Friday, March 09, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Achieving AIPAC’s mission
AIPAC’s mission to cultivate and maintain bipartisan support for Israel in the United States is an important mission. Unfortunately, the messages AIPAC’s leaders delivered during the organization’s annual policy convention this week in Washington indicate that they are at a loss for how to achieve their mission in the contentious political environment now prevalent in post- Obama America.

Their befuddlement is not surprising. For the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, AIPAC’s leaders showed a consistent inability to understand the challenges they faced. And since they were unable to understand how or why the Obama administration was undermining AIPAC, they couldn’t protect AIPAC or advance its mission during his tenure in office.

At this week’s AIPAC convention, the message emanating from the speeches AIPAC’s senior leadership delivered was that they still don’t get what happened.

And largely as a consequence, they do not understand the challenges they face as an organization moving forward. And again, since they don’t understand what happened, or what is happening, they are incapable of meeting today’s challenges to AIPAC’s mission in a constructive way.

In a 2014 article in Tablet online magazine, Lee Smith set out precisely what Obama was doing to AIPAC and what his motivations were. Smith’s article was published shortly after Obama brutally scuttled AIPAC’s attempt to lobby Democrats to support additional sanctions against Iran for its illicit nuclear program. In the course of the Obama’s White House’s onslaught against AIPAC, administration officials were quoted referring to AIPAC lobbyists as “warmongers” for seeking additional sanctions against Iran – sanctions that enjoyed the support of huge majorities of lawmakers in both parties and houses.

In the end, Obama strong-armed Democrats to oppose the sanctions bill. Republicans were willing to pass the sanctions without Democratic support, but AIPAC – in the name of bipartisanship – told the Republicans to lay off. In other words, AIPAC sacrificed its central goal and its credibility with Republican lawmakers to placate the White House, which had just used a veiled antisemitic slur to delegitimize AIPAC.
Jason Greenblatt: Does Hamas have the courage to admit failure?
Jason Greenblatt is an assistant to President Trump and special representative for international negotiations.

Last month, a spokesman for the terrorist group Hamas dismissed our peace plan as “worthless” — even though he has never seen it — in a vain attempt to preemptively undermine any chance of a political agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. The barb was predictable; after all, such an agreement would terminate Hamas’s raison d’être.

But after ruling Gaza with an iron fist for a decade, Hamas has a pathetic track record. In response to the burgeoning humanitarian situation in Gaza, key countries and stakeholders are preparing to act: There was a meeting in Cairo on Thursday, and there will be a brainstorming session at the White House next week to find real solutions to the problems that Hamas has caused.

Increasing pessimism has led to paralysis on Gaza. Tragically, many seem to believe that Hamas’s rule is intractable and the suffering of the Palestinian people inevitable. The Trump administration, and particularly those of us on the peace team, beg to differ. Past failures do not absolve us of the responsibility to try to help. We are beholden to find a path to a brighter future for the Palestinians of Gaza.

Hamas, not the United States or Israel, has hijacked vast fortunes and spent it on weapons to terrorize Israelis, instead of spending it on hospitals, water, schools and the many other things so desperately needed in Gaza. Hamas, not Israel, has inflicted ever-greater restrictions on Gaza by repeatedly hiding materials to make weapons in shipments of humanitarian aid and other goods being moved into Gaza.

The Palestinians of Gaza have the opportunity to reject the failed policies of Hamas and turn toward a legitimate governing body that invests in them wisely and encourages their prosperity. Of course, it will take time to get there — a great deal of time — but we should start this journey today. It is a journey so critical to all of the children of Israelis, Palestinians (those in Gaza and the West Bank), Egyptians and beyond.
White House to convene ‘brainstorming session’ to help Gaza
The White House will convene a meeting next week of “stakeholders” to improve life in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said the top Trump administration Middle East peace negotiator.

“In response to the burgeoning humanitarian situation in Gaza, key countries and stakeholders are preparing to act: There was a meeting in Cairo on Thursday, and there will be a brainstorming session at the White House next week to find real solutions to the problems that Hamas has caused,” Jason Greenblatt wrote Thursday in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

The op-ed was the first announcement of the meeting. A spokesman for Greenblatt declined to say who the stakeholders and countries are. It’s not clear who took part in the Cairo meeting, although Hamas officials were recently in the Egyptian capital to discuss reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority.

However, there are a number of possible players who might balk at participating in the talks should they be public. Additionally, there are potential parties whose participation could embarrass the Trump administration.

The Palestinian Authority, for instance, has formally retreated from efforts by the Trump administration to reconvene peace talks, citing President Donald Trump’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Hamas, the group controlling the Gaza Strip, is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist group. Qatar, a country that has been involved in attempts to better the lives of Gaza residents, is being shunned by a key U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. And Turkey, which also has been deeply involved in Gaza in the past, currently has tense relations with the United States over U.S. backing for Kurds in Syria’s civil war.

INSS: The IDF’s Cognitive Effort: Supplementing the Kinetic Effort
The IDF has intensified its cognitive-related activity recently and engaged in a significant buildup process in this realm. This has included developing a cognitive operations doctrine and engaging in developing technological tools, training human resources, and building organizational frameworks supporting the doctrine. The use of overt capabilities by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit enables direct discourse with many target audiences in enemy states on the social media, as well as with terrorist elements. This is effected using the various capabilities developed in the IDF designed to create legitimacy in international target audiences, influence the enemy, and even maintain deterrence. The current development of technology in the social media, whether overt or covert, constitutes a strategic asset for Israel alongside traditional kinetic assets.

In late January 2018, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis published an article in the Arab media, warning Lebanon’s citizens of “Hezbollah’s hooligan-like behavior, the establishment of terror infrastructures and plants for manufacturing weapon systems under the very eyes of the Lebanese government, and the undisturbed military deployment within the civilian population.” Manlis added that Lebanon’s citizens had better not “let Iran and Hezbollah exploit the naiveté of Lebanon’s leaders and establish plants to produce precision missiles, as they have lately attempted.” The IDF is fully prepared for any eventuality, and “as we proved in previous years - and those who need to know are aware of this - our security red lines are clear-cut, and we prove this every week.”

Manlis’s article provided a glimpse into a range of IDF overt and covert activities in the realm of cognitive operations, with the aim of delivering messages to target audiences in Lebanon, the region, and the world at large: namely, that buildup efforts by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are clear to Israel, that Israel has the ability to act against them, and that therefore Lebanon’s citizens would be better off not to sanction these efforts, as they designate the civilian population as human shields in a future campaign.

The IDF engages in additional cognitive-related efforts vis-à-vis Hezbollah in Lebanon. Avihai Edrei, in charge of the social media in the Arab world in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, conducts a heated online discussion in order to confront Hezbollah with various target audiences in Lebanon. In advance of Lebanon’s forthcoming elections, scheduled for May 2018, the Lebanese news website IMLebanon published an article reviewing IDF activity in the Lebanese social media. Under the headline “Whom Are You Laughing At?” Edrei addresses Nasrallah directly, “Who commanded you to send youths to die in Lebanon? What interest did you have to be dragged in to a war that Lebanon has no part in, if not just the interest of Iran?” Confronting Nasrallah further, he charges, “Why did you, along with the Iranians, assassinate Badreddine?” It is hard to assess the impact of this activity on Hezbollah, but it appears that this activity has resonated in the Lebanese press and has potential for influence in the long term.
BESA: Militant Islam's War Against the West (PDF)
For more than 30 years, an ideological movement called Islamism has been at war with the West. Only a small fraction of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims support this war. But Islamist ideology is based on mainstream Muslim thinking and behavior.

Much of the current troubles in the Middle East are not caused by the Islamist war. Syria and Iraq were in turmoil before ISIS came into existence. The Syrian war is a revolt against the brutality of Assad's Alawite rule; it was not caused by ISIS, and will continue in one form or another after ISIS' demise. Libya's chaos is more tribal than ideological.

While the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for much of the violence and disorder in the region, there is also an element of Persian imperialism. Similarly, Turkish President Erdogan's motivation is partly Islamism but also neo-Ottoman imperialist ambitions.

There is no way that the entire Muslim world will be willing to forego joining the rest of the world in becoming wealthy and free in order to continue a hopeless struggle to gain Muslim rule everywhere.

Eventually the desire of Muslims to be part of the modern world will be stronger than the current forces that drive militant Islam's war against the West, and they will find ways to make their faith compatible with what they need to do to become modern.
PM raps UN for distancing itself from exhibit on Jerusalem’s Jewish history
While visiting a special exhibit at the United Nations on Thursday that marked 3,000 years of Jewish presence in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu castigated the world body for seeming to distance itself from the display.

“There is a long history that is being cherished by us and by friends of the Jewish people, and the friends of truth; it is being denied by those who seek to erase the history of our people, our connection to our land, and our connection to our eternal capital Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said to gathered reporters after he and his wife, Sara, toured the exhibit.

"And I saw a sign, right at the entrance there. It says, ‘This doesn’t represent the United Nations.’ I have two comments on that. The first is, of course it doesn’t represent the United Nations, it represents the truth,” he said, to laughs from some in the press pool.

“But the second point is this: This exhibit would not have been possible 10 years ago, and this exhibit won’t even be necessary 10 years from now. We are changing the world. We are changing Israel’s position in the world, and above all we are making it clear that we fight for the truth and for our rights.”

Outside the exhibit, titled “3,000 Years of History: Jews in Jerusalem,” was a sign that said its contents were not endorsed by the United Nations, and that its sponsors were solely responsible for it.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar: The Prime Minister's Speech

The Arab press has evinced an inordinate interest in the future of Binyamin Netanyahu over the past few weeks, due to the various ongoing investigations against him and against several people who held key positions in his entourage. Arab interest is motivated by hopes for the prime minister's downfall and a resulting disintegration of Israel's Rightist camp, leading to the Left's assuming the leadership of the Jewish State. The Left, after all, has proven time and time again that it is willing to pay a higher price than Netanyahu for a piece of paper on which the word "peace" appears.

Netanyahu's speech at the AIPAC Conference last Tuesday awakened much interest in the Arab media, some of whose outlets actually sent photo teams to the event. It was clear to all of them even before the speech, that it would be mostly about the Iranian problem and Israel's efforts to get the USA to assume more inflexible positions on the issue – including general sanctions, military action against the Iranian forces in Syria and most crucial of all, rewriting the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Arab spokespersons and commentators listened carefully to Netanyahu's speech in an effort to discover three things:
1. Is Netanyahu speaking with from a position of stable power or have the investigations affected his self confidence?
2. How powerful is the relationship between Trump and Netanyahu, and how much support does the present US government have for the steps Israel is taking?
3. When and how will Netanyahu relate to the Palestinian Arab issue?
Netanyahu thanks US envoy to UN for being a 'tsunami of fresh air'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the United Nations headquarters in New York on Thursday, where he met U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and toured an exhibit about the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem.

"I wanted to tell you how much we appreciate the defense of Israel and the truth that the president [U.S. President Donald Trump] and you bring into these cloistered halls that are so damp, you know, with anti-Israel venom," Netanyahu told Haley.

"It's not just a breath of fresh air; it's like a tsunami of fresh air."

In response, Haley derided the anti-Israel bias in the U.N., saying "It's amazing. I mean, really, it was just abusive before, and I think I've told you that before. I mean, I feel bad for Danny [Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Danon] and what he's had to put up with. It was abusive before."

"But it's actually starting to get a little bit better," she continued. "I mean, they don't want to get yelled at, right? So they just realized that."

Chuckling, Netanyahu responded by saying "so continue yelling," to which Haley replied "it's what I do."

Netanyahu and Haley then discussed the threat posed by Iran.
UNRWA Textbooks Still Contain Endless Incitement
In response to its critics, UNRWA reviewed its textbooks and teaching materials — and found that three percent of the total pages were inconsistent with the UN values of neutrality, gender equity and age-appropriateness.

To begin with, this three percent number is a total sham.

But second, regarding the offensive materials that it found — UNRWA didn’t actually remove them. Instead, UNRWA says that it issued some additional materials for teachers to supplement this offensive material.

In other words, the shocking textual paragraphs, pictures, maps, poems, exercises, etc. are still widely used in UNRWA schools — just as before.

The same goes for other books that came out recently, which I just reviewed and included in my latest study of February 2018.

Below are examples of what can still be found in UNRWA teaching materials:

1. A terrorist attack on an Israeli civilian bus by molotov cocktails is described in a story as “a barbecue party” [haflat shiwaa in Arabic] — Arabic Language, Grade 9, Part 1 (2017) p. 61.

2. A verse in a poem describes the fate of the Jews following the predicted Palestinian liberation of Israel: “I swear! I will sacrifice my blood to water the land of the noble ones, to remove the usurper [code name for Israel] from my land and to exterminate the remnants of the foreigners…” — Our Beautiful Language, Grade 3, Part 2 (2017) p. 64.
A New Bipartisan Consensus on Israel
J Street and the radical wing of the Democratic Party have worked hard in recent years to chip away at the party’s traditional support for Israel. And they’ve made some progress — to judge by recent public opinion polls –in the changes in the Democratic Party platform and the number of Democratic congressmen who have signed J Street’s letters criticizing Israel.

But a speech at the AIPAC conference, made by the senior US senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, has struck a powerful blow against those trends in his party.

As the Senate minority leader, Schumer is the most powerful figure in the Democratic Party today.

What he said to AIPAC has established 10 principles of a new American political consensus concerning Israel and the Palestinians. And J Street is far outside of it:
1. Tearing down Jewish settlements will not bring peace.
2. Giving more Israeli lands to the Palestinians will not bring peace.
3. Making concessions on Jerusalem will not bring peace.
4. Most Palestinians do not accept Israel’s existence.
5. The Torah says that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews.
6. Israel remains vulnerable.
7. The Palestinian Authority isn’t “moderate.”
8. The Palestinian Authority (PA) actively supports terrorism.
9. The PA’s payments to terrorists must cease.
10. The PA must stop glorifying terrorists.
'Harold & Kumar' Star Kal Penn Wants Chuck Schumer 'Out Of Office' For Supporting Israel
Actor Kal Penn, who most famously played a doped-out stoner in "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle," believes that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) should be kicked out of the Senate for the crime of supporting the Jewish state of Israel.

Schumer may be a hardcore leftist, but his support of Israel has always been strong, and as a show of continuing support, the Senator spoke before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) this week, and even went so far to say that the Palestinians, not the Israelis, are the ones uninterested in a Middle East peace plan.

In response, Kal Pen tweeted: “New York is a beautiful state with incredible people from so many faiths & backgrounds. Instead of using his office to bring people together & really make a difference, @SenSchumer is making speeches to divide us. Looking forward to the day he’s out of office.”

Penn then went on to retweet an angry rant from writer David Klion, who called Schumer's speech “bigoted, divisive, [and] embarrassing.”

“As your constituent, neighbor, and fellow Jew, really appalled by this, @SenSchume,” Klion wrote. “Bigoted, divisive, embarrassing, as is the fact that you let your caucus gut Dodd-Frank while you were busy sucking up to AIPAC. New Yorkers deserve better representation.”
Arabs advising Abbas to accept Trump peace plan or risk losing out — report
A number of Arab countries have advised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept whatever US President Donald Trump proposes in the context of his long-awaited Middle East peace plan, according to a Thursday report.

The report in the the privately-owned Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouk cited an Arab diplomat in Cairo, who warned that the Palestinians may in the future “regret” not having accepted what they consider today to be too little.

One key Arab country relayed a message to Abbas which stated that “a realistic reading of the situation makes it imperative that the Arabs and Palestinians accept whatever is available,” the diplomat told the paper. The paper described the unnamed diplomat as a “prominent” figure.

“Wisdom requires accepting the maximum of what is available now,” the diplomat was quoted as saying. “The dealing should be in accordance with the logic of ‘take and negotiate’ so that we won’t be surprised after a few years that the monster of settlements has devoured the Palestinian territories.”

The diplomat did not reveal the names of the Arab countries that had reportedly relayed the advice to Abbas, who has consistently rebuffed the nascent US peace plan.
Czech president vows to speed up embassy relocation to Jerusalem
Czech President Milos Zeman on Thursday doubled down on his intent to see his country's embassy in Israel relocate from Tel Aviv Jerusalem, saying he plans to push the move through.

Zeman was sworn in for a second term as president of the Czech Republic on Thursday. While the post is largely ceremonial, the president does have some leverage on strategic matters.

According to Czech media, Zeman intends to expedite the embassy's relocation process and has tasked a team, headed by his office's chief for foreign policy, to discuss the various logistics and operational aspects of the move.

According to the Czech daily Lidove Noviny, the fact that the country does not own any large properties in Jerusalem could hamper the move. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis' objection to the move could further hinder the relocation.

In December, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy there, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Zeman said they would follow suit.

Later that month, Zeman told Israel Hayom that he has already instructed the new Czech government to begin preparing for the relocation.
Is Greece about to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital?
Two distinguished members of Greece's parliament, whose party has a good chance of defeating the current leadership, are breathing new life into the political system and reinvigorating crucial partnerships with Israel and the United States.

"The positions of the Palestinians are maximalist and dangerous, since they actually propose the Islamization of the city. Palestinian Islamist organizations, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have repeatedly launched threats against the non-Muslim population of Jerusalem. Islamists visualize a Jerusalem without churches and synagogues. On the other hand, the Israeli Knesset has recognized since 1980 the multi-religious character of Jerusalem and is committed to the unimpeded access of all believers to places of worship..." — MP Makis Voridis, a former minister from the New Democracy party, writing in the Greek daily Kathimerini.
Arab League secretary-general urges Guatemala to cancel embassy move
The Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit urged Guatemala to cancel its decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem on Thursday, according to the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa.

In an urgent letter to Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, Aboul-Gheit expressed his dissatisfaction with the president's decision to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Spokesman for the Secretary-General Mahmoud Afifi said in a statement.

Guatemala was one of a handful of countries that backed a UN vote on US President Donald Trump's December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Last Sunday, President Morales confirmed at AIPAC that the embassy would move to Jerusalem two days after the United States, in mid-May and Palestinians were fuming as the Guatemalan ambassador Sara Castaneda toured Jerusalem on Monday, looking at properties for the future embassy.
EU: Jerusalem residency law could make Palestinians’ status ‘precarious’
The European Union on Friday warned that a new Israeli law that allows stripping East Jerusalem Palestinians of their residency status in the city if they are involved in terrorism or treason would make the lives of Palestinians “even more precarious than it already is today.”

The Knesset on Wednesday enacted the law, which permits the interior minister to revoke the permanent residency status of East Jerusalem residents who are found to have committed actions constituting a “breach of trust” against the State of Israel.

The law applies to East Jerusalem residents with ties to terrorist groups, or who are convicted of terrorism or treason offenses, according to the definition of “breach of trust” laid out in the law. It would also likely apply to East Jerusalem Palestinians who have attacked IDF soldiers, which Israeli law defines as a terror offense.

In its statement, issued by the EU’s External Action Service, the organization emphasized it “rejects terrorism in all its forms,” and noted that “the crimes set out in this legislation are very serious.”
Palestinian killed in clash with IDF in Hebron amid Jerusalem embassy protests
A Palestinian man was killed in clashes on Friday with the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian health ministry said, as hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated against the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Mohammed al-Jabari, 24, was shot during the clashes and later died in hospital, the ministry said.

The Israeli army said a “riot” had broken out in Hebron and that protesters had attacked soldiers.

“Troops fired live rounds towards a main instigator who held a firebomb with the intent to hurl it,” a spokesman said, adding an investigation had been launched.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Jabari had disabilities, without further details. In December IDF soldiers killed a legless Palestinian man protesting near the Gaza border, causing an international outcry.

During the violent demonstrations, Palestinians threw rocks and fire bombs at the soldiers who responded with riot dispersal means. There were no reports of injuries to IDF forces.
ISIS takes aim at Temple Mount
Israel's outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and a small group of Islamic State supporters among Israeli Arabs are linked by a common idea: the concept of a worldwide Islamic caliphate. The unexpected combination of supporters of these two rival movements – which espouse very different ways of achieving that goal – has in recent years been playing out in hot spots of unemployment and incitement in the Jabarin neighborhood of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel.

In the past few months, the two movements' common ground has been stretched to the most volatile place in Israel – the Temple Mount – and can be seen in the form of three terrorist cells. The first carried out a shocking terrorist attack inside the Temple Mount compound last July. Its members were raised on the wild fabrications of the Northern Branch and the Muslim Brotherhood. The other two cells are new on the scene and no less dangerous: cells of Islamic State supporters that were finally exposed last September and this past February after having stayed off the media's radar.

The blurry line that separates supporters of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement from ISIS supporters turns out to be what ties them together. Leader of the Northern Branch Sheikh Raed Salah envisions Jerusalem as the capital of an international Muslim caliphate. The "Al-Aqsa is in danger" narrative, with which Salah is closely identified, is only one stairway to that particular heaven. The Islamic State and its supporters, on the other hand, have never limited or defined the borders of the future caliphate, or named a capital for it. After their fall in Syria and Iraq, the issues of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa are, for them, a new horizon, or at least a potential one.
Gush Etzion Terrorists Caught by Thermal Drone
A terrorist cell from the village of al-Khader on Monday threw Molotov cocktails at a road where tens of thousands of Israelis travel. Fighters from the Netz Company of the Nitzan Battalion identified the cell using a thermal hovercraft and captured them following a short chase.

In the documentation published by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, a terrorist is seen arriving with a squad from the village of al-Khader, north of the town of Efrat, and throwing Molotov cocktails at Route 60, a major traffic artery.

The fighters ambushed the terrorists and identified them in real-time using a DJI Matrice 100 drone deployed with a thermal camera, while the terrorists were throwing Molotov cocktails. The fighters also used special helmet cameras that helped them locate the terrorists from the point of the ambush.

Observers from the Etzion Regional Brigade directed the fighters who began chasing the terror cell on foot, and after only a few minutes managed to catch one terrorist and transfer him to the Shabak for interrogation.

IDF sources said that over the past year, the Nitzan Battalion’s soldiers have carried out about 90 successful ambushes, during which they foiled efforts to throw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles.
Palestinian leaders slam Israel after undercover police raid university campus
Palestinian leaders slammed Israel on Thursday after undercover Border Police officers arrested a Palestinian student in a daylight raid at a Palestinian university near Ramallah on Wednesday.

Undercover forces arrested Omar Kiswani, the Hamas-affiliated chairman of the student council at Bir Zeit University, who “is suspected of being involved in terrorist activities,” Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

“This latest incident is part of an ongoing policy in which Israel willfully targets and undermines academic freedoms in schools and universities and deprives our younger generations from exercising their right to education and achieving a brighter future free of military occupation, violence and oppression,” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.

In a video of the arrest, plain-clothes police are seen forcibly escorting Kiswani off the university grounds, while other officers point handguns at students standing nearby.

Abdel Hakim Hanini, a founder of Hamas’s armed wing, said Kiswani’s arrest was “a criminal act” that Israel “carried out at the expense of our people.”
JCPA: Corruption in the Palestinian Authority
Apparently, after 13 years in government as the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas is following in the footsteps of other Arab leaders in the region with regard to maintaining moral integrity. He will go down in Palestinian history as a figure who never considered the difficult situation of the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, who created divisions and dissension between the West Bank and Gaza, and who betrayed the Arab states with regard to the Palestinian issue and the U.S. government’s efforts to present the “deal of the century” to the Palestinians and Arabs.

His sole interest during his final years in government is how to retire from the tumult of political life without making any concessions to Israel and the United States, once he has assured the welfare of his family and their economic future.

The widespread belief on the Palestinian street is that most of the senior PA officials close to Abbas and involved in his acts of corruption will now seize additional opportunities before the leadership changes. They will smuggle funds abroad and move their families to Jordan and the Gulf States in preparation for what will follow.

The public will expect that any Palestinian leader who replaces Abbas will “sweep out the stables.” He will have to catch scapegoats, put them on trial, and confiscate their property to demonstrate that he is fighting corruption.
MEMRI: Article In Hamas Mouthpiece Calls To Renew Suicide Attacks
Marking the 22nd anniversary of the Jaffa Road bus bombings, perpetrated in 1996 by Hamas, the movement's military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, posted on its website a special supplement devoted to these attacks. The bombings, dubbed "The Holy Revenge" by Hamas, were carried out in retaliation for the January 5, 1996 killing of senior Hamas operative Yahya 'Ayyash, who was responsible for several other suicide attacks. The special online supplement included two long articles about their planning and execution, a review of each one, photographs of their aftermath, and a video documenting one of them.

Following publication of the supplement, Mustafa Al-Sawwaf, a columnist for the Hamas mouthpiece, published an article calling for the renewal of suicide attacks against Israel.

The Special Supplement On The Al-Qassam Website: Articles In Praise Of The 1996 Bus Bombings
The special supplement on the Al-Qassam Brigades website included two long articles in which Hassan Salameh, the Al-Qassam commander who masterminded the attacks and is incarcerated in Israel, describes in detail how they were planned and executed, including the recruitment of the suicide bombers. Salameh praises the martyrs and the attacks they perpetrated, and especially their love of jihad and their willingness to sacrifice their lives. In the first article, Salameh is quoted as saying, "This is a story about the love of sacrifice of Al-Qassam members who knew the path and stayed on it, and bequeathed to those who came after them a jihad that still continues... Today we remember the heroes of these operations, the martyrs whom Allah chose after they gained the honor of perpetrating large-scale attacks."
Several injured in Hamas training accident
Reports from Gaza say that several people were injured in a training accident at a Hamas military installation in the Shati Refugee Camp in western Gaza City. (h/t Yenta Press)
Gazans Protest Against Facebook for Removing Palestinian Accounts for Terror Support
During a protest in Gaza against Facebook’s removal of Palestinian accounts and pages, organized by the Journalist Support Committee, Tawfiq Al-Sayyid Salim, head of the Palestinian Media Assembly, said that the “targeting of Palestinian content by Facebook” was “no less dangerous than the physical targeting of Palestinian journalists and media by the occupation forces.”

Accusing Facebook of violating freedom of speech, he said that “Facebook has lost its standing as a social media website” and has become “an accomplice in the crimes committed against the Palestinians.”

Palestinian new media expert Khaled Safi said that Palestinian content was being monitored by Israelis, complaining that the Facebook page of the Hamas TV channel Al-Aqsa was taken down multiple times over a “completely normal post” — “just a word, a knife, or even car tires.”
WHERE ARE YOU, WESTERN FEMINISTS? Iranian Woman Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Removing Her Headscarf
On Wednesday, Tehran’s judiciary announced that an Iranian woman protesting in December against the mandatory hijab for women was sentenced to two years in prison.

As Lisa Daftari writes at The Foreign Desk, the judiciary stated that the woman was guilty of “encouraging corruption” for removing her headscarf.

According to judicial sources in Iran, the woman plans to appeal the verdict; if the appeal fails, she will be eligible for parole after serving three months in jail. Tehran’s chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said the sentence should have been more severe, adding that he would seek the full two-year sentence to be carried out.

As Daftari notes:
Over 35 women have been detained in just capital-city Tehran since December 2017 for breaching compulsory veiling laws, with at least two women facing trial under the new draconian law, according to leading rights group Amnesty International. Many of the female protestors braved near-certain arrest by removing their headscarves in public while standing on utility boxes and other public platforms and sharing photos and videos of themselves on social media.

On December 27, Vida Movahed, a 31-year-old mother, was arrested by Iranian authorities after a video of her with her hair uncovered and waving a white hijab went viral; there were protests around the world which precipitated Iranian authorities to release her in late January.

The Case for a New Red Line on the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria
According to available estimates, over 500 people have been killed by Bashar al-Assad and his allies in the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, an area close to Damascus. Besides artillery and barrel bombs, Syrian forces have also been using chlorine gas on the civilian population there. The editors of Bloomberg urge the U.S., and its Western allies, to take a stand:

The moral responsibility for Eastern Ghouta clearly belongs to the Syrian government and its primary sponsors, Iran and Russia. But the West has hardly covered itself in glory with its efforts to stop the atrocities.

First, it failed to get any serious sanctions against Syria at the United Nations Security Council. And then, of course, there was President Barack Obama’s infamous “red line” warning that the U.S. would respond militarily if Assad used chemical weapons on his people. The dictator called Obama’s bluff, one of the worst humiliations for U.S. foreign policy in the post-cold-war era. . . .

But the West hasn’t been [entirely] spineless. Last April, after a sarin-gas assault, President Donald Trump authorized a large-scale cruise-missile attack on a Syrian air base. At the time, many scoffed that this was a token effort that did relatively little harm to Syria’s military. But there has been no verified use of sarin in Syria since the U.S. struck back.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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


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The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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