Thursday, April 27, 2017

From Ian:

Palestinians: This is How We Intimidate Journalists
In the world of the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, a journalist's loyalty to his leaders and their cause supersedes his loyalty to the truth. In a word, it is the truth vs. Abbas's security forces.
As the international media relies heavily on Palestinian journalists and "media assistants" in covering Palestinian affairs, this intimidation of Palestinian journalists heavily colors the reporting of Western journalists. The stories Palestinian journalists tell their Western colleagues are limited to ones that will not endanger their own lives. This censorship, whether by the Abbas's security forces or self-imposed, explains why one rarely reads or sees a story in Western mainstream media about negative things happening in the PA-controlled territories.
Even when their Palestinian colleagues are beaten and arrested by Abbas's security forces, these "journalists" fail to report such incidents. This makes some sense: should they open their mouths with the truth, Abbas and his cohorts might indeed stop inviting them to press conferences and banquets in the fancy restaurants of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.
Eugene Kontorovich: Palestine, Uti Possidetis Juris, and the Borders of Israel
Israel’s borders and territorial scope are a source of seemingly endless debate. Remarkably, despite the intensity of the debates, little attention has been paid to the relevance of the doctrine of uti possidetis juris to resolving legal aspects of the border dispute. Uti possidetis juris is widely acknowledged as the doctrine of customary international law that is central to determining territorial sovereignty in the era of decolonization. The doctrine provides that emerging states presumptively inherit their pre-independence administrative boundaries.
Applied to the case of Israel, uti possidetis juris would dictate that Israel inherit the boundaries of the Mandate of Palestine as they existed in May, 1948. The doctrine would thus support Israeli claims to any or all of the currently hotly disputed areas of Jerusalem (including East Jerusalem), the West Bank, and even potentially the Gaza Strip (though not the Golan Heights). VIEW PDF
Evelyn Gordon: Israel’s Wrongheaded Retreat on BDS
Regardless of whether you support or oppose a new law allowing Israel to bar entry to prominent supporters of anti-Israeli boycotts, one outcome was eminently predictable: Israel would lack the guts to enforce it even when doing so was most justified. That was amply proven by Wednesday’s decision to grant a one-year work visa to Human Rights Watch researcher Omar Shakir. By this decision, Israel eviscerated the one crucial point the law got right, despite the many it got wrong: You cannot wage an effective war on the BDS movement while giving the people behind it a pass. As the old truism goes, people are policy.
Shakir is the epitome of someone who should have been denied entry, and his case exemplifies why the law’s basic assumption–that boycotters must be targeted personally–is 100 percent correct. He has given lectures on college campuses in which he accused Israel of being an apartheid state, advocated anti-Israel boycotts, compared Zionism to “Afrikaner nationalism,” rejected a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the grounds that it would “institutionalize injustice,” and called for ending Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. His resume also includes a stint as a legal fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization that provides legal assistance and training to BDS activists and files war crimes suits against Israeli defense officials. Nor would discovering all this require any great research skills on the part of government officials; it’s all in a handy memo, complete with links, that NGO Monitor published in December.
Yet in his new role as HRW’s “Israel and Palestine director,” Shakir is supposed to oversee the production of unbiased, objective reports about human rights violations in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Needless to say, the very idea is fatuous; when someone has already made up his mind that Zionism is racism, Israel practices apartheid and a Jewish state has no right to exist, expecting him to produce unbiased research on this subject is like expecting the head of the Ku Klux Klan to preside fairly over the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman. Instead, Shakir will spend his year here producing reports full of vicious anti-Israel slurs. Thanks to the “halo effect” enjoyed by all human rights organizations, those findings will be treated as credible by numerous well-meaning people overseas and will further undermine Israel in the international arena.

PMW: Abbas' appointee: Israel uses sex to fight Arabs and Muslims
In March this year, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas posed for pictures in his office with the Antisemitic PA TV host Imad Hamato, who Abbas appointed dean of Gaza's Al-Azhar institutes in October 2016. This month, official PA TV rebroadcast one of Hamato's many Antisemitic hate lessons from 2015, which Palestinian Media Watch has documented.
In this lesson, Abbas' appointee taught viewers of his weekly program This is Our Religion that Israel is waging a "war" against Arabs and Muslims and its most successful weapon is "sex mania which it distributes globally"!
Imad Hamato, appointed by PA Chairman Abbas as dean of Gaza Al-Azhar schools, host of weekly PA TV program on Islam: "Our conflict today between us and Israel is the conflict between spirit and body. Israel's global media has expanded, and its war against the Arabs and Muslims is through sex mania which it distributes globally. Israel had to use this sex mania, as we mentioned in a previous lesson, in order to destroy the spirit of Arabs and Muslims. Everything among the Muslims has died, except for their lust. Therefore we see filth and immodesty on many satellite channels, pictures and ads for penis enlargement and for all sorts of things. All of these are contrary to modesty. Why? Because the Jews, as it is said in the Quran, believe only in the body, not in the spirit. The Jews, according to our religion, believe only in the body." [Official PA TV, June 12, 2015 and April 14, 2017]
Among the "bad" things Israel has "given to the world," Hamato listed "the use of drugs and pills," and stated that Israel in cooperation with the CIA spreads "mood enhancers" and "hallucinatory substances" to "destroy what remains of our children's values":
PMW: PA cuts salaries to Gaza workers, but not to terrorist prisoners
As the Palestinian Authority’s economic warfare with Hamas continues, the PA announced it is cutting salaries to state employees in Gaza, but is not cutting the salaries it pays to terrorist prisoners including murderers and released terrorists who will continue receiving their full salaries.
This was announced by the Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake yesterday. Karake’s announcement shows again what Palestinian Media Watch has been documenting to legislators around the world in its report The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud: That it is the PA government which determines and pays the salaries to terrorists:
“Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake... said in an exclusive statement... that the cuts approved by the [PA] Palestinian government to the salaries of the state employees in Gaza will not harm the released prisoners or the prisoners in the Israeli occupation’s prisons, and noted that the cuts in the employees’ salaries are related to the existing situation in the Gaza Strip.”
[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, April 26, 2017]
This action comes at the very time that many countries, including the US, Britain and Israel, have expressed strong and repeated condemnations of the PA policy of paying salaries to terrorist prisoners, and some countries are threatening to cut off all funding to the PA.
May urged to secure pledge from PA over Bladon murder
Labour Friends Of Israel want Mahmoud Abbas to confirm British student murderer will not be paid a terrorist salary - and call on the PA leader to condemn brutal killing of the Birmingham University student in Jerusalem
Theresa May’s government has been urged to seek assurances from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas that the man who murdered a British student in Jerusalem last week will not now be paid a salary by the PA for his act of terrorism.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister, Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan MP also called on the British government to request that the PA publically condemns the murder of Hannah Bladon by Jamil Tamimi on a tram earlier this month.
The UK sends £25 million to the PA in aid every year, and there is longstanding concern that British taxpayers’ money has been used to pay “salaries” to convicted terrorists.
Fatah official praises Hamas: Fatah and Hamas are in one trench against Israel
Rally in the West Bank for the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Hamas terrorist organization
TRANSCRIPT: Member of Fatah Central Committee Abbas Zaki: "I say here on behalf of Fatah - at all its levels - how much we hope for cooperation [with Hamas] in events and true cooperation in policy, in order to be in one trench again against our common enemies, against Israel."
(Audience applauds) "O the Al-Qassam Brigades (i.e., Hamas’ military wing)"
Abbas Zaki: "Blessings to the Al-Qassam Brigades."
Abbas Zaki: "Anyone who bore arms for Palestine is holy and important to us, as he bore arms while knowing that his soul and property are a sacrifice for the homeland whether he lives in prison or in Paradise... Blessings also to anyone who bore arms from the different factions."
[Al-Jazeera YouTube channel, Dec. 17, 2016]

French police blow up suspicious car outside synagogue
A suspicious vehicle parked outside a French synagogue was blown up by police sappers on Tuesday. The incident was later found to have been a false alarm.
The car was discovered outside the synagogue in the city of Metz in northeastern France. Police and army cordoned off the area and carried out a controlled explosion of the vehicle’s trunk.
After carrying out the explosion, police reported that no bombs were found in the car.
“Sappers intervened after a stolen vehicle was discovered parked not far from the synagogue,” Hervé Niel, director of the region’s department of public security, told AFP. However, he said, it turned out that there was no malicious intent and nothing suspicious was discovered.
Located near the borders of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz has been home to Jews since at least the ninth century. The current synagogue, in Rabbin Élie-Bloch Street, was built in 1840.
David Singer: United Nations Must Trash False Information on Arab-Jewish Conflict
The United Nations Study titled “The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988” (“Study”) has coughed up yet another piece of false information following that exposed in my last article – which indicates increasingly that the United Nations has been complicit in disseminating false information on the Arab-Jewish conflict for almost the last forty years.
The Study was published in June 1978 by the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat (DPRUNS) for, and under the guidance of, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIARPP)
I had only reached the third paragraph of the 275 page Study when the following statement caught my attention:
“The decision on the Mandate [for Palestine] did not take into account the wishes of the people of Palestine”
I could scarcely believe this dishonest statement had actually originated in a United Nations official publication – especially as the evidence contradicting this falsehood was sitting in the United Nations own archives.
Israeli UN Envoy Lashes Out Over Barghouti Security Council Letter, Calls Jailed Palestinian Terrorist’s Actions ‘No Different Than Those of ISIS’
Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon has reacted angrily to a letter penned by jailed Palestinian terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti that was distributed to Security Council members this week.
“Barghouti is a terrorist and a murderer,” Ambassador Danon said in a statement on Tuesday. “His actions glorify death and bloodshed [and] are no different than those of ISIS which seeks to spread its hateful ideology throughout the world using terror.”
Last week, as reported by The Algemeiner, Danon told the Security Council that the exaltation of terrorists like Barghouti “not only distances us from peace, but dishonors the memories of the innocent victims.”
The 57-year-old Barghouti — the head of Fatah’s Tanzim armed wing and a founder of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades — orchestrated a string of deadly terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada before being arrested in Ramallah by Israeli troops in April 2002. He was convicted on murder charges by an Israeli court in May 2004 and sentenced to life in prison.
Barghouti is currently reported to be entering the second week of a hunger strike in protest against what he described as the “collective punishment against the Palestinian prisoners.”
Israel, US eyeing Trump visit on May 22-23
US President Donald Trump is to arrive in Israel for a whirlwind visit on the morning of May 22, and will leave in the early afternoon a day later, official sources in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel on Thursday.
The timing of his visit is significant, as it will be immediately before Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day, which begins on the evening of May 23.
Trump will only remain in Israel for a single night, and it is not yet known whether he will also visit the Palestinian Authority.
No previous US president has visited Israel in the first months of his term.
On Thursday a delegation of some 25 US officials landed in Israel to start planning what will be a key stop on Trump’s first trip overseas as president.
The officials held meetings at the Foreign Ministry, the President’s Residence and the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. On Friday, the delegation is scheduled to visit Jerusalem’s Old City, including the Western Wall, Masada and the Allenby border crossing with Jordan. However, members of the US delegation pointed out, in private conversations, that their destinations this week should not be viewed as a final indication that the president will also visit them next month.
By coming to Israel, Trump will be fulfilling a promise he made in December, before the elections, when he postponed a visit to the Jewish state.
Israeli newspaper reports Trump will recognize entire Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during trip
US President Donald Trump will reverse longstanding US policy by officially recognizing the entire city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but will not implement his election campaign pledge to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Thursday. There was no confirmation of the report.
According to the paper, Israel’s biggest selling daily, Trump will make the announcement during his upcoming visit to Israel, reportedly in late May — a trip the White House has confirmed it is “exploring.” He is also expected to express support for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the paper said.
Since Israel declared independence in 1948, US policy has been not to recognize any party as sovereign in any part of Jerusalem. During his election campaign, Trump vowed repeatedly to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, drawing fierce objections from the Palestinians. He will not announce an embassy move during his visit, the newspaper said, in its unsourced front page report.
Israel extended sovereignty to East Jerusalem and the Old City and claims the entire city as its capital; the Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
No US president has visited Israel in the first months of his term.
Israel may lose Europe in Jerusalem sovereignty battle at UNESCO
Israel fears Europe might abstain or support a resolution that would reject Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, which the UNESCO’s Executive Board in Paris is likely to vote on at its May 2 meeting, diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post.
Representatives from European nations and Arab states held consultations in Paris on Thursday to find a common text they could agree on for next Tuesday’s meeting.
Should they find a common text they can agree on, Israel fears it will be more difficult to sway other Executive Board members to reject that resolution or any other anti-Israel clauses in the text.
Israel is concerned that such a text would delegitimize the government of the Jewish state. Israel’s main governing bodies — its parliament, prime minister’s office, foreign ministry and supreme court — are all located in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem.
Isi Leibler: Unacceptable behavior
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel displayed unprecedented chutzpah and insensitivity ‎during his official visit to Israel to participate in ceremonies on Holocaust Remembrance Day ‎when he scheduled meetings with organizations that accuse the IDF of engaging in war crimes. ‎
Principal among these is Breaking the Silence, which virtually all sectors of the Israeli political ‎mainstream, including the opposition, have condemned -- not because it opposes or campaigns ‎against the government, but because it is a primarily foreign-sponsored fringe entity engaged ‎in a global campaign directed toward foreign governments to depict IDF soldiers as war ‎criminals.‎
It is not a left-wing group. Its members are vicious self-hating Jews. It keeps its sources -- ‎primarily anonymous -- confidential. It does not investigate or verify its findings with the IDF, ‎which examines and prosecutes all irregularities brought to its attention, but instead sends ‎emissaries abroad to undermine Israel's image. There has even been public debate in recent ‎months about the merits of introducing Knesset legislation to curb its global smear campaigns.‎
Why Netanyahu gave Germany’s FM the Silence treatment
When trying to understand what led Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his planned meeting with Sigmar Gabriel over the German foreign minister’s sit-down with a leftist NGO, it is easy to recall Henry Kissinger’s old adage that “Israel has no foreign policy; it has only a domestic policy.”
But the tale of how a top minister from a friendly country was declared persona non grata at the Prime Minister’s Office has international dimensions as well. Netanyahu evidently wanted to gain favor with his right-wing base, but he and his aides were also aware of the move’s potentially far-reaching repercussions beyond Israel’s borders. After weighing the pros and cons, he nonetheless decided to go ahead and boycott the foreign minister of the country with which the Jewish state has the most sensitive relations of all. Did he get his calculations right?
The saga started when Netanyahu’s office presented Gabriel with an ultimatum ahead of his first visit to Israel as foreign minister: either he canceled his planned sit-down with Breaking the Silence, or he would be disinvited from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Few organizations are more despised on the Israeli right — and by many who are not on the right — than Breaking the Silence, which publishes anonymous testimonies documenting alleged human rights abuses by Israeli soldiers. Hence, the decision to punish Gabriel for meeting the NGO’s leadership played well with Netanyahu’s political base and even won him rare accolades from some political rivals. Even the opposition did not rush with its usual enthusiasm to accuse him of destroying Israel’s foreign relations by snubbing Angela Merkel’s foreign minister and vice chancellor.
Analysis: Germany’s Social Democrats pivot toward PLO and Iran
German Foreign and Vice Chancellor Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s move to pick a fight with Benjamin Netanyahu come as no surprise to longterm observers of Gabriel and his Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) explicit pivot toward Fatah and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Netanyahu told Gabriel he was not prepared to meet with him if he went ahead with meetings with organizations (i.e. Breaking the Silence) that seek to delegitimize the Jewish state and the IDF.
Gabriel refused to pull the plug on his meetings and the row mushroomed into a full-blown diplomatic crisis.
“Gabriel’s deliberate uproar” was the title of Alex Feuerherdt’s article on the website of the Mena Watch think tank. Feuerherdt, a journalist and expert in German-Israel relations, hammered away at the SPD’s growing anti-Israel tendencies and the largely monolithic media and political criticism in Germany of Netanyahu’s cancellation.
He noted the double standard in Germany: There was not a bleep of protest over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to punish Israel for construction of buildings in the disputed territories by canceling her May trip to Israel, noted Feuerherdt.
Gabriel is, of course, no stranger to slashing language that assaults Israel’s raison d’être, namely, political Zionism.
He termed Israel’s presence in Hebron an “apartheid regime.” His partisan views are clearly written on the wall. For Gabriel, Mahmoud Abbas is a “friend’ and his SPD party declared itself to be in a “strategic partnership” with Abbas’s Fatah party.
US defends Breaking the Silence as ‘important’ for Israeli discourse
The US State Department on Wednesday defended the controversial Breaking the Silence NGO as fulfilling an “important” role in Israeli society.
A day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a meeting with visiting German Foreign Sigmar Gabriel over the latter’s planned sit-down with the left-wing organization, State Department deputy spokesperson Mark C. Toner said it was not Washington’s place to comment on the Israeli prime minister’s schedule.
“More broadly about this group, I think we would regard it as important that any functioning civil society has these types of groups and the diverse viewpoints,” Toner, a career diplomat, told reporters during the State Department’s daily briefing. “That’s a vital part of any functioning democracy.”
Netanyahu’s dramatic decision to disinvite Gabriel, mere hours before they were scheduled to meet, marked another low point in German-Israel relations, which have been privately frosty for years.
IsraellyCool: New Hollywood Lawsuit Focuses On Whether Operation Protective Edge Was A War
One of my favorite scenes from Seinfeld (and there are many) was the following, in which Seinfeld and Kenny Bania argued over whether soup is a meal.
We are now seeing this scene play out in real life, except the soup is Operation Protective Edge, Seinfeld is Universal Cable Productions, and Bania is Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company.
Note: the following report is written really poorly when it comes to what happened during Operation Protective Edge (e.g. separating Israeli victims into civilians and combatants but not so for the palestinian ones; referring to terrorists as ‘militants’; suggesting Hamas only began firing rockets after we accused them of murdering our boys) but that is not the subject of this post.
The production of a USA Network show was suspended due to Hamas rocket fire into Israel, and now comes a clash over the meaning of “war.”
Of course, it’s not quite that simple, as evidenced by a clash between Universal Cable Productions and Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company over USA Network’s Dig, a mystery-thriller miniseries set in Jerusalem that premiered in 2015. That show about an American FBI agent investigating a death wasn’t a particularly critical or commercial success, and might be forgotten but for its shot at immortality thanks to what happened in the summer of 2014.
IDF troops come under fire near Gaza, respond with tank fire
An IDF tank destroyed a Hamas position in the central Gaza Strip, after shots were fired at Israeli troops operating near the security fence on Thursday morning, the army said.
No one was injured, and no damage was caused by the gunshots at the Israeli soldiers, according to the military.
No terrorist group immediately took credit for the attack. But the IDF targeted a Hamas post, in accordance with Israeli policy that sees the terrorist group, which rules the Strip, as ultimately responsible for any attack from the coastal enclave.
The troops were “carrying out routine activities near the border” when they came under fire, the army said.
They were on the Israeli side of the fence at the time of the attack, an IDF spokesperson said.
A short while after the gunshots were fired, the Israeli tank targeted the Hamas site in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, according to the terrorist group.
Syria says IAF hit Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus
Arab media reported Thursday that an Israeli strike hit a Hezbollah arms supply depot near Damascus International Airport. The depot was said to store regular supplies of Iranian weapons shipped to Syria via commercial and military cargo planes, meant for the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group.
Speaking with the Syrian Arab News Agency, a senior Syrian military official confirmed the weapons depot had been struck and attributed the attack to Israel. "Syria will retaliate on the Israeli aggression," he declared.
In an interview with Army Radio Thursday, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz stopped short of confirming Israeli involvement, saying only that the incident in Syria "absolutely matches our declared policy, to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah Iran. Naturally, I don't want to elaborate on this. ... The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicate an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act."
According to reports, five airstrikes on the compound took place at around 3:30 a.m., destroying what an unnamed intelligence source said was "a significant amount of weapons." He said the arms depot got a major part of the weapons supplied to an array of Iranian-backed militias, led by Hezbollah, which have thousands of fighters engaged in some of the toughest fronts against Syrian rebels.
Russia condemns alleged Israeli missile strike in Syria
The Kremlin on Thursday called for restraint after Syria accused Israel of firing several missiles at a military position near Damascus airport.
“We continue to consider that all countries need to refrain from any kind of actions that lead to an increase in tension in this already restive region and call for respect of the sovereignty of Syria,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russia, which has deployed its forces to back up the Syrian regime, has a hotline set up to avoid clashes with Israeli jets in the skies over the war-torn country.
Peskov did not confirm if Israel had warned Moscow of the strike, saying only that the two nations’ “defense ministries are in constant dialogue.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova later went further than the Kremlin and slammed the alleged Israeli strikes.
“Gross violations of Syrian sovereignty — no matter how they are justified — are unacceptable,” she said in a televised briefing. “Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria.”
Lawyer jailed for 7.5 years for serving as Hamas agent
An Israeli court on Thursday sentenced a lawyer to seven and a half years in prison for helping to relay information between Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails and the terror group’s leaders in the Gaza Strip.
Muhammad Abed, whose clients included security prisoners, was in contact with Firas Fidi, a Hamas activist who was convicted of carrying out terror attacks in Israel, sentenced to life imprisonment, and then released to Gaza as part of the 2011 prisoner swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
He was also convicted of being in touch with five “foreign agents,” with the aim of helping Hamas and harming state security.
In addition to the prison term, the Haifa District Court gave Abed a choice between one year’s suspended sentence, a NIS 50,000 ($13,700) fine to be paid by May 1, 2018, and an additional five months behind bars.
Hardline Muslim clerics slam appointment of Israel’s first female sharia judge
Muslim clerics slammed the appointment of the first-ever female judge to serve in Israel’s sharia court system on Thursday, warning Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked “not to intervene in matters of Islam.”
The religious officials, led by deputy head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal Khatib, said that “Islam does not allow a woman to be Qadit (a sharia judge),” according to the Ynet news website.
On Tuesday, Shaked’s Committee to Elect Sharia Judges unanimously appointed Hana Khatib, in a move hailed by some Arab lawmakers as historic.
Khatib is from the town of Tamra in the lower Galilee region. She specializes in family and sharia law, is married and has four children.
Who's afraid of Marwan Barghouti?
The truth is that even the Palestinians don't have too much respect for Barghouti, despite his victory in the 2016 Fatah Central Committee elections. Many in the conflicted organization would prefer that he continue to rot in jail. The tepid response to his call for a hunger strike, as well as the failure of the disturbances and the intifada he tried to launch, are clear evidence of his declining status.
Palestinian leaders and people closely familiar with Barghouti claim that he is a cunning and manipulative man, lacking the distinguished traits required to lead the Palestinian people. According to them, his demeanor is more befitting a gang leader or the head of a terror group and that he is essentially a coward who will avoid peace with Israel for fear of being deemed a traitor.
The Left's rationale for releasing this murderer and complying with his demands (cellphones) is best expressed in the saying "peace can only be made with enemies." This type of distorted logic, which stems from the assertion that of all people, a repeat terrorist like Barghouti is the right man to lead the Palestinians to the desired peace, is detached from reality and unfounded.
This deranged agenda was espoused in the media by one of the leading contenders for the leadership of the Israeli Left, who recently described himself as "a proud, declared leftist." Our leftist hero was even photographed hugging Jibril Rajoub, a certified terrorist just like Barghouti – who once said that if he had a nuclear bomb he would destroy Israel in a heartbeat. Fortunately, Barghouti will remain behind bars and continue to secretly eat meals, without a cellphone.
Palestinians hold mass strike in support of hunger-strikers
Palestinians held a general strike on Thursday in solidarity with hundreds of prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike for 11 days, with some officials calling it the largest in years.
Stores were closed and roads empty across the West Bank. In the city of Ramallah, several dozen people gathered at a tent set up in a central square where a protest march was to begin.
“This general strike is unprecedented in years,” said Khalil Rizeq of the Union of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce.
“All Palestinian industries, such as transportation, bakeries, stores, all of the private sector and commercial institutions are participating.”
The strike was called in all cities in the West Bank, with only doctors and students nearing graduation excluded.
PA tells Israel it will no longer pay for Gaza’s electricity
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday informed Israel it would no longer pay for electricity that the Jewish state supplies to the Gaza Strip, as a power crisis in the Hamas-run enclave deepened.
News of the PA refusal to sponsor electricity came in a statement by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri called the move “a dangerous escalation, and a fit of insanity.”
“We warn Israel against taking this move,” he said.
The move is one of a series of measures taken recently by the PA, aimed at forcing Hamas to either take full responsibility for the territory it governs, or to relinquish control back to the PA.
The PA’s power play comes during an existing energy crisis, after Hamas refused to buy fuel from the PA for the enclave’s only power plant.
Defiant Hamas says it won't be cowed by PA president's threats
Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas will not be cowed by threatened funding cuts, a senior leader said Wednesday, signaling escalating tensions between the terrorist group and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas has threatened to take "unprecedented" financial steps to force Hamas to cede control in Gaza, a territory it seized from his forces in 2007. Reconciliation attempts between rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza have failed.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority informed Israel it will no longer pay for the electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, a move that could lead to a complete power shutdown in the enclave.
Israel supplies only 30% of Gaza's power needs, or some 125 megawatts. The monthly power bill amounts to 40 million shekels ($11 million), which Israel deducts from the taxes it routinely collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli authorities deal with the PA on electrical and fuel supplies for Gaza because Israel does not engage with Hamas.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the move "a grave escalation and an act of madness."
Hamas Interior Ministry arrests Gazans for ‘spreading rumors’
A number of homicides in the past week have caused tensions among Gazans, leading Hamas to crack down on “people who circulate rumors and fake news on social media.”
The homicides, which have been widely discussed on social media, have led many residents to question Hamas’s ability to ensure the Strip’s security.
In one instance, Ismail Ghabayen, 70, was found dead in front of his house in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City.
In another homicide, a man murdered his wife in Rafah for unclear reasons.
A Gaza-based source told The Jerusalem Post that the recent killings demonstrate that “Hamas is not able to provide the same level of security as it has in the past.”
Clifford D. May: Iran's plane deals shouldn't fly
Sometimes international law is ambiguous. Sometimes not. When it comes to murdering civilians and using ‎chemical weapons to get the job done, there are no gray areas, no fuzzy lines, no mitigating circumstances. Such ‎practices are clearly and specifically prohibited under what's called "the law of war." That makes Bashar ‎Assad, Syria's dynastic dictator, a war criminal. And it makes Iran his chief accomplice.‎
As far back as 2005, Jane's Defense Weekly reported that Iran's rulers were actively helping Assad launch ‎an "innovative chemical warfare program" -- providing technology to build equipment that would produce ‎‎"hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent." ‎
When it comes to the Islamic republic, U.S. President Donald Trump and his advisers are under no illusions. "Everywhere ‎you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran," Defense Secretary James Mattis said last Wednesday ‎during a visit to Saudi Arabia. ‎
‎"Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaffirmed the same ‎day. The clerical regime, he added, "is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. ‎interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon and continuing to support attacks against Israel. ‎An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it."‎
Sanction Iran's Regime, Add IRCG to Terrorist List
It would seem that sanctions should be enforced and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) placed on the U.S. list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations -- to show that the U.S. stands for human rights, protects the innocent and tries to save the lives of those sentenced to death by Iran's corrupt government.
Bills to sanction Iran that are being presented in Canada or other Western countries are, in fact, receiving scant attention. Canada has been talking about reopening its Iranian embassy, and pro-Iran advocates, such as the Iranian Canadian Congress, are pushing back against legislation that condemns Iran.
Would any modern Western country really wish to appear to be on the side of this barbaric regime, or in any way to assist it?
'Israel won't let Iran establish foothold in Golan Heights'
Israel will not allow Iran and Hezbollah to amass forces near its border on the Golan Heights, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told senior Russian officials on Wednesday.
Lieberman, who arrived in the Russian capital to participate in the Sixth Moscow Conference on International Security, met with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, telling them that Israel was concerned by Iran's activities in Syria and its use of Syrian territory for smuggling arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Lieberman later told the press that Israel and Russia had an "effective coordination mechanism" in Syria. "Military officials from both sides have met nine times so far; this mechanism has proved effective in avoiding unnecessary friction," Lieberman said.
Lavrov and Lieberman also spoke about the situation in the Gaza Strip. Lieberman told Lavrov that the Hamas terrorist group ruling the area "collects taxes from the residents of the Gaza Strip but instead of using the revenues to improve the lives of the people, it manufactures rockets and digs tunnels."
The defense minister's statement was echoed by Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, who said Israel is seeking an "understanding" with the Trump administration that Iran must not be allowed to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria.

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