Tuesday, September 18, 2018

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: A great and unspeakable evil
The kind of people who claim that Israelis living in the disputed territories, such as in the town of Efrat, are “illegal settlers” who have colonised Palestinian land – a lie, since there never was any “Palestinian” land, while law, truth and history entitle the Jews alone to live there. The kind of people who, shamefully and disgustingly, shrug aside the murder of Ari Fuld simply because he lived in Efrat.

His murderer was Khalil Jabarin, a 17 year-old Arab boy. He was but the latest in a string of teenage Arab terrorists who are attacking Israeli Jews. The reason isn’t hard to find: as Palestinian Media Watch observes, they are being incited to hatred and murder of Jews by the Palestinian Authority education system and mass media which tell them that “all Israelis deserve to be killed and that dying while committing a terror attack is ‘the path to excellence and greatness… the great victory’.”

The Arab writer Bassam Tawil links Jabarin’s attack directly to incitement by PA president Mahmoud Abbas who he says has Ari Fuld’s blood on his hands.

“In a speech before the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah on September 15, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas repeated the old libel that Israel was planning to establish special Jewish prayer zones inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“…Abbas’s allegation was quickly picked up by several media outlets in the Arab world, the West Bank and Gaza Strip…According to Palestinian terrorist groups, Jabarin decided to murder a Jew in response to Israeli “crimes” against the al Aqsa Mosque in particular and other Islamic holy sites. In other words, the terrorist was influenced by Abbas’s incitement, and this is why he decided to set out on his deadly mission.”

The Palestinian Authority is funded by Britain and other western governments. These governments are therefore indirectly responsible for the incitement to hatred and murder of Jews which is poisoning Arab children’s minds. If Abbas has the blood of murdered Israelis on his hands, Britain and the west have helped dip them in it.

This evening sees the beginning of Yom Kippur when Jews fast to repent and seek forgiveness for their sins. It is a day when, as we pray to be sealed in the book of life, we recall those who were martyred on account of their defence of Judaism. We do so in order to reaffirm, in the face of those who rise in every generation against the Jewish people, the faith that has never wavered despite the savage attempts to destroy us.

To this list of those who were brutally murdered for no other reason than the hatred of Jews by a barbaric world, we will add the name of Ari Fuld. May his memory be for a blessing.

Sohrab Ahmari: Ari Fuld and the Truth About Palestinians
Ari Fuld described himself on Twitter as a marketer and social media consultant “when not defending Israel by exposing the lies and strengthening the truth.” On Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed Fuld at a shopping mall in Gush Etzion, a settlement south of Jerusalem. The Queens-born father of four died from his wounds, but not before he chased down his assailant and neutralized the threat to other civilians. Fuld thus gave the full measure of devotion to the Jewish people he loved. He was 45.

The episode is a grim reminder of the wisdom and essential justice of the Trump administration’s tough stance on the Palestinians.

Start with the Taylor Force Act. The act, named for another U.S. citizen felled by Palestinian terror, stanched the flow of American taxpayer fund to the Palestinian Authority’s civilian programs. Though it is small consolation to Fuld’s family, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief that they are no longer underwriting the PA slush fund used to pay stipends to the family members of dead, imprisoned, or injured terrorists, like the one who murdered Ari Fuld.

No principle of justice or sound statesmanship requires Washington to spend $200 million—the amount of PA aid funding slashed by the Trump administration last month—on an agency that financially induces the Palestinian people to commit acts of terror. The PA’s terrorism-incentive budget—“pay-to-slay,” as Douglas Feith called it—ranges from $50 million to $350 million annually. Footing even a fraction of that bill is tantamount to the American government subsidizing terrorism against its citizens.

If we don’t pay the Palestinians, the main line of reasoning runs, frustration will lead them to commit still more and bloodier acts of terror. But U.S. assistance to the PA dates to the PA’s founding in the Oslo Accords, and Palestinian terrorists have shed American and Israeli blood through all the years since then. What does it say about Palestinian leaders that they would unleash more terror unless we cross their palms with silver?
Noah Rothman: John Kerry Gives the Iranian Theocrats Hope
It was the blatant subversion of the president’s sole authority to conduct American foreign policy, and the political class received it with fury. It was called “mutinous,” and the conspirators were deemed “traitors” to the Republic. Those who thought “sedition” went too far were still incensed over the breach of protocol and the reckless way in which the president’s mandate was undermined. Yes, times have certainly changed since 2015, when a series of Republican senators signed a letter warning Iran’s theocratic government that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka, the Iran nuclear deal) was built on a foundation of sand.

The outrage that was heaped upon Senate Republicans for freelancing on foreign policy in the final years of Barack Obama’s administration has not been visited upon former Secretary of State John Kerry, though he arguably deserves it. In the publicity tour for his recently published memoir, Kerry confessed to conducting meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “three or four times” as a private citizen. When asked by Fox News Channel’s Dana Perino if Kerry had advised his Iranian interlocutor to “wait out” the Trump administration to get a better set of terms from the president’s successor, Kerry did not deny the charge. “I think everybody in the world is sitting around talking about waiting out President Trump,” he said.

Think about that. This is a former secretary of state who all but confirmed that he is actively conducting what the Boston Globe described in May as “shadow diplomacy” designed to preserve not just the Iran deal but all the associated economic relief and security guarantees it provided Tehran. The abrogation of that deal has put new pressure on the Iranians to liberalize domestically, withdraw their support for terrorism, and abandon their provocative weapons development programs—pressures that the deal’s proponents once supported.

“We’ve got Iran on the ropes now,” said former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, “and a meeting between John Kerry and the Iranian foreign minister really sends a message to them that somebody in America who’s important may be trying to revive them and let them wait and be stronger against what the administration is trying to do.” This is absolutely correct because the threat Iran poses to American national security and geopolitical stability is not limited to its nuclear program. The Iranian threat will not be neutralized until it abandons its support for terror and the repression of its people, and that will not end until the Iranian regime is no more.

IsraellyCool: Hillel Fuld on his Brother Ari Fuld, z”l
“He was a fire..passion and fire, and the result of that fire is impact.”

Peter Lerner: If You Can't Mourn Ari Fuld, You Are An Accomplice in His Murder
Ari Fuld, may his memory be blessed, was a passionate Israel advocate who believed in the historic Jewish right to live in our ancestors’ true homeland. From touring Jerusalem’s old city, to engaging Temporary International Presence in Hebron observers to giving soldiers tokens of gratitude — food at the end of a long march, or neck warmers or gloves — Ari was selfless.

When Israel talks about the need for Palestinian recognition and acceptance of the Jewish State of Israel, it is in order to clarify once and for all that our Palestinian neighbors accept that we, the Jewish people, are here to stay.

Until that day, we will have to depend on the IDF in order to safeguard our civilians. Ari understood and believed in the need for a strong and ethical military. For it is our Jewish moral and ethical compass that guides us, to ensure we can use our weapons, that we have the will to overcome the evil intentions of our enemies, and that we are competent in deployment of those tools.

Equally important is that our enemies perceive that we have the weapons, the will and the competence to defeat them.
Hamas, Not Israel, Is Responsible For Deaths In Gaza

Many eulogized Ari, including at a beautiful, heartbreaking funeral attended by thousands. But some of the voices that I was confronted with on social media were extremely disturbing. One conveyed a lack of compassion for Ari because he was a “settler.” Others, including my more spiteful followers, went so far to say that the proud Israeli father of four “deserved it,” or “he was fair game” because he was a “colonizer.”

When you side with a 17-year-old brainwashed teen who has an institutionalized support system across the spectrum; when you side with the schools of scorn, the academies of hate, the roads of rancor and the politicians that amplify the calls to murder a Jew in Judea, then you are on the wrong side of history.

Don’t lecture me about occupation. Don’t lecture me about rights. Because in this argument of right and wrong, you are wrong.
Fatally wounded, Ari Fuld prevented terrorist from stabbing falafel shop worker
Ari Fuld, the Israeli man who was killed Sunday by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank, pursued his assailant after he had been fatally stabbed, stopping him from attacking a mall employee, and possibly saving her life.

Security camera footage of the shopping mall at the Gush Etzion Junction released on Monday shows Fuld, with blood pouring down his back chasing and shooting 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin.

Fuld, a resident of the nearby Efrat settlement and father of four, was rushed to a Jerusalem hospital, but was declared dead shortly after.

Falafel shop worker Hila Peretz told Channel 10 news on Monday that she saw Jabarin fatally stab Fuld outside the shop a few minutes after serving the Palestinian teenager.

“I served him the falafel; his hand touched mine,” Peretz said of the chilling encounter. “He went out, walked away, and sat on the railing outside the pizza shop. He sat there for at least 40 minutes.

“He didn’t attract suspicion,” she added, “because he was a kid.”
JPost Editorial: Courage and incitement
Last week, the world marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords and the day that prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed an agreement that was supposed to bring peace to the Middle East and end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. For 25 years, that peace has evaded us and on Sunday, we received a stark reminder why.

The murder of Ari Fuld, the Israeli-American national, stabbed to death outside the Gush Etzion mall is a reminder how Israel needs to remain vigilant in face of attempts by Palestinian terrorists and others to undermine the state and instill fear among its citizens.

Fuld’s life was an illustration of the resilience and courage that have symbolized the State of Israel since it was established 70 years ago and is exactly the reason why Israel’s detractors and enemies will ultimately fail.

A native of New York and a graduate of Yeshiva University, Fuld moved to Israel, established a family and lived in Efrat, south of Jerusalem. He worked night and day to provide for IDF soldiers. One example was over the summer, when Fuld initiated the “Cool-A-Chayal” campaign to distribute to 10,000 soldiers a neck brace that provides refreshing cool air.

He was a proud and strong advocate of the State of Israel and never shied away from debates. On the contrary, he embraced them. After news of his death, social media lit up with condolences, including from Peace Now board member Yariv Oppenheimer and Meretz member Uri Zaki. The three often co-hosted a TV show and while they couldn’t disagree more with Fuld and his staunch right-wing views, they mourned the loss of their friend.
Palestinian Authority Rushes Payment to Terrorist’s Family Hours After Attack Kills Father of Four
The Palestinian Authority (PA) rushed to transfer an advance of roughly $3,300 to the family of terrorist Khalil Jabarin, who killed American-Israeli citizen Ari Fuld in a stabbing attack on Sunday, Eliran Tal reported for Israel’s Channel One News.

Fuld was born in New York before moving to Israel in 1994. He lived in Efrat with his wife and was the father of four children. The PA transfer reportedly occurred hours after the attack, during Fuld’s funeral service.

A diplomatic source speaking to Channel One said that “this is an outrageous and angry step by Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], who proves to us all again that his face is not peace or arrangement with Israel, but rather the continuation of the armed struggle against us,” according to a translation of the original Hebrew-language article.

PA media was quick to paint the terrorist as a young victim. One official PA daily headline read: “The shooting and wounding of the boy Khalil Jabarin, and his arrest claiming that he killed a settler next to ‘Etzion [sic],” according to Palestinian Media Watch.

Palestinians often refer to all Israeli civilians as settlers in order to justify their murder.

Fuld managed to shoot the terrorist before succumbing to his injuries at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The terrorist is being treated in an Israeli hospital, and is in fair condition.
New York Times Finds Ari Fuld’s Murder Not Fit to Print
Sometimes The New York Times puts its bias on display not only with what it chooses to include, but what it chooses to omit. So it is this week with the murder of Ari Fuld, an Israeli-American whose fatal stabbing on Sunday by a Palestinian Arab the Times has so far deemed not fit to print.

A search for “Ari Fuld” on the Times website turns up a wire-service report by Reuters and another by the Associated Press. But there’s no staff-written report by the Times. The wire service reports did not make it into Monday or Tuesday’s print version.

Perhaps editors thought the death of a single Israeli-American didn’t rise to the level of news worth printing. After all, plenty of Americans are murdered in crimes that don’t make it into the Times. Yet the circumstances of Fuld’s death — a 45-year-old father of four, he was stabbed in the back — resonated widely with both the American and Israeli public.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and America’s ambassador to Israel both publicly reacted to Fuld’s death. Even Reform Jewish leaders whose denunciations of President Trump or Israeli government action the Times usually pays a lot of attention, condemned the murder, with Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union of Reform Judaism tweeting, “The Union for Reform Judaism mourns the cold blooded murder of Ari Fuld z”l. A brutal act of terrorism ended his young life. Our hearts go out to his many loved ones. His devotion to Israel and the Jewish people will never be forgotten.”

The Times‘ competitors did cover the news. The Wall Street Journal had its own story, as did USA Today and The Washington Post.
CBC Ignores Murder of Prominent American-Israeli by Palestinian Terrorist
On the morning of September 16 in Israel, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed to death Ari Fuld, a prominent pro-Israel advocate and dual American-Israeli citizen, in a heinous and brazen daylight murder outside a shopping mall near Efrat, at the Gush Etzion Junction south of Jerusalem.

Fuld was a 45-year-old father of four best known for being a passionate and articulate defender of Israel, as a combat soldier who enlisted in the IDF and in the war of ideas in the realm of pro-Israel advocacy.

He was murdered by Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin, a 17-year-old from a nearby Palestinian village.

Fuld, known for his heroism on and off the battlefield, shot his assailant after he was stabbed, an act which likely saved countless lives due to his bravery.

News of this attack was covered worldwide by the mainstream media. The attack itself was condemned by the U.S. and the EU, and Canada’s Ambassador to Israel, Deborah Lyons, also condemned the attack:

It’s even been reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. That said, Abbas’ government will pay the family of Fuld’s murderer NIS 1,400 a month for the next three years as part of its policy of funding what they call “martyrs” for the Palestinian cause. Israel calls this odious policy “pay for slay”.

Here in Canada, the Globe and Mail, CTV News, Toronto Star, National Post (in print and online), and most PostMedia newspapers all covered the attack, prominently we might add, yet we have yet to see any coverage by CBC Online, Radio or TV.

Why has the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster with considerable resources, not covered this horrific terrorist attack that is most newsworthy?
Amb. Ron Prosor: U.S. Decision to Defund UNRWA Removes a Major Obstacle to Peace
Since 1948, the number of Palestinian refugees under UNRWA auspices ballooned from 700,000 to almost 5.5 million. Over 50% of the so-called refugees have found homes across the globe many years ago, and would not be considered refugees by any standard other than UNRWA's.

While the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been working overtime over the past decade dealing with 30 million refugees, UNRWA operates with a budget that's four times larger. UNRWA also employs 30,000, a number three times as large as UNHCR.

Will the de-funding of UNRWA create short-term challenges? Of course. But those are quite realistically alleviated by transferring UNRWA budgets to either UNHCR or the Palestinian Authority, which as the governing body in the West Bank should also be in charge of education and social services.

One can only commend the current U.S. administration for attempting to remove one of the major obstacles to peace in our region.
Envoy said to ask to be introduced as ‘Representative of Jewish State of Israel’
In a highly unusual move, an email sent by the office of Israel’s envoy to the European Union and NATO asked a Jewish communal organization to refer to him as “the Representative of the Jewish State of Israel,” Channel 10 news reported Monday.

Aharon Leshno-Yaar, a senior diplomat, attended a Rosh Hashanah event sponsored by the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, the report said. The following day, Leshno-Yaar’s office received an email from the group thanking the ambassador for his attendance. In response, the envoy’s office thanked the group, but asked that in future he be referred to as “the Representative of the Jewish State of Israel.”

Israeli diplomats represent the State of Israel, and it is unheard of for the word “Jewish” to be included in their title.

When Channel 10 asked the Foreign Ministry about the incident, the envoy at first denied it. When confronted with the email, Leshno-Yaar admitted it was authentic but denied the message came from him personally and said it was a private initiative of his secretary.

Shortly after being contacted by Channel 10, the secretary sent another email to the Jewish organization saying there had been a few errors in the previous email and asking them to ignore it.
Housing starts in settlements up by 187% in second quarter
The number of settler housing starts rose by 187% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter, in what could be the first sign of an upward turn of actual West Bank settler construction in the era of the Trump administration.

According to data released on Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, ground was broken on 794 new homes from April to June of this year, compared with the work that was initiated on 279 such units from January to March of this year.

Until this quarter, actual settlement building had appeared to take a downward turn under the Trump administration, even though there has been a sharp increase in construction planning.

US President Donald Trump has also refused to condemn settlement building as his predecessor Barack Obama did.

Still, in spite of the Obama administration’s no-tolerance policy for settlement building, the 3,121 settler housing starts in 2016 marked the highest number since the year 2000, when former Labor Party prime minister Ehud Barak was in office.
Seth Frantzman: What Russia’s Latakia condemnation means for Israel
Russia’s harsh condemnation of what it alleged was an air strike on Syria on Monday night indicates an escalation in Moscow’s rhetoric. This comes after 15 Russian servicemen were killed when their IL-20 was hit by a Syrian S-200 anti-aircraft missile that mistook it for an enemy aircraft.

Moscow says that “Israeli pilots placed him [the IL-20] under the fire of Syria’s air defense.” It is not in keeping with the “spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right to adequate response.”

Russia has blamed Israel for air strikes in Syria in the past. In early April Moscow condemned Israel, and in late April said the strikes were unacceptable. But the April round of condemnations did not include the level of rhetoric of the September 18 statement. This is because Russian servicemen were not killed.

The new Moscow statement did not have to blame Jerusalem and allege Israeli pilots put the Russians in danger. It could have blamed Syrian air defense.

Syrian air defenses are Russian-made so blaming the equipment for making a mistake would actually be of self-critique regarding the technology.

Also there is a sense in the statement that Moscow thinks Israel deliberately created a complex stratagem near Latakia to purposely confuse the air defense. Moscow alleges Israel only warned Russia via a “hotline” one minute before the attack.

This did not give the IL-20 time to descend and land at Khmeimim, an air base where Russia has planes. Russia also says that the airstrikes were carried out over a French frigate stationed off the coast which fooled air defenses into thinking cruise missiles were being fired. It says Israel used the cover of the Russian plane as well.
Raised Israel-Russia tension is not the only troubling aspect of strike in Syria
The escalated friction in Israel-Russia ties, however, is not the only unusual aspect of this attack. The location of the targets that were struck was also out of the ordinary — and, again, this is because of the Russian connection.

The port city of Latakia is considered to be Syria’s main port city, the center of Bashar Assad’s Alawite Islamic sect, and a symbol of the survival of the Assad regime. Beyond this, however, it is also marked by a significant Russian presence.

The Russian air base Hmeimim, which is considered the most important in the country, is located nearby, to the south. Russia maintains several rings of protective anti-aircraft missile defenses around the base. This area was adjacent to the targets struck overnight.

Russia’s main naval base in Syria may be located at Tartus, a few dozen miles further south, but Russian ships do use Latakia from time to time, as a kind of secondary port. Until now, the whole area had been considered almost extra-territorial by Israel, essentially off-limits, because of the Russian presence. There may have been an occasional strike in recent years, but if so, it barely figured in international, Arab or, indeed, Israeli media reports.
Explosions seen in the Syrian city of Latakia after an attack on a military facility nearby on September 17, 2018. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Therefore, for Israel to have struck at targets in Latakia, the targets must have been critical. And indeed, the IDF, in its Tuesday statement, specified that the target was a Syrian military facility that manufactured “accurate and lethal weapons,” which were “about to be transferred, on behalf of Iran, to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Putin says Israel did not shoot down Russian plane, calls it a tragic accident
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Tuesday that Israel did not shoot down a Russian military reconnaisance plane with 15 people on board, saying the downing of the plane by Syrian air defenses was a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances.”

“It rather looks like a chain of tragic accidental circumstances,” Putin told reporters, rejecting any comparisons with the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey in 2015.

“An Israeli jet did not shoot down our plane,” Putin said.

The Russian defense ministry earlier Tuesday had blamed Israel for the incident and warned of reprisals.

Putin said he had signed off on the defense ministry statement. “No doubt we should seriously look into this,” Putin said, speaking at a news conference after talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Putin will speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told the TASS news agency.
In rare move, IDF admits Syria strike, expresses sorrow over Russian plane
The Israeli military on Tuesday acknowledged conducting an airstrike against a Syrian weapons facility the night before and “expressed sorrow” for the deaths of 15 Russian soldiers, whose plane was shot down during the attack by Syrian air defenses.

The highly irregular move came as Moscow fumed over the incident and threatened unspecified “measures,” saying it held Israel wholly responsible.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces denied all responsibility for the downing of the Russian spy plane, saying that Syria, Iran and Hezbollah were the ones at fault.

“Israel expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed tonight due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire,” the IDF said, and noted that the Russian plane that was hit “was not within the area of the operation.”

Shortly after the military released its statement, a senior Israeli official announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladmir Putin were slated to speak about the matter later in the day.

The Israeli strike was conducted at approximately 10 p.m. by four F-16 fighter jets, according to the Russian military.

Syrian air defenses opened fire at the incoming missiles, at the attacking aircraft and — according to Israel — at nothing in particular. The Russian Il-20 was shot down in the air battle, along with its 15-person crew.
Russia summons Israeli envoy after warning of response over downed plane
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador Tuesday afternoon, state media reported, as Moscow fumed over the Syrian downing of a military plane that it said was the result of an Israeli “provocation.”

The summons came hours after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Liberman that Moscow was holding Israel fully responsible for the downing of the aircraft and threatened possible “countermeasures,” amid fears the incident could send ties between Moscow and Jerusalem spiraling.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Foreign Ministry refused to comment.
Syria says suspected Israeli strikes hit regime facility
A Syrian facility linked to the country’s chemical weapons program was bombed on Monday night, triggering Syrian air defenses, state media reported.

The state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV reported loud explosions in the coastal Latakia province, saying they were likely from Israeli strikes targeting a state company for technical industries.

The Syrian army said that Israel fired missiles from Lebanese airspace, adding that two people were killed in the attack and the facility was severely damaged, Hadashot reported early Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Defense denied that the American military was behind the attack, telling the Voice of America news outlet, “I can unequivocally say this is not us.”

Syrian military sources told SANA that the attack came from the direction of the sea and targeted an Organization for Technological Industries center in Latakia.
Iran hails Russia-Turkey agreement to avoid Idlib onslaught
Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday hailed an agreement between Turkey and Russia to avert an assault on Syria’s last major rebel stronghold in Idlib province as an example of “responsible diplomacy.”

After more than four hours of negotiations in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday, regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey agreed to create a demilitarized zone around the opposition bastion.

“Intensive responsible diplomacy over the last few weeks … is succeeding to avert war in Idlib with a firm commitment to fight extremist terror,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“Diplomacy works,” he added, pointing to his visits to Ankara and Damascus as well as a three-way summit between the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey earlier this month.

Asked at a news conference Tuesday whether Iran was consulted about the Sochi decision, Zarif said: “Yes, Iran has always been at the center of consultations,” the semi-official news agency ISNA reported.

Tehran and Moscow are key supporters of President Bashar Assad in the country’s seven-year civil war, while Ankara backs opposition fighters seeking the ouster of the Syrian leader.
IDF officer who shot down Syrian plane speaks of tension before missile launch
Captain Or Naaman, the IDF officer who commanded the unit that downed a Syrian plane after it entered Israeli airspace in July, described the tension in the control station during the operation, in an interview with Hadashot news shown Monday.

According to the Israeli military, a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet entered Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights on July 24, traveling approximately two kilometers (one mile) before it was shot down by two Israeli Patriot interceptor missiles.

Naaman commanded the team who fired the missiles, and she said that during the operation the control station remained quiet.

“I can say it is a bit like the paratroopers’ course I did. There is that moment before you jump from the plane — you don’t know what will happen, whether the parachute will open, or if the helmet will fall off, or how you will land on the ground,” she told Hadashot. “This is fairly similar to the process of launching from the control station.”

She also described the palpable tension after the launch.

“You take deep breaths and you wait to hear and see that you knocked out the target,” she said. “When you hear the ‘boom’ outside of the missile, you… that’s… that’s something I never imagined I’d hear.”

The full interview with Naaman will be broadcast on Wednesday night.
Five arrested as police scuffle with Muslim activists on Temple Mount
Police arrested five Muslim activists on the Temple Mount on Tuesday and accused them of trying to obstruct a group of Jewish visitors touring the flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

The arrests came hours ahead of the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur, which begins Tuesday evening. Tensions are often increased around Jewish holidays, which often see an uptick in the number of Jewish visitors to the site.

According to the police and video from the scene, the five suspects belong to the Al-Aqsa Youth organization and had blocked a group of Jewish religious visitors.

“Police asked them several times not to disturb the public order and not to interfere with the proper functioning of the visits, but they did not respond,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.

Video from the incident released by the left-wing Ir Amim organization showed police scuffling with a group of Muslims on the compound, which houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is known as the Haram al-Sharif in Arabic.

According to Ir Amim, police had tried to move two people who work for the Waqf Islamic endowment, which administers the site, from a path where the Jewish visitors had been walking.

A Waqf spokesperson said four people were injured in the fighting.
Incendiary balloon with hand grenade attached lands in Western Negev
An incendiary balloon with a hand grenade attached to it landed in Western Negev on Monday, causing no injuries.

Police volunteers overseeing traffic on Route 232 saw it land and, upon discovering the attached hand grenade, called police teams that disarmed the device.

Police warned the public against approaching balloons and kites due to the risk explosives might be attached to them.

An incendiary balloon landed in the yard of the residency of Knesset Member Haim Jelin [Yesh Atid] in Kibbutz Be'eri on Saturday.

"They [the Palestinians] are still at it," he said in a statement, "there is no agreement."

Gaza residents took to using incendiary balloons and kites against Israel since late March. This strategy lead to NIS 5 million in damages and 5,000 agriculture dunams burnt, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon stated in June, Channel 10 news reported.
IDF shoots at 2 Palestinians it says planted ‘suspicious object’ on Gaza fence
An Israeli aircraft fired at two Palestinians whom the military said planted a “suspicious object” along the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday night.

“An IDF aircraft attacked terrorists who approached the fence in the southern Gaza Strip in a suspicious manner and planted a suspicious object along it,” the army said in a statement.

Palestinian media reported that the suspects were killed in the airstrike, east of the city of Khan Younis. This could not be immediately confirmed.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said medical teams were searching the border region east of Khan Younis but had yet to find any casualties.

Last week, the Israeli military destroyed two improvised explosive devices that had been planted along the Gaza security fence, including one near the site of Monday night’s strike.

One of the bombs had been hidden inside a blue jerrycan, while the other was buried underground and connected to a receiver so it could be detonated remotely, according to the army.

CAMERA: Hamas’ Account of a Boy’s Death A Media Litmus Test
Shortly after 11-year-old Shady Abdel-al was killed in clashes at Gaza’s border with Israel last Friday (Sept. 14), the claim from Hamas’ Ministry of Health that Israeli troops fired on the boy was called into question. While some media outlets subsequently reported information contradicting the health ministry account, others failed to do so. (English spellings of the Arabic name vary. In addition, some media reports put his age at 11; others report that he was 12.)

The plot thickened when information surfaced last night that Hamas itself was retreating from its own story. At that point, with urging and communication from CAMERA, Reuters commendably amended its earlier coverage and issued a new story about Hamas’ backtracking. Agence France Presse, in contrast, has, as of this writing, failed to correct captions which state as fact that Abdel-al “was killed by Israeli forces.”

The initial questions surrounding the circumstances of Abdel-al’s death arose quickly. Avichay Adraee, the Arabic spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, tweeted the same day he was killed (translation by CAMERA Arabic):

Once again, there are mounting questions about the credibility of the statement issued by Hamas’s Ministry of Health regarding the death of the boy Shady Abdel-al during the March of Return. According to the indications and testimonies, the boy was killed as a result of an injury caused by a rock being thrown at the time of the violent actions of riot. Does Ashraf al-Qudra @press221 [a spokesman for the health ministry] have anything to say in response?

The Associated Press was the first news outlet to acknowledge that the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death were disputed. The wire service’s initial coverage included only Hamas’ information, and carried a headline which presented the Ministry of Health’s account as fact (“Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinians, including boy, in Gaza,” Sept. 14). That article relayed Hamas’ information, with attribution, stating:

Three Palestinians, one of them a 12-year-old boy, were killed by Israeli fire Friday as thousands of protesters gathered along Gaza’s perimeter fence with Israel, health officials said.
IDF denies abuse allegations after arrested Palestinian suspect dies
A West Bank man died in Israeli custody after he was arrested by Israeli security forces at his home near the West Bank city of Ramallah in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.

According to Palestinians, Muhammad Zaghloul Khatib, 24, was beaten by Israeli soldiers during his arrest in the village of Bayt Rima, near Ramallah.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that Khatib had died in its custody, but denied Palestinians’ claim that he had been injured during the raid.

“At 6 a.m., special [Israeli] forces raided the martyr’s home and then arrested and violently beat him in front of his family. Two hours later, the Palestinian [Military] Liason informed us that he was martyred,” Bayt Rima Mayor Yazan Rimawi told the Times of Israel.

According to the Israeli military, Khatib lost consciousness shortly after his arrest for as yet unknown reasons.
Drivers of terrorists who killed border cop in Jerusalem get early release
Against the wishes of the prison authority and without the knowledge of the victim’s family, the state shortened the sentences of two men who were accomplices to the June 2017 terror attack which killed Border Police officer Hadas Malka, Hadashot news reported Monday.

The two, who had arranged the three terrorists’ illegal transportation into Jerusalem, had been found guilty of negligent manslaughter in the attack. They had not been aware that the three were planning an attack.

Malka was on patrol outside the Old City walls when she was attacked by a Palestinian assailant near Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem. While fighting her attacker, Malka was stabbed in the chest. She was transferred in critical condition to hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Malka had been in a group of security personnel responding to an attack moments earlier by two other Palestinian assailants, who targeted troops with knives and an automatic weapon at the adjacent Zedekiah’s Cave. All three attackers were killed.

A Palestinian man who arranged transportation for the three was sentenced to 16 months in jail. He was reportedly released three months ago, after his sentence was reduced by a third.
PA official: Don't hold Eurovision in Israel
The Palestinian Authority (PA) official in charge of cultural affairs, Ehab Bseiso, on Monday warned against using holding the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel in 2019, saying doing so “whitewashes the Israeli occupation” and its violations against the Palestinian people.

Should the contest be held in Israel, it would be a crime against the Palestinian people and culture, warned Bseiso, according to the Wafa news agency.

“We call on all cultural promoters in Europe and elsewhere to make culture a tool for justice and not a tool for oppression,” he was quoted as having said in a press conference in Ramallah.

Israel, charged Bseiso, regularly violates Palestinian rights in “the occupied territories”, particularly for artists and creative people by either restricting their movement, arresting them for their writings and closing cultural institutions.

“We look to Eurovision as a contest to promote culture and art,” he said, adding, “Therefore, any act by Eurovision that does not agree with international law is going to serve the occupation and its goals.”
Gaza residents criticize Hamas
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Kamil Abu Rokun, published a video on Monday on COGAT Arabic Facebook page, in which Gazan residents testify that their cause of their dire situation in Gaza is the Hamas terrorist organization.

"We cannot go on. We've suffocated. The people are dead," the residents cry.

Maj. Gen. Abu Rokun wrote to the residents of Gaza and wrote to them, "For months the Hamas leadership has demanded that you come every Friday to the security fence area, endangering your life for violent riots and pointless demonstrations. But when you are wounded and in need of help, Hamas abandons you and does not even take care of your treatment, as you yourself will testify in the next video. "

"From our knowledge of the terrorist organization, it is not surprising that if you are looking for those responsible for your difficult situation in the Gaza Strip, the answer is clear," the Coordinator of Government Activities said.
Hezbollah Ritually Humiliates the UN
In what is becoming a yearly ritual, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2433 end of August, extending the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for another year. The usual actors played their familiar scripted roles: Hezbollah restated its red lines through its habitual threats. Hezbollah’s little helper, “the Lebanese government,” demanded the world continue with the status quo and otherwise keep quiet, and, finally, the Europeans, namely France, led the charge at the UN Security Council to ensure the Lebanese got what they wanted, and blocked any attempt by the United States to introduce amendments to the mandate.

There was one change from last year’s performance, however. Whereas a year ago U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley expressed optimism at the minor and entirely cosmetic changes the United States did manage to introduce, this year, Amb. Haley didn’t even attend the voting session and declined to issue a statement afterwards.

This was fitting, as UNSCR 2433, like its predecessor UNSCR 2373, is an abject failure. What was lauded last year as an improvement, which was supposed to enhance UNIFIL’s freedom of operation, of course always in coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), predictably proved hollow. In fact, Hezbollah made a point to underscore that fact.

On August 4, following a well-established modus operandi, Hezbollah orchestrated an attack on a UNIFIL patrol in the town of Majdal Zoun, north of Naqoura. “The locals”—a Hezbollah tongue-in-cheek euphemism—spotted the Slovak unit taking pictures and surrounded it and obstructed its path. When the patrol tried to escape, the Hezbollah “locals” attacked it, damaging its vehicles. As the patrol moved on, Hezbollah operatives in nearby villages cut it off again, attacked it, confiscated some of its weapons, its cameras and equipment and set fire to their vehicle near the headquarters of the Italian contingent. Later on, Hezbollah “negotiated” the return of the equipment through the LAF, clarifying precisely the role the LAF plays in Lebanon, that of Hezbollah errand boys.
Pompeo On Iran: 'Make No Mistake ... Come November 4 There Will Be A Fundamentally Different Set Of Rules'
On Monday, answering questions at a news briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bluntly addressed the November 4 deadline for imposing more severe sanctions on the despotic theocratic government of Iran, saying, “Make no mistake about it, come November 4 there will be a fundamentally different set of rules with respect to anyone who deems it necessary to engage with — in economic activity with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Pompeo had already been asked about former Secretary of State John Kerry’s machinations in which he spoke with Iranian leaders, triggering President Trump to term the meetings “illegal.” Pompeo answered:

I’ll leave the legal determinations to others. But what Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented. This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and according to him — right? You don’t have to take my word for it. He — these are his answers. He was talking to them. He was telling them to wait out this administration. You can’t find precedent for this in U.S. history, and the secretary ought not — Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s inconsistent with what foreign policy of the United States is, as directed by this President, and it is beyond inappropriate for him to be engaged in this.

Later Pompeo was asked, “Do you think that this effort that you were discussing with the JCPOA, do you think it goes beyond those you mentioned, Secretary Kerry and Wendy Sherman? Do you think there are other former administration officials who are advising the Europeans and the Iranians? And will the administration sanction members or the board members or the entity of SWIFT if they continue to process Iranian transactions?"
International Businesses, Banks Flee Iran As Trump Admin Readies Harsh Sanctions
International businesses across the United States and Europe are making a beeline to exit the Iranian marketplace ahead of the reimposition of harsh U.S. sanctions that Trump administration officials have been warning will target any company that defies America's call to cut ties with the Islamic Republic, according to multiple U.S. officials briefed on closed-door meetings held over the past months.

U.S. diplomats have been holding a series of meetings with top international business and banking leaders to spell out the Trump administration's new sanctions policy, which will come into full force in early November.

Since the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal, 31 European and Asian firms in the Global 500 have announced their intention to exit the Iranian market. Those companies include "France’s Total, Airbus, and PSA/Peugeot, Denmark’s Maersk, Germany’s Allianz and Siemens, Italy’s Eni, Japan’s Mazda and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and BP from the United Kingdom," according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Multiple insiders familiar with these discussions told the Washington Free Beacon the Trump administration has been making clear that if anyone sides with Iran—and a handful of European nations are angling to keep ties with Iran open—they will be smacked with some of the harshest sanctions in recent memory.

Major banks and corporations had been plotting with some European allies to skirt the new restrictions prohibiting business with Iran, but are said to have ceased these efforts in recent weeks after tough warnings from top U.S. diplomats, sources said.
Rubio Asks Justice Department to Find Whether Kerry Broke Federal Law by Meeting With Iranians
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) has asked the Department of Justice to determine whether former Secretary of State John Kerry broke federal law by meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister to try to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

Rubio wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday requesting he determine if Kerry violated the Logan Act or the Foreign Agents Registration Act through his meetings with Javad Zarif, his chief negotiating partner in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, Fox News reports:

The Logan Act prohibits unauthorized personnel to negotiate with a foreign government in relation to any disputes with the U.S., whereas the Foreign Agents Registration Act is a statute that requires persons or companies acting on behalf of foreign governments, political parties or individuals to disclose details of their interactions.

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted his predecessor for "actively undermining" U.S. policy by holding meetings with Mohammad Javad Zarif since leaving office. Pompeo called it "unseemly and unprecedented" and "beyond inappropriate."

Kerry acknowledged last week he has undertaken rogue diplomacy without the approval of the Trump administration to encourage Iran to preserve the agreement with European countries. Kerry and other Obama administration officials believe the Iran deal, struck in 2015, was a landmark achievement.

Kerry told radio host Hugh Hewitt he had met with Zarif in Munich, Norway, and other international forums, although not since Pompeo took office in April. He said he had criticized President Donald Trump for not negotiating with Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in May, reimposing sanctions and calling the agreement "defective."

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