Monday, March 26, 2018

From Ian:

Two arrested over brutal killing of 85-year-old French Jewish Holocaust survivor
Two men have been arrested over the killing of an 85-year-old Jewish woman, a Holocaust survivor, whose stabbed body was found after her Paris apartment was set ablaze, police sources said Monday.

An autopsy conducted on the woman, identified Monday as Mirelle Kanol, who lived alone, showed her charred body also had at least 11 stab wounds.

A forensic examination of the apartment showed that an arsonist started a fire in at least five distinct areas of that space, the report also said.

An anti-Semitism watchdog initially said the case was reminiscent of an alleged anti-Semitic hate crime, but later said there was no immediate evidence of anti-Semitism.

“A preliminary examination of the elements of the crime does not reveal an anti-Semitic characteristic, but this possibility has not been discounted as police investigate further,” said a spokesperson for the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ), which works closely with the French police.

The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, wrote in a statement Sunday that the suspected murder “is reminiscent of the crime committed against Sarah Halimi,” a 66-year-old Jewish teacher and physician, whom prosecutors say was murdered by her Muslim neighbor in April partly in connection with her Jewish identity

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Sunday that it had not yet determined a motive, but “is not excluding any hypothesis.”
After brutal murder, French Jews hope authorities learn from mistakes
One year after the murder of a 65-year-old Jewish Parisian Sarah Halimi, France’s Jewish community is reeling again from the brutal murder of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll.

The 85-year-old was allegedly stabbed 11 times while at home on Friday, before her body was set on fire, in an attack which Jewish community leaders described as reminiscent of the murder of Halimi.

France's Foreign Minster Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the murder was "more than likely" antisemitic in nature.

"For now we cannot say for certain if the motive for the murder was antisemitism, but it's more than likely, it would not be surprising, and only strengthens the notion that this battle is not over and we will need to keep fighting it," he said during a meeting at the prime minister's residence.

“The inhumanity of this murder sends us back to that of Sarah Halimi just one year ago,” the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) said in a statement, which continued by mentioning that council President Francis Kalifat had spoken at length with the children of the victim.

“During his discussions with the prefect of police and the office of the president of the republic, the president of the CRIF expressed the emotion and the deep concern of the Jewish population of France,” the statement said.

Jewish community leaders as well as other public officials had strongly and vocally criticized the way Halimi’s case was handled, accusing the authorities and the French media of hiding the facts from the public. They also denounced the fact that it took five months to categorize the murder as an anti-Jewish hate crime, after French President Emmanuel Macron called for an investigation.
Stop Making Excuses for Louis Farrakhan’s Lunacy
And it’s not just Jews who are being asked to check their supposed “privilege” at the progressive door. Part of what’s amazing about this entire mess is that leaders of an outfit called “The Women’s March” are standing beside a man who yells at women for “knowing how to shake your behind but not how to rattle some eggs in a pan.” Gays and transgender people, duly name-checked by any good intersectional feminist, must take a back seat in order to make room for a guy who rails against “turning men into women and women into men” (a crime against nature perpetrated by, you guessed it, the Jews). Neither of these absurdities approach the most ridiculous part of this entire spectacle, however, which is that, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Farrakhan praised, and nearly endorsed, the very man upon whom resistance to which the entire Women’s March is predicated: Donald J. Trump.

There is no meaningful moral difference between Louis Farrakhan and Richard Spencer. Both are racist, anti-Semitic troglodytes claiming to represent the downtrodden of their respective race. You would not know it from the disproportionate press coverage afforded each man, however, but Farrakhan commands a much larger following and has actual political influence; no Republican congressman—never mind a future president—would be caught dead in the same room as Richard Spencer. Nor would any respectable journalist or politician or social movement leader make excuses and dissemble about Spencer in the Atlantic or The New York Times.

That there is even a debate to be had about Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam demonstrates the soft bigotry of low expectations many liberals continue to harbor with regard to their black countrymen. In reality, there is no debate. That the Nation of Islam may help keep order in some poor black neighborhoods is as good an argument for equivocating on Farrakhan as the crime-free streets of Little Italy justified Italian American pride in John Gotti. The late Meir Kahane indisputably defended Jews from violence and attracted legitimately devoted followers through his uncompromising stand for Jewish pride. He was also a racist vigilante — not a single mainstream Jewish public figure would appear alongside him — and his political party was banned in Israel. Louis Farrakhan should be similarly ostracized, and no one calling herself a “liberal” or “progressive” should ask for anything less.

John Bolton Is Right about the UN
The UN Human Rights Council—a body that includes representatives of Cuba, Afghanistan, and Qatar—convened last week and issued five anti-Israel resolutions, one of which preposterously demanded that the Golan Heights be returned to Bashar Assad’s Syria. Meanwhile, Iran, North Korea, and Syria merited one resolution each. Such all-too-typical anti-Israel obsessions are only part of the United Nations’ many flaws, which John Bolton—the newly appointed American national security adviser—has frequently called to public attention. Bret Stephens writes:

The UN is a never-ending scandal disguised as an everlasting hope. The hope is that dialogue can overcome distrust and collective security can be made to work in the interests of humanity. Reality says otherwise. Trust is established by deeds, not words. Collective security is a recipe for international paralysis or worse. Just ask the people of Aleppo.

As for the scandals—where to start? UN peacekeepers caused a cholera epidemic in Haiti that so far has taken 10,000 lives. Yet it took UN headquarters six years to acknowledge responsibility. An Associated Press investigation found “nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world” over a twelve-year period, including 300 allegations involving children. “But only a fraction of the alleged perpetrators served jail time.” . . .

And then there are comparatively lesser scandals. Like Oil for Food, the multibillion-dollar program intended to feed hungry Iraqi children and used by Saddam Hussein in a kickback scheme involving a rogue’s gallery of international enablers. Or the use of UN schools in Gaza to store weapons aimed at Israel. Or the 2016 admission by a UN oversight body that some UN agencies “continue to remain in a state of near-denial with regard to fraud.” . . .
UK condemns UN Human Rights Council's dedicated Israel agenda
The UK government has attacked the UN Human Rights Council’s agenda on Israel’s actions in the West Bank, saying “little has changed” since its condemnation of bias against the Jewish state last year.

The UK delegation voted against two of five resolutions on Israel raised at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Friday.

The first was a motion calling for the withdrawal from the Golan Heights and the second called for an embargo on arms sales to Israel.

But UK diplomats supported a resolution urging a return to pre-1967 borders of the state of Israel, and one on human rights.

Each of the four resolutions, and one calling for the halt of settlement activity, were passed by the 47-member body. They were presented by the countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation under Item 7, which requires a report on Israeli actions in the West Bank each time the panel meets.

Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item at the council, a mechanism that the United States and the UK have criticised.

Last year the UK said it would vote against all future UNHRC resolutions on Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories until the body ends its “disproportion and bias” against the Jewish state.
Bolton updated Israel to avert hostile UN moves
Danny Gillerman was Israeli ambassador to the United Nations during the period John Bolton served as America's UN ambassador. He told Yishai Shnerb on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) this morning that whenever the UN or certain elements in the US administration formulated a resolution against Israel, John Bolton would update him so that the Prime Minister would phone the President directly to quash the threat.

Shnerb began the interview recalling a statement of Bolton's that "you could remove ten stories" from the UN building, "and nothing bad would happen."

"Yes," agreed Gillerman, "That's what he said even before he arrived at the building. I think after he got there he was willing to get rid of twenty floors, out of the 38. I remember in one of the first meetings he had with all the sitting ambassadors on the Security Council, he said a sentence that at first I thought I didn't understand, but in time, I understood it in depth. We were debating some resolution - again some motion against Israel - and they tried to improve it and add a sentence here and take out a word there... And he looked at them and said 'Gentlemen, I want to impart to you one thing: The United States won't agree to a single thing that the United States doesn't agree to.'

"In the beginning it sounded to me like a strange sentence, but afterwards when I got to know him, I realized that the man means what he says. You can't approach him and say 'Listen, let it pass; it'll be okay, nothing will happen,' no; he has principles that are quite clear. First of all, he is truly a very, very close friend of Israel."

Shnerb asked for an example, to which Gillerman answered: "Look; many times he would call me or ask me to come meet with him, and for all intents and purposes, would direct fire on his own forces. Meaning, when the State Department - then headed by Condoleezza Rice, who wasn't so friendly to Israel even though the Bush Administration was very friendly - was about to either make a decision, or not abstain, or not veto, or to advance something that was against us, Bolton would call me, and he would say 'Danny, you've got to call the Prime Minister right now, in order for him to phone the President to stop this'."

The interviewer wished to make sure he heard Gillerman correctly: "Wait a second; the State Department under Condoleezza Rice advanced something against Israel, and the US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton calls you and says, 'Listen, wake Olmert so he'll talk to Bush to stop her'?"
'I've got your back': How Israel scored tacit U.S. support for bombing Syria
The two leaders sat in the private residence at the White House: President George W. Bush and President Ehud Olmert.

Both held lit cigars in celebration of the bombing of the Syrian reactor. Bush looked intently at Olmert: “I didn’t think you would have the ‘courage’ to do it, Ehud.” Olmert responded, “I told you I would do it.” Bush responded, “Well, at least I’m taller than you, Ehud.”

Like two little boys, the two men stood back-to-back in a photo-op attempt to measure their height.

I first saw the picture when it stood for a time on a credenza behind Olmert’s desk.

It was signed by President Bush with the words, “I’ve got your back.”

The scenario began on September 6, 2007, at an eastern Syria complex which allegedly housed a nuclear reactor.

It was being built with the aid of the North Koreans, according to The New Yorker.

The attack on the Syrian site was the result of a raid that had taken place in Vienna months earlier and that which Israel has never taken responsibility for. According to former Jerusalem Post editor David Makovsky, writing in The New Yorker in 2012, Mossad agents had dared to infiltrate the home of Ibrahim Othman, the chief of the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission. Makovsky wrote: “Othman was in town attending a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors, and had stepped out. In less than an hour, the Mossad operatives swept in, extracted top-secret information from Othman’s computer, and left without a trace.”

As a result, the Mossad learned that apparently the rumors of a nuclear reactor being erected in Syria were true. The decision-making process to demolish the Syrian reactor began with what would be a battle between two Ehuds: prime minister Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak. Barak charged Olmert with being too precipitous and not making proper preparations, while Barak thought the prime minister was overly-enthusiastic.
UN Watch: Britain’s Stiffening Spine Against UNHRC’s Anti-Israel Bigotry
Britain switched another of its votes during the annual UN Human Rights Council assault on Israel, switching from Abstain to No on one of the five resolutions.

In last year’s March 2017 session, Britain exercised its first No vote in recent years — on an absurd resolution condemning Israel for violating the human rights of Syrians on the Golan Heights — and it delivered an exceptional statement calling out the anti-Israel bias of the UNHRC, warning they would switch all votes to No if the imbalance were not removed.

This year, Theresa May’s government was true to its word by switching yet another vote to No, on an absurd resolution condemning Israel for not following up on the malign Goldstone Report, whose core charges Judge Goldstone himself famously retracted.

The UK’s initial switch in 2016 from Yes to Abstain on two resolutions relates primarily to its opposition to the introduction that year of a “database” that would blacklist companies doing business with Jews living east of the 1949 armistice line. Britain stated in March 2016 that it would not cooperate with the blacklist, and it reiterated its opposition on Friday as well.
JPost Editorial: Moral clarity
Democrats got on board after they were assured that US funds allocated to security cooperation and humanitarian relief would not be conditional upon the PA’s change in policy vis-a-vis the jihadists and their families.

No one wants to see the PA collapse. It would result in anarchy and force Israel to resume direct responsibility for well over a million Palestinians living in the West Bank.

At the same time, the Palestinians must choose. Do they want to live under a regime that actively supports terrorism against innocent civilians and glorifies acts of violence? As long as Palestinian political culture prioritizes violence against Israelis above nation-building and economic development for Palestinians, there will be no peace.

Perhaps passage of the Taylor Force Act will convince the Palestinian people to change their political leaders.

Large percentages of Palestinian society strongly oppose the PA’s security coordination with Israel and view it as a cynical arrangement that perpetuates a kleptocratic Palestinian leadership built on nepotism.

The solution is not to end cooperation with Israel, rather it is to choose a leadership that will use its powers to benefit Palestinians, not perpetuate an endless cycle of violence against Israel.

We praise the US for its moral clarity and for taking a principled stand against the PA’s intolerable conduct.

The Taylor Force Act has the potential for creating an atmosphere more conducive to peace by urging the Palestinians to reject their self-destructive political culture.

At the very least, it is a necessary reaction to evil and a testament to Force’s beloved memory.
JCPA: Checking the Washington Post’s Fact Checker
The Washington Post's Fact Checker's column, "Does the Palestinian Authority pay $350 million a year to 'terrorists and their families'?" (March 14, 2018), was less successful at fact-checking than at whitewashing the official Palestinian Authority policy of promoting and incentivizing terror by rewarding terrorists.

The article verifies that the Palestinian Authority pays huge sums to perpetrators of terrorist acts and their families and confirms that the PA operates two organizations dedicated to this purpose. It also affirms that the salaries are malignly promised in advance to the terrorists and grow as the violence perpetrated causes greater damage.

Appallingly, it excuses payments to civilian attackers for intentional violence against innocents to promote political and religious goals, citing the excuse: "one man's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter." As Amb. Dore Gold has noted, the Post's columnist "enters the swamp of moral relativism, which in the current context means that no one is in a position to judge even the most heinous terror attacks, and this leads to terror with impunity and the world becomes more dangerous as international standards are not upheld."

The terrorists are paid in accordance with Palestinian Authority law. This reflects the Palestinian narrative that regards the ongoing struggle against Zionism as an imperative for any Palestinian until victory. This is the logic behind the terror payments that is ignored.

The PA promotes acts of stone throwing, stabbing, and vehicular attacks that go far beyond non-violent civil disobedience.

The PA sees terrorists as warriors and heroes sent on their mission by the Palestinian authorities. This is why the PA leadership, including Mahmoud Abbas, insist that they will keep paying terrorists under any circumstances.

The PA terror payments policy incentivizes terror that has claimed thousands of lives, including those of Americans. Providing any justification or rationalization for this is outrageous, immoral, illegal, and unacceptable.
U.S. pledges record $705 million in missile defense aid to Israel
The United States Congress has dramatically increased its budget for the Israeli missile defense programs by $148 million to include ongoing Iron Dome and Arrow 3 development.

“I am pleased and excited to announce that the US Congress has approved a record sum for Israel’s missile defense program: $705m. in 2018!” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Monday.

According to Israel’s Defense Ministry, the increase of funding was requested for production of the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow-3 missile defense systems.

Together, the systems provide Israel with a protective umbrella able to counter threats posed by both short and mid-range missiles used by Gaza terror groups and Hezbollah as well as the threat posed by more sophisticated long-range Iranian ballistic missiles.

The increase in the budget will also be used for further trials of all systems as Israel and the US continue to develop additional capabilities for them against future aerial threats.

“I thank our great friend the United States, which has invested $6.5 billion to defend the skies of the State of Israel,” Liberman continued. “We are grateful for the assistance and uncompromising commitment of the administration and Congress to Israel’s security. Tomorrow in Jerusalem I will meet with a delegation of congressmen headed by Israel’s friend Nancy Pelosi, and will thank them personally.”
Spending bill includes big boost for Jewish groups seeking security money
An omnibus spending bill approved by Congress more than doubles spending for security grants that have been overwhelmingly tapped by Jewish institutions.

The $1.3 trillion bill approved Thursday includes $60 million for the security grants, up from $25 million last year. More than 90 percent of the grants have been used to harden security at Jewish institutions since the nonprofit security grant program was launched in 2005.

Nathan Diament, the Washington director of the Orthodox Union, one of the lead advocates for the grants, said a spike in threats on Jewish institutions over the last year drove the increase. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. in 2017 increased by 43 percent over 2016, not including a spate of bomb threats carried out against Jewish institutions by a Jewish man in Israel.

“We didn’t have to educate members of Congress that the past year has seen an increased set of threats and activity,” Diament said in an interview.

Of the $60 million, $10 million for the first time will go to areas outside major metropolitan areas. Diament said that will allow Jewish institutions outside such designated areas to apply for the funds. He named Monsey, in upstate New York, as an example of an area with a high Jewish concentration that until now has not been able to access the existing program.

Also advocating for the security grants over the years were the Jewish Federations of North America and Agudath Israel of North America.

The bill also includes $175 million over the next 10 years to improve security at schools, a provision that was accelerated after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month. The bill will fund training in violence prevention, police-school coordination and crisis intervention, and will be extended to private and parochial schools as well as public schools.

JFNA praised the inclusion in the omnibus bill of $5 million for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, double the amount of previous years. The program partners with Jewish institutions to deliver assistance to elderly Holocaust survivors.

“There are approximately 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States today, with an estimated 30,000 living in poverty,” said William Daroff, the Washington director of JFNA, in a statement. “By doubling funding levels to $5 million, the program now will be able to provide immediate support to ensure that Holocaust survivors are able to live in dignity and comfort for the remainder of their lives.”
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to chair congressional Israel trip
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will lead a trip of congressional Democrats on an upcoming trip to Israel, her office announced on Saturday.

"There is no greater political accomplishment in the 20th century than the establishment of the State of Israel," the announcement read. "Our delegation is pleased to be able to extend the congratulations of the American people to the people of Israel as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Jewish state this spring."

The trip includes 10 congressional representatives. After visiting Israel, the delegation will then travel to Jordan, which Pelosi called a "key ally."

Three of the representatives on the trip, Adam Schiff (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Jamie Raskin (MD), are Jewish.
IDF says Iron Dome launch in response to gunfire not a malfunction
The Israeli army has rejected criticism of human error behind the launch of 10 Iron Dome interceptor missiles after being triggered by machine gun fire in the Gaza Strip, saying that the preliminary investigation found that the system reacted after it was calibrated at a very high sensitivity.

“The system identified a launch toward Israel, toward the community of Zikim, which acted like a ballistic missile in every way. It was a serious threat,” said Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, the head of the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division on a call with reporters Monday.

“There was neither a human nor technical error,” he continued, stressing that a high-trajectory threat was identified by the system, even though no actual rockets were launched toward Israel.

“There was a system over-sensitivity, and we had five seconds to decide. The moment something is launched from the ground toward Israeli territory, we consider that a threat,” he said.

Incoming rocket sirens blared across several communities in the Hof Ashkelon and Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Councils, including the cities of Sderot and Ashkelon, sending several residents and tourists into shock.

Local residents and soldiers stationed around the Gaza Strip also uploaded videos on social networking sites of close to a dozen Iron Dome interceptor rockets being launched.
Iran's Mideast actions growing bolder, intelligence chief warns
The 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers has rendered Iran stronger and more brazen, Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi warned Sunday.

Iran is "growing bolder in its missile [development] and the support it gives terrorism in our region," Halevi told a conference in Tel Aviv.

He said that effecting change would require action, not just dialogue, and that the current momentum from U.S. moves to revise the nuclear agreement "poses the best chance for actual change."

Halevi said the objective of the nuclear agreement – to get Iran to change its conduct – cannot be achieved only by way of negotiations, and "only an economic, political, or some other kind of crisis" will lead to change.

"The more the world can project a united front, the greater the chance of a change," he said.

Commenting on the possibility of a security escalation on Israel's northern border, Halevi said, "With Iran's assistance, Hezbollah continues to acquire strategic weapons. The key to avoiding war in Lebanon is in the hands of the Lebanese government. The Lebanese leadership claims it is defending Lebanon from Israeli aggression, but Israel has no intention of attacking Lebanon.
Killing of Palestinian in West Bank bar mitzvah hike declared self defense
The Central District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that it had closed its investigation into a pair of Israeli settlers who killed a Palestinian man while acting as chaperones to a bar mitzvah hike in the northern West Bank, saying it was an act of self defense.

The two men, fathers of participants, were investigated on suspicion of manslaughter after the incident ended in the death of 48-year-old Mahmoud Za’al Odeh from the village of Qusra.

The investigation found that during the hike a group of Palestinians began throwing rocks at the several dozen boys on the bar mitzvah event.

The decision said that one of the chaperones had fired a warning shot in the air to distance the rioters and that was the bullet that apparently killed Odeh, who was said to have been among those throwing stones.

After the shooting, a group of the Palestinians converged on a cave below the entrance of Qusra where the Israeli boys were hiding and began attacking them. However, a different group of Palestinians from Qusra came to the aid of the settlers and pushed back the rioters until the army arrived at the scene.
MKs argue over claim that Palestinians have reached demographic parity with Jews
An emergency Knesset committee debate about industrial action being taken by Israeli civil servants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip exploded Monday into a full-blown quarrel after it was claimed that the number of Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea now equaled that of Jews.

Employees of the Civil Administration, which runs daily affairs in the West Bank, launched a strike last Wednesday demanding improvements to their employment conditions.

While on strike, the employees were still showing up to work at the Defense Ministry body’s headquarters in the settlement of Beit El, but were not offering services, namely entry permits for Palestinians and building permits for settlers.

At a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, the Deputy Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Guy Goldstein, said that while the Civil Administration had been getting less money over recent years the population of Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank had been growing, with the result that adequate services could no longer be provided for all.

To bolster this argument, COGAT’s deputy head, Uri Mendes, said that according to the Palestinian population registry, which registers births and deaths, around three million Palestinians were currently living in the West Bank — up from one million 25 years ago — on top of more than two million in the Gaza Strip.

This did not include Arab Israelis or Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, he added.
Turks pushing Jews out of holy site near Jerusalem?
Turkish tourists have begun holding regular visits to a Jewish prayer space at a holy site outside of Jerusalem, intentionally interfering in the locals’ prayer services in what some say is a bid to push Jews out of the space.

According to a report by Makor Rishon Sunday, Muslim tourists have begun holding regular pilgrimages to Samuel’s Tomb just outside of Jerusalem.

The compound, which is located entirely in Area C, under full Israeli control, and located between Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood and the Givat Ze'ev suburb' is considered sacred by both Jews and Muslims.

The site has been informally divided between the two, with a functioning mosque on the premises and a space designated for Jewish prayer next to the tomb itself. In addition, Muslims have in the past been permitted access to the site used for Jewish prayer around the tomb when it is not in use by Jewish worshippers, and individual visitors have been permitted even at prayer time.

In recent months, however, groups of Muslim pilgrims visiting from overseas have begun disrupting Jewish prayer services at the site on a regular basis, entering the compound as a group, with a guide loudly talking over the Jewish worshippers, before leading the Muslim pilgrims in their own prayers.

Earlier this month, one of the pilgrims filmed one such incident and uploaded it up the title “[We] visited Samuel’s Tomb – and the Jews went crazy”.

During the incident, Jewish worshipers politely requested that the group of Turkish pilgrims not interrupt the afternoon prayer service. While the imam nodded, seemingly signaling his agreement, the group continued to pray loudly, making it difficult for the Jewish prayer service to continue.

One Israeli worker who helps maintain the site told Makor Rishon the visits are now a regular phenomenon, occurring three or four times a week, and appear aimed at intentionally disrupting the Jewish prayer services.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Why Hamas Will Not Disarm
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants to extend his authority to the Gaza Strip, while Hamas is seeking to take over the West Bank.

Abbas is fortunate to have Israel sitting with him in the West Bank. Otherwise, Hamas would have succeeded in its effort to topple his regime and "transfer" its weapons to the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Abbas will continue to dream of returning to the Gaza Strip, while Hamas will continue to prepare for war against Israel and removing the Palestinian Authority from power.
Facebook shuts down Palestinian news site’s account
Over the weekend, Facebook disabled the account of Safa, a Gaza-based Palestinian news site; it had almost 1.3 million followers.

Safa is widely seen as sympathetic to Hamas, but an employee at the news site said in a phone call that the media outlet is “independent” and “has no relationship with Hamas.”

Facebook disabled Safa’s account, along with the accounts of 10 Safa editors, just after 5 p.m. on Saturday, without issuing a warning or providing an explanation, a manager of Safa’s social media team told The Jerusalem Post.

“We were totally surprised,” said the social media manager, who asked not to be named. “We are now working to restore the account because 60% of [the] website’s traffic comes through Facebook.”

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment on the disabling of Safa’s account. However, in the past 18 months, Facebook has disabled several Palestinian news sites and leaders’ accounts for allegedly inciting violence against Israelis.

The social media manager said that Safa “has not incited to violence and has followed all of Facebook’s guidelines for making posts.”

“We are merely writing and sharing the news,” the manager said.

In contrast to those remarks, some of Safa’s posts on Instagram and Youtube appear to glorify individuals suspected of carrying out violent acts.
Hamas: Palestinians will not give up ‘one inch of Palestine’
The Palestinians will not “give up one inch of Palestine” no matter how much time elapses, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior official of the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip declared on Monday.

Zahar also warned Israel against targeting participants in the mass protests that his group and other Palestinian factions are planning in the coming weeks along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The protests will be held under the banner of “March of Return” — a reference to the demand that Israel allow millions of Palestinians refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes inside Israel.

Zahar said that the protests will be “peaceful.” However, he warned that any attempt by Israel to target the protests would be met with an “appropriate response” from Hamas and other Palestinian factions.

The message behind the “March of Return,” he said, was that the Palestinians would never “give up one inch of Palestine even after 70 — 700 — 7,000 years.”

The Palestinian “right of return” for refugees and their descendants was based on “historical and religious documents,” Zahar explained without elaborating. He claimed that Israel was “worried” about the planned protests because it “knows that its results will be disastrous.”

Referring to Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system having been mistakenly activated Sunday night, Zahar said: “Nothing can stop the liberation of all Palestine. Even if all the rifles and weapons of the world are gathered in Israel, they will not be able to stop the resistance from achieving its goals.”
Saudi Arabia shoots down missiles from Yemen; 1 dead from debris
Saudi air defenses shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi militia on Sunday, with debris killing a man in what was the first death in the capital during the Saudi-led coalition's three-year military campaign in Yemen.

Saudi forces destroyed three missiles over northeastern Riyadh shortly before midnight, as well as others fired at the southern cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait, the coalition said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Debris from the missiles fell on a home in Riyadh, killing an Egyptian resident and wounding two other Egyptians, said coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki, according to SPA.

Reuters reporters in Riyadh heard several booms and saw smoke in the air. Another witness said he saw a long stream of light followed by additional explosions.

In al-Malqa neighborhood, emergency personnel gathered near a crater in the ground and inspected shattered glass in nearby homes.

The attack marked the third time in five months that missiles have flown over Riyadh, as the Houthis step up efforts to demonstrate they can reach the Saudi capital, and threatened to escalate a regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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