Melanie Phillips: The day of deranged inversion
The Israelis’ real crime, in the Arabs’ eyes, is to assert control of any kind on Temple Mount. The Arabs have threatened to unleash world war if Jews were ever to have free access to it or in any way alter the status quo. That status quo means Jews have their access to Temple Mount heavily restricted and are not even allowed to pray on it.
This despite the fact that, as the site of the original Jewish Temple, it is the holiest place of all for religious Jews. The Arab and Muslim belligerency over Temple Mount is not just an attack on Israel but on Judaism itself.
The most frightening thing of all about this, the one thing that the secular west just cannot begin to grasp, is that the murderously-incited Arabs really do believe the lie that Temple Mount (and all of Jerusalem, and all of Israel) belong only to them rather than to the Jews – the only people for whom this land was ever their national kingdom.
Back in 2014, the distinguished medievalist (and originator of the term “Pallywood”) Professor Richard Landes wrote a fine piece explaining the cultural dynamic behind this otherwise baffling inversion of reality by the Arab and Muslim world. This is the key passage:
So, alongside the nakba (catastrophe) that struck hundreds of thousands of the Arab inhabitants of the former British Mandate Palestine, we find yet another, much greater psychological catastrophe that struck the entire Arab world and especially its leaders: a humiliation so immense that Arab political culture and discourse could not absorb it. Initially, the refugees used the term nakba to reproach the Arab leaders who started and lost the war that so hurt them. In a culture less obsessed by honor and more open to self-criticism, this might have led to the replacement of political elites with leaders more inclined to move ahead with positive-sum games of the global politics of the United Nations and the Marshall Plan. But when appearances matter above all, any public criticism shames the nation, the people, and the leaders.
Instead, in a state of intense humiliation and impotence on the world stage, the Arab leadership chose denial—the Jews did not, could not, have not won. The war was not—could never—be over until victory. If the refugees from this Zionist aggression disappeared, absorbed by their brethren in the lands to which they fled, this would acknowledge the intolerable: that Israel had won. And so, driven by rage and denial, the Arab honor group redoubled the catastrophe of its own refugees: They made them suffer in camps, frozen in time at the moment of the humiliation, waiting and fighting to reverse that Zionist victory that could not be acknowledged. The continued suffering of these sacrificial victims on the altar of Arab pride called out to the Arab world for vengeance against the Jews. In the meantime, wherever Muslims held power, they drove their Jews out as a preliminary act of revenge.
The Arab leadership’s interpretation of honor had them responding to the loss of their own hard zero-sum game—we’re going to massacre them—by adopting a negative-sum strategy. Damaging the Israeli “other” became paramount, no matter how much that effort might hurt Arabs, especially Palestinians. “No recognition, no negotiations, no peace.” No Israel. Sooner leave millions of Muslims under Jewish rule than negotiate a solution. Sooner die than live humiliated. Sooner commit suicide to kill Jews than make peace with them.
Please think about this when you read about the violence taking place against Israelis – then, now and in the future.
No concession, agreed by Israel in negotiations to resolve the current standoff, could come close to matching that most dramatic of compromises half a century ago, in which the revived Jewish nation, having defeated its enemies in a war foisted upon it and liberated the most sacred place in its religious heritage, promptly relinquished its religious rights there to the representatives of its vanquished enemies.
And no compromise agreed to by Israel today could compare in its repercussions to the impact of that agreement 50 years ago, which has empowered a Palestinian and wider Muslim false narrative that asserts the Jews actually have no connection to the Mount, no history there, no legitimacy there — and by extension no sovereign legitimacy in Israel either. Why did defense minister Moshe Dayan’s concession on June 10, 1967, fuel that false narrative? Because, the way it was perceived in much of the Muslim world, the Jews could not and would not have relinquished their authority over the site if it truly constituted the most sacred physical focal point of their faith. Israel’s restraint, its religious realpolitik, in other words, has come to be regarded as proof of our illegitimacy. And of our duplicity. We were not the returning liberators; we were interlopers, who could and would be resisted until we returned to whence we ostensibly came.
Why get into all that decades-old history again now? Why focus on Israeli forbearance half a century ago, and decades of Muslim delegitimization, when we’re grappling with immediate dangers swirling around the Temple Mount? Because that’s what all of this is really about. Israel made its big-picture choice 50 years ago. It opted not to insist on religious freedom for Jews at the Temple Mount. Indeed, it opted not to insist on religious freedom at the Temple Mount, period. Israel deferred to Muslim sensitivities because of its perceived wider interests in working to normalize its very sovereign presence in the hostile Middle East.
Was that a historic mistake? Well, maybe it was, or maybe it was a vital, nation-saving imperative. It’s emphatically a question worth exploring. But the fact is that, today, right now, despite endless false assertions in the Muslim world to the contrary, there is no indication that the Netanyahu government intends to revisit that fundamental decision, no sign that it intends to reassert Israel’s fleeting full sovereignty at the Temple Mount.
In which case, it has less than three days, at most, to find an arrangement both sides can live with — to add one more tweak to that most dramatic of concessions from 50 years ago.
PA increases spending by 13% for salaries to terrorist prisoners and by 4% for payments to families of terrorist “Martyrs”
Direct terror funding expenditures by the PA now reach 1.237 billion shekels or $355 million in 2017
Below, for your convenience, are two PMW charts depicting PA terror funding in 2017
The PA has publicized its budget for 2017, which includes how much it will be spending on salaries to terrorist prisoners and to families of terrorist “Martyrs.” Ignoring demands to stop rewarding terror by the United States, EU countries, Israel and many others, the PA in 2017 is actually increasing significantly these outlays. The PA expenditure for salaries to terrorist prisoners has risen by a huge 13%, from 488 million shekels ($135 million) in 2016 to 550 million shekels ($158 million), and the expenditure for payments to families of “Martyrs” has gone up by 4% from 660 million shekels ($183 million) to 687 million shekels ($197 million). In 2017, the PA’s total expenditure for directly funding terror is 1.237 billion shekels or $355 million.
The most telling response, however, came from Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group that rules Gaza. A spokesman for the group, Sami Abu Zuhi, said on Friday the attack “was a natural response to Israeli terrorism and their defilement of the Al Aqsa mosque.”
Now there are many things one can say about Hamas. They are killers, of course. They are also fanatics. Hamas favors the imposition of Islamic law on the people of Gaza. The group was responsible for changing the tenor of the Palestinian national liberation movement in the 1980s and 1990s, from largely an anti-colonialist struggle to a kind of holy war to reclaim Jerusalem.
In light of the group’s response to shootings at the mosque, let’s add a new descriptor: frauds. Yes, how can any thinking person take the professed pieties of Hamas leaders seriously if they rail against “defilement” of the site yet praises gunmen who fled to it in a shooting spree?
As Martin Kramer, a historian at Shalem College in Jerusalem, told me this week, the attack at the Temple Mount broke a taboo. “The usual Islamist claim is the danger to the mosque and the shrine is from Jews,” he said. “Here there was an actual conspiracy to smuggle weapons into this holy place and Hamas does not condemn it, they praise it. Who poses the greater danger to Al Aqsa?”
It’s an excellent question. The answer is that the greater danger to one of Islam’s holiest place these days comes from the Palestinian fanatics who claim to be fighting for its reclamation.
They told me that on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at a meeting in Ramallah of Fatah top echelons, Mahmud al-Alul, Abbas’ deputy in the Central Committee, told them that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was instructing them not to escalate the situation in Jerusalem. Instead of Jerusalem’s situation, they were to concentrate on the conflict with Hamas over Gaza.
Indeed, on July 19, 2017, Abbas delivered a policy speech in Beijing, China, and barely mentioned the current Jerusalem issues.
The Fatah leadership in Jerusalem told Ramallah that if at the moment of truth Fatah will not lead the “defense of al-Aqsa” – it will be the end for them; they will have no role to play anymore. Already now they are very weak compared to the Islamic religious players in Jerusalem.
Finally, on July 18, 2017, Fatah issued a statement calling for a “Day of Rage.”
Channel 2 said there was a professional disagreement between Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Israel Police representatives, who wanted to keep the detectors, and the Shin Bet heads who voiced support for their removal to avoid an unnecessary escalation in violence.
In addition to Erdan, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Police Chief Roni Alsheich, head of Shin Bet Nadav Argaman and other senior officials participated in Wednesday morning’s phone conference.
Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett appeared to indicate that Netanyahu was one of those opposed.
“I support the Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security. We must stand strong and ensure security on Temple Mount,” Bennett said noting that other holy sites including Mecca and the Western Wall had metal detectors.
“Caving in to Palestinian pressure now will hurt Israel’s deterrence, and risk the life of the visitors, worshipers and law enforcement officials on Temple Mount,” he said.
While not denying the content of the Channel 2 report, the Prime Minister’s Office criticized the manner in which the briefing was described. “To present the matter as if the prime minister was holding consultations to cancel the metal detectors – that is a distortion of reality,” the statement said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat took to Facebook Wednesday morning to fend off accusations, coming mainly from Arab Israelis as well as Muslim organizations in neighboring countries, that Israel should not have placed metal detectors at the entrance to the capital’s Temple Mount.
“The police’s decision to place that magnometers is a correct and necessary decision that will prevent an option for further terror attacks [to be carried out] at the site,” he wrote.
Barkat’s sharply-worded Facebook post comes as Israel braces for a “day of rage” planned by Fatah in protest over the introduction of new security measures into the area.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Earlier this week, Fatah encouraged Palestinians to participate in mass protests around main squares of Palestinian cities, and police predict that demonstrators will inevitably attempt to rally up altercations with security forces.
“Today was announced as a ‘day of rage’ in protest over the placement of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The Mount is a holy place that is meant for prayer and to that end we will maintain the rights of all the worshipers and visitors to the site,” the mayor added.
When Jordanian King Abdullah’s great-grandfather, after whom he was named, was murdered in July 1951 in exactly the same place where two Israeli policemen were murdered last Friday, then-Jordanian Prime Minister Tawfik Abu al-Huda declared a state of emergency in east Jerusalem, including its places of worship, and treated the city’s residents with an iron fist.
Those who expected the current king to be remotely mindful — even just from a humanitarian standpoint — of the fact that the stone pavement was still wet with the blood of murdered Staff Sgts. Maj. Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan when he demanded the Temple Mount compound be “reopened quickly,” were surely left disappointed. Instead, he prodded Israel to reopen the holy site without delay and, as usual, we acquiesced to his demands. Why? Because Jordan is a strategic asset.
Any Foreign Ministry cadet can regurgitate the mantra that Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan are strategic assets. But is this really the case? How can we measure their effectiveness? If the peace agreement with Jordan is truly predicated on interests, how does it benefit Israel? In the midst of a crisis, is it not possible that this “asset” will fail us, squandering all the years we invested in it?
For the third consecutive night, violent altercations broke out between Muslim worshipers and the police in Jerusalem’s Old City.
According to police reports, a group of Muslim worshipers threw rocks and bottles at police officers stationed by the Temple Mount after evening prayers on Tuesday, lightly injuring two officers.
Police used riot dispersal equipment in response and according to the Red Crescent, 34 people were injured, including 14 who were hospitalised and one case of a serious chest injury.
The violent altercations began in response to the installation of metal detectors outside the entrance to the Temple Mount. The detectors were fitted on Sunday after two police officers were shot and killed in a shooting attack. The three attackers, all Arab Israelis from Umm al-Fahm, stored the firearms used to carry out the attack within the Temple Mount compound.
Members of the Knesset’s Arab Joint List visited the Lion’s Gate on Tuesday night. MK Ahmed Tibi said: “The metal detectors must be removed, they cause great unrest and in fact create a new reality that hurts the status quo… The entire Arab world is up in arms.”
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday called on the international community to make Israel remove metal detectors from the entrances to the Temple Mount.
“We call on the international community and the Arab and Islamic states to take responsibility for… stopping the occupation’s measures that are in contravention with all laws, agreements and international charters,” he said.
Hamdallah, who was speaking at the PA’s weekly cabinet meeting, said the measures he was referring to include Israel’s recent closure of the Temple Mount and placement of metal detectors at its entrances.
Following a shooting attack on Friday morning that left two police officers dead, Israel closed the Temple Mount. Police reopened the site on Sunday, but placed metal detectors in front of its gates.
Islamic officials in Jerusalem have called for a general strike this Friday, ordering the closure of mosques around the city and instead calling on Muslims to perform their Sabbath prayers around the perimeter of the Temple Mount compound to protest upgraded security measures at the site.
The call comes on the heels of a declaration by the Palestinian Authority’s leading Fatah faction of a Day of Rage to be held Wednesday. Fatah is headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and will likely serve to ramp up tensions around the Mount, known in Arabic as the Noble Sanctuary, ahead of noontime prayers on the Muslim day of rest.
It also followed a decision earlier Wednesday by Jerusalem District Police Chief Yoram HaLevy to close the Mount to Jews after expelling a group of religious Jews for violating visitation regulations at the site. The site was re-opened to Jews in the afternoon. A number of Jewish individuals have been removed from the site this week, including a popular Jewish blogger and a well-known Jewish broadcaster.
Islamic officials and Arab civic officials continued to place the blame for the conflict squarely on the shoulders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the decision to install metal detectors around the entrances to the Temple Mount — which the Arab sector often refers to in a blanket phrase as “Al Aqsa” — was a strictly political one. They said that representatives of the Arab sector in Israel would not submit to the new security measures, and added that they would not cooperate with police in order to resolve the standoff.
Police on Wednesday closed access to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for non-Muslims after a violation of the holy site’s rules by Jewish visitors.
In a statement, a police spokeswoman said the closure was ordered by Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevi and that the group of Jewish visitors who attempted to pray at the site was removed as a result of the incident.
“The Israel Police operates within a series of balances to uphold the law and the rules of the site and won’t allow anyone to violate the law in any way,” the statement said.
According to the Haaretz daily, the Jewish visitors entered the Temple Mount with prayer books and attempted to pray, despite rules at the site forbidding prayer by non-Muslims.
Police said they would reevaluate opening the Temple Mount to non-Muslims Wednesday afternoon in accordance with “ongoing situational assessments.”
The Temple Mount is “a holy place for Muslims only, and no one but the Muslims have any religious or historical right there,” Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview.
The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site and is considered holy in Islam.
Hussein, who was appointed to his position by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of using a deadly Palestinian terrorist attack at the Mount last Friday as an excuse to “intensify the process of Judaization of Jerusalem and of the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
He claimed Israel was doing so by installing metal detectors at the entrances to the Mount. Israel’s new security measures were put into place as a direct response to the Palestinian terrorist attack last Friday in which three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site and murdered two Israeli police officers guarding an entrance to the compound.
Palestinians will continue to protest at the entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque “until occupation forces remove the electronic metal detectors once and for all and remove all the restrictions and barriers,” Hussein told Breitbart Jerusalem.
“Since the attack, the Israeli occupation has tried to force the worshippers to go through these electronic metal detectors and prepared to install cameras,” said the Mufti. “We oppose these steps and all religious scholars oppose these steps because they violate the status quo.”
Israel has no historic or religious right or affinity to the al-Aqsa Mosque, and “Israel’s actions in that place are unilateral actions meant to strengthen Israel’s grip on Jerusalem,” Hatem Abdel Qader, the head of Jerusalem matters for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, told Breitbart Jerusalem in an interview.
According to Qader, “Israel is acting daily to change the status quo at the site. Every time there’s a different excuse and this time it’s the excuse of the attack. They decided that the entrance to the complex of mosques will pass through metal detectors. What is that if not a unilateral change in the status quo?”
Qader continued, “We won’t agree to cooperate with these actions of Israel or with these electronic metal detectors that are, as far as we’re concerned, Israel’s way of oppressing the worshippers.”
Israel’s new security measures, which also provide safety to Muslim worshippers, were put into place in direct response to the Palestinian terrorist attack last Friday in which three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site and murdered two Israeli police officers guarding an entrance to the compound. Jewish and Christian visitors to the Western Wall long have had to endure metal detectors. Following Friday’s attack, Israel added metal detectors to the entrances to the Temple Mount, as well.
The Palestinian official, however, claimed that Israel is trying to deflect its security failures on to the Palestinians and the worshippers.
The Muslim Brotherhood called for an “Islamic Intifada” against Israel on Friday, following the day’s deadly Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
“The Muslim Brotherhood calls upon the sons of the Islamic Umma (nation), its Ulema (Muslim religious scholars), figures and blocs for an Intifada in order to stop the (alleged Israeli) violations of holy sites…,” the Brotherhood wrote on its official Arabic-language website — as translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
Palestinian terrorist organizations Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad followed the Muslim Brotherhood’s lead with a joint statement on Monday, also translated by IPT, “calling on the masses of the Palestinian people to prepare and declare a general mobilization to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque and to escalate the Quds Intifada.”
The Brotherhood admitted that its main motivation for “our intended uprising” is to “pressure all Western governments, Arab regimes and international organizations to intervene to stop violations by gangs of the Zionist entity.”
IsraellyCool: Photo of the Day: Central Security Command Edition
So the cameras and metal detectors have already been placed at the entrances to the Temple Mount, and the control room to monitor all visitors is fully operational.
Just kidding – fake news. This photo is from Saudi Arabia and shows their Interior Ministry’s security headquarters for the Hajj, located near the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
And guess what? There has never been any outrage from Muslim worshippers over this tight security. Yet when Israel announces it will install some metal detectors, we see rioting and threats of more violence and terrorism.
As I have already posted, we already know why the double standard.
Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount are in a state of confusion and disarray. Robbed of their traditional escorts from the Muslim Wakf, the Jews wander aimlessly, bereft of the comfort of a bunch of angry men yelling at them not to pray. The Wakf, employed by our friends the Jordanians, normally keep a sharp eye out for the dangerous act of Jews praying (Stopping gun smugglers? Not so much). However, the Wakf has been on strike ever since Israel installed metal detectors, which was a totally unprovoked violation of the “status quo” for no good reason except, like, last Friday three Arabs smuggled guns onto the Temple Mount and used them to murder Israeli policemen. The Daily Freier spoke with an impassioned Wakf spokesman named Fares as he stood by the Lion’s Gate.
“This is an injustice! Metal detectors at a Muslim Holy site? This is unprecedented. Except, like, you know, at Mecca. Besides, If the Zionists install metal detectors, how are we supposed to smuggle our guns?”
Meanwhile, “Israeli” Arab politician Ayman Odeh also denounced Israel’s response. Odeh, who is a lot like Hanin Zoabi except not as interesting, warned that Israel’s actions may lead to another Intifada. Because, you know, the first two Intifadas worked out so well for the Palestinians.
Anyhoo, the Jewish visitors are a bit lost without the Wakf’s helpful hectoring.
The God of Muslims is so powerful and great that he is unable to prevent the lowly descendants of apes and pigs from defiling His third-most-sacred location on Earth, supernal sources indicate.
Observers in both the heavenly and earthly realms noticed this week that despite His omnipotence, and the constant praising of His name in acknowledgement of divine assistance in human affairs, the Creator and Ruler of the universe has been unable to prevent a group of Jews from controlling access to the Haram Al-Sharif, where the Al Aqsa Mosque resides. Jews have maintained a security presence in and around the compound for fifty years, a disgrace to Islam so intense that it calls into question the notion that Allah is, in fact, as akbar as His worshipers proclaim at frequent intervals.
“It’s a specific issue for Islam and not other monotheistic religions,” explained one angel. “Islam’s temporal success and rapid expansion form an important part of its doctrine and assumptions – clearly, they had Allah with them as they swept out of Arabia, across North Africa, into Spain, and as far east as what is now China, Thailand, and Indonesia, over a short span. The later decay of Islam’s hold on its conquests is one thing, but then to have Al Aqsa become subject to the control of none other than the cursed Jews, well, where is God’s greatness now, you understand?”
Unaware that his remarks were also being transmitted to reporters outside, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the European Union in unusually harsh terms on Wednesday for its treatment of Israel, urging the leaders of four Central European countries to use their influence in the organization to ease its conditions for advancing bilateral ties.
“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said in a closed-door meeting whose content was accidentally broadcast to journalists outside the room. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth — both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel.”
During the meeting, Netanyahu also urged the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland to close their borders to refugees from Africa and the Arab world, and praised the administration of US President Donald Trump for its “stronger” position on Iran and Syria.
“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology in every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it,” Netanyahu said in the minutes before officials realized the meeting was being overheard by reporters, and cut the feed.
A former American Arab-Israeli peace negotiator, Aaron David Miller, acknowledged that the U.S. “overlooked” negative Palestinian behavior in its attempts to fashion a two-state solution. Miller, a former U.S. State Department employee and long-time author and commentator on the Middle East, made his remarks at a July 11, 2017 book launch at the Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD).
The event, attended by the press, policymakers and CAMERA, featured Miller, as well as FDD analyst Grant Rumley and Ha’aretz contributor Amir Tabon, both of whom were promoting their recent book The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas.
Politico’s Susan Glasser moderated a discussion between the three panelists, much of which revolved around the future of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and has been led for twelve years by Abbas.
Miller, who participated in Arab-Israeli negotiations from the 1980s through the early 2000s, reflected on what American negotiators missed, noting:
“We overlooked—in terms of the state-building capacity—we overlooked so many bad forms of behavior in the maybe well-intentioned pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace—corruption, authoritarian behavior, incitement—largely because the Israelis, however annoyed and disturbed they were by these trends, were also prepared to subordinate them to the overall goal and objective, and you see the consequences now. Same issues are there.”
China will host a symposium between Israel and the Palestinians later this year, a Chinese official said Tuesday, as Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to “ceaselessly” contribute towards peace in the region.
Despite depending on the volatile Middle East for oil supplies, Beijing has long taken a backseat in its disputes.
But China has stepped up its diplomatic engagement in the region in the past year, including offering to host talks on the Syrian conflict.
In a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, Xi reaffirmed China’s support of a two-state solution, with an independent, sovereign Palestinian state, bounded by the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In point of fact, the agreement between the U.S. and Russia did nothing more than ratify a unilateral truce announced the previous week by the Syrian government in this area so that Bashar Assad could focus his hard-pressed forces on other parts of the country. The truce is unlikely to hold for long, but it is already being met with considerable concern in Israel, since the territory in question borders the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and the land of Israel’s ally, Jordan.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out in stark terms against the ceasefire on Sunday, breaking with Trump to do so, because the Israeli security establishment is worried that the ceasefire will allow Iran and its Hezbollah proxies to consolidate their control of this strategically important land.
This development highlights the tension between Trump’s anti-Iran policy (his national security adviser at the time, Mike Flynn, put Iran “on notice” in February) and his more accommodating stance toward Iran’s ally, Russia. Contrary to what Rex Tillerson naively says, Russia does not have the same interests in Syria as the U.S. does. Russia is in Syria to consolidate Bashar Assad’s rule—not to fight ISIS or other Sunni terrorist groups, except insofar as they pose a danger to Assad’s rule.
To achieve its aims in Syria, Russia is working hand-in-glove with Iran, which remains Assad’s most important sponsor. Iran’s goal is to create a new Iranian sphere of influence stretching from Tehran to Beirut, and it is well on its way toward achieving that objective. The expansion of Iranian power is a mortal threat to Israel and a serious danger for other U.S. allies in the region.
Given the way that Moscow is collaborating with Tehran, Trump cannot be anti-Iran and pro-Russia. It’s a package deal—choose one or the other. The worry is that at Hamburg Trump may have chosen Russia.
Fifty-one Palestinians tortured by the Palestinian Authority for cooperating with Israel can sue the PA in Israeli courts for damages, the Jerusalem District Court ruled Wednesday in a blockbuster judgement.
The 1,860-page ruling based on dozens of witness accounts over several years is one of the most bizarre in years as it involves Palestinian citizens coming before the courts of the Israeli “occupation” seeking justice for their mistreatment by their own PA law enforcement.
Eight Palestinians were disqualified from receiving damages when the court ruled that they had been involved in common crimes and their treatment was a local Palestinian issue.
But the majority of the group, represented by West Bank resident and Israeli lawyer Menachem Kornvich, will appear in court hearings on the amount of damages they seek. Meanwhile, a team of Israeli lawyers, including Yosef and Yehonatan Arnon, try to knock out the damages on behalf of the PA.
The army released two videos on Tuesday purportedly showing the Hezbollah terrorist group operating on the Lebanese border, in what the IDF describes as a violation of a United Nations resolution.
In one video, the military shows apparent cooperation between an environmental group, known as “Green Without Borders,” and the Lebanese terrorist group.
This was not the first time the IDF made the allegation. Last month, Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi also claimed Hezbollah was using the environmental group’s watchtowers, which are ostensibly used to collect ecological information, in order to gather intelligence on Israel.
The United Nations rejected the Israeli claims, saying that while Green Without Borders members have planted trees in the area, it “has not observed any unauthorized armed persons at the locations or found any basis to report a violation of resolution 1701.”
After the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the UN Security Council passed UN Resolution 1701. The resolution sets guidelines for both Hezbollah and Israel to end the hostilities. Over the years, Hezbollah repeatedly ignored and violated these guidelines.
Resolution 1701 calls for a full cessation of hostilities based on these 5 principles:
1.“Security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area;”
Hezbollah uses several methods to disrupt the activity of UNIFIL forces. Hezbollah militants who have been caught carrying out operations, gathering intelligence, and transferring arms have reportedly provoked and disrupted the peacekeeping forces.
2.“Full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of 27 July 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State;”
Hezbollah has over 120,000 missiles in its arsenal, including long-range rockets that can reach the length of the State of Israel. Also in their stockpile are drones, advanced anti-ship missiles, and aerial defense systems. While Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party, they maintain separate weaponry. These advanced weapons don’t belong to Lebanon, but Hezbollah, which violates UN Resolution 1701.
Hezbollah Uses Environmental Organization as Front for Terror Activity
“Hezbollah is using an environmental organization as cover for activities along the border with Israel.”
– Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Chief of IDF Military Intelligence
In this video, Hezbollah is seen operating from outposts in Southern Lebanon, clearly violating UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
5 Ways Hezbollah Violated UN Resolution 1701
Hezbollah: Terror Since 1982
Flags of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah flapped in the breeze recently across London as part of an annual anti-Israel rally. Protesters relied on a legal loophole that must be closed in order to take the wind out of Hezbollah banners.
The rally was in support of Quds Day, an annual protest against Israel instituted in 1979 by the late Iranian supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini, who provided financial support and religious approval for Hezbollah’s creation.
Iran continues to be Hezbollah’s primary financial benefactor today.
Quds Day is marked by chants of “death to Israel” and demonstrations against Israel’s legitimacy. In June, the protests went forward in the UK and Germany under the banner of free speech; protesters displaying Hezbollah banners argued that they supported Hezbollah’s political wing and not its EU-sanctioned deadly military arm.
Last year, the Berlin state senate banned Hezbollah’s flag at the behest of Berlin state Interior Minister Frank Henkel, who argued that it “propagates the destruction of an entire people and endorses war and violence.”
This past June, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that British authorities were legally forced to allow the display of Hezbollah flags because the UK and EU had specifically proscribed only Hezbollah’s military wing. The problem is this: Hezbollah’s military and political wings have always been one and the same, and support for one becomes support for the other.
Hezbollah, of course, does more than wage war. In addition to the terrorist fighters roaming the Lebanese-Israeli border and propping up Bashar Assad in Syria, Hezbollah runs schools and other social programs across Lebanon.
Emanuele Ottolenghi — a national security expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) who closely monitors Iranian and Hezbollah activities in Latin America — told The Algemeiner that since the AMIA bombing of July 1994, “Hezbollah and Iran are as active as ever in Latin America.”
“This is happening because of the collusion and the benign neglect of the local governments,” Ottolenghi said. “Just because they are not Sunni radicals doesn’t mean their Islam is moderate. They are spreading a hateful ideology across the region in addition to becoming enmeshed in illicit activities which they use to fund Hezbollah in the Middle East.”
Hezbollah has flourished in the lawless tri-border area where Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil intersect, running money laundering activities for local criminal networks worth millions of dollars. Hezbollah is also heavily involved with the trafficking of narcotics — a business that involves local cartels with links to individuals at the highest levels of government, such as the Venezuelan regime’s vice president, Tarek El Aissami. Sanctioned by the US in February 2017 for playing “a significant role in international narcotics trafficking,” El Assaimi retains close links with Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. According to research conducted by the Center for a Secure Free Society, a Washington, DC think tank, El Assaimi authorized Venezuelan passports for nearly 200 Islamist radicals while in his previous post as interior minister.
Ottolenghi argued that the US now had to present governments in the region with a choice.
“They can come with us into the fight against the financing of radical Islamist terror, or face sanctions, penalties and punishments for not doing their job,” he said.
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