April 21, 2024

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05/01 Links Pt1: Israel’s birthday, Abbas and Balfour; Teaching Palestinian Children to Value Terrorism


From Ian:

Why Everything You Think You Know About Foreign Policy Is Wrong
There are no winners in war, only losers. The most arduous nuclear inspection regime in history involves letting Iran inspect its own nuclear sites. Funding a state at war won’t fill its war chest. Restraining the clerical regime in Iran means relieving sanctions to make billions of dollars. Rewarding a state sponsor of terror for its activities makes that state less likely to sponsor terror. Deterrence doesn’t work.
The logic at work in some of the more popular arguments made by Obama aides and their validators in the press wasn’t dialectical or paradoxical; e.g., if you want peace, prepare for war. It was Gladwellian—what’s really true is the opposite of whatever you think is true. Of course, that’s not journalism, it’s just marketing, or, in contemporary journalism-speak, Voxsplaining, after the popular liberal website Vox, which devoted itself in its entirety to counter-intuitive self-branded “hot takes” designed to showcase the wisdom of whatever the current Obama administration policy was.
To anyone who had read their Malcolm Gladwell, this was all deeply familiar. In Gladwell’s new-age sociology of marketing, you had the “connectors,” who knew lots of people, and the “mavens,” who knew important things. Most important of all were the “persuaders,” or super-charismatic figures, at the top of the heap. All of which explains why Mad Men was one of the big cultural events of the Obama years: It’s a story about an inner circle of somewhat-hip mavens and connectors working for a visionary king of cool to shape the beliefs of millions of Americans.
Obama’s “echo chamber” was another such story, with the “mavens” (policymakers and experts) and “connectors” (journalists) busily selling the Iran deal for their own king of cool in the White House. Those who wanted to be convinced were pretty easy to convince: Obama had Israel’s back and would never grant a nuclear weapon to a regime that threatens the existence of the Jewish state. Filters make cigarettes better for you! Others were a harder sell, and so the message had to be turned against them: If you don’t support a deal that frees up billions for a regime that threatens war, then you’re a warmonger.
It was no accident so much of the language and even imagery the Obama team used to sell the deal spun off anti-Semitic tropes. It was supposed to be scary. All of advertising is a threat, where the trick is simply in how you veil it—you don’t fit in but you want to, so buy our product. Malcolm Gladwell and Vance Packard would have been proud.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Embattled, Weak Abbas Comes to White House

This week, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump will sit down together to talk. This is the first such meeting since the US presidential election, and it comes at a time when the Palestinian scene is characterized by mounting internal tensions, fighting and divisiveness. The disarray among the Palestinians, where everyone seems to be fighting everyone else, casts serious doubt on Abbas’s ability to lead the Palestinians towards a better future. The chaos also raises the question whether Abbas has the authority to speak on behalf of a majority of Palestinians, let alone sign a peace agreement with Israel that would be acceptable to enough of his people.
Abbas, however, seems rather oblivious to the state of bedlam among the Palestinians, and appears determined to forge ahead despite the radical instability he is facing.
He is travelling to Washington to tell Trump that he and his PA leadership seek a “just and comprehensive” peace with Israel through the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
In the meeting, Abbas is likely to repeat his long-standing charges that Israel continues to “sabotage” any prospect for peace with the Palestinians.
Abbas is not likely to mention the mayhem that the PA leadership is facing at home. Nor is the fact that the Palestinians are as far as ever from achieving their goal of statehood likely to be a preeminent subject. Why bother discussing inconvenient truths, such as the deep divisions among the Palestinians and failure to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, when you can point the finger of blame at Israel?

Elliott Abrams: Teaching Palestinian Children to Value Terrorism

Peace between Israel and the Palestinians does not, fundamentally, depend on who is doing the negotiating, how skilled they are, and other such diplomatic matters. Fundamentally it depends on the desire for peace.
A new study of Palestinian textbooks finds that Palestinian children are being taught to glorify and value terrorism and violence. The study, called “Palestinian Elementary School Curriculum 2016–17: Radicalization and Revival of the PLO Program,” was conducted by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (in Jerusalem) and can be found here.
The study’s summary begins with this:
The new Palestinian curriculum, which includes new textbooks for grades 1–4, is significantly more radical than previous curricula. To an even greater extent than the 2014–15 textbooks, the curriculum teaches students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel and focuses on a “return” to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.
Within the pages of the textbooks children are taught to be expendable. Messages such as: “the volcano of my revenge”; “the longing of my blood for my land”; and “I shall sacrifice my blood to saturate the land” suffuse the curriculum. Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic. The vision of an Arab Palestine includes the entirety of what is now Israel, defined as the “1948 Occupied Territories.”

That is not the way to prepare children for peace.

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel

So what can Hamas do? First and foremost, it continues its domestic military build-up, mass producing rockets, mortar shells, variants of shoulder-fired missiles, drones, and digging tunnels – all at the expense of the welfare of the 2 million Palestinians it rules.
That’s because Hamas drew many operational lessons from its last conflict with Israel, and is keen on rebuilding its terrorist-guerrilla army without interruptions.
One lesson was to focus on a perceived Israeli vulnerability through short-range strikes. To that end, it is building new rockets that carry 200 kilogram warheads – significantly larger than past rockets made in Gaza.
These projectiles are not accurate, but would cause enormous damage if they slammed into a southern Israeli town or village.
Hamas weapons factories produce simple RPGs as well.
Second, Hamas is trying to becoming more ‘acceptable’ to the region and to the world. It is about to unveil a new charter which will be an attempt to obfuscate its jihadist ideological leanings and ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and present itself as being merely a national “resistance” organization.
In the long run, Sinwar and his regime plan to continue to prepare for the ‘grand’ destiny they have chosen for Gaza. So long as Hamas rules Gaza, it will be the base of unending jihad against Israel, buffered by tactical ceasefires, until conditions are ripe for a new assault.

Pictured: Moment ‘ISIS inspired’ student, 20, ‘left ball-bearing bomb in a rucksack propped against a seat on a London Tube train before casually walking away to attend a lecture’

Chilling footage shows the moment that an ‘ISIS inspired’ student from Devon allegedly left a ball bearing bomb on a Tube train in London.
Damon Smith, 20, allegedly packed a rucksack with explosives and ball-bearing shrapnel attached to a £2 Tesco clock timed to go off on the Jubilee Line.
Smith allegedly left the bomb on a carriage before changing his clothes and going to a university lecture, on October 20 last year, the Old Bailey heard.
CCTV shows him taking the rucksack off his shoulder and possibly putting the batteries in the device, then getting on the Tube on a Jubilee line platform.
Four minutes later he is seen getting off the train at London Bridge without the bag, which contains the homemade bomb and is propped against a seat by the door.

3 women arrested in ongoing UK counterterror investigation

British police have arrested three women as part of a continuing counterterrorism investigation that included a raid last week.
Police said that three women were arrested Monday morning on suspicion of planning attacks. Two are 18 and one is 19. They are being questioned at a police station outside London.
Police say the arrests are part of an ongoing intelligence-led operation related to a series of arrests that began Thursday when police stormed a house in northwest London.
One woman who was shot during that raid was arrested after she was discharged from a hospital.

Ruthie Blum: Israel’s birthday, Abbas and Balfour
In a piece in The Washington Post in October, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the Balfour Declaration the “symbolic beginning of the denial of our rights.” He failed to mention that it is actually the leaders in the West Bank and Gaza who have ever denied the Arabs of the PA their rights. Well before the Six Day War, when the term “Palestinian people” was coined, Arabs rejected the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine – the original “two-state solution.”
They have been refusing to reach any peaceful arrangement with Israel since then.
The end result is on display for all to see. Israel has spent nearly seven decades building a booming democratic country, while the Arabs of Palestine have frittered away the time by engaging in acts of destruction.
Yes, as the Jewish state marks 69 years since its establishment, 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem and 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, the PA is threatening to take Britain to court.
Let Trump be reminded of this before hosting Abbas in the Oval Office and listening to his lies.
The rest of us should take a break from discussions of war and peace to toast Balfour – and Israel’s success in a region otherwise characterized by failure.
Israeli minister fires back at Barghouti in NY Times op-ed

Erdan argued that because the strike was about Fatah politics rather than the treatment of prisoners, Barghouti has gained no support from rival groups, including the Hamas terror organization.
“The hunger strike is another step in his campaign to position himself as Mr. Abbas’s successor,” he wrote. “The political nature of the strike is a main reason the leaders of Fatah’s rival, Hamas, have not backed the strike.”
Erdan said that despite attempts by Barghouti to rebrand himself as a “moderate” and Palestinian terrorism as “resistance,” Barghouti remains an unrepentant convicted murderer, responsible for the deaths of five people — Jewish, Christian and Druze.
He accused the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, of encouraging terrorism through incitement, and particularly through payments to the families of those who commit terror attacks.
Erdan called on the international community to put an end to incitement by ensuring the money does not reach terrorists.
“The billions of dollars in international aid enable the authority to continue lining the terrorists’ pockets with cash,” he wrote. “Both politicians and ordinary citizens must demand an end to this gross abuse of international funds.”

Fatah official delegitimizes Israel’s right to exist, calls it “’Israel’ in quotation marks”

Official PA TV News, interview with Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of Mobilization and Organization in the West Bank Jamal Muhaisen, on the hunger strike by terrorist prisoners that began on April 17, 2017.
Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of Mobilization and Organization in the West Bank Jamal Muhaisen: “They [the prisoners] are taken captive in the PA areas, which violates international law, and they are generally transferred to prisons in the areas occupied since 1948 – what is called ‘Israel’ in quotation marks, and this also opposes international law.” [Official PA TV News, April 22, 2017]

MEMRI: Former Jordanian Culture Minister: No Problem With U.S. Moving Embassy To West Jerusalem

In an April 30, 2017 article titled “Unpopular Statements,” Tareq Al-Masarwa, Jordan’s former culture minister and a senior columnist for the government daily Al-Rai, wrote that the U.S. can move its embassy to West Jerusalem[1] because the Palestinians and Arabs do not claim that part of the city. He called on the Arabs to face reality in light of the fundamental changes that have occurred in the Arab world in the last few years, and discard illusions of victory and fairytales about resistance.
The following are excerpts from his article:
“The Americans can move their embassy to the new [part of] Jerusalem [i.e. the western part] without sparking any serious rage among the Arabs. This is for the simple reason that the Palestinians and Arabs demand the Old City [of Jerusalem] – which they lost in the 1967 war, known as the Six Day War – as the capital of their state. I have not heard anyone demanding the 1948 part of Jerusalem [i.e., West Jerusalem], neither Hamas, the PLO nor anyone else.
“There is talk about U.S. President [Donald] Trump visiting the region [soon], including the hotspots of Israeli-Palestinian tension. Although the man is known for the promises he made before and after the elections, he can play the game of ‘Jerusalem the capital [of Israel]’ without causing awkwardness for [either] U.S. policy or his allies…

Ros-Lehtinen, an Israel advocate, retires from Congress

One of Israel’s most loyal advocates in Congress announced her retirement on Sunday.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Congresswoman from Florida, said it was “time to take a new step” after serving in the House since 1989.
She leaves office as the most senior Republican woman serving in the lower chamber and one of its most vocal legislators on matters concerning Israel. A reliable ally of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, she as recently as Friday was introducing legislation that would shield Israel from efforts to harm it at the United Nations.
Ros-Lehtinen opposed the Iran nuclear deal and supported repeated increases in US defense aid to the Jewish state.
In a flattering piece, the editorial board of The Miami Herald– the largest local newspaper distributing in her district– said she had served her constituents well over nearly three decades.

US Tax Dollars Fund Terrorists

So if the Taylor Force Act is implemented, others will likely continue to support the Palestinian Authority; those funds could continue to support rewarding terrorists. Even if the PA complies with the Act’s demands, it will be difficult to track whether they continue to honor its requirements. At least we will be taking steps to make the support of terrorists and their families more difficult.
Still there does appear to be hope elsewhere. In December, the UK temporarily suspended funding to the PA because the Brits claim, correctly, that the money winds up in the hands of terrorists. They have established specific criteria for how funding should be distributed, and to whom. Shortly after his inauguration, President Trump held up a last-minute cash giveaway of $221 million to the Palestinians that Barack Obama authorized just hours before he left office. It is unclear whether the funds have been released, or released with restrictions.
So there are three primary questions:
Do you think the Taylor Force Act will be effective if passed?
Should we be supporting the Palestinian Authority at all?
Should we find a way to provide funds that holds the PA accountable for using the funds appropriately?

Will German president defy Netanyahu, meet Breaking the Silence?

Amid a deepening crisis in bilateral ties, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to arrive in Israel next week, and it is currently unclear whether he will meet with the controversial Breaking the Silence NGO and thus risk being boycotted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu last week canceled a planned meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel when the latter refused to cancel a sit-down with Breaking the Silence.
The schedule for Steinmeier’s three-day visit has not been completed, German and Israeli officials told The Times of Israel on Monday, refusing to comment on the possibility that Netanyahu would decline to meet the German head of state.
Steinmeier, who became Germany’s president in March, is landing on Saturday. So far, a meeting with Netanyahu is part of Steinmeier’s preliminary schedule. But Netanyahu’s new policy to shun foreign dignitaries who meet with Breaking the Silence puts a question mark over the planned encounter.
President Reuven Rivlin, who met Gabriel last week, will host Steinmeier for a working lunch on Sunday, after which the German guest will answer questions from the traveling press.

Ben-Dror Yemini: Have you met with Chelsea Manning, Herrr

Op-ed: Would the German government and press be okay with a foreign country’s minister meeting with activists of an opposition group like Pegida? Has the German foreign minister met with organizations like Stop the War Coalition in the UK? The EU and European countries, however, fund many organizations that are working to demonize Israel. It’s not criticism—it’s demonization.
In March 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied the White House and addressed the US Congress. The speech was preceded by a heated public debate, both in Israel and in the United States, with most commentators opposing the speech. Netanyahu wanted to influence Congress to oppose the nuclear agreement that was taking shape with Iran. He offered legitimate arguments. The unnecessary provocation against the White House, however, was foolish. There are things that should not be done in relations between countries. The congressional address was wonderful, but it was also useless. It did more harm than good.
Let’s continue. Only several weeks ago, high-ranking Turkish politicians sought to meet with members of the Turkish community in Germany and the Netherlands. Those two countries made it clear that they found the political meddling unacceptable. The Turks were furious. How could they be forbidden to hold meetings as they please? Where is democracy? Most commentators in Israel, as well as in Europe, supported the German stance enthusiastically, and rightfully so. There are things that must not be done. Politicians from a foreign country don’t come to the host country to stir the political pot.
Nevertheless, when it comes to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s meeting with representatives of radical left-wing groups in Israel, most commentators suddenly take an opposite stand. Most of those who opposed Netanyahu’s Congress speech, and applauded the Germans for standing up to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, are taking a stand like robots in favor of the German foreign minister and against Netanyahu.

Israel asks UN for permission to inspect Armon Hanatziv compound

The Jerusalem District Court last week ordered the Jerusalem Municipality and the Israel Land Authority to respond to the petition filed last week by Regavim against the United Nations over an illegal construction boom at the UN headquarters in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, which belongs to the State of Israel.
The state, for its part, has filed a request for an additional postponement to the Jerusalem District Court, which indicates that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with various elements of the UN, and has asked the UN to allow a visit by professional bodies on behalf of the State of Israel.
The representatives of the Foreign Ministry also held a preliminary visit to the site, during which UN representatives claimed that the construction work currently under way without building permits from the Jerusalem Municipality and without the consent of the State of Israel belongs to the area, as “arising from the need for essential renovations in the historic building, which was erected in 1929.”
The state explained its request for an additional period, also because of “the need to formulate the State’s position on the legal aspects [of the case], including aspects relating to the immunity of the UN, as well as the need to further clarify the factual basis and the continuation of diplomatic contacts with the UN.”
The suit filed by the Regavim movement last month noted the flood of serious building violations committed by the UN in recent years, including concrete castings in the historic building, the construction of an illegal multi-story office building, a hangar storage and a pirate gas station that is also an environmental hazard.

Belgian FM defends election of Saudi Arabia to U.N. women’s rights body, advocates ‘dialogue’

Foreign minister Reynders also made the pragmatic, realpolitik case for Belgium to vote for Saudi Arabia on U.N. human rights bodies. Even when they produce immoral and absurd candidacies, “Belgium respects clean slate policies and the usual practice of not proceeding with voting in this type of situation,” he said, because “Western countries are far from holding a majority at the UN, and this may end up making it so that we are no longer elected to organizations of this type.” Reynders also worried that holding a recorded vote—instead of the usual rubber stamping by acclamation—has the effect of “delegitimizing” the UN.
And yet despite making a firm and extensive case for putting the Saudis on the women’s rights body, Reynders also manages to express the opposite position, saying “Belgium is in no way pleased with the election of Saudi Arabia into this commission,” and if there were competition, Belgium “would have made a choice that would certainly had not been in favor of Saudi Arabia.”
Below is the English translation, followed by the original, and PM Charles Michel’s contradictory statement apologizing for the Belgian vote for the Saudis.

Belgians Waffle: PM Regrets Electing Saudis to UN Women, FM Defends

Editorial: Standing strong against an absurd United Nations vote

It’s hard to believe, but when it comes to hypocrisy the United Nations has outdone itself once again. On April 23, the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council elected Saudi Arabia to a four-year term on its Commission on the Status of Women. Through secret ballot, the Middle Eastern kingdom was voted onto the commission by 47 of the 54 member nations of the council.
We find it particularly disturbing that only seven member countries voted against the Saudis. That means at least 15 supposedly liberal, democratic countries cast their ballots in favor of adding one of the world’s most oppressive regimes to a commission that claims to be “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” We are talking about a nation that bans women from driving, forbids them from associating with men who aren’t family and all but forces them to wear heavy black abayas and head scarves.
Human rights advocates are incensed. Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, called the vote “absurd” and stated that electing “Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief.” Rothna Begum of Human Rights Watch asked how Saudi Arabia could “seek to promote women’s rights globally, when at home they continue to severely discriminate against women?”
If there is a positive side to the story, it’s the fact that there was even a vote held at all. Most years no official count is taken and nominations are simply rubber-stamped. This time, however, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., demanded the vote. The American diplomat’s insistence plainly signaled the United States’ deep disapproval of Saudi Arabia’s nomination.
Haley is quickly emerging as an important voice of U.S. diplomacy. We salute her for her strong stance on this ridiculous vote.

Ron Prosor: UNESCO trying to impose a fake history

Op-ed: Just like Israel’s security forces manage to thwart most terror attacks, the State of Israel must work to thwart most diplomatic terror attacks, including the resolution challenging Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
There are several sites across Israel which have been defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as World Heritage Sites. This is something we are blessed with. At the same time, however, UNESCO is working to rewrite history and erase the Jewish people’s historical connection to their eternal capital, Jerusalem. In an era of fake news, UNESCO is trying to impose a fake history, and is doing so at the most defying timing.
On Monday, as the State of Israel marks the memorial day for its fallen soldiers and victims of terror, remembering the tens of thousands of men and women who gave their lives to defend the state, including thousands who were killed in the battles for Jerusalem in Israel’s wars and in terror attacks, UNESCO will vote on a resolution stating that any attempt by the State of Israel to enforce its sovereignty in Jerusalem—not just in east Jerusalem but in all parts of the city—is illegal.
How should we deal with such a false attack, at a bad timing and on an international level?

UNESCO to fire another volley at Israel – on Independence Day

The United Nations’ cultural agency is set to pass a resolution on Tuesday — Israel’s 69th Independence Day — that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem. The resolution also harshly criticizes the government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.
Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine” will most likely pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body. Its wording as of Monday was slightly less harsh on Jerusalem than previous resolutions, in that it does affirm the importance of the city to the “three monotheistic religions.”
On Monday, Israeli diplomats were busy trying to prevent an European-Arab agreement that would see the council’s European members either vote in favor or abstain in exchange for a slightly softer text.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to be making phone calls to European leaders in a bid to convince them to reject the resolution.
According to Israeli officials, Germany was a driving force behind a deal that would see all EU states abstain in exchange for the removal of the most incendiary anti-Israel passages. But on Monday, Italy announced that it would vote against the resolution, apparently ending the effort to forge a European consensus.

US Official Criticizes New Draft of ‘Delegitimizing’ UNESCO Resolution Labeling Israeli Presence in Jerusalem ‘Illegal’

The latest draft of a resolution entitled “Occupied Palestine” to be voted on this Tuesday by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, has been sharply condemned by a US official.
The resolution – submitted by Arab states Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and Sudan – declares as its aim the “safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem.” The resolution goes on to attack Israel in the harshest terms, stating that all measures taken by the Jewish state in its capital are “illegal” and “null and void.”
“UNESCO is too often used as a vehicle by member states inclined to delegitimize the State of Israel,” the US official told The Algemeiner. “Although several of these anti-Israel resolutions are typically adopted biannually by UNESCO, over time they have become increasingly political in nature and now question Israel’s basic claim to historic sites.”
The official concluded: “These resolutions are counterproductive to the core work of UNESCO and do nothing to advance the goal we all share of a two-state solution.”
Although the resolution — a copy of which was obtained by The Algemeiner — reaffirms “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions,” it continues by asserting that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”

‘UNESCO creating fake history’

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely released a statement regarding UNESCO’s upcoming vote tomorrow.
“Tomorrow Israel is going to celebrate its 69th Independence Day. Shortly after, Israel will be celebrating 50 years to the reunification of Jerusalem and 3000 years of Jewish history in our historic capital.
“Tomorrow, even as we celebrate, UNESCO will be voting against Israel’s right to sovereignty in its capital city, Jerusalem.
“This is absurd. We have become used to the concept of ‘fake news’. Well, welcome to ‘fake history’.
“UNESCO has long been politicized and unfortunately has become a tool in the service of Palestinian propaganda against Israel.
“Such absurd and historically baseless resolutions undermine UNESCO’s mission of safeguarding humanity’s cultural heritage.

Poll Arab citizens think higher of Israel than its Jewish citizens do

As Israel turns 69 on Monday, a nation prone to endless kvetching is more content with its lot then one would gather from the media or conversations around Shabbat evening tables, according to a poll released Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute.
According to the poll, fully 71% of the population said that their personal situation is “good” or “very good,” with only 3% defining it as “bad” or “very bad.” Another 25% said their situation is “okay.”
That was on the individual level.
On the collective level, some 47.5% of the population said that Israel’s situation today is either “very good” or “good,” with only 15% saying “bad” or “very bad,” and another 40% saying “okay.” The rest either did not know or did not reply.
What is interesting, and perhaps even counterintuitive, is that the percentage of Arabs who said that the country is in good or very good shape was significantly higher than the Jewish respondents who said so. Among Arabs, fully 66% said that Israel’s situation is either “good” or “very good,” and some 12% gave the country a “bad” or “very bad” grade.

Discrimination against Judea and Samaria residents

When Meir reported a problem with his cell phone to mobile provider Cellcom and asked for the service he was entitled to, he was told that his device would only be examined in another month. However, if he lived within the so-called Green Line, he would receive service within just a few days.
In an interview with Artutz Sheva, Kletter recounted the conversation he had with Cellcom. During the conversation he was asked where he lived and answered “near Netanya.” In response, he was told that a technician would arrive on the 30th of the current month, that is, in four days. But when it became clear to the Cellcom employee that while Kletter indeed lived close to Netanya, but in a town which was just beyond the ‘Green Line,’ he said that since this is a place beyond the ‘Green Line,’ the service would only be provided on May 21, i.e., in almost a month.
Kletter said that due to the problem about which he contacted Cellcom, his phone is disabled and his Internet connection does not exist. Asked how he reacted to the puzzling date given to him, Kletter replied that this made him laugh because it was easy to choose a different cellular company, one which does not discriminate against people based on their place of residence.

Iran: PA conducting a ‘war’ against Gaza

Hussein Sheikh Al-Islam, an Iranian parliamentary adviser on International Affairs, on Sunday attacked the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) policy toward Gaza, calling it a “crime” which the PA is carrying out with the encouragement of the United States and Israel.
Speaking with Hamas’s Al-Risala newspaper, Sheikh Al-Islam said that the PA was conducting an unjustified war against Gaza, calling on PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to stop this policy, which he said was linked to Israel.
His comments refer to the PA’s decision to cut the salaries of public employees in Gaza and to stop funding the power plant in the coastal enclave. The PA claims that Hamas is not prepared to transfer power in Gaza to the PA, and is running an independent government there, and therefore it must fully bear the consequences of its policy.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Abbas’s spokesman, condemned Sheikh Al-Islam’s statements and said that they serve only Israel and the enemies of the Arab nation.

Palestinian Authority official slams Iran for comments on Abbas

Nabil Abu Rudeinah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, on Sunday slammed a senior Iranian official for making disparaging comments of the Palestinian Authority leader.
“The statement and attack of Hussein Sheikh al-Islam, an adviser to the Iranian foreign minister, on the Palestinian president and the Palestinian struggle is unacceptable and irresponsible,” Abu Rudeinah told Wafa, the official PA news site. “It is not acceptable for a state that has contributed to the division [between the West Bank and Gaza] to talk about Palestine and its people.”
Iran is a sponsor of Hamas, which dominates Gaza, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Sheikh al-Islam told the Hamas-affiliated al-Risalah website earlier Sunday that “what [the] PA and Mahmoud Abbas are perpetrating at the expense of the Palestinian people in Gaza is a crime.”
Sheikh al-Islam’s comments came three days after Abbas informed Israel that the PA is stopping its payments for electricity in Gaza.
Abbas is reportedly considering withdrawing parts of other budgets that the PA allocates to Gaza.

Hamas accuses Abbas of ‘crimes against humanity’ in Gaza

Senior Hamas officials stepped up a war of words with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend, accusing him of “crimes against humanity” over his plans to pressure the terror group to cede control of the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at a Hamas-organized protest in Gaza City against the measures taken by the PA, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior member of Hamas’s political bureau, called the measures “a crime against humanity.”
“The criminals in the PA, you cut off power to the innocent people of the Strip, so God will cut off power to your hearts,” he added.
On Sunday, Ismail Haniyeh, the former Gaza leader for Hamas who is poised to take over soon as chief of the organization worldwide, called Abbas “delusional.”

Documentary reveals new details on hit on Hamas drone expert

A documentary aired by Qatari news network Al Jazeera on Sunday attempted to shed light on the death of Mohammed Alzoari, head of Hamas’ drone program, who was assassinated in Tunisia in December 2016, in what Hamas claimed was a Mossad hit.
In the documentary, Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Ubaida claimed the Tunisian aviation engineer had produced over 30 unmanned aircraft for the Gaza Strip-based terrorist organization by the time Israel embarked on Operation Cast Lead, a wide-scale military offensive waged in Gaza in 2008.
Alzoari’s wife, who also appeared in the documentary, told interviewers she did not know her husband’s real name, and that she learned Alzoari used an alias a year and a half after they were married. She said Alzoari used an alias out of concern he would be subject to surveillance by Israeli intelligence and possibly assassinated.
The documentary also claimed to provide the names and pictures of some of the Mossad agents purportedly responsible for taking out Alzoari. It repeated past claims by Tunisian authorities that they found the guns and silencers used in the assassination.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Pope’s Trip To Egypt Brings Everlasting Christian-Muslim Peace For 8.2 Seconds (satire)

Pope Francis concluded his first visit to Muslim-majority Egypt last week amid ongoing anti-Christian violence there, and urged the Christian and Islamic religious communities to interact peacefully – a request from the heart whose charismatic force wrought such a change in Egyptian society that the violence permanently ceased for almost ten seconds.
From the moment Francis delivered his impassioned remarks in a Coptic church that had been targeted by Islamist terrorists, until a group of Muslim men spat at a pair of Coptic women in the country’s south, a full eight quadrillion, two hundred trillion femtoseconds elapsed, a veritable eternity in quantum terms. The prolonged period of everlasting peace showcased the spiritual and moral power the Roman Catholic Church still wields, according to religion observers.
“We would not have seen this kind of development under Pope Benedict XVI,” gushed Father Yerri Dassadorros of the Diocese of Gregorio de Laferrere in Buenos Aires, Argentina, referring to Francis’s predecessor. “He was far too conservative a personality, even leaving theology aside. The moral force of Francis’s appeals call to mind the early days of Pope John Paul II, who similarly beseeched people of all stripes to stop killing one another.”
“Eight quadrillion femtoseconds – that must be a record,” agreed Imam Aiwil Biheddem of Riyadh. “That’s eight thousand picoseconds. What’s more, that’s eight million attoseconds. Light can travel across two entire hydrogen atoms in just one attosecond, so imagine how far it could go in eight million. There hasn’t been such a protracted period of Christian-Muslim peace since I don’t know when.” He added that it provided a perfect opportunity to exploit the resulting complacency of the infidel to reassert Islamic dominance over others.

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