Monday, March 18, 2019

From Ian:

Father of 12 succumbs to injuries from Sunday terror attack
Rabbi Achiad Ettinger died of his injuries Monday, a day after being shot by a Palestinian terrorist during an attack in the northern West Bank, a family spokesperson said.

Ettinger, 47, was a father of 12 from the settlement of Eli. Doctors had been working to save his life since the attack near Ariel Sunday morning in which a soldier, Gal Keidan, was also killed.

Ettinger was shot in the head and neck as he drove by the Ariel Junction by terror suspect Omar Abu Laila, 19, who had stolen Geidan’s gun and opened fire on passing cars, according to the IDF.

He was rushed to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva in critical condition and doctors worked for a day to save his life before he succumbed to his injuries, the hospital said.

Relatives of Ettinger told reporters Sunday that despite having been shot and bleeding profusely, he turned his car around and fired four bullets in the direction of the attacker, who managed to escape in a vehicle abandoned by a fleeing driver.

“This self-sacrifice characterized him over the years,” his family said in a statement, noting his decision to live for several years in south Tel Aviv “to strengthen Jewish identity” in the working class neighborhood.

His family asked that his organs be donated, Ettinger’s sister told reporters.

Hundreds mourn terror victim Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger in Eli
Hundreds of mourners came to the funeral of Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger in the settlement of Eli on Monday, as his family and friends tearfully eulogized and praised him for his life’s work and for having attacked the terrorist who took killed IDF soldier Gal Kaidan and the rabbi himself.

Ettinger, the father of 12, was killed in Sunday’s terror attack as he stopped to shoot at the terrorist as he was carrying out his attack, who returned fire and mortally wounded the rabbi.

Speaking at the funeral, Education Minister Naftali Bennett vowed to “cut off the evil” of terrorism and said that the State of Israel needed to take action in order “to win” the battle against its enemies.

“The evil that cuts off the best people must itself be cut off,” said Bennett in front of Ettinger’s family.

“On your grave, I say that the blood of Jews will not be the cheapest thing in the Middle East. We will cut off terror only when we free ourselves from our legal and mental bonds which prevent us from winning,” continued the minister.

Bennett described the rabbi as “a hero in life and hero in death,” and praised both his work in establishing a yeshiva in south Tel Aviv and his heroism in stopping his vehicle to attack the terrorist who was perpetrating a terror attack at that very moment.

“When the murderer stood not far from where we are now Rabbi Ahiad could have done the easiest thing and ignore the attack, say it’s not my problem, but he fired at the murderer and paid for it with his life,” said Bennett.
Netanyahu vows to build new West Bank housing following terror attack
Israel will begin building 840 housing units in the West Bank town of Ariel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday following Sunday's terror attack.

Speaking Monday at a visit to the town near which two people were killed in a terrorist attack the day before, the prime minister said, “These terrorists will not uproot us from here, the total opposite will happen.

“Tomorrow, we will begin building 840 housing units in Ariel in a new neighborhood as was approved two years ago.”

Netanyahu offered his condolences to the families of Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger and Gal Keidan.

Keidan, 19, a soldier guarding Ariel junction was killed at the scene of Sunday’s terror attack. He was buried in his hometown of Beersheba on Monday morning.

Ettinger, 47, succumbed to his wounds Monday morning after doctors at Beilinson hospital fought to save his life for almost 24 hours. Ettinger was the father of 12 and was head of the Oz and Emunah Yeshiva in south Tel Aviv.

“The two people who were killed were wonderful people, I am told,’ said the prime minister. “The hearts of the entire people are with their families.”

Ariel terror victim Gal Keidan, 19, was gifted musician
Photos of Gal Keidan, 19, hiking with a smile and sunglasses or playing the mandolin in high school, circulated on social media in the aftermath of his death in Sunday’s terror attack outside of Ariel.

Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich mourned the lost member of his city, who he described on his Facebook page as a gifted science and technology student as well as a musician.

The city and its residents “bow their heads” in sorrow and pain, Danilovich said. Beersheba’s music conservatory posted photos of Keidan with his mandolin. Those who knew him also left notes on a Youtube video of a 2013 choral performance of a youth choir he participated in.

Keidan was the youngest of three siblings, born to parents who immigrated to Israel in the 1970s from the former Soviet Union.
Suspected Ariel attacker has no history of involvement in terror, official says
A Palestinian teenager suspected of carrying out a stabbing and shooting attack in the northern West Bank on Sunday does not have a record of involvement in terror activity, an Israeli security official said Monday.

Israeli authorities say the terrorist stabbed a soldier and managed to gain control of his weapon on Sunday morning, embarking on a shooting spree and taking aim at passing vehicles. The soldier, 19-year-old Sgt. Gal Keidan, was declared dead at the scene. Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, 47, who the terrorist shot, died Monday.

The security official identified the terror suspect as Omar Abu Laila, 18, from Zawiya, a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank near the Green Line.

After taking another person’s car, driving to a separate junction and shooting a soldier, seriously wounding him, the terrorist fled to Bruqin, a Palestinian village where Israeli security forces were pursuing him, an IDF spokesman said.

Security forces were still searching for the suspect as of Monday afternoon, according to the military.
US ambassador pans Abbas for not condemning deadly West Bank terror attack
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Monday criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for not condemning a deadly West Bank attack that killed two Israelis, and said that the Palestinian celebration of terror is “the problem.”

Friedman tweeted the remarks hours after Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, 47 and a father of 12, died of injuries he sustained the day before when a terrorist shot him with a weapon stolen from an IDF soldier. The attacker, identified by security forces as Omar Abu Laila, 19, earlier took the weapon from IDF Sgt. Gal Keidan, also 19, after stabbing him to death. Keidan was posthumously promoted to the rank of staff sergeant.

Another IDF soldier, Alexander Dvorsky, 19, was also injured in the shooting spree and remained in critical condition on Monday.

“Heartbroken by the murder of Sergeant Gal Keidan and Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger,” Friedman wrote. “Praying for Alexander Dvorsky.”

He then called out Abbas for having condemned the Friday shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people, but remaining silent about the West Bank attack, which was praised by the Hamas terror group.

“Hamas, as usual, is celebrating and Abu Mazen, who properly joined with all civilized people in condemning the terrorist attack in Christchurch, is now deafening in his silence,” Friedman continued, using the Arabic nickname for Abbas.
Father and brother of suspected Ariel terrorist arrested as manhunt continues
Israeli security forces on Monday reportedly detained the father and brother of the Palestinian suspected of killing an IDF soldier in a stabbing and shooting attack in the northern West Bank a day earlier, as a massive manhunt for the killer entered a second day.

The suspected killer was named in Palestinian and Hebrew media reports as Omar Abu Laila, accused of fatally stabbing Sgt. Gal Keidan at the Ariel junction on Sunday morning.

According to Israeli authorities, after stabbing Keidan, Abu Laila grabbed his gun and opened fire at passing vehicles, hitting Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, before stealing a vehicle and fleeing the scene. Abu Laila drove to the nearby Gitai junction, where he opened fire again, wounding IDF soldier Alexander Dvorsky. Ettinger succumbed to his injuries Monday morning and Dvorsky remained in serious condition.

Lila then fled to the nearby Palestinian village of Bruqin, leaving the vehicle near the entrance and fleeing on foot into the village.

According to Palestinian media reports, Israeli security forces set up roadblocks around Bruqin and briefly shuttered the nearby Barkan industrial zone as well as the surrounding northern West Bank settlements.
PMW: PA official implicitly endorses yesterday’s terror attack in which 2 Israelis were murdered
With an unsurprising disregard for the lives of Israelis, the PA/Fatah and Hamas have turned yesterday’s terror attack in which a Palestinian terrorist shot and murdered 2 Israelis, including a father of 12, into an issue of their internal politics.

In an attempt to present the PA and Fatah as soft and opposing terror attacks against Israel, Palestine Now, a pro-Hamas website, claimed that the spokesman of the PA Security Forces Adnan Al-Damiri had stated the terror attack was “a crime”:

“The Palestinian resistance factions welcomed the operation, described it as ‘heroic,’ and called to escalate the confrontation with the Israeli occupation, while Official Spokesman of the PA Security Forces in the occupied West Bank Adnan Al-Damiri described the operation as ‘criminal’.”
[Palestine Now, independent Palestinian news website, March 17, 2019]

In turn, Al-Damiri denied having made a statement about the attack and strongly emphasized that he had not said "the lies and falsehoods that were attributed to him." This statement, and the fact that he didn’t use the opportunity to actually condemn the murderous attack, constituted an implicit endorsement of it:
Palestinians celebrate terror attack
Palestinians passed out candies and sweets in celebration of the murder of an Israeli teen, today.

Earlier today, near Ariel, a Palestinian terrorist assaulted a young soldier with a knife and managed to gain control of his weapon, The gun was then used to shot at passing cars, critically wounding Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, 47. A second vehicle was also hit. The terrorist continued to the nearby Gitai Junction, where he fired upon a group of Israelis waiting at a bus stop, hitting one.

The victim of the initial stabbing and shooting attack has been identified as Sgt. Gal Keidan, 19, from Beersheba.

Palestinians posted photos on social media, openly celebrating the murder of the teen.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Gaza Man Confused By Distribution Of Candy Not Related To Death Of Jews (satire)
A resident of this Hamas-governed coastal territory expressed puzzlement today upon encountering others giving out sweets unconnected to the murder of Jews.

Hulwayat Q’util, 30, voiced his confusion Monday morning after seeing a group of schoolchildren stopping random passers-by to provide the strangers with pastries, candies, chocolates, and other sugary treats. The unemployed father of three told a reporter he ran over to the group to share in the thrill of news that other Palestinians had killed Jews, only to discover that the distribution of the sweets bore no connection to any such incident; it constituted a school project to encourage good cheer among the town’s residents, with no overt political message. Q’util admitted becoming both bewildered and shaken at the development.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” he disclosed. “This is just… weird.”

Yesterday brought sights familiar to Q’util and other Palestinians: fatal stabbing and shooting attacks by Palestinians against Israelis near the community of Ariel prompted Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere to break out the sweets in celebration. The sight today of another such candy-related event caused Q’util excitement at the prospect of further Jewish blood spilled, only to crush his hopes and shatter his assumptions with the reality that some Gazans might engage in sharing good cheer and good food not in celebration of murdered Jews.

“Is that even legal?” he wondered. “I mean, would anyone have even thought to make it illegal? As far as I know there’s no law either against selling the flesh of space aliens, because who would even think it necessary? I’m flummoxed.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: The "Anti-Hamas Intifada" in Gaza
On Saturday, Hamas launched a counter-campaign to end the demonstrations and discredit the protesters. Hamas dispatched thousands of supporters to the streets to condemn Abbas and hold him responsible for the crisis. Hamas also took to social media to portray the protests as part of a conspiracy by Fatah and Israel.

The PA-controlled media, particularly Palestine TV in Ramallah, have devoted special lengthy programs to cover what they called the "anti-Hamas intifada" in Gaza.

The protests have seriously embarrassed Hamas, making it look like the main party responsible for the deteriorating economic situation in Gaza.

The photos and videos of Hamas policemen using force against Palestinian protesters have served as a reminder that Palestinians in Gaza are ruled by a repressive regime.

A veteran Palestinian journalist from Gaza City concluded: "The same Palestinians who forced Israel and the Palestinian Authority to flee Gaza are also capable of rising against Hamas. When will that happen? Only God knows, but we are certain that it will happen one day."
Hamas War Crimes against Israel, Palestinians
Suddenly, everyone was talking only about the rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, and Hamas seemed to have gotten away with its beating and shooting at peaceful protesters. It is also worth noting that many of the Palestinians who were brutally beaten by Hamas were children. In the view of many Palestinians, what Hamas is doing in the Gaza Strip is tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Recently, in a grotesque allegation, UN human rights "experts" claimed that Israel may have committed war crimes by shooting at Palestinian demonstrators who tried to breach the Gaza-Israel border fence and infiltrate into Israel. The demonstrators who were shot were mostly Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, as both organizations have openly admitted. In other words, Israel is being accused of war crimes for defending its border against terrorists attempting to infiltrate it in order to murder or kidnap Israelis.

Perhaps a small step, such as viewing easily available material, would set the record straight. These UN human rights "experts" might, for a change, glance at the videos and photos coming out of the Gaza Strip to see who is really responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity: Hamas. Its members are opening fire at peaceful protesters, who are taking their lives in their hands to end the harsh economic conditions created by their rulers' catastrophic policies in the Gaza Strip. It is the leaders of Hamas, and only Hamas, who are committing war crimes in and around Gaza. They are committing war crimes against Jews and they are committing war crimes against their own people.
Knesset speaker: US Golan stance is good first step toward West Bank recognition
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told a standing-room-only crowd in Tel Aviv on Sunday that he appreciated the description of the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled” in the recent US State Department annual report — a shift from previous reports that called it “Israeli-occupied” — saying it marks an important first step toward the recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank.

Edelstein, who headed the Knesset’s Golan lobby from 1999 to 2006, said that he “sincerely believe[s] that if elections on April 9 will be successful for [Likud], there will be at least a very serious debate about [annexing Judea and Samaria].”

Edelstein, who won the top slot in the pre-election Likud Knesset primary and is thus number two on the party’s Knesset slate behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also doubled down on his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. “The creation of a Palestinian state is part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he said.

Edelstein was speaking at the latest in a series of English-language events co-hosted by The Times of Israel along with the Tel Aviv International Salon and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, leading up to Israel’s national elections on April 9. The Knesset speaker was interviewed by The Times of Israel’s Jewish World editor, Amanda Borschel-Dan.

One of the most well-known refuseniks in the Soviet Union, Edelstein spent three years at hard labor in Siberian gulags on trumped-up drug charges because of his involvement in teaching Hebrew classes. He was eventually one of the last refuseniks to be released, in 1987, when he immigrated to Israel. He has been a member of Knesset since 1996.
U.S. envoy to Germany: U.N. Human Rights Council is antisemitic
To apply one standard to Israel, and another to the rest of the world – as the UN Human Rights Council does – is to be antisemitic, US Ambassador to German Richard Grenell said Monday in Geneva.

Grenell was speaking at a protest against UN bias against Israel held in Geneva outside the UN Human Rights Council as it debated alleged Israeli abuses. The rally was organized by UN Watch.

“To pass resolution after resolution against Israel while ignoring China, Russia or Cuba is a horrendous hypocrisy,” Grenell said.

Grenell said that “it speaks to the integrity of the Human rights Council that we already know what the decision will be even before the vote,” he said. “It speaks to the sincerity of the Human Rights Council that its agenda is determined by those who respect its mandate the least.”

The US ambassador bewailed the fact that among those deciding whether Israel is violating human rights “are representatives from absolute monarchies, one-party states and military dictatorships.” He also took the UNHRC to task for making a debate on human rights in Israel a permanent feature at every council session.

That the UNHRC “not only singles out Israel, but it does so on a permanent basis,” and that it believes “that a single country and a single people merits such attention on a permanent basis,” is also antisemitism, he said.
Instead of condemning Hamas, UNHRC is blaming its victims
Instead of condemning #Hamas as the prime source of violence and instability in #Gaza - the UN Human Rights Council is blaming the victims of Hamas terrorism for acting in self-defence. Any council member which holds peace dear must REJECT this resolution!

Israel Dismisses UN Human Rights Expert’s ‘Pillage’ Claims as ‘Farcical’
Israel is depriving millions of Palestinians of access to a regular supply of clean water while stripping their land of minerals “in an apparent act of pillage,” a United Nations human rights investigator said on Monday.

Michael Lynk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said that Israel “continues full-steam with settlement expansion” in the West Bank, which the United Nations and many countries deem illegal. There are some 20-25,000 new settlers a year, he said.

He was addressing the UN Human Rights Council, whose debate Israel’s delegation boycotted due to what it considers a deep bias against it.

“In his latest farcical report, Mr. Lynk stoops to a new low and (accuses) the Jewish State of stealing,” Israel’s mission in Geneva said in a statement to Reuters.

It accused Lynk of being a “known Palestinian advocate.”

Israel’s main ally, the United States, quit the 47-member forum last year, also accusing it of an anti-Israel slant.

“In Gaza, the collapse of the coastal aquifer, the only natural source of drinking water in the Strip and now almost entirely unfit for human consumption, is contributing to a significant health crisis among the two million Palestinians living there,” Lynk said.
Pro-Israel voices silenced at the UN
The United Nations Human Rights Council debated a report accusing Israel of war crimes Monday. However, not all voices were allowed to participate in the debate.

Anne Bayefsky, the Director of the Human Rights Voices NGO and the Touro Institute and Human Rights and the Holocaust, attempted to give a rebuttal to the testimony of Canadian Law Professor Michael Lynk, who accused Israel of using disproportionate force against peaceful protesters during the 'March of Return' riots along the Gaza border over the last year.

Human Rights Council President Coly Seck, of Senegal, interrupted Bayefsky twice as she delivered her remarks. In addition, the audio of her remarks was cut off, preventing much of her points from being heard.

Bayefsky was the only speaker to be interrupted during the debate by the Human Rights Council President.

Bayefsky slammed Council President Seck for refusing to allow her to speak as he had allowed all other speakers.
Statement by Anne Bayefsky that the UN "Human Rights" Council Did Not Allow Her to Deliver
In another embarrassment to Canadians and the University of Western Ontario Law School, Professor Michael Lynk has produced a series of antisemitic lies:

Lie One: the Gaza so-called "demonstrations" have been "largely peaceful"

Lie Two: Palestinians may not have launched explosives and incendiary devices into Israel

Lie Three: the purpose of what are actually riots is the right to "return" con, not Hamas' stated goal to lay waste the Jewish state.

Modern antisemitism operates through the UN, this Council, and its newest echo chamber, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives – this way:

First, demonize the Jewish state. Lynk's Nazi and antisemitic tropes include claims that the Jewish state has an "appetite for territory" and "acquisitive purposes."

Second, push a boycott of the demonized Jewish state. Lynk describes "calling for boycotting Israel" as "legitimate work."

Third, criminalize the self-defense of the Jewish state. Would-be Palestinian killers aren't sufficiently successful for Israel to satisfy Lynk's proportionality parody.

New Zealand
mosque shooting suspect reportedly visited Israel in 2016

A right-wing extremist who went on a shooting rampage that left 50 mosque-goers dead in New Zealand on Friday reportedly visited Israel in 2016.

A senior Israeli immigration official said Brenton Tarrant arrived in the country from Turkey on October 25 using his Australian passport, Channel 13 reported.

Tarrant was granted a 90-day tourist visa, and left the country nine days later.

According to the official, there were no red flags during the suspected killer’s security checks.

Earlier on Sunday, police in Greece said Tarrant had visited the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini, and had traveled through the country twice, all in 2016.
Rabbi snubbed by pro-Palestinians at memorial for NZ shooting
Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags turned their backs on a Dutch chief rabbi during his eulogy at a vigil for Muslims killed in New Zealand.

The incident Sunday happened as Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was discussing the meaning of a minute of silence at the gathering at the Dam Square World War II memorial monument. Thousands of people, many of them Muslims, gathered at the square to commemorate the 50 people slain Friday by a shooter at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

When Jacobs, the chief rabbi of the Inter-Provincial Chief Rabbinate of the Netherlands, got up to speak, several participants carrying Palestinian Authority (PA) flags demonstratively turned their backs on the rabbi in what many Dutch Jews on Twitter called a display of anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitic behavior is commonplace occurrences during anti-Israel protests on the Dam by activists promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. They routinely wave PA flags during these bi-weekly gatherings.
Erdogan says Yair Netanyahu influenced by ‘same source’ as New Zealand killer
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday compared Yair Netanyahu to the self-described white supremacist who gunned down 50 Muslim worshipers at a New Zealand mosque last week.

“Watch out, the statements of the son of the person who is the leader of Israel and those of the New Zealand terrorist are the same. They are fed by the same source,” Erdogan said during a speech in the northwestern city of Çanakkale, according to Turkey’s ATV News.

Brenton Tarrant, the Australian national who has been charged with the Christchurch killings, referred to Constantinople in a manifesto in which he threatened that Christianity would prevail once more in Istanbul and that mosques there would be destroyed.

“We are coming for Constantinople and we will destroy every mosque and every minaret in the city. The Hagia Sophia will be liberated from the minarets, and Constantinople will be rightfully Christian owned once more,” Tarrant said a passage in the manifesto, according to news reports.

Tarrant toured the region in 2016 and reportedly visited Israel, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia, and Hungary.
Death toll rises to 3 in Utrecht shooting; terrorism seen as most likely motive
Three people were killed and nine injured in a shooting on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht, the mayor said Monday, adding that authorities were working on the basis of it being a terror attack.

“At this stage, we can confirm three deaths and nine wounded, three of them seriously,” Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said in a video statement on Twitter, increasing the toll that had previously stood at one dead.

Van Zanen said that “we cannot exclude, even stronger, we assume a terror motive. Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more.”

Earlier, Dutch police released a picture of a Turkey-born man they are hunting over the shooting.
Eisenkot: Israel and Hezbollah almost went to war during my tenure
Israel and Hezbollah almost went to war on more than one occasion during his tenure from February 2015 to this January, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Eisenkot said Monday.

“There were not a few instances and days where the distance between those events and escalation to the point of war or battle was a hair’s breadth,” he said at the Meir Dagan Conference for Security and Strategy, held at the Netanya Academic College.

Eisenkot said that the Lebanese Shi’ite terror group had plans to send 5,000 militants into Israel using their cross-border tunnels while simultaneously pounding the Jewish State with rocket fire as part of the group’s “Conquer the Galilee” plan.

“Hezbollah had grandiose plans to surprise Israel by bringing 5,000 fighter into Israel by their underground tunnels, while firing rockets at us,” he said. “But this plan was not implemented. It was identified by us four years ago, and we dealt with it two months ago, while at the same time continuing to harm their abilities to produce precise weapons,” he continued, referring to the IDF’s Operation Northern Shield which detected and destroyed several cross-border tunnels dug by the Lebanese terror group into northern Israel.

Israel launched Operation Northern Shield in early December and destroyed at least four cross-border tunnels, two by explosives and two others by flooding with liquid concrete. The IDF declared the end of the operation in mid-January, saying that it had “deprived Hezbollah of the unique offensive abilities it had built for years as part of its planned attack on Israeli territory.”
'We should wait for a Palestinian leader that has Sadat's vision'
Yair Lapid, co-leader of the Blue and White party, currently leading in the polls for the Israeli elections on April 9, told i24NEWS-Israel Hayom on Sunday that Israel should "have the patience to wait for a Palestinian leader that has the vision of [former Egyptian President] Anwar Sadat."

A former journalist and a savvy media personality, the politician opened the interview by addressing his condolences to Gal Keidan's family.

The 19-year-old staff sergeant from Beersheba, in southern Israel, was killed earlier on Sunday in a stabbing attack near Ariel.

Capitalizing on the military pedigree of his running mates in the Blue and White party, the former journalist said there was no precedent in having such "combined experience in dealing with the threats Israel is facing

"We constantly talk about the fact the IDF is the strongest army in the Middle East - these are the people who made it the strongest army in the Middle East," Lapid said.

Sticking to the party platform, he insisted that the solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was a regional conference.
High Court bars far-right party head, lets Arab party run
The Supreme Court on Sunday banned Michael Ben-Ari, the leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, from running in the country's April elections. The court did approve the candidacy of party colleague Itamar Ben-Gvirm, as well as all the Arab parties.

With its decision, the court essentially implemented the recommendations of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, and overruled the Central Elections Committee which earlier this month decided to disqualify the Balad-Ra'am list and Hadash candidate Ofer Cassif, the far-left, Arab-majority party's only Jewish candidate.

The court ruled to bar Ben-Ari in an 8-1 vote, citing his anti-Arab ideology and incitement.

In response, Ben-Ari slammed Mendelblit and the Supreme Court as a "judicial junta that seeks to take over our lives. This isn't democracy." He added: "We will win. This is not the end."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (New Right) said disqualifying Ben-Ari "while declaring terror-backing parties kosher, is crass and misguided interference in the heart of Israeli democracy."

"It's the last straw for the High Court's justices – and they have changed themselves into political actors," she said. The decision, "tramples on the decisions of the Central Elections Committee," she added.

Ben-Gvir labeled the decision a "dark day for democracy," and noted it was the first time the High Court had ever disqualified a Knesset candidate approved by the Central Elections Committee.

On the Left, meanwhile, the court's decision was widely welcomed.
‘Palestinians are killed en masse daily’ claims Hadash party candidate
Ofer Kassif, the only Jewish candidate in the Israeli Arab Hadash Party, blames the death of 19-year-old IDF soldier Gal Keidan not on the terrorist who shot him, but on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Just hours before the High Court voted to reinstate him as eligible to run for the Knesset – after the Central Elections Committee disqualified him earlier this month for supporting armed conflict with Israel – Kassif told The Jerusalem Post that Keidan’s death and the wounding of 47-year-old Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger from the settlement of Eli on Sunday, are miniscule compared to what the Palestinians endure.

“The Palestinians are butchered and killed by the Israeli authorities… They are killed en masse on a daily basis and their trees are lit on fire,” Kassif said. “The guilt of today’s terror attack is on the head of the prime minister and the government, because if the occupation goes on, people will keep dying – especially Palestinians.”

Despite his opening remarks, Kassif did not deliver fire and brimstone in the interview with the Post after he participated in a debate at a Modi’in high school. During the debate, two students texted him a series of death threats and had to be removed from the auditorium.
Ehud Barak's phone and computer hacked by Iranian intelligence - report
Former prime minister Ehud Barak had his phone and computer tapped by Iranians, according to the head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman.

Israel's Channel 12 released a report on Sunday that said an infiltration into the former prime minister's phone was detected about six months ago.

Sources close to the case claimed that it did not seem like the Iranians themselves hacked the phone, but rather purchased the information from hackers. The information that appears to have been taken is not vital, according to the report.

This release came in the wake of last week's report that Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz's phone was hacked by Iranian intelligence, which managed to steal its contents.
Israel said ready to offer Gaza easing of export limits, larger cash transfers
Israel is reportedly mulling a package of benefits for Gaza as it resumes indirect ceasefire negotiations with the Hamas terror group, angering some hawkish ministers.

The high-level security cabinet met Sunday to discuss efforts to restore calm and prevent an escalation of violence with the Palestinian enclave ahead of April elections, Channel 13 news reported.

The meeting came after violence briefly ramped up sparked by two rockets shot from Gaza at Tel Aviv last Thursday evening, in what the army now believes to have been an accident. Israel carried out over 100 airstrikes in response overnight Thursday-Friday. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said four people were injured in the IDF attacks.

Israel holds Hamas, the de facto ruler of Gaza, responsible for any attacks emanating from the coastal enclave. Responding to the air raids, Hamas fired seven rockets at southern Israeli towns, six of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, the last landing in an open area.
JCPA: Has the “Arab Spring” Reached Gaza?
Hamas has failed in its attempts to silence media coverage of the protest demonstrations in Gaza against the rising cost of living and the demonstrations continue.

In these demonstrations, which began March 14, 2019, Gaza residents were directing their anger towards the Hamas regime, rather than Israel.

The demonstrations are led by an independent youth movement called “We Want to Live!,” which receives widespread public support and support from PLO factions. The “We Want to Live” movement is an independent youth movement that has nothing to do with any political body and was established against the background of the increase in taxes imposed by Hamas on the population and on the unemployment rate among the younger generation, which stands at 69 percent.

Hamas security forces carried out dozens of arrests throughout the Gaza Strip, arresting demonstrators who took part in the protests of the “We Want to Live” movement.

In the Gaza Strip, there is already talk that the “Arab Spring” has reached the Gaza Strip and that Hamas attempts to divert internal and international attention from the demonstrations by firing two M-15 Fajr rockets at Tel Aviv has failed.
UN Mideast envoy condemns Hamas crackdown on protests
United Nations Mideast envoy Nickolay Mladenov on Sunday condemned Gaza's Hamas rulers for violently cracking down on popular protests over the past few days.

Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for Middle East peace, said he was especially alarmed by the "brutal beating of journalists and staff from the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and the raiding of homes."

Driven by Hamas tax hikes and the desperation of living under Egyptian-Israeli blockade, hundreds of Palestinians have rallied under the slogan "We want to live" to protest the rising cost of living in the coastal enclave.

Cellular phone videos posted on social media also showed Hamas security forces beating protesters with clubs, and gunshots could be heard.

"The long-suffering people of Gaza" have a right to protest "the dire economic situation" without fear of reprisal, Mladenov said.

"I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days," he added.
7 reporters held, ‘brutally beaten’ by Hamas for covering Gaza protests
Seven Palestinian journalists in Gaza were being held in custody by Hamas security forces on Sunday, a West Bank-based journalists group said, as a United Nations official strongly rebuked the enclave’s rulers over the “brutal treatment” of the detainees.

A source at the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, who spoke to The Times of Israel on the condition of anonymity, said that the reporters were being held for covering protests against the high cost of living in Gaza, and were due to be released in the coming hours.

Security forces have used violence to break up the demonstrations, and according to rights groups, dozens have been arrested, including journalists and human rights workers.

The syndicate said in a statement on Sunday that since the start of the protests, 17 reporters were arrested but 10 of them were released. Four required hospital treatment.

It said it had documented instances where security forces had beaten journalists and had confiscated their cellphones and equipment. The group also specifically accused Hamas security forces of beating Osama al-Kahlout, one of the journalists who they said had been held for four days.
JCPA:Did Hamas Lose Control of the Gaza “Return” Marches along Israel’s Fence?
In the case of Gaza, after various reservations, it decided to jump on the bandwagon and commandeer the marches initiated by European NGO “Green-Red,” which had been behind the various flotillas used for “breaking the Gaza embargo.”

Hamas thought it could take control of the marches, but it soon became apparent that it was mistaken. What happened in Gaza was the same as what had happened in Syria. The demonstrators who set off for the border with Israel have now turned against Hamas. Furthermore, the original instigator of the marches, Ahmed Abu Ratima, posted a call on Facebook to the Hamas police officers to remove their uniforms and join the demonstrators against Hamas. He even called for the establishment of a committee of all of the organizations to administer Gaza. In other words, the demonstrators who went out to dismantle the border fence with Israel now want to dismantle Hamas.

Furthermore, it has emerged that the “war room” Hamas established with the other “organizations” against Fatah may indeed be opposed to Fatah, but it also supports the demonstrations against Hamas.1

The only thing Hamas can do to contain the unpredictable demonstrations is to prevent the “Great March of Return” on the border that is planned for the first anniversary on March 30, 2019. The question is whether it can do that.
Turkey, Iran launch joint raid against Kurdish rebels – minister
Turkey and Iran on Monday started a joint military operation against Kurdish rebels on Turkey’s eastern border, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the interior minister as saying.

Turkey has recently talked about a possible joint operation with neighbor Iran to counter outlawed militants from the the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but this is the first time Turkish authorities have confirmed a raid.

“We started staging a joint operation with Iran against the PKK on our eastern border as of 0800 (0500 GMT) this morning,” Suleyman Soylu said of the operation against the PKK, listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

“We will announce the result later,” he said.

Soylu did not specify precisely which PKK bases the planned operation targeted, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in the past said it would be against militant hideouts in Iraq.

The Turkish military has often bombed PKK bases in Iraq’s mountainous northern regions as part of its decades-long operations against the group.

Iranian security forces have also fought the PKK affiliate, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK). Both groups have rear bases in neighboring Iraq.
Seth Frantzman: Why is Turkey's presence in Afrin, Syria any different than the West Bank?
Military occupation. Stolen olives. Checkpoints. Accusations of theft of property, land confiscation, demographic change and settlers.

These are claims usually leveled at Israel’s role in the West Bank, but in the last year, Turkey and the Syrian groups it backs have been accused of similar violations in northwestern Syria.

The area of Afrin, once a mostly Kurdish and peaceful region even during the many years of the Syrian civil war, was plunged into conflict in January 2018 by a Turkish military operation and by attacks from Syrian rebel groups.

A year after Turkey’s military operation ended in Afrin, the UN and the US State Department have both released investigations that point to widespread human-rights abuses. The UN report on January 31, presented at the Human Rights Council 40th Session, highlights “arbitrary arrests and detentions” pervasive throughout the Afrin district.

“Credible estimates indicated over 50 armed groups” were present in Afrin and adjacent areas. These include a wide range of rebel groups and some extremist jihadist groups.
Iranian media pushes Dutch, Jewish spy conspiracy
Iran expelled two Dutch diplomats in early March after the Netherlands accused Tehran of involvement in assassinations in the northwestern European nation.

Amsterdam also recalled its ambassador for consultations. Now, Iranian media have pushed a complex conspiracy alleging that the Dutch diplomats were spies and that one of them is Jewish and connected to Israel.

“We expelled two Dutch diplomats,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on March 4, accusing the Netherlands of an “illegal expulsion of Iranian diplomats.” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok indicated that the Dutch intelligence service had pinpointed Iran as being responsible for political killings in the Netherlands. These allegedly involved murders in 2015 and 2017. Now, both Mashregh News and Tasnim News have published articles accusing European countries of spying on Iran.
IRGC Deputy Commander Gen. Naqdi Praises 1983 Beirut Terror Attack: Real Men Kill U.S. Marines
Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the deputy IRGC Commander for Cultural and Social Affairs, said in a speech that aired on Hamoon TV (Iran) on March 12, 2019 that Iran has been on a constant rise while the United States has been in a constant decline since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. General Naqdi, who was speaking at the city of Konarak, cited America's current debt and budget deficit, saying that America's economic collapse has passed the point of no return. He added that the same is true for the Zionists. Naqdi said that another indication that the U.S. is in decline is that people are now willing to attack and kill U.S. Marines, such as in the case of attacks against Marines in Beirut. He said: "Being real men is to kill U.S. Marines despite all their intelligence means." Naqdi also claimed that the U.S. has conspired to give takfiri organizations a mission to take Muslim youth that want to wage Jihad and to turn them against Shiites and other Muslims.

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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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