Wednesday, June 29, 2016

From Ian:

Why Palestinians Throw Rocks
In part it is a reaction to the canards being circulated by the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas that allege Israel intends to harm the mosques on the Temple Mount. That there are no such plans and that, in fact, the Israelis are enforcing a discriminatory rule intended to placate Muslims, has had no impact on the spread of these myths. Just as Arab leaders used similar stories about Jewish plots to incite pogroms against Jews in the 1920s and 30s, so, too, has Abbas helped to incite the current “stabbing intifada” in order to compete with his Hamas rivals for the support of the Palestinian public.
But the agenda behind the lies about Israeli plots goes deeper than the Fatah-Hamas rivalry. As Abbas and Hamas leaders have often made clear, neither group recognizes the legitimacy of Jewish historical claims in Jerusalem. Abbas helped engineer a UNESCO ruling that treated the Temple Mount and even the Western Wall as sites that were solely Muslim. Their ultimate goal isn’t so much to enforce the current discriminatory status quo that exists in Jerusalem as it is to go back to the pre-June 1967 situation where Jews were altogether banned from visiting the Temple Mount and the Wall.
Surely such an outcome is unthinkable and peace deals that speak of freedom of worship would never countenance a return to that sort of blind prejudice. But if Muslim violence can effectively create a ban on non-Muslims entering the Temple Mount, a place to sacred to all the monotheistic religions, while the city is under Israeli rule, why would anyone think Jewish rights or those of Christians would be protected were the city to be re-divided?
As we have seen with Abbas’s anti-Semitic statements about Jews poisoning Palestinian water and his praise of terrorists who wish to prevent holy sites being profaned by “stinking Jewish feet,” the notion that the dispute is primarily one about territory or settlements has been proven false. The century-old war on Zionism has always had at its core a degree of intolerance for the Jewish presence and a desire on the part of Arabs to erase Jewish history. The rocks being thrown on the Temple Mount are a product of hate, not a misunderstanding about where the borders between two states should be drawn. They are a symbol of a conflict that can only be resolved when the Palestinians give up their dreams about a return to an era of discrimination against Jews.
StandWithUs+: Palestinian Rock throwing - Tool of Resistance or Violence?

PreOccupiedTerritory: Isaiah Unsure What Part Of ‘House Of Prayer For All Nations’ People Don’t Get (satire)
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah voiced exasperation today following the Israel Police’s decision to bar all non-Muslims from the Temple Mount for the remainder of the month of Ramadan in an effort to prevent further unrest, saying that excluding the members of any faith from praying on, let alone merely entering, the sacred plateau accomplishes the exact opposite of the inclusive divine vision for the site.
Isaiah the son of Amotz, who prophesied for several Jewish kings in the ninth and eight centuries BCE, told reporters that he did not know what he had to do to get it into humanity’s thick skulls that the Temple Mount cannot be characterized by Apartheid, under which only people of a certain faith may visit or commune with the Creator. He lambasted the police for the decision, which he said reinforces a discriminatory regime that undermines everything he and the other prophets worked for.
“In one fell swoop, the police caved to threats of violence from thugs who want to negate anyone else’s right to engage with God from the location where humanity was created,” charged the prophet, referring to the teaching that the clod of Earth from which humanity was fashioned was taken from the spot where the Temple’s external altar would later stand. “Whereas the Creator shared with us a picture of all people having a common origin and a path to relationship with Him, the police send a message that anyone who gets violent, possessive, and forceful enough can obstruct or negate that path for others.”
The police ban was imposed this week after violent episodes in which worshipers at the Al Aqsa Mosque atop the Temple Mount attacked non-Muslims, especially Jews, with rocks and fireworks they had stockpiled in the mosque itself. Isaiah called the violence a manifestation of everything wrong with the world.

10 British citizens planned to conduct riots at Temple Mount during Ramadan
On Sunday, a group of 10 British citizens landed at Ben Gurion Airport. The Britons aroused the suspicion of the security agents at the airport, which prompted the security agents to question them. During the questioning, it was discovered that they are Pakistani nationals who came to Israel in order to conduct riots at the Temple Mount during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Seven of them were deported back to Britain, while the other three were handed over to the Shin Bet for additional questioning. The Shin Bet deported one of them. The other two are still being detained by the Shin Bet. (h/t Yenta Press)
This is not peaceful worship
Watch how rioters abuse the Al-Aqsa mosque to launch violent attacks against non-Muslim visitors on the Temple Mount. This is not peaceful worship.

StandWithUs+: Al Jazeera Lies on the Temple Mount

Bibi’s Statesmanship
Most pundits and foreign policy establishment types have long put down Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a shallow politician without wisdom or vision. This enables his critics to dismiss his policy positions on the Palestinians and Iran without refuting them while also explaining his continuing, and for them frustrating, electoral success as mere pandering to the fears of Israelis. But the agreement that Netanyahu struck with Turkey reveals him to be anything but the right-wing ideologue the international media and the Obama administration have been lambasting since he took office again in 2009. It’s long past time for those who consider him an opponent of diplomacy or an obstacle to peace to acknowledge that he is, in fact, the ultimate pragmatist with a more coherent view of how to secure his country’s future than liberal detractors who claim to know how to save it from itself.
As Evelyn Gordon wrote yesterday, the deal with Turkey showed the benefits of tough-minded negotiating that netted Israel what it wanted in exchange for concessions that don’t endanger its security. Though the Islamist government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is dictatorial and often anti-Semitic, its need for Israel as a strategic check on Iran and Russia is greater than its hate. While paying compensation to those killed in a raid on a Turkish flotilla that had tried to break the blockade of Gaza is a bitter pill for Israel to swallow (as well as unjustified by the facts of the case), the agreement is a sharp blow to efforts to isolate Israel and will pay economic as well as strategic dividends in the years to come.
But foreign observers who are always eager to predict Netanyahu’s imminent political demise should also take particular note of the reaction of the prime minister’s domestic foes to the Turkey deal. The left-wing opposition led by Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union denounced Netanyahu for “groveling” to Turkey while some right-wingers took a similar tone. But none of them could dispute that solving the crisis was in Israel’s best interests or claim they could have done better. Like most of the brickbats aimed at Netanyahu after the recent cabinet reshuffle, in which he was hyperbolically depicted as compromising Israel’s soul, the attacks on the prime minister are primarily rooted in partisan politics.
Prof. Eugene Kontorovich on IBA News
Where are Israel's borders, and are the territories really "occupied"?
Eugene Kontorovich argues Israel can't "extend sovereignty" in WestBank... because it's already sovereign.

David Horovitz: Horrific Turkey attack shows why airport security worldwide is a deadly farce
Diverse factors are at work in Israeli passenger profiling techniques. Thirty years ago, at Heathrow Airport, El Al security found a bomb in the baggage of a young Irish woman traveling to Tel Aviv; it had been hidden in the false bottom of her bag by her Jordanian boyfriend. No amount of questioning would have prompted Anne-Marie Murphy to disclose the bomb’s existence, because Nezar Hindawi hadn’t told her it was there. She was carrying his child and he was sending her, his unborn baby and the rest of the passengers to their deaths. But she merited particularly close inspection because she was traveling alone, had never previously been to Israel, and had purchased the ticket a short time before the flight.
The current accelerating pace of international terrorism requires more than the now-standard, routine, unthinking procedures for securing airports and other places where people gather in large numbers. The attacks in Paris last November underline, for instance, how effective even rudimentary security at soccer stadiums can be in deterring terrorists, and how catastrophic can be the absence of such security at concert halls. The bombers failed to get into the Stade de France, where guards had been deployed more to prevent hooliganism than murder. The terrorists killed some 90 people at the Bataclan Theater, where there were no security personnel at the doors.
Complacently declaring, hours after a massacre at your airport, that there were no security failures — well, that’s just an invitation to the next group of killers. Unconscionably, it’s an invitation that’s also open at most airports around the world.
Istanbul death toll rises to 41 as Turkey hunts for perpetrators
A triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s international airport left 41 people dead, 13 of them foreign nationals, and 239 wounded, the city governor said in a statement.
The governor’s office said 109 of the 239 wounded were discharged from hospital.
It said 13 of the dead were foreigners. One of the fatalities has been confirmed as a Palestinian.
A Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said five of the dead were from Saudi Arabia, two were from Iraq, and one from Tunisia, Uzbekistan, China, Iran, Ukraine and Jordan.
No one has claimed Tuesday’s attack yet but Turkish authorities said they suspect Islamic State jihadists.
Israelis condemn ‘hideous’ Turkey airport attack
The Israeli Embassy in Ankara issued a condemnation Wednesday of the triple suicide bombing in Turkey the night before that killed dozens of people and injured over 140 at Istanbul’s main airport.
The attack came hours after Israel and Turkey signed a reconciliation deal, ending a six-year rift and agreeing to upgrade diplomatic relations.
“Israel harshly condemns the hideous terror attack on Istanbul Ataturk Airport yesterday that claimed the lives of many innocent people,” the embassy said in a statement. “We extend our condolences to the Turkish government, the Turkish people, and the families of those who lost their lives; and we wish a speedy recovery to those who are injured.”
Three suicide bombers opened fire at passengers with automatic rifles at the airport before blowing themselves up and signs indicated the Islamic State group was responsible, Turkish officials said.
The Foreign Ministry reported that all Israelis known to be in Turkey at the time were accounted for and none of them were among the killed or injured.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, in a letter sent to his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Kahraman, expressed “his deep shock and outrage at the vile terror attack” that, he said, was committed by “savage terrorists who sanctify death over life.”
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “as many other countries, Turkey has fallen victim to murderous terror attacks by extremists who, in the name of God, wish to disrupt normal civic life, inseminating fear and terror to promote their deadly goals.”
Former president of Israel Shimon Peres offered his condolences and said world leaders should ally in a campaign against terrorism.
BBC News puts words in the Turkish president’s mouth
The BBC News website’s main article about the June 28th terror attack in Turkey – “Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: 41 dead and more than 230 hurt” – includes the following:
Interestingly, two earlier versions of the article informed readers that:
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack, calling for a “joint fight” against terrorism.”
The word ‘terrorism’ was then removed and the article was amended to read as above.
So did the Turkish president really use the BBC favoured euphemistic terminology “militant groups” just hours after his country (and its important tourism industry) had been hit by a major terror attack?
Not according to the Guardian:
Israeli witnesses describe Turkish 'inferno': We saw children crying and being trampled on
As of Wednesday morning no Israelis were known to have been harmed in Tuesday night's terror attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in which at least 36 people were killed and 150 others were injured.
The airport is a common stop-over hub for Israelis traveling to international destinations on connecting flights.
Several Israelis were present at the airport during the attack in which three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up.
Gur, an Israeli who was in the terminal around 9 p.m. local time on Tuesday told Channel 10: "There was a big mess here. Shooting, and a lot of smoke. We're waiting to see what happened. I was after check-in, in the lounge. They made everyone run from place to place, but didn't tell us anything. Nobody knew what to do."
'Muslims killing Muslims in droves, but Israel the one being condemned'
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said Wednesday after the terror attack in Istanbul that killed 41 people that it was time for the world to "wake up."
"Twelve million Muslims have been killed by other Muslims since 1948," Lapid said. "The number of people killed during the Arab-Israeli conflict is 0.3 percent of this."
Lapid said that while even this number is too high, most of those killed were part of Arab armies that tried to invade Israeli territory, or terrorists who tried to harm innocent Israeli citizens.
"However, still, the UN, international organizations and the world continue to unhaltingly condemn Israel and are extra careful about any condemnation of Islamic violence," he added. "They are careful like it's fire, until the fire burns them."
Lapid sent his condolences to the families of those killed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a united front by "civilized nations" to fight against "the scourge of terrorism."
Additionally, President Reuven Rivlin extended his condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the deadly attack.
"This cowardly, murderous act is an example of the most vitriolic hatred the like of which we are sadly seeing across our region and the entire world today," Rivlin said in a letter to Erdogan.
Palestinian confirmed killed as Istanbul attack death toll climbs
One Palestinian was killed and at least seven other Palestinians were injured during a bloody attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, officials confirmed Wednesday, as the death toll rose to 41, with more than 230 wounded at the airport’s busy international terminal Tuesday night.
The official PA news agency Wafa received confirmation of the victims from the Palestinian ambassador to Turkey, Faed Mustafa.
The ambassador said at least seven Palestinians were injured with light to serious injuries. He added that there were still a number of Palestinians missing.
The Palestinian killed during the attack was named as Nisrin Hashim Shafee Hammad.
The brother of Hammad’s husband, Saud, told the Palestinian news station Wattan that the family was in Istanbul for a three day vacation.
Obama Admin Refuses to Inform Congress of ‘Islamic Terrorism’ in U.S.
Senior Obama administration officials refused to appear before Congress on Tuesday to explain the recent decision to purge all references to “Islamic terrorism” and radicalism from public documents, according to disclosures made Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Top officials from the Justice Department and FBI declined to appear on Capitol Hill to answer questions from lawmakers about domestic terror attacks and an administration policy of scrubbing references to Islamic terrorism and similar terms from government materials, lawmakers said.
The policy has thwarted attempts by federal authorities to stop an increasing series of terror attacks from taking place on United States soil, according to Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on oversight.
In the past year the Obama administration has twice ordered that mentions of the terror group ISIS and “Islamic terrorism” be purged “from highly significant public records,” Cruz said.
One such effort took place in the aftermath of the recent terrorist shooting in Orlando in which the administration censored 911 transcripts of calls made by the shooter.
These efforts came amid other campaigns by the Department of Homeland Security to force its personnel to remove references to “jihad,” “sharia,” and other similar terms from material focused on methods to counter violent extremism, Cruz said.
'Quartet drops settlements chapter from peace talks report'
A new Quartet report on the issues plaguing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will not address controversial legalities concerning the settlement enterprise, a senior Israeli source said on Tuesday.
The Quartet on the Middle East comprises the U.N., U.S., EU and Russia, and seeks to mediate peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The report in question is expected to be released by the end of the week. According to the senior official, had the chapter on settlements been included in the report, whose findings are likely to be adopted by the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians would have been able to use it to pursue legal action against Israel in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
"The fact that this chapter was dropped from the report is a significant achievement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," he said.
Still, even without the settlements chapter, the Quartet's report is said to be very critical of Israel's settlement policy, as well as the military policies exercised in Area A, which under the 1993 Oslo Accord is under full Palestinian jurisdiction.
Israel wants to keep Quartet report from becoming basis for new UN resolution
Amid Israeli concern that a Middle East report by the Quartet could serve as the basis for a new Security Council resolution underpinning the peace process, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday a political horizon was one of the keys to neutralizing the “underlying causes of the cycles of violence.”
Ban’s comments came before a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
This session, as well as Netanyahu’s two meetings in Rome earlier this week with US Secretary of State John Kerry, dealt with the Quartet report, and to what end it would be used.
The report – which has been a number of months in the making and is expected to both spell out what the Quartet believes are the reasons for the current diplomatic impasse and how it can be broken – is expected to be released Wednesday or Thursday.
The Quartet is made up of the US, EU, Russia and UN.
EU-Israel Experts: Brexit Will Weaken Europe’s Ability to Deal With Mideast Issues, Palestinian Conflict
With Europe sent into crisis mode following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union on Thursday, the ability of the regional bloc to deal with Mideast issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will be weakened — something that could have both positive and negative consequences for the Jewish state — experts from the Israeli think-tank the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) claimed this week.
In an analysis piece published by the INSS on Monday, Senior Research Fellow Oded Eran and Neubauer Research Associate Vera Michlin-Shapir wrote:
Europe will be preoccupied with keeping the Union together, blocking the possibility of disintegration, both by internal forces and by Russian attempts to have countries leave EU. Therefore, Israel need not be perturbed by Britain’s secession, though in recent years Britain was a force for moderation with respect to the EU’s policy toward the conflict. On the other hand, Israel’s concern about the increasing support for Muslim fundamentalist forces in Europe and growing anti-Semitism on the continent led it to be more involved in fighting this phenomenon in concert with NATO and the EU. Israel will continue to function in the sub-bodies of the EU, but its influence will be weakened following the British exit.
Economically, Eran and Michlin-Shapir recommended that Israel “wait to form a policy that suits the results of the negotiations between Britain and the EU,” due to changes in standards and regulations, customs fees and other issue that will affect Israel-UK bilateral ties.
UN chief meets Abbas, urges ‘courageous steps’ from Israel, slams blockade
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday, hours after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of a official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
At a joint press conference, Ban spoke of the need for peace and the difficulties Palestinians face.
“I’m aware that many Palestinians question the feasibility of reaching a just and lasting peace with Israel. They hear talk of peace but they see violence. They still live a life of checkpoints, permits, blockade, demolitions and profound economic hardships faced with growing indignities and the humiliating occupation that will soon enter its 50th year,” he said.
Earlier, Ban had visited Gaza, bemoaning the blockade which Israel maintains to prevent Islamist terror group Hamas from importing weapons after its ouster of Fatah from the Palestinian enclave in a violent coup in 2007.
“We need to speak openly of the challenges and the unacceptable difficulties that the people of Gaza face of the humiliation of the occupation, but also the division between Gaza and the West Bank,” Ban said during the press conference with Abbas.
Elliott Abrams: So much for isolation
The argument that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the world took another blow this month when -- for the first time in the history of the United Nations and of Israel -- the Israeli ambassador was elected to head one of the U.N.'s permanent committees. This the Legal Committee, also called the Sixth Committee, and its covers the United Nations' international law operations -- which include matters related to terrorism and to the Geneva Conventions.
There was a tough diplomatic fight over this, so it is worth handing out kudos.
First, Israel's ambassador, Danny Danon, who was mocked by many on the Israeli Left and in the Israeli media (and yes, there is a large overlap) when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed him, showed that he is a very competent diplomat. He was a member of the Knesset and a minister when appointed, but had no diplomatic experience. He has obviously learned the job, and fast.
Second, kudos to the United States Mission to the U.N., which fought very hard to get votes for Israel.
Third, kudos to those members of the Non-Aligned Movement who refused to go along with Palestinian, Arab League, and Iranian pressure to stop the Israelis. Three countries in particular stopped the anti-Israel effort: Singapore, Rwanda, and India. That last is noteworthy, because India's new friendship for Israel is a great departure from its decades of hostility and because India has considerable weight at U.N. headquarters in New York. It has been stated in the Arab press, though impossible to prove because there was a secret ballot, that several Arab countries actually voted for Israel. This entire episode is a humiliation for the Palestinian delegation in New York.
UN elects new Security Council members; Israel plans to run for 2018-2019
The UN General Assembly has elected Ethiopia, Bolivia, Sweden, and Kazakhstan to be non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2017-2018 term.
Sources familiar with the Security Council election process told the Post that Israel has already submitted its candidacy for the 2018-2019 term within the Western European and Others regional group to which it belongs.
Israel is one of the 67 UN Member States that have never been members of the Security Council.
Ethiopia, Bolivia and Sweden were elected with a majority of votes in the first round; Kazakhstan, which was competing against Thailand, was given a seat after a second round of votes. A fifth non-permanent member was elected After multiple rounds of inconclusive voting Italy and Netherlands decided to split the seat.
Tuesday’s election aimed to replace Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, and Venezuela, which will be vacating their seats at the end of 2016. The five new Security Council members will begin their terms on January 1.
Ministers officially approve Israel-Turkey reconciliation agreement
The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet voted Wednesday in favor of approving the recently struck reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey. Following a five-hour debate, the cabinet ministers voted in favor of the agreement with a majority of 7 to 3.
As expected, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman voted against the agreement, as did Habayit Hayehudi Chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett and fellow party member Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
In the past, Lieberman has been a vocal opponent of reconciliation with Turkey and vehemently opposed Israel paying compensation to the victims of a 2010 clash between Turkish activists and Israeli commandos aboard the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara.
The approval came despite various demands to amend the agreement and calls to bring the deal to a vote by the larger cabinet (which includes all the ministers) and even the entire Knesset.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and his Turkish counterpart Feridun Sinirlioglu formally signed off on the agreement in their bureaus in Jerusalem and Ankara.
Zoabi causes uproar in Knesset, 'celebrates' deal with Turkey
A shouting match erupted on the floor of the Knesset on Wednesday during an address by Joint List MK Hanin Zoabi following the government’s ratification of a reconciliation deal with Turkey.
Zoabi, who is known for her outspoken opposition to Zionism and support for pro-Hamas activities, participated in the 2010 “Gaza flotilla” which attempted to break Israel’s security blockade on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.
Onboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara as it attempted to run the blockade, Zoabi was briefly arrested.
The Mavi Marmara incident, during which 10 pro-Hamas Turkish terrorists were killed while attacking Israeli soldiers, was a catalyst for the diplomatic rupture between Ankara and Jerusalem, leading to six years of tensions between the former allies.
On Wednesday Zoabi gloated over Israel’s concessions to Turkey, including a $20 million compensation package for the families of the Turkish terrorists killed onboard the Mavi Marmara.
Blasting Israeli “incitement”, Zoabi claimed the newly-inked agreement with Turkey vindicated her support for the flotilla and demanded an apology from her critics.
Likud MKs call for MK Zoabi to be deported
Knesset Members from the Likud party responded with outrage on Wednesday to comments by MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List), including demands her critics apologize, claiming the recently signed deal normalizing relations with Turkey validated her participation in a 2010 pro-Hamas flotilla.
Deputy Knesset Speaker Nava Boker (Likud) called for the anti-Zionist MK to be expelled from the Knesset and deported from Israel.
“Zoabi needs to be removed not just from the Knesset but the country entirely.”
Boker went on to compare Zoabi’s rhetoric to terrorist propaganda.
“The things she said are no different from the views of terrorists and terror organizations. Those very soldiers whom she has labelled terrorists defend her and we cannot accept such statements in the Knesset or anywhere else. Zoabi’s venomous statements [will] lead to murder and the spilling of innocent blood.”
Deputy Housing Minister Jacky Levy also lambasted Zoabi, calling her an “embarrassment” to Israel.
Marmara lawyer: Families not dropping case against soldiers
Burak Turan, the Turkish prosecutor representing the armed IHH Turkish jihadists who were killed on board the Mavi Marmara, claims that it is impossible to end the civil action suit against the IDF soldiers who took part in the raid. This is despite the huge compensation that Israel is expected to pay to the families of those who were killed as part of a reconciliation deal with Turkey.
Turan spoke with Channel 10 tonight (Tuesday) from his office in Istanbul. "I can tell you that not a single one of the families of those who were killed is willing to accept money from the Israeli government. They want to punish the guilty parties."
Turan, on behalf of the victims' families, is suing former Chief of Staff Ashkenazi along with three elite soldiers who commanded the boarding of the Mavi Marmara.
Israel and Turkey have just signed an agreement in which Turkey will end the claims of the families of the victims in exchange for compensation and will block any further claims.
Turkish police arrest Umm al-Fahm resident trying to join IS
A 23-year-old Arab Israeli man was arrested by Turkish police officers earlier this month as he tried to make his way to Syria in order to join the Islamic State terror group, the Shin Bet security service said Wednesday.
Ibrahim Hassan Yussef Ighbariah, a resident of the lower Galilee Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, had planned to travel through Istanbul to the Turkish border with Syria to join the terrorist organization’s ranks, the Shin Bet said.
He was arrested in the beginning of June in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Syrian border, and was sent back to Israel through Ben-Gurion International Airport on June 10, where he was arrested by Shin Bet agents.
On Wednesday, Ighbariah was indicted in Haifa District Court for trying to join the Islamic State, which is officially recognized as a terrorist organization in Israel.
During his interrogation, Ighbariah told investigators he began to identify with the Islamic State’s ideology after watching videos and reading information distributed by the group, the Shin Bet said in a statement.
IDF dismantles three Hebron-area terror cells
Israeli security forces in recent months broke up three Palestinian terror cells operating near the West Bank city of Hebron, police said Wednesday.
Members of the cells, 19 residents of the town of Beit Fajjar, have been accused of launching multiple rock and firebomb attacks at the nearby settlement of Migdal Oz, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
The suspects used makeshift weapons to launch projectiles at the settlement from a distance, then quickly returned to the village before Israeli security forces could respond, Samri said.
According to the police, a months-long investigation into the attacks led to the indictment on terrorism charges of the 19 Beit Fajjar residents.
The suspects, who include several minors, confessed to carrying out the attacks during interrogations with security forces. The identities of the suspects were not released.
Canada chastises Palestinian president
Canada has lodged a formal complaint with the Palestinian Authority over what it says were “baseless” accusations against Israel by President Mahmoud Abbas.
The move came after Abbas alleged in a speech to the European Parliament in Brussels last week that Israeli rabbis had plotted to murder Palestinians by poisoning their wells — a claim that was quickly proven false.
“Just a week ago, a week, a group of rabbis in Israel announced, in a clear announcement, demanding their government, to poison, to poison, the water of the Palestinians,” he said. “Is this not incitement? Is this not clear incitement, to the mass murder of the Palestinian people?”
Abbas later retracted the comments, but not before Canada voiced its displeasure.
“Senior Global Affairs officials raised our serious concerns with Palestinian officials within 24 hours of President Abbas’s original comments,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s spokesman, Joseph Pickerill.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Architect Can’t Find Israeli Schools’ Rocket Storage Areas (satire)
A member of a group of construction professionals from Gaza visiting Israel to help them improve engineering and design of public facilities at home wondered today why the public schools they inspected seemed not to have anywhere to keep missiles.
Jamal Masri, an architect from Gaza City, wondered aloud to his colleagues in the delegation where Israelis store their weapons, as despite careful exploration of the school buildings, he was unable to identify a suitable space for stockpiling rockets and other war materiel. In Gaza, noted Masri, such facilities are practically mandated by law.
“Did you guys see anywhere to keep rockets?” he inquired of his construction industry peers after visiting half a dozen educational facilities in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Haifa, Kiryat Ata, and Kfar Blum. “I didn’t see any good spaces for that.”
Masri, 41, joined a team of designers and engineers for a tour of Israeli public buildings, a trip sponsored by various coexistence NGOs and the European Union aimed at strengthening professional and personal ties between Palestinian and Israeli professionals and helping the Gaza Strip’s construction industry adapt to its circumstances using ideas and ingenuity from elsewhere. The group spent six days visiting schools, hospitals, municipal buildings, and community centers, observing the engineering and architecture that went into each structure, and interacting with Israeli counterparts. Participants said the contacts were friendly, if cautious, and Masri added that he wished for more openness so he could assuage his curiosity about where in those public facilities Israel keeps its armaments.
“I’m not just professionally curious,” admitted the father of four. “I’m personally intrigued by the obvious ingenuity of a design that makes rocket storage essentially invisible. It has to be there, after all. If there’s anything my career as an architect in Gaza has taught me, it’s that hospitals and schools by nature double as weapons storage facilities, and occasionally as outright combat positions.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Reportedly to Run Again for Iranian Presidency in 2017
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly announced that he will run in Iran’s spring 2017 presidential elections.
The former speaker for Ahmadinejad’s government, Gholam-Hossein Elham, had informed the Iranian election board of Ahmadinejad’s intention to run for the office, according to a report in the Iranian reformist newspaper Shargh.
Ahmadinejad, who served two terms as president from 2005-2013, on Monday made his first public appearance since leaving office for a speech at the Narmak mosque in Tehran. During his tenure as president, Ahmadinejad was noted for his hardline positions, his denial of the Holocaust, and his tirades against Israel — including calls to wipe Israel off the map.

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