Tuesday, March 28, 2023

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: A ‘resistance’ coup just defeated Israeli democracy
Implications for the future
Will that happen every time the right wins an election from now on? Probably. That means not only will the juristocracy defend its power, but its supporters are permanently committed to thwarting the will of voters who may continue to outnumber them in the future.

And how will a theoretical government of the left—assuming, as many now do, that Lapid and his allies can win the next election—react if large numbers of right-wing opponents try to play the same game? If the debate over the disastrous Oslo Accords and the 2005 Gaza withdrawal are any gauge of their behavior, they will crack down on their opponents in ways that Netanyahu hesitated to do this year with widespread jailing of dissidents. Dismissals from the army of those who refuse orders rather than the gentle lectures the anti-Bibi refuseniks got will also be likely.

While the left threatened violence against their opponents and even civil war if they didn’t get their way about judicial reform, who really believes they will hesitate to initiate one if they are in power and the right rises up in the streets the way we’ve just witnessed?

Similarly, the implications for Israel’s foreign relations are equally ominous. The opposition has essentially legitimized American involvement in Israel’s domestic politics even on an issue that had nothing to do with the questions of territory and peace. That weakens the country’s independence at a dangerous time when, as Netanyahu has been trying to point out, the threat from Iran is growing.

What’s more, Netanyahu’s opponents have (whether they realize it or not) also legitimized arguments aimed at denying that Israel is a democracy. While his foes think that this will only apply to times when the right wins elections, they may come to realize that to the antisemites who assail the Jewish state in international forums and in American politics where the intersectional left is increasingly influential, that will also apply to governments led by parties not named Likud.

Ultimately, Israel’s citizens—whether through democratic elections or mob actions that break governments and Knesset majorities—will determine their own fate. And those who look on from abroad must accept the outcome of these struggles and continue to support the Jewish state against its enemies.

Yet far from defending Israel from authoritarian forces, the protesters have established a precedent that will haunt future governments of all kinds and shake the foundation of its democracy. Whether that damage can be undone remains an open question.
Ruthie Blum: Benjamin Netanyahu’s risky leadership move
Members of Israel’s national camp waited anxiously throughout Monday for the speech that Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was slated to deliver in the morning. The announcement that he was going to address the nation followed the previous night’s “spontaneous” anti-government demonstrations over the firing of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

It also virtually coincided with the declaration by the head of the Histadrut labor federation of a general strike. This imposition of an illegal shutdown of the economy, which included the closing of banks, minimizing of hospital care and even the halt to all departures at Ben-Gurion Airport, was given a voluntary tailwind by the private sector.

Though the protest movement had already proclaimed that it was launching a full “week of paralysis” to step up its campaign to cause the ruling coalition to collapse, the entry of the Histadrut into the fray was an additional twist to the carefully plotted and meticulously executed coup.

The initial excuse used by protest leaders to rile up frightened fellow travelers was judicial reform. The latest pretext for their heavily funded hate-fests was Gallant’s dismissal.

Despite the fact that his successful showing in the Likud Party primary (ultimately earning him the coveted defense portfolio) was due largely to his stance on judicial reform, he was intimidated by insubordinate IDF reservists threatening not to serve in a “dictatorship-in-the-making.”
‘There can be no civil war’: Full text of Netanyahu’s announcement on overhaul pause
Following is the full English translation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s televised address on March 27, 2023, as provided by the Government Press Office, in which he announced he was delaying his government’s planned far-reaching overhaul of the judiciary.

Citizens of Israel,

Three thousand years ago, here in Jerusalem, the judgement of Solomon took place. Two women came before King Solomon. Each one claimed that she was the real mother of the infant. King Solomon commanded that a sword be brought and that the baby be cut in half. One woman was prepared to rend the baby in two while the other woman absolutely refused and insisted that the infant stay alive and whole.

Today as well, both sides in the national controversy claim to love the infant, to love our country. I am aware of the enormous tension that is building between the two sides, between two parts of the nation, and I am attentive to the desire of many citizens to dispel this tension.

However, there is one thing that I cannot accept. There is an extremist minority that is prepared to tear our country to pieces. It is using violence and incitement, it is threatening to harm elected officials, it is stoking civil war, and it is calling for refusal to serve, which is a terrible crime.

The State of Israel cannot exist without the IDF and the IDF cannot exist with refusal to serve. Refusal to serve by one side will lead to refusal to serve by the other. Refusal to serve is the end of our country. Therefore, I demand that the heads of the security services and of the army vigorously oppose the phenomenon of refusal to serve, not contain it, not understand it, not accept it – but put a stop to it.

Those who call for refusal to serve, those who call for anarchy and violence, are knowingly cutting the baby in two. But the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens on both sides of the divide do not want to rend the infant. They are unwilling to cut the nation in two.

Arsen Ostrovsky: How Iran's Tentacles Are Reaching Into Europe
The one destructive thread that weaves all this hatred of our shared democratic values, is the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The PFLP is a proxy of the Iranian regime, which provides the terror group with money, training, and weapons.

Samidoun, an off shoot of the PFLP, has a branch in Tehran. They have even held events there, under pretext of "cultural activity," to elicit support for operations in Europe. Their leader, Khaled Barakat, is a regular on Iran's state PressTV, calling for violence and lauding Iran's involvement in the region.

Senior Samidoun members in Europe, like Mustapha Awad, have been trained by Hezbollah, another Iranian terror proxy, and have transferred money from Lebanon and Syria to Barakat, representing the most direct financial link between Samidoun and the Iranian regime.

Samidoun has also expressed support and admiration for Qassem Soleimani, the former head of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who was killed in an American strike in 2020, calling him a major "military and political leader," while advocating support for the regime of Ayatollah Khamenei and an end to sanctions.

It is utterly incomprehensible, therefore, that the EU has not yet designated Samidoun a terror group.

According to the Council of the European Union, groups and/or individuals can be added to the EU terror list on the basis of "proposals submitted by member states based on a decision by a competent authority of a member state or a third country." In this regard, there is already a standing designation by Israel of Samidoun as a terror group and a decision of a German court finding Barakat to be a senior PFLP operative.

Furthermore, according to the Council of the European UnionCommon Position Paper 931 and the European Court of Justice, a decision of an EU Member State court is not even necessary. Even just the initiation of an investigation by police or national authorities, including those outside the European Union, would suffice.

Given the irrefutable axis-of-terror between Samidoun, PFLP and the Iranian regime, the EU has the duty to put Samidoun and senior Samidoun leaders on the EU terror list. They should do this not as some favor to Israel, but because otherwise they continue to turn their backs to a group that presents a clear and present security threat to the European Union and EU citizens.
Greece thwarts terrorist network planning attacks on Jews - report
The Mossad helped Greece crack an Iranian terror cell, according to a statement by the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday night.

The spy agency said that it had assisted Greece with analyzing and taking apart Iran's operating procedures to solve the puzzle of the underlying crime and method of operation of the terror organization involved.

"This is another example of Iran trying to use terror against Israeli and Jewish targets overseas," said the clandestine agency.

Further, Mossad helped identify the connection between the local terror cell in Greece and Iran's broader global terror operations.

According to the intelligence agency, "along with our intelligence partners, we will act in our role without rest to thwart Iran's intentions to cause harm throughout the world."

Earlier Tuesday, Greek police disrupted what they called a foreign terrorist network operating within the country and arrested two foreign nationals.

According to both Mossad and AFP, the terrorists were plotting to attack Israelis within Greece.
Caroline Glick Clips: BREAKING: My thoughts on the current crisis
Caroline Glick gave her thoughts on the current crisis facing judicial reform and the Netanyahu government just hours before Prime Minister agreed to pause the reform process.

Gallant has opened up Pandora's box jeopardizing Israel's security - opinion
Furthermore, it is evident to everyone that the proponents of recalcitrance and anarchy are not seeking dialogue, as Gallant has proposed, but have one objective in mind – to overthrow the right-wing government and substitute it with a left-wing government. If the right-wing halts the proposed legislation at this time, it will not take place, but will also serve as a reward and incentive for recalcitrance.

NONETHELESS, THE protests are unlikely to cease. Moreover, the “opponents of the reform” will use the tools of recalcitrance and anarchy as a weapon against the government for any decision they dislike. The implication is that we are heading toward a profound abyss from which there is no return.

It is surprising that one of the accomplices in promoting recalcitrance is the Chief of Staff Halevi, whose voice is not sufficiently heard, loud enough, or whose presence is not perceptible on the ground. Moreover, not only is the chief of staff not doing enough to combat the phenomenon of recalcitrance, but he is also feeding the defense minister and the government with concerns and threats if the legal reform bill passes.

Halevi should focus on his responsibilities and refrain from involving himself in political matters. Even if there are consequences to the process of passing the legal reform (and not to the reform itself, by the way), the chief of staff should address them with determination and aggression, rather than being frightened and creating panic.

After Gallant’s speech, the “opponents of the reform” praised his move as a “brave step.” However, by choosing to remain in his position while going against the government’s policy, Gallant is not being brave but rather cowardly. His actions do not exhibit heroism but instead reveal a cynical exploitation of the Likud voters who elected him to office and whom he is supposed to represent.

If Gallant truly believes that the legal reform’s passing would be catastrophic, he should resign without delay. If he votes against the bill to modify the composition of the judge-selection committee and still refuses to resign, it is the prime minister’s responsibility to dismiss him.

Those who are unable to withstand pressure, those who are unable to lead and instead become the led (in front of the chief of staff), those who are not interested in promoting the ideology for which they were elected by the public – it is better for them to step aside and let others do it.
What comes next for Israel's protest movement?
After a dramatic day and night of widespread protests, with Prime Minister Netanyahu announcing he will suspend judicial reform legislation, how is the protest movement reacting?

Political commentator Daniel Shek and senior correspondent Pierre Klochendler weigh in.

UK PM Rishi Sunak's hypocrisy on Israel and terror
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this past week that he is concerned about “growing tensions in the West Bank” and wants Israel to undertake “efforts to de-escalate, particularly ahead of the upcoming religious holidays.”

There should have been a translator in the room. Because even though both men were speaking English, the actual translation of what Sunak said was: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

For even as Britain’s prime minister was giving Israel unsolicited advice about “de-escalating” its self-defense efforts, British troops are engaged in their own battles around the world, none of which show any signs of de-escalating.

There are British troops fighting ISIS in Iraq, and the Royal Air Force periodically carries out air strikes on ISIS sites there and in neighboring Syria. Last December 20, for example, a British Reaper drone aircraft fired Hellfire missiles at a building near Al Bab, in northern Syria, because “at least one active Daesh [ISIS] terrorist was known to be present,” according to a government announcement. Imagine that: just one terrorist was there, and that was sufficient for the Brits to unleash hellfire. Literally.

I wonder how Sunak would feel if Israel called on him to “de-escalate the growing tensions in the al-Bab region” in advance of Ramadan.

There are British troops in Nigeria, helping to fight Boko Haram terrorists. There are also British military personnel in Somalia, training the Somalian army in anti-terrorism tactics. And until very recently, there were hundreds of British soldiers in Mali, fighting jihadist rebels.

I doubt Sunak would appreciate it if Israel referred to Britain’s conflicts with terrorists in Africa and the Middle East as merely “growing tensions” in the region, as if both sides are guilty and there is no clear aggressor.

In Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia and Mali, the terrorists are the aggressors, and the British are fighting in self-defense in battles far from the British Isles.

In Israel, the Palestinian Arab terrorists are the aggressors, and the Israelis are fighting in self-defense.

None of these conflicts should be characterized as “growing tensions.” They are wars. There are good guys and there are bad guys. Britain and Israel are the good guys. The terrorists are the bad guys.

And, by the way, there are British military personnel stationed in Ukraine, too. They are not directly involved in the fighting, but they are certainly stationed in harm’s way. This is more than just sending weapons to Ukraine, as the United States has done.

100,000 Rally for Reform in Jerusalem
The rally was held under the banner of “They will not steal our elections,” in reference to the November vote that saw Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc secure a 64-seat majority in the 120-member Knesset.

A large demonstration against the judicial reform was held earlier in the afternoon outside the Knesset on a day that saw people take to the streets in cities across the country and a general strike that shut down parts of the economy, including the grounding of flights at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Government ministers and lawmakers from the coalition took to the stage during the pro-reform rally to call for the legislation to be passed. They included MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism Party, the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee; Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionism Party; and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, the head of the Otzma Yehudit Party.

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi of Likud told the demonstrators that the reform initiative would continue.

“We are not stopping in any way, shape or form. We will not surrender to anarchists…. the reform will move forward,” Karhi said.

Leaders of the anti-reform movement also indicated that the protests would not stop after Netanyahu called a halt to the legislative process until the Knesset’s summer session, with more disruptions expected on Tuesday.

Groups organizing the pro-reform rally included Bezalmo, Torat Lechima, Ad Kan, Im Tirzu and Regavim.

There was concern that clashes would take place between demonstrators from the rival camps after the La Familia group announced that it was attending the Jerusalem rally. La Familia is a group of fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club with a history of violence.

Netanyahu called for calm ahead of the dueling protests near the Knesset.

“I call on all the demonstrators in Jerusalem, on the right and the left, to behave responsibly and not to act violently. We are brothers,” the premier posted to his Twitter account.
The Israel Guys: UPDATE: What is Happening in Israel | Is Israel On the Brink of CIVIL WAR?
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A Palestinian Terrorist opened fire on the IDF in Huwarrah injuring two soldiers. This is the third shooting in the last several weeks, and Israel’s citizens have had enough.

The organizers of the anti-government protests called for a “week of paralysis” on the nation of Israel to create so much chaos that the government will be forced to capitulate.

Netanyahu fired his Defense Minister and the left responded by blocking a major highway in Tel Aviv and lighting fires.

Israel’s “apolitical” President, Isaac Herzog, called on Netanyahu to STOP the Judicial Reforms.

What are the Palestinians saying about the crisis in Israel?
Palestinian newspaper editor Abdel Bari Atwan claimed that Israel “is quickly turning into a third world country” and is no longer feared because as a military superpower.

“That’s why Israel’s most prominent opponents in Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen have the right to rub their hands with joy,” Atwan wrote in the London-based online newspaper Rai Al-Youm. “The coming days will be full of unpleasant surprises for the occupying state and its supporters in Europe and America, as well as its Arab friends. Israel is currently living through its worst days.”

The Palestinian Authority has thus far refrained from commenting on the controversy in Israel surrounding the judicial reforms.

“This is an internal Israeli affair,” said a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah. “Our policy is not to interfere in Israel’s internal affairs, but we are glad to see that many Israelis understand how dangerous this right-wing government is.”

The silence of the PA has drawn sharp criticism from some Palestinians, who believe the Ramallah-based leadership should seize the opportunity to step up the campaign to isolate Israel in the international community and depict it as a rogue and undemocratic state.

“There are no longer any Palestinian institutions that really know the map of the internal conflict in Israeli society,” complained Palestinian political analyst Abdel Majid Sweilem.

Publishing cartoons about the “nature of the conflict in Israeli society was insufficient,” he argued.

“Why is the international community expressing fear and warning of the Israeli [government’s judicial] ‘coup’ while the Palestinian leaders are awaiting the results of this coup?” Sweilem asked in an article published in the PA’s official newspaper Al-Ayyam. “If the whole issue is an internal Israeli affair, why don't we completely boycott the racist Israeli government, and why don't we participate in isolating and exposing it instead of maintaining channels of communication with it? Israel is facing the biggest crisis, and this could provide an historic opportunity [for the Palestinians] that I do not think will ever be repeated.”

Hassan Asfour, another political activist and former PA official, also took the Palestinian leadership to task for allegedly failing to cash in on the crisis in Israel.

“The Palestinian leadership must wake up,” Asfour wrote in the Palestinian news website Amad. “It is not rational for the Palestinian leadership to stand by and watch developments that have a direct impact on the [Palestinian’s] national issue and their political future.”

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have also been closely following the controversy in Israel over the judicial reforms.

Websites affiliated with the two Gaza-based terror groups have been reporting extensively about the crisis, mostly by translating and quoting reports in various Israeli media outlets. Political analysts affiliated with Hamas and PIJ are quoted as saying that the crisis shows that the countdown for the demise of the “Zionist entity” has begun.
Media Hijack Israel’s Democratic Demonstrations
For once it was not Israel’s security situation making front-page headlines in the international media as tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in protest at their government’s plans to pass controversial judicial overhaul legislation in the Knesset.

Given the involvement of many sectors of Israeli society, it was unsurprising that a small minority whose focus was opposition to Israeli policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians were present. Nonetheless, the protests were primarily a domestic political issue concerning the delicate balance between the legislative and judicial branches of government.

This did not, however, stop some media personalities, including Mehdi Hasan, Peter Beinart, Rula Jebreal, and others, from attempting to misappropriate the demonstrations for their own agendas — making it all about the Palestinians.

HonestReporting was there responding on social media as well as on mainstream news.

Below is HR’s Executive Director, Gil Hoffman, on BBC World News calling out the international media for inserting their own agenda into coverage of the protests, and a selection of our tweets taking on those who attempted to distort a very Israeli demonstration of democracy.

Tlaib bodied by Twitter over 'lies' that teenage brawl was Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinians
Far-left Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a progressive "Squad" Democrat, got bodied by Twitter for her "lies" that a brawl between Palestinian teenagers in Jerusalem was actually the "violent apartheid government of Israel" targeting Palestinians with the military.

Tlaib, one of the most notorious anti-Israel House lawmakers, has made numerous wild claims about the Jewish homeland, including being an "apartheid" state that targets Palestinians and claiming a person can’t be progressive if they back Israel.

Her latest claim came on Sunday when Tlaib responded to a post from the pro-Palestinian nonprofit the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) showing a fight that broke out at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem during Ramadan festivities.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., one of the most notorious anti-Israel House lawmakers, has made numerous wild claims about the Jewish homeland, including being an "apartheid" state that targets Palestinians and claiming a person can’t be progressive if they back Israel.

IMEU’s tweet Tlaib was responding to accused Israel of "apartheid" and claimed "Israeli soldiers" were attacking "Palestinians celebrating the first day of the holy month of Ramadan in occupied Jerusalem."

"This is the violent apartheid government of Israel," Tlaib claimed in a quote tweet of the post from IMEU.

"Don’t look away," she continued.

However; the Michigan Democrat’s latest baseless online claim against the Israeli government saw her bodied with an information check from Twitter itself revealing the actual cause behind the video.

"Video shows police breaking up a brawl between Palestinian teenagers that broke out at the Damascus Gate," the context box reads, linking out to a Jerusalem Post article on the altercation.

Arabs stone Jewish drivers in Huwara
Dozens of Arab stone-throwers pelted Jewish drivers traveling through Huwara, an Arab town near Nablus (Shechem) in Samaria on Monday night.

Israeli cars, identified by their license plates, were targeted. One driver, a volunteer with the United Hatzalah emergency medical service, found himself surrounded by rock-throwers. A stone shattered his windshield, Arutz Sheva reported.

A Jewish family on its way to a wedding was also surrounded. “Dozens of Arabs blocked our path and started throwing rocks, pieces of scrap metal, and other objects at us,” one said. “We were hit on all sides. It was a miracle that no one was injured.”

IDF soldiers arrived at the scene but failed to bring the rioters under control. Instead, police targeted local Jewish residents who came to help.

The United Hatzalah volunteer was handcuffed and placed in a police car. Another resident, a 40-year-old father of five from nearby Yitzhar, had his nose broken when a border policeman from the Yamam National Counter Terror Unit hit him in the face with his helmet. Yet another Jew was knocked to the ground and surrounded by police who punched him before taking him to a police car.

“It’s just unbelievable. You’re driving through Huwara and someone throws a rock at your car—and all the soldiers care about is making sure you keep driving, even though all around you other cars are getting pelted with rocks as well,” said one eyewitness, Arutz Sheva reported. “What are we supposed to do? How can we live like this? And not only that—they’re arresting us too. What’s going on here? It’s just impossible to describe the insanity. The security system has entirely collapsed.”
MEMRI: Article In Jordanian Daily: Ramadan Is The Month Of Jihad And Martyrdom; The Palestinians Must Come To Jerusalem To Defend Al-Aqsa; The Muslims Must Sever Ties With The Treacherous Jews
On March 23, 2023, the first day of Ramadan, Palestinian journalist Rashid Hassan published in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour a column titled "Ramadan, the Month of Jihad". In it, he stressed that the most important aspect of Ramadan is that it is the month of jihad and martyrdom, as evident from the fact that the most important and decisive victories in Muslim history occurred during this month. He therefore called on the Palestinians to mobilize and come to Jerusalem during Ramadan in order to defend Al-Aqsa, and urged the Muslim nation to stand with the Palestinian people, stop the normalization with Israel and sever their ties with the Jews, who "do not honor any covenant or promise and are naturally disposed to treachery."

It should be mentioned that Hassan often publishes articles supporting armed struggle against Israel that include antisemitic motifs.[1]

The following are translated excerpts from his recent column:[2]
"The month of Ramadan is replete with mighty meanings and content, and it comes to us as a great boon and blessing. The most important meaning of this noble month is undoubtedly that it is the month of jihad, the month of shahada [martyrdom], and the month of istishhad [martyrdom-seeking]. It is the month of conquests and of great battles, not a month of pleasures. The greatest significance of the month of Ramadan is readiness for shahada and sacrifice. In this blessed month, souls submit completely to their Creator and yearn for Paradise, for its breezes and fragrances.

"Ramadan saw the most important and decisive battles in Muslim history, [such as] the great [Battle of] Badr,[3] which historians unanimously call "the Battle of Distinction" because it forever drew the line between truth and falsehood. Truth was victorious, and 'falsehood withered away: for, behold, all falsehood is bound to wither away!' [Quran 17:81]. Polytheism was defeated, and its star started to fade.

"Did Allah's Messenger [the Prophet Muhammad] not call for Allah's help [in the Battle of Uhud[4] when he saw the mighty armies of the [Quraysh] tribe, which outnumbered the Muslim army two to one, saying 'O Allah, do not allow this group [the Muslims] to be defeated, for there will be nobody to worship you'? Then there was a clear [Muslim] victory and the leaders of polytheism, who had hurt Muhammad and his Companions, got what they rightly deserved… The resounding conquest of Mecca took place during Ramadan as well…[5]

"Also in Ramadan were the battles of Hattin,[6] [following which] Jerusalem was liberated, and the Battle of 'Ain Jalut,[7] in which the light of Islam defeated the great forces of darkness. It defeated the Tartars and defended the very existence of Islam and the lands of Islam from the foolishness of the benighted and the ignorant. Finally, [Ramadan] also saw… the battles of the crossing in 1973,[8] in which the Egyptian and Syrian armies managed to deliver a humiliating defeat to a thousand of the enemy's generals in the sands of Sinai and on the soil of the Golan…

"The spirit of Ramadan flows in the veins of our mighty [Palestinian] people. Our heroic prisoners have announced an unlimited [hunger] strike starting on the first day of Ramadan, brandishing the timeless slogan 'Freedom or Martyrdom!'
Jordan offers 'sins of the Nakba' tours in west Jerusalem
The official Facebook site of the "al-Aqsa library," an organization of the Jordanian Wakf (Islamic religious trust), published an invitation to a tour following the "sins of the Nakba" in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamon.

This comes against the background of recent strains in the relations between Israel and Jordan. The signature of the invitation shows the library logo and the emblem of the Kingdom of Jordan next to it.

Jerusalem before the 'Nakba'
The trip passes by several points, some just hundreds of meters from the Prime Minister's residence and is part of a series of excursions in the city's neighborhoods. The groups who arrive to the tours free of charge, get a glimpse of the city before the "Nakba."

The tours also pass places where there are houses owned by Israeli citizens today, among others.

One of the places of the tour is the former hotel "Semiramis," which was blown up by the Hagana in 1948. Today there is an apartment building in its place.

An investigation conducted by Walla! shows that the tour operated by Jordan is not coordinated or approved by the Prime Minister's Office, the National Security Council or the Foreign Ministry, who were all surprised by the contents of the tour.

MEMRI: Former Palestinian Authority Minister: We Shouldn't Gloat Over The Demonstrations In Israel – Our Situation Is No Better
In an article in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, Ashraf Al-'Ajrami, a member of Fatah and a former minister of prisoner affairs in the Palestinian Authority (PA), discussed, inter alia, the ramifications of the current protests in Israel for the Palestinian arena. Al-'Ajrami wrote that the Palestinians stand to gain nothing from the upheaval in Israel. This, he says, is because the Palestinian people is divided and its government has reached an all-time low in the absence of any semblance of democracy, such as the separation of powers, the holding of elections, transparency, and the rule of law.

The following are translated excerpts from his article about the protests in Israel:[1]
"... It is strange that a large number of Palestinians are following what is happening inside Israel – especially the protest activity that is beginning to escalate and which is likely to lead to civil war if the Netanyahu government does not back down on 'the judicial reform' that it is determined to implement – and are rubbing their hands in glee. [This reaction is] in light of the possibility that this may bring about the collapse of the political regime in Israel – as if our situation is any better and will allow us to benefit from something happening inside Israel, or even from the significant global permutations in the world order caused by the Ukraine war.

"We, as those who live outside history, are divided among ourselves into two separate entities. We do not have one active political leadership that leads the people. Our people is experiencing severe frustration and despair, and is trying to seize the reins of power by means of an improvised resistance movement that demands a very high price. [And this is happening] in the absence of someone who will steer it [i.e. the Palestinian people] to a safe harbor and guide it along the shortest path to achieve its objectives.

"It is embarrassing indeed, 17 years after the last general election in Palestine, that our leaders cannot manage to hold democratic elections – considering that they [elections] are still the most appropriate way to achieve national unity, to revive our institutions, and to revive our democracy. [This] includes separation of powers, transparency, oversight, accountability, and the elimination of the corruption that has begun to take over every aspect of Palestinian life in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

"If the protest movement in Israel aims to prevent the overthrow of the judiciary and perpetuate the executive branch's control [of it] in order to serve the interests of the governing body – which could lead to the collapse of the country – then what's happening with us? [We] already have no legislature and no judiciary! Wouldn't it be better for us to delve into what is happening amongst ourselves and understand the depths to which we have sunk? Is it possible to rescue ourselves and to set our cause on the international agenda, in light of the tremendous shifts taking place in the world? Or have we reached the point of no return, with nothing left [for us] but to wait for total collapse and absolute chaos?
PMW: 2023 PLO summer camps will highlight dead terrorists as “Moons” in the skies of “Palestine”
Director-General of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports’ General Administration of Youth Affairs Muhammad Sbeihat has announced that this year, the PLO council’s official summer camps will focus on dead terrorists – or as they are called in PA terminology “Martyrs” – under the slogan “Moons and Not Numbers.”

“Moons” is a term Palestinians have been using for terrorists who died while attacking Israel. Referring to the upsurge in Palestinian terror attacks against Israel in recent months – and the accompanying rise in the number of dead terrorists – Sbeihat explained to the host on official PA TV that “‘Moons’ as you know, and especially in this period, symbolize the Martyrs.”

Sbeihat also explained that “not Numbers” refers to Israel's burial of such terrorists in the so-called “numbered cemeteries” – Israel's Cemeteries for Enemy Casualties – where dead terrorists who are not handed over to the PA immediately are buried in numbered caskets after their identities are documented (see below). This irritates the PA immensely, as they would prefer to give these “heroes” of their society the usual honorable burial fitting for a terrorist “Martyr.”

Fatah-run Awdah TV host: “We are talking about these important summer camps… There is a very large number of young people, and every year there is a certain slogan… This year it is ‘Moons and Not Numbers.’ …”

Director-General of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports’ General Administration of Youth Affairs Muhammad Sbeihat: “It is always the [PLO] Supreme Commission for Youth and Sports’ instructions that there be a national aspect, whether it’s the slogan or even the content of the summer camps... This year … it is the bodies of the Martyrs (i.e., dead terrorists) that are being held by the Israeli occupation... [Israel calls them] ‘the Martyrs of the numbered cemeteries,’ so we thought the slogan this year should be a slogan that has a connection to these Martyrs…: ‘Moons and Not Numbers.’ ‘Moons’ as you know, and especially in this period, symbolize the Martyrs. The Martyrs whose bodies are being held will be part of the program that will be utilized during this [summer’s camp] program.”

[Fatah-run Awdah TV, Facebook page, March 14, 2023]

Abbas’ spokesman denies Jewish history
Abbas’ spokesman denies Jewish history: “No historical proof… [the Jews] had any kind of presence in this land”

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina: “The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are among the foundational pillars of history, and they are Palestinian holy places, and not Jewish holy places (sic.) There is no historical proof – despite all the excavations – that [the Jews] had any kind of presence in this land. (sic.)”
[Official PA TV News, March 20, 2023]

The Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, is the holiest site in Judaism.

An abundance of evidence proves Jewish history in Israel.

Abu Rudeina made this statement in response to Israeli Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich saying “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people” while in Paris on March 19, 2023.

Nabil Abu Rudeina also serves as PA Deputy Prime Minister, PA Minister of Information, Fatah Commissioner of Information, Culture, and Ideology, and Fatah Central Committee member.

PA PM denies Jewish history: They have no “connection” to the land
PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh: “Israel has falsified the history of Palestine. Since 1967 Israel has been conducting excavations and has not been able to prove that [it] has a direct or indirect connection [to the land]. (sic.)”
[Official PA TV News, March 18, 2023]

An abundance of evidence proves Jewish history in Israel.

PA PM Muhammad Shtayyeh made these remarks at the PLO Palestinian Center for Research’s annual conference entitled “The History and Archaeological Sites of Palestine.”

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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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