October 1, 2020

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06/12 Links Pt1: Five years after kidnapping, murder of 3 Israeli teens, what’s changed?; Trump Recognizes Israeli Claims in West Bank and East Jerusalem; FIFA to probe Rajoub for glorifying terror, inciting violence


From Ian:

Five years after kidnapping, murder of 3 Israeli teens, what’s changed?
So what’s changed since 2014?

On the Gaza front, the IDF says it has destroyed 15 tunnels since October 2017, both crossing into Israel from inside the Strip. It has also completed some 27 of 65 km. of the underground barrier designed to block tunnels from crossing into Israeli territory from Gaza. The underground barrier, which will also stretch into the Mediterranean to stave off Hamas infiltration by sea, will be complemented by a six-meter-high smart fence.

Israel says it has removed Hamas’ strategic underground surprise.

Great. But while Hamas can no longer surprise Israel from below, terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip have increased their missile arsenal in both quality and quantity.

In the last round of violence, close to 700 rockets were fired into southern Israel, killing four civilians.

Thousands of Palestinians also demonstrate on a weekly basis along the security fence, and the first IDF soldier killed since Operation Protective Edge occurred during one such violent riot.

That’s Gaza. What about the West Bank? Well, it’s not much better.

Since October 2015, Palestinian youth have stabbed, run over and shot IDF soldiers and civilians – including some tourists – in a wave of violence in the West Bank and Israel. While the violence has since decreased since its peak in the winter of 2016, when there were attacks almost daily, 16 Israelis were killed in 2018-2019.

Those attacks are just the tip of the iceberg of stabbings, shootings and car rammings prevented by security forces.

Recently, the IDF unveiled plans to improve the level of intelligence gathering and sharing in the West Bank in an attempt to stay one step ahead of deadly terrorist attacks, like the one which claimed the lives of the three boys in 2014.

The system – an increase in surveillance cameras and other sensors in key West Bank locations – includes advanced computer analytics and visual intelligence that are all connected to an operations room.

The military hopes the system will assist in identifying imminent threats, foiling attacks in real time and carrying out manhunts for terrorists fleeing following an attack.

David Singer: Trump Recognizes Israeli Claims in West Bank and East Jerusalem

Friedman postulated:
“The absolute last thing the world needs is a failed Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan,”

He could have also added that:
– Jordan is a Palestinian Arab state that has occupied 78% of the land comprised in the Mandate for Palestine since 1922
– Redrawing the international boundary between Jordan and Israel in direct negotiations between those two states as successor States to the Mandate could see parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem incorporated within each of these two existing states thereby eliminating any danger a failed third state would pose to their security and existence.

Interestingly – Friedman indicated that Trump’s long-awaited “deal of the century” might not even be released if Trump believed it would do more harm than good.

Friedman reportedly said the United States would coordinate closely with Jordan – which could face unrest among its large Palestinian population over a plan perceived as overly favourable to Israel.

“We don’t want to make things worse. Our goal is not to show how smart we are at the expense of people’s safety.”

Trump has seemingly anointed Jordan to replace the rejectionist Palestine Liberation Organization as Israel’s negotiating partner on the future of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

It now appears that Trump’s proposals will not see the light of day unless Trump receives an unqualified assurance from Jordan that it is willing to negotiate with Israel before the plan’s details are released.

Recognising Israel has claims in the West Bank and East Jerusalem sends a clear signal to Jordan and the rest of the Arab World that time is not on their side. The opportunity to yet again miss another opportunity to make peace looms large.

Trump has targeted the West Bank and East Jerusalem – as he already has in West Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – with amazing prescience.

FIFA to probe Rajoub for glorifying terror, inciting violence

The international soccer organization FIFA has launched an investigation of the chairman of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), Jibril Rajoub, for breaching the body’s ethics code.

The investigation is based on evidence submitted to FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which found that Rajoub and the PFA have been promoting and glorifying terrorism; inciting hatred and violence; promoting racism; and preventing the use of the game of soccer to build a bridge for peace.

The situation came to a head on January 8, nearly two years after PMW submitted its complaint to the international football organization in 2017.

A letter from FIFA’s chief of investigation in the ethics committee, Martin Nagoga, to Rajoub – which is dated January 2019 and leaked earlier this month by a pro-Palestinian media site – states that Rajoub needs to respond individually to each of the points he disputes.

“To the extent that you dispute any part of the… complaint and allegations, you are hereby requested to submit a statement identifying every point in the complaint allegations that you dispute; an explanation of why you dispute each such point; a description of any and all additional facts you contend, clarify, contradict, or are otherwise relevant to the issue or point in dispute; and all documents, records, or data within your possession, custody, or control that support your position,” the letter stated.

Nagoga wrote that there is “prima facie evidence” based on PMW’s “Kick Terror Out of Football” complaint that “you may have committed violations of the FCE [FIFA Ethics Code] in your position as President of the Palestinian Football Association.”

Amb. Dore Gold: What Did David Friedman Say That Was New?

It is hard to understand the outrage in Ha’aretz in response to U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, who voiced support for Israel retaining a portion of the West Bank. After all, historically, U.S. policy always left open this very possibility.

This was the heart of the debate between American President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin in 1967 over whether the draft resolution that was to become UN Security Council Resolution 242 should include the definitive article in the withdrawal clause requiring a withdrawal from “the territories,” as Moscow required, or just a withdrawal “from territories,” as Washington suggested.

The way Washington kept the door of territorial modifications open expressed itself in different ways. With the opening of the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, President George H.W. Bush spoke about there needing to be a “territorial compromise,” but not a full withdrawal. In his 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon, President George W. Bush spoke about a full and complete return to the 1967 lines as being “unrealistic.” Like President Clinton’s Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, Bush declared that Israel had a right to “defensible borders.”

The author of Ha’aretz’s critique of Friedman tells readers that Israel has no legal rights to any of the territories it captured in 1967. The most important legal analysis of this question was written in 1970 by Stephen Schwebel, who would become the Legal Adviser to the Department of State and subsequently President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Looking purely at the legal side, Schwebel wrote, “Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.”

By suggesting Israel had legal rights to retain some West Bank land, Friedman was not very far away from a traditional American view that appeared in previous public statements.

Israel’s roots as our people’s historical homeland are recognized in a chain of international documents, beginning with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and in the 1922 document instating the British Mandate – a legally binding treaty – which recognized the Jewish people’s historical connection with their land. This documented recognition culminated in 1948, when the very opening sentence of Israel’s Declaration of Independence duly noted the Land of Israel as the historical and spiritual birthplace of the Jewish people.

Ambassador Friedman, please be more specific

Accordingly, Freidman’s comments might be construed as a reaffirmation of a largely unspoken, albeit longstanding, reality. This rings truer when considering that no Israeli government – Left or Right – would today countenance handing over the entire West Bank to a barely-functioning government that has failed to develop the cornerstones – whether economic or institutional – of a viable, never mind prosperous, nation.

Then there are the approximately 500,000 Jewish-Israelis living in the West Bank, the vast majority of whom could never be uprooted from their homes nor be abandoned to live under full Palestinian jurisdiction. Dismantling isolated communities, maybe. A total evacuation? Inconceivable.

This is reinforced by the national trauma caused by the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, when Israel forcibly removed every man, woman and child (some 8,000 civilians) as well as every soldier from the coastal enclave, only to see it transformed by Hamas two years later into a terrorist base.

The real question, then, is what exactly Friedman envisions, which seemingly cannot be disconnected from the larger context of the Trump Administration’s peace push. While there have been numerous reports that the White House is open to Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank, no senior official before Friedman has publicly floated such a clear-cut trial balloon.

Words have consequences, especially those not backed by a concrete plan of action. Therefore, given the latest uproar, one can only request of Ambassador Friedman: Please be more specific.

Ruthie Blum: An Ill-Deserved Assault on Ambassador David Friedman

Palestinian and leftist Jewish leaders called for America’s Israel ambassador to be fired for telling The New York Times in a recent interview that the Jewish state has “under certain circumstances, the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

Yes, for daring to suggest that Israel has the right even to “some” of its land, David Friedman was called a “settler” by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who had previously dubbed him a “son of a dog.”

And the PA Foreign Ministry announced that it would weigh filing a complaint against Friedman at the International Criminal Court for “trying to impose his racist visions and threatening peace and security in the region, as well as exposing the Palestinian people to several dangers and conspiracies.”

J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami was equally incensed, accusing Friedman of “once again [making] clear that he is acting not as the US ambassador to Israel but as the settlement movement’s ambassador to the United States. By essentially giving the Netanyahu government a green light to begin unilaterally annexing Palestinian territory in the West Bank, the Trump administration is endorsing a flagrant violation of international law.”

Peace Now chimed in, referring to Friedman as a “Trojan horse sent by the settler right, which sabotages Israel’s interests and the chance for peace,” and urging US President Donald Trump to “send him packing.”

Ben-Dror Yemini: Israelis should not celebrate U.S. ambassador’s talk of West Bank annexation

In the past two decades, there were further proposals that gave the Palestinians 95 percent of the territories – from President Bill Clinton in late 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, and Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama in 2014.

According to every peace proposal, the major settlement blocs – which comprise about five percent of the West Bank – will remain in Israeli hands. If this is the definition of annexation, then Friedman did not say anything new. The point is, it is not clear what Friedman did mean.

Is this annexation in the vein of the peace proposals, or annexation as imagined by the Yesha Council of Settlers? The former is completely legitimate, but only within the framework of an arrangement.

The second option would be a disaster that would lead to Israel’s destruction. I suspect that Friedman, however, did mean the latter.

Palestinian rejectionism is leading the slow march toward the common solution of the extreme right and the anti-Israel left – a single big country.

Donald Trump, at the beginning of his tenure, did not reject the idea of a single state, and now Friedman has poured oil on that fire. And the blame is placed on the Palestinians.

But the Palestinians are achieving their goal. True, they derided and rejected Friedman, but declarations of annexation both from Israel and the U.S. serve their purpose.

Senior Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ziyad said in response to Friedman that annexation should happen, but it should be annexation of all of the territories in order to create a bi-national state.

Friedman’s statement, therefore, is no cause for Israeli celebration; it is cause for concern.

Prof. Phyllis Chesler: I stand by what I wrote on “Palestine”

I dare to say, at the risk of being shamed and shunned for telling the truth, that “Palestine” is a fiction, a concept that refers to an imaginary entity, not real but socially constructed.

Even as barbarians terrorize civilians everywhere, (if not, the UK and Australia would have granted Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi asylum), the world remains divinely diverted, even obsessed by the alleged “occupation” of a country that does not exist.

I am talking about “Palestine” aka the disputed territories. And yes, I dare to surround this word with quote marks because it is a fiction, a concept that refers to an imaginary entity, an entity desired by the world, the more so because it is not real but is, rather, socially constructed.

The world’s honor is now bound up with this falsity. And why? Because this is an idea that allows Jew haters the world over to continue their genocidal lust towards Jews, both in Israel and around the world.

Although non-existent, “Palestine” is so sacred a concept that one risks being shamed and shunned for saying so. The world’s honor is now bound up with this falsity. And why? Because this is an idea that allows Jew haters the world over to continue their genocidal lust towards Jews, both in Israel and around the world.

It is the way European Christian and non-Western Muslims can continue their gruesome history of pogroms, massacres, and the industrial-scale slaughter of Jews—and still virtue-signal their compassion for the other Semites: displaced Arab Muslims, a compassion they sadly lack for persecuted Arab and African Christians.

Israeli UN Envoy: Time Has Come for World to Recognize Jerusalem as Our Capital

The time has come for the international community to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Jewish state’s UN envoy said in a letter to the president of the Security Council.

“Since King David made Jerusalem the capital of the Kingdom of Israel 3,000 years ago, the Jews have always lived in, built and defended the Holy City,” Ambassador Danny Danon wrote. “Even after the Jews lost their sovereignty in the Land of Israel to the Roman sword, they still maintained a presence in Jerusalem, generation after generation.”

“When the Arabs rejected UN resolution 181 in 1947, the local Arab population attacked the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and expelled its Jewish population,” he continued. “For nineteen years, Jerusalem’s Old City was separated from its western neighborhoods by mines and barbed wire. It was not until 1967, when Israel overcame yet another Arab attempt to destroy the Jewish state, that Israel succeeded in reuniting and liberating Jerusalem.”

“For the last 52 years, Jerusalem has been a city that champions and protects religious freedom and the right of all worshipers to pray in peace,” Danon noted. “This reality, unique in our region, exists only in the Jewish and democratic Israel.”

Moldovan prime minister declares embassy move to Jerusalem

Amid domestic political turmoil, Moldova on Tuesday declared its intention to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Today we adopted the decision to relocate the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was a long overdue commitment to support our allies,” tweeted Prime Minister Pavel Filip.

“We are in a situation in which we have to approve these decisions in an urgent manner, given the political instability and uncertainty in the country, as one of the political parties has been always blocking these two important decisions while trying to take over the power illegally,” Filip said in a statement.

Moldova’s rival governments are accusing each other of usurping power amid the escalating political crisis in the impoverished ex-Soviet nation.

After months of deadlock following February’s elections in which no party won a majority, the pro-Russian Socialist Party of President Igor Dodon made a surprise announcement over the weekend that it was forming a coalition government with ACUM, Prime Minister Maia Sandu’s pro-Europe party.

But the former ruling Democratic Party, controlled by powerful oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, has refused to concede defeat. One of the country’s richest men, Plahotniuc is widely seen as Moldova’s de facto leader. (h/t NormanF)

Palestinians Urge Egypt, Jordan to Reconsider Going to US-Led Conference

Palestinians urged Egypt and Jordan on Wednesday to reconsider their attendance at a US-led conference on June 25-26 in Bahrain, voicing concern it would weaken any Arab opposition to Washington’s coming peace plan.

The US has billed the gathering as a workshop to boost the Palestinian economy as part of a broader diplomatic effort widely referred to as President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian leaders, who are boycotting the meeting, say the still unpublished plan falls short of their goal of statehood. They primarily blame a halt in US aid and Israeli restrictions for an economic crisis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The participation of Egypt and Jordan at the Bahrain meeting is considered particularly important because they have historically been key players in Middle East peace efforts and are the only Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel.

Israeli and US officials say Israel has yet to be formally invited, given discussions between Washington and Bahrain over what might be an appropriate makeup of an Israeli delegation.

“The Palestinian Authority urges Egypt and Jordan not to attend the Bahrain conference,” Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian government said on Facebook after US officials announced the two nations, along with Morocco, would attend.

Erekat pleads with Arab states: Do not undermine Palestinian cause for your gain

A top Palestinian official is urging Arab states that have decided to participate in the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain later this month against advancing their own interests at the expense of the Palestinian cause.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, made the plea in a wide-ranging interview with The Times of Israel at his Ramallah office on Sunday.

Erekat, a close confidant of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and a Fatah Central Committee member, said that when Arab states “exchange interests” with Washington, they should “pay from [their] pocket — not mine.”

American officials have said that the June 25-26 summit will deal with the economic portion of its apparently forthcoming plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians have firmly rejected participating in the conference; Abbas has said the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership will not accept its results and demanded that any peace effort begin with political rather than economic matters.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs’ Nightmare: Absorbing Palestinians

The new law may be a sincere attempt to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon. However, each time a plan is presented to improve the living conditions of Palestinians, whether in any Arab country or the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conspiracy theorists immediately do their best to derail these efforts.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership has called on Palestinians and Arabs to boycott the US-led economic conference scheduled to take place in Bahrain later this month. The planned conference, as part of the Deal of the Century, is aimed at achieving economic prosperity for the Palestinians.

Palestinian leaders, however, claim that the Bahrain economic workshop is part of an American-Israeli conspiracy to bribe the Palestinians into surrendering their “national rights”.

The Arab states, for their part, hardly seem to care about the Palestinians. Otherwise, they would not have kept them in squalor in refugee camps, decade after decade. Lebanon says it fully supports the Palestinians in their fight against Israel — but would like to see them leave the country as soon as possible. Here is the message Lebanon and other Arab countries are sending to the Palestinians: “We love you and we support you — and stay far, far away from us.”

This is the modern-day version of Arab “solidarity” with their Palestinian brothers: discrimination and apartheid — no jobs, no citizenship, no health care and no social services.

Nor do Palestinian leaders give a damn about the welfare of their people. If they did, it would be hard to justify their impressive efforts to foil an economic conference whose main goal is to lift their people out of the economic hell these very leaders created and vigorously maintain.

Rep. Zeldin to Present Bill Linking Lebanon Military Aid Tied to Combating Hezbollah

US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) is expected to introduce a bill this week stipulating US military assistance to Lebanon in order to counter the terrorist group Hezbollah’s control in the nation.

If enacted, the Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019 would consist of conditions associated with “20 percent of American military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces,” or (LAF), according to Jewish Insider, which first reported the development.

“To comply, it must show that the government and military are working to limit Hezbollah’s role in the Lebanese army, with the US secretaries of state and defense expected to ‘actively engage’ in discussions to keep officials from the terrorist organization out of key leadership roles in the military,” continued the article.

As of 2005, the United States has given the LAF at least $2.29 billion in military aid.

Jewish Policy Center Senior Director Shoshana Bryen, who has written before about how the LAF has been working with Hezbollah, told JNS that “Zeldin is right to be worried about the role of the LAF in relation to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Jews went like ‘meek lambs to gas chambers,’ new Dutch senator says

A Dutch right-wing senator said that Jews during the Holocaust were driven to gas chambers “like meek little lambs.”

Toine Beukering, who on Tuesday joined the Eerste Kamer — the upper chamber of the Dutch parliament — made the assertion in an interview published Saturday by the Telegraaf daily.

A lawmaker for the Forum for Democracy Party, Beukering drifted into the subject during a talk about his candidacy for speaker of the Dutch Senate.

Recalling his long years of service in the armed forces, he said that the Holocaust was one of the reasons he enlisted.

“As a young child, I read a whole cabinet of books about the Holocaust. I was always interested in finding out how it was at all possible. That the Jews, such a courageous and combative people, were driven to the gas chambers just like meek little lambs. It has always fascinated me. I never really found an answer for it. But to me it did mean one thing: Never again. That’s why I wore a uniform for 40 years and have been all over the world,” Beukering said.

Pressed to explain his reference to lambs, he said: “Well, there was little resistance by Jews. Escapes and such. There were many reasons for this, but it’s a sad story that should never be allowed to be repeated.”

Report: Israel strikes military control center in southern Syria

Israel targeted an important Syrian military installation near the Syrian Golan Heights border early on Wednesday morning, Damascus’ state television reported.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency report, the country’s air defenses thwarted the strike on a control center in Tal al-Hara, shooting down a number of missiles.

Located in the Daraa Governorate, Tal al-Hara is a strategic hill overlooking the Golan Heights. For President Bashar Assad’s regime, the base functions as an early warning station against Israeli airstrikes.

The missile attack reportedly damaged to radar systems at the site, and Israel then allegedly conducted an “electronic war” in which Syrian radars were subjected to interference, SANA added.

No Israeli source corroborated the report. The IDF said it does not comment on reports in the foreign media.

Netanyahu: Israel will strike preemptively, not only after the fact

The challenges facing Israel do not let up, and the country deals with them not only by responding after the fact, but also by preempting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu’s words at a memorial ceremony in Rehovot for Ephraim Katzir, Israel’s fourth president, came just hours after the Syrian State News Agency (SANA) said that Syria’s air defense thwarted an Israeli missile attack on Tel al-Hara in southern Syria.

“The chain of tests we are dealing with does not let up,” Netanyahu said. “We respond firmly and forcefully to any attack against us, but we do not act only after the fact, we are denying the enemy’s capabilities before the act.”

Netanyahu said that in a “systematic and consistent manner” Israel was working to prevent its enemies “from establishing attack bases in our vicinity.”

Tel al-Hara is a strategic hill providing a strategic view of the Golan Heights that reportedly houses an air defense base. The area was recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army last July.

Israel scrambles jets as drone from Lebanon enters Israeli airspace, turns back

A small drone penetrated Israeli airspace from Lebanon on Wednesday afternoon, the army said, prompting the air force to scramble fighter jets.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the aircraft quickly returned to Lebanese territory.

“Moments ago, IDF troops spotted a drone from Lebanese territory that entered the airspace of the State of Israel and then returned to Lebanese territory. The drone was tracked by the troops,” the army said in a statement.

The incident came hours after Israel reportedly targeted sites in Syria controlled by the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group.

The Iranian ally Hezbollah maintains a significant presence in southern Lebanon, despite a United Nations resolution meant to keep it out of the area.

IDF rolls out new siren system to warn more precisely of incoming attacks

The military announced on Wednesday that it was upgrading its incoming rocket siren system throughout the country, making the alerts more precise and easier to understand.

Last month, the Israel Defense Forces conducted final tests on the new system, following several years of tests and preparations.

Under the old method, the country was broken down into approximately 255 regions. If the military detected an incoming projectile heading toward anywhere within a region, sirens would be triggered throughout the entire area.

This meant that many Israelis were sent running unnecessarily into bomb shelters, a development that ran the risk of desensitizing people to the sirens by leading them to think they likely did not apply to them, an army spokesperson said.

The new system, which will officially be rolled out at 5 p.m. Wednesday, operates based on approximately 1,700 regions, or “polygons,” as the army calls them.

Blast in community north of Gaza as unexploded rocket detonates

An explosion in a cemetery east of Ashdod on Wednesday was believed caused by a rocket launched from Gaza last month during a major flareup in violence.

The rocket apparently landed at the site, in the town of Be’er Tuvia, but did not explode on impact.

After the blast, police sappers spent several hours determining the cause of the explosion and removing the last remnants of the rocket.

No one was hurt in the incident.

The rocket was apparently fired during a massive flareup of violence in early May in which Gazan terrorists fired nearly 700 missiles at Israeli communities in southern Israel.

Violence has ebbed since the sides reached an unofficial ceasefire, but the last several days have seen an uptick in balloons with incendiary devices being flown from the Palestinian enclave into southern Israel, starting fires.

On Wednesday, an incendiary object attached to a balloon was found on the perimeter fence of a community in the Eshkol Regional Council, a spokesperson for the Gaza-area council said.

The device did not cause any damage or injuries.

Half of Israelis in favor of removing the blockade on Gaza: study

Close to half of Israelis are in favor of removing the 12-year-long blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, a new study by the Academic Institute for Structural Reforms has found.

The study, carried out by Panel Project, surveyed a sample of 608 Jews and Arabs, and examined their attitudes towards Gaza and its economic situation in relation to violence, the effectiveness of Israel’s policy towards the Strip and possible solutions for the economic and humanitarian crises.

According to the findings of the study, 80% of respondents think that the economic situation in Gaza is “difficult to severe,” while another 61% agree that the difficult economic situation in Gaza is directly related to the violent conflict between Hamas and Israel.

The survey found that 65% of respondents view Hamas as responsible for the economic crisis, another 7% blamed the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas while only 4% held Israel accountable for the crisis.

According to the survey, 51% of respondents believe that Israel should care about the economic and humanitarian situation in the coastal enclave but are more hesitant when it comes to steps that the government should take, preferring that private businesspeople or other countries step in instead of the Jewish State.

Prominent Imam: Pro-Palestinian Obsession has Led to “Immoral” Partnerships

One of the reasons Islamists have secured such powerful control of American Muslim communities over the last few decades has partly been the insistence by media and government that there are not in fact Muslim communities, but one community. Journalists at CNN or the New York Times are happy to paint organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations as leaders of this mythical homogenous bloc. Politicians and government programs, meanwhile, partner with, and sometimes fund, these “community representatives.”

Islamists are perfectly happy with this narrative. In their bid to acquire legitimacy and funding – to pose as the rightful rulers of American Muslims and present their political ideologies as innately Islamic – they nod along to the media bylines and political praise.

But, as Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.

One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism. Should Muslims seek partnerships with left-wing organizations, given that some progressivist policies evidently conflict with both conservative Muslim and theocratic Islamist beliefs?

Egypt’s Ramadan Soap Operas Contradict Sisi’s Outreach to Israel

Despite Egypt’s warming relations with the Israeli government, the country’s airwaves and movie theaters are still rife with bellicose and anti-Semitic content.

In the past five years, Egyptian-Israeli relations have been steadily improving. With the two countries facing the same Islamic State threat on Sinai’s borders, Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and his top officials have been keen on meeting with American Jewish organizations to emphasize the importance of Cairo’s relationship with Israel. Yet this warmth has not been shared by the Egyptian media industry, much of which is reportedly controlled by government intelligence organs.

During the holy month, Egyptian television series compete to gain the attention of the domestic viewing audience and the wider Arab world. This year, the media production company Synergy held a near monopoly over the season’s traditional deluge of soap operas, producing around fifteen of the twenty-five that aired.

Since coming to power in 2014, the Sisi government has been steadily increasing its control over the media, and Synergy is no exception. When the company made its shows available exclusively through its own channels and a new streaming application, “Watch It,” the government banned some of the most popular torrent websites to ensure that the soap operas were not pirated. Furthermore, many television presenters were ordered to modify their rhetoric; those who refused to follow the new rules faced the risk of being kicked off the air or forced to flee the country. Egyptian security officials seem to believe that the media has irresponsibly exaggerated the country’s internal problems, and Sisi himself has long threatened to tighten the leash. In a June 2017 speech, for instance, he emphasized the need to restore the state’s past model of full sway over the industry.

Given this level of control, it is uniquely discouraging to see negative representations of Israel and Jews still appearing frequently on Egyptian television, including Ramadan programs. For example, the show Kalabsh has relied on such portrayals since it first began airing in 2017, and Egyptian viewers have embraced it. One of the show’s major villains this season is a local businessman who was dismissed from his work as a diplomat in the Foreign Ministry for having a suspicious affair with an American Mizrahi Jewish woman. This woman recruits him to help international NGOs that aim to harm Egypt’s national security. The hero of the show, an Egyptian policeman who fights terrorism, eventually arrests them both. The producers of Kalabsh have praised the police ministry for helping them deliver an “honest image” of Egyptian law enforcement.

JPost Editorial: Stop Iran!

Is Israel capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear program, too? Israeli experts say yes, but most agree that it would be better for US President Donald Trump to take the leading role this time, if all diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions fail.

Let us make no mistake about it: Iran’s declared mission is to wipe Israel off the map via its proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, through terrorism, and, if necessary, a direct military confrontation.

Since first becoming prime minister in 1996, Netanyahu has made it his primary goal to protect Israel from a nuclear Iran. He defied international pressure to back the Iran deal, speaking out against it in Congress and at every available opportunity with world leaders.

Netanyahu is facing another tough election campaign amid charges of alleged corruption. But on one issue he deserves credit and support from all Israelis: he has not wavered from his mission to warn against the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran, and when necessary, he has taken action.

According to his associates, Netanyahu would like to go down in history as the leader who stopped Iran from becoming nuclear.

Israel has nothing against the Iranian people, who it is hoped will one day free themselves from the shackles of their radical regime. But in the meantime, Iran’s nuclear drive must be stopped, no matter what it takes – before it’s too late.

Israel Still Has More to Fear from Iranian Nuclear Weapons Than from Hizballah

The Islamic Republic’s recent attempts to sabotage Saudi and Emirati oil tankers and pipelines suggest that the mullahs have shifted to a more active response to renewed American sanctions. Could Tehran’s next step be to order Hizballah, or its other proxies, to attack Israel? Unlikely, argue Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein:

The sabotage of oil infrastructure caused no loss of life, and the Saudi pipeline was quickly brought back online. Notably, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia did not respond militarily. However, an extraordinary cross-border attack against Israel by one of Iran’s clients—exceeding the current sporadic but routine exchanges in terms of threat or consequences—runs a high risk of eliciting the powerful military response Iran seeks to avoid. This certainly proved true [at the beginning of this month], when two rockets fired from Syria triggered Israeli airstrikes that caused significant damage to Iranian and Hizballah forces. . . .

The direct and indirect threats along Israel’s border are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, but it is probable that Iran’s precarious geopolitical and economic situation will reduce the appetite for escalation with Israel for the foreseeable future. The Iranian nuclear issue, by contrast, may reemerge and replace the Iranian conventional threat as the foremost priority for Israel’s security establishment. . . .

Israel would be wise to prepare for three more problematic nuclear scenarios. . . . If the 2015 nuclear deal continues to limp along, Israel should devise a method for coping with the agreement’s sunset clauses over the next decade that could leave Iran with a full-scale nuclear program, accompanied by a dangerously short breakout time, by 2030. Preparing for this will require a great deal of investment in diplomatic, intelligence collection, and force-building efforts that can be utilized for an international push, bolstered by an effective military option, to prevent Iran’s nuclearization, perhaps by seeking to extend the sunset clauses.

Yemen rebels target Saudi airport, 26 wounded

Yemeni Houthi forces launched a missile strike on an airport in southern Saudi Arabia early on Wednesday, wounding 26 people, the Saudi-led military coalition said.

The coalition, which has been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen, said it would mount a “firm” response.

A coalition statement, carried on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, said a projectile hit the arrivals hall at Abha International Airport causing substantial damage. Three women and two children were among the wounded, who were of Saudi, Yemeni and Indian nationalities, it said.

The Houthi-run Masirah TV earlier said the Houthi group had launched a cruise missile attack on Abha airport, which is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the border with Yemen and serves domestic and regional routes.

“Targeting Abha airport proves that the Houthis have obtained advanced weapons from Iran,” the coalition’s statement said, saying the attack could amount to a war crime.

Young Jewish woman outrages 1.6 billion Muslims on Temple Mount

Lauren Isaacs from Toronto went up with her mom to the Temple Mount, where they took a picture of her holding her Herut Canada flag. Palestinian TV has expressed outrage.

Lauren Isaacs, 23, a Toronto native, had no idea that during her vacation to Israel she would end up leaving “a mark of disgrace on the forehead of 1.6 billion Muslims,” to quote the Palestinian al-Quds channel, a pro-Hamas station.

Lauren, who works as the Toronto director of Herut Canada, a pro-Zionist organization, went up to the Temple Mount on June 11 with her mother. Excited to be at Judaism’s holiest site, she unfurled her Herut Canada flag, which resembles an Israeli flag, and her mom snapped a picture of her with the Dome of the Rock in the background.

“I wasn’t trying to provoke anyone. I don’t believe that flags incite anything. I think everyone should hold their flags proudly. It’s really a mark of pride,” Lauren told World Israel News.

“I’m a proud Jew, an unapologetic Zionist and I was standing on my holy ground. And when you’re standing on your holy ground I don’t think there’s anything wrong with holding your flag with pride,” she said.

She posted the picture to her Facebook page and that picture found its way into the hands of al-Quds TV, which expressed its fury at the perceived insult.

“Since yesterday I blocked 65 different people on Facebook who’ve been writing horrible things. But yeah, I posted it. I’m proud. I love the Temple Mount. It’s our home and I did it with pride and joy, not to upset anyone,” Lauren said.

“I stand behind what I did. Absolutely. I’m an unapologetic Zionist,” Lauren added.

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