PA police prevent IDF from entering Jenin, fire rifles in air
Palestinian Authority police apparently prevented Israeli security forces from entering the West Bank city of Jenin on Sunday afternoon, according to videos posted on social media websites.
The Israel Defense Forces said it was looking into the incident.
In the footage posted by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, the PA security officers, armed with assault rifles, can be seen standing in front of IDF vehicles, blocking their entrance into the city.
As the armored jeeps approach, the Palestinian officers can be heard shouting and cocking their weapons.
After a few moments, the Israeli armored jeeps make a U-turn and exit the city.
In one such clip, posted by the Hamas-linked al-Quds News Network, the Palestinian officers can be heard firing shots in the air as the Israeli vehicles leave the city.
Israel condemns Saturday’s terror attack on Istanbul and expects Turkey to condemn all terror attacks on Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
Netanyahu’s comments at the top of Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting came one day before Turkey’s new ambassador was set to present his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin.
“In the struggle against terrorism there has to be a mutuality in condemnation as well as in thwarting the attacks, and that is Israel’s expectation from all countries it has relations with,” Netanyahu said.
In a Channel 2 interview last month, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he does not view Hamas as a terror organization, calling them instead a “political movement born from [a] national resurrection.” He also said he meets with Hamas “all the time.”
Netanyahu also noted that in a few weeks time, Israel will begin marking 50 years to the unification of Jerusalem.
A Kurdish militant group on Sunday claimed responsibility for twin attacks that ripped through the heart of Istanbul, killing 38 people, mostly police.
The claim was made in a statement issued by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), seen as an splinter group of the better-known Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“A revenge squad from TAK carried out simultaneous attacks outside Istanbul Vodafone Arena stadium and Macka park at around 2230 local time (1930 GMT),” according to a TAK statement published on its website.
The militant group said the twin attacks were carried out by two TAK militants, without providing any details about the perpetrators.
Turkish government officials had earlier pointed the finger of blame at the PKK, which has waged a bloody campaign against the Turkish state since 1984.
The carnage prompted a sharp response from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vowed Ankara would “fight the scourge of terrorism right to the end.”
“They should know that they will not get away with it… They will pay a heavier price,” the president said.
Egyptian media said Sunday a blast at Cairo’s main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and injured at least another 35.
The explosion occurred at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in central Cairo.
The cathedral is the seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and is home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.
There were no claims of responsibility for any attack, but jihadists in Sinai have targeted Christians before, as well as Muslims they accuse of working with the government.
Egypt’s official MENA news agency said an assailant lobbed a bomb into a chapel close to the outer wall of the cathedral.
However, witnesses said the explosion may have been caused by an explosive device planted inside the chapel. Conflicting accounts are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks.
As you may already know, everyone’s favorite DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein is a regular on Iran’s Press TV – one of the only outlets that will have him. They even refer to him as a journalist!
I personally love it that they have him on because 1. it shows just how beyond the pale he is and 2. his appearances invariably provide grist for my mill.
Like this latest one.
So I thought I’d have a little fun with it.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump feels “very warmly” toward Israel and the Jewish people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” scheduled to air on Sunday night.
“I know him [Trump] very well, and I think his attitude, his support for Israel is very clear. He feels very warmly about the Jewish state, about the Jewish people and about Jewish people. There’s no question about that.” Netanyahu told journalist Lesley Stahl.
The prime minister further said he expects Israel-U.S. relations to grow stronger under the Trump administration.
Commenting on the rocky relationship Netanyahu has had with outgoing President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said he believed the differences were never personal.
“Yes, we had differences of opinion — I had differences of opinion with President Obama, most well known of course is Iran, [but] no, I don’t thing it was [personal]. Suppose we had the greatest personal chemistry. You think I wouldn’t stand up against the Iran deal if I thought, as I did, that it endangers the existence of Israel? Of course I would.”
President-elect Donald J. Trump said during the campaign that he would “love” to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Although he has been advised by many experts that a deal may be impossible, can the “master deal-maker” make one?
More than 2,500 years ago, Chinese philosopher Laozi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” President Trump should take these first steps at the United Nations to facilitate a Mideast peace process:
1. Change the UN definition of a Palestinian refugee. Since time immemorial, refugees have been defined as persons who were personally displaced outside their countries. The problem is eventually reduced as refugees are either resettled, or pass away. This applies to every refugee group, except the Palestinians….
2. Reform the refugee Camps. Many Palestinian live in squalid camps under the control and jurisdiction of their Arab brethren. There are eight such camps in Gaza, 19 in Judea and Samaria, 13 in Syria, 12 in Lebanon and 10 in Jordan. These Arab countries and governments deny these Palestinians many basic rights and government services, treating them as hostages and pawns to ferment anti-Israel violence….
3. UN-funded textbooks must not demonize Israel and Jews. By controlling the textbooks, Palestinian leaders are poisoning the minds of future generations, inciting them to violence against Israel, and making peace impossible…..
4. A two-state solution has been ingrained in public consciousness, but is a misnomer. What two states is it referring to? The West Bank is controlled by the secular Fatah, while Gaza is controlled by Islamic Hamas…..
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is interested in coming to an understanding with the outgoing administration of U.S. President Barack Obama that would avoid an American veto of a UN Security Council resolution that the PA intends to introduce in January, PA officials and Western diplomats told Haaretz on Saturday.
The resolution would be critical of Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
According to Haaretz, a high-level PA delegation is scheduled to arrive in Washington in the coming week, led by senior negotiator Saeb Erekat and the head of the Palestinian general intelligence service, Majid Faraj.
The delegation also includes the future Palestinian ambassador in Washington, Husam Zumlut, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ senior adviser, as well as a number of high-level officials from Abbas’ Fatah party and from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The delegation will be coming to the U.S. capital to participate in a strategic American-Palestinian dialogue session, the first of its kind ever to be held. The more important meeting, however, will be that of Erekat, Faraj and other members of the delegation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Likud lawmakers leveled harsh criticism at Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid Saturday over comments he made on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Speaking on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press” Lapid said, “We need to get the Palestinians out of our lives. There probably won’t be peace in my lifetime or your lifetime. … What we need to do is build a high wall, and have us on one side and them on the other side. My father [late politician Tommy Lapid] didn’t come here from the ghetto to live in a binational state. He came here to live in a Jewish state.”
Likud was quick to lash out at Lapid. A post on the party’s Facebook wall read: “No smooth-talking interview by Lapid on Channel 2 will see the public fall for his lies. His candidate for the position of defense minister is [MK] Ofer Shelah — an avid supporter of Breaking the Silence,” the post said, referring to an advocacy group dedicated to exposing alleged wrongdoings by the IDF.
“Another senior member in his party is [MK] Yael German — former mayor of Herzliya for Meretz. Another senior member is [MK] Yaakov Peri, who participated in a film [“The Gatekeepers”] slandering Israel’s image worldwide.
A Knesset ministerial panel on Sunday approved a bill that would bar national service volunteers from working with organizations that receive most of their funding from foreign governments.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation gave the go-ahead for the bill, which is seen as targeting human rights groups like B’Tselem and Americans for Peace Now, Channel 10 reported.
The bill was proposed by Likud lawmaker Amir Ohana and comes after the B’Tselem organization raised the ire of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others by criticizing Israeli settlement policy at the United Nations Security Council in October.
Having passed the ministerial committee, the bill will now head to the Knesset plenum for a first reading with coalition support.
The bill targets organizations that get more than 50 percent of their funding from foreign governments. Many Israeli human rights groups receive money from the US and EU governments.
In October, Netanyahu vowed he would stop the group from receiving national service volunteers, even though B’Tselem noted it had just one slot for a volunteer and the position was vacant.
Israel has foiled attempts to transfer a portion of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile, which he had committed to destroying, to Hezbollah, according to a senior Hezbollah defector quoted over the weekend by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai.
The Al Rai report referred to recent attacks in Syria, attributed to Israel by foreign media outlets. Arab news outlets also reported that Iran and Hezbollah have promised Russia they would not retaliate for the attacks. The Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group, meanwhile, has denied the veracity of the reports. In a speech Friday, Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah called the reports “lies.”
Meanwhile, in Aleppo on Saturday the Syrian army and Russian warplanes bombarded rebel-held districts of the city as Assad’s allies said victory was near. Insurgents, however, fought back to halt the advancing army, which had made rapid gains during the week.
The United States said it was meeting a Russian team in Geneva to find a way to save lives, but an agreement looked elusive as the two countries, which back opposing sides, have repeatedly failed to strike a deal to allow evacuations and help aid deliveries.
Russia, whose military intervention helped turn the war in Assad’s favor, said the Syrian government now controls 93% of Aleppo, a figure that independent news agencies could not verify on their own. Recapturing the country’s second-largest city would deal a major blow to rebels who have fought to unseat Assad in the nearly six-year war.
A Christian Evangelical church in Jerusalem has been ransacked, extensively damaged and most of the belongings were stolen and burned in a skip by Muslim neighbours.
Not only is this an horrific attack, it is also largely being ignored by the media.
CBN News, however, did cover the story and you can see their video and transcript below:
Most of the property and personal belongings of the church’s pastor, Karen Dunham, were burned in a dumpster. Michael Hilsden, a former volunteer at Living Bread, recorded footage of the damage.
“This is it. This is all of Karen’s stuff. Everything,” Hilsden says in the video. “This is what is happening to Living Bread Church. Right here. Everything. They burned everything.”
Dunham pastored the Living Bread Church for 10 years. But on Saturday, Nov. 24, Muslim neighbours came into the building and ransacked it.
“They destroyed everything inside,” Pastor Dunham said. “That dumpster right there is full of stones. They tore out the floor. They pulled out the wiring. They punched holes in the walls.”
During a convention marking Hamas’ 29th birthday, Hamas politician Halil al-Hiya called on Fatah to hold a “serious nationalistic dialogue” with Hamas. This dialogue is necessary, he said, in order to implement a unity based on partnership and agreement on strategy and plans for “defending” terrorist organizations, “freeing” Israel from Jewish hands, and de-legitimizing the Jewish state, in an effort to create a unified Arab state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Any type of weapons and terror tactics used to accomplish this are legitimate, he said.
Al-Hiya also said jihad must concentrate on the political, legal, and international aspects of the fight, because these would best restrict Israel’s movement and force the Jews out of Israel, reported the Hamas newspaper Palestin.
Al-Hiya negated any possibility of normalizing relations with Israel, which he called “a cancer which we must remove.” In addition, he supported Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah’s call to cancel the Oslo Accords, and said Hamas has what they need to force Israel to free all terrorist murderers currently held in Israeli jails.
Gazan children paraded at an event marking 29 years since the founding of the Hamas terror organization, flying Hamas and “Palestinian” flags and chanting, “We’re the al-Kassam troops.”
According to the Hamas newspaper Palestin, 11-year-old Muaez Tanbura swore he would “return to Palestine after it was Judenrein” and said “we will free our entire land.”
His friend, Ismail Rihan, flew a “Palestinian” flag and said, “I love Palestine. Jews, remember Khaybar: Mohammed’s army will be back. Get out of here. I want to expel you.”
Hamis al-Masri, a young father, said, “Neither the adults nor the children will forget our land. The adults have passed the key of return to the children, and we will not stop working to return to our land and our longing to return will not weaken with time. The land’s owner will not leave his land. The Zionist enemy has no place on our land.”
He also said the children’s awareness of the issue stems from education in line with the Quran and their longing to return to their land and homes.
Hamas is launching one of its largest campaigns against extremist movements in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian party has arrested in the past few weeks around 350 members of extremist movements, while it was still chasing others in an attempt to stop their expansion in the Strip.
Informed Palestinian sources in Gaza asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that the Hamas campaign has two motives: The first is the presence of information that some movements were planning explosions against Hamas security positions and the second is the presence of links between those extremists and some groups operating in Sinai, an area that constitutes a source of tension between Cairo and Hamas.
Cairo again asked for some information related to wanted Egyptian nationals, whom the Egyptian intelligence says had escaped to Gaza after the collapse of former President Mohammed Morsi. Egypt demands from Hamas some answers to questions previously asked by its intelligence. Cairo says those answers are a precondition to building new bridges between Cairo and the party, which was repeatedly accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
The sources also asserted that the Egyptian intelligence believes there is collaboration between some groups in Gaza and other extremist groups in Sinai. The Egyptian intelligence has already presented to Hamas names and information in this regard.
Iran Air finalized a contract to buy 80 planes from US firm Boeing, the official IRNA news agency said Sunday, as it seeks to renew its ageing fleet despite sanctions.
IRNA reported that the contract was worth $16.6 billion, in the first such deal since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
“Fifty of the planes are 737 and the other 30 are the long haul 777 that will be delivered to Iran Air in a period of 10 years,” said Farhad Parvaresh, chief executive of the national carrier, who signed the contract with Boeing officials in Tehran.
It is the first deal with an American aviation firm since the revolution, and comes in spite of fresh tensions over sanctions after US lawmakers voted earlier this month to renew measures against Iran.
The lack of new planes and parts has taken a severe toll on Iran’s carriers over the years, earning it one of the worst safety records in the world with close to 1,700 people dying in a string of civilian and military air disasters since 1979, according to the Flight Safety Foundation.
Jewish students at the University of Manchester in Britain have been left angry and fearful after a sudden campaign, which “sprang out of nowhere,” led to the swift passage of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions motion on Thursday, a pro-Israel campus activist told The Algemeiner.
Lawrence Rosenberg — director of campus operations for Israel advocacy group the Pinsker Center and former Manchester Jewish Society president — said the adoption by the school’s Student Union (SU) of the BDS resolution, which received 60 percent of the votes, is a “complete rejection of the concerns of Jewish and Zionist students, who quite literally had begged for open dialogue, and explained how deeply they would fear for their safety if the motion were to pass.”
Rosenberg bemoaned, too, that the way the whole thing was orchestrated left Jewish and pro-Israel students little time to organize to oppose the motion. The promoters of the motion, in contrast, he said, “had six months to effectively lobby the Manchester Students Union Senate and advocate their cause around campus, whereas we learned about the motion only six days before it went to the senate.”
He said that though he and other students tried to message senators in advance, “We weren’t supplied with details on how to do so, so it was mostly guesswork.” And when Rosenberg addressed the SU prior to the vote in the “hope that they would respond to the concerns of Jews and Zionists on campus,” he said, “my words fell on deaf ears.”
The Indy then reports on the diplomatic fallout from Borjas’s comments, before concluding by providing readers with an explanation of Zionism:
Zionism is a controversial ideology that is interpreted in many different ways. Some people consider it to be a legitimate belief in the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East while others claim it is a racist or apartheid ideology has been used to aggressively expand Israel’s borders.
First, let’s remember that the most widely used official definition of contemporary antisemitism, the Working Definition of Antisemitism, includes bullet points outlining ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to Israel, including the following:
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
However, even if you are not convinced that the Zionism = Racism canard is (by seeking to delegitimize the world’s only Jewish state) antisemitic in intent, it is undeniably antisemitic in effect, because such a characterization necessarily means that Jews (the overwhelming majority of whom are Zionists) support a racist ideology.
Never met a Jew? If you’re in Germany, here’s your chance.
The European Janusz Korczak Academy, a Jewish educational institution in Germany, recently launched its “Rent-a-Jew” initiative, which is aimed at combating negative perceptions of Jews by exposing non-Jews in Germany to the local Jewish community.
Rent-a-Jew holds seminars and other events in which participants have the opportunity to socialize with Jews and ask them any questions they may have about the community and its traditions.
Mascha Schmerling, a Moscow-born Jew and part of the Rent-a-Jew team, told German broadcaster DW that the purpose of the program is to “to give people the chance to talk to the Jewish community. We want them to see that we’re completely normal people.”
Schmerling added that “we don’t want to be defined purely by history and we don’t want to always be seen through this Holocaust lens.”
The House of Representatives delayed action on a bill targeting campus anti-Semitism until 2017, putting off action on a measure that had been backed by mainstream Jewish groups, criticized by civil libertarians and passed unanimously by the Senate on Dec. 1.
Jewish Insider reported Friday, citing an anonymous congressional staff official, that Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, opposed “rushing” the bill through the House without adequate study.
The bill outlined when criticism of Israel crosses into anti-Semitism, citing the “three D’s” first advanced by Natan Sharansky, the Israeli politician and former prisoner of the Soviet gulag: demonization, double standards and delegitimization.
The act billed itself as a tool “to help identify contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, and includes useful examples of discriminatory anti-Israel conduct that crosses the line into anti-Semitism.”
The Anti-Defamation League, which led lobbying for the legislation, said the bill, should it become law, “addresses a core concern of Jewish and pro-Israel students and parents: When does the expression of anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Zionist beliefs cross the line from First Amendment-protected free expression to unlawful discriminatory conduct?”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the leaders of Cyprus and Greece on Thursday in Jerusalem as the three nations signed a research and development agreement to advance joint projects.
It was the second meeting between Netanyahu, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in what the Israeli prime minster called a reflection of “the close and tightening relations between the countries.”
“There are shared values between us,” Netanyahu said at a press conference. “We are three democracies in the eastern Mediterranean. We’ve come to the conclusion quite a few years ago that we have so much to gain by cooperating with each other and we’re doing that, point of fact, including with the new agreement we signed today.”
The ties between the three countries are “strategically important for strengthening stability and establishing a regular framework for countries with common interests,” Netanyahu added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Jerusalem to seal a broad partnership in the defense and security fields.
Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman and his counterpart Samuel Reyes signed a declaration of cooperation in addition to the existing bilateral agreements, which includes the modernization of F5 and A37 fighter jets and helicopters of the Central American nation’s air force, reported Honduran paper La Prensa.
“The key word for the Honduran people is security and the fundamental topic is defense not only thought the armed forces but also the national police,” Hernandez said during last week’s visit.
Under the agreements, the two countries will strengthen ties in the field of technological exchange and intensify cooperation in areas such as military equipment and water resources in the agricultural sector. A specialized patrol vessel and a sophisticated land defense communication system will be developed.
Christmas markets and concerts in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Haifa, Ramla and Tel Aviv-Yafo embrace the true holiday spirit of tolerance and inclusion and attract people of all religions to celebrate together.
Christmas in Israel means walking through the small streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, taking part in a Christmas parade, attending a Christmas Mass or church service, playing in the snow at Jaffa’s Winter Festival, and sampling traditional foodstuffs at one of the holiday markets.
Of course, many tourists will also want to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Ministry of Tourism offers free shuttle transportation between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Check the schedule, here.
Just don’t forget to make time to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth or the Franciscan parish church of St. Joseph in Ramla or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, as well.
ISRAEL21c brings the holiday highlights from five Israeli cities:
Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia, and continues to be to this day. The struggles have often turned violent, as the city has been battled over by many civilizations, including the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Ottomans. Through it all, the Jewish people have never forgotten their connection to Jerusalem.
Now families can play for control of the holy city from the comfort of their living rooms.
Kodkod, which produces Monopoly games in Israel, has announced that it is creating a special Jerusalem-based version of the popular board game. Instead of vying for the deeds to Park Place or Boardwalk, players will vie for the deeds to the Western Wall, the City of David, the Mahane Yehuda Market, and even the Knesset.
Eli Dagani, the CEO of Kodkod, said: “This is the first time there’s going to be a Monopoly game dedicated entirely to one city in Israel, and we want it to reflect the spirit of Jerusalem.”
He said that there has been a high demand for a special Jerusalem-based version of Monopoly, especially from tourists to Jerusalem.
Monopoly has had several city-based versions over its 70 year history,including versions based on New York and London. There has been an Israel-based version of the game since the 1960s.
The Jerusalem version of Monopoly comes as the city prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its reunification during the Six Day War. It is expected to be marketed in other countries as well as Israel.
Encouraged by members of Hollywood royalty, 700 guests at the Ambassadors for Humanity gala contributed some $3.5 million for the far-reaching work of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.
Following the impact of Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” the director established the Shoah Foundation in 1994. A signature achievement of its global outreach is the video testimony of more than 54,000 survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, now expanded to those who experienced genocides in Armenia, Nanking, Rwanda and Guatemala.
Sharing the spotlight with Spielberg at Thursday night’s event were actor Harrison Ford; the evening’s honorees, filmmaker and entrepreneur George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson; British comedian James Corden; composer John Williams conducting a full orchestra; and a dinner catered by Chef Wolfgang Puck at the Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood.
Hobson, a Chicago-based finance and education guru, praised the Shoah Foundation for “giving a face to the faceless,” and observing that in America “we are frozen in time, waiting to see what happens.”
Despite the Shoah Foundation’s impressive accomplishments, founder Spielberg, pointing to the endless slaughter in Syria, said “We have not come far enough,” following up with a clarion call, “There can be no more bystanders.”
Long before the “Free Palestine’ slogan became popular – in fact about 1,967 years before – a “Free Zion” coin was minted and circulated in Jerusalem.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev unveiled that coin at Sunday’s cabinet as part of a presentation she gave about preparations for next year’s celebration of 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. The coin was uncovered during an excavation about a month ago of a recently uncovered road in Jerusalem. The evacuation will be opened to the public during Hanukka.
The ancient coin was one of a series minted during the Jewish revolt against the Romans that eventually led to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. The flip-side of the coin bears the inscription, “Two years to the Great Revolt,” which dates it to the year 67.
“Exactly 1,900 years later, in 1967, the paratroopers entered Jerusalem’s Old City and renewed its freedom, and ours,” Regev said. “We restored Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem. We threw into the dustbin of history the coin issued by Titus after his victory over the rebels: Judea Capta [Judea Captive].”
Regev was referring to a series of commemorative coins issued by the Roman Emperor Vespasian commemorating the Roman defeat of Judea and destruction of Jerusalem.
Regev, noting the recent “ridiculous” UNESCO resolutions that sought to expunge any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, said, “In 1967 we returned to Bet El, Hebron, Shiloh and Elon Moreh.
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