Sunday, May 23, 2021

From Ian:

Ben Shapiro: If you side with Hamas, your antisemitism is showing
The media coverage of the conflict has been predictably morally absurd. The Associated Press, an outfit that has regularly covered up Hamas' atrocities, has condemned Israel for hitting a Hamas building in which the AP had offices. Trevor Noah suggested that Israel's military superiority means that Israel must absorb hundreds of rockets per day and allow its civilian population to live under the shadow of radical Islamic terrorism. "If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how hard should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?" he asked. HBO's John Oliver accused Israel of "killing civilians and children."

Members of the Democratic Party's radical, antisemitic fashion have been no less morally inverted. Rep. Rashida Tlaib has encouraged President Joe Biden to cut off Israel's defense supplies. Rep. Ilhan Omar has accused Israel of "terrorism." Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called Israel an "apartheid state," despite the fact that Arabs are full citizens of Israel while not a single Jew lives under the predations of Hamas. And this week, nearly 200 Democrats voted not to cut off funding to groups linked with Hamas.

The conflict between Hamas and Israel is not a dispute over borders: Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip a decade and a half ago. It is not a dispute over religion: Israel allows Muslims full freedom of worship throughout Israel, particularly on the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, where Jewish worship remains essentially forbidden in favor of kowtowing to Islamist diktats. It is not a dispute over homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a suburb of Jerusalem that has been the subject of a decadeslong property dispute between private parties and in which Arabs who aren't subject to such disputes continue to live.

The conflict between Hamas and Israel is about a stubborn fact: Israel exists, and Hamas wishes it didn't exist. Hamas will target civilians in Israel, use Palestinian children to shield its rockets and lie to the press to achieve its goals. Israel, meanwhile, is seeking to minimize civilian casualties at great risk to its own citizens. Opposing Israel's actions doesn't make you an anti-Semite. But siding with Hamas in a conflict like this one certainly does.

Ben Shapiro: IDF Spokesman Explains How The Iron Dome Actually Works
I had the privilege of speaking with Jonathan Conricus — International Spokesperson for the IDF — about Israel’s life-saving Iron Dome Defense System. Conricus also provides a glimpse into other strategies Israel has implemented to defend itself against missile attacks being launched by the terrorist group Hamas.

The BBC, child fatalities and shortfall Palestinian rockets
The IDF also investigated an additional incident that took place around the same time in Jabaliya in which four children aged 18 and under and four adults died. That too was found to be the result of a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists. The NGO ‘Defence for Children International’ described that incident as having been caused by “a homemade rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group”.

If the BBC’s previous record is anything to go by, it is highly unlikely that audiences will be relieved of the inaccurate impression that Ibrahim al-Masry and other members of his family were killed by an Israeli airstrike.

As has so often been the case in previous escalations, the BBC continues to uncritically amplify casualty figures which are part of Hamas’ framing of the story without any evidence of the type of independent verification that responsible, accurate and impartial journalism requires having taken place.

Israel's secret weapon: We have nowhere else to go - comment
There’s a story that US President Joe Biden has told many times over the years, about his first trip to Israel.

As a freshman senator in 1973, Biden was granted a meeting with prime minister Golda Meir, who together with Yitzhak Rabin briefed Biden on the many threats Israel faced, showing him a series of maps.

“I guess she could see the sense of apprehension on my face,” Biden said in a 2010 retelling of the story. “She said ‘Senator, don’t look so worried… We Israelis have a secret weapon.’ And I thought she only had said this to me, no one else in the whole world… And I thought she was going to tell me about a new secret weapon.”

So what is Israel’s secret weapon, Biden asked eagerly.

“We have nowhere else to go,” replied Golda.

In 2021, when Israelis travel the world and find success in a broad range of fields, when technology and globalization make a large – but privileged – segment of the global population feel like they hold the world in their hands, some may think that statement is an anachronism. And yet Golda’s words are as relevant today as ever, with the past two weeks of another mini-war with Hamas and the accompanying spike of antisemitism only further proving her point.
Muslim says 'Palestine' is a Zionist word

Jerusalem and the Trap Hamas Laid for Jordan and the PA
President Biden last Thursday evening claimed credit for brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, saying: “I want to also thank the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, our national security adviser, and everyone on our team for their incredible efforts to bring this about, this outcome that we’re about to see.” There is no doubt that the president is to be granted his due by the media and his allies, but it may well be that he will soon come to wish he hadn’t attached so much of his reputation to it. Indeed, the ceasefire may enable Hamas not only to assert its dominance over the Palestinian Authority, but also to threaten and potentially even unravel the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty using the issue of Jerusalem.

Jordan already felt the heat as the war was ending. Just before the ceasefire took effect, the King of Jordan’s court released a tweet that noted that King Abdullah II had received a phone call from US Vice President Kamala Harris, and the two “affirm the need to continue all efforts to stop the Israeli escalations in East #Jerusalem and the aggression on Gaza.” It is dubious that Harris used such loaded language to describe Israeli moves, but the king tends to weigh in in inflated terms on Palestinian issues because he believes he can co-opt them and thus neutralize the threat they can pose. But the statement issued by the King of Jordan following his call with Harris is very troubling because this is not something that can be co-opted, defanged, and domesticated.

At the end of the ceasefire, Hamas issued the claim that Israel had yielded on Jerusalem issues and surrendered both the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. It would be a grave mistake to simply dismiss this as face-saving rhetoric. Indeed, we, Jordan, and Israel are walking into an extremely dangerous trap on Jerusalem that Hamas has laid in the framework of this ceasefire.

Israel denies it ever agreed to such a devastating concession, and yet, it does not matter whether Hamas is telling the truth. The fact is, since the rioting escalated to the Temple Mount surrounding the Muslim holiday of Laylat al-Qadr two weeks ago, the Israeli government has barred any Jew from setting foot on the Temple Mount. It did so as a temporary tactical move to calm unnecessary tensions. However, the war is now over, which means in the coming days, Israel will have to make a decision as to whether it will lift that ban. If it does lift the ban, Jews will again be able to go to the Temple Mount, at which point Hamas will ensure that there will be violence so that it maintains and emphasizes its control of events.
Hamas’s forever war against Israel has a glitch, and it isn’t Iron Dome
Hamas just concluded eleven long and painful days of war that inflicted on it enormous damage.

Many have noted how it successfully used its surprise May 10 rocket bombardment of Israeli cities to position itself as the undisputed leader of the Palestinian cause in place of decrepit old Fatah.

But that achievement was attained in the first day or two of fighting. Ten more days of sustained Israeli bombardment later, the terror group now faces the military version of a painful hangover.

Hamas was just forced to spend 11 days watching as Israel systematically disrupted its tactical innovations and demolished hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of its military infrastructure. The group has spent a decade building major new warfighting capabilities meant to challenge Israel on new and unexpected fronts. All proved ineffective or outright useless. In this May 19, 2021, file photo, an Israeli artillery unit fires shells towards targets in Gaza. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

A crack naval commando force equipped with miniature submarines failed to produce a single significant attack and saw much of its infrastructure and equipment blown up from the air. The fast-moving anti-tank missile crews tasked with photogenically destroying Israeli military vehicles were identified and destroyed so quickly in the early days of the fighting that Hamas ordered them withdrawn from the battlefield. Strike drones able to precisely target Israeli installations were intercepted with despairing efficiency. And a sprawling underground tunnel and bunker system dubbed “the Metro” that offered Hamas fighters the ability to quickly maneuver across the urban battlefields of Gaza without exposing themselves to Israeli airstrikes only ended up providing Israel with cleaner military targets.

Israel showed it had deeply penetrated the Hamas ranks, targeting a long list of mid-level commanders and then publicizing the list. The names were unknown to Israelis and drew some skeptical eyebrow-raising from military analysts. But few in Hamas missed the message: Hamas’s ranks are perforated with Israeli intelligence assets. No one is safe.
Israel inflicted 'years' of damage on Hamas in just 11 days
Col Kemp added:”Israel knew enough about where they were - Hamas needs to be worried about that, too. This will lead to significant internal investigation and probably executions for those suspected of spying for Israel.

“In effect Israel has been able to deter them psychologically as well as deter their capabilities and the combination of those two things will set Hamas back by several years.”

He added: ”I've no doubt that had the ceasefire proposal been made a week earlier, Israel would have found a way of delaying things.

“Prolonging the conflict was not in Israel’s interest - it meant more deaths and more damage to the economy - it must think beyond this immediate conflict and about the next, and it was vital that it degraded as much of Hamas; command and control abilities as possible.

“Israel quite rightly didn't want things to end until they’d done enough to stall the next round of attacks for as long as possible. And this was very legitimate in my opinion.”
The Real Impact of the War Between Hamas and Israel
In war, there are military targets and there are target audiences. Israel's retaliatory assault targeted and largely destroyed Hamas's tunnels, but the target audience included Iran and its proxies, reminding Hezbollah and other like-minded onlookers in the neighborhood of the dangers they face. In 2006 after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed another three in a cross-border raid, Israel responded with airstrikes and a ground invasion which heavily damaged Lebanon and which Hezbollah later admitted to having underestimated. While the eventual ceasefire left many in Israel struggling to identify a "victory" for the Israel Defense Force (IDF), the force of the Israeli response in the Second Lebanon War has since been credited with deterring Hezbollah for fifteen years. Tehran, which provided both Hamas and its unruly cousin, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, funding and technical know-how to build their rockets, may have enjoyed seeing Israel under fire these last few weeks; the armed drone reportedly launched by Iranian forces in Syria (and downed by the IDF), like the four rockets fired from Lebanon by groups presumably receiving Hezbollah's tacit permission, reflected Iran's cheerleading for Hamas from the bleachers. But these were in keeping with a more muted Iranian axis, and Iran's significance in the war ultimately had less to do with one side's rockets and more to do with the other side's military response.

Whatever longer-term arrangement ultimately emerges from the latest war between Israel and Hamas will carry implications well beyond the small strip of territory along the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Which parties end up determining and implementing such an arrangement — and in particular the balance of influence therein between Egypt, which has made noises of wanting to play an active role in Gaza's reconstruction, and Qatar, which remains Hamas's prime benefactor — will likely affect the broader regional balance of power between the pragmatic and MB camps (the latter which has recently been flirting with Iran). And to the extent Hamas can demonstrate gains, especially with reference to Jerusalem, the regional array of actors sympathetic to political Islam will also likely gain. By contrast, if Israel manages to strengthen the PA with the help of its newfound allies in Abu Dhabi, Manama, and Rabat alongside older ones in Cairo and Amman — all of whom share an interest in preventing Hamas from emerging emboldened from the war but all of whom have thus far failed to provide the PA the kind of support Hamas has enjoyed from its regional backers — the pragmatic camp will have staved off a serious challenge. Likewise, the survival of the normalization agreements with the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan will represent a significant boost for this bloc. The latest round of fighting in Gaza may have come to an end, but the broader regional struggle over the shape of the Middle East will continue for the long term.
Seth Frantzman: Israel-Hamas War Showcased Iran’s Rocket Threat
Israeli officials reckon Hamas now has some 15,000 rockets. Some were smuggled in from Iran but most are Gaza-made, with Iranian knowhow. Hezbollah is thought to have expanded its arsenal from around 15,000 rockets in 2006 to more than 130,000, despite Israeli attempts to interdict the IRGC’s supply line through Syria.

Iran-supplied components and devices have been found in missiles and drones fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthis. The U.S. Navy has intercepted shipments of Iranian weapons destined for Yemen.

The Iraqi Shiite militias have the most direct line to the IRGC’s munitions factories, thanks to the porous borders with Iran. Many of these groups have the additional advantage of state patronage: They are part of the Popular Mobilization Units which were incorporated as a government paramilitary force in 2018. The following year, they were able to acquire rockets and drones to target American facilities on Iraqi military bases.

Through these groups, Iranian rockets now menace a 5,000-km stretch of the Middle East, from Lebanon and Syria, through Iraq and down to Yemen and the Bab al-Mandeb Straits. Within range of this arsenal are Israel and most Western-allied Arab states in the Middle East, as well as a number of U.S. military outposts — not to mention the world’s most vital trade routes.

If the Gaza war showcased the increasing threat of Iranian rockets, Israel’s response to Hamas’ attacks demonstrated the difficulties of defending against them. The sheer volume of incoming projectiles means that some got through the Iron Dome missile-defense system; 12 Israelis were killed. For military planners across the Middle East, that’s another disturbing data point.
The disinformation war continues between Israel and Hamas
Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, has long praised Israel’s military for its efforts to protect civilian lives. He has previously said of Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza that the ratio of civilian to combatant deaths was 'by far the lowest in any asymmetric conflict in the history of warfare'. He compared it to Afghanistan, where he said three quarters of those killed were civilians, and to Iraq and Kosovo where he said only one fifth of deaths were combatants. Chechnya and Serbia, he said, were possibly even worse. In Israel’s 2008 Gaza operation, the ratio was one to one.

Speaking to me about the 2021 operation, Kemp said Hamas and the Gaza Health Authority are 'very, very adept at faking and falsifying figures and trying to blacken Israel; the whole conflict is all about trying to blacken Israel,' he explains, 'it’s not about trying to defeat Israel militarily.'

Moral and legal assessments require a distinction between the deliberate killing of civilians and unintended civilian deaths caused by actions targeted at combatants. In Yasser Arafat’s time, Palestinian terrorists deliberately set out to kill Israeli civilians with suicide bombings. Though Israel has since eliminated that threat, Hamas and Islamic Jihad still prize civilian deaths above all else. Now they use rocket attacks to kill both Palestinian and Israeli civilians, knowing that either way Israel’s international standing suffers.

Early IDF claims suggest Hamas’ own rockets may have killed more Palestinians than they did Israelis. Even if we exclude the Palestinian civilians Hamas killed in the last eleven days, Hamas’ civilian to combatant death ratio shows a complete disregard for international law.

With high level intelligence about the Gaza Strip at their disposal and some of the world’s most sophisticated weapons and technologies for both attack and defence, Israel says it carried out only precision strikes on vetted targets, with real-time surveillance to ensure civilian casualties were minimised. It claims to have targeted Hamas’ rocket supplies, military research and development capabilities, miles of underground military tunnels and also Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s key personnel, whilst protecting civilian lives as much as possible.

Only time will tell whose claims are more reliable. As the dust starts to settle we will slowly learn what the true results of the last 11 days have been.
Hamas doesn’t want a Palestinian state
What has made this latest conflagration particularly traumatic for Israeli Jews is not Hamas’s missiles, but rather the tidal wave of violence unleashed by some of their Arab compatriots in support of Hamas. The cities of Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Ramla, and Lod — once considered showcases of Arab-Jewish co-existence — have been rocked by mass violence and vandalism. Synagogues and religious seminaries have been torched. Torah scrolls desecrated. Jewish residents attacked in their homes by Arab neighbours with whom they had co-existed peacefully for decades.

Reluctant to acknowledge this volcanic eruption for what it is — a nationalist and Islamist insurrection, rejecting the Arab minority status in the Jewish state — some attribute this uptick in violence to the supposed longstanding discrimination and marginalisation of the Arab minority. But the idea of discrimination couldn’t be further from the truth. Why? Because the riots came after a decade of unprecedented government investment in Arab neighbourhoods and businesses, including a 15 billion shekel (£3.3 billion) socioeconomic aid programme.

Of course, those rioting may not represent the bulk of Israeli Arabs, who want nothing more than to live peacefully. They wish only to get on with their lives and take advantage of the freedoms and opportunities afforded by Israel, no matter how much they might resent their minority status in a Jewish state. Yet from the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict a century ago, Palestinian Arab society has been badly represented by its leadership; and it has been swayed too by a sufficiently large militant minority that seeks to impose its will on the silent majority at the cost of repeated disasters.

While many in the West are quick to condemn Israel for its response to Hamas’s rockets, they must face up to the fact that Hamas does not only have its eyes on the Holy Land. Instead, this is a terror organisation committed to global Islamic hegemony. As Khaled Mash’al, Hamas’s long-time leader, put it in 2006, when a tidal wave of Muslim violence swept across the world in response to satirical depictions of Muhammed in a Danish newspaper:
“By Allah, you will be defeated... Hurry up and apologise to our nation, because if you do not, you will regret it... Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination but a fact. Tomorrow we will lead the world, Allah willing.

Mash’al’s words make it clear there is no difference between Hamas’s commitment to Israel’s destruction and the Islamists’ plans for the West. To imagine that Hamas can be appeased or deflected is to make a big mistake. Countries like Britain must stand by Israel — and be prepared to call out Hamas for what it is.
Haniyeh: Hamas 'victory' reversed trend of Arab normalization with Israel
Hailing the "victory" of Gazan terrorists in the latest round of hostilities with Israel, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh predicted over the weekend that the latest flare-up would likely have a wider impact both on the Jewish state's relationship with its regional neighbors as well as Jewish-Arab relations within Israel.

"This battle defeated the illusions of negotiations, defeated the deal of the century, defeated the culture of defeat, defeated the projects of despair, defeated the settlement projects, defeated the projects of coexistence with the Zionist occupation, defeated the projects of normalizing [relations] with the Zionist occupation, and therefore resistance is the best strategic choice for liberation and return," Haniyeh said, refering to the groundbreaking normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, known collectively as the "Abraham Accords."

"What will come to pass after this battle is not what came before it…you will yet see many [diplomatic] contacts and successes," Haniyeh added. "We have seen how our nation awake to stand behind Jerusalem, Palestine and resistance."

Soon after the conflict began, Haniyeh declared that the Palestinians have "set a new balance of power" vis-à-vis Israel following massive terrorist rocket fire on southern and central Israel.

"We have achieved victory in the battle for Jerusalem, the defense of Jerusalem," Haniyeh said on May 12, observing that "Jerusalem is the axis of conflict."
The Israel-Hamas cease-fire won't end this major misconception about the use of force
“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver gave a great example of how much he and others misunderstand this definition during his HBO show last Sunday. After lamenting the power imbalance between Israel and Hamas, he challenged his audience: "If you believe Israel's actions are warranted and proportionate this week, you're welcome to try and make that argument."

Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization that took over the Gaza Strip from the more secular Palestinian Authority by force in 2007, regularly commits numerous violations of international law. Breaches include hiding behind human shields, embedding military infrastructure within civilian infrastructure (schools, hospitals, mosques, media offices), constructing cross-border terror tunnels and, of course, firing rockets indiscriminately from densely populated Palestinian civilian areas toward densely populated Israeli civilian areas.

Each of the rockets fired is a war crime, not based on whether it kills or injures Israelis, but merely by the intended targeting of civilians. Over the last few weeks, by the Israel Defense Forces’ count, over 4,300 rockets have been fired into Israel, killing 12 innocent people. No sovereign country would tolerate such shattering attacks on its citizens and territory.

What would a proportionate response to this onslaught be to Oliver? To even out the power imbalance, maybe Israel should cease using its Iron Dome aerial defense system — which tries to shoot down inbound rockets to prevent casualties — and let an equal number of its own citizens be wiped out? Or should Israel simply forgo its precision-guided missiles and fire 4,300 rockets indiscriminately into Gaza?

While that seems to be the logical conclusion of the international chorus, Israel instead has instituted measures to minimize civilian casualties, notably by warning Palestinians of upcoming airstrikes via telephone, by “knocking” the rooftops of buildings with low-grade explosives to give occupants time to flee and by airdropping leaflets so that civilians can vacate the buildings from which Hamas operates. As Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz explained this week, Israel’s operation was “shaping up to be the most accurate and precise military operation in modern military history.”

After hitting over 1,000 targets in Gaza sheltering the personnel, infrastructure or weaponry of Hamas and other militant groups, 243 people were killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. They claimed 100 were women and children, and wouldn’t disclose the number of fighters among the dead. The Israel Defense Forces claimed that 225 were actually terrorists. Even if the truth lies somewhere in the middle, Israel’s military response has been remarkably careful and restricted, and by humanitarian law, completely proportionate to the threat it faces.

Yet instead of strengthening Israel’s ability to minimize collateral damage in Gaza — something everyone ostensibly wants — there are legislators who recommend the opposite. A $735 million sale of precision-guided weapons approved by the Biden administration drew the ire of Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D.-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D.-Minn. On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., submitted a resolution to halt the sale. In another win for Hamas, House Democrats voted against applying sanctions on the Iran-backed terror group and rejected emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome.

Underlying this discussion of proportionality also lies an implicit equivalence between Israel, an imperfect but multiethnic and multireligious democracy, and a terrorist organization whose foundational charter enshrined a call for the destruction of Israel and the slaying of Jews.

Unfortunately, even if this cease-fire holds, it is all but inevitable that another escalation will soon erupt, bringing fresh accusations of disproportionality along with it. If this war is ever to end, truth must be restored as well as calm, and that begins with an accurate understanding of where true wrongdoing is being committed and a commitment to fight wholeheartedly against it.

Irish parliament to vote on motion to expel Israeli ambassador
A motion to expel Israel’s ambassador from Ireland is expected to come to a vote in Ireland’s parliament this week.

Eleven legislators from four parties submitted the motion early last week, before the ceasefire between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza took effect.

The motion states that “over 60 children have been murdered by the [IDF,]” and that “the current escalation of violence was instigated by the attempt to ethnically cleanse 28 Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah area of Jerusalem.”

In fact, in Operation Guardian of the Walls, the IDF struck Gaza over 1,000 times and killed only about 60 civilians in total. In addition, the Supreme Court has yet to make a final ruling on the Sheikh Jarrah/Shimon Hatzadik property dispute, which involves only four Arab families who have not paid rent, though the decision could have implications for other residents of the neighborhood.

The motion also accuses Israel of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and illegal settlement expansion, and says “the Israeli ambassador’s presence in Ireland is untenable in these circumstances.”
Violent Gangs Target Jews, the New York Times Insists They Are ‘Overwhelmingly Peaceful’
Reporting on a firebombing in New York’s diamond district and other anti-Jewish violence, a New York Times news article insists, “The protests remained overwhelmingly peaceful and organizers said they believed some were among the largest demonstrations in support of Palestinian people in New York in recent memory.”

Other news organizations are describing the New York attacks as an example of a trend of militia-like pro-Palestinian gang violence targeting Jews in Europe and America. But the Times seems bent on emphasizing the peacefulness of it.

If the Times interviewed any of these “overwhelmingly peaceful” protesters to ask them their views of the Hamas terrorist organization raining rockets on Israeli civilians, there’s no sign of it in the article.

As it is, it’s hard not to read the “overwhelmingly peaceful” claim as a sign that the Times supports the cause. Other movements that have recently received the “overwhelmingly peaceful” label from the Times include abortion-rights protests by Polish women and Black Lives Matter protest marches in New York City against racism and police brutality. Not described as “overwhelmingly peaceful” by the Times were the anti-abortion “March for Life” in Washington, DC and a Jewish-organized rally against antisemitism.

I can understand the reporter or editor’s instinct to provide readers with some context — if there were tens of thousands of protesters and only one or two were violent, that probably does bear mentioning somehow. But given the scale of the apparent violence and the hatefulness of targeting Jews, the “overwhelmingly peaceful” language comes off as tone-deaf in this particular case.

It’s not much consolation to the Jews who were beat up or had incendiary devices thrown at them that some other pro-Palestinian protesters that day didn’t attack any Jews.

Fatah official threatens Israel with terror wave
Fatah official threatens Israel with terror wave: “I remind you [when] Sharon defiled Al-Aqsa… we underwent years of blood[shed],” calls on Fatah “to act”
[Official PA TV, May 7, 2021]

PLO Central Council member and Fatah Revolutionary Council member Abd Al-Ilah Atteereh: [Netanyahu,] I remind you of your predecessor [former Israeli PM] Sharon, when he defiled the Al-Aqsa Mosque, we underwent years of blood[shed] – you and us, in our cities and in your cities. The Palestinian came out alone to defend his honor, that is the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It’s forbidden for the Israeli to enter and defile the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and shoot at our people. This is a crime that will not pass… This is a call from me to our entire organization everywhere, to Fatah, to start to act not just in support, but rather to begin to act to be part of the battle for Jerusalem.”

The mention of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his “defiling” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque refers to his visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000, which then PA Chairman Yasser Arafat used as an excuse to launch a 5-year terror campaign (2000-2005), known as the second Intifada, in which more than 1,100 Israelis were murdered.

Hamas founder’s son says Israel should kill terror group’s leaders after ceasefire
The son of Hamas founder Hassan Yousef urged Israel to target the terror group’s leaders for assassination, even after the ceasefire reached Friday.

“Assassinating Hamas leadership will not destroy Hamas, but it will teach them a lesson and hold them accountable,” Mosab Hassan Yousef told The Post in a phone interview. “Next time, before you get civilians on both sides involved in a bloodbath, you need to think 1,000 times. This is my personal suggestion.”

Mosab Yousef said top Hamas leaders like his father likely rode out the recent violence in secure underground bunkers, while using the deaths of their own people to score foreign propaganda points.

“Hundreds of children have paid the price. These type of people cannot get away with what they did. They should not feel safe for a day,” he said. “Hamas hates Israel more than they love their own children.”

Mosab Yousef, 43, said he follows regional developments closely, and attributed the latest round of violence to Hamas’ growing marginalization in recent years. The real estate dispute in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood — the ostensible trigger of the current unrest — was just a pretext, he said.

“Hamas was very disappointed by the Abraham Accords that ignored them completely,” he said of the peace deals Israel signed with several Mideast states last year. “It’s the new reality that President Donald Trump made in the region. This is a new reality and Hamas is not prepared to accept it.”

Inside the Dems’ betrayal of Israel
While far-left groups long attracted an anti-Semitic fringe, it’s now difficult to detect much difference between the groups and the fringe. One development is the effort to tailor grievances in hopes of uniting different causes against Israel.

“Palestinians are being told the same thing as black folks in America: There is no acceptable form of resistance,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), a member of the “Squad,” said on the House floor.

Black Lives Matter weighed in, saying it “stands in solidarity with Palestinians” on Twitter and threw around buzzwords designed to link America’s supposed sins with Israel’s.

“We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation,” the Marxist-inspired group added with the hashtag #freepalestine.

The repellent BDS movement followed with a repeat of its call for an economic embargo of Israel.

‘I would do it again’: Suspect accused of pummeling NYC Jewish man shows no remorse
Sadly, ganging up on the lone Jewish state did not end in words, with anti-Semitic violence breaking out in American cities, including New York. Police took 19 people into custody after a Times Square clash between supporters of Hamas and Israel. A 29-year-old Jewish man was beaten, an Israeli flag was burned and fireworks were thrown toward the supporters of Israel.

Jewish diners at a Los Angeles restaurant were assaulted by a pro-Palestinian mob of about 30 men. A witness said attackers ran from table to table, demanding to know “who’s Jewish.”

Alarmed at the violence perpetrated by its allies, another radical group tried to split hairs among its fellow travelers. CodePink national co-director Ariel Gold, identifying herself as an anti-Zionist Jew, denounced Israel as an “apartheid state” and also violence against Jews.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in the international solidarity movement for a free Palestine,” she said, before going on to accuse Israel of war crimes and massacring 200 Palestinians.

With friends like these, Israel certainly doesn’t need enemies.
Suspect arrested in pro-Palestinian assault on Jews in Los Angeles
Los Angeles police on Saturday announced the arrest of a suspect in an alleged attack by a pro-Palestinian group on Jewish men outside a restaurant earlier in the week.

A police statement, which did not identify the man, said he was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon late Friday at a residence outside the city of Los Angeles with assistance from a US Marshals Service task force.

Increased bail was requested “due to the crime being motivated by hatred,” the statement said.

“The male is one of the primary suspects in the assault and beating of several men who were outside of a restaurant in the evening hours in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles on Tuesday May 18, 2021,” it said.
AOC, Jamaal Bowman condemn anti-Semitic violence amid Middle East unrest
Leading New York City progressives have moved to condemn the recent spate of anti-Semitic violence in the United States, which has come amid renewed unrest in the Middle East.

“We will never, ever tolerate antisemitism here in NY or anywhere in the world. The recent surge in attacks is horrifying. We stand with our Jewish communities in condemning this violence,” AOC said in a tweet Friday evening.

Her call was echoed by fellow New York progressive lawmaker Rep. Jamaal Bowman in a press release.

“In the past several weeks, our district, state, and country have seen an increase in antisemitic hate crimes — a continuation of a trend that has been apparent for years but seems to have been enflamed by the violence in the Middle East. I will say now what I have said before: There is no room for antisemitism, hate, or prejudice in New York’s 16th Congressional District,” he said Friday. “So I ask you today — wherever you encounter antisemitism, speak up. This is our community. Our words and our actions can build a future in our district that we can be proud of, and be safe in.”

The statements, a belated acknowledgment of the violence US Jews have faced at the hands of pro-Palestinian activists, comes after both members have spent more than a week offering unrelenting criticism of Israel as it battled with Hamas terrorists.

AOC has accused the Jewish State of perpetuating “apartheid” and has led efforts to halt more than $700 million in planned arms sales to the country. Bowman too has been strident, even attacking his own progressive colleague Rep. Ritchie Torres after he defended Israel in an Op-Ed for The Post.

Media’s ‘blind eye’ to ‘explosion of anti-Semitism’ is ‘absolutely appalling’
Sky News host James Morrow says it’s “appalling” how so much of the media is turning a blind eye to the “explosion” of anti-Semitism around the world.

“It's probably no surprise to you that the left doesn't like Israel very much, and with much of the media controlled by the left, well, you've seen the way the coverage of Israel defending itself against several thousand rockets launched indiscriminately at its civilians has been dealt with,” he said.

“The brilliant satirical newspaper out of the US, The Babylon Bee, summed up the attitude of many news outlets with this headline: ‘Tensions rise in Middle East as one side wants to kill Jews and the other side are Jews who don't want to die and neither will compromise’.

“But as darkly funny as that is, this is serious business – and what's just as telling is what isn't covered.

“I'm talking here about anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in cities around the world by pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas demonstrators – many of whom have been admitted to the west – only to take sides, often violently, with its enemies

‘I would do it again’: Suspect accused of pummeling NYC Jewish man shows no remorse
The Brooklyn man accused of beating a Jewish man in a hate attack in Midtown proclaimed from his jail cell that he would “do it again,” prosecutors said on Saturday.

Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was held on $10,000 bail in the Thursday attack, in which he is accused of beating Joseph Borgen, 29, with crutches and punching, kicking and pepper-spraying him.

“If I could do it again, I would do it again,” he told one of his jailers, according to a prosecutor at Awawdeh’s Saturday arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. “I have no problem doing it again.”

The attack was unprovoked, said prosecutors, who told Judge Kathryn Paek that Borgen was walking near Broadway and West 49th Street when Awawdeh “jumped him and attacked him.”

Awawdeh, who has at least one open case in Brooklyn for allegedly speeding and running a red light in March, was charged with assault as a hate crime, gang assault, menacing, aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

BBC Journalist’s “Hitler Was Right,” Other Antisemitic Tweets Exposed
Independence, impartiality, objectiveness, fairness.

Those are some of the traits associated with the essence of journalism. Not sympathy with the Nazis. But a series of tweets unearthed by GnasherJew, responsible for rooting out scores of antisemites and Holocaust deniers, has exposed vile antisemitism being espoused by a journalist employed by the British Broadcasting Corporation, better known simply as the BBC.

After a horrendously slanted video report titled, “Israel-Gaza: What Bella Hadid’s Stance Says About Changing Conversations” was posted to the BBC website, it emerged that the presenter, Tala Halawa, has made a number of clearly antisemitic and genocidal statements on social media.

Perhaps the most objectionable tweet was posted in July 2014, and called Israel “more #Nazi than #Hitler” before going on to state, “#HitlerWasRight.”

That tweet, however, was far from the only problematic content posted to social media by Halawa. For example, there is an image shared on Facebook with the slogan “Relocate Israel into United States.”

The image has surfaced previously, with Labour MP Naz Shah being suspended from the party in 2016 after sharing the same image of Israel’s outline superimposed on a map of the US, along with the comment “problem solved,” on her Facebook profile two years earlier.

Shah later admitted, “what I put out was antisemitic.”
BBC journalist: ‘Hitler was right’
But now it has emerged that Halawa's controversial views were made clear the last time the Israel-Palestine conflict flared up. Back in July 2014 the journalist tweeted: '#Israel is more #Nazi than #Hitler ! Oh, #HitlerWasRight #IDF go to hell. #PrayForGaza' with other posts making clear her views that: 'ur media is produced by ur zionist government in order 2 produce ignorant people' that '#Zionists can't get enough of our blood' and that 'they're are crying the holocaust every single moment but they're practicing it every single moment as well.'

Mr S understands the BBC are currently investigating the incident, which occurred before Halawa was hired by the corporation, following a social media backlash. Screenshots are also circulating of Halawa posting a graphic of a child being burned on a menorah and that she shared on Facebook the same image which forced Naz Shah MP to resign from the Labour frontbench – a poster titled ‘Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict’ and ‘Relocate Israel into United States’. Halawa shared it on Facebook with the caption 'easy and simple! world peace solution! to enlightening the 'dark radical' middle east.'

When asked by Steerpike, the BBC declined to provide a comment. Let's hope this investigation does not take 25 years to conclude.

Update: A BBC Spokesperson has now got in touch to say: 'These tweets predate the individual’s employment with the BBC but we are nevertheless taking this very seriously and are investigating.'

‘Tiktok intifada’: Videos Of Violent Mobs Attacking Jews Sweep The Internet
As the conflict in the Gaza strip has slowed following a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, violence appears to be ratcheting up in the streets of New York City, Los Angeles, and Florida. A social media campaign urging TikTok users to record and post video footage of themselves beating up Jewish people may have spread across the Atlantic.

The violence began in Israel, according to the UK-based magazine The Spectator. “In Israel last month, a video on the social media platform TikTok encouraged users to film themselves assaulting Orthodox Jews,” reported James Ball.

Last month, Israeli officials arrested two Arab teenagers who slapped two ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews on a train in East Jerusalem and uploaded video of the incident to TikTok.

“Why would any ordinary person get pleasure from assault?” Ball wrote. “‘There is a competition for likes and views,’ a 15-year-old victim told an Israeli news organisation. ‘A video of an Arab slapping an ultra-Orthodox man will get you both.’”

As the Israel-Gaza conflict intensified this past week, so did attacks on American Jews — many of them recorded and shared widely on social media. Multiple alleged assaults against Jewish people took place nationwide during the Middle Eastern conflicts, often featuring large groups of people said to be Palestinian rights activists.

Islamic cleric who showed support for Israel is forced to flee his home after masked militants smashed down the front door and stormed inside while his wife and daughters slept
A prominent Islamic cleric who voiced support for Israel has been forced out of his home after a terrifying late-night attack by masked militants.

Nahiem Ajmal, a leading moderate with a huge following on YouTube, was asleep at home in Birmingham with his wife and two young daughters when thugs smashed windows and his front door before storming inside.

They were angered by comments made by the 41-year-old cleric – known to his followers as Mufti Abu Layth – last August in an hour-long lecture where he argued for Palestine to be handed over to Israel to settle the bitter conflict.

Nahiem Ajmal, a leading moderate with a huge following on YouTube, was asleep at home in Birmingham with his wife and two young daughters when thugs smashed windows and his front door before storming inside last Sunday (pictured, including a Palestinian flag waved by the men, left)

Edited versions of the video re-emerged last week amid renewed hostilities in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, which has seen more than 250 people killed, the majority Palestinians.

Police said the video, which went viral on social media and saw the imam branded a ‘kafir’ [unbeliever] and ‘traitor’ are likely to have triggered the attack on his semi-detached house in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.

At least six masked men filmed themselves waving the Palestinian flag as they walked to the house at 11pm last Sunday.

One could be heard saying: ‘This is for the dirty dog Abu Layth, who disrespected our brothers and sisters of Palestine.’

The thugs hurled stones and bricks at windows and the glass front door of the house and barged in seconds later.

The 30-second video shows the men running up the stairs as a woman screams, and one them shouts: ‘Where is Abu Layth, where the f*** is Abu Layth?’

Biden Administration Says It Will Spearhead International Efforts to Rebuild Gaza
The Biden administration is looking to spearhead international efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip in the wake of two weeks of conflict between Israel, Hamas, and other terror factions embedded in the coastal enclave.

A senior Biden administration official said the United States is planning to be “at the fore of an international response, most likely costing billions of dollars, to include restoring health and education services, and other reconstruction,” reported the New York Times.

The official added that the effort will likely be coordinated through the United Nations.

Biden hinted at the measure in his comments on Thursday addressing the ceasefire that began on Friday.

“I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely,” he said in remarks at the White House, “and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy.”

According to the report, the Biden administration is also likely to focus on other initiatives, including the issue of Israeli settlements; strengthening ties between Israel and Muslim countries that was started under the Trump administration; and attempting to foster unity between Palestinian factions in Gaza and the West Bank, adversarial relationships that instigated the hostilities that began in full on May 10.

It remains unclear how the administration and international community will facilitate rebuilding efforts while at the same time addressing concerns that Hamas, a US-designated terror organization, will use the money to rebuild its rocket arsenal, terror infrastructure, or tunnel system to infiltrate Israel.
Abbas: PA must be part of Gaza reconstruction
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has told the US administration, Egypt, Qatar, the European Union and other parties that the PA must be involved in any plan for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

Abbas warned that dealing separately with the Gaza Strip would solidify the split with the West Bank, embolden his rivals in Hamas, and undermine efforts to renew the stalled peace process with Israel, according to a Palestinian official in Ramallah.

Abbas, on the other hand, is seeking the backing of key Arab countries - including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar - for his initiative to hold an international conference for peace in the Middle East under the auspices of the Quartet members – the US, EU, United Nations, and Russia, the official told The Jerusalem Post.

In a series of meetings and phone conversations over the past few days, Abbas told EU, US, UN and Arab officials and envoys that he welcomes the talk about a reconstruction plan for the Gaza Strip, but insists that such an effort be carried out only in coordination with the PA government.

On Saturday, Abbas discussed the issue of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip during a phone conversation with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and a meeting with a visiting Egyptian security delegation.

“The president (Abbas) stressed the importance of coordinating all efforts concerning the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah,” the official said. “He warned that failing to do so would only consolidate the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and undermine the Palestinian Authority.”
Israel's Gaza challenge: stopping metal tubes turning into rockets
The Israel-Hamas conflict that ended with a ceasefire on Friday showed the Palestinian group's ability to build an arsenal of home-made rockets largely with civilian materials and Iranian expertise, analysts and officials said, a feat it can likely replicate.

The low cost of such arms and the need to rebuild Gaza leaves Israel and the international community with a quandary of how to meet Gazans' basic needs yet keep ordinary items such as pipes, sugar and concrete from being put to military uses.

Current and former officials see no easy answers, saying it is all but impossible to seal off even a relatively small area such as Gaza and to prevent goods for reconstruction from being turned into locally-made rockets.

Hamas and fellow militant group Palestine Islamic Jihad, both deemed foreign terrorist organizations by Washington, have boosted the quantity and quality of their rockets since the last Gaza conflict with Israel in 2014.

"We were extremely surprised by Hamas' capacities this time around. They had long-distance rockets they didn't have before. That is all down to Iran," said a senior European official on condition of anonymity.
PMW: What would the EU and UN have done if Hamas had won the PA elections?
From May 10 through May 20, Hamas, the internationally designated terror organization that controls the Gaza Strip, fired over 4,300 missiles against Israel, targeting its civilian population. By May 20, 12 people (9 Israelis and 3 foreign nationals) had been murdered and hundreds more had been injured. There is no doubt that Hamas is responsible for committing multiple war crimes.

Just weeks ago, before the latest cycle of Palestinian violence flared up, the European Union and the United Nations considered the homicidal terror group to be a legitimate participant in the Palestinian Authority elections.

When PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called the election in January, a statement of the Office of the European Union Representative (West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA), welcomed the decision saying:
“This is a welcome development as participative, representative and accountable democratic institutions are key for Palestinian self-determination and state-building.”

[EU website, Jan. 16, 2021]

On the same day, the EU announced that it was launching a €2.1 million fund to support the readiness of the PA Central Elections Committee. The EU said that it would donate €1.5 million to that fund.

A statement of the Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, reflected the same sentiment:
“The holding of elections in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza will be a crucial step towards Palestinian unity, giving renewed legitimacy to national institutions, including a democratically elected Parliament and Government in Palestine.”

[UN Secretary-General website, Jan. 16, 2021]

Iran: Nuclear monitoring deal over, IAEA will have no access to images of sites
Iran's parliament speaker said on Sunday that a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog had expired as of Saturday, Iran's state TV reported, adding that the agency would no longer access images of nuclear sites.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is to hold a news conference on Sunday afternoon. He is in talks with Iran on extending the monitoring arrangement with Tehran that could affect talks between Tehran and six powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the IAEA said.

"From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement," state TV quoted Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf as saying. Iran began gradually breaching terms of the pact with world powers after then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.

"Yesterday it was discussed and the decision was made. The law passed by the parliament will be implemented. The supreme leader has underlined the importance of this issue, as well," Qalibaf said.
Iran: Parliamentary Speaker Says ‘Monitoring Deal Expired’
The tactical diplomatic battle between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — as well as the other signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, took another turn when the Islamic republic’s parliamentary speaker said that international inspectors may no longer access surveillance images.

Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf’s words had the effect of escalating the pressure in a bid to save the international accord regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which it claims are for peaceful domestic purposes.

Qalibaf’s words further underlined what appears to be a narrowing window to seal a return for the US to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which it signed in 2015 but from which former President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

The Islamic Republic is already enriching and stockpiling uranium at levels far beyond those allowed by its 2015 nuclear deal, a suspicion of which led to the Trump team withdrawing from the agreement in the first place.

“Regarding this, and based on the expiration of the three-month deadline, definitely the International Atomic Energy Agency will not have the right to access images from May 22,” Qalibaf said, according to the Associated Press.

The IAEA said that its Director-General Rafael Grossi would address the media Sunday in Vienna.
Iran reports explosion at plant that reportedly produces UAVs
At least nine people were injured in a blast on Sunday at a plant producing explosive materials in Iran’s central province of Isfahan, ISNA news agency reported.

The blast occurred at Sepahan Nargostar Chemical Industries at 4 a.m. local time (2330 GMT) due to “unclear reasons still being investigated,” said Mansour Shisheforoush, head of the province’s crisis management organization.

Nine factory workers were injured and transferred to the hospital, he added.

He said several investigative teams were at the scene to determine the cause of the blast.

The plant is located about 45 kilometers (just under 30 miles) northwest of Isfahan city.

The company manufactures “industrial-commercial explosive materials” and was established in 1941, according to its website.

According to The Guardian, the plant produces drones.

Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko wins historic gold at European Championships
Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko, 17, has won a historic gold medal at the European Championships in Budapest this weekend, setting a new Israeli record for the 200-meter individual medley: 2:09:99.

The young swimmer was the fastest qualifier in the semifinal, which she completed in 2:10:35, a new Israeli record before she proceeded to smash it in the final event.

In 2018, Gorbenko won the gold for the same event at the European Youth Olympic Games, and in 2019 won two silver medals at the European Youth Olympic Games.

Gorbenko is only the second Israeli swimmer to become a European champion. She joins Jonathan Kopelev, who won the gold medal for the 50-meter backstroke in December 2012.

Gorbenko beat Abbie Wood of Britain by 4/100ths of a second.

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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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