In plain language: Word to the Palestinians: Grow up!
Although the human being is the most sophisticated and capable of all of God’s creations, at our earliest stages we are among the most vulnerable and the most helpless. A newborn giraffe will start walking within an hour of birth; after 10 hours, the baby giraffe will be able to run and keep up with the herd. But it will take years for a human infant to become even partially self-sufficient; until then he will be completely dependent on others for his every need. As a result of this, the child experiences instant gratification; his food will be brought to him, he’ll be bathed and gently tucked in bed, and if he cries, his parents will rush to satisfy his every request.
Responsible parents know there comes a point when the child must learn to fend for himself, when it is permissible – even preferable – to say “No!” Otherwise, that child will likely become a demanding, spoiled, incorrigible brat who will struggle to find his place in society.
This is precisely what has happened to the Palestinians. For 70+ years, through three generations, they have been fed, wet-nursed, coddled and accommodated by a global set of “parents.” Rather than earn their keep and live within their means, they have been handed billions and billions of dollars – much of which has either been stolen by their handlers or illegally used to purchase weapons. Rather than move out of their squalid camps into decent housing – as Israel has offered numerous times – they have been cruelly kept in cramped surroundings by so-called “leaders” who foment their anger and prolong their agony for political and monetary gain. Rather than drop their refugee status and integrate into a variety of countries – as hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern Jews did, and as millions of others are doing today in Europe – they tenaciously cling to their persecution complex as if it were a warm blanket. The misplaced mercy showered upon them has only served to ingrain within them a massive sense of entitlement that is now virtually impossible to eradicate.
So it comes as no surprise that when they finally get a long-overdue “spanking” by a head of state and berated for their atrocious behavior, the Palestinians react like that proverbial spoiled child and throw a tantrum. They threaten, they throw things (stones, Molotov cocktails, etc.), they curse, they break things (like signed agreements and diplomatic relations), they call the president names, they lock themselves in their room or they run and hide under the UN’s and the Europeans’ skirts. In typical infantile behavior, they blame everyone – except themselves – for their problems.
In a recent sermon, Abbas’ advisor stated that “this nation will awaken and uproot evil from its land.”
Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “This nation – I repeat – will awaken together with its clergy, with the religion, with its Quran, with the tradition of its Prophet Muhammad. This nation will awaken and uproot the evil from its land, and it will regain its rights to Jerusalem and Palestine.” [Official PA TV, Jan. 5, 2018]
Although Al-Habbash did not specifically mention Israel in this particular part of his sermon, his prior statements were about Israel and the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Right before his promise that “evil” will be uprooted, Al-Habbash mocked the US for thinking the world would support his declaration on Jerusalem:
“The entire world has recently had its say in the face of the oppression and arrogance that the American administration is attempting to impose on us and on the world. The world is not for sale or purchase. The world’s honor is not for sale… The world said: ‘No.’ We send our greetings to the peoples of the world that stood with the Palestinian right. We send our greetings to the states, governments, figures, and organizations that stood with the Palestinian right… As for those who have sold themselves cheaply – there is still room on the trash heap of history.”
[Official PA TV, Jan. 5, 2018]
That Al-Habbash refers to Israel as “the evil” is not news. Palestinian Media Watch has exposed that Al-Habbash teaches that Israel is “Satan’s project” and believes that Jews represent “evil.”
Relying on the book Fire and Fury, PA TV hosts question if “a man of this mentality is capable of determining the fate of the world?”
As part of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah’s anti-US and anti-Trump rhetoric, which Palestinian Media Watch has documented, Fatah in Lebanon posted the above cartoon, questioning the “mental fitness” of US President Trump.
Headline: “The mental fitness of one who does not recognize the Palestinian people and its legal and historical right in Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, is questionable!”
Text in upper right corner of cartoon: “The publication of a book that casts doubt on Trump’s mental fitness.”
The cartoon, which refers to the book Fire and Fury (see below) shows an angry Trump saying “I’m a genius.” He is holding a lit match to an open book as small Twitter icons are seen rising from the flame. On the page Trump is burning is written: “Mentally deranged.” [Falestinona, website of Fatah’s Information and Culture Commission in Lebanon, Jan. 20, 2018]
Relying on the book, two hosts on official PA TV similarly cast doubt on Trump’s mental capabilities, asking: ‘Is a man of this mentality capable of determining the fate of the world… or of Jerusalem?”
The United States on Wednesday put the head of Palestinian terror group Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, on its terror blacklist and slapped sanctions on him. The 55-year-old Haniyeh was named head of Hamas in May 2017.
“Haniyeh has close links with Hamas’s military wing and has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians,” the State Department said in a statement. “He has reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks.”
Haniyeh is now on the US Treasury sanctions blacklist, which freezes any US-based assets he may have and bans any US person or company from doing business with him.
Hamas, which is sworn to destroy Israel and has controlled the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, has been on the US terror blacklist since 1997.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar wave during a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist terror movement, in Gaza City, on December 14, 2017. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)
The US government also slapped sanctions on Harakat al-Sabireen — a small Gazan terror group that splintered away from the Islamic Jihad and, like Hamas, is close to Iran — and two other groups active in Egypt: Liwa al-Thawra and HASM.
The Palestine Liberation Organization on Thursday condemned the United States’ decision to add the head of the Hamas terror group, Ismail Haniyeh, to its terror blacklist.
“The PLO rejects and condemns the decision,” PLO’s secretary general Saeb Erekat said in a statement on the Fatah party’s official Facebook page.
Erekat also called for solving the problems causing division between Fatah and Hamas, in order to achieve national unity and “preserve the Palestinian national project.”
Israel welcomed the American move.
Yuval Rotem, director general of Israel’s foreign ministry, called the US State Department’s move an “important decision.”
It is “a welcome and necessary step in the fight against global terrorism. More crucial American leadership which other countries should follow,” Rotem wrote on Twitter.
The Trump administration announced on Wednesday a slate of new sanctions on an Iranian-backed terror organization and its top allies in the Hamas movement, according to an announcement that is being viewed as part of an effort to disrupt the Islamic Republic’s terror networks operating on the border of Israel.
The sanctions target a lethal Iranian-funded terror outfit based in the Gaza Strip and West Bank territories that has, at Iran’s direction, targeted the Jewish state for terror attacks in recent years.
The Trump administration also slapped new sanctions on Ismail Haniyeh, one of the Hamas movement’s top political figures who has helped orchestrate and carry out terror attacks on Israel.
The new sanctions represent an effort by the Trump administration to sever the ties between Iran and Hamas militants operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which have served as a key plotting ground for militants seeking to target the Jewish state.
The latest round of sanctions target a little-known Iranian-backed terror cell known as Harakat al-Sabireen, which first made noticeable inroads in the Gaza strip in early 2016 with the backing of Hamas, the Washington Free Beacon first reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said Israel will retain security control over the Palestinians as part of any future peace deal, deepening Palestinian fears that Israel and the administration of President Donald Trump are colluding on a proposal that will fall far short of their dreams of independence.
Netanyahu’s statement exposed a deepening rift that has emerged between the US and Israel on one hand, and the Palestinians and the Europeans on the other, ahead of an expected peace push by the Trump administration. Those disagreements could complicate things for the US team.
Since taking office, President Trump has distanced himself somewhat from the two-state solution—the outcome favored by the international community, including Trump’s predecessors, for the past two decades.
Instead, he has said he would support Palestinian independence only if Israel agrees. The European Union, meanwhile, along with the rest of the international community, remains committed to the two-state solution.
These differences were evident at a meeting Wednesday between Netanyahu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
In an awkward exchange, Gabriel said his country is “very much in favor” of the two-state solution. “I was very thankful to hear that of course also the government of Israel wants to have two states, but (with secure) borders,” he said.
President Trump’s first State of the Union address was not heavy on national security issues. It did, however, make one critical point: In reviewing the international achievements of his first year in office, Trump was abundantly clear that the Obama era is over. Primarily retrospective assessments like Trump’s are perfectly legitimate for a president finishing his initial year, especially given what his policies are replacing.
Gone was President Obama’s self-congratulatory moral posturing, replaced by a concrete list of accomplishments that will inevitably increase the power of America’s presence in the world. Trump’s policy is not only not isolationist — as many of his opponents (and a few misguided supporters) contend — his pursuit of Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” approach actually demonstrates that Obama’s detached, ethereal retreat from American assertiveness internationally amounted to the real isolationism.
Most importantly, Trump again committed to palpably more robust military budgets and an end to the budget-sequester mechanism, the worst political mistake made by Republicans in Congress in living memory. Sequestration procedures were liberal dreams come true, forcing wasteful increases in domestic programs in order to obtain critical military funding. The sooner this whole embarrassing exercise is behind us, the better.
As Secretary of Defense James Mattis frequently points out, harking back to Jeane Kirkpatrick’s famous comment, there cannot be an adequate American foreign policy without an adequate defense policy.
Politicians from across the Israeli political spectrum slammed the Polish Senate’s decision Thursday to criminalize suggesting Polish complicity in the Holocaust.
A short statement from the Foreign Ministry on behalf of the State of Israel said that the country opposes the decision of the Polish Senate.
“No law will change the facts,” the statement said in response to the bill, which many Israeli politicians see as trying to amend history.
Senior diplomatic sources expressed “deep disappointment” at the decision by the Polish Senate, especially since relations between the the two countries is important to both of them.
The sources also said the passage of the law was against the “sprit of the conversation” between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart Sunday night in which they agreed to set up teams to discuss the issue.
Israelis condemn Polish law that bans using the phrase “Polish death camps”
Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Israel Katz called on Netanyahu to immediately recall the Israeli Ambassador to Poland for consultations in Israel.
“The law passed by the Polish government is severe and constitutes a brushing off its own responsibility and a denial of Poland’s part in the Holocaust against the Jews,” Katz said. “In the balance between political considerations and moral considerations, there must be a clear decision – perpetuating the memory of Holocaust victims over any other consideration.”
New legislation cosponsored by 61 members of Knesset would make a Polish bill to outlaw talk of Poles’ complicity in the Nazis’ crimes a form of illegal Holocaust denial.
The bill, formulated by MKs from the coalition and the opposition – Itzik Shmuly (Zionist Union), Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Nurit Koren (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) – seeks to amend the Law for Defense Against Holocaust Denial to state that denying or minimizing the involvement of the Nazi’s helpers and collaborators will also be a crime.
In addition, the amended law would provide legal aid to any Holocaust survivors and educators taking students to death camps who face foreign lawsuits because they recounted what happened in the Holocaust.
The 1986 Law for Defense Against Holocaust Denial states that anyone who publishes denial and minimization of the Holocaust or other crimes against the Jewish people can get five years of jail time.
The Polish Senate was expected Wednesday to approve a bill that would make using the phrase “Polish death camps” or saying the Polish people were in any way culpable for the Nazis’ crimes against humanity an offense that carries a three-year prison sentence. The vote was set to take place even though the Polish and Israeli governments plan to negotiate a version of the bill that would be agreeable to both sides.
Shmuly said: “The Poles, and others who may want to copy them, should know that the historical truth of the Jewish people is not for sale.”
Polish lawmakers approved draft legislation on Thursday penalizing suggestions of any complicity by Poland in the Nazi Holocaust on its soil during World War II, defying criticism by Israel and the United States.
The proposal has triggered a diplomatic spat between Israel and Warsaw’s conservative government since its initial approval in the lower house of parliament last week, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comparing it to an effort to change history.
The United States asked Poland to rethink plans to enact proposed legislation regulating Holocaust speech that has sparked a diplomatic dispute with Israel, arguing Wednesday that if it passes it could hurt freedom of speech as well as strategic relationships.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert voiced her government’s concerns as the Polish Senate was preparing to approve the bill, a step that would put it closer to becoming law. The measure would next need to be signed into law by the president, who supports it.
The National Library of Israel published this week handwritten messages about the destruction of Poland’s Jews scrawled on envelopes sent via the Polish postal service between September 1940 and May 1941.
The letters were brought to the National Library six months ago by Joseph Weichert, the son of Michal Weichert, who was in the Warsaw and Krakow ghettos during World War II. From 1940 to 1942, he headed the Jewish Social Self-Help committee which organized social assistance for Jews in camps and ghettos.
While many documents that had been in Weichert’s possession have been stored at the library’s archives for years, the letters are relatively new to them. The library released them to the media in a week when the subject of the Polish people’s role in the Holocaust has made waves, after Poland advanced legislation to criminalize statements suggesting the country bears responsibility for crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany.
“Now is the time to give you this historic item,” Weichert’s son told archivists. “It is important for the world to know the story and remember, and also to know that the Poles were partners in atrocities of the Germans during the Holocaust and knew about the atrocities.”
He gave the archivists an album of 59 envelopes sent between September 1940 and May 1941 to various branches of the committee. All the letters Michal had sent out were returned to sender, with various notes written on them. According to translations of the texts by Josef Weichert, these included messages reading: “The Jews have been expelled” and “The Jewish Council no longer exists.”
“There is no doubt that the Polish postmen were well aware of the fate of the recipients, whose letters were returned to sender,” remarked National Library archivist Dr. Gil Weissblei.
Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson addressed the Conservative Friends of Israel’s Annual Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday.
Williamson praised Israel as a “beacon of light and hope, in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt. We shouldn’t underestimate how difficult it is to keep that light bright and burning.”
Speaking of his visit to the country as a teenager, Williamson said: “I didn’t quite know what to expect of Israel. What I found was a liberal, free, exciting country that was so at ease with itself, a country that absorbed and welcomed so many people. That made an enormous impression upon me.”
Williamson condemned the often “completely unreasonable…sheer simple hatred” channeled towards Israel. “If we are not there to stand up for a country, whose views and ideals are so close, or are simply our own, what are we as a nation? What are we in politics, if we cannot accept and celebrate the wonderful blooming of democracy that is Israel.”
“Britain and Israel have an amazing relationship….It’s a relationship of partners. We learn a lot from Israel and I hope that Israeli forces also [learn] a little from us. It’s a partnership of equals. A partnership of friends.”
“Britain will always be there to work with you, support you, and be one of your closest and best friends. Our relationship with [Israel] is the cornerstone of so much of what we do in the Middle East.”
JPost Editorial: Signs of War
Apparently, Hezbollah has a short memory. Israel caused extensive damage to southern Lebanon during the 34-day Second Lebanon War of 2006. More than a thousand Lebanese, most of them Hezbollah fighters, were killed, and over 5,000 Lebanese were wounded.
Perhaps Hezbollah truly believes that it has the capabilities to overcome Israel. This might be because the Shi’ite group overvalues the experience it has accrued from fighting alongside the Assad regime, Iran and Russia in Syria. Hezbollah’s naval forces are reportedly receiving tactical support from Iran, which is also involved in the fighting in Yemen.
Or it might be because since 2006 Hezbollah has been assiduously building it rocket arsenal, including missiles that can reach central Israel; developing an intricate tunnel system, complete with ventilation, electricity and rocket launchers; and, because it is no longer bogged down in Syria, it can mobilize almost 30,000 fighters.
Whatever the reason, Hezbollah is dangerously overestimating its military capabilities, which makes it prone to stupid actions that are liable to drag southern Lebanon into another war.
It is not too late for countries such as Russia and the US to avert another destructive conflagration in Lebanon that would force Israel to reestablish deterrence with Hezbollah at a terrible price to the Lebanese people. For this to happen, however, there must be a clear recognition that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are the ones escalating the conflict.
In any event, if or when war breaks out again on the northern border, world leaders will not be able to say they were not warned.
US forces are deploying in Israel ahead of a large-scale joint Israel-US military exercise, due to start next week, which will simulate a major conflict in which Israel is attacked with thousands of missiles.
The biennial Juniper Cobra military exercise, which is being held for the ninth time, will take place amid an escalation of rhetoric between Israel and the Hezbollah terrorist group in southern Lebanon, which is believed to have an arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles and a fighting force of some 50,000 soldiers, including reservists.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which seeks Israel’s destruction, has reportedly been threatening to open fire at IDF soldiers if Israel does not halt the construction of a barrier it is building along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that should war erupt again with Lebanon, Beirut would “pay the full price” for Iran’s entrenchment in the country, and that if the citizens of Tel Aviv are forced into bomb shelters “all of Beirut will be in bomb shelters.”
The drill set to start next week will simulate thousands of missiles, launched from several fronts, being fired into the Israeli homefront, a Channel 10 news report said Wednesday.
Lebanon issued an offshore oil and gas exploration tender on the country’s maritime border on Wednesday, prompting a war of words with Israel, which has laid claim to one of the fields in question.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called the move “very provocative” and suggested that Lebanon had put out a tender to international groups for a gas field “that is by all accounts ours.”
His comments drew sharp condemnation from Hezbollah and Lebanese officials, including Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who described the statement as a “blatant provocation that Lebanon rejects.”
He said Lieberman’s claim was “invalid in form and substance” and that the Lebanese government would follow the tender up “with the competent international parties to assert its legitimate right to act in its territorial waters.”
Lebanon last year approved the licenses for an international consortium led by France’s Total, Italy’s ENI and Russia’s Novatek to move forward with offshore oil and gas development for two of five blocks in the Mediterranean Sea, including one known as Block 9 that is disputed in part with Israel.
Liberation of the Islamic land of Palestine from the infidel Zionists remains the sacred duty of all Muslims, regardless of local nationality. That is why it ultimately does not matter how many Lebanese must die in the process of realizing that dream.
I write this in response to ongoing rhetoric accusing me and my movement of placing Iran’s Shiite conquest ambitions above the interests of my country, accusations that flow either from ignorance or malice, perhaps both. In fact, the interests of Lebanon appear nowhere in my hierarchy of considerations, making that accusation nonsensical.
Of course the welfare of the inhabitants of Lebanon does not go unnoticed or unconsidered, just not as a value in itself. When I remarked, after our disastrous war with the Zionists almost twelve years ago, that had I known in advance the Zionist response would be as destructive as it indeed was, I would not have launched the war, it was not an expression of care for the people of Lebanon, but a calculated acknowledgement that Hezbollah could only go so far in prosecuting a conflict without losing its grip on the country as the punishment became too much for the populace to bear. Let that be clear.
We do have to couch our rhetoric in terms that imply, or even declare outright, that we act for Lebanon’s benefit, but let us also be clear on the fact that the majority of Lebanon’s inhabitants hold a very different understanding of “Lebanon’s benefit” from the one we use. They, naturally, associate the term with prosperity, security, and serenity, whereas we define it only in terms of how well Lebanon benefits Iran’s regional ambitions.
The Bulgarian state prosecution has decided not to charge Hezbollah with involvement in the 2012 bomb attack at the Burgas airport that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver and wounded 32 other Israelis, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Instead, the prosecutor indicted the two men allegedly involved in the attack as if they were terrorists or even regular criminals who acted without connection to an organization. The word “Hezbollah” does not appear in the indictment.
In addition, the indictment does not mention standard terrorism offenses such as “acting as part of a terrorist organization” or connecting the murder offense to terrorism. Instead, it makes a brief reference to Bulgarian Penal Code Section 108(a) regarding disturbing the public order.
Under Section 108(a), anyone who by causing a “disturbance or fear among the population” or who threatens or forces “a competent authority… to perform or omit part of his/her duties, commits a crime,” in addition to other crimes they may have committed.
Sources close to the case say that when the Bulgarian prosecutor on the case was confronted with these anomalies, he claimed that no one provided him with evidence demonstrating Hezbollah’s involvement.
Israel said it would allow power generators to be taken into the Gaza Strip to ease the humanitarian crisis plaguing the Palestinian enclave, Israel Radio reported Thursday.
The approval was promised by Israeli officials Wednesday in an emergency meeting in Brussels of an international committee coordinating Palestinian development aid and political efforts. Government ministers from Israel and Egypt, as well as the Palestinian prime minister and a US senior official, attended the talks.
The report said that Israel will allow in the generators but has insisted on a series of security measures to ensure that they are not misused by Hamas and other terror groups.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told reporters that Israel has plans for a series of projects such as electricity grid expansion, sewage treatment and a desalination plant for the impoverished Gaza Strip, but wants international money to fund it.
Fifty-two Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs, victims of torture at the hands of the PA, have recently won a lawsuit filed against the PA. A report by Yoni Ozery of the Institute of Zionist Strategies says that their lawyer approached a number of human rights organizations to provide medical specialists to help determine their damages for the next stage of the legal process. The response they received, according to the report, suggests that assistance from such groups would only be forthcoming for parties suing Israel.
In April 2017, Judge Moshe Yair Drori of the Jerusalem District Court ruled in the case dealing with the abduction, imprisonment, torture, rape, and murder of 52 Arabs suspected of collaborating with Israel. Drori held the Palestinian Authority responsible for damages they suffered.
According to Ozery, the victims represented in the trial have subsequently encountered difficulty in determining the level of compensation, being unable to locate and finance doctors willing to provide them with the professional assessment necessary for determining disability levels.
As a result, the law office representing the plaintiffs approached several human rights organizations, requesting assistance in finding specialists in a range of medical fields. The only response forthcoming to their appeal came from the Blue and White Human Rights Movement of the Institute for Zionist Strategies.
“The court’s verdict published this July reveals an in-depth account of each of the plaintiffs and his circumstances. The resulting picture is one of widespread detentions throughout Judea and Samaria of those suspected of collaborating with Israel. The vicious torture described by the plaintiffs included beatings with metal wires and rubber pipes, cigarette burns, being hung for hours, and sleep- and food-deprivation. As a result, the plaintiffs sustained severe damage to both their physical and mental health,” the report said.
Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested seven Palestinians in connection with the explosive devices that were discovered last week near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Palestinian sources disclosed on Wednesday.
The roadside bombs were discovered after a Palestinian driver who spotted suspicious objects on a road between the villages of Ilar and Saidah, north of Tulkarem, alerted PA security forces.
PA sappers safely dismantled 12 improvised explosive devices, each weighing between 20 and 30 kilograms. The roadside bombs were apparently intended for use against IDF military vehicles passing the area.
The sources identified the detainees as Mujahed Shadid, As’ad Shadid, Sara’ Raddad, Ahmed Al-Haj, Fadi Raddad, Amer Abdel Ghani and Mohammed Yunis.
The sources said that the suspects are affiliated with Hamas and some had previously been arrested or interrogated by the PA security forces.
IsraellyCool: Latest Palestinian Appropriation of Jewish Culture
The palestinians are constantly accusing Israel of cultural appropriation (especially when it comes to food) – which is the utmost chutzpah, considering that is what they’ve done with our prophets and holy sites.
But now they’ve stepped their appropriation of Jewish culture up a notch.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, light me a fuse..
A member of the Hamas terror group was killed while working on a tunnel in the Gaza Strip, the organization said Wednesday.
The group said Mahmoud Hay al-Safadi, 31, died while at work on a “resistance tunnel.” It did not say how he was killed or where the tunnel was located.
Safadi, from Gaza City, was a member of the group’s armed Qassam brigades wing. Hamas is the de facto ruler of Gaza.
Hamas did not blame Israel for the death, indicating Safadi may have been killed in some sort of underground accident. No other injuries were reported, and there was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
Israel has been working to thwart a network of tunnels dug under the Gaza border and meant to be used for attacks in Israeli territory, according to military officials. The country has been building what it calls a subterranean barrier meant to block the tunnels, and has also worked to discover and destroy them using bombs and other unspecified means.
Officials in the Palestinian Authority confessed embarrassment today upon realizing that after they had declared tomorrow a Day of Rage, they discovered the date had already been declared several weeks ago as a different Day of Rage.
Nabil Aburdeineh, and adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, admitted to reporters the staff at the Muqat’a, the presidential compound, has been working overtime on damage-control since uncovering the foul-up early this morning.
“We had a Day of Rage set on the calendar over some perceived slight, I think by an American official, a couple of weeks ago already,” explained Aburdeineh. “For technical reasons, at the time we couldn’t hold the Day of Rage that week, if I recall correctly because it was on such short notice. Since Fridays are the ideal day for a Day of Rage, we of course skipped all of last week and looked only at last Friday, but then I think that turned out to be the day some important Fatah official was marrying off a son and everyone was supposed to be in attendance, so it was pushed back another week. But then we forgot about it.”
“So then after [US Vice President Michael] Pence came out here and waved the Trump administration’s new hard line against us in our faces, we had no choice,” he continued. “I mean, what other possible course of action did we have? We certainly haven’t conditioned our people to do something other than have violent outbursts. There really was no other option here. But we forgot to check the calendar properly, and everyone up and forgot we’d already scheduled a Day of Rage for this Friday, and, well, here we are.”
As part of the boycott declared on Qatar some six months ago by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, these countries drew up three lists of organizations and people who they say have ties to terror and are supported by Qatar. One of the organizations included on the third list, issued in November this year, is the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi, who serves as an important source of authority for the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Qaradawi himself, who was born in Egypt but has been living in Qatar since the 1960s, is included on the first list, issued in June this year.
In his column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, the daily’s former editor, ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, justified the inclusion of the IUMS on the terror list, and in fact stated that this should have been done long ago. He accused the IUMS, and Qatar, which sponsors it, of spreading jihadi discourse, encouraging terror organizations by providing them with ideological justification for their actions, and fighting the voices of moderate Islam. As an example he noted that, unlike the Saudi Salafi clerics, who prohibited terror operations as early as the 1990s, the IUMS and its head, Al-Qaradawi, have justified these operations and continue to do so. He added that, were it not for this encouragement and for Qatar’s sponsorship, organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS probably wouldn’t have existed today.
It should be mentioned that MEMRI has published extensively on the extremism of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi. The European Council for Fatwa and Research, founded in 1997 by Al-Qaradawi and his then deputy, Sheikh Faisal Maulawi, incited to commit suicide operations, and Al-Qaradawi himself condoned such operations, and even expressed a hope to “die a virtuous death like a jihad warrior, with the head severed from the body.” Al-Qaradaw and the council were supported by former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who defended the sheikh and claimed that his ideology was far from extremist.
In Iran, a young woman with a growing Twitter reputation as the world’s bravest proponent of women’s rights is now reported to be facing serious criminal charges in that repressive theocracy for a single act of peaceful defiance — appearing in public without a head scarf.
A December 27 video of her flouting Iran’s compulsory veiling of women went viral during recent anti-regime demonstrations there. On Tehran’s busy Enghelab Street, she is seen standing on a concrete post, head uncovered, while solemnly waving a white scarf affixed to a stick, like a flag. Poignantly, the street’s Persian name means “Revolution.”
The image of this unnamed woman emerged on social media as a veritable icon of the leaderless economic protests, even though her solitary act of defiance was independent of them. Iranian social media lit up about her again last week with news of her arrest and impending prosecution. She isn’t the first woman to go public there without a hijab, but she’s certainly the most prominent.
Who is this brave woman and what is her fate?
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has revealed on Twitter that the woman is a 31-year-old mother of a 19-month-old baby. Others tweeted her name as Vida Movahed, but this is not confirmed. She was apprehended on the spot, released, rearrested and then on January 28, after last week’s Twitter storm, released again.
An Iranian-American dual citizen and his wife have been sentenced to 27 and 16 years in jail respectively, the husband said in a letter from prison published on human rights websites.
Karan Vafadari, a US citizen, and Afarin Neyssari, a US permanent resident, were arrested in July 2016. They own an art gallery, and they were first accused of hosting mixed-gender parties for foreign diplomats and possessing alcoholic drinks at home.
However, they later faced more serious charges, including “espionage,” “attempt to overthrow the regime” and “conferring to conspire against national security”, their family said in a petition in 2017.
In a letter from Evin Prison published on Tuesday by the Center for Human Rights in Iran, Vafadari said the couple were sentenced last week by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, but the “baseless security accusations” had been dropped. He called the verdict “unjust and tyrannical.”
It was not clear what charges the couple were convicted of. Iran’s judiciary was not immediately available for comment.
The couple will have 21 days to appeal the verdict.
Vafadari belongs to the Zoroastrian faith, a religious minority in Iran whose members are allowed to drink liquor discreetly in the privacy of their homes.
As images of Iranian women holding their hijabs aloft spread on social media, an influential activist said women are symbolically rejecting the wider “interference of religion” in their lives.
“We are fighting against the most visible symbol of oppression,” said Masih Alinejad, who hosts the website My Stealthy Freedom where women in Iran post photos of themselves without hijabs.
Under Iran’s Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair with a scarf, known as a hijab, and wear long, loose-fitting clothes. Violators are publicly admonished, fined or arrested.
“These women are saying, ‘It is enough – it is the 21st century and we want to be our true selves,'” the Iranian activist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The trend picked up momentum after video and images were posted online of one woman waving a white scarf on a stick in December – a day before demonstrations erupted against economic conditions in eastern Iran, said Alinejad.
More and more incredibly brave Iranian women are risking imprisonment by defying the law to wear mandatory hejab. They deserve international solidarity. pic.twitter.com/IpVEEXt9jo
— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) January 29, 2018
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