Friday, April 13, 2018

From Ian:

Palestinian "March of Return" Seeks to Undo the Reality of Israel
Had the Arabs accepted the 1947 UN partition plan, there would have been two states - the larger one Palestine, the smaller one Israel. The Jewish leaders accepted the proposal, reluctantly, but the Arabs rejected it and chose to launch a war that, despite all odds, resulted in the creation of the Jewish state. Seven decades later, the major stumbling block to peace remains Arab resistance to a Jewish state in the region, regardless of its borders.

The "March of Return" is not just an effort to mourn the Arab defeat but an attempt to undo it. Rather than face the reality of Israel, Hamas seeks to destroy it through violent means. Despite claims that the border protests are peaceful, the goal is to break through the physical barrier and wreak havoc on Israel's citizens.

Most Israelis hate the violence but are not ready to allow the state's borders to be breached so that their sworn enemies can come in and kill them. What country would?

While I have much empathy for Gazans who live in poverty, they should be venting against Hamas, which spends precious resources on digging tunnels and stocking up on rockets to attack Israel rather than attending to the needs of its people.

After the Holocaust and the decimation of the great majority of European Jews, the Jewish leaders of Palestine wept but did not whine. They proclaimed a state and fought valiantly to make it a reality. Palestinian leaders lost that war of aggression and still blame everyone but themselves for their predicament.

In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one side seeks peace and pursues the future with optimism, despite serious challenges, while the other seeks revenge and focuses on the past with bitterness and regret.

Official Palestinian TV Broadcasts Holocaust Denial
Two days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, an official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV channel broadcasted claims that Jews “colluded with Hitler.”

On April 10, 2018, PA TV aired an interview with Hani Abu Zeid, a Palestinian political analyst and commentator. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit that translates Arabic, Persian and Russian media, reported on the incident:

Hani Abu Zeid: "The [Israeli] soldier, the officers behind him, and even the Israeli war [sic] minister, and above him, Netanyahu should stand trial as war criminals. The accumulation of cases, one after the other... The Israelis will end up shedding tears of blood [out of regret] for their current conduct. They used to cry about the false Holocaust in the days of Hitler, the scope of which was not that large. I'd like to point out..."

Interviewer: "The [Holocaust] is a lie that they spread worldwide."

Hani Abu Zeid: "Yes, it was a lie, and many Israelis, or many Jews, colluded with Hitler, so that he would facilitate the bringing of settlers to Palestine."

As the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has noted: “Holocaust denial and minimization or distortion of the facts of the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism.”

Yet, Holocaust denial remains commonplace in much of the Arab world, including in Palestinian society and culture. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, for example, claimed in his doctoral dissertation—done under Soviet auspices—that the Holocaust was exaggerated.
What is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Really About and How Will it End
Dr. Einat Wilf, former member of Israel's Parliament (Knesset), giving a definitive explanation as to the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how it will end.

DEFIANCE: In this dismal situation, the Jewish people and the State of Israel diplomatically owe the world nothing.
Just who exactly has the right to tell Israel how to defend its borders?

Might it be the French government, which this week condemned the IDF for employing what it called “indiscriminate fire” against Hamas terrorists who are seeking to breach the Gaza border?

This is the same French who have never known how to defend their own borders, neither against Nazi invasion nor against Islamist infiltration; the same French, two of whose local embassy personnel were last month arrested for smuggling dozens of weapons from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

Might it be the European Union, which this week snorted that the deaths of Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border “raise serious questions about proportionate use of force” by Israel?

Proportionate?! This is the same EU that continues to intervene massively and disproportionately on behalf of the Palestinians in their struggle with Israel – through gargantuan sums of aid money that in part goes to pay terrorists and fund hostile NGOs, by building illegal settlements in Area C for Palestinian squatters, and by supporting anti-Israel resolution after resolution in international forums including those that deny Jewish history in Jerusalem.

The EU is lecturing Israel about proportionality? Do EU governments demand proportionate response from their police SWAT forces when they hunt down homegrown terrorists and airport bombers in Paris, Brussels and Marseille?

And besides, the demand for “proportionality” in military conflict seems to be a nonsensical special law cynically applied only to Israel – as if Israel were in a sportsmanlike joust with Hamas or Hezbollah.
Liberman calls on Gazans to live peacefully alongside Israel
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called on Gazans Thursday to “change direction” and focus on how to live peacefully alongside Israel instead of trying to destroy the country.

Speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event in the Yad Mordechai kibbutz some 5 kilometers (3.5 miles) from the Gaza border, Liberman said that Israel always extends its hand to peace, but will not stand idly by in the face of threats.

“My message to our neighbors from the south — you will never succeed in breaking us. Change direction and start to think, not about how to destroy the State of Israel, but how to exist alongside the State of Israel,” he said.

Although Israel left Gaza over a decade ago, the Hamas terror group still seeks to uproot the Jewish state, Liberman lamented.

“Unfortunately, the battle over our very right to exist as a Jewish and free state continues to this day, even though the State of Israel extended a hand of peace to all its neighbors. We have signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and have left the Gaza Strip up to the last millimeter of the 1967 lines,” he said.

“Today, the leaders of the Gaza Strip threaten to destroy the State of Israel, to return the refugees to Tel Aviv, Haifa and Safed, and sirens blare as a result of their rocket fire at the communities in the south,” he continued.
Palestinians prepare to burn Israeli flags on third weekend of protests
The hashtags #RaisingFlag, referring to the Palestinian flag, and #BurningFlag, referring to the Israeli flag, have been prevalent in recent days among Palestinians on social media as they prepare for protests Friday near the Gaza border fence. Mass burning of Israeli flags is planned for Friday as the "Great March of Return" enters its third weekend.

One such demonstration was already observed by IDF soldiers who were closely following developments in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Ahmed Abu Ratima, a spokesman for the "Great March of Return," which began on March 30th and will reach its peak on May 15th, said the Palestinian public in the Gaza Strip is preparing for a third protest, titled, "Raising the Palestinian flag and burning the flag of the occupation."

"During the processions, there will be a massive presence of local and international media that have placed the processions for the peace of the Gaza Strip at the top of their priorities," Abu Ratima said, calling on the public, including through Hamas-affiliated media, to maintain non-violent marches and not to divert from the track they set out on. "The processions will continue until the goal is achieved— the right of return under UN Resolution 194 and the breaking of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip," he told Hamas daily Al-Risala.

Seth J Frantzman: Terrorist or journalist? Who really was the slain Gazan Yaser Murtaja?
On Tuesday, unnamed Israeli security officials told Walla that Murtaja was a Hamas activist and active in the Hamas “security apparatus’s work on a daily basis” to help the terrorist organization with intelligence gathering. Prime Minister’s Office spokesmen Ofir Gendelman and David Keyes both tweeted that Murtaja was not only on the Hamas payroll since 2011 but that he held the rank of captain and had a “prior association with the military wing [the Izzadin Kassam Brigades].”

The International Federation of Journalists disputes this and alleges that “Israeli soldiers murdered a journalist,” and the “defense minister is more interested in spouting propaganda and engaging in a cover-up than in carrying out a thorough and transparent investigation.”

A NEW TWIST emerged on Thursday when it was revealed that the US Agency for International Development provided a $11,700 grant to Ain Media in March. Reuters reported that the grant was for technical assistance and equipment, and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert indicated Murtaja had been “vetted” under department guidelines. However, she didn’t provide the specifics of the case. An inquiry to USAID was not answered by press time.

This raises two distinct questions. If Murtaja was a Hamas officer and using equipment to gather intelligence against Israel, then that would indicate that major NGOs and the US had erred greatly in working with him. Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist, also worked with Murtaja and wrote about him on Instagram after his death.

Israel has sought in the past to spotlight NGOs accused of working with Hamas. A manager for World Vision was detained in 2016. Earlier this year Israel also indicted a member of a Turkish humanitarian aid group in Gaza, accusing him of financing Hamas’s military wing. However, public inquiries about Murtaja’s work had not been raised before his death.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that Murtaja’s “double role as a media man and Hamas operative is part of a well-known phenomenon.” It said that an examination of 17 people killed in the 2014 war in Gaza (Operation Protective Edge) who were said to be journalists revealed that eight of them “belonged to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
Terrorist killed in IDF strike in Gaza took part in Nahal Oz attack
The terrorist killed in an Israeli Air Force strike in the Gaza Strip on Thursday was a member of the cell that killed five Israeli soldiers in an attack on an IDF outpost during the Gaza conflict in 2014, Hamas-affiliated media outlets reported Thursday.

Muhammad Hajila was a member of Hamas' military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas outlets said.

Originally, Hamas presented Hajila as a civilian who had been killed by IDF fire, but pictures published of his body dressed in an Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades shirt, as well as messages disseminated in Gaza, exposed his identity as a terrorist.

Palestinian media reported that Hajila, a father of three, was killed as he was operating a machine gunnery post targeted by the IDF on Thursday. The reports also said that two of Hajila's brothers had been killed carrying out acts of "resistance," one in 2004 and the other in 2008.

"We are revealing the identity of one of the perpetrators of the action at Nahal Oz that broke the legs and the heads of the soldiers of the occupation [Israel] – the shahid [martyr] and hero of the Shujaiyya neighborhood," a Twitter feed associated with Hamas declared.

In the ambush at Nahal Oz during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, armed terrorists rushed an IDF outpost and killed five soldiers: Sgts. Erez Sagi, Daniel Kedmi, Barkey Ishai Shor, Dor Dery and Nadav Raimond.
AP Sidesteps Skepticism and Science in Relaying Palestinian "Explosive Bullets" Charge
The Associated Press seems to believe that if a shooting victim has an exit wound that's larger than his entry wound, this is convincing evidence that he was struck by "explosive bullets."

That's what readers of an AP story today learn from Dr. Ayman Sahbani, who is quoted saying that, among Palestinians wounded during clashes along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, "a noticeable number of the gunshot injuries comprise an exit point larger than the entry point, suggesting explosive bullets." Sahbani is spokesman and emergency room director at Shifa Hospital, which the Washington Post reported was a "de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders" during the terror organization's 2014 war with Israel.

The relative sizes of entry and exit wounds are the only evidence provided in the AP story, and reporter Fares Akram relays Sahbani's charge without skepticism or challenge.

According to ballistics experts and doctors, though, it is typical for exit wounds to be larger than entry wounds. "At high velocities, mainly over 2,000 fps the bullet deformity and tumbling in the body usually causes a larger and more irregular exit wound than the entrance," doctors Nimrod Rozen and Israel Dudkiewicz explain in their chapter on "Wound Ballistics and Tissue Damage" in the book Armed Conflict Injuries to the Extremities: A Treatment Manual. (Wounds from low velocity bullets may behave differently.)

According to the British Journal of Surgery, "The exit wound is usually the larger." A piece in the Canadian Medical Association Journal likewise explains that "exit wounds … are often larger than entrance wounds." An article on gunshot wounds to the skull in Forensic Science International studied 17 entrance and exit gunshot wounds and found that, in all but one case, the exit wound was larger than the entry wound.

Update: After correspondence with CAMERA, AP has commendably updated its story, removing the reference to explosive bullets and noting that the wounds described are consistent with rifle fire.
New York Times Bias on Full Display in Editorial
Today's NYT editorial is predictable, touting the same message the Times touts day after day in its news pages, Op-Eds and editorials: Israelis are bad and Palestinians are their innocent victims. The editorial, "Israel's Violent Response to Nonviolent Protests" includes all the familiar tropes employed by the Times to demonize Israel. It is all rather formulaic by now.

1) Present Israeli version of events as allegation but adopt Palestinian claims as truth:

- Israel has said some Gazans have tried to toss crude explosives, shoot weapons and breach the barrier....
- The government claims that the protests are a cover for a more violent Hamas agenda...
- But, in general, the protests have been peaceful...
- but in the face of unarmed civilians it could do so with nonlethal tactics...
- There has been no apparent reason for Israel to use live ammunition.

In fact, on the same day the editorial came out, supposedly peaceful, non-violent Palestinians detonated an explosive device near an Israeli bulldozer in the buffer zone near the security barrier.

2) Dismiss Israeli claims, even when your reasoning lacks any logic:
- The Israeli military has said its forces did not intentionally shoot journalists. But that assertion was undercut by Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defense minister, who said on Tuesday that Mr. Murtaja was a Hamas captain who had used a drone to collect intelligence on Israeli forces. That volatile charge is at odds with independent news reporting and, if it is false, could put other journalists at grave risk.

How exactly does Lieberman's claim that Murtaja is, in fact, a Hamas captain trying to collect intelligence "undercut" the assertion that Israel did not deliberately target journalists???? It doesn't. On the contrary, if Murtaja was indeed a Hamas operative collecting intelligence, then it would support Israel's claim that soldiers were not targeting journalists.
New York Times Editorial Suggests Israel Use Fire Hoses on Palestinian Protesters
I’ve got no objection to Israel using the least lethal methods possible to defend its borders and its population. But the Times second-guessing Israeli tactics from the relative safety of its Times Square headquarters is silly. We’re still awaiting The New York Times editorial suggesting taking away the guns from New York City police officers and requiring them instead to protect New Yorkers with water balloons.

Nor is the “high-powered fire hoses” suggestion the only ridiculous part of the Times editorial. The editorial claims, “Since the protests began, Israeli forces have killed at least 29 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,000. On the day Mr. Murtaja died, eight other Palestinians were killed and five other journalists were among a thousand injured. There have been no known Israeli casualties.”

That uses an arbitrary start time for the beginning of the “protests.” Arabs have been engaging in violent riots and warfare against Jews in the land of Israel since at least the Hebron and Safed massacres of 1929, with tens of thousands of Israelis killed or wounded. Would the Times feel better about the most recent series of clashes if, rather than “no known Israeli casualties,” there had been more Jews killed or wounded?

The Times explains that the unsigned editorial “represents the opinion” of the Times editorial board, the editor of the editorial page, and the Times publisher. It’s the institutional voice of the newspaper.
Michael Totten: The Case for Bombing Assad
Syria is a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which as of 2017 has eliminated 96% of the world’s stockpiles, but treaties written by civilized people are worthless in the capitals of despotic criminal rogue states. Laws—or “laws,” if you insist in the international realm—are nothing more than suggestions without enforcement mechanisms. Air and missile strikes aren’t the only conceivable enforcement mechanisms, but sanctions and diplomatic isolation would likely have no effect whatsoever in the apocalyptic hellscape of Syria under Assad.

After World War I, the now-expired League of Nations ratified the Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. It lasted for a while, but it didn’t stick—Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used nerve agents with devastating effects during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

UN investigators issued a report and a warning at the time: “It is vital to realize that the continued use of chemical weapons in the present conflict increases the risk of their use in future conflicts. In view of this, and as individuals who witnessed first-hand the terrible effects of chemical weapons, we again make a special plea to you to try to do everything in your power to stop the use of such weapons in the Iran–Iraq conflict and thus ensure that they are not used in future conflicts. ... In our view, only concerted efforts at the political level can be effective in ensuring that all the signatories of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 abide by their obligations. Otherwise, if the Protocol is irreparably weakened after 60 years of general international respect, this may lead, in the future, to the world facing the specter of the threat of biological weapons.”

Biological weapons have never been used on the battlefield, but Saddam Hussein did receive an implicit green light from the rest of us, and he used chemical weapons again in his genocidal Anfal Campaign against the Kurdish population in Northern Iraq.

The Assad regime won’t disappear or suddenly turn into a model of good government by a couple of punishing strikes, nor will the number of Syrian dead in the future be reduced even by one. Those are not the objectives. The objective is (or at least should be) making the use of a weapon of mass destruction more costly than not using it, to demonstrate not just to Assad but also to every other would-be war criminal that the norm established in 1993 on behalf of every human being will not go down without a fight.

This is not what we might expect from a president who campaigned as an America Firster, but hardly any of us are mindlessly consistent ideologically.
Mattis on Syria Strategy: We Must ‘Keep Our Foot on the Neck of ISIS Until We Suffocate It’
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday said the United States is not going to engage in the civil war in Syria but will continue to focus on defeating ISIS.

Mattis, who was addressing a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, would not discuss the U.S. military strategy process, but he did talk about the importance of defeating ISIS and protecting civilians in Syria.

"Both the last administration and this one made very clear that our role in Syria is the defeat of ISIS," Mattis said. "We are not going to engage in the civil war itself. Now you can look back to a year ago when we did fire missiles into Syria unrelated to ISIS and that was of course the use of chemical weapons. And some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale, and in the worst interest of not just the chemical weapons convention, but of civilization itself."

Mattis then took a shot at the Obama administration for, as it attempted to remove chemical weapons from Syria, enlisting help from the Russians, who Mattis said are now "complicit" in helping the Assad regime retain the weapons.

"The only reason Assad is still in power is because of the Russians regrettable vetos in the [United Nations] and the Russian and Iranian military. So how do we deal with this very complex situation?" Mattis said. "First of all, we are committed to ending that war through the Geneva process through the U.N. orchestrated effort. It has been unfulfilled because again Russia has continually blocked the effort."

Why Do Neo-Nazis Adore Bashar al-Assad?
Ever since the infamous riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalists and supremacists could be counted on to support Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

James Fields, who mowed down a crowd of anti-fascist protesters with his car, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others, posted on his Facebook page a picture of Assad in full military uniform with the word “undefeated” inscribed underneath, while three men who participated in the rally praised Assad’s use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons against his own people.

“Israel (with American approval) is, of course, attacking the civilized, European societies--the people who *should* rule in the region,” tweeted white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, praising the Assad family even after Syria again used nerve gas against its own citizens, murdering at least 42 adults and children, while injuring hundreds more.

Perversely, it makes sense that white supremacists support Assad because of his hostility toward the Jewish state. But classifying him as a white European? At first glance, it seems strange that white supremacists would view Assad, an Arab Alawite, as one of their own. But it is not unprecedented.

In Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, history professor Jeffrey Herf highlights how Nazi officials took great pains to reassure Arab diplomats that Nazi ideology and policy were directed against Jews and not toward non-Jewish Semites. Nazis responded to questions from the Egyptians by saying that the Nuremberg racial laws did not apply to them, while the German Foreign Ministry reassured the Iranian embassy in Berlin of the racial kinship between Germans and Iranians.

“Nazism viewed Arabs and Muslims as different but, in clear contrast to the racial hierarchy presented in Mein Kampf, not as racially inferior,” writes Prof. Herf.
With Anti-Israel Resolutions, UNESCO ‘Fiddling in the Chamber While the Middle East Burns,’ Jewish Human Rights Advocate Says
An official with a prominent US-based Jewish human rights group has criticized UNESCO over two anti-Israel resolutions set to be discussed on Wednesday by the global cultural body’s Executive Board.

“While ignoring the current poison gas attacks and constant massacres in neighboring Syria, the Turkish flagrant aggression on Syrian Kurds, Russian murderous attacks on Syrian civilians and the terror-training of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah threatened upon Israel, UNESCO serves as an alternative reality — fiddling in the chamber while the Middle East burns,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), said on Tuesday.

The resolutions referred to by Samuels are agenda items 25 and 26 — titled “Occupied Palestine” and “Educational and Cultural Institutions in the Occupied Arab Territories.”

Last week, Israel’s UNESCO ambassador, Carmel Shama Hacohen, lambasted agenda item 25 — submitted by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan — as “the most extreme and problematic text” ever considered by the body.

“Article 2 [of the resolution] brings through the backdoor all conceivable anti-Israel prior resolutions,” Samuels explained on Tuesday. “Article 4 on ‘Occupied Palestine’ endorses within this construct the Palestinization of Jerusalem, THE TWO PALESTINIAN SITES IN AL-KHALIL/Hebron and Bethlehem — an oblique de-judaization of the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb.”
UNESCO shelves ‘anti-Israel’ resolutions for six months after quiet diplomacy
The United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture agreed unanimously on Thursday to delay by at least six months voting on two resolutions, one on Gaza and another on Jerusalem, that an Israeli official had denounced as “the most extreme and problematic text” ever proposed.

Following negotiations on Tuesday by the Israeli delegation and the Arab nations that sponsored the resolution, the executive council of the body voted unanimously to delay a decision on the two resolutions until the next session to be held in October.

The decision was welcomed by Audrey Azoulay, the newly appointed director-general of UNESCO.

“I welcome the spirit of dialogue and responsibility that has allowed a consensual decision to be reached in the framework of the Executive board during its discussions concerning the Middle East,” she tweeted.

She added that the agreement between the nations heralded a new era for the international body.
Israel ‘more than happy’ after compromise on UNESCO resolution
Diplomats at UNESCO are hailing a possible breakthrough on longstanding Israeli-Arab tensions at the UN cultural agency.

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO said the mood was “like a wedding” after member nations signed off on a rare compromise resolution Thursday on “Occupied Palestine.”

The document is still quite critical of Israel, notably its actions in Jerusalem and Gaza. But Israeli Ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen told The Associated Press that diplomats agreed to move the most controversial language to a non-binding annex and avoided a contentious vote.

The compromise, worked out in months of painstaking negotiations, was largely technical. But it was an unusual example of Mideast cooperation at UNESCO, which Israel has long seen as biased toward Arab nations — especially since it admitted Palestine as a member in 2011.

Other diplomats said they hope the compromise encourages the US and Israel to reconsider their decision to quit UNESCO at the end of this year.

“It means that the spirit of dialogue is not broken,” UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay told The Associated Press. Since taking over in November, Azoulay has been working to clean up the agency’s reputation and shore up a budget gutted by geopolitical disputes.
Honduran National Congress urges embassy relocation to Jerusalem
The Honduran National Congress on Thursday backed a resolution calling for its embassy in Israel to be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Citing warm ties with Israel, the non-binding motion calls on the Central American nation’s foreign ministry to move the Honduran mission to the capital, according to a statement. Any decision to move the embassy rests with the executive branch.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry hailed the vote, with a spokesperson saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would soon speak to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

In February, Honduras was one of only eight countries that opposed a UN General Assembly resolution condemning US President Donald Trump’s December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, along with Guatemala, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo.

Guatemala has since announced it will relocate its embassy to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US is scheduled to move its mission to the capital, the Jerusalem municipality said Wednesday.
From Obama to Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Record on Israel Shows Unwavering Support
House Speaker Paul Ryan — who announced on Wednesday that he will not be seeking re-election in the Wisconsin 1st District that he has represented since 1998 — will be remembered by Israel’s advocates in Washington, DC, as one of the Jewish state’s most stalwart backers during its diplomatic clashes with the Obama administration.

Ryan won many plaudits in January 2017 for his forthright speech to the House of Representatives in which he declared, “I am stunned! I am stunned!” in response to the unprecedented US abstention the previous month on a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlement activities.

“This government — our government — abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most,” Ryan declared.

The veteran Republican also crossed swords with the Obama administration over the nuclear deal with Iran reached three months before he was elected speaker of the House in October 2015 — and pointedly chose Israel as the destination for his first overseas visit in that post the following March.

Addressing AIPAC’s policy conference in Washington, DC, in that same month, Ryan criticized the deal as one in which the Tehran regime “got something for essentially nothing.”

“Instead of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, we legitimized it,” Ryan asserted. “This is a huge threat to Israel. And it is a threat to our country too.”
Jewish Republicans ‘very confident’ white supremacist won’t replace Paul Ryan
Thanking House Speaker Paul Ryan for his service, the Republican Jewish Coalition on Wednesday urged the party to seek an alternative to the racist candidate who is running in Ryan’s Wisconsin district.

Ryan said Wednesday that he would serve out his term as speaker, but would not run again this year in order to spend more time with his family.

Paul Nehlen, a far-right candidate who challenged Ryan in the 2016 primary and was beaten soundly, is mounting another run this year. He peddles anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish control of the media.

“Although a fringe candidate with abhorrent neo-Nazi views was already running against the Speaker, we are very confident that with the leadership of the Wisconsin GOP, the eventual Republican nominee to fill Paul Ryan’s House seat (WI-01) will be someone who upholds the GOP’s best values and traditions,” Matt Brooks, the RJC’s director, said Wednesday in a statement.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Is Jordan about to fall apart?
For the past few years, especially since the "Arab Spring" began, the role of the man in the Arab street has become significant, with the masses gaining strength due to the voice, presence, influence and power they have on social media. Before the advent of the web, the media were in the hands of the government and broadcast only what the ruler agreed to and wanted to publicize. In past years, there were sometimes local protests, especially in the southern Bedouin city of Maan whose residents did not join the regime and who sometimes expressed support for ISIS. The government dealt with those protests behind the scenes, and they simply faded away.

In the early part of 2018, a new and previously unseen series of demonstrations began with slogans containing problematic content as far as the king was concerned. An important detail that should not be overlooked is that those using those expressions did not conceal their faces, meaning they were not afraid of the king or his security apparatus.

The immediate background to these protests is the economic deterioration in Jordan, stemming – among other things – from the decrease in economic support granted by other countries, mainly by the Gulf States. The difficult situation is seen in higher prices for basic products, such as bread, new taxes on the agricultural sector (Palestinians), on imported cars and gasoline, along with higher taxes on hybrid cars that use less fuel, higher prices for electricity, surging unemployment due to the influx of Syrian and Iraqi refugees – and a general feeling of helplessness in the face of close to 2 million refugees flooding the country and destroying its economy and the delicate social fabric between its demographic components.

Many fear that the corrupt regime gives in to external pressures from the USA, Europe, the UN, and the International Monetary Fund because of the funds that find their way to the coffers of the heads of state and members of parliament. The parliament, meant to represent the citizenry and its interests, rubber stamps the annual budget, and is therefore viewed as collaborating with the government and the royal family.

At the recent protests in Dhiban, a village 45 miles south of Amman, some of the slogans heard (my additions in parentheses, M.K.) were:
"Why should we beat around the bush? The king is at fault! The regime is responsible!"
"You who's writing the report (the informers): Tell the big boss - the little boss ( the crowd, scornfully): Change! Change! There will be change! There will be! We have decided and you the dealer (p*imp), will get hell from us"
"O, Allah the hero! We want to bring this treasonous p*imp to justice!"
"O, people of Dhiban, we prefer death to humiliation (by the regime)"
"Freedom, liberty, and to hell with the thieves"
Woman stabbed in back protests after Palestinian attacker charged with assault
In a statement responding to the sentence, Zmora said she felt that like Faiz, the military court had also “stabbed her in the back.”

“We expected a clear and unequivocal statement that the State of Israel does not lend a hand to the murder of Jews, and unfortunately, this is not what happened here,” Zmora added.

She was joined by a chorus of voices, including Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Zmora survived the incident after being rushed to the hospital with the knife still wedged in her back. Doctors were able to successfully remove the weapon during surgery.

The mother of eight had been in the parking lot of the Rami Levy supermarket when the Palestinian resident of Hebron ran at her while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” He only managed to stab her once from behind because the handle of his knife broke.

The judges used this fact to argue that it was impossible to prove whether Faiz would have stabbed Zmora again. They also pointed to the fact that he stabbed her in the back and not in the chest with a relatively shorter knife (4.7 inches long) to argue that he may have only sought to injure the resident of the Beit Haggai settlement.

“Even when a stabbing offense is committed with a nationalistic background, it is necessary to point to the existence of an intent to kill, and when it is doubtful whether we are dealing with the intent to kill or intentionally cause harm, it acts in favor of the accused,” the judges wrote.

As the charge was being read on Wednesday, the shaken family of the victim began shouting at the judges, “this is a murderer we’re talking about!”
EU Extends Rights Sanctions on Iran, at Odds Over New Measures
The European Union extended sanctions on Iran over human rights violations on Thursday, as the bloc prepared for a clash over whether to impose a new set of penalties in the hope of safeguarding a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic.

US President Donald Trump has been a fierce critic of the 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran. He has given a May 12 deadline to fix it, threatening otherwise not to extend US sanctions relief on Iran related to the agreement.

The EU is eager to safeguard the pact, under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear ambitions for at least a decade, but divided over how to achieve that.

France has pushed for new sanctions over Iran’s missile programme and involvement in conflicts in the region, including in Syria where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad. Paris hopes that would show Trump the EU takes his concerns seriously.

But Italy leads the sceptic camp, fearing any such move would upset Tehran and European firms’ chances of winning lucrative contracts there as the country opens up after decades of international isolation.

Rome also says there is no guarantee that new punitive measures from the EU would ensure Trump does not walk away from the nuclear accord anyway.
"Terrorism" Turkish Style
"Erdoğan has cynically referred to these students as 'terrorists,' vowed to expel them from Boğaziçi University, and to deny them the right to study at any other university. We have heard this kind of verbal attack from Erdoğan before and it was followed by the detention of thousands of academics, journalists, artists, and human rights advocates." — Open Letter signed by over 1,800 renowned academics from around the world, including Nobel and Pulitzer Prize laureates.

Ankara does nothing to prevent ISIS from selling Yazidi women and children in Turkey; allows unspecified numbers of people to use Turkish territory as a point of entrance into Syria and Iraq to join ISIS or other jihadist groups; hosts and aids Hamas, a terrorist organization that proudly targets civilians and vows to obliterate Israel; and enables jihadi terrorism through the oil trade.

Turkey, a NATO ally that considers itself a worthy candidate for EU membership, warmly welcomes and assists terrorists who commit genocidal crimes against humanity, yet persecutes non-violent academics and journalists whose opinions differ from those propagated by the regime.
Iraqi ex-minister calls to decapitate anyone flying Israeli flag
A former Iraqi minister accused Israel of using Iraqi Kurdistan as a base to spy on other countries in the region, while threatening to chop off the head and hands of anyone flying an Israeli flag in the country.

Baqir Jabr Al-Zubeidi, who headed Iraq’s transport, finance and interior ministries, was asked about what he alleges is an “Israeli presence” in the autonomous Kurdish region during an interview on Iraqi television last week.

“I saw it, and you saw it. The Zionist flags used to fly in Erbil,” said Jabr, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute translation.

He went on to allege Israel had established a number of offices in Kurdistan as part of a “de facto embassy,” which he said the Kurdistan Regional Government was aware of.

“They had three offices in Erbil, and a secret one in Sulaymaniyah. These were offices of a de facto Israeli embassy, under the guise of an interest section,” Jabr said, alleging Israel is using the facilities to spy on Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

Israel has no formal relations with Iraqi Kurdistan, though the Jewish state was the only country to back the region’s independence referendum in September, which voters overwhelmingly backed.

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