Friday, June 30, 2017

From Ian:

Major (res.) Eyal Harel, don’t blame the system
[This was NOT translated from the Hebrew edition to the English one at Haaretz (Which is fake news by omission) - Guess why. (h/t Yenta Press)]
An IDF officer answers claims by a fellow (Breaking The Silence) officer: My name is Eran Ben Yaakov, and I am a major in reserve duty. Eyal Harel has served under my command in most of the incidents he describes ("What Really Happens in the World's Most Moral Army", Haaretz,June 19). He was a platoon commander in the engineering company in which I served as deputy commander. In the absence of the company’s commander, I was also the de facto commander of Girit outpost during a large part of the period in question. Later I was appointed commander of the company, and Harel was my deputy during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Overall, we served together in reserve duty for nearly a decade. I read Harel’s words with sorrow, not only because he distorts the truth, but also because he does so in order to portray himself as a victim, full of regret and yet not responsible for his own actions. But this is not the case. I know him to be a good, virtuous and disciplined person.
But, in my opinion, his decisions as a commander weren’t always the best, and it angers me that he blames the system.
Regarding the incident in which a body appeared at Gaza’s shore near Rafah (an Egyptian soldier murdered [in Egypt] drifted to the shore), I was next to Harel when he fired into the air in order to drive the crowd away. I didn’t give him the order. He
did it of his own volition, and I scolded him for it was unnecessary. I wasn’t present at the second incident, but according to soldiers who were there, that was an unneeded shooting as well. No one pushed him into this. (h/t Yenta Press)
Abbas's Lies and Palestinian Child Victims
Hamas and human rights groups hold Abbas personally responsible for the deaths of the children and the possible deaths of other patients in need of urgent medical treatment not available in Gaza Strip hospitals. One human rights group went so far as to call for the International Criminal Court in The Hague to launch an investigation against Abbas.
In a move of mind-bending irony, we are witnessing a Palestinian president waging war not only against Hamas, but also against the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip -- while Israel continues to provide the Palestinians living under Hamas with humanitarian aid.
That is the standard operating procedure of the man who lied straight to the face of President Donald Trump, by claiming that he had stopped incitement against Israel and was promoting a "culture of peace" among his people. Will the last sick Palestinian child please stand up?
PA to again allow Gazan patients to be treated in Israeli hospitals
The Palestinian Authority will reportedly once again allow patients from the Gaza Strip to be treated in Israel after three babies died on Tuesday in the enclave controlled by the Hamas terror group.
Following an international outcry over the deaths, the Palestinian Health Ministry will on Sunday increase the number of permits it issues for Gaza residents to receive medical care in Israel, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday.
The Palestinian Authority has severely cut back on medical aid to the Gaza Strip as part of a series of tough measures aimed at forcing Hamas to cede control of the coastal enclave, including reducing the amount of electricity it provides the Strip and slashing PA salaries to Gaza residents.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry blamed the Palestinian Authority for the deaths of the three babies, all less than a year old, saying Ramallah has refused to grant permits for them to be treated in Israel.
To leave Gaza and travel to Israel for medical treatment, or to receive treatment in the West Bank or abroad, Gazans must first get confirmation from the PA that it will pay for the treatments.

The UNRWA Problem
UNRWA, created in the aftermath of Israel's existential victory in the 1948 war, was formed with modest and sensible goals - to provide emergency aid to all needy refugees of that war with an eye to gradually decreasing the need for aid through job creation, resettlement and regional cooperation. In the early days of UNRWA, it operated inside Israel, and aid recipients included Jewish refugees of the war who had previously lived in areas conquered by Jordan and Egypt. Israel quickly absorbed its internally displaced Arab and Jewish refugees, taking them off UNRWA's rolls.
Then UNRWA became an advocacy organization for the political goals of Palestinian Arabs and expanded its definition of Palestinian refugee identity to include all the descendants of the original refugees. UNRWA's mandate to resettle these refugees was removed in 1965, formalizing a perpetual state of Palestinian dependency on the organization.
UNRWA's institutionalized perpetuation of Palestinian refugee camps and culture makes peacemaking more difficult and deprives generations of Palestinians who were not refugees themselves the right to choose their own destiny. It does so at an unsustainable level for the mostly Western countries that financially support the organization.
JCPA: Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism
Amb. Dore Gold: Is the Terror against Europe Different from the Terror against Israel?
Effective solidarity among states has become a prerequisite for ultimately succeeding in the war of the West against jihadist terrorism. Yet, in the aftermath of the Islamic State’s brutal attacks in Paris during 2015 that left 129 dead, there began a discussion in the international media of whether the terrorist attacks against Israelis could be compared with the newest jihadist assault on European capitals. Recent events have challenged this European distinction. A cohesive military strategy is needed for the West, the Arab states that are threatened, and Israel. It stands to reason that, just as all three face similar threats, the models developed in Israel for dealing with terror merit attention in Europe and beyond.
Fiamma Nirenstein: Resilience, the Israeli People’s Weapon against Terror
An important component of Israel’s struggle against terrorism is its population’s psychology, resilience, and capacity to counter what has unfortunately been one of the characteristics of this state from its very origins: the constant attacks against civilians in the streets, public structures, cafes, and buses. How do the Israeli people overcome being on the front line against terror? The answer lies in Israel’s history, sociology, education, and social values, from which today’s vulnerable Europe can learn much.
Brig-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser: The National Security Aspect of Fighting Terror – The Israeli Experience
Israel’s overall strategy of fighting terror is a comprehensive approach that was developed out of ongoing learning efforts. Understanding the goals and strategy of the enemy and the context in which it operates, and being agile enough to rapidly adopt adequate responses that build on former solutions, enabled Israel to become a world leader in the fight against terror.
Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism

Democratic lawmakers urge Tillerson to stop Israeli trial
Thirty-two Democratic members of Congress have urged the secretary of state to help an Arab activist who is going on trial in Israel.
In a letter sent Wednesday, the lawmakers asked Rex Tillerson to utilize his influence in the case of Issa Amro, who is facing charges connected to protests he organized in Hevron.
US Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum, both of Minnesota, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin circulated the letter organized by the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace and American Muslims for Palestine.
Amro will appear July 9 in a military court to face 18 charges, most dating back to 2013, that include “spitting at a settler, obstructing soldiers and insulting them, and entering closed military zones,” Haaretz reported. An Israeli military spokesman described his actions as “disturbances,” but did not claim his protests are violent.
“After evidence of these offenses was collected, the indictment was served,” the spokesman said.
According to the congressional letter, Amro has been recognized by the United Nations and the European Union as a human rights defender for his organization, Youth Against Settlements. The UN and Amnesty International have condemned the case against him.
The letter questioned whether Amro would be judged fairly in the Israeli judicial system. (h/t Jewess)
UN trumpets Palestinian revisionist fraud: all of Israel is Palestinian, no to a Jewish state.
His remarks were made at a forum organized by the U.N.'s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which was created to implement the 1975 General Assembly "Zionism is racism" resolution.
Said Palestinian representative Erekat: "I'm the son of Jericho. I'm 10,000 years a son of the Natufians. We were there 5,500 years before Isho ben Nun came to my home town, Jericho. That's the truth. This is my narrative....So when Mr. Netanyahu says you must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, he is telling me hey, change your narrative. That's what he's doing. He's turning this conflict into a religious conflict...Call it Islamic state, Jewish state, that should be a forbidden zone..."
Erekat's hate-filled UN-sponsored diatribe also included classic antisemitism, blaming money-grubbing Jews for the regions' ills.
In his words: "So I think a question that I would like to see answered or a general opinion is, is the Jewish religion being exploited for economic gains by a key elite segment within Israeli society? And are they the ones that are driving this conflict..."
All of the proceedings were webcast around the world - courtesy of taxpayers everywhere, including Americans.
Man blinded in terror attack to speak at UN against PA terrorist stipends
Oren Almog, who lost five members of his family along with his eyesight in a terrorist attack at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in 2003, where 21 died and 51 were wounded, will speak at the UN Security Council next month as part of the Israeli government's struggle against the Palestinian Authority's payments to convicted terrorists.
Almog will travel to the UN Security Council at the initiative of Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, and in cooperation with the pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs.
"Those responsible for the murder of my family receive a monthly payment from the PA," Almog told Yedioth Ahronoth. "The Palestinian leadership speaks to the world about peace, but pays the terrorists and their families. This is explicit support for the murder of innocents. I will come to the UN and call upon the international community to act to stop this funding and to prevent future terror attacks."
The Maxim restaurant suicide bombing was perpetrated by Hanadi Jaradat, who blew herself up in as an act of revenge after Israel Defense Forces undercover operatives in Jenin killed her cousin and her younger brother, both of whom were members of Islamic Jihad, with her cousin being a senior member of the Al-Quds Brigades group.
Report: Palestinian Authority has ceased paying 500 terrorists
Researcher Bushara al-Tawil, who specializes in the subject of Palestinian Arab prisoners, told Hamas newspaper Palestin that the Palestinian Authority had ceased paying salaries to 500 prisoners.
"We need a real intifada, of all the freed prisoners. They need their salaries," al-Tawil said.
According to her, the Palestinian Authority has a large budget intended for its prisoners, but decided to slash the budget in accordance with its new and changing guidelines.
According to Abdullah Abu Shalbak, spokesman for the demonstrating ex-prisoners who claims to have spent 21 years in Israeli jails,, the Palestinian Authority ceased paying monthly salaries to 277 prisoners, including 23 who are currently in Judea, Samaria, or abroad, and 48 who were released in the "Shalit deal" and later recaptured by Israel.
Freed terrorists who no longer receive their monthly salaries protested this week in the center of Ramallah, setting up a protest tent in the city's "Hasha'on Square." One of the claims is that Fatah convicts continued to receive payments, with only Hamas and Islamic Jihad members losing their stipends.
UN hosts hatefest comparing Israelis to ISIS
At an anti-Israel U.N. "Forum to Mark 50 Years of Occupation" on June 29, 2017, an invited Palestinian official equated the "Jewish State", with ISIS, the "Islamic State." Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian representative and top negotiator, made the remarks during the opening of an extraordinary two-day UN-sponsored Israel-bashing event.
In Erekat's words:
"There are two ways combined to defeat ISIS. One is ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967...Ending the Israeli occupation is a must, is a responsibility for the international community. And the logic of some of those who argue that why should Israel make peace, it has 5,000 tanks, it has 3,000 fighting planes and nuclear weapons, Congress, Senate, and Nikki Haley to defend them justly or unjustly. And then these people stand to speak about defeating ISIS. Enough. Enough."
Hamas and PFLP Are ‘Not Terrorist Organizations,’ Top Palestinian Official Claims at UN Anti-Israel Forum
A senior PLO official and former negotiator with Israel went before a UN forum on Thursday to emphatically deny that Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) were terror groups.
“Hamas and the PFLP are not terrorist organizations,” Saeb Erekat — the PLO’s secretary-general and a principal negotiator of the 1993 Oslo Accords with Israel — declared.
“We are a people who strive to achieve our independence — and our choice in the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is to achieve peace peacefully,” Erekat went on to say in a speech given on the opening day of a two-day UN conference “to mark 50 years of occupation.”
Indicating that Palestinian enthusiasm for US President Donald Trump’s bid to revive direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) was quickly diminishing, Erekat — who spoke to the forum as a representative of the “State of Palestine” — asserted, “We do not have a partner in Israel today. ”
“The Israeli government, headed by Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, is trying to replace the two-state solution with ‘one state, two systems’ apartheid,” Erekat said, invoking one of the most persistent themes of anti-Israel propaganda: that the Jewish state legally discriminates against Palestinians in the same manner as the former white supremacist regime in South Africa.
Other speakers at the first day of the conference — titled “Ending the Occupation: The Path to Independence, Justice and Peace for Palestine” — included Nabil Elaraby, a former secretary-general of the Arab League, Aida Touma-Sliman, a member of the Knesset from the anti-Zionist “Joint List,” and Nasser al-Kidwa, a former PLO foreign minister.
Israel’s Opposition Aids Delegitimizers
The very fact that the left-wing opposition can continuously castigate the current coalition with impunity without any real fear of retribution arguably most resoundingly repudiates the repeated accusations of “fascism.”
What self-respecting fascist regime would tolerate such recalcitrant behavior? The perpetrators would have long been dispatched, post haste, to either prison or the hereafter.
Surely the time has come for the left-wing opposition to realize that their reckless rhetoric inflicts tremendous and unwarranted harm on their country; surely the time has come for them to desist from this egregious tactic for electoral advantage, especially as it has proven so hopelessly ineffectual.
In this regard, perhaps the Left would do well to recall that is has always prided itself on its acceptance of the “The Other.”
So, in its quest for greater success in the democratic process, perhaps it’s time for the representatives of the Israeli Left to come to terms with the existence of “The Other” and reconcile itself with the idea that people who think differently to them are just as legitimate as those who look different to them.
Indian prime minister to meet massacre survivor Moshe Holtzberg
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Israel next week for an historical visit, during which he will meet Moshe Holtzberg, the young boy who miraculously survived a terror attack and massacre in 2008.
Modi's 3-day trip will mark the first time an Indian prime minister visits Israel.
Moshe's parents were killed in the attack, and his nanny Sandra miraculously managed to escape the besieged building holding Moshe in her arms. After the attack, Sandra brought Moshe to Israel and was granted Israeli citizenship.
Four other Jews were killed in the attack.
According to Yediot Aharonot, Modi is expected to meet Holtzberg, his grandparents, and Sandra in the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
Israel awarded highest ranking for combating human trafficking
For the sixth year in a row, the U.S. State Department has named Israel a Tier 1 country in combatting human trafficking for its efforts to identify and rescue trafficking victims and punish traffickers.
Since 2001, the State Department has assigned countries to one of four tiers in its annual report, based on their government efforts to put a stop to trafficking in persons. Until 2012, the State Department ranked Israel a Tier 2 nation in its annual report on the fight against human trafficking. A Tier 2 ranking indicates a country that does not meet the minimum standards of combating human trafficking but is making efforts to do so. Israel became a Tier 1 country in June 2012.
In a statement, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that "the Justice Ministry is leading the government's activity on the issue. We will continue to act so that the phenomenon of modern-day slavery disappears from our region."
In a step that could aggravate tensions between Washington and Beijing, which have eased under U.S. President Donald Trump, China was downgraded to the State Department's global list of the worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor.
State Dept. Sanctions 4 of 6 Nations in Trump Travel Ban for Child Soldiers, Child Sex Slaves
The U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report singles out eight nations for specifically trafficking children for purposes ranging from training and arming them as soldiers to servants and sex slaves. This designation brings sanctions to those countries on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.
The list and sanctions, congressionally mandated by the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, apply on Oct. 1, 2016, and for fiscal year 2018 for the following countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Four of these nations – Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen – are on the list of nations in President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration seeking to limit and closely screen individuals coming into the United States from these countries. Their governments are either unwilling or unable to properly vet individuals for ties to terrorism before leaving the country. The other two countries on Trump’s travel list are Libya and Iran.
“The term ‘child soldier’ includes any person… who is serving in any capacity, including in a support role, such as a ‘cook, porter, messenger, medic, guard, or sex slave,’” the trafficking report states.
This applies to individuals under 18 for all trafficking of children and children under 15 used as child soldiers.
GOOD TRUMP: Administration Cuts Funds For U.N. Peacekeeping
The Trump administration is making good on a promise to hold the increasingly corrupt United Nations accountable. Early Thursday, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley put to rest any suggestions that the White House was bluffing when it said it would cut funds to the international body.
“Just 5 months into our time here, we've cut over half a billion [dollars] from the UN peacekeeping budget and we’re only getting started,” she tweeted.
The post “left many on social media bewildered,” according to The Hill.
As The Daily Wire reported, Trump has long promised a day of reckoning for the despots, theocrats, and charlatans at the U.N.
After the Obama administration’s shameful encouragement of the international body’s staunchly anti-Israel agenda, Trump called for a more serious review of the U.N.’s so-called “peacekeeping” work.
In his first month in office, Trump signed an executive order asking for “at least a 40% overall decrease” in U.S. funding for the U.N. organizations that violate certain criteria. One such criterion was whether a given U.N. body recognizes full membership to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, Islamist-inspired political projects accused of promoting terrorism and violence against Jews.
JPost Editorial: Keep your promise
According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq is not the only Palestinian nonprofit that has ties to the PFLP. Others include Addameer, the Alternative Information Center, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Health Work Committee, Stop the Wall, the Palestine Center for Human Rights, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
Jewish Voice for Peace, another group that took part together with Al-Haq in the UN forum, organized a 2017 National Member Meeting in April that featured Rasmea Odeh, a PFLP operative convicted of US immigration fraud after concealing her role in two terrorist bombings in Israel.
Slightly more surprising was the participation of former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Joint List MK Aida Touma- Sliman and executive director of B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad.
How can we take these individuals’ calls for justice seriously when their ideological bedfellows are members of an organization that is willing to use suicide bombings and coldblooded attacks on civilians – including stabbing to death babies and little children as they sleep – to further their goals? The same question must be asked of NGOs that collaborate with Hamas, which like PFLP is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the EU and Israel.
In April, during a speech to delegates at the World Jewish Congress’s plenary assembly while Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN secretary-general said that he would be “on the front lines in the fight against antisemitism,” and promised to “make sure the UN is able to conduct all possible actions for antisemitism to be... eradicated from the face of the earth.” Guterres added that “a modern form of antisemitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist.”
It is time for Guterres to keep his promise.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Visit Israel in August
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Israel in August for his first trip to the Jewish state since assuming the leadership of the world body at the start of this year.
Guterres will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, receive briefings from senior security officials, and visit Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who will accompany Guterres during the visit, said he was “looking forward to showing [Guterres] the true Israel, which is an island of prosperity and stability in the tumultuous Middle East.”
“Particularly because of the UN’s discriminating treatment of Israel, it’s important for the secretary-general to see the complex challenges Israel is dealing with up close, along with its great contribution to the world as an innovative and groundbreaking country in many fields,” Danon added, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Visit Israel for First Time in 17 Years
A United States aircraft carrier is slated to dock in an Israeli port for the first time in 17 years on Saturday.
The USS George H. W. Bush, named for the World War II naval aviator and 41st U.S. president, is scheduled to arrive in Haifa for a four day stopover with a crew of about 5,700 sailors and pilots and some 90 planes, Haaretz reported. The crew will spend the Fourth of July in Israel.
Because of its massive size, the George H. W. Bush will be unable to dock at Haifa’s port, but will remain offshore. Ferries will transport the crew to land.
The carrier, a Nimitz class nuclear-powered vessel, was deployed to the Persian Gulf to serve as a base for air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
On a visit to Israel in April, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that Washington “maintains absolute and unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”
Israeli plane hits Syrian army after shell lands in Golan
An Israeli warplane struck a Syrian army post on Friday, hours after stray fire from Syria’s civil war hit the Israeli Golan Heights, in the 16th such spillover just this week, the IDF said.
“In response to the projectile launched earlier today at Israel from Syria, an Israel Air Force aircraft targeted the Syrian army position that fired the mortar,” the English-language Israeli statement said.
“The errant projectile was a result of internal fighting in Syria.”
No one was hurt and no damage was reported in the incident. IDF forces located the shell casing near the border fence not far from Quneitra.
Rebels recently launched an offensive against government forces in Quneitra on the Syrian side of the armistice line.
Syrian rebels near Golan ask world for support against 'Assad’s terrorist regime'
Syrian rebels who have been fighting against the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad near Quneitra on the Golan claim to have killed 108 Syrian army soldiers in recent clashes, including high ranking officers.
In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, the spokesman Abo Omar Algolany said Syrian rebel factions were still trying to liberate Quneitra province.
Over the weekend of June 24th fighting between Syrian rebels and Assad’s forces led to projectiles falling on the Israeli side of the border and Israel struck Syrian regime tanks in response. According to Algolany a number of “revolutionary factions” that are active near the Golan border formed a unified “operations room” under the name “Operations of the Army of Muhammed” and launched an attack dubbed “there is no God but you, O God” to push Assad’s forces out of the Quneitra area. “The regime forces shell civilian homes, villages and towns adjacent to the Golan heights,” said Algolany. His statements correspond with other information online that says five different rebel groups cooperated in the attacks last week against an area called “Ba’ath city” which is around one kilometer from the Israeli border and near the ruins of the old town of Quneitra. This area can be easily seen from the Israeli side.
The Syrian rebels are facing reinforcements from Hezbollah as well as “Iranian Shi’ite militias” that prop-up Assad’s forces in the area, according to the source. “The rebels managed to control the first defensive lines of the Assad militia in Ba’ath City and eastern Samadaniyah, which is located near the city. They killed 108 members of the Assad regime, including high ranking officers. They destroyed three tanks.” Video posted on twitter claims to show the successes of the battle.
UN tells Syrian forces to leave buffer zone on border with Israel
The UN Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned fighting in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel and urged the Syrian government and opposition groups to withdraw from the area which is patrolled by UN peacekeepers.
A resolution sponsored by Russia and the United States and adopted unanimously Thursday by the UN Security Council extends the mandate of the peacekeeping mission known as UNDOF until Dececember 31.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and later extended civil law over the strategic plateau overlooking northern Israel, in a move that is not internationally recognized.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has patrolled the buffer zone between Syria and Israel since 1974, a year after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. For nearly four decades UNDOF helped enforce a stable truce between the two countries but the Syrian war spilled into the zone.
The six-year conflict has not only seen some intense fighting in the buffer zone but the abduction of peacekeepers by al-Qaeda-linked anti-Syrian government militants, and other attacks that prompted several countries to withdraw their soldiers.
Sarin nerve gas used in deadly Syria attack, says chemical weapons watchdog
An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog confirmed Friday that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, the latest confirmation of chemical weapons use in Syria’s civil war.
The attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province left more than 90 people dead, including women and children, and sparked outrage around the world as photos and video of the aftermath, including quivering children dying on camera, were widely broadcast.
“I strongly condemn this atrocity, which wholly contradicts the norms enshrined in the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said in a statement. “The perpetrators of this horrific attack must be held accountable for their crimes.”
The investigation did not apportion blame. Its findings will be used by a joint United Nations-OPCW investigation team to assess who was responsible.
The OPCW scheduled a meeting of its Executive Council July 5 to discuss the findings.
The US State Department said in a statement issued Thursday night after the report was circulated to OPCW member states that “The facts reflect a despicable and highly dangerous record of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime.”
Hamas Official: Trump Administration Seeking to Establish ‘Palestinian Entity,’ Not an ‘Independent State’
The US is seeking to establish a “Palestinian entity,” not an “independent state,” a top Hamas official claimed this week, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
Furthermore, Moussa Abu Marzouk — the deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau — asserted that the Trump administration’s nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative was meant to “serve Jewish interests.”
“American policy is pushing for the implementation of a confederation plan with Jordan and Egypt,” Marzouk tweeted.
Marzouk’s statements came a week after top Trump administration officials Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
That meeting, nrg said, left PA officials pessimistic, feeling that the Trump administration was biased in favor of Israel.
Abbas — according to PA officials quoted by nrg — tried to raise issues such as borders and refugees, while the American officials were focused on the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families and its incitement against Israel.
No understandings were reached and the discussion reached a dead end, nrg reported.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Teachers Fear Students’ Murderous Hate For Jews Will Atrophy Over Summer (satire)
Educators in the Palestinian Authority school system and in the parallel institutions run by the United nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees voiced concern this week over the impending two-month summer break from formal studies, during which the hard work they invested inculcating in the children vengeful animosity toward Jews might dissipate.
With the school year reaching its formal completion this Friday, teachers and other staff members at schools across the Palestinian Territories expressed anxiety over how successful they had been at instilling lasting Jew-hate in their students during the last ten months. Summer camps will provide some of the same treatment to the children during July and August in informal settings, but the educators can only hope the hard work they have put into growing the next generation of stabbers, bombers, vehicular homicide perpetrators, hijackers, and inciters to murder does not go to waste once their young charges leave behind the school walls for the summer.
“I know summer camp can provide some of that content, but I still worry,” admitted Jenin sixth-grade teacher Sobbi Bor. “When the kids move up to seventh grade in September, will they retain the same level of murderous ill will, or will their new teachers have to go over some of the ground I was supposed to cover, just to get them up to speed? It’s a real worry of mine – basically, was I good enough? Am I good enough?”
For veteran Palestinian educators, the feelings are all too familiar. “Man, not a year goes by that I don’t dread the summer for this reason,” concurred Mustafa Massikr, who teaches fourth grade in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. “It doesn’t get any easier. My mind fills up with visions of the children losing what I’ve tried to teach them, and actually starting to see Jews as human, or at least deserving of compassion or respect. Only through mindfulness training have I managed to overcome those nightmares and push forward.”
Five suicide bombers attack Lebanese army during raids
Five suicide bombers attacked Lebanese soldiers as they raided two Syrian refugee camps in the Arsal area at the border with Syria on Friday and a sixth militant threw a hand grenade at a patrol, the army said.
The army said seven soldiers were wounded and a girl was killed after one of the suicide bombers blew himself up in the midst of a family of refugees. It did not elaborate.
The raids were part of a major security sweep by the army in an area that has been a flashpoint for violent spillover from the Syria crisis, and several Islamic State officials were among some 350 people detained, a security source said.
The defense minister was quoted as saying the incident showed the importance of tackling the refugee crisis - Lebanon is hosting over 1 million refugees - and vindicated a policy of "pre-emptive strikes" against militant sleeper cells.
US accuses UN of failing to address Iran’s ‘repeated’ flouting of nuclear deal
The United States on Thursday accused Iran of “repeatedly and deliberately” violating a UN resolution that endorsed the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and said the Security Council had failed to respond.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley pointed to “repeated ballistic missile launches, proven arms smuggling,” purchases of missile technology and a violations of a travel ban on Iranian military officials as proof that Iran was not upholding its international obligations.
“The Security Council has failed to take even minimal steps to respond to these violations,” Haley told a council meeting called to discuss Iran.
“These measures are here for a reason. This council should be here to enforce them,” she said.
The Security Council adopted resolution 2231 two years ago to endorse the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, lifting economic sanctions in exchange for curbs to Tehran’s nuclear program.
The resolution called on Iran not to test ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and an arms embargo remained in place.
US set to seize NYC skyscraper whose owner violated Iran sanctions
The US government said it’s ready to seize a Manhattan skyscraper from an Iranian-American charity after a jury found Thursday that the charity’s majority ownership was derived from financial dealings that violated sanctions against Iran.
Acting US Attorney Joon H. Kim said the owners of the office tower near Rockefeller Center “gave the Iranian government a critical foothold in the very heart of Manhattan through which Iran successfully circumvented US economic sanctions.”
“For over a decade, hiding in plain sight, this 36-story Manhattan office tower secretly served as a front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of US sanctions laws,” Kim said in a statement. “In this trial, 650 Fifth Avenue’s secret was laid bare for all to see, and today’s jury verdict affirms what we have been alleging since 2008.”

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