Wednesday, March 13, 2019

From Ian:

Former Israeli Defense Minister: Israeli-Arab Conflict Is Over
With Israel and a good part of the Sunni Arab world today sharing both common threats and opportunities, the term “Israeli-Arab” conflict is no longer applicable, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Monday.

“Today – at the present moment, in the meantime – there is not an Israeli-Arab conflict: There is an Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Ya’alon said at a conference at the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute marking the 40th anniversary later this month of the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement.

And none of that would have been possible, added Ya’alon – number three on the Blue and White Party list – had Egypt not removed itself from the circle of countries at war with Israel 40 years ago.
“When we look back at the agreement, there has not been a threat of conventional war against Israel since it was signed,” said the former IDF chief of staff. “No Arab leader or Arab army dared to challenge Israel as army-against-army, and the Yom Kippur War was the last war the Arab leaders initiated against us.”

He said that the signing of the peace agreement essentially put an end to the nationalist pan-Arabist threat to Israel, noting that a month before the agreement was signed on March 26, 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in Iran heralding the Islamic revolution in that country.

And that revolution, Ya’alon said, gave support and a strong back wind to all the variations of Islamic radicalism – be it Sunni or Shia – that the region has witnessed since: from an increase in the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, to the rise of Hamas and al-Qaeda. The vacuum created by the end of the nationalist pan-Arabist ideology was filled by a radical Islamist ideology, he said.

Israeli Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Crash Identified
Two Israelis killed in the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 have been identified as Avraham Matzliah of Ma’ale Adumim and Shimon Re’em of Zichron Ya’akov.

Matzliah, 49, was identified on Monday as a victim of the plane crash on Sunday near Addis Ababa. He was described as a loving father to his twin daughters, who both serve in the Israel Defense Forces, and a man with a good sense of humor. His high-tech work led him to travel often between Israel and Africa. He had apparently been on a trip to close a business deal for the Radwin telecom firm.

Shimon Re’em, 55, the father of five children, was a 23-year retired veteran of Israel’s Shin Bet security services who was working for Israel’s Shafran security consulting company at the time of his death.

Channel 13 news said Re’em once headed up security for two Israeli embassies in South America and then served as head of regional security for El Al Airlines.

According to reports, authorities are having a difficult time locating bodies of the victims, both because some have been scattered and others were burnt in the crash.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Abbas Stands 'Trial' for Treason
The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has made no secret of its desire to see Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas stand trial for betraying the Palestinians for his alleged "collaboration" with Israel and sanctions against the Gaza Strip.

Last year, a senior Hamas official, Ahmed Bahr, called for bringing Abbas to trial for "great treason" -- a crime punishable by death. Abbas is not only refusing to make peace with Hamas, he wants it to hand over its weapons to his government, Bahr said. "For that, he should be brought before a popular and constitutional court on charges of great treason."

Earlier, another Hamas official, Marwan Abu Ras, called for Abbas to be executed by hanging in accordance with Islamic sharia law. Abu Ras, accusing Abbas of "collaboration" with Israel, claimed that the Palestinian president was depriving the Gaza Strip of international financial aid. "Abbas is the biggest traitor the Palestinian cause has known," he said. "He should be put on trial in the center of the Gaza Strip and sentenced to death by hanging in line with sharia law."

Hamas's leaders are angry with Abbas: they say that he recognizes Israel's right to exist and is even prepared to accept US President Donald Trump's upcoming plan for peace in the Middle East, known as the "Deal of the Century."

They also say they want to hang Abbas because his security forces conduct security coordination with Israel in the West Bank and because of the economic sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip. The sanctions include cutting salaries to thousands of Palestinian employees there.

Above all, Hamas's leaders say the organization does not -- and will not -- recognize Israel's right to exist.

At bloodied Isle of Peace, some Israelis still hope to bridge divide with Jordan
22 years after Jordanian soldier massacred 7 Israeli schoolgirls, locals believe quiet diplomacy can yet save access to border enclave that turned from symbol of amity to enmity

The Island of Peace, a small pocket of land on the Israeli-Jordanian border formed by the confluence of the Yarmouk and the Jordan Rivers, lives up to its name, aesthetically at least. Rivers, both man-made and natural, border it on every side. In the winter, rains bring an explosion of green. Winds rustle the wheat stalks and the giant Jordanian flag as birds perch gracefully on the banks and, in the distance, cars whiz down Route 90.

At Naharayim — “double river” in Hebrew — which once powered the entire northern part of pre-state Israel with hydroelectricity, the country was stunned by an act of senseless violence 22 years ago Wednesday, and the site is now the center of a diplomatic tussle between Israel and Jordan.

Once a symbol of peace between Israel and Jordan, the enclave has since March 13, 1997, become a symbol of the division between the two countries, the more so after Amman last year decided to cancel an agreement to lease small plots of land on the border to Israeli farmers.

The Island of Peace is one of two plots of agricultural land that Jordan leases to Israel as part of the 1994 peace agreement between Jordan and Israel. According to the peace agreement, Jordan agreed to 25-year leases for two areas – Naharayim in the north and Tzofar in the south. These lands were deemed to belong to Jordan, but Israeli farmers have tilled them since the 1950s. As part of the peace deal, Israeli farmers could continue to work their land in cooperation with the Jordanian authorities. The lease agreement was automatically renewable, unless either side gave a year’s notice to terminate the deal and enter into negotiations.
Walking a fine line between the Bedouin and the Palestinians
The events of the Arab Spring, which have kept the Middle East off-kilter for nearly 10 years now, skipped over the kingdom of Jordan. The citizens of the Hashemite kingdom, unlike their neighbors in Syria and Iraq, were not forced to deal with bloody civil wars, unchecked immigration by Islamist terrorist operatives, and the absence of a centralized, stable government.

However, Jordan today – more than ever – is facing a real existential threat to the royal family's continued rule. This is mainly the result of geopolitical changes in the kingdom and outside its border, as well as regional processes and demographic changes in Jordan itself, mostly having to do with the Bedouin tribes and the Palestinians in Jordan, whom many Jordanians (including the Bedouin) see as "temporary residents."

Although the Jordanians take every opportunity to announce that a solution to the Palestinian issue is their top priority, senior officials admit in the same breath that a shared border between Jordan and a future Palestinian state – whose Palestinian side would be manned by members of the Palestinian security forces – would be the biggest threat to the stability of the kingdom of Jordan.

In addition to that, as far as the Jordanians are concerned, recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in east Jerusalem could lead to a Palestinian demand to improve their political status on the Temple Mount, where since 1967 the Jordanians have enjoyed a "special status" granted to them as descendants of the Prophet Mohammad and guardians of Islamic holy sites.

That concern was expressed in the Jordanian rejection of a request from former leader of Hamas' politburo, Khaled Mashaal, to run Hamas' political wing out of an office in Jordan. Senior Jordanian intelligence officials have even said more than once in close talks that the close cooperation between Jordan and Israel's defense and intelligence apparatuses helps them maintain stability in the kingdom.
Media Uproar Over Netanyahu’s ‘Nation-State’ Comment Reveals A Misunderstanding Of Zionism
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who despite all his flaws remains the Churchillian figure of our time, has never faced anything other than an Israeli/Western media inimically hostile to his own political interests. Now under formal indictment by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit as part of a politically motivated sham, Netanyahu faces next month what is surely the most challenging election of his political career thus far.

And the media, predictably, are once again angling to play the part of Netanyahu political spoiler.

In response to a recent question posed by Israeli actress Rotem Sela on her Instagram page about the nature of the Israeli nation-state, Netanyahu responded by saying that "Israel is the nation-state of Jews alone."

Apparently, this rather mundane observation has caused somewhat of a stir for all the usual suspects in the doltish, anti-Israel "international community." Alas, one is forced to wonder whether these same observers would question whether Sweden is the nation-state of Swedes alone despite the presence there of some ethnic Finns, or whether Hungary is the nation-state of Hungarians alone despite the presence there of some ethnic Slovaks.

No matter. Left-wing Haaretz has amplified Netanyahu's critics. And domestically, NPR reported yesterday that "[t]he prime minister's comment set off criticism, debates over Israel's true nature — and observations that with Israel's legislative elections now less than a month away, Netanyahu's provocative language might be calculated to help his Likud Party at the polls."
David Singer: Netanyahu Reaffirms that Israel is the Jewish State
David Ben-Gurion and Yitzchak Rabin expressed much the same sentiments decades ago.

Ben-Gurion presciently defined the term “Jewish State”during his evidence before the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine on 7 July 1947:
“What is the meaning of a Jewish State? As I told you before, a Jewish State does not mean one has to be a Jew. It means merely a State-where the Jews are in the majority, otherwise all the citizens have the same status. If the State were called by the name “Palestine,” – I said if – then all would be Palestinian citizens If the State would be given, another name – I think it would be given another name – because Palestine is neither a Jewish nor an Arab name.

As far as the Arabs are concerned, and we have the evidence of the Arab historian, Hitti, that there was no such a thing as “Palestine” at all: Palestine is not an Arab name.

Palestine is also not a Jewish name. When the Greeks were our enemies, in order not to annoy the Jews, they gave different names to the streets. So, maybe the name of Palestine will be changed. But whatever the name of the country, every citizen of the country will be a citizen. This is what we mean. This is what we have to mean. We cannot conceive that in a State where we are not in a minority, where we have the main responsibilities as the majority of the country, there should be the slightest discrimination between a Jew and a non-Jew.”

Rabin stated in 1992:
"I don’t want to make Israel a binational state. I would like to keep Israel a Jewish democratic state. By that, I mean at least 80 per cent of its population Jewish"

Peace will only come when the PLO,Hamas and the UN General Assembly recognizethat Israel is the Jewish State.

Peace Can Only Be Achieved ‘Through Strength,’ Israel’s PM Netanyahu Says
Peace can only be achieved “through strength,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted on Tuesday.

Speaking at a state memorial ceremony in Jerusalem for the late former Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Netanyahu — the Likud leader who is seeking a fifth term as prime minister in April’s Knesset elections — stated, “Only when our neighbors are convinced that our strength and our presence here are irrefutable facts, only then some of them will be persuaded to make peace with us, and we are fully advancing this recognition and agreement process with our remaining neighbors, not with all of them, but with most of them.”

“We are doing this with extensive segments of the Arab and Islamic world in an expedited normalization process, only part of which the public can see,” he added. “We are also holding this process in secret, and Israel is currently in contact with half a dozen important Arab and Islamic countries, which up until recently were hostile to Israel.”

Netanyahu faces a stiff challenge in the upcoming vote from the centrist Blue and White joint list led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. However, on a number of key security issues, including the threat posed by Iran, there is broad consensus among all of Israel’s mainstream parties.

“We are continuing to take vigorous action against Iran’s attempts to entrench militarily in Syria,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “We are also doing so in the face of the aggression of Hezbollah and Hamas, whose tunnels we are systematically dismantling.”
Netanyahu: Israel in close contact with 6 Arab countries
Jerusalem is currently in contact with “half a dozen important Arab and Muslim countries that until recently were hostile to Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

Netanyahu, speaking at Mount Herzl at the annual memorial ceremony for Levi Eshkol, Israel’s prime minister during the Six Day War, called this a process of “accelerated normalization,” much of which was taking place out of the public’s eye.

Netanyahu has for the last number of years been speaking about relations developing with Arab and Muslim states, though he has provided very few details. The reason for the secrecy, his spokespeople have said, is the concern that the relations will be torpedoed if they are made public.

Netanyahu said that these developing ties are an “important message for the vision of peace – peace through strength.”

Eshkol, Netanyahu said, faced a great test as a leader in that agonizingly tense period leading up to the war in June 1967, when Israel’s neighbors were loudly beating war drums and threatening the country’s annihilation. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Journalist turned politician Caroline Glick turns the spotlight on Blue and White Party, Israeli left
Caroline B. Glick, a senior columnist at Breitbart News, was the senior contributing and chief columnist for The Jerusalem Post until she decided to run for the Knesset in the upcoming April national elections.

Born in Houston, she grew up in Chicago and moved to Israel in 1991, two weeks after earning her bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University. She joined the Israel Defense Forces that summer and served as an officer for five-and-a-half years.

From 1994-1996, as an IDF captain, Glick served in the Defense Ministry as a core member of Israel’s negotiating team with the Palestinians. In 1997 and 1998, she served as assistant foreign-policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In its Israeli Independence Day supplement in 2003, the Israeli newspaper Maariv named her the most prominent woman in Israel. In January of this year, she joined the New Right Party and is currently in the sixth position on the party’s electoral list.

Q: How do you explain the position of the Israeli left after seeing what happened following the disengagement from Gaza, after seeing what happened after Oslo. They are still advocating for a Palestinian state, and a massive withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. How do they rationalize this?

CG: Part of it is social; they are part of a herd, and in a herd you are not allowed to think independently; people who do get punished. It is similar to what Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon is doing now by joining Benny Gantz’s party and is going back on all the promises he made to the voters of the Likud. He is supposedly right-wing, and yet he wants to prevent the public from having any significant say in the way the country is governed by joining a party that pledged from the outset that it’s going to block all reform in the legal fraternity.

On the other hand, the reason the center-right is the largest bloc in Israel is because people have become very disenchanted with the sort of cultish, irrational positions of the left, whether on strategic or economic or social issues. It’s all about just following the line of the tribe. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Gantz threatens to kill Hamas leaders, resume targeted killings
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz warned the leaders of Hamas on Wednesday that if they attack Israel while he is prime minister the policy of "targeted killings" of Hamas leaders would return.

Speaking on a tour of the Gaza periphery together with fellow Blue and White leaders, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya'alon, Gabi Ashkenazi, Gantz promised that there would be "zero tolerance," for firing on the Israeli south.

Gantz declared Operation Protective Edge that he commanded in Gaza success, and said it brought quiet to the south. But that after he left his post, kites and other projectiles were fired.

He also said he would insist of the return of the bodies of soldiers held by Hamas.
White House budget plan contains $3.3 billion in military aid for Israel
Military aid for Israel apparently has avoided the budget axe.

The 2020 fiscal plan sent by the White House to Congress on Monday includes the full $3.3 billion in assistance promised under a 10-year memorandum of understanding, despite spending cuts throughout the proposal.

“The Budget fully supports the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and includes $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing grant assistance to bolster Israel’s capacity to defend itself against threats in the region and maintain its qualitative military edge,” the budget document says, Israel’s business daily Globes reported.

The $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding, a 10-year defense agreement signed under President Barack Obama, went into operation in October at the start of the last fiscal year.

Under the MOU, the United States set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in foreign military financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next 10 years.

With implied threat to local Jews, Erdogan raps Netanyahu as child-killer tyrant
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “tyrant” who “massacred” Palestinian children, as the two leaders exchanged insults in their latest spat.

Erdogan was responding to comments from Netanyahu slamming the Turkish leader as a “dictator” and “a joke,” after a day of tit-for-tat exchanges between officials in both countries.

Turkey and Israel have tense relations and Erdogan, who regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause, is a vocal critic of Israeli policies. The two leaders have exchanged barbs in the past over Gaza.

“Hey Netanyahu, behave yourself. You are a tyrant, you are a tyrant who massacred seven-year-old Palestinian children,” Erdogan told a rally of supporters in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Erdogan also referred to clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem, denouncing Israeli security forces for entering the Temple Mount.
JPost Editorial: Recognize the Golan
Over the years, under the concept of “land for peace,” Israel held negotiations with Syria about the Golan. Different schemes were presented, including a demilitarized Golan that would become a kind of giant national park, similar to the Island of Peace arrangement with Jordan. There were even discussions of international monitors being involved.

Talks were held quietly up until 2010, according to various foreign reports. Not only did these discussions not yield anything, but the Syrian regime proved with its brutal crackdown in 2011 that it had forfeited any claim to the Golan. Why should the heights, under successful Israeli control for more than 50 years, be returned to a kleptocratic and murderous family-run regime in Damascus that only controlled the territory for 20 years? Solely because of lines on the map draw in the colonial era?

The Golan is one of many examples where Israel is held to a double standard and is unfairly forced to keep in limbo pieces of its territory linked solely to accidents of history. Just as Jerusalem was divided for years and the UN once sought to turn it into a corpus separatum, a special-status independent city, so the Golan is held hostage under the notion that an increasingly authoritarian Syrian regime will one day change.

Many of the conflicts Israel faces is because territories are disputed for decades with the false hopes and dreams of irredentist groups that they can turn the clock back to 1948. This fuels war, violence, uncertainty and conflict. An example of that uncertainty was the period of Syrian control of the Golan from 1948 to 1967, when the regime worked to use the area to dam streams that feed the Land of Milk and Honey, and strangle Israel.

The time has come to accept reality. The Golan is Israel. The US can recognize that and it should do so soon. Senators Graham, Ted Cruz and others in the US Congress should support this rational, responsible and just resolution for the Golan.
IDF says it exposed new Hezbollah cell in Syrian Golan Heights
The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday that it had exposed a nascent Hezbollah terror cell established in a border village on the Syrian Golan Heights in recent months, and vowed to prevent the terrorist group from operating against Israel from Syrian soil, even at the risk of a sparking small-scale conflict.

The Iran-backed, Lebanon-based group has been trying to create a front on the Syrian Golan for years, but was unable to gain a sufficient foothold in the area until now. However, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s conquest of the border area this summer gave the regime-allied group an opportunity to again try to establish the necessary infrastructure with which it could threaten Israel near the border.

“The network is new and currently focused on becoming familiarized with the Golan Heights area. It is intended to eventually control teams of Syrian operatives who will launch attacks against Israel,” the military said in a statement.

At this stage the Hezbollah plot — known within the organization as the “Golan File” — mostly involves collecting intelligence and recruiting operatives, but also has weaponry in its possession, namely explosives, light arms, machine guns and antitank missiles, according to the IDF.

The military said the terror group may try to bring rockets, missiles and other weaponry into the area in the future, but is concerned that such munitions would be destroyed by Israeli strikes.

Hizbullah Sec.-Gen. Hassan Nasrallah Thanks Donors: Much of Our Support Is From Individual Donations
Speaking at an event held by the Islamic Resistance Support Association, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah extended blessings, thanks, and appreciation to Hizbullah’s donors and supporters. He said that much of Hizbullah’s support comes from individual donations, institutions, shops, roads, celebrations, and various activities planned by the Islamic Resistance Support Association. He said that people donated because they want to be part of the resistance and because they want to wage financial Jihad, dedicate their children, and express their pride and love. Nasrallah’s speech aired on Al-Manar TV (Lebanon) on March 8, 2019.

IDF: Hezbollah head of Golan operations murdered U.S. troops in Iraq
The Lebanese Shi’ite terror group Hezbollah is building a new and dangerous terror network in Syria’s Golan Heights without the knowledge of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the IDF has revealed.

“The Hezbollah terrorist organization has begun an attempt to establish and entrench a covert force in the Syrian Golan Heights that is designed to act against Israel when given the order,” the IDF said on Tuesday.

According to the IDF, the network – called “The Golan Project” – is currently in its initial stages of establishment and recruitment and is not yet operational.

It is led by senior Hezbollah commander Ali Mussa Daqduq, who spent five years in an Iraqi prison for a 2007 attack that killed five American soldiers in the Karbala Governorate. He was released in 2012, went back to Lebanon and was sent to Syria this past summer to establish the Golan terror network.

Other senior Hezbollah operatives involved in the clandestine project have been identified by the IDF as Bashar and Ismail Mustafa, Talal Hassoun and Fahim Abu Qais.

According to senior intelligence officers in the IDF’s Northern Command, Hezbollah’s Golan Project began in the summer following the reconquering of the Syrian Golan by regime troops.
Iran’s ‘Road to the Sea’ exposed on Golan- analysis
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.

Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.

According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.

“He then came back to Lebanon and to Syria, this time with a new mission. Now what we have today is an infrastructure masterminded by Hezbollah on Syrian soil using the local civilian infrastructure,” said Jonathan Conricus of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Israel says it won’t allow Hezbollah to establish a terror infrastructure on the border and that it holds the Syrian regime responsible. This is related to regional stability, the IDF says.
Border Police captures members of terrorist cell near Jerusalem
The Border Police arrested seven members of a terror cell operating from the Kalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The cell had executed multiple attacks on the Kalandiya checkpoint with explosives and Molotov cocktails.

The seven members of the cell were arrested in an extensive operation that took place during the month of January. During the subsequent interrogation process, one member confirmed that the objective of the attacks was to set the checkpoint on fire and to wound all members of the security forces present.

As part of the operation, undercover Border Police forces stopped members of the cell in the act of committing terror attacks. Special forces also conducted raids inside the Kalandiya camp in conjunction with IDF forces.

The leader of the cell, Mustafa Casbah, 18, has been involved in selling weapons illegally since March 2018, some of which were used in a terror attack on an Israeli town, which the Border Police did not specify. He provided the explosives used by the cell in its attacks.
Fear and loathing at IDF checkpoints
One effort undertaken by Im Tirtzu, Israel's largest grassroots Zionist organization, is particularly promising. Im Tirtzu has recruited a group of volunteer "video commandos" who have been fighting fire with fire, employing the same rights of proximity exploited by the demonizers.

With the slogan of "Aim, Click and Shoot," the video commandos film the demonizers as they film soldiers.

The video commandos recently achieved a significant victory when the primarily Scandinavian EAPPI, an affiliate of the anti-Zionist World Council of Churches, announced that they were leaving Hebron because of the "harassment" their volunteers had recently been subjected to. That "harassment" was nothing more than turning the tables on them, presenting EAPPI with a new reality.

Suddenly, the video commandos were showing exactly what EAPPI members were doing in their efforts to demonize soldiers.

That new reality and new perspective are exactly what the video commandos seek to do wherever there is harassment of Israeli soldiers.

It is a classic grassroots effort, like Im Tirtzu itself. It reflects the desire of Israelis to protect those who are doing the protecting. It is an effort to make sure soldiers can do their duty without having to worry about cynical manipulators seeking to denigrate, and yes, even endanger soldiers in the name of their ideology.

At a time when IDF soldiers are being harassed by these people with impunity, there is nothing more fitting than to fight fire with fire.
Palestinian killed in West Bank clashes with Israeli troops
A Palestinian man died after being shot by Israeli forces during clashes Tuesday in the West Bank, medics and the Palestinian Authority health ministry said.

The army said dozens of Palestinians rioted in the village of Salfit and threw rocks at Israeli troops, who responded with riot dispersal means.

An army spokesperson said “there was no known use of live fire.”

The Red Crescent emergency medical services said they evacuated a man wounded during the clashes.

The health ministry pronounced his death and named him as Mohammed Shaheen, 23. According to the official Palestinian news outlet Wafa, he had been hit in the chest with a bullet.
Honest Reporting: The World’s Largest Outdoor Prison Isn’t Gaza
Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip isn’t pretty. But let’s face it: Hamas hasn’t renounced violence, hasn’t accepted Israel’s right to exist, and hasn’t agreed to accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. As long as the Islamists continue firing rockets and trying to smuggle weapons into the Strip via tunnels or the sea, Israel and Egypt will maintain the blockade.

The ongoing Hamas-Fatah feud further fuels Gaza’s deterioration. Mahmoud Abbas wants to cut off money, electricity and aid to the Strip and squeeze Hamas regardless of the suffering it causes ordinary Palestinians. And Hamas is pleased to persist in provoking border clashes. As long as one man’s cannon fodder is another man’s martyr, Palestinians will be too distracted to ponder the dead end Hamas has led them to. Gaza’s a rotten place to live.

There’s nothing wrong with reporting the difficulties of life in the Strip. But a dispatch in The Guardian by reporters Oliver Holmes and Hazam Balousha defies belief.

If this had been about, say, Chinese persecution of Uyghur Muslims, that would’ve been a story. The Communist authorities in the remote Xinjiang province are accused of detaining more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslims in internment camps where they face torture, forced labor, and other forms of repression. The Chinese claim they are fighting Islamic extremism and that the facilities are”boarding schools.”

Iran warns Israel of ‘crushing response’ to any naval intervention
Iran’s defense minister warned Wednesday that the Islamic Republic would give a “crushing response” if Israel followed through on a threat by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stymie Iranian oil shipments.

Defense minister Amir Hatami was responding to a speech last week in which Netanyahu warned that Israel’s navy might intervene if Iran was illegally exporting petroleum and bypassing American economic sanctions, the IRNA news agency reported

“If they have such an intention, this issue will be regarded as international piracy,” Hatami said.

In his speech, Netanyahu accused Iran of secretly smuggling oil to get past economic sanctions, and called on the international community to take action against the activity.
Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami speaks at the Conference on International Security in Moscow, Russia, April 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

“Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through the covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea,” he said. “As these attempts expand, the (Israeli) navy will have a more important role in efforts to block these Iranian actions.

“I call on the international community to halt, by any means, Iran’s attempts to bypass the sanctions via the sea,” Netanyahu said.

Jerusalem raises Syrian flag as Damascus-born runner listed for city’s marathon
The city of Jerusalem has hoisted a Syrian flag near the Knesset on the route of this week’s annual marathon race in case a Syrian runner shows up.

Damascus-born Hasan Aljijakli, who has lived in the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands, registered for the race but, according to a report Wednesday on the Ynet news site, has yet to pick up his runner’s kit.

“In the past 24 hours, 80 flags from the 80 countries from which the runners have come to run have been raised on the streets of Jerusalem,” Mayor Moshe Lion told Ynet, which showed the Syrian flag flying.

The Jerusalem Marathon website lists Rotterdam Atletiek as the runner’s home club. Aljijakli has competed for several years at the international level with a personal best of 3:06:58.

“In the united capital of Israel, we respect everyone and believe that sports do not mix with politics,” Lion said. “Sports are a bridge to connect between different peoples and cultures.”

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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 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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