Friday, December 18, 2015

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Rubio, Cruz and US Global Leadership
At some point between 2006 and 2008, the American people decided to turn their backs on the world. Between the seeming futility of the war in Iraq and the financial collapse of 2008, Americans decided they’d had enough.
In Barack Obama, they found a leader who could channel their frustration. Obama’s foreign policy, based on denying the existence of radical Islam and projecting the responsibility for Islamic aggression on the US and its allies, suited their mood just fine. If America is responsible, then America can walk away. Once it is gone, so the thinking has gone, the Muslims will forget their anger and leave America alone.
Sadly, Obama’s foreign policy assumptions are utter nonsense. America’s abandonment of global leadership has not made things better. Over the past seven years, the legions of radical Islam have expanded and grown more powerful than ever before. And now in the aftermath of the jihadist massacres in Paris and San Bernadino, the threats have grown so abundant that even Obama cannot pretend them away.
As a consequence, for the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy. But are they too late? Can the next president repair the damage Obama has caused? The Democrats give no cause for optimism. Led by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential hopefuls stubbornly insist that there is nothing wrong with Obama’s foreign policy. If they are elected to succeed him, they pledge to follow in his footsteps.
Col. Richard Kemp: We put our reputations on the line. This is why
The High Level Military Group’s (HLMG) findings on the 2014 Gaza conflict were the diametric opposite of those of the UN Human Rights Council, human rights groups and the majority of Western media, all of whom believe Israel used disproportionate force and committed war crimes. Why?
Because, unlike the HLMG, these organisations lack any credible military expertise. This is a problem when you are assessing a military conflict. They also mostly hit this issue from a pre-determined position that they want to be right: Israel is the neighbourhood bully and Hamas are the hapless representatives of a bullied, down-trodden population. And they analyse the situation based on human rights law, not the laws of armed conflict. Human rights law is fine if you are dealing with a police arrest on the streets of London, but not when you’re looking at large-scale violent armed exchanges between warring factions – that is what the Geneva conventions are intended to regulate.
The upshot of this ignorant, distorted, malign and misjudged perspective is the widespread demonisation of the state of Israel. That, of course, is what Israel’s enemies, who have manipulated the UN, human rights groups and much of the media as well as many world governments, always intended.
If you are taken in by it, and you yourself condemn the Jewish state on the basis of what these organisations tell you, which to be fair is pretty much all you ever hear, then you too are an instrument of Israel’s enemies. If you are Jewish and you condemn Israel on the basis of this disinformation, then you are a doubly valuable enemy instrument. You are like Lord Haw-Haw was to the Germans during the Second World War: a valuable Brit (well, a US-born Irishman to be precise) who used Nazi propaganda against the UK.
Israeli Columnist Applauded at Haaretz Conference for Calling Aliyah a Crime
A veteran Haaretz columnist was applauded at the Israeli daily’s conference this week in New York, after calling Jewish immigration to Israel (aliyah) a crime, the Israeli news site nrg reported on Thursday.
Amira Hass made the comment while moderating a panel on “struggles for equality” in Israel. The long-time publicist, who is known for her extreme left-wing views, pointed to the fact that, unlike an American Jew, an American of Palestinian origin wishing to immigrate to Israel would not be granted citizenship.
“Because of that, any [Jewish] individual who is planning to make aliyah should know that he is about to commit a crime,” Hass said, eliciting applause from the largely Jewish audience and no counter-argument from panel participants.
“At any given moment, every American Jew has rights in Israel that are denied to Palestinians,” she continued, claiming that while American Jews can visit, work or live anywhere in the country at any time, some Palestinians born in Israel don’t have those same rights.

Young, Single, Educated, Organized: Study Profiles Arabs Killed in ‘Knives Intifada’
The Arabs killed during the violent disturbances of the past few months are mostly young people, ages 27-18, single, some of them were college or high school students, many were residents of Hebron, Jerusalem or the Ramallah region. Most preferred to confront the Israeli security forces near their place of residence. The main conflict area was in and around Hebron, followed by Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. This profile, composed by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, fits most of the Arabs killed in the current terror attack, using knives, ramming motor vehicles and firearms.
The Amit Center has based its interim findings on the profiles of Palestinians who were killed during violent clashes with Israeli security forces in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, October 3 to November 22, 2015.
The study authors confess that “we were unable to conclude unequivocally whether the profile of demonstrators who were killed represents all the participants in demonstrations, or just the ‘frontline’ participants. It is our view that the profile of the casualties distinguishes those who were daring, ready to confront security forces knowing their chances of getting hurt were high (some have done it many times before). However, most of the demonstrators (students, schoolchildren, women) taking part in the violent confrontations remain in the back. They do not come in contact with the Israeli security forces and their profile may differ somewhat from that of the dead.
One particular characteristic of participants in violent demonstrations is the high number of youths who are associated—on different levels of contact—with various organizations, especially Fatah (the PA), Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Gaza Strip). It is reflected in the biographies of the dead, in multiple mourning posts published by various organizations, in “stately” funerals in Judea and Samaria, and Palestinian officials being involved (PA, Fatah and Hamas) in condolence visits with the families in mourning. This may indicate the more institutional nature of the violent demonstrations as opposed to the apparent spontaneous and personal nature of the attacks.
Palestinian shot dead in attempted West Bank car-ramming
A Palestinian attacker was shot dead Friday afternoon as he tried to drive his car into Israeli security forces at the entrance to the settlement of Ofra in the northern West Bank.
A Magen David Adom team sent to the scene said that no Israelis had been wounded in the attempted attack, Channel 2 television reported. The driver’s death was confirmed at the scene.
Initial reports say that the driver hit a concrete barrier and the soldiers there managed to scatter seconds before the impact. The troops then opened fire on the vehicle. The IDF said that the attack took place during widespread riots at the adjacent village of Silwad.
The attack comes some two hours after a Palestinian was shot and wounded as he tried to drive his car into security forces at the Qalandia crossing near Ramallah. No Israelis were hurt in the incident.
Security forces foil car-ramming attack at West Bank checkpoint
Security forces prevented a car-ramming attack Friday at the Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Israel Police said.
A Palestinian driver, 30, attempted to ram police officers and soldiers manning the vehicle lanes, but was fired upon by one of the guards.
“A Palestinian terrorist… drove at speed toward police and soldiers in an attempt to ram them,” a police statement said.
Attempting to avoid the gunfire, the attacker swerved into a concrete block. He then stepped out of the car and attempted to rush the guards, who shot him in the leg.
The attacker, who was identified only as a resident of the village of Turmusaya in the northern West Bank, was placed under arrest.
IDF soldiers thwart attempted stabbing attack near Nablus
A Palestinian man with a knife was shot dead by IDF troops at the Hawara checkpoint in the West Bank south of Nablus, the army said on Thursday.
The incident began when soldiers spotted a suspicious man in the area while they were on a mission to secure a road near Hawara. Soldiers approached and questioned the suspect, at which time he produced a knife and ran towards them, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said.
Soldiers opened fire on the suspect, striking and killing him. No soldiers were injured in the incident, the army said.
Rocket from Gaza hits open area in Israel
A rocket fired by Gaza gunmen exploded near Kibbutz Miflasim on Thursday evening, triggering warning sirens in that area close to the border with the northern part of the coastal territory.
The IDF said the blast occurred in an open area, apparently inside Gaza. There were no reports of any injuries.
On Sunday, a rocket was also fired at Israel from Gaza. It exploded in an open area in the region governed by Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. In response to that rocket firing, the Israel Air Force (IAF) struck two Hamas terrorist sites in the Strip.
IsraellyCool: Israel Haters’ Short Film Glorifying Stabbing Attacks
Some Israel haters from Morocco have produced this quaint short film entitled The Stabbing Revolution.
I think you can guess what it is about.
You have to love the IDF uniform with Israeli flags – just in case you could not work out he was supposed to be Israeli.
Even better were the closing captions of the film, lauding their children’s “humanity” stemming from the “education of their ancestors”. Before talking about their determination to stab us!
Hamas seeking to orchestrate suicide bombings, PA says
Hamas is attempting to launch major terror attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings, from the West Bank, a senior Palestinian Authority source told The Times of Israel.
Information gleaned from interrogations of Hamas operatives arrested recently by PA security services shows that the terror group’s leaders in Gaza and abroad have sent orders to local commanders to escalate their activities — from encouraging protests and stabbing attacks to more dramatic and deadly assaults on Israeli civilians, the source said.
Some two dozen Israelis and others have been killed in a wave of Palestinian stabbings, car-rammings and shootings since the start of October. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed, a majority of them attackers who died during their terrorist attacks.
Hotovely shows France the PA's 'terror dolls'
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) arrived in France on Thursday as part of a visit to Europe meant to counter various anti-Israeli steps being taken there, and to illustrate her points - she brought along a doll.
During a discussion with members of the French parliament in Paris, Hotovely presented one of the 4,000 dolls seized in Haifa earlier this month, which were en route from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in a smuggling attempt.
Each doll bears the words "Jerusalem is ours" and "Jerusalem, we are coming!," the colors of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag, a keffiyeh - and most significantly, a rock in its upraised head ready to be thrown at Jewish victims.
Hotovely explained how the doll gives a clear indication of the level of incitement being indoctrinated in children from a young age under the PA, and noted that this PA education is funded by Europe, and France in particular.
Why Abbas’s terror defense won’t change UK media’s narrative of a ‘moderate’ PA leader
Whilst Israeli leaders are called out on far less egregious instances of inflammatory rhetoric and demagoguery, it seems clear that journalists, editors and contributors to UK news sites – wedded as they are to the narrative of a ‘moderate’ PA president – won’t substantively call out Abbas on his moral defense of attacks on Jews.
Why? Because, if British media outlets were to take seriously Abbas’s recent statements, they’d need to question their broader assumption that Abbas is opposed to violence and represents a population of Palestinians interested in peace with the Jewish state. And, if there is one common thread which characterizes the media’s institutional bias, it’s their collective failure to take Palestinians seriously as agents of their own fate. The Israel-Palestinian story, former AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman argued, mandates that Palestinians exist merely “as passive victims”.
Since they are the weaker party, this line of reasoning goes, holding Palestinians accountable for their moral failures and decidedly illiberal tendencies, such as endemic antisemitism and the glorification of violence, is “blaming the victim” – part of a political orientation which automatically assigns virtue to those in possession of less economic, social or political power.
Abbas’s endorsement of antisemitic hate crimes won’t become a big story in the UK because it’s simply not part of the desired narrative about the conflict, nor consistent with the ideological assumptions which inform their facile David vs Goliath tale.
Douglas Murray: The Muslim Brotherhood review has left many questions unanswered
For instance, never mind preventing more Brotherhood emissaries travelling to the UK, how can individuals who have come to this country to promote the Brotherhood remain here now they are now known to be working for an entity with some members who have been officially labelled as possibly ‘extremist’ by the UK government?
Furthermore, how can groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood – several named in the report, some of which are closely affiliated with the designated terrorist group (and Brotherhood off-shoot) Hamas – retain charitable status while being designated as possibly ‘extremist’ by the UK government? What capabilities will be given to the Charity Commission and then the other relevant authorities to investigate and pursue those entities which have clearly been using such a status to further the aims of an entity whose members have now been labelled possibly ‘extreme’? What about those individuals from the group and its affiliates who teach at universities or work in other public bodies in the UK? What about those university departments and others who have accepted money from entities that are associated with this organisation? How can such activity possibly continue after the findings of this report, and what action will be taken retrospectively to pursue those who have engaged in such actions?
The release of these findings is a small triumph. But now is the time to push the advantage against a group with some members who have now been shown to have been working inside Britain against the interests of Britain. Commissioning and publishing these findings was a demonstration of initiative. Following up on them will be a test of resolve.
UK Report Condemns, Obama Embraces Muslim Brotherhood
Just Monday, the White House hosted a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group whose creation was blessed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Jihad in America: The Grand Deception” showed the depth of Brotherhood-connected groups in the United States.
Cameron has spoken directly about the need to openly address Islamist extremism before. “Our new approach is about isolating the extremists from everyone else, so that all our Muslim communities can be free from the poison of Islamist extremism,” he said in a July speech. “Now for my part, I am going to set up a new community engagement forum so I can hear directly from those out there who are challenging extremism.”
When the two leaders appeared together at the Unite Nations in September, Cameron told Obama, “We have to be frank that the biggest problem we have today is the Islamist extremist violence that has given birth to ISIL, to al-Shabab, to al-Nusra, al Qaeda and so many other groups.”
Now the UK has provided the public with details of a genuine fact-finding mission about a global Islamist movement which seeks to subvert the policies of Western governments. It is time for the United States to find the same courage.
White House welcomes Hamas-linked group, shuns reformers
Hassan Shibly, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, has accused the FBI of killing two men in cold blood in separate incidents.
But Obama administration officials still find him to be a suitable representative of the American Muslim community at Monday's White House meeting on combating religious discrimination, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned.
Since 2008, FBI policy has barred outreach communication with CAIR officials due to documents seized by law enforcement that place the council and its founders at the heart of a Hamas support network. Eyewitness interviews recently obtained by the IPT further detail CAIR's ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Until it determines "whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner," a senior official wrote in 2009.
Why would the White House include CAIR when FBI policy is to avoid the group? A White House spokesperson wouldn't say, telling the IPT in an email Tuesday afternoon that "CAIR state chapter representatives have been included in broad meetings" with the White House and other cabinet-level agencies.
Watchdog Calls on UN to Condemn Essay by Human Rights Council ‘Expert’ Blaming Israel, US for Paris Attacks
The head of a Geneva-based human rights organization called on the United Nations to condemn an essay written by one of its employees blaming Israel and the US for the November 13 Paris attacks.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel C. Neuer urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN officials to denounce the 1500-word piece penned by Alfred De Zayas, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s “independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.”
In the article, De Zayas argues that while terrorism is not justifiable, the attacks in Paris occurred because of “old religious tensions and conflicts” between “Israeli settlers and Palestinian populations.”
He also makes a veiled reference to the US, asserting that the “victims and the survivors” of “colonialist” and “capitalist” enterprises — who “have neither forgiven nor forgotten” — manifested their anger in Paris.
UN official rejects claims he justified Paris attacks
A UN official on Thursday rejected claims that he blamed the Paris attacks on the West and on “Israeli settlers”.
In a post on his blog, Dr. Alfred de Zayas, the UN’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, said the claims reported on Wednesday by the UN Watch NGO were “vile defamation”.
UN Watch cited an essay written by de Zayas in which he implicitly justified the Paris attacks as “a response to grave injustices and ongoing abuses perpetrated by the dominant, primarily developed countries, against populations of less developed countries.”
The NGO called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the UN ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany, to condemn de Zayas’ remarks.
Responding on Thursday to the claims, de Zayas wrote in his blog, “Recently it has come to my attention that a particularly vile defamation has been spread over blogs and news outlets according to which I have somehow blamed the West for the Paris terrorist attacks of 13 November. One would think that such a statement is too ludicrous to merit any kind of reaction.”
“Let me be clear,” he stated. “I have never written in my blog essay that the West is responsible for the Paris terrorist attacks. My essay does not mention Paris at all, but focuses on the root-causes of terrorism with its multiple actors and victims.”
Why Syria Can’t Be Fixed
Obama is betting the last of his foreign policy cred on beating ISIS by fixing Syria through a peace process that brings together Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and just about everybody who is anybody in the international terrorism and regime change racket to fight the ISIS war that he doesn’t want to fight.
There’s just one little problem. Nobody on the guest list wants to fix Syria. They want to control it.
The reason that ISIS exists is the same reason that Syria can’t be fixed. ISIS didn’t get so big because Muslims are angry about our foreign policy. It got huge because Sunni Muslims hate Shiite Muslims.
Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t become popular because it killed American soldiers, but because it suicide bombed Iraqi Shiites. It really took off once there was a civil war underway between Syrian Shiites and Sunni Islamists.
Osama bin Laden wanted Al Qaeda in Iraq to focus on Americans, not Shiites. Zarqawi knew better. Al Qaeda’s base in Iraq was a Sunni population that hated their Shiite and Kurdish neighbors even more than they hated the American soldiers trying to keep the peace between them. By massacring Shiites, Al Qaeda in Iraq stopped being another franchise of a goofy Saudi rich kid making snuff videos for Qatar’s fake Al Jazeera news network and instead became the protectors of the Sunni minority.
UN Security Council adopts resolution to cut off ISIS funding
The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution to cut off funds for the Islamic State, an extremist group, in a firmer move by the international community to fight terrorism.
Measures such as asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo will be taken against the Islamic State, also known as the IS, ISIS and Daesh that controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq, including oil and gas fields, according to the resolution.
The resolution was adopted by the 15-nation UN body at an open meeting chaired by US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, whose country holds the rotating council presidency for December.
The resolution decided to "freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of these individual groups, undertaking and entities, including funds derived from property owned or controlled directly or indirectly, by them or by persons acting on their behalf or at their direction, and ensure that neither these nor other funds, financial assets or economic resources are made available, directly or indirectly for such persons' benefit, by their nationals or by persons within their territory."
The resolution also noted that IS is a splinter group of al-Qaida and said that "terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States and international and regional organizations to impede, impair, and incapacitate the terrorist threat."
Why does Obama call ISIS “ISIL”, and what does it have to do with Israel?
Have you ever noticed that every time Barack Obama talks about ISIS he calls them ISIL?
Every politician, every news outlet, everyone in the world calls the terror group ISIS. President Obama’s words are deliberate, consistent and thought out. The reason why may shock you.
Jewish standing and security throughout the diaspora is on a freefall as Islam proliferates and metastasizes globally.
In response to the Muslim imperialism, the US, Europe, and the world are increasing their coercive pressure on Israel to make suicidal gestures such as the two state solution which would be both a denial of the justice of our connection to this land and a death sentence for countless Jews who would perish at the inevitable wave of terror which would result.
STAND DOWN: Hagel says Obama nixed plan to bomb Assad
Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed in an extensive interview published Friday that he had approved plans to strike Damascus with Tomahawk cruise missiles after Syria’s Bashar al-Assad crossed the “red line” by using chemical weapons – but President Obama told him to stand down.
The interview with Foreign Policy comes nearly a year after his acrimonious exit from the Obama administration. Still smarting from the circumstances of his departure, Hagel told Foreign Policy that the White House tried to “destroy” him even after he resigned.
The interview explored the tensions between Hagel and others on Obama’s team, but offered particularly revealing details about the backstory to the president’s decision backing off his “red line” with Assad.
The former Pentagon chief said that decision in 2013 dealt a big blow to U.S. credibility.
State Department Spokesman Struggles to Answer Questions on Future of Assad
State Department spokesman John Kirby struggled Thursday to articulate the Obama administration’s stance on the future of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad when a reporter pushed him to explain whether Assad will remain in power as part of a political transition in Syria meant to end the country’s civil war.
Matthew Lee, a reporter for the Associated Press, told Kirby that Secretary of State John Kerry’s Syria strategy to “change the calculation for Assad on the battlefield” has failed since the Syrian leader is still in power. He then asked if the United States has signed on to a Russian plan for Syria that says nothing about Assad’s role in the government going forward.
Kirby took exception to Lee’s question, assuring him that “our view about Assad and his future has not changed. We still believe that he cannot be a part of the future of Syria.”
Lee challenged Kirby, and the two had a tense exchange over U.S. policy on Assad.
“At the same time as you say that, though, you talk about how long he stays and in what position he stays, in what capacity he stays … the key word in those phrases is ‘stays,’ not goes. No?” Lee asked.
Kirby had trouble coming up with a response, stammering for a few seconds before saying, “Look, if you come to stay in my house, my expectation is that you’re going to go.”
“Especially you,” Kirby added with a smile, drawing laughs from Lee and other reporters.
State Dept. Pressed On “Zero Movement On Assad For 3 Years"

Russian airstrikes kill 32 civilians, no jihadists
Suspected Russian air strikes have killed 32 civilians, half of them women and children, in three areas in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said warplanes bombarded Raqa, the Islamic State (ISIS) group's de facto Syrian capital, as well as the towns of Azaz and Al-Bab in Aleppo province, on Thursday.
Six children and 11 women were among the dead, and dozens of people were wounded, the Britain-based monitor said.
The toll in Raqa also included two rescue workers, according to Abdel Rahman, but he said no suspected jihadists were killed in the three areas that were hit.
Refugees and displaced persons break record at 60 million
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday issued a report, revealing that the number of people forcibly displaced around the world has "far surpassed" a record 60 million this past year.
No less than 20.2 million people fleeing war zones and persecution were among the number, signifying the highest such figure since 1992, reports Reuters. Another 34 million were internally displaced within their own countries by mid-year.
There are 2.5 million asylum requests pending, and the US, Germany and Russia received the lion's share of the one million new asylum claims from the first half of the year.
"2015 is on track to see worldwide forced displacement exceeding 60 million for the first time - 1 in every 122 humans is today someone who has been forced to flee their homes," the report said.
Yemen led in terms of newly internally displaced persons at 933,500, following the launch of a brutal civil war in March instigated by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
Report: German spies again cooperating with Syrian secret service
Germany's spy agency is working again with Syrian President Bashar Assad's secret service to swap information on Islamist militants, the Bild daily said, despite Berlin's opposition to Assad staying in power under any peace deal in Syria.
Citing well-informed sources, the mass-circulation newspaper said German foreign intelligence BND agents had been traveling regularly to Damascus for some time for consultations with Syrian colleagues.
Two weeks ago Germany's parliament approved a plan to support a US-led air strike campaign against Islamic State insurgents in Syria by sending Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate to help protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, refueling aircraft and up to 1,200 military personnel.
German media have dubbed the mission Chancellor Angela Merkel's "first war" and have highlighted the risks of German pilots crashing in Islamic State-held territory.
Israel and Turkey reach preliminary deal to restore ties
After five years of diplomatic clashes and open hostility, Israel and Turkey have reached an understanding that could lead to the restoration of ties between the two former allies, an Israeli official said Thursday.
The understanding was reportedly reached during a meeting in Zurich on Wednesday between Israel's newly appointed Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's longtime special envoy to Turkey Yossi Ciechanover, and Turkish Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu.
When Netanyahu introduced Cohen as Israel's new intelligence chief earlier this month, he said Cohen would be tasked, among other things, with fostering and strengthening ties with Arab and Muslim states, including those with whom Israel has no official diplomatic relations. Cohen will continue to serve in his current position as head of the National Security Council until Jan. 6, and it now appears that his first order of business will be to finalize understandings with the Turks over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
When All Else Fails, Erdogan Calls Israel
It's not as if Turkish-Israel relations were ever entirely severed. Since the flotilla confrontation, Turkey-Israel trade doubled in the past five years, to $5.6 billion. While arms deals signed prior to 2010 have been put on hold, trade in civilian chemicals, agricultural products, and manufactured goods has increased. And, in one of those "only in the Middle East" stories, Turkish businesses have been shipping goods to Israel by sea, then trucking them across the country to Jordan and beyond, in order to avoid having to ship overland through Syria.
The basis for increased trade, including gas sales, is there, and Israel has weighed the price and found it acceptable. Israel will pay Turkey $20 million; Turkey will expel the Hamas leadership from Istanbul and will purchase Israeli gas.
After entering office in 2003, Erdogan offered Turkey as a model for democratic governance in a Muslim country. President Obama called him one of the foreign leaders with whom he was most comfortable. But Turkey's was always a double game. The restoration of relations with Israel is less a political reconciliation than an admission of the utter bankruptcy of Turkey's last five years of diplomatic endeavor.
Herzog, Liberman: Turkey-Israel deal comes too late
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Friday criticized as tardy an emerging deal that could lead toward normalized diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey.
On Wednesday, incoming Mossad head Yossi Cohen, and Joseph Ciechanover, who has served as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy to Turkey for the past five years, met with Turkish Foreign Ministry director-general Feridun Sinirlioglu to draw up the terms of the agreement that would put an end to the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident that led to a tailspin in diplomatic ties between the two countries, the sources said.
"If we had reached an agreement with Turkey two years ago, Israel would have benefited more," said the Zionist Union leader at an event hosted by Limmud FSU.
Herzog added that Jerusalem's relations with Ankara should be strengthened in other spheres and while the emerging deal was in the right step, it "must not give [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan a foothold in Gaza."
Meanwhile, former foreign minister Liberman also expressed skepticism over the deal with Turkey, calling Erdogan "the leader of a radical-Islamist regime."
"The deal with Turkey is not yet complete, but the damage has already been done," he said at the Limmud FSU event. "Opportunism is not a substitute for prudent and wise diplomacy."
'We love Israelis': Turkish businesses embrace normalization
Turkish business owners eagerly await the return of Israeli tourism, Channel 2 reports Friday, less than 24 hours after Israeli and Turkish officials held normalization talks in Switzerland.
"We love Israelis and they have almost stopped coming in recent years because of politics," Saardan, a hotel worker in Istanbul, told the Israeli daily. He added that Israelis were, and remain, "preferred customers."
"The buffet awaits you," Malek Kiyeh, a Turkish hotel owner, added. "We love the Israelis and need to separate everything from politics."
"It's not dangerous here," he added. "I hope that Israeli tourists will return en masse after the recent understanding between the two countries."
Mother of soldier Israel said killed in Gaza wants him listed as MIA
Israel determined that Oron Shaul was killed during summer 2014’s 50-day military campaign, Operation Protective Edge, against Hamas in Gaza. His body, as well as that of soldier Hadar Goldin, has not been recovered and Israel has classified both soldiers as “killed in action.”
Hamas on Sunday morning released a letter it claimed was penned by Oron Shaul, pleading for his freedom. The letter was widely dismissed in Israel as a cynical hoax by the terror group.
“It isn’t closed, there are gaps,” Zehava said in the interview, which is to be screened in full on Friday. She said that as long as there is the smallest possibility her son is alive, she will hold on to hope.
“If it’s not 100 percent, I’m holding on [to the hope that he’s alive]. My heart tells me he’s alive,” she said.
Jerusalem okays almost 900 new homes over Green Line
The Jerusalem Municipality on Wednesday approved the construction of nearly 900 housing units in Gilo, a southern neighborhood over the Green Line.
The Planning and Construction Committee approved the plan to build 891 apartments in the Mordot Gilo South bloc, located on land between Gilo and the Arab neighborhood of Beit Jala.
The plan was tentatively approved in November, but the vote was delayed because it coincided with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States and meeting with President Barack Obama.
The plan was initially approved in late 2012.
Fifth Israel Navy submarine leaves Germany for Haifa port
The Israel Navy’s fifth Dolphin- class submarine and second new-generation AIP (air independent propulsion) platform is making the 3,000- mile journey to its home base at the Haifa naval base from its German manufacturing center, a senior naval source said Thursday.
The INS Rahav is carrying some 50 personnel, and “minimal weapons needed to protect itself,” before its arrival in Israel next month.
After its arrival, Israeli systems will be installed on board.
“We expect the submarine to be fully operational in a number of months,” the naval officer said.
AIP submarines can remain submerged for significantly longer periods of time than conventional platforms, and having two such submarines means that Israel has “doubled its covert capabilities,” the source said.
Rising new Hamas leader is all too familiar to Israel
A personnel change in the security agencies of Hamas in Gaza went into effect this week. Saleh Abu Sharkh, the commander of the security agencies — a kind of “chief of staff” of the official agencies (not of the military wing) — stepped down from his position to become director-general of the Transportation Ministry. Tawfik Abu Naim, one of the men freed in the 2011 exchange of 1,027 prisoners for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, was appointed to replace him.
While these changes may not sound all that interesting, the hidden headline concerns Abu Naim’s patron: Yahya Sanwar. Already a high-ranking Hamas operative, Sanwar is emerging as Hamas’s uncompromising new strongman in Gaza. Abu Naim’s appointment marks another of Sanwar’s steps on the way to the highest echelon: a takeover of Hamas’s security agencies in Gaza, including the police and the internal security service that is the Shin Bet’s counterpart in Gaza.
Sanwar, 54, was released from prison in Israel just four years ago as part of the Shalit deal. Sentenced to life imprisonment in 1989 for murdering collaborators, he had spent 22 years in jail. Since his release, Sanwar has established himself in Hamas, and is gradually becoming its unofficial but unquestioned leader in Gaza.
He is considered a man of great influence in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, because — among other reasons — he was one of its founders. He is also believed to be the highest-ranking political figure of Hamas in Gaza, above former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, who is younger than he and lower in status.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Blaming Israel For Everything Has Really Helped My Marriage By Ahmad Al-Hajj (satire)
Nobody ever said marriage was easy. Even in a male-dominated, patriarchal society such as ours, there is no substitute for a romantic relationship with a woman who chooses to love you despite – or perhaps because of – your shortcomings. And the shortcomings I always blame on Israel, so I don’t have to change, but still have her sympathy and affection. It’s been a lifesaver for this marriage.
I came into this relationship like most people: having my family lobby my wife’s father to agree to the marriage. But marriage, I soon learned, is not a happily-ever-after affair. It requires constant attention to make it work, and I must confess I don’t always – or often – feel capable of that effort. So I just blame Israel for our problems, and I’m a victim, not an agent, so she can’t expect me to do anything about the problems, and she doesn’t press the issue with me anymore.
This approach works well in so many areas. I don’t mean simply deflecting blame for simple mistakes or negligence; those are a no-brainer. I’m talking about the things that really affect our relationship. When my wife complained the I rush our intimate encounters, I explained that the Israeli usurpation of Palestine meant that Arabs are absolute victims, and cannot be required to change in order to tend to their own needs. The world must provide for them until they can supplant Israel. In the meantime, no long-term adjustment to the situation is acceptable, since such moves would imply a willingness to treat the great injustice as anything less than pure evil – and one does not accommodate pure evil. Thus, she cannot expect me, as an Arab, to change my lovemaking habits, since making adjustments would contradict the ethos of demanding that all my desires be met in full, and only at the expense of my opponent. She soon saw the truth in my words, and that realization only brought us closer, because who cannot be moved by her lover’s victimhood?

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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