November 21, 2017

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10/31 Links Pt1: Israeli deterrence in a new Middle East; Year Zero: The Palestinians and the Balfour Declaration

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2017/10/1031-links-pt1-israeli-deterrence-in.html

From Ian:


Melanie Phillips: Our crazy world this week
Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network the Democrats’ Russian boomerang (which of course has been generally ignored or scorned), VP Mike Pence’s initiative to support the persecuted Christians of the Middle East, and the Catalan crisis that has erupted in Spain.

Year Zero: The Palestinians and the Balfour Declaration

For the Palestinians, the year zero is not 1948, when the State of Israel came into being, but 1917, when Great Britain issued, in the November of that year, the Balfour Declaration — expressing support for the establishment of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine.

So central is the Balfour Declaration to Palestinian political identity that the “Zionist invasion” is officially deemed to have begun in 1917 — not in 1882, when the first trickle of Jewish pioneers from Russia began arriving, nor in 1897, when the Zionist movement held its first congress in Basel, nor in the late 1920s, when thousands of German Jews fleeing the rise of Nazism chose to go to Palestine.

The year 1917 is the critical date because that is when, as an anti-Zionist might say, the Zionist hand slipped effortlessly into the British imperial glove. It is a neat, simple historical proposition upon which the entire Palestinian version of events rests: an empire came to our land and gave it to foreigners, we were dispossessed, and for five generations now, we have continued to resist.

Moreover, it is given official sanction in the Palestine National Covenant of 1968, in which article 6 defines Jews who “were living permanently in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion” as “Palestinians” — an invasion that is dated as 1917 in the covenants’ notes.

As the Balfour Declaration’s centenary approaches on November 2, tes theme is much in evidence. There is now a dedicated Balfour Apology Campaign in the UK, seeking both British government contrition and British taxpayer-funded reparations for the supposed handing of Palestine, in the words of one British Mandate-era Arab organization, into “the claws of the Jews.”

‘The criminal Balfour Declaration’

The Palestinians – an invented people – have not only tried to deny the rights of Jews to the land they were promised, they have also tried to trace their roots to the Canaanites; they claim Jesus was Palestinian; the Jewish Temple was built in Sinai, not in Jerusalem; the ancient Israelite kings were actually Muslims, and the Jews are just a melee of people that will forever endure God’s wrath; they are actually of Khazar origin, they are not entitled to a homeland, but perhaps they can live as second-class citizens under Islam.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has stood fast in the face of the annoying Palestinian efforts to extract an apology. Instead, she has voiced pride in the declaration and said there were no grounds to walk it back.

The Balfour Declaration is not the basis for Israel. The state was founded based on the historical and religious rights of the people of Israel on this holy soil.

Because the promise of a Jewish national home is anchored in the three monotheistic religions, the Palestinians who are fighting the facts must also sue the biblical prophets, Jesus, and especially Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, who promised this land to the people of Israel and never mentioned the Palestinians.

No apologies for Balfour

When it became clear during WWI that Britain and its allies could roll back Ottoman rule in the Middle East, the government of David Lloyd George recognized it had an historic opportunity to help the Jewish Zionists finally regain their homeland. The majority of his war cabinet were avowed Christians with Zionist sympathies. This was especially true of Lloyd George himself, as well as his foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour and Jan Smuts, who together pressed the full cabinet to commit to restoring the Jews to Eretz Israel. The resulting Balfour Declaration would later give the League of Nations the basis to grant Britain a mandate to help build a Jewish state in the liberated province of Palestine.

Up until then, the victorious European powers normally would have just claimed the vacated Ottoman territories as part of their own empires. However, American president Woodrow Wilson was pushing for the right of “self-determination” among the native peoples of such liberated lands, in order to spread democracy and secure the peace in the post-war era. At the same time, key British Christian statesmen like Jan Smuts and Mark Sykes developed the mandate strategy, arguing that the Western powers had a moral duty to assist these native peoples on their way to independence and self-rule. They viewed the mandate system as a “sacred trust” meant to free foreign lands and peoples from imperial rule.

These Christian architects of the mandate system supported both Zionism and Arab nationalism as equally valid and mutually reinforcing causes. Sykes even designed the four-colored flag of the Arab revolt – which served as the model for the flags flown by numerous Arab states today. Most importantly, they viewed the Jewish people as indigenous to the Middle East, just as much as the Arabs, and thus entitled to reconstitute their historic nation back in their former homeland.

The League of Nations would duly adopt their concept of trusteeships in the Middle East and elsewhere as a way of nation-building and granting self-determination to the native peoples of liberated lands. Britain was granted a temporary mandate in Palestine and Iraq, while France was to oversee nation-building in Lebanon and Syria. In fact, every Arab nation in the Middle East today traces its legal claim to independence back to the same series of decisions and decision-makers that created modern Israel. This all begins with the Balfour Declaration, when British Christian statesmen began to close the door on the age of colonialism, a self-imposed end by the Western nations themselves.

So to assail the Balfour Declaration as an act of colonialism is not only historically inaccurate, it would also call into question the claims to sovereignty of a number Arab nations.

That is not something the Palestinians should really be pursuing.

Why they protest Balfour

This is cause for alarm. An array of NGOs, campus groups and obsessive foreign governments have equipped legions of young anti-Israel activists with the tools and “talking points” to dissect even the most obscure elements of Israeli history.

And while the president of the local Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) can wax lyrical on the colonial evils of the Balfour Declaration, it’s embarrassing that the average Jewish millennial might not have even heard of Balfour, or know why his declaration is such a towering moment in Jewish history. It is in this context that the Brandeis report commented that some Jewish leaders “lacked some of the foundational knowledge that would equip them to engage in Israel-related activity.”

Amid this dire situation, anyone invested in the future welfare of Diaspora Jewry – and the future diplomatic standing of the State of Israel – must prioritize Israel education, and develop its curricula beyond the communal infrastructure which already exists.

Some organizations have certainly recognized this.

Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), the international Jewish fraternity, has launched a worldwide campaign – led by students – which seeks to applaud the British government for the Balfour Declaration. In doing so, AEPi brothers are educating their peers across the world about a crucial moment in Jewish history. It’s educational initiatives like this which should be admired, emulated and repeated.

When the political adversaries of the State of Israel will never forgive the country for existing, the Jewish community cannot be allowed to forget its history. Only if young Jews are aware of their history, thoroughly educated in the facts and determined to educate others do we stand a chance of fighting back against the anti-Zionist narrative.

UK’s Johnson: Balfour Declaration terms ‘not fully realized’

British Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Monday that a key proviso of the 100-year-old Balfour Declaration, which laid the foundations for Israel’s independence, had not been fully met, striking a sympathetic tone toward the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to travel to Britain on Thursday to meet his British counterpart Theresa May and Johnson for the anniversary of the declaration, which said Britain viewed with favor “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Palestinians have long condemned the declaration – named after Arthur Balfour, then the British foreign secretary – as a promise by Britain to hand over land that it did not own.

In an article written for the Daily Telegraph newspaper ahead of Netanyahu’s visit, Johnson described himself as a “friend of Israel,” but also said he was “deeply moved by the suffering of those affected and dislodged by its birth.”

“The vital caveat in the Balfour Declaration – intended to safeguard other communities – has not been fully realized,” he said referring to the clause in the document which said nothing should prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities.

Boris has misread the Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 demanded that a Jewish homeland in Palestine should not prejudice the rights and status of non-Jewish communities in Palestine. The British government, notably the foreign secretary Boris Johnson in a Daily Telegraph op-ed this week, has latched on to this proviso, claiming that it refers to the unfulfilled political rights of the Palestinians, although only civil and religious rights are mentioned in the Declaration itself.

What Johnson and others have ignored, however, is the tail-end of Lord Balfour’s letter to Lord Rothschild: ‘… or of Jews in any other country’. As we all know, the Jewish communities of Europe were decimated by the Nazis, but the rights of Jews in Arab countries were also thoroughly trampled upon, resulting in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of 850,000 Jews and the destruction of their ancient, pre-Islamic communities.

Clearly nothing was demanded of Arab states that were created out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire: they violated any constitutional obligation they may have had towards their own Jewish citizens. A year or two before the declaration of the state of Israel, and before a single Arab Palestinian refugee had fled Israel, the Arab League agreed a Nazi-style draft plan to deprive the Jews of citizenship, threaten them with imprisonment and expel them, having first dispossessed them.

Labor’s Arab MK draws leader’s opprobrium for saying Israeli Arabs aren’t free

The leader of the Labor party on Tuesday said that a statement by an Arab lawmaker from his party claiming that Arab Israelis are not free was “extremist” and untrue.

Avi Gabbay spoke to Israel Radio the day after Labor MK Zouheir Bahloul announced that he would not attend an official Knesset ceremony to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the British government’s landmark expression of approval for the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel. Referring to his Palestinian identity, Bahloul said he felt it would not be appropriate to participate “when I myself am not free.”

“Labor is a party for all Israelis, Arabs, Jews, secular, religious, but I am against extremist statements,” said Gabbay. “It is not a party of extremists, or those who engage in negative discourse,” Gabbay continued. “There is no doubt that they (Arab Israelis) are free.”

A person who is elected to the Knesset “but still says he is not a free person, that is someone with whom I have a huge dispute,” he added.

Speaking to Israel Radio after listening to Gabbay’s comments, Bahloul refused to walk back his comments about the Balfour event.

Foreign press boycotts PM event after photographer asked to strip

Photographers for foreign media walked out of a press conference between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull on Monday in protest after security guards demanded the chief photographer of the European Press Agency take his pants off for inspection.

It was the latest in a series of incidents where guards ordered journalists strip for searches at media events with Netanyahu.

The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories for international news organizations, condemned the incident.

In a statement, the FPA slammed the “needless and humiliating body searches and urges the PMO [Prime Minister’s Office] to train its personnel to treat fully accredited journalists in a respectful and professional manner.”

The FPA said the photographer has Israeli media credentials from the Government Press Office.

Israeli deterrence in a new Middle East

WITH THE beginning of a new Jewish year, Israel’s strategic position has improved dramatically, an indication that Israeli deterrence is working on all fronts and is disrupting its enemies’ war doctrines. This is the bottom line presented in recent weeks by military intelligence’s top echelon to the cabinet.

Israel faces security challenges of various levels on six fronts: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and Egypt.

The two borders with Egypt and Jordan that benefit from the long-standing peace agreements are quiet with the security, military and intelligence cooperation between Israel and Jordan and Israel and Egypt at its peak.

The situation in the West Bank is fragile but manageable. For 50 years, some 2.5 million Palestinians have lived under Israeli occupation in the shadow of the construction of more Jewish settlements. Their daily life is controlled by the bureaucratic whims of the Israeli army with roadblocks everywhere.

And yet, they are largely submissive and accept this reality with the occasional burst of violence and terrorism.

Haley condemns UN official who urged economic sanctions against Israel

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley excoriated a UN official on Friday who urged economic sanctions against Israel and who released a report calling on increased international pressure to end Israel’s “illegal occupation” of the Palestinian territories.

Canadian law professor Michael Lynk, who is the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, cited in a press briefing on Thursday South Africa’s occupation of Namibia as a precedent for calling for the international community to step up pressure on Israel, including through boycott tactics. Those remarks coincided with a report he released the same day making the same argument.

“The United States is deeply disturbed by recent comments from UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk calling for academic and economic boycotts against Israel, and by his report to the ‎UN General Assembly,” Haley said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “Unsurprisingly, the mandate for this report comes from the Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item 7, the only Human Rights Council agenda item that targets a single country: Israel.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, also criticized Lynk, who he said was exploiting his position to spread hateful ideas and energize activists of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction’s (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Report: Saudi Arabia Pushed US to Stop Israel From Expanding Jerusalem Municipality

Saudi Arabia applied diplomatic pressure on Israel via the US to delay a vote on a controversial bill that aims to expand the Jerusalem municipality to include a number of West Bank settlements, the Hebrew news site Ynet reported Tuesday.

A senior White House source said that Saudi Arabia raised the so-called Jerusalem expansion bill during talks with the US that also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the website reported, citing the Saudi-based Al-Watan newspaper.

The diplomatic efforts, along with US opposition to the bill, led to a delay of a ministerial vote on the legislation that was planned for the beginning of the week.

There are also domestic reasons for the delay of the bill. It still lacks a majority in the Knesset, according to coalition sources, and has also fallen prey to a two-week-old coalition kerfuffle between the ruling Likud party and its coalition partner Jewish Home that led to a freezing of multiple bills in the cabinet and Knesset.

On Monday, the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper reported that a senior US official told the daily that the Trump administration is continuing to work with Israel and the Palestinians toward reaching a peace agreement, but will not impose a deal on the two sides.

Palestinian Authority Denies Report of Abbas Demand That Hamas Recognize Israel

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refuted a report citing an alleged demand by PA President Mahmoud Abbas that members of the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas must recognize Israel if they want to be included in the cabinet of a unity government.

Haaretz had reported Monday that Abbas made the statement during a meeting with 12 former Israeli lawmakers at the PA headquarters in Ramallah.

In response to the report, Abbas’s office said, “The presidency denies the remarks attributed to the president by Haaretz.”

Both the US and Israel stated in October that they would not negotiate with any Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas as long as the terror group refuses to recognize Israel, among other conditions.

Yet Yahya Sinwar, the political chief of Hamas in Gaza, said on Oct. 19, “Gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel.”

Life term sought for brother of jihadist who killed French Jews in school attack

Prosecutors in the trial of the brother of the Islamist radical who shot dead seven people including three Jewish children in southwest France in 2012 called Monday for him to be jailed for life.

Abdelkader Merah, 35, should be ineligible for parole for 22 years, prosecutor Naima Rudloff told the court as the trial that began on October 2 reached its final phase.

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He was accused of knowingly facilitating his brother Mohamed Merah’s attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in which a rabbi, two of the rabbi’s children aged three and five and an eight-year-old girl were killed.

The attack, which Merah carried out in the name of Al-Qaeda, was the deadliest on Jews in France in three decades and the first of a wave of violence by homegrown jihadists that has killed more than 200 people.

Over the course of his nine-day killing spree, Merah also shot dead three soldiers based in the nearby garrison town of Montauban before police killed him after a 32-hour siege of his home.

After Gaza blast, Israel says prepared for any scenario, doesn’t seek escalation

The IDF on Monday blew up a Hamas attack tunnel still under construction that had entered Israeli territory.

The “controlled explosion,” as the IDF called it, destroyed the tunnel, which began in Khan Yunis in Gaza and continued into Israel, ending only 2 kilometers from the border community of Kissufim.

Palestinian sources said nine terrorists were killed in the tunnel, including a senior commander of al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military arm. They reportedly weren’t inside the tunnel during the explosion, but were on the Palestinian side of the tunnel and were killed when they came to rescue others who were trapped.

The attack on the tunnel, conducted by the Southern Command, was achieved through several air strikes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman touted the blast as a show of Israel’s technological advancement.

“I told you many times that we are developing groundbreaking technology to deal with the tunnel threat,” Netanyahu said at a Likud faction meeting. “Today, we detected a tunnel and destroyed it, and we will continue doing so… We will continue to protect Israel’s borders.”

Liberman called the achievement “a result of high operational capabilities and a significant technological breakthrough that allows us to better deal with the tunnel threat.”

“I think the message is clear to all,” Liberman said, “we will not tolerate breaches of Israeli sovereignty… This proves that, despite Palestinian unity, the Gaza Strip remains a terrorist kingdom and, for us, there is no doubt Hamas, which controls Gaza, is responsible.”

The defense minister added, however, that Israel is not interested in an escalation.

The new technology that led to the tunnel blast

After more than a decade of attempts to find innovative ways of neutralizing the threat of terror tunnels dug by Hamas and other terror groups from Gaza into Israeli territory, after a series of clandestine experiments, all at the cost of billions of shekels, Israel may have finally found a solution that will enable its southern residents to sleep better at night.

The tunnel dug by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that on Monday was exploded by the IDF had no exit point in Israel, even though it penetrated the border into its territory.

Just one kilometer of digging is all it took for the militants to infiltrate tens of meters into Israeli territory near the border over the last few months, hoping they would not be detected.

Palestinian tunnel workers using giant jackhammers, masses of cement and dozens of trucks operated near the border fence with Gaza, near the South Gaza city of Khan Yunis—where the Gaza obstacle project has yet to reach, as parts of the underground anti-tunnel smart barrier have been built mainly in more threatened areas in the northern Gaza Strip.

IDF engineering forces worked from time to time in direct line of the tunnel diggers who were killed Monday, but on a small scale and at a much lower frequency and narrower breadth than them. It is doubtful that those terrorists who were digging could ever have known their fate.

The IDF installed new technology on the Gaza border, which recently alerted the forces in the sector that a tunnel is being dug underground—and crossed the border into Israel.

IDF responds to criticism: We don’t apologize for killing terrorists

After politicians criticized the army on Tuesday for appearing to apologize for killing terrorist leaders in the bombing of a Gaza attack tunnel the day before, the military clarified that its comments were taken out of context and that it does not regret their deaths.

On early Monday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces blew up an attack tunnel that had entered Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. At least seven terrorists, including two senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders, were killed in the blast and its aftermath, a dozen more were wounded and, as of Tuesday afternoon, five were still missing in the rubble, according to the coastal enclave’s health ministry.

Several hours after the demolition of the tunnel, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis responded to a reporter’s question about the goal of the tunnel blast, saying that the operation was intended only to destroy the underground infrastructure and was “not in any way” meant to assassinate senior terrorist leaders.

Taking to Twitter in response to the comment, Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday morning accused the military of “apologizing” for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders’ deaths.

“It is forbidden to apologize for successfully destroying terrorists,” Bennett wrote. “Let’s be clear – these were terrorists involved in digging an attack tunnel inside Israeli territory with which they intended to kill Israeli women and children.”

Bennett, who is a member of the security cabinet, said that although Monday’s operation was the deadliest incident in the coastal enclave since the 2014 Gaza war, Israel does not want an escalation of violence with Gaza.

Schools near Gaza back to routine despite tensions over destroyed tunnel

Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip called off the additional safety precautions that were set to be enforced on Tuesday amid heightened tensions between Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups over the destruction of an attack tunnel by Israeli forces.

On Monday night, the two local councils bordering the Strip — Eshkol and Shaar Hanegev — announced that students were to be kept in protected areas and not allowed outside for recess and that farmers were also to be kept away from the border.

However, on Tuesday morning, both councils canceled those safety measures and were “returning to normal,” officials said.

“Studies will take place, as usual, without special instructions,” a spokesperson for the Eshkol region said.

Kibbutz Kissufim, which is closest to the attack tunnel, was set to remain a “closed military zone” on Tuesday, meaning only residents were allowed to enter, the army said.

The military cordoned off the area on Monday after the attack tunnel was detonated.

Terror Tunnel: The Media’s Selective Omission

The Washington Post, BBC and The Guardian all fail to mention that the tunnel had been destroyed from the Israeli side of the border. Instead, references to the 2014 Gaza conflict, which took place, in the main, within the Gaza Strip itself, do nothing to dispel the impression that that the IDF has once again taken action against Palestinian territory.

The BBC’s headline (note the use of the word “militants”), with the stress on Gaza, also implies that this incident took place there rather than on Israeli territory.

Ultimately, this incident clearly shows that Palestinian terrorists are still working towards carrying out acts of violence and terror against Israelis. It is clear who the aggressors are. The media should also make it clear.

We’ve contacted the media outlets above asking for clarifications.

After tunnel blast, Palestinians warn Israel ‘opened gates of hell’ (yes that again)

Following the IDF’s destruction of an attack tunnel leading into Israel, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza on Monday threatened to retaliate and called for an emergency meeting of the various armed factions.

Islamic Jihad leader Muhammad el-Hindi said the tunnel blast, which left seven Palestinians dead and 12 others wounded, ended the ceasefire with Israel and put the terrorist group on high alert.

“Israel started a war, the gates of hell will open on it,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Palestinian terrorist group called the incident a “clear declaration of war by Israel. We are examining all the options so as not to squander the possibility of responding to this aggression.”

Hamas said in a statement that “the Zionist enemy will pay for its crimes. We will not sit idly by.”

The group, which controls the Gaza Strip, also called the Israeli measure “a desperate attempt to sabotage efforts to restore Palestinian unity and maintain the state of division.”

Hamas promises ‘blood for blood’ after tunnel bombing, but sticks to unity plans

Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday said the terror group intends to respond with violence to the deaths of seven Gaza terrorists Monday after Israel blew up an attack tunnel that stretched into Israeli territory, but suggested the response would be delayed as Palestinian factions work toward reconciliation.

“I assure the leadership of [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad: blood for blood, destruction for destruction,” said Haniyeh, speaking at the funeral for those who died in the tunnel, which was built and controlled by the PIJ terror group. PIJ possesses the second-largest military in Gaza after Hamas.

Five of the dead belonged to PIJ, two of whom were senior leaders, while two members of Hamas’s military wing were also killed during a rescue operation in the exploded tunnel, according to the group.

Iran blasts ‘bloodthirsty’ Israel after terror tunnel destroyed

Iran on Monday condemned Israel as “bloodthirsty” after the Israel Defense Forces blew up an attack tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, killing seven people, including two commanders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

“The bloodthirsty Zionist regime is trying to bend the will of the oppressed people of the occupied territories to guarantee its security by killing Palestinian youths,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

“This is while seven decades of crimes, bloodshed and child-killing could not weaken the determination of this patient and courageous people at all,” he added.

The IDF on Monday said it “neutralized a terror tunnel” that was discovered inside Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip and is believed to have been dug after 2014. The tunnel was being built by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

The blast killed at least five members of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, including a senior commander and his deputy, and two members of Hamas’s military wing died in rescue efforts. At least 12 others were injured, Gaza’s health ministry said. Many reports said the terrorists were killed inside the tunnel, though this was not definitively clear.

The statement from Iran came days after a Hamas delegation visited Tehran and officials in the Iranian regime praised the Gaza rulers for not abandoning its armed struggle against Israel.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Halloween Corpse Costumes Of 7 Jihadists So Convincing, They Get Funerals, Burial (satire)

The realism of seven Islamists’ Halloween corpse costumes proved so compelling yesterday that their colleagues, friends, and family ended up holding massive funerals for them and burying them, witnesses are reporting.

A group of militants in a tunnel running from the Gaza Strip into Israel donned their dead-body getup in two stages Monday in celebration of Halloween, in an elaborate design that involved explosions, dust, collapsed concrete, and injured friends. Observers have praised the fighters’ commitment to the role, which they refused to abandon even as they were interred.

“That’s some of the finest cosplay I’ve seen,” gushed Ayama Zambi, 30, who attended the funerals. “They had every details right, and didn’t flinch once, from the moment they went lifeless to the last clod of earth covering their bodies. Kudos.”

“I can’t imagine the preparation that went into those costumes,” agreed Dahka M’tiha. “It looked like a real team effort, too, with so many guys playing their roles in the farce to a T.”

Two Palestinians shot after driving ‘suspiciously’ at soldiers — army

Israeli troops shot two Palestinians, killing one, after they accelerated their car at the soldiers in the West Bank on Tuesday, the army said.

The Israel Defense Forces said it was investigating the incident to determine if the Palestinians were attempting to ram their car into the soldiers or if it was a misunderstanding.

The Palestinian driver, who died of his wounds, was identified as Muhammad Abdallah Ali Musa, 26. His sister, Latifah Musa, 33, was shot in the shoulder, according to Palestinian media.

“A Palestinian vehicle suspiciously approached IDF soldiers near the village of Nabi Saleh,” the army said in a statement.

According to soldiers at the scene, just north of the Halamish settlement, the Palestinian-registered vehicle accelerated toward them.

“The soldiers perceived the vehicle as a threat and consequently fired toward it in order to stop it,” the army statement said.

The soldiers shot the vehicle four times.

With Saddam statue, Abbas thumbs his nose at the US

While Americans have been tearing down statues that honor people who don’t deserve to be honored, Palestinian Arabs are doing exactly the opposite. A statue honoring Saddam Hussein, the notorious dictator, terror sponsor and mass murderer, was unveiled last week in the Palestinian Authority (PA) city of Qalqilya.

Technically, the statue was sponsored by the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), not the municipality of Qalqilya or the PA itself. But the PA’s district governor for the Qalqilya District, Rafi Rawajba, attended the unveiling ceremony. Rawajba is a representative of the Fatah movement, which PA President Mahmoud Abbas chairs.

You can see from the photos distributed by The Associated Press that the statue is 20 feet tall, with lights so everyone can see it at night, too. And it’s situated smack in the middle of a major street. If the mayor or Abbas didn’t want there, it would be gone in five minutes.

In fact, the ALF has erected statues of Saddam in several other PA-controlled cities, too, and Abbas has not ordered them taken down, either. That’s because he was always one of Saddam’s biggest fans. Abbas could have written the Arabic inscription on the statue himself: “Allah is great, long live the nation, Palestine and Iraq, the Lord of the era’s martyrs Saddam Hussein.”

EMRI: Is The JCPOA Working?

Introduction

All JCPOA supporters rely on the claim that “the agreement is working” and on the eight confirmations granted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Iran that it is in compliance with the agreement .

Reality, however, invalidates this claim, on four levels:

a. Violations of the agreement in letter, not just “in spirit,” in issues that are critical, not marginal.

b. Developments on the ground that contradict the aim of the agreement.

c. The lack of real inspection, making the IAEA’s confirmation misleading.

d. The IAEA’s role in this deliberate misrepresentation that real inspection is carried out and that Iran is abiding by the agreement.

This paper will present evidence that the agreement is not working.

Iran debuts nuclear power plant in Bushehr

A new nuclear power station, including two nuclear reactors, was dedicated Tuesday during a festive ceremony in the southern port city of Bushehr in Iran. The inauguration of the reactor took place in the presence of representatives of the Russian nuclear program.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, expressed hope that within seven years his country would inaugurate the second unit at the Bushehr nuclear power station. “This is a symbol of the strategic cooperation between Russia and Iran,” the Iranian official said at the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the project. “The Shura Council has enabled us to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power, as part of the development plan that will end in 2025,” the Fars News Agency quoted the senior official as telling reporters.

Because Iran is a dry country and the construction of a large power plant requires a source of water, explained Salehi, small nuclear power stations should be established. He cited the transfer of electricity from the major plants to the rest of the country is economically inefficient.

In November 2014, Iran’s development companies signed two contracts, worth $10 billion, with Russian companies for the construction of power plants to produce electric energy. The capacity of the new plants will be about 2,100 megawatts.

Meanwhile, Iranian National Security Council head Ali Shamkhani said that, “Iran is not prepared to discuss any part of the nuclear agreement and issues related to Iran’s defense measures. Our defensive capabilities are built on an internal basis, we will not negotiate our missile program,” he said.

Saudi Arabia to Extract Uranium for ‘Self-Sufficient’ Nuclear Program

Saudi Arabia plans to extract uranium domestically as part of its nuclear power program and sees this as a step towards “self-sufficiency” in producing atomic fuel, a senior official said on Monday.

Extracting its own uranium also makes sense from an economic point of view, said Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, head of the Saudi government agency tasked with the nuclear plans, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE).

In a speech at an international nuclear power conference in Abu Dhabi, he did not specify whether Saudi Arabia seeks to also enrich and reprocess uranium—steps in the fuel cycle which are especially sensitive as they can open up the possibility of military uses of the material.

The world’s top oil exporter says it wants to tap atomic power for peaceful purposes only in order to diversify its energy supply and will award a construction contract for its first two nuclear reactors by the end of 2018.

“Regarding the production of uranium in the kingdom, this is a program which is our first step towards self-sufficiency in producing nuclear fuel,” Yamani told a conference organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “We utilize the uranium ore that has been proven to be economically efficient.”

Atomic reactors need uranium enriched to around 5 percent purity but the same technology in this process can also be used to enrich the heavy metal to higher, weapons-grade levels.

ISIS Threatens ‘Zionist’ Spanish Soccer Star in Latest World Cup Lead-Up Threat

Ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Russia, ISIS has been issuing threats to a number of top international soccer stars.

One of the latest players to be targeted was Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio. In an image published online by a pro-ISIS media group, the 21-year Spaniard — who visited Israel earlier this month with his country’s national team to take part in a World Cup qualifier — is seen kneeling in front of a masked ISIS fighter, with Saint Petersburg’s Krestovsky Stadium in the background.

“Marco Asensio is Zionis [sic],” a statement inscribed on the graphic claimed.

While in Jerusalem several weeks ago, Asensio drew the ire of anti-Israel social media commenters when he used an Israeli flag emoji in tweet of a photo of himself on a balcony overlooking the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock.

Other prominent players who have been the subject of recent ISIS threats have included Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.



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