May 31, 2020

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05/07 Links Pt1: David French: The Law of War Permits Israel to Destroy Hamas; Hamas Boasts It Overcame Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defenses. It Didn’t; Hamas TV threatens the Eurovision Song Contest

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Another ceasefire
On Monday, another ceasefire went into effect after a massive round of hostilities from Gaza. Since Saturday, some 700 rockets have been launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad at Israel. Four Israelis were killed and more than 200 wounded, including those suffering from shock. Neither the offensive itself nor the way it ended were a surprise. Even the timing was not unexpected. Israeli officials had predicted for a long time that the Palestinian terrorist movements in Gaza would exploit this particular, sensitive period to try to gain extra benefits – ahead of Israel’s Independence Day, the first anniversary of the US relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem and, significantly, the Eurovision Song Contest being hosted by Israel in Tel Aviv next week.

Although officials denied that the timing of the Eurovision had anything to do with the efforts to quickly end this round of hostilities, it was clearly on people’s minds. Instead of being able to showcase the country to boost tourism (as every host country wants to do) there would have been a danger that Israel would be seared even more in international minds as a no-go war zone.

Similarly, that the end of the hostilities coincided with the start of Ramadan is also no coincidence. It is doubtful that either Hamas or Islamic Jihad wanted Gaza to be under war conditions during the month when Muslims fast during the day but have festive meals and gatherings every night. Ultimately, even the terrorist regime that controls the Gaza Strip knows that it has to answer to the people who live there. Despite Gazans’ public joy at every Israeli fatality and at perceived PR victories, the ordinary residents of the Strip are not eager to suffer another devastating war.

Exact details of what the ceasefire entails are not yet clear. Indeed, the government has done everything to avoid calling it a ceasefire at all, because it wants to prevent a situation in which it could be interpreted that Israel is officially recognizing Hamas, a terrorist organization.

However, we can make some assumptions based on previous ceasefires, and sadly there are ever shorter periods between the rounds of hostilities.

Hamas Boasts It Overcame Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defenses with Concentrated Rocket Salvos. It Didn’t

While Hamas and Islamic Jihad attempted to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome by firing numerous rockets at a specific location, comparatively few rockets actually succeeded in penetrating the system, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

In one case, over the course of one hour on Sunday evening, at least 117 rockets were fired at the city of Ashdod, but only one made it past Israel’s air defenses.

Maj. Tom Scott, a commander at an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel, said the missile defense system is capable of intercepting “many different threats,” including “large barrages or short-range rockets or rockets fired at high altitude or at low altitude.”

While Iron Dome is not impenetrable, in the latest round the system had an 86% success rate – similar to previous rounds of intensive rocket fire.

Scott noted that the Iron Dome’s radars successfully spotted every rocket and mortar launch, which ensured that Israelis were warned of incoming projectiles ahead of time by sirens.

Hamas TV threatens the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel

Following two days in which Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired around 700 rockets at Israel, Hamas’ official TV channel warned that if Israel does not honor the understandings to Hamas’ satisfaction, the terrorist organization can disrupt the Eurovision contest as it is being held in Israel.

After praising the performance of the joint war room of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Mu’min Meqdad, the “Hebrew Affairs Editor and Expert” for Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, warned that Hamas can disrupt the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel:

Al-Aqsa TV “Hebrew Affairs Editor and Expert” Mu’min Meqdad: “There is no doubt that the resistance [Hamas] or the negotiator gave the occupation very little time to implement these understandings. I think that the coming days will be a test for the occupation. If the occupation evades [its responsibilities], I believe that the resistance [Hamas] can deprive the occupation the pleasure of a number of the coming opportunities, such as the European Song Contest. There is still room to maneuver in the coming days.” [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), May 6, 2019]

Later in the broadcast, the Al-Aqsa TV editor assured the viewers that Hamas “will have the last word”:

Host: “Clearly there is a decision regarding the siege that it needs to be eased or changed in a clear manner in which the civilians will feel it, because the situation here in Gaza is very difficult.”
Mu’min Meqdad: “[Hamas] will monitor… the implementation of the understandings… If the occupation changes its mind or evades these things, there is no doubt that the resistance will have the last word.”

David French: The Law of War Permits Israel to Destroy Hamas

First, attacks against its civilian population are rationalized and justified to an unprecedented extent. There are still all too many people who see Hamas as heroic freedom fighters facing off against terrible oppressors, rather than evil terrorists with genocidal aims.

Second, the world then holds Israel to a standard of military restraint that it applies to no other military force on the planet. If Israel even used American rules of engagement or applied American military doctrine, the devastation in Gaza would be orders of magnitude greater than anything we’ve yet seen. The Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations have been far more aggressive and “kinetic” than Israel in our response to terror. We’ve destroyed far more urban territory, and we’ve inflicted vastly more civilian casualties. Yet, with isolated exceptions, we’ve done so under self-imposed rules of engagement that are stricter than the law of war requires.

It’s time to change the terms of the international debate. It’s time for the world community to stop imposing these double standards on Israel, and start doing what international law requires: holding Hamas responsible for the devastation that results from Israel’s legal, necessary, and proper responses to its provocations. Only then will Hamas know that if it sows the wind, it could truly reap the whirlwind, and it will have no powerful international friends come to its aid.

IDF Blog: 48 Hours of Terror from Gaza

Round-the-clock Terror
Four Israelis were killed in the rocket attacks: Moshe Agadi, 58; Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21; Zaid al-Hamamde, 47; and Moshe Feder, 68.

More than 130 other Israelis were wounded, and hundreds more are suffering from shock and anxiety. Rockets launched by Hamas and PIJ have hit homes, schools, kindergartens, and other civilian targets.

Soldiers operating the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted more than 240 of the over 690 rockets fired towards Israeli cities, towns, and villages, preventing countless deaths and injuries and avoiding further damage.

IDF Defends
The IDF responded to the round-the-clock rocket attacks with focused strikes on approximately 350 Hamas and PIJ terror targets in the Gaza Strip. These included rocket launch sites, terror squads, terror operatives, command centers, weapon storage facilities, observation posts, and military compounds.

Also targeted was a Hamas underground rocket manufacturing facility, a PIJ cross-border terror tunnel shaft, Hamas’ Military Intelligence and the General Security offices, Hamas and PIJ naval vessels, Hamas’ cyber headquarters, and weapon manufacturing sites.

Many of the targeted sites had been intentionally embedded and concealed in densely populated civilian areas; these terror groups use their own civilians to shield their terror infrastructure.

The IDF will continue to defend the people of Israel and will continue to act against those who threaten them.

IDF chief: Israel destroyed hundreds of ‘terror targets’ in Gaza

IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said Monday that the Israeli military destroyed “hundreds of military targets” in the Gaza Strip during two days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups.

“The terrorist army operating in the Gaza Strip, hiding among its own citizens, did not predict the strength of the IDF and the security organizations, which destroyed hundreds of terrorist targets, including headquarters, arms depots, as well as ostensibly civilian infrastructure and buildings that had become terrorist dens,” Kohavi said in an address ahead of Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, which begins Tuesday evening.

“Along with the significant damage to the enemy, I wish to express deep regret over the deaths of four of our citizens and to wish a speedy recovery to the wounded,” Kohavi said.

“The IDF will continue to attack with force, as needed, wherever it is needed,” he added.

A ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza terror groups went into effect at 4:30 a.m. Monday, ending two days of intense fighting that saw more than 600 rockets fired at Israel and four Israeli civilians killed.

Will the Gaza Flare-Up Cost Eurovision 2019?

Eurovision 2019 contestants have started arriving in Israel and they are touring the country. Rehearsals for next week’s semi-final began on Sunday morning at the same time rockets were being fired from Gaza into Israel. How are Eurovision producers and contestants reacting? Our Daniel Campos has the story.

Gaza official: Israel agreed to implement ceasefire concessions within a week

Israel has agreed to implement a series of measures within a week, including lifting restrictions on the import of many goods into the Gaza Strip, as part of a ceasefire agreement with terror groups in the coastal enclave, a senior Palestinian official in the territory said Tuesday.

After two days of intense fighting over the weekend in which terror groups launched over 650 rockets at southern Israel and the Israel Defense Forces carried out more than 300 retaliatory strikes throughout Gaza, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced that Egypt and other international parties had successfully brokered a truce deal.

A number of Arabic news sites have published varying reports detailing the terms of the deal.

The senior Gaza-based official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel that the agreement “basically focuses on Israel implementing what it previously agreed to carry out, but now Israel has pledged for the first time to do so within one week.”

In return, he said Gaza’s rulers are to put an end to all “resistance” against Israel, except for “peaceful” border protests.

He added that “all options would be on the table” if the Jewish state does not abide by the deal.

Qatar pledges to send $480 million in aid to West Bank and Gaza

Qatar pledged to send $480 million in aid to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, Qatar’s foreign ministry said overnight Monday.

The Palestinian Authority would receive $300 million for health and education and $180 million would finance humanitarian initiatives, electricity and United Nations programs, Reuters reported.

The announcement comes after two days of intense fighting between Israel and Gaza-based terrorists that saw nearly 700 rockets fired at Israel and four Israeli civilians killed.

In response to the onslaught, the Israel Defense Forces conducted over 300 strikes from the air and land, including a rare assassination of a terrorist operative whom the IDF said funneled money from Iran to terror groups in the Strip.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said 29 Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes, including two pregnant women and a baby. Israel said one of the women and the baby were killed in a failed rocket launch inside Gaza and not as a result of IDF actions.

UN envoys tour rocket-hit Ashkelon

Israel’s ambassador to the UN led a group of foreign envoys through rocket-damaged areas of the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, which was pummeled by repeated rocket fire from Gaza over the weekend.

The ambassadors, who serve alongside Danny Danon at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, visited the home of Moshe Agadi, a 58-year-old father of four killed by a rocket that slammed into his home, as well as a school in the city that was damaged.

“We came to Ashkelon in order to strengthen the residents of the south and show the world from up close the aggression of Hamas,” Danon said.

Ashkelon was among the hardest-hit cities during the two-day flareup of violence starting Saturday. Aside from Agadi, Ziad al-Hamamda, 47, from the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom was also killed when a rocket hit a factory where he was working in the city.

Two other Israelis were also killed on Sunday, Israeli-American Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21 who was killed by a rocket in Ashdod and Moshe Feder, 68, killed when an anti-tank missile hit his car on a highway near the Gaza border.

“The time has come for the Security Council to designate Hamas a terror group like al-Qaeda and Daesh,” Danon told reporters as the group viewed a house damaged by shrapnel, saying he would bring the demand to the Security Council.

There’s Nothing Progressive About Terrorists Targeting Civilians—Except When Israelis Are the Victims

It is painfully obvious that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and of the political left more generally, despises Israel. More than that, these once fringe voices, which are now mainstream and overtaking the center-left, are offended, even disgusted by the Jewish state. The seething, venomous hatred is visceral, creating an almost palpable poison that permeates the air, corroding the body politic with its destructive abandonment of reason and moral clarity. These radical voices, which do not represent the entire political left but are in the process of overtaking it, do not want the Jewish state to survive. How else does one explain their behavior? Supporting terrorist regimes over a democratic ally, endorsing initiatives such as the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, applying the most crippling double standards to Israel, accusing it of cosmic evil, isolating the Jewish state as the Jew among nations—these are all efforts to undermine Israel until it discards its Jewish character, surrendering to the will of the mob and leaving the Jewish people to the whims of the vultures. Does that sound like exaggeration? Take a moment to imagine what would happen to Israel if it adopted the policies that Tlaib, Omar, Sarsour, and Corbyn want, and if the West adopted the appeasing policies that they want toward Iran, Hamas, PIJ, Hezbollah, and all the Islamist, anti-Semitic regimes and groups that want to destroy Israel.

In a great irony, however, these progressive voices are not only anti-Israel, but also anti-Palestinian. After all, Hamas is the same group that, in March, brutally suppressed Palestinian protesters who were demonstrating against Hamas’s tyrannical rule, which has left Gaza in an almost apocalyptic state. Unemployment is astonishingly high, there are frequent blackouts, the sewage system is terrible—indeed, Palestinians in Gaza have no hope, and that is because of Hamas. More generally, progressives like Omar, Tlaib, and Sarsour never say a word about Palestinian suffering in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere; they only seem to care when Israel is involved. Is it possible that they care more about hurting Israel than helping the Palestinians?

Progressives espouse many wonderful things: tolerance, equality, and peace. Israel embodies these ideals, practicing the only progressive society in the Middle East. Women are equal to men in every way, there is a vibrant LGBTQ community, and Arabs and Muslims can enjoy all of the same rights and opportunities as Jews. The Palestinian leadership, both in Gaza, and the West Bank, exhibits none of these qualities. So Israel and the progressive movement should be a natural fit—the latter embracing the former to bring a more progressive vision to the world’s least progressive region. Yet too many Western progressives demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state and demand that it adopt policies that would kill lots of Israelis, and lots of Jews. Why is that the case? Anti-Israel progressives who wish to practice what they preach should really look themselves in the mirror—and maybe educate themselves on Middle Eastern history.

The story behind Arab attacks that needs to be told

With hundreds of missiles raining down on southern Israel, one of the most important stories is the one you won’t read about—because it hasn’t happened.

The Arabs’ missiles have hit homes, a synagogue, a hospital and a school, and killed four civilians (and only civilians). The story you won’t read is the one quoting anyone from the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders or any other “humanitarian” organization decrying these absolutely clear violations of the law of war.

Every single one of the Arabs’ targets—and every single one of their hits—is a clear, intentional attack on a civilian or humanitarian situs. Every single one is illegal under international law. Every single one is a violation of the human rights of the Jews who are the targets (though some of the first civilian deaths in this latest avalanche of missiles were Bedouin and another was an Israeli Muslim).

This latest unprovoked attack by the terror groups that run Gaza on Israeli territory and citizens is only the most recent display of the simple strategy that for the last 20 years at least has animated Arab “military” efforts against the Jewish state: having learned long ago that they cannot defeat Israel’s soldiers, Arab efforts to destroy Israel are crafted entirely to cause civilian death and destruction.

Yair Netanyahu: Gaza Proves ‘Land for Peace’ Really Means ‘Land for War’

Imagine the southern half of the United States being bombarded by missiles for days at a time. Conceptualize the populations of Miami, Los Angeles and Dallas running into bomb shelters as rocket sirens blare. This is the reality here in Israel as I write these words.

For the last three days, more than 600 terror missiles have been indiscriminately fired upon some of Israel’s largest cities. Almost half of Israel’s population is currently inside the line of rocket fire while our capital, Jerusalem, and the economical hub of Tel Aviv could be the next targets. Once the rocket alert system is activated, the people of Israel have only a few seconds to find refuge as Gaza missiles target their cities.

The rockets are being launched by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist terror organization that controls the Gaza Strip, and by the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group. Four Israeli civilians were murdered on Sunday (reportedly including an Israeli Arab Bedouin) by the Palestinian missiles. A pregnant Palestinian woman and her 14-month old baby were reportedly killed by a Hamas rocket launched toward Israeli civilians that accidentally fell inside the Gaza Strip.

For decades, Israelis have faced rounds of terror like this, occurring at times once in a few years, and more recently, every few months. The Palestinian Islamists in Gaza are routinely committing a double war crime — deliberately aiming their missiles at Israeli civilian targets while hiding behind their own civilians. Many of the Gaza missiles fired toward Israel are launched from mosques, hospital and schools (often UN schools), cynically utilizing the coastal enclave’s population as human shields.

Corbyn and Tlaib’s response to Hamas violence

Morning News Blames ‘Both Sides’ for Hamas Rockets

CBS John Dickerson on Israel and Hamas: ‘Both sides have launched hundreds of rockets’

On CBS This Morning, John Dickerson shared the weekend’s news with viewers. He described how “both sides have launched hundreds of rockets and missiles at one another since Friday.”

CBS reporter Seth Doane, reporting from Israel, citing “Palestinians,” claimed that Israeli strikes had killed an infant.

Doane did not mention that the Israeli government strongly denies killing the child and had concluded that a Palestinian-fired rocket was in fact responsible. He also did not share that his source was the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

NBC’s Today news program included similar equivocations.

NBC host Craig Melvin described “the worst weekend of fighting between Israel and Gaza militants in about fire years,” in which “two sides exchanging deadly rocket fire.”

NBC Craig Melvin on Israel and Hamas: ‘Two sides exchanging deadly rocket fire’

NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel downplayed Palestinians’ moral culpability for firing hundreds of unguided rockets toward Israeli civilians.

Discussing the news as an expert guest Monday, Engel described Gaza as a “prison colony.”

Four Democratic presidential candidates weigh in on Gaza violence

Of the 21 Democrats running for president, only four have weighed in as of Tuesday morning on the deadly flareup in clashes between Israel and terrorist groups on the Gaza Strip border over the weekend.

Three of them, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, sided with Israel and called for an end to rocket fire, while former Alaskan Sen. Mike Gravel was the only one to back the Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump also volunteered a view on the flareup that left little doubt as to where he stood.

“Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Trump said on Twitter. “We support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens. To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace — it can happen!”

Hickenlooper sounded a similar note in a tweet, although he urged restraint from “all parties.” “The random rocket fire by Hamas into Israel must stop,” he said. “My heart goes out to the families of the Israelis killed, and those wounded in these grievous attacks. I call on all parties to show restraint and de-escalate this situation immediately.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Mafia Wants A Piece Of Hamas’s Calm-For-Cash Racket (satire)

Leading figures in the city’s organized crime underworld expressed admiration and no small measure of envy today as the Islamist movement that governs the Gaza Strip continued to outperform them in extorting “protection” money for not engaging in violence.

Prominent members of the Gambino, Lucchese, Genovese, and Columbo crime families that control a significant portion of the extortion racketeering operations in the New York metropolitan area confessed Tuesday that they reacted with open-mouthed awe at the scale at which Hamas commits deadly violence aimed at securing infusions of cash from Qatar via Israel, a scale that dwarfs the families’ revenue.

“They’ve got this down – they’re professionals, and I can only tip my hat to them,” admitted Mario Zanotti of the Genovese family. “We’ve been doing this for a hundred years or so, and even at our peak we were never clearing billions a year. Add to that the international aid money that Hamas pockets or otherwise squanders and it adds up to some impressive numbers. I don’t think we could match that even in our heyday.”

Caroline Glick being touted for UN ambassador post

The New Right Party of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked fell 1,454 votes short of crossing the electoral threshold, but its sixth candidate Caroline Glick expressed confidence that she carried her weight.

In her first interview since the April 9 general election, Glick noted that she helped the New Right win the most votes in her hometown of Efrat, as well as other Anglo strongholds across the country.

“Obviously I am very disappointed with the overall results of the election, but I am satisfied with my team winning in Gush Etzion and winning Efrat by 10% over the Likud,” she told The Jerusalem Post. “I had never been in a campaign before, so I am satisfied. With all the disappointment, I can’t see this as anything but successful for me.”

Glick said she had nothing negative to say about her party leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, and that the country has lost out on their not being in the next cabinet after they succeeded so much in the outgoing government.

“It’s a real shame, because Naftali and Ayelet were really good ministers in their jobs,” Glick said. “She mainstreamed the need for judicial reform that I had been writing about for 15 years. Israelis didn’t understand before. Naftali gave students opportunities they never had. Israel is worse off without them as ministers.”

The Left’s burning desire to replicate Gaza in Judea and Samaria

Channel 12 News pundit Amnon Abramovich, the last adherent to the obsolete doctrine calling for a “Palestinian state,” was in the studio commenting on the latest escalation.

It was as if he was oblivious to the 25 bloody years that have resulted from that doctrine.

He even suggested linking Judea and Samaria to the Gaza Strip by putting the Palestinian Authority in charge of the coastal enclave, thus suffocating Israel’s southern residents in a pincer movement.

He also suggested uprooting Israeli communities and crushing Hamas using our soldiers’ blood. This is how he would like to ensure peace in our time.

Israel withdrew from Gaza and satisfied the appetite of the haters of the settlement enterprise.

After we destroyed Gaza’s Jewish communities what did we get in return? Blood, fire, and billows of smoke.

In Judea and Samaria, in stark contrast to what we did in the Gaza Strip, we reasserted control, with the IDF successfully defending Israel from Palestinian terrorism and protecting the local Arab population from Hamas as it plots to take over their cities.

Thus we have two models for dealing with the conflict: the one we used in Gaza and the one in Judea and Samaria.

Heeding left-wing generals’ advice got Israel where it is today

You expect the general, if he can, to tell you the whole story and disclose all the risks, and allow you as the decision maker to make an informed decision on what military course of action you should vote for.

In fact, the entire basis of Israel’s generals’ legitimacy is that they give the appearance that their advice is “purely professional,” and not political. Have you ever heard an Israeli ex-general tell people, “I’m really a politician, and I have an undisclosed political agenda which is what lies behind my pronouncements” before he explains that Israel must create a Palestinian State in the Judea and Samaria aka ‘West Bank’? Never!

When is the Israeli media going to stop treating them like oracles?

There is another possibility. Maybe these Left-wing generals didn’t know the obvious military likelihood that the Palestinians would smuggle and fire rockets from Gaza. That, however, would make them idiots – and they are not.

What happens when these Israeli Left-wing generals-cum-politicians get it all wrong, and force Israel to leave Gaza,, resulting in rockets fired into Israel? They go to America and make countless millions telling American Jews how Israel is a fascist apartheid state.

It’s time an official Israeli governmental commission is convened to investigate these Left-wing former generals and expose them for what they are.

The U.S. Must Intensify Its Ideological War on Jihadism

Today there are more Islamist terrorists around the world than there were on September 11, 2001. John Hannah argues that this statistic alone speaks to the failure of American efforts to wage a war of ideas alongside that on the battlefield. To do so effectively, he argues, Washington must exert pressure on those countries that have sowed the ideas that have given rise to al-Qaeda and Islamic State—including Iran, Turkey, and Qatar, but also friendlier nations:

One important example concerns what President Trump discussed in Riyadh back in 2017: the need for America’s Muslim partners to take the lead in defeating the ideology of Islamist extremism. Or more importantly, the need for a handful of states, first and foremost Saudi Arabia, to get out of the business of exporting supremacist versions of the faith around the world. Yet you’d be hard-pressed to find Trump ever speaking publicly about the issue again. Instead, his demands on the Saudis rapidly shifted to shorter-term, more transactional issues like buying ever-greater quantities of U.S. weapons, keeping oil prices low, and supporting what in all likelihood will be a stillborn plan for Middle East peace. . . .

That’s particularly unfortunate, because the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman has himself claimed since late 2017 that Riyadh is now determined to destroy the extremist ideology that it did so much, for so long, to promote. To the crown prince’s credit, it hasn’t all been lip service. [For instance, the Saudi-based] Muslim World League’s . . . head, Mohammad al-Issa, a cleric and former justice minister, has made a series of remarkable statements in what appears to be a sincere one-man campaign to promote moderation—including condemning Holocaust denial, promising to visit Auschwitz, and telling Muslim minority communities to “embrace the nations they live in,” strictly obey national laws, and positively integrate into society. . . .

But Wahhabism’s trail of wreckage runs deep and wide. It will take much more than a few op-eds by a single Saudi cleric to make a dent in the damage that’s been done.

Jews more likely than Christians to be critical of Trump’s Israel policy

American Jews are much more likely than their Christian counterparts to express criticism of President Donald Trump’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a new survey.

In a survey published Monday, the Pew Research Center found that 42 percent of American Jews said that Trump was favoring the Israelis too much, while a similar share, 47 percent, said he was striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians. Six percent found that Trump favored the Palestinians too much.

Among Christians, 59 percent said the president was striking the right balance between the two sides and 26 percent said he favors the Israelis too much. The level of support for Trump’s policies on Israel rose significantly in the evangelical community: 72 percent agreed with the balance Trump is striking.

“Partisanship also may be a factor when it comes to the views of religiously unaffiliated Americans who, like Jews, largely lean Democratic,” Pew explained, noting that 47 percent of those who consider themselves to be religiously unaffiliated said they think Trump favors the Israelis too much.

The EU Courts the Arab League

[President of the European Council, Donald] Tusk referred to the value gap between the states of the Arab League and those of the European Union as “differences between us”. Such euphemisms however, do not explain the evident lack of even the pretense, on the part of the EU, to comply with its own stated human rights policies.

“We’ve been witnessing a spike in gross human rights violations across the Arab region, including in extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and torture and other ill-treatment. The region is in dire need of a credible and independent judicial mechanism to provide justice for human rights violations, the overwhelming majority of which presently go unaddressed”. — Said Benarbia, MENA Programme Director of the International Commission of Jurists.

In uncomfortably Orwellian fashion, the summit “Reaffirmed our resolve to combat cultural and religious intolerance, extremism, negative stereotyping, stigmatisation and discrimination leading to incitement to violence against persons based on religion or belief and condemn any advocacy of religious hatred against individuals that constitutes incitement, hostility or violence, including on the internet and social media”.

Instead, Mogherini’s words came across as references to the EU’s own continued efforts to monitor and police free speech and thus, gradually, to extinguish any kind of diversity of opinion within the EU.

Ori Ansbacher’s accused killer ruled psychologically fit to stand trial

Arafat Irfaya, the accused murderer of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, was found fit to stand trial and is responsible for his actions, the district psychiatrist’s investigation announced on Wednesday.

Last week, Walla reported that the Jerusalem District Court ordered Irfaiya to undergo a psychiatric examination at the request of his defense attorney, after allegedly suffering from psychological problems.

Security officials say Irfaiya, 29, has confessed to killing Ansbacher, and reconstructed the murder for police ahead of his arraignment in court.

The Hebron man was arrested in a joint operation by the IDF, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Border Police’s Yamam counterterrorism unit in an abandoned building near the Jamal Abdel-Nasser Mosque in el-Bireh adjoining Ramallah following intelligence received by security forces.

According to reports, authorities received information that he was hiding in the mosque and proceeded to raid it. When Irfaiya was not found, troops confiscated security camera footage from the neighborhood and returned later that night to conduct a second raid on a nearby abandoned building, where he was arrested without putting up a struggle.

Arab students vandalize memorial wall for fallen IDF soldiers

Arab students at a Jerusalem college vandalized a memorial for fallen IDF soldiers ahead of Israeli Memorial Day, which begins Tuesday night.

Candles lit in memory of fallen IDF soldiers at a memorial corner in David Yellin College of Education in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood were extinguished by Arab students, who also scrawled ‘Ramadan Kareem’ (Happy Ramadan) over the memorial.

The student union condemned the incident, saying in a statement “The Student Union came up with the idea for a memorial wall with the goal of providing a place to remember those who fell in the various wars, and to allow students to write the names of their loved ones and light candles in their memory.”

“Unfortunately, a person or persons decided to mock the importance of the wall and to deface it in a premeditated fashion. We obviously strongly condemn this act, and the issue has been turned over for serious action to the administration and dean of students.”

The Plot against the King of Jordan

King Abdullah II of Jordan confirmed that a plot aimed at undermining his rule failed. Apparently, the plot was in anticipation of Trump’s “deal of the century.”

The Jordanian army fully supports the king. After the plot was uncovered, the king dismissed a senior director of the Jordanian secret service and some of his senior advisers.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas revealed on April 18, 2019, the conspiracy to destabilize Jordan in the run-up to the publication of President Trump’s “deal of the century.” Less than two weeks later, King Abdullah started to take action to flush the conspirators out of the royal palace and the Jordanian Mukhabarat (secret service).

On May 1, 2019, the Jordanian news agency Petra reported that King Abdullah ordered the retirement of General Adnan al-Jundi, director of the Jordanian security service. The king appointed General Ahmad Husni Hassan in his place.

A few days earlier, several senior advisers at the royal palace submitted their resignations to King Abdullah. The background for the resignations is the alleged conspiracy. The king appointed two new advisers to the royal office. Bashar al-Khasawneh is the most prominent of these new appointments; he is considered a brilliant diplomat.

Iran’s ‘Terror Factory’ Targeting Christians

“In Iran, any practice that contradicts Islam is regarded as a national security threat, punished severely by the court system.” — International Christian Concern, 2019.

“Revolutionary courts were created to guard against all threats to Islam. These courts have evolved into a well-oiled machine of oppres­sion that operates with impunity under state protection. The courts are closely intertwined with the Intelligence Ministry. Judges have at their disposal Revolutionary Guards (secret police) and a network of prisons used to torture and interrogate Christians.” — International Christian Concern.

“If you recant and repent, you’ll go to jail. And if you don’t, you’ll be killed.” — Dr. Mike Ansari from Heart4Iran, an Iranian Christian minister, reported by International Christian Concern.

“Christians may be looking at large fines, detention, lengthy prison sentences, or even execution under Islamic Sharia law. The sentences of Christian converts are left up to the interpretation of the judge and may be founded on anything — the judge’s mood that day, what he had for breakfast, his interpretation of Sharia law, or his level of hatred toward Christianity.” — International Christian Concern.

Report: Mossad intel of looming Iranian attack led US to send in carrier force

Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency reportedly tipped off the United States on an impending Iranian attack on American interests in the Gulf, prompting Washington to deploy an aircraft carrier strike group to the region late Sunday, in a sharp escalation of US President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser who advocated attacking Iran before taking up the post, announced late Sunday that the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group would sail to unspecified waters in the vicinity of Iran.

The deployment is aimed at sending “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton said.

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

According to Israel’s Channel 13, Israeli officials conveyed information gathered largely by the Mossad on an Iranian plan to attack either a US or US-allied target, details of which were not provided to the network.

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