Friday, August 25, 2017

From Ian:

Why Israel has nothing to learn from Europe in fighting terror
In November 2015, the European Union issued guidelines for labeling products made on land Europe considers occupied by Israel. This included products made in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel, naturally, claimed that the move was discriminatory and denounced it as a political move aimed at pressuring the country into making concessions to the Palestinian Authority. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision “hypocritical and a double standard.”
A few months later, I happened to meet the European Union’s Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen and asked him a simple question. Let’s assume, I said, that labeling products in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is understandable. Those are territories in dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and their status will need to wait to be resolved in a comprehensive peace agreement between the sides.
“But what about the Golan,” I asked. “Who exactly does the EU want Israel to give it back to?” My question referred to the ongoing civil war in Syria, which erupted in 2011 and has seen the rise of ISIS, and al-Qaida as well as the entrance of Iran and Hezbollah into the country, now the focus of Netanyahu’s most recent diplomatic efforts. I did not receive an answer but the question lingers still today as just one example of how Europe lacks a clear understanding of the Middle East.
I mention this story since on Tuesday, in a final briefing to the press before leaving the country after four years as the EU envoy, Faaborg-Andersen said that Israel can learn from Europe how to effectively combat terrorism.
“Fighting terrorism,” he said, “is an endeavor that requires the whole tool box of instruments.” One of those tools, he went on to explain, is a “strong security dimension,” which Israel uses effectively. But, he added, there are other aspects involved as well, including “de-radicalization,” working with social services, and education.
Now that is an interesting idea considering how many of the terrorist attacks perpetrated in Europe are carried out by citizens, some born and bred in their respective countries. In Israel, a small percentage of the attacks - like the recent one at the Temple Mount - are carried out by Israeli Arabs. Most are perpetrated by Palestinians.
Looking at the numbers this is an even stranger idea. According to EUROPOL, the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation, 142 people were killed in terrorist attacks in EU member states in 2016. In Israel, on the other hand, 17 people were killed. While 2017 is not yet over, the discrepancy is stark. In Israel 12 people have been killed, nine of them soldiers and policemen, while in EU member states there are already nearly 60 people who have been killed in Islamic terrorist attacks.
While the numbers don’t tell the full story, they are definitely part of it. So what exactly was Faaborg-Andersen referring to? Richard Kemp, the former British military officer and staunch defender of Israel, called Faaborg-Andersen’s statements “chutzpah,” citing the numerical discrepancy. “Not only does Israel have nothing to learn from the EU,” Kemp said, “but the EU is guilty of encouraging terrorism in Israel.”
Col Kemp: Brexit Terror Study
Letter to the editor of The Times, published 24 August 2017. © Richard Kemp
The leaked Home Office report (Aug 23) warning of an increased terrorist risk to the UK after Brexit is pure fiction. The opposite is true: Britain will be safer after Brexit.
No longer will we have to allow known terrorist suspects who are EU citizens to enter the UK as we do now. We should not forget that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian ringleader of the November 2015 Paris attacks in which 130 people were killed, travelled freely to Britain beforehand despite being known to be involved in extremism. Such is the EU’s security regime that he boasted in Islamic State propaganda of being able to travel unnoticed into and around Europe.
The report says that security co-operation would be ‘less effective or slower’ once Britain left the EU. Why should it be? The UK has the most effective counter-terrorism operational capability in Europe with the most extensive liaison relationships in countries from where the greatest Islamic terrorist threats emanate.
Our intelligence services have prevented numerous terrorist attacks in the UK and elsewhere in the EU in recent years. In the fight against terrorism the EU needs us far more than we need them.
Colonel Richard Kemp
Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan

Vox: Israeli-Arab Conflict One of World's "Most Violent" Disputes
According to Vox, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the "most violent" in the world.
Vox gained notoriety when it reported that Israel limits traffic on the bridge connecting the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In fact, Israel doesn't limit traffic on the bridge because the bridge doesn't exist.
In this week's story about Palestinian infighting, journalist Shira Rubin writes that the battle between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas "has major stakes for one of the world’s longest-running, and most violent, political disputes."
Is that a fair characterization? A recent Reuters overview shows that, even during the he bloodiest year of Arab-Israeli fighting in decades, 2014, the number of casualties in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank paled in comparison to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, South Sudan, Pakistan, Sudan, Ukraine, Somalia, Central African Republic, and Libya. The 2014 Gaza conflict accounted for about 2,000 of 100,000 battle-related deaths worldwide that year. (The graphic along the left margin, by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), shows the fatalities from Arab-Israeli fighting in the context of 2014's conflicts worldwide.)
And again, 2014 was an an outlier. A year earlier, in 2013, fewer than 50 people were killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting, less than 0.1 percent of the 70,000 killed in the rest of the world's conflicts. In 2015, there were roughly 150 killed as a result of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and 100,000 fatalities from conflict worldwide. You can check out PRIO's graphic of 2016's most deadly conflicts on page three of this document. Can Vox find Israel on the chart?

Radical Islam Must Be Fought on the Cultural as Well as the Military Front
Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the author who goes by the pen-name Ibn Warraq are apostate Muslims who have bravely written about the threat that jihadism poses to Western civilization, and have sharply criticized Western leaders for obfuscating this threat by adhering to “politically correct” taboos and pieties. Reviewing recent books by each of these authors, Fred Siegel and Sol Stern argue for the necessity of fighting a cultural and intellectual battle against radical Islam, and use the experience of the cold war as a model:
The international Communist movement was adept at advancing Soviet imperial interests through the use of front groups—student organizations, labor unions, artists’ associations—operating freely within the Western democracies. These “progressive” organizations peddled innocent-sounding slogans about the need for disarmament, world peace, and social justice, while covering up the fact that they had been penetrated by Communist fellow travelers and agents of influence and were actively abetting Soviet expansionism. [In similar fashion], Hirsi Ali unequivocally identifies seemingly innocent-sounding Muslim groups as agents of an Islamist agenda. . . .
[During the cold war], while the U.S. and its allies “contained” the Soviet military threat, they . . . vigorously pursued the anti-Communist struggle in the political, economic, and cultural spheres. . . .
[T]he Truman administration created a program to mobilize pro-democracy civic groups in the U.S. and Europe to oppose the Communist propaganda machine. . . . [T]he CIA covertly funded some of these groups. . . . [T]here is little question that bolstering the pro-democracy groups, particularly in confronting the far more sinister and clandestine foreign operations carried out by the Comintern and KGB, paid off in the life-and-death struggle against Soviet totalitarianism.
In their latest works, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq have produced a call to action in the United States and the free world. . . . Now is the time for the U.S. and other Western democracies to recognize that combating Islamist terrorism by military means alone will not work, and that a full-scale cultural counterattack is needed to convince Westerners of the danger—and to convince Muslims in the West that Islamism is a dead end for their own communities as well as for the entire Muslim world.
Why western women are now the Islamists’ target of choice
There has been an unprecedented development this year in the Islamists’ war on the West. For the first time their foot soldiers are singling out women to kill. Women have been the victims of terrorism before, murdered by paramilitary organisations such as ETA, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the IRA, because of their uniform or their beliefs, or simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but never solely because of their sex.
In the era when Islamic terror groups hijacked aircraft it was rare that women were harmed. When a Trans World Airlines jet was hijacked in 1985, for example, the terrorists released all the women and children, including the Americans. When a similar fate befell an Air France airliner at the same airport in Algiers nine years later, the Islamists handed out veils to the females passengers but executed only male hostages.
But this year Islamists are specifically targeting women. When Salman Abedi detonated his suicide bomb at the Ariana Grande concert in May, killing seventeen females (and five males), he did so knowing it would be full of teenage girls and young women. In July, two German women were fatally stabbed by an Egyptian man at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. This attack bore similarities to Saturday’s outrage in the Finnish city of Turku, where an 18-year-old Moroccan allegedly stabbed eight women, two of whom died. Two days earlier, the only fatality in an Islamist attack at Cambrils was a 61-year-old woman.
The Islamists are deliberately targeting women because in their minds they represent empowerment and enlightenment, and also immodesty. Three young women were among the eight people stabbed to death during the London Bridge attack in June, and many more were wounded, including an Australian, who recalled her attacker screamed “Stop living this life” as he slashed at her throat.
Caroline Glick: Netanyahu's empathy for Trump
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was attacked by the media for not jumping on the bandwagon and condemning US President Donald Trump for his response to the far-right and far-left rioters in Charlottesville earlier this month. It may be that he held his tongue because he saw nothing to gain from attacking a friendly president. But it is also reasonable to assume that Netanyahu held his tongue because he empathizes with Trump. More than any leader in the world, Netanyahu understands what Trump is going through. He’s been there himself – and in many ways, is still there. Netanyahu has never enjoyed a day in office when Israel’s unelected elites weren’t at war with him.
From a comparative perspective, Netanyahu’s experiences in his first term in office, from 1996 until 1999, are most similar to Trump’s current position. His 1996 victory over incumbent prime minister Shimon Peres shocked the political class no less than the American political class was stunned by Trump’s victory. And this makes sense. The historical context of Israel’s 1996 election and the US elections last year were strikingly similar.
In 1992, Israel’s elites, the doves who controlled all aspects of the governing apparatuses, including the security services, universities, government bureaucracies, state prosecution, Supreme Court, media and entertainment industry, were seized with collective euphoria when the Labor Party under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres won Israel’s Left its first clear-cut political victory since 1974. Rabin and Peres proceeded to form the most dovish governing coalition in Israel’s history.
Then in 1993, after secret negotiations in Oslo, they shocked the public with the announcement that they had decided to cut a deal with Israel’s arch enemy, the PLO, a terrorist organization pledged to Israel’s destruction.
The elites, who fancied themselves the guardians of Israel’s democracy, had no problem with the fact that the most radical policy ever adopted by any government, one fraught with dangers for the nation and the state, was embarked upon with no public debate or deliberation.
Seth Mandel: The obscene effort to shame ‘Trump’s Jews’
Allow me a moment of pride: The hot new criticism of my fellow Jews is that we don’t complain enough.
Really. A host of pundits, concerned about President Trump’s baffling unwillingness to single out neo-Nazis for criticism, are turning to the American Jewish community and pleading: Would it kill you to maybe kvetch a bit?
The idea we haven’t protested is bonkers, but more important, the left’s campaign to get all Jews to publicly denounce Trump has taken a profoundly dangerous and ugly turn. And it needs to stop.
On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported that a coalition of left-leaning Jewish organizations have decided to lead by example. The groups had organized a conference call with President Barack Obama each year just before the High Holy Days, but this year, ostensibly because of Trump’s atrocious response to the violence in Charlottesville, their leaders chose to boycott the call.
To be clear, the call was generally a heavily politicized event at which the liberal groups and the liberal president pushed liberal policies under the guise of faith. Indeed, one of the groups is the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which (the inside joke goes) has long been split between its political wing and its political wing.
But as rabbis and community leaders, they are clearing a path for others to follow. And they’re far from lone voices.
Late last week, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank took aim at a trio of Jews serving Trump: the president’s top economic adviser, treasury secretary and son-in-law. “What Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner did last week — or, rather, what they didn’t do — is a shanda,” he wrote, using the Yiddish word for shame. Specifically, they didn’t publicly trash their boss.
MEMRI: Jordanian TV: "The Rothschilds Rule the World" & "Jews Withhold Cure for Cancer and AIDS"
A Jordanian TV channel recently aired a program about the Rothschild family, according to which it was "the founder of the United States" and owned much of the world's resources, media, and banks. The show included an interview with Jordanian economic analyst Mohammad Sami Abugoush, who said that "any leader who refused to deal with the Rothschilds would be assassinated." Abugoush and TV host Rita Altaji agreed that it was Rothschild, and not President Macron, who ruled France, and that "even the U.S. and the mighty British royal family do not rule Britain." She and her guest concurred that the Rothschilds assassinated U.S. Presidents Lincoln, Kennedy, Garfield, Harrison, Tyler, and Jackson. Abugoush further said that the Jews control the weapon, pharmaceutical, shipping, and agricultural industries, and are withholding the cure for cancer and AIDS from the world in order to make a profit. The show aired on Altaghier TV on June 24.

JPost Editorial: Freedoms of beauty queens
Opinions expressed by Hanna about her positive experiences with Israel and Israelis are immediately stifled.
Not only do women like Hanna have to objectify their bodies, they also have to subordinate their minds and beliefs to Lebanese propaganda.
Rima Fakih, the first Muslim to win the Miss USA crown, nearly lost her title due to allegations that she partied too much and engaged in pole dancing.
Fakih, who was born in Lebanon to a Shi’ite family but chose to convert to Christianity for marriage, sought to dissuade people from seeing Miss USA as an ideal.
“Miss USA is not like ‘world peace’ and all that..., she is a real human being who can make her own decisions.”
There is much about beauty pageants that is distasteful.
But Lebanon has turned objectification into an art form. It is an opportunity to not only objectify women but to deprive them of autonomy of thought and mind.
Fakih is undoubtedly happy to be living in a country that allows her broad freedoms. Hanna is probably asking herself why she left Sweden.
Where is the Middle East headed?
Since the Middle East events of 2011 (mislabeled "the Arab Spring"), the region has been in turmoil. The inability of the Arab statist structures to overcome domestic cleavages became very clear. Even before 2011, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, as well as the Palestinian Authority failed to hold together. After 2011, Syria and Yemen descended into a state of civil war. Similarly, Egypt underwent a political crisis, allowing for the emergence of an Islamist regime. It took a year for a military coup to restore the praetorian ancient regime. All Arab republican regimes were under stress. While the monarchies weathered the political storm, their future stability is not guaranteed.
Growing Islamist influence put additional pressure on the Arab states. The quick rise of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq was the most dramatic expression of this phenomenon that spread beyond the borders of the Middle East. Despite its expected military defeat, the ideology behind the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and variants of radical Islam remain resonant in many Muslim quarters. Therefore, the pockets containing ISIS and al-Qaida followers, as well as the stronger Muslim Brotherhood are likely to continue to challenge peace and stability in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The Sunni-Shiite divide, a constant feature of Middle Eastern politics, has become more dominant as Iran becomes increasingly feared. The 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) between Iran and world powers has been generally viewed in the Middle East as an Iranian (Shiite, Persian) diplomatic victory. Shiite-dominated Iraq (excluding the Kurdish region) turned into an Iranian satellite as well, while the military involvement of Iran and its proxies on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria appears to achieve the completion of a Shiite corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean. Iran continues its long-range missile program unabated and makes progress even in the nuclear arena within the limits of the flawed JCPOA. Its proxies rule Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and Sanaa, signaling increasing Iranian clout.
Mort Klein: The Impossible Deal: Establishing a Peaceful Palestinian Arab State That Accepts the Jewish State
The Israelis whose lives are at stake and the authentic U.S. pro-Israel community have long understood that a Palestinian Arab state would be a Hamas-Fatah-ISIS-Iranian regime terrorist state that endangers Israel’s heartland.
Such a state would be a launching pad for non-stop attacks on innocent Israeli civilians. Indeed, the Maagar-Mochot poll in January found that Israelis overwhelmingly (by a 10 to 1 margin) support Israeli sovereignty in Judea/Samaria and oppose a Palestinian Arab state. (Judea/Samaria is the accurate name for the area Jordan renamed the “West Bank.”)
Similarly, a Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs poll in March found that Israelis are overwhelmingly (by a 12 to 1 margin) concerned that if Israel gave up security control of Judea/Samaria, that the Palestinian Arabs will build attack tunnels. And the implications go far beyond Israel. A Palestinian Arab terror state is likely to push Jordan and the entire Middle East into complete chaos. (Also remember, there was never an Arab sovereign State in Judea and Samaria. Even the name “Palestine” is a Roman name, not an Arab name. Arabs can’t even pronounce the letter “P.” When the Romans captured Judea and Samaria and murdered or drove the Jews out of their ancient homeland they renamed it Palestine after the enemy of the Jews, the Philistines.)
Thus, earlier this year, we were thrilled that President Trump refused to parrot the irrational, dangerous mantra that a Palestinian state is the only option for peace (the so-called two State solution, a misnomer since Israel is already a State). We were glad to see President Trump wisely speak instead about real peace and creative solutions; and demand that the Palestinian Authority (PA) must stop teaching “tremendous hate” to their children in PA schools; stop naming Arab schools, streets, sports teams, and tournaments after Jew-killers; recognize Israel as the Jewish State; stop paying Palestinian Arab terrorists to murder Jews; and revoke the PA law authorizing the PA’s horrendous $350 million per year of “pay to slay” payments.
Putting skepticism on hold, Abbas backs US peace push in Kushner meeting
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set aside weeks of widespread and vocal pessimism over US peace efforts, saying that a deal with Israel is not impossible during a meeting with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner Thursday.
Meeting with Kushner and other US officials in Ramallah, Abbas expressed optimism that a deal could be reached, despite complaints from the PA in recent days over a lack of seriousness from the White House in its efforts to broker an elusive agreement.
“We know that the this issue is difficult and complex, but nothing is impossible in the face of good efforts,” Abbas said during the parley with Kushner, according to official PA news outlet Wafa.
Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, arrived in Israel Wednesday evening as part of a trip to the region aimed at looking for way to jumpstart peace talks. Kushner is accompanied on the trip by peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell. They met earlier Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas confidante: Americans provided no clarity on two-state solution or settlements
US President Donald Trump’s delegation that met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday provided no clarity on its positions regarding the two-state solution or settlements, Ahmad Majdalani, a close confidante of the PA president said on Friday.
“The American delegation did not explain its position on two states or settlement construction,” Majdalani told The Jerusalem Post. “They only asked for more time to carry out consultations.”
Senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner, special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and deputy national security advisor Dina Powell held talks with PA president in Ramallah on Thursday after meeting with a number Middle East leaders in the past several days.
Majdalani added that the Palestinians “consider giving the Americans additional time for consultations without them taking clear positions as a green light for [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu to destroy the two-state solution and impose facts on the ground through settlement building.”
'Significant Step': Australia Open to Idea of Diplomatic Presence in Jerusalem
Australia is open to the idea of having a new, formal diplomatic presence in Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told a group of Jewish community leaders.
Bishop said Australia would happily follow Britain if it opened a High Commission or a consulate in the capital, and it could “look at” stationing diplomats there.
“In Morocco we bunked in with the British. We have our door and our flag here (at the front) and the British flag and door at the back and we share the back-of-house costs, because all countries need to be represented everywhere,” she said. “We bunk in with the Canadians every now and again, the Brits are trying to pile on top of us in Bali and we’ve got the Brits in with us in Wellington.
“I hate to put it in that context, but let me have a look at what is happening in West Jerusalem. If there is a British High Commission there or a consulate of some description we can look at that.”
Bishop was responding to a question from Zionism Victoria immediate past president Sam Tatarka. According to the Australian Jewish News (AJN), he asked if Australia would open a consulate or high commission in West Jerusalem.
Mr. Tatarka said if Australia did establish a presence in Jerusalem, it would make a statement to the world. “The location, in terms of sharing with another country, is not important,” he told the AJN.
“If Australia were to establish a formal diplomatic presence in Jerusalem it would be perceived internationally as a significant step.”
In Interview, Former IAF Chief Discusses Coordination With Russia, Regional Cooperation
The former head of the Israeli Air Force, Major-General Amir Eshel has revealed that Russian aircrafts have entered Israeli airspace “many times” during the Syrian civil war in an exclusive interview with Haaretz newspaper.
In an extensive interview with Amos Harel, Eshel spoke at length about the Israeli Air Force’s increasing capability, the missile threat from Hezbollah, and the IAF’s regional cooperation.
Eshel discussed the mechanism that Israel has set up after the Russians deployed in Syria in 2015 in order to reduce the possibility of a serious confrontation with Russian aircrafts.
He said, “There’s something technical here, and there are leaders’ directives, and trust. We don’t intend to harm the Russians, and we do everything to avoid harming them. They understand why we are taking action. They don’t agree or give us authorization, but I think they understand what Israel is doing. It is fighting terrorism, preventing the delivery of means of combat.”
Eshel spoke about the importance of real-time communication between the two air forces. With regards to the Russians entering Israeli air space, Esher said that “there were situations in which we contacted them in real time and said that there had been a mistake, and they immediately responded and corrected. That’s alright. We have not seen provocations.”
Will Turkey Join the Russia-Iran Axis?
Last week, the chief of staff of the Iranian military traveled to Ankara, where he met with his Turkish counterparts and apparently arrived at a strategic agreement, to be finalized during a reciprocal visit to Tehran. Turkey also announced recently that a delegation of senior Russian officials will soon be arriving to discuss cooperation among all three countries. According to reports in the Iranian press, writes Amir Taheri, this would involve working together to repress Kurdish national aspirations in the area that includes part of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. And that’s just the beginning:
[Turkey wants] to promote a regional alliance that could eventually include Iran, Russia, and Iraq. The idea is that such an alliance, though limited in scope, would leave little space for the U.S.-led Western powers and their regional Arab allies to regain the influence they had enjoyed in the Middle East since the fall of the Ottoman empire over a century ago.
That, in turn, would give Turkey a big voice in the Levant as a springboard for a greater projection of power across the Middle East. . . .
[Likewise], Tehran believes the future of Syria must be determined by Iran, Turkey, and Russia to the exclusion of the U.S. and its Arab allies, [not to mention Israel]. . . . Don’t be surprised if Iran presents the new informal alliance as Russia and Turkey joining “The Resistance Front” led from Tehran. . . .
Is an Iran-Turkey-Russia triangle really taking shape? To judge by noises made in Tehran, Ankara, and Moscow, the answer must be yes. However, the three remain strange bedfellows, with contradictory positions and conflicting interests. In other words, between the cup and the lip there may be many a slip.
First-ever delegation of MKs visits South Africa
A group of Israeli Knesset members returned from a visit to South Africa this week, the first-ever such delegation of lawmakers to visit the country, the Jewish Agency said in a statement Thursday.
During their trip, the lawmakers met with a number of South African political figures, including former president Kgalema Motlanthe and African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife and a possible candidate to replace him as the head of the African National Congress party in the next elections.
In addition to officials from the ruling ANC, the Israeli delegation also met with figures from the opposition Democratic Alliance, including party leader Mmusi Maimane, who visited Israel in January.
Maimane came under fire from the ANC for his trip to Israel, with the party of Nelson Mandela accusing him of supporting Israeli “apartheid.”
The Israeli MKs also met with Jewish community leaders in Johannesburg and Cape Town and visited a number of Jewish sites.
In Call With Sisi, Trump Expresses Eagerness to Overcome Obstacles Affecting US-Egypt Relations
U.S. President Donald Trump called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday and said he was keen to overcome any obstacles in the way of cooperation, just days after the U.S. said it would withhold some financial aid to Egypt.
“President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call tonight from U.S. President Donald Trump who affirmed the strength of the friendship between Egypt and the United States and expressed his keenness on continuing to develop the relationship and overcome any obstacles that might affect it,” Sisi’s office said in a statement late on Thursday.
On Tuesday, two U.S. sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Washington had decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million because it had failed to make progress on respecting human rights and democracy.
Egypt, an important regional partner for the United States because of its control of the Suez Canal and its border with Israel, receives $1.3 billion in aid annually and was critical of the U.S. decision.
Its foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the decision to withhold aid reflected “poor judgment” and that it could have “negative implications” on achieving common goals and interests between the two countries.
Algeria’s Ahmadis, an ‘Israeli plot,’ forced to worship behind closed doors
Accused of heresy by Islamist extremists and targeted by the authorities, members of Algeria’s tiny Ahmadi community say they have been forced to go underground to worship.
Abderahmane, a 42-year-old trader from Kabylie in northern Algeria, joined the reformist Islamic movement after years as an ultra-conservative Salafist.
People he once called friends reported him to the local imam, who publicly denounced him as an unbeliever.
The imam went on to urge worshippers not to let their children play with Ahmadi children.
“My sister’s engagement was canceled because her fiance was told I was an unbeliever,” Abderahmane said, still wearing a well-trimmed beard, a long cotton shirt, and three-quarter-length trousers — the garb of his former life as a Salafist.
EU demands Israel rebuild illegal Palestinian school structures
Israel must rebuild the two modular Palestinian schools it demolished, the European Union said as it condemned the IDF actions against illegal Palestinian and Beduin construction in Area C of the West Bank.
“Every child has the right to safe access to education and states have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfill this right, by ensuring that schools are inviolable safe spaces for children,” the EU said on Thursday in a statement put out by its offices in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
It spoke up after the Civil Administration demolished a modular kindergarten on Sunday in the Beduin herding village of Badu al-Baba near the town of al-Eizariya just outside of Jerusalem. On Tuesday it took down a modular elementary school in the Palestinian village of Jubbet ad-Dib close to Bethlehem.
Both schools were built with EU funding, but without permits, which are difficult for Palestinians to obtain from the Civil Administration.
Parent Fadia Awash, who also head the Woman’s Society from the nearby Palestinian town of Beit Tamir said the school had been built on private Palestinian property. It was designed to service local children who otherwise were walking three kilometers to the nearest school.
On Wednesday and Thursday, many of the 80 school children originally designated to the school arrived at the site anyway for class.
A tent has been placed on one of the cement slabs where the modular classroom had stood.
Israel uses free textbooks to fight incitement in schools
With the new school year set to begin Sept. 1, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Education Ministry have decided to tackle the issue of anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian-run east Jerusalem schools by distributing Israeli schoolbooks free for the schools to use, rather than Palestinian Authority school materials.
The decision comes after Israel Hayom reported that while schoolbooks from the Palestinian Authority, some of which are filled with incitement against Israel and Jews, are distributed at no cost to pupils in east Jerusalem, Israeli schoolbooks have to be purchased. Many school districts in Israel still require parents to purchase their children's schoolbooks rather than issuing books to pupils on a loan basis.
Parents in east Jerusalem said the cost factor was creating an absurd situation in which rather than being encouraged to send their children to Israeli schools, they were being incentivized to opt for Palestinian schools and the Palestinian curriculum, which preaches hatred and incites violence.
On Thursday, the Jerusalem District Police announced that they had stopped a shipment of books at one of the gates to the Old City after police officers spotted Palestinian flags on the book covers, as well as stamps indicating that the books had been sent to Jerusalem from the PA.
A review of some of the Palestinian textbooks to be used this year shows that, for example, the grammar books for 12th graders refer to Israelis as "invasive snakes." An 11th-grade current events text states that "drug use is particularly notable in a few areas in Palestinian society, because they [drugs] are encouraged and distributed to Palestinian youth by the Israeli occupation, which seeks to morally corrupt them."
When a US gov't official calls you a liar, you go on the offensive
Exactly two years ago, a senior official at the US State Department called me a liar to my face. He informed me that all the work that we had done on the Palestinian Authority textbooks used by UNRWA was one great fabrication, that the US government had checked out the PA textbooks used by UNRWA, and that they met the highest standards of peace education.
Six months later, the White House issued a statement in a similar vein to a colleague in DC: “While there is still work to be done, the Palestinian government has made significant progress in reducing inflammatory rhetoric and revising official textbooks. Over the past few years, the PA has helped improve the Palestinian curriculum, including textbooks that discuss human rights and the Holocaust, which has contributed to a better education for young Palestinians.”
To respond to this, I asked my staff to purchase all PA textbooks used by UNRWA and to translate all the books, so that we could hand the results to the US Congress and to the Israeli Knesset.
One of the ironies is that USAID in Ramallah wrote to us, saying that the US never examines the PA textbooks used by UNRWA…despite the fact that the US donates $400 million each year to UNRWA – one third of the UNRWA budget.
As a sneak preview, here are some items taken from the new PA Schoolbooks used in UNRWA schools, in the new school year that commences next week.
Israeli doctors in the north are dedicated to saving Syrians
It is midnight on a cold winter night in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. A strange caravan wends its way along a rocky path toward a secret location on the border with Israel. Mothers in hijabs and parkas carry babies and small children swathed in bandages.
Some children, crudely bandaged, ride in panniers slung over donkeys. Many have no accompanying parents because they are dead. There are wounded men, too, limping along, helped by their friends.
The procession walks silently. Finally, they reach the border. Awaiting them is an IDF medical team that quickly administers first aid, stabilizes the wounded and puts them into ambulances that speed off, sirens screaming, to hospitals in Nahariya and Safed. Soon, teams of nurses and doctors begin to heal the enemy – rebuilding faces and hands and treating wounds that are almost indescribable.
The “enemy?” To the Israeli medical teams, these are simply human beings who have been bombed, gassed, shot, sniped, mortared and maimed by their countrymen, who call them terrorists and supporters of terrorism.
Syria is still at war with Israel. So, this is a rare instance where a nation treats the wounded of a neighboring country that seeks its destruction, heals them and sends them home.
The Israeli government has decided not to let in Syrian refugees, but in 2013 it did decide to treat the wounded from its neighbor to the north.
As a result, some 3,000 wounded Syrians, a third of them children, have been treated by Israel, including some 1,700 at the Galilee Medical Center, or GMC, in Nahariya.
And more arrive every day.
Taking Israeli aid, Syrian rebel says crisis on Golan overrides old hatreds
Tens of thousands of Syrian civilians living on the Golan border are “between the hammer and the anvil,” hemmed in on one side by pro-regime fighters on one side and the Islamic State on the other, a commander of a Syrian rebel militia said Wednesday.
The Syrian commander, who would only go by his nom de guerre, Abu Hamad, said his group’s cooperation with Israel made it the target of criticism from the Iran-funded militias that are fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but humanitarian concerns superseded old hatreds.
“The Shiite militias claim we are traitors,” he said during a video conference with journalists, speaking through Skype from a well-furnished shack in the Quneitra area in the Syrian Golan to reporters at the offices of MediaCentral in Jerusalem.
Abu Hamad, who kept his face covered in order to protect his identity, also commented on the purported ceasefire that was brokered by the United States and Russia, saying that it was an empty declaration and that the fighting continues despite it.
According to the rebel commander, the only thing limiting the warfare is his group’s depleting stores of materiel.
Earlier this summer, the Israeli military revealed the scope of its humanitarian assistance to Syrians living on the Golan border.
'Israeli airport took away our guitar,' complains Palestinian band
A Palestinian band hailing from east Jerusalem and Bethlehem says Ben-Gurion Airport security has sabotaged its UK tour by detaining an electric guitar.
Apo Sahagian, the lead singer of Apo and the Apostles, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that airport authorities have been holding his guitar for days without releasing it.
“The B-G security detained my electric guitar for further ‘security’ checks’ due to ‘security’ reasons,” Sahagian wrote via email from London. “They said it would be on the next flight.”
But more than 48 hours later, the musician has not seen his guitar, and nobody will admit they are holding it.
“I’ve been calling easyJet and they’ve been saying that the guitar is still in Israeli security and has not been released,” Sahagian said. He said that some of his friends who have been looking into the situation told him Ben-Gurion staff insist they passed it on to easy- Jet, and the airline insists it doesn’t have it.
Ofer Lefler, the spokesman for the Airports Authority, said the guitar was taken for additional screening, "but was then immediately turned over to the airline." Lefler said according to the Israeli ground handling services, the guitar has been transferred to London."
Palestinian man arrested after M16 rifle found in his home
Israeli security forces found an M16 rifle in a home in the central West Bank village of Wadi Siman early Friday.
The firearm’s owner was arrested, the IDF said.
Israeli security agencies have been cracking down on firearms smuggling in the West Bank over the past year, as well as on workshops in Palestinian cities used to manufacture improvised Carlo-style rifles.
In a separate overnight raid in the West Bank, security forces detained a Palestinian man suspected of taking part in violent protests, according to a statement from the army.
He was arrested in the village of Bayt Fajr, near Bethlehem.
UN gives $2.5 million to Gaza for fuel and water crisis
The United Nations on Thursday gave Gaza $2.5 million in humanitarian aid to help with their water and fuel crisis.
The funds come as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to gradually cut funding to Gaza if Hamas fails to allow Fatah to return to the Strip.
Some 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza have been hostage for the last four months to the power play between Fatah and Hamas, as Abbas seek to regain control of the Strip 10 years after Hamas ousted his party in a bloody coup.
In July the UN issued an urgent appeal for $25 million, but to date only 30% of that sum has bene funded.
There is a “serious decline in living conditions in Gaza continues” said UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper. “The humanitarian plight and the human rights of Gaza’s civilian population - over half of them children – appear to have disappeared from view” he added.
Some of the UN funds will pay for fuel for the generators that are helping run 190 health, water and sanitation installations.
Opposing U.S., France Says No Need to Change UN Lebanon Force Mandate
France said Wednesday it wants the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon to stick to its current mandate, opposing US calls to strengthen the force’s authority to deal with arms movements by Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist militia.
Anne Gueguen, France’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told reporters her government saw no need to change the 2006 Security Council resolution that sets the mission’s current mandate, which expires at the end of August.
“We want to keep the mandate as such,” she said, adding that “does mean there won’t be any change in the resolution.”
The 10,500-strong United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has been in southern Lebanon since 1978, when it was charged with confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces from a demilitarized zone between the two countries.
Iran, not so far away
With Iran seemingly gaining more and more power in Syria, Israel has to take action to ensure Tehran will never make it to the Israel-Syrian border. This plan must include a multi-layered approach that will enlist the US, Russia and Syrian allies, as well as the understanding that an overt confrontation between Israel and Iranian forces will mean nothing short of war.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Moscow visit on Wednesday can be seen to signal a change for the worse and a significant, national security risk in the making. The civil war in Syria is nearing an end, and it appears that the coalition of President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia has won. If this victory would lead solely to the stability of Assad's regime, Israel should have been able to accept this. The problem is that Iran demands compensation for the many resources it invested in the war: already the de facto ruler in Lebanon through its control over Hezbollah, Iran is now looking to recreate a similar power dynamic for itself in Syria.
In concrete terms, the Iranians want to establish a second Hezbollah, a force of Shiite militias that will be deployed on the Golan Heights along the border with Israel, and which will get its instructions from Tehran. When such a situation occurs, any confrontation with Hezbollah will lead to a wider confrontation that will include the Syrian arena. Moreover, Assad, who, weakened, finds himself grateful to Iran, will be committed to helping in this endeavor. As such, a confrontation with Hezbollah could quickly lead to a full-scale war between Israel and Syria.
Companies Distancing Themselves From Trump Administration Still Doing Business With Iranian Regime
Several prominent U.S. companies that have distanced themselves from the Trump administration over its response to the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., continue to do business with the extremist Iranian regime, sparking accusations of hypocrisy from a leading advocacy group that works to expose Iran's global atrocities.
Major U.S. companies such as airplane manufacturer Boeing, General Electric, and industrial company Caterpillar all issued public statements distancing themselves from President Donald Trump over what they viewed as his failure to adequately condemn the recent riots in Charlottesville, where far-right white nationalists and neo-Nazis clashed with leftist counter-protestors.
While each company was quick to distance itself from the Trump administration and condemn the open racism and bigotry on display in Charlottesville, all three of the corporations continue to do business with Iran, an openly anti-Semitic regime that threatens to murder Jewish people and endorses leading racists such as David Duke.
All of these corporations also have refused to sign on to pledges to refrain from doing business with Iran due to the regime's pursuit of nuclear arms and continued sponsorship of terrorism, including operations targeting U.S. forces.
The failure of these companies to shun business with Iran has prompted criticism by United Against Nuclear Iran, or UANI, a prominent watchdog organization working to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
These companies have thus far declined to sign a UANI-sponsored pledge from business leaders to cut business ties to Iran.

Dore Gold: Thwarting a New Iranian Empire
People do not understand what it means to leave Iran inside of Syria as currently envisioned by the Great Powers.
The Iranians established themselves in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon back in 1982 and in a few short years established Hizbullah, a guerrilla army that accepted the idea of Iranian domination and leadership of all Muslims. It served as a surrogate for Iran in the Middle East.
It was originally thought that if Israel withdrew from Lebanon, the Hizbullah problem would go away. But Israel did withdraw from Lebanon in 2000 and the Hizbullah threat only got worse because it had nothing to do with Israel. It had everything to do with Iranian regional ambitions.
Years ago, when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was sitting with a high-level American official, he criticized U.S. policy in Iraq for having recreated the Safavid Empire. The Safavid Empire was the Persian Empire back in the 16th century.
It was then that Persian control stretched over parts of Syria; it covered Iraq including Baghdad; it went south into the Persian Gulf; it included the island of Bahrain; it stretched into half of Afghanistan and into what used to be referred to as Soviet Central Asia. This was a huge state that still exists in the fond memories of many in the Iranian leadership.
Just as Lebanon became a base for Iranian operations across the Middle East, leaving Iranian forces in Syria will create a challenge on a much greater scale. This will pose a direct threat to the future security of Israel as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
The bottom line is: Iranian forces must be withdrawn from Syria back to Iran. If the Great Powers leave Iran in Syria, they are setting the stage for the next great crisis in the Middle East, which will be far larger than anything we have seen until now.

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