Monday, May 23, 2016

From Ian:

How Do You Define a War Crime?
What does Hamas’s massive tunnel-building project mean to the people of Gaza? The answer can be summed up in one word: fear. They live in fear that the structures being dug beneath their homes will start a conflict that will bring down another round of death and destruction upon their families. Speaking off the record to the New York Times’ Gaza correspondents, various residents said anonymously what they couldn’t say in public at the fear of their lives. They had no doubt that much of the aid and building materials that has been sent to Gaza to rebuild the homes that were destroyed the last time Hamas started a war with Israel is being diverted to the Islamist terrorist group’s massive project.
But when asked as to whether Hamas building tunnels in residential neighborhoods whose only purpose is to facilitate cross-border terror raids into Israel is a war crime a Human Rights Watch official that the Times described as an “expert on international law regarding warfare, the best that Sari Bashi could come up with is a shrug of her shoulders. According to Bashi, building terror tunnels in residential neighborhoods is “not explicitly prohibited.”
Really? That, in a nutshell, sums up everything that is wrong with the international community’s response to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
While Bashi, an American-born Israeli lawyer, admits Hamas has “an obligation to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, including not taking the armed conflict to civilian areas, to the extent possible,” she won’t go farther than that. That’s bizarre because it would seem obvious, even to those who aren’t “experts” in international law that structures built solely to facilitate efforts to cross an international border to murder and kidnap is illegal. Indeed, terrorism, whether it is committed via a tunnel or with rockets shot indiscriminately at cities (as Hamas did several thousand times during the 2014 war) or suicide bombings, is always illegal.
But in the upside-down world of human rights activism that a group such as Human Rights Watch epitomizes, ambivalence about Palestinian war crimes is always accompanied by vicious condemnations of Israel’s efforts to defend its people against things like terror tunnels and rocket fire. But while such organizations purport to have great sympathy for the plight of Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, their ire is almost always directed at the wrong people.
Netanyahu: Millions of children are taught that Jews are apes and pigs
Children throughout the Middle East have been brainwashed to believe that Jews are akin to apes and pigs and should be killed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
“Hatred against the Jewish people is so routine in the Middle East that many in the West fail to notice it, let alone condemn it,” Netanyahu said in a prerecorded brief address to the fifth annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on the danger of verbal and visual incitement against Jews, particularly on the Hamas-run Al-Aksa television.
“Hateful language that should be condemned everywhere and always, is not condemned everywhere and always,” he said.
“Millions of children are being taught daily that Jews are subhuman, that they are apes and pigs and they have to be destroyed,” he continued.
“These children get up each morning, put their clothes on and go to school. They play with their friends, they ride their bikes,” Netanyahu said as he described a normal childhood routine. “But their pure and impressionable souls are then seized by fanatics. Their minds are poisoned with hatred.”
Such incitement to kill “is one of the worst crimes imaginable,” he said.
“No child should be taught to hate, let alone to kill or to want to die,” he said, adding that this is occurring both in the Palestinian territories, such as Ramallah, and the Middle East in general.
PM Netanyahu addresses the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference

Dermer blasts 'narrative' of a moderate Iran and a peaceful Palestine
Israel's ambassador to the United States slammed on Sunday the "fiction" that a partner for peace exists within the Palestinian Authority, warning of a hostile reaction from Jerusalem to any effort to impose terms of a two-state solution through international bodies.
Addressing The Jerusalem Post's annual conference in New York, Ron Dermer, a close confidante to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that world powers supporting an initiative by France to outline parameters for peace between Israel and the Palestinians are "ignoring the will of the free people who live in the most endangered democracy on Earth."
"These powers, albeit with the best of intentions, will only encourage the Palestinians to continue their 100 year campaign to destroy the one and only Jewish state," Dermer told the crowd.
"Such an effort will not only prevent peace today," he said, but could prevent peace "for decades to come" and bolster international efforts to delegitimize Israel.

Ross: White House took 'conscious decision to try to distance itself from Israel'
Barack Obama is one of five presidents in modern history who has made a “conscious decision to try to distance [himself and his administration] from Israel,” his former aide, Dennis Ross, said on Sunday.
Addressing The Jerusalem Post’s annual conference in New York, Ross, a veteran diplomat who has worked on peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians under the Reagan, H. W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, said the White House has worked under the assumption that “Israel is more of a problem than it is a partner.”
“If you distance yourself from Israel, you’ll gain with the Arabs,” Ross said, summing up the premise of the Obama administration’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But he said the assumption is not unique to this White House as former presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter and H. W. Bush all tried to distance themselves from Israel for the same reason.
Ross offered his analysis of the policy approach: “Every administration that has tried to distance itself from Israel has gained nothing,” he said.
The diplomat also said the Obama administration worked toward a two-state solution believing it would bring peace to the wider Middle East, but argued that assumption is flawed, as well.
Movie Star Michael Douglas at JPost Conference: ‘This Year Has Been About Rediscovering the Jewish Values That I Cherish’
Movie star/producer Michael Douglas on Sunday described developing a connection to his Judaism through his son.
Appearing as a special guest at the Jerusalem Post‘s annual conference in New York City, Douglas — whose father, veteran Hollywood great Kirk Douglas, is Jewish, while his mother is not — thanked his son, Dylan, for helping him embrace his Jewish roots. He recounted Dylan’s experience at the age of 11, observing his Jewish friends celebrating Shabbat and practicing for their bar mitzvahs — and subsequently telling his father and mother, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, that he, too, wanted a bar mitzvah.
Michael recalled: “We thought, ‘Yeah, sure, this is about the presents…but [Dylan] said, ‘No, when they light the candles on Friday, my soul feels alive and I feel something. When I’m with the group, I feel a togetherness.'”
The actor-producer, who describes himself as a “secular Jew,” said he and his wife were “deeply touched” by their son’s request and decided to have a bar mitzvah for him at their local synagogue in Bedford, NY. Shortly after that, the family took a trip to Israel.
The Fatal Attraction star said his son’s path to Judaism constituted a “complete catharsis” for the actor, who always longed to feel like he was Jewish.
Dr. Ruth speaks of her 'love affair' with Israel at JPost Conference
Renowned sex therapist and media personality Dr. Ruth Westheimer detailed anecdotes of her "love affair' with Israel on Sunday at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York.
The German-born octogenarian who was orphaned by the Holocaust explained that her relation with the Jewish state began some 70 years ago.
Known colloquially a "Dr. Ruth," she told outgoing Post Editor-in-Chief Steve Linde that the outcome of her experience from the Holocaust was to engage in the work of 'tikkun olam' - the Jewish concept for repairing the world.
"I didn't know my repairing the world be about talking about sex day and night," the jovial cultural icon quipped.
However, she turned to a more serious note boasting of her children and grandchildren and underlining that: "Hitler lost and I won."
Westheimer then recounted how she moved to British-controlled Mandatory Palestine and served as a sniper in the Haganah
The celebrated psychologist, who still speaks Hebrew, plans to come to Israel on June 8 to promote one of her most recent books.
'Son of Hamas': Islam is the problem
Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of one Hamas founder Hassan Yousef who in the past served as an undercover agent for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), on Sunday told the Jerusalem Post conference in New York that “Islam is the problem” and that the free world must fight it.
Yousef, whose code name was “The Green Prince”, risked his life working undercover for the Shin Bet, and during that time he supplied information that prevented dozens of suicide attacks and assassinations of Israelis and exposed numerous Hamas terrorist cells.
He ultimately converted to Christianity and fled to the United States where he was granted political asylum.
“At one point I thought that the Jewish nation is the enemy of humanity. I thought they were the enemy of our people, the Palestinian people, until I experienced what the Jewish nation truly is,” said Yousef, who described Israel as “the only light in the Middle East”.
“We can fool ourselves, but there is an Islamic problem,” he continued, adding, “Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad, the Islamic State (ISIS) and Boko Haram - all of them kill in the name of Allah.”
“There is an Islamic problem and humanity needs to stand against this danger, because it is not directed only against Israel. This danger is against human evolution,” warned Yousef.
“Humanity and the free world must unite. Today the free world should unite against Islam, not against Muslims but against Islam as a belief system. When the president of the free world says that Islam is a religion of peace, he creates the climate for the formation of more terror,” he added. (h/t Alexi)
Son of Hamas Leader: Free People Should Figh Islam

Palestinian woman shot dead during stabbing attempt — police
A Palestinian woman was shot and apparently killed by Border Police guards as she attempted to stab officers at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem early Monday afternoon, police said.
A police spokesperson said troops manning the Ras Bidu checkpoint opened fire after the woman pulled out a knife and advanced toward a border guard.
There were no injuries to security forces, police said in a statement.
The woman was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene. She had no identifying documents on her, the police said.
Police said they initially shot in the air, but after the woman refused to stop, shot at her body.
“I understood immediately this was a terror attack. The alertness of the soldiers next to me without a doubt saved the life of a soldier who was next to me,” a border police commander at the scene said in a statement.
Baby named after hero who tackled terrorists unarmed
The Schmerler family from Talmon in Samaria decided to name their newborn son after Tuvia Yanai Weissman who was murdered by knife-wielding Arab terrorists in a Rami Levi supermarket in Feburary, after he attempted to fight them off bare-handed.
The Schmerler family invited Weissman’s widow, Yael, to the brit milah (circumcision ceremony).
"During the past week, several of Yanai’s blood-stained items were returned to me,” said Yael. “May God avenge his blood. Today we merit to celebrate a covenant of blood. Blood of life, of the covenant of our forefather Abraham, of Yanai Yehuda – son of Eli and Shani Schmerler.”
"It began a few hours prior," said Yael, "Today in the afternoon I received the following message:
Israel Army's Medical Corps Adapts to Knife Intifada - The Media Line
Frenkel said that since October 1, his medical teams have treated more than 450 people wounded in terror attacks, including 250 Israelis (both soldiers and civilians) and 200 Palestinians. He said “many” of the Palestinians, usually attackers, were killed, and 16 Israelis, four soldiers and twelve civilians died in the attacks.
Overall, 30 Israelis and four foreigners have been killed in the past six months, alongside more than 200 Palestinians, most of whom Israel says were involved in carrying out the attacks.
“We realized that we needed two systems to save more lives,” Frenkel said, speaking in his office on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem. “One is more training of our medical staff, and the other is better care of the wounded person, both physically and emotionally.”
To accomplish the first goal, 15 doctors and paramedics have embarked on an intensive training program, including at a medical simulation center at Sheba hospital. They will then train doctors and medics in the field. When it comes to the second goal, Frenkel said they are trying to encourage more resilience.
“One of the things we learned is that emotional health and resilience are very important,” Frenkel said. “When our fighters are resilient they recover from attacks more quickly.”
Medical Dummies That Breathe, Blink, and Bleed
How do you treat a terror victim? What steps do you need to take? Our Medical Corps train on dummies that breath, blink, and bleed to prepare them for the pressures and challenges of the job. While not quite the real thing, it gets pretty close.

French Political Gymnastics and How to Help the Palestinians
The French government seems to be falling over itself to undo its craven vote in favor of a UNESCO resolution accusing Israel -- referred to as the "Occupying Power" in Jerusalem -- of destroying historic structures on the Temple Mount:
It sounds as if they thought they had made a mistake. But the vote was not a mistake. Underestimating the depth of Israel's anger about it might have been a mistake, but not the vote. The French -- who, according to their foreign minister, have "no vested interest" but need to "do something" about Islamic State -- could not have thought that a UNESCO resolution that offended Israel would do anything to slow ISIS "in the region" or in Europe. There is no way it could; the two are not connected.
The French however, apparently thought a vote accusing Israel of something, anything, would keep the Palestinian Authority from presenting a resolution on Palestinian independence to the UN Security Council; Ayrault implied in Israel that the UNESCO vote was a quid pro quo. Why? The French have a veto they could exercise in the UN Security Council. But the Palestinians might then object to France replacing the U.S. as the "Great Power" in the "peace process." They already have experience with a veto-wielding interlocutor -- the U.S. -- and they do not want another. The price of an elevated status for the French appears to entail not vetoing Palestinian resolutions, voting for them in UNESCO, and sacrificing Israel in a process that will end in French recognition of a Palestinian State, whether Israel agrees to be bound to the altar or not.
It should be noted that the Russians immediately put out a statement that the UN-sponsored Middle East Quartet is the "only mechanism" for resolving the Palestinian issue. It is not clear whether Putin was supporting American or Israeli interests. Iran and ISIS are similarly disinclined to see the French ascend on this issue.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, are thrilled to have an international conference where others will make demands of Israel as the Palestinian experiment in self-government degenerates into poverty and chaos by its own economic, political and social choices, looking more like Venezuela every day.
Netanyahu to French PM: Hold direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in Paris without preconditions
France should hold direct Israeli and Palestinian talks at its June 3 parley in Paris on the frozen peace process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his French counterpart when the two met in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.
“If you really want to help launch peace, then help us launch direct negotiations with [Palestinian Authority] Mahmoud Abbas,” Netanyahu said, as he suggested that the French amend their new peace initiative so that it becomes a platform for such talks.
“I'm ready to clear my schedule and fly to Paris tomorrow. Well, I think tomorrow we're expanding the government, but the day after tomorrow.
“And it's an open offer. I will clear my calendar, and I hope that this is taken up by you and by the Palestinians.
“Israelis and Palestinians have suffered too much. It's time to sit down together and work out our differences so that peace may reign at long last,” Netanyahu told French Prime Minister Manuel Valls who is on his second day of a three day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Likud source: Peace initiative will refute Ya’alon’s claim of extremism
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to embark on a major diplomatic effort to disprove outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s accusations that, under his premiership, Israel and the Likud Party are heading toward the extreme Right, senior Likud sources said Saturday night.
Netanyahu said Friday there is a great diplomatic opportunity on the horizon because of certain developments in the Middle East and, therefore, he has made efforts to bring the Zionist Union into a unity government. The prime minister said he is “leaving the door open in the most serious fashion” for the Zionist Union to join the government in the future.
Likud sources said Netanyahu is aware that Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog could no longer join the government after Netanyahu decided on an agreement with Yisrael Beytenu and to appoint its leader Avigdor Liberman as defense minister in Ya’alon’s stead rather than complete a deal with Herzog.
The sources said Netanyahu is keeping the foreign affairs portfolio for himself, because he wants to personally handle the diplomatic challenges ahead, including a French initiative and the last few months of the tenure of US President Barack Obama.
Yehuda Glick ascends Temple Mount final time before swearing-in
Temple Mount prayer rights activist Yehuda Glick visited the Temple Mount Monday, in what may be his last visit to Judaism's holiest site until the end of his term in Knesset.
MKs have been banned from ascending the Mount since last year, out of both security concerns which arose in the wake of the latest terror war and an agreement between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah II.
"I have no intention to violate the orders," Glick said, expressing his understanding of the decision. "The Prime Minister decided on this out of necessity, after the place became the center of incitement from MKs on the Joint List."
"I hope I will be a loyal servant and do good for Israel," he added. "I have many interests that I want to work toward - but of course if I forget you Jerusalem, I forget my right hand, and what has driven me forward until now will continue to drive me."
Glick has long fought for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, where the Jordanian Waqf has been left with de facto control and bans Jewish prayer in a violation of Israel's laws guaranteeing freedom of religion.
PreOccupiedTerritory: The Opposition May Choose A New Leader. It’s So Cute. By Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (satire)
Over the course of more than a year, the various factions of the Opposition had ample opportunity to work to topple my government, the government with the narrowest majority in Knesset history. The explorations and negotiations surrounding the possibility of Labor joining the Coalition were fun, even challenging. Buji tried so hard. He played his heart out. He should be very proud of himself.
But Buji isn’t alone in the Opposition, and others deserve an A for effort. Without Shelly Yechimovich and her supporters openly rebelling against a unity government, no one would know just how hard Buji worked. I’m excited to watch Shelly and her clique try to oust Buji and rule the roost. It will take me back to middle school. I’m old enough now that such retrospection arouses warmth, not awkwardness, and the prospect of watching the Labor Party over the next few months, at least, makes me want to pinch the cheeks of every single participant.
Erel Margalit is a pugnacious one, the kind of kid you give a high five for showing gumption, then share a knowing, affectionate laugh with other grown-ups. With Stav Shaffir at his side, he has serious potential to rule his corner of the playground for the rest of recess.
Then there’s Tzipi. Oh, Tzipi, there, there. Are you thinking of declaring Buji isn’t your friend anymore? I bet within a week you’ll be promising to be Yair Lapid’s best friend, or maybe Bogie’s. These things happen, and not everybody always wants to be everybody else’s friend all the time. It’s perfectly OK to feel scared that no one will want you after you hopped from party to party to party in search of the spotlight.
They are SO cute. I can’t get enough of them.
The toughest police beat in the world is Jerusalem's Old City
Dawn marks the beginning of a perilous hour in the Old City of Jerusalem. After sunrise, thousands of Muslims and Jews gather to perform their respective devotions at the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Western Wall. They are only a stone’s throw apart – and, sadly, that metaphor is only too apt. Every day brings a new risk of bloodshed in a place where the holiest site of Judaism is found alongside the third holiest of Islam.
"A bloody clash near the holy places could trigger a new Palestinian “intifada”, or uprising. Any perceived threat to the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock would cause fury across the Muslim world"
Preventing a conflagration in the tinderbox of the Old City must be the toughest policing job in the world. The task falls to 600 Israeli policemen with the unique beat represented by the warren of alleys enclosed within the Ottoman walls of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
In other cities, the worst that police have to fear if a public order incident gets out of hand is a riot. In Jerusalem, the worst case scenario hardly bears thinking about. A bloody clash near the holy places could trigger a new Palestinian “intifada”, or uprising. Any perceived threat to the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock would cause fury across the Muslim world. The atmosphere is particularly febrile at present because of the frequent stabbing attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, with 110 incidents since last October.

The risks prey on the mind of Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld of the Israeli police. “If you have 50 people who get trampled to death in a stampede near the Western Wall, what does that mean?” he asked. “Catastrophe. The consequences won’t just be in Israel – they’ll be worldwide.”
Concern in Israel as Lebanese army builds watchtowers on border
A series of lookout posts have suddenly popped up along the Lebanon side of the border with Israel, apparently constructed by the Lebanese Army.
The watchtowers, which have appeared in the past month over the border between Kibbutz Rosh Hanikrah and Moshav Zarit, are a cause for concern for local residents, Ynet reported Sunday.
“From these locations it is possible to fire across the border and cause other sorts of trouble,” Erez Adar, head of security at Kibbutz Hanita, told Ynet. “It’s possible that at the moment this is a Lebanese army position, but we understand that in case of conflict they could quickly become Hezbollah positions.”
According to Ynet, the towers allow whoever is manning them to keep a close eye on IDF bases, the security fence that runs along the border, civilian roads and the numerous communities along the frontier.
There is concern over the fact that the towers were built so quickly, all within weeks, Ynet reported.
“A month ago there was nothing here,” said a Zarit resident. “One day they erected the tower and a few weeks later they put up the steps leading to it.”
'Plans for artificial island off Gaza coast in the works'
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday night announced that he is working to advance plans to create an artificial island off the coast of Gaza that could improve the Palestinian enclave's economic and humanitarian situation.
Katz told The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York that the venture would seek to connect the territory to the movement of people and goods
"The off-shore project could provide Gaza with an economic and humanitarian gateway to the world without endangering Israeli security," he said.
Katz suggested that the project would relieve the Gazan population from the "pressure cooker" that has become the Strip, adding that it could serve as both a "buffer and a bridge."
Katz has previously expressed his support for the prospect of a seaport in Gaza as part of efforts to completely sever the Palestinian territory from that of Israel.
"If we cut off from Gaza - we would be cut off from half of the Palestinian problem," he told Israel Radio in March.
Hamas planning public executions in Gaza Strip
Authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip are planning to carry out a series of public executions, the attorney general for the Palestinian enclave said on Sunday.
The terror group has carried out previous executions in Gaza, although rarely in public and mainly of people accused of collaborating with Israel. Sunday’s announcement involved those convicted of criminal offenses.
“Capital punishments will be implemented soon in Gaza,” attorney general Ismail Jaber told journalists. “I ask that they take place before a large crowd.”
Thirteen men, most convicted of murder connected to robberies, are currently awaiting execution, Hamas official Khalil al-Haya said on Friday at the mainly weekly Muslim prayers.
“The victims’ families have the right to demand that the punishments be implemented,” he said.
The families obtained rare permission on Sunday to stage a demonstration outside parliament, with dozens demanding that the executions be carried out.
Hamas Officials Begin Interrogating Trees, Rocks (satire)
Senior Israeli Intelligence officials were witnesses to a highly unusual interrogation late last night, when Hamas members were observed using aggressive interrogation techniques on a number of unsuspecting victims. The two men were caught on camera running around an open field in the dark, yelling at, and sometimes striking, various trees and rocks. Intelligence translators determined that the pair was asking the offending landscape the whereabouts of hiding Jews.
“It’s right there in our official charter,” commented a Hamas spokesman. “It reads, ‘The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ These brave brothers were simply trying to convince the trees and rocks to turn in any Jews they might be hiding.”
When asked for comment, an IDF spokesperson commented, “To be honest, if they’re checking behind all the trees and rocks, that really limits our hiding space options. I mean, it’s a desert. It’s pretty friggin’ sparse out there.”
Israel returns looted artifacts to Egypt in sign of warming ties
Israel has returned two looted ancient Egyptian sarcophagus covers to Egypt amid warming relations between the countries.
The Foreign Ministry returned the relics to Egypt's ambassador to Israel at a ceremony on Sunday. The ministry said their return was possible due to its "strengthening dialogue" with Egypt's Embassy in Israel.
The Israel Antiquities Authority says the colorful sarcophagus covers date back as early as the 16th and 10th centuries BCE. It says they were shipped from Egypt to Dubai and later from London to Israel. IAA inspectors discovered them in 2012 in an antiquities dealer's store in Jerusalem's Old City.
Israeli authorities seized the artifacts, but their return was put on hold after Egypt's Islamist government in 2012 recalled the Egyptian ambassador during fighting between Israel and Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Egypt TV guest calls for death squads to kill, mutilate Israelis
The precise cause of the tragic crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 is still yet to be determined, as investigators hunt for the Airbus A320's black boxes.
But while Islamic terrorism is widely believed to be the most likely cause, Egyptian political commentator Nabih Al-Wahsh believes he knows precisely who downed the plan: yes, you guessed it, Israel.
And in an interview with Egypt's Al-Asseema TV on May 20, Al Wahsh proscribed how, in his view, Egypt should react to the crash.
"All the evidence indicates that the filthy Zionist entity is behind the (EgyptAir) plane crash, and time will prove me right," he said, in comments translated by MEMRI.
"They used a missile," he insisted, before launching into a violent rant - to the obvious discomfort of his host.
"I call upon any Egyptian or Arab man who comes across an Israeli person, to kill him and mutilate his body," he shouted, over the host's vain attempts to urge him "not to call for violence."
"I take full responsibility for saying this," the irate Al Wahsh shot back.
Egyptian Commentator Calls to Establish Death Squads That Will Kill Israelis, Mutilate Their Bodies

Isil carrying out chemical experiments on its prisoners as it moves labs into residential neighbourhoods
Islamic State has moved its chemical weapons operation to densely populated residential areas and is testing homemade chlorine and mustard gas on its prisoners, residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul have claimed.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is reported to have set up laboratories in built-up neighbourhoods in the heart of its so-called caliphate to avoid being targeted by coalition air strikes.
The terror group is known to harbour chemical and nuclear ambitions, and is trying to manufacture weapons not only for attacks within Iraq and Syria but also the West.
It has a special unit for chemical weapons research made up of Iraqi scientists who worked on weapons programmes under Saddam Hussein, as well as foreign experts.
The head of the unit, Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, was captured during a raid by US special forces outside Mosul in March and is now sharing intelligence on Isil’s chemical operation.
The Five Deceptions of Obama-Rhodes Echo Chamber
In his testimony last week before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, concerning the grand Iran deal deception described in a recent New York Times article that was carried out by Obama and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, laid out five areas where the White House deceived the American people.
First, Doran in his testimony established that even before he became president, Obama had expressed an interest in rapprochement with Iran. He cited former CIA chief and Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, from The New York Times expose on the echo chamber saying that the administration knew that “They’d have gotten “the [expletive] kicked out of them,” if they had been upfront about their intention to engage Iran.
5) Blaming Allies.
Doran notes that the administation led as a whispering campaign faulting American allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for supporting ISIS. But there was no similar campaign to blame Iran and Russia for “fueling the murder machine of the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad.”
But “Rhodes has directed his most venomous whisper campaign of all at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” who like America’s Sunni allies, wanted to see Iranian regional ambitions constrained, not encouraged. Doran summarized the form of attack against Netanyahu:
The preferred mode of attack, however, is asymmetric—to focus as little as possible on the differences between the two men on Iran and to stress, instead, their disagreements over Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. Rhodes and his echo chamber spin a tale casting Netanyahu as the villain of the Middle East peace process, an arch nationalist with unseemly ties to the right wing of the Republican Party who refuses to make the necessary compromises to bring about an historic reconciliation with the Palestinians.
Where did Ploughshares get its money to sell the Iran deal?
Three weeks after The New York Times Magazine published its profile of deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, in which he describes creating an “echo chamber” of nongovernmental organizations, nuclear proliferation experts and journalists to sell the Iran nuclear deal, it was revealed a group he cited as disseminating the administration’s narrative had donated to news outlets to report on the accord, as well as to other advocacy groups supporting it.
The Ploughshares Fund, a grant-making foundation dedicated to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, gave the liberal Jewish lobbying organization J Street $576,000 to push the agreement and National Public Radio $100,000 to report on President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative and related issues.
But from where did the 35-year-old organization get its war chest to support a major media organization’s coverage of the negotiations and contribute so generously to one of the most prominent campaigns championing the deal?
Mostly through other large-scale grant-making foundations and philanthropic organizations, some of the largest in the world, such as The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, Open Society Foundations [Soros] and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, each of which gave more than $100,000 to Ploughshares in 2015, according to its latest financial report.
J Street defends itself against charges it got paid to back Iran deal
Responding to reports that it received hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to tout the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, J Street, the dovish Jewish lobby, responded on Sunday that the deal improves Israel’s security.
“J Street worked to advance the nuclear agreement with Iran out of the belief that this is an important agreement which contributes mightily to Israel’s security,” J Street said in response.
“This is a belief that is shared with many officials in both the Obama administration as well as the Israeli defense establishment and among many in the American Jewish community, most of which supports the agreement,” the organization said.
“The nuclear agreement with Iran blocked Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon for years to come,” J Street said. “As of now, Iran has abided by the terms of the deal.”
Iranian Ayatollah Shirazi: America Is No Longer What It Used to Be; Iran Has Global Final Say

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