Thursday, November 15, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Caroline Glick: Iran Opens a War Against Israel from Gaza
A Kornet anti-tank missile hit a civilian bus transporting Israeli soldiers adjacent to Israel’s border with Gaza at 4:30 in the afternoon on Monday.

According to the bus driver, 50 Israeli soldiers had alighted the bus just moments before it was hit by the missile. The missile struck while the bus was moving slowly towards a parking lot. One soldier, who was standing next to the bus, was critically wounded in the blast.

Immediately after the missile strike against the bus, Hamas and its partner, Islamic Jihad, initiated the largest bombardment of Israel they had ever undertaken from Gaza. By late Tuesday morning, the two terror groups had fired more than 400 projectiles into Israel. Fifty Israelis were wounded in the onslaught. One person was killed when a mortar hit an apartment building in Ashkelon. Hundreds of mortars and rockets and missiles were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile batteries. And the government announced it was rushing more Iron Dome batteries to the area.

In the hours following the joint Hamas-Islamic Jihad assault, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (who stepped down Wednesday) ordered the Israel Air Force (IAF) to carry out a large-scale air assault against Hamas command posts and other facilities in the Gaza Strip.

In a media briefing, a senior Air Force commander said the IAF strikes since Monday night have been the most far-reaching raids Israel has ever conducted in Gaza. More than a hundred targets were hit in under two hours, he said.

Israel’s Security Cabinet, which is authorized to order the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to open large-scale operations, including war, convened on Tuesday morning. Its final decision was to walk back the conflict and agree to a ceasefire, with no terms.

The cabinet’s decision was met with fury by residents of the south. They came out in droves, blocked a major highway leading to the embattled border town of Sderot, and set fire to tires while attacking the government for opting not to go to war against Hamas.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Israel-Hamas ceasefire after Gaza violence pushes Abbas toward irrelevancy
As Hamas celebrated its “victory” after Tuesday’s ceasefire with Israel, with Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is increasingly finding himself irrelevant on issues concerning the Gaza Strip. By all accounts, he is the biggest loser from the recent developments in the Strip.

In recent weeks, Abbas’s insignificance has been accentuated by efforts made by Egypt, Qatar and the UN to reach a truce between Hamas and Israel.

Abbas is furious that the three parties have been negotiating directly with Hamas. He believes that direct negotiations will only strengthen Hamas and earn it legitimacy and popularity among Palestinians.

He maintains that the PLO, in its capacity as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians,” is the only party authorized to reach a truce with Israel.

Abbas has repeatedly stressed that Hamas is just another Palestinian faction – one that does not have a mandate to reach agreements with anyone, particularly Israel. He even pointed that it was the PLO, and not Hamas, who reached the last ceasefire that ended the 2014 operation in the Gaza Strip.

But the events of the past few weeks have shown that Egypt, Qatar and the UN are determined to proceed with their efforts to achieve a truce in Gaza, with or without Abbas’s consent. The three parties have reached the conclusion that Abbas is not going to change his position regarding the truce between Hamas and Israel, and that’s why they are now negotiating directly with Israel and with Hamas.
Abbas’s biggest fear is that a truce will embolden Hamas and enable it to maintain its control over the Gaza Strip. He also fears that a truce will solidify the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and pave the way for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

Worse, Abbas was forced this week to sit by and watch as Egyptian, Qatari and other international mediators negotiated a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip without referring to him.
Jonathan S. Tobin: In praise of Netanyahu’s caution
People demonstrated in the streets of Sderot on Tuesday, and who could blame them? They had spent days running back and forth to bomb shelters and safe rooms, enduring the tension and dangers of being subjected to hundreds of rockets fired at their town, as well as the rest of southern Israel, by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza.

But their reaction to news of a ceasefire between Israel and its foes didn’t bring the usual joy and relief. They were mad that once again, Hamas had terrorized and held hundreds of thousands of Israelis hostage—and gotten away with it. More to the point, they blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing them and the country by refusing to respond more forcefully to the 450-plus rockets fired on the country. They said he had not only abandoned them, but had encouraged Hamas to repeat this dismal process the next time it suited them.

Nor were these demonstrators alone in castigating Netanyahu. Some members of his coalition sniped at him for what they considered timorous behavior. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced Netanyahu and went so far as to resign because of the prime minister’s failure to escalate the conflict against Hamas. Lieberman’s motives were transparently political since he opposed military action only weeks ago; his goal was to position himself to Netanyahu’s right if the country went to early elections. But opposition leaders also joined in the Bibi-bashing, giving some on the left the rare opportunity to criticize him from the right for allowing a dangerous security situation to develop and then not resolving it in a satisfactory manner. Most embarrassing was the way his critics in the Knesset and the media used video clips of Netanyahu saying the same things about former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s similar policies towards Gaza when he was in the opposition.

But being hoisted on his own petard in this manner didn’t appear to faze the prime minister. Nor should it. The world looks a lot different from the perspective of being the person who must make life-and-death decisions, as opposed to those who can criticize from the sidelines.

JPost Editorial: Ceasefire for what?
The public rightly demands answers from the government regarding the ceasefire. Protesters gathered near Sderot and burned tires Tuesday. They are angry after six months of intermittent rocket fire, incendiary balloons and other threats that have made life difficult. They have also seen ceasefires come and go throughout the summer and fall. They must have security.

In Gaza on Tuesday night there were celebrations. Hamas thinks it came away with a kind of victory after 24 hours of rockets and reprisals by Israel. Hamas says that its “steadfastness” has triumphed over Israel’s bombardment. It also praises Qatar, Egypt, Norway and the UN for “stopping the Israeli attack.”

The conflict that almost erupted on Monday evening is part of growing tensions between Hamas and Israel over the last six months. This began in March when Hamas decided to launch its March of Return. The massive riots and constant attempts at infiltration have largely failed to ignite a spark in the last six months. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured, all sacrificed so Hamas can save face for more than a decade of failures in Gaza. Hamas thrives best when it can claim to be a “resistance” movement. It gained popularity in the 1990s for its opposition to the Oslo Accords and for its murderous campaign of bombings. It thrived politically by portraying itself as the anti-corruption party, the opposite of Fatah’s ossifying leadership. But Hamas has failed at governance. This is because at its heart it is an Islamist extremist terrorist group, not a responsible governing party. It has no interest in governing the Gaza Strip or improving the lives of people. Insofar as Gazans do receive any bits of hope in life it is because of investment by states like Qatar, which have spent hundreds of millions to build infrastructure. This props up Hamas and enables it to continue to experiment with different threats against Israel. The firing of a Kornet missile and massive barrages of rockets were designed to test the security forces. But Hamas also sought to limit the conflict by not firing long-range rockets.

This is a dangerous and deadly dance. The public is rightly outraged at the ceasefire and the lack of quiet. When this ceasefire is violated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet must have a real answer for Gaza. Another six months of intermittent rockets are not acceptable.

The biggest failure is that Netanyahu has been prime minister for 10 years and has no long-term solution to Gaza. He seeks to manage the conflict and divide the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Is this status quo the best that Israel can achieve? It shows a lack of strategic thinking and policy. It’s time for a long-term strategy.
Weekly Standard Editorial: A Ceasefire in Gaza
For Israel to rely solely on its Iron Dome to intercept rockets is to normalize the terror coming from Gaza. The missile defense system has an 86% rate of efficacy, but rockets still make it through and kill and wound civilians. In Israeli towns like Nahal Oz, Sderot, Beersheba, and Ashkelon, civilians live a fair proportion of their lives in bomb shelters. The young are raised in constant fear of rockets.

Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire, but it will not last. Palestinian militants do not believe in Israel's right to exist. For them, ceasefires are strategic, not substantive, and could be broken any time. This one will be broken, too.

Was not the clandestine Israeli operation inside Gaza a provocation that led to the hostilities? In reality, no. Gaza is run by militants who dream of the destruction of the Zionist entity, as they call Israel. It is worth noting the lightning-fast speed with which rockets filled the skies once Hamas gave the word.

Gaza is perpetually ready to shed the blood of its neighbor's civilians. That Israel runs furtive operations inside Gaza will only shock those who think it an easy thing to protect civilian lives against the imminent threat of carnage.

What the Palestinians need most is to acclimate to the reality of the neighboring Israeli state. That won't happen until the Palestinians find a leader willing to renounce the honor-cult of Jew-hatred and to seek peace and prosperity in earnest. Neither Hamas in Gaza nor Fatah in the West Bank is likely to produce such a leader.
Netanyahu to meet southern community leaders, IDF chiefs amid anger over Gaza
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday invited the mayors of the southern regional councils to his office in Jerusalem for a meeting amid mounting anger over the ceasefire with Hamas and comments from a minister who called a volley of hundreds of rockets fired at southern Israel this week “minor” because the Gaza terrorist groups were not targeting Tel Aviv.

The truce prompted Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to resign on Wednesday and has drawn criticism from some residents of southern Israel who accuse the government of being soft on Hamas. Southern residents on Tuesday and Wednesday burned tires and blocked the entrances to cities battered by Gaza rocket fire in protest of the ceasefire, which they say has left Hamas poised to renew attacks at will.

Netanyahu will be joined at the talks by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, IDF Commander Gadi Eisenkot, and the army’s southern region commander Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The announcement came after earlier Netanyahu rebuked Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzahi Hanegbi for minimizing the attacks on the south.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi at the Knesset on July 9, 2017 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Kibbutz Movement, an umbrella group for hundreds of agricultural collectives, many of which are located in southern Israel, accused Netanyahu of neglecting the southern communities that suffered most from the rocket fire.

“For many months residents of communities along the Gaza border have been dealing with Hamas terrorism,” the movement said in a statement. “For months you have not met with them, you have not heard them and you have not listened to them. Now, after the outrageous words of Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, don’t invite them to your office. Meet them in their homes. Come hear their cries and distress.”
Polls Show Majority Of Israelis Unhappy With Netanyahu’s Handling Of Gaza Flare-Up
Two polls done by Israeli television news outlets have shown that the majority of citizens are unhappy with the way Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu handled the Gaza flare-up this week.

According to a poll done by Channel 2 News on Wednesday night, 74 percent of Israelis disapproved of how the prime minister dealt with the confrontation with Hamas.

In addition, 69 percent of those who participated said they were dissatisfied with outgoing Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s performance, while 51 percent, were dissatisfied with the IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

In a similar poll conducted by Israel Public Broadcaster Kan, 36 percent rated Netanyahu’s performance following the flare-up with Hamas, as “very bad”, 29 percent rated it as “bad”, while 12 percent rated it as “good,” and only 7 percent said Netanyahu had done a “very good” job of dealing with the situation.

In addition, 64 percent were angered about the ceasefire, favoring expanded military operations in Gaza, while only 21 percent of those who took part in the ceasefire said Israel needed to agree to the ceasefire with Hamas.

If snap-elections were to be called now, Netanyahu’s Likud party would receive only 29 seats – which is down from 31 in March.
In Hebron, mourning a Palestinian killed in Ashkelon by a rocket fired from Gaza
At a small medical clinic northwest of Hebron, dozens of members of the Abu Asabeh family on Wednesday received the remains of their loved one, Mahmoud Abu Asabeh, who was killed in Israel by a rocket fired from Gaza earlier this week.

Nihal Abu Asabeh immediately broke down in tears and fell to the ground when she saw her 48-year-old son’s body. Her family members hoisted her up and helped her sit on a nearby chair.

“Mahmoud… Mahmoud,” she cried out, as medical professionals carried his body into the clinic in the West Bank town of Halhoul to wash and wrap it in a white cloth.

Later, family members and locals brought the body to Halhoul’s Nabi Younis Mosque, where they performed traditional prayers and subsequently buried Abu Asabeh in an adjacent cemetery, beside his grandfather.

The funeral was almost entirely devoid of chants and factional flags, which are commonplace at funerals for Palestinians killed in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Traditional Middle Eastern scarfs, however, were laid on Mahmoud’s remains.

No senior Fatah or PA officials attended the burial service. In contrast, a month ago, many high-level Fatah and PA officials took part in a funeral for a Palestinian who was allegedly killed by settlers in the northern West Bank. Few journalists covered the event.
Trauma and Terror: The View from the South
The sound of crunching underfoot made me wince. Amidst the debris lay the belongings of the residents of a four story apartment block in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.

Broken glass, children’s toys, a bottle of red nail polish, even a bicycle, all strewn across the floor, daylight streaming in through a huge hole in the wall looking out on to the street below. I felt like I was desecrating the property of the families who had evacuated the building following a direct hit from a Palestinian rocket.

I was here to see the situation for myself joining the throngs of journalists, both Israeli and foreign, climbing the stairs of the bombed out apartment block, peering through open doors, documenting the destruction.
Death and destruction in Ashkelon

This particular neighborhood in Ashkelon was one of the poorer parts of the city. The building, even before the rocket strike, was old and run down, a product of the 1950s when Israel had to mass produce residential concrete blocks to house the thousands of new immigrants entering the country. While all new Israeli residences have a reinforced security room by law, this and other surrounding buildings did not have any. A public bomb shelter outside doubled as a synagogue.
As Palestinian Rockets Multiplied, Israeli First Responders Struggled to Keep Up
Sometimes, when the rockets are coming down and the sirens are blaring and his phone is ringing, Shimon Lugasi isn’t quite sure which way to run. The veteran first responder and head of United Hatzalah’s Ashkelon regional branch helped respond or send volunteers to almost 70 events during the 48-hour barrage from Gaza at the beginning of the week, but the calls were often coming in too quickly for him to take a breath.

Terror groups in the Gaza Strip launching using massive volleys with dozens of rockets fired simultaneously in an apparent bid to overwhelm the Iron Dome defense system. The tactic seems to have succeeded on a number of occasions, notably in an attack on the city of Ashkelon that left one dead and 13 injured.

Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip fired approximately twice as many rockets and mortar shells at communities in southern Israel on Monday and Tuesday than on even the heaviest day of fighting in the 2014 Gaza war.

Emergency first responders and police are trying to figure out how to respond to a large number of simultaneous events.

“Sometimes we’ll have four instances at once, and we don’t even know where to go [first],” said Lugasi, who oversees 27 volunteers for United Hatzalah in the Ashkelon region, including the city and 28 surrounding towns. “Do you go to the closest event? The one with the most injuries?”

Both Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah add additional dispatchers to help direct an efficient flow of volunteers when there is a large-scale situation such as sustained rocket attacks in the south. Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller said dozens of MDA paramedics from across the country volunteered to come down south to take extra shifts in order to relieve local staff and volunteers.
Lieberman handed Hamas a free win
Over the years, only rarely have defense ministers resigned of their free will. Only one such case comes to mind – Ezer Weizman resigning in 1980 because he disagreed with then Prime Minister Menachem Begin's actions following the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Wednesday that he would step down because over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy toward Hamas in Gaza. It remains to be seen whether his resignation will help him politically but there is no doubt that it already hurt Israel by scrambling its politics and granting Hamas a free win.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to choose between calling early elections and appointing Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett as defense minister, we would be best served by opting for the former. Moving up the elections by six months is preferable to having a defense minister who was appointed because of political extortion by a small faction. Giving Habayit Hayehudi so many important portfolios (it currently holds the justice and education portfolios) would disproportionately favor that faction. If Habayit Hayehudi wants to make sure this right-wing government stays in power, it should not dictate its terms.

To Lieberman's credit, he has been a better defense minister than his immediate predecessor Moshe Ya'alon. He has been more critical of the Israel Defense Forces, at least when it comes to its ground forces, and has forced the top brass to pay attention to the military's shortcomings on various matters.
Netanyahu may appoint Bennett as defense minister to avoid election
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's decision to resign on Wednesday has rattled the political system, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking at ways to preserve the coalition's stability.

Lieberman ‎announced ‎Wednesday that he was resigning his position as defense minister and taking his party, Yisrael Beytenu, out of the coalition. The dramatic announcement followed weeks of what has been described as "prolonged disagreements" with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel's policy in the Gaza Strip and how best to handle Hamas' provocations.

Lieberman has also repeatedly locked horns with Habayit Hayehudi leader ‎Naftali Bennett over the issue.‎

The last straw was apparently Netanyahu's decision to agree to the latest Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Hamas, which followed two days of the fiercest fighting between the IDF and the terrorist group since 2014.

Habayit Hayehudi presented an ultimatum just hours after Lieberman made his decision, saying it would support early elections unless Bennett gets the defense portfolio.
Bennett: 'I want to be defense minister so Israel can go back to winning'
In his first public appearance since the Gaza ceasefire, Naftali Bennett reiterated his ultimatum to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to appoint him as defense minister. Two days earlier, Avigdor Liberman resigned from his post as defense minister, throwing Netanyahu's coalition into a spiral of uncertainty.

Stopping short of explicitly saying that his Bayit Yehudi party will leave the coalition if he is not appointed, Bennett said that he wants to be appointed defense minister so Israel could go back to winning.

"There is something to do," Bennett said. "I told the prime minister yesterday to appoint me defense minister so Israel can back to winning."

"I will bring renewal and creativity to the role," he promised.

Bennett said that Israel finds itself in one of the most complex and dangerous times in its history.

A feeling of helplessness was spreading in Israel because Israel is incapable of winning in its military confrontations, Bennett claimed.

PMW: "Death to Israel" song on Hamas TV half-hour before station destroyed
About a half hour before Hamas' TV station in the Gaza Strip was bombed by Israel, the station broadcast a music video repeatedly announcing: "Death to Israel." The video shows footage from terror attacks and scenes from funerals and burials of Israeli terror victims. The words "DEATH TO ISRAEL" flash in Hebrew on the screen as the Arabic song focuses on that message:

Song: "Expel the thieving occupier from the enraged land of Jerusalem, Rid your house of that one, that Zionist in his humiliation, Write 'death, death, death to Israel' with flowing blood, And with the bleeding body cause death, death, death to Israel"
Text on screen in Hebrew: "Death to Israel"
Hamas leader Nizar Rayan: "[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews. The soldiers of Muhammad have started to return."
Visuals: Funeral of Israeli terror victims
Song: "Be red death. Have no mercy on the army of aggression that wears the clothes of the soldier and the settler."

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Nov. 12, 2018]

Embedded in the music video is a clip with Hamas leader Nizar Rayan chanting with the audience: "[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews. The soldiers of Muhammad have started to return." This slogan is often chanted as a threat to Jews that they should expect to be defeated and murdered again by Muslims, just as Muhammad murdered Jews at the village of Khaibar in the year 628.

That Hamas TV broadcast a song calling for the killing of Israelis/Jews is not surprising. Such music videos are common on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, as Palestinian Media Watch has documented.

New York Times Again Obscures Story About Gaza Violence
Just a day after a New York Times report obscured key details about Hamas rocket attacks — that they are fired by a terror organization, intentionally target civilian centers, and amount to war crimes — the newspaper published another piece that concealed Hamas responsibility, this time for the situation in the Gaza Strip which it rules.

In today’s story, reporter Megan Specia purports to educate readers on “what to know about Gaza’s latest flare-up” (“Gaza’s Latest Flare-Up: The Implications and the Prospects for Peace,” p. A8, Nov. 14, 2018; Online: “What to Know About Gaza’s Latest Flare-Up,” Nov. 13, 2018).

Specia’s preface, “Here are some key things to know about the conflict” might more aptly be rephrased, “Here are the points the New York Times wants to emphasize regarding the conflict.”

The first question asked is “why did tensions rise?”

In setting out a timeline to “explain” why tensions rose, the reporter employs the newspaper’s oft-used artifice of couching deadly Palestinian violence in the passive voice while at the same time using the active voice when referring to casualties of Israeli military operations. The result is a muddled, incoherent paragraph that makes it unclear that Palestinians bear direct responsibility for one death. The reporter Specia writes:

Hamas and other armed groups responded with force, launching rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel. One Palestinian civilian was killed inside Israel on Monday and Israeli airstrikes killed at least seven Palestinians in Gaza on Monday and Tuesday.

The reporter could have easily clarified Palestinian responsibility by noting that “Hamas … responded with force, killing one Palestinian civilian inside Israel.” But, then again, this sort of clarity may have been exactly what editors were trying to avoid.
CBSN Palestinians Fired 100s of Rockets At “Israel’s Military”
A Cornet anti-tank missile which hit a bus which had carried soldiers was an exception to the Palestinian barrage, in which civilians were the targets. Particularly hard hit was the southern city of Ashkelon, where homes were destroyed and one civilian was killed, but smaller communities along the border also were not spared, and were likewise targeted, forcing their residents to flee for protected spaces. They include villages like Ofakim, Maslul, Peduim, Rennen, Ohad, Tzohar, Sde Nitzan, Talmei Eliyahu, Eshbol, Zru’ah, Mabu’im, Nir Moshe, Nir Akiva, Kelachim, Shevi Darom, Givolim, Sderot, Nachal Oz, Omer, Lakia, and many more.

CBS’s own Charlie D’Agata reported from the scene in Ashkelon, documenting the relentless attacks against the southern city. Hamas itself made no secret of the fact that it was deliberately targeting civilian population centers, as opposed to military sites. As CBS itself earlier reported:

Earlier Tuesday, the armed wing of Hamas threatened to step up its attacks and fire rockets further north toward the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Beersheba if Israel continued its airstrikes.

CAMERA has contacted CBS to request a correction making clear that Palestinians fired hundreds of rockets targeting Israeli towns, villages and cities, not Israel’s military. Stay tuned for an update.
LA Times Corrects Palestinian Authority, not Israel, Cut Gaza Salaries
In addition, The Los Angeles Times added a correction at the top of the digital article. (Per The Los Angeles Times’ unconventional policy, the text itself remains unchanged.)

Blaming the Israeli blockade for unpaid Gaza salaries, which are the result of an internal Palestinian dispute and unrelated to Israeli measures, calls to mind the seminal 2014 column by the then New York Times’ readers editor Margaret Sullivan (“The Conflict and the Coverage“). About her paper’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she urged:

Diversify. Strengthen the coverage of Palestinians. They are more than just victims, and their beliefs and governance deserve coverage and scrutiny.

Though The New York Times has since eliminated Sullivan’s position, the wisdom of her words lives on. So, too, unfortunately, does the media tendency to skew the narrative, casting Palestinians as Israel’s perpetual victims, even when the reality suggests otherwise.
The BBC World Service’s idea of ‘context’ to rocket attacks on Israeli civilians
The lead item in the November 13th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme OS – formerly ‘Outside Source’ – was described in its synopsis thus:

It’s the heaviest exchange of aerial fire between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants since the full-blown conflict in 2014. The violence follows an Israeli special forces operation inside Gaza which went wrong late on Sunday, causing the deaths of Palestinian militants and an Israeli soldier. We hear from local people living in Gaza.”

Presenter Ben James told listeners (from 00:11 here): [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

James: “We’re your guide to the important stuff happening now and the story at the beginning of our news bulletin then is certainly the one we’re going to spend a great deal of time on on this edition of the programme – what’s been happening between Israel and Gaza in the last 24 hours. You’ll have heard in the bulletin: seven people killed in a flare-up of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants. A short time ago you were just hearing that Hamas said it would agree to an Egyptian brokered cease-fire as long as Israel does. […] Just to take you back, the escalation began when this undercover Israeli Special Forces operation inside Gaza was exposed on Sunday. Since then more than 400 rockets have been fired into Israel by militants. Israeli aircraft have hit 150 militant targets in response.”

After telling listeners what would come up later on in the item (but failing to note that the majority of those killed in the Gaza Strip were terrorists), James next introduced some patently one-sided ‘context’ to a story that is actually about terrorist organisations attacking Israeli civilians with military grade rockets and mortars.

James: “…we wanted to break down some of the
False equivalence in BBC News report on Gaza rocket attacks
In contrast, the BBC’s portrayal of events in the Gaza Strip left readers in no doubt as to who had launched attacks. The account was not given in the BBC’s own words but paraphrased Israeli army statements and it gave details of three targets while failing to report that advance warning of the strikes was given and euphemistically describing members of terrorist organisations as “militants”.

“In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out what it called a wide-scale attack against military targets belonging to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.

It said they included Hamas’s military intelligence headquarters in northern Gaza and “a unique vessel” in a harbour in the south of the territory.

The building housing Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV was also bombed after being evacuated. The IDF said the outlet “contributes to Hamas’s military actions”.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said seven people were killed and 26 others injured in the strikes. At least four of the dead were militants; two are said to have been farmers in northern Gaza.”

The BBC’s report included ‘analysis’ from Jerusalem bureau correspondent Tom Bateman reporting – readers were told – from “southern Israel”. Notably, Bateman’s reporting did not include any interviews with Israeli civilians affected by the heaviest ever barrage of rocket attacks launched by Gaza Strip terrorists and so BBC audiences went away with the mistaken impression that just one block of flats in Ashkelon was damaged in these attacks.
PreOccupiedTerritory: NGOs Call Israel Shooting Down Hamas Rockets ‘Disproportionate’ (satire)
Human rights groups denounced Israel today for its use of a missile defense system against weapons launched from the Gaza Strip, describing the defensive measures as our of proportion to the threat.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Btselem, and other organizations demanded an immediate session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to discuss and condemn the Jewish State for its repeated deployment of explosive rockets to interdict incoming explosive projectiles, measures that rely on what the groups characterized as unwarranted violence against the rockets.

“Israel has once again resorted to military activity in excess of that necessary to defend its citizens,” read a joint statement by the organizations. “Instead of violently intercepting the incoming rockets, Israel could have chosen to negotiate with them, or use non-violent means to contain and subdue them. One can only conclude that Israel has consciously chosen to disregard these other, less destructive means.”

The organizations asserted that shooting down the incoming rockets added to a long line of Israeli actions that violate others’ rights. “Palestinians have suffered enough restriction and privation at Israeli hands, and this additional indignity constitutes but the latest atrocity,” stated Amnesty researcher Richard Burns. “To those of us in the human rights community, this is hardly news, but the world must take action to stop such unconscionable Israeli behavior.”
David Singer: Will President Trump Say "West Bank" or "Judea and Samaria"?
President Trump – having rejected a barrage of criticism since describing himself as a “nationalist” – faces a further torrent of invective should he choose to say “Judea and Samaria” rather than “West Bank” in his soon to-be-released peace proposals.

Arab propaganda has used “West Bank” since 1949 to obliterate any Jewish connection to one of the two remaining pieces of land under the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine where sovereignty still remains undetermined between Jews and Arabs. Even worse, the United Nations and the US State Department have continued using this deceptive and misleading terminology since 1967.

The media and countless political commentators have sought to relegate the historical-geographical term “Judea and Samaria” to some ancient biblical anachronism that fell into disuse centuries ago – yet that term appears in the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica and the UN 1947 Partition Plan resolution.

Incontrovertible Jewish claims to this hotly-disputed territory – about the size of Delaware – were eloquently summarised in the Forward on 12 July 1991:
'As for “Judea” and “Samaria”, they are indeed ancient names, but the notion that they had become “archaic” prior to 1967 is totally false for both English and Hebrew. Indeed, unlike their Moslem counterparts, not only Jewish, but Christian geographers too, from Roman times onward, always considered the mountainous regions north and south of Jerusalem to be discrete entities, since this is how the Old and New Testaments speak of them because of the separate Judean and Israelite kingdoms that existed there. As late as many 18th-, 19th- and early 20th-century atlases, it is possible to find accurate maps of Palestine with the major Arab towns and villages appearing beside the words “Judea” and “Samaria” in large print.

'European attitudes toward Israel are improving dramatically'
Italy is considering opening a permanent mission in Jerusalem in light of the European Union's refusal to allow its member-states to relocate their embassies in Israel to the city.

According to Italian officials, the mission would focus on cultural issues in an effort to bolster bilateral ties.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Guglielmo Picchi, who also serves as one of the heads of the right-wing Northern League party, concluded his official visit to Israel on Wednesday with a visit to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, at the invitation of its president Dr. Dore Gold and researcher and former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein.

Picchi's visit in Israel was aimed at laying the groundwork for a visit by Italian Interior Minister and Northern League head Matteo Salvini.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Picchi said Europe's understanding of Israel and its positions had undergone significant change as of late. He said the coming elections for the European Parliament, set for May 2019, could also impact the European Commission's approach toward Israel should the new right-wing parties gain in strength.
Israeli satellite firm: Images indicate Syrian S-300 not yet operational
Satellite imagery of S-300 air defense batteries in Syria appears to show that the advanced systems provided to the Assad regime by Russia are not yet operational, an Israeli satellite imaging company said.

Images taken over Masyaf, an area in northwest Syria where numerous purported Israeli strikes have occurred against strategic targets, show that the missile launchers are not yet erected, ImageSat International said.

In addition several elements such as radar remain covered with camouflage nets.

“It is probable that the new Syrian S-300 deployment isn’t yet operational,” according to the company, which interprets visual intelligence.

It was not clear what the status of other batteries deployed in the country was.

Russia delivered the advanced S-300 anti-aircraft batteries to Syria last month following the downing of a Russian military plane by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli strike on Iranian targets in Syria the month before.

In addition to four interceptor missile launchers, Moscow also provided Syria with new radars, targeting systems and command centers.
After first Western Wall visit, Czech FM signals Prague won’t move embassy
The Czech Republic’s embassy will likely not be relocated from Tel Aviv to Israel, the country’s foreign minister indicated on Wednesday.

Visiting Ramallah, Tomáš Petříček said Prague’s position on the status of Jerusalem “is in line with international law and the European Union’s position,” according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

The EU vehemently opposes unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and condemned the May 14 opening of the US embassy in the city.

During a meeting Wednesday with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, Petříček stressed that the “Czech House” that will formally open in Jerusalem later this month “does not have any diplomatic status and is only a cultural center.”

Located in the capital’s Cinematheque movie theater, the “Czech House” was billed by Prague as the “first step” toward relocating the country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

In April, Czech President Miloš Zeman announced the beginning of a process that will move the country’s diplomatic missions from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though it remained unclear if and when Prague would actually open an embassy in the holy city.
U.S.-Based Diplomat from Majority-Muslim Azerbaijan Pledges to Fight Anti-Semitism
A senior official from Azerbaijan, a majority-Muslim country located in the southern part of the Caucasus bordering Iran, has expressed solidarity in the wake of the October 27 massacre in which 11 Jews worshipping at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed and six others were wounded.

“What happened in Pittsburgh is truly an assault on all people who believe in peace, because our values and our hopes are undeniably intertwined,” Nasimi Aghayev, Consul General of Azerbaijan to the Western United States, wrote in an op-ed published in the Jewish Journal on November 7.

“Hatred of Jews hurts everyone, just as the hatred of any group of people is a sickness that affects our entire world,” Aghayev, who is based in Los Angeles, observed. “A revolving phenomenon of bigotry, racism and xenophobia that comes in many forms and leaves the same lasting mark wherever it exists.”

“I am grateful that educating every child about the evil of anti-Semitism is part of the mandatory curriculum in Azerbaijan’s public schools,” Aghayev said. But, as he spoke of the need of advancing constructive religious dialogue and interfaith efforts, he also admitted that “Clearly, our work is far from complete. We have so much yet to achieve together.”
Terrorist wounds seven police officers in Jerusalem stabbing attack
Police on Thursday detained five family members of the terrorist who perpetrated a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv on Wednesday night, wounding four police officers.

Police units raided the terrorist’s house and made the arrests on Thursday morning, after having immediately arrested the terrorist the night before at the scene.

The stabbing attack took place at the entrance to the Oz Police Station in the southern east Jerusalem neighborhood. Police said the attacker climbed over the fence of the police station, approached a 50-year-old border policeman who stood at the entrance and attacked him, lightly injuring him in the head.

A border policewoman who stood nearby reacted immediately and shot at the terrorist and neutralized him. One of the policemen at the scene was also hurt by the gun fire, sustaining a light injury to his arm.

The terrorist, a man in his 20s, was seriously wounded and was transferred to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Several other officers also required medical treatment as a result of minor injuries sustained during the struggle with the terrorist.
Armed Jews of Hebron push back against Jihad

PMW: Read like a murderer or murder like a reader? What's the PA's message?
Palestinian Media Watch has reported on the numerous events at which the PA has honored terrorist murderer Baha Alyan who together with an accomplice boarded a bus in Jerusalem in 2015 and shot and stabbed passengers, murdering 3 Israeli civilians.

Before choosing to murder Israelis, Baha Alyan, who was killed during the attack and classified by the PA as a "Martyr," organized a "human reading chain" in Jerusalem at which Palestinians lined up to read books. Since his terror attack, the PA has been promoting murderer Alyan as a role model for Palestinians to encourage reading. It doesn't bother the PA that Alyan was a murderer. On the contrary! It was only after his terror attack that he was turned into a role model.

So what is the PA's real message?
Read like a murderer or murder like a reader?

Since Palestinian murderers have been honored for years as role models by the PA, the PA's new added message is the importance of reading. The importance of killing has already been established. So the PA chose a terrorist to pass on and emphasize the new message: Reading - like killing Israelis - is also a positive value in the PA.

A recent public library event in the PA makes this clear.

The Public Library in the El-Bireh Municipality held a "cultural evening" called "In the Presence of the Martyrs" at which it honored no less than 4 terrorists - 3 of them murderers - and among them Baha Alyan.
PA suspends Hebron police chief for helping Israeli soldiers change a tire
A local Palestinian Authority police chief was suspended after pictures of him helping soldiers replace a damaged tire in the Hebron area were widely shared on social media.

PA police chief Hazem Atallah suspended Col. Ahmed Abu al-Rub and ordered an investigative committee to look into the incident in the Hebron area, PA police spokesman Louay Zreikat told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

The pictures shared on Twitter and Facebook showed Abu al-Rub, who serves as PA police chief in the Hebron Governorate, kneeling and squatting on a dirt road beside a small group of Israeli soldiers and a military vehicle.

One of the pictures also showed Kamal Makhamra, the secretary-general of a local Fatah branch, standing adjacent to Abu al-Rub and the soldiers.

Makhamra told Ma’an, a Palestinian news site, that a group of Fatah, Palestinian and humanitarian officials including himself bumped into the soldiers after providing aid to Palestinians in Susya, a village in the South Hebron Hills.

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