Sunday, February 18, 2018

From Ian:

Waving piece of downed drone, PM threatens direct military action against Iran
Brandishing a fragment of an Iranian drone downed over northern Israel a week ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned that Israel could strike the Islamic Republic directly and cautioned Tehran not to “test Israel’s resolve.”

“Mr. Zarif, do you recognize this? You should, it’s yours. You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran — do not test Israel’s resolve!” proclaimed Netanyahu at the Munich Security Conference, which was also attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The Iranian drone, which entered northern Israel from Syria near the Jordan border last Saturday, was shot down by an Israeli attack helicopter. In response to the drone incursion, Israeli jets attacked the mobile command center from which it was operated, the army said last week.

During the reprisal raid, one of the eight Israeli F-16 fighter jets that took part in the operation was apparently hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed. The Israeli Air Force then conducted a second round of airstrikes, destroying between a third and half of Syria’s air defenses, according to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.

The flareup on the northern border marked the first direct confrontation between the Israeli air force and the Iranian regime on Israeli territory. Israel has warned of growing Iranian entrenchment in neighboring Syria and has said it will not abide an Iranian military presence on its borders.

“Through its proxies — Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza — Iran is devouring huge swaths of the Middle East,” said Netanyahu.

“Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” he added. “We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves. And we will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”

US Calls for Action to Halt Iran’s Growing ‘Network of Proxies’
US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called on Saturday for more forceful action to halt Iran’s development of what he said was an increasingly powerful network of proxy armies in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

McMaster accused Iran of escalating a campaign to increase its influence in the Middle East by building and arming “Hezbollah-style” proxy armies in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere as it has done in Lebanon.

The goal was to weaken Arab governments and turn the proxy forces against those states if they pursued policies that ran counter to Tehran’s interests, he said.

“So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran,” he told the Munich Security Conference, calling on US allies to halt trade that was helping underwrite the expansion of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful military and economic force in the Islamic Republic.

The United States deems Lebanon’s Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

“What’s particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable,” he said.

Iran has denied accusations that it meddles in the affairs of its Middle East neighbours and has dismissed suggestions it stop supporting groups such as Hezbollah.
Iranian foreign minister: Israel's 'myth of invincibility' has crumbled
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday the shooting down of an Israeli jet after bombing an Iranian site in Syria had shattered Israel's "so-called invincibility", reacting to a critical speech delivered earlier by Israel's premier.

"Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbours," Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, accusing Israel of "mass reprisals against its neighbours and daily incursions into Syria, Lebanon."

"Once the Syrians have the guts to down one of its planes it's as if a disaster has happened," Zarif said.

He was responding to Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the conference hours before, in which the Israeli prime minister, holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone, accused Iran of trying to impose an "empire" across the Middle East.

Zarif described Netanyahu's address to the conference as a "cartoonish circus."

"The entire speech was trying to evade the issue... What has happened in the past several days is the so-called invincibility [of Israel] has crumbled," he said of the February 10 downing of an Israeli jet.

4 IDF soldiers wounded after explosive device detonated near Gaza border
In what may be the most serious incident on the Gaza front since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, four soldiers were wounded when a bomb was detonated against their military jeep as they patrolled the border fence on Saturday afternoon.

Two soldiers were in serious condition, one was moderately wounded and one was lightly wounded, the army said. They were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba.

“This was a severe terrorist attack that has the potential to destabilize the region,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said. A situational assessment had been carried out by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, OC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin and other officers, Manelis said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Munich for a security conference, said, “The incident on the Gaza border was a very serious one. We will respond in kind. I am sending to the wounded my wishes for a speedy recovery.”

The attack took place around 4 p.m., east of Khan Yunis and the southern Gaza Strip, when the patrol from the Golani Brigade arrived to investigate a suspicious flag that was spotted on the Palestinian side of the fence, following protests that broke out along the border on Friday.

While the flag, to which the improvised explosive device was attached, was spotted on the Gaza side of the fence, the troops were on the Israeli side when it detonated.

IDF strikes 18 terror targets in Gaza amid heaviest fighting in years
IDF forces struck 18 Hamas targets Saturday night, the IDF spokesperson's office reported. Among these targets were two Hamas outposts and weapons manufacturing facilities.

The attack was carried out by the Israeli Air Force as well as other army units, and the figure includes the targets struck earlier in the day.

Air sirens were heard in Israeli cities and towns nearby, but no rockets were fired on Israel during the night.

The IDF holds Hamas responsible for all that happens in the Gaza Strip and is determined to ensure the security of the people of Israel by any means necessary, the IDF spokesperson's unit stated.

Israeli radio station Reshet Bet reported that a Palestinian source claimed that Hamas leaders informed Egypt that they were interested in escalating the current conflict with Israel but that they were not responsible for the attack on IDF soldiers on Saturday.
Rocket fired from Gaza hits house in southern Israel
Rocket warning sirens blared on the Gaza Strip border on Saturday night amid escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the coastal Strip, as one rocket hit a house in the community of Sha’ar Hanegev.

There were no immediate reports of casualties and the army could only confirm that a rocket had been fired into Israel.

The rocket caused significant damage and several residents of the community were treated for anxiety, the Ynet news site.

Video footage of the land site showed damage to the roof of the building.

The sirens sounded in the communities of Sufa and Holit near southern Gaza. Several minutes later warnings went near the Erez crossing and Sha’ar Hanegev in the north. The IDF said it was investigating.
Fresh rocket sirens ring throughout Gaza border communities amid rising tensions
Warnings sirens wailed throughout numerous Gaza border communities Saturday night amid escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the coastal Strip.

In the fourth warning signal of the night, residents of the southern cities of Ashkelon and Sderot were sent running to bomb shelters shortly after 3 a.m. Moments earlier, similar signals were heard in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon regions.

The IDF said it was investigating whether missiles has been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel and if any had caused damage or injuries, or if they were false signals.

Earlier in the night one rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in the community of Sha’ar Hanegev, causing significant damage but no injuries.

The warnings came on a day of escalating violence.
Palestinian groups praise attack on IDF patrol, warn Israel not to retaliate
Palestinian groups in Gaza on Saturday hailed as “heroic” the bombing of an IDF patrol along the border fence that wounded four soldiers, and said they would not remain idle in the face of Israeli “aggression.”

The Hamas terror group that rules Gaza said would react “in the face of Israeli encroachment on the land and holy sites,” but did not claim the attack.

The incident occurred in the southern Gaza area near the city of Khan Younis, the IDF said. The soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka hospital in Beersheba for treatment, where three of them were rushed into surgery. None of them was in life-threatening condition, the hospital said later Saturday.

An IDF spokesperson called the attack “a serious incident that aimed at destabilizing the region.”
Palestinian refugees: Trump reignites lingering debate
The creation of UNRWA 70 years ago corresponded to a real humanitarian need. However, inbuilt in the fulfillment of that need were two political considerations, the so-called “right of return” and the fact that Palestinian refugee status would be handed down from generation to generation. Both these notions were predicated on what was at the time the core of Arab policy as regards Palestine, namely the obliteration of the State of Israel.

Not only did this not happen but with the recognition of Israel by Jordan and Egypt and the de facto rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, what started off as a political expedient is today a major handicap, and the Palestinian refugee issue is one that both the Arab states and Israel could well do without.

While addressing it is a major political issue that continues to bedevil the Middle East, UNRWA, which started off as a solution, is now part of the problem. And, perversely, while it continues to discharge its assistance mandate, doing so has created among many of its wards as well as among several Arab governments a dependency, not to say a premium for inaction, of which Gaza is a prime example.

With half the population density of Singapore, and given its geographical location, Gaza over the years could have become a major manufacturing hub for European markets. However, not only was the political incentive for such a development absent but the economic incentive was also lacking because of UNRWA’s ongoing assistance. The same, to a large extent, applies to Lebanon, where the authorities are content to see the Palestinians kept in shantytowns decade after decade rather than envisaging more sophisticated solutions.
Why ANM Is Supporting ‘Whose Land’ Documentary
From inception, it has always been the intention for AltNewsMedia to provide an alternative to the legacy and fake news media. It will never shy away from subjects that polarize opinion ‘just to play it safe’, and there can be few subjects that polarize opinion as much as the State of Israel and Palestine. We do not align politically with anyone, some of our contributors are left of centre, others are right of centre, and the rest are somewhere in the middle! The different backgrounds provide balance and a broad range of opinions, some which cause internal debate and disagreement. That’s good. That’s healthy. That is exactly what a free and open society is all about.

With this in mind, we do not support any political parties or have ‘official’ standpoints on anything. Our priority and value that we hold above any other is that we try to always align ourselves with truth and with fact. So when we heard about a documentary detailing the history since the Balfour Declaration in 1917 of the land then known as Palestine, we approached it with caution. Typically any such film is propaganda for one side or the other. Attending a screening of ‘part one – foundations’ – what we found was a clinical factual account of the claims of both the Palestinians and the Israelis to the land through the lens of verifiable history and international law. What particularly stands out is that the documentary is made by neither Jews nor Palestinians, and as such does not seek to push an agenda. There were some uncomfortable truths in there, particularly for the British and the treatment of Jews both during and after World War 2. Most importantly however, it does clarify the legality, under international law, of claims for the land.

The documentary (part one) ends after the second world war, and there is now a drive to fund the making of part 2, which will bring the history right up to date, including President Trump’s move to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As an organisation that was set up to counter propaganda and fake news, we at ANM feel it is vitally important that this film is completed, and can be shown at schools and universities in order to inform the public with facts rather than rhetoric. Part one has already been sent to politicians and government. We will be interviewing the director Hugh Kitson and the highly respected Colonel Richard Kemp who presents the documentary in the near future to find out more about the background to the film. In the meantime, you can read more about this ground breaking documentary at
Netanyahu calls Polish PM’s claim of Jewish Holocaust perpetrators ‘outrageous’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned as “outrageous” his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki’s remark Saturday that Jewish perpetrators were also responsible for the Holocaust.

“The Polish prime minister’s remarks here in Munich are outrageous,” said Netanyahu, who is also in Germany for a security conference.

“There is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people. I intend to speak with him forthwith,” Netanyahu said in a statement from Munich.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference earlier, Morawiecki was rejecting criticism of a new law that criminalizes mentions of Polish state complicity in the Holocaust, when he was asked by an Israeli journalist if sharing his family’s history of persecution in Poland would be outlawed under the new legislation.

“Of course it’s not going to be punishable, [it’s] not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian; not only German perpetrators,” Morawiecki told Yedioth Ahronoth’s Ronen Bergman.

Morawiecki’s was harshly criticized by opposition lawmakers.

“Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talks like the last of the Holocaust deniers. The blood of millions of Jews cries out from the ground in Poland over the distortion of history and escape from blame,” tweeted party leader Avi Gabbay.

“Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder. The Israeli government must be here for the millions murdered and strongly condemn the Polish prime minister’s words,” he said.
Polish Jews stunned, scared by eruption of anti-Semitism
Matylda Jonas-Kowalik has spent most of her 22 years secure in the belief that she would never know the discrimination, persecution or violence that killed or traumatized generations of Polish Jews before her. She once thought the biggest problem that young Jewish Poles like herself faced was finding a Jewish boyfriend or girlfriend in a country dominated by Catholics.

But an eruption of anti-Semitic comments in public debates amid a diplomatic dispute with Israel over a new Holocaust speech law has prompted her to rethink that certainty. Now she and others fear the hostile rhetoric could eventually trigger anti-Semitic violence, and she finds herself thinking constantly about whether she should leave Poland.

"This is my home. I have never lived anywhere else and wanted this to keep being my home," said Jonas-Kowalik, a Jewish studies major at Warsaw University. "But this makes me very anxious. I don't know what to expect."

Poland's Jewish community is the surviving remnant of a vibrant and diverse Polish and Yiddish speaking community that numbered 3.3 million on the eve of the Holocaust. Only 10% survived the German genocide, while postwar violence and persecution in the first decades of communist rule forced out many of the survivors.

Since communism's collapse in 1989, Jewish life has been re-emerging, with young people feeling safe enough in Poland's democracy to embrace a heritage their parents and grandparents had largely repressed.

Yet anxieties have been creeping in amid a global rise in xenophobia that was also felt in Poland.
Swastikas and anti-Polish graffiti found on Polish embassy in Tel Aviv
Police units responded to an incident in Tel Aviv Sunday in which vandalists drew anti-Polish slogans onto the entrance of the Polish embassy, according to the police foreign press spokesperson.

The graffiti included swastikas and anti-Polish slogans like "Polish same sh*t", "Polish sh*t" and "Polish sh*t murderer go f**k yourselves."

An investigation into the matter has been opened and police are searching for the suspects involved.

This incident comes a day after controversial comments by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who stated that there were Jewish perpetrators of the Holocaust just as there were Polish ones.
Polish author who partly blamed Jews for Holocaust deaths cancels talks in UK following calls for Home Office to block entry
A far-right hate speaker from Poland has cancelled a planned UK visit following a public outcry and pleas to the Home Office to get his entry blocked.

Rafał Ziemkiewicz, an author and journalist in his native Poland was due to give talks at events in Bristol, Cambridge and Slough, according to The Guardian but following concerns from MPs and campaigners about hate speech, the appearances have reportedly been cancelled.

Recently, Mr Ziemkiewicz expressed revolting views on Polish television following the Polish government’s controversial Holocaust bill. Whilst appearing as a guest on Polish channel TVP, the host and Mr Ziemkiewicz mocked critics of the Polish government’s Holocaust bill, joking that death camps should be referred to as “Jewish death camps” and Jews had a part to play in their own slaughter during the Holocaust. The TVP host later apologised for his comments, however Mr Ziemkiewicz said he didn’t regret using the term “Jewish death camps.”
Loophole-laden bill to cut PA funds over terrorist salaries approved
A Defense Ministry proposal to combat the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying terrorists and their families that was criticized by MKs for being too weak was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

The proposed legislation would have the security cabinet decide each month whether to dock the amount the PA paid terrorists from tax and tariffs that Israel collects for the Authority. Cutting funds is the default option, but the bill would also give the security cabinet the options of freezing funds and paying later, or not deducting any funds “for special reasons of national security and international relations.” The amount deducted will go into a fund for families of victims of terrorism.

After the vote, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said: “The bill to deduct terrorists’ salaries that I initiated was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. Soon, this theater of the absurd will come to an end and the terrorists’ salaries that we will take from Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] will be used to prevent terrorism and to compensate the victims.”

The PA paid terrorists and their families over $347 million in 2017. Terrorists who have been sentenced to three-to-five years in Israeli prisons receive the average income of a Palestinian, about $580 per month. The families of those who committed more severe crimes and were involved in killing Israelis receive five times the average per month for the rest of their lives.

PLO Prisoners’ Commission Chairman Essa Qaraqaa said the committee’s approval of the bill “comes in the context of a campaign and hostility that the occupation government is carrying out at the expense of the prisoners and martyrs’ and wounded people’s families.”
Eight UK Parliamentarians “Shocked by the Sophistication” of Hamas Terror Tunnels
Eight British parliamentarians, that are touring Israel as part of a trip organized by Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), said they were “shocked by the sophistication” of tunnels dug by terrorists in the Gaza Strip extending into Israeli territory, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

The officials saw firsthand the network of underground routes near Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha. During their visit, delegates received a strategic briefing from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) inside the tunnel, which leads into an agricultural field in an Israeli kibbutz. In the last three months, the IDF has found and destroyed three tunnels from Gaza, constructed by Hamas terrorists in order to carry out terror incursions into Israel.

“We were shocked by the sophisticated tunnel we saw leading into Israel,” said CFI chair Stephen Crabb. “The fact that Hamas terrorists were just metres from an Israeli community is deeply worrying, and exemplifies the threats Israel faces on a daily basis,” he added.

“We in the UK can learn a great deal from Israel in the fight against terrorism, and we must do more to prevent international aid from being misappropriated in Gaza for these despicable activities.”
Israel thwarts Islamic Jihad plot to assassinate defense minister
A recent plot by Palestinian terrorists to assassinate Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was thwarted in a joint Shin Bet security agency, IDF and police operation, it was cleared for publication Sunday after a court-issued gag order was lifted.

According to the security agency, an Islamic Jihad terrorist cell had planned to place a bomb on a road which the defense minister's convoy was expected to travel.

A separate Islamic Jihad cell, the Shin Bet said, had also been recruited and operated near Bethlehem in Judea and Samaria, with the goal of perpetrating shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers in the Gush Etzion area.

Six suspects in total were arrested, two of whom had previously spent time in Israeli prison or in administrative custody for terror-related activity.

Investigators learned that members of the cell seeking to assassinate the defense minister had sought to purchase explosive materials and had even turned to terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip for funding.
Iranian wrestler banned after losing to avoid Israeli
The world wrestling governing body has banned Iranian Alireza Karimi for six months after finding him guilty of losing a fight so he wouldn’t have to face an Israeli opponent.

An investigation found him guilty of deliberately losing last November’s quarter-final at the U23 wrestling world championships in Poland, allowing Russian Alikhan Zhabrayilov to beat him, rather than face Israeli Uri Kalashnikov.

Karimi’s coach, Hamidreza Jamshidi, was banned for two years for instructing his wrestler to lose.

A statement read: “The chamber found that Karimachiani, on instruction of his coach Jamshidi, willfully lost his quarter finals match against Alikhan Zhabrayilov. Both wrestler and coach were found to have acted in direct violation of the International Wrestling Rules and the UWW Disciplinary Regulations.”
Iran to protest ban of wrestler who boycotted Israeli
Iran’s wrestling federation announced on Saturday it will protest a decision to ban one of its wrestlers and the national coach for deliberately throwing a match to avoid fighting an Israeli opponent, AFP reports.

Wrestler Alireza Karimi Mashiani intentionally lost a match against his Russian opponent in the under-23 world championships in Poland in November to avoid fighting Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov in the next round.

Karimi Mashiani received the backing of his government and the Iranian wrestling federation. The government hailed his actions as “noble and heroic.”

On Friday, the United World Wrestling Disciplinary Chamber banned Karimi Mashiani from competition for six months, and his coach Hamidreza Jamshidi for two years, according to AFP.

“The federation will protest the verdict,” Iran Wrestling Federation president Rasoul Khadem said on state television later the same day.
U.S. Overtures to Hezbollah Suggest Internal Trump Admin Battle
A top Trump administration official this week said the United States see a role for the Iranian-backed terror organization Hezbollah in political discussions about the future of Lebanon, a decision that is raising concerns about internal divisions inside the Trump administration, according to recent statements and sources close to the administration who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in remarks during a trip through the Middle East this week, said the United States recognizes Hezbollah is part of the political process in Lebanon as global leaders gather to discuss the Middle Eastern country's future.

Despite the terrorist group's unhelpful influence, Tillerson said "we also have to acknowledge the reality that they also are part of the political process in Lebanon."

Tillerson's remarks raised eyebrows in Washington, D.C., where some foreign policy officials questioned how the United States would hold diplomatic discussions with Hezbollah as the Trump administration also works to dismantle the group and crush its financial networks.

The comments starkly contradict efforts by the U.S. Treasury Department, which declared earlier this month that Hezbollah has no legitimate role to play in governance of Lebanon or other Arab countries Iran is seeking to destabilize.

Some officials remain concerned that treating Hezbollah as a legitimate actor in Lebanon—where it has amassed thousands of Iranian-built missiles on Israel's northern border—will provide legitimacy to the terror group and make it even more difficult for the Trump administration to target it with sanctions.

Speaking in Jordan on Wednesday, ahead of his travel to Beirut, Tillerson told reporters that Hezbollah must be part of any political process discussing Lebanon's future following the resignation of the country's prime minister, who disclosed upon his resignation that Hezbollah has assumed de facto control of the nation.

"We support a free, democratic Lebanon free of influence of others, and we know that Lebanese Hezbollah is influenced by Iran," Tillerson said. "This is influence that we think is unhelpful in Lebanon's long-term future."
Following Criticism, Tillerson Walks Back Comments Seeming to Approve of Hezbollah’s Role
Following Thursdays remarks, unnamed officials told The Wall Street Journal that Tillerson’s comment about Hezbollah being part of the “political process” in Lebanon was not meant as approval of Hezbollah, but rather as “realistic assessment” of the political situation in Lebanon. However critics of Tillerson’s earlier remarks maintained that, however they were intended, they enhanced Hezbollah’s standing.

“No. Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese political process in the same way that the IRGC is part of the Iranian political process. Through fear, intimidation and violence. We need to counter it not recognize it,” Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on Iran’s influence across the Middle East, wrote.

Following Tillerson’s remarks on Thursday, Dubowitz credited him, writing “Good that Sec. Tillerson corrected his earlier comments.”
Hezbollah used mentally ill Lebanese man to probe Israeli border and electric fences
On Tuesday February 13 the Israeli army repatriated a mentally unstable Lebanese man after he infiltrated Israel by crossing the border fence over the weekend.

According to multiple Israeli media reports, the Lebanese national was detained after allegedly being coerced by members of the Hezbollah terror group, who threatened to have him committed if he didn’t do what they demanded.

This shameful incident was reported in multiple Israeli English-language media outlets. But as best I can tell, the MSM never reported on it. That’s too bad, because what happened reveals a lot about Israel, the practices of its armed forces, and the behavior of the enemies arrayed against it.

Below I summarize the incident and offer three takeaways.
Lebanese civilian threatened by Hezbollah crosses into Israel and is released unharmed within 48 hours

Last Sunday, an IDF patrol captured an intellectually impaired man who had crossed the security fence from Lebanon into Israeli territory. According to media reports, the man was under constant surveillance before he entered the country and was detained immediately after crossing the border.

During questioning, the man—Ali Mari—told security officials that he had been “pressured by Hezbollah” to undertake the crossing.
Turkish army hit village in Syria's Afrin with suspected gas: Kurdish YPG, Observatory
Syrian Kurdish forces and a monitoring group said the Turkish military carried out a suspected gas attack that wounded six people in Syria’s Afrin region on Friday.

There was no immediate comment from the Turkish military, which has previously denied accusations of hitting civilians in its Afrin operation.

Birusk Hasaka, a spokesman for the Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin, told Reuters that Turkish bombardment hit a village in the northwest of the region, near the Turkish border. He said it caused six people to suffer breathing problems and other symptoms indicative of a gas attack.

Turkey launched an air and ground offensive last month on the Afrin region, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war to target Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that Turkish forces and their Syrian insurgent allies hit the village on Friday with shells. The Britain-based war monitoring group said medical sources in Afrin reported that six people in the attack suffered breathing difficulties and dilated pupils, indicating a suspected gas attack.
Turkish students on Temple Mount declare 'Jerusalem is Islamic'
A provocative delegation of Turkish university students arrived at the Temple Mount last week and unfurled a sign declaring that "Jerusalem is Islamic," Israel Hayom discovered.

The dozens of students, who came to Israel as part of a trip organized by Istanbul University's Anatolian Youth Association branch, are seen afterward in a picture posted to social media wearing T-shirts that spell out "Jerusalem is the capital of Islam" after they had removed their jackets.

"We are with our Palestinian brothers," the leader of the Turkish student delegation said on social media. "Jerusalem, the center of the world and humanity, belongs to the Muslims, as it has since the first man on a daily basis. Zionist Israel must be defeated in these lands by the unity and solidarity of the [Muslim] nation."

He explained that "the entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque being under the supervision of Israeli soldiers is an unacceptable situation for Muslims. Jerusalem means Islam and Muslims. We will not leave Jerusalem unattended."
Jewish groups slam hosting of BDS founder at European Parliament
The Jewish communities of Lisbon and Belgium protested a Portuguese lawmaker’s invitation to a founder of the boycott movement against Israel to speak at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Yohan Benizri, president of the CCOJB umbrella group of French-speaking Jewish communities in Belgium, and Gabriel Steinhardt, president of the Jewish Community of Lisbon, wrote of their disapproval of the invitation of Omar Barghouti to speak later this month in a letter they penned Wednesday to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

Barghouti’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement addresses “not only the disputed territories but opposes the very existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state in its entirety and in any kind of borders,” the communal leaders wrote.

By offering a podium to Barghouti, “the house directly undermines its own policy stance on anti-Semitism,” they added, citing how some BDS activists “consistently engage in practices which are considered anti-Semitic according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition on anti-Semitism.”
Richard Silverstein to Parents of Girl Murdered by Terrorist: “Deal With It”
The Roths took her to task, pointing out her hypocrisy

On August 9, 2001, Ahlam Tamimi (cousin of Ahed “Shirley Temper” Tamimi) led suicide bomber Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri to the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem. Al-Masri detonated his bomb, murdering 13 Israelis, and injuring another 130.

One of those murdered was 15-year-old Malki Roth. Her parents Arnold and Frimet have been fighting to bring Tamimi, living freely in Jordan, brought to justice ever since.

So when comedienne Sarah Silverman tweeted this yesterday

The Roths took her to task, pointing out her hypocrisy

Enter anti-Israel DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein, who saw it fit to respond to the still-grieving Roths like this

Imagine hating Israel so much that the photo of a murdered 15-year-old girl elicits this type of callous response. This is the world that Richard Silverstein and other Israel haters inhabit.
CAMERA Tells The Washington Jewish Week: The Tamimis Support Terror
Your report “Imprisoned Palestinian girl draws student protest in D.C.” (February 2) omitted key information about Ahed Tamimi who was arrested after being filmed attacking Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Ahed has not, as your article claims, “confronted Israeli soldiers.” Rather, Ahed—who is by both Palestinian Authority and Israeli law an adult—has been the witting propaganda tool of her family, who for years have encouraged their children to attack soldiers for film and staged photographs as part of the “Pallywood” industry.

That family includes her father, Bassem Tamimi who has expressed his support for a “one-state solution” and, in an act condemned by the Anti-Defamation League, promoted claims that Jews “detain Palestinian children to steal their organs”—echoing the age-old antisemitic blood libel. As the Israeli writer Petra Marquardt-Bigman noted in a Jan. 5, 2018 Ha'aretz Op-Ed, Ahed's mother has expressed her “awe/reverence” for the Palestinian terrorist for the teenage Palestinian terrorist who murdered the 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her sleep. Another relative, Ahlam Tamimi, planned the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem, which murdered 15 people and injured 130.

It's unsurprising than, that shortly after her arrest, Ahed herself praised stabbings and “martyrdom-seeking operations” in her “Message to the World” that her proudly posted on Facebook after her arrest. The Tamimis message is clear: They seek Israel's destruction and are more than happy to promote anti-Jewish violence, antisemitism and child abuse, to achieve it. Groups like IfNotNow and others who support the Tamimis are not only encouraging Palestinian families to endanger their children for propaganda purposes, they are also incentivizing the vile, rejectionist agenda that the family espouses.

Absent this essential background, reports on the Tamimis are more of an advertorial.
Israel Boycotters Face ‘Massive Setback’ at NDP Convention, But Concerns Persist
Canada’s third-largest political party will not be voting on a resolution that has been criticized for sanctioning economic warfare against Israel at its national convention in Ottawa this weekend.

Members of the New Democratic Party (NDP) voted against re-prioritizing the “Palestine Resolution” on Friday morning, meaning it is “extremely unlikely to be voted on by the general membership,” the Jewish civil rights group B’nai Brith Canada said.

The resolution includes a number of demands targeting Israel — including an end to the “occupation and settlement program,” as well as the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip — but makes no mention of any Israeli concerns that spurred these policies, such as the sustained threat of Palestinian terrorism.

The measure endorses “banning settlement products from Canadian markets, and using other forms of diplomatic and economic pressure to end the occupation.”

It also urges the NDP to oppose “parliamentary efforts to undermine non-violent movements seeking a just resolution,” an apparent reference to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, whose leaders have publicly advocated against the Jewish state’s continued existence.

Critics have pointed out that the resolution aims to remove language supportive of the two-state solution from NDP’s policy platform, and instead calls for an agreement grounded in UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which supports the “right of return” of first-generation Palestinian refugees and their approximately five million descendants to Israel.

B’nai Brith Canada launched a mobilization effort aimed at NDP leadership and riding associations prior to the vote, which it said prompted at least 5,000 people to contact the party since Wednesday.
Supporter of homophobic, anti-Semitic U.S. religious leader to speak at NDP convention
An American political activist who publicly supports a U.S. religious leader known for his homophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric is among the keynote speakers at the New Democrats' biennial convention this weekend in Ottawa.

Tamika Mallory, one of the organizers of last year's Women's March on Washington that took place immediately after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, will address NDP delegates late Friday afternoon.

Ms. Mallory, a campaigner for social justice, health care and gun-control legislation, is also a vocal supporter of Louis Farrakhan, who blames Jews for the slave trade and black oppression. He also perpetuates a conspiracy theory that says a small handful of Jewish people control the United States, and has lamented Christian "blindness to that wicked state of Israel."

Mr. Farrakhan has also taken U.S. politicians to task for supporting gay marriage, which he says "is a sin according to the standard of God."

Ms. Mallory used her Twitter account on May 11 of last year to wish Mr. Farrakhan a happy birthday saying, "Thank God this man is still alive and doing well. He is definitely the GOAT [Greatest Of All Time]." She has also repeatedly endorsed him over the past two years on the social-media site Instagram. Efforts by The Globe and Mail to contact Ms. Mallory were unsuccessful.

The presence of Ms. Mallory at the convention is a concern for some Jewish groups, who also take issue with the fact that 14 of the 45 resolutions on international affairs that have been submitted by NDP riding associations are either pro-Palestinian or critical of Israel.
The Song Remains The Same: NYT Backs Off the Palestinian Authority
Earlier this week, in a moment of candor, the New York Times acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority does, in fact, have agency in shaping the situation in the Israel and the territories.

A Feb. 12 article about the "unraveling" of the Gaza Strip explained that the PA, the West Bank-based government headed by Mahmoud Abbas, and Fatah, its conjoined political party, are most directly responsible for the financial crisis that has set back Gaza and its residents in recent weeks.

According to reporter David Halbfinger,

Across Gaza, the densely populated enclave of two million Palestinians sandwiched between Israel and Egypt, daily life, long a struggle, is unraveling before people's eyes.

At the heart of the crisis — and its most immediate cause — is a crushing financial squeeze, the result of a tense standoff between Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, and Fatah, the secular party entrenched on the West Bank. Fatah controls the Palestinian Authority but was driven out of Gaza by Hamas in 2007.

That the strained relationship between Hamas and its Fatah rivals plays a key role in Gaza's troubles is beyond dispute. But as the week progressed, the New York Times seems to have forgotten its assessment about the central cause of Gaza's decline. An article in today's print edition again mentions Gaza's troubles — its "unraveling," reporters again said, borrowing from Monday's story — but altogether replaced Fatah with another culprit.

In laying out the map of the Middle East, David Halbfinger and his colleague Isabel Kershner cited "the beleaguered Gaza Strip unraveling under Israel's own pressure and Hamas's control."
This Jewish Brexiteer Lays Bare The Scale Of Anti-Semitism In Europe
Maajid Nawaz was discussing the controversy over George Soros' £500,000 donation to try to block Brexit, with many people calling the coverage of the story as anti-Semitic.

Responding to a conspiracy theory that a group of Jewish financiers are running the world, Maureen called in to state how ridiculous that is.

She said: "In the UK, we have 70million people. In the whole world, there are 14million Jews. The population of Israel is 7million.

"To think that the Jews have a lobby is absolutely ludicrous."

Maureen insisted she isn't defending Soros because she agrees with his cause. Indeed, she actually voted for Brexit.

She continued: "I voted for Brexit because I was worried about what was happening with anti-Semitism in Europe and I wanted to be out.

"France is absolutely terrible. In the last few years, there have been lots of attacks on Jewish people and the Jews have been leaving France in droves. A lot have come here, a lot have gone to Israel.

"Last month in Poland, 60,000 marched the streets shouting 'Jews Out'. Leaflets appeared on hotels, saying No Jews Allowed."

Maajid believes the increase in anti-Semitism is down to what he calls the "triple threat" - the far left, the far right and the Islamists.
Report: Florida shooter said he hates Jews, claims they want to destroy world
Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz had frequently made hate-filled comments that were anti-Semitic, homophobic, and racist in a social media chat group and even called for other races to be killed, CNN reported Saturday.

Cruz, who confessed to killing 17 students and staff on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was a member of a private Instagram group steeped in racist content, according to the report. Cruz reportedly wrote that he hates “jews, ni**ers, immigrants,” and that Jews want to destroy the world.

In one anti-Semitic tirade, Cruz referenced his biological mother, saying: “My real mom was a Jew. I am glad I never met her,” CNN said.

He also said he wanted to kill black people and Mexicans and that gay people should be shot “in the back of the head,” according to the report.
YouTube star David Vujanic, fêted by Jeremy Corbyn for opposing racism, apologises for years of antisemitic tweets
We also found evidence that Mr Vujanic subscribed to the stereotype of Jews as wealthy and miserly. In 2011 he tweeted: “#YouKnowSomeonesRich if they’re Jewish”. In 2012 he wrote: “My Jewish boy that has 15k in the bank asked for his 10p back that he borrowed me”. The same year he also wrote: “How can my friend @smythe92 PAINT his [tyre] rims black instead of getting new ones…..pains me to say he’s Jewish too.”

However some of Mr Vujanic’s comments are more recent. In 2014 he wrote: “As long as the USA is funded by the Zionist lobby. Violence outbreaks will remain. It’s all about the £££”.

Having been caught, Mr Vujanic has now apologised and deleted the tweets, writing: “Hi everyone, some of my old tweets have been unearthed and they’re absolutely vile. I want to apologise sincerely. My younger self was completely ignorant, unaware and stupid. These tweets do not represent my beliefs and views. Discrimination is NEVER acceptable. Love, David”

A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn said: “David Vujanic’s old tweets were absolutely vile and he is right to apologise for them and recognise that hate and discrimination have no place in our society.”

Mr Vujanic’s apology notwithstanding, questions remain over how Mr Corbyn’s team could possibly have set up an interview in which he fêted someone who had expressed clear antisemitic views as a leading light against racism. It is not the first time.
Hollywood taking on story of smuggled French Jews
Actors Anjelica Huston and Noah Schnapp have both signed on to star in a Holocaust-era film about smuggling Jewish children from France into Spain.

Waiting for Anya, adapted from a 1990 children's book, is being produced by Goldfinch Studios and is slated to begin filming later this year, according to

The book, by Michael Morpurgo, tells the story of Jo, a young shepherd boy, who accidentally begins helping smuggle Jews over the
border in Lescun in southern France. Jo is aided by Benjamin, a Jewish man in hiding, and Benjamin's mother-in-law, who will be played by Huston. Benjamin has been separated from his daughter, Anya, and is desperately waiting for any word of her.

Schnapp, 13, is best known for for his role in the Netflix series Stranger Things. German actor Thomas Kretschmann will reportedly play Benjamin in the upcoming film. Kretschmann has previously played Adolf Eichmann as well as a variety of other Nazi officers in films including The Pianist, Downfall and Valkyrie.
Intel planning $4 billion-$5 billion Israel investment, source says
The investment target is probably an upgrade of the Intel Kiryat Gat fab to 7-nanometer technology.

Intel is expected to announce investment amounting to $4-5 billion in expanding production is Israel. "The general direction is significant investment by Intel in the Israeli economy, and there's an outline plan for it," a senior government source told "Globes" at the weekend, referring to remarks made on Thursday by Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon at the Ecosystem Haifa conference, to the effect that Intel was about to invest billions of shekels in Israel.

According to the government source, "Senior Intel Israel managers met the finance minister on Wednesday and talked to him about the matter, and they are due to meet Minister of Economy and industry Eli Cohen this week."

The investment in question is probably an upgrade of the fab at Kiryat Gat to the next, 7-nanometer generation. The current $6 billion upgrade of the fab is to 10-nanometer technology. Intel upgrades its fabs every 3-5 years.

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