Tuesday, February 16, 2016

From Ian:

JCPA: Interpreting Palestinian “Sign Language”
The attempted terror attack at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate on February 14, 2016 signifies that the effort to turn the “popular intifada” into armed terror does not only stem from Hamas, which opposed the popular struggle approach from the beginning, but also from the Fatah movement in the West Bank. It now appears that apart from the desire to strike at Israel, there are those in Fatah who also seek to thwart the policy of the organization’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Especially worrisome is the fact that Palestinian Authority security personnel have taken part in Fatah’s attempt to turn the popular struggle into an armed conflict.
The graphics of Fatah sites devoted to the intifada (or the “habba” or buzz) provide clues to the direction the winds are blowing.

First, the graphic (above) from the al-Aqsa – Jerusalem – Intifada site shows a young demonstrator with the Palestinian national flag waving behind him, indicating a Fatah, rather than Hamas, affiliation. The dominant color is black, suggesting identification with the radical ISIS or al-Nusra. The kuffiya is replaced by a cap in the form of the Dome of the Rock, colored in the black of radical Islam and the yellow of Fatah. A black crescent ornaments the top of the dome or cap. The image of the slingshot still connotes a connection with the popular intifada rather than the armed one.
The message of this graphic is that Fatah still follows the rules of the popular intifada as represented by a slingshot, but in the future this could change in the direction of black-colored Islamic terror. The site too – Intifada rather than Habba – indicates unwillingness to being confined to the “minimal” form of struggle. The struggle is also known as the Al-Quds [Jerusalem] Intifada, apparently coming from the same Fatah elements. At this stage, these appear to be rogue elements who are mounting a challenge to official Fatah leadership, while seeking to turn Jerusalem into the location where the intifada will move from the “popular, spontaneous” stage to real terror.
The Illegal-Settlements Myth
This left open the question of the sovereign authority over the West Bank. The legal vacuum in which Israel operated in the West Bank after 1967 was exacerbated by Jordan’s subsequent stubborn refusal to engage in talks about the future of these territories. King Hussein was initially deterred from dealing with the issue by the three “no’s” of Khartoum. Soon enough, he was taught a real-world lesson by the Palestine Liberation Organization, which fomented a bloody civil war against him and his regime in 1970. With the open support of Israel, Hussein survived that threat to his throne, but his desire to reduce rather than enlarge the Palestinian population in his kingdom ultimately led him to disavow any further claim to the lands he had lost in 1967. Eventually, this stance was formalized on July 31, 1988.
Thus, if the charge that Israel’s hold on the territories is illegal is based on the charge of theft from its previous owners, Jordan’s own illegitimacy on matters of legal title and its subsequent withdrawal from the fray makes that legal case a losing one. Well before Jordan’s renunciation, Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in 1967 during the Six-Day War, argued that the West Bank should be considered “unallocated territory,” once part of the Ottoman Empire. From this perspective, Israel, rather than simply “a belligerent occupant,” had the status of a “claimant to the territory.”
To Rostow, “Jews have a right to settle in it under the Mandate,” a right he declared to be “unchallengeable as a matter of law.” In accord with these views, Israel has historically characterized the West Bank as “disputed territory” (although some senior government officials have more recently begun to use the term “occupied territory”).
Because neither Great Britain, as the former trustee under the League of Nations mandate, nor the since deceased Ottoman Empire—the former sovereigns prior to the Jordanians—is desirous or capable of standing up as the injured party to put Israel in the dock, we must therefore ask: On what points of law does the case against Israel stand? (h/t Dave4321)
Yisrael Medad: Just One Short Statement That Demolishes
I learned that The Palestinian Museum is set to open on…May 15, 2016. Yes, the day when Israel was created, proclaimed as state in accordance with the original intent of the League of Nations decision to reconstitute a Jewish national Home and the United Nations decision to recommend a Jewish state and in accordance with the British decision to leave the country.
For the Museum
The decision to open the Museum on the 15th of May is designed to underline the enduring importance of the Nakba to the Museum’s work.”
Nakba, of course, means the rollback of any Zionist-Jewish achievement. It is not about 1967 but 1948. The Museum is
dedicated to preserving and celebrating the culture, society and history of Palestine over the past two centuries.
Two centuries only?
What happened to all that ancient history, a la Saeb Erekat? Here:
“I am the son of Jericho. I am 10,000 years old … I am the proud son of the Netufians and the Canaanites. I’ve been there for 5,500 years before Joshua Bin Nun came and burned my hometown Jericho. I’m not going to change my narrative”

Arab MK Writes Op-Ed in US Outlet: Israelis Not Entitled to Self-Defense
Zoabi was just given an American media platform from which to respond to the criticism leveled against her.
Newsweek magazine ran an op-ed by Zoabi on Feb 14. Zoabi rejected construing Israel’s violence towards Palestinian Arabs as self-defense. The legislator went so far as to say that Israel, because it is an “occupying power,” is not entitled to self-defense.
She wrote:
‘Self-defense’ is the expression the Israelis use in order to justify any extra-judiciary executions as well as their control over others’ lives. However, there can be no justification for killing, nor for oppression. The occupier does not have the right to self-defense. We, the occupied, have the full and only right to fight it, by all means recognized within the framework of international law and supported by the international community.
Zoabi, while rejecting Israel’s right to defend itself, nonetheless claimed that the terrorists, killed by Israeli authorities while committing terrorist acts, are just as much victims as are the innocent Israelis whom the terrorists maimed and killed.
She also argued that her suspension was evidence of what she claims is an increasingly undemocratic Israel, as well as of Israel’s blatant hostility towards Palestinian Arabs, whom she refers to as the indigenous people of the region.
Terror attack thwarted at Jerusalem's Damascus Gate for third straight day
A potential stabbing attack was thwarted at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, according to police. The incident marked the third attempted attack thwarted by police in the area in the past three days.
Police stationed in the area identified a suspicious Arab man and approached him to perform a security check. A bodily search of the suspect uncovered a knife hidden up the sleeve of his shirt.
Police confiscated the knife and arrested the suspect, a 26-year-old from the Jenin area in the northern West Bank.
The police commander in charge of the post said that "the alertness and operational skills of the officers prevented an attack on security forces and innocent bystanders."
PA Police Foiled Pipe Bomb Attack Against Israelis
The Palestinian Authority security apparatus on Tuesday morning prevented a terrorist plot to blow up pipe bombs at the Gilboa Crossing (Jalame), which connects Israel and Jenin, Ynet reported, citing Palestinian sources. Those sources say that PA police picked up two 15-year-old boys from Yamoun village, near Jenin, who were carrying pipe bombs and knives. The two boys were caught a few dozen yards from the Israeli side of the crossing. They planned to carry out a combined attack at the crossing, using the bombs and the knives.
This is the fourth case in which Palestinian Authority police have thwarted attack attempts at the Gilboa Crossing. The force’s unusually heavy deployment in the area follows a succession of four stabbing attempts at the crossing by Arab youths from Kabatia — all of whom were shot and killed on the spot.
The Tuesday attempted attack took place during a week-long teachers’ strike which has shut down public schools in the PA and left students with little to keep them occupied, other than television and the social networks, which in the PA are both sources of incitement to kill Jews.
Survey: Most Palestinians oppose security coordination with Israel
More than two-thirds (67.4 percent) of Palestinians oppose security coordination between the IDF and the Palestinian Authority, a survey released Monday by the Watan Center for Studies and Research found.
According to the survey, titled "Palestinians' opinions about the Jerusalem intifada and the siege on Gaza," 76.2% of Palestinians are dissatisfied with recent declarations by senior officials in the Palestinian Authority about their success in foiling Palestinian terror attacks.
In an interview in January with Defense News, the head of the Palestinian Authority's intelligence services in the West Bank revealed that PA security forces have prevented some 200 terrorist attacks against Israel since October 2015.
Asked about the Palestinian faction with the greatest influence on the so-called Jerusalem intifada, 39.1% of Palestinians claimed it is Hamas, while 33.5% of the Palestinians claimed it is Fatah.
Nearly half of all Palestinian terrorists are aged 20 or less — Shin Bet
Nearly half of the Palestinian terrorists who have carried out attacks or attempted attacks against Israelis during the current round of violence have been aged 20 or less, and more than one in 10 have been female, according to figures released Monday by the Shin Bet security service.
Nearly two-thirds of the 228 attacks and attempted attacks between October 1, 2015, and February 10, 2016, were carried out in the West Bank, the figures showed.
A high proportion of the West Bank terrorists — 69 out of 174 (some 40%) — came from the Hebron and Yattir region.
In addition, nine of the attackers were Arab Israelis, and 36 were from Jerusalem, according to the figures of the security services.
Israel Decries Facebook, YouTube Policy Allowing Anti-Jewish Incitement, Holocaust Denial on Pages
An official in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed Facebook and YouTube for rejecting repeated requests to automatically intercept content that could lead to assaults against Jews, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Monday.
Akiva Tor, head of the Foreign Ministry’s World Jewish Affairs and World Religions Bureau, expressed his dismay during a speech before a gathering of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Sunday.
“Facebook and YouTube are hiding behind the First Amendment of the US Constitution,” Tor said. “They are American companies, and whenever we contact them [about this issue], we are told to complain about individual posts, because they cannot prevent content from being uploaded.”
“Why are these companies, which are capable of sending specific ads to target audiences any time they want, incapable of blocking content that calls for causing physical harm to Jews all over the world?” Tor asked. “Why is such content tolerated? … Israel, France and the EU all feel that incitement on Arabic social media sites leads to [violence against Jews]. So why is it continuing?”
Police briefly detain Washington Post reporter for ‘incitement’
Washington Post Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth and a colleague were briefly detained by Israeli police Tuesday outside Jerusalem’s Old City, in what what the government called the “the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding.”
Booth, along with journalist Sufian Taha and reporter Ruth Marks Eglash, had been interviewing locals near the Damascus Gate next to the Old City of Jerusalem, which has been the site of several attempted attacks in the last three days.
An Arab woman told Booth that if he paid some of the bystanders, they would provoke the nearby police officers and start a violent demonstration, Jerusalem Police spokesperson Asi Aharoni told The Times of Israel.
“Police officers noticed that she said if you pay these youngsters, they will start the provocation and you’ll be able to take pictures,” Aharoni said.
A passerby complained to Border Police officers, who were standing a few feet away, the Jerusalem Police spokesperson said.
Toronto Star & CP24 Turn Palestinian Terrorists into Victims
This headline was marred by the fact that it failed to mention that these 5 Palestinians initiated several shooting and stabbing terror attacks on Israeli forces. The false impression left by this headline was that 5 presumably innocent Palestinians were killed in attacks with Israeli forces. This headline therefore made the guilty party innocent and the innocent party guilty as it did not include vital context about the nature and origin of the attack. The headline could have easily read: “5 Palestinian attackers killed by Israeli forces”.
As HonestReporting editor Daniel Pomerantz noted recently: ”This stands in stark contrast to the way similar events are covered all over the world. Imagine a 9/11 headline stating, “Fifteen Saudi men killed in America…” or a Paris headline saying, “Middle Eastern men killed by French Police…” In this kind of situation, where people are under attack, a headline that emphasizes the death of the terrorists is misleading to the point of offensive.”
While the body of the Star’s article was accurate, however, readers view headlines 3:1 over the adjacent article. As a result, many Star readers were likely misled by this headline into thinking that Israel killed 5 innocent Palestinians.
Last but not least, CP24′s coverage of these attacks also turned the Palestinian terrorists into victims of Israeli aggression.
Today’s coverage was headlined “Three teens killed by Israeli troops in two separate incidents,” a headline which altogether failed to mention that the three teens were Palestinian terrorists. CP24′s anchor led the report with emphasis on the “death of three Palestinian teenagers” while stating as fact that the three Palestinian teenagers were killed and shot by Israeli officers. Importantly, Israel’s claims that their forces acted in self defense was stated in attribution only.
Who Did It? CNN Won't Say
It's not only the headline which fails to note that the two attackers were Palestinian. Nowhere does the article itself identify the assailants as Palestinian, though that information had earlier been reported by other news services. The CNN story begins:
Two men who opened fire at Israeli security forces outside the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City were shot and killed late Sunday, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
No police or soldiers were injured.
Authorities have not yet identified the alleged attackers, referring to them only as "terrorists."

According to the time stamp, the article was last updated at 22:20 GMT. Before then, news agencies had already identified the assailants as Palestinian.
It Really Is Bias: Comparing Anti-Israel Headlines
News reporters claim their headlines are not really biased but merely reflect proper journalistic practices. So why do headlines about Israel look so different from headlines about similar events in other countries? When American police shoot a madman with a machete, the headlines say so. But when a terrorist dies in Israel, while IN THE ACT of attacking, the headlines are just plain shocking. HonestReporting's Daniel Pomerantz takes a look.

French ultimatum to Israel: Accept PA demands or else
The French government is planning an international peace conference to reach a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) - and it appears that France is placing the burden of reaching a settlement on Israel.
On Tuesday French officials met with representatives of both Israel and the PA to present the basic framework of the peace conference. According to an AP report, the conference is being planned for this summer.
France’s proposed peace conference would include not only Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but the US, European powers, and other Arab states. Should the effort fail to produce a negotiated final status agreement, France says it will act unilaterally to recognize a Palestinian state; a thinly veiled ultimatum to Israel.
The announcement of the planned peace conference comes on the heels of opposing statements on Monday by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin encouraging a return to direct bilateral talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki rejecting any direct negotiations with Israel.
The adoption by France of a broad, multilateral model for the conference appears to be a tacit endorsement of the PA's refusal to participate in direct talks.
Netanyahu in Berlin calls French plan ‘surprising’ as Merkel puts brakes on diplomatic efforts
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday characterized as “surprising” a French peace initiative that calls for an international conference, and – if that fails – recognition by Paris of a Palestinian state.
Speaking in Berlin at a press conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Netanyahu said it was surprising for the French to say in advance they would recognize a Palestinians state if the peace conference fails without knowing whether that state may turn into yet another dictatorship in the region; whether that state “really intended to end the conflict” with Israel and “recognize the “state of the Jews”; and without knowing if there will be security arrangements in that state to prevent Hamas, Islamic State or both from taking over land from which Israel might withdraw.
“Obviously this ensures that a conference will fail,” Netanyahu said. “Because if the Palestinians know that their conditions will be accepted, and they don't have to do anything [to compromise], then certainly there is an internal contradiction and they will not do anything.”
Netanyahu said the only way to promote peace was “through negotiations without preconditions, directly between the two sides. That is the real way, and anyone who tries to divert from that path will not promote successful negotiations.”
Merkel: Now’s not the time for major progress to Palestinian state
The current climate in the Middle East does not allow for major steps toward the creation of a Palestinian state, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said here Tuesday, calling instead for small steps to safeguard a future two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Now is certainly not the time to make really comprehensive progress, but you can achieve improvements in certain places,” she said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The European Union, and Germany as a member state, is very concerned about seeing things realistically,” Merkel said. “We know the threat of terrorism that Israel has to endure. We believe, on the other hand, that we have to advance a process of peaceful coexistence, and this, according to our opinion, is ultimately built on a two-state solution.”
Berlin is ready to help with any steps Israelis and Palestinians can take to advance the cause of peaceful coexistence, she said, “especially regarding questions of economic development.”
Israel: PA official's comments prove they don't want peace
If Israeli officials needed proof that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not interested in peace, they found it in the remarks made Monday by the PA’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.
Malki, who accompanied PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Japan, was asked questions about the deadlock in the peace talks with Israel.
“We will never go back and sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” he replied.
Officials in the prime minister's entourage to Berlin, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in response that anyone who wants to resume the peace process should be aware of statements of this kind.
"We know that peace will be achieved through direct negotiations. It seems that the Palestinians know this as well so they do not want direct negotiations," the official said.
Turkish official says Ankara, Jerusalem close to signing detente deal
Ankara and Jerusalem are close to reaching an agreement to compensate Turkish activists killed in a 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, a ruling party official said Monday.
The two former allies fell out after the 2010 Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla killed 10 Turkish citizens aboard the ship Mavi Marmara, exacerbating a freeze in relations between the two countries. Closed door talks in recent months have tried to reach a detente between Ankara and Jerusalem, however.
“The point has been reached in the talks at which (an agreement) can be signed,” AK Party spokesman Omer Celik told Haber Turk TV. He didn’t comment on whether progress was reached on lifting Israel’s security blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, another demand Turkey has made.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said he couldn’t comment.
US envoy to UN skewers world body for anti-Israel bias
Samantha Power, addressing a group of Model UN participants at a school in Even Yehuda, east of the coastal city of Netanya, pointed to the rejection of rescue organization ZAKA as proof of the world body’s singling out of Israel for criticism.
“Bias has extended well beyond Israel as a country, Israel as an idea,” she said of the UN and particularly the UN Human Rights Council.
“Israel is just not treated like other countries,” she added during a Q&A session, while also maintaining that there are legitimate criticisms of the Jewish state.
Israeli officials have long complained that the United Nations is biased against the Jewish state. Newly minted Israeli envoy Danny Danon recently accused Turtle Bay of being anti-Semitic in its criticism of Israel.
But Power said the issue wasn’t the world body but the countries that make it up, expressing hope that it can improve.
Jordan said to mull canceling gas deal with Israel
Jordan is weighing the cancellation of a natural gas deal with Israel after talks with an Algerian company, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
The question mark over an Israel-Jordan memorandum of understanding could undermine a central tenet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s justification for the embattled Israeli gas framework agreement.
Israel Radio quoted an unidentified senior source in the Jordanian parliament as saying that there was growing support within the parliament for canceling the deal with Israel.
A Jordanian delegation recently visited Algeria and held talks with a gas company there about a possible import agreement, the report said.
On Monday, in an unprecedented appearance before Israel’s High Court of Justice, Netanyahu said that if the current deal was not approved in Israel, “we will lose our export potential to Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, the Palestinians and also the European Union.”
‘Morocco’s king dispatches Jewish aide to push Israeli-Palestinian talks’
The king of Morocco has reportedly sent a veteran Moroccan Jewish negotiator to push for a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in order to renew peace talks.
Mohammed VI is making efforts to facilitate the meeting using Sam Ben-Shitrit, Channel 2 news reported Monday.
Ben-Shitrit is the founder and chairman of the World Federation of Moroccan Jews, and has on a number of occasions acted as a middleman between Israel and Morocco, which do not have official diplomatic relations.
According to the TV report, Ben-Shitrit has arranged a meeting between several unnamed high-level PA and Israeli public officials to take place later this week. Both Netanyahu and Abbas gave the okay for the meeting and even reportedly expressed willingness to meet each other.”
Canada to resume financial support to a surrogate for terrorist organizations
The Globe and Mail has recently reported that “As part of the humanitarian package, the Liberals are expected to provide $15-million in annual funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).”
In January 2010, the Conservative government redirected the Canadian funds earmarked to UNRWA to “to specific projects in the Palestinian Authority that will ensure accountability and foster democracy in the PA.” Previously, Canada provided UNRWA with 11 percent of its budget at $10 million (Canadian) annually.
The undersigned wrote in 2014 the following policy paper “UNRWA as a Convenient Surrogate for Terrorists Organizations” for The Center for Near East Policy Research. The paper (to read the full version click here) was submitted by David Bedein to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was founded in 1950, with its’ stated goals of providing “education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance” for over 5 million Palestinian refugees. These praiseworthy efforts have improved the lives of countless Palestinians, yet in recent years their efforts have been subverted by the terror organizations that have taken over UNRWA facilities and resources.
Most recently, ample evidence has accumulated during Operation “Protective Edge,” which started on July 8, 2014, linking Palestinian terrorist organizations to UNRWA.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Meretz Downplays UN Israel Fixation: ‘99% Of Knesset Votes Also About Israel’ (satire)
The leader of Israel’s hard-left Meretz Party defended the United Nations Security and Human Rights Councils today amid observations that those bodies disproportionately target Israel for condemnation, and said that the country has no right to complain about the UN’s alleged fixation when Israel’s own legislature also focuses almost all of its lawmaking activities on the actions of the Jewish State.
Zehava Gal-On addressed reporters in the aftermath of a speech by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, in which the latter called out the organization for what she called its anti-Israel bias. Gal-On dismissed the accusation as hypocritical, as no one has ever accused the Knesset of any such bias, yet more than ninety-nine percent of the bills debated and voted on in the parliament deal exclusively with Israel – more than even the Human Rights Council’s ratio of dozens of anti-Israel resolutions to a handful of condemnations of other countries.
“It’s a bit rich for anyone in Israel to accuse the UN of an unhealthy obsession with Israel,” said the Meretz chief. “Have any of my colleagues taken a look at the Knesset docket recently? I don’t see any legislative proposals dealing with the genocide in Burundi, Saudi gender apartheid, Chinese repression in Tibet, Daesh throwing homosexuals off rooftops, or suppression of dissent in Guatemala. Really, who are these people to complain about the UN’s supposed fixation when they themselves are doing the same thing, only more so?”
Even preschoolers take part in nationwide missile attack drills
At exactly 10:05 a.m. the sound of an air raid siren began to flare and a room full of three and four year old children leapt up from their chairs with excitement, and then calmly walked in a train formation to the sheltered bunker in the adjacent room.
Luckily, this was not a real-time event, but rather a national drill for preparedness in the event of a missile attack as part of a nationwide drill held at all the country’s schools on Monday.
The majority of children at the preschool were too young to remember the sirens from Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and so the sound of the alarm was a novel experience for them.
“I prepared the children only a little bit ahead of time, so as not to cause any panic or anxiety,” Maya, a kindergarten teacher in Tel Aviv told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Khaled Abu Toameh: PA police detain journalist for reporting on salary of Palestine TV's hairdresser
Palestinian Authority security forces on Monday detained journalist Ehab Al-Jariri, who complained that Palestine TV had paid a monthly salary of $12,000 to a female hairdresser.
Al-Jariri, who hosts a talk show on a Ramallah-based radio station, referred to the case during a program on the misuse of public funds.
He revealed that Palestine TV had signed a contract to hire the hairdresser for a monthly salary of $12,000.
A copy of the scandalous contract later went viral on social media, drawing sharp criticism from many Palestinians.
Al-Jariri was detained following a complaint lodged by the hairdresser, who accused him of slander.
The PA prosecutor-general in Ramallah initially ordered him remanded into custody for 24 hours. However, Al-Jariri was released a few hours later following protests by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.
Hamas Seniors Splurge on New Fleet of Cars While Gaza’s Population Squalors in Poverty
A Hamas government decision to buy 36 new cars for senior public servants has caused a backlash on Palestinian social media, with Gaza residents criticizing the ruling Islamist group for splurging during times of economic distress.
Some of the critics are active Hamas members, who complain that the government went too far by renewing its vehicle fleet for the third time in five years. This while the Hamas government has consistently been unable to pay employee salaries on time.
“While public servants cannot afford bread to feed their children, and I mean every word, the treasury approves a decision to buy new cars,” wrote Rami Rayan, an civil service employee of Hamas’s Interior Ministry, to his 2,108 followers on Facebook.
Report: Hamas Execution of Officer Accused of Spying for Israel Sparks Defections From Terror Organization’s Military Wing
The execution of a former Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades officer has led to the defection of “several members” of Hamas’ military wing, the London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday.
The defectors have reportedly formed their own group, “al-Qassamiyoun al-Ahrar,” and are demanding that an independent investigative committee look into the execution of Mahmud Eshtawi, which was carried out in the Gaza Strip last week, according to the report.
The new group also released a statement condemning the verdict that apparently led to Eshtawi’s execution, calling his death “a horrendous murder and a sign of great oppression,” according to Asharq al-Awsat.
The defections were the latest development in the controversy stemming from Eshtawi’s death, after his family called the execution “treachery,” and declared it was prompted by “personal” reasons, rather than Hamas’ claims that Eshtawi was spying for Israel.
Hamas says Egypt sealed border after rare 3-day opening
Nearly 2,500 people left Gaza during a three-day humanitarian opening of the border with Egypt, a rare opportunity for Gazans to leave the blockaded enclave, authorities in the Palestinian territory said Tuesday.
The Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza said 2,439 people left the territory over the three days, while 1,122 entered and 334 were turned back by Egyptian authorities.
The border was closed again on Tuesday, a ministry statement said, after “Egyptian authorities informed us of the shutting down of the Rafah crossing.”
Egypt originally opened the border for humanitarian cases for two days from Saturday but that was extended for an extra day on Monday.
Before Saturday, the crossing had been closed for 70 days, the ministry said.
The United Nations has registered 30,000 Palestinians as “humanitarian cases” seeking to leave Gaza.
Lebanese Politician Denies the Holocaust, Says: Zionism Controls the West, Taking Hold of East
On a recent TV show, Lebanese politician Vera Yammine said that the Holocaust was "shrouded in unclarity," and that the Jews "always fear exposure about the Holocaust, and are always eager to use it as a pretext." Yammine, a member of the political bureau of the Marada Movement, said: "Zionism has taken hold of the West and is taking hold of the East, and especially of the Arab world." She further said: "There is no such thing as ISIS or the Al-Nusra Front. All these terms have emerged from a single womb, the womb of Zionism. The show aired on February 9 on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV channel.

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