October 19, 2017

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10/11 Links Pt1: Israel exposes Russian spying US; Report shows Iran’s nuclear program not stopped

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2017/10/1011-links-pt1-israel-exposes-russian.html

From Ian:


Report: Israel exposes Russian hackers who tried to spy on US
Israeli intelligence officials monitoring Russian government hackers found they were using Kaspersky Lab antivirus software that is also used by 400 million people globally, including U.S. government agencies, media reports said Tuesday.

The Israeli officials who hacked into Kaspersky’s network over two years ago had, at the time, warned their U.S. counterparts of the Russian intrusion, The New York Times reported.

That led to a decision in Washington only last month to order Kaspersky software removed from all government computers.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Israeli officials also found in Kaspersky’s network hacking tools that could only have come from the U.S. National Security Agency.

Upon this discovery, the consequent NSA investigation found that these tools had been obtained by the Russian government, the report said.

Late last month, the U.S. National Intelligence Council completed a classified report that it shared with NATO allies concluding that Russia’s FSB intelligence service had “probable access” to Kaspersky customer databases and source code.

That access, the council concluded, could help enable cyberattacks against U.S. government, commercial and industrial control networks, The Washington Post reported.

The New York Times said the Russian operation, according to multiple people briefed on the matter, is known to have stolen classified documents from an NSA employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer, which had Kaspersky antivirus software installed on it.

It is not yet publicly known what other U.S. secrets the Russian hackers may have discovered by turning the Kaspersky software into a sort of Google search for sensitive information, the report said. (h/t Dave4321)

Palestinian Normalization — With Hamas, Not Israel

The most widespread conspiracy theory, which has been floating around for decades and can be heard in almost every coffee shop on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah and Beirut, is that Zionist Jews, together with American capitalists and imperialists, have a secret plan to take control over the Arab and Islamic countries and their resources.

How exactly are the “Zionists and imperialists” trying to “undermine” the Palestinian “national project”? And what, precisely, is this project? Is it the project of Hamas and many other Palestinians that seeks the destruction of Israel?

The corrupt Arab and Palestinian leaders spread such rumors to divert attention from problems at home, such as corruption and dictatorship. These leaders want their people too busy hating Jews and Westerners to demand reform, democracy and transparency from their leaders. Those valuables, of course, are what Arab and Palestinian leaders still refuse to offer their people.

Why do many Palestinians prefer peace with Hamas? Because they identify with Hamas’s dream of destroying Israel and killing Jews. It may be an unpleasant a truth, but that is the bottom line.

Gatestone Institute: NOTICE

Gatestone Institute, its President and Board of Directors strongly condemn the defamatory campaign waged by Mudar Zahran (under his own name and through various fictitious accounts and names) against Gatestone Institute’s Distinguished Senior Fellow Khaled Abu Toameh. Gatestone Institute wishes to note that it has warned Mudar Zahran in the past a number of times to stop his obsessive campaign. Although he promised and apologized, he had persisted with his campaign, and continues to make false and defamatory accusations and insinuations against one of our esteemed Fellows.

Gatestone Institute wishes to clarify that it terminated all ties with Mudar Zahran four years ago. Accordingly, he does not speak on behalf of Gatestone or any of its affiliates, constituents or participants.

IsraellyCool: Tablet Mag’s Non-Apology For Antisemitic Piece

Yesterday, I posted about Tablet Mag’s vile, antisemitic article The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein, the title of which says it all really. I followed it up with a number of tweets, none of which elicited a response from Tablet, but Mark Oppenheimer, the author of the piece and Tablet’s editor at large (which explains how it got published to begin with) issued an “Apology.” And I deliberately place that word in inverted commas, because it is not much of an apology at all.

Yesterday I published a piece on Harvey Weinstein that many found offensive. The analysis I offered was hasty and ill-considered, especially in light of the even graver accusations that were published by the New Yorker this morning. I take this as a lesson in the importance of knowing as much as one can about a given story, and in taking the time to think and feel things completely through before opining. I apologize for not doing so in this case.

No, the piece was offensive to Jews, not just one that “many found offensive.” This sounds like those non-apologies where the person is not sorry for what they actually said, but just that you are offended by their words. Plus what possible “analysis” went into it, and how did any subsequent accusations against Weinstein make the piece even more offensive than it already was?

The wording, plus the fact Tablet have left the original article up on Tablet – where it can continue to be shared by antisemites like Richard Spencer – render this apology anything but one.

I am also very disappointed in Yair Rosenberg, Tablet’s self-professed “troller of Nazis,” who has remained silent throughout all of this, despite my attempts to even reach out to him privately. While I understand he is employed by Tablet, his persona, at least, is of someone who takes principled stands against antisemitism.

Daily Freier: The Tablet’s Real Apology for Harvey Weinstein Article (satire)

Yesterday I published a piece on Harvey Weinstein that many found offensive, because it described sexual predators as being ‘Jewy’ (Offensive? Who knew? You live, you learn!). The analysis I offered was hasty and ill-considered, especially the part where I also talked about the secret`Jewy’ ingredient that may or may not be added to matzoh every Passover. Also, the part where I riffed about you-know-who poisoning the wells? My bad! Finally, the part where I refer to moneylenders as ‘Shylocks’? Again…. write drunk, edit sober! Anyhoo, I take this as a lesson in the importance of knowing as much as one can about a given story, and in taking the time to think and feel things completely through before opining. I apologize for not doing so in this case. In the immortal words of the great Rabbinical sage George of Costanza, “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?”

Deuces!

Saudi royal, former Mossad chief to talk two states in a NY synagogue

If all else fails, they can always pray for peace. A Saudi prince and a former Israeli spymaster will be talking about the two-state solution in a New York synagogue this month, as a dovish pro-Israel group takes its show on the road to drum up support for the moribund diplomatic vision.

It will be one of five gatherings set to take place this month in four major American cities. Each will focus on finding viable security arrangements under a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Israel Policy Forum, a liberal advocacy organization dedicated to promoting two states for two peoples, will be holding two conference-like events in New York (October 22) and Los Angeles (October 29), a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. (October 24) and two panel discussions in Chicago (October 25 and 26). The summits will attempt to educate Jewish communities on the core issues relevant to achieving the long-coveted resolution.

All of those confabs will place a “special emphasis” on reaching a two-state outcome that would ensure Israeli security, IPF’s executive director, David Halperin, told The Times of Israel on Monday. They will also bring together Israel, Palestinian and Arab officials.

The New York event, which will take place at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, will include a panel discussion with Efraim Halevy, former director of the Mossad; Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, a former chief of Saudi intelligence and ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom; and Michèle Flournoy, former US undersecretary of defense for policy.

Don’t believe what your UNRWA Spokesperson tells you

The Center for Near East Policy Research has concluded a research project of all PA textbooks used in UNRWA Schools.(1) The report , authored by Dr. Arnon Groiss and Dr. Ronni Shaked , published and submitted to the UN on Sept. 27,2017, has simply been dismissed by UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness as “inaccurate and misleading” because, he says, 178 of the 201 books cited “are not being used in UNRWA schools.” (2)

UNRWA went on to falsely claim that the US government has conducted its own study of the PA school books and found them to were found “to be free of incitement to terrorism”. UNRWA has shared this “conclusion” with all 68 nations that donate $1.2 billion to UNRWA – 54% of which is allocated to UNRWA education. Here is the list of the UNRWA donor nations:

UNRWA has also spread that lie to all members of the US Congress. I have spoken with officials of the new US Embassy staff in Israel to ask that the US government correct the UNRWA misrepresentation of US UNRWA policy.

The UNRWA statement goes on to fantasize that “in the small number of instances where issues of concern were found, we have created enriched complementary material for use in our classrooms”, for which our researcher found no evidence.

It must be understood that books used by UNRWA do not say “kill the Jews!” However, the PA/UNRWA books teach that Dalal al-Mughrabi, who led a terrorist attack on an Israeli civilian bus in 1978 in which 35 men, women and children were murdered , is a heroine and a martyr. Meanwhile, a new PA/UNRWA school book describes a terrorist attack with lethal Molotov cocktails on an Israeli bus near a Jewish community as “a barbecue party”.

UNESCO delays anti-Israel resolutions as it picks new head

The United Nations cultural arm unanimously agreed to delay voting on a pair of anti-Israel resolutions on Wednesday, as the body convened at a summit this week to pick a new head of the organization.

The delay of the measures was a significant diplomatic achievement for Israel, with the Foreign Ministry noting it was the first time no anti-Israel resolutions were passed at a UNESCO session since 2011.

Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO praised the decision to push off the votes and the Israeli efforts behind it, but said Israel would need to continue to be vigilant ahead of the next time the body meets.

“The achievement today was the fruit of three years of hard, exhausting and frustrating diplomatic work,” Carmel Shama-Hacohen said in a statement. “From this moment on we have already turned to the next round and there is no reason to rest on our laurels.”

Schumer blasts Trump’s ‘indecisiveness’ in pushing off embassy move

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer renewed his call for US President Donald Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem after the president said he wanted to wait to give his relaunched peace push a chance.

“President Trump’s recent comments suggest his indecisiveness on the embassy’s relocation,” the New York Democrat said Tuesday in an email to JTA. “As someone who strongly believes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, I am calling for the US Embassy in Israel to be relocated to Jerusalem. Moving the embassy as soon as possible would appropriately commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and show the world that the US definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

Trump, in an interview last week with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, said the time was not ripe to move the embassy.

“I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem,” Trump said, referring to his efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump had promised while campaigning to move the embassy, but in June he waived a 1995 law mandating the move, as every president has done before him.

Victims of terrorism take Arab Bank to US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday was scheduled to hold its first hearing on a lawsuit filed by Israeli victims of terrorism against Arab Bank Plc, claiming it knowingly funded Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas.

The Jordan-based Arab Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East. It has 190 branches worldwide and holds accounts for various governments and global conglomerates.

In 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that as a commercial entity, the bank was immune to lawsuits by Israeli nationals, adding that the court itself had no jurisdiction in cases involving plaintiffs who are not American citizens.

The ruling did, however, note the victims’ American families could pursue the matter further, which they did.

Members of the Almagor Terror Victims Association who hold dual Israeli-American citizenship are expected to argue that by converting various currencies to dollars and allowing wire transfers to the accounts of known Hamas operatives, the bank violated international norms barring the funding of terrorism.

The lawsuit claims Arab Bank was in violation of “pacta sunt servanda” (Latin for “agreements must be kept”) – a basic principle in civil, canon and international law that, with reference to international accords and norms, states that “every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.”

Undercover special forces prevent terror attack

Undercover special forces from the Border Police arrested a Tulkarem resident in Rahat on his way to carry out a terror attack.

The suspect attacked security forces with a knife in an effort to escape.

The suspect was arrested without a shot being fired and was transferred to security forces for questioning. “Undercover units of the Border Police deployed throughout the country, including those operating in the southern sector, are at the forefront of Israeli security activity and together with the various bodies operate at constant risk, over time and in complex scenarios” said a police spokesperson.

The IDF and Border Police field a special squad of Mista’arvim, undercover forces disguising themselves as Arabs to covertly stop terror in Israel.

‘2017 will see 12,000 new settlement homes approved’

By the end of 2017, some 12,000 new settlement homes will have been approved at various stages of the planning and construction process, a senior political official in Jerusalem said Tuesday in response to criticism about sluggish green lights for new housing starts in Judea and Samaria.

The official pointed out that this number is four times larger than the number of new settlement housing units approved in 2016.

“Anyone who thinks there is no need to take political considerations into account is making a big mistake. There is no one who works on behalf of the settlements with more wisdom and determination than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” the official said.

The Jerusalem official went on to say that as per the agenda published by the Judea and Samaria Planning Council, various stages of planning and construction would be approved for 3,736 new housing units. The total number of housing units in the final planning stages stands at 1,200. According to the official, the units approved for discussion are located throughout Judea and Samaria, including in Hebron and Beit El, where no new housing starts have been greenlighted since 2002, and where the settlers were promised new housing in place of the evacuated Draynoff homes in the Ulpana neighborhood.

Iron Dome goes on display in Washington amid reports on possible US purchase

Amid reports that the US military is considering purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome to plug a gap in its European defenses, the missile-defense system is on display in the US capital this week as part of the Association of the US Army (AUSA) annual meeting.

Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the main contractor of Iron Dome, and Raytheon, its US partner for the system’s production, are reported to be working to transform the Israeli interceptor into an American system to defend forward-deployed US forces.

While the US has its THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase, it does not have any short-range air-defense solutions.

According to Defense News, the US Army sees an urgent need for an interim solution to fill the gap in its defenses, especially in the European arena, to protect ground-maneuvering troops against an increasingly wide range of aerial threats, including short-range projectiles, until a permanent solution is put in place.

In September, the US Army carried out a two-week long Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) demonstration at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to evaluate which missile system would best serve this purpose.

Israeli artillery shells becoming precision guided weapons

Israel Aerospace Industries is to further develop, produce and supply the Israeli Army with course correction artillery fuzes, the company announced on Monday.

The work comes under a tender issued by the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development. Its financial value was not disclosed.

“Following years of challenging technological development effort and multiple resources, we witness a unique technology that has matured so it can be further customized for the operational requirements of IDF,” IAI/MALAM Division General Manager Jacob Galifat said in a press release. “This project has faced us with new technological challenges, including protecting the survivability of electronic and mechanical components in a difficult firing environment and miniaturization of the entire avionics into the size of a fuze.”

“We are extremely proud of the exceptional technological capabilities that have made this development possible. We estimate the global demand for the product will be extensive and the winning of the tender in Israel will translate into business success in multiple markets worldwide.”

U.S. Taps Israel’s Elbit for Pilot Helmet Display Units

The U.S. subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd has been given an additional component contract for Aviator Night Vision Imaging System Head-Up Displays.

The two-year award to Elbit Systems America, announced Tuesday, is worth $31.5 million and was issued by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime.

“Elbit Systems of America is committed to providing America’s warfighters with the very best in advanced technology HUD,” Raanan Horowitz, president and chief executive officer of Elbit Systems of America, said in a press release. “We are a proven and trusted partner for component capabilities critical for platform mission readiness.”

Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international high-technology company in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and others.

US offers millions for two of Hezbollah’s top operatives

The Trump administration has determined that the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah is seeking to carry out attacks against the United States and has thus offered millions of dollars for whoever can help it apprehend two of its leaders.

“It is our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook,” said Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, during a briefing Tuesday.

Rasmussen went on to say that the US government was seeking help arresting Talal Hamiyeh and Fu’ad Shukr, and would pay $7 million and $5 million rewards for the two officials, respectively.

It is the first time in a decade that the US is offering rewards for Hezballah operatives under its counterterrorism rewards program.
Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), testifies before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Hamiyeh is the head of Hezbollah’s External Security Organization. The State Department has said that wing has terrorist cells worldwide and is responsible for orchestrating and executive terror attacks outside of Lebanon, mostly against Americans and Israelis.

Shakr is a leading Hezbollah operative and top adviser to Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general. He helped launch and plan the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings that killed 241 US and 58 French peacekeepers and six civilians. (h/t Saigon N)

Rejecting Israeli charges, Lebanese Army asserts it’s independent from Hezbollah

A Lebanese military source on Tuesday rebuffed claims by Israel’s defense minister that the Lebanese Army is controlled by the Hezbollah terror group, saying such a statement “cannot be taken seriously.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday said the next war in Israel will see the Israel Defense Forces fighting against a coordinated Syrian-Lebanese front as well as on the southern front with Hamas-controlled Gaza. He added that the Lebanese army has been fully integrated with Hezbollah and follows Hezbollah’s orders. “The Lebanese army has become an integral part of the Hezbollah apparatus under its command,” Liberman said.

Speaking to the Lebanese daily Al Joumhouria, the Lebanese military source said Liberman’s statements were “totally contrary to reality” and “hold contradictions up to a degree that they cannot be taken seriously.”

The source asserted that “the Lebanese army has total independence and is subject to the decisions of the political authority, and its leadership is the sole arbiter of its military policy.”

“The United States and the United Kingdom provide generous military assistance to the Lebanese army and they ensure its continued armament and express their confidence in it. Would London and Washington arm Hezbollah, in accordance with Liberman’s words?” the source asked. “And does [Liberman] have data that these two large countries do not?”

Exclusive: New report shows Iran’s nuclear program is far from halted

President Donald Trump is expected this week to “decertify” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known simply as the Iran deal, declaring that the agreement reached in 2015 by the U.S. and five other international powers is not in America’s national interest. The matter will then be tossed back to Congress, which will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose hefty pre-2015 sanctions.

While the President’s likely move has generated wide condemnation from foreign policy leaders — who reiterate that the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has maintained Iran is in compliance — a new 52-page investigative report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), entitled: “Iran’s Nuclear Core: Uninspected Military Sites,” obtained exclusively by Fox News and slated for release Wednesday, asserts that the country’s nuclear weapons program has far from halted.

“It has been known for years that Iran has two nuclear programs — one is civilian and the other, the military, has the goal of giving Iran its first nuclear bomb,” Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the NCRI, also referred to as the Iranian Resistance, and considered the primary opposition coalition to the clerical administration of Iran, told Fox News. “The civilian sector of the nuclear program has systematically provided a plausible logistical cover for the military sector, and acts as a conduit for it. The military aspect of the program has been and remains at the heart of Iran’s nuclear activities.”

(Mis)Reading the IAEA reports on Iran’s nuclear program

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week admitted an inconvenient truth. The U.N. watchdog, said Yukiya Amano, has proven unable to verify Iran’s compliance with Section T of the 2015 nuclear deal, which prohibits activities that could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device.

This disclosure comes as no surprise to critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), who have long noted its failure to secure full access to key military sites such as Parchin, where Tehran previously engaged in weaponization efforts. But Amano’s statement also quashes another myth. Contrary to widespread media reporting, the IAEA has never fully certified Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA.

Since the JCPOA’s implementation in January 2016, the IAEA has issued multiple reports that Iran and key world leaders have described as certifications of Tehran’s JCPOA compliance. “All sides are implementing — so far — fully the agreement, as it has been certified by the IAEA eight times,” said Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, last month. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the most recent IAEA report, released in late August, affirmed the “verification of Iran(’s) compliance with (the) JCPOA.”

In fact, none of the IAEA’s reports states that Iran has complied with the JCPOA. Rather, as the JCPOA notes, the IAEA’s mandate primarily entails monitoring and reporting on Tehran’s nuclear-related actions (or lack thereof) pursuant to the JCPOA’s provisions. Individual members of the Joint Commission, the body established by the JCPOA to monitor its implementation, determine independently whether Iran’s reported behavior constitutes JCPOA compliance. The Joint Commission consists of representatives from each JCPOA participant state and the EU.

Trump expected to announce broad, hawkish Iran strategy

U.S. President Donald Trump will make an announcement this week on an “overall Iran strategy,” including whether to decertify the international deal curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, the White House said on Tuesday.

“He’ll make that later this week,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters when asked about the certification decision and the administration’s broader strategy on Iran.

Trump, who has called the 2015 pact agreed between Iran and six world powers an “embarrassment,” is expected to announce that he will decertify the deal ahead of an Oct. 15 deadline, a senior administration official said last week.

Trump is also expected to designate Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corp, as a terrorist organization as part of a new Iran strategy. Tehran has vowed a “crushing repose” to any such designation, saying it would prompt it to consider the U.S. Army equivalent to the Islamic State group.

“The president has reached a decision on an overall Iran strategy and wants to make sure that we have a broad policy to deal with all of the problems of Iran being a bad actor,” Sanders said.

Trump accuses Iran of supporting terrorism and says the 2015 deal does not do enough to block its path to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran says it does not seek nuclear weapons and in turn blames the growth of militant groups such as Islamic State on the policies of the United States and its regional allies.

Mattis Calls Iran a ‘State Sponsor of Terror’ Ahead of Nuclear Deal Decision

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday had harsh words for Iran at the Association of the United States Army conference, ahead of a key Trump administration announcement on the Iran nuclear deal.

Without explicitly naming the country, he called Iran a “state sponsor of terror” in the Middle East that is masquerading as a nation state.

“One state sponsor of terror in the Mideast cannot hide behind its nation-state status while, in effect, it is actually a destabilizing revolutionary regime,” he said.

Iran is a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism along with two other countries: Sudan and Syria. While dictator Bashar al-Assad is aligned with the Iranian regime, the Syrian civil war has significantly limited Assad’s ability to sponsor international terrorism, while Iran has expansive and influential operations throughout the world.

Mattis has made variations of that characterization of Iran over the past years, but this latest comment comes just days before the Trump administration is set to announce a decision on whether to certify or decertify that Iran is in compliance with the deal.

Nearly Every Democrat in Congress Voted for Bill Directing Trump to Label IRGC a Terrorist Group

Iran promised a “crushing” response Monday if President Donald Trump followed through on designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, which nearly every Democratic caucus member voted for him to do.

The IRGC serves as the chief security force of Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. Trump is coming up against the Oct. 15 deadline where he is expected to decertify the nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration and also label IRGC a terrorist group.

“If they do, Iran’s reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said at a news conference reported by state news agency IRNA.

The Trump administration was directed to do so by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which the president signed into law in August. The bill stated the IRGC “is the primary arm of the Government of Iran for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups.”

Furthermore, it stated, “Beginning on the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall impose the sanctions described in subsection (c) with respect to the IRGC and foreign persons that are officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC.”

Permalink to Turkey Sentences Wall Street Journal Reporter to Prison in Absentia

A Turkish court has sentenced a journalist from the Wall Street Journal to two years and one month in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants, the newspaper said on Tuesday.

Ayla Albayrak, a Wall Street Journal reporter with dual Turkish and Finnish citizenship, was sentenced over a 2015 story about ongoing clashes between Turkish security forces and militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

“This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report,” the paper quoted its editor-in-chief Gerard Baker as saying.

Albayrak, who is currently in the United States, will appeal against the conviction, the Wall StreetJournal said.

The court decision coincides with an escalating row between Turkey and the United States after the NATO allies mutually suspended visa services on Sunday, plunging already strained relations to a new low.

Report: Qatar says Israeli soccer fans welcome at 2022 World Cup

Israeli football fans will be welcome in Qatar should their team qualify for the 2022 World Cup, or so the Gulf state said on Monday.

Hassan al-Thawadi, the leader of the country’s World Cup organizing committee, was pointedly asked by a New York Times reporter: “Should Israel qualify, would the team and its fans be welcome?”

Al-Thawadi replied, “Everyone is welcome. It’s a simple answer: everybody is welcome.”

More than 1.2 million soccer fans from all over the world are expected to pour into the tiny country in what many fear will be a huge culture clash for a Muslim country.

But Mr. al-Thawadi said drinking alcohol would tolerated, as long as it was not in public.

He said, “We’ve always said it very clearly: alcohol will be allowed. But it won’t be allowed in public spaces. It’ll be allowed in certain designated areas, for example, but you won’t be allowed to walk the street drinking alcohol.”

British-educated al-Thawadi also sought to allay fears that gay people might not be welcome, given the strong condemnation in parts of the Arab world of homosexuality.

Israeli hospital gets grant to help Syrian refugees with hearing loss

An Israeli philanthropist has made a six-figure grant to a hospital in northern Israel to fund treatment for Syrian children who have suffered hearing loss as a result of their country’s civil war.

Morris Kahn’s pilot grant to Ziv Medical Center in Safed is part of the Genesis Prize Foundation’s global initiative to aid refugee causes and encourage other Jewish foundations and philanthropists to do the same. The refugee focus was chosen by British sculptor Anish Kapoor, who was awarded the 2017 Genesis Prize, which honors leading cultural figures who have showed a dedication to the Jewish community and Jewish values.

According to Genesis, Ziv Medical Center has extensive experience treating wounded Syrian civilians. The hospital reports that one out of every three Syrian children from combat areas examined by Ziv’s hospital staff suffers from hearing loss. The children are provided testing, treatment, surgery and rehabilitation.

“We have treated more than 1,000 Syrians of all ages who needed our help over the past four years,” Salman Zarka, director of Ziv Hospital, said in a news release from Genesis. “It’s really important for me as a physician, as an Israeli, and as a human being.”



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