Wednesday, June 21, 2017

From Ian:

Haley Calls for UN to Designate Hamas as Terrorist Organization
U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Tuesday:
"Hamas is one of these forces of terror that yet again showed its true colors to the world earlier this month. It is a terrorist organization so ruthless that it will not hesitate to put the lives of innocent children on the line. A few weeks ago, UN officials discovered a tunnel underneath two schools run by the UN in Gaza. It was the exact type of tunnel that Hamas has used for years. These tunnels are what Hamas uses to smuggle in the materials they need to make rockets. Or to sneak into Israel to attack civilians or kidnap them in the dead of night."
"What is happening to the people of Gaza is heartbreaking. And it is so preventable. Gaza is prime real estate on the Mediterranean Sea. It has enormous potential. But the potential is being squandered by the terrorists who govern it."
"Make no mistake, Israel did not cause the problems in Gaza, even though it is often the usual suspect around here. Ten years ago, every Israeli soldier was withdrawn from Gaza, and for the last 10 years, there has not been a single Israeli settler in Gaza....We should never forget the responsibility for this humanitarian crisis rests squarely with the one group that actually controls Gaza: Hamas."
"I saw how this works firsthand. I walked through one of the terrorist tunnels coming out of the Gaza Strip, which Israel discovered and since secured. The top and sides of this tunnel were lined with solid, sturdy concrete. We know how badly Palestinians in Gaza need concrete to rebuild their homes. But here, in this tunnel, we see how Hamas uses the concrete Gaza receives - not to help the people, but to fortify its terrorist infrastructure."
"This Security Council must stand up to condemn Hamas' terror....We should condemn Hamas in this Council's resolutions and statements. We should name Hamas as the group responsible when rockets are fired from Gaza, or when fresh tunnels are discovered. And we should designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in a resolution, with consequences for anyone who continues to support it. That is how we can help build a more peaceful Middle East."
US Spokesperson Rebukes Veteran Arab Diplomat Over Remark to UN Security Council Comparing Gaza to ‘Concentration Camp’
A veteran Arab diplomat’s remark comparing the Gaza Strip with a “concentration camp” at a Security Council briefing drew a sharp rebuke from the US mission to the United Nations on Tuesday.
“Indecent and irresponsible remarks such as these are another example of the anti-Israel bias at the UN that has to end,” a spokesperson for the US mission to the UN told The Algemeiner following the speech at a Security Council meeting on “the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” given by Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister and UN envoy to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
During his address, Brahimi — who spoke as a member “The Elders,” a body of global influencers gathered under the auspices of former US President Jimmy Carter — sympathetically quoted a Palestinian woman in Gaza who told him, “Israel has put us in a concentration camp.”
Gaza has been under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade since the violent seizure of power by the Islamist terror organization Hamas in 2007. The Egyptians eased some crossing restrictions with Gaza in December 2016, while Israel enables the constant resupply of civilian and humanitarian goods into the coastal enclave. The UN’s own figures show that between 8,000-12,000 truckloads of goods cross from Israel into Gaza each month, including construction materials, medical supplies, IT hardware, foodstuffs and hygiene products.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, slammed Brahimi for having made “no mention of Israel’s legitimate right to defend its citizens.” Israel has faced three wars launched by Hamas from Gaza in the previous decade.
“The Security Council has provided a platform to antisemitic comments and a malicious blood libel,” Danon declared in a statement. “This one-sided obsession with Israel is beyond the pale. To accuse the Jewish state of using concentration camps is not only despicable, but it degrades the Security Council and the UN as a whole. We demand that the Security Council renounce Brahimi’s statement immediately.”
Iran’s Real Missile Target Wasn’t Syria
Former Secretary of State John Kerry has recently been making the rounds lobbying for a Nobel Peace Prize. Last week, for example, he traveled to Norway where he sat on a podium with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. There, both criticized the Gulf Arab state and the current U.S. administration. In Kerry’s quest for the prize, he either lied about U.S. allies or leaked highly classified intelligence by detailing the (still-classified) contents of conversations. Either way, he sought to depict himself as a peacemaker when, in reality, he emboldened and resourced the main source of instability in the region. In his quest to secure an accord and to cement his own personal legacy at any strategic cost, he watered down language about Iran’s ballistic missile program. This provided Iran with cover, or at least enough legal ambiguity, to pursue its ballistic missile program.
Kerry and his team knew Iran’s aggressive intent but did not care. Numerous Iranian officials—including those surrounding Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—have pledged to develop and even use nuclear weapons. It was Hassan Rouhani, as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, who managed, resourced, and oversaw Iran’s covert nuclear program to develop such weaponry. Indeed, he subsequently bragged about it.
Despite Iran lobbyists’ efforts to suggest that former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said that Israel’s should be wiped off the map, pictures from Tehran and Iran’s own official translations tell another story. When Major-General Hassan Moghadam died in an explosion at a missile laboratory and test facility in 2011, the Iranian press reported that his last will and testament asked that his epitaph read, “The man who enabled Israel’s destruction.” A year ago, Iran tested to ballistic missiles inscribed in Hebrew with calls for Israel’s destruction.
Iran’s immediate target might have been the Islamic State, but its ideological goal remains eradication of Israel. That the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards tweeted acknowledgment of such goal should not be as easily erased as his tweet. After all, Iran deal or not, it is the Revolutionary Guards and not Zarif who are in charge of the military applications of Iran’s nuclear program.

No, Daniel Barenboim, the Holocaust Didn’t Create Israel
The Argentine-Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim—who currently resides in Germany and has a record of anti-Israel pronouncements—recently contributed an op-ed to Haaretz repeating the oft-heard assertion that guilt over the Holocaust led “the world” to permit the creation of the Jewish state. In an open letter to Barenboim, Yehuda Bauer, an eminent historian of the Shoah, sets him straight.
In the decades before 1948, the Zionist movement laid the ground for a Jewish political entity in the land of Israel. It sought to settle large numbers of Jews there—mainly from Eastern Europe, where they faced persecution and were barred from immigrating elsewhere.
A large number of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews sought to go to Palestine. The Holocaust destroyed the potential pool of immigrants on which Zionism was based and, it seemed, the possibility of establishing that Jewish political entity. It is the fact of that entity’s establishment, despite the odds, that must be explained. . . .
You also presumably rely on the claim that Israel was established because of the “world’s” guilt over the Holocaust. The belief that world leaders felt remorse over what happened [during the war] is a Jewish myth. The archives from 1945-48 are open. Britain opposed a Jewish state. So did the U.S. State Department, which in March 1948, after the partition plan was approved in November 1947, proposed the establishment of an Anglo-American protectorate that would continue the [pre-war British policy of restricting immigration]. Its main provision was to hand the country, after ten years, to the Arab population. The Holocaust and the Jews’ fate in the war were irrelevant.
Israeli-American Advocacy Group Building Bipartisan Support for Taylor Force Act
The Israeli-American Coalition for Action, a non-profit advocacy group, has launched a new campaign to forge a bipartisan coalition in support of the Taylor Force Act, a bill seeking to cut US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over payments to the families of convicted terrorists.
“Over the course of the IAC for Action’s advocacy campaign, the group of lawmakers publicly supporting the Taylor Force Act — and the goals it advances — has grown significantly,” said Shawn Evenhaim, chairman of the IAC for Action. “We are proud that our campaign has helped drive a high-level, bipartisan effort to pass this important piece of legislation, and we will continue working with the Congress in support of the bill until it becomes law.”
The campaign is drawing on the group’s grassroots network of activists, professionals as well as prominent pro-Israel supporters, such as philanthropists Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban and Adam Milstein to encourage stronger bipartisan support for the bill.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) recently introduced the Taylor Force Act, which would make conditional US aid to the PA halting its payments to terrorists and their families. The Palestinian terror payments currently total about $300 million annually. The PA’s payments to imprisoned terrorists increases, according to the number of years they stay behind bars. The legislative bill is named for a former US Army officer murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Jaffa last year.
Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas Mocks Calls for Israeli Withdrawal to ’67 Lines’
US Congressman Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) recently offered an unusual take on calls for Israel to retreat to the 1967 lines.
Vargas was speaking at the Endowment for Middle East Truth’s (EMET) 11th annual “Rays of Light in the Darkness” dinner in Washington DC last Wednesday. EMET is a pro-Israel lobbying group.
Vargas represents the 51st Congressional district, which encompasses the San Diego region.
He began in a humorous vein, then segued into an affirmation that Israel’s historic rights to its land stretch back for thousands of years.
“I have a pet peeve when people talk about ’67’,” said Vargas, referring to those who urge Israel to return to “the ’67 lines.” Israel “is one of the few countries in the world that existed in the year 67. There was no United States in [the year] 67. [So] when people say that we should ‘go back to the 67 lines,’ I’m OK with that — the lines may be twice as long, but the neighbors may not.”
Ex-TSA chief lauds Israel ties, says more to come
The former head of the US Transportation Security Administration said that he expected American-Israeli defense cooperation to expand in coming years, as the two countries collaborate on military projects and band together against an increasingly unpredictable Middle East.
Peter Neffenger, a retired vice commandant of the US Coast Guard and head of the TSA during Barack Obama’s last 18 months as president, visited Israel this month as part of a delegation of 10 former high-ranking US military officials with a group known as the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).
“It really is impressive to see how close the relationship is, particularly among the military services… but what impressed all of us was the need for that relationship to stay strong and grow into the future,” he told The Times of Israel on Monday, a day before the delegation was due to fly back to the US.
“The relations between the two countries are as strong as they’ve been — and they’re growing stronger,” he said. “I actually see opportunity for more of that in the coming months.”
Neffenger said the security cooperation will likely grow as the US relies on Israel’s intelligence and geographic presence in order to track developments in the region. “It’s a very different Middle East than it used to be,” he said.
"Israel is gearing up to push back against a conference being hosted next week by the UN in the organization's New York headquarters to mark what it describes as the 'anniversary of the Israeli occupation.'
According to a report by the Ministry for Strategic Affairs, headed by Minister Gilad Erdan, several BDS and anti-Israel organizations will be taking part in the conference, which in the past has undertaken efforts to implement a series of hostile measures against Israeli officials.
These include, inter alia, issuing arrest warrants and prosecuting IDF officers and other officials for war crimes, openly calling for the boycotting of Israeli goods, promoting draft dodging in Israel and calling for Israelis to be tried in the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes.
The conference-titled 'UN Forum to mark the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation'-is being organized by the UN Committee on Palestinian Rights, and will be held at the UN headquarters in New York from June 29-30.
Minister Erdan appealed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to prevent the conference from being held and to avoid UN funding for BDS events and UN entities whose sole purpose is to blacklist Israel.
Israel's New Settlement Policy: Evaluated and Explained
Gains and Losses
A definite gain of Israel's new settlement policy is that it seems to have taken the settlement issue off the boil not just with the Trump administration but also with other friendly foreign governments. The latter have not been reacting with their habitual frenzy to recent announcements about settlement housing.
Among the losses, thanks to the Regulation Law, is UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016, which vehemently denounced all Israeli settlement activity. Unlike a previous version of the resolution, proposed in February 2011, the United States abstained instead of vetoing it. In a speech by Samantha Power following the vote, she picked out the looming Regulation Law as a prime reason for why the Obama administration had decided not to repeat its veto of 2011. Thus the premature glee of Bennett and Bayit Yehudi over the election of President Trump and their willful championing of the Regulation Law, despite its prospective annulment by the Supreme Court, have dealt a serious blow to the settlement project in the longer term.
More generally, for as long as there was an argument for the 100% legitimacy of Israel's official settlement activity, it was possible for Israel's foreign diplomacy and Israel's friends to conduct vigorous public relations in justification of that activity. One cannot conduct public relations on the basis of "our policy is almost sort-of not-quite legitimate."
UN envoy: Israel is defying UNSC by accelerating settler construction
Israel has failed to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2334 [which is non-binding] which calls for a halt to settlement building and has instead accelerated such activity, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov reported on Tuesday.
“Since the 24th of March there has been a substantial increase in settlement-related announcements as compared with the previous reporting period, with plans for nearly 4,000 housing units moving forward and 2,000 tenders issued,” Mladenov told the UNSC in New York while delivering his second quarterly report on the resolution, which was approved in December.
“The policy of continued illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory contravenes Resolution 2334,” he charged.
“The large number of settlement-related activities documented during this period undermine the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution,” Mladenov added.
Arab League Chief: Israeli membership would discredit Security Council
Accepting Israel’s candidacy to be a member of the UN Security Council in 2019-2020 would be a blow to the “heart of the council’s credibility,” Arab League Secretary- General Ahmed Aboul- Gheit said on Tuesday.
“Israel is in consistent violation of the UN Charter and international law, and accordingly, it lacks the minimum conditions required to become a member in the Security Council,” Aboul-Gheit said during a meeting of the council, adding that he views the body as “a great expression of the international order.”
“Israel cannot reap the fruits of peace before achieving peace,” the Egyptian diplomat said.
According to Aboul-Gheit, receiving a seat at the Security Council would “give a push to the extremist camp in Israel and the settlers in Israel.
Setback For Morocco, As Court Paves Way For Trial Over Disputed Western Sahara Phosphate Exports
A fresh question mark has been placed over controversial phosphate exports from Western Sahara, after a South African court ruled on June 15 that a dispute over a cargo being held in Port Elizabeth should proceed to a full trial.
The cargo in question is aboard the NM Cherry Blossom. On May 1 the ship entered the port of Coega on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth for refuelling. The phosphate it was carrying was en route to Tauranga in New Zealand, for delivery to Ballance Agri-Nutrients, a fertilizer company.
The phosphate had been mined and sold by Moroccan phosphate giant OCP. Its wholly-owned subsidiary Phosboucraa operates a phosphate mine at Boucraa in Western Sahara, a region which was occupied by Morocco in 1975 and which it has since claimed as part of its national territory. Morocco’s claim is not recognized by any other country or by the United Nations, which describes the area as a non-self-governing territory.
The Polisario Front, the national liberation movement for Western Sahara, applied for a court order to prevent the ship from leaving port while it pursued its legal case for ownership of the cargo. That interim order was confirmed by the High Court in Port Elizabeth on June 15, which noted that “Morocco has no claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara” and said the case should go to trial.
OCP has responded by saying it is “outraged by this decision” which it says is “in breach of well-established principles under international law”.
Israeli minister welcomes Saudi Arabia’s new royal heir
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara welcomed on Wednesday Saudi Arabia’s naming of Mohammed Bin Salman as its new crown prince, saying he hoped the change would accelerate the kingdom’s rapprochement with Israel.
“Salman’s appointment means more economic cooperation in the Middle East, and not just regarding oil,” Kara said in a statement. “The strengthening of relations with the Trump administration is the beginning of a new and optimistic time between Saudi Arabia and regional states, including Israel and the Jewish people.”
Saudi King Salman appointed his 31-year-old son as crown prince, placing him firmly as first-in-line to the throne. Kara’s remarks were the first response by an Israeli official following the shakeup in the Saudi royal family earlier in the day.
In May Kara, who is Druze, met openly with delegates from Gulf states as they gathered in Ecuador for the swearing-in of Lenin Moreno as the country’s new leader.
Kara, at the time a minister without portfolio, posted photos of himself with representatives from the Palestinian Authority along with delegates from Oman, Qatar and Yemen and other Arab nations as well as the prime minister of the Sahrawi Republic of southern Morocco, Abdelkader Taleb Omar.
Kushner arrives in Israel, visits family of slain border guard
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday brought the president’s personal condolences to the family of a border guard officer stabbed to death last week in Jerusalem as he arrived in Israel for a one-day visit.
The visit to the family of Staff Sgt. Maj. Hadas Malka, 23, was the first stop for Kushner before a series of meetings aimed at restarting long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Kushner was joined by US Ambassador David Friedman on the visit. Kushner said Trump asked him to personally convey the condolences of the American people.
Malka was killed in an assault by three Palestinian attackers near the Old City on Friday evening. The three men were shot dead by Israeli forces.
Mother of Damascus Gate assailant arrested for calls to attack Jews
Israeli forces arrested the mother of a Palestinian man involved in a Jerusalem terror attack last week in which a border guard was killed, as well as another man accused of abetting the attackers, the army said Wednesday.
The woman, who was arrested in the West Bank village of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah, is suspected of explicit incitement to terror attacks, including statements praising “martyrs” and calling for attacks on Jews, according to a statement by the IDF.
The suspicions against her include conspiracy. She was not named in the statement.
Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka, 23, was killed by one of three Palestinians who launched a combined stabbing and shooting attack at the Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem on Friday evening.
Police arrest 2 suspects accused of aiding terrorists in Old City attack
Two suspects accused of transporting and aiding the three terrorists who killed a female Border Police officer at the Old City’s Damascus Gate, and wounded two others in the Muslim Quarter, last Friday were arrested by police early Wednesday morning.
The arrests follow an intensive investigation initiated after the stabbing death of St.-Sgt-Maj. Hadas Malka, 23.
“Police units in Jerusalem arrested two suspects, including a suspect from Isawiya who transported the terrorists to the area, and the mother of one of the terrorists suspected of supporting terrorism,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“The two suspects will be brought before Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, where the police and investigating team will request to extend their detention.”
UK national faces deportation from Israel after ‘attacking police officers’
A British citizen is due to be deported from Israel after being arrested in Jerusalem on Sunday, June 18. The man, Nabid Mohammed Ashraf, is accused of attacking police officers on the Temple Mount.
Together with a German national, Farhad Nuri Said, Ashraf is believed to have slept on the Temple Mount in the days preceding the clash with police. The pair claimed to police that their intention was “to defend al-Aqsa”, the mosque holy to Muslims on the Temple Mount complex.
An Israeli police spokesman told Jewish News that the two men were arrested on the Temple Mount “for attacking police officers when the area was opened for visitors”.
According to an Israeli news report, worshippers in the mosque confronted Israeli police officers and threw stones at them, lightly injuring three of the officers. The two assailants who were arrested were the German and British citizens, who appeared in Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Israeli journalist recommends anti-Semitic cartoonist
Arad Nir, Channel 2 News’ foreign affairs editor, on Tuesday recommended to his followers on Twitter that they follow anti-Israel political cartoonist Carlos Latuff.
Nir described Latuff’s caricatures as "sharp" and pointed out that Latuff, "as usual, does not spare anyone." But for some reason he ignored the anti-Semitic tone in Latuff’s caricatures and the fact that he often compares between Israel and the Nazis in his caricatures.
Latuff won the annual Iran holocaust denial contest in 2006 due to the anti-Israel character of his drawings.
In 2012, it was revealed that Latuff used his artistic abilities to benefit “Occupy AIPAC”, an organization that seeks to de-legitimize Israel and its supporters.
Hanan Amiur, editor of the media watchdog group CAMERA's Hebrew site Perspective, who revealed Nir’s tweet, said in response on Tuesday, "This is Arad Nir, who compliments anti-Semites who are obsessed with comparing Israel to the Nazis, recommends their works and sucks up to them. The same Arad Nir who announced on the air that he would not send his children to the IDF, and who lied to Channel 2’s viewers when he claimed that the BDS movement is opposed only to the communities in Judea and Samaria.”
“It is amusing to remember that Arad Nir, who grovels before a blatant and extreme anti-Semite, recently accused [President Donald] Trump of surrounding himself with anti-Semites. Channel 2 News viewers should know who presents them with information and who his heroes are," added Amiur.
IAF chief Israel has 4-5 times the power than in 2006 to strike Hezbollah
Israel can now strike Hezbollah with four-to-five times the bombing power than was used in the 2006 war with Lebanon, Israeli Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said Wednesday.
Speaking at this year's Herzliya Conference of Israel's aerial defense operations and preparations, the IAF commander discussed a potential future conflict between the Jewish state and its northern neighbor, saying such an aggression would largely be fought in the air.
Eshel said qualitative and quantitative improvements in the air force since the 2006 Lebanon war meant it could carry out in just two or three days the same number of bombings it mounted in those 34 days of fighting.
"If war breaks out in the north, we have to open with all our strength from the start," he said, pointing to the likelihood of international pressure for a quick ceasefire before Israel can achieve all its strategic goals.
'If Hezbollah fires rockets on Israel, IDF should hit Iran’s infrastructure'
“If Hezbollah fires on Israel” the IDF “should strike Iran’s infrastructure” in response, former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh said on Wednesday, urging that Israel should target the Shi'ite terror organization's sponsor and great supporter Iran.
Explaining the logic of this strategy as part of a panel on Iran at the annual Herzliya Conference, Sneh said that Iran uses Hezbollah to attack Israel without any deterrent threat that it cares about.
He also explained that the current Israeli strategy is to hit Lebanese infrastructure if Hezbollah attacks Israel with rockets, but that he didn't believe this was an efficient approach.
“Iran does not give a damn if Lebanon’s infrastructure is destroyed” as Israeli retaliation for Hezbollah rockets, said the former defense official.
Turning Gaza’s lights back on, Abbas rival Dahlan makes dramatic return
Gaza’s electricity crisis may be drawing to an end, and as the lights come back on, Palestinians are looking at an unlikely hero who managed to broker a deal between Egypt and Hamas: Mohammad Dahlan.
Egypt on Tuesday was expected to begin sending dozens of fuel trucks to the Hamas-run Strip to bring the Gaza power station back online and supply electricity to residents.
Dahlan — a former Fatah leader once considered persona non grata by Hamas and ousted in the coup that put the Islamist terror group in power in the Strip 10 years ago — is understood to have been a key player in the electricity deal, and appears to have made his peace with the Islamists en route.
Dahlan, who maintains excellent links with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and apparently managed the talks under Egypt’s auspices, is thus being depicted as the person who saved Gaza by having Cairo ship in hundreds of tons of industrial diesel — compensating for the cuts in supply that Israel introduced this week at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s request.
By bringing fuel into Gaza, Dahlan will not only give residents additional precious electricity, but also seems to have defused a potentially disastrous situation and knocked Abbas, a rival of both him and Hamas, down a few pegs.
PMW: PFLP: Blood oath to Palestinians to establish "Palestine" from River to Sea
PFLP, which is a member of the PLO, has claimed responsibility for the terror attack last week in which Israeli policewoman Hadas Malka was murdered. In an announcement the party stated that its "heroes" carried out the attack "to emphasize the path of resistance."
The attack was described as part of a "blood oath" to Palestinians to carry out "resistance" - a Palestinian euphemism for violence and terror - until "Palestine" is established "from the [Jordan] River to the Mediterranean [Sea]." In other words, completely erasing all of the State of Israel:
"The PFLP again emphasized in the statement the blood oath to the Palestinian people to continue on the path of resistance until the return [of the Palestinian refugees], freedom, and the establishment of our state on all of the land of the Palestinian homeland from the [Jordan] River to the Mediterranean [Sea], with free and united Jerusalem as its capital."[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, June 17, 2017]
Palestinian Media Watch has documented numerous statements by Palestinian leaders that present the Palestinian goal as being a state that encompasses the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. This vision of course leaves no room for the two-state solution, to which PA Chairman Abbas and other Palestinian leaders continue to profess their support:
PA Education Minister Resists Calls for Curriculum of Peace and Tolerance
IMPACT-se is alarmed by comments made by Palestinian Authority Education Minister Sabri Saidam in relation to the unveiling of the new Palestinian school curriculum.
In charge of revamping the PA education system, Minister Saidam appears dead set on maintaining the radical curriculum taught to Palestinian students in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The PA is in danger of missing an historic opportunity to prepare Palestinian children for peace.
The current curriculum teaches children to become expendable martyrs, reject negotiations and embrace commitment to continuous war. This is not an accident. The curriculum studied by generations of young Palestinians is carefully crafted by the Palestinian Ministry of Education to lay out a national strategy which alternately combines violence with international pressure against Israel.
This new curriculum has been in the works for some time. Assurances were made that there will be significant improvements. According to Minister Saidam, that is now not going to happen. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Gaza’s Fake Humanitarian Crisis
Thanks to Hamas’s assiduous propaganda, widely disseminated by journalists and human-rights organizations, it is widely assumed that the people of the Gaza Strip live in abject poverty and are hovering on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, created or exacerbated by an Israeli “blockade.” Not so, writes Hillel Frisch:
Gaza’s life expectancy of seventy-four is above both the world average (sixty-eight in 2010) and the average in the Arab states. This means that more than 3.8 billion people are living shorter, and probably harsher, lives than Gazans. . . . [Furthermore] life expectancy in Gaza has not declined, and the [Israeli] blockade no longer exists. . . . Even the electricity crisis in Gaza points to a high, and rising, standard of living. The crisis is partly the result of the gap between supply and increasing demand. . . .
So why is this myth so widespread? The answer lies with those who have a vested interest in perpetuating it. By far the most important of these is Hamas. The terrorist group taxes all incoming goods to pay the salaries of its 30,000 terrorists and the bureaucracy that feeds them, as well as for training, missile production, and the digging of tunnels into Israel. The budget supports 20,000 more on the public payroll whom Hamas has hired since 2007—mostly teachers who preach jihadism in Gaza’s public schools. Hamas hopes that claims of a humanitarian crisis will bring in more aid, more demand for goods, and a greater flow of goods, all of which it will tax for its own benefit.
Raw sewage seeps out of Gaza as electricity supplies dwindle
With minimal electricity available to treat Gaza’s wastewater, continued power cuts could cause irreparable damage not only to the Strip but also to Israel, as raw sewage runs rampant across maritime borders.
“We’re starting to play Russian roulette,” Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Pursuant to a request from the Palestinian Authority, which is aiming to pressure Hamas to cede control over the isolated territory, Israel began decreasing the amount of electricity it supplies to Gaza on Monday by 8 MW. The Israel Electric Corporation, which typically transfers about 120 MW of electricity daily to Gaza, confirmed that it would continue reducing the supply gradually over the next few days.
Following Monday’s initial supply cut, Israel reduced the provision by another 8 MW on Tuesday, according to the Hamas-controlled Energy Authority in Gaza.
Turkey aims to tighten Muslim grip on Temple Mount
A century after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish foundations and organizations are making a concerted effort to enhance the country's prominence as a Muslim player in Jerusalem by funneling millions of dollars to the eastern section of the city and the Temple Mount area, Israel Hayom has learned.
A portion of the funds are provided by the Turkish government, which funds the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, otherwise known as TIKA. The president of TIKA is Dr. Serdar Cam, a close confidante of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and formerly the head of his bureau in the Turkish parliament. Erdogan supports TIKA's activities and encourages the organization through his speeches decrying Israeli control in Jerusalem, which he sees as "an insult."
Since 2004, TIKA has invested millions of dollars in 63 different projects in east Jerusalem. The general trend of its activities there is "protection and strengthening of Jerusalem's Muslim heritage and character." Turkey's allies in the city are the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, and the former mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Akram Sabri, both bitter enemies of the State of Israel.
Among its endeavors, TIKA has invested in restoring the Ottoman Muslim archives on the Temple Mount; placing a large water tanker for worshippers at the site; restoring Shashelet Street in the Old City's Muslim Quarter; renovating the Muslim cemetery at the foot of the Temple Mount's eastern wall; and in a considerable number of religious and community projects throughout east Jerusalem.
Top Iranian Official Threatens Saudi Arabia Over Alleged Ties With Israel
The speaker of the Iranian Parliament assailed Saudi Arabia on Tuesday over its alleged ties with Israel in a speech in Tehran to a group of ambassadors from Muslim nations.
“The dependence of some Muslim countries on Israel is catastrophic and a stain of shame, while the Muslim Ummah (global community) should be sensitive to the fate of Palestine,” Ali Larijani said, in remarks reported by the Iranian regime’s English-language mouthpiece, PressTV.
Larijani named Saudi Arabia specifically, asserting, “Eventually, all Saudi moves are in favor of Israel.”
Without producing evidence, Larijani claimed Iran had obtained documents showing that the Saudis provided Israel with intelligence during the 2006 war between the IDF and the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy.
“We have tried hard to make the Saudis understand that their measures are to the detriment of the Muslim Ummah, but they only make harsher remarks every day,” Larijani said. He warned Muslim states “not to be trapped in a bigger plot.”
ISIS Losing the Battle but Winning the War
If ISIS is retreating in Mosul, it is rapidly advancing in Manchester. The Caliphate is winning its war in Europe. Six months ago in Britain, the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, the ultra-pacifist Labour party leader who blamed the "war on terror" for the recent attacks in Manchester and London, would have been unthinkable.
As the Caliphate razed to the ground everything in its path, Europe reacted as if that were just the result of regrettable manners that should not concern her. The Islamists, however, had other plans.
"Why, in August 2015, did ISIS need to blow up and destroy that temple of Baalshamin? Because it was a temple where pagans before Islam came to adore mendacious idols? No, it was because that monument was venerated by contemporary Westerners, whose culture includes an educated love for 'historical monuments' and a great curiosity for the beliefs of other people and other times. And Islamists want to show that Muslims have a culture that is different from ours, a culture that is unique to them". — Paul Veyne, archeologist.
Why Israel is saving Syrian rebels
About a third of the 3,000 or so Syrians taken in by Israel since 2013 have been treated at the Ziv Medical Center, where Zarka was appointed director in October 2014.
The flipside is that when the Syrians are discharged from hospital and brought back to the Syrian border—and they all want to go back, to be with their families, or to take up the fight again—great care is taken to conceal the Israeli origin of everything in the “care packages” they’re given. No Hebrew lettering on medications. No evidence of Israeli origin on anything. Collaboration with “the Zionist entity” invites a jihadist death sentence, and much the same from the Assad regime.
The Syrians taken in by Israel are often suffering from the most atrocious kinds of war wounds—severed limbs, bomb-blasted faces, collapsed internal organs—and they’re not all fighters. Many are children, and many are suffering from ailments not directly related to guns or bombs. The Syrian American Medical Society counted 252 attacks on Syrian health centres last year, almost all of them carried out by Assad’s forces and Russian fighters. An unconscious child in diabetic shock was rescued at the border and taken to Tzfat earlier this year. She was treated at the Ziv Medical Center for three months. Her mother was given a year’s worth of insulin and some training in how to administer it, and she and her daughter were returned to the border.
“You become their family,” Zarka said. “You celebrate holidays, birthdays, and then they go back to Syria, and we are sad they are leaving. We are not sure of their destiny.”
Most of the Syrian medical system has been destroyed in what Ban Ki-Moon, the former UN Secretary-General, has called a campaign of deliberate war crimes. But Ramadan, the Free Syrian Army fighter, was not much impressed by the UN. “The world does not want democracy. The world does not want Syrians to have freedom. The United Nations does nothing. It is for talking, that is all.
“The United Nations could take Assad out of Syria, but they do not. They do nothing.” (h/t Zvi)

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