Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: When Suicide Attacks Are Bad
The emergence of ISIS-inspired groups in the Gaza Strip has long been an open known secret. This is the inconvenient truth that Hamas has been working hard to conceal for the past few years.
Obstinately holding on to an imaginary dream, some political analysts and journalists have misinterpreted the Hamas document as a sign of “moderation” and “pragmatism,” and argued falsely that the Islamist movement is ready to join a peace process with Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar could not be clearer on this point.
Hamas, as we all know, is hardly opposed to suicide bombings. Yet when the boomerang returns, suddenly the attacks become “cowardly terror” actions perpetrated by “outlaws” and “intellectually and religiously and morally deviant” terrorists. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and ISIS may disagree on many issues, but targeting Jews and “infidels” is not one of them. On that point, they are in savage agreement.
In Israel, you will find there is heavy presence of security, both uniformed and not, at major sites, as well as concrete reinforced barriers at key landmarks and bus stops, to prevent vehicular rammings.
As unpalatable as it may be to European sensitivities, they must begin to apply profiling risk assessment as a measure of precaution and prevention. The stark reality is that a Caucasian mother does not fit your profile of a typical terrorist in this scenario, with all terrorists in the car rammings so far being male Islamic jihadists between roughly the ages of 20 and 40.
However, for profiling to be successful, Europe would do well to again follow the lead of Israel in this case, which does not apply a blanket profiling of entire ethnic groups; instead, security personnel are trained to observe body language, physical signs and other clues to erratic behavior. The curtailing of some personal freedoms will be a small price to pay for the lives of many.
There are other steps European leaders ought to consider as part of their overall strategy to prevent lone-wolf attacks, including refusing re-entry to those who have gone to Syria, Iraq and elsewhere to fight for Isis and stripping citizenship of dual nationals caught committing acts of terror on European soil.
As difficult as it may be to accept, the dream of Schengen open borders cannot continue in its current form, with unfettered borders and lax security checks, where terrorists can freely move from one country to the other without so much as a glance from authorities.
Europe also cannot be serious about fighting terror on the one hand and embracing Iran on the other. Iran continues to be the foremost global state sponsor of terror. Their support of Assad regime is a primary cause of the Syrian refugee crisis and the spread of Isis, as well as of Hezbollah operatives roaming freely across Europe. Tehran is not a partner in the war on terror, it is one of the primary instigators of global terror.
Preventing ‘lone wolf’ attacks 100 per cent of the time is simply not feasible, but greater steps can be taken to minimise the threat.
This will require bold leadership and a recognition that whether it is in Barcelona, Nice, London, Berlin, Stockholm or Jerusalem, terror is terror and the West must stand united, in unwavering solidarity and commitment, if we are to defeat this global evil.
Intelligence is the first level at which terror must be fought. But the war is now also on the streets. Urban centres are the new battleground. As an Israeli counter-terrorism official (who cannot be named due to the sensitivity of his work) told me: ‘simple things, like placing bollards and barriers at strategic points in major centres can almost eliminate the possibility of vehicle rammings’.
But the most important changes must come at the level of education. A principle problem with terror is that it forces us into ever more intrusive legislation. An educated public can relieve the burden. As the counterterrorism official explains: ‘In the 21st century we have witnessed the new phenomenon of the lone wolf: Someone not part of a cell, someone who doesn’t buy guns or explosives and is therefore much harder to track.’
If someone can now be radicalised just by going on the internet, what can be done? Well, for a start, in Israel, the police have a dedicated Facebook page where people can report terrorist content they find posted on social media, and, critically, all of which is checked. It has saved lives.
Combating the threat of the lone wolf – and avoiding more draconian anti-terror legislation – comes with greater public awareness.
‘If, for example, you see your neighbour going out at 3am every night or see him or her buying a lot of knives, or carrying a suspicious backpack. Look at Anders Breivik,’ the counterterrorism official concludes, ‘all the red flags were there before and no one did anything. People need the courage to speak up. Every tip can lead the authorities to something much bigger.’
The Palestinian Olympic Committee forced a Palestinian boxer to forfeit his match and give up his chance to win a bronze medal rather than compete with an Israeli Druze boxer. The boxer told the official PA TV that it was not his decision but rather his superiors, including the Palestinian Olympic Committee, who forced him to forfeit:
Official PA TV host 1: “Let’s talk about Sultan Abu Al-Haj, a Palestinian boxer who refused to compete with an Israeli boxer and lost a bronze medal.”
Host 2: “Sultan, why did you make this decision? You lost a medal!”
Palestinian boxer Sultan Abu Al-Haj: “I didn’t make the decision. My trainers and the [Palestinian] Olympic Committee made the decision, and as a competitor I cannot oppose them… The decision was reached that it is forbidden to compete with [Israelis], because it’s beneath our dignity to compete with them and recognize them as (sic) the State of Israel.” [Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 17, 2017]
Palestinian boxer Sultan Abu Al-Haj refused to compete and forfeited his match against Israeli Druze boxer Amit Madah on Aug. 8, 2017 in the under 54 kg division at the Youth Muay Thai World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. This was the first time that the Palestinian Authority sent an athlete to compete in this tournament.
This Palestinian Olympic Committee’s demand that a Palestinian athlete not compete with an Israeli violates the spirit of the Olympics and possibly the International Olympic Committee’s Code of Ethics, Article 1.2, which demands “respect of the principle of the universality and political neutrality of the Olympic Movement.” Although this was not an Olympic event, it was the Palestinian Olympic Committee, which is a member of the “Olympic Movement,” that made the decision not to compete with Israelis.
Melanie Phillips: American violence and the threat from North Korea
Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network the significance of the Charlottesville violence, the incipient violence now stalking a heavily polarised America, and the developing crisis with North Korea.
The horrific series of events in Barcelona is yet another macabre example of what is starting to feel like Europe’s new normal. This is the era of frequent, low-tech, mass casualty Jihadist attacks, in which any ideologically driven fanatic can jump in a van or pick up a knife and inflict carnage on the streets of our cities. The former head of Mi5, Lord Evans, has predicted that the battle against this form of terrorism is likely to last for a generation.
Yet there is a certain added grotesque irony to the attacks in Barcelona. This current wave of Islamist terrorism, the so-called leaderless Jihad, has its origins in Spain. When that van sped through Barcelona’s iconic Las Rambles, plowing down innocent pedestrians, the latest incarnation of Jihadism was coming home to roost.
This kind of terrorism, increasingly familiar across Europe, was, in fact, masterminded by a Spaniard. A veteran Jihadist called Abu Musab al-Suri. Formerly part of al-Qaeda, he is understood to have parted with Osama Bin Laden. In 2005, he published what would turn out to be a hugely significant text: “the Global Islamic Resistance Call.” It would be some years before western countries would feel the full effect of the strategy outlined in this document, but it is precisely the tactics developed by al-Suri that have gone on to form the basis of Islamic State strategy and the strategy for the IS inspired attacks that we are now seeing in the West.
Abu Musab al-Suri has had a decades’ long involvement in modern Jihadism, and particularly with Islamist terrorism in Spain. The Spanish authorities have wanted al-Suri since 2003, for his role in establishing the country’s first al-Qaeda cell in the mid-1990s. However, Al Suri’s role in terrorism in Spain goes back to well before this. Spain also wants al-Suri in connection to the 1985 Madrid bombing by the Islamic Jihad Organization, in which a restaurant frequented by US servicemen was blown up leaving 18 people dead. But it is also believed that he may have had a connection to the far more devastating 2004 Madrid train bombing, which killed 191 people.
The impending fall of Islamic State will only bring more painful terrorist attacks everywhere the group has sympathizers. Attacks like the ones in Spain bring about copycat attacks, and raise the enthusiasm of those ready to accept similar missions. The attacks will be shocking and cruel. There is nothing stopping such murderous rampages, and the trend will become more pronounced as Islamic State suffers defeats on the battlefield and loses territory. Today, there are sleeper cells of operatives and supporters in Europe, Africa, and other continents. They will shock and surprise us. They have collected experience, they are fearless, and they will act vengefully.
All this will continue until operatives are cut off at the source by security agencies and are dealt with in a framework of international cooperation, in the same way that terrorist ideology crosses borders.
Unfortunately, most European countries have yet to wake up to the issue and its solution. I am writing this after an extended stay in several countries, including during the last two weeks. To my chagrin, we do not see security forces where they are needed. Some Europeans still do not believe that such things can happen, and laws have still not been passed to enable the intelligence services to tackle the massive job awaiting them. There is still no security coverage for mass events and in public places, nor is there enough coordination between intelligence and law enforcement agencies — police and other forces. The West must wake up, and the sooner the better.
Spanish police on Monday killed a man who could be Younes Abouyaaqoub, the alleged fugitive driver of a van that mowed down crowds in Barcelona, a source close to the probe said.
“They have shot dead a suspect who could be the perpetrator of the attack,” the source, who declined to be named, told AFP.
Police in Catalonia confirmed that a man wearing what appeared to be a suicide belt had been killed in Subirats, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from Barcelona, but did not identify him.
Abouyaaqoub, 22, is suspected of plowing a van through throngs of tourists and locals on Thursday on the busy Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona, killing 13 people.
He fled the scene on foot and stabbed to death a passerby, hijacking his car to escape the city.
Finland observed a minute of silence on Sunday for the victims of a stabbing attack that left two people dead in what is being investigated as the country’s first-ever terror attack.
Another eight people were wounded in the stabbing spree on Friday in the southwestern port city of Turku.
The suspect, an 18-year-old Moroccan asylum seeker, was interrogated on Sunday and is due to appear before a judge early Monday to be remanded in custody, police said.
At the market square where the attack happened, several hundred people gathered Sunday to hold a minute of silence at 10 a.m.
Among those present was Hassan Zubier, a visiting British paramedic who was injured in the attack after coming to the aid of a woman who later died.
He arrived directly from the hospital, attending the ceremony in a wheelchair.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Monday expressed “shock” at Friday’s deadly stabbing attack in Turku, Finland.
“The Israeli government expresses its shock and strongly condemns the terrorist attack in the city of Turku last Friday in which two people were killed and eight wounded,” it said in a statement released Monday.
Finland observed a minute of silence on Sunday for the victims of the stabbing attack in the southwestern port city, in what is being investigated as the country’s first-ever terror attack.
The Israeli statement went on: “Israel expresses its solidarity with the people of Finland, and sends condolences to the families of those killed and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.”
The suspect, an 18-year-old Moroccan asylum seeker, was interrogated on Sunday and is due to appear before a judge early Monday to be remanded in custody, police said.
At least one person has been killed in Marseille after a car crashed into people waiting at two different bus stops in the southern French port on Monday, police sources told AFP, adding that the suspected driver had been arrested. Another person was left seriously injured.
Marseille’s prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said that investigators had no “element pointing to a terrorist attack” and that the driver was believed to suffer from “psychiatric” problems.
“He was found with a letter from a psychiatric clinic and we are leaning towards treating it as a mental health case,” Tarabeux told AFP.
The incident took place at around 9 a.m (0700 GMT), one source said, asking not to be named. It comes with police across Europe on high alert following the car-ramming attacks in Spain.
The Renault car first drove at speed toward a bus stop in the city’s 13th district, leaving one person seriously hurt, before targeting another stop in the 11th district, causing one fatality.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled a plan aimed at better defense of public spaces against terror attacks.
The New York Times reported that the plan entails installing more barriers in public spaces to prevent the entry of vehicles into crowded areas, in an attempt to guard against vehicular attacks. Turnbull said on Sunday that the barriers could include posts, steps, and even works of art.
“We will never be cowed, nor will we bow to terrorism,” Turnbull asserted. “But what we must do, of course, is take every step we can to protect Australians from the threat of terrorism and terrorist attacks.”
Turnbull’s statements came after twin ramming attacks in Spain on Thursday night claimed the lives of 15, including 14 who were hit at La Rambla and a woman who was struck at Cambrils just hours later. A total of roughly 130 people were injured during the attacks.
Turnbull said that the plan had initially been conceived after the attack, claimed by ISIS, in Nice last year, when a terrorist rammed a 19-ton lorry into revellers enjoying Bastille Day fireworks on Nice’s seafront Promenade des Anglais. At least 85 were killed in that attack, and at least 434 injured. The plan is being implemented now, ostensibly in light of the recent attacks in Spain.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Islamist Apologists Less Practiced At Excusing Murders Of Finns Than Of Jews (satire)
Pundits and politicians accustomed to explaining away violence against Jews as either overblown or justified have stumbled in their efforts to make the same excuses for the recent terrorist attack in Finland, having not nearly as much experience explaining why Finland should have expected such violence.
Commentators on the BBC, in the Guardian, the Times of London, the New York Times, and other outlets following a well-trodden path of rationalization when Israel or Israelis are attacked, confessed today they felt awkward trying to apply the same approach to terrorist acts directed at Finland, where a Muslim immigrant stabbed several people to death over the weekend.
“Well, what do you expect after fifty years of brutal – no, wait, that’s not right,” began Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, in an interview on CNN. “I had this all reasoned out before, and I’ve practiced it, but it’s not coming out right. Do you mind waiting a few minutes while I try to recreate this?”
“A people under occupation has the right to… to…” trailed off Yolanda Knell of the BBC. “Can I get back to you on this, Roger? I was going to lay out for our audience why blame for this attack ultimately lies with the nation attacked, but I thinkI got confused with all the other times I did this, when it was someone else.”
If Abbas and the PLO can’t provide satisfactory answers – then Trump will be wasting his time trying to jumpstart negotiations – stalled since April 2014 – between Israel and the PLO – since those negotiations will assuredly end up going nowhere like previous PLO – Israel negotiations conducted during the last 24 years. Jailed PLO terrorists and families of deceased terrorists still receive life-time payments for murdering Jews – rebuffing Trump’s demand they cease.
Trump has shown no compunction jettisoning poor performers like Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci and Steve Bannon who failed to deliver.
Abbas and the PLO could suffer the same fate if they show no genuine commitment to resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict after 50 years of relentless rejectionism.
The foreign ministers of the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and Jordan met on Saturday, August 19, 2017, in Cairo for a preparatory meeting before the visit of an American diplomatic delegation for the upcoming peace talks scheduled to take place in the coming days. The ministers emphasized their commitment to the “Arab initiative,” especially the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines as a basis for peace. The meeting was initiated by the Palestinians, and it reflects their fear that the Trump Administration has not yet expressed support for the principle of two states. The Palestinians believe that remobilizing Arab support for the two state principle is critical to convince the Americans to adopt it. The Palestinians suspect that the Arab states may be dragged into a regional solution, which will bring about the realization of an Arab-Israel entente without the establishment first of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines.
It should be noted that Saudi Arabia did not take part in the meeting. This is because Saudi Arabia usually does not participate in such meetings and because Saudi Arabia is dissatisfied with the neutrality of the Palestinians and Jordanians in Saudi Arabia’s bitter confrontation with Qatar. Saudi Arabia is anxious to get through the current Hajj to Mecca without calamity. Recently, both Qatar and Iran tried to undermine Saudi Arabia’s position as the Guardian of the Holy Places, and Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei also called to transfer the Hajj to Karbala, a Shiite holy city in Iraq.
To avoid tension, the Saudis agreed to ease the pressure on Qatar, including allowing pilgrims from Qatar to arrive on the Hajj.
Next Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to attend his first West Bank celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the settlement of Judea and Samaria.
The Samaria Regional Council, which announced Netanyahu’s attendance, will be hosting and organizing the August 28th event at the Barkan Industrial Park.
Ministers and parliamentarians will be among the attendees. This includes Likud ministers Israel Katz, Ofir Akunis, Gila Gamliel and Tzahi Hanegbi as well as Bayit Yehudi ministers Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel.
The event takes place two weeks prior to the formal governmental ceremony scheduled for September 13th at Kfar Etzion in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.
The Samaria celebration coincides with the first visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to Israel and the Palestinian territories on August 28th and 29th. A US delegation led by US envoys Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner and US Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell is due in the region in the next nine days.
On Sunday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting Meretz delegation led by its party head MK Zahava Gal-On that he has met some 20 times with envoys from the Trump Administration.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Observers At Abbas-Gal-On Meeting Unsure Which More Irrelevant (satire)
Aides and other officials present at a meeting yesterday between Meretz Party Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spent much of the encounter and its immediate aftermath wondering which of the two figures represents a less relevant faction that the other, but were unable to reach firm conclusions.
Gal-On and Abbas met at the latter’s presidential compound in the de facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah Sunday to discuss prospects for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, a conflict in which Abbas is widely thought to represent a moderate, compromising approach to Israel, and Gal-On to represent the conciliatory camp of Israelis willing to relinquish strategic assets to reach a peace agreement. In practice, however, others in attendance at the Muqat’a noted how small a slice of their respective constituencies the two leaders actually represent, then attempted to determine which of the two has a more laughable claim to relevance.
“Wow, I’m not sure either of these people can speak for more than a small fraction of their respective polities,” realized Sur Reel, a Muqat’a administrative staff member. “Their factions haven’t held sway in long time, but they’re still acting as if they matter. It’s kind of pathetic.”
“What are we doing here again?” wondered Laurel Evanti, a Meretz functionary. “I know Ms. Gal-On feels important for a change when she gets to meet with a ‘world leader’ such as Abu Mazen, but really? This is the last man in the world with anything useful to say about how Israelis and Palestinians are going to settle their differences once and for all, if they even can. And this is the last woman in the world to convince Israelis to make painful concessions after twenty years of Oslo’s violent failure.”
Seth Frantzman: Richard Spencer, ‘Goy, Bye’ and ‘court Jews’
The story of Icarus is he flew too close to the sun. He was arrogant and dismissive.
Laws of nature didn’t apply, he thought. Something similar happened in America over the weekend. On August 18 The Washington Post ran an article by Dana Milbank with the headline “The Trump administration’s three ‘court Jews’ disgrace themselves.” It is not entirely clear if the words “court Jews” were originally in quotes; the original headline can still be seen in the hyperlink of the piece. However, the newspaper has now changed it to “Trump administration’s more prominent Jews disgrace themselves.”
So why did the Washington Post run this headline? The article is full of anti-Semitic tropes about “court Jews,” presented as inside dope by “one of us” calling out our uncle toms. “We have seen such a character before in Jewish history,” the article claims.
“The shtadlan, or ‘court Jew,’ existed to please the king, to placate the king, to loan money to the king.”
Who are the “court Jews? I wouldn’t have known that Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser to President Donald Trump, is Jewish, unless this article told me. But this article names and shames the “Jews” it has found in the administration, like one of those far-right conspiracy websites that always names the Jews it claims are behind everything. Gary Cohn, Jared Kushner and Steven Mnuchin are targeted by Milbank.
Why does our major media feel so comfortable attacking “court Jews”? You’d think that if an op-ed writer wrote such an incendiary article that potentially stokes antisemitism, someone would say “isn’t this a bit much? Let’s tone down the ‘court Jews’ terminology and keep the rest of the argument.”
It’s not so complicated, really. In a Sunday essay he published, titled “The Trump administration’s three ‘court Jews’ disgrace themselves,” Milbank reduced three rather admired gentlemen: Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner, to their most base common denominator: they are Jews.
Singling out Jews for condemnation based on their ethnic affiliation is as old as ancient Egypt. Of course, Milbank, who prides himself on being unpredictable politically—sometimes he favors Republicans, other times Democrats—didn’t think he was using an ancient anti-Semitic technique. He felt that the fact that these three men with their impressive business record were Jewish compelled them to act one specific way in response to their boss’s views on the Nazis and the rest of the scum from last week’s Charlottesville riots.
“All three let it be known through anonymous friends and colleagues that they are disturbed and distressed by what Trump said,” Milbank reports, “but none is speaking publicly about an outrage that makes millions of Americans feel as though they are living a nightmare.”
One of the most blatant forms of racism is to refer to an individual from a particular ethnic group as the representative of his or her entire race. Members of minority groups experience this every day – for the most part it’s a mild form of racism, borne by the other person’s ignorance. Human beings are just built this way. Occasionally, especially after some dramatic incident, all Blacks become potential looters, all Muslims blow up buildings, all Jews crave money, and, yes, all Japanese Americans are thrown into concentration camps.
Milbank’s guilt by ethnic affiliation button must have been set to 11 on Sunday. The three “Trump Jews” actually reminded him of what he called “the stadlan.”
In the wake of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s ousting, reports detailing his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have started to emerge.
Bannon aggressively petitioned President Donald Trump to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but was blocked by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Vanity Fair reported on Sunday.
Trump promised to relocate the embassy during his election campaign in 2016, but he signed a six-month waiver June 1 to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv — in line with every president’s actions since Congress passed legislation calling on the US to move the embassy in 1995.
Bannon also reportedly lobbied Trump to take a more aggressive stance regarding Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. When Abbas visited the White House in May, Bannon reportedly boycotted the meeting, sending a text message to a friend stating that he would not “breathe the same air as that terrorist,” according to Vanity Fair.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the U.S., upped its campaign against under-fire National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster Tuesday, alleging McMaster is backed by what it calls “left-wing Israel bashers.”
The ZOA has previously highlighted McMaster’s ties to such groups, as well as its concerns that McMaster is anti-Israel. On Monday it responded to a defense of McMaster by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman by outlining its concerns and defending its call for McMaster’s firing
ZOA’s concerns about General McMaster stems from many issues including his firing Trump loyalists who support Israel and oppose the Iran Deal; his hiring many who oppose Trump’s policies especially on Israel and Iran; his refusal to acknowledge that the Western Wall is in Israel; his refusal to state that Israel’s response to the terrorist group Hamas’ rocket attacks against Israel was “ethical”: his refusal to acknowledge that Iran has violated the Iran Deal; his refusal to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” and much more.
But on Tuesday the group focused on those who have chosen to back McMaster. In addition to mainstream establishment Republicans, McMaster has found backing from a number of far-left organizations, many of which the ZOA notes are anti-Israel.
“Supporters of McMaster also include the radical Islamic anti-Israel group CAIR, left wing, Trump-hating, Soros-funded anti-Israel group Media Matters, anti-Israel TV commentator Van Jones and others,” the organization said.
A book on terrorism endorsed and touted by H.R. McMaster, the embattled White House National Security Adviser, calls Hamas an “Islamist political group” while failing to categorize the deadly organization as a terrorist group, and refers to al-Qaida attacks and anti-Israel terrorism as “resistance.”
The work frames jihad as largely peaceful “means to struggle or exert effort,” such as waking up early in the morning to recite prayers. It argues that groups like al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations have hijacked the concept of jihad to wage warfare using such tactics as suicide bombings.
The book, reviewed in full by this reporter, was authored by U.S. military officer Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, and is titled Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat.
McMaster provided a glowing blurb for the book jacket, referring to Aboul-Enein’s book as “an excellent starting point” for understanding terrorist ideology. McMaster also promoted the book in ARMOR, the journal of the U.S. Army’s Armor Branch, published at Fort Benning, Georgia, where McMaster served as commanding general at the Ft. Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence.
McMaster wrote in his blurb for the book: “Militant Islamist Ideology deserves a wide readership among all those concerned with the problem of transnational terrorism, their ideology, and our efforts to combat those organizations that pose a serious threat to current and future generations of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”
Sheldon Adelson in an email to Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein expresses support for efforts by the ZOA to get National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster removed from his position.
But Adelson added that he is not “looking to get deeply involved in this debate.”
“I don’t know enough about the McMaster case nor do I want to say I know about your attack and that I supported it financially and morally. Up until recent articles, I had no knowledge of anything about McMaster — just what I read in the newspaper,” Adelson said in the email provided to JTA by Klein.
The ZOA issued a report earlier this month alleging that McMaster is anti-Israel and charging that he is undermining Trump’s Middle East agenda and the US-Israel relationship by firing officials supportive of the Jewish state and critical of the Iran nuclear deal.
This summer’s tensions around the Temple Mount reflected the gap between the Israeli-Western discourse, which focused on the security problems, and the Palestinian-Islamic discourse, which is rooted in the belief that Israel wants to take control of the Temple Mount and saw the security moves as part of this plot.
This unbridgeable gap prevented the possibility of compromise, and Israel’s decision to restore the situation to its former status (taking down the metal detectors) was interpreted as a Palestinian achievement and an Israeli embarrassment. This established a situation in which Israel cannot take substantial security measures on the Temple Mount without coordination and agreement with the PA and Jordan.
The Palestinians, led by Mahmoud Abbas, who justifiably claims ownership of the success, are trying to leverage the achievement of the removal of the metal detectors in front of the United States, Hamas, and the Palestinian public in the PA.
On the regional level, the solution to the tensions represents an achievement for the pragmatic Arab elements, and especially Jordan. Turkey and Iran failed in their attempts to use the events to embarrass the pragmatists and exacerbate the tensions, hoping to win points in the regional arena and strengthen their ally Hamas.
Yisrael Medad: NIF’s Liel Does the Temple Mount
Over at Globes, excerpts from an interview with Rachel Liel, the outgoing New Israel Fund executive director in Israel:-
Isn’t that the method of governments, to avoid being confronted by questions?
“Absolutely. We saw it only recently with the story of the Temple Mount and the metal detectors. Instead of answering questions they said ‘they are inciting against us’ and ‘acting against us’ and they always look for the scapegoat – and we at NIF are an excellent scapegoat. The Likud has been in power for so many years, yet it still feels as if it is a persecuted minority and a victim and doesn’t give answers to people that ask sensible questions.”
Three Israeli Arabs, resident of Um Al-Fahm (and I won’t ask of they attended NIF-sponsored programs), form a terror cell and murder two Israeli policemen, Druze, and the most logical thing to do is first, assure security. Jews go through metal detectors at the Western Wall and all over so why cannot Arabs?
As for the feeling of a persecuted minority? Minority, no but quite persecuted.
Gunfire from the Sinai Peninsula struck Israel on Sunday night, in what the military said was accidental spillover from fighting across the border.
A military spokesperson would not say where specifically the errant fire occurred, however, Palestinian media reported it was in the area of the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which sits near the borders of Israel, Gaza and Egypt.
There were no reports of Israelis injured or of damage caused by the gunfire in Israel.
The northeastern Sinai has seen increased tension between Hamas and local Islamic State affiliates since Thursday, after a suspected IS member killed a Hamas guard, along with himself, in a suicide bombing in southern Gaza, near the Egyptian border.
The suicide attack occurred as forces tried to stop the man from infiltrating into Egypt, members of the Hamas terror organization said.
The Kingdom of Jordan is insisting that Israel issue a formal, public apology for the shooting deaths of two Jordanian citizens in Amman following a stabbing attack on an Israeli security officer near the Israeli embassy.
On July 23rd, a Jordanian national stabbed an Israeli security official in his apartment near the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan.
When the guard opened fire on the attacker with his personal sidearm, the attacker was killed instantly, and a second Jordanian national, the owner of the property, was fatally wounded by a stray bullet.
Following the incident, Amman officials demanded Israel waive the guard’s diplomatic immunity and surrender him to local police for interrogation. Israel refused, leading to a diplomatic standoff between Jerusalem and Amman.
While the guard and the rest of the Amman embassy staff were ultimately returned to Israel, Jordan has refused to permit their return until Israel issues a formal apology for the deaths of the two Jordanian nationals.
According to a report by the Jordanian daily Al-Rad Sunday night, Jordan’s position remains unchanged, with the Hashemite kingdom insisting that the Jewish state publicly apologize for the two deaths before the embassy staff are allowed back into the country.
After Lebanon-based, Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah took to social media to threaten Israel with another war using a series of intimidating memes, a boutique Israeli web design company fought back on the same platform by cynically advising the Islamist group on what to expect should it go through with its threat.
The original campaign by Hezbollah supporters, entitled “Time for the Victory,” tells Israelis what to equip themselves with for the “upcoming war,” including anti-anxiety pills “in order to keep your composure,” running shoes “for a quick escape,” gas masks for when “ammonia plants are attacked with rockets” and a flashlight in the event that Israel’s “electricity plants are attacked with rockets.”
“We went through the difficult wars and we carry with us memories and open wounds from those years. We are loyal to the IDF, to the state and to the city in which we live,” said one of the initiators of the Israeli campaign from Web Yourself, a web design company based in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona close to the Lebanese border. “We don’t think it’s right that their futile threats go without a response.”
Below are images gathered by Ynet of both Hezbollah’s campaign and Web Yourself’s counter-campaign.
An Israeli general sharply criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday for sending medical aid to distant Venezuela while cutting down on help to the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
“We draw the Palestinian Authority’s attention to the fact that traveling from Ramallah to Gaza is only one hour, while the distance between Venezuela and Ramallah is more than 10,000 kilometers,” wrote Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Major General Yoav Mordechai on his official Facebook page.
COGAT is the Defense Ministry department in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs.
On Sunday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and PA Health Minister Jawad Awwad announced they were sending three truckloads of medical supplies to Venezuela, including antibiotics, drugs for the treatment of chronic diseases and “everything necessary for emergencies.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly threatened Sunday to cut off all financial support to the Gaza Strip, unless the Hamas terror group which controls the coastal enclave works together with Abbas’s Fatah party.
The comments came during a meeting with Israeli lawmakers, during which the Palestinian leader also said the Trump administration was in chaos and not moving forward on peace efforts.
According to Israel’s Channel 2, when MK Zahava Galon, of the dovish Meretz party, chided Abbas for having cut payments for Israeli electricity earlier this year, Abbas responded that he might not stop there.
“We transfer $1.5 billion a year, but after Hamas declared its own government, we discontinued 25 percent of our support to Gaza,” Abbas said, according to the report.
“We fear that if there is no change soon, that will gradually reach 100%,” he said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday threatened to gradually cut all funding to the Gaza Strip until Hamas agreed to reconcile with Fatah.
He declared his intentions during a meeting in Ramallah with Meretz head Zehava Gal- On, whose office later reported his statement.
“We transfer $1.5 billion a year [to Hamas in Gaza],” he said, adding that he had already cut 25% of that amount.
Abbas is in the midst of a push to regain control of Gaza, a decade after Hamas took over the Strip from Fatah in a bloody coup.
He has imposed a series of stiff economic sanctions, including reduced funding for electricity.
Abbas told Gal-On that if the situation with Hamas did not change soon, “we’ll gradually reduce our [financial] support to Gaza by 100%.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran: US Allowing Criticism Of Nuclear Deal Violates Nuclear Deal (satire)
Diplomatic and political officials in Iran lambasted American foreign policy today and threatened to abandon the agreement that regulates the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons program, asserting that the agreement includes a provision that bars the US government from permitting Americans to express opposition the deal.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif told Russian and Iranian media organizations Sunday morning that continued criticism of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) concluded between the Obama administration and Iran, among others, in 2015, specifically prohibits the US government from tolerating objections by American citizens or media to the provisions of the agreement – and that the Trump administration has done nothing to prevent American groups or individuals from voicing such criticism. If the trend continues, threatened Zarif, Iran would renounce the deal and develop nuclear weapons without international monitoring.
“We and Secretary Kerry worked hard to hammer out this agreement, and are not about to let the successor administration violate it,” declared Zarif at an address broadcast on Russia Today and FARS, the official Iranian news agency. “The secretary knew we would never agree to the program and the way it guts the inspections and sanctions regime unless there were some way to guarantee it would never hamper our nuclear program. Kerry agreed to implement a censorship regime in the US, and to some degree succeeded with his echo chamber, but those enforcement efforts have petered out since Trump took office, and that is unacceptable.”
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