Wednesday, July 26, 2017

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The urgent need for the detection of mettle
This would seem to suggest that the Americans put pressure on Netanyahu to dismantle the metal detectors – two days after he declared they would stay put. If so, the Trump team has just forced Israel to hand its enemies yet another victory.
Israel further compounded this error by saying the metal detectors were a mistake – thus loudly proclaiming weakness, which in the Arab and Muslim world is always an incentive for further attack.
In any event, the problem is not at root the terrorist violence around Temple Mount, nor is its solution the metal detectors. The problem is the charade of Temple Mount itself: the fact that Jordan, which has no legitimate title on Temple Mount whatsoever, is allowed not only to administer it but to prevent Jews from free access to Judaism’s own holy of holies.
This ridiculous and unjust status quo has been allowed to continue for one reason only: fear that the Muslim world will ignite if it is altered in any way. This was first displayed 50 years ago by Moshe Dayan, the general who liberated Temple Mount from its illegal Jordanian occupiers – only to hand its administration back to Jordan for fear of Islamic holy war.
Temple Mount is a symbol therefore of the enduring timidity of Israel and its consequent belief that it can only ever seek to manage, make deals with and calm down its mortal enemies rather than defeat them. It is also a symbol of Israel’s refusal to acknowledge that the violence against it is not the result of a land boundary dispute, nor a clash of rival nationalisms. It is, far more terrifyingly, the product of Islamic holy war.
Displays of weakness such as the metal detector debacle encourage these jihadi enemies to screw the vice ever tighter. But the regional situation has now dramatically changed. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the other Gulf states (except rogue Qatar) all desperately need the support of Israel and America.
This is surely the time for the US to use that leverage to start addressing the real issues behind this flare-up. What’s needed is not metal detectors but the detection of long-absent mettle.

At the Temple Mount, it’s not about metal detectors, it’s about sovereignty
The Israeli government missed the point of Palestinian anger directed at metal detectors placed at entrances to the Temple Mount and, having misdiagnosed the situation, made a decision that failed to resolve the crisis and has only made it worse. At least, that’s what many of the Muslim protesters in the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City have been saying since the metal detectors were removed early Tuesday morning.
Israel thought it was making a concession by removing the detectors, which were installed after three Arab Israelis carried out a shooting attack at the Temple Mount, killing two policemen with weapons they had smuggled into Al-Aqsa Mosque. Instead, the security cabinet decided advanced monitoring equipment, at the cost of NIS 100 million (around $27 million), would eventually take their place. This would make physical access for Muslim worshipers to the mosque easier and quicker, and make the area outside the holy site look less like a military checkpoint.
However, on Tuesday and Wednesday, many protesters in the Old City repeated the same line: “The smart cameras are worse.” Worse, they explained, because such cameras represent a more sophisticated way of controlling the entrances to the Temple Mount.
And therein lies the real issue: The initial quarrel over metal detectors has evolved into a battle over sovereignty at what is possibly the world’s most sensitive holy site.
Complicating matters for Israel is the fact that the thousands of Palestinians heading to pray in the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem every day have no clear leader.
Stand With Us: Arab Leadership Lies on the Temple Mount: 75 Years of Incitement:

Daniel Pipes: A Palestinian Victory at the Temple Mount
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party announced Saturday that the "campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation." Fatah demanded the removal of metal detectors and other security devices from the entrance to the Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. A week earlier two Israeli policemen were killed by terrorists who had stashed their weapons inside the mosque.
The Fatah statement was illogical and hypocritical. Many mosques in Muslim-majority countries use the same security technology to protect worshipers, tourists and police. Yet Mr. Abbas managed to force the Israeli government to remove them. He did it by deflecting attention from the policemen's murders and stoking fear of a religious conflagration with vast repercussions.
Like other visitors, the author had to go through a metal detector when visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
The Temple Mount crisis highlights with exceptional clarity three factors that explain why a steady 80% of Palestinians believe they can eliminate the Jewish state: Islamic doctrine, international succor and Israeli timidity.
Police deny rumors of ‘X-ray cameras’ on Temple Mount
Police on Wednesday were forced to deny that they are planning to install X-ray cameras at entrances to the Temple Mount, as swirling social media speculation added to the already tense standoff over the holy site.
Muslim worshipers have stayed away from the sacred compound since Israel installed metal detectors there last week in the wake of a terror attack, and did not pray there on Tuesday even after the detectors were removed. Instead, they have performed mass prayer protests outside the shrine, many of which devolved into violent clashes with Israeli security forces.
Police said in a statement that that ​they “do not use any type of camera that harms privacy in any way and have no intention of using such cameras in the future.”
“The purpose of the cameras is to protect and guard public safety,” the statement said, adding that all security checks “are done while maintaining full respect for the public and its privacy, whether the people are worshipers or passersby, let alone women.”
77% say Benjamin Netanyahu gave in on Temple Mount metal detectors
Three-fourths of Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surrendered to pressure when his security cabinet decided to remove metal detectors from the Temple Mount, according to a Midgam poll broadcast Tuesday night on Channel 2 News.
The poll of 502 Israelis representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population, found that 77% called the decision a surrender, 17% said it was not and 9% said they did not know.
When asked whether the metal detectors should have been placed on the Mount in the first place, 68% said yes, 23% no, and 9% said they did not know.
According to the poll, 67% believe the way prime minister is dealing with the crisis over Temple Mount was not good while only 23% believe it was good, with the rest not knowing.
White House 'applauds' Israeli action on metal detectors
The Trump administration on Tuesday night welcomed Israel's decision to remove metal detectors from entrances to the Temple Mount, after introduction of the new security measure led to violence regionwide.
The Israeli government chose to remove the newly installed metal detectors at Haram al-Sharif– one of the holiest sites in Islam– "despite the demonstrated need to enhance security," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, "in the wake of the murder of two Israeli police officers at the site on July 14."
"The United States applauds the efforts of Israel to maintain security while reducing tensions in the region," Sanders continued.
Israeli security forces remove metal detectors which were recently installed at an entrance to the Temple Mount (Reuters)Israeli security forces remove metal detectors which were recently installed at an entrance to the Temple Mount (Reuters)
Earlier in the day, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said the US would support any actions from Israel and the Palestinians that would deescalate the situation, after tensions led to bloodshed on both sides last Friday.
"Anything that serves to de-escalate tensions and pave the road for the two sides to come together and have conversations not only about this, but also about the peace process moving forward, we would certainly support that," Nauert said. "As you know, we support the maintenance of the status quo at that site and we welcome all sides and their commitment to the status quo."
Netanyahu visits families of Druze cops slain at Temple Mount
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, visited Tuesday night the families of two Israeli police officers killed on July 14 by three Arab Israeli gunmen at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
Haiel Sitawe, 30, and Kamil Shnaan, 22, of Israel’s Druze community, were killed when on duty just outside the compound by three Arab Israeli assailants, who used guns they had smuggled onto the Temple Mount.
In the northern Druze town of Hurfeish, Shnaan’s father, former Labor Party Knesset member Shachiv Shanan, thanked Netanyahu for the visit and the support that the public has given the family.
“Over the past few days the Jewish people, of which you stand at the head, has shown us its beautiful, loving kindness,” Shnaan said. “The State of Israel is truly the best place in the world for the Druze community.”
Netanyahu told Shnaan that he was “moved” by his words. “We have come here to show our love for you,” he said.
He also visited the Sitawe family in the nearby town of Maghar.
High Court orders police to return bodies of Temple Mount killers
The High Court of Justice on Tuesday ordered police to release for burial immediately the bodies of three Arab Israelis who carried out a terror attack at the Temple Mount on July 14, saying they must be handed over to their families within 30 hours.
The decision by the court was a blow to police, who said they sought to condition the return of the assailants’ bodies to their families in a bid to ensure their funerals would not turn into rallies glorifying terrorism.
In its ruling, the High Court said that there is no law that allows police to hold the bodies of citizens or impose conditions for their release. Israel routinely withholds the bodies of Palestinian terrorists.
Adalah, an Arab rights group that filed the High Court petition, hailed the ruling as “precedent-setting.”
Although the court ruled that the bodies of the attackers — Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19 — must be released without condition, it did grant police the authority to set the time of the funerals.
Israel fumes as Turkish leader says its troops 'defile Al-Aqsa'
Israel was enraged Tuesday by statements made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused the Jewish state of usurping control of the holy sites in Jerusalem and pushing Muslims out, calling the allegation "delusional."
"Anyone familiar with Israeli policy is aware of the fact that the restrictions it imposed on Al-Aqsa mosque do not stem from security reasons," Erdogan said in a parliament speech to his Turkish Justice and Development faction.
"Israeli soldiers are defiling the soil of Al-Aqsa with their combat boots while using simple issues as excuses and then spilling blood there. The reason they are doing that so easily is because we have not done enough to underscore our claim to Jerusalem. Anyone who can visit Al-Aqsa must do so and those who can't should donate money to our brothers there. What Israel is doing is trying to take Al-Aqsa mosque from Muslim hands," he said.
The Turkish president was referring to Israel's installation of metal detectors at the gates leading up to the Temple Mount in the wake of a July 14 terrorist attack that left two policemen dead. The move sparked outrage in the Muslim world and violent Palestinian riots.
PM pans ‘hypocritical’ Turkish president over Temple Mount critique
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a hypocrite after the Turkish leader condemned Israel for ostensibly excessive force in quelling protests around the Temple Mount.
“It would be interesting to see what Erdogan would say to the residents of northern Cyprus or to the Kurds. Erdogan is the last person who can preach to Israel,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The statement was referring to Turkey’s 33-year occupation of northern Cyprus and its decades-long suppression of the struggle for independence of the ethnic Kurdish minority in Turkey.
Erdogan had panned Israel hours earlier for use of “excessive force” against Muslim worshipers during clashes over security measures at the Temple Mount.
IsraellyCool: Useful Idiots In Jerusalem
On Monday, while Jerusalem was exploding from riots by Palestinian Muslims angered at the “humiliation” of having to walk through metal detectors in order to reach the Temple Mount (as though they were Jews!) another incident took place that according to some “broke the Internet.”
24-year-old Nidal Aboud, a Palestinian Christian, stood in line with hundreds of Muslims and prayed afternoon prayers in Wadi al-Joz.
The Internet was abuzz with people talking about how it was a beautiful moment of interfaith community building and of course Palestinians used it as a way to show that even though the Palestinian Christian population is disappearing due to harassment from Islamists, all Palestinians are united.
There’s just one problem: Had these Muslims been praying on the Temple Mount as they were protesting for, Aboud would not only not have been welcome, he would have been breaking the law! It isn’t just Jews who are prevented from praying there, it is all non-Muslims.
Judean Peoples Front: On Temple Denial And Jewish Sovereignty
One of the things that has struck me in the past week of insanity is the level of self-deception permeating Palestinian society. That’s not to say I didn’t know about the Palestinian narrative that denies any Jewish connection to our indigenous land of Israel. But because I am a natural optimist and very much want to believe that peace would be possible under certain circumstances (no matter how unlikely) I didn’t let myself fully digest just how pervasive Palestinian rejectionism is.
But watching Palestinians riot over metal detectors at the Temple Mount and claim that there was never a Temple there at all, the only thing I could think of was this:
It isn’t just that Palestinians are willing to reject all archeological evidence of the Temple and reject all the Islamic sources that take it as an undisputed fact that the Temple was there. But the very name for Jerusalem in Arabic is مدينة بيت المقدس / Bayt al-Maqdis or The City of the Beit HaMikdash, of the Temple! Al Quds is shorthand for the Arabic word for the Beit HaMikdash and yet they continue to deny its historicity!
The Palestinians are denying the Temple’s existence in the city that they daily call the City of the Temple! This is would be like white people from Delaware insisting there were never any Delaware Indians who lived there.

Fatah Calls to "Intensify" Struggle over Temple Mount after Israel Removes Metal Detectors
In its Wednesday decision, the Fatah Central Committee said that it would continue protests over the security measures and called for this week’s Friday prayers to again take place outside of the compound. Last Friday saw violent protests in several Jerusalem locations at the end of prayers.
Abbas said on Tuesday he will maintain a freeze on security coordination with Israel — an unprecedented step imposed in the wake of the placement of the metal detectors — “unless all measures go back to what they were before July 14.”
“All the new Israeli measures on the ground from that date to the present are supposed to disappear,” he said. “Then things will return to normal in Jerusalem and we will continue our work after that in relation to bilateral relations between us and them.”
After Tuesday evening prayers, violence once again broke out in East Jerusalem, with rocks thrown at police officers, who responded with tear gas and other “non-lethal crowd disposal methods,” police said in a statement.
Hamas declares Temple Mount ‘victory,’ calls new ‘day of rage’
Some 2,000 members of the Hamas terror group marched in the Gaza Strip Wednesday to mark “victory” after Israel removed contested metal detectors from entrances to the Temple Mount a day earlier in a bid to calm tensions.
The group also called for a fresh “day of rage” throughout the West Bank on Friday to protest continued Israeli security measures at the site.
The group urged Palestinians to “respond to the ongoing events in order to deter Israel from continuing its violations against our people and holy places,” according to Israel’s Channel 2.
It was the second week in a row the Palestinian terrorist group made such a call.
Muslim leader says Temple Mount protests to go on until measures removed
A senior Muslim official in Jerusalem said Wednesday that worshipers would not return to the Temple Mount until Israel removes the new railings and cameras it installed after a deadly terror attack there, prolonging a crisis that Israel hoped it had resolved by making concessions at the site.
Ikrema Sabri, head of the Supreme Islamic Committee, said that even after Israel removed metal detectors and cameras from the site, more steps were required to restore calm. He said mass prayer protests would continue until the gates of the compound were opened, metal railings and an iron bridge removed and all cameras taken down.
He said a lawyer working on behalf of the Muslim administration of the holy site would be in touch with Israeli police about it.
“We will not enter the mosque until these things are implemented,” he told The Associated Press. “Now we are awaiting the response of the police.”
Amid Temple Mount Tensions, Anti-Israel Student Groups in US Celebrate Palestinian Violence Against Jewish State
Anti-Zionist student groups are taking to social media to celebrate Palestinian violence against Israel as tensions in the Middle East have continued to escalate following the recent terror attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC) wrote Friday on Facebook that Israel — which it called “[t]he settler colonial regime” — was committing a “slow genocide of the Palestinian people” and called on followers to “Boycott Israel, boycott the genocide!”
The group added, “Long live the intifada!” and, in Arabic, “Long live resistance.”
The post — which also claimed Israel’s placement of metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount after three terrorists killed two Israeli policemen at the holy site on July 14 constituted “a violation of Palestinian sovereignty and a precursor to the further militarization of the occupation” — was liked by Florida State University’s SJP and shared by a Washington University group called Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA).
Hayley Nagelberg, co-president of UIUC’s pro-Israel group — called the Illini Public Affairs Committee or IlliniPAC — told The Algemeiner, “The language of this SJP statement encourages a call for more violence which is inappropriate and irresponsible. While they may choose to focus on this, our message will continue to be in solidarity with the victims.”
“We have seen too much the impact of promoting hate on the ground in the Middle East and feel that publicly encouraging such violence here in the United States is entirely unacceptable,” she continued.
CBC Mideast Journalist Continues to Cast Doubt on Palestinian Terrorist’s Culpability
In our critical analysis yesterday about Temple Mount tensions and terror attacks, we noted that CBC Mideast bureau chief Derek Stoffel had seemingly cast doubt that Palestinian terrorist Omar al-Abed (pictured right) had committed the terror attack which saw three members of the Solomon family stabbed to death at their home in Neve Tsuf.
On July 23, Stoffel’s CBC Radio report stated the following: “Later today, three Israelis will be buried. They were stabbed to death by a suspected Palestinian attacker in their home in a west bank settlement Friday night.” Listen to this report by clicking here.
Importantly, CBC’s own coverage on its website doesn’t include any qualifiers that considered the terrorist a mere suspect. CBC itself acknowledges that the “… 20-year-old Palestinian identified as Omar al-Abed jumped over the fence of the Halamish settlement near Ramallah and entered a home, surprising a family that was celebrating a new grandchild during their traditional Sabbath dinner. He stabbed to death Yosef Salomon, 70, and his adult children, 46-year-old Chaya and 35-year-old Elad, while his daughter-in-law escaped to a separate room to shelter her young children.”
Today, Stoffel continued to cast doubt on the culpability of al-Abed by claiming in a CBC Radio report aired earlier today that he’s only an “alleged” attacker. Stoffel reported the following: “… Three Israelis were stabbed to death in the west bank, allegedly by a Palestinian man who wrote on Facebook that he was going to die for Al Aqsa.” Click here to listen to this report.
One misleading Indy photo illustrates media’s obfuscation of Palestinian incitement
The photo accompanying an article in The Independent by Bethan McKernan (Palestinians continue protest at Jerusalem holy site despite Israeli attempts to diffuse Temple Mount crisis, July 26th) seems, at first glance, straight forward enough. In fact, it seems extremely unlikely most readers would pay much attention to it, putatively illustrating Palestinian women peacefully praying near the Temple Mount compound.
However, there’s so much more than meets the eye. Though most of the women may have been peacefully praying, others were engaged in a far different pursuit, as we can see by this video tweeted by Times of Israel reporter Raoul Wootliff
The women shown inciting to violence (“with blood” they “will redeem Al-Aqsa”) clearly appear to be the same group of women depicted in the Indy photo. In fact, you can see one of the inciters shown in the clip (women with a pink scarf) in the far left of the photo.

IsraellyCool: MUST WATCH: The Dignity Of Michal Salomon, Wife of Halamish Terror Victim Elad
Michal Salomon was the wife of Elad Salomon, who was murdered by a palestinian terrorist on Friday night, along with his sister and father.
While the terrorist’s mother praised his murderous feat and his father blamed it on the “occupation”, this amazing woman tells of the incredible bond between her and her late husband, and refuses to give in to hate.
(make sure captions are enabled to see the English subtitles)
This amazing, dignified woman is the face of Israel.
This is who we are.

Israel Arrests Three Jews For Praying At Temple Mount. The Jews Were Mourning A Family Murdered By A Palestinian Terrorist.
On Tuesday, Israeli authorities arrested three Jews at the hallowed Temple Mount after they gathered to recite Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer for the dead, on behalf of the Salomon family, who were slaughtered in their home by a Palestinian terrorist last Friday.
As The Daily Wire reported, two of the victims, a woman in her 60s and a man in his 30s, died at the time of the attack. The third victim, a woman in her 70s, later died of wounds inflicted during the attack. The vicious attack occurred during the eve of Shabbat, a holy night in the Jewish week when families come together to take stock of all their blessings. The Palestinian terrorist attacked his three Israeli victims after he infiltrated a home at the Halamish settlement in the West Bank at a time when he presumably knew that Jews were particularly vulnerable and off-guard.
And now, instead of allowing Jewish mourners to gather at one of the holiest sites in Judaism to honor their memory, Israeli authorities decide to maintain the Muslim-only status quo at the Temple Mount even as Palestinians violently riot and refuse to worship at the site their ancestors colonized centuries ago through the imperialistic conquests of Umar ibn Al-Khattāb, the leader of the Rashidun Caliphate. It was only during the bloody reign of the Ummayad Caliphate in the late 7th century when al-Aqsa was built into an Islamic shrine.
Despite the sordid history of brutal Islamic colonialism and the Jewish people’s three-millennia long connection to the Temple Mount, Israeli authorities have allowed the Jordanian Waqf to effectively turn the site into a no-go zone for Jews.
Israeli Blinded in Terror Attack Urges UN to Stop PA's 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, called on the UN Security Council on Tuesday to work to stop the Palestinian Authority's payments to convicted terrorists.
"In a few minutes, the UN Security Council is about to hold a discussion on the Middle East. But one of the most important subjects, will remain outside this discussion: Funding of terrorism by the Palestinian authority," said Almog.
"Yes, the same Palestinian leadership, which talks with international leaders about its desire for peace, is actually paying salaries to terrorists and their families, every single month. Salaries that rise relating to the number of victims—those who kill more, get more," he explained.
"In 2016 alone, the Palestinian Authority 'invested' $303 million in terrorism," he continued. "$86,000 went directly to people involved in the killing of my family. Thirty percent of foreign aid, 30 percent of what the international community pay the Palestinian Authority to build a healthy society, is used to reward terrorists for their acts of barbarism."
"I think anyone who believes in the value of human life should act. Therefore, I am calling all the countries, whose representatives are here in this building: help, and if necessary, force President Abbas to make the right decision," Almog went on to say.
State Dept. in ‘Open War’ With White House
The State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson has been locked in a growing power struggle with the White House that has angered officials in the West Wing and sparked claims that the Trump administration's top diplomatic organ is now in "open war" with the White House on a range of critical issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, Iran, the crisis with Qatar, and other matters, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the situation.
The State Department is said to be in a state of "massive dysfunction," with top officials working under Tillerson ignoring White House directives on critical staffing issues and key policy matters, according to multiple sources, including administration allies who are said to be increasingly frustrated with what is perceived as the White House's inability to control its own federal agencies.
The tensions have fueled an outstanding power battle between the West Wing and State Department that has handicapped the administration and resulted in scores of open positions failing to be filled with Trump confidantes. This has allowed former Obama administration appointees still at the State Department to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House's own agenda.
The latest flashpoint in this growing civil war is Israel, where a string of terror attacks has sidetracked the Trump administration's nascent efforts to get the Israelis and Palestinian back to the negotiating table.
Ex-Israeli diplomats: State Dept. recycles old reports to whitewash Palestinian incitement
Two prominent former Israeli diplomats are charging that the State Department is recycling parts of its old reports in order to whitewash the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement to violence.
The State Department last week released its annual assessment of global terrorism for the year 2016. For the 10th consecutive year, the report used nearly identical language in its defense of the PA.
“The PA has taken significant steps during President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence,” according to the 2016 report. The exact same sentence also appeared in the department’s reports for 2015, 2014 and 2013.
Similar repetition can be found in the section of the reports pertaining to incitement in PA mosques. The 2014 report stated, “The PA maintains control over the content of Friday sermons delivered in over 1800 West Bank mosques to ensure that they do not endorse incitement to violence.”
The identical sentence regarding the mosque sermons also was used in the reports for 2013, 2012 and 2011, and almost identical language was included in the 2010 and 2009 reports.
As a result, two former Israeli diplomats say they suspect U.S. officials are simply copying previous years’ texts rather than providing careful assessments of the PA’s most recent behavior.
State Department: Tillerson Not Resigning, ‘Just Taking a Little Time Off’
Contrary to reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may be resigning due to difficulties with the White House, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday that Tillerson is only traveling.
"Just taking a little time off. He just came back from that mega-trip overseas, as you all well know," Nauert said. "So he's entitled to take a few days himself."
Reporters asked Nauert if there was any validity to the claims that Tillerson was considering resigning. She said that Tillerson has meetings scheduled for later in the week and that there was no such talk of resignation.
"We have spoken with the secretary. The secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at the State Department," Nauert said. "We have a lot of work that is left to be done ahead of us. He recognizes that. He's deeply engaged in that work."
"The secretary has been very clear he intends to stay at the State Department," Nauert added.
House Easily Passes Sanction Package Against Russia, Iran, North Korea
The House on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation that would impose additional sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 election and ongoing aggression in Ukraine and Syria.
The new bill, passed by a vote of 419 to 3, would significantly limit President Donald Trump's ability to relax or terminate sanctions despite pushback from White House officials who argue the measure impedes the president's executive authority to conduct foreign policy.
The legislation also contains new sanctions against Iran and North Korea, two adversaries the Trump administration has sought to punish for their ballistic missile testing.
Trump's reaction to the bill will be closely scrutinized, particularly if he chooses to veto it, which could prompt accusations that he is siding with President Vladimir Putin amid investigations into Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign's contacts with officials in Moscow.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders signaled on Sunday that Trump was likely to support the legislation. The president's newly appointed communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, took a more measured approach and said Trump had not yet made a decision.
Israeli Officials Support Jewish Families Entrance Into Hebron’s ‘Machpelah House’
Israeli ministers and Knesset members from both the Likud and HaBayit HaYehudi political parties expressed support for about 20 Jewish families who entered the contentious “Machpelah House” property in Hebron on Tuesday.
The group’s decision to move into the property was initiated in response to the United Nations cultural body UNESCO’s recent designation of the Cave of the Patriarchs — one of Judaism’s holiest sites — as an endangered Palestinian heritage site.
The officials who backed the move by the families, and also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to allow the families to remain in the property, included Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (HaBayit HaYehudi) and MK Miki Zohar (Likud).
“This is an important and joyous development,” Ariel said. “The entry into the home is another step in strengthening the natural connection of the Jewish people to its land.”
Jews purchased the Machpelah House, as well as the Rachel and Leah House, in Hebron several years ago. Earlier this month, Israeli security forces prevented the Jews from entering the Machpelah House, but after Israel’s Civil Administration this week ruled that the families possessed the required permits, the Jewish families entered the building and barricaded themselves inside.
European Union's top court upholds Hamas terror listing
The European Union's top court on Wednesday upheld the 28-member bloc's decision to designate Hamas as a terrorist organization, rejecting the Islamist group's appeal to be removed from its terrorism blacklist.
The EU's terrorism blacklist, created after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S. and last updated in January, includes 13 individuals and 22 organizations.
Judges at the European Court of Justice thus overturned a 2014 ruling by the bloc's second highest court, saying it "should not have annulled Hamas' retention on the European list of terrorist organizations and refers the case back to the General Court."
When the EU originally designated Hamas as a terrorist group in 2001, the move froze the organization's assets in all European Union member-states and limited Hamas officials' travel to and inside Europe.
However, the General Court annulled the decision on procedural grounds in 2014, saying the listing was based on media and internet reports rather than decisions by a "competent authority."
We listened carefully to Jordan's minister and we have 10 questions
Our questions to the foreign minister of Jordan:
  1. Did Jordan sign a bilateral extradition treaty with the government of the United States on March 28, 1995 in Washington? (Hint: The full text of the treaty as signed and executed by the two governments is here, so presumably you're not going to answer "no".) And did Jordan ever claim - publicly or privately - up until the past year that the treaty was of no effect?
  2. Does "Jordan’s abidance by international law" (using the odd expression in the Jordan Times article) mean Jordan respects the treaty it signed?
  3. Did Jordan extradite to the US a Jordanian terrorist called Eyad Ismoil who drove a bomb-laden truck into the parking garage of the World Trade Center in 1993? (The right answer is: Yes it did.) And is Ismoil now serving a 240 year sentence in a US Federal prison for his terrorist crimes, with no chance of parole? Do you agree that this is allowing for justice to take its course? We do. Most people do.
  4. Did the United States announce on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 via the Department of Justice in Washington that the Jordanian woman Ahlam Tamimi was added that day to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list? (Hint: It's recorded here on the DoJ website.)
  5. Did Jordan react publicly to the news that a Federal criminal complaint against her, alleging the most serious of terrorist crimes, was being unsealed that day? (Hint: it's described here.) Are there any other Jordanians on the list? (We checked. No, there are none except for Tamimi. Congratulations!) So did Jordan react publicly to the fact that a Jordanian was named? (We think it did not.)
    PreOccupiedTerritory: Jordan Hoping To Implement Better Model Of Hating Israel But Depending On Them For Survival (satire)
    Authorities in the Hashemite kingdom on the east bank of the Jordan River are looking to make positive enhancements to the existing template for relations with Israel, which involves condoning or encouraging venom and violence against Jews and Israel, while remaining at the Jewish State’s mercy on matters such as security, economy, water, and energy, Jordanian sources reported today.
    Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country’s capital told reporters today that the recent diplomatic crisis involving a stabbing and shooting at the Israeli embassy, the unrest surrounding the Temple Mount, and Jordan’s internal tensions over existing relations with Israel have highlighted the need for improvements in the system whereby Jordan receives from Israel military assistance, natural gas, tourism, fresh water, and other essential resources the country lacks, in exchange for rhetoric that challenges the Jewish state’s legitimacy and fosters violent antisemitism.
    “We’re looking at ways to make this a more efficient process, for example,” as one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described it. “Jordan does not have the richness of famous archaeological or other sites that Egypt does, or the commercial resources of Turkey. Really, the only thing we have going for us is we’re not yet ruled by a radical Islamist movement opposed to the West and actively engaged in terrorism – and the threat of us becoming such an entity is the only leverage we can credibly bring to bear when entering into agreements with Israel.”

    We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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    Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

    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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