Jerusalem’s Walls, Breached Again
In a saner era, the latest archeological discovery in Jerusalem would be the sort of thing only academics or ancient history buffs would care about. But in a month when UNESCO has voted repeatedly to treat Jerusalem’s holiest spots as if they were solely Muslim, the dig that located the site where the Romans breached the capital’s walls during the great Jewish revolt in 70 C.E. is of more than academic interest. It is not only yet another reminder of the insidious nature of the war still being waged to extinguish the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish homeland.
The details of the discovery are exciting to those who care about this chapter of history during which the second Jewish commonwealth ended. Archeologists have uncovered the remains of the “Third Wall” that protected the northern extremity of the capital during the Roman siege that ended in the city’s destruction as well as the burning of the Second Temple. The dig, which was supervised by the Israel Antiquities Authority, also found the remains of one of the guard towers that dotted the defensive structure as well as stones that were the ammunition for catapults the Romans used to pummel and ultimately break through the wall, as the historian Josephus attested. The defeat of the defenders at this spot gave the Romans the chance to get inside the city. It would take them another two and a half months to get through the other two inner walls and begin the orgy of murder and destruction that ended Jewish independence for two millennia.
It is hardly surprising that such fascinating artifacts could be found in the heart of Jerusalem. And that is the problem for the Palestinians and their supporters in institutions like UNESCO. All you have to do to prove the existence of historic Jewish ties to Jerusalem is to start digging virtually anywhere in the city or, for that matter, anywhere in the country. That’s why Palestinians and their supporters are so quick to resist archeological work in and around the Old City such as the separate dig at the City of David—a site that points to an even more ancient Jewish kingdom a thousand years before the Romans laid waste to the city.
Pretending, as the Palestinians and now the majority at the UN agency that claims to be its educational, scientific and cultural organization do, that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall—the heart of the Jewish city that the Third Wall was built to protect—is Muslim a statement of astonishing ignorance. The stones of the Temple Mount and the remains of part of its outer enclosure that make up the Wall are living evidence of 3,000 years of Jewish history as well as the events and places that are integral to the beginnings of Christianity. But it’s far more than that. This revisionism is at the center of a century-old effort to deny Jewish history and the rights of the Jewish people to their homeland and its capital.
The controversy was less over what the resolution said so much as the way they said it, an analysis by Nir Hasson (also in Haaretz) says the following;
The term Western Wall appears in quotes throughout the document, while the Arabic term for the site, Al-Burak, does not. The document refers to the Temple Mount by its Arabic names, Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa, while making no mention of its Jewish names.
The BBC provided an excellent all around analysis also though it strikes me that not much of an analysis is needed. The bottom line is that a UN body just crapped all over Jewish history.
This is why I take more pleasure than usual at the announcement that Israeli archaeologists located the site where the Romans breached the wall to Jerusalem sometime around AD 70.According to the Times of Israel;
The discovery, made last winter during an excavation of a construction site for the new campus of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design outside the Old City, also finally confirmed the description of the wall that was breached provided by the historian Josephus Flavius.
I guess no one at UNESCO has bothered to read The Jewish War. It doesn’t matter so much now anyway as Israeli archaeologists (nor the country as a whole) are no longer cooperating with UNESCO.
If anyone ever wondered why an American veto was so necessary in the UN Security Council this kind of nonsense is the demonstrable reason.
Walking the streets of Jerusalem during these festive days, it suddenly struck me just how perfectly timed was the absurd UNESCO decision disconnecting Judaism from the Temple Mount – because no holiday exposes the idiocy of the UNESCO vote better than Succot.
We begin with the commandment in the Bible – written over 3,000 years ago, before Islam’s inception – that the people of Israel were to celebrate on the Temple Mount for the entire duration of the Succot holiday: “For seven days you shall celebrate for the Lord your God, in the place that the Lord will choose.” (Deuteronomy 16:15) This is the only holiday which has a specific command for the Jewish people to celebrate in the Temple for an extended period of time.
The special relationship between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount was cemented when King Solomon dedicated the First Temple on Succot (Kings I 8:2), and when the Second Temple was dedicated on Succot (Ezra 3:4). Both Jewish Temples – which sat right there on the Temple Mount – were dedicated during these days of a Succot! This, no doubt, is a major reason for our national rejoicing during these days.
Lest anyone think that the Temples were built only to benefit the Jewish people, King Solomon offered the following prayer on that first Succot in the Temple: “Also a gentile who is not of Your people Israel, but will come from a distant land, for Your Name’s sake; For they will hear of Your great Name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched Arm – and will come and pray towards this Temple; May You hear from Heaven, the foundation of Your abode, and act according to all that the Gentile calls out to You, so that all peoples of the world may know your Name, to fear You as Your people Israel and to know that Your Name is proclaimed upon this Temple that I have built.”
The UNESCO vote is a slap in the face to history, archaeology and theology, and represents an assault on the very foundations of the Judeo-Christian tradition that underpins Western civilization. But even as Israel points an accusatory finger or two at the UN group, the government would do well to consider whether perhaps its own policies may have contributed to this farce.
After all, Israel bars Jews from praying on the Temple Mount, limits their access to the site and has allowed the Muslim Wakf which oversees it to destroy ancient archaeological relics there in the past. If this is how the Jewish state itself treats Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, then should it really come as a surprise when other nations seek to downplay or obfuscate our connection to it? Just yesterday, for example, an 18-year-old Israeli was arrested, according to media reports, “on suspicion of having bowed while visiting the Mount.”
I’m no lawyer, but since when can a person be arrested because he might have bowed down while visiting a public place? And even if he did bow, where exactly in the criminal code is such an act forbidden? How sadly ironic that this took place during Succot, when each day in the additional Mussaf prayer, we ask God to rebuild the Temple to which “we will ascend and appear and bow before You during our three pilgrimage seasons.”
Similar examples unfortunately abound. A chilling You- Tube video shot back in January shows big, burly Israeli policemen surrounding an Israeli teen on the Temple Mount and detaining him after he put his hand over his eyes and appeared to recite the Shema prayer. And just last week, five Israeli teens were arrested when they prayed at the entrance gate before setting foot on the Mount, even though a district court judge had previously ordered the police to allow them to do so.
For years, Jews ascending the Temple Mount have faced all sorts of restrictions such as limits on the hours they can visit and prohibitions against carrying a Bible, a prayer book or an Israeli flag. There have even been cases where police arrested Jews for moving their lips in a manner suggesting that they may have uttered a silent prayer.
In a sign that European countries may be increasing their support for Israel’s battle against UNESCO’s Jerusalem resolutions, Italy announced on Friday that it would vote against such texts in the future.
These resolutions are “incomprehensible, unacceptable and wrong,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told an Italian Radio station during a visit to Brussels. Earlier this week he was in Washington, where he was honored with a state dinner at the White House.
Renzi’s decision increases to seven the small bloc of six-countries that have opposed these resolutions.
Ultimately, if Israel plans to defeat such resolutions it will need countries to follow Italy’s lead, rather than Mexico’s, which made headlines earlier this week when it withdrew its support from the Jerusalem text.
Mexico, however, doesn’t plan to oppose the measure, intending instead to take the neutral position of abstaining. Such abstentions help Israel secure a moral victory, but ultimately do not help it defeat such Jerusalem resolutions which ignore Jewish and Christian ties to Temple Mount, referring to it solely by its Muslim name of Al Haram Al Sharif.
“We warmly congratulate the Italian government and the Italian Prime Minster for this useful statement,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said.
“We hope Italy guides the way for other European countries and countries all over the world,” Nachshon said.
Last Friday, Channel 10 anchorwoman Ayala Hasson asked the Executive Board chairman of UNESCO whether that international organization would adopt a resolution that said Christians had no ties to the Vatican or that Muslims had no ties to Mecca.
“Such a resolution would never happen,” replied Michael Worbs of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Of course not. Such things only happen to the Jews. Such preposterous resolutions can be expectorated by the global community only with regard to Israel.
Only when it comes to denying the Jewish people’s claim to its ancestral homeland; especially its historic ties in Jerusalem; and most especially its foundational links to the site of the Holy Temples – can crackpot clubs like UNESCO assert that the earth is flat and Jews have no place on it.
The usual suspects voted in April and again last week for the dingbat resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. Unfortunately, supposedly semi-friendly countries like Russia joined them; and ostensible friends of the Jewish state such as France, Italy, Kenya and Japan abstained.
This is wicked and witless. As Prof. Martin Kramer has pointed out, “Jews were worshiping in their Temple in Jerusalem when Moscow was a pine forest, and Jews had prayed for the Temple’s restoration for a thousand years before a Slav laid the first brick of the Kremlin.”
But what’s truly infuriating and disappointing about the UNESCO vote is the deafening silence of significant Christian figures.
Palestinians are celebrating the latest vote by UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization—to treat Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the Western Wall as solely Muslim holy sites. Though, as I noted last week, support for their efforts to deny Jewish history is declining, for both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the votes are a key element of their ongoing diplomatic campaign to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state. But though both they and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s left-wing critics are quick to seize on this as proof they are winning, the pyrrhic nature of this victory is becoming more obvious with each passing day.
That’s not just because shortly after the UNESCO board approved the offensive resolution, the organization’s director-general issued a statement rejecting its premise and condemning it as unhelpful to the cause of peace. Nor is that evaluation solely due to the fact that Mexico announced that it disavowed its vote for the measure or the subsequent news that Brazil also said it would not back similar resolutions in the future. That more and more nations are refusing to go along with the usual Third World demonization of Israel is the result of the Netanyahu government’s diplomatic breakthroughs. It is, though, also the product of a realization of what the Palestinians are doing and that ought to be the main takeaway from this episode.
Let’s agree that the votes are an awful spectacle. That any international group, even an agency of a United Nations that has become immersed in a culture of anti-Semitism and hate for Israel, would deny that the site of the biblical temple of ancient Israel has anything to do with Judaism and the Jews is shocking. That’s especially true when the evidence of the existence of the Second Temple is staring right at the world in the form of the Western Wall and the network of ruins that run along the Temple Mount plateau, where mosques were planted to assert Islamic pre-eminence during the period of Muslim conquest.
Arguments about a possible re-partition of Jerusalem—reversing its unification and restoring a division that existed between 1949 and 1967 when illegal Jordanian occupiers barred Jews from their holy sites—are normative in the international community. What the Palestinians have done by changing the topic to denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem is something else. It is, in effect, a dropping of the veil from their purported desire only to return to the situation of June 4, 1967, when an embattled Israel prepared to be attacked despite not being in possession of the West Bank, Gaza, or the parts of Jerusalem held by the Jordanians.
In this respect, he echoed the long-held (and in some quarters still held) view among Middle East “experts” in the American and international foreign policy crowd that were it not for the Palestinian issue, most problems in the region, including that of the West’s problematic relationship with the Arab world, would have been long resolved.
Prof. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to president Carter, rarely addressed any Middle East subject without prefacing it with the statement that the “Road to Baghdad” (or Damascus, Cairo, etc.) “leads through Jerusalem,” implying that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – usually adding that this would require concessions especially on the part of Israel – was the way to any positive developments in the Middle East. Those “experts” ignored, among other things, the fact that by far the greater majority of wars and upheavals in the Middle East since the end of the Second World War had nothing to do with the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.
Most of the world applauded the Oslo agreement (though some critics observed that it could easily fit in as another chapter in Barbara Tuchman’s March of Folly) while Israelis who had initially been supportive soon soured ― with buses blown up by Palestinian terrorists in Tel Aviv and elsewhere. But it took the dramatic unraveling of the entire region and the ensuing turmoil created by the Arab Spring, the rise of al-Qaida, ISIS and other Islamic terrorists on the one hand, and Iran’s terror promoting and destabilizing activities on the other, to open the eyes of most of the world as to the real symptoms of the Middle East situation (though even today there are those who still refuse to accept this reality, and declare the Palestinian problem to be the root of everything that has gone wrong in the region).
There were two basic misapprehensions regarding the supposed link between the Palestinian issue and Peres’s approach: namely, that the Arab world and especially its leaders – notwithstanding their declared empathy for the lot of the Palestinians – did not necessarily see their particular national and geopolitical interests exclusively through the prism of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict; and on the other hand, that many Arabs and significantly most Palestinian Arabs, did not (and do not) see the creation of a Palestinian state in parts of “Palestine” as their real aim, but rather the total disappearance of the State of Israel.
Clifford D. May: A final stab at resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
You’re probably familiar with the old story about the inebriated guy looking for his wallet at night under a streetlight — not because that’s where he dropped it but because what would be the point of poking around in the dark? This, in essence, has been the American approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for years.
Over and over, the Israelis are asked to make concessions, to “take risks for peace.” Under pressure, they sometimes do. Reciprocal concessions are not demanded of Palestinian leaders because what would be the point of asking for what they can’t or won’t do? Hamas, which rules Gaza, rejects the very idea of peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state. Hamas’ openly stated goal is Israel’s annihilation. As for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he can’t set foot in Gaza and, on the West Bank, his support has grown so thin he couldn’t sign a peace agreement with Israel even if he wanted to — and it’s by no means clear he does.
Too many of us have short memories. In 2000 at Camp David, President Bill Clinton presented Israeli and Palestinian leaders with his “parameters” for a “two-state solution.” The Palestinians, Mr. Clinton would later write, were to receive “roughly 97 percent of the West Bank,” all of Gaza, as well as sections of east Jerusalem. The Israelis were to get “a formal end to the conflict.” This was not a baseline for further talks — this was as far as Mr. Clinton believed the Israelis could possibly go in exchange for a promise.
The Israelis accepted the deal. Then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat did not. Instead, he proceeded to ignite a wave of terrorist violence against Israelis that became known as the Second Intifada.
Five years later, another “land for peace” experiment was run: Israelis withdrew from Gaza, territory taken from Egypt — not from Palestinians — in the defensive war of 1967. Before long Hamas and Fatah, its rival, led by Mr. Abbas, were embroiled in a brutal civil war there. Hamas won. Instead of providing Gazans with peace and prosperity, Hamas began launching missiles into Israel and, more recently, digging terrorist tunnels under Israeli villages and farms. Today, Hamas collaborates with the Islamic State, which is waging jihad against Egypt in Sinai, land Israel also seized in 1967 but returned to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty.
This recent history is especially relevant now because President Obama is expected to refocus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the November elections, during his final days in office. He has reportedly asked the State Department to come up with a list of options. Among them: “Obama parameters” that would replace the Clinton parameters, measures to discourage and/or punish those who support Israeli settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines (which would give a boost to efforts to delegitimize Israel, notably the Boycott, Divest and Sanction, or BDS, campaign), and not vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution that would recognize a Palestinian state.
US support for a resolution to replace UN Security Council Resolution 242 would conflict with commitments given to Israel by Washington going back to 1973, former Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“I remember that after the ’73 war the United States gave Israel commitments that it would not allow for a change in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242,” Gold said.
“The United States is Israel’s major ally, that has not changed,” Gold told the Post on the sidelines of a speech he delivered to the Israel Allies Caucus conference in Jerusalem.
“While we have tactical disagreements from time to time, I believe that America will stick by its commitments to Israel.”
Resolution 242 was approved in November 1967, some five months after the Six Day War. It is the basis on which the entire Israeli-Arab peace process is structured.
Most significantly, its text specified an Israeli withdrawal from “territories” – not “the territories” – captured during the war.
“All the peace agreements [and initiatives] were based on this resolution,” Gold said.
“Both Egypt and the United States have warned the Palestinian leadership not to advance any moves at the UN Security Council until after the U.S. presidential election next month, a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz on Thursday.
Egypt currently holds a rotating seat on the Security Council and the U.S. is a permanent member.
According to the senior Palestinian official, the messages were sent both directly and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority, through Western and Arab intermediaries. The messages stressed that until the U.S. election is over, Washington will veto any resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, including a denunciation of the settlements…
Despite the Palestinians’ dissatisfaction with this situation, he added, they do not intend to make any moves at the Security Council until after the U.S. elections. Immediately after the elections however, the Palestinians do plan to ramp up their efforts at the Security Council, a senior Abbas aide said.
‘We’re at the consultation stage now, and we’ll advance our move after the elections,’ he said. ‘At the moment, there’s no agreement on the final wording, and it’s not clear to us what the American position will be and if, after the elections, the administration really will be willing to cooperate, or will still cast a veto.’…”
Hillary Clinton’s plan to meet Israel’s prime minister in her first month as president is listed high in an internal campaign memo outlining the priorities of her first 100 days — a sign of how important it is to repair bilateral tensions.
The campaign’s determination to distance itself from President Barack Obama’s difficult relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu is seeded throughout emails stolen from her campaign chairman John Podesta’s private account and dumped in recent weeks by WikiLeaks. (Podesta is one of the officials CC’d on the first 100 days memo.)
The leaked emails offer a glimpse of the sausage-making of a presidential candidate’s policies when it comes to Israel, the Iran deal and the boycott Israel movement — sometimes spicy, sometimes bland and sometimes hard to swallow.
Improving US-Israel ties
Tony Carrk, the research director for Clinton’s campaign, on January 27 distributed to top campaign officials a compilation titled “top priorities/first 100 days answers.”
It’s not clear how the memo was to be used, but one possibility is as a quick-answer reference for donors, surrogates or reporters.
The Democratic nominee’s pledge to invite the prime minister to visit in her first month is the top entry in the memo’s foreign policy section.
PreOccupiedTerritory: If Abbas Addresses Knesset, Joint List To Boycott Over ‘Normalization’ (satire)
Members of the Joint List political alliance of mostly Arab parties voiced concern today over rumors that Palestinian Authority President and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas might make a historic visit to the Israeli parliament, saying that if the Palestinian leader did so, they would feel compelled to shun the speech as an unacceptable demonstration of “normalization” with the Zionist entity.
MKs Haneen Zoabi, Jamal Zahalke, Ayman Odeh – the list chairman – Dov Henin, Ahmad Tibi, and various officials of the four parties composing the faction gathered this afternoon in this city – Zoabi’s hometown – to coordinate a unified response in the event that Abbas accepts Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s invitation to conduct a historic summit reminiscent of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s address to the Knesset in November 1977 as part of the process that led to the Camp David Accords, a peace agreement that still stands. The group agreed that while it appears unlikely to happen, a swirl of unconfirmed reports of such a development necessitates a coherent policy on the part of the 13-member Joint List. They agreed unanimously to boycott any Abbas speech to the parliament, as condoning it would send the wrong message to the world.
MK Odeh explained that more than simple international relations was at work. “There’s a personal political element mixed in,” he noted. “A good number of us have staked our political careers on aligning ourselves with some of the most radical anti-Israel factions among the Palestinians, and to abandon those partners and their rejection of normalization with Israel just because the leader of the PLO has decided to pursue a path of conciliation would be a shameful betrayal of our paths to date.”
Yasser Arafat did not hesitate to attend the Islamic Summit conference organised by Pakistan in 1974, despite his cordial relations with Indira Gandhi. He was also reportedly jubilant about the ‘Islamic nuclear bomb’ of Pakistan. Such consistent non-reciprocal gestures have frustrated sensible Indians. This was revealed soon after India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in January of 1993, by none other than J N Dixit, then foreign secretary of India. He bluntly asked, “What have the Arabs given us, if I may ask? Did they vote for us in the Kashmir issue? Were they supportive of us when we had the East Pakistan crisis?” (Kumaraswamy, P R “Israel-India Relations: Seeking Balance and Realism,” Israel Affairs, Autumn/Winter 2004)
Worse, the so-called Palestinian jihadists have used Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) for terrorist training against Israel and pro-Palestinian propaganda nodes in various nations including the US also import jihadists to fight jihad in Kashmir. For example, Nabil Awqil who provided logistics for the notorious ‘shoe bomber’ in Israel, was originally trained in PoK. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a supposedly non-fundamentalist organisation for promoting a ‘positive image of Islam in the US’ was co-funded by Omar Ahmed who also co-founded Islamic Association for Palestine. Not only that the organisation often takes a pro-Hamas pro-Hezbollah stands, its employee Randall Ismail was indicted in 2003 for his role in a US-based jihad network that visited and supported terrorist camps in Pakistan which trained jihadists to fight in Kashmir. (Matthew Levitt & Dennis Ross, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, Yale University Press, 2007) Islamist missionary organisations like Tablighi Jamaat, working in US had recruited and indoctrinated African-Americans and had them sent for Jihad in Kashmir. (For a detailed study see Alex Alexiev, Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s Stealthy Legions, Middle East Quarterly Winter 2005, pp. 3-11) So essentially, India’s perceived closeness with Israel does make no difference in the clash of civilisations unleashed by jihadist forces against the Hindus and Jews.
Whatever cuckoo land India’s old media barons prefer to live in, Israeli commando operations like the one in Entebbe have set the standards for the expected state response to terrorism in common men and women. If the old media feels perturbed by Prime Minister’s eulogising of Indian military surgical strikes drawing parallel with the legendary prowess of Israeli military, then there is another comparison with Israel to which their attention should be drawn. A visiting missile technologist from India to Israel praised Israeli media for providing positive, spirit lifting news of the accomplishments of Israeli common citizens against the backdrop of daily terrorist attacks which Israelis face. He wanted the Indian media to emulate this aspect of Israeli media. His name was Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
The recent reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey hit a bump on Wednesday, when a Turkish court refused to dismiss a case against members of the Israeli military, a key condition of the agreement.
Dismissing the legal charges against IDF officers connected to a 2010 naval raid on a Turkish flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip was a key Israeli demand in the talks.
But, Channel 2 television reported, a court in Istanbul on Wednesday refused to dismiss the case and, instead postponed the hearing until December.
The raid, in which IDF commandos were attacked by activists on board the Mavi Marmara vessel, left 10 Turks dead and several Israeli soldiers wounded. Israel several weeks ago paid Turkey $20 million in compensation for the deadly raid, another central pillar of the deal.
The compensation was a key Turkish demand in the reconciliation deal, along with an apology by Israel and an easing of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Argentina issued another extradition warrant Thursday for an Iranian ex-foreign minister over the deadly bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, the government said.
Investigating Judge Rodolfo Canicoba asked Baghdad to extradite Ali Akbar Velayati, who is on the Interpol wanted list, since he is currently on Iraqi soil.
He asked Iraq to arrest Velayati, now a senior aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, “in order to extradite him, after learning via the international press that the accused traveled to Baghdad” on Wednesday, the Argentine justice ministry said in a statement.
In July, Argentina issued a similar warrant to Singapore and Malaysia after learning Velayati was on a lecture tour to those countries.
Argentine investigators accuse Velayati and four other Iranian former officials, including ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of orchestrating the July 18, 1994 car bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) center in Buenos Aires.
The Iranians allegedly ordered the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to carry out the bombing, the deadliest terror attack in the South American country’s history.
Since the individuals who set out with the goal of carrying out an attack know that their action will likely end with their death, their deeds can be seen as a kind of sacrifice. Although some have left behind explicit wills in which they do not attribute national or religious justification to their actions, the general atmosphere, namely the Israeli occupation and the political deadlock, creates a national-religious context for the attacks and may be used to accelerate the outbreak of more organized and dangerous terrorism.
Israel cannot address all of the fundamental problems motivating “lone wolf” terrorism, but it can moderate some of these factors with the goal of partially addressing the causes of the phenomenon and not just its symptoms. There is great importance in maintaining a low level of friction with the civilian population and continuing to refrain from collective punishment. In addition, Israel can make a very significant contribution toward improvement of the economic reality in the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority’s strengthened ability to govern, which in turn can improve the restraint of violence.
Regarding the long term, with the continued stalemate of the political process on the one hand, and understanding the importance of a functional and effective PA on the other, Israel can act to redefine the kinds of areas in the West Bank. For example, Israel can redefine Area C in coordination with the Palestinians, or independently, if this coordination does not help. Instead of seeing all of it as a single bloc, it can be categorized into a number of areas representing different statuses for different purposes. For example, different areas can be designated for tourism development, agricultural development, development of industrial parks, and infrastructure development. Distinguishing between different parts of Area C would enable Israel to maintain control over the most essential areas for security and settlement needs, while allowing it to allocate land to the economic infrastructure required for developing the Palestinian economy in a way that expands the territory under full Palestinian control (such as Area A). In addition, Israel can apply the model of the electricity agreement signed recently with the Palestinian Authority to other types of infrastructure, such as water, sewage, environmental protection, and transportation, in a way that delegates more authority and responsibility to the Palestinian Authority. These kinds of agreements aid in improving the PA’s ability to govern and its political performance, reduce the chances of its collapse, restrain violence, and may perhaps even succeed in strengthening its public support, which has significantly eroded in the past year. These kinds of steps might over time change the atmosphere, aid in enlisting the pragmatic Arab world and the international community in renewing the political process, and create better conditions for its revival.
A Palestinian who stabbed and wounded two police officers in Jerusalem last month wrote in a will made before the attack that he was seeking a “martyr’s death,” according to an indictment submitted Thursday at Jerusalem District Court.
Ayman Kurd, 20, from East Jerusalem, stabbed the two officers near the Herod’s Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City on September 19, seriously wounding a 38-year-old policewoman and moderately injuring her 47-year-old male colleague.
The policeman managed to shoot and wound Kurd several times after he was stabbed.
The indictment states that prior to carrying out the attack, Kurd wrote several wills on his phone.
“My mother, my heart, please don’t cry and don’t be angry, pray for me to die as a martyr. I want you and [your sister] to hold a party for me,” the indictment quotes him as saying in one of the wills, Channel 2 reported. “Be assured that I didn’t do this because of anyone, but only because I wanted to.”
Terrorist attacks in Jerusalem doubled last month compared to August, according to Israel’s security agency, the Shin Bet.
There were 26 attacks in the capital in September, compared to 13 in August, the Shin Bet wrote in its monthly report for September published this week. The number of attacks perpetrated against Israelis in the West Bank remained unchanged at 78.
With the increase in Jerusalem, the total number of attacks against Israelis in September rose to 109, constituting a 17 percent increase over the 93 attacks recorded in August. The August figure was the lowest monthly tally recorded since March 2015 and the first dip since then below the 100-incident mark.
Ten Israelis were wounded in the September attacks, compared to seven in August. September saw no Israeli fatalities from attacks.
More than half of the attacks in September involved the hurling of firebombs.
Despite the increase in attacks in Jerusalem, the September tally was 47 percent lower than the average number of attacks carried out there per month since September 2015.
Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of $1.3 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.
The planned purchase aims to replace within the next decade the oldest vessels in its existing Dolphin fleet, which began entering service in 1999, the Maariv daily reported.
Contacted by AFP, the Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report.
Israel already has five of the state-of-the-art German submarines, with a sixth due for delivery in 2017.
Foreign military sources and governments say the Dolphins can be equipped with missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
They believe Israel has between 100 and 200 warheads and missiles capable of delivering them.
Israel is thought to be the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power, refusing to confirm or deny it has such weapons.
“The new submarines are said to be more advanced, longer, and equipped with better accessories,” the newspaper report said.
Terrorist belonging to Fatah, the political party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, are training in Gaza in preparation for a war with Israel, veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh reported Wednesday.
A division of Fatah’s militia, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, recently announced the opening a new terror-training academy in Gaza, in which nearly 300 of its members are enrolled and learning different types of warfare, Abu Toameh reported. The United States, European Union, Israel, Canada, and Japan all have officially designated the Brigade to be a terrorist organization.
The Martyr Nidal al-Amoudi Division is named for a top Martyrs’ Brigade militant who carried out a series of attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers during the Second Intifada, and was killed by Israeli forces in 2008. A statement announcing the opening of the academy explained that the academy was named in his honor “to fulfill his dream of qualifying the fighters militarily, morally, religiously and revolutionarily.”
The Martyr Nidal Al-Amoudi Division is one of five Fatah-linked terrorist groups operating openly in Gaza despite the 2007 split between Fatah and Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs Gaza. Their presence is allowed, Abu Toameh explained, because “now it seems that Hamas has nothing to fear from the Fatah militants, as Israel is the sole target.”
Everywhere in the Gaza Strip, one sees and hears the sounds of reconstruction.
The whizzing of electric saws and the thumping of hammers lasts long into the night; in the streets cars must drive around large piles of rebar and gravel that sit in front of construction sites. In the area that was once the Israeli settlement of Gush Katif, a dozen brand-new residential towers, built with Qatari funding, now glitter in the sun.
Visiting Gaza, in early September, for my first time, I was surprised at how difficult it was to see evidence of the 2014 war, which saw Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, fire thousands of rockets and mortar-bombs into Israeli territory and Israel’s military respond by unleashing thousands of airstrikes (and a ground invasion) in Gaza. In the end, 73 Israelis and more than 2,200 Gazans were dead.
I had the impression, mostly from the media, that Gaza was more or less destroyed. The images of bombed-out buildings and piles of rubble I saw in the news looked apocalyptic, Syria-esque. The reports from human rights groups and NGOs that I’d read were equally horrifying, in particular one published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development last September that said Gaza’s infrastructure had been “ravaged” by the three wars that have occurred there since 2008. The report predicted that the Strip would become “uninhabitable” in five years if current trends persisted.
But, as my taxi brought me south from the Erez Border Crossing toward the heart of Gaza, I was struck by how normal it seemed.
The United States and Saudi Arabia on Thursday imposed sanctions on alleged Hezbollah members and financial backers, accusing them of funneling money to the Lebanese terror group or engaging in terrorism.
The US Treasury Department said it targeted four individuals and one company, effectively freezing their US assets and blocking any transactions with them, while also announcing related action by Saudi Arabia.
In a related action, the US State Department also blacklisted alleged Hezbollah commander Haytham Ali Tabatabai, alias Abu Ali al-Tabatabai, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
Tabatabai has commanded Hezbollah special forces, operated in Syria, and is now believed to be in Yemen, the State Department said. His actions in Syria and Yemen “are part of a larger Hezbollah effort to provide training, materiel and personnel in support of its destabilizing regional activities.”
The State Department declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 1997 and long-standing US efforts have sought to disrupt the organization’s funding.
Gatestone Institute: “Nothing to Do with Islam”?
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