Monday, December 28, 2015

From Ian:

PM Netanyahu: Israel Condemns Terror, Palestinian Authority Praises It
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the opening of Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting to again condemn acts of Jewish terrorism, but stressed that just as the scope of Jewish terrorism can in no way be compared to the much greater Palestinian terrorism, so too the reaction of Israeli society is completely different than that of the Palestinian Authority.
Netanyahu noted that in Israel there was widespread condemnation of the phenomenon of Jewish terrorism by the government, various institutions and leaders. “Here we condemn it, there they [the PA] praise it [terrorism],” he said.
“In the PA they name squares and streets after them [terrorists], and pay them salaries,” he said. “There is a huge difference between the healthy approach of Israeli society and Israeli democracy that rejects terrorism, condemns it and acts against it, and the PA which, I regret, encourages it and incites toward it.”
The prime minister said that he brought the video of Jewish extremists dancing at a wedding in Jerusalem with guns and knives, while glorifying the murder of the Dawabsha family, to a recent cabinet meeting to make clear that the group in the video was both extreme and on the fringes.
Those in the video “certainly do not represent religious Zionism,” he said. Attempts to identify religions Zionism with that phenomenon, he added, “do a very great injustice to a large public that is loyal to the state, contributes to the state, to the IDF and the most elite units in the IDF.”
JCPA: The Palestinian Authority Will Find No Friend in ISIS
The threats against Israel by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi constitute a change in this terror organization’s line. So far it has avoided such proclamations, and its official organs make almost no mention of the Palestine problem. On the contrary, when Hamas called on ISIS for help during Operation Protective Edge, the group officially rebuffed Hamas’s cry of distress and said the war against Assad was more important.
As for the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, they have not been referring to ISIS at all. The PLO wants to establish a Palestinian state, and that goal totally contravenes ISIS’s ambition to destroy the existing states and create a sharia-based caliphate in their stead.
Furthermore, at the height of the “Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger” campaign, ISIS circulated leaflets in Jerusalem that completely ignored the “danger” to Al-Aqsa, instead concentrating on anti-Christian incitement. In later announcements it attacked the Christians, and Christians now celebrating in Bethlehem this season are being subjected to pressures not only by ISIS but also, for reasons that are not clear, by different PLO groups.
Douglas Murray: Dumb Idea of the Year Award
It is that Dumb Idea of the Year Award time again, and among the many stellar contenders, one in particular stands out.
The diplomatic convention in Great Britain is that new ambassadors present themselves at the Court of St James. There they meet representatives of the monarch and are officially recognized as representing their state in the UK. So it would be interesting to consider even just the earliest ramifications of the British Independent newspaper contributor Vadim Nikitim getting his way. This is the genius who last week bypassed all those tedious arguments over whether or not ISIS constitutes a state, and proposed not only that we treat it as such but that it is also time to grant ISIS diplomatic recognition.
Mr. Nikitim's argument was that pariah states can be brought in to the international system through such measures, as U.S. President Barack Obama presumably imagines he is doing with Iran. Nikitim invites us to consider the precedent of the USSR. And rather than realizing that the USSR collapsed because its economic system caused it to collapse, Nikitim seems to think that the Soviet Union fell apart because countries such as the US and UK recognized it diplomatically -- demonstrating that there is no better way to get the present wrong than by getting the past wrong.

When the enemy is a friend's friend
The assassination of Samir Kuntar earlier this week was a major slap on the face for Hezbollah and Iran — not because Kuntar is dead but because their support base in Lebanon and the region now understand their complicated alliance with Russia. Accordingly, Iran’s increasing vulnerability in Syria will be gradually exposed and this will further shake any remaining trust Shiites in the region have for Iran and Hezbollah.
This week, Shiites — mainly in Lebanon — face the bitter fact that Russia allowed Israel to assassinate Kuntar. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s speech following Kuntar’s funeral was beyond lame. He spoke about Kuntar for four cold minutes before proceeding to lash out for over 20 minutes about Shiites in Nigeria and the US sanctions against the Party of God.
Nasrallah is actually more concerned about three issues:
First, US sanctions against Hezbollah were recently increased. Some economic analysts in Lebanon say that the purpose of these sanctions is to make sure Hezbollah does not receive much-needed money after the sanctions against Iran are lifted, and Hezbollah’s Sayyed is certainly concerned about that prospect. Without money to pay for social services, fighters and their families, he and his party are doomed. Today, pro-Hezbollah papers and media leaked news that entailed a clear threat to the banks in Lebanon.
Europeans Caution Lebanon: Israel ‘Very Serious’ About Responding to Hezbollah Attack
European diplomats have warned Lebanese authorities that Israel will react harshly to any attack by Hezbollah to avenge the death of arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar who was assassinated last week, Lebanon’s Naharnet reported, citing Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas.
According to the report, the diplomats categorized Israel’s threat to respond to any such action as “very serious.”
The Europeans stressed to their Lebanese counterparts that it mattered little to Israel whether a Hezbollah attack targeted Israeli positions in the Golan Heights, the Shebaa Farms (Har Dov) or any other location. Israel would retaliate anyway, they stressed.
They emphasized that Israel’s state of general military mobilization is currently much more sensitive than it was prior to the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government appears more willing to wage a major war in Lebanon in the face of a provocation by Hezbollah.
Hezbollah said mired in financial crisis
A Lebanese banking delegation is reportedly heading to the US next month after Washington said it would impose sanctions on terror group Hezbollah, which is said to be mired in financial crisis.
The US House of Representatives voted unanimously on December 16 to impose tough new sanctions on banks that knowingly do business with Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
According to Lebanese media reports, a team representing the Association of Banks in Lebanon will head to New York and Washington to discuss the new proposed guidelines with Treasury and State Department officials.
Sources linked to the delegation told the Lebanese An Nahar daily “the sector has no problem with the US authorities which are closely following up on Lebanon’s commitment to international laws and adherence to them, but that these commitments must be re-confirmed after the issuance of the said law,” according to a translation by the Naharnet website.
The reports said the Iran-backed Hezbollah is facing financial difficulties, and failed to pay November and December salaries to its officials.
Family of slain American teen Ezra Schwartz visits site of son’s death
Cars whizzed by Ruth Schwartz as she stood on a balmy December evening near the spot where her oldest son, Ezra, was killed in a terrorist attack on November 19.
She had traveled with her husband and four children from their small Boston suburb of Sharon to the Gush Etzion junction, so she could walk in her 18-year-old son’s footsteps on the last day of his life and see for herself where he had spent the first months of his gap year between high school and university.
“I just knew that I needed to come to Israel,” Schwartz told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday by telephone, just after visiting the junction where a Palestinian gunman had shot at cars stuck in a traffic jam killing Ezra, Israeli educator Yaakov Don, 49, and a young Palestinian man from Hebron, Shadi Arafa.
“I walked up the street. I looked at the mosaic that was put up there. It felt peaceful there. It did not feel that he had been in a place that was unsafe.
The unusual case of the still-standing home of a terrorist’s family
On November 13, Shadi Ahmad Matua shot and killed Rabbi Ya’akov Litman and his 18-year-old son Netanel Litman as they drove to a family Shabbat eve pre-wedding celebration near the West Bank settlement of Otniel. Several other members of the family were also injured in the shooting attack.
The next day, Matua’s father and brother turned the 28-year-old terrorist over to Israeli authorities in an attempt to prevent the demolition of the family home in Hebron, the Shin Bet said at the time, though the family later disputed the claim.
Israeli security forces also recovered the car and gun Matua used in the attack. The 28-year-old father of two was brought in by the Shin Bet for questioning and remains in custody.
About a week later, IDF combat engineers visited the Matua home in Hebron and began taking the measurements necessary for its demolition.
Hamas claimed that the family was told their home would be knocked down, but since then — despite multiple requests for comment — the Israel Defense Forces, Defense Ministry and Justice Ministry have all remained silent on the matter.
Bomb, bullets concealed in East Jerusalem falafel stand
Jerusalem police on Monday uncovered two pipe bombs, bullet magazines and ammunition at a falafel stand in East Jerusalem, during sweeps to find weapons in the eastern part of the capital.
Sappers removed the items from the eatery, located on Sultan Suleiman street.
The owner of the fast food stand, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, was taken away for questioning.
Police said that as part of the ongoing operations against crime and terror, weapons searches were carried out at two places in East Jerusalem.
Hamas Claims Clashes With IDF in Qalqilya
Rioting Arabs clashed with IDF soldiers Sunday night in the Palestinian Authority town of Azzoun, east of Qalkilya.
”Dozens” were injured and three were shot, according to the Gaza-based Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Scores of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation,” the Hamas website reported.
Monther Nazzal, head of the emergency unit of the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) in Qalqilya, said IDF soldiers “fired dozens of rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades during clashes that took place after the army invaded Azzoun.”
Massive funerals after Israel hands over terrorists' bodies
Israel reportedly handed over the bodies of several Palestinian terrorists late Sunday after their families promised they would hold low-key funerals. Despite that pledge, Maan News Agency said thousands attended the funerals Sunday night.
Israel has not publicly commented on how many bodies were handed over on Sunday. Palestinian media said seven bodies were transferred, while other sources mentioned only four.
In Bethlehem, residents received the body of two terrorists. The first, Wissam Tawabte, fatally stabbed an Israeli woman near Hebron on Nov. 22, and the second, Muhammad Abdel Hamid Zahran, carried out a stabbing attack near Ariel last week. He wounded two guards, one seriously.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon recently said that Israel would not return the remains of Palestinian terrorists unless it received assurances that the funerals would not be used as demonstrations against Israel.
Palestinians Petition UNESCO Over Israeli Appropriation Of Terrorism (satire)
Representatives of the Palestinian Authority submitted a formal complaint to the United Nations’ main cultural body today over some extremist Israelis’ use of terrorism, saying the phenomenon constitutes cultural appropriation of what is properly Palestinian behavior.
The petition submitted to UNESCO, signed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, calls for the organization to condemn Israel for allowing such exploitation and theft of the Palestinian cultural tradition, and to demand that Israel take concrete steps – but very specifically not the concrete of the separation barrier – to prevent recurrences of such acts. Failure to comply, according to the petition, would subject Israel to sanctions.
Specifically, the petition refers to an incident this past summer, in which a Palestinian family was killed as a result of a firebomb attack on their home. Both Palestinian and Israeli authorities believe the perpetrators were Jewish Israelis, but no indictments have been issued in the case yet, despite the arrests of several suspects. While the violent act prompted outrage on both sides of the Green Line, Palestinians felt doubly violated, since the use of such terrorism by Israelis represented yet another instance of what Palestinians consider colonialist exploitation and appropriation of their culture.
“That is OUR way of doing things,” insisted Hamdallah. “The intolerable Zionist appropriation of what is authentically a Palestinian act constitutes one more example of the abuse we suffer at the hand of the Occupation.” He noted that the arson case was but the latest case of such cultural appropriation, citing the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, in which an Israeli killed dozens of Muslim worshipers in the city of Hebron, as the event that drove home to Palestinians that their cultural heritage was being assumed by their oppressors. “I recall my shock at realizing the depravity to which the Zionists had sunk. Not the murders – that of course we made noise about, but our real concern was the dilution of our brand. If Israelis can up and engage in terrorism, that poses a serious challenge to the Palestinian sense of unique identity.”
War on Isis: Daesh warlord Abu Omar al-Shishani reportedly captured in Kirkuk
Senior Islamic State (Isis) commander Abu Omar al-Shishani has been arrested in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, according to Russian media reports. The ethnic Chechen jihadist, born Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili in Georgia is more commonly known as his nom de guerre Abu Omar al-Shishani.
Russian media has stated that al-Shishani, a former Georgian military sergeant, was captured along with two other militants yesterday (27 December). He was said to have been captured by US forces but this has been denied by US officials.
Known for his signature red beard he is a veteran of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War and has risen up the ranks of Daesh (Isis) after previously being the leader of a rebel group of foreign fighters known as Katibat al-Muhajireen (Emigrants Brigade), also known as the Muhajireen Brigade, which is battling Bashar al-Assad's troops in northern Syria. Al-Shishani has been subject to several false alarms about his death or capture since 2014, with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov declaring him dead in November 2014.
Al-Shishani was once the leader of the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar in Syria before joining IS. Shishani is a disenfranchised former Georgian soldier, who was discharged from the amy after contracting tuberculosis.
Ramadi not 'fully liberated' from ISIS, Iraqi general says
Iraqi government forces scored a major victory when they took control of the central government complex in the city of Ramadi on Monday -- but the head of Iraqi military operations in Anbar province cautioned against celebrating too early.
"The troops only entered the government complex," Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi said. "We can't say that Ramadi is fully liberated. There are still neighborhoods under their control and there are still pockets of resistance."
Parts of the city remained under ISIS control, said al-Mahlawi, who estimated ISIS fighters still controlled 30 percent of Ramadi. Government forces also do not fully control many districts from which ISIS fighters have retreated, al-Mahlawi said.
But joint operations spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rahsool painted a far more rosy picture of Iraqi success.
"Yes, the city of Ramadi has been liberated," Rahsool said in a statement broadcast on state television.
'Department of Slaves' and other ISIS horrors revealed in new documents
Islamic State has set up departments to handle "war spoils," including slaves, and the exploitation of natural resources such as oil, creating the trappings of government that enable it to manage large swaths of Syria and Iraq and other areas.
The hierarchical bureaucracy, including petty rivalries between officials, and legal codes in the form of religious fatwas are detailed in a cache of documents seized by US Special Operations Forces in a May raid in Syria that killed top IS financial official Abu Sayyaf. Reuters has reviewed some of the documents.
US officials say the documents have helped deepen their understanding of a militant group whose skill in controlling the territory it has seized has surprised many. They provide insight into how a once-small insurgent group has developed a complex bureaucracy to manage revenue streams - from pillaged oil to stolen antiquities - and oversee subjugated populations.
IDF increasing fight against ISIS in Sinai
The IDF has increased its intelligence-gathering efforts over the last couple of months on the Islamic State's Sinai branch.
Military Intelligence has added ‘heavy’ and classified operative layers to its efforts to increase and improve the collection and monitoring of Islamic State’s Sinai Province, which accuses Israel of supporting and assisting the Egyptian army in its war against its militants - sufficient grounds for them to target the IDF.
In the past year, since the terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula abandoned al-Qaeda and swore allegiance to Islamic State, the Sinai Province has become not only the most effective ISIS branch in the Middle East, but also one of its most compartmentalized.
The organization, which has thousands of armed militants - most of them locals - has recently started enjoying millions of dollars in aid from abroad and is able to carry out daily attacks against the Egyptian army. It is based and trains on a high level of secrecy, which makes it difficult for intelligence agencies to even single out its leader.
Expert: Watch out for the ISIS sympathizers
The Islamic State’s (ISIS) threats against Israel have mainly to do with propaganda, Professor Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University told Arutz Sheva on Sunday, in the wake of the recording released on Saturday in which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said his jihadists will attack the Jewish state.
“People come and ask ISIS, ‘Where are you with regards to the Palestinian question, to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis?’ and we don’t hear ISIS, but ISIS cannot allow itself to leave it unanswered,” he explained.
“I think that most Arabs on the individual level see what ISIS is doing all over the region - chaos and destruction - and even the PA and Hamas are not happy about ISIS,” said Zisser.
At the same time, he stressed, “we have to understand that there are people who are followers, who sympathize with ISIS. In France, around 20% of [Muslims] who were asked expressed some sympathy. You need only 10% of them to decide that they’re going to do something about it, and you receive terrorist attacks carried out by individuals.”
Russia envoy on Syria secretly visits Israel
Russia's special envoy on Syria secretly visited Israel last week, Haaretz reports Sunday, where he met with senior Israeli officials to discuss international efforts to end the Syrian civil war.
The visit came only days after the UN Security Council passed a resolution launching negotiations between Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and opposition leaders.
In a phone call between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Putin tried to allay Israel's fears that such negotiations would strengthen Iran and Hezbollah by telling Netanyahu there was no alternative to UN-backed talks.
Haaretz added it was unclear if Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev's upcoming visit to Israel was discussed during the call.
Lavrentiev arrived in Israel Thursday in the midst of a five-capital tour across the Middle East. His delegation, which included Russian Foreign Ministry officials and intelligence representatives, was hosted by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen in Jerusalem.
Syrian official pledges attacks from inside Golan Heights
A provincial official on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights said on Sunday that residents of the region plan to attack Israel in the near future, announcing intentions to set up a "resistance" front inside the Israeli side of the Golan.
Ra'afat al-Bokar, a member of the Syrian Quneitra Provincial Council, told the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency on Sunday that officials are working to spur attacks in the "occupied" Golan Heights, a reference to the region liberated by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
"We will see the integration of popular resistance in both the free and occupied territories of the Golan Heights," pledged al-Bokar, calling for terrorism in the Golan Heights against Israel.
"I confidently say that the people have and will never halt their resistance; we will soon witness integrated efforts by popular resistance forces throughout the Golan Heights against Israel," he said.
Sacha Baron Cohen gives $1m for Syrian refugees
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife are donating $1 million to help Syrian refugees, the charities receiving the money announced Sunday.
The “Borat” star and actress wife Isla Fisher are giving $500,000 to Save the Children to pay for measles vaccinations for children in northern Syria.
They are also donating the same amount to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help refugees in Syria and neighboring countries, particularly women and children, with health care, shelter and sanitation.
More than four million refugees have fled conflict in Syria for the relative safety of the neighboring countries, according to the United Nations.
Russia to start delivering S-300 to Iran in January
The deliveries of Russian S-300 air defense systems to Iran will begin in January, a source in Russia’s military and technical cooperation system told the TASS news agency on Friday.
"It is planned to begin the process of delivery of the first regiment of the S-300PMU-2 air defense systems in January and to complete it in February. Iran is due to receive the second regiment of these systems in August or September 2016," the source told the Russian news agency, adding, "Russia will thus fulfill its obligations to supply the S-300PMU-2 air defense systems to Iran."
The source added that about 80 Iranian specialists will be trained to use the S-300 missile systems at the Mozhaisky Military Space Academy and that the training program will be four months long.
The sale of the S-300, originally conducted in 2007, has been repeatedly delayed due to Western pressure given that UN nuclear sanctions ban the delivery to Iran.
But in April, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree lifting a ban on the delivery of the S-300 systems to Iran, explaining that his decision was motivated by Iran's drive to find a solution in talks over its nuclear program.
Republicans Slam Administration For Caving To Iran On Visa Waiver Program
The hits keep on coming.
Republicans continue slamming Obama and his administration over their capitulation to Iran on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). As part of the spending bill Congress passed a law tightening restrictions on the VWP, which would mean that business people who traveled to Iran would not be eligible to have their visas waived and would have to apply for one like most of world.
Iran objected and signaled that it would consider such a restriction to be a violation of the nuclear deal. Secretary of State John Kerry reacted by writing a letter to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammmad Javad Zarif assuring him that the administration was prepared to waive the restriction for Iran.
First Rep. Robert Dold (R – Ill.) wrote a letter signed by 19 colleagues including House Ethics Committee chair Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and House Oversight and Government Reform chair Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) that said it was “beyond belief” that the administration would allow Iranian complaints to “supersede a newly-enacted U.S. law designed to protect the American people from terrorism.”
Then Rep. Mike Pompeo (R – Kan.) wrote a letter to Kerry saying, “The Obama administration cannot allow individuals who are not American citizens, and who have connections to, or have traveled to Iran, come to our country without doing something as simple as applying for a visa.”
Pompeo and Sen. Tom Cotton (R – Ark.) have been systematically poking holes in the administration’s case for the nuclear deal.
Palestinian official: Some voices in Fatah want to go back to suicide bombings
A senior Palestinian official said Monday that there are some voices within the leadership of Fatah calling for a return to the suicide bombings that characterized the second intifada.
The official, speaking in an interview with Israel Radio Arab affairs reporter Gal Berger, added, however, that despite the voices calling for an escalation in attacks, the majority of Fatah's leadership prefer to "wait and see which way the wind is blowing."
The official told Israel Radio that Fatah and the affiliated Tanzim group, which played a major part in the second intifada, would "sooner or later" be forced to join the current uprising and the spate of terror attacks seen over the last three months.
"We have no choice. And when it happens - all of the rules of the game will change. Hamas will feel more free to act as well. What's happening now is just the tip of the iceberg," he said.
The official also addressed the state of the Palestinian Authority, saying that there is fear among Fatah's leadership that it could soon collapse. He said that the youth no longer respect the senior Palestinian leadership, citing a poll that found "65% of Palestinians want Abu Mazen (Abbas) to go home." He blamed Israel for making the Palestinian leader irrelevant.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Authority leaders to discuss cutting ties with Israel
The Palestinian Authority leadership is expected to meet in the coming days to discuss the future of its relations with Israel, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said on Sunday.
Erekat said that he expected the meeting to take place before the end of this year to discuss previous decisions by PLO and Fatah bodies to suspend relations with Israel.
“There will be decisive and important decisions regarding all forms of ties with the occupation, including security and political relations,” he said.
However, he ruled out the possibility that the PA leadership would cut all ties with Israel.
Erekat confirmed that he had met in recent months with then-interior minister Silvan Shalom, who was entrusted with maintaining contacts with the PA leadership. Two meetings took place last July and August, Erekat said.
Abbas advisor: Americans are victims of the 'Jewish lobby'
A senior official in Fatah on Sunday accused the United States of being a "victim of the Jewish lobby" and thus unable to be an honest broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The official, Mohammad Shtayyeh, made the comments in an interview with the English-language i24news channel.
"People are extremely angry, they see no political future on the horizon. President Barack Obama didn't mention Palestine once during his latest speech to the United Nations," he said.
"This has shown to the Palestinian public that the international community lead by the United States has washed their hands of the Palestinian question," claimed Shtayyeh, who is a senior advisor to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
"Washington is a victim of the Jewish lobby and therefore Washington cannot be an honest broker. We know for sure that Washington is in a strategic alliance with Israel, so how can they be an honest broker?" he charged.
David Singer: Palestine – Elections Key To Ending Senseless Acts Of Self-Destruction
Given these unresolved political stalemates – between Israel/PLO and PLO/Hamas – one must legitimately question why those Arabs presently sacrificing their lives murdering Jews do not choose to vent their wrath against the PLO and Hamas by demanding long overdue elections.
The PLO and Hamas – like all previous Palestinian Arab leaders over the last 100 years – have refused any compromises with the Jewish people – inciting their own people to murder Jews and kill themselves in the process to advance their documented political objective of wiping Israel off the map.
Palestinian Arabs, denied a vote for the last 10 years, need the opportunity to express their continuing support or rejection of these policies.
Elections enabling fresh political parties to emerge with alternative leaderships offering new ideas on making peace with Israel appear as far away as ever.
The sorry story begun with the PLO in 1964 and Hamas in 1987 drags on with no hope for change.
“Popular resistance” in the West Bank and Gaza demanding long-overdue elections can achieve far better results than the spate of utterly futile and senseless acts of self-destruction directed against Jews during the last three months.
Casting a live vote always beats a dead end.
Likud Minister: 'Israel is whole, there is no Palestine'
Katz also spoke about the situation in Israel, and about suggested plans to divide the country and establish a Palestinian state.
"The land of Israel is whole. There is no Palestine," he said, emphasizing that Judea and Samaria are part of Israel just like any other region in the Jewish state.
"Let the Palestinians go to Jordan, to Gaza, to Saudi Arabia, to Kuwait, to Egypt and to Iraq. They don't want peace and don't want us here. They are manipulating our weakness. The Palestinians know how to play. They stick to their place."
Housing Ministry working on plans for 55,548 settlement homes — Peace Now
The Housing Ministry is working on settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem valued at more than NIS 330 million ($85 million), the Peace Now organization said Monday, basing its claim on ministry documents it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
The vast majority of contracts were signed between March 2013 and May 2015, when Uri Ariel of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party was housing minister. He currently serves as minister of agriculture and rural development.
Peace Now, which campaigns for a negotiated two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, obtained 200 pages of ministry documentation, with tables containing more than 1,000 lines of data, following a legal petition.
The organization claimed in a report Monday that this data and other sources reveal the ministry to be working on plans for 55,548 units in West Bank settlements, half of which are located east of the West Bank security barrier.
Breitbart Jerusalem Exclusive Q&A with Gaza’s Latest Iran-Backed Terrorist Group
Breitbart Jerusalem conducted an exclusive interview with a leader of the up-and-coming Iran-backed militia in the Gaza Strip, calling itself Al-Sabireen.
Inspired by Hezbollah, the most influential Shi’ite group in the region – which is funded by Iran – Al-Sabireen has won many hearts and minds among radical Gazans and is widely considered the next standard bearer in the so-called armed struggle against Israel. The group reportedly broke away from the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad.
Spokesmen for Al-Sabireen deny any affiliation with Shi’ite ideology, though they clearly ally themselves with Iran’s ideological and political stance, and the group’s symbols are similar to those of Hezbollah.
Gaza is dominated by Sunni Islam, although numerous Sunni terrorist groups are financially backed by Iran.
Last Friday, Al-Sabireen took responsibility for an attempted roadside bombing of an Israel Defense Forces patrol along the Gaza border.
In October, Israel reportedly eliminated an Al-Sabireen commander, Ahmed Sharif Al-Sarhi, blaming him for numerous cross-border shooting attacks.

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