The Israeli Left Crosses a Line
It was business as usual at the United Nations on Friday as the Security Council devoted a session to criticizing Israel. Just to make sure that the argument was skewed the event was titled “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution.” So rather than a debate about the legality of settlements or whether they (as opposed to Palestinian intransigence) are really the main obstacle to peace, what occurred was a Star Chamber proceeding with the one Jewish state in the dock. The usual suspects decried the presence of Jews in the West Bank, lamented the lack of a Palestinian state, and counseled that unless Israel changes its ways, it will face unspecified consequences.
But there was one thing that differentiated this day from all the Israel-bashing sessions that preceded it: the presence of two left-wing Jewish organizations to add their voices to the chorus of condemnation. Representatives from Americans for Peace Now and B’Tselem, an organization that bills itself as a human-rights group while working to undermine the efforts of the Israeli Defense Forces, showed up at the UN to join the gang tackle of the Jewish state.
The testimony provided by the two groups was correctly contradicted by Israel’s UN representative, who pointed out the conflict is driven by Palestinian hate rather than Israeli home-building. But their decision to appear raises a serious question about the ethics involved in taking an active part in an effort designed to delegitimize Israel on the international stage. It’s fair to ask whether it is appropriate for any organization that identifies as either Jewish or Israeli to assist a world body that is riddled with anti-Semitism in conducting a kangaroo-court procedure in which the Jewish state is judged guilty beforehand.
The most egregious aspect of the presence of these two groups is the assertion made by Peace Now’s Lara Friedman that her participation at the meeting was due to what she said was the “harsh climate” in Israel for human-rights groups. Their work was, she said, too important to be “silenced.” But no one is silencing Peace Now or B’Tselem in Israel.
Almost 60% of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip oppose a future Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict., a survey conducted last week by An-Najah University in Nablus found.
The survey, which questioned 1,362 people in the two areas, found that 59.4% oppose the idea as a solution to the conflict.
It also found that 61.5% of Palestinians do not believe it is possible to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders because of the current situation. Some 65.4% of Palestinians in Gaza hold this view, compared with 59.3% in Judea and Samaria.
Asked if Palestinians must continue with the Oslo Accords, even though Israel had stopped supporting them (according to the survey question), 74% answered that they must stop, while 18.2% answered they must continue.
Some 48.7% oppose non-violent resistance, while 45.7% said they support such resistance. Asked about an armed intifada, 55.7% oppose this while 38% support it. Support for violent resistance is higher in Gaza than in the West Bank: 52% of Gazans support an armed intifada and 36% oppose it, while in Judea and Samaria, 29.8% support an armed intifada.
In Gaza, 17.8% oppose resistance, armed or unarmed, and say it does not help the Palestinian struggle. In the West Bank, 35.4% feel the same way.
The idea of a Jordanian federation based on two sovereign states won the support of 46.1% of respondents, while 41.3% were against it.
UNESCO’s Executive Board on Tuesday afternoon ratified a 24-6 vote taken last week on a resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Under pressure from Western states, Mexico backed away from its initial intention to call for a new vote on the resolution so that it could withdraw its support from the resolution.
Instead Mexico noted for the record that its position on the matter was one of abstention, but its statement does not technically change the vote numerical count as the 58-member board wrapped up its 200th session in Paris.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its web site that it had abstained in recognition of the undeniable Jewish cultural heritage that is located in east Jerusalem.
It added that it was also doing so out of a deep appreciation for the contribution the Jewish community has played in Mexico’s economic, social and cultural development.
Brazil also spoke at the final board session and indicated that it was unlikely to support such resolutions in the future.
Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said after the ratification, “We have moved forward a step-and-a-half toward dismantling the automatic majority that the Palestinians and the Arab states have against Israel.”
“Mexico has taken a full step toward abandoning support of the Palestinians, after years of voting without hesitation against Israel.
Mexico has fired its ambassador to UNESCO, Andrés Roemer who is Jewish, for protesting against his country’s decision to vote for a resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
“For not having informed diligently and with meticulousness of the context in which the voting process occurred, for reporting to representatives of countries other than Mexico about the sense of his vote, and for making public documents and official correspondence subject to secrecy,” read the official statement released on Oct. 17.
However, the Latin American country announced it will now change its vote from “in favour” to abstain on the proposal concerning the preservation of cultural heritage and religion in eastern Jerusalem.
“Changing the vote reiterates the recognition that the government of Mexico gives to the undeniable link of the Jewish people to cultural heritage located in East Jerusalem. It also reflects the deep appreciation that this government has for the Jewish community and in particular for their significant contributions to the welfare and economic, social and cultural development of Mexico,” the statement also said.
For the first time since 2010, Mexico will oppose a proposal by the Palestinian-Arab bloc in UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday hailed the newly approved UNESCO vote on Jerusalem as a reminder to Israelis “that they are an occupying power,” while Israel’s envoy attempted to put a positive spin on the widely criticized decision.
The resolution, passed Thursday in the committee stage of the United Nations cultural body, referred to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemned Israel as “the occupying power” for various actions taken in both sites.
The resolution effectively disregards Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem holy sites, and has led Israel to cut ties with the cultural body.
In spite of an Israeli effort to delay a final vote, the UN cultural agency on Tuesday adopted the controversial Arab-sponsored resolution, though without the support of Mexico, which changed its “for” vote to an abstention in a surprise move.
The Palestinian Authority’s deputy ambassador to UNESCO, Mounir Anastas, told reporters Tuesday the resolution “reminds Israel that they are the occupying power in East Jerusalem and it asks them to stop all their violations.”
These violations include archaeological excavations around religious sites, Anastas said.
Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said that although only Mexico changed its vote between Thursday and Tuesday, Israel is one step closer in its mission “to dismantle the automatic majority enjoyed by the Palestinians and Arab states.”
Outrage over UNESCO’s approval on Thursday of a resolution that omitted the Jewish people’s ties with Jerusalem continued to grow over the weekend. As of Sunday morning, more than 65,000 people had signed an online petition calling on the UN cultural body to “recognize the deep historic, cultural and religious connection between the Jewish people and holy sites in the land of Israel.”
The Change.org petition, authored by the International Legal Forum and the pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs, focused on the Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism, as it is where the two temples once stood — which the UNESCO resolution referred to as the “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and its surroundings.”
“By UNESCO deliberately ignoring the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, UNESCO violates the basic human rights of Jews everywhere, as well as those of other religions whose beliefs and heritage include the spiritual and historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem,” the petition said.
An Israeli effort to delay the ratification of a UNESCO resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem was thwarted by Arab nations in the UN’s cultural agency, Channel 10 News reported Monday.
The motion, which passed last week in Paris the committee stage, is waiting for validation by UNESCO’s Executive Board on Tuesday.
Israel’s ambassador to the agency, Carmel Shama HaCohen, attempted to lobby for a delay of the decision, after convincing two friendly countries with representation on the board to request a stay in light of the controversy it has caused, Channel 10 reported.
Board chairman Michael Worbs of Germany, who has himself expressed opposition to the document’s wording, would then have rescheduled the ratification for a later date, allowing for renewed debate and possible changes in the wording of the resolution.
But having caught wind of the maneuver, a group of Arab nations which backed the motion reportedly put heavy pressure on Worbs, who then announced he would suspend himself from chairing the meeting.
Worbs will be replaced by Swedish ambassador Annika Markovic, who is not expected to support a postponement.
On October 13, 2016, UNESCO adopted a resolution attempting to erase Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
On October 15, 2016, the Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, comprising 56 UN member states, “welcomed” the adoption of the UNESCO resolution. In applauding the absurd historical revisionism that is the resolution, the OIC’s General Secretariat “stressed that this resolution was an expression of the condemnation and rejection by the international community of all Israeli occupation policies and actions, designed to cover up historical facts…”
In other words, the OIC justifies covering up the historical facts of the Jewish link to the Temple Mount by claiming the UNESCO resolution denying that link prevents the covering up of historical facts. Classic Palestinian projection and Islamic revisionism.
UNESCO chief Irina Bokova has received “death threats” after expressing reservations about an Arab-backed resolution denying Israel’s history in Jerusalem, Israel’s ambassador to the UN agency said on Monday.
“The director general has received death threats and her protection has had to be reinforced,” Carmel Shama HaCohen said on Israel Radio.
“These threats were made after her criticism” of two resolutions adopted last week at committee stage ahead of a final vote, HaCohen said, accusing Arab countries of “appalling conduct” over the drafts.
The claim was not confirmed by UN officials.
Bokova distanced herself from the resolutions in a statement, saying “nowhere more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage and traditions share space.”
The motion, which passed last week in Paris the committee stage, is waiting for validation by UNESCO’s Executive Board on Tuesday.
Vic Rosenthal: UNESCOs moral infirmity
It seems like everyone in the country is talking about the Palestinian-prompted UNESCO resolution which calls the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim designations, implying that there is no Jewish connection to these sites. Not only does the phrase “Temple Mount” not appear, but the document refers to the “Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif,” suggesting that the entire Mount is part of or identical to a mosque.
Israelis have responded with wall-to-wall condemnation of the resolution; even Israel Radio’s pre-holiday music program played numerous songs about Jerusalem, which the DJ carefully noted were “dedicated to UNESCO.” The resolution crossed a red line, the one that separates the supposed “political criticism of Israel” from outright Jew-hatred, although everybody knows that unofficially that line was crossed long ago. But people are angry, and want action. They don’t want to hear, yet again, “it’s the UN, what do you expect?” The feeling is that we don’t have to take this abuse, not the physical abuse of terrorism and not the delegitimization that pours from the “international community” on a continuous basis. We know that the purpose of delegitimization is to set the stage for the destruction of our state and the Jewish nation.
The reality and importance of the connection of Jerusalem and the holy sites to the Jewish people doesn’t need to be proven; no one halfway literate can honestly ignore the historical and archaeological evidence; no one can deny that the texts of Judaism and Christianity – and even Islam for that matter – refer to the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Only “Palestinians,” a people that created itself with the help of Soviet psychological warfare experts some 50 or so years ago, have ever had the chutzpah to say that all this is false.
But we know what to expect from “Palestinians,” masters of the made-up narrative, inventors of “Pallywood.” We are not surprised that Pakistan, Iran, etc. voted for it. What is harder to understand is why, out of 56 nations voting on the UNESCO resolution, only 6 – Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States – voted against it. Among the 26 abstentions were Italy, France and Spain, countries surely familiar with the history and traditions surrounding the Jewish Temple. Are we to believe that these countries, with their Christian traditions, didn’t understand the significance of the resolution?
How could they abstain from this motion? Were they reliving yet another plunder of the Jewish Temple by cohorting with the Islamic world? For that’s what it looks like to me.
Can we now expect the Pope, as head of the Catholic Church, speak up to denounce UNESCO? Can we expect to hear the voices of any Christian leader as we are starting to hear those from rabbis in every branch of Judaism?
The shame of UNESCO displays itself in the myopia of countries that once were considered “enlightened nations.”
It seems the light of truth and courageous honesty has dimmed in the democratic world. Will we see a new reformation and a return to the moral leadership that the world so desperately needs right now as a result of the profoundly disturbing lurch of UNESCO that has failed in its educational, scientific and cultural responsibilities?
Don’t hold your breath.
One of the striking and impressive things that we learned was that leaders on both sides of the Irish troubles had insisted that history be taught honestly and unflinchingly to their schoolchildren. For both camps, providing their children with the true facts of history trumped the narrow gains of political propaganda.
On our return, inspired by what we had seen, we developed a program for school textbooks – on both sides – to be reviewed by an independent committee of experts. Sadly, when the program became publicly known, it was rejected by the Palestinian leadership.
Golda Meir’s famous saying, “Peace will come when our neighbors love their children more than they hate us,” is usually understood in the context of terrorists intentionally placing civilians in harm’s way. But it has an intellectual dimension too. Deliberately distorting the facts of history and teaching falsehoods solely to advance political goals is a form of child abuse.
Moreover, choosing to indoctrinate rather than to educate sends the tacit message that historic truth is something to be feared and avoided rather than confronted, and robs the next generation of the fundamental tools to build a strong and functioning society.
Persuading UNESCO to be complicit in the rewriting of history may today look to the Palestinian leadership like a political success. Tomorrow, however, Palestinians may discover that the real price is one they pay themselves.
Yair Lapid: How UNESCO erases history
Do you have another explanation why UNESCO ignores the fact that Israel, the Jewish state, bans Jews from praying on the Temple Mount so as not to offended Muslim sensibilities?
Do you have another explanation why the resolution condemns the fact that the Jews who visit the Temple Mount are “right wing,” which is a blatant intervention in internal Israeli politics? What does it matter to UNESCO which side of the political map they come from? Who wrote that clause into the decision?
Aside from the fact that the resolution is scandalous, it’s also dangerous. The Temple Mount is the most sensitive site in the Middle East, maybe the world. The wave of terrorism against Israel this past year broke out because of conspiracy theories, spread by Islamic fundamentalists, that Israel was trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Israel stated and explained that we have no intention of changing the status quo or impinging on Muslim rights. I’m a member of the opposition government in Israel, but on this I can testify that our government speaks the truth and stands by it, despite the difficulties.
When young Palestinians who have already been fueled by incitement against Israel read a decision like this one by UNESCO, they become convinced that the conspiracy theories are true. The next stage is that they take a knife, a gun or a Molotov cocktail and carry out a terror attack. People will die. Innocent people who have done nothing wrong will die. That’s usually what happens when irresponsible organizations get involved in complex situations which they don’t understand.
When UNESCO’s Executive Board votes to ratify this resolution those countries who abstained should cast a real vote and take a stand. They can stand for history, facts and truth or they can admit they have a problem with Jews, which is just a reminder why our people need a strong and free country.
When UNESCO passed its draft resolution casting the Temple Mount, the most sacred ground in Judaism, as an exclusively Muslim site, Palestinian leaders were quick to capitalize. “This is an important message to Israel that it must end its occupation and recognize the Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital with its sacred Muslim and Christian sites,” a spokesman for the Palestinian president said after the vote.
The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, was signaling that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims and Christian — not Jews. As with Palestinian claims that Jews have no history in the city, the takeaway is that Israel has no claim to Jerusalem at all, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. And if that’s the case, it should be a straightforward exercise to demand Israel withdraw from the eastern portion of Jerusalem, or even to deny Jews the right to live in areas like Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter where, not withstanding the name of that neighborhood, they are cast as usurping settlers.
It further follows that if Israel doesn’t pick up and leave eastern Jerusalem, where under this narrative the country has no spiritual anchor, it must be for no other reason than a reprehensible refusal to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Responsibility for the continued conflict, then, resides solely with Israel. And so Israel must be severely punished.
Others take the idea even further: As goes Jerusalem, so goes all of Israel. Jews, according to some anti-Israel activists, have no real business being in, or returning to, either locale. (Recall journalist Helen Thomas’s demand that Jews leave Israel and go to “Poland” and “Germany.”)
Just as Palestinians understood the implications of UNESCO’s word choice, so too did the resolution’s many critics. And not least among those critics is the head of UNESCO. In a statement published after the vote, Irina Bokova, the organization’s secretary general, protested that “to deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity” of Jerusalem. She urged that political divisions not be carried into UNESCO, and clarified that “The Al Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit – or Temple Mount – whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism.”
Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Sunday became the latest world leader to criticize last week’s vote by UNESCO, the world body’s cultural organization, in favor of a resolution that denied Jewish and Christian historical ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The resolution only uses Muslim names for Jerusalem’s holy sites, and accused Israel of “provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity” of the area.
“The Secretary-General reaffirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions and stresses the importance of the religious and historical link of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian peoples to the holy site,” his office said in a statement.
It went on to note that “The Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit—or Temple Mount—whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulcher church and the Mount of Olives, which is revered by Christians….Any perceived undertaking to repudiate the undeniable common reference for these sites does not serve the interests of peace and will only feed violence and radicalism.”
More than 20 members of parliament from 17 countries around the world will come to Jerusalem Wednesday for a three-day conference in which they will affirm their support for Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish State.
The Israel Allies Foundation will hold its annual Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference, which is sponsored by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). Topics to be discussed during the conference include delegitimization efforts against Israel, Palestinian incitement, and the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
Lawmakers attending the Israel Allies Foundation Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference are members of parliaments from such diverse countries as the Netherlands, Finland, Latvia, Spain, Switzerland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Malawi, South Africa, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Chile. Speakers at the conference will include former minister Gideon Sa’ar, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren, and outgoing Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, in his first public address since he quit last week.
Reacting to the UNESCO Jerusalem controversy, the parliamentarians will draft and sign a resolution declaring their support for Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel and formally submit it to Oren.
“For thousands of years Jerusalem has been one of the most special places on earth,” WJC President Ronald Lauder said. “Since its reunification in 1967, the holy city has again become a magnet for visitors of all faiths and denominations. The World Jewish Congress is proud to be a partner with the Israel Allies Foundation and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Together we are fortifying the bonds that unite us. In the face of a mounting threat by unrelenting and unscrupulous adversaries, our mutual embrace of Jerusalem, our love of Israel and our unshakable commitment to upholding our shared Judeo-Christian tradition is more important than ever.”
The problem for Trump is that his unpredictable nature has convinced many in Israel that he can’t be trusted to maintain the alliance. This goes beyond various statements in which at times he has said he would be “neutral” between Israel and the Palestinians. The contradictions in Trump’s foreign policy statements and clearly don’t count on him keeping faith with them in a way he won’t with other U.S. allies.
On Iran, which is Clinton’s weak point on Israel, Trump also has problems. Though he is in accord with most Israelis on the Iran deal, they have noticed that he is also willing to approve of Tehran’s involvement in Syria. There’s no way Trump can crack down on Iran on the nuclear question while viewing it as an ally against ISIS and no guarantee that he won’t wind up thinking he can do business with the Islamist government.
More to the point, Trump’s isolationist tendencies would seem to work against the idea that he would be helpful to Israel. Obama’s determination to abandon the Middle East to Russia and Iran already has some Arab nations scared enough to tentatively embrace Israel. If Trump acts on his isolationist views it might produce problems as great as those created by Obama’s lead from behind strategy.
But the bottom line is that many Israelis may prefer the devil they know in the person of Clinton to a leap into the unknown with Trump. They understand where Clinton stands and what they can expect, both good and bad, with her. But Trump’s unpredictability reads like a recipe for instability to Israelis. The leaks that assert that Netanyahu views Clinton as “more instinctively sympathetic to Israel” than Obama may be not so much as an effort to ingratiate the prime minister with the likely winner as a sincere evaluation of the possibility that Clinton may not prove nearly as hostile as the incumbent.
Other than those Americans who maintain dual citizenship, Israelis can’t vote for president of the United States. But it appears that at least with respect to attitudes toward Trump, most American and Israeli Jews may be in accord.
Hillary Clinton shouldn’t mention Israel in her campaign’s launch speech because it wouldn’t play well with Democratic Party activists, several top campaign advisers agreed last year.
The discussion, contained in the latest batch of hacked emails from campaign chairman John Podesta, took place in May 2015, as Clinton advisers were working on the candidate’s launch speech and the language that would become her stump speech.
Wikileaks posted the exchange online. The U.S. director of national intelligence and the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security have accused “Russia’s senior-most officials” of hacking and leaking emails to influence the 2016 election.
While discussing Clinton’s launch speech, Jake Sullivan, one of Clinton’s foreign policy advisers, suggested adding “a sentence on standing up for our allies and values, including Israel and other fellow democracies.”
Mandy Grunwald, a speechwriter, replied: “I thought this was largely for her TP [talking points] with public events not fundraisers. Do we need Israel etc for that?”
Sullivan responds: “We def need the etc. I think good to have Israel too.”
Joel Benenson, a leading pollster who worked for the Obama campaigns, agreed with Grunwald on avoiding mention of Israel.
As emails hacked from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta continue to trickle into the public eye, major revelations regarding Hillary Clinton’s policy preferences on handling foreign policy, particularly rogue states, have come to the fore.
Below, five of the biggest reveals from the Wikileaks email dumps so far:
5. Clinton on Israeli-Palestinian talks says “A Potemkin process is better than nothing”: As with almost every major Democratic figure, Clinton thinks the “solution” to the Palestinian problem involves manipulating and pressuring Israel. However, emails produced by WikiLeaks suggest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels Clinton is “more instinctively sympathetic to Israel than the White House,” and the worst moment in his relationship with her came when she was “heavily scripted and reading from points prepared by the White House.” That’s funny, because President Obama and his defenders have been loudly insisting they were the best friends Israel ever had.
1. Clinton said Iran could only be contained by bombing their nuclear facilities: Hillary Clinton’s conversation with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in 2013 included her suggestion that Iran should be made to feel more “pain” by “not in any way occupying or invading them but by bombing their facilities.” Painless aerial bombardment is the Democrats’ favorite foreign policy tool, along with supplying weapons to local fighters who will serve as America’s deniable, easily abandoned boots on the ground. Neither of those strategies works very well, as Blankfein observed to his credit… and Clinton agreed with his assertion that bombing-only campaigns have never “worked in the history of war.” It’s as muddled as everything else Hillary Clinton says on foreign policy, but it’s arguably a more aggressive stance than Obama doctrine.
Israel Police on Sunday arrested the coach of the eastern Jerusalem-based Hilal Al-Quds soccer team, which last week honored terrorist Mesbah Abu Sabih, who murdered two Israelis in a terrorist attack at the Ammunition Hill light rail station in Jerusalem.
The coach and the players photographed themselves with a picture of Abu Sabih and also held a moment of silence in his honor before the game.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the coach, Maher Abu Sneineh, a 55-year-old resident of the Old City of Jerusalem, is suspected of inciting attacks against Jews.
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court extended his remand until Wednesday.
Hilal Al-Quds’ leaders and fans proudly posted the picture with the terrorist on the team’s Facebook page.
Team spokesperson Teama Obyadath later apologized for publicizing the picture on Facebook, but not for the actual act of taking it or for holding the moment of silence.
Obyadath explained his apology by saying that uploading the picture was against FIFA’s rules.
A large Palestinian family living in Jordan decided to celebrate a man who recently carried out a shooting attack in Jerusalem with a “wedding.” The event was attended by hundreds of guests to honor his “death as a martyr.”
The celebration was the initiative of the well-known, Palestinian Abu Sneine family, who originate from Hebron. Jordanian locals were invited to “to take part in the wedding of the martyr Misbah Abou Sbeih.” Hundreds arrived to participate in the “wedding ceremony,” which was reportedly held at the family’s home in the center of the capital of Amman.
Two Israelis were killed and more were wounded in the shooting spree carried out by Abou Sbeih in the streets of Jerusalem. After a chase and shootout with police, a 30-year-old police officer was killed as was a 60-year-old
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held an official reception at his headquarters in Ramallah on Saturday for the family of a terrorist who died last month of a heart attack, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Sunday.
According to the report, Abbas warmly embraced the immediate family members of Yasser Hamdouni, who murdered an Israeli 13 years ago and was serving a life sentence in the Rimon Prison. “Your son was a hero,” Abbas said. “The blood of the martyrs and victims was not spilled in vain. They will be part of our path to an independent state whose capital is east Jerusalem.”
Hamdouni, who passed away after attempts to revive him at the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva failed, was one of two terrorists who shot and killed 51-year-old Netanya resident Avner Maimon while he was buying charcoal in the Palestinian village of Yabed in June of 2003.
As Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported at the time, though under security jurisdiction of the Jewish state, Yabed is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and Maimon had ignored an IDF ban on Israeli travel there.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated with Abbas’ Fatah party — at the time headed by the late PLO chief Yasser Arafat — claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Palestinian terror group Hamas fired at least one long-range missile into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, in what appeared to be a weapons test.
The booms of detonations could be heard in communities in southern Israel that border the Hamas-ruled territory, Channel 2 reported.
The jihadist group regularly fires rockets as it works to improve its rocket range and accuracy, a little over two years after it last fought Israel. In June, it test-fired dozens of short-range rockets inside Gaza, with Israeli sources estimating that at least 30 projectiles were launched.
Monday’s test comes some 10 days after two projectile strikes in two days from Gaza on nearby Israeli population centers. The first attack — in which a rocket hit a street in the city of Sderot — caused some damage to nearby homes and cars, but no injuries. Three people were hospitalized for anxiety following the strike.
The following day, a mortar shell fired from the Strip landed in an open area in the southern Eshkol region. There were no injuries or damage reported from the shell, according to the IDF.
Courts in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip handed down three death sentences on Monday, including one for allegedly spying for Israel and two others for murder, authorities said.
In the first case, “the military court in Gaza decided upon death by hanging for the convict, 54, on charges on spying for the Israeli occupation,” a court source said.
The court said the man had allegedly been linked to Israel since 1987 and had provided a large amount of information to the Jewish state since then.
The case was held behind closed doors and the defendant was referred to only by the initials E.A.
Another alleged spy was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Also on Monday two men from rival families were sentenced to death after tit-for-tat killings in 2013 and 2015 respectively, the public prosecutor said.
A series of death sentences have been handed down in recent weeks despite calls on Hamas from the European Union and rights groups to halt the practice.
A Jordanian official denied media reports Monday that Ahmad Dakamseh, a soldier who in 1997 was sentenced to life in prison for gunning down seven Israeli schoolgirls near the border, had been released from prison.
A spokesman for the Jordanian government said Dakamseh would only be freed upon completion of his sentence, which Channel 10 News reported is expected in March 2017.
Dakamseh in 1997 opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls as they visited the so-called “Island of Peace” at Naharayim (Baqura), a scenic peninsula on the Jordan River near the Israeli border.
He killed seven of the girls and wounded five more, as well as a teacher.
This sanctions relief not only gives legitimacy to the Revolutionary Guards globally, but emboldens and empowers Iran’s elite military unit by allowing them legally to conduct business and transfer money.
Many Iranian companies are owned by senior figures from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and judiciary who have been involved in crimes against humanity, violating international laws, breaching UN resolutions, money laundering and monstrous human rights violations. Nevertheless, the new sanctions relief allows foreign companies to do business with them without repercussions.
Furthermore, the Obama administration secretly agreed to remove sanctions on several Iranian banks, including banks have long been sanctioned by the UN due to their illegal activities in missile financing and skirting UN security resolutions regarding the arms embargo.
Israel in 2012 considered “leaking” that it would use a military base in Saudi Arabia as a springboard to launch an airstrike against Iran as part of its efforts to counter the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, according to the latest batch of leaked emails released by WikiLeaks on Saturday.
A July 2012 correspondence between a former adviser and then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton cited Israeli sources saying that while Israel was unprepared for a full-scale war with Iran, rumors of an IDF strike could “persuade the world they mean business.”
“At present, considering that Israel is not prepared for an all-out war with Iran, they may well continue to threaten action, giving the impression they are serious about pursuing aggressive Iranian anti-nuclear efforts,” Sidney Blumenthal wrote in a July 24 email.
“One way to do that is to update weapon systems; secure an air base in Saudi Arabia that would suggest a staging ground for an eventual attack, then ‘leak’ the word to the media that their [sic] are eminent [sic] plans to carry out a bombing raid and do everything possible to persuade the world they mean business,” the unnamed Israeli source was quoted as saying.
The email also cited a number of other European and Turkish security and intelligence sources who expressed concern that any Israeli military action against Iran would instantly ignite an all out war in the Middle East, including extensive retaliation against the Jewish state from its Arab neighbors.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer told a campaign aide of Hillary Clinton that the Obama administration was “tone deaf” to the “existential threat” Israel faces from Iran, according to an email from Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta that has been released by WikiLeaks.
On July 2, 2015, roughly two weeks before the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers was reached, former US diplomat Stuart Eizenstat sent Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan a summation of a recent meeting with Dermer.
In that message, Eizenstat relayed that Dermer upbraided President Obama’s team for its failure to appreciate Israeli concerns over the Iranian accord. “The Administration is ‘tone deaf’ about the ‘existential threat’ to Israel from Iran,” he quoted Dermer as saying.
The Israeli ambassador also recognized that the former secretary of state would likely need to support the deal in her campaign for the presidency, but went on to issue advice for how she should best handle that support amid her bid for the White House.
“It is important that even as Hillary endorses the agreement, and says she would vote for it if she was in the Senate, she ‘should not get too invested in it,’” Dermer said, according to Eizenstat. “She should ‘list the concerns’ she has with it, while saying that ‘it is better than no deal.’”
Barack Obama entered office with a mandate to end America’s post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will leave office in three months having presided over the proliferation of America’s conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Add Yemen to the list. This week, to the terrifying disinterest of the American public, three U.S. Naval vessels off the coast of Yemen were targeted by sophisticated anti-ship missiles on several occasions. The White House responded to this attack by launching a retaliatory cruise missile attack on radar facilities inside Yemen, resulting in their destruction. On Friday afternoon, the White House sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan formally informing him of his order to use military force pursuant to his authority under the War Powers Resolution.
The United States has been conducting drone strikes targeting al-Qaeda in Yemen for years, but strikes on government targets now controlled by the Houthi militia is a new development. The Houthis, an Iran-backed force, overran Yemeni government positions in the nation’s northeast in 2014, complicating America’s mission in Yemen. Iran’s bold intervention in Yemen behind a proxy force was a predictable result of the Islamic Republic’s rehabilitation by the Obama administration, which sought not only to ink a nuclear deal with Tehran but also to outsource Iraqi security to the region’s predominant Shiite power after U.S. forces withdrew from the region. Following the fall of Yemen’s capital Sana’a to Iranian proxies, Saudi Arabia—Iran’s chief competitor for regional hegemony—found the condition so intolerable that they intervened militarily in the conflict (with the support of the White House). All the while, the Obama administration has had the gall to call this muddled approach to conflict resolution in the Middle East “smart power.”
In an effort to prevent the home from becoming a neo-nazi pilgrimage site, the birth house of Adolf Hitler will be demolished, Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said Monday.
According to Austrian daily Die Presse, plans are underway to build a center for administrative or charitable purposes in place of the house.
Sobotka stated that “the Hitler house will be torn down.” He added that “the foundations can remain but a new building will be erected.”
The decision was made after years of discussions and fruitless attempts to buy the property, according to reports the owner will be compensated for losing ownership. Austria’s parliament is slated to seize the house after passing a new law which will provide a legal basis for the seizure.
Hitler was born in the house in Brunau am Inn on April 20, 1889. It was made the subject of an historic preservation order by Germany’s National Socialist regime in 1938 after being purchased by the Nazi government.
The leader of the far-Right French party National Front, Marine Le Pen, vowed to ban “all religious symbols” including kippas, headscarves, veils, burqas and burkinis from public spaces if she is elected president, explaining the move as a “sacrifice” to combat Islamic extremism.
In an interview Sunday with France’s BFMTV station, Le Pen, who heads the third-largest party in France and has been making inroads with voters amid a string of devastating terror attacks over the past two years, said that if elected, she would extend a 2004 law banning religious symbols in schools to all public spaces.
“I know it is a sacrifice but I think the situation is terrible these days…I know that every French person, including [French] Jews can understand that if we ask for this sacrifice from them [in the framework] of the battle against the advance of Islamic extremism, they will make this effort and understand it,” she said, adding that she is “convinced” that it is in the “national interest” to do so.
A new monument to the victims of the 1948 Altalena incident, which cast a pall over the foundation of the Israel Defense Forces and has been a source of political controversy for decades, will be unveiled on October 27 in Tel Aviv.
The project will stand next to the existing monument in Tel Aviv’s Nahalat Yitzhak cemetery, where the 16 Irgun members who were killed on the ship Altalena in a firefight with IDF soldiers are buried. It is a joint project of the National Heritage Sites, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Tel Aviv burial society, which is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery.
The monument is a concrete, metal-coated model of the boat, which appears to be sinking. On its side is a quote from Menachem Begin urging his men not to fire back as they were being attacked by the IDF: “We can never have a civil war.”
The ship, carrying a large consignment of arms and weapons, was brought to Israel by Begin’s Irgun militia during the country’s War of Independence, in June 1948. However, the nascent government of David Ben-Gurion, at bitter odds with Begin, demanded that the ship and its supplies be turned over to the newly formed IDF.
Israeli designer Kobi Levi’s psychedelic shoes resemble everything from banana peels to sex acts, flamingos and stretching cats — and they are all the rage among well-heeled stars like Lady Gaga.
“My world is that of everyday glamour, the glamour that goes unnoticed, which I show in an extravagant and fun way,” the 41-year-old says.
Dressed in a t-shirt and black jeans, he works out of a modest studio at his apartment in Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv.
He uses a vintage sewing machine and an old leather press to turn his designs from fantasies into shoes.
“I see someone stepping in chewing gum on the way to work and getting annoyed about it,” he tells AFP. “So I make shoes with a high heel shaped like stuck chewing gum.”
The result is a stylish black-and-white sneaker with an 11-centimeter (four-inch) pink dripping heel so realistic it could be mistaken for real gum.
The bizarre creation, which sells for $2,240 (1,949 euros) a pair, caught the imagination of actress Whoopi Goldberg, who wore them when she appeared with US President Barack Obama on talk show “The View” in 2012.
American singer Fergie wore a pair of the same shoes in the video for her song “M.I.L.F. $”.
IsraellyCool: Tourists Saying Great Things About Israel
Some tourists in Israel were asked for their impressions of Israel.
Bonus: Their impressions were overwhelmingly positive, and once again highlight how the haters and BDS-holes are full of lies.
Extra bonus: This is from Ha’aretz (believe it or not)!
When Pablo Cañete and Irene Esteban arrived from Spain to the Airbnb apartment they had rented in Jaffa, “We thought we’d come to Morocco, not Israel,” said Cañete, 26, a business administration student living in Germany. “It wasn’t the idea we had in mind. We thought there were only Jews in the city.”
“We thought there were no Arabs in Israel,” added Esteban, 25, who works as an academic in the field of food safety.
Carina Reiter, 28, of Germany was similarly surprised to discover that Jews, Muslims and Christians live side by side in Jerusalem’s Old City. “It’s amazing,” she said. “They don’t have to; they respect each other.”
“Many people in Europe think Israel is no good because there are problems between Jews and Muslims – and then you come here and think it isn’t true,” said Cañete.
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