February 23, 2019

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03/13 Links Pt1: How the Embassy Move Signals Big Changes to the Iran Deal; PA PM survives assassination attemptin Gaza; Trump fires Tillerson as Sec. of state, points to Iran deal disagreement


From Ian:

PMW: “Women can die in a more spectacular way than men die” – Fatah celebrates terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi
Marking the 40th anniversary of the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history in which 12 children and 25 Israeli adult civilians were murdered by Palestinian terrorists, Fatah posted a video celebrating the attack and glorifying the murderers, in particular the leader of the attack, female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi. Palestinians have referred to the hijacked bus in which most of the Israelis were murdered, as “the first Palestinian Republic,” because the bus remained under the terrorists’ control for a few hours, as they drove from Haifa in the north to the center of the country, while shooting at civilian cars they passed on the way.

Texts in Fatah’s video praising Mughrabi focus on the fact that the leader of the attack was a woman, and credit her with being “the president of the first republic”:
“The name of the president of the first republic was Dalal Mughrabi.
Heroism has no gender.
Arab men must understand that they don’t have a monopoly on the glory of life or the glory of death,
and women can love much more nobly than the way they love, and die in a much more spectacular way than they die”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, March 11, 2018]

Other texts in Fatah’s video described the terror attack as “the bravest victory” and portrayed the hijacking of a bus full of Israeli civilians as the establishment of “the Palestinian republic” and of “the temporary capital of the State of Palestine”:

Evelyn Grodon: How the Embassy Move Signals Big Changes to the Iran Deal

The Iran waivers have so far followed a similar pattern. The first time the deal came up for review, Trump issued the requisite certification that Iran was in compliance and that the deal served America’s national interests, but vowed he wouldn’t keep doing so forever. The second time, he formally decertified the deal, but once again signed the waiver that prevents sanctions on Iran from being reinstated. The third time, he signed the waiver once again, but explicitly threatened that this would be the last time.

If it weren’t for the embassy move, this threat would be treated in capitals around the world as so much bluster. Instead, world leaders are forced to take it seriously. True, there’s a chance that Trump is just bluffing. But there’s also a real chance that he’s serious, just as he proved to be on the embassy issue.

This means that European leaders, who initially refused even to discuss any changes to a deal they like just the way it is, are now feeling pressured to offer at least some sop to Trump if only to keep him from blowing the deal up entirely. Last month, for instance, French President Emanuel Macron threw his support behind a plan to impose surveillance and sanctions on Iran’s unfettered ballistic missile program, which is one of several key loopholes the administration wants closed.

The Iran deal didn’t motivate Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The primary reason to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem was because it was the right thing to do. It’s something Congress decided should be done over 20 years ago, and it’s something presidential candidates from both parties have repeatedly promised but never fulfilled. Above all, it’s because the reality is that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and it is ludicrous to keep pretending otherwise.

But it just goes to show that the right thing is also sometimes the smart thing. Granted, there’s no guarantee that Trump’s effort to fix the Iran deal will bear fruit; the Europeans are trying hard to fob him off with mere cosmetic tweaks. Yet there would be no chance at all if it weren’t for the credible threat created by the embassy move. And if anything meaningful does come of this effort–even if only a modest improvement, like cracking down on Iran’s ballistic missiles–it will be largely because Trump did the right thing on Jerusalem.

From the Embassy to an Undivided Jerusalem

Instead of waiting to build a new embassy, America did the smart thing, and is now simply going to hang a new sign on the facility that currently serves as its consulate in Jerusalem. But it turns out that the building is partially located in what was, from 1949 to 1967, an area designated as No Man’s Land between Israeli West Jerusalem and the part of the city that was illegally occupied by Jordan. Though the embassy sits on only a tiny portion of this territory and has actually been under continuous Israeli use since 1949, as far as the Palestinians and much of the world is concerned, it’s located on “occupied territory.”

But rather than being an unfortunate mistake, the location makes it clear how crazy it would be to try, as many advocates of the peace process insist must happen, to redivide the city. Instead of restructuring a partitioned city, the world should recognize that such a dangerous scheme would only hurt Jerusalem and do nothing to advance the cause of peace.

The reason for the creation of a No Man’s Land was that it was the result of the military stalemate in the city during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. While the Arab attempt to besiege Jewish Jerusalem failed, the Jordanian army’s invasion caused the fall of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and the eviction of its Jewish inhabitants and destruction of all of their synagogues. Ultimately, a stable front line that stretched like an ugly scar throughout the city was established.

For 19 years, the holiest of Jewish religious shrines — the Temple Mount and the Western Wall — were effectively rendered Judenrein; Jews only dreamed of ever being able to pray there again.

Thanks to a catastrophic error by Jordan’s King Hussein, the city was unified in 1967. Despite warnings from Israel to stay out of the conflict, Jordan started shelling Jewish Jerusalem in support of Egypt and Syria on the first of the dramatic six days in June that year. When Israeli forces broke through, not only were the Jews reunited with their holy places, but the walls that had rendered Jerusalem a stunted, divided city were also torn down.

In the 50 years since then, new Jewish neighborhoods were built in those parts of the city that were formerly occupied by Jordan. Arab neighborhoods suffered partly from the neglect of the municipality and partly because Palestinians refused to share in the life of the united city, preferring instead to nurture dreams of Israel’s destruction.

BESA: Reframing the Middle Eastern and Palestinian Refugee Crises

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: There are two Middle Eastern refugee crises currently vying for resources and attention. One is nominally focused on Syria but in fact extends from Libya to Afghanistan. The other crisis is Palestinian and has supposedly been going on since 1948. A closer look at the causes of these crises shows the former to be primarily the result of the collapsing Arab state system and the rise of militant Islam, while the latter cannot be considered a crisis at all.

The history of international responses to wartime refugee crises over the past century demonstrates how anomalous the Palestinian situation is, particularly with regard to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA – a distinctly unique agency in the annals of international organizations. It is the only “relief” effort aimed at a single population; it is seemingly permanent, if not eternal; and its mission is ever growing. It is the world’s only internationally funded “relief” organization that is run not only for but by its clients.

As the de facto health, education and welfare ministry, UNRWA both competes with and complements the Palestinian Authority (PA), thus relieving the PA from assuming responsibilities for crucial fields of activity that are the routinely exercised by normal, even aspiring states. And UNRWA’s existence is fundamental as a symbol within Palestinian society, as a pivot around which key identity concepts revolve, the ideas of Palestinian victimhood and “refugee-ness,” and (the supposed) international responsibility for their fate.

By examining a number of dimensions related to UNRWA’s approach to the Palestinians, lessons can be learned for application to the broader Middle Eastern crises. Among these are the moral hazard of assigning responsibility for refugee relief to the international community, and the dangers of institutionalizing refugee relief in a dedicated organization, which can be captured by the population that it serves. Download PDF

Isi Leibler: AIPAC leadership losing the plot

The only way to strengthen Israel’s support among Democrats and liberals is to painstakingly explain the case for Israel, which is not difficult – if they are willing to listen.

AIPAC should follow the lead of Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who, while expressing his own support for a two-state solution, concentrated on the fact that the Palestinians were responsible for the deadlock, condemned false moral equivalence and insisted that Jewish settlement building was not an obstacle to peace. He clearly stated that the problem lay in the Palestinian refusal to accept the existence of a Jewish state.

AIPAC should face the reality that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah gang are an evil group of terrorists promoting a culture of death. The PA has just announced an increase in its payments to terrorists and their families. AIPAC would do well to lobby for halting payments to the PA while it pursues such monstrous policies.

If AIPAC leaders continue promoting a Palestinian state, members should protest and condemn their action. If the organization stands to lose its hardcore supporters to appease liberals – very few of whom are likely to change their attitudes – it will be obliged to review its policy or face the likelihood of vast numbers of people resigning from its ranks. This could bring about AIPAC’s collapse – the tragic undoing of one of American Jewry’s finest institutions.

Elliott Abrams: “National Security Leaders” Adopt the Palestinian Narrative

On March 2, seventeen “National Security Leaders” issued an alarming statement about Israel-Palestinian peace and U.S. policy. The statement was carried as an ad in The New York Times and a PDF version can be found here.

In my view, the statement is fairly radical in its departure from what has been U.S. policy for decades. How?

–The Statement claims that “previous U.S. administrations” have “accepted” a Palestinian demand for “equal and minimal land swaps.” I will speak only about the George W. Bush administration. We understood that land swaps were a very useful idea to make the two-state solution work, but we did not back any demand that they be “equal and minimal.” That was to be negotiated by the parties.

–The Statement says that “Jerusalem [is] to be the capital of Israel and Palestine, in the west and the east of the city respectively, an open city for the faithful of the three monotheistic religions.” The Bush administration also left the borders of Jerusalem to be determined by the parties, and never insisted on an “open city”—whatever that means.

–The Statement calls for “Ensuring the security of the two states consistent with their respective sovereignty and supported by a third-party security mechanism.” The Bush administration understood that security was an enormously complex and dangerous issue, but did not demand a “third-party security mechanism.” Again, the meaning of that phrase is entirely unclear, while it has long been entirely clear that Israel would not hand its security over to the United Nations, the United States, NATO troops, or any other possible “mechanism.”

–The Statement says our goal should be “Two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.” What’s missing here? Compare the words of President Bush when addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2002: “In the Middle East there can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides. America stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices.” The Statement makes no mention whatsoever of freedom or democracy, simply abandoning the hopes and indeed the rights of the Palestinian people in this regard.

The Palestinian Peace Plan

Consider, for a moment, what Hamas and Islamic Jihad are also saying about the US initiative on the Gaza Strip. The position of the two terror groups is strikingly similar to that of Abbas and his PA; they too want to continue using the crisis to rally the world against Israel. In separate statements, the groups said that Washington’s effort to help the Palestinians was designed to “exempt” Israel from its responsibilities.

These are the same terror groups that have turned the lives of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip into hell. These are the groups that have brought war and death and destruction upon the people of the Gaza Strip by attacking Israel again and again and again. These are the groups that prefer to import weapons rather than food and medicine into the Gaza Strip. These are the groups that are suppressing and killing Palestinians in the Gaza Strip whose only crime is to demand reform and democracy and a better life.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are no different from Abbas when it comes to their hatred of the US. Their hatred runs so deep that they would rather die than accept a remedy from the US. Not to mention the massively useful pawn that suffering Palestinians are in the popular and longstanding game of tarring and feathering Israel for the Palestinian leadership’s own crimes against its people.

All these Palestinian parties share a common goal: to see Israel removed from the face of earth. In their eyes, the incitement against Israel falls into the general framework of delegitimizing Israel. They believe that this process serves their goal of eliminating Israel. Meanwhile, babies and other patients in the Gaza Strip continue to die because of lack of medicine.

More than half of the Gaza population lives under the poverty line. But, for the Machiavellian Palestinian leadership, the end justifies the means: tens of thousands of Palestinians can and will be sacrificed on the way to killing Jews and destroying Israel.

Palestinian leaders don’t care about their own people so why should they care about peace with Jews?

The only peace plan the Palestinians would ever accept is one that facilitates their mission of destroying Israel and killing all the Jews living in the region. They will never accept another plan, even if it comes from Prophet Muhammad.

Jordan’s king, PA leader meet on Jerusalem, Trump’s peace plan

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman on Monday to discuss latest updates on the status of Jerusalem and U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.

In early December 2017, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by announcing the United States recognized Jerusalem – home to major Christian, Jewish and Muslim holy sites – as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.

Abbas, angered by Trump’s Jerusalem move, has refused to engage with the United States on Middle East peace, prompting Trump to delay the rollout of peace proposals.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said last month the timing of Trump’s long-awaited proposals depended on the return of Palestinians to negotiations.

Palestinian Authority to Sue U.S. at International Criminal Court over Jerusalem Recognition

The Palestinian Authority plans to file a complaint against U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a Palestinian official.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki will fly to The Hague soon to sue the U.S. administration over Trump’s recent decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Saleh Rafat, an executive committee member of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the official Voice of Palestine radio.

Trump’s decision has “violated all international laws and resolutions”, Rafat said, without giving further details about the complaint.

Al-Maliki will file another ICC complaint against Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman for “their involvement in crimes against the Palestinian people”, Rafat said.

On Dec. 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, triggering world outcry and protests across the Palestinian territories.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the perennial Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967 — might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

In late 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome Statute, the ICC’s governing treaty.

In April 2015, Palestine has become an official member of the The Hague-based court.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Gabbay Vows To Relocate US Embassy To Tel Aviv (satire)

Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay reacted to reports of possible parliamentary elections this year by taking the opportunity to make campaign promises, among them a pledge to have the American embassy moved from Jerusalem to Israel’s commercial capital of Tel Aviv, where all other ambassadors keep their offices.

Gabbay told a group of Labor and HaTnua activists he expects to form the country’s next government, and that the electorate has grown tired of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s scandal-plagued administration years of stagnant relations with the Palestinians. Polls show Netanyahu’s Likud garnering 40 of the 120 Knesset seats, with the Labor-HaTnua Zionist Union alliance claiming at most 15.

US President Donald Trump made good on a campaign promise late last year by granting formal recognition to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and ordering the State Department to implement an embassy move his year. The move represents fulfillment of a 1995 Congressional act calling for the relocation, but which incorporated an option for the president to waive the move every six months for national security reasons. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama signed the waiver every half-year, citing fears of an Arab backlash. Trump did so once, then announced the embassy move late last year. Gabbay, looking to restore Labor to its once-prominent status on the Israeli left, voiced belief that reversing the relocation would reestablish the international limbo that his party has always excelled at maintaining.

“When all the foreign embassies were in Tel Aviv, save for a handful of third-world ones until the 1990’s, Israel enjoyed a remarkable period of stability,” he argued. “For most of that period, a predictable sort of status quo prevailed: the Arab boycott, Palestinian terrorism, a socialist stranglehold on state institutions, a tiny economy, and existential angst. Under Netanyahu, however, all of those venerable phenomena are but shadows of their former grandeur, and the key to restoring the status quo ante lies in restoring the diplomatic limbo of those decades.”

U.S. Grants $200 Million Military Sale to Qatar Despite Secret Spy Op on American Citizens

The United States is planning a $200 million military sale to Qatar, despite recent revelations the country funded a spy operation on American Jews and conducted hack attacks on U.S. citizens, according to multiple sources familiar with the effort who described the timing of this sale as “spectacularly bad.”

The Trump administration has signed off on a new military deal with Qatar to provide it with $197 million in military technology to enhance and upgrade its Air Force, according to the State Department.

The sale comes at a challenging time in U.S.-Qatar diplomatic relations, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill pursue an effort to launch a federal investigation into Al Jazeera—the Qatari-backed news outlet—following disclosures the country funded a secret, months-long spy operation on American Jews on U.S. soil.

While the deal is likely to be approved by Congress’s foreign relations committees, which control such deals, many insiders are beginning to oppose the sale as a result of Qatar’s ongoing financing of terror groups such as Hamas and its recent efforts to hack a prominent Republican-tied fundraiser.

Qatar has grown closer to Iran in recent months as U.S. allies in the region attempt to isolate the nation as a result of its financing for terror groups and use of Al Jazeera to disseminate propaganda across the region.

JPost Editorial: Putin and the Jews

In an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly that was broadcast over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the possibility that “Jews” were the ones responsible for meddling in the 2016 US president election.

After being pressed by Kelly to comment on claims of Russian interference in the elections, Putin replied, “Maybe they’re not even Russians. Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked.”

Putin must have known that a Russian president insinuating “Jews” were behind a plot to meddle in the US elections would smack of antisemitism. After all, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was a fabrication of the Czarist secret police.

Anti-Jewish paranoia resonates deeply within Russian society. In the pre-Soviet era, it was based on medieval Christian – particularly Russian Orthodox – notions about purported Jewish perniciousness and power.

By the late 1940s, after the creation of the State of Israel, and in the early 1950s with the onset of the Cold War, the Jews began to be seen by the Soviet leadership as an ethnic diaspora potentially loyal to a hostile foreign state. Their disproportionately high representation in the upper echelon of literally every sphere of Soviet cultural, scientific and industrial life began to be seen as a threat. Stalin’s purges, which resulted in the assassination or imprisonment of thousands of Jews, were often openly anti-Jewish.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian nationalist accounts of history seek to delegitimize Bolshevism by equating it with Jewishness and portraying it as an alien assault on the Russian people and culture. Alexander Solzhenitsyn famously urged Jews to accept “moral responsibility” for those of their kinsmen who “took part in the iron Bolshevik leadership and, even more so, in the ideological guidance of a huge country down a false path.”

Yet what it truly remarkable is that Putin – throughout his long career as supreme leader of Russia – has largely refrained from tapping into antisemitic tropes, either to deflect criticism during times of economic or social crisis, or to whip up patriotism during times of war.

Was Putin’s ‘anti-Semitic’ comment lost in translation?

The Russian Jewish Congress and the Euro-AsJewish Congress did not immediately reply to JTA’s request for comment on Putin’s remark. Neither group has criticized the Russian leader for what he said.
Rabbi Boruch Gorin is the editor of Knizhniki, a Moscow-based publishing house working to translate Yiddish works into Russian. (Courtesy)

According to Gorin, “What Putin said seems to have been lost in translation — twice.”

The first time, Gorin suggested, was when the NBC interpreter used the term “Russki” in posing NBC’s question to Putin about Russians whom special counsel Robert Mueller has accused of manipulating the election.

That is significant because in Russian, Russki does not mean a citizen of Russia (the word for that is “Rossianin”) but a person of Russian ethnicity. And since Jewishness is widely recognized in Russia as an ethnicity, as opposed to just a religion, Russian Jews are not really considered as ethnic Russians, though they are certainly accepted as Russian citizens.

Russian Jews by and large do not self-identify as ethnic Russians, traditionally followers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Indeed, doing so for many Russian Jews would be akin to American Jews declaring themselves to be white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

But the adjective “Russian” in English does not have this distinction — that is why Gorin had to be asked three or four times about his connection to Russia before he understood the subject was not about his ethnicity (a perfectly common and politically correct question in Russia), but his citizenship.

“Putin was asked about the Russian ethnicity, so he replied about that,” Gorin said. “I understand it can appear shocking. I think what he meant to say also is that the people who interfered in the elections were maybe part of the diaspora of former Russian citizens. That’s why he named a few of the largest groups, including Jews.”

Ultimately, Putin was trying to distance Russia from the intervention in US elections — not blame Jews for it, Gorin suggested.

Trump fires Tillerson as secretary of state, points to Iran deal disagreement

US President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday and said he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him, in a major staff reshuffle just as Trump dives into high-stakes talks with North Korea.

“We disagreed on things,” Trump said of Tillerson just after announcing the firing on Twitter. He mentioned differences over how to handle the Iran nuclear deal, from which Trump wants to withdraw if it is not changed to his satisfaction. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible,” Trump said, whereas Tillerson thought “it was okay. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same.”

Trump announced the change in a tweet early Tuesday just four hours after Tillerson returned to Washington from a trip to Africa. Word of Trump’s dissatisfaction with Tillerson and plans to replace him had circulated for months, even as Tillerson insisted he didn’t plan to leave.

“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”

Trump said that the CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, would take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency. If confirmed, Haspel would be the CIA’s first female director.

Kerry Demands Kim Turn Over Nukes to Iran (satire)

In a bold move made in response to President Trump’s upcoming meeting with the North Korean dictator, former Secretary of State John Kerry has demanded Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un turn over all its nuclear weapons to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“If Rocket Man is serious about avoiding war with America, he is going to have to turn over all his nukes to the only person in the world that we can truly trust,” Kerry declared as he boarded a privately-chartered jet for Pyongyang. “And that’s my homeboy AK, Ayatollah Khamenei.”

It was not clear in what capacity Kerry, who holds no position in Trump’s government, was acting. But he left no doubts about his demands: Kim must immediately ship all his nuclear weapons and rockets to the Iranian regime or risk US-led regime change.

“Given how moderate the Iranians have become since the nuclear deal,” Kerry noted, “maybe we will let them run North Korea too.”

High Court: IDF can evict 15 settler families in Hebron

Fifteen settler families are once more in danger of a forced IDF eviction from the Beit Hamachpela building in Hebron.

On Monday, the High Court of Justice upheld a state decision that the families entered the three-story building illegally last July, and it annulled an injunction that prevented their forced removal.

“Justice has finally come to light,” said attorney Samer Shihadih, who represents the Abu Rajab family. They claim ownership of the structure located across the park from the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the heart of Hebron’s Old City.

The Hebron Jewish community claims to have purchased a large portion of the structure from the descendants of the building’s original owner.

At issue is the legality of the sale, including the power of attorney used and whether the family member involved in the deal had rights to the property, which is registered to the Abu Rajab family.

The Defense Ministry has given the Hebron Jewish community the right to purchase the property, but it has not authorized their presence in the home.

Sign for ‘Cemetery of Martyrs’ removed

A decorated marble slab bearing the inscription “A cemetery for martyrs” posted at the entrance to the old cemetery in Salah al-Din in eastern Jerusalem was removed by Jerusalem municipality inspectors.

PA media, however, claimed that not only was the entry sign removed, but the tombstones of terrorists were smashed.

The “Lach Yerushalayim” group, which calls for “unity and sovereignty in all parts of Jerusalem,” praised the activity of municipal inspectors, and noted that the cemetery has “become a pilgrimage site, as many of the terrorists who carried out attacks in Jerusalem are buried there and their graves have become monuments that glorify their actions.”

The head of the group, Maor Tzemach, said that “These phenomena of incitement and terror glorification must be fought, and for this I congratulate the Jerusalem police.”

Palestinian PM survives assassination attempt as convoy bombed during Gaza visit

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survived an apparent assassination attempt when a bomb went off next to his convoy as he visited the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, wounding several people, officials and Palestinian media reported.

The PA said Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was accompanying him, were unhurt. However, media reports said several bystanders were injured. Their condition was not immediately clear.

PA civil affairs minister Hussein Al Sheikh said the Hamas group, which rules Gaza, would be held fully responsible for this “murderous” assassination attempt and warned that this was an unprecedented dangerous development that would have grave consequences for Hamas.
A vehicle damaged in the explosion that went off near Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy is seen in the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun on March 13, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Abed)

Three of the vehicles in Hamdallah’s convoy were damaged, their windows blown out. One had signs of blood on the door. Video from the scene showed a huge plume of back smoke rising into the air near the convoy.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Radical Islamists opposed to Hamas also operate within the Gaza Strip and have regularly been behind unrest there.

Hamas condemns assassination attempt on Palestinian Prime Minister

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Services Chief Majid Faraj survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday after entering the Gaza Strip, the official PA news site Wafa reported.

Hamdallah and Faraj’s motorcade was targeted by an explosion and came under gunfire in the Beit Hanoun area in northern Gaza, according to the Wafa report.
While Wafa said seven people were injured, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry Spokesman Iyad al-Bozm wrote on his Facebook page there were no injuries and added that the Hamas-dominated security forces in Gaza opened an investigation into the incident.

In an interview with al-Jazeera, Bozm said that the Hamas-run security forces arrested a number of suspects.

IDF uniforms found being smuggled into Gaza

Israeli border officials prevented a shipment of IDF uniforms from being smuggled into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom border crossing Tuesday.

The clothes, found in the back of a truck, included dress uniforms and battle fatigues, fleeces, hats, bags and belts. The uniforms bore the insignia of IDF units.

Officials suspect the uniforms were meant to be used as part of an attack against Israel by Gazan terror groups.

Tuesday’s discovery is the latest action by customs inspectors to thwart the Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, in its goal of obtaining weapons and military gear.

Last month a shipment of uniforms from China was confiscated at the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

Hamas Angry Over Defective Goods Imported from Egypt

Hamas is furious over the poor quality of goods entering the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, a source in the terrorist organization told Breitbart Jerusalem.

According to the source, a large part of the goods are defective and the expiration dates on a high percentage of the products are expired.

The source noted that many of the goods are unusable.

A Hamas government committee made up of those responsible for the health and economy of the Gaza Strip has been established, according to the source, to warn against purchasing the products and removing them from the market.

The source said that initial estimates from the committee indicate that for some kinds of goods as much as 60% is unusable. For example, much of the cement imported to Gaza from Egypt in recent weeks was said to have been unfit for use in construction.

Hamas is discussing whether or not to file an official complaint with the Egyptian government, said the source, despite concern that Egypt would see such a complaint as harmful to its reputation. This concern is heightened in light of recently improved relations between Hamas and Egypt.

Poll: Most Aussies Seem Able to Cut Through the BS on The Arab-Israeli Conflict

According to a new poll from YouGov Galaxy (a subsidiary of UK pollsters YouGov), a very small percentage of Australians favor recognizing a palestinian state unilaterally, with an equal percentage favoring never recognizing one at all.

Note while the largest percentage are not sure, the second largest percentage support one only after a peace agreement between Israel and the PA.

Also of real interest: this even applies for Australian Labour Party voters while their party looks likely to adopt a platform of recognizing a Palestinian state on a national level.

But there’s more. The poll also reveals:
A majority of Labor voters also backed the US-supported position of moving Israel’s capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Only 7% of voters believed the greatest obstacle to peace was Israeli settlements, with three times as many claiming it was Palestinian rejection of ­Israel’s right to exist
52% of all voters back the view that either some or all of the criticism of Israel is motivated by antisemitism

It seems that famous Aussie trait of fairness and cutting through the BS seems to be shining through.

Hezbollah forces participating in Ghouta massacre

Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters are participating in the Assad army’s onslaught on rebel forces in Syria and in the massacre of civilians in the Ghouta district in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.

The Shiite Lebanese organization has been forced to dispatch fighters to the Ghouta area following orders received from Major-General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force and “the high Iranian commissioner” in Syria.

At the same time, Soleimani has eased the conditions of Iranian fighters in Syria by providing them with the status of “advisors” and “combat trainers” and sparing them from being sent to the front.

Local reporters revealed Sunday that the Hezbollah fighters are gathered in the al-Makr base in the Damascus suburbs and are being sent to back the Syrian infantry forces and the Shabiha force, the Syrian regime’s thugs, without knowing that they will eventually reach Ghouta.

According to estimates, some 3,000 Hezbollah fighters have been sent to the military base in the Damascus suburbs in recent weeks.

More than 1,100 civilians have been killed in the onslaught on the biggest rebel stronghold near Damascus since it began three weeks ago with a withering bombardment, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday. The dead include 227 children and 154 women.

Furthermore, more than 100 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in exchanges of fire between the rebels and Syrian army forces in the area.

Expert: Erdogan Regime Considers Christians, Jews ‘Enemies of the State’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian government has deemed members of religious minorities, such as Christians and Jews, “enemies of the state,” an analyst tells Breitbart News, echoing the U.S. State Department.

“The religious minorities in Turkey, like the Christians, Jews, and a few others, suffer from unequal treatment. … The religious minorities are believed to be enemies of the state,” Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan, the executive director of the Alliance for Shared Values, a non-profit group that promotes bringing people from different backgrounds together, told Breitbart News. “So the association with them becomes a crime. So those religious minorities, those citizens themselves, are pushed into enemy status.”

“That’s what all religious minorities suffer from — the Armenians, the Christian Orthodox, and the Jews, among others — they suffer from this kind of stigma,” he added.

In the latest U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report, the American government acknowledged that discrimination against Christians and other religious minorities intensified in Turkey following the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

Head of Turkish Taxi Drivers’ Union Claims ‘Thieving Jewish Lobby’ Responsible for Spread of Uber

The head of the Turkish taxi drivers’ union went on an antisemitic tirade on Monday, asserting Jews were behind the spread of Uber in the country.

The Istanbul Taxi Drivers Tradesmen’s Association (İTEO) is currently involved in a bitter dispute with Uber, which it claims is stealing business from legitimate taxi services. The group wants Uber banned in Turkey.

The dispute has been marked by acts of violence. The Turkish news site Daily Sabah reported that over the past week, an Uber driver was attacked by a group of taxi drivers, while another was shot at.

According to Turkish-Jewish newspaper Şalom, at a rally outside Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse, where a lawsuit against Uber was pending, İTEO President Eyüp Aksu shouted, “The thieving global Jewish lobby serves taxi piracy in Turkey.”

Professor Louis Fishman, a Turkey expert at Brooklyn College, told the Algemeiner that Aksu’s comments are “an unfortunate case in a country where such language has become the norm. So, no surprise it was said.”

According to Hurriyet Daily News, a 2017 study found that Jews were the number one target of hate speech in the Turkish media.

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