Tuesday, July 18, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: PA official glorifies Martyrdom: "Our child Martyrs, Allah willing, are birds in Paradise”
PA official Laila Ghannam, the District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh, praised the "Martyrdom-death" of a 17-year-old terrorist who was shot and killed while throwing Molotov cocktails at Jewish civilians.
With a play on words, she emphasized that rather than obtaining his matriculation certificate ("shahada") this summer, the terrorist "achieved the highest Martyrdom" ("shahada".) [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, July 12, 2017; Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 13, 2017]
She gave the terrorist's family a statuette of a bird, symbolizing her wish that:
"Our child Martyrs, Allah willing, are birds in Paradise."
Ghannam’s reference is to the Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad, the Hadith, which teaches that Martyrs in Paradise reside inside the bodies of green birds:
“Narrated Ka'b bin Malik: From his father that the Messenger of Allah said: 'The souls of the martyrs are in green birds, suspended from the fruit of Paradise, or the trees of Paradise.' [Jami'at-Tirmidhi 1641]

King of Saudi Arabia Personally Intervenes in Temple Mount Crisis, Says Metal Detectors ‘Routine’ at Holy Places
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman of Saudi Arabia personally intervened in the Temple Mount crisis via the United States, according to a report posted Tuesday by the Arabic-language Elaph website, based in London.
The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Israeli security officials late Saturday night to reopen the holy site to Muslim worshipers, visitors and tourists allegedly came after receiving a message from the Saudi monarch via the White House.
Moreover, the Saudi king expressed no reservations about Israel’s decision to upgrade security by installing metal detectors at the entrances to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in the wake of the terror attack last Friday that left two Israeli policemen dead and others wounded.
“The issue of metal detection machines, said the source, is a matter that has become routine in the holy places because of terrorism, which strikes without discrimination and in most places regardless of the sanctity of the different religions,” reported Elaph.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, warned followers that their prayers would not be accepted in Heaven if they pass through the metal detectors to enter the Temple Mount for prayers in Al Aqsa Mosque — the third holiest site in Islam.
Given that King Salman is the Custodian of the Two Mosques, Islam’s two holiest sites, one might consider his authority to overrule that of the Mufti in spiritual matters such as effect of metal detectors on the human body and its ability to convey prayer to heaven.

The first medic to respond to the Temple Mount terror attack was Muslim. Here’s his story
When Nedal Sader first heard the crackle of automatic weapon fire Friday morning, he couldn’t believe it was coming from the Temple Mount.
As a Muslim, he regarded the complex just outside his apartment as a sacred and peaceful place. He prayed there nearly every week.
But as a seasoned first responder, he knew what gunshots sounded like echoing off the stones of the Old City. He finished dressing, threw on his medic’s jacket and raced to the scene.
Sader, a 37-year-old nurse and father of five, was the first medical professional to arrive at the Temple Mount following the attack in which two Israeli Druze police officers were shot dead. The three Arab-Israeli gunmen were then killed by police on the scene.
Amid the carnage at the politically and religiously fraught complex, Sader said he simply tried to save whomever he could.
“It doesn’t matter who the person is,” said Sader, a Muslim volunteer with United Hatzalah, the Orthodox Jewish-run ambulance service. “Whoever needs help most gets help first.”

Why Palestinians Oppose Metal Detectors on the Temple Mount
Last week, three Arab Israelis shot two policemen dead on the outskirts of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and then ran onto the Mount, where they were killed by Israeli security personnel. The Israeli government responded by briefly closing the Temple Mount for prayer, reopening it first to Muslims, then to Jews. In addition, it proposed stricter security measures, with predictable results, as Shmuel Rosner writes:
[Israel] installed metal detectors at the entrance to the site to prevent visitors and ostensible worshipers from smuggling weapons into the place—as Israel suspects some did. Israel also intends to install cameras to monitor the Temple Mount compound. For some reason, the new equipment “fanned criticism and protests that Israel had unilaterally changed the rules regarding religious worship and tourist visits at the complex.” . . .
[This is] a change that Muslim authorities should have embraced, unless there is something they want to hide from the cameras or a reason for them to evade the detectors. In other words, ask not why Israel insists on installing new security measures around the compound; ask why the Muslim authorities respond to these measures with such rage.
The answer to this question is also simple. The metal detectors are truly bullshit detectors. [The fact is that] the Temple Mount is not just a holy [place] of worship—it is also, and at times even more so, a political tool with which to hammer Israel. . . . So now the metal detectors are the new tool [for Palestinian propagandists] to manufacture a made-up threat to the Mount. The ultimate goal of the detectors’ opponents is not to heighten security or prevent bloodshed; it is to delegitimize Israel’s rule of the Old City. . . .

Seth Frantzman: The campaign to exploit Jerusalem terror and fan new round of violence
These kinds of cycles of riot and repression are well known in Jerusalem. They exist throughout the year as low-level weekly protests percolate up in neighborhoods like Silwan or Jebl Mukaber or Isawiya or elsewhere. Over the past 10 years there have been serious riots in Israel’s capital and dozens of stabbing attacks. These grow out of smaller events that become symbols around which protests gather.
Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said that the “Israeli occupation exploits the recent developments to Judaize al-Aksa,” and his statement was tweeted in English by Hamas. Now youth are rioting in Isawiya and in Abu Dis.
The problem for Hamas and Fatah and other Palestinian movements is they don’t have deep roots in Jerusalem where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live. Yet voices and local leaders want to use the terrorist attack to create a robust movement, based on religious anger. This attempts to bridge the gap between Arabs in Israel, Jerusalem residents, and the West Bank and Gaza. In essence this is the Greater-Palestinian movement that some activists want to see, and al-Aksa unites it. The symbol of the Dome of the Rock can be found in all these places, even on new mosques in the Negev built to resemble the Jerusalem landmarks.
Video also surfaced online Monday of Palestinian businessman Munib al-Masri visiting Jerusalem and being accosted by Muslim youth as some shouted “Allahu akbar.” This represents a deep challenge to authority and traditional leaders. It is a symbol of the leaderless but dangerous violence that can erupt in Jerusalem. Instead of trying to reduce this rudderless violence, there is an attempt to push it forward over the issue of the metal detectors. Those encouraging it through social media and religious circles hope to get Muslim countries, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia to pressure Israel. If youth are harmed in violence, those encouraging it emerge as heroes, accompanying young men to hospital or worse.
Looking at this through the dangerous prism of how it has been choreographed and exploited, whether violence increases or does not, teaches an important lesson for the future, for Israel and Palestinian political leaders and for security forces in Jerusalem.
Terrorism shapes reality
The phrase "security check" should have never been coined. These two ostensibly innocuous words mean so much -- a search as thorough as the most stringent searches for chametz before Passover, only with a firearm rather than a candle.
How did we get to a place where boarding a plane requires disrobing? Why have airports become the most secure places on earth, just to prevent hijackings and attacks? And in our particular context, why do security guards need to use the most sophisticated devices just to screen innocent worshippers on their way to prayer?
Almost 50 years ago, an El Al flight was hijacked to Algeria. The extensive media coverage of that attack gave prominence to the Palestine Liberation Organization, then led by Yasser Arafat. All the hostages may have been freed in the end, but in exchange for the release of top-tier terrorists. In fact, it was in the wake of this event that the phrase "security checks" became synonymous with fear of flying. Airport screening has gradually intensified all over the world, with Israel leading the pack.
Over the years, many planes have been hijacked. Some were blown up on the ground, and some in midair. Massive security barriers have been erected around embassies. Security guards are stationed at the entrance of every supermarket and shopping mall. As it turns out, the war on terrorism has been a source of income for many. Too Many. Terrorism has become code word for the endless deployment of guards that prevent free access to synagogues, movie theaters, stadiums or to the post office. Nobody likes this security regime and nobody wanted the unusual events that brought about this situation. Our new reality has been dictated by one thing -- terrorism.
Replace the Wakf
About 20% of the Israeli population (about 1.8 million) is Arab . Israeli Arabs know that they enjoy a better standard of living in Israel than they would under Palestinian rule. Israeli Arab income is three times larger than that of the average Palestinian Authority Arab and most of the Israeli Arabs would not change their Israeli citizenship for a Palestinian one if such citizenship would exist.
In 2014 the residents of the Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, bordering on the 'West Bank', were asked to vote if they wanted their city to continue being part of Israel under a peace agreement or if they wanted to be ruled by the Palestinian Authority. They chose to remain in Israel because they enjoyed the benefits of Israeli citizenship.
There are more Arabs living in Israel than in the 'West Bank,' Israeli Arabs have the same claim to Al Aqsa as does Abbas. Israeli Arabs who enjoy the benefits of Israeli universities, hospitals and high tech businesses should also support Israeli sovereignty over Al Aqsa where Muslims enjoy the same freedom of religion as they do in any other of the thousands of mosques in Israel.
Jordan or the Palestinian Authority should have no input on control of Al Aqsa . An association of Israeli Arabs who benefit from the privileges of Israeli citizenship should appoint an Imam to run the Al Aqsa mosque in place of the anti-Israel Waqf. Israeli Arabs, who unfortunately showed last week that they also harbor disloyal and terrorist persons, should be given a choice: either replace the Waqf with an Israel-friendly Imam or risk the benefits of their Israeli citizenship.
Why should Israeli Arabs continue enjoying the benefits of living in Israel while supporting a Waqf that calls for Israel's destruction?
The real battle for the mount
It's not the metal detectors, the security cameras, or any of the other minor issues that are attracting the attention of the media that are the real story. The question in the balance is about the Jews' sovereignty over their own country, especially in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, which has led to the "truths of faith," as Islam sees them today. Therefore, we must not cave in to the propaganda and manipulations of the Waqf and Muslim public officials. There is no need to fear their thunder. It's how they've always behaved.
As we returned to our land these past few generations, it was clear to us that we would not be satisfied with Petach Tikva, the Jezreel Valley or Tel Aviv. "An eye gazes toward Zion," and in Zion the Muslims built a house of worship on the place for which we longed. The Arabs talk about the "occupation" of east Jerusalem. They're right -- the occupation began in the year 638 C.E., when Umar ibn al-Khattab entered Jerusalem as a foreign conqueror who brought Islam to the region. In 691, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the fifth Umayyad caliph, built the Dome of the Rock on the site of Solomon's Temple, a palpable demonstration of the Islamic belief that it is Judaism's legitimate heir. Later Muslim tradition holds that even the Prophet Muhammad could not ascend to heaven until he passed through Jerusalem, where our Temple was located.
Islamic religious texts quote a Jewish convert to Islam named Ka'ab al-Ahbar, a friend of Muhammad, who said: "It is written in one of the holy books: Irusalayyim [Jerusalem], which is Al-Maqdis [the Temple], and the rock known as 'the shrine' -- I will send you my servant, Abd al-Malik, who will build you and adorn you, and I will restore Beit al-Maqdis [the Temple] to its original glory, and crown it with gold, with silver, and pearls; I shall send you My prophet and create My throne on the rock, because I am Allah, the sovereign, and David is the king of the children of Israel."
This disturbed many Muslims (Caliph Al-Malik is compared to King David!), but is a small indication of Islam's attitude toward Jews as the source of its own legitimacy. Some sections of the Quran acknowledge the rights of Jews to their own country and their right to return to it one day! Sura 17:104 reads: "And We said after Pharaoh to the Children of Israel, 'Dwell in the land, and when there comes the promise of the Hereafter, We will bring you forth in [one] gathering.'"
After the murderous attack by Arab terrorists at Temple Mount, weapons were found at the compound. Join me here discussing with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network the use of a religious shrine as a theatre of war.

Please join me here discussing with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network the implications for Britain and elsewhere of the murderous terror attack mounted from the supposedly holy Islamic shrine of the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

NGO funded by US Jews calls for investigation of Israeli Border Police
While sane people mourned the victims of Friday’s terror attack on the Temple Mount, in which two Druze Border Police officers were murdered, an extremist organization, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel - demanded the Border Police be investigated for “..the police killings of three Palestinian citizens of Israel involved in a shooting attack in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Al Aqsa Mosque.”
Perhaps the police should have thrown flowers at the terrorists and “prayed for peace”?
Adalah sent the letters on behalf of the families of the deceased assailants, demanding an investigation into the “circumstances of the shooting deaths" of the three men. Adalah Attorney Mohammad Bassam wrote in the letters that "the incident raises serious questions regarding police personnel's compliance with very detailed open-fire regulations. Police orders regulate all situations in which officers have an option to make use of firearms including when seeking to make an arrest and to prevent immediate harm to human life. In all situations, use of firearms is permitted only when there is a real and immediate danger to human life and as a final option when all other options to prevent this harm have been exhausted."
IDF soldiers have meticulously worded orders about opening fire. However, they are instructed to neutralize terrorists perpetrating terror attacks in order to stop them from continuing their attempts to murder. In this case, one of the wounded terrorists attempted to stand and continue firing his weapon. He was then shot dead by Israeli fire.
Adalah is funded in part by the radical American non-profit the New Israel Fund, which has given nearly $2 Million to the organization from 2008-2015. It recently launched a “Discriminatory Laws in Israel” database on its website. Simply put, it is part and parcel of an ongoing campaign by the radical New Israel Fund to demonize and harm the Jewish state.
Oops! Hamas Accidentally Admits Muslims Enjoy “Complete” Religious Freedom in Jerusalem
An English-language press release issued on Tuesday by the Islamist terror organization Hamas to protest the temporary closing of the Temple Mount by Israeli authorities following an attack there on Friday contained an unexpected, and possibly unintended, revelation.
The Temple Mount was reopened Monday with additional security measures to prevent further violence, including metal detectors—a change that was protested by Palestinians. Hamas on Saturday called for a “religious war” against Israel following the brief closure.
Yet the press release issued by the group on Tuesday contained an unexpected admission. “The recent closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” it read, “and preventing Muslims from practing [sic] their faith in complete freedom for the first time in half a century, is a dangerous escalation of the Zionists’ plans to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque and seize full control of it.”
The spurious claim that Israel is planning to seize control of the mosque that sits on the Temple Mount has been at the heart of Arab incitement against Jews for at least a century, and it continues to be periodically invoked across the Arab and Muslim world by leaders looking to whip up violence against Israelis. It has also been at the heart of Hamas’ rhetoric since its inception.
If Temple Mount security measures remain, 'we will see an explosion'
For the third consecutive day, Muslims refused to enter the Temple Mount compound due to the installation of metal detectors at some of its gates. Local residents warned Israel on Tuesday of the outcome of keeping the new measure, especially ahead of Friday prayers.
Mohammad Arar, a resident of the Old City, told The Jerusalem Post that locals were willing to escalate the situation until they received their wish. He added that Friday would be a critical turning point.
“If the metal detectors are not removed, we will see an explosion here,” said Arar. “People would tear them down with their arms. The amount of people who enter al-Aksa every Friday is so big, so the police have three days to reevaluate.”
Police estimation holds that tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers usually attend Friday prayers at the Temple Mount, which includes people from both Israel and the West Bank.
Muslim Worshippers Throw Molotov Cocktails, Rocks at Israeli Security Forces in Protests Against New Temple Mount Measures
Protests staged by Muslim worshippers against increased Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount continued and escalated overnight Monday as Molotov Cocktails and rocks were hurled at Israeli security forces in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, according to the Jerusalem Police.
Angry crowds gathered near the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem over the installation of metal detectors at the entrance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque following Friday's deadly terror attack that claimed the lives of two Israeli police officers.
Forces stationed in Silwan spotted a teenager carrying fireworks which he fired directly in their direction, prompting the forces to respond with live rounds in the air and attempt to disperse the enraged crowds.
According to police, dozens of masked youths made their way to the gas station at the entrance of the neighborhood and threw rocks and Molotov Cocktails at the personnel and onto the road, causing a fire which was eventually extinguished by firefighters.
IsraellyCool: What Waqf, Palestinian & Muslim Reactions To Temple Mount Events Teach Us
Not much of this seems to make sense – until you look at it from the perspective of what is really motivating the Waqf, palestinians, and so many other Muslims.
The importance of the Temple Mount to them does not arise from any inherent sanctity of the site to them. It arises from the fact it is so holy to Jews.
They cannot stand for the fact that the Jews – the chief infidels – are in charge of this land. So they will stop at nothing to end this situation, whether through terror (the preferred choice of many) or bringing pressure to bear down on us politically.
Once you look at events through this prism, their actions before, during and following Friday’s terror attack make almost perfect sense.
Analysis: Canadian Media Coverage of Terror Attack on the Temple Mount
While the National Post and CTV News both made sure to identify the assailants in their headlines, CBC News, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail omitted mentioning this important context and information in their headlines:
CBC News:“2 police officers killed in shooting near Jerusalem holy site”
Globe and Mail: “Two Israeli policemen shot dead near Jerusalem holy site, gunmen killed.”
Toronto Star: “Hamas calls for attacks on Israelis after holy site closed: Two police officers shot dead Friday at site known as the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims and to Jews as the Temple Mount.”
National Post: “Three Palestinian gunmen kill two Israeli police near Jerusalem shrine”
CTV News: “Palestinian gunmen kill 2 Israeli police at Jerusalem shrine”
Importantly, readers see headlines 3:1 over the adjacent article and some readers who don’t see the corresponding article, could wrongly conclude that the incident in question could have been crime related and not a terror attack. That, and as social media sharing traditionally recirculates headlines only.
As we now know and as was reported by the Times of Israel, “One of the three men who carried out a deadly terror attack Friday morning at the Temple Mount posted on Facebook shortly before the shooting, saying ‘Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful, God willing.’” Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack.
Headlines aside, CBC News did issue a correction after HRC liaised with CBC editors to note that the attackers were Arab-Israelis:
MEMRI: Jordanian Reactions To Shooting At Al-Aqsa Compound: King Abdullah Condemns It; In Parliament And Press, Israel Is Attacked; Columnist In Government Daily: I Am Proud Of The Martyrdom That Woke The Arab World From Its Slumber
The July 14, 2017 shooting attack at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, carried out by three Israeli Arabs, in which two Israeli policemen were killed, and the subsequent Israeli decision to close the compound provoked numerous reactions in Jordan, which views itself as the custodian of the holy places in Jerusalem.
Jordan's King Abdullah II condemned the attack in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed opposition to violence in all its forms, and stressed the importance of calming the situation at the Al-Aqsa compound. At the same time, the king criticized Israel's decision to close the compound following the attack. He noted, "Jordan strongly opposes the continuation of the closure of the Al-Aqsa compound," and demanded that Netanyahu "reopen the Al-Aqsa compound to worshippers." Condemnations of the Israeli closure also appeared in statements by Jordan's government spokesman Muhammad Al-Momani, and also in a strongly worded statement published the following day by Jordanian Minister of Endowments Wael Arabiyat in which he warned against "continuing the unprecedented violation of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the pretext of halting the violence and the tension."
In contrast to the king's condemnation, members of the Jordanian parliament praised the three attackers. The July 16 joint parliament-government session opened with a call to recite Surat Al-Fatiha of the Koran in memory of the three who carried out the shooting attack, describing them as "martyrs, who fell [in order] to water [and to continue to water] the pure land of Palestine [with their blood]," and a message to the families of the three, noting that they deserve pride and glory. A parliamentary statement released at the close of the session said: "The serious crimes perpetrated by Israel will continue to justify igniting the fire of vengeance among the younger generation, which is still inheriting the hatred of the occupation from its fathers." During the meeting there were also calls to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Ostensible Metal Detectors At Temple Mount Actually Detect Muslim Inferiority Complex (satire)
Islamic authorities at the sacred compound containing the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine suspect that the metal detectors installed by Israel over the weekend after a shooting attack there killed two police officers are intended not to reveal weapons that worshipers attempt to smuggle into the Temple Mount, but lack of Muslim confidence in the legitimacy of their claim to the site.
Waqf leaders announced a boycott of prayers today upon the site’s reopening with the security measures in place, urging Muslims not to legitimize Israel’s imposition of the detectors by attending services at Al Aqsa, lest the technology determine that Muslims feel threatened by such a move only because they cannot mount a consistent or convincing argument to justify the continued exclusion of Jewish worship from the holiest site in Judaism.
However, according to technology experts, the Waqf appears unaware that the detectors perform their function regardless of whether worshipers pass through them, and have already alerted their operators to collective Muslim insecurity over the impossibility of mounting a coherent, factually accurate, and morally defensible system that favors a Muslim monopoly over worship on the Temple Mount.
“We’re getting a strong reading, and that’s with only a few dozen people here,” noted one of the detector operators. “This is some pretty powerful technology.”
PA minister ambiguous on Palestinian preconditions for peace talks
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Monday made ambiguous statements about Palestinian preconditions for reviving peace talks.
In one part of an interview with the Chinese daily Xinhua, Maliki said that the Palestinians’ only precondition for reviving talks is that Israel commit to the two-state solution.
“We are ready to engage in negotiations when Israel announces that it is committed to the two-state solution as the primary and only solution,” Maliki said, speaking from Beijing, where he is accompanying PA President Abbas on a four-day visit.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he supports a two-state solution, but many ministers and members of his government strongly oppose it.
White House: Trump shares Israel's goal to prevent Iranian rush through Syria
The Trump administration shares Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's concerns over Iran's presence in southern Syria, and is working with Israel to prevent it, a White House official told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Netanyahu seemed to question that commitment over the weekend in Paris, outlining to reporters his opposition to a ceasefire agreement negotiated among Russia, Jordan and the US holding in southwestern Syria since July 11. Israel fears the agreement grants Tehran de facto freedom of movement in a region close to its border.
It was a rare rebuke of Trump from Netanyahu, who considers the new president a strategic and political ally.
"Both governments – the United States and Israel – are rightly concerned about Iran’s malign influence in the region," a White House official told the Post. "A core goal of US policy in Syria is to ensure that no vacuum is created which Iran can fill."
Russia vows to work with US, address Israel's Syria concerns
Russia and the United States will do all they can to address Israeli concerns about the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday, according to a report from the Russian state-operated news agency RIA.
Lavrov was responding to comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who told reporters in Paris late Sunday that the existing arrangement perpetuated Iran's presence in Syria and that Israel was therefore "utterly opposed" to it.
The public objection was rare for Netanyahu, who has sought to avoid confrontation with Moscow and Washington over Syria.
French President Macron: “I Share Israeli Concerns on the Arming of Hezbollah in Lebanon”
French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday denounced the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah’s ongoing military buildup in Lebanon.
“I share Israeli concerns on the arming of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon,” Macron told reporters after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris. “We seek Lebanon’s stability with due regard to all minorities.”
Hezbollah warned earlier this year that its rockets could reach any target in Israeli territory.
Iran is believed to be building underground weapons factories for its proxy in Lebanon, one of which reportedly produces Fateh 110 rockets that can carry half-ton warheads and reach most of Israel.
Iran is banned from exporting weapons by the United Nations Security Council, and is specifically forbidden from arming Hezbollah by Security Council resolution 1701.
Earlier this month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot told a Knesset committee that Israel was aware of the factories and was “working against it using quiet measures to avoid a deterioration of the situation.”
The Syria Cease-Fire Poses a Threat to Israel
On July 9, a ceasefire—negotiated by the U.S., Russia, and Jordan during the G20 summit in Hamburg—took effect in southwestern Syria. It will, if it holds, create an area of quiet along the Israeli and Jordanian borders and, it is hoped, serve as a first step toward a broader de-escalation of the conflict. But Benjamin Netanyahu and those close to him have reportedly made clear that they are very troubled by the details, as David Makovsky explains:
Israeli security experts are skeptical that the cease-fire will hold—they have seen too many similar agreements fall apart in Syria. But this cease-fire touches more directly on Israeli interests than past such deals, as it [applies] not far from the Syrian-Israel border and adjacent to the Golan Heights, approximately two-thirds of which is controlled by Israel. . . . Israel’s most immediate concern is anything that brings Iran or Hizballah to the border of Israel’s tacit ally, Jordan, or close to [Syria’s] border with Israel on the Golan Heights. In principle, a cease-fire deal that would keep Iran, Hizballah, and Shiite forces away from these sensitive areas, [as this one ostensibly does], would be welcomed by Israel.
Yet for Israel, the potential gap between theory and practice looms large. Would the Russians actually enforce the cease-fire in southern Syria? Will Russian monitoring by satellites, drones, and military police occur, and will it be sufficient? Does Russia really intend to keep Iran and Hizballah in check? According to senior Israeli military officials, several hundred Hizballah officials have joined the First Syrian Corps in southern Syria, where they provide intelligence and plant roadside bombs against Syrian rebels—[the same rebels Russia has been fighting]. . . .
Top Senator Demands Palestinians Change ‘Martyr Payments’ Laws as Taylor Force Act Moves Closer to Potential Passage
As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prepares to pass a bill that would massively cut aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it ends its $300 million in annual payments to convicted terrorists and their families, one of the legislation’s leading advocates has said that the PA must change its own laws regarding the payments as a condition for continued US assistance.
“PA money is going to be cut off until they change their laws basically rewarding people for being terrorists,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told The Weekly Standard (TWS) on Monday. In September 2016, Graham introduced the Taylor Force Act — named for the American fatality in a March 2016 terrorist attack in Israel — which is now set to be comfortably passed by the Foreign Relations Committee before the August recess.
“We have gotten the bill in a place where it’s going to receive overwhelming support,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told TWS.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council expressed support for the legislation as well. “The Taylor Force Act correctly identifies a significant issue and offers an option to address a major issue of concern,” the spokesperson said.
Dermer Israel backs Taylor Force Act despite 'fake news' claims
"The purveyors of fake news don't quit," Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the US, said on Monday night at the Christians United for Israel summit in Washington.
The Israeli envoy hit hard against media outlets claims that Israel is worried the US will pass the Taylor Force Act, introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham.
Named after Taylor Force, an American citizen who was murdered in a terror attack in Israel in March 2016, if passed the Senate bill would cut off funding for the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay families of convicted murderers and terrorists.
"I can assure you that Israel is not the slightest bit concerned that the Taylor Force Act will pass. Israel would be concerned if the Taylor Force Act didn't pass," Dermer told the crowd. "Israel believes that the United States should end economic assistance to any government that pays people to kill Jews. Period."
Christian pro-Israel group lobbies to cut funding to Palestinians
Christians United for Israel activists will lobby for a congressional bill that cuts nearly all US funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops payments to the families of Palestinians jailed for or killed in attacks on Israelis.
The pro-Israel group, meeting this week in Washington, D.C., for its 12th conference, on Tuesday also will push a measure that expands anti-boycott laws to target the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Some 5,000 activists are attending the conference.
The United States currently provides some $300 million a year to the Palestinian Authority.
“Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian government, by legislation, by law, gives rich financial rewards to anyone who kills an Israeli,” David Brog, the founding executive director of CUFI and an active board member, told activists in a briefing Monday. “So long as the Palestinian government is paying money to terrorists, we should stop giving money to the Palestinian government.”
The US House of Representatives and the Senate are considering versions of the bill, which is named for Taylor Force, an American student slain in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv in 2016. Mostly just Republicans are supporting the measure.
Pence restates Trump pledge to move embassy to Jerusalem
US Vice President Mike Pence again pledged that the Trump administration would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, this time to Christian supporters of Israel who have become increasingly restive at President Donald Trump’s failure to make good on his campaign promise
“To the men and women of Christians United for Israel, this president hears you,” Pence said to cheers Monday evening at the annual CUFI conference in Washington. “This President stands with you. And I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump moves the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is only when.”
Earlier Monday, a panel including Pastor John Hagee, who founded the movement 12 years ago, expressed concerns that Trump, who otherwise was presented at the conference as preferable to his predecessor, President Barack Obama, was losing credibility by not making good on his campaign promise. “Moving to Jerusalem would prove that our president stands by his word,” Hagee said.
Trump in June renewed a waiver on a law passed in 1995 mandating the move, as all of his predecessors have done, and has backed away from the pledge.
Pence, who has long been close to the pro-Israel community, has said several times that Trump would fulfill the promise.
Following Trump Jr. Revelation, Elders of Zion Assure Americans They, Not Russia, Behind Election Manipulations (satire)
Following the news that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign in order to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, The Elders of Zion released a statement today affirming their direct role in shaping the results of the elections. The statement noted that “this whole Russia thing has gotten way out of hand, and we want to assure Americans that the steadying, global hand of world Jewry is still determining your fate – not some corrupt government like Russia.”
According to the statement, Russia played no significant role in manipulating Americans against Clinton. Rather, it noted, the small powerful group of wealthy Jews of the Elders of Zion used their influence to further their goal of Jewish domination.
At a press conference following the release of the statement, a spokesperson for the Elders of Zion noted that Americans had “nothing to fear and that this election was business as usual. We’ve been manipulating the results of the US elections for over 70 years” he added, “and we have a trusted record of management that the American people can rely on.” He added that they were working on programs to gain control of the Russian government as well (where “we used to have complete control in the past”), so that “this kind of mix-up can be avoided in the future.”
Two IDF soldiers hurt in West Bank ramming attack; assailant killed
Two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in a suspected car-ramming attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba on Tuesday.
According to the army a Palestinian arrived at the entrance to the village of Beit Anun and accelerated into the troops. Forces responded by firing their weapons at the man, killing him.
Magen David Adom reported that it had evacuated the two soldiers in their 20s in light condition and fully conscious to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital.
“When we arrived on the scene we identified two youngsters in their twenties fully conscious and able to walk. They suffered from wounds to their limbs and faces after being hit by a vehicle,” MDA paramedic Zaki Yahav said.
Jordanian Soldier Sentenced To Life Of Hard Labor After Killing Green Berets
Jordan has sentenced soldier Marik al-Tuwayha to a life in prison and hard labor after he killed three U.S. Army Green Berets in November.
Relatives of the killed Green Berets were hoping for a death sentence and stated that life in prison was not good enough, the Associated Press reports. The sentence will likely be dropped to 20 years with good behavior.
“I have all the respect for the king, but I was doing my job,” said al-Tuwayha, who pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder, as he was escorted out of the court.
In November, al-Tuwayha opened fire on the Green Berets after their vehicles approached the Jordanian al-Jafr airbase in the southern part of the country. He insisted that he was protecting the base, which he thought was coming under attack. During the trial, he testified that he harbored no animosity towards Americans.
While Jordan initially blamed the incident on Americans not following appropriate procedure, the trial concluded that Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe and Staff Sgt. James Moriarty did indeed abide by protocol.
Additionally, a review of the security footage reveals that a shooting battle that went on for six entire minutes, with the Green Berets repeatedly shouting, “We’re Americans! We’re friendly.”
Eli Lake: Trump Just Came Very Close to Killing the Iran Deal
Under President Barack Obama this kind of thing was routine. Since the Iran nuclear deal was reached in 2015, every few months the State Department would inform Congress that the Tehran government was in compliance.
Then Donald Trump was elected president. He had campaigned against the agreement, and many of the top aides he brought into the White House believed the Obama administration had turned a blind eye to Iran's regional predations to secure a bargain that in the end was harmful to U.S. national security.
Nonetheless, Trump's State Department in the spring certified Iran was in compliance. On Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was supposed to certify Iranian compliance again. Talking points were sent to columnists. Senior administration officials briefed analysts on a conference call. The Treasury Department was set to announce new sanctions against a number of Iranians to soften the blow for the Republican base. Allies in Congress were given a heads-up.
There was just one problem: Donald Trump. In meetings with his national security cabinet, the president has never been keen on Obama's nuclear deal. What's more, Iran's regional behavior has only been getting worse since his inauguration.
US slaps Iranians with sanctions over ‘malign’ activity
The Trump administration on Tuesday slapped new sanctions on 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks for aiding Iran military and supporting the country’s ballistic missile program.
The move comes the day after the administration certified to Congress that Iran is technically complying with the nuclear deal and can continue enjoying nuclear sanctions relief, but warned penalties may still be in the offing over non-nuclear behavior.
The US Treasury Department sanctions targeted seven groups and five people that aided Iran’s military or the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The sanctions also targeted what the US says is a transnational criminal group based in Iran and three people associated with it, which the Treasury Department says stole software from the US and other Western countries.
The State Department also targeted two more groups associated with Iran’s ballistic missiles program and said it was “deeply concerned” over Tehran’s support for Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Iran army chief threatens US bases if sanctions imposed
Iran’s top army chief on Monday threatened attacks on US military bases in the Middle East in the event that Washington imposes sanctions on the regime.
Iran’s chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, said that designating the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps a terrorist organization would be a huge miscalculation, and threatened the consequences of doing so, saying it could destabilize the entire region, Iranian media reported.
“Drawing an analogy between the IRGC and terrorist groups and imposing the same sanctions on the IRGC would be a big risk to the US and its bases and forces stationed in the region,” Bagheri told a group of military commanders in Mashhad.
Bagheri also said the US should be wary of imposing new sanctions on the country to stop its missile program.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s missile power is defensive and is never negotiable at any level,” he said.
Two Iranians charged in US over hacking defense materials
Two Iranians were indicted Monday in the United States for hacking a defense contractor and stealing sensitive software used to design bullets and warheads, according to the Justice Department.
According to the newly unsealed indictment, businessman Mohammed Saeed Ajily, 35, recruited Mohammed Reza Rezakhah, 39, to break into companies’ computers to steal their software for resale to Iranian universities, the military and the government.
The two men — and a third who was arrested in 2013 and handed back to Iran in a prisoner swap last year — allegedly broke into the computers of Vermont-based Arrow Tech Associates.
The indictment said they stole in 2012 the company’s Prodas ballistics software, which is used to design and test bullets, warheads and other military ordnance projectiles.
The material stolen from Arrow Tech was protected by US controls on the export of sensitive technologies, and its distribution to Iran was banned by US sanctions on the country.
Iranian Military Agent Caught Trying to Enter U.S.
An Iranian citizen identified as a senior member of the country's Basij military force was caught trying to enter the United States posing as a cancer researcher, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation who told the Washington Free Beacon that the Trump administration should begin investigating how the individual was granted a U.S. visa in the first place.
Seyed Mohsen Dehnavi, who has been identified as a member of Iran's highly vetted volunteer Basij force, was turned away from entering the United States at Boston's Logan Airport.
Sources familiar with the situation said that Dehnavi is billing himself as a medical researcher and was to assume residency at a Boston-based hospital. He was detained earlier this week at Logan Airport along with his family and later sent back to Iran.
A Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) official familiar with the situation told the Free Beacon that Dehnavi was "deemed inadmissible to the U.S. based on information discovered during the CBP inspection."
Dehnavi's rejection was unrelated to the Trump administration's executive order on immigration from Muslim nations, according to official, who said that those trying to enter the United States must prove their eligibility.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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