Thursday, August 20, 2015

From Ian:

Half of Jerusalem Arabs want to be Israelis
A slim majority of Palestinians living in Jerusalem would prefer Israeli citizenship to being citizens of a Palestinian state, a poll conducted by a Palestinian research institute indicates.
Just over half, or 52 percent, of respondents told pollsters they would prefer “Israeli citizenship with equal rights,” while 42% prefer to be Palestinian citizens when a Palestinian state is established, Channel 2 reported Wednesday.
The figure is far higher than in polls conducted in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. In Gaza, just 4% said they preferred Israeli citizenship; in the West Bank, just 12%.
The poll was conducted by a research institute headed by Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki located in Beit Sahur.
The figure marks a spike in desire for Israeli citizenship. A similar poll in 2010 found just one-third of East Jerusalem Arabs preferred Israeli citizenship to Palestinian.
Mordechai Kedar: Islamic State is Heading for Lebanon Next
This week, it became known that Islamic State's weapons engineers have begun filling katyusha rockets with chlorine gas. This became clear when one of the rockets exploded near its launching pad and the gas it gave off killed the fighters who had launched it. This does not come as a surprise – two weeks ago the first reports surfaced claiming that Islamic State is using mustard gas in rockets and missiles. The gas supplies may have been taken from Syrian army supply depots in Alspira and Aleppo and it is quite possible that Syrian army deserters know how to use them. Only a month ago, an attempt by persons connected to Islamic State to pour barrels of poison into the Kosovo capital Pristina's reservoirs was foiled and its perpetrators captured, preventing the deaths of the 200,000 residents of that city. Can Islamic State wage a chemical war? It seems likely.
In northern Syria, with its Kurdish majority, a new women's unit of Assyrian Christians has been formed and has been provided with intensive military training in preparation for all types of warfare. This unit will be sent to fight Islamic State bearing in mind that Islamic State fighters believe that if they are killed by a woman they will not receive the reward awaiting them in Paradise. As a result, as soon as they know they are surrounded by women's army units, they usually flee. This is why the Kurdish women fighters shout loudly and bloodcurdlingly when they think they are approaching a place that has Islamic State forces. It seems likely that the Assyrian women will do the same, using psychological warfare against Islamic State. For its part, Islamic State continues its own psychological warfare by spreading horrendous videos showing the butchering of its enemies; selling the daughters of infidels as slaves is also intended to demoralize its opponents.
In conclusion: Islamic State is engaging in biological warfare, chemical warfare and psychological warfare, another reason to define it as a terror state and not just a terror organization. Before its fighters get their hands on radioactive materials which they will use unhesitatingly against their enemies, it might be a good idea to remember that every hospital trashcan contains radioactive materials from its x-ray department and putting together a "dirty bomb" using these materials is really easy. May G-d help us all.
IDF rejects NYT Friedman’s comparison of Gaza war to Assad’s Syria massacre
Is Israel prepared to play by the same bloody rules as Syria’s regime and “crazily” disregard international rules to maintain its hold in the region?
Veteran New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman last week asserted that this disregard is Israel’s core military strategy. The Israeli security establishment, for its part, says his claim amounts to what US Vice President Joe Biden calls “malarkey,” and does not reflect IDF policy.
In his column, “If I Were an Israeli Looking at the Iran Deal,” Friedman wrote Israel is prepared to play by what he called “Hama rules” (– not Hamas rules, as some read it).
Hama is a city in western Syria, where then-Syrian president Hafez Assad had his forces massacre tens of thousands of civilians in 1982 in order to put down a Muslim Brotherhood uprising. The nearly month-long slaughter remains one of the bloodiest cases in history of an Arab government attacking its own people.
In effect, Friedman was casually and off-handedly alleging that Israel conducts itself in conflict in the same way that Bashar Assad’s father and predecessor carried out a 27-day bloodbath, with the Syrian army deliberately mowing down women and children.
While the term itself comes from Friedman’s book “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” in his new article he offered no history of the event or explanation for the comparison, apparently assuming the reader would understand the context.
Despite the damning nature of the accusation, IDF officials took the comment with an almost bored sense of “heard it before,” before giving a quick, rehearsed dismissal of the claim that Israel deliberately targets civilians.
“It’s dramatic and it’s ludicrous,” an IDF official said of Friedman’s comparison, “but essentially he just misses the mark.”

David Horovitz: A simple question for anguished Democratic legislators on Iran
But one question can be answered with increasing confidence: Is this, as President Obama claims, the best possible deal?
Yes, indeed, it is. The best possible deal for the Iranians.
They continue enriching. They maintain their R&D to enable a speedier breakout to the bomb when they so choose. They can keep the inspectors at bay. They never have to come clean on past nuclear weapons work. They can continue missile development. They get their sanctions relief. Their coffers are swelled. The prospect of the regime being ousted by domestic reformers, already small, is reduced still further; they can now throw money at any domestic problems. They can merrily orchestrate terrorism and intimidate regional foes.
Truly, it is the best deal Iran could possibly have imagined — to an extent that becomes clearer to the rest of us with each passing day. You don’t have to be a war-monger or a lobbyist to see that. You just have to read the small print, to listen to the leadership in Tehran, and to watch developments in our bloody region. And don’t forget, there’s a second IAEA-Iran side deal whose details have yet to come to light.
That “what if” question is a tough one, indeed. What if we vote against? What if we defy the president?
But there’s another side to that question, which those anguished, responsible Democratic legislators must also ask themselves: What if we let this bad joke of a deal go through?
Israel, Republicans fume at secret deal that lets Iran inspect its own suspect nuke site
While the White House declined to comment on the reported document, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz immediately issued a caustic response. “One must welcome this global innovation and outside-the-box thinking,” he said in a statement dripping with sarcasm. “One can only wonder if the Iranian inspectors will also have to wait 24 days before being able to visit the site and look for incriminating evidence?”
Steinitz, the Israeli government’s point man on Iran, was alluding to the complex clauses in the agreement reached last month between world powers and Iran aimed at curbing its nuclear program, one of which provides Iran with 24-days notice of efforts to inspect suspect sites.
Republican senators were also furious. “This side agreement shows that true verification is a sham, and it begs the question of what else the administration is keeping from Congress,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader. McCarthy also complained that Congress learned of the IAEA deal from the AP report and not from the administration.
John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican senator, said, “Trusting Iran to inspect its own nuclear site and report to the UN in an open and transparent way is remarkably naive and incredibly reckless. This revelation only reinforces the deep-seated concerns the American people have about the agreement.”
Report: Organizer of Military Letter In Support of Nuclear Deal Has Ties to Iran
Former Rear Admiral James Barnett, who organized an open letter in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran that was signed last week by 36 retired military officers, is employed by a lobbying firm with ties to Tehran, Kyle Shideler reported in Townhall today.
The firm in question, Venable LLP, is closely associated with “the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), an Iranian-American group, with its own political PAC,” which is one of Venable’s clients. According to Shideler, “PAAIA is openly working in favor of the Iran Deal, and signed a joint statement with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group with long-established ties to the Iranian regime. One of PAAIA’s “Founding Donors” was Venable Partner Robert S. Babayi.”
Shideler wrote that Babayi is “a U.S. Advisory Team member for IBridges, an organization that works to promote High Tech entrepreneurship in Iran,” as well as a co-founder of the Iranian American Bar Association, for which Venable held presentations “on Iranian Americans living in or doing business in Iran and Iran sanctions laws.”
Could Parchin leak sway undecideds on Iran deal?
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, complained that “this type of unorthodox agreement has never been done before by the IAEA and speaks to the great lengths our negotiators took to accommodate the Ayatollah [Ali Khamenei] despite repeated assurances from the administration that this deal is not based on trust.”
Even before the “unorthodox” inspections protocol was revealed, Corker had voiced his opposition to the deal, warning in an op-ed in the Washington Post that “the inspections process is deeply flawed.”
“Through verbal presentations regarding possible military dimensions, many in Congress are aware of the unorthodox arrangements agreed to by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the administration and our negotiating partners to keep from upsetting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,” Corker complained in the article. “Those actual agreements remain secret, but we know that at best they are most unusual and speak to the P5+1’s low commitment to holding Iran’s feet to the fire.”
Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a frequent participant in Capitol Hill hearings on the deal, described the parameters delineated in the leaked document as “a dangerous precedent.
“President Obama’s Iran deal is a massive bet on verification and inspection of a nuclear program that will expand over time as key restrictions disappear under the agreement,” he said. “Now we are learning that verification and inspection of military sites where Iran has engaged in weaponization activities seems to be based on Iranian self-verification and self-inspection. That’s a dangerous precedent and consistent with Iran’s repeated claims that no weapons inspectors will ever get into its military sites.”
IAEA says it’s satisfied with Parchin inspection agreement
The inspection of the Parchin military base by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is linked to a broader probe of allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear deal reached last month between Tehran and six world powers.
“The separate arrangements of the roadmap are consistent with the IAEA verification practice and they meet the IAEA requirements,” Serge Gas, a spokesman for the agency, said in a statement.
The IAEA spokesman added that the organization was required by law not to reveal the details of its agreements with Iran.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano issued a statement later Thursday saying he was disturbed that the AP report “suggested” that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran.
While noting the side deal is confidential, “I can state that the arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our safeguards standards in any way,” Amano said.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman of Iran’s nuclear agency was quoted on state TV calling the AP report “media speculation” without denying its substance.
White House ‘comfortable’ with Iran ‘self-inspecting’ suspect nuke site
The White House on Wednesday said it was “confident” in the abilities of the International Agency for Atomic Energy to monitor and inspect the possible military dimensions on Iran’s past nuclear work and was “comfortable” with confidential arrangements between the IAEA and Tehran to ensure compliance with the nuclear deal signed on July 14.
“As the administration has said before — including in classified briefings for both chambers of Congress — we are confident in the agency’s technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former program, issues that in some cases date back more than a decade,” White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday. He was speaking in response to an Associated Press report that revealed the IAEA has ceded investigative authority of a suspected nuclear site to Tehran.
“Just as importantly, the IAEA is comfortable with arrangements, which are unique to the agency’s investigation of Iran’s historical activities. When it comes to monitoring Iran’s behavior going forward, the IAEA has separately developed the most robust inspection regime ever peacefully negotiated to ensure Iran’s current program remains exclusively peaceful, the overarching objective of the JCPOA. Beyond that, we are not going to comment on a purported draft IAEA document,” Price said.
The revelation, based on a document seen by AP, was also shrugged off by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who said, “I truly believe in this agreement,” after announcing that House Democrats have the votes to uphold President Barack Obama’s veto of a resolution against his Iran nuclear deal, if needed.
The real reason a controversial secret side deal involving Iran is so important
There’s already doubt as to whether the roadmap gives the IAEA enough time to fully investigate the scope of Iran’s weaponizaton history. The IAEA has until December to get answers to questions about the program that the agency has had for nearly a decade.
And determining the actual state of Iran’s nuclear weaponization efforts is a crucial part of establishing an inspection baseline for the nuclear deal. The IAEA needs to be able to identify key personnel, facilities, supply chains, and past activities in order to establish exactly how far along Iran’s weaponization activities really are, and to recognise whether those activities have been restarted.
As Stein told Vox, the IAEA was “using Iranian language” in framing how these disclosure issues would be settled in the roadmap. Certainly the document pertaining to Parchin suggests that the roadmap is on somewhat favourable terms for the Iranians. But what about the second side-agreement — the one that might govern who IAEA inspectors can talk to and what facilities they can visit as part of their roadmap investigation?
The AP story isn’t necessarily important because of Parchin, which wasn’t going to be much of an information bonanza for inspectors anyway. It’s important for what it suggests about the overall inspection terms under the roadmap — and what it might say about the overall effectiveness of the international effort to investigate the extent of Iran’s nuclear weapnization work.
Senators: Obama Admin Hiding Secret Iran Deal Letters
Two leading U.S. senators are calling on the Obama administration to release secret letters to foreign governments assuring them that they will not be legally penalized for doing business with the Iranian government, according to a copy of a letter sent Wednesday to the State Department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) disclosed in the letter to the State Department that U.S. lawmakers have been shown copies of several letters sent by the Obama administration to the Chinese, German, French, and British governments assuring them that companies doing business with Iran will not come under penalty.
The Obama administration is purportedly promising the foreign governments that if Iran violates the parameters of a recently inked nuclear accord, European companies will not be penalized, according to the secret letters.
Congress became aware of these promises during closed-door briefings with the Obama administration and through documents filed by the administration under a law requiring full disclosure of all information pertaining to the accord.
Washington Think Tanks Call for More Sanctions and Pressure on European Businesses to Stay Out of Iran
Former Republican senator Jim Demint, who resigned from the Senate in 2013 to lead The Heritage Foundation, posted a video to The Daily Signal from YouTube, called “The Iran Deal Leads to War. There is a Better Way.”
Calling on Congress to “scrap this deal,” the Heritage Foundation video called on the U.S. to “stay strong on sanctions” that the video said brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place, and it urges the U.S. to “stay strong with our allies,” segueing between images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah II — although Jordan’s ambassador to the U.N. already announced Jordanian support for the P5+1 arrangement.
Meanwhile, Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies penned a piece for Foreign Policy calling the Iran deal a “ticking time bomb.”
Dubowitz was especially concerned that as European companies moved to invest in a newly opened Iran, the U.S. would have greater difficulty corralling European support for the snap back of sanctions should Iran be discovered to have cheated on its commitments to the international community via the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, announced in Vienna on July 14 and set to be adopted this October.
“Indeed, why would Europe agree to new sanctions when they have big money on the line?” wrote Dubowitz, predicting, “Their arguments against new nuclear sanctions will include questions about the credibility of evidence, the seriousness of the nuclear infractions, the appropriate level of response, and likely Iranian retaliation.”
The Dreyfus Affair 2015
The accusation that any Jewish American who opposes this ridiculous deal is elevating the interests of Israel above the United States is complete hogwash maliciously conceived and advanced by Democratic operatives (including Obama himself, who ironically and sadly campaigned on a pledge to unite all Americans) to divide, isolate and victimize their political enemies. The adminisration, incredibly, thinks it has a winning formula for a veto-proof consensus in Congress: casting its opponents as wealthy and traitorous Jews. Just like Paris at the turn of the last century.
Jews and non-Jews alike oppose the Iran deal because it is bad for the United States, Israel and the entire world. It is in no one’s interest for there to be a nuclearized Iran. It is in no one’s interest for there to be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It is in no one’s interest for terrorist organizations to be funded with billions of dollars. Indeed, Energy Secretary Moniz acknowledged this past week that the Iran deal would in fact prompt an immediate increase in terrorist activity!
The Iran deal is opposed by many more Gentiles than Jews. Jews comprise less than 5% of the American population but more than 60% of Americans, including almost all of the U.S. military, oppose the deal. So how has our great uniting President responded? In the same manner as his spiritual leader, Jeremiah Wright -- by appealing to the vilest anti-Semitic biases of the population. This is the worst type of Chicago-style politics and no other president in my lifetime has descended to such despicable behavior.
Some 115 years ago, as ugly anti-Semitic rhetoric filled the streets of Paris, a young secular Jewish journalist came to the realization that only an independent Jewish state could protect his people from a vile scourge for which there appeared to be no cure. That undeniable fact remains true today and it is a lesson that we continue to learn the hard way.
Menendez: This Is Not About Supporting The President, This Is About National Security
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez stated that if the Iranian deal is passed, and Iran does not comply with it, America will be “in a weaker position.”
Menendez appeared on “Morning Joe” Wednesday, stating, “On this question, this is more than about supporting or opposing the president. This is one of the most significant national security nuclear nonproliferation agreements we have had in some time. And I just feel that the agreement falls far short from what our stated goals were.
Menendez also said the deal will end up “preserving Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, not diminishing it, and its pathway towards a nuclear weapon is more guaranteed as a result of it at a time of their choosing.”
 'Iran trying to move Yakhont missiles and SA-22 Air Defense Systems to Hezbollah'
Iran is trying to transfer state-of the-art weaponry, including the SA-22 Air Defense System and the Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile, from military storehouses in Syria to Hezbollah, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday from Berlin.
Gold, on his first trip as foreign ministry director-general to a European capital for high- level talks, said Iran is busy trying to convert its signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, into diplomatic benefits in Europe, with Berlin one of the capitals they are active in.
Gold said he explained to his interlocutors – including-his counterpart in the German Foreign Ministry and senior officials in the German Chancellery, how the regional situation has become more complicated as a result of the Iranian nuclear deal, and that there was no evidence whatsoever that Iran was moving in a more moderate direction in 2015.
Also in Berlin at the same time, and also holding high-level meetings and apparently trying to convince the Germans of the opposite, was Iran's deputy foreign minister for Middle East affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Amir-Abdollahian, as well as Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah and the UN's special envoy on Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, were in the German capital this week to discuss the Yemen crisis. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for the Saudis to halt military operations and for a cease-fire in Yemen.
Report: Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend
Britain will reopen its embassy in Iran this weekend nearly four years after protesters ransacked the elegant ambassadorial residence and burned the British flag, a British diplomatic source said on Thursday.
"The Foreign Secretary (Philip Hammond) will travel to Iran to reopen our embassy there," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity as the trip has not been formally announced.
After a nuclear deal was reached between Iran and six major world powers including Britain, Hammond said he hoped to re-open the embassy in Tehran.
Hammond will travel to Iran this weekend for the formal opening of the embassy on Sunday. He will take a small group of business leaders with him on the trip, according to the diplomatic source.
Until a new ambassador is announced, the embassy will be led by Ajay Sharma, until now the non-resident chargé d'affaires.
Largest Jewish Denomination Refuses to Back Iran Deal
The Reform Jewish movement, the liberal denomination that represents a plurality of American Jews, has declined to endorse, or oppose, the Iran deal.
In a statement, the Reform movement said:
At this time, there is no unity of opinion among the Reform Movement leadership – lay and rabbinic alike – just as there is not unity among our membership as to the JCPOA itself; but there is unity as to the important questions and concerns we pose in this statement. Thus, there is simply no clarity that would support taking a position “for” or “against” the JCPOA itself.
The statement recounts the arguments both for and against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reiterates that Iran is a threat to both the U.S. and Israel. The statement adds that it is “deeply concerned about the tension, and the harsh rhetoric, in the discourse between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu” and hopes that the relationship between the two governments can be repaired.
The statement adds that the Reform movement is concerned about the use of antisemitic language in the debate over the Iran deal: “It is essential that this debate not be allowed to create a lasting rift between Israel and the U.S., between North American Jews and Israelis, or among American Jews. We are concerned, as well, with the possibility that some will use the debate as fuel for anti-Semitic views.”
Ice Cream Magnates Ben & Jerry Promote Iran Nuclear Deal
Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen, the well known founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, have come out in support of President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.
In an email to activists, the pair encouraged fellow liberals to help campaign for the deal, encouraging Democrats to support Obama.
“We’re writing today about keeping America out of another war in the Middle East,” they write in a message featuring their picture.
The pair has already publicly endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president in 2016 and even provided free ice cream for one of his political events.
Although Cohen and Greenfield founded Ben and Jerry’s, they sold it to British-Dutch corporation for $326 million in 2000.
Israel and Hamas 'holding direct talks in an African state', says Mahmoud Abbas
Israeli and Hamas are meeting “in an African country” to hold direct longterm ceasefire talks, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has claimed.
Mr Abbas said this week that representatives of the two sides that fought in last year's Gaza conflict have been conducting the negotiations for eight months.
An unnamed Israeli official from the prime minister’s office issued an explicit denial of any talks, saying “there are no meetings with Hamas”.
But Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday that several initiatives for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have been attempted, including some by Tony Blair.
Mr Blair has been “perhaps the most significant individual to begin dealing with cease-fire initiatives in Gaza in recent months”, the paper said.
MEMRI: Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat's Positions On Israel Show Increasing Radicalization
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas has confirmed that on July 23, 2015, Saeb Erekat, for the past two decades chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator in the ongoing talks with Israel (though now in an unofficial capacity), had met in Jordan with Sylvan Shalom, the Israeli minister in charge of the negotiations. At that meeting, said 'Abbas, Erekat had stipulated that the PA will renew the negotiations and meet its obligations under previous agreements only if Israel ceases construction in the settlements and releases 30 Palestinian prisoners. Recently 'Abbas appointed Erekat, whom many Palestinians hold responsible for the ongoing failure of the talks with Israel, as PLO Executive Committee secretary-general, replacing Yassir 'Abd Rabbo whom 'Abbas had fired from this post. Palestinian dignitaries and columnists view Erekat's appointment to this post as 'Abbas's vote of confidence in Erekat, and also as a signal that 'Abbas views him as a candidate to succeed him as PA president.
In recent years, Erekat has conspicuously taken inflexible positions towards Israel; he also led the measure to indict Israel at the International Criminal Court. Some assess that the positions taken by Erekat were designed to project a patriotic and combative approach to mask his meager negotiating achievements, while rallying public support for his future PA presidential candidacy.
Erekat's inflexibility vis-à-vis Israel has been expressed as follows: calling for internationalizing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and convening an international conference; supporting an economic boycott of Israel; and depicting Hamas as a movement that does not engage in terrorist activity.
Erekat also accuses Israel of rejecting a two-state solution, of attempting to have 'Abbas removed from his post, and of being a terrorist state like the Islamic State (ISIS). He also maintains that Israel's actions in the July-August 2014 Gaza war were tantamount to extermination of the Gazans.
Palestinian Document Retreats from Peace Process Vows; Where’s the Coverage?
Now that negotiations between the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany with Iran over its presumed nuclear weapons program have been completed, some commentators and politicians have anticipated renewed U.S. involvement in Palestinian-Israel diplomacy. But a position paper submitted by head Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to Palestinian Authority leaders on June 18, 2015 suggests a retreat from previous commitments to end terrorism and support a two-state solution.
According to a July 1 analysis of Erekat’s paper by Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi (Israel Defense Forces, Ret.), now with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the main points include:
1. Annulling Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO’s) recognition of Israel;
2. Insisting on the “right to return” of Palestinian “refugees” along with their descendants to Israel;
3. Strategic cooperation with Hamas and Islamic Jihad by integrating them into the PLO’s institutions;
4. Waging an all-out “peaceful and popular struggle” against Israel (defined by Palestinian leadership as local terror attacks), coupled with a legal battle against Israel in the international arena aimed at constraining Israel’s ability to defend itself against Palestinian terror; and
5. A diplomatic campaign to recruit international support to coerce an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines.
Report: Hamas Leader Invited to Visit London
Azzam Tamimi, formerly the head of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, which is considered to be affiliated with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, claimed on Wednesday that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair invited Mashaal to London to hold talks about the truce agreement with Israel.
In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala newspaper, Tamimi said that the visit did not take place because Hamas demanded to find out the details of the proposal in advance, and opposed the idea that the talks would be a continuation of the Oslo process or an attempt to revive peace talks with Israel.
Tamimi further claimed that Blair received the approval of British Prime Minister David Cameron for Mashaal’s visit, and that Hamas has an interest in the visit taking place, regardless of its outcome, since it shows the EU’s willingness to break its “siege” on Hamas in preparation for its removal from its blacklist of terrorist organizations.
He said that European officials have a keen interest in reaching a peaceful agreement, which includes the gradual removal of the blockade on Gaza, adding that the success of a move in Gaza may prepare the ground for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
Abbas said quitting chairmanship of PLO executive
Lebanese and Palestinian sources say Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has quit the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen television outlet said Wednesday that other senior PA officials would join Abbas in resigning.
Channel 10’s Arab affairs analyst Hezi Simantov tweeted that “Palestinian sources” said Abbas would resign as chair of the PLO’s key executive body, but had not done so yet. The resignation is expected on Saturday, they said.
The move does not affect Abbas’s standing as Palestinian Authority president, but reflects growing dissatisfaction and factionalism in Palestinian politics.
There was no official confirmation of the reports from Palestinian officials.
Elected in 2005, Abbas is now in the eleventh year of what was supposed to be a four-year term. He has threatened to resign or dissolve the Palestinian Authority several times since becoming president of the PA.
Israel urges UN to investigate official for misconduct
Israel's ambassador to the U.N. is urging its internal watchdog to investigate the head of a U.N. agency for misconduct, accusing her of "modern-day anti-Semitism." Last year, he tried unsuccessfully to get Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to suspend Rima Khalaf.
Ambassador Ron Prosor met Carmen Lapointe, the head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, late last month and called for a disciplinary hearing against Khalaf, a Jordanian who heads the Beirut-based U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, which promotes economic and social development in 17 Arab countries.
A letter from the ambassador to Lapointe obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press said, "Ms. Khalaf has abused her position in order to promote an anti-Israel agenda, in a flagrant violation of U.N. obligations and principles."
Khalaf told The Associated Press in Beirut on Wednesday that she stands by her statements highlighting "Israel's documented violations of international law against the Palestinian people" and rejecting "the concept of religious or ethnic purity of states."
"I am surprised that rejecting discrimination, and reiterating the principles of equality and justice in the U.N. Charter, can still be contested by anyone," Khalaf said.
Nixon-era documents show US sought to curb Israeli nuke ambitions
Documents from the Nixon administration, recently declassified, indicate the US was concerned about Israel’s nuclear program and sought to convince Jerusalem to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), a document that Israel, to this day, has not signed.
The 1,100-page official report, which covers meetings from 1969-1976 and details American strategy on Israel’s program, comes weeks after Iran and world powers reached a deal to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
A July 19, 1969 memorandum from then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger to President Richard Nixon outlined the proposed approach to Israel, and showed a vested interest in keeping the Israeli nuclear program from becoming public knowledge. Israel today still upholds its policy of “nuclear ambiguity” — neither denying nor confirming the existence of nuclear weapons.
The memorandum also highlighted disagreement between the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, and State Department on what demands to present to Israel, and whether to threaten to withhold its supply of weapons. All agreed, however, that urging Israel to sign the NPT was a top priority.
Kissinger, meanwhile, sought to keep information on Israeli nuclear efforts under wraps, maintaining that “public knowledge [of Israel’s nuclear program] is almost as dangerous as possession itself.”
Iron Dome sent to Ashdod amid fears over hunger striker's fate
The IDF on Thursday deployed the Iron Dome missile defense system near the port city of Ashdod amid fears that a deterioration in the condition of a Palestinian hunger striker could provoke revenge rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Doctors said Mohammed Allaan, who was being treated in the Barzilai Medical Center in nearby Ashkelon, had opened his eyes and was responding to his surroundings, but it was still not clear if he had suffered any brain damage as a result of his 64-day hunger strike.
Dr. Hezy Levy of Barzilai hospital said Allan is showing “great improvement.” He said Allan had been taken off a respirator and started to communicate and was “on the right path.”
Allaan had been in an induced coma due to his condition but doctors revived him during the day Thursday and he was reportedly prepared to start taking food orally. Despite the improvement, doctors said he was still in serious condition, Channel 2 news reported.
Country Told To Wait Home 10AM-5PM For Iron Dome Delivery (satire)
In anticipation of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the IDF has said it will deploy an Iron Dome antimissile battery to protect the area of this port city, and that the country must stay home between the hours of ten in the morning and five in the afternoon today to take delivery.
An Islamic Jihad leader currently in administrative detention began a hunger strike two months ago, and was eventually hospitalized. Islamic Jihad vowed violence against Israel if the man dies, while others have debated the legality and wisdom of force-feeding him. The IDF decided to move an Iron Dome battery into position to protect Ashdod, Israel’s second-busiest port city, in case the threats materialize. In the meantime, however, Israel must forfeit a day of work to receive the system.
“Somebody has to be there to sign for it,” said delivery man Rosh Katann. “With traffic and other unpredictable factors, we can only give an approximate window for delivery. That’s just the way it is.”
The size of the delivery window has Israel grumbling even with the acknowledgement that a precise time would be impossible, and that it would be unfair to require delivery outside of normal work hours. “I know I can’t expect the delivery people to know exactly what time they’re going to show up, but do they really need all day? It’s not as if they have some other Iron Dome battery to deliver, so what’s with the uncertainty?”
Four rockets fired from Syria land in northern Israel
Four rockets were fired from Syria into northern Israel on Thursday, the IDF confirmed. Two of the projectiles landed in the Upper Galilee and two landed in the Golan Heights.
The landing of the rockets came after sirens were sounded in communities throughout the North.
Fires broke out in the area as a result of the projectile fire. Northern District firefighters were on the scene in an attempt to put out the blazes.
There were no initial reports of injuries or damage to structures.
IDF forces continued to search the area for the remnants of the rockets and local residents were told to return to their normal routines.
Doctors fight to save eye of IED-hit soldier
Doctors operated overnight Wednesday to save the eye of an IDF soldier who was wounded in a bomb attack on an army post south of Jerusalem.
Officials at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem said after the surgery that the soldier was doing well.
The soldier was moderately injured by an improvised explosive device thrown at the entrance of the Panorama army post near the West Bank settlement of Har Gilo and the Palestinian village of Beit Jala between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, along the tunnel road that leads to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.
The soldier was injured in his eye, face and shoulder.
IDF forces swept the area for the perpetrators of the attack, but did not report catching anyone.
IDF keeps Hamas chiefs locked down over Israelis held in Gaza
Israel denied a request by a top Hamas official for his sisters to be permitted to visit the Gaza Strip to take part in a wedding, attributing the decision to the group’s apparent detention of two Israelis.
Hamas’s Gaza political bureau chief and former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh asked Israel on humanitarian grounds to allow his three sisters, all of whom live in a Bedouin community in Israel, to travel to Gaza so they could attend his son’s wedding.
IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who serves as Israel’s de facto military liaison to the Palestinians, said Israel would not take Haniyeh’s humanitarian needs into consideration because Israel’s own “humanitarian issues” in Gaza were not being taken into consideration by Hamas’s leadership — a reference to two Israeli men being held captive in Gaza.
“Just like your son’s wedding is a humanitarian matter, so too Israel has humanitarian issues in Gaza,” Mordechai said in a statement.
BREAKING Spy Dolphin Captured by Hamas ‘Part of Zionist Conspiracy’, Says Official (satire)
The allegedly heavily armed Jewish marine mammal was captured just off the shore of Gaza. The Hamas spokesperson declared the capture to be, ‘A gift from god – we are ecstatic.
‘He hasn’t said much yet. We’re waterboarding him every few minutes, and hanging him upside down, but he’s staying strong at the minute, tight-lipped. Every so often he laughs at us.’
Asked how, as most marine biologists consider dolphins to be a generally passive species, it had been identified as a combatant and how his nationality was determined, the Hamas spokesperson was enraged. ‘Are you calling us liars?’
‘We captured him wearing his Israeli ID tied around a flipper, and he answers to the name ‘Moshe’. So f__k you. God if he wasn’t such an enemy of my people I’d find him friggin’ adorable.’
Head of Special Secret Marine Activities at the IDF, General Waterberg, issued a statement; ‘The IDF does not comment as a matter of course on our special maritime operations. However, if Flipper is listening to this, ‘click click, whistle, click.’
Tensions Flare in Gaza as Israel Responds to Capture of its Spy Dolphin by Kidnapping the Hamas Bumblebee (satire)
The region is on edge as Israel retaliated for the capture of its spy dolphin off the Gaza coast by kidnapping Nachool the Hamas Bumblebee. Nachool, the host of a popular Gaza children’s show where he says some not-so-nice things about Jews, was snatched up late Wednesday evening and spirited away to an undisclosed location. While to date there has been no official statement from the Israeli government, the Daily Freier spoke to a Shin Bet agent known only as “Motti” for the inside scoop.
“After Hamas captured our dolphin Shlomi, we knew we would need a bargaining chip to get him back. So our sources in Gaza told us that Nachool spends Wednesday evenings at his mistress’s hive and is usually strung out on pollen. When our team kicked in the door, he was so out of it that he didn’t even have a chance to sting us. We were out the door and in the van in 30 seconds.”
After the kidnapping, the streets of Gaza exploded in anger, as locals raged at perceived informants who betrayed their beloved Bumblebee. Incidentally, Gaza police arrested local television personality Farfour the Mouse on suspicion that he had a role in his rival’s kidnapping.
International reaction to Israel’s action was swift, with Amnesty International, which described Nachool the Bumblebee as “a fruit merchant”, calling for a UN Security Council statement condemning Israel’s actions. United States Secretary of State Kerry, who was in the region to host a matkot tournament, told the Daily Freier that he was for Israel’s actions before he was against them.
Abbas orders Palestinian NGO closed in spat with former deputy
A Palestinian NGO in Ramallah headed by PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo said Wednesday that it had learned from the media about a decision to close down the group.
Palestinian sources said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had issued an order to close the Palestinian Peace Coalition (PPC) and confiscate its assets.
Abbas recently dismissed Abed Rabbo from his job as secretary-general of the PLO, a position that chief negotiator Saeb Erekat now holds.
PA officials in Ramallah would neither confirm nor deny the reports about the decision to shut down the NGO.
Established in 2000, the Swiss-funded PPC consists of senior Palestinian officials, businessmen, political activists and intellectuals, as well as ministers and members of the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council.
In Feature-Length Film, Hamas Depicts its 'Victory' over Israel
Hamas's media arm, "Al Aqsa," has released a feature-length drama to mark one years since last summer's war.
The 55-minute, slickly-produced film is entitled "Ambushes of Death," and intersperses testimonies from terrorists who took part in fighting against the IDF with dramatizations of their battles during Operation Protective Edge.
The film portrays the war as a "victory" for Hamas, despite it not having achieved its stated goals of ending Israel's blockade of Gaza, and despite the massive damage wrought to its military infrastructure and loses inflicted to its fighting force. The 50-day war ended with a ceasefire on August 26, which has largely held despite intermittent rocket fire from Gazan terrorist factions.
In the movie, actors playing Hamas terrorists can be seen reenacting various missions, including fighting at close quarters, burrowing through tunnels into Israel and laying ambushes for Israeli soldiers. At one point, the film depicts a terrorist crawling undetected to an Israel tank to lay an explosive charge.
The terrorists are portrayed as heroes, committed to their cause and willing to die. In illustrating their members' thirst for "martyrdom," the Hamas propaganda film also dramatized the death in combat of several terrorists, and the entire production is interspersed with recitals from the Quran.
ISIS claims credit for Cairo courthouse bomb which wounded 29
Islamic State's Egypt affiliate said it was behind a car bombing that wounded 29 people near a state security building and courthouse in a Cairo suburb early on Thursday.
A statement circulated on Twitter by supporters of the group, Sinai Province, said the bomb was a reprisal for the execution of six of its members convicted of carrying out an attack north of the Egyptian capital last year.
"Let the apostates of the police and army, the followers of Jews, know we are a people who do not forget our revenge," the statement said.
Chaos Ensues as Street Band Plays ‘Jewish Music’ Near Mosque in Turkey (VIDEO)
Members of a street band were attacked in the streets of Istanbul on Monday after they were accused of playing “Jewish music,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
According to the report, eyewitnesses who filmed the tumultuous incident said that devout Muslim worshipers from a nearby mosque harassed the musicians, cursing at them and threatening them with physical harm.
“You cannot play Jewish music or Israeli music,” one of the assailants yelled at at the group.
The band, called Grup Mektup, was not without with its defenders however. Footage that accompanied the report shows passersby protecting the group, with one elderly man shoving and making dismissive hand gestures at one of the agitated worshipers.
Others joined the man in protesting the harassment of the musical group.

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