Friday, April 17, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas's Plan: A Hamas State of Palestine in Gaza (For Now)
Palestinian political analysts believe that it is only a matter of time before Hamas succeeds in fulfilling its scheme to turn the Gaza Strip into an independent state.
"The discussion is no longer whether there is a separationist plan for the Gaza Strip, but when and how it would be implemented," said Hassan Asfour, a former Palestinian Authority minister affiliated with Fatah. "It is the duty of the Palestinian Authority leadership to say what it intends to do to foil this plan."
Addressing the Palestinian Authority president, Asfour added: "Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, it is not enough to talk on television about [Hamas's] separation plan. Think of ways to thwart it. Otherwise, no one will say that Hamas 'hijacked' the Gaza Strip; instead everyone will be talking about how the Palestinian Authority leadership abandoned the Gaza Strip."
If and when Hamas carries out its plan and establishes its own sovereign state in the Gaza Strip, the international community, primarily the U.S. and EU, will have to come to terms with the fact that the two-state solution has finally been realized; the Palestinians ended up with two states of their own -- an Islamist emirate in the Gaza Strip and a PLO-controlled state in the West Bank.
The Americans and Europeans will also have to listen very carefully to what Hamas is saying: namely, that a Palestinian state in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, or any part of the Palestinian territories, would not end its struggle to destroy Israel and replace it with the State of Greater Palestine.
Melanie Phillips: Out of Obama’s frying-pan into Hillary’s fire?
During her nine years as a senator for New York state, which includes arguably the most Jewish city in the world outside Israel, she posed as a friend of Israel and the Jewish people. Yet this hardly matched her previous or subsequent attitudes.
In November 1999, on a visit to the Middle East while Bill Clinton was in the White House, Hillary publicly appeared with Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha. Mrs. Arafat proceeded maliciously and falsely to accuse Israel of using poison gas against the Palestinians and contaminating with chemicals Palestinian water sources.
Having impassively listened to a simultaneous translation, Hillary gave the terrorist’s wife when she finished a hug and a kiss. After all hell subsequently broke loose, Hillary belatedly criticized all inflammatory rhetoric, dismissed the kiss as the Middle East equivalent of a handshake and claimed that the translation – which reporters who were also listening to it reproduced correctly – was “unclear” and “incomplete.”
There is much evidence of where her real sympathies lie. In his book American Evita: Hillary Clinton’s Path to Power, Christopher Anderson wrote: “At a time when elements of the American Left embraced the Palestinian cause and condemned Israel, Hillary was telling friends that she was ‘sympathetic’ to the terrorist organization and admired its flamboyant leader, Yasser Arafat.”
Her hostility to Israel has been revealed in her own words and deeds. In her memoir Hard Choices, she accuses Israel of being an occupying force and claims that it denies “dignity and self-determination” to Palestinians in the West Bank. But these claims are malicious distortions employed by Israel’s enemies.
Inside Obama’s Meeting With Jewish Leaders
For 36 years now, Iranian officials have threatened to annihilate Israel. As Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi said recently, “Destroying Israel is non-negotiable.” There may be different centers of power throughout the regime, as Iran experts posit, but everyone agrees with the Supreme Leader that Israel—the “Zionist cancer”—has got to go. Middle East experts and experienced Iran watchers in the West typically dismiss such threats as instrumental rhetoric intended to thrill local bigots and separate the Arab and Persian masses from their rulers. So why take such rhetoric seriously? The Iranians wouldn’t ever really use the bomb. In fact, they’re very clever, rational people.
Of course, if you’re a leader in the American Jewish community, you can’t help but hear Iran’s exterminationist rhetoric in a different frame. So maybe the legacy of Rabbi Stephen Wise was on the mind of American Jewish leaders Monday when President Barack Obama called them to a meeting at the White House. It being Holocaust Remembrance Week, who wants to be remembered as the contemporary version of Wise, who chose to protect his relationship with Roosevelt rather than criticize a president who did nothing to save European Jews from extermination?
“It was one of the tensest meetings I can ever remember,” said one participant who has been invited to many White House sit-downs over the years and requested anonymity. “The president spoke for 25 minutes, without notes,” he told me. “It was very impressive. Some people said very nice things, others expressed concerns, and talked about the role of Congress, and he talked about presidential prerogative, and cited other precedents for it. Lots of people challenged him very strongly, like about taking the threats of dictators seriously when Khamenei says death to America, death to Israel, death to the Jews. The president said he knows what the regime is, which is why he is trying to take away their weapons. He didn’t dismiss what the Iranians say, he just didn’t really address it.”

How Much Israel-Bashing Will Liberal Jews Put Up With? Obama Wants to Find Out (a paywalled link, might not work)
It makes sense for American Jews to register disapproval of Obama at this point in his presidency, for a few reasons. First, he’s earned it. Obama has never been able to fake a connection with the Jewish people that just wasn’t there, the way it was with Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. He never passed the “kishkes” test, so to speak, and never even really came close to passing it.
So he was always dependent on his policies speaking for him. Some of the president’s defenders try to point out that Obama has just pushed for a peace agreement along the lines of his predecessors, and that he is unfairly maligned for it. This is false: the differences may appear subtle to outsiders and rookies, but they are monumentally important.
Additionally, he has less of a margin for “error,” as it were, with his policies because he couldn’t make anyone believe that he truly loved the Jewish state and merely wanted what was best for it. Therefore, the trust in him was always going to be less when it came to throwing tantrums over Jewish residents of Jerusalem and the like.
The second reason it makes sense for Jews to make their voices heard now is that Obama has already been reelected, and so there won’t be any concern by left-leaning Jews that they may drive voters to (gasp!) vote Republican, or take other such action that would have actual consequences. This is a safe protest. It lets the president know his juvenile hounding of Israel and his overall incompetence are areas of genuine concern for a demographic group that has consistently been among his most reliable supporters.
And the third reason is that, as far as electoral coalitions are concerned, the Obama era is over. Not only are we past his reelection, but we’re also beyond the second-term congressional midterms. This, then, is a message to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party leadership for 2016.
Israel Advocacy Update: No Jews is no news…
There are two different schools of thought about the current situation in Yarmouk and the reaction from the international community. The first view comes from journalists such as Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh and British journalist Brendan O’Neill who both argue that the fact that Israel is not involved is the reason why the world is less interested in the Palestinians of Yarmouk. Abu Toameh also puts forth the argument that even though Palestinian leaders themselves have strongly condemned the atrocities in Yarmouk, they are more interested in pursuing their campaign to punish and delegitimise Israel than to negotiate or demand a better “deal” for their brothers and sisters in Syria.
The second opposing viewpoint came in a New Republic article from Batya Ungar-Sargon. She argues that by complaining about how ISIS gets a “pass” for its actions, Israel cops flak for unwittingly suggesting “that the actions of the two are somehow comparable because they’re both contributing to a Palestinian humanitarian crisis”. She goes one step further and says,
“why aren’t people demonstrating over ISIS’ Yarmouk offensive? It’s rather simple. People protest against Israel because it’s not like ISIS – for starters, it’s a sovereign state. People don’t get outraged at terrorists because that’s what terrorists do: commit terror. So pouring into the streets to protest ISIS would be foolhardy”.
On this logic, it is little wonder that nobody was protesting against Hamas last year: They were just terrorists being terrorists.
However, this argument misses the point of the other perspective. It should not matter who the “perpetrators” are. If people care so much about the Palestinians, then they need to start caring about them outside of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. If not, then they will continue to be the “unlucky” ones, as Khaled Abu Toameh put it. (h/t NormanF)
'EU Boycotts Israel, Not Murderers in Syria or Gaza'
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) condemned the request by 16 of the 28 EU states to have "settlement" products from Judea and Samaria labeled, in an economic attack on Israel that was revealed on Thursday.
Writing on his Facebook page, Katz noted Friday that "European Union foreign ministers decided to boycott Israeli produce whose 'source is in the settlements'! Not Syrian produce of (Bashar al-)Assad, not Gaza (produce) of the Hamas murderers, or of any other murderous terror regime in the world. Only Israeli produce."
"What do select Medjool dates raised in the Jordan valley, or products made in Ariel and Ma'ale Adumim (most while providing a livelihood to Palestinian workers), have to do with politics?" posed the minister.
Katz berated "European hypocrisy, nourished by a combination of ancient anti-Semitism and new Islamic influence."
FM compares labels on settler products to Nazi yellow star
Liberman called the plan “hypocritical, sanctimonious and cynical,” noting that the murder and expulsion of Palestinians by Islamic State in Syria was “going by quietly” in Europe.
“No European foreign minister has demanded an emergency meeting of EU diplomats, of the EU, of the UN Security Council. Other than a few public statements nothing is being done,” Liberman told Israel Radio, in reference to the crisis in the Yarmouk refugee camp. The minister also noted the immediacy of the Iranian nuclear threat as well as the crisis in Yemen and admonished EU diplomats for choosing to focus on Israel at such a time.
“I have a suggestion for them on how to label (the products),” he said. “They can…label all products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights with a yellow star. I think that is extremely fitting to the cynical and hypocritical position expressed in this letter.”
Lapid Blasts EU Call to Label 'Settlement' Products
Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid on Thursday spoke to the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and sharply criticized a call by 16 EU countries to label products from Judea and Samaria.
Lapid told Mogherini that calling for a boycott of Judea and Samaria is essentially a call for a de facto boycott of Israel.
“There is no difference between products manufactured beyond the Green Line and products manufactured within the Green Line,” he said, warning that the call for a boycott is irresponsible and has the potential to wreak havoc on the Israeli economy.
“This kind of a call is a stain on the European Union and Israel should fight to prevent this dangerous process,” said the former Finance Minister.
IsraellyCool: Made In Judea Samaria, The Heartland Of Jewish Israel
Now that the EU provocatively wants to label settlement goods, I’d like to suggest an idea to ridicule them and expose their true motives. Do you know of a website which would be interested in starting a ‘label competition’ to do just that? If other websites are also invited to join in this competition, so much the better. Some suggestions to start with:
1. Produced by Jews in Judea-Samaria. Refrain from buying if you are anti-Semitic.
2. Produced by Jews in Judea-Samaria. Buy from Judea-Samaria only if item is produced by Arabs.
3. Warning to all European anti-Semites: this item is produced by Jews in Judea-Samaria.
4. Shopping advisory notice re goods produced in Judea-Samaria: the EU has alighted upon a WW2 nazi era policy which it considers salutary, and henceforth advises shoppers to buy goods from Judea-Samaria only if they are produced by Arabs. This is not intended as an anti-Semitic measure, since shoppers may purchase goods produced in Israel by both Arabs and Jews.
Israeli TV Reporter Harassed in Paris
The incident occurred just as she was about to report on camera about the Germanwings passenger jet disaster in the Alps three weeks ago.
"I did not mean to upload this video,” she wrote. “It is not possible to understand what exactly happened there, in that short scene, and I do not look too good there, either. But after the report yesterday, which presented worrisome statistics about anti-Semitism in Europe, I received some questions from viewers and friends who thought that the media (and I, as part of it) are painting an exaggerated picture of the situation.
"It's true that if you walk down the streets of Paris, you may feel nothing,” Michaeli explained. "But if you don a kippah, wear a Magen David necklace or hold a microphone that says 'News 10' in Hebrew, it is reasonable to assume that sooner or later, you will realize that the situation is worse than what the statistics indicate. These remarks do not enter the statistics, and are not reported. This happens here, every day, and in every place, and it happened to me, too.”
The videos show only the beginning of the incident, she added.
“The man whose face cannot be seen in the video identifies Hebrew on the microphone, passes the information on to his friends and starts to harass. What happened afterward was much worse. They surrounded me, four or five men, and began to curse me. The word Jew was repeated, too.”
Power: US won’t dismiss anti-Israel UN resolutions
The United States would continue to “work closely” with Israel at the United Nations but would not rule out advancing resolutions targeting Israel, the US ambassador to the world body said.
Samantha Power testified Wednesday before the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives.
Rep. Nita Lowey, D-NY, the top Democrat on the committee and the subcommittee, told Power that she was troubled by reports “suggesting a reevaluation of our long-standing policy of defending Israel at the UN” and said “supporting or remaining agnostic” on UN resolutions targeting Israel would violate the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the subcommittee, also was disturbed by reports that the United States may allow such resolutions to go forward.
Hillary is Pro-Israel? Not so Fast
Hillary Clinton is hoping for a “new tone” in the US-Israel relationship, according to one Jewish leader who spoke out recently. But in the meantime, Israel is stuck dealing with the deadly consequences of her policies as Secretary of State.
Russia this week announced its intention to provide Iran with the S-300 advanced missile system. Russian president Vladimir Putin reportedly justified his action on the grounds that the missile system is for defensive purposes.
In this case, however, “defensive” means that it could be used to “defend” Iran’s nuclear weapons factories from an attack by Israel or the United States.
Remember when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she was initiating a “reset” of America’s relations with Russia? Supposedly now that Obama and Clinton were in office, a new era of warmth and friendship would descend on relations between Washington and the Kremlin. Gone were the days when the United States would be confrontational; a softer, gentler approach would be reciprocated by the Russians.
Instead, American softness encouraged Russian belligerency. Hillary has washed her hands of the whole mess and is busy on the campaign trail. And Israel is stuck dealing with the consequences of Putin arming Iran.
Biden to Attend Israeli Independence Day Event at Embassy; First Such Visit in Seven Years
US Vice President Joe Biden will attend the main event in celebration of Israel’s 67th Independence Day at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC on April 23rd, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer announced on Thursday.
The visit will be the first time in the past seven years that the Vice President of the United States will be participating in the annual event at the Embassy.
In light of the recent tensions in the relationship between Israel and the United States, Israel’s NRG website noted that Biden’s attendance carries extra significance, particularly in light of allegations that Ambassador Dermer played a role in heightening tensions.
When Prime Minister Netanyahu was invited to address Congress last month and address Iran’s nuclear program, officials in Washington attacked Dermer, blaming him for the invitation and for failing to give the White House ample notice. Officials have also claimed that if Netanyahu were to replace Dermer as ambassador to the United States, it would help heal relations.
Attack Now – Russian Interference Leaves Israel No Choice
The Obama Doctrine – scorn your friends, reward your enemies – has finally reaped the whirlwind, namely Russia and its pledge to provide Iran with an array of the most advanced “defensive” missiles on earth. This leaves Israel with no choice except to act BEFORE those missiles are deployed.
Israel must attack to remove those nukes before it’s too late.
If it was difficult to successfully strike Iran’s nuclear facilities today, tomorrow will be near impossible. So the scientific experts tell us.
It’s been explained that the S-300 Surface-to-Air Missile System would provide Iran with an impenetrable shield.
If anything, Russia’s move has clarified the situation. Israel’s duty to defend itself has never been more urgent and an attack scaled to wipe out Iran’s nuclear emplacements would likewise be a favor to any number of Sunni states that tremble from Iran’s Shiite encroachments throughout the Arab world.
US: Military option on Iran ‘intact’ despite Russian missiles
The delivery of Russian S-300 air defense missiles to Iran will not affect America’s ability to strike at Tehran’s nuclear facilities if necessary, the top US military officer said Thursday.
“We’ve known about the potential for that system to be sold to Iran for several years and have accounted for it in all of our plans,” General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news conference.
The United States for years has refused to rule out possible military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons if diplomacy fails. Dempsey said the military option would not be undermined by Russia’s decision this week to supply Iran with the sophisticated S-300 missiles.
“The military option that I owe the president to both encourage a diplomatic solution and if the diplomacy fails to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon is intact,” Dempsey said.
Report: Iran Could Use Russian S-300 Missile Systems as Offensive Weapons
After the Russian government announced earlier this week that it was lifting its internal ban on shipping the S-300 missile systems to Iran, an analysis in The Daily Beast published Wednesday asserted that Iran, like Russia, would be able to use those systems as offensive weapons, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
As contributor Will Cathcart explained:
As the Kremlin lifts its ban on the delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran, and as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claims the air defense systems “will not put at risk the security of any state in the region, including Israel,” a palpable irony hangs in the air here. For years, Russia has been using S-300 missiles to dominate the skies and to threaten Georgia within her own territory.
Cathart observed that “[t]he point of the S-300 is to project power and achieve armed tactical control over the airspace of those territories,” and then explained how Russia utilized them to intimidate the small neighboring country of Georgia:
The Khamenei Fatwa Hoax Is Absurd on its Face
In Impromptus today, Jay deals with the curious case of the missing fatwa. That would, of course, be the purported fatwa (or Islamic sharia law edict) issued by Iran’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which is said to prohibit Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The fatwa does not exist. Yet, with a dearth of tire-kicking that is remarkable even by the lowly standards of our Obama-friendly media, it has repeatedly been cited by top administration officials, including the president, Secretary of State Kerry and former Secretary of State Clinton, in an effort to give Americans comfort regarding the administration’s negotiations – whatever comfort you can derive from people who tell you that Khamenei’s “Death to America” pronouncements are not to be taken seriously but the “fatwa” can be taken to the bank; from people who see the Constitution and statutory American law as no obstacle to any of their own designs but would have you believe a fatwa is so sacrosanct the mullahs would be conclusively stymied by it. As Jay aptly points out, the existence vel non of the fatwa should not be a left-right matter: Either there is one or there isn’t.
Khamenei Advisor: Lifting Sanctions Should Not Depend On IAEA Approval
A senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, doubled down on one of Iran’s demands included in a “fact sheet” published by Iran’s parliament according to a report Wednesday in the semi-official Fars News Agency. Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei’s top adviser for international affairs said that the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran for its illicit nuclear program should occur when an agreement is signed, not when Iran’s compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) demands is certified.
“The simultaneous restriction of Iran’s nuclear capacities and the removal of sanctions is an important demand by Iran which should be respected,” Velayati told reporters and after his meeting with German Deputy Foreign Minister Markus Ederer in Tehran on Wednesday.
He underlined that Iran will never accept to wait for the IAEA’s approval, and said, “If Iran begins restricting nuclear activities, but the other side waits for the IAEA’s confirmation of our measures to remove the sanction, such a move will by no means be acceptable to Iran.”

Velayati’s statement reiterates a demand in listed in the “fact sheet” that was published Wednesday.
State Dept. Official: As Iran Continues Arming Yemen Rebels, U.S. Looking to Enforce Arms Embargo
A top State Department official said Tuesday that the United States is aware of increased Iranian involvement in the civil war currently taking place in Yemen, and is “’looking at ways’ to ensure a long-standing United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Iran is enforced,” The Hill reported yesterday.
Gerald Feierstein, principal deputy assistant secretary of State for near eastern affairs, made his remarks Tuesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
Iran proposed a peace plan for Yemen earlier this week, but Feierstein said, “If the Iranians are serious about the peace plan, in the first instance they should stop sending weapons to the Houthis.” …
Feierstein said the U.S. would be “looking at ways” to ensure a long-standing United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Iran is enforced, and will track an Iranian ship near Yemen.
An Israeli visit to Iran causes a stir in Tehran
Iranian MP accuses Ynet's Orly Azoulay of espionage after she visited the Iranian capital and met with the Jews of Isfahan.
Orly Azoulay's recent reports of her visit to Iran have caused quite a stir in the Islamic Republic, which has come out against Ynet's print-publication Yediot Ahronoth's "Zionist emissary who managed to enter the country under the noses of the authorities."
Armed with a visa issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and without making any efforts to conceal her identity, Azoulay went to Iran as part of a delegation organized by the New York Times - and was warmly welcomed by her hosts.
After leaving the country, she described her visit in a report published over the Passover holidays, telling of her time in Tehran, her visits to a synagogue in Isfahan and the tomb of Queen Esther in Hamedan, and various other experiences in the country.
The report has now sparked an outcry in Iran, with the media and social networks filled with discussions on how and why Azoulay received permission to visit the country.
Thousands attend funeral for Jerusalem car-ramming victim
Thousands of people on Thursday afternoon attended the Jerusalem funeral of 25-year-old Shalom Sherki, who was killed late Wednesday in the capital in a car-ramming incident that police said was likely deliberate and nationalistically motivated.
Sherki’s father, Rabbi Uri Sherki, praised his son for saving the life of the woman who stood next to him at the time of the incident, Shira Klein, who is in the hospital in critical condition.
He said “the doctors who treated you said that, without a doubt, you saved the life of the woman who stood next to you.”
Sherki said his son, who died on Holocaust Remembrance Day, was strongly moved by the annual commemorations.
Public Asked to Pray for Recovery of Second Victim
Shira Klein was critically wounded on Wednesday night in what police have begun to recognize as an intentional terror attack, when an Arab driver ran over her and Shalom Yohai Sherki as they waited at a bus stop in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Sherki, who Klein was on a date with, was murdered in the attack, while she was left in serious albeit stable condition.
It was announced on Thursday afternoon that Klein is currently hospitalized at the emergency care unit of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, and is breathing on a respirator while anesthetized.
Klein's mother Ada stated that her family shares in the sorrow of the Sherki family over the loss of Shalom, and asks the public to pray for the full recovery of: Shira bat Adel Ada.
Arab man arrested for alleged Jerusalem vehicular terrorist attack
An Arab man from northeast Jerusalem was arrested Thursday, following extensive questioning by Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) investigators, for allegedly ramming his car into two Israelis at a French Hill bus stop the previous night, killing Shalom Yohai Cherki, 25, from Jerusalem, and seriously wounding a young woman.
Police said the lengthy interrogation gave cause to believe that Khaled Koutineh, 37, from Anata, was motivated by nationalistic reasons to drive his vehicle into Cherki and Shira Klein, who is in her 20s, and remains hospitalized.
“After the suspect was questioned, the preliminary findings reinforced that the incident was an attack; however, the investigation is continuing,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Thursday.
Nationalist TV Satire Censored Again
A skit on Israel's first-ever televised nationalist satire show, We'll Be the Judge, was banned from the airwaves by Channel 1's Editor in Chief, Yona Weisenthal. It will therefore not be aired when the show is broadcast Friday.
The segment featured a game show in which contestants were presented with phrases and asked whether they refer to the Holocaust or to the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was responsible for the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The phrases include “the government of Israel announces in shock” – which was uttered by Rabin's chief of staff as he announced Rabin's death, as well as “we shall not forget and we shall not forgive,” and “we haven't learned a thing,” which have been used with regard to both events.
The skit apparently mocks leftists as being obsessively preoccupied with the Rabin assassination, even 20 years down the line.
Weisenthal said that the skit had “exceeded the bounds of good taste.”
Police Allow Muslim Officials to Damage Holy Floor of Temple Mount Rock [video]

Archaeologists are furious at the police for allowing the Muslim Waqf on the Temple Mount earlier this week to damage the ancient mosaic floor that covers the Foundation Rock of the Temple Mount.
Known in Hebrew as Even HaShetiya, it is the rock from which the world was created, according to the Kabbalistic literature known as the Zohar,
This week’s destruction robbed archaeologists of a rare opportunity to photograph the mosaic floor over the rock as well as the cave underneath, archaeologist Tzachi Devira told the Kipa website.
Devira, director of the project to sift debris from the Temple Mount, directly blamed the police for illegally allowing the Waqf to carry out work without supervision.
Liberman to Place Hamas's Destruction as Coalition Condition
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for coalition talks on Friday afternoon, where he will reportedly demand that the IDF obliterate Hamas over the next term.
Sources close to Liberman told Arutz Sheva before the meeting Friday that the chairman will not discuss the portfolios for the next government, and instead insist on key issues: national security and the Conversion and Draft laws - both of which the haredi parties are likely to demand be retracted for them to join. Liberman also insisted that destroying Hamas is on the agenda in a Reshet Bet interview earlier Friday.
As for the portfolios, Liberman indicated that he expects to be reinstated as Foreign Minister for another term, and that repairing ties with the US is the top priority on his agenda under that role; he also strongly opposes the proposal to add more ministers to the government.
Rumors have been swirling on the coalition agreements, especially as key right-wing players Yisrael Beytenu and Jewish Home have been among the last parties to be approached by Netanyahu for talks.
'Israel concerned as Lebanon to begin receiving shipments of French arms'
The anticipation in Lebanon is percolating this weekend as the country prepares to receive a large infusion of French armaments that observers hope will go a long way toward bolstering the military.
According to the English-language newspaper The Daily Star, Israel’s neighbor to the north is due to incorporate some $3 billion worth of French military hardware into the ranks of its army. The weapons transaction was subsidized by Saudi Arabia, according to Lebanese press reports.
The agreement calls for France to provide Lebanon with warplanes and cruisers. Lebanon is also due to receive armored vehicles, seven helicopters, and light aircraft.
Syria-based groups such as al-Qaida's Nusra Front and Islamic State have attacked Lebanon and taken soldiers captive since last summer in some of the worst spillover from the four-year civil war.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas Awards Medals Of Honor To Fatah Terrorists
Ahead of Palestinian Prisoners Day, which is marked on April 17, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud 'Abbas decided to award medals to the first female Fatah member imprisoned by Israel, Fatima Bernawi, the first male Fatah member imprisoned, Mahmoud Bakr Hijazi, and the first Fatah member who was "martyred," Ahmad Moussa Salama, in honor of their "national struggle."
On April 16, 2015, the website of Fatah's Egyptian branch wrote about Bernawi in an article dedicated to Prisoners Day: "Bernawi was arrested in October 1967 after she placed a bomb in the Zion Cinema in Jerusalem. She was sentenced to life in prison, but was released after ten years, in November 1977. [Israel's] Prison Service described [her release] as a 'gesture of good will' towards Egypt ahead of the visit by the late Egyptian prime minister Anwar Sadat in Jerusalem on November 19, 1977, [a visit] that paved the way to the signing of the Israel-Egypt peace agreement in 1979."
Soccer and Terrorism
As part of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) ongoing campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel, the Palestinian Football (Soccer) Association is trying to get Israel suspended from international soccer’s governing body.
The Palestinians are seeking to have an anti-Israel resolution considered at next month’s annual congress, in Zurich, of the Federation Internationale de Football Association, better known as FIFA.
The resolution will argue that Israel should be suspended because it does not sufficiently permit free access between Palestinian soccer athletes in Gaza and those in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Of course, the limits on access are because of Palestinians exploiting that access to carry out terrorism in Israel. But nobody will mention that.
Don’t you wish that, just once, Israel would respond in one of these international forums just as forcefully as it is being attacked?
Hamas: It’s ‘our right’ to abduct Israelis to free prisoners
A senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip called on Thursday for the abduction of Israelis, who would be swapped for Palestinians held by the Jewish state.
“We tell the Zionist enemy: you are all a target for us and the resistance, we will fight you until we finally get rid of you and take as many captives as possible to free our heroes,” said Khalil al-Haya, whose Islamist movement rules the Palestinian enclave.
“Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are,” he said on the eve of Prisoners Day which Palestinians mark April 17.
“And it is our right because we have no other way to free our heroes, and it is the Zionist enemy responsible for this state of affairs,” Haya told hundreds of Palestinians.
Hamas MPs: Sue Israeli Prison Officials at ICC
The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) held a special meeting in Gaza on Wednesday ahead of "Prisoners Day" on April 17, in which it discussed the situation of Arab terrorists currently jailed in Israel.
Hamas MP Mohammed Faraj al-Rul called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to submit a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the "crimes" committed by Israel against the jailed terrorists, and likewise to stop the security cooperation with Israel.
The PA joined the ICC on April 1, in a unilateral move in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords which formed the PA. As for the jailed terrorists, they in fact receive preferential treatment over jailed criminals, enjoying numerous perks.
Al-Rul demanded that the Palestinian leadership put on trial Palestinian Arabs who cooperate with the "Israeli occupation," and to force Israel to release the terrorist prisoners immediately.
Destruction of Tunnel Smuggling Driving Gaza Drug Addicts Crazy
Thousands of Gaza Arabs, including young teenagers, are going out of their minds because Egypt’s destruction of smuggling tunnels has left them without an addictive painkiller. The London Times reported.
Withdrawal systems have driven patients to the edge of suicide after not being able to able to obtain Tramadol, an addictive prescription drug that was bought from tunnel smugglers at one-tenth the price on the local black market.
The Hamas Health Ministry told the newspaper that the heroin-like effect of Tramadol has resulted in a 50 percent increase of drug addicts seeking help. The drug not only is 10 times more expensive than it was before Egypt started to close the tunnels, but it also is difficult to find even on the black market
Footage of Syrian gas attack deaths brings UN Security council to tears
Members of the United Nations Security Council teared up on Thursday when Syrian doctors showed a video of failed attempts to resuscitate three children after a chlorine gas attack in March, prompting renewed calls for accountability.
The children, aged 1, 2 and 3, their parents and grandmother were killed in the March 16 attack on Sarmin village in northwest Idlib province, said Dr. Mohamed Tennari, director of the field hospital where the family was taken.
Government and opposition forces in Syria have denied using chlorine 'barrel bombs,' which the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says are dropped from helicopters. The Syrian air force is the only party in the conflict known to have helicopters.
Tennari, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, President of the Syrian American Medical Society, and Qusai Zakarya, a survivor of a sarin gas attack in Ghouta near Damascus in August 2013, briefed the informal closed meeting organized by the United States.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said it was an "extremely unusual and very emotional meeting." She added: "If there was a dry eye in the room I didn't see it." Several others attending said many people cried.

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