Tuesday, June 28, 2016

From Ian:

Ron Prosor: UN’s Moral Ban-Kruptcy
Today, U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon landed in Jerusalem for a final visit before the end of his term. During his 10-year stint as Secretary General, he has seen Palestinian “innovation” flourish. From bus suicide bombings, to rocket fire, and their latest “terrorvation” - underground terror tunnels.
While in Israel, will Mr. Ban condemn the Palestinians digging these terror tunnels and aiming rockets at Israeli children in towns like Sderot? Will he unequivocally condemn the terror attacks in the midst of our cities? Will he speak out at all against the ongoing incitement and hatred so prominently displayed in the Palestinian territories? The answer is - unlikely.
During Operation Protective Edge (2014), Mr. Ban visited the region while Israel faced hundreds of terrorist rockets raining down on its cities and towns and dozens of terror tunnels designed to murder our children. The Secretary General arrived on a private jet financed by the government of Qatar. Conveniently enough, he chose to disregard the fact that every rocket flying out of Gaza has the same Qatari wings as the plane he arrived on and that every terror tunnel dug, bears the imprint ‘courtesy of Qatar’.
All these facts make it highly unlikely that Mr. Ban will use his influence to stop incitement, end terrorism, or move us any closer to a lasting peace in the Middle East.
Through my four and a half years at the United Nations, I have gotten to know Secretary Ban personally. He is a good and decent man, but he has found himself under pressure supporting a very bad cause. The Secretary-General has proven his willingness to downplay or simply ignore tragic events as well as supporters and instigators of violence in an apparent effort to appease and get along with some of the world’s most brutal regimes, and the extreme and hateful ideologies that they represent.
During my tenure as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, I learned a great deal about the world body’s hypocrisy, its duplicity, and the triple standard it applies to world affairs - one for dictatorships, one for democracies, and a special critical standard designed only for Israel.
Michael Oren: Ban Ki-moon, we have lost faith in the UN
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
Welcome back to Israel, the island of democracy and stability in a region that has so challenged the United Nations during your tenure as its leader.
We hope that your visit will advance peace and security for us and our neighbors, yet we are forced to ask ourselves – what happened in the nine years you have led the United Nations? Has the UN fulfilled the goals of its charter? Is the UN ensuring the equal rights of Israel as a nation among nations large and small? Are the UN agencies engaged here promoting these goals?
Regrettably, we remain as alarmed today as we did when you yourself, speaking in Jerusalem in 2013, admitted that in the UN, Israel has been: “…criticized and [has] been suffering from this bias and sometimes discriminations.”
Your admission was widely reported and it gave Israelis hope that a Secretary General was finally taking corrective action to restore the UN’s lost credibility. Until your statement, the UN’s failure to engage the Israeli people led more than 70% of them to lose confidence in this august institution and its bodies.The loss of confidence comes from UN actions such as:

  • In the past decade the UNHRC has issued 128 condemnations against nations around the world – and more than half of these, 67, were aimed at a single country, Israel.
  • The UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem that denied any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount holy site, while recognizing the Muslim holy site. The Brazilian foreign ministry called this “an error which makes the text partial and unbalanced.”
  • The UN condemns Israel, a country with free speech, free elections and minority rights more often than all the world’s mass murdering dictatorships combined. In 2007, you said you were “disappointed” by the UNHRC singling out of Israel. Nine years later that exact same bias is still present. There has been no progress.
  • UN schools in Gaza have been repeatedly used by Hamas to store weapons. You yourself said this was “turning schools into potential military targets.”
PMW: PA celebrates joining international Scout Movement with map of “Palestine” erasing Israel
The Palestinian Authority continues unabated to teach its youth that Israel does not exist and that all of Israel's land is part of “Palestine.”
To celebrate that the World Organization of the Scout Movement in February this year recognized “Palestine” as a full member, PA Chairman Abbas sponsored an event for the Palestinian Scout Association at which senior PA officials handed out plaques of honor decorated with the PA map of “Palestine” which presents all of Israel as “Palestine”.
Giving out the plaques were Jibril Rajoub, Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and Head of the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs and Laila Ghannam, District Governor of Ramallah. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that both of them as policy deny Israel’s right to exist, support terror and glorify terrorists.
The same denial of Israel’s existence was taught to young children on the PA TV program The Best Home, which is entertaining kids daily during the Ramadan. In a quiz, the TV host asked a boy who called in to the program what is “the size of Palestine”. The host and the puppet Ramzi taught that “the size of Palestine is 27,000 sq. km.” However, the combined area of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is only 6,220 sq. km. Only by adding the area of the State of Israel, excluding the Golan Heights, does the area of “Palestine” reach 27,000 sq. km:
PA TV teaches kids that “Palestine is 27,000 sq. km.” which includes all of Israel

PA TV: All of Israel is "Palestine" "from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River"

Caroline Glick: Abbas’s satisfied customers
Unlike Abbas and his PLO, Israel still upholds the agreements it signed with the PLO. In 1995, the sides agreed that they would only act together to improve the water infrastructure. And the Palestinians – as Abbas again proved – would rather have their people suffer from water shortages, victims in the EU-funded PA’s endless propaganda war against the Jews – than improve their lives and remove their talking point.
The same goes for Abbas’s Israeli partners in blood libel dissemination and of course, for the Europeans, who pay for the whole operation.
Abbas’s most recent anti-Jewish diatribe, and the warm reception it received from the Europeans who paid for it bear an important lesson for the many Israelis who search endlessly for ways to build friendlier relations with Europe.
The hard truth is that we cannot do anything to influence them. They operate in a closed intellectual circle.
They pay for blood libels. They receive them with standing ovations. They disseminate them at the UN and their media. And then they organize “peace” conferences, where Israel is expected to accept as fact or spend its entire time dispelling the lies they create through their Israeli and Palestinian employees and disseminate through their media.
The only option Israel has in the face of this circle of hatred is to attack the Europeans mercilessly for their Jew hatred and anti-Jewish discrimination.
Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinian Authority's Crackdown on Journalists
According to his account, Abu Zeid was also subjected to shabah-style torture, where a detainee's hands and feet are tied in painful positions while his head is covered with a bag. He said that one of the interrogators threw him to the floor and kicked him in sensitive parts of his lower body.
The interrogators also threatened to arrest Abu Zeid's wife, a female colleague and his lawyer. That would have been the closest he would have gotten to the lawyer: in the 37 days of detention, Abu Zeid claimed that he was prevented from meeting with his lawyer or any representative of a human rights organization.
The report noted that the year 2015 witnessed a "deterioration" in human rights in the territories and described the situation there as "catastrophic on all levels -- political, security and human rights." The report pointed out that Palestinians, including journalists, were being arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) because of their work and postings on social media.
Ironically, this campaign by the PA against journalists, which has failed to draw the attention of the international community and mainstream media in the West, is designed to prevent the world from understanding that the PA is a dictatorship. So far, the plan is working.
PM to visiting UN chief: Help get soldiers’ bodies back from Hamas
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to use his position in the international community to help secure the release of the remains of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas as well as Israeli civilians believed held captive in the Gaza Strip.
“I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary, for agreeing to meet with the Goldin, Shaul and Mengistu families,” Netanyahu said at a joint press conference ahead of their meeting together at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
The families of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, both killed in the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as Avraham Abera Mengistu, who disappeared into the Strip later in 2014 and who is believed to be still alive, have long called for the government to make sure the return of their sons was included in the agreement. A fourth unidentified Israeli man is also being held in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.
Calling Hamas a terrorist organization with “genocidal aims,” Netanyahu said the group “is cruelly and illegally holding the remains of our soldiers and holding our citizens. I ask you to use your standing to help return home these soldiers and these citizens.”
Rivlin Asks UN Chief for Help to Secure Release of Israelis’ Bodies From Hamas
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday hosted United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at his residence during Ban’s final scheduled visit to Israel as the UN’s leader.
Rivlin used the opportunity to ask Ban for assistance on securing the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped and killed by Hamas in Gaza in 2014, in addition to the return of two Israelis who are currently believed to be held captive by Hamas.
“On the humanitarian side, Hamas still refuses to give — even to the Red Cross — information on the fate of two of our [slain] soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. At the same time, we are very worried about two Israeli citizens both suffering poor mental health, one Muslim and one Jewish. They are being held by Hamas after crossing into Gaza two years ago. Again, Hamas has refused to give details about their wellbeing or where they are held. I ask you to do all you can to bring an end to this pain,” Rivlin told Ban.
Ban offered his condolences for the four Israelis killed in the shooting terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona market earlier this month, and urged Israel to work with the French-led initiative to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
UNRWA school in Gaza hides map of ‘historic Palestine’ as Ban visits
A school in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday covered up a map of “historic Palestine” — which is today the modern State of Israel — ahead of a visit by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The map at an UNRWA institution in the Hamas-run enclave where Ban gave a press conference was seen in photos concealed by a white sheet.
Pierre Krähenbühl, the UN agency chief who was accompanying Ban on Tuesday, did not immediately comment.
In his visit to the region, which included a stop at the Gaza school, Ban lamented the plight of Gazans, saying that “the closure of Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts.”
“It’s a collective punishment for which there must be accountability,” the secretary-general added.
In Gaza, UN chief calls on Israel to lift 'suffocating' blockade of Strip
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to lift the "suffocating" blockade on the Gaza Strip, a day after Israel said the naval blockade would continue after reaching a deal with Turkey to normalize ties.
During a visit to the coastal strip, Ban told reporters: "The closure of Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impede reconstruction effort, it is a collective punishment for which there must accountability."
During a 48 hour visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Ban met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Ban will likely encourage the leaders to engage with the Quartet on its recommendations in a forthcoming report on creating the conditions for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Western nations boycott UNHRC's Agenda Item 7 debate on Israeli 'human rights abuses'
Western states on Monday boycotted the Agenda 7 debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, in which over 35 countries attacked Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
“We urge all member states to actively participate in Agenda Item 7,” said Pakistan’s deputy representative, Aamar Aftab Qureshi, who added that the absence of Western states undermined the credibility of the council.
Agenda Item 7 mandates that the UNHRC debate Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians during each of its sessions. No other nation has such a standing agenda item. All other human rights abuses around the globe are dealt with under Agenda Item 4.
To protest what they believe to be the biased nature of Agenda Item 7, Israel and most western nations, including in Europe, have largely agreed not to address the UNHRC during the Agenda Item 7 discussion.
Israel boycotts that agenda item, which is debated three times a year.
Palestinian President Abbas Increasingly Shunned by Arab, Muslim Leaders
Arab and Muslim leaders have been deliberately shunning Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, disappointed at what they see as his failed leadership, a top Palestinian official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Iyad Almadani, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, cancelled a visit to Ramallah on Sunday shortly before he was supposed to start a two-day trip to the city, citing a last-minute emergency.
PLO official and Abbas associate Ahmad Majdalani told the media that the visit has been postponed indefinitely and did not provide further details.
Sources close to the Palestinian leadership were quoted by the Palestinian news media claiming that Almadani wanted to avoid friction with Israeli soldiers at West Bank checkpoints.
Almadani’s cancellation came less than two weeks after a similar cancellation by Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Alarabi. Abbas’ associates also cited Israeli checkpoints as the reason, but the Palestinian media said Alarabi was deterred by the harsh criticism leveled at him by Palestinian politicians who accused him of trying to normalize ties with Israel, in line with the Arab peace initiative, at the Palestinians’ expense.
Moreover, a top Palestinian official told Breitbart Jerusalem that Arab and Muslim leaders have lost faith in Abbas’s leadership and expressed dismay at recent corruption scandals in which he and his sons were embroiled.
Why Turkey Needed to Reconcile Its Ties With Israel
Turkey is far weaker, less stable, and more vulnerable than it was the night the Shayetet 13 commandos fast-roped onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara. Over the past six years, Turkey has gone from being a soft-and-hard power-leader at peace with a range of difficult neighbors to a country just hoping to steer itself through a period of regional chaos and incipient civil war. And the increasingly autocratic Erdogan, who effectively controls his country’s major media, has a ready-made narrative to sell a dramatic shift in policy, pinning the previous six years of foreign policy failures on longtime foreign minister and former prime minster Ahmed Davutoglu, who Erdogan fired this past May.
“The way this will be framed domestically in Turkey that Erdogan is a great, wise strategic thinker and that all of the problems are actually Davutoglu’s fault,” said Atlantic Council resident senior fellow Aaron Stein, who noted that the former Prime Minister had actually been intimately involved in the effort to repair Turkey’s relations with Israel. Dramatic foreign policy moves could also help reassure a Turkish public increasingly concerned with the country’s collapsing internal security. “Within the country’s there’s considerable unease about Turkey’s position, especially inside Syria. It’s gotten worse because of the PKK, the inflow of refugees, and Russia,” Stein explained. “The time is right domestically for a foreign policy reset.”
Israel is only one aspect of that reset—the Turkish foreign minister’s trip to Russia later this week, and Erdogan’s expression of regret for Turkey’s December 2015 downing of a Russian fighter jet that strayed into Turkish airspace earlier today, are far more consequential developments.
Even so, the Turkish deal extends Israel’s current winning streak in the foreign policy realm. Israel enjoys warming relations with Turkey, Russia, Egypt, India and possibly the Gulf States, on top of a close historic partnership with both the EU and the U.S. Political violence within Israel has waned, and for the time being, international pressure on Israel to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians or to make uniliaterial concessions to the Palestinian Authoity and Hamas is eminently manageable, at least from Israel’s perspective. The violence throughout the Middle East, and any dysfunction suggested by the recent Israeli cabinet reshuffle belie a reality that’s surprisingly easy to ignore: As far a regional standing and strategic depth go, Israel’s hardly ever had it better than this.
Analysis: Why Turkey deal sort of ends 'Marmara' at ICC
With the Turkey deal virtually signed and sealed, the 2010 Gaza flotilla boarding is finally behind Israel.
Other than the asterisk.
That is right. As with many things legal, the deal is not entirely clear-cut and the flotilla is not entirely over.
The asterisk involves the controversial sea battle on May 31, 2010 between members of the Turkish NGO known as the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (in Turkish, Insan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve Insani Yardım Vakfı) and IDF commandos.
In that encounter off the coast of Gaza, the naval commandos killed nine IHH activists who attacked them when they boarded the MV Mavi Marmara to stop the ship from running Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
For six years, Turkey and supporters of the IHH group have tried to bring Israeli officials up on war crimes in Turkey, foreign courts and the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
But Turkey cannot technically close the war crimes file at the ICC because it did not submit it to the court directly, but rather via the relatively unknown Indian Ocean island state called the Union of the Comoros.
Jewish Home ministers to vote against Turkey reconciliation
Jewish Home ministers will oppose the landmark rapprochement deal between Israel and Turkey when it comes to a vote on Wednesday, the party said in a statement Tuesday.
Party chair and Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked will vote against the deal in the high-level security cabinet over their opposition to compensation for Turks killed by IDF soldiers in the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid and the absence of an agreement in the deal to return to bodies of soldiers killed in Gaza last year.
Jerusalem and Ankara announced Monday the terms of a deal ending years of diplomatic stalemate between the eastern Mediterranean countries and heralding the normalization of ties. The terms includes $20 million to be paid in compensation by Israel over an IDF raid on a ship attempting to break the Gaza blockade in 2010 that led to the deaths of 10 Turkish citizens.
The opposition of Jewish Home ministers would likely bring the “no” votes to three, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman saying Monday that he would also oppose the deal.
Two-thirds of Israeli Jews oppose Turkey deal, poll finds
56 percent of the Israeli public opposes the accord between Israel and Turkey, according to a Midgam poll broadcast Monday night on Channel 10. 33% support it.
Among Israeli Jews, 65% are against it and just 24% back it. When asked whether the deal should have been conditioned on the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge, 72% of Israeli Jews said yes and 14% said no.
The poll of 496 Israeli Jews representing a statistical sample of the Israeli population had an error margin of +-4.2%.
The strongest condemnation for the deal on the Right came from former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar, who said Israel should receive reparations from Turkey and not the other way around. He said the naval blockade of Gaza was legal and it was violated by a terrorist flotilla.
“Erdogan is in a tough situation because of all the fights he started, and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Sa’ar said. “I am not against making a deal with Turkey, but why should we pay for us being attacked? Even one shekel we should not pay.”
PA source: Israel-Turkey deal is a political trick, Erdogan is using Gaza
Despite the fact that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to update him on Ankara’s reconciliation agreement with Israel, PA sources said Monday that the deal will perpetuate Palestinian divisions and will not help the Gaza Strip.
“Israel and Erdogan’s Islamic party are the only ones who will be served by this agreement,” a Palestinian source said.
The senior official accused Erdogan of ignoring diplomatic rules between friends and completely ignoring the Palestinian Authority by allowing Hamas to continue ruling in Gaza in exchange for the rehabilitation of the Strip.
“Israel will find excuses to cancel the rebuilding of Gaza, meaning that the final result of the deal as far as the Palestinians are concerned will be zero,” the source said. “The Turkish president wanted to get Ankara out of its international isolation, which was caused by his policies. It was sad to see him chase after Israel in order to secure a weak deal.”
The senior official said that there is unlikely to be any movement from Hamas on the issue of captive Israelis in Gaza as a result of the agreement, because Hamas wishes to improve ties with Egypt and Cairo is more likely to take a leading role on the issue.
Arab Social Media Overwhelmingly Critical Of Erdogan's Reconciliation With Israel
Masses of Arab social media users attacked Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan for Monday’s reconciliation pact with Israel, which some dubbed “a shameful concession.”
Erdogan, whose hostile approach to Israel had been lauded in the Arab world, was criticized across the board, even on the normally sympathetic Al Jazeera network.
“Is normalization with Israel treason?” Khaled asked, and answered: “Yes! Doesn’t it apply to Turkey as well, or is the Caliph [Erdogan] immune to criticism?”
Naif wrote: “I now want to see the faces of the Zionist Muslim Brotherhood!”
Ali blamed the Arabs for shunning Turkey, pushing it toward Israel. “It’s all because of the Saudis and the Arabs who boycotted Turkey and undermined its position,” he wrote. “The only allies it had left were Israel and Iran.”
Hamas won’t negotiate over Israelis held in Gaza — official
A Hamas official said on Monday that the Islamist terror group will not negotiate the release of Israeli soldiers and civilians until the its preconditions are met, casting doubt on the efficacy of a promise by Ankara to work toward freeing them at Israel’s behest.
As part of the rapprochement deal announced on Monday between Israel and Turkey, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Ankara has promised to help return two soldiers whose bodies are believed to be held by Hamas, and two Israelis thought to be in the captivity of the terrorist group.
A senior Israeli official said Sunday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had personally written a letter committing to helping free them.
Hamas official Ismail Radwan, speaking in front of the Red Cross headquarters in the Gaza Strip, said the group would not negotiate the release of Israelis until all of the “Shalit prisoners” are freed, the Palestinian news site Quds Press reported.
In 2011, kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian detainees. Israel rearrested some of those released in the deal in the summer of 2014 during a search for three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and, it later emerged, killed by a Hamas cell.
Senior Hamas officials blast Israel-Turkey normalization deal
Shortly after Turkey and Israel forged a reconciliation deal, six years after the Mavi Marmara incident, senior Hamas officials revealed on Monday their opposition to the deal, claiming that the Palestinian terror organization was not a party to its consolidation.
Hamas's foreign relations Chief Osama Hamdan brushed off a remark written by a prominent Turkish reporter on Twitter, according to which Hamas gave its blessing for the Israeli-Turkish deal. The accord ends a diplomatic rift between Ankara and Jerusalem that began six years ago after a number of activists were killed in an Israeli raid of the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla attempting to breach Gaza's naval blockade.
The Turkish journalist, Hamze Tekin, wrote that Hamas authorized the deal after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan relayed the details of the agreement to Hamas's chief Khaled Meshaal.
Responding to Tekin's remarks, Hamdan claimed that Hamas was not involved in concluding the deal, adding that it was "a mere Turkish decision."
A story serially avoided by the BBC comes home to roost
One aspect of this report, however, must have been particularly confusing for readers who regularly get their news from the BBC. In the insert of ‘analysis’ from Jonathan Marcus, readers were told that under the terms of the deal:
“Israel sees an end to its practical difficulties with Turkey and gets assurances about future Hamas activity on Turkish soil.”
In the body of the report they were informed that:
“In return, Turkey agreed to […] prevent any military action or fundraising by Hamas operatives based there.”
However, BBC audiences have no idea that there are any Hamas operatives based in Turkey because (as has been documented here on numerous occasions) for the last two years the corporation has diligently avoided telling them that operations – including Hamas’ efforts to strengthen its infrastructure and standing in Palestinian Authority controlled areas – were being run from that NATO member country.
The serial omission of information on that topic obviously now compromises the ability of audiences to understand the background to the references to Hamas made in this article and that impacts their understanding of this particular “international issue“.
Jewish terrorist gets 2 life term sentences over murder of Palestinians, after court axes appeal
The Supreme Court confirmed the two life term sentence of Jewish terrorist Jack Tytell for murdering Palestinians, on Tuesday.
Tytell was sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court in November 2015 to two life sentences and an additional 30 years in prison for the murdering of two Palestinians and an assortment of other crimes.
Tytell's lawyer appealed later appealed the November 2015 sentence, which the Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday, confirming the sentence.
Right before the sentence was handed down Tytell said that he had no regrets and was proud of what he had done.
Although he was only sentenced in November 2015, he had been convicted back in January 2015.
In the lower court's explanation of its verdict, despite Tytell saying that an "angel" had controlled him, the court found that Tytell was not insane and was "responsible for his actions," which made it more likely that he would get a maximum life sentence.
In May 2015, the court had accepted an unusual plea bargain made between the district attorney and lawyers representing Tytell, and determined that the defendant had murdered two Palestinians and committed other violent crimes from 1997-2008.
Israeli mogul erecting first Israeli-Palestinian mall near Ramallah
At an axis point between Jewish and Arab Jerusalem, and just a two-minute drive from the West Bank crossing that leads to Ramallah, Israeli developer and business guru Rami Levy is building the first Israeli-Palestinian mall. He is hoping the power of the free market can be harnessed into a force for coexistence.
The idea for the mall, Levy said, comes from his existing shopping centers and supermarkets in the West Bank, which have become unexpected points of friendly interaction between Jews and Arabs looking for jobs and the cheapest prices.
Half realist, half dreamer, Levy confronts the fact that Arab and Jews are destined to live together and concludes that they must do what they can to make the best of the situation “and serve each other as best as possible.”
If his mall succeeds, Levy said, “it can lead to an understanding that we can do everything together.”
The mall, due to be finished in about a year, sits at the tip of northeastern Jerusalem in the Atarot neighborhood, located in eyeshot of Ramallah and separated from the West Bank security barrier only by a thin road. In total, Levy says, the mall will serve 120,000 Arab and 90,000 Jewish Jerusalemites, plus the tens of thousands of Palestinians streaming daily into the capital from the West Bank for work and pleasure.
Hamas stops imports of Israeli watermelons to Gaza
A week after allowing watermelon imports from Israel for the first time in eight years, Gaza’s Hamas rulers have decided: No more.
Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture announced on Monday that the imports of watermelons from Israel would stop after local farmers agreed to lower their prices by the end of the week, according to the Ma’an news agency.
Tahsin al-Saqa, director of the ministry’s marketing department, said in a statement quoted by Ma’an that the consumer price of watermelon would be reduced from 10 shekels (approximately $2.50) per five kilograms to 10 shekels per eight kilograms.
Last week, the ministry started to allow watermelon imports from Israel in an attempt to exert pressure on local farmers to lower their prices. Al-Saqa said in his statement that 600 tons of watermelon had been imported from Israel in the last three days.
Prior to the embargo that the Gaza government placed on Israel’s watermelon imports, between 20,000 and 30,000 tons of watermelon were imported every year, according to Ma’an. Local production subsequently improved to the extent that it was able to completely cover market demand.
Turkey walks back offer to compensate Russia for downed jet
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Tuesday reversed an earlier offer of compensation to Russia for shooting down one of Moscow’s military jets in November, media reported.
“Compensating Russia is not on the table; we have only expressed our regrets,” CNN-Turk cited him as saying, hours after he said Ankara was ready to offer compensation for the incident that shattered ties between the two countries.
Earlier, Yildirim told local television that Turkey is ready “if necessary” to compensate Russia in order to bury the hatchet.
“We have said that if necessary we are ready to pay compensation,” Yildirim told public TV network TRT late Monday, hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached out a conciliatory hand to Moscow over the incident that shattered ties between the two nations.
He also indicated that Erdogan would speak with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday or Thursday over how to rebuild ties between the two nations, which back opposite sides in the Syrian war.
Lebanese army detains 103 Syrians in wake of border bombings
Lebanese troops detained 103 Syrians for illegal entry into the country in a security sweep Tuesday, a day after a series of deadly bombings struck a village near the Syrian border, the military said.
The government warned of a mounting challenge in tiny Lebanon, which abuts the war-torn Syria, underlining the magnitude of Monday’s attack that saw nine bombings, eight of them from suicide attackers, strike in the small Christian village of Qaa, killing five people.
“The attack on the Lebanese national security and the unfamiliar manner in which it was executed usher in a new kind of phase in the state’s confrontation with the dark forces of terrorism,” a cabinet statement said.
The bombings triggered fear and panic among Qaa’s residents and a deepening sense of foreboding in Lebanon, which has grappled for over five years with spillovers from Syria’s civil war.
Tuesday was declared a national day of mourning and authorities postponed funerals for the five killed in Monday’s bombings, citing security reasons. A major religious event scheduled in the capital, Beirut, by the Shiite terror group Hezbollah was also postponed.
Hezbollah: Our Weapons and Rockets All Come From Iran
Hezbollah’s leader said on Friday that the Lebanese terrorist organization will not be harmed by U.S. sanctions since it is funded and armed directly by Iran, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who insisted that the Lebanese terrorist organization “will not be affected” by the recently imposed sanctions.
“As long as Iran has money, we have money… Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it,” he added.
Lebanon’s central bank ordered all financial institutions to cease dealings with Hezbollah and come into compliance with U.S. sanctions last month, which led Nasrallah to accuse central bank governor Riad Salameh of “yielding” to American pressure. A bomb exploded outside a Beirut bank earlier this month, only hours after an Iranian news agency issued a threat against institutions enforcing the law.
Nasrallah speech necessitates update of BBC’s Hizballah profile
Neither the BBC profile of Iran nor its profile of Hizballah provides audiences with any in-depth information on that topic. Moreover, in June 2013 the BBC specifically told its audiences that:
“A recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) [funded by Soros] on the impact of international sanctions on Iran found no indication that the sanctions had affected Iran’s regional role.
And the report’s principal author says there is no evidence of any financial support provided to Hezbollah. “There isn’t a single line in the budget that confirms any aid or financial support to Hezbollah”, Ali Vaez contends.”

Hassan Nasrallah evidently disagrees with that ICG analyst.
“Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday said his group would not be affected by fresh US sanctions because it receives its money directly from Iran, not via Lebanese banks.[…]
“We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added. […]
“As long as Iran has money, we have money… Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it,” Nasrallah said.”

If the BBC is to fulfil its remit of enhancing audiences’ understanding of international issues, then obviously its profile of Hizballah needs to be updated following Nasrallah’s confirmation of Iran’s long-known funding of that terror organisation and the implications of his admittance of receiving weapons from Iran in violation of UN SC resolution 1701.
Iran Threatens to Restart Nuke Program
Iran on Tuesday threatened to restart its contested nuclear program in violation of last summer’s international agreement if the United States and other countries fail to move forward with a massive sanctions relief program aimed at bolstering the Iranian economy, according to comments by a top Iranian leader.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chair of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, warned that the Islamic Republic would “resume large-scale uranium enrichment” if leaders feel the international community is not doing enough for Iran under the nuclear deal.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s response to the other side’s non-compliance with the implementation of the nuclear deal will be uranium enrichment,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-controlled press.
The comments come on the heels of a similar warning issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei earlier this month.
Khamenei expressed outrage over comments by Republican leaders criticizing the Islamic Republic’s commitment to the deal.
Report: White House Approving Business Deals with Iran to Lock Nuclear Agreement in Place
The Obama administration is encouraging companies to do business with Iran in order to make last year’s nuclear deal irreversible, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Administration officials told the Journal that they were encouraging businesses to make agreements with Iran in order to make it harder for future administrations to unravel the deal, since that would then threaten American jobs. The push for opening up Iran to American business has been led by Secretary of State John Kerry, which has put him at odds with the Treasury Department, which enforces sanctions on Iran.
“We’re not going to stand in the way of permissible business activity with Iran,” a senior administration official told the Journal. “As long as Iran is meeting the terms of the deal, then we’re going to uphold our end of the bargain, and that is going to result in some additional business activity with Iran.”
Iran's Oil Boom Fizzles Out
Five months after sanctions on Iran were eased, the rapid rise in the country's oil production and exports appears to be ending as quickly as it began.
Any slowdown in Iranian output will hasten the rebalancing of global oil supply and demand, adding weight to the assertion by Saudi Arabia's oil minister Khalid Al-Falih that "the oversupply has disappeared."
Iran's observed crude oil exports, which exceeded 2 million barrels a day in both April and May, slipped by almost 20 percent in the first three weeks of June.
One of the country's primary aims after restrictions on oil sales were eased was to regain its markets in Europe. Before the latest sanctions were imposed in 2012, Iran was exporting about 600,000 barrels a day of crude to countries in the European Union, with Italy, Spain and Greece its biggest buyers.
Al Qaeda Directive to Jihadists: Target White Americans to Avoid Hate Crime Label
Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) doesn't like that the American media and its government have labeled the Orlando terror attack as a "hate crime" rather than crediting Islam with the massacre.
So bothered, in fact, that the AQAP has issued a new directive to jihadists in its "Inspire Guide: Orlando Operation": target white Americans from now on.
Here's the guide in its own words:
Most of the individuals present at Pulse Nightclub were Latino. We recommend -- and Allah knows best -- that it is better to avoid targeting places and crowds where minorities are generally found in America knowingly that the federal government will be the one taking full responsibility. Therefore, we advise targeting areas where the Anglo-Saxon community is generally concentrated. This class of the American community is the majority and it is the one that is in the American leadership.
The Obama administration gives the Orlando terrorist attack a dual classification, both an act of terror AND an act of hate. Yet, it is hesitant to be definitive about the perpetrator's (an admitted Islamic State sympathizer) motivation.
MEMRI: AKP Media In Turkey Says Orlando Attack Was Carried Out By U.S To Stop Islam's Rise And 'So That 2% Of Americans [i.e. Jews] Do Not Lose Their Influence'; Islamist Groups Threaten LGBT Community, Pride Parades, Saying: If Gov't Won't 'Stop This Perversion, We... Will Do So By All Means Necessary'
Following the June 12, 2016 attack on the gay nightclub in Orlando, many Islamist Turkish dailies close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan featured articles accusing the U.S. government and foreign intelligence agencies of carrying out the attack, with the aim of curbing the rise of Islam in the U.S. in the aftermath of the passing of legendary Muslim boxer Muhammad Ali. Dozens of outlets of the ruling AKP's Islamist media circulated conspiracy theories, anti-gay sentiment, and hatred of the infidel West. Some even claimed that the U.S. is murdering its own citizens in make-believe terrorist attacks in order to fuel Islamophobia.
The victims of the Orlando attack were described as "perverts." Islamist youth organizations threatened Turkey's LGBT community, saying they would "stop this perversion... by all means necessary" if it held its "immoral" Pride Parades, set for June 19 and 26 in Istanbul, on the "sacred soil" of this Muslim country. They called on Muslims to come to Istanbul's Taksim Square, the parades' starting point, on the appointed days to stop the "perverts" through violence. As a result, the Office of the Governor of Istanbul banned the parade. Anti-Islamist Turkish columnists suggested that these organizations constituted the "pious, hateful, and vengeful youth" that Erdogan had said repeatedly throughout February 2012 that he wanted to raise in Turkey.
Following are some examples of articles and reports from the Turkish Islamist AKP media:
PreOccupiedTerritory: Egypt’s ‘Iron Pyramid’ System To Intercept Locusts, Hail (satire)
Military engineers have been working day and night to develop technology for shielding the country against enemy plagues, a spokesman for pharaoh’s palace told reporters today.
Called the Iron Pyramid, the system will be designed to blow apart hailstones into less harmful fragments and to shoot down incoming swarms of locusts, according to the spokesman, so that the kingdom will be able to shield itself from at least some of the threats it has faced in recent months.
“The Iron Pyramid is scheduled to come online within four years,” said Grand Vizier Ra’mses Interseptr. “It will be a triumph of Egyptian ingenuity and engineering, integrating various technologies to an unprecedented degree, and offering the land protection from several of the more fearsome scourges we have seen of late.” Interseptr explained that Pharaoh chose those plagues because they are the most likely to recur.
“While our ruler the Divine Son of Ra has utmost confidence in our engineers’ ability to develop a system that could transform blood into water, or to shoot body lice as they crawl from person to person, in His divine and royal wisdom, priority will be given to methods for countering plagues that are unlikely to be once-in-history events,” he said.

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