Friday, June 20, 2014

From Ian:

Col. Richard Kemp: Europe's and U.S. Complicity in Kidnapping and Violence
Just the day before the three boys were kidnapped, the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Hamas into the Palestinian Authority government while lambasting Israel for detaining terrorists and taking action to prevent Hamas terrorist attacks from Gaza and the West Bank. Ashton, though never slow to condemn Israel, took five days to denounce this kidnapping. Both her words and her actions have legitimized and encouraged Hamas.
Both the U.S. and the EU have paid the salaries of Palestinian terrorists by means of grants to the PA; they also fund this propaganda and incitement.
Like every government, Israel has an absolute duty to protect its citizens, and undermining this terrorist threat is an essential part of that responsibility.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Has Abbas Lost His Credibility?
Another senior Fatah official, Jibril Rajoub, who regards himself as a successor to Abbas, decided to take advantage of the anti-Abbas fervor by defending the abduction of Israeli soldiers to force Israel to release prisoners. Rajoub, in an interview with a Ramallah-based news website, said that while he was opposed to the kidnapping of civilians, he supported the abduction of soldiers "because this is the only language that Israel understands."
Rajoub's remarks are seen by Palestinians as a direct challenge to the embattled Abbas, who has repeatedly affirmed his opposition to "all forms of violence" against Israel.
Some Palestinians see Rajoub's remarks as the "first shot" in his campaign to succeed Abbas. Rajoub, a former Fatah security commander in the West Bank, knows that statements supporting the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers would turn him into a popular figure and improve his chances of becoming the next Palestinian Authority president. Given the widespread support and jubilation among Palestinians over the kidnapping of the three Israeli youths, Rajoub is not wrong in believing that he could replace Abbas one day.
The anti-Abbas campaign provides additional evidence that Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where it has become dangerous to denounce the kidnapping of Israelis or even refer to them as human beings.
Mahmoud Abbas has made a pact with devil: kidnaps are but one outcome
Peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but also requires the presence of goodwill. By siding with Hamas, Abbas has made a pact with the devil, and must now face the consequences. While Israel regrets the President’s decision to choose an alliance with terror over negotiation, the world community must hold the Palestinian Authority and Abbas responsible for any attacks that emanate from Palestinian-controlled territory.
I applaud the efforts of so many to bring our boys back, and hope and pray that they will be found quickly and safely. But our hopes must not stop there. We must instead strive to vigorously pursue the promise of peace that is possible only if we reject Hamas. The Palestinians deserve a government that will represent their needs and aspirations, and this is not a one with Hamas as a core element.
As an Israeli, parent and diplomat my personal aspirations and professional goals are identical: lasting peace. If Abbas can rejoin the international community consensus on the dangers of Hamas, he will find a willing partner for peace in Israel. I hope and pray that this will happen before another tragedy.
*Shmuel Ben-Shmuel is Israel’s ambassador to Australia.

Sarah Honig: The Godfather’s Goodfellas
Don Mahmoud Abbas’s feelings have been deeply hurt. Three Israeli boys fell prey to Hamas abductors who set out from his turf and retreated back to it. But how dare insensitive Israelis insinuate that the Godfather is tainted by his pact with the most infamous ringleaders of Hamastan’s Murder Incorporated and its offshoots?
Cut to the quick, Abbas swears he’s merely in league with “professional experts.” Sure he does. No mafia godfather is likely to spill the beans on his “understandings” with affiliate mob families. Hence Abbas’s pseudo-condemnation of the boys’ abduction, his make-believe ignorance about who did the troublesome deed and his real opposition to whatever might damage his PR.
Gangland’s guise must be spruced up. Anything else nullifies the affectation’s raison d’être.
Sarah Honig: Immune from penalty
There’s no doubt that Israel is the world’s most liberal and tolerant society even by the yardstick of the truest democracies. It’s hard to envisage a comparable situation where a society in the throes of a cruel war puts up with voices in its own parliament that plainly give succor to the enemy. The question is whether this isn’t tolerance-gone-too-far, especially when cowardly atrocities against children are brazenly condoned and justified.
This is exactly what Balad MK Haneen Zoabi did Tuesday when she asserted on radio that the abductors of three boys on their way home from school aren’t terrorists. Later, after an aggressive showdown in the Knesset with MK Aliza Lavi (Yesh Atid), Zoabi – whose salary we all pay – tried to put things right by explaining on TV that “if I were asked whether to carry out this operation [abduction], I’d have said that it’s not worthwhile and not efficient and therefore I don’t support it. But to accuse them [the abductors] of being the chief culprits – absolutely not.”
Daniel Gordis: A Dose of Nuance: Between the symphony and the jungle
We let our children wander through parts of the country laced with danger not because we don’t care about them, but because we do. We let them roam because the awareness that we’re raising them in a place where there will always be people set on killing them is too painful to bear.
So we pretend. We pretend it’s safe; we pretend we live in a Hebrew-speaking, felafel-eating version of an American suburb. We pretend we’re confident that they’ll get home. “Be safe,” we say, as if it’s not absurd, as if there’s anything they can do once they get into a strange car in the dark of night.
This horrific week is a reminder that the pretense is both necessary – but also exceedingly dangerous. Living here requires that we play by two sets of rules.
Mordechai Kedar: Analysis of an Abduction: Return Our Brothers
Unfortunately, the situation was quite different out there as the PA security system did not expose the kidnappers' plans, or ignored them so as not to interfere with efforts for reconciliation. Under the "watchful eyes" of the Palestinian security apparatus, a massive Hamas infrastructure developed, one that carried out an almost perfect kidnapping, escape, concealment of the boys or their transport elsewhere. Almost perfect, because of the fact that one of the victims was able to call the police and whisper something that was not understood properly. A perfect kidnapping would have prevented the victims from connecting with any outside source.
Following the kidnapping, Israel decided to do what the PA did not: Israel imprisoned a good many of those freed in the Shalit deal once again, using plain logic: their release was conditional on the release of an Israeli, and abducting Israelis justifies returning them to prison. Israel also arrested Hamas parliamentary representatives, shut down "charity" organizations and means of communications belonging to Hamas. In brief, Israel is doing what she must do in order to prevent Judea and Samaria from becoming a Gaza-style state. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Uncle of kidnapped teen: The boys are still alive
Naftali Fraenkel's uncle Yishai said that the three kidnapped boys were still alive according to the information given to the families by security forces, Channel 2 reported Friday.
"Of course I can't tell you anything, but I can say that the indications we're receiving - on the basis of intelligence and not just religious faith - is that the boys are alive," Fraenkel was quoted as saying in a radio interview.
"In defense of the security system, it's important to say that almost from the start of the incident, there have been representatives in each of the families' homes 24/7," he added. "The immediate family of course know more than what's going on in the media."
PM meets with teens’ families as West Bank tensions simmer
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Friday with the families of kidnapped Israeli teens Naftali Frankel, Gil-ad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach, who were abducted June 12 in Gush Etzion.
The two-hour meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem Friday afternoon.
Netanyahu told the parents of the missing teens that finding their sons “is the central goal of the operational and intelligence steps that we are currently taking, and all the relevant units have been mobilized for this purpose.”
Israel Rips United Nations for Denying Abduction of Israeli Teens (VIDEO)
In a video posted to YouTube, the mission pointed to statements from the White House, ABC News, and even Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas confirming the abduction before admonishing, “The UN is out of touch, out of line and out of time.”
Initially, the UN issued a statement condemning the kidnappings, saying, “The Secretary-General condemns the abduction on 12 June of three Israeli students, including two minors, in the West Bank. He expresses his solidarity with the families of the abducted and calls for their immediate release.”
But shortly afterwards the comments were walked back by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson Farhan Haq who answered a question from a journalist by asserting, “We have no information to confirm an abduction.”
The UN is Out of Touch and Out of Line

UN Asked to Revoke PA Observer Status Over Abduction
Former Israeli Ambassador to Canada Dr. Alan Baker, the head of the Legal Forum for Israel, has formally requested that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon revoke the Palestinian Authority's (PA) observer status Friday, in light of their unity with Hamas.
"The tragic abduction and imprisonment of three young Israelis by a terrorist organization, attached to what you call the 'State of Palestine' and now considered a state observer at the UN, is a gross violation of humanitarian norms and conventions," Baker wrote.
Ban Unsure Whether Youths Kidnapped, Pope Catholic (satire)
Palestinian media have been broadcasting statements by Hamas leaders glorifying the kidnapping last Friday and claiming credit for it. Israel became convinced almost immediately that the youths were captured by Hamas militants, though it is still unclear where they are being held and under what conditions. The pope has spent decades as a priest, then bishop, then cardinal, and finally the head of the Roman Catholic Church. However, Mr. Ban continues to sound a cautious note, reserving judgment on whether the forced captivity of three teenagers by armed terrorists constitutes abduction, and whether a career as a Catholic priest, theologian, and church official is sufficient to characterize a person as an adherent of Catholicism.
Kidnapping Hasn’t Altered West’s View of Conflict or the Palestinians
Contrary to the expectations of some in Israel, the #bringbackourboys hashtag social media campaign hasn’t really caught fire outside of the Jewish community. Nor has the rival #threeshalits hashtag—a phrase that demonstrates the broad support for terrorism among Palestinians—influenced either the U.S. or international public opinion to cause them to question their belief that the Israelis are the real obstacle to peace. By raising the ante with Israel in this manner, Hamas has shown the Palestinians that they are the true standard-bearers in the ongoing conflict with the Jews. Unless the IDF can find the boys and the Netanyahu government sticks to its guns in the months ahead on prisoner releases, Hamas will be able claim victory despite the blows they have absorbed.
CAMERA Launches New Campaign, '#ChildrenAreNOTWeapons'
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is trying to build upon past social media movements with the hashtag #ChildrenAreNOTWeapons, which attempts to spark a wave of protest, urging Palestinian leaders to stop using their children as tools of war. Support from world leaders for the three Israeli boys kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in Israel has been tepid at best, but recognizing interest in the kidnapped Nigerian girls was in large part generated on social media with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. The success of that hashtag spurred the launch of one supporting the three kidnapped Israeli youths #BringBackOurBoys. CAMERA states:
Facebook Removes Palestinian Kidnap Celebration Hate Group
For a few days now we created a huge storm with pictures of kids expressing joy at the terrorist kidnapping of 3 Israeli teenagers, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. Many of these had been uploaded to a Facebook Group which was called (in Arabic) Facebook three shalits page blocked. This leaves some holes on our page temporarily (though we do have the images saved locally).
IDF Blog: Why Does Israel Target Hamas Infrastructure in Judea and Samaria?
Hamas uses schools, hospitals and mosques to support violence. After the organization kidnapped three Israelis, our soldiers began targeting the resources that fuel its terrorism.
Hamas uses a vast civilian network to generate support for its violence. Terrorists refer to this system as ‘Dawa’, a term that literally means ‘calling’ or ‘preaching.’
The social apparatus includes mosques, schools and hospitals located in Judea and Samaria. Hamas exploits these institutions to recruit terrorists and implement its radical Islamic ideology. The IDF must weaken the organization’s civilian resources, which serve as a lifeline for its daily terror.
Dawa: Hamas' Brainwashing Strategy

IDF Shuts Down Official Hamas TV Offices

IDF commander: Hamas’s plan to free prisoners has backfired
In a letter penned to troops involved in Operation Brother’s Keeper, Alon, who is in charge of IDF forces in the West Bank, explained that the wave of arrests of Hamas members — 50 of whom had been released as part of the prisoner swap for the return of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011 — undermined the terror group’s original aim.
“The arrest of 50 terrorists freed as part of the Shalit deal by our forces will delay their return for many years. Thus, Hamas’s attempt to release prisoners brought about the opposite result,” he wrote.
IDF mulls reducing Ramadan entry permits for Palestinians
The IDF will likely limit the number of Israeli entry permits given to Palestinians during the month of Ramadan, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told journalists on Friday.
“Ramadan 2014 will not be like Ramadans in previous years,” said Major General Yoav Mordechai, referring to the holy Muslim month which begins June 28. “The widespread festivities which took place [previously] will not happen.”
Israeli official names Hamas leader abroad as suspect behind kidnappings
According to the unnamed official, Saleh al-Arouri — a former West Bank resident deported from the region after serving a prison sentence in Israel for several years, who is now a leading figure in Hamas overseas operations — is thought to have been a key figure for years in attempts to initiate terror attacks in the West Bank, funding and arranging the training of terror cells.
The official claimed al-Arouri, who used to live in a village north of Ramallah, has urged West Bank operatives incessantly to set up terror cells and perpetrate kidnappings. Al-Arouri has financially sponsored these cells, which were trained and directed to abduct Israelis. Often, that money was transferred through charities to obfuscate their real destination — the would-be kidnappers — the official said.
Defense minister outlaws UK-based, Hamas-linked charity
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed an order Thursday declaring the Islamic Relief Worldwide charity an “unlawful organization,” for funneling funds to Hamas.
The order bars the global relief organization, headquartered in the UK, from operating in Israel and the West Bank and prevents it from transferring money to West Bank residents.
The defense minister’s decision was reached following a tip from the Shin Bet security service and a recommendation from Israeli courts.
Keeping the faith
Since last Friday morning, I have been caught in this horror film in a double role. Gil-ad Shaer's parents are our neighbors and close friends. We lived next door to each other until two years ago. Today, we are one street away from one another. I know their home from Shabbat meals we have had together. On top of that, I am a writer. During this whole nightmarish week, I have been the only journalist to come and go in their home, breaking through the circle of journalists to cross the street, signaling to the policewoman at the door that it is all right, I am from the community, and once again I am torn between my role as a friend and the habit of distilling drops of life into words on my notepad. I go outside to the journalists to be interviewed in the family's name, and then I go back inside, holding myself back from interviewing my good friend myself. I wash dishes in the kitchen, exchange hugs with her eldest daughter, arrange the chairs and then try to recall Isaac Herzog's words from memory.
Mothers Unite: Bring Back our Boys Women lead solidarity rally for kidnapped teens at bus stop where they were abducted outside town of Alon Shvut.
Mothers from across Gush Etzion in Judea held a "Bring Back Our Boys" protest on Thursday, at the bus stop near Alon Shvut where three yeshiva students were kidnapped last week.
Shlomit Pearl, Gush Etzion Mayor David Pearl's wife, spoke at the rally.
"During these difficult times we all unite and become stronger for our children and families, and give strength to the wonderful families [of the boys]," she said.
"We also say a big 'thank you' to the security forces, who are not sparing any effort to find the kidnapped [boys]," she added.
British Prime Minister David Cameron Tweets Support for Abducted Israeli Teens
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday tweeted in solidarity with the three Israeli teens abducted last week by terror group Hamas.
“My thoughts are with the families of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Praying for their early and safe return home,” the PM said. At the time of publication the message had been re-tweeted 243 times.
Cameron’s statement comes as President Obama faces criticism at home for not personally speaking to the cause of Gilad Shaar, 19, Eyal Yifrach, 16, and Naftali Frankel, 16, who were abducted at a hitchhiking post last Thursday night. Frankel is an American citizen.
Toronto Jews rally for kidnapped Israeli teens
A thousand members of Toronto’s Jewish community came out Thursday evening to a rally in solidarity with Gil-ad Shaar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach, the three missing Israeli teens believed by Israel to have been abducted by Hamas.
At the gathering, which took place at the local Schwartz/Reisman Jewish community center, speakers and audience members alike expressed full-throated support for the Jewish state and the IDF, as well as gratitude for the current Canadian government’s backing of Israel.
Congress Condemns, But Obama Still Silent on Kidnappings
The calls have spanned both sides of the aisle, both underlining the bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and simultaneously raising questions about the continued silence by President Obama. The commander-in-chief of Israel's "closest ally" has yet to issue a comment on the crisis - much to the anger and dismay of many Israelis.
In a statement Wednesday, US Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), said her "heart aches" for the kidnapped youths, and called for their immediate release.
"The kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers is outrageous and unacceptable, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," said Meng, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East. "I demand that the perpetrators of this despicable crime release these innocent teens at once."
"My heart aches for the three young men and their families and I ask all Americans to pray for their safe and speedy return," she added.
White House Finally Chimes In On Missing Israelis (satire)
In remaining silent, the president and his wife had demonstrated a dramatic contrast to their earlier response to the kidnapping of more than two hundred Nigerian schoolgirls last month. At the time, Mrs. Obama was quick to join an international grassroots movement using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, including the posting of an image to Twitter that featured her holding a sign with the hashtag. However, no such reaction had been forthcoming in the wake of the kidnapping last week of the three Israeli boys, one of whom is an American citizen.
The White House’s eventual response involved a similarly composed photo of the First Lady, but this time with the hashtag #TheyreJustJews. With the image, the Obamas sought to allay criticism over their perceived insensitivity to the plight of the teens, their families, and Israel as a whole.
New York City, State Leaders Call for Teens' Return
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Tuesday joined together with rabbis and communuity leaders in a prayer rally, calling for the release of the three Israeli youths kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.
The rally in the Crown Heights neighborhood of the New York City borough saw thousands of Brooklyn residents of all faiths join together in prayer for the safety of Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Gilad Sha'ar (16), who have been missing for nearly a week, after having been kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.
JPost Editorial: Abbas’s role
Speaking at a meeting of the Islamic Cooperation Organization in Jeddah on Wednesday, Abbas said, “The three young men are human beings just like us and must be returned to their families.”
What makes Abba’s comments in Jeddah so commendable is the fact that he made them in Arabic and he made them despite their lack of popularity among many Arabs and Palestinians.
Indeed, at least some Israeli Arabs seem to believe that the kidnapping was a legitimate act of resistance against Israel, judging from comments made this week by one of their representatives in the Knesset, Balad MK Haneen Zoabi.
Stung by the scorpion
While the Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, the West supported the false Palestinian unity government. Perhaps it is the idiotic perceptions characteristic of Western leaders, who are so distant from the Islamic culture of death. Or perhaps they are purposefully burying their heads in the sand. Europe, after all, is known for making secret deals with terrorists, on condition that they don't attack in their territory.
It appears that the PA leadership is still uninterested in importing Hamas and ISIS into its territory. As stated, in his speech to the Islamic League, Abbas condemned the kidnappers and emphasized that another Intifada will ruin the Palestinians. Abbas declared, too late, that the PA's intelligence services will help find the kidnapped teenagers; he cynically called them the kidnapper's illegitimate "bounty" and vowed to help return them home.
With that, the abduction removed the two-faced mask from Abbas' face. While he was talking peace, his people were encouraging abductions and incited toward our demise.
Palestinian factions sling mud at each other over abduction
The Fatah on Thursday pushed back against the harsh criticism several Palestinian organizations have leveled against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, for calling for the release of abducted Israeli teens Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel, further hinting that Hamas was responsible for the abduction.
"Hamas intentionally acts to harm the Palestinian Authority and inner-Palestinian reconciliation, [and] it could lead to the dismantling of the unity government," Fatah said on Thursday.
Even the PA Blames Terrorist Releases for Kidnapping
In the wake of last week's abduction of three kidnapped yeshiva students, much criticism has been lobbed at Israel's longtime policy of releasing terrorists in exchange for captives, or within the framework of peace talks.
But on Friday, a rare word of criticism toward the policy came not from within Israel, but from within the Palestinian Authority (PA) itself.
"Every time Israel is ready to release security prisoners with blood on their hands to release captives, it sends a clear message to kidnappers that [Israel] can be blackmailed," Elias Zinniri, Consultant on the PA Committee to Interact with Israeli Society, stated on IDF Radio's "Good Morning Israel" program Friday morning.
PA Unity FM Accuses Israel of Fabricating the Abduction
Hamas-Fatah unity government Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki accused Israel on Friday of not only conducting an "exaggerated" and "political" search for three teens kidnapped by Hamas terrorists last Thursday, but also of fabricating the abduction itself.
Malki criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking to AFP at a conference at the French Senate in Paris.
"He (Netanyahu) cannot keep blaming one side without showing evidence," he said. "When you go to court if you don't show evidence you lose your case," said Malki. "If Netanyahu has any evidence, he has to put it on the table."
Meretz Leader: Don’t Break Up Palestinian Unity Government
According to a report on the Hebrew-language NRG website, Galon met with the prime minister and stressed that the main goal of the search should be the safe return of the captives, and not the demolition of the Palestinian Unity Government. “In light of Abu Mazen’s important, brave statement in which he condemned the abduction, the prime minister should invite Abu Mazen for a meeting after the manhunt is concluded in order to present him [the Palestinian leader] with his [Netanyahu’s] diplomatic plans,” Galon said.

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