Thursday, June 25, 2015

From Ian:

Col. Richard Kemp: The U.N.’s Gaza Report Is Flawed and Dangerous
Judge Davis suggests that the I.D.F.’s use of air, tank and artillery fire in populated areas may constitute a war crime and recommends further international legal restrictions on their use. Yet these same systems were used extensively by American and British forces in similar circumstances in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are often vital in saving the lives of our own soldiers, and their curtailment would jeopardize military effectiveness while handing an advantage to our enemies.
The I.D.F. is not perfect. In the heat of battle and under stress its commanders and soldiers undoubtedly made mistakes. Weapons malfunctioned, intelligence was sometimes wrong and, as with all armies, it has some bad soldiers. Unnecessary deaths resulted, and these should be investigated and the individuals brought to trial if criminal culpability is suspected.
The reason so many civilians died in Gaza last summer was not Israeli tactics or policy. It was Hamas’s strategy. Hamas deliberately positioned its fighters and munitions in civilian areas, knowing that Israel would have no choice but to attack them and that civilian casualties would result. Unable to inflict existential harm on Israel by military means, Hamas sought to cause large numbers of casualties among its own people in order to bring international condemnation and unbearable diplomatic pressure against Israel.
Judge Davis’s report is rife with contradictions. She acknowledges that Israeli military precautions saved lives, yet without foundation accuses “decision makers at the highest levels of the government of Israel” of a policy of deliberately killing civilians. Incredibly, she “regrets” that her commission was unable to verify the use of civilian buildings by “Palestinian armed groups,” yet elsewhere acknowledges Hamas’s widespread use of protected locations, including United Nations schools.
Most worrying, Judge Davis claims to be “fully aware of the need for Israel to address its security concerns” while demanding that it “lift, immediately and unconditionally, the blockade on Gaza.” Along with the report’s endorsement of Hamas’s anti-Israel narrative, this dangerous recommendation would undoubtedly lead to further bloodshed in both Israel and Gaza.
Even when faced with criminal tactics, Israel abided by the laws of armed conflict
In fact, the IDF’s efforts to mitigate civilian casualties went beyond the legal requirements, as attested to by two separate reports of high ranking military experts from democratic countries around the globe, who came to Israel to investigate the last operation. For example, Israel surpassed the practices of militaries of democratic states, in warning Gaza citizens in the vicinity of military targets, and encouraging them to vacate the area prior to its attack. During the conflict, Israel also made extensive humanitarian efforts to alleviate hardship in Gaza, such as delivering humanitarian supplies (food and medical supplies, blankets, fuel and more) and providing medical treatment to wounded Gaza civilians.
The fact that military conflicts involve errors, as well as collateral damage (unintentional harm to civilians who were in the vicinity of legitimate military targets) is sad and regrettable, but nonetheless recognized and accepted in international law.
Israel has established an investigative mechanism in order to scrutinize its activities during the recent operation. As an open democracy, Israel is capable of investigating incidents of concern to determine whether they involved errors, collateral damage, or war crimes. Currently, Israel is examining over 100 incidents and the MAG has opened 19 criminal investigations.
It is important to illuminate the disparity between the reality, and what is often reported. The constant, biased treatment of Israel at the UN does not contribute toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict. It serves only to embolden Hamas and other terrorist groups to intensify their unlawful methods.
Richard Behar: Analysis: New York Times Editorial is Another Hit Job on Israel
Does the New York Times editorial board want Israel to take it seriously? Is the board’s distaste for the country so strong that it has no interest in using the newspaper’s well-earned power and influence to make a real impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Take Tuesday’s editorial, which is among the kinds of low-hanging fruit that Gary Weiss and I will be picking and exposing once the funds are in place for our Mideast Reporter—a multimedia, multilingual investigative reporting enterprise. For now, some batting practice…
The Times editorial concludes: “…Israel has a duty, and should have the desire, to adjust its military policies to avoid civilian casualties and hold those who failed to do so accountable.”
“Should have the desire… to adjust…” Think about that for a moment. What they are saying is that Israel does not have such a desire, and that Israel has not, and does not, adjust its policies.
The editorial was written in support of the recent UN Human Rights Council report that concluded that Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes during their war last summer. But here is what the editors decided to omit from the editorial:

Latest Palestinian ruse? They'll do anything except make peace
If, by now, after all these years, you really wanted to do it -- and some surely will -- you could easily make a point by point refutation of the latest forlorn effort by the Palestinian leadership to divert all attention from their unending efforts to avoid making peace with the State of Israel.
If you can suppress the yawns, it's all about "Palestine's" foray into the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague over alleged Israeli violations of international law, ranging from "colonisation" on the West Bank to "war crimes" in Gaza and elsewhere.
They're due to, "hand over a file running to hundreds of pages" to the ICC on Thursday, as the Guardian glowingly reports it.
With Barack Obama in the White House, they're probably hoping it might create something more than a headache for the world's one and only Jewish state. But even if they do, what would this nonsense ultimately mean for Israel, international diplomacy, and the geo-politics of the Middle East?
No-one who backs decency for Israel should ever get complacent, but Obama will be gone by January 2017 and if he ended up in any way shape or form supporting the Palestinians on this lunacy, it would be knocked straight out of the sky by the next administration as soon as it took office.
The real issue to bear in mind here is that this ruse is just the latest in a pattern of conduct going back to the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
The latest bit of nonsense from the U.N. on Israel
Another day, another U.N. Human Rights Council report condemning Israel. This document, produced for an organization notorious for aiming half of its nation-based resolutions at the Jewish state, accused Israel of violating international law during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip.
It is notable that the Obama administration, which has a frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, couldn’t gloss over this latest bit of Israelphobia from a United Nations agency infamous for jihad against the Jewish state. A spokesman for the State Department cited “bias against Israel” as the reason that the United States wouldn’t support any further action on the report.
The U.N. document stopped just short of charging Israel with war crimes and did offer criticism of Hamas for firing rockets into Israel in what the New York Times described as the U.N. Commission of Inquiry “taking pains to be evenhanded.”
What nonsense — trying to be even-handed in assigning blame for deaths in a war that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and more than 70 Israelis.
This war was started by Hamas, and that bloody terrorist organization bears full and sole responsibility for the innocent deaths that did occur during the conflict. Hamas and the other depraved terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip caused the conflict by escalating their rocket launches against Israel.
Where is Hamas in the UN’s Commission of Inquiry’s report?
After reading the UN Commission of Inquiry Report regarding last summer’s fighting in Gaza it has become abundantly clear that the report is fundamentally biased against Israel, in almost every chapter. This is evident in the Report’s definition of the party at fault “the armed Palestinian Groups”.
An uninformed reader may even ask who is behind these groups. However even those of us who are more familiar with the facts are painfully aware that without clearly citing Hamas and explicitly holding them accountable for their actions, but simply pointing fingers toward “armed groups”, effectively means that Hamas does not bear any official responsibility, will not come under international scrutiny, and therefore will not be forced to pay a political price or any other.
The name Hamas is in fact mentioned very few times in the report, and mostly as part of quotes by Israeli sources when making allegations against them. However the vast majority of references in the report regarding a potential violation of international law on the Palestinian side attributes them to “armed groups” who are seemingly faceless.
JPost Editorial: Ghattas’s mission
Before flying off to Greece last Sunday, MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) dispatched a letter to the prime minister and defense minister informing them that he intends to board one of three “humanitarian aid” ships provocatively making their way to Gaza. “There is no reason to stop us from delivering assistance.... Netanyahu and Ya’alon will bear full responsibility if they entangle Israel in a severe international crisis,” Ghattas wrote.
His communication is meant as legal protection, should he face indictment for colluding with the enemy, and as a propaganda proclamation that he is merely joining “a civilian flotilla, a peace flotilla, geared to focus public and international attention on the circumstances of 1.8 million Palestinians who live in abominable prison-like conditions resulting from Israel’s siege.”
In effect Ghattas thumbs his nose insolently at the state to which he owes at least a modicum of loyalty and whose taxpayers bankroll his parliamentary presumptuousness.
Doubtless, the government’s knee-jerk inclination is to do nothing about the flotilla which is on its way from Sweden to Gaza. If they only could, our policy-makers would wish away the still-evolving sequel to the 2010 Mavi Marmara episode.
Like its predecessor, the current scenario is scripted as a deliberate provocation from which Israel cannot emerge unscathed. The choices before Israel are mostly bad.
Arab Party Slams MK Ghattas for Joining Gaza Flotilla
MKs in the Arab Joint List party have expressed anger over a decision by fellow MK Bassal Ghattas to join ships that are sailing towards Gaza as part of a new flotilla, set to arrive off the coast of Gaza next week.
On the way already is the Swedish ship Marianne, which recently anchored in Italy, with several other ships set to sail from Greece to join her. From there they plan to continue as a unified group towards Gaza, where they intend to confront the Israeli Navy - potentially with lethal force as was seen in the 2010 flotilla.
Ghattas acted independently, without coordinating his participation in the flotilla with the party, the Joint List said on its Facebook page Thursday. “Instead of serving the constituents he was elected to serve, Ghattas is serving the Arabs of Gaza, and causing problems for the rest of the party,” the Facebook page said.
MK Ghattas belongs the the Arab ultranationalist Balad party, one of four Arab factions who united prior to last May's election to form the Joint List party, in a successful bid to ensure Arab parties passed the new, higher electoral threshold.
UN chief says Gaza blockade-busting flotilla not helpful
The head of the United Nations is against a convoy of ships planning to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in the coming weeks, because it won’t help ease “dire” conditions in the Palestinian enclave, a top official said Wednesday.
“[Secretary General Ban Ki-moon] continues to believe that a flotilla will not help to address the dire situation in Gaza and reiterates his calls on the government of Israel to lift all closures, with due consideration of Israel’s legitimate security concerns,” Undersecretary General Jeffrey Feltman said at a Security Council briefing.
The statement comes days after Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor called on Ban to condemn the so-called “Freedom Flotilla,” amid preparations by the Israeli Navy to block its three boats from reaching Gaza.
“The international community must send an unambiguous message to the organizers and participants of these provocations that such initiatives only serve to raise tensions in our region,” Prosor wrote. “This attempt to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza holds the potential for dangerous consequences The flotilla’s sole purpose is to create provocations that pose security risks, and constitute a breach of international law.”
Israel sabotaged Gaza flotilla ship at Greek port, activist suggests
The Israeli man taking part in the flotilla which seeks to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip told an Israeli Arab radio station on Thursday that somebody sought to sabotage one of the ships before it set sail for the Hamas-ruled territory.
Dror Feiler, a far-left pro-Palestinian activist and an Israeli national who resides in Sweden, told Radio al-Shams that while one of the ships was at port in Greece, an unidentified individual tried to damage one of the vessel’s propellers.
“We don’t know who it is,” Feiler said. “But that person went deep underwater and sabotaged the propeller, so we had to find a different boat.”
The Israeli-Swedish activist said that “somebody who knew what they were doing” could sabotage the propeller.
Clifford May: How to exacerbate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Knowing this, should Israelis really be expected to make concessions that will endanger the lives ‎of their children? In the past, American presidents, Republican and Democratic alike, have ‎blocked such actions in the U.N. Security Council. But President Barack Obama is threatening to break ‎with that tradition. There is speculation that he's actually encouraging the French to take this ‎step.‎
The glib reply: "Something needs to be done!" But perceived urgency is not the same as smart ‎policy. How about this: Concentrate on incremental improvements. With barbarians chopping ‎heads just over the border, joint Palestinian-Israeli security programs should be quietly expanded. ‎Instead of promoting boycotts against Israel, push for Palestinian-Israeli economic cooperation, ‎with Israelis providing more and better jobs for Palestinians in the West Bank. In the absence of ‎such cooperation, a Palestinian state will inevitably end up a failed state and a ward of the ‎international community indefinitely. ‎
Even Gaza presents an opportunity for modest gains. At the moment, Hamas appears to be going ‎out of its way not to provoke another conflict. Its forces have been moving against Islamic State ‎sympathizers. Israelis should be encouraged to reward such behavior.‎
Such a cautious approach could save and improve lives -- Palestinian and Israeli alike. No one ‎will win a Nobel Prize and former enemies won't be seen hugging and mugging for the cameras ‎on the White House lawn. What we might see, however, are Israelis and Palestinians learning that ‎peaceful coexistence is possible and, for those who don't yet know it, desirable. At the very ‎least, Western leaders would not be making matters worse.‎
PA set to submit report at The Hague; Israel hopes ICC won't 'fall into trap'
The Palestinian Authority plans to submit to the International Criminal Court at The Hague on Thursday a detailed report of alleged war crimes by Israel and its leadership against the Palestinian people.
“The delivery of this information is considered a fundamental step in the process of ending Israeli impunity and bringing justice to the Palestinian people,” the Palestine Liberation Organization said in a statement it released about the move.
“The files to be presented to the court refer to war crimes and crimes committed by individuals of the Israeli leadership,” it said.
The report, which was months in the making, focused on Israeli activities in Gaza, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem since June 13, 2014, the day after Hamas kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers.
“The files include statistics on settlements, prisoners, as well as statistics on Israel’s aggression and attack on Gaza 2014,” the PLO said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon dismissed the Palestinian move as a “crude and cynical attempt to politicize the work of the ICC. We hope the ICC will not fall into the trap.”
Erekat: PA Should Promote 'National Struggle' of Terrorism
Middle East expert Yonatan Dahuh-Halevi revealed Thursday a new document written by Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and head of the Palestinian negotiating team, in which he calls to support terror organizations and lone-wolf terror attacks.
Erekat's document contains a number of recommendations for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian leadership.
This document and similar documents issued in the past have received a sympathetic ear in the Palestinian leadership and they reveal one strategy offered in the fight against Israel.
Among Erekat's recommendations is to cooperate with Palestinian terror organizations, led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, by incorporating them into PLO institutions and speeding up the process of reconciliation with Hamas.
Another recommendation is to show full support for Palestinian terror organizations and engage in diplomatic activity to prevent any of them from being named on terror lists.
Support for a two-state solution dropping — poll
Only a thin majority of Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution, according to a study released Wednesday by Israel’s Hebrew University.
Moreover, a high percentage of both groups believe that the other side intends to capture their territory and expel them.
Belief in a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict stood at 62 percent among Israelis and 54% among Palestinians in 2014.
But today only 51% of both groups are in favor of creating two separate countries for Arabs and Jews.
The survey, which was carried out by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, polled approximately 2,000 adults — 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip and 802 adult Israelis — in early June 2015.
Former Ambassador Oren: Obama Policy Has Hardened Israeli Leaders Against Peace Process
The Obama administration’s policy toward Israel and its leaders has hardened Israeli decision makers and hurt the peace process, Israeli lawmaker and former ambassador Michael Oren said.
“Israel will only make concessions to the Palestinians when it feels secure,” Oren told an audience at New York’s Congregation Rodeph Shalom synagogue on Tuesday, promoting his new book called Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, based on his experience as ambassador.
Oren said the lack of daylight between previous administrations and Israeli leaders had allowed former prime ministers to make concessions to the Palestinians, whereas the Obama administration’s reversal of this policy stymied peace efforts.
“Because there was no daylight, Arik Sharon felt empowered to remove Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005,” Oren explained, referring to the late former Israeli prime minister. “And because there was no daylight … [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert was able to offer Palestinian statehood to [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas.” The latter Olmert-Abbas deal would have seen Israel withdraw from 93% of the West Bank in exchange for peace.
Russia Outmaneuvers Obama in the Middle East
Being a revanchist means being keenly aware of your country’s history, its interests as defined by prior generations, and that which they so carelessly lost. Steeped as he is in revanchism, Vladimir Putin has put a premium on the national interests of Russia’s leaders of another era. He covets the Black Sea coast, as have all his predecessors dating back to Catherine. He views the United States has his country’s strategic competitor in Europe, as did the Soviets who inherited Stalin’s post-War order. And, like many of the ghosts who roam the Kremlin’s halls, Putin is uniquely conscious of the strategic value of the Middle East. He is fortunate in that the American president is equally determined to extricate his country from Middle Eastern affairs and is presently engaged in a disruptive project to reorder the region so as to facilitate that retreat. Putin has taken full advantage of the every opportunity American military retrenchment and diplomatic restructuring in the Middle East has afforded him, and the future will be darker for it.
In February, when Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi chose Russia as the first non-Arab state to which he would make a formal trip, it set off alarm bells in Washington. America’s bilateral relationship with that flawed but nevertheless critical nation’s military leadership had long been strained. Relations between American and Egyptian officials grew tense when President Barack Obama demanded Washington’s ally of over three decades, Hosni Mubarak, leave office amid anti-government protests and spiraling violence. At first welcoming the election of Mohamed Morsi and then standing by him when it became clear that he and his political allies would use every lever of Egyptian democracy at their disposal to destroy it, Barack Obama alienated the members of the Egyptian military with whom America had once had firm relations since the late 1970s. Finally, after being visibly paralyzed by events in Egypt following Morsi’s ouster – vexed by the notion of whether to punish the putsch leaders by calling the events they welcomed a “coup” – Obama’s government eventually withdrew a significant amount of the military aid the world’s most populous Arab country had come to rely upon.
Turkey Confirms Negotiations on Reconciliation With Israel
Turkey on Wednesday confirmed that it is negotiating a reconciliation deal with Israel that would reboot the former allies’ relationship, which has deteriorated since the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.
“It’s quite normal for the two countries to talk for the normalization of the ties. How can reconciliation be achieved without holding any meetings?” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara, AFP reported.
“These meetings are not new. Expert-level talks have been held between the two countries for a while,” he added.
Cavusoglu stressed that “the ball is in the court” of Israel regarding two Turkish demands—the lifting of the maritime blockade on Gaza and financial compensation for families of the nine Turks who were killed on the flotilla. In the incident, Turkish militants had initiated clashes by attacking Israeli soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara vessel, which was attempting to breach the Gaza blockade.
Kerry held $1 million in Noble Energy stocks
At the same time he urged PM Netanyahu to resolve clash between Noble and Israeli regulators
US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly held up to $1 million in US giant Noble Energy stocks as of 2013, his asset declaration revealed and reported.
Noble Energy and its Israeli partner Delek own Leviathan and Tamar offshore gas fields. Their partnership created an effective monopoly on gas extracted from the Mediterranean.
Israel's antitrust commissioner David Gilo has expressed his opposition to the dominant position of the companies to exploit gas from the gas fields but the government's refusal to comply with his demand to break up the partnership caused Gilo to resign last May.
Israel's security cabinet on Thursday was expected to approve a compromise deal over the natural gas monopoly.
Drone from Gaza penetrates into Israeli territory, crashing near border fence
An unmanned aerial vehicle from Gaza crashed in Israeli territory near the border fence on Thursday.
The IDF stated that it had identified the drone in Gaza airspace and deployed forces to the area to potentially stop it from crossing into Israeli territory.
The drone crashed on its own before the IDF had reason to engage it, landing on the Israeli side of the border.
Soldiers from the IDF's Engineering Corps retrieved the drone for further analysis.
A military source said the drone was small in size, and that it had been detected by the IDF from the moment it was airborne. IAF aircraft had taken off to engage the drone, the source said.
It remains unclear whether Hamas launched the drone as part of an experiment that went wrong.
The incident did not mark the first time that a drone from Gaza has penetrated Israeli air space.
In July of 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, a drone from Gaza was shot down over Ashdod by a Patriot missile battery.
Former IDF general: We have ability to hack advanced Hezbollah rockets
Israel has the ability to hack advanced computerized Hezbollah rockets to stop them from posing a threat, former IDF Brig.- Gen. Pinchas Barel Buchris said Wednesday at Tel Aviv University.
Speaking on the Cyber Revolution in Military Affairs panel along with former IDF generals, Yair Cohen and Daniel Gold, former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Carmi Gillon and IDF Rear-Admiral Ophir Shoham who works on cyber issues in the Defense Ministry, the former Unit 8200 head was responding to questions by Channel 10’s Or Heller about the state’s cyber capabilities in dealing with Hezbollah’s supply of more than 100,000 rockets.
Although Buchris said the majority of Hezbollah’s rockets, which are low-tech and less destructive, cannot be impacted by Israel’s offensive cyber-hacking capabilities, its more powerful hi-tech rockets can indeed.
The panel also debated whether the IDF’s recently announced plan to unite all its separate cyber units including offensive, defensive, intelligence and research units into one command – hailed by top brass as a visionary move – was a positive development. The issue has long been under discussion with a senior IDF official commenting at a conference in April 2014 that he did not expect the cyber units to become unified.
Farmer beaten to death, Palestinian illegals suspected
An Israeli farmer who was found badly beaten in a field in central Israel Wednesday afternoon, allegedly by Palestinians who were in Israel illegally, succumbed to his injuries hours later.
David Bar-Kapara, 70, a resident of Rehovot, was discovered Wednesday afternoon near Pedaya, in serious condition, with signs of violence on his body.
He was evacuated to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, suffering multiple wounds and head injuries, and was pronounced dead several hours later.
Police could not immediately ascertain whether the motive was criminal or nationalistic.
Two illegal Palestinians who are suspected in the killing fled the scene, and police were searching for them.
Purim Car Terrorist Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
Mohammed Salaimeh, an Arab terrorist who tried to run down and kill five female Border Patrol officers in Jerusalem on the day the city celebrates Purim, agreed to a plea deal on Thursday.
Instead of life imprisonment, the usual punishment for attempted murder, Salaimeh was sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison.
According to the indictment filed against Salaimeh, he left his family's home in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of Jerusalem and drove his car on Highway 1, heading southwards.
When he arrived at the Border Patrol headquarters in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, he saw the officers standing in a crosswalk, at which point he backed up, slammed on the gas and ran over the officers together with a bicyclist.
According to Salaimeh's lawyer, Mohammed Mahmud, his client deserved a plea bargain, despite the fact that the indictment clearly indicates intent, opportunity, and means, usually sufficient for an attempted murder conviction.
Attorneys: Clear Evidence Shavuot Stabber Meant to Murder
Although they have not yet changed their minds, Jerusalem prosecutors were furnished with solid evidence that an Arab who attacked two Jews on the night of Shavuot had murder on his mind.
Prosecutors on Tuesday displayed posts that the terrorist had put on his Facebook page in praise of “martyrs” who were killed after committing acts of terrorism against Israel.
The terrorist also had a clear violent criminal past, according to attorneys for the Honenu legal rights organization which is representing the Jewish teens who were attacked by the terrorist near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on the night of May 23.
Activists and attorneys for Honenu were up in arms over the indictment of the terrorist Sunday – on charges of aggravated assault, and not attempted murder.
An Israeli youth and a companion were on their way to a yeshiva to study Torah when the terrorist attacked the two by surprise, stabbing them with a knife he had been carrying – clearly making the attack premeditated, Honenu said. The 30-centimeter long knife was of a type that had been used in other stabbing attacks.
Despite this, the prosecutor's office decided not to indict the stabber for attempted murder, but rather for aggravated assault. This, despite the fact that the victim was stabbed in the back, and only remained alive because the stabber happened to miss vital organs. (h/t Yenta Press)
UN Chief Urges Israel to Restore Travel Permits to Gazans
Despite rocket attacks on Israel, Ban Ki-moon urges Israel to ease restrictions on travel for Gazans during the month of Ramadan.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel on Wednesday to ease restrictions on travel for Palestinian Arabs during the month of Ramadan, hours after Israel announced it was revoking permits for 500 Gazans to enter Jerusalem for prayers because of the latest rocket attacks.
Ban "welcomes Israel's measures to ease some restrictions on Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza," Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council, according to AFP.
"He encourages Israel to sustain and expand these confidence-building measures which enable the legitimate movement of people and goods in and between Gaza and the West Bank including East-Jerusalem, and improve the quality of life of Palestinians," Feltman added.
Mordechai Kedar: What Do the Druze Want?
Up to about two months ago, Assad's allies, the Hezbollah, guarded the Druze in the Khader enclave, but they have retreated from the area in order to join their brothers in the Qalamoun Mountains. The fact that Israel eliminated one of Hezbollah's commanders, Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of the Hezbollah operations head killed in a car-bombing, Imad Mughniyeh, along with an Iraqi general last January did not increase Hezbollah's motivation to remain and protect the Druze.
All the above is discussed in the media, but behind the scenes a great drama is taking place, with the added presence of Jordan and the United States, as all those involved know exactly what may be the fate of the Druze when Assad falls. It stands to reason that the manifesto is meant to cover up a truth that is somewhat or very different from its contents, because the Druze are not sure Assad will indeed fall and perhaps they still hope the Iranians will invade Syria in order to save Assad and end the rebellion against him. It also stands to reason that this manifesto does not represent all the Druze, some of whom certainly do not support what it says.
The Druze position is terribly complicated. They are torn between conflicting loyalties, afraid of all the protagonists in the conflict because they are not Moslems and because they are concentrated in three areas that it is easy to cut off by surrounding them. Willingness to accept aid from Israel will leave them open to the revenge of the regime and the Jihadists, refusal may leave them unprotected. They do not have a unified leadership capable of presenting one stand, and it is hard to believe media pronouncements made by one leader or another.
The main goal of the Druze is to survive, the way they have for a thousand years in a hostile Muslim environment, but the question is how they are to go about it and what steps they should take to ensure that survival. The answers offered to that questions contradict one another, and we can only hope that the complex situation of the Druze and the splits in their ranks will not lead this remarkable ethnic group to the Jihadist knives and open marketplaces of Islamic State.
Three More Druze Arrested for IDF Ambulance 'Lynch'
Following an overnight police and Border Police raid on several Druze villages in the Golan, three more Israeli Druze were arrested on suspicion they took part in the "lynch" attack on an IDF ambulance Monday night.
The three join the nine suspects arrested Wednesday morning on charges of involvement in the attack.
Several of those arrested are suspected of having attacked the ambulance near Majdal Shams in the Golan, while others are thought to have attacked an ambulance in Hurfesh.
The incident shocked many in Israel, as one of the Syrian nationals was murdered in the Majdal Shams attack and another Syrian was critically wounded, while the two IDF soldiers in the ambulance were lightly wounded.
On Tuesday it was revealed that an IDF soldier may have passed information to the Druze and thereby set off the attack.
PMW: Palestinian sports teams named after terrorists
During the month of Ramadan, Palestinian youth will be playing a football tournament in the Palestinian town Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. Some of the participants will be playing on teams named after terrorists who have killed numerous Israeli civilians. This is Palestinian role modeling for kids.
The following teams are named after terrorists:
“The Martyr Abu Jihad team” (Abu Jihad responsible for deaths of 125)
“The Martyr Khaled Nazzal team” (Nazzal responsible for Ma’alot massacre, 22 schoolchildren and 5 adults killed)
“The Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa” (Ali Mustafa responsible for many terror attacks)
“The Mutaz Hijazi team” (Shot and attempted to murder Rabbi Glick in November 2014)
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 23, 2015]

Presenting murderous terrorists as heroes to children by naming sporting tournaments after them is a long-standing policy of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, as documented numerous times by Palestinian Media Watch. This practice continues unabated despite the PA’s pledges to cease incitement.
If Nazi Germany is Any Guide, Palestinian Children of Today Will Always Hate Israel
A new study has found that many of the children who were educated in Nazi Germany retained, for the rest of their lives, the anti-Semitic attitudes they learned in school. What does that portend for Palestinian children, who are likewise inculcated with hatred of Jews?
After surveying some 5,300 German citizens, American and Swiss researchers found that those who were educated in Germany in the 1930s, under the Hitler regime, are much more likely than other Germans to still cling to anti-Semitic beliefs.
“It’s not just that Nazi schooling worked, that if you subject people to a totalitarian regime during their formative years it will influence the way their mind works—the striking thing is that it doesn’t go away afterward,” said Hans-Joachim Voth of the University of Zurich, one of the authors of the study.
Prof. Voth also noted that anti-Semitism was particularly long-lasting if there was already some anti-Semitism in the neighborhoods where the children lived, which they measured by studying the number of votes received by anti-Semitic political parties in specific German towns going back to the 1890s.
Palestinian TV Host Accuses Israel of Corrupting Muslims With Prescription Pills and Penis Enlargement Ads
Imad Hamato, whose broadcasts on religion are aired on official Palestinian Authority television, first explained that Israel’s “global media has expanded, and it has launched its war against the Arabs and the Muslims by spreading a sex-craze throughout the world.”
“We see ads for penis enlargement, and this and that, which are shameful and offensive to one’s modesty,” he went on. This is because Jews according to the Koran are a temporal people, lacking in spirituality or interest in the spiritual world, he claimed.
He said such materialism led Jews to adhere to life at all costs, even a “life of garbage or a life of cowardice.”
“What has Israel offered the world except moral corruption and addiction to pills?” Hamato opines.
Finally, Hamato — who is also a professor of Koranic studies at the University of Palestine in Gaza — says the CIA has tasked a Unit for Controlling the Global Mood with determining which mind-altering substances are best suited to different countries, such as Jordan and Syria, or even the Gaza Strip.

Hamas launches official English-language web site
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas announced on Thursday the launch of an official English-language website.
“We have launched our English website because we believe that communication matters,” the organization said on its Twitter feed.
Hamas has also apparently sought to broaden its outreach to a wider audience. In a subsequent tweet, it touted the new site’s interactive features.
“And because we value your opinions and cherish diversity, we have also added a contact button,” it tweeted, adding a “smiley” emoticon.
The site contains pro-Hamas propaganda as well as official statements and links to news stories.
Earlier this year, Hamas’ foray into social media got off to an awkward start after it invited Twitter users to submit questions to the group using the hashtag #AskHamas. In response, the Twitter feed was inundated with sarcastic tweets ridiculing the organization.
UN official: Gaza rebuilding will take 30 years at current rate
At the current pace, “You will have to wait 30 years to rehabilitate and to reconstruct what has been damaged,” said Valent, the new area chief of the UNDP’s Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People.
Israel says the system is working, but that construction materials must be closely monitored, arguing that Hamas is again digging military tunnels for which it needs cement and steel.
During the 2014 war, Israeli troops discovered more than 30 tunnels under or near the Israel-Gaza border, including some used by militants to infiltrate into Israel.
Jordanian journalists slam 'enemy' Israel for protesting terror praise
Jordanian journalists angrily rebuked Israel’s “enemy embassy” in Amman on Thursday after the Israeli mission in the Hashemite kingdom protested the media’s praise of Palestinian terrorist attacks.
The row was triggered by a June 24 article in the daily newspaper Al-Dustur glorifying the Palestinian attacks which left one Israeli dead in the West Bank and another Border Police officer wounded by stabbing in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Israeli embassy protested the article, deeming it “ugly and shameful...incitement to kill Israelis.”
Al-Dustur rejected the embassy’s protestations, calling the Palestinian actions “martyrdom operations...[in] heroic defense of their land and rights.”
“Just as [Israel] rejects these operations, we reject the killing of unarmed Palestine and their displacement from their land and the desecration of their holy places in front of their eyes,” the newspaper wrote.
Although Israel and Jordan are officially at peace by dint of the treaty signed 20 years ago, public opinion in the Hashemite kingdom remains hostile to the neighbor from the West.
King Abdullah’s regime has been criticized, particularly by the Islamist opposition in Jordan, for adhering to the peace treaty in light of the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Egypt's Endowments Ministry to Remove 'Extremist Books' from Mosques
Egypt's endowments ministry to remove 'extremist books' from mosques Mosques must provide the ministry with a list of their library's contents for inspection Ahram Online ,
Egypt's Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa on Monday issued orders to remove any books, cassettes or CDs that incite violence and radicalism from mosque libraries around the country, the Ahram Arabic news website has reported.
Mosques must provide a list of their library's contents for inspection, in order for the ministry to ensure it complies with its list of approved books, said Gomaa.
No new books can be included without the approval of the ministry, according to Ahram Arabic.
The ministry also ordered that immediate action be taken against unlicensed preachers.

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