Monday, June 27, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: Abbas' advisor: “Every place you find an Israeli - cut off his head”
Abbas' advisor and Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein is one of the many Fatah leaders who regularly refute the myth that Fatah is moderate and peace promoting. During an interview with a Palestinian news agency about building peaceful and normal relations with Israel, Abu Al-Einein explained that he rejects “negotiations, meetings, and normalization” activities and believes when a Palestinian meets an Israeli he should kill him:
Mahmoud Abbas' advisor, Sultan Abu Al-Einein:“Regarding the matter of normalization [with Israel] and the participation of members of the Fatah leadership and members of the PLO Executive Committee in Israeli conferences, Abu Al-Einein said: ‘If you would ask me about my personal position, I would tell you - every place you find an Israeli cut off his head. Likewise, I am against talks, negotiations, meetings, and normalization in all its forms with the Israeli occupation.’”
[Donia Al-Watan (independent Palestinian news agency), June 27, 2016]
Based on his previous statements and Facebook posts it is clear that his statement promoting murder should be taken literally. Abu Al-Einein has stated in the past that killing Jews/Israelis is not merely a Palestinian national goal but is what Allah demands of Palestinians as an Islamic necessity. After a bloody terror attack in November 2014 in which 4 rabbis were murdered during prayer in a synagogue in Jerusalem, Abbas’ advisor posted pictures of the dead rabbis and a picture of their blood on his Facebook page to celebrate the murder. He wrote that the butchering of the rabbis with axes and kitchen knives was "the heroic operation at the religious Zionist institute.”

Palestinian Leader: “Brexit is the Work of Israeli Rabbis” (satire)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asserted that the British vote to leave the European Union is the result of determined efforts by several rabbis in Israel to undermine Continental unity.
“Only a week ago, I ran into some Zionists as they were torching olive groves in colonized Palestine. Over several cups of sweet tea, they confessed to me that booting Britain out of Europe was the first step in a phased plan to dominate the world. As we all know, not a single British citizen actually voted to leave the EU. How else then can you explain the result of last week’s referendum?” Abbas said in an address to the European Parliament.
In response to these allegations, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stated that “I love a good conspiracy theory as much as any paranoid. But we all know that Brexit happened when millions of buff white farmers with ‘roid rage got fed up with their wives and girlfriends leaving them for skinny Indian techies driving fancy new cars. Send ’em back on boats to Bombay: that’s how you’ll make Britain great again!”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton noted that following the Brexit vote, “We bid a fond farewell to the United Kingdom. But, who will fill the void left by our longtime ally? I’m sure I wrote an email outlining a very sensible plan of action, but I seem to have mislaid it. Just give me a minute and I will get back to you.”
Egypt wants to know more about its people in Israel
Egyptian Minister of Immigration Nabilah Makram created quite a stir recently when she said she has no information concerning the size of the Egyptian community in Israel.
Immediately following Makram's June 13 remarks to the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, parliamentarians declared that the growth of the Egyptian community in Israel constitutes a danger to Egyptian national security — although it wasn’t clear how, exactly, since no information on the size of the community was presented.
Speaking to Al-Monitor on this issue, Makram stressed that the Egyptian community in Israel is a unique diaspora as a result of security and political reasons. She said she has been working with others in the government and labor unions to develop a database of expatriate Egyptians that will include all relevant details.
Meanwhile, Nancy Nasir, a parliament member and representative for Egyptian expatriates, told Al-Monitor, “The concerns of Egypt’s expatriates overall have been dealt with extremely ineffectively, and not only the Egyptian community in Israel.” This is despite parliament’s numerous committees relating to expatriates, including the Arab Affairs, African Affairs and Foreign Relations committees, she said. (h/t Zvi)

Israel, Turkey officially reconcile: Netanyahu says Gaza blockade to remain
The rapprochement agreement between Israel and Turkey will strengthen Israel's position in the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Rome on Monday announcing the reaching of the accord more than six years after the Mavi Marmara incident.
Netanyahu said that with both the world and the region going through enormous changes, it is important to create islands of stability, and this accord does that with Turkey. He said that his strategy is to create these points of stability in ties with some Arab states in the region, with Greece and Cyprus, and with Russia.
Netanyahu said he kept Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Russia -- all countries who have a fraught relationship with Turkey -- in the loop regarding the negotiations leading up to the accord. Every move was also coordinated with the US, he said. At the same time that Netanyahu was announcing the accord in Rome, stressing the elements favorable to Israel, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was doing the same in Ankara, stressing other elements in the agreement more to Turkey’s liking.
Yildirim stressed that the first shipment of 10,000 tons of Turkish humanitarian aid will set sail next Friday. Yildirim presented this as a lifting of the blockade on Gaza, something Netanyahu denied during his comments.
Israel and Turkey find magical land where (almost) everyone’s a winner
The Israeli-Turkish reconciliation deal that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday in Rome is being criticized by politicians and pundits from across the political spectrum. That’s probably a good sign.
Unsurprisingly, opposition leader Isaac Herzog slammed the deal, hammering Netanyahu for agreeing to pay $20 million in compensation for the families of the Turkish victims of the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. Such a deal is “unfathomable,” Herzog wrote on his Facebook page.
“Let all Jewish mothers know that the right wing will pay compensation to those who attack their sons,” he added.
Gideon Sa’ar — who was a government minister at the time when Netanyahu apologized to Turkey for “operational errors” during the Marmara raid — came out swinging against the deal. He called it “a national humiliation,” a case of “paying the aggressor,” and said it “opens the door to the next capitulation to terrorism” because Hamas would now make new demands for the release of its terrorists from Israeli jails.
But anyone with even the faintest familiarity with Israeli politics knows that these two men would likely have supported the deal had they had been in the government today.
Likewise, Netanyahu would doubtless have opposed it had he been sitting in the opposition.
Ending years of rancor, Israel and Turkey reboot relationship
Once tight, already frayed relations between Israel and Turkey were significantly downgraded in 2010 after Israeli commandos staged a raid on a six-ship Turkish flotilla which was trying to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Strip.
The commandos were violently attacked by those on board the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, and nine Turkish citizens, including one with American citizenship, were killed in the ensuing melee. A tenth died of his wounds years later. A number of Israeli soldiers were injured in the raid.
Under the deal Israel will pay $20 million (18.14 million euros) in compensation for the deaths caused in the commando raid, Yildirim confirmed. In return for the compensation, Turkey agreed not to take legal action against IDF soldiers involved in the incident.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, dismissed criticism by political opponents who denounced the paying of compensation to attackers of IDF soldiers as a national humiliation.
“Our vital interests are advanced by this deal,” he said. “I’m not entering a honeymoon. And I’m not presenting this agreement through rose-colored spectacles. But this agreement strengthens Israel.”
He said the deal could not have been done sooner, because “it took time” to achieve “the terms we needed.”
Top cabinet members oppose Turkey reconciliation agreement
A reconciliation agreement reached between Turkey and Israel on Monday that includes a $20 million Israeli compensation package for pro-Hamas Turkish citizens killed in 2010 is expected to face opposition in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cabinet later this week.
The agreement, which is set to be signed on Tuesday, will likely be brought to the cabinet for ratification on Wednesday.
But some senior cabinet members have already signaled their intention to vote against the deal, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) telling supporters during a faction meeting that he would maintain his opposition to reconciliation with Turkey.
“I don’t see any reason to go back on my opposition to the agreement,” Channel 2 reported the Yisrael Beytenu chief as having told party members. “The compensation [package] has serious implications.”
Liberman pledged, however, not to politicize the vote.
“I won’t make a campaign [issue] out of this, just as I did not do with the Shalit deal, despite my well-known position on that.”
Speaking on Monday with the families of the fallen soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose bodies have been held by Hamas since 2014, Liberman again emphasized that his position on the agreement with Turkey had not changed.
'Why didn't Israel demand compensation from Turkey?'
A former senior member of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party has blasted Israel's upcoming reconciliation deal with Turkey, and questioned why the Israeli government didn't attempt to extract concessions of its own.
Former Education Minister Gideon Saar said Israel should have demanded compensation for the Mavi Marmara incident, in which a Turkish Islamist flotilla attempted to violently break Israel's blockade of Gaza.
In an interview with Israel's Channel 2, Saar expressed his shock at the $20 million compensation package Israel will be granting to the families of the Al Qaeda-linked IHH terrorists killed aboard the ship - without demanding any compensation in return either for the injuries inflicted on IDF soldiers or the harm to Israel's security.
According to Saar, Netanyahu had in the past vowed not to offer compensation to the Turks over the incident - yet now the generous compensation package comprises a central aspect of the reconciliation deal.
"This is a bad deal," Saar stated, while noting that the conflicting national interests of Turkey - a key Hamas supporter - and Israel would continue regardless of the agreement.
The rapprochement deal will be formally announced today (Monday) at two separate press conferences.
Hamas prisoner’s family protests Turkey detente deal
As Israeli and Turkish negotiators were set to meet Sunday in Rome to finalize an agreement on normalizing ties, said to include an easing of the sanctions on the Gaza Strip, the family of an Israeli man presumed held in the Palestinian territory staged a protest outside the prime minister’s Jerusalem office demanding he be released as part of the deal.
Avraham Abera Mengistu, 29, a Jew of Ethiopian descent, has been held by the Hamas terror group in Gaza for nearly two years. According to his family, he suffers from mental illness and stumbled across the border into the coastal territory by accident in 2014.
Mengistu’s relatives, who want Israel to demand Turkey obtain proof of life as a condition for signing any rapprochement deal, said they felt misled by officials during the months-long talks between Jerusalem and Ankara.
“We’ve been deceived. It’s inconceivable that Israel will sign this agreement while my brother is still being held prisoner,” said Ilan Mengistu, the prisoner’s brother, according to Channel 2.
“We put our trust in the Israeli government and Knesset to do their job faithfully,” he said. “Given the upcoming deal with Turkey, we feel as though we’ve been fooled.”
MK Zoabi: Reparations to Turks an Israeli Admission of Murder
MK Zoabi, for whom this is her last term in the Knesset, having been kicked off her realistic spot on her Balad party’s list by party primary voters, insists that this is not the time to celebrate the diplomatic achievement of the Netanyahu government, instead, she says, the deal constitutes an Israeli admission of “committing nine murders, injuring dozens, kidnapping and piracy in international waters.”
Zoabi is also irate that the Turkish-Israeli deal does not deposit in Israel’s hands the responsibility for the woes of the Gaza Strip, which it abandoned ten years ago this summer. Zoabi wants the Israeli blockade to come down completely, but has nothing to say about the Hamas openly declared intentions of continuing their plans to attack Israeli civilians.
MK Tibi for his part suggested PA-based jurists should take note of the reparations index of the Turkish deal, for future discussions, when the new Palestinian state would be handing Israel the bill for all the Arabs that died over the years, presumably including those who were killed while trying to stuff their suicide belts with explosives.
Israeli politicians on both sides of the aisle were unhappy with the deal. Former minister Gidon Sa’ar (Likud) tweeted: “Israel will pay Turkey reparations for the Marmara? I hope the news is wrong. If it’s true — this is a national humiliation and an invitation for more flotillas and more libels from Israel haters.”
Zoabi urges more flotillas following Israel-Turkey agreement
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List), who participated in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla which ultimately resulted in the cutting of ties between Israel and Turkey, on Sunday night said the reconciliation agreement between the two countries was a clear “admission of murder” by Israel.
"Israel's agreement to transfer 21 million shekels to the Turks constitutes a clear admission of guilt. Even if Israel does not acknowledge it, it is a confession to the murder of nine people, wounding of dozens, kidnapping and piracy in international waters and false persecution,” she charged.
Zoabi called for more flotillas like the Marmara one in order to remove the “criminal siege”, as she put it, over Gaza.
Zoabi is notorious for her anti-Israel statements and actions, despite being an elected member of Israel’s parliament.
Among other things, she has said that Israel has “no right to a normal life,” and that “the Israeli occupation” was behind the murder of Israelis in Bulgaria. She has also declared that Israel should "thank her" for allowing Jews to live in the Jewish state.
JCPA: After the Israel-Turkey Agreement, Turkey and Hamas Will Still Collaborate
A high-ranking Hamas delegation visited Ankara on June 24, 2016. At its helm was Khaled Mashal, chairman of the movement’s Political Bureau.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave Mashal the latest updates on the concluding stages of Turkey’s negotiations with Israel on a normalization agreement between the two states.
On issues regarding the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Turkey have been closely collaborating since the Mavi Marmara flotilla affair. The tie between them stems from the common ideology of Hamas and the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey as affiliates of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood movement. In addition, Erdogan and Mashal have close, friendly relations.
Throughout the talks with Israel on normalizing relations, Turkey constantly updated Hamas and consulted with it. Erdogan made the demand for lifting the blockade of Gaza a condition for an agreement with Israel.
On January 25, 2016, senior Hamas official Ahmed Yusuf told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that Hamas and senior Turkish officials were maintaining a direct line of communication on the terms reached between Israel and Turkey on the Gaza issue.
Analysis: The winner from the Israel-Turkey détente - Hamas
Hamas and Turkey come out as the winners in the upcoming deal if reports in the Israeli media are correct.
Israel apparently has agreed to the presence of Hamas in Turkey as long as it does not involve itself directly in terrorist attacks against Israel, but limits itself to political and other supposedly nonviolent activity.
However, the sanction of the presence and “political” activity of Hamas in a country with diplomatic ties with Israel undermines years of Israeli public relations against the terrorist group, which sought to identify Hamas with other Sunni groups such as al-Qaida and Islamic State.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu equated Islamic State to Hamas in a speech to the UN in September 2014, saying some countries “evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.”
“ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control,” he said, going on to note that both groups call for the creation of a caliphate with global ambitions.
But, if Hamas is Islamic State, why is Israel sanctioning its activity, even though not directly terrorism related, in a country with which it wants to normalize relations? Turkish media reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Istanbul on Friday to discuss the negotiations with Israel.
'Those who think Israel-Turkey deal will have a significant impact on Hamas are mistaken'
Those who think the Israel-Turkey reconciliation will have a significant impact on Hamas are sorely mistaken about Turkey’s influence on the terror organization, former National Security Advisor Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror said Monday.
“I’m very sorry, but Turkey doesn’t have the influence people think they have on Hamas. By the end of the day, the conflict in Gaza will be influenced by Hamas in Gaza,” Amidror said Monday, in a conference call with reporters.
Amidror said the reconciliation will have no immediate influence on the chances of a conflict in the near future between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and that “this would be decided by Hamas in Gaza. I don’t see the Turks having a lot of influence on the military wing of Hamas.”
He added that even the major civilian infrastructure projects Turkey is planning in Gaza won’t be enough to sway Hamas decision-making, which at the end of the day is influenced by their attitudes towards Israel and the military capabilities they have.
Nonetheless, Amidror said he believes the deal has “huge potential” in terms of security gains for Israel, but that this is only in the long-term, after both sides work on building trust with one another.
Did Israel promise not to assassinate Hamas's leader as part of Turkey deal?
The Prime Minister's Office on Saturday denied that Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh would be given immunity from Israeli attempts on his life as part of the reconciliation deal with Turkey which the cabinet is expected to ratify next week.
The claim was seemingly made by coalition chairman David Bitan, who later said that his comments made at a cultural event in Beersheba on Saturday were misunderstood and taken out of context.
Discussing the pending deal with Turkey and what it means for Haniyeh, Biton stated: "What's certain is that we can't do anything to him anymore, he is secured. Not even the prime minister can give the order anymore."
Biton's comments prompted an angry denial from the Prime Minister's Office: "MK David Bitan is not privy to the details of the agreement with Turkey. His comments are incorrect and detached from reality. The issue [of Haniyeh] was not discussed during the talks."
The statement added that "Israel reserves the right to ensure its security in accordance with the circumstances."
Six things that happened while Israel-Turkey were feuding
Business boomed
Despite the breakdown of diplomatic ties, business between the two countries soared.
If in 2009, the year before the Mavi Marmara, the two countries did some $2.6 billion in bilateral trade. By 2014 that number jumped to $5.4 billion, though it dropped to some $4.2 billion last year. The ties between the governments may have soured, but the relationship between the two business communities only got stronger.
Israel's relations with Cyprus and Greece took off
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Nicosia earlier this year and, in a high profile meeting, shook hands with the leaders of Cyprus and Greece and announced the emergence of a mini-regional alliance. Turkey was this alliance’s indirect midwife.
US Jewish groups begin to acknowledge Armenian Genocide
Over the last six years Jewish groups in the US, which in the past did not support recognizing the Armenian genocide, started to do so.
The issue burst into the headlines in 2007, when then ADL head Abe Foxman fired the organization's regional director in Boston for telling a newspaper he opposed the ADL’s long-standing refusal to recognize the massacres of the Armenians as genocide.
Arab assailants attack police, visitors for second day on Temple Mount
Tensions flared for a second day on the Temple Mount Monday morning, after a group of masked Arab assailants threw rocks and other objects at Border Police and Jewish visitors who entered the contested compound during the final 10 days of Ramadan. Six Arabs were arrested.
Following Sunday morning’s attack on 11 Jewish visitors, resulting in four Arab men being arrested for hurling rocks, chairs and shoes at them, police brought in reinforcements to heighten security.
None of the visitors or officers were wounded during that melee, which lasted approximately 45 minutes, before the tour resumed.
“The police collected intelligence about Arab youths, some of them masked, who were involved in the attack who barricaded themselves during the night in al-Aksa Mosque in order to confront police and harm visitors to the area during Ramadan,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“Jerusalem police forces were present this morning and ready for any scenario.”
Arab vandals desecrate Tomb of Patriarchs mezuzah in Hevron
Arab vandals removed a mezuzah from the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron on Friday, while the holy site was used by local Muslims for Ramadan prayers.
The mezuzah, which adorned the main door of the Tomb, is believed to have been desecrated by the vandals.
A storage shed used by the Tomb’s maintenance staff was also broken into, with thousands of shekels worth of equipment stolen.
A spokesman for the Hevron Jewish community, Noam Arnon, responded to the theft and likely desecration of the mezuzah, calling on police to offer a substantive response to the incident.
“The Committee of Hevron demands that the [special access given to] Muslims for the [Ramadan] holiday be cancelled in the Tomb of the Patriarchs until the mezuzah is returned, and that severe measures be taken against the thieving terrorists. We cannot have Arab vandals taking advantage of a holiday during which the State of Israel gives them exclusive access to the first Jewish holy site in order to commit crimes against Jewish holy objects.”
Reporter at US State Dep’t briefing repeats lie that Israel cut off water to Palestinians
We just came across a gem from the blog Conflicts and Resolutions highlighting an exchange between State Department Spokesperson John Kirby and Said Arikat, a reporter for the Palestinian Al Quds news network, during a press briefing on June 16th.
Here’s text of the exchange from the official transcript:
QUESTION: Okay. I also have a couple questions on the water supply – the Israelis cut off water supplies to the inhabitants —
QUESTION: — of the West Bank. Now, the Israelis, including settlers, they get about 300 liters per day, Palestinians get 70 liters per day, and this is basically Palestinian water. They siphon it from Palestinian areas. I wonder if you have any comment on that.

First, as we clearly demonstrated when this libel appeared in the British media, the claim (citing Palestinian government officials) that “Israelis cut off water supplies” to West Bank Palestinians is completely untrue.
Israel blames Palestinians for West Bank water shortage
On top of that, broken water pipes and Palestinian water theft have made the situation worse, a spokesman for the Water Authority said.
He told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that about 5 cubic meters of water were recently stolen in the West Bank by Palestinians.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories’ Office – a branch of the Defense Ministry – is responsible for catching water thieves. In the northern Samaria region alone, he added, about 1.2 cu. m. have been stolen.
Adding to this was a 20 to 40 percent increase in demand compared to last year, with most of it being used for agricultural purposes.
In order to deal with this, the Authority and Interior Ministry created a national water emergency plan, to “pool water together” during peak hours.
This has not prevented shortages, however, because the Palestinian Authority has not given its approval for the Water Authority to update infrastructure. The shortage has been particularly acute in the Palestinian village of Sulfite.
Israel moves to strip citizenship, residency of would-be IS fighters
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Sunday moved to strip two residents of East Jerusalem of their Israeli citizenship and residency status for their involvement with the Islamic State terror group.
Deri asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to revoke the citizenship of Luqman Atun, 24, who is a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Tsur Baher. Atun flew to Turkey in October 2014, but didn’t have enough money to be taken to the Syrian border.
The interior minister also requested that the permanent residency status of East Jerusalemite Khalil Adel Khalil, 26, be revoked. Khalil was convicted in December 2015 of attempting to join the Islamic State and seeking to fight for the group in Syria.
Permanent residency is the status of most of East Jerusalem’s approximately 300,000 Arabs, who are not Israeli citizens, although they can apply for citizenship if they so choose.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported that Deri’s request was the most advanced move taken so far to strip Arabs in Israel of citizenship or residency for connection with the Islamic State.
French court: no murder trial into Arafat's death
A French court has refused to reopen an investigation into the death of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat amid suspicions that he was poisoned, saying there is no legal ground for an eventual murder trial.
The general prosecutor's office in Versailles said Friday an appeals court there upheld a decision by investigating judges who dismissed the case last year, saying there is no evidence that Arafat was murdered.
Arafat died in a military hospital in a Paris suburb in 2004 after his health suddenly deteriorated. The cause of death has never been clarified.
The ex-leader's widow, Suha Arafat, filed a complaint in 2012 after traces of polonium, a highly toxic radioactive substance, were found on her husband's belongings.
Her lawyers may still appeal the ruling to the French highest court.
Race to succeed Abbas stalled by politics, Fatah infighting
As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held diplomatic visits abroad this week, high-ranking officials in his Fatah party continued to jostle over his succession. Everyone is hoping for the job of president, as evidenced by the Ma’an news agency’s hit reality show, in which young people compete to see who can be the next Palestinian leader.
The mechanism for selecting a successor to Abbas — who is 81 years old and has indicated many times he could step down — is complicated to the point of impenetrability. He currently holds three titles: Fatah chairman, PLO chairman, and PA president. Under Palestinian law, if the PA president is unable to continue in the position, the parliament speaker must appoint an acting president to serve for 60 days. But the Palestinian parliament has not convened since 2007, and its speaker, Sheikh Aziz Duwaik, is a member of Fatah’s rival in the Gaza Strip, Hamas.
There is no possibility the upper echelons of the PA, PLO, and Fatah will allow Dweik to assume the powers of PA chairman (or the president) even for a short time. Fatah officials have claimed the parliament must ratify the position of parliament speaker every several months, and because it has not met since 2007, Dweik is no longer considered the speaker.
Hamas blames PA for closure of Rafah crossing
Hamas is blaming the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), led by chairman Mahmoud Abbas, for the closure of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
Speaking to Hamas’s Palestine newspaper on Sunday, Gaza's Deputy Minister of Interior Kamel Abu Madi called on those responsible for the closure of the Rafah crossing to open it on a regular basis.
He then claimed that the PA’s leadership is responsible for the closure of the Rafah crossing, saying that he had no information on the intention of the authorities in Egypt to open the crossing during the next few days.
Abu Madi said that the number of Gazans wishing to leave the enclave through the Rafah crossing is now about 25-30 thousand, and that priority is given to the sick, students and married women who have been cut off from their husbands.
The Hamas newspaper reported that Gaza expects that Egypt will open the Rafah crossing ahead of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan.
Erdogan apologizes to Putin over downed jet
Russian president Vladimir Putin has received a letter from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which Erdogan apologized for the death of the Russian pilot who was shot down over the Syrian-Turkish border last November, the Kremlin said Monday.
Erdogan expressed readiness to restore relations with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to RT.
“The head of the Turkish state expressed his deep sympathy and condolences to the relatives of the deceased Russian pilot and said ‘sorry,’” Peskov said.
The incident involving the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber led to the worst deterioration of Turkish-Russian relations in recent history, with Russia describing it as a “stab in the back.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Ecologists Laud Assad For Helping Stem Human Overpopulation (satire)
Environmental researchers praised Syrian President Basher Assad this week, saying he and his regime have done more than anyone else over the last few years to help reduce the threat of human overpopulation.
A spokesman for the Malthus Foundation, an environmental think tank focused on issues of food supply, told reporters the organization intends to present Assad with an award for his efforts, which have resulted in the population of Syria shrinking from 22 million in 2011 to 16 million today, a drop that portends a reduced global demand for food.
“Going from 22 million to 16 million in just a few short years represents more than a twenty-five percent reduction,” noted Malthus Foundation Pop-Redux Project director Jen O’Seid. “The original figure might not be 100% accurate, but we do know that hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been permanently removed from the population, and about three million have left the country and are unlikely to return anytime soon.”
“That accomplishment is the result of a determined policy on the part of Mr. Assad and his government to reduce the number of people, a group that drains worldwide food resources,” she continued. “In the short term, the upheaval of war has hurt Syria’s domestic food production, but the main effect of that phenomenon is felt only in Syria itself, as the country’s food exports are not significant from a global perspective.”
ISIS Video Threatens San Francisco, Shows Golden Gate and Skyscraper
A new video released by ISIS today that heavily praised Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen also made specific threats against San Francisco and Las Vegas.
The video, released by ISIS in Mosul, rolls images of Mateen and news footage of the Pulse attack on June 12.
Also shown is the footage shot by Larossi Abballa during his June 13 attack on a French police commander and his family.
Abballa livestreamed on Facebook his statement from inside the home of his victims Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, 42, and Jessica Schneider, 36, a police station secretary, during the attack in Magnanville, about 30 miles outside of Paris. Born in France of Moroccan heritage, Abballa said he was following the directive of al-Baghdadi for jihadists in their home countries to kill the infidels in their homes.
Footage is shown of President Obama making statements in the Oval Office and in the White House briefing room, with spreading spatters of blood superimposed on the screen.
EXCLUSIVE - Islamic State Supporters: American Infidels Lying About Omar Mateen Being Gay
Breitbart Jerusalem has gained insider access to an encrypted forum for Islamic State fighters and supporters, finding intense denial of the reports that Orlando terrorist shooter Omar Mateen was gay.
Also, in an exclusive interview, a top Gazan jihadist allied with IS said he is convinced the man who says he was Mateen’s gay lover for two months is actually a CIA agent intent on tarnishing the shooter’s reputation.
During his terrorist shooting rampage, Mateen declared allegiance to IS, while a news agency affiliated with IS reported that Mateen was one of the global terrorist group’s fighters.
Users of the private forum on the Telegraph encrypted message service consist of known IS leaders, lower and mid-level IS fighters, IS supporters, and propagandists. Some members utilize their own names, while others use screen names. The forum serves as a Twitter of sorts for IS and its supporters.
The activists in the network uniformly agreed that Mateen was not gay and that the reports were planted by the U.S. government to cover for its fear of IS.
Breitbart’s Milo To Lead Gay Pride March Through Swedish Muslim Ghetto
Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has announced that he will be leading a gay pride march through one of Sweden’s Muslim ghettos in Stockholm in a few weeks’ time.
Yiannopoulos made the announcement in live conversation with The Rubin Report’s Dave Rubin, after discussing Islam with Rubin and the risks it poses to homosexuals.
“When you start to enforce your political or social opinions through violence, that’s when there’s a problem. That is the moment when the whole world should be saying ‘you are the problem and we’re going to do what it takes to protect ourselves from you’, but the left doesn’t do that” said Yiannopoulos on the live stream.
“The left instead starts making excuses for them, saying ‘oh, well the West created this problem’. Look, this infantilizes Muslims to the status of children who lack free will. It infantilizes them into being mindless automaton products of American foreign policy. That’s f**king insane.”

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