Thursday, July 20, 2017

From Ian:

State Dept blames Israel for causing Palestinian violence
Rex Tillerson’s State Department added blistering anti-Israel language to this year’s “Country Reports on Terrorism,” adopting a tone not seen even during the hostile Obama era.
On Wednesday, Tillerson submitted the annual report to Congress. This year’s report may come as a shock to the overwhelmingly pro-Israel majority that elected Donald Trump president.
The report appears to blame Israel for the lack of peace between the two sides, pointing to a “lack of hope” as a “driver” for Palestinian violence.
Tillerson’s State Department concluded that Palestinian terrorism is motivated by “Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.”
Continuing its pro-Palestinian posture, the next paragraph of the State Department memo commends the Palestinian Authority chairman for condemning acts of violence.
Tillerson continues to shock supporters of Israel with his pro-Palestinian policy promotion.
In May, the embattled secretary of state blackmailed Israel, using the debate over its embassy move as a bargaining chip for Palestinian statehood. That same month, he described Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, as the “home of Judaism.”
Unlike U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Tillerson refuses to recognize that the Western Wall is in Israel. Moreover, his State Department continues to reject Israeli claims over the city of Jerusalem.
Israel UNESCO is a full partner in Palestinian incitement
Israel has charged that UNESCO’s actions have helped Palestinians use the Temple Mount to incite violence against Israel.
“UNESCO is a full partner to the false incitement by Palestinians and radical Islam who claim that Al-Aksa [Temple Mount mosque] is in danger,” Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO in Paris Carmel Shama HaCohen said on Thursday.
HaCohen said that Israel hopes to see an end to the incitement that comes from sensational and false stories put out by Arab and Palestinian media about the Temple Mount.
This year, both UNESCO’s Executive Board and its World Heritage Committee passed a resolution that disavowed Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, known to Muslims as Al-Haram/Al-Sharif. This followed two years of resolutions that also ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount - as well as the city of Jerusalem as a whole - by referring to Judaism's holiest site solely by its Muslim name.

Will UNESCO ever condemn Temple Mount terror attack?
Will the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stand up and condemn a murderous terror attack which took place on a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, and the use the Heritage Site to store weapons for the attack?
That is the question Israeli envoy to UNESCO Carmel Shama Hacohen posed to the international body on Thursday in a letter to its director-general, Irina Georgieva Bokova.
While UNESCO has designated the Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount included, as a UN-protected World Heritage Site, since last week’s murder of two Israeli Border Police officers by a gang of Arab terrorists, the UN organization has yet to issue any form of condemnation against the terror attack.
In his letter, Shama Hacohen urged UNESCO to stand by its pledge to protect World Heritage Sites and condemn the use of one in facilitating Friday’s attack. Authorities believe that the three terrorists responsible for the attack stored their firearms in one of the mosques on the Temple Mount with the help of officials from the Waqf, the Islamic trust charged with managing the holy site.

PMW: Fatah threatens more violence: “Rage for the Al-Aqsa Mosque!”
Abbas’ Fatah Movement is calling on Palestinians to escalate violence against Israelis.
Fatah’s Bethlehem branch urged Palestinians to “escalate confrontations,” and called for “rage”:
Text on image: “Rage for the Al-Aqsa Mosque!”
Posted text: “Calls to escalate the confrontations with the occupation forces at the friction points in response to the continued closure of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic.)”
[Facebook page of the Fatah Movement’s Bethlehem Branch, July 15, 2017]
This call follows Israel’s placing metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following the terror attack there last week. Israel’s placing metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following the terror attack there last week. Three Israeli Arab terrorists brought rifles to the Temple Mount and shot and murdered 2 Israeli Druze border policemen - Haiel Stawi and Kamil Shnaan, on July 14, 2017. The three terrorists, Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Jabarin, Muhammad Hamed Abd Al-Latif Jabarin, and Muhammad Ahmad Mufaddal Jabarin, were shot and killed by other policemen during and right after the attack.
Subsequently, Israel closed the Temple Mount for two days, and then reopened it after installing metal detectors at the entrance. Palestinians are refusing to enter the site in protest of the metal detectors. It should be noted that even in Mecca the Saudi government installed metal detectors to prevent Islamic terror at its main Mosque. Clearly security measures to prevent terror are not seen as desecrating a holy site. Nonetheless, the PA and Fatah are using this, as well as Israel’s killing of the terrorist murderers during the attack, as excuses to call for more violence and more terror attacks against Israelis.
An example of this is the following statement by PA Parliament Member for Fatah, Fatah Revolutionary Council member, who is in charge of Fatah's Jerusalem portfolio Hatem Abd Al-Qader:

Police video shows how Friday’s terrorists got their guns onto Temple Mount
Police on Thursday released video footage from the terror attack at the Temple Mount last Friday showing how the assailants were assisted in smuggling the guns into the Al-Aqsa Mosque there on the morning of the shooting.
In the security camera footage, the three Arab-Israeli gunmen — Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19 — can be seen arriving in Jerusalem from their hometown of Umm al-Fahm by bus before separately entering the Old City of Jerusalem through Herod’s Gate. They proceeded to enter the Temple Mount through the Huta Gate.
At the gate, one of the attackers was stopped and questioned after apparently arousing the suspicion of a police officer before being eventually allowed to enter the site.
The video also shows that the three attackers had an accomplice, an unidentified fourth individual, who brought the guns in a backpack onto the Temple Mount and left them in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Channel 2 reported that the accomplice has been arrested and that he was also an Israeli Arab. His identity has not been released.

Netanyahu says Israel won’t remove Temple Mt. metal detectors for now
Israel will not remove metal detectors from the Temple Mount at the current time, but will continuously reevaluate the situation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
“We had a security consolation and no decision was taken. There will be additional security consultations,” he told the traveling press. There have been reported disagreements between the Shin Bet and the police over the issue. Netanyahu said he “listens to them all.”
“We want to solve this crisis in the quietest way possible and to bring back the calm,” Netanyahu said. “We talk with the Arab world and we explain that there is absolutely no change to the status quo” on the holy site.
The metal detectors, which were erected after Friday’s deadly shooting attack, constitute “a means to prevent firearms from being brought to the Temple Mount,” he said.
Before traveling to Budapest, Netanyahu was in Paris. “When I visited the Eiffel Tower, I noticed that something had changed,” he said. “You know what had changed? They installed metal detectors.”
Amman, Riyadh said pushing to remove Temple Mt. metal detectors by Friday
Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the US are reportedly upping the pressure on Israel to remove metal detectors newly installed at the entrances to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount complex by Friday.
An unnamed Palestinian official told London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that Amman and Riyadh, via Washington, have been urging Israel to roll back the new security measures — put in place in the wake of a deadly shooting attack last week — before masses of Muslim worshipers head to the holy site for their weekly prayers.
The official said the Palestinian leadership supported an American-brokered compromise that would see Israel remove the walk-through metal detectors it has set up and have police use hand-held metal detector wands instead, though only on those deemed to be suspicious.
“The search of suspects or bags is not objectionable,” the official said, but “the personal inspection of every person will be rejected.”
UN Mideast envoy calls for de-escalation of Temple Mount tensions
The United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov expressed concern on Thursday regarding the “recent surge in tensions and violence” at the Temple Mount.
The statement comes nearly a week after a deadly terror attack at the holy site by three Arab Israelis who killed two Israeli policeman, setting off days of unrest in the Israeli capital.
“I am deeply concerned by the recent surge in tensions and violence around the holy esplanade in the Old City of Jerusalem,” Mladenov said in a statement, calling on “all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation.”
The UN envoy said he welcomed repeated Israeli assurances that the status quo at the Temple Mount would be upheld — amid Palestinian accusations that the Israeli government was trying to change the delicate balance at the site where Israel controls access and the Waqf Islamic trust set up by Jordan administers activities inside the compound. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit but are prohibited from prayer.
US 'very concerned' by Temple Mount tensions
The Trump administration is "very concerned" at the sight of growing tensions on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, where security has been tightened since a terrorist attack last week.
"The United States is very concerned about tensions surrounding the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif, a site holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and calls upon the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to make a good faith effort to reduce tensions and to find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement on Wednesday night. "The United States will continue to closely monitor the developments."
After a terror attack last week at the holy site resulted in the deaths of two Israeli police officers, Israel's government implemented metal detectors at its entrances— a change to the status quo in the eyes of worshipers, who have taken to ever-growing protests in recent days.
On Wednesday, the Wakf Islamic trust instructed preachers and imams in Jerusalem not to deliver sermons in the city’s mosques on Friday and instead attend prayers adjacent to the Temple Mount
IDF to boost presence in West Bank as Temple Mount tensions flare
With tensions still high in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Complex, the Israeli army will place five extra battalions on alert in the West Bank ahead of Friday prayers.
According to a statement by the IDF, the battalions may be released should the situation change.
The announcement that the thousands of extra troops are to be placed on call comes as security services are gearing up for clashes that are expected in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday as a large number of Muslim worshipers are anticipated to try to make their way to the Temple Mount Complex.
Israel police will continue to secure the complex along with the reinforcement of thousands of special police forces.
On Thursday afternoon a Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank village of Tuqu near the settlement of Tekoa after he attempted to stab IDF soldiers at an inspection post.
No troops were hurt in the attack.
It's time to seize opportunities at the Temple Mount
In theory, the right thing to do would have been to seize opportunities. An attack committed by Muslims at the Temple Mount as an opportunity to change the governmental chaos at the site. To put things in order. To stop treating that important place as if we were a third-world country. It’s such a right thing to do, that everyone in the Right tweeted it and said it out loud.
In reality, this won’t happen. Why? Because the government doesn’t want to do it. The Temple Mount is referred to as “a powder keg,” and no one wants to deal with it. Whether it’s a right-wing government or a left-wing government, everyone is doing the same thing, wanting to get home safely.
Metal detectors on the mountain are not a change but a necessary security measure. The war on the Islamic Movement’s northern branch and on its inciters, or on Palestinian organizations operating on the mountain, is not a change either, but a necessity to reduce risks. So is the firm hand against the rioters on the mountain. Today and always. The powder keg remains a powder keg until the explosive is removed from it—the Israeli lack of control over what goes on there.
Friday’s terror attack is painful and distressing, but it should have also served as an opportunity for a new debate—an international one. Israel could have enlisted the international community, the Americans and the Jordanians for a direct discussion of the Temple Mount. The first Temple Mount convention. The goal would have been to create an international standard for the operation of the world’s most important religious and archaeological site. What the French, the Americans and the Saudis are allowing themselves to do would be adopted by the Israelis and the Jordanians’ emissaries (who were created by us at the site).
Renovations that have been required for years and are not being done for fear of riots, law enforcement against destroyers of archaeology, freedom of ritual and security checks—in a theoretical word, we don’t need anyone’s approval to make a decision on all of this. We are the sovereign power. In the real world, we decide nothing. We toss the words “status quo” into the air and keep our heads down until the next chaos. And it will arrive, unless we seize the opportunity.
Honest Reporting: From the Scene: Temple Mount Troubles
It was a media circus. Fifty or so journalists and camera crews all set up waiting for things to kick off. There is a symbiotic relationship between the Palestinians and the media. Where there is trouble, in many cases, it is the presence of the media that fuels the flames. The journalists need a compelling story, the photographers want dramatic images and the Palestinians are only too willing to supply these in return for the publicity it generates for their cause.
Palestinians in prayer outside the Lion’s Gate. (Photo: Simon Plosker)
That was certainly the case today. In front of the assembled media, the Palestinians chanted in prayer and bent down in the street, rather than pass through metal detectors to enter the Temple Mount. A tense situation became further inflamed as the prayers turned to protests. Aggressive chants of “In spirit and blood, we will defend al-Aqsa mosque” as well as “Khaybar, Khaybar, Ya Yahud! Jaish Muhammad Sawfa Ya’ud!” (“Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews! The Army of Muhammad Will Return!”) referring to the 628 massacre of Jews in Arabia at the hands of Muhammad.
This chant is widely seen to be an anti-Semitic call for bloodshed. Would the journalists ask for a translation let alone bother to report on this?
This was certainly a combustible atmosphere given the inciting chants, the presence of beefed-up Israeli security forces and the intense heat of an Israeli summer. And, of course, the media. Only a minute after walking away from the scene, two loud bangs pierced the air. I looked back to see smoke wafting past the arches of the Lion’s Gate. Israeli police had evidently used stun grenades to disperse the crowd. That throngs of journalists were in the thick of the action is certainly not a positive for the Israeli police and it demonstrates just how easy it is to report on a situation that happens in an instant yet developed in a context that had been building for much longer. Again, will the journalists present report on the incitement against Jews and the blocking of the area of Lion’s Gate by protesters?
Instead, most of the media most likely got what they probably came for – pictures of Israeli security forces engaged in seemingly aggressive actions against Palestinians, creating negative publicity for Israel’s image and feeding into the predominant Palestinian victimhood narrative.
Hamas calls for mass protests over Temple Mount metal detectors
The Palestinian terror group Hamas called for mass protests on Friday against metal detectors placed at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem.
In a televised speech Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh urged Palestinians to participate in a “day of rage” against the stepped up security measures, which were imposed after three Arab-Israeli gunmen killed two Israeli policemen in a terror attack at the site last week.
Friday prayers on the Muslim holy day are the busiest time in the week at the Temple Mount with tens of thousands expected to arrive at the compound.
Israel initially closed the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The compound, which houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, was reopened Sunday with metal detectors installed, a step Palestinians protest as a change to the longstanding status quo.
Druze leader Jumblatt lauds 'heroic' attack that killed 2 Druze
Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt released a statement of support today (Wednesday) for shooting attacks against Israeli targets, calling on Israeli Druze not to join the Israel Defense Forces, reported Haaretz.
Jumblatt’s remarks were soundly criticized by Israeli Druze leaders, who normally refrains from clashing with traditional leadership in Lebanon. Jumblatt’s statement came in response to Friday’s shooting attack at the Temple Mount in which Muslims from the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm killed two Druze policemen, Hail Satawi and Kamil Shanan.
Jumblatt said in a statement on Twitter blessing the “heroic mujahideen who killed the soldiers of the Israeli occupation in Jerusalem,” using the Arabic term for one engaged in Jihad, and calling on “all free Druze to oppose service in the Israeli army.” With regard to the magnetometers installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount over the past few days, Jumblatt said he opposed any harm to worshipper's dignity.
In 2009, Jumbaltt told Ashams Radio, which broadcasts from Nazareth, that service in the Israeli security forces goes against the principle that the Druze are an inseparable part of the Arab nation.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Toddlers Declare Day Of Rage Over Suspension Of Free Access To Snacks (satire)
A group of two-year-olds at a local day care center have registered their objections to the removal of unlimited junk food by announcing that tomorrow they will hold a “day of rage” against the authorities for imposing such an unjust situation on them.
Eleven toddlers at Mishpachton Rinat on Yeshurun street in this small city northeast of Tel Aviv decided to express their displeasure at a new lock on the facility’s pantry, and the accompanying institution of a new policy that snacks will be distributed in a more measured, healthy fashion. The new policy also includes closer adult supervision of the snack consumption, amid safety concerns, a consideration that the toddlers call a pretext for an unwarranted assertion of control.
“NONONONONONONONOOOOOOOO,” explained a spokestoddler for the group, throwing a toy truck at a caregiver. His friends joined in, propelling various materials and objects toward the facility staff. Several toddlers were placed in a time out.
Issues of control have emerged before at Mishpachton Rinat, over the use of certain toys and the locations in which the children may play with them. Over time, argued Bar, aged 26 months, the arrogance of the staff has only increased, as if the two or three caregivers think they run the place.
“Mine!” he insisted. “Mineminemine!”
What's happening behind the scenes of Bulgaria's Hezbollah terror trial?
Five years have passed since Hezbollah allegedly blew up an Israeli tourist bus in the Bulgarian resort town of Burgas and killed six people, including five Israelis. Nevertheless, the wheels of justice continue to move slowly in Bulgaria as the case drags on in local courts.
On the one hand, five years have passed with little to show in terms of justice. On the other hand, Yaki Rand, the lawyer for the victims' families, told The Jerusalem Post that “there is a lot more going on behind the scenes.”
According to the Bulgarian government, three Hezbollah operatives blew up an Israeli tour bus in the seaside resort of Burgas on July 18, 2012, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The bomber, Lebanese-French national Muhammad Hassan El-Husseini, was also killed in the explosion. Two suspects – Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan – then fled to Lebanon where authorities have ignored Bulgarian extradition requests.
Nevertheless, a special terrorism court was established in Sofia and the trial moved ahead in absentia. The Israelis slain were Maor Harush, Itzik Kolangi, Amir Menashe, Elior Price, and Kochava Shriky and her unborn child. The Bulgarian victim was Mustafa Kyosov. The explosion wounded 32 other Israelis.
US urges world pressure to halt Hezbollah arms buildup
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah of amassing weapons and said the world must turn its attention to the actions of the powerful terror group.
Haley met with UN envoy for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag ahead of a Security Council meeting Thursday focusing on the UN peacekeeping force deployed in southern Lebanon.
“Ambassador Haley expressed alarm over the build-up of weapons by Hezbollah, a situation that demands the international community’s attention to prevent the further escalation of regional tensions,” said a statement by the US mission.
She stressed that the international community must “apply more pressure on Hezbollah to disarm and cease its destabilizing behavior, especially toward Israel.”
Haley has been a strong supporter of Israel, which fought a month-long war against Hezbollah in 2006.
According to Israeli assessments, Hezbollah has significantly built up its weapons stockpile since the 2006 war and has upgraded its arsenal to more than 100,000 missiles.
Israel’s Diplomatic Battle with the U.S. over Lebanon
When the Syrian civil war threatened to spill over into Lebanon, the country’s military cooperated with Hizballah to keep Sunni jihadists out. This cooperation, combined with Hizballah’s increasing political influence, has blurred the lines between the terrorist organization and the Lebanese state itself. At least, this is how Israel and Saudi Arabia see the situation. The U.S. disagrees, as Jonathan Spyer writes:
As the 2006 war [with Israel] and subsequent events graphically demonstrated, Hizballah and its patrons [in Tehran] can operate an independent foreign and military policy without seeking the permission of the [government] in Beirut. What has happened in the intervening decade, however, is that Hizballah and its allies, rather than simply ignoring the wishes of the state, have progressively absorbed its institutions. . . . Hizballah and its allies prevented the appointment of a Lebanese president for two years, before ensuring the ascendance of their own allied candidate, Michel Aoun, in October 2016. . . .
What of the issue of security cooperation between Hizballah and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)? No serious observer of Lebanon disputes that open cooperation between the two forces has increased over the last half decade. . . . The U.S., however, has continued its relationship with the LAF, which was the recipient of $200 million in assistance from Washington last year. . . .
The difference of opinion between the U.S. and Israel in this regard is of growing importance because of the emergent evidence of hitherto unreported Hizballah activities. In particular, there is deep disquiet in Israel regarding revelations of an Iranian-supported, homegrown Hizballah arms industry. This, combined with what may be the beginnings of a slow winding-down of the Syrian war raises the possibility of renewed tensions with Hizballah. . . .
UN Passes Resolution Condemning U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley (satire)
Earlier this week, the UN general assembly passed a non-binding resolution condemning US Ambassador Nikki Haley as a “Debbie Downer”.
In interviews with The Mideast Beast, several delegations to the United Nations have complained that the new US Ambassador to the UN is really bringing the mood down with all the talk of “being fair to Israel” and “addressing rampant human rights violations in the Middle East”
The Syrian Ambassador to the UN explained: “When Samantha Powers first came in, we were worried she might make trouble, after all, she wrote a whole book explaining how Democracies and NGOs let genocide happen; but as soon as she realized she was going to be part of the problem, things loosened up. But now we’ve got this Haley chick and the shit’s gotten real.”
The Saudi representative to the Human Rights Council sounded exasperated when asked about Haley: “Yeesh, Israel this, Israel that, this Haley woman keeps going on and on about how “unfair” we are to Israel, like what? She expects us to condemn ourselves for Human Rights violations?” and just shook his head saying, “this is what happens when you let women out of the house”. The Venezuelan Ambassador to the council expressed similar frustrations saying that Ambassador Haley was trying to divert the council to matters of Human Rights in the world. “For f#%k’s sake, that’s just not what the UN is for.”
Bill to prevent concessions in Jerusalem passes first reading
New legislation requiring a special, 80-MK supermajority to approve any future concessions that would divide Jerusalem passed its first plenum vote (a preliminary reading) on Wednesday.
The bill, known as the united Jerusalem bill was first reported by Israel Hayom about a month ago. It is in the form of an amendment to the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel.
The current basic law states that jurisdiction over Jerusalem may not be "transferred, temporarily or permanently, to a foreign body, whether political, governmental or to any other similar type of foreign body." Under the current wording, any change to this clause is contingent on the support of a majority comprising at least 61 MKs. If finalized, the new amendment would increase that number to at least 80 MKs (two-thirds of Knesset members).
"Given our past experience of two prime ministers who tried to divide Jerusalem under a dangerous peace agreement, we need to pre-empt any attack on Israel's capital," the bill's chief sponsor, MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli (Habayit Hayehudi), said earlier this month.
On Wednesday, Mualem-Rafaeli said that "Israel will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."
Palestinian civilians urge International Court to speed up ‘war crimes’ probe
Palestinian lawyers and civil society groups on Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court to speed up inquiries and open a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“For two years Palestine is under preliminary examination,” said lawyer Gilles Devers, adding “in Gaza, we think two years is too long.”
The Palestinian Authority has formally asked the ICC to investigate Israel, which is not a party to the Rome Statute that governs the court, for alleged war crimes.
It has presented the court with a dossier alleging abuses during the 2014 summer Gaza war, and for the Israeli presence and settlements in the West Bank.
In January 2015, the tribunal opened a preliminary examination into alleged abuses by all sides in the conflict. And an ICC delegation visited Israel and the West Bank in late 2016.
But Palestinian activists told reporters Wednesday the investigation has stalled, calling for both the ICC and the Palestinian Authority to speed up efforts.
Palestinian attempts to stab IDF troops in West Bank; attacker shot dead
A Palestinian assailant attempted to stab an IDF soldier stationed near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa on Thursday afternoon, the military confirmed.
Security forces shot and killed the would-be terrorist in response to the attempted attack.
There were no injuries to the Israeli troops.
The thwarted attack came as tensions remained high in the wake of a fatal shooting attack that killed two Israeli Border Police officers last week at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, two soldiers were lightly wounded in a suspected car-ramming attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba.
Hebron shooter discharged from IDF, released to house arrest
An IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian assailant was released to house arrest on Thursday upon the completion of his mandatory army service.
Ahead of Elor Azaria’s release, his family’s house in the central city of Ramle was festooned with signs and balloons welcoming the former Kfir Brigade soldier home.
On Monday, a military court ruled that Azaria would be released to full house arrest upon his release from the IDF until a decision is made regarding his appeal.
Under the court decision, Azaria will not be able to leave his family’s house at all, save for trips to his synagogue on Friday night and Saturday — the Jewish Shabbat — so long as he is accompanied by a family member.
VICE: Palestinians Spying For Israel Risk Execution By Hamas (HBO)
Spying for Israel is perhaps the most shameful act of treason a Palestinian can commit. And yet a network of hundreds of Israeli “collaborators” within the Gaza Strip forms the backbone of Israel’s security operation in its most hostile and troublesome neighbor.
After the assassination of a top Hamas official by suspected Israeli collaborators last Saturday, Hamas’ long and intense operation to root out these informers has been further escalated. What causes Palestinians in Gaza to commit this treachery? For a few, it’s ideological. But for many, Israel’s blockade of Gaza has left them with little choice: betray your nation and risk execution by Hamas, or face some unendurable loss or humiliation at the hands of Israeli security forces.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Taking Hamas’s Lead, NYC Subway To Use Child Slave Labor For Tunnel Maintenance (satire)
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York will begin drafting children to conduct expensive infrastructure work, following the example set by the militant Islamist organization that runs the Gaza Strip and has constructed an elaborate system of tunnels using forced underage workers.
Joseph Lhota, Chairman of the MTA, told reporters at a press conference this morning that the budgetary hole in which the agency finds itself will require drastic measures to close, and may take decades, in light of the crumbling equipment, structures, and technology that have been ignored for many years. While the estimated expenditures necessary will run into the dozens of billions of dollars, a significant portion of the costs can be curtailed if, as Hamas does, the MTA conscripts children to perform many of the menial and hazardous tasks involved, Lhota predicted.
“Maintenance costs aren’t sexy, especially preventive maintenance, so politicians have been reluctant to allocate the proper funds for more than half a century,” he explained. “It doesn’t look impressive to voters. And now the system’s needs have become dire. Shutdowns, closures, malfunctions, delays, and myriad other dysfunctions have become commonplace in what was once the most sophisticated and enviable subway system in the world.”
“But look at what Hamas has done, with only a fraction of that budget,” he continued. “Miles of tunnels, and minimal expenditure on labor, thanks to a much more flexible attitude toward employable ages than we have shown, historically. We could drastically cut wages with a forced child labor program along the lines of Hamas’s system in the Gaza Strip.”
Pentagon slams Turkey over US military data leak
The Pentagon slammed the Turkish government on Wednesday for releasing a state-run news service report pinpointing the locations of 10 U.S. military posts in Syria.
The Anadolu Agency published the report on Wednesday and the Pentagon wasted little time responding, saying the release of such information threatens the lives of U.S. service members fighting ISIS.
“The release of sensitive military information exposes Coalition forces to unnecessary risk and has the potential to disrupt ongoing operations to defeat ISIS,” a US military spokesman told Fox News. “ISIS is the greatest threat to regional stability and it is critical that all parties operating in Syria remain focused on what is most important – the annihilation of ISIS.”
The information released by the state-run news agency includes detailed information on the number of American soldiers deployed, as well as a map identifying U.S. armed forces’ presence in the region, the report said. (h/t MtTB)
Iran’s Newest Hostage is Different
On July 16, 2017, Iranian Judiciary spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi announced that Iran had sentenced an American to ten years in prison for alleged espionage. An Iranian judiciary website subsequently identified the American as 37-year-old, China-born Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University Ph.D. student in history.
Hostage-taking is nothing new for the Islamic Republic. Indeed, since revolutionary students acting on behalf of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini first seized the U.S. Embassy on November 4, 1979, hostage-taking has become a central pillar of Iranian policy. For authorities in Tehran, the reason for hostage-taking is simple: It’s a strategy which has repeatedly paid off. The Carter administration rewarded Iran with millions of dollars and diplomatic concessions. Ronald Reagan, for all his tough rhetoric as a campaigner, did likewise with the arms-for-hostages policy, a scheme that backfired when Iran seized even more hostages once it had received the last delivery of weaponry and spare parts.
President Obama likewise rewarded Iranian hostage-taking by paying Iran over $1 billion for the release of imprisoned Americans, although he inexplicably left Robert Levinson, the longest-held American hostage, behind. No sooner had the U.S. government transferred the ransom in cash to a waiting Iranian plane (controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), then Iranian security forces seized several more Iranian Americans and permanent residents, most prominently Iranian American businessman and political activist Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer.
What makes Wang’s arrest and imprisonment different is that Wang presumably had an Iranian visa. Americans must get a visa in advance and, on the off-chance Wang was traveling on a Chinese passport, he would likely also have required a visa, although there is some wiggle-room for Chinese citizens with confirmed bookings in five-star hotels.
US: Iran still top state terror sponsor; global attacks down
Iran continues to be the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, the Trump administration said Wednesday in a new report that also noted a decline in the number of terrorist attacks globally between 2015 and 2016.
In its annual “Country Reports on Terrorism” released Wednesday, the State Department said Iran was the planet’s “foremost” state sponsor of terrorism in 2016, a dubious distinction the country has held for many years. It said Iran was firm in its backing of anti-Israel groups as well as proxies that have destabilized already devastating conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. It also said Iran continued to recruit in Afghanistan and Pakistan for Shiite militia members to fight in Syria and Iraq. And, it said Iranian support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement was unchanged.
In terms of non-state actors, the report said the Islamic State group was responsible for more attacks and deaths than any other group in 2016, and was seeking to widen its operations particularly as it lost territory in Iraq and Syria. It carried out 20 percent more attacks in Iraq in 2016 compared with 2015, and its affiliates struck in more than 20 countries, according to the report. Iran has been designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the State Department and subjected to a variety of US sanctions since 1984, and many of the activities outlined in the report are identical to those detailed in previous reports.
But, this year’s finding comes as the Trump administration moves to toughen its stance against Iran. The administration is expected to complete a full review of its policy on Iran next month.
Foreign diplomats under fire for whitewashing Iran's brutal prison
Amnesty International’s Iran expert, Raha Bahreini, issued scathing criticism of 45 diplomats from a range of countries for participating in a tour of Tehran’s Evin Prison intended to show the benefits of a penitentiary that is widely considered one of the world’s most repressive institutions.
Bahreini last week called the regime’s July 7 tour a “crude publicity stunt” and said, “In Iran and around the world, Evin Prison is symbolic of Iran’s rampant political repression. It has held hundreds of peaceful activists, journalists, intellectuals and human rights lawyers throughout its disgraceful history.”
Bahreini continued, “Prisoners have described being forced to sleep on the floor, including during cold winter months, due to a shortage of beds and being fed ‘barely edible’ meals. Prisoners who are lucky enough to afford to do so can purchase food at their own expense from the prison shop.”
She added, “Research by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations over the years points to inhumane and unsanitary conditions at Evin Prison. Chronic overcrowding, severely limited hot water, poor ventilation, and infestations of cockroaches and mice, particularly near kitchen areas, are among the most common complaints.”
Guess Which Country Sentenced 4 Men To 10 Years In Jail For Drinking Communion Wine and Promoting 'Zionist Christianity'
Just where could you find a country so hateful that it jailed Christians for ten years because their “Zionist Christianity” made them drink Communion wine?
Three guesses.
It only took you one? How did you know it was Iran?
Officials in Tehran charged four men with “acting against national security” and drinking alcohol because they drank communion wine. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie have all been sentenced to ten years in prison.
Iran’s Sharia Islamic law forbids the drinking of alcohol; government authorities accused the men of “propagating house churches” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.”

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