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Post  Admin on Fri 29 Jun 2018, 12:53 pm

Prince William Visits Western Wall
Today’s Top Stories
1. Prince William concluded his Israeli tour with visits to the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Duke of Cambridge also visited the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg and a Mount of Olives observation point. Due to diplomatic sensitivities, they were classified as “private visits.” The Jewish Chronicle live-blogged the day.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that Prince William refused to meet with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in Jerusalem.
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Chris Ship
 Western Wall, Jerusalem. Quite a picture ...#RoyalVisitIsrael

8:14 AM - Jun 28, 2018
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2. The PA, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have all warned Israel about Turkey’s growing influence in eastern Jerusalem. According to Haaretz, we’re talking about donations to local Islamist organizations, efforts to purchase property, organized tours arranged by Islamist groups, “and the prominent presence of Turkish activists in demonstrations around the Temple Mount.”

According to these officials, the phenomenon reached its peak last year when hundreds of Turkish citizens became a regular presence in and around the Old City, becoming involved in clashes with police officers during Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The defense officials said the Israeli authorities handled the problem with a combination of arrests and deportations of some of the Turkish activists – barring some of them from reentering Israel.

The officials admitted, however, that even though the Turkish activity has quietened in recent months, it is still an ongoing concern.
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3. Terrorist killed in attempted Israel-Gaza border breach.

Israel and the Palestinians
• UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres removes Palestinian kite tweet.

• The battle to deport Omar Shakir, a Human Rights Watch official accused of involvement in BDS activity, continued in the Jerusalem District Court. The Jerusalem Post was on hand.

• Haaretz: Concerned about potential Iranian or Hezbollah missile strikes, Israel is boosting defenses at the Dimona and Nahal Sorek nuclear reactors.

building campaign

Mideast Matters
• As Syria and Russia press their offensive against rebels in the southern province of Daraa, appear to be cautious about airstrikes near the Israeli border. The Jerusalem Post explains:

Two major issues now facing the Syrian regime and its Russian ally is how to proceed in areas near the Israeli border and, to a lesser extent, near Jordan. As the number of displaced people reach more than 45,000 and they move towards the border for protection, an increasingly volatile situation will emerge. That includes civilians and fighters packed into a small area, as well as extremists from ISIS further south along the Golan.

The second major concern is the movement of any Iranian- backed militias or Hezbollah units. In the last month, they have been accused of changing uniforms to blend in with local militias, and some Iraqi militias operating in the Euphrates valley were even hit with an air strike, shedding light on how Iranian-backed groups in Iraq use the border to reach Syria.

Israel has said it will not accept Iranian bases in Syria, and that any hint of Iranian encroachment behind the offensive could result in escalating tensions.

The most recent Russian air strikes in the province killed 22 civilians. The offensive breaks a ceasefire reached last year by the US, Russia and Jordan. Israel was not a party to that agreement.

• Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump will discuss a full Iranian withdrawal from Syria, among other things, at their July 15 summit. Media reports add, that “According to the diplomat, ‘The US will give Israel the green light to attack any Iranian presence in Syria wherever and however Israel wants to.'”

Window into Israel
• Plans for an expanded mixed prayer area by the Western Wall got unexpectedly complicated. Haaretz reports that cabinet minister Miri Regev resigned from her position as head of a ministerial committee tasked with approving construction plans at the southern end of the Western Wall.

Her conscience does not allow her to convene the committee and approve the work to prepare the historic archeological site for mixed-gender prayer, said her office on Wednesday . . .

Netanyahu is worried that if the committee does not approve the construction soon, the High Court will rule against the government and forbid the work. That could lead to a High Court ruling that would allow mixed-gender prayer in the Kotel Plaza itself – which would lead to a political crisis.

• To address problems associated with African asylum seekers, Israel is going to designate south Tel Aviv a “national priority.” According Israeli media reports, this will millions of shekels in grants and assistance for residents and for rehabilitation of run-down neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in other cities with high concentrations of Africans will also receive this designation.

South Tel Aviv
An African woman walks by colorful graffiti in South Tel Aviv, January 09, 2018. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
• The Manhattan apartment serving as the residence of Israel’s ambassadors to the UN is still registered under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s name, “although it actually belongs to the state and was purchased on its behalf,” Globes reports.

The apartment was purchased in 1986. Netanyahu served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN from 1984-1988.

• For commentary on the domestic scene, Ben-Dror Yemini weighs in against legislation restricting the filming of IDF soldiers. See also Shmueli Rosner‘s take on Israel’s conversion dilemma and the “Who is a Jew” question.

Around the World
• The JTA examines how the US leaned on Poland to soften its law on Holocaust speech.

• Citibank and Arab Bank have both stopped servicing a Palestinian non-governmental organization with close ties to a terror group.

• Human Rights Watch chief Ken Roth is being rapped on the knuckles for using an ‘antisemitic dog whistle.’

• This National Review columnist is defending the Spanish Inquisition(!?).

• Activists launched a campaign calling for Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision song competition in Israel.

Eurovision 2019

• ‘Boycott’ leader Peter Manning’s role at Australian Labor conference angers Jews.

• A Tel Aviv court convicted an Israeli-American man of making hundreds of hoax bomb threats to North American Jewish schools and community centers. The 19-year-old’s name is barred from publication in Israel.

[His] parents and lawyer have not disputed his involvement in the bomb threats but asserted in his defense that he has a brain tumor and a low IQ.

• Donald Macintyre is certainly impressed with Netanyahu’s deft use of social media to reach out to Iranians. Here’s the PM’s latest message on YouTube in English with Farsi subtitles.

But while Donald Trump’s use of Twitter continues to provoke acres of commentary on his adeptness in reaching his base and making news, it’s arguably Netanyahu who is really out in front as the master user of social media among heads of government.

• This cartoon depicting Prince Williiam wrapping Mahmoud Abbas in an Israeli straitjacket is from the poison pen of The Guardian‘s Steve Bell.

Considering that A) the royal visit to Ramallah is a significant boost of legitimacy for the PA, B) the Duke of Cambridge called Palestine a “country” and C) refused to meet Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat in Jerusalem, the only conclusion I can draw is that Bell is really opposed to the overall royal visit — probably because it’s a new degree of normalization of UK-Israel relations.

Steve Bell

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Bassam Tawil: What Prince William did not see in Ramallah
– Ali Salim: The PA’s suppression of protests and free speech
– Yoav Limor: Next Israel-Hamas clash is imminent
– Max Boot: Trump can’t make a ‘deal of the century’

Featured image: CC BY-SA Tom Woodward;

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Post  Admin on Wed 27 Jun 2018, 9:41 pm

Syrian Civilians Flee to Israeli Border
Today’s Top Stories
1. As the Bashar Assad’s forces press their offensive against rebels in southern Syria’s Daraa province, civilians are fleeing to the Israeli border. An estimated 50,000 people have been displaced by fighting and Jordan isn’t taking in any more refugees:

Daraa’s residents described living in extreme fear and said many had also headed to the border with Israel, believing it to be safer.

“The safest place is the border with Israel because the regime and Russian airplanes cannot strike the area near the Israeli border,” said Waseem Kiwan, a 36-year old civilian in the village of Tafas north of Daraa city . . .

An Israeli military spokesperson said the IDF “is prepared for a large variety of scenarios and is monitoring the events in the area.”

Question is, what does this mean for Israel?

2. Prince William’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian areas continued with events in Tel Aviv emphasizing youth activism followed by a a meeting with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The Jewish Chronicle is live-blogging the Duke of Cambridge’s day.

The royal, who is second in line to the throne, will tour Jerusalem’s Old City tomorrow. It’s expected — though not confirmed — that the Prince William will visit the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Those would presumably classified as private visits, similar to the protocol of President Donald Trump’s 2017 visit. He will also visit the grave of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, on the Mount of Olives before leaving Israel.

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Justin Cohen
 ..and immediately reminded of context as journos asked to remove lanyards with Israeli flag ahead of municipality visit #royalvisitpalestine

1:50 PM - Jun 27, 2018
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3. Israel is boycotting the current session of the UN Human Rights Council. “Without any fanfare it stopped attending the daily council session last week after the United States announced that it planned to withdraw from the UNHRC.” The Jerusalem Post explains:

Israel has since gone through a second periodic review in January, the results of which are due to be voted on this Friday.

After that it has time to consider what relationship it wants with the UNHRC in light of the Trump Administration’s announcement, which has not ended what Israel considers to be a slew of biased steps.

On Monday the UNHRC is set to debate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under Agenda Item 7. It is mandated to hold this debate at every session, no other country is singled out in this way. All other country specific human rights issues are debated under Agenda Item 4, save for Israel.

The UNHRC is also working on a black list of companies doing business with Israeli regions over the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

4. Bigoted Columnist: Jews ‘Poisoning the Wells’: Accusing Jews of ‘poisoning the wells’ is a classic antisemitic trope dating back to medieval Europe. Columnist Peter Oborne just revived it in one of the world’s most-read papers.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Palestinians fired 13 rockets at Israel early this morning after the IDF targeted an empty car it said belonged to a Hamas operative involved with the production and launching of terror kites and balloons. The Times of Israel explains the emerging dynamic:

In recent weeks, the military has adopted a policy of targeting Hamas positions in response to repeated incendiary kite and balloon attacks from Gaza in an effort to force the group, which rules the coastal enclave, to stop launching the arson devices and to force others in the Strip to abandon the tactic as well.

However, Hamas is attempting to maintain that the near-constant airborne arson attacks, which have burned thousands of acres of Israeli land, do not warrant retaliatory strikes by Israel and therefore accuses Jerusalem of violating the tacit ceasefire between the two sides.

building campaign

• Officials in Cyprus confirmed they are considering Israel’s proposal to set up a port to process goods bound for Gaza. Meanwhile, the PA rejected Israeli and US ideas to help the Strip. Ramallah claims that improving Gaza’s living conditions is “undermining the Palestinian national project.” It’s a very, very hard line:

Some PA representatives said they were hoping that the sanctions would aggravate the humanitarian crisis to a point where Palestinians would revolt against Hamas, which violently seized the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.

The Media Line dug deeper into the Cyprus story.

Nebi Qena
• Journalists cried foul after the Prime Minister’s security detail barred an Associated Press reporter from covering Prince William’s meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu. Nebi Qena, an Albanian citizen, has been AP’s chief television producer for Israel and the Palestinian Authority for three years and is accredited with the Government Press Office:
He said he was repeatedly questioned by security guards about his “ethnic origin.” AP colleagues, on the scene and in the Jerusalem bureau, were asked by Netanyahu aides about Qena’s religion and whether he was a Muslim as they tried to secure him entrance.

Qena had registered for the event ahead of time and been assured he would be allowed to enter. The AP was serving as the video press pool for international media.

“The Associated Press decries this blatant ethnic and religious profiling of an AP journalist and calls on the prime minister’s office to cease such biased practices immediately,” said Lauren Easton, the AP’s director of media relations.

The Prime Minister’s Office subsequently apologized, attributing the mishap to “human error.”

Veteran journalists with government-issued press credentials attending media events with government-issued invitations don’t deserve this. Full stop.

• Nobody bracing for the eventual post-Mahmoud Abbas era ever imagined this. (Reuters deleted the original tweet and posted this update, though not before people poked Reuters with screengrabs.


• “Israel has reversed its ban on Indonesian tourists entering the country, after Jakarta agreed to lift its own moratorium on issuing visas to groups of Israelis, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.”

Window into Israel
Israeli soldier• The IDF ombudsman released what’s being described as a “gloomy” assessment of the military’s readiness for war, listing a variety of shortcomings, Ynet explains.

“If I read you these reports, you would fall over,” Brik said of the report whose content is not made available to the public.

The report is rife with pessimistic conclusions and highlights a series of failures in the IDF apparatus that he says could come to the fore in the IDF’s levels of preparation during the next war.

According to Brik, concerning discrepancies exist between the public declarations and bravado about the IDF’s capabilities and the realities on the ground.

Around the World
• Poland backtracks on contentious Holocaust law, scrapping threat of prison.

[Prime Minister Mateusz] Morawiecki asked the parliament to reopen discussions on the law. According to a statement by his office, the government believes that the law did not achieve its goal of “defending the good name of Poland and the historical truth.” . . .

In its current form, the law makes it a criminal offense to accuse the Polish people or Polish state of being responsible or a partner to the Nazi crimes and outlaws the use of the term “Polish death camps” in reference to death camps that Nazi Germany established in Poland during World War II.

• Johannesburg city councilwoman Mpho Phalatse, who was suspended for calling Israel a friend of the South African city, apologized for her remarks.

• Jeremy Corbyn’s Gaza briefing for Labour MPs accuses IDF of “war crimes.” One Labour MP described the document to the Jewish Chronicle as “disgustingly one sided.”

• A little-known New York Democrat who slammed Israel for Gaza killings is the shock winner of a New York primary election. Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez — a supporter of Bernie Sanders and member of Democratic Socialists of America — defeated influential incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley, who many viewed as a potential Speaker of the House. New York’s 14th congressional district is heavily Democratic, making Ocasia-Cortez a virtual shoo-in to defeat Republican challenger Anthony Pappas in the November elections.

• Ten US university presidents visit Israel on trip to promote academic collaboration.

• Bands supporting BDS not welcome in Frankfurt, says deputy mayor.

• J St. chief Jeremy Ben-Ami is entitled to his views on US Ambassador David Friedman. I just find it a odd that this commentary urging Congress to call the envoy onto the carpet was published in a British paper. Exactly what kind of audience is Ben-Ami playing to? The wider US public, or like-minded readers of The Guardian?

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– David Horovitz: Prince William says Israel ties are soaring. But visit signifies more than that
– Roger Boyes: Prince William’s visit is a snub to the camel corps
– Melanie Phillips: HRH, the FCO and the big lie about Israel
– Nadav Eyal: The British interest behind Prince William’s Israel visit
– Daily Telegraph (staff-ed): The significance of Prince William’s visit to Israel cannot be overestimated
– Avi Issacharoff: In Gaza, Hamas is dictating the rules of the game with Israel
– Amos Harel: Netanyahu’s Gaza dilemma: How to avoid a war without being ‘weak on terror’
– Charles Bybelezer: An ‘Israeli’ port in Cyprus: Kicking the Gaza can down the waterway?
– Yonah Jeremy Bob: The Gaza crisis, Israeli hasbara and the ICC
– Yoram Ettinger: Quitting the UNHRC: A message to the free world
– Zev Chafets: Trump’s new deal for the Middle East
– Vijeta Uniyal: ‘Dear Shashi Naidoo: Like you, I too share the desire for peace’
– Yoel Guzansky, Oded Eran: The Red Sea: An old-new arena of interest

Featured image: CC BY-SA The Next Web Photos; soldier CC BY-NC Israel Defense Forces; Auschwitz CC BY Juan Antonio Segal;

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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Jun 2018, 2:58 pm

Iranian Protesters Chant ‘Death to Palestine’

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Iranians chanted “Death to Palestine” as they demonstrated over the collapsing economy and Tehran’s support for terror groups. Protests continued today, with reports of demonstrations in Qom, Mashhad, Kermanshah, Rasht, Shiraz, Isfahan and Hamadan — not all of which were verified.

Videos posted to social media showed protesters chanting: “Death to Palestine,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon” and “Leave Syria and think of us.” Chants of “We don’t want the ayatollahs” and “Death to the dictator” were also heard at some rallies.

The demonstrations indicate widespread anger at the regime for spending billions of dollars on regional proxy wars and supporting terrorist groups, instead of investing it on the the struggling economy at home.

More on the protests at the Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter). There was a lot of buzz over Sohrab Ahmari‘s reaction.

Sohrab Ahmari
 MUST-WATCH: Crowds in Iran are chanting "Death to Palestine!" Not to Israel. Not to America. But to Palestine.

Hamas and Hezbollah and Palestinian Jihad can kiss their Iranian funding goodbye if the regime falls. https://twitter.com/jalilazizi13/status/1011216813944901633


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Post  Admin on Mon 25 Jun 2018, 6:57 pm

US Quietly Freezes Aid to Palestinians

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Today’s Top Stories
1. i24 News reports that the US has quietly frozen aid to the Palestinian Authority. This comes in the wake of last month’s Taylor Force Act, which is intended to pressure the PA to end its stipends for terrorists and their families.

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide told i24NEWS, “Our understanding is that US funding to the West Bank and Gaza is on hold pending an administration review.

“Separately, i24NEWS understands that the West Bank and Gaza office of USAID — the American international development agency — has not received its budget for the upcoming fiscal year and therefore has not been able to put its projects out to tender . . .

The withholding of USAID’s total budget as well as third-party projects means the administration is taking an expansive interpretation of what assistance “directly benefits” the PA, viewing humanitarian projects that would otherwise need to be paid for by the PA as constituting direct assistance to that organization.

A Palestinian official confirmed the report, saying the Trump administration had told the PA in mid-January 2018 that it was reexamining its Palestinian aid budget.
US Capitol
2. Arab diplomats told visiting US envoys they will support the Trump administration’s peace plan regardless of whether or not PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is on board. Israel HaYom explains:

Senior officials in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met with White House adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt in recent days and reportedly told them that, having become fed up with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ rejectionism, they will not stand in Trump’s way when he presents his Middle East peace plan. . .

A top Egyptian official told Israel Hayom Sunday that the moderate Arab nations’ position was “unanimous” and that Cairo, Amman, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would not oppose an attempt by Washington to go over Abbas’ head in this case.

However, officials in all four nations made it clear to both American envoys that they would not be party to any deal that compromises Palestinian interests.

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3. As this roundup was published, Prince William was due to land at Ben-Gurion Airport for his historic visit to Israel. It’s the first official royal visit to Israel. The Duke of Cambridge spent the day in Jordan.

4. Video: Hackathon at the Gaza Border: Israelis came together to brainstorm creative solutions to Gaza’s terror balloons and kites.

In the News
• The IDF blamed Hamas for having direct involvement in the preparation and launch of terror balloons. The army named names and released surveillance footage of a masked figures preparing balloons from a Hamas position along the Gaza border. More at the Times of Israel and Ynet.

Embassy of Israel
 Hamas terrorists prepare and launch arson and explosive device-laden kites and balloons, targeting Israeli territory from the #Gaza Strip.

Read more:https://www.idf.il/en/minisites/hamas/idf-reveals-the-hamas-terror-organizations-efforts-of-arson-terror-cells/ … 

8:33 PM - Jun 24, 2018
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• The New York Times took a closer look at Khan al-Ahmar. That’s the unauthorized Bedouin town facing a Supreme Court-ordered demolition. The report gives the false impression that Israeli development of the land Khan al-Amar sits on (known as E1) destroys the contiguity and viability of a Palestinian state.

With the start of the Oslo peace process in the 1990s, the Bedouins’ presence took on great geopolitical significance: If Israel were to develop the area, as the government has long threatened, it would bolster Maale Adumim’s contiguity with greater Jerusalem. But it would also effectively slice the West Bank into pieces, isolating Arab East Jerusalem and dividing Ramallah in the north from Bethlehem in the south — leaving a future Palestinian state to try to stitch itself together with tunnels or bridges through Israeli territory.

The West Bank “waistline” between Maale Adumim and the Dead Sea would be roughly 15 km wide. That’s the same width as Israel’s narrowest point, between the Israeli coastal city of Netanya and the PA town of Tulkarem. That waistline has never caused any issues for the contiguity or viability of the state of Israel. The New York Times itself has acknowledged this in a 2012 correction.

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 Whatever one's stance on the legal and moral issues, Israeli development of the land Khan al-Amar sits on (a.k.a. E1) would NOT threaten the contiguity or viability of a future Palestinian state. @nytimes @halbfinger https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/world/middleeast/israel-bedouins-demolition.html

3:04 PM - Jun 25, 2018
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• Pro-Assad troops took over an abandoned UN post in the demilitarized area of the Israel-Syria border, according to Israeli media reports.

demilitarized zone

• Bulgaria to put honorary consulate in Jerusalem, but not an embassy, the Jerusalem Post reported.

• Without any advance warning or explanation after the fact, Facebook and Twitter shut down a number of accounts belonging to Hezbollah.

• New Arkansas law takes aim at boycotts of Israel

building campaign

Window into Israel
• Prime Minister vowed to push ahead with Orthodox conscription bill despite threats from Haredi coalition partners to oppose the legislation and even topple the government. The brinkmanship continues . . .

[Netanyahu] brushed off the Haredi threats to the coalition, saying, “I don’t want elections, but I’m not afraid of elections. If there are elections, I’ll be okay.”

• The latest with Sara Netanyahu’s indictment makes my head spin. Ynet has the latest dish on recordings made by a state’s witness:

Recordings made by state’s witness Nir Hefetz, who served as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara’s media advisor, reveal that the family had planned to renovate its villa in Caesarea at the state’s expense, that suitcases filled with clothes had been taken abroad for dry cleaning services, and that the legal advisor of the Prime Minister’s Office had tried to mislead reporters.

• For a sense of the domestic commentary, see Sima Kadmon and Yonah Jeremy Bob‘s takes on Sara Netanyahu’s indictment. David Sedley weighs in on Jerusalem’s upcoming mayoral elections.

• Over at The Guardian, readers’ editor Paul Chadwick weighs in on the paper’s decision to spike a cartoon editors deemed antisemitic and offensive.

royal coat of arms• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Melanie Phillips: Prince Wiliam comes to Israel under a Foreign Office cloud
– Justin Cohen: William’s visit to Israel has been a long time coming
– Ron Ben-Yishai: War or an agreement: Israel’s critical dilemma vis-a-vis Gaza
– Jonathan Tobin: Learning the lessons of Gaza
– Dan Feferman: The Gazan kite offensive and the arc of human progress
– Dr. Reuven Berko: Pressuring the Palestinians from above
– Yaakov Katz: Moving the goalposts: The much-anticipated US peace plan
– Amnon Lord: Ramallah is unavailable
– Yoram Ettinger: Quitting UN Human Rights Council serves US interests
– Denis MacEoin: Bishop Graham Tomlin and the demonization of Israel

Featured image: CC BY-SA tedeytan;; US Capitol via YouTube/US Capitol; coat of arms via Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Sun 24 Jun 2018, 6:50 pm

IDF Fires on Aerial Drone From Syria

Today’s Top Stories
1. The IDF fired a Patriot missile at an aerial drone approaching Israel from Syria. The army said the drone turned back after the Patriot launch, but wasn’t able to verify if it scored a hit. Syrian and Russian forces recently launched an offensive against rebels in southern Syria. The IDF didn’t disclose any information about what kind of drone or who sent it. More at the Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post.

Israel launched extensive air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria in February after an Iranian aerial drone entered Israeli air space.

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2. The Trump administration is prepared to release its peace plan, even if Mahmoud Abbas isn’t willing to return to the negotiating table and questioned the PA leader’s ability to make a deal with Israel. That’s what the president’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, told Palestinian media.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared the US plan will fail.

Aaron David Miller
 Kushner interview to al-Quds confirms likelihood that the Trump plan will result in an Israeli yes, but; an Arab maybe; and a  Palestinian no. Trump will say I tried; Palestinians will take hit; and peace process will be parked through midterms.https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/world/middleeast/jared-kushner-interview-transcript.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer …

11:29 AM - Jun 24, 2018
An interview with Jared Kushner was published on Sunday in the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds.
Transcript: Jared Kushner’s Interview With a Palestinian Newspaper
Mr. Kushner, President Trump’s special adviser on the Middle East, spoke to the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds. His remarks were published on Sunday.

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3. The BBC found Andrew Marr guilty of rules breach over a ‘misleading’ claim that Israel killed ‘lots of Palestinian kids’ in response to complaint filed by Jonathan Sacerdoti.

The Corporation’s extraordinary ruling against one of its most senior personalities is almost unprecedented . . .

Fraser Steel, head of executive complaints at the BBC, wrote to Mr Sacerdoti saying: ‘The BBC’s guidelines require that output is “well sourced” and “based on sound evidence”.

‘In the absence of any evidence to support the reference to “lots” of children being killed at the time of transmission, it seems to us to have risked misleading audiences on a material point.

‘We therefore propose to uphold this part of your complaint.’

4. Video: Hamas Paid Family to Say IDF Killed Baby: On i24 News, our Daniel Pomerantz discussed the media war and the revelation that Hamas paid a Gaza family to falsely blame Israel for the death of their baby.

Israel and the Palestinians
• UNESCO to defer Jerusalem and Hebron controversies at this week’s annual meeting. In previous years, the organization has passed resolutions denying Jewish ties to the ancient cities. The Jerusalem Post explains why is this year’s confab in Bahrain different:

But this year, an agreement has been reached by which the committee won’t approve any controversial texts regarding either city; any such texts will be deferred until next year’s annual meeting . . .

Both the United States and Israel are expected to withdraw from UNESCO at the end of this year to protest the organization’s anti-Israel bias, particularly with regard to its resolution on Jerusalem.

UN• Now that the US has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council, Israel is lowering its own diplomatic participation. The Times of Israel explains that “Since Israel is not a member of the 47-nation UNHRC, it cannot follow suit this time. But Israeli sources maintained Wednesday that it was possible and even likely that Netanyahu would soon announce that Israel was ceasing all contacts with the council.” Like most non-member countries, Israel, has observer status.

• Seeking to learn more about why the British royal family has (till now) never paid an official visit to Israel, i24 News filed a Freedom of Information request for UK government deliberations on the matter. And the Foreign Office’s reply?

The UK’s relationship with Israel would “likely” be harmed if British officials’ comments about Israel during deliberations over a possible royal visit to the country were made public, the UK Foreign Office told i24NEWS . . .

The Foreign Office said that officials’ comments about the UK-Israel relationship “could have incorrect interpretations put upon them” and would therefore potentially damage the bilateral relationship.

Prince William
• British Ambassador David Quarrey defended calling Jerusalem’s Old City “part of Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Israeli officials were irked that royal’s visit to the Old City was billed as part of his visit to the Palestinian Authority.

“All the terminology that was used in the program was consistent with years of practice by British governments. It’s consistent with British government policy,” David Quarrey said.

• Hey CNN, neither the state of Israel, nor its democratically elected government, needs a royal imprimatur for its existence. And this 89-word sentence is a crime against editing. To make this sentence easier to follow, I bolded the punctuation.

At a time when Israel is facing international criticism for its use of live fire against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza and its continued settlement expansion, when the international community has overwhelmingly rejected US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, when Israel’s plans to demolish the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar have drawn condemnation, the first ever official visit from Britain’s royal family is a welcome reprieve, one that adds legitimacy to Netanyahu’s government and to Israel as an ally of the United Kingdom.

• 4 Israeli startups to present innovations to Prince William.

building campaign

• Israel deploys electronic eye to track fire kites and balloons from Gaza.

• Muslim cleanup project ‘illegally disturbed, removed’ ancient soil on Temple Mount, reports the Times of Israel.

Video footage of the multi-day project at the contested holy site shows volunteers with shovels and rakes last week shifting and removing portions of two mounds on the eastern side of the compound made up of earth dumped by the Muslim Waqf custodians during unauthorized excavations since the early 2000s, said Zachi Dvira on behalf of the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount (CPDATM). . .

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the site, archaeologists have never been permitted by Israeli and Muslim authorities to examine the soil in the mounds, and it is unknown what treasures, if any, may be found in the estimated 112 truckloads of dirt there . . .

All unauthorized construction or renovations on the mount are infractions of the fragile status quo that was cobbled together by Israel and the Waqf, the Muslim Jordanian administration of the site, after Israel captured the Old City in the 1967 Six Day War.
Temple Mount
• Cyprus, Israel, Greece pledge deeper military ties.

Around the World
• While visiting Jordan, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said and then tweeted that a Labour government would recognize Palestine as a state.

• Holland’s state TV, NOS, apologized for saying Israel was built on occupied land and threatens to destroy Iran.

• ‘We’re called scum, rats, pigs’: South Africa’s Jews protest soaring antisemitism.

• Tempers rose as far-left IfNotNow members ‘engaged’ Birthrighters at JFK airport.

• Italian hotel removed from Bookings.com after telling Israeli customers “You Jews are never satisfied.”

• Antisemitic slur and swastika found on wall at Boston-area middle school.

Sara Netanyahu
• Plenty of commentary about Sara Netanyahu’s indictment.

– Yonah Jeremy Bob: Sara Netanyahu’s fall brings Attorney General one step closer to indicting PM
– Yossi Verter: What Sara Netanyahu’s embarrassing indictment means for her husband
– Eliad Shraga: Is Sara Netanyahu not mentally fit to stand trial?

• For more commentary on Israel’s domestic scene, Liat Collins weighs in on Gonen Segev, political manipulations and treason. Saar Netanel argues why Eurovision should be in Tel Aviv over Jerusalem.

• Over at the Times of London, columnists squared off on the issue of Ireland boycotting an Israel-hosted Eurovision competition. (Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney ruled out a boycott.) Eithne Shorthall favors boycotting while Eamon Delaney opposes.


• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Dror Eydar: A gift for the industry of lies
– Avi Issacharoff: Economic collapse or war: Hamas’s cynical, desperate bid to pressure Israel, PA
– Dr. Hanan Shai: Fight Hamas with ethics
– Prof. Efraim Inbar: ‘Mowing the grass’ in Gaza
– Amos Harel: Why Jordan is worried about Trump’s peace plan
– Seth Frantzman: How Qatar’s Jewish strategy backfired
– Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: How to achieve a better life
– Soeren Kern: Spain: Ground zero for Europe’s anti-Israel movement

Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Alex Moreno Fuster; Prince William via YouTube/The Royal Family Channel; Temple Mount via YouTube/Air Videos; Sara Netanyahu via YouTube/Newsy; Irish flag CC0 Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Jun 2018, 7:01 pm

Sara Netanyahu Indicted for Fraud
Today’s Top Stories
1. Sara Netanyahu was indicted for fraud and breach of trust. She reportedly falsely billed the state nearly $100,000 for meals at the prime minister’s residence.

According to a draft of the indictment, Sara Netanyahu instructed staff at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem to order meals consumed at the residence worth a total of 360,000 shekels ($99,000) from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in violation of rules barring the residence from ordering meals from the outside during periods when the residence had a cook on its staff.

Investigators in the case gathered evidence that purportedly shows that the prime minister’s wife ordered that the employment of cook at the residence be concealed and that she was aware that ordering meals from the outside for the residence when it employed a cook was a violation of the rules.

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu visiting China in 2017
2. Hamas paid a Gaza family $2,200 to blame Israel for a baby’s death, according to an indictment Israeli prosecutors filed against a Palestinian related to the child. Mahmoud Omar, a 20-year-old cousin of Layla al-Ghandour, was caught trying to breach the Israel-Gaza border fence and spilled the beans under questioning. The baby’s death triggered furious headlines around the world blaming Israel.

Under interrogation in Israel, Omar, who is Layla al-Ghandour’s cousin, said Hamas leader Sinwar paid the baby’s family 8,000 shekels ($2,200) to accuse Israel of the death of the 8-month-old. The claim came despite the fact that members of the family had previously said that she died of a blood disorder, a condition that the baby’s six-month-old brother apparently also died of last year.

More at Ynet and the Times of Israel.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

3. In solidarity with BDS, the Spanish city of Pamplona declared Israeli officials persona non grata.

Israel and the Palestinians
• As Gaza tensions mount, IDF deployed additional Iron Dome batteries near Strip.

• Booby-trapped Gaza balloons land on trampoline forcing an Israeli mom to tell her kids they’re not toys. Then there’s a separate incident that led to a headline which once upon a time would’ve been bizarre rather than blasé.

Times of Israel

• The Jerusalem Post takes a closer look at the possible intelligence fallout from the Gonen Segev affair. Segev, who was minister of energy some 20 years ago, was arrested for spying for Iran. Among other things, Segev is accused of introducing Israelis to agents who were passed off as Iranian businessmen.

In some cases, the best spies are sources who do not even realize they are being exploited.

Furthermore, while Segev can tell the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) everything he told Iran, even he does not know how far the Iranians went with other Israelis he introduced to them.

• The European Union declared that Hamas is violating international law by holding the body of IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, Ynet reports. During the 2014 Gaza war, Goldin was killed and his body seized by Hamas. Hamas also holds the body of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, also killed during that conflict.

building campaign

• Is an airstrike attributed to Israel on the Syria-Iraq border a signal that the world is getting ready to act against Iran?

• Netanyahu wants Ambassador Ron Dermer to serve another year in Washington, according to Israeli media reports.

Window into Israel
Israeli police• The police investigation of “Case 2000” took a new twist. Israeli media reports that police now suspect that Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan was a go-between for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yediot Ahronot publish Arnon Mozes as they worked out an alleged quid pro quo in which Netanyahu would advance legislation handicapping Israel HaYom in exchange for more favorable coverage.

Milchan is already a key figure in a separate police investigation of the prime minister. In what is known as Case 1000, Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu are suspected of receiving thousands of shekels worth of illicit gifts from Milchan and other wealthy benefactors. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in both cases.

• The Knesset amended a law “to allow Israeli employees to request not to work on Shabbat even if they are not religiously observant.” The JTA explains that “the Work and Rest Hours Law previously required employees of any religion to prove that they were religiously observant in order to take off work for their day of rest.”

• For commentary on the domestic scene, see Jacob Magid‘s take on a legal ruling regarding Shin Bet interrogation methods. Gershom Gorenberg‘s weighs in on legislation that would restrict the filming of Israeli soldiers.

Around the World
• I want to thank South Africa’s largest trade union, COSATU, for (unintentionally) drawing attention to the existence of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries after Israel’s founding. The photo in this tweet was taken 1950, in one of Israel’s maabarot (transit camps).

World Refugee Day wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the 850,000 Jewish refugeess forced to leave their homesfrom across North Africa, the Middle East and other areas of Asia.

 Today we commemorate #WorldRefugeeDay

Palestinians are the largest and longest suffering group of refugees in the world says @BDSsouthafrica @UN @RTUKnews

7:11 PM - Jun 20, 2018
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• Britain’s Morning Star, a far-left communist paper aligned with Jeremy Corbyn, deleted an article that blamed ‘Israel’s crimes’ for rising antisemitism. Jewish activists are calling for a full apology. The Jewish Chronicle notes:

Euan Philipps, spokesman for LAAS, said the now-deleted article was “a typically ugly example of the antisemitism that has become normalised across the Labour movement”.

He added LAAS could find “no trace” of “John Elder”, who was listed as the article’s author.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Avi Issacharoff: Hamas’s goal: To convince Israel that tolerating fire kites is preferable to war
– Amos Harel: Hamas, Islamic Jihad just rewrote the rules — and the next Gaza war is staring Israel in the face
– Yoav Limor: Hamas is misreading the situation?
– Shlomi Kofman: Israel has no choice but to defend itself against Hamas attacks
– Eldad Beck: The dangerous weaponization of children
– Raphael Ahren: Israel may follow US in freezing out UN rights body, to some diplomats’ dismay
– Seth Frantzman: Is the UNHRC an ‘old boy’s club’ of dictators?
– New York Post (staff-ed): Leaving the UN Human Rights Council was the moral choice
– Tovah Lazaroff: Is the UN Human Rights Council fated to hate Israel?
– Israel Kasnett: Will Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights be Trump’s next move?
– Moshe Arens: It’s now clear why the Iran agreement was a bad deal

Featured image: CC BY Chris Yarzab; Netanyahus via YouTube/IsraeliPM;

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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jun 2018, 8:32 am

Former Cabinet Minister Arrested for Spying for Iran
Today’s Top Stories
1. Former Israeli cabinet minister Gonen Segev was arrested and charged with spying for Iran. Take your pick of Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Ynet or Times of Israel coverage. The latter explains:

The Shin Bet said Segev met with his Iranian handlers in hotels and safe houses around the world and used a special device to send them messages in secret.
He was accused of making contact with Israeli figures in security, defense and diplomacy order to mine them for information to send to Iran. According to the Shin Bet, he tried to make direct connections between his Israeli contacts and Iranian handlers, presenting the spies as businesspeople.

So who exactly is Gonen Segev? He’s a 62-year-old pediatrician who first became a Knesset member in 1992 with the short-lived secular right-wing Tsomet party. By 1995, Segev became minister of energy and infrastructure in Yitzhak Rabin’s government. Segev’s political career ended in 1996 in the musical chairs game of coalition politics when a breakaway faction he was a member of basically disappeared.

Since then, he has served time for electronic commercial fraud, passport forgery and smuggling 30,000 ecstasy pills he claimed he thought were M&Ms. He was practicing medicine in Nigeria where he made his first contact with Iranian agents. Haaretz has a fuller background.

Segev and Rabin
Gonen Segev (L) speaking with then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
2. A mysterious air strike that is said to have killed 50 or more pro-Assad fighters was carried out by Israel, an anonymous US official told CNN. I’m not clear on the specifics, but most of the fighters killed were apparently foreigners. The attack took place near the Syrian town of Abu Kamal, located near the Syria-Iraq border. Israeli officials haven’t commented, but an attack would fit with Israel’s opposition to Iran’s efforts to create a land bridge across Iraq to Syria and the Mediterranean.

US officials have said that many pro-regime militias that are also aligned with Iran operate in the border area between Syria and Iraq.

The area is some distance from Israel and Israeli jets would have had to overcome significant logistical hurdles to strike that area.

3. The UN Human Rights Council may update its blacklist of companies doing business in Israeli settlements. The US has previously threatened to quit the UNHRC if the list is published.

On Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said his office would “continue its work on the database of business enterprises engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements.” He added that there could be “an update possibly before September.”

4. The Independent Distorts Amnesty Report on African Migrants: The Independent cherry picks Amnesty International’s worst accusations against Israel while omitting the NGO’s discussion of mitigating issues.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you

Israel and the Palestinians
• Turns out the Palestinian killed trying to infiltrate the Israeli border from Gaza wasn’t killed by a “work accident.” Ynet reports “the military has studded the security fence with explosive booby traps” designed to deter infiltrators.

• Here‘s what the Palestinians, uh, conceived of . . .

Eylon A. Levy
 You know where this is going:
1) Palestinians use flying condoms to set fires in Israel,
2) Israel bans import of condoms to Gaza,
3) Gaza suffers a contraception shortage....

Hazem Balousha
Palestinians in #Gaza are using condoms instead of balloons to fly them into Israel with flams.

6:41 PM - Jun 18, 2018
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• CNN takes a closer look at the terror kite threat.

• In an unannounced visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman.

• Following international pressure, Netanyahu postponed the demolition of illegal Palestinian homes near Hebron.

The demolition of illegal Palestinian homes in Khirbet Susya is seen as one of the symbols of the Palestinian battle in the West Bank, and Israel has been under heavy international pressure—mainly in recent weeks—to prevent the evacuation which would have received wide international coverage.

The demolition may have also been postponed due to the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, and his special advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, this weekend.

• The New Yorker reveals that President Donald Trump signed a secret letter promising not to pressure Israel on it’s nuclear program in exchange for Jerusalem continuing its policy of “ambiguity.” According to the report, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama also signed similar letters.

building campaign

• Israelis ponder the French meaning of “ally.”

• Arab Knesset member attends event organized by terror groups in eastern Jerusalem. Police had banned the conference, which was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP) and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). More at Ynet.

• The US Senate approved $500m for Israel’s missile defense program. Globes points out, “This is the first time that military aid to Israel has been determined under the memorandum of understanding between Israel and the US governing the US aid package for ten years from 2019.”

US Capitol
Around the World
• Amid fears of antisemitism, British Jewish students are not applying to certain universities. Moreover, they, along with an outgoing Labour student leader, told BBC blame Labour’s top leadership for contributing to the antisemitic atmosphere by failing to address the problem in the party’s ranks.

• Norwegian rapper curses Jews at concert celebrating diversity. It’s hard to give the Oslo event’s organizers the benefit of the doubt — the JTA notes that five days before the concert, Kaveh Kholardi tweeted “f***ing Jews are so corrupt.”

• Woman with 10-inch knife screamed ‘I want to kill all you Jews’ as she chased children outside London synagogue.

spy• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Judah Ari Gross: Ex-minister likely a spy who knew too little, but Iran still got an intel coup
– Amos Harel: Enlisting a former Israeli minister is a victory for Iranian intelligence
– Raphael Ahren: If convicted, ex-minister will head long list of top officials revealed as spies
– Ron Ben-Yishai: The Iranian connection: Gonen Segev’s narcissism and potential damage
– Yoav Limor: The highest-ranking spy in Israel’s history
– Ohad Zwigenberg: Photojournalists don’t create reality, they document it
– Maj. Gen. (ret.) Gershon Hacohen: Needed: A decisive response to terror kites
– Jonathan Tobin: Why the establishment despises Trump’s ambassador to Israel
– Dennis Ross: A path forward for Team Trump on Israel and Gaza: Follow Nickolay Mladenov’s lead
– Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Victims of Arab apartheid
– Dr. Dave Rich: Antisemitism is well-defined already

Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA Adam Fagen; Segev via Government Press Office; US Capitol CC BY-NC Shankar Kuru; spy via Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Mon 18 Jun 2018, 10:33 pm

Israel Retaliates for Terror Kites With Air Strikes

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel launched overnight air strikes on Hamas positions in Gaza in retaliation for continued terror kites and balloons. Palestinians fired three rockets back. No casualties were reported from the air strikes or rocket fire. Take your pick of Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Ynet and Times of Israel coverage. Meanwhile, the Washington Post took a closer look at the terror kite threat.

Be sure to share our related infographic.

2. Iranian ex-pats and exiles are seeking a FIFA ban on Mehdi Tarem, a forward on Iran’s national team at the World Cup, reports Ynet. A year ago, Taremi reposted a tweet by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asserting that Israel wouldn’t exist in 25 years. As word of its surfacing spread, Tarem deleted the tweet — but not before Israeli and Iranian activists made screengrabs. Ynet adds that that the hashtag, #BanTaremi, went viral.

Mehdi Taremi

3. Israel busted a Hamas terror cell near Nablus planning bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It was an unusually large terror cell — 20 people were arrested. The Times of Israel explains:

“During the suspects’ interrogations by the Shin Bet, it was determined that the cell planned to carry out terrorist bombings in central cities in Israel and the northern West Bank, including a bombing in Tel Aviv, a suicide bombing and an explosive attack in Jerusalem, a bombing in the Itamar settlement and shooting attacks in the Samaria region,” the security service said, referring to the biblical name of the northern West Bank.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Over at the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council, Britain condemned the organization’s ‘anti-Israel bias’. UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer summed up the rest of the Geneva proceedings in 277 characters.

View image on Twitter

Hillel Neuer
 Palestinian rep just gave speech @UN_HRC on "right to participate in peaceful protests" days after their riot police crushed huge protest in Ramallah, beating dozens of protesters including young women, arresting wounded from the hospital, smashing phones & journalist cameras.

12:11 PM - Jun 18, 2018
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• Officials from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab ?Emirates and within the Palestinian Authority are pressuring Mahmoud Abbas to end his boycott of the Trump administration, Israel HaYom reports.

• One Palestinian was killed and three others were injured trying to breach the Gaza border. The IDF said they were “caught in an explosion” while trying to blow up security equipment and denied Palestinian claims that the four had been shot by soldiers.

• Worth watching: Islamic Jihad took CNN‘s Ian Lee into one of its terror tunnels and training camps. After asking the Islamic Jihad commander why rockets are fired at Israeli civilians, Lee summed up the answer this way:

“He admits to me mistakes are made, and yet time and time again, they fire rockets indiscriminately.”

• Colombia’s new president, Ivan Duque, says he’s open to moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

• US Ambassador David Friedman rapped Israeli lawmakers who recently called for the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, according to Israeli media reports.

The report quoted him as saying that Israelis do not understand that the US has global interests unrelated to the Jewish state, while Israeli politicians have only a domestic agenda.

In private conversations, Friedman allegedly told the politicians that, instead of being grateful after the US recognized Jerusalem and made the momentous move of its embassy to the city, the Israelis immediately asked for more, displaying what he termed “ingratitude.”

• French police blocked Gaza-bound boats from docking in Paris.

Window into Israel
• The Knesset’s moving to roll back the prime minister and defense minister’s authority to declare war on their own without consulting the security cabinet.

A law granting the premier and defense minister the authority to go to war was passed by the Knesset in May as an addendum to another law, drawing criticism over the concentration of power in the hands of just two elected officials.

Under the fresh proposed regulations, approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, the security cabinet will be empowered to declare war.

Liberman and Netanyahu
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
• Would a British ban on Hezbollah have a domino effect in Europe?

• Israel could get hurt in Trump’s trade war with China.

• For commentary on the domestic scene, Yariv Oppenheimer weighs in on the Hilltop Youth clash with police.

building campaign

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Avi Issacharoff: In lieu of dialogue, Hamas is playing with fire
– Noah Phillips: The metaphoric kite
– Nadav Eyal: Instead of preparing for post-Abbas era, Israel is kicking PA’s weakening body
– Amb. Alan Baker: The many ways Palestinians violate international law
– Melanie Phillips: Prince William: An FCO hostage in a minefield
– Jerusalem Post (staff-ed): The royal visit

Featured image: CC BY Pedro Ribeiro Simoes; LIberman and Netanyahu via YouTube/IsraeliPM;

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Post  Admin on Sun 17 Jun 2018, 6:03 pm

US to Imminently Quit UN Human Rights Council?

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Efforts to reform the UN Human Rights Council are going nowhere and a US withdrawal is seen as “not a question of if but of when,” Reuters reports. The UNHRC’s next session opens in Geneva on Monday — tomorrow.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, publicly told the Council a year ago that Washington might leave the body unless a “chronic anti-Israel bias” were removed.

The forum, set up in 2006, has a permanent standing agenda item on suspected violations committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories, which Washington wants removed.
UN Human Rights Council
2. The UN is expected to issue a new report bashing Israeli settlements next week, Israel HaYom reports:

The report is an extension of Resolution 2334 and was produced due to pressure on Guterres applied by Sweden and France . . .

According to the resolution, every three months the secretary-general must provide the Security Council with a report on its implementation. Thus far, the secretary-general hasn’t issued a written report, sufficing instead with an oral report from his Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov. In recent weeks, however, the French and Swedes have pushed behind the scenes for Guterres to produce a written report, exploiting the mass protests on the Gaza border and condemnations of Israel to enlist support from 10 Security Council member-states – the number obligating the secretary general to issue a written report.

3. Qatar’s buckling efforts to influence American Jews may have collapsed for good. Nick Muzin, a political strategist and CEO of Stonington Strategies tweeted that his lobbying firm is “no longer representing the State of Qatar.” The backstory described by Tablet‘s includes a complicated lawsuit over hacked emails that “threatens to reveal the architecture of Qatar’s influence operation in the United States—as well as how American Jews factored into it.”

In each instance, pro-Qatar forces, including the ones most eager to influence US Jews, are alleged to have skirted the boundaries of normative public advocacy.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Sunday morning the IDF launched an airstrike on the car of the leader of the Gaza balloon and kite launches. The Air Force also struck two Hamas observation posts in retaliation for balloons carrying rigged explosives. The kites and balloons sparked 20 fires in Israeli areas near the Strip. And just as this roundup was published, there were reports of another air strike on Gazans launching flaming balloons this afternoon.

A booby-trapped balloon was also flown into Israeli territory, landing on a highway in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. Police sappers were called to the scene and destroyed the balloon and the explosive device attached to it in a controlled explosion, police said.

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Judah Ari Gross
 Police sappers destroyed a booby-trapped balloon that had been launched from Gaza and landed on a highway in southern Israel. An explosive device was attached by a string to the ballon.

"I ❤️ you" was written on the balloon because of course it was.


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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Jun 2018, 9:32 pm

UN Condemns Israel’s ‘Excessive Force’ in Gaza
Today’s Top Stories
UNfair1. As expected, the UN General Assembly condemned Israel for “excessive force” against Palestinians during the Gaza border clashes. The resolution — which calls on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to recommend an “international protection mechanism” for Gaza — was approved by a vote of 120-8 with 45 abstentions.

The resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, does not mention by Hamas by name. A US push to include language denouncing the terror group was rejected on procedural grounds. See Times of Israel and AP coverage.

The resolution deplores “any excessive use of force” by Israeli forces, particularly in Gaza, and demands that Israel “refrain from such actions.” It “deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas,” but doesn’t say who is doing the firing.

General Assembly resolutions are not binding and the US has no veto power. I’m giving last word on the matter for now to Einat Wilf.

Dr. Einat Wilf
 As #UNGA discusses Israel's supposed "indiscriminate" use of force, how about using math? if an army fired into a crowd of 45,000 representing population distribution in Gaza, what are odds of killing total of 61 men of whom 53 are Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives (1% of pop.)?

8:34 PM - Jun 13, 2018
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2. Did Hezbollah refuse a Russian demand to leave southern Syria?

3. Jason Walters, a former Dutch jihadist who was de-radicalized in prison is now reaching out to Jews for forgiveness. The JTA explains:

“As a salafi jihadist, anti-Semitism is wrapped up in your entire worldview,” he said.

Which is why Walters chose to speak out for the first time to Esther Voet, the editor-in-chief of Holland’s NIW Jewish weekly, in an unusual interview that also featured an apology to Dutch Jews and other victims, and his advocacy of Israel’s right to exist within secure borders . . .

The “pitfall of anti-Semitism, where I once fell, is becoming mainstream,” he added. “The same stereotypes are back. There’s no more balance in the debate about Jews or Israel.”

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In the News
• Do you suppose the UN General Assembly’s vote slamming Israel has emboldened Hamas to play with fire? Hamas threatened to send 5,000 burning kites towards Israel on Friday. Tomorrow is Eid al Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan.

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Khaled Abu Toameh
 Palestinians say they will launch 5000 flaming kites to Israel on Eid Al-Fitr (most likely Friday). 

1:50 PM - Jun 14, 2018
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• PA security forces broke up a Ramallah demonstration against Mahmoud Abbas’ sanctions on Gaza. Foreign and Palestinian journalists were roughed up too. Shortly before the demonstration, the PA banned anti-Abbas protests in the West Bank.

Palestinian police dispersed the crowd with electric shockers and batons. Undercover officers dragged others away, arresting about 10 people.

Abbas has cracked down on dissent, and such protests are rare.

• The Israeli habit of bureaucratizing everything in sight just collided with Mideast realities and the World Cup.

Jerusalem Post

• German lawmakers gave a green light to a $1.2 billion deal to lease Israeli-made aerial drones. The Heron TP is Israel’s most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), capable of reconnaissance and air-to-ground missiles. See Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post coverage.

The deal had faced opposition from the center-left Social Democrats, who are partners in the ruling coalition, because the surveillance drones can also be equipped with weapons . . .

Germany is leasing the Israeli drones until European-built models are ready for operation around 2025, according to the report.

Heron UAV
An Israeli Heron UAV
• Israel unveils kamikaze drone designed to hit complex targets.

• Prince William may visit Western Wall during royal visit to Israel.

• “Norway’s Foreign Ministry this week gave the supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement an unexpected boon by declaring that boycotting Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria is not illegal.”

• As we get closer to Turkey’s June 24 national elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s primary political challenger, Muharrem Ince accused him of “signing a secret deal with Israel,” Ynet reported. Bashing Israel to score political points is one of the oldest tricks in what passes for Mideast “democracy.”

• The JTA reports that Holocaust monuments in France and the Netherlands were vandalized. And in Italy, someone torched a car and vandalized a store, leaving behind a message “this shop belongs to a Jew.” (Italian media subsequently reported that the owner of the shop is not Jewish.)

• Congressman Steve King of Iowa taking flak for sharing a tweet by a prominent neo-Nazi.

building campaign

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Raphael Ahren: The silver lining in the UN’s almost-condemnation of Hamas
– Elliott Abrams: Prince William (and the Foreign Office) in Jerusalem
– Jacob Magid: Netiv Ha’avot demolition may be a sign the settlers are winning
– Sima Kadmon: Where is Netanyahu’s leadership move?
– Yoni Ben Menachem: Mahmoud Abbas refuses to ease sanctions on Gaza Strip
– Daniel Laufer: Will BDS win Latin America?
– Jerusalem Post: Geographic divide: Taking the pulse of Jews in America and Israel
– Dr. Eliyahu Shoot: False terminology and the delegitimization of Israel

Featured image: CC BY-NC Ed Stevenson; Heron via Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Mon 11 Jun 2018, 6:55 pm

What Does US-North Korea Summit Mean for Israel?

Today’s Top Stories
1. President Donald Trump is due to meet with North Korean President Kim Jong Un in Singapore today. The leaders will discuss denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and Israel is carefully watching developments that could set a precedent for Iran. For liveblogging, see Singapore’s Straits Times and Reuters,

While the Trump-Kim summit is expected to be dominated by smiles and handshakes, what turned out to be a fake Twitter account ostensibly belonging to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho seemed to pour cold water on Israel.

Ron Ben-Yishai and Anshel Pfeffer weighed in on the summit’s Israel angles while AP noted how its playing in Iran. Tweet of the day goes to Raphael Ahren.

Raphael Ahren
10 Jun
Netanyahu on #KimTrumpSummit: The entire world prays for the success of this summit. >>

Raphael Ahren
 >> Imagine Trump came back with some deal, and UK, France and others applauded it, and Japan & South Korea opposed it.

That’s what happened with the Iran deal. This deal was applauded by many who are not in the missile range of Iran. But Israel and the Arab states opposed it.

5:57 PM - Jun 10, 2018
See Raphael Ahren's other Tweets
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2. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz went to the Western Wall yesterday in an unscheduled “private visit.” The European Union consider the holy site occupied. More on Kurz’s itinerary at the Jerusalem Post and i24 News.

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i24NEWS English
 Austria's Sebastian Kurz visits Jerusalem's Western Wall, Holocaust museum http://i24ne.ws/xGz130kqI1M 

8:53 PM - Jun 10, 2018
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3. Looks like the Israeli government is dropping its insistence that the Eurovision song competition will be held in Jerusalem. According to Israeli media reports, the government will not intervene in choosing the location. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat are seeking to host the contest. To avoid politicizing the event, an inter-ministerial conference call decided to let the Kan public broadcaster choose the venue.

The European Broadcasting Union, charged with producing the event together with local member Kan, has said it will not object to Jerusalem being the chosen venue, so long as a proper tender has taken place, Channel 20 reported.

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev — who has insisted that Israel host the Eurovision in Jerusalem or not at all — was conspicuously not involved (frozen out?) in that conference call.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

Israel and the Palestinians
• Ynet introduces us to the Firefly, the new IDF drone designed to attack flaming kites — and more.

• Some Israeli children found a Palestinian terror kite rigged with an unspecified “harmful device” in the Sdot Negev area near the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Sappers neutralized the device with a robot; nobody was injured.

• The Media Line takes a closer look at the terror kite threat and how Israel’s dealing with it.

• A bill fighting against PA terror stipends passed one of its legislative hurdles, getting the approval of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The legislation would require the government to deduct the amount of money the PA spends on terror stipends from taxes and tariffs it collects on the PA’s behalf. The Jerusalem Post explains:

The PA paid terrorists over a billion shekels ($347 million) in 2017, and upped the amount to over NIS 1.4 billion ($403 million) in its 2018 budget, according to a Defense Ministry report based on the PA’s budget . . .

The amount deducted will be invested in a fund to pay damages to victims of terror, among other areas.

building campaign

• Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat responded to US envoy Jason Greenblatt’s blistering criticism and call for his ouster. (Greenblatt was responding to Erekat’s previous denunciation of the US and the Trump administration.)

• An 18-year-old Israel girl is in serious condition after she was stabbed by a Palestinian in Afula this afternoon. The suspect, a 30something year-old man from Jenin was apprehended with a knife in his possession. Police are investigating whether it was a terror or criminal attack.

• Let’s see: Iran has previously test fired missiles with the words “Israel must be wiped out,” and created a doomsday clock counting down Israel’s destruction to 2040. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called Israel a a malignant cancerous tumor” that “has to be removed and eradicated.” So with a history like that, what exactly does the ayatollah or AP think needs clarifying?

Associated Press

Window into Israel
• The yeshiva army deferments issue is back in the news as the United Torah Judaism party put together draft legislation and set a June 22 deadline.

Giving his coalition partners an ultimatum, the head of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party said last week that if the proposal is not passed into law by then, when the Knesset summer recess begins, the party will leave the government, likely spelling its untimely end . . .

[Deputy Health Minister Yaakov] Litzman’s ultimatum comes ahead of a September deadline set by the High Court of Justice for the Knesset to re-legislate a previous exemption that the court disqualified.

Around the World
• Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates pledged a $2.5 billion to bail out for Jordan. AP reports that it is hoped the assistance “will help Jordan come up with a new, more-palatable austerity plan to satisfy international lenders and its public.”

• Israel ‘should be wiped off map’, says Al Quds Day speaker as Hezbollah flags fly in London.

The Jewish Chronicle
 Hezbollah flags once again flown at #Quds day 2018, despite its military wing being a proscribed organisation

5:53 PM - Jun 10, 2018
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• An elite New York private school is investigating a teacher over his “diatribe” to students about Israel after the Gaza clashes.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Yoav Limor: Hamas naval tunnel and proof of Israel’s intelligence reach
– Avi Issacharoff: Gaza’s financial crisis is sending Hamas back into the arms of Iran
– Alex Fishman: With no more tricks up its sleeves, Hamas has become more dangerous
– Moshe Arens: How to solve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza
– MK Avi Dichter: PA terror stipends: Stop the absurdity
– Gadi Taub: Why Western ‘liberals’ so easily buy into Hamas’ antisemitic blood libel
– Daniel Zimet: The feeble fight against BDS

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Post  Admin on Sun 10 Jun 2018, 6:20 pm

US Envoy Calls for Saeb Erekat’s Ouster
Today’s Top Stories
1. Breaking news: Just before this roundup was published, it was reported that the IDF destroyed a Hamas naval tunnel.
Anna Ahronheim
 #BREAKING: #IDF has destroyed a #Hamas naval tunnel which would have allowed frogmen to swim out to sea undetected. The tunnel, which was in northern #GazaStrip, was discovered several months ago and destroyed on June 3rd

2:31 PM - Jun 10, 2018
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2. Here’s a sentence I never imagined writing: US Mideast envoy fisks chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Haaretz, even calling for Erekat’s ouster. (Greenblatt was responding to Erekat’s invective against Israel and the Trump administration last month.)

Dr. Erekat – we have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement. Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better.

Jason Greenblatt and Saeb Erekat
3. According to Syrian rebels, Iranian-allied militias which left the Israeli border have returned disguised as Syrian soldiers, the Wall St. Journal reports (click via Twitter). The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz picked up on this.

After initially appearing to withdraw, military convoys of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and other Iran-backed militias have returned to both Daraa and Quneitra provinces in Syria’s southwest near Israel, dressed in Syrian military uniforms and under Syrian flags, according to multiple rebel commanders.

The convoys that returned were equipped with rockets and missiles, one of the rebel commanders said.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.
4. A Journalist’s Wall of Lies: Reporter Sarah Helm distorts and embellishes facts to vividly support the Palestinian narrative in her stories.

Israel and the Palestinians
• Breaking with European Union policy, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was due to visit the Western Wall today. The Jerusalem Post says it’s “the first time in recent memory that a leader of an EU country will visit the holy site, even for what is being billed only as a ‘private visit.'”

• Clashes continued along the Gaza border on Friday, with Palestinians launching incendiary kites and helium balloons, and as usual, throwing stones and firebombs and trying to breach the fence. The demonstrations coincided with Quds Day, but only 10,000 Palestinians showed up. A few journalists were invited to cover the clashes with the IDF. I liked Nikki Guttman’s dispatch for Israel HaYom and New York Times correspondent David Halbfinger’s Twitter thread.

In a new escalation, Palestinians also launched helium balloons carrying explosives detonated by remote control. No Israelis were injured. In another first, an Israeli aircraft fired a warning shot at Palestinians preparing terror balloons. Meanwhile, one Israeli defense contractor said that it is ‘working on solution’ to Gaza’s incendiary kites.

• For the first time, Palestinians launched terror kites in the West Bank on Thursday.

The kites were flown over the settlements of Matan, Yarhiv and Nirit, three Jewish communities in the West Bank near the central Israeli city of Kfar Saba.

One of the kites caused a fire in a field, which was quickly put out without major damage, while another struck a power line, causing a power outage in the area for several hours.

building campaign

• When Mark Twain said “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” I wonder if he had in mind Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Sharia Judge and an advisor to Mahmoud Abbas on religious affairs. MEMRI flagged this comment by Habbash denying Jewish ties to the Temple Jerusalem at a conference attended by various ambassadors, religious leaders and other dignitaries:

. . . the struggle in Jerusalem is between the rightful owners of the city – the Muslims and Christians – and “some foreign Western imperialists that have no connection to this soil.” He added that the state of Israel is an imperialist Western enterprise whose purpose is to weaken and divide the Arab world, and that the claim that the Jews have a historical connection to Jerusalem is nothing but a distortion of history.

• Israel has complained to the UN that Hezbollah is helping Hamas set up missile factories and training facilities in Lebanon, according to Arab media reports picked up by the Jerusalem Post and Ynet.

Ronen Manelis
Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis
• It’s very unusual that the IDF is sending chief spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis to appear before a French parliamentary committee to clarify the military’s response to the Gaza clashes. Since when did anyone from the IDF go and give evidence in a foreign parliament?

Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman and French Jewish MP Meyer Habib came up with the idea of inviting Manelis to address the forum following the most recent meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which was also attended by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

According to Habib, although the committee could have focused its attention on any pressing international matter, four out of the six speeches by faction spokespersons “focused solely on Gaza and the slander of Israel.”

• The Los Angeles Times rounded up followup fallout from the Argentine soccer snub.

• Israel’s recent ban on Indonesians threatens eastern Jerusalem travel industry. According to The Media Line, “Ten of thousands of Indonesians visit Israel each year, with numbers until now growing.”

• While in London, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down for an interview with BBC Newsnight. I’m not familiar with the style of reporter Evan Davis, but he frequently wouldn’t let the prime minister answer his questions. Netanyahu was far more patient with Davis than I would’ve been.
Window into Israel
• Globes takes a closer look at the Israeli government’s latest plan for combating drought and raising the water level of the Kinneret Lake, also known as the Sea Galilee.

The plan includes building two desalination facilities, a rivers reclamation plan, connecting isolated areas to the National Water Carrier and replenishing the Kinneret by “pouring 100 million cubic meters of desalinated water a year” into the lake by reversing the flow of water.
Lake Kinneret
Around the World
• Spain’s third-largest city voted to boycott Israel. Valencia’s municipal council declared the city of 1.5 million people an a “Israeli apartheid-free zone.” Related reading: BDS: The Bane in Spain.

• Antisemitic incidents drop sharply in Poland and Hungary, watchdogs say.

• Jewish student films his New Jersey college professor sharing conspiracy theories and antisemitic tropes. Students in Clyde Magarelli’s sociology classes were told, among other things, that Judaism has degenerated into a racist religion, Ashkenazi Jews are not genetically descended from the ancient Israelites, and the moon landing was faked.

Susanna Maria Feldman
Susanna Maria Feldman
• A former Iraqi asylum-seeker suspected of raping and killing a 14-year-old German Jewish girl is in custody. The murder of Susanna Maria Feldman, who disappeared on May 23, has put a lot of pressure on Angela Merkel’s government and the police because A) the suspect, 20-year-old Ali Bashar, was still in Germany despite being rejected for asylum in 2016, and B) Bashar and his family were able to fly out of Dusseldorf even though the names on their identity papers and airline tickets did not match.
Feldman’s body was found outside her hometown of Wiesbaden. Bashar was arrested by Kurdish authorities in Erbil acting on an international arrest warrant.

• Fire ravages Russian Jewish cemetery; police investigating possible arson.

• Boycotting the boycotters: Hampstead Jews vow to avoid new Co-op over chain’s Israel stance

• Guest editors of a University of Sydney student newspaper featured a front page photo of a suicide bomber with an AK-47 who killed Israeli and Lebanese soldiers in 1985. After the Australasian Union of Jewish Students demanded an apology, the University of Sydney’s ­Student Representative Council “passed a motion, 11 to 10, against AUJS on Wednesday night for complaining about the publication.” More on the story at The Algemeiner.

• For the second time now, a German intelligence report has labeled BDS as antisemitic.

• AP picked up on an American Jewish Committee poll which found deep divisions between Israeli and American Jewish attitudes on a range of issues, such as the embassy move, Netanyahu-Trump relations, mixed prayer at the Western Wall, and more.

• Nice to see The Guardian has some semblance of standards. The Jewish Chronicle reports editors refused to publish this cartoon by Steve Bell, who insists its not antisemitic. It features prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Theresa May as Palestinian medic Razan al-Najar burns in the fireplace behind them. Najar was killed last week during the Gaza clashes.

Steve Bell

• Plenty of commentary about the Gaza situation . . .

– Vivian Bercovici: When toys become weapons and nobody notices
– Ron Ben-Yishai: Hamas failed, but the Gaza problem is far from resolution
– Haviv Rettig Gur: Gaza is going to get worse before it gets better
– Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Mired in delusions
– Kenneth Jacobson: Feeding Palestinian illusions
– Yaniv Kubovich: Iran’s fighting force in Gaza is the one calling and firing the shots
– Melanie Phillips: The lethal moral confusion of saying Kaddish for Hamas

• Here’s what they’re saying about the Argentine soccer snub . . .

– Ron Prosor: Waging diplomatic counter-terrorism in the wake of Israel-Argentina
– Yaakov Katz: Cut the politics: Regev, Messi and the BDS movement
– Gustavo Perednik: Cry for us, Argentina
– Amotz Asa-El: Crying for Argentina
– New York Daily News (staff-ed): Argentina vs. Israel: Not so friendly

Lionel Messi
• Here’s what else I’m reading this weekend . . .

– Justin Cohen: Letting Hezbollah flags fly in London is a terrible indictment of our government’s approach to extremism
– Judith Bergman: Marching for terrorism in London? No problem
– Tom Tugendhat: Violence is the purpose of Iranian-backed Hizbollah. Britain ignoring that helps nobody
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Is Jordan burning?
– Abdulrahman Al-Rashed: Jordan’s protests: Economic or political?
– Sander Gerber, Yossi Kuperwasser: The PA sponsors terrorism, and the Taylor Force Act finally puts it out in the open
– David Weinberg: Hasbara war strategies
– Alex Fishman: An invitation to an unquiet Syrian border
– Cinnamon Stillwell: Zionists need not apply to San Francisco St. Univesity?
– Brendan O’Neill: No, Islamophobia is not the new antisemitism
– David Harris: A tragic anniversary: The end of Jewish life in Libya

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Post  Admin on Thu 07 Jun 2018, 4:38 pm

Messi Fallout of Argentine Soccer Snub Roils Israel

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Today’s Top Stories
1. The fallout from the cancelled Argentine soccer match has some tie-ins with Israel hosting next year’s Eurovision competition. Does the cancelled soccer match foreshadow the nixing of future athletic and cultural events in Israel?

2. It’s looking increasingly likely that next year’s Eurovision competition will not be held in Jerusalem, Haaretz reports. It’s complicated because of A) political and security sensitivities now highlighted by this week’s soccer snub, B) religious demands that the competition and its related logistics cause no Sabbath desecration, and C) a growing reluctance among the Eurovision brass who feel that Jerusalem is “too charged” for the event.

3. Did Qatar have a hand in Argentina’s cancellation?

“We’re understanding more and more that the real issue here is not the threats (against the Argentine team and star player Lionel Messi—ed.), which are only an unreliable excuse, but a wealthy Arab state bribing a poor soccer association,” the source said.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev each claim the other was the one to ask to move the Israel-Argentina match from Haifa to Jerusalem.
• Regev threatened to withdraw Israel from hosting Eurovision if the competition isn’t in Jerusalem.

“It will cost Israel NIS 50 million ($14 million) and is designed to market the country,” she said. “So I personally say, if the Eurovision won’t be held in Jerusalem, it’s not right to invest the NIS 50 million in public funds.”

• Israel is calling for FIFA to investigate Palestinian soccer chief Jibril Rajoub for making threats against Lionel Messi and his teammates. I’m not aware of Messi publicly commenting on any of this.

The controversy’s key players
Benjamin Netanyahu: Prime Minister
Miri Regev: Minister of Culture and Sport
Jibril Rajoub: Palestinian Football Association chief
Lionel Messi: Argentine soccer star
Mauricio Macri: Argentine president
Claudio Tapia: Argentine Football Association chief
Joseph Shapira: Israeli state comptroller

Meanwhile, the Argentines told AP that the terror threats they caved in to came from Hamas.

A senior official at the Argentine Football Federation said the national team decided to call off the match with Israel after receiving threats from Hamas.

The official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to safety concerns, did not provide evidence or details of the alleged threats.

A Hamas official mocked reports that the group had threatened the players, calling them unrealistic, and saying they don’t deserve a comment.

• Israel’s state comptroller, Joseph Shapira, said he is going to investigate Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev’s handling of the canceled Argentina- Israel soccer game.

building campaign

• A 21-year-old Palestinian who is a member of the Strip’s “kite flying unit” talked to Ynet about his activities, insisting they’ll continue playing with fire.

He revealed the “kites unit” operates like an organization, but claimed it has no connection to Hamas.

“We’re young people from all across the Gaza Strip. We’re divided into groups according to areas, and each group has one person in charge who decides when to fly kites and how many. We have no aid from Hamas and we don’t need it. Preparing each kite, with its incendiary device, costs us three or four shekels,” he explained.

• According to Israeli media reports, drones downed over 350 incendiary terror kites and balloons.

• Ynet picked up on a video purporting to show Razan Najar, the Palestinian nurse killed during Gaza clashes, throwing a gas grenade. The video was posted on Facebook by the IDF’s Arabic spokesman, Avichay Adraee.

Window into Israel
• The Knesset rejected a bill that would have required the government to finish construction of the West Bank security barrier, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Work began on the barrier in 2002 during a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings and shooting attacks. It was never fully finished due to a combination of politics, bureaucracy, budget battles, legal challenges and other priorities. About 60 percent of the barrier’s 790 km route has been completed.

• According to Israel media reports, “female prison guards with the Israel Prison Service have allegedly been sexually harassed by terrorists after being transferred to the high-security ward at the request of an influential inmate.”

argentine soccer• Plenty of spilled ink and burnt pixels over the soccer snub.

– Ben Sales: Why it’s a big deal that Argentina canceled its soccer game in Israel
– Miguel Winazki: Goal for hypocrisy in World Cup soccer
– Raz Shechnik: When politics suffocates sports
– Ross Clark: Argentina, why not boycott the entire World Cup?
– Jerusalem Post (staff-ed) Kick politics out of sports
– Anshel Pfeffer: BDS is still a failure – don’t let Netanyahu’s Argentine soccer debacle fool you
– Haim Shine: Terrorism has no place in sports

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Lenny Ben-David: Why Israelis won’t apologize for killing of Gaza nurse
– Bassam Tawil: Palestinian kite flyers: “Burn the Jews!”
– Charles Bybelezer: In distorting US Ambassador Friedman’s message, the media proves his point
– Jonathan Tobin: Ambassador David Friedman’s crude pro-Israel activism devalues US diplomacy
– Einat Wilf, Adi Schwartz: How UNRWA prevents Gaza from thriving
– Peter Lerner: Israel has to talk to Hamas. Otherwise, it’s war
– Norman Bailey: Putin gives Israel carte-blanche
– Yonah Jeremy Bob: Iran’s nuke moves are more bark than bite . . . so far

Featured image: CC BY woodleywonderworks;; soccer ball CC0 Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Wed 06 Jun 2018, 10:01 pm

Argentina Cancels Israeli Soccer Match
Today’s Top Stories
1. Citing Palestinian threats against star player Lionel Messi, Argentina cancelled this weekend’s friendly pre-World Cup match against Israel in Jerusalem. Israel soccer officials are filing a formal complaint with FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.

Meanwhile, Palestinian soccer chief Jibril Rajoub told the Times of Israel that the PA didn’t object to the game’s original Haifa venue, but blamed Israeli officials for moving the match to Jerusalem and making various statements politicizing it. Indeed, some Israelis pointed fingers at each other more than at BDS while Argentine pundits slammed what they described as the hypocrisy of the team’s decision.

More on the story — lots, in fact — at Ynet.
Lionel Messi
2. A preliminary IDF investigation of the death of Palestinian medic Razan al-Najar found that she wasn’t deliberately targeted by soldiers. The military stressed that the investigation is still ongoing. Haaretz and the Times of Israel had the clearest coverage.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that soldiers fired shots in the area, but said that they were not aimed at the 21-year-old volunteer medic, Razan Najjar.

“During the incident, a limited number of bullets were fired and no gunfire was directly or intentionally fired at her,” the army said in a statement.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

3. According to Israeli media reports, the Palestinian Authority warned French officials that Iran was financing and encouraging weeks of violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border.

4. ‘The Week Junior’ Gets an F: Teaching distortions, hate and anger is no way to begin a child’s education about Israel.

5. The 6 Questions About Paywalls You Were Afraid to Ask: I’m seeing a spike of emails about newspaper paywalls, which means it’s time to revisit this post.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• What does this say about the Mideast, the Trump administration and bureaucracy?

US President Donald Trump on Monday signed a presidential waiver that suspends for six months a law mandating the US embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — despite the fact that the embassy officially opened in Jerusalem last month.

Trump’s move was necessitated by the fact that the ambassador’s official residence has not yet been relocated to the capital.

• Worth watching: This Reuters video takes a closer look at Gaza’s burning kites and how Israel’s trying to counter them.
Reuters TV
 Devastating fires in Israel started by homemade 'fire kites' https://reut.rs/2Hod38e  via @ReutersTV

2:20 PM - Jun 6, 2018
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• The Jewish National Fund will sue Hamas in international court for damage to Israeli forests caused by burning kites from Gaza. Good luck trying to collect . . .

• Why are trials against IDF soldiers killing Palestinians falling apart?

• For whatever it’s worth, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert supported Ambassador David Friedman’s criticism of media coverage of the Gaza protests.

• Australian Jewish group complains to ABC News boss over ‘massive omission’ on Gaza rocket attacks.

• Ex-ambassador Michael Oren disputes former White House aid Ben Rhodes’ account of Israel’s reaction to the US-Syria “red lines crisis.”
composite image
Michael Oren, Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and Ben Rhodes
• A cursed collision with karma, or crazy coincidence? Ahmed Said — the Egyptian radio announcer who claimed troops had reached Tel Aviv and destroyed dozens of Israeli fighter planes during the Six-Day War — died. Associated Press notes that “Said was buried Tuesday, the 51st anniversary of the start of the war on June 5.”

For more than a decade, Said was Egypt’s biggest media personality, working for for Sawt al-Arab (Voice of the Arabs), a mouthpiece of president Gamel Abdel Nasser.

Around the World
• South African radio personality Gareth Cliff is taking flak for defending the IDF’s handling of the Gaza border riots. Listen to Cliff’s comments, see Jenna Etheridge‘s response, then see the Daily Maverick‘s fact-check.

Gareth Cliff
• Jerusalem Post: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund “gave grants to organizations which funnel money and support to terrorist groups, and continued to do so after being told about the NGOs’ activities.”

• Argentine lawmakers are discussing the removal of ex-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s immunity from prosecution over the AMIA bombing and the murder of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. The Algemeiner rounds up the latest from Buenos Aires.

• Ynet: The UN released its first education guide on fighting anti-Semitism, published online by UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

• Police investigating threatening graffiti on U. California San Diego Jewish student center sign.

• Tweet of the day goes to Paul Gross:
Paul Gross
 So Israel can’t host one game against Argentina while Russia - invader of two its neighbors, murderer of political opponents and part of the alliance that’s slaughtered thousands in Syria - gets to host a World Cup?
The world’s screwed-up moral compass strikes again.

6:51 AM - Jun 6, 2018 · Israel
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• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Chemi Shalev: Israel should stop playing into BDS’ hands or Argentine soccer fiasco will only be the beginning
– Gil Hoffman: When mixing soccer and Israeli politics becomes messy
– Yair Lapid: Israel will not leave the Golan Heights
– Yaakov Lappin: Israel’s ‘active defense’ in Syria won’t be stopped by diplomatic deals
– Herb Keinon: What does Netanyahu hope to achieve on his European trip?
– William Galston: Bibi is bent on taking on Iran alone (click via Twitter)
– Roger Boyes: Israel must decide how it wants to fight Iran
– The Australian (staff-ed): Time for a reality check on Iran
– Abdulrahman Al-Rashed: The condition of Iran’s withdrawal for Assad to stay
– Daniel Friedmann: As far as Hamas is concerned, Israel was deterred
– Amos Harel: IDF believes Hamas willing to talk, though no signs of negotiations on the horizon
– Dr. Reuven Berko: Holding everyone else responsible
– Simon Waldman: Burning money: the urgent need to rethink UNRWA
– Emily Benedek: Will the world finally turn off the UNRWA spigot?
– Daniel Arbess: Is Trump following a grand Mideast strategy? (click via Twitter)
– Ed Husain: Jeremy Corbyn is pitting Britain’s Muslims against Jews


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For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.

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Post  Admin on Tue 05 Jun 2018, 9:45 pm

Blazing Gaza Kite Sparks Major Sderot Fire
Today’s Top Stories
1. A burning kite from Gaza sparked a major blaze in Sderot, covering the city in smoke this morning. By mid-afternoon, the fire was brought under control. Firefighters also battled other blazes today near Kibbutz Nir Am and in the area of Moshav Netiv Ha’asara.
Anna Ahronheim
 Fires continue to rage in southern #Israel. This video, shot by Dean Sela, shows fires near Sapir college in the city of #Sderot
10:34 AM - Jun 5, 2018
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2. The Shin Bet busted a terror cell planning attacks on Prime Minister Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and US and Canadian interests. Ynet and the Jerusalem Post reported that the prime suspect was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) while the Times of Israel reported he was affiliated with a splinter group called the PFLP General Command (PFLP-GC). Reminds me of Monty Python’s People’s Front of Judea scene from The Life of Brian.
In any event, both the PFLP and PFLP-GC are on the US State Department‘s and European Union‘s lists of blacklisted terror groups, and Muhammad Jamal Rashdeh is not a nice guy.
One of the suspects is Muhammad Jamal Rashdeh, 30, from the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, who holds an Israeli identity card and has served time in prison in the past for terrorist activity. The investigation revealed that he had planned the attacks with guidance from terrorist elements abroad, including a terror operative from Syria.
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3. The Palestinians are postponing today’s “Naksa Day” protests (marking the anniversary of their defeat in the Six-Day War) to Friday. Ynet explains why, and what we may be in for on Friday.
IDF officials believe, however, that most of the protest clashes on the Gaza border will take place on Friday, in a bid to synchronize the events with the “Jerusalem Day” events in Iran, and that Tuesday’s fence protest will be limited . . .
Hamas’ frustration over the failure of its efforts to get hundreds of Gazans to cross the fence, which was reflected in the firing of more than 100 mortar shells and rockets last week, might indicate that the organization and the other factions in the strip have nothing to lose anymore.
Neverthless, Israeli security forces are braced for violence today. More at the Times of Israel.
4. US Caused 500 Civilian Casualties in 2017. (What does this have to do with Israel?): US armed forces caused almost 500 civilian casualties in 2017. Israel may have a solution.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Army warns Israel will soon have to retaliate for Gaza’s burning kites. Here’s a by the numbers look at the threat based on Haaretz.
– 600: burning kites launched by Palestinians
– 300: fires on the Israeli side started by burning kites
– 1,235: acres of crops destroyed
– $1.4 million: value of crops destroyed
– 518: acres of Jewish National Fund forests in flames
– 988: acres destroyed in Besor Forest Nature Reserve
– thousands: acres of other woodland and brushland destroyed
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post visited Kibbutz Kfar Aza to get a sense of how the people are living with the new kite threat.
• According to an Arab report picked up by Ynet and Israel HaYom, the Israeli Mossad killed two Iranian military advisors in Libya.
As part of its mission to obtain uranium from Libya’s mines, Iran is attempting to influence local militias by supporting them in exchange for uranium.
The two Iranian advisors were supposed to coordinate between Iran’s regime and the Libyan militias.
• Plenty of buzz over the Israeli Embassy‘s reply to the latest smack-talking tweet from Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
3 Jun
Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. #Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen. 7/31/91#GreatReturnMarch
Embassy of Israel
5:11 PM - Jun 4, 2018
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• Correction on an AP story noted in yesterday’s roundup:
In a story June 3 about a major U.S.-led military exercise in the Baltics, The Associated Press, relying on initial erroneous information from U.S. Army Europe, incorrectly reported that non-NATO member Israel is taking part. Israel isn’t participating in the “Saber Strike” exercise, and instead is taking part in another drill in the region.
• In Berlin, Netanyahu warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Iran could unleash a new wave of Mideast refugees as Tehran finances regional conflicts with proceeds from eased sanctions. More on the visit at the Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter).
building campaign
Around the World
• French supermarket manager filmed removing Israeli products at request of a Muslim shopper.
The manager removed the Israeli dates which were placed on a special shelf for Ramadan products after a Muslim shopper complained that the sale of Israeli products on a shelf reserved for Ramadan products was an insult to Muslim sensitivities.
• Farrakhan supporter Tamika Mallory was disinvited from a major Australian social policy conference after latest antisemitic outburst. More at The Australian.
A spokesperson for the summit in Melbourne said organizers were perturbed “both by comments Ms. Mallory made in recent days regarding Israeli-Palestinian affairs, and the capacity for these remarks to overshadow the Good Life Summit.”
• Last word on the Gaza protests against the embassy move, Gaza blockade, occupation, Israel’s existence goes to Israeli diplomat Dan Poraz.
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Dan Poraz
 Tomorrow is ‘#Naksa Day’, another Palestinian national holiday marking the Jews’ reluctance to die.
On this occasion, #Hamas is again inciting the masses to commit martyrdom suicide while trying to infiltrate into #Israel.#SaveGazaFromHamas
2:59 PM - Jun 4, 2018
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• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– Eli Lake: How Israel is pulling Russia away from Iran
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Reality check: Iran isn’t going anywhere
– Anshel Pfeffer: Netanyahu is in Europe as Trump’s lobbyist-in-chief
– David Gerstman: A week of infamy at the United Nations
– Jonathan Tobin: Standing up to the UN shows America’s greatness
– Yoni Ben Menachem: Hamas will go for broke in Gaza
– David Harris: Why history still matters: The 1967 Six-Day War
– Abe Haak: The danger to Jordan of a Palestinian state
– Rachel Lerman: The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act doesn’t restrict free speech — it prevents bullying

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Post  Admin on Mon 04 Jun 2018, 9:43 pm

Jordanian PM Resigns Amid National Protests
Today’s Top Stories
1. Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki submitted his resignation to King Abdullah amid widespread demonstrations against the government’s austerity measures.

King Abdullah asked Omar al-Razzaz, a former World Bank economist, to form the new government. Razzaz was education minister in Mulki’s government. According to a government-linked daily, Razzaz has been tapped as the country’s new prime minister.

Israel’s closely watching developments in the neighboring kingdom. Haaretz offers more background.

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2. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is en route to Europe today to discuss Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the future of the Iranian nuclear deal. Haaretz and AP preview what’s in store for talks with his counterparts in Berlin, Paris and London.

Meanwhile, the Times of London got a peek at one of the key Iranian atomic documents pilfered by the Mossad earlier this year, “a memorandum that formally hands responsibility for the production of weapons-grade enriched uranium to the Iranian defence ministry.”

Mr Netanyahu will use the latest analytical findings from the captured archives to make the case to Theresa May on Wednesday that the multinational accord was essentially invalid since it was based on a falsehood: Iran’s contention that it had never pursued a nuclear weapons programme and that it needed to enrich uranium purely for peaceful purposes. “What Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency about its capacities was almost comical compared to what we have here,” said a senior Israeli intelligence officer involved in the analysis of the seized documents.

A second Times of London report about the Iranian docs, explains that “Israel wants to ensure that Britain, France and Germany do not break ranks and strike an arrangement with Iran that could ease the pressure. Mr Netanyahu has to convince the Europeans that their position — that Iran has never strictly violated the 2015 accord — is untenable.”

iranian atom

3. IDF vet gets death threats after she’s falsely accused of killing Gaza medic. The soldier, Rebecca, asked the Times of Israel not to publish her last name. She never served as a sniper and was released from military service more than two years ago.:

The accusation against the IDF veteran may have originated with a woman from Chicago, with over 13,000 followers on Facebook, who posted a photograph of Rebecca that was published four years ago on the army’s official page.

A few hours later, the “Freedom for Gaza” Facebook page, with its more than 100,000 followers, published Rebecca’s picture, claiming that she had “executed a 21-year-old Palestinian nurse in Gaza.” As of Sunday evening, the post has been shared nearly 15,000 times . . .

The IDF spokeswoman encouraged Rebecca to make a video in response to the claim, which was later published by the StandWithUs pro-Israel advocacy group.

In the News
• Haaretz: Fire damage to Israeli agriculture near the Gaza border is estimated at $1.4 million — and rising. Netanyahu ordered funds be withheld from the PA to compensate victims of kite attacks.

• A Palestinian man with an axe was shot and killed by the IDF trying to breach the Israeli border fence today. A second Palestinian was wounded but managed to escape back to the Strip.

• A group of Gazans infiltrated Israel, setting fire to defense equipment before returning to the Strip on Sunday evening.

building campaign

• The Foreign Press Association in Israel says its seeing a spike in invasive strip searches of journalists returning from Gaza to Israel.

• For the first time, Israel is participating in a major NATO exercise near Russia. The Saber Strike exercise in Poland and the Baltic states involves 18,000 troops from 19 nations.

• US Ambassador David Friedman fired a broadside at the international press corps — at a media event no less. The Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post were on hand.

• Police arrested the mayor of Hadera and three other municipal officials on suspicions of corruption.

• Days after Bashar Assad denied the presence of Iranian military personnel in Syria, a senior Iranian general denied his forces will leave Syria.

• Israel rushes emergency aid to Guatemala after volcano eruption kills 25

• Corbynistas are crying foul over Tracy Ullman’s satirical take on Jeremy Corbyn’s struggles with antisemitism. Watch the BBC video and judge for yourself.

• After getting an exclusive look at some of the Mossad’s stolen Iranian nuclear documents (articles one and two), a Times of London staff-ed bluntly calls out Tehran’s untruths:

The Times has argued in the past that scrapping the accord would propel the regime to accelerate its nuclear sprint. But an agreement based on deceit loses its validity. If Iran had been serious about setting aside a military option it would have surrendered its archive as did South Africa in the early 1990s. The International Atomic Energy Agency must now be allowed to do its job under the Iran deal and the comprehensive safeguards agreement. All suspect military sites should be opened for inspection. If Iran refuses, then sanctions should be reimposed immediately.

reading• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Ron Ben-Yishai: Radical Muslim groups trying to drag IDF into war in Gaza
– Avi Issacharoff: Rocket fire from Gaza is a message, but it’s not clear who the audience is
– Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Iranian blood money, Palestinian blood
– Efraim Karsh: Gaza: It’s not the economy, stupid
– Yoav Limor: Hamas’ new test
– The Australian (staff-ed): Scrutinize Palestinian funding
– Amb. Dore Gold: Russia constrains Iran
– Dr. Michal Yaari: Israel and Saudi Arabia: From foes to potential friends
– Melanie Phillips: Europe’s about-face on Israel
– Borzou Daragahi: Iran wants to stay in Syria forever

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Post  Admin on Sun 03 Jun 2018, 6:26 pm

German Intelligence: BDS a Security Threat, Antisemitic
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Today’s Top Stories
1. In a precedent-setting move, German intelligence labeled BDS as antisemitic and a security threat, the Jerusalem Post reports. “Labeling BDS as antisemitic could have far-reaching consequences for German politicians and public and private organizations that engage in pro-BDS activity.”

David Friedman
Ambassador David Friedman
2. According to the Associated Press, the Trump administration is mulling giving Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the US consulate in Jerusalem, which is responsible for US relations with the Palestinians. The practical arguments for the move are technical and bureaucratic, while the arguments against it are more symbolism.
For decades, the Jerusalem consulate has operated differently than almost every other consulate around the world. Rather than reporting to the U.S. Embassy in Israel, it has reported directly to the State Department in Washington, giving the Palestinians an unfiltered channel to engage with the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, Amb. Friedman discussed the embassy move, the Trump administration’s peace plans, bipartisan support American support for Israel and more in a Q+A with the Times of Israel.

3. Is a major American BDS umbrella organization linked to Palestinian terror groups? Tablet takes a closer look:

The US Campaign, which is officially called Education for Just Peace in the Middle East, coordinates the efforts of 329 different pro-BDS organizations “working to advocate for Palestinian rights and a shift in US policy … bound by commonly shared principles on Palestine solidarity as well as our anti-racism principles,” according to the group’s website.

But as Tablet confirmed , the group also helps facilitate tax-exempt donations to a Palestinian coalition that includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups the U.S. State Department designates as terror organizations.

4. The Village Idiot: Irish Magazine’s Flawed Article: Investigative journalist Frank Connolly demonstrates that he has done very little investigating into the facts.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Israeli jets launched air strikes on terror targets in Gaza overnight in retaliation for Saturday evening mortar fire and burning kites. More than 500 acres of a nature reserve adjacent to Kibbutz Carmia were devastated by the worst fire yet triggered by the kites. Authorities said about one-third of the reserve was destroyed. By the way, Israeli media reports that Gazans have improved the way they play with fire, going beyond kites:

Today, authorities are battling helium balloons carrying long-burning materials like charcoal. The balloons are capable of flying several kilometers into Israel and sparking fires farther afield.

• Officials in Jerusalem and Damascus denied reports that a deal had been reached to remove foreign fighters — including Iranian and Hezbollah personnel — from near the Israeli-Syrian border.

• Israeli diplomats are upbeat about an emerging US strategy to combat the UN Security Council’s bias against the Jewish state. Whenever a one-sided resolution is introduced — in this case, a Kuwait-sponsored resolution condemning Israel and calling for international protection of Palestinians in Gaza — the US will put forward a counter-measure, or what Ambassador Danny Danon called “a proactive effort to expose the hypocrisy of the council.”

building campaign

• Hamas is in crisis, with no answers for improving Gaza’s quality of life, few regional allies, no leverage to get Israel and Egypt to lift the Strip’s blockade and no means of pressuring the Palestinian Authority on reconciliation. Gazans are questioning if the “March of Return” accomplished anything at all. I’m sure the terror group’s apologists will have what to say about this Washington Post report.

• Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is demanding answers (“assurances” in diplospeak) on whether or not Aussie aid to the Palestinian Authority was used for terror stipends. More on the story at The Australian.

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked a Knesset debate over recognizing the Armenian genocide debate to avoid ‘aiding Erdogan,’ the Times of Israel reports.

• Israel will participate for the first time in a biennial naval exercise held in Hawaii at the end of June. With 27 countries taking part, the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise is the world’s largest. More at Israel Defense and Stars and Stripes.
Israeli Navy
• NATO won’t aid Israel if Iran attacks. “Jens Stoltenberg told the magazine Der Spiegel in comments published Saturday that Israel is a partner, but not a member and that NATO’s ‘security guarantee’ doesn’t apply to Israel.'” It’s obvious that Israel isn’t a full member of NATO, so the Jerusalem Post delves into why Stoltenberg stated this now.

• A 21-year old Palestinian medic, Razan al-Najjar, was shot and killed during Friday’s Gaza border clashes. The IDF said it’s investigating the shooting. Her death is indeed tragic. Peter Lerner shed a light on the complexities of the situation by tweeting a photo and a video of a Palestinian in what appears to be a white medic’s coat trying to breach the border fence. Palestinians lit tires, threw rocks and firebombs and flew flaming kites.

Around the World
• Jordan rocked by biggest anti-government protests in years as demonstrators rally against austerity measures.

Jordan’s economy has deteriorated in the last few years for several reasons, among which are the conduct of recent governments and the intake of over a million Syrian refugees. Despite the protests, opposition circles have not called to oust the government or king, who’s is seen as a stabilizing factor and a keeper of the kingdom’s institutions.

Meanwhile, the kingdom’s stability is a supreme security concern from Israel’s standpoint. At this point, officials in Jerusalem are closely following the demonstrations in Jordan as well as the regime’s efforts to halt the protest.

• The Daily Telegraph reports that Jeremy Corbyn’s right-hand man, John McDonnell (shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer), is president of a group campaigning in support of Labour figures accused of anti-Semitism.

• Following BDS protests, a major Japanese department store removed Israeli wines produced in the Golan.


• Kings College London set a precedent by becoming one of the first UK universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Jonathan Marcus: Is Israel driving a wedge between Russia and Iran?
– M.K. Bhadrakumar: Russia censures Iran, expects Israel to help restore ties with US
– Zev Chafets: It’s time to recognize reality on Israel’s Golan claim
– Haviv Rettig Gur: Why Palestinians care what Donald Trump thinks about Jerusalem
– James Kennard: Hamas must be held to account for the failure of the Palestinian dream
– Amb. Mark Sofer: The truth behind Hamas and the Gaza protests
– Eldad Beck: The European media’s Palestinian propaganda
– Maj. Gen. (ret.) Gershon Hacohen: Is toppling Hamas necessary?
– Neri Zilber: Israel and Hamas: Negotiating with rockets and bombs
– Evelyn Gordon: Baby Layla shows what’s wrong with Israel’s PR
– Giora Eiland: Needed: A different Gaza strategy

quill and ink

– Robert Morgenthau: The dangerous perversion of ‘genocide’: Israel’s critics distort a crucial term
– Yossi Beilin: Gaza isn’t a lost cause
– Bassam Tawil: EU and Palestinian illegal ‘facts on the ground’
– Dror Eydar: It’s not the ‘occupation,’ it’s the Jews
– Jonathan Marks: Do Jews get to define antisemitism?
– David May: South Africa adds to its long record of Israel-bashing
– Edwin Black: Why International Farhud Day stymies invented Palestinian history
– Nick Timothy: Britain must make it harder for people to march in support of Hezbollah
– Keith Kahn-Harris: To ask Corbyn to support Israel is an impossible demand
– Spengler: The safest country for European Jews? Try Hungary

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Post  Admin on Thu 31 May 2018, 4:57 pm

Palestinian Prisoners to Launch Hunger Strike

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Worth reading: Ynet takes a deep dive look into how the Gaza cease-fire came about. Hamas and Islamic Jihad played games trying to look like they won, but Jerusalem didn’t bite.

2. If you’re anyway fasting during Ramadan, this doesn’t count. I mean, who isn’t fasting?


3. At the UN Security Council, Kuwait blocked a US statement denouncing Hamas for the rocket fire. Kuwaiti diplomats said they opposed the statement because they are pushing their own resolution on protecting Palestinian civilians — which may include international forces.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• The IDF released satellite images and other information about the 65 terror targets it hit in Gaza this week. This includes a drone storage facility, a weapons manufacturing site, a Hamas naval base and unmanned submarine vessels, weapons depots, command and control centers, and more.

• Jerusalem Post: Now that the Trump administration has instructed the State Department not to refer to the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem or Golan Heights as “occupied,” diplomatic reports are struggling to articulate policy and describe updates.

• Would the Palestinian Authority cut security ties with Israel if Israel were to lift the blockade of Gaza?

building campaign

• An annual State Department report on religious freedom around the world found a lot of antisemitism in the Arab world, citing numerous examples from Arab news services. The Jerusalem Post explains:

The annual State Department report, documenting freedom of religion around the world, lists several examples of Arab press outlets perpetuating conspiracy theories and blood libels against Jews. Clerical sermons throughout the region often include antisemitic diatribes. And students are still educated with antisemitic texts printed by the states.

• Is the US moving towards quitting the UN Human Rights Council? An American campaign to reform the council, including ending its special scrutiny of Israel, was thwarted. Foreign Policy looks at how we got to this point and what may happen next.

UN Human Rights Council
The UN Human Rights Council
• Glad to see the Associated Press isn’t letting the investigation into Layla Ghandour’s death fall between the cracks. The dispute over the nine-month old girl’s death hasn’t been resolved — did she die of tear gas inhalation at the border clashes, as Palestinians claim, or did she die of complications from a congenital heart defect.

Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra told reporters in a WhatsApp group on Wednesday that officials are still “waiting for the forensics report” and that in the meantime, the infant’s name would be kept off the list of those killed in the protests.

• No link between Muslim immigration and anti-Semitism, says German study.

word cloud

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Ron Ben-Yishai: In Syria, Iran is getting in Putin’s way too
– Anshel Pfeffer: Putin ready to ditch Iran to keep Israel happy and save Assad’s victory
– Zvi Bar’el: Gaza cease-fire: Egypt’s the big winner, and it will come at a price for Israel
– Elior Levy: All sides in Gaza escalation prepared for a very limited conflict
– Dan Margalit: A Gaza cease-fire, but only under these conditions
– Avi Issacharoff: The curious common interest behind the rapid Gaza-Israel flare-up and flare-down
– Yoav Limor: Hamas blinked first
– Jonathan Tobin: Why the Palestinians can’t say ‘yes’ to Trump
– New York Post (staff-ed): Who’s really behind the latest attacks on Israel
– Jerusalem Post (staff-ed): It’s time for a Gaza plan
– Carly Pildis: Jews get to define antisemitism

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Post  Admin on Wed 30 May 2018, 8:33 pm

2nd Gen. Immigrant Teaches Brit a Lesson on Gov’t Oppression He’ll Never Forget
MAY 29, 2018 AT 6:50AM

What does free speech and opposition to government oppression look like? One second-generation Briton just gave a viral lesson on those two principles that a lot of people aren’t going to forget anytime soon.

The video in question comes from a protest against the detention of activist Tommy Robinson — presumably outside of Downing Street in London, where the largest ones have been held — for recording suspects in a “grooming” case as they entered a courtroom.

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that Robinson — one of the founders of the English Defence League before he left the organization — is a highly controversial figure whose opinions on Islam and immigration are often associated with the U.K.’s far right.

Robinson claims he’s merely acting in opposition to the ideological excesses of Islam and the externalities it can bring — in this case, for instance, grooming gangs. However, his associations with extremists have made him one of the most problematic figures in all of Britain.

However, there was little problematic with what he was arrested for doing — namely, streaming Facebook Live video outside of a grooming trial in West Yorkshire on Friday morning.

Much like Robinson, so-called “grooming” trials have been controversial, but for different reasons. The trials cover a series of related incidents in which hundreds of children were raped, exploited or trafficked by gangs in cities across the UK. The controversy has centered around the fact that the vast majority of the suspects in the cases — 84 percent, according to reports — are Asian. At least, that’s how it’s reported in the media.

This covers for one of the other unpleasant truths involving these grooming gangs: The vast majority of the suspects are Pakistani and Bangladeshi, a fact which the media seems exceptionally loath to report. This has prompted activists like Robinson to take up the grooming cases as a cause celebre, which included merely streaming from outside the court. This got him arrested for breaching the peace.

It didn’t take long until his supporters came out to protest his arrest — including one second-generation immigrant who wasn’t doing anything threatening but was still pressured by a rather intimidating police officer to cease his protest.

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“I’m politely refusing, sir. I’m not trying to be rude to you,” the man said as he was being pressured to leave.

“I want you to know that any fear and intimidation you put in me doesn’t come anywhere near to the abstract horror I feel when children are being abused by grown men.”

The man said that he was standing up for the next generation of British people.

“I’m a second-generation immigrant,” he said. “I love my country. … I want democracy, I want fairness and I want when any of my English brothers who protest against injustice to be treated fairly.”

The problem, of course, is that England doesn’t actually have codified freedom of speech or the press. (For those who don’t believe me, quickly Google the term “superinjunction.”) This police officer could have arrested this man at any time, the same way Robinson was arrested.

RELATED: Violence in Post-Refugee Sweden Reaches Staggering Levels

Now, let me here state that I’m not a fan of Robinson. In my experience with him, he seems to be a very mild version of those Louis Farrakhan-esque individuals who sound sensible before the media and then break out the crazy and/or bigoted stuff whenever their supporters are the audience.

However, you know what Farrakhan — who is a demonstrably worse person — gets in America? The freedom to say whatever he wants. So do his supporters. That’s the way it should be.

In fact, that’s the only way to have a functioning society.

I don’t know what’s Robinson’s heart, but I do know his convictions against government oppression. And make no mistake, this is oppression. In fact, media outlets couldn’t even report on Robinson’s arrest over the weekend, forget even the grooming trial.

And this is in 2018 Great Britain, supposedly one of the bastions of democracy and free speech. Is this really what we’ve come to?

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Post  Admin on Wed 30 May 2018, 8:10 pm

Tentative Calm Returns to Israel-Gaza Border
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Today’s Top Stories
1. The Gaza border calmed down and just as this roundup was being published, the IDF Homefront Command lifted restrictions on Israelis living near Gaza. The IDF said that more than 180 rockets or mortars had been fired over Tuesday and early Wednesday morning. Israel retaliated with air strikes on 55 terror targets, including military compounds, weapons warehouses, manufacturing workshops as well as a terror tunnel reaching into Israel by curving underneath the Egyptian border. Hamas and Islamic Jihad jointly claimed responsibility for the barrages.

“Over the course of 22 hours, from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 5:17 a.m. Wednesday, sirens were triggered at least 166 times in southern Israel, according to the IDF Home Front Command, by mortar fire, rockets or, in some cases, heavy machine gun fire.” Seven Israelis were injured, three of whom were soldiers, by shrapnel from missiles or rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.

2. IDF officials said many of the rockets and mortars the Palestinians fired were made in Iran.

Less than a month after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps fired 32 rockets toward Israel’s northern Golan Heights, the Iranian-funded Islamic Jihad, along with Hamas, fired some 180 Iranian-made, 120-millimeter mortar shells from the Gaza strip. The barrage included the more precise 107-millimeter rocket, which has a range of about ten kilometers into the communities in southern Israel.

Our strength is grass roots.
3. One Gaza rocket hit the Strip’s own power lines, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinians without electricity. The Times of Israel reports that “Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz ordered [Israel Electric Company] to hold off repair work until the situation in the restive border region returned to calm, in order to ‘not endanger its workers.'”

4. HR Prompts CNN Tel Aviv Capital Correction: If CNN is uses “Riyadh” to represent Saudi Arabia, then Tel Aviv certainly isn’t the Israeli equivalent.
building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• I saw conflicting reports on whether Israel and Hamas had agreed on a ceasefire. This Times of Israel snippet reflects what I think is the mostly explanation. It may depend on the nuanced difference (if any) between agreements and understandings.

A senior defense official said Wednesday that Israel was prepared to refrain from further attacks on Gaza if terror factions in the Strip also kept the peace, indicating that an informal ceasefire has taken hold after a restive day . . .

Israel denied that it had reached an agreement, but a senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated to reporters that an understanding had been reached under which Israel would not conduct additional strikes in Gaza so long as no more rockets or mortar shells were fired.

• At the request of the US, the UN Security Council was due to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the rocket fire. And there was plenty of international condemnation of Hamas. The barrage of rockets has certainly erased Palestinian PR gains from the “March of Return.”

yaacov lozowick
 This 5-day-old @TheEconomist column portraying Hamas as pragmatic hasn't aged well https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/05/26/the-leader-of-hamas-in-gaza-is-the-most-influential-man-in-palestine

7:20 AM - May 30, 2018

The leader of Hamas in Gaza is the most influential man in Palestine
He has embraced “peaceful, popular resistance”. But will Hamas give up on knives and bombs?

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• After failures in 2014 war, Iron Dome showed it can now down mortar fire too.

• The Czech Republic reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem. “Opened in the early 1990s, the Czech honorary consulate in Jerusalem was closed in 2016 due to the death of the honorary consul.”

Around the World
• Lebanon to begin offshore oil exploration, including one block that is disputed in part with Israel. According to a plan approved by Lebanon’s outgoing energy minister, drilling would begin next year, AP reports.

offshore gas

• The value of the Turkish lira has collapsed in recent weeks and now antisemitic elements in the Turkish media are blaming Jews. It seems that they’re taking too seriously a tweet by Dr. Edy Cohen of Bar Ilan University. The Times of London explains:

Turkey’s press is almost exclusively controlled by the state or pro-Erdogan businessmen after a crackdown on critical media. It seized upon a tweet by Edy Cohen that the crisis in the Turkish currency began shortly after the Israeli ambassador to Turkey was ordered to temporarily leave. Dr Cohen is a specialist in Nazi propaganda in the Arab world at Bar-Ilan University.

“Don’t you know that half of the world’s wealth belongs to only one Jewish family, which is Israel’s primary supporter?” Dr Cohen said, in a tweet directly addressing President Erdogan and including the hashtag “Support the Turkish lira”. It was intended to be ironic, but was quickly picked up by Turkish media. The Anadolu Agency and Arabic language TRT service, which are both controlled by Ankara, responded by saying that the academic had levelled the blame for the lira’s decline at a “Jewish lobby”. Dr Cohen retweeted TRT’s article but told The Times that he had been misrepresented.

Hassan Nasrallah
Why is Hassan Nasrallah smiling?
• “Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has amassed a net personal worth of around $250 million due to his organization’s illegal drug smuggling operations,” according to an Arab media report picked by Israel HaYom.
Due to economic sanctions the U.S. has reimposed on Iran and the massive reduction of Tehran’s budget to Hezbollah, Al-Ittihad reported, compounded by the heavy financial toll exacted by involvement in the Syrian civil war, Nasrallah ordered an expansion of the organization’s drug-related activities – which resulted in extensive financial gains for Hezbollah and a personal windfall for Nasrallah himself.

Hezbollah• British police said they can’t ban Hezbollah flags from next month’s Quds Day parade in London. Why?

A letter sent to MP Louise Ellman, the vice-chair of the Labour Friends of Israel, said that police would allow the controversial flag to be raised once again at the June 10 parade because parliament had “consciously chosen” to proscribe only the military wing of Hezbollah – but the group’s flag is “shared across all elements of that organisation.”

• Democratic candidate for Congress who criticized Israel faces charges of antisemitism.

• Jewish center at Oxford hit with anti-Semitic incidents

• Distressingly disproportionate Dutch discrimination: the data’s damning.

There are only 40,000 Jews who live in The Netherlands out of a total population of 17 million, which means 0.2 % of the population, but Dutch Jews were the victims of more than 40 percent of the country’s criminal discrimination cases in 2017, reveals an overview published annually by the Public Prosecution Service.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Amos Harel: With eye on bigger threats, Israel quickly agrees to Hamas’ request for cease-fire
– Herb Keinon: From Iran to Gaza – connecting the dots
– Dr. Eran Lerman: Hamas’ junior partner, Iran’s hidden hand
– Yoav Limor: Hamas must choose between war or peace
– Zvi Bar’el: The reasons Islamic Jihad is violating Hamas’ rules
– Daniel Siryoti: Gaza: Egypt holds the key
– Sam Sokol: For reporters covering Gaza, charges of bias overshadow the stories they witness and tell
– Moshe Arens: Will Iran withdraw its forces from Syria?

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Post  Admin on Tue 29 May 2018, 6:36 pm

George H.W. Bush hospitalized while vacationing in Maine
May 28, 2018
George H.W. Bush hospitalized while vacationing in Maine
Image via Video Screenshot
Sadly, one of our former presidents finds himself in health trouble again.

After only having arrived in Maine a few days ago, former President George H.W. Bush was rushed to the hospital early Sunday.

Too Much
It would appear as though the former president may have pushed himself a bit far after the death of his wife.

President Bush was clearly and understandably devastated after the death of his wife.

After that ordeal, he was hospitalized for a blood infection.

Most expected him to stay home and recover after his release, but that is not Mr. Bush.

Instead, he made the long journey to Maine, where the family typically spends its summers.

While the former president seemed in good spirits after the trip, it took a toll on him.

News broke early Sunday that Bush had been hospitalized again.

This time for fatigue and low blood pressure.

A spokesman for Mr. Bush stated he is “awake and alert, and not in any discomfort.”

Longest Living President
All eyes will no doubt be on Bush, as he continues to struggle with his health.

Bush overtook Gerald Ford as the longest living president in the history of our country this year.

Ford passed away in December 2006 at the age of 93 years and 165 days.

Did You Like Bush as Our President?
George H.W. Bush will turn 94 on June 12, already having surpassed Ford.

Our thoughts are with the former president for a speedy recovery, so he can celebrate many more birthdays.


Israel Hit By Biggest Gaza Mortar Barrage in Years
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Gaza tensions grew as Palestinians fired 28 mortars from Gaza at southern Israeli towns this morning, including one which landed next to a kindergarten (no children were present). More mortars were fired over the course of the day; the IDF retaliated with air strikes on dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets including a terror tunnel that which reached 900 meters into Israeli territory. As this roundup was published, five Israelis were reported injured.
Replying to @IDFSpokesperson
As part of the strike, an offensive Hamas terror tunnel was neutralized near Kerem Shalom Crossing. The terror tunnel starts in the Gaza Strip, crosses into the Sinai, and infiltrates Israel from there pic.twitter.com/rV7jQwjrYT
 This tunnel was designated for terror purposes and smuggling. The tunnel was detected in its construction phases near the Kerem Shalom Crossing, through which many goods are transferred to Gaza residents pic.twitter.com/Jxkni9ARqP

2:19 PM - May 29, 2018
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Overnight, prior to the mortar fire, Sderot was hit with machine gun fire.

Haaretz, the Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post are all liveblogging the latest developments.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

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2. According to Israeli media reports, Israel and Russia reached a secret agreement to keep Iranian forces away from the Israeli-Syrian border:

Under the apparent agreement coming together, Israel will accept the return of Syrian regime soldiers to the border on the Golan Heights, in exchange for Russia guaranteeing there are no Iranian or Hezbollah forces in the area, Hadashot TV news reported.

Russia will also call on all foreign troops to leave Syria, including not only Iran and the Lebanese terror group, Hezbollah, but also the United States and Turkey, the report said . . .

However, [Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s] statement suggested Russia was ready to allow Iran to maintain a foothold in other parts of the country.

More on the story at Jerusalem Post. Meanwhile, Moscow denied reports that its air force intercepted and turned back Israeli jets over Lebanon yesterday.

Amos Yadlin
 1.The Russian call for all foreign forces to leave Syria is a positive development with respect to the threat posed by Iranian entrenchment there.That being said,it is important to remember that the Iranians were not party to that announcement and Assad did not ask them to leave

8:01 PM - May 28, 2018
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3. The Israeli Navy stopped a “reverse flotilla” attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Several boats leaving the Strip and headed for Cyprus carried Palestinians looking for medical treatment outside of Gaza, students to study abroad and activists.

According to the IDF spokesperson’s office Hamas was able to stop some of the boats from crossing the nine mile limit of the fishing waters and Israeli navy ships stopped the rest.

Thursday marks the eighth anniversary of the Mavi Marmara raid, in which Israeli forces intercepted a Turkish-organized flotilla of ships trying to break the Gaza blockade. Ten Turkish nationals were killed in violent clashes with Israeli naval commandos, rupturing Israel-Turkey relations.

LTC (R) Peter Lerner
Calling all journalists reporting about the boat that's going to "break the blockade" please ask the organizers why they didn't leave #Gaza via Rafah crossing that is open during #Ramadan? Also, why risk lives of sick and injured? https://twitter.com/joedyke/status/1001373397417381888
9:41 AM - May 29, 2018
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4. 60 Minutes and the Illusion of Balance: Talking to two extreme sides and promoting stereotypical caricatures — while ignoring mainstream views — is not balanced journalism.

5. Sunday Express Train Wreck of a Story: Literally everything from a Sunday Express story on Gaza adds up to an utter train wreck.

6. South African Interviewee Calls to ‘Punish’ Israel Supporters: SABC News gives Israel-basher an uncontested eight-minute soapbox.

building campaign

In the News
• Great moments in Israeli “indiscriminate fire” — a new study by the The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center finds that 83 percent of the Palestinians killed in Gaza clashes were affiliated with terror groups.

According to the findings of examinations carried out by the ITIC, at least 112 Palestinians were killed during the “Great Return March.”[1] In an examination of the names of the fatalities on an individual basis, 93 were identified as terrorist operatives or affiliated with the terrorist organizations, i.e., about 83% of those killed in the “return marches.” Most of the fatalities (63) are from Hamas (about 56% of the total killed in all the marches). Fatah, which had 21 fatalities, played a minor role, with no significant impact on the events. The other organizations, including PIJ operatives (four fatalities) refrained from playing a significant role, maybe because of their awareness that this is a Hamas “project.” The organizational affiliation of 19 of the fatalities is unknown to the ITIC. It may be assumed that these are Hamas operatives or civilians who do not belong to any organization.

• Drone footage shows hundreds of acres of an Israeli nature reserve devastated by flaming Gaza kites.

• Legislation limiting Palestinian access to the High Court of Justice primarily on land issues passed its first reading in Knesset. Proponents say legal action regarding property ownership and home demolitions in the West Bank should be handled by Israeli district courts, just as they are inside Israel proper. Critics describe the bill is a “creeping annexation.”

typing• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Avi Issacharoff: Behind Islamic Jihad’s barrage of attacks on Israel, the hand of Iran
– Amos Harel: Gaza barrage: Hamas has changed the rules, and Israel will respond forcefully
– Yaakov Lappin: Palestinian Islamic Jihad is like a grenade in a Gaza gas station
– Rosie DiManno: Hamas’ disastrous schemes make this the right moment to show solidarity with Israel
– David Saks: Those biased against Israel complicit in Hamas propaganda
– Seth Frantzman: Colonizing Gaza’s dead for kaddish theater
– Isi Leibler: A month of hypocrisy and moral decadence
– Smadar Perry: Between Russia and Iran: Assad’s comfortable position

Featured image: CC BY Sivesh Kumar; typing via Public Domain Files;

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Post  Admin on Sun 27 May 2018, 11:15 pm

Soldier Killed in West Bank Raid Laid to Rest

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel laid to rest Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky, who succumbed to injuries during an IDF arrest raid near Ramallah. The 20-year-old member of the elite Duvdevan was hit in the head by a slab of marble dropped by Palestinians from the roof of a building in the al-Am’ari refugee camp. Ynet and the Times of Israel were on hand for the funeral.

Ronen Lubarsky
Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky
2. Israel begins construction of underwater barrier to prevent Hamas infiltration by sea. The Jerusalem Post reports the barrier, which will stretch out into the Mediterranean from the southern town of Zikim, will be completed by the end of this year.

The barrier is made up of three layers including one below the sea level, a layer of armored stone and a third layer in the form of a mound. In addition to the three layers, a fence will surround the breakwater in order to provide a final security measure.

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Our strength is you.

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3. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry removed baby Layla al-Ghandour’s name from its “March of Return” death toll pending the results of a pathologist’s report. The cause of the eight-month old girl’s death has been in dispute. Palestinians claim she died of tear gas inhalation but a Gaza doctor leaked to the press that Ghandour had a pre-existing congenital heart defect and did not believe the tear gas caused her death. The Guardian broke the development.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• Mahmoud Abbas is not being discharged from Ramallah’s Istishari Arab Hospital, his doctors announced today, contradicting an earlier announcement that the 83-year-old Palestinian leader would be discharged today. No explanation was offered for the abrupt reversal.

• IDF tanks shelled Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza after discovering a powerful explosive planted along the border fence this morning. Army sappers detonated the bomb in a controlled explosion. The Iran-backed Islamic Jihad confirmed two of its members were killed in Israel’s retaliatory strike. On Saturday night, Israel launched air strikes on Hamas positions in response to an attempted infiltration.

• Burning kites by the numbers, via Ynet.

– More than 300: Incendiary kites flown into Israel since April 13.
– 100: fires sparked in Israel
– 3,000: acres of wheat destroyed

A kite with a Molotov cocktail is flown by Palestinians during clashes with Israeli security forces on the Gaza Israeli border east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on April 20, 2018. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
• Experts weighed in at The Media Line on what an International Criminal Court probe of Gaza war crimes would mean for Israel.

• Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected petitions to stop IDF using live fire in Gaza border riots. Justices unanimously agree “that Hamas and other terrorist organizations were posing a huge challenge to the security forces by deliberately mixing terrorists in with civilians, including women and children, to make it hard for the army to pick out the former.”

• Worth reading from the Los Angeles Times: For Hamas, the deadly protests against Israel are a welcome diversion

• The South African cabinet got egg on its face after tweeting a call for Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. Israel evacuated its settlements and military presence in 2005.

Jeff Jacoby
 Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip 13 years ago, @GovernmentZA. But thanks for playing. https://twitter.com/GovernmentZA/status/999591516749393920

1:40 PM - May 24, 2018
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• In recent days, MKs Michael Oren and Tzipi Livni appeared in the media defending the IDF’s response to Gaza violence. So did army officers who talked to the Daily Telegraph.

• There’s a tug of war going on in the Saudi media over relations with Israel

• Mark your calendars: Britain’s Prince William arrives in Israel on June 25. His Mideast visit includes stops in Amman, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah. Full details of the itinerary have yet to be announced. William, the Duke of Cambridge, is third in line to the throne and next month’s trip will mark the first ever official visit to Israel or the Palestinian Authority by a senior British royal. Take your pick of Ynet or Times of Israel coverage.

Window Into Israel
• US paid Netanyahu confidant’s firm $150k while embassy was being moved to Jerusalem. Sigh.

• Sheldon Adelson, who owns Israel HaYom, refused to consent to an alleged attempt by Benjamin Netanyahu to make an illicit deal with a rival newspaper according to Israeli media reports. In what is known as Case 2000, the prime minister is under investigation for pursuing a quid pro quo with Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes in which Netanyahu would advance legislation handicapping Israel HaYom in exchange for more favorable coverage.

According to the TV report, Netanyahu asked Adelson to help consummate the deal, but the American casino tycoon refused. Evidence provided by a state’s witness in the case, former Netanyahu aide Nir Hefetz, shows that Adelson acted with propriety, the report said.

No details were provided on the manner in which Netanyahu allegedly asked Adelson to assist him.


Around the World
• A British court convicted a woman for posting Holocaust-denying videos on YouTube. “Alison Chabloz, 53, who describes herself as a ‘holocaust revisionist’ was prosecuted over three anti-Semitic songs she posted on YouTube in September 2016,” the Daily Mail reports.

• According to a poll picked up by the JTA, the majority of French respondents say Zionism is a Jewish conspiracy.

• Pro-Palestinian activists set off stink bombs at NZ screening of Ben-Gurion film.

• Pro-BDS protesters shut down a meeting of the U. California-Santa Barbara student senate when they realized a motion to call on the university to divest from companies “that provide military support to the occupation of Palestinian territories” was not going to pass. More at The Algemeiner and the UCSB Daiy Nexus.

• It’s hard for me to believe this accusation, but the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine accused Islamic State-aligned rebels of digging up graves in the Yarmouk refugee camp in an effort to find the bodies of three Israeli MIAs. The PFLP is aligned with Bashar Assad, whose forces captured Yarmouk. The three MIAs, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman disappeared during the 1982 Battle of Sultan Yacoub and are presumed dead.

This is not the first time that Assad’s supporters have accused Syrian rebels of receiving support from Israel in an attempt to undermine their legitimacy.

Israeli MIAs Zach Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman
• Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was caught on film chanting ‘death to US, UK, Israel.’

• CNBC reported that Russia “conducted the world’s longest surface-to-air missile test.” The S-500 surface-to-air missile system is said to be capable of intercepting, among other things, the stealth F-35 jets which Israel used for the first time in air strikes on Syria earlier this month.

The S-500 surface-to-air missile system successfully struck a target 299 miles away, which the U.S. assessed is 50 miles further than any known test, said the sources, who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity.

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
• Jeremy Corbyn was dubbed ‘too stupid’ to tackle Labour Party anti-Semitism in an account of his meeting with Jewish leaders last month which was leaked to the UK’s Mail on Sunday.
The Labour leader is described as ‘bored, uninterested and condescending’ in a leaked account of his meeting with Jewish leaders last month to discuss the issue.

It suggests he lacks the ‘emotional or intellectual ability’ to comprehend their demands for more action to tackle the problem.

By contrast, he sprang into life with a ‘convulsion’ when told that his support for a ‘two state solution’ in the rift between Israel and Palestine meant he was a ‘Zionist’.

• Man arrested after 200 headstones vandalized with swastikas at an Illinois cemetery.

• German Jewish shareholders demand probe into bank’s BDS-linked accounts.

crowdsourcing• Harnessing the power of the crowd certainly has its place, and I’m all for holding the media accountable. But I don’t share Elon Musk’s faith in the people — no matter how well-meaning he may be — to rate the “core truth” of news articles or the credibility of reporters. As crowdsourcing became a thing, it opened a lot of doors for people trying to game the truth. See Devin Coldewey‘s take.

• Here’s what else I’m reading this weekend. . .

– Matthew Brodsky: The media’s Palestine narrative reads like fan fiction
– Avi Issacharoff: If you’re asking about Abbas’s successor, you’re not paying attention
– David Weinberg: The diplomatic day-after Abbas
– Zvi Bar’el: To get Iran out of Syria, Israel and the US must cooperate with Putin
– Ben-Dror Yemini: The boomerang effect of anti-Israel lies
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: The false hope of a Hamas hudna
– Shlomo Puterkovsky: Between UNHRC, ICC and EU: Palestinian legal war on Israel
– Clifford May: For Hamas and its friends, the worse the better
– Mark Humphrys: Solving Gaza crisis is easy — focus on living, not killing
– Los Angeles Times (staff-ed): How do fewer schools and jobs and more hunger help the Palestinians or the cause of peace?
– Seth Lipsky: The hypocrisy of American election investigations into Israel
– Ron Kampeas: Congress wants to define anti-Semitism for you. Here’s how that can get messy.
– Alexander Apfel: Livingstone’s resignation does not exonerate Jeremy Corbyn
– Dan Hodges: Stamping out anti-Semitism? No… Labour’s sinking back into its racist swam
– Ruthie Blum: UNRWA’s “Palestinian refugee” fraud?
– Efraim Karsh: The privileged Palestinian ‘refugees’
– Philip Carl Salzman: Canada: A “different” kind of antisemitism?


Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Emiliano; candles via Wikimedia Commons and pxhere; Vector trash can by Vecteezy; Corbyn via YouTube/VICE News; crowdsourcing CC0 Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Thu 24 May 2018, 11:18 pm

Secret Iranian Ballistic Missile Facility Exposed?
Today’s Top Stories
1. Researchers studying satellite images stumbled upon a secret Iranian facility that appears to be developing long-range missiles. The New York Times explains:

But an analysis of structures and ground markings at the facility strongly suggests, though does not prove, that it is developing the technology for long-range missiles, the researchers say.

Such a program would not violate the international deal intended to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, or any other formal agreement. Still, if completed, it could threaten Europe and potentially the United States. And if Iran is found to be conducting long-range missile work, that would increase tensions between Tehran and the United States.

Five outside experts who independently reviewed the findings agreed that there was compelling evidence that Iran is developing long-range missile technology.

Meanwhile, Israel accused Iran of making two unreported tests on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, which would violate UN Security Council resolutions.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

2. The Media Line and the BBC take a closer look at what Mahmoud Abbas’ hospitalization means for Palestinian politics and succession of leadership. Australia’s ABC News found younger Palestinians are apathetic, saying there are no signs that younger leaders with new ideas will emerge.

“A lot of older people … they’ve lived the past history of Palestine,” said fellow law student Lana Alkhmoui, 20.

“Now I think we need new ideas. New leadership.”

But none of the Birzeit University students believed a shift to a new generation would actually happen.

And judging by the names most commonly mentioned as possible successors to Mr Abbas, they’re right.

3. The US is considering cutting funds to three UN organizations which the Palestinians recently became members of. The Palestinians joined the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Chemical Weapons Convention which is upheld by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Congress bars funding for UN organizations that give membership to the Palestinians.

building campaign

4. Gaza Border Coverage: The Blame Game: Was Israel able to effectively tell its story to the press corps?

5. As Israeli-Turkish ties deteriorate, the Knesset is mulling recognizing the Armenian genocide. HR’s Daniel Pomerants discussed its implications with i24 News.

Israel and the Palestinians
• A Palestinian man who opened fire on Israeli Border Police at a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem was apprehended this morning. Nobody was injured.

• IDF soldier critically hurt during arrest raid in West Bank. According to Ynet, he was hit in the head by a concrete block thrown by a Palestinian this morning.

 Headline today. Soldier "very critically" injured by Pal who tossed a chunk of granite on him from third floor. Not likely to make it. IDF: " we couldn't shoot b/c we weren't sure who did it." Not that anyone will report that. https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5269650,00.html

2:17 PM - May 24, 2018

לוחם דובדבן נלחם על חייו: "משליך הפלטה לא זוהה ולכן לא בוצע ירי"
מפרטי האירוע שבו נפצע הלוחם באורח אנוש במהלך מעצר מבוקש ברמאללה עולה כי על אף שלבש מיגון מלא כולל קסדה, הוא נפגע מפלטת שיש גדולה שהושלכה מקומה שלישית. האחראי טרם נתפס. בצה"ל ציינו כי יש עלייה באירועי...

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• Israel is advancing plans for 3,900 new West Bank settlement homes. According to the Jerusalem Post:

This will include final approvals for 2,500 new homes and the advancement of plans for 1,400 homes. It is unclear how many of these projects are entirely new and how many were part of the more than 10,000 homes for which plans were advanced last year.

Martin Stropnicky
Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky
• A voice in the European wilderness: Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky stated that Hamas alone was responsible for the deadly Gaza violence:
In a statement entitled “Gaza — Telling things as they really are,” Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický also posited that deadly riots on May 14 had nothing to do with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on that day.

“The fact is that Hamas, which is also recognized by the European Union as a terrorist organization and which still does not recognize Israel, is the only true ruler of the Gaza Strip, and as such is fully responsible for the form and objectives of the violent actions that have occurred on the border between Israel and Gaza in recent weeks,” he said.

• The Foreign Ministry says Israeli diplomats dominated the media during the Gaza riots, citing 161 media appearances by senior diplomats.

• Arab League severed ties with Guatemala over its embassy move to Jerusalem.

• Worth watching: Filmmaker Pierre Rehov followed up on his previous video about the Gaza clashes with Behind The Smokescreen Part 2. It shines a spotlight on the differences between what Hamas told the world and told Gazans about the “March of Return.” (I wanted embed the video, but the HTML coding wouldn’t cooperate.)

• This is satire:

Preoccupied Territory

Window into Israel
• Top ministers agree to axe law allowing PM, defense minister to declare war

• According to a survey picked up by Haaretz, “slight majorities of Israeli Jews do not want their government to consider the views of American-Jewish leaders on matters of conversion, prayer at the Western Wall, or the status of the Reform and Conservative movements in the Jewish state.”

Around the World
• New legislation seeks to define antisemitism US education system

• Students at Gutenberg University voted to ban BDS, becoming the second German university to do so. The resolution declares BDS antisemitic and an hostile to academic freedom, and prohibits student bodies from supporting or participating in BDS activities.

boycott the boycotters

• In a letter to the editor, AP’s former Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Gutkin denies AP or the news industry buries unfavorable stories about Hamas. He was responding to a scathing New York Times commentary by his former reporter, Matti Friedman.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Anshel Pfeffer: Israel’s F-35 strikes carried message to both enemies and allies
– Amb. Danny Danon: Why the UN should condemn Hamas
– Max Boot: Trump is inflicting long-term damage on US-Israel alliance by politicizing it
– Rabbi Chaim Landau: Israel will survive the Middle East
– Terry Glavin: Even rational folks lose their minds when Israel comes up. Hamas counts on it
– Oded Granot: Exposing Iran’s lies
– Dr. Nimrod Gordon: The Israel-Turkey crisis and the need for containment
– Sohrab Ahmari: The EU picks Iran and Hamas
– Melanie Phillips: Livingstone’s departure: Labour’s cynical totem

Featured image: CC BY-SA J Sawkins; Stropnicky CC BY-NC-ND NATO; boycott CC BY-SA HonestReporting;

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Post  Admin on Wed 23 May 2018, 8:46 pm

Abbas Poses for Photo-Op With Antisemitic Cartoon

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1. Trying to calm rumors about his health (reports say he’s improving), Mahmoud Abbas released photos from his Ramallah hospital. One of the photos shows him reading a Palestinian newspaper, Al-Haya Al-Jadeda, featuring an ugly, antisemitic cartoon from the, uh, poison pen of Mohammad Sabaaneh featuring an Israeli soldier snatching a baby’s bottle and feeding it poison. Times of Israel coverage.

The cartoon was addressing the disputed death of Layla Ghandour an eight month-old baby who Palestinians said was killed after inhaling tear gas during Gaza border clashes. A Gaza doctor said the baby’s death was likely due to a pre-existing medical condition.

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Ofir Gendelman
 Abbas' office published these photos showing him in hospital, in order to show that he is well.

Zoom in on the racist cartoon on the backpage of the PA's OFFICIAL paper, reminiscent of Nazi cartoons.

The "moderate" leader made sure that anti-Semitism is alive & well in the PA.

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One scholar accused Abbas of deliberately choosing to be photographed with that cartoon:

Edy Cohen, chairman of the Kedem Forum for Middle East Studies, told The Algemeiner, “I just spoke with several people very close to Mahmoud Abbas, and it was explicitly told to me that Abbas picked the only [newspaper] where that cartoon was large. … So I understand that he chose it deliberately, because we’re talking about the biggest cartoon there was, so it would be seen. It’s a subliminal message.”

2. The Times of Israel reports the Trump administration is considering taking action against Palestinian diplomats in Washington following the PA’s request to the International Criminal Court to investigate what the Palestinians say are IDF war crimes during the Gaza border clashes.

According to a US law passed in December 2015, the Palestinian Authority is subject to penalties if it pursues the prosecution of Israelis at the Hague-based ICC. One of those ramifications includes the closing of their diplomatic mission to the United States, run by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“We are reviewing this latest development to determine if it requires changes to the operating status of the PLO office in Washington, D.C., which has been limited to activities related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians since November 2017,” a National Security Council spokesperson said.

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3. Eurovision cast doubt over next year’s singing contest in Israel with a tweet telling fans not to book flights yet. The Times of Israel reports:

It was not clear if the public statement was suggesting that Eurovision is reconsidering whether to hold the event in Israel, as required by the organization’s tradition of having the nation of each year’s winner host the contest the following year.

A Eurovision spokesperson contacted by The Times of Israel declined to provide details on what exactly about the location and timing was in doubt.
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 Are you already looking forward to next year’s #Eurovision? Us too! But don’t go booking your flights just yet, for official updates on where and when it’ll take place, keep an eye out for announcements on our official channels.

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Post  Admin on Thu 17 May 2018, 10:51 pm

Gaza Border Coverage: Shame on the Media

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We’re seeing a veritable tsunami of media commentary, most of it highly critical of Israel in the aftermath of this week’s Gaza border violence.

New information is now coming to light that calls into question the overwhelming and knee-jerk reaction of the media and elsewhere to place almost the entire blame on Israel for the violence and deaths that occurred.

Hamas publicly acknowledges 50 of its dead were operatives
The overwhelming narrative adopted by the media was one of Israel shooting dead unarmed civilians protesters who posed little to no threat.

This despite plenty of evidence to the contrary (see HonestReporting’s previous post) including social media posts from the protest organizers calling for participants to bring concealed weapons and encouraging them to breach the fence and kill or kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians.

Yet, with the death toll at some 62 Palestinians, the truth is steadily leaking out. 50 of the dead were claimed by Hamas official Salah al-Bardaweel as their operatives.

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In addition, Islamic Jihad have claimed three more of the dead as their own.

“But the IDF didn’t know their affiliation when snipers opened fire on them.”

So what?

However, it does go some way to explaining the malevolent intentions of those Palestinian men that most likely led to their deaths either in mounting direct attacks on the IDF or attempting to breach the security fence.

The Associated Press has published a dedicated report, which will hopefully make its way into many international media outlets.

While other media outlets such as CNN have reported the story, most of the British media, which has been some of the harshest, has, so far, conspicuously ignored it.

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Some may question the credibility of al-Bardaweel when he claimed 50 Hamas dead. Yet, the media appear to have no problem with the credibility of casualty figures released by the Hamas controlled Gaza Ministry of Health.

Also of note is the attitude displayed by some media that still sticks the knife into Israel by implying that this is really about Israel’s own PR efforts. Take this from AFP:

The remarks were seized upon by Israel in an attempt to fend off the harsh global criticism over the deaths and prove they were orchestrated and led by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Why is it that the media malign Israel’s efforts to provide legitimate public diplomacy yet cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the deliberate media strategy deployed by Hamas?

Israel the baby killer?
The death of a baby is a tragedy however it comes about. Eight-month old Layla Ghandour was allegedly a victim of Israeli tear gas leading to shocking articles such as the one below in the UK’s Daily Express.

What the Express isn’t telling its readers is that a Gazan doctor told the Associated Press that the baby had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.

Unaddressed by the Los Angeles Times is why Palestinian parents bring babies (in this case with a heart defect) to a clash where they know tear gas and smoke from burning tires would be in the air. A similar New York Times report shed just a little more light on the question:

Layla was dozing at their home in Gaza City when a call went up: A bus was waiting, outside a nearby mosque, to take residents to the border fence, where the protest was raging. Her 12-year-old uncle, Ammar, bundled her up in his arms and carried her out the door.

The boy assumed that Layla’s mother was already on the bus. In fact, she was in another part of the house, suffering from a toothache. Still, Layla was hardly the only infant at the protest. Entire families had come along, some snacking on ice cream or sandwiches, as the protests raged hundreds of yards away.

A gas libel
As for the headline “Drones Drop Lethal Canisters” as seen in the Express above, this is simply a libel. Tear gas is a recognized form of non-lethal riot control and the IDF was clearly not dropping tear gas in order to kill.

Just as bad was a staff-ed in The Independent that referred to the death of the Palestinian baby:

In this context it is worth reminding ourselves of the worldwide wave of revulsion against chemical weapons we have seen in recent weeks. Palestinian victims deserve the same sympathy and protests as anyone else when their children suffer from gassing.

Drawing an equivalence between Israeli tear gas used as a means of non-lethal riot control and the use of chemical weapons as in Syria is both inaccurate and utterly despicable.

How Hamas encourages the riots
None of the media have asked the most obvious question – why would anyone bring babies or children to a riot in the first place?

A Gazan terrorist was apprehended by the IDF after attempting to infiltrate into Israeli territory. Watch him explaining how Hamas forces civilians to participate in violence against Israel.

Video Player


Brett Stephens  writes in the New York Times:

The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.

But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk?

Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.

A “disproportionate” response?
Many media outlets and commentators have noted the difference in casualty figures between Palestinians and Israelis (one IDF soldier has been lightly wounded by shrapnel).

The charge of disproportionate force has been leveled at Israel on numerous occasions, particularly within the contexts of military operations in Gaza in the past.

Financial Times, May 15, 2018
Eric Yoffie responded in Haaretz to the disproportionate charge:

Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times acknowledged in passing possible grounds for blaming Hamas. But she more or less dismissed such claims, and noted “(t)he Israeli military’s disproportionate violence.”

John Cassidy, writing in The New Yorker, used similar language, pointing out that the “the casualty count was hugely asymmetrical.”

Again: Excuse me?

Charges of disproportionality are among the most common leveled against Israel in her long struggle against Hamas, and they are among the most infuriating.

Are Goldberg and Cassidy suggesting that if there were a lot more Israeli dead, and a hundred Jewish bodies were strewn across the desert in southern Israel, then Israel’s action would be acceptable, or at least more readily forgiven? If not directly stated, that is what is implied.

Indeed the term “disproportionate” has has been abused by those who have employed it without bothering to research precisely what it actually means in terms of international law. (Find out more about the concept by clicking here.)

Media complicity?
Some commentators have noted the role that the media have played in Hamas’s PR success.

Matti Friedman in the New York Times:

The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.

Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

Liel Leibovitz in Tablet:

That so many of our elites still fall into a cheap propaganda trap set up by a terrorist cult is dispiriting, to say the least. That they further the goals of a terrorist organization by furnishing the backdrop to its macabre and murderous theater is deplorable. But after 2005, and 2009, and 2014, it has become increasingly hard to credit the idea that anyone involved on any side is naive about the nature and consequences of their actions.

What’s truly disturbing about yesterday’s events is the idea that they were theater. In other words, that the press knows exactly what it is doing—that news organizations are knowingly partnering with Hamas, and gladly whitewashing the crimes of a ghoulish leadership in return for pictures that they want as much as Hamas does, and that they are happy to pay for in uncritical coverage and free airtime.

That kind of cynicism, at the expense of Palestinian lives, is truly breathtaking, even for the Middle East. And it makes us all complicit.

Alan Dershowitz in The Hill:

One thing is crystal clear: Hamas will continue to use the ”dead baby strategy” as long as the media continues to report the deaths in the manner in which it has reported them in recent weeks. Many in the media are complicit in these deaths because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line. Perhaps Israel could do a better job of defending its civilians but it is certain that the media can do a better job of accurately reporting the Hamas strategy that results in so many innocent deaths.

Israel as a moral actor
Debate will rage for some time concerning the actions of both Israelis and Palestinians and plenty of observers on all sides will probably conclude that Hamas, thanks to the body count that it encouraged, has come out on top, at least in the battleground of the media.

Criticism of Israeli policies is legitimate. Indeed, millions of Israeli citizens do just that on a regular basis as is normal in a democracy. Israel’s army should be held to the same standards as other Western militaries such as those of the US and UK.

Where the line has been crossed is efforts by some to demonize Israel as a uniquely evil and malevolent state.

One of the reservists at the scene has written of his experiences in The Times of Israel:

I want to testify that what I saw and heard was a tremendous, supreme effort from our side to prevent, in every possible way, Palestinian deaths and injuries.

Of course, the primary mission was to prevent hundreds of thousands of Gazans from infiltrating into our territory. That kind of invasion would be perilous, mortally dangerous, to the nearby communities; would permit terrorists disguised as civilians to enter our kibbutz and moshav communities, and would leave us with no choice but to target every single infiltrator. That’s why our soldiers were directed to prevent infiltration, in a variety of ways, using live ammunition only as a last resort.

The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence. In addition, over the past few weeks there have been serious efforts to save the lives of children and civilians who have been pushed to the front lines by the Hamas, who are trying to hide behind them in order to infiltrate and attack Israel.

When there is no alternative, and live ammunition must be used to stop those who storm the fence, the soldiers make heroic and sometimes dangerous efforts not to kill and to only injure those on the other side.

The media have played a central role in this latest assault on Israel’s legitimate right to defend its borders and its citizens. Will the media climb down from their knee-jerk response now that new information has come to light?

It takes guts to admit you got it wrong but at least one journalist has done just that.

Either way, far too much of the media should hang their heads in shame for the scandalous coverage that has polluted our TV screens, newspapers and online news sites over the past few days.

Please keep an eye on your local media and let us know if you see anything that goes beyond the realms of fair and balanced coverage by clicking on the Red Alert button on this page.

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