Monday, August 08, 2016

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Terrorist Aid Hijacking and NGO Oversight Failure: Learning from the World Vision Case
NGO Monitor identified World Vision as susceptible to aid diversion in its 2015 book, Filling in the Blanks, concluding that there is “little doubt as to World Vision’s willingness to negotiate and coordinate with armed groups. This raises questions as to whether the group would prevent components of its aid from being misappropriated by terrorist organizations, if it felt that taking a stand would jeopardize the organization’s ability to continue its operations in a given area.”
The failure to properly prevent the siphoning of funds stems in part from a lack of will on the part of humanitarian organizations. Many international NGOs reject attempts to incorporate security concerns into funding guidelines, decrying them as politically motivated. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has argued that legislation designed to prevent hijacking of aid by terrorist organizations should not apply to humanitarian groups, and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has stated that “counter-terrorism measures remain the primary obstacle to humanitarian action within Gaza.”
Humanitarian NGOs operate in conflict zones around the world, risking the diversion of aid by terrorist groups. The recent decision by USAID to suspend its humanitarian assistance to Syria due to this issue, as well as the multiple UN reports on commandeering of aid by terrorist organizations in Somalia, underscore this point.
Prof. Gerald Steinberg adds that, “World Vision’s failures in Gaza highlight the problems of a multi-billion dollar NGO industry that remains largely unregulated and unexamined. While World Vision is currently the focus of attention following the arrest of El-Halabi and the scale of the allegations, this should be a cautionary moment for many other international aid organizations that have similar operations in Gaza, such as Oxfam, Care, Christian Aid, and UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.”
As NGO Monitor has warned repeatedly, humanitarian efforts in warzones are inherently susceptible to extortion and theft by violent actors, including terrorist organizations. In particular, Hamas has a history of raiding aid warehouses and convoys as well as developing tax schemes designed to skim money off of international largesse. UN Gaza aid mechanisms similarly suffer from corruption, compromising the integrity of imported materials. Any consideration of humanitarian projects in Gaza must, therefore, include vigorous, concrete, and effective policies that address the risk of aid diversion, both on the part of the implementing organization and on the part of the funder.

IDF Blog: Aerial photo reveals Hamas misuse of international donations to Gaza
Donations from the United Kingdom made to the Christian aid organization World Vision were used by Hamas to build one of such 70 military bases that operate in Gaza. The allegations are part of the June 15, 2016 arrest of Mohammed El-Halabi, a senior World Vision worker facing charges of funneling $43 million in charity funds to Hamas.
Eighty thousand dollars of aid donated to World Vision by the United Kingdom, which was intended to help the civilians of Gaza, build badly-needed infrastructure, and provide food and medical care to those in need, was instead invested in building a Hamas military base and pocketed by the terrorists who constructed it.
“In this compound we have identified surveillance and observation capabilities facing north, towards Israel.” IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. “I can also tell you that in June 2015 we targeted components within the compound following a rocket attack against Israel.” The active Hamas military base, codenamed “Palestine,” was built, among other things, for close-quarter combat training in the northern Gaza city of Jabalia, the third-largest Gazan city. The relatively large base is 600 by 200 meters, and is a short distance from residential buildings, as seen in the below declassified aerial map.
The World Vision investigation exposed that sixty percent of the charity group’s annual budget was funneled to terror activities by Halabi, the Palestinian manager of the World Vision’s Gaza branch. Forty three million dollars of aid earmarked for agriculture, treatment for the disabled, and public health was instead used by Hamas to buy weapons, build military bases, and fund the construction of tunnels, which were used in the past to kidnap Israeli soldiers and stage attacks against Israel.
World Vision: a Christian charity on an anti-Israel mission
I would like someone to explain to me how pumping millions of dollars of good Christians' money to the radical Islamic terror regime of Hamas, the Palestinian Arab wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose history is replete with oppressing the people of Gaza and killing all opposition to its stranglehold and whose founding charter expresses their desire for a global Islamic Caliphate and for the murder of Jews, advances the aims of World Vision.
Unless proven otherwise, it seems to me that World Vision has been so blind to the injustice done to the Jewish state by Hamas and Palestinian terror that it has been deliberately myopic to the massive misuse of money that has been eagerly used by Hamas in their vain attempt to attack Israel and kill Jews.
Either Hamas has exploited World Vision, or World Vision has exploited its global donors. There is no other explanation for what has been exposed.
Truth be told, the fund-raising appeal that appears on World Vision’s official website, so full of anti-Israel false statements, makes me feel that the former is true, unless they can convince me otherwise.
As I write this report, Australia and Germany have suspended their funding to World Vision for spending on Palestinian causes. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. I hope we will hear that the US Administration and all Americans will refuse to donate to World Vision until they put their house in order and return to their original Christian charitable roots.

Ex-Shin Bet chief: World ‘naive’ about widespread diversion of aid to fund Hamas
In an interview with Israel Radio, Dichter said that almost all of the United Nations aid workers in Gaza are members of Hamas, the terror group that seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, avowedly seeks Israel’s destruction and has fought three wars against Israel in recent years.
Dichter was speaking after Muhammad Halabi, a Hamas member and manager of operations for the World Vision aid group in Gaza, was indicted last Thursday in a Beersheba court on a number of security-related charges for his alleged central role in the financing of the Hamas war machine with charity funds.
Halabi, a member of Hamas from a young age, was handpicked to infiltrate the international charity in 2005 in order to steal money for the terrorist organization, according to Israeli investigators. Tens of millions of dollars of the charity’s funds were diverted to Hamas and used to dig tunnels, buy weapons, and support other aspects of Hamas terror activities, Israel alleges. World Vision and Halabi have denied the allegations. Australia has ceased funding the charity while it investigates the matter.
“World Vision is only a small example,” Dichter said, declaring that other, similar organizations “know very well that they are funding Hamas.”
“The fact that the donating world, which is recruited to help refugees and the needy, doesn’t understand that its cash is being pumped for terror uses… it is a naive world to the point of being hideous.”
The truth about humanitarian aid
Not a word of condemnation for Hamas was ever heard. But with respect to Israel, it has been a festival of lies and false accusations. In 2012, for example, the president of World Vision in the U.S. claimed that Israel had prohibited Christian from Judea and Samaria as well as Gaza from celebrating Easter in Jerusalem. The allegation was completely false (that year Israel granted more than 20,000 permits to travel to Jerusalem for Easter, far more than were requested). Still, the irreparable damage to Israel's reputation in the eyes of the Christian world was done.
And if that wasn't bad enough, World Vision has contributed extensively to other anti-Israel endeavors in the years since. For instance, the organization bankrolled a program called "Christ at the Checkpoint," which aimed to portray Israel to American Christians as the embodiment of all evil. The program appealed to this audience's most basic emotions: they were asked to imagine Jesus himself being harassed by Israeli soldiers at a border checkpoint. This was, in fact, anti-Semitism of the worst order, playing into the idea that the Jews abused the son of God and now they are abusing other poor souls.
In fact, a large portion of the funding that goes into the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement actually comes from innocent donors, who are certain their donations are going toward saving lives in developing countries somewhere in Asia or Africa.
Sadly, World Vision is not the only charity organization that has been dragged into the anti-Israel efforts. Other organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have also fallen into the same trap.
All this is happening in a world where there are tens of millions of people who really need charitable assistance, with tens of millions of people in the West who are willing to donate generously to help worthy causes, or so they believe. These kind, naïve donors, are being taken advantage of every day in the most awful of ways.
World Vision: ‘Huge gap’ in Israeli terror funding allegations
But World Vision Germany spokeswoman Silvia Holten said the charity’s budget in Gaza over the last decade totaled $22.5 million.
Holten said “there is a huge gap in these numbers the Israeli government is telling and what we know.” She said World Vision has stopped its Gaza operations amid investigations.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon speculated that World Vision’s budget does not include in-kind donations.
“They are trying to belittle their role and to show they are much smaller than they really are,” Nahshon said of World Vision. He did not provide proof of his claim, but said el-Halabi’s legal team will have access to the evidence. He added that el-Halabi confessed to his crimes.
Holten said the World Vision budget includes all in-kind donations, but she did not provide a detailed report of the organization’s spending in Gaza in recent years. She said World Vision performs stringent internal audits and commissions external audits from outside companies as well.
UN coordinator Robert Piper said in a statement Monday that Israel’s accusations against el-Halabi “raise serious concerns for humanitarian organizations working in Gaza.”
“Redirecting relief away from its intended beneficiaries would be a profound betrayal of the trust put in a senior manager by his employer and by the organization’s donors,” Piper said. “Everyone would pay a high price for such acts – beneficiaries and the wider aid effort alike. If proven by a due legal process, these actions deserve unreserved condemnation; Gaza’s demoralized and vulnerable citizens deserve so much better.”
Gazans rally in support of charity head accused of funding Hamas
Dozens of Palestinians staged a rally outside the World Vision office in the Gaza Strip on Sunday in support of the charity's local manager, Mohammed Halabi, who was arrested in June for allegedly funding Hamas.
Halabi, who is suspected of funneling millions of dollars in aid money to the Gaza-based terrorist group, was indicted on Thursday on charges of contact with a foreign agent, membership in an illegal organization, affiliation with a terrorist group, and multiple violations of terrorism funding laws.
The protesters, including relatives and colleagues, chanted slogans and waved posters of Halabi.
"My question to the Israeli people and the Israeli government is: 'Who supports farmers, fishermen, sick people, and helps children psychologically, does that mean he supports terrorism?' All these accusations are false," Halabi's father, Khalil Halabi, said.
World Vision said it was shocked by the claims, and a Hamas spokesman said the group had no connection with Halabi.
An artificial Gaza island is an impractical pipe dream
Israel can’t solve the problem of droughts affecting the Kinneret. It can’t solve the problem of the Dead Sea slowly disappearing. It can’t solve its housing crisis. But it can build an island off the coast of the Gaza Strip, of a sort never built before in the world, in cooperation with numerous agendas, interests, states and parties that don’t get along?
For years Transportation Minister Israel Katz has argued that Gaza needs a port to import goods for the roughly 2 million people crowded into the stifling strip of land. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post published Friday the minister noted that building a new port for Gaza would alleviate international pressure on Israel to end its blockade, restrain Hamas and constitute a windfall for Gazans. This new port should be developed under Israeli supervision, according to Katz, but Israel shouldn’t have to pay for it.
The solution Katz suggests is to build an eight square kilometer island connected to Gaza by a 4.5 kilometer bridge. Projected cost: $5 billion. The island would be built in five years. According to reports defense experts support the idea and the Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry think the plan is feasible and a solution to Gaza’s woes.
While this idea seems attractive, it is the wrong solution.
The Gaza Strip has seen a series of pipe dreams similar to this artificial island concept. In 1998 US president Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat opened an international airport in Gaza. At a cost of almost $100 million, paid for by Egypt, Japan, Spain, Germany and Saudi Arabia, among others, the airport had a 3.5 km. runway and Moroccan architects were flown in to add the finishing touches. It barely survived for two years before Israel destroyed it during the Second Intifada.
European parliamentarians to form first ever pro-settler caucus
European politicians this fall plan to form the first ever caucus group at the European Parliament to support West Bank settlements.
“There is a strong bias prejudice of the current European elites against Israel in the Israeli Palestinian conflict,” said a member of the European Parliament, Petr Mach of the Czech Republic.
He has led the charge at the European Parliament to form the group Friends of Judea and Samaria.
Mach was inspired to act by his relationship with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan.
Since taking office last year, Dagan has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor Gershon Mesika, in actively soliciting support for Judea and Samaria at the European Union.
The Samaria Regional Council boosts that it has hosted some 150 parliamentarians from around the world, including Mach.
Last week, Mach and Dagan issued a joint video about the formation of the new group, which will include some 10 European parliamentarians who support the West Bank settlements.
Complying with Ottoman Law, IDF Panel Revokes Jewish Community’s Land Ownership
The IDF Appeals Committee in Judea and Samaria has ruled recently that the 2013 declaration of an area of some 55 acres in the vicinity of Kokhav Ya’akov, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, as state land is null and void, because the process of making the acquisition was improper, Ha’aretz reported Monday. The military panel was also critical of the lack of transparency in making the declaration public — meaning that it was being kept out of PA Arabs’ earshot.
The panel’s ruling on an appeal by NGO Yesh Din on behalf of alleged Arab land owners, is more a judicial recommendation to the IDF in the area than a compelling decision, but should the declaration of state land be appealed in the Israeli Supreme court — as it surely will be — the panel’s decision would influence the justices’ ruling.
The grounds for dismissing the government acquisition of the land has to do with its failure to adequately comply with Ottoman Law — a remnant of the Turkish government’s rule over these lands before 1918, which continues to be the law of the land; and will continue to be so as long as Israel fails to impose Israeli law on Area C, where Jews live.
Ottoman law says that a man can establish claim to his land if he can show that he has been tilling it for the previous ten years. The state tried to comply with the law by providing aerial photographs of the area from 1969, showing clearly that the land was not being cultivated.
AG weighs relocating Amona settlers to abandoned Palestinian property
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Sunday night open the door to the possibility of using the abandoned property law to relocate the West Bank Amona outpost to a nearby plot of land that was privately owned by Palestinians.
“There is no legal impediment to examining the status of the adjacent property lots [next to Amona] which could, according to an initial indication, be considered abandoned property,” Mandelblit said.

Meretz MK Zahav Gal-On immediately condemned his statement, which, she charged appeared to support the seizure of Palestinian land for settler use.
Such a move, she said, would set a precedent for the state to “create a settlement on private Palestinian property just so it could solve the problem of the settlers in Amona.”
Amona is a test case for Israeli democracy
Israel's legal and political system is rigged. The fix is in, and Amona is the current victim. There are more communities on the list.
The pending destruction of Amona led by a handful of unelected, unaccountable, and biased IDF officers and officials of the State compromises Israel’s basic principles. Amona, therefore, is a test-case of Israeli democracy.
Amona was built in 1995 on an uninhabited hilltop overlooking Ofra; it was supported by the Ministery of Housing and Construction,. But Amona’s existence was challenged by Peace Now and Yesh Din who claimed that the land was owned by private Palestinian Arabs -- although they never produced any actual claimants.
The Minhal Ezrachi (Civil Administration), the legal authority in Judea and Samaria, and the Prosecutor’s Office (Praklitut) – the State -- agreed and asked the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to order the community destroyed.
As a matter of procedure, the HCJ does not examine or evaluate evidence and does not decide issues of land ownership. They rely only on what the State (the Minhal and Praklitut) presents. As long as the State affirmed that Jews built illegally on “private Palestinian land,” and demanded that the homes in Amona, and elsewhere be destroyed, the HCJ was bound to enforce that decision. Although lacking due process, that is the law in Israel.
'Arabs are building like crazy, and we're afraid to touch them'
Moshe Zar, who works to buy land from Arabs, interviewed with Arutz Sheva over the planned destruction of Amona, and the transfer of the town's residence to an area nearby.
"Who could touch Amona? Who could break even one stone there? If anyone were to prove ownership, let them give him compensation and throw him out of there. He hasn't been there for dozens of years, why is he relevant now?" asked Zar.
Israel's leadership suffers from cowardice, claimed Zar. He explained, "This is a nation which boasts the most powerful military in the world, many Nobel prizes, cyber accomplishments, etc. There is nothing which can stand against us, yet what we lack - and I say this with a pained heart and with tears in my eyes - is emotional strength. We don't have the emotional strength, and it doesn't matter if you are from the Left or the Right, religious or not religious.
"In what country in the world would they act like this? They would not dare to move an entire bloc [of homes], at maximum they would compensate the person [who claims to own the land]. Go to the Negev, or the Galilee, travel along the Yiron RIver and see, next to the road, all the giant houses of the Arabs, every home on a 3 dunam property, built without a single license or permit. Does anyone have the guts to touch them?
Supreme Court rules against major state initiative to deter Gaza flotillas
The state cannot confiscate the Estelle, the Swedish Ship used in a 2012 flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Supreme Court ruled on Sunday.
At the same time, the three justices – Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, Hanan Melcer and Salim Joubran – left some opening for future state efforts to try reinstating its confiscation policy.
The decision is a major blow to one of the state’s broader strategies used to discourage foreigners from organizing flotillas to break its Gaza blockade.
That strategy placed flotilla participants at the same risk of large monetary losses as those of other sea vessels and cargo.
The justification for confiscating the Estelle and other boats is embodied by England’s Naval Prize Act of 1864, often referred to as the international law of the sea.
Swedes demand Israel repair ship seized en route to Gaza
Swedish rights group Ship to Gaza said Monday it will ask Israeli authorities to repair a blockade-busting ship they impounded in 2012, after Israel’s Supreme Court ordered its release.
Ship to Gaza spokesman Dror Feiler told AFP that the Finnish-flagged Estelle was in Israel’s northern port of Haifa, still afloat but unfit to put to sea.
“Last time we had a person who checked the boat, it was maybe one year or nine months ago, the condition of the boat was not good, to put it mildly,” he said in English by phone from his home in Sweden.
“It’s in salt water and we don’t know the condition of the engine, we don’t know the condition of the sails,” he said. “We will demand that the boat will be put into seaworthy condition so we can sail.”
Israel ordered to pay Iran $1.2 billion
The Swiss Supreme Court in Lausanne has ordered the Israel-controlled Trans-Asiatic Oil Company to pay a debt of $1.2 billion to Iran's national Oil Company.
According to Global Arbitration Review, which published the Swiss court’s ruling, Iran’s oil company has been removed from the sanctions regime, so there is no legal obstacle to paying it any money.
On June 27, the court directed Trans-Asiatic to pay the Iranians 250,000 Swiss francs (about 1 million shekels, or $260,000) of the monies that have been deposited with the court, and another 200,000 francs in court costs.
Trans-Asiatic appealed, and lost, saddling the company with a heavy fine.
The lost appeal is the latest skirmish between Israel and Iran over an oil transporting and marketing partnership the two countries formed before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The partnership had two parts: the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, which operated overland to stream Iranian oil from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, and Trans-Asiatic Oil Ltd (TAO), which was registered in Panama, operated out of Tel Aviv, and ran a fleet of tanker ships and marketing channels to sell Iranian oil to Europe.
The partnership, signed in 1968, lasted only 11 years. In 1979, after the Islamic Revolution, Iran cut off all ties with Israel. Despite the diplomatic cold shoulder, Iran still faced off with Israel in three different legal procedures, in an attempt to glean money for the oil it forwarded to Israel on credit before the revolution, for the value of their half of the partnership.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Tubal-Cain Wins Contract To Develop ‘Bronze Dome’ Defense System (satire)
A local metallurgy pioneer has secured an agreement with the government to develop and produce a weapons system to help guard the civilian infrastructure from arrow attack in case of war, government tablets indicate.
In a Freedom of Information Act release from the royal palace, a series of cuneiform records show that the king’s military staff has entered into a series of contracts to enhance the kingdom’s readiness for war. Included in the delineation of agreements is one that engages the services of Tubal-Cain, who was the first to master the process of creating the new alloy, or blend of metals, called bronze.
According to the tablets, Tubal-Cain has committed to supplying the military with a prototype Bronze Dome system battery for testing within eight months, with a guaranteed purchase of at least six batteries over the course of the next four rainy seasons if the system performs as advertised. A Bronze Dome battery’s estimated cost lies somewhere between 800 and 1200 gold pieces, with newer systems reduced as development costs wane.
The details of the system remain classified, owing to their sensitive nature. A spokesman for the palace declined to comment on the technology behind Bronze Dome, saying that such discussions could be exploited by the enemy and probed for weaknesses. “I am afraid I cannot elaborate on anything not explicitly included in the tablets that have been made public,” intoned Deputy Vizier Kaddu.
IDF counterterrorism unit receives exemplary service award
The Israel Defense Forces' elite Duvdevan Unit has won this year's military commendation for unit-level exemplary service, Israel Hayom learned Sunday.
Duvdevan, one of the IDF's special forces units, specializes in undercover urban warfare and counterterrorism operations and is involved in all military operations across Judea and Samaria.
The recommendation to award the unit the exemplary service commendation was made by the IDF's Medals and Commendations Committee last week, and was approved by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot on Sunday.
"Over the past year, the Duvdevan Unit has consistently led combat operations in the Judea and Samaria sector, undertaking complex operational activities," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.
Israeli group barred from Jordan because of Jewish headgear
Jordanian border authorities reportedly barred a group of Israeli tourists from entering the country last weekend because they were wearing Jewish skullcaps.
The group was reportedly planning to travel to the Tomb of Aaron, the supposed burial place of the brother of Moses from the Bible, located near Petra.
There was no immediate explanation given by Jordan for denying the group entry to the country.
The incident reported Sunday by Channel 2 was the second of its kind in the past year.
In response, a Foreign Ministry official said that after the previous incident, Jordan explained said it was a one-off mistake by border officials, and that regulations would be clarified. The Foreign Ministry diplomat told Channel 2 that Jerusalem was seeking clarification for the incident.
Army conducts overnight arms raid in Hebron
Terrorist shooting cells continue to harbor intentions to carry out attacks on Israelis in the Hebron area, but they are finding their routes blocked and their sources of illegal firearms under attack, a security source said on Sunday.
The source spoke hours after the army conducted an arms raid in Hebron overnight between Saturday and Sunday.
Army and police units seized a Negev light machine gun, a locally produced Carl Gustav assault rifle, a handgun, ammunition, and a fake Israeli blue ID.
The suspect in possession of these items was more likely involved in criminal rather than terrorist activities, but the raid underlies the constant attempts made by security forces to reach weapons that serve terrorists just as easily as criminals in the Hebron area, according to the source.
“There are lots of weapons in this sector. Some of them end up with terrorists. The fact is, illegal weapons, many of them locally made, are moving around here,” the source stated.
Khaled Abu Toameh: PA Police Break Legs of Arab Children
Israeli Arab Award winning journalist, lecturer and documentary filmmaker Khaled Abu Toameh on Saturday tweeted that “Palestinian policemen broke arms and legs of children during protest against power cuts in Yamoun, Jenin.”
Abu Toameh is a staunch defender of freedom of speech and has criticized the Palestinian Authority for arresting and harassing Palestinian journalists in the West Bank.
In the Durban Review Conference, Abu Toameh criticized Israeli Arab Knesset members for supporting extremism and calling Israel a “state of apartheid” rather than fighting for the rights of Arab citizens of Israel.
Abu Toameh says he is routinely subject to condemnations, and is often threatened. He notes, however, that more threats are coming from outside the Middle East than from within the Palestinian Authority, and that those who threaten him “roundly acknowledge” that he is telling the truth and don’t question his reporting, but merely want him to “shut up.” (h/t Yenta Press)
State now backs power cuts to debt-ridden PA — report
The government no longer opposes cutting off power to Palestinian cities in the West Bank over a large debt, a reversal of its previous stance on the punitive measure imposed by the state-owned electric company, Army Radio reported Monday.
In a response to a Palestinian petition in the High Court of Justice against the practice, the state noted that although it has the authority to instruct the Israel Electric Corporation to continue supplying Palestinian cities, it would no longer exercise that right.
In late May and early April the IEC began to scale back the electricity flow to Palestinian cities due to almost NIS 2 billion of debt. Power supply to Jericho and Bethlehem was limited, causing some blackouts, and the company threatened to do the same in other West Bank cities.
After Palestinians petitioned against the measure at the time, the High Court instructed the IEC to temporarily halt the cuts pending a response from the government on whether it possessed the authority to intervene in the IEC’s decision.
Slain terrorist’s family forfeits funeral after refusing police conditions
The body of a Palestinian terrorist killed while carrying out a deadly attack on a Jerusalem bus last year will not be returned to his family after they refused to comply with the Israeli conditions that he be laid to rest in a low-key funeral.
Israel Police on Sunday summoned Muhammad Allyan to a meeting, and offered to return the remains of his son Bahaa, if the family agreed to bury him in a private, late-night ceremony with only 15 people in attendance, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.
Israeli officials argue the funerals for the deceased attackers — who were killed as they stabbed, shot, or rammed Israelis with cars over the past 10 months — often turn into mass rallies in support of Palestinian terrorism, and withhold their bodies until the relatives agree to hold subdued burials that don’t include calls for further attacks.
According to the Allyan’s lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud, the East Jerusalem family declined to sign the agreement, citing the small number of mourners allowed to attend.
The routine of war: 24 hours on the front line against ISIS
It is two kilometers to the nearest ISIS position here in northern Iraq and Peshmerga Gen. Bahram Yasin regularly welcomes journalists to his unit’s base camp of operations. An Iraqi news crew will stop by to video the general, following the progress of any liberated villages or welcomed refugees. A freelance photographer from Holland and a videographer from Brazil have stayed several nights at the camp. Two nights earlier, they were on hand to document Peshmerga receiving over 200 refugees, Iraqis fleeing their homes in villages close to Mosul as the days march closer to an offensive on Iraq’s second largest city, which has been under the control of ISIS since 2014.
Peshmerga (“Those Who Confront Death”) are the military forces of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The general – a 25-year Peshmerga veteran – still has a youthful appearance. He’s trim, but his edges are somewhat soft. He carries himself with quiet dignity, and the respect his men show him is enough proof of his power and stature.
Stationed northeast of Mosul, Yasin is in charge of a smattering of defensive firing positions manned by a combination of his own Peshmerga units, PAK (Kurdistan Freedom Party) Iranian Kurdish volunteers, and PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) militia fighters. Further support is given by coalition air strikes – the general stresses the importance and efficacy of the air strikes – and Turkish artillery along the front line that routinely answer Islamic State mortar fire with tank shells. A Sunni militia is stationed nearby, its ranks made up of young refugee men from minority groups who fled Mosul – their own tragedy compounded by the fact that ISIS murdered their family members.
“The situation has changed because of our alliance with other Peshmerga forces,” the general explains through a translator. “The Peshmerga are ready to attack ISIS position because ISIS morale is very low.”
UN Rights Chief Blasts Iran’s Execution of 20 Kurds as a “Grave Injustice”
The United Nations’ top human rights official called the hanging of up to 20 Kurds by Iran last week a “grave injustice” that followed a dubious judicial process.
According to Iranian state media, the executed Kurds were suspected of orchestrating attacks on security forces and of killing two Sunni Muslim clerics, Reuters reported. However, human rights groups have warned that the confessions exacted from the condemned may have been forced.
“The application of overly broad and vague criminal charges, coupled with a disdain for the rights of the accused to due process and a fair trial have in these cases led to a grave injustice,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement on Friday. He added that most if not all the men were reportedly Sunni Kurds, a minority group in Iran.
One of those executed, Shahram Ahmadi, was allegedly beaten and forced to sign a blank piece of paper on which a false confession was later written, Zeid said.
Zeid also condemned last month’s hanging of Hassan Afshar, 19, who was convicted by Iranian authorities of engaging in “forced male-to-male anal intercourse” while still a minor. Afshar, who denied the accusation, had no access to a lawyer and was sentenced to death after a rushed investigation and prosecution, according to Amnesty International.
Republican senator: Clinton's emails about Iranian nuclear scientist show she's reckless
Republican Senator Tom Cotton questioned Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's qualifications to hold the United States' top office, saying Sunday that emails on her private server about an Iranian nuclear scientist who was executed for spying for the US show she's "reckless."
A spokesman for Iran's judiciary said on Sunday that the country had executed Shahram Amiri, who was detained in 2010 he returned home from the United States, after a court convicted him of spying for Washington.
Speaking in an interview with CBS's Face the Nation, the Arkansas Senator said, "I'm not going to comment on what he may or may not have done for the United States government, but in the emails that were on Hillary Clinton's private server, there were conversations among her senior advisers about this gentleman," Cotton said on CBS's "Face The Nation."
"That goes to show just how reckless and careless her decision was to put that kind of highly classified information on a private server and I think her judgment is not suited to keep this country safe," he added.
Amiri, a university researcher working for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, disappeared during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2009, and later surfaced in the United States. He returned to Iran in 2010 and received a hero's welcome before being arrested.
A US official said in 2010 that Washington had received "useful information" from Amiri.
Suicide Bombing in Pakistani Hospital Kills at Least 63 in One of Country’s Worst Attacks
A suicide bomber has killed at least 63 people as they gathered to mourn a murdered journalist in Pakistan.
The devastating attack took place at a hospital in Quettain, in the violence-plagued southwestern province of Baluchistan.
PreOccupiedTerritory: JNF Shifts To Planting Only Gharqad Trees (satire)
In what organization executives are calling a strategic move aimed at enhancing both the ecology and defense of the country, the Jewish National Fund will phase out the planting of trees that are not of the gharqad variety, and focus exclusively on the gharqad.
Chairman of the JNF Directorate Danny Atar announced today that the board had voted by a clear majority to move away from its reliance on pine trees and toward a local variety of boxwood called gharqad in Arabic, which reportedly has properties that will help Jews conceal themselves from Muslims in the final apocalyptic battle. The plan calls for a phasing out of non-gharqad varieties by 2020.
“The mission of the Jewish National Fund has always been the reclamation of the land of Israel for the Jewish people,” declared Atar at a press conference. “Of course the land is only important insofar as it participates in the maintenance of Jewish survival and sovereignty. Therefore the Directorate has voted overwhelmingly to invest in the gharqad, which will not betray us to the Muslims.”
The JNF, established in 1901, has planted more than 250 million trees in the land of Israel, and manages the country’s forests on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture. It also owns or administers much of the country’s land, and exercises control over the sale, lease, allocation, and purpose of those lands. Most of the JNF’s funds come from affiliated organizations abroad, with the largest contributor JNF-USA. Atar said he had discussed the issue last month with JNF-USA Chairman Ronald Lauder and other heads of international affiliates, and all agreed on the plan.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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