Thursday, February 23, 2017

From Ian:

Op-Ed: Jews Aren’t Jews, but Palestinians are Philistines
In his Christian Science Monitor op-ed, John Yemma is not content to present his own opinion, he also changes historical facts in an especially shocking manner.
Palestinians are Philistines?
Citing no source at all, Yemma claims that Palestinians are actually Philistines:
Palestinians have ancient ties to the Holy Land as well. The biblical Philistines, among other peoples, were contemporaneous with the biblical Israelites. While it is not certain that today’s Palestinians are their direct descendants…
This is a complete fabrication. In fact, there is nothing “uncertain” about the historical record: Palestinians are most certainly not descended from Philistines.
Claims of this sort are nothing new: they have long been a staple of anti-Israel propaganda, including the roundly debunked notions that Palestinians are actually Canaanites and that Jesus was a Palestinian.
The idea that Palestinians are Philistines is equally, and most certainly, false. Yemma’s claim that there is any uncertainty about this is a clear distortion of facts.
Unlike modern day Jews and Palestinians, the Philistines were an ancient, non-Semitic, sea-faring people, whose form of worship was unconnected to the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In other words, the Philistine ethnicity, culture and religion are all entirely different from that of modern day Palestinians.
Golda Meir discusses the Palestinian identity
1970--Thames Television--Golda Meir discusses the Palestinian identity, and asks why the Arabs in the West Bank became more Palestinian than the Arabs in the East Bank, after June 5 1967

What kind of state would Palestine be? A Jordan, or an ISIL-dominated Syria?
Indeed, as much as Israel might be leery of what a Palestinian state might look like, the Jordanians are terrified. If the West Bank were to become like Gaza, controlled by Hamas, or like Sinai, effectively a stateless territory, or like parts of Syria and Iraq, under the control of ISIL, or like Lebanon, home to Iranian proxies — the Hashemite Kingdom might not survive.
There are many who make the persuasive argument that the alternative to two states — to separation from the Palestinian majority in the West Bank — is an Israel that is no longer Jewish and democratic. That argument’s power is now weakened by the prospect that a putative Palestine state might not be a benign Jordan or a peaceful Egypt, but a cauldron of expansionist violence.
That explains both the diminishing confidence that a Palestinian state could work, and the increasing calls for a regional solution. Perhaps in the reconfigured Middle East, the West Bank could achieve some confederation with Jordan, and Gaza with Egypt, hitching the new state to older, stable ones. Or if the disintegration of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen continues, maybe the entire future of the region lies less in existing nation states, and in broad confederations of city-states and local clans. In that environment, the Palestinians might find themselves without a state but with autonomy in an increasingly stateless region.
The creation of a Palestinian state is implausible while existing neighbours are being destroyed, and even the concept of statehood in the region is eroding. That does make a foreseeable peace agreement less likely. And it requires creative thinking as a new Middle East is being born.

Australian-Israeli Pundit: Netanyahu’s ‘Important, Timely’ Historic State Visit Down Under Cemented Already Tight Bond, Threatened Only by ‘Problematic Elements in Labour Party, Far-Left Groups’
On the occasion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit Down Under, a renowned Australian-Israeli pundit told The Algemeiner that the only thing he sees as possibly threatening “historically outstanding bipartisan” Canberra-Jerusalem ties is the strengthening of problematic elements within the country’s Labour party and far-Left groups.
Otherwise, Isi Leibler — a former World Jewish Congress official who made Aliyah in 1999 and resides in the Israeli capital — gave rave reviews to what he called Netanyahu’s “extremely important and timely trip,” particularly in the context of global events, “which cemented an already tight bond.” This was evident, Leibler explained, in the “warm support” that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull extended to Netanyahu.
Equally noteworthy, said Leibler, was the “united Zionist front” exhibited by Australia’s Jewish community, all of whose members – “other than those on the far Left and lunatic fringe – were thrilled with Netanyahu’s visit.”
Compared to the rift among American Jews, about which Leibler has written extensively, he said that such a schism among Australian Jews is marginal when it comes to Israel. Indeed, he said, “Australian Jewry is unique, probably because of its high proportion of Holocaust survivors.”
Alex Ryvchin, The Australian: Bonds go beyond hope for peace
The Israeli leader’s visit is about opportunity. Israel is a technological marvel. It has to be. It is bereft of natural resources, is dominated by desert, and is surrounded by autocrats and populations who pray daily for its destruction. Israel’s advancements in biotech, cyber-security, emergency response, medicine, defence, water all have the capacity to materially improve the lives of Australians. Remarkably, Israel now does more business with China, Japan and India than with its staunchest ally the United States. In recent years, it has turned to Asia and deepened its engagement with Singapore, Vietnam, and even Indonesia. Israel has not been sluggish in diversifying to meet the challenges of a changing Europe and an unpredictable United States.
The engagement between states need not be on a strictly government-to-government and business-to-business basis. There is an abundance of common experience and much we can learn from each other.
There may be no country in the world that places a greater premium on the lives of its soldiers than Israel. We have seen the country trade convicted terrorists of the worst kind for the corpses of its fallen and release 1,027 killers for a single, doomed tank-gunner. The Israeli emphasis on reintegration of returned servicemen and women into society is a model that Australia should follow. Soldiers are given subsidies for education and incentives to purchase homes following their discharge. Combat soldiers are snapped up by start-ups and the high-tech sector who see the appeal and adaptability of fresh minds and eager bodies. There is a reverence of the combat soldier in Israel that does not exist in Australia, to our shame.
The visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his retinue of business luminaries will elevate the importance of the Israel-Australia relationship across our two societies, energise our tech and start-up scene, and will deliver tangible benefits for our nation from better securing our troops to better securing our online shopping. Perhaps there will also be an unexpected benefit for the peace process. While the Palestinians invariably use any increase in their diplomatic or political status to promptly harangue Israel in international forums, Israel’s ever-deepening ties with the world will show the Palestinians that Israel will not sit idle while Palestinian leaders refuse to even recognise a Jewish State or negotiate over the terms of their own long-awaited statehood.
The 100-year-old battle that keeps popping up during PM’s visit down under
Ask an average Israeli schoolchild about the 1917 charge of the Australian Light Brigade during the Battle of Beersheba and you will get a blank stare. Ask Australian school kids of the same age the same question and – at least – there will be traces of recognition, some sign that this is something they have heard of before.
And, indeed, it was an event that was referenced time and time again on Wednesday at all of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public appearances with his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull.
It came up when Turnbull first welcomed Netanyahu in a colorful ceremony at his residence overlooking the Sydney Harbor, and it came up during the evening event Netanyahu and Turnbull held with some 2,000 members of the Jewish community at the Central Synagogue in Bondi.
In fact, there it was announced that Turnbull would lead the Australian delegation coming to Israel for the October 31 commemoration of that battle where – as Turnbull put it during the jam-packed day – the “Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade captured the town of Beersheba from the Ottoman Turks in the fading daylight of the 31st of October 1917,” in what proved a pivotal moment in the Palestine Campaign.
Netanyahu called it “the last great successful cavalry charge in history,” one that liberated Beersheba and led to the end of Ottoman control of the area.
For Australians, the battle is remembered not for what it meant for Zionism, but what it meant for Australians as an independent people.
Netanyahu: Golan Heights will always remain part of Israel
Netanyahu lauded Turnbull "for time and again standing up against the demonization" of Israel in the U.N.
"You refuse to accept this hypocrisy. And standing up for Israel means standing up for simple truths. It doesn't mean that we don't have our imperfections. Which country is perfect? Well, Australia is pretty close, but none of us are perfect. But we seek all the time to improve. We seek all the time to do better. We seek to do better for all our peoples and we also want Israel to be the home of all Jews. I want every Jew in the world, every Jewish man and woman, to feel comfortable in the State of Israel.
"I also think that we have a battle against those who seek to demonize our people and the resurgent anti-Semitism that we see in many parts of the world. It is something that we need to fight together. I think this is important in Europe. It's important in America. It's very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-Semitism. And it's important that we all continue to do so in the years ahead.
"So we have performed miracles, but we have performed miracles because we're committed to our destiny. I want all of you to come to Israel. I want you to visit your friends and your families. I want you to walk the streets of the Old City in Jerusalem, hike in the Golan Heights. By the way, the Golan will never go back to Syria. It will always be a part of the State of Israel.
"Spend time with our brave young soldiers. Get to know the land. See this miracle. See the land of Israel. See the people of Israel. The State of Israel lives. The people of Israel thrive. Am Yisrael Chai," he concluded.
WATCH: Netanyahu Gets Rock Star Welcome at Sydney's Moriah College
They were told to be on their best behaviour. They were told to sing in their most beautiful voices. And most importantly, to smile.
But the excitement was just too much for hundreds of Jewish primary school children to remember the messages from their head teacher when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked into their assembly hall at Moriah College in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Up leapt dozens of children from the neat lines they were sitting in on the floor, while dozens more school choir members jumped down from a tiered stand where they had been patiently waiting, sending Mr Netanyahu’s huge security team into a spin.
As the grim-faced, dark-suited security guards tried unsuccessfully to stop the mini mob, Mr Netanyahu grinned and shook their hands and gave them high-fives. Squeals of excitement rang out as he and his wife Sara made their way to some seats at the side of the hall.

Anti-Israel protesters in Sydney depict Netanyahu as Hitler
Several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated in Sydney on Thursday against the first visit to Australia by an Israeli prime minister, branding Benjamin Netanyahu a “war criminal.”
A police helicopter hovered over the city as speakers slammed Canberra’s strong support of Netanyahu and the Jewish state.
“We are here to oppose Australia’s support for Israel, for a racist apartheid nation,” pro-Palestinian author and Australian lawyer Randa Abdel-Fattah told AFP.
“It’s disgusting to see that some of our Australian leaders have rolled out the red carpet and welcomed a war criminal into Australia,” she said.
“But there are so many Australians who are against this and we are raising our voices loudly and clearly today, to say [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull, and [Foreign Minister] Julie Bishop, ‘not in our name,'” she added.
A large banner was unfurled depicting Netanyahu with a mustache as Hitler and the word “Fascist” written underneath.

Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers at AP
The Associated Press' Josh Lederman purported to set the record straight on statements by David Friedman to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearings for ambassadorship to Israel. Under the rubric of "AP Fact-Check," the author countered fully accurate facts with misleading half-truths. The feature was distributed to and ran on multiple mainstream media outlets.
Below is CAMERA's fact-checking of AP's fact-checker.
1) Lederman takes exception to Mr. Friedman's accurate statements that Palestinians have failed to "end incitement" of violence and about "unwillingness on the part of the Palestinians to renounce terror and accept Israel as a Jewish state."
He counters this by asserting that "Not all the Palestinians are the Same," and presents three arguments, all half truths:
A) "The Palestinian Liberation Organization, the group that formally represents all Palestinians, officially denounced terrorism decades ago, although attacks have continued to be a problem for Israel in the years since."
B) "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in office since 2005 and in charge of autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has spoken out against violence, saying it undermines Palestinian statehood aspirations."
C) "As far as Israel being a Jewish state, Abbas, current head of the PLO, says the Palestinians met their peace requirements by recognizing Israel, and it's not up to them to determine the religious nature of the state of Israel."
US envoy to UN meets family trying to retrieve son’s remains from Gaza
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met Wednesday with the parents of Hadar Goldin, one of two Israeli soldiers whose body is being held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, as the new envoy continued a push to align Washington’s stance in Turtle Bay more closely with that of Jerusalem.
Leah and Simha Goldin asked Haley to help them return the bodies of Goldin and of Oron Shaul for burial in Israel.
Israeli envoy to the UN Danny Danon thanked Haley, who has taken a stridently pro-Israel line since taking over the post early this month.
“Hadar was killed and kidnapped by despicable terrorists during a UN-sponsored ceasefire and we won’t rest until this organization ensures his and Oron’s return for proper burial in Israel,” he said.
Finally, Consumer Protection and Warnings for Israeli Citizens Over "Green Line"
Israeli citizens like myself, who live over the "Green Line" in communities that are boycotted by some Israeli businesses are getting some legal protection.
To explain how we're effectively second class citizens, it has happened to me and many others, that after choosing to purchase something, a store will suddenly announce:
"We don't deliver to ___"
At best they will give the number of someone who charges a lot more than the distance from store to location would normally cost. And then if the appliance or piece of furniture requires some installation or assembly, we have to pay privately and won't get serviced unless we deliver the malfunctioning appliance/furnishings etc. I have also discovered that the standard service renewal offers haven't been sent to me by many companies. That means that after the required/promised service contract, I have to pay privately. I have no other option. After living in Jerusalem over a decade before our move to Shiloh, I found that to be an unpleasant, unexpected and potentially expensive surprise.

Finally, the Knesset has passed a law that requires businesses to at least warn us in advance.
Reconciliation between Hamas and Egypt Might Not Be Bad for Israel
In recent weeks, Hamas sent two delegations to Cairo for meetings with high-ranking Egyptian officials, suggesting a thaw in the frosty relations of the past few years. If reports are correct, Hamas, in exchange for Cairo’s reopening trade through the Rafah crossing, agreed to cease cooperation with Islamic State and other jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula that have been making war on Egypt. Hamas also seems to have agreed to allow Cairo to serve as a mediator between it and the Palestinian Authority as well as between it and Israel. Shlomo Brom and Ofir Winter explore the implications:
The emerging understanding between Egypt and Hamas . . . reflects political pragmatism at this specific point in time, but should not be interpreted at this stage as a profound strategic change on either side. Egypt’s softened stance toward Hamas does not moderate the struggle being conducted by the regime against the Muslim Brotherhood, [Hamas’s parent organization]. Similarly, Hamas’s willingness to accept some of Egypt’s security demands does not constitute a retreat from its commitment . . . to conflict with Israel. [A] considerable degree of suspicion, skepticism, and distrust still prevails between the two sides. . . .
From Israel’s perspective, the turnabout in Egypt-Hamas relations constitutes an important test for the flourishing security cooperation between Israel and Egypt, which face shared terrorist challenges in Sinai and the Gaza Strip. In the framework of this coordination, Israel must ensure that the security understandings taking shape between Egypt and Hamas do not leave the latter a “legitimate” opening for weapons smuggling, with Egypt turning a blind eye—intentionally or not—to a military buildup aimed against Israel. . . .
US senator to reintroduce bill cutting funds to PA for payouts to terrorists
Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham will reintroduce legislation next week that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to provide monetary support to the families of those who commit acts of terror against Israelis and others.
The bill, known as the Taylor Force Act, was first introduced last year by Graham with former Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats and Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. It was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time, but never came up for a vote.
The legislation is named after former US army officer Taylor Force, who was stabbed to death in March 2016 by a Palestinian assailant while visiting Tel Aviv. Force was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University and was traveling with other students on a program studying global entrepreneurship.
He was 29 years old at the time and had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Palestinian satire site accuses Daily Freier of Occupying its Bandwidth (satire)
Ramallah: The satire community of the Levant is in a state of chaos today as a prominent Palestinian blog made very serious accusations against the Daily Freier. The Daily Majnoon is a satirical site out of Ramallah that pokes gentle fun at the big things and little things in life. Famed musician/activist/dick Roger Waters sometimes guest writes for them. Hanin Zoabi also writes a weekly column when she is not out sailing. The Daily Majnoon also serves as a sign of a thriving Palestinian civil society, for just as the Daily Freier feels free to mock Israeli leaders like Netanyahu, the Daily Majnoon also feels free to mock Israeli leaders like Netanyahu. Only in Arabic and stuff. The Daily Majnoon held a press conference in Ramallah this morning where they described this whole Naqba of a controversy.
The Daily Majnoon’s Web Administrator, Yusuf B., who goes by the username “Stillnotover1948“, explained their plight to the assembled journalists. “We are indigenous to this bandwidth, and have operated this website for thousands of years. And as proof I present to you these underwear labels, a set of keys to a file cabinet, and a menu from a hummus restaurant in Umm El Fahm.”
A journalist from the New York Times asked Yusuf if he would accept a deal where the Daily Freier gave up part of its bandwidth to the Daily Majnoon. Yusuf said he would accept such a deal, but would still retain the right of return to direct web traffic from the Daily Freier to the Daily Majnoon.
4 new Supreme Court judges tapped, as right starts to shift bench
Right-wing lawmakers secured three conservative and non-activist judges out of four new appointments to Israel’s Supreme Court Wednesday, putting a large dent in what is seen as a liberal-dominated bench.
The Judicial Appointments Committee for the court announced that it had appointed David Mintz, Yael Willner, Yosef Elron and George Kara to the 15-member Supreme Court, out of a shortlist of 27 candidates.
Three of the four were on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s list of preferred candidates, while the three judges on the nine-member judicial appointments panel, who voted as a bloc, failed to advance any of their nominees.
Mintz, who currently serves as a Jerusalem district judge, was thought to have been Shaked’s top pick, hailing from the West Bank Gush Etzion settlement bloc and considered a strong advocate for conservative positions.
For First Time, Christian Arab Earns Spot in Elite Israeli Air Force Course
For the first time, a Christian Arab Israeli has been accepted into the military’s prestigious pilots course, Israel Hayom has learned.
The young man, whose name cannot be revealed, was among the cadets who began the elite Israeli Air Force (IAF) 179th course three months ago.
The cadet is currently in the initial flight stage of training, after which the IAF makes a round of cuts. Only about 10 percent of the cadets who begin the course complete it and earn their pilot wings in a ceremony held at the Hatzorim Air Force Base.
Only a small cut of Israel’s military recruits are accepted to the hallowed pilots course and those who are must undergo extensive medical testing, as well as drills that test their physical and mental abilities.
Enlistment for Christian Arabs is still in its infancy, but has been gathering steam in the past five years. Despite criticism within Arab society in Israel, several dozen Christians are currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
69% of Israelis back pardon for Hebron shooter
A large majority of Israelis are in favor of granting a pardon to IDF soldier Elor Azaria, according to a Panels Research poll taken for Wednesday’s Maariv, the Hebrew sister newspaper of The Jerusalem Post.
Azaria was convicted by an IDF court of manslaughter for shooting a neutralized Palestinian terrorist. He was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a half in prison.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely on Wednesday formally asked President Reuven Rivlin to pardon Azaria, writing that his crime took place at a volatile location during a wave of terrorism and that there was backing for a pardon on the Right and the Left.
“The large public scandal that accompanied the trial expresses the public’s desire to maintain unity in the army and its legitimacy to struggle against terrorism and defend peace and security in Israel,” she wrote.
Sixty-nine percent said they support a pardon for Azaria, 24% said they oppose a pardon, and 7% said they do not know.
Support for a pardon was down from another Panels poll following Azaria’s January 4 conviction, when 75% backed it and 18% opposed it.
New Iron Dome interceptor tests successfully, ministry says
A new interceptor developed for the Iron Dome defense system has been successfully tested recently, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The routine tests is part of the anti-rocket system's ongoing developments and upgrade, the ministry said.
The tests were held by the Defense Ministry's Homa Directorate, which oversees the development of missile defenses, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which develops the interceptor, named Tamir.
The Tamir interceptor includes components developed as part of a joint Israeli-American project.
The joint venture is part of a manufacturing deal signed between Israel and the U.S. in 2014. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and American defense contractor Raytheon are involved in the development of Iron Dome's components.
Iron Dome, designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells, is part of Israel's four-tiered air defenses, which also include the David's Sling system, which counters medium-to-long-range rockets and missiles, the Arrow 2 short- and medium-range ballistic missile interceptor, and the Arrow 3 long-range missile interceptor, which is in the last leg of its development.
Homa Director Moshe Patel said, "We've successfully completed a series of complex tests. ... Together with David's Sling, this significantly enhances Israel's air defenses against short- and midrange missiles."
The fate of another Shalit Deal murderer and what this means for peace
It starts by focusing on Nael Barghouthi, 59, whom it terms "the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner". It says he was sentenced yesterday by an Israeli court to life in prison with an additional 18-year sentence, and quotes the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society as its source.
PPS said in a statement that the court had ruled that Barghouthi, 59, was to serve the remainder of his previous sentence received prior to his short-lived release in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and the Hamas movement. Israeli forces first detained Barghouthi, who is from the village of Kobar in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, in 1978 when he was 20 years old for alleged membership in an armed resistance group. After being released as part of a prisoner swap exchanging Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit with more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, he was redetained in June 2014 when Israeli authorities claimed that he had broken the terms of his release, and was sentenced to 30 months in prison... However, he remained in Israeli custody after a military court rejected an appeal to release him in January... [Ma'an]
It then offers this piece of unsubstantiated analysis:
Since the Shalit deal, Israel has initiated mass detention campaigns to bring hundreds of former prisoners released in the exchange back into Israeli custody, in violation of the agreement.
Violation? Here's what really happened.
IDF jet downs Hamas drone off the Gaza coast
An Israeli Air Force fighter jet shot down a Hamas drone flying from the Gaza Strip toward the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday afternoon, the army said.
The unmanned aerial vehicle never flew into or over Israeli territory, the army noted.
The drone crashed into the water off the coast of Gaza.
“The IDF will not allow any violation of [Israel’s] airspace and will operate with determination against any attempt to do so,” the IDF said in a statement.
Details regarding the size and design of the drone were not immediately released by the military.
Hamas did not immediately confirm that it had launched the unmanned aerial vehicle; however, the terror group has said in the past that it possesses such capabilities.
Officials shut East Jerusalem school accused of being Hamas front
Israeli authorities ordered an East Jerusalem school shuttered Thursday, saying it was being run by the Hamas terror group.
The order followed a months-long joint probe by the Education Ministry, Jerusalem Police and the Shin Bet security service into the Al-Nukhaba elementary school in the Sur Baher neighborhood, according to an Education Ministry statement.
Authorities said the school was established by Hamas with the aim of teaching “content that undermines the sovereignty of Israel.”
Its aims were consistent with the ideology of the terror organization, which calls for the destruction of Israel, according to the Education Ministry.
“Each case of incitement will be dealt with and will continue to be dealt with, with maximum severity,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said. “Schools in East Jerusalem that elect to follow the [Israeli] curriculum get the full set of tools to succeed, while those choosing incitement will be closed.”
Palestinian authorities block lawmaker critical of Abbas from travel abroad
Palestinian authorities blocked on Wednesday a Palestinian lawmaker critical of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from traveling abroad.
Najat Abu Bakr, who represents Nablus in the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PA parliament, attempted to travel to Lebanon via Jordan Wednesday morning to receive an award, but PA officials denied her an exit permit.
“I arrived at the border crossing in Jericho around 10 a.m. and presented my passport to a border crossing official, who took it for what seemed like a routine review, but five minutes later he returned it to me and said I am barred from traveling,” Abu Bakr said in a telephone call Thursday morning.
Most Palestinians travel through PA border control in Jericho before continuing to Israeli and Jordanian border control.
IsraellyCool: Scenes From “Concentration Camp” Gaza’s New Mall
Inspired by the old Gaza mall photos, I have featured on this blog various facilities from Gaza, with the aim of providing readers with a glimpse into the real Gaza, which is anything but a concentration camp as some claim.
My point is not that there is no hardship in Gaza, but rather that the situation is a far cry from what is being presented by the palestinians, their supporters and the mainstream media.
Back in September, I posted about a new mall in Gaza – the Capital Mall – being set to open.
Well, it recently did. Here are some disturbing scenes from this new barracks mall.

AP Corrects on Gaza's 'First' Mall
In response to correspondence from CAMERA, AP editors commendably amended both the article and the photo captions. The headline, which originally referred to the "territory's first indoor mall," now states: "Gazans excited over new indoor mall." Likewise, editors replaced the reference in the first sentence to "the first indoor shopping mall" with accurate wording about "a new Western-style indoor shopping mall."
Finally, editors revised all of the recent photo captions which had referred to the new facility as Gaza's "first indoor shopping mall" to more accurately refer to Gaza's "first-of-its kind shopping mall."
CAMERA's timely action and AP's quick correction of today's wire story underscores the value of the organization's work monitoring and responding to wire stories in the same news cycle as they appear. With this preemptive work, CAMERA's Israel office helps prevent misinformation from appearing in media outlets around the world.
Meanwhile, CAMERA is in communication with The New York Times about its recent reference to the Capital Mall as the Gaza Strip's "first real mall." (The Times' Ethan Bronner, back in 2010 and 2011, covered the opening of the earlier malls.)
Iran warns Arab states: Don't be enticed by Israeli attempts to win Arab allies
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Arab countries on Wednesday not to be enticed by Israeli attempts to find allies in the Arab world.
Speaking at a conference in Tehran focused on Iranian support for the Palestinians, Rouhani said, "The occupying regime, in an attempt to normalize its situation, has for the first time referred to certain Arab countries as its allies against the resistance front, instead of describing them as its enemies."
In apparent reference to repeated statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about improving relations with moderate Arab countries in the face of the common threat posed by Iran, Rouhani was quoted by Press TV as saying that Israel "claims that most of the Arab countries are not the enemies of Zionism or opposed to occupation anymore, but that they share the same phobia about resistance.”
Rouhani called on Arab countries to be vigilant in the face of what he referred to as Israeli "plots." The Iranian leader called on the Muslim world to make a clear statement against Israeli efforts to normalize relations with the Arab world, according to Press TV.
"Isn’t it time that neighbors once and for all say ‘No’ to war and fratricide?" Rouhani asked. He lamented Arab countries giving Israel a pass on its treatment of the Palestinians.
Editor Of Independent Egyptian 'Al-Misriyyoun' Daily: Sheikh 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman Was Never Convicted Of Assassinating Sadat – Or Of Involvement In 1993 World Trade Center Attack
Following the death of 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman, known as the Blind Sheikh, who was the spiritual father of the Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya organization and was known as one of the founders of the global jihad movement, Mahmoud Sultan, editor-in-chief of the independent Egyptian daily Al-Misriyyoun, wrote in defense of the sheikh. Under the headline "'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman – The Islamists Oppressed Him Even Before the Americans Did!" Sultan stated that despite the accusations that the sheikh was involved in both the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, he had not been convicted in either case. Sultan also clarified that the sheikh had no connection to an essay titled "The Abstaining Sect," which permitted the killing of Muslims in the police and military. This essay, Sultan said, was written in 1981 by two Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya officials who attempted to attribute it to the sheikh. Thus, he concluded, Sheikh 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman had been treated unjustly by Gama'a Al-Islamiyya officials even before the Americans treated him this way.
Thousands mourn 'blind sheikh' convicted in 1993 World Trade Center bombing
Thousands of mourners gathered in a small Egyptian town on Wednesday for the funeral of the Muslim cleric known as "the blind sheikh" who was convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York.
Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was also convicted of planning a broader "war of urban terrorism" in the United States, died on Saturday in a North Carolina prison aged 78.
Movements across the Islamist spectrum from the Muslim Brotherhood to al Qaeda issued statements mourning him, and several leaders from Egypt's Islamic Group, which views the sheikh as a spiritual leader and renounced violence in 1997, attended.
Carrying signs that read "we will meet in heaven" and chanting "we will defend you with blood and soul, Islam," hundreds of mourners gathered at Al-Gamaliya, his hometown in Egypt's Nile Delta province of Dakahlia, to wait for Abdel-Rahman's body as it made its way back from the U.S. via Cairo.
The Egyptian-born Abdel-Rahman, who lost his eyesight due to childhood diabetes and grew up studying a Braille version of the Koran, remained a spiritual leader for radical Muslims even after more than 20 years in prison.
Al-Jazeera TV Host: Prisoners Are Treated Better by Israel Than by Syrian Regime!
Al-Jazeera TV host Faisal Al-Qassem held up a photograph of Samir Quntar, who "left the Israeli prison with a potbelly and a Ph.D.," next to a photo of an emaciated Syrian detainee. Bashar Al-Assad should "treat the Syrian prisoners and detainees the same way Israel treats its enemies in its prisons," he said. His comments aired on February 14.

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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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