Melanie Phillips: The Temple Mount trap
I wrote here that Israel’s removal of the metal detectors from Temple Mount was a mistake, and that those in the west approving of the move merely showed how badly they failed to understand the Arab Muslim religious war against the Jews.
On the day the metal detectors were removed I attended a meeting in Jerusalem where Israel’s minister for housing, Yoav Galant, said erecting the barriers had been “a mistake”.
Staggered by this language which played directly into the Arab and Muslim “strong horse” mindset in which any retreat is viewed as a signal to redouble the attack, I asked Galant whether such a move wasn’t going to be taken as a sign of weakness which would merely incentivise more violence. “No!” he snapped before stalking off.
It was subsequently reported that Galant had been the prime mover inside the Israeli security cabinet to get the metal detectors removed.
What has followed, however, has been as predictable as it is alarming. The Palestinian Arabs have been crowing that they have Israel on the run. That has accordingly galvanised them to further violence, rioting on Temple Mount and attacking from this supposedly sacred Islamic space Jewish worshippers praying at the Western Wall. (It was a attack from al Aqsa upon Israeli police officers, two of whom were murdered, which led to the metal detectors being installed in the first place).
Palestinian Authority leaders then endorsed two weeks of Arab rioting at Temple Mount, calling on Palestinians to “rage” and “come to the defence of al Aqsa” against the entirely fictional threat from Israel.
Palestinian Media Watch published the cartoon reproduced here which Fatah (the party of the “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas) posted on its Facebook page and whose text PMW translates as “Victory is better than sleep”. It also published another showing metal detectors running away from cheering Arabs at the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount.
Mordechai Kedar: Israel vs. Jordan
When Israel placed magnometers and security cameras at the Temple Mount entrance about two weeks ago, the King of Jordan, Abdullah, contacted America and European countries and warned that the security measures Israel implemented on the Temple Mount could potentially undermine his government. Since Jordan has a special status regarding Jerusalem, Israel’s actions will spark the rage of Muslims in Jordan and throughout Middle East against his government, because his inaction to influence Israeli policy on the Temple Mount would be seen by the Muslim world as collaborating with Israel. Therefore, in order for Abdullah to maintain his already unstable government, he demanded that the Israeli government remove the security measures it had recently installed on the Temple Mount. This request is unthinkable, and one wonders how Abdullah musters the chutzpah to demand such a request which implies that Israel should endanger its own police and citizens, so that he can remain secure in the monarchy inherited from his great grandfather who received it illegitimately from the British after World War I.
Israel’s conduct vis-à-vis Jordan, illustrates that here also, similar to its dealing with the Palestinians, the Israeli government continues to prefer short term tactical interests over long term strategic interests, such as allowing the Hashemite Kingdom to be toppled and replacing it with a Palestinian Arab state. The Hashemite Kingdom is living on borrowed time, and its fate will likely be similar to other Arab governments throughout the Middle East that were toppled; and these governments were stronger and more stable than the Hashemite Kingdom. The events of the last week prove that the peace agreement with Jordan not only limits Israel’s sovereignty and ability to defend its citizens, but also serves as a vehicle which allows Jordan to apply diplomatic pressure on Israel.
The Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan owes its life to Israel, and therefore the Israeli government need not acquiesce to their demands. Regretfully, it is difficult to expect the Israeli government, which surrenders to terror, to navigate correctly through the uncertain roads of the Middle East. The State of Israel needs to invest many resources to restore its image which has been severely damaged by this sad decision to remove the security measures from the Temple Mount. Maybe the time has come for Israeli citizens to demand a head of state who has the determination and backbone necessary to stand up for the security of its citizens.
At the top of the list of supposed “continued drivers of violence” in the Palestinian Authority (PA) is an assertion even more fabricated: “a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood…”
It is not “lack of hope” that drives Palestinian violence. On the contrary, it is precisely the propping up of hope — that intimidation and terrorism work and deliver concessions, such as UNESCO’s fraudulent rulings that try to strip the Jews of their history, or Israel’s recent removal of metal detectors and cameras from the Temple Mount — that keeps the Palestinians on the offensive.
The report’s allegations are perceptibly false. The PA has absolute control over the content of school books, print and broadcast media pieces, and sermons in mosques, all of which are rife with blatant anti-Semitism and glorification of terrorism and terrorists. This means that the incitement to spill Jewish blood is approved by the PA leadership, when not directly planted by it.
Ethics now get short shrift nearly everywhere, and what was once normal behavior is regulated only by moral ambiguity. But murder, whether by an angry spouse, street hoodlum or terrorist driven by religious fanaticism, still has no sanction. There’s no justification for outbursts of butchery, and cash doled out to Palestinian terrorists and to their families is blood money, and it’s to the shame of the U.S. government that some of that blood money is lifted from the pockets of Americans.
The practice of paying for murder is front and center now following the execution-style shootings of two Israeli Druze policemen at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. The families of three Israeli Arabs who carried out the attack are eligible for money from the Palestinian Martyrs Fund, as well as the families of the attackers who stabbed an Israeli policewomen at the Damascus Gate in June.
The Palestinian Authority, in its 2017 budget, allocates $355 million to “direct terror funding expenditures,” according to Palestinian Media Watch, and of that $158 million goes to “salaries” for imprisoned terrorists, an increase of 13 percent above last year. Another $197 million is paid to the families of “martyrs,” as terrorists slain in the act are called, an increase of 4 percent. Rather than encourage productive citizens, the Palestinian leaders encourage acts of terrorism, including murder, as a way of life.
More than 20,000 Palestinian families receive monthly payments, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and another 500 families of “martyrs” are eligible for a free religious pilgrimage to Mecca, paid by Saudi Arabia. It’s a telling indicator of where the powers that be place their priorities, that peaceful families with incomes under the poverty line receive smaller welfare payments than killers of Jews.
A Palestinian teenager stabbed an Israeli man, critically wounding him, at a supermarket in the central Israeli city of Yavneh on Wednesday morning, police said. After initially saying the motive was unclear, police eventually said the stabbing appeared to have been a terror attack.
The stabber was captured by civilians, who held him down until police arrived. He was later identified by the Shin Bet security service as Ismail Ibrahim Ismail Abu Aram, 19, from the West Bank village of Yatta.
Graphic security camera footage from inside the Shufersal supermarket in Yavneh, south of Tel Aviv, showed the moments leading up to the attack and the stabbing itself.
The 43-year-old victim, who worked at the supermarket, was stocking shelves with paper towels on one of the aisles, paying no mind to the teenager who walked past him.
Suddenly the attacker turned around, took out a knife and began viciously stabbing the supermarket employee in the upper body. Though injured, the victim fought off the terrorist and tried to run away from him, blocking the aisle after him with a handcart.
The victim could then be seen running to a nearby aisle, and out of frame, with the assailant chasing him.
He suffered stab wounds to the chest, neck and head and was in unstable condition, according to medical officials.
Israeli troops raided the West Bank home of a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed an Israeli man, critically wounding him, at a supermarket in the central Israeli city of Yavneh on Wednesday, the army said.
Just before noon, Ismail Ibrahim Ismail Abu Aram, 19, from the village of Yatta, attacked a 43-year-old employee of a Shufersal supermarket, stabbing him multiple times in the chest, neck and head. The brutal attack was captured by the store’s security camera (warning: graphic content).
Abu Aram fled the scene but was tackled and pinned to the ground by civilian bystanders until police arrived and arrested him.
The victim was rushed to the nearby Kaplan Medical Center with life threatening injuries and was being operated on, a hospital spokesperson said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Israeli troops entered Yatta, outside Hebron, and raided Abu Aram’s home, the army said.
Doctors at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot are continuing efforts Wednesday evening to save the life of the 43 year old victim of the terrorist stabbing attack in Yavneh.
The surgeon, Dr. Doron Schindel, the head of the Head and Neck Surgery Unit at the hospital, provided an update on the victim’s condition.
“The patient arrived at the emergency room with multiple stab wounds in the neck and upper body and also in the back. He was bleeding from many wounds when he arrived. Initial efforts were made to stabilize him in the emergency room ,and then he was taken to the operating room where they continued to work to stop the bleeding and to close the affected organs,” Dr. Schindel said.
A vast majority of Jewish Israelis supports recent calls made by high profile politicians for implementing the death penalty for terrorists, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
In Israel, the death penalty is applicable only in limited circumstances, and has only been carried out once in a civilian court, against Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution, in 1962.
(In 1948, an IDF court martial executed officer Meir Tobianski on a treason conviction, though he was later cleared.)
In the wake of a brutal terrorist attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish last month in which three members of a family were stabbed to death, a number of prominent ministers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed their belief that Israeli military courts should seek the death penalty for the Palestinian attacker.
The latest monthly Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index poll found that nearly 70 percent of Jewish Israelis agreed with them.
The Palestinians, feeling triumphant now that Israel has complied with their demand to remove the metal detectors and security cameras, have been clarifying that it is only the first step in their fight to eradicate any Israeli presence in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
They admit that this is a battle over sovereignty on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. For the Palestinians, the real battle is over who controls Jerusalem and its holy sites. The real battle, in their eyes, is over the Jews’ right to live in their own state in the Middle East. Many Palestinians have still not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist, and that is what this battle is really about.
The Palestinians have added it up just right. In their own words, they aim at an escalation of violence because they believe that what Israel did is the first step toward even more concessions and even further retreat.
Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser charged with brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, voiced support for Israel’s conduct on the Temple Mount after a July 14 murder of two police officers by Israeli Arab terrorists.
According to a Tuesday report by Wired, Kushner made the comments as part of a question-and-answer session in a summer lecture series attended by congressional interns on Capitol Hill, Monday.
The session was meant to be off-the-record, but details from it leaked to the media, Wired said.
“Look at what happened this past 10 days — a lot of seemingly logical measures taken on the different [unintelligible] part somehow became a little bit incendiary,” Kushner said of Israel’s decision to install metal detectors and other security measures at the holy site.
“But we were able to calm it down by having a lot of really great dialogue between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis,” he said.
Lawmakers on Tuesday called for an investigation of Iran’s alleged involvement in the recent unrest surrounding the Temple Mount.
Israel Hayom reported that tens of thousands of Muslim protesters received prepackaged meals along with notes citing a famous quote attributed to 1979 Iranian Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: “With the help of Allah, Palestine will be liberated! Jerusalem is ours.” The notes also depicted the Dome of the Rock and the Palestinian flag.
According to reports in the Palestinian media, a nongovernmental organization run by Iranian youth movements was in charge of distributing the meals. Arabic news sites affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps also pointed to Iranian NGOs as being behind the “supply of food to the heroes fighting for the liberation of the besieged Al-Aqsa mosque until victory is achieved over the Zionist occupier.”
A number of ministers and MKs said they would demand an investigation into how an organization funded and supported by Tehran and affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards was able to operate in Jerusalem, under the nose of security forces.
One former senior defense and intelligence official told Israel Hayom that the report of Iranian efforts to fuel the Temple Mount crisis “exposed a serious security and intelligence failure.”
“It is inconceivable that representatives of the Revolutionary Guards are operating undisturbed in Jerusalem and the intelligence and security establishment is unaware of it.” According to the official, this would be a more serious failure if the intelligence bodies were aware of Iranian involvement and did not prevent it.
Still, it seems the ones who should be most concerned by Turkey’s and Iran’s growing involvement in the holy site and in the Palestinian and Israeli Arab populations are the Arabs themselves, and even more so, the Palestinians. It is not the best interests of the Palestinians or Israeli Arabs that guide Iran and Turkey, but the interests of the Iranian regime and the Turkish president, which are distinct from the interests of the people they rule.
Moreover, as has happened numerous times in Palestinian history, failure and defeat begin when the Palestinians hesitate to make decisions and prefer, sometimes out of weakness, to trust their fate to others.
This was the case before the 1948 War of Independence, when the Arab states took over and dragged the Palestinians into a terrible defeat, and this may also be the case this time, if Iran and Turkey drag the Palestinians into places that do not serve the Palestinian interest.
The Palestinians would be wise to remember that Iran has always been willing to fight Israel to the last Lebanese, Palestinian or Syrian soldier, but it has never placed even one Iranian soldier in direct conflict with Israel.
Sabri stated further that the Muslim leadership in Jerusalem is coordinating its survey with Palestinian and Jordanian leaders in order to ensure a united and cohesive stance in all matters related to the Al Aqsa Mosque.
“Despite the Israeli regression, as far as we’re concerned the situation still hasn’t returned 100 percent to what it was before the 14 of July and we are continuing our contacts with the Palestinian and Jordanian leaderships and updating them on all that happens in the hope that these contacts and the observations of the committee of engineers will allow the formation of a final position against the occupation as a response to the actions made recently, especially inside the mosque when worshipers didn’t go inside in protest against the electronic detectors,” he said.
The sheikh stressed that, “We have no intention of giving up on any of our rights and we won’t give up the demand to return the situation to what it was before the 14 of July. We won’t give up until all our conditions and demands are accepted, including the release of all the young men who were arrested during the clashes that erupted around the mosque in protest over Israel’s actions.”
Sabri said that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanians are aware of the demands of the Muslim leadership in Jerusalem and that the two sides expect to receive the special report from the engineers and inspectors that will determine the extent of the damage to the mosque during the period of clashes while Muslims didn’t enter the site.
“We won’t accept anything less than the reversal of all negative changes and we won’t accept anything less than our full demands,” said Sabri. “We won’t give up and we’ll continue to deal with Israel’s actions and its attempts to harm the existing situation at the mosque and its attempts to blur its actions over the past two weeks.”
Following heavy hints dropped by the Israeli media, the Hamarneh family was asked not to accept any financial compensation from Israel. It’s more important for them, I understood Saturday, to receive an apology from Prime Minister Netanyahu. All he has to do is say two words: “I’m sorry.”
The testimony provided by the driver of the furniture truck, who disappeared last Sunday night, was revealed for the first time Saturday. If what his wife says matches the version the security guard gave the Jordanian interior ministry investigators, the affair is a lot more complicated than the little we were able to read and hear.
This is the testimony that was published in Jordan on Saturday and distributed across the Arab world: The driver, Maher al-Juneidi, insists—according to his wife, Buteina Abu Rish—that there was a box of nails involved, not a screwdriver. According to his version, the youth, Mohammad Omar Jawawdeh, brought furniture to the bedroom in the security guard’s apartment, which was paid for by the landlord, Dr. Hamarneh. The furniture assembly began at 4 pm, and after two hours it turned out that there were some nails missing. The teen left the apartment, and when he returned from the truck with the toolbox, something raised the security guard’s suspicion. An argument erupted, the youth stabbed him, the security guard was injured, pulled out a gun and fired. Dr. Hamarneh fell down together with the teen. The driver fled to another room, locked the door and called for help. The security guard called for help too. When the Jordanian rescue forces arrived, they couldn’t find the Israeli, who had escaped in the meantime to the embassy building.
I’m not sure that’s a reliable testimony. After all, the driver works for the furniture factory owner, the father of the killed teen. Our investigators are also taking into account the fact that the teen’s family originally comes from a village near Hebron, and the timing of the incident, at the height of the Temple Mount crisis. The funeral procession came out of the large Palestinian refugee camp Wihdat, in the Amman suburbs. The driver, al-Juneidi, was detained for thorough questioning until the weekend, and then chose to hide in the home of relatives, far from the scene of the event.
It could have gone down in a footnote of history as the Rumble on the Bridge — if only cooler heads hadn’t prevailed. Israel’s most unruly lawmaker came tantalizingly close Wednesday morning to facing off with a Jordanian parliament member at the border between the two countries, but the fight was called off minutes before it was set to begin.
Amid ongoing tensions between Israel and Jordan, rabble-rouser Yahya Al-Saud, known for violent outbursts in the Jordanian parliament, on Sunday urged troublemaker Likud MK Oren Hazan to meet him at the Allenby Bridge on the Jordan River for a fistfight.
“The shoe of any Palestinian child is more honorable than this villain and his entity [country],” Saud said of Hazan, according to Jordanian reports, “and the shoe of any Arab and Muslim is better than him and his rogue entity, which has no origin and no religion.”
Hazan replied on Twitter that he would be there. “I accept the invitation of the Jordanian member of parliament to the meeting on the bridge. Tomorrow at 10 a.m. I’ll be at Allenby Bridge for a face-to-face talk. I’ve got an offer he can’t refuse,” he tweeted.
Toronto “Day of Rage” protesters too enraged to speak with Rebel
David Menzies reports, terrorist group Hamas called for a “Day of Rage” in response to increased security checks at Temple Mount in Israel. A Toronto pro-Palestinian group staged an event to support the effort but The Rebel found a lot of rage directed at them when they headed out to cover the event.
Palestinian opposition to ending the policy of “martyr payments” could face a potentially insurmountable obstacle in the form of revised legislation governing American aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) that is expected to be voted on during the fall session of Congress.
A revised version of the Taylor Force Act — amended by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in advance of a vote this Thursday — places even more stringent conditions on aid to the PA as long as it operates a policy dubbed by critics as “pay-to-slay.” Currently, the PA spends more than $300 million of foreign aid money per year on monthly salaries to terrorists and their families that far outstrip the wages paid to Palestinian professionals, including the PA’s own civil servants.
Named in memory of former US Army officer Taylor Force — who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in March 2016 — the act, if passed, would restrict aid to the PA until the State Department certifies that it is no longer inciting and funding terrorist violence. Palestinian leaders have until now resolutely rejected any compromise over the policy, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas declaring he would give up his post before ending the payments.
Among the notable changes marked up by the Foreign Relations Committee is a clause calling on all donor countries that fund the PA to “cease direct budgetary support until the Palestinian Authority stops all payments incentivizing terror.” This demand is aimed in the main at European countries.
If you’re wondering where the PLO is getting all of their money, experts such as Yigal Carmon, founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute and Yossi Kuperwasser, Project Director on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, suggest it’s coming primarily from international aid — including aid from Canada. Of particular concern is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Many, including Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, have stated that UNRWA has direct ties to the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas.
While the UNRWA lost Government of Canada funding in 2010, following allegations of the organization being connected to Hamas, the Liberal Government announced in November 2016 it would restore funding to UNRWA to the tune of $25 million Canadian dollars. The United States is also a major supporter of the Palestinian Authority. It is abhorrent to think that any money from North America governments might be rewarding terrorism, yet it’s hard to conclude otherwise.
The compensation of terrorists is deeply immoral and incomprehensible in and of itself. But it is most problematic because it undermines peace. In addition to directly violating the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords, paying terrorists incentivizes terrorism, which cyclically fuels conflict, erodes Israeli support for peace talks, and further entrenches Palestinian intolerance and extremism.
The international community owes it to Israelis, Palestinians, the Salomon family, and the countless other victims of Palestinian violence and terrorism to raise awareness of Palestinian policies to pay terrorists. If we don’t, only time will tell how many more will suffer.
Israelis and Palestinians by a small margin still support a two-state solution but most do not think it can happen in the next five years, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday.
Some 53% of Israelis and 52% of Palestinians support a two-state solution.
That is a drop from the 71% of Israelis and 57% of the Palestinians who supported the idea in 2010.
A larger number, 71% of Palestinians and 72% of Israelis, think a Palestinian state will not be created in the next five years.
The lead researchers in the study, Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, told reporters at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem that surface results of their report, “Palestinian-Israeli Pulse: A Joint Poll,” could be viewed as discouraging.
But Israeli and Palestinian leadership can reverse the downward trend with regard to the peace process, they said.
PA financial rewards for terror attacks is an issue that has brought us – members of the U.S. and Israeli legislatures – together, since Palestinian terror impacts both of our countries. It matters to Israel because the Palestinian funding invites constant attacks against Israelis.
It matters to the U.S. not just because innocent Americans and Israelis are being murdered, but also because in the last 25 years the U.S. has sent more than $5 billion in foreign aid to the Palestinians. This aid is meant to foster stability and promote peace in the region. Yet the Palestinian Authority is using our aid for the exact opposite purpose.
In the Israeli Knesset, a law has already passed the first stage of the legislative process that would impose a dollar-for-dollar deduction in the amount of tax revenues Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority based on the amount the PA pays terrorists.
Some will argue that we know exactly where our foreign aid is going. But the reality is that, despite our good intentions, when the U.S. pays for governance, utilities, and social welfare programs, it is freeing up PA money to pay for terrorist stipends.
Others argue that these American and Israeli initiatives could destabilize the West Bank – but prominent Israeli national security figures reject this prediction, and the fact remains that the status quo itself is unstable. Funding that enables the PA to reward violence and killing is not a recipe for calmness, whereas removing an incentive to carry out acts of terror will be an important step toward peace and stability.
But above all, our most basic moral value is the sanctity of human life. It is simply unacceptable to allow our money to promote murder. All civilized countries should stop aid money going to compensate acts of terror.
A number of European governments have joined the US and others in demanding that the Palestinian Authority (PA) end its policy of paying salaries to, and hence incentivizing, Palestinian prisoners convicted of terror crimes. The UK froze some of its aid to the PA over this issue; Germany launched an investigation; Norway “demanded that the PA stop using its funds — which include donations by foreign countries — to support convicted terrorists and their families”; a Parliamentary motion in the Netherlands noted that “this funding can have a negative effect, in which criminality and terrorism are rewarded”; and the EU emphasized that “allowances…for Palestinian prisoners, their families and ex-detainees” have “never been financed by the EU.”
This opposition ought to be self-evident, recognizing the fundamental contradiction between human rights and such policies.
Yet, in sharp contrast, a number of Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving European government funding under the banner of human rights assert that terrorists have a “right” to receive salaries and that suspending these payments is a violation of international law. NGO officials have also not questioned the legitimacy of violent responses by the Palestinian street, and some of their statements can be interpreted as veiled threats of violence meant to prevent an end to payments.
These NGO statements demonstrate the inconsistency between the label of “human rights” organizations and their activities.
This week, Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said in a UN Security Council debate that Hamas’s “decision to choose violence and reject the Quartet Principles… lies at the heart of the tragedy in Gaza”.
Ambassador Rycroft also condemned the “horrific terrorist attack that claimed the lives of three Israelis during a Shabbat dinner last Friday”, and the “tragic murder” of two Israeli police officers at the Temple Mount the week before.
Ambassador Rycroft referred to the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Gaza, suggesting that there is a “way out”, underlining: “Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements”.
The Ambassador urged countries in the region “with influence over Hamas” to “encourage them to take these steps”.
He emphasised: “Ultimately, it is Hamas’ decision to choose violence and reject the Quartet Principles that lies at the heart of the tragedy in Gaza”.
Ambassador Rycroft expressed his “deep concern” about the “spiral of tension and violence” that has “swept across the West Bank and Jerualem in recent days”, welcoming the “engagement betweeen all parties to find a solution”.
The Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem are a web of contradictions: while most are not Israeli citizens, they enjoy a status distinct from that of other Palestinians—allowing them freedom of movement, the right to vote in municipal elections, and access to the national health-insurance system, as well as an easy to path to Israeli citizenship should they so desire it. While they make up, overall, one of the poorest demographic groups in Israel, members of the younger generation are increasingly obtaining educations and jobs that will lead to greater prosperity. And while Islamist groups are rapidly gaining influence and popularity in their neighborhoods, Arab Jerusalemites are more inclined than ever to learn Hebrew, to study for the exams that can get them into Israeli universities, and even to seek Israeli citizenship.
In a detailed report, David Koren and Ben Avrahami explain the history and status of these Arabs, their internal diversity, and the disintegration of their traditional structures of communal authority. The last phenomenon has led to the greater popularity of Hamas and the even more radical Hizb ut-Tahrir group, and abetted the growing influence of pro-Islamist Turkey and Qatar. Although first published in Hebrew in May, the report—recently made available in English—sheds much light on the ongoing disturbances on and around the Temple Mount. Arguing trenchantly against proposals by some Israeli politicians to partition the city, the authors instead offer alternatives:
[I]n any form of partition of the city, Israel must be concerned not only about the terrorist infrastructure that would emerge only a few meters from Jewish neighborhoods but also about the currents that would dominate the educational, cultural, and welfare systems of the Palestinian political entity established. Children would be brought up with a deeply rooted hatred of Israelis, glorification of the violent struggle against it, and rejection of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. . . .
[Instead], we believe that Israel should take steps to infuse additional and more significant [efforts and resources into policies that] unite the city, by means of actions that increase the eastern Jerusalem Arabs’ sense of belonging to the city and the state.
On the basis of the hundreds of conversations we have had . . . with dozens of prominent figures, both women and men, we believe that broad sectors of the Palestinian population have come around to a pragmatic attitude about the Israeli authorities, despite their Palestinian national identity, and see Israel not only as the culprit to be blamed for their difficult situation as individuals and as a community but also as the only possible source for solving their problems and turning their lives around. . . .
In the closing chapters of their book, Messrs. Rumley and Tibon portray Mr. Abbas as a tragic and corrupt strongman who has overstayed his welcome. By 2009, this much was obvious. The ascendant economist-turned-reformer Salam Fayyad, who had been friends with, and a deputy to, Mr. Abbas, recognized the need to end corruption in the Palestinian Authority. In the authors’ telling, the two began to feud.
According to Messrs. Rumley and Tibon, Mr. Abbas “would become so obsessed with [Mr. Fayyad’s] challenging his rule that he would attack anyone associated with Fayyad’s reform movement. At one point, Abbas ordered Fatah subordinates to protest against Fayyad’s economic policies outside his offices.” The problem for Mr. Abbas, and for those whom he represents, becomes one of succession. If he is unwilling to cede power to his deputies, or to reform the “corruption and nepotism—which [are] rampant and deeply ingrained in Ramallah”—he may very well be the last Palestinian leader. Whatever his flaws, the authors suggest, it is hard to imagine a leader with equal historical and domestic legitimacy arising from the fractured politics and rival claims of Palestinian nationalism today.
Messrs. Rumley and Tibon offer a strong analysis of Mr. Abbas’s cult-of-personality leadership style and its problematic turn after his disastrous loss to Hamas in the Palestinian legislative elections of 2006. After that loss, they say, Mr. Abbas “was able to focus on the West Bank, and indeed consolidate his grip on politics there. . . . Survival was now the sole goal of his rule—much more than peace and statehood.” The public had shown greater support for Hamas than for Mr. Abbas, and he needed to win them back. His response, to internationalize his conflict with Israel and to capitalize on his diplomatic relationships abroad, boosted his standing at home and pushed peace further away. Mr. Abbas’s leadership style, in these, the waning years of his reign, is “a poor match to address the Palestinian public’s demands,” write the authors.
The success of this book rests in its ability to analyze Mr. Abbas not only as a diplomatic figure but also as a politician with his own domestic concerns. Too often, writing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its key players denies readers insight into domestic Palestinian affairs. Not here. Messrs. Rumley and Tibon treat readers to their combined expertise and understanding of internal Palestinian politics.
Mr. Abbas’s story, as they argue, is a tragic one. He appeared to be the man with the greatest political potential on the Palestinian side to make peace with his neighbors. Instead, he has turned into a power-consolidating silencer of dissent who eulogizes some of the more contemptible impulses of Palestinian nationalism.
Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the death of Lt. Hadar Goldin — an IDF soldier who fell in battle in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge and whose body was kidnapped by Hamas and is still being held by the terrorist group.
This year, the Gregorian calendar anniversary of the incident in Rafah in which Goldin was killed — which took place after Hamas violated a UN-brokered cease-fire — fell on Tisha B’Av, an annual fast day on which Jews remember past disasters.
Goldin is one of two fallen IDF soldiers — the other being Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul — who died in the summer 2014 Gaza war and whose remains have yet to be returned to Israel for burial.
“On this day of mourning and hope for stronger Jewish unity, we ask our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world to join us in helping bring Hadar home,” Leah Goldin — Hadar Goldin’s mother — told The Algemeiner on Tuesday. “We are deeply appreciative that the American leadership and other leaders around the world have expressed their empathy for our plight.”
“As we approach Shabbat Nachamu, we ask Jewish communities around the world to join us in remembering Hadar on the anniversary of his death and take action to uphold international humanitarian law and pressure Hamas to return Hadar and Oron,” she continued.
The Times of Israel is acutely concerned for the well-being of Neda Amin, a Turkey-based, Iranian-born blogger for The Times of Israel’s Persian website, who is being threatened with imminent deportation by Turkey.
Amin has appealed to the United Nations in Turkey to protect her, noting that the UN previously designated her a refugee in 2015, and has also appealed to human rights organizations and others to intervene on her behalf, asking that a country be found where she can be given safe refuge.
Amin fears that if no other country takes her in, she will be sent back to Iran, where she fears for her fate.
She is now battling the deportation threat via the Turkish courts.
The UN Watch NGO is circulating a petition on Amin’s behalf, warning that she “is in grave danger should she be deported back to Iran.”
A Palestinian man has confessed to slaying his pregnant Israeli girlfriend, 29-year-old Michal Halimi, after she went missing two months ago.
Police said the killer, Muhammad Harouf, admitted his guilt after an investigation into Halimi’s disappearance.
Halimi, a resident of the community of Adam in the West Bank, was initially reported missing on May 23. Her body was found July 24 in the Sand Dunes Park in Holon.
Harouf’s confession came after he initially gave multiple conflicting accounts of Halimi’s whereabouts. Following his confession, Harouf was brought to Holon to reenact the murder. He told police he strangled his girlfriend and then hit her in the head with a rock before burying her body.
The couple had posted photos on social media indicating their intention to become engaged. Halimi was eight months pregnant at the time of the murder. She was also reportedly married to an Israeli man at the time of her death, and it is not clear who the baby’s father was.
Harouf said he had a nationalistic motivation for the murder when speaking with reporters Wednesday outside the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
“I wanted to free [Palestinian security] prisoners,” he said.
In the courtroom, Harouf kicked a prison guard and screamed, “I’ll kill all the Jews,” Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Educating Palestinian youth to see terrorist murderers as role models is Palestinian Authority policy. In keeping with this ideology, Fatah is currently holding a summer camp for youth named after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi.
Dalal Mughrabi led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, known as the Coastal Road massacre, in 1978, when she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway, murdering 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.
The PA’s Ministry of Culture endorsed Fatah’s camp with an official visit to the camp, while the official PA daily noted that camps such as this “place an emphasis on creating an educated and aware generation.”
Palestinian Media Watch has shown that PA schools named after terrorists raise terror-admiring youth.
PMW has documented that one of the means by which the PA and Fatah glorify terrorists and their attacks is by naming events, streets, and schools after them. The PA has named at least 28 schools after terrorists and 3 after Nazi collaborators. In addition, PMW has shown that PA education is A Recipe for Hate and Terror.
Children at a Hamas summer camp staged a reenactment of the recent tensions at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, with kids dressed up as Hamas fighters pretending to storm the compound and “liberate” the holy site.
Footage of last month’s graduation ceremony, which was translated Tuesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute, shows a group of children dressed up as Muslim worshipers confronting kids in Israeli Border Police costumes guarding metal detectors at the Mount, yelling, “We want to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
When the “worshipers” refuse an order to leave the Mount by the kids playing border guards, the “officers” aim their guns at the group and drive them away from the metal detectors, forcing them to hold prayers outside the site.
At the conclusion of the prayers, several of the children stand up and declare, “We want to liberate Al-Aqsa,” and one of them pretends to stab one of the kids playing Border Police officers.
The rest of the group proceeds to pelt the border policemen with rocks to chants of “Allahu Akbar,” and the officers open fire. The play’s narrator announces that “one martyr has fallen while carrying out a stabbing operation” after “killing one of the Zionist pigs.”
Israeli troops arrested a Palestinian couple in Hebron on Wednesday who had hidden over 200 rounds of ammunition in their children’s bedrooms, the police said.
A pistol, two magazines and marijuana were also found in the home during the raid, which was conducted by the IDF, Border Police and the Shin Bet security service.
The troops initially failed to locate the gun, and the husband denied having one in the home, but he did tell the officers that he had a small amount of marijuana in the house, which he handed over to them, the Border Police said in a statement.
According to the police, during the search, the border guards noticed the mother “was holding one of the children in a suspicious way.” When she was asked to put him down, she initially refused, saying her son was sick, but eventually acquiesced and took out a pistol that she had hidden inside her shirt, near where she had been holding the child.
Upon a further search of the house, inside the children’s bedrooms, the Israeli troops found two magazines for the 9-millimeter pistol, as well as 200 rounds of ammunition for it, police said.
The mother and father were both arrested. The children were handed over to relatives, a police spokesperson said.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has initiated talks with the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas to lift sanctions on the organization, end its electricity crisis and restore PA control of Gaza, Arab media reported.
According to reports, Abbas conditioned the restoration of electricity service and the lifting of various banking restrictions upon Hamas’s public cancellation of an electricity deal recently negotiated with former Gaza security chief Mohammed Dahlan, a rival of Abbas.
Abbas also conditioned the deal upon Hamas dismantling its government in Gaza and ceding control to the PA.
The PA recently reduced its payments to Israel for Gaza’s electricity, leading the Jewish state to cut the power supply to Gaza by almost a third, precipitating the coastal territory’s current energy crisis.
A senior Hamas terrorist believed by Israel to have planned the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank was spotted publicly in Lebanon’s capital Beirut for the first time since he was expelled from Qatar in June.
In photos published Wednesday, Saleh al-Arouri can be seen meeting with senior Iranian official Hossein Amir Abdollahian — a former deputy foreign minister — and a number of other members of Hamas, among them senior spokesman Osama Hamdan and the terror group’s representative in Lebanon, Ali Barka.
Also present at the meeting was Ramadan Abdullah Shalah, the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.
During the meeting, the participants discussed continued “resistance” against Israel and the recent tensions surrounding the Temple Mount following the July 14 terror attack at the holy site, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported.
After his expulsion from Qatar in June, al-Arouri moved to Lebanon, where he is being hosted by the Hezbollah terror group in its Dahieh stronghold in southern Beirut, Channel 2 reported last month.
Should the United States walk away from the deal, the dilemma for those countries is what costs more: alienating the United States by keeping up trade with Iran, or angering domestic economic interests by going along with tough US sanctions on the oil-rich country. The less persuasive the Trump administration case is for pulling out, the likelier it is that other nations would not cooperate and would continue to do business with Iran — setting the stage for increased US isolation on the world stage.
“Europeans may look to contingency and fallback options if the United States unreasonably undermines the deal,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
In a conference call organized by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group that backed the deal, Geranmayeh said European officials were planning to stage an all-out effort to keep the Trump administration from bolting.
“The challenge in the next three months is keeping the United States and the Trump character personally with keeping the deal,” she said. “In the next 90 days you’ll see a lot of activity on the Hill, in the State Department” by European diplomats.
Mark Dubowitz, who directs the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a group that opposed the deal, said the Europeans would likely stick with the alliance, especially if the Trump administration’s aim was not to quit the deal but to reconfigure it.
“I don’t think Europeans are going to risk a transatlantic war with the administration, particularly if the administration is not looking to abrogate the deal but to improve it by addressing some of the flaws of the existing JCPOA,” he said, referring to the formal name of the pact, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Here is a look at the possible paths out of the Iran deal for the US and what the likely consequences would be.
More than a half-year after Donald Trump took office, there is still speculation over whether his administration will jettison the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But, argue Eric Edelman and Charles Wald, this discussion is of secondary importance. The task for the White House is to devise a policy to prevent the Islamic Republic from getting nuclear weapons—something that a “dangerous deal that puts the U.S. in an impossible situation” failed to accomplish.
The Trump administration’s priority should be restoring leverage against Tehran . . . The first step is full enforcement of the JCPOA—including potentially re-imposing suspended sanctions in response to Iranian cheating—as a clear signal that Iran can no longer flout its nuclear obligations. . . .
American policymakers must also rebuild military leverage over Iran. Contingency plans to neutralize Iran’s nuclear facilities, if it materially breaches or withdraws from the deal, should be updated to reflect its growing nuclear infrastructure and military capabilities under the JCPOA. Just as it already appears to be doing against North Korea, the Pentagon must also develop credible capabilities in preparation for a possible shoot-down of future Iranian ballistic-missile tests. U.S. Navy ships must also . . . utilize rules of engagement to defend themselves and the Persian Gulf against rising Iranian harassment.
It is equally important that the United States work with its allies. The recent ten-year Memorandum of Understanding on defense assistance to Israel should be treated as the floor for cooperation, in particular on missile defenses shielding U.S. forces, Israel, and its neighbors from increasingly capable arsenals of Iran and its proxies. . . .
One of the most historically-feared architects of Iran’s terror network in Lebanon has been named as a key contributor to the growth of the Tehran-backed Shia militias that now wield decisive power in Iraq.
In an interview with Iraqi newspaper Al-Akhbar that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis — the deputy commander of the Iranian-backed PMU militia — paid fulsome tribute to the late Hezbollah terrorist leader Imad Mughniyeh’s role with Iraqi Shia organizations stretching back to the 1980s.
Together with his Hezbollah comrade Mustafa Badr Al-Din, Mughniyeh “trained the first armed jihad groups of the Iraqi opposition in 1982, as well as the first resistance units that opposed the [American] occupation in 2003,” Al-Muhandis said.
Before his assassination in Damascus in February 2008 in a car bombing widely assumed to have been the work of a joint CIA-Mossad team of agents, Mughniyeh was renowned as one of Hezbollah’s most ruthless and effective operatives — spending nearly thirty years at the helm of a regional and global terror network that thrives more now than at any time in the past.
Mughniyeh, 45 at the time of his death, was personally responsible for the murder of hundreds of people in various terrorist outrages. As Hezbollah’s chief of international operations, Mughniyeh masterminded several deadly terror attacks — among them the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut, which killed 63, and the subsequent bombing in the same year of military barracks in the Lebanese capital in which 241 American and 58 French service members lost their lives.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.