Monday, July 27, 2015

From Ian:

ICC prosecutor says she won’t reopen probe into flotilla deaths
The International Criminal Court will not open another investigation into the deaths of 10 Turkish citizens aboard a Gaza blockade-busting ship in 2010, despite a pretrial chamber ordering the prosecutor earlier this month to reconsider her decision to close her initial probe into the case.
In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement, lauding ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to appeal the order by a three-judge panel to reconsider her closing of the investigation.
“The ICC never had any business to deal with this event to begin with,” an Israeli official said. “Israel acted out of self-defense according to international law.”
The Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound vessel in May 2010 led to a bloody clash with activists aboard the ship, leaving 10 Turks dead and a number of Israeli soldiers injured.
The incident was initially probed by an Israeli committee headed by jurist Jacob Turkel with the participation of international observers, the Israeli official noted.
There was no official word from the ICC, but a document shared on Twitter and signed by Bensouda, calling for the probe to be closed, seemed to confirm the report. (h/t Yenta Press)
ICC Urges Prosecutor to Stop Appeal on Reopening Flotilla Case
The International Criminal Court called on Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday to go back on her decision to appeal the reexamination of the IDF's conduct during the raid a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010.
In response to Bensouda's decision to appeal, Israeli officials said that "to start with, there was no place for the court to deal with this issue. Israel acted in self-defense and in accordance with international law."
Douglas Murray: Britain's Irreconcilable Policy on Islam
Two very interesting things happened in Britain over the last two weeks. What makes them more interesting is that they are wholly contradictory.
Abroad, Britain's foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, put his nation's name to the P5+1 agreement with Iran, lifting sanctions against the Islamic Republic, unfreezing its assets, lifting arms controls on the regime and much, much more, all in exchange for having potential oversight -- with permission requested weeks in advance of any inspection -- of the country's nuclear sites. Britain's signature on this deal appears to have been an accepted and acceptable outcome with no significant opposition from any senior political figure of either main political party, and very little objection in the national press.
A few days later, Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave his best speech to date on the threat of Islamic extremism at home and abroad. In that speech, the Prime Minister defined the challenge that Islamic extremism poses to Britain's way of life and cohesion as a society. He outlined the problem better than perhaps any other Western leader to date:
"What we are fighting, in Islamist extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine. And like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. At its furthest end, it seeks to destroy nation-states to invent its own barbaric realm. And it often backs violence to achieve this aim... mostly violence against fellow Muslims -- who don't subscribe to its sick worldview. But you don't have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish. Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality. Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation."
So how does the Prime Minster's domestic speech on extremism fit with the foreign policy goals currently being pursued by the British government? The most straightforward answer is: They don't. Take that lowest rung of what David Cameron rightly sees as an ideological ladder. That is, the ideas which do not pertain to the destruction of whole nation-states but nonetheless demonstrate an extremist mind-set.
New Arab Claim on Susiya: History Begins When Arabs Settled
Even if the claim were valid, it does not mean that Arabs can build without permits, but it would allow them to use the land for agriculture.
Haaretz noted that previous deeds from a century ago are problematic because they do not clearly define land boundaries.
The claim of a document from 1881 is strange because the Jabri family was one of the heads of the city of Hebron, 12 miles away by road. Susiya was not exactly Boardwalk on the Hebron land board; it was not even on the board at all.
The southern Hebron Hills is a barren mountain desert area. A family in Hebron would have no apparent reason to buy or lease land in Susiya.
But if the deed really is true, it exposes the Palestinian Authority as claiming that history begins only when Arabs settle land.
If Arabs wants to start digging into history before the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, then all recorded documents have to be honored.
For example, using 1881 as a starting point, there are dozens of recorded land purchases by Jews of land in such places as Gaza, Gush Etzion and the Silwan Valley in “eastern Jerusalem.”

David Baddiel: Short of a conspiracy theory? You can always blame the Jews
Conspiracy theory, I said in my last standup show, is how idiots get to feel like intellectuals. I still believe this: conspiracy theory is primarily a way for people, mainly men, to appear in the know, to use their collection of assumptions, generalisations, straw men and false inferences to say, effectively: ah, the wool may have been pulled over your eyes, my friend, but not mine.
But there are other reasons why it’s so popular these days. It provides lonely men with an online community of like-minded lonely men. It’s comforting; it’s reassuring. It provides order in a disordered universe to imagine that shadowy forces organise horrific events, rather than to have to confront the terrible truth that death and destruction happen, all the time, apparently at random. And, as David Cameron pointed out this week in his speech on extremism, it creates a way into something else that’s becoming increasingly popular these days: antisemitism.
Why do so many conspiracy theories boil down to: it’s the Jews wot done it?
One simple reason is that Jews are quite hard to spot, compared with most minorities. This allows them to be unmasked, and unmasking – to be able to say, “I and no one else (apart from all my mates on have spotted something hidden” – is the principal drive of the conspiracy theorist. But more importantly, within racial stereotyping Jews occupy a somewhat unique position, with a two-pronged status – both low and high.
Israeli, Palestinian negotiators hold low-key talks in Amman
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom held talks with senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Amman in recent days, Israeli sources told The Times of Israel on Sunday. The two met in a bid to calm tensions between the two sides, which have spiraled in the past week.
Shalom, a senior Likud lawmaker, also serves as the chief Israeli negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians. He said in a recent speech at a conference that he believes Israel and the Palestinians “need to renew negotiations and try to reach understandings and agreements.”
He also said at the time that he was in favor of “frank talks that are conducted discreetly,” apparently such as those in Amman.
The official topic and outcome of the recent discussions were unclear, although the meeting was described as a “trust-building” move. It was the latest in a string of clandestine talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials since the new Israeli government was sworn in earlier this year.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have run high in the past week, following the shooting deaths of two Palestinians by Israeli forces in separate incidents on Wednesday and Thursday, and the approval of the construction of hundreds of homes in the West Bank, ending a de facto construction freeze.
PA official dismisses report Abbas planning to resign within two months
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has allegedly notified sources that he will step down from his position within two months, Channel 1 reported on Sunday.
According to PA officials cited in the report, Abbas’s announcement of retirement is due to fatigue.
But Nimer Hammad, political adviser to Abbas, dismissed the report as “Israeli rumors.” The PA has become accustomed to such rumors coming from Israel, Hammad said. The rumor was part of an Israeli attempt to “disrupt” the work of the PA leadership, he claimed.
Speculation that the 80-yearold plans to resign also center around his failure to make progress in peace negotiations with Israel. The latest round of talks broke down in April 2014.
Channel 1 also reported that an unnamed senior Israeli minister (Interior Minister Silvan Shalom) recently met in Amman with PLO official Saeb Erekat, who is viewed as Abbas’s likely successor.
Earlier in July, Abbas appointed Erekat to the post of secretary-general of the PLO.
Don’t Let US-Iran Deal Obfuscate New US-UNRWA Pact
The educational services provided by UNRWA to their 492,000 students promote violence and war, in contradiction to the Agency’s declared mission as a UN agency dedicated to peace.
Meanwhile, the U.S.-UNRWA accord proudly features the UNRWA “Human Rights, Conflict Resolution, and Tolerance Curriculum” as a step in the right direction.
Dr. Groiss has evaluated that curriculum and discerned what is missing: any mention of freedom of religion, religious equality, and religious tolerance. In fact, the books are totally devoid of any mention of religion.
The U.S.-UNRWA accord also lauds section 301(c) of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (hereinafter referred to as “section 301(c)”), which states: “No contributions by the United States shall be made to (UNRWA) except on the condition that (UNRWA) take all possible measures to assure than no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiving military training as a member of the so-called Palestine Liberation Army or any other guerilla-type organization or who has engaged in any act of terrorism.”
Yet the new U.S.-UNRWA accord does not verify this is happening. Instead, it relies on UNRWA itself to enforce this clause. Given UNRWA’s track record, you can bet that U.S. dollars will be funding terrorism.
Just as the U.S. accord with Iran lacks proper detection mechanisms, the U.S. now allows UNRWA to determine if it has committed a security indiscretion. At the same time, the accord turns a blind eye to the Hamas takeover of UNRWA facilities in Gaza.
Sixteen years ago, the Gaza-based employees of UNRWA held elections to choose union leaders. Hamas took advantage of the campaign, and took over the entire teachers association and workers association. By 2012, more the 90 percent of UNRWA employees had become Hamas supporters.
Hamas Opposes Moving UNRWA to Arab League
Ali Barakeh, Hamas's representative in Lebanon, has told Arabic newspaper named Al-Araby al-Jadeed that because of financial problems, UNRWA is no longer hiring new employees and the next school year may open four months late.
Barakeh said that Hamas has learned of efforts to place UNRWA – the body tasked with aid to Palestinian “refugees” – under the auspices of the Arab League, instead of the UN. He said that Hamas opposes the move and will fight it, since it will turn the “refugee” problem from an international issue to an Arab one.
Regarding Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal's visit to Saudi Arabia, Barakeh said that the visit had achieved its two main objectives – renewal of relations with Riyadh after four years in which they had been cut off, and the release of Hamas men connected to “humanitarian work” for Gaza.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Israelis Who Still See Abbas As Credible Peace Partner Gather In Kiosk (satire)
A coalition of peace activists who still believe Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can be counted on to arrive at and implement a final-status agreement with Israel convened Monday at a small refreshment booth on the Tel Aviv University campus to discuss strategy and share their recent experiences leading the popular movement.
As many as four attendees were present at the gathering at once, bringing total participation in the open-house-style event to just shy of last year’s eight. Called for 10 AM – 2 PM, the convention officially kicked off when a quorum of two people was achieved at 10:45. Organizers credited a social media campaign, a petition in Haaretz, and a supportive cadre of foreign correspondents for helping this year’s gathering reach the single digits, setting a new record for the organizers, who have now met that threshold seven years in a row.
“We almost had to book the kiosk next door, the one that sells fresh juice,” said Tzfon Telavivi, director of Peace is a Limited-time Opportunity (PLO). “We managed to achieve a ratio of European journalists to participants of exactly three to one, if you count the proprietor of the place, and that’s a really encouraging sign. We can count on our friends in the international media to carry our message far and wide: that the PLO is leading the campaign for a solution to the conflict, and we are gathered here in Tel Aviv to underline that.”
US A-G says won’t interfere with Pollard release
US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said Israeli-American spy Jonathan Pollard has served enough time in prison to be released pending a parole board review, and stressed that the US Justice Department would not interfere in the process.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Saturday, Lynch, like other US officials before her, denied that Pollard’s release would have any connection to the nuclear deal with Iran and a supposed need to placate Israel.
“It would have been extremely far-thinking of people 30 years ago to set this mandatory release date to coincide with the Iran deal,” she said, dryly, of Pollard’s parole eligibility which will come into effect in November. The spy has been behind bars since November 1985 and was convicted in 1987 of spying for the Jewish state.
US intel chief: Pollard still viewed ‘negatively’
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, an elite gathering of analysts and practitioners, Clapper said that “he’s viewed very negatively, even though a lot of the people who were around have left the community. There’s still an institutional memory of it and it is quite negative.”
He acknowledged that Pollard would be up for parole in November, and said that he “imagined” that the parole board procedures “will include a petition from the government,” although he did not discuss what exactly the government would petition for.
The government petitioned against Pollard’s early release in the one other parole hearing that has been held in Pollard’s case. Clapper said that he did not know whether he would have a say regarding Pollard’s release.
'Pollard to be Banned from Coming to Israel'
A senior Israeli diplomatic source revealed on Monday that if Jonathan Pollard is released in November as has been reported, he won't be allowed to come to Israel for fear he will receive a hero's welcome.
"The Americans are very worried of a situation in which Pollard will be received as a hero in Israel, and therefore they likely will prevent Pollard from leaving American territory," the source told Yedioth Aharonoth.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Saturday that she won't interfere in the possible release of Pollard, and denied that the move was timed to assuage Israeli concerns over the Iran nuclear deal.
Pollard has been jailed for 30 years - half of his life - after using his role as a US naval intelligence officer to pass intelligence to Israel about regional security threats to the Jewish state. He was handed a life-sentence, unlike spies from other allied or even enemy nations that got off with a tiny fraction of his sentence.
He is up for parole in November after 30 years as part of the legal structure of his imprisonment, and Israeli politicians, such as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), have said the potential release is unrelated to the Iran deal. And yet, a previous parole hearing was held in July 2014 and rejected on the basis of a now declassified document, that critics say included largely trumped up charges against Pollard.
Lynch echoed Shaked's statement.
Netanyahu Views 2,000-Year-Old Book of Lamentations Scroll on Tisha B’Av
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu viewed a 2,000-year-old scroll of the Book of Lamentations (Megillat Eichah), the text that is read each year on Tisha B’Av, the fast day commemorating the destruction of both Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.
The scroll, which was found in the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert, was recently put on display for four days at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) brought the scroll to Netanyahu’s office on Sunday for Tisha B’Av, after which point it was returned to special storage conditions at an IAA laboratory.
“This is an important and moving find,” Netanyahu said. “It is very significant that that this scroll has been brought to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, our united capital, on the Fast of the Ninth of Av.”
IAA Curator in Charge of the Dead Sea Scrolls Pnina Shor said the scroll, dated to between 30 BCE and 70 CE, is the earliest-known example of the Book of Lamentations.
As Jews Mourn Destruction of Temples, Palestinian Authority Denies They Ever Existed
As Jews around the world mourned the destruction of the ancient Jewish temples on Sunday with the observance of Tisha B’Av, Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash told Israel’s NRG that an Israelite temple never stood atop the Temple Mount.
“The Al-Aqsa Mosque is located atop the Temple Mount, and not the Temple. Look for your Holy Temple in another place,” said Al-Habbash.
Al-Habbash also assailed Jewish visitors who visited the holy site on Sunday, saying that “there is no room for religious pluralism” on the Temple Mount.
Al-Habbash added that, “this is a holy site for Islam, and only for Islam. Al-Aqsa Mosque is a Muslim site, and we do not recognize [as legitimate] any of the stories about the Temple.”
In fact, the entire platform, known as the Temple Mount, atop which the Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands was built by Herod the Great and previously housed two Jewish Temples: the First Temple built by Solomon in 957 BCE, and the Second Temple built by the prophet Ezra in 538 BCE and improved by King Herod.
Yehuda Glick Vows: We Won't be Scared off the Temple Mount
Referring to violent riots yesterday (Sunday), during the Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av, Glick asserted that authorities needed to face up to the presence of Islamist terrorist groups on the Temple Mount, and deal with them accordingly.
"The radical Muslims on the (Temple) Mount are not people who come to pray, but they're actually terrorists by all means, and they're trying to frighten us from going to the Temple Mount," Glick said.
But Glick, who himself was critically wounded in an assassination attempt by a Muslim gunman last year, said he and others would not be deterred from visiting the holy site.
"We will continue to come to the Temple Mount," he vowed.
"We call on all Jews and all non-Muslims... and believers in God to come to the Temple Mount, because the Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world, and we will not allow any violent people... any terrorists, to scare us away."
Why Won't Police Protect Woman Who Insulted Mohammed?
Avia Morris, the young woman who was arrested near the Temple Mount last Friday after reacting to Muslim taunts by saying “Mohammed is a pig,” is being incessantly threatened on social networks. However, police have refused to take her complaint, and the reason is either red tape, hostility, or a combination of the two.
"I feel that I have been wronged,” she told Arutz Sheva. “The police are discriminating against me, arresting me a few hours before the Sabbath, instead of arresting all the Arab women who ran wild and incited to violence, who have been hurting the religious feelings of Jews daily, for several months now.”
"Again, the same discrimination,” she stated. “The Arabs hurt Jews' feelings daily on the Temple Mount, whether it is in playing soccer, calling out epithets against Judaism, not allowing Jews to perform the commandments that we must carry out on the Temple Mount, and they do nothing about that. They only take action because of two words that were uttered.”
"Meanwhile,” she said, “I have been distanced with the same conditions of staying away from the Old City until the end of the week. If a charge sheet is filed, we will fight it and bring justice to light.”
Palestinian Authority: Israel's escalation will have disastrous consequences
The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of escalating tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Monday, warning that Israel's actions were liable to bring about disastrous consequences.
The comments came after three Palestinians were killed in Israeli arrest raids in the West Bank in the past week and clashes occurred between Border Police and Palestinian rioters at the al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount on Sunday.
Nabil Rudineh, the spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that "continuous raids on al-Aksa Mosque, daily killings of Palestinian civilians and continued settlement construction will force the Palestinian leadership to make fateful decisions."
In a statement carried by the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, Abu Rudineh said that "Israel's continued attempts to torpedo every effort to maintain stability, or renew peace talks, will bring disastrous results."
Radical Israeli Sheikh Calls to Conquer Temple Mount
Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel, has called for terrorist violence on the Temple Mount - the holiest site in Judaism - so as to prevent Jewish access to the holy site.
Referring to peaceful Jewish visits to the site - which are often met with harassment, most recently witnessed on Sunday during the Tisha B'Av fast which mourns the destruction of the First and Second Temples at the site - Salah spoke of Israeli "attacks" against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Mount.
Salah vowed that his movement, which has been actively stirring up riots on the Mount, will stick to its goal, summarized as: "our lives and blood we will sacrifice for the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
"Every breach of the Israeli side against Al-Aqsa is a breach of the occupation, whether done in military or religious uniforms or under political cover," said the radical Israeli sheikh, indicating religious Jews are targets as well. "We must go out against all these breaches until the occupation is removed."
BBC News twists Tisha B’Av Temple Mount incident with ‘last-first’ reporting
The portrayal of that incident provided to visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page creates a markedly different impression. The report’s headline – “Al-Aqsa mosque: Israeli police enter Jerusalem holy site” – erases any mention of what preceded the security forces’ brief entry into the mosque in typical BBC ‘last-first reporting’ style.
The opening paragraphs of the article even imply that the violence on the part of the Palestinians was a reaction to the police’s entry into the mosque.
“Palestinian youths have clashed with Israeli police who entered the al-Aqsa mosque complex in East Jerusalem.
The Palestinians are said to have barricaded themselves inside the mosque and thrown stones at police, who moved in to stop them.”
MEMRI: Passerby Scolds Sheik for Teaching Kids Martyrdom at Al-Aqsa Mosque Summer Camp
On July 27, 2015, Sheik Khaled Al-Maghrabi could be seen preaching martyrdom to children on the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem. As a passerby scolded him, saying that he should not be teaching such notions to children, the children were led in chants in praise of martyrdom and of "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews." Al-Maghrabi and the children, who were attending his summer camp at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, were prevented from entering the compound because of the riots.

Things the Media Won’t Tell You About Israel
If you’ve ever wondered why so many overseas Jews view democratic Israel as irredeemably racist, consider the following story: Knesset member Robert Ilatov justifiably made headlines last Thursday by declaring that Arabs who refuse to sing the national anthem, “Hatikva,” shouldn’t be appointed as judges. But several prominent English-language Israeli news sites didn’t even bother mentioning the swift, uncompromising rejection of his view by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked; you won’t, for instance, find a word of her response in Haaretz’s report, while the left-wing +972 website dismissed it as a “weak protestation” by omitting all the most significant parts of her statement.
Shaked’s response matters not only because of her position, but because she herself is no bleeding-heart liberal; she’s second-in-command of the religious Zionist Jewish Home party, the right flank of what the media routinely term a “hardline” government. And that’s precisely the point: While extremists always get headlines, the mainstream rejection of their views is ignored – even when that rejection is so sweeping that it encompasses the leadership of the most right-wing party in the governing center-right coalition.
Granted, Ilatov’s views can’t be dismissed as an insignificant; the opposition back-bencher made his statement right after the Knesset chose him as one of the Judicial Appointments Committee’s nine members. But surely the contrary views of the other eight members – and especially Shaked, the panel’s chairwoman – should be considered no less significant when assessing Israel’s character.
Shaked, in her response, endorsed the compromise employed by Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran during his own swearing-in ceremony: Arab judges should stand for the anthem, because state officials must respect the state’s symbols, but they shouldn’t be required to sing along if they can’t identify with lyrics that, after all, are about the Jewish yearning for Zion. “A judge needs to stand during the national anthem, but I won’t be looking to see if he is mouthing the words to Hatikva or not,” she said.
She also endorsed the importance of maintaining the judiciary’s professionalism: “A judge needs to be selected first and foremost according to skills and criteria,” she stressed. Finally, she underscored the importance of having Arab judges in the system: “The fact that we have Arab judges is an admirable thing in a country where 20 percent of the population are minorities.”
'Highlight Muslim Women's Plight to Split Left'
Dr. Ronen Shoval, who founded the grassroots nationalist student organization Im Tirtzu, has been selected to head Professors for a Strong Israel, an NGO that provides a nationalist counterweight to leftist control of academia.
Shoval, 34, is the youngest person to head the NGO since its inception in 1988.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Shoval said that one of the ideas that he has been advancing for combating the boycott-Israel (BDS) movement is for nationalist to play up the issue of discrimination against women in the Muslim world.
This will have the effect of creating a split between the radical Left and radical Muslims, he predicted, because the Left places a great emphasis on women's rights.
"The situation of women in the Middle East is catastrophic,” he noted.
‘Student Voices’ Exposes Anti-Semitism in the College Classroom
The testimonials of more than 100 students from almost 50 colleges and universities in twenty states tell of “being intimidated, harassed or bullied as a Jewish and/or a pro-Israel student,” according to Student Voices (SV). A project of the AMCHA Initiative, which combats campus anti-Semitism, the data at SV spans the past year-and-a-half, and typically originates with student op-eds and articles from sympathetic media.
Although the majority of cited incidents involve Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Muslim Student Association (MSA), student government groups, and the BDS movement, several of the examples involve professors of Middle East studies, many of whom are themselves BDS activists and supporters.
For example, students at Northeastern University in Boston recount classroom bias and intimidation by M. Shahid Alam, an economist whose research interests include Islamic civilization and Zionism, and who once declared it “a sign of distinction” to be called an anti-Semite:
Berkeley Women in Black: Lying to Students at UC Berkeley
Every Friday, for years, a group of anti-Israel activists have held court at the corner of Bancroft and Telegraph in Berkeley, calling themselves "Berkeley Women in Black" Its a particularly vile group. They are countered each week by a pro-Israel, pro-Peace group
This month two of the regulars, Berkeley Professor Andrew Guiterrez and his wife, Marina are commemorating the anniversary of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza with...wait for it... photos from Syria.
Evidence was presented to Prof. Guiterrez that at least one of the photos in question predated the Gaza defensive by at least a year, and was in fact from Syria.
His response?
He called the police.
It takes a special kind of evil to knowingly spread falsehood. Its particularly egregious when the person in question is a University professor at one of the finest schools on the West coast.. Andrew Guiterrez provides us with yet another example of how truth is often the first casualty of an extremist ideology.
Australia’s Labor Party signals support for Palestinian state
A future Australian Labor government would consider recognizing a Palestinian state if no significant progress is achieved in the next round of Israel-Palestinian peace talks, the party decided Sunday.
At the Australian Labor Party’s annual national conference, some 400 party delegates passed the party’s strongest-ever motion on Palestine.
“If… there is no progress in the next round of the peace process a future Labor government will discuss joining like-minded nations who have already recognized Palestine,” the motion said.
While the ALP decided not to formally change its Middle East policy platform, the wording of a resolution calling for a sustainable two-state solution was widely accepted by delegates following a compromise between conservative and liberal lawmakers.
ALP delegates applauded as the motion passed the voice vote.
BBC silent on latest Gaza power plant shut down
The extensive multi-platform coverage promoted to BBC audiences on the anniversary of the beginning of last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas included a filmed item titled “Gaza conflict one year on: The power plant“.
The inclusion of that topic was not surprising: the Gaza Strip power plant was featured extensively – though not always accurately – in BBC coverage of the conflict and some correspondents were quick to promote the notion that damage to the power plant’s fuel storage tanks was intentional and deliberate. Even after the circumstances of the July 29th 2014 incident became clear, the BBC made no effort to correct the inaccurate impressions given to its audiences at the time.
Last week the Gaza power plant was in the news again when, as AFP and others reported, production came to a halt.
Notably, there has been no BBC coverage whatsoever of the power plant’s most recent closure, the effects of that on civilian life in the Gaza Strip or of the long-running dispute between Hamas and the PA which led to this latest shut-down.
12 impossible ideas that Israelis turned into reality
Tell an Israeli his or her invention idea is preposterous, and you’ve just given that inventor a reason to see it through.
Whether it was planting crops in the desert or building a crowdsourced navigation app, most groundbreaking Israeli innovations were initially dismissed as impossible – until bold action turned them into reality.
“When you try to break new frontiers, sometimes what you do doesn’t seem to make sense,” says Avi Hasson, chief scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy. “The issue is not about the idea but the action. You need to go out there and figure it out.”
Israelis love solving problems, Hasson tells ISRAEL21c.
An educational culture that encourages questioning and independent thinking, and innovating on the fly in the military, leads Israelis to read the word “impossible” as “I’m possible.”
“Commanders in the field are not supposed to rely on the generals to solve their problems; they’re expected to take responsibility to solve things by themselves, understanding that failure is an option,” Hasson explains.
Israel’s Teva buys part of Allergan drug company for $40.5 billion
Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva said Monday that it was buying the generic drug business of Dublin-based Allergan PLC for $40.5 billion, consolidating its position as a world leader in generics.
The deal would be the biggest in Israel’s history, reports said.
Teva will pay $33.75 billion in cash and offer $6.75 billion of its stock to Allergan, the company said, in a major move that will shake up the industry.
However, Teva said that it was withdrawing its offer of $40.1 billion for rival Mylan, a US-listed company that moved to the Netherlands a year ago for fiscal reasons.
Mylan had dismissed Teva’s $40.1 billion bid in April and on Thursday Mylan’s independent foundation said it would exercise a call option allowing it buy shares to control half the company to fend off the hostile takeover.
In ‘revolutionary’ shift, cannabis to be sold in pharmacies
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman announced Monday that pharmacies will be stocked with medical marijuana to ease the often arduous bureaucratic process faced by patients prescribed the drug.
During an address to the Knesset Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Litzman said the current system of dispensing medical marijuana to patients was unbalanced.
“Today pharmacies give out all kind of drugs, including narcotics such as morphine, and it’s done in a perfectly orderly fashion. So marijuana will be handled the same way,” he said.
“It will be prescribed and monitored by the same standards as other medications,” he added.
Tel Aviv #1 Destination for Vegan food
The first hint of a vegan craze in Tel Aviv was spotted in 2012 by Tablet Magazine, but a few years later, Tel Aviv’s vegan scene is as robust as ever. “Almost one in 20 Israelis describes themselves as vegan, a number that feels much higher in the country’s second city,” writes Hardeep Singh Kohi in High Life, British Airways’ in-flight magazine. Even Domino’s in Tel Aviv serves vegan pizza. You’ll find many bearded hipsters enjoying the simple fare at Port Said, and the Georgian restaurant Nanuchka has a fresh take on meat-heavy Eastern European food. Of course, the vegan staple of falafel can be found virtually everywhere, but you can even get vegetarian shawarma at a restaurant appropriately named the Veg Shawarma.
YNET calls Israel a "Mecca" for Vegan food, with hundreds of restaurants certified as "Vegan friendly"
Israeli army has started offering vegan meals on its bases and supplies vegan soldiers with leather-less boots and wool-free berets.
A study prepared for the Globes newspaper and Channel Two found five percent of Israelis identify as vegan and 8 percent as vegetarian while 13 percent are weighing going vegan or vegetarian. In 2010 just 2.6 percent were vegetarian or vegan.
This compares with an estimated 2 percent of the U.S. and UK populations being vegan and just 1 percent in German.
Baby Boomlet Hits Israel — 9 Months After Gaza
When Jessica Zimet gave birth to her daughter Aviah in April, the Tel Aviv hospital was so crowded, she said, that she was rushed out of the delivery room to make space for the next expectant mother.
Born nine months after the start of Operation Protective Edge, Aviah was part of what some are calling a post-war baby boom in Israel.
“The stress of the fight means more deliveries after the war,” said Avivit Karni, head midwife at Kaplan Medical Center, in Rehovot.
The Israeli Ministry of Health has yet to compile data on birthrates over the past few months. But according to anecdotal reports, some Israeli delivery rooms were working overtime in April, May and June. At Kaplan, Karni’s staff facilitated 100 additional births per month (around 650 versus the typical 550).
Karni suspected that many of the births at her hospital were to couples that conceived when the husband was home from reserve duty during the war.
Soldiers returning home had “missed their wives,” Karni said.
IsraelDailyPicture: 19th Century Painting of the Western Wall Posted by the Ottoman Imperial Archives
We are thankful to the archivists at the Ottoman Imperial Archives for digitizing and posting vintage pictures from Palestine on their website.
On July 14, 2015, this incredible painting was posted. Note the Jews' lamentations. They are barefoot (their shoes are in the foreground), suggesting that the scene may be commemorating Tisha B'Av, a day of Jewish mourning for the destruction of the Jewish Temples and other calamities in Jewish history.
The painter, Johann Martin Bernatz, was born in Germany in 1802. He traveled in the Middle East and Asia in 1836 and published 40 pictures from his journey in a book, "Pictures from the Holy Land, Drawn from Nature" in 1839. We suggest that the painting was painted 30 years prior to the year in the Archives' caption.

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