Monday, August 11, 2014

From Ian:

Foreign Press Assoc protests “blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox” Hamas intimidation
The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.
The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.
In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.
We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a “vetting” procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA.
Douglas Murray: Owen Jones is lying about Israel. Plain and simple.
I am sure that, if Israel ‘wanted’ to carry out ‘indiscriminate slaughter’ in Gaza, they could. But they don’t want to, which is a major reason why they don’t. Israel’s aim is to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas’s aim — in Israel and in Gaza (where at least 10 per cent of Hamas’s own rockets fall short and hit Gazans) — is to maximise civilian casualties.
But this is of no apparent interest to Owen or the thousands of people who turned out again last weekend to protest against Israel. To these people Israel is committing a ‘massacre’, an ‘atrocity’, ‘war-crimes’, ‘genocide’ and even a ‘Holocaust.’ There is no evidence for these claims. They are a wild and wilful distortion of the facts on the ground. The claim that Israel is engaged in ‘the massacre of children’ is not just a lie. It is precisely the sort of lie which makes its way into the body politic and then persuades some people that they must act on this outrage. After all, if you knew of a friendly government which was wilfully engaged in the deliberate ‘indiscriminate slaughter’ of children, what would you not do to stop it?
Here, in a nutshell, you can see the moral sickness of a portion of the Left. For good form’s sake — and doubtless with sincerity — they stress how much they loathe anti-Semitism. But as they hold one hand up in a scout’s promise that they oppose all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, there they are with the other hand busily feeding the furies. Anybody really concerned about avoiding anti-Semitism should take another course. An honest person would realise that if you stop the lies then, although you might never entirely stop the anti-Semitism, you may at least subdue it.
Father of Slain Israeli Teen Slams Buzzfeed
Ofir Shaer, the father of 16-year-old Gilad Shaer, who was abducted in June with two other teens, questioned the motives of outlets such as BuzzFeed, which has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for publishing reports claiming that Hamas was not involved in the incident, despite mounting evidence presented by Israeli authorities indicating otherwise.
Following the first BuzzFeed report that claimed Israeli political leaders had fabricated Hamas’s involvement in the abductions in order to create a pretext for the current Gaza war, Israel’s Shin Bet security service disclosed that one of the Palestinian suspects had been in Israeli custody for weeks and had admitted to Hamas’ involvement in the terror plot.
BuzzFeed’s reporting on the crime helped fuel accusations by Israel’s critics that the Gaza war had been started by Israel, not Hamas.
IDF Reserve Officer Describes Experience in Face of Terrorists in Gaza
Ohad Elhelo, a junior at Brandeis University, left his summer internship to serve as a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces during Operation Defensive Edge and spoke about his experience at a Boston's "Rally in Solidarity with Israel" last Thursday.
Elhelo described the steps that Israel's military takes to ensure civilian safety, including one terrifying experience in which a terrorist fired a missile and then retreated to an ambulance. He also noted that two of his friends lost their lives in the war and that 18 year old soldiers have "to make the hardest decisions possible."
"I refuse to believe there is a Jewish heart that was not broken for the death of each Palestinian child," explained Elhelo
He called for the elimination of Hamas and for the international community to afford moderate Palestinian people a chance to build infrastructure and a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.
J Street refused to join with the Boston community and rally in support of Israel and against terrorism.
IDF Reserve Officer: "New Infrastructure of Hope" (Hebrew Subtitles)

UN Watch: NGO: William Schabas must recuse himself from UN Gaza inquiry
A Geneva-based human rights group called on William Schabas to recuse himself from the UN’s new Gaza inquiry, saying that he is legally disqualified by prior statements expressing his wish to see Prime Minister Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres indicted before the International Criminal Court.
“Under international law, William Schabas is obliged to recuse himself because his repeated calls to indict Israeli leaders obviously gives rise to actual bias or the appearance thereof,” said Hillel Neuer, an international lawyer and executive director of UN Watch, accredited to the United Nations as a non-governmental organization mandated to monitor the world’s body’s adherence to the UN Charter.
“You can’t spend several years calling for the prosecution of someone, and then suddenly act as his judge,” said Neuer. “It’s absurd — and a violation of the minimal rules of due process applicable to UN fact-finding missions.” (h/t cisjew)
George Clooney’s Anti-Israel Fiancée Appointed to U.N. Gaza Probe
George Clooney’s anti-Israel fiancée, Amal Alamuddin, has been appointed to a United Nations panel investigating whether Israel has committed war crimes in its most recent conflict with Gaza.
Alamuddin, a Lebanese-British lawyer who defended Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, will serve on the war crimes panel with two others, according to the Associated Press.
Alamuddin has repeatedly come under fire for demonstrating an anti-Israel bias and is said to come from a Lebanese family known for its extreme views on Israel. (h/t Bob Knot)
JPost Editorial: Broader vision for Gaza
Israel, with the cooperation of regional and international forces, should do everything possible to weaken Hamas’s hold on power – both through economic leverage and, if necessary, through further force.
It would be naive to suggest that ameliorating Gaza’s hardship will do anything to weaken Hamas’s ideological resolve, but to create prosperity may help to weaken the appeal of Hamas and the other Islamic movements.
Israel must also come up with a plan for the day after, a plan that brings economic prosperity to the poverty-stricken people of Gaza, a plan that drives them away from Hamas’s sway and provides them with a desperately needed alternative, something to lose, and something they can live for, not die for.
Following up on proposals such as those put forward by Livni will likely require courageous steps, including progress on negotiations over a two-state solution.
Without a doubt, doing so may be fraught with risk, but failure to come up with a long-term vision may be even more so.
Obama Wants a Weaker Israel
It is worth noting that Obama's view flies in the face of historical fact. Israel has generally been more willing to make compromises when it has felt stronger, not weaker. It signed the Oslo accords, for example, after Yasser Arafat made himself a pariah by supporting Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War. It also pulled out of Gaza in 2005 after defeating the second intifada and after Arafat's death. Weakness and division have had the opposite effect.
Obama's vies of Israel has implications for American security. Problems are solved, he suggests, when the stronger party gives up on victory. In most cases, that means America must become weaker--which is precisely the pattern that Obama has followed in the Middle East, in dealings with Russia, and so forth.
Ronald Reagan touted "peace through strength." Obama styled himself as the anti-Reagan, and in that sense he is delivering.
Obama Doesn’t Worry About Israel’s Survival. That’s Why We Should.
Obama also believes that the obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians isn’t Hamas. This conveniently ignores the fact that it is Hamas that plunged the region into war and whose hold on power there is being guaranteed by American pressure on Israel to restrain its counter-attacks on Islamist rocket fire and terror tunnels. The problem is, Obama says, that Netanyahu is “too strong” and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is “too weak.” That explains Obama’s constant attacks on Israel and his praise for the feckless—and powerless—Abbas. If he were serious about supporting democracy, he’d be wary of the autocratic Abbas and his corrupt PA gang and understand that asking Israel to further empower a Palestinian leadership that won’t make peace is not the act of a friend.
Even if we take the president’s assurances of his friendship for Israel at face value, this interview confirms what has been obvious since January 2009. This is a president who believes Israel’s security is not his priority or even a particular concern. Rather, he wants to save Israel from itself and acts as if it has not already made several offers of peace that have been consistently turned down by the Palestinians. Though Obama is right that Israelis won’t allow their country to be destroyed, his apathy about the deadly threats it faces from Iran and its terrorist proxies, cheered by a chorus of anti-Semitic haters, does nothing to inspire confidence in his leadership. The world has gotten less safe on his watch. The Israeli objects of his pressure tactics do well to ignore his advice. Friedman’s interview gives those who do care about the Jewish state’s future even more reasons to worry.
Why do we remain silent about anti-Semitism, attacks on Christians?
What is most remarkable about the deepening crisis emanating from the Middle East is not the deadly sounds of gunfire and rocketry, but the appalling and equally deadly silences concerning things the Obama administration and the West’s other democratic leaders ought to be addressing at the top of their lungs.
More important, if we are to retain any claim to the minimal moral authority that simple decency confers, those leaders need to not only speak up clearly, but act with resolve and dispatch.
There has been no shortage of willfully wrong-headed — and, in many cases, repellently sinister — criticism of Israel for its monthlong defensive effort to defang the theo-fascists of Hamas who control the unfortunate Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The worse-than-useless secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, may regard the devastation there “as shame to the nations,” as he said this week, but the real shame is that virtually none of those nations expressed outrage over Hamas’ use of 1.8 million of its own people — nearly half of them children — as human shields in its unprovoked campaign of aggression against Israel. In fact, given the unavoidable tactical realities of waging war in a crowded, mainly urban environment like Gaza, what ought to be noted is that Israel inflicted fewer than 2,000 casualties in a monthlong campaign.
A Response to Those Providing Hamas an Iron Dome of Moral Equivalency
Israel has nothing to apologize for how it has dealt with Hamas, whose rules of engagement are predicated on sacrificing their own women and children to feed 24-hour news cycles and social networking platforms with gruesome “evidence” of Israel’s “Nazi” barbarity. Israelis do not celebrate the death of these Arab civilians; they are too busy mourning four young soldiers killed clearing the terror tunnels in Gaza, who were to be married this month.
Frankly, Israel has little to learn about ethics in war — even from allies, let alone autocracies. We need only look back at the (necessary) civilian casualties in the battle of Fallujah, or the drone strikes that were deployed to take out key terrorists despite the inevitable civilian casualties. As for the UN Security Council, one of its members, Russia, recently took over the territory of a neighboring state and its military provided missiles that murdered 298 innocent civilians flying over 30,000 feet above Ukraine.
All war is horrible. All war spawns civilian casualties. But until Gaza 2014, no one ever demanded that the just struggling righteously for their survival against an implacable enemy must stand down in order to avoid civilians deliberately commingled in the enemy’s superstructure.
Daniel Pipes: Lessons of the War in Gaza
This leads to the bizarre situation in which Hamas seeks the destruction of Palestinian property, compels civilians to sustain injuries and death, inflates casualty figures, and may even intentionally attack its own territory — while the IDF takes gratuitous fatalities to spare harm to Palestinians. The Israeli government goes further, providing medical care and food and sending technicians into harm’s way to make sure that Gazans continue to enjoy free electricity.
It’s a curious war in which Hamas celebrates Palestinian misery and Israel does its best to keep life normal for its enemy. Strange, indeed, but this is the nature of modern warfare, where op-eds often count for more than bullets. In Clausewitzian terms, war’s center of gravity has moved from the battlefield to public relations.
In all, the civilized and moral forces of Israel came off well in this face-off with barbarism. But not well enough to forestall, for too long, yet another assault.
Arab myths
Arab mythology maintains that "the rooster crows atop its mound of filth." In other words, the crowing rooster does not agree to alight and fight its enemies, but challenges its opponent from the safety of its refuge of refuse. Hearing Hamas leader Mushir al-Masri's latest statements, that "if Hamas' demands aren't met in Cairo, the rocket fire will continue, causing astounding blows," it is impossible not to harken back to that same old rooster atop his waste, especially as the threats emanate from the mounds of rubble in bloodied Gaza.
Many studies have been written on the lessons of the Arab defeats. Former Israeli military intelligence chief Yehoshafat Harkabi wrote one of the more famous ones, "The Lesson of the Arabs' Defeat." His research discussed how Arab philosophers deluded Arab leaders, leaving them with the inability to admit defeat. That inability in turn inhibited these leaders' capacity to learn from previous wars and crises, thereby making it impossible for them to improve their positions in the future.
Isi Leibler: To rely on Abbas to defang Hamas would be delusional
There is a failure to recognize that Abbas and the PA represent a problem rather than the solution and that were it not for the corruption and incompetence of the PA, in the absence of an IDF presence Hamas or extremists within Fatah would by now have taken control of the region.
Regrettably, the Obama administration – which could influence Western countries to pressure Hamas – repeatedly condemns its ally for the “indefensible” and “totally unacceptable manner” in which it was defending itself.
In contrast, President Barack Obama merely referred to Hamas launching thousands of rockets against Israeli civilians as “extraordinarily irresponsible.” He continues urging Netanyahu to have faith in Abbas despite his union with Hamas and support for their objectives. This week he told New York Times columnist Tom Friedman that he considered Netanyahu’s popularity and strength, which he contrasted to Abbas who is weak and held in low esteem by his people, to be a principal factor inhibiting peace.
Hamas tells truths about itself; Western media won't
Among the documents seized by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza is a handbook on urban warfare issued by the Shuja’iya Brigade of the Al-Qassan Brigades of Hamas. It issues instructions to citizens on how to make explosives, on hiding them in places such as television sets and wall mounts, and on planting them in locations that IDF personnel were unlikely to expect.
The handbook recognizes that Israel tries to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties and limits its use of weapons to avoid this. It also realized that information about such casualties and the destruction of civilian facilities increases the hatred of Israel by Palestinians.
Not surprisingly, except perhaps to some in the mass media, Hamas instructs Palestinians to describe their dead always as “innocent civilians,” and to refrain from indicating that rockets are being launched from populated civilian areas. No pictures must be shown of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza cities.
A Hamas video directs individuals, “Be sure to humanize the Palestinian suffering.”
Many in the “international community” are hesitant to acknowledge the reality of the tactics of Hamas. This was noticeable in the remarks of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who informed CNN that the Qataris have “told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.”
London’s Tricycle Theatre shames itself
At first this might sound odd, but I think the Jewish world owes Rubasingham, the Tricycle Theatre, Carlton and the Herald a debt of gratitude. For Rubasingham and Tricycle have clarified and confirmed what we always knew, that the boycott against Israel is and always has been about boycotting Jews. For their part, Carlton and the Herald have exposed the thin line between criticism of Israel and outright anti-Semitism and concomitantly the nexus between the two.
Now that we can see the anti-Semitism we have been starkly shown we have to fight it, otherwise what occurred this Tisha Be’av on opposites sides of the world makes me fearful of what this could lead Jews to mourn on future Tisha Be’avs. Alas.
When you’ve lost the Guardian… @TricycleTheater #antisemitism
An official editorial on the Gaza war and the rise of antisemitism included the following:
"The board of London’s Tricycle Theatre delivered an ultimatum to the organisers of the UK Jewish Film Festival, which it has hosted for the last eight years: either cut your ties with the Israeli embassy, which gives a £1,400 subsidy to the festival, or find another venue.
UK Jewish Film refused that instruction, along with the Tricycle’s offer to make up the financial shortfall, and is now looking for a new home. No doubt the Tricycle believed it was taking an admirably principled stand on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which flared anew after the truce that had held for nearly 72 hours broke down. But the theatre has made a bad error of judgment.
Some have made the argument that, if receiving money from a state implies endorsement of that state’s policy, then the Tricycle ought to return the £725,000 it receives from the taxpayer-funded Arts Council, lest that be read as backing for, say, UK participation in the invasion of Iraq. Of course, few would see the Arts Council as an arm of the state in that way. And a similar mistake seems to be at work here. For the Israeli embassy in London is not merely an outpost of the Netanyahu government. It also represents Israel itself, its society and its people. It was this connection with Israel as a country that UK Jewish Film refused to give up. Hard though it may be for others to understand, that reflects something crucial about contemporary Jewish identity: that most, not all, Jews feel bound up with Israel, even if that relationship is one of doubt and anxiety. To demand that Jews surrender that connection is to tell Jews how they might – and how they might not – live as Jews. Such demands have an ugly history. They are not the proper business of any public institution, least of all a state-subsidised theatre"
Geneva meets Jihad: The New Rules of War
Despite thousands of rockets being fired at Israeli cities, towns and kibbutzim during Israel’s current conflict with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza, the European Union recently condemned Israel’s “disproportionate use of force” and issued a communiqué urging Israel to “refrain from all activities that endanger civilians” in Gaza on the grounds that “such activities are contrary to international law.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called Israeli actions “outrageous” and “indefensible,” and his reaction has fueled demands that Israel be dragged before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued similar statements noting that civilians acting as human shields do not pose a direct threat to opposing forces and therefore retain their immunity from attack because they are not directly engaged in hostilities against an adversary. By this standard, even a targeted killing or an attempt to arrest a terrorist “endangers” civilians. Translated into practical terms, these statements suggest that it is a violation of international humanitarian law (and conceivably a war crime as well) for Israel to attack any of Hamas’s terrorist infrastructures or leaders when those infrastructures and/or leaders are being protected by human shields. If true, we have handed our enemies a valuable weapon in their war against us, and we have given them an enormous tactical advantage that rewards them for reprehensible behavior.*
What is at stake are the very rules of war that underpin our entire international order - the most important rule of which is the distinction between combatants and non-combatants - an ambiguity promoted by jihadists in this new era of asymmetric warfare. While Israel and the US endanger themselves to protect civilians in times of war and mourn their deaths when they become victims, our jihadist enemies consciously place civilians in harms’ way to protect themselves and their weapons systems.
One Big Step Backward for Mankind
Israel is once again fighting and sacrificing its best and brightest, defending Israel’s citizens against Hamas, a fanatical enemy.
The war in Gaza, known as “Operation Protective Edge” has evolved into a watershed event in regard to Israel’s standing in the world and no less so for Jews throughout the world.
Far away from Gaza’s front lines, a parallel battle is being waged in which Jews and Israel are viewed as two sides of the same coin, with Jews countering a tsunami of irrational hatred and being held to impossible standards. The haters are basically denying Israel the right to defend herself.
Jews throughout the world, whether in the streets of Europe or the streets of New York, are attacked verbally and are physically being denied the right of free speech to support Israel. Even Israel’s supposedly best friends have joined the orgy of Jewish hatred; they imply that they are friends of Israel and support her right of self-defense, as long as Israel doesn’t actually do anything to defend herself.
Holy War Arrives in Germany
"Never before have the sympathizers of Islamic terror appeared so openly in Germany." — Editorial, Westfalen-Blatt.
"Anyone who thought the civil war in Syria or the barbarity of the Islamic State in Iraq does not affect us, you are wrong." — Editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"IS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Boko Haram—these four groups are the linchpins of the attempt to bomb an unstoppable modernity back into the Middle Ages." — Editorial, Westfalen-Blatt.
"The religions of the world are increasingly being misused for ideological struggles and excesses of violence between people of different faiths. Religions are never violent per se, but the market criers of violence are using them to promote their own interests." — Editorial, Neue Westfälische.
Who is Israel's Most Powerful Enemy? The West
Meanwhile, Jews are secure no more in today's Europe. In the last few weeks, in Paris and Berlin, we saw images reminiscient of the Kristallnacht.
A few days ago, Luciana Castellina, one of Italy’s most famous leftist journalists and writers, penned a front page column in which she attacked the pro- Israel rally I organized in Rome. She also regretted, sadly, that there are not enough anti-Jewish manifestations in Europe.
Muslims can kill Jewish students and bomb their homes. They can inflict pain in the wonderful society in Israel. But they can’t destroy the Jewish State. At least for the moment. At least as long as Iran is unable to produce an atomic bomb.
By undermining Israel’s raison d’etre, the Western threat to Israeli existence has become existential, not merely tactic.
The West is making the world “Judenmüde”. Tired of Jews. The West is working so that people around the world will react to Israel’s destruction with a yawn. It is making them happy to turn the page.
The photo that will shock the world: jihadist Khaled Sharrouf’s son, 7, holds severed head
Sydney jihadist Khaled Sharrouf’s son — a child, 7, raised in the suburbs of Sydney — struggles with both arms to hold up the decapitated head of a slain Syrian soldier.
According to a report in The Australian newspaper, the horrifying image was posted on Twitter by a proud father with the words “That’s my boy” and is set to reverberate around the world as a savage example of the brutality of the Islamic State.
Sharrouf, a convicted terrorist who fled to Syria last year and is now an Islamic fighter, is believed to be travelling with his family.
According to the report, Sharrouf’s son is pictured holding the severed head while wearing a pair of checked pants and a blue shirt with the insignia Polo Golf Kids.
In the photographs featuring Sharrouf and his son the heads are blackened and bloated having been dead for a week.
Brandeis University President Condemns ‘Abhorrent’ Remarks on Faculty Listserv
In a July 28th letter to faculty, Brandeis University president Fredrick Lawrence took a stance against a radical and anti-Semitic “Concerned” faculty listserv that TruthRevolt uncovered.
“I am writing to you today to address the issue of certain statements made on a restricted listserv hosted on our campus computer server, which have been reported in the public media,” wrote Lawrence. “I repudiate these statements publicly and I urge you to do the same.”
“While we maintain our staunch support of freedom of expression and academic inquiry, some remarks by an extremely small cohort of Brandeis faculty members are abhorrent. Such statements, which include anti-Semitic epithets, personal attacks, denigration of the Catholic faith, and the use of crude and vulgar terms in discussions about Israel, do not represent the Brandeis community,” he continued. “I condemn these statements in no uncertain terms.”
Blockbuster terror finance trial to start against Jordan's Arab Bank
After about a decade of waiting, and a last ditch attempt to get the US government or Supreme Court to block the case, the most significant terror finance case ever to go to trial in US history, against Arab Bank, is set to begin on Monday.
The Jordanian government implied that if the bank – essentially Jordan’s sovereign bank – loses, its economy and the entire counter-terror cooperation with the US could fall apart.
Whatever the result, the case could shine a light on the world of terror financing.
Justice Ministry 'Betrays' Bank of China Terror Case
The Israeli Justice Ministry has succeeded in quashing a subpoena for a key witness to appear in the Bank of China (BOC) court case, a case being fought in New York to win justice for Daniel Wultz, an American terror victim killed in Tel Aviv in 2006.
The case investigating BOC's role in funding terror attacks requested testimony from key witness and former intelligence officer Uzi Shaya last June 26. Last November 15, the Justice Ministry submitted a motion to quash the subpoena on Shaya in a move some have labeled "sabotage."
US District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled last month that Shaya had immunity, reports the Courthouse News Service. In response, the Wultz family's lawyers urged a reconsideration, accusing the Israeli government of a "stunning personal betrayal" motivated by a "politically expedient" gesture to the Chinese government.
Three planeloads of Ukrainian Jews expected in coming weeks
Three planeloads of Ukrainian Jews sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews will land in Israel in the coming weeks, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.
According to IFCJ founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the new immigrants will each receive a monetary payment from the interfaith group as well as help in navigating Israeli bureaucracy and job placement services once they arrive.
Eckstein, whose organization is currently running a refugee facility in Zhitomir for Jews who have escaped the rebel cities of Luhansk and Donetsk, said that many of those who had escaped the Moscow-backed insurgency, expressed a desire to emigrate.
Protesters curse Zoabi as 'traitor' and 'terrorist' as she arrives for police questioning
Meanwhile, Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) said Zoabi showed up "like a good girl" because she knew that if she did not, she would be brought in handcuffs.
"The time has come to send a message that MKs are not above the law, certainly not those who act and incite against the State of Israel and its soldiers," Regev stated.
"Haneen Zoabi, your days in the Knesset are numbered, more than ever," she added.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) called for Zoabi to be banned from leaving the country so she does not run away like former Balad MK Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel and resigned from the Knesset in 2007 when he was being investigated for ties with an enemy country.
"This disgrace, that a representative of Hamas sits in the Knesset, will come to an end when Haneen Zoabi is put behind bars," Danon said.
The tragedy of Gaza’s dual economy
Read any economic report on Gaza since 2000, when Chairman Arafat launched the Intifada, and there is very little positive information. That ranks in stark contrast to the three previous decades, when the World Bank estimated that under Israeli rule real annual average GDP growth was around 5.5% .
Today, unemployment is in the tens of percents. The border with Egypt has been sealed shut for nearly a year, and around 95% of the smuggling tunnels have been destroyed. On the Israeli side, hundreds of trucks still deliver provisions daily, even during the war, as many locals depend on food hand-outs. It is an accepted fact that by mid summer 2014, the Hamas junta was bankrupt and could not even pay its supporters. (It should be pointed out although most factories were barely operating, the military underground complex continued to be funded and extended).
There are those who argue that Gaza can return to its better days, especially by leaning on the Egyptian economy. What people forget too readily is that up to 1967, Egypt ensured that Sinai and Gaza had remained a pathetic economic backwater. The irony is that the World Bank has confirmed that the main commercial boom for Gaza in the past century emerged during Israeli governance after 1967.
How To Debate Anti-Zionists – From a Progressive/Left Wing Perspective
Over the years, Israel advocacy has had more than its fair share of peaks and valleys. Although Israel has millions of supporters all over the world, it has just as many enemies (if not more). In particular, we seem to have a lot of trouble convincing the Western left of the merits and justice of our cause. With this guide, I’ve set out to rectify the problem. These steps should help you become a better advocate for Israel, especially when debating with anti-Zionists on the left. Here we go…
Yazidis: An Entire People on the Brink of Annihilation
An entire religion is at risk of being wiped out, as the threat of genocide looms in Iraq. The international community must help.
The Yazidi Kurds, who number roughly 500,000 have had a tough history in the Middle East. During the Armenian genocide some 500,000 Yazidis, then numbering in the 750,000, were also massacred, expelled from Turkey to Europe or the Soviet Union.
Today another massacre is taking place and the world remains silent. As hours go by, more and more children are dying of thirst and hunger. An entire religion is about to be wiped out, and we beg the international community to provide humanitarian support & protect this fragile minority.
Christian Refugee from Mosul: Our Neighbors Drove Us Out

Vice News Video Captures ISIS Extremism
Global news outlet Vice News has had a man undercover in Iraq and Syria capturing behind-the-scenes footage of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group as they spread jihad throughout the Middle East.
Head of Vice News Europe, Kevin Sutcliffe appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos and spoke with guest host Martha Raddatz, describing the scenes they've witnessed and captured on video.
"The Islamic militant group in ISIS is so extreme that traditional al Qaeda has disavowed it," Raddatz's voice-over explained. Other images show families enjoying a dip in the Euphrates while a young boy explains his wishes for his future:
"In the name of god, my name is Daoud and I'm 14 years old. I'd like to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and to kill with them."
US sending arms to Kurds in Iraq
The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, senior US officials said Monday.
Previously, the US had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but the Kurdish peshmerga fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State militants in recent weeks.
The officials wouldn’t say which US agency is providing the arms or what weapons are being sent, but one official said it isn’t the Pentagon. The CIA has historically done similar quiet arming operations.
‘Delusional': Sen. Elizabeth Warren says ‘there has to be a negotiated solution in Iraq’
Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren told reporters Friday that she stood by President Barack Obama’s decision to begin targeted airstrikes over northern Iraq, although she insisted that the United States not be pulled into another war in Iraq, calling instead for negotiations to end the conflict. The Boston Herald reports:
“It’s a complicated situation right now in Iraq and the president has taken very targeted actions to provide humanitarian relief that the Iraqi government requested, and to protect American citizens,” Warren told reporters. “But like the president I believe that any solution in Iraq is going to be a negotiated solution, not a military solution. We do not want to be pulled into another war in Iraq.”
Pro-Hamas Arab Canadians try to drown out pro-Kurdish rally in Toronto

Iran: We won’t accept ‘toy’ enrichment program
Iran will not accept a weak uranium enrichment program which world powers might be willing to grant the Islamic republic like a “toy” in nuclear negotiations, a top official said Sunday.
The size and scale of the Islamic Republic’s enrichment activities remain the biggest stumbling block in efforts to clinch a long-term agreement over Iran’s disputed atomic activities.
Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for American and European Affairs, made the remarks on returning to Tehran from Geneva, after five hours of talks with US officials.
Detractors fear more a powerful president Erdogan
Until now, Turkey’s presidents have played a largely symbolic role although they can call general elections, approve or reject laws passed by Parliament and appoint prime ministers, the Council of Ministers and some high court judges.
The position also has some dormant powers, including the power to call Parliament, summon Cabinet meetings and preside over them. Those powers are a legacy of Turkey’s 1980 military coup and have seldom been used.
Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, says he intends to use these constitutional prerogatives to the full, effectively shaping the presidency into a more powerful position. He is widely expected to appoint an amenable prime minister, which would allow him to continue to rule Turkey pretty much in the same way as he did while premier.
State of Erdogan
Erdogan is well aware that today's Turkey is divided, and he plays this card in his speeches when he talks about "them" and "us." He knows that his party's well-oiled machinery will lead him to electoral victories. And when you consider the weakness of Erdogan's opponents in the elections he has run in, including Sunday's, you see why we have been stuck with him for so many years.
During the recent presidential election campaign, we usually just saw Erdogan. He made appearances like a rock star, and asked crowds, "Who is going to be president?" They roared back, "Erdogan!" Populism reigned, and it is no surprise that anti-Israel slogans, tinged with anti-Semitism, were prominent in the campaign.
At a campaign event on Aug. 3, a woman in the crowd fainted due to heat. In front of cameras, the charismatic Erdogan treated her, massaging her hands. The joke goes that when she woke up and saw Erdogan, she became alarmed and asked, "Where are my gold bracelets?," an allusion to the serious corruption scandal that Erdogan survived.
Ministry: Free Wi-fi all over for Israelis, tourists
Free Internet in Israel just got a big boost. Communications Minister Gilad Erdan has signed an order that removes limitations on the public use of Wi-fi hotspots. From now on, anyone anywhere in Israel will be allowed to set up a hotspot — providing free Internet outdoors as well as indoors.
Last week’s move will be a boon for tourists, who generally have to pay high fees to foreign Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to connect to the web locally. It will also benefit Israelis, who will be able to connect to the Internet in many more areas – for free.
Although some cities like Tel Aviv and Ariel have been providing free Wi-fi for residents and visitors, the routers providing those connections had to be set up inside buildings, in line with ministry requirements that Wi-fi routers had to be placed indoors — which meant that the signal tended to be weak in many public spaces. Under the rule change, municipalities can now set up routers anywhere they want, including in parks, at beaches, and on college campuses.


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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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