MEMRI: Lebanese Writer: President Assad Destroyed Syria In The Civil War, Which Was A Greater Disaster Than The Palestinian Nakba, And Left Syria Unable To Deal With The Earthquake
In an article titled "Syria and the Ongoing Disaster" in the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, French-Lebanese academic and journalist Gilbert Achcar notes that the number of Syrian victims in the recent earthquake is especially large, and this is because Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad destroyed the country in the civil war that has been ongoing since 2012, leaving it unable to cope with a disaster like an earthquake. The Syrian civil war, he adds, was a greater disaster than the Palestinian Nakba, because the number of people who were killed in it and in the oppression that accompanied it is ten times greater. He notes further that the Syrian refugees living in parts of Turkey affected by the quake were packed into buildings constructed hastily and in violation of earthquake regulations, which contributed to the high death toll.ICJ sets deadline for submissions on Israel’s ‘occupation’ of biblical heartland
The following are translated excerpts from Achcar's article.
"If what happened in Palestine before the founding of the state of Israel can be described as a nakba [catastrophe], then what happened in Syria, especially since the start of the civil war there in 2012, can [certainly] be called a calamity. It is one of the two largest calamities in contemporary Arab history, and it is much greater than the Palestinian Nakba, if you count the number of victims. The number of people killed by the war and the oppression in Syria in the last 11 years is about ten times greater than the number of Palestinians killed by Zionism since it first invaded Palestine. And the number of Syrians who have fled from the country and those who are displaced within its borders is equal to the number of Palestinians [now] living in their homeland and in the diaspora [combined]. The only calamity in our region similar in its magnitude to the Syrian one is the calamity that has been unfolding in Iraq since Saddam Hussein seized power there and embroiled [the country] in his stupid wars. This was followed by the American occupation, the arrival of ISIS and everything that happened later.
"We do not present these figures to downplay the Palestinian tragedy, which involves a homeland that was usurped, but in order to highlight the horrific magnitude of the Syrian tragedy. What makes this tragedy worse is that [Syria] is now subjected to five different occupations: the Zionist occupation of the Golan, which has been ongoing since 1967, and the Iranian, Turkish, Russian and American occupations, which began in the recent decade and still continue. And now disaster has once again befallen the Syrian people, since the epicenter of the biggest earthquake to strike Turkey since 1939 was in the city of Gaziantep, which is more or less the capital of the Syrian refugees in Turkey. Moreover, the first quake that struck the region in the small hours of Monday morning [February 6, 2023] also affected a large part of northwest Syria, with Aleppo at its center and Idlib to the west of it.
"Obviously is was Turkey itself, and the Turks and Kurds who live in the area where the quake occurred, that were most affected by it. But the Syrian areas are much weaker in the face of the disaster than the Turkish ones, since some of them are [under the control] of a state that is much better at killing and destroying than at helping to clear the rubble, while others are not [controlled by] any state at all and are even outside the operation zone of most international aid organizations. Furthermore, the Syrian refugees living in southwest Turkey were crowded into many ramshackle buildings which collapsed in a horrific manner, since –due to greed [of contractors] wishing to increase their profits – they were built in violation of the regulations [for construction] in earthquake-prone areas. This means that the number of Syrians earthquake victims, which will surely reach tens of thousands, will be disproportionately high, compared to their share of the population.
The International Court of Justice announced on Wednesday a July 25 deadline for state bodies and organizations to submit documents pertaining to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.Why does the US ignore Hamas? - opinion
The U.N. General Assembly in late December approved a resolution, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, calling on the ICJ to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on what it called Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”
The ICJ said in a statement that it has set “July 25, 2023, as the time list within which written statements on the questions may be presented to the court and October 25, 2023, as the time limit within which states and organizations, having presented written statements, may submit written comments on the written statements made by either states or organizations.”
The ICJ confirmed in late January that it had received the U.N.’s formal request to weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without indicating that it was launching a probe.
In response to the U.N. resolution, the Israeli Security Cabinet decided, among other measures, to withhold taxes and tariffs collected on behalf of the P.A., in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 under its “pay-for-slay” policy.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has since signed an order doubling that amount.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the U.N. move as “disgraceful.”
“Just like the hundreds of distorted U.N. General Assembly resolutions against Israel over the years, this disgraceful resolution will not obligate the government of Israel. The Jewish people is not occupying its land and is not occupying its eternal capital Jerusalem. No U.N. resolution can distort this historical truth,” he said.
MUCH, PERHAPS the major part, of Palestinian opinion shares the view that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land. The Hamas and PLO charters and the Fatah constitution are at one on the ultimate objective of removing Israel and gaining control of the whole of what was Mandatory Palestine, and indeed on the need to take up arms in support of it. It is in the tactics to achieve their common aim that the two main Palestinian parties diverge.
Hamas believes that the only effective way to achieve the desired outcome is through continual conflict and terror. Any pause in the battle must be temporary and provide a tactical advantage. The Fatah-dominated PA, however, continues to follow the tactical path set by Yasser Arafat.
At the Oslo Accords peace discussions in 1993 and 1995, Arafat – on the record as rock solid in his determination to overthrow Israel eventually – decided to woo world opinion by overtly supporting the two-state solution. Paying lip service to a two-state solution would be an exercise in public relations, a stepping-stone to the real objective.
Hamas will have none of it and the disagreement is so basic that it has ensured that Hamas and Fatah have remained at each other’s throats for decades. All attempts at reconciliation have proved fruitless.
Following Arafat’s death, the PA and its new leader Mahmoud Abbas made a determined effort to convince world opinion that it supported the idea of establishing a sovereign Palestine within the boundaries that existed before the Six Day War in 1967 – that is, in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. But pressing for a Palestinian state within those boundaries inevitably meant acknowledging that a sovereign Israel would exist outside them.
This is the pill that Hamas and like-minded rejectionists find impossible to swallow, even though the failure of the PA to sign up to any of the increasingly generous deals subsequently tabled demonstrated what a sham the ploy was.
None of this is secret, so how is it that the US administration, together with a vast swath of world opinion, knowing that at least half of the Palestinian people would never subscribe to a two-state solution, continue to advocate for it? Indeed the Palestinian leadership is perfectly well aware that anyone signing such a deal, endorsing Israel’s right to exist on “their” land, would be denounced as a traitor to the Palestinian cause and would certainly be putting his life in jeopardy.
It is also odd that so little thought has been given to what sort of two-state solution could ever be signed in current circumstances. Since Hamas would never participate or be a signatory, Gaza would be excluded from the arrangement. What sort of sovereign Palestine would it be, shorn of nearly half the Palestinian population?
In short, world opinion has never faced up to the uncomfortable truth that in order to achieve a genuine two-state solution, the Hamas organization must first be disempowered. That is clearly not a task that Washington is minded to undertake.
Turkey-Syria quake death toll nears 20,000 as hopes of finding more survivors dim
Hopes faded Thursday of finding more survivors after the earthquake that killed nearly 20,000 people in Turkey and Syria, as the first UN aid reached Syrian rebel-held zones.Israeli Ambassador to Turkey: A ‘New Page’ in Relations Amid Devastating Tragedy
Bitter cold has hampered the four-day search of thousands of flattened buildings and threatened the lives of many quake victims who are without shelter and drinking water.
Relatives were left scouring body bags laid out in a hospital car park in Turkey’s southern city of Antakya to search for missing relatives, an indication of the scale of the tragedy.
“We found my aunt, but not my uncle,” said Rania Zaboubi, a Syrian refugee who lost eight members of her family as other survivors sought loved ones’ bodies.
Chances of finding survivors have dimmed, now that the 72-hour mark that experts consider the most likely period to save lives has passed.
The 7.8-magnitude quake struck as people slept early Monday in a region where many people had already suffered loss and displacement due to Syria’s civil war.
But in a potentially life-saving development, an aid convoy reached rebel-held northwestern Syria on Thursday, the first since the quake, an official at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing told AFP.
As the death toll in Turkey and Syria from a pair of devastating earthquakes crosses 12,000 on Wednesday, Israel is stepping up rescue efforts alongside dozens of other countries in a race against time and freezing temperatures to find additional survivors.Israel first responders in Turkey use real-time tech for remote victim care
“Already on [Monday] evening, the first advance team arrived to the site,” Israeli Ambassador Irit Lillian told The Algemeiner in an interview Wednesday. “Unlike in previous natural disasters that have occurred in Turkey, this time the [Turkish] Minister of Interior moved immediately after the announcement of the earthquake and said ‘we will need international assistance.’”
Once that request was made, Israel moved to send a team that they had already begun assembling “within minutes” of hearing of the scale of the disaster. So far, that team includes 150 people from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by Israeli Ambassador David Saranga. The Israeli government said Wednesday that an additional 230 medical personnel and tons of medical equipment sent on 15 planes had arrived in the area that evening.
“In the last 24 hours since the rescue delegation arrived to the scene, they have already rescued five people,” Saranga said at a press conference Wednesday. “If you are not there you cannot even imagine the tragedy. I was walking in neighborhoods in which half of the buildings are collapsed. They were totally destroyed.”
The 7.8 and 7.5 moment magnitude earthquakes struck 9 hours apart on Monday, with epicenters near the Turkish city of Gazianetep, close to the border with Syria. Some 13.5 million people live in the affected area.
United Hatzalah of Israel emergency responders sent to Turkey following the deadly earthquake there are using cloud-based tech developed by an Israeli-founded startup to share real-time location data, video and imagery with remote medical teams in Israel who can help advise rescuers on live-saving procedures.Head of Turkey's Jewish community and wife found dead in rubble
United Hatzalah of Israel this week sent a relief mission to Turkey in coordination with the foreign, defense and health ministries, and an Israel Defense Forces aid delegation after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, toppling buildings and triggering a frantic search for survivors in the rubble. The massive earthquake killed more than 17,000 people, with the tally steadily rising.
Merging location services, live video chat, incident mapping, and other communication technologies into a single dashboard using cloud-based technology, Israeli-founded startup Carbyne provides real-time information to emergency responders and police officers entering potentially chaotic and stressful situations.
“Our volunteers in the field are using Carbyne’s systems and thus our dispatchers receive accurate data on their location in the disaster hit areas in Turkey,” said Zohar Eli, United Hatzalah’s director of call centers and technology. “We are using the advanced video capabilities embedded in Carbyne to get better visibility into events on the ground to conduct consultations and provide accurate remote assistance.”
The real-time information viewed on a single dashboard at the call center is used by emergency responders and remote volunteers for consultation with doctors and other professional bodies in Israel, regarding the rescue operations carried out on the ground.
“Our systems in a simple way transmit rich, comprehensive, reliable and accurate information in real time, thus enabling United Hatzalah volunteers to speed up and optimize assistance in the field, as well as consult on the basis of high-quality video from the field, with experts in Israel regarding the treatment of the wounded and trapped,” said Carbyne founder and CEO Amir Alichai.
“We are touched to see how the use of the technology we have developed helps save lives in the terrible disaster in Turkey.
The head of the Antakya Jewish community in Turkey, Saul Cenudioglu and his wife Fortuna, were found dead in the ruins of their home on Thursday – according to ZAKA, who said they were found by its volunteers and the Israeli IDF delegation.Torah scrolls rescued from Antakya's synagogue
Turkish-Israeli Rabbi Mendy Chitrik has said that the report is semi-incorrect since only the body of Fortuna was found. “There was a mistake in the identification of Saul,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The Israeli special rescue team
After three days of efforts and attempts, last night, a special rescue team arrived in Antakya, Turkey, consisting of Home Front Command soldiers and ZAKA volunteers.
The rescue team arrived at a building that collapsed in the earthquake, where the head of the Jewish community and his wife lived, and who had been identified as missing since the collapse. “The rescuers worked intensively with dedication and in difficult conditions for many hours, until the two were found. Unfortunately, they were found dead,” a ZAKA press release said.
After they are located, the Israeli delegation will continue focusing on Turkish civilians in the area.
IDF rescues 10 Turkish victims, says next days are critical
The IDF Search and Rescue Brigade has rescued 10 Turkish citizens as of Thursday as part of Operation Olive Branch in response to the disastrous earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.Israeli Physician Recalls Dramatic Rescue of Young Woman in Kahrmanmaras, Turkey
The IDF has thus far sent 15 aircraft filled with hundreds of tons of medical and other supplies, along with a 150-person rescue team and a 230-person medical field hospital team.
Wednesday had already seen some heart-warming moments as riveting videos came out showing IDF rescue workers extricating Turkish citizens who were trapped in collapsed buildings and otherwise facing near-certain death, but there were new rescue stories on Thursday.
A statement said that the IDF had saved a 26-year-old woman who was trapped in a collapsed residence.
Further, a video showed about a dozen rescue workers performing different activities to extricate her.
On Wednesday, IDF Col. Golan Voch told Israeli media representatives that the next two days or so past the 72-hour point since the earthquake hit would be critical for finding other survivors.
“Last night in the middle of the night, I was woken up by an emergency request to provide medical treatment for a young woman who the Israeli Search and Rescue team managed to pull out of the rubble from a collapsed building in Kahrmanmaras in Turkey,” Hadassah Medical Center pediatrician Dr. Itai Basel reported on Wednesday.IDF, United Hatzalah, Rescue 7-Year-Old Girl from the Rubble in Kharmanmaras, Turkey
“The search teams located her alive and buried inside the building earlier in the day and spent 12 hours trying to get her out. As they were nearing the final steps of the rescue, they called me and another United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, Yossi Amar, to go meet the team.
“The woman was buried in the rubble for two days without access to food or water. She was very weak. The IDF Homefront Command Search and Rescue Unit had been conducting the effort to evacuate her while providing her with whatever medical care they could. They were making every effort to extricate her in a way that would allow her to survive the attempt while taking into account the injuries she had already suffered during the collapse and the exposure to the severe elements that followed.
“As the woman was finally freed from the rubble, we immediately began treating her while she was being transported to the hospital. The trip to the hospital was not short – we had to get to a facility with enough supplies and services to care for her, and those were outside the immediate disaster area.
“Our job was to make sure she stayed alive after having suffered so much. We managed to stabilize her condition and when we arrived at the hospital, we immediately transferred her to the trauma care center. I am proud to have been part of this effort and to help this woman. She is one of many who need our help, but each is an entire world.”
IDF, United Hatzalah, Rescue 7-Year-Old Girl from the Rubble in Kharmanmaras, Turkey.
IDF Homefront Command, Israel Search and Rescue Units, and United Hatzalah medical rescue teams on Thursday afternoon extricated a young girl, 7, from the rubble of a collapsed building in Kharmanmaras, Turkey.
United Hatzalah physicians Keren Moss and Itai Basel treated the girl while she was still trapped under the rubble, and on the way to the hospital after she had been extricated.
Israel’s rescue team conducts a successful save in a high-risk building in Turkey. | pic.twitter.com/uz6U6cU3EC— Mike (@Doranimated) February 8, 2023
The Israel Guys: INCREDIBLE: Israel is PROUDLY Helping the People of Turkey
An earthquake was felt in Jerusalem as well as in parts of Judea and Samaria last night. Thankfully no one was injured.
After the horrible earthquake in Turkey that happened on Monday, Israel immediately sent search and rescue teams. Now, they are sending more humanitarian aid delegations in an effort to do all they can to help.
The Biden administration called on Netanyahu to halt Israeli construction in the West Bank and also stop demolishing illegal Palestinian building.
Israel's delegation is the second-largest humanitarian delegation in Turkey. 450 Israeli personnel are on the ground assisting with search and rescue efforts (12 people saved by the IDF so far), operating a field hospital, providing medical aid and trauma counseling, and more. ???? pic.twitter.com/aXjZjsyodN— Israel War Room (@IsraelWarRoom) February 9, 2023
While reporting the countries that sent aid to Turkey and Syria, Arabic media mentions Iran that executes Kurds daily and China that puts Muslims in concentration camps but GOD FORBID they show Israel or its flag. Instead they wrote “the Israeli entity???”. pic.twitter.com/doAXANzVYP— Adiel Cohen (@adielofisrael) February 9, 2023
"Israel Will Stay a Vibrant Democracy," Says Israel's UK Ambassador
Israel's Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely called for calm ahead of Saturday's "Saving Israeli Democracy" protest outside the London embassy. Hotovely told the JC that the proposed judicial reforms are "not about changing the nature of Israel's democracy" and that those who were concerned about the future of the country needn't be. "Democracy is something so basic to our Jewish identity. I don't believe you can be Jewish without being democratic....We will never give up our democratic identity."Sunni-Israeli breakthrough diplomacy makes peace with the Palestinian Arabs more likely
These reforms "are not about changing the nature of Israel's democracy. Israel is a vibrant democracy, and it will stay like this forever, because we love well-intentioned fighting and debating too much. I do believe, speaking on behalf of the people who are happy with the reforms, they felt the balance part of checks and balances was unbalanced for many years."
"Israel's Supreme Court was for years defending minorities, defending human rights, and creating precedents for helping to advance human rights. We are so proud of our Supreme Court, but we need to understand that in a way this is not the only branch of our democracy. We need to balance between peoples' rights to have laws that wouldn't be overruled time after time."
The big unspoken issue is the Sunni Arab fear of Shia Iran. With the civil war in Syria heightening existing divides, many Sunnis in the region now see Iran as their number one threat.Braverman vows to crack down on Islamist threat to Jews after damning Prevent report
With a growing Sunni-Israel breakthrough diplomacy, ongoing peace agreements with Palestinian Arabs could become more likely in the coming years as Netanyahu gears himself for how history sees his term in office.
The developing outcomes are beneficial for the Jewish State and could fast-forward Israel's influence on economic trade between neighboring Middle Eastern countries.
Seeing that Israel has one of the world's most advanced technology sectors, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have continued to openly trade with Israel, bringing good business for all involved members.
Lessening its isolation from the rest of the Middle East and the world, Prime Minister Netanyahu has described that opening the skies over Saudi Arabia and Jordan has allowed planes and Israeli aircraft to fly more freely across the region and created a through path for residents going eastward.
Since the diplomatic efforts started between Israel and the Gulf States, Chevron, the world's second-largest energy company, has entered into the State and has internalized the change that has taken place between Israel and the Arab world over recent years. With increased business activity, especially in the natural gas extraction industry, the country and the people of Israel will benefit from the progressive economic diversity.
These efforts have come with many headaches and headwinds that have put Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Countries under international scrutiny. Despite the unknowns, certainty, the growing political initiatives shared among the neighboring states would help make peace agreements with the Palestinian Authority more likely, as it will also benefit from new foreign policy arrangements.
While there may still be a lot of work to be done, and with Netanyahu increasingly looking to "repair" Israel's international reputation among the Arab world, the coming months could deliver a whirlwind of progressive change for Israel and the entire region.
The Home Secretary has vowed to crack down on Islamist antisemites after a damning review of the Government’s counter-radicalisation strategy highlighted deep failures in protecting Britain’s Jewish community.
The report by William Shawcross found evidence that the Prevent programme was failing to adequately tackle support for Hamas and Hezbollah in Britain and has allowed Jew-hating terrorists to slip through its net.
It warned that support for the terror groups which are committed to the destruction of Israel “by those in senior political or community roles, is totally unacceptable”.
The report said: “In order for the proscription to be truly effective, those who fundraise for Hamas or break the law in support of the group’s activities must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“There is no reason why those who support Hamas should be treated any differently to those who support Islamic State, National Action, or other proscribed organisations.”
It added: “The government should pay greater attention to the pernicious impact of Hamas’s support network in the UK.”
Responding to the landmark review of the Government’s counter-radicalisation programme, Home Secretary Suella Braverman told the JC:
“Antisemitism is a scourge in our society that must be rooted out. I am fully committed to tackling this despicable behaviour and Prevent, with its renewed focus, will play a fundamental part in taking on these extremist attitudes and crimes. “At the same time groups that advocate support for proscribed organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah will no longer be tolerated and, where appropriate, those who do will face the full force of our anti-terrorism law.”
Reaction from CST Chief Executive @MarkGardnerCST on today's Prevent Review, which correctly highlights the significance of antisemitism in different extremist ideologies and movements pic.twitter.com/UDhBfgcH3z— CST (@CST_UK) February 8, 2023
Home Office ignored threats from Hamas and Hezbollah says new report
The Home Office has turned a blind eye to British Hamas and Hezbollah networks, a damning review of the Home Office’s Prevent strategy reveals.Imam who took Home Office funding referred to Hamas as 'legitimate group'
It comes as William Shawcross, who conducted the review, accused officials of focusing on relatively minor threats from the far-right instead of addressing more urgent challenges from Hamas and Hezbollah – both of which have now been fully outlawed by the Government – and other Islamist groups.
The report, by William Shawcross, says: “Going beyond proscription, the government should pay greater attention to the pernicious impact of Hamas’s support network in the UK.
“These companies and charities operate legally. This highlights the importance of arm’s length bodies such as the Charity Commission in helping formulate the most effective response.”
Involvement with Hamas can act as a precursor to joining Islamic State, the report points out. “There are examples of British individuals who travelled to Hamas-controlled territory before going on to join other terrorist groups and perpetrate acts of terrorism,” it says.
This is “particularly important” because they include suicide bomber Jamal al-Harith, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, and Alexanda Kotey, known as Jihadi George, one of the infamous “Beatles” group who brutalised ISIS prisoners before they were beheaded.
The report strongly criticises the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU), a Home Office team set up in 2007 as part of the Prevent programme.
With a £15 million annual budget, the unit aims to counter extremist ideology wherever it is found.
However, according to the report, the unit expends disproportionate resources studying far-right organisations that pose no threat to Britain, while failing to challenge support for antisemitic hate groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
The head of a Government-funded group set up to combat extremism described Hamas as “so-called terrorists” and a “legitimate resistance group”, William Shawcross’ damning report on the Prevent programme reveals.Terrorist exalted as ‘holy warrior’ by new deputy leader of British Muslims
The revelations come in one of the report’s most explosive sections, which highlights the Home Office’s inadequacy in countering “terrorist movements which target Jewish communities (such as Hamas and Hezbollah)”.
One of the reports key recommendations is that support for proscribed terror groups targeting Israel must be tackled much more rigorously.
It is vital, the report says, “to explore the prevalence of antisemitism” and to “feed these findings into work to disrupt radicalisers and counter extremist narratives”.
“This includes confronting UK extremist networks supportive of terrorist movements which target Jewish communities (such as Hamas and Hezbollah) and addressing the anti-Jewish component of Islamist and Extreme Right-Wing ideology”, it added.
The reference to Hamas as “legitimate” came in a blog by Musharraf Hussain, leader of the Nottingham-based Karimia Institute – which reportedly received £200,000 from the Prevent scheme – just after the conflict between Israel and Gaza in 2021 when 5,000 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad rockets rained down on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
At this point, the report notes, Britain had proscribed Hamas’s military wing as a terror organisation, a ban extended to its political wing in November that year. Palestinian Islamic Jihad had been proscribed in its entirety since 2001.
The new deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain has praised the leaders of terror group Hamas and hosted a cleric who compared Jews to pigs and monkeys.Muslim police association members 'promoted antisemitism'
Visiting the grave of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2015, newly elected MCB official Mohammed Kozbar praised him as “the master of the martyrs of resistance, the mujahid [holy warrior] sheikh, the teacher”.
Mr Kozbar, who is also general secretary of Finsbury Park Mosque in North London, also met senior Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh — Gaza’s ex-prime minister — and its hardline former foreign policy chief Mahmoud al-Zahar.
Despite these contacts, an MCB spokesman said suggestions that Mr Kozbar supported violence or antisemitism were “smears”. The London branch of the National Association of Muslim Police has “praised” Mr Kozbar, according to the review of the government’s Prevent strategy, released this week.
Disquiet over Mr Kozbar’s appointment also centres on his decision to host Egyptian cleric Omar Abdelkafi, whom he described as “our beloved preacher”.
Mr Abdelkafi is on record quoting from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious antisemitic forgery that claims Jews seek to dominate the world, and his Facebook posts include a prayer to “liberate the al-Aqsa mosque from the filth of the Jews”.
Mr Kozbar was also filmed making a speech at a pro-Palestinian rally in London in 2011 saying he looked forward “to the end of Israel, inshallah”.
Members of the Muslim police officers’ association promoted the views of Islamist extremists and antisemites, William Shawcross’ report on the Government’s anti-terrorism Prevent strategy reveals.Jewish group criticizes Canada for financing Palestinian ‘pay for slay’
Rizwan Mustafa, founding chair of the West Midlands branch of the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP), shared content which called for the destruction of Israel and described Jews as “filth”, the report discloses.
Among the material was a video that “contains the following call: ‘Where is the Caliph of the Muslims? Don’t you care that the Jews are defiling the place of the prophet’s nocturnal journey with their filth? The Jews are the most hostile people towards the believers’.”
He also “shared conspiracy theories” about the origins of al-Qaeda and Islamic State, the report claims.
Mr Shawcross writes: “I was disturbed to learn that this individual has worked with Government departments on counter terrorism and security policy.
“In 2020, he authored a paper for NAMP advising Counter Terrorism Policing drop the terms ‘Islamism’ and ‘jihadism’, which was later discussed at a meeting attended by senior policing figures.”
Also among the findings is how NAMP’s London branch praised the chair of trustees of Finsbury Park Mosque, who has previously supported the founder and leaders of Hamas.
The Abraham Global Peace Initiative (AGPI), a Canadian Jewish advocacy organization, condemned Canada’s government this week for “complicity in aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism.”Egyptian Effort to Prevent Palestinian-Israeli Escalation ahead of Ramadan
“This follows the murder of seven Israelis in Jerusalem exactly one week ago. Among them was a 14-year-old boy and a newly-married couple, one of whom was murdered while attempting to resuscitate her spouse,” AGPI stated, reported Arutz Sheva.
In an article on the main page of the National Post newspaper, AGPI revealed Canada’s role in subsidizing the Palestinian Authority.
The NGO chastised the Canadian government for providing the P.A. with $48 million in 2021, and an average of $23 million annually, which they claimed was “all funneled” through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
AGPI also accused the Biden administration of continuing to fund P.A. terrorism.
“Worse, this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rewarded last week’s terrorist attack by announcing an additional $50 million—on top of the $890 million already given to the Palestinians in the last two years,” AGPI said.
“With a per capita GDP of roughly $3,500 and an average unemployment rate of 25 percent, the P.A. simply could not afford to pay for the salaries of terrorists without international assistance,” it added.
The U.S. asked Egypt to mediate between the Palestinians and Israel to prevent a security escalation ahead of the month of Ramadan.Israeli forces thwart stabbing near Hebron; Palestinian assailant neutralized
Israel rejected an Egyptian demand to stop IDF activity against the armed groups. The assessment in Israel is pessimistic, as the terrorist organizations are pushing for escalation.
President Biden asked Egyptian President al-Sisi to renew Egyptian involvement to prevent an escalation in the security situation between Israel and the Palestinians and another round of fighting on the Gaza border.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought this message to Cairo and the Egyptians responded positively to the American request. Egyptian intelligence subsequently summoned Ziyad al-Nakhala, the Secretary General of Islamic Jihad, and Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, to talks in Cairo with the head of Egyptian intelligence, Gen. Abbas Kamel.
The immediate Egyptian task is to prevent an escalation as the month of Ramadan approaches, beginning on March 23. That is why it agreed to mediate between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organizations. The Egyptians fear that an escalation on the Temple Mount or the Gaza border could destabilize the Egyptian regime.
Following pressure from the Biden administration and Egyptian intelligence, the Netanyahu government asked Israel’s High Court to delay the evacuation of the Bedouin outpost in Khan Al-Ahmar by a few months. The Israeli government also postponed until further notice the demolition of a large Palestinian structure that was illegally built in the village of Silwan in eastern Jerusalem.
A Palestinian terrorist was neutralized by Israeli forces after attempting to stab a soldier near the town of al Fawar, close to Hebron on Thursday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.Israel Police Rabbi Calls For Citizens to Arm Themselves in Synagogues on Shabbat
No Israeli troops were hurt in the incident.
The thwarted attack comes amid an ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism, including the killing late last month of seven people at a synagogue in Jerusalem.
The IDF confirmed on Wednesday that the home of the terrorist who perpetrated the shooting rampage in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of the Israeli capital will be demolished.
The family of terrorist Alqam Khayri, 21, who was shot and killed by police during the Jan. 27 attack, had been notified of the decision, according to the Israeli military.
The chief rabbi of the Israel Police penned an open letter on Tuesday to rabbis throughout Israel urging them to advise congregants to carry firearms on Shabbat.
“In deliberation with prominent rabbis and on the recommendation of relevant police authorities, I appeal to the rabbis of Israel to instruct their communities that everyone who has a license to carry a firearm should carry that firearm with them on Shabbat, especially during prayer times in the synagogues,” said Rabbi Rami Brachyahu.
The chief rabbi of the Israel Police penned an open letter on Tuesday to rabbis throughout Israel urging them to advise congregants to carry firearms on Shabbat, Arutz 7 reported.Bedouin Israeli brothers charged with supplying arms to Islamic Jihad in West Bank
In his letter, Rabbi Rami Brachyahu said the measure was necessary following the Jan. 27 Palestinian terrorist attack that killed seven people at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood.
History has proven that religious neighborhoods and synagogues were a target for terrorists, wrote Brachyahu, according to the report.
“In deliberation with prominent rabbis and on the recommendation of relevant police authorities, I appeal to the rabbis of Israel to instruct their communities that everyone who has a license to carry a firearm should carry that firearm with them on Shabbat, especially during prayer times in the synagogues,” he said.
He also said that synagogues should maintain the ability to call authorities at any time in the event of an emergency.
“It is appropriate that every synagogue have a kosher cell phone [on the premises] that can be used to call the police if, God forbid, an emergency occurs. Halachically, in any event of concern for ‘risk to life,’ the police must be called, even on Shabbat,” he said.
The Shin Bet security agency on Thursday said two Israeli brothers from a southern Bedouin town were arrested for allegedly supplying Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives in the West Bank with firearm parts and ammunition.
In December 2022, Border Police troops detained Adam and Mohammed Abu Taha, residents of Tel Sheva, as well as Majdi Amarna, a Palestinian from the West Bank village of Yabed, near Jenin, over the suspected illegal arms trade.
According to the Shin Bet, the Abu Taha brothers supplied some 150,000 rounds of ammunition and dozens of weapon parts to Islamic Jihad terror operatives in the Jenin area. A complete M16 rifle was seized from the two men during their arrest.
The pair also allegedly sold weapon parts to criminal elements in southern Israel.
Amid the investigation, two more Israeli civilians from the Negev area in southern Israel, Khaled Alaasem and Mughanim Alaasem, were detained over their alleged involvement in the case.
How did anti-Israel activists respond to the tragic murder of 7 Israelis?— Canary Mission (@canarymission) February 9, 2023
"Wish it was more"
"Glory to the resistance"
"The whole country is one big militarized tumor"
WATCH & SHARE!
For more info check out ?? https://t.co/qSws7DYvlc pic.twitter.com/bIDnODZNoN
You talk of "a spate of killings by Israel of Palestinians" & "a deadly raid in the West Bank city of Jenin killed 10, including an elderly lady."— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) February 9, 2023
Are you incapable of acknowledging that nearly all of those killed were members of terrorist organizations? pic.twitter.com/PnZXHOzoJq
Hamas officially claimed all the killed in Jericho were their members pic.twitter.com/BoI21yza6M— Adin - ???? (@AdinHaykin1) February 8, 2023
‘Ticking bomb’: Palestinians sexually harass Israeli girls on public buses
Many Jews in Samaria are afraid to take the bus. Arab workers, who are not Israeli citizens, have effectively taken them over. Jewish residents find themselves outnumbered 50-to-1.
The situation is especially dire for young women, who are subject to sexual assault. Hundreds of cases have been documented of the harassment of girls as young as 11. Despite a growing clamor from parents for action, little has been done.
Yigal Brand, director general of World Betar, a Zionist youth movement, lives in Havot Yair (aka the Yair Farm) in Samaria. He wrote an open letter on Jan. 18 to Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, who is responsible for civil administration in Judea and Samaria, and Miri Regev, the minister of transport and road safety.
“Thousands of workers every day use these bus lines (subsidized by the state for its citizens!!!!) that travel from central cities to Samaria,” Brand wrote.
He added that young soldiers find themselves alone on buses surrounded by Arabs and the situation can descend into bullying and harassment and could lead to a loss of life. He called on the ministers “to treat this ticking bomb seriously.”
Shooting attacks against unspecified Israeli targets published by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank recently. pic.twitter.com/uSNl8gRZt9— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) February 8, 2023
Palestinian militant organizations are commemorating the one year anniversary of three senior militants killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank. Their deaths led to a considerable spike in violence. pic.twitter.com/4XbadjIrQu— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) February 8, 2023
I am a Palestinian— ???? ????????? EndJewHatred# (@Ahmad4ISRL) February 9, 2023
I am a Muslim
I’ve realized that I’ve been lied to & deceived, was taught to hate.
I was groomed to be a Jihadi.
I was groomed to die.
I refuse to be a sheep, no more.
I choose life
I choose to think for myself & I choose peace with Israel.#NeverAgain
MEMRI: Lebanese Politician Omar Harfouch: Denying Citizenship To Palestinian Refugees In Lebanon Is An Inhuman Apartheid Policy; Four Generations Of Palestinians Were Born Here, Yet They Have No Country Or Identity – Lebanon Is All They Know
Lebanese politician Omar Harfouch said in a January 23, 2023 show on Al-Jadeed TV (Lebanon) that denying Lebanese citizenship to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is a "racist and inhuman" apartheid policy. He said that four generations of Palestinians have been born in Lebanon yet remain undocumented even though Lebanon is all they know. He also said that they have no country or identity of their own.
Four Generations Of Palestinians Were Born In Lebanon; Lebanon Is All They Know, But They Are Denied Lebanese Citizenship
Omar Harfouch: "I told [American officials] about my 'Third Lebanese Republic' plan. I listed many clauses. Some they cared about and others they did not.
"For example, they were interested when I said that in Lebanon we have four generations of Palestinians, who were born in Lebanon, and all they know is their refugee camp and Lebanon, but there is an apartheid system, because they are not documented. Personally, I prefer, and I wish, that they will be granted Lebanese citizenship. When I told [the Americans] this, I saw their eyes immediately light up. They were interested in this, and scheduled second and third meetings with me. They said this was the first time they heard someone saying this."
MEMRI: Lebanese Columnist: The Arab States Have Given Up On Lebanon; They See It Was An Iranian Base Hostile To All The Countries Of The Region
In an article in the Emirati daily Al-Arab, Lebanese columnist Khairallah Khairallah discusses the deep crisis Lebanon is experiencing and states that 2022 was one of the hardest years in its history. The Arabs, he adds, regard Lebanon as a failed state and an Iranian base hostile to all the countries in the region. The world likewise ascribes no importance to Lebanon, says Khairallah, seeing it as a country that is effectively ruled by Hizbullah. He states that Lebanon's tragedy will only end when Iran's Rule of the Jurisprudent regime ceases to exist and the region undergoes a profound transformation.Hizbullah's Future
The following are translated excerpts from his article:
"2022 was one of the hardest years Lebanon has known since it emerged in its present boundaries in 1920 and since its declaration of independence in 1943. In fact, 2022 can be seen as the hardest year Lebanon has ever known, after it transpired that no reform of any kind is possible and that the deliberate and planned bloodshed continues, with the aim of completely transforming Lebanese society. Now that Lebanon's Shi'ite society has been transformed, [Hizbullah believes] it is time to apply this transformation to the entire [Lebanese] society, including every sector and every region, amid the current Arab and international indifference.
"The Arabs generally regard Lebanon as a failed state from the political and military perspectives, [a state] controlled by Hizbullah, namely by Iran. The Arabs have become accustomed to living without a Lebanon that has anything to export except captagon and [other] drugs. They have given up on Lebanon – which is an Iranian base – [although] they haven't given up on the Lebanese minds, which are welcome in the Gulf states for their extensive expertise. The Arabs have no use for Lebanon as a geographical entity, as long as the Lebanese brains go to the Gulf, which has become one of their last safe havens…
"Thanks to its weapons and various capabilities, the Iranian party [i.e., Hizbullah] has managed to turn Lebanon into a base that is hostile to anything Arab in the region. The best proof of this is the fact that Beirut has become the second most important city for the Yemeni Houthis – i.e., the Ansar Allah organization – who enjoy freedom of movement to and from this city. The Houthis also have a satellite channel that airs from the Lebanese capital with Hizbullah's protection and with the knowledge of the Lebanese [authorities], which are helpless to do anything about this reality. Lebanon can only watch as it becomes nothing more than an 'arena' that Iran uses for its own purposes by emptying it of every element of life and isolating it from the Arab world, especially from the Gulf and from the external modern world as a whole.
With its considerable income from Iran, narcotics and other illegal sources, Hizbullah has exploited widespread impoverishment and chaos to acquire land, properties and businesses, including vast tracts of territory in regions far outside Hizbullah-land.Months of Protest Have Forged an Even More Intransigent Iranian Regime
Hizbullah is weakened, in part because Tehran has been weakened, with large demonstrations continuing across Iran, the collapse of negotiations on the nuclear issue, and Benjamin Netanyahu's new government in Israel signaling its readiness for confrontation.
Hizbullah's relationship with its Shiite support base has been challenged as never before. Wading into the Syrian carnage not only created thousands of "martyrs" and wounded veterans, but also meant Hizbullah has diluted its ranks with less ideologically committed recruits.
Many of these foot soldiers were disgusted by the corruption of superiors who had become massively enriched through their involvement in cross-border smuggling.
They, too, have seen salaries slashed as Hizbullah has been compelled to impose austerity measures, meaning that it is far less able to buy loyalty than in the past.
The demonstrations in Iran have posed the most significant threat to the government since 1979. Popular anger is still mounting, and dire economic conditions make further unrest all but inevitable. While some insiders have called for meaningful change if the Islamic Republic is to weather the storm, there is no evidence that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is listening. The regime is even more intransigent and potentially aggressive than ever before.US Targets Iranian Petrochemicals, Petroleum in Fresh Sanctions
Khamenei views the protests as a U.S. conspiracy, hatched in concert with Israel and Saudi Arabia, to topple the Islamic Republic. He witnessed firsthand how accommodating protesters only hastened the collapse of the monarchy in 1979.
Iran has responded to its deepening international isolation by drawing closer to Russia. Media outlets connected to the IRGC reported last month that Iran will receive two dozen advanced Russian Sukhoi Su-35 air defense fighters by March and is looking to acquire helicopters and an advanced S-400 air defense system, which is capable of tracking F-35 stealth fighter jets. Such acquisitions would significantly boost Iran's military capability to better counter Israeli air power in Syria.
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on companies it accused of playing a critical role in the production, sale and shipment of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum to buyers in Asia, as Washington increases pressure on Tehran.Republicans Put Iraq Aid on Chopping Block Over Country's Support for Iranian Terrorism
The US Treasury Department in a statement said it imposed sanctions on six Iran-based petrochemical manufacturers or their subsidiaries and three firms in Malaysia and Singapore over the production, sale and shipment of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum.
The latest US move against Iranian oil smuggling comes as efforts to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal have stalled and ties between the Islamic Republic and the West are increasingly strained as Iranians keep up anti-government protests.
“Iran is increasingly turning to buyers in East Asia to sell its petrochemical and petroleum products, in violation of US sanctions,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in the statement.
“The United States remains focused on targeting Tehran’s sources of illicit revenue, and will continue to enforce its sanctions against those who wittingly facilitate this trade,” Nelson said.
More than half a billion dollars in U.S. security aid to Iraq could be on the chopping block amid growing concerns that the money is benefiting Iranian terrorists, according to lawmakers and congressional sources.
House Republicans are considering plans to cancel American taxpayer aid to Iraq—the fourth-largest recipient of U.S. security assistance—citing the country's growing alliance with Iranian proxy groups, which are embedded at nearly every level of Iraq's armed forces. These aid dollars have become a priority for the Biden administration as it attempts to help Baghdad avoid economic collapse. Republican leaders say they are done authorizing these growing aid packages following a decision last month by an Iraqi court to issue an arrest warrant for former president Donald Trump, claiming his 2020 decision to kill Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil constitutes a war crime. That decision, as well as Iraq's growing alliance with Iran, is fueling Republican opposition to the aid.
"Iraq, which we give millions in taxpayer dollars of security assistance to a year, has indicted President Trump for the alleged 'crime' of removing terrorist mastermind Qassem Soleimani from the battlefield," Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Yet President Biden is turning a blind eye to Iraq's growing Iranian ties. The Biden administration is recklessly funding foreign bad actors and Congress needs to take a hard look at where our taxpayer dollars are going overseas."
Team Biden made it a day 1 priority to weaken arms restrictions that limited trade between Iran and Russia. They rushed to the UN to rescind the arms embargo on Iran. They relied on Russia as a partner in nuclear talks while Iran sent drones to Russia.— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) February 9, 2023
This was a policy choice. https://t.co/lClPP5ZMLJ
Russia is now in open violation of the New START nuclear arms treaty and refuses to permit the U.S. inspections it agreed to: https://t.co/wG62CLNy4i— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) February 9, 2023
Rep. Gary Palmer asks how the former Twitter executives justified removing Trump while leaving on Twitter Iran's Ayatollah, who called for the destruction of Israel.— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) February 8, 2023
"You understand how hypocritical this is, right?" says Palmer.
None offer a defense of that decision. pic.twitter.com/xJCm7wzWDE
Israeli, Iranian Directors Join Forces on Film About Judoka Earning Ire From Iranian Regime
Israeli director Guy Nattiv and his Iranian counterpart Zar Amir Ebrahimi are teaming up for a new movie and have become the first filmmakers from Israel and Iran to co-direct a feature film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Untitled Judo is about an Iranian female judoka named Leila, played by The L Word: Generation Q actress Adrienne Mandi, and her coach Maryam, who will be played by Ebrahimi. Together they travel to the Judo World Championship with the hopes of bringing home Iran’s first gold medal but in the middle of the competition, the Iranian government orders Leila to fake an injury and lose a match. Forced to make a decision that could affect her and her family’s freedom, Leila must choose between following orders from the Iranian regime, as Maryam urges her to do, or ignore their demands and continue to compete for the gold medal.
The storyline resembles real-life events with Iranian judoka and Olympic athlete Saeid Mollaei, who has said that Iranian officials ordered him to forfeit a match at the 2019 World Judo Championships in Tokyo to avoid potentially going head-to-head with an athlete from Israel. Mollaei afterwards refused to return to Iran and instead sought asylum in Germany. The International Olympic Committee later approved from him to compete for Mongolia instead of his home country.
Many other Iranian athletes have faced the same pressure from the Islamic Republic to throw matches against competitors from Israel due to Iran’s longstanding ban on having its athletes compete against anyone from Israel.
“The story we’re telling in this film is the story of too many Iranian athletes who lost their lifetime opportunities, sometimes forced to leave their countries and beloved ones because of the conflict between systems and governments,” Ebrahimi told The Hollywood Reporter. “May this artistic and cinematographic collaboration with Guy be a tribute to them, beyond frenzies of blind hatred and mutual destruction.”
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