Tuesday, February 07, 2023

From Ian:

Turkish Leader Declares State of Emergency as Turkey-Syria Quake Death Toll Passes 5,100
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces devastated by two earthquakes that killed more than 5,100 people and left a trail of destruction across a wide area of southern Turkey and neighbouring Syria.

A day after the quakes hit, rescuers working in harsh conditions were struggling to dig people out of the rubble of collapsed buildings in a “race against time”.

As the scale of the disaster became ever more apparent, the death toll looked likely to rise considerably. One United Nations official said it was feared thousands of children may have been killed.

Thousands of buildings were toppled, hospitals and schools wrecked and tens of thousands of people were injured or left homeless in several Turkish and Syrian cities by the magnitude 7.8 quake – the deadliest in Turkey since 1999 – and a second one hours later.

Bitter winter weather hampered rescue efforts and the delivery of aid, and made the plight of the homeless even more miserable. Some areas were without fuel and electricity.

Aid officials voiced particular concern about the situation in Syria, already afflicted by a humanitarian crisis after nearly 12 years of civil war.

In a speech on Tuesday, Erdogan declared the 10 Turkish provinces affected as a disaster zone and imposed a state of emergency in the region for three months. This will permit the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms.

The government planned to open up hotels in the tourism hub of Antalya, to the west, to temporarily house people impacted by the quakes, said Erdogan, who faces a national election in three months’ time.

The death toll in Turkey had risen to 3,549 people, Erdogan said. In Syria, the toll stood at just over 1,600, according to the government and a rescue service in the insurgent-held northwest.
Analysis: Is Israel Ready for the Earthquake to Come?
Israel will face a major earthquake and likely in the not-too-distant future.

“History tells us that roughly every one hundred years there is a very large earthquake, of magnitude 6 or above, and every thousand years there’s a massive one, 7 or higher, along the Dead Sea fault,” warned Nadav Wetzler, an Israel Geological Survey seismologist.

The last big earthquake in Israel’s immediate region was in 1927, the 6.2 magnitude “Jericho Earthquake.” It killed hundreds of people, and destroyed thousands of buildings.

That was nearly 100 years ago. Is Israel ready for the next one?

“I would say partly ready, the government formed a commission to coordinate the responses of the different government agencies and ministries. We also have developed a system for early warning – but this is only good when the earthquake is already happening,” said Shmuel Marco, a professor if geophysics at Tel Aviv University.

An early warning system may help people scramble from buildings before it collapses, but too many of Israel’s buildings are vulnerable to falling down. A report by the state comptroller’s office last month said 600-thousand buildings in Israel are not strong enough to resist quakes, including most of the earthquake-prone Galilee region.

Buildings constructed before 1980 were not legally required to be built to withstand earthquakes, but of 1.5 billion dollars allocated to strengthen Israel’s older buildings since 2019, less than 2 million has been used in the seismically active north of the country.
Israeli aid plane, Iranian military plane side-by-side in Turkey
It’s not often that an Israeli flag is seen flying next to an Iranian flag, but as United Hatzalah of Israel’s earthquake relief team landed in Turkey on Tuesday evening, this rare event occurred, displaying how the global community had come together.

The aircraft was organized by the emergency service with El Al subsidiary Sun D’or in coordination with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israeli embassy in Turkey, and consequently proudly displayed Israeli flags on the cockpit window.

United Hatzalah’s plane, carrying 25 emergency response personnel and 10 tons of medical and humanitarian aid, taxied into a slot at Gaziantep airport.

The parking spot placed the Israeli plane right next to an Iranian military plane, likely also on a mission related to the earthquake. As the Israeli plane sported flags, an Iranian flag was painted on the other craft’s empennage.

Countries put aside differences to help Turkey
On the right side of United Hatzalah’s plane, separated by one private aircraft, was a Qatari airforce McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. While Qatar’s relationship isn’t as antagonistic to Israel as Iran, it also has had an incredibly strained diplomatic history with the Jewish State.

A United Hatzalah team member said that it wasn’t uncommon in such missions that people that might otherwise be enemies would both work on the same field to the same objective — saving lives.

The IDF’s Humanitarian Aid Through the Years
The IDF values human life and helps those in need, regardless of their location. No matter the disaster, time and time again these humanitarian missions have been carried out quickly and effectively, saving thousands of lives. Over the years, the IDF sent 31 humanitarian missions around the world.

The IDF values human life and helps those in need, regardless of their location. No matter the disaster, time and time again these humanitarian missions have been carried out quickly and effectively, saving thousands of lives. Over the years, the IDF sent 27 humanitarian missions around the world.

1953: Ionian Islands, Greece
The first humanitarian operation that the IDF carried out was in 1953, when Israel was just five years old. That August, an earthquake hit Greece, taking over 1,000 lives. Israeli Navy ships, which were participating in an exercise in the area, helped the survivors and gave them necessary medical treatment. These sailors paved the way for future IDF humanitarian aid missions.

1975: Cambodia
In 1975, the war between Vietnam and Cambodia created many refugees. An IDF team was sent to the scene, where they stayed for over a month and provided medical care to the displaced persons living in temporary refugee camps on the Cambodian-Thai border.

1985: Mexico City, Mexico
In September 1985, four earthquakes hit Mexico City, the most severe measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, and took more than 10,000 lives. The IDF sent a delegation of medical and search and rescue teams, consisting of 350 reservists who were called up within three days of the disaster.
IDF Operation 'Olive Branch' deploys to Turkey
An Israeli army delegation is in Turkey bringing its technological know-how and vast experience in search-and-rescue missions to assist the earthquake relief efforts.

Jewish community president and wife missing, feared dead, in Turkey following earthquake
The leader of a small Jewish community in southern Turkey and his wife remain missing among the collapsed remains of their building, their niece has told the JC.

Rescuers have been searching for Saul and Fortuna Cenudioglu in Antakya since a giant 7.8 magnitude quake hit the region early on Monday and a second followed just hours later.

1,000 kilometres away in Istanbul, the couple’s family are “just waiting” for any news, Ela Cenudioglu said.

“Their building is ruined, especially their floor is ruined,” she told the JC.

“It looks ruined, but we don’t know [whether they survived].”

As time passes, fears that the couple will not be found alive have grown. Speaking to Israel’s Channel 12, ambassador Irit Lillian said: “Regrettably, the president of the Jewish community in Antakya, Saul Cenudioglu, and his wife, were apparently killed in the disaster.”

Although Istanbul remains largely unaffected by the earthquake, scenes of devastation have proved deeply moving.

“I’m traumatised,” Ms Cenudioglu said. “It looks terrible, all the places I was, all the places I had loved through my childhood, where I spent my summers, my parents house, is all gone now.”

“All this waiting,” she added, “is really hard.”
The Earthquakes in Turkey & Syria: Israel Provides Aid, Haters Demonize Israel
Hate, Conspiracies and Slander: Anti-Israel Responses to the Earthquakes

While Israeli rescuers were gearing up to fly to Turkey and assist in the rescue and treatment of those affected by the earthquakes, anti-Israeli provocateurs used the opportunity to spread lies and hate about the Jewish state on social media.

Some of the most heinous accusations and libels that have been lobbed against Israel in the past 24 hours include:
Journalist CJ Werleman’s comparison of the destruction wrought by the earthquakes to Israel’s demolition of illegal structures and homes of Palestinian terrorists.
The claim that the earthquake was caused by Israel, either by a missile strike or some other type of weapon.
Pro-Assad propagandist Hadi Nasrallah’s manipulation of the earthquake tragedy to blame the West (including Israel) for Syria’s woes.
The false claim that “Zionist Media Outlets” focused attention solely on Turkey, without mentioning the destruction and deaths in Syria.
The claim that international aid missions are only going to Turkey and not Syria because Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a “Zionist servant.”
The claim (since removed) by Maria Dubovikova, a former columnist for Al Arabiya, that Israel detected the earthquake ahead of time but purposefully didn’t warn Turkey or Syria about it.
The claim by former journalist Daniel Easterman that Israel is only sending rescue teams to Turkey in order to “exploit the tragedy to gain political capital and improve it’s [sic] international image.”

Although these falsehoods and claims are (so far) confined to social media and have yet to penetrate traditional media, this does not mean that they should be taken lightly.

As recent studies have shown, social media has the ability to influence traditional media.

In addition, digital media is continuing to overtake traditional media as a primary news source, especially with the younger generations.

The fact that a number of these claims were peddled by people affiliated with the media only serves to highlight the dangerous influence that these lies and slanders may have on the general public.

At HonestReporting, we will continue to expose and fight anti-Israel lies and bias in traditional media, digital media, and social media.
U.S. Fears Outbreak of Third Intifada
The visit of the American Secretary of State to Ramallah is like giving a placebo to a terminally ill patient and attempting to inject more oxygen into the respirator which is just barely keeping the PA alive.

It is very doubtful whether the Biden administration will be able to prevent a major outbreak of violence in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria ahead of the month of Ramadan.

The Palestinian demands from Israel are not acceptable to the Netanyahu government, but Israel nevertheless continues the diplomatic game. The PA chairman is not ready to fight against the armed terrorist groups in the territories, which he allowed to grow unimpeded, in clear violation of the Oslo agreements.

Senior PA officials say that the Biden administration wants calm in the West Bank without being willing to pay the political price required by the PA. Biden’s talk of a two-state solution is only lip service to buy time.

The armed terrorist groups in northern Samaria are pleased with the failure of Blinken’s visit to the region and have announced that they will continue their operations against Israel.
Netanyahu rejects Biden admin call to ‘pause’ Judea and Samaria construction
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a call by the Biden administration to temporarily freeze construction in Judea and Samaria and halt demolitions of illegal Arab structures in those territories as well as the eastern part of Jerusalem.

However, while Israeli officials stressed that these activities would not be stopped completely, ad hoc concessions would be made.

According to Axios, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the request during his visit to Israel last week, in a bid to de-escalate tensions amid rampant Palestinian terrorism.

Washington reportedly asked that Jerusalem “pause” the actions for several months, and also requested that the Palestinian Authority fully resume security coordination with Israel and postpone any additional steps against it at U.N. institutions and other international bodies.

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

The decision by Israeli security forces to conduct a large-scale counter-terrorism operation in Jenin during daylight hours was unusual, reflecting the urgent need to prevent a major terror plot from moving ahead.

That plot, according to security sources, involved a Palestinian Islamic Jihad attack against Israelis to be carried out in the immediate future.

In a meeting days later with CIA Director William Burns in Ramallah, Abbas reportedly relayed a four-part message: 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) He cannot condemn the recent attacks in Jerusalem as doing so would be “political suicide.”

On Monday, Netanyahu reportedly intervened to delay the demolition of an illegally constructed building in eastern Jerusalem due to American pressure. The large building houses 100 persons and is located in the Wadi Qaddum section of Silwan/Shiloah, an Arab neighborhood in the Israeli capital’s southeast.

The illegal structure has been slated for demolition for years, but the demolition has been put off amid an international outcry.
US reportedly asked Israel to halt settlement activity in West Bank
i24NEWS Defense Correspondent discusses the report that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Israel to stop settlement activities in the West Bank

For Palestinians, terrorism against Israel pays - opinion
Years ago, I sat in a conference room with Ashraf al-Ajrami, who served as the minister of Prisoners Affairs for the Palestinian Authority (PA). Ajrami, I was told, was a moderate Palestinian politician whose goal was to push for a way that Israelis and Palestinians could coexist. Ajrami addressed a room of journalists and explained how, to him, the only real push to end Israel’s military occupation was coming from the Israeli Left and from NGOs like B’tselem (who have presented inaccurate information in the past).

I raised my hand and said, “Mr. Ajrami, I don’t consider myself a left-wing Israeli and I take many issues with some of the NGOs you’ve mentioned but I believe that the Palestinians have a right to statehood and I know that the only way forward is a two-state solution.” I then continued, “what scares me is that the PA’s glorification of terrorism and stipends you pay to terrorists who have murdered Israelis.”

Hoping I could have an honest conversation with a moderate Palestinian politician, I asked, “How can I be expected to fight for peace when my neighbors pay off the people who want to kill me?”

Ajrami looked at me and responded, “This is our form of social security. When Palestinians go to jail or are killed, we must ensure their family is taken care of.”

Yes, for Palestinians, terrorism pays.
The family members of Khairy Alkam, the Palestinian who murdered seven Israelis outside the Ateret Avraham synagogue in Neveh Ya’acov, should have, according to Palestinian Authority policy, already received an advance of $1,700 (NIS 5,896) as part of a monthly stipend.

In what they describe as social security payments, the PA hands out monthly rewards to Palestinians (and their families) who carry out terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Fatah established the Palestinian Mujahidin and Martyr’s Fund in 1964, to support widows and orphans of Palestinian fedayeen (freedom fighters, militants or guerrillas). In 1971, it was replaced by the Society for the Care of Palestinian Martyrs and Prisoners to include any military martyrs who have died of natural causes while on active service. It also meant that any average Palestinian killed during any encounter with Israeli security forces was given a one-time payment.
Republican Congressman Slams Biden Administration for Giving Palestinians Money in Wake of Terror Attacks
Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-TX) slammed the Biden administration Friday for giving the Palestinians more aid in the wake of Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem that killed seven people.

“I am deeply concerned that the Biden administration is signing-off on hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, which are being used to help finance violence against Israel,” Jackson said in a statement. “The recent terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli families are a deeply disturbing example of the devastation caused by Biden’s failed foreign policy. Biden is actively stabbing our greatest ally in the back and Democrats are ecstatic.”

Antony Blinken on Tuesday announced $50 million in new aid to UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee organization, during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. That brings the total aid that the administration has provided to UNRWA since President Joe Biden took office to $940 million.

Critics argue that the agency lacks transparency and that its efforts support the Palestinian Authority (PA) in violation of the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits aid to the PA so long as it continues to provide stipends to the jailed perpetrators or surviving family members of terrorist attacks, a program sometimes called “pay-to-slay.”

Rep. Jackson is a plaintiff alongside Stuart and Robbi Force — parents of Taylor Force, an American who was murdered in 2016 at the age of 28 by a Palestinian terrorist during a knife spree attack in Jaffa — in a lawsuit against President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken alleging that the Biden administration’s funding of UNRWA and other Palestinian aid violates the Taylor Force Act.
Republican senators introduce bill to sanction ICC, citing ‘attacks’ on Israel
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced a bill with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Feb. 2 to sanction officials and associates of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who investigate or prosecute U.S. troops and officials and American allies that do not recognize the authority of the tribunal, such as Israel.

“The ICC has no legitimate jurisdiction over the United States or any country that does not recognize the ICC’s authority. This legislation rejects the Biden administration’s appeasement of the ICC. It also protects our service members, officials and allies against the court’s politically motivated attacks, as we’ve seen the court do time and again with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Israeli efforts to defend themselves from terrorist aggression,” said Cotton.

The bill would impose penalties on any ICC employee or associate involved in investigating, prosecuting, or assisting in a probe of current or former U.S. soldiers or officials, or the current or former officials or troops of any ally of the United States that does not recognize the authority of the ICC. It would also revoke the visas of all ICC employees, all persons acting on behalf of the ICC and the immediate family members of those sanctioned for investigating U.S. and allied troops and officials.

“The International Criminal Court has no authority over the sovereignty and security of our citizens. I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation sanctioning the ICC if it persecutes our troops, officials or allies,” said Cruz.

Added Rubio: “We must protect our men and women in uniform from investigations or prosecutions conducted by an international court and judges who are not accountable to the American people.”
House Republicans have struck a blow against antisemitism
Ilhan Omar’s removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a 218-211 vote struck a major blow to an antisemitic voice in Congress. Unfortunately, it has been falsely portrayed as a response to the Democrats’ previous removal of far-right congresspeople from their committees.

In fact, the vote against Omar was House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s effort to follow through on what he said at the National Council of Young Israel dinner in New York on March 31, 2019. There, McCarthy publicly discussed his removal of Republican Steve King from all committees due to King’s white supremacism. McCarthy then said action should be taken against Ilhan Omar as well, due to her antisemitism.

The sad failure of over 20 Jewish Democrats to overcome pressure from their party and vote in favor of removing Omar shows that even the strongest Israel supporters among them cannot stand up for their own principles.

For example, on May 26, 2021, Jewish Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kathy Manning (D-N.C.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) wrote a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden stating that they “reject comments from members of Congress accusing Israel of being an ‘apartheid state’ and committing act[s] of terrorism.” They added, “These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile towards many Jews.” The letter was obviously prompted by statements made by Omar and her fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

Israel Is on the Way to a Peace Agreement with Sudan
Sudan joined the Abraham Accords two years ago after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, but relations with it have not yet been normalized due to the political instability in the country.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is now investing a tremendous political effort behind the scenes to reach a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Sunni Muslim world. On February 2, 2023, Chadian President Mehmet Dabi visited Israel and inaugurated the Chadian embassy in Israel with Netanyahu.

The normalization process between Israel and the Arab countries is facing great challenges and it also depends on U.S. relations with the Arab countries.

The Palestinians claim that the United Arab Emirates has slowed down the normalization process with Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned visit to Abu Dhabi has been postponed pending a new announcement, and the United Arab Emirates has sided with the Palestinians in discussions at the United Nations. On the other hand, we must not forget that the United Arab Emirates recently announced the introduction of the subject of the Holocaust into its curricula.

Qatar, which does not have a normalization agreement with Israel, leads the issue of opposition to the Netanyahu government’s settlement policy and tries to influence the United Arab Emirates. Israel should take this Qatari behavior into account.

Therefore, the rapprochement between Israel and Sudan is very important. It reflects positively on the general atmosphere in Israel’s relations with Arab countries.

Security officials in Israel note the security importance that can grow from a peace agreement between Israel and Sudan in regard to the coalition against Iran that was manifested in the establishment of the Negev Forum.

Sudan can be seen as part of Israel’s front line against Iran. It lies along the Red Sea and the peace agreement with it will give Israel a foothold on its eastern coast. Israel will be closer to Bab Al-Mandab and Yemen, from where the Houthi rebels loyal to Iran operate.

Sudan also has a border with Egypt, Libya, Chad, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, which can help Israel in intelligence-gathering activities.

Halt European funding of anti-Israel orgs., Chikli tells Hungarian counterpart
Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Minister met on Monday with a Hungarian minister and asked him to halt European funding to anti-Israel Palestinian organizations. Chikli met with the Hungarian churches, minorities and civil affairs minister Miklos Soltesz.

Chikli requested that the Hungarian government helps in combating the European Union's assistance to anti-Israel Palestinian organizations and thanked the Hungarian government for its unwavering support for the State of Israel. Rabbi Shlomó Köves, Chief Rabbi of the Hungarian Jewish Association (EMIH) participated in the meeting and accompanied Soltesz during his visit.

During the meeting, Chikli expressed gratitude to the Hungarian government and Jewish community for establishing Machne Chabad, a refugee camp that has provided aid to over a thousand Ukrainian Jews displaced by the war. The camp was established by Chabad Hungary and Ukraine, with support from the Hungarian government.

Conversations between ministers
The ministers discussed efforts to combat antisemitism in Hungary and Europe. Soltesz informed Chikli of the constitutional changes made in Hungary over the past decade to better address antisemitism, which are carried out in collaboration with the Jewish community's organizations, led by the Action and Protection League (APL).

The ministers agreed that anti-Israel sentiments have become a new form of Antisemitism and require special treatment on an international level. Soltesz pledged the Hungarian government's continued support for Israel in all international forums and invited the Chikli to visit Hungary.

Sixty-eight percent of online antisemitism originates in Palestinian or progressive pro-Palestinian circles – according to a new report on the state of antisemitism, by the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, which was exposed by Minister Amichai Chikli during the cabinet meeting last week. Chikli said at the cabinet meeting that “antisemitism is changing the way it manifests and it is increasingly focusing on hatred towards the Jewish state and the denial of its right to exist.”
Left-Wing Dutch Party Calls for International Commission to Investigate Israeli ‘Apartheid’
The main far-left party in the Netherlands has called for an international commission to determine whether the State of Israel practices apartheid towards Palestinians.

At their conference in the city of Den Bosch on Saturday, supporters of the GroenLinks (“Green Left”) Party — a fusion of the Dutch Communist Party with various left-wing environmental groups — overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an international investigation into Israeli policies.

“After a cautious attitude in recent years, the party seems to be more critical of Israel again,” de Kanttekening, a Dutch news outlet, observed, adding that despite the resolution, GroenLinks has still not declared support for the so-called “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement targeting the Jewish state for a comprehensive boycott as a step towards its eventual elimination. A pro-BDS resolution at the party’s conference last year won less than 40 percent of the vote, with nearly 50 percent of delegates voting against.

Wim Haver, the delegate behind Saturday’s motion, said the decision to avoid support for the BDS movement was tactical. ‘It is not clear to everyone what BDS is,” he said. “If you understand it, you see that it is a means to sanction Israel. The [party executive] thought that was a step too far last year.”

In his speech to the conference, Haver argued that the resolution “is emphatically not directed against Jewish people or Israel itself, but is about the fascism of the Israeli government.”

He noted that there was “a lot of misery in the world, but we are now standing up for the Palestinians. We ask that action be taken against apartheid and fascism in Israel.”

On its website, GroenLinks claims that its position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict is to support “moderate forces” on both sides.
German Politicians Anxious After Islamists Stage Large Rally in Hamburg
Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), a state agency charged with safeguarding the postwar nation’s democratic institutions, has expressed concern about a radical Muslim organization after more than 3,500 Islamists rallied on Saturday in the port city of Hamburg.

The demonstrators — who were protesting the burning of a copy of the Qu’ran last month outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm by a far right politician — want to “enforce a society that is absolutely incompatible with our democracy,” Marco Haase, a spokesperson for the BfV, told the Bild news outlet.

The demonstration was organized by Muslim Interaktiv, an Islamist organization with an extensive social media following that is aligned with Hizb ut Tahrir, an actively antisemitic organization that seeks to establish an international Islamic caliphate.

Many of the demonstrators waved copies of the Qu’ran and displayed extended index fingers — an Islamist gesture meant to affirm the existence of one God. While women were invited to attend the demonstration, male and female participants were segregated at the event.

One local politician bemoaned the separation of men from women in a public place but said that “intolerance is not a reason” to ban a demonstration under the terms of Germany’s Basic Law, which protects against extremism.
The Israel Guys: After MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE in Turkey and Syria, Israel Offers to Help
A massive earthquake hit Turkey and Syria last night and already hundreds of deaths have been reported. Even though these countries are sworn enemies of the Jewish State, you can probably guess who was one of the first countries to offer humanitarian aid. . . Yep Israel!

The IDF got into a shootout with a new Hamas terror cell in Jericho while trying to arrest two terrorists who had attempted to shoot up a Jewish restaurant near Jericho last week.

And thanks to Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel is demolishing illegal Arab structures in East Jerusalem.

Israeli forces attacked during Nablus raid; Palestinian gunman said killed
Israeli forces conducting counter-terror operations in Nablus/Shechem early on Tuesday came under attack, returning fire and according to Palestinian media killing one Palestinian gunman.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that troops returned fire after being shot at during the operation, and that a “hit was registered.”

The Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group said that its members had targeted Israeli forces in the city, according to Israeli media.

The dead gunman was identified as Hamza Amjad al-Ashqar, 17, by the official Palestinian Wafa news agency.

Nine Palestinians were arrested overnight Tuesday across Judea and Samaria on suspicion of terrorist activity, according to the IDF, including in Huwwara, Qadum, Baka, Hajja and Hebron.

Israeli forces were attacked in multiple locations with gunfire, explosive devices and rocks, said the IDF, adding that troops confiscated firearms, ammunition and military equipment.
Teen gunman killed in Nablus during arrest raid targeting Lions' Den
Israel's ongoing counter-terror operation in the West Bank led to a wave of arrests overnight, and also clashes that broke out near Nablus, during which a gunman affiliated with the Lions' Den terror group was killed in an exchange of fire.

PreOccupiedTerritory: We Call Jews ‘Settlers’ Not Because We Think It Justifies Killing Them, But Because *You* Do By Jibril Rajoub, Palestinian Official (satire)
Each time one of our heroic fighters guns down, stabs, runs over, blows up, or otherwise harms Jews, our official and unofficial propaganda machines rush to characterize the targets as “settlers,” occupiers of a land not theirs, and therefore deserving of violent death. It matters not that in International Law, no such dispensation exists for targeting settlers, even those placed there by a belligerent occupier; we care little for the nuances of International Law, as our plentiful bombs, missiles, and bullets aiming for civilians, not to mention our vast enterprise recruiting and indoctrinating children to wield weapons, demonstrates. No, we employ that rhetoric because you, the enlightened progressive, need that veneer of legitimacy for your support of our antisemitic violence.

We Palestinians have little use of our own for the distinction between soldier and civilian; we vow revenge for our fallen fighters as if they were innocents shed in cold blood, and we glorify the children we place in harm’s way as noble warriors, which sometimes they in fact are, since we taught them to try to kill Jews. We also make no distinction between “soldier” or “civilian” Jews: they all must die, since they are part of the Zionist tumor that removed Jews from underneath the Islamic boot, the Jews’ rightful place. You, however, like to pretend you harbor no animosity for Jews, and therefore require a pretext for your advocacy of one of the least progressive causes on the planet. We are more than happy to provide it, in the form of the “settler” rhetoric; your hypocrisy is your business. We don’t care as long as your money and your excuses for our terrorism keep flowing.
PMW: How the PA exploits sociology’s principle of “normalization”
Sociology and psychology speak of the concept of “normalization” – a process through which behaviors and beliefs become “normal” or “natural” in society. Certain actions and ideas are thus standardized through repetition, ideology, and propaganda. The French philosopher Michel Foucault explained the notion as the construction of an idealized norm of conduct.

One need look no further than the Palestinian Authority’s encouragement, endorsement, and celebration of terrorists who die as “Martyrs” during their attacks against Israel, in order to find a morbid demonstration of this principle’s effectiveness.

The PA has successfully constructed the following social norms:
In the PA it is “normal” to be a terrorist.
In the PA it is “normal” to die as a “Martyr” for Allah and “Palestine.”
In the PA it is “normal” to celebrate terror attacks and the death of teens.

Official PA TV recently broadcast two fillers between programs that clearly illustrate this “normalization” and idealization of “Martyrdom-death.” While several videos from “Martyr” funerals with thousands of attendants are shown, a narrator reads text that appears on the screen and romanticizes their deaths:
Official PA TV Narrator: “The Martyrs – souls that ascend to Heaven, and a memory that exists as long as life continues.”
“In my land the Martyrs don’t die, rather they fall asleep to the anthem of eternity”
[Official PA TV, Jan. 28, 2023]

During the last few months of terror attacks, there has been a rise in the number of Palestinian teens dying as “Martyrs” while carrying out attacks, as Palestinian Media Watch has shown. The idea of actively seeking death as a “Martyr” has clearly become “normal.”

To reinforce the norm it has constructed, and to indoctrinate more Palestinians to become terrorists and seek death as “Martyrs,” the PA often uses “successful” terrorist murderers as role models to be emulated.
PA TV glorifies Martyrdom-death: “The Martyrs – souls that ascend to Heaven”

Grandfather of dead teen terrorist: “When a person dies as a Martyr this act is a heroic act”

Terrorist who sent others to murder 3 gets BA degree in prison

Two terrorists wounded in Jenin ‘work accident’
Two would-be terrorists were injured in Jenin on Monday night when a car-bomb being prepared for an attack in Israel detonated prematurely, according to Israeli and Palestinian media reports.

A preliminary Israel Defense Forces probe found that the bomb, which was designed to be remotely detonated via a cellular phone, was unintentionally activated during its preparation, according to Kan News.

Late last month, Israeli security forces conducted a large-scale daytime counter-terrorism operation in Jenin, acting on intelligence regarding an imminent major terror attack by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

During his visit last week to Israel and Ramallah, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to put into action an American security plan aimed at reasserting P.A. control over the cities of Jenin and Nablus in Samaria.

“Blinken stressed that one of the most important steps the P.A. needs to take in order to de-escalate the security situation is to accept and implement a security plan that was drafted by U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Michael Fenzel,” the Axios news site reported, citing American and Israeli officials.

Jenin and Nablus have become “centers of unrest,” as control has slipped from the P.A.’s grasp and terrorist groups associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas have stepped in.

MEMRI: Hamas Leader Abroad Khaled Mash'al: The Muslim Brotherhood Founded The Hamas Movement, Helped Plan The Al-Aqsa Intifada, Funded The Palestinian Resistance Factions
Ibrahim Munir, a prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who served in the recent years as the movement's acting general guide and who was the head of the movement's London faction, died in London on November 4, 2022. In the eulogy he delivered for Munir, Khaled Mash'al, the leader of the Hamas movement abroad, emphasized the close relations between the MB and Hamas, the MB's significant contribution to the establishment of Hamas, and the support it has extended to this movement over the years. Mash'al noted, for example, that when the Al-Aqsa intifada broke out, the MB leadership formed a support apparatus for the Palestinians, headed by Ibrahim Munir, which assisted Hamas and all the Palestinian resistance factions, helped with the planning of the intifada, and provided financial, political and media support to Hamas, which continued after Munir became the MB's acting general guide. Mash'al urged the members of the MB and of Hamas to follow in Munir's footsteps in order to achieve the important objectives, chiefly exalting Islam, the Islamic nation and the Palestinian cause.

Born in 1937 in Mansoura, Egypt, Ibrahim Munir joined the MB in 1952 after being deeply influenced by the writings of the organization's founder, Hassan Al-Banna. During the Nasserist era he was jailed for 10 years for membership in the MB. After his release in 1975 he spent five years in Kuwait before being granted political asylum in Britain, where he lived until his death and was involved in the establishment of Islamic centers. Munir served many prominent roles in the MB movement. He was appointed to the Guidance Office in 1995 and was subsequently appointed secretary of the international MB and the organization's spokesperson in Europe. In 2009 he became one of the deputies of MB general guide. From September 2020 he served as the movement's acting general guide, standing in for General Guide Muhammad Badie, who is serving a life sentence in Egypt, after the former acting general guide, Mahmoud 'Izzat, was arrested as well. Since the MB split into two factions nine years ago, Munir was head of the faction based in London, opposing the rival faction, based in Istanbul, which did not recognize his authority. Under the Mubarak and Al-Sisi regimes he was tried in absentia for membership in a terror organization.

The following are excerpts from Khaled Mash'al's eulogy for Ibrahim Munir, as posted on the Hamas website:[1]
"Dear brothers, the loved ones of the esteemed deceased, his brothers, partners, students and family members, peace unto you and the mercy of Allah and his blessing. May Allah increase your recompense, reward you for your labors, and have mercy on the departed one [who belongs to] you, to us, to the Islamic nation, Egypt, the MB, Palestine, and Hamas. May Allah grant him mercy and forgiveness [and seat him] at the highest levels [of Paradise] and reward him with the best reward in exchange for [his efforts]… He passed away after a long journey of study, accomplishments, da'wa [inviting to Islam], jihad and sacrifice, and Allah rewarded him with the best of things…

"I address all the current leaders of the MB, the deputy general guide [of the MB] and all the distinguished men to whom I offered my condolences today: [Muhammad] Al-Bukheiri [a senior MB member], [Muhyi Al-Din] Al-Zayat [who is currently serving as the acting general guide on a temporary basis] and all the beloved and the esteemed people on whom our hopes rest to complete the journey of Abu Ahmad [Ibrahim Munir] so that the da'wa will reach its apex and so that this journey will continue without pause on its way to its tremendous goals: the exalting of the Islamic nation, of Egypt, of Islam and the Muslims, and of the causes of the Islamic nation, first and foremost the Palestinian cause.

MEMRI: Miami Imam Dr. Fadi Kablawi In Response To Quran Burning In Sweden: Hitler Also Burned Books; Christians Don't Care About The Bible, Might Burn It For Their Barbecue, But We Are Not Like Them
Miami, Florida imam Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi of the Masjid As Sunnah An Nabawiyya North Miami discussed the recent Quran-burning protest attended by Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan in his January 27, 2023 Friday sermon. He said that Christians do not care whether Jesus is ridiculed or the Bible or Torah are burned, therefore they do not understand why Muslims are angry when the Quran is burned. Kablawi added that the Christians want the Muslims to be just like they are and continued to claim that Christians burn the Bible themselves if they need fire for their barbecue, for instance. He said that it was Hitler, "whom they taught us [was among] the worst enemies in history, because he killed them" had burned books and added: "You come and you cry over the Holocaust, and you take advantage over every situation, and yet you do a Holocaust for the last seventy plus years to the Palestinians in Palestine." Dr. Kablawi, who is a dentist, immigrated to the United States from Jordan. The sermon was streamed live on the Masjid As Sunnah An Nabawiyya North Miami's Facebook page. For more of Dr. Fadi Kablawi's sermons, see MEMRI TV clips nos.8752, 8063, 8136, 8389, and 8404.

"[Do] You Know Who Burned Books Before? Hitler, Who They Taught Us [Was Among] The Worst Enemies"

Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi: "You know who burned books before? Hitler. Hitler, who they taught us [was among] the worst enemies in history, because he killed them, as they say... And we denounce that genocide inside out.

"However, you are not the only people who were tortured. You are now doing the same thing to the Muslims in Palestine. You are doing the same thing to the Muslims in India. You are doing the same thing to the Muslims in Turkestan. You are doing the same thing to the Muslims in Kashmir, in Myanmar, in Palestine, in Syria, in Iran, in Yemen — you are supervising all that.
MEMRI: Islamic Religious Scholars From Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Libya Meet With Afghan Taliban Government Leaders, Applaud 'Victory Of Jihadi Struggle Of Afghans'
A delegation of Islamic religious scholars from Palestine and other Muslim countries traveled to Afghanistan in January 2023 and met with senior officials from the Afghan Taliban government, including Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is on the FBI's Most Wanted list, deputy prime ministers, and others, according to Afghan newspapers and social media posts.[1]

The Islamic religious scholars, from Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Palestine, included Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Al-Sagheer, member of the board of directors of the Qatar-supported International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), along with Dr. Abdul Hayee Yusuf, Sheikh Sami Al-Saadi, Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Abdul Karim, Sheikh Maher Salem, and Sheikh Nawab Al-Takrori.

The scholars presented a model of Al-Aqsa Mosque to Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

On January 6, 2023, the Islamic scholars called on the Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and lauded "the victory of jihadi struggle of Afghans" calling it a surprising epic, state-run Bakhtar News Agency (BNA) reported.[2] According to the Pashtu-language report, the Islamic scholars expressed their full support for the Taliban government in Afghanistan, saying this support was their Islamic responsibility.[3]

According to the report, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the chief of the Taliban's Haqqani Network, which has been responsible for major terror attacks on the U.S. Embassy and other NATO targets in Afghanistan, stressed unity in the Muslim world and termed unity, obedience, and honesty as the basic causes of the victory of the struggle against the U.S. and NATO forces.[4]

Islamic scholars meet with Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar
Sirajuddin Haqqani thanked the religious scholars for their support and urged them to inform their respective countries and the world of the sufferings of Afghanistan so that everyone could support Afghanistan according to their capacity. During the meeting, the visiting Islamic scholars presented a replica of Al-Aqsa Mosque to the Taliban interior minister.[5]

On January 7, the delegation of scholars called on Minister For Martyrs' Affairs Mullah Abdul Majeed Akhund. Mullah Abdul Majeed Akhund urged the members of the visiting delegation to convey the voice of "this innocent segment" to the world.[6]

The delegation of Islamic scholars from Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Palestine met and discussed education-related matters the same day with the Taliban Higher Education Minister Sheikh Nida Mohammad Nadeem, who has completely banned women from colleges and universities.[7]

Biden Gives Iran and Russia Green Light To Continue Nuclear Work
The Biden administration renewed a series of sanctions waivers that permit Iran and Russia to cooperate on nuclear work at Iranian enrichment sites, according to a non-public notification sent to Congress and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized the waivers on Jan. 31, but Congress was not notified of the decision until late on Feb. 3, after the Free Beacon began making inquiries about the exemptions. Senior congressional sources said the Biden administration is trying to sweep the sanctions waivers under the rug amid renewed concerns about Iran and Russia's military alliance.

The waivers—a vestige of the 2015 nuclear deal that the Biden administration is trying to salvage—provide billions in profit for Russian-state controlled firms, such as the Rosatom nuclear company, for work at Iran's Fordow nuclear plant, a contested military site suspected of housing Tehran's nuclear weapons program. At this site, Iran is enriching uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, to purity levels that international observers worry put them within reach of a bomb. By permitting cooperation, critics charge that the Biden administration is allowing Tehran to develop its nuclear program while enriching Russia through business with state-controlled organizations.

"These waivers send a message to both Tehran and Moscow that Washington still wants to move forward with a Russia-enabled Iran nuclear deal where [Russian president Vladimir] Putin and the mullahs both make billions," said Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank and former White House National Security Council director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. "It's a real stab in the back to Ukraine and a win for Rosatom."

Iran Unveils Underground Air Force Base
The Eagle 44 air base has facilities such as command posts, fighter maintenance hangars, aircraft maintenance centers, navigation and airport equipment

Iran unveiled its underground air force base on Tuesday named “Eagle 44,” with several high-ranking military officials in attendance.

“It is one of the army’s most important air force bases, with fighters equipped with long-range cruise missiles and built in the depths of (the) earth,” said Iran’s official IRNA news agency. The base’s key characteristic is its location in the mountains and “in the depths of the earth,” it added.

The Eagle 44 air base has facilities such as command posts, fighter maintenance hangars, aircraft maintenance centers, navigation and airport equipment, fuel tanks, etc. Additionally, it can use all types of Air Force fighters to carry out missions, according to IRNA.

The report added that Eagle 44 is one of “several” underground tactical air bases of the Air Force that have been built in different regions of the country. It continued: “The construction of these bases in different places according to the needs and with a high safety factor due to the design and deployment under the mountains provides the ability to carry out surprise air operations from a place and time far from the expectations of the enemies.”

Why Iranians in Smuggler Car Trunks Is Never a Good Thing
A Fox News report that Texas state troopers caught an Iranian in the trunk of a smuggler's car who was on the FBI's terrorism watch list briefly diverted America's attention to the border crisis, until the Department of Homeland Security retorted that the illegal immigrant was actually not on the list.

That's good news. But, on or off any list, Iranians in smuggler car trunks seeking to evade Border Patrol and disappear into America is always bad news for U.S. national security. This incident showcases a threat that is very much distinct from absorption problems that, for instance, involve illegal immigrants bankrupting U.S. health care systems and evictions from fancy New York hotels of entitled illegal immigrant freeloaders.

The car-trunk Iranian highlights that intercontinental human smuggling networks connect the most adversarial nations in the world to the crumbled southern border defenses along established routes, as detailed in my recent book "America's Covert Border War, the Untold Story of the Nation's Battle to Prevent Jihadist Infiltration" and also in my forthcoming book, Overrun, How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in U.S. History.

Try as American law enforcement stationed abroad might to disrupt them, these smuggling organizations very much still can and do mainline strangers into Texas from countries where Islamic terrorist groups operate — along with those from nations like Russia, Syria and China.

If this Iranian wasn't on the list, record numbers from the neighborhood were. Last fiscal year, the Border Patrol apprehended 98 immigrants who were on the FBI's terrorism watch list — an all-time record — and 38 more have been caught in just October, November and December, according to US Customs and Border Protection's public statistics website.

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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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