Tuesday, December 25, 2018

From Ian:

Haaretz Op-Ed Says Shooting IDF Soldiers Is Legitimate
An op-ed in Haaretz last week by Kobi Niv was headlined, “Shooting at Soldiers of Occupation is Legitimate.” It is sick.

According to Niv, “Shooting at an occupying army is a legitimate action according to any law. And unfortunately, in Ofra and its sister settlements, in Hebron and its environs and in all the territories occupied in the 1967 war, we are an occupying nation and army. … These areas do not belong to us and not one person in the entire world … recognizes our rights or ownership over these lands. We are a nation, an army, a security service and settlers who are occupiers there.”

He goes on to say that it is the “right of any people around the world who are living under an occupation, … to rebel against the occupier and to try to remove him from their land. Thus, shooting at soldiers of an occupying army, in this case an Israeli one, is a totally legitimate action, by any moral or legal standard.” [Emphasis added]

A phrase mistakenly attributed to Lenin famously referred to those who work against their own people’s best interests — and in support of their enemies’ — as “useful idiots.” There can be no kinder words than this to describe Niv and all those who agree with him.
Haaretz Op-Eds Argue IDF Soldiers Are Terrorists, Israeli Vandals Are KKK
Within a week, Haaretz has managed to publish two Op-Eds demonizing Israel with main arguments based on blatant lies. Namely, shortly after recent West Bank terror attacks which targeted soldiers and civilians, and which claimed the lives of soldiers and a prematurely born infant, Haaretz argues that Hamas is a legitimate guerilla organization. And after Israelis were apparently responsible for vandalizing Palestinian property, a Haaretz column maintains there’s a “flourishing of the Jewish KKK,” that is similar to the American KKK “at its height.”

In the first Op-Ed, Haaretz contributor Kobi Niv claims that the Dec. 13 terror attack in Givat Assaf, near the settlement of Ofra, in which two IDF soldiers were killed, is “a legitimate action according to any law” because the attack targeted “an occupying army” (“Shooting at soldiers of occupation is legitimate,” Dec. 21).

Kobi Niv is lying. As was widely reported, including in his own newpaper, not only “soldiers of the occupying power” were targeted in the Dec. 13 attack; a young woman who stood nearby, a civilian, was also shot from point-blank range and seriously wounded.

In the second Op-Ed, attorney Michael Sfard today labels Israeli settlers who are apparently responsible for the graffiti on the walls of Palestinian houses and who damaged Palestinian-owned cars a Jewish Ku Klux Klan (“The Flourishing of the Jewish KKK“):
We have to face reality. We are witnessing the flourishing of a Jewish Ku Klux Klan movement. Like its American counterpart, the Jewish version also drinks from the polluted springs of religious fanaticism and separatism, only replacing the Christian iconography with its Jewish equivalent. Like white racism’s modus operandi, this Jewish racism is also based on fearmongering and violence against its equivalent of Blacks — the Palestinians.

Like the members of the KKK, the Jewish rioters throw stones, shoot, and set fire to homes, and in one instance, even burned down a house with its residents inside. And like the American Klan at its height, the Jewish Klan also enjoys law enforcement authorities who turn a blind eye.

Is it possible to equate the actions of “the American Klan at its height,” to those of the “price-tag” perpetrators, however repugnant their actions?

“At its height,” the KKK murdered thousands of innocent people, mostly African-Americans. The lynchings, often hangings, were carried out in central squares and streets, in front of a large, inflamed crowd.
David Singer: Trump Must Enjoin UN to Condemn Hizballah, UNIFIL and Hamas

President Trump should urgently enjoin the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to condemn Hizballah and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) following Israel’s discovery of four tunnels dug from Lebanon into Israel.

Trump signed the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (“HR 3342”) into law on 21 December demanding sanctions against Hamas and Hizballah personnel – foreign terrorist organizations proscribed under 8 U.S.C. 1189.

Trump is probably still smarting from the humiliating defeat – by the narrow margin of nine votes – of the American-sponsored Resolution at the UNGA condemning Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza for:
  • repeatedly firing rockets into Israel
  • using airborne incendiary devices
  • constructing military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas
Resubmitting the Resolution to the UNGA would determine whether those countries that voted:
  • against the Resolution (57),
  • abstained (33) or
  • did not vote (16)
will be prepared to change their morally-reprehensible decisions.

Hizballah and UNIFIL have to be made accountable for creating the current dangerous threat to peace and security on the Israel-Lebanese border in flagrant breach of international law and international humanitarian law.

How to Battle Hizbullah Rockets Using Artificial Intelligence
Amit Meltzer, former chief technology officer for a key Israeli government agency, discussed the application of artificial intelligence (AI) against Hizbullah rockets at a recent conference in Tel Aviv.

Israeli intelligence is constantly surveilling Hizbullah rocket crews and known or suspected locations of rockets. He said AI can collect massive amounts of data about the location of rocket crews before and during their preparations for firing rockets, in order to target those teams before they launch their rockets.

In some cases, AI can identify an operational window precisely for deploying paratroopers to deal with a Hizbullah threat for which aerial strikes may be insufficient.

Moreover, since Israel wants to be ethical and reduce collateral civilian casualties, AI can help calculate when and where a terrorist will be alone with a rate of precision that past intelligence could almost never approach.

Melzer also noted that there is "a big difference between intelligence collection by the Chinese versus the Russians" when they use cyber tools on Israel. Russia could pass on intelligence it obtains to the Assad regime in Syria. But in terms of retaliating, he said, "we also do not want a conflict with Russia."

In contrast, "the Chinese have no interest against Israel. They just collect intelligence on the entire world." The "chance they will give this intelligence to adversaries" of Israel is "much lower than with the Russians."

PMW: Christmas is a "Palestinian symbol" and "Jesus was the first Palestinian," says senior Fatah leader
For years, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah have presented Jesus as a Palestinian, as part of its fabricating an ancient Palestinian history.

This year was no exception. On the occasion of Christmas, a top Fatah official spoke of Jesus as "the first Palestinian" and "'Christmas is one of the permanent Palestinian symbols."

In their historical revision, the PA and Fatah ignore that Jesus was a Jew ("Judean") according to Christian tradition and that the Roman Empire changed the name of the land Judea into "Palestine" only a hundred years after Jesus lived. In spite of the dishonesty, senior PA and Fatah leaders have consistently presented Jesus and his mother Mary as Palestinians and Jesus as "the first Palestinian Martyr," and the first Palestinian refugee, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.

The following is a statement from PLO Executive Committee member and Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad yesterday at Khan Al-Ahmar, a site where Palestinian Bedouins have illegally erected buildings and dwellings.

"The lighting of the Christmas tree each year has many meanings in Palestine... Christmas is one of the permanent Palestinian symbols, and the whole world follows Mass in Bethlehem...
The children of Khan Al-Ahmar are happy about the lighting of this tree, as it is the symbol of the first Palestinian, Jesus, peace be upon him. We, the members of the Palestinian people, are celebrating Christmas together with everyone in the land of Palestine...'

The same false claims about Jesus were repeated by Secretary-General of the National Initiative [and PA Parliament member] Mustafa Barghouti:
"Jesus, who was born on this land, was a Palestinian and defeated his suffering."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 20, 2018]
Christmas sympathy for Palestinian Arabs - wrapped in lies
Free speech should be protected and I applaud the Irish newspaper, Southern Star, for having the commitment to allow all views to be expressed in its columns, including its Readers' Letters.
But one thing should be required of its readers. That is to think and question dubious allegations that are frequently expressed in its columns, particularly those attacking Israel and dressed up with emotional imagery.
In the complex world of Middle East violence, it is all too easy to accept, at face value, the stories of oppression especially when women and children are victims.

But is there a deeper motive behind false blanket allegations?

What is the full picture?

What is being hidden from the reader?

And why?

A typical example was a letter posted under the heading “No Peace for Palestinians.” The writer was clearly trying to exploit the Christmas season to gain sympathy for Palestinians “deprived of peace this Christmas through no fault of their own.”

Putting aside the fact that over 90% of Palestinian Arabs are Muslim, do not celebrate Christmas, and are not imbued with the Christmas spirit, the heart of the writer’s slander is that Palestinian families are disturbed “every night” apparently “without reason” by the “brutal violent invasion” of the Israel Defense Forces causing a “nightmare” for the women and children scared by their “alien presence.”
A letter, dripping with such emotional imagery, can fool the generally uninformed but sympathetic reader. That’s how opinions are formed. In our case, it is achieved by painting Israel in the darkest colours and the Palestinian Arabs in words of innocence and victimhood.

The truth is somewhat different.
UNRWA Deletes Tweet Glorifying PFLP Terrorist, Says It Had Been ‘Hacked’
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on Monday deleted a tweet that glorified a terrorist leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), after being called out by UN Watch. The agency blamed the scandalous tweet on a “brief, unauthorized access” to its Twitter account.

According to UN Watch, the deleted UNRWA tweet said: Israel Removes Memorial #Akka Honoring Famed Palestinian Writer Ghassan #Kanafani.”

The tweet included a link to an article with the same title, which reads: “Israel removed a memorial statue in the city of Acre this week dedicated to Palestinian intellectual and writer Ghassan Kanafani. The statue was set up in a cemetery by Palestinians in the northern Israeli city to honor the iconic intellectual and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member.”

Hillel Neuer, head of UN Watch, noted in a press release that ” Palestinian writer” Kanafani was spokesman and right-hand man to arch-terrorist George Habash, the leader of PFLP when it orchestrated the Lod Airport Massacre in 1972, killing 26 and injuring 80.
White House: Israeli Election May Affect Peace-Plan Rollout
The Trump administration said on Monday that the Israeli election in April 2019 could affect the timing behind the highly anticipated rollout of its peace plan.

“The upcoming election in Israel on April 9 is one of many factors we are considering in evaluating the timing of the release of the peace plan,” a senior White House official told JNS.

The date was announced on Monday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Regarding the timing, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino told JNS earlier this month that “the administration continues to place a high priority on achieving a lasting peace, a comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future for both the Palestinian and Israelis. We remain committed to sharing our vision for this, and we intend to release the president’s vision when the administration has concluded that we are ready.”

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and other officials have reportedly warned against releasing the plan during the Israeli election season, so that the vote is not a referendum on the American proposal.
First poll after elections called shows Likud breezing past Gantz to easy win
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would maintain a strong lead over all other political rivals if elections were held today, including over a hypothetical party led by former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, according to a first public opinion poll taken after Monday’s announcement that a national vote will take place in April.

The poll, conducted by the Panels Politics polling agency for the Maariv daily newspaper, showed Likud taking 30 Knesset seats, the same as it holds today, whether Gantz enters the race or not.

If Gantz, who helmed the Israel Defense Forces from 2011 to 2015 and is seen as a centrist, were to run, the survey shows that he could garner 13 seats in his own party, making it the second-largest in the Knesset, but still trailing Likud by a huge margin.

In that scenario, Yesh Atid would be in third place with 12 (up one from its current 11), followed by the Joint (Arab) List and the Jewish Home with 11 apiece (down from 13 and up from eight, respectively).
Michael Oren: A One-Time Opportunity for Israel in the Golan?
Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw ‎American troops from Syria shocked many in the ‎United States and the Middle East.

In Israel, ‎most of the public discourse about this decision revolves around the ‎challenges of this process, but we seem to be ‎largely ignoring the question of what opportunities ‎it may present: For one, could Israel, as ‎compensation, secure a pledge from Washington to ‎help it in times of war and on other vital ‎diplomatic issues?‎

Given the recent discovery of Hezbollah’s grid of ‎terror tunnels and Iran’s attempts to upgrade its ‎offensive capabilities, it is reasonable to assume ‎that Israel is closer than it has ever been in the ‎last decade to a war in the northern sector. This could prove highly complex from a ‎military standpoint and even a legal-diplomatic one: Most of Hezbollah’s arsenal of 130,000 projectiles is hidden under civilian homes. ‎Neutralizing them would require investing ‎considerable military resources and likely ‎entail large civilian losses.‎

It is important to remember that in the last four ‎military campaigns since 2006, Israel has had to ask ‎the United States for additional ammunition, and we ‎would probably have to do the same in a future war. ‎Israel would also likely need diplomatic and legal ‎backing to defend it against condemnations in ‎the UN Security Council and the International ‎Criminal Court.‎

The same opportunity exists regarding the situation ‎opposite Hamas in the Gaza Strip: Israel can win ‎a US commitment for the post-Hamas era ‎there. Naturally, the IDF is capable of removing ‎Hamas from the Gaza Strip on its own, but the ‎question is who would take its place. ‎Understandings could be reached with the ‎United States — and through it, the Sunni world — on Gaza’s rehabilitation and the ‎establishment of an economic infrastructure for the civilian population there.‎
Italian Minister Salvini In Favor of Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvnini said he is in favor of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Salvini, who is the leader of the right-wing League Party, was asked: “What do you think of President Trump’s policies on immigration?”

He responded: “I went to a Trump rally in Pennsylvania during the campaign, and I appreciate his following through on what he promised voters, as he did with recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

The Washington Post then asked him: “Are you in favor of that?” and Salvini responded, “Yes.”

The minister visited Israel recently, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed him as a “great friend of Israel,” despite the Italian Jewish community’s outcry over his far-right policies and anti-migration views.

During his two-day visit, Salvini met with Netanyahu and visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum and memorial.
‘You’re family,’ terror victims’ relatives tell officers who killed terrorist
Two weeks after security forces tracked down and killed a terrorist who in October murdered two of his coworkers at a West Bank industrial zone, the families of the victims met with the elite police counter-terrorism fighters who killed the Palestinian gunman in a firefight.

In a meeting this week between the troops — whose identity can’t be published — and the families of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi, Border Police commander Yaakov Shabtai said the entire security establishment had dedicated itself to locating Ashraf Na’alowa and arresting his accomplices during the two-month manhunt.

“We had no doubt we would get him, and indeed we did,” Shabtai said, according to a Border Police statement.

On October 7, Na’alowa, 23, killed his coworkers Levengrond Yehezkel and Hajbi at a factory where all three worked in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the West Bank. Another Israeli woman was injured in the attack.
College draws fire by 'inviting terrorists' families' to symposium
A conflict resolution symposium scheduled to take ‎place at the Tel Hai Academic College in northern ‎Israel on Wednesday is stirring strife before it even began, because of the identity of the scheduled speakers. ‎

The symposium ‎is slated to host members of the ‎Parents Circle-Families Forum, a grassroots ‎organization of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families who ‎have lost relatives to terrorism.‎

The invitation, however, did not sit well with about ‎‎100 bereaved families, members of the Choosing Life ‎parents' forum. ‎

‎"We have learned that Tel Hai College and the heads of the Multidisciplinary Studies Program invited ‎terrorists' families to attend this symposium," the ‎bereaved families wrote in a letter to college ‎‎President Professor Yossi Mekori. ‎

‎"We, who lost our children in terrorist attacks ‎refuse to accept this act of disrespect to their [the ‎victims'] memory and any comparison between these ‎despicable animals and our children, who were ‎murdered for being Jewish or Israelis," the letter said. ‎

‎"The members of the Parents Circle are a delusional ‎minority that supports the Palestinian narrative that ‎always blames Israel. They do not ‎represent the bereaved families in Israel."‎
Hezbollah dug terror tunnels under our homes
Imagine a tunnel under your house, dug by terrorists with one aim - to kill you. Hezbollah, a Lebanese terror organisation, dug tunnels under our homes, from Lebanon into Israel. Would you tolerate this?

Turkey warns France ‘no benefit’ in protecting Syrian Kurd militia
France will not gain in any way by retaining forces to protect a Kurdish militia in Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, after Paris announced it would maintain a presence despite an imminent US withdrawal.

Washington’s decision to pull out its 2,000 ground forces from Syria has stunned most allies including France but was greeted with approval by Turkey, which will now have a freer rein to target Kurdish fighters from the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“If France is staying to contribute to Syria’s future, great, but if they are doing this to protect the (militia), this will bring no benefit to anyone,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, according to the Hurriyet daily, in comments also partially carried by the state news agency Anadolu.

Turkey views the YPG militia as a sister “terrorist” organization of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984. The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara, the US and the European Union.

US President Donald Trump last week ordered the withdrawal of US ground forces that had been in Syria to provide training to the YPG under the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance battling against the Islamic State group.

The shock move put allies on the back foot, with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday saying “an ally must be reliable.”

In a sign of the growing diplomatic rift between the two leaders, Macron said, “I deeply regret the decision” by Trump to pullout US troops.

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