Wednesday, June 24, 2015

From Ian:

Anne Bayefsky: UN report denies Israel's right of self-defense, advocates arrest of Israelis instead
Arrest Benjamin Netanyahu and any other “suspected” Israeli war criminals wherever and whenever you can get your hands on them. That is the shocking bottom line of a scandalous report released today from the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The report emanates from a board of inquiry the Council created in the midst of the 2014 Gaza war. In legalese, the call to arrest Israelis either for trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC), or before any court in any country that the U.N. labels “fair,” reads like this:
The board “calls upon the international community … to support actively the work of the International Criminal Court in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory; to exercise universal jurisdiction to try international crimes in national courts; and to comply with extradition requests pertaining to suspects of such crimes to countries where they would face a fair trial.”
To be fair, the U.N. report says this could apply to both parties. In other words, the democratic state of Israel, with a moral and legal obligation to defend its citizens, and the Palestinian attackers bent on genocide are moral equals. Throughout the 183-page tome, the U.N. council “experts” play the old “cycle of violence” trick, otherwise known as “it all started when you hit me back.”
An infamous photo from the Third Reich shows eminent Jewish lawyer Michael Siegel, beaten and bloodied after going to police headquarters on behalf of a Jewish client who had been sent to Dachau, forced to walk through the streets of Munich with a sign around his neck saying: “I am a Jew, but I will never again complain to the police.”
Lawfare Blog: What to Make of the UN's Special Commission Report on Gaza?
Perhaps most frustratingly, even the IDF’s efforts to protect civilians are apparently grounds for incrimination. On page 63, the Commission notes that “according to official Israeli sources, the IDF abandoned air strikes when the presence of civilians was detected.” This Israeli claim is taken at face value, but not for the purposes one might think. Rather than reflecting a policy of minimizing civilian casualties, for the Commission, this information simply demonstrates that “the IDF had the capacity to determine the civilian nature” of its targets and victims. And given the number of civilian deaths, the Commission’s conclusion was that Israel had frequently and unjustifiably failed to deploy this capacity—thus violating its obligation to use all “feasible” means to reduce civilian damage.
Our point here is not to defend Israeli conduct in any of these specific situations. It is merely to suggest that the commission has drawn a set of conclusions it cannot possibly draw with rigor, and it has done so using standards that are very difficult to defend.
But don’t take our word for it. The commission all but admits that it lacked the information to draw the conclusions it drew. In an interview with Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, the Commission’s chairperson Mary McGowan Davis had this to say:
I certainly think it would have been different if Israel had cooperated… We could have met with Israeli victims and seen where rockets landed, talked with commanders, watched videos and visited Gaza. We talked to a lot of witnesses but of course an investigation needs to be as close to the scene as possible and it would have looked different.
McGowan Davis clearly intended this comment as a criticism of the Israeli government’s non-cooperation with the investigation. But she’s actually admitting, apparently unawares, that the material with which the Commission was working was simply insufficient to its task.
What does one say about a report whose author forthrightly admits that, had she had real information, “it would have looked different”?
Volokh Conspiracy: Is it “OK to drop a one-ton bomb in the middle of a neighborhood” if you’re at war and that’s where enemy forces are located?
Mary McGowan Davis, who headed the U.N. commission that investigated last summer’s Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, tells Ha’aretz (paywall): “We wanted to make a strong stand that the whole use of explosive weapons in densely populated neighborhoods is problematic and that the policy needs to change…. Because it is not OK to drop a one-ton bomb in the middle of a neighborhood.”
Of course, one shouldn’t gratuitously drop a one-ton bomb or any bomb in the middle of a neighborhood. But Davis’s critique doesn’t seem limited to gratuitous bombings, but includes the bombing of military targets located in civilian neighborhoods.
If the rule was “you may never bomb [use “explosive weapons”] in a residential neighborhood if civilian casualties may result, regardless of the value of the military target,” it’s pretty obvious what would happen — enemy forces would simply plant themselves in residential neighborhoods knowing they would be immune from attack.
So, for example, Hamas could launch all the missiles it wanted at Israel from the middle of Gaza City, and use apartment buildings, schools, etc. as staging grounds and headquarters, and Israel would be helpless to respond.
Chairman of Joint Chiefs: "Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit civilian casualties"
Israel went to "extraordinary lengths" to limit civilian casualties during the conflict in Gaza earlier this year, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday.
Israel dropped leaflets and did "roof-knocking, to have something knock on the roof" to warn civilians to move out of the area, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said during a forum at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York.

The UN Inquiry on Gaza – An Unscrupulous Report by an Unprincipled Body
The fingerprints of Israel-phobic UN Human Rights Council staffers are evident throughout the report into last year’s conflict in Gaza published by that body’s supposedly ‘Independent Commission of Inquiry’. Under a wafer-thin patina of legalese and diplomatic jargon, this document is damned by the oh-so-typical anti-Israel bias and bigotry that has rendered the UNHRC notorious over recent decades. Commissioners Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène have irrevocably besmirched their legal reputations by allowing their names to be associated with such an unscrupulously prejudiced process.
A cursory reading of the Commission’s Report reveals the following egregious offences against the principles of objectivity, equity and impartiality:
1. Paragraph 56 makes the absurd argument that Israel should be obligated to comply with the terms of an international treaty to which it never became a state party.
2. The Commission relies on hearsay evidence to make repeated allegations that Israel “could” or “may” be guilty of war crimes. And in Paragraph 75 the report asserts:
5. The only unequivocal denunciation made by the Commission against Hamas involves the extra-judicial execution of alleged Palestinian collaborators in Gaza during last year’s conflict. Apparently a body count of 21 people shot by Hamas firing squads too much for even the most die hard anti-Zionist partisans amongst the UNHRC staff to ignore.
 What war crimes did Israel commit in Gaza?
I beg the forgiveness of the distinguished members of the human rights community, but the talk about war crimes in regards to the fighting in Gaza is hollow talk at best, and false talk at worst.
War crimes compared to who? Compared to what? Compared to what Russia is doing in Ukraine? Compared to what the United States did in Iraq? In Afghanistan? Compared to what China is doing in Tibet?
I won't be revealing any exciting news to my readers if I say that the international community's investigation procedures are selective. World powers are exempted from investigation, exempted from punishment: Tyrant regimes, which destroy nations, in Africa and in the Middle East, are reprimanded from time to time, but don’t give a damn. Israel is stuck in a bad place in the middle.
In light of this reality, Judge McGowan Davis' report spares Israel. Yes, there was an excessive use of ammunition in many cases, disproportional damage to residential buildings, unnecessary killing of children and civilians, and in two cases a fire frenzy in order to prevent a soldier's abduction. But every decision maker in the international community knows that there is no practical way of waging military operations while keeping sterile, with zero flaws.
Washington calls on UN to ignore ‘biased’ Gaza war report
The UN report into possible war crimes in last summer’s Gaza conflict should not be taken to the Security Council or used in other United Nations work, the US said Tuesday, challenging the fairness of the Human Rights Council that commissioned the inquiry.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington viewed the UNHRC as having a “clear bias” against Israel, tarnishing the report released Monday, which accused both Israel and Palestinian militants of possible war crimes during a 50-day conflict last summer.
“[W]e challenge the very foundation upon which this report was written, and we don’t believe that there’s a call or a need for any further Security Council work on this,” Kirby said during a press briefing. “[W]e reject the basis under which this particular commission of inquiry was established because of the very clear bias against Israel in it.”
Jerusalem pushes democracies to reject UN Gaza report
A day after the UN Human Rights Council presented its report on last summer’s war in Gaza, Israeli diplomats began trying on Tuesday to convince as many countries as possible on the 47-member council not to endorse the report when, as expected, it comes up for a vote next week.
With 30 percent of the council made up of either Muslim countries that can be counted on to vote against Israel, or those like Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela who do not have diplomatic ties with Israel, government officials acknowledge that winning a vote is almost impossible.
The goal, therefore, is to get as many democracies as possible – a “moral minority” – to vote in the council against endorsing the report, in the hope that this will denude it of legitimacy and moral authority.
The diplomatic efforts are at this time being led by the Foreign Ministry. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the prime ministers of countries on the UNHRC in 2009 after the issuing of the Goldstone Report that year that accused Israel of targeting civilians during Operation Cast Lead, has not yet made any similar phone calls.
Former Ambassador: Israel Doesn't Need to Apologize All the Time
Israel does not need to “apologize all the time”, Ambassador Alan Baker told Arutz Sheva on Monday, following the release of the UN report which accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.
Baker is formerly Israel’s ambassador to Canada and director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA).
“I think we have a lot to be very proud of and we should say what we have to say without it appearing or being perceived to be apologetic,” he said.
The JCPA, continued Baker, “prepared a very detailed report which we forwarded to the UN commission. Similarly in the last week or so, the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office have issued a very detailed report which isn’t political. It explains exactly what the considerations were that caused us to react to the rocket fire and terrorism, and the way in which we observed the norms of international humanitarian law, and the way in which we are investigating ourselves.”
Former Ambassador: UN Report on Gaza 'Completely Predictable'
John Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the UN, told Arutz Sheva that the UN report which accused Israel of committing “war crimes” during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza was “completely predictable”.
“The UN Human Rights Council is no different from its predecessor, the Human Rights Commission,” he said on the sidelines of an evening in honor of Ateret Cohanim.
The Human Rights Council, Bolton pointed out “has spent the overwhelming bulk of its time criticizing Israel, even after the Obama administration had the United States join the Council, it’s had no impact. All of that was predictable as well.”
When the UN decides to investigate a conflict in which Israel was involved, “you can write the report in advance,” he said. “This is a circumstance that happens again and again and again, and this is just one more example.”
The report ignores all the steps Israel took to target only military objectives and to protect civilian population.
“The cause of the damage that did take place was the result of the Hamas strategy to conceal its military activities in civilian locales and using civilians as shields,” Bolton added. “There’s simply no other explanation that this is another example of the pervasive UN bias against Israel.”
Cause for Concern: Israel's Rigorous Compliance With International Law
Though Israelis have long known it to be true, the conclusion that the Gaza campaign “was a legitimate war” carries extra weight coming from an independent international commission of inquiry.
It confirms the fact that “Hamas’s rocket attacks deliberately and indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilian population.”
It reiterates that “Hamas launched attacks against Israel from the heart of its own civilian communities in Gaza and positioned its munitions and military forces there also, including in schools, hospitals and mosques.”
These experts also arrived to the conclusion that “in general Israeli forces acted proportionately as required by the laws of armed conflict and often went beyond the required legal principles of proportionality, necessity and discrimination.”
And finally, just like the Israelis, this fact-finding commission is also concerned that “the measures taken [to avoid civilian casualties] were often far in excess of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. They sometimes placed Israeli lives at risk. To an extent these steps also undermined the effectiveness of the IDF’s operations by pausing military action and thus allowing Hamas to re-group and replenish.”
This report is a ray of light trying to penetrate the thick prejudice encapsulating the UN. Based on past experience, however, it is unlikely that such reports will make so much as a dent in the world’s blatantly anti-Israel attitude.
A war against the entire West
Citizens of the West need to be made aware of how their nations' democratic agendas, governmental objectives, and military campaigns are being undermined by ideologies and actors that are anathema to Western culture. Ignoring or failing to confront the perpetrators for fear of otherwise lending legitimacy to those conditions is understandable -- but the counterculture will only continue to grow.
We must give the enemy no quarter in demolishing his malicious propaganda. World leaders must continue to condemn as often as necessary the ongoing human rights violations committed by non-state actors against democratic states. Organizations -- governmental and otherwise -- that voice concern for the treatment of such malevolent actors should be exposed and labeled for what they truly are: apologists for terrorists.
The ruling that the so-called human rights campaign seeks to impose is not regarding what type of force Israel can impose on Hamas, but whether or not democratic armies of the West have the right to use force of any kind.
Western nations pursue war only after careful deliberation leading to a conclusion that war is necessary and just. Once that conclusion has been reached, however, a war must be fought to be won.
France sought to kick-start peace talks behind US’s back
France sought to play a leading role in the possible relaunching of direct Mideast peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in 2011, going so far as to float the idea of keeping other world powers out of the effort and issuing an ultimatum to the United States, according to documents released by WikiLeaks late Tuesday.
According to a 2011 cable published by the group, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy considered not including the Middle East Quartet — the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia — in the initiative so as to prevent other world powers from steering negotiations according to their interests.
The leaked note, dated June 10, 2011, describes Sarkozy’s determination on June 7 to go ahead with a bid to restart direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, “in spite of an apparent lack of interest on the part of some major players.”
The leak was part of a larger trove that included revelations that the US spied on French leaders, sparking an outcry in Paris.
It’s Not France, But an Obama Diktat That Israel Fears
While a two-state solution would be ideal and is favored, at least in principle, by most Israelis, terror incidents highlight why large majorities regard the prospect of a complete withdrawal from the West Bank or a partition of Jerusalem are seen as madness. It’s not just that the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly shown that it has no intention of ever recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Nor that Hamas, though it might endorse a continuation of the cease-fire along the Gaza border is utterly committed to war to destroy Israel. It’s also that both the PA and its Hamas rivals routinely broadcast hate and sympathy for terrorists who slaughter Jews. It is that culture of violence and rejection of coexistence still governs Palestinian politics making a two-state solution impossible even if their leaders were prepared to try to make peace.
As President Obama’s fruitless attempts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in the Palestinians’ direction showed over the last six years, more initiatives aimed at pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians actually lessened the chances of peace rather than strengthening them. That’s because each such gesture that demonstrated the unfortunate daylight that Michael Oren wrote about in his memoir only convinced the Palestinians that they need only wait for the West to deliver Israel’s surrender to them on a silver platter. That’s as true today as it has ever been.
The danger here is not just of French or European meddling that will encourage the Palestinians to keep refusing to return to direct negotiations with Israel. It’s that a proposal put forward in the next few months (assuming that Iran is off the table by then) will give President Obama a chance to demonstrate whether the off-the-record comments of administration aides that predict a U.S. abandonment of Israel at the UN are accurate. Obama has been sending clear signals to Israel and its supporters — even as he seeks to disarm their justified alarm at his Iran entente — that this administration intends to take at least one more shot at bludgeoning the Netanyahu government into submission,
Under the circumstances, Netanyahu’s warning to Fabius that Israel will never accept a “diktat” on matters that concern its security was entirely justified. In response, Fabius said diktat wasn’t a word that was part of his French vocabulary. But it’s not a French initiative that worries Netanyahu but the very real possibility of an Obama diktat that lurks behind it. Though President Obama may not speak German, Netanyahu is right to fear that the lame duck in the White House understands the word all too well.
Edelstein Urges German Parliament: Stand by the Jewish People
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) welcomed Bundestag President Norbert Lammert to the Knesset on Wednesday in a special session marking 50 years of Israeli-Germany diplomatic relations.
"Germany is a true friend of Israel," Edelstein said to Lammert. "Your standing at our side and at the side of the Jewish people is more important than ever, certainly now when there is a harsh struggle around the world against anti-Semitism and its new form: anti-Israeliness."
The session was attended by President Reuven Rivlin and many visitors from both Israel and Germany, and after Edelstein's address Lammert gave a speech in German - during which he said in Hebrew he is "proud of our cooperation."
Edelstein noted to Lammert that "every visit by a senior representative of the German government in Israel is sensitive for some of our citizens. More than a few Holocaust survivors still live among us, some of them are even honoring us here with there presence in the visitors' section, and I welcome them."
"Many of us are second, third and fourth generations of European Judaism that went up in flames under the boots of the Nazi regime in occupied Europe. We of course have no right to forgive in the name of any of the six million who were murdered in varied and horrible deaths, or in the name of the survivors."
Poll finds massive drop in Israelis’ approval of Obama
Israelis have increasingly lost faith in US President Barack Obama, with the commander-in-chief taking a greater hit to his image in the Jewish state than in any other country in the world, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Confidence in Obama slipped in Israel from 71% in 2014 to 49% in 2015, while half of Israelis said they have no confidence in the president’s leadership in international affairs, according to the 2015 Spring Pew Global Attitudes Survey.
The findings reverse a several-year trend of rising support for Obama in Israel, amid increasingly cool relations between the two states over US foreign policy in the Middle East and tensions between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran’s nuclear program.
According to the survey, which spoke to 1,000 people in the country during April and May, 80% of Israelis disapprove of how Obama is dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
Poll: Israelis more supportive of US actions against ISIS than Americans themselves
Israelis support US actions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria more than the citizens of 40 countries polled – including the US – according to a recent PEW global survey.
The poll, conducted among samples of 1,000 people in each of the countries surveyed during April and March and released over the last two days, found that 84% of Israelis support US actions against the Islamic State, compared to 80% of Americans who support the policy.
The strongest opposition to the policy comes from Russia, where 67% are opposed, and then Argentina (62%).
The poll also showed that 50% of Israelis have no confidence in US President Barack Obama's ability to “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” placing it seventh among the 40 countries polled.
Only 49% of Israelis expressed confidence in Obama, down from 71% last year, reflecting the high profile disagreements between the two countries over Iran and the Palestinian issue.
Obama Hosts Israel-Haters at Iftar Dinner ‘President’s Table’
President Barack Obama hosted two radical anti-Israel activists, Riham Osman and Batoul Abuharb of Houston, Texas, on Tuesday night. They both had the honor of sitting at Mr. Obama’s exclusive “President’s Table” at the annual White House Iftar dinner. Both have publicly stated that they consider Israel and its leadership to be sponsors of terroristic acts.
Riham Osman, seated at the “President’s Table” Tuesday night, is the communications coordinator for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a group founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood that has challenged the U.S. designation of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups.
Osman herself has engaged in toxic rhetoric when it comes to the state of Israel.
In March, she described Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as sponsors of terrorism.
On July 28, 2014, during Israel’s defensive war against Palestinian terror group Hamas, Osman claimed that the Jewish state “murdered 1,000 innocent civilians.” The same day, she opined that if “the devil was in human form,” it would “look, speak, and act like Netanyahu.”
IAF jets strike Gaza rocket launcher after attack
Israeli Air Force jets struck a rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip late Tuesday that was used to launch a rocket toward Kibbutz Yad Mordechai earlier in the evening. The launcher was reportedly destroyed in the attack.
The rocket fire from Gaza triggered sirens in towns along the rocket’s trajectory, sending residents searching for shelter.
The rocket landed in an open area near Yad Mordechai, the IDF said in a statement.
There were no reports of injuries or damage directly after the alarms, which sounded in the communities of Zikim, Karmia, Netiv Ha’asara and Yad Mordechai just after 10 p.m.
Residents in the area reported hearing a large boom, according to media reports.
After rocket, Israel revokes entry permits for 500 Gazans
Israel said Wednesday it was revoking permits for 500 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to enter Jerusalem ahead of Friday prayers because of rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.
A spokeswoman for COGAT, the Defense Ministry unit which coordinates with Gaza and the West Bank, told AFP the repealing of some measures that eased restrictions on Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan applied to this week only and was “because of the rocket” which hit southern Israel on Tuesday night, causing no injuries.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel had destroyed the rocket launcher and canceled “some of the reliefs to Gaza inhabitants that were related to Ramadan.”
“This reality is completely unacceptable and we will continue to act in a firm and responsible manner to ensure the continuation of the quiet,” he said.
Foreign Ministry chief meets Turkish counterpart in sign of thaw
Foreign Ministry head Dore Gold met on Monday with his Turkish counterpart in Rome in a development seen as a renewed effort to patch up chilly ties between the two countries.
It was the first such meeting between high-level officials from Israel and Turkey for over a year.
Gold, who entered his role as ministry director-general earlier this month, and Feridun Sinirlioglu discussed ways to get Israeli-Turkish relations back on track after a several-year rift that has torn asunder the once-solid alliance between the countries.
Sources said that Gold did not inform National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen of the trip.
The countries have all but cut diplomatic ties; neither Israel nor Turkey has an ambassador posted in the other’s country.
Pogrom on the Mount of Olives
Even before they made aliyah from Afghanistan, my grandparents knew that they would one day be buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. But no one prepared my family for the pogrom we witnessed at the cemetery there last week, at their annual yahrzeit.
My grandparents bought their plot in the Afghan section some 50 years ago, and were ultimately buried there. Initially we would hold a yahrzeit every year, but a few years ago we stopped, because family members began fearing for their safety. Going to the cemetery carried a risk. It meant you might have rocks and Molotov cocktails hurled at you or be attacked some other way. At some point, our grandparents' tombstone was shattered and we had to restore it to its original state.
And so last week we undertook to resume the annual tradition. We even announced it on social media, asking people to help us form a minyan (prayer quorum). Upon arrival, our jaws dropped: In the very heart of Jerusalem, where Jews have been buried for millennia, a pogrom had taken place akin to what beset European towns some 70 years ago. It was as if a hurricane had pounded every plot, shattered every tombstone and grave, torn down the cement and marble, torched the tombstones that could not be shattered, and then had the trash of the nearby neighborhood dumped everywhere. It seems that with the exception of taking the remains out of graves, God forbid, every possible form of vandalism had been committed. Perhaps the dozens of destroyed tombstones can explain why there are unclaimed plots. There is simply no demand, because no one wants to have their grave desecrated or imperil their family members who attend a yahrzeit.
Government Vows to End Arab Desecration of Ancient Cemetery
Following the severe vandalism on the ancient Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery by Arab rioters, the Religious Services Ministry intends to double the security budget for the site, Arutz Sheva has learned Tuesday.
"We are not going to give in to terrorism in the Mount of Olives area," Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay (Shas) stated Tuesday. "We will double the security budget during the approvals process for the state budget in order to stop vandalism on the Mount."
"There are 5,000 vacant gravesites [on Mount of Olives], which you don't have on Har Hamenuchot [the other main cemetery in Jerusalem - ed.], for example, but people are afraid to bury their loved ones there because of the desecration of gravestones and sense of a lack of security on the roads leading there," he added.
Ten Druze Arrested over IDF Ambulance 'Lynch'
Around ten Israeli Druze were arrested on Tuesday night on suspicion that they took part in the "lynch" attack on an IDF ambulance Monday night in the Golan Heights.
The arrests targeted both Druze in villages in the Golan Heights as well as in the Galil region. They are currently being investigated by the police, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.
Several of those arrested are suspected of having attacked the ambulance near Majdal Shams in the Golan, where one of the wounded Syrians on board was murdered by the assailants, while others are thought to have attacked an ambulance in Hurfesh.
An extension on the arrest will be discussed for several of the suspects at the Nazareth Magistrate's Court.
In the incident in Hurfesh, the identity of at least one of the attackers was known to the police, as he was run over by the ambulance he was attacking and brought for medical treatment at a hospital in Nahariya.
Despite lynching, Ya’alon vows to continue aid to wounded Syrians
Two days after twin attacks by Druze residents of Israel on ambulances carrying wounded Syrians left one dead and another severely hurt, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Wednesday that medical assistance will continue to be offered to victims arriving at Israel’s border.
Ya’alon also reiterated that Israel will maintain a policy of non-involvement in the Syrian civil war, despite calls by Druze leaders in the Jewish state to defend or absorb residents of a number of Syrian-Druze towns that have come under fire by jihadi organizations.
“We understand the feelings of Israeli Druze and their worry for the fate of their brothers in Syria. We will not allow ourselves to be dragged into a war that is not our own,” Ya’alon told a cyber-security confab at Tel Aviv University.
“We will continue providing humanitarian aid to children, women and wounded arriving at our borders because these are our values. No other party will determine our policy,” he added.
Israeli Islamist Cleric Says Israel May 'End' Within 6 Months
In an apparent attempt to prevent incitement and further flareups during the Muslim fast month of Ramadan which started last Thursday, Israel has issued a distancing order blocking Sheikh Raed Salah from visiting Jerusalem for six months.
Salah, head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel, is forbidden from visiting the capital from June 25 up until this December.
The fears of incitement to violence during Ramadan are well-founded based on events since the month started; a Jewish man was murdered by an Arab terrorist in a shooting attack last Friday in Samaria, and on Sunday another Arab terrorist from Hevron stabbed a Border Patrol officer critically wounding him.
The decision to block Salah was condemned by the sheikh, who wrote on Facebook that "the Israeli occupation views itself as an unbending force, but those who know the truth about it know that the occupation is a braggart, an idiot, valueless and born by mistake from illusions and remains mistaken in illusions."
According to Salah, "the expressions of the illusions of the occupation are revealed in the evil decision to prevent me from entering Jerusalem for six months."
Hamas Claims Captured IDF Soldier Still Alive
In a cynical use of the fate of IDF soldiers captured during last summer's counter-terror Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, Hamas has claimed that Golani Brigade combat soldier First Sergeant Oron Shaul is alive, even though the IDF has officially declared him dead.
The site Al-Majd, which serves the Al-Qassam Brigades "armed wing" of the Hamas terrorist organization, has published "new details" about Shaul's capture, and the conditions in which he is "held alive" by Hamas terrorists.
Shaul was killed on August 1 during clashes between Hamas infiltrators and the IDF in the Gaza Belt; the clash erupted into anti-tank fire. Likewise Givati Brigade officer First Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was killed and his body captured in Gaza last July 20, at the height of the operation, after Hamas terrorists breached one of several ceasefires to attack his unit on the outskirts of the city of Rafah.
Hamas terrorists in Gaza still hold possession of Shaul's and Goldin's bodies and refuse to return them.
Egypt opens Gaza crossing for 3rd time in a month
Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip Tuesday, a Palestinian official said, allowing the delivery of cement supplies into the badly destroyed territory.
The move, which also allowed Palestinians to leave and enter Gaza, came almost a year after the outbreak of a bloody and destructive 50-day war between Israel and militant organisation Hamas, with tens of thousands of homes still in ruins.
Egyptian authorities have now opened the crossing three times during the last month, making officials in Gaza hopeful that Cairo might ease restrictions on movement to and from the coastal enclave.
Until last year, Palestinians were able to leave via Rafah, but since October the frontier has been closed as Cairo struggles with a growing insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, for which it partly blames Islamist militants in Gaza.
Palestinian Authority cracks down on former PM’s nonprofit
The Palestinian Authority has confiscated the funds of a nonprofit organization headed by former prime minister Salam Fayyad, Palestinian media reported on Monday.
Fayyad, an economist and political independent who was warmly embraced by the West during his 2007-2013 tenure as prime minister, told the Ma’an News Agency that he would seek legal recourse over the confiscation of funds donated to Palestine Tomorrow for Social Development, an associated founded in 2005 to empower impoverished segments of Palestinian society.
According to its website, the group’s activities include capacity building for youth, arts and theater projects in the Gaza Strip, and the operation of a free dental care clinic.
Last December, PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered a broad probe into 2,800 nongovernmental organizations operating in the West Bank in a professed attempt to increase accountability and crack down on financial irregularities.
In The West Bank, Facebook Posts Can Get You Arrested, Or Worse
In the waiting room of a courthouse in the West Bank city of Ramallah last week, a clerk called defendants to pick up their files while loudspeaker announcements blared courtroom assignments.
A skinny young man in jeans and a blue T-shirt waited to hear his name. Ayman Mahareeq, who just turned 24, faced charges of insulting officials based on comments he'd posted on Facebook.
"One of my posts was about how Palestinian security forces act whenever Israeli forces enter the West Bank," Mahareeq says. "They withdraw and hide."
He characterizes the post — which he has since taken down — as harshly critical.
In another post, Mahareeq wrote: "May the rule of the Palestinian Authority collapse," referring to the governing body with certain administrative powers over Palestinians in the West Bank.
Both caught the eye of the Palestinian police. Officers arrested him in a coffee shop last November. He was interrogated — and beaten, he says — and imprisoned for a month.
Hamas’ Cruelty and Violence Are Without Equal
The conclusion of the High Level International Military Group is particularly compelling. It asserts that it was a measure of the seriousness with which Israel took its moral duties and its responsibilities under the law of armed conflict that, in some cases, Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives. Israel had tried to prevent injuries to Palestinian civilians by warning them of impending attacks, and by canceling operations that would have caused a disproportionate amount of civilian causalities. Shamefully, Hamas forced people to stay and ignore IDF warnings. The terrorists used the civilian population as human shields.
Indeed, Hamas deliberately concealed that civilians were killed as a result of their involvement in hostilities. We know this from notices posted by the so called Ministry of the Interior of Hamas, which, on August 5, 2014, issued a statement that Palestinians should be wary of disseminating information about fatalities or mentioning the circumstances of their deaths or where they died. The Ministry, on July 11, 2014, asserted that anyone killed or martyred was to be called a civilian from the Gaza Strip or Palestine. In fact, it became increasingly difficult to know if a killed person was a militant or a civilian uninvolved in hostilities.
It is less difficult to appreciate that Israeli forces made substantial efforts to act in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict, and to avoid casualties in its response to incessant attacks against the civilians of the State of Israel. Someday, even Amnesty International and Archbishop Desmond Tutu may appreciate this.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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