Tuesday, June 30, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Why Salam Fayyad Lacks Popular Support
It is no secret that several senior Palestinian officials see themselves as potential successors to Abbas. Like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, Abbas has stubbornly refused to share power with anyone. And like Arafat, he continues to run the Palestinian Authority as if it were his private fiefdom.
In Palestinian culture, it is more important if one graduates from an Israeli prison than from the University of Texas in Austin. A Palestinian who carries out an attack on Israel has more credentials among his people than one who studied at Harvard or Oxford universities.
It took Salam Fayyad too long to realize that no matter how many good things he does for his people, in the end he will be judged on the basis of his contribution to the fight against Israel, and not how much humanitarian and financial aid he provides.
Police Bar Nazi Rally in London Jewish Neighborhood
A controversial neo-Nazi rally timed for Shabbat this Saturday in Golders Green, the center of the Jewish community in London, will be barred by police according to the Campaign Against anti-Semitism.
While police will be unable to ban the rally outright, the organization announced that police have imposed conditions meaning the rally will not be held in Golders Green.
Instead, the demonstration will be moved to central London, far from the Jewish community, and will be restricted to one hour only in a specially cordoned-off area, after which it will be dispersed by police.
"Today’s decision by the Metropolitan Police Service is a victory for British values and we applaud their firm defense of our community. This vindicates our policy of confronting anti-Semitism wherever it rears its head," said Gideon Falter, Chairman of the Campaign Against anti-Semitism.
Falter pointed out that "this neo-Nazi demonstration was an attempt to intimidate the largest Jewish community the UK on the Jewish Sabbath in the heart of Golders Green, on the very memorial to those who lost their lives fighting Nazis."
"We believe that ‘never again’ is a call to action from our history, which is why we called thousands of Jews and non-Jews to stand together against this disgrace in dignified defiance, unity and pride."
Telecom giant Orange to end Israel presence within 2 years
Orange’s Israeli brand licensee Partner Communications will cease to use the Orange name within 24 months, the two sides announced Tuesday. Partner had previously been expected to use the Orange name until 2025.
The new agreement stipulates that Orange will pay up to €90 million to Partner, a sizable chunk of which will be used to help Partner rebrand itself in the wake of Orange’s departure.
“The discussions were pragmatic, conducted in a positive atmosphere, and the two parties reached a mutually satisfactory agreement,” Pierre Louette, Orange’s deputy CEO, told AFP.
The announcement comes just weeks after Orange CEO Stephane Richard said he would pull the French telecom giant out of Israel “tomorrow” if he could, sparking a firestorm of criticism from Israeli and French officials.
Richard told a gathering in Cairo in early June that he would break off Orange’s relationship with Partner if it weren’t for the fact that the Israeli company would likely sue.



The Vatican Wants the Temple Mount Taken From the Jews
In 2000, speaking in a mosque in Palestinian-held Ramallah, Yasser Arafat declared, “No one will succeed in removing us from our land, including Jerusalem, and the Palestinian flag will fly from the Temple Mount and from the churches in Jerusalem.”
Arafat could say that because he had won the Vatican's support for his terroristic strategy. On June 26th, 2015, the Vatican signed its first treaty with the “State of Palestine”. It is the logical conclusion of a long path.
When the pontiff John Paul II ascended to the Temple Mount in 2000, Judaism’s most holy site, he wasn’t welcomed by Israeli officials, but by representatives of the Palestinian Authority, and the holy complex was bedecked in Arab flags. It was the Pope's implicit recognition of Islamic hegemony. It was taken to mean that Islam and Christianity superseded Judaism and have the right to “inherit” its holy places.
Since then, the Holy See’s taking a stance as the ally of the heads of the Palestinian Authority in the place most holy to the Jewish people, became almost a fait accompli.
The Catholic de-legitimization of Israel passes through the war on Jerusalem and the war on Jerusalem passes through the Temple Mount. The site where the Jewish people worshipped for hundreds of years and the focal point of every practicing Jew’s prayers is under assault from the Vatican.
Islamist Throws Shoes at Jewish Family on Temple Mount
A father and his two sons were attacked on Monday morning by an Arab, who threw stones and shoes at them, as they visited the Temple Mount.
The father said that a group of Muslim women verbally attacked him and his two sons, while a group of ten policeman sat by doing nothing.
"The police just tried to hurry our visit, but at a certain point, an Arab youth arrived and threw shoes and stones at us," the father related. "The police just hurried us off the Mount and told us they would deal with the Arab."
In the meantime, the Arab had apparently managed to escape without detection.
The father, who was hit in the back by one of shoes, turned to legal aid organization Honenu, and together with his sons filed a police complaint against the attacker.
Police later announced that the assailant, a 20-year-old Arab man, had been arrested.
Egyptian TV stages mock Israeli ‘execution’ in sick Ramadan prank
In a vile prank conducted by an Egyptian television station, a well-known Syrian singer was taken on a pleasure cruise off the Egyptian coast, and then arrested by purported Israeli naval forces, interrogated at gunpoint at an elaborately constructed faux Israeli army base, and led out for execution, with a gun put to his head.
The hoax, screened by Egypt’s Al-Hayat TV, is one of a rash of such tasteless pranks filmed and screened by various TV stations in the Arab world to coincide with the current Ramadan festivities.
The victim was the Syrian actor Bassem Yakhour, who was taken out for a pleasure cruise in a yacht at Egypt’s Sharm e-Sheikh Red Sea resort along with a small group of other passengers, all of whom were in on the hoax.
JPost Editorial: Futile flotilla
Strangely, Egypt, which has maintained a much stricter closure of its Rafah crossing with Gaza as part of its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, has not been subjected to the sort of condemnation reserved for Israel. Indeed, since Egypt has more aggressively combated smuggling via tunnels operated by Hamas, the vast majority of goods that make their way into the Strip get there through the Israeli- run Erez crossing.
There is a very simple solution to Palestinian suffering in Gaza: political change. One possibility is that Hamas will accept the three conditions set down by the Mideast Quartet – the UN, the EU, the US, and Russia.
First, it will recognize the State of Israel and repeal Hamas’s charter, which includes among other gems the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Second, it will abandon terrorism and dismantle its terrorist infrastructure.
Third, it will recognize the agreements and understandings that Israel has reached with the Palestinian Authority.
The other possibility is that the Hamas regime will be replaced by a leadership willing to accept these basic conditions. Until this happens, Israel cannot allow itself to remove the naval blockade or the restrictions it imposes on imports and the movement of people. Doing so would be a dereliction of duty to millions of Israelis threatened by Hamas’s terrorism.
So-called Freedom Flotillas do nothing to advance the rights of Palestinians living under Hamas’s Islamist regime. Their real goal is the delegitimization of Israel and its right to self-defense.
Israel expels 3 Gaza flotilla activists after interception
Israel on Tuesday expelled three pro-Palestinian activists who were among 18 arrested when the IDF peacefully intercepted a Gaza-bound boat seeking to defy the Jewish state’s naval blockade Monday morning.
The former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Spanish-European parliament member Ana Miranda and an Israeli-born activist who lives abroad were expelled from the country after the Swedish-registered Marianne of Gothenburg was towed in to Ashdod port late Monday.
The Israeli-Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas was released from detention Tuesday and is expected to face a Knesset committee in the coming days that will mull stripping him of some of his parliamentary privileges.
The rest of the activists on board were being held in administrative detention in a Ramla prison, awaiting deportation.
Thwarted Gaza-bound ship brought into Ashdod port
The Marianne, a Swedish-registered ship which was intercepted at sea early Monday by Israel Navy commandos en route to the Gaza Strip, was brought into Ashdod port Monday night.
MKs Hanin Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka from the Joint (Arab) List arrived to greet party colleague Basel Ghattas, who was one of the 18 activists on board.
The interception of the ship early Monday morning occurred without incident and there were no injuries, the IDF said.
Hamas condemned the “kidnapping” of the activists, adding that “this ship succeeded in showing the crime of the blockade.”
Why Flotillas Sail to Gaza, Not Syria
If Gaza is a mess, it is not because both Israel and Egypt understand that Hamas terrorism must be quarantined. Rather, it is because the international community stood by indifferently as Hamas transformed the congested strip into a terrorist state that believes it has the right to pursue its war on Israel by any means anytime it sees fit. Hamas not only commits war crimes by engaging in terrorism but by using the population of Gaza as human shields behind which its killers and their armaments find shelter.
Those who want to help Gazans need to think of ways to free them from the despotic control of Hamas, which executes its enemies without mercy and represses every kind of free expression as it enforces its ruthless Islamist ideas on the population. The independent Palestinian state in all but name that they govern is an experiment in tyranny that is particularly cruel. Yet somehow those who purport to care about the Palestinians think the real villain is an Israeli government that withdrew every single soldier, settler and settlement in 2005 and simply wishes in vain for quiet along the border.
Activists seek to go to Gaza, however, for one clear reason, and it has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns. Arabs who are engaged in conflicts with other Arabs don’t interest them no matter how many people are killed or how much suffering is caused. Even at the height of the fighting last year when hundreds of Palestinian civilians were unfortunately killed as they were caught in fighting provoked by Hamas, the casualties there were dwarfed by what is going on in Syria. But it is only when Jews are involved in defending their state that the human rights community discovers a crisis.
The double standard this sort of behavior illustrates has nothing to do with good works for a suffering people. It is nothing less than anti-Semitism, since it treats Israeli self-defense as inherently illegitimate and bolsters those who commit atrocities as valid forms of “resistance” against the presence of Jews inside the 1967 lines and not just in the West Bank. Those who seek to aid the efforts of Hamas to wage war on Israel and oppress their own people are not humanitarians. They are anti-Semites.
IDF Successfully Avoids Negative Press Coverage of Gaza Flotilla
Clever work by the IDF helped reduce international press coverage of the "aid to Gaza" flotilla to practically zero.
Israel Navy commandos boarded the Swedish ship Marianne, part of the anti-Israel flotilla bringing relatively small amounts of aid to Gaza, early Monday morning. As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained Monday afternoon, the goods on the ship are equal to approximately 1/500,000th of what Israel has transferred to Gaza.
The flotilla was thus virtually worthless, other than for the purposes of anti-Israel publicity – and these, too, were rendered moot by the IDF. This was accomplished by "stalling" the captured ship and leading it ever so slowly to Ashdod – reaching it only in the late evening hours, well after prime time for the many journalists waiting there.
The 0404.co.il news site noted that this was done purposely in order to avoid the expected negative coverage.
BBC’s English and Arabic flotilla reports promote inaccurate information
Unfortunately, the accuracy of some of the information included in that report – titled “Israel intercepts Gaza-bound boat” – was clearly less important.
Readers are told that:
“The Israeli Navy has intercepted a Gaza-bound vessel sailed by pro-Palestinian activists and diverted it to an Israeli port, the military says.
It says it acted in international waters to prevent the “intended breach of the maritime blockade” imposed since 2007 against the Hamas-run territory.”

However, as has been pointed out on these pages on numerous prior occasions, the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip was announced in January 2009 – not in 2007 as stated in this report and certainly not in 2006 – as claimed in another BBC report on the same topic posted on the BBC Arabic website.
Flotilla Activists a Bit Relieved they Don’t Have to Go to Gaza (satire)
After their Gaza-bound flotilla was intercepted by the Israeli Navy and redirected to the Port of Ashdod in southern Israel, pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Marianne admitted they were secretly relieved that they weren’t successful in defying Israel’s blockade and landing in the Hamas-controlled territory.
“To be honest, none of us were really sure what we would have done if we had gotten into Gaza,” said one activist, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It seems like a pretty scary place, with Hamas executing people and then ISIS trying to execute them. And it would have been impossible to find somewhere to get a drink.”
Another source noted that it had been impossible to find a decent apartment in Gaza on Airbnb.com, adding that she had been so banking on Israel intercepting their ship that she hadn’t even packed a burka. Three boats accompanying the Marianne turned around and returned to their port of origin, reportedly out of fear that Israel would fail to intercept them and they’d actually make it to Gaza.
IsraellyCool: Mocking The Flotilla-holes: Dror Feiler


Skipping session on Gaza, Israel’s envoy slams UNHRC
Eviatar Manor, who represents Israel in the UNHRC, did not attend the day’s session in protest and instead delivered a scathing condemnation outside the UN building in Geneva.
“I am out here and not in there because the Human Rights Council has abandoned fairness, has become morally flawed and has entirely politicized its concern for universal human rights,” Manor told reporters.
The press conference took place as the Commission of Inquiry’s report on the 2014 Gaza conflict, released last week, was presented to the council in Geneva. The report concluded that Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip may have committed war crimes in the course of the 50 days of fighting. The UNHRC was set to vote on the findings later this week.
“This is not the Human Rights Council. It is the Palestinian Human Rights Council,” Manor said, pointing out that it has adopted more resolutions against Israel than against the rest of the countries in the world combined.
NGO Monitor: How the UN report shot itself and human rights in the foot
The NGOs cited by the UNHRC also lack expertise and access to crucial information. These shortcomings are exemplified by the “fact-finding mission” of the Israeli organization, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), produced in collaboration with the Palestinian NGOs Al-Mezan, Gaza Community Mental Health Program and the PCHR. The PHR-I investigators “did not have access to [relevant] UNRWA facilities…They could therefore investigate neither the public health impact of displacement in these facilities, nor the allegations made by the Israeli government regarding the abuse of such facilities for military purposes.” Similarly, they had “no access to evidence regarding the conduct of Palestinian armed combatants within Gaza.” Yet, the UNHRC deemed PHR-I’s investigation credible enough to cite its findings 16 times.
These and other unreliable claims are found throughout the report. But it is the prominence given to the notorious Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor solicited as an “expert” on Gaza health, which discredits the UNHRC on a deeper level. Gilbert has a well-documented history of abusing his position as doctor to promote hate and conspiracy theories, and is known to have blamed the 9/11 terror attacks on the “policy that the West has led during the last decades,” asserting that “the oppressed also have a moral right to attack the USA with any weapon they can come up with.”
Gilbert is also associated with the highly politicized British NGO Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Exploiting medicine, MAP plays a central role in the demonization war, accusing Israel of “indiscriminate attacks” and “collective punishment.” MAP also promotes the “Nakba” narrative in order to delegitimize Israel’s very existence.
Hamas blasts UN Gaza war report… for pro-Israel bias
Hamas rejected its characterization as the “de facto authority in Gaza,” perhaps in an attempt to shift blame onto the Palestinian Authority, after the signing of a Palestinian national consensus agreement last May, and recommended that the commission utilize testimonies from left-wing Israeli organization Breaking the Silence.
The statement also suggested that the resignation of the commission’s head, William Schabas — “under Israeli pressure” — contributed to the report’s slant.
Hamas said it welcomed the report’s “condemnation of the crimes Israel has committed,” but took issue with criticism directed toward it and other Gaza-based militant organizations.
The commission found that the “indiscriminate” targeting of Israeli civilians by Palestinian rockets “may amount to a war crime.”
The commission further found that the Hamas executions of 21 Palestinians accused of serving as Israeli collaborators “constitute a violation of article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and therefore amount to a war crime.”
In the statement, Hamas accused the commision of accepting “Israeli fabrications of some events” and said that claims against the group were “exaggerated” and “untrue.”
Former British Commander Kemp Says Mix-Up Cost Him UN Gaza War Commission Appointment
The U.N. Human Rights Council approached the former commander of British troops in Afghanistan to join the panel for investigating the 2014 Gaza war, but his appointment never materialized.
“I was approached by the president’s office of the UNHRC and asked if I would take part in this commission and I agreed to,” explained Col. Richard Kemp during a debate at the U.N. on Monday over its recent report condemning potential war crimes by Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip including Hamas, during last summer’s 50-day Operation Protective Edge.
“I then was told I’d be hearing back soon confirmation. I heard no more, but subsequently I was told, by other sources, I had refused the appointment,” he said, adding that the mix-up was “obviously, unintentional confusion.”
Kemp’s appointment was meant to balance a panel that critics have said was biased against Israel and the Israel Defense Force’s actions during Operation Protective Edge, after high-profile British lawyer Amal Clooney declined the U.N.’s offer to join the commission.
Kemp read from the preliminary findings of the High Level International Military Group, which included five former chiefs of staff from major armies worldwide, that “none of us is aware of any army that takes such extensive measures as did the IDF last summer to protect the lives of the civilian population in such circumstances.”
Col. Kemp tells UNHRC it’s become “tool of Hamas’ murderous strategy”
Mr. President, I fought in combat zones around the world during 30 years’ service in the British Army. I was present as an observer throughout the conflict in Gaza.
Mr. President, during the 2014 Gaza conflict, Hamas, to its eternal shame, did more to deliberately and systematically inflict death, suffering and destruction on its own civilian population, including its children, than any other terrorist group in history.
Hamas deliberately positioned its fighters and weapons in civilian areas, knowing that Israel would have no choice but to attack these targets, which were a clear and present threat to the lives of Israel’s own civilian population.
While the IDF made efforts, unprecedented in any other army, and exceeding the requirements of the laws of war, to save Palestinian civilian lives, including warning them to leave target zones, Hamas forced them to remain in those areas.
Unable to defeat Israel by military means, Hamas sought to cause large numbers of casualties among their own people in order to bring international condemnation against Israel, especially from the United Nations.
Legal Expert: UN’s Gaza report “not based on credible military operational expertise”
Lt. Col. Corn, law professor & former senior law of war adviser for U.S. army, addresses UN Human Rights Council on the report of the Gaza inquiry. Geneva, June 29, 2015.
Thank you, Mr. President. I am Geoffrey Corn, a Professor of Law and the U.S. Army’s former senior expert on the Law of Armed Conflict. I advised an independent JINSA-commissioned Task Force on the 2014 Gaza conflict.
I commend the Report’s recognition that all parties to armed conflict must implement and respect the Law of Armed Conflict. While objective critiques of military operations can contribute substantially to the understanding, implementation, and evolution of the Law of Armed Conflict, findings and recommendations must derive from credible information, legal interpretation, and operational expertise. Otherwise, any critique risks distorting the essential balance between mitigating the suffering of armed conflict and the dictates of military necessity – one that has defined the law since its inception.
I believe the Report lacks this foundation. First, it treats questionable interpretations of this law as conclusive, and fails to apply the principle of distinction comprehensively. Specifically, it omits assessment of how an enemy’s systemic failure to distinguish himself from civilians, and deliberate exploitation of the perception of civilian status, impacts the reasonableness of attack judgments.
U.S. General Blasts Gaza Report in UNHRC Testimony
Major-General Michael D. Jones, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of UN Watch, in the debate on the Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict. Geneva, June 29, 2015.
Mr. President,
My name is Mike Jones, a retired U.S. Army general officer who, with four other retired U.S. generals, conducted a JINSA-sponsored, but independent, study of the 2014 Gaza conflict. We conducted research, and interviewed Israeli, UN, and Palestinian Authority officials. Our focus was what the U.S. should learn from the conflict, but our report is relevant to the Council.
I am pleased your report acknowledged that all combatants are required to abide by the law, and that Hamas’ and other groups’ indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel was unlawful.
However, it is disappointing that the report fails to condemn these groups for unlawfully failing to distinguish themselves as combatants, as well as purposefully co-locating amongst civilians, knowingly placing them at risk, with absolutely no military necessity to do so.
I am also disappointed that the report, while acknowledging that lawful targeting is a balance between the military necessity and the known risk to civilians, came to conclusions without sufficient information to make a judgment. Specifically, they condemn the IDF for engagements without any information on the IDF’s objectives, military necessity, or known information on risk.
Breitbart Contributor Anne Bayefsky Lone Pro-Israel Voice at UN Panel on Palestine
Anne Bayefsky, a Breitbart News contributor who serves as director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, made her voice heard on Monday in response to a UN report which charged Israel with committing war crimes during its war last summer with Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
United States officials, after reviewing the report, said the investigation showed “clear bias” against the Jewish state.
Bayefsky spoke before the United Nations Human Rights panel on the danger terrorist group Hamas presents to the existence of Israel and the nation’s need for self-defense against terrorist groups with clear intentions of erasing the Jewish people from history. (h/t Yenta Press)
In Geneva, Jews and Christians from across Europe rally for Israel
As Jews and Christians from across Europe gathered at Place Des Nations across from the UN Human Rights Council building in Geneva on Monday to protest the latest Gaza report, a familiar Israeli tune played in the background.
Draped in Israeli and European flags and holding aloft signs reading “Israel wants peace, Hamas wants war,” and “We stand for Israel, we stand for democracy,” the crowd listened to the words of David Broza’s 1990 hit “Yihiyeh Tov” (“It Will be Good”).
Children wear wings / and fly to the army / and two years later / they return with no answers / people live in stress / looking for a reason to breathe / and between hatred and murder / talk about peace / … here comes the president of Egypt / how I was happy for his arrival / pyramids in his eyes and peace in his pipe / and we said ‘let’s make up and live like brothers’ / so he said ‘of course, just get out of the territories’
The ironic choice of music was lost on the crowd, however. In the sweltering heat of a Geneva afternoon, good old Israeli cynicism was nowhere to be found.
“It was my duty to come,” said Abramo Eman, who left Milan at 6:30 a.m. aboard one of five Italian buses chartered for the event. “We are one people, one heart, one problem.”
“I hope people will admit that the UN is acting unjustly,” he added. “But I don’t really count on that.”
Is the UN Human Rights Council Obsessed with Israel?
The New York Times makes an editorial comment stuck in the middle of an article that undermines the Israeli Prime Minister's claim that the United Nations Human Rights Council is "obsessed" with Israel. But the facts are on the Prime Minister's side and the comment is harmful and misleading.


Security source: West Bank shooting likely a well-planned attack, carried out by terror cell
One of the injured from the terrorist shooting attack on Monday evening in the West Bank was in serious condition with an injury to his upper body and was fighting for his life at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital on Tuesday morning.
Another injured person from the attack was hospitalized at Shaare Zedek with light injuries and two more were being treated at Hadassah University Medical Center in moderate condition.
The Israelis, all in their twenties, were injured when shots were fired late Monday toward an Israeli vehicle traveling near the West Bank settlements of Shilo and Shvut Rachel.
Security forces believe that the attack was carried out by a terror cell and not by an individual, and sweeps were under way to locate the perpetrators. The security forces also believed that the attack was planned in advance.
"This looks like an attack that was well-planned and not a spontaneous attack," a security source told The Jerusalem Post's sister publication Ma'ariv.
Netanyahu slams Palestinian Authority for failing to condemn terror attacks
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday for failing to condemn two terror attacks carried out against Israelis in the West Bank and Jerusalem on Monday.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with visiting Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentilloni, Netanyahu sent his condolences to an Israeli citizen who was seriously wounded in a shooting attack near the Shvut Rachel settlement in the West Bank and to an IDF soldier seriously wounded in a knife attack near Rachel's Tomb.
"The attempts to harm us have not stopped for a moment," Netanyahu said. "The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF have thwarted dozens of terror attacks since the start of this year and more than 200 since the start of 2014."
Netanyahu vowed that Israel would continue to fight back forcefully against terror and bring those responsible for it to justice.He took the PA to task for keeping quiet in the face of the recent attacks. "The fact that the Palestinian Authority has still not condemned these terror attacks should disturb not only us, but the entire international community," he said.
The PA's hands will not be clean of such terror attacks until they unequivocally come out against them, Netanyahu added.
‘US ambassador pressed Arab MKs on gas deal vote’
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has been trying to persuade Knesset members of the opposition Joint (Arab) List to abstain or absent themselves from a Knesset vote advancing a controversial plan to develop Israel’s natural gas reserves, Army Radio reported Tuesday.
A “yes” vote would allow the cabinet to implement its agreement with Israel’s Delek Group and Noble Energy of the US to develop the massive Leviathan gas field, some 130 kilometers off the Haifa coast.
Shapiro reportedly wants Joint (Arab) List lawmakers opposed to the deal — which would grant exclusive development rights of the field to Noble and Delek — to withhold their “no” vote, either by abstaining or by skipping the vote altogether.
The ambassador discussed the vote with Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, and veteran Arab MK Ahmad Tibi on Monday, Army Radio said.
The United States is thought to perceive the gas deal, which would allow Israel to move forward in supplying energy to such US allies as Egypt and Jordan, as a potentially stabilizing force in the region.
Turkey Continues to Reprimand Israel for Airport Incident
Israel's highest-ranking diplomat in Ankara was reprimanded on Monday by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, after seven Turkish nationals were refused entry to Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday.
Embassy charge d'affaires Amira Oron was also summoned to a meeting with the Foreign Ministry on Friday over the incident.
Israel confirmed the meeting took place, but refused to speak of its contents. Turkey, for its, part said it was a clarification meeting, which also included a rebuke of Israel's conduct.
The incident began when a group of nine Turks traveled to Israel to attend an event marking the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Jerusalem. They were questioned for nine hours and, despite having the required visas, seven of them were sent back.
According to an Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) official, those denied entry were suspected of having links to the Hamas terrorist group.
New PLO Unity Government Talks 'Reach Impasse'
The saga continues as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to sputter in their attempts to form a new unity government, after Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the last dysfunctional government earlier this month.
Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior head of Abbas's Fatah faction and the leader of the PLO committee holding talks with Hamas, told the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency on Monday night that talks have "reached an impasse," and that a meeting will be held with Abbas and all PLO members Tuesday to discuss the deadlock.
The talks, which started Saturday, were meant to form a new government consisting of factional leaders instead of technocrats.
But according to Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, who responded Monday to al-Ahmad's claims of an "impasse," the talks haven't really begun beyond "some phone calls."
Intelligence Minister: Hamas Cooperating with ISIS in Sinai
Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) spoke on Tuesday about the morphing terror threat in Gaza, where a Salafist affiliate of Islamic State (ISIS) has recently been growing active and has coordinated activity with the ISIS branch in the Sinai.
Speaking at an intelligence and special units conference which was held in Tel Aviv for the first time, Katz remarked on the relations between the ISIS groups and Hamas, which has been at tension with the Salafists.
Katz stated that "between Hamas and ISIS in Sinai there is cooperation in the field of smuggling weapons and attacks," in a reference to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis which earlier this year swore loyalty to ISIS and changed its name to Sinai Province.
"The Egyptians know it and also the Saudis, but at the same time within Gaza ISIS is challenging Hamas. But they have a common denominator, which is their animosity against the Jews, in Israel or abroad."
A year after Gaza war, Hamas entrenched as frustration grows
Emad Firi is angry. During last summer's Israel-Hamas war, a shell slammed through the roof of his house and shredded his right leg. Unable to work, Firi's son now drives his taxi but the family struggles to survive.
The 50-year-old blames Israel, but also the Islamic militant group Hamas which has ruled Gaza since a violent takeover in 2007. In the Hamas era, the tiny territory has endured three wars with Israel and a crippling Israeli-Egyptian border blockade that keeps most of its 1.8 million residents trapped.
"Who is not angry about this difficult situation?" Firi said, waiting at a rehabilitation clinic to finally to be fitted with an artificial leg.
But the people of Gaza won't rise up — some out of fear, he said. "If I say two words, I may go to prison," he says, as Hamas has little tolerance for dissent and often detains critics. "So we stay silent."
A year after the most destructive war in Gaza yet, Hamas remains in control — despite signs of mounting frustration and a poll indicating half the residents would emigrate if borders were open.
Egyptian belly dancer's YouTube clip gets her jailed for 'inciting debauchery'
An Egyptian belly dancer has been sentenced to serve a year in prison on charges of "inciting debauchery" after she starred in a suggestive video on YouYube, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday.
In the video titled Sib Eddi - or Hands Off, a scantily clad Reda el-Fouly dances while singing about being sexually harassed on a bus and enjoying it.
El-Fouly claimed that the video was a satire of celebrities who behave in an overly-sexual manner, but prosecutors argued that the clip "disrupted morality."
Wael Elsedeki, the video's director, who is also el-Fouly's boyfriend, was sentenced in absentia to a year in jail after having fled the country. He is believed to have fled to Tunisia, according to the Mail.
In the Golan, 7 fallen soldiers get memorial in bullet-ridden basalt
Shimon Balas, a new immigrant from Yemen, was killed by a Syrian sniper on April 4, 1951. His father, Shalom Balas, was so desperate for a male heir that in the next five years he produced two daughters before a son was born in 1956 – when Shalom was about 70 years old. He named him Shimon, too.
“My father would always expect me to be like my brother. If I did A, he’d say, ‘Your brother would have done B,’” said Shimon Balas, 58, who works for the municipal courts.
Balas knew little about the circumstances of his brother’s death until recently, when three people driving in the Golan Heights came upon three boulders that would spur them to research the 1951 attack and, ultimately, to honor the seven Israel Defense Forces soldiers, including Balas, killed there.
On June 1, a monument will be dedicated at the site, called Yad Lashiva’a (Memorial to the Seven). The other men, all, like Balas, IDF privates and immigrants, were Simcha Cohen (from Tunisia), Kalman Salonikov (Bulgaria), Yitzhak Yisraeli (Iran), Mordechai Cohen (Turkey), Shimon Cohen (Morocco) and Nissim Laub (Morocco).
“Now, after 60 years, I’m just learning what happened,” said Salonikov’s sister, Yehudit Zeir, 81, who lives on Moshav Bitzaron, near Rehovot. “We went through the Shoah, everything was fine in Israel – then this happened. Kalman fell at age 19.”
The memorial on the basalt boulders consists of engravings of the men’s names, explanatory text about the attack that took their lives and skyward stretching hands.



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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 14 years and 30,000 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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