Tuesday, May 26, 2015

From Ian:

Hamas, Europe and How to Get a State
Denmark's Foreign Minister, Martin Lidegaard, did not of course address the question: If your neighbor is trying to import weapons while threatening to kill you, what are you supposed to do about that? He also did not address the similar blockade of Gaza by Egypt, which faces the same problem. The more terror tunnels Hamas members build, the more respect they get from the West.
As someone born and raised a Muslim in the Middle East, and still living there, I can assure Europeans officials that if they think the recognition of Hamas and Palestinian statehood would encourage Hamas to change its charter and abandon its terrorists attacks, they could not be more wrong. Why then should Hamas change its charter or tactics, or commit itself to a peaceful resolution, when its current terror tactics seem to be working so magnificently?
"We do not distinguish between what was occupied in the 1940s and what was occupied in the 1960s... We will continue until the very last usurper is driven out of our land." – Sheik Nizar Rayan, a Hamas leader, Gaza, 2005.
The EU authorities speak about "peace talks," and a "two-state solution;" Hamas does not. Hamas openly rejects them. If one compares the language these governments use with the language Hamas officials use, they would appear to live on different galaxies. To Hamas, and apparently to many countries in Europe, Israel as no right to defend itself and no right to exist. But Europe is ready to prop up, with unconditional support, racist, anti-humanitarian organizations such as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Is this really the spirit of pluralism, humanism and tolerance these "good," "moral" European governments and the Vatican support?
Palestinians reject Netanyahu bid to define settlement blocs
The Palestinian Authority refuses to resume negotiations with Israel without Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 borders as the basis for talks and of East Jerusalem as the future Palestinian capital, a PA spokesman said on Tuesday, nixing a reported bid by Jerusalem to resume talks aimed at defining the borders of settlement blocs.
Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh was responding to comments attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini last week, in which the Israeli premier said his government was willing to define the boundaries of the main settlement blocs, within which construction would be allowed.
Abu Rudeineh countered that Israeli construction in the West Bank must stop entirely before peace talks can resume.
“Nothing relating to final status issues can be segmented or postponed,” Abu Rudeineh said in a statement published by official Palestinian news agency Wafa. “The basis for any negotiations must be recognition of the 1967 borders, Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state… along with a complete halt to settlement [construction] and the release of the fourth group of [security] prisoners jailed before Oslo.”
Joel Pollak: In Speech to Jews, Obama Invents a 'Pro-Israel' Past
Obama’s many biographies–both his own memoirs, and the voluminous writings of others–mention no such early interest in Israel. In fact, those who knew Obama in his early years in Chicago describe a man who understood little about Israel. He had extensive contact with left-wing Jewish activists, and his home is across the street from a synagogue. But to the extent that he took an interest in the Middle East, it was in the Palestinian cause, and the larger Arab and Muslim world.
As Peter Wallsten wrote in April 2008, in the infamous Los Angeles Times article that revealed the existence of the still-secret “Khalidi tape,” Obama’s former Chicago allies and associates described a man whose personal sympathies lay more with the Palestinians, and who promised to pursue a more “evenhanded” policy. One of those who met him in those days, the radical anti-Israel activist Ali Abunimah, complained that a pro-Palestinian Obama had since “learned to love Israel.”
In Obama’s first memoir, Dreams from my Father, there is no recollection whatsoever of any kind of fascination with Israel–not even the left-wing, socialist icons Obama name-checked in his Adas Jeshurun speech. The word “Israel” only appears once, in the words of “Rafiq,” a somewhat adversarial character who admonishes the young community organizer that liberal American Jews really care more “’bout they relatives in Israel” than black children on the South Side of Chicago.
We may conclude that Obama’s supposed fascination with Israel is a fabrication–like the “composite” characters in his autobiographies, or the inaccurate stories he told about his mother’s death during the Obamacare debate, or the many other fibs he has told in the past for political purposes. The kibbutznik Obama is a bit of kitsch tailored to pander to the audience at Adas Jeshurun–many of whom, like journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, are die-hard members of the Obama fan club.



JPost Editorial: Obama’s interview
For Jews and for Israelis there were a number of truly moving messages relayed by US President Barack Obama via The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in a wide-ranging interview last week.
Unfortunately, the US president also placed the onus for the perpetuation of the “status quo” in the West Bank and Gaza exclusively on Israel. He did not acknowledge that, no matter how much Israelis want to make peace, it takes the cooperation of both sides. And Palestinians have been severely deficient when it comes to basic goodwill.
On the positive side, Obama expressed a deep identification with the Jewish state, connecting the Jews’ successful push for national self-determination after centuries of anti-Semitism that culminated in the Holocaust with African Americans’ victorious campaign for human rights.

“There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” Obama said.
This comment was noteworthy for a number of reasons.
It represents the best response to historical revisionists inspired by Soviet-era propaganda who attempt to paint Zionists as imperialists and occupiers. Instead, it rightly places the Zionist movement where it belongs within the context of progressive and anti-imperialist post-World War II movements that sought to empower the subjugated and downtrodden. It also revealed Obama’s personal identification with the Zionist movement.
Obama is nostalgic for “white” Israel
To understand how this sounds to someone sensitive to the history of various historically disfavored groups in Israel, imagine a foreign leader had said “I came to know America based on images of Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, the American Federation of Labor, the Daughters of the American Revolution…” Each of these individuals and groups had their virtues, but lots of us would think, “Geez, you’re nostalgic for an America dominated by White Protestants, and you aren’t even sensitive enough about the course of American history to recognize it, or assumedly you wouldn’t say it.”
The Israel of kibbutzim (kudos to Obama for using the proper Hebrew plural), Dayan, and Meir, was perhaps a more idealistic, and certainly more socialistic Israel. But it was also an Israel dominated by a secularized, Ashkenazic elite.
Mizrahim (Jews from Arab countries), though more than half the population, were marginalized at every level of society. Discrimination was to a large extent institutionalized; the governing Labor Party was run by socialistic Ashkenazim, and given that state capitalism dominated the Israeli economy one’s political and social connections (protectsia in Hebrew) went a long way toward determining one’s economic prospects.
Obama: Rise in Antisemitism is Not Some Passing Fad
President Barack Obama declared that the “deeply disturbing rise in antisemitism” around the world was no “passing fad,” during an address to a Washington DC synagogue on Friday’s “Solidarity Shabbat.”
“In recent years we’ve seen a deeply disturbing rise in antisemitism in parts of the world where it would have seemed unthinkable just a few years or a few decades ago,” the president told the Conservative movement Adas Israel synagogue in DC’s Cleveland Park neighborhood.
“This is not some passing fad,” he said. “These are not isolated phenomenon and we know from history they cannot be ignored.”
“Antisemitism is and always will be a threat to broader human values to which we all must aspire,” he said.
Palestinians have right to be free in their land, Obama says at DC synagogue
President Barack Obama on Friday called for the establishment of a free Palestinian state alongside Israel, saying it was necessary for the preservation of Israeli democracy and security, and integral to Jewish values.
Wearing a white kippah, Obama spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 at Washington DC’s Adas Israel Congregation, one of the largest in the capital, marking Jewish American Heritage Month.
He touted his pro-Israel policies and close ties with Jewish advisors, wishing the audience a “slightly early Shabbat Shalom” and peppering his speech with Hebrew terms such as “tikkun olam” — repairing the world. He said his personal philosophy was inspired by Jewish values and the Israeli pioneer spirit, and “forcefully” objected to claims that his disagreements with the Israeli government over some policies belied a lack of support for the Jewish state.
Obama was greeted by ringing applause when he affirmed a vision of “Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.”
“Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their land as well,” he said.
The Judean People's Front: Anti-Semitism and Rationality
While President Obama says the Iranian leadership suffers from venomous anti-Semitism, he fails to draw the necessary conclusions from this and Goldberg fails to stand up to him.
What many fail to recognize about anti-Semites and other racists is not that they are irrational, but that they are in fact very rational within the context of their own hateful ideologies. So being anti-Semitic doesn't "preclude" you from being interested in self-preservation, but it does preclude you from understanding self-preservation according to the same rationale we do. If you believe there is a secret cabal of Jews out to destroy the Muslim world through their domination of world governments, the media and banks, you might justifiably (in the eyes of an anti-Semite, that is) decide it is better to suffer economically and even militarily, in order to stop that nefarious plot by nuking the state behind it all. If you do, you'll be a hero who suffered temporary loses but in fact saved the world from the evil Jews.
Goldberg makes a feeble attempt to point this out, but in the end the President is so set on reaching this deal and so convinced that deep down even anti-Semites are rational just like we are that he refuses to see what is right in front of him. And once again it is the Jews that will pay the price.
Alan Dershowitz: Obama is Neither Anti-Israel Nor Anti-Jewish
I have been a strident critic of President Obama’s policy toward Iran, especially how he and his team have been negotiating with that belligerent regime over its nuclear weapons program. But opposition to one aspect of the Obama policies should not be mistaken for opposition to President Obama himself or to the many achievements of his administration, particularly in the domestic area.
Having just listened to his speech at a conservative Jewish Congregation in Washington, D.C., I was reminded why I supported him both times he ran for president, as well as when he ran for the United States Senate. Barack Obama is a good and decent person, who admires the Jewish people and supports Israel’s right to exist as the Nation State of the Jewish People as well as its right to defend itself against attacks, both domestic and foreign. He disagrees with the Netanyahu administration on several issues. On some of these issues, such as settlement building, I tend to agree with Obama. On other issues, such as the Iran negotiations, I tend to agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu.
On a personal level, I do not think that President Obama has handled his relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu in a mature and productive fashion. Having been provoked by Speaker Boehner’s invitation to have Netanyahu speak to Congress, President Obama acted in a petulant manner that exacerbated the differences between them. I also disapprove of how President Obama handled Netanyahu’s statements regarding the two state solution. Recall on the evening of Netanyahu’s election, he made a statement suggesting that the time was not now ripe for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Immediately following his election, Netanyahu reasserted his commitment to the two state solution. Instead of reacting in a statesmanlike way by focusing on Netanyahu’s positive restatement, Obama reemphasized his opposition to Netanyahu’s previous negative statements. This was poor politics, poor statesmanship and poor psychology.
The Tipping Point Between Israel’s Image and the Right to Security
West Bank Palestinian Arabs are in a different position, but it is one largely of their own choosing. They could have accepted independence and peace at any time in the last 15 years since Israel has repeatedly offered them a state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a share of Jerusalem. If they had, the current argument about buses would be moot. But they have refused each time because their leaders lack the will or the ability to make peace. Even today, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, lauded as an advocate of peace by President Obama and other world leaders, refuses to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Even if one advocates for withdrawal of some of the outlying settlements that would not be included in Israel in the event of a peace deal, the idea that the residents of these communities should be subjected to murder and terror with impunity is abhorrent.
That is something that should be taken into account by those who rightly criticize Yaalon’s idea. But even more than that, they need to remember that such an idea only became thinkable because of many years of Palestinian violence whose only purpose is to kill Jews and destroy Israel, not to adjust its borders or to merely deny them their right to live in the heart of their ancient homeland. Those comparing the plight of Palestinians to that of African-Americans in the segregated South are forgetting the fact that American blacks were not trying to destroy America, just claim their equal rights as citizens. Those who sought to keep blacks separated from whites were not defending their existence as Israelis must nor were they subjected to the kind of terror that Jews have been.
We should condemn any scheme, even one born out of self-defense, that smacks of legal segregation. But those who do so should always remember that this situation was created by and perpetuated by an unceasing Palestinian war of terror that must end if peace is ever to be possible.
Obama signs bill giving Congress a say in Iran nuke deal
Though he once vigorously opposed its involvement, President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday that gives Congress the power to review and potentially reject a nuclear deal with Iran.
Achieving a deal with Iran is a central element of Obama’s foreign policy ambitions, and the new law imposes conditions on his ability to act on his own. He signed the measure without ceremony Friday at the White House.
Negotiators from the US, China, France, Russia, Great Britain and Germany are seeking a deal with Tehran by the end of June. Israel and some Persian Gulf nations worry Iran is simply delaying its nuclear ambitions to get economic sanctions lifted.
The legislation would bar Obama from waiving congressional sanctions for at least 30 days while lawmakers examine any final deal. Congress would have to pass a resolution of disapproval to reject an agreement, an action Obama likely would veto. Obama had initially threatened to veto legislation that placed conditions that Iran would never accept.
Iran denies agreement on military site inspections
An Iranian negotiator on Sunday denied accepting military site inspections as part of a nuclear deal with world powers, a delicate issue in talks that must be concluded by the end of June.
Abbas Araqchi, who is also deputy foreign minister, made the remarks as he briefed a parliamentary committee on the progress of the talks with the P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.
“In his report, Mr. Araqchi said that inspections of military sites have been accepted but the inspections are regulated and will be seriously managed,” hardline lawmaker Javad Karimi-Ghodoussi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
The remarks appeared to contradict those of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said this week that inspections of military sites and interviews of scientists by foreign experts were excluded from a framework nuclear agreement.
Iran: Inspecting Our Military Sites is Like 'Espionage'
Iran on Friday once again unequivocally rejected the West’s call to inspect its military sites as part of a nuclear deal.
The commander of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that inspecting Iran’s military sites is tantamount to espionage and that Iran’s response to espionage is “hot bullets.”
“We will not allow them (Westerners) to inspect our military and defense centers, and our response to any measure in the name of inspection - either coordinated or not- around the (military) centers or at any distance and in any shape will be the response that is given to espionage, namely hot bullets,” Hajizadeh said, according to the Tasnim news agency.
He further said that what he termed the “ploys” used by the White House and its allies to “infiltrate” into Iran have become “worn out”.
Delivery of Russian S-300 missiles to Iran 'to be done at the soonest opportunity possible'
Talks between Russia and Iran over the sale of sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles are progressing, a top Iranian official told state media on Monday.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Tehran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, traveled to Moscow on Monday for a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Press TV reported.
During a joint news conference, Amir-Abdollahian said that the S-300 negotiations “have been successful.”
Last month, Russian media quoted a Kremlin official as saying that supplying Iran with Russian S-300 missile defense systems is not a matter of the nearest future.
"It is more important that a political and legal decision, which opens up such a possibility, is taken," Sergei Ryabkov, a deputy foreign minister, said according to TASS.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a radio interview with Sputnik, tried to downplay the impact of the sale of the S-300 to Iran.
Ex-CAIR Official Again Attacks the US on Iranian TV
Former CAIR official Cyrus McGoldrick recently traveled to Iran and again attacked the United States on Iranian state-controlled Press TV, Front Page Magazine reports, citing McGoldrick’s own social media posts.
McGoldrick, who served as advocacy director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) New York office, glorified Iran’s confrontational posture vis-a-vis the West and Gulf states.
“Iran as always continues to be an opponent of … injustice, an opponent of imperialism in the region and so it only makes sense … that you see these very familiar allies, the same cast of characters, the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and now its regional allies standing against [Iran] once again.”
McGoldrick, who indicated that he has relatives in Iran, specifically praised the Islamic Republic’s active role in the Yemen conflict. A recent United Nations report confirms that Iran has delivered massive shipments of weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2009.
Remembering Haifa Bus 37 Suicide Bombing
In Israel, you are never far away from terror or the memory of terror. I learned that by chance tonight.
We had dinner tonight with an Israeli writer in the area surrounding our hotel, which is fairly residential. While walking back to the hotel, she pointed out the bus stop we would take to the University of Haifa. The bus stop was just around the corner from our hotel. It is a bus line used not only by the university, but many schools.
We had already walked past it several times, but didn’t notice the writing (we don’t read Hebrew) or the 17 indentations in the wall
It is a memorial for the 17 people, mostly students, who were killed in the March 5, 2003 suicide bombing of Bus 37 — the same bus line we would take to the University of Haifa.
As with my prior trips, this was an opportunity to learn a piece of history just by walking.
The Bus 37 bombing was part of the Second Intifada suicide bombing campaign in which almost 1000 Israeli civilians would die, until the building of the security barrier and aggressive Israeli military action put a stop to it.
But not before the passengers of bus 37 would die.
Protest Breaks Out During Mohammed Bakri Film Screening in Israel
A fracas erupted during the screening of Israeli-Arab filmmaker Mohammad Bakri’s 2009 documentary Zahra at the Carmiel municipality auditorium in Israel on Thursday night, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Viewers said the movie amounted to a “provocation.”
Bakri’s controversial documentary deals with the issue of the “Nakba,” Arabic for catastrophe — a common reference among Palestinian Arabs to the founding of the modern state of Israel.
Zahra tells the story of Bakri’s aunt, who was displaced from her village during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
The dissenters were mainly right-wing and opposition activists in the city council, who objected to the movie’s screening.
The activists sang the Israeli national anthem before and during the film’s screening, and walked out of the auditorium wrapped in Israeli flags after the screening of the film ended.
Jews, Muslims Arrested in Temple Mount Confrontation
Israeli police said they arrested six Muslims and six Jews on Monday after a confrontation on the Temple Mount, which is a scene of frequent religious tensions.
"The Palestinians were arrested while trying to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
The security forces then arrested four Jews who broke a rule forbidding them to pray there, and two other Jews for "causing disturbances," she said.
Despite the fact that the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, Jewish visits are strictly regulated and Jews are forbidden from praying there due to threats of violence by Muslim groups.
Joyous Return to 130-Year Old Eastern Jerusalem Synagogue
For the first time in 77 years, festive Jewish prayers were held on Monday in one of modern Jerusalem's oldest synagogues: The long-hidden and inaccessible Hechal Shlomo of the Yemenite village.
Dozens of people took part in the joyous festivities, which marked the full circle of Jewish settlement in eastern Jerusalem. Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) – amidst traditional Yemenite Jewish prayers, music and foods, and some Ashkenazim and Sepharadim as well – took part in the re-dedication of the synagogue. Affixing the mezuzah to the doorpost, he recited the traditional blessings, including "Blessed is He Who restores the borders of the widow."
It was back in 1885 that Yisrael Dov Frumkin founded the village, built the synagogue, and paved the way for some 65 Yemenite Jewish families to live on the slopes of the Mt. of Olives. Most of the land land had been contributed by a Zionist philanthropist known as Boaz HaBavli.
Sderot - Bomb Shelter Capital of the World
Over 14,000 rockets and mortars have been launched at Southern Israel from Gaza. Each of those rockets constitutes a war crime and was meant to murder, to maim, and to terrorize the civilian population of Israel.
In spite of the bombardment of rockets from Gaza, the Israeli casualty rate has been, up to now, fairly low.
Israel has invested millions of dollars in infrastructure to keep its people safe. An early warning system gives residents of Southern Israel a 15 second alert when a rocket has been fired- that can mean the difference between life and death for many. It is also available as a smart phone app. Iron Dome, a mobile missile defense system can shot rockets down before they have a chance to cause mass casualties. And in areas under threat, Israel has built a comprehensive system of bomb shelters- at bus stops, in playgrounds, and every where that people gather.
Via Huff Post Sderot - Bomb Shelter Capital of the World
A photo essay of the bomb shelters of Sderot.
Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Saudi Arabia Attack, Eyes Golan Heights
The Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for a bloody attack that killed 19 people at a Shia mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia on Friday.
On Twitter, a group referring to itself as Islamic State’s “Najd Province,” which refers to the central region of Saudi Arabia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
This week, Islamic State terrorists seized control of the historic Syrian city of Palmyra, which is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman cities in the Middle East and a UNESCO world heritage site. After defeating Syrian government forces in Palmyra, Islamic State now controls roughly half of Syria’s territory, although that mostly constitutes Syria’s vast deserts in the east.
Additionally, Islamic State has recently attempted to gain a foothold near Syria’s border with Israel in the Golan Heights, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The first such attempt by Islamic State occurred two weeks ago near Quneitra, where Syrian rebels were able to push back against an Islamic State-affiliated group called Jaysh al-Jihad.
After Abbas, An Abyss
Palestine’s crumbling political institutions stand in sharp contrast to how Abbas himself became president, in the last—and only—instance of Palestinian leadership succession in late 2004, following Yasser Arafat’s death. The Palestinian Liberation Organization and Fatah hierarchy moved within hours to resolve the issue of succession, and Abbas’ only other competitor, Ahmed Qurei, conceded gracefully. Once selected, Abbas’ election in the 2005 presidential election was all but guaranteed. It is indicative of Palestine’s political processes that Abbas or Qureia were implicit heirs to power after Arafat’s death. Both were members of the Palestinian national movement’s founding generation, making their ascension to power inevitable. Today, however, there are no such identifiable candidates from within Fatah, with either the longevity or political stature.
Abbas has been leading the Palestinian Authority for a decade now, nearly equal in time to Arafat. In this period, Abbas has ensured that no new leaders would come to the fore as realistic successors. This might have made for good politics locally, allowing him to consolidate control over a potentially fractious polity. But as a national strategy, it could be ruinous for Palestinians as a whole. The Palestinian Authority cannot afford a leadership crisis if Abbas were to leave office, it finds itself divided between Gaza and the West Bank, hamstrung by a moribund peace process, and facing growing discontent in the streets and refugee camps.
A Palestinian state requires many things in order to be viable: economic opportunity, territorial contiguity, natural resources, and working institutions. For a people intent on attaining self-determination, it behooves the Palestinians, as well as the international community, to ensure a smooth transition process after Abbas.
PA Police Stab Teen to Death in Shechem
Two Palestinian Authority (PA) security officials killed a Palestinian Arab teenager during a fight near Shechem (Nablus) on Monday, amidst a spike in terrorism and violence in the area.
Muhammad Ahmad Hashayka, 16, died from stab wounds Monday afternoon sustained in the tussle in the village of Taluza, 15 km (9.3 miles) north of Shechem.
Hashkaya was treated at the scene and transported by ambulance to al-Najah hospital but was declared dead shortly after arriving, according to the Palestinian Arab Maan news site.
The offending officers have reportedly turned themselves in to local police.
Fatah activists and PA security forces have clashed frequently over the past two months, as tensions between differing Palestinian Arab factions, including Hamas, have accumulated.
Cash-Strapped Hamas Squeezes Gaza with New Tax
Ynet News reports the terrorist gang Hamas has imposed a new import tax on “non-essential” items imported into the Gaza Strip. “The announcement has local merchants fuming, with some threatening to cease imports into Gaza altogether,” writes Ynet.
The “non-essential” goods affected by this tax will include “a variety of crops, meat, fruits, vegetables, clothing and electronics. Most of the items are imports from Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.” The tax will begin at 1% and “eventually” increase to 10%. Increased taxes and heavier restrictions upon the use of the Gaza’s spotty electrical grid also appear to be in the near future.
Hamas officials claim they needed to impose this tax to hold the very fabric of Gaza society together. Critics note that, contrary to Hamas’ claims, very little study of how the tax will affect Gaza’s fragile economy was conducted, and the input of the affected merchants was not sought. Ynet notes that even some Hamas political representatives are saying the new tax will increase unemployment and deepen poverty in Gaza.
A Hamas “parliamentarian” described the imperative for the import tax as necessary “to ease the suffering of the poor in the Gaza Strip. We’ll collapse as a society in Gaza if we do not impose these taxes. It’s not much but it will benefit the citizens of Gaza – especially the security police who need money for cars.”
Iran said to pull Islamic Jihad’s funding over group’s neutrality on Yemen
Islamic Jihad, the second-strongest armed movement in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, is on the verge of bankruptcy after losing favor with its backer Iran, a leading Arab newspaper reported on Tuesday.
According to the London-based, pro-Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, members of the terror group have not received salaries in three months and are not expected to receive next month’s salary either. The reason for the crisis, the report said, is Islamic Jihad’s refusal to condemn the Arab coalition’s military campaign against Iran-backed Houthi insurgents in Yemen.
“Knowledgeable Palestinian sources” told the paper that Iran had expected Islamic Jihad, its main Palestinian protege, to issue a statement condemning the Saudi-initiated Operation Storm of Resolve launched against the Shiite rebels in March. Instead, Islamic Jihad official Nafez Azzam said at the time that his movement “insists on not intervening in any internal Arab affairs.”
While Iranian funding for Gaza’s Hamas government was also slashed in light of the movement’s public stance against the Assad regime in Syria in late 2013, Islamic Jihad’s position is more precarious due to its complete financial dependence on the Islamic Republic. The movement was dealt a significant blow by Israel during the war in Gaza last summer, when a large number of its senior commanders were killed in action.
Exiled Fatah Terrorist Amna Muna on PA TV: We Will Continue Until Our Entire Land is Liberated
In a May 15 interview on the official Palestinian Authority TV channel, Amna Muna, a Palestinian terrorist who was freed in the Shalit prisoner swap and exiled to Turkey, said: "Nothing will break our resolve - not imprisonment, not exile, and not martyrdom... We shall continue on our path until our entire land is liberated." Muna, who was speaking to PA TV over the Internet, was imprisoned for her involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum in 2001.


Singer Morrissey Accidentally Cancels World Tour Following Egypt’s Sentencing of Morsi to Death (satire)
British musician and former Smiths front man Morrissey immediately cancelled the remaining shows on his 2015 concert tour upon hearing the news that he had been sentenced to death by an Egyptian court on Saturday.
“I cannot take this kind of heat. I have delicate skin and the thought of being shot, beheaded or however they plan on ending me is making me forget song lyrics.”
The respected melodramatic artist racked his brain for an explanation: “A fatwa on my head, for Christ’s sake! Until I heard the news about my execution, I thought that Egypt was make believe, like Narnia or Krypton or Israel,” the singer and songwriter of ‘First of the Gang to Die’ said from an undisclosed location in the Scottish countryside.
Palmyra's Hebrew inscriptions, jewels of city's Jewish past, may be lost forever
Among the archaeological gems from Palmyra, the pearl of Syria’s desert, at risk after the Islamic State’s takeover last week are vestiges of its Jewish past, including the longest Biblical Hebrew inscription from antiquity: the opening verses of the Shema carved into a stone doorway.
Western archaeologists who visited the site in the 19th and 20th century discovered Hebrew verses etched into the doorframe of a house in the ancient city. But whether that inscription is still at the site is unclear.
The last time a European scholar documented it in situ was 1933, when Israeli archaeologist Eleazar Sukenik of Hebrew University photographed it.
“What may have happened to it since is anyone’s guess,” Professor David Noy, co-author of Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientis (Jewish Inscriptions of the Near East), said in an email on Friday.
UN envoy ‘sickened’ by rampant IS sexual violence
A UN envoy has returned from a tour of Iraq and Syria with harrowing reports of the sexual violence systematically committed by Islamic State militants against women and girls.
Zainab Bangura, who had set out for the region in April to address the rampant cases of rape, sex slavery and other sexual violence in the areas under IS control, said the extremists were “institutionalizing sexual violence” as a tactic to terrorize the local populations.
In an interview this week with the Middle East Eye, a UK-based news site, Bangura recounted chilling tales she had heard from refugees.
“After attacking a village, IS splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold,” she said.
Carter Insists ISIS “Legitimate Political Actor” (satire)
With Western governments weighing their response to the meteoric rise of ISIS, former US President Jimmy Carter insisted the self-proclaimed Caliphate be recognized as a “legitimate political actor” and treated as a partner for negotiations.
“Now I might not agree with everything they do, but I think we should acknowledge that they took all that territory fair and square,” commented the former US President. “No sense in us being all sore about it – the only way to get them to stop the killing is to recognize them as the responsible national government that they are.”
Carter, who previously met with the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, penned the column after what he termed a “pleasant and cordial” meeting with the Caliphate’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Carter said the Caliphate – which spans portions of Iraq and Syria – should be admitted as the 194th UN member state. Giving the new country a seat on the Human Rights Council, Carter added, would force them to “think long and hard about some of their own questionable practices.”
Muslims Demand Turkey Convert Hagia Sophia Into Mosque
A large rally in Istanbul demanded the government change the historic Hagia Sophia church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, into a mosque. The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) led the rally through the Sultanahmet district.
Many people carried signs that said, “Hagia Sophia needs to be reopened as a mosque” and “Let our lives be sacrificed for Islam.”
The idea to change the church into a mosque begun to gain momentum in April after Pope Francis recognized the slaying of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. Liam Deacon at Breitbart London chronicled the history of Hagia Sophia. The Ottoman Empire did convert the church into a mosque in 1453. After the empire fell, the new Turkish government transformed it into a secular museum.
“Frankly, I believe that the Pope’s remarks will only accelerate the process for Hagia Sophia to be reopened for [Muslim] worship,” Professor Hizli, a senior government cleric, said in a written statement on April 15th.
He decried the Pope’s comments as a “modern reflection of the crusader wars launched in these lands for centuries,” and suggested that Turkey’s role as a “standard bearer” for the Muslim world provoked criticism from non-Muslims.
‘Know your place,’ Erdogan tells NYT
In a growing controversy over media rights in Turkey ahead of June 7 legislative polls, Erdogan blasted an “impolite” editorial in the New York Times last week which he said “literally gave orders to the United States.”
“As a newspaper, you (The New York Times) should know your place,” he said in a televised speech in Istanbul.
“You are meddling in Turkey’s affairs by writing something like this. By publishing this editorial, you are overstepping the limits of freedom,” he said.
The New York Times had on Friday published a editorial entitled “Dark Clouds over Turkey,” which was deeply critical of Erdogan’s rule, and accusing him of a crackdown ahead of the polls.
“The United States and Turkey’s other NATO allies should be urging (Erdogan) to turn away from this destructive path,” The New York Times editorial said.
Erdogan spat back, “Who are you? Could you say something like this to the US administration?”
'Erdogan brags about Turkish APC, even though it was jointly made with Israel'
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan viewed an armored 4X4 Humvee at the International Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul this weekend, and bragged about Turkey’s new “global brand.”
He boasted of his nation’s growing influence in the global arms trade, speaking during the stop at an exhibit hosted by Turkish vehicle manufacturer BMC, according to the Istanbul-based Zaman newspaper.
The only problem was that Erdogan had unveiled the Hurricane, a vehicle that was manufactured jointly with an Israeli firm, Hatehof (the company has since been renamed Carmor (based in the Tzipori Industrial Zone in the Western Galilee), while the vehicle itself was renamed as “Carmine” during the exhibit.
Weighing between nine and 14 tons, the Hurricane seats up to seven people who use it to engage in combat and reconnaissance missions.
Report: Turkish Mall Scraps Plans for Jewish, Christian Prayer Rooms After ‘Attacks’
A recently opened furniture mall in western Turkey scrapped plans to open separate prayer rooms for Jews and Christians over a series of “intolerant attacks,” Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper reported on Friday.
Haluk Ozbek, founder of the Mobiliyum AVM furniture emporium in the Inegol district about 155 miles south of Istanbul, said original plans sought to make the mall a global attraction.
“But we have been subject to ugly and incomprehensible attacks” over the inclusion of Christian and Jewish worship rooms, in addition to the mosque that was constructed.
“Mobiliyum AVM has been exposed to ugly attacks via the media as well as by action. We have decided to reverse our decision to open prayer rooms, as we have lacked support from democratic circles against these attacks,” said Ozbek, in a statement published by Hurriyet.
He also told the newspaper that the attacks were caused by a lack of tolerance.
Tunisian Cleric Bechir Begga: Satan and the Jews Are the Enemies of the Muslims
In a May 1 sermon, Tunisian cleric Sheik Bechir Begga said that Satan and the Jews are the enemies of Muslims. He added that Allah was gathering the Jews "in Palestine, or in Tel Aviv," where they would meet their end. Sheik Begga posted the clip on his YouTube channel.


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