July 14, 2020

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09/08 Links Pt1: Glick: When great institutions lie; Israel’s airstrike message to Syria, Iran, and the US


From Ian:

Caroline Glick: When great institutions lie
In the wake of the firestorm the report provoked, the museum pulled the study from its website and canceled its scheduled formal presentation on September 11.
But the damage that the Holocaust Memorial Museum did to its reputation by producing and publishing a transparently false, politically motivated report is not something that can be mitigated by pulling it from its website.
As some of the Jewish communal leaders who spoke to Tablet suggested, the Holocaust Memorial Museum diminished its moral authority as an institution by publishing a report clearly produced to rewrite recent history in a manner that absolved the Obama administration of all responsibility for the mass murder in Syria.
While distressing, the impact of the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s action is limited to a historical falsehood. The goal of the second study published this week by an esteemed institution is to distort and indeed block discussion about a problem that is ongoing.
This week, Stanford University’s Research Group in Education and Jewish Studies published a report which purports to show that there is no significant antisemitism on US college campuses and that Jewish students do not feel threatened by antisemitism.
The Stanford’s conclusions fly in the face of a massive body of data, collected by researchers over the past decade, which all show the opposite to be the case. If the Stanford study is believed, it will discredit the work of hundreds of professional researchers and academics, journalists and Jewish and academic leaders throughout the US.
But that’s the thing of it. The Stanford study is utter nonsense.
As the researchers, led by Associate Professor of Education of Jewish Studies Ari Kelman, made clear in their report, their study is the product of interviews with a deliberately chosen, nonrepresentative group of 66 Jewish students from five California campuses who are not involved in Jewish life.
The researchers said that they deliberately chose only Jews who aren’t involved in Jewish life on campus, since they make up the majority of Jewish students on campuses. The researchers claimed that reports on campus antisemitism are generally distorted, because they generally highlight the views of the minority of students who deeply involved in Jewish life at their universities. Their views, the researchers said, are different from the views of Jews who aren’t involved.

Clifford D. May: Grim anniversary

The approach of an anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks always concentrates my mind. It was, astonishingly, 16 Septembers ago that a team of foreign terrorists hijacked three American passenger planes and used them as weapons of mass destruction. Can anyone forget the images of people leaping to their deaths to avoid being consumed by fire and smoke, the twin towers collapsing, the ashes rising, children struggling to come to terms with the fact that they’d never see their mothers and fathers again?
Actually, some people can. The tiki-torch Nazis and the black-shirted anarcho-communist Antifa have moved on. What excites them and, frankly, too many others, is pitting Americans against Americans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender — whatever. As though we hadn’t an enemy in the world.
Millions of lives were changed forever by 9/11 — mine among them. A few days prior, I met with Jack Kemp and Jeane Kirkpatrick. Younger readers, if I have any, will not remember these extraordinary individuals and, given the sad state of our schools, may not have learned about them.
Kemp was a professional quarterback who went on to become a Reaganite congressman, a “bleeding-heart conservative,” a presidential candidate in the 1988 primaries, the housing and urban development secretary, and the GOP’s vice presidential candidate in 1996.
Kirkpatrick was the daughter of an Oklahoma oil wildcatter who never struck it rich. She became a distinguished political scientist, the first woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and the only Democrat on President Reagan’s National Security Council. She was combative, authoritative, eloquent and elegant — an exceedingly rare combination.
I’d become acquainted with them during my years as a New York Times reporter and foreign correspondent. At that moment, however, I was doing a stint at a Washington, D.C. consultancy. They told me they were concerned that, with the Cold War concluded, the United States had taken a holiday from history and a premature peace dividend. Who attacked us in Beirut in 1983, in New York City in 1993, at Khobar Towers in 1996? Who bombed two of our embassies in Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000?

Gallery Show by Hadar Goldin, IDF Soldier Kidnapped and Killed by Hamas, Opens in Brooklyn

One of Hadar Goldin’s paintings is a beautiful nightscape, an early gift to the new girlfriend who eventually became his fiancée. Another combines elements of Johannes Vermeer and Roy Lichtenstein; it was completed as a school project during a family sabbatical year in England. There are other paintings. And then there are the comics, many of them drawn while the young artist was serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Together, these works compose an exhibition, “Hadar Goldin: Art, Inspiration, Hope,” which opened last evening at the Kings Bay YM-YWHA in Brooklyn.
Goldin, then a 23-year-old lieutenant, was kidnapped and killed in Gaza by Hamas terrorists in August 2014, just two hours after a cease-fire was declared in Operation Protective Edge hostilities. Three years later, Hamas has not returned his body. The exhibition thus not only celebrates Hadar’s life and artistic talents; it is also intended to raise awareness of his story and to compel international action to bring him—and Oron Shaul, another soldier killed in Gaza that summer whose body Hamas has not released—home to their families in Israel.
With that goal, Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, attended the Brooklyn event. They were introduced by Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York. While stressing Israel’s “supreme responsibility” to bring back its soldiers, Dayan declared that the United Nations and the United States, as brokers and guarantors of the cease-fire, “cannot evade” their own obligations to facilitate that outcome.
For much of the evening, Hadar’s parents mingled with visitors among the artworks, sharing anecdotes about individual pieces and recalling their son’s boundless creativity. “Hadar painted all his life,” his mother said; his last creation was intended to adorn his wedding invitation. Undeniably, the parents’ presence deepened the evening’s emotional impact.

Israel’s airstrike message to Syria, Iran, and the US

This particular operation suggests Israel believed that Assad’s rocket development was reaching a critical mass, and that it had to act in order to preserve the existing balance of power. Sensing a growing risk of conflict with Hamas and/or Hezbollah, Israel seeks to ensure that its enemies will struggle to strike Israeli population centers with long-range rockets. Operating relatively deep inside Lebanon, those rocket teams would be hard for Israel to strike once a conflict begins. In addition, while Israel has anti-missile systems, they are imperfect.
At the broader strategic level, however, operations such as Thursday’s are just another reflection of Israel’s “total war” mentality. Where we see Israel living in a peace marked by occasional outbreaks of conflict, Israel sees itself in an ongoing war marked by occasional periods of quiet.
Then there’s Israel’s message to the United States: “We will take unilateral action to defend our interests.”
Context is king here.
Put simply, Netanyahu is disappointed and concerned by President Trump’s increasing willingness to cede the Syrian battlespace to Assad. That’s because Israel views Assad’s greater power as a conduit to Iran’s improved means to threaten it. Israel also fears that Trump is following his predecessor in being delusional in accepting Russian-brokered cease fire agreements in Syria.
Ultimately, there’s both irony and decisiveness in this airstrike. Irony, because Israel is reviled in much of the Middle East and portrayed as a gleeful killer of innocent civilians. Yet by this strike on a chemical weapons production facility, Israel has probably saved thousands of innocent Syrian lives. Decisiveness, because Israel has also grabbed our attention with an increasingly rare message: We take our red lines seriously.

Critical that Russia not be surprised

If Israel did, as widely reported, attack a sensitive Syrian military facility near Masyaf in western Syria early Thursday morning, it is an operation that was weeks or months in planning.
Hitting such a sensitive facility – a branch of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center that housed chemical weapons and ground-to-ground missiles – is an operation that requires intense training, precise intelligence, and a go-ahead from the very top of the political pyramid.
It is not something done overnight.
And that all means that when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russian President Vladimir Putin two weeks ago, this operation was well into the planning stages. The same was true when Mossad head Yossi Cohen and a top security delegation went to Washington just a few days earlier.
Both Washington and Moscow are well aware of Israel’s objections to Iran and Hezbollah ensconcing themselves permanently in Syria after the end of the civil war there. Netanyahu did not need to fly to Sochi to convey that message to Putin, nor Cohen to Washington to present this position to US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
Netanyahu and Cohen did not travel to those two capitals to win an argument, but rather to make Israeli interests clear so that – if and when Israel attacked to protect its interests – everyone would understand why it happened and what was at stake and no one would be surprised.

Why Russia may not respond to the alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria

How will Moscow respond to the alleged Israeli attack Thursday on a facility in northwestern Syria where the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is said to have stockpiled chemical weapons and missiles?
Analysts have contemplated various possible Russian responses to the attack on the Masyaf base, near Hama, which took place early Thursday morning. Many have suggested that Russia cannot ignore the attack, which occurred some 70 kilometers (40 miles) from its Khmeimim Air Force Base in Syria.
Nonetheless, Russia appears to have good reason to turn a blind eye to this attack, as it has done in the past.
The Russians are certainly interested in retaining their control over Assad and ensuring his victory over the opposition forces, both religious and secular. For this reason, the Russians have even overlooked his chemical attacks on civilians.
It is also important for Russia to demonstrate its superiority in the region. The attacks attributed to Israel so near their own position pose a definite challenge to their control.
However, the Russians also understand that bringing non-conventional weapons to the region, or any weapons which Israel considers to be a game-changer, could have the opposite result than that which they seek in Syria.
Instead of stability, they could see an escalation, with Israel confronting the Syrians and Iranians, and further destabilizing elements entering the region.
Another possible explanation for why Russia would possibly prefer to ignore Israeli attacks was Wednesday’s United Nations report.

Syria files complaint with UN against Israel following strike on military site

The Syrian Foreign Ministry filed a pair of complaints with the United Nations against Israel on Thursday, hours after Israeli warplanes allegedly struck a facility in northwestern Syria where the regime of Bashar Assad is said to have stockpiled chemical weapons and missiles.
In letters to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Syria accused Israel of “repeated aggressions” against Damascus and of “systematic behavior with the aim of protecting Jabhat al-Nusra [the Nusra Front] and ISIS [Islamic State] terrorists.”
The Assad regimes alleged Israel was acting on behalf of “terrorist groups which are carrying out its aggressive agenda and in response to the great achievements made by the Syrian Arab army and its allies in their war against terrorism.
Syria said that any attack against its regime forces “forms a direct support to terrorism, taking into account that the Syrian Arab army is fighting terrorism on behalf of the entire world.”
The Syrian Foreign Ministry called on the Security Council to take “decisive measures to put an end to such flagrant attacks,” according to a report in the Syrian state news agency SANA.
The Syrian army confirmed Thursday morning that a military site near Masyaf was bombed, saying the attack was carried out by Israeli jets and killed two people.

BBC News amplification of unchallenged Assad propaganda persists

Several hours after reports of an attack on a facility in northern Syria emerged early on the morning of September 7th the BBC News website published a report that was originally titled “Israeli jets ‘hit Syrian chemical site’”. After an additional alteration, that headline was later changed to read “‘Israeli jets hit Syria’s Masyaf chemical site’ – reports” and in the hours after its initial publication the article underwent numerous amendments.
From version five of the report onwards, BBC audiences were delivered a dose of Syrian regime propaganda – including a link.
“The Syrian army said rockets had struck the base near Masyaf, about 35km (22 miles) west of the city of Hama, at 02:42 on Thursday (23:42 GMT on Wednesday), causing “material damage” and the deaths of two personnel.
It accused Israel of attacking “in a desperate attempt to raise the collapsed morale” of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) and warned Israel about “the dangerous repercussions of such hostile acts on the security and stability of the region”.”

This is of course far from the first time that BBC reporting on alleged Israeli strikes against military targets in Syria has included amplification of the Assad regime’s unfounded propaganda concerning supposed Israeli support for one or other of its enemy factions and intervention in the civil war in Syria. That practice has been in evidence for well over four years:

‘Nationalist hopes drive terrorism’

The ongoing alienation of political correctness from the Bible is having an effect. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely saw that first-hand two years ago when she suggested that her ministry’s senior diplomatic personnel adopt the writings of 11th-century biblical commentator Rashi as a PR weapon to demonstrate that the Jewish people are the rightful owners of the land of Israel.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) experienced the same thing when he sought to apply the three edicts that the biblical Joshua (as the story recounts) sent to the denizens of the land just before he entered it as a guide for how we should treat the Palestinians today: “Whoever desires to make peace, let him make peace; whoever desires to leave, let him leave; and whoever desires to make war, let him make war.”
Smotrich, like Hotovely, caught it for that proposal, mainly from the radical Left. But in his case, it was the response that left people gape-jawed. One, published in Haaretz by leftist historian Professor Daniel Blatman, opined that “Smotrich’s admiration for the biblical genocidaire Joshua … leads him to adopt values that resemble those of the German SS.”
Next week, the National Unity conference is expected to adopt Smotrich’s “plan for victory.” Everyone can calm down. It does not include values reminiscent of the SS. The plan is due to be published in its full, 7,500-word manifesto form in the respected policy journal Hashiloach.
It includes Joshua’s three messages, at least in spirit. Before the document is published, Smotrich shares the main points of his plan with Israel Hayom.
“First and foremost,” he stresses, the victory must be one of “consciousness.”

Six ways to thwart a terrorist attack

  • Modern day terrorism involves a murderous struggle carried out by religious fanatics who are fighting and willing to die for their principles.
  • The European security establishment does not have a strong system in place to counter these security threats in population centers that are becoming more and more densely populated with Muslims. In the absence of appropriate legislation and supportive information systems, it’s almost impossible to manage this type of struggle.
  • Most of the Muslims living in Europe are completely focused on going to work to provide for their families. The few extremist terrorist cells that do exist are scattered around the continent.
  • If EU intelligence agencies are interested in preventing the acceleration of organized terrorist cells and thwarting attacks, they must carry out a number of actions.
  1. Understand that the enemy lives and operates from within the Muslim population centers of Europe. Anti-terrorist intelligence organizations must identify and map out these population centers.
  2. Enact legislative changes to allow law enforcement to carry out acts of counterterrorism that would enable them to successfully thwart attacks and prevent terrorist cells from forming.
  3. Construct a security plan that combines intelligence-gathering among at-risk groups in problematic areas with sending security agents out into the field with the appropriate technological tools necessary to acquire an accurate picture of subversive activity and receive real-time alerts.
  4. Increase cooperation and coordination regarding intelligence issues and transparency among the security agencies of the EU.

Trump expresses ‘reluctance’ on chances for Middle East peace

US President Donald Trump expressed reservations Thursday about reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians but said he had not given up on his efforts to bring the two sides together.
Trump has repeatedly said he wants to reach the “ultimate deal” by brokering a peace accord and has tasked a number of his senior advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner to mediate between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Speaking alongside the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah at a White House press conference Thursday, Trump said: “I think there is a chance that there could be peace, but again I say that a little bit reluctantly.”
“We have tremendous talent working on that particular transaction,” he added.
Asked if he was about to start a new peace initiative, Trump said, “We are discussing, we are working” toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“It is something that could happen,” he said.

Red Cross chief blasts settlements as ‘key humanitarian challenge’

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday issued a scathing condemnation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, describing them as a key reason for Palestinian suffering.
Peter Maurer, wrapping up a three-day visit to the region, said settlement expansion is leading to a “de-facto annexation” of the West Bank.
He also noted that Hamas’s refusal to provide information about and access to Israelis held in Gaza violates international law, though he added that his organization was in no position to negotiate a deal between Hamas and Israel to secure their freedom.
“The settlement enterprise goes against the provisions and the spirit of international humanitarian law, the law of occupation, as we call it,” Maurer said at a press conference in East Jerusalem.
Maurer said settlements were “a key factor” in humanitarian challenges facing the Palestinians.

US lawmakers move to push bill slashing PA funding through busy Senate

Legislation that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it doesn’t stop paying terrorists and their families was added to a larger appropriations bill on Thursday in a bid to increase its chances of passing Congress.
The Taylor Force Act, which advanced through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, is now included in a foreign operations bill slated for a vote by the full chamber in December.
Putting the measure into a broader package is aimed at giving it a second path to passage while Congress is gearing up for a busy legislative session.
The bill can still move forward as stand-alone legislation, but because US President Donald Trump has sent Capitol Hill a lofty to-do list, advocates worry it won’t be scheduled for a near-term debate and vote on the Senate floor.
This maneuver thus ties the Taylor Force Act to an appropriations bill already scheduled to be voted on by year’s end, in the case that the measure never sees individual floor-time.

Anne Bayefsky: Look Who Will Be Joining the U.N. Human Rights Council

The U.N. Human Rights Council has an election coming up in October, which can mean only one thing: A new slate of human rights abusers are poised to be elected to the U.N.’s top human rights body.
The council already currently includes such human rights luminaries as: China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. They will be joined—at minimum—by the notorious Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Angola.
The election of these new states—both ranked by Freedom House in the lowest possible category of human rights protection (“not free”)—is a done deal because of a deliberate U.N. process. Each of the five U.N. regional groups are allowed to put forward fixed slates, whereby the number of states running is equal to the number of seats that the regional group has been allotted. The result is a guaranteed spot. Angola and the DRC are part of the African regional group’s fixed slate.
In addition, the Asian regional group is offering voters (the 193 member states of the General Assembly) a lose-lose proposition. The five states running for the four available seats in the Asian group are Afghanistan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Qatar. Therefore, we know for certain that one of the two human rights paragons Afghanistan or Qatar—both ranked “not free” by Freedom House—will be elected.
The U.N. system is rigged to allow human rights abusers to sit in judgement about what counts as human rights abuse, and who’s to blame, because there are no pre-conditions for membership on the council. There are no requirements that would entail actually protecting human rights. The only requisite is getting a minimum of 97 votes, a majority of members of the General Assembly.Since fewer than half of U.N. members are themselves fully free democracies, mutual back-scratching is the name of the game.

Israel working to thwart Palestinian bid to join UN tourism body as member state

Amid Palestinian threats to turn to international organizations if there is no movement on the diplomatic process, Israel is bracing for an expected Palestinian bid to seek full state membership next week in the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Tourism applied for membership for “Palestine” into the organization last year, and it is on the agenda at the meeting of the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu, China, which begins on Monday and runs through Saturday.
The Madrid-based UNWTO describes itself as the “leading international organization in the field of tourism,” and the UN agency “responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.”
If the Palestinians do apply for membership, and the bid is successful, it would be the second UN organization, after UNESCO, to which the Palestinians have full membership. A final Palestinian decision on whether to go ahead with the bid, or withdraw it, is expected shortly.
The US has reportedly asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from unilateral action in international fora for the next four months to allow the US to unveil a comprehensive diplomatic plan.
In order to be accepted as a state in the WTO, the Palestinians will need two-thirds of the votes cast — abstentions are not counted. They are expected to garner the necessary majority, especially since countries who could be counted on to support Israel and vote against the move – such as the US, Canada and Australia – are not members of the WTO. The United Kingdom is also not a member.

PM draws criticism for barring Al-Jazeera bureau chief from free press seminar

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally intervened to bar an Al-Jazeera journalist from a government conference on press freedoms Thursday that used the pan-Arab broadcaster as a case study.
Bureau chief Walid Omary’s exclusion from attending a seminar titled “Limits of free expression: the dilemma between national security and freedom of the press — Al Jazeera as a case study,” came a month after Netanyahu threatened to shut the Qatar-based outlet’s Israel offices.
The move drew criticism from the Foreign Press Association, which said it was “deeply disturbed” by the decision, adding that it “raises serious questions about the government’s commitment to freedom of the press.”
The FPA said the decision was also “part of a disturbing and growing trend of incitement against the media by the prime minister.”

PM Netanyahu responds to wife’s indictment

Sara Netanyahu will be allowed to request a hearing and state her case to Mandelblit before the final verdict is decided.
Sara Netanyahu was indicted on Friday morning for fraudulent acquisition, fraud, and breach of public trust. She will be charged with using 360,000 shekels of government money for trays of prepared food. However, she will not be charged for hiring a caretaker for her elderly father, or for hiring a private electrician for the Netanyahus’ private residence in Caesarea.
“The money expended on food was inordinately high during the period in which Manny Naftali served as housekeeper,” Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “These expenses dropped suddenly when he left.”
“Why were the expenses so inflated during these years? Who ate this food, or took such large quantities – enough for a soccer team – of prepared food? Not the Netanyahu family. You need to understand, this is what the entire story against the Prime Minister’s wife is based on.
“They told us about [suspicions regarding] the garden furniture and the waiters, [deposits on] bottles and the caretaker – but at the end the only thing left in his crazy and false story are the trays of prepared food, the vast majority of which were ordered by Manny Naftali. This will also be discovered during the hearing.”

Terror attacks halved in August

The number of terrorist attacks targeting Israelis more than halved last month from July, constituting the sharpest decrease in terror attacks since the current terror wave began in 2015.
The Israel Security Agency (ISA), recorded in August 110 terrorist attacks on Israelis compared to 222 the previous month, the agency said in its monthly report published earlier this week.
The decrease brought the number of attacks back to a level similar from before the terror spike in July, which resulted in the highest number of terror attacks in any month since December 2015. From January 2016 onward, Israel saw on average 121 attacks against its citizens per month.
The attacks in August resulted in two injuries, both from stabbings, to victims. There were no fatalities in August from terrorist attacks against Israelis. July was one of the deadliest months in terms of Israeli victims of terrorist attacks since 2015, with five dead.
The decrease in terrorist activity was especially steep in Jerusalem, where attacks fell in August by 73 percent to 24 terror attacks. The decrease in Judea and Samaria was less dramatic: A 36-percent drop to a total of 83 terror attacks.

‘Palestinian media suffers from repressive clampdown’

Palestinian media in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been subject to an increasing and repressive clampdown that has substantially eroded freedom of expression, a new report found this week.
Freedom House, a nongovernment organization promoting freedom and democracy around the world, ranked the West Bank and Gaza as “not free,” tying with Vietnam.
Israel’s freedom of the press, on the other hand, ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa region, coming in 64th worldwide.
Of the 66 countries and territories designated as “not free” by the survey, the worst offenders were Syria and Iran, which tied at the 90th slot, Cuba (91), Eritrea (94), Uzbekistan (95) and North Korea, which ranked 98th.
In addition, human rights group Amnesty International recently released a scathing report accusing both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas of launching “a repressive clampdown on freedom of expression over recent months.”
The numbers back the Freedom House’s assessment: Since June this year, the PA has arrested 16 journalists and shuttered dozens of websites.

Israeli experts point at a new ISIS trend: Poison in malls

If you thought Islamic State had already come up with every horrific and creative way to hurt people, you were wrong.
ISIS is now campaigning and providing instructions to its “lone wolf” supporters for carrying out terrorist attacks with poisons in crowded malls, International Institute for Counter Terrorism Deputy Director Eitan Azani told a press briefing on Wednesday.
Azani made the comments along with ICT Director Boaz Ganor ahead of the IDC Herzliya institute’s conference next week on terrorism.
The deputy director described the new tactic as part of a more general trend in which ISIS is upping its push on social media for followers “to carry out jihad on enemy land, which is the opposite” of “when ISIS called for recruits to come” to Syria and Iraq.
The shift represents ISIS’s acknowledgment that it is near defeat in terms of holding territory and that its best chance to maintain influence is with foreign ISIS-inspired attacks, Azani said.
Ganor explained that ISIS-inspired attacks are situations where “the terrorist says he is with ISIS” and “ISIS takes credit for the attack,” but these are both self-serving, false claims.
In truth, with ISIS-inspired attacks, the organization provided no direct orders, guidance or planning to the terrorist and did not even know about the attack until it occurred, said Ganor.
However, both ISIS and the attacker want to capitalize on connecting to each other.

U.S. Military Dropped Leaflet that Offended Muslims, Now Apologizing

On Tuesday, U.S. forces dropped leaflets in the Parwan province in Afghanistan to try and persuade the local people to turn in terrorist fighters to the authorities. By Wednesday, a top commander had apologized for the “highly offensive” material.
The image depicts a lion hunting a dog and states, “Take back your freedom from the terrorist dogs and cooperate with coalition forces so they can target your enemy and eliminate them.” However, because dogs are unclean to Muslims, and because it had a verse from the Koran used by the Taliban printed on its coat, Islamic leaders condemned the U.S.
“Those who have committed this unforgivable mistake in the publicity, propaganda or media section of the coalition forces will be tried and punished,” said Parwin Governor Mohammad Hasem.
According to Reuters, “The Taliban said the leaflet showed American hatred of Islam, adding that it had launched a suicide attack near the entrance to the U.S. Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in revenge:”

Syrian rebel chief returns lost eagle back to Israel

In an extraordinary case of cross-border cooperation, a Syrian rebel commander cared for and then helped return to Israel an eagle that was released into a nature reserve in the Golan Heights four months ago and which had accidentally made its way to the Syrian side.
The bird, dubbed S-98 by its handlers at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, was returned to Israel this past week, Channel 2 reported Thursday, through the Israeli Flying Aid organization, a non-profit that works to deliver aid internationally to communities affected by conflict and natural disasters.
The unnamed Syrian militia head had contacted the organization, saying he saved the eagle when it got caught up in fighting in territory held by the Islamic State in the war-torn country.
The GPS affixed to the bird had stopped sending back signals last month, worrying its Israeli handlers. Their concerns intensified as the weeks passed, according to the report.
The rebel commander said he spotted the eagle during battles with the Islamic State when his unit was setting up ambushes.

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