Friday, May 06, 2016

From Ian:

Christian Zionist Leader: UNESCO Temple Mount Resolution Worse Than Holocaust Denial
In honor of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, leading pro-Israeli Christian groups are heading to the United Nations to condemn UNESCO’s effort to deny Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, calling it “tantamount to Holocaust denial.”
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, Special UN Envoy for the World Council of Independent Christian Churches (WCICC) and President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), slammed UNESCO for only recognizing the Temple Mount -Judaism’s holiest site – as a Muslim holy site.
“Denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount is tantamount to denying the existence of the Jewish people and is therefore even more grave than Holocaust denial,” Cardoza-Moore said.
The controversial resolution refers to what is arguably the most contested spot in the Middle East only by it’s Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif.
Cardoza-Moore, whose organization represents more than 40 million Evangelical Christians worldwide, called on UNESCO to condemn the Jordanian Waqf’s strategic and deliberate destruction of ancient Jewish artifacts on the Temple Mount for the past decade for what she avers is a blatant attempt to erase Jewish history.
“This message is particularly important on Holocaust Remembrance Day, because we cannot afford to standby as Jewish history is publicly denied by an organization of the United Nations,” she said.
Cardoza-Moore also warned that by denying the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, UNESCO is undermining its own stated mission which is “to contribute to the building of peace,” as its denial increases violence and violates the human rights of Jews and Christians who support the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and all Israel.
UNESCO’s denial of Jewish heritage also breaches its obligations to promote religious tolerance, she added.
“Christians recognize the historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and all of the ancient biblical sites in Israel. Christians also recognize that if we do not defend Israel’s biblical and historic connection to the Land, Christians will ultimately lose their historic connection as well,” said Cardoza-Moore.
Douglas Murray: How Recep Erdogan became the most powerful man in Europe
Update: Since this article was published Ahmet Davutoglu has resigned as Turkey’s Prime Minister. Reports suggest this comes as a result of a rift with President Erdogan caused by the increasingly ‘Presidential’ nature of Turkey’s politics.
Is Turkey part of Europe? For most of our civilisation’s history, to have even asked such a question would have been to invite derision. The Ottomans were kept out of Europe not by some early-onset prejudice, but by the armies of Europe having to beat back their repeated invasions. The question became slightly more plausible a century ago with the rise of Ataturk and the modern Turkish state (one of the only successful efforts to reconcile the Islamic religion with state power). For a brief period around the turn of the millennium, some serious people (including the British government) supported Turkey joining the EU.
But today, the question has become academic — first because Turkey’s liberal trajectory long ago halted and began rolling backwards. And secondly because the country is now coming into Europe anyway. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has persuaded the EU to grant visa-free travel to his 75 million countrymen inside Europe’s passport-free Schengen area. In so doing, he has made more progress than any of his predecessors. Using a combination of intimidation, threats and blackmail, he has succeeded in opening wide the doors of Europe.
Erdogan’s success matters, because it says much about the EU — and the idea that it exerts ‘soft power’. This was the theory in 1999 when the EU declared Turkey to be ‘a candidate State, destined to join the Union’ so long as it fulfilled the standard criteria for membership. Its state should have ‘achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities’. Four years later, the EU announced that Turkey had ‘taken important steps’ to ensure effective implementation, particularly in allowing Turkish citizens to ‘enjoy fundamental freedoms and human rights in line with European standards’.
Turkish PM’s Resignation Casts Shadow on Israel Reconciliation
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday announced that he will resign from his post, opening up the possibility for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to solidify and consolidate his power, and placing a question mark on a possible reconciliation between Turkey and Israel.
“We thought that we would have a four-year relationship,” Davutoglu said. “That this lasted shorter is, rest assured, not of my choosing, but because of necessities that have emerged.”
The upheaval in Turkey’s government seems to be the result of a failure of the two highest ranking leaders to resolve ongoing disputes, which has culminated in intense “crisis talks” on Wednesday. Haaretz reported that Davutoglu has not strongly supported the presidential system that Erdogan wants in order to strengthen his power in lieu of the current parliamentary system. Erdogan has also opposed resuming reconciliation talks with Kurdish rebels in Turkey, while the prime minister was open to the idea if the rebels were willing to withdraw fighters from Turkey.
Davutoglu, who was known as Erdogan’s more moderate counterpart, recently also announced that the reconciliation process with Israel had advanced greatly, saying an agreement would be reached if Israel agreed to resolve the electricity and water crises in Gaza. With his exit the future of the reconciliation is not clear. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will hold an emergency convention later this month to choose a new party leader who will replace the prime minister, likely someone loyal to Erdogan who wants to centralize government control.

Shmuley Boteach: The Israel warrior
He, like King David before him, prefers a harp and lyre to a sword and shield. He, like the Maccabees before him, prefers to light candles to dispel the darkness then fling arrows at invading Greek armies. The Israel warrior does not today, and has never in the past, erected a monument to a military victory, the way that Rome did with Titus’s and Constantine’s arch.
But for all his reluctance to fight or revel in the glory of combat, the Israel warrior will not shirk from a battle that is imposed on him. He will fight back. Jews will not glorify martyrdom. They will not walk into gas chambers.
I showed Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the UN, that her famous advocacy for R2P, Responsibility to Protect, has its foundation not in the Christian New Testament, which encourages a love for one’s enemies, but in the Hebrew Bible, specifically in this week’s Torah reading, where it states clearly, “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor.” (Lev. 19:16) Last week I traveled to the Golan Heights, the Vale of Tears, where we were escorted by Israel’s greatest living war hero, Avigdor Kahalani, who led the fight in this, one of the greatest tank battles in human history.
The War broke out at 2 p.m. Israel time on Judaism’s holiest day. Four hundred Syrian tanks faced 40 Israeli tanks in his sector alone. Kahalani summoned his soldiers and told them they are the only obstacle standing in the way of Syria taking over all of northern Israel. Then, before he left, he told them, “You must eat, you must break your fast,” and with that he took a bite out of an apple. Because in Judaism everything falls before the value of human life.
We uphold life, we fight for life, we cherish life.
Most of the men he spoke to would be dead 48 hours later. But Israel, through their sacrifice, would live.
Air Force attacks Gaza in response to mortar fire against IDF forces
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) attacked Hamas positions in Gaza Friday morning in retaliation for at least two mortar shells fired at IDF soldiers operating near the border fence. No IDF casualties or damage were reported.
The IDF Spokesman stated that "the IAF attacked terror infrastructure belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip. The attack took place in response to recent days mortar fire used by the terrorist organization Hamas against IDF forces engaged in operations near the border fence."
"The IDF considers terrorist activities committed from underground or above ground as a violation of the State of Israel's sovereignty, and considers Hamas solely responsible for these terrorist acts," he concluded.
In the last two days, about 16 mortar shells were fired at the IDF in at least 12 incidents, twice the amount of total mortars and rockets fired at Israel since the beginning of the year.
In light of the escalation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to convene the security cabinet Friday morning.
Palestinian with knife arrested at Tomb of the Patriarchs
Border Policemen arrested a Palestinian man in possession of a knife in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday morning.
The 26-year-old Hebron resident was detained outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site holy to Jews and Muslims, and was suspected of planning to attack Israeli security forces.
The Palestinian had approached an Israeli checkpoint and did not respond to calls from police to stop. Israeli forces subsequently arrested him and found he was concealing a knife on his body, according to the police.
Upon his arrest, the would-be assailant said he planned to attack Israeli troops, the police said.
For 1st time since August, Israel sees no victim deaths from terrorist attacks
April was the first month in half a year with zero fatalities among victims of terrorist attacks against Israelis.
With a total of 115 attacks, the figure for April continued a six-month downward trend in the number of incidents in Israeli-controlled areas and is the lowest monthly total recorded since July, when 103 attacks were observed, according to a report published earlier this week by the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet.
Of the 18 victims who were wounded in terrorist attacks against Israelis in April, 16 were injured in an explosion set off on a bus in Jerusalem on April 18. Another victim was stabbed in Rosh Ha’ain on April 3 and a police officer was wounded from a firebomb hurled at him near Jerusalem that same day.
Of the 115 attacks documented, 91 involved firebombs.
Defense Ministry: Israel's war and terror casualty toll now at 23,447
Days ahead of Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers, the Defense Ministry released updated figures on the number of war and terrorism casualties, which currently stands at 23,447.
The casualty count includes all those who fell since 1860. Sixty eight new casualties were added to the figure since the previous Remembrance Day. Additionally, fifty nine disabled IDF veterans died as a result of their condition.
Today, there are 9,442 bereaved parents, 4,917 widows, and 1,948 orphans, according to the ministry's figures.
The ministry expects some 1.5 million people to visit military cemeteries during Remembrance Day next week.
MK: Hamas 'frustrated' over exposed terror tunnels
Frequent Hamas rocket fire on the Gaza Belt region over the past week stems from "frustration" over the IDF uncovering terror tunnels, a top Knesset official said Friday.
"There's a reason everyone is on edge," Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Tzachi HaNegbi stated in an Army Radio interview. "It's been two years since Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, which was successful and managed to almost decimate Hamas entirely. Over the two years we have seen a lull we haven't seen since Hamas came to power by force in 2007."
"Over the past several days and even more in the last 48 hours, we see an irritability with Hamas," he continued. "This is probably a signal of Hamas's frustration over the fact that the terror tunnel system it's developed has lost its immunity."
"We are celebrating 68 years of holding firm against terror, facing tragedy, and hoping nonetheless that some intelligence will flow through the problematic brains of our enemies, so we don't have to war with them again," he added.
Expert: ‘Image of Israel as Isolated State Is Gone’ With Upgraded NATO Status
“The image of Israel as an isolated state is gone,” an Israel-NATO expert told The Algemeiner on Wednesday, following this week’s announcement of the country’s upgraded status by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Zaki Shalom, a senior research fellow at the Tel Aviv-based think tank the Institute for National Security Studies, explained why NATO’s decision has important connotations. While the announcement “has no significant military implications,” Shalom said, the upgrade is a “recognition by NATO of the impressive abilities of Israel in science, technology and intelligence.”
“The upgrade now provides Israel with better conditions to export her tools and arms and better opportunities to enhance relations with Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt,” Shalom said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded NATO’s decision at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, stating, “This is a goal that we have worked on for many years. The countries of the world are looking to cooperate with us due to — inter alia — our determined fight against terrorism, our technological know-how and our intelligence services.”
Netanyahu to Host Seminar on Jewish History for U.N. Diplomats
Israel’s prime minister has invited all United Nations staff in Israel to attend a seminar on Jewish history, after a decision by a U.N. cultural body that failed to acknowledge Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holiest site.
In the decision last month, UNESCO condemned Israel for security restrictions and other measures at the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or the al-Aqsa compound and to Jews as Temple Mount. UNESCO referred to it only by its Arabic name.
“I was shocked to hear that UNESCO adopted a decision denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“It is hard to believe that anyone, let alone an organization tasked with preserving history, could deny this link, which spans thousands of years.”
To counter what a member of Netanyahu’s staff called “this historical ignorance”, the prime minister, who is a keen historian, said he would host a special lecture on Jewish history for all UN personnel in Israel.
It was not immediately clear when the seminar would be held, but staff indicated it could be next week. It was also unclear how many UN staff and diplomats planned to attend. UNESCO had no immediate comment.
Palestinians to demand protection from war crimes at UN Security Council
The Palestinians plan to ask for international protection from alleged Israeli war crimes at Friday afternoon’s informal meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.
The document presented to the council in preparation for the meeting states, “For nearly 50 years, since Israel occupied the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, the Palestinian civilian population has endured systematic human rights violations, and even war crimes, by the occupying power.”
It further states that “the international community, foremost the Security Council, continues to fail to hold Israel accountable and to compel a halt to its violations and compliance with its legal obligations.”
Technically the public discussion is not considered to be a formal Security Council meeting. It will be held under an informal UN mechanism known as the Arria-Formula.
Council members Egypt, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela will chair the meeting.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Security Council Reluctantly Agrees To Address Something Other Than Israel (satire)
The United Nations Security Council engaged in a shouting match with its mother today over tackling issues that are not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an exchange that concluded with the Council grudgingly committing to discuss the ongoing Syrian morass and stomping off to its room and slamming the door behind it.
The Security Council was summoned by its mother to the kitchen to talk about responsibilities beyond the body’s favorite pastime, duties that have been neglected recently and require urgent attention. The Council reacted by complaining that it never gets to do what it wants, an argument that its mother countered with the observation that the only thing the Council does all the time is exactly what it wants, namely debating condemnations of Israel, and there are other important responsibilities that need attention around here.
The shouting continued apace, featuring liberal use of the epithet, “You’re not the boss of me!” until the Council’s mother threatened to withhold various privileges. Faced with the prospect of losing various trappings of diplomatic stature, the Security Council finally yelled, “Fine! I’ll discuss your stupid other issues!” and wheeled toward its bedroom.
Twenty minutes later, the Council emerged holding a sheet of paper with writing in black crayon. “I’ve outlined your goddamn ‘issues’ so I can discuss your precious little non-Israel-Palestine resolutions,” spat the Council, to which its mother retorted, “You watch your mouth.” The next Council session, scheduled to resentfully take place this week, will cover the deteriorating situation in Syria. “Happy now?” asked a sneering Security Council. “There’s your stupid Syria session.”
Poll: Sanders voters more sympathetic to Palestinians than to Israel
Liberal Democrats, the group for whom US Senator Bernie Sanders is the most appealing candidate in the current presidential race, sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel, according to a Pew Poll released on Thursday.
According to the poll, when asked with whom they sympathize more – Israel or the Palestinians – 40% of those who define themselves as liberal Democrats responded the Palestinians, and only 33% said Israel.
These numbers are significantly different than the national figure, which shows that Israel continues to enjoy strong support among the American public, with 54% of the public more sympathetic to Israel and only 19% with the Palestinians.
Inside the Democratic Party, the poll found that while Clinton supporters are more likely to sympathize with Israel (47% to 27%), among Sanders supporters there is more sympathy for the Palestinians 39% to 33%.
During his campaign, Sanders has been very critical of the Netanyahu government. (h/t Dave4321)
Shame on Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is following in the footsteps of Judge Richard Goldstone — a Jew whose slanderous report issued by a UN kangaroo court irreparably harmed the state of Israel.
A Jew slandering his own people is infinitely more powerful than a non-Jew doing it. Those who hated Israel loved Goldstone.
Five years ago, when Goldstone’s libelous report was issued, my wife Miriam Benjamin and I were creating “Torah Tweets,” a project that showed how our life and current events reflected each week’s Torah portion.
The Torah portion Metzorah/Slanderer, which is read in synagogues on the Shabbat before Passover, proposes rehabilitation therapy for slanderers like Richard Goldstone and Bernie Sanders. This portion teaches us that slanderers undermine a free society by spreading lies that defame others.
Sanders: Respect the Palestinian People Who Vote 100% for Genocidal Terrorists
In "Bernie Sanders' Jewish Problem - And Ours," James Kirchik at Tablet points out a revealing (Kirchik calls it "revolutionary") statement made by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last week at the Brooklyn Democratic debate prior to his loss in the New York primary. “As somebody who is 100 percent pro-Israel,” Sanders declared, “we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.”
As someone who claims to be “100 percent pro-Israel,” perhaps Sanders should demand instead that the so-called Palestinian people begin to treat Israeli Jews with respect and dignity. These are the same Palestinians who overwhelmingly favor a one-state solution that includes the genocide of the Jewish people (“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”). These are the Palestinians currently targeting Jews with knives and cars in a vicious new intifada. The same Palestinians who name streets after Jew-killing martyrs and launch fireworks to celebrate the murders of Jews.
The Vermont socialist had more to say in defense of the Palestinians:
Sanders added that Israel’s response to Hamas rocket attacks in 2014 was “disproportionate,” that “we are going to have to say that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is not right all of the time,” and took a swipe at his rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, scolding her for having “barely mentioned the Palestinians” in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Let us first consider the common, ridiculous complaint Sanders is regurgitating about Israel’s supposed use of “disproportionate force” when dealing with Arab terrorists. No sovereign state in the history of the world except Israel has ever been scolded for responding to repeated attacks on its homeland with “disproportionate force.” No military would even consider such an ineffective strategy as the use of “proportionate force.” When your country is attacked – particularly if it is a tiny strip of land surrounded by enemies obsessed with wiping you from the face of the earth – you don’t respond to a measured, perfectly balanced degree; you respond with overwhelming force not only to put an end to the threat, but to make your enemy rue the day it had ever even contemplated attacking you, and to make everyone else think twice about considering it themselves. The notion that “disproportionate force” is somehow immoral (at least, when Israel is presumed guilty of it) is nothing more than a media strategy invented by the anti-Israel left to divert attention from Palestinian Jew-hatred and to keep the spotlight of the world’s disapproval focused on the Israeli military instead.
State-Run Egyptian Paper and Others Question What Clinton Knew About Muslim Brotherhood
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails suggest that she may have known about connections between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and hardcore jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda early during the 2011 Arab Spring.
Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal noted in an April 7, 2011, email that Egypt’s military leaders expressed concerns about contacts between the MB and Al Qaeda. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reportedly feared that the Brotherhood would work with various violent Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda affiliates.
“The main concern of the SCAF leaders is that the MB will begin working with more violent Islamist groups, including the various al Qa’ida affiliates,” Blumenthal wrote.
A source “with access to the highest levels of the MB,” including its Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, privately told Blumenthal that the relationship between the MB, Al Qaeda, and other radical groups was “complicated.”
Clinton’s frustrations with ‘f-word’ Netanyahu detailed in new book
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had a good working relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, although she would sometimes prefix references to him with the “f-word,” was sometimes at odds with her president over how to handle Israeli-Palestinian issues, and was seen by some in the White House as acting with a view to her own future bid for president, a new book claims.
“Alter Egos” was written by Mark Landler, a New York Times political correspondent who covered the White House, Clinton, and US President Barack Obama. The book focuses on the period 2009-2013 covering the first Obama administration.
A review of the book published by Haaretz on Wednesday included some of the insights Landler had on the interaction between Clinton and Netanyahu, as well as her relationship with Obama.
Landler writes that although Clinton and Netanyahu were able to work together — she called him by his Hebrew nickname “Bibi” — nonetheless when mentioning the Israeli leader’s name “often it was attached to the f-word.” An exasperated Clinton banged her cellphone against her head in frustration during a call with Netanyahu on the issue of settlement freezes.
Trump’s Middle East Deal Hubris
Trump thinks this is a real-estate deal that can be solved with the right amount of pressure, bravado and incentives. But the problem is that one side of the negotiation doesn’t want a deal because any such pact would be incompatible with a national identity that is inextricably linked to the war on Zionism and Israel. That’s what his “Jewish friends” are trying to tell him but since an admission that a deal would be beyond his reach is unacceptable to a man with such a gargantuan ego, he won’t listen. The same was true of Obama in 2009 when he took office weeks after Abbas rejected Israel’s offer of a Palestinian state that would include almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem.
But, even if this is true, what harm would come from Trump trying and failing? The answer is plenty. Just as was the case when negotiations pushed by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama failed, the Palestinians would feel emboldened to engage in more terrorism. The blame for the failure would, as it always has, be placed on Israel because the result of a stalemate would be the current unpalatable status quo that leaves the West Bank in diplomatic limbo. Every failed negotiation has strengthened the international community’s support of the Palestinians and further isolated Israel. Despite his avowed good intentions, Trump’s adventure would likely produce the same result. More bloodshed and more anti-Israel agitation throughout the world would be inevitable.
There is also the danger that the failure would anger Trump. His fragile ego would make him lash out and, while one would hope those with influence on him would help direct that rage at the Palestinians, who can be sure what such an unstable character with no real knowledge of the conflict would wind up doing? It’s just as likely as not that he will do as Obama has done and blame the Israelis for not somehow making enough concessions to satisfy Palestinians who won’t make peace at any price. His scripted speech to AIPAC seemed to promise a rational policy, but a man that plans on being unpredictable can’t be depended upon.
A wise president would understand that Middle East peace is not a matter of deals or negotiating skill but a historical process. Until there is a sea change in the political culture of the Palestinians that will enable their leaders to accept Israel as a Jewish state and to end the conflict for all time, more diplomatic activity can only make an already bad situation worse.
Trump says he will try to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace deal
Claiming he’d “never met a person from Israel that didn’t want to make that deal,” Donald Trump said if elected president he plans to try to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.
“I am going to try and make that deal just because — man, would that be a beauty – if you like deals. I like deals,” the Republican presidential front-runner said at a rally Sunday in Terre Haute ahead of Tuesday’s Indiana primary, according to Jewish Insider.
“A lot of my Jewish friends say, ‘You will never be able to make the deal’ because there are so many years of hatred, especially on the other side,” Trump added. “You know, they [the Palestinians] grow up as young children hating, hating, hating Israel. I think the deal can be made. But we got to be smart, and we got to use our best people; gotta use me, but you got to use our best people. And I know the best people.”
In the speech, Trump also said the United States should use its clout as a major funder to demand that the United Nations do more to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump’s Israel Adviser: ‘Not in a Million Years Would Donald Have Berated Netanyahu the Way Hillary Did’ (INTERVIEW)
Though Donald Trump has wondered aloud why most Jews voted for President Barack Obama – and why they are likely to cast ballots for presumed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton – he is more “puzzled than furious,” his executive vice president and chief legal officer said on Wednesday, in the immediate aftermath of the withdrawal from the GOP race of remaining rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jewish real estate lawyer from Teaneck, New Jersey — who has been working for “The Donald” for the past two decades – made this comment during an hour-long interview with The Algemeiner at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.
Making it clear at the outset that the views he was expressing were his own and assessments of his employer’s, Greenblatt – whom Trump “appointed” as his Israel adviser during a press conference last month with members of the Jewish media — gave The Algemeiner an overview of what the United States, American Jews and Israel can expect if his boss wins the White House in November.
Trump: Israel should keep building West Bank settlements
Israel should keep building settlements in the West Bank, Republican front-runner Donald Trump said on Tuesday, linking construction to the continued rocket threat that Israel faces from the Gaza Strip and which has seen it drawn into three wars against Hamas-run Gaza in recent years.
In an interview with the British Daily Mail on Tuesday, Trump said there should be no pause in settlement construction, a position at odds with that of the Obama administration, which in 2009 encouraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to implement a freeze new construction for 10 months in an effort restart stalled peace talks with the Palestinians. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to negotiate until the very end of the freeze, which Netanyahu then refused to extend.
Asked if there should be a pause in settlement building, Trump was quoted answering as follows: “No, I don’t think it is, because I think Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward… I don’t think there should be a pause… Look: Missiles were launched into Israel, and Israel, I think, never was properly treated by our country. I mean, do you know what that is, how devastating that is?”
“You have hundreds and, I guess, thousands of missiles being launched into Israel, who would put up with that? Who would stand for it?” he added.
Donald Trump disavows anti-Jewish rhetoric from ex-KKK leader David Duke
Donald Trump “totally” disavowed an anti-Jewish tirade on his behalf by white supremacist David Duke and said there was no place for anti-Semitism in society.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the real estate magnate “totally disavows” the former Ku Klux Klan leader’s remarks.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in our society, which needs to be united, not divided,” Trump told the newspaper.
Duke on his radio program Wednesday praised Trump’s emergence from the Indiana primary the day before as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as an opportunity to expose “Jewish supremacists who control our country.”
The Anti-Defamation League, which had called on Trump to disavow Duke’s comments, welcomed his disavowal.
State comptroller excoriates leadership over 2014 Gaza war
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and former IDF chief of Staff Benny Gantz are expected to face harsh criticism in an upcoming State Comptroller report over the Israeli leadership’s performance during the war in Gaza in the summer of 2014.
Netanyahu and Ya’alon are accused of not updating the security cabinet in real time of the imminent threat of war with the Hamas in the Gaza Strip and not discussing the grave threat of the terror group’s attack tunnels, according to Hebrew media sources who read the draft report.
The prime minister and the defense minister concealed from the cabinet the fact that the Shin Bet security agency had warned of a potential war with Hamas in early July 2014, Channel 10 reported. The war, which Israel dubbed Operation Protective Edge, began on July 8, 2014.
Members of the security cabinet were only apprised of the Shin Bet warning during the operation, the report said.
Critical report on 2014 Gaza op 'reeks of political bias'
The draft report, classified as top secret, was sent to senior officials for review and comment, including Netanyahu, Ya'alon, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, former Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
The draft earned criticism from officials at the Prime Minister's Office. "We reject these findings outright. This report includes findings that are factually wrong. The campaign was conducted with full transparency and an unprecedented number of cabinet meetings," one official said.
"This report reeks of political bias by a comptroller backed by former cabinet members, who are trying to ram the government from the benches of the opposition," he said.
An associate of Ya'alon said, "This is outrageous -- the very fact that a classified draft was leaked in the first place, to the fact it was leaked before anyone had an opportunity to respond. The information this draft includes is detached from reality, it is factually incorrect, and whoever penned it clearly doesn't understand how the cabinet's decision-making process works."
Slain soldier’s father: Condition Gaza aid on returning my son’s body
The father of one of the two IDF soldiers whose remains are being held by Hamas in Gaza urged the Israeli government to withhold humanitarian aid until the bodies are released.
“All humanitarian aid which will ease the suffering of the Gazan civilians and the treatment of all Hamas officials who are sitting in our prisons should be conditional upon our sons being brought to, and buried in, Israel,” Simcha Goldin said, according to the Ynet news website.
Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sergeant Oron Shaul were killed during Operation Protective Edge and their bodies have been held by the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist group since.
Goldin, an officer in the Givati Brigade, was killed on August 1, 2014 near Rafah during an operation to find and destroy Hamas tunnels.
Shaul was killed July 20, 2014, along with six other soldiers, when his armored personnel carrier was hit in the eastern Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya.
'Palestinian refugees' shut UNRWA for ending free healthcare
"Palestinian refugees" living in Lebanon on Friday closed UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) offices across the country in protest for the second day in a row, in protest for being made to partially pay for their health care.
The protest on Thursday shut down UNRWA offices in Tripoli in the north as well as Ain El Hilweh and Mieh Mieh "refugee camps" in the south, and on Friday the UNRWA office in south Lebanon was again shut in protest, reports the Lebanese state-run National News Agency.
UNRWA was established only to deal with the roughly 800,000 Arabs who left Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. It has radically different policies than the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which treats all other refugees worldwide, and as a result the now five million descendants of "Palestinian refugees" retain that refugee status and are not integrated into their host nations.
No UN body was formed to help the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were violently forced from Arab countries following the establishment of the modern Jewish state. In that expulsion ancient Jewish communities, some dating back to Temple times, were forcibly uprooted and in the process had their fortunes stolen.
The current flap over UNRWA comes in response to a new healthcare program the UN body introduced on January 1.
'Romeo and Juliet' Takes on Local Twist in Gaza Performance
Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" has opened to audiences in the Gaza Strip, albeit with a distinctly Palestinian twist.
Instead of the forbidden love story of Renaissance-era European aristocracy, the star-crossed young couple in Gaza's version of the play is divided by politics stemming from the deep internal Palestinian split between two rival movements.
Yousef, a son of a member of Gaza's ruling Islamic militant group Hamas, falls in love with Suha, the daughter of a fanatical member of the rival Fatah party, rather than Shakespeare's feuding Montagues and Capulets.
Dubbed "Romeo and Juliet in Gaza," the performance has brought a rare taste of foreign culture to this conservative and isolated territory. But it is even more noteworthy for its critical look at the political rift that has crippled life in Gaza for nearly a decade.
"It's a call for love; to give a space for love and for youths to dream of a beautiful future away from the current state in Gaza, especially the youths and their suffering," said director Ali Abu Yassin.
In Whose Name Does Hamas Dig?
But even if we dismiss these assertions as ludicrous, it still bears asking the anti-occupation activists what they think the proper response to a government that uses cement sent to Gaza to build homes and terror tunnels should be? If Hamas sees Tel Aviv as being every bit as much of a Jewish “settlement” that needs to be dismantled the same way the communities that were left behind in Gaza in 2005 were taken apart, why doesn’t that impact their views about Israel’s need to surrender more territory? At the very least, should it not incline some of those demanding more withdrawals to speak out against Hamas terrorism and to call for international action to stop the digging of tunnels or the accumulation of more munitions and material — funded in part by Iran — that will enable another bloody and pointless war?
But no, we hear no such calls from Jewish Voices for Peace or If Not Now (which came into existence as a reaction against Israel’s effort to silence missile fire from Gaza and to eliminate terror tunnels) or from pro-BDS groups that care only about promoting an economic war on Israel.
That silence is significant because, like the rest of those aiding the anti-Zionist cause, this refusal to speak up about the nature of the Hamas government or its policies, bespeaks a clear bias against the one Jewish state on the planet and the hypocritical nature of their calls for ending occupation.
Opposition to settlements or antagonism to the Netanyahu government is one thing. But if you aren’t willing to state clearly that you support the right of Israel to exist and to defend itself inside some borders or to oppose the launching of rockets and the digging of terror tunnels, then what these anti-occupation activists are really telling us is that they agree with Hamas about the definition of occupation. That would mean they can’t deny that it is in their name that Hamas digs and plots the murder of Jews.
If so, then they should stop pretending to be acting in the name of human rights and state openly that their only real goal is to eliminate Israel. Doing so would expose them as unabashed anti-Semites, but at least it would be honest..
Reporter: Obama Admin Response to Attacks on Civilians’ ‘Weak Beer’
AP reporter Matt Lee repeatedly asked State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner whether the United States would take any more aggressive action in the wake of civilians being bombed at a refugee camp in Syria by Syrian regime planes.
After Toner said that there was “no justification for attacks on civilians in Syria,” Lee pressed him as to why the United States has not implemented no-fly zones over parts of Syria.
“Doesn’t this kind of an attack bolster the case that the Turks have been making for a long time, calls for, and even people here, for if not no-fly zones, real safe zones beyond just what you were talking about in terms of Aleppo, neighborhood-by-neighborhood safe zones?” Lee asked.
“Well, again, before, I don’t want to speak before we have all the details on what exactly happened, but, let me just finish. Look, we don’t want to set up specific no-fly zones. What we’re working towards, and what we’re trying to get in place here is a nationwide cessation of hostilities that we believe can endure and be strengthened over the long haul,” Toner said. “That’s been our aim here. It continues to be our focus versus a no-fly zone which we have talked about before, the reasons logistically why we feel that that’s a non-starter.”
Pentagon Chief: U.S.-Backed Syrian Kurds Aligned with Terror Group PKK
The U.S.-backed Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria is aligned with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a terrorist organization, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told a Senate panel, echoing Turkey’s position on the relationship between the two groups.
However, hours later, the U.S. Department of State reiterated that the Obama administration does not consider the PYD or its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), to be terrorist organizations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lambasted the Obama administration for making “contradictory statements” on the Syrian Kurds, reports Daily Sabah, a pro-government publication in Turkey.
“Yes,” replied Secretary Carter when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked whether he believed the Syrian Kurds are “aligned or at least have substantial ties to the PKK.”
27 Lawmakers Warn Obama Against Transferring MANPADS to Syrian Rebels
On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and 25 other members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama stating their opposition to the transfer of man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADs, to the Syrian rebels.
The lawmakers warned MANPAD proliferation to the Syrian rebels would represent a “serious threat to civilian airliners in the region — including Israeli airliners — and across the world.”
The letter was in direct response to a Wall Street Journal article last month reporting on CIA plans to possibly arm moderate Syrian rebels with more advanced weaponry if the truce in Syria continues to deteriorate and full-scale fighting resumes.
The article cited U.S. and other officials divulging that the CIA was preparing for a so-called Plan B to counter Russia and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. The plan, the newspaper reported, calls for “vetted rebel units with weapons systems that would help them in directing attacks against Syrian regime aircraft and artillery positions.” That option was to be used only if the truce collapses and major fighting resumes.
The article did not state the CIA was considering providing MANPADS to Syrian rebels. It cited CIA fears that coalition partners like Turkey and Saudi Arabia could go behind the agency’s back and ship MANPADS to rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Ben Rhodes, Liar
What the Times describes—I detect some sarcasm—as Rhodes’ “innovative” campaign to sell the agreement involved “largely manufacturing” a story in which Rouhani’s 2013 election alerted the administration to an opportunity for negotiations—despite the fact that informal negotiations had been opened in 2012, and despite the fact that the moderates-versus-hardliners taxonomy of the Iranian regime pushed by the White House was known to be nonsense. Or, as the Times puts it, the broad story Rhodes was conveying to friendly journalists and the public at large was “often misleading or false”:
By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making … [and] to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the Middle East.
But explaining that this “disengagement” was the White House’s true goal to Congress or the Blob or the American people would have been unfeasible, because, you know, people just don’t get it like the president or Rhodes do. Rather than pitch an honest proposal and work to persuade other branches of the American government and the voters of its wisdom, Rhodes discloses to the Times that the thinking had been, “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this. … We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” Of those opposed to the deal, Rhodes says, “We drove them crazy.”
Grand Deception: How Obama and Ben Rhodes Lied Us Into the Iran nuke deal
With this background Samuels goes on to describe how Rhodes shaped the narrative using social media and reporters like Laura Rozen and Jeffrey Goldberg. The story was about how a moderate named Hassan Rouhani became president of Iran and this led to an opening to make the the nuclear deal.
But as Samuels points out, this narrative was false, “the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012,” well before Rouhani was even mentioned as a candidate. (There are indications that, in fact, Obama had had significant contacts with Iran over the nuclear program even earlier.)
This false premise was justified because “[by] eliminating the fuss about Iran’s nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries.” And with that the United States could extricate itself from the Middle East. (Leaving old alliances in the Middle East is presented by Samuels as a positive effect of the nuclear deal with Iran. Samuels reporting it also validates administration critics, such as Michael Doran, who figured out what was going on last year.)
Russia Is Using Holes in the Iran Deal to Undermine Crucial Safeguards
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) establishes what it calls a “procurement channel”: a series of procedures and regulations for monitoring and restricting Iran’s purchase of goods that could be used for the illicit development of nuclear technology. In theory, write David Albright and Andrea Stricker, these procedures allow the U.S. and other concerned parties to stop suspicious purchases before they are completed. In practice, however, the procedures are riddled with complexities and obstructions. What’s more, Albright and Stricker argue, Russia and China have already begun to exploit the deal’s weaknesses:
Given the short time frames to act to block a [proposed purchase], efficiency and speed in the process are critical. According to P5+1 officials, Russia attempted to exploit the lack of clarity about procurement-channel rules and functions to weaken [the JCPOA’s] effectiveness, and has been supported by China in some of those endeavors. One official accused Russia of attempting to manipulate the whole process. Russia’s action may also polarize decision making at the Procurement Working Group (PWG) [the international committee tasked with implementing the procurement-channel regulations] by creating de-facto voting blocs, with Russia, China, and Iran on one side and the United States, Britain, France, and Germany on the other. Russia’s role overall appears to be to complicate the rejection of [procurement requests] within the tight guidelines imposed by the JCPOA and isolate certain sensitive exports from the procurement-channel process. . . .
Kindergarten says pupils only acting in Israel-Palestine play with toy guns
KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — An Islamic kindergarten has defended its pupils’ dressing in military garb and holding toy guns, saying they were merely participating in a play on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Tadika Hidayah Bestari, based in Bandar Sri Damansara, told local daily New Straits Times that the play was held in 2014 in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations (Mapim), that had raised funds for war victims in Palestine and Syria.
“The children in the pictures that went viral on social media were dressed in military costumes and held toy guns because they were re-enacting the situation in Palestine,” the Tadika Hidayah Bestari headmistress, who did not want to be named, was quoted saying.

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