September 26, 2020

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08/10 Links Pt1: Hanan Ashrawi: Queen of delusion; Palestinians Try to Make Jerusalem ‘Judenrein’

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Queen of delusion
According to PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, Israel holds the Palestinian people captive, denying its historical rights and the imperative to get real about peace. Her weekly diatribe happened to coincide with Jordanian King Abdullah’s first visit to Ramallah in five years, which demonstrated that the rest of the Arab world could not care less about history.
The telegenic Ashrawi is often trotted out for a public display of the kinder, gentler Palestinian nationalist, but in fact she is a protégé of the late Columbia University scholar and anti-Zionist Edward Said. As the holder of a PhD in medieval and comparative literature from the University of Virginia, she might be expected to be a voice of cultural enlightenment, if not reasonableness.
However, in accordance with the Palestinian tradition of never failing to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, she instead pushes antisemitic tropes masked as anti-Zionism.
Google lists more than a few sites of “famous Ashrawi quotes” that illustrate her consistent misrepresentation of fact in aid of the establishment of a Palestinian state. She began her deluded efforts with a breathtaking statement about the some 800,000 Jews who fled persecution from Muslim countries for refuge in the new State of Israel.
In Ashrawi’s historical analysis, these Jews were only “emigrants,” who had left their ancestral homes voluntarily.
Jews lived happily among their Muslim neighbors and were brought to Israel to usurp “ancestral” Palestinian lands as part of a plot by “Zionists.”

Shmuley Boteach: Palestinians Try to Make Jerusalem ‘Judenrein’

One reason the Taylor Force Act is so vital is that it would send a message to Abbas that the United States, at least (sadly, the rest of the world has not seen the light), will no longer put up with his doublespeak. He may dress in a suit but his actions mirror his fatigue-wearing predecessor.
Equally important is moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The president must fulfill this campaign promise to send another message to the Palestinians — namely, that Jerusalem will remain the indivisible capital of Israel.
For those unaware of history and misled by claims that East Jerusalem is “Arab” and therefore should belong to the Palestinians, I would point out that before 1865 the entire population of Jerusalem lived behind the Old City walls in East Jerusalem. When the UN voted to partition Palestine, a thriving Jewish community was living the eastern part of Jerusalem, which contains many important Jewish sites, including the City of David, the Temple Mount, and of course the Western Wall. This is also the home of Hebrew University and the original Hadassah Hospital. The only time this area of Jerusalem was exclusively Arab was between 1949 and 1967, when the Jews were forcibly expelled under Jordan occupation, a time when the Western Wall was desecrated and Jews of course were barred from prayer.
I will always remain hopeful that a solution can be found that will allow Jews and Palestinians to live together peacefully. One-sided compromises, such as those made during the Oslo period, only embolden the Palestinians to believe they can “liberate” all of “Palestine,” which includes Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem – East and West.
I feel sorry for the many thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who want nothing more than to live their lives in peace, and would gladly compromise to achieve independence. Alas, unlike Israel, the PA is not a democracy and the people remain hostages of their radical leaders. It is hard to envision peace so long as Palestinians are taught to hate in their schools, encouraged to become martyrs by their preachers and media, and rewarded for murder by their leaders.
Regardless of these provocations, Jews will not be driven from their capital or their homeland. Jerusalem will never again be Judenrein.

PA: Israel ‘falsifying’ Jerusalem’s history

The Palestinian Authority (PA) government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, on Tuesday warned against Israel’s “escalating policy” following UNESCO’s recent resolutions recognizing the Muslim right to the Temple Mount and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron, while ignoring the Jewish connection to those sites.
An official statement released after a meeting in Ramallah said that celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the “occupation” of Jerusalem included a light and sound show in Silwan which, the statement claimed, was based on “falsification of the historical narrative of the Holy City.”
The statement further claimed that Israel is re-implementing a policy of removing Arab residents from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, including a decision to evict several families over a claim that the building in which they live belonged to a Jewish family before 1948.
The PA government noted that the escalation of the Israeli government’s “settlement” activity requires the immediate intervention of the international community in order to put an end to it and requires international protection for the Palestinian people and its holy sites and serious action by the Arab and Islamic nation.

Israeli Envoy: We Won’t Let UN Agencies Become Branches of Hamas

Israel will not permit United Nations agencies to “become branches of the Hamas terrorist organization,” the Jewish state’s envoy to the global body vowed on Wednesday, following the news that a UN employee in the Gaza Strip had been detained and questioned by the Shin Bet over suspected involvement in “security offenses.”
“While UN workers should be focused on humanitarian assistance for the local residents, Hamas is attempting to cynically exploit these officials and turn them into accomplices to terror,” Danny Danon said. “Over the past year, we uncovered a number of incidents in which UN workers took advantage of their positions to assist terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.”
“The UN must act to put an immediate end to this unacceptable situation,” Danon concluded.
Danon’s remarks were prompted by the publication of the details of the case of Nuseirat resident Hamdan Tamaraz — a UNDSS (United Nations Department of Safety and Security) worker.
“During questioning, information was received indicating his involvement in prohibited activity,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said of Tamaraz. “Following his questioning, he was released, and the findings of the investigation are currently being examined by the relevant authorities.”

Palestinian UN official released after being detained on suspicion of security offenses

Israel released Hamdan Timraz—UN official from the Gaza Strip who was serving as deputy head of UNDSS (United Nations Department of Safety and Security)—Wednesday morning.
Timraz was arrested a month ago by the Shin Bet after crossing into Israel for work. Timraz’s son Khaled said his father was released after a court decided not to charge him.
Timraz, 61, from the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, travelled to Israel from the Gaza Strip many times due to his work.
His wife indicated that communication with him was lost several weeks ago after he reached the Erez Border Crossing. She also added that his son Abed al-Hadi received a telephone call from the Israeli security establishment informing them of his arrest.
Timraz’s family had been lobbying international organizations and human rights groups to pressure Israel for his release.

Scrutinizing UNRWA terror involvement

Now, the US Congress has directed the General Accounting Office, the GAO, to determine if UNRWA is indeed engaged in cooperation with act of terrorism and terror incitement. .
Senator James Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the US Senate Near East Subcommittee of the US Foreign Relations Committee, disclosed to me that his office o made an official request in June of the GAO, the US General Accounting office, for an investigation of the alleged involvement of terror groups with UNRWA education..
All this will provide background material for the newly formed Knesset Lobby for UNRWA Reform, which was convened at the Knesset on July 19, just before the UNRWA summer recess, and which will reconvene in late October,, when the US GAO report on UNRWA terror involvement will be released
Knesset Member Avi Dichter, former head of ISA, the Israeli Security Agency, who now chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, points an unusually harsh finger at UNRWA, warning from the rostrum of Israel’s Knesset Parliament that “almost 100 percent” of UNRWA workers in Gaza are active in the Hamas terrorist organization.”

Senators Concerned about Extremist Summer Camp for Palestinian Americans

Two prominent U.S. senators are raising questions about an American-funded school in Ramallah that is running an extremist summer camp for Palestinian teens from around the world, many of them Americans.
The controversial summer program, called “Go Palestine,” is run by the Ramallah Friends School, a 148-year-old Quaker institution in the Palestinian Authority’s de facto capital. Its stated mission is to provide Palestinian teens from abroad with “introductions to Palestinian culture, cuisine, life and work, and the Arabic language.”
But in addition to traditional summer camp fare, Go Palestine participants are immersed in anti-Israel films and lectures by militants, some with terrorist connections.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) gave the Ramallah Friends School $800,000 in 2016 to make various improvements to its facilities. USAID also sent the school $700,000 in 2015, $900,000 in 2014 and similar amounts in prior years, through its “American Schools and Hospitals Abroad” program. The school is owned and operated by the Indiana-based Friends United Meeting, one of the major divisions of the Quaker movement.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the evidence gathered by concerning Go Palestine is “disturbing” and that USAID “must immediately investigate it.” Schumer added, “If true, this school should be cut off because entities that receive USAID should be teaching about democracy and coexistence—not intolerance or extremism.”

Fresh Trump efforts against Muslim Brotherhood gets key backing from Arab allies

Arab allies of the U.S. are expressing support if the Trump administration declares the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, according to statements from foreign officials and a senior administration official who spoke to Fox News.
Speaking last week at the United Nations in response to a question from Fox News, the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.N., Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, expressed support for such a move.
“It would be a positive step forward indeed,” he said.
Salman Al-Ansari, president of the Saudi American Public Affairs Committee, told Fox News that the West is suffering from “laziness and must do its homework.”
“The U.S. needs to confront the evils of the Brotherhood as soon as possible,” he said. “If you have Saudi Arabia saying the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group, if you have Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saying it’s a terrorist group, then what should stop the U.S. from designating the MB as a terrorist group as long there are hundreds of pieces of evidence that prove this fact?”
The Brotherhood is banned as a terrorist organization in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

McMaster’s Misunderstanding of the Middle East

Judging by his previous statements — for example, during a speech in honor of Israel Independence Day at the Israeli Embassy in Washington in May — McMaster considers one aspect of this opportunity to be a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is where his approach is misguided, if not totally counter-productive.
In the first place, the Arab states have never been America’s allies in the way that Israel has been. Israel and the U.S. not only share a Western value system, but the Jewish state is a technological, economic and military democratic power in an unstable Middle East ruled by dictatorships. Speaking about them in the same breath not only indicates a lack of understanding of the region, but necessarily hinders any attempt on the part of the U.S. administration to revive long-stalled negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, let alone achieve a peace deal. As Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes explains, peace is achieved through victory over one’s enemies, not by appeasement or dangerous compromises.
If McMaster were merely exhibiting a misunderstanding of how things work in the Middle East, it would be bad enough. Yet this is not the greatest problem with his attitude towards Israel and the Palestinians. More serious is his anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias, as an article in the Conservative Report, based on comments by senior West Wing and defense officials, reveals.
According to the piece, “McMaster has emerged as a man fiercely opposed to strengthening the U.S. alliance with the Jewish state” — one who “constantly refers to the [historically false] existence of a Palestinian state before 1947,” and “who describes Israel as an ‘illegitimate,’ ‘occupying power.'”
More recently, as a source told the Conservative Report, after the terrorist attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017 — committed by three Arab Israelis against two Druze Israeli Border Police officers — McMaster called Israel’s placement of metal detectors at the site “just another excuse by the Israelis to repress the Arabs.”

Soros-McMaster connection exposed

White House National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster served at an England-based think tank financed by a George Soros-funded group. The Obama White House identified the group as having been central in helping to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the public and news media, reports Breitbart.
From September 2006 to February 2017, McMaster is listed as consulting senior fellow for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). The IISS defines itself as a “world-leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict.”
This week, after questions addressed to them by Breitbart, the IISS site added George Soros’ Open Society Foundation to its list of donors.
The fund has appeared on this list in the past but was deleted from it on an unknown date. Plowshares is also on the list of donors, although both they and the Open Society Foundation include the IISS in their list of contributors.
Plowshares played a vital role in marketing the nuclear deal with Iran to the American public, as revealed by Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor, to the New York Times Magazine. Rhodes said the fund helped recruit a network of experts who spoke to journalists “who often had no idea between their right and left” and sold the agreement through them. (h/t Charles N)

Exclusive –Zionist Organization of America Analysis Determines McMaster Hostile to Trump, Calls for Reassignment

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the country, has completed its analysis of President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster’s behavior and determined him to be a threat to Trump’s agenda.
The organization, which is backed in large part by Trump ally GOP mega-donor and Israel defender Sheldon Adelson, is calling for President Trump at the very least to reassign McMaster to a different administration position where he can do no more harm to Israel and efforts to battle radical Islamic terrorism.
The analysis and recommendation from ZOA president Morton Klein was provided to Breitbart News exclusively ahead of its public release, and represents the first comprehensive connective tissue explaining the serious implications of McMaster’s troubling activities during his time as National Security Adviser. It is worth noting that throughout the below analysis, Klein cites several previous ZOA statements on McMaster that criticized him before–but now this has risen to the level where Klein and ZOA have lost confidence in McMaster altogether in the National Security Advisor position.
The analysis walks through how McMaster purged Trump loyalists who support Israel and are critical of Iran and radical Islamic terrorism from the National Security Council and installed people throughout the council who have problematic backgrounds that do not mesh with what President Trump believes and campaigned on. It also walks through McMaster’s positions on various issues like terrorism, Israel, and questionable parts of his background and decisions he made, such as clearing former President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

Palestinians and Israelis Actually Agree On Something: They Really Don’t Want the One-State Solution

Last week, Israeli and Palestinian pollsters released their annual temperature check on the two nations’ attitudes towards peace. As usual, narrow majorities of both publics voiced support for a two-state solution, and as usual, this fact grabbed most of the headlines. But a far more interesting finding, one that also represents long-running trends, was largely overlooked: both Palestinians and Israelis overwhelmingly rejected the so-called “one-state solution.”
Offered several possible outcomes for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just 11 percent of Palestinians chose a one-state solution, which the survey characterized as a “solution by which Palestinians and Jews will be citizens of the same state and enjoy equal rights.” (By contrast, 52.5 percent of Palestinians preferred a two-state solution.) Similarly, just 11.6 percent of Israeli Jews and 16.7 percent of Israeli Arabs supported one-state.
The survey was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Tel Aviv University Center for Peace Research with funding from the European Union. The lack of grassroots support for a one-state outcome it uncovered tracks with previous surveys. Back in 2014, for instance, veteran Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki found that 71 percent of Palestinians “oppose the abandonment of the two-state solution and the adoption of the one-state solution.”
This robust rejection of the one-state paradigm should not be surprising. In fact, it is entirely intuitive. Israelis and Palestinians have been engaged in a vicious intergenerational blood feud for generations. Naturally, they do not think that the solution to their miserable and immiserating conflict is to move in together with their arch-nemeses. Rather, they want to hammer out terms of a divorce. Palestinians prefer to have their own Arab and Muslim state which would respect the rights of all religious minorities, as outlined in article 4 of the Constitution of Palestine, while Israelis prefer to have their own Jewish state which also upholds the rights of other faiths, in accordance with Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

PA vows to wage ‘diplomatic intifada’ against Israel

The Palestinian Authority is “pessimistic” about the United States’ ability to reignite the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, senior Palestinian officials said Wednesday.
U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks to promote the peace talks, which collapsed in 2014.
Arab media on Wednesday quoted several Palestinian officials, including chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, as saying the U.S.’s efforts are “redundant” because the Palestinians “have lost confidence in the Americans as objective mediators.”
Moreover, the Palestinians claim that both American and Israeli officials have essentially agreed that a peace process based on the two-state solution “no longer exists.”
A senior official in Abbas’ office said that the Palestinian president was “deeply disappointed” with Washington’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that the overall sentiment in Ramallah was that U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoys to the Middle East were biased against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel.
“Washington cannot be an objective mediator. The administration is totally biased in favor of Israel,” a senior Palestinian official said, adding that in the wake of Ramallah’s lack of confidence in the chances of a renewed peace process, the Palestinians plan to refocus their efforts in the international arena.

South Australian Legislative Council Rejects unilateral recognition of “Palestine”

South Australia’s Legislative Council passed a sensible and constructive resolution on promoting Middle East peace.
The resolution, passed yesterday evening by a vote of 11 to 10, calls for a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians, “both sides to resume direct negotiations in good faith” and “the commonwealth government to recognise the state of Palestine once the two sides have successfully negotiated a two-state solution, as required by international law as set out in the Oslo Accords.”
This stands in contrast to a resolution passed by the South Australian House of Assembly in late June, which mentioned only Israeli settlements as a “major obstacle to peace” and called “on the commonwealth government to recognise the state of Palestine (as we have recognised the state of Israel) and announce the conditions and time lines to achieve such recognition”, implying that such recognition should occur regardless of any progress toward a peace agreement between the sides. The same motion was put to the Legislative Council, but was defeated.
AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, who was in the South Australian Legislative Council to witness the historic vote, said, “Credit goes especially to Andrew McLachlan of the Liberal party – with help from other Liberal members, Corey Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives, and John Darley of the Nick Xenophon Team – for his leadership in steering the passage of this sensible and constructive resolution. A degree of dignity and common sense has now been restored to the South Australian Parliament through the Legislative Council’s rejection of the ahistorical, one-sided and counterproductive resolution passed in the lower house in June, and its replacement by a resolution which actually serves the cause of peace.”

German Green Party probes Iran’s activity against Israel and dissidents

The expansion of Iranian regime institutions in Germany has prompted the opening of an inquiry by the Green Party in the Bundestag on Friday to assess Tehran’s anti-Israel and espionage activities.
A Green Party document titled “Direction of Shi’ite associations and their connection to the Iranian regime,” which contains 21 detailed questions on Iran’s influence in Germany, was sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration for a response. The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the Green Party’s written inquiry.
“What conclusions and consequences did the federal government draw from the anti-Israel positions of the officials of the Islamic Center of Hamburg by their appearance and participation in the al-Qud [Day]’s demonstrations?” Green Party lawmakers asked.
Hamidreza Torabi, who heads the Islamic Academy of Germany – part of the Iranian regime-owned Islamic Center of Hamburg – held a poster in downtown Berlin at the 2016 anti-Israel al-Quds Day rally urging the “rejection of Israel” and terming the Jewish state “illegal and criminal.”
Torabi is a principal organizer of the annual al-Quds Day event in Berlin. The Islamic Center buses Hezbollah and Iranian regime members and supporters to the event, which also serves as a gathering for the BDS campaign against Israel. The al-Quds Day rally calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. Ayatollah Reza Ramezani directs the Islamic Center of Hamburg. Ramezani is the representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the Federal Republic.
The Green Party politicians asked the German government about Hezbollah supporters who are active in the Islamic Center of Hamburg. Hezbollah’s so-called political wing remains a legal organization in Germany. There are 950 Hezbollah operatives in Germany, according to the 2017 national intelligence report. The US, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands classify Hezbollah’s entire organization as a terrorist entity. The Green Party politicians queried their government about cases of Iranian regime intimidation of exile Iranians.

The curious tale of Israel’s short-lived courtship of North Korea

On November 3, 1992, three Israeli diplomats boarded a plane from Pyongyang to Tokyo. Having participated in the Jewish state’s first-ever diplomatic mission to North Korea, they were heading home hopeful that the two nations could reverse their bitter decades-old enmity and embark on a new era of fruitful cooperation. They dreamed of setting up an Israeli mission in Pyongyang, and of persuading the reclusive regime to stop selling arms to Israel’s enemies in the Middle East.
But as they made their way into the plane to their seats, they spotted then-Mossad deputy director Ephraim Halevy and immediately knew their mission was in trouble.
“I said ‘Shalom, shalom,’ but that’s it. I didn’t talk to him,” recalled Abraham Setton, who was the assistant of the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general at the time. “As soon as I saw him there, I understood what was going on. I knew their tricks.”
The spy agency’s involvement, Setton told The Times of Israel this week, meant that the Foreign Ministry was out of the race. With the Mossad involved, nothing tangible would come of the diplomats’ project to bring Jerusalem and Pyongyang closer together.
And so it proved. Israel’s little-known attempt to reach out to North Korea was cut short by then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in early 1993, presumably due to US pressure. It proved to be one more area of disagreement between Labor powerhouses Rabin and Shimon Peres. And 25 years later, as North Korea threatens the West with nuclear devastation, the curious tale of two Israeli government institutions putting out feelers to a hostile regime — and with the Mossad allegedly sabotaging the Foreign Ministry’s efforts — still rankles with many of those who were involved.
Supporters of the outreach effort believe Israel could have forged ties with North Korea, and changed history. Its detractors dismiss the notion, with one senior former Foreign Ministry diplomat branding the effort “one of the ugliest episodes in Israeli history.”

State Dept. Responds to Criticism of Trump Admin’s Rhetoric on N. Korea: ‘The World Is Speaking With One Voice’

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert responded Wednesday to criticism of President Donald Trump’s aggressive rhetoric on North Korea and of the Trump administration not being on the same page toward Pyongyang.
Nauert said the entire administration is not only the same page, but the world spoke with one voice to North Korea when the United Nations Security Council imposed its newest sanctions on the rogue country.
When asked at the State Department press briefing who in the U.S. government the world should listen to, Nauert said all agencies are on the same page. She then broadened the discussion to the entire world.
“Well, I think the United States, and some of you may disagree with this, but the United States is on the same page,” Nauert said. “Whether it’s the White House, the State Department, the Department of Defense, we are speaking with one voice and the world is in fact speaking with one voice. And we saw that as it came out of the U.N. Security Council with the resolution that passed less than a week ago.”
Nauert then said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained Trump’s “fire and fury” comments as the only way North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would truly understand America’s position on his country’s aggressive behavior.

State Dept Responds to Criticisms of Rhetoric to N. Korea: The World Spoke With One Voice

Israeli forces arrest 5 Palestinians said on way to terror attack

Israeli forces arrested five Palestinians “suspected of being involved in terrorism” in the West Bank village of Eizariya, outside Jerusalem, on Thursday, the Shin Bet security service said.
The agency said it could not detail of what they are suspected at this time. However, Channel 10 news reported the five men were armed and were believed to be en route to committing a major attack in Jerusalem.
According to the news outlet, the suspects had all left behind suicide notes.
The Shin Bet said it could not confirm the report and provided no further details.
The five Palestinians are all residents of the Hebron area in the West Bank, the Shin Bet said.

IDF destroys homes of terrorists who killed border guard, soldier

Israeli security forces destroyed the homes of four Palestinian terrorists on Thursday morning involved in the killings of a Border Police officer and an Israeli soldier.
Three of the attackers whose homes were demolished overnight carried out the June stabbing and shooting attack in Jerusalem in which Border Police officer Hadas Malka was killed, while the fourth rammed his car into soldier Elhai Teharlev in April, fatally wounding him.
In the village of Deir Abu Mashal, the IDF, Border Police and Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration demolished the homes of Bra’a Saleh Atta, 18, and Usama Ahmed Atta, 19. The security forces also sealed shut the home of Adel Ankush, 18.
On June 16, the three Palestinian teenagers carried out a combined shooting and stabbing attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate in which Malka, 23, was killed.

Waqf says Israel didn’t damage any historic items on Temple Mount

The Jerusalem Waqf said on Wednesday that when Israeli security services conducted searches on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem following a shooting attack at the site, they did not damage or steal any historical items.
Israeli police closed down the Temple Mount on July 14 after three Arab Israelis smuggled guns into the compound and used them to shoot two policemen to death.
The shutdown lasted for two days while police investigated the incident. Israel then reopened the site with newly installed metal detectors and cameras — security measures that led to two weeks of protests by Palestinians. The measures were eventually removed.
The Waqf, a Jordanian government institution that administers the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, convened a technical committee to evaluate any damage caused by the Israeli police during the crisis.

Temple Mount Riots Past and Present

The recent Palestinian riots over Israel’s installation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount—a preventive measure in the wake of a terrorist attack and the discovery of large caches of arms being stored there—were hardly the first of their kind. Making some comparisons with other, similar outbreaks of violence, Manfred Gerstenfeld believes this won’t be the last:
In the past, the . . . Palestinian Authority (PA) was able to control riots. A typical case in point was the “al-Aqsa intifada” which began in late September 2000. Though presented as a spontaneous response to Ariel Sharon’s Temple Mount visit, several Palestinian Liberation Organization and PA officials (including Marwan Barghouti) later admitted that the violence had been planned well in advance by Yasir Arafat. All that was required was a handy pretext to start it.
Since then, the stature in the western world of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas has steadily increased. [But, in] contrast to his glowing image among Europeans, Abbas is seen by most Palestinians as very weak. His Fatah movement supported the riots, partly because it fears losing even more influence if it does not. He is playing a dangerous game, however. If the riots continue, Abbas may lose control over them. If it is true that he has canceled the PA’s security collaboration with Israel, [as he has claimed], he might find himself in immediate danger. If he is without the protection of the Israeli security services, it will be much easier for Hamas sympathizers to target him.
Another recurrent pattern is the abuse of holy or protected places. During Israel’s military campaigns against Hamas, the terrorist group often hid weapons in mosques, universities, and schools. . . . Still another . . . is the behavior of foreign media, which habitually turn aggressors into victims and vice-versa. .

Israel’s Underground Barrier with Gaza to Extend into the Sea

The underground barrier designed to prevent tunnels from crossing into Israel from Gaza will stretch into the Mediterranean to stave off Hamas infiltration by sea.
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, five Hamas frogmen (naval commandos) tried to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim before they were engaged and killed by the IDF. Hamas has significantly expanded their naval commando unit in the three years since the last conflict, with a reported 1,500 frogmen.
The border with Gaza is Israel’s most explosive, with a rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip striking near Ashkelon on Tuesday evening. While Hamas quickly arrested those responsible for firing the rocket, the construction of Israel’s underground barrier, which has become symbolic to both sides, may push Hamas to attack Israel.
The head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir stated on Wednesday that “this wall can potentially lead to a dangerous escalation” despite the fact that the barrier is being built entirely in Israeli territory.
Following Operation Protective Edge, Israel understood that it needed to come up with a solution and “this is the solution,” Zamir stated.
Israel’s underground barrier, which has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels, is made from European bentonite and is combined with a 6 m. high above-ground fence similar to the one which runs along the Israeli-Egyptian border.

Southern residents welcome hastening Gaza barrier construction

Residents of Israeli towns situated in the Gaza region have praised the IDF’s recent announcement that it intends to accelerate the construction of its subterranean barrier on the southern border in a bid to preemptively thwart threats emanating from the Hamas-ruled enclave.
With the new hastened pace of work, the underground wall is scheduled to be complete within the next year-and-a-half to two years. The giant concrete slab will stretch across the entire border and also be topped with a six-meter security fence above ground.
Moreover, the high-tech and concrete barriers will be able to detect and destroy every tunnel identified as it approaches.
On Wednesday, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir said nothing would deter Israel’s military from constructing the barrier designed to deliver a decisive blow or severe setback to Hamas’s terror project.

IDF Blog: Hamas Exploits Gazans to Build Tunnel Network

Hamas has a long and storied history of using Gaza’s civilians as cover for its terror activities. Two entrances to a network of terror tunnels, built by the terror organization under civilian homes, are just another example of Hamas’s disregard for the lives of Gazans.
The IDF’s Southern Command, in cooperation with the IDF Intelligence Directorate and the Israel Security Agency (ISA), are working to uncover Hamas’s operational and military infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. So far, they’ve revealed and identified significant intelligence – including the uncovering of two terror tunnel openings located in civilian homes, linked to a network built for the purpose of infiltrating Israeli territory and attacking Israelis.
The tunnel openings were found beneath residential buildings in northwestern Gaza. The first, a six-floor building constructed in the past two years, belongs to a citizen of the al-Shati area, situated close to other homes and a gas station. The second belongs to a Hamas-affiliated father of five in Beit Lahia, whose family, brother, and father live above the tunnel opening, which also connects to the “Hope” Mosque next-door.

PA slashes permits for sick Gazans

The Palestinian Authority has dramatically reduced financial support for Gazans seeking medical care outside the blockaded Gaza Strip, WHO figures showed Wednesday, as chairman Mahmoud Abbas
seeks to squeeze the Hamas-run enclave.
The number of financial approvals from June, the most recent number available, was 80 percent lower than the monthly average for 2016, the World Health Organization said in a statement.
Just 477 Gazans were given financial approval to travel for treatment during the month, down from 1,883 in June the previous year.
The Palestinian Authority has officially denied any change in policy, but Abbas has been seeking to squeeze Gaza’s rulers Hamas through a series of measures including reducing electricity payments.
“We will continue the gradual stopping of financial allocations to the Gaza Strip until Hamas commits to reconciliation,” he said at the weekend.
In a statement to AFP, health ministry official in Gaza Medhat Muhesan condemned the “punitive measures”.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Ancestry Traced To Khazars (satire)

In what scholars are calling an upheaval in demographic research, a new study has determined that the modern Palestinian population descends from a southeastern Europe and Central Asian group, and not, as is widely assumed or claimed, from Arabia or ancient inhabitants of the Levant.
An article in the upcoming issue of the journal Genetics reports the findings of a group of researchers from the University of Stockhom, who claim to have identified a genetic marker on the Y chromosome among three quarters of Palestinian men that matches a mutation traced to Khazaria, an early-medieval kingdom that ruled portions of modern-day Ukraine, Russia, the Caucasus, and surrounding areas. Conventional sources to date have placed Palestinian origins as the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula, whereas political rhetoric has been characterized by claims of Palestinian indigenous roots in the Levant, as part of efforts to assert a more ancient claim to the land than that of the Jews. If confirmed, he new study threatens to upend traditional notions of Palestinian ethnicity.
“It is certainly a topsy-turvy conclusion, from a conventional point of view,” admitted lead article author Dr. Stürren Dippaht. “But the data fit. There is a direct male lineage traceable in seventy-five percent of Palestinians to the Khazars.”
Even more surprising than the non-Middle-Eastern origins of Palestinians, noted Dr. Dipphat, is that for many years Palestinians an their supporters have specifically touted Khazaria as the birthplace of Ashkenazi, or European, Jewry, a notion with questionable genetic evidence at best, in order to diminish Jewish claims to the Holy Land by denying them a coherent peoplehood. “As with many, many claims against Israel and Jews, it appears that here, too, Palestinians have been indulging in projection of their own characteristics,” he noted.

Pentagon: Iran Continuously Tries to Crash UN Navy Ships and Fighter Jets

As a US Navy F/A-18 fighter jet returned to the deck of the USS Nimitz, the aircraft carrier currently stationed in the Persian Gulf to support the US-led fight against ISIS, an Iranian drone got way too close for comfort.
“Despite repeated radio calls to stay clear,” the Iranian drone went out of its way to complicate the jet’s landing, Eric Pahon, Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement sent to Business Insider. The F/A-18 had to maneuver to avoid the approaching drone, missing it by around 100 feet.
The drone was unarmed, and remotely piloted. A US aircraft carrier isn’t something any pilot worth his salt would not be aware of. As this was the 13th unsafe and unprofessional interaction between the US Navy and Iran’s maritime forces this year, it can be assumed Iran meant to do it.
Landing a speeding aircraft on a ship at sea presents plenty of difficulty without having a marauding drone bother the pilot on approach, and this just represents one of the ways Iran tries to harass, and ultimately crash US ships and aircraft.
A single F/A-18 costs around $70 million, and sending one crashing down on an aircraft carriers flight deck could cause tremendous damage and loss of life.
In mid June, Iranian naval patrol boats sailed up to the USS Bataan, a smaller aircraft carrier, and shined a laser pointer on a helicopter in flight. There’s just no reason to shine a laser pointer at another navy’s helicopter unless you’re trying to mess with them in a way that could easily cause a crash.

Cast of ‘Shahs of Sunset’ Questioned at Ben-Gurion Airport at Start of Group Israel Trip

Cast members of the hit reality television series “Shahs of Sunset” were detained and questioned at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport during Sunday night’s episode of the Bravo show.
Upon arriving in Israel after their 16-hour flight from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, Mike Shouhed, Reza Farahan, Golnesa “GG” Gharachedaghi, Shervin Roohparvar and Destiney Rose were taken to the airport’s detention center. Shouhed is Jewish, while Farahan is half-Jewish and the rest of the cast members are Muslim.
Fellow co-stars Mercedes “MJ” Javid and Asa Soltan Rahmati went through airport security with no issues and waited for their friends at baggage claim. The latter said, “I was so sure I would get detained,” and explained she believed she and Javid were not held back by security because they were “friendly” and “patient,” according to the UK’s Daily Mail. She also noted that Shouhed was “so offended [he got detained]…and he’s looking at me like I’m supposed to get detained.”
“Her name is very Muslim,” Shouhed said about Rahmati, “and they didn’t stop her, which is very interesting to me.”
After Rose was free to go, Roohparvar soon followed and told Shouhed, “Thank your people for letting me in.” Shouhed was let through afterward and said the reason he was detained was because of the people he was traveling with. He asked, “How the f–k is the only real Jew in this group being detained? You see my passport. I’ve been here a lot.”

Syrian Journalist Exposes Torture Under Assad Regime in Holocaust Museum Exhibit

Omari, who now lives in Sweden, estimates that over 100,000 of people have been held by regime forces and material that has since been smuggled out of war-torn Syria shows widespread torture, ethnic cleansing and other war crimes at the hands of Assad and his supporters.
Omari also explained that most Syrians would have liked foreign powers to intervene to bring an end to the bloodshed. He said Syrians felt led down by the Obama administration, which took a hands-off approach in Syria not to endanger the nuclear deal with Iran.
“They hate so much Obama because he drew a red line, and didn’t interfere,” Omari said, adding that “They hate Obama so much, really.” While President Trump’s decision to launch strikes against Assad forces in response to a chemical weapon attack in April drew some criticism in the West, but Omari said that among the Syrian public, “almost everybody was happy.”
In August last year, the Holocaust Museum released a statement calling on the international community to intervene in Syria ahead of the regime’s assault on Aleppo. “President Bashar al-Assad and his government are committing crimes against humanity and war crimes against civilians, including acts of mass killing, torture and targeted attacks on medical facilities and health care providers”, the Museum concluded.
A Syrian police photographer known by the code name Caesar smuggled out tens of thousands of photographs documenting the terrible tortures and deaths to which Syrian prisoners were subjected.
Steven Rapp, then the top war crimes official for the U.S. government, declared in July 2014 that the Caesar’s photographs provided “solid evidence of the kind of machinery of cruel death that we haven’t seen frankly since the Nazis.”

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