January 25, 2022

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09/04 Links Pt1: Glick: Trump’s ‘Peace Process’ Starts by Ending the Fake One; The Oslo process is a proven failure; IDF: We carried out 200 strikes in Syria


From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Trump’s ‘Peace Process’ Starts by Ending the Fake One
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s moves have made upset the Palestinians. PLO chief and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies insist that the U.S. has no right to end its welfare payments to pretend refugees.

They can be excused for being indignant.

After all, for 70 years, the U.S. refused to recognize reality on either Jerusalem or UNRWA. For 25 years, three administrations ignored PLO support for terrorism, political warfare against Israel, corruption, and embezzlement. And now, suddenly, Trump and his team are paying attention and basing U.S. policies on reality.

The Palestinians are not alone in their indignation. Over the past 25 years, as the fundamental lies at the heart of the failed peace process continued to inform the policies of successive U.S. administrations, the gamble of the peace process became the religion of the peace process. Israeli leftists, like European and American leftists, embraced the PLO’s anti-Israel narrative as an article of faith. It is all but impossible for them to walk away from it after all of these years.

Moreover, the peace process’s false assumptions didn’t perpetuate themselves. Over 25 years bureaucracies were spawned in Israel and across the world on the basis of the failed peace process and its false belief that, once empowered, terrorists become model citizens and pioneers. Trump’s moves expose these bureaucracies’ incompetence, strategic blindness, and corruption.

And just as Trump’s determination to ground U.S. policy in reality harms those dedicated to perpetuating fantasies, it empowers millions of people who have been marginalized and silenced for a quarter century. It gives them – Israelis, Palestinians Arabs, and Arabs in the wider Middle East – the possibility for the first time to build relations based on reality.

That may not lead to fancy signing ceremonies with doves and balloons on the White House lawn. But it does provide the first realistic basis for honest and cooperative relations between Israel and its neighbors since 1993.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Trump’s Decision To Cut Subsidies To Palestine

President Trump announced the United States is cutting $200 million in annual foreign subsidies to Palestine channeled through the United Nations, followed by an announcement last Friday that the United States willwithdraw all funding from UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees.

Furious reactions accuse the White House of everything from “political blackmail” and “coercion” to “weaponizing” humanitarian subsidies. This week’s media coverage has generally bolstered those misleading claims by failing to adequately cover one of the primary reasons for the move: the Palestinian “Martyrs Fund.”

Though the White House may have eventually reduced Palestinian subsidies anyway (as a part of an upcoming overhaul of foreign subsidies in general), the significant size and timing of this particular cut tells another story, one that the media is failing to report.

The ‘Martyrs’ Fund
Palestine uses the Martyrs Fund to openly and proudly pay out $403 million per year, in large part to confirmed terrorists and their families. It’s known as the “pay-for-slay” law.

If Palestine redirected those funds, it would more than double the $200 million in subsidies the United States is withdrawing. Instead, Palestinian leaders choose to allocate this portion of their national budget for terror, instead of for the basic needs of their own people.

Some media briefly mentioned the Martyrs Fund with little or no explanation (Associated Press, The New York Times) while others, such as Reuters, didn’t mention it at all. Even worse, the media completely neglected to mention that the Palestinian government is also paying rewards to the killers of Americans, including to the killers of a young man named Taylor Force.

Evelyn Gordon: By Defending UNRWA, Israeli Defense Officials Put Short-Term Gains over Long-Term Strategy

On Friday, the State Department announced that it will cease providing funds to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the body responsible for caring for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and that it is now working to shut down and replace it. Many current and former high-ranking IDF officers, while acknowledging UNRWA’s serious flaws, have been lobbying on the agency’s behalf, arguing that the benefits its humanitarian work outweigh its anti-Israel incitement, cooperation with Hamas, and mission of keeping its clients in a permanent state of refugeehood. Evelyn Gordon isn’t swayed:

First, U.S. cutbacks won’t actually cause a financial crisis. . . . UNRWA wouldn’t have any crisis at all if it weren’t outrageously overstaffed. It has almost three times as many employees as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, though the latter agency, which cares for all non-Palestinian refugees and displaced people worldwide, serves twelve times as many people. . . .

The defense officials’ second fallacy is that for Hamas to be providing services in UNRWA’s stead would somehow be bad. In reality, if Hamas had to provide services to the people it governs, it would have less money to spend on its endless military build-up, which would improve Israel’s security.

That’s exactly what happened last year, when the Palestinian Authority, which had previously financed all civilian services in Hamas-run Gaza not provided by UNRWA, stopped doing so. For the first time, Hamas had to pay for civilian needs like fuel for Gaza’s only power plant out of its own pocket. Consequently, according to Israeli intelligence, it slashed its annual military budget from $200 million in 2014 (the year of the last Hamas-Israel war) to $50 million last year. . . .

The final fallacy is defense officials’ desire to postpone conflict at any cost. Obviously, preventing war is usually desirable. But war with Hamas isn’t an existential threat, and in any case, virtually all Israeli analysts consider it inevitable at some point. The refugee crisis, in contrast, remains a potentially existential threat. Should the Palestinians ever succeed in mobilizing international support behind their demand that all 5 million “refugees” relocate to Israel, this would eradicate the Jewish state.

The Oslo process is a proven failure

The Oslo process, which started between Israel and the Palestinians 25 years ago, clearly failed to bring a resolution to the regional conflict and did not result in a peaceful coexistence between the two peoples. The nearly 1,600 Israeli fatalities and thousands of casualties during this period by Palestinian terrorist attacks and rocket fire testify to this failure.

Late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s land-for-security formula did not work. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority, established within the framework of the 1993 Oslo Accords, now rules the West Bank and promotes anti-Israel hatred through its education system and controlled media. Its rival, Hamas, an Islamist organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, rules the Gaza Strip and continues the armed struggle against Israel.

The chances that a new American peace plan will lead to the establishment of a stable, unified and peaceful Palestinian state are nil. The differences in positions, particularly on refugees and Jerusalem, are unbridgeable. Moreover, the PA has displayed considerable difficulties in state building, and the resulting entity borders on a failed state.

The PA has failed to meet the essential test of statehood, namely monopoly over the use of force, and subsequently lost control over part of its territory – Gaza. It is hard to imagine the PA surviving without the infusion of billions of dollars of international aid, as it mirrors the deep socio-economic and political crisis of several Arab states, leaving a big question mark on the capacity of the Arab political culture to sustain modern states.

The right decision at the wrong time

The Trump administration’s decision to completely cut funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, is both a just and rash decision.

It is just because instead of emancipating Palestinians from their refugee-dom, this agency sustains their refugee status. UNRWA is the only U.N. organization that cares exclusively for one group of refugees. Alongside the genuine assistance it provides in terms of education, health and food, UNRWA also works to ensure it will always remain in existence and helps foster the illusion that a majority of refugees will return to their villages and cities inside Israel proper.

For many years, we have tried to convince our friends around the world to bring about UNRWA’s closure, and relinquish the agency’s important functions to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. I spoke with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres about this on numerous occasions, both in his previous role as High Commissioner for Refugees as well as in his current position. I understood from his response that this would not happen as long as the 134 member-states of the Non-Aligned Movement continue to support UNRWA’s existence, as a gesture to the Palestinians. For the Palestinian leadership, the leaders of the Arab world and many of our friends around the world, there is nothing more unifying than paying lip service to the right of return, a right they know full well will never be realized.

The other accusations against UNRWA are partially true. It is not a terrorist organization and it does not support terrorism, even if Hamas’ military wing has taken advantage of the proximity of UNRWA’s hospitals and schools to stockpile its weapons and even if quite a few of UNRWA’s teaching and medical staff, in particular in the Gaza Strip, support the terrorist organization.

Whitewashing Terrorism from Iranian History

While praising Abbas Amanat’s Iran: A Modern History as a “rich, detailed, [and] nuanced” scholarly work, Michael Rubin also notes some glaring omissions:

When he turns to the [1979] Islamic Revolution, [Amanat] does not whitewash reality. He discusses the recruitment of children to the frontlines of the Iran-Iraq war and the televised confessions forced by Iranian authorities engaged in post-revolutionary purges.

Amanat is weakest, [however], discussing the relationship between the United States and Iran. He describes the beginning of the embassy-hostage crisis but glosses over its end. He sometimes gets [individual] episodes wrong: the Iran-Contra affair originated in a desire to influence a post-Khomeini order, not simply to check Soviet influence, and it was German and Dutch firms, not the United States, that shipped chemical-weapons precursors to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

And like many of his academic peers, he prefers simply to ignore terrorism: Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups such as Hizballah are mentioned only in passing and only in the context of the arms-for-hostages deal. There is no mention of the attacks that post-revolutionary Iran has sponsored from Buenos Aires to Beirut to Bangkok. . . . While Amanat’s narrative is excellent, especially up to the Islamic Revolution, sins of omission and his political agenda erode the credibility of his treatment of recent history and, more broadly, undermine what could have been the definitive book on modern Iran.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Journalists: We Do Not Have a Free Media

The case of Abu Jhaisheh is neither new nor unique. In fact, his experience is part of a systematic campaign waged by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas to silence their critics and deter Palestinian journalists from criticizing their leaders — a campaign that has long been ignored by the Western mainstream media, whose representatives choose to pretend that the PA and Hamas security agencies are somehow innocent of any wrongdoing.

“Failure to prosecute violators of media freedoms is not only a breach of human rights and prevents the attainment of justice, but it is also an indirect authorization to continue committing such violations.” — Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms.

Why are these purported human rights organizations and the international community, which describe themselves as committed to protecting freedom and the rights of the Palestinian people, always silent?

Greenblatt: Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the core regional problem

Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s chief envoy to the Middle East peace process, disseminated sharp words in three different languages concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that it “is not, as many have claimed, the core conflict of the region.”

Greenblatt’s words concerning Trumps “deal of the century” were published in three different publications: in English on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, in Hebrew in the the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom and in Arabic in Asharq Al-Awsat, an international Arabic newspaper headquartered in London.

Greenblatt elaborated on the many threats in the Middle East: “solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not solve other conflicts in the region, including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, terrorists in the Sinai Desert in Egypt, a tragic, continuing civil war in Syria, war in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, instability in Libya, and an Iranian regime that oppresses its own people and foments terrorism around the world.”

“That does not make resolving this conflict any less important,” wrote the co-head of the Trump’s delegation after listing all of the conflicts plaguing the region.

“The prevailing stance of the Arab world (with the exception of Egypt) was, as it had been for decades, aggression and war with Israel. Some 35 years later, however, there is a different reality,” wrote Greenblatt concerning the regional unity in the midst of a common enemy.

Greenblatt called on Israelis and Palestinians “to make the hard decisions to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement.”

Jason Greenblatt: Palestinian Leaders Condemn a Peace Plan They’ve Never Seen

As President Trump has said, ultimately it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to make the hard decisions to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement. At the time of this writing, the Palestinian leadership refuses to engage with us. Such refusal began when President Trump made his bold, courageous and historic decision to recognize the reality that Jerusalem has been and will remain the capital of Israel. The leadership’s unwillingness to engage is disappointing and only hurts the Palestinian people that they claim to serve. It is unfortunate that the Palestinian leadership condemns a peace plan they have never seen, and refuses to engage on a possible path forward for all Palestinians. This approach will only cause the Palestinian people to fall further and further behind their neighbors.

Despite these challenges, my experiences over the past 19 months illustrate that among ordinary people and many regional leaders, the desire for peace is real and powerful. We owe it to Israelis and Palestinians to continue our efforts in the pursuit of peace. They deserve better than what they have now.

This Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I will pray for an enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I will pray for calm and tranquility for those in the region of Gaza – both Israelis and Palestinians who suffer from Hamas’ malign activities. I will pray for the Goldin and Shaul families, that Hamas will return Hadar and Oron to them. I will pray for the Mengistu and al Sayed families, that Hamas will return Avera and Hisham to them. I hope you will join me in these prayers.

May God bless us with a year of contentment, good health, sustenance, happiness and tranquility. May God spread the tabernacle of shalom, salaam, peace over the United States of America, its allies and friends.

PLO, Jordan fume over Abbas’ West Bank confederation scheme

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas drew ‎harsh condemnation Monday after suggesting that the ‎Palestinians were amenable to the possibility of ‎establishing a confederation with Jordan in the West ‎Bank, providing that Israel were party to such an ‎agreement. ‎

Abbas claimed Sunday that the idea was ‎broached during a meeting with senior U.S. envoys as ‎part of Washington’s efforts to promote the Israeli-‎Palestinian peace process, but the Trump ‎administration dismissed the report. ‎

Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian officials also ‎dismissed the idea as being “inapplicable” at this ‎time or any time in the future.‎

A senior Palestine Liberation Organization official ‎called the scheme “delusional,” saying a Palestinian-‎Jordanian confederation was “a wet dream for extreme ‎right-wing elements in Israel.”‎

‎”It is hard to believe this was anything but empty ‎rhetoric meant to throw a wrench into efforts to ‎broker [an inter-Palestinian Fatah-Hamas] reconciliation,” the official said. “Abu Mazen ‎‎[Abbas] is perfectly familiar with the Palestinian ‎leadership’s position on this matter, as well as ‎with Jordan’s position.”

Odeh to Mogherini: EU must condemn Israel

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh asked for the European Union to condemn Israel for passing the Jewish Nation-State Law and demand its immediate repeal Tuesday in a meeting in Brussels with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini.

Odeh told Mogherini that the new law harmed Israel’s Arab minority and made it harder to achieve equality. Odeh told her that the usage of the words “the land of Israel” in the law harms attempts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it includes the West Bank.

A Joint List spokesman said Odeh and Mogherini also discussed socioeconomic discrimination against Arabs citizens of Israel, house demolitions in the Negev, and what he termed anti-Arab incitement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers.

Odeh accused government officials in Israel of trying to get his meeting with Mogherini canceled. He said he was grateful to Mogherini for meeting with him.

“The EU’s backing is crucial in our struggle to get the Nation-State Law canceled,” Odeh said. “When the rights of minorities are trampled on in a democracy, it is not an internal issue. I was happy to see the foreign policy chief shares our concern that the law harms Arab citizens, Israeli democracy and the possibility of forming a Palestinian state and achieving peace.”

But an EU spokesperson downplayed the importance of the meeting and did not confirm the impression Odeh received from Mogherini.

“The meeting was requested by Mr. Odeh several months ago,” the spokesperson said. “[Mogherini] regularly meets government representatives and parliamentarians of partner countries, both from the government and opposition. Israel is no exception, being a close partner to the EU for many years, with whom the EU has a strong relationship based on dialogues at multiple levels, with all facets of society and with political leaders from across the spectrum.”

The EU spokesperson said a wide range of issues were discussed in the meeting, including EU-Israel relations, the Middle East peace process and domestic developments in Israel, including the Nation-State Law.

“[Mogherini] took note of the views of Mr. Odeh on the matter,” the EU spokesperson said. “The Nation-State Law is first and foremost a matter of how Israel chooses to define itself, and we fully respect the internal Israeli debate on this. The EU values Israel’s commitment to the shared values of democracy and human rights, which have characterized our long standing and fruitful relations, and would not want to see these values being put in question or even threatened. Democracy and equality, including equal rights for minorities, are key tenets that define our societies. The respect for human rights and fundamental principles are and will remain a central part of the EU-Israel partnership. We will continue to monitor the implications of this law in practice.”

Abbas to US: Replace ‘biased’ Greenblatt as peace mediator

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is demanding that U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt be replaced as peace mediator because of his bias in favor of Israel, a senior PA official and close associate of Abbas told Israel Hayom.

The official said that Abbas was demanding Greenblatt’s ouster before he would agree to resume the peace process, aimed at resolving the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

The revelation comes on the heels of an opinion piece Greenblatt published in Hebrew in Israel Hayom on Monday, in which he declared that U.S. President Donald Trump wanted this to be a “year of peace.”

“What appeared impossible only a few years ago is now possible,” Greenblatt wrote, adding that a peace deal depended on willingness by both the Israelis and Palestinians to make difficult decisions for a lasting peace.

Greenblatt said that as of print time, the Palestinian leadership was “refusing to cooperate,” and called the Palestinian recalcitrance “disappointing.” He also accused the Palestinian leadership of harming the Palestinian people.

“Greenblatt’s piece in Israel Hayom clarifies the biased stance of the U.S. administration and Greenblatt himself in favor of Israel, and total rejection of the Palestinians’ legitimate demands,” the official told the paper on Monday.

Netanyahu: Closer ties to Arab world are the silver lining of ‘bad’ Iran deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that closer ties between Israel and the Arab world were a silver lining of the otherwise “bad” Iran nuclear deal.

The 2015 pact was a “bad agreement in every respect except for one – it brought us closer to the Arab world on a scale that we never knew, and one of our goals is that it continues,” he said.

“Another important thing is, of course, the fact that there is a gradual normalization with leading countries in the Arab world,” Netanyahu added.

The prime minister, who is also acting foreign minister, was addressing diplomats at the Foreign Ministry during an event marking the Jewish new year.

He also said that Israel’s standing in the world was improving, a process he predicted could lead to peace.

“We are in the midst of a diplomatic flourishing,” he said. “We are also in a struggle for justice and truth, and I think that we are in a process of gradual normalization that in the end heralds a genuine opening for peace.”

In May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran deal, which had been signed by his predecessor Barack Obama and other world powers, and began restoring US sanctions. The move has exacerbated a financial crisis in Iran that has sent its currency tumbling.

Colombian President: ‘Palestine’ recognition is irreversible

Colombia’s new President Ivan Duque said on Monday that the decision by his predecessor to recognize “Palestine” days before he left office is “irreversible.”

Outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos announced on August 3 that he had decided to “recognize Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state.”

Colombia’s new government later said it would review the decision.

Israel’s foreign ministry said it was “surprised” by the reports and added it would seek an explanation from the new Colombian government, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet welcomed the decision and said it proves Colombia’s “keenness to support the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights to self-determination and independence in accordance with the principles of the international law and many other relevant international resolutions.”

Speaking to a local radio station on Monday and quoted by JTA, Duque commented on Santos’ decision and said, “Damage was done by the fact that there was not more institutional discussion. [Former] president [Juan Manuel] Santos told me that he had made that decision, but it is irreversible.”

At Yad Vashem, Philippines’ Duterte pledges to fight ‘insane rulers’ like Hitler

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called Adolf Hitler “insane” during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and pledged that his country would fight against other such leaders.

Duterte said in his speech that it was “insanity, what happened here in Europe. I could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader, and I could not ever fathom the spectacle of a human being going on a killing spree, murdering old men, women, men and children.”

The Philippines’ leader’s visit has been criticized in Israel, partly due to comments he made in 2016, when he said he would “be happy to slaughter” millions of drug users in his country and likened himself in that context to Hitler, who also slaughtered millions.

He later apologized for having mentioned Jews, but not for his endorsement of mass killings of those in the drug trade.

In his Yad Vashem speech, Duterte said of the Holocaust, “I hope that this will not happen again. I hope the world has learned the lesson. My country will make sure it does not happen again as much as we can.”

He signed the Holocaust memorial’s guestbook, writing: “Never again. May the world learn the lessons of this horrific and benighted period of human history. May the hearts of peoples around the world remain forever open, and may the minds of all men and women learn to work together towards providing a safe haven for all those who are being persecuted.”

HR Gets The Independent to Correct Bibi’s ‘Blossoming Friendship’

Most visiting dignitaries from relatively minor countries get little to no coverage in the mainstream international press. However, it comes as little surprise that some media have focused on Duterte’s Israel trip given the potential for negatively associating such a contentious figure with Israel’s own leadership.

But was there really a ‘blossoming friendship’ between Netanyahu and Duterte?

According to The Independent’s own story:
Despite the many controversies, on Monday Mr Netanyahu highlighted the two country’s historical friendship, including the Philippines’ decision to vote in favour of Israel’s establishment in 1947, becoming the only Asian country to do so.

“We remember our friends and that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” Mr Netanyahu said, after signing three agreements on trade, science and care-giving.

We pointed out to The Independent that Netanyahu was, in fact, referring to the friendship between Israel and the Philippines and not the personal relationship between the two leaders. As a result, the headline has been amended to more accurately reflect this.

Losing the Negev

Worst-Case Scenario

The combination of lawlessness, rapid growth, and radicalization combine to form Regavim’s worst-case scenario, in which a large, fiercely Islamic population identifies more with the Palestinians than with the State of Israel. “Essentially you will lose the Negev,” Kahn said.

“Every five kilometers or so you see a structure. In another 50-to-70 years it will be filled. It’ll be impossible to think of evacuating it,” Regavim’s Yogev agrees. “It’ll be a little Gaza. To connect it to the real Gaza won’t be a problem. Gaza isn’t that far—a small strip will connect it.”

Minister of Construction Galant appears to share this view. A year and a half ago he proposed building five new settlements in the Negev to strengthen the Jewish presence there. Galant’s plan was reminiscent of one proposed by then-agricultural minister Ariel Sharon in July 1980, who warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee that five new settlements would need to be set up to prevent Bedouin intrusion into state lands and block Arab continuity between the West Bank and Gaza.

Even though Galant’s plan was approved by the Israeli cabinet, it was delayed for bureaucratic reasons. In response, Galant doubled down and in June announced a plan for 18 new settlements instead of five. He made his motivation clear during a Knesset committee meeting to discuss the plan. “The illegal takeover of the Bedouin is eroding Zionist sovereignty in the Negev,” he said. “The Negev constitutes half the territory of the State of Israel. Today, it’s in danger and there is a real fear of a hostile takeover. Illegal construction by the Bedouin in the Negev and Beer Sheva area in recent years has spun out of control.”

Joint Israeli-Palestinian Industrial Center Planned for West Bank

A joint Palestinian-Israeli industrial and commercial center is set to be built near the Teneh Omarim settlement located in the Mount Hebron Regional Council, in a venture intended to bolster job opportunities for Palestinians and boost the Israeli economy.

The mixed industrial hub will receive government funding and is expected to serve as a model of Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation that will be presented at a conference of US-led finance ministers in the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) met on Wednesday in Washington with the US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, along with President Donald Trump’s special Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt to flesh out the details of the plan.

The three discussed augmenting economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians with American support, a cornerstone of the Trump administration’s long-waited peace plan, which has yet to be unveiled.

Palestinians are to significantly benefit from the project, according to its architects, which will offer work opportunities to thousands who are seeking employment.

According to statistics, that figure currently stands at around 9,000 and is expected to climb to 15,000 by 2020.

Gaza flotilla boats to be auctioned off for terror victims

Four ships that were confiscated a month and a half ago by the Navy on their way to the Gaza Strip will be sold, and the money to be paid in their sale will be divided between two families of terror victims, the Gavish and Weinstein families, the Jerusalem District Court ruled following a petition filed by the families against Hamas.

According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, the court discussed the petition and heard the opinion of senior naval and intelligence officers, who unequivocally claimed that when any ships reach the Gaza Strip, they immediately pass on to Hamas. At the end of the hearing, the court decided that two of the ships, “Freedom” and “Karstein,” would be confiscated if they were caught by the navy. At the end of July, the navy took control of the flotilla and the ships were transferred to Ashdod port. In recent days, the court ruled that the ships would be auctioned and that the money received from them would be distributed between the two families.

The Gavish family lost David and Rachel Gavish, residents of Elon Moreh, their son Avraham and Yitzchak Kanar, the father of Rachel Gavish. The attack occurred when a terrorist broke into the home of the Gavish family on the eve of the first day of Passover in 2002 and opened fire at the occupants.

The Weinstein family lost its son, Adam, in a terrorist attack on the Jerusalem pedestrian walkway in 2001. In both cases, the court determined the direct connection between the perpetrators of the attacks and the Hamas organization.

Palestinian with knife approaches soldiers in West Bank settlement, is shot dead

A Palestinian man armed with a knife was shot dead as he approached a group of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba on Monday evening, the army said.

“An initial investigation revealed that the terrorist took out a knife and walked toward a group of soldiers at the Givat Avot checkpoint in Hebron. The soldiers opened fire at him,” the military said in a statement.

No soldiers were injured.

Palestinian police identified the man killed as Wael al-Jabari, 27.

Video from the scene showed the alleged assailant wrapped in a black plastic body bag after he was shot dead.

The Givat Avot neighborhood and checkpoint lie between the Kiryat Arba settlement and the city of Hebron.

‘First Man’ Replaces Buzz Aldrin with Yasser Arafat in Moon Landing (satire)

In an effort to broaden its audience and tone down overly pro-American sentiment, an upcoming biopic of astronaut Neil Armstrong features former Palestine Liberation Organization president Yasser Arafat as Apollo 11’s lunar module pilot.

While retired US Air Force Colonel Buzz Aldrin was in fact the pilot and second man to walk on the moon, the directors of “First Man” said that focusing the story of the moon landing on two Americans would undercut the global nature of the achievement.

“Just because Americans funded, planned, and risked their lives carrying out the moon landing, it doesn’t mean that we should take all the credit,” director Damien Chazelle told The Mideast Beast. “By including Arafat on the lunar surface, we show that this was an accomplishment for all mankind.”

The film had already faced criticism for leaving out the historic moment in which Armstrong planted the American flag on the moon. But an earlier cut of the movie, according to Chazelle, saw the astronauts planting the flags of every UN member state, with Armstrong joined on the moon by world leaders ranging from China’s Mao Zedong to India’s Indira Gandhi. These scenes, however, did not make the final cut.

Egyptian arrested after suspected bombing attempt near US Embassy

An Egyptian man was arrested outside the US Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday after chemicals in his backpack caught fire, in what authorities said was a botched attack.

No one was harmed in the incident, which took place just outside the heavy blast walls that surround the embassy in Garden City, a leafy neighborhood in the heart of the capital. The US Embassy is next to the British Embassy, which is also heavily fortified.

The Interior Ministry identified the man as 24-year-old Abdullah Ayman Abdel-Sameea, and said his backpack contained a bottle of flammable chemicals. It said he embraced an “extremist” ideology and that he intended to use the material he carried in a “hostile” act.

The ministry did not provide further information to support its accusations.

IDF: We carried out 200 strikes in Syria

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot recently submitted his annual report on the readiness and fitness of the IDF forces to the political echelon.

The report is complex and details the IDF’s overall level of fitness and the ability of each of the IDF’s divisions to fight. It was signed by the generals of the General Staff.

The document, classified as “extremely confidential,” is submitted annually to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the members of the Political Security Cabinet and the members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Over the last year, Israel took significant action to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria.

Following pressure on Iran and in accordance with an agreement between Israel and Russia, Iranian forces were moved back to a position no closer than 50 miles from the border with Israel. In addition, the IDF has admitted that it has carried out about 200 strikes in Syria.

Report: U.S. tells Israel ‘please leave Iraq to us’

US officials have warned Israel not to strike Iraq after officials signaled that the IDF could target Iranian military positions in the country.

According to a report on Israel’s public broadcaster KAN, Washington asked Israel several weeks ago to not carry out any air-strikes in Iraq, weeks before reports surfaced that Tehran had deployed ballistic missiles capable of hitting Saudi Arabia and Israel.

American officials were reported to have told Israeli defense officials to “please leave Iraq to us.”

A report by Reuters over the weekend stated that Iran had transferred ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq over the course of several months, and that it is developing the capacity to build missile manufacturing facilities as well as train militia groups to operate the weapons.

The missiles that were said to have been transferred include the Fateh-110, Zolfaqar and Zelzal types, which have ranges of 200-700 km., allowing them to threaten both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Despite new US sanctions placed on Iran meant to pressure Tehran over its military activity in the Middle East and its ballistic missile program, the Islamic Republic is continuing to improve its missile arsenal. It recently unveiled a new generation of short-range Fateh missiles called al-Mobeen or “The Divine Conquest” which is said to have a range of 300-500 km.

Trump warns Syria against ‘reckless’ attack on Idlib province

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies Iran and Russia not to “recklessly attack” Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, warning that hundreds of thousands of people could be killed if they did.

“The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!”

Assad is reportedly preparing a phased offensive to regain Idlib.

The northern province and surrounding areas are the last major enclave held by insurgents fighting Assad, who has been backed by both Russian and Iranian forces in Syria’s seven-year civil war. They area in question is home to some three million civilians.

Trump has sought better relations with Russia since taking office in 2017, but the U.S. has been unable to rein in Moscow’s military and diplomatic support for Assad.

‘Iran smuggled weapons to Lebanon on civilian flights’

Iran has been using at least one of its civilian air ‎carriers to smuggle weapons to Lebanon, where they ‎have been delivered to Hezbollah, its proxy in the ‎Middle East, Fox News reported Tuesday.‎

Quoting an unnamed Western intelligence source, the report suggested that Iran has been using Qeshm ‎Fars Air flights from Tehran to Beirut to ‎smuggle weapons to the Shiite terrorist group over ‎the past two months. ‎

According to the report, “The first flight, on July ‎‎9, involved a Boeing 747 that departed from an air ‎force base in Tehran, stopped for a short layover at ‎the international airport in Damascus, Syria, and ‎then continued with a rather ‘uncharacteristic ‎flight path’ to Beirut.”‎

Flight data showed that the route passed over ‎northern Lebanon, straying from any commonly used ‎commercial flight path. ‎

The second flight took place on Aug. 2, and while it ‎did not ‎stop in Damascus, it followed an ‎irregular ‎route north of Syria rarely used by commercial ‎airliners.‎

‎”The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways ‎and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to their ‎allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the ‎West’s abilities to track them down,” one ‎intelligence official told the news network. ‎

MEMRI: German-Based Former Islamist: We Used Rhetoric of Peace But Talked of Conquering Germany

Hicham Nostik, who goes by the Internet identity of “Moroccan infidel” on social media, recounted the transformation he underwent after coming to Germany. Spending time with mujahideen at the mosque where he was living, “I turned more religious and became acquainted with the dark side of Islam,” he told Egyptian-German scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad, on whose “Box of Islam” Internet show he was interviewed. “We were going to implement the shari’a and conquer Germany,” he said, describing the “hypocrisy” of using “the rhetoric of peace and love” when talking to non-Muslim Germans. “I was living in the graveyard of history. I was dead,” he said. It was only when he enrolled in a Christian university – in the hope of converting people to Islam – that he realized “that my understanding of Christianity had nothing to do with theirs.” Hicham Nostik summed up his position: “It is inconceivable that a God, who is supposed to be merciful, and more compassionate than a mother toward her child, would sell people in the marketplace, and legalize slavery and all those barbaric punishments, like the killing of apostates.” The show aired on August 12, 2018.

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