Monday, January 15, 2018

From Ian:

Dr. Mordechai Kedar: The speech in which Abbas dug his own grave
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the President of the United States Donald Trump, going so far as to hurl the most bitter curse in the Arabic language at the POTUS: "May your house be destroyed."

This imprecation does not merely relate to someone's present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation and shame. Only someone familiar with Middle Eastern culture understands the real significance of this curse.

The question that naturally rises is what happened that brought Abbas to the point where he is willing to burn his bridges with the US President and deliver a speech whose import is the severing of relations with the country which serves as chief funder of UNRWA, also pushing the US president towards a negative stand on the "Palestinian Issue."

"Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine," is an idea created after the Six Day War and further developed after the Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993. Arafat turned it into a mantra, while official Israel – Shmon Peres, Yossi Beilin, Alon Liel and their cohorts – did nothing to stop him. They told us that the expression is meant for a Palestinian Arab audience, i.e. for "internal use" only. "Millions of shahids are on the march to Jerusalem!!" Arafat shouted day and night, but they told us to ignore it, that these were empty words, merely a pipe dream.

The world, led by Europe, went along with this Palestinian house of cards, financing it with billions of dollars over the years in the hopes of turning it into a real concrete structure, simply ignoring reality. Europe supported the establishment of a "Palestinian peace-loving state alongside Israel" while forgetting the fact that the PLO ideology calls for destroying the Jewish State and that its logo includes the map of that "Palestine" reaching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

MEMRI: Palestinian Journalist: Judaism Has Been A 'Religion Of Hatred' Toward All Mankind For The Past 3,000 Years That Surpasses Nazism In Its Cruelty
In an article he published on August 4, 2017 in the Omani Al-Watan daily, Palestinian journalist Jawad Al-Bashiti, who resides in Jordan, wrote that Judaism has been a "religion of hatred" toward all mankind for the past 3,000 years, and that the Jews invented a god of their own who, they claim, instructs them to take the gentiles' property and to kill their elderly, women, and infants. Al-Bashiti concluded his article by saying that, if the Jews' "delusions" remain fixed in the minds of the "new Israelis," Nazism will seem like "a drop in the ocean of the Talmudic beastliness." It should be noted that slightly different versions of this article have been published in the past.

The following are excerpts from the article:
"According to every criterion of human development and progress, cultural, ethical and scientific, especially in the 21st century, there is nothing worse than devotion, in theory and in practice, to the Jewish religion – the Torah and the Talmud – and there is nothing worse than when this devotion takes on a Zionist and political [guise]… Judaism – the legends and the fables that it adopted, claimed for itself, created and developed, and the concepts, ideologies, and ideas that it invented – is the religion of hatred toward all mankind. And although in its Zionist permutation it directs the bulk of its hatred toward Palestinians and Arabs, the fact is that [Judaism] represents 3,000 years of hostility and hatred toward [all] gentiles, in other words, toward mankind as a whole...

"The ancient nomadic group [called] the Hebrews or the People of Israel fabricated the Jewish perception so that it would be consistent, in general and in principle, with this group's social and historical reality:... [The Jews] were a nomadic people that knew nothing of the culture of the ancient nations or of [life] in neighboring regions. They lived in a state of war and by means of war. Anxious about their survival, they distanced themselves from the danger of assimilation and absorption into the cultured pagan nations, and [adopted] a culture of war that is in no way similar to any [other] culture because of their beastliness and hostility toward non-Jews, i.e. toward all of mankind. They invented a god for themselves – Yahweh – according to their social and historic ideal. They first 'Judaized' the heavens so that they could Judaize the land, in other words, the land of the others, i.e. Palestine, which they saw in their Talmudic visions as the Promised Land…

PM: World has pampered Palestinians, Trump first to tell them the truth
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas revealed with his fiery and intransigent speech Sunday that the real reason for the lack of peace in the Middle East is the Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Netanyahu, in a briefing with reporters after a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that Abbas’s words will help Israel “present the truth” to the world. While much of the comments about the speech have centered on attacks on US President Donald Trump, Netanyahu said that what Abbas said, not only the shrewd way in which he said it, will help Israel get its point across.

“If we ever want to get to reconciliation and peace, there needs to be an understanding why this conflict has continued for so many years,” Netanyahu said. “There is always an attempt to hide this, and I have worked for many years to try and get across the truth that the root of the conflict is the continual and, unfortunately, unchanging denial of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state within any borders.”

He said that without a change in the position stated by Abbas, “there will not be peace.”

Netanyahu also said that Abu Mazen's outburst was because he was concerned about the diplomatic plan that the US administration is working on, and wanted to remove the Americans from involvement in the process. “The world has pampered the Palestinians, and not told them the truth,” he said. “I think Abbas is reacting. For the first time someone [Trump] is telling them the truth.”
Netanyahu: Abbas ‘helping’ Israel with anti-Semitic, anti-Trump rant
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is serving Israel’s interests by lashing out against Washington and against a Jewish connection to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, a day after the Palestinian leader angrily rejected US President Donald Trump’s approach to the Middle East peace process.

“He exposed what we have been saying all the time, that the root of the conflict is the basic refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any borders,” Netanyahu said from New Delhi, where he is on an official state visit, adding that the Palestinians would find no mediator to replace the Americans.

Abbas’s speech Sunday night was filled with perceived anti-Semitic comments, including denials of a Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. He went so far as to imply that European Jews during the Holocaust chose to undergo “murder and slaughter” rather than emigrate to British-held Palestine, and alleged that the State of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion imported Jews from Yemen and Iraq to the country against their will.

The Palestinian leader further asserted that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” to safeguard European interests.

Netanyahu was speaking hours after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his first official trip to New Delhi. The two only briefly touched on the Palestinian issue, according to a joint statement following the meeting, with both affirming “their support for an early resumption of peace talks.”
Rivlin accuses Abbas of reverting to Holocaust denial past
President Reuven Rivlin lashed out Monday against comments made Sunday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in which he said, “The Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region.”

Speaking at his official residence to an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) delegation, Rivlin said: “What we heard yesterday from Mahmoud Abbas was terrible. He returned back to the ideas he expressed decades ago, when they were no less terrible. To say Israel is the result of a Western conspiracy to settle Jews in land belonging to Arab populations? To say that the Jewish people has no connection with the land of Israel? He forgot many things, and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.”

In recent meetings with foreign officials, Rivlin has tended to find excuses for Abbas, citing his problems with Hamas and his loss of popularity among a population that is frustrated by lack of progress in ending the conflict that disrupts the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Rivlin has also quoted the Koran, often specifying chapter and verse. This time, however, he said Abbas “is rejecting our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen [Abbas] knows very well that the Koran itself recognizes the land of Israel as our land.”
Defense minister: Abbas ‘lost his senses,’ gave up on peace
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Monday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had “lost his senses” following his fiery speech against US President Donald Trump.

Liberman told Israel’s Army Radio that Abbas’s address on Sunday symbolized his giving up on the prospect of peace negotiations and opting instead for a confrontation with both Israel and the United States.

“This speech signals that he’s lost self-control, lost the support of the moderate Arab world and has clearly given up on negotiations,” said Liberman of Abbas.

Abbas sharply escalated his rhetoric in a speech on Sunday, lashing out at Trump over recent policy moves, such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Abbas also slammed Trump’s recent Twitter comment threatening to cut American aid and alleging the Palestinians were no longer willing to negotiate a peace deal with Israel.
Opposition politicians denounce Abbas’s ‘false speech’
The head of the Zionist Union faction, Avi Gabbay, on Monday slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over a speech he had made denouncing Israel as a colonial plot devoid of Jewish elements, urging that Israel ignore what the Palestinians are saying and focus on separating from them instead.

At a meeting in the Knesset of the Zionist Union faction, Gabbay said Abbas’s comments were “serious, false, and have anti-Semitic fictions.”

In an address he gave the night before to a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah, Abbas asserted that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” to safeguard European interests. He also implied that European Jews during the Holocaust chose to suffer “murder and slaughter” over emigration to British-held Palestine.

“We must not be confused and we must not focus on what the Palestinians say,” Gabbay told his faction. “Separation from the Palestinians is our interest.”

Gabbay warned that the alternative to a two-state solution would see Israel add two million Palestinians to the country with the added burden of administering the lives of another two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Did Abbas just give his valedictory speech, blaming everyone for his failures?
The banner that Abbas waved time after time, as official and unofficial policy — establishing the State of Palestine along the 1967 borders — became an idea disconnected from reality. It is easy to blame Trump for this situation, but to be realistic, that has been the case since 2009.

The rule of Hamas in Gaza and Israeli settlement building showed clearly that the dream was one thing and the reality was another. Trump’s December 6 White House speech, in which he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, only made matters clearer for the Palestinians, as did the message sent from Saudi Arabia about the “deal of the century” being drawn up by the Trump administration.

The frustration of Abbas and his colleagues was palpable. Furthermore, on Sunday, he did what he is so good at doing — blaming the entire world for the situation of the Palestinians, from the US, to Israel, Hamas, and even the Europeans, for their role in sending the Jews to Israel.

Abbas also dedicated a large part of his address to his internal critics — not only Fatah activists who refused to participate in the conference, but also Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terror groups, who stayed away as well.

Israel, he further charged, destroyed the Oslo accords. “Israel is a colonialist project, which has nothing to do with the Jews,” he added.

Trump gave the Palestinians a slap in the face, he lamented. “The deal of the century became the slap of the century.”

Only a few in the Palestinian Authority and the top echelons of Fatah and the PLO were left off of his list of the culprits behind the failure.

Russia ‘completely understands’ Palestinian anger at Trump
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday said Moscow “understands” the anger of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who earlier denounced White House peace efforts as the “slap of the century.”

“We completely understand the emotions the Palestinians currently have. For years they made concessions without receiving anything in return,” Lavrov said at an annual press conference in Moscow.

“We constantly hear that the US is about to unveil an important deal (on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) that would satisfy all sides. We have not seen this kind of document,” Lavrov added.

Palestinian leaders on Monday held a meeting called after US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Palestinians want the city as the capital of their future state and Abbas has said Trump’s stance means the US can no longer be the mediator in peace talks with Israel.
UK media airbrush Abbas’s anti-Jewish remarks from report on PLO conference.
In a two-hour speech by Mahmoud Abbas to the PLO’s Central Council on Sunday night in Ramallah, the aging Palestinian president gave a quintessentially Palestinian talk – blaming everyone for his people’s problems but himself.

The low lights of the diatribe against the world by the “president”, who today celebrated the 12th year of a 4 year term, included his wish that ‘God may demolish the house’ of Donald Trump. He also criticised Hamas, Islamic Jihad, his critics within his Fatah party and the Europeans, who he blamed for Palestine’s Jewish problem. Israel, he insisted, “is a colonialist project, which has nothing to do with the Jews.” Abbas also traced the beginning of Zionism to what he called the Theodor Herzl’s efforts to “wipe out Palestinians from Palestine”. Abbas also promoted the conspiracy theory that “Israel has imported frightening amounts of drugs in order to destroy our younger generation”.

Thus far, only the Telegraph covered Abbas’s speech. However, their 620 word article, which included every other incendiary remark by the octogenarian leader, completely ignored his ahistorical, antisemitic and conspiratorial claims.

The Telegraph’s omission is but one example within a broader media pattern of obfuscating or ignoring incendiary, pro-terror or antisemitic remarks by the ‘moderate’ Palestinian leader.
David Singer: Israel-Jordan Negotiations Could Follow PLO Threat to Boycott Trump
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) threat to refuse to negotiate with Israel unless President Trump withdraws his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could see Jordan replacing the PLO as Israel’s negotiating partner to end the 100 years-old Arab-Jewish conflict.

This threat – unless unconditionally revoked – would give Trump the opportunity to consign the PLO to the political wilderness by inviting Jordan to step in and negotiate with Israel over Trump’s eagerly-anticipated “ultimate deal”.

Jordan-Israel negotiations would offer Jordan the opportunity to recover a substantial part of Judea and Samaria (“West Bank”) annexed by Jordan in 1950 – albeit illegally – but subsequently lost to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War (“disputed territory”).

Should Jordan buck at entering into such negotiations – some 60% of the disputed territory – under Israel’s full administrative and security control since the 1995 Oslo Accords and containing just 5% of the West Bank’s entire Arab population (“Area C”) – could be annexed by Israel.
JCPA: When Old Conventions Fall
The Palestinians are about to face two more problems.

One is a considerable drop in available cash to fund the PA, following the ratification of two laws in the Knesset and Congress – the Stern bill and the Taylor Force Act. These laws condition the transfer of at least NIS 1 billion (some 6% of the PA budget) on ceasing salary payments to terrorists and their families, and on abolishing the law facilitating such payments under the classification of terrorists as the Palestinian fighting sector.

This legislation, and the threat to slash funds to the Palestinians over their refusal to renew diplomatic talks, will challenge another vital element of the Palestinian position – the threat of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. According to this logic, the PA cannot be asked to honor its commitments under the Oslo Accords to stop encouraging terrorism, and certainly no economic steps can be taken against it, because doing so could cause the PA to collapse or at the very least cease security coordination with Israel. The assumption is that the PA’s existence and its security cooperation are such key Israeli interests that no one would dare put them in jeopardy.

But the legislative process in Congress is pressing forward, and the PA will almost certainly not fall as a result, because its existence is first and foremost a Palestinian interest. This was evidenced during the metal detector riots, when the Palestinians terminated security cooperation with Israel but renewed it shortly afterward – without fanfare – because it was no less a Palestinian interest than an Israeli one.

The second problem at the Palestinians’ doorstep is the Americans’ ongoing push to present their own peace proposal. Only a small handful of people in the know are familiar with the details of the proposal, but the impression thus far is that it puts a far greater emphasis on Israel’s security needs than previous proposals, including the demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as the democratic national home of the Jewish people and acceptance of a permanent Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Meshichist Lubavitchers Aghast At People Who Insist Two-State Solution Not Dead (satire)
Crown Heights, January 10 – Adherents of the belief that the late Rebbe of the Lubavitch Hasidic movement did not, in fact, die in 1994, expressed shock today that anyone could think the Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has any life in it.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh leader of the Lubavitch dynasty, is interred at Montefiore Cemetery in the New York City Borough of Queens. A small but vocal segment of the Chabad movement, the Lubavitch organization that spreads the teachings of the dynasty’s founder and his successors, insists that Rabbi Schneerson is not truly dead, and will reappear to claim his rightful status as Messiah when the time comes. To support their contentions they cite unconventional, controversial interpretations of classical Jewish teachings that run counter to authoritative teachings, and they disregard evidence to the contrary, but find the notion that the Two-State Solution remains in any way viable an absurd notion.

“Goodness gracious, it would take a credulous, willfully blind imbecile to believe that nonsense has anything to recommend it,” remarked Rabbi Yechi Admor as he hoisted a “Messiah” flag out his Eastern Parkway apartment window. “People still hold by that codswallop? I’m stunned. Anyone with half a brain should be able to make an honest assessment of the situation and conclude there’s no chance of ‘Israel and Palestine dwelling side by side in peace and security,’ as the plan’s proponents never tire of declaiming.”
German coalition negotiations spark concern in Israel
Germany's Christian Democratic Union Party, headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the country's Social Democratic Party, headed by Martin Schulz, agreed on a blueprint for coalition negotiations on Friday.

Such a German coalition has stoked fears in Israel, as the blueprint fails to mention neither Germany's unique connection with Israel nor the latter's Jewish character – points that were expressly stated in the basic guidelines that formed Merkel's two previous governments.

In addition, the blueprint includes an article dealing with the military, stating an opposition to "acts of targeted killings by automatic weapons systems," as well as a commitment to develop European drone technology.

This article may hinder a deal between Israel and Germany for the purchase of Israeli drones, which was suspended last summer after sudden opposition by the Social Democrats.

Despite these worries, the blueprint does detail a foreign policy in which Germany will not support the warming relations between Turkey and the European Union so long as Ankara continues violating human rights.
General says ‘Jewish brains’ have found solution to eliminate all Hamas tunnels
An IDF general on Sunday said the Israeli military, helped by the “Jewish brain,” had devised a solution that would see all of Hamas’s cross-border tunnels into Israel destroyed.

Speaking in Arabic to US-based satellite TV station Alhurra, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that “the Israeli genius along with the Jewish brain have come up with a solution to all of the terrorists’ tunnels.”

“Just like there’s ‘Iron Dome’ for the air, there’s a technological umbrella of steel underground,” he said. “I want to send a message to everyone who is digging or gets too close to the tunnels: As you’ve seen in the past two months, these tunnels bring only death,” he added (Hebrew/Arabic link) according to translations of the interview.

Earlier, the Israel Defense Forces announced it had destroyed a border-crossing Hamas attack tunnel, the third in recent months, that penetrated hundreds of meters into both Israeli and Egyptian territory from the Gaza Strip, in an airstrike on Saturday night.

During a visit to the area later in the day, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir vowed the IDF would continue to destroy more tunnels in the coming months, as the Defense Ministry completes the construction of a barrier around the Gaza Strip designed to prevent underground penetration into Israeli territory.
Defense minister: IDF will destroy all Hamas tunnels by end of 2018
The Israeli military has developed cutting-edge counter-tunnel technology that will enable it to destroy all Hamas terror tunnels by the end of 2018, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday.

Lieberman's remarks followed the detection and destruction over the weekend of a Hamas terror tunnel running under the Egypt, Gaza and Israel borders.

It was the third terror tunnel the IDF has destroyed in recent months. An Islamic Jihad tunnel was blown up on Oct. 30, and a Hamas tunnel was leveled on Dec. 9.

In an interview with Hadashot evening news, Lieberman lauded the technological breakthrough that enables the tunnels to be detected, but declined to elaborate on it.

"By the end of 2018, we will have eliminated all of Hamas' attack tunnels. We may even manage to do so sooner, but the task is to destroy them all by the end of the year," Lieberman said.

He slammed Hamas for compromising the Kerem Shalom crossing, under which the tunnel opening on the Israeli side of the border was found. Kerem Shalom is the only crossing through which goods enter the Gaza Strip. Some 1,500 trucks, delivering an average 15 million tons of goods, travel through it daily, making it a vital pipeline for the coastal enclave.

Hamas' decision placed the residents of Gaza in harm's way, he said.
PreOccupiedTerritory: IDF To Clear Hamas Tunnels By Piping In Avant-Garde ‘Music’ (satire)
Kerem Shalom Crossing, January 15 – Israeli security officials announced on Sunday a renewed effort to target attack tunnels of the terrorist organization Hamas in and from the Gaza Strip, to include both direct demolition operations and a new technique for blasting atonal, experimental work by modern composers into those spaces to flush out any fighters inside.

While the Israel Air Force targeted a major tunnel on Saturday night running from Rafah, through Israeli territory, and into Egypt, the acoustic operations will be conducted from afar using radio signals, lasers, and other technology that will avoid putting personnel and equipment at risk, stated Ministry of Defense spokesman Elliott Carter.

“Two or three field trials have already produced promising results,” observed Carter. “We identified a tunnel within the Gaza Strip last month that fit the physical criteria for use of this new technology, and deployed the system. Within fifteen seconds, our surveillance drones captured footage of the dozen or so people in the tunnel running out with their hands over their ears, and they appeared to be in serious distress.”

The Wide-Echo Broadcast Emission of Revolutionary Noise (WEBERN) system is slated to begin full operations next month, following the completion of the testing phase. Spokesman Carter provided several key details regarding the WEBERN system, but declined to elaborate on the technology behind it.
Liberman submits proposal to legalize West Bank outpost of slain rabbi
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman submitted a proposal to the cabinet on Sunday that would start the process of legalizing of the Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank, less than a week after one of its residents was killed in a terror attack.

If adopted by the cabinet, the proposal would authorize the defense minister to instruct relevant government bodies to examine the legal aspects of recognizing Havat Gilad as an official settlement, a statement announcing the proposal said.

The settlement on “Israeli-owned land” in the northern West Bank would operate within the municipal framework of the Samaria Regional Council, the statement added.

But one West Bank council chairman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, dismissed the announcement as “spin.”

“He’s asking the cabinet for approval to direct bodies that are already under his jurisdiction,” said the official. “Liberman doesn’t want to make the decision himself so he’s passing it on to the cabinet.”
Palestinians arrested outside West Bank settlement with gun, ammo
Police arrested three Palestinians Monday outside the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim after finding an automatic weapon and ammunition in their possession.

Officers stopped the suspects’ vehicle, which had no license plates, near the settlement on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The driver and two passengers were questioned and the vehicle was searched, whereupon police found an automatic weapon, magazines for an anti-tank Carl Gustav rifle and other ammunition.

The three suspects, from the village of Ubeidiya, were arrested and being questioned by security officials.

Last week an Israeli father of six was gunned down on a West Bank highway outside Nablus.
Liberman: Hamas conducting rocket-launching experiments
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday said the Hamas terror group had conducted rocket-launching experiments overnight, with the group preferring continued investment in war than in the well-being of the Gaza Strip’s population.

Speaking a day after the IDF announced it had destroyed another border-crossing Hamas attack tunnel, the third in recent months, Liberman said: “I hear a lot about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, about the difficult situation.

“The budget for Hamas’s military wing in 2017 was $260 million,” the minister said, noting that about $100 million was supplied by Iran. “All of this $260 million was invested in tunnels and in producing rockets. If they had invested $260 million in their water systems or their health systems they would be in a totally different place.”

Liberman said that on Sunday night Hamas “fired three rockets into the sea, and this shows that despite the humanitarian situation and despite shortages in basic supplies they continue” to focus on warfare.
Hamas' growing dilemma
Hamas suffered two major blows on Sunday. The first was the destruction of a cross-border terror tunnel that ran from the Gaza Strip under the Kerem Shalom border crossing into both Israel and Egypt. The second was the attempt on the life of Mohamed Hamdan, one of the terrorist group's top operatives in Lebanon.

The discovery of the tunnel was the harsher blow, as it neutralized a strategic asset. The tunnel could have been used to mount attacks against Israel and perhaps target Kerem Shalom itself, the only crossing point for goods into Gaza.

But it is more likely that Hamas planned to use the tunnel to smuggle weapons and terrorists into Gaza, right under Egypt's and Israel's noses.

The tunnel's detection landed Hamas in hot water with three parties: with Israel, which yet again has proof of Hamas' offensive tactics; with Egypt, which is working to promote the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and now knows Hamas is secretly digging terrorist tunnels breaching its border; and with the residents of Gaza, who depend on the Kerem Shalom crossing and have now realized that Hamas has placed this valuable pipeline at risk for its military purposes.
Israel seizes largest ever shipment of military clothes headed to Gaza
Ashdod port customs personnel discovered the largest ever consignment of military equipment destined for the Gaza Strip, the agency announced on Monday. The shipment stored thousands of items of military clothing, including boots, coats and combat vests, all in camouflage colors.

The Gazan importer of the consignment, which originated in China, was due to receive it via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

All items were confiscated and handed over to the security establishment.

"Ashdod port customs inspectors are doing their utmost to thwart the efforts of Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations to arm and equip themselves. To this end, thousands of items for military use were seized in the past year," the agency said in a statement.

Israeli authorities intercept illicit goods heading to Hamas on a regular basis at crossings from Israel into the Strip. Last January, the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said that it had foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts in 2016 through the Kerem Shalom crossing, an increase of 165% from the previous year.
Hamas blames 'Zionist enemy' for attempt on official in Lebanon
Hamas on Sunday blamed Israel for an alleged assassination attempt against Mohamed Hamdan, one of its Lebanon-based operatives, in a car bombing in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon.

Official sources in Lebanon said the bomb had been planted in Hamdan's car and exploded as he was about to get in. The car was destroyed and witnesses said Hamdan appeared to have suffered wounds to his legs. He was taken to a hospital in Sidon for treatment.

A statement from Hamas confirmed that Hamdan was a member of the group, without detailing his role, and said "initial indications" suggested Israel was behind the bombing.

"The Zionist enemy is the only one benefiting from attacking the stability of Lebanon," the statement said. "We must let the authorities in Lebanon finish their investigation and get to the criminals."

Ali Barakeh, a Hamas official in Lebanon, later said, "We think that this message carries the fingerprints of the Zionist enemy.

"The enemy wants to move the camera from inside Palestine to the outside because there is an intifada [uprising] going on in Palestine against their measures and the decision of the U.S. President [Donald] Trump. We are used to this enemy moving the battle to a different playground ... and we assure you that our battle will remain inside occupied Palestine and against the Zionist enemy.''
PreOccupiedTerritory: We Need Another War With Israel As Cover For Killing Rivals By Yahya Sinwar, Hamas Leader (satire)
It’s been more than three years since we last provoked a war that killed thousands and left tens of thousands more homeless. One can debate the merits or timing of the conflict, but one clear political advantage it provided was an excuse to bump off anyone threatening our hegemony in the Gaza Strip, then claim they were killed by Israeli fire. With the way things have been going under our watch since then, and the rumblings of dissatisfaction and dissent creating openings for other rivals assert themselves at the expense of our prestige and authority, it may be time to launch another ill-advised round of bloodshed and destruction to help conceal our skulduggery.

Lest you think this cleansing, if you will, involves only those who pose an organizational or institutional threat, let me disabuse you of that misconception: it represents an operative feature at every level of Palestinian society, and this constitutes one of the finest manifestations of our democratic nature. Rockets flying back and forth afford even the lowest on the totem pole the opportunity to get others out of the way, be it in terms of career, finances, or family honor. The organs of law enforcement, such as they are, will hardly bat an eye at violent deaths of suspected homosexuals at the hand of family members under non-war circumstances; in the midst of war they will scarcely register, except as fodder for NGOs and the international media to look and the body count and demonize Israel for “collective punishment” and “disproportionate response” to our rockets.
Erdogan: We will 'strangle' U.S.-backed force in Syria 'before it's even born'
Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Monday to "strangle" a planned 30,000-strong US-backed force in Syria "before it's even born," as Washington's backing for Kurdish fighters drove a wedge into relations with one of its main Middle East allies.

The United States announced its support on Sunday for plans for a "border force" to defend territory held by US-backed, Kurdish-led fighters in northern Syria.

The Syrian government of President Bashar Assad responded on Monday by vowing to crush the new force and drive US troops from the country. Assad's ally Russia called the plans a plot to dismember Syria and place part of it under US control.

But the strongest denunciation came from Erdogan, who has presided as relations between the United States and its biggest Muslim ally within NATO have stretched to the breaking point.

"A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders," Erdogan said of the United States in a speech in Ankara. "What can that terror army target but Turkey?"

"Our mission is to strangle it before it's even born."
5 arrested following firebomb attack on Tunisian synagogue
Five men were arrested in connection with a firebomb attack on a historic synagogue in Tunisia.

Four of the men, ages 19 and 20, were arrested on Friday and a fifth, age 21, believed to be the main culprit in the Jan. 9 attack, was arrested on Saturday, the Kapitalis news website reported. None of the men, residents of the island’s main city of Houmet Essouk. had a criminal record and were not known to security services, according to the report.

The firebomb thrown at the El Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba caused minor damage and no injuries. The incident occurred amid protests over economic conditions taking place in several Tunisian cities, though not in Djerba itself, Reuters reported.

The Tunisian Interior Ministry said the suspects’ attack was not religiously motivated, but rather an attempt to “create chaos” amid the anti-government protests throughout the country, Ynet reported.

Four Jewish families live in the area. Most of the Djerba Jewish community, which numbers in the hundreds and is the largest in the Arab world, lives two miles north of there in a neighborhood that is under heavy protection and whose entrances are guarded around the clock by the country’s internal security services.

Tunisian police increased their security around the Djerba Jewish institutions.

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