Caroline Glick: Losing and winning the Temple Mount
As a liberal democracy, Israel has an interest, indeed a duty, to ensure that the holy site is open to all religions and that everyone has the right to freely worship on the Temple Mount. Given the fact that the Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world for Jews, Israel has a vital interest in securing its sovereign control over the area.
To secure its sovereignty and advance its clear interest in facilitating religious freedom for all, Israel’s policy goal is straightforward. The government should enable all faiths to worship freely at the site.
To secure this end, the government should announce its goal and make a good-faith effort to involve all relevant groups and governments, including the Palestinian Authority, Christian authorities, Jewish authorities, the Jordanian regime and others in achieving it. The government should also state outright that if the Palestinians opt instead to incite and commit acts of violence and terrorism from the Temple Mount, Israel will secure its goal and enable Jews and Christians to worship at the holy site unilaterally.
To date, the Temple Mount has been the Palestinians’ ace in the hole. They recycle the blood libel that Jews are endangering al-Aksa every time they feel they are losing ground in their never-ending war against Israel. And Israel inevitably capitulates.
But if Israel announces its policy is to secure religious freedom for all on the Temple Mount and makes a good-faith effort to advance it in conjunction with the Palestinians and all other relevant groups, it will set the conditions for taking that ace away.
If after it begins good-faith efforts to collectively advance the liberal, democratic goal of ensuring religious freedom for all at the holy site, the Palestinians again turn to violence, then the Islamic world, or parts of it, will be in a position to blame them when Israel unilaterally enables Jews and Christians to pray on the Temple Mount parallel to Muslim worshipers.
If Netanyahu and his ministers make this their goal then the IDF and the Shin Bet won’t be able to intimidate them into capitulation next time around. Instead, the leaders of the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Foreign Ministry will all know their jobs and know that if they fail to perform they will be replaced.
Israel ceded the Temple Mount to terrorists last week. But with a clear goal, we can get it back in short order and keep it perpetually for the good of all humanity.
On Wednesday, American-born Israeli journalist Caroline Glick detailed explosive allegations concerning McMaster’s views on Israel. Glick is a well-known pro-Israel columnist and has established connections with the Trump administration. Many of the details in this story emerged from questions asked about Glick’s allegations.
The list of pro-Israel voices in the administration that were removed from McMaster’s National Security Council now includes: Steve Bannon, K.T. McFarland, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Derek Harvey, Rich Higgins, Adam Lovinger, and Tera Dahl.
McMaster not only shuns Israel, he is also historically challenged on Arab-Israeli affairs, according to the sources.
“McMaster constantly refers to the existence of a Palestinian state before 1947,” a senior West Wing official tells CR (there was never an independent Palestinian state), adding that McMaster describes Israel as an “illegitimate,” “occupying power.”
The NSC chief expressed great reluctance to work with Israel on counterterror efforts, as he shut down a joint U.S.-Israel project to counter the terrorist group Hezbollah’s efforts to expand Iran’s worldwide influence. The project was led by the now-former NSC Middle East director Derek Harvey.
In July, Palestinian terrorists armed with rifles left the al-Aqsa mosque compound and assassinated two Israeli police officers. Afterward, Israeli security forces installed metal detectors outside the Jerusalem mosque for protection. McMaster, however, didn’t see it that way. He viewed the security measures as “just another excuse by the Israelis to repress the Arabs,” a senior defense official tells CR.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has taken it upon himself to eliminate the pro-Israel voices at the National Security Council, according to three West Wing and defense officials who spoke to Conservative Review (CR).
On Wednesday, Israeli journalist Caroline Glick, a staunch defender of Israel, born in America, detailed explosive allegations vis-à-vis McMaster and Israel:
Many of you will remember that a few days before Trump’s visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisers were blindsided when the Americans suddenly told them that no Israeli official was allowed to accompany Trump to the Western Wall. What hasn’t been reported is that it was McMaster who pressured Trump to agree not to let Netanyahu accompany him to the Western Wall. At the time, I and other reporters were led to believe that this was the decision of rogue anti-Israel officers at the US consulate in Jerusalem. But it wasn’t. It was McMaster.
And even that, it works out, wasn’t sufficient for McMaster. He pressured Trump to cancel his visit to the Wall and only visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — a la the Islamists who insist that the only reason Israel exists is European guilt over the Holocaust.
Since McMaster took over the NSC, seven members who were staunchly pro-Israel have been purged: Steve Bannon, K.T. McFarland, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Derek Harvey, Rich Higgins, Adam Lovinger, and Tera Dahl.
One senior West Wing official told CR, “McMaster constantly refers to the existence of a Palestinian state before 1947,” and that McMaster describes Israel as an “illegitimate,” “occupying power.”
There was never a Palestinian state; the name “Palestine” comes from the Hebrew word “peleshet” that was used to refer to the ancient enemies of the Jews, the Philistines, an Aegean people closely related to the Greeks and with no connection ethnically, linguistically or historically with Arabia. In the second century A.D., the Romans defeated the Jews, and named the land Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. Until 1948, when people used the term “Palestinian,” it referred to Jews in the land.
McMaster shut down a joint U.S.-Israel project to fight Hezbollah’s efforts to help Iran; it had been led by now-former NSC Middle East director Derek Harvey.
After Palestinian terrorists armed with rifles left the al-Aqsa mosque compound and assassinated two Israeli police officers, Israel installed metal detectors; McMaster called the move “just another excuse by the Israelis to repress the Arabs,” according to a senior defense official.
Does anybody remember Dennis Ross’ “solution” in 2010? He claimed that more Palestinian housing would lead to peace. He pressured Israel to let Hamas import cement. “I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built,” he later wrote in the Washington Post. “They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right,” Ross admitted. Hamas used the cement to build “a labyrinth of underground tunnels, bunkers, command posts and shelters for its leaders, fighters and rockets,” he said.
But the State Department just wouldn’t give up. Martin Indyk and his assistant David Makovsky came up with a “solution” of their own which, as usual, would have involved Israel making sweeping territorial concessions and the Palestinians getting an armed, sovereign state that would be jammed against Israel’s throat. Israel needed to release 104 terrorists (who had killed 70 Israelis) just for the “privilege” of negotiating with the PA. But then right in the middle of the 2013-2014 Indyk talks, the PA’s Abbas suddenly announced the creation of a PA-Hamas unity government. The Indyk-Makovsky “solution” was left in tatters.
Does anybody notice a pattern here? Isn’t it obvious by now that any “solution” involving the permanent existence of a Jewish state of any size will never be sincerely accepted by the Palestinians?
All of the professional peace processors and self-appointed Middle East “experts” still don’t seem to grasp a simple fact that an unassuming real estate developer-turned-presidential son-in-law evidently understands: the conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Israel has no solution. A century of bitter and bloody experience has made that painfully clear.
Melanie Phillips: An open letter to Jared Kushner
Dear Jared Kushner,
I have been reading the remarks you made to a group of congressional interns about the difficulties of finding a solution to the Middle East conflict. Among other things, you said this: “We’re thinking about what the right end-state is, and we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution. And there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”
It’s good that you appreciate the complexities of this situation. The failure to understand the dynamics of this problem and the attempt instead to frame it as Westerners frame all conflicts is one of the reasons why this one remains so intractable.
I’m afraid, though, that you nevertheless fall into precisely the same trap. You said you had spoken to “a lot of people” who were involved in previous negotiations, which had taught you that “this is a very emotionally charged situation.”
Well, yes. I think we all kind of knew that already, don’t you?
You said: “You know everyone finds an issue, that ‘You have to understand what they did then’ and ‘You have to understand that they did this.’” But how does that help us get peace?
“Let’s not focus on that,” you add. “We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on how do you come up with a conclusion to the situation.”
If you really don’t think history is important, then you aren’t even going to get off the starting block. For heaven’s sake, this is all about history. The Jewish people’s unique claim to the land is rooted in the history of this land.
Without reference to that history, it is not possible to counter the big lie told by the Arab and Muslim world that fuels their attempt to destroy the State of Israel: that the Jews have no entitlement to the land.
Ruthie Blum: Sex, lies and terrorism
A Nablus resident who confessed this week to having strangled, bashed in the head of, and buried his Israeli girlfriend two months ago told reporters on Wednesday that he had done so to “help free Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”
Mohammed Kharouf made this statement to the press after the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court lifted a gag order on his case: the killing of 29-year-old Michal Halimi, a married, pregnant Jewish woman from the settlement of Adam. Halimi, whose body was discovered last week, had left her husband several months ago to move in with Kharouf, her Palestinian lover. It has not yet been established which of the men fathered the baby she was carrying.
Because this is the stuff novels are made of — a story that includes inter-ethnic intrigue, lust and the spilling of blood — the tragic tale has garnered much attention. But the perpetrator’s declaration that his motive was nationalistic, even though this is clearly a lie, is just as worthy of note.
Kharouf knew that his affair with a Jewish woman — let alone one carrying a child of dubious origin — would be sufficient to blacken his family’s reputation in Palestinian society, even if he “rectified” the situation by slaughtering the source of the shame. The wrath of his parents and their peers would make imprisonment in Israel seem like a holiday in comparison. Killing a Jewish Israeli in the name of the Palestinian cause, however, would turn Kharouf into a hero in the Palestinian Authority, which would provide him and his family with a lifelong stipend of more than $3,000 per month, courtesy of the American taxpayer.
US lawmakers denounced on Thursday the Palestinian Authority’s “sick” policy of paying salaries to terrorists and their families after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Taylor Force Act — which conditions $300 million of annual aid from the US on the PA ending the policy.
The committee approved the act by a 17-4 vote on Thursday morning, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the committee’s chairman, announced.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the principal aim of the bill, which will now return to the Senate for a vote during the fall session, was to prevent the PA from providing financial incentives for acts of terrorism.
“If you’re a young Palestinian, maybe the best thing you can do for your family in terms of income is to become a terrorist,” Graham said. “That’s sick.”
The act is named in memory of Taylor Force — a former US Army officer and veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars who was murdered in Tel Aviv in a Palestinian stabbing attack in March 2016. The 28-year-old Force, a Vanderbilt University graduate student, had been visiting Israel as part of a school-organized spring break trip.
“This is a big day for the Taylor Force family,” Graham said at a press briefing following the vote. “This bill will cut off all funding to the PA until they change their laws which reward terrorism, which reward people for killing a young man like Taylor Force. I don’t want his death to be in vain.”
Six Democrats were among the 17 senators who voted in favor of the act: Ben Cardin (MD), Robert Menendez (NJ), Christopher Coons (DE), Tim Kaine (VA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Ed Markey (MA). “If you look at this group, they come from across the spectrum,” the OU’s Diament observed. “You have Cardin and Menendez and Coons who are fairly centrist, but you also have Markey and Kaine, who are more on the left.”
Four senators, all Democrats, voted against the act: Cory Booker (NJ), Chris Murphy (CT), Tom Udall (NM) and Jeff Merkley (OR).
New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took heat on Thursday from World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, following her announcement earlier this week that she was withdrawing her support for the Anti-Israel Boycott Act, a new bill currently making its through Congress.
Introduced in March by Gillibrand’s fellow Democrat, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the bill would make it illegal for US citizens to participate in economic boycotts of US allies initiated by foreign governments or by inter-governmental organizations like the UN Human Rights Council — which in January this year began assembling a “blacklist” of companies doing business with Israel.
On Israel specifically, the bill prohibits participation in “any boycott fostered or imposed by any international governmental organization against Israel or any request by any international governmental organization to impose such a boycott.”
After initially supporting the legislation, Gillibrand confirmed at a town hall meeting in Queens on Monday that she was withdrawing her backing, citing the First Amendment concerns raised by advocacy groups opposing the bill — most notably the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“I am going to urge the authors of the bill to change the bill, and I will not support it in its current form,” she said. “I’m going to urge them to rewrite it to be sure it says specifically ‘this does not apply to individuals, this is only applying to companies.’”
In a statement on Thursday, Lauder said he was “deeply disturbed” by Gillibrand’s announcement. The WJC chief noted that the legislation was “aimed at combating the BDS movement which is spreading virulently in the United States and throughout the world.”
Senegal and Guinea are sending their first-ever ambassadors to Israel next week, as Israel continues to expand its outreach to Africa.
Talla Fall, of Senegal, and Amara Camara, of Guinea, are scheduled to present their respective letters of credence to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday at a ceremony in Jerusalem, officially taking up their positions as non-resident ambassadors to Israel. Fall, who also represents Dakar in Egypt, will be based in Cairo. Camara will work out of Paris.
Guinea and Senegal — both Muslim-majority nations in West Africa — have recently upgraded their relations with Israel. While both countries had existing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, neither has ever appointed an ambassador to Israel.
Dakar and Jerusalem two months ago agreed to normalize ties after Israel had recalled its ambassador, following Senegal’s co-sponsorship of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016. Jerusalem had also canceled its foreign aid programs in Senegal as part of a rash of retaliatory steps against countries that supported the measure against Israeli settlements.
China’s UN ambassador has been calling on the international community to support a four-point proposal from President Xi Jinping to guide Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leading to the creation of a Palestinian state.
The Chinese plan would harm Israel’s national security, concede strategic Israeli territory and result in the creation of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state.
The four points of China’s plan, as outlined by the Washington Post, are:
1. Advancing a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state.
2. Upholding “the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security,” immediately ending Israeli settlement building, taking measures to prevent violence against civilians and calling for an early resumption of peace talks.
3. Coordinating international efforts to put forward “peace-promoting measures that entail joint participation at an early date.”
4. Promoting peace through development and cooperation between the Palestinians and Israel.
Below are six major problems with China’s unrealistic plan:
1 – There is no Palestinian partner for peace.
2 – The very idea that the Palestinians would accept a state is contradicted by the Palestinians’ repeated rejection of a state along the so-called 1967 borders.
3 – The plan would create a terrorist-supporting state in the heart of Israel’s capital and may hand holy sites over to the Palestinians.
4 – The Chinese plan does not specify what would happen to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
5 – The plan calls for Israeli gestures to jumpstart talks, ignoring that the Palestinians have not responded to previous such gestures.
6 – China’s plan may fund terrorist-supporting PA institutions.
An Australian man sent his unsuspecting brother to Sydney airport to catch an Etihad Airways flight carrying a home-made bomb disguised as a meat-mincer built at the direction of a senior Islamic State commander, police said on Friday.
Detailing one of Australia’s “most sophisticated” militant plots, police said two men, who have been charged with terror-related offenses, also planned to build a device to release poisonous gas in a public area.
High-grade military explosives used to build the bomb were sent by air cargo from Turkey as part of a plot “inspired and directed” by the militant Islamic State group, police Deputy Commissioner National Security Michael Phelan said.
The plot targeted an Etihad Airways flight on July 15 but the bomb never made it past airport security, he said.
“This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil,” Phelan said.
Police allege that one of the two men charged late on Thursday had been introduced to Islamic State by his brother, who they said was a senior member of the group in Syria.
Communication between the accused man and Islamic State began around April, police said. Under the instruction of the unidentified Islamic State commander, the men built a “fully functioning IED” (improvised explosive device).
One of the brothers was unaware that he was carrying a bomb, disguised as a commercial meat mincer, in his luggage, and tried to check it in at the airport, police said.
“We’ll be alleging that the person who was to carry the IED on the plane had no idea they were going to be carrying an IED,” Phelan said.
The Islamist assailant who murdered Paris Jewish pensioner Sarah Halimi in April has been moved from a psychiatric hospital to a prison near the French capital — suggesting that he is likely to face trial for his crime, a French Jewish newspaper reported on Thursday.
The report published by Actualite Juive said that Kobili Traore — the 27-year-old Malian immigrant who broke into Halimi’s apartment on April 4, beat her brutally while shouting Islamist slogans and then threw her from a third-floor window — had been moved from the hospital to Fresnes prison, south of Paris, on July 11.
Traore’s lawyers have said that their client is suffering from mental illness, which can be regarded as a mitigating circumstance under the French legal system. Halimi’s family and their supporters insist that Traore acted from ideological and religious motives, and that the murder must be tried as a hate crime.
Alex Buchinger, a lawyer for the Halimi family, expressed surprise that Traore had been moved to prison before the publication of his psychiatric assessment — which will be a key determinant of whether he stands trial in a case that has raised disturbing questions about France’s attitude to antisemitic violence. Buchinger said that he expected the assessment would be made available by August 22.
Halimi’s brother, William Attal, welcomed the development as strengthening the family’s demand that Traore bear criminal responsibility for the murder. He noted in particular the fact that Traore was sent to prison just one day after his psychiatric assessment.
President Reuven Rivlin on Friday phoned the wife of a man seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in the central Israeli city of Yavneh on Wednesday, hailing Niv Nehemiah as a “hero.”
Rivlin told Sigalit Nehemiah the whole country was praying for her husband’s recovery, as doctors said his condition was slightly improving, though it remained life-threatening.
“We wish with all our heart for his speedy recovery, and pray that everything will turn out well and that it will return to normal,” Rivlin said, according to Hebrew media.
Niv Nehemiah was stabbed and critically wounded by a Palestinian teenager at a supermarket in Yavneh on Wednesday morning in an apparent terror attack.
The 43-year-old Nehemiah, who worked at the supermarket, was stocking shelves when the attacker suddenly took out a knife and stabbed him in the upper body. Though injured, the victim fought off the terrorist and tried to run away, blocking the aisle after him with a handcart. He then ran away and was chased by the assailant.
The death penalty is legal in Israel only under certain circumstances but has been used only once before
Despite calls from several Israeli ministers to impose the death penalty on the terrorist who fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family in the Halamish settlement, the Israel Defense Forces’ Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek has ruled against the request.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself expressed support for applying the death penalty in the case of the attacker, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, just days earlier.
It’s time we start giving death sentences to terrorists,” the Israeli premier told the mourning family, according to Ynet News.
Al-Abed, from the nearby village of Kaubar, broke into the family’s home during a Shabbat dinner and brutally stabbed a grandfather and his two adult children to death –Yosef Salomon, 70, Chaya Salomon, 46, and Elad Salomon, 36 — while the young grandchildren were hidden in a room by their mother, Elad’s wife.
Tova Salomon, 68, the wife and mother of the deceased, was seriously injured but survived.
“It’s enshrined in law, it requires a unanimous decision by the judges, but they also want to know the government’s position. And my position as the prime minister, in this instance of such a heinous murderer—he needs to be executed,” stated Netanyahu latst week. “We need to wipe the smile off his face.”
Less than seven months after being seriously wounded in a truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, IDF soldier Dana Ofir recently completed a training course to become a combat fitness instructor, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Thursday.
Four people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded in the Jan. 8 incident in which an Arab terrorist from East Jerusalem drove into a crowd of soldiers at the Armon Hanatziv promenade in the Israeli capital. The attacker was shot dead at the scene.
Ofir, 20, recounted for Walla, “I don’t remember much from the attack, it’s a black hole for me. I only remember that we arrived in Jerusalem on a Sunday morning for an educational program that was supposed to last until Friday, and it happened that morning. We were able to attend a lecture at the International Convention Center and from there we continued to Armon Hanatziv. It was supposed to be just a pick-up point, and then he (the terrorist) arrived.”
After the attack, Ofir spent five days in the intensive care unit at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center. She was later transferred to the orthopedic trauma unit, where she was cared for by Dr. Rami Moshayov, who performed a number of surgeries to reconstruct her pelvis.
Following her release from the hospital, Ofir used a wheelchair for two months. Despite the pain she endured, she did not relinquish her dream of becoming a combat fitness officer.
“I believed in myself, I worked hard at physiotherapy, four times a week,” she told Walla. “The doctors said that maybe I could become active after half a year, but I was able to run again after four months, against all odds.”
Within a week, the country’s headlines shifted from the crisis on the Temple Mount to reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s once-trusted aide Ari Harow was about to turn state’s witness.
Within seven days, the palpable tension a jittery nation felt last week – over whether the Friday Muslim prayers at al-Aksa Mosque would trigger a third intifada – gave way to other news: Harow; Elor Azaria; the plight of the workers at Haifa Chemicals and at Teva; the Gay pride parade in Jerusalem; the Facebook feud between Netanyahu’s son, Yair, and Ariel Olmert, the son of Ehud Olmert, triggered by the younger Netanyahu’s alleged failure to pick up after his dog.
In other words, the Temple Mount Crisis has – for the time being – been contained.
The emphasis here must be on the words “for the time being,” because the situation is still highly unstable and could change any minute. But, at least at this particular moment, the crisis that began three weeks ago with the murder of two border policeman near the Temple Mount – and snowballed into a full blown crisis with the installation and later removal of metal detectors at the site – did not ignite a third intifada.
Why not? Why did this crisis not trigger the same paroxysm of violence that the opening of the Western Wall tunnels did in 1996; that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount did in 2000; or the lie that the Jews were planning to take over the Temple Mount did in 2015?
Police on Friday once again boosted their presence in Jerusalem’s Old City, bringing in additional forces ahead of weekly Muslim prayers at the Temple Mount compound, following three weeks of tension around the holy site.
Police sources told Channel 2 news they had no specific warnings of planned disturbances but remained on high alert nonetheless.
There were no restrictions on access to Jerusalem, the Old City, or entry to the Temple Mount for Muslim worshipers, police said.
Last Friday, tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers attended Friday prayers on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), after 13 consecutive days of tensions and standoff at the site following the implementation of new Israeli security measures.
Muslims had only returned to the Temple Mount, which houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the day before. During the previous two weeks, prayers had been held in nearby streets as a protest at the new security measures, instituted following the July 14 terror attack in which Arab Israeli assailants used guns smuggled into the compound to kill two Israeli policemen.
Muslim worshipers had clashed with Israeli troops on multiple occasions around the Old City during the two-week standoff.
All the new security measures were removed last week.
Hundreds of Jordanians protested against Israel outside the Jewish state’s embassy in Amman on Friday, over an incident last month that sparked a diplomatic spat between the two countries.
Protesters called for the embassy to be shut down, weeks after an Israeli security guard shot dead two Jordanians near the building, one of whom had stabbed him with a screwdriver
The protesters also called for nixing a natural gas with Israel, Channel 2 reported, and tried to advance toward the building, but were prevented by police from doing so.
Last month’s incident at the Israeli embassy compound in Amman led to a major diplomatic flare-up between the countries, with ties already strained over Israel’s decision to place metal detectors at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem following a July 14 terror attack in which three assailants shot down two Israeli police officers with weapons they had smuggled onto the site.
Jordanian is the custodian of the Temple Mount and administers the site through the Jerusalem-based Waqf.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II is planning a rare state visit to the Palestinian Authority next week, sources in Amman and Ramallah said Thursday.
Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian officials are in the final stages of talks over the visit to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, according to Israeli news site Ynet.
The meeting is slated to last just a few hours, according to the report.
A source in PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s office confirmed the visit would take place Monday.
This would mark the first time in five years that the king has visited the Palestinian Authority, coming on the heels of a high-stakes standoff over metal detectors and other security measures at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and strained diplomatic ties between Israel and Amman.
Abdullah will need to traverse the Israel-controlled West Bank to reach Ramallah, and the visit must be coordinated with Jerusalem.
A former IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter for killing a Palestinian assailant thanked his supporters and said he will enter jail with his head held high, in his first-ever public statement Thursday.
In the statement, broadcast on the Facebook page of former lawmaker Sharon Gal, Elor Azaria explained his decision earlier in the day to forgo a Supreme Court appeal and ask IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot for leniency from his 18-month jail sentence.
Azaria was prosecuted after a video showed him shooting to death Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron in March 2016, approximately 11 minutes after the Palestinian assailant had been been shot, injured and disarmed while trying to stab two soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron.
“I believe I could still be found innocent [in a Supreme Court appeal], but my family and I have suffered terribly for the past year and a half,” he said. “The ordeal cost my parents their health.”
The High Court of Justice on Thursday ordered the demolition of homes belonging to the families of the three terrorists who carried out the attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City that killed Border Police Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka, 23, on June 16.
The High Court justices unanimously denied an appeal by the terrorists relatives against the demolition. Family members had argued the demolition of their homes would constitute a violation of the rights of innocent people. The court further ruled that the demolition must be executed by Aug. 9.
David Malka, Hadas’ father, responded to the news by saying, “All of the circles connected to the attack must be punished. It won’t bring back Hadas, but it’s important to use all the legal means [available] to create deterrence in order to prevent further attacks.”
Malka was fatally stabbed when a three-man terrorist cell staged two shooting and stabbing attacks near Damascus Gate in the Old City. She died in hospital shortly after the attack. Another policeman sustained minor shrapnel injuries.
The three terrorists, named as Hamas operative Adel Ankoush, 18 and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine operatives Osama Ata, 19, and Baraa Ata, 18, were killed by security forces.
Israel is reportedly considering building an underground barrier along its Egyptian border to prevent the Islamic State terror group in Sinai from digging cross-border attack tunnels into Israel.
The army is weighing up whether to extend the barrier currently being constructed around the Gaza Strip southward to protect the Israeli towns in the Eshkol region, the Ynet news website reported on Friday.
Despite having focused the vast majority of its efforts on waging a bloody insurgency against the Egyptian army in recent years, IS in Sinai has long used saber-rattling and small scale attacks against Israel to boost its credentials. Jihadists have fired rockets at Israel, and in February the Egyptian army destroyed six tunnels which ran between Gaza and Sinai.
“We constantly warn of our concern from the growing threat on the Egyptian border at every opportunity,” said Eshkol Regional Council head Gadi Yarkoni. “Therefore this process is essential and necessary to guarantee maximum security for the exposed residents affected by the war going on in Egypt. The threat of tunnels is a strategic threat to the area and therefore to the entire State of Israel.”
The cost of the barrier currently being constructed around the Gaza Strip is NIS 3.4 billion ($940 million) and it is expected to be completed within a year and a half.
The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria has killed a plotter of the thwarted terror attack at last year’s Israel-Albania soccer match in Albania, a US official said Thursday.
Lavdrim Muhaxheri was killed in a June 7 airstrike near Mayadin, which is close to Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said.
“He was an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo and a self-proclaimed leader of ISIS foreign fighters from Kosovo,” he said.
Albanian authorities have charged four people over allegedly plotting to attack the World Cup qualifier in Albania last November.
The game had been due to take place in the northern town of Shkodra but was eventually held in Elbasan, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the Albanian capital Tirana, under a massive security presence.
The Jerusalem Prosecution this week announced the termination for lack of evidence of an investigation into alleged forgery in the purchase of the “Rachel and Leah” building in Hebron.
While the Jewish rightful owners of Beit Hamachpela in Hebron a week ago took over their building, Beit Rachel V’Leah stands vacant, and, in fact, the IDF has welded the doors shut to prevent the owners from entering.
According to a report in Makor Rishon Friday, the Rachel and Leah building was purchased by the Harhivi Association from a Hebron Arab named Za’atri. A year ago, when the Jewish owners attempted to enter the property, they were evicted on an order from the Netanyahu government and an investigation of the sale was launched.
The seller, Za’atri, found shelter in the home of the association’s attorney, Doron Nir-Tzvi, and there was talk of flying him and his family abroad, to protect them from the long arm of the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security agency.
The law in the PA prohibits selling land to Jews, on penalty of death, and several Arab land owners and brokers have been tortured and executed for violating this racist law.
Eventually, the PA managed to lay its hand on Za’atri, who, to save himself from the death penalty, filed a complaint with Israel Police against the Jewish buyers, claiming they forged the sale documents.
A group of approximately 70 Israelis hiked into a small Palestinian village in the central West Bank on Friday and quickly found themselves pelted with rocks by local residents, the army said.
According to Channel 10 news, some of the hikers fired shots into the air with their handguns, before IDF troops arrived on the scene. This could not be immediately confirmed by the military.
Once the soldiers arrived, they drove back the rock throwers with tear gas and other non-lethal dispersal measures, and brought the hikers out of the area.
There were no reports of injuries among the Israelis or Palestinians.
Palestinian media reported that one person from the nearby village of Kobar was arrested in connection with the incident.
The hikers came from the Halamish settlement, where last month a Palestinian terrorist stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family.
Ahmed Bahar, the deputy chairman of the Palestinian parliament and a senior member of the Hamas terrorist group, denied the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas as chairman of the Palestinian Authority.
Speaking to the Hamas-affiliated Palestine newspaper in an interview which was published on Wednesday, Bahar pointed out that Abbas has no legal status because his term in office ended in January 2009 and the extension of his term was carried out illegally.
The establishment of a constitutional court by Abbas without consultation or broad agreement is null and void and this body cannot dissolve parliament, he continued, adding that an attempt to transfer Abbas’s powers to the constitutional court, should he be unable to rule, would be invalid.
If Abbas is prevented from ruling, said Bahar, he would be replaced by parliament speaker Aziz Dweik, a Hamas member, for a period of 60 days until general elections are held, as was the case after the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004, who was temporarily replaced by the speaker of the parliament at that time.
Bahar accused Abbas of adopting a punitive policy against Gaza in order to incite the public against Hamas and of aiming to destroy the two most important sectors of education and health by sending thousands of Gazan teachers and doctors to early retirement. He further said that Abbas is trying to carry out revenge and does not want reconciliation.
The remarks are the latest in the ongoing war of words between Fatah and Hamas which has been ongoing since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza in a bloody coup.
Fresh clashes erupted in Jaffa on Thursday night during a demonstration following the arrest of the brother of a man shot dead by police on Saturday.
The protest was the latest violent demonstration in the city, that has seen bouts of unrest since the Saturday shooting, which relatives say was a case of mistaken identity.
Protesters burned garbage cans, smashed shop windows and threw rocks at policemen during the unauthorized gathering, a police spokesperson said in a statement.
Police arrested two people suspected of participating in the disturbances, dispersed the rioters and regained calm in the area.
Police representatives met with community leaders in Jaffa earlier in the day in an attempt to prevent any further violent clashes and to maintain peace and quiet.
In the early hours of Saturday, police officers opened fire at two men who were suspected of being involved in a shooting at the Jaffa port. According to police, the men attempted to flee the scene of the shooting on mopeds.
Both were taken to a hospital, where one of them died of his wounds. The two men were both residents of Jaffa, a mostly Arab area in the south of Tel Aviv.
IsraellyCool: Horsing Around In “Concentration Camp” Gaza
Regular readers know I love to point out that Gaza is not quite that “open air prison” or “concentration camp” the palestinians and haters would have you believe. Yes, there is hardship – brought on directly because of the Hamas rule and their preoccupation with trying to kill us – but nothing like what is being presented by the palestinians, their supporters and the mainstream media.
Here’s an example I just saw this morning, brought to us courtesy of the most uncourteous Palestinian Information Center.
Comedy bonus: They posted these soon after posting this
I would love to be able to afford a horse for my kids.
The fierce controversy in Lebanon about Hizbullah’s involvement in the Syria war alongside Assad’s army intensified recently following the organization’s involvement in the last two weeks in fighting against Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (formerly Jabhat Al-Nusra) in Jaroud Arsal, a mountainous area on the Lebanon-Syria border. The controversy was reflected in statements by politicians, as well as in press articles that supported the organization’s activity and others that opposed it. Hizbullah’s opponents, especially from the Al-Mustaqbal faction, headed by Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’d Al-Hariri, wrote that only the Lebanese army was entitled to operate in that region. Al-Hariri said during a visit to Washington: “I disagree with Hizbullah’s activity, and would have preferred to see the Lebanese army operating in its place in Jaroud Arsal. We do not like to see [Hizbullah] in Syria. Relations between us are strained [due to our differences] on regional policy…” Another argument, voiced by many but especially by ‘Ali Al-Husseini, a columnist for the Al-Mustaqbal daily, was that Hizbullah was serving Iran and the Syrian regime and sending its fighters to die for them.
However, some within the Al-Mustaqbal faction deviated from the faction’s official position and supported Hizbullah’s fighting in Jaroud Arsal. For example, Muhammad Kabani, an MP from the Al-Mustqbal party, said: “Hizbullah is fighting the terrorist organizations alongside the Lebanese army… [Prime Minister] Al-Hariri must be [more] prudent in choosing his words in the U.S…. The delegation [to Washington] that he heads conveyed the message that Hizbullah is fighting the terror organizations, so we must maintain a positive [attitude] regarding Hizbullah’s involvement in this campaign.
Hizbullah’s supporters claimed that the organization was fighting the terrorist organizations on Lebanon’s behalf. Ibrahim Al-Amin, the board chairman of the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, went so far as to call Hizbullah’s opponents “spies” and “traitors” who deserve to die. He leveled direct criticism at Al-Hariri and other senior politicians, saying that they exploit the plight of the Syrian refugees for their own benefit.
A Hezbollah commander said that the Iranian proxy group plans to bring its war against Israel to “the Galilee someday soon,” Buzzfeed News reported Sunday.
The outlet reported on Iran’s multinational network of tens of thousands of highly trained and experienced combatants from across the Middle East, which Tehran uses to fulfill its imperial ambitions in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
The report was compiled through extensive research over six months comprising of interviews with analysts, officials, and militia fighters, and documented the secret Iranian military program that is threatening the entire region with further bloodshed and instability.
Under the radar of the international community, which is still transfixed on the 2015 nuclear agreement and wholly unprepared to confront Iran’s aggressive behavior, Tehran is seeking to establish a Shia Crescent reaching from the Gulf of Aden to the shores of the Mediterranean.
Ever since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Iranians have had their eyes on their Shiite-majority neighbor, with the intent to infiltrate the country’s government, commerce, and military infrastructure. Estimates suggest that no less than 65,000 Iraqi militia fighters have received training, weapons, or funding from Iran, groups that also have been party to a litany of human rights abuses and war crimes.
But Iranian dominance in Iraq is just one stepping stone for the regime in Tehran towards regional hegemony. Already in 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported on the Iranian effort to marshal Shiites from across the Middle East to protect embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Approximately 5,000 to 7,000 Hezbollah fighters are stationed in Syria at any given time and the Fatemiyoun Brigade, a unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, comprised of Afghan fighters, numbers up to 17,000 combatants.
Tehran claims that last week it successfully launched a Simorgh rocket, designed for putting a satellite into space; according to the U.S. military, the launch was a failure. Even if so, writes Farzin Nadimi, the Islamic Republic, no doubt with help from North Korea, is growing close to mastering the technology for such launches—the same technology needed for an intercontinental ballistic missile:
Iranian officials . . . evidently have laid the groundwork for future Simorgh launches with satellites as heavy as 250 kilograms into a longer-lasting 500-kilometer low-earth orbit. Bearing this weight would mark a fivefold increase from the previous-generation Iranian Safir satellite launch vehicle (SLV), for which four successful launches—and several unsuccessful ones—are on record. . . .
An SLV [shares] many common technologies with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and a Simorgh-type ballistic missile is estimated by rocket engineers to have a 7,500-kilometer range with a 700-kilogram warhead. This range falls short of the continental United States but covers all of Europe and Asia. . . . Iran also has experience with reentry vehicles [which are also necessary for a working ICBM]. . . .
Depending on funding and launch capability, satellites even larger than the 250-kilogram examples (around the maximum weight a prospective Simorgh-2 could carry) might emerge in the longer term. . .
Iran’s soccer federation condemned two Iranians who play for a Greek team on Friday for participating in a match against an Israeli team, Iranian media reported.
The federation “strongly condemns” the participation of Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi in a match for Greece’s Panionios against Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv a day earlier in Greece, it said in a statement reported by the semi-official Fars news agency.
On its Farsi-language Twitter account, Israel’s Foreign Ministry praised the players for ignoring what is considered a taboo in Iran by playing against the Israelis. Maccabi won the UEFA Europa League match 1-0.
Israel and Iran are bitter adversaries and traditionally, Iranian athletes refrain from playing Israelis. Iran’s government usually rewards such behavior.
The federation said it is reviewing the case and will make a final decision after speaking with both players who in the past have also played for the national soccer team. Fars reported that the two may now be banned from playing on that team again.
At a previous match against Maccabi in Tel Aviv, both refused to play.
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