Tuesday, January 31, 2023

From Ian:

Do Peace Negotiations Prevent Terror?
The implication of Shotter’s take is that during times when there is hope of a peaceful resolution to the conflict, the Palestinian appetite for terror will wane — a correlation that is wish-casting at best, and one, as we showed regarding the Second Intifada, that is not supported by the events of the late 90s and early to mid 2000s.

The generation that participated in the terror of the 2000s was the Oslo generation — those who not only saw their leader shake hands with Yitzhak Rabin, but experienced the fruits of negotiations in the form of IDF withdrawals from large swaths of the West Bank, and Palestinian Authority control of major Palestinian population centers. Those Palestinians of course also saw Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, a unilateral concession that resulted in the rise of Hamas, an Islamist extremist group committed to Israel’s annihilation.

None of this is to suggest that peace negotiations between the two sides aren’t extremely important. It’s meant to emphasize the absolute folly — given the last 30 years of Israeli-Palestinian history — of concluding that despair over the absence of a diplomatic horizon is what drives otherwise normal people to murder innocent men, women, and children at restaurants, bus stops, and even outside Jewish houses of worship.
Brendan O'Neill: A tale of two massacres
Western politicians who went online to express horror over the slaughter in the synagogue found themselves bombarded by ‘pro-Palestine’ people asking: ‘And what about the killings in Jenin?’ Some media outlets hinted at a moral equivalence, or at least a moral link, between the Jenin clash and the synagogue killings. In its report on the synagogue slaughter, the BBC said ‘tensions have been high since nine Palestinians – both militants and civilians – were killed during an Israeli military raid in Jenin’. Have we really lost the ability to morally differentiate between an armed confrontation between soldiers and militants and the mass murder of unarmed civilians in their place of worship? These are not the same thing. In any way.

Listen: when people are targeted in a synagogue, they are targeted because they are Jews. The slaughter on Holocaust Memorial Day was an act of racist barbarism, akin to the grim assaults on Christian churches in Sri Lanka or mosques in New Zealand. ‘Explaining’ the synagogue massacre as if it were a normal or even understandable expression of the broader tensions gripping the Middle East shows just how unhinged anti-Israel sentiment has become. It is shocking that this needs to be said, but nothing – not the events in Jenin, not Israel’s recent incursions into the West Bank and Gaza, not the Israeli settlements – makes the mass murder of Jews for being Jews a comprehensible thing.

The past week suggests that the anti-Israel fury of influential Westerners is no longer just strange and prejudiced – it’s dangerous. It seems increasingly clear to me that the reimagining of Israel-Palestine as a war between dark and light, between the world’s most wicked state and the world’s most victimised people, is helping to nurture new and ever-more crazed forms of violence in the region. After all, if you are evil, then anything done against you can be justified, right?

So committed are some in the West to the narrative of Israeli evil and Palestinian good that they hold up Palestinians as the pitiable victims of massacres in the very week when it was Israelis, Jews in fact, who were the victims of a massacre. Their devotion to the ideology of Israel-hate clearly takes precedence over everything, even truth. That there has not been more moral and historical angst in the West over the massacre of praying Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day is abominable. It is a blot on the Western moral conscience. It tells us more about us than we would care to know.
PMW: Did Fatah's military wing just declare war on Israel?
The military wing of Abbas’ Fatah Movement, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, announces “an open war”:
“We will continue the resistance, we will continue our heroic operations (i.e., terror attacks), until removing the occupier from our land. This is an open war, and tomorrow Tel Aviv will declare mourning”
“We the brigades… announce the escalation of the military activity… This is a comprehensive and open war”
“We swear that we will make the Zionist enemy and its flocks live in fear… we will turn wherever they are into a fiery hell”
“Let them prepare for the fire of rage and for the storm of the brigades, Fatah is coming to them, and not one of them will get out of it safely.
Taste the rage of the brigades – this is an open war – this is an open war, see you have been warned”
“The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades – when they speak, they act, when they promise, they carry it out, and when they strike, they cause pain”

Terror organization PFLP on murder of 7 in Jerusalem:
“May the arms that carried out this operation be blessed… May this group of Jihad fighters be blessed… May this resistance be blessed… which has turned the night of the Zionists into day, and into lava erupting before the oppressor”
Blinken laments deaths of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians’ in meeting with Abbas
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his sorrow Tuesday for the “innocent Palestinian civilians” killed over the past year in the West Bank, after meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Washington’s top diplomat met Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on the penultimate stop of his Middle East tour aimed at curbing bloodshed and rising tensions, following meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, senior Israeli ministers, President Isaac Herzog and opposition leader Yair Lapid.

Israel says most of the over 30 Palestinians killed since the beginning of the year were participating in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces, though not all of them. A 60-year-old woman was shot dead during a military raid in Jenin last Thursday during which eight others were killed, most of them terror group members. Also last week, a father was shot dead by troops at a checkpoint in front of his son in an altercation that the army afterward said should not have ended in his death. More than 170 Palestinians were killed in 2022 — most of them while carrying out attacks on soldiers and civilians, though some were uninvolved civilians — making it the deadliest year since the United Nations began tracking in 2005.

“Palestinians and Israelis alike are experiencing growing insecurity, growing fear in their homes, in their communities and in their places of worship,” said Blinken.

The US envoy’s remarks alongside the Palestinian leader came a day after he met with Netanyahu, when he urged both sides to take “urgent steps” to calm tensions.

Blinken expressed “sorrow for the innocent Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives in escalating violence over the last year.” He also condemned Palestinians “who celebrate… acts of terrorism that take innocent lives,” in the wake of a deadly shooting Friday near a synagogue in Jerusalem — the deadliest terror attack against Israelis in over a decade.
In meeting with Blinken, Abbas again says Israel responsible for violence
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday again held the Israeli government responsible for the escalation of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

He also accused Israel of undermining the two-state solution and violating the signed agreements with the Palestinians.

Abbas’s latest allegations came during a meeting in Ramallah with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A senior Palestinian official said after the meeting that Blinken did not carry anything new. “We didn’t hear new ideas or proposals,” the official said. “We also didn’t hear anything new about our demand that the US administration fulfill its promises to the Palestinians.”

Abbas lamented the absence of US and international pressure on Israel “to dismantle the occupation and end settlements.”

Abbas said the continued opposition by the US and other parties to the Palestinians’ diplomatic offensive against Israel in international forums and courts encourages Israel “to commit more crimes and violate international law.”

It turns out Netanyahu never 'lost' the Democrats
The fomenting of divisions between Israel and the US is not new; this atmosphere has been around for many years in both countries, and it is this very trend that threatens the special relationship more than anything else. The Israeli Left has long tried to set the narrative that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Democratic Party are estranged.

Likewise, the Republicans keep trying to paint a worrying picture that the Democrats have left Israel to its own devices and therefore Jerusalem should no longer have anything to do with the Donkey Party. But it turns out facts are a stubborn thing, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken's small gestures are a great example. Just before he arrived in Israel from Egypt, America's chief diplomat announced that Israel reached a critical milestone on the path toward joining the Visa Waiver Program.

The timing was hardly coincidental. He had held the information for many weeks, presumably so that he could make the announcement during his visit and thus contribute to the positive atmosphere. A no-less important gesture was his refusal to directly criticize the judicial reforms the government is currently pushing. Opposition Leader Yair Lapid has tried to make Blinken part of his team and Jewish leaders have tried to enlist the US secretary to torpedo the reforms. But, lo and behold, when he met Netanyahu on Monday he took pains not to take on the role the left-wing media and the Left (in both countries) have tried to cast him in.

The ongoing protests in Israel are just a manifestation of Israel's vibrant democracy, he said. He also noted that reforms should be passed through dialogue. That's all he said on the matter, to the dismay of the government's detractors, and of course, the cherry on top was the progress on the Visa Waiver Program. Had Netanyahu really "lost" America, as some pundits and Lapid have insisted, the administration would have suspended the efforts to have Israel join the program. But not only has the US not taken any steps in that direction, but the Biden administration has also actually gone all-in to see this process completed, as demonstrated by the conduct of US Ambassador to Israel Tom NIdes and Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas, and many others.
Abbas presents Blinken with list of demands for Israeli concessions
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas outlined a series of demands for Israeli concessions during a meeting on Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah.

Abbas called on Washington to pressure Israel to forgo construction plans in Judea and Samaria, curb IDF counter-terrorism operations in Palestinian-controlled areas and cancel punitive measures imposed on the P.A. in response to its ongoing “political and legal war” against the Jewish state.

Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the measures earlier this month after the U.N. General Assembly, at the urging of the P.A., passed a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

“We affirm that the Israeli government is responsible for what is happening today, because of its practices that undermine the two-state solution and violate the signed agreements, and because of the lack of international efforts to dismantle the occupation [and] end the settlement regime, and the failure to recognize the Palestinian state and its full membership in the United Nations,” said Abbas.

“The continued opposition to the efforts of the Palestinian people to defend their existence and their legitimate rights in international forums and courts, and to provide international protection for our people, is a policy that encourages the Israeli occupier to commit more crimes and violates international law,” he added.
Abbas to US: Security cooperation with Israel will be restored
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas told CIA Director William Burns in Ramallah on Sunday that security cooperation with Israel will be restored, Channel 12 reported on Monday.

Abbas announced on Jan. 26 that the P.A. would cease security cooperation following an IDF raid in Jenin in which nine people were killed during fierce clashes.

In his meeting with Burns, Abbas relayed a four-part message, according to the report: 1) Intelligence cooperation with Israel continues; 2) The P.A. will continue to work to prevent acts of terror; 3) Security cooperation with Israel will be renewed to calm tensions; and 4) that he cannot condemn the recent attacks in Jerusalem as doing so would be “political suicide.”
As Netanyahu talks Iran, Blinken makes US concerns over judicial shakeup clear
Speaking alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who sought to focus on Iran — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken placed a noticeable emphasis on the democratic values shared by the two countries, a clear sign that the White House is concerned over initiatives by Israel’s new right-wing government.

“Throughout the relationship between our countries, what we come back to time and again is that it is rooted both in shared interests and in shared values,” said Blinken.

“That includes our support for core democratic principles and institutions, including respect for human rights, the equal administration of justice for all, the equal rights of minority groups, the rule of law, free press, a robust civil society – and the vibrancy of Israel’s civil society has been on full display of late.”

The Netanyahu coalition is pushing a series of dramatic reforms that would increase government control over the judiciary.

The plan has drawn intense criticism and warnings from leading financial and legal experts, as well as weekly mass protests and public petitions by various officials, professionals, and private companies.

“The commitment of people in both our countries to make their voices heard, to defend their rights, is one of the unique strengths of our democracies,” Blinken continued. “Another is a recognition that building consensus for new proposals is the most effective way to ensure they’re embraced and that they endure.”

Entire Netanyahu coalition signs Knesset bill to restore Deri as minister
All 64 members of Israel’s governing coalition on Tuesday signed onto an amendment to Basic Law: The Government that would block the Supreme Court from intervening in the appointment of Cabinet ministers.

The legislation is meant to restore Shas Party Chairman Aryeh Deri to his ministerial positions from which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed him after the Supreme Court on Jan. 18 ruled 10-1 that he was ineligible to serve in the Cabinet.

“Deri Law No. 2,” as it’s been coined, will go before the Knesset next week. It is the second coalition amendment geared towards paving the way for Deri to serve as minister. An earlier amendment to the same Basic Law in December didn’t prevent the court from ruling against Deri’s concurrent appointments as interior and health minister, which it called “unreasonable in the extreme” given his February 2022 conviction on tax offenses.

Senior coalition members including Netanyahu gathered at a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset on Jan. 23 to voice support for Deri and promise to “fix” the situation.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Forced By Court To Fire Minister Deri, Netanyahu To Nominate Him As Supreme Court Justice (satire)
Israel’s highest judicial body ruled two weeks ago that an ally of the prime minister who served prison time for corruption may not serve in the capacity that the premier had named him, prompting the prime minister instead to designate him as a candidate for the next spot to open up on that judicial body.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly assured Aryeh Deri today that as soon as a Supreme Court justice announces an impeding retirement, he will submit Deri’s name to the committee that selects and approves the replacement. Part of the new government’s platform involves an overhaul of the judicial system, in particular the method by which new justices ascend to the bench, and Netanyahu promised Deri that the selection process would undergo the much-touted reform before such time.

“I am sorry you had to experience this disappointment,” Netanyahu told Deri at meeting of current ministers and now, one former minister. “Please accept my commitment to making the judicial selection process more democratic and more responsive to the will of the people, as both something this country needs to extract itself from the tyranny of the self-selected elite, and compensation for you, who have devoted your entire adult life to public service, having served decades in the Knesset and three years in Ma’asiyahu Prison.”
Israel must refuse Jordan's request to build on the Temple Mount
The State of Israel must not agree to additional Jordanian construction on the Temple Mount, and certainly not a significant construction like the fifth minaret, as King Abdullah requested in the meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.

The Palestinian Arabs will see this as weakness and increase the pressure and violence. This will be seen in their eyes as such a symbolic victory that it will inspire them with a sense of victory for many years to come. The Jordanian leadership, will of course, not miss an opportunity to make hay out of it and inflate their stature in the eyes of the Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs.

This will also harm Israel's relations with other Sunni Arab countries, which will see weakness in this agreement. This will damage relations with Morocco and Turkey, who have interests on the Temple Mount, and of course will distance normalization with Saudi Arabia, which is interested in the status on the Temple Mount, and has negotiated on the issue with Israel in the past and continues to raise the issue. Giving into Jordan would weaken the possibility that Israel would be able to grant the Saudis rights on the Temple Mount, something that if done, could strengthen the chance of normalization with them.

It will even weaken Israel in the eyes of the Americans, Europeans, Russians, and Chinese. After all, Jordan, for many years has been using threats and a show of force at Israel's expense. Not only in the internal Jordanian arena, but also in the regional and global arena, and in many cases has humiliated Israel in public and strengthened the status of the king at our expense. This is despite the peace agreement and their great dependence on us, politically, economically and security wise.

This must stop.

Netanyahu Meets with Mother of Hamas Captive Avera Mengistu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Monday with Agurnesh Mengistu, the mother of Hamas captive Avera Mengistu.

The periodic update comes after Hamas earlier this month released an undated video purportedly of the Israeli man, who crossed into the Gaza Strip on his own accord in 2014.

“I am the prisoner Avera Mengistu. How long will I remain a captive here, I and my comrades, after the long and painful years?” says the man in the video.

“Where are the State and the People of Israel regarding our fate?” he adds.

Hamas is also holding Israeli citizen Hisham al-Sayed, as well as the bodies of two IDF soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in action during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.
JPost Editorial: It's normal to demand immediate response, but we need to act wisely - editorial
Regarding the immediate sealing of the homes of terrorists and their families, Yonah Jeremy Bob reported in Monday’s Post that a 2005 committee of top Israeli defense experts found that house demolitions, rather than deterring future terrorism, generally inflamed hatred and increased motivation for future attacks by Palestinians against Israel. Home demolitions were taken off the table and restored during the 2015-2016 “Knife Intifada,” with the overwhelming majority of officials finding that the demolitions were having a deterrent effect.

There is no consensus on the issue, so speeding up the sealings – as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is demanding – or expanding the sealing of homes of family members, or terrorists who have not murdered raises a big question regarding the effectiveness, or the reverse effect of fanning more flames of hate.

Ben-Gvir’s call to ease the process for Israeli citizens to obtain firearms licenses could indeed prevent terrorist attacks from unfolding. Unlike the US and Europe, the number of incidents of citizens using their guns in mass shootings is virtually unheard of in Israel. And enabling people who have served in the IDF and know their way around a gun could be helpful.

If one of the bystanders inside or near the Neveh Ya’acov synagogue where Friday night’s attack took place had been armed, it could have prevented many of the casualties.

However, there is already a long waiting list for gun licenses, so along with any new directives, this measure would have to include bureaucratic changes to streamline the process. In addition, it would increase the chances of a lethal weapon ending up in the wrong hands, as Hagit Pe’er, chairperson of the women’s rights organization Na’amat, warned on Monday.

Pe’er called for all decisions to be made after thorough research. That’s the takeaway from the weekend of terrorism and the resulting cabinet declarations. It’s human nature to demand an immediate response, but it’s prudent to think things through and act wisely. We’re not going anywhere. Unfortunately, neither is terror.
Ben-Gvir presents his firearm permit plan: How many Israelis will get guns?
A plan to ease the firearm licensing process in Israel was set to be presented on Tuesday by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

According to a ministry statement, Ben-Gvir seeks to lower waiting times for the interview section of the gun permit application process, as well as the waiting period for approval after the interview. He will instruct to speed up the process in general.

To facilitate the expedition of the process, Ben-Gvir intends to double the number of employees at his ministry's Firearms Licensing Division.

An uptick in applications
There are currently 17,373 applications waiting to be processed, according to the ministry. Of these, 6,600 are at the stage of submitting documents and 10,773 are awaiting interviews.

Previously, Yehuda Elcharar of the law firm Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co, who specializes in helping those seeking to obtain licenses, told The Jerusalem Post that there is often an uptick in applications after a wave of terrorism.

There was such a wave of terrorism in 2022, which according to the ministry's data, saw a record 42,236 new applications for private firearms.

The 17,373 applications being processed are leftovers from 2022. Last year, 10,986 licenses were issued, and another 4,404 probational licenses were approved.
MDA first responder Fadi Dekidek: 'Jews save Arabs. Arabs save Jews'
The massacre that occurred in Jerusalem on Friday night after Khaire Alkam, 21, opened fire on a synagogue and killed seven also left a number of civilians injured. One of the people on the front lines providing life-saving medical treatment was veteran Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic Fadi Dekidek.

Dekidek hails from the Beit Hanina neighborhood in east Jerusalem. His family is originally from Turkey, and his first name means “redeemer.”

During his nearly two decades in an MDA uniform, Dekidek has seen “many terror attacks," he told The Jerusalem Post. "I was in danger. I made sure that the others in the ambulance were safe and rushed into the synagogue and nearby buildings to see if there were more wounded or dead, but there were none," he said.

"I checked the pulse of the victims. All the wounded were in the street, and there were those who died on the spot or in the hospitals [Shaare Zedek Medical Center] and Hadassah on Mount Scopus. I was only a few hundred meters from there in my MDA ambulance.

“I wasn’t able to sleep on Friday night after it was over, but I hope to sleep tonight.” He added that he hasn’t yet been able to visit the wounded people he saved, but said he hopes to do so.

Tom Gross to Pro-Islamist Turkish TV: Israel does not target civilians
Tom Gross: “During his 19 year term as Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas has seen five Israeli prime ministers, but rejected peace overtures from all of them.”

(Pro-Erdogan Turkish government TRT TV has 4.3 million followers on Facebook and 2.3 million on YouTube just on its English-language page, with far more on its Turkish and Arabic pages.)

TAU Arab Students Rally: ‘With Spirit and Blood We’ll Redeem Palestine!’
Dozens of Arab students demonstrated on Monday at the entrance to Tel Aviv University, expressing support for the terrorists who were eliminated by the IDF in Jenin (At Least 8 PA Arabs Killed in Jenin Shootout with Terrorists). The students waved Palestinian flags, and called for violence, chanting:

“In the name of a forceful national unity, we will not stop even if there are a thousand funerals every day / the declaration of intifada and victory came out of Jaffa.”

The reference to Jaffa instead of Tel Aviv obviously signified their denial of Tel Aviv’s right to exist – even though the city’s land was purchased in 1909, well before there were any mainstream mentions of the name “Palestine” as a nationality. At the same time, Tel Aviv University was built on the deserted village of Shaykh Muwannis whose residents fled in 1948 – just keep this in your hat the next time you demand that Israeli settlers abandon their lands in the “occupied territories.”

Yoseph Haddad, an Israeli Arab journalist, disabled IDF veteran, social activist, advocate on behalf of Israel, and CEO of the “Together – Arabs for each other” association that works to connect the Arab sector to Israeli society, gave the demonstrators a piece of his mind:

The Israel Guys: GAZA FIRES ROCKETS Into Israel & 7 DEAD in Terror Attack
Two barrages of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel early Friday morning, The IDF responded by striking a number of Hamas targets inside the Gaza strip, while at the same time being rebuked by the international community for fighting terrorism.

A horrific terror attack Friday evening, left seven Israelis dead and three wounded.

Another terror attack by a 13-year-old left two more seriously injured Saturday morning.

All this and more on today’s show!

‘Insane,’ ‘Reprehensible,’ ‘Complicit’: New York Times Excuse-Making for Jerusalem Terrorists Is Condemned
An article in Monday’s print New York Times takes pains to describe the terrorist attack outside a Jerusalem synagogue as “a synagogue in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.” The Times article says, “The recent Palestinian attacks, including Friday night’s shooting outside a synagogue and Saturday’s shooting, have targeted Israeli settlements and settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The settlements are considered illegal under international law and by much of the international community.”

That is cow manure, which is to say, both inaccurate and a morally loathsome effort to justify an attack on innocent civilian worshipers.

As HonestReporting noted, “On the contrary, Neve Yaakov is not a ‘settlement’ outside Jerusalem but is rather one of the neighborhoods that make up the Jerusalem municipality. While it is true that Israel gained control over that area following the Six-Day War, Neve Yaakov does not have the legal status of a ‘settlement’ and is a fully integrated municipal neighborhood. It should also be noted that Neve Yaakov sits on land that was purchased by the Jewish community in the early 20th century and served as a Jewish agricultural center until it was depopulated during the Israeli War of Independence.”

Every New York Times article also takes pains to mention “Israel’s new far-right government,” “the most right-wing and the most religious in Israel’s history,” without mentioning that Palestinian Arab terrorists have targeted Israeli Jewish civilians without regard for the politics or religiosity of the Israeli governing coalition. In fact, Jewish synagogue goers have been targeted by murderers in Europe since before there even was a state of Israel, and they were targeted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, too. So the idea that this was about “the settlements” or the “far-right government” is, like the rest of the New York Times coverage, just a lot of phony baloney.

NY Times blurs, buries distinction between civilians and gunmen
And how does the headline and subhead to Abdulrahim’s Times piece—a report on the Kedumim incident—frame the attempted infiltration, the clashes during Israel’s arrest raids, and the massacre of Jewish civilians?

“Palestinian Man Fatally Shot as Violence Continues in Israel,” the headline announces. “Tensions and violence have gripped the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem for days after an Israeli military raid on Thursday killed 10 people,” the subhead states.

That the “Palestinian man” was a gunman, shot during his attempted attack, is omitted from the headline.

That the “10 people” killed during the military raid were struck during a gunbattle, with almost all the fatalities militants, is concealed from the subhead.

And that the Jews killed the very next day were, by contrast, civilians targeted by a Palestinian terrorist? Well, the subhead entirely ignores that attack.

‘You Are Part of the Problem’: Model Bella Hadid Under Fire for Accusing Israel of ‘Massacring’ Palestinians
Palestinian and Dutch model Bella Hadid is facing criticism for sharing a series of Instagram posts over the weekend where she ignored two deadly terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, in which a 14-year-old boy was among the victims, and instead claimed that Israel was slaughtering innocent Palestinian children and adults.

The same weekend that seven people were shot dead and three were wounded in a terrorist attack near a synagogue in east Jerusalem, Hadid shared a post on her Instagram Stories on Sunday about Palestinian 17-year-old Salah Muhammad Ali, who she said was allegedly “the fifth child and 20th Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers this month alone.” She failed to mention that majority of those Palestinian victims were terrorists and that Salah was killed after wearing a mask and aiming what appeared to be a gun — which later was found to be fake — at Israeli forces during a clash between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in east Jerusalem.

Hadid also made no mention in her Instagram Story about the 13-year-old Palestinian boy who on Saturday morning opened fire in the City of David area of Jerusalem, wounding a father and son. Instead, she shared a series of posts about nine Palestinians who she claimed were “massacred” during an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. She did not mention that seven of the Palestinians were gunmen.

Whispered in Gaza - We Need a Mature Government
“There is now a state of Israel, it can’t be denied”, according to “Fadi”. “The Palestine which Hamas wants to liberate, which we as Palestinians were expelled from” no longer exists. While Hamas makes it “extremely hard to talk about peace”, he believes that “if we could engage the outside world, it would be possible for Palestinians in Gaza to regain their humanity.” And “in recognizing that life has value, they’d see the humanity in Israelis too.”

Whispered in Gaza™ is an animated series by the Center for Peace Communications featuring actual voices of Palestinians residing in the Gaza Strip who have stories and ideas they want the world to hear. For more information, browse peacecomms.org/gaza and follow @peacecomcenter on Twitter.

Whispered in Gaza - My Dream for Gaza
“Zainab” dreams of a Gaza free from war or religious coercion. A Gaza where “everyone can find income and a livelihood”. A Gaza “where women are free to remove the hijab or to wear it”. A Gaza “open to the world”, with movie theaters and bars like any other city. “I don’t want there to be wars and rockets”, she says sadly, “we and the Israelis are one people… all of us should live in peace.”

Whispered in Gaza - The Makings of Our Dream Are All Here
"Most of the Hamas leadership has left Gaza,” according to “Ibrahim”. They live in Turkey or Qatar, “building a better future for themselves and their children through companies and investments.” Gaza, he believes, has everything it needs to thrive, as long as it can make peace with its neighbors. “You who demand liberation, and to break the blockade: go ahead, come to Gaza and be here and truly liberate it.”

MEMRI: Palestinian Authority And Fatah, Headed By President 'Abbas, Laud Two Terrorists Who Kidnapped And Murdered Israeli Soldier In The Hadera Area In 1980: National Role Models And Inspirational Symbols
Israeli Arab terrorists Karim Yunis and his cousin Maher Yunis were recently released after serving a 40-year prison sentence for the 1980 kidnapping and murder of Avraham Bromberg, an Israeli soldier who was on his way from his army base to his home in Zichron Ya'akov. Upon their release, senior officials from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ruling party Fatah, including President Mahmoud 'Abbas, congratulated them, showered them with praise and presented them as "role models" and "sources of inspiration" for the Palestinians. 'Abbas personally phoned to congratulate the two men and described them as Palestinian "dignitaries" and "icons" and as "a source of pride and inspiration" for the Palestinian people. A senior Fatah delegation visited their home in the Israeli Arab village of 'Ara to welcome and support them. Statements released by the Fatah movement championed Karim Yunis as "an authentic symbol for all the world freedom-lovers" owing to his "legendary steadfastness," and Maher Yunis as "a national model" of "resistance to the occupation."

President 'Abbas and other Palestinian leaders took this opportunity to reiterate their commitment to the Palestinian prisoners as a high-priority issue, which is expressed in their ongoing payments to prisoners and to their families as a reward for and encouragement of terrorist activity. It should be noted that Karim and Maher Yunis themselves each received payments from the PA over the years totaling NIS 335,362.[1]

Praise for Karim and Maher Yunis was also expressed in numerous articles published in the PA mouthpiece, the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily, which glorified their "steadfastness" during the long years of their imprisonment and described them as role models. In fact, the PA and the Fatah leadership glorified and honored the cousins in different ways even before their release, during their years of imprisonment, describing them as "symbols" of the Palestinian national struggle and as role paragons of "steadfastness." In 2017, Karim Yunis was appointed a member of the Fatah Central Committee, the movement's executive arm, which is headed by President 'Abbas.[2]

Russian missile hits Ukrainian synagogue, Chief Rabbi condemns attack
A chief rabbi of Ukraine condemned a Russian missile damaging a synagogue in Huliaipole on Tuesday.

"In a normative world it is accepted that holy places are off limits, the Russians also broke this convention," said Rabbi Moshe Azman. "I expect world leaders to strongly condemn the criminal act."

Former minister, MK Zeev Elkin tweeted that "a Russian missile hit an ancient Synagogue in Ukraine in the area where my late great-grandfather was born, grew up, and was murdered, during the civil war."

He added that he is named for this great-grandfather.

Confronting the attack
"How sad and disgusting," he said of the damage done by Russia to this synagogue. "The world should condemn damage to holy sites and houses of worship, even when it comes to war," Elkin wrote. Elkin made aliyah from Ukraine and while he was a member of the Likud party, would accompany Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a confidant and translator.

"I'm in touch with all Jewish communities in our area and there aren't many Jews that live in Huliaipole," Rabbi Nachum Ehrentreu, rabbi and Chabad emissary of the Jewish Community of Zaporozhye, told The Jerusalem Post. "I visited there before the war and we fixed up the Jewish graveyard that indicates that there was once a large Jewish community in the city. I also visited the synagogue, there is a museum there nowadays," the rabbi said.

He added that it seems that it wasn't a missile that hit the synagogue, but rather shrapnel from a missile, "otherwise the building would be totally destroyed," and according to Ehrentreu, the building was harmed but not ruined.
Israel transfers bulletproof ambulances to war-torn Ukraine
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Monday transferred three bulletproof ambulances to Ukrainian rescue forces, as the Russian invasion of the European country nears its one-year anniversary.

The Israeli “Plasan Re’em” company armored the ambulances and equipped them with life-saving medical gear including a defibrillator, oxygen system and more.

An additional ambulance was sent to Ukrainian rescue forces in recent weeks and is already assisting in humanitarian activities.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that the U.S. defense establishment was dipping into a store of American ammunition in Israel to help Ukraine replenish its dwindling supply of artillery shells.

“With stockpiles in the United States strained and American arms makers not yet able to keep up with the pace of Ukraine’s battlefield operations, the Pentagon has turned to two alternative supplies of shells to bridge the gap: one in South Korea and the one in Israel,” the Times reported, citing Israeli and American officials.

By Keeping Iran in Check, Israel Helps the U.S., and Ukraine
Over the weekend, Israeli drones appear to have attacked a military facility in the city of Isfahan, deep inside Iran. The IDF also reportedly struck an Iranian convoy carrying arms near the Iraq-Syria boarder. Benny Avni comments on these strikes, and their relationship to the recent terrorist attacks in Jerusalem: Israel’s operations in the Palestinian territories and its daring attack at Isfahan, Iran, are part of the same long war—and both seem to serve America’s interests. The Palestinians have their own goals in this fight, but increased violence also advances the Iranians’ overarching goal: obliterating the Jewish state. “Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups” in the northern West Bank, an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Yoni Ben Menachem, wrote recently.

The Isfahan attack seems like a significant turn in the “war between wars” that Israel has quietly waged for some years. Reportedly conducted with quadcopter drones, it targeted, and apparently left heavily damaged, a previously unknown arms-manufacturing site, . . . reportedly built as an advanced missile-development site. Israeli sources are reporting that it could have been connected to research and development on hypersonic missiles.

As of yet, only Russia and Communist China have developed [such missiles]. If indeed Russia is helping Iran join that group even before America has acquired hypersonic missiles—or the means to defend against them—it must be keeping Washington policymakers awake at night. . . . Attacks on Iranian facilities therefore benefit both Israel and America.

Indeed, the military hardware being developed in Isfahan may well have been intended for Russian use in Ukraine—making its destruction a boon to NATO’s efforts in Europe.

How Israel is using digital diplomacy to win in Iran
Four hundred and fifty million. That’s the number of times social media users across the globe engaged with Farsi-languge digital content generated by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs last year. And guess what, 93% of these viewers were in Iran – a country committed to wiping Israel off the map.

For more than a decade, Israel’s digital diplomacy team has maintained channels in more than 50 languages which reach some 2 billion people each year. But somehow Farsi has become the most popular language of all – even more than Hebrew and English combined.

How did this happen? For one thing, unlike in other, more digitally cautious nations, Israeli diplomats can post both personal and professional content with relatively few restrictions. This openness suits a country where technology and innovation are our greatest competitive edges. And the digital sphere is no exception – particularly when it comes to dealing with our enemies.

The United States and the West have much to learn from Israel’s efforts to penetrate audiences in hostile nations. Consider Iran. In a country where traditional and social media networks are heavily censored, millions use VPNs to access content blocked by the regime. For more than a decade, Israel has worked within these constraints to build an online community of Iranians interested in learning about Israel, a place Iranian leaders have long called “the Little Satan.”

Israel’s digital journey in Iran is proof that both governments – and their people – need little more than a smartphone to shape public opinion abroad. To do so, governments must first and foremost speak the languages of their target audiences — literally and metaphorically.
While strikes against Iran seem to have gone into high gear, Israel’s strategy remains long-term
Recent days have seen rapid-fire reports of dramatic military operations throughout the Middle East. All the reports have two things in common: The targets are Iranian, and they are attributed to Israel.

According to U.S. officials quoted in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, Israel was behind Saturday’s drone strike on a military facility in the Iranian city of Isfahan. Various reports suggested that a site producing ballistic missiles and UAVs was targeted.

A day later, reports came in of seven people being killed and six trucks destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on a convoy of trucks moving from Iraq into Syria. The strike occurred near the city of Al-Bukamal, according to Al Arabiya, with the Saudi outlet quoting the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) war monitor as stating that the convoy was transporting Iranian weapons. According to SOHR, none of the casualties were Syrian nationals.

All of this occurred just ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken touching down in Israel on Monday for discussions on Iran, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Iran has been attempting to smuggle weapons and the materials needed to construct them into Iraq, Syria and Lebanon for years. The goal of these efforts has been to arm its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, as well as to create a Syrian Hezbollah.

A decade ago, Israel initiated a shadow war against Iran’s entrenchment efforts in Syria, launching airstrikes when Iranian smuggling attempts were detected. The campaign, dubbed “the campaign between wars” by Israeli defense officials, has since evolved into one of the pillars of the country’s security doctrine, and has ramped up significantly over time.
The EU Can, and Should, Designate the IRGC as a Terrorist Group
The IRGC should be designated as a terrorist organization only on the basis of the terrorist activities it carries out and the material support it provides to its terrorist proxies. Iran’s grave human rights abuses and provision of drones used by Russia to target Ukraine are better addressed using sanctions authorities specific to human rights or other applicable violations.

And there are serious issues to debate when it comes to such a designation. As the EU debates designating the IRGC, a parallel discussion has been taking place in the U.K., which, while no longer an EU member state, plans to proscribe the IRGC on terrorism grounds after debate in the U.K. Parliament also demonstrated broad, cross-party support for proscribing the IRGC. In the U.K., other policy issues came up for debate, such as whether such an action would undermine existing U.K. sanctions authorities. The U.K. government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation posted a legal note cautioning against proscribing the IRGC for technical legal rather than policy reasons. In the end, it appears the U.K. government will nonetheless designate the IRGC.

Some may not want to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization for fear of Iranian retaliatory sanctions or in the interest of keeping open prospects for renewed negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal. Those are legitimate policy debates. But as a matter of legal standards, the EU has more than enough authority and admissible evidence to designate the IRGC.

EU foreign policy chief Borrell is not wrong when he says that the EU cannot designate the IRGC just on the basis of not liking the organization. But he is patently wrong when he asserts that a designation cannot take place until a court in an EU member state issues a judicial ruling against the group. There is ample evidence admissible within the CP 931 framework of the IRGC engaging in what the EU defines as “terrorist acts,” both in Europe and around the world.

Iran’s Women’s Futsal Team Refuses to Sing National Anthem at Championship in Uzbekistan
Iran’s women’s futsal team refused to sing the Iranian national anthem that played after they defeated Uzbekistan 5-4 to win the 2023 Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) Women’s Futsal Championship on Monday.

The women of the Iranian futsal team locked arms and stood together as their country’s national anthem played in the background but instead of singing along to the melody as usual they simply stared straight ahead, as seen in videos shared on social media. The tournament for futsal — which is a football-based game that is played indoors on a hard court — was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from Jan. 25-30.

The move comes in the wake an act of Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protests in the country that started following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September, who died after being arrested by Iranian morality police for failing to wear a head covering. Hundreds of protesters have so far been killed, several by execution, for taking part in the protests while others have received lengthy jail sentences for their participation.
Iran hands 10-year sentence to couple for dancing in public without hijab
An Iranian court has handed jail sentences of over 10 years each to a young couple who danced in front of one of Tehran’s main landmarks in a video seen as a symbol of defiance against the regime, activists said on Tuesday.

Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, both in their early 20s, had been arrested in early November after a video went viral of them dancing romantically in front of the Azadi Tower in Tehran.

Haghighi did not wear a headscarf in defiance of the Islamic republic’s strict rules for women, while women are also not allowed to dance in public in Iran, let alone with a man.

A revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced them each to 10 years and six months in prison, as well as bans on using the Internet and leaving Iran, the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said.

The couple, who already had a following in Tehran as popular Instagram bloggers, were convicted of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution” as well as “gathering with the intention of disrupting national security,” it added.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 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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