Thursday, August 27, 2015

From Ian:

Palestinian who stabbed officer was freed in 2013 after murdering professor
The Palestinian who stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli border policeman in Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday evening is the convicted killer of an Israel Prize winning professor.
Muammar Ata Mahmoud, 56 of Hebron, was released in 2013 as part of an ultimately unsuccessful round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Ynet news reported.
Mahmoud, along with Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim (also released in 2013) was convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University. Stern was stabbed to death while walking to work at the university’s Givat Ram campus on June 22, 1989. In addition, the two murdered a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel, Hassin Zaid.
Stern’s daughter Meira Stern-Glick protested the pair’s release at the time, saying it caused her “great distress” and called their freedom unjust.
“These people are murderers,” she said. “A person who murdered in cold blood should sit for life.”
Mahmoud was overpowered by other Border Police officers after stabbing the officer in the leg outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.
Despite Confession, Ramallah Lynch Terrorist 'Not a Murderer'
Fifteen years after the infamous “Ramallah lynching,” in which Arabs brutally murdered two IDF soldiers, a military court has decided that that one of its participants isn't a murderer, after all.
Marwan Ma'adi was convicted on Thursday of assault for his role in the murders, after his attorney successfully argued that Ma'adi “could not predict the final results of the spontaneous action he participated in.”
In the midst of the second Intifada on October 10, 2000, two IDF reserve soldiers, Yosef Avrahami and Vadim Nurzhitz who lost their way found themselves in Ramallah, where they were murdered and mutilated in a Palestinian Police station.
The soldiers were beaten, stabbed, had their eyes gouged out, and were disemboweled.
Since the incident, the IDF has been hunting down those who participated in the lynching, with several sentenced to long prison terms
For example, Aziz Salha, the murderer who appeared at the window of the police station displaying his bloody hands to a cheering crowd, was arrested in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison. He was among the terrorists released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal in 2011.
Ma'adi, a member of Hamas, was arrested in 2012 and admitted participating in the lynch. It was on that basis that the army sought to imprison him for a long-term sentence as well – if not on charges of murder, then on charges of being an accessory to murder.
However, his attorney, I'ad Mahmid, claimed that the IDF could not prove that his client was part of the lynch.
Rocket from Gaza explodes in Israeli territory
A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open field in Israel Wednesday night. There were no casualites in the attack and no damage was reported.
The rocket landed in the Eshkol Regional Council of the Western Negev. Local residents said no warning sirens had sounded prior to the explosion.
Security officials said the projectile had fallen near the border fence, possibly explaining the lack of sirens.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.
Israel strikes Hamas site after Gaza rocket attack
The Israeli military carried out an airstrike in the central Gaza Strip Wednesday night, in response to a Palestinian rocket attack earlier.
The army said it struck a Hamas weapons production facility in the center of the territory, stating that it considered Hamas to be solely responsible for the happenings in the Gaza Strip.
There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Palestinian side.
The military noted that eight rockets had been fired from Gaza since the beginning of the month. Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the army would “not tolerate any attempt to undermine the security of Southern Israel. The Hamas terror organization is responsible for today’s attack against Israel.”

Officer Injured in Jerusalem Molotov Cocktail Attack on Border Police Vehicle
A Molotov cocktail was hurled by Palestinians at a police cruiser in Jerusalem’s Abu Tor neighborhood late on Wednesday, lightly wounding one of its occupants, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
Border Guard officers traveling in the vehicle managed to escape before it was engulfed in flames. One of the officers, however, was treated for smoke inhalation.
According to the report, a firefighting team that rushed to the scene to extinguish the flames was attacked by stone throwers. Eventually, the firefighters were able to successfully reach the burning jeep and prevent the fire from spreading to nearby houses. Another vehicle adjacent to the burning jeep, however, caught fire and an electrical pole was damaged.
Hamas Showcases Terror Tunnel Unit in New Video
A new clip published by Hamas on Wednesday night depicts terrorist fighters training for attacks against Israel inside terror tunnels.
These underground tunnels, which connect Hamas-controlled Gaza to Israel's southern Gaza belt, have been preserved or rebuilt since Operation Protective Edge last summer.
The terrorists of the so-called "tunnel unit" are seen practicing organized action, infiltration, attacking Israel military and civilian targets and evacuation of the wounded.
In the carefully edited video, Hamas terrorists simulate firing at Israeli targets, taking over military posts and murdering an Israeli soldier at close range.
Hamas also announced Wednesday that it will publish on Thursday "the secret" of IDF soldier Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed during Operation Protective Edge.
Goldin was slain, along with two other IDF soldiers, during a Hamas ambush in Rafia and his body was subsequently abducted by Hamas terrorists.
U.N. Nuclear Watchdog: Iran May Have Built Extension at Disputed Military Site
Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report on Thursday delving into a major part of its inquiry into possible military dimensions to Tehran’s past atomic activity.
A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Parchin file, which includes a demand for fresh IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran’s July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.
The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said:
“Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building appears to have constructed.”
The changes were first observed last month, a senior diplomat familiar with the IAEA investigation said.
The IAEA says any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since U.N. inspectors last visited in 2005 could jeopardize its ability to verify Western intelligence suggesting Tehran carried out tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations more than a decade ago. Iran has dismissed the intelligence as “fabricated”.
Iran Could Fund Own Nuclear Inspections (not satire)
The Department of State on Tuesday left open the possibility that Iran could partially fund international inspections of its own contested nuclear sites, raising concerns that the Islamic Republic is being given too much control over the implementation of the recent deal reached with world powers.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the Department of State, declined to answer multiple questions about how international inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites would be paid for by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is requesting at least $10 million to carry out the work.
The United States will likely fund some portion of the cost, and Kirby left open the possibility that Iran could also foot some of the bill.
The matter has been the subject of much speculation in recent days after it came to light that Iran would be permitted to inspect its own nuclear sites, raising the possibility that Iran could continue to hide nuclear weapons work.
“I don’t have any specific funding contributions to speak to today in terms of amount,” Kirby told reporters. “We’re still working our way through that. I do want to add that we have every intention to continue to contribute to the IAEA for the purpose of this—doing this very important work of the verification of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments.”
“I won’t speak for Iran,” Kirby added. “I don’t know what, if any, commitments Iran has or will engender under this, but we’ve—as we noted in the statement, we’re committed to working with all the member states to ensure that the IAEA has the resources that it needs.”
Nearly 200 Retired Generals and Admirals Tell Congress to Reject Iran Deal
A group of nearly 200 retired generals and admirals sent an open letter to Congress urging U.S. lawmakers to reject the Iran nuclear deal.
“The agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies,” states the letter, which was first reported by the Washington Post.
The letter, addressed to Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, is a response to one sent last week that was signed by 36 retired senior military officers who supported the nuclear deal.
The group of former high-ranking military officials include William G. “Jerry” Boykin, undersecretary of defense for intelligence under president George W. Bush; John Poindexter, national security advisor under president Ronald Reagan; and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who was vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
“What I don’t like about this is, the number one leading radical Islamic group in the world is the Iranians,” McInerney told the Washington Post. “They are purveyors of radical Islam throughout the region and throughout the world. And we are going to enable them to get nuclear weapons. Why would we do that?”
State laughs off 195 retired brass opposing Iran deal
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby on Wednesday laughed off a letter from 195 retired admirals and generals opposing the Iran nuclear agreement, and dodged questions about why letters of support for the deal being touted by the government should be believed when they have far fewer signatures on them than the letters opposing it.
The Obama administration had hyped a letter from three dozen retired admirals and generals in support of the deal, only to be trumped by a letter sent to Congress on Wednesday in which 195 retired admirals and generals rejected the deal. The administration also put out a letter from rabbis in favor of the deal, but opponents of the deal immediately followed suit with more than twice as many signatures against it.
"It's getting to be kind of a weekly exercise ... [F]irst the administration comes out and promotes a letter by a certain number of former or current officials, and then the opponents of the Iran deal come out with a larger number," said Associated Press reporter Matt Lee.
Kirby laughed and seemed to reject the question by saying, "It's not about the numbers, Matt."
"It's not?" asked Lee.
Grayson Rips Iran Deal: ‘Mothballs’ Nuclear Program, Does ‘Nothing’ to Address Iranian Sponsorship of Terrorism
Far-left Rep. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.) ripped the Iran nuclear deal in an interview with Al Jazeera America on Thursday morning, saying all it does is “mothball” Iran’s nuclear ambitions and does “nothing” to bring about peace or address Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism.
Despite his sharp rhetoric, Grayson would not say whether he was voting for or against the agreement being fiercely pushed by President Obama.
“I’m still undecided and frankly conflicted,” Grayson said. “I don’t think that the deal will bring about the peace that we were hoping to see between Iran and its neighbors. It does nothing to address terrorism support by Iran for militant groups around the area, involvement in what amounts to the Shi’i-Sunni civil war that’s raging from the Middle East.”
Anchor Stephanie Sy protested, saying those aspects were not part of the “parameters of the deal.”
“This deal was supposed to constrain Iran’s ability to get a nuclear weapon,” Sy said. “Do you believe it does that? Are you leaning one or the way the other on that?”
“Well, that’s the problem,” Grayson said. “I’ve been saying for years that we needed a broader peace, and in fact, all it does is mothball for a period of time the Iranian nuclear program. It doesn’t bring about anything even remotely resembling peace in the region, and it should have. That should have been the goal all along, and I’ve been saying that now for years.”

Maloney Becomes Latest Democratic Rep to Oppose Iran Deal: ‘It’s a Matter of Conscience’
Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) became the latest Democratic representative to oppose President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, announcing her opposition on Wednesday.
“I am concerned that, even if Iran complies with the restraints spelled out throughout the life of the agreement, the deal does not block Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons,” wrote Maloney on her official website, after telling the New York Daily News that she was voting against the deal “as a matter of conscience.”
Maloney cited the usual list of concerns among opponents of the deal: that it immediately gives Iran’s leaders access to some $50 billion; that it relaxes weapons sanctions against Iran, including ballistic missiles sanctions in five and then eight years; that in 13-15 years, Iran will be a legitimate nuclear threshold state; and that Iran will have 24 days before it has to allow nuclear inspectors access to undeclared but suspicious nuclear sites.
She also expressed concerns that Iran will be able to boost its support for terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the macabre government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, who announced this week they had fired Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia.
She said it was “difficult to imagine” that at least some amount of the windfall cash Tehran is expected to receive when sanctions are lifted with the deal’s implementation next year would not fall into the hands of these dangerous Middle East actors.
Billboards Go Up in Baltimore Urging Cardin, Mikulski to Vote ‘No’ on Iran
On Wednesday, Aug. 25, the non-partisan, non-profit organization United Against a Nuclear Iran Action, placed seven billboards across Baltimore urging Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski to vote against the Nuclear Iran Deal.
The seven billboards read: “Ask Senators Mikulski and Cardin to Stand Strong and Oppose the Iran Nuclear Deal.”
Senator Cardin is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Senator Mikulski is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
UANI is an advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons. UANI was founded in 2008 by Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former CIA Director Jim Woolsey and Middle East expert Dennis Ross.
UANI’s private sanctions campaigns and state and Federal legislative initiatives focus on ending the economic and financial support of the Iranian regime because of its nuclear weapons program, support for terrorism and gross human rights violations.
White House pushes for Iran filibuster
President Barack Obama’s almost certain to get the Iran nuclear deal — but whether he gets there by filibuster or sustained veto could make all the difference.
A Democratic filibuster in the Senate would be a clear victory for the president, allowing Obama to say that for all the political noise there wasn’t enough actual opposition to the nuclear agreement with the Islamic republic to even get to a final vote.
Having to save the deal with a veto (just the fifth of his presidency) and relying on liberals in the House and Senate to sustain it would be much more trouble: a procedural pull across the finish line that sows more doubts in a public already skeptical of the deal, leaves international partners worried about America’s long-term commitment and adds weeks of added time and tangles.
The White House very much prefers option A. And even before he came out publicly for the deal on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had been in frequent contact with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough to try to make that happen.
Biden will meet Jewish leaders in Miami to promote Iran deal
Vice President Joe Biden will meet with American Jewish leaders in Florida to make the case for the Iran nuclear deal.
Biden, who is pondering a campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election, will appear at a small round-table event in Miami on Sept. 3, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, helped convene the meeting, according to the Journal. Wasserman Schultz, who is Jewish and represents a district with a large Jewish population, has not yet announced whether or not she will support the deal, which lifts sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.
The Israeli government and many American Jewish organizations oppose the deal, as do most congressional Republicans. Congress will vote in September on whether to approve the deal reached between six world powers, including the United States, and Iran. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any legislation aimed at blocking the deal.
Numerous Jewish Democratic fundraisers are expected to attend next week’s meeting with Biden.
Israeli Left Shifts Right, Leaving J Street Behind
J Street and Ameinu should have a problem now that it turns out that “Israel’s most decorated military leader” pushed for an Israeli bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities.
Israelis will argue about whether Barak did something wrong by speaking openly now about his lobbying for bombing. Whatever the merits of the arguments on either side of that question, let’s not lose sight of the significance of the revelation that this hero of the Israeli left wants to bomb Iran – while his erstwhile admirers on the American Jewish left are lobbying for surrender to Iran. Oops!
And Barak is not alone. Labor leader Herzog calls the Iran agreement “a horrible deal, one that will go down as the tragedy of the ages.”
Herzog says that “There are clear risks to Israel’s security in this deal…it will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it’s going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children.”
Herzog is calling Iran “an empire of evil and hate that spreads terror across the region.”
Herzog has warned that the deal will enable Iran “to become a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so.” Moreover, Herzog has said Iran will take the funds it obtains after sanctions are lifted and use them to resupply Hizbullah and Hamas, and “generally increase the worst type of activities that they’ve been doing.”
Herzog’s partner in the opposition leadership, former foreign minister and justice minister Tzipi Livni, has likewise condemned this “bad deal.”
Iran: Holocaust denial contains an appeal to repeat it
Holocaust denial is one of the the three key sides of an ideological triangle, together with elimination of Israel and demonisation of Jews, espoused by the Iranian regime. In this important interview by Karmel Melamed of the Jewish Journal, German academic Mattias Kuntzel says that current Iranian antisemitism has undoubted parallels with Nazism.
Karmel Melamed: Can you please explain why the current Iranian regime for nearly 20 years has had such a massive public and overt obsession with the subject of Holocaust denial? Why do they keep bringing up this topic as a part of their foreign policy?
How can you wish to get rid of Israel and at the same time acknowledge the truth of the Holocaust? That is impossible. Anyone who accepts the reality of the Holocaust can’t at the same time believe that the Jews are the rulers of the world and that Israel of all countries is the root of all evil. These three items: elimination of Israel, demonization of Jews and Holocaust denial – are interwoven and belong together. They form what I call an ideological triangle. If any of the three sides of this ideological triangle is absent, the whole structure collapses.
Holocaust denial is at the same time antisemitism at its peak. Whoever declares Auschwitz to be a “myth” implicitly portrays the Jews as the enemy of humankind, who for filthy lucre has been duping the rest of humanity for the past seventy years. Whoever talks of the “so-called” Holocaust suggests that over ninety percent of the world’s media and university professorships are controlled by Jews and thereby cut off from the “real” truth. In this way, precisely the same sort of genocidal hatred gets incited that helped prepare the way for the Shoah. Every denial of the Holocaust thus tacitly contains an appeal to repeat it. And that is what the Iranian leadership does.
Iran’s old-new role in the region
In the midst of direct and proxy wars, the antagonistic statements from Tehran continue right up to the writing of these lines.
Ultimately, while the framing of Iran’s expansion is clear, the Arab response has been cautious, yet pessimistic.
Today, anxiety, maneuvering, new alliances and an arms race are all visible Arab responses to Iran’s recent maneuvers. In light of these developments, it has become incumbent on the Arabs to shoulder their own responsibilities and to coordinate with one another completely and totally in a manner displayed only by Cairo and Riyadh thus far.
Other than Saudi Arabia and Egypt, there is no one more aware of the coming danger and more capable of meeting the challenge than Tel Aviv.
Therefore, there must be discussion of the possibility of benefiting from Israel’s capabilities, either openly or secretly, in order to ensure the peaceful and free coexistence of the people of our region and to avoid a nuclear arms race, the results of which would be disastrous not only for the region but for the entire world.
Iran Calls on US to Release 19 Prisoners
Iran urged the United States Wednesday to release 19 Iranians detained on sanctions-related offences, a day after ruling out a prisoner swap with a Washington Post reporter accused of espionage, according to AFP.
"We call on the American government and their judicial authorities to put an end to the detention of these individuals," foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said.
"None of the human rights institutes, including the United Nations rapporteurs, have followed up the situation of Iranian prisoners," she told reporters at her weekly press briefing.
On Tuesday, Hossein Ghashghavi, a deputy foreign minister, said the 19 Iranians "are innocent and we hope that conditions are prepared for their release."
He rejected any link with the case of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, a dual American-Iranian citizen.
Analyst: Growing Influence of Iran, ISIS in Afghanistan “Promotes Chaos and Radicalism”
Iran’s presence in Afghanistan, which is growing alongside that of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), “promotes chaos and radicalism” within the country and harms “forces of moderation and order,” Kyle Orton argued in an analysis published today at National Review Online.
While Iran has claimed that it has increased its funding to the Taliban in order to fight ISIS, Orton observed that this claim is dubious because the record “shows consistent Iranian support for anti-Western Sunni jihadist forces in Afghanistan from the beginning of the Western intervention in 2001.”
Iranian financial support to the Taliban has been constant since 2001, and Iran’s military support began before the invasion, continued during the invasion, when Iran offered anti-aircraft weapons to the Taliban to “use against the United States and Coalition forces,” and has been increasing since at least early 2007. A congressional report from October 2014 noted that Iran’s “lethal assistance, including light weapons,” to the Taliban was ongoing.
Iran “formalized its alliance with the Taliban by allowing the group to open an office in Mashhad” at the beginning of 2014, the Wall Street Journal recently reported. Iran has been “training Taliban fighters within its borders” at four terrorism camps.
Iran Forcibly Recruits Thousands of Afghan Refugees to Serve As “Cannon Fodder” for Assad
Thousands of Shiite Afghan refugees have been recruited by Iran to fight in defense of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today.
Shiite Iran, Assad’s key military and financial patron, denies enlisting Afghan mercenaries to fight alongside Syrian forces in the four-year conflict against opposition Sunni rebels that has left more than 240,000 people dead and millions displaced.
But interviews with Afghan fighters and relatives of combatants killed in Syria point to a vigorous — and sometimes coerced — recruitment drive of Shiite Hazara refugees by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps propping up Assad’s floundering regime. …
“In terms of how they are recruited, deployed, and utilized in Syria, many Afghan Shiite fighters have suffered the fate of being used as cannon fodder,” said Phillip Smyth, an expert on Shiite militant groups, who estimates there are 2,000 to 3,500 Afghans currently fighting in Syria.
Tel Aviv ‘Iran Embassy’ sign revealed as PR stunt for new film
A Tel Aviv sign announcing the opening of an “Iranian embassy,” which raised wide speculation, was revealed Thursday to be part of an advertising campaign for an upcoming film.
The movie, “Atomic Falafel,” is directed by Dror Shaul, who was behind the Israeli cult hit “Operation Grandma,” and opens in Israeli cinemas on September 10. It tells the tale of an Israeli and an Iranian girl who work together via social media to prevent a nuclear war.
The banner, which appeared in recent days opposite Rabin Square, reads, “The Iranian embassy in Israel will open here soon,” and was accompanied by the Israeli and Iranian flags and a phone number with a Tel Aviv area code.
Initially, passersby who called the phone number heard an English recording telling them to leave a message for the Iranian embassy.
Following the Thursday announcement, the message was changed to one in heavily Persian-accented Hebrew, claiming to be the voice of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
“Soon we will blow you up and there won’t be an Israel at all, but if you already called, don’t be angry or annoyed, just write down a reminder that there is a new movie, ‘Atomic Falafel,'” the would-be humorous message says.
The Historical Precedents for the Iran Nuclear Deal (PARODY)
On October 5, 2014, a huge orange fireball illuminated Tehran. The explosion took place at Parchin, an Iranian military installation used for testing nuclear weapon triggers. Windows in the capital were shattered.
Last week, the AP reported that this same Parchin facility will be subject to inspection – by the Iranians themselves.
Under a secret side agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran will provide photographs, videos, and environmental samples of the site, “using Iranian authenticated equipment.” The Director General of the IAEA will be permitted to visit the site “as a courtesy by Iran.”
The Parchin deal marks the point where tragedy turns into farce. There is no precedent for such an arrangement. Or is there?
Rivlin Vows to Protect Christians in Visit with Local Leaders '
President Reuven Rivlin visited Christian sites in the Jordan Valley on Thursday, and met with Church and community leaders, ahead of his upcoming visit to Italy and the Vatican next week.
As part of the visit, the President also visited Tabgha, and the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. In June, the church suffered an arson attack which caused serious damage.
At Tabgha, the President was met by the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, Msgr. Giuseppe Lazzarotto; the abbot responsible for the site, Father Gregory Collins, head of the Order of Saint Benedict in Israel; and German Charge D'Affairs Monika Iwersen.
The President surveyed the damage at the site caused by the arson and graffiti attack, and heard from Director of the Jerusalem office of the German Association of the Holy Land, Mr. Bernd Mussinghoff, of the plans to restore the site.
Father Collins warmly thanked the President for his support in the aftermath of the attack, and praised the police and security services for their swift and dedicated work, which had enabled the arrest of the suspects who were to face trial.
Protestors Block Erez Crossing Demanding Mengistu's Release
Nearly two dozen demonstrators blocked the entrance to Israel's Erez border crossing with Gaza on Thursday calling for the immediate release of Hamas captive Avraham (Avera) Mengistu.
Mengistu’s brother Ilan was among the protestors. He demanded that Hamas, which controls Gaza, free his brother due to his severe psychological state.
Ilan also spoke to Palestinians at the border crossing requesting that they place pressure on the terror group to release Mengistu quickly.
Mengistu entered Gaza last September due to mental illness, and has reportedly been held by Hamas ever since.
The family initially kept a low-profile when a gag order on the case was lifted several months ago, relying on the state to take action. In the past month, though, it has begun staging protests and calling on the public to help it secure Mengistu's release.
Jews Return to City of David Complex after 77 Years
Jewish families and yeshiva students moved into a large complex in the old Yemenite community in the Silwan Valley in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning, reclining [reclaiming?] another Jewish-owned property that was abandoned when the British expelled Jews in the 1930s.
The move, backed by the court that ordered eviction notices to Arab squatters, was made during the middle of the night in order not provoke friction with Arab neighbors.
The building, near the City of David across the street from the Western Wall plaza and located near other structures that have been bought by Jews in the old Yemenite Village, now is called Beit Rachel. It is a few minutes by foot from the recently redeemed sections of the original Yemenite Beit Knesset- Ohel Shlomo-Heichal Yonatan, named for Jonathan Pollard.
The original synagogue is one of the few buildings that remains in its entirety. It was one of the first buildings established in the Village by Yemenite Jews in 1885, who arrived in Jerusalem three years earlier before any Arabs were living in the Silwan neighborhood.
Following Arab pogroms of 1936-37, the synagogue was defiled, desecrated and many holy books were burnt despite British promises to protect the holy Jewish site.
Arabs squatted in the old synagogue and in other buildings, including privately owned Yemenite homes.
In August 1938, the British Authorities removed the last remaining 35-40 Yemenite Jewish families who had managed to survive many years of attacks by Arabs in riots and pogroms.
Abbas rescinds decision to shut down Geneva Initiative branch in Ramallah
The Palestinian Authority has rescinded its decision to close down the offices of the Ramallah-based branch of The Geneva Initiative, Palestinian Peace Coalition (PPC).
The decision came following international pressure on the PA leadership, Palestinian sources said.
The PPC, a Swiss-funded non-governmental organization, advocates the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel on the basis of the pre-1967 lines. One of its top leaders is Yasser Abed Rabbo, who until recently served as PLO Secretary-General.
Last week, Palestinian officials said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued a “presidential decree” ordering the closure of PPC and the seizure of its assets. The decision was seen in the context of Abbas’s efforts to silence his political opponents and critics.
Abbas dismissed Abed Rabbo from his post as PLO Secretary-General following a lengthy dispute between the two. The dismissal came after Abbas suspected that Abed Rabbo was part of a scheme to undermine the PA president, the officials said.
Seizure of Hamas Operatives Possibly Carried Out with US-Israel Cooperation
Pro-Hamas websites on Wednesday published correspondence between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, detailing the seizure of four Hamas operatives in the Sinai, indicating it was carried out with Israel-U.S. cooperation and support, NRG reported.
The letter, sent on August 15 and addressed to the Egyptian Armed Forces, is headed: “The Coordination With Egyptian Intelligence, in Order to Arrest a Cell of the Izzeldine Al-Qassam Brigades.” It is signed by Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Service and a close associate of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Faraj opens the letter by thanking officials in Cairo over the close military and intelligence coordination between Egypt and the P.A., and warns about the movement of Hamas operatives in the Sinai.
“Our sources report on the readiness of the four-member squad, belonging to the Izzeldine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. The cell intends to leave Gaza to Turkey, and from there to Iran, in order to undergo naval commando training. The cell members were given official permission from Turkey, because they are coming to the country for the purpose of studies and to receive medical assistance,” wrote Faraj.
Arab Countries Are Forcing Palestinian Exiles Back Into Syria
The trip to more welcoming countries can have deadly consequences. Turkey is the only country neighboring Syria that still allows in Palestinians fleeing the civil war, but getting there is perilous, expensive, and likely requires a trip through ISIS territory. Last week, a boat filled with Palestinians from Yarmouk Camp in Damascus capsized on its way from Lebanon to Turkey, killing nine.
As early as 2012, Jordan stopped allowing Palestinians from Syria into the country, and the policy was formalized the following year. “They should stay in Syria until the end of the crisis,” Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour announced at the time. Lebanon followed suit in 2014, and has also stopped renewing visas for Palestinians already inside. Egypt and Iraq have similar restrictions.
Despite this, thousands have managed to sneak across Syria’s borders. There are 15,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria in Jordan and 45,000 in Lebanon registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is the only international humanitarian organization allowed to provide them with assistance
Suspect arrested in 1996 Saudi bombing that killed 19 US airmen
A key suspect in the bombing of a housing complex in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US airmen almost two decades ago has been captured, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Ahmad Ibrahim al-Mughassil, who is wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, is said to be the head of the Saudi Hezbollah’s military wing, an outlawed organization whose members are drawn from the kingdom’s Shiite Muslim community.
The 48-year-old was detained in Beirut and sent to Saudi Arabia where he is being interrogated, the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat daily said quoting unnamed officials.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Saudi authorities.
The massive bomb, which also wounded more than 370 people, destroyed part of the eight-story Khobar Towers in the eastern Saudi town of Dhahran in June 1996.

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