Tuesday, May 21, 2019

From Ian:

PMW: Fatah posted offensive Holocaust video after Al-Jazeera condemned and removed it
On May 18, 2019, Al-Jazeera journalists produced an offensive report on the Holocaust. It accused Israel of “having benefitted the most from” the Holocaust, questioned the numbers killed in the Holocaust, and said it was the Jewish control of the media that created so much focus on the Holocaust even though the Jews were just one group among many who were murdered by the Nazis. The report was so offensive that Al-Jazeera itself condemned it, removed it from their website, and suspended the journalists:

“Al-Jazeera stated today, that it has taken disciplinary action and suspended two of its journalists over video content produced on the Holocaust... Dr. Yaser Bishr, Executive Director of Digital Division, stated that Al Jazeera completely disowns the offensive content in question and reiterated that Al Jazeera would not tolerate such material on any of the Network’s platforms.”

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party was upset that Al-Jazeera removed the video. Fatah criticized Al-Jazeera’s actions as benefiting Israel, and decided to post the entire offensive Holocaust report on its Facebook page.

Posted text: “Al-Jazeera TV did a favor to the occupation (i.e., Israel) and erased the video. Let’s publish it again.”
[Official Fatah Facebook page,
May 20, 2019]

Palestinian Media Watch has reported that Holocaust denial, trivialization, and distortion are all common themes of the Palestinian Authority and its leaders.
MEMRI: MEMRI Translates Antisemitic Video On Al-Jazeera Network Stating Israel Is Biggest Winner From Holocaust And Uses 'Same Justification' To Annihilate The Palestinians; Following Broad Media Coverage, Including Crediting MEMRI, Al-Jazeera Fires Journalists, Announces 'Bias And Sensitivity Training'
On May 18, 2019, AJ+ Arabic, an online media platform run by the Qatari Al-Jazeera Network, posted a video it described as "the story of the Holocaust" on Twitter and Facebook. The video, titled "The Gas Chambers Killed Millions of Jews – That's How the Story Goes. What Is the Truth behind the Holocaust and How Did the Zionist Movement Benefit from It?" was narrated by Muna Hawwa, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian who lives in Qatar and works as a producer for the Al-Jazeera Network.

In the video, Hawwa claimed that the number of Jewish Holocaust victims remains "one of the most prominent historical debates to this day," and added that some people believe that Hitler supported Zionist ideology. The "much-regurgitated narrative of the Holocaust sorrows," she said, paved the way for Jewish immigration to Palestine. Although she stressed that "denouncing the Holocaust is a moral obligation," Hawwa added that Israel is the biggest "winner" from the Holocaust and that it uses the "same justification" as a "launching pad for the racial cleansing and annihilation of the Palestinians." She went on to note that the ideology behind the State of Israel had "suckled from the Nazi spirit," and concluded: "So how can a Palestinian denounce a crime that has become the flip side of his own tragedy?" Shortly after its publication, the video could no longer be accessed on Facebook.

On May 19, media, including in the Arab world,[1] began reporting that Al-Jazeera had suspended two journalists over the video, but not before it had garnered 1.1 million views on Facebook and Twitter,[2] and that the video "drew strong criticism after the US-based non-profit Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) tweeted an English translation."[3] Al-Jazeera said that it had suspended two journalists over the video and that the video had "contravened its editorial standards." According to Al-Jazeera, Yaser Bishr, executive director of its digital division, said the network "completely disowns the offensive content in question" and would not tolerate such material on any of the network's platforms, and that he had also announced a mandatory bias and sensitivity training program.[4] The following is a transcript of the clip.
Expert: Al Jazeera Holocaust Denial Video Reflects Widely-Held Views in Arab World
Holocaust denial or minimization, Cohen pointed out, was common in the Arab world, as reflected in the Al Jazeera video.

“The Arabs have a few theories about the Holocaust,” he said. “First that the Europeans didn’t want the Jews, so they paid Hitler money to get rid of us. The second theory is from the Islamists — that it was Allah’s punishment, because we didn’t accept Islam, or because we sinned, Allah punished us with the Holocaust. The third theory, which is that of Mahmoud Abbas, is that we collaborated with the Nazis so we could have a state.”

Such beliefs, Cohen claimed, were nearly ubiquitous, with “90 percent” of Arabs holding such opinions.

A common saying in the Arab world, he said, is “too bad that Hitler didn’t finish the job.”

Also popular, he continued, was a quote falsely attributed to Hitler: “I didn’t kill all the Jews, I left some alive, so they will know why I killed them.”

In addition to Holocaust denial, the Al Jazeera video propagated conspiracy theories about Jewish power, saying, “The victims of the Nazis — who were following Hitler’s orders — exceeded 20 million people. The Jews were part of them. So why is there a focus only on them?”

Hawwa attributed this to “Jewish groups” with “financial resources, media institutions, research centers, and academic voices that managed to put a special spotlight on the Jewish victims of the Nazis.”

She then reiterated a popular but false story about Zionist collaboration with the Nazis, and said, “The persecution and the suffering — the much-regurgitated narrative of the Holocaust sorrows — paved the way for the Jewish immigration to Palestine.”

She then charged, “Israel is the biggest winner from the Holocaust, and it uses the same Nazi justifications as a launching pad for the racial cleansing and annihilation of the Palestinians.”

“The main ideology behind the ‘State of Israel’ is based on religious, national, and geographic concepts that suckled from the Nazi spirit and its main notions. So how can a Palestinian denounce a crime that has become the flip side of his own tragedy?” she asked.

American Military Aid Goes Beyond the Money
Under the current aid package, which requires the purchase of American weapons, many Israeli workers could lose their jobs, and Israeli defense companies will have to open plants in the United States to be eligible for American procurement. The process could make Israeli defense companies less strong and independent, and consequently make the IDF more dependent on weapons systems that it can’t help design, develop, or manufacture. The government and defense establishment have to be cognizant of these potential ramifications and provide a suitable response as soon as possible.

On the other hand, an assured 10-year budget provides stability and allows the defense establishment to plan ahead. Unlike Israel’s own domestic defense budget, which is often subject to whims and cuts that undermine budgetary stability, the US money is set in stone, and the IDF can lean on it to equip itself in a variety of ways. Here, too, it is incumbent on the government to provide vital supplements: If it fails to give the IDF long-term budgetary stability, the army could again find itself using US aid money to buy uniforms, sugar, and ink for office printers.

Several proposals have been raised over the years to ease Israel away from US aid and the dependence it naturally generates, although no such proposal is currently on the table. These proposals are not motivated by financial considerations; Israel they say is a regional power, which should be able to fund its own army without the need for money from others. This is in no way a show of disrespect to the consistent and generous flow of funds from Washington, but rather a demonstration of Israel’s awareness that the primary advantage lies in the close relationship American aid facilitates between the countries, alongside operational and technological cooperation and intelligence sharing, which unmistakably signals America’s firm and unshakable support for Israel.
Walter Russell Mead lays out a new paradigm for Israeli-Palestinian peace
However, Walter Russell Mead, writing in the Wall Street Journal, makes a persuasive argument that co-existence, normalisation efforts and initiatives to promote PA economic growth are in fact pre-prerequisites to any long term final status agreement that would address Palestinian political aspirations:

“It is the Palestinian myth of eternal resistance, and the violence and terrorism the myth legitimates, that perpetuates Israel’s occupation. If the Palestinians were ready to end the resistance and instead promote reconciliation and close economic and political links with the Jewish state, there is no limit to the prosperity that the Palestinians could achieve. There are also concessions to Palestinian territorial and political aspirations that no Israeli leader will make under threat, but that many would accept in conditions of true peace.

Palestinians today don’t need a Nelson Mandela who can lead the struggle for equal political rights in one state. They need a Konrad Adenauer: a leader who can accept military defeat and painful territorial losses while building a prosperous future through reconciliation with the victors. As Adenauer’s postwar West Germany showed, it is possible to recover from crushing defeats, but defeat must be accepted before it can be overcome. A new generation, instead of following its elders down the rabbit hole of eternally futile resistance, could instead work toward competent governance, and ultimately reconciliation and renewal.

Mead may be guilty of being overly optimistic that such a shift could occur absent a true paradigm shift within Palestinian society – namely, a rejection of the zero-sum, honour-shame, moral calculus (and victim-centered identity) that drives so much of their decision making. Just look at the PA’s decision to reject all tax revenues from Israel to protest Jerusalem’s deduction of money the Palestinians pay to terrorists – despite the injurious economic impact of such a stance – to understand how far Palestinians are from implementing a prosperity and cooperation-based strategy.

Yet, Mead points to younger Palestinians he met on a recent visit to the region – their millennials – who, he claims, increasingly reject the failed politics of the older generation, in part because they acknowledge that Israel “is better-governed than the West Bank under the PA—with better administration, less corruption and more responsiveness to public opinion” – and desire a dramatic shift from the stale policies…that have led the Palestinian people to its current plight”.

Like the Arab states threatened by Iran, Mead concludes, “some Palestinians may be slowly beginning to realise that everything that makes Israel a formidable foe can also make it a valuable friend”.
Netanyahu doubles down on West Bank annexation after ex-generals speak out
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top lawmakers from his Likud party on Tuesday spoke out forcefully in support of extending Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, after a group of former senior security officials warned the move would endanger the country.

In a letter to Netanyahu first reported on by Channel 12, Commanders for Israel’s Security, which describes itself as a nonpartisan body of nearly 300 retired senior officers, urged him to hold a public referendum before making any moves to effectively annex the territory.

They said such a step would bring about the collapse of security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and strengthen terrorist organizations.

Netanyahu dismissed their concerns. Using the biblical Hebrew names for the West Bank, he wrote on Twitter that “swaths of land in Judea and Samaria are not just a guarantee of Israel’s security — they are also our patrimony.”

He added that “The same ‘experts’ supported the Iran nuclear deal and warned that ‘Bibi [Netanyahu] is taking a wrong turn and ruining the alliance with America’” — a reference to a press conference the CIS held in 2015 ahead of Netanyahu’s trip to Washington in which he appealed to Congress to oppose the Obama administration in its nuclear accord with Iran.
US, Israeli officials to dedicate Golan town named for Trump in June
American officials will attend a ceremony next month with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lay the cornerstone for a new town in the Golan Heights named for US President Donald Trump, the area’s regional council said Tuesday.

The ceremony on June 12 will dedicate the new community to be built on the site of the existing village of Kela Alon in the northwestern Golan.

The event “will include representatives from the American administration, the prime minister and other members of Knesset,” Golan Regional Council spokeswoman Batya Gotleib said.

She dis not name the officials who would attend and there was no immediate confirmation from the Trump administration.

Gotleib said the 20-member Government Names Committee, which has final say, has not yet announced the name of the town.

Last month Netanyahu said his new government would name a town in the Golan Heights after Trump in honor of the US president’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the northern territory.

Trump signed a proclamation on March 25 recognizing Israel’s hold on the plateau when Netanyahu visited the White House, in a move seen by some as timed to help the Israeli premier in his re-election bid.

It upended decades of US policy and drew some international condemnation, along with Israeli praise.
Caroline Glick: Trump Peace Plan Must Give Israel Full Control of 'Area C'
So while U.S. support for applying Israeli law to the Israeli communities will improve life inside of them and go a long way towards ending their unfair international discrimination based on a false interpretation of international law, drawing a distinction between the communities and their surrounding areas will boomerang. It will ensure that they are besieged while Israel will be hard pressed to defend its interests and its civilians — and the Palestinian will be empowered to threaten both. This will be the case particularly in the event of a Democrat administration, which will be committed to rolling back Trump’s Middle East policies.

Indeed, rather than stabilize the situation, U.S. support for the application of Israeli law within the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, combined with opposition to its application to surrounding areas in Area C, would deny Israel the means to secure the long-term peace of these communities and of its eastern frontier. As a consequence, the advantage Israel gains from a changed U.S. policy would be limited and, in all likelihood, temporary.

A far better policy under the circumstances would be for the U.S. to support the application of Israeli law to all of Area C. As was the case with the Palestinians of Jerusalem when Israel applied its law to the unified city in 1967, the Palestinians in Area C would be granted permanent residency status in Israel and the right to apply for Israeli citizenship.

By applying Israeli law to Area C, Israel would secure its interests for the long haul in a manner that would prevent destabilization based on the partisan identity of a U.S. administration. It would stabilize Israel’s relations with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world in a manner that protects Palestinian self-rule while enhancing and securing the civil rights of all residents of Area C – Israeli and Palestinian alike.
Raphael Ahren: Drop the cynicism. The Bahrain economic confab is a big step forward
On paper, the Arab world has firmly rebuffed and rejected the various recent Trump Administration initiatives and moves regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict, which were seen as presents to the Israeli government.

There was barely a country in the region that did not condemn the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the relocation of the embassy, or the drastic cuts to UNRWA and other Palestinian causes. Even the American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was overwhelmingly condemned, including by enemies of Bashar Assad’s Syria.

And yet, the Kingdom of Bahrain is willingly playing host to the ceremonial unveiling of the Trump administration’s peace plan.

Just a few months after Washington cut all financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, Bahrain co-issued an official statement saying next month’s “Peace to Prosperity” workshop will focus on an “achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region.”

To be sure, that’s not an endorsement of the political part of the US peace plan, which is expected to be released at a later stage.

Hosting senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub in Manama on Monday, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa reiterated his government’s “unequivocal position in supporting the Palestinian cause,” and the Palestinians’ right to a independent state on the pre-1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.

It is unlikely that the Trump peace plan will adapt these parameters.

Still, that an Arab country, which has no formal ties with Israel and continues to pledge allegiance to the Palestinian cause, has agreed to put its name to the first part of the administration’s two-part peace plan is astonishing.
Avi Issacharoff: Failure to launch? Economic workshop signals little appetite for US peace plan
These days, the most pressing matter facing the Saudis and their allies in the Gulf is tensions with Iran and the damaging of oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in what appear to have been Iranian attacks. Later this month, the Arab League will convene an emergency summit and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will meet shortly thereafter, primarily in order to discuss the tensions with Iran.

In short, there is no one in the region who has the appetite or real ability to deal with a US plan addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas, who is now in Qatar, is also in no rush to capitulate to US threats to boycott him or cut off aid. American assistance to the Palestinians has already been extensively rolled back since the PA began its boycott of the US over Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital a year and a half ago.

Recently, Qatar agreed to give the PA $300 million (as part of $480 million promised to the West Bank and Gaza) to fill the funding shortfall in its budget.

Though Abbas may have to make do with less money for the PA, his popularity at home is expected to continue to rise as he maintains his defiance in the face of a US administration that is increasingly seen by his people as biased toward Israel.
PA Minister Rejects U.S. Peace Plan, Brands Palestinian Supporters “Collaborators”
A senior figure in the Palestinian Authority said Monday that any Palestinian who supports the long-anticipated U.S. peace plan for the Middle East “would be nothing but a collaborator” for the United States and Israel.

Ahmad Majdalani, the Palestinian minister for social affairs and a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, made the comments after the U.S. announced Sunday that it will host a conference in Bahrain next month to unveil the economic aspects of the deal.

“There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop,” he vowed.

The Palestinian leadership’s response to U.S. peace efforts has been marked by a policy of total rejectionism, even before details of the plan were leaked. The PA has shown no interest to participate in ongoing discussions led by Jason Greenblatt, the White House chief negotiator, and senior advisor, Jared Kushner.

In July, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, stated that the plan would be “dead on arrival.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas in November described it as “the slap of the century.”
Hebron Palestinian bucks PA boycott, accepts Trump's Bahrain invitation
The first to ignore the Palestinian Authority boycott on US President Donald Trump's June 25 peace plan meeting in Bahrain, is Hebron Palestinian businessman Ashraf Jabari.

On Monday morning he received and accepted an invitation to the Bahrain meeting, where Trump is expected to unveil economic portions of his peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jabari will go to as the representative of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce.

It's a joint Palestinian and Israeli settler group, of which Jabari is a founding member.

“This is a good step," Jabari told The Jerusalem Post.

"I will be going there as a representative of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce together with other representatives of the chamber," Jabari said.

“I have seen that the PA and other factions are calling for a boycott,” Jabari said. "I do not know about other Palestinian businessman who have agreed attend.
Hamas opposes Trump's Bahrain workshop meant to incentivize Palestinians
Hamas released its first response to the upcoming Bahrain workshop scheduled for June, which is seen as a prelude to US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan.

"This is the beginning of the 'Deal of the Century,'" the terrorist group proclaimed, according to Maariv, the Hebrew-language sister publication of The Jerusalem Post.

"We demand from Bahrain and its noble people not to allow the Israeli occupation, the murderers of the Palestinians, to desecrate their land," they stated.

Hamas has ruled the Gaza strip since 2006 and has been engaged in armed conflicts with Israel ever since. They voiced their opposition to "any economic, political or other step that could be a prelude to the 'Deal of the Century,'" according to a translation by Maariv reporter Yasser Okbi.

The oil-rich Arab nation of Bahrain located in the Persian Gulf has warmed up to Israel in recent years, in part due to concern over Iran's influence in the Arab world.
BBC News plugs PA rejection of US peace initiative
In addition to avoiding the obviously inconvenient fact that the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected offers based on the two-state solution which the BBC claims they “support”, the BBC’s implication that there is one unified Palestinian voice which supports the two-state solution is clearly inaccurate and misleading.

Factions such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas – which the BBC repeatedly reminds us won the majority of the popular vote the last time elections were held – obviously do not support the two-state solution or any other formula short of the destruction of Israel. Other factions, including the PFLP for which Malki was formerly spokesman, set themselves up as ‘opposition’ to the Oslo Accords negotiation process at the time.

In addition, the BBC’s wording does not inform readers that an essential part of the two-state solution is the concept (repeatedly endorsed by the Quartet) of ‘two states for two peoples’ – a definition which would require Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state – and that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have repeatedly refused to do so.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinians Demand Iron Dome To Shoot Down Trump Peace Deal (satire)
Concerns over the contents of a much-anticipated and much-touted proposal by the American president to engender a regional resolution to the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict have prompted leaders in Ramallah and Gaza to renew calls for Israel to supply them with an aerial defense system, this time to intercept the proposal instead of rockets.

During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, Palestinian and international officials demanded that Israel supply its proprietary Iron Dome system to Gaza so the civilians there – among whom Hamas and other Jihadist fighters had embedded themselves – could enjoy similar protection to that which Israel gave its residents by deploying the system against Hamas rockets. The calls died down once the fighting subsided, but now Palestinian leaders fear that their outright rejection of yet another proposal – at least the sixth since the conflict erupted in earnest a century ago, and the fourth in twenty years – will erode what remains of their credibility as seekers of a peaceful resolution, and thus of financial and diplomatic backing. They therefore have reissued their demand for Iron Dome, this time to be used against the Trump “Deal of the Century” before it can damage their standing and revenue.

Experts explained that Palestinian Presidnet Mahmoud Abbas of the ruling Fatah faction, on one hand, and Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, on the other, while they remain bitter rivals, agree on the importance of scuttling any genuine peace plan before a formal acceptance or rejection becomes necessary. “The Palestinian ethos that has developed over the last eighty years or so needs to be at war with Zionism to preserve its identity,” observed Bahrain-based commentator Itbah al-Salaam. “In the thinking of the Palestinian leadership today, as well as under Yasser Arafat and Mufti Husseini, there exists no coherent Palestinian people independent of opposition to Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land. Accepting a peace proposal that ends the conflict once and for all not only places any leader who does so in the crosshairs of those factions who reject it as treasonous; it places before the Palestinian people an unfamiliar challenge their leaders fear they cannot meet: building a society based on positive, constructive ideals, not merely a desire to kill Jews and loot their property.”
400 Congress members urge Trump: Safeguard Israel during Syria exit
Nearly 400 members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump calling on him to safeguard Israel’s interests with Syria’s civil war coming to an end.

The letter sent Monday from members of the House of Representatives and the Senate urged Trump to ensure that Israel has the support and materiel to maintain its qualitative military edge in the region.

It also wants economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia and Iran to retreat from their support for the Assad regime, and intensifying sanctions on Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist militia that is Iran’s ally.

“With the region in flux, it remains critical that we reiterate to both friend and foe in the region that we continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” it said.

The letter was spearheaded by the top foreign policy lawmakers in each chamber: Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, its ranking Republican; and Sens. James Risch, R-Idaho, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., its ranking Democrat.
Ukraine’s new president sworn in: ‘We must defend our land like Israelis’
Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky stepped into his new role as Ukrainian president with his inauguration on Monday, launching a new era for the country wracked by war and economic difficulties.

A month after scoring a landslide election victory against incumbent Petro Poroshenko, the 41-year-old became Ukraine’s youngest post-Soviet president.

In a ceremony in parliament, he placed his hand on a copy of the constitution and a 16th century manuscript of the New Testament and pledged to “protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

“We must become Icelanders in soccer, Israelis in defending our land, Japanese in technology,” he said, according to a report from the BBC. (h/t Zvi)
WJC chief slams Polish PM: ‘Poles profiteered from Jewish assets for decades’
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder on Monday rebuked the Polish prime minister for his rejection of Jewish restitution, saying the country’s institutions had for decades “profiteered” off assets stolen from Holocaust victims.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was quoted as having said Saturday that holding Poland liable for the restitution of Jewish property seized by the Nazis during World War II would hand a “posthumous victory” to Hitler.

Poland, a victim of the Nazis, would be turned into a perpetrator, Morawiecki said, becoming the latest ruling party member to comment on a US law on the restitution of Jewish properties seized during the Holocaust.

Poland, which was invaded by Nazi Germany and lost six million citizens during World War II, insists the matter is closed and says the legislation will have no impact at home.

In a statement, Lauder called the comments “reprehensible” and called on Morawiecki to explain or retract them.
Israeli Terror Victim’s Mother Gives Birth Four Years to Day After Late Daughter Was Born
An Israeli mother whose baby died following a terrorist attack four years ago gave birth on Sunday on the same date as her late daughter was born.

Adele Biton was only an infant after she was critically wounded in a stone-throwing incident in the West Bank. She later died of complications from pneumonia.

According to Hebrew news site Mako, her mother Adva said that after her new baby was born, “I am a believer, and hidden are the ways of God that things have come together on the same date, but together with that I believe that the new baby has also come with a mission of great light.”

“It’s a whole mix of emotions,” she said of her reaction to the event. “Its exciting and chilling, but I don’t take it to a place of reincarnation.”

“Just as we live with the loss 24/7, we choose live and continue to bring life into the world,” Adva continued. “We live the loss and the pain and we know how to live with it. We haven’t gotten used to it, but it’s with us and always will be with us.”
Second-Temple Era Jewish Bones Buried Properly after Desecration by Arabs
Hundreds took part on Tuesday in an unusual funeral in the village of Kfar Adumim, honoring hundreds of bones that had been extracted from a Second Temple era Jewish burial cave near Jericho, which had been desecrated by Arab grave robbers, Regavim reported.

The cave was discovered shortly before last Passover by the volunteers of the “Guarding our Eternity” initiative who were hiking near the Hasmonean palaces in the Jericho area. To their chagrin, they realized the cave had been exposed in the course of earthworks carried out by Arabs from the area using a tractor for illegal agricultural work.

The grottoes inside the cave were badly damaged and hundreds of broken human bones were rolling in the freshly upturned soil. Local Arabs told the volunteers that the ossuaries (coffins) inside had been plundered.
Israel and Hamas deny report of reaching 6-month cease-fire deal
Israel and Hamas both denied a report early on Tuesday that they had agreed to a six-month cease-fire.

Israel’s Channel 12 news reported on Monday night that Hamas had agreed, among other things, to curb violence along the Gaza border and adhere to a 300-meter (1,000-foot) buffer zone.

In exchange, according to the report, Israel agreed to permit an expanded fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, and open border crossings for humanitarian and medical supplies.

A cease-fire was reached earlier this month after Hamas launched almost 700 rockets from Gaza toward Israel.

The Prime Minister’s Office denied the report.

“There are no new understandings with Hamas,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said, highlighting that efforts to bring back Israeli prisoners and the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers, killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, continued unabated.

Hamas also denied the claims.
COGAT announces Gaza fishing zone extension, does not mention ceasefire
The fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip has been extended to 15 nautical miles, the head of COGAT, Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, announced on Tuesday.

According to the announcement, the act "is part of the civilian policy for prevention of deterioration in humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and is consistent with the policy of distinguishing between terrorists and the uninvolved population."

The announcement also stated that the extension is conditioned to "Gaza Strip fishermen respecting the agreements," and added that "it is emphasized that deviation from the agreed-upon limits will not be allowed, and the security forces will handle any deviation accordingly."

On Tuesday morning, Israel and Hamas denied a Channel 12 report that a Gaza ceasefire understanding had been reached that would ensure six months of calm.

The report claimed that as part of the understandings, the IDF will allow the extension of the fishing zone.

The COGAT announcement released on Tuesday does not state that the act is part of a ceasefire.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are Terrorist Organizations and Should be Treated as Such
The leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) walked away from the negotiating table a long time ago and show no interest in returning. They have continually refused to do what the Trump administration has asked: stop funding terrorism. They have shown again and again that they do not want a state living peacefully alongside Israel; they want to displace Israel. They have rejected the most generous proposals made by Israeli prime ministers, such as one made by Ehud Olmert in 2008, which included a near-total withdrawal from West Bank and the end of Israeli control of Jerusalem's Old City.

The Middle East scholar, Daniel Pipes, observing that Israel's leaders shy away from victory, writes: "The only way for the conflict to be resolved is for one side to give up."

"[F]iring 600 rockets at civilian targets in a neighboring country is an act of war... and as such it grants the nation-state [Israel] the authority under the international law of armed conflict not just to disable the specific military assets used to carry it out but to destroy those who carried it out... It's time for the world community to stop imposing these double standards on Israel, and start doing what international law requires: holding Hamas responsible for the devastation that results from Israel's legal, necessary, and proper responses to its provocations. Only then will Hamas know that if it sows the wind, it could truly reap the whirlwind..." — David French, National Review, May 6, 2019.
Security Prisons to Cut Terrorists’ Luxury Canteen Products by 50% following Civic Group’s FOI Revelations
The Israel Prisons Service (IPS) on Monday announced that it had reduced the products offered for sale in security prison canteens by 50%. This includes the prisons of Damon, Nafha, Ofer, Megiddo, Ramon, Ketziot and Gilboa.

Under the new restrictions, no cosmetic toiletries, luxury shoes and sweets will be sold.

The restrictions came in response to Monday’s revelation by the Lavi organization of the luxuries that the IPS provides to terrorists in Israeli prisons. The list includes hundreds of products, including chocolate, meat, cold cuts, cookies, snacks, and various brands of soft drinks. In addition, the IPS canteens offer G-Shock watches, Timberland shoes, Nike shoes, creams, Sony electronics, various aftershave brands and a wide range of other luxury products.

But from now on, the IPS says it is introducing changes in the quantity and variety of products sold to security prisoners. A senior IPS official told Mako News that the cuts could reach up to 50% in the quantity and range of products offered for sale to prisoners.

U.S. Intel Warns Iran Plotting ‘Tactical Surprise’ Attacks in Gulf
Intelligence indicates that the Iranian regime is using its terror proxy groups to conduct attacks on ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical Persian Gulf shipping lane that has become the center of international tensions as Tehran seeks to foment instability in reaction to President Donald Trump's efforts to strangle the hardline regime.

U.S. intelligence collected over the past month had indicated that Iran has been installing missiles on small vessels in the Gulf region. Tehran is relying on a large network of terror proxies and allies to attack not only commercial vessels in the region, but also U.S. military assets stationed there.

Iran has a long history of conducting terror attacks in this manner, fueling worry in the Trump administration that Tehran could carry out a large-scale attack via its terror networks. In just the past two years, Iran has been identified as being responsible for at least 143 attacks against shipping vessels in the Gulf, according to expert analyses of the ongoing tensions in the region.

There is further evidence Tehran is developing a range of tactical weapons and smaller vessels that could pose significant problems for the U.S. Navy and its larger boats, according to U.S. intelligence assessments and experts.
Don’t blame Israel for the Iran war scare
Donald Trump arrived in the White House in 2017 with few firm convictions or in-depth knowledge about America’s security challenges. But he did have instincts about policy that could have led him in two different directions, especially with respect to Iran.

On the one hand, the U.S. president is something of an isolationist at heart – and not just because he choose the “America First” slogan for his foreign policy, one that resonated with the toxic debates about U.S. intervention in World War II. Trump’s belief the Iraq War was a disaster, combined with his opposition to “nation-building” in the Middle East, made it obvious that he wouldn’t countenance involving the United States in a war over anything but direct U.S. interests.

On the other hand, his equally strong distrust of the foreign policy establishment is such that, more than any other president in memory, he is inclined to view the traditional U.S. approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as well as the attempt by the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama to deal with the Iran nuclear threat as catastrophic mistakes.

That’s why the debate over who will be to blame if the United States somehow becomes embroiled in a war with Iran is not simply a matter of the administration’s critics lambasting the president’s alleged blundering or incompetence. In such a debate, a scapegoat must also inevitably be found that can be accused of influencing Trump to make the choices he has made.
Iran claims it quadrupled production of enriched uranium
Iran quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran’s atomic program, nuclear officials said on Monday, just after President Donald Trump and Iran’s foreign minister traded threats and taunts on Twitter.

Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, making it usable for a power plant but far below what is needed for an atomic weapon.

But by increasing production, Iran soon will go beyond the stockpile limitations set by the accord. Tehran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to come up with new terms for the deal, or it will enrich closer to weapons-grade levels in a Middle East already on edge. The Trump administration has deployed bombers and an aircraft carrier to the region over still-unspecified threats from Iran.

Already this month, officials in the United Arab Emirates alleged that four oil tankers were damaged in a sabotage attack; Yemeni rebels allied with Iran launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia; and U.S. diplomats relayed a warning that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked, something dismissed by Tehran.
MEMRI: Editor Of Pro-Hizbullah Daily: Iran Has An Arsenal That Threatens Western Europe And Can Topple Countries
In an article titled "Talk of War against Iran – Our Country Is Not Outside the Campaign" in the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, the daily's editor, Ibrahim Al-Amin, discussed the possibility of an attack on Iran and the implications for Lebanon. He wrote that the U.S. position on Iran is not entirely clear and its moves do not necessarily herald an attack on Iran; nevertheless, America's allies – Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and some European countries – urge it to take military action against Iran, seeing this as the only way to get it to change its policies, and the U.S. is certainly preparing the ground for this option. Al-Amin compared the current tension between the U.S. and Iran to the tension between Israel and Hizbullah: just as Israel wants to attack Hizbullah, but experts within it warn that an attack will be costly and will not necessarily produce a decisive result, the U.S. wants to weaken Iran and its allies, but knows that war against it will come at a price. The proponents of war on Iran, he says, do not realize that Iran is very powerful on the economic, political and military levels, and has a large arsenal that can threaten even Europe, as well as fighting capabilities that can topple states. Moreover, its many allies in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine and elsewhere will come to its aid if it is attacked. He declared that, if a war breaks out, Hizbullah, as part of the resistance axis, will be a major part of it, and that the flames will reach Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries.

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]
America's Moves Are Preparing The Ground For A Large-Scale Confrontation In Several Arenas

"The current U.S. administration seems to be uncertain in its conduct vis-à-vis Iran. Donald Trump's policy, like those of his predecessors, is based on subjugating the world, although each [president] had his own style. Trump, a lover of deals, knows that they require lining up all of one's powerful cards ahead of negotiations, and during [negotiations] he considers things according to the direct interest of the U.S., as he perceives it. That's what he is doing in the case of Iran.

"But the variable here has to do with the nature of his team and the interests of the U.S. and its allies in the world and the region. This coalition – which takes a different position on Iran [than Trump] – includes [U.S.] State Department teams, the [U.S.] National Security Council and [other] influential forces in the U.S., [as well as] Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and European players. This coalition believes it is impossible to reach an understanding with Iran that will cause it to comply with U.S. policy, and that it is therefore time to hit it hard, so as to precipitate a domestic crisis that will lead to its internal collapse and weaken the entire axis it heads in the region. The proponents of this view believe that all the wars that have taken place in the region since 2001, in Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon, did not achieve their objective of delivering a blow to the Iranian strategy that is hostile to the interests of the West and Israel, and therefore it is time to stop targeting [Iran's] arms and start aiming directly at the head [i.e., at Iran itself]…

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