Friday, January 18, 2019

From Ian:

Historian Benny Morris Attacks Palestinian Intransigence
Benny Morris is the Israeli historian whose scholarly work changed the way the Israel Palestine conflict is viewed. He coined the term ‘new historians’ which has come to include Avi Shalim, Ilan Pappe and Tom Segev. These historians challenged some myths about the creation of the state of Israel.

In more recent years Morris appears to have come to regret some of the assertions he has made, or perhaps more accurately, the way in which his research has been used.

Some extracts from his latest interview in Ha’aretz:
“The first intifada was violent but not lethal. It was a popular revolt. People threw stones and a few people were killed. But all told, about 1,000 Palestinians were killed and Jews were not killed, because the Palestinians barely used firearms. They said they didn’t want to live under a military government and Israeli oppression. I refused to take part in that oppression when my battalion was posted to the casbah in Nablus. I was jailed for a few weeks. That’s a light punishment. In other armies refusing an order can land you in prison for years.”

“In the second intifada I was against refusing an order, because it wasn’t just a rebellion against the Israeli occupation but also an attempt to bring Israel to a state of collapse. Many of the terrorist attacks took place on our side of the border and included mass killings. There was terrorist warfare against Israel. To refuse to serve in that situation is not right. At the same time, I am one of those who don’t want to man checkpoints or burst into homes in the middle of the night and turn the closets inside out in a search for weapons. That is very unpleasant work and morally problematic. But the Arab desire to destroy Israel is also morally problematic.”

“The change I underwent is related to one issue: the Palestinians’ readiness to accept the two-state solution and forgo part of the Land of Israel.”

“Anyone who says that Barak and Bill Clinton made the Palestinians an offer they could not agree to is lying. Dennis Ross, the principal negotiator, has already shown in his book that that claim is bullshit. The lack of territorial continuity would only have been between Gaza and the West Bank. They were offered a contiguous territorial bloc of 95 percent of the West Bank, and they rejected it. But the story here is not one plan or another, but the fact that they want 100 percent of the territory of Mandatory Palestine. They were merely playing a game when they said they were ready for a compromise

PMW: PA: Peacebuilding "is treason"!
PA TV attacked the opening of an Israeli supermarket in Atarot in Northern Jerusalem. The supermarket chain is known as a place where Palestinians and Israelis work together. The TV story included this picture which showed skulls in a shopping cart and text stated that shopping there, which is "economic normalization," "is treason"

An important part of the people-to-people peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians that Israel encourages are the joint economic projects that bring financial gain to both. One Israeli prominent in advancing such peacebuilding is businessman Rami Levy who has built a number of supermarkets in which Palestinians and Israelis work side by side. The chain not only successfully employs both Palestinians and Israelis but in the aisles of the supermarkets Israelis and Palestinians are shopping together as well.

But the Palestinian Authority doesn't share Rami Levy's or Israel's interest in peacebuilding. In fact, it opposes it and works against it. When a new Rami Levy complex opened recently in the Atarot industrial area in Northern Jerusalem, official PA TV broadcast this cartoon of a woman with a shopping cart filled with various items. In the reflection in the mirror, her cart is full of skulls, the symbol of death. The text asserts that Palestinians shopping there would be committing "treason" and called for "boycotting" the supermarket:

Text upper left: "Do not be the occupation's partner in the Judaization of the city."
Text upper right: "Economic normalization is treason."
Text bottom right: "Calls from the national and Islamic forces to boycott this [Rami Levy] complex as it finances the occupation and strives to Judaize the city [Jerusalem]."

[Official PA TV, Affairs from the Capital, Jan. 13, 2019]
New York Times Retreats From Gaza Medic War Crime Investigation
Two and a half weeks after a front-page Sunday investigative project in which ten New York Times journalists accused Israel of “possibly a war crime,” the Times is backing away from it by endorsing the Algemeiner’s criticism of the article.

The Times investigative project jumped to three full inside broadsheet pages of the December 30, 2018 New York Times.

One of my many criticisms of the piece for the Algemeiner was this: “The Times, for example, describes Israel as ‘the far stronger party’ relative to the Palestinians. But there are somewhere between 1.5 billion and 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, and around 14 million Jews. There are about 50 Muslim-majority countries, and one small Jewish state. The Muslims also have a lot of the oil. It may be convenient for the Times to stir sympathy for the Palestinians by depicting them as the underdogs, but it’s not as clear-cut a factual matter as the Times describes it.”

I wrote that for the Algemeiner on December 30, the same day the Times article appeared.

Now, on January 17, the Times has waddled in, belatedly, with its own story acknowledging precisely this point. Times “contributing opinion writer” Matti Friedman writes for the Times op-ed page:

Publishing one front-page news article pushing the “far stronger party” story line and then a weeks-later corrective op-ed acknowledging “that’s not the way Israelis see it” and that in fact was a “misunderstanding” and an “illusion” may be a smart short-term business strategy for the Times. It gets the Israel-haters to click on the story accusing “far stronger” Israel of “possibly a war crime,” and it gets the Israel-lovers to click on the story about how the first story was wrong.

From a longer-term perspective, though, this approach has its risks. The New York Times, after all, is a newspaper trying to brand itself as being for “Truth.” “The truth requires taking a stand. The Truth is more important now than ever,” claims a Times brand campaign ad that the newspaper is selling for $50 as an unframed poster at its own gift shop. On this one, though, the Times isn’t so much “taking a stand,” as trying to be on both sides of the issue.

Barry Shaw: The Sharon-Bush letters, and why peace is not possible with the Palestinians
So, has the world absorbed these facts as they plan to solve the Palestinian problem going forward? They haven’t. They ignore the facts of the ground as they plan future Israeli concessions, this time in Judea & Samaria, known to international diplomats as the West Bank.

Just like Sykes-Picot, they pour over maps as they carve up the territory. Somehow they have to wedge as much territory as possible for a Palestinian state and persuade, or force, Israel into more withdrawals of citizens and soldiers.

This time the concessions will bring a Palestinian control just a few miles from outlying kibbutzim and villages in central Israel. It will bring them onto the high ground overlooking Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion Airport, Netanya, and just 70 meters from Highway 6, the main North-South artery in central Israel.

And who will govern this new Palestine? Do they think that Mahmoud Abbas will live forever, or be more honest in facing up to his peace commitments to the Jewish State than was Arafat – who signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn in the presence of president Bill Clinton and the entire world, and then returned to Ramallah to launch a horror campaign of suicide bombers, bus and café bombings known as the Intifada?

Inevitably, the Palestinian psyche will not change. Not against Israel, and not among themselves.

Anyone who thinks that a full and permanent peace will be achieved by the creation of a Palestinian state is delusional.

By the ballot, or by the bullet, Hamas will usurp control of what was once known as the West Bank, what was once Israeli territory, and no international diplomacy will stop them. They didn’t in Gaza. They won’t in their new Palestine. And a Hamas-led Palestine will continue their eternal holy war against the Jews. This time, to eradicate what is left of the rump state of Israel.

This time, they will fire their rockets at us from the high ground. From the Arab village of Rantis down onto Israel’s international airport stretched out below their feet. Or fire missiles at Tel Aviv within eye-shot distance. Tel Aviv skyscrapers fill their horizon. Or lob missiles over the security barrier from their sovereign territory by Tulkarm onto Israeli vehicles on Highway 6. They can’t miss.

This then is the Sharon legacy of withdrawal for the sake of peace.

It didn’t work then. It won’t work now.
Khaled Abu Toameh: 'USAID to end all Palestinian projects on Jan. 31,' former director says
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will end all its projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on January 31 following the US administration’s decision to cut funding to the Palestinians, Dave Harden, former USAID Mission Director and Managing Director of the Georgetown Strategy Group, said on Thursday.

Expressing deep concern over the move, Harden told The Jerusalem Post that the US administration “demonstrates again a lack of nuance, sophistication, and appreciation for the complexity of the situation.”

He added: “Who suffers when USAID leaves schools and water systems unfinished? Palestinians, of course, but also Israelis and Americans. The administration just gave Hamas more running room.”

The cut off of January 31st matches the implementation of the Anti Terrorism Clarification Act, a bill signed into law in October by the Trump Administration. This act creates liability for the PA should it accept any foreign assistance from the US Government - effectively closing down all USAID programming. It has been reported that the Administration has sent the United States Security Coordinator to Congress to advocate for a change to the law to enable security coordination to continue.

Harden later said on Twitter that halting the USAID projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was “another example of the end of the two-state solution.”
Norway’s new government calls for closer cooperation with Israel and will work against PA’s reward of terrorists
Here is what Norway’s new government, lead by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, says in relation to Israel in it’s political platform. MIFF’s unofficial translation follows, read Norwegian original.

The government will:
have a balanced attitude to the Middle East-conflict, actively support the goal of Israel and Palestine as two stated within secure and international recognized borders and support democratic development in the Middle East.
lay the ground for strengthened research and development cooperation, trade, tourism and cultural exchange with Israel. The government does not see boycott of Israel as a contribution to dialogue, understanding and a peaceful development in the Middle East.
mark a clear critical stand against all form of Antisemitism and actively work against economical contributions to terrorism, including reward of prisoners.

In the chapter about international aid, is included:

The government will not support organizations that encourages violence or promote hateful expressions, racism or antisemitism, specifically in the Palestinian areas.
Arab League: Palestinian issue has ‘reduced’ importance
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abu al-Gheith caused a stir when he stated during a recent television interview that the priority of the Palestinian cause – resisting Israel and pushing for a Palestinian state – has been somewhat “reduced,” before clarifying that “it is still a pressing circumstance that we [Arab states] must strive to resist.”

Al-Gheith explained to a local Egyptian channel that times have changed and the Arab world has been dramatically transformed as well. Before 2010 there was not an Arab state that failed but “recent years have been the hardest on the region,” citing the collapse of countries like Yemen, Libya and Syria.

Moreover, al-Gheith cautioned, no one should forget “the mistakes of Arab rulers and their governing regimes which have caused tragedies in the region.”

Mahmoud, an Egyptian political analyst who requested that his last name be withheld due to the sensitivity of the matter told The Media Line that the secretary-general’s “statements are a clear attempt to prepare the way for the normalization of ties with the Zionist entity.

“He [al-Gheith] is not very smart because the Arab street would never accept this entity in any way,” he elaborated, stressing that citizens have turned away from their governments on this issue and remain committed to Arab concerns as a broader nation.

“The majority of Arabs see Israel as a foreign body, and feel threatened by it. While politicians have their own agendas and interests with the Zionist entity, the wider Arab nation does not and rejects it.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Mahmoud Abbas: A Palestinian Don Quixote or a brave hero?
Some Palestinians believe that the Palestinian leadership should apply for full membership in the UN even if the chances of it being approved are zero. A US veto, they argue, will convince the rest of the world that the Americans are fully responsible for the ongoing stalemate in the peace process.

“The current Palestinian diplomatic offensive is primarily aimed at isolating Israel and the US in the international arena, and this seems to be working,” commented a Palestinian political analyst. “Ironically, Trump’s anti-Palestinian policies are backfiring and helping the Palestinians gain more support and sympathy around the world.”

MEANWHILE, THE 83-year-old Abbas appears to be the biggest beneficiary of the Palestinian diplomatic offensive. Tuesday’s ceremony at the UN came as Abbas entered the 15th year of his four-year term in office. His appearance at the UN, as well as his chairmanship of the international bloc, is a severe blow to his political opponents and foes at home and abroad who, since 2009, have been saying that the man is not a legitimate and rightful president.

Abbas sees the presidency of the international group as an international vote of confidence in him and his leadership. Abbas loyalists claim that by openly and bravely standing against the US and Israel in recent years, the PA president has earned the respect of many Palestinians and Arabs.

But Abbas feels that the success of his diplomatic warfare against Israel and the US will remain incomplete without full membership in the UN. He wants to be remembered as the great leader who managed to elevate the status of the Palestinians to full members of the UN, and not as the president who was responsible for deep divisions among his people and the creation of two separate ministates – one in the West Bank and another in the Gaza Strip.

But Abbas’s critics are now likening him to Don Quixote, the 17th-century Spanish literary character who was mocked as a dreamer and delusional foolish man who tilted at windmills.
Report: U.S. will not intervene if IDF attacks Shi'ite militias in Iraq
The United States reportedly said it would not intervene if Israel were to bomb Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

A source in the Iraqi government told the Arabic RT network, a Russian television network, on Thursday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had informed Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi that Washington would not intervene if Israel bombed bases belonging to Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

Following the remarks, RT quoted the source as saying that Abdul-Mahdi expressed his fear about the possible move and told Pompeo that if this were to happen, it will have dire and dangerous consequences for the region.

Reuters reported last year that Iran had delivered ballistic missiles to Iraq, handing over some to Shi'ite militias and was trying to develop a missile manufacturing infrastructure in the country.

It's believed Israel knows about the transference of the missiles from Iran to Iraq and has been monitoring the situation closely over the last few weeks, the source said.

Iran's Foreign Ministry denied the report, saying that "this claim is false, incorrect and ridiculous."
Will Turkey invade north-east Syria?
A second area of concern for the Turkish leader is the Russian stance. Russia has emerged as the key power broker between all countries and elements seeking to act within the Syrian space (with the exception of the US). Moscow chose to allow the Turkish incursion into Afrin in January 2018, probably as part of an attempt to draw Turkey away from its traditional western alignment.

But statements by Russian officials this week appear to indicate that Russia prefers lands currently administered by the Syrian Kurds to return to the control of the Assad regime. Foreign Ministry representative Maria Zakharova, for example, unambiguously expressed this stance. Moscow evidently wants to be able to present the Syrian war as effectively over as soon as possible. A new standoff between a large Turkish controlled area of north and east Syria and the Assad regime would not facilitate this. Erdogan said on Wednesday that he will visit Moscow in the near future, presumably with the intention of clarifying this matter.

Sipan Hemo, the senior military figure in the Kurdish YPG, has been leading a delegation taking part in Russian brokered talks with Assad regime representatives in recent days. Kurdish sources close to the SDF confirmed that if forced to choose, the Syrian Kurds will prefer to allow the Assad regime to resume control of their areas of control, rather than face an onslaught from the Turks.

But of course, for as long as the US position remains ambiguous, and American withdrawal does not look immediately imminent, the Kurds are unlikely to accept the conditions of the regime. As seen in an earlier round of contacts over the summer, the regime will settle for nothing less than the resumption of its full sovereignty east of the Euphrates. That is, the termination of the Kurdish de facto autonomy that has held sway over the last half decade. The Kurds are likely to agree to these terms of surrender if the Americans are about to leave and the Turks are about to enter. But this is not yet quite the situation.

Lastly, it is not clear how effectively Turkey, with its Sunni Arab rebel allies would be able to police the territories it would conquer from the SDF in the event of a major military operation. Kurdish attacks on Turkish forces in Afrin are a common occurrence. The area that would be taken in the event of a major operation into north east Syria would constitute a far larger and more complex space.

Thus, in spite of the Turkish saber rattling on the border, and Erdogan’s pledge in his New York Times op-ed this week that Turkey can ‘get the job done’, significant obstacles remain before a large scale Turkish incursion into north east Syria.

United Nations: Survey finds third of workers sexually harassed
One in three UN workers has been sexually harassed in the past two years, a UN report has revealed.

Just 30,364 staff and contractors completed the survey in November - 17% of the total number eligible to do so.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the report, and the "moderately low" response rate, is a sign that they "still have a long way to go".

The report comes amid the global #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, abuse and assault.

Mr Guterres says the relatively low number of participants in the survey could be a sign of an "ongoing sense of mistrust, perceptions of inaction and lack of accountability" in the UN.

The survey contained "some sobering statistics", he added, as well as "evidence of what needs to change to make a harassment-free workplace real for all of us".

"As an organisation founded on equality, dignity and human rights, we must lead by example and set the standard," he said.
Israel: No More Honorary Consulates in Jerusalem
In a step apparently intended to pressure governments to open embassies or other diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, Israel has told other nations it will no longer allow the operation of honorary consulates in the capital.

According to Channel 13 news, which was the first to report on the move on Thursday, it follows attempts by the Czech Republic and Australia to open honorary consulates in Jerusalem in lieu of an embassy move.

Prague and Canberra viewed the offers as gestures toward Israel — in both cases they came after the countries indicated they recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — but both were turned down by Israel.

The Czech Republic ended up opening a cultural center in the capital, the Australians a trade office. Both are considered a higher level of diplomatic presence than an honorary consul.

In November, in the wake of those incidents, Israel’s Foreign Ministry sent a formal letter to all governments with which Israel maintains diplomatic relations, notifying them that honorary consulates would no longer be permitted in the capital.
Netanyahu asks visiting Romanian PM to move embassy to Jerusalem
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Romania to move its embassy to Jerusalem when he met with the country’s Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă in his office on Friday afternoon.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to see you again. The relations between Israel and Romania are fantastic. They will be made even stronger by your visit," he said as he shook hands with Dăncilă in Jerusalem.

“I hope you will act to stop the bad resolutions against Israel in the European Union. And also, of course, to move your embassy and other embassies to Jerusalem. We wait for you in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said..

The two heads of state discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation in various areas. They also spoke of Iran's aggression in the region and its efforts to entrench itself militarily in Syria.

Netanyahu told Dăncilă that that Israel, in its actions against terrorism, is defending not only itself but Europe as well.
US to buy two Iron Dome batteries as first part of $1.7b missile defense project
The US Army plans to buy two Israeli-developed Iron Dome batteries and deploy them next year as a first step in a new $1.7 billion project to both provide American troops an interim defense against cruise missiles and also explore long-term adoption of Iron Dome components for use in a major US air and missile defense system.

This decision, which has not been announced by the Pentagon or Israeli Defense Ministry, comes after the US military last year conducted an internal review of its short-range air defense needs to assess whether Iron Dome or a Norwegian or US-developed system was best suited to address a gap in defenses against potential Russian and Chinese cruise missile threats.

On October 31, US Army acquisition chief Bruce Jette notified Congress of the results of this internal review which centered on a program called the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept program. IFPC, as the program is called, is still in development and aims to do many of the things Iron Dome has demonstrated in more than 1,700 interceptions, including shooting down unmanned air vehicle, mortars, rockets and artillery.

“Based on an analysis of cost, schedule and performance, the Army [has decided to]: field two interim IFPC batteries of Iron Dome in [fiscal year] 2020, while concurrently componentizing a launcher and interceptor solution that are interoperable and integrated with the Army IBCS by FY-23,” states the 15-page report Jette sent Congress. IBCS is a separate, $7.8 billion development program, a complex effort to create an overarching umbrella to connect and coordinate all US Army short- and long-range air and missile defense sensors and interceptors.

The US Army now plans to spend $373 million to buy the two Israeli-developed defense systems.
Israel calls Malaysian ban on its athletes 'shameful'
Israel condemned on Thursday Malaysia's ban on Israeli participation in international sporting events it hosts and said the decision was inspired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's "rabid anti-Semitism."

Malaysia, a majority-Muslim country that does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, announced on Wednesday it would bar Israelis from any event in the Southeast Asia nation after banning Israeli athletes from the World Para Swimming championships this coming July.

In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called on the International Paralympic Committee, which is organizing the competition, to change the venue if it cannot persuade Malaysia to lift the edict.

"This is shameful and totally opposes the Olympic spirit," the statement said. "Israel condemns the decision, inspired no doubt by Malaysia PM Mahathir's rabid anti-Semitism."

Mahathir, 93, has for decades been accused of anti-Semitism for his attacks against Jews. In a BBC interview in October, he described Jews as "hook-nosed" and blamed them for the troubles in the Middle East.

Swimmers from some 70 countries are expected to compete in the July 29-Aug. 4 championships in the eastern state of Sarawak. The event is an important milestone towards next year's Tokyo Paralympics.
Man arrested in connection with murder of Israeli student in Melbourne
A Melbourne man was arrested in connection with the slaying of a university student in the city, Australian authorities said Friday.

It was not immediately clear if the man was a suspect in the murder of Aiia Maasarwe, 21, who was attacked shortly after midnight on Wednesday while speaking on the phone to her sister, in a murder case that has shaken Australia and drawn international attention.

“Homicide Squad detectives have arrested a man as part of the ongoing investigation into the death of Aiia Maasarwe,” Sgt. Julie-Anne Newman said in a statement released by Victoria state police. “The 20-year-old was arrested in Greensborough by local police working in partnership with homicide detectives about 11.20am.”

“Police would like to thank the public for their assistance with the investigation.”
Aiia Maasarwe pictured in a Melbourne cafe, October 1, 2018. (Instagram)

Police on Thursday had pleaded for the public’s help in catching the killer, who is thought to have assaulted Maasarwe as she got off a train in the Bundoora area of the city, near La Trobe University, where she had been studying as an exchange student.

The Greensborough area neighbors Bundoora on the north end of Melbourne.

Authorities have released few details about the assault out of respect for the family. Police assume the attack was random and opportunistic.

Police have been “saturating” the area since the body of Maasarwe was found near the train stop Wednesday morning to both hunt for the killer and calm the public.
‘It’s just so sad’: Vigils held in Australia for murdered Israeli student
Hundreds of Australians dressed in black gathered in Melbourne on the steps of Victorian state parliament late Friday for a silent vigil in memory of murdered Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe.

The 21-year-old was killed on the way home from a comedy show in Melbourne just after midnight Tuesday. Her body was found in bushes near a tram stop by passers-by several hours later on Wednesday morning.

“It’s a sad reason that we are here today,” one man attending the vigil told Channel Seven TV news. “To sit and stand in anger for what has happened.”

A woman holding back tears at the event said: “It’s just so sad, she seemed like such a lovely girl.”

Attendees were later set to fill the 86 tram, which Maasarwe was believed to have ridden on her way home, with red roses that were reportedly her favorite flowers.

Maasarwe’s father, Saeed, on Friday visited the crime scene, where dozens of flowers and messages from the public have been left nearby in support.
IsraellyCool: ABC Australia Journalist Jennine Khalik ‏Shamelessly Wipes Israel off the Map
Jennine Khalik is a Digital producer and journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). She happens to identify as palestinian.

You might think she would at least pretend to be objective. Think again.

Khalik has gone into overdrive to politicize the horrific murder of Arab-Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe.

Update: Since Khalik is into identity politics (hat tip: Yoel)

The Masarweh surname (among Christians from Jordan) originates from a regional Arabic slang word meaning ‘the Egyptians’.
10,000 riot along Gaza border; IDF said to respond with tear gas, live fire
Around 10,000 Palestinians participated in riots along the border on Friday afternoon, throwing rocks, fire bombs and hand grenades at Israeli troops, and burning tires. Israeli soldiers reportedly responded with tear gas and, in some cases, live fire.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said that 19 people were injured in the clashes, including two members of the press and three medical personnel.

Israel will decide whether to allow the next delivery of economic aid from Qatar to enter the Strip based on the level of violence at the protests, the Haaretz daily reported.

Earlier on Friday, Israeli soldiers detained an unarmed suspect who crossed into Israel from Gaza, Hebrew-language media reported.

Friday’s violence marked the first major test for new IDF chief of staff Aviv Kohavi, who was sworn in as the 22nd commander of the Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday.
Danny Danon: A Riot, Not a Protest, at the Gaza Border
Over the past several weeks, much discussion has been made about the events last spring on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Many have equivocated the actions of violent rioters inspired by Hamas (a terrorist organization) and those of Israel’s soldiers charged with defending the sovereignty of a liberal democracy. This abhorrent argument demonstrates a false moral equivalence and, above all, misses the context of the events.

Last spring, Hamas-inspired rioters gathered on the Gazan side of the border fence with Israel in what was billed as the “Great March of Return.” With such a provocative name, the question bears asking: a return to where?

The answer that much of the media believed is “to their ancestral homelands.” This is a politically correct euphemism for saying: to destroy Israel.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was more explicit: to “tear down their [Israel’s] border and tear out [Israelis’] hearts.” In carrying out this directive, a group of rioters that briefly managed to infiltrate into Israel were brandishing butcher knives and shouting “Jews, we’re coming to slaughter you!”

And therein lies the blunt truth of Hamas: It is driven by a hatred of the Jewish people and seeks the destruction of the Jewish state. In short, it is one of the most anti-Semitic organizations in the world.
IDF demolishes apartment of terrorist who killed US-Israeli Ari Fuld
Israeli security forces early Friday morning demolished an apartment in the family home of a Palestinian teen who stabbed an Israeli man to death in a terror attack in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, witnesses at the scene and the Israel Defense Forces said.

Residents of the town of Yata, near the flashpoint city of Hebron, said that troops arrived at the home of Khalil Jabareen and were met by stone-throwing Palestinians.

The IDF said in a statement that troops were attacked by “several dozen” protesters and responded with riot-dispersal munitions. There were no reports of casualties on either side.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court threw out an appeal by the family of Jabarin, 17, against the demolition of his top-floor apartment in their home, which was ordered as a punishment over his fatal West Bank terror attack.

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut ruled against any further delay in carrying out the punitive measure, ordered in response to the killing of Fuld, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

The IDF had twice notified the family of the terrorist that it planned to destroy the apartment in which he lived, but implementation was delayed after the family filed appeals.

Tel Aviv soccer team fined over fans’ use of ‘Holocaust’ taunts
Israeli soccer’s governing body issued a fine against premier league side Hapoel Tel Aviv on Thursday over its supporters’ “Holocaust” taunts at bitter rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The Israel Football Association said Hapoel was fined NIS 25,000 ($6,770) for disorderly behavior during a championship match on January 14, when Hapoel fans hurled bottles after a scuffle on the pitch between players from the two teams.

The FA said Hapoel supporters twice chanted “Holocaust for Maccabi,” a reference to the annihilation of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis and a taboo use of the term in the Jewish state.

The association rejected the Hapoel lawyer’s argument that the fans used the Hebrew word “Shoah” in its more general sense of “destruction” without meaning to link it to the genocide of Jews.

Hapoel’s management issued a statement denouncing its supporters’ behavior and “all forms of violence,” without mentioning the offending chants.
Hamas, PA Suspicious of Israel's New Internet Radio Webcast
The Israeli Defense Ministry unit known as COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) launched its first Internet radio broadcast Dec. 20 in a new effort to improve relations with Palestinians.

COGAT has been providing mainly entertainment content such as Arab oldies, but once the format shifts to around-the-clock broadcasts, it will become more interactive, allowing listeners to ask questions and helping them tackle problems Palestinians face.

The webcast is one of many technologies COGAT uses - in addition to Facebook, Telegram, smartphone apps, and Wi-Fi at West Bank checkpoints and crossings. Nearly 500,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have "liked" and interacted with COGAT's Facebook page.

Local radio stations in the Palestinian territories are considered the main source of information. There are nearly 70 local radio stations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Emad Abu Awad, an expert on Israeli affairs at the Vision Center for Political Development in Turkey, said, "COGAT's radio seeks to break the barriers between Israel and the Palestinians, boost dealings with the Israeli Civil Administration and lay the foundations of an economic peace between the two sides."

"Many Palestinians are interested in obtaining a work or construction permit or agricultural support. COGAT's radio hopes for open relations between Israel and Palestinians. Unfortunately, there is a chance that this radio will attract a wide audience, as it will focus on ameliorating their living conditions."
PA said to deport Palestinian-American it jailed for selling land to Jews
A Palestinian-American man who last month was sentenced to life in prison by a Palestinian Authority court for attempting to sell land to Jews has been released and handed over to the Americans, the Kan broadcaster reported Thursday.

Issam Akel, a resident of East Jerusalem who holds a blue Israeli identification card and US citizenship, had been held by the PA for several months. In recent days a secret deal was signed between the PA and US authorities, the report said, and Akel was freed on Tuesday.

A US Embassy official declined to comment on the case, citing “privacy concerns.”

One of Akel’s children said he was unaware that his father had been released.

“I have not been informed my dad was transferred to the Americans,” he told The Times of Israel. “As far as I know, he is still in the hands of the PA.”

Israeli Historians Claims 30-Year Genocide against Ottoman and Turkish Christians
The Christian population that had made up one fifth of the Ottoman Empire’s population was wiped out in waves of violence by successive Ottoman and Turkish republican governments that left Christians a tiny minority in Anatolia, two Israeli scholars have said in a new study.

The controversy over the killings of the Armenian Christian minority living in Anatolia during the last days of the Ottoman Empire is already well known – while the majority of the scholarly community and many international states recognise the killings as genocide, Turkey accepts that killings took place but rejects they constituted a genocide.

Israeli historians Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi’s new book, “The Thirty Year Genocide,” makes the even more striking claim that genocide was committed over a thirty year period between 1894 and 1924 against not only the Armenians but against all Ottoman Christian communities.

In an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz about the book, Morris quoted the book as saying that between 1.5 million and 2.5 million Christians were killed during this period, basing this figure on the work of Turkish, Armenian and Greek statisticians.

“Our conclusion that between 1.5 and 2.5 million Christians were murdered, from 1894 to 1924, is a cautious estimate,” Morris said.

“(The) killing of two million Christians was effected through the calculated exhortation of the Turks to create a pure Muslim nation,” the book’s blurb on the website of its publisher, Harvard University Press, reads.

Morris says the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was responsible for “the liquidation of the last Armenians who remained in Turkey,” as well as hundreds of thousands of Greek and Assyrian Christians.
Hezbollah tunnel construction began before 2006 Second Lebanon War — report
The construction of Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels began before the start of the 2006 Second Lebanon War and not three or four years ago as the army has claimed, Channel 13 news reported on Wednesday.

The Israel Defense Forces declined to comment on the report.

According to the television report, the then-head of the army’s Northern Command, Benny Gantz, was warned in 2005 that Hezbollah tunnels were being dug into Israel.

The warning came from the adviser to the IDF chief of staff on the tunnel threat, Col. Yossi Langotsky.

The IDF apparently ignored the information.

The military on Sunday declared that its effort to find and destroy Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels was ending, following the discovery of another such underground passage over the weekend.
IsraellyCool: 10 Year Challenge: Samir Kuntar Edition

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