Hiding Evidence of Its Own Innocence
I’m not naïve enough to think that better PR would solve all of Israel’s international relations problems. But there’s no question that incompetent PR makes its situation much worse. As one example, consider Tuesday’s shocking revelation: Within about 24 hours of the most high-profile civilian casualty incident of the 2009 Gaza war, Israel had obtained evidence casting doubt on its responsibility for that death. But it sat on this evidence for more than eight years, finally releasing it only as part of a defense brief in a civil suit by the victims’ father.
The incident in question took place on January 16, 2009, when Israeli troops fighting in Gaza came under sniper fire. The troops fired two shells at an observation post that seemed to be directing the snipers. The observation post was located on the third floor of a building which, unbeknownst to the soldiers, was also the home of a well-known doctor, Izzeldin Abuelaish. Three of Abuelaish’s daughters were killed, along with one of his nieces; several other family members were wounded. Abuelaish, who worked in Israel, maintained good relations with Israelis and advocated for Israeli-Palestinian peace, later became famous worldwide when he published a book about this incident and his response to it, called I Shall Not Hate.
Israel was blamed worldwide for the Abuelaish casualties and never publicly challenged the assumption of its guilt. Yet it now turns out that within a day after the incident, it had evidence indicating that its shells may not have caused the carnage.
The evidence came in the form of laboratory tests conducted on six pieces of shrapnel extracted from the two casualties treated in Israel (the other wounded weren’t brought to Israel, nor were any of the dead, so no shrapnel from the other victims was available). The tests showed that alongside traces of various explosives used by both the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas, at least one fragment contained an explosive called R-Salt, which isn’t used by the IDF but is commonly used in improvised explosive devices in Gaza. Moreover, all six fragments contained potassium nitrate, another substance not used in IDF weaponry that is used in Hamas’s homemade Qassam rockets.
Palestinian Media Watch’s founder and director Itamar Marcus is presenting PMW’s new report Fatah Votes for Terror to the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East today, Thursday March 16, in Washington D.C. The report documents that Fatah and many of the leaders who were elected to its Central Committee at the Seventh Fatah Conference openly support terror, and did so actively during the terror wave of 2015-2016.
PMW Special Report: Fatah Votes for Terror
Special Report on Members Elected to the Fatah Central Committee in December 2016
Click to view full report in pdf
The Seventh Fatah Conference ended in December 2016with elections for the 18-member governing body, the Fatah Central Committee. Twelve members were reelected and six new members joined the committee. In addition, Mahmoud Abbas was reelected separately as chairman, and he also has the right to appoint four additional members. This report examines Fatah’s attitudes to terror during the wave of Palestinian terror 2015-2016, and focuses on the attitudes of those elected members of the Central Committee who have spoken publicly, including Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Fatah leaders who were Central Committee members during the terror wave, but were not reelected at the Seventh Fatah Conference.
This report documents how the Fatah Movement responded to individual Palestinians murdering Israeli civilians in stabbings, shootings, and car ramming attacks, during the terror wave from September 2015 to mid-2016. 40 people were murdered in these attacks (36 Israelis, 1 Palestinian, 2 Americans, and 1 Eritrean) and hundreds wounded.
The report also includes Fatah’s responses to the terror on the Fatah-run TV station Awdah and its official social media.
While the current state of the Palestinian economy is nowhere near as bad as one might think from reading the Western press, writes Hillel Frisch, it is beset by serious problems:
According to the standards of the World Bank, West Bankers are middle-class and Gaza residents lower-middle-class. [But] it is a matter of serious concern that neither in Gaza nor in the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority is [there] a functioning domestic economy. By far the most important element propping up Palestinian economic welfare levels is financial aid [from] donors such as USAID, the EU, and church-related organizations, which underwrites roughly one-third of the [Palestinian] gross national product in the West Bank and considerably more in Gaza. . . .
[T]he substantial economic aid the PA receives from the EU, USAID, and individual EU member states enables it to reward incarcerated terrorists, terrorists released from prison, and the families of terrorists both living and dead with generous stipends and financial support. . . . Such support acts as an incentive to commit acts of terrorism and lowers deterrence against those who would commit such acts even without incentives.
Yet the problem is even broader. The most important group of actors on the Arab side—the PA, its militia Fatah, and Hamas—have perfected a deadly political economy rather than built a functioning one. It is the use of force, or the threat of the use of force, that assures the flow of aid from international actors, many of whom want to pacify the situation. The [donors] thus become accessories to a form of protection racket that demands, “Support me or I’ll attack Israel and its Jewish citizens.” The EU, anxious lest Israel retaliate and create a refugee problem whose imprint will be felt in Europe, plays the game and pays up.
On its 50th anniversary, this special issue of Fathom maps the causes, courses and consequences of a watershed event in Middle East History: the Six-Day War of June 1967.
Michael Walzer, one of America’s foremost political thinkers, wrote his seminal book Just and Unjust Wars in 1977. He recalls that the book was born a decade earlier when, as an anti-Vietnam war activist, he found himself defending Israel’s pre-emptive strike against Egypt. ‘I had to explain the politics of distinction’ he remembers, and make clear that ‘wars are just and unjust’.
Einat Wilf asks why the occupation is 50 years old. Her answer is that a simple counting of years fails to take account of the Arab and Muslim countdown until what they hope will be the end of the Zionism and the State of Israel. That countdown reflects the prevailing Muslim, Arab and Palestinian view that Zionism is a historical aberration that will not – and must not – last. Wilf shows that every Israeli effort to end the military occupation in a manner that would bring it peace and security, has run up against that Muslim, Arab and Palestinian refusal to grant legitimacy to the State of Israel and accept its permanence.
1967 marked a key moment in the story of how the Left fell out of love with Israel. Jeffrey Herf examines the response to Israel’s victory from the West German Left and the Communist regime in East Germany. Both, he writes, displayed ‘a kind of obliviousness to the similarities between older antisemitic stereotypes of evil and powerful Jews and the attacks on Zionism and Israel as inherently aggressive, racist and even exterminatory’.
Introduction: The Road Not Taken
‘It is time to abandon demagogy; war with Israel is impossible!’ This was Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba’s message to the Arab world in March 1965. The Palestinian Arabs, he thought, should take a moderate and flexible approach, including the recognition of the Jewish state on the terms proposed by the United Nation’s partition resolution. Arabs and Israelis ‘would be able to live in harmony after rejecting hatred’, Bourguiba argued. ‘The Palestinian affair calls for a pacific solution in which there would be neither victor nor victim.’
Bourguiba was no friend of the Jewish state. Indeed, he regarded Israel as an imperialist power and encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to return to Israeli territory in order to wage their guerilla war from within. ‘The plan I advocated,’ Bourguiba explained, ‘aimed at placing Israel in an awkward position, at turning the tables and gaining the support of international opinion for our cause.’ In April 1965, he nevertheless offered to act as an intermediary in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian refugees and hinted that Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser might perhaps join him as the second intermediary in these talks.
Nasser’s reaction, however, was utterly negative. In his 1965 May Day speech he charged that ‘Bourguiba in his declarations has adopted the same positions as Israel, and the imperialist countries which are bolstering up Israel’ while the Egyptian paper Al Ahram, reputedly Nasser’s mouthpiece, ‘not only repudiated Bourguiba’s proposals out of hand, but imputed that the real author of the proposals was not President Bourguiba, but rather “a Western imperialist source” (read Washington).’
Since the Israeli-Arab conflict began, argues Einat Wilf, the key point of contention has not been how to divide a small territory between two peoples but the Arab refusal to accept a Jewish state as a permanent feature in the Middle East. She writes:
[The Western understanding of the conflict] fails to take account of . . . the Arab and Muslim countdown until the end of Zionism and the state of Israel. That countdown reflects the prevailing Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian view that Zionism is a historical aberration that will not—and must not—last. Any Israeli effort to [withdraw from the West Bank] in a manner that would bring it peace and security thus clashes with the Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian view that no place for compromise and agreement exists that would grant legitimacy to Zionism and the state of Israel and that would accept its permanence. . . .
The humiliating defeat of five Arab armies in 1967, and the loss of the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula in a short span of six days did nothing to change the basic Arab mythology of the temporary nature of Israel. While the Western world was establishing the formula of “land for peace,” the Arab world clarified its rejection of it. What appeared to make sense to much of the West—that land acquired by Israel in the Six-Day War was a valuable asset that could be traded for the long-desired peace with the Arab world—made no sense to those who still considered the state of Israel temporary.
Richard Landes: What If…?
What if “right-wing” Israel is right about why the peace process has failed?
What if negotiations repeatedly failed because the Palestinians used every occasion to demand concessions from Israel and broke them off rather than reciprocate?
What if, when Palestinians say “the Occupation,” they mean all Israel?
Does it make sense to use language like, “the whole world thinks the occupation is the problem”? and wring one’s hands over the (imagined) loss of viability of the (imagined) two-state solution?
And then attack us?
What if the reason that the peace process has failed for so long is because Westerners (including Israel) think positive-sum, and Palestinian Arabs play hard zero-sum?
They want it all, and so do their jihadi brethren the world over – infidels must be dhimmi, starting with Israel.
What if Israel is fighting a common enemy with you liberals and progressives, Caliphaters who want to subject or convert infidels the world over?
Why would you side with your enemy against us?
In a recent opinion essay entitled, “Advice for Trump’s Would be Peacemaker,” Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz summarized the current conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and offered words of advice for President Trump’s special peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, who was in Israel talking to Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
I agree with almost every point of Mr. Horovitz’s assessment of the current situation, but Mr. Horovitz made a grave error when he discussed how education can be a magical panacea for Palestinian refusal to meaningfully engage in an end to the current conflict. I’ve been an educator for twenty years, my mother and grandmother were both teachers, and every one of my mentors is an educator. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about education, it’s that it stems from values. You can’t force someone to educate any more than you can force someone to be educated. If a person values an area of knowledge, they can teach it to others, but if they themselves don’t value it, they won’t be able to effectively teach it to others.
Mr. Horovitz is correct that until Palestinians are taught to accept Jewish Israel, they’ll never truly desire a working accommodation with Israel. He is incorrect to think that the world can insist they be taught it. The lesson won’t be taught successfully and the message won’t be heard. To move forward on a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian values must change. Palestinians must institute a culture of life, not death. They must be tolerant of Jewish settlement in Israel, allow for the facts of Jewish history and the history of Jewish presence in the land of Israel, and most of all reject all forms of terror.
No amount of world pressure will motivate a people to change their values. The United States cannot insist on Palestinians giving up their culture of violence any more than they could insist Israel give up its culture of peace. To successfully end this conflict, the Palestinians are going to have to decide to change their values. I pray they do.
The Trump administration seems to be adopting a “bottom-up” approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking that represents a dramatic shift from that held by the Obama administration over the past eight years, a former State Department Middle East negotiator told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
“I think it is too early to tell about the details, but if you look at the elements of what Trump is trying to do, they are fundamentally different from what Obama tried to do,” Aaron David Miller — a vice president at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, DC and a CNN global affairs analyst — said. “However, whether or not they end up in the same place is another matter.”
The Trump administration’s apparent goal, in Miller’s view, is not to reach a comprehensive peace deal now, but rather lay the groundwork for a potential future one — “by working with the Israelis on a set of confidence-builders on one hand, and trying to engage the Arabs states on the other, to get them to press the Palestinians and offer the Israelis incentives to go farther.”
One difference between the Trump and Obama administrations, Miller noted, is that “there is no effort [by the Trump administration] to box the Israelis in and create a public frame of reference on settlement activity…[Instead] they are trying to reach some sort of private agreement with the Israelis on where and what kind of settlement building is permitted.”
Furthermore, Miller said, the Trump administration “seems to be less solicitous of Palestinian needs and requirements.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Thursday morning to fulfill his promise to establish a new settlement for settlers evacuated from the illegal Amona outpost last month.
Hours before he was set to meet for a second time this week with US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, he also reiterated his pledge to reach an agreement with Washington on the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.
“We’re in the middle of a process of dialogue with the White House and it is our intention to get to an agreed-upon policy on construction in the settlements,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting. He noted that it was preferable to reach such understandings quickly rather than engaging in drawn-out negotiations.
“To the residents of Amona I say again: I made a commitment to you to establish a new community and I stand by this commitment,” Netanyahu declared.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations slammed the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on Wednesday after the commission released a report accusing Israel of establishing “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”
The report, titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says that “available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.”
The Beirut-based commission slammed Israel’s Law of Return, “conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country,” as a policy of “demographic engineering” meant to uphold Israel’s status as the Jewish state.
The report further accuses Israel of “practices” that have fragmented Palestinians, arguing that it is the “principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”
The United States on Wednesday demanded that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres withdraw a report by a UN body accusing Israel of imposing apartheid on the Palestinians and of racially dominating them.
Guterres distanced himself from the report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) but US Ambassador Nikki Haley said it should be scrapped altogether.
“The United States is outraged by the report,” said Haley in a statement. “The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”
Based in Beirut, ESCWA is comprised of 18 Arab countries, according to its website, which lists the state of Palestine as a full member, and works to strengthen cooperation and promote development.
Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid on Wednesday evening blasted a UN report accusing Israel of imposing apartheid on Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
The entire report “is full of hatred and anti-Semitism”, Lapid said.
“Instead of an organization which defends freedom, democracy and liberal values, the UN has turned into a collaborator with terrorist organizations. Does anyone think it makes sense that a UN agency in which Syria and Sudan are members will preach morality to the State of Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East that protects the rights of its minorities and provides humanitarian aid to its enemies?” he continued.
“Europe and the United States must make it unequivocally clear that as long as the campaign of incitement by the UN and its institutions against Israel does not stop, they will stop supporting this organization that has long ago ceased to fulfill its role.”
Lapid added, “This week I held a series of meetings in Washington aimed at stopping the funding to the UN and convincing the United States to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council and its annexes, and I will continue to do so until that happens.”
A newly released UN report, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says that “available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.”
This is believed to be the first time that an official UN document has used the word “apartheid” directly in order to smear Israel.
To be fair, most mainstream media, including the New York Times have reported the resulting stink that this report has caused and the fact that it has been virtually disavowed by the UN Secretary General.
To critique the contents of the 74-page report would simply lend it a credibility that it does not deserve. The apartheid libel is employed by Israel’s enemies precisely to delegitimize the country by associating it with the former racist South African regime.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media will only scrape the surface as to why this report cannot and should not be taken seriously.
What is the ESCWA?
The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) that produced the report, is made up of 18 Arab member states: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The Sudan, The Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, The United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Given that most of these states do not even recognize Israel, it’s hardly earth-shattering that this particular UN body would promote an anti-Israel agenda.
Hillel Neuer Responds to Dictatorships Covering their Crimes at U.N. Human Rights Council
For many New Zealanders the anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334, co-sponsored by New Zealand on the Eve of Christmas 2016, came as a shock. It is one thing for a democratic nation to criticise another democratic nation for its policies. It is quite another to lead the charge on a resolution that was clearly seen, by Israel and many in New Zealand, as stabbing a friend in the back, acting contrary to those countries’ shared values, and nothing but counter-productive virtue-signalling.
It was therefore an eye-opener to hear New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, reveal, in his 9 March 2017 address to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, how hard New Zealand pushed for the resolution and how the UN member states view such resolutions. The ambassador’s ‘view from within’ contained some surprising admissions.
One acknowledgement, that the ‘Middle East Conflict’ in the context of the UN means just the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, was not surprising. It highlights the New Zealand government’s and others’ misguided and naive belief that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the root cause of all other conflicts in the Middle East, apparently even the centuries-long hatred between Sunni and Shia. Further, it shows the disproportionate attention that the issue is given, to the detriment and neglect of far more pressing claims and conflicts. The ambassador explained it as one of those issues that is a ‘hardwired consideration of the council’, saying
Russia is willing to use Iran as a bargaining chip to move closer to the United States, and as a result Moscow’s relations with Tehran have been hurt, the Middle East Media Research Institute said in a report released Wednesday.
The report cites several articles and analyses showing that Russia is increasingly viewing its relations with Iran as a liability rather than an asset.
“In February 2017, the Russian news website Pravda.ru reiterated this message, with an analysis by Dmitri Nersevov, who said that Iran is becoming a major problem, first and foremost for Russia’s interests,” the report said.
Another article cited was a Feb. 14 piece in the Russian daily Kommersant in which Maxim Yusin wrote that “Moscow considers Iran a ‘capricious’ and ‘unpredictable’ partner,” and that this “opens a certain window of opportunity for [U.S. President] Donald Trump’s diplomacy.”
According to the MEMRI report, “Russia is interested in an arrangement in Syria and sees itself as the decisive element regarding its future, while Iran sees itself in this role both in accordance with the expansionist ideology of the Islamic revolution regime and in light of the massive losses it has suffered in Syria in recent years.”
So cooperation with the Russians in Syria may not be likely, even if the President and his key advisers genuinely are ready to test its possibilities.
Should the Russians fail the tests, and should the administration decide to keep its focus largely on ISIS and not the Assad regime, its policy needs to keep one other factor in mind. Iran and Hezbollah are in Syria for the long haul. They haven’t paid the price in casualties to withdraw and, at this point, Assad is a wholly owned subsidiary. Their larger strategic interest is not just keeping a corridor to Lebanon through Syria; it is to open a new front against Israel through Syria.
Iran’s hostility to Israel is not tactical, it is strategic, and it will seek to exert greater pressure on Israel from its expanding base in Syria over time.
Iran successfully test fires air defense system made by Russia
The Israelis will surely resist this. But so should the Trump administration. Part of being Israel’s strategic partner means backing it when it is countering new threats. In this case, the administration should bluntly warn the Russians against Iran and Hezbollah seeking to establish a position in southern Syrian adjacent to Israel and Jordan.
It should be clear that we will support Israeli actions to prevent any such movement southward — and if there is an escalation, the United States will materially back Israel and be ready to offer any assistance that Israel might require. The Iranians should know they are playing with fire, and that message should be conveyed by the United States, not just Israel.
US President Donald Trump expressed a “strong desire” to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace, in a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the White House said Wednesday.
Trump also told the Saudi prince in their meeting Tuesday that he wanted to “evaluate and strictly enforce” the Iran nuclear accord struck by his predecessor.
“The President expressed his strong desire to achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to continue the two countries’ consultations to help reach solutions for regional issues,” the White House said in a statement.
Trump’s statement came as his envoy for Mideast peace, Jason Greenblatt, was on a “listening tour” in the region, trying to arrive at understandings to strike a peace agreement.
Less than a week ago, Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief stated, “More than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.” Mr. O’Brien also said “$4.4bn was needed by July to avert disaster.”
Here is what I’d like to know: Mr. O’Brien has been in office for nearly two years now. What has he been doing all this time? What has the UN been doing? Starvation of twenty million people does not happen overnight. Why has the UN not sounded the alarm before? All of a sudden, the Internet and newsfeeds are inundated with harrowing images of emaciated children. Could the UN not tell the world about this when only five or ten million people were starving? Apparently, someone in that defunct institution calculated that it requires no less than twenty million starving people to redeem a ransom of $4.4 bn by July.
The billions of dollars the organization already receives could have cured the world’s hunger problems several times over. They could have shipped a few million of the 1.3 billion tons of excess food trashed each year and solved this crisis, but they have no interest in doing so. Starving children bring in donations. Feeding them would dry up the flow of money and kill this cash cow.
At least 64 Americans have been killed in Palestinian terror attacks since 1993, but U.S. authorities up until now have never prosecuted any of the perpetrators in U.S. courts.
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment and warrant of arrest for an Arab terrorist involved in a 2001 suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizza restaurant in which two Americans were among 15 people killed. (See related story)
The indictment against Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi, who has been living freely in Jordan since her 2011 release in an Israeli-Hamas prisoner exchange, has been under seal since July 15, 2013.
Scores of Americans have died at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in the Middle East since Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo interim peace accords at the White House in September 1993.
The attacks have included suicide bombings, especially in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006, with targets including public buses, restaurants and a university cafeteria. Others have been stabbed or shot to death, including in drive-by shootings.
Jordan rejected on Thursday morning a US demand for the extradition of a Palestinian woman convicted as an accomplice in the 2001 Jerusalem Sbarro suicide bombing, which killed 15 people including two Americans, Shoshana Greenbaum and Malka Roth.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department unsealed the charge against Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, who is in her mid-30s and and also is known as Khalti and Halati, for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against American citizens. The charge had been sealed since July 2013.
The bombing also left 122 injured, including four Americans.
In 2003, she pleaded guilty in an Israeli court to multiple counts of murder and was sentenced to life in prison, but was released and returned to Jordan in 2011 as part of the deal to free IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, for whom Israel exchanged 1,027 prisoners.
Jordanian law forbids the extradition of its nationals.
French independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday honored the victims of the 2012 Toulouse school shooting at a ceremony in Sarcelles, on the northern outskirts of Paris.
Relatives of the victims and French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux were also in attendance at the ceremony.
The shooting at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school, which killed three children and a teacher, was part of a rampage by al-Qaida-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah.
Victims Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, 30, from the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem, his sons Aryeh, 3, and Gavriel Yissacher, 6, and 8-year-old Miriam Montesango, the daughter of the school principal, were shot while waiting outside the school.
Douglas Murray [HL] – Terrorists should be starved of the oxygen of publicity
Israeli Air Force jets struck two Hamas installations in the north of the Gaza Strip early Thursday in response to the latest rocket fire from the territory at Israeli communities nearby, the army said.
There were no immediate reports about damage or casualties from the Israeli strike.
Less than two hours before the strike, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in an empty field in the Sdot Negev Regional Council near Netivot.
The rocket exploded on impact. No one was hurt and no damage was reported from the explosion.
The “code red” siren did not trigger, as the army’s sensors determined the rocket would not land near a populated area.
Security forces combed the area.
Initial assessments suggested that the rocket was not fired by Hamas, which rules Gaza, but by radical Salafist groups in the strip, according to Hebrew media reports citing military sources.
A rocket was last fired at Israel from Gaza in late February, leading the IDF to launch air strikes against five Hamas installations in the territory.
Today, a palestinian woman attempted to run over a group of civilians and IDF soldiers standing near a bus stop, and was shot and seriously wounded for her efforts.
It was attempted murder, plain and simple. I say this because the footage of the attack is available and unequivocal.
Note the car does not spin out of control or deviate from its course as it traverses the median strip towards the people near the bus stop.
Naturally, pro palestinian outlets like Ma’an News won’t let the facts borne out by the footage get in the way of their propaganda, leading with the woman being shot and charactering this as only an “alleged” attack.
And of course you can trust Ha’aretz to pull a similar stunt, suggesting it is only a claim of the IDF that this was an attack.
But what was the supposedly more middle-of-the-road (pardon the pun) Times Of Israel thinking?
Iranian politicians may already be jockeying for the Islamic Republic’s June presidential race, but that election remains a sideshow to the real power in Iran: the Supreme Leader and his immediate office. It has been nearly 28 years since there was a transition in that office when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei replaced Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini upon his death.
Ayatollahs live a long life, but they do eventually die. That day of reckoning is drawing near for Khamenei, who reportedly suffered from prostate cancer. Even if the 77-year-old Khamenei beat that episode, it amplified discussion of his mortality and what comes next.
In theory, the 86-member Assembly of Experts chooses the next supreme leader, but that clerical body is little more than a coffee klatch. Before Khomeini died in 1989, regime elites already informally gathered around a compromise candidate—Khamenei—who was seen as weak and not unduly tied to any of the major competing factions, each of which worked to negate the others’ candidates. The Assembly approved Khamenei, but only after all other power centers informally signed off on the man.
Decades on, however, the power balance is not the same. For a variety of reasons, Khamenei unleashed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to cut more liberal forces down to size. IRGC influence in politics peaked under Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), but Hassan Rouhani’s succession did not mean ending hardline power. Rather, he merely swapped the IRGC for the Intelligence Ministry to maintain hardline rule.
Hashd al-Shaabi — an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militia that has been accused of war crimes — is trying to take advantage of global sympathy for ISIS victims in Mosul. On Wednesday, the group tried to solicit donations through the California-based crowd funding site, YouCaring.com.
Using its English name — the “Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units” — Hashd al-Shaabi solicited money for “the new campaign ‘For Your Sake’ to aid the displaced Iraqi citizens from Mosul and other cities and provinces of Iraq as the war against ISIS rages.”
In November, Iraq’s government officially recognized Hashd al-Shaabi as a branch of its armed forces, even though the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force — which listed by the US Treasury Department as a terrorist group — closely coordinates Hashd al-Shaabi’s activities. The US State Department also lists Kitaib Hizballah, a related group , as a foreign terrorist organization.
In a 2015 video, a Hashd al-Shaabi unit called the “Brigades of Imam Ali” burned a Sunni civilian alive. And in January of this year, Amnesty International accused Hasd al-Shaabi of using American weapons to commit war crimes.
Turkey’s red meat association has ordered a consignment of prize Dutch cattle to be sent back to the Netherlands, saying it no longer wants to farm the cows due to the diplomatic crisis between the countries.
Bulent Tunc, the head of the Turkish Association of Red Meat Producers, told Turkish media that a symbolic consignment of 40 Holstein Friesian cattle was already being sent back to the Netherlands.
“The Dutch Holstein cows have become very common in our country. But this breed is starting to cause serious problems,” he told the Anadolu news agency.
“In future we do not want animal products from Holland. The first batch of Holsteins have been loaded and we will send them back,” he added.
He said Turkey should start focusing on breeding its own cattle. “We have our own quality breeds,” he said.
Tunc later told the Hurriyet daily that a symbolic number of 40 cattle had been loaded for sending back to Holland from the Biga dairy production site in the western Canakkale province.
I do not understand you people who object to our treatment of homosexuals. What we do to them is very similar to things that you Westerners pay to have done to you, such as when you go to amusement parks or bungee jumping. Only the landing is different. Why do you assume what we are doing is cruel? Who are you to say that gays do not enjoy plummeting from rooftops? I have certainly never heard any of them complain about it afterwards.
I have seen footage of your roller coasters and your free-fall rides at Six Flags. I have seen what wealthy Westerners do for thrills. It matches very closely with what we do to homosexuals in Gaza, just without all the fancy equipment and pageantry – which I’m sure we could have if the Zionist blockade were not so stifling. You have your way of throwing people down several stories. We have ours. Stop accusing us of barbarity when you engage in the same behavior with only subtle differences.
Certain people might not relish the impending descent at great speed, but that is all part of the experience, as I’m sure I need not tell you. The adrenaline rush that precedes the drop is a key element of it. Why else would you pay good money to do it? So despite their protestations and resistance, I find it hard to believe that the homosexuals we hurl from rooftops do not enjoy the journey downward.
As for the small minority of folks who genuinely do not like roller-coaster-type rides, and avoid them, they have the choice of not doing anything that would get them accused of homosexuality. No one forces you to pursue same-sex liaisons. Doing so is tantamount to demanding you be subjected to our version of bungee jumping. That should be pretty clear by now.
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