Friday, July 05, 2024

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: A clear message needs to be sent: You can’t hold US citizens hostage no matter what
In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan gained a great deal of traction by stressing the American-hostages issue.

It was a year earlier, during the Carter administration, that the Revolutionary Islamic Government seized power in Iran.

It also seized American hostages.

It was Reagan who saw the opportunity to make the election in part about that.

How dare any country seize Americans and get away with it?

He famously insisted that on Day One of his administration the hostages would be returned.

The mullahs realized they were no longer dealing with a weak American leader and the hostages were duly brought home.

Today we are in a similar situation.

Iran and Russia in particular are in an ugly citizen-bartering phase.

Vladimir Putin has now held an American journalist (Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich) for more than a year.

Russia has invented charges against him and is clearly holding him to try to trade him at some point.

In a little-covered story, Putin’s friends in Iran recently stole two Swedish civilians in order to swap them for an Iranian war criminal held in a Swedish jail.

US citizen Robert Woodland was also recently detained in Russia.

Again most likely for a swap.

But most appalling is the more than 100 hostages currently being held by Iran and Qatar’s proxy army in Gaza: Hamas.

These hostages include at least five Americans.

To the shame of Biden and Harris, these Americans have been utterly abandoned.

Show some force
And here is where Trump can step in.

He should explain that when he is back in charge, he expects all these hostages to be released.

All of them.

And that they better be in the best possible condition. Otherwise Russia, Qatar and Iran are going to pay big time.

Countries like those mentioned do not respect weakness.

They respect force.

When Americans can be seized and held anywhere in the world, it is clear that America has lost that force and that respect.

It is time to get it back.
Biden's State Department Used Data from Anti-Israel Org To Compile 'Report Card' on Jewish State, Internal Emails Show
The Biden administration produced an internal "report card" on Israeli activities in the West Bank based on data from a United Nations organization closely linked to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, according to government emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The report, based on data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), was produced in January 2023, several months after an Israeli election virtually guaranteed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would return to power. At the time, the Biden administration was preparing for diplomatic clashes with the Netanyahu government. Those divisions are now on full display as the United States pressures Israel to preemptively ink a ceasefire deal with Hamas and stop defending itself from Hezbollah militants along its northern border.

An internal State Department email chain reviewed by the Free Beacon shows the creation and dissemination of the report on so-called Israeli settlement growth. U.S. officials described the report as an update from previous data compiled by the Biden administration on Israeli activities in the West Bank.

Prior to Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror strike on Israel, the construction of Jewish homes in contested areas of the West Bank was a central source of tension between the Biden administration and the Israeli government, particularly under Netanyahu. When Netanyahu's conservative governing coalition retook power in 2023, the Biden administration appeared ready to clash with Israel over the issue.

"Our very own [redacted name] updated the open-source report card he produced this time last year," wrote Hady Amr, the Biden administration's special representative for Palestinian affairs. "This draft conveys the average annual rates [of growth], and as you can see, across board."

Amr wrote in the email that he "would be happy [to] repackage / update per suggestions."

OCHA is responsible for funneling money from international governments, including the United States, to "highly biased and politicized NGOs, including a number that are highly active in promoting BDS and lawfare campaigns, and some even engage in blatantly antisemitic activities," according to NGO Monitor, a group that tracks anti-Israel nonprofits. "Some of the NGOs also have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel."

A separate 2016 report by NGO Monitor, one of many published by the group, details how OCHA is a driving force in the United Nation’s campaign to delegitimize Israel.

"Coordinating with some of the most virulent NGOs in the region, OCHA promotes a one-sided narrative of Palestinian victimization and sole Israeli aggression," wrote Anne Herzberg, an NGO Monitor legal adviser. "OCHA’s central role in anti-Israel political warfare is yet another example of the exploitation of human rights, international law, and humanitarian principles via UN bodies to attack the Jewish state."

Figures and information produced by OCHA, the United Nation’s central humanitarian group, have long been identified as misleading, with the organization facing accusations it facilitates "funding to and the dissemination of information from groups involved in political warfare against Israel." OCHA’s information is often circulated by anti-Israel nonprofits to build the case that Jewish construction in the West Bank is displacing Palestinians and hurting the chances of a two-state solution.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan opts for Netanyahu's arrest warrant, cancels Israel trip
Khan personally decided to cancel the visit to the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, and the West Bank city of Ramallah, which was due to begin on May 27, two of the sources said.

Court and Israeli officials were due to meet on May 20 in Jerusalem to work out final details of the mission. Khan instead requested warrants that day for Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders -- Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh.

A UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that initial discussions had taken place regarding a visit to Gaza by Khan, covering security and transportation.

Flight tickets and meetings between senior-level court and Israeli officials were canceled with just hours of notice, blindsiding some of Khan's own staff, seven sources with direct and indirect knowledge of the decision said.

The US State Department official said that abandoning the May visit broke from the prosecution's common practice of seeking engagement with states under investigation.

Three US sources said, without providing details, that Khan's motive to change course was not clearly explained and the about-face had hurt the court's credibility in Washington.

Khan's office did not directly address those points but said he had spent the three previous years trying to improve dialog with Israel and had not received any information that demonstrated "genuine action" at a domestic level from Israel to address the crimes alleged.

Khan "continues to welcome the opportunity to visit Gaza" and "remains open to engaging with all relevant actors," his office said in an email.

Senior Hamas official Basem Naim told Reuters Hamas had no prior knowledge of Khan's intentions to send a team of investigators into Gaza.

Netanyahu's office and the Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Netanyahu, Biden talk ‘finalizing’ hostage deal
President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone on Thursday, as Israel moved closer to cementing a deal with Hamas that would release some of the remaining 120 hostages.

The leaders “discussed ongoing efforts to finalize a cease-fire deal together with the release of hostages, as outlined by President Biden and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, the G7 and countries around the world,” the White House stated.

Netanyahu emphasized that “Israel is committed to ending the war only after reaching all of its aims,” the Prime Minister’s Office readout stated. Those aims include destroying Hamas’ ability to rule Gaza and threaten Israel, and to free all remaining hostages.

Israel received a communique from Hamas, through an intermediary, related to a hostage deal on Wednesday, which the Mossad said Israel would review.

Netanyahu authorized a negotiating team led by Mossad chief David Barnea and IDF and Shin Bet representatives to continue talks in Doha with American, Qatari and Egyptian mediators the following day. Biden welcomed the decision, the American readout stated.

The Israeli security cabinet held a meeting to discuss the developments soon after the Thursday call.

Despite the American readout using words like “finalize” and “close out the deal,” an Israeli diplomatic source said there is still a long way to go until an agreement can be reached. Still, Hamas’ response indicated that the terrorist organization was flexible in its demand to end the war in the first stage of a deal, which left an opening for negotiations. Barnea traveling to negotiate shows that Jerusalem views the talks as advanced and serious, the source said.

A senior Biden administration official told reporters that “the onus was on Hamas to come back and accept this framework, and effectively that’s now where we are.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had an optimistic message for hostage families who met with him on Thursday, saying that a deal is closer than ever, Israel’s Channel 12 reported.
Optimism in truce-hostage talks: Mossad chief goes to and from Doha, Hamas briefs Hezbollah
Efforts to secure a ceasefire and hostage release in Gaza were gathering momentum on Friday as Mossad chief David Barnea traveled to and from Qatar for negotiations and Hamas briefed Hezbollah on its latest proposal.

Barnea arrived in Doha on Friday at the head of a slimmed-down delegation to discuss the future of the talks and arrived back in Israel later in the day. Meanwhile, sources said that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had okayed Hamas’s latest proposal after being briefed on it by a top official of the Palestinian terror group.

Barnea’s trip came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Joe Biden that Israel would send a team to resume negotiations.

Netanyahu’s decision reportedly outraged the coalition’s far-right flank, which threatened to topple the government. On Friday, opposition figure Benny Gantz was said to offer Netanyahu a safety net for any “responsible proposal.”

Meanwhile, Hamas on Friday announced that it rejects the presence of foreign forces in Gaza, potentially derailing Netanyahu’s plans for the Strip’s postwar governance.

Negotiations mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the US have so far failed to secure a truce in Gaza and release of captives there, since a weeklong ceasefire in November saw Hamas free 105 hostages in return for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

Israel’s spy chief arrived in Qatar on Friday for the latest effort to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, almost nine months after the Gaza war was sparked when the terror group led thousands in an assault on southern Israel that left nearly 1,200 people dead and saw 251 kidnapped.
Israel has to make it clear: No to a new Hamas paradigm
After yet another failure in the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas on the release of kidnapped Israelis, it’s clear that there is a fundamental disconnect between the sides’ perceptions of reality and their expectations for the aftermath of any deal.

Since the outbreak of hostilities on Oct. 7, Hamas has been aiming for strategic gains, something evinced by both its military actions and its tough stance on prisoner exchanges. Prior to this date, Hamas typically demanded the release of imprisoned terrorists in exchange for captives; now, the group is seeking far-reaching concessions that go beyond massive prisoner swaps.

Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar’s minimum demand is a guarantee of continued Hamas control over the Strip following any ceasefire, a scenario that would be seen as a resounding victory in the eyes of Palestinians and the Arab world at large. Such an outcome would solidify Hamas’s popular support and could pave the way for the group to seize control of the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.

Sinwar himself has drawn parallels between the current conflict and Algeria’s bloody struggle (1954-62) for independence from France, revealing the scale of his aspirations for Palestinian statehood. Many in Israel seem reluctant to acknowledge the link between the current escalation and the overarching Hamas strategy of independence.

Polls conducted from time to time throughout Judea and Samaria predict a staggering success for Hamas in P.A. elections if they are held, with support rates that are at least double those of Fatah.

The Arab public in Judea and Samaria overwhelmingly justifies Hamas’s campaign of murder and rape, and sees the war, even after eight months in which the Gaza Strip is being crushed, as a victory for Hamas and the Palestinian people. The public wants Hamas—not Mahmoud Abbas. Sinwar understands this. Leaving Hamas in control

Israel is once again building a paradigm based on ending the war while leaving Hamas in control of Gaza. This concept assumes that it will be possible to “engineer” the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and establish popular support for the faltering P.A., backed by Saudi Arabia and others, while Sinwar sits idly in Gaza’s tunnels.

Sinwar reads of the Israeli fantasy and scoffs, saying, “Israel is exactly where we would want it to be.”

It seems that Hamas has never been in a more comfortable position to take over the P.A. without firing a single shot, as it will be after a deal that meets its conditions.

Faced with the Hamas desire for a historic strategic achievement, Israel must make it clear that it is not willing to pay strategic prices as part of an agreement with the group. Therefore, Israel has no choice but to update its war objectives.
The imperative of preventing the ‘Gazafication’ of Jenin
While tensions rise on the northern front and the Israel Defense Forces continue operations in Rafah and eastern Gaza City, the Jenin area serves as a stark reminder of the deteriorating security situation in northern Samaria and the challenges it poses to Israel.

The escalation in the preparation and use of explosive devices against IDF forces on access roads to Palestinian settlements and refugee camps in Samaria demonstrates the increasing capabilities and learning curve of terrorist elements in this region. Their threats against Israeli communities along the border area indicate their intentions.

The “Gazafication” process in this area began well before Oct. 7, but inspired by the war in Gaza and after adapting to IDF operational patterns, it could accelerate and amplify the challenges of multi-arena warfare if not swiftly addressed.

Jenin has a long history of violence. It is geographically, politically, socially and economically peripheral. Central government control has always been weak there. This was true even in the 1930s during the British Mandate, when its forces eliminated Izz ad-Din al-Qassam in the nearby village of Yabad, whose name later became an inspiration and symbol for Hamas terror cells.

During the Second Intifada, this area was seen as a stronghold of Palestinian resistance. The battle in the Jenin refugee camp is considered one of the most difficult events of Operation Defensive Shield in 2022. Even then, the collaboration between different groups in this camp was notable, as was the use of explosive devices and booby traps, and the reliance on civilians and civilian facilities for hiding and storing weapons. Jenin’s resistance ethos became a symbol for terrorist organizations and inspired Palestinian attackers from all areas.

In the decade following Defensive Shield, this area re-established itself as a terrorist stronghold in Samaria and a hub for exporting attackers and attacks throughout the West Bank and Israel. Exactly a year ago, the IDF launched a major operation in this sector aimed at curbing the growth of terrorism and reducing its capabilities. The goal was to create conditions allowing Israeli forces to carry out routine prevention operations without requiring large troop deployments and special efforts. The operation achieved its goals, but as is often the case in such conflicts, its conclusion merely set the stage for a new cycle of escalation and preparation for future confrontations. Majority support for Hamas attack

Since the outbreak of the current war, IDF forces have arrested more than 4,200 terrorist operatives from the West Bank, averaging about 16 operatives per day. Of those arrested, 1,750 are Hamas operatives. These figures not only demonstrate the scale of the security forces’ preventive efforts, but also reveal the terrorist potential in the West Bank that’s reaching a boiling point.

The findings of the quarterly survey by the PSR Institute (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research), headed by Khalil Shikaki and published in early June, indicated strengthening support for Hamas in the West Bank. The survey found that 73% of residents in this area expressed support for Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, while 79% believed Hamas would win the war in Gaza. Overall support for Hamas among West Bank residents increased compared to the previous survey.
Biden’s debate flop raises more questions about his often perplexing Gaza policy
From the outset, many of Biden’s staffers have tried to pressure their boss to move away from his support for Israel.

Barely a month after the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust — and circulated weeks earlier – over 400 administration staffers signed an open letter calling on the president to demand a ceasefire.

Around the same time, some 1,000 officials in the US Agency for International Development signed a separate open letter urging Biden to call for an immediate ceasefire.

In January, 17 reelection campaign staffers signed a letter accusing Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Younger members of the administration know that Biden likes Israel but not Netanyahu, and have tried to take advantage to move the dial away from Israel.

That pressure, combined with the stances of more senior aides who simply want to win in November, would be a lot for even the most energetic commander-in-chief to withstand.

But Biden clearly isn’t that person anymore. According to The New York Times, during the president’s debate prep at Camp David, Biden’s day never started before 11:00 a.m., and he took a nap every afternoon.

In the months before the debate, said the NYT, “several current and former officials and others who encountered him behind closed doors noticed that he increasingly appeared confused or listless, or would lose the thread of conversations.”

“Biden tells Democratic governors he needs more sleep and plans to stop scheduling events after 8 p.m.,” read the top CNN headline on Thursday.

Pletka was more direct: “Biden doesn’t run his own government and the anti-Israel people are in charge.”

That the president flubbed even his rehearsed answers after a week of intense preparation doesn’t indicate he currently has the capacity to consistently impose his desires on a restive staff around a fraught issue like Israel’s war in Gaza.

And with Biden’s political future in serious doubt, US policy could go in a number of directions. If Biden does decide to drop out of the race and remain in office, he could well revert to his core affinity for Israel to leave a legacy as one of the Jewish state’s great defenders — staffers be damned.

On the other hand, if his aides handle him even more closely, and limit his work schedule, the elements in the White House which want to punish Netanyahu and shut down the war in Gaza as an end in itself will have a freer reign.

And if Biden drops out entirely, stepping down as president in the coming days or weeks, as more and more Democrats want, it is entirely unclear who the presidential nominee would be, and what direction they would take the party on Israel.

One thing is clear: For the coming months, Biden will be perceived in the region as weak, and his White House as far more concerned with domestic political challenges than Middle East conflicts. Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and company could see this as a half-year opportunity that won’t be available if the pugnacious and unpredictable Trump returns to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tracking Iran’s weapons route into the West Bank
THE FOLLOWING details one of the channels of Iranian arms to the West Bank. There may well be others.

The weapons pipeline from Lebanon and Syria to the West Bank began in 2005. Syrian Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Suleiman, assassinated by Israel in 2008, was responsible for facilitating the arrival of weapons to Damascus and the Syrian coast, and then managing their conveyance to Lebanon and Jordan.

Lebanese Hezbollah was also involved in this process. In this period, two brothers, Sami and Alaa al-Bashashbeh from Ramtha in Jordan, were responsible for the handling of weapons from their entry into Jordan until their transfer into the West Bank.

The Bashashbehs cooperated with smuggling networks on the Syrian side, and with Lebanese Hezbollah. Their interest, and that of the other smuggling families, was in money, not ideological commitment. The transfer at that time was in small arms – rifles, pistols, and ammunition.

This network broke down with the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, and the loss by the Syrian regime and its allies of large parts of the border to Sunni Arab insurgent groups. With the reconquest by the Assad regime and its allies of the southern border area in 2018, the process began again, on a larger scale, once again managed by Hezbollah, under Iranian supervision, in cooperation with elements of the Syrian regime and local smuggling families. These activities take place within the framework of Hezbollah’s external security office, headed by senior movement official Wafiq Safa.

Now the arms smuggling process begins in Lebanon. Weapons are transported across the border to a Hezbollah external security headquarters in Qusayr, Syria.

The weapons are taken from there to the Homs area, where they are stored at a farm belonging to Hussein Rahma. The farm has been converted by Hezbollah into a site for the storage of arms.

From there, the weapons are taken to a site at the Sayeda Zeinab area south of Damascus. There, a senior Hezbollah official named Zain al-Abidin is responsible for storing them and managing their transfer to southern Syria and Suwayda. Under his supervision, the arms are taken to remote areas in the Suwayda province on the Syrian-Jordanian border. They are then transported into Jordan, and then into the West Bank.

While light weapons are still being transported along this route, in the post-2018 period and the years prior to the current war, the focus shifted. The weaponry now trafficked included and includes C4, TNT, mines, anti-tank mines, RPG launchers, and missiles of various types, including anti-armor and anti-personnel missiles.

ON THE Jordanian side, two families centrally involved in the transfer of weapons within Jordan and into the West Bank are the al-Saeed and al-Ramthan families. Muhammad al-Ramthan, the main member of this family involved in weapons transfer, is the brother of Mari al-Ramthan, who was killed in an airstrike by the Jordanian authorities in May 2023 because of his involvement in smuggling across the border.

At the time, regional media reports called Mari al-Ramthan the “Escobar” of southern Syria because of the smuggling of Captagon along the routes he maintained. Few media outlets at the time noted that the same lines were being used to transport weaponry. The 4th Armored Division, commanded by Maher al-Assad, is involved in this process.

Hamas says it rejects any statements about foreign forces entering Gaza
Hamas says that it rejects any statements and positions that support plans for foreign forces to enter the Gaza Strip under any name or justification.

The terror group says the administration of the Gaza Strip is a purely Palestinian matter. “The Palestinian people… will not allow any guardianship or the imposition of any external solutions or equations,” it adds in a statement.

Separately, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a group allied with Hamas, says it considers any attempt to deploy international or other forces in Gaza as “an aggression” and will deal with it as occupying forces.

The US has been talking to Arab allies about establishing a postwar peacekeeping force in Gaza.

Soldier killed in Gaza, raising IDF toll since Oct. 7 to 679
An Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed in action on Thursday during fierce battles in Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood.

The slain soldier was named as Staff Sgt. Eyal Mimran, 20, of the Paratroopers Brigade’s 101st Battalion, from Ness Ziona.

On Wednesday night, the IDF announced the death of Capt. Elay Elisha Lugasi, 21, a team commander in the 7th “Storm from the Golan” Armored Brigade’s 75th Battalion from Kiryat Shmona.

Lugasi died during a raid in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood, the Hamas terror stronghold the IDF conquered in December but which has since seen a resurgence in hostile activities.

Two additional soldiers were killed in action in separate incidents in Shuja’iyya earlier in the week.

On Thursday morning, the IDF made public the death of Capt. Roy Miller, 21, a platoon commander in the Givati Infantry Brigade’s Rotem Battalion from Herzliya, during another incident in northern Gaza.

The death toll among Israeli troops since the start of the Gaza ground incursion on Oct. 27 now stands at 323, and at 679 on all fronts since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre, according to official military data.

IDF: 7 Palestinian gunmen killed, including cell behind roadside bomb, in Jenin raid
Seven Palestinian gunmen, including members of a cell behind a deadly roadside bombing attack last week, were killed in a drone strike and in clashes with troops in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Friday morning, the Israeli military said.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops of the Duvedevan commando unit and Kfir Brigade’s Haruv reconnaissance unit raided Jenin following intelligence provided by the Shin Bet on the location of the cell that killed Cpt. Alon Sacgiu and wounded 16 other soldiers on June 27.

The special forces encircled a building in Jenin where Hammam Hashash, 23, and his brother Harith Hashash, 19, — who according to the IDF were behind the roadside bomb attack — were holed up, and carried out a tactic known as “pressure cooker” that involves escalating the volume of fire directed at a building to force suspects to come out.

The soldiers fired several shoulder-launched missiles at the building and exchanged fire with the two gunmen, a military source said.

The pair were eventually killed in the clashes, the IDF said.

A third member of the roadside bomb cell, Nidal Amer, was killed by Border Police troops in Jenin on Wednesday, according to the military.

Separately, amid the operation, the IDF said the troops clashed with other terror operatives, and a drone strike was carried out against a cell of four gunmen that was identified in the area.

Footage shows: Hamas terrorists beat hungry Gazans for 'stealing' aid
Members of the Hamas terrorist organization beat Gazans near a humanitarian aid site after claiming they stole food from an aid warehouse, according to a post on X, formally known as Twitter, by IDF Arabic Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Avichay Adraee.

The post contained graphic footage showing Hamas terrorists violently beating Gazan civilians and spray painting the word "thief" on one of their backs.

The terrorists can be seen wearing masks that cover their faces as they hit the tied-up and blindfolded civilians with sticks. The civilians can be heard yelling in pain.

In the post, Adraee slammed Hamas's actions and wrote, "Do you know who these masked people are? Who are their victims? The masked human monsters are part of Hamas, and the victims are innocent young men."

Adraee explained that the men tried to take back the aid that was stolen from them by Hamas and did so because "they were hungry."

Gazan civilians subject to terrorism

"This is Hamas, and this is the treatment of the people of Gaza, which [the terrorist organization] occupies. It only cares about its interests and the Iranian money it earns at the expense of these poor Gazans who have been subject to its terrorism for years," Adree continued.

"[Hamas] are thieves of humanity; they are the true thieves and corrupt. They are destined to disappear because the truth is shown, and terrorists are inevitably fleeting," he concluded.

Mothers of hostages mark nine months since Oct. 7, urge Netanyahu to take deal
Mothers of hostages held by Hamas took part in a protest march alongside at least a thousand other demonstrators on Friday afternoon in Tel Aviv to mark nearly nine months since their children were taken captive.

Nine months will have passed since October 7 this coming Sunday, and the maternal significance of the timespan was not lost on the dozens of mothers leading the march from Habima Square to the nearby Hostages Square a few blocks away.

“Every mother knows what it’s like to go through pregnancy,” said Shira Albag, mother of 19-year-old Liri Albag, in Friday’s blistering heat before the march took place. “I carried Liri for nine months… for nine months now my Liri is there, dealing with darkness in the tunnels, lack of air, and homesickness.”

“There is right now a deal on the table,” she continued, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “show leadership and courage and sign off the deal.”

The strictly apolitical stance of the march organizer, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, was not able to contain chants of “shame!” directed at the prime minister once the demonstrators had reached Hostages Square.

The chant echoed throughout the crowd during the speech of Nitza Korngold, the mother of 38-year-old Tal Shoham, who accused Netanyahu’s government of intentionally jeopardizing hostage negotiations.

“Our government, that has the obligation to do everything, everything, to come to an agreement to free the hostages, [instead] torpedoes negotiations and the possibility of coming to a deal again and again,” she said.

The chant was accompanied by two slogans displayed on one of the smaller stages in Hostages Square, which protesters congregated around after completing the march — “Yes to the ‘Netanyahu deal'” and “A partial deal is total failure.”
Hamas hostage posters ripped from outside Illinois congressman's
llinois Congressman Brad Schneider said that his Capitol office was vandalized on Thursday, with posters of those held in Hamas captivity torn from the wall.

Schneider said on social media that the hostage posters, which included the names and faces of eight American citizens, were shredded and thrown across the hall.

"This was a shameful act on any day, but especially on July 4, our country’s Independence Day. Sadly, it was but one of many hateful, un-American actions that took place across the country on the day we celebrate freedom and democracy," said Schnieder. "I’ve been disgusted by the videos and reports of individuals calling July 4th a 'terrorist holiday' and burning American flags."

The Jewish representative said that the same groups that marched through Chicago on July 4 were the same that had protested outside his home last Saturday in the middle of the night.

Activists associated with the US Palestinian Community Network, American Muslims for Palestine Chicago, and Students for Justice in Palestine Chicago banged drums, sounded sirens, and chanted with bullhorns in an attempt to wake Schneider. The activists demanded that Schneider reinstate US funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and cut military aid to Israel.

No remorse
“We must hold him accountable for the deaths of over 45,000 Palestinians in Gaza,” Direct Actions for Palestine wrote on Instagram on Sunday. “Gaza doesn’t get justice, then you don’t get no sleep. This is just the beginning.”

Protesters held similar demonstrations outside the home of Illinois Gov. Jay Robert Pritzker on Sunday night, demanding that the state divest from Israel.

30 Israeli orphans, including Oct. 7 victims, heal in Mexico
A group of 30 orphaned Israelis recently returned from a 13-day healing retreat in Mexico.

The trip, arranged by the Jerusalem-based OneFamily organization in partnership with the Jewish community of Mexico City, brought together orphans of all ages who lost both parents to terrorism, including during the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, along with their adopted families.

Among the participants were eight-year-old Tilly, her aunt Elisa and Elisa’s children. An only child, Tilly was at home with her parents when terrorists infiltrated their community near Gaza on Oct. 7.

The terrorists broke into her house and murdered her mother and father. When neighbors finally arrived to rescue Tilly, they found her mother in front of the closet where the girl was hiding, having bled to death trying to protect her daughter.

Elisa, who also lost a brother years earlier during his military service, adopted her orphaned niece. The past nine months have brought significant challenges as she helped Tilly settle into a new life while coping with her own healing process.

“Your experiences marked by pain and sadness are also testimonies of resilience, hope, and the incredible capacity of human beings to overcome adversity,” said Isidoro Sirazi, president of the Magen David Mexico Community.

“All of us here are witnesses to the solidarity that characterizes the Jewish people, and this project is further proof of it. The entire community is here to give you honor, affection, hope and a big hug,” he added.

Caroline Glick joins Rob Schmitt of Newsmax, live from Jerusalem, for updates on Israel-US relations
Caroline Glick, former senior foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu and host of the "Caroline Glick Show," discussed the latest news on Biden, Netanyahu, Israel, and Iran on Rob Schmitt Tonight on Newsmax TV. The interview was broadcast live from Jerusalem on July 3, 2024.

‘Shocked to the core’: Pro-Israel Arab ‘speechless’ from the left’s support of Hamas
Journalist Luai Ahmed says he is “speechless” about how the left reacts to Islamic terrorist groups.

Mr Ahmed told Sky News host Erin Molan that he was “shocked to the core” to see people on the left overlook Hamas.

“Are shaking hands with Islamic terrorists that’s killed gay people, killed women, that’s killed the people who are fighting for human rights in the Middle East and in the Arab world.”

Disgraceful America-hating anti-Israel protesters burn US flag on July 4th in NYC
A braying mob of around 100 anti-Israel protesters spent Independence Day burning American flags and chanting “Burn it down!” in Washington Square Park, part of a coordinated “Flood Manhattan for July 4th” demonstration.

At least one person was arrested, cops said, but they did not disclose the charges the alleged perpetrator was facing.

Video shows a New Yorker in a Yankees hat trying to reason with the group, but he’s quickly shouted down by a man in glasses who gleefully cheers “F–k Israel! F–k America! Woohoo!” as his fellow radicals giggle in approval.

The camera then pans down to a tattered Old Glory, smoldering next to a poster depicting Trump and Biden wearing crowns beneath “DEATH TO ALL KINGS” in big block letters.

The poster was evidently a reference to the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week granting US presidents “absolute immunity” from prosecution from “official acts” during their time in office.

Keffiyeh-wearing photographers brought their lenses in close to capture the flag desecration as chants of “Free free free Palestine” and “Burn it down” echoed throughout the park.

The crowd appeared to burn several different flags throughout the protest.

A woman at one point callously walks across the stars and stripes with her camera lens fixed downward at her feet.

The footage seems to take pains to avoid showing anyone’s faces, but the crowd skewed young

EoZ 2020: The anti-Israel “human rights lawyer” who tried to firebomb an NYPD police car
Urooj Rahman is not just a lawyer. She’s a human rights lawyer.

And she’s not just wearing a keffiyeh for fashion. She’s an anti-Israel activist. She spent a summer interning for an anti-Israel NGO and she wrote an article for Fordham’s human rights newsletter accusing Israel of “apartheid.”

As we have seen countless times, anti-Israel activism and support for terror is often hidden under a veneer of “human rights.” And here we see not only support for terror, but domestic terror itself by a “human rights lawyer.”

This “human rights lawyer” likes to wear a ski cap with a skull and crossbones.

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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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