Sunday, June 29, 2014

From Ian:

After rocket fire, Israeli jets strike 12 locations in Gaza
The Israel Air Force struck twelve separate sites in the Gaza Strip early Sunday in an ongoing air offensive against continued rocket fire at Israel’s southern towns.
The strikes targeted a weapons factory in the northern part of the strip, another weapons facility and a “terror center” in central Gaza and six sites in the southern strip, three of them concealed rocket launchers, the IDF said.
Direct hits were confirmed on all sites.
Netanyahu: Israel Ready to 'Expand' Gaza Operations
Israel is "ready" to expand its operations in Gaza, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Sunday after the air force struck 12 targets overnight following a surge in terrorist rocket fire.
Speaking to ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the almost-nightly military strikes on Gaza could be expanded should the need arise.
His remarks came after a sharp hike in tensions along the border as terrorist groups have stepped up their fire on southern Israel.
"Over the weekend, the IDF attacked multiple targets in response to firing at Israel from the Gaza Strip. We are ready to expand this operation as per need," Netanyahu said, without elaborating.
Hamas Admits Giving Rocket Terror a Free Hand
Abu-Marzouk, deputy to Hamas's political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal and the man tasked with the reconciliation with Fatah, clarified on his Facebook page that Hamas has no security coordination with the IDF, something Hamas has criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) over.
The Hamas deputy leader clarified that the Hamas ceasefire with Israel, which was brokered by Egypt to end the 2012 counter-terror Operation Pillar of Defense, is different than the PA's security cooperation with the IDF.
That ceasefire, according to Abu-Marzouk, was a strategic achievement for Hamas, given that it canceled the buffer zone on the Gaza side of the security barrier, allowing terrorists to approach the fence to launch attacks. Abu-Marzouk added that it expanded the maritime boundaries for local fishermen, and opened border passages.
Abu-Marzouk announced that the terrorists launching rockets, which on Saturday night directly hit a factory in Sderot burning it down, are not being stopped or arrested by Hamas.
After rocket barrage, Liberman calls to consider retaking Gaza
Over a dozen rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza over the weekend, with one destroying a paint factory, and injuring four. Israeli jets responded by hitting 12 sites in the strip, including concealed rocket launchers and “terror sites,” the military said.
“We have to decide if we are heading to a scenario of re-taking full control of the strip,” Liberman said in an interview with Army Radio. “We’ve seen that a limited operation just strengthens Hamas, so the alternative is clear. There is no scenario in between.”

IDF said to arrest father of kidnapping suspect
According to Al-Resalah, Israeli soldiers raided and searched a number of homes in Hebron early Sunday morning, arresting Omar Abu Aysha, the father of 32-year-old Amer Abu Aysha, a known Hamas member who went missing immediately following the kidnapping. The elder Abu Aysha was reportedly one of seven Palestinians from the Hebron area arrested by the IDF overnight.
Abu Aysha’s mother told The Times of Israel that unlike Zayd — Amer’s brother who was killed in a clash with IDF soldiers in Hebron in 2005 — Amer was a family man who was deeply involved in the lives of his wife and three children. She said he had worked in Jerusalem as well as in Azaria, east of the city. She added that she too last saw Abu Aysha on Thursday, June 12, before the abduction, and said she did not notice anything unusual in his behavior.
She added, however, that if her son did take part in the kidnapping, she was proud of him and hoped he would continue to evade capture, both by Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces.
Bring this up at the iftar dinner
It’s been 15 days since the kidnapping of three Jewish boys on their way home from school. They are, if alive, being held by terrorists under conditions that one tries not to imagine. You, President Obama, who have said that there are “unbreakable bonds” between the US and Israel, have not seen fit to mention this in public, despite requests from Jewish organizations and individuals.
I suppose you want to remain above the fray. If you condemn the kidnapping, then Palestinian supporters will demand that you also condemn a whole litany of ‘crimes’ alleged to have been committed by Israel. Best just keep your mouth shut, say your advisers.
The problem with this policy is that it implies a) a moral equivalence between the terrorism that’s an integral part of the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim war against Israel, and Israel’s efforts to defend herself; and b) an assumption that accusations made by pro-Palestinian sources are equally reliable as statements of the government of Israel.
Both of these equivalences do not hold, and your acting as though they do is not an indication of fairness — rather, it demonstrates your bias in favor of the Arab side.
Huckabee Accuses Obama Admin of 'Anti-Semitic' Bias
Appearing on Fox's Outnumbered, Governor Mike Huckabee railed against the State Department and the Obama administration's "bias against Israel." Huckabee said he thought it is "an anti-Semitic, irrational bias."
Huckabee has not minced words since three Israeli teenagers went missing on June 12, earlier calling out President Obama for his "idiotic" response. He added: "“But the bigger context is there has been such a disconnect between this administration and realistic, reasonable policy, not just for Israel but throughout all the Middle East. I believe a lot of it is because the president is quite naive.”

EU demands 'proportionate means only' in search for boys
The European Union on Saturday reiterated its condemnation of the abduction of three Israeli students two weeks ago, but urged Israel to use restraint as efforts to rescue the boys entered a third week.
In a statement, the EU also commended Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his "unequivocal condemnation of the abduction" and lauded the PA's cooperation with Israel in the rescue mission.
However, the EU condemned Israel for "killing several Palestinians" during the course of the search for the missing boys, and called on Israel to "use proportionate means only to bring about the return of the abductees."
"We also condemn recent indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza. We call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any further escalation which will worsen the situation," the statement went on to say, concluding with an urgent call for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
US: Jordan may ask Israel to go to war against ISIL
Jordan may ask Israel and the United States to help it fight the al-Qaeda-linked jihadi group that threatens Syria and Iraq if it threatens Amman as well, senior Obama administration officials said.
According to a Friday report by The Daily Beast, the officials told senators in a classified briefing earlier this week that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is eyeing Jordan as well as its war-torn neighbors, and that some of its jihadists have already tweeted out photos and messages saying they have seized a key Jordanian town.
The Daily Beast quoted one of the Senate staff members who attended the briefing as saying that, according to the administration officials, if Jordan were to face a military onslaught from ISIL, it would “ask Israel and the United States for as much help as they can get.”
Ex-security adviser: Israel should bolster Jordan against ISIL
Yaakov Amidror, who until recently served as the national security adviser, said with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant advancing in Iraq, Israel should come to Amman’s aid should it need it.
“If Jordan asks for assistance, we should help,” Amidror told Army Radio. “We need to help with whatever they may need in order to overcome the problems developing on their eastern borders.”
Israel is Engaged in a War of Words
This war, like all the other wars Israel has fought, is a defensive war, unasked for and undesired. But unlike the other wars, Israel is not the victor here. There are no six day triumphs and no modern day miracles. There are no spoils of war to claim and certainly no glory.
In fact, we’ve all but conceded this war, the war on words. We’ve succumbed, believing ourselves outclassed and outmanned. Only a few diehards continue to fight this battle, which means there can be no turning things around to our advantage, no last minute save.
Left-wing journalists explain that “West Bank” is now the accepted term and tell me I’m being picayune, not to mention awkward, by insisting on, A) Judea and Samaria, or, B) The disputed territories.
One right-wing colleague tells me that by refusing to use the word “Palestinian” to describe the Arab population of Israel, I am a big turn-off to fence-sitters that might otherwise be persuaded to my viewpoint. He says that it’s as if I don’t consider them a real people deserving of human rights.
He says that my refusal to use the word “Palestinian” makes me look racist.
Yet I am positive that the only way to win this war is to avoid the use of language that has been foisted on us, language that not only is not descriptive of reality, but is loaded with skewed political sentiment. The propagandists have absconded with the words, with their true meanings, thus revising history and facts on the ground.
Kerry Names Lowenstein as Star ‘Actor’ to Replace Indyk
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has appointed his long-time aide Frank Lowenstein as “Acting Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations” following the departure of “permanent” envoy Martin Indyk, as reported here.
The State Dept.’s verbal acrobatics concerning Indyk’s departure and Lowenstein’s arrival provide plenty of evident that Foggy Bottom’s reality deals with more with its own in-house industry of solving the unemployment problem than with the realities of the Middle East.
Lest anyone think that the peace process has failed, State Dept. Spokeswoman Marie Harf was careful to tell reporters on Friday that Indyk really did not quit or resign.
Netanyahu Vows to Outlaw Raed Salah's Islamic Movement in Israel
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting by addressing anti-Israel incitement on Friday outside Umm-Al-Fahm, adding to a chorus of criticism regarding a rally calling for the abduction of Israeli soldiers.
"Outrageous calls were heard supporting the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers," the Prime Minister began. "Most of Israel's Arab citizens do not support this, and I call on their leaders to stand boldly and firmly in condemning these statements."
Until then, he said, he would fight the incitement.
"As Israeli citizens, we cannot accept and put up with such outrageous statements," Netanyahu warned. "The IDF protects all of us."
Israeli Firefighters Come Under Fire From Syria
Israeli firefighters responding to a call on the Golan Heights Sunday morning were fired upon by forces on the other side of the Syrian border.
No one was injured. IDF soldiers removed the firefighters safely. The army has not yet responded to the fire.
The incident occurred in the area of Ein Zivan, a kibbutz in the lower Golan Heights near the Syrian border. Firefighters were responding to a call to put out a small brush fire.
Abbas adviser forced to flee Temple Mount
A senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was forced to flee the Temple Mount on Friday after dozens of Palestinian protesters assaulted him.
Mahmoud al-Habbash, who until recently served as religious affairs minister, is considered one of Abbas’s most trusted advisors.
Following the formation of the Hamas-Fatah government on June 2, Abbas appointed Habbash as chief justice of Islamic courts.
Friday’s incident began when Palestinians discovered that Habbash had arrived at the Temple Mount for meetings with the mufti of Jerusalem and other senior Islamic figures.
The protesters surrounded the office of the mufti and demanded that Habbash leave immediately.
They accused him of coming to Jerusalem with an Israeli permit.
Bank reported to nix transfer of Hamas salaries
A money transfer from Qatar intended to cover the salaries of Gazan civil servants from the Hamas movement hit a snag Saturday after the Arab Bank refused the handover, a senior Hamas official said.
“The state of Qatar graciously transferred money to the Arab Bank, but with an extravagant sense of Arab nationalism, the Arab Bank refused to take the money,” Hamas No. 2 Moussa Abu Marzouk, wrote sarcastically on Facebook, the Ma’an news agency reported.
Marzouk, who is currently in exile in Egypt, added that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the new unity government “are still looking for a mechanism” to successfully transfer the funds.
UN Concerned Hamas Terror Tunnels Not Up To Safety Standards (satire)
The United Nations Human Rights Council expressed misgivings today about the network of tunnels and underground bunkers constructed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere, noting that it is unlikely that the structures meet the requirements that would help guarantee the safety of the people using them.
The Council heard testimony from survivors of a tunnel collapse two weeks ago in which five people were killed, and both the scale of destruction and the depth of the passage made rescue and salvage attempts difficult. In a statement that the Council approved following the testimony, the body urged Hamas to adhere to stricter standards, and chided Israel for putting up barriers that make the construction of the tunnels a necessary measure to avoid detection in executing attacks on Israel.
Daphne Anson: "BDS Activism Has Shifted Back To The Churches"
It might not be raw and ferociously in-yer-face like this recent blatant example of "Christian" antisemitism on Facebook , but it reeks of antisemitism nonetheless: the attitude of elements within the Presbyterian Church (USA) which has narrowly adopted a resolution instructing the Presbyterian Foundation and Board of Pensions of the PCUSA to “divest from Caterpillar, Inc, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.”
We learn of this antisemitism within the PCUSA from NGO Monitor, which has prepared a comprehensive report on the subject that can be accessed here and which includes examples of Facebook activity
Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent slammed for misleading Tweet about Iranian arms shipment
Here’s the text of Beaumont’s Tweet:
“Despite Israeli claims, UN panel decides missiles on the seized ship Kos were for Sudan NOT Gaza”
However, here’s headline to the Haaretz story by Louis Charbonneau, published earlier in the day, that Beaumont linked to:
‘UN panel: Arms ship seized by IDF came from Iran, but not bound for Gaza
First, note Beaumont’s distortion of the Haaretz headline. Though the headline only claimed, per the article, that the UN had determined that the ship itself (carrying the arms) was heading for Sudan, Beaumont twisted it to appear as if the UN had concluded that the arms (that the ship was carrying) were destined for Sudan – and not Gaza.
Sudanese Woman Previously Sentenced To Death For Christianity Takes Refuge At U.S. Embassy
Mariam Yehya Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, is now under the protection of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, reports CNN.
On Thursday, Ibrahim and her husband were released from Sudanese custody, after having been detained two days earlier on charges of forging travel documents. Ibrahim had been released from prison only a day before from her earlier charges of apostasy.
Earlier this week, Ibrahim's legal team announced that her death sentence had been overturned and she had been set free after weeks of intense international pressure. It was only 24 hours after that release that she was detained a second time while she and her family were at the airport on their way to the United States, where she has been granted a Visa.
Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting appeals extradition ruling
The French suspect in a May 24 shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that left four people dead has appealed a French court ruling on Thursday approving his extradition to Belgium, his lawyer said on Saturday.
Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, has been held in police custody on anti-terror laws on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and possession of weapons in relation to the attack since being arrested in the southern city of Marseille on May 30.
"He was not satisfied with the decision," Nemmouche's lawyer, Apolin Pepiezep, told Reuters.
Two Teens Arrested Over Anti-Semitic Vandalism at UK Cemetery
Two 13-year-old boys have been arrested after anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas were daubed over gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Manchester, the BBC reported on Saturday.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) called the attack at the cemetery in Rochdale Road, Blackley, "sickening and cruel".
GMP said the boys were arrested on Friday on suspicion of committing a racially-aggravated public order offence.
The boys were released on police bail until July 25, the report said.
Spanish town named ‘kill Jews’ seeks Jewish center
Lorenzo Rodriguez, the mayor of the town of Castrillo Matajudios in northern Spain, was scheduled to present the plan at a meeting Wednesday at the seat of the local government in the city of Leon, Radio Arlanzon reported.
In addition to opening a center for studies on the culture of Sephardi Jews, Rodriguez is seeking to initiate archaeological excavations that he said would help clarify how his town of a few dozen families came to receive its controversial name.
Israeli elected to UN Womens' Rights committee
For the third year in a row, the United Nation's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will boast an Israeli on its panel of representatives, Haaretz reported.
Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari will sit on the committee and hails from the law department at Bar Ilan University. She is also the head of the Rachman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women.
Halperin-Kaddari has sat on the committee for the last two consecutive years and was re-elected to participate in this year's session with the support of delegates from 128 countries. (h/t MtTB)
Israel and Germany to play soccer friendly to mark 50 years of relations
Israel will host Germany in an international friendly on March 25, 2015 to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the countries, the Israel Football Association announced on Sunday.
The IFA and DFB agreed on the date of the tie on Saturday after Israel's Minister of Culture and Sports Limor Livnat had come to an initial understanding with German Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere when he was in Israel as part of the German cabinet's visit to the country in February.
WOMEX selects Ester Rada
Ethio-soul singer Ester Rada is the latest Israeli to be chosen to feature at the highly prestigious WOMEX World Music Expo, set to take place in October. Rada was among the first 10 acts to be selected in the first round of jury-selected official showcase artists for this year’s world music industry networking event.
“A number of artists create traditional music with a twist or add a traditional flavor to contemporary styles . . . Ester Rada (Israel) filters her modern R’n'B and soul through her Ethiopian roots,” reads the press release announcing Rada’s selection.
Announcing a new feature: WW100 -- World War I and the Jews of Palestine, Commemorating the Centenary since the Outbreak of the War to End all Wars
WW100 -- World War I and the Jews of Palestine, Commemorating the Centenary since the Outbreak of the War to End all Wars
We will present over the next year special features commemorating the centenary of World War I, showing the major battles that shook Palestine, the Jewish population of the Holy Land, and the Jewish soldiers who fought -- on both sides. Below are sample pictures:

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