Monday, February 13, 2023

02/13 Links Pt1: Europe's Proxy War against Israel; When Terrorism Pays in Cash; Ukraine should back Israel for fighting Iran-backed Palestinian terror

From Ian:

By Maintaining Palestinians' Permanent Refugee Status, the UN Has Perpetuated Violence
Despite the work being done to promote peaceful solutions in the Middle East through the Abraham Accords, the UN appears to insist on keeping Israel's very existence in question and ensuring Palestinians remain as permanent refugees. The UN established the only permanent refugee organization in the world, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Millions of refugees poured out of Syria during the civil war, but no dedicated UN agency was founded for them. There are no international campaigns or significant Syrian refugee movements on university campuses calling for their return, because most have acclimatized to their new homes - as refugees generally do. Of all the refugees past and present, the Palestinians are the only ones who have their own permanent exhibit near the UN General Assembly.

After the Arab world went to war against the newly founded State of Israel in 1948, instead of absorbing the refugees into their host countries, UNRWA deliberately kept them in refugee camps. From a human rights point of view, that is completely unfair to the millions of children who have had their futures stolen from them by the UN and their host countries which refuse them citizenship.

Before 1948, the area was ruled by the British for a short time and by the Ottomans for 400 years before that. There was never a state of Palestine. This generation of Palestinians wants to lay claim to Jerusalem, but the holy city was never Palestinian. The way back to peace is for the UN and its agencies like UNRWA to stop deceiving the Palestinian people by suggesting that Israel is a temporary political entity. It's not going anywhere.
Europe's Proxy War against Israel
What is even more painful and humiliating for the Palestinians, is that EU officials who regularly visit the Gaza Strip intentionally ignore the suffering of the Palestinians living under Hamas.

On February 2, fifteen EU Heads of Mission visited the Gaza Strip without saying a single word about any of the victims of Hamas's crimes and human rights violations.

Notably, the EU did not state that it is Hamas, whose wealthy leaders live comfortable lives in Qatar, Turkey and other countries, that is mainly responsible for the bad "humanitarian situation" in the Gaza Strip.

Instead of working to strengthen the economy after it violently seized the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas has since been investing the millions of dollars it receives in building tunnels, and manufacturing and smuggling weapons to attack Israel.

Hamas, in addition to its disproportionately large military budget, also diverts aid money from Europe and the US to fund its military ventures.

When Hamas threatens that Israel will "pay the price," the Iranian-backed group is actually saying it will continue to murder Jews for daring to enforce the law against those who violate the law.

The EU show of solidarity with the residents of Khan al-Ahmar not only emboldens Hamas, it also incentivizes Palestinians to pursue their illegal attempts to seize territory that, in the Oslo Accords, they had agreed did not belong to them, as well as to continue launching terrorist attacks against Israel.

Recently, a confidential document composed by the EU mission in east Jerusalem revealed that Brussels is actively working with the Palestinians to take over all of Area C by building scores of other illegal "facts on the ground." By doing so, the EU has disqualified itself from playing the role of an honest broker in any future peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.

What right does any European official have to tell Israel that it is not permitted to enforce the law against illegal squatters? Would any European official tolerate it if, for example, an Israeli government official told the authorities in Paris or Madrid that they are not entitled to take action against those who break the law in their cities?

The actions of the EU finally expose its deep hostility toward Israel in Europe's proxy war against the Jewish state, as well as its undisguised bias in favor of the Palestinians.

By obsessing about Israel and ignoring the crimes of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the EU is doing a massive disservice to the two million Palestinians living there. The EU's actions always seem more about hating Israel than helping the Palestinians.

If the Europeans truly cared at all about the Palestinians, they would raise the roof about the crimes committed by Hamas against the residents of the Gaza Strip. And they would be calling out their cohorts in the Palestinian Authority for abusive governance, corruption, embezzlement of public funds, and especially the Palestinian crackdown on human rights activists and journalists, who are trying to tell the EU, the international community and the so-called human rights groups about the brutal conditions under which their leaders keep forcing them to live.
When Terrorism Pays in Cash
Murder can be an all-too profitable endeavor for Palestinian terrorists. Despite pretensions to being a normal governmental organization, the Palestinian Authority doles out hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists and their families. As Israel stares down another wave of terrorist violence, we cannot lose sight of the factors that fuel this escalation. The PA's continued incentives to commit heinous crimes should not be ignored.

Ramallah keeps its prisoners and "martyrs" highly satisfied. The PA grants an allowance of as much as $3,500 a month to those held in Israel's prisons for having murdered Jews. The allocation becomes a lifetime entitlement if the prison sentence runs more than five years. The PA celebrates the work of its "martyrs" by paying an allowance of around $500 a month to the family of a deceased terrorist. This comes on top of an initial lump-sum payment of $1,700. These are eye-popping amounts on the West Bank, where the annual GDP per capita sits at around $3,000. Terrorism can be a more lucrative profession than being a doctor or the head of a small business!

Notwithstanding the criticism the "pay-for-slay" program has drawn—and regular Palestinian promises of reform—the PA continues to cut hefty checks to those responsible for the most recent massacres of Jews. Khairi Alqam, who last week shot seven dead at a Jerusalem synagogue before he was neutralized, has secured his passage to heaven and his family's ascent into the Palestinian upper class. He carried out his attack on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and took the lives of several children. The adolescent who opened fire on two random passersby the next day near Jerusalem's City of David was taken alive—he will draw a monthly salary for the duration of his prison term. Those payments can add up: just ask Karim and Maher Younes, the murderers of Avraham Bromberg. The cousins, who were recently released, have received $1.2 million since the beginning of their incarceration in 1983. Surely, they will live out their golden years in great comfort.

The PA's subsidies for terror are a moral outrage, spurring further violence and rewarding fanatics. The PA has attempted to defend the indefensible, claiming that Hamas would step in to provide the funds were the PA to ever turn off the tap. But this excuse is weak tea; funding murder is always wrong, no matter the reason. Nothing could do more to showcase the PA's moral degeneracy and inaptitude as a partner for peace.

American Jewish leaders must deploy different kind of hyperbole on Israel - opinion
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace,” reads an oft-quoted verse from the book of Isaiah. But Moshe Hauer, responding to the hyperbolic pronouncements from prominent American Jews over recent political developments in Israel, urges his fellow rabbis and communal leaders to ignore the prophet’s advice, and occasionally to hold their peace:

Whatever our view on the proposed legal reforms and other issues, and whether we choose to advocate for our positions, we are not well served by collecting signatures on letters that exaggerate our differences and sow self-fulfilling prophecies of gloom and doom about the future of Jewish and democratic Israel. And though some Israelis ask us American Jews not to be silent for the sake of Zion, for the sake of American Jewry, a bit more silence on our part will be helpful.

Caution in Israel is warranted, as well. While those on both sides of Israel’s political divide must continue to advance their policy [platforms] vigorously, they must recognize that on the sidelines of their political battlefield sit America’s Jews, watching carefully and deciding whether they will be able to identify with the outcome. To paraphrase Ahad Ha’am, more than American Jewry has maintained Israel, Israel has maintained American Jewry.

For the vast majority of Diaspora Jews, it is not Judaism but Israel—both concern for its safety and pride in its accomplishments—that has united and galvanized them as Jews and served as the most effective anchor of their Jewish identity. Preserving that sense of identity between American Jewry and Israel is a paramount responsibility that both Israeli and American Jewish leaders must have at the top of their minds because at this moment, that sense of identity is seriously at risk.
Netanyahu to opposition: ‘Stop deliberately dragging the country into anarchy’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called on opposition leaders to stop leading Israel into chaos after a tempestuous Knesset committee meeting and a mass demonstration outside the Knesset in Jerusalem.

“I call on the leaders of the opposition: Stop this. Stop deliberately dragging the country into anarchy. Get over yourself. Show responsibility and leadership because you’re doing the exact opposite,” the prime minister said in a video posted to social media.

“Look what happened today in Jerusalem: The opposition is going wild inside the Knesset and its members are jumping on the tables. [Tel Aviv Mayor] Ron Huldai is explicitly inciting bloodshed, and the leftist demonstration is calling the prime minister a ‘traitor,’ ” he said.

Netanyahu concluded: “The majority of Israelis don’t want anarchy. They want a substantive discourse and in the end they want unity.”

He was referring to several opposition members jumping on tables during Monday’s meeting of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which voted to advance the first bill in the judicial reform package. The disruptive legislators had to be forcibly ejected from the chamber.

Outside the Knesset, an estimated 60,000 demonstrators gathered. Some chanted, “Bibi, traitor” (referring to Netanyahu by his nickname). Opposition leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid Party, addressing the crowd, said the “corrupt extremist government wants to destroy the country at record speed.”

Huldai, who marched in the protest, told Channel 13: “Countries become dictatorships through the use of democratic tools…. Countries do not become democratic again, except with bloodshed.”

His words were widely interpreted by coalition members as advocating violence. Even National Unity Party Chairman Benny Gantz, a leader of the opposition, condemned the remarks. Huldai later tweeted that he meant it was the responsibility of the government to prevent bloodshed.
Israeli MKs call for sovereignty in the Jordan Valley
Leaders from across the Israeli political spectrum on Sunday called on the government to declare Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.

In a panel discussion organized by NGO “Ribonut” (sovereignty), Knesset member Dan Illuz (Likud) told JNS, “Sovereignty in the Jordan Valley is a crucial goal for the entire state of Israel,”

Many speakers emphasized that sovereignty not only enjoys broad political consensus in Israel today, but is moreover more achievable than sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria.

“There is no debate between the coalition and the opposition about the Jordan Valley, it is a crucial piece of Israel from every perspective,” said MK Shiran Haskel (National Unity).

Yehudit Katsover, one of the founders of “Ribonut,” said, “The Jordan Valley falls in broad consensus between the left and the right. Everyone agrees, so this is a very achievable reality.”

Illuz emphasized the cultural significance of the region.

“This is the place where Joshua crossed into the land—this is where it all began. The Jordan Valley is the very lifeblood of the Jewish people,” he said, adding, “Without the Jordan Valley there is no Israel.”

IDF Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, who also spoke at the panel, told JNS, “This land flows with Jewish history. It is in every rock and bush. That is why our sovereignty here is not even a question, it’s just a question of how to actualize it.”

Omission and framing in BBC reporting on Ramot terror attack
On the afternoon of February 10th the BBC News website published a report by Raffi Berg about a terror attack which had taken place some two and a half hours earlier just outside the Ramot neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

Originally titled “Jerusalem: Child killed in suspected ramming attack”, the report was updated three times over the next couple of hours and is currently headlined “Jerusalem: Two Israelis killed in car ramming attack”.

The report’s opening lines tell readers that:
“Two Israelis – a six-year-old boy and 20-year-old man – have been killed in a car ramming attack at a bus stop in occupied East Jerusalem, officials say.

The attack happened at Ramot Junction. Police say the driver, a 31-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was “neutralised on the spot”.

Five people were hurt, medics said.”

It is of course highly unlikely that Israeli officials had said that the attack had taken place “in occupied East Jerusalem” as claimed by Berg. While Berg describes the perpetrator as “Palestinian”, it was reported that the resident of Issawiya held Israeli citizenship.

By the time the current version of the report was published the victims had been identified and the funeral of the child had begun.

“The Magen David Adom ambulance service said the boy, 6, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was named as Yaakov Yisrael Paley. Paley was quickly buried Friday afternoon before the start of Shabbat, in accordance with Jewish law.

The second victim was identified as Alter Shlomo Lederman, a 20-year-old yeshiva student who had gotten married two months ago. He and his wife had been on their way to his parents’ home for Shabbat. Lederman was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in critical condition, where he succumbed to his wounds.”

As is all too often the case in reports on terror attacks against Israelis, the BBC made no effort to personalise the victims by providing their names and background.

Moreover, after news broke of the death of a third victim of the attack, the BBC did not update its report to inform audiences that eight-year-old Asher Menahem Paley, the brother of the six-year-old victim, had succumbed to his wounds or that the father of both boys is among those injured in the attack.

Two terror stabbing attacks reported in matter of hours in Jerusalem
A young man was critically injured during a stabbing attack at the checkpoint to the Shuafat refugee camp just hours after a man in his 20s was lightly injured after being stabbed by a terrorist near the Chain Gate of the Temple Mount on Monday afternoon.

Initial reports indicated that the young man injured in Shuafat was injured by gunfire which was targeting the terrorist who was attempting to conduct the stabbing attack.

The doors to the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa Mosque were closed by police shortly after the attack, according to Palestinian reports. Police entered the compound and arrested the suspect who was hiding in the mosque. The doors were reopened after the arrest.

The terrorist who conducted the attack in the Old City was identified as a 14-year-old resident of the Shuafat neighborhood of east Jerusalem.
Israeli teen hurt in stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City; suspect, 14, arrested
An Israeli teenager was lightly hurt in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday afternoon, and the alleged Palestinian assailant — also a teenager — was arrested, police and medics said.

The victim, 17, told medics he was stabbed in the back while walking near the Chain Gate entrance to the Temple Mount before managing to flee toward the Western Wall.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said its medics treated the teen near the Western Wall and took him to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. He was listed in good condition.

Police said officers arrested the alleged stabber, a 14-year-old Palestinian from the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, who initially fled the scene and hid on the Temple Mount.

Law enforcement officials described the stabbing as a terror attack.

The knife allegedly used in the stabbing was found by officers near Chain Gate.

IDF strikes Hamas weapons facility in Gaza in response to rocket fire
The Israel Defense Forces struck Hamas assets in the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday in response to a rocket launched at the Jewish state the previous day.

Fighter jets targeted an underground rocket manufacturing site belonging to Hamas, constituting a blow to the Palestinian terrorist group’s ability to fortify and arm itself, the IDF said in a statement.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza, said the IDF.

During the Israeli strike, Palestinian terrorists fired four surface-to-air rockets at the jets, causing alarms to sound in the Israeli city of Sderot and in surrounding areas along the border, including Kibbutz Ruhama.

The IDF said that three of the rockets exploded mid-air and one landed in an open field.

No injuries or damage were reported.

In response, Israeli tanks struck additional Hamas positions in Gaza.

Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza after 4 rockets launched overnight

Mark Dubowitz: Ukraine should back Israel for fighting Iran-backed Palestinian terror
Russia’s use of Iranian-supplied kamikaze drones against Ukraine is, by now, notorious. Less known is the complicity of the Islamic Republic in the murder of Ukrainian citizens 2,000 km. away in Israel.

Of the 40 people killed by the surging Palestinian terrorist attacks of the past year, three – almost one in 10 – were Ukrainian.

Irina Korolova was milling with worshipers outside a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neveh Ya’acov neighborhood on a Friday evening last month when she was shot dead along with six Israelis by a pistol-wielding Arab from the east of the capital. According to local media reports, the 60-year-old Ukrainian was working as a caregiver in Israel.

On March 29, 2022, Dmitri Mitrik, 24, and Victor Sorokopot, 32, were outside a grocery store in Bnei Brak, relaxing after their jobs in construction, when an infiltrator from the West Bank gunned them down with an M-16. He went on to kill two Israeli civilians and a police officer.

Palestinians were the killers, but Iran put their fingers on the triggers
The murderers were Palestinian but Tehran helped put their fingers on the triggers. The Islamic Republic is the main foreign sponsor of Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and has a hand in the influx of smuggled firearms into Israel, including into the West Bank.

After the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, the terrorist group thanked Iran for providing it with money, weapons and technology. In 2020, the United States government reported that Iran provides a combined total of $100 million (NIS 354 m.) annually to Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In 2019, the US sanctioned Hamas-linked financial operatives for funneling tens of millions of dollars to Hamas from the regime in Iran for terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip.

After Palestinian terrorists murdered and maimed scores of Americans, including 29-year-old US Army veteran Taylor Force, in 2016, the US moved to exact a price in damages awarded in court against Palestinian entities and legislation, such as the Taylor Force Act. The 2018 law, designed to stop pay for slay, prohibits US economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority unless it terminates its longstanding practice of providing lifetime support to the families of terrorists who have targeted Americans and Israelis.

While it fights against the brutal Russian onslaught, Ukraine should similarly rise to the defense of its citizens abroad, even as it strives to protect them at home.

WHILE IT may be too preoccupied with wartime struggles to prosecute individual cases, Kyiv should go beyond its condemnation of the recent Palestinian terror attacks to a fuller review of policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Iran used boats, state airline to smuggle drones to Russia - The Guardian
Iran smuggled advanced drones to Russia for use in its invasion of Ukraine using boats and a state-owned airline, an exclusive report in The Guardian revealed on Sunday, citing Iranian sources.

Most of the drones were picked up covertly by an Iranian ship from a base near the Caspian Sea but some were shipped on an Iranian state-owned airline.

At least 18 of the drones were delivered to Russia after a visit to Tehran by Russian technicians and officers in November, where they were shown Iranian military technologies.

During the visit, the Russian delegation picked six Mohajer-6 and 12 Shahed 191 and 129 drones.

While Shahed 131 and 136 drones have been used by Russia in kamikaze attacks, Shahed 191 and 129 drones are capable of returning intact after delivering an explosive payload, according to the report.

Ties warming between Iran and Russia
The news highlighted warming ties between Iran and Russia, especially as both find themself increasingly at odds with the United States, The Guardian noted.

US officials said last August that they expected Iran to sell the Shahed 191 and 129 drones to Russia after it had showcased them in June. Mojaher-6 drones have been shot down in Ukraine since September, according to the report.

Hijab Protests Sow Doubt and Confusion among Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Leaked recordings have revealed that Gen. Qassem Qureshi, deputy commander of the Iranian Basij paramilitary, said "a huge fraction of the revolutionary forces on the streets are experiencing doubt and confusion."

Moreover, in documents seen by The Times, IRGC soldiers receive on average $300 a month.

By comparison, Lebanon's Hizbullah militia soldiers earn $1,300. "While Hizbullah militants get richer, the Iranian public is hitting rock bottom," the source said.
Iranian policeman rebuked for refusing to enforce mandatory hijab rule
An Iranian police officer has been reprimanded after he did not enforce the country’s dress code requiring women to cover their hair, local media reported Monday.

A video was widely shared on social media in recent days, showing a police officer in the western province of Kermanshah telling a woman that he did not consider the hijab, or headscarf, to be compulsory for women.

“This lady wants to go out in this outfit… it’s none of my business,” the officer is heard saying in response to a woman asking him to confront another woman for not wearing the hijab.

“After a thorough investigation… the officer was summoned… and received the necessary warnings and training,” the Tasnim news agency said Monday, citing a statement from the police of Kermanshah province.

The incident comes against the backdrop of a nationwide protest movement triggered by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old ethnic Kurd who had been arrested for an alleged breach of the same dress code for women.

Hundreds of people, including security personnel, have been killed and thousands arrested during the protests, which the authorities often describe as “riots.”

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