Wednesday, January 31, 2018

From Ian:

PMW: PA TV to kids: "Follow the example" of arch-terrorist Abu Jihad, he is "a symbol"
A new children's program on PA TV called From My Country teaches children that arch-terrorist Abu Jihad, who the PA has bragged was responsible for the murder of at least 125 Israelis, is a role model to be followed.

The opening of the weekly 10 minute program, which has been broadcast twice so far, shows a cube with photos of six different Palestinian personalities. One of them is terrorist Abu Jihad, who orchestrated numerous terror attacks against Israelis, among them the most lethal attack in Israel's history - the Coastal Road Massacre - in which Palestinian terrorists hijacked a bus and murdered 37 civilians, among them 12 children.

Also included among the six personalities promoted to kids is Ghassan Kanafani - a writer and a leader of the terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

In each episode, a young PA TV host emphasizes that the program is about "our country," stressing that its beauty "is reflected by great personalities who have given and are giving much to the homeland." Presumably the six people from the opening are among these "great personalities":

Young PA TV host: "Hello my dear friends and welcome to the program From My Country. You certainly know how beautiful our country is: its villages, cities, historical, religious, archaeological, and tourist sites. The most beautiful thing is that all of this beauty of our country is reflected by great personalities who have given and are giving much to the homeland, whether in the political, literary, artistic, or scientific struggle."


Why Polls on a Palestinian State Are a Mirage
The Steinmetz Center asked respondents if they supported a “two-state solution” that would include:

1. A “permanent settlement.” In reality, nobody can guarantee that any settlement would be “permanent.” The Palestinian leader who signs an agreement could be overthrown the next day. Arab leaders are constantly being ousted and replaced by arch-rivals.

2. The agreement would include “demilitarization of the Palestinian state.” This, despite the fact that every Palestinian leader has rejected the idea of demilitarization. Even if they signed such an agreement, what’s the likelihood that they would abide by that? If a “demilitarized” Palestinian state started importing tanks that it claimed were needed for self-defense, Israel would face international condemnation and sanctions if it tried to intervene.

3. There would be “family unification in Israel of 100,000 Palestinian refugees.” Notice the use of the sympathetic term “family unification.” What cruel person would oppose unifying families? More important, the PA’s position has always been that millions of Palestinian “refugees” — not a mere 100,000 — must be allowed to settle in Israel. The 100,000 figure is an illusion that supporters of the Palestinians trot out to try to sell their imaginary deal.

4. “The Palestinian state will fight terror against Israelis.” What a joke. The heart and soul of the Oslo Accords was that the PA would stamp out terrorist groups. Yet here we are, 25 years later, and the PA has never disarmed or outlawed any of the terrorist groups, never extradited any terrorists to Israel, never even expelled terror factions from the PLO, etc. But now, when they have a state, they will suddenly “fight terror?”

So there you have it: The “Palestinian state” that 47 percent of Israeli Jews would favor is a creature of the Steinmetz Center’s imagination. A permanently peaceful, totally demilitarized, terror-fighting Palestinian state that won’t insist on flooding Israel with “refugees.” Who wouldn’t want such a neighbor? Frankly, I’m surprised only 47 percent of Israeli Jews voiced their support.



Poland set to vote on Holocaust bill despite agreeing with Israel to hold off
The Polish Senate said it would vote Wednesday on a controversial Holocaust bill, despite assurances from the country’s prime minister that Israeli concerns would be addressed before steps were taken to pass it into law.

The Polish Senate confirmed in a post to its official Twitter account that the bill, which criminalizes the blaming of Poles for Nazi atrocities committed on Polish soil during the Holocaust, was on the agenda.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, Sunday night, as the two attempted to set aside a diplomatic spat over the legislation.

Netanyahu has pilloried the law — which prescribes prison time for referring to “Polish death camps” and forbids any mention of Polish complicity in Nazi crimes — as “distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust.”
Polish Interior Minister Issues Last-Minute Ban on Neo-Fascist Show of Force Outside Israeli Embassy in Warsaw
Poland’s interior minister stepped in at the last minute to prevent a planned rally in front of the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw by neo-fascist organizations on Wednesday, as a bitter dispute between Warsaw and Jerusalem over new legislation that would criminalize discussion of Poles who colluded with the Nazi Holocaust continued to fester.

Joachim Brudziński, the interior minister, announced on Wednesday afternoon that the streets around the Israeli Embassy in the Polish capital would remain closed until midnight on Monday, February 5. Brudziński said the planned far-right show of force was a threat to the “security and interests” of the state, overruling a decision by the city authorities in Warsaw on Tuesday to grant a permit for the rally.

Far-right leaders attempted to put a brave face on their decision not to defy the ban, claiming they had concluded independently that the rally should be canceled because of the risk of violence. “Today it is not our intention to have a confrontation with the Polish state,” Robert Winnicki — one of the rally organizers, and a member of the Polish parliament for the ultranationalist Ruch Narodowy (National Movement) — stated on Twitter.

Numerous social media posts promoting the rally on Tuesday described it as a rally against “Antipolonism” — an alleged prejudice against the Polish nation equivalent to racism or antisemitism.
Majority of Knesset backs bill accusing Poland of Holocaust denial
New legislation cosponsored by 61 members of Knesset would make a Polish bill to outlaw talk of Poles’ complicity in the Nazis’ crimes a form of illegal Holocaust denial.

The bill, formulated by MKs from the coalition and the opposition — Itzik Shmuly (Zionist Union), Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Nurit Koren (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) — seeks to amend the Law for Defense Against Holocaust Denial to state that denying or minimizing the involvement of the Nazi’s helpers and collaborators will also be a crime.

In addition, the amended law would provide legal aid to any Holocaust survivors and educators taking students to death camps who face foreign lawsuits because they recounted what happened in the Holocaust.

The 1986 Law for Defense Against Holocaust Denial states that anyone who publishes denial and minimization of the Holocaust or identification with with crimes against the Jewish People can get five years of jail time.

The Polish senate was expected Wednesday to approve a bill making use of the phrase “Polish death camps” or saying the Polish people were in any way culpable for the Nazis’ crimes against humanity, an offense that carries a three-year prison sentence. The vote was set to take place even though the Polish and Israeli governments plan to negotiate a version of the bill that would be agreeable to both sides.

MK Shmuly said “the Poles and others who may want to copy them should know that the historic truth of the Jewish People is not for sale.”
Recipient of Polish award returns honor over death camp legislation
An Israeli historian of Jewish-Israeli heritage who was awarded in 2012 the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic from the then Polish president for his contribution to promoting the memory—and increasing awareness of—the Polish Righteous Among the Nations, has returned his award in protest against “demonic” legislation that Israel has argued is an attempt to downplay Poland’s role in Nazi atrocities.

The legislation, that has been approved by Poland’s lower house of Parliament, prescribes prison time for defaming the Polish nation by using phrases such as "Polish death camps" to refer to the killing sites Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during World War II.

“This is hypocrisy and a distortion of history, and it’s something I can’t agree with,” Israel Gal said in an interview with Ynet.

Gal, also a scholar of literature, acquired the rights to the book “People and Animals” which tells the story of Jan Żabiński, and his wife Antonina, who saved about three hundred Jews brought out of the Warsaw ghetto in a zoo in the city, and in 2011, he published his Hebrew version of the book.

“I received this award of honor from the then Polish president Bronisław Komorowski through the Polish Embassy,” Gal said. “This brave and humane family saved dozens, perhaps even hundreds of Jews and underground Polish fighters.”

Asked why he had decided to return the award, Gal pointed to the less liberal stance that had gripped the current Polish government.

“I did it because the new government in Poland is acting in an almost completely opposite fashion to the government in 2012, that was a lot more liberal,” Gal responded. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Polish journalist: Jews also took part in the Holocaust
A Polish TV host has suggested that World War II death camps in Poland be referred to as “Jewish death camps” instead of Polish or German, while a journalist intimated on his program that Jews played a part in the Nazi Final Solution.

The comments have fanned the flames that have already mildly burned relations between Warsaw and Jerusalem after the Polish parliament recently moved to pass legislation that Israel has argued is an attempt to downplay Poland’s role in Nazi atrocities.

The guest of the program aired by TVP2 also slammed Israel for its vociferous opposition to the bill, which prescribes prison time for defaming the Polish nation by using phrases such as "Polish death camps" to refer to the killing sites Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during World War II.

“This narrative is built out of contempt for the facts,” argued Marcin Jerzy Wolski who hosts the Polish public mainstream TV channel operated by TVP.

Discussing an experiment carried out in Germany in which exhaust fumes were pumped into rooms containing monkeys and humans, Wloski and the conservative commentator and author Rafal Aleksander Ziemkiewicz digressed into a conversation about Jews in the Holocaust, gas chambers and how the Nazis improvised as they searched for more efficient methods to murder European Jewry.

The two then segued into an attack of Israeli criticism against the new bill and the “claims” that Poles participated in the Holocaust. Ziemkiewicz also slammed the notion of blaming nations for the actions of individuals.

“Don’t be surprised if someone teaches that the Jewish people crucified Jesus or participated in the Holocaust,” he said. “If we look at the percentage of involvement of countries that took part, Jews also were part of their own destruction.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
‘Germany Was Always Antisemitic, That Hasn’t Changed Much:’ Holocaust Survivor Stuns German TV Viewers with Candid Answer
A 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz stunned the viewers of one of Germany’s most popular political talk shows on Sunday night when — asked to compare the Nazi era with the situation today — she asserted that the two periods had more in common than many people may care to admit.

“I think that Germany was always antisemitic, that has not changed much,” Esther Bejarano — who was enslaved in the infamous “women’s orchestra” of the Auschwitz death camp — told the ARD Network‘s flagship “Anne Will Show.”

Bejarano was one of several guests on an International Holocaust Remembrance Day edition of the show that asked the question, “How antisemitic is Germany today?” Other guests who participated in the candid and often emotional discussion included two government ministers, a prominent human rights advocate and a leading scholar of modern Jewish history.

Much of the show was dedicated to a harrowing interview with Bejarano about her incarceration in Auschwitz. She began by relating that her father had been a stalwart German patriot, convinced that the German people would reject Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party. But after the Nazis came to power and prevented the family from emigrating to British Mandatory Palestine, Bejarano was imprisoned in a hard labor camp in Germany, before being deported to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland in April 1943.
Isi Leibler: The predictable liberal response to Pence
One might ask those calling on Israel to “move forward” to explain what they mean. The implication is that the worse Abbas becomes, the more concessions we should provide. In other words, continue appeasing those seeking our destruction.

Instead of commending Pence for distinguishing between good and evil, the Israeli media condemned him for casting all the blame on the Palestinians and none on Israel. While it is undeniable that on occasion Israel has made mistakes, to suggest that both parties are equally at fault and morally equivalent is an utter distortion.

The reality is that for the first time since the creation of the state, we have an American leadership willing to tell the truth.

They have ceased repeating the mantra of equivalence between those striving for peace and separation and those inciting to bloodshed and annihilation.

Above all, for the first time we have an administration distinguishing between good and evil and willing to expose the evil emanating from the Palestinians and their allies.

This is truly a sea change and we should unite to take advantage of this situation which, given the turbulence of American politics, cannot be guaranteed to last forever.
Don't Ignore Kushner's Quiet Mideast Gains
First, he recognizes that Iran now matters more to the Arabs than Palestine. With Iran and Islamic militants threatening the survival of major Arab states, many Arab leaders have quietly decided to align with Israel—dialing down their interest in the Palestinian drama. Consider that President Trump’s plan to move the United States’ embassy in Israel to Jerusalem did not touch off huge protests in Arab capitals or angry editorials in the Arab press. Kushner was one of the strongest voices inside the White House in favor of the long-promised move. Any other mediator would fret that the move would needlessly complicate his job. Kushner knows that Iran has replaced Palestine as the center of Arab interest, and he spotted an opportunity that few in Washington saw.

Second, Kushner realizes that younger Arab generation has a fundamentally different perspective from that of its elders. More than 60 percent of Arabs are too young to remember the 1967 and 1973 wars with Israel, and many more regard them as ancient history. Consider an American equivalent; how many millennials are outraged at the fate of South Vietnam? As a result, younger Arabs largely accept Israel’s existence as a settled fact, and generally see trading with its prosperous economy as essential to their own economic growth. I know. I have heard them tell me these things in the privacy of their living rooms. Their septuagenarian leaders do not share their views, and punish younger leaders who try to independently engage with Israelis—which only deepens the divide.

The generation gap is based on practical economic concerns. Young Arabs want well-paying jobs that allow them to marry and start families. They want good schools for the children. Many see no issue with taking an ambulance across the border to an Israeli hospital, unlike their retirement-age relatives who say that they would rather die.

Kushner correctly captured the sentiment of the new Arab generation when he said in July 2017, “We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on, How do you come up with a conclusion to the situation?”

To be sure, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the longest and thorniest conflicts in history. It cannot be resolved quickly or easily. Kushner has publicly acknowledged this, usually adding the idea that new approaches are more likely to bear fruit than old ones.
Greenblatt: Trump won't force an agreement on Israel
US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt on Tuesday evening spoke at a a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies about American efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

"In Judaism, the word 'peace' is found in the common greeting 'Shalom aleichem.' In the Muslim world, 'Asalam Aleichem,' or 'peace be with you,' is similarly used. And yet, despite the similar emphasis and articulation of peace in their most common greetings, pursuing peace between Israelis and Palestinians can seem a daunting, even impossible task," Greenblatt said.

"I firmly believe that there is a real path towards peace," he emphasized. "Much has changed since my first trip to the region in 1983. At that time, the prevailing interest of the Arab world, with the exception of Egypt, was the rejection of Israel, including calls for its destruction and the very real possibility of war."

Greenblatt noted that today, the atmosphere has changed: "Confronted with an emboldened and aggressive Iran and populations eager for economic opportunity, many leaders understand that Israel is not the problem, and in fact Israel can be part of the solution."

"US President Donald Trump has brought a fresh set of eyes, and energy, to the task of peacemaking. It is clear that President Trump's actions and language have changed expectations about what is possible. He has revitalized the discussion and language of peace in the region."
Erekat: We'll complain to ICC against Trump
Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, on Tuesday announced that the "State of Palestine" plans to appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan and his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In an interview with a Turkish news agency, Erekat said that U.S. policy is contrary to the decisions of international institutions, which regard East Jerusalem as territory that is "occupied" by Israel.

Erekat further stated that the Palestinian Authority (PA) intends to turn once again to the UN Security Council with a request that it recognize it as a full member state in the United Nations.

He claimed that the United States strives to remove Jerusalem from the negotiating table, to dry up UNRWA by reducing financial aid to the organization, to leave the IDF in the Jordan Valley, leave the settlement blocs intact and allow IsrSaael to control the air space and the ports.

He added that according to the American view, only under these conditions would a Palestinian state be declared and its capital would be in the suburbs of Jerusalem.
How Nikki Haley is pushing Europe to get tough on Iran
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley took her Security Council colleagues on a field trip in the US capital, complete with a lunch with President Trump. Did the Monday feel-good adventure make a dent?

Who knows? But it certainly should have — especially when it comes to Iran, which along with North Korea presents the most burning foreign-policy challenge for President Trump.

Haley took the ambassadors to a Washington base, Anacostia-Bolling, to show remnants of missiles shot from Yemen to Saudi Arabian territory that were sent there for examination. It was a compelling presentation: Indeed, one shard clearly displayed a “made in Iran” marking.

The tour demonstrated that the Iranians managed to give missiles to their Yemeni allies, the Houthis. As one council member, Britain’s Acting Ambassador Jonathan Allen, tweeted, Haley provided “clear evidence that #Iran missiles and other weapons [were] used by Houthis in #Yemen.”

That’s a clear violation of two Security Council resolutions. One bans all sales of arms to Yemen. The other forbids Iran to export weapons anywhere.

And that last one, part of Resolution 2231, is crucial for untangling Trump’s Iran dilemma.

Most Security Council members view the Obama-led nuclear pact with Iran as an untouchable piece of successful diplomacy. For Trump and Haley, it’s a deeply flawed deal in need of repair, if not scrapping. But it’s the Security Council’s view that matters.
Haley suggests action on Iran missiles could persuade Trump not to nix nuke deal
The United States is encouraging other UN Security Council countries to set aside the nuclear deal loathed by President Donald Trump and focus on cracking down on Iran’s missile and other non-nuclear transgressions, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday.

Haley, who brought fellow Security Council ambassadors on a field trip to Washington, suggested that a concerted global effort to punish Iran for violating Security Council resolutions on ballistic missiles could persuade Trump it was worthwhile to remain in the nuclear deal. She noted that France, a key member of the group that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal, had recently “started hitting” Iran rhetorically for violating ballistic missile resolutions.

“It’s working,” Haley said after meeting with Trump and the other ambassadors. “They’re starting to realize, ‘If we don’t start talking about the violations, if we don’t call them out, then the US is going to say this whole thing is a sham.'”

An outspoken critic of Iran, Haley brought the other Security Council envoys to a US military base in Washington to view missile parts that the US calls evidence of Iran’s illicit transfer of prohibited missiles to Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Trump administration maintains that fragments from those missiles, recovered in Saudi Arabia after being launched from Yemen by the Houthis, contain markings proving they were Iranian-made, though some security experts have questioned whether the evidence is foolproof.
JCPA: Europe’s Failure to Exercise the Diplomacy of Truth
  • The intellectual and political backing given to the "Palestinian resistance" by the European Commission has become the cover for the rampant anti-Semitism and terrorism endemic in Europe today.
  • Europe has denied Israel the right of self-defense despite the rain of Hizbullah missiles on its innocent civilians in the north. Europe applied double standards and condemned Israel's security fence in 2004 even after Israel suffered more than 1,000 killed in terrorist suicide attacks between 2001 and 2004. European leaders showed that they could easily vote for the worst lies about Israel in the UN General Assembly and other UN bodies.
  • Israel must make its demands on Europe:
    Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital
    Combat incitement and anti-Semitism
    Halt the financing of many anti-Israel enterprises
    Ban the textbooks that encourage incitement in schools
    End the EU's illegal building in the territories
    Refuse boycotts or discrimination against Israeli products
    Deny trade and common scientific work with countries that discriminate against Israel
    And promote relationships with those sincerely friendly toward the Jewish state.
COGAT Head rebukes European ambassadors
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) head Major General Yoav Mordechai met today with 28 ambassadors of EU countries and dozens of other diplomats as part of the EU Security and Policy Committee.

Maj. Gen. Mordechai spoke with the diplomats on issues related to the Middle East. "I sit before everyone present in this distinguished forum and am amazed that for years no one has spoken and no one in the European Union has addressed the Israeli humanitarian issue," he said.

Mordechai was referring to the European Union's disregard for IDF killed-in-action and hostages in Gaza. "There are two IDF casualties whose bodies have not yet been returned to their families, as well as two Israeli civilians. While we are working to assist the Palestinian population on the humanitarian level, it is only natural that we expect international pressure to solve the Israeli humanitarian issue."

"I demand that you strive to put effective pressure on the terrorist Hamas entity and the Palestinian Authority, which since the reconciliation with Hamas has also been responsible. I say to the European Union and the international community: Live up to your principles, even in terms of respect for international law."
An embarrassing freeze
Optimism abounded at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week when U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for talks.

But when the two leaders spoke to the cameras, one sentence slipped under the media's radar: "Israel will pay for that [the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel]," Trump said. Even though he spoke in the future tense, it was clear we are already paying something. And who knows, perhaps the price was agreed by both sides in advance.

The fact is that the Trump administration has adopted the previous president's policy of forcing Israel to slow and effectively freeze construction in Jerusalem and its environs. Despite Vice President Mike Pence being Israel's greatest friend at the White House, it is clear that even under Trump, the U.S. has not changed its views on the core issue of Jerusalem.

"We're not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders," Pence said in his Knesset address this month.

The American position is unfortunate, but what is even more troubling is Israel's resigned approach. After all, it was the Jewish presence that determined the borders in Jerusalem in the past, and Jewish homes will ultimately shape its boundaries more than any other variable.
The fictitious Arab narrative
In Abbas' narrative, the Palestinians are "victims of colonialism and Zionism" and therefore cannot be expected to act responsibly. Instead, they should be compensated for their victimhood and struggle to liberate all of Palestine. Israeli Arabs are part of the Palestinian people. The refugees must return to their homes and the State of Israel must be a state for all its citizens, until, as part of a phased plan, it turns into a Palestinian state. Elements of this narrative have been repeated by Abbas for many years. They were featured in his book "Zionism: Beginning and End," which was published in 1977 and again in 2011.

The sign the Joint Arab List members raised implies they believe this false narrative.

And that is the real problem. Clearly, some Israeli Arab voters believe they are part of the Palestinian people before they are part of Israeli society. The extent of this belief's representation among Arab Israelis is uncertain.

Abbas especially warns the Arabs against the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states. It will be interesting to see if they heed his warnings: His call to suspend ties with the U.S. was ignored, just as east Jerusalem merchants ignored his calls for a general Palestinian strike during Pence's visit.
Thomas L. Friedman: Can Crazy Still Keep the Peace Between Israel and Iran?
War is not inevitable. For the last 12 years, Israel, Hezbollah and Iran have been engaging in what one Israeli officer called a “kinetic dialogue,” where both sides try to contain the conflict and not humiliate the other. When, on Jan. 18, 2015, Israel killed an Iranian general and several Hezbollah fighters in Syria, Hezbollah responded by firing a missile at an Israeli Army vehicle along the border, killing two Israeli soldiers. It was the biggest escalation since the 2006 war.

But Israel, after careful thought, chose not to retaliate for the retaliation. Iran and Hezbollah, having made their point, stopped, too. That’s the kinetic dialogue in operation. But how long can that be trusted to work?

Israel, Iran and Hezbollah are all stronger than they were in 2006. But they each also have more to lose by a new rocket war. Israel’s “Silicon Wadi” — its vast network of high-tech companies along its coastal plain — has become a giant growth engine. And Hezbollah and Iran have now assumed virtual control over the Lebanese and Syrian states. No one wants to lose its gains.

That should be a source of optimism. But, alas, there are just too many chances for miscalculation on this crowded 3-D chessboard to be sanguine that the next 12 years will be as quiet as the last 12.

As one Israeli military officer on the Syrian-Israel border remarked to me, “We want to keep the temporary status quo forever, because everything else looks worse.”
Bennett: Israel should target Iran, not just its terror proxies
Israel must immediately change its strategy and take action against Iran when there are attacks from Hezbollah and Syria, security cabinet member Naftali Bennett said Wednesday at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv.

Bennett said that for 30 years, Israel made a mistake of targeting, what he called, “mosquitoes” but not “the swamp” and what he called “tentacles” but not “the octopus.”

“Our message to Iran: The era of your immunity while you send others and use your national resources to hurt Israel is over,” Bennett said. “A rocket from Lebanon will be treated like an Iranian rocket. We will not waste our resources and energy fighting in Lebanese towns while you recline your chair and watch.

“We will also not sit idly and watch the accumulation of accurate missiles in Lebanon. Between 2006 and 2012, Hezbollah made a massive leap in the quantities of its rockets, and now has over 130,000. We will not allow it to make a qualitative leap. This strategy means Iran, the Quds Force and the host countries will pay a price.”

Bennett said he was not necessarily referring to armed conflict with Iran and its Quds Force but “war via diplomacy, intelligence, preemptive efforts, technological means, economic sanctions, and – if needed – other means.”
U.S. defends role of Lebanon army as Israel threatens to attack it
The United States pledged continued support for Lebanon's military on Wednesday, calling it a potential counterweight to Iranian-backed Hezbollah, even as Israel said the two forces were indistinguishable and fair game in any future war.

Such a public difference of opinion between two close allies was remarkable enough, but especially so as it was sounded by senior officials at the same event - an Israeli security conference.

The Lebanese Armed Forces took no part in the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, which killed around 1,200 people in Lebanon and 158 Israelis. It has received more than $1.5 billion in US military assistance since then and, in the last seven years, training and support from US special forces too.

With Hezbollah having helped sway the Syrian civil war in President Bashar Assad's favor, Israel and the United States both worry that the Iranian-backed militia could now broaden its clout in its Lebanese heartland. They disagree on whether the Lebanese army would help or hinder Hezbollah's expansion.

"We will sustain our efforts to support legitimate state security institutions in Lebanon, such as the Lebanese Armed Forces, which is the only legitimate force in Lebanon," David Satterfield, acting assistant US secretary of state, told the conference organized by Tel Aviv University's INSS think-tank.
Jordanian scholar: Shared concern over Iran not enough for Israel-Sunni alliance
Establishing a genuine alliance between Israel and Sunni Arab states requires more than shared concern over Iran, the director of the Center for Israel Studies in Amman told an audience in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

Speaking as part of a panel on regional perspectives on Israel at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, Abdullah Sawalha said: “Making Iran the only component of this alliance is not enough. If the [Iranian] regime collapses, what will happen between Israel and the Sunni states?”

“For an alliance, we have to build a network of mutual interests: energy, water, technology and so on,” he added.

While National Infrastructure, Water and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz recently played up budding ties, Sawalha highlighted the current limits of the relationship with Sunni states.

“This rapprochement is very secret, it’s only behind the scenes,” he said. “The Arab states don’t want to do any kind of normalization in public and Israel respects the will of the Arab states. The biggest losers are the people of the region. Unfortunately, the winners are anti-normalization actors, BDS and enemies of peace.”

The level of interaction is also unhealthy for building firm ties, Sawalha said. “We’ve seen interaction between governments but no civil society engagement or people-to-people connections. Without letting our people know about this partnership, Israel and the Sunni states will lose the support of our people and will not be able to make any progress in breaking the barriers between the nations and narrowing the gaps.”
Macron condemns anti-Semitic attack on Jewish boy, 8, near Paris
An 8-year-old Jewish boy wearing a kippa was attacked on Tuesday in the suburb of Sarcelles near Paris, in the second assault on Jewish children in the area in three weeks.

Local prosecutors told AFP on Tuesday that it was treating the incident as an anti-Semitic crime.

Prosecutors said the two youths attacked the boy while he was on his way to after-school tutoring on Tuesday, pushing him to the ground and then beating him. According to the victim, the assailants were about 15 years old.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the incident Tuesday evening, saying that any attack on a citizen over their religious identity constitutes an attack on the whole Republic.

“An 8-year-old boy was attacked today in Sarcelles. Because he was wearing a kippa. Every time a citizen is attacked because of his age, his appearance or his religion, the whole country is being attacked,” the French leader wrote on his Twitter account.

“And it is the whole country that stands, especially today, alongside the French Jews to fight each of these despicable acts, with them and for them,” he added.
German FM to meet with Netanyahu, doesn't plan to meet Breaking the Silence
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with visiting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, whom he refused to meet last April because of Gabriel’s insistence on meeting the far-left NGO Breaking the Silence.

Gabriel arrived in Israel on Tuesday evening for a one-night visit. In addition to meeting Netanyahu, he is scheduled to travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and deliver a speech at the INSS annual conference taking place in Tel Aviv.

Since the incident in April, Netanyahu and Gabriel have only spoken briefly on the phone once, when Netanyahu called both him and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in October to thank them for Berlin’s decision to go ahead with the sale of three submarines to Israel.

Gabriel does not have Breaking the Silence on his agenda this trip.

Gabriel triggered a diplomatic incident on his maiden visit to Israel as foreign minister in April by insisting on the Breaking the Silence meeting , even though it was made clear to him that if the meeting took place his planned meeting with Netanyahu would be canceled. The two men did not meet, and Gabriel then refused to take a phone call from the prime minister.
Netanyahu interrupts German FM to downplay 2-state support
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Wednesday, he publicly corrected him over Israel’s stance on a two-state solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.

In statements after the meeting, Netanyahu interrupted Gabriel as he talked about a two-state solution to the conflict. Gabriel said he was “very thankful to hear that, of course, also the government of Israel wants to have two states” with secure Israeli borders.

But Netanyahu interjected to reiterate his position that Israel would have to maintain security control in the Palestinian territories under any peace arrangement. “No, that we will control security west of the Jordan (river)… that is, I think, the first condition,” Netanyahu said.

“Whether or not it’s defined as a state when we have the military control is another matter, but I’d rather not discuss labels, but substance,” he added.
Here's how IDF forces foil terror attacks
The IDF is constantly foiling terror attacks and puts much effort into preventing terrorists from infiltrating Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. There is no question that IDF forces work hard to prevent terror attacks, but most of the Israeli public, certainly in Judea and Samaria, does not know about many of these foiled attempts and has no idea where the IDF gets its information from.

The technology which helps Israel's security forces prevent terror attacks also provides night vision, and it was procured with the aid of the One Israel Fund and its generous donors, who believe that Israel needs a strong Judea and Samaria.

The One Israel Fund was founded 25 years ago, and works 24 hours a day to provide for all of the needs of Judea and Samaria communities.

All monies donated to the One Israel Fund go straight to security and to provide security forces with the equipment they need in the field. When necessary, funds also go to help communities in need of them.
IDF foils stabbing attack in settlement, arrests Palestinian with knife
A Palestinian man planning a terror attack was arrested Wednesday near the West Bank settlement of Negohot holding a knife and a map of the Israeli community, security forces said.

“A short while ago, IDF troops thwarted an attempted terror attack next to the community of Negohot, southwest of Hebron,” the military said in a statement.

“Soldiers apprehended a Palestinian suspect wearing a military-style jacket near the community,” the army said, adding that a knife and a map of the settlement were found in the suspect’s possession.

“The suspect and the found items were transferred to [the] security forces,” the statement said.

The incident comes three days after a pair of Palestinians wearing army uniforms tried to infiltrate the settlement of Itamar in the northern West Bank. One of the suspects was arrested with a pair of binoculars, but no weapons, the IDF said, while the second one fled and was searched for by soldiers in the area between the settlement and the Palestinian village of Beit Furik.
Youth injured in Arab rock attack on children's planting event
After the attack on thirteen-year-olds in Kutzra in November, Arabs from the village of Urif attacked a children's Tu Bishvat festive planting event that took place this afternoon in Yitzhar, reported 0404 News.

Arabs threw stones, hitting a youth about 18 years old in the head. The youth suffered light injuries and was evacuated to a medical unit to receive medical treatment. An IDF and Border Police force that arrived at the area pushed the Arabs back towards the village.

In November, twenty-five 13-year-olds on a class trip celebrating the Bar Mitzvah of the youngest student were ambushed by dozens of Arabs hurling stones down at them from a ridge overlooking the entrance to a cave in eastern Samaria.

The children were escorted by two armed chaperones – both of them school staff members. The chaperones reported to the IDF that the class was under attack by stone-throwers, but were forced to defend the children by themselves for a full hour before soldiers arrived at the scene.

In the meantime, the hikers came under a barrage of stones and hid in a nearby cave.
This Ongoing War: There's now a $5 million reward for bringing the terrorist Ahlam Tamimi to justice
Established in 1984, Rewards for Justice, a program of the US State Department has the goal of bringing international terrorists to justice and prevent acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property... Since the inception of the Rewards for Justice program in 1984, the United States Government has paid more than $145 million to over 90 people who provided actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.

Federal criminal charges were announced last March against Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of the 2001 Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria massacre. Our daughter Malki, 15, was one of the people, mostly children, killed in that Hamas-driven terror outrage. Tamimi described herself as Hamas' first woman agent.

If you follow our blog, it won't be news to you that Tamimi has been living a celebrity's life in Amman, Jordan since her extorted release from an Israeli prison cell in the 2011 Shalit Deal. She was the only one of the 1,027 terrorists freed in that catastrophic transaction who was sent into "exile" in Jordan. Since she was born in Jordan in 1980 and lived in Jordan, getting her education there until a couple of years before executing the Sbarro attack and went back to living in Jordan today with a cousin who is now her husband, it's not really exile and never was.
PA issues weak condemnation of Bethlehem incident
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas's bureau in Ramallah on Tuesday issued a short statement condemning the attack on an American diplomatic vehicle outside the United States consulate in Bethlehem.

The statement said, "The presidency emphasized its absolute opposition to such behavior that deviates from the Palestinian values and roots."

The PA's announcement made no mention of any commitment to arrest and/or prosecute the perpetrators. The PA is fuming at U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and has declared it would "no longer accept" any peace plan proposed by the United States.

Video footage from Tuesday's incident in Bethlehem showed Palestinian Arabs attacking and throwing objects at a car with American consulate personnel.

The incident came after PA activists, led by representatives of Abbas’s Fatah party, on Saturday held a mock trial for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Bethlehem.
UN envoy: Gaza on verge of 'full collapse'
UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned on Tuesday that Hamas-controlled Gaza on the verge of "full collapse", AFP reported.

According to Mladenov, a key to saving Gaza from disaster was restoring the government of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas to power there, a decade after it was forced out by Hamas in a bloody coup.

"Without that Gaza risks exploding in our face again, this time in a far more deadly and violent manner than in the past," Mladenov was quoted as having said at the annual conference of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Abbas's Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal last October, under which the PA was to have resumed full control of Gaza by December 1.

That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and had later reportedly hit “obstacles”.

Sharp disagreements remain between the sides, particularly over the fate of public employees in Gaza and security control of the enclave.
U.S. General to Turkey: We Won't Abandon Allies Fighting ISIS on the World's Behalf
Gen. Joseph Votel said the United States has no intention of withdrawing coalition forces from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, as Turkish leaders had demanded this weekend. As Turkish forces continued the assault on Afrin, the lead of U.S. Central Command on Monday urged Turkey and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, to recognize each other’s legitimate security concerns but focus on the common enemy of ISIS.

Senior U.S. leaders across the government have been in constant talks with Turkish counterparts during the Afrin assault, saying that the U.S. recognizes Turkey’s problems with the Kurdish terrorist group known as PKK, but refusing to give up any territory liberated by the SDF, which include Kurds.

“It’s not our intention right now” to pull back from Manbij, Votel said in Jordan on Monday. He spoke with two reporters traveling with him through the region, including into Raqqa and other parts of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia has begun hosting talks about Syria’s future. The talks, which are being held in Sochi, include representatives from the Assad regime, Iran, and the United Nations. The United States and Syria’s main opposition group declined to participate. Votel said the U.S. hopes that the Sochi talks help lead all parties back to the Geneva process. “That is where the global legitimacy comes in,” he said. “That’s the gold standard, right there: Geneva.”
Turkey Confirms Use of German Tanks in Offensive Against Kurds
The Turkish government has confirmed deploying German Leopard tanks against the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria. Reports of their use in the offensive on the Kurdish-held Afrin region provoked heated debate in Germany.

Turkey has given confirmation that its troops have been using Leopard 2 tanks supplied by Germany during their offensive against Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border region of Afrin, according to a report from the German Ministry for Economic Affairs sent to parliamentarians in Berlin.

The confirmation comes amid a heated debate on German arms exports to crisis regions.
Turkey using German-made tanks in cross-border assault criticized as illegal by German lawmakers

Disputed arms exports

- Pictures of German tanks taking part in the Turkish offensive in Syria began emerging at the start of last week.

- As a result, the German government has put on hold a decision on whether to provide an upgrade to the tanks that has been requested by Turkey.

- Turkey, a NATO partner of Germany, received 354 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany in the 1990s, with the only condition being that it did not sell or give them to any third party.
UN Watch: U.N. elects Turkey's Erdogan regime Vice-Chair of Committee on NGOs




The Kurdish fight is humanity’s fight
In 1939, when the Nazis rolled into Poland, my aunt, whose name I carry, was forced to strip naked and dig a hole, into which she and the other members of her village were summarily mowed down.

Many in the Western world turned a deaf ear to the cries of my aunt, as well as to those of six million other Jews.

America was exhausted and war weary after having fought World War I, in which approximately 30 million people had been killed, and was in a period of profound isolationism and retreat.

There emerged a charismatic, young, impassioned leader who appealed to his people, stunned by their crushing defeat in WWI, with fiery speeches of reclaiming the pride of the Fatherland.

America heard Hitler’s speeches, and knew they were laced with antisemitism. But Germany was so far away, and the enemy that had been scapegoated was a strange people, with different customs, mere Jews.

This picture is not too dissimilar from what is happening today in northwestern Syria. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a tyrannical brute, who has made a frequent habit of trampling on the human rights of his own people, with total impunity. Since the failed coup of July 2016, Erdogan continues to conduct arbitrary arrests and purges of academicians, politicians and journalists. Anyone slightly threatening to him is held in prison on trumped-up charges.




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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 12 years and over 25,000 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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