A Terrorist’s Teenage Target
I was 17 when the bombing happened — just a few years older than many of the kids murdered this Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. It was June 1, 2001, and I decided to go out to the Dolphinarium, a disco on the beach in Tel Aviv, with three of my friends: Liana, Oksana and Tanya.
We went to that club almost every weekend. It was the summer before our mandatory army service, and we planned to spend it together — dancing, biking, swimming and tanning.
Girls could get in to the club free before midnight — and we didn’t have any money, so we decided to go early. We bought a bottle of cheap vodka from a convenience store and hung out on the beach talking and taking sips until we saw a crowd start to gather outside the door at 11:30 p.m.
Tanya and I got into the line on the left-hand side of the door; Oksana and Liana went to the right so we could all get in faster. Then, at 11:44 p.m., a Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the club.
Everything went mute. To this day, I don’t know if I lost consciousness. All I know is that I had flown some distance in the air, and everywhere I looked there were dead bodies. It seemed that every single person in that line had been murdered except for me. Liana died on the spot. A total of 21 people were killed, 16 of them were teenagers.
The Ariana Grande concert was not a random target. This was a deliberate and calculated jihadist terrorist attack against a group of people they particularly despise: Western girls and women whose strength, choice, and independence make them feel threatened.
It fits a grim litany of crimes. Soft targets such as nightclubs and concert halls have been targeted before in Paris, Orlando, and Istanbul and it is the sad reality with which Israel has been dealing with for decades. The car rammings, the knife attacks, and other ways to kill infidels. Israel, in many ways, is the ground zero of modern terrorism.
The same ideology responsible for British authorities now having to collect and piece together what is left of the bodies of our children in the heart of Manchester, claimed the lives of 21 Israelis, 16 of them teenagers, when suicide bomber Said Khutari blew himself up at the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv in 2001 at the height of the second intifada. He, too, murdered in the name of Islamic jihad and had ties to Hamas.
Terrorist groups come in different shapes and forms. They operate under their own names and are tied to local contexts. But, ultimately, they are united in the same Islamist fanaticism that leads Hamas to wrap suicide vests around children in Gaza just as it makes Islamic State ban music by sword wherever they go.
Try blaming that on Western foreign policy and you quickly run out of arguments. What connects the dots between terrorist attacks across the world — from Jerusalem to Manchester or Baghdad and Stockholm — is the global jihadist insurgency that has declared war on our way of life.
When did European governments decide that our children, from Nice to Manchester, must be sacrified to radical Islam and that they are to become a photo opportunity for newspapers?
Europe cries over the innocent victims. Then it plunges into its indolent normality and continues chatting.
There is an enemy, it needs to be collared and fought by paying the necessary price to defend freedom and life in the West. And yes, it is a very high price.
Europe must learn to respond the way the Russians did after Beslan, the Ossetian school where Islamic terrorists butchered hundreds of children and innocent people. Or like Israelis did after the attack at the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv. Otherwise, Europe will reach the point where the soldiers of Allah will have to be hunted down, from door to door, as in Mosul and Raqqa.
Is it possible that Europe’s leaders have chosen to avoid fighting because they are all childless?
“Est regis tueri cives.” It is the king’s duty to protect citizens. Or do we think that, to continue enjoy our lazy lifestyle, we must feed the Islamic Moloch, like the god of Carthage, which demanded the sacrifice of children in return for the preservation of the city?
He spoke to Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard on Good Morning Britain today about what can be done to help reduce the threat of terror in the UK.
“We have the finest intelligence services and finest police services in the world and they have protected us time and time again,” he noted. “Hundreds of attacks have been stopped, thousands of terrorists have been put in prison.
“The problem is that there are 3,000 known jihadists on the streets of the UK today, our intelligence services, our police services, no matter how good they are they can’t monitor all of them, they can’t control all of them.”
He went on to add that security services have to “prioritise” those they focus their attention on and “sometimes get it wrong”.
Colonel Kemp insisted that the only way to help them was to deport those who pose a threat, commenting: “Every single person who we have intelligence upon, who is known to be involved in terrorism, who is not a UK citizen, and who we cannot prosecute in this court, we deport and send them back to where they came from.
“We do not allow them to roam free on our streets and murder and maim and disfigure our children like they did in Manchester.”
Israel is helping the UK with counter terrorism: Jonathan Sacerdoti interviews Richard Kemp former
Terrorism is not random or accidental. It is a conversation with the state conducted by means of extreme violence. Each atrocity has its point to make. With previous terrorist incidents, Isis has emphasised its hatred of Christians, say, or street revellers. This one was meant largely for the girls. Ariana Grande is a singer particularly beloved by pre-teen and teenage girls, although women, men and boys such as John Atkinson were caught up in the horror too. But Islamic State, like some psychopathic stalker, is obsessed with female propriety. In the streets of Isis-controlled Raqqa, women must be totally covered and veiled in black. It is heavily punishable to wear perfume or even talk loudly in public. One woman of 21 said in a clandestine interview: ‘We are dead, but we are still breathing.’
What must it be like, to deprive girls and women of fresh air and sunshine, open laughter, work, friendships, perfume and power, to make them feel ‘dead but still breathing’? What does it signify to feel so menaced by their independence that a large part of your life revolves around restricting it? In Raqqa, jihadis are taught to believe that they have hit the domestic jackpot with a wife at home who is rendered compliant mainly by the threat of beating or destitution. Yet such coercive arrangements — what Larkin once described as ‘fulfilment’s desolate attic’ — do notably little to diminish Isis members’ existential rage: they seem to increase it.
Freedom is imperfect and risky. Once you hand it to someone, there’s no telling how they’ll use it. Few people realise that more keenly than the parents of a teenage girl. The world is waiting for her, in ways that she might not yet anticipate, but she is raring to get out into it. So most British parents make a thousand tiny compromises, watching girls inch towards full independence like climbers in a potentially faulty harness. We wrap them in promises and incantations: ‘Text me when you get there’, ‘Stay close to your friends’, ‘Be careful’, ‘I love you’. Events such as the Ariana Grande concert are supposed to be the first, tentative flights near the nest.
The trustee of a mosque linked to the family of the Manchester suicide bomber has denied it is a breeding ground for extremism, as it was revealed that he was behind offensive tweets about Jews.
Farzi Haffar from Didsbury mosque this week sought to calm fears about radicalisation, despite having sent social media messages commenting on “the Jewish lobby” and describing Israelis as Nazis.
Haffar, who denied that concert bomber Salman Abedi had visited the mosque, did say the killer’s father, Ramadan, had used it.
“We’ve never seen him,” said Haffar, referring to the 22-year old suicide bomber, who killed 22 people and injured more than 110 people on Monday. “His father who used to pray here is in Libya. Lots of Libyans prayed here.”
@fawzihaffar -Trustee of Mosque where suicide bomber prayed-sends tweets comparing Jews to Nazis & re “Jewish lobby”-incitement to hatred! pic.twitter.com/VegYw8ERLz
— NW Friends of Israel (@NorthWestFOI) May 25, 2017
It’s time to end the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims.
The Muslim fixation and clamor on Jerusalem is actually a very recent historical development, a product of political conflict, not historical truth.
Jerusalem rates not a single mention in the Quran and Muslims face Mecca in prayer.
In the seventh century, the Damascus-based Umayyad rulers built up Jerusalem as a counter-weight to Mecca. This is when the important Muslim shrines, the Dome of the Rock (691 CE) and, later, the Al-Aqsa mosque (705 CE), were intentionally built on the site of the destroyed biblical Jewish temples — a time-honored practice to physically signal the predominance of Islam.
However, references in the Quran and hadith to Muhammad’s night journey to heaven on his steed Buraq from the “farthest mosque” couldn’t mean Jerusalem because the Quran refers to Palestine as the “nearest” place. And it couldn’t have been a reference to the Al-Aqsa (“Furtherest”) mosque, for the simple reason that the Al-Aqsa mosque didn’t exist in Muhammad’s day.
With the demise of the Umayyad dynasty and the shift of the caliphate to Baghdad, Jerusalem fell into a long decline, scarcely interrupted by occasional bursts of Muslim interest in the city during the Crusader period and the Ottoman conquest. Mark Twain, visiting in 1867, described it as a “pauper village.”
Every time a Jew is stabbed, run over, murdered in his bed or whilst praying in a Synagogue, blown up dining in a restaurant or attending a nightclub, killed by stones thrown at his car or targeted in drive by shootings, Palestinian Arabs – radicalised and encouraged by the PLO Charter to perpetrate such heinous crimes – are treated as heroes, many having schools named after them. Their families are rewarded by Abbas paying them monthly pensions which totalled $300 million in 2016.
Abbas declared on 16 September 2015:
“We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”
Trump told the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh on 21 May:
“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out. DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship. DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities. DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.”
Trashing the hate-filled PLO Charter and ending incitement to indiscriminately slaughter Jews are necessary steps in this process.
Abbas will end up in the diplomatic wilderness if he ignores the messages delivered by both Trump and Netanyahu.
Fatah TV honors 4 terrorists
PLO official: “We will not relinquish one grain of sand from Jaffa, Haifa, Lod or Ramle”
Though Abbas talks a good game about peace, his government continues to pay pensions to terrorists and to foment hate. It does so because attempting to change the views of a Palestinian public that still sees its national identity as inextricably tied to war against the Jews would be political suicide. Until a sea change in Palestinian politics occurs that will enable Abbas or a successor to accept an end to the conflict, Trump’s big deal will remain a fantasy. And that hard truth is something no amount of American negotiating or Saudi money can change.
Trump may believe his own assertion that the Palestinians are ready for peace, but this is where his lack of experience and policy knowledge carries more weight than his instincts to negotiate. If he’s right, and Abbas is able to demonstrate that willingness, Netanyahu will have no choice but to negotiate a two-state solution, even if that shatters his current center-right coalition. But Netanyahu isn’t that worried about such a possibility because, unlike Trump, he understands the realities of Palestinian politics.
What is really going on is an elaborate game of chicken in which the Israeli and Palestinian leaders are gambling that their opponent will jump first and blow up the process. If Netanyahu is confident that he will win, it’s because Abbas, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, has sabotaged every previous effort at peace, including multiple offers of statehood from past Israeli prime ministers.
In short, the time is not ripe for a deal. The U.S. should instead keep its distance from any renewed negotiations and continue to advocate for interim steps, such as increased investment in the Palestinian economy, reform of Abbas’s kleptocratic government, and an end to its support for terror and hate. In doing so, he can help manage an insoluble conflict rather than giving the world false hope. Otherwise, if he decides to invest his dwindling political capital in a peace effort that has a minimal chance of succeeding, he is likely to fail as miserably as Obama and every other American president who gambled his reputation on a fool’s errand.
The Palestinians and other powers such as the OIC, the UN and domestic interest groups do not get a veto over reality.
If we are going to “reset” the Middle East, we need to reset our thinking as well, starting with accepting that Israel has a right to exist. Israel exists, and Israel has a legitimate claim to Jerusalem. Further, the Jewish people have proven themselves as more capable custodians of Jerusalem than their Muslim neighbors, who are already burdened by challenges in their own territory.
Alongside us, the world must drive out the fantasy that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Israel. To deny Jerusalem as a part of Jewish and Israeli identity is the same as denying Mecca as inherent to Muslim identity.
The Czech Parliament approved a resolution Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while condemning recent anti-Israel resolutions passed by UNESCO.
The resolution, which was approved by 116 of 156 members of the parliament’s lower chamber, calls on the Czech government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to stop paying membership fees to UNESCO until it stops its anti-Israel bias.
In early May, UNESCO passed a resolution denying Israel’s claims over Jerusalem. Last year, UNESCO passed two resolutions denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
At a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the Czech lawmakers for the resolution.
“The parliament in Prague called on its government to respect the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and also proposed halting any additional state payment of UNESCO membership dues as long as the organization continues the political discrimination against Israel,” Netanyahu said, adding, “This is the correct, worthy and courageous decision that others should copy.”
This week the American president was greeted by an especially warm welcome in Saudi Arabia, where dozens of heads of Muslim states were also present. He received a warm if somewhat more qualified reception in Israel. Jonah Goldberg explains Donald Trump’s popularity with Middle Eastern leaders and the pitfalls that lie ahead:
The success . . . of the president’s Middle East trip stands on the ashes of Barack Obama’s failures. It’s easy to forget that for all of Obama’s alleged expertise, his foray into the Middle East foundered on his arrogance and naiveté. In his 2009 Cairo speech, he unspooled clichés as wisdom, thinking that his name alone would put points on the board. He bought into the idea that the road to stability and peace in the Middle East went through Jerusalem.
As Obama learned on the job, he came to believe that the road to peace went through Tehran, crafting an Iranian deal that alienated both our democratic ally Israel and our strategic Sunni allies, chief among them Saudi Arabia. In pursuit of his fantasy, he turned a blind eye to Iran’s crushing of the Green Revolution and dithered to the point of complicity in the Syrian abattoir. Meanwhile, Iran remains as implacably hostile and as determined to be a regional hegemon as ever.
That is the context of Trump’s reception. “Welcome, President Not-Obama!” . . .
JPost Editorial: Israel’s qualitative military edge and enduring US-Arab ties
The package also includes conventional defense equipment such as tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, Patriot and THAAD anti-missile systems, warships, patrol boats, and associated weapons systems – none of which represents a strategic threat to Israel. Even the inclusion of a program of modernization of the kingdom’s air force with 150 Black Hawk helicopters for $6b. is nothing for the IDF to worry about.
Katz said that “President Trump’s visit strengthens the anti-Iranian camp in the region and presents an opportunity to advance regional security and economic cooperation as a foundation for regional peace.” He stressed, however, that “at the same time Israel’s qualitative military edge should be maintained.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, citing some “non-negligible” arms purchases by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and even Iran, told Army Radio on Wednesday, “I’m not at peace with the arms race in the Middle East. The arms sales in the region have reached $215b. and this is no small sum.”
According to a February report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, arms imports to the Middle East jumped by 86% between 2012 and 2016, accounting for 29% of global purchases, an increase of almost double from the previous five-year period studied.
Trump expressed a well-scripted truth during his Israel Museum speech on Tuesday: There is no reason why ties with Israel have to come at the expense of ties with the Arab and Muslim world.
They won’t – as long as Israel maintains its qualitative edge.
We are today in an exceedingly strong position. Israel has never been so powerful militarily, economically and socially.
Israel has never had such widespread international recognition. Whether you adore or loathe Netanyahu, nobody can deny that he has been an outstanding statesman in the international arena. He has a unique relationship with the Americans and with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has built up relations with India, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe and now Africa.
The extraordinary opportunities of today may never be replicated. We must demonstrate restraint and ensure that our elected representatives neither undermine us nor project the image of extremists by engaging in foolish or intemperate outbursts primarily designed for personal political promotion.
Today, we have in our grasp this remarkable opportunity to genuinely move toward improving and stabilizing our relationship with our Arab neighbors.
Daniel Pipes grades Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia
President Donald Trump’s effort to get the Palestinian Authority to stop giving money to jailed terrorists and their families will expose the “duplicity” of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, the editor-in-chief of The Algemeiner said during an i24 News appearance on Monday.
“What President Trump has brought to the table that previous presidents have not brought to the table is an insistence on the Palestinians that their rewards for the terrorists that have perpetrated these types of attacks — paying salaries to terrorists in prison — are not acceptable,” Efune told “Stateside” host David Shuster, shortly after the news broke of a deadly suicide bombing at an arena in the British city of Manchester.
“Stopping payments to terrorists has never been done before,” Efune noted. “And I’ll go a step further. It’s not possible. It’s ingrained in Palestinian society. President Abbas does not have the power to do that. And President Trump’s insistence on that is going to show him up.”
A bipartisan group of members of the US House of Representatives called on US President Donald Trump to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the deadline for him to make a decision loomed.
“The American Embassy belongs in the Jewish capital of Jerusalem,” Congressional Israel Allies Caucus co-chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said. “”It does not take a national security expert to know that the Kotel, the Western Wall, is in Israel. I know that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the undivided capital of Israel, because when I visited the Prime Minister, the Supreme Court, the Knesset, the very institutions of Israeli democracy, we meet in Jerusalem.”
CIAC co-chairman Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) added: “I don’t know any other country in the world that isn’t able to name its own capital.”
The congress members spoke at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification at the US Capitol Tuesday. The event was hosted by the the Israel Allies Foundation, which engages in faith-based diplomacy and helps found pro-Israel caucuses in parliaments around the world, including the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.
It’s now been more than a decade since Hezbollah launched a cross-border attack on Israel and precipitated a war that devastated south Lebanon and parts of Beirut. That war ended with the acceptance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the “disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon,” including Lebanese Hezbollah and the assertion of full control over Lebanese territory by the government of Lebanon.
Suffice to say, that hasn’t happened. Under the watchful eyes of well-paid United Nations observers, Iran has resupplied Hezbollah with an arsenal greater in both quantity and quality than that which was used against Israel in 2006. And, despite more than $100 million in U.S. military and financial assistance, the Lebanese Armed Forces have yet to disarm a single Hezbollah terrorist let alone truly secure Lebanon’s borders. Beirut International Airport remains under the de facto control of Hezbollah.
The problem isn’t just military: Since 2006, Hezbollah has launched itself into the driver’s seat. After turning its guns on fellow Lebanese in 2008 in a dispute over revenue sharing, Hezbollah successfully leveraged its disruptive ability into real power when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others, acquiesced to the Doha Accords, granting Hezbollah a permanent veto over Lebanese politics in exchange for their quiet. That was bad on two levels: First, Hezbollah can prevent any serious Lebanese reform or investigation. Second, Hezbollah can do so as a minority stakeholder, meaning it will never be held accountable for governing even as it seeks the legitimacy associated with serving as a political party.
In the past year, it has augmented its control even more. The rise of long-term ally and Christian politician Michel Aoun to Lebanon’s president gives Hezbollah de facto control over the state. Any future conflict will be between Israel and Lebanon and not simply Israel and one particular group, as in 2006.
Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin broadcast his radio show from Israel Wednesday night. Live from the Middle East, he didn’t pull any punches in a blistering critique of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s questionable foreign policy views.
He slammed Tillerson for holding the bizarre worldview that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would miraculously create peace in the entirety of the Middle East.
Levin quoted Tillerson, who said, “We solve the Israeli-Palestinian peace dilemma, we start solving a lot of the peace throughout the Middle East region.”
“Does he really believe this Obama position? This European position?” Levin asked.
“So in other words, there wouldn’t be an ISIS. There wouldn’t be an Al Qaeda. There wouldn’t be a Hezbollah. There wouldn’t be a Hamas. There wouldn’t be an Islamic jihad,” he commented, mocking the Tillerson plan.
“Is this Tillerson serious? Sounds like an idiot,” Levin said bluntly.
“He goes right from the oil company, right into the midst of this stuff, and he makes no sense,” the Conservative Review editor said of the secretary of state’s inexperience.
The administration of US President Donald Trump is said to be pressing Israel to transfer parts of the West Bank to Palestinian administrative control as a goodwill gesture to help revive peace talks between the two sides.
Despite a series of economic incentives approved on Sunday by the Israeli cabinet, the US wants to see greater concessions to the Palestinian Authority and views the recent measures as insufficient, Channel 10 reported Wednesday.
Specifically they have asked for areas in the northern West Bank to be transferred from Area C to Area B, according to the report.
Under the Oslo Accords, Area C of the West Bank (60%, where most of the settlements are located, and some 150,000 Palestinians live) is under full Israeli administrative and military control, while in Area B (22%), administrative control is the responsibility of the PA while the IDF is in charge of security. Area A (18%, encompassing the major Palestinian cities) is under the full administrative and military control of the Palestinian Authority.
Attempts to isolate Israel or make it an international pariah state are unhelpful, Estonia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Mikser told The Jerusalem Post in a wide-ranging interview at the ministry on Wednesday.
In line with the European Union and the majority of the international community, Estonia disapproves of Israel’s settlement policy. “The international community deems that settlements are in contradiction to international law and an obstacle to peace and will not be approved as a legitimate way of advancing Israel’s national interests,” he said.
But Mikser questioned the motives of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, saying “there is a subtle difference between understanding why people and groups act in a certain way and considering it appropriate and constructive. The way to go [forward] is [through] negotiations rather than making efforts to intimidate the other party.”
Mikser also stressed that Estonia sees Israel “as a friend and partner.”
For the first time in recent years, delegates from Gulf states met openly and publicly with an Israeli government minister as they gathered in Ecuador on Wednesday for the swearing-in of Lenin Moreno as the country’s new leader, in apparent first fruits of US President Donald Trump’s Mideast diplomacy.
Likud Minister Ayoub Kara attended the ceremony in the capital Quito along with leaders of South American nations and representatives from around the world.
Kara tweeted that he was “surprised by the warm attitude of representatives from the Gulf states,” crediting Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel as a game changer.
Trump has been trying to push for an alliance of the Sunni states, together with the US and Israel to counter Iran. He is pushing Israel and the Palestinians to reach a peace deal, which he says would also facilitate a wider peace between Israel and the Gulf nations.
Ruth Schwartz, whose 18-year-old son Ezra Schwartz was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Gush Etzion in November 2015, spoke out at the UN against the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday for compensating terrorists.
“The terrorist who murdered our Ezra is receiving a monthly stipend from the Palestinian Authority,” Ruth said. “Ezra’s murder broke our family; we will never be the same without him.”
Ruth spoke at the United Nations during a special forum on the glorification of terrorism, organized by Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, in partnership with the non-profit pro-Israel education and advocacy organization StandWithUs.
“My son is the victim of the worst crime,” she said. “He was brutally taken from his family and friends forever. He will never be able to have fun or make someone smile, go to college, get married, have children or do anything in this world again. I will never again get to hug him or tell him that I love him. Instead, I get to visit him at the cemetery.”
Palestinian arsonists burned down a Jewish religious school in the northern West Bank on Monday, during a “Day of Rage” held in support of an ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons.
The arsonists entered the area surrounding Homesh Yeshiva and set the building alight. No injuries were reported. Officials from the school said they expected the IDF to bring the arsonists “to justice” and vowed to build a larger structure at the same site to replace the destroyed building.
Jewish residents of Homesh were evicted and had their homes demolished in 2005 as part of the Israeli government’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip as well as four communities in the northern West Bank.
Knesset member Betzalel Smotrich (HaBayit HaYehudi) said, “The burning of the yeshiva in Homesh is a reminder for us to continue working for the return of the Jewish people to all areas that were destroyed during the  expulsion.” He added, “Every place we leave becomes a place of terror and where holy sites are damaged.”
Israel has reduced electricity in Gaza to three hours a day after the Palestinian Authority said it would not foot all of the bill.
For the last few months the PA has cut electricity to Gaza, as it seeks to regain control of the area, a decade after Hamas ousted Fatah from the Strip in a bloody coup.
Israel supplies 125 MW of electricity to Gaza’s 2 million residents, but the PA pays the monthly bill of NIS 40 million.
Initially the PA told Israel it would halt its electricity payments all together. This week it told Israel it would only pay NIS 25m. to NIS 30m. a month.
PA payments determine the amount of electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, said Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, during an Arabic BBC Radio interview.
“This is an internal Palestinian issue and not an Israeli-Palestinian issue,” Mordechai said.
In the presence of more than one hundred officials and local leaders, the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry in Gaza executed the suspected killer of Mazen Fuqaha, along with his two alleged accomplices.
The executions took place in a walled-off, open-air space in the Strip.
Grainy images broadcast through Facebook Live appeared to show a group of people standing around what is believed to be the execution site, according to Arab media reports. The content could not be independently-verified.
Hamas explicitly warned against airing the execution.
A powerful Iranian general congratulated Ismail Haniyeh on his recent appointment as the new leader of Hamas, and encouraged him to “raise the issue of Palestine” as part of the Muslims’ “global fight against Arrogance,” the Mehr News Agency reported Wednesday.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps(IRGC)-Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani praised Haniyeh and called on the new Hamas leader to fight what Mehr referred to as “the evil plots of Zionist and global Arrogance,” which are attempting to undermine the Islamic world and “seeking seizure of the Holy Qods,” a reference to Jerusalem.
“Great tasks belong to great men; as promised we rely on your foresight to reach a future during which the domestic crises are solved with prudence,” Soleimani said. “We await strengthening of unity with Hamas, the ally of Resistance axis, to raise the issue of Palestine again; to this aim we count on your efforts to replace the Palestine on top of Muslims global fight [against Arrogance].” The references to “Arrogance” mean the United States.
Soleimani encouraged Haniyeh to continue fighting until the liberation of Al Aqsa and the entire Palestinian territory. He also called for Jerusalem to be converted into a site for all Muslims and Christians.
Supporters of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah marking the anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon 17 years ago set fire to a field along the Israel-Lebanon border near the northern Israeli town of Metulla on Thursday, setting off several mines.
Explosions were heard in the area as Israel Defense Forces responded to the incident, Israel Radio reported.
Soldiers were said to have dispersed the crowd on the other side of the border, apparently by firing shots into the air. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
A video from the scene posted by an Israel Radio reporter showed smoke rising from the field, as a number of IDF soldiers gathered near the fence.
The 2015 agreement with the Islamic Republic includes a nakedly insincere pledge from Tehran that “under no circumstances will [it] ever seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons.” Thus, writes Max Singer, even though most of the its provisions are set to expire after eight-to-fifteen years, the deal does not require that its parties ever allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. America and its Western allies may therefore do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening without violating the deal:
The problem of stopping Iran is . . . not a legal one. . . . The U.S., Germany, France, and Britain no doubt have the power to end Iran’s nuclear-weapons program. If they cut off all communication with the country—flights, telephone, Internet, banking—along with the countries that would follow their leadership, Iran would be compelled to yield, regardless of what China and Russia might do. And Beijing and Moscow would not be enthusiastic about standing against the West’s actions to defend Iran.
The democracies don’t need to commit to changing the Iranian regime, or to collaborate actively with Iranian dissidents. Even moderate political and social support by the U.S. and Europe for Iran’s internal opposition could scare the regime into postponing its efforts to get nuclear weapons. [Likewise], no military attack . . . could reliably destroy all Iranian weapons-production facilities, but complete destruction is not necessary. Partial elimination might be enough to convince the regime that rebuilding would not be worthwhile because they could be attacked again. And a successful attack could undermine the Iranian security services’ control over the population.
The powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has established a third underground ballistic missile production facility in southwestern Iran, the semi-official Fars News agency reported Thursday.
Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC’s airspace program, told the Iranian outlet that the country would continue its ballistic missile program despite international criticism.
The facility was under construction for years, Hajizadeh told Fars.
Alongside the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that “called upon [Iran] not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
However, Tehran has interpreted that call to be a suggestion, and has carried out multiple ballistic missile tests since the passage of the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Lucy Usoyan doesn’t remember all of the details of the brutal beating she suffered at the fists and feet of a group of men in front of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. last week.
But after being shown a picture of Eyup Yildirim on Wednesday, she says that the 50-year-old supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was one of the goons who savagely kicked her while she was curled up in a ball during the melee.
“Absolutely,” Usoyan told The Daily Caller on Wednesday after reviewing Yildirim’s Facebook page to see if he was one of the men who assaulted her.
Yildirim, the owner of a construction company in New Jersey, was one of the most visible figures spotted in videos recorded of last week’s attack.
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