Wednesday, October 30, 2019

From Ian:

MEMRI: Saudi Writer: Those Who Blame U.S. For ISIS Terrorism Disregard The Fact That For Years Millions Have Been Taught Extremism And Hatred For The West
In its official responses to the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Saudi Arabia fully supported the U.S. and its policy, while stressing the strong alliance between the two countries. This was expressed, inter alia, in a conversation between Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and U.S. President Donald Trump, and in the Saudi Foreign Ministry statement on the topic.[1]

Conversely, many articles about Al-Baghdadi's death in the Saudi press directed criticism at the U.S., questioned the timing and character of the operation, and even accused the West of causing terror in the Middle East. Notable in this context was a polemic between Khaled Al-Suleiman, a columnist for the Saudi daily 'Okaz, who wrote an article titled "Has Al-Baghdadi's Role Ended?", and 'Abdallah bin Bakhit, an author and a columnist for the Al-Riyadh daily, who responded with an article titled "Has Al-Baghdadi's Role Ended, Sherlock?" Al-Suleiman wrote in his article that Al-Baghdadi was as an agent of the West, which assassinated him once he was no longer useful, and that the West was mostly responsible for the rise of terrorist organizations like ISIS. In his response article, Bin Bakhit rejected the conspiracy theories spread by many Arabs, which hold that outside forces, including the U.S., are responsible for Al-Baghdadi's terrorism, and accused Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world at large of cultivating the ideology of terrorist organizations and of figures like Al-Baghdadi and Osama bin Laden. He also complained about the support for Al-Baghdadi that prevailed in the Arab and Muslim public, and criticized the Arabs' and Muslims' disregard of their role in cultivating extremism, xenophobia, hostility to art and culture and the degradation of women in their societies.
Israel Blocks Terrorists, Palestinians Block Critics
On the one hand, leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) condemn Facebook for "surrendering to Israeli pressure" and taking action against those who incite terrorism and hate speech. On the other hand, the same PA leaders keep pressuring Facebook to silence Palestinians who demand an end to financial and administrative corruption in the PA.

"[E]very time Fatah posts a new terror message on Facebook encouraging violence or presenting murderers as role models, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are given more motivation to kill Israelis. Facebook still chooses to do nothing to stop it." — Itamar Marcus, Jerusalem Post, September 11, 2019.

What Abbas and his senior officials apparently fear is that the current wave of anti-corruption protests sweeping Lebanon and other Arab countries may reach the West Bank. They appear nervous that their critics and political rivals will use social media to encourage Palestinians to revolt against corruption and tyranny.

For these leaders, when they turn to Facebook to clamp down on criticism and voices calling for reform and democracy, that is good government. However, when Israel tries to silence those who seek to spill more Jewish blood -- well, that is criminal.

David Singer: Balfour Declaration and Mandate for Palestine Still Keys to Peace
The Principal Allied Powers were The British Empire, France, Italy and Japan.

The boundaries of Palestine fixed by them encompassed what is today called Israel, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Jordan (then called Transjordan).

Under article 25 of the Mandate - the Mandatory was entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of the Mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions.

On 23 September 1922 the League of Nations Secretary-General communicated for the information of the Members of the League, a memorandum relating to Article 25 of the Palestine Mandate presented by the British Government to the Council of the League on September 16th, 1922 (“Memorandum”) and approved by the Council.

The Memorandum excluded Transjordan (78% of the territory of Palestine) as a future potential area in Palestine for reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

The United Nations continuing failure to faithfully implement these League of Nations decisions remains the biggest stumbling block to ending the Jewish-Arab conflict.

The two-state solution contemplated by the League of Nations in 1922 – Israel and Jordan within such final borders as they agree – remains the only viable two-state solution in 2019.

Jared Kushner on Jordan Valley Annexation: We like to keep our options open
US special envoy Jared Kushner did not reject outright Israel’s annexation plan for the Jordan Valley, stating instead that the Trump Administration would like to keep its “options open.”

Kushner spoke during an interview with Channel 13 while visiting Israel this week, prior to his departure for Saudi Arabia.

During his brief time in Jerusalem, he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party head Benny Gantz.

The US has delayed the long anticipated publication of its peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, preferring to publish it after an Israeli government is formed.

Kushner said the plan was mentioned during his meetings with both Netanyahu and Gantz, but the only thing that was discussed was the timing of the release.

“We have a real desire to put out the plan,” Kushner said.

Channel 13 asked the US envoy, "so you are not ruling out the possibility of some sort of annexation in the Jordan Valley?"

Kushner answered that, “The Jordan Valley is something that we have spent a lot of time looking and talking about with a lot of the different professionals in Israel from a security point of view.

“We understand how essential the Jordan Valley is to Israel's security and it is obviously something that we are going to take into consideration,” he said.

"If there is an actual proposal [for annexation] that is put forward, we will look at it and we will have discussions. Our hope is that after there is government formation, we will be able to look at the full comprehensive picture of what we would like to see. It includes compromises from both sides, but also a lot opportunity for both sides to move forward,” Kusher said.

Channel 13 again asked the US envoy, if he was therefore "not ruling out the possibility of some sort of annexation in the Jordan Valley.”
MEMRI: Palestinian Official Warns: Revoking Oslo Accord Will Enable Israel To Liquidate The Palestinian Cause
In an article in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Palestinian Legislative Council member Faisal Abu Khadra came out against those calling to revoke the 1993 Oslo Accord with Israel within Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), which are members of the PLO. Abu Khadra noted that, for all its flaws, the Oslo Accord has afforded the Palestinians many achievements and has been embraced by the international community. The opponents of the accord, he said, do not understand its deep diplomatic implications, such as Israel's recognition of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the defining of the West Bank and Gaza as a single geographical unit, and the understanding that major issues, such as Jerusalem and the refugees, will be resolved in the negotiations on the final settlement. He warned that canceling the accord will take the Palestinians back to the days when they had to beg various countries to tolerate Palestinian presence within their territory. Furthermore, the accord enabled the return of some 600,000 Palestinians – members of the various Palestinian factions and their families – to the West Bank and Gaza, and revoking it may bring about the expulsion of these people and their descendants, who now number about one million. Abu Khadra called on the Palestinians to act wisely and to understand that only through presence on Palestinian soil and through unity, patience, a peaceful intifada and civil disobedience, will they be able to actualize their national rights.

The following are translated excerpts from Abu Kharda's article:

Those Calling To Revoke The Oslo Accord Have Not Read It And Do Not Understand Its Political Implications
"Lately there has been an increasing debate about the [right] position [to take] on the Oslo Accord, in light of the waning of the peace process and Israel's aggressive activity against our people, its denial of [our people's] inalienable national rights, its flagrant violations of the accord, and its prime minister's declaration of his intention to annex the [Jordan] Valley and extensive parts of the occupied West Bank [to Israel]. In this situation, some people have been loudly demanding that the Palestinian leadership revoke the Oslo Accord and go back to square one... Conversely, others have called to adhere to the accord, which Israel signed under U.S. sponsorship, which was embraced by the international community, and which has afforded the Palestinians important achievements, despite some of its loopholes.

"As an independent Palestinian, I am sorry to say, with complete sincerity, that many people – including officials in Hamas, [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad and other factions – have never read the Oslo Accord or considered its diplomatic significance. In this agreement, signed by Israel and the PLO, Israel recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people... [This move] had many political implications, chief of which is [Israel's] recognition of the Palestinian people and Palestinian cause, represented by the PLO, not only as a humanitarian issue but also as a diplomatic one, in return for the PLO's recognition of Israel. This means that Israel recognized [the state of] Palestine, whose borders are to be determined in the negotiations on the permanent settlement. This too is part of the [Oslo] Accord, which stipulates that the issues of the borders, the refugees, Jerusalem and the water [arrangements] are the central issues to be discussed in the negotiations on the permanent settlement.

"The Palestinian recognition of Israel means recognition of Israel inside the so-called Green Line. This means that the borders of the future Palestinian state will be as stipulated in [UN Resolution] 242. That is, there will be a full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in 1967, which had been under the rule of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."
Arab nations reject any Trump Israeli-Palestinian plan not on '67 lines
Arab nations have rejected any Israeli-Palestinian peace plan not based on the pre-1967 lines, as US special envoy Jared Kushner visited Israel and Saudi Arabia in advance of the publication of US President Donald Trump's Deal of the Century to resolve the conflict.

In an interview with Channel 13 Tuesday night, Kushner said that the Trump peace plan offered Israel regional opportunities and was important for its security.

“Having peace with the Palestinians is a critical step if they want to have long-term security in the region,” said Kushner. He is Trump’s son-in-law and the lead envoy on the plan.

On Monday at the UN Security Council, one Arab country after the other alluded to the plan, as they made statements in support of a two-state solution, which rests in part on the regional support of moderate Arab nations.

Earlier this year, Kushner stated that the plan would part from past initiatives, including the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, endorse by the Arab League. It offered Israel normalized ties in exchange for a two-state solutions at the 1967 lines with minimal, undefined territorial swaps.

It is widely believed that Trump’s plan would allow Israel to retain all 0f its West Bank settlements, where some 430,000 of its citizens live.

Kushner told Channel 13 that both Israelis and Palestinians would need to make compromises, but he gave no more specifics during the interview.
Delta Force Dog Confirmed as Next Middle East Envoy (satire)
Special forces Belgian Malinois, ‘Classified’ has been named by President Trump as his new envoy to the Middle East. The very good puppy was selected for the position following his key role in the death of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi earlier this week.

A spokesman for the President commented, “Loyal without question, willing to do anything for a belly rub, and at his happiest curled at the end of the President’s bed. These are just some of the qualities that Jared Kushner brought to the role. But now it’s time for a change. ‘Classified’ will bring a number of advantages to the role, chiefly people will be happy to see him, because come on, look at his little face and his pointy ears, who’s a good boy? Yes, you’re a good boy.”

A State Department official said, “This doesn’t come as a complete shock, given how we’ve approached things these last three years. And to be completely honest we’re just relieved that the White House hasn’t decided to let Tiffany take the region for a spin.”

‘Classified’ commented, “Woof, woof, woof, grrrrrrrrrr.” Which to everyone’s surprise was the most coherent two-state solution that had been proposed this year.
US retreat from Syria likely prevented war with Iran
A small Turkish-American clash in Northern Syria would have been the perfect timing and cover for an Iranian attack against American forces in the Persian Gulf. One attacks one’s enemy when they are distracted. A minor war with our so-called NATO Ally Turkey in Northern Syria causing several US casualties would have been exactly that. Imagine the Democrat furor that would have erupted if American soldiers had killed a Turkish soldier, seen by them as a member of a NATO ally's army. Heaven only knows what the hate-Trumpers would have said if the Turks had killed an American soldier in Northern Syria. As it was, the Turks fired very close to our troops.

The prescient timing of Trump’s announcement of retreat from North Syria and possibly the force redeployment,alone may have derailed a planned Iranian attack. With the attacked Iran oil tanker, there is still an extremely high possibility of some type of military engagement with Iran.

If you were the American President, and all intelligence reports led you to believe an attack from Iran against US forces in the Persian Gulf is a strong short-term possibility, wouldn't you avoid a preventable fight with American casualties against Turkey in North Syria to focus on a likely attack from Iran in the Persian Gulf? Iran could capture 5,000 American soldiers as hostages Anyone who says that they would would risk a two-front conflict with Turkey and Iran at the same time is certifiable.

If the American public were polled on the reality question instead of the tear-jerker Kurdish question, I believe 90% of Americans would answer that it is better to cave to Turkey in the north in order to defend the eastern front against Iran. President Trump’s tough North Syria retreat decision may very well have saved American forces from being attacked, killed and taken hostage by the Iranians. President Trump should be lauded for his military instinct instead of being denounced by his hysterical opponents..

Andrew Klavan: Media Asks: If Trump Had Al-Baghdadi Killed, Can He Really Have Been So Bad? (satire)
I’ve prayed God would allow me to wake up in a world where I’m making all that up, but so far no dice. I haven’t even gotten to the satire part yet.

We can now look forward to articles from, say, The New York Times, a former newspaper, praising al-Baghdadi for his wistful appreciation of female beauty, and maybe Chuck Todd will chime in on al-Baghdadi’s artistic camera work as he made videos of innocent people being beheaded in order to recruit more austere scholars to his cause of slaughtering everybody in sight.

There was, of course, also al-Baghdadi’s fabulous fashion sense which led MSNBC to offer him a hosting spot on their new show “Muslim Eye for the Christian Guy,” which has now unfortunately been canceled due to Trump’s brutal indifference to fostering really good TV.

Meanwhile, McCarthyite Congressman Adam Schiff is whining because Trump didn’t inform him of the operation ahead of time. Trump said he worried Schiff would leak the mission to the press. But Schiff said that was absurd, according to anonymous sources on the Intelligence Committee who spoke with the Times.

U.S. House recognizes Armenian genocide, backs Turkey sanctions
The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to recognize the mass killings of Armenians a century ago as a genocide, a symbolic but historic vote instantly denounced by Turkey.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 405-11 in favor of a resolution asserting that it is U.S. policy to commemorate as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. The Ottoman Empire was centered in present-day Turkey.

The vote marked the first time in 35 years that such legislation was considered in the full House, underscoring widespread frustration in Congress with the Turkish government, from both Democrats and President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans.

Shortly after the Armenian genocide vote, House lawmakers from both parties also overwhelmingly backed legislation calling on Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey over its offensive in northern Syria, another action likely to inflame relations with NATO ally Turkey.

The fate of both measures in the Senate is unclear, with no vote scheduled on similar legislation.
Erdogan blasts ‘worthless’ Armenian genocide recognition by US House
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday slammed the recognition by the US House of Representatives of the Armenian genocide as “worthless” and the “biggest insult” to the Turkish people.

His Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also suggested Tuesday’s resolution was “revenge” for Turkish actions in Syria.

Turkey has also summoned the US ambassador to Ankara.

“From here I am addressing US public opinion and the entire world: this step which was taken is worthless and we do not recognize it,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.

“In our faith, genocide is definitely banned,” he said. “We consider such an accusation to be the biggest insult to our people.”

Turkey strongly denies the accusation of genocide and says that both Armenians and Turks died as a result of World War I. It puts the death toll in the hundreds of thousands.

Tuesday’s vote was a first for the US Congress, where similar measures with such direct language have been introduced for decades but never passed.
Israeli politicians call for recognition of Armenian genocide after US vote
Two prominent Israeli politicians on both sides of the political aisle independently called for Jerusalem to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide after the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to officially recognize the World War I-era crime on Tuesday.

Cheers and applause erupted Tuesday when the House voted 405 to 11 in support of the measure “affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide,” a first for the US Congress, where similar measures with such direct language have been introduced for decades but never passed.

The Armenians say the mass killings of more than 1.5 million of their people from 1915 to 1917 constituted genocide, a claim recognized by some 30 countries.

Turkey strongly denies the accusation of genocide and says that both Armenians and Turks died as a result of World War I. It puts the death toll in the hundreds of thousands.
Turkey summons US envoy over Armenian genocide recognition
Turkey’s foreign ministry said that it summoned US Ambassador David Satterfield on Wednesday over two resolutions passed by the US House of Representatives.

The Turkish ministry said in a statement that it rejects the nonbinding House resolution to recognize the century-old mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide. The bill passed 405-11.

In another statement, the ministry said it condemned a bipartisan bill to sanction senior Turkish officials and its army for Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria, which passed 403-16.

Both bills, passed Tuesday, were a sign of further deterioration in Turkish-American relations, which have been strained over multiple issues, especially US support for Syrian Kurdish fighters considered terrorists by Ankara.

American lawmakers have been critical of Ankara’s operation against Kurdish forces along the Turkish-Syrian border.
Alexander Vindman Is an American and a Jew, Not a Ukrainian
Currently at the center of the news cycle involving President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a U.S. army officer serving as an expert on Ukrainian affairs for the National Security Council. John Podhoretz notes a common “theme” in the assaults on Vindman’s credibility raised by three television commentators friendly to the president:

The theme is: Vindman was born in Ukraine, he’s therefore Ukrainian, and so maybe there’s something untoward going on here.

[T]he fact is that Ukraine is not Vindman’s “homeland,” [as the former congressman Sean Duffy stated on CNN]. For one thing, he was taken from there by his parents when he was three, and Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. For another, Vindman was born a Jew, and to promote the idea that the land of the USSR ever constituted any kind of “homeland” for any Jewish person is an infamy.

Jews were subjected to unique persecution in the USSR both because of classic Marxist ideas about “the Jewish problem” and because of the historical anti-Semitism that was a lamentably common feature of life in Ukraine for centuries. The idea that Vindman would have grown up with any sense of fealty to the Ukrainian Volk is patently absurd, not only because he (and his twin brother) are clearly ardent American patriots who have committed their lives to this country’s service but because I have yet to meet a single Jew who came to America from the Soviet Union who feels any kind of personal or historical tie there beyond any relatives who might have been left behind.
Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar claims wrong man convicted of killing Rabin
An Israeli professor claimed that former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was not assassinated by the man who was convicted of killing him, and asserted that the 1995 slaying was orchestrated by a senior politician against the backdrop of the landmark Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians.

On Wednesday, Mordechai Kedar, a scholar of Arabic culture at Bar-Ilan University, stood by the remarks he had made the night before, telling Channel 12 that he would rather resign than apologize for asserting the possible innocence of Yigal Amir.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the “nonsense remarks in connection with Yigal Amir, the murderer of Yitzhak Rabin.”

The Yitzhak Rabin Center said that Kedar is “a sick conspiracist.”

Bar Ilan University distanced itself from Kedar, saying in a statement that it “completely condemns” his remarks and that his opinions “do not represent the university and its employees. We maintain that there is no place for such remarks in Israeli society.”
Jordan Recalls Envoy to Israel to Protest Detention of Two Citizens
Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest over Israel’s refusal to release two citizens the kingdom says have been illegally detained for months without charge, the Jordanian foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Ayman Safadi, the foreign minister, said in a tweet he held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of Hiba Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri, adding that their health had severely deteriorated. He said that recalling the envoy was a first step, but did not elaborate.

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said both detainees were suspected of security offenses, without being more specific.

Labadi, 24, was arrested in August after crossing to the West Bank to attend a family wedding and so far has not been indicted. She subsequently went on a hunger strike and was hospitalized after her health deteriorated.

Safadi said Israel’s administrative detention of both citizens was illegal and vowed his country would take “all necessary legal and diplomatic measures” to ensure their safe return home.

Speaking on Israeli Army Radio, Hotovely said Israel was within its rights to detain the pair.

“If someone commits a security offense, it is our duty as a state to arrest him and to clarify matters,” she said.

Israel mainly uses administrative detention against Palestinians suspected of anti-Israeli activities.
Israel-Jordan crisis worsens as Israeli citizen arrested
Jordanian security forces have arrested an Israeli citizen who crossed the border into Jordan illegally, a spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said in a Twitter message late Tuesday.

"The authorities are handling the matter and the suspect has been taken in for questioning," the message read.

The message went out shortly after Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi recalled its ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, for urgent consultations on the matter of two Jordanians arrested in Israel. Heba Al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri are being held under administrative detention.

Al-Labadi was arrested at the Allenby crossing on August 20 on suspicion of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, specifically, Hezbollah. Jordanian media reports quoted her relatives denying that she had ever provided Hezbollah with any information. She has been on a hunger strike for over 35 days to protest her arrest.

Earlier this week, she was transferred to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for treatment.

"We hold Israeli government responsible for the lives of our citizens whose health conditions have severely deteriorated in illegal arbitrary detention,” he said. “We will take all necessary legal & diplomatic measures to ensure their safe return home.”
Israel-Jordan crisis emboldens anti-peace camp in kingdom
The journalist and some Jordanian government officials criticized Israel’s handling of the crisis and warned that the continued detention of the two would cause more damage to relations between the two countries.

“It would have been easier for all had Israel banned them from entering the West Bank or deported them shortly after interrogating them,” said a government official in Amman. “Holding them under administrative detention was a bad idea. In addition, Labadi’s hunger strike and reports about her deteriorating health condition are adding fuel to the fire. The only people who benefit from this crisis are the enemies of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.”

A Jordanian political analyst said that the actions of the Israeli government in the past few years have caused “serious damage” to relations between the two countries. Jordan, he added, is particularly worried about Israel’s actions and policies in Jerusalem, particularly the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) compound.

In August, the Jordanians summoned the Israeli ambassador in Amman to protest “Israeli violations and provocations” at the holy site. The move came after Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in a radio interview that Jews should be permitted to pray at the Temple Mount.

The Jordanian king is apparently worried that Israel’s attempt to change the status quo at the holy site would undermine the Hashemites’ custodianship over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. In the 1994 peace treaty, Israel commits to “respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem.” In 2013, the Palestinian Authority also recognized Jordan’s role over the religious sites.

The assessment in Amman is that the current crisis with Israel will be resolved. That does not mean, however, that relations between Israel and Jordan will warm up any time in the near future. If anything, the latest crisis will further intensify anti-Israel sentiment in Jordan and solidify the “cold peace” between the two countries.
Israel-Jordan Crisis: Arrested Israeli was FSU immigrant, wanted by police
An "Israeli can be held as a bargaining chip for the release of our two citizens," said Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Jordanian Parliament, Nidal a-Taani, to the Arabic daily Al-Quds on Wednesday morning about the deepening crisis between Jordan and Israel.

The IDF confirmed Tuesday evening that an Israeli citizen crossed the border into Jordan and was being interrogated by the Jordanian security forces. On Wednesday morning, Kan news reported that the Israeli was an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who was wanted by police and escaped from the country.

Earlier in the day, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations in protest over Israel's refusal to heed its demands to release two citizens it said were illegally detained for months without charges, the kingdom's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Ayman Safadi said in a tweet he held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of Hiba Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri whose "health conditions have severely deteriorated." He added that recalling the envoy was a first step but did not elaborate.
Palestinian woman tries to stab Israeli troops in Hebron, is shot – police
A Palestinian woman tried to stab Israeli security forces Wednesday morning at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and was shot and critically wounded by officers at the scene, according to security forces.

The woman, who wasn’t immediately identified, brandished a knife at the flashpoint West Bank holy site and attempted to attack one of the police officers deployed there, the Border Police said in a statement.

Officers subsequently opened fire, and medical officials said she was in critical condition, the statement said.

There were no casualties among the troops.

The tense city of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers who are guarded by Israeli troops, has been the scene of numerous stabbings and attempted stabbings in recent years.
IDF soldier convicted, demoted for Gaza rioter death
An IDF soldier was sentenced to one month in prison by a military court for the death of a Palestinian teenager during the weekly Gaza border riots last year.

The soldier, a sniper from the Givati Brigade, was convicted as part of a plea bargain after he pleaded guilty for “disobeying an order leading to a threat to life or health,” the IDF said in a statement.

On July 13 2018, the sniper opened fire at 15-year-old Othman Helles as he was climbing the Gaza security fence during the weekly "Great Return March" protests, "without obtaining permission from his commanders [and] while not following the rules of engagement or the instructions given to him earlier,” the statement continued.

As part of the plea bargain, the soldier was sentenced to one month in prison – to be served by labor – as well as probation and being demoted in rank to private.

The Gaza Health Ministry said that Helles was hit in the chest by an IDF sniper as he tried to climb the security fence between Israel and the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

A month after Helles was killed, Military Advocate-General Sharon Afek ordered a criminal investigation into the shooting and the March 30 death of another Gazan rioter, 18-year-old Abdel Fattah Abdel Nabi, “in light of the suspicion that the shootings were not in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the IDF said at the time.
PMW: Fatah on Facebook: "We will defend our holy sites with our blood"
Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Abbas' Fatah Movement uses Facebook to promote terror, spread Antisemitism, and deny Israel's right to exist.

For example in July, Fatah again used its Facebook page to promote violence by broadcasting a video featuring footage of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas talking about the danger of losing Jerusalem merged with texts on the screen calling to "defend our holy sites with our blood." This text appears while visuals show US President Trump visiting Israel, the Western Wall and meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu. The video denies Jews any rights in Jerusalem, showing footage of Jews visiting the Temple Mount and praying at the Western Wall while the text "Jerusalem is ours and you will never have a place in it" shows on the screen. An additional text directed at Israel stresses Fatah's viewpoint that "the shining rage will uproot the tyranny from our land."

The following is the transcript and text of the video Fatah posted on Facebook:

Text on screen: "The deal of the century will never pass. We will defend our holy sites with our blood and our souls"
Video of Mahmoud Abbas: "This is not allowed. This cannot happen. This is a decisive moment, a dangerous moment for us. Our entire future is at stake. If Jerusalem is lost, what will you say afterwards?"

Text on screen: "Jerusalem is ours and you will never have a place in it"
Video of Abbas: "This is a crucial moment that demands that every Palestinian present themselves immediately, to quickly discuss the fate of the eternal capital [Jerusalem]. In politics: It's the capital. In religion: It's the capital. In geography: It's the capital."

Text on screen: "The shining rage will uproot the tyranny from our land"
Video of Abbas: "Here we sit, here we will remain. We will never repeat the mistakes of the past. We will not repeat the mistakes of 1948 or the mistakes of 1967. We are remaining here - occupation, settlements, whatever - We are remaining here!"

JCPA: Is Lebanon Sliding Again into Civil War?
It is noteworthy to stress that the first warning signs of the cracks in the wall are seen with the appearance of armed militias in different parts of the country. This in itself could be a catalyst for reform, as President Michel Aoun expressed himself by saying the “reform should come through the constitutional means, not through the streets.” However, minor changes in the government as a result of a minor reshuffle will not change the situation, nor will it solve the economic problems, rather it could aggravate the protesters and push them to act more aggressively. A bigger change, such as the formation of a new government after the resignation of the present one, would be tantamount to a declaration of war to Hizbullah and its allies and would carry dire consequences as to the stability of Lebanon. It would overturn the Taif Agreement of 1989, which served as “the basis for the ending of the civil war (which broke out in 1975) and the return to political normalcy in Lebanon.”

Indeed, a radical change in the political landscape triggered by the resignation of the government would probably provoke Hizbullah to resort to “Manu militari” [force of arms] to preserve its grip on Lebanon. Lebanon could find itself in a renewed military conflict with no foreseeable outcomes, while the two million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, could become the first to suffer. They are already a target for all Lebanese political factions who demand their repatriation to Syria.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation on October 29, 2019, together with his government, may impact on Hizbullah’s actions and intentions to “take over the streets.” Lebanon could slide into a prolonged protest. Algeria’s political experience may present a stop-gap solution, and President Michel Aoun still has a card up his sleeve. Exactly as in the Algerian case, the army can be engaged as a buffer between the parties by declaring a state of emergency and handing the powers over to the armed forces to rule the country until a political order is achieved again. This could happen only if the parties involved begin exchanging fire instead of words, but it would not fit Hizbullah’s goals and plans. The delicate situation raises the likelihood of a military confrontation between the different religious and ethnic communities. A very concrete sign in that direction is the massive and brutal attack on October 29 of black-shirted followers of Hizbullah and Amal against the protesters, a move already seen on October 21, 2019, when Hizbullah thugs armed with bats tried to disperse the protesters in the Riad Al Solh Square.

In the meantime, the Lebanese are contemplating once more the possibility of “exporting themselves.” In times of dire crisis, Lebanon has witnessed waves of emigration: between 1850 and World War I, a third of the Lebanese population emigrated from Lebanon. In the 1970s, a million more left the country during the first years of the civil war. This option is not to be underestimated, extreme as it is. It would mean an erosion of the human richness of Lebanon. On the other hand, were it not for the money transfers of Lebanese expatriates to their families in Lebanon which amount to almost $8 billion annually, Lebanon would not have survived.
Hariri said open to returning as Lebanese PM under certain conditions
Saad Hariri is reportedly willing to return as Lebanon’s prime minister after announcing his resignation Tuesday if certain conditions are met.

Hariri was asked Wednesday by Lebanese President Michel Aoun to stay on as a caretaker prime minister, but may be willing to remain in a full-time capacity if a new cabinet “includes technocrats and [will] be capable of quickly implementing reforms needed to stave off economic collapse,” the Reuters news agency reported Wednesday.

Quoting a senior official, the news agency said a new Hariri-led cabinet could not include certain prominent politicians in the outgoing government, but did not name them.

Hariri’s decision to step down came amid nationwide protests against corruption and sectarianism that have paralyzed the country.

His resignation marked the first major win for the protest movement, which has called for the resignation of the government and the overthrow of the political class that has dominated the country since the 1975-1990 civil war and is blamed for the current economic crisis.

Hariri’s announcement came after days of apparently unfruitful efforts to reshuffle posts within his uneasy coalition, as tension mounted on the ground between protesters and security forces bent on reopening the country for business.
Israel asks West to condition Lebanon aid on action against Hezbollah missiles
With the political crisis showing no sign of abating in Lebanon, Israeli officials said Wednesday they have asked partners in the international community to condition any aid to the country on efforts to get rid of advanced arms stationed there.

“In discreet talks with various capitals, we made it clear that any aid meant to guarantee the stability of Lebanon needs to be conditioned on Lebanon dealing with Hezbollah’s precision-guided missiles,” a senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Anything short of that will be problematic, in our eyes.”

The Foreign Ministry ordered Israeli diplomats “in all relevant countries,” including the US and European states, to emphasize the need to cease providing aid to Lebanon as long as the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror organization does not cease upgrading its military capabilities that could target Israel, the official added.

The messages were conveyed to Israel’s partners even before the recent protests erupted in Lebanon, the official said.

Jerusalem is careful not get involved in domestic Lebanese politics, the official stressed, noting that any statements from Israeli officials could have negative effects.
Iraqi Prime Minister’s Main Backers Agree to Oust Him
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s two main backers have agreed to work to remove him from office as protests against his government gained momentum in Baghdad and much of the Shi’ite south only to be met with violence.

Populist Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who leads parliament’s largest bloc, had asked Abdul Mahdi to call an early election. When the premier refused, he called on his main political rival Hadi al-Amiri to help oust him.

Amiri — who leads a parliamentary alliance of Iran-backed Shi’ite militia that holds the second-largest amount of seats in parliament behind Sadr’s alliance — issued a statement late on Tuesday agreeing to help oust the prime minister.

“We will work together to secure the interests of the Iraqi people and save the nation in accordance with the public good,” Amiri said in a statement.

Abdul Mahdi took office just a year ago after weeks of political deadlock in which Sadr and Amiri both failed to secure enough votes to form a government. They appointed Abdul Mahdi as a compromise candidate to lead a fragile coalition government.
Iran's Khameini blames U.S. and Israel for protest in Iraq and Lebanon
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni has blamed the protests in Iraq and Lebanon on the United States, Israel and some Western countries.

“The biggest blow that enemies can wield to any country is to rob them of security, which they started in some countries in the region,” Khameni said. “I recommend that those keen on Iraq and Lebanon address the riots and insecurity triggered by America, the Zionist entity and some Western countries.”

Iran, he continued, has also been the target of “similar conspiracies” in the past but managed to “thwart the plots thanks to the nation’s vigilance and the preparedness of the armed forces.”

Khameni, who was speaking at a graduation ceremony for military cadets held at the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Academy in Tehran on Wednesday, said protesters should pursue their demands through legal means rather than taking to the streets.

“The people have justifiable demands, but they should know their demands can only be fulfilled within the legal structure and framework of their country,” Khamenei said, adding that “when the legal structure is disrupted in a country, no action can be carried out.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Islam Is A Jewish Plot To Destabilize The Middle East by Abdallah Qardash, Khalif, Islamic State (satire)
Somewhere in Northeast Syria or Northwest Iraq, October 30 – Our movement’s recent setbacks, including the assassination of Khalif al-Baghdadi and his chief spokesman, point to a disturbing fact: our fellow Muslims have provided much of the key intelligence to the enemy that led to these setbacks, revealing once again just how divided the Umma has always been. Who benefits from such Islamic disunity? That’s right: the Jews engineered the rise of Islam 1400 years ago with the knowledge that it would undermine regional stability for centuries to come and thus permit them to exploit the warring factions to achieve their imperialist aims.

Any loyal Muslim with a head on his shoulders (if women had the brain power I could invoke them as well, but I am nothing if not traditional) must therefore agree that our strategy as followers of Muhammad must include every effort to thwart this Jewish scheme. And a clever scheme it is: they have served as scapegoats for our society’s ills this whole time, enduring massacres, forced conversions, religious persecution, rape, pillage, plunder, expulsion, and untold indignities, all with the purpose of keeping us from getting at the true sources of our problems and addressing those problems in an effective, honest fashion.

Now that we know our Balkanized polity stems from the Jewish plot that governs our religious and ideological Weltanschauung, good sense dictates – I do like that verb – that we abandon the manipulative teachings known as the Quran and Hadith, and instead embrace sources more in keeping with the superiority we know is our birthright as Muslims. We can call it the “Qurab” and “Hadish.” Instead of competing traditions called Sunna and Shia, we can have competing traditions called, say, Sunneh and Shua. It will be totally different from the sinister system that now controls us. I volunteer to lead the charge, assume the mantle of pioneering warrior to free ourselves from the shackles of the Jewish cabal that has kept us backward and at war with one another for fourteen centuries! I will act as Khalif, ruling on which elements of our Middle Eastern culture may remain and which are the obvious product of he plot to keep us ignorant, fighting, and primitive!

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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