Monday, February 23, 2015

From Ian:

Michael Lumish: Why is Obama so Afraid of Benjamin Netanyahu?
One has to wonder how it is that Barack Obama, a man who was once president of the Harvard Law Review, could be so afraid of spreading the idea that Iran should not be allowed to gain nuclear weaponry? That is pretty much all Netanyahu is likely to say, after all. Nothing that the man is likely to say to Congress will be earth-shattering or new.
If I am right – and I suspect that I am – all we are going to hear from Netanyahu are reasons why a nuclear-armed Iran is a terrible idea, not the least which reason is that it will lead to Middle Eastern arms race with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, not to mention Turkey and perhaps even Jordan, scrambling to gain their own nuclear weapons.
Obama is manufacturing hatred toward both Benjamin Netanyahu and the Jewish State of Israel, and thereby Jews more generally, merely because Netanyahu is going to plea to the American people to support Israel in preventing Iranian nuclear break-out capacity.
If Obama believes otherwise, he should allow Netanyahu to speak and then clearly tell the American public just how it is the Netanyahu is mistaken.
If the president of the United States cannot even bring himself to refute such an argument, then how can we possibly trust him to refute Iranian nuclear potential?
Finally, for Barack Obama to snub Netanyahu on the grounds that meeting so close to the Israeli election would amount to interfering with that election is the very height of hypocrisy. Everyone who follows Israel knows that the Obama administration has sent a team into Israel for the purpose of unseating the despised Netanyahu in favor of a US puppet like Herzog or Livni.
Obama likes his Jews soft and malleable.
Is the Era of Euphemism in Washington beginning to end?
Euphemism: The act or example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt or offensive. (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1992.)
In years to come we may look back on the past week as the beginning of the end of an era of euphemism in American political history. It may be ending because the gap between the language of the government of the United States and the reality of Islamist inspired terror and barbarism has become an abyss. For two decades, various academics and political figures have warned us against committing the sins of Orientalism and then Islamophobia. Yet now millions of people see with their own eyes on television and computer screens that the sins of our error are being committed in the name of a fanaticism born of Islamist ideology. This fact is now so obvious that denying it leads officials into embarrassing linguistic acrobatics that finally make them objects of ridicule. Simply put, the past strategies of avoidance and deflection have ceased to convince because they are being contradicted by facts available to millions.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, two American Presidents, but especially our current one, have spoken a language of euphemism concerning the ideology inspiring the major terrorist organizations and states of our era. They have substituted mild, indirect or vague terms to refer to the causes of global terrorism in place of others considered harsh, blunt or offensive. Those terms held to be offensive and thus taboo in government statements include “radical Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Islamic fundamentalism,” or other such terms that connect interpretation of the religion of Islam to the practice of terrorism. Those who used such terms were held to be either “Islamophobic” or simply politically harmful because doing so was bound to offend over a billion Muslims and thus undermine Western counterterrorism efforts. As a result two famous euphemisms continue to shape the public stance of the United States government.
In the Bush years, the term of art was “the war on terror,” which suggested we were, absurdly, at war with a tactic. In the Obama era, the acceptable term has been a fight against unspecified sources of “violent extremism.”
'Do not hesitate': Terror group calls for 'Westgate-style' attacks on Westfield shopping centres in chilling new threat from militants behind bloody Kenya siege
An al-Qaeda linked terror group has issued a chilling propaganda video threatening Western shopping centres and singling out 'Jewish owned' Westfield malls as targets.
In a 76-minute long message issued overnight, a masked militant purportedly from the al-Shabaab organisation encouraged Islamic fundamentalists to strike at shopping centres around the world.
Dressed in military fatigues, the spokesman named complexes owned by Frank Lowy's Australian group as among potential targets, dwelling on two Westfield malls in East and West London.
'If just a handful of mujahideen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete stand-still for nearly a week, just imagine what the dedicated mujahideen could do in the West to American or Jewish shopping centres across the world,' he said.
‘What if such an attack on the Mall of America in Minnesota or the West Edmonton mall in Canada or in London’s Oxford Street. Or any of the hundred or so of the Jewish owned Westfield shopping centres.
‘Take the Westfield shopping centre in (London's) Stratford or White City for example, what would be the implications of such an attack, one can only imagine.
‘All it takes is a man with firm determination, of which our Muslim ummah (community) has plenty of.
‘So hurry up and hasten to Heaven and do not hesitate.'

Expert Says Al-Shabaab Threat Against Jewish-Owned Malls Shows Increased Jihadi Focus on Jewish Targets
Responding to the video in an interview on CNN, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “This latest statement from al-Shabaab reflects the new phase we’ve evolved to in the global terrorist threat, in that you have groups such as al-Shabaab and ISIL publicly calling for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks.”
Regarding the specific threat to Mall of America, Johnson said: “Anytime a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we’ve got to take that seriously.” He advised people going to the Mall of America to be particularly careful, Reuters reported.
Reuters also reported that Staff Sergeant Brent Meyer of Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police said authorities are looking into the video but “there is no evidence at this time of any specific or imminent threat to Canadians.”
“West Edmonton Mall has implemented extra security precautions; some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t be,” he said in a statement.
Last July, al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Dhere issued another threat against Jews in a speech at a Barawa mosque in Somalia, The Jerusalem Post reported at the time.
Dhere called upon Muslims to stand up and take revenge for their Muslim brothers in Gaza, saying: “The Jews are spread out throughout the world, and the Jews’ properties are spread everywhere. In light of this, the Muslims must attack the Jews and their properties in every place, and they must pray for their brothers in Gaza.”
After the West­gate Mall attack in 2013, Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League said it underscored the terror group’s battle against Jews and Israel.
JPost Editorial: AIPAC boycott
It is entirely proper that allies will have disagreements over issues of vital national importance, such as Iran. It is also understandable that the Obama administration sees the Netanyahu speech as politically problematic, given that he was invited by the Republican speaker of the House and he is going to be criticizing US policy.
But all of that administration displeasure and its own internal disputes with the Republican-controlled Congress should be directed at Netanyahu personally, not at the office of the prime minister and the State of Israel or its bipartisan Congressional allies. In short, AIPAC and Israel should not be punished because of a personal feud, no matter the legitimacy of that feud.
Much of the dispute is symbolic rather than substantive.
US-Israel security ties are as strong as they have been in the past. However, America and Israel’s enemies see any daylight in the alliance between the two countries as an opportunity to work against both Israel and the US interests in the region.
Iran is happy to portray Israel as “derailing” the negotiations they are trying to string along with the US. Iran’s PressTV is already gloating over the AIPAC conference “snub,” part of the Iranian policy to portray Israel as the problem and encourage Washington to also see its Arab allies – Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Gulf States – as standing in the way of a rapprochement with Tehran.
It’s time for Washington and Jerusalem to heal their rift and reaffirm their unshakable alliance. Straight talk is good between allies, but petty public squabbles only stoke the fires and feed the appetites of the enemies of both Israel and America.
The rise and fall of Barack Obama
Obama’s worldview isn’t anti-American or post-American so much as it is empty. Should the war in Afghanistan continue? Sure, why not. What should America do about Egypt, Iraq and Libya? Something, but not too much. One day it was a “reset” with Putin’s Russia, then it was time to aid the Ukrainians – but not too much, lest they actually win. One day talk of air-strikes for Syria, the next not.
Obama is blamed for causing a mess in the Middle East, but that perpetuates the myth that America alone truly influences the Middle East. The US administration likes to negotiate, whether it is opening relations with Cuba or dragging on discussions with Iran, and that plays into the agendas of both Cuba and Iran while gaining nothing for the US or its interests. When it comes to take a chance at helping protesters in places like Iran, the US shies away. Obama is perceived as anti-Israel, but he isn’t so much anti-Israel as simply bereft of a plan for Israel and the Palestinians. Negotiate forever is the plan; punish the recalcitrant Israelis in minor ways, leak comments like “chickenshit,” but do nothing of substance.
Obama may have been better suited to be a community organizer or college professor than an executive. He likes to lecture. He’s thoughtful and intellectual. All perfectly good qualities. His administration has fallen, slowly, not because it is especially bad, but because it is a nonentity, an incrementalist nonentity tinkering with foreign policy fixes, badly suited for a world that has been slipping slowly into chaos for the 25 years since the end of the Cold War. In 2004 when Noam Chomsky published Hegemony or Survival: America’ Quest for Global Dominance, many questioned the US role in the world. Obama’s failure has been to not answer those questions. He has maintained America’s hegemonic role without knowing why.
In April of 1910 Teddy Roosevelt delivered a speech at the Sorbonne in which he claimed, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena...who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Obama didn’t dare greatly, and he has failed.
Phased Iran nuke deal starting to take shape as sides convene
The United States and Iran are working on a two-phase deal that clamps down on Tehran’s nuclear program for at least a decade before providing it leeway over the remainder of the agreement to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make weapons.
Officials from some of the six-power talks with Iran said details still needed to be agreed on, with US and Iranian negotiators meeting Monday for the third straight day ahead of an end-of-March deadline for a framework agreement. US Secretary of State John Kerry joined the negotiations after arriving Sunday.
A breakthrough was not expected before Kerry returns to Washington later Monday. Still, Western officials familiar with the talks cited long-awaited progress on some elements that would have to go into a comprehensive deal. They described the discussions as a moving target, however, meaning changes in any one area would have repercussions for other parts of the negotiation.
The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement, gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program and slowly easing economic sanctions.
Iranian negotiator threatens to leave nuke talks — report
Tehran’s chief negotiator in nuclear talks with the US and other world powers threatened to walk away from the table, Iranian media reported Monday, as a second day of high-level negotiations were set to get underway in Switzerland.
Abbas Araqchi said Iran would leave the talks if “other parties impose their wills,” Iran’s Press TV reported Monday morning.
The sides are currently trying to hammer out a framework deal deal that would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb in return for an easing of punishing international economic sanctions, ahead of a March 24 deadline.
The comment came days after US Secretary of State John Kerry warned US President Barack Obama was “fully prepared” to pull the US out before accepting a deal leaving Tehran with potent nuclear arms-making ability.
On Sunday, senior Iranian official Ali Akbar Velayati responded by saying staying or leaving “depends on the Americans.”
Iran's Foreign Minister Under Fire for Walking with Kerry
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has had to defend a 15-minute walk he took with US Secretary of State John Kerry during the nuclear negotiations in Geneva on January 14.
Pictures showing the two walking along the Rhone River became popular on Iranian social media, reports Al-Monitor's Iran Pulse, which says many Iranians “were surprised to see the foreign secretaries of these two nations taking a public walk and speaking so casually.”
Back in Tehran last week, Zarif accused his critics of using the walk as a partisan issue. He explained that the negotiations in Geneva were intense, and that he and Kerry decided to step out for fresh air as the hotel did not have a garden. This was “natural,” he argued, given the long hours of the meetings, with no breaks except for prayers.
The critics were not placated, according to Al-Monitor. The head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naghdi, said, “showing intimacy with the enemy of humanity is completely wrong.” He added that by walking with the US secretary of state, Zarif was “trampling the blood of martyrs.”
Why Netanyahu broke publicly with Obama over Iran
Netanyahu’s skepticism reached a tipping point last month when he concluded that the United States had offered so many concessions to Iran that any deal reached would be bad for Israel. He broke with Obama, first in a private phone call Jan. 12, and then in his public acceptance of an offer by GOP House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress on March 3 and, in effect, lobby against the deal.
The administration argues that the pact taking shape, although imperfect, is preferable to any realistic alternative. It would limit the Iranian program and allow careful monitoring of its actions. Angered by what it sees as Netanyahu’s efforts to sabotage the agreement, the administration decided in early February to limit the information it shared with Israel about its bargaining with Iran.
The discord goes back to 2012, when the Obama administration began secret contacts with Iran through Oman. The Israelis were angry that they weren’t informed and insulted that the United States would think they wouldn’t find out through their intelligence channels. Netanyahu denounced the interim agreement, reached in November 2013, because it formally accepted that Iran could enrich uranium.
Obama’s ‘Assurances’ Won’t Protect Israel
Israel should accept a “nuclear guarantee” from the Obama Administration and stop worrying about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, says longtime State Department peace processor Martin Indyk.
What a coincidence! Just last November Indyk’s former right-hand man, David Makovsky, proposed the exact same thing.
Do we detect a trial balloon?
In a speech in Tel Aviv on February 16, Indyk said the U.S. promised to intervene if Iran crossed the “nuclear threshold,” and that promise should suffice to ease Israel’s concerns. In other words, Israel should entrust its future to a piece of paper signed by a president who has been, arguably, the most unfriendly president towards Israel in American history.
Al-Jazeera to publish leaked Mossad cables
The Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network announced Monday that it will be publishing a series of leaked spy cables in the coming days that include the Mossad’s “true assessment” of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The documents, which were briefings and analyses by South Africa’s State Security Agency from 2006-2014, included correspondences with the CIA, MI6, Mossad, FSB, Iranian spy agency and several other Middle Eastern states. The files ranged from confidential to top-secret, according to al-Jazeera.
A selection of the leaked files, to be published by al-Jazeera in collaboration with the British Guardian newspaper, “offered an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicized realm of global espionage,” al-Jazeera said in a preview of the publication on its website.
The news channel said that only a selection of the leaked spy documents would be published, while others “have been saved for future broadcast — ones that needed further contextualization,” and that “hundreds will not be revealed.”
British Lawmakers Blind to Iranian Ambition
The nature of the Iranian government is clear. Its human rights abuses, its violent interference in foreign lands, its brutal treatment of its own citizens and the zeal of its support network in the West are all unmistakable evidence of a fanatic and aggressive regime.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, however, warns us that "new sanctions legislation" would "undermine Iranian confidence in the negotiations." Other British lawmakers believe easing sanctions is "essential to stabilizing a Middle East tumbling toward chaos," while some British politicians are even preparing for the removal of sanctions altogether.
Britain's determination to reach a deal with Iran, coupled with America's desperation to reach one, makes it look as if both counties will allow Iran to keep its centrifuges and become a threshold nuclear power. The leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE have all expressed concern over this possibility.
Britain's wilful blindness to the regime's structure and openly violent ambitions -- as well as lawmakers' keenness to collaborate with Iran against the Islamic State -- promises that the ongoing talks with Rouhani's government will benefit no one but the Mullahs in Tehran.
Russia offers Iran new missiles despite sanctions
Russia has offered Iran advanced surface-to-air missiles after scrapping a similar deal in 2010 because of UN sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program, the state defense company said Monday.
Any such a deal is likely to go down badly in Washington, as Western countries seek to keep up the pressure on Iran to agree a comprehensive deal on its nuclear activities.
Sergei Chemezov, head of the Rostec corporation which manages Russia’s defense industry, said Moscow has offered to supply Antey-2500 missiles, an upgraded version of the S-300 air defense system that figured in the previous contract.
“We have offered them the Antey-2500,” Chemezov was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti news agency.
But he added: “The decision has not been made yet.”
Moscow signed a contract in 2007 to deliver S-300 missiles to Iran worth $800 million.
Iran, Hezbollah Reportedly Backing Al-Qaeda Attacks Against US Interests in the Middle East
Iran and Hezbollah have been supervising and funding fighters linked to Al-Qaeda to target US interests in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, independent Lebanese online newspaper Naharnet reported on Sunday citing a breaking report from pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iran is playing a central role in running the affairs of Al-Qaeda, and even, surprisingly, Jabhat al-Nusra, after it has taken in a number of leading fighters in order to plan terrorist attacks against these US interests.
The sources confirmed that the fighters have been moving between Iranian cities, including Tehran, Meshad and Zahdan. Meanwhile, Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah has been taking care of planning and providing them with financing.
The sources added that the Saudi Saleh Al-Qar’awi, known as “Najm Al-Kheir [the Star of Beneficence]” – the former leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades – is the most prominent of the individuals leading Al-Qaeda’s operations from Iran. Accompanying him are a number of individuals who have close relations with Iranian officials.
Analysis: Hezbollah’s Support for Assad Prompted “Tacit Alliance” Between Israel, Sunni Arab States
Sievers argued that the security services of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan appreciation of Israel likely won’t filter down to citizens of those nations, “but Rashed’s analysis, and the fact that he published it openly in one of the leading Arabic newspapers, may offer new opportunities for U.S. policy.”
While Sievers asserted that friendly relations between Washington’s Arab allies and Israel are not likely in the immediate future, he sees a “glimmer of hope” implicit in Rashed’s column.
The growing ties between Israel and the Western-oriented Arab states was alluded to by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last October, when he met with President Barack Obama in the White House. In addition to fears of Iran projecting its power across the Middle East, the Sunni Arab states share concerns with Israel about the emerging nuclear deal between the West and Iran.
Iran exhibit shows Israel’s destruction
A bizarre video of a domino exhibition in Iran last week showed a mock missile destroying an Israeli flag — among other “obstacles” interfering with the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Translated and released by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute Sunday, the clip — filmed at a domino show in the Iranian city of Gonabad on February 16 — depicts an intricate domino structure painstakingly built to symbolize Tehran’s nuclear project.
Once the chain reaction begins, the dominoes are seen toppling perceived stumbling blocks impeding the progress of the program, including the assassination of scientists, sanctions and the Stuxnet virus.
US-related models such as the word “CIA” and an RQ-170 drone are also collapsed, followed by a burning effigy of “ISIS,” an acronym for the Islamic State terror group.
The grand finale features a rocket destroying a domino structure of an Israeli flag, surrounded by flames and fireworks.
The toppled structures are then replaced by messages affirming Iran’s nuclear achievements.
Nuclear-Themed Domino Show in Iran Culminates with Missile Destroying Israeli Flag

Jerusalem hits back at claims it is causing collapse of Palestinian Authority
One Israeli official said Jerusalem, which has held up two monthly payments and the transfer of some $200 million since the beginning of the year in response to the PA joining the International Criminal Court and initiating proceedings against Israel, has done an assessment and concluded that while “there is pressure on the PA,” there is “time” and the PA is not on the verge of collapse.
“We believe that people should focus on what brought about this situation, which is the PA breaking fundamental commitments to the peace process by going to the UN Security Council and the ICC,” the official said. He added that Israel could not be expected to sit idly by as the PA wages “diplomatic warfare “ against it.
According to the official, Israel’s response has so far been “very measured,” adding that the funds are being held in escrow and not being used to pay the PA’s large water and electricity bills, a move that would be “irreversible.”
The current steps, however, are reversible, he said, without indicating what steps the PA would have to take to ensure the renewed flow of tax revenue.
The next transfer is scheduled for the first week of March, but it is very unlikely the funds would be released then so close to the March 17 elections.
IEC Cuts Off Electricity to the PA
The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) has returned power to Palestinian Authority areas it briefly cut off from the grid Monday afternoon, in protest over the PA's refusal to pay the nearly half a billion dollars it owes.
Earlier Monday, chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Yiftah Ron-Tal announced at the 12th Jerusalem Conference on Monday that in the coming hours, IEC will start limiting power supply to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria.
IEC announced late last month that "due to a mounting debt worth nearly 1.8 billion shekels ($459 million), we have decided that...electrical supply will be cut," with the cut to include an hour each morning and another hour at night, until the PA starts to pay up.
"I said here a year ago that it can't be that someone who gets electricity and doesn't pay we cut them off, but an entire population that doesn't pay electricity - we don't cut them off," said Ron-Tal, noting that the PA owes almost 2 billion shekels.
"But a year has passed since I said that last time, and this afternoon we will start limiting the electric current to the Palestinian Authority," revealed Ron-Tal to applause. (h/t Bob Knot)
 Palestinians threaten to end security ties with Israel
Nabil Shaath said President Mahmoud Abbas warned European leaders on a trip to Europe last week that Palestinian officials would discuss the matter during a Palestinian central council meeting next week.
“We have told the international community that we will not be able to continue the security coordination and the Palestinian Authority itself may not be able to continue functioning if Israel continues stealing our money,” Shaath said.
Israel has withheld tax revenue from the Palestinians since they joined the International Criminal Court last month. Shaath said the withheld revenue amounts to $140 million per month for the last two months.
Tax revenue accounts for about 70 percent of the Palestinians’ budget. The withheld revenue has led the cash-strapped Palestinian government to take out bank loans. For the last two months, it has paid only partial salaries for civil servants.
Security forces nab Hamas terror cell in Hebron
The Shin Bet said it arrested 11 members of the cell in January, and that the group had carried out a failed bomb attack on Israeli troops in the West Bank.
Along with the arrests, security forces seized two sub-machine guns and explosives the cell allegedly planned on using to target Israelis, the Shin Bet said.
The main suspects in the case were named as Suhaib Mamoun Saltan, 20, from Hebron, and his cousin Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, a Hamas operative, who had been convicted and imprisoned by Israel in the past and was also at one time held under administrative detention.
The security service did not release the identities of the other nine suspects in Israeli custody.
Jerusalem Mayor Barkat Subdues Terrorist After Stabbing Attack in City (VIDEO)
In an interview with Channel 2, Barkat – who had served as a company commander in the Paratroopers Brigade – added, “We were on our way to a meeting to be held in the municipality. When we arrived at IDF Square, my security detail noticed what was going on, and my body guard and I got out of the car. We saw a young man holding a knife. My bodyguard drew his weapon on the terrorist, who then threw away the knife. We didn’t think twice, we jumped on him and brought him to the ground. If he hadn’t dropped the knife, he wouldn’t have remained alive. When he was finally neutralized, we attended to the young man who was stabbed in his stomach. We waited for the police to arrive, and to my relief and joy, the whole incident ended fairly quickly.”
Murad Salman, a Magen David Adom Paramedic who arrived at the scene, said, “when we arrived, we saw a young man of about 27 years lying on the pavement in the Square, near the railroad tracks close to City Hall. He was bleeding from a stab wound to his upper body. He was fully conscious and said that he had felt that someone had suddenly stabbed him. And when the stabber tried to stab him again, he fought with him with the aid of a wedding gift that he was holding in his hand, preventing additional injuries. We gave him medical treatment, which included stopping the bleeding, and gave him fluids. We then evacuated him to a hospital.”
The youth was taken to Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem. Salman added that his condition was defined as moderately serious.
Police are investigating the incident, and so far have determined that nationalistic motives were behind it. The attacker was an 18-year-old Palestinian man from the West Bank, who was in the area of the Jerusalem Municipality without authorization.
The mayor, wearing a white shirt, can be seen tackling the terrorist in the video below:

Two Time Hero: Jerusalem Mayor’s Heroic Intervention Comes Exactly 11 Years After Saving Lives in Suicide Bombing Aftermath
Back in 2004, also on February 22nd, Barkat saved the life of then 16-year-old Liz Montilio in the immediate aftermath of a bloody bus bombing in Jerusalem.
The incident, known as the Liberty Bell Park bus bombing, was a suicide attack on the Egged bus #14a. Eight passengers were killed in the attack and over 60 people were injured, many of them children on their way to school. Palestinian terror group, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.
Barkat described the events of that day in an interview with Israel’s Yediot Ahronot after he attended Montilio’s wedding in 2013.
“I heard a terrifying explosion… Immediately I realized it was an attack. I stopped the car and ran like crazy onto the bus. I went through what remained of the door, and being as it was less than half a minute after the blast, I was the first one on the bus… alone with the dead and wounded. It was completely silent. I immediately started to rescue people,” Barkat said.
'God Was Watching Over Me'
The man stabbed in Jerusalem Sunday is Avraham Goldschmidt, married with four children, from Betar Illit. He told the media from his hospital bed that he was on his way back from a Torah lesson, when he was stabbed by an 18-year-old terrorist from Bir Zeit.
"He came from behind me. I felt a blow to the stomach, and I saw a 17-year-old Arab holding a knife. I yelled to everyone, 'stabbing!' – so everyone would get away. He came up to stab me again. I hit him with my tefillin bag, and he went backward – but then he came at me again. I ran to the pedestrian crossing and shouted that it was a stabbing and asked whoever has weapons to neutralize him. "
"Barkat and his personal guard were there, thank God, and here I give them thanks. They showed remarkable resourcefulness, seeing as the terrorist still held a knife in hand." Only after the terrorist no longer posed a danger did Goldschmidt realize that he was full of blood.
"I had just finished studying Torah and came from prayer, and this is probably what helped,” Goldschmidt said. “God watches over us, and always will."
Watch: Temple Mount Rioters Wrest Boy from Police
Video shot on the Temple Mount and uploaded by an Islamist page Sunday shows a Muslim mob freeing a boy who had been detained by police.
According to the Joint HQ of the Temple Movements, it is unclear why the Muslims initiated riots on the Mount Sunday morning.
The Jewish umbrella organization says that boys were brought from a school in Issawiya for the purpose of rioting, noting "the boys chased after the Jews, waved Hamas flags, cursed and called out incitement including 'we will redeem Al-Aqsa with blood and fire.'”
The Temple Movements HQ added that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “tying the hands” of police on the Temple Mount.
Kaspersky Lab: Israel spared two major cyberattacks
Israel has managed to dodge two massive cyberattacks, according to data collected by Kaspersky Lab, the Russia-based cybersecurity firm that discovered the mega Flame and Stuxnet viruses several years ago.
This past week, Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team (Great) reported a major cross-border hacking attack called the Equation Group, which Kaspersky said was worse than any attack ever encountered. A spokesperson for Kaspersky Israel said the malware operation missed Israel, particularly its banks, but hit nearly every other country in the Middle East.
The group of trojans and viruses have been infecting systems for over a decade, according to the research team. Among the tools used by the Equation Group: Malware that can rewrite a hard drive’s operating system – the first such malware ever seen that can do this – ensuring that hackers can control a hard drive even if it is completely erased and reformatted. It also includes malware that is able to collect data about a computer even when it is not connected to the Internet by using a flash drive, and sends that data to a remote hacker-run server when the flash drive is plugged into a computer with a web connection.
Since 2001, the Equation Group has been infecting thousands, or perhaps even tens of thousands of victims, in more than 30 countries worldwide, targeting government and diplomatic institutions, as well as such sectors as telecommunications, aerospace, energy, nuclear research, oil and gas, finance, military and nanotechnology.
Khaled Abu Toameh: 'Hamas-Fatah rift hindering efforts to rebuild Gaza,' Arab League says
Elaraby told the London- based Al-Hayat newspaper the Arab League was holding consultations with donor countries to find a way to help residents of the Gaza Strip in light of the ongoing power struggle between the two Palestinian parties.
He said the Arab League would ask donor countries to channel funds to the Gaza Strip through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), and predicted that consultations soon would result in an agreement on a mechanism for delivering the funds.
“The internal differences and the absence of cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are behind the delay in reconstructing the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Elaraby also expressed opposition to any move to label Hamas a terrorist group, referring to a recent court ruling in Egypt that outlawed Hamas and labeled its armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, a terror group.
Turkish troops roll into Syria to evacuate tomb enclave
Turkey launched a military operation late Saturday to evacuate troops and a tomb in Syria that belongs to the Republic of Turkey, state TV reported.
A large military convoy, including tanks and heavy weapons supported by warplanes, passed through the embattled border city of Kobane en route to the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, the BBC cited local sources saying.
On Twitter Sunday morning, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the troops were evacuated safely back into Turkey.
He said the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, also was moved into Turkey.
Davutoglu said the evacuation of the artifacts was temporary and Turkish troops “took control of an area in the Ashma region of Syria, raising our flag, where Süleyman Shah will later be transferred,” according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.
The building that had housed the tomb was destroyed by the troops to keep Islamic State fighters from using it as a base, according to Hurriyet.
Syrian state media calls Turkish raid a 'blatant aggression'
Syria’s state news agency says the Turkish raid overnight into Syria to evacuate troops guarding an Ottoman tomb is a “blatant aggression.” SANA released a one-line report Sunday on the overnight operation.
Hundreds of Turkish troops backed by tanks crossed into Syria late Saturday to evacuate soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.
There had been rumors for months that the soldiers stationed at the tomb had been besieged by militants from the Islamic State group.
The Syrian government does not have a presence in the area where the Turkish operation took place.
UN investigators may publish Syria war crimes suspect names
United Nations war crimes investigators are considering publishing names of suspects involved in Syria's four-year war and are also pushing for new ways to bring them to justice, in a radical change of strategy announced on Friday.
Diplomatic sources said the Independent Commission of Inquiry, led by Brazilian investigator Paulo Pinheiro, may publish some or all of hundreds of names on secret lists of suspects at the UN Human Rights Council on March 17.
Pinheiro, speaking to reporters after informally briefing the UN Security Council, refused to be drawn, saying any release of names would need to "be of some use" and have some "follow-up".
He also underlined to reporters that horrific crimes are being perpetrated in Syria not just by the terrorist groups, including Islamic State, but also by "government forces and by other non-state armed groups".
Pinheiro's colleague on the Commission of Inquiry, Vitit Muntarbhorn, said the investigators had already drawn up four lists of suspect names.
Rolling around on the floor, dressing up as a bush and smashing tiles over their heads: ISIS 'special forces' video reveals ludicrous training
It was no doubt intended to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies, but the Islamic State's latest video appears far more playground than battleground.
ISIS today released footage from its training camps, showing recruits disguised as bushes and performing clumsy roly-polies in scenes that could come straight from hit satirical film Four Lions.
The video bears all the hallmarks of the slickly edited propaganda material regularly pumped out by the terror group's media arm to dramatic effect.
From this evidence, however, their next generation of 'special forces' are far from being a well-oiled machine.
Rise of the mini-jihadis: ISIS releases chilling video showing children as young as FIVE being trained for battle in Syrian terror training camp for ‘cubs’
Islamic State have released a slickly-edited propaganda video showing boys as young as five being indoctrinated at a military-style training camp for 'cubs'.
In the latest disturbing PR stunt from the terror group, children are seen attending the terror training camp, named the Al Farouq Institute for Cubs, in the Raqqa province of Syria.
The nine-minute video, which was posted online today, shows camouflage-clad boys standing in formation and obeying the commands of a militant teacher.
Set to Arabic music, the film shows several rows of young boys, who all wear black bandanas bearing insignia associated with the group, performing drills.
As they bend and stand to attention as instructed, others stand behind them holding up flags.
Iranian Judge Won’t Allow Lawyer for Detained Washington Post Reporter
Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who has been held by Iran since his arrest in July, has been denied a lawyer by the judge handling his case, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
[Jason’s] brother, Ali Rezaian, said the family had asked Masoud Shafiei, an Iranian lawyer experienced in handling foreign and dual-national clients, to represent Mr. Rezaian.
In what amounts to a Catch-22, Mr. Shafiei must first meet with Mr. Rezaian and obtain his signed consent. But under Iranian law, prisoners can meet only with immediate relatives or lawyers who have signed consent.
The judge, Abolghassem Salavati of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, must give his permission for Mr. Shafiei to visit Mr. Rezaian in prison to get the signed consent. But so far he has not done so, Ali Rezaian said.

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