Tuesday, April 17, 2018

From Ian:

BESA: Hamas' Dirty War Against Israel
Throughout all the military confrontations Hamas initiated against Israel in 2008-09, 2012, and 2014, as well as in the recent "March of Return," it has systematically disseminated outright fabrications and distortions and manipulated Western and social media. Hamas presented the march as a peaceful demonstration initiated by suffering citizens to protest their awful economic and social conditions. Hamas also accused Israel of committing war crimes by intentionally shooting and killing demonstrators. The truth is exactly the opposite.

The march was initiated and organized by Hamas, not by oppressed citizens. Hamas invested millions of dollars in building an infrastructure for the demonstrators, and called for breaking the border fence and infiltration into Israeli territory. If Hamas had been permitted to accomplish this goal, the life and property of Israeli citizens living a few meters from the fence would have been in danger. These were not peaceful demonstrations.

Hamas deployed operatives among the demonstrators and ordered them to throw firebombs, shoot at Israeli soldiers, put explosives on the fence, cross into Israel's territory, and, if possible, kill or kidnap soldiers and citizens. They also wanted as many Palestinians as possible to be killed, including women and children, in order to obtain favorable media coverage.

Hamas is lying and cheating about the reasons for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It annually spends hundreds of millions of dollars on operatives, rockets, attack tunnels, and violence. If Hamas had spent that money on economic and social development, Gazans would now live in a better economic environment. The recent deterioration in the Gazan economy resulted from a bitter feud between Hamas and the PA, not from any Israeli action.

The media in the U.S. and Europe, including the elite press of the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, CNN, and BBC, largely accepted the manipulations, lies, and fabrications of Hamas without much questioning or reservation. They conveniently removed any reference to Hamas' motivation, aggression, war crimes, and manipulations.

Iran Would Destroy Syria to Get Vengeance on Israel
Tehran's steadfast support for Syria's Assad is not driven by the geopolitical or financial interests of the Iranian nation, nor the religious convictions of the Islamic Republic, but by a visceral and seemingly inextinguishable hatred for the State of Israel. As senior Iranian officials like Ali Akbar Velayati, a close adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have said, "The chain of Resistance against Israel by Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, the new Iraqi government and Hamas passes through the Syrian highway."

Though Israel has virtually no direct impact on the daily lives of Iranians, opposition to the Jewish state has been the most enduring pillar of Iranian revolutionary ideology. Whether Khamenei is giving a speech about agriculture or education, he invariably returns to the evils of Zionism.

The number of Syrian deaths since 2011 is many times greater than the number of Palestinians killed in the last 70 years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, while many more Syrians than Palestinians have been displaced. Indeed, since 2011 far more Palestinians have been killed by Assad (nearly 3,700) than by Israel.
"Syria is occupied by the Iranian regime," said former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab. "The person who runs the country is not Bashar al-Assad but [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander] Qassem Suleimani."

Israel braces for Gaza violence as Palestinians mark Prisoners' Day
Israeli security forces were on high alert Tuesday as Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank marked Prisoners' Day.

Hamas has urged mass protests near the border with Israel, as well as across the West Bank.

The military shuttered the crossings between Israel and Gaza and imposed a closure on Judea and Samaria, two security measures that are routinely employed ahead of Prisoners' Day.

The closure is scheduled to be lifted on Thursday night, pending a security situation assessment. Exceptions will be made for humanitarian cases and medical emergencies, the IDF said.

Defense officials estimated that a relatively low number of protesters would arrive at the Gaza border, despite the rising tensions on the security fence, further aggravated on Sunday when the IDF discovered and destroyed a cross-border Hamas terror tunnel.

Large military forces, including sappers and snipers, are deployed near the Israel-Gaza border and an IDF official said the troops are ready for any scenario.

Still, the IDF predicts only a few thousand protesters, possibly only 1,000, will arrive at the security fence.
West plays its part in Hamas propaganda war
Writing for Bloomberg during Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, Jeffrey Goldberg observed: "Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas' behavior because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here."

Alan Dershowitz had made the same observation a few years earlier when he referred to the "calculus of death" adopted by Palestinian terrorists. Dead Israelis constitute a success, while the higher the civilian death toll on the Palestinian side, the more effective the ensuing propaganda against Israel. In other words, death on either side serves the interests of the terrorists. The well-documented use of human shields by Hamas, the deployment of child soldiers, and the use of minors to goad Israeli soldiers in the West Bank as Palestinian parents record on their iPhones from a safe distance, are all outgrowths of this formulation.

There is a further component to this macabre equation that is essential to its success – the support of the West. To succeed, the strategy of Palestinian terrorists depends on a compliant press that will publish hagiographic renderings of "resistance" and "heroism," a sympathetic civil society of nongovernmental organizations and activist churches that will run campaigns based on the Palestinian narrative of victimhood, and a hollow United Nations to issue reflexive condemnations and carry out politicized fact-finding missions and inquiries that never fail to accuse Israel and excuse the Palestinians.
Israel struggles to handle latest threat from Gaza: Fire-starting kites
The Israel Defense Forces has learned how to protect the country from rockets, attack tunnels and stealthy Iranian drones, but since Friday the military has been stymied by a children’s toy: kites.

For the past five days, Palestinians in Gaza have made attempts to fly kites carrying burning cans of fuel into Israeli territory. The first attempt on Friday failed and the kite landed inside Gaza, but the rest have sparked fires in southern Israel.

On Tuesday, one such kite started a fire in a grassy grove outside Kibbutz Be’eri, an Israeli community located some seven kilometers (4.3 miles) east of Gaza’s Bureij refugee camp.

As of Tuesday afternoon, four teams of firefighters were working to bring the blaze under control, a spokesman for the local fire department said. The Kan news broadcaster reported that the fire had spread over almost 100 dunams (25 acres). This could not be immediately confirmed.

Gazans filmed the kite crossing the border and starting the blaze, in a video shared on social media.

Times Headline Invokes John Lennon Anti-War Lyrics to Describe Hamas
John Lennon never said he would eat the bodily organs of his enemies.

But Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar did. During a March 31 speech at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Sinwar said Palestinians "can't give up one inch of the land of Palestine," which he reiterated includes all of Israel in Hamas's view. He told Israelis that Palestinians would find work by "shooting you at point-blank range." Rather than starve, he added, they will "eat your liver."

A week later, Sinwar proclaimed that "We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies."

So when, in today's newspaper, the New York Times invoked Lennon's most famous anti-war lyrics to describe Hamas's position — "Battle Weary, Hamas Gives Peaceful Protests a Chance," a headline in the newspaper's April 16 print edition declared — it was a discordant juxtaposition with the terror organization's actual policies, and its continued glorification of violence. Only a day earlier, Israel uncovered yet another of Hamas's cross-border attack tunnels.

PreOccupiedTerritory: IDF Summons Stay Puft Marshamallow Man To Stamp Out Gaza Riots (satire)
Wary of permitting the “Great Return March” to continue attracting international attention over the next month, Israeli defense officials invoked an ancient spiritual force to crush the violent protests, calling to its aid the Sumerian deity Gozer in the form of a 34-meter-(112 foot-)-tall monster made of sugar, water, and gelatin whipped to a spongy consistency.

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man made his first Gaza appearance late Monday afternoon, in what IDF combat zone commanders described as a pilot mission. Witnesses recalled seeing the monster stomp toward the crowds of Palestinian protesters attempting to reach the border fence and breach it, scattering them. An Israeli colonel gave cautious indication that further use of the Marshmallow Man will occur in the coming days.

“I would call this a successful test,” remarked the officer. “In this case we selected an area that was free piles of burning tires, which could have had an adverse effect on Gozer’s completion of the mission. While we do know from documentary evidence as far back as 1984 that fire poses a mere annoyance to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, we will try to provide optimal operating conditions as much as possible.”

Palestinian bystanders described the fearsome creature lumbering across the terrain. “It was horrific,” whispered a shaken Falestin Ahmad, 22, who was brought to the area as a human shield. “I was preparing to accompany a group of men pretending to be injured, when the ground started shaking. I looked up and there was this huge monster, the size of a building. It would have squashed us like bugs. We ran.”

“I was fine with my kid taking a sniper’s bullet for propaganda purposes,” concurred Ali Mustafa, 30, who was cradling his infant son in one hand and an as-yet-unlit Molotov cocktail in the other. “But that… thing, well, that’s a different story.”
JCPA: Israel Sent a Clear Message to Iran in Syria
The weekend clash with Syria and Iran on Israel’s northern border improved Israel’s strategic position, said Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence and today a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

“This was an impressive demonstration of Israeli power and we succeeded to send a clear message to the Iranians, the Syrians and Hizbullah. We caused great damage to Syria’s anti-aircraft systems and attacked at least four Iranian targets. We made it clear to Iran that we have the capability to act with determination against their attempts to change the rules of the game in the region.”

“Iran is frustrated because Israel is preventing it from achieving its three goals: to transfer game-changing weapons to Hizbullah, to establish a network of military bases in Syria, and to generate continuing conflict with Israel in the Golan Heights.”

“Unfortunately, we paid a price with two wounded pilots and the downing of a plan, but this has no strategic significance. When you fight, there are casualties. No one checks to see how many Iranians or Syrians were hurt in our attacks. We became use to attacking without being attacked in response.”

“There is no doubt that an event like this [sending an Iranian drone into Israel] was not coordinated in advance with the Russians and occurred without their knowledge, and this was very serious for the Russians. Putin is counting on there being quiet in Syria and that Russia can manage events there to advance its own interests. Now Russia has received proof of Israel’s warnings that Iran is dangerous, and that granting Iran freedom of action in Syria is not helpful to Russia. Rather, it will just upset the area and disturb the quiet.”
Caroline Glick: 5 Key Points About the U.S.-Led Syria Strike
The United States, United Kingdom, and France joined in a combined operation on April 14 that used “precision” strikes against Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure. The following are key points about the raid.

5. Saturday’s strike showed that the U.S. is again a force to be reckoned with in Syria.

Despite the limited if not altogether nonexistent immediate tactical and strategic significance of the strike, by undertaking it, Trump took another important step towards restoring U.S. credibility and power in the region. This is a necessary precursor to any tactically and strategically significant operation in the future. Since the administration is clearly revisiting its strategic posture and goals in Syria, this is an altogether positive achievement.

Obama wrecked U.S. credibility in the Middle East, and arguably worldwide, in 2013, when at the last moment he failed to enforce the red line he drew regarding chemical weapons attacks. It is not clear that his red line, according to which the U.S. would respond to chemical weapons attacks, was a reasonable one. By saying the U.S. would respond to chemical attacks, Obama signaled that conventional killing methods were fine by him. Assad, who used conventional munitions to kill nearly half a million people, understood the message and continued killing.

But whether or not Obama’s red line was rational is beside the point. Once Obama drew a line in the sand, and then failed to maintain it when it was challenged, he weakened America in a fundamental way.

As a consequence, Trump has to defend Obama’s red line to restore American power and credibility. By retaliating against Assad’s April 7 chemical attack in Douma — and doing so with Britain and France – Trump communicated clearly that the U.S. demands respect. This message was a necessary precondition for successfully implementing whatever strategic goal the president and his team adopt regarding Syria and its Iranian and Russia sponsors.
MOVING FORWARD: Trump Asks Arab States To Create Force To Replace U.S. Troops In Syria
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is communicating with friendly Arab nations about creating an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria. National Security Advisor John Bolton has reportedly spoken to Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief about Egypt being a linchpin in that effort. One administration official stated, "Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.A.E. have all been approached with respect to financial support and more broadly to contribute.”

The Trump Administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for billions of dollars to heal northern Syria now that Islamic State has been driven out of the region.

When President Trump announced last Friday’s missile strikes on Syria from the United States, Great Britain and France, he added, “We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing larger amounts of money.”

That message was consistent with Trump’s statements earlier this month when he spoke of a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Trump apparently wants to avoid the mistake the Obama Administration made when his withdrawal from Iraq provided a vacuum that led to the ascendancy of Islamic State.
Syria strikes: Trump made the bed, now Israel must lie in it
US President Donald Trump made a messy bed to satisfy the Europeans and mainly himself. He even managed not to irritate the rest of the players in the Syrian conflict too much. But who will have to lie in this filthy bed (stained with genocide, chemical weapons, terror and Iranians on the fence) after the Americans get up and take off? Israel of course.

So as far as Israel is concerned, what happened early Saturday can’t improve its strategic situation in any way. Israel remains in the exact same position of an escalating conflict with Iran.

Moreover, following the US-UK-French airstrikes haven’t weakened Syrian President Bashar Assad. On the contrary, the attack only has intensified the Russian commitment to the Assad regime, and now the Russians are already talking about selling Syria advanced antiaircraft missiles of the S-300 and maybe even S-400 model, which could make it difficult for the Israel Air Force to operate deep within Syria. Assad can afford to take greater risks, as the Russian conduct in the latest crisis has made it clear to him that the Russians will defend him in any entanglement.

The reason for the airstrikes was the use of chemical weapons against civilians, which led to the death of 40 people, including children. The Western public opinion was outraged. The US, the UK and France couldn’t afford to exercise restraint.

How hypocritical. The Syrians have used chemical weapons against a population for at least six times since the Trump administration bombed a Syrian airbase from which planes took off to attack civilians with chemical weapons about a year ago. But those events didn’t receive sufficient PR like the victims documented in Douma.

There was no desire to change a situation, to bring Assad down or at least to cause massive damage to the evil Syrian regime. It was a symbolic punishment, without taking any risk that might create a conflict with the Russians.
JCPA: The Implications of the Syrian T-4 Air Base Bombing
The aerial bombing of the Syrian air force base in the Palmyra region (T-4) struck an Iranian drone section of the base under exclusive Iranian command. At least seven Iranian army personnel were killed, one of whom held the rank of colonel and was responsible for the unit operating the drones.

It should be noted that this unit was also bombed at the beginning of February 2018, after it was determined that it had dispatched the Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli airspace and was shot down.

In an unusual statement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran announced four Iranians died in the aerial bombing, which it attributed to Israel. Details of seven dead servicemen were published on social media channels in Iran.

Initially, immediately after the attack, a Syrian military spokesman blamed the United States and claimed that it apparently acted in response to a chemical weapons bombardment of the civilian population in Douma. However, immediately afterward, the Syrian announcement was changed to accuse Israel of attacking the Syrian air force base.
Investigators barred from suspected Syria gas attack site
Syrian and Russian forces prevented independent investigators from visiting the scene of a suspected chemical attack in Syria, the head of the chemical watchdog group said Monday, blocking international efforts to establish what happened and who was to blame.

The U.S. and France say they have evidence that poison gas was used in the April 7 attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, killing dozens of people, and that Syrian President Bashar Assad's military was behind it.

But they have made none of that evidence public, even after the two countries, along with Britain, bombarded sites they said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons program on Saturday.

Syria and its ally Russia deny any chemical attack took place, and Russian officials went even further, accusing Britain of staging a "fake" chemical attack. British Prime Minister Theresa May accused the two countries – whose forces control Douma now that the rebels have been driven out – of trying to cover up evidence.

The lack of access to Douma by inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has left numerous unanswered questions regarding the attack.
Israel planning for direct retaliatory attack from Iran
Israel is preparing for a crossborder attack from the Revolutionary Guard Corps, in response for a strike allegedly carried out by the Jewish state against an Iranian operated airbase in Syria which killed seven IRGC soldiers.

Israel believes the attack will come in the form of precision-guided missiles or armed drones from a base in Syria, directly by the IRGC – not by proxies as done before – under the command of Quds Force commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“Israel will react strongly to any Iranian action from inside Syria,” a senior IDF source told Sky News in Arabic, adding that Iran plans to attack Israel from Syria.

Aerial photos of Iranian bases in Syria were released Tuesday morning that show Tehran has increased the scope of its military relationship with the Assad regime under the auspices of the IRGC’s air force commander Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh.

The source stated that civilian airlines Simorgh Air and Pouya Cargo Air are used by the IRGC as a front for military flights bringing in soldiers and weaponry to bolster Iran’s military presence.
Netanyahu: Israel on guard against Iranian terror attacks on diplomats
Israel's security services are poised to thwart any attempt to harm Israel's diplomats abroad, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday amid Iranian threats that it will avenge the attack last week on the T4 airbase near Homs, Syria, that has been attributed to Israel.

Netanyahu was speaking at the Foreign Ministry's annual memorial ceremony for 16 employees killed in terrorist attacks, 14 of them murdered abroad.

“The forces of darkness and terror thought that by striking at our representatives they would hurt our international standing. The exact opposite happened,” Netanyahu said.

“At the same time, the members of our security branches – the Shabak and the Mossad – are standing guard to thwart additional attempts to harm us, and we take every warning seriously in order to protect the safety and security of our representatives wherever they are,” he said.

Iran and its proxy Hezbollah were behind the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 28 people, including three Israeli diplomats, and the 1994 bombing in the Argentinian capital of the AMIA building that killed 85 people.
As IDF braces for Iranian counterstrike, Israel exposes Iran's air defenses in Syria
The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday revealed new information about the deployment of Iranian air defenses in Syria, further exposing Tehran's attempts to entrench itself militarily in the war-torn country.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have been steadily escalating since an Iranian drone that breached Israeli airspace on Feb. 10 was shot down by the Israeli Air Force.

An Israeli official confirmed to The New York Times Monday that it was the IAF that struck the T4 air base in Homs, last week. Seven members of Iran's elite Quds Force were killed in the strike, including the commander of its drone unit in Syria.

Israeli officials said the drone, which the IDF found had been weaponized and on an offensive mission, was launched from T4.

Fuming over the strike, Iran has vowed to exact vengeance on Israel.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Monday that "Israel will receive a blow for what it did at the T4 base. The days when the Zionist regime would hit and run are over. … I suggest to the Israelis to refrain from foolish steps if they want to continue their treacherous existence," he warned.

The IDF said Tuesday that the deployment of Iranian air defenses in Syria was personally supervised by Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, one of the most powerful military figures in the Iranian regime.
Israel can deal with Russian supply of S-300 missiles to Syria
The statement made Saturday by Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department, that his country would consider selling Syria S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, should be taken seriously.

It should be taken seriously not only because the Russians want a painful retaliation against the American, Western and Israeli forces in the region, but primarily because the Russians have a habit of using every situation to increase their foreign currency incomes at the expense of their allies’ distress.

The S-300 system is more efficient and advanced than any other antiaircraft system the Syrians have today. It can intercept not only aircraft but also ballistic missiles and possibly even cruise missiles at ranges higher than 150 kilometers and at a high altitude.

Syria has been trying to buy these missiles from Russia for a long time, and the Iranians have been willing to fund the deal, but Russia has avoided selling the missiles to Syria due to Israeli and American pressure.

Moreover, up until three years ago Russia avoided delivering the S-300 system to Iran, although Tehran had signed an agreement to purchase the missiles more than 10 years ago. The sale was executed only after the nuclear deal was signed, but over the years the system became obsolete. It has been sold to more than 20 countries across the world, and its technological components and the frequencies in which it operates are well-known in the world.

Furthermore, it’s a large system which cannot be easily hidden or moved. So although the Russians have upgraded the system several times in recent years, it is no longer seen as a threat that cannot be overcome, as it was more than 10 years ago.

The Americans’ intimate knowledge of the system’s features, and likely the Israelis’ knowledge too, has made it possible for Western countries to develop ways of disrupting and neutralizing the system’s abilities.

Nevertheless, the S-300 system should be treated cautiously if it does reach Syria, as it has the potential of threatening civil and military aviation in the State of Israel and in Jordan. The Syrians’ possession of this system would require caution procedures and preventive measures which we have hardly had to take so far.

Syria prepares for offensive against ISIS in Palestinian camp of Yarmouk
The Syrian regime is massing troops and armored vehicles to prepare to retake from Islamic State the Yarmouk area in southern Damascus, according to local sources and media.

Yarmouk was home to large numbers of Palestinian refugees before the country’s civil war, but has been under siege by the Syrian regime for many years.

According to Al-Masdar News, the Syrian Army has been concentrating forces near Yarmouk in southern Damascus after the regime successfully defeated the rebels in eastern Ghouta.

As part of its campaign in eastern Ghouta, the regime of Bashar Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels, which resulted in air strikes by the US, UK and France on Saturday. However, the strikes didn’t stop the rebels from leaving eastern Ghouta under an agreement with Damascus that saw them bused to the north of the country.

Now the regime has set its eyes on Yarmouk.

A recent uptick in violence, including exchanges of rocket fire have been reported. According to the recent reports, the Syrian Army has sent its 9th Armored Division, Tiger Forces and Palestinian units that support Assad to help retake Yarmouk.

Yarmouk was once home to 160,000 Palestinians, many of whom were the descendants of refugees. It had a lively economy and local culture before the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011. After years of battles, an estimated 140,000 Palestinians were displaced by the fighting, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Around 18,000 Palestinians have remained in Yarmouk, where they have faced conditions bordering on starvation, according to reports.

Druze in Israel’s Golan Heights rally in support of Syria’s Assad
Hundreds of Druze in the Israeli Golan Heights marched Tuesday — Syrian Independence Day — in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad and in protest over Western airstrikes against suspected chemical weapons sites.

An AFP journalist said that more than 500 people waving Syrian flags and carrying portraits of Assad took part in the rally in the village of Ein Qiniye, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the Syrian-controlled part of the heights.

They chanted “Bashar defeated the terrorists” and “Bashar beat the American bombers,” referring to US-led strikes over the weekend in which British and French forces participated.

Israeli officials say there are about 20,000 Druze on the 1,200 square kilometer (460 square mile) strategic plateau which Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and formally annexed in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.
Druze residents of the Ein Qiniye village on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights hold Syrian national flags and pictures of Syria’s president as they march during a rally marking Syria’s Independence Day on April 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / JALAA MAREY)

Israel and Syria are still officially in a state of war.
Syrian officer: Israel-US cyberattack triggered missile defenses
A false alarm caused by a “joint electronic operation” carried out by Israel and the US led to the firing of air defenses missile over Syria overnight Monday, a commander of militia forces supporting the regime said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters on Tuesday, the commander said that the Syrian radar system had been targeted in the alleged cyberattack and that Russian experts were brought in to resolve the issue.

Syrian state news originally reported overnight that missiles targeting government air bases had been shot down over the western city of Homs, but later said the air defense systems had been triggered by a false alarm.

Large explosions were heard near Al Shayrat Air base in Homs province, and in eastern Qalamoun near Damascus, where two other air bases are located, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights reported.
Times of London falsely accuses Israel of launching an attack on Syria last night.
Multiple news outlets, including the Guardian and Times of London, reported today that Syrian air defences “responded to a missile attack over Homs that targeted Shayrat airbase” last night, all citing Syrian state news reports as the source of the information.

However, every report on the alleged attack we read, including the English site of SANA, the official Syrian News Agency, avoided making specific allegations as to the source of the attack, and did not claim that Syrian authorities alleged that Israel was responsible – that is, every report with the exception of Times of London, which reported, as if it was a fact, that Israeli jets attacked the air base.

The report, by Catherine Philp and Rhys Blakely, made this claim both in the headline and text of the article:

The opening sentence repeats (without ‘square quotes’) the allegation:

Israeli jets attacked an airbase in Syria last night, three days after Britain, the US and France struck the Assad regime’s chemical weapons facilities,

However, this is not merely a problem of a news outlet reporting as fact something that’s merely an allegation. According to research by CAMERA’s Arabic department, not one official Syrian news outlet made this accusation against Israel. Most attributed the attacks to unnamed “terrorists”.
This was only a non-substantive vote on the motion that the House had heard the situation on Syria, but nonetheless a resounding win for the government after Labour MPs were sent home early. Which just about sums up parliament’s view on Corbyn’s position – the Labour leader humiliated…
Terror victims ask NYC court for second look at Facebook lawsuit in light of Mark Zuckerberg testimony
Terror attack victims say a judge should take a fresh look at their case against Facebook in light of last week's Capitol Hill grilling of Mark Zuckerberg.

A year after a Brooklyn federal judge concluded Facebook couldn't be on the hook for enabling Hamas attacks in Israel, the victims are insisting Zuckerberg's two days of testimony put a whole new spin on the legal fight.

The CEO's testimony showed the social media giant tried to control content and wasn't merely some "hands off" hi-tech bulletin board, the filing said.

Approximately 20 victims contend Facebook's technology fanned hatred and violence, but Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis tossed the case, ruling Facebook couldn't be liable for what people said on its platform.

On Monday, the victims' lawyer asked an appeals court to send the case back to Garaufis.

"It is clear from Zuckerberg's testimony that Facebook takes an active role in forming the content appearing on its website," attorney Robert Tolchin told the Second Circuit.
Europe to Hamas: Disarm and we'll rebuild Gaza
European groups recently passed on to Hamas a wide-reaching proposition to solve the humanitarian crises in Gaza, The Jerusalem Post's sister publication Maariv reported on Monday.

If accepted, Hamas would relinquish armed struggle against Israel for at least five years. In exchange, an EU-created institution would pay the salaries of the Gaza strip civic administration and run all humanitarian affairs there.

While the concept of connecting wide-scale humanitarian and financial aid to Gaza with Hamas rejecting terrorism and violence is not new, this offer is unique in including an assumption of comprehensive authorities by a European body that would operate in the Gaza strip.

For Hamas, it may be tempting that the financial aid for health, education and developing public administration would come directly from a European body and not via the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, currently controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, as is currently the practice.

Another important aspect of the European proposal is that it marks a different direction from that of the Palestinian effort of national reconciliation. The report says that the offer is meant to provide a possible scenario should Abbas make good on his threat to withdraw all support to the Gaza strip under Hamas. The Hamas negotiation team is reportedly still studying the European offer before responding to it.
German far-right MP pushes recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
A lawmaker from the far-right Alternative for Germany party has been urging the government in Berlin to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In a press release, Petr Bystron, one of the party’s chief foreign policy spokespeople, explained that his faction is strongly supportive of the State of Israel and US President Donald Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“What is the capital of Israel? (Please only respond with the name of a location). Please answer this question in writing,” Bystron asked in a written query filed with the federal government on Tuesday.

The German government has a week to reply to his query.

Official Israel boycotts the populist opposition party, known by its German acronym AfD, due to its nationalist and xenophobic policies.

Similar to other far-right parties in Europe, the AfD formally rejects anti-Semitism and professes to strongly support Israel, seeing a common enemy in radical Islamism. However, the party is largely rejected by the local Jewish community, which argues that it promotes xenophobia and fails to adequately distance itself from anti-Semites within its ranks.
Judge rules Jews can say 'Am Israel chai' on Temple Mount
In an affirmation of freedom of expression, a Jerusalem Magistrates' Court judge ruled on Monday that it is legal for Jews on the Temple Mount to say "Am Israel chai," a Hebrew expression meaning "the people of Israel lives."

"There is nothing illegal about the phrase 'Am Israel chai' and it is not a crime," Judge Mordechai Burstein ruled. His verdict partially accepts a complaint submitted by Itamar Ben-Gvir, a right-wing activist and lawyer, against the Israel Police and the Islamic authorities charged with custodianship over the religious site. The police must pay 6,000 shekels ($1,700) in compensation for illegally detaining Ben-Gvir, in addition to court expenses and attorney fees amounting to 2,000 shekels ($570).

The incident began after Ben-Gvir entered the Temple Mount complex for a tour during the intermediary days of the Sukkot holiday in September 2015. Employees of the Islamic Waqf, the Muslim endowment charged with administering Al-Aqsa mosque, began following and yelling at him. After he shouted back "Am Israel chai," a police officer detained Ben-Gvir under the pretext that he broke the law. After being detained for three hours, Ben-Gvir sued both the waqf and police for discrimination on entry to the religious site and illegal detention by an officer.

The court ruled against the waqf in February 2016, which did not file a statement in defense, ordering it to pay Ben-Gvir a sum of 56,000 shekels ($16,000).
Civil Administration stops laying of illegal water line
The inspection unit of the Civil Administration seized a truck containing a drilling hammer and sixty drilling rods. The equipment was intercepted at the Jaba checkpoint southeast of Ramallah, and apparently the goal was to bring it into Hevron for illegal water drilling.

In another enforcement operation last night, a truck and a shovel were found that were used to set up an illegal water line outside the village of Nahalin, near Beitar Illit.

Enforcement activities were carried out as part of the Civil Administration's efforts to eliminate thefts and increase the water supply in Judea and Samaria.

This enforcement is part of a policy led by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai, under which enforcement is carried out under the supervision of the Civil Administration's supervision unit.
Liberman: 'East Jerusalem community center tied to terrorism’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday labeled The Iliya Institute, a community center operating in east Jerusalem, a terror establishment, following recommendations by the Shin Bet security agency.

According to a statement from Liberman’s office, the defense minister signed a special order under section 3(a) of the Anti-Terrorism Law after it was found that the institute, which operates as a youth center, was acting on behalf of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

The recommendation was made after months of surveillance by the Shin Bet which found that the institute carried out activities aimed at promoting the activities of the DFLP in Jerusalem such as recruiting and training activists to spread the group’s militant ideology through incitement videos.

“The security establishment, led by the Shin Bet security service, acts decisively and will uproot any attempt to establish terror elements in east Jerusalem. We take all measures. We will not accept an institution that acts as an outpost of terror in the capital of Israel.” Liberman stated.

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Elder of Ziyon - ุญู€ูƒู€ูŠู€ู… ุตู€ู‡ู€ูŠู€ูˆู†

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