January 25, 2021

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05/24 Links Pt1: 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem; Why can’t Abbas stop paying families of ‘martyrs’?


From Ian:

Israel Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem
Israel on Wednesday celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of its capital city, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was secured by Israeli forces on June 7, 1967, corresponding to the 28th day of the Jewish month of Iyar, after two days of fighting with Jordan.
In an account of the battle to retake Jerusalem, journalist Abraham Rabinovich wrote that when the Six Day War first broke out with Egypt, Israel had sent a message to Jordan’s King Hussein asking him not to join the fighting. But Hussein, who had entered into a defense pact with Egypt, instead chose to put his forces under the command of an Egyptian general.
Although Jordanian forces began firing against Israeli positions, Israel did not attack Jordan until Jordanian forces broke into Israeli-held western Jerusalem and that Radio Cairo reported that Mount Scopus — which remained in Israeli hands after the 1948 War of Independence —
was captured. While the report turned out to be false, it was seen by Israel as an expression of Egypt’s intent.
After two days of fighting, Israeli troops surrounded the Old City of Jerusalem, the last Arab position in the city. At 9 AM the following morning, the Israeli cabinet approved an operation to retake the Old City. Israeli forces entered through the Lion’s Gate and made their way to the Temple Mount, facing little resistance.

Yom Yerushalayim

Today Israel celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem on the 28th of Iyyar 5727 (June 7th 1967) after nineteen years of Jordanian occupation.
Among the buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem that were destroyed during the Jordanian occupation was the Hurva Synagogue.
“On May 27, 1948, Jordanian soldiers forced entry into the side of the 84-year old Hurva synagogue by detonating a 200-liter barrel of explosives. They came back and blew up the entire synagogue two days later. […]
Destroyed as described in the 1948 War of Independence, various reconstruction plans were shelved until the new millennium. Finally, followed the ruling of leading Halachist rabbi Shalom Elyashiv (1910-2012), it was rebuilt to its former design and magnificence.
Indeed, the keen observer should be able to trace where the original masonry is lovingly incorporated into the synagogue’s eastern wall.”

An American in war-torn Jerusalem witnesses the battle for the Temple Mount

Abraham Rabinovich is an American journalist and author of several books on recent Israeli history. The following is a firsthand account of his experiences in the battle for Jerusalem during the Six Day War.
The background murmur of news from the Middle East had suddenly taken on a different pitch. It was mid-May 1967; Egypt was moving its army into the Sinai desert, expelling UN peacekeepers and closing the Tiran Straits to Israel-bound shipping. I had started work a few months before at a new daily on Long Island. On the last Sunday in May, I drove out of New York City and spent an hour walking up and down a country road to think it through. Should I? Could I? What would happen if?
The next morning, I told my editor that I had decided to fly to Israel to witness whatever was going to happen. If it were possible to consider my absence as two-week annual leave, I said, I would appreciate it. He agreed, even though I had not been there long enough to be entitled to leave time. “Two weeks,” he said. “War or no war.”
On May 31 I flew to Tel Aviv on a two-week ticket. Apart from yeshiva students returning to studies, one of the few passengers on the plane was Mandy Rice-Davies, who had been involved four years before in the Profumo sex scandal that rocked the British government. She was married now to a Tel Aviv nightclub owner. A yeshiva student pointed her out to me and she agreed to a brief interview. When I asked whether she realized that she was flying to a country that might soon be at war, she replied with British pluck. “Yes. That’s where I should be. I live there now.”

Jerusalem: 50 years in numbers

Researchers at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research say that between 1948 and 1967 the Jewish population on the Israeli side expanded much more rapidly than the population growth on the Jordanian side, as authorities there preferred to develop the city of Amman.
Following the Six Day War, the total population of the city climbed to 266,000 (November 1967) and passed 865,700 by the end of 2015. In physical terms, the area of the city, which on June 5, 1967 was 38.1 square kilometers, jumped to 108 square kilometers two weeks later and today encompasses 125.1 square kilometers.
Over the past five decades, the Arab population increased more quickly than the Jewish population. There were 197,700 Jewish residents in 1967 and 542,000 in 2015. In the same period, the number of Arabs jumped from 68,000 to 323,700. In terms of percentages, the Jewish population grew by 174% while the Arab population grew by 372%. The percentage of Jews in the city, 74% in 1967, dropped to 63% at the end of 2015.
The goal of Israeli governments to maintain a 75% to 25% population balance of Jews to Arabs hasn’t been achieved. Jewish politicians from the Right, such as city council member Arieh King (United Jerusalem) attribute this to the policy of the government and mayor, who have frozen housing construction in the city almost totally under the pressure of the American administrations.

Mayor of Jerusalem Barkat’s message for Jerusalem Day

DFM Hotovely’s message for Jerusalem Day

Netanyahu: Temple Mount will forever remain under Israel’s control

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog went head-to-head in the Knesset on Wednesday over Jerusalem, with the premier saying Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state and its capital in any borders is the root of the conflict, and pledging that the city, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall, will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.
A day after US President Donald Trump concluded a 28-hour visit to Jerusalem, the prime minister vowed the city would not be divided again.
During a plenum session marking the passage of 50 years since the Six Day War and the reunification of the city’s western and eastern halves, Netanyahu pointed to the US president’s visit to the Western Wall as having “destroyed UNESCO’s propaganda and lies,” referring to a series of resolutions by the UN cultural body that ignored Jewish ties to the city and Israeli sovereignty.
Herzog, meanwhile, implored Netanyahu to seize a “historic” opportunity for peace and downplayed the importance of moving the US embassy to the city, which was a campaign promise made by Trump.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Isaac Herzog go head-to-head over embassy move

By American law, the embassy must be moved to Jerusalem, but since the law was passed in 1995, every US president has signed a waiver, keeping it in Tel Aviv. The deadline for US President Donald Trump to sign the waiver is June 1.
Each leader gave a speech, and when Herzog discussed the high poverty rate in Jerusalem, he commented that “with all due respect, an American embassy is not the main thing that the city is missing.”
After Herzog’s speech, Netanyahu returned to the stage, saying: “It’s not a trivial matter, the embassy. We believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel where all embassies must be located, and the situation that exists today is absurd.”
Netanyahu’s retort echoed earlier remarks in his speech, in which he said: “Here’s a paradox: The more we succeed in strengthening and developing it to preserve its Jewish character, as a place of freedom of religion and a symbol of Zionist action, the denial and lies about the connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem have increased.
“I told Trump that his visit to the Kotel destroyed UNESCO’s claims [denying the Jewish connection to the Old City],” he added. “The eternal wall and the [Temple] Mount behind it are our identity card that show what was here and what brought us back to our homeland… It’s a struggle. We are fighting it, it’ll take a little or a long time, but there’s no doubt that the absurdity will come to an end, because the truth is stronger than any lie.”
Herzog responded to Netanyahu’s argument about the embassy saying that it is far from the most important issue plaguing Jerusalem, rather, the demographic problem is.

Ted Cruz urges recognition of capital on Jerusalem Day

US Senator and former Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to speak about the importance of commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem on the 50-year anniversary of the day the territory was captured by Israel during the Six-Day-War. Cruz’s address came a day after US President Donald Trump departed from Israel where he spent two days of his maiden foreign tour and visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
“I rise to mark a truly significant and momentous day. Starting this evening, millions around the world will celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, also known as Jerusalem Day,” Cruz said on Wednesday.
“I am proud to join our close ally Israel and the Jewish people in celebrating this historic, 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem,” he continued.
Cruz then referred the next part of his speech to Trump, calling on the US president to make two significant moves Israel has been vying for in talks with the current administration and its predecessors: to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

MEMRI: Saudi Journalist To Palestinian Leaders: You Have Missed Too Many Opportunities To Resolve The Conflict With Israel; It Is Time For Palestinian Unity, Peace With Israel

In his May 21, 2017 column in the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, Saudi journalist Mash’al Al-Sudairi criticized the Palestinian leaders and stated that for many years they had missed numerous diplomatic opportunities to resolve the conflict with Israel, and that they had at the same time lost Palestinian lands on the West Bank and wreaked destruction on Gaza.
Appealing to newly appointed Hamas political bureau head Isma’il Haniya, Al-Sudairi wrote that Hamas’s agreement to a Palestinian state in the June 4, 1967 boundaries implied recognition of Israel. Therefore, he said, Hamas should cease its violence against Israel, drop the slogan “Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea,” and launch an initiative for achieving Palestinian unity. He added that a country’s size was not necessarily an indication of its capacity for economic prosperity and success, and that it was high time for young Palestinians to live normal lives like other young people worldwide. The entire Palestinian people, he added, deserved to “enjoy life under peaceful conditions.”
Below are translated excerpts from the article:
“Some Palestinian leaders, while in power, excelled in two things: rhetoric and missing opportunities. They have done this from the 1940s to the early 21st century. In 1947, they opposed the [UN] partition decision, although it awarded them 49% of the lands of Palestine; they accused [Egyptian president] Gamal ‘Abd Al-Nasser of treason because he agreed to the Rogers Plan, and later they also accused [Egyptian president] Anwar Al-Sadat of treason because he signed the peace agreement with Israel at Camp David. These two [presidents] at least recognized reality, and the Sinai [peninsula] was returned in its entirety to Egypt.

Trump Is Overestimating Palestinians’ Desire For Peace

For The Palestinians, Nothing Has Really Changed
Perhaps Trump is aware of this fraught history and is simply undaunted by it. But he shouldn’t suppose that things have fundamentally changed for Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Even now, there are signs of the old troubles. On Monday, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops across the West Bank following days of widespread demonstrations in solidarity with more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners who have been on a hunger strike for nearly a month.
The hunger strike is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian political figure and convicted terrorist serving five life sentences for orchestrating a series of bombings carried out by the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades during the Second Intifada. In 2014, he called for a third intifada and said the PA should end all security cooperation with Israel. A poll that same year found that Palestinians, if they were allowed to vote, would elect Barghouti president. Last month, he called for the hunger strike.
The major difference between now and the failure at Camp David in 2000 is that Hamas split from the PA after Arafat’s death and Abbas’ election in 2005, and the terrorist group now exercises control over the Gaza Strip. If Arafat purported to speak for all Palestinians in 2000, Abbas certainly can’t say the same today.
This is the environment in which Trump hopes to convince Israeli and Palestinian leaders to come to the table. Iran is no doubt a threat to the region, and Israel would no doubt welcome cooperation from Sunni Arab states in dealing with Tehran.
But Abbas and his lieutenants have no more incentive to negotiate with Israel than Arafat did in 2000. They know, as Arafat knew, that their hold on power means perpetuating the grievances that have kept the Israeli-Palestinian question an open wound for the last 70 years.

Hugh Fitzgerald: Sometimes A Picture Really Is Worth A Thousand Words

Look at this photo showing the backs of seated dignitaries waiting for Trump to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport. You may remember — it was last week, after all — the photos of Trump and Company being welcomed on the tarmac at Riyadh. The welcoming party was a very limited group of people: all of them males, all of them Muslims, all of them Sunnis, all of them Arabs, all of them very rich indeed, and many of them, unsurprisingly, members of the very same family. There was one odd man out, an odd man out precisely because, you see, she wasn’t a man but a woman, a foreign photographer, snapping away both for ephemeral posts and for posterity.
The rest of the visit offered the same narrow range of dramatis personae. The audience for Trump’s speech consisted only of Muslims, that is, of Sunni Muslims, and almost entirely of male Sunni Muslims, that is, of male Sunni Muslims who were either despots themselves, or representatives of despots. I did make out one, possibly two, females in the audience — either despots themselves, or representatives of a despot. To sum that audience up: no females (unless the head of a Muslim state, or his deputy), no Christians, no Jews, no Hindus, no Shi’a, no atheists, no democrats (in the Periclean not Clintonian sense).

Melanie Phillips: Trump joins up the dots

Now it becomes clear why President Trump selected as the destinations of his current tour Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome. He is re-setting the foreign policy debate around the factor which is both fundamental and at the same time systematically ignored. He is reframing it as a conflict over religion.
Not that he is describing it in Samuel Huntington’s terms as a war between civilisations. He reportedly told his son-in-law and key strategist Jared Kushner to construct a tour around the theme of reconciliation and world peace.
Nevertheless, he’s doing something which no previous president has done: making religion the central issue in promoting that goal of reconciliation and peace. And that means he sees the conflicts roiling the world as being over precisely that issue of religion; and more specifically, the clash between Islam and the rest.
That’s why in his Riyadh speech he invoked the name of God on multiple occasions. That’s why he made a visit today to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the western wall of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem – where he was unaccompanied by Israeli dignitaries, presumably to emphasise he was making no political point but rather performing an act of piety and respect and thus pointing out the centrality of these sites to Christianity and Judaism. And that’s why he is to visit the Pope in the Vatican.
He’s saying that in order to end the political conflict between east and west, the three faiths of Islam, Judaism and Christianity must first broker peace between themselves.

Mr. President: It’s a Fake Deal

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations history is the best example of inflexible ideology, contradicted to its core by the real-world outcomes and lessons of experience.
If the President is still unconvinced and wants proof ahead of failure, I would ask him to perform a simple test: before he commits to negotiations, he should ask the Palestinians for their peace plan – the Israelis’ he has long had. If he receives one, by all means, try another round of negotiations. But if the Palestinians send him – as Arafat used to say – “to drink Gaza’s sea water,” it’s a sign that nothing has changed and failure is looming on the horizon.
This doesn’t suggest that there is no path forward. With realistic expectations and an understanding of both sides, there are many things that can be done. But, as strange as this may sound to him, his biggest success would be to concede in advance the attempt to reach the “most difficult deal” – because it is a fake deal. The best thing to do is to let the misleading peace dogma finally rest in peace.

This Time, the Loser Writes History

They say that history is written by the victor, but the 1967 war has been rewritten by the losers and their international champions. Just as the failed pan-Arab attempt to destroy Israel at birth has been transformed into a “catastrophe” (or Nakba) inflicted on the unfortunate and peaceable Arabs by an aggressive foreign invader, so the stillborn attempt to complete the unfinished business of 1948 has been turned into yet another story of Arab victimhood, though it is unclear to what extent this narrative has been accepted by Western publics at large.
The degree to which Western historiography has increasingly portrayed Israel’s preemptive strike against Egypt as an act of aggression rather than of self-defense leaves one wondering why Western scholars cannot accept that a proud and independent Arab leader was capable of making grand moves on the global stage. The British historian Elie Kedourie once commented that “the threat to use military force is not, in principle, different from the use of force itself.”[44] Nasser, followed by the heads of most Arab states, not to mention PLO chairman Ahmad Shuqeiri, indulged in weeks of extermination threats vis-à-vis Israel. It is not the job of the historian to play the role of psychologist and attempt to substitute victimhood for malignant incompetence and shortsightedness.

Why can’t Abbas stop paying families of ‘martyrs’?

The only problem with Trump’s request is that Abbas almost certainly cannot fulfill it as prisoners and “martyrs” loom large in Palestinian society and the PA president’s popularity is declining.
Palestinian prisoners and “martyrs” have always maintained an influential status in Palestinian society. Many of them are seen as the fighters who have carried forward the burden of and sacrificed themselves for the Palestinian cause.
But at the moment, with an ongoing mass hunger-strike in Israeli prisons, the importance of the status of prisoners on the Palestinian street has reached new heights. On Monday, almost the entire West Bank shut down in support of the hunger-striking prisoners. And hundreds of Palestinians are filling protest tents in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus and many other places in the territories.
“The issue of Palestinian prisoners is the most important on the Palestinian street right now,” Fatah Secretary-General Mohammed Masri said Monday.
If Abbas made a move to end payments to prisoners and “martyrs,” he would be inciting the Palestinian public against himself.
It would appear that the PA president had turned against the Palestinian street in favor of the wishes of the American president.

PMW: PA TV host longs for days of Palestinian terror

On Monday this week, while Mahmoud Abbas was probably preparing his “we-want-peace” statement for US President Trump the next day, official PA TV interviewed and honored the heroism of a terrorist murderer of 16 Israelis. But the PA host went even further. Not only did she glorify the murders of the past, she also expressed her longing for the return to the days of Palestinian terror and violence:
“We long for the days of the Intifada, the days of the revolution… Why are we not seeing activities like that today? … We want more from them [the Palestinian people].” [Official PA TV, I Call You, May 22, 2017]
Interviewing released terrorist Abd Al-Hadi Ghneim who murdered 16 during the first wave of Palestinian violence and terror in the first Intifada, the PA TV host encouraged Palestinians to use more violence.When the murderer responded, recounting that he had succeeded killing “16 Zionists” in his “operation,” the female host praised his “heroism”:

Abbas to foreign audience: We want solution with Palestinian state living in peace beside Israel

Fatah official glorifies planner of murders of 125: Abu Jihad – “a talented man whom Allah loved”

PLO leader: Everyone knows our goal is to take all of Israel – “liberate all of Palestine”

PreOccupiedTerritory: CAIR Urges Adoption Of Law Defining Attacks On Jews As Self-Defense (satire)

A leading advocacy group for Muslims in the US has begun lobbying legislators in several states to support the ratification of an official definition of violence directed at Jews as self-defense, thus exempting such incidents from criminal prosecution or liability.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has contacted lawmakers in California, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington State, among others, in an effort to shield its constituency from what the group calls “harassment” by the authorities and from the “Islamophobia” that characterized law enforcement. As part of the effort, explained a spokesman, the organization is pushing for the adoption of new rules governing the definition of hate crimes and the categorization of violence, to allow Muslims and their allies among anti-Israel activists greater freedom of expression. If adopted there, CAIR will pursue the same in other states.
“We see a worrisome trend in law enforcement and criminal procedure against Muslims,” explained CAIR Deputy Director Itbah al-Yahud. “Legitimate reaction to Israeli crimes against Palestinians, in the form of verbal and physical assault of Jews and their sympathizers, has for too long been seen in criminal law as a violation of those Jews’ rights, when in fact the so-called perpetrators are performing a defensive act in the name of the oppressed people of Palestine. This new law, which we have drafted, would eliminate that injustice from the state of each legislature that adopts it.”

David Horovitz: Simply by saying he loves it and stands with it, Trump wins over endlessly criticized Israel

Israelis know no more than Americans about how Trump’s presidency will play out from here. They cannot be sure of what he will say or do — or how what he has already said and done will impact his term.
But he came to Jerusalem. He told Israel he loved it. He empathized with the challenges it faces. He praised Israel for thriving while under constant attack. He didn’t mince words in condemning and vowing to fight Islamist terrorism. He vowed to stand with Israel against Iran and to ensure that Tehran never gets a nuclear weapon. And again, he stood in respect at the Jews’ most holy place of prayer — the picture that, fortunately, eclipsed Oren Hazan’s airport selfie as the defining image of this trip.
Peace plans and other specifics? Not this time. As he said at the Israel Museum, that wasn’t actually the main goal of this trip, which is to ensure maximal focus on the battle against Islamist terrorism.
Frictions and arguments ahead? Who knows? And if there is to be trouble ahead, there is now a firmer basis from which to try to resolve differences.
But mutual affection? For now, certainly. In the enthusiastic aftermath of this visit, as Trump headed off to the Vatican on Tuesday afternoon, many Israelis were likely thinking, yes, we like you, too.

Trump’s success is not being Obama, but he still really wants peace

Like he did Sunday at a summit in Saudi Arabia, at the Israel Museum Trump used strong religious motives in his bid to boost peace and reconciliation. (Since we’re counting, in Riyadh, he mentioned the word “God” nine times, in Jerusalem 11 times.) He lectured about Jerusalem revealing the “longing of the human heart to know and worship God” and entreated his listeners to pray for peace.
“Let us dream of a future where Jewish, Muslim and Christian children can grow up together and live together in trust, harmony, tolerance and respect,” he implored.
In the coming days Israeli politicians and pundits will endlessly dissect the president’s 28-hour trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. In many respects, it was truly a historic visit. It marked the first time a US president came to Israel during his first trip abroad. It opened with the first direct public flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel. And during it, a sitting US president for the first time visited the Western Wall.
But it did precious little to nail down the specifics of Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement, besides making clear to Jerusalem and Ramallah that the president truly, deeply, wants to reach peace.

Trump’s Middle East Trip Was a Big, Surprising Success—and the Iranian Regime is Nervous

The Iranian regime isn’t very happy. Trump’s photo ops stole the entire foreign policy news cycle from an Iranian regime that wanted a few days of good press after its rigged presidential elections last Friday. The message that Tehran received from the presidential pomp and circumstance in Riyadh is that things are different now.
The Obama administration moved quietly behind the scenes to reorient American policy toward Iran, while it pulled the rug out from under traditional American allies. Among other things, the Obama White House leaked Israeli strikes against Hezbollah convoys, it coordinated operations with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, and it stood aside as Bashar al-Assad waged a genocidal campaign in Syria so as not to affect the prospects of the nuclear deal with Iran.
The Iranians know how much they owe the Obama administration—whether it was air support for Qassem Soleimani in Tikrit, legitimization of Iranian interests in Yemen, deterring Israel from striking their nuclear facilities, turning a blind eye as they built a highway from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut.
Now the Americans are dancing with the Arabs and praying with the Jews, and Iran is on its own again.

Al-Qaeda Calls Trump ‘Hateful Crusader Master’

Al-Qaeda is not a fan of President Trump, and they recently described America’s leader as a “hateful Crusader master.” In the most recent issue of Al-Nafir Bulletin, they published a photo of Trump being given Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honor, the heavy gold necklace of the Order of Abdulaziz. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also received this honor. However, Al-Qaeda wasn’t impressed, according to the photo’s caption: “Peak of submissiveness.”
Al-Qaeda said King Salman, “and all apostate rulers appear before us today in wasteful ceremonies to offer loyalty and renew their allegiance to the hateful Crusader master of the White House, Trump.”
“Hateful Crusader master of the White House?” As Stephen Green wrote over on Instapundit, “You can’t buy that kind of PR.”
Al-Qaeda wasn’t done. They wrote, “In order that he would consent to participate, the cursed Trump demanded Al Saud to offer nearly half a trillion dollars (500 billion dollars) as a price for the Hubal [moon god] of the age, America, to commit to defending their thrones and making them and their sons secure in ruling Bilad al-Haramein,” (This is what they call the land of the mosques of Mecca and Medina.)

Czech parliament calls for sanctions against UNESCO over anti-Israel bias

The Czech Chamber of Deputies called on the nation’s government on Tuesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to stop paying membership fees to UNESCO until the organization stops its anti-Israel bias.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, the lower chamber of the Czech Republic’s bicameral parliament passed two pro-Israel resolutions, both critical of the United Nations’ cultural and scientific agency.
In an unusual step, the country’s president also sent greetings to an event hosted by the Israeli embassy in honor of Jerusalem Day.
“The Chamber of Deputies calls on the government of the Czech Republic to stop all payments of membership fees to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from the state budget this year,” the nonbinding resolution read.
The Czech lawmakers further resolved to urge the government to freeze payments to UNESCO in future years if it does not cease allowing itself to be politicized for an anti-Israel agenda.

Qatar news agency claims it was hacked after Emir quoted saying ties with Israel ‘good’

Qatar said Wednesday its official state news agency had been hacked by an “unknown entity,” and subsequently carried false remarks attributed to the country’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, including a statement that his country’s relations with Israel were “good.”
“The Qatar News Agency website has been hacked by an unknown entity,” reported the Government Communications Office in a statement.
“A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published,” it said, adding that an investigation would be launched into the security breach.
The statement attributed to the emir focused on sensitive regional political issues with other nations in the region, including Iran and Israel, and also Doha’s relationship with new US President Donald Trump.
The remarks posted on QNA as a result of the alleged hack were picked up and reported by broadcasters in the region, including some in the United Arab Emirates.

Police arrest 3 Waqf Temple Mount guards amid clash with Jewish activists

In a highly unusual move, Israeli police on Wednesday arrested three guards from the Islamic Waqf, a Jordan-based organization that administers the Temple Mount, saying they tried to attack visitors to the Jerusalem site.
Some 15 Jewish activists were also detained by police after they prostrated themselves in the Temple Mount compound, defying restrictions against Jewish acts of worship at the holy site.
The incident came amid the 50th annual celebrations of Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel’s reunification of the city in the 1967 Six Day War. During the afternoon, thousands were expected to take part in the annual “flag dance” in which primarily religious teenagers march through the Old City decked in white and blue, the colors of the Israeli flag.
Many of the detained activists, who campaign for Jewish prayer rights at the holy site, were minors, police said in a statement.

Banned Islamist Movement Plotted New Attacks on Israelis

The recent arrests of several Islamic Movement members for plotting terror attacks against Israeli soldiers show that the group continues to operate despite being outlawed two years ago.
According to Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency, Israeli-Arab citizens plotted to attack IDF soldiers in the southern Negev region as revenge for the 2015 banning of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.
Four members of the ring are now in custody. Two, named by the Shin Bet as Be’ersheva resident Muhammad Masri, and Abdullah Iash of the southern Bedouin town of Kasaifa, were arrested in December and are now on trial.
As the trial progressed, investigators continued to learn new details about the plot, which led to the arrest of a third suspect — Mahmoud Luisi, who hailed from Qalansuwa, in central Israel.
Luisi was arrested in March, when he returned from Turkey.
A fourth suspect, Fares Al-Umri, who is a senior member of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, was also later arrested.

Jonathan Pollard loses bid to relax US parole conditions

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a bid by Jonathan Pollard, the former US Navy intelligence officer who served 30 years in prison after being convicted of spying for Israel, to relax his parole conditions.
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the US Parole Commission acted within its discretion in requiring Pollard to wear an electronic tracking device, obey a curfew, and allow his computers to be monitored.
Eliot Lauer, Pollard’s attorney, told The Jerusalem Post that he was “disappointed in two respects. First the result. Second in that the court did not step out of the checklist and confront the commission on the manifest injustice of the onerous and unnecessary restrictions.”
Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986 to conspiracy to commit espionage in connection with providing Israeli contacts with hundreds of classified documents. His lawyers have said his parole conditions have prevented him from getting a job.

Hamas to execute alleged killer of armed wing leader

The Hamas-appointed Attorney General Ismail Jaber on Wednesday said that the suspected killer of Hamas leader Mazen Fuqaha and, along with his two alleged accomplices, will be executed on Thursday.
Fuqaha, who was a senior Hamas military commander, was mysteriously assassinated in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City on March 24.
The suspected killer and the two alleged accomplices were sentenced to death on Sunday by a Hamas military court. The court said that they took part in the assassination of Fuqaha at the behest of Israel.
According to Jaber, the three will be executed in the presence officials and local leaders.
Hamas executed three others accused of collaborating with Israel in an unrelated case in early April.
Human rights groups have condemned Hamas for carrying out executions.
“The death penalty is a barbaric practice that has no place in a modern state,” Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, said in April.

ISIS Test Chemical Weapons on ‘Human Guinea Pigs,’ Secret Documents Reveal

Isis are conducting chemical weapons experiments on “human guinea pigs” before launching attacks on Western targets, according to secret documents.
The extremist group has reportedly poisoned prisoners by spiking their food and water with compounds used in pesticides that are easy to obtain
Security forces now fear the terror network may hatch a twisted plot to contaminate Western food supplies with formulas that quickly dissolve in liquid.
The experiments were recorded in a stash of papers found hidden in Mosul University after Iraqi special forces recaptured the city from IS fighters.
They reveal one victim was fed thallium sulphate – a colourless, tasteless salt that can be dissolved in water – and began to suffer fever, nausea, and swelling of the stomach and brain before dying in agony ten days later.

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