Friday, May 30, 2014

From Ian:

Minister praises policemen who stopped suicide bombing
“Your vigilance and professionalism led to the capture of a terrorist with an explosive belt,” Aharonovitch told the policemen in a phone conversation shortly after the Friday morning incident.
“You prevented an attack and saved lives, and I’m proud of you and your professional excellence,” he said.
The incident took place on Friday morning, when Border Policemen saw a Palestinian man, a 20-year-old Nablus resident, walking toward them at the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank. The man was wearing a heavy coat, despite the 35-degree-Celsius heat (95 degrees Farenheit). The policemen called on the man to stop, at which point he lay down in the road.
The suspect then allowed policemen to remove his coat, revealing what looked like an explosive belt on his person. He admitted that it was indeed a bomb.
A terrorist with an explosive belt was caught at the intersection Tapuach Samaria

Sarah Honig: Proportional to the threat
Trying to get inside Jennifer Rene Psaki’s head is one heck of an intellectual challenge. The pearls of wisdom that habitually escape the lips of this US State Department spokeswoman are often no less than stupefying, so it must be edifying to get a handle on what inspires them.
She is the gauge of just how disliked we are. Our tendentious, left-dominated, agenda-driven media has turned Psaki into the adjudicator of our international standing. If she isn’t pleased, we are in obvious trouble. Her pronouncements open our news broadcasts and star on our front pages.
Thus we quaked the other day, awaiting her judgmental input following the deaths of two Arabs in Bitunia (near Ramallah) on May 15. They took part in irredentist disturbances to decry Israel’s Independence anniversary as a catastrophe – Nakba – their loaded characterization of our existence.
Psaki unequivocally put us in the dog-house when she encouraged “the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident, including whether or not the use of force was proportional to the threat posed by the demonstrators.”
Ouch! We are well-familiar with that demand for proportionality. It never augurs well for us.
‘Hamas pays hundreds of youths to harass Jews at Temple Mount’
Israel arrested a major Hamas figure earlier this month as he attempted to infiltrate the country via the Allenby Bridge crossing, the Shin Bet security service revealed Thursday afternoon. Mahmoud Toameh, a “top-ranking overseas operative of Hamas,” gave the security agency a wealth of details about the activities of the radical Islamic group during his interrogation, it said, including its funding sources, international activities and activities inside Israel. Notably, he revealed that Hamas pays hundreds of young Israeli Arab citizens to harass Jews seeking to enter the Temple Mount area.
Toameh was arrested on May 14, the Shin Beit said, and formally indicted on undisclosed charges on Thursday.
In his interrogation, Toameh revealed that Hamas works with the Islamic Movement (an Israeli organization that promotes Islam among Israel’s Arab citizens) to keep Jews from entering the Temple Mount compound, by retaining a group of young men to harass and throw stones at Jewish visitors. These men, who ostensibly are studying Islamic theology at the site, are paid a monthly salary of NIS 4,000 to NIS 5000 ($1,150-$1,440) for their activities, the Shin Bet said. (h/t Bob Knot)

IDF Manhunt After Terror Cell at Large in Samaria
The IDF on Friday afternoon began a manhunt in Samaria. Their target: the terror cell that is believed to have been behind the foiled suicide bombing at Tapuach Junction near Ariel which took place Friday morning.
The assumption at this stage is that the suicide terrorist who was captured wearing a bomb belt was brought to Tapuach Junction by three other Arab terrorists, reports Walla!.
The three terrorists reportedly gave the apprehended terrorist clear instructions as to how to detonate the bomb belt.
Threat of terrorism in the EU is 'acute and diverse'
A total of 152 terrorist attacks occurred in five EU Member States.
The majority took place in France 63, with 33 in Spain and then 35 in Britain.
After an increase in 2012, the number of terrorist attacks in 2013 fell below the number recorded in 2011.
The report attributed the majority of attacks to separatist terrorism, while the number of attacks related to left-wing and anarchist terrorism rose in 2013.
In 2013, 535 arrests were made in relation to terror offences.
Most of the arrests occurred in France, with 225, Spain, 90, and the UK, 77.

In 2013 the number of arrests increased for preparation and execution of attacks; financing of terrorism; and travelling, facilitating travel or sending fighters to conflict zones, especially Syria. (h/t Canadian Otter)
Bad apples in the negotiating room
This is a wretched and idiotic negotiating strategy. What Livni should be saying to the Palestinians is: Look, we have the upper hand and you’re never going to get your state unless you get real and compromise. Until then, you suffer more than we do.
Israel is managing just fine, and will continue to prosper despite Palestinian recalcitrance. Time is on our side.
But Livni has tied her personal political fortunes to the doomsday-is-coming argument, and just can’t control herself. She recklessly weakens Israel every day with her howling, yowling and groveling.
The bottom line is that Livni’s presence on the Israeli negotiating team hinders, not helps, the diplomatic process.
It’s time to dump Indyk, Erekat and Livni – bad apples in the search for peace – and make room for more equitable, reasonable and composed negotiators.
Bennett: First Gush Etzion, Then All of Judea and Samaria
“We are in the post-Oslo era,” declared Bennett. “The age of unilateral withdrawals, where we run away from an area and pray that all will be well and then 10,000 rockets are launched at us, is over.”
"The left is out of options, it no longer has an operative plan, it only talks about two states,” he continued. “So we put things on the table and slowly the trend is becoming a positive one: the Knesset Speaker spoke in favor of the move, as did Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, and others.”
Asked about the objections of the international community to such a move, Bennett responded, “I agree: the world won’t clap its hands. To this day they do not accept the Western Wall and the Golan Heights as part of Israel. But we do accept Jerusalem and the Golan as part of Israel.”
"I do not undermine the importance of our ties with the world. I am constantly dealing with the world but believe it or not, foreign ministers and ambassadors only care about their own trials and tribulations, and what is troubling the world right now is the recession and lack of innovation, so people from China and India and Western Europe come here and only want to cooperate with us," Bennett said.
Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas to Visit Vatican on June 8
Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit the Vatican on June 8.
The two leaders are scheduled to attend a prayer meeting hosted by Pope Francis that will also include a rabbi and Muslim cleric, the Vatican confirmed.
Kerry: Israel’s approach to PA unity is appropriate
Discussing the impasse — peace talks collapsed last month in an orgy of Israeli-Palestinian recrimination, with no progress made — Kerry said that “President Abbas has said that he is prepared to go back to the talks, but he has certain conditions that have to be met. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel are waiting to see what happens with the Hamas reconciliation, with the announcement of a new government, with the question of what that new government may or may not choose to do.
“That’s an appropriate thing to be doing,”
Kerry added. “We’re all waiting to see what happens.”
PA Official: US recognizes Palestinian unity gov't, invites new PM to meeting in Washington
According to a report by Maariv on Friday, a Palestinian official stated that the invitation is a declaration of American recognition for the unity government. The report cited the official as saying, "The visit will take place in June, during which Hamdallah will meet with American president and visit the US Congress."
"The US administration has renounced its previous disapproval of the national unity government and will now support the new government," claimed the head of the Fatah reconciliation team, Azam al-Ahmad.
Washington has previously announced that it expects any Palestinian government to refrain from violence as well as recognize Israel and agreements.
PA Negotiator Tells UN Israeli 'Terror' Stopped Talks
According to Erekat, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas made every effort for the negotiations to succeed, while Israel over the course of the nine-month talks published bids on over 10,000 housing units, "killed 66 Palestinians in cold blood," destroyed 219 "Palestinian homes," and increased "settler terrorism" by 41%, including attacks on the Al Aqsa Mosque.
The various claims have numerous flaws, including the fact that a housing freeze on Israel was not a precondition of the talks, and that enforcing the law in confrontations with terrorists and demolishing illegal homes were likewise not forbidden. It remains unclear what "terrorism" Erekat referred to, although the Temple Mount has indeed been the target of much Arab violence.
Despite Erekat's version, the unity deal between the terrorist group Hamas and Fatah last month effectively torpedoed the talks just before their April 29 deadline, after PA unilateral applications to join 15 international conventions nearly ended them earlier that month.
However the unity deal was transformed by Erekat into an excuse for Israel to end the talks and "enforce their dictates," to build in the "settlements" and destroy the principle of two states along the 1949 Armistice lines.
With unity on horizon, drive to strip PA of US funding gains ground
With an announcement of the Palestinian unity government expected any day, Israel’s deputy defense minister came to Capitol Hill Thursday to rally Congress behind cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority — only to find that the move to suspend funding already had strong bipartisan support.
While some lawmakers have expressed concern that the Obama administration may delay enforcement of a 2006 law that would demand the suspension of funding, legislators are prepared to exercise Congressional oversight to force the administration’s hand, Danny Danon said Thursday.
Danon said that cutting all funding to the PA was his main message during a one-day visit to Washington. Danon’s trip included meetings with a number of prominent legislators, including committee heads.
Suspicions Continue to Mount About Palestinian Account of Shootings
Two weeks ago, two Palestinian teenagers were said to have been shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian town of Beitunia. The Algemeiner today has cataloged a number of the questions that have emerged about the shootings.
While there’s been little follow-up to the initial reports of the incidents in America’s mainstream media, bloggers have been questioning the initial reporting done on the shootings. The Algemenier cited two of the more methodical critics of the reporting.
In addition to the lack of blood at the scene, the Hebrew website Walla! reported that the hospital changed the results of the autopsy for the first teen. Originally it noted that there was no exit wound. But a later report, apparently after the CNN story aired, claimed that there was an exit wound.
CNN aired a report last week that has been widely cited as proving that Israeli soldiers shot and killed both teenagers. Earlier reports hadn’t shown soldiers actually firing, but CNN’s did. The reporter, Ivan Watson, also interviewed the father of the first teen who claimed to have the bullet that killed his son and ended up lodged in his knapsack. But the CNN report raised more questions than it answered.
Elder of Ziyon synchronized videos of the shootings from different camera angles. The CNN cameras clearly showed soldiers using rifles with rubber bullet attachments. This demonstrated that the two shots were of rubber bullets, not live ammunition, contrary to what Palestinian witnesses had claimed.
PA, Left, Int’l Media Continue to Cite Pallywood Video
Senior international media and Palestinian Authority spokespeople are continuing to cite the Beitunia Pallywood video as “proof” that IDF soldiers killed two Palestinian teenagers during Nakba Day riots two weeks ago.
Several Jewish Press writers and others, most notably the blogger Elder of Ziyon, have debunked the supposed footage of the Pallywood production near the Bitunia checkpoint on May 15.
Report: Netanyahu Approached Elie Wiesel Over Presidency
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had tried to convince Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel to be a candidate in the race for president, media said on Friday.
Israeli media began reporting Netanyahu's last-minute attempt on Tuesday, when candidates had to present 10 MPs' signatures to be eligible for the position.
Wiesel, who lives in New York, told Yedioth Aharonoth on Friday that Netanyahu had called him three times and then tried to pressure him through mutual friends, but the 86-year-old Romanian-born Nobel Peace Prize winner refused.
What's going on underneath the Temple Mount?
Is the Waqf planning to build or laying the groundwork for a fifth mosque in the eastern part of the Temple Mount complex in the underground space beneath the Golden Gate? The Public Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount obtained updated photographs that were originally posted on Facebook by Muslim groups. The committee claims that the pictures show this is indeed what is being planned.
In recent years, Muslims have approved the building of two new mosques on the Temple Mount, while doing serious damage to antiquities there. The new mosques would be built in addition to Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. While the latter is technically a shrine, it has become a de facto place of worship. The two new Islamic houses of worship have been named the Al-Maruani mosque, which is slated to be built in Solomon's Stables, and Al-Aqsa Hakadum, which will lie underneath the original Al-Aqsa.
State Comptroller Yosef Shapira has been severely critical of the manner in which the authorities have dealt with the developments of recent years on the Temple Mount, but the report he authored on the subject has not been cleared for publication.
Outrage as Zoabi Slanders IDF Mavi Marmara 'Murderers'
A heated confrontation erupted between ninth-grade students from the Rogozin High School in Kiryat Ata near Haifa, and Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) during a class visit to the Knesset on Thursday.
The students reported that during a lecture, the MK called the IDF soldiers who stopped the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla "murderers." The students walked out of the lecture and sent letters of complaint to several government ministers over the issue.
"We came to learn from the MKs and their role in government [. . .] but she began to talk about the Mavi Marmara incident and said our soldiers were 'murderers,'" one student told Yedioth Aharonoth.
The students did not take the insult to the IDF lightly.
TIME: Talk of U.S. Action on Syria as Obama Credibility Tested by Syria Chlorine Reports
TIME Magazine’s chief foreign affairs correspondent Michael Crowley on Friday assessed that the policy debate in Washington over how to approach the Syrian war may soon shift back to “talk of military action,” as Obama administration officials “brac[ed] for confirmation – in weeks or even days – that chemical warfare is underway again” inside the war-torn country:
Assad’s brazen return to warfare by poison gas puts Obama in a miserable spot. The White House will have two main options. One is react with fury and revive the threat of air strikes. “It is clear to me,” says James Jeffrey, a former Bush deputy national security advisor and Obama’s first ambassador to Iraq, “that the only position Obama can take is to say that the U.S. takes this seriously as a violation of our red line, and if that if chlorine gas is used again by regime forces, ‘I will use military force.’”
Prominent Syrian Oppositionist Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani Promotes Public Initiative For Cooperation And Peace With Israel
In recent months, Syrian liberal and prominent oppositionist Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani has been promoting a public initiative calling on Israel to provide military and diplomatic assistance to the Syrian opposition in its struggle against the Assad regime, as a preparatory move for peace and normalization with the future Syrian regime. According to a report in the London daily Al-Arab, the initiative was prepared together with Arab and regional elements, and in cooperation with elements in the U.S. Congress, and has received the blessing of senior officers and commanders in the Free Syrian Army (FSA). As part of his efforts to promote the initiative, Al-Labwani attended several secret meetings in Germany on the matter, and has even expressed his willingness to visit Israel "if doing so would serve the Syrian people, peace, and the peoples of the region."
In response to the initiative, presented over the past few months by Al-Labwani in a series of articles and print and TV interviews with Arab, Israeli, and Western media, the Syrian regime accused him of encouraging "the Israeli enemy" to occupy Syrian lands, and of treason against the homeland. Positive comments about the initiative by Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog were presented by the official Syrian news agency SANA as proof of Israel's support of the "terrorists" operating in Syria and of the scope of "the cooperation, coordination, conspiracy, and explicit plotting between the so-called 'Syrian opposition' and the Zionist entity, with the hopes of wearing down the Syrian state's forces and bringing about its destruction."
Iran's Strategy to Develop Nuclear Weapons
Eventually, the Persians seem to have perfected the "art of deception" (in Persian: ketman or taqiyah). Taqiyah means dissimulation; ketman means paying lip service to someone in a position of authority while disagreeing with what they are saying. Both methods consist of telling someone who might harm you what you think they want to hear, as telling the truth might be dangerous.[5] The Persians also perfected ta'arof – the use of extremely polite gestures to demonstrate to others that you are superior to them.[6] As one pursues dominance and control, the enemy becomes overpowered. One rarely even grasps that he or she is being humiliated – and ultimately defeated – until it is too late. This concept is totally alien to Western culture.
Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, is likely wielding this strategy against President Obama and the other European leaders, with whom Iran is "negotiating" over its nuclear program. Iranian rulers have employed ketman and ta'arof to lull their modern day opponents – the P5+1 – into a false sense of complacency. They have been using deception, obfuscation, and extreme outward politeness to outmaneuver their opponents. This is especially clear from the way Rouhani constantly talks about the chances of success for the negotiations, while at the same time setting demands which the West cannot tolerate. If things go as the Iranians plan, Iran will have the time it needs to acquire nuclear capability. In turn, America and its P5 +1 allies will be humiliated.
Israel, Iran wage cyber warfare in the battlefield of the future
Iran has the technological know-how to make progress in this field, and the Islamic Republic cherry-picks gifted youths to pioneer the country’s cyber warfare capabilities.
In Israel, cyber defenses have become a national priority, and experts say an essential part of defense involves tracing the source of the attack and taking the fight to them. That includes tracking and monitoring the online movements of suspected hackers and gathering counterintelligence on them, a measure that can result in an alert before an impending cyber strike.
If prevention fails, such measures leave open the possibility of retribution, which in turn allows some measure of deterrence against a hostile state.
Iran is using a neocon to hack its foes
In Iran’s intelligence war against America, the regime has a new weapon: “John R. Bolton.”
No, Iran has not turned President Bush’s former ambassador to the United Nations into a sleeper agent.
Instead, hackers believed to be connected to the Tehran government are posing as Bolton on social media platforms in a scheme to get human rights activists and national security wonks to hand over their passwords and user names.
The fake Bolton LinkedIn account provides a window into how Iran’s hackers are trying to penetrate the policy networks of their government’s adversaries. Most experts say Iran lacks the sophistication to launch the kinds of advanced cyber attacks it has suffered at the hands of the West, such as the Stuxnet worm that burrowed into the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. But the Linkedin attack and others like it exposed this week by the cybersecurity firm iSight Partners show how aggressive Iran’s cyber spies can be to obtain the kind of personal information that could be used to blackmail and compromise the people Iran’s regime considers its enemies in Washington.
Standing Up to Turkey - Like a Wimp
Israel, however, does nothing to embarrass the Turks, because we behave like softies and try to pacify them, even though every thinking person knows that when one gives in to blackmail, that does not lower the blackmailer's demands. The opposite is true: the more the blackmailer succeeds in squeezing his victim, the larger his appetite becomes and with it, the level of his blackmail.
Israel's softie policy encourages Erdogan and his gang to raise the pressure level on Israel, because it doesn't cost him anything. Israel must begin a public relations campaign whose goal is public exposure of the truth about Erdogan and his cohorts, while at the same time working energetically in UN corridors and Western governments to achieve that goal. When Erdogan begins to feel that the pressure that he is applying to Israel creates an opposing pressure on him, he will begin to take Israel seriously, calm down his fellow-blackmailers and adapt expectations of Israel to match Israel's willingness to reach an agreement from a position of strength that might cause him damage. (h/t Yenta Press)
Hate preacher's 'disgusting' sermon praising Boko Haram's kidnap of Nigerian schoolgirls
A London hate preacher jailed after calling for 9/11-style attacks across Europe has sparked fresh outrage after defending the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls.
In videos posted online, Mizanur Rahman praises Boko Haram, the terrorist group behind the kidnapping, for angering the West and suggests it is “not necessarily a bad thing” if they kill non-Muslims.
The clips raise fresh questions about the extent to which Britons, including the young, are being radicalised over the internet. Children can be heard in the background in one two-hour rant.

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