Thursday, June 22, 2017

From Ian:

The Ongoing Drama of Palestinian Lies
The current policy of the PA leadership is to avoid alienating the Trump administration by continuing to pretend that Abbas and his cronies are serious about achieving peace with Israel. This is why Abbas's representatives are careful not to criticize Trump or his envoys.
When Israel does not comply with their list of demands, the Palestinians will accuse it of "destroying" the peace process. Worse still, the Palestinians will use this charge as an excuse to redouble their terror against Israelis. The Palestinian claim, as always, will be that they are being forced to resort to terrorism in light of the failure of yet another US-sponsored peace process.
No doubt, Abbas cannot find it within himself to clarify to the American envoys that he lacks a mandate from his people to make any step toward peace with Israel. Abbas knows, even if the American representatives do not, that any move in that direction would end his career, and very possibly his life. Abbas also does not wish to go down in Palestinian history as the treacherous leader who "sold out to the Jews." Moreover, someone can come along later and say, quite correctly, that as Abbas has exceeded his legitimate term in office, any deal he makes is illegal and illegitimate.
Saudi power realignment may favor Israel
Riyadh and Jerusalem were reported last year as having effectively worked together - despite officially having no diplomatic ties - to try to stop the US agreeing a nuclear deal with Iran.
Representatives of the two countries have shared public platforms, such as at the Council on Foreign Relations in June 2015, when retired Saudi general Anwar Eshki spoke alongside Israeli official Dore Gold.
Saudi-Israeli relations are a sensitive topic due to overwhelmingly sympathetic public opinion in the kingdom on the Palestinian cause for statehood.
Christopher Davidson, author of After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies, said, "Traditionally, Arab clients of the United States have often tried to curry favour with the Americans by being seen to at least cosy up to the state that they feel is America’s number one friend in the region – Israel”.
One of the Saudi sources said Washington could be swayed into supporting Bin Salman's bid to be king if he could achieve good communication with Israel, even if the Americans like Bin Nayef.
David Hearst, editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye, sums up: "The Arab people from the Atlantic to the Gulf have changed. They have shed blood, lost homes, families, jobs, and their liberty. Thousands are in jail. Thousands more have drowned in the Mediterranean. Millions have been displaced. They are no longer awe struck by their absolute rulers with their absolute privilege and absolute wealth. And they are prepared to fight for basic human rights.
"The House of Saud with all its court intrigues, with Abdullah merging into Salman and then Mohammed, has not changed. Access to power depends on the family tree. It makes a difference whether you are a brother or half-brother.
"Ministerial portfolios are still handed down from father to son like goods and chattel. Professionals are still replaced with placemen. The family puts enormous power in the hands of one man. It makes gigantic mistakes in Yemen and Syria. And it is still, with its unimaginable wealth, a house of cards."
Unlikely allies: Israel and the Saudis
Israel’s Channel 2 news station improbably made history last week by airing a brief interview with an obscure policy wonk named Abed al-Hamid Hakim. The subject was the blockade of Qatar imposed by the Saudis and a couple of other despotic Sunni Arab rulers to punish the country for its ties to Iran, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. It obviously wasn’t what Hakim had to say — religion should not be used to justify violence and extremism; we should all try to live in peace and harmony — that aroused interest. Rather, it was where he was sitting when he said it: Jeddah, the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia. For the first time ever, here was a Saudi national being interviewed live on Israeli TV, complete with Hebrew subtitles. Perhaps more extraordinary, though, was that after word got out in Saudi Arabia about their little chit-chat there was no serious backlash.
Having worked for a number of years in the heart of the government-controlled media in Jeddah, I know that such an interview could never have taken place without the go-ahead from the very highest levels of the Saudi regime. A few days later, in fact, it appeared to have been just the opening salvo of an orchestrated, pro-Israel propaganda campaign. An equally unprecedented column about the Jewish state duly appeared in the widely read Saudi daily Al Riyadh, which, like all newspapers in the kingdom, is closely guided and monitored by the government. Written by a certain Musaid al-Asimi, it hardly heaped praise on Israel; but it did emphasise that — in odd phrasing that perhaps reflected the awkwardness of the moment — there was no reason for Arabs to ‘unjustifiably demonise’ the country. After praising the peace accords Israel has signed with Egypt and Jordan (another break with protocol), al-Asimi left his readers in no doubt about what his princely overlords want them to believe. Iran, not Israel, he boldly concluded, must henceforth be considered Saudi Arabia’s regional enemy.
Neither the TV pundit nor the newspaper columnist have been censured by the Saudi regime, which imposes a decade-long sentence for the flimsiest criticism of government policy. Compare their happy lot with that of Jamal Khashoggi, among the kingdom’s most famous and prolific journalists. The world hasn’t heard a tweet from him since last year. His crime? In a speech at a pro-Israel think tank in Washington in the run-up to the US Presidential elections, he suggested that the next incumbent in the White House might not see eye-to-eye with Saudi Arabia about how a potentially nuclear-armed Iran may be contained. For that, Khashoggi has been indefinitely banned from writing on, or commenting about, anything, either in Saudi Arabia or the outside world. By promoting some voices while preventing others from being heard, the royal court is testing the Saudi public’s reaction to a possible future announcement that the enemy (Israel) of my enemy (Iran) is my friend (Wahhabi-Zionist alliance). (h/t Zvi)

PMW: Special Report: PA abuses goodwill of International Red Cross to pay salaries to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons
According to Palestinian Authority law, all Palestinians arrested for security offenses, which includes those who committed terror attacks, receive a PA salary from the date of arrest until the day of release. These salaries increase according to the amount of time the terrorist remains in prison and range from 1,400 shekels to 12,000 shekels per month.
While the PA claims to foreign governments that these payments are "social welfare benefits" and not salaries, PMW has shown that this is false.
The ICRC supplies the forms that enable the payments to terrorists
The PA Regulation 18 (2010), which established procedures for the PA payments to terrorist prisoners, states that a "wakil" - an "authorized agent" or "power of attorney" - will be appointed by the prisoner to determine who receives his salary. The regulation gives the prisoner the right to designate people other than his wife or parents.
Appointment of an "agent" can be authorized only by the prisoner's signature on a special form. It is the ICRC that visits the prisoners and brings the form for the prisoners to sign.
Douglas Murray: The ‘hate preacher’ hypocrisy
Well what a very different standard applies when the victims are a group of Muslims exiting a mosque. Since that despicable attack I have watched with astonishment as British Islamists and the British left who are so insistent that we should all refrain from ‘pointing fingers’ after any Islamist attack have taken both their fists out for this one.
On Monday’s BBC Daily Politics, a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain – Miqdaad Versi – chose to leap right on in and name me as a hate preacher who should not be allowed to speak in public. I am quite certain that there is no score-settling going on here. I’m sure that this statement has nothing to do with the MCB’s ongoing bitterness about being barred from engagement with the British government – a stance which has held since one of the MCB’s leaders signed a declaration approving of attack on British ships. And I’m sure that Miqdaad’s strange equation of me with the jailed preacher Anjem Choudary has nothing to do with my previous calling out of his own penchant for dodgy facts.
Later on Monday the BBC allowed it to happen again. The BBC chose to interview Massoud Shadjareh about the previous night’s terror attack in Finsbury Park. Mr Shadjareh is one of the leaders of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. The IHRC is a group which, as I have said here before, is ‘farcically misnamed’. In his brief vox pop Shadjareh made sure to get straight down to business, swiftly naming the Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz and yours truly as ‘hate preachers’ who must be silenced. Again, I am sure that Mr Shadjareh was not just settling scores.
For instance I am sure he has forgotten the fact that I called his organisation out two years ago when they organised an event to defame and laugh at the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo. I am sure he has forgotten the time when he tried to complain to my editor for the wholly accurate manner in which he and his organisation were described.
The MCB and IRHC’s contention that people like Maajid Nawaz and me are in fact the moral equivalents of Anjem Choudary only further demonstrates their own extremism. Naturally they struggle to find anyone we have radicalised, any people we have sent to go and behead people or any occasions when we have called for people to drive trucks into crowds of pedestrians. What all this does point to is one of the central sicknesses of our time.
As I have mentioned for many years, when some far-right neo-Nazi does something we all know precisely what to do. We find out who their circle is, find out who radicalised them, who told them to go and kill people and work out how to counter their views.

Brendan O'Neill: Why do lefties say London Bridge attack was an ‘incident’… but Finsbury Park Mosque attack was ‘terrorism’?
The same people who insist we treat Islamist attacks as acts of individual violence, which tell us nothing about society more broadly, are citing Finsbury as proof that Britain is in the grip of hatred.
After Islamist attacks, leftists always balk from naming the ideological problem. Sometimes they even refuse to use the T-word.
Labour MP Diane Abbott referred to last month’s Manchester Arena bombing, in which 22 souls were wiped out by Salman Abedi, as a “horrific incident” — making it sound like a traffic accident.
But she swiftly applied the T-word to the Finsbury assault. This was a “shocking terror attack”, she said on Twitter, even before all the facts were known.
Her party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, did not refer to the Westminster Bridge attack as terrorism for five days.
In his first comment on this Islamist attack in March — in which Khalid Masood killed four civilians and a police officer — Corbyn described it as a “serious incident”.
In his second, the day after the attack, he said it was an “atrocity” but warned us not to “rush to judgement”.
He had no problem “rushing to judgement” on the Finsbury attack, however.
“This is terror on our streets,” he said just hours after it happened. The double standards are extraordinary.
Otto Warmbier’s family kept his Jewishness under wraps while North Korea held him
The family of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died on Monday, days after his release from 17 months of captivity in North Korea, was advised to keep his Jewish background and identity concealed while officials tried to negotiate his release.
That was because the North Korean justification for his imprisonment centered on a dubious claim that Warmbier had stolen a propaganda poster in a Pyongyang hotel lobby on orders from the Friendship United Methodist Church in Wyoming, Ohio, to bring it back “as a trophy” in exchange for a used car worth $10,000.
“We didn’t want to share it,” said Mickey Bergman, who worked on negotiations for Warmbier’s release, referring to the fact of Warmbier’s Jewishness. “The family chose, rightfully so, not to share that information while he was in captivity… because they didn’t want to embarrass [North Korea] by explaining that he actually was Jewish” and thus would not have been affiliated with the church.
“That’s why that part of the story was kept quiet,” added Bergman, executive director of The Richardson Center, an organization founded by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson that works to negotiate the release of prisoners and hostages held by hostile regimes.
Nikki Haley Tells UN Security Council That States Supporting Hamas Should Face ‘Consequences’
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told fellow members of the UN Security Council that states supporting the Palestinian terror group Hamas should face “consequences.”
“We need to pressure Hamas to end its tyranny over the people of Gaza. We should name Hamas as the group responsible when rockets are fired from Gaza, and designate it as a terror organization in a resolution with consequences for anyone who supports it,” she said, without naming specific countries supporting Hamas.
Haley’s comments come amid a dispute between Arab states (led by Saudi Arabia) and Qatar, which funds terror groups. In recent years, Qatar has been criticized for supporting Hamas and allowing the Palestinian group’s leadership to reside in the country.
The US envoy also noted Hamas’s disregard for Palestinian civilians’ lives during wartime.
“This is the way Hamas does business. Hamas hides military infrastructure in and around hospitals. It plots and plans to attack civilians while using civilian buildings as cover,” Haley said, adding that Hamas is “squandering” its control over Gaza.
JPost Editorial: Summer cold wave
Israel’s relations with Egypt suffered an early summer chill this week, when Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit dramatically declared opposition to Israel’s bid for a temporary UN Security Council seat.
In a briefing to the council on Tuesday devoted mainly to Israel’s continued “occupation,” Aboul-Gheit said that Israel’s receiving a seat on the Security Council would “give a push to the extremist camp in Israel and the settlers in Israel.” Moreover, he added, this would be premature, because “Israel cannot reap the fruits of peace before achieving peace.”
While Aboul-Gheit was presumably speaking for the Arab League, it cannot be ignored that he served as Egypt’s foreign minister during the final seven years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule, leaving his post in 2011 following the mass protests that toppled the aging ruler. As such, he is known to support a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, while slamming the Netanyahu government for its settlement policy, which he said would make a viable Palestinian state of contiguous territories geographically impossible.
“These conditions leave no doubt that the plan and approach adopted by the current Israeli leadership is a plan for settlements, not a plan for peace,” he said. He topped off his startling remarks by asking, “If normalizing international status is so easy and without return, what will drive Israel to engage in serious negotiations to end the conflict?” He accused Israel of being responsible for the ills of Arab societies, saying it has “multiplied their problems,” “exhausted [their] ability to achieve development” and generated “volcanoes of anger” in Palestinian and Arab youth.
Are such astonishing remarks an expression merely of the Arab League’s traditional venom or do they also reflect a change in relations being revealed in a rather backhanded sort of way by the former Egyptian foreign minister? While Aboul-Gheit’s public persona offers no evident answer, a clue exists in the pervasive hostility that lingers throughout Egyptian society.
Blair: Need to break from peacemaking 'theology', seek regional approach
The real dividing line in the Middle East is the battle against extremism – be it of the Sunni or Shi'a variety – and in this battle Israel's place should be with nations of the region “connected to the modern world, not in opposition,” former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday.
Blair, who following his tenure as British prime minister was also the Quartet envoy, made these comments at speech to the Herzliya Conference where he advocated a wider regional approach to solving the Israeli—Palestinian conflict. He noted that this was his 182nd trip to Israel.
“There exists today a new path to peace. It is based not only on conventional Israeli-Palestinian negotiation, but on the potential for a new relationship between the Arab nations and Israel,” he said. “It is an opportunity of unprecedented promise. We must grasp it with both hands.”
Having been involved in peace processes initiated by former president George W. Bush, Mideast envoy George Mitchell, and former US Secretary of State John Kerry, Blair said that the credibility of the peace process has been damaged because Palestinians have concluded that Israel is not serious about negotiating a Palestinian state, and Israelis have concluded the Palestinians are “incapable of running one consistent with Israel's security.”
“So the fundamental challenge is not a simply one of negotiation – borders, security etc. It is one of context, cultural acceptance and credibility,” he said.
Kushner and Abbas hold 'productive' meeting
U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, his Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome, met on Wednesday night with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, the White House described it as “productive”.
The sides “reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump's goal of a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians that enhances stability in the region,” said the statement.
Kushner, Greenblatt and Abbas discussed “priorities for the Palestinians and potential next steps, acknowledging the need for economic opportunities for Palestinians and major investments in the Palestinian economy.”
Kushner, who was in the region for one day to advance Trump's peace plan, also met on Wednesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Liberman: We will not agree to the 'return' of a single refugee
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke this morning to participants at the Herzliya Conference, and addressed the renewal of negotiations with the PA.
He emphasized that the return of the 'refugees,' descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948 and are termed as such by the PA was a red line for Israel. “We will not agree to the return of a single refugee to within the ‘67 borders,” he said. “There will never be another Prime Minister who makes propositions to Palestinians like Ehud Olmert did.”
He noted that an agreement with the PA will not solve regional problems. “There shouldn’t be any delusions: An end to the conflict with the Palestinians will not solve the problems - it will make them worse.”
“We must first reach a regional agreement with moderate Sunni states, and only then an agreement with the Palestinians,” he asserted.
“Since the 6-Day War we haven’t had a military victory. There were many empty words and declarations - including mine. It’s true that there were successful operations which they study around the world. But the absence of a definitive victory delayed our connection with the moderate states - and this will change.”
Israel Just Launched A Containerized Ballistic Missile From The Deck Of A Ship
Though the concept has yet to find its big break, defense contractors continue to expand on the idea of highly mobile weapon systems that meet the size and weight restrictions of standard shipping containers. Now, Israel has tested such a system and says it has buyers already in line.
On June 20, 2017, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said it had successfully test-fired its Long-Range Artillery (LORA) system from a containerized launcher on the back of a truck sitting on the deck of a cargo ship. The state-operated firm first unveiled the mobile ballistic missile back in 2006. The experiment, which destroyed a pre-planned target, was part of final trials ahead of “several deals that involve the system,” according to a press release.
According to IAI's website and a company fact sheet, the 3,500-pound solid-fuel LORA can hit targets nearly 250 miles away within 10 minutes thanks to an unspecified “supersonic velocity." The missile has a penetrating warhead of some type and relies on GPS and inertial navigation to get it to the target area. However, once it’s there, an operator can course correct using a command-to-target television guidance system giving the missile incredible accuracy. This dual-mode configuration has become a staple of Israel missile technology and is very similar to that found on the Delilah cruise missile and the much smaller Spike NLOS missile from Israeli government-owned company Rafael. The man-in-the-loop terminal guidance technique was developed over decades, with weapons like the Popeye/Have Nap paving the way for this current generation of highly advanced dual-guidance missile systems. It also means that if need be, the weapon can hit targets in spite of bad weather, smoke, or other obscurants that would interfere with a laser or optical terminal guidance arrangement.
According to IAI, a notional complete containerized LORA battery would include a command and fire control container and four launchers, each with four missiles, plus four reload vehicles. On land, trucks would carry these components, giving them additional mobility and the ability to escape a first strike. At sea, the self-contained nature of the system means a customer could easily load it onto any vessel with the appropriate space, quickly turning it into a stand-off weapon platform. Since the command section has all the equipment necessary to launch the missiles, no other modifications to the ship are necessary. (h/t Zvi)
Morocco complains to Israel about minister’s photo with rival leader
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara has again landed himself in diplomatic hot water after he posed last month for a photo with the leader of a controversial African state, spurring Morocco to make a rare official complaint to Israel over the meeting.
Morrocco, sending a message via an Israeli embassy in Europe, protested the meeting between Kara (Likud) and the Prime Minister of the Sahrawi Republic of southern Morocco, Abdelkader Taleb Omar, saying it could not tolerate such support of its neighbor-rival, Channel 2 news reported Wednesday.
The Sahrawi Republic is a partially recognized state that controls a thin strip of area in the Western Sahara region but claims sovereignty over the entire territory. Morocco, however, controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory and rejects any Sahrawi claims to it.
Kara’s meeting with Taleb Omar took place on the sidelines of the May swearing-in ceremony of Lenin Moreno as the Ecuador’s new leader. Kara attended the ceremony in the capital Quito along with leaders of South American nations and delegations from around the world and posted photos of himself with representatives from the Palestinian Authority along with delegates from Oman, Qatar and Yemen and other Arab nations.
Responding to the protests from Morocco, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the meetings were not coordinated or approved by the Prime Minister’s Office, according to Channel 2. (h/t Zvi)
US-led coalition building global jihadist database, envoy reveals
The US-led coalition battling the Islamic State group is building a database of foreign fighters to track jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria when they come home, a senior US official said Thursday.
Brett McGurk, the White House envoy to the anti-IS coalition, told an Israeli security conference that the effort aimed to help prevent attacks like those recently carried out in Europe.
“Our coalition is building a global database of foreign fighters, through information-sharing networks and Interpol, to ensure that anyone who fought with ISIS in Syria and Iraq can be identified in either routine traffic stops, border entry points or in the course of routine police work,” McGurk said.
Speaking at the annual Herzliya security conference near Tel Aviv, McGurk said the coalition was also having success in preventing more foreign fighters from joining IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh, in Syria.
Liberman: Abbas trying to draw Hamas into war with Israel
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to trigger war between his arch rival Hamas and Israel by cutting off supplies to the Gaza Strip.
Liberman also reiterated his long-held stance that any future peace agreement will need to be based on a “population swap,” and noted that such a deal would only come as a result of broader regional cooperation between Israel and relatively moderate Arab states.
Speaking at an annual regional security conference at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, Liberman predicted that Abbas would apply increasing pressure on Hamas by limiting supplies to the Gaza Strip, in order “to draw it into a war with Israel.”
Abbas has recently increased his efforts to wrest control of Gaza from Hamas, a terror group that has ruled the territory ever since driving out Abbas’s PA forces in a violent coup 10 years ago. The two sides have been at loggerheads ever since.
IDF Chief of Staff: Hezbollah Has Forces in “Every 3rd or 4th House” in Southern Lebanon
The IDF’s chief of staff said on Tuesday that the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has a presence in “every third or fourth house” in southern Lebanon, in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the removal of all armed groups from the area.
Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that Hezbollah was ensconced in some 240 villages and towns in southern Lebanon, and remains the most immediate threat to Israel. He added that the Islamist group receives sophisticated weaponry from Iran, some of which is supplied by Russia.
Another Israeli military official warned on Wednesday that if Hezbollah launches an attack against Israel, “thousands” of Lebanese would be put at risk when Israel strikes back. Major-General Amir Eshel, commander of the Israeli Air Force, explained that Hezbollah has established thousands of bases in Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon, both “above and below live civilians whom we have nothing against — a kind of human shield.”
“And that is where the war will be,” he added. “That is where we will have to fight in order to stop it and win. Whoever stays in these bases will simply be hit and will risk their lives. And whoever goes out will live.”
 Dutch citizen sues former IDF Chief of Staff
Civil proceedings have begun in the Netherlands against former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and the commander of Israel’s Air Force, Amir Eshel, over the deaths in Gaza during 2014 Operation Protective Edge of six family members of a Dutch citizen, Haaretz reported Wednesday.
According to the report, a preliminary notice of reliability was sent Tuesday to Amir Eshel and Gantz. Ismail Ziada, a Dutch citizen, notified the officers of his intention to sue over the deaths of his mother Muftiah, 70, three of his siblings – Jamil, Yousef and Omar, Jamil’s wife Bayan and their 12 year old son Shaban.
They were killed when a bomb struck their house in the Al-Bureij camp on July 20, 2014.
The notice was sent by email to the Defense Ministry and by courier to the Israeli embassy in the Hague, according to Haaretz. The proceedings were also reported in an investigative television program on public Dutch broadcasting, which aired a segment on the Ziada family.
Israel planning 'unprecedented change' for Jerusalem security
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Thursday that there is going to be an “unprecedented change” in the security systems at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.
“I can say that we are going to make an unprecedented change in the entire security system at the Damascus Gate, cameras, positions, intelligence, changing the territory, everything is done to significantly reduce attacks on this area,” Erdan stated at the Herzliya Conference.
The minister said that 32 attacks carried out by Palestinians have occurred at the hotspot over the past two years. The gate is the main entrance for Muslims from the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Tens of thousands of worshipers from the West Bank and east Jerusalem will gather at al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount this Friday for the final day of Ramadan, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Wednesday. The majority will enter through Damascus Gate.
Israeli forces brace for last Friday of Ramadan prayers
Police have finalized enhanced security preparations in the Old City for the final Friday of Ramadan, less than one week after a terrorist stabbed to death a female Border Police officer guarding the Damascus Gate.
Noting that tens of thousands of Muslims from the West Bank and east Jerusalem will gather at al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Wednesday that special units will be on hand to ensure there is no violence.
“Police have made security assessments and measurements for the last Friday of Ramadan when thousands of Palestinians will make their way to the Old City from the Bethlehem and Kalandia crossings from the early morning until the late afternoon,” said Rosenfeld.
“Increased security will continue – and be felt in and around the area of the Old City – with an emphasis on Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter as well as the outskirts of the capital. Border police and special patrol units will prevent any security-related incidents.”
ISIS Calls for Surge of Attacks During Ramadan’s ‘Night of Power’
Law enforcement officials around the world are on high alert this week as ISIS calls for a surge of civilian attacks during Islam’s “Night of Power,” the holiest day on the Islamic calendar, which this year begins Wednesday evening.
Known in Arabic as “Laylat al-Qadr,” it marks the night during the holy month of Ramadan that Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of the Quran.
While the vast majority of Muslims consider the occasion as the best time in the year to pray for blessings and forgiveness, jihadist groups such as ISIS exploit the date to urge brutal acts of violence.
Last year, when the Night of Power fell on July 2, a widely shared message pushing for “calamity everywhere for the nonbelievers,” was delivered by ISIS. And that night there was a surge of deadly terror attacks.
Israel and Jordan Intensify Cooperation as Iran Tightens Grip on Southern Syria
Israel and Jordan have intensified diplomatic relations over the last weeks as a response to the changing situation on the ground in Syria and Iraq, Haaretz reported Wednesday.
The two countries have noted with growing concern the renewed strength of the Assad regime in southern Syria, particularly in regards to the role played by Iran. Tehran is propping up the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in order to consolidate power in Syria and Iraq, as well as to ensure that its proxy Hezbollah has the continued capability to wage war against Israel.
The United States has also warned about gains made by Iran-backed Shiite militia along the Iraqi side of the border, which eventually linked up with forces affiliated to the Assad regime in Syria.
Iran will likely try to exploit recent territorial gains made by the Assad regime and its proxies by deploying forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and allied Shiite militias along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan.
The Hashemite kingdom is both under threat from Sunni Islamist groups like Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Iran’s growing influence in the region. Since the stability of Jordan is a priority for Israel, American and Arab sources have reported that Jerusalem has provided the kingdom with intelligence and security assistance to better equip the Jordanians against the threats they face.
Macron: No 'legitimate successor' to Assad
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, adding that France no longer considered his departure a precondition to resolving the six-year conflict.
"The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar Al-Assad's departure is a precondition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor," Macron said, according to comments quoted by Reuters.
He said Assad was an enemy of the Syrian people, but not of France and that Paris's priority was a total commitment to fighting terrorist groups and ensuring the country did not become a failed state.
The comments mark a continuing shift in France's stance regarding Assad. France has in the past insisted that Assad step down, but that stance appeared to change in late 2015, when then-Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Assad's departure is no longer necessary before any political transition in the war-torn country.
Oh, I Thought You Meant Freedom Of OPpress. My Bad. By Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestinian Authority (satire)
So you know how I’ve been ordering my underlings to shut down media that challenge my policies or legitimacy, and have imprisoned journalists for exposing the corruption, incompetence, and stupidity of my administration? Well, it turns out it’s all a misunderstanding – apparently I heard you all wrong, and thought that instead of freedom of “the press,” I’ve been engaging in freedom of “OPress.” Oopsie.
It’s an easy enough mistake to make, especially for a man of my age. My hearing isn’t what it used to be, for one thing, and old habits die hard – this is the way we Arabs and Muslim in the region have been handling dissent for such a long time now, it’s basically tradition. Not to mention that my mentor and idol was Yasser Arafat. So please excuse me for having my “security” forces arrest, torture, and otherwise silence anyone who criticizes my regime. It was all an innocent misunderstanding, you see. Carry on as you were, focusing on Israel’s alleged crimes. I have a people to lead.
This kind of thing happens all the time. For an office function I once ordered my men not to forget the beets from that one vendor who always gets the best stuff, and they mistook my orders for a command to beat the man to a pulp! We then had to come up with some trumped-up charge that he was engaged in treason or something, but point is, mistakes happen.
There’s also the ongoing confusion between the words “incite” and “insight” – the Jews are People of the Book, so they appreciate insight, but we Palestinians, especially the leaders, keep conflating the two, and end up engaging in the one with the c instead of the one with the s and gh. The shenanigans we get involved in as a result, let me tell you!
Also, apparently I was supposed to have my term as president end like eight years ago?? Who knew? It’s like no one ever even told me. I really do have to get my ears checked. It looks like I’m missing so many of the things of which people just assume I’m aware.
Putin Shows Anti-American Director Oliver Stone Alleged Footage Of Russian Helicopters Bombing ISIS. Turns Out It Was A Badass U.S. Apache Firing At The Taliban.
Vladimir Putin is a liar, among other things. The KGB-operative-turned-Russian-autocrat runs the world’s most finely-tuned propaganda machine, replete with Kremlin-backed hackers, troll armies, and disinformation distributors. So you would think that he’d be able to fake some solid footage of Russian planes bombing ISIS terrorist targets for a sycophantic anti-American far-leftist filmmaker eager to gain access and cozy up to brutal dictators? Right?
Wrong. Footage shown to activist director Oliver Stone, a left-wing zealot even by Hollywood standards, during a recent trip to Moscow, purported to show Russian planes bombing ISIS; it turns out, however, that the video, shown via Putin’s iPhone, actually shows a U.S., yes, an American, U.S. AH-64 Apache laying waste to Taliban targets in Afghanistan. The footage is from a 2013 U.S. military operation designed to root out a a resurgent Taliban through the air with the assistance of Afghan soldiers on the ground.
The problem for Putin was that Russia doesn’t really bomb ISIS, no matter how much Kremlin spokespeople, Russian client states (see: genocidal Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad), and alt-right ethno-nationalists claim otherwise.
So what’s a poor boy like Vlad to do? Well why not show a gullible anti-American American dictator footage of American planes in action. To put it gently, Putin trolled Stone and Stone fell for it, which isn’t surprising given the fact that Stone eats up Russian propaganda with the ravenous appetite of a radicalized jihadi consuming extremist doctrines. This is the same director who made an entire movie about American traitor Edward Snowden based almost exclusively on interviews in Moscow overseen by the Kremlin minders.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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