Thursday, April 13, 2017

From Ian:

PA suspends ties with UNRWA over planned curriculum reform
The Palestinian Authority Education Ministry on Thursday announced it was suspending ties with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) over plans by the international agency to reform its curriculum.
The Palestinian ministry, in a statement published on its official website, called the possible revisions to the curriculum an “affront to the Palestinian people, its history and struggles,” and said the suspension would continue until the UN agency’s “positions are corrected.”
UNRWA has over 312,000 students in its schools across the West Bank and East Jerusalem (together, 50,000) and the Gaza Strip (262,000).
The UN agency has not formally published any plans to alter its curriculum, but leaks to the Arab press of possible changes have led to outrage over recent weeks in Gaza and the West Bank.
The changes, according to Arab media reports, include revisions to maps of Palestine to exclude references to cities inside Israel as Palestinian cities, a practice that numerous studies of Palestinian textbooks have labeled as “incitement.” Other changes were reportedly planned to tone down praise for Palestinian prisoners and improve Israel’s image.
Palestinian School Textbooks Poison Minds
The PA’s willingness to come to terms with Israel through diplomatic means, however, is belied by its counter-productive policy of exposing Palestinian students in its West Bank schools to inflammatory textbooks.
According to a report released recently by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, an organization headquartered in Jerusalem, the latest textbooks approved by the PA for first to fourth grade students demonize Israel, reject its existence, glorify “martyrdom” and uphold the notion of an exclusively Palestinian homeland.
These texts, containing maps of the Middle East that exclude Israel and describe Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashkelon as Palestinian, are a fundamental source of incitement. They inspire a philosophy of rejectionism toward Israel and drive terrorism, which Palestinians have often resorted to since the beginning of serious Arab-Jewish tensions in the early 1920s in Mandate Palestine.
In general, Palestinian texts engender anger, resentment and hostility rather than promote and nurture a climate and culture of coexistence and peace. This is especially true in the Gaza Strip, which has been controlled by Hamas for the past decade.
UNRWA does not have any intention of changing their school textbooks
UNRWA is now running a campaign in which it shows itself demanding specific changes in the textbooks used in UNRWA schools, as circulated by some pro-Israel organizations, even though UNRWA cannot make any changes in their school books.
Yet UNRWA has contracted its schools in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza to require these schools to only use the school books given to the schools by the Palestinian Authority, which means that UNRWA cannot unilaterally mandate or direct any changes in UNRWA school books used for 492,000 school children in its schools in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza
However, UNRWA is being praised by Israeli gov’t officials for their intentions, even though UNRWA cannot make any changes in their school books.
At no time does UNRWA say that they will remove members of terror groups from payroll of UNRWA in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza.
Nor is anyone currently asking UNRWA to remove terrorists from their schools.

Clifford D. May: A limited mission accomplished in Syria
If you’re still unsure about whether President Trump did the right thing when he launched 59 cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat air base last week, consider the alternative.
He knew that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad had yet again used chemical weapons to murder Syrian civilians, women and children prominent among them. He knew that Iran and Russia had enabled this atrocity, as they have many others. He knew he had two choices.
He could shrug, instruct his U.N. ambassador to deliver a tearful speech calling on the “international community” to do something, and then go play a round of golf. Or he could demonstrate that the United States still has the power and the grit to stand up to tyrants and terrorists — thereby beginning to re-establish America’s deterrent capability.
In other words, this was what Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz would call a no-brainer. (Well, loosely translated.) A mission was accomplished. Do harder missions lie ahead? Yes, of course. But I suspect Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have made that abundantly clear to the new president.
We now know for certain that Russia failed to live up to its 2013 commitment to ensure that Mr. Assad surrendered all his illegal chemical weapons under the deal it brokered. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acerbically questioned whether that was the result of complicity or incompetence, or whether Russia allowed itself to be duped by Mr. Assad.
US-Russia relations 'may be at an all-time low,' Trump says
The presidents of the United States and Russia on Wednesday both presented souring views of the relationship between their two countries, exchanging sharp words as Moscow extended an icy welcome to the United States' top diplomat in a face-off over Syria.
Also on Wednesday, Russia vetoed a Western-backed United Nations resolution at the U.N. Security Council to condemn the April 4 gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria and push Syrian President Bashar Assad to cooperate with international inquiries into the incident.
In Washington, President Donald Trump said the United States' relationship with Moscow "may be at an all-time low."
"Right now, we're not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of a relationship with Russia. This has built for a long period of time. But we're going to see what happens," Trump said at a news conference.
Trump's comments came after he made the biggest foreign policy decision of his new presidency last week, firing 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base to punish Assad, Moscow's ally, for his suspected use of poison gas. Russia condemned the U.S. action, although Washington warned Moscow in advance and Russian troops at the base were not hit.
MEMRI: Iranian Website Specializing In Syrian War Reports: Gas Attack Intended To Save Iranian/Syrian Frontline In Khan Sheikhoun Region From Breakdown
On April 7, 2017, WarReports, an Iranian research group dedicated to monitoring and covering Iran’s role in the war in Syria and Iraq, published a report on its Facebook page, explaining why the Syrian regime had carried out the gas attack. It claimed that the attack had been "in support of the Iranian-affiliated ground forces, Hizbullah, and the Syrian army, all of which were stationed several kilometers behind the frontline." According to the report, in the past three weeks there had been 21 casualties from among the IRGC forces and the Fatimiyun Afghani Shi'ite militia located in Hama. The report included a map of the region, showing the retreat southward of the Iranian-backed forces from the Khan Sheikhoun region, a retreat that threatened to turn into a complete breakdown of the front. The attack, therefore, was intended to curb the rebel thrust in Khan Sheikhoun, thus preventing this breakdown.
The report further stated that hitting the civilian population in the rebel-held areas was a known tactic of the Syrian regime, intended to crush the fighting spirit of the forces and to stop their operations. This was the case in the August 2013 gas attack on Ghouta, Damascus, and the October 2015 cluster-bomb attack on the civilization population of eastern Aleppo.
It should be noted that in a recent White House intelligence briefing, officials gave the same rationale for the Syrian regime attack, without providing further details: "They were losing in a particularly important area. That’s what drove [the attack]."
U.S. Intelligence Intercepted Communications between Syrian Military and Chemical Experts
The US military and intelligence community has intercepted communications featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week, a senior US official tells CNN.
The intercepts were part of an immediate review of all intelligence in the hours after the attack to confirm responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in an attack in northwestern Syria, which killed at least 70 people. US officials have said that there is "no doubt" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the attack.
The US did not know prior to the attack it was going to happen, the official emphasized. The US scoops up such a large volume of communications intercepts in areas like Syria and Iraq, the material often is not processed unless there is a particular event that requires analysts to go back and look for supporting intelligence material.
So far there are no intelligence intercepts that have been found directly confirming that Russian military or intelligence officials communicated about the attack. The official said the likelihood is the Russians are more careful in their communications to avoid being intercepted.
The Russian and Syrian governments have both denied involvement in the chemical attack.
Syria's Assad says Idlib chemical attack a 'fabrication'
Syrian President Bashar Assad said an alleged poison gas attack blamed on his government last week in Idlib province was "100 percent fabrication," news agency AFP reported on Thursday.
Assad also said Syria's military had given up all chemical weapons, AFP said on its Twitter account, quoting remarks in an interview with the Syrian president.
The United States and its allies say the Syrian military carried out the attack, something Syria has already denied.
Following the event, the US military struck a Syrian air base in response to a sarin gas attack on civilians last week. The chemical assault, which Western powers have said was conducted over several hours by Syrian Air Force planes sent by Assad, killed at least 87 people and wounded more than 550.
Hours after the military operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his support for the US air strike, calling the use of chemical weapons "unacceptable."
Syrian representative to the UN: Israel has directly supported ISIS
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari accused Israel of providing support to the Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday, claiming that the Jewish state has indirectly but significantly aided one of the most malicious terror groups in the region.
Al-Jaafri stated that Israel had directly supported the terror group by bombing Syrian regime sites. The Syrian envoy made the controversial statement while participating in a UN Security Council session devoted to a debate about the situation in Syria and the process to halt the crisis in the conflict-worn country.
“The direct Israeli support to ISIL through attacking Syrian army sites in Palmyra city on March 17, 2017 added fuel to the fire and made things worse,” al-Jaafari said, referring to the most recent strike by the Israel Air Force against a Hezbollah weapons convoy. The Syrian regime launched a surface-to-air missile towards Israel Air Force jets which was intercepted by an Arrow missile.
Another bold accusation al-Jaafari made was that Israel has treated injured al-Qaida terrorists.
Nikki Haley Slams Russia for Blocking U.N. Resolution Condemning Assad Regime for Chemical Weapons Attack
Russia blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution on Wednesday afternoon condemning the Assad regime's chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians last week.
Although most members of the council voted in favor of the resolution, which demanded that investigators be provided speedy access to relevant information on the attack, Russia voted against it. Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and therefore can block any resolutions with a veto.
Ten countries voted in favor of the resolution, two voted against it, and three countries abstained.
China, a permanent member of the council, abstained from voting. The other three permanent members–the United Kingdom, the United States, and France–introduced the resolution and voted in favor of it.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley castigated Russia and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after the resolution failed.
"Russia once again has chosen to side with Assad, even as the rest of the world, including the Arab world, overwhelmingly comes together to condemn this murderous regime," Haley said.
"To Assad and the Syrian government: you have no friends in the world after your horrible actions. The United States is watching your actions very closely," Haley continued. "The days of your arrogance and disregard of humanity are over. Your excuses will no longer be heard. I suggest you look at this vote very carefully and heed this warning."

Remember When Vogue Published a Gushing Profile about Syria's First Lady?
2011 - Two months ago, Vogue's February edition had a profile about the stylish and beautiful Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad. At the time, he had killed over five thousand people -- including babies -- but that didn't take away from the fashion mag's praise for Asma. Its 11.7 million readers were treated to a gushing article called "A Rose in the Desert" which talked about the Syrian First Lady's British origins, her designer clothes, her European travels, her and her husband's hobnobbing with American celebrities, and how they've created the "safest country in the Middle East."
The Atlantic says that this piece -- mysteriously -- has disappeared except for one remaining archived copy. Somehow, "the text can still be found at a website called, a gif-filled but meticulously updated fan page to the Syrian dictator." Even though the editors apparently tried to scrub the internet of the piece, they still defended it
... as "a way of opening a window into this world a little bit," conceding only that Assad's Syria is "not as secular as we might like." A senior editor responsible for the story told me the magazine stood by it. A few weeks later, the article and all references to it were removed from Vogue's website without explanation. In August, The Hill reported that U.S. lobbying firm Brown Lloyd James had been paid $5,000 per month by the Syrian government to arrange for and manage the Vogue article.
Since Vogue went to so much trouble to make sure you don't see this fawning profile, we thought you'd like to see some of it.
Australian university students really need Hezbollah’s take on the Syrian conflict. Because Hezbollah will totally give them the inside scoop.
Why are we paying this idiot?
Assad-loving academic Tim Anderson uses his human rights lectures to spruik his book and hand out pamphlets urging students to attend a conference on Syria which includes a seminar on the war from Hezbollah’s perspective.
The Sydney University academic, who has repeatedly visited Syria as a guest of Bashar al-Assad’s government, used his food security lecture yesterday to take aim at the media as part of a conspiracy involving three US administrations.
He also handed students information on the conference which promoted a talk by his colleague Jay Tharappel, who met with a senior Assad cabinet minister in 2015.
Why will India's PM skip a visit with Palestinians in upcoming Israel trip?
The scheduled visit sometime this summer of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking 25 years of diplomatic relations, will mark two firsts: the first visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister and the first time an Indian leader visits the Middle East without making a stop at the Palestinian Authority.
Perhaps in compensation, Modi has invited PA President Mahmoud Abbas to visit India. Indian officials have noted that India remains committed to the two-state solution, and despite skipping the PA on this visit, Modi’s government has taken pains to reassure Muslim nations that India still supports the Palestinian goal of independence.
New Delhi has been working tirelessly with Arab countries to soften the potential fallout from Modi’s visit to Israel. This has included such courtesies as inviting Abu Dhabi’s crown prince as its chief guest for Republic Day celebrations. Saudi King Salman is also considered likely to make a state visit to India this year.
Previous visits to Israel by Indian officials have meticulously included requisite stops in Ramallah. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s trip to Israel in October 2015 – the first by an Indian head of state – included both Tel Aviv and the seat of Palestinian power in the West Bank.
'French recognition of Palestinian state would lead to instability'
French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron surprised many Wednesday by saying that a unilateral French recognition in a Palestinian state would lead to what he called regional "instability."
Macron, head of the centrist En Marche party, made the remarks in an interview with the French Jewish radio station Radio J.
The statement contradicts the policy of the French government, of which Macron was the spokesman before announcing his presidential bid.
Macron told the radio station that unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state "won't serve anyone's interests," adding that he believed the key to a successful Israeli-Palestinian peace process was "recognizing both states, with a balanced diplomatic effort aimed at achieving peace."
China urges establishment of Palestinian state
Palestinians must be allowed to build an independent state, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday after meeting Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, who pushed Beijing to do more in the Middle East peace process.
"This year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations' passing of Palestine-Israel Partition Plan. According to the resolution at that time, Israel had the right to statehood, Palestine also had the right to statehood. However, after 70 years, what we can see is that Palestinian brothers have yet to establish an independent country with full sovereignty. This is unfair. This kind of historical injustice must be corrected and cannot continue," Yi stated during a joint briefing with al-Maliki.
Chinese envoys occasionally visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories, though China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.
Beijing has traditionally had a good relationship with the Palestinians.
Paper draws fire for op-ed calling national religious worse than Hezbollah
An opinion piece in daily newspaper Haaretz that called Israel’s national religious community worse than terror group Hezbollah drew widespread condemnation Wednesday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others calling on the left-leaning broadsheet to apologize.
The column by writer Yossi Klein accused Israel’s national religious community, usually characterized by its hawkish views and attachment to the settlement enterprise, of deceitfully attempting to take over and subvert the country, while carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
“The national religious are dangerous. More dangerous than Hezbollah, more than drivers in car-ramming attacks or kids with scissors. The Arabs can be neutralized, but they cannot,” he wrote. “What do they want? To rule the country and cleanse it of Arabs.”
The article was met with anger from members of the national religious community, including several government ministers, as well as more centrist politicians.
“The article in Haaretz is disgraceful,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook late Wednesday. “The national religious community is the salt of the earth, their sons and daughters serve in the army and national volunteer service for the state of Israel and the security of Israel. I am proud of them like the rest of the country’s citizens. Haaretz needs to apologize.”
Haaretz op-ed draws fire across the political spectrum
Article asserts Israel's national religious sector is "more dangerous than Hezbollah" • PM Netanyahu: Haaretz has lost it • Defense Minister Lieberman urges boycott of paper, says op-ed author will never contribute as much as national religious sector.
Harsh criticism of Israel's national religious sector sparked an outcry on Wednesday when Haaretz columnist Yossi Klein warned of the "danger" posed by the national religious in an op-ed featured in the paper.
Klein's provocative assertion that the religious Israelis were "more dangerous than Hezbollah" drew condemnation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of prominent ministers and lawmakers.
"The article that ran in Haaretz is shameful and crazy. They've lost it completely," Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page. "The national religious public is the salt of the earth. Its girls and boys serve in the Israel Defense Forces and in national service programs for the benefit and the security of the state of Israel. I am as proud of them as I am of most of the country's citizens. I urge Haaretz to issue an apology."
Rivlin slams Haaretz column for ‘defamation,’ ‘vast hatred’
President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday denounced as “defamation” a column in the left-wing daily Haaretz opining that Israel’s national religious community was worse than the terror group Hezbollah.
“Yossi Klein’s words are defamation that exposes a vast hatred and undermines any capacity to dialogue or criticize,” the president wrote on Twitter.
“Religious Zionism is part of this land, better and more rooted than all its slanderers,” he added.
The column by Yossi Klein (Hebrew) in Wednesday’s edition of Haaretz accused the national religious community, usually characterized by its hawkish views and attachment to the settlement enterprise, of deceitfully attempting to take over and subvert the country while carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
“The national religious are dangerous. More dangerous than Hezbollah, more than drivers in car-ramming attacks or kids with scissors. The Arabs can be neutralized, but they cannot,” Klein wrote in his column. “What do they want? To rule the country and cleanse it of Arabs.”
Liberman: Boycott Haaretz for Op-ed calling Israel’s religious right more dangerous than Hezbollah
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday called on Israelis to stop reading the Haaretz daily newspaper, railing at the left-leaning newspaper for an opinion piece that called Israel’s national religious community more dangerous than the terror group Hezbollah.
The column by Yossi Klein (Hebrew) in Wednesday’s edition of Haaretz accused Israel’s national religious community, usually characterized by its hawkish views and attachment to the settlement enterprise, of deceitfully attempting to take over and subvert the country while carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
“Haaretz already some time ago became a platform that gives broad expression to the viewpoints of Israel haters, but the publication of the piece by Yossi Klein, a frustrated and unimportant journalist who also failed as an editor, crosses all the red lines,” Liberman wrote on Facebook.
“I call on every citizen of Israel to stop purchasing and to stop reading the Haaretz newspaper immediately.”
'My only son died defending Israel, are we worse than Hezbollah?
My name is Moshe Keinan and I am a settler from the community of Shiloh. My only son, may G-d avenge his blood, was also a resident of Shiloh. He was a fighter in the Givat Brigade's commando unit, an officer in the anti-terror commando unit.
During the day he instructed his cadets and at night he would go out at the head of his soldiers to capture wicked terrorists.
Since last night I have had no rest, I couldn't sleep and couldn't calm down.
I who gave the dearest one to me, my son who sacrificed his young life and sanctified G-d's name when he fell protecting his people and his country, are we worse than the Hezbollah?
Alan M. Dershowitz: Spicer's Mistake and the Democrat's Over-Reaction
These over the top reactions to a historical mistake made by Spicer that was not motivated by anti-Semitism represents political exploitation of the Holocaust. Spicer was wrong in seeking to bolster his argument against Assad by referring to Hitler, and his political opponents are wrong in exploiting the tragedy of the Holocaust to score partisan points against him.
The difference is that Spicer gaffe was not in any way pre-meditated, whereas the exploitation by his enemies was carefully calculated for political gain. All sides must stop using references to Hitler and the Holocaust in political dialogue. Historical analogies are by their nature generally flawed. Analogies to the Holocaust are always misguided, and often offensive, even if not so intended.
On CNN the other night, Don Lemon asked me if I was "offended as a Jew" by what Spicer had said. The truth is that I was offended as someone who cares about historical accuracy by Spicer's apparent lack of knowledge regarding the Nazi's use of chemicals such as Zyklon B to murder Jews during the Holocaust. But it never occurred to me that Spicer's misstatements were motivated by anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial or an intent to "slur" the Jewish people. Nor do I believe that those who have accused him of such evil motivations actually believe it. They deliberately attributed an evil motive to him in order to pander to Jewish listeners. That offends me more than anything Spicer did.
Extreme right wing anti-Semitism continues to be a problem in many parts of Europe and among a relatively small group of "alt-right" Americans. But hard left and Muslim extremist anti-Semitism is a far greater problem in America today, especially on university campuses. So those of us who hate all forms of anti-Semitism and bigotry, regardless of its source, must fight this evil on a non-partisan basis. We must get our priorities straight, focusing on the greatest dangers regardless of whether they come from the right or the left, from Republicans or Democrats. The fight against bigotry is a bi-partisan issue and must not be exploited for partisan gain.

Liberals gloat over Sean Spicer’s terrible mistake
Sean Spicer used Hitler to make a point against Syria’s Assad – and that’s what happens when your mouth runs faster than your brain.
Around here we don’t use the H-word unless we really have to; we say “may his name be erased” and the point is made. Likewise we never compare H with anybody else, because there is no comparison. That’s where Spicer goofed. Pretty bad, too. He may never live that down after he told a room full of reporters that H never used chemical weapons against his own people.
He meant to present Syria’s Assad as today’s incarnation of evil. Good enough. He should have stopped there and left well enough alone.
But then he turned philosophical and blundered. Later, he apologized, saying yes he knew all about H and the crematoriums and the Holocaust.
He is upset for his error, and deeply regretful that he spoke poorly on behalf of the President.
Spicer is a good man doing a tough job. During every press corps setting he is the only Republican in a room stacked with Democrats.
He simply misspoke.
Holocaust survivor: Sean Spicer is ignorant, not anti-Semitic
Amid the uproar sparked by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments Tuesday denying the Nazi regime’s use of chemical weapons during World War II, some opponents of the Trump administration predictably accused Spicer, and Trump by proxy, of harboring anti-Semitic sentiments.
But at least one prominent Democrat, jurist Alan Dershowitz, pushed back against the claim, arguing that Spicer’s comments at the Tuesday press conference were a verbal blunder, not an intentional dismissal of the Holocaust.
“What happened here is the guy [Spicer] screwed up. He apologized, and he apologized from his heart. And I’m prepared to give him a pass on this.”
Since then, one of Israel’s most prominent journalists has also rejected the allegation that malice towards Jews was behind Spicer’s faux pas.
Noah Klieger, himself a survivor of the Holocaust, now a veteran Israeli journalist, argued in a piece published by Yediot Aharonot late Wednesday night that Spicer’s comments reflect a troubling pattern of ignorance among public figures today, not anti-Semitism.
IsraellyCool: Why Does The Anne Frank Center Keep Changing Its Story?
Something feels really off about an organization that seems so partisan, yet takes it upon themselves to speak for Jews, all while invoking the horrors of the Holocaust.
Reader Mirabelle, who felt the same way, looked into the Anne Frank Center, and found some things that did not add up.
The Center’s Wikipedia page contains the claim that Anne Frank’s father Otto founded the center in 1959.
The source of this claim is cited as the Center’s website, which no longer makes it. But it used to, as recently as January this year.
And the plot thickens.
In the 2013 version of the Center’s website, is this claim:
Founded in 1977 by Anne’s father Otto, The Anne Frank Center USA, a partner of the Anne Frank House…
So in this earlier version of the website, 1977 is the year 88-year-old Otto Frank supposedly founded the Center, not 1959. And it was called the Anne Frank Center USA, not the Anne Frank Foundation. Furthermore, no ties to Anne Frank Fonds is claimed here.
Something really does not seem kosher with all of these inconsistencies.
Which brings me to the following questions I have for the Anne Frank Center:
Did Otto Frank really found your organization?
PreOccupiedTerritory: Einsatzgruppen Bitter That Now Everyone Talking Only About Gassing (satire)
Members of the special mobile SS killing squads tasked with mass shootings of Jews, intellectuals, clergy, political leaders, Communists, and other groups deemed “undesirable” by the Nazis voiced resentment today at the recent focus on the role of gas chambers in the Holocaust, saying that their efforts led to almost as many Jewish deaths as did the killing centers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and other extermination camps.
Einsatzgruppe A chief Franz Walter Stahlecker, who oversaw the near-total elimination of Jews from the Baltic States, confessed today that he and his men felt bitter that White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s remarks on Syrian chemical weapons had led to a media frenzy of invoking gas chambers, when his special squads, and many others like them, spent many intense months identifying, rounding up, and shooting more than a million Jews across Poland, the Baltics, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, and elsewhere.
Spicer touched off a storm of criticism Tuesday when he observed that in contrast to Syrian President Basher Assad, even Adolph Hitler never used poison gas. While Spicer’s clumsy formulation referred only to battlefield use of chemical weapons, his phrasing appeared to negate the mass gassing of Jews and others at extermination camps, and critics rounded on him for Holocaust denial. Stahlecker explained that while by itself the Spicer episode would barely register, it constitutes merely the latest in a trend that, he argued, shortchanges the contribution of the Einsatzgruppen to the six million Jewish deaths in the Holocaust.
Palestinian arrested with knife in West Bank on Passover eve
Border Police and IDF forces on Monday arrested a Palestinian man armed with a knife and a stun grenade who tried to cross from the West Bank into Jerusalem on the eve of the Passover festival, police said in a statement Thursday.
The suspect, a resident of Qalandiya village in his twenties, was stopped by security forces as he approached the nearby Qalandiya checkpoint, a major crossing point from the West Bank located north of Jerusalem.
A search of his person uncovered the weapons.
The checkpoint has seen a series of security incidents over the past year.
“During an initial investigation, Border Police discovered he apparently intended to carry out an attack,” the statement said.
The Palestinian man also told investigators that he had an accomplice who had not turned up for the planned attack in the capital.
PA lawmaker arrested over Hamas activities
Israel has arrested a Palestinian Authority lawmaker over Hamas "activities," an NGO and officials said Wednesday, bringing to 13 the number of Palestinian deputies detained by the Jewish state.
Ahmed Atoun, a PA lawmaker from Jerusalem since 1996 affiliated with Hamas, was arrested at dawn, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club NGO.
Banned from Jerusalem by Israel, he has recently lived in Ramallah.
His arrest brings to 13 the number of PA parliament members detained by Israel.
The parliament, or Palestinian Legislative Council, includes 132 members, though it has not sat since 2007, when Hamas and the Palestinian Authority clashed in a near-civil war over control of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas won polls in 2006, eventually sparking the conflict that led to the Islamist group's control of the strip.
Beyond Atoun, 14 other Palestinians were also arrested, the NGO said, including Fayez Abu Warda, a Hamas spokesman in Judea and Samaria.
Bayit Yehudi candidate calls to censor Koran, re-educate Palestinians
Arabs must go through a lengthy process to prove their loyalty to Israel that includes studying only censored versions of the Koran in order to obtain citizenship, according to a new English diplomatic plan released Thursday by Rabbi Yitzhak Zagha, who is running against incumbent Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett in the party's April 27 leadership race.
Called “Israel Ascends to New Heights," the plan calls for "a broad, just solution to the wider Arab problem." It was written by Zagha, who besides being a rabbi, is a corporate lawyer, economist, and has served as a consultant for several top Israeli companies.
"It should be made crystal clear to the Arabs and to the people of Israel that the Land of Israel will be under Israeli control forever," Zagha wrote. "This change will be carried out in stages, with wisdom and sensitivity, but also firmly and decisively."
Zagha's plan's first stage is to confiscate all illegal weapons. During this stage, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria would not be given any right to residency or citizenship.
Abbas threatens ‘unprecedented’ steps to end split with Hamas
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that he will take “unprecedented steps” to end the political division between his West Bank-based autonomy government and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Abbas did not explain, but could try to use financial pressure to extract concessions from the Islamic terror group Hamas which seized Gaza from him in 2007.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Thursday that “the language of threats and dictating orders” would not be accepted.
The escalating rhetoric comes ahead of a planned meeting between Abbas and US President Donald Trump that will likely focus on a possible resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations about Palestinian statehood. No date has been set, but a Palestinian advance team heads to Washington later this month.
Hamas control of Gaza weakens Abbas, undermining his claim that he speaks for all Palestinians.
MEMRI: Jordanian Columnist: Aqaba Is In Range Of ISIS Sinai Rockets; Its Safety Cannot Be Left To The Mercy Of Others
On February 27, 2017, after the Islamic State (ISIS) in Sinai fired three Grad rockets at the Israeli town of Eilat on February 8, Fahad Al-Khitan, a senior columnist for the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, warned that ISIS could just as easily target the Jordanian port town of Aqaba, with its vital and strategic facilities. Therefore, he said, Jordan must fight terrorism not only on its borders with Syria and Iraq but everywhere. He added that, in light of the Egyptian army's "modest" achievements against ISIS is Sinai, Jordan must not leave its security to the mercy of others.
The following are excerpts from his article:
"We are combating terrorism not only on the northern and eastern fronts [meaning the Syrian and Iraqi borders], for not far from our southern border the threat of ISIS terrorism has emerged. The Egyptian army is waging a bitter war with this terrorist organization in Sinai, and for the past four years or so, there has been no end in sight to this unlimited conflict. Extremist organizations in Sinai have managed to establish their hold in the stony mountain regions, where fighting them is difficult. They have especially exploited the chaos on the Egypt-Libya border since the ouster of the Qadhafi regime in order to smuggle massive quantities of advanced weapons into Sinai. They have also managed to ensure the passage of fighters to Sinai from near and far regions, while relying on a complex networks of arms and drug dealers.
"Only a few weeks ago the terrorist organization [ISIS] sent a troubling message, whose potential future threat was felt by Jordan, when it launched three rockets at the Israeli port [town] of Eilat. The 'Iron Dome' [missile defense system] intercepted the three rockets mid-flight, and their pieces were scattered over a wide radius. Some even fell in the center of Aqaba city without doing any damage.
Sick moment Muslim teacher demonstrates how a man should BEAT women with a stick - as Islamic group says a husband's violence towards his wife is a 'beautiful blessing'
Muslim men are allowed to hit their wives if they disobey them and domestic violence is a 'beautiful blessing', according to the women's branch of a radical Islamic group.
Sydney primary school teacher Reem Allouche told the women's arm of hardline political group Hizb ut-Tahrir that men are permitted to hit women with sticks.
During the 30-minute discussion at a meeting in Sydney's west, Ms Allouche and fellow panellist Atika Latifi - who are both wearing headscarves - describe how beating women is a 'symbolic act'.
At one point they even demonstrated how to use a small stick called a 'sivaak' to hit 'disobedient' women.
In a video of the debate, which has been posted on Facebook, Ms Allouche says men should use the sivaak to punish their wives.
She then uses one of the sticks to hit Ms Latifi while the pair laugh.

ISIS Refuses to Hijack United Airlines Flights (satire)
Joining a growing boycott of the airlines after a passenger was beaten and dragged off an overbooked plane, ISIS announced this week that it will not hijack any United Airlines flights.
“While our mujahedeen are fearless warriors willing to die as martyrs of Islam, even they have their limits,” ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said in a videotape released on Al Jazeera. “If they are going to sacrifice their lives battling the infidels, they shouldn’t have to worry about getting ‘bumped’.”
While the ISIS leader portrayed the decision as a principled stance against the embattled airline, sources close to the terror group told The Mideast Beast the decision was made of necessity. The Islamic State simply could not find soldiers willing to risk getting onto a United flight after watching the chilling video of David Dao being dragged down the aisle.
“That kind of brutality has no place in the world today,” one ISIS member told The Mideast Beast.

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