Monday, February 15, 2016

From Ian:

No neo-colonialism for Gaza Strip
The received wisdom about Gaza and Hamas is always a fascinating tour of illogic.
Why do the people who want to “help” Gaza have so little interest in the input from the people there? In the old days they relied on the “strongman” Dahlan, even as they claimed Hamas benefited electorally from allegations that Fatah was corrupt. The one thing you will never hear from a Gaza “saver” is the concept that perhaps Gazans supported Hamas because of its religious and extremist chauvinist militarist appeal. It’s always because it was “progressive” and “built hospitals” and was part of the global Left, or even because it was supposedly founded and supported by Israel. If it was founded by Israel and it is part of the global Left, then isn’t Israel part of the global left too? No, of course not.
People want to rewrite history so that Israel “gave” Gaza to Hamas. No one wants to remember the war between Hamas and Fatah, the people thrown off buildings, or dragged to death behind motorcycles.
The answer to Gaza’s problems are always some sort of ill-conceived colonization of the place, as if Israel hasn’t done enough for the Strip in that regard.
The fact is Gaza cannot be saved. Its people cannot be turned into something they are not. Hamas is not a progressive movement, it is an extremist, right-wing fundamentalist religious movement. The Strip is caught in a brutal cycle of war with Israel, and Hamas’ relations with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has isolated it further. All of this is a tragedy for civilian life in Gaza.
Why aren’t Gaza’s friends in the Gulf suggesting the Strip look more like their societies? Because they want to use it against Israel? Good-natured “saving” of the Strip won’t help, it has to be confronted as an adult, not an object, and a way must be found to present it with alternatives for the future. Involving Turkey or the Gulf in that discussion would be good. But pretending it’s run by the socialist party and needs re-colonization is not a path forward. It’s not Singapore. It’s Gaza. Get used to it.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The new Palestinian people
MK Anat Berko says there is no such thing as a Palestinian people, and MK Azmi Bishara calls Palestinian nationality 'a colonial invention'. It may be historically true that there once was no such thing as a Palestinian people, but that doesn't mean there isn't one now.
Needless to say, a Palestinian state was not established. Why? There was no occupation. King Hussein of Jordan made it clear during those years that “Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan," and that “Jordan in its two parts is the homeland of all the Palestinians."
Actually, the Six Day War and the Israeli conquest were the biggest catalysts for the development of a separate Palestinian national identity. The fact that there was no Palestinian people in the past does not mean that there is no Palestinian people today. Indeed, it is not clear what the difference is between Jordanians, Palestinians and the Syrians themselves. They have same language, religion, culture, and often shared tribal or familial kinship. But identity is a flexible matter sometimes. In any case, it is self-defined.
Logic says there is no need for a separate Palestinian state. Jordan already exists. And the one-state solution is unworthy of Jews and Palestinians. It is worthy of both banks of the Jordan River, east and west. Palestinian leaders, even the last two decades, have made every effort to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. So Berko is right about the past. At present there is no need to deny Palestinian nationalism, because whoever denies it now will find themselves in a binational state in the future.
PMW: How to properly beat your wife, according to the PA Mufti in Gaza
During a weekly Palestinian Authority TV program on social issues, the Mufti of Gaza Hassan Al-Laham discussed divorce in Islam. He explained that Allah directed men to take four steps to resolve conflicts with one's wife before resorting to divorce:
"Allah said: Warn them [the wives], and separate from them, and hit them, and bring an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family." [Official PA TV, Feb. 8, 2016]
His essential message is that while "she became your wife, and she is under your command," nonetheless, hitting is to be used only after warning her and separating from her "in the bedroom" has failed to achieve the desired result. And then, when hitting is being used at the proper time, it should not be a severe beating:
"Not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly."
Indeed, the hitting should "be like a joke," even reinforcing "the love and friendship" between the couple:
"This hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded, is still found between us (i.e., the couple)."
PA Mufti of Gaza explains how to hit your wife: "Not hitting that will bring the police

One of shooters at Damascus Gate was Palestinian policeman
One of the two attackers who opened fire on security personnel in Jerusalem late Sunday, and was killed in the ensuing gun battle, was a Palestinian police officer, reports said Monday morning.
The policeman and his companion, carrying automatic weapons, shot at a group of Border Police officers who were receiving their nightly briefing before beginning patrols in the Old City’s Damascus Gate area.
The Israeli officers fired back, hitting one assailant instantly and setting off in pursuit of the second, who was still shooting at the officers, police said.
The second attacker was soon hit and killed by police fire as well. There were no injuries among the Israeli officers or bystanders.
PA calls for international protection after IDF kills three Palestinian teenage assailants
The Palestinian Authority called for international protection on Sunday after the IDF killed three teenage Palestinian assailants in the West Bank.
Yusef Al-Mahmoud, spokesman for the PA government, accused Israel of "deliberately" killing Palestinian teenagers.
An Israeli official responded by stating that “the problem is the Palestinian Authority, which continues to incite against Israel. It refuses to take responsibly and continues to praise young people involved in murderous acts of terrorism.”
In the morning an IDF lookout position spotted two Palestinians hurling rocks near the security fence north of the Palestinian City of Jenin, near Arake village.
15-year-old Arab girl arrested in attempted stabbing attack at Damascus Gate
Police thwarted an attempted stabbing attack carried out by a female teenage Arab assailant near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate Monday afternoon, marking the second time in less than 24 hours that Arab terrorists have attempted to carry out deadly violence in the flashpoint area.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., police patrolling the east Jerusalem entrance to the Old City spotted the unidentified suspect behaving suspiciously, said police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“An officer stationed by Damascus Gate approached the female Arab teenager and asked her for identification, at which time she pulled out a knife and attempted to stab the officer,” Rosenfeld said shortly after the attack.
“Police were able to push her back and disarm her without anyone being injured. After searching her bag, a second knife was found.”
In first, body of E. Jerusalem attacker delivered to family
Israeli police overnight Sunday transferred the remains of Palestinian terrorist Ahmad Abu Shaaban to his family in East Jerusalem for burial, the first of 10 bodies of East Jerusalem attackers to be handed over by Israeli authorities since the beginning of the current round of violence in the region.
Abu Shaaban, a resident of the Ras al-Amud neighborhood, was shot dead while carrying out a stabbing attack at the city’s central bus station in October.
The attacker’s family had reportedly agreed to a number of conditions, including that the funeral for Abu Shaaban be a small, family-only affair held at night. He was buried at the Lion’s Gate cemetery near the capital’s Old City.
Several Israeli authorities and officials, in particular Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, are in favor of holding on to or significantly delaying the return of attackers’ bodies in order to prevent — or at least dampen — the mass rallies that sometimes accompany funerals of Palestinians, where participants often urge new attacks. The delay is thought to lessen the significance attached to any particular attacker, and so to reduce attendance at the funerals.
Israel arrests head of Fatah-aligned terror group
The Israeli army overnight arrested the head of the Palestinian Tanzim terrorist organization, the Shin Bet security service said Monday. The group is allied to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
Jamal Abu Lel, 48, ran the organization from the Qalandiya refugee camp outside the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to the Shin Bet.
He used the organization to channel money and direct shooting attacks against Israelis, the security services said in a statement.
Abu Lel is a resident of an East Jerusalem neighborhood, and possesses the ID card of a permanent resident of Israel.
The arrest came as violence continued in the capital.
BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – January 2016
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during January 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 169 incidents took place: 126 in Judea & Samaria, 39 in Jerusalem, one inside the ‘green line’ and 3 incidents in the Gaza Strip: two missile attacks and one attack with an IED.
The agency recorded 136 attacks with petrol bombs, nine shooting attacks, 12 attacks using explosive devices and 9 stabbing attacks.
Five Israeli civilians were killed during January – two stabbing attacks and three in shooting attacks. 28 people (18 civilians and 10 members of the security forces) were wounded: 14 in shooting attacks, 8 in stabbing attacks and six in attacks with petrol bombs.
The missile attack from the Gaza strip on January 1st was not reported by the BBC in English but the later Israeli response was reported by BBC Arabic. The same pattern was seen on January 24th when an additional missile attack was ignored by the BBC’s English language services but the Israeli response was reported in Arabic. The IED attack was also not reported.
In conclusion, the BBC News website reported ten – i.e.  5.9% – of the 169 terror attacks which took place during January 2016. 100% of the Israeli fatalities were reported although only four of the five victims were named. None of the terror attacks originating in the Gaza Strip were covered in English.
PMW: Reading and murder linked by Hebron University
Two Palestinian terrorists, Baha Alyan (22) and Bilal Ghanem (23) boarded a bus in Jerusalem and attacked passengers with a gun and a knife, killing 3 Israelis and wounding 4, on Oct. 13, 2015. Terrorist Alyan was shot and killed by a security guard while the other terrorist was arrested.
Hebron University considers the murderer Baha Alyan a "Martyr" and a "fighter" worthy of commemoration. The university decided to honor him by establishing a "human reading chain," since the terrorist himself had once organized such a chain around Jerusalem.
Addressing the dead terrorist as "Dear Baha," the host of the ceremony explained that the event was "to complete the mission you started." He went on to say that the students are using their "belief in the pen and the book as means to convey our Palestinian message to the world." [WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), Feb. 1, 2016]
The use of "the pen and the book" to convey a "Palestinian message" stands in stark contrast to Baha's use of a gun and knife to convey a Palestinian message of murder of innocent civilians on a bus.
This is yet another example of how Palestinians turn terrorist murderers into role models and link cultural values to other Palestinian "values" of murder and terror, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
MEMRI: Al-Quds University In Jerusalem Commemorates Terrorist In Guise Of Promoting Culture And Education
On Saturday, February 13, 2016, Al-Quds University in Jerusalem held a "cultural event" in memory of Baha 'Alyan, who, together with Bilal Ghanem, carried out an October 13, 2015 shooting and stabbing attack on a Jerusalem bus in which three people were killed and four wounded. The event was held under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority's "High Commission for Youth and Sports," a branch of the PLO in charge of youth and sports activities in the PA territories and the Palestinian diaspora. As part of the event 2,500 students, sitting side by side and each reading a book, formed a human chain "of readers and writers" under the slogan "The Baha Al-Shuhada Chain" (meaning "the Light of the Martyrs chain").
A similar event in 'Alyan's memory was held some two weeks ago at the Hebron university, where he had studied.
The following are details about the Al-Quds event and photos from it.
Bleeding Palestinian female attacker emerges as the symbol of Palestinian Valentine's Day
Pictures taken of Yasmeen Tamimi, a 21-year-old Palestinian girl, lying on a street's corner severely bleeding from a gunshot wound after attempting to stab IDF soldiers in Hebron on Sunday, roused furious reactions on the Palestinian social media.
Tamimi, a Hebron resident, attempted to stab a soldier at Checkpoint 160 near the Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city. Security forces shot and seriously wounded her, and she was evacuated to the Sha'are Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for surgery.
The pictures of Tamimi's covered in blood quickly spread on Palestinian social networks, and inspired several Palestinians to describe her cynically as the symbol of the Palestinian Valentine's Day. They claimed that "while the world celebrates today with the color red that signals love, in Palestine the red is the color of the blood spilled due to Zionist thuggery."
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Palestinian clip depicts shootings, stabbings of Israelis
Palestinians on social media are circulating an animated video that shows terrorists taking up arms and killing Israeli soldiers and civilians in attacks that mimic those which have been committed in Israel and the Palestinian territories in recent months.
The graphic clip depicts Palestinians angered by images of their brethren being victimized by Israel, only to respond by using knives, guns, and cars in order to take revenge and “become martyrs.”
Police killed two Palestinian terrorists late Sunday night who opened fire on them by the Damascus Gate near the Old City in Jerusalem.
Shortly after the attack, police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post that the two unidentified terrorists attempted to open fire using automatic weapons, before Border Police in the area opened fire, killing both suspects.
Self-Defense Only Legitimate if Israelis are Injured First?
It’s another headline fail, this time in The Guardian:
But take a look at the sub-header. In addition to questioning the veracity of the Israeli version of events, it also stresses that the Palestinians were shot dead despite no Israeli soldiers suffering any injuries.
Is this a new caveat specifically for Israeli security forces? Are Israelis allowed to defend themselves against Palestinian attackers only once they have been injured?
Obviously, the entire point of self-defense is to avoid getting hurt in the first place. For The Guardian and some other media outlets, however, Israeli self-defense is an illegitimate measure against the real victims – Palestinian assailants and terrorists.
The Independent reports on recent terror attack – one sentence; one glaring omission
A report today by Will Worley on the latest Palestinian terror attack in Hebron in The Independent (Teenage girl wielding knife shot by Israeli security forces in West Bank, Feb. 14) concluded with context on the recent violence.
There has been an increase in violent attacks on Israelis since October last year. Twenty-seven Israelis have been reported killed in stabbings, shootings and after being rammed by vehicles.
At least 157 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in the same time.

Worley of course fails to note that most of the 157 Palestinians in question were killed while carrying out or attempting to carry out terror attacks against Israelis – a fact that other reporters writing for The Independent have been careful to note.
Israel said to have spent $250M trying to thwart Hamas tunnels
Israel has spent over one billion shekels (some $250 million) since 2004 trying to thwart Hamas tunneling under the Israel-Gaza border, an Israeli TV report said Friday night.
The money has gone toward developing technology to discover the locations of such tunnels and unspecified “operational efforts,” Channel 2 news said.
It quoted Israeli military sources saying the effort to counter Hamas’s under-border tunneling was a “central” priority for the IDF.
The TV report’s reference to 2004 was not immediately clear. Israel controlled the Gaza Strip until 2005, when it dismantled more than 20 Jewish settlements there, removing all of their approximately 8,000 residents, and withdrew its military forces. Hamas, an Islamist terror group openly committed to destroying Israel, seized full control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority in 2007.
Palestinians to launch all-sports TV channel
Palestinians will soon launch a new television station dedicated to local sports, with a first test broadcast scheduled for Wednesday, the founder of the station told AFP on Saturday.
For Wednesday’s test, the channel will broadcast a friendly match between Algerian and Palestinian players.
“The official launch of the channel will be in four or five months,” director Wael Romana said.
The station has already recruited around forty employees and hopes to grow bigger going forward. “The goal,” he said, “is to eventually cover all Palestinian sporting events in all fields.”
Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub, who heads the Palestinian Football Association and Olympic Committee, welcomed the arrival of the channel as a “historic turning point” in the history of Palestinian sports
Hamas Strongman Visits Beirut To Meet Hezbollah, Iranian Officials Over Upgrade Deal
Top Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam and other officials in Beirut on Wednesday, Hamas announced in an online statement.
As initially reported by Breitbart Jerusalem, Marzouk was invited by Hezbollah leaders to pursue talks about the future of his organization’s relationship with Iran.
Breitbart Jerusalem also reported earlier this month that Hamas turned down Iran’s offer to be recognized as the sole representative of the Palestinian people in exchange for a clear condemnation of Saudi Arabia.
Wednesday’s statement released by Hamas about Marzouk’s meeting with Salam failed to mention his meetings with Hezbollah officials, perhaps in a bid to avoid a Saudi rebuke.
A Hamas official confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem that the meetings with Hezbollah took place Thursday and Friday.
He emphasized, “Hamas is happy to maintain good relations with Iran, so long as it doesn’t come at the expense of any other country.”
Reports: Hezbollah chief in Iran to receive life-saving treatment for cancer
Hasan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, arrived in Iran on Sunday to receive urgent medical treatment for his cancer, after his condition recently deteriorated, Lebanese media reported on Monday.
According to the reports, Nasrallah was evacuated to the Iranian hospital, where he was treated by doctors from Russia and North Korea, after cancer cells spread to new parts of his body.
In light of Hezbollah's silence about the medical condition of its chief, anti-Hezbollah Lebanese activists began spreading rumors about Nasrallah's death. However, Nasrallah is expected to deliver a speech on Tuesday evening, during the Memorial Day for Hezbollah's martyrs.
Islamic State Supporter Nabbed With Massive Porn Collection
A Saudi man sentenced to four year’s imprisonment on terror charges surprised authorities with the copious amounts of pornography found on his personal computer alongside bomb-making instructions.
The man was reportedly convicted of openly supporting the Islamic State and trying to win young hearts and minds on behalf of the jihadist organization via his Twitter account.
Pornography is considered a transgression by IS and its followers.
The court decided that, in addition to the jail term, the defendant will be banned from leaving the country for another five years.
Putin proves Obama wrong with his ugly military solution in Syria
President Obama declared last year that “There is no military solution in Syria.” Sadly, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has now proved him wrong by imposing one.
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and the last rebel stronghold, is about to fall, thanks to withering Russian air bombardment backing government and Iranian troops. That effectively secures Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power in at least a large rump of Syria.
That left Secretary of State John Kerry with nothing to do but organize a “cessation of hostilities.”
Kerry hailed that as a significant accomplishment. But it falls far short of a lasting ceasefire: Russia intends to keep bombing, and Assad’s troops will keep fighting.
“If we negotiate, it does not mean that we stop fighting terrorism,” said the Syrian strongman. “The two tracks are inevitable in Syria.”
Even Kerry admits Putin may have only engaged in “talk for the sake of talk in order to continue the bombing.”
Israel pessimistic on Syria ceasefire, eyes sectarian partition
Israeli officials aired skepticism on Sunday that a planned “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war, brokered last week in Munich by US and Russian officials, would ultimately succeed.
In the German city for a series of meetings, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Jerusalem believes “it is hard to see how the war and mass killing there are stopped.”
“The situation in Syria is very complex,” Ya’alon said.
“Syria, as we have known it, will not be united anew in the foreseeable future, and at some point I reckon that we will see enclaves, whether organized or not, formed by the various sectors that live and are fighting there.”
Russia and Saudi Arabia on course to collision in Syria
Russia does not stop. Reports in Arabic media on Saturday evening told the story of a stream of thousands of refugees that won’t subside, all fleeing the northwestern areas of Syria toward the Turkish border. They are escaping a ground offensive by the Syrian army, assisted by Russian carpet bombings against Aleppo and the villages of Latakia and near Homs.
According to reports from Russia, the Syrian army has succeeded in taking control of some villages in northern Latakia, a region in the western part of Syria. Bashar Assad’s army has also conquered areas north of Aleppo; on Friday, his army claimed to have taken over villages controlling several strategic roads near the Turkish border.
As a Hebrew saying goes, the appetite is whetted when the food is served. An emboldened Assad even gave an interview on Friday to Agence France Presse, vowing not to cease fighting until he retakes control of the entire nation. While this would have sounded like science fiction only a few months ago, now, with the help of Russian bombers, it no longer seems a fantasy.
Such a scenario may take months or even years to unfold, but the progress of the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is quite consistent – at least on the northwestern front.
Turkish President Slams Obama For Creating A 'Sea Of Blood'
Turkish President Recep Erdogan bashed the Obama administration Wednesday, saying its policy towards Syria has resulted in nothing short of an orgy of violence.
Erdogan pointed additional blame at Washington for refusing to declare a Kurdish organization in Syria a terror group, The New York Times reports.
U.S. policy of attempting to find and support so-called moderate rebel groups against Syrian President Bashar Assad or Islamic State has drawn remarkable criticism from allies. In this case, Erdogan is finding fault with U.S. backing of PYD and PKK, two groups of Kurds fighting against Islamic State in Syria.
“Hey, America. Because you never recognized them as a terrorist group, the region has turned into a sea of blood,” Erdogan said bluntly.
“We have written proof!” Erdogan added. “We tell the Americans, ‘It’s a terror group.’ But the Americans stand up and say, ‘No, we don’t see them as terror groups.'”
Leading Liberal Thinkers: U.S. Must Act Against Slaughter in Syria
In order to recover its moral standing, the United States must take the necessary actions “to establish a new configuration of power” that will protect Syrian civilians from the Iran-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies, Leon Wieseltier and Michael Ignatieff wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Wieseltier, the former literary editor of The New Republic, and Ignatieff, the former leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, argued that “the moral bankruptcy of American and Western policy in Syria” has thus far led to inaction in the face of lethal aggression against Syrian civilians. This policy has been marked by a failure to penalize Assad’s use of chemical weapons, weak declarations that he must step down from power, half-hearted attempts to arm moderate Syrian rebel groups, and an inadequate response to the Syrian refugee crisis, which was exacerbated by these actions. In the meantime, they said, 250,000 Syrian have been killed, 7 million displaced, and 5 million– 2 million of whom are children– turned into refugees.
CIA chief says IS has used, can make chemical weapons
CIA director John Brennan has said that Islamic State fighters have used chemical weapons and have the capability to make small quantities of chlorine and mustard gas, CBS News reported Thursday.
“We have a number of instances where ISIL has used chemical munitions on the battlefield,” Brennan told CBS News, which released excerpts of an interview to air in full on the “60 Minutes” news program on Sunday.
The network added that he told “60 Minutes” the CIA believes that the IS group has the ability to make small amounts of mustard or chlorine gas for weapons.
“There are reports that ISIS has access to chemical precursors and munitions that they can use,” Brennan said.
Brennan also warned of the possibility that the Islamic State group could seek to export the weapons to the West for financial gain.
Last vestiges of Syrian Jewry clinging to community
Israeli experts and an activist in contact with the remaining Jews in Damascus painted a bleak picture to The Jerusalem Post.
“All of the Jews that wanted to leave Syria left some time ago,” Prof. Eyal Zisser, a leading expert on Syria from the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, told the Post.
Most of them left in the 1990s as part of an agreement between the US and Syrian governments, he said. “Those that remained are elderly Jews due to the difficulty of changing places along with their environment.
They requested to end their lives in Damascus and now they found themselves stuck in a war,” continued Zisser.
Asked if their lives are at risk, Zisser responded that he did not think the Jews in Damascus are in immediate danger as “surely the regime has no interest in dealing with them.”
“As long as the regime controls Damascus their lives are assured,” he said, noting that of course daily life is difficult because of the war. “But it was their choice to stay in Syria at the time.”

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