Until the Arab Parties Abandon Their Hatred of Israel, They Don’t Belong in the Government
Thus we have Tibi telling President Reuven Rivlin during the September 2019 parliamentary consultations that “we are the owners of this land… we did not immigrate here, we were born here, we are a native population.” Six months later, after another round of national elections brought the Joint List’s Knesset representation to an unprecedented tally of 15 MKs, Tibi was far more brazen. “The Land of Israel is a colonialist phrase,” he stated in a radio interview. “I contemptuously reject the term ‘Judea and Samaria’. This is the Palestinian bank, the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Of course the Land of Israel was known as such millennia before the advent of European colonialism, or even before the Roman colonialists renamed it Syria Palaestina precisely to obliterate the millenarian Jewish entitlement to this land. The biblical areas of Judea and Samaria were known by this name since biblical times, thousands of years before they were renamed the West Bank (of the Hashemite Kingdom) in 1950 by King Abdullah ibn Hussein. The League of Nations’ mandate for Palestine delineated the country’s borders according to its interpretation of the biblical term “from Dan to Beersheba,” while Mandatory Palestine included a substantial Samarian district comprising much of the would-be “West Bank.”
It is hardly surprising that Tibi and his fellow members of the Joint List would remain impervious to the historical truth. Theirs is the agenda of rewriting the story of the “Nakba”—the Palestinian misnomer for their wholly unnecessary self-inflicted 1947-48 disaster when, rather than accept the UN’s partition resolution, they tried to destroy the state of Israel at birth—and nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of this (self-destructive) agenda. As the Joint Arab List’s leader Ayman Oudeh told President Rivlin on March 15: “We are not solely interested in full civil equality. We are a national group that deserves full national equality.” In other words: ending Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.
But what about the three former IDF chiefs of staff heading the Blue and White party? Don’t they realize that they are but “useful idiots” for the Joint List’s ultimate goal (as candidly revealed by Oudeh, who described collaboration with this party as a steppingstone to “toppling the Netanyahu-led right-wing rule” en route to ending “the Zionist hegemony”)? Has their hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu blinded them to the point of forgetting the values and ideals for which they fought for decades and putting Israel’s future at risk?
Gantz’s new partner was making it crystal clear to Israel’s President that Israel was not recognized by Tibi’s party as the Jewish National Home reconstituted after 3000 years by and with the unanimous resolution of all 51 member states that comprised the League of Nations and endorsed the Mandate for Palestine.
Balad – the second party included in the Joint List and now in partnership with Gantz – had a former MK Said Nafa among its ranks. Nafa was convicted of maintaining contact with a foreign intelligence operative and spent time in prison. Another former Balad Knesset member, Basel Ghattas, was convicted of smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli jail, an offense for which he too was convicted and imprisoned.
Spokesperson for the Joint list is Ayman Odeh – the head of Hadash – the third party in Joint List.
Odeh stated on 5 March 2020:
“Right now, with Gantz’s attitude [in favor] of a Jewish majority and unilateral annexation, we have no one to recommend to the president. If there is a change after the elections in the direction of peace and equality, we will weigh our position again.”
Gantz has apparently capitulated to Odeh’s demands just 11 days later.
Vice President of the fourth party in the Joint List – Mansour Abbas – has declared:
“Of course, we are against the Zionist movement. However, from a pragmatic perspective, we are ready for a compromise between the Zionist movement and Palestinians”
In the past, Balad members described Gantz as someone who suffers from Zionist ideology, and is therefore unacceptable. On Tuesday, in another one of his speeches following his receipt of the mandate to form a government, he used the term “patriotic government.” Some would interpret this as forgoing the term that has been accepted since Herzl – “Zionist.”
Not everyone in the Arab street likes the support for Gantz. Balad’s response: “Removing Netanyahu from power is the No. 1 priority.” Balad also issued a statement pointing out what it had secured in negotiations with Gantz: “The first and most important [achievement] – recognition of the principle that no unilateral steps will be taken on annexation of areas of the West Bank; upholding the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque; and a stop to the demolition of illegally built homes.”
With these “achievements” in place, Gantz launching negotiations for a “unity” government with the Right is a recipe for time wasted on pointless talks that will ultimately result in a fourth election.
Right now, we have a prime minister who is handling the coronavirus outbreak, one of the worst crises in the history of Israel, excellently. Next to him, Gantz looks like a sideshow attraction. Still, Gantz is doing everything so that the work to establish a government winds up undermining the prime minister. The natural, right thing to do – what former Labor party voters wanted – is a unity government under Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has legitimacy that is based on broad popular support and the Right’s electoral victory. Gantz, on the other hand, is supposed to form a unity government to which those who recommended him object.
— Yair Netanyahu 🇮🇱 (@YairNetanyahu) March 16, 2020
Ben-Dror Yemini: Fighting coronavirus should not weaken Israeli
These are not the best of times. We are combating a strain of coronavirus that is killing hundreds in Europe and destroying the world’s economy.
These are also the days when Israeli lawmakers are attempting to form a new government in the wake of the March 2 elections.
An emergency requires emergency measures. No one can dispute that, and no one questions most but not all of the measures taken.
The government’s decision to track the movement of citizens using Israel’s secret service is a step too far. We know where it starts but cannot say where or how it will end.
Coronavirus obsessions aside, not everything should be permissible. There could be other measures used to track confirmed cases.
A broad consensus is needed when a government overreaches as this one has, harming the privacy and basic rights of its citizens.
But Israel has been governed by a caretaker government for a long time, one that cannot claim majority support in the public or in the Knesset. Such a government must not take these extraordinary steps. It simply does not have the authority.
All you need to know about how Israel is responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including what limitations have been put in place regarding public transportation, self-isolation, and how Israel is fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Since the first identified outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, COVID-19 spread quickly across the world, and within three months, it reached Israel. While some countries, such as Italy and Iran, have been particularly badly hit, Israel’s severe response to the outbreak has seen it suffer a relatively low number of confirmed cases of infection.
Predictably, antisemites have been swift to use the phenomenon to attack Israel. After Bethlehem was affected by multiple instances of coronavirus infection, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered both the IDF and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to impose a closure on the city until further notice, in a step he said was coordinated with the Palestinian Authority.
The move was met with cynicism, with some suggesting that the authorities were taking stricter measures in the West Bank than inside Israel. At the same time, others used the burgeoning pandemic as an excuse to spread classic antisemitism, in the form of conspiracy theories that Jews created the virus, and a Lebanese-American university professor claiming that Israel would place non-Jewish coronavirus patients in ‘mass prisons’.
So what’s really happening?
How is Israel really dealing with coronavirus? How did it originate? And what measures is Israel taking vis-a-vis the Palestinians?
How Coronavirus Spread to Israel
The first case of COVID-19 in Israel was confirmed on February 21, 2020 after a female citizen who returned home from Japan after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive at the Sheba Medical Center.
On Monday, Magen David Adom paramedics took samples from 1,085 people nationwide, an increase from the daily average of 750 tests. Until now, MDA has taken around 7,000 tests.
The news of the testing station came on the backdrop of another spike in the number of Israelis infected with COVID-19 and as the government rolled out a series of new restrictions by which the public is asked to adhere.
The new restrictions, meant to fight the spread of COVID-19, include Israelis not being allowed to leave their homes unless “absolutely necessary.”
“Do not leave your home,” said Health Ministry director general Moshe Bar Siman Tov in a video message to the public. “Only go to work… or to purchase essential items, such as groceries, medicine or the like.”
Visiting parks, beaches, pools, libraries and museums is now prohibited as are all social interactions, which the ministry said should be conducted on the phone or by other digital means. Group sports and workout classes are also all cancelled effective immediately.
Elderly people and those with respiratory conditions or weak immune systems should not leave their homes nor should they invite guests over.
One day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told citizens that the public sector would work in emergency mode but that the private sector could operate at 70%, the new restrictions require that all work that can be done from home should be done from home. If one does have to go into work, all businesses should ensure that employees keep two meters from each other, and that good hygiene is maintained.
The novel coronavirus that has spread across the world, infecting more than 175,000 people, has hit the Jewish state too. But according to the Health Ministry, around 300 Israelis have COVID-19, and no one has died. So why is the government shutting the country down?
According to experts in public policy and health, the severity of the measures being taken now is because the country has let its medical system deteriorate for decades, and now it is unprepared.
“Before the outbreak of the current pandemic, hospital occupancy rates in Israel were already the highest in the developed world, while its mortality rates from infectious diseases, which doubled in the past two decades alone, are not only higher than in every other developed country, they are 73% higher than the second-ranked country,” said Prof. Dan Ben-David, president and founder of the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research and a faculty member at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Public Policy. “We shut the country down to deal with something that we neglected for decades.”
Almost every aspect of the country’s crippled medical system can be understood as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.
With high occupancy rates in hospitals – some are over 100% all year and sometimes during flu season they top 200%, according to Ben-David – then people are treated in the corridors and dining halls under unclean conditions.
“It’s like a petri dish,” he said. “So there is no wonder that people die at such fast rates from infectious disease. Fifteen times more people die from infectious disease than car accidents.
“If we would have occupancy rates like hospitals in other countries, we would be able to hospitalize people at first” before shutting down the country, Ben-David said.
Compared with the extremely dangerous security plan of the previous U.S. administration, prepared by General John Allen, the new plan is much better. The Allen plan did not provide security and was going to cause inevitable bitter quarrels between Israel and the U.S.
In the new plan, Israel is expected to defend itself by itself and has overriding security responsibility in all the areas. It will control the crossings and the areas around the future Palestinian state. It will be able to carry out security-related operations inside the territory of the Palestinian state, according to its own decision.
Unlike the Allen plan, there are going to be no foreign forces involved in any security matters. Moreover, the plan recognizes that the Jordan
Valley is critical for Israel’s national security and therefore will be under Israeli sovereignty.
Yet, the plan is not perfect from Israel’s security point of view. First, since Israel does not have an equivalent area to the Jordan Valley along the border between Egypt and Gaza, the Palestinian-controlled route under/over land that is going to connect Gaza and the West Bank constitutes a threat that was not sufficiently addressed.
Second, the review committees that overlook the security and the crossings issues have an American participant which may erode Israel’s overriding responsibility, though fortunately these committees are going to be much less involved in day-to-day issues compared with the Allen plan.
Third, the Palestinian state may be established well before the new narrative the Palestinians have to adopt is inculcated into their culture and psychological infrastructure. The timetables in this respect are vague. We have to remember that the main obstacle to peace is the existing Palestinian narrative, and the entire plan is focused on the need to change it.
The Trump administration has always protected Israel’s right to defend itself from incitement from Gaza and the West Bank, and has recently recognized the legality of Jewish “settlements” in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. His administration also formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights and has unveiled a plan for peace with the Palestinian-Arabs that is the most pro-Israel one ever offered by a U.S. president. After this “Deal of the Century” was unveiled, the administration successfully elicited hitherto unprecedented statements in support of recognition of Israel from leading Arab states.
This alone would comprise a compelling Jewish case to re-elect President Trump. But equally impressive has been the Trump administration’s profound commitment to a pro-Jewish, pro-religious liberty domestic agenda.
In December 2019, Trump signed a groundbreaking executive order to protect Jewish students across America under the statutory ambit of Title VI. “It shall be the policy of the executive branch to enforce Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI,” the executive order states. This is perhaps the single most symbolically and substantively philo-Semitic executive order that a U.S. president has ever issued.
The Trump administration’s commitment to religious liberty for all has been laudable. He has fought the Obama administration’s contraception mandate tooth and nail. President Trump has also updated federal guidance to bolster protection for school prayer and has recently proposed a rule under which the government “will not discriminate based on an organization’s religious character” when it comes to grant money for social service providers. Recently, he has also proposed a rule that would undo an Obama-era regulation limiting taxpayer funding for faith-based adoption agencies that support traditional family structures.
Finally, the president has appointed roughly a quarter of all federal circuit judges — nearly all of whom are committed to a robust conception of religious liberty under the law. The salutary effects of this judicial transformation will last for decades. Jews, who have often been the proverbial canary in the coal mine when it comes to government’s treatment of religion, stand to disproportionately benefit from a systemic governmental rededication to protecting religious liberty for all.
Yet the most obvious Jewish reason for supporting Trump may well be the nature of his remaining 2020 adversaries. Bernie Sanders has surrounded his campaign with anti-Israel figures like Linda Sarsour and Rep. Ilhan Omar, and has mollycoddled problematic leaders like Jeremy Corbyn. As for Joe Biden, it was his threat to halt U.S. aid to Israel nearly four decades ago that led then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin to issue his most famous words: “I am not a Jew with trembling knees.” It would be a shande to replace the rock-ribbed pro-Jewish, pro-Israel Trump with either of these contenders.
The UN Security Council called off its two remaining meetings for the week on Monday due to the coronavirus crisis.
After the earlier cancellation of the meeting planned for Tuesday, the Security Council was planning to discuss the situation in Sudan’s Darfur region and hold a multilateralism meeting on Thursday.
The council was “still functioning” despite abandoning its remaining sessions for the week, said the Chinese mission, which holds this month’s rotating presidency of the body.
“Council members will maintain communication and consultation on issues on the agenda with a view to taking necessary actions as needed to fulfill the Council’s mandate,” a spokesperson for the mission said in a statement.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told journalists that a positive COVID-19 case had been identified among staff at the organization’s Secretariat in New York, after a Philippines diplomat was reported infected last week.
Michele Sciama, a former secretary-general of the Jewish Community of Milan — the city’s local Jewish communal life organization — has died of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Sciama, known to his friends and family as Micky, was 79 when he died Monday morning. He is survived by his wife, Viviane, and two daughters, Dalia and Stefania, the Italian-Jewish Moked news site wrote in an obituary.
Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, the director of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, an organization that documents Nazi war crimes, wrote in Moked that before he became ill with the virus, Sciama was working on organizing a fundraising concert for the center.
“We will perform the concert in his name and in his memory, to honor his memory and to fight that virus that not only produces statistics, but deprives us of the presence of people, friends and brethren,” Luzzatto Voghera wrote after Sciama’s death.
Sciama had been heavily involved in Jewish education and his passing is a “great loss for the community,” Claudia Bagnarelli, a former principal at the Jewish school of Milan, which has about 500 students, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
German leaders on Monday urged citizens to stay home, as the government announced unprecedented nationwide measures to radically scale back public life in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to cancel any vacations at home and abroad, while President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told people to “stay at home.”
The government banned gatherings in synagogues, churches and mosques and ordered non-essential shops as well as playgrounds shut.
At a press conference in Berlin, Merkel said that, under the new measures, “there shouldn’t be any vacation trips undertaken inside the country or outside it.”
“There have never been measures like this in our country before. They are far-reaching, but at the moment they are necessary.”
Memorial Day ceremonies will be held without audiences, and many smaller ceremonies will be canceled due to the continued coronavirus crisis, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday morning.
“To preserve the health of the public on the one hand and to uphold national traditions, the defense minister instructed the Defense Ministry and the IDF Manpower Directorate that the main ceremonies at the Western Wall Plaza (on Memorial Day Eve) and Mount Herzl (Memorial Day) will be held without an audience and instead will be broadcast live,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ceremonies in the 52 military cemeteries across the country will not take place in their usual form. Instead, soldiers will hold a candlelight vigil together with a salute by a commander and a military cantor saying kaddish.
The decision was taken following the recommendation of ministry director-general Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam, OC Manpower Directorate Maj.-Gen. Moti Almoz and Aryeh Moalem, deputy director of the ministry’s Families and Commemoration Department, who consulted with the chairpersons of Yad Labanim and the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization.
Several smaller ceremonies will also be cancelled at several sites across the country on Memorial Day and at Yad Labanim in Jerusalem on Memorial Day Eve, Moalem told reporters.
Western Wall in Jerusalem today, as people clearly observing ‘social distancing’. Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch even requested the public not to kiss the stones of the Wall! #Coronavirus
[Source of photo ‘unknown’] pic.twitter.com/KOrC64vvXJ
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) March 16, 2020
On Sunday, Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry announced that the country’s major pharmacy and supermarket chains, including Super-Pharm, Shufersal, and Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing 2006, have agreed to limit the price of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to NIS 9.9 (approximately $2.7) per 100 milliliters.
The announcement came following a public outcry on social media networks last week, as consumers accused stores of taking advantage of the widespread coronavirus (Covid-19) scare to hike the price of the popular product.
Last week, Super-Pharm, the country’s largest pharmacy chain, claimed in a Facebook post of its own that the prices described in many of its critics’ posts were not the result of policy but rather of human error. According to the post, the mistakes were caused by the great pressure Super-Pharm’s employees were under as they struggled to refill the hand sanitizer stock to meet rising demand.
Demand is indeed at its peak, as consumers rush to hoard the products they believe could save them from the pandemic, cleaning out the hand sanitizer, bleach, and cleaning products shelves in the process. The empty shelves bring to mind stores in Soviet Russia in the 20th century, Moshe Zilberstein, CEO of Israel’s largest hand sanitizer manufacturer Dr. Fischer (incorporated as Fischer Pharmaceuticals), told Calcalist last week.
While Dr. Fischer is increasing its hand sanitizer production to meet demand at the cost of its other products, its main competitor, Sano-Bruno’s Enterprises, has started to manufacture the product around the clock instead of just one or two days a month, Sano CEO Yuval Landsberg told Calcalist.
According to data provided by Dr. Fischer, hand sanitizer sales jumped 400% year-over-year in February. “It is insanity,” Zilberstein said. The company manufactured 100,000 units in one day and by noon they were all gone, he added. According to Zilberstein, one major chain reported it sold six times the regular amount of hand sanitizers the same day Israeli media reported that of a group of South Korean pilgrims who visited Israel, dozens were diagnosed with coronavirus.
My fellow Israelis, the restrictions do not mean holidays! Please, take very good care of yourselves. I know that being closed up at home is not easy, that children need open spaces and parents need some breathing room. But, nevertheless, we must not make these leisure days!
— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) March 17, 2020
Attempts to evaluate the scope of the damages caused to different industries by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic are limited, but according to Eyal Hoffman, managing partner at Highroad, an innovation center and startup launchpad focused on urban tech, the effects on the Israeli tech sector will be minimal.
On Monday, Hoffman answered six questions about the crisis and its effects on the Israeli tech sector.
How is your organization addressing the recent government directives?
While we are pretty prepared for working remotely, the nature of our day-to-day activities means we are affected; we support our companies with ongoing meetings with mentors and experts, content days, workshops, etc. All of those do continue but needed to be adapted.
At the end of each cohort, we also produce a demo day called the Highroad Show, which was set to take place in May, but we needed to find other ways to do that. At the moment it is planned to be a remote event, and we have thought of some new and creative ideas to incorporate into the online event.
In what ways do you expect the corona crisis to impact your organization in the coming months?
I assume some things will be canceled, but most of the activity will probably be shifted to remote activity, including daily working time, as well as meetings and events. Unfortunately, I think we will also see a slowdown in the entire industry, though the startup sector will suffer the least impact since they are, in most cases, more prepared to work anywhere, anytime.
Here is my short version of my take on Israel’s electronic surveillance measures against coronavirus, used to find out who infected people have been in contact with. Must emphasise that such measures must be conducted with strict controls https://t.co/z9K7moSYU8 pic.twitter.com/DRvO3K90ZR
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) March 17, 2020
A man suspected of being infected with coronavirus was arrested Monday night after he fled a hospital, with police finally nabbing him on a train in the southern city of Beersheba.
The patient had left the emergency room of the Hillel Yaffa hospital in Hadera and took a train going south. Police were alerted and stopped the train at the Beersheba station where it waited for over an hour until cops arrived wearing full protective clothing. The officers combed the train until they found the man and hauled him away to Soroka Medical Center in the city for further testing and treatment for the virus.
Police took down the personal details of all other passengers on the train, the Ynet website reported.
Video shared on social media showed the handcuffed man being taken away by two officers in white suits and masks.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, a couple arrived at a health clinic in Tel Aviv after feeling unwell. Initial testing indicated they could be suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They were told to wait in an isolated room while staff summoned the Magen David Adom ambulance service whose medics, clad in full protection suits, have been carrying out testing across the country.
However, the couple did not follow instructions and left the room, Hebrew media reported, wandering around the clinic. Staff then called police to attend to the situation.
One example from the other day: pic.twitter.com/2dLiDkX0t4
— CoronaTester (@neontaster) March 17, 2020
An investigation into an attempted attack on Israel’s third election day has found that Hezbollah operatives worked with Syrian army soldiers to carry out the attack from the Golan Heights.
The operational and intelligence inquiry into the thwarted attack near the village of Hader in the province of Qunietra found that Hezbollah attempted to attack IDF troops from a Syrian military compound in the demilitarized zone in the Northern Golan Heights.
On March 2nd the Israeli Air Force struck a vehicle killing one man believed to be a Hezbollah operative. Syria’s SANA news agency reported that Israel struck Syrian government forces, injuring three regime soldiers and killing one civilian.
In the weeks leading up to the thwarted attack, the military said that troops from the Yahmam field intelligence troops and field observers from the 595th field intelligence battalion had identified suspicious movements by Hezbollah fighters and Syrian soldiers in sensitive locations in the area “which indicated the planning of an attack,” the IDF said, explaining that the operatives were seen filming the border with smartphones and professional cameras as well as measuring wind-speed and more.
“When there was an operational opportunity, the car being used by the cell was attacked by an IDF helicopter,” the military said in a statement. “The IDF has an ongoing campaign against the Hezbollah terror organization on the Golan Heights and acts by various means to thwart terrorist attacks on the State of Israel.The State of Israel sees Syria, the sovereign, as responsible for all that happens in its territory,” the IDF said.
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) March 16, 2020
Remember this? Israel’s Arab MPs backed UK’s Corbyn amid anti-Semitism accusations
In letter four members of Arab Joint List praised Corbyn as https://t.co/CozqANcAum @YairNetanyahu pic.twitter.com/ixiRFH0D6Z
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) March 16, 2020
On March 2, 2020 the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risala published an article by Mahmoud Mardawi, an Israeli affairs analyst and a former senior member of Hamas from the West Bank, who was deported to Gaza in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. In the article he presented the agreement signed by the U.S. and the Taliban on February 29, 2020 as an American capitulation and a great achievement for the Taliban, and wondered why the various resistance movements, especially the Palestinian ones, did not seem to appreciate this. He called on the Palestinian resistance factions to take a lesson from the Taliban’s firm stance and from its successful guerrilla war against the U.S., and to draw inspiration and encouragement in its own struggle against the U.S., which is “the leader of evil and the main supporter of the occupation.”
The following are translated excerpts from Mardawi’s article:
“America’s capitulation to the Taliban drew little attention or interest… This [indifference] may be understandable coming from players whose traditional stance is predetermined and who have nothing to do with the Taliban or with Afghanistan, [players] who are unaffected and unmoved by [the events in Afghanistan] and have nothing to do with those who are suffering the many hardships of occupation… But revolutionary movements that are waging resistance and fighting their occupying enemies pay a price for [concealing] their stances. They are taken seriously only if they have an independent identity and the courage to express their real positions. The U.S. severely endangers [the Palestinian resistance factions] with its unlimited political, diplomatic, economic, military and security support of their chief enemy, the Zionist entity. [Yet] the defeat of the U.S. did not evoke any comment from them, although they know that the Taliban has been fighting the U.S. persistently and patiently for 20 years.
“[The Taliban] is the only revolutionary movement still fighting outside Palestine… Its firm positions, and its ability to unite around them while ceaselessly persisting in guerrilla warfare on the ground and confronting a great enemy… until it was forced to surrender and meet all its demands – [all these] are a source of strength and hope for [other] resistancae movements. They should have noted this [achievement], and benefited from it by outlining [a path] for their activists and lighting new hope in the hearts of their members, [hope] that arrogance will surely be defeated by repeated blows and capitulate to firm positions.
“This [country], the U.S., is the leader of evil and the main supporter of the occupation. It is the one that opposes national rights that contravene [the interests of] imperialism and arrogance. [Yet] its defeat [by the Taliban] did not arouse the interest of the revolutionary resistance factions, which seem to be fighting within the permitted margins and [remain] committed to the restrictions imposed upon them.
“What is it that prevents the national and Islamic Palestinian movements from appreciating the Taliban’s victory over imperialism and evil and from drawing hope that resistance is [indeed] the only way to break the circles of darkness and defeat oppression and crimes?!”
Before the elections earlier this month in Israel, Abbas’ Presidential Guards published a statement demonizing Israelis as a bloodthirsty people thriving on war that seeks the “destruction” of the Palestinians:
Posted text: “Tomorrow morning, March 2, 2020, the voting booths will open in Israel, in which two elections have been held in less than a year, and tomorrow will be the third… The situation that might unite the two large political parties, the Likud and Blue and White, is war. Therefore, after publishing the results during the stage of assembling the government, the voices calling to begin a war against Gaza, Hezbollah, or to ‘go wild’ and attack Syria will grow stronger. This is in order to satisfy the will of the Israeli street that craves more blood and destruction. It is known that the propaganda in the occupation state relies on whoever is prepared to cause harm to the Palestinian people.”
[Official Facebook page of the PA Presidential Guard, March 1, 2020]
The post also demonized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz, predicting a “competition” between them in “waging wars” against the Palestinians:
“If [Blue and White party leader Benny] Gantz succeeds in establishing a government alone or in a treaty with the Likud, he will exhibit more extremism and reveal his military genius since he was the Israeli army Chief of Staff. Therefore, he will compete with his predecessor [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] in waging wars, expropriating lands, and giving a free hand to the settlers in the West Bank.”
Palestinian Activist Yaser Mazhar Calls on Palestinians to Carry out Suicide Bombings in Israel: We Long for Bus Bombings pic.twitter.com/pmihyEyXvt
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) March 16, 2020
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) March 17, 2020
PreOccupiedTerritory: Gazan On Lockdown In US Discovers What Actual Siege Like (satire)
A Palestinian spending time on this side of the Atlantic found himself subject today to a genuine cordon that imposes severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the zone it delimits, confronting him with a real-life instance of a phenomenon his people’s leaders and allies often invoke to describe the situation in his homeland, but which does not, in fact, exist there.
Sa’id Bukhri, 30, wound up inside a perimeter that the New York National Guard created around this hamlet north of New York City to contain a concentration of coronavirus patients, with only authorized medical personnel and basic deliveries permitted through. The postdoctoral fellow disclosed today that his previous experience with a situation widely described as a “siege” bears only a passing resemblance to his current circumstances, and that the expectations the earlier use of the term created in his mind set him up for no small amount of shock when the soldiers imposed an actual siege and implemented restrictions far more extensive than anything Gaza has ever undergone.
“I think I understand what the word means now,” he whispered, an empty look in his eyes. “Like, before, I’d have told you a ‘siege’ means more or less the same border controls normal countries have with neighbors when the relationship isn’t friendly, and that the only goods allowed through are whatever anyone wants to import that isn’t weaponry or explosive ingredients. I mean, that’s what we had in Gaza. This is… this is different. I thought I siege was what we had back at home.”
Bukhri also noted that the National Guard had imposed the siege despite a complete lack of rockets, incendiary balloons, attack tunnels, and other military threats from within the zone under containment. “I might need to adjust my understanding not only of what a siege is, but to what circumstances it applies, and the various levels of sensitivity with which it is implemented,” he conceded.
MEMRI: NY-Based Muslim Brotherhood Activist Bahgat Saber To Egyptian Nationals: Give Coronavirus To Officials, Staff At Egyptian Consulates And Embassies; If I’m Infected, ‘I Will Go To The Egyptian Consulate’ In New York
Bahgat Saber, a New York-based Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood activist, said in a video he uploaded to his Facebook page on March 1, 2020 that any Egyptian who has flu-like symptoms or coronavirus should deliberately go to Egyptian police stations, public prosecution offices, courthouses, embassies, and consulates and shake hands with government officials in order to exact revenge against President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government, which he said is deeply corrupt, and avenge the people Sisi has oppressed. He added that if he gets coronavirus, he plans to go to the Egyptian consulate in New York and infect the people working there.
“Whoever Has Flu-Like Symptoms… Should Pay A Visit To His ‘Friends’ Who Work For Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s Government”
Bahgat Saber: “Whoever has flu-like symptoms – cold, fever, sneezing – should pay a visit to his ‘friends’ who work for Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government. The moment you get flu-like symptoms like a cold or a fever, go to the public prosecution office that is closest to your house. Go to any building where they might illegally incarcerate people.
“If you can, go to a building of the Security Investigations Service, and if you can’t, just wait for them and sneeze on their cars when they pass by.
“If you want the state to care about coronavirus and start dealing with this disease, whoever among you suffers from influenza, fever, or cold, should just casually walk into a police station, or go to an office of the public prosecution, or to a courthouse.
Members of the Turkish press and public have reacted to the global spread of COVID-19, colloquially known as the Coronavirus, blaming it on Jews and other unspecified political actors and saying that the virus cannot be transmitted in mosques. On March 13, Turkish medical doctor Dr. Yavuz Dizdar claimed that 60% of the population of Turkey was already infected with the virus and that the Ministry of Health, in order to hide this fact, was not providing test kits.
“This Virus Serves Zionism’s Goals Of Decreasing The Number Of People”; “Anyway The Jews Are A Cursed Race”
Fatih Erbakan, who is the head of Refah Party and the son of late Turkish Islamist politician and former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, who is generally thought to have been President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political mentor, said of the virus in a speech reported on March 6: “Though we do not have certain evidence, this virus serves Zionism’s goals of decreasing the number of people and preventing it from increasing, and important research expresses this. [Necmettin] Erbakan said: ‘Zionism is a five-thousand-year-old bacteria that has caused the suffering of people.'”
A video recently appeared on social media showing a Turkish bus driver saying that all the epidemics in recent history, from AIDS to Ebola, had been created by pharmaceutical companies. The bus driver then asked: “And to whom do most of the pharmaceutical companies belong? To the Jews.” A passenger said: “[The Jews] will do anything to end the lineage of the Turks.” Another said: “Not only Turks, sister, they will do anything to bring the world to its knees.” The bus driver then said: “Anyway the Jews are a cursed race.”
“A Virus Cannot Spread In Allah’s House – Also, The Quran Has Healing Verses, We Recite Them Continually”
Iranian forces have taken a “warlike” posture across the Islamic Republic as another of Tehran’s top political figures admits he has contracted the coronavirus, according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been infected with the coronavirus and is now in isolation, according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled press outlets. Velayati is one of many top Iranian officials to contract the virus since it began spreading across Iran. Several Iranian officials have already died as a result of the illness.
The situation in Iran has rapidly deteriorated over the past several weeks and prompted the country to galvanize a military response to stymie the virus’s spread.
Iranian forces affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have now taken a “warlike” posture across the country, officials said.
“All provincial units of IRGC along with medical science universities are really in a warlike arrangement,” Major General Hossein Salami said Monday during a videoconference with IRGC leaders.
These military forces are working to disinfect areas and move infected individuals into makeshift quarantine facilities.
“I assure people that we can defeat this virus by preserving unity and resistance provided that people would stay at home and follow the hygienic requirements,” Salami said.
Official estimates issued by Iranian officials put the number of coronavirus infections at nearly 15,000, though the true number is likely much higher. At least 853 have died.
A United Nations Human Rights Council report on the human rights situation in Iran was sharply criticized over the weekend by a leading watchdog agency.
Hillel Neuer, the head of NGO UN Watch, said in a statement, “When the UN helps gross abusers like Iran act as champions and global judges of human rights, it’s an insult to their political prisoners and many other victims — and a defeat for the global cause of human rights.”
Most of the report, to which all UN members must submit once every five years, consists of the Iranian delegation’s claims regarding the country’s human rights record, which is widely viewed by the rest of the world as poor.
Iran is a theocracy in which Islam is the source of all political and social law, with non-Muslims as second-class citizens. Women are forced to conform to sexist and even misogynist regulations derived from Islamic tradition, and no political or other groups that advocate secular government are permitted.
Nonetheless, the UNHRC report is mainly composed of the Iranian claim that the ruling regime is a paragon of human rights.
“For the Islamic Republic of Iran, human rights were part and parcel of its rationality with deep roots in Islam,” it said.
“The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated that, with regard to women’s rights, article 101 of the Sixth National Development Plan spotlighted gender justice in order to support the fundamental rights of women in many areas, such as the right to education, employment, social security, and health care,” the report said.
May the memory of the victims always be blessed, and perpetrators face their full wrath of justice! pic.twitter.com/toml2ptI1J
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) March 17, 2020
Remembering the Terrorist Bombing of Israel’s Embassy in Buenos Aires
Today marks 28 years since the terror attack which targeted Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people and injuring 400 others. We remember the victims and pay tribute to the hundreds of volunteers, health personnel, firefighters and security forces which took part in the rescue efforts. May the memories of the victims be a blessing.
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