Tuesday, April 25, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: PA TV honors murderer by joining family’s birthday party
As'ad Zo'rob is a Palestinian murderer. In 2002, he shot and killed his Israeli employer who was giving him a ride in his car. Zo'rob is serving a life sentence for the murder. Official Palestinian Authority TV called him "heroic" and decided to join the family's birthday celebrations in his honor. At the party earlier this month, the PA TV host referred to the murderer as "the heroic prisoner" and a source of "pride" for "all of Palestine":
Official PA TV reporter: "Dear viewers, we are transmitting to you from the home of heroic prisoner As'ad Zo'rob..."
Brother of murderer: "He is a hero, and is everything to us. He has made us proud."
Official PA TV reporter: "Of course, this prisoner is a [source of] pride for your family and all of Palestine."
[Official PA TV, I Call You, April 3, 2017]
Palestinian Media Watch has documented the participation of PA TV at a similar birthday party for terrorist Abbas Al-Sayid who is serving 35 life sentences for planning two suicide bombings, one in 2002 at a Passover celebration, killing 30 Israelis, and another in 2001, killing 5 and wounding 100.
PA TV weekly program Giants of Endurance
This example of PA TV presenting a murderer of an Israeli as heroic is no exception. PMW has documented that all Palestinian terrorist prisoners and all terrorist so-called "Martyrs" are considered "heroes" by the Palestinian Authority and its leadership. It is therefore not surprising that official PA TV has a special weekly program dedicated to honoring terrorist prisoners called Giants of Endurance. PA TV honors these "heroes" by having their relatives as guests in the studio or visiting them in their homes, inviting them to speak about their imprisoned terrorist relative and sending him/her greetings.
PA TV honors murderer on his birthday, visits family of “heroic prisoner”

Douglas Murray: What does the UN think Saudi Arabia can teach us about gender equality?
In these tricky – not to say dark – times there is one place to which we can always turn for light relief: Geneva. The city itself may be unamusing. But it does play host to the world’s most hilarious organisation – the body which calls itself ‘the UN Human Rights Council’ (UNHRC).
A few days ago, the Council voted to appoint members for the 2018-2022 term of its ‘Commission on the Status of Women’, a UN agency ‘exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.’ Among those appointed to the Commission was that notable supporter of gender equality – Saudi Arabia. Best of all is that – as the excellent UN Watch points out here – at least five EU member states must have voted to put Saudi Arabia on the Commission.
There was a time when moves like these garnered some outrage, or at least comment. So far this one appears not to have done so. Which might be because everyone has too many other things on their minds. Or that everybody thinks Saudi Arabia has been making such leaps and bounds in the realm of gender equality that it can teach the rest of us a thing or two. Or that nobody thinks that the UN Human Rights Council, its ‘Commission on the Status of Women’ or any of its other expensive initiatives matter one jot and know that the whole thing is barmy. Personally I think that the last of these possibilities is the most likely.
But if everybody realises that the UNHRC is the last place in the world where you would go for anything other than a dark laugh, what is the point of countries like ours contributing to it either through financial contributions or sending representatives? Surely we can come up with a better use for the cash? If not, why not just pile it up and burn it? At least that would be a harmless use of everyone’s time and money. Unlike the UNHRC, which is exceptionally costly and consistently harmful.
Jpost Editorial: Saudis and Women
Why would the UN appoint Saudi Arabia as a defender of women’s rights, a country where a woman cannot even open a bank account without her husband’s permission and received the right to vote and run for office in municipal elections just two years ago? It should not come as too much of a surprise. After all, this is the same UN whose Human Rights Council enforces Agenda Item 7, which dictates that Israel’s purported human rights violations must be raised and discussed every single time the UNHRC convenes. More UNHRC condemnations are made against Israel than against all other countries in the world combined.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, has pledged to change what she calls the “culture” of the international body. She has already done much to combat the knee-jerk criticism directed against Israel that characterizes so much of UN discourse. Perhaps her next order of business will be to help ensure that countries like Saudi Arabia are singled out for their human rights violations. It would be fitting if Haley’s strong female leadership became the driving force for a campaign within the UN to condemn Saudi Arabia for the suppression of half of its population.
The UN once was and might again be a force for good in the world. The potential is boundless for an institution that brings together all the nations of the world. Wars can be prevented; blatant human rights abuses can be stopped; the damage resulting from famine and natural disaster can be ameliorated. All this and more can be achieved through dialogue and cooperation.
However, before any of this can happen, the UN must have a minimum level of self-respect that prevents it from appointing Saudi Arabia to a council responsible for safeguarding the rights of women.

The Cycle of Violence Must End!
As if we needed any further evidence, we received two painful reminders last week of the cycle of violence that keeps Israelis and Palestinians locked in a never-ending conflict for which both sides, of course, are equally responsible.
First, two sisters from Hamas-governed Gaza responded to an invitation to enter Israel and undergo life-saving cancer treatment—a blatant and obvious Israeli provocation—by smuggling explosives in a tube labeled as medicine. Then, a few days later, a young Palestinian man, invited by an Israeli peace group to come and spend a day on the beach in Tel Aviv, in turn entered a hotel on the city’s boardwalk and stabbed four people.
These attacks further validate the perceived notions of the international community and most liberal American Jews, proving that both Israelis and Palestinians are responsible for the violence and the bloodshed that have been plaguing them for a century. If Israel is truly interested in peace with its neighbors, it should consider refraining from clear acts of belligerence like attempting to save the lives of cancer patients or inviting young people to spend the day dipping their toes in the Mediterranean. Such clear assaults on the rights and the dignity of Palestinians only invite further violence. It’s time for the vicious cycle to end.
Gaza News Agency Mocks “So-Called” Holocaust, Calls Tel Aviv a “Settlement”
The popular Arabic-language Twitter feed of a Hamas-linked news agency mocked Israel’s observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, sharing a photograph of Israelis standing outside their vehicles as memorial sirens blared in Tel Aviv.
While the city was established by Zionist Jews in 1909 and was part of Israel before 1967, the Gaza-based Palestinian Information Center described it as a “settlement” when referring to the “so-called ‘Holocaust remembrance'” in a tweet.
There is no comparable tweet at the center’s English Twitter feed.
Caroline Glick: The agenda for the Trump-Abbas meeting
The day after Israel celebrates its 69th Independence Day, US President Donald Trump will greet PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. The date of their meeting, May 3, is notable not least for its timing.
The timing of the meeting presumes a linkage between the establishment of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is not merely obnoxious, it is also blind to reality.
In reality, an independent state of Palestine has existed for the past 12 years in Gaza. Rather than build that up and declare independence, Abbas and his comrades surrendered Gaza to Hamas in 2007.
Hamas, in turn, transformed independent Palestine into a base for jihad.
Abbas’s failure to declare independence in 2005 – and the subsequent failure of his US-trained forces to defend their control over Gaza in June 2007 from Hamas terrorists – is generally overlooked. But it is critical that Trump understand the significance of his behavior before he meets with Abbas.
Since the inception of the peace process between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the professed goal of the PLO has been to establish an independent Palestinian state on any territory over which it was able to take control from Israel. Yet 12 years ago, when Israel withdrew its citizens and military from Gaza, the PLO refused to take responsibility for the area insisting ridiculously that Gaza was still controlled by Israel.
Netanyahu boycotts German FM over meeting with leftist NGO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a strong message to Germany Tuesday, canceling his scheduled meeting with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel over the visitor’s plan to meet with left-wing human rights groups, his office said.
Despite protestations from the German minister that the prime minister’s cancellation of the meeting would not affect ties, Netanyahu’s reaction was unusually harsh given Israel’s close diplomatic and military relationship to Germany.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policy is not to meet foreign visitors who on diplomatic trips to Israel meet with groups that slander IDF soldiers as war criminals,” his office said in a statement. “Diplomats are welcome to meet with representatives of civil society but Prime Minister Netanyahu will not meet with those who lend legitimacy to organizations that call for the criminalization of Israeli soldiers.”
“Our relations with Germany are very important and they will not be affected by this,” the statement said.
On Monday, Netanyahu’s office said he would not receive the German dignitary as planned if he went ahead with his Tuesday meeting with Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that publishes anonymous testimonies of former Israeli combat soldiers who report on human rights violations against Palestinians.
The cancellation came hours after Gabriel rejected the ultimatum. (h/t Jo Shmo)
Top Palestinian official to Germany Pressure Israel to make peace
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday called on the international community to pressure Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.
“I renew our call on Germany, the European Union, the United States, and the international community to pressure Israel to fulfill the requirements of achieving peace,” Hamdallah told a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel at his office in Ramallah.
The two major requirements for achieving peace are “establishing two states and ending military occupation,” according to Hamdallah.
Since the collapse of the last round of negotiations in 2014, the Palestinian leadership has consistently turned to the international community to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hamdallah also called on Germany to recognize the “State of Palestine,” which he said would “strengthen peace efforts and send a message that Palestine is a fact.”
Some 136 states have recognized “Palestine,” but the world’s most powerful states and the vast majority of Europe have yet to recognize a Palestinian state.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated several times in the past that Germany will not unilaterally recognize “Palestine.”
Austrian leader EU not sufficiently playing ‘economic card' with Israel, Palestinians
Europe is “punching below its weight” in terms of involvement in the Middle East diplomatic process, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said on Tuesday.
Speaking to a small group of journalists just prior to meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kern pointed out that Europe is the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, and also the biggest export market for Israel. Kern said that these economic facts give Europe a “good lever to influence the situation,” but that it is not sufficiently using that lever.
After mentioning that Europe is the largest donor to the PA, he said, “the question is are we really strategically playing that card – it doesn't look so, honestly speaking, but that is an issue that we have to discuss internally in Brussels.”
Europe, according to the Austrian leader on his first-ever visit to Israel, “ is seen as a soft power in a period where you have to face hard conflicts, so it is a little difficult to come on with your soft power concept,” he said, adding this is something Europe needs to “reconsider.”
“We have to play a role here because of our economic ties,” he said. “But on the other hand we have to respect that this is really a unique situation. The biggest mistake of Israel, as the saying goes, is that it was not founded between Austria and Switzerland – it would have made life much easier.”
NGO Monitor: Fact Sheet: German Funding to NGOs Active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
The German government directly and indirectly provides millions of euros to Israeli, Palestinian, and European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are politically active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This includes groups that glorify terrorism, promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, and some with alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist organization.
The Israeli NGO PASSIA implements a project together with the German public-benefit federal enterprise GIZ. In a publication funded by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, PASSIA calls the wave of stabbings that began in October 2015 a “youth uprising” and refers to “Palestinian martyr, Baha Eleyan” as an example. Eleyan was one of two murderers to board a bus in Jerusalem in October 2015 armed with a gun and a knife, murdering three and injuring seven. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a longtime funder of PASSIA, is a political foundation affiliated with the SPD party (of which German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is a member).
The German government’s direct and indirect funding is also distributed to a number of organizations with alleged ties the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel.
The Palestinian NGO Al-Haq, a leader of BDS and lawfare campaigns, has been receiving direct German government funding since 2013, as well as indirect funding through the German-funded NGO Medico International (MI). Al-Haq’s General Director, Shawan Jabarin, has alleged ties to the PFLP and has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan.
MI also funds the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a Palestinian NGO that was founded in 1968 by members of the PFLP and is an official PFLP “affiliate.” UAWC was identified by USAID as the agricultural arm of the PFLP.
Scholar whose work was used to justify Palestinian terror tapped to head US air force
US President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Pentagon’s Air Force Department has argued that national liberation movements may be justified in resorting to force, an interpretation of international law that has been used by critics of Israel to support actions by Palestinian terrorists.
Heather Wilson’s 1988 book “International Law and the Use of Force by National Liberation Movements” argues that militant action is justified when used by liberation movements attempting to throw off the yoke of colonialism, while force should not be employed to suppress such movements.
“In this post-colonial world, the denial of self-determination is generally considered to be an evil of such magnitude that the use of force to secure it may be justified,” she wrote, and that “the use of force to deny the free exercise of a people’s right to self-determination is contrary to the principles of international law.”
Wilson, a former Republican House member from New Mexico in 1998-2009, was nominated by Trump in January to lead the Air Force department inside the Pentagon, but has yet to be confirmed.
She also served as director for European defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council during former president George H.W. Bush’s administration.
Pro-Palestinian activist and controversial academic Norman Finkelstein cited Wilson’s work at the height of the 2014 Israel-Hamas war to justify Hamas’s actions against Israel and accuse Israel of illegally pursuing its military campaign in that flareup.
Blasting Le Pen, Rivlin calls for ‘war’ on new kind of Holocaust denial
President Reuven Rivlin on Monday called for a “war” against a new kind of Holocaust denial taking root across Europe today, and bitterly criticized far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the end of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Rivlin said an attempt by some in Europe to universalize the Shoah is more dangerous than the mere refusal to acknowledge that the mass murder of Jews had taken place.
While traditional Holocaust denial was a fringe phenomenon that convinced few, turning all Europeans into victims undermines the core message of Holocaust commemorations for decades to come and subsumes the unique targeted destruction of the Jewish community by the Nazi regime, he argued.
Without mentioning names, Rivlin criticized Le Pen and other European politicians for shirking their respective countries’ responsibility in having collaborated with the Nazi regime.
In the same vein, Rivlin warned Israel against cooperating with extremist parties on the continent, again clearly referring to Le Pen, who in Sunday’s French presidential elections came in second with 21.5 percent. Le Pen will face off against her centrist rival, Emmanuel Macron, in a second round next month.
“Some two weeks ago a French presidential candidate denied France’s responsibility for the deportation of its Jewish citizens to the Nazi concentration and death camps,” Rivlin said at an event marking the close of Holocaust Remembrance Day at Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot.
Trump foresees a day when the UN will ‘get together and solve conflicts’
President Trump made some interesting comments on the United Nations today. He opened with criticism but ended on a more upbeat, if somewhat vague note. Speaking to a group of UN officials at the White House, President Trump said the UN Security Council had “failed again” to deal with Syria, adding that he was “very disappointed.” He added that the situation in North Korea was also “unacceptable.”
Trump also suggested, as he has done in the past, that the UN’s budget needed a close look. He went on to note that the United States pays a disproportionate amount of the UN budget, especially the peacekeeping budget.
But amid the criticism, the President also offered some praise for the UN’s work. “If we do a great job I care much less about the budget because you’re talking about peanuts compared to the important work you’re doing,” Trump said.
After finishing his prepared remarks, the president added, “I have long felt the United Nations is an underperformer but has tremendous potential.” He continued, “There are those people that think it’s an underperformer and it will never perform…I think the United Nations has tremendous potential, tremendous potential.”
“I see a day when there’s a conflict where the United Nations, you get together and you solve the conflict,” Trump said. He added, “You just don’t see the United Nations solving conflicts. I think that’s going to start happening now.”
WATCH LIVE: Trump speaks at Days of Remembrance Ceremony
US President Donald Trump is the keynote speaker in Tuesday's Days of Remembrance ceremony held by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, after speaking in honor of the week-long Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust one day following Israel's official Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"I'm deeply moved to stand before those who survived history's darkest hour," the president opened by saying.
"The State of Israel is an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people," he immediately followed, pointing to the significance of the Jewish state and its army for Diaspora Jewry and for the world at large following the horrors of the Holocaust.
Trump's appearance and speech at the ceremony has kicked off the week-long Days of Remembrance, which was first held in 1979 and later established by the US Congress as the American nation's commemoration of the Holocaust.
This year's commemoration week will take place between April 23 to April 29.
By speaking at the Museum's much-awaited yearly ceremony President Trump is joining the decades-long tradition of presidents past who have participated in the ceremonies.
Thousands sign petition against Trump speech at Holocaust museum
Thousands of American Jews have signed a petition challenging the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s invitation to US President Donald Trump to deliver the keynote remarks Tuesday during the National Days of Remembrance.
Launched Monday by Bend the Arc, a Jewish group that advocates for social justice causes, the petition by the following morning had almost 8,000 signatures.
“President Trump’s administration has repeatedly insulted the memory of the Holocaust, and embraced the agenda and rhetoric of white nationalism and anti-Semitism. So how can the US Holocaust Museum invite him to deliver the keynote remarks at the National Day of Remembrance?” the petition asks. “Jews across the country are outraged by this bizarre and unacceptable choice.
“While we recognize the longstanding tradition of American presidents giving remarks at this ceremony, this is not a normal president and this is not a normal moment. It is an insult to the memories of survivors, descendants, and allies that he would speak on this sacred day.”
Open Letter to National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster
During his first "all hands" staff meeting on February 23, President Donald Trump's new national security adviser, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, called terrorism "un-Islamic" and the term "radical Islamic terrorism" not helpful.
Prior to the meeting, retired U.S. Army Col. Peter Mansoor told Fox News that McMaster, with whom he served in Iraq during the 2007 surge of American troops, "absolutely does not view Islam as the enemy... and will present a degree of pushback against the theories being propounded in the White House that this is a clash of civilizations and needs to be treated as such."
Let us put McMaster's premise -- which is antithetical not only to that of his predecessor, Michael Flynn, but to Trump himself and many of his senior advisers -- to the test.
Less than three years ago, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh -- a grandchild of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Saudi school of Islam called Wahhabism -- said, in an August 19, 2014 statement, that Islamic State (ISIS), and al-Qaeda, are Islam's "enemy number one."
This would be a good sign, if not for the fact that four days earlier, Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and a Salafi (a strict sect of Sunni Islam advocating a return to the early Islam of the Quran), tweeted: "ISIS is a true product of Salafism and we must deal with it with full transparency."
Mattis: U.S. Must ‘Confront’ Russia Over Weapons Support for Taliban
The Trump administration expects to confront Russia for supplying the Taliban with weapons and strategic support to undermine the American-led coalition in Afghanistan, senior military officials said Monday.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said during a news conference in Kabul that the United States will "engage with Russia diplomatically" where possible, but hinted that action to challenge Russia may be necessary.
"We're going to have to confront Russia where what they're doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries," Mattis said. "For example, any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law."
Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top American commander in Afghanistan, stood beside Mattis as he confirmed Russia's material support for the Taliban. Nicholson declined to provide specifics of Moscow's role in the country.
A senior military official told reporters earlier in the day that the Kremlin was supplying the Taliban with machine guns and other "medium-weight weapons," the Associated Press reported. The Taliban are using the weapons against American-backed troops in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, and Uruzgan, according to the official.
Obama’s UN Ambassador Apologizes for Admin Not Calling Mass Killings of Armenians a Genocide
Former President Barack Obama's ambassador to the United Nations apologized Monday for the Obama administration not recognizing the century-old massacre of more than a million Armenians as genocide.
Samantha Power issued the apology via Twitter on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which commemorates the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks in 1915 and 1916.
According to the U.S. Holocaust Museum, as many as 1.2 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman authorities over those two years.
Back in 2008, then-candidate Obama promised that if he were to become president, he and his administration would officially recognize the killings as genocide.
"I also share with Armenian Americans–so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors–a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history," a 2008 Obama campaign statement said.
Obama failed to follow through on his promise year after year of his presidency.
The United States has not recognized the mass killings largely because doing so would anger Turkey, a longtime U.S. ally and NATO member.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Permalink to Study: Arabs Achieve ‘Native’ Status In 1 Generation; Jews, Never
New research findings may explain how Arab migrants from around the Mediterranean basin and Arabian Peninsula and their descendants acquire indigenous status in the Holy Land more or less immediately, while Jews, whose civilization and culture originated in the land, are forever condemned to “invader” status, scientists reported today.
Researchers at the Royal Amman Central Institute for Scientific Thought (RACIST) claim to have described the mechanism by which Jews can never be indigenous, whereas Arabs are seen as legitimate inhabitants of wherever they live. The RACIST team laid out their hypothesis and supporting evidence in the Journal of International Human Activity and Development (JIHAD).
Lead RACIST author Darrel Islam told PreOccupied Territory in a telephone interview that the capacity of Arabs, primarily Muslim Arabs, to attain native status within a single generation, and the contrasting lack of capacity for Jews to do the same through many generations, is a function of genetics. “For centuries, it was thought to be a social phenomenon, but in fact it’s purely biological,” he explained. “The receptors in the cell membranes of Arab-Muslims adapt quickly to bond with the compounds associated with the local milieu.”
“In contrast,” he continued, “Jews lack these receptors entirely. A preliminary hypothesis held that a mutation occurred among Jews around the time they rejected Muhammad, but that did not adequately account for many previous generations of Jews not belonging in Palestine.”
Troops shoot Palestinian who tried to stab soldier — IDF
IDF troops shot a Palestinian man who attempted to stab them outside an army base in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, the military said.
No Israelis were reported injured in the attack.
The assailant was in serious-to-critical condition. He received treatment on the scene from IDF medics before being taken to Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital for further treatment, a hospital spokesperson said.
The incident occurred at a bus stop outside the headquarters of the army’s Samaria Regional Brigade, near the Hawara Junction outside Nablus.
An IDF spokesperson said the suspect “took out a knife and ran at the troops.”
According to the army, the soldiers were in immediate danger and thus opened fire at their would-be attacker.
The spokesperson said the soldiers followed the “standard” rules of engagement for such an incident.
Is Israel planning to strike more Lebanese sites in next Hezbollah war
The IDF Military Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek hinted strongly on Tuesday that he will approve a wider range of Lebanese targets than were approved in the 2006 Lebanon War in the event of a new war with Hezbollah.
Speaking at a Ramat Gan conference of military Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers from as many as 20 countries around the world, Afek said that “Hezbollah’s integration into state institutions raises questions of state responsibility.”
He continued saying, “Hezbollah’s location of its military assets in dense urban areas raise questions about how to implement the principle of proportionality.”
All of this is in the context in which Israel’s newer foes like Hezbollah “create operational and strategic challenges by the fact that they directly target civilian populations, act in urban environments and make ground operations necessary in order to locate their military assets,” said Afek.

While legal advisers like the MAG never completely share their hand in advance of a war of what targets they will approve, it is even rare for such advisers to publicly and specifically cite a potential targeting issue.
The statement was that much more unusual with an ongoing line of reports from the security establishment that in a future conflict with Hezbollah, the IDF would “take off the gloves” and attack wider Lebanese targets. In contrast, in the 2006 Lebanon War, the IDF overwhelmingly focused its attacks on Hezbollah controlled areas in order to avoid striking Lebanese-Sunni and Christian areas viewed as unaffiliated with Hezbollah’s military actions.
Expert: Lebanese Gov’t Exists Because Iran’s Proxy Hezbollah Permits It
Lebanon’s government does not function independently, but rather “exists merely because the Iranian proxy terrorist organisation, Hezbollah, allows it to exist,” a retired Australian military officer wrote Monday in The Australian.
Jim Molan, who had served as chief of operations in Iraq and authored Australia’s border control policies, observed that the current calm along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel is deceptive. “[It] is quiet because Hezbollah wants it that way at present,” Molan wrote, noting that Hezbollah is currently busy supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in neighboring Syria.
Hezbollah is Iran’s “most reliable proxy,” and the skills and experiences it gained in Syria will be used wherever Iran next decides it “wants trouble to occur,” likely on the Lebanon-Israel border. Hezbollah receives 80 percent of its $1 billion budget from Iran, according to Molan.
The threat Hezbollah poses to Israel is even greater than the one posed by Hamas, Molan wrote. The Gaza-based terrorist organization had an estimated 10,000 rockets and fired 6,000 of them into Israel during its 2014 war, causing scores of casualties. Hezbollah, by contrast, has more than 100,000 rockets and missiles at its disposal, and is believed to be capable of launching “260 rockets accurately and with long range at Israel every six hours, up to 1200 rockets a day,” Molan observed. Hezbollah’s rocket and missile arsenal is believed to exceed that of 27 NATO nations combined.
In ‘historic’ step, first female judge appointed to Israel’s sharia courts
Israel on Tuesday appointed the country’s first-ever female judge to serve in the country’s sharia court system.
The unanimous appointment of Hana Khatib, hailed by some Arab lawmakers as “historic,” was carried out by the Committee to Elect sharia judges, known as qadis, which is headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
Khatib is from the town of Tamra, located in the lower Galilee region. She practices family and sharia law, according to an online advertisement for her firm.
Sharia courts in Israel deal with personal status issues for the Muslim community, such as marriage, divorce, conversion, inheritance and prevention of domestic violence.
They have existed in what is now Israel since early Ottoman times and through the British Mandate, and were recognized by the State of Israel upon its founding in 1948.
Settler drummer gatecrashes Palestinian wedding
An Israeli musician surprised participants at a Palestinian wedding last week at which he showed up uninvited and began playing a drum, drawing partygoers to sing and dance around him.
In a post to his Facebook page, Yoni Sharon wrote that he was on his way home to the West Bank settlement of Kfar Eldad, just southeast of Jerusalem, after giving a performance, when he noticed a wedding in a nearby Palestinian village “that I had to go to,” even though he wasn’t invited.
The accompanying video shows Sharon playing his darbuka drum as Arabic music plays in the background, with a crowd of Palestinian men standing around him and watching.
As Sharon continues to play, the excitement of the crowd gradually grows, and by the end of the video Sharon is surrounded by revelers singing and dancing.
Abbas may cut off cash to Gaza, marking break with West Bank
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is set to issue a dramatic ultimatum to the Gaza Strip’s terrorist Hamas rulers, demanding that they either hand over governance of the area or face a funding freeze, sources close to the Palestinian leader said.
Should the PA stop all payments to the Gaza Strip it would mark a complete break between the West Bank, which Abbas controls, and the coastal enclave, which is ruled by Hamas. Needless to say, such an ultimatum would significantly ramp up tensions between Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas.
Hamas seized power in Gaza from the PA in a violent coup in 2007. Israel and Egypt then initiated a blockade officially geared toward preventing the terror group, avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel, from importing weaponry and materiel into Gaza.
While a PA threat to sever ties with Gaza might sound not sound like a major shift — the PA doesn’t exercise control of the coastal enclave – for Palestinians, the move would have dramatic and far-reaching implications.
First, it would constitute official recognition of the split between Gaza and the West Bank, a divide that over the past decade Fatah and Hamas refused to acknowledge.
Terrorist involved in infamous 1987 glider attack killed in Syria
A Syrian militia claimed Monday that an alleged Israeli airstrike northeast of Quneitra, near the Israel-Syria border, on Sunday, was in fact a surgical strike meant to assassinate an operative involved in an infamous terrorist attack that took place in northern in Israel in the late 1980s.
Arab media outlets reported Sunday that Israeli fighter jets struck the Nabe' al-Fawar base in the outskirts of Quneitra, killing three people. The base was reportedly used by the so-called "homeland protection" militia.
The report of a strike was not corroborated by any Israeli source.
On Monday, however, the Jibril Front, a militia whose troops fight with the Syrian army against rebel forces, distributed flyers confirming that Palestinian terrorist Abd al-Rahim Ahmed Atik, who commanded the 1987 Night of the Gliders attack in northern Israel, was killed in the strike, saying he was assassinated by Israel.
The Night of the Gliders attack took place on Nov. 25, 1987, when two Palestinian terrorists infiltrated Israel from Southern Lebanon using hang gliders. While security forces were able to kill one terrorist almost immediately upon landing, the other was able to infiltrate an IDF base near the border, kill six soldiers and wound eight others before being shot dead by other soldiers.
Atik, who masterminded dozens of terrorist attacks, was the commander of the "Palestine force" in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command, founded in the late 1960s by archterrorist Ahmed Jibril.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Says Anti-Tunnel Barrier Displaces Thousands Of Underground Palestinians (satire)
Leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian officials decried Israel’s construction of a subterranean wall to block infiltration from the Gaza Strip, accusing the Jewish State of continuing its policy of expelling Palestinians, this time the Palestinians who reside underground where the barrier is under construction.
Excavation and construction began in earnest last month on the barrier, which the IDF claims is a necessary measure to counter the threat of terrorists using tunnels to enter Israel and commit violent acts. A Hamas spokesman and several other high-ranking Palestinian figures lambasted Israel for conducting the work, which by necessity would displace untold numbers of Palestinians who until now resided peacefully in the underground areas slated for the barrier.
“This is yet another war crime in the growing litany of Zionist atrocities,” charged Mahmoud al-Zahar of Hamas. “Countless Palestinians have been rendered refugees at the hands of the ape-pig Jew invaders – that is, if the monsters implementing this policy even gave our innocent brethren time to move. The Palestinian people will not sit idly as this ethnic cleansing continues.” Al-Zahar declined to specify the form of resistance his organization will pursue, but tens of thousands of Palestinian rockets at Israeli communities have characterized protests in Gaza for the last two decades.
“The international community must condemn this war crime and act to stop it,” echoed Fatah official Saeb Erekat. “Thousands of my family members live underground in that area, and their cruel displacement by Israel once again demonstrates Netanyahu is not serious about peaceful resolution of the conflict. We call on the Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel at once.”
The Iran Nuclear Deal: Worse Than We Imagined
It is deeply ironic that, in an era when politicians of both parties complain about “fake news,” Congress endorsed an agreement that mandated falsities. The only silver-lining to the objection of Zarif is that “make every effort” is ill-defined and is not infinite. Let us hope that, however Obama and Kerry interpreted the passage, Trump and Tillerson embrace the notion that “every effort” does not extend to lying, as Zarif seems to suggest it should.
As damaging as the JCPOA was—it completely reversed the precedent established by the dismantling of South Africa and Libya’s nuclear programs and left Iran with more centrifuges than Pakistan had when it built not a nuclear weapon but an entire arsenal—equally destructive was the Obama administration’s willingness to unravel investigations into Iran’s secret procurement program which seems to have continued even after the JCPOA was signed.
Regardless of how the Obama administration described their nuclear deal with Iran, it increasingly looks like history will judge the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as being as bad as or worse than the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea.
Long before Donald Trump allowed—temporarily—strategist and former Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon onto the National Security Council, President Obama ensconced Ben Rhodes on the council to coordinate spin and media strategy. Rhodes famously created an echo chamber to downplay or deny weaknesses in the agreement.
Two new revelations highlight just how dishonest senior Obama administration officials—especially Secretary of State John Kerry and his immediate staff—were in their handling of Iran.
Report: Obama Admin Blocked Counter-Proliferation Efforts Against Iran During Iran Deal Negotiations
Naturally, prosecutors and agents were enraged that their painstaking, years-long work was being sabotaged by the Obama administration, allowing national security threats to escape justice, which the administration "downplayed."
"Even though these men's crimes posed a direct threat to U.S. national security, the administration has essentially told them their efforts have produced nothing more than political capital that can be traded away when politically expedient," David Locke Hall, an ex-DOJ counter-proliferation prosecutor, told Politico.
David Albright, who has conducted "decades of scientific research into Iran’s secret nuclear weapons" and is in "regular close contact with federal authorities" as a result, told Politico, "We are shooting ourselves in the foot, destroying the infrastructure that we created to enforce the laws against the Iranians."
Iran is still believed to have been continuing their illicit proliferation efforts, but agents are unable to pursue cases against them because the United States' counter-proliferation efforts are still murky, although there is some optimism that the new administration will provide "more support for their efforts."

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