Tuesday, April 18, 2017

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians' Real Enemies: Arabs
The Arab heads of state and monarchs do not like to be reminded of how badly they treat Palestinians and subject them to discriminatory and apartheid laws.
It is not comfortable or safe to be a Palestinian in an Arab country. Scenes of lawlessness and anarchy inside Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank have also driven many residents to move to nearby cities and villages. Most refugees in the West Bank no longer live inside UNRWA-run camps.
Let us end where we began: with the Palestinian (non)leadership. What has it done to help its people in the Arab countries? Nothing. No Palestinian leader will urge an emergency session of the UN Security Council to expose the ethnic cleansing and killing of Palestinians in Arab countries. No Palestinian leader will demand that the international media and human rights organizations investigate the atrocities perpetrated by Arabs on their Palestinian brethren. We are sure to see more such criminal silence when Abbas meets with the president of the United States.

Michael Oren: Palestinians were Six Day War’s ‘biggest winners’
Deputy Minister Michael Oren declared Tuesday that the biggest winners of the 1967 Six Day War were the Palestinian people.
Speaking at an event in Jerusalem marking 50 years since the conflict, he noted that before 1967, the concept of a “Palestinian” did not exist as we now know it.
Oren, now deputy minister for diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office, spoke more as a historian than a parliamentarian at the event, which was organized by The Israel Project and took place at the headquarters of the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research.
His comments drew on research he completed for his seminal 2002 book, “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East.”
He remained mostly mum on the issue of where the peace process with the Palestinians stands today.
“We are in a process, but I can’t speak too much about that,” said Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States.
Alan Dershowitz: What North Korea Should Teach Us about Iran
We failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. As a result, our options to stop them from developing a delivery system capable of reaching our shores are severely limited.
The hard lesson from our failure to stop North Korea before they became a nuclear power is that we MUST stop Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear Iran would be far more dangerous to American interests than a nuclear North Korea. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching numerous American allies. They are in the process of upgrading them and making them capable of delivering a nuclear payload to our shores. Its fundamentalist religious leaders would be willing to sacrifice millions of Iranians to destroy the "Big Satan" (United States) or the "Little Satan" (Israel). The late "moderate" leader Hashemi Rafsanjani once told an American journalist that if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, they "would kill as many as five million Jews," and that if Israel retaliated, they would kill fifteen million Iranians, which would be "a small sacrifice from among the billion Muslims in the world." He concluded that "it is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." Recall that the Iranian mullahs were willing to sacrifice thousands of "child-soldiers" in their futile war with Iraq. There is nothing more dangerous than a "suicide regime" armed with nuclear weapons.
The deal signed by Iran in 2015 postpones Iran's quest for a nuclear arsenal, but it doesn't prevent it, despite Iran's unequivocal statement in the preamble to the agreement that "Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons." (Emphasis added). Recall that North Korea provided similar assurances to the Clinton Administration back in 1994, only to break them several years later -- with no real consequences. The Iranian mullahs apparently regard their reaffirmation as merely hortatory and not legally binding. The body of the agreement itself -- the portion Iran believes is legally binding -- does not preclude Iran from developing nuclear weapons after a certain time, variously estimated as between 10 to 15 years from the signing of the agreement. Nor does it prevent Iran from perfecting its delivery systems, including nuclear tipped inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Allies knew of Holocaust in 1942, 2 years before previously assumed, UN documents prove
Recently released documents show that the Allied forces were aware of the scale of the Holocaust some two years earlier than previously assumed. They did little to stop the deaths or rescue the victims.
The unsealed United Nations files show that the US, UK and Russia knew as early as December 1942 that two million Jews had been massacred and millions more were at risk of being killed, Britain’s Independent newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Despite that knowledge, the Allies did not accept refugees or take action to prevent the slaughter.
“The major powers commented [on the mass murder of Jews] two-and-a-half years before it is generally assumed,” Dan Plesch, author of the new book “Human Rights After Hitler,” told the Independent.
In December 1942, UK Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told the British parliament, in a statement on behalf of the UK, the US and the Soviet governments, that the Nazis were in the process of exterminating the Jews. Eden said that a similar statement was also being read out in Moscow and Washington at the same time.
“The German authorities, not content with denying to persons of Jewish race in all the territories over which their barbarous rule extends, the most elementary human rights, are now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people,” Eden said in the statement.
Amsterdam repairman discovers Holocaust victims’ 1941 application for US visa
An electrician from the Netherlands discovered during repair work a suitcase containing visa applications to the United States that Holocaust victims filled out 76 years ago.
The electrician, Guus Braam, and the owner of the home where he discovered the suitcase wrapped in newspaper inside a crawl space, gave the objects to the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam suspecting it “must have something to do with the war,” Braam told the daily, which published an article on the find Sunday.
After a locksmith opened the suitcase, researchers at the museum traced it back to the Redlich family, a household of two parents and their two sons, Peter and Gunther, who fled Hamburg in 1938 for Amsterdam. The Redlichs, who owned a raincoat factory, all perished in the Holocaust.
The suitcase found on Stadionkade Street in southern Amsterdam contained money, Peter’s high school report card, his picture, a notice of his death at the age of 19 in a concentration camp in Austria, and visa applications for his parents and brother, among other objects. The report did not say whether the Redlichs ever received an answer to their application.
The suitcase and its contents will go on display on April 20 at the Jewish Historical Museum, the report also said.
NYT slammed for whitewashing Barghouti’s terrorist past in op-ed
Israeli and US Jewish groups on Monday slammed The New York Times for failing to note in an opinion piece it published by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti that the writer is a terror chief who is serving multiple life terms for the murder of Israelis.
The op-ed published Sunday describes Barghouti, who wrote the article to explain the mass hunger strike he launched Monday by Palestinian security prisoners, as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian” at the bottom of the piece.
Barghouti is the former leader of the Tanzim armed wing of Fatah and the founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Fatah terror group. He was convicted in an Israeli civilian court in 2004 on five counts of murder and one attempted murder, and was implicated in and held responsible for four other terror attacks. He is serving five life terms for the murders, and an additional 40 years for attempted murder.
In an op-ed published in The Times of Israel, Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid decried what he called The New York Times’ “intentional deception” of its readers by omitting any mention of Barghouti’s past.
“Anyone who reads the column without prior knowledge of the facts will come to the conclusion that Barghouti is a freedom fighter imprisoned for his views. Nothing is further from the truth. The missing part of the column is that Marwan Barghouti is a murderer,” he wrote.
Lapid said The New York Times had been being exploited by Barghouti. “The attempt by The New York Times ‘to be balanced’ amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth,” added Lapid.
Lapid said The New York Times had been being exploited by Barghouti. “The attempt by The New York Times ‘to be balanced’ amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth,” added Lapid.
Former Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren called the op-ed “a journalistic terror attack” and called on Israel to take steps against the New York Times. “We need to defend ourselves” he told Army Radio. (h/t Yenta Press)
PM Benjamin Netanyahu slams ‘New York Times’ for Barghouti op-ed
Calling imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian is like calling Syrian President Bashar Assad a pediatrician, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in a press release Tuesday. "These are murderers, these are terrorists and we will not lose clarity," he added.
Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum fiercely condemned The New York Times for publishing an op-ed by Barghouti that neglected to mention that he is in prison for murder, not his political views.
Barghouti was convicted in June 2004 of five murders and an attempted murder, including that of a Greek Orthodox priest he mistook for a rabbi. He was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences and 40 additional years in prison. But the newspaper’s tagline on the article called him a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.
The Times later added on its website that Barghouti was a convicted murderer.
'Barghouti is not an ordinary prisoner'
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) responded on Monday night to the publication of Marwan Barghouti's article in The New York Times:
"Barghouti is not [an ordinary] prisoner," Hotovely said. "He is a convicted murderer and a terrorist."
"The New York Times has provided a platform to a terrorist without noting the fact that he planned and carried out the cold blooded murder of Jews simply for having been Jews.
"This is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is anarchy. When a major newspaper with a reputation for responsible journalism becomes a platform for murderers, it provides legitimacy for terrorism. This is a very disappointing decision by the editors which seriously undermines the credibility of The New York Times."
Senior minister: Barghouti should have been executed
Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Tuesday that convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti should have been given the death penalty instead of life imprisonment for orchestrating murders during the second intifada. Barghouti is currently leading a hunger strike to improve conditions for security prisoners.
Reigniting a longstanding debate over punishment for Palestinian terrorists, Katz tweeted Monday night that carrying out the death penalty would have prevented the hunger strike.
“When a despicable murderer like Barghouti protests in prison for improved conditions, while the relatives of those he murdered are still in pain, there is only one solution — death penalty for terrorists,” Katz wrote.
Speaking to 103.fm radio Tuesday, Katz said that the current law allows for the death penalty to be applied to convicted terrorists, but prosecutors have consistently refrained from seeking the punishment.
Fred Maroun: The New York Times stands with terrorists
The NYT’s lack of interest in giving a voice to Palestinian moderates additionally sends the message that such voices do not exist or are not worth hearing.
One could also argue that despite his past, Barghouti is now engaged in peacemaking, but one would be wrong. Even if NYT editors had read nothing other than his op-ed which they presumably edited, they would know that.
Barghouti wrote that “Israel, the occupying power, has violated international law in multiple ways for nearly 70 years”, which means that he considers all of Israel occupied. Israel has occupied the West Bank for only 50 years. “Nearly 70 years” applies to the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948, 19 years before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in a war of self-defense.
While Barghouti speaks of a “peaceful form of resistance”, it is clear based on his past that the only reason he is currently involved in such non-violent actions is because he is behind bars and has no other choice. If there were any doubts in this, such doubts would be dispelled by the same op-ed where he proudly speaks of his eldest son who followed on his footsteps of crime and terror.
Yet, despite Barghouti’s criminal past and despite his continued support of terrorism and opposition to the existence of Israel within any borders, the NYT published him. They published him without any caveats or disclaimers. If one expects to see something about the views of the author not representing the views of the NYT, one would be disappointed. Instead, the NYT ended the article with the glorifying title of “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian”.
In publishing Barghouti’s op-ed, the NYT is no longer in the business of objective journalism. It has clearly and openly made itself the mouthpiece of crime and terror.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Barghouti is intentionally lying, and so is The New York Times
Second, Barghouti is deliberately lying—and so is this important and established paper, which is knowingly publishing a lie: I doubt there are any other terrorists in the world, in France or in the United States, with such amazing conditions as those received by the terrorists jailed in Israel’s prisons. The Guantanamo Bay detainees don’t even dream of such conditions, and neither do terrorists jailed in France’s prisons.
The third problem is the New York Times. This isn’t the first time that the American newspaper has knowingly published blatant lies in the form of an opinion articles.
In recent years, it has repeatedly published articles about Israel’s “apartheid laws.” When you click the link, you reach the list of laws published by the Adalah organization. There is not a single apartheid law there, but adding a link always creates a serious impression. We are in the fake news era, and the New York Times is taking part in it.
To add insult to injury, the newspaper failed to mention that Barghouti is a terrorist who was convicted of a series of acts of murder by an Israeli civil court. Would the glorious newspaper publish a similar op-ed by a Taliban terrorist who murdered American civilians? Or perhaps an op-ed by a Guantanamo Bay detainee? I think we know the answer.
It’s possible that, one day, Barghouti will go back to being the man he used to be. I wish. Inshallah. That doesn’t justify publishing a terrorist’s op-ed. That doesn’t justify publishing lies to justify a hunger strike of murderers. That doesn’t justify the leading newspaper’s double standards. This is not the way to advance peace—this is the way to support terror and lies.
IsraellyCool: The New York Times Wipes Blood Off The Hands Of Arch Terrorist Marwan Barghouti
Last week, the New York Times hired Bret Stephens, former Wall Street Journal columnist and editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, in a move that many saw as perhaps heralding in a period of more balanced reporting from the paper commonly known as the New York Slimes.
But any elation over his appointment has been dampened after the Times went really low, even by their own low standards: publishing an editorial by arch terrorist Marwan Barghouti and describing him as a “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian” – without any reference to his murderous legacy – at the bottom of the piece.
Sure, they later added in this editor’s note:
Editors’ Note: April 17, 2017
This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy
But only after they were hammered by many prominent people and organizations – or at least those who have a problem with providing a platform for a terrorist without disclosing he is a terrorist.
Marwan Barghouti’s great gamble
Barghouti’s demands – public telephones in the security wards, reinstating a second visiting period each month, and restarting the academic studies program for prisoners – are all carefully chosen to conform with the consensus view of the Palestinian public and political leadership, a fact that robs his competitors of any argument against his hunger strike. Nearly every key leader of both Fatah and Hamas has spent some time in an Israeli prison, and all view Barghouti’s demands as justified, even if they resent him for stealing the political spotlight by making them.
The struggle now begun by Barghouti and his allies, the bid to return to the political center stage via the prisoners issue, will not be decided for many weeks. Only then will it be possible to gauge the support he enjoys both within the prisons and beyond.
The figure of 1,187 striking prisoners on day one is a respectable showing, more than the Israeli side expected but less than the Palestinian side hoped. So, too, the thousands of demonstrators who joined the “Day of the Prisoner” protests are a success, but not a dramatic one. Not every Fatah prisoner has joined the strike, in part because some suspect Barghouti is attempting to use them for his own political ends. Barghouti’s backers, for their part, say these prisoners constitute the “reserve force” of the strike, and will join it at a later stage to help sustain the pressure on the Israeli authorities.
Hamas prisoners, too, even as they declare their support and impending participation in the hunger strike, are sitting it out for the moment, stayed by the same distrust that sees in Barghouti’s actions an attempt to “steal the show.”
Abbas: World must intervene to ‘save’ hunger-striking prisoners
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on the international community to “intervene quickly to save the lives” of the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who earlier in the day launched a mass hunger strike to protest their conditions of imprisonment.
At a rally marking the annual Palestinian “Prisoner’s Day” in the West Bank, Abbas sent his support to the hunger-strikers and said Israel was being “stubborn” for refusing to “accept the just humanitarian demands of the prisoners.”
According to the Ynet news website, Abbas made no mention of the strike’s initiator and leader Marwan Barghouti.
Some Palestinian officials have attribute Barghouti’s call for the strike to an attempt to send a message to the Fatah leadership and Abbas, who excluded Barghouti’s people from a recent Central Committee meeting and didn’t give Barghouti the position of deputy chair to the PA.
13 Palestinians said wounded in clashes with Israeli forces over hunger strike
Israeli forces reportedly used live fire to disperse protests outside the Ofer Prison in the West Bank on Monday, wounding at least five people, while seven others were hurt in a series of demonstrations in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.
At the Ofer Prison near Ramallah a total of 11 protesters were injured, including the five by live fire, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.
Two other Palestinians were also reportedly injured by rubber bullets fired by Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem, according to Channel 2. Their condition was not immediately clear.
A violent demonstration also took place in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Channel 10. There were no immediate reports of injuries there.
Elsewhere in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Monday, thousands of Palestinians participated in rallies showing solidarity with the prisoners, including in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus.
Honest Reporting: Marwan Barghouti: New York Times Sanitizes a Terrorist
Did the New York Times deliberately time the publication of an op-ed to coincide with a Jewish holiday?
While official Israel and many Jewish organizations (and HonestReporting) were off for the final day of the Passover holiday, convicted Palestinian terrorist murderer Marwan Barghouti was given a platform to accuse Israel of various misdemeanors including torture of prisoners.
Indeed the timing is no accident, as Barghouti leads an organized Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike meant to draw public attention and portray terrorists as political prisoners held by Israel to stifle Palestinian aspirations. And the New York Times has gone along with this charade by giving Barghouti a prime-time billing.
HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker adds:
It’s bad enough that the New York Times believes in giving a platform to a convicted terrorist. It’s reprehensible that it has tried to pass off Marwan Barghouti as a political prisoner by failing to disclose the very good reasons for his imprisonment to Times readers.
Barghouti left a trail of innocent victims of terror and their bereaved families during the Second Intifada. Israelis still remember and live with the pain and trauma of that period even if the New York Times wishes to sanitize Palestinian terrorists. The Times owes its readers a clarification and Israelis an apology for this cynical and appalling behavior.
Honest Reporting: Barghouti the “Activist” Who Organized a Restaurant Attack
Following the New York Times‘s erasure of Marwan Barghouti’s terrorist background, The Times of London also engages in sanitizing a terrorist in its story on a Palestinian prisoners hunger strike.
The headline describes Barghouti as an “activist”:
And, according to The Times:
Barghouti was not sentenced solely for organizing a March 2002 attack on a restaurant, in which three people were murdered. The court also found Barghouti responsible for a June 2001 attack in Maale Adumim, in which a Greek monk was murdered, a January 2002 terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev, and a car bomb attack in Jerusalem. In addition, he was also convicted of a charge of attempted murder, membership in a terror organization and conspiring to commit a crime.
So why does The Times headline refer to Barghouti as an “activist” and why does its story downplay Barghouti’s terrorist activities?
NYT Public Editor Rebukes Paper for Omitting Palestinian Activist’s Terrorism Convictions
In response to criticism, an editor's note has been added to the op-ed:
This article explained the writer's prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court's jurisdiction and legitimacy.
In a blog post the following day, the public editor for the Times, Liz Spayd, took the paper to task.
"This isn't a new issue for the opinion section," she pointed out. "I have written before on the need to more fully identify the biography and credentials of authors, especially details that help people make judgments about the opinions they're reading."
"Do the authors of the pieces have any conflicts of interest that could challenge their credibility? Are they who they say they are, and can editors vouch for their fidelity?" asked Spayd. The failure to identify Barghouti's crimes, she wrote, "risks the credibility of the author and the op-ed pages."
BBC fails to provide crucial background in reports on Fatah prisoners’ strike
Visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page found an article titled “Palestinians in Israeli jails hold mass hunger strike” which informs them that:
“More than 1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails have begun a mass hunger strike against detention conditions.”
The report does clarify that the hunger strike is led by Marwan Barghouti:
“The action is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader jailed by Israel for life for five murders.
Barghouti has been touted as a possible future successor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.”

However, like the other reports, the strike’s political background is entirely erased from this account of the story and instead audience attentions are focused on “detention conditions” without clarification of the specific demands.
Securing amplification from international media organisations is of course part of the strategy of the organisers behind this pre-planned action. If the BBC is going to collaborate with that strategy, it should at least be telling its audiences the whole story behind the motives for the strike.
IsraellyCool: New York Times Exclusive: An Op-Ed by Singer-Songwriter Charles Manson (satire)
(NOTE: This is word-for-word Marwan Bargouti’s Op-Ed in the New York Times. Words eliminated are struck through. Words added are in Bold Italics.)
HADARIM PRISON, Israel Corcoran Prison, California— Having spent the last 15 47 years in an Israeli Amerikan prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel Amerika’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners the people, man. The people. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.
Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. I think I’m going to play my guitar in the part of the exercise yard that separates the Mexican Mafia from the Aryan Brotherhood. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells. Can you dig it man?
Decades of experience have proved that Israel Nixon’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation. In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it. Ain’t that heavy?
IsraellyCool: Anne Frank Center’s Steven Goldstein Reacts Angrily To Wikipedia Edits
Following my previous two posts on the Anne Frank Center and how it was misrepresenting itself, someone (not me) edited its Wikipedia page to reflect the lies I had exposed, adding this to the History of the Organization section:
Although at one time the Center claimed, on its website, to have been founded by Anne Frank’s father Otto Frank, as of April 2017, it no longer makes that claim. [1] [9] It has variously claimed to have been founded by Mr. Frank in 1959 and in 1977.[10] In 1977, Mr. Frank would have been 88 years old and living in Basel, Switzerland. [11][12] The Center does not appear to have any connection to the Anne Frank Fonds. [13]
They also changed this:
The organization’s choice of “Mutual Respect” for its expanded name was inspired by Otto Frank, who founded the organization to help “build a world based on equal rights and mutual respect.
To this:
The organization’s choice of “Mutual Respect” for its expanded name was inspired by Otto Frank, although the name change occured 36 years after Mr. Frank’s death.
Steve Goldstein, the center’s executive director, has reacted furiously, removing the edits and leaving this comment:
This is Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. Someone made hostile and actionable changes to our Wikipedia page that we took out in this edit.
But he also removed the following part of the History section, including references to Otto Frank.
IsraellyCool: Essence Magazine Lists Linda Sarsour As One of Its 100 “Woke Women”
Anyone following Linda Sarsour will be familar with her attempts to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement and exploit intersectionality to promote her anti-Israel agenda.
And it is working.
Essence Magazine has unveiled its list of 100 “Woke Women” for the May 2017 issue. And guess who’s there, as one of the 12 featured on the cover (and one of the only – if not the only – non-Black woman).
Apparently, one can still “be woke” while supporting Sharia law and the destruction of the Jewish state.
Sounds like the editors are asleep at the wheel. Shame on this magazine for failing to acknowledge Sarsour’s true essence.
JPost Editorial: Trump’s endgame
But now Trump seems to be attempting to reverse America’s retreat from the international stage. The question is whether the recent whirlwind of action represents a coherent pivot in foreign policy, or a series of impulsive reactions to events that have no real thinking behind them. It is unclear whether the Trump administration has articulated for itself the endgame. Vladimir Putin, the mullahs in Iran, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un will need to think hard about how to deal with a US president who flaunts his unpredictability and seems not to be considering his next step.
From South Korea and Japan to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, America’s allies are wondering whether Trump’s recent actions are a sign of his commitment to defend them against the belligerence of Iran, Russia and China, or a short-lived fit of bravado.
A case can be made for the importance of reasserting America’s leadership role in the world. But this is not the campaign message that Trump ran on. A hasty, unplanned foreign policy pivot is dangerous. The situation in North Korea could quickly deteriorate and Washington would be faced with the tough choice of backing up Trump’s tough talk with action or backing down, which would undermine the US’s credibility.
China and Russia, which both share a border with North Korea, could be dragged into the fray. And this could have implications for the Middle East and Israel.
While the return of a more robust US leadership on the international stage is welcome, many doubts remain about the extent to which the Trump has thought out its policy goals. And this gives cause for concern.
Defense Secretary James Mattis to Visit Israel During Week-Long Middle East Trip Meant to ‘Reaffirm Key US Military Alliances’
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will stop in Israel this coming Friday during a week-long trip to the Middle East.
During his visit — Mattis’ first to the Jewish state since taking over at the Pentagon in January — the retired Marine general will hold meetings with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, according to a US Department of Defense statement.
Mattis has already met with Lieberman twice — first on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in mid-February and several weeks later at the Pentagon.
While in Israel on Friday, Mattis will also take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.
Other destinations on Mattis’ itinerary for his trip — his fourth abroad since becoming defense secretary — include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Djibouti.
The purpose of the trip, according to the Department of Defense — is to “reaffirm key US military alliances, engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Africa, and discuss cooperative efforts to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations.”
Dutch city allows pro-Hamas event, bans counter protest
In an unusual rebuke, Israel’s embassy in the Netherlands expressed “great concern” over the hosting in Rotterdam of an event organized by Hamas supporters.
The embassy published the statement Friday ahead of Saturday’s gathering of several hundred people at a conference titled “Palestinians in Europe,” which the embassy said was a front for Hamas.
Authorities had denied a request by pro-Israel activists to march in Rotterdam Saturday in protest of the gathering, which was organized by the Palestinian Return Center, or PRC, Het Paroool daily reported.
Israel outlawed PRC for its alleged affiliations with Hamas in 2010. A 2011 report by the German Ministry of the Interior stated that “Hamas does not operate openly in Europe. Instead it uses, for instance, the Palestinian Return Center in London as a forum.”
The European Union blacklisted Hamas and regards it as an illegal terrorist group.
UK soccer club holds minute of silence for student murdered in Jerusalem
England’s Derby County soccer club held a minute of silence before the start of its game against Huddersfield Town on Monday evening in honor of Hannah Bladon, who was stabbed to death in a Jerusalem terror attack on Friday. Bladon, 20, was a fervent Derby County supporter.
Before the kick-off, the stadium announcer called for a minute’s silence in memory of Bladon, who was “tragically murdered” on Friday in Jerusalem. He expressed the club’s “sincerest sympathies” to Bladon’s family.
The gesture was impeccably observed, with thousands of fans of both teams standing in silence. The players from each team stood, arms linked and heads bowed, facing each other in the center of the field.
When the minute was over, fans also applauded.
“20-year-old Hannah, who was from Burton-upon-Trent, was attacked on Good Friday in Jerusalem where she was studying at The Hebrew University,” the club, which plays in England’s second highest league, said in a statement.
Palestinian who stabbed to death British woman ruled fit for trial
The Palestinian man who stabbed to death a British woman in a Jerusalem terror attack on Friday is fit to stand trial, a psychiatrist for the Jerusalem district branch of the State Prosecutor’s Office determined Tuesday.
East Jerusalem resident Jamil Tamimi killed Hannah Bladon, 20, an exchange student from Birmingham University who was on a study program at the Hebrew University, as she rode on the Jerusalem Light Rail in the capital.
Tamimi, 57, a Palestinian with a history of mental problems, was given a psychological assessment in light of his past, which included treatment at the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center and an attempt to commit suicide.
The test was ordered by a Jerusalem court, where Tamimi was remanded into custody on Monday.
Only six years in prison for murder of Jew at Joseph's Tomb
The military court in Samaria on Tuesday sentenced Nawaf Fad to a paltry six years in prison for murdering Ben Yosef Livnat, 25-year-old father of four, six years ago near Joseph's Tomb in Shechem.
Nawaf Fad was convicted of shooting at a group of worshipers in Joseph's Tomb during the Passover holiday six years ago, killing Ben Yosef Livnat, who was among them. Fad was also convicted of obstruction of justice for scattering obstacles and tampering with evidence that was in the area following the shooting.
The court acquitted Fad of intentional manslaughter out of doubt, an offense equivalent to murder. The verdict was harshly criticized by Ben Yosef's family.
Attorney Chaim Bleicher of the Honenu legal aid organization which is helping the family realize its rights as crime victims, said in response, "The verdict that acquitted the defendant of a shocking murder has no basis in the evidence and facts presented in court. The defendant explicitly admitted that he shot at the victim's vehicle and even admitted that he hurt him. In addition, a bullet was found in the victim's vehicle, which matched the trajectory indicated by the defendant in his confession. The court on its own initiative raised unreasonable scenarios positing the harm to the victim being possibly caused by another terrorist, even though all evidence indicates that the defendant was the only one who fired at the vehicle of the murdered person, and we expect that during the appeal, justice will be done and the terrorist will be punished."
Haaretz columnist stands by claim religious Zionists worse than Hezbollah
Haaretz columnist Yossi Klein on Friday doubled down on opinions he set out in a piece published earlier this week that caused a storm, in which he claimed that the religious Zionist movement is “more dangerous than Hezbollah.”
In the opinion piece, published Wednesday and titled in Hebrew “Our self-righteous elite,” Klein wrote: “The national religious are dangerous. More dangerous than Hezbollah, more than drivers in car-ramming attacks or girls with scissors (referring to a stabbing terror attack by a Palestinian teenage girl). The Arabs can be neutralized, but they cannot.” He went on: “What do they want? To rule the country and cleanse it of Arabs.”
The article was condemned by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of his coalition partners, including members of the religious Zionist Jewish Home party. Prominent opposition lawmakers condemned the op-ed as well, and accused Klein of harming the Israeli left.
Defending his assertions in a TV interview, Klein said his comparison to Hezbollah was intended to highlight that religious Zionism has become a “political body,” and that combining politics with religion is dangerous “no less than Hezbollah.”
Hamas blames Abbas for Gaza power plant shutdown
Hamas appealed to Ramallah on Monday to lift an onerous fuel tax which it said would force the Gaza power plant to shut down on Tuesday for the third day in a row.
Lack of funds has left the Strip’s two million residents with only four to six hours of electricity per day, according to the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company.
“We were surprised by the decision of the government [in Ramallah] to fully reimpose the taxes on the price of fuel used for operating the power plant,” the Gaza Energy Authority said on its web page.
The authority added that it “appealed” to Ramallah to waive the taxes. It further charged that Ramallah had delayed projects that would help resolve the electricity problem in Gaza.
Palestinian woman echoes Palestinian leaders: Promised Land = Land where Jews will be exterminated
Fatah-run Awdah TV reporter: "Dear viewers, our question today is: Are you optimistic about the rise to power of American President Trump? [...]
Palestinian woman: "We always put our hopes in Allah. This is the promised land. The Jews think it is promised to them, but what was promised was to gather them in order to exterminate them by a divine decree."
(Fatah-run Awdah TV, Pulse of the Homeland, Feb. 19, 2017)
The woman’s message is repeating both Fatah and Hamas leaders' interpretations of Islam

MEMRI: On Backdrop Of Egyptian Efforts To Fight Hamas Tunnels, Egyptian Writer Calls To Tie Rapprochement With Hamas To Demolition Of Tunnels
Recently, there have been increasing signs of rapprochement between Egypt and Hamas, including a visit by Hamas officials o Cairo in early February, 2017, a more conciliatory tone taken by Hamas officials vis-à-vis Egypt, and a loosening of restrictions on the passage of Palestinians through the Rafah border crossing.[2]At the same time, Hamas official 'Izzat Al-Rishq clarified that a warming of Hamas-Egypt relations would not come at the expense of the movement's relations with other elements (i.e., other Arab or Muslim countries like Iran).[3]Egypt, for its part, has made no concessions in its war against the smuggling tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border, and continues to flood and dynamite them, actions which on several occasions have caused the death or injury of operatives working inside the tunnels. For example, on January 17, 2017 the Egyptian military demolished six tunnels, and on February 25 it demolished another in an operation that killed three people. Hamas responded with a statement condemning these actions, which stated that "there is no justification for Egypt's ongoing use of these dangerous policies vis-à-vis the besieged people of the [Gaza] Strip" and that Egypt "must open the Rafah crossing on a permanent basis in order to end the suffering of Gaza and its people." It added: "It is the right of our people to live in dignity and freedom like the other peoples of the world; the international community must intervene in order to end the oppressive siege."
Following the uncovering of numerous tunnels by the Egyptian military, the independent Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm published several articles that condemned Hamas for using the tunnels to smuggle arms, terrorists and funds and thereby jeopardizing Egypt's security. Among those who addressed this topic were the daily's owner, Salah Al-Diab, and Egyptian writer and historian 'Abbas Al-Tarabili.
The following are excerpts from their articles:
Hamas operative killed in Gaza tunnel collapse
A member of the Hamas terror group was killed Sunday night in a tunnel collapse in the Gaza Strip, the organization said.
It was not immediately clear whether the tunnel was one used for smuggling goods over the Egyptian border or a shaft intended for infiltration and attacks against Israel.
Tunnel deaths have been a common occurrence in the Strip.
In February three Palestinians died in a smuggling tunnel between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula after inhaling toxic gas while conducting repair work. Several Hamas members have been killed in collapses since the beginning of the year.
Last year, 22 members of Hamas’s armed wing were killed while “preparing equipment,” the group has said, the majority in a string of tunnel collapses. (h/t Yenta Press)
Douglas Murray: Turkish democracy has just died; Europe could not have saved it
Well farewell then Turkey. Or at least, farewell the Turkey of Kemal Ataturk. It’s a shame. Ataturk-ism nearly made its own centenary.
But the nation that he founded, which believed broadly in progressive notions such as a separation of mosque and state, has just been formally snuffed out. President Erdogan’s success in the referendum to award himself Caliph-like powers for life finally sees the end of Turkey’s secular and democratic experiment. Perhaps the poll which gave him victory was rigged. Perhaps it wasn’t. In the same way that perhaps the ‘coup’ last summer was real. Or perhaps it wasn’t. Either way, it’s all worked out very well for the man who once famously said that democracy, for him, was like a bus: he would ride it until it got him to his desired destination, at which point he would get off. On Sunday Erdogan got off the bus, coaxing or hauling his country off with him.
There is just one other thing worth saying. The official position of most EU countries, and the official position of the British government still to date, is that Turkey should join the EU. So far as one can tell the UK’s official – frankly barking – policy remains that although we are going to leave the EU we will continue to lobby for Turkey to join.
I doubt very much that this will now happen. But there will be those who will argue that the fault for this lies with us. They will argue that the EU (including Britain) is to blame for somehow turning our back on Turkey over recent decades. They will argue that if we had only shown a warmer face to the country, and encouraged them, and not been so ‘Christian-clubby’, and exclusionist, then the country would not have taken this terrible turn.

Turks Vote to Give Away Their Democracy
In a bitter irony, nearly 55 million Turks went to the ballot box on April 16 to exercise their basic democratic right to vote. But they voted in favor of giving away their democracy. The system for which they voted looks more like a Middle Eastern sultanate than democracy in the West.
According to unofficial results of the referendum, 51.4% of the Turks voted in favor of constitutional amendments that will give their authoritarian Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, excessive powers to augment his one-man rule in comfort.
The changes make Erdogan head of government, head of state and head of the ruling party -- all at the same time. He now has the power to appoint cabinet ministers without requiring a confidence vote from parliament, propose budgets and appoint more than half the members of the nation's highest judicial body. In addition, he has the power to dissolve parliament, impose states of emergency and issue decrees. Alarmingly, the proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States. It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.
IsraellyCool: Israeli Football Player Tomer Hemed Continues To Show Jewish Pride
Remember Tomer Hemed, the Israeli soccer player who plays as a striker for English Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion?
Maybe this will jog your memories:
It turns out, Tomer’s Jewish pride extends beyond his haircut.
Tomer Hemed cannot eat bread for the next few days but he has been hungry for the Premier League from the moment he joined Albion.
The Jewish striker’s strong faith in his ability, his team-mates and his religion are all about to be rewarded.
The Seagulls bid to clinch promotion coincides with Passover, the Jewish festival commemorating the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.
It began on Monday evening and finishes on Tuesday evening, by which time the prospect of facing Jose Mourinho next season could become reality for Manchester United fan Hemed and his team-mates.
Record number of Jews visit Temple Mount over Passover
A record number of Jews visited the Temple Mount over Passover, breaking the record for most Jewish visitors to the site in one day as well as over the course of Passover.
Approximately 1,600 Jews visited the site throughout the seven days of Passover, compared to last year’s Passover record of 1,015, according to Yirah, an organization that encourages the presence of Jewish worshipers on the Temple Mount.
The daily record for the number of Jews visiting the site was also broken on Sunday, with 495 Jewish visitors ascending to the Temple Mount, compared to the former record of 448 set last Succot.
The record for the greatest number of Jews to visit the Temple Mount during a Jewish holiday was 1,611, also set last Succot.
Passover, and the two other pilgrimage festivals of Shavuot and Succot, are seen as especially auspicious times to visit the Temple Mount to commemorate the commandment of visiting the site during these holidays.
On Sunday, three Jews were detained by police on the Temple Mount on the charge that they “openly prayed” at the site, although all were subsequently released a short time afterward. In addition, police prevented eight youths from visiting the Mount due to classified information.

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