “But both regimes do have two important things in common. One, a ruthless commitment to impose tyranny and terror. And second, a ruthless commitment to murder Jews.”

There are some 20,000 Jews currently living in Iran.

Netanyahu went on to talk about a new book on World War II he is currently reading, which condemns the so-called appeasement policies of British politicians who believed Hitler was not the threat others made him out to be.

“Deception,” Netanyahu quoted the book’s author, Victor Davis Hanson, “is the mother’s milk of tyrannies.”

“I am sure many of you heard Iran’s silver-tongued foreign minister charmingly explain that Iran is a modern power. It harbors no hatred towards anyone. Right,” Netanyahu said sarcastically.

Soldier stabbed to death at Arad bus station laid to rest
Hundreds of people came to the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv to pay their respects as Sergeant Ron Yitzhak Kokia, an IDF soldier stabbed to death at a bus station in the southern city of Arad, was laid to rest Sunday.

The infantryman was killed Thursday night in an apparent nationalistic attack while waiting for a bus near a shopping mall.

“Go on your way, my son.” Kokia’s mother, Levana, said in front of some 500 friends and family. “Angels will welcome you, and floral tapestries will be laid before you. Go on your way into the arms of God.”

“We have no words to describe how to continue living with the thought that you are not with us,” Kokia’s sister Shani said between sobs. “How were you there [in the bus station] all by yourself without us around to protect you? We so badly want to have been there during your last moments to hug you and not let go.”
Hundreds attend the funeral of 19-year old Israeli soldier Ron Kokia in the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on December 3, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Large numbers of security forces carried out searches overnight and into Friday morning in the Arad area to locate the attackers, publishing pictures of searches in agricultural fields and animal sheds.

Police said Friday that officers were searching the area for two assailants who fled the scene and had set up roadblocks and “heightened security measures.” Helicopters also took part in the search.
VP Mike Pence’s Amazing Speech Destroyed Palestinian Claims
The media, of course, missed it completely but Mike Pence’s speech the other night was pretty amazing. On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the UN General Assembly vote to offer the Arabs a large chunk of Israel they didn’t deserve, Pence drove a horse and carriage through Palestinian Arab claims to the land of Israel.

You can watch the whole speech above, but here are the most important passages:
We gather today on the eve of a historic anniversary to celebrate what happened here, in this very hall, 70 years ago when the United Nations declared to the modern world an ancient truth, that the Jewish people have a natural, irrevocable right to an independent state in their ancestral and eternal homeland. (Applause.)

This is Zionism: “irrevocable right to an independent state in their ancestral and eternal homeland.” It would be nice if more Jews in America understood this properly let alone the (Christian) Vice President.

So in May 1947, less than two years after its inception, the United Nations formed the Special Commission on Palestine to propose paths forward for that region.

And on November 29, 1947 — 70 years ago tomorrow — the General Assembly gathered in this great hall and passed Resolution 181, calling for creation of the Jewish State of Israel. (Applause.)
Now to be clear: Israel needed no resolution to exist, for Israel’s right to exist is self-evident and timeless.

Israel pulls out of Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Germany
Israel has pulled out of a planned exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Frankfurt because the German government would not guarantee their return if claimed by Palestinians or Jordanians.

The Frankfurt Bible Museum announced that it has canceled the exhibit which was scheduled for a September 2019 opening. Its director, Jürgen Schefzyk, said he regretted the German government’s decision, adding that neither Holland nor Austria would have hesitated to issue general immunity guarantees.

According to German news reports, the government guarantee would have blocked Palestinian or Jordanian authorities from contesting the provenance of the scrolls, which are among the oldest known texts related to the Hebrew Bible.

“Because of the unwillingness of both ministries to give the necessary declaration, as Qumran lies in today’s West Bank, the Israel Antiques Authority is not letting the material out of the country and the Bible Museum had to cancel its plans,” Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor of Frankfurt, told The Jerusalem Post.

Becker expressed outrage at Germany’s foreign and culture ministers on Thursday, sending letters to Culture and Media Minister Monika Grütters and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel asking them to change their position to support the exhibition.
PA TV libels that Israel imposes “fictional Jewish character” on Jerusalem through “Judaization”
Caption: "The Judaization of Jerusalem" Official PA TV narrator: “The Judaization of Jerusalem – a concept meaning all of the Israeli occupation’s attempts whose goal is to erase the Arab Islamic identity and change the Arab and Islamic characteristics that represent the true cultural face of the occupied Arab city of Jerusalem, and to stamp it with a new fictional character that is called the Jewish character through the Israeli occupation. History does not recall that any city has been subjected to attempts to erase and change its characteristics, identity, and history through forgery, alteration, manipulation, and false claims in the way that the city of Jerusalem is subject to them." [Official PA TV, The TV Lexicon, March 23, 2017]

PMW: Fatah glorifies bomb makers and shooters Fatah posted images glorifying terrorists. (Dec. 3, 2017)
In keeping with the habit of Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement to praise and elevate terrorists to the status of role models, the movement posted a photo of bomb maker Shadia Abu Ghazaleh as a teenager on its Facebook page on the anniversary of her death, with the text:

"On this exact day in 1968, self-sacrificing fighter (Fida'iya) Shadia Abu Ghazaleh died as a Martyr (Shahid) in the explosion of a bomb, while preparing it for carrying out an operation (i.e., terror attack) against occupation targets."
[Official Fatah Facebook page,
Nov. 28, 2017]
Shadia Abu Ghazaleh was active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization and prepared bombs for many attacks against Israel. While she was preparing a bomb for an attack in Tel Aviv in 1968, it accidentally detonated and killed her.

That the Palestinian Authority wishes to promote Abu Ghazaleh as a role model for Palestinians is also evident from the fact that they have named a school after her. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, girls attending this school view the bomb maker as a hero:

"The school is named after her to commemorate her and memorialize her and encourage people to be like her."

"She was a model of the wonderful female Palestinian fighter. We follow her path in this school."

[Official PA TV, Dec. 5 and 9, 2013]
Recognition of Jerusalem to replace US Embassy move?
A US government official speaking to Arutz Sheva on Saturday night said that if US President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will be delayed considerably.

According to the source, "The President has been speaking for some time about officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, as a way of partially fulfilling his promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem."

"Trump's announcement would allow him to sign a waiver deferring the Embassy move, as previous presidents did, while allowing him to continue advancing talks between Israel and the Palestinians."

In recent days, there have been several reports claiming Trump will declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital next week. However, the White House has not officially confirmed these reports, and several of Trump's close advisers oppose the actions.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, official spokesman of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, on Saturday warned of repercussions should the US recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"Eastern Jerusalem will be the capital of a Palestinian state, and any change in the status quo or international recognition legitimizing the Israeli occupation will negate any possible just solution [to the Israeli-PA conflict]," he said.
State Dept. told to plan for potential protests after Jerusalem embassy announcement
The State Department's security arm has been told to plan for potentially violent protests at US embassies and consulates once the Trump administration announces it is moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
"We were told that this is definitely coming, and we need to be ready for it," one official said.

President Donald Trump could announce as early as Tuesday that the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, US officials with direct knowledge of the matter and foreign diplomats have told CNN. Upon making the decision public, Trump is expected to sign a waiver to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv for another six months, but say his administration will move the diplomatic mission to Jerusalem at some point — a goal long sought by Israel.

The Diplomatic Security Service, which is charged with protecting US posts and personnel overseas, was already bracing for possible protests after Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos on Wednesday. Officials feared a reprise of the violent protests at US embassies in the Middle East that erupted in September 2012 following the publication of an anti-Muslim video on the internet. Embassies in that region were already on high security alert.
Palestinians to Kushner: Peace process ends if Trump backs Israel on Jerusalem
A delegation from the Palestinian Authority met on Friday with presidential adviser Jared Kushner to warn the Trump Administration that if it announces the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or if President Donald Trump makes remarks acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, this would mark the end of the peace process, Israeli TV reports said.

As of Saturday night, Trump had not signed a waiver delaying the move of the embassy by another six months, and he has only until Monday to do so. A stream of media reports in recent days have indicated that the president intends to declare in a speech within days that he considers Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, and that he may say he is instructing his team to prepare to move the embassy.

The Israeli government has long sought for the US to relocate the embassy and for the international community to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Any such steps “will kill the negotiations,” the PA delegation — which included Majed Faraj and Saeb Erekat, senior officials close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas — told Kushner on Friday, Hadashot news reported on Saturday night.

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and/or announcing that the embassy will be moved would mark the end of the peace process, they reportedly said.

The warning was backed up by a letter from Erekat, reflecting Abbas’s anger at the anticipated US moves.
Abbas on diplomatic blitz to prevent US embassy move to Jerusalem
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called eight Arab and world leaders and urged them to prevent the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and a declaration by US President Donald Trump acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

As of Saturday night, Trump had not signed a waiver delaying the move of the embassy by another six months, and he has only until Monday to do so. A stream of media reports in recent days have indicated that the president intends to declare in a speech within days that he considers Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, and that he may say he is instructing his team to prepare to move the embassy.

Abbas, according to the official PA news Wafa, told the leaders in a series of phone calls Saturday of the dangers of such a move, and urged them to intervene with Trump.

Abbas called Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Tunisian President Béji Caid Sibsi, the emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Abbas “warned categorically that taking such a step would lead to the destruction of the peace process and would bring the region into an uncontrollable situation,” according to his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
Palestinian minister calls for emergency meeting of Arab League over Jerusalem
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Sunday asked the heads of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to host emergency meetings over US President Donald Trump possibly recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Over the weekend, a number of US media outlets reported that Trump is going to deliver a speech on Wednesday in which he will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Maliki called for holding meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the level of permanent representatives to discuss the imminent dangers facing Jerusalem and the holy sites,” the official PA news site Wafa reported.

Maliki made the appeal for the emergency meetings in phone calls on Sunday with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit and Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen, according to Wafa.
Senior Palestinian news editor: Jews control Washington
The editor-in-chief of a major Palestinian news agency on Saturday alleged that Jews control Washington and are pushing the United States to consider recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“The Jews rule in Washington and the Jews rule in Tel Aviv. What’s the difference?” said Ma’an News Agency editor-in-chief Nasser Laham on Saturday in a television interview on his agency’s own channel, recalling a classic anti-Semitic trope that Jews run the world behind the scenes.

Laham was responding to a question as to whether it was in Israel’s interest to sever the Palestinian-American relationship by pushing for Washington to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

The Palestinians have said that should the US recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which President Donald Trump is reportedly considering doing this week, it would mean the end of US-backed peace negotiations.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state, while Israel says the whole of the city is the Jewish state’s capital.
Messing Up History at the Daily Mail
It’s hard to decide whether the errors in a Daily Mail story are the result of sheer ignorance, poor copy editing or a mixture of both.

As the journalist behind the story isn’t responsible for the headline and sub-headers, we chalk up the first error to a simple typo as the 1967 Six-Day War is referenced as having taken place in… 1965!

A second error, however, displays a singular historical ignorance.

Of course, the eastern part of Jerusalem was under Jordanian control from 1948-67 and was not “annexed from Palestine” as the Daily Mail contends. There has never been a sovereign Palestinian state.

That a backgrounder section entitled “Why is Jerusalem Contested?” correctly states that Jordan took eastern parts of Jerusalem following the 1948 War of Independence demonstrates what a mess the editors have made of the overall story.

While the section does at least get that right, it still manages to butcher the 1947 UN Partition Plan:

In fact, the Partition Plan called for Jerusalem to be an internationalized city. One can only speculate how the researcher behind this section managed to create such confusion.
Is Trump eyeing a plan to expand a Palestinian state into Sinai?
US President Donald Trump could be eyeing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that would include transferring sections of the Sinai Desert from Egypt to a newly created Palestinian state, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Saturday.

The report comes one day before Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is expected to speak before the Saban Forum in Washington D.C. on US efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to the paper, Egypt would give up 720 kilometers in the area of Rafah and El Arish, where it links to the Gaza Strip along the Mediterranean Sea, thereby tripling the Gaza territory.

The Palestinians, in turn, would allow Israel to keep 12% of the West Bank in Area C. This would likely be the area within the boundaries of the security barrier, including blocs such as Ariel. Settlements outside the barrier, such as Ofra and Kiryat Arba also would remain in Israeli hands.

Israel, in turn, would give Egypt land in the Negev in the area of Nahal Paran.

Separately, Egypt would be allowed to dig a tunnel linking its territory to Jordan.
A new Trump deal: Allow Jonathan Pollard to immigrate to Israel
Amid mounting speculation about the possible consequences of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the move of a single American Jew from the US to Israel should arouse no controversy. Now would be an appropriate time for US President Donald Trump to allow Jonathan Pollard to immigrate to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked Trump just last month to release Pollard from the arbitrary and unduly harsh parole conditions that deny his religious freedom. He apparently made the request after agreeing in May to provide economic goodwill gestures to the Palestinian Authority.

The Prime Minister’s Office has told Channel 2 News that Netanyahu raises the topic of Pollard’s immigration to Israel in every meeting with US government officials as a purely humanitarian request.

Pollard’s parole terms were upheld on appeal after he served 30 years of a life sentence. They include a curfew that confines him to his Manhattan home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. preventing him from attending his synagogue and require him to submit any computer, including an employer’s, for inspection. He must also wear a GPS-monitoring device that forces him, as an observant Jew, to violate the Sabbath.

Pollard, 62, must also remain in the US for another five years, despite his having served a longer sentence for spying for an ally than anyone in US history and how inconceivable it is that he could still disclose obsolete secrets from more than 30 years ago.
NZ's backing of UN resolution condemning Israel's Palestine settlements 'embarrassing'
A United Nations resolution that lead to a diplomatic freeze between New Zealand and Israel is being called a "blemish" on our international reputation, after a report by international legal experts denounced the resolution.

The resolution condemned Israeli settlements in Palestine and was co-sponsored by New Zealand and three other countries at the UN last December. It lead to Israel withdrawing its ambassador to New Zealand and barring the New Zealand ambassador in Israel.

Diplomatic relations were restored in June after then-Prime Minister Bill English wrote to Israel expressing regret over the fallout from the resolution.

A report from 24 international law experts has now said the resolution "fell short of an open, balanced, and thorough consideration of all the relevant factual and legal issues [which] resulted in legal findings that did not adequately take into account the legal, historical, political and military complexities of these territories and peoples".

The experts met at a forum at The Peace Palace at The Hague in June this year at the invitation of The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (Thinc) and the International Conference for Truth, Justice, and Peace (ICTIP). Its report was released at the end of October.

Israel Institute of New Zealand director David Cumin said this morning the UN resolution was a "blemish" on New Zealand's reputation as an honest broker in international politics.

"This is an embarrassing look for us on the world stage."

He said the report by the legal experts "pulls no punches".

"The report makes clear that UNSC Resolution 2334 was a politicisation of United Nations processes to attack the Jewish State.
U.N. human rights director in NYC, Craig Mokhiber. U.N. Israel-bashing personified. 11/7/2017

CIA Director Pompeo: Saudis working with Israel to fight terror
Saudi Arabia is working directly with Israel and other Sunni Arab nations to fight terror, US CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Saturday.

“We’ve seen them work with the Israelis to push back against terrorism throughout the Middle East, to the extent we can continue to develop those relationships and work alongside them – the Gulf states and broader Middle East will likely be more secure,” said Pompeo at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California.

If that statement was not enough, former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta then called on the moderate Sunni Arab states to form a coalition with Israel, the US and Turkey and even to run a joint military operations center.

“It is incredibly important that in the Middle East, where we have failed states, where you have ISIS, where you have Iran, that we have got to develop a stronger coalition of countries that are willing to work together to confront these challenges,” he said.

He continued, “The US can’t do it on our own, obviously the Saudis can’t do it on their own, these other countries can’t do it on their own. But together in some kind of coalition of countries – of Arab countries working with the US, working with Israel, working with Turkey, to build a strong coalition that can operate – frankly I think with a joint military headquarters that can... target the terrorists in that region, that can basically work together to try to provide stability where is necessary in these countries,” he said.
After reported Israeli strike, PMO issues video of Netanyahu warning to Iran
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a video clip published Saturday night that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria — hours after Arab media reports said Israel carried out strikes on an Iranian military facility near Damascus.

The video was recorded Thursday, before the alleged strike, and is set to air in full on Sunday at the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum in Washington, DC. But the Prime Minister’s Office saw fit to put out the short clip relating to Iranian presence in Syria on Saturday evening.

“Let me reiterate Israel’s policy: We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express purpose of eradicating our state,” said Netanyahu.

Arab media reports widely quoted in Hebrew media said Israel fired missiles at a military base Iran has been building near the Syrian city of ​​al-Qiswa overnight, reportedly destroying an arms depot.
Syria accuses Israel of strike on army base near Damascus
The Israeli Air Force struck a military base near Damascus, Syrian state media reported Saturday. The site is believed to have been earmarked for use by Iranian forces in Syria and local militias loyal to them.

The report has not been corroborated by any Israeli source and an IDF official said the military does not comment on reports in Arab media.

The Syrian Arab News Agency said Syrian air defense had intercepted two of the Israeli missiles fired at a military base near the city of al-Kiswa, some 13 kilometers (8 miles) south of Damascus and 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Israeli-Syrian border.

"The Israeli enemy launched several missiles toward a military position. There were no material losses at the site," SANA said.

The agency quoted a Syrian military official as saying that Israel fired surface-to-surface missiles at the base from an IDF base in the Golan Heights.

Saudi Arabia's Al Arabiya network and Lebanese TV channel Al Mustaqbal both reported that more than 10 people were killed in the strike, including Iranian troops.

The Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen network reported that it was a Russian-supervised defense system that intercepted one of the Israeli missiles.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said missiles struck an arms depot shortly after midnight.
A line in the sand
This was a smart move in the short-term: Iran has never admitted it was building a base in Syria, and its maintenance of plausible deniability allows it to claim that the bombed site was a base used by the Syrian army's 90th Division, meaning this incident is between Syria and Israel and Iran has nothing to do with it.

But Iran will have to make some long-term decisions as well. One of them will be whether to rebuild the al-Kiswa base or choose a different location, perhaps somewhere in northern Syria, where Israel would find it harder to strike. In a broader context, Iran will have to decide how to promote its plans to build aerial and naval bases in Syria without risking their destruction, and how it can generate a balance of deterrence with Israel.

These dilemmas are not limited to Iran. Saturday's strike sent a clear message to everyone involved in the Russian-brokered cease-fire talks in Syria. Israel has demanded a 40-kilometer demilitarized buffer zone along the border as part of any deal, but the parties ended up agreeing to only a 5-kilometer (3-mile) buffer. Now Russia will have to decide whether Israel's actions along the border are or are not in line with Russian interests and, if not, how to respond.

The decisions Iran and Russia make will play a major role in how Israel shapes its strategy. If Iran insists on cementing its military presence in Syria, Israel will have to decide whether to insist on enforcing its declared red lines and how to do so.

Those familiar with intelligence work know that major challenges still lie ahead. Actions that, until now, could be taken relatively covertly under the cover of the Syrian civil war are far more complicated now that the war is winding down. This also appears to have whetted the appetites, and fueled the boldness, of the hostile forces operating from the north.
IDF declares area around Gaza a closed military zone
The army has declared the area surrounding the Gaza Strip a “closed military zone” in light of unspecified activities in the area, the military censor cleared for publication on Sunday.

The nature of the military activity in the area and the exact location of the closures were not allowed to be published.

The army said there were no new special instructions for Israeli residents of the Gaza border region, though existing orders keeping farmers away from certain areas along the border remain in place.

The closures come a little over a month after the military destroyed an attack tunnel belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, which entered Israeli territory from the Gaza city of Khan Younis.

On Thursday, the Islamic Jihad launched a dozen mortar shells at an army post northeast of the Strip, causing no injuries but did damage army equipment.

The military retaliated with six strikes on terrorist positions in Gaza, four of them belonging to the Islamic Jihad and two to Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave.
IDF says it didn't authorize hike that ended in death of Palestinian
The IDF said over the weekend it had not authorized a field trip in Samaria in which a Jewish hiker accompanying a group of children shot and killed a Palestinian who reportedly attacked them.

According to the IDF, the group of 20 children and two adult chaperones was hiking through the Palestinian village of Qusra, southeast of the city of Nablus, on Thursday when they were attacked by a large group of stone throwers.

One of the adult chaperones opened fire, hitting one of the Palestinian assailants. The group then fled to a nearby cave until security forces arrived and safely evacuated them. Medical teams rushed to the scene to try to save the Palestinian but to no avail, the IDF said.

The Palestinians, however, said that 47-year-old Mahmoud Odeh was shot while working on his land in the village.

Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Daghlas said settlers confronted Odeh and ordered him to move. When he refused, one of them shot him in the chest, Daghlas said.

"Conducting hikes in this area requires protection from security forces," said IDF Samaria Division Commander Col. Gilad Amit, who conducted an initial inquiry into the incident.

"The IDF has a mechanism in place for coordinating hikes and field trips that provide all hikers safety in areas that require [the deployment of] a security detail."
Tunisian Security Thwarted Terror Attack on Local Jews
Tunisia’s security services last week foiled an attack against the Jewish community in Tunis, Army Radio reported Sunday.

According to the report, Tunisian police arrested one of the terrorists who were planning to carry out an attack on the Great Synagogue in the capital.

And following his interrogation, another Tunisian citizen was arrested on suspicion of collaborating with the first suspect.

On Friday, after the initial arrest, the main street leading to the Great Synagogue was closed to traffic.

La Grande synagogue de Tunis was constructed between 1933-1938, served as the premier synagogue outside the old Jewish quarter, with accommodations for more than 400. Located in the new part of the city, along the Grand Avenue de Paris (now Avenue de la Liberté), it is one of 82 synagogues that once functioned in the Tunisian capital.
Hamas demands the PA government resign
Hamas on Saturday blasted the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) government and called on its leader, Rami Hamdallah, to resign if he does not change his current policy.

In a statement, Hamas claimed that the PA government had received the authority over Gaza but has nevertheless continued to take punitive measures against the residents of Gaza, failed to end the internal Palestinian division and refrained from implementing the agreements signed in Cairo.

Hamas also accused the PA government of failing to protect the Palestinian Arab residents of Judea and Samaria by failing to make appropriate decisions in order to deal with “the settlements”, failing to defend the resistance of the Palestinian people against the “extreme right wing” Israeli government and even acting against the “resistance”, and failing to protect Jerusalem against Israel’s “Judaization” efforts in the city.

“In light of this, we demand that the Hamadallah government fully fulfill its obligations and responsibilities, first and foremost to lift the unjust punishment against our people in Gaza or alternatively resign and form a national rescue government,” said the group.

Fatah was to have assumed control of Gaza under an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal signed between Hamas and Fatah last month. This week, however, the sides agreed to postpone the handover of Gaza.

Hamas has also repeatedly accused Fatah leader and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas of thwarting the reconciliation efforts.
Islamic Jihad: Arab League undermining 'resistance'
A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization on Saturday slammed the Arab League’s stance on “Palestine”, accusing the organization of seeking to undermine the anti-Israeli resistance front.

Speaking to the Iranian Tasnim news agency, the spokesman, Davoud Shihab, claimed that addressing the Palestinian issue is not on the agenda of the Arab League.

Instead, he added, leveling “heavy accusations” against the resistance front is high on the agenda of the Arab League.

The spokesman went on to say that in a recent meeting of the Arab League in Riyadh, no comments were made in condemnation of Israel.

However, he deplored, sanctions have been imposed on Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance due to their support for the Palestinian nation.

Last month, the Arab League met in Cairo and denounced the Lebanese Hezbollah organization as a "terrorist organization". The organization also announced its intention to turn to the UN Security Council to discuss Iran's intervention in the region.

The meeting of the Arab League was held at the request of Saudi Arabia, amid growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, its regional rival.
Iran: We have established 'resistance cells' across Middle East
Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, praised the role of the Basij [a volunteer militia operating under the Revolutionary Guard] as a model that could help other entities in the Middle East.

"The Basij is a role model for the 'resistance' of the countries in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, and it is expressed in hundreds of thousands of people who have undergone training in the forces of Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi [popular forces that fought ISIS in Iraq], in Yemen, and other countries," Jafari said in a speech to the Basij forces in Tehran.

Referring to the order of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to establish Basij forces around the world, Jafari said that "Today, armed cells of resistance have been established in Islamic countries, and small networks of resistance have been created in other countries, and we will see their influence in the future.” According to him, large forces of volunteers have joined the "anti-terror" struggle in Syria.

Shiite volunteer forces from Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Yemen have been operating in Syria. According to reports earlier this year, Iran's Revolutionary Guard recruited thousands of Afghans, mainly by coercion, to fight in Syria alongside forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Iranian-inspired Shiite terror networks have also been exposed in recent years in Bahrain.
Middle East leaders paint 'dark picture' at Rome conference
When Italy organized a conference focused on the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and North Africa, it promised to look beyond the turmoil roiling the region and instead promote a "positive agenda."

But many of the 45 heads of state, ministers and business leaders who attended the event over three days saw little future cheer.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani captured the gloom, bemoaning "a lack of wisdom" in the region, with "no hope" on hand for ordinary people hoping for an end to years of conflict, upheaval and sectarianism.

"Maybe I have presented a dark picture, but it is not as dark as I have explained, it is darker," said Al Thani, whose country is under an economic blockade by its Arab neighbors, which accuse it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the accusations and the crisis has pushed the tiny, gas- and oil-rich state closer to Shiite Muslim Iran, the regional rival to Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia.

The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia each addressed the conference, taking turns to level attacks on each other's countries.

"Since 1979, the Iranians have literally got away with murder in our region, and this has to stop," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Friday, accusing Tehran of interfering in the affairs of numerous Arab states, including Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.
UC Berkley Jewish students demand action over ‘antisemitic’ professor
Jewish students at the University of California, Berkeley, have called for action over a professor’s “promotion of hatred and intolerance” against the Jewish community and others.

Ethnic Studies lecturer Hatem Bazian sparked outrage last month after antisemitic cartoons he had retweeted earlier this year came to light. One cartoon depicted a smiling Orthodox Jew with the caption: “I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs & steal the land of Palestinians. #Ashke-Nazi.”

Another shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un wearing a kippa and saying he has just converted his country to Judaism. “Donald Trump: Now my nukes are legal & I can annex South Korea & you need to start paying me 34 billion a year in welfare,” the caption reads.

The university’s administration promptly condemned the imagery shared by Bazian, stating that the posts “clearly crossed the line.”

Bazian deleted the tweets, claiming that he had not realized what the full content of the images were when viewing them on his phone.

He also issued an apology in which he said: “A retweet was brought to my attention today and I went over my account from the past and do sincerely apologize for re-sending it, the image is offensive and does not represent my views or the anti-racist work that I do including fighting antisemitism in partnership with progressive Jewish groups that express solidarity with Palestine’s rights to self-determination and have a strong track record on countering Islamophobia.”

But a coalition of Jewish student groups have said that this was not an isolated incident and called for further action in a letter sent late last week to the university’s administration. The letter was co-signed by Chabad Jewish Student Group at UC Berkeley, Bears for Israel, Berkeley Hillel, and Tikvah: Students for Israel.
The French left is tearing itself apart over Islam
Six months into his presidency, Emmanuel Macron looks untouchable. He has conquered the unions, and his political opponents are a shambles – none more so than the Socialists. Just how divided they are was demonstrated earlier this month when a vicious war of words erupted within the French left. The cause was Islam, an issue that has been agitating Socialists for decades. When the first Socialist president of the Fifth Republic, François Mitterrand, was elected in 1981, his government was initially a friend of Islam. As the eighties wore on though, some on the left became alarmed at the demands being made of the Republic: prayer rooms in factories and the right to pray five times a day were particular sticking points. Pierre Mauroy, who served as prime minister during this period, denounced the growing influence of Islam in the workplace, prompting the left-wing newspaper Liberation to warn that such statements were ‘the slippery slope to racism’.

This fault line has remained in the Socialist party ever since, causing occasional tremors of disunity, such as the 1989 headscarf row, and the 2004 ban on religious symbols in schools. The attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in 2015 caused the ideological plates to shift again. On one side stands the satirical magazine’s supporters, like the former Socialist prime minister, Manuel Valls, and the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut; on the other, the ‘Islamo-gauchistes’, led by Edwy Plenel, the former editor of Le Monde, who believes that French Muslims are institutionally victimised and that those who criticise their religion – such as the author Michel Houellebecq – are guilty of Islamophobia.

Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan is the reason for this latest, and most virulent, row within the French left. Days after allegations of sexual assault were levelled at Ramadan, Charlie Hebdo depicted Ramadan on its front cover in a state of impressive arousal under the headline ‘The Sixth Pillar of Islam’. Plenel wasn’t amused and accused the magazine of waging ‘a war against Muslims’. Charlie Hebdo, which has received several death threats since the Ramadan cartoon, responded with a furious editorial, accusing Plenel of ‘condemning Charlie Hebdo to death a second time’. The next issue of the magazine featured Plenel on the front cover in a variation of the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ monkey. Valls then waded into the dispute, saying that Plenel and his Islamo-gauchistes cohorts share an ‘intellectual complicity’ with Islamic extremism. The former PM is a long-standing adversary of Plenel, stretching back to 2013 when, as minister of the interior, he explained that he refused to use the word ‘Islamophobia’ because it was ‘a Salafist Trojan Horse’, a term invented to shut down any criticism of the religion.
Why is a Jewish group showing an anti-Semitic play?
The ZOA has just learned that one of the most anti-Semitic plays of all time, Christopher Marlowe’s “The Jew of Malta” (written in 1565) is scheduled to be performed in a few days at the Center for Jewish History (CJH) headed by controversial Israel-basher David Myers.

Why is a Jewish group showing this anti-Jewish play? Would any African American group ever show the notorious racist film “The Birth of a Nation”?

The travesty of performing such an anti-Semitic play at CJH also reinforces ZOA’s previous exposé and demand that the CEO of the Center of Jewish History, David Myers, who has a long record of propagandizing against Israel, needs to be removed from his post.

The play’s protagonist, the Jewish merchant Barabas, is a money-obsessed, vulgar, traitorous mass murderer. The play increased anti-Semitism in England, and contributed to the anti-Semitic atmosphere that led to the torture, conviction and execution of the Queen of England’s Portuguese Jewish physician, Rodrigo Lopez, in 1594, on likely false charges of conspiring to poison the Queen. (One of the methods that “The Jew of Malta” play’s Jewish protagonist used to murder people was poisoning them; the Jewish character Barabas poisons a whole convent of nuns, including his daughter who has converted to Christianity, and other people.)

Audiences seeing Marlowe’s play believed that Jews really were as evil as the play presents them to be. The play also led to other anti-Semitic plays such as the Merchant of Venice, and the additional promulgation of blood libels against Jews.
Israel, Cyprus begin joint drill on Mediterranean island
The IDF began joint drills with the Cypriot army on Sunday, the third time the two armies have drilled together on the Mediterranean island this year.

The drill, which is aimed at maintaining the readiness of the forces for any emergency, will see air and ground forces from both countries take part.

Israel and Cyprus have held several military drills this past year, including in June when over 500 elite Israeli commandos as well as attack helicopters and fighter jets held a three-day-long intensive drill in Cyprus. The drill was described by senior IDF officers as the first of it’s kind and one of the largest exercises by the commandos held on foreign territory.

In March, Israel participated in a three-day joint military exercise with Cyprus where the Israel Air Force tested Cypriot air defense. Named Onisilos-Gideon, it was the largest drill at the time since 2014, when the two countries agreed to hold joint exercises as part of their military cooperation.
IDF commando unit in Cyprus drill (credit: IDF)

In late May, Israel sent representatives to Cyprus to observe the four-day annual maritime search and rescue and non-combatant evacuation Argonaut drill. The exercise saw 22 countries drill on scenarios such as dealing with a terrorist hijacking as well as coping with an influx of civilians fleeing a conflict in the Middle East.

The close ties between Israel, Cyprus and neighboring Greece are based on a number of shared strategic interests. While all have shared economic interests, such as the ambitious project to build an undersea gas pipeline from Israel to Cyprus to Crete to mainland Greece, the three countries also hope to keep the Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis from growing.
MOU for Israel-Europe gas pipeline to be signed Tuesday
The world's longest underwater pipeline from Leviathan to Italy will allow Israel to export gas to Europe.

A memorandum of understanding for the laying of an underwater gas pipeline from Israel to Europe will be signed on Tuesday in the Cypriot capital Nicosia, sources inform "Globes." The world's longest underwater pipeline will allow Israel to export gas to Europe.

The energy summit in Cyprus on Tuesday will be attended by Israel's Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz and his counterparts from Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the EU. The last such energy summit was held in Israel in April when the sides signed a declaration to move forward with the project.

Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources says that the pipeline will be 2,000 kilometers long and will be completed by 2025.

Greece based IGI Poseidon has been investigating the economic feasibility of the project with research support from the EU.

The planned pipeline will connect Israel's Leviathan gas field and run via Cyprus's Aphrodite gas field through the waters of Crete, mainland Greece and Italy. The initial estimate of the cost of the pipeline, which will be able to convey 12-16 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas annually, is $6 billion. If further large fields are found in Israel or Cyprus, a double pipeline conveying 30 BCM annually could be laid.

Such a project will involve complex engineering to lay the pipe at a depth of 3.3 kilometers underwater in the deepest sections between Greece and Cyprus. Any subsequent damage will be extremely difficult to repair.

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