Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace prize winner, Holocaust survivor, dies aged 87
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Holocaust survivor and human rights activist Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel died on Saturday at the age of 87 after a prolonged illness.
A survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald Nazi death camps, Wiesel dedicated much of his life to Holocaust education and promoting tolerance around the world.
The Romanian-born Wiesel authored 57 books, including “Night,” a memoir published in 1955 in which he recounted the deaths of his father, mother and sister in Nazi camps.
When he was a teenager, Wiesel was sent with his father, Shlomo, to the Buna Werke labor camp, a sub-camp of Auschwitz III-Monowitz. They were forced to work for eight months before being transferred to a series of other concentration camps near the war’s end. Elie Wiesel survived whereas his father was beaten to death in 1945 by a German soldier.
The recipient of over 100 honorary doctorates, Wiesel received France’s distinguished Prix Medicis for his 1968 book “A Beggar in Jerusalem,” describing the Jewish response to the reunification of Jerusalem following the Six-Day War.
He also received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the rank of Grand-Croix in France’s Legion of Honor, and he was knighted as Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his role in speaking out against violence, repression and racism.
In 2013, he received the Israeli presidential medal awarded to him by then president Shimon Peres
A top Israeli minister on Saturday lambasted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for allowing Palestinian incitement and hate speech to run rampant on his social media site. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) charged that Facebook hinders Israeli police efforts to catch terrorists, and declared that Zuckerberg has “some of the blood” of slain Israel teenager Hallel Yaffa Ariel on his hands.
Ariel, 13, was stabbed to death on Thursday by a Palestinian terrorist as she lay asleep in her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. In another terror attack Thursday, two people were stabbed in Netanya. On Friday, a yeshiva head was killed and his wife and children were injured when their family car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle and overturned, south of the West Bank city of Hebron.
Israel has repeatedly blamed incitement in the Palestinian Authority for the attacks which have claimed the lives of 34 Israelis since October 1, 2015. Four people with foreign nationalities have also been killed in the attacks which have included stabbings, shootings, car-rammings and a suicide bombing.
Speaking to Channel 2 TV, Erdan called on Israelis to flood Zuckerberg with demands to clamp on down on the abuse of Facebook by terrorists and their supporters.
“Facebook, which has brought a positive revolution to the world, has become a monster,” charged Erdan. “The dialogue, the incitement, the lies of the young Palestinian generation are happening on the Facebook platform.”
The minister said that “to my great sorrow, some of the blood of those who have been murdered, including in the latest attacks, of Hallel,” was on Zuckerberg’s hands because of Facebook’s failure to report a series of statuses that her killer posted to the site. The terrorist, Muhammad Tarayrah, publicized his desire to die and his love of martyrdom for the Palestinian cause in a number of Facebook posts in recent months.
Since the Arab Spring began, and Israel’s neighborhood here in the Middle East has virtually imploded, I have been haunted with one thought: A nice Jewish boy had an idea for a social network, and when his dream became a reality, chaos resulted. The very creation of a mechanism for mass social communication resulted in an out-of-control vehicle for murder and mayhem.
You and I don’t see the other side of Facebook and Twitter. This is because we are unable to view the Arabic sites which are not delivered to those of us who speak only English or Hebrew.
While you and I are posting pictures of our new grandchild for friends and family to see, the Arab world is posting pages for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
They are posting videos of how to best murder a Jew. Which knives are best? How to sharpen them to perfection? How to build a homemade bomb? You and I live in a dream world oblivious to how home-grown terrorists around the globe are being nurtured from the comfort of their own living rooms.
The panel on “Has incitement on Facebook become a weapon” at the Shurat HaDin conference in Jerusalem titled “Towards a New Law of War” was extremely disturbing. This powerful conference with its presentation of more than 40 of the highest quality experts on legal issues, current warfare, Israeli accomplishments and international realities will fuel my pen for months to come.
While most of us know the Internet is used to incite the Arab world to hatred, we rarely see it ourselves. Living in a bubble makes life more pleasant, but leaves us naïve at best.
The moral equivalence being drawn in the Quartet report is in some ways no different from Corbyn’s comments. The mere presence of Jews living in some places from which the Palestinians wish to evict them is treated as an offense on the same plane as stabbings, shootings and bombings in which terrorists seek to indiscriminately kill as many Jews as possible.
Which brings us to this week’s incidents in which a new surge of Palestinian terror has taken more Jewish lives. In one, a Palestinian entered a home in the settlement of Kiryat Arba and slaughtered a sleeping 13-year-old Jewish girl, who also happened to be a U.S. citizen. Not long after Palestinians opened fire on a car nearby and killed one Jew and wounded three others. The same day in Netanya, which exists inside pre-1967 Israel, another Palestinian stabbed two Israelis.
According to the Quartet, Palestinians are “frustrated” with settlement building and the lack of progress toward peace. But the motivation for the stabbings is not a dispute about where the borders of Israel and a putative state of Palestine should be. Rather, it is anger about the very existence of Israel and the presence of Jews in any part of the country, including Tel Aviv. What else could explain the widespread support within Palestinian society for actions such as the murder of 13-year-old Hallel Ariel, an atrocity that not only was not condemned by Abbas and other so-called “moderates” but which has been lauded by his Fatah Party? Crimes like this are not motivated by diplomatic arguments but by hate that is shared by mainstream Palestinian opinion, not merely an extremist minority.
So long as international opinion, as expressed by the Quartet, treats the presence of Jews in their ancient homeland, even little girls sleeping in their beds, as comparable to terror, the costs of this epidemic of moral equivalence will continue to be paid in Jewish blood.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel on Friday paid a condolence visit to the family of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the 13-year-old girl murdered Thursday morning by a Palestinian terrorist as she slept in her home in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba.
“We will strengthen this place,” Netanyahu told the grieving family as he vowed that terrorism would not drive Israelis out of their homes. “We will make it stronger. I will sit with the defense minister and we will decide how to strengthen the community.”
Speaking at the end of the visit, Netanyahu expressed horror at the sight of the blood-stained room in which the girl was killed, and vowed that terrorism would not drive Israelis out of their homes.
“To see Hallel’s room, to see the blood stains next to her bed and the books and clothes of a small child, this is shocking,” Netanyahu said. “It reminds us again who we are facing. They want to uproot what has been planted and we will deepen the roots. They will not make us leave here. I was impressed by this splendid family. Their spirit will not break and neither will ours. We will deepen the roots.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved on Saturday the publication of a tender to build 42 additional homes in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba.
According to Channel 10, the tender was in the works six months ago but was essentially frozen by the government until Friday’s decision, announced a day later.
The announcement came two days after 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in her bedroom on Thursday morning in the settlement, close to the Palestinian town of Hebron. A civilian security guard who responded to the brutal attack was seriously injured by the Palestinian assailant, Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, from Bani Naim. Tarayrah was shot and killed by other guards.
The new homes were a part of a series of measures announced by the Israeli government in response to the terror attack in Kiryat Arba, including a closure on Bani Naim and cancellation of work permits of the attacker’s relatives.
To stop the Palestinian Authority from making payments to terrorists and their families, Israel plans to deduct that sum from it’s monthly transfer of tax fees to the Fatah led government in the West Bank.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the transfer of those fees be halted in response to two deadly terror attacks in a 48-hour period that claimed the lives of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, and Rabbi Michael “Miki” Mark, 48, who is a father of ten children.
“The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to terrorists by various laundering methods; the more severe the acts of terrorism, the greater the amount of funds,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement it issued on Friday.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered that the entire amount of support for terrorists and their families be deducted from the tax revenues that Israel transfers monthly to the Palestinian Authority,” the PMO said.
“Israel believes that the encouragement of terrorism by the Palestinian leadership – in the form of both incitement and payments to terrorists and their families – constitutes incentive for murder.” the PMO said.
It is one of a number of measures Israel took on Friday in response to the twin terror attacks, that occurred some 15 kilometers from each other in the area of the Palestinian city of Hebron.
The IDF imposed a closure on that city.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had refused, as of Saturday night, to condemn the current surge in Palestinian terrorism, including the killing of a 13-year-old Israeli girl on Thursday and a father of 10 on Friday. He is also reportedly refusing to take calls from Israeli and world leaders who are seeking to encourage him to speak out.
As of Saturday night, Abbas had made no official statement in response to the killing of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was stabbed to death as she slept in her bedroom at home in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, on Thursday morning, or the drive-by shooting on Friday afternoon of Rabbi Miki Mark.
A Channel 2 report on Saturday said numerous Israeli and world leaders had contacted Abbas, pleading with him in particular to speak out publicly in the case of Ariel, but to no avail. Abbas, said the report, is even refusing to take some of the calls.
He has also ordered media loyal to him in the Palestinian Authority to keep the terror cases out of the headlines.
Messages were quickly passed to the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mammoud Abbas, from the Israeli defense establishment urging him to “calm the area,” expecting him to fully cooperate and publicly convey the importance of keeping the peace in the last week of Ramadan.
To their surprise, however, Abbas chose differently.
In Ramallah, the situation only deteriorated further with an incident no less serious. On June 30, nine Israeli-leftist activists were rescued by the IDF and Palestinian Authority Security Forces in a joint operation after local Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at their vehicle. The activists had entered the West Bank in hopes of participating in a fast breaking ceremony for a Ramadan event.
Here the signature of the PA leader was well seen. The nine were invited to the ‘Mukataa’ (PA government complex) to pass out flowers and candy and their extraction from the city was announce by the PA as a rescue from “the terror outside of Ramallah.”
And for good reason. Abbas knew well that such an event, if turned deadly, in a large municipality like Ramallah, Jenin or Nablus would have the IDF charging in.
And not coincidentally, Abbas knows well that the murdering of the nine “peace activists” would open the hatch of another Intifada followed by IDF military operations in the West Bank. These two events, commotion at the Temple Mount and the near-lynching in Ramallah, shows that Abbas controls the area and directs it at his convenience.
Daphne Anson: No Sounding the Knell of BBC Reporter’s Bias
In an egregiously one-sided feature (that’s her hallmark, as shown time and time again by BBC Watch and other BBC monitoring sites) the BBC’s Yolande Knell begins:
“For retired West Bank farmer Issa Hamed, the idea that Jewish settlements are destroying a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a no-brainer”
and goes on to push the Palestinian narrative in what should properly be known, as it always used to be, as the Arab-Israeli conflict, for several paragraphs.
In the course of these, Knell described (en passant, without naming) tragic Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the 13-year-old stabbed to death, by an evil teenager bent on mayhem against Jews and since praised as a shahid, while sleeping in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba, as “an American-Israeli girl”.
The fact that Hallel held American citizenship is of interest to Americans and their newspapers, and that is perfectly understandable (as seen here) but Knell’s reference to it is, judging from her past form, in all likelihood merely gratuitous.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday called on Palestinian leadership to stop glorifying terror following the slaughter of a 13-year-old Israeli girl by a Palestinian terrorist.
“I am shocked by the heinous murder of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was attacked by a Palestinian terrorist while she was sleeping in her bedroom,” Trump said in a statement. “I extend my deepest condolences to the Ariel family.”
On Thursday morning, knife-wielding 19-year-old Muhammed Taraiyre infiltrated the Ariel family home in Kiryat Arba, located next to Hebron in the West Bank. Taraiyre — who came from the nearby Palestinian village of Bani Naim — entered Ariel’s bedroom while she was sleeping and stabbed her repeatedly for several minutes.
Taraiyre had managed to infiltrate the security fence surrounding the Jewish neighborhood before rushing into the Ariel home. A local civilian Rapid Response Team chased after the terrorist but was unable to reach him before he murdered Ariel — who was later confirmed to be a US citizen. The team found her lying in a pool of her own blood. Attempting to escape, Taraiyre attacked the response team and critically wounded one of them . The killer was eventually shot dead by a member of the team.
Following the attack, Palestinian Authority channels praised the terrorist as a “martyr,” with his own mother calling him a “hero.”
“The continuing incitement and preaching of hate by the Palestinian leadership, and the glorification of terror, must end immediately,” Trump said. “I call upon the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to condemn this murder and to take concrete steps to end this barbaric behavior.”
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called on President Barack Obama on Friday to “recognize and condemn” each terror attack committed against Israel, a mere few hours after he issued a strong statement lamenting Thursday’s slaughter of a 13-year-old Israeli girl.
In a statement published on Facebook, Trump condemned Friday’s drive-by shooting attack which killed 48-year-old Rabbi Miki Mark, a father of 10. Mark was driving with his wife and children south of Hebron when a Palestinian opened fire on the family vehicle. Mark’s wife was seriously injured in the attack, with two of their children in serious to moderate condition. Over 20 bullet holes were found in the car.
“Yet another terrorist attack today in Israel — a father, shot at by a Palestinian terrorist, was killed while driving his car, and three of his children who were passengers were severely injured,” Trump said.
“I condemn this latest terrorist attack and call upon the Palestinian leadership to completely end this barbaric behavior. I also call upon President Obama to recognize and condemn each and every terrorist attack against our allies in Israel. This cannot become the ‘new normal.’ It has to stop!” Trump stated.
The Israel Defense Forces arrested several suspects in the Hebron area of the West Bank in the early hours of Saturday, as part of the hunt for those responsible for Friday’s terror attack that killed Rabbi Miki Mark.
Large numbers of troops were deployed to the area, working in parallel with Israel’s intelligence agencies, Channel 2 reported, as the defense establishment sought to track down the cell behind the shooting attack that killed the yeshiva leader and left his wife with a serious head wound. Two of their teenage children were also hurt in the attack.
The IDF has stepped up its troop presence in the West Bank, sending two battalions to help secure settlements and the main roads used by Israelis.
Amid the surge in terror, Israel on Friday placed an effective closure on Hebron and announced an immediate cut to tax funds it collects for the Palestinian Authority, saying it would deduct the amount the Palestinian leadership pays to the families of terrorists.
The Israeli Air Force attacked targets belonging to terror groups in the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning, the IDF said, hours after a rocket fired from the coastal enclave landed outside a preschool in the border town of Sderot, causing damage but no injuries.
The four Gaza sites included a workshop, two locations of Hamas’s armed wing and a military training site for Islamic Jihad, a Gaza security official said on condition of anonymity. There were no reports of casualties.
Two of the sites were in Gaza City, while two were in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. All of the sites have been previously targeted by Israel, the official said.
The IDF said in a statement it had “targeted four locations that were components of Hamas’s operational infrastructure in the northern and central Gaza Strip.”
A militant jihadist organization claiming to be affiliated with the so-called Islamic State took responsibility Saturday for a rocket attack that hit a public building in the southern Israeli town of Sderot the previous evening.
A statement released by “Aknaf Beit al-Makdis,” a Gaza based terror organization committed to “jihad against Jews, the enemy of God,” claimed responsibility for the attack which severely damaged an empty preschool. The group added that the weapon was “168 milometer category” rocket and self-constructed.
No injuries were reported in the aftermath of the attack.
An American was one of the victims in the 10-hour hostage crisis at a Bangladesh café that left 22 dead.
The State Department confirmed Saturday that a U.S. citizen was among those “senselessly murdered” when Islamic terrorists stormed the restaurant in the diplomatic quater of the Bangladesh capita, Dhaka. The standoff ended Saturday morning when police stormed the restaurant, killed six attackers and rescued 13 hostages.
Three of the hostage victims attended U.S. colleges. Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain were students at Emory University in Georgia; and Tarushi Jain, a 19-year-old Indian national, was a student the University of California at Berkeley.
Emory President James Wagner said in a message Saturday on the university’s website that Kabir was from Miami and was in Dhaka visiting family and friends. He said Hossain just graduated and was enrolled in Emory’s business school for the fall.
“The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss of two members of our university family,” Wagner said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of Faraaz and Abinta and their families and friends for strength and peace at this unspeakably sad time.”
Jain was working at a Dhaka bank through a Berkeley internship progam.
After escalating one of the most lethal covert operations in U.S. history, President Obama finally made a public estimate of the civilian cost of the nation’s secret drone program, which has targeted Islamic militants in remote corners of the globe.
Human rights groups immediately challenged the estimate and the amount of transparency from the administration, saying both were too limited.
The White House said that 64 to 116 civilians had been wrongly killed in 473 strikes launched by the U.S. government from the time Obama was inaugurated and the end of last year. The vast majority of the attacks were launched by drones, officials said, but the estimate also covers some strikes using manned aircraft.
Monitoring organizations estimate the number of civilians killed in U.S. strikes ranges from 200 to more than 1,000.
Administration officials defended their figure, but admitted they often do not know for sure who is among the dead after a strike.
Daniel Gordis: A Dose of Nuance: Brexit and the validation of Zionism
If people believing in the innate worth of their people and their heritage is xenophobic, we Zionists are guilty as charged.
But it is human nature for us not to want to be what Paul Cowan called “orphans in history,” disconnected from any tradition or heritage. Why should parents in Provence want their children to be educated just like children in Bavaria? Why should they want them to worship in precisely the same way, learn the same songs, read the same literature? They don’t. That was why the European Union was more than a utopian notion; it was an assault on human nature and was doomed to fail.
With that in mind, Europe’s innate hostility to Israel is less surprising.
There are many reasons for that antipathy, of course, some having to do with Israel and most having to do with Europe. At their core, though, the EU and Zionism were two opposing visions of humanity. One was about blending peoples and erasing borders. The other was about celebrating a people’s heritage, its dreams and its revival.
What animates Europe also dominates the UN. Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, admitted that “the only country in the world with a standing agenda item at the Human Rights Council is not North Korea, a totalitarian state that is currently holding an estimated 100,000 people in gulags; not Syria, which has gassed its people – lots of them. It is Israel. Bias has extended well beyond Israel as a country [but also to] Israel as an idea.”
She is right. At the core of Israel lies not a conflict but an idea. That idea has been on the defensive for decades, since even before Ben-Gurion declared independence. With Brexit, millions of Britons have now declared that they, too, want to preserve their heritage; they, too, have a history of which they are proud. They, too, understand that memory matters, and that so do borders.
Is it possible that the tide may be changing, that the ideas at the core of Zionism are about to be less marginalized? It is far too early to know, but it is not too early to hope.
Israeli officials say the UK Labour Party has apologized to the Israeli ambassador in London after comments made by party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn spoke Thursday at the launch of a report examining anti-Semitism inside the party. In his remarks, he provoked outrage by implying a comparison between Israel and the Islamic State terror group.
“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those various self-styled Islamic states or organizations,” Corbyn said.
Israeli Embassy spokesman Yiftah Curiel said Friday that Labour foreign policy adviser Emily Thornberry had apologized for the remarks.
“Ambassador Mark Regev welcomed Emily Thornberry’s unequivocal apology following Jeremy Corbyn’s unacceptable remarks,” he said.
Reaction was mixed after yesterday’s Labour Party Press Conference on Anti-Semitism where Jeremy Corbyn compared Israel to ISIS, with his supporters and detractors divided as to Mr. Corbyn’s true intent with the remarks. The Daily Freier put on its peasant hat, messenger bag, and corduroy blazer and interviewed attendees as they departed the Labour/MOMENTUM Press Conference.
“I just can’t believe that the Jeremy Corbyn that we’ve known in Britain since the ’80’s would say this. The Jeremy Corbyn who hangs out with Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein. The Jeremy Corbyn who called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends. I just can’t believe that he would compare Israel to ISIS.” is a statement not made by Liam C, a Labour activist from Epping.
“This just totally caught me off guard. I mean, how can a guy who spends time with Ken Osborne and George Galloway possibly compare the State of Israel to a country that legalized sex slavery of Yazidi women?” was not remarked by Cheryl P., a Trade Union Activist who traveled to the Conference from Leeds.
“I just don’t know how Labour can stand for this” was not a reaction from Stewart F. “I mean, soon we will have MOMENTUM members accusing a female Jewish MP of being part of vast and secret international conspiracy until they leave the conference in tears while Corbyn says nothing to defend her …….Wait …. Sorry ….. That just actually happened.”
San Francisco State University (SFSU), which has a well-deserved reputation as a breeding ground for anti-Israel radicalism, became national news in April. That’s when campus police stood by as a hate-Israel group, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), shouted down and disrupted a lecture by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, prompting much criticism of SFSU’s president, Leslie Wong.
But there’s worse. As revealed by an investigation into SFSU by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, SFSU has partnered with a Palestinian university that’s a hotbed of radicalization.
What our investigation turned up:
SFSU signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with An-Najah University of Hebron in 2014 at the behest of Rabab Abdulhadi, director of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) and founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
But there was something relatively remarkable about the otherwise routine report: its clear condemnation of Palestinian incitement.
And that centrality of focus on Palestinian incitement as a factor in the dire Israeli-Palestinian reality marks a success for recent Israeli government efforts to highlight the issue as a root cause of terrorism.
A document undersigned by pretty much the entire international community has rarely, if ever, spoken so forthrightly about the subject. The report goes to considerable length in describing how Palestinian terrorists are glorified and, more importantly, takes the Palestinian leadership to task for failing to curb the ugly phenomenon.
“Many widely circulated images depict individuals committing terrorist acts with slogans encouraging violence,” the report states. Incitement to violence on social media, affecting especially young people, has increased since October 2015 (coinciding with the ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism; RA), and is particularly affecting the youth, the Quartet further establishes.
The text notes that Hamas and “other radical factions” are behind the worst examples of incitement. “These groups use media outlets to glorify terrorism and openly call for violence against Jews, including instructing viewers on how to carry out stabbings.”
But the report doesn’t stop there. It fingers some “members of Fatah,” the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, for having “publicly supported attacks and their perpetrators, as well as encouraged violent confrontation.”
It even cites a senior Fatah official who praised terrorists as “heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office on Friday replied to the Quartet report on the Middle East peace process which was released earlier in the day.
In a statement, the PMO welcomed the fact that the report called out the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) continuing incitement to terrorism, but rejected the report’s assertion that Israel’s so-called “settlement construction” harmed peace efforts.
“In the 24 hours before the publication of the Quartet report, Palestinian terrorists stabbed and shot innocent Israelis three times, leaving two dead and others wounded. Today a young father was killed and his wife and children injured when their car was riddled with gunfire. Yesterday a 13 year-old Israeli girl was stabbed to death while she slept in her bed. Not only did the Palestinian Authority fail to condemn this gruesome murder, it referred to the murderer as a ‘martyr’ in official media,” the statement said.
“Palestinian praise for murderers today inspires those who will strike tomorrow. This response reflects the moral bankruptcy of the Palestinian leadership and leaves little doubt about its true intentions.
“Israel therefore welcomes the Quartet’s recognition of the centrality of Palestinian incitement and violence to the perpetuation of the conflict. This culture of hatred poisons minds and destroys lives and stands as the single greatest obstacle to progress towards peace.
“The report unfortunately says nothing about the payments made by the Palestinian leadership to terrorists and their families. The graver the violence, the greater the payment. This Palestinian practice must stop.
Elliott Abrams: The Middle East Quartet’s New Report Misses the Point
In English (which is not exactly the language in use at the UN) this sentence can be translated thus: the negotiations are going nowhere and everyone knows it, so let’s concentrate on pragmatic steps that might actually be taken. Were the Quartet, and the EU and United States, to do this, Palestinians and Israelis would be better off. In fact the main problem with this report is that it is all about what’s “hurting the peace process,” when in fact there is no peace process. There hasn’t been one since 2008, when PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas rejected the offer from Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, and 2009, when the Obama administration set a total construction freeze as a precondition for direct negotiations.
The report continues an old pattern of equating morally the construction of a home and the murder of an Israeli civilian. It does this in several ways. The very first sentence quoted above shows this: the problems are violence and terror and settlement expansion, you see. I build a bedroom, you murder a child in her bed; we are in the eyes of the Quartet apparently equal obstacles to “the peace process.” It is perhaps unfortunate for the Quartet but gives a deep insight into what is really preventing peace that the report was presented the day the following happened:
Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old American citizen, was stabbed to death while she was in her bed in Israel. According to the State Department, a 17-year-old Palestinian assailant allegedly broke into her home in the West Bank and killed her before he was shot by security guards.
Israel’s Mission to the United Nations said that it managed to thwart an attempt by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to insert language justifying terrorism in the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy resolution passed on Friday by the General Assembly.
The resolution, which was adopted by consensus, focuses on adapting the UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy to current threats by calling the international community to “step up their efforts” against terror and reaffirm their unequivocal condemnation of terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes.”
Yet according to the Israeli mission at the international body, the OIC attempted to include a section in the 15-page resolution stating that “self-determination and national liberation does not constitute terrorism.”
Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador David Roet addressed the General Assembly on Friday and spoke about the murder of Hallel Yafa on Thursday and the terror attack against a family in Hebron on Friday morning.
A shake-up this week at the United Nations Security Council promises a slightly improved situation for Jerusalem, even though arch-critic Sweden is among the new members, but the fresh constellation is unlikely to change the balance of power on issues related to the peace process with the Palestinians.
Five new members were elected to the key decision-making body: Bolivia, Ethiopia, Sweden and Kazakhstan — and Italy and the Netherlands, which received the same number of votes and decided to split the two-year term (Italy will take 2017; the Netherlands 2018).
Overall, the new Security Council mix, which takes effect on January 1, 2017, is unlikely to drastically improve or worsen the Palestinians’ chances to advance one-sided resolutions against Israel.
Israeli diplomats are sure to be dismayed about Sweden, the first Western European country to formally recognize a Palestinian state, garnering a spot on the body — one of the few in the UN universe whose decisions are actually binding.
The United States has offered to increase its military aid to Israel, under a decade-long deal set to take effect in two years’ time, on the condition that Jerusalem spend more of the funds on American goods and services, rather than on domestic ones as it is authorized to do now.
Negotiations between Israel and the US over a memorandum of understanding for an aid package to replace one that expires in 2018 have been ongoing for months, amid tensions over the Iranian nuclear deal reached last year which Israel vociferously opposed. Israel has charged that the accord signed between Tehran and six world powers, including the US, poses an existential threat to Israel and challenges its qualitative military edge in the region.
The US offer currently on the table, outlined to members of Congress on Friday in a letter by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, includes a pledge to substantially increase the aid package, worth some $30 billion, and ink a new one that would constitute “the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history.” The letter was sent in response to a missive signed in April by 83 out of 100 senators calling on President Barack Obama to increase foreign aid to Israel and sign the new deal.
The Knesset Ethics Committee will convene next week to consider the suspension of Joint (Arab) List MK Hanin Zoabi over her remarks she made in the Knesset on Wednesday in which she branded Israel Defense Forces soldiers involved in the botched 2010 commandeering of a Gaza blockade-running ship as “murderers.”
The Tuesday meeting was called after 60 MKs — from both the coalition and the opposition — lodged complaints with the committee urging the suspension the firebrand lawmaker.
According to a report in the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom, Zoabi faces a maximum six-month suspension from all Knesset activities — though she would still be allowed to vote in the plenum — and a fine of up to NIS 45,000 ($11,700).
The ethics committee is reportedly likely to impose the maximum penalty on Zoabi; this would constitute the most severe disciplinary measure ever imposed on a lawmaker by the panel.
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has released a video message warning the United States that it will face the “gravest consequences” if Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is executed. Tsarnaev, 21, was sentenced to death by lethal injection last year.
In fact, Zawahiri ordered the U.S. to avoid executing any Muslim prisoners.
“If the U.S. administration kills our brother, the hero Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, or any Muslim, it will bring America’s nationals the gravest consequences,” he said in the video, as translated by Reuters.
Zawahiri also declared that Western nations are “criminals, and they only understand the language of force.”
He urged Muslims to take as many Western hostages as they could, particularly from nations that were part of what he called, “the Crusaders’ campaign led by the United States.” He said those Western hostages could then be exchanged for Muslim prisoners.
Leveling corruption accusations against rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted, then swiftly deleted an image depicting the Democratic nominee next to a Star of David superimposed over piles of money.
Trump’s image of Clinton surrounded by $100 bills read: “Most corrupt Candidate Ever!” on a six pointed star, a common Jewish and Israeli symbol.
Below the image was a screenshot of a Fox News poll reflecting that 58 percent of American voters considered Clinton to be “corrupt.”
The attack ad drew immediate condemnation from social media users, with some questioning Trump’s motive for using a six pointed star in the campaign ad slamming Clinton.
After supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement failed to pressure rock superstar Carlos Santana into cancelling his upcoming concert in Tel Aivv, the guitarist said in a video message on Thursday that he is excited to return to Israel and promote a “musical message of peace, love and an end to conflict.”
“The band and I will bring our open hearts and musical energy that will resonate with your soul long after the last song has been played,” Santana, 68, said in the clip, which was re-posted on Facebook by Israel advocacy group StandWithUs. “We look forward to seeing you at Park HaYarkon. Shalom and salam alaykum. Peace.”
Santana’s concert in Tel Aviv, scheduled to take place on July 30, was first announced in March. Since then, BDS activists have attempted to bully the Grammy Award winner into cancelling the show. Anti-Israel campaigners took to social media and demanded the Mexico-born musician stop “supporting the oppressor” and “endorsing occupation.” Open letters were also published, such as one by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) which called on Santana “to respect our picket line.”
Garik Ruiz, the North America Advocacy Advisor for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, said earlier in June that his organization is “working very hard to be in communication with [Santana] about the international picket line and telling him not to cross it. We have had many campaigns targeting artists but Santana is the most high profile.”
On Tuesday, BDS supporters attempted to deliver a petition with 25,000 signatures to the headquarters of The Milagro Foundation, established by Santana and his family to help underprivileged children around the world. The petition delivery was live streamed by the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace, but workers at the foundation “refused to open the door … and closed the blinds,” according to the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA).
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