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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Mar 2018, 8:04 pm
Does Hezbollah Possess Chemical Weapons?
Today’s Top Stories

chemical weapons1. Does Hezbollah possess chemical weapons?

Iran is building and testing short- to medium-range missiles armed with chemical warheads in Syria, former Syrian general Zuhair al-Saqit told [The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication] Maariv. Al-Saqit, who heads the Center for the Detection and Monitoring of the Use of Chemical Weapons in Belgium, also said that Iran’s Lebanon-based proxy Hezbollah is in possession of chemical weapons, mostly handed to it by the Assad regime in order to hide their existence from international monitors.

In an interview in Paris, al-Saqit said that a large part of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, which were hidden from international inspection bodies, were transferred to Hezbollah.

2. Turns out there’s a private Facebook group featuring anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying posts, plus plenty of conspiracy theories about Israel. But the group, “Palestine Live” is in the news because quite a few of its members are high profile people. The Daily Telegraph picked up on research by blogger David Collier, who infiltrated the group, called “Palestine Live.” It included members like UK Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn, other Labour personalities, BBC reporter Yolanda Knell, Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein, Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rebecca Vilkomerson and Baroness Jenny Tonge, among others.

One of Collier’s major findings regards the Mavi Marmara affair of 2010. Greta Berlin, a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement, told the private Facebook group that she blamed another pro-Palestinian activist, Ken O’Keefe, for starting the violence aboard the Mavi Marmara by attacking and disarming an Israeli soldier. It contradicts Free Gaza’s claims that the Israelis fired first.

There’s no evidence (so far) that Corbyn or Knell personally posted anything that would be deemed anti-Semitic. Labour party officials launched a probe.

3. Two Palestinian parties are breaking with long-standing taboos and running in Jerusalem’s municipal elections this October.

Palestinians have historically boycotted municipal elections, claiming that participation recognizes Israeli rule over the city. Whether Ramadan Dabash’s “Jerusalem for Jerusalemites” party or Iyad Bibuah’s “East Jerusalem” party can convince Palestinians to cast ballots remains to be seen.

Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents make up an estimated 37 per cent of the city’s population. If a large proportion of them were to vote, the political makeup of the city council – currently controlled by a rightist-Haredi coalition – could change. However, as the main Palestinian political organizations are unlikely to change their policy against voting, turnout is expected to remain low.

4. To Understand Zionism, Read Herzl Not Mahmoud Abbas: Palestinian historical revisionism of Israel’s founding doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• It’s finally confirmed: In historic first, Air India was cleared for Israel flights over Saudi Arabia. Tickets for the direct, seven-hour flights between Tel Aviv and Delhi are already on sale. The line’s first flight is on March 22. Israel’s national airline, El Al is demanding approval for the same line. Without permission to cross Saudi skies, El Al’s Tel Aviv-Mumbai takes a circuitous path that is costlier and two hours longer.

• On the occasion of International Women’s Day, The Media Line takes a closer look at women’s rights in the PA.

• In the middle of a piece about UN peacekeepers along the Israeli-Lebanese border, Newsweek botched some basic historical information. The original 1948 borders were set by the United Nations with neither state having real territorial contiguity. Israel’s founding fathers nevertheless accepted the plan but the Arabs chose war. Israel never threatened Arab contiguity, but the Arabs threatened Israel’s existence.

When Israel declared independence in 1948, Lebanon joined fellow Arab states in declaring war to support an independent Palestinian state, whose territorial integrity would have been threatened by the creation of a majority-Jewish country.

1947 UN Partition Plan

• The Knesset passed a law allowing the state to revoke the permanent resident status of eastern Jerusalem Palestinians who engage in terror. Haaretz coverage.

Under the law, the state can deport anyone whose residency status is withdrawn.

The government-sponsored law specifies three situations in which the interior minister can revoke permanent residency: If the status was granted under false pretenses, if the resident endangered public safety or security, or if he betrays the State of Israel.

• Palestinians in Gaza are planning a “tent city protest” along the Israeli border. The six-week-long protest, starting March 30, is to draw attention to demands that Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to what is now Israel.

Such a demonstration, envisaging families camped out in the sensitive border area, could present a dilemma for the Israeli military that enforces a “no go” zone for Palestinians on land adjacent to Israel’s frontier fence.

Window into Israel
• Ynet updates the latest efforts to resolve the government’s coalition crisis over Orthodox army conscription.

• According to Israeli media reports, “police are looking into suspicions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara tried to get billionaires Arnon Milchen, James Packer and Rupert Murdoch to invest $25 million each in a new Israeli right-wing commercial TV channel.”

• Talk about a misleading Newsweek headline. The Israeli “alt-right” isn’t mainstream and the government’s doing everything it can to deal with Lahav leader Bentzi Gopstein and keep him from becoming part of the establishment. While Gopstein calls for expelling Arabs from Israel, no party in the Knesset advocates that. (And here’s Why Headlines Matter.)

• For commentary on the domestic scene, see Moran Azulay and Jeremy Sharon.

Around the World
• Outrage over use of yellow badges to protest use of Jewish buses in Montreal area.

• The Jewish community of Russia’s Tatarstan region is accusing an ice cream company of racism over the newest addition to its lineup. “Poor Jew,” whose wrapper features an Israeli flag. Radio Liberty reports that a prosecutor has already launched a preliminary investigation. In case you’re wondering, it’s a cone filled with chocolate- and prune-flavored ice cream and topped with peanuts, per the JTA.

This isn’t the first time the Slavista company milked controversy over its marketing. In 2016, it offered a chocolate ice cream called “The Obamka” with a wrapper featuring an African boy.
View image on Twitter

Dmitry Zaks
The same Russian company that made 'Little Obama' chocolate ice cream featuring a dark-skinned boy in 2016 has made a new batch called 'Poor Jew': @MoscowTimes 

10:41 AM - Mar 8, 2018
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• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Khaled Abu Toameh: Arab countries appear to be fed up with the Palestinians
– Pinhas Inbari: The ‘After Abbas’ issue intensifies tensions among Fatah top brass
– Carole Basri: Do not give holy Jewish artifacts to a country that expelled its Jews
– Molly Roberts: Louis Farrakhan: The anti-Semite who’s haunting the left

• For a sense of what the critics are saying, see Daoud Kuttab,

Featured image: CC BY-NC Thom Sanders; chemical weapons symbol CC BY-SA Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Wed 07 Mar 2018, 11:55 pm

Egypt’s Electronic Warfare in Sinai Spills Over to Israel
Today’s Top Stories
1. According to the IDF, the Egyptian army’s electronic warfare against Sinai jihadists is having a spillover effect, causing cellular blackouts in southern Israel.

While the disruptions, which have ensued for two weeks, will likely continue, the defense establishment “is dealing with the issue with their Egyptian counterparts,” according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. “We have a dialogue with them on the issue.”

2. The Palestinian Authority’s 2018 budget boosts the amount of money for terrorists and their families by $56 million. This was disclosed in the Knesset during a debate on reducing tax transfers to the Palestinians which Israel collects on behalf of the PA. The Jerusalem Post explains:

Dichter pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas authorized the 2018 PA budget on Sunday, and that there is a PA law that says 7% of each budget must go to paying terrorists, or to their families, if they’re killed in the act . . .

The PA paid terrorists and their families more than $347m. in 2017. Terrorists who have been sentenced to three to five years in Israeli prisons receive the average income of a Palestinian, about $580 per month. The families of those who committed more severe crimes and were involved in killing Israelis receive five times that each month for the rest of their lives.

Terrorists receive more from the PA if they are married, for each child they have, if they live in Jerusalem or if they’re an Israeli citizen.


3. A lawsuit against Arizona State U. will test the legality of the state’s anti-BDS legislation and potentially set a precedent for challenges in other states with similar laws. The legal action comes after ASU said a Muslim student group wasn’t allowed to sponsor a guest speaker who promotes boycotting Israel. Details at the Arizona Daily Star and JTA.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly met with Israeli officials in Egypt to discuss normalizing relations and feel out Israeli interest in a major Saudi project:

Within that framework, Israel would take part in the unprecedented real estate venture being sponsored by the Saudis in the Gulf of Aqaba. Crown Prince Mohammed first announced plans for the 26,500-square-kilometer (10,230-square-mile) zone at an international investment conference in Riyadh last October. Officials say public and private investment in the area is expected to reach $500 billion. The mega-city would be built on Saudi territory on the eastern shore of the Red Sea near the border with Jordan , and connect to Egypt across the gulf via a bridge running through the island of Tiran . . .

The source who leaked the information about the prince’s meeting with the Israelis said that in light of the shared sea border between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel, it is necessary to establish an international framework to include Israel in the Saudi project.
Bloomberg Graphics
Saudi Arabia Just Announced Plans to Build a Mega City That Will Cost $500 Billion  #NEOM

4:59 PM - Oct 24, 2017
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• Is Israeli agriculture near Gaza imperiled due to the Strip’s inoperative sewage treatment facilities?

• The Palestinian Authority became a full-fledged member of Interpol after completing all the necessary technical procedures. Now that the PA has access to Interpol information and the ability to request the arrest and extradition of wanted individuals, Mahmoud Abbas’ political rivals — most notably Mohammed Dahlan and former PLO moneyman Mohammed Rashid — fear the PA will use Interpol against them.

• The Times of Israel takes a closer look at Mahmoud Al-Aloul, the new would-be successor to Mahmoud Abbas.

Window into Israel
• Lawmakers are trying to resolve a coalition crisis threatening to topple the government. United Torah Judaism, an Orthodox party, is threatening to vote against the 2019 budget unless certain amendments are made to a law governing military draft exemptions for yeshiva students.

As the standoff continues, Finance Minister and Kulanu party chief Moshe Kahlon threatened to quit the governing coalition if the budget isn’t approved by Passover, with the Times of Israel adding:

The 2019 state budget can technically be passed until the end of the year, but Kahlon, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been adamant that it be passed earlier, before a six-week Knesset recess beginning March 18.

New elections could be triggered by Kulanu quitting the coalition, or if the Knesset votes down a proposed budget.

The Knesset
• NBC News examines the battle over Sabbath laws and Orthodox draft exemptions and the pressures those issues put on Israeli politics.

• A survey picked up by the Times of Israel and Ynet finds support for coexistence plunging among Jewish and Arab Israelis.

• High Court freezes compensation to owners of razed West Bank homes.

• Ynet examines what new information was disclosed by two ex-officials who turned state’s witness against the Prime Minister this week.

• For commentary on the domestic scene, see Raoul Wootliff, Moran Azulay and Mati Tuchfeld.

Around the World
• Former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to go on trial for allegedly covering up Iranian involvement in Jewish center bombing. No date has been set, and 11 other former government officials will also be tried.

Eighty five people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a truckload of explosives at the headquarters of the Argentine Jewish community in Buenos Aires in 1994. Iran has been tied to attack. In 2015, prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment one day before he was due to present his findings to Argentine lawmakers.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
• Around 400 Turkish Jews moved to Israel in 2017, “more than double the 164 who moved there the year before.” What’s behind the rising aliyah from Turkey?

This number keeps rising each year, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a trend that contradicts the figures for diaspora Jews from all other countries except Russia. The agency cites what it says are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Semitic policies as the cause of this rise.

With the number of Jews in Turkey estimated to be around 12,000, the 400 emigrants amounts to more than 2 percent leaving the country – a significant amount.

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

– Jennifer Rubin: Syria is the inherent weakness in Trump’s Israel pitch
– Orly Azoulay: Trump-Netanyahu meeting: That’s what friends are for
– Alan Mendoza: Netanyahu reaps benefits of treating Trump with respect, rather than contempt
– Benny Avni: Iran is pushing Israel into war
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Syria carnage proves international community cannot be trusted to protect anyone’s security
– John Robson: Moral clarity on Israel means admitting that Jerusalem is its capital
– Amos Harel: As Mahmoud Abbas’ health deteriorates, Israel prepares for bloody succession fight
– Yoni Ben Menachem: Fatah prepares to replace Mahmoud Abbas
– Brig.-Gen. Amir Avivi (Res.): Time for Oslo to exit the stage
– Shmuel Rosner: Are US universities hiding the truth of Deir Yassin?
– Susan Shapiro: Liberal feminists for Farrakhan? Tamika Mallory is on the wrong side of a bright moral line

Featured image: CC BY-SA Michele Ursino; Knesset CC BY James Emery; Kirchner via YouTube/Unidad Ciudadana

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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Mar 2018, 9:08 pm
Trump Potential Second Visit for Embassy Opening
Today’s Top Stories
1. President Trump made headlines by announcing he ‘may’ visit Jerusalem for the opening of the new US embassy planned later this year.

2. As the AIPAC policy conference continues, Democratic Senator Schumer states that “It’s sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace,” rather, the Palestinian refusal to accept the Jewish state.

3.  The head of the IDF’s Southern Command says that conditions in Gaza will improve only if captive Israelis held in Gaza are released.

HR’s Daniel Pomerantz debated this topic on I24news with Fatah member Ahmed Ghoneim

4.  The Independent  and Business Insider seems to think that the Old City of Jerusalem is “endangered” due to Israeli control and won’t be around long, but that’s only due to its questionable sourcing  and unprofessional journalism.

5. The Times forgot that The Western Wall is not the holiest site in Judaism, Temple Mount is, and we prompted the appropriate correction.

Mideast Matters
• Shell has pulled out of the development of a gas field off the shore of Gaza, saying the delays were due to “internal Palestinian rivalry and conflict with Israel, as well as economic reasons.”

• The corruption scandal continues to develop, as  Nir Hefetz,  former aid to Prime Minister Netanyahu, has agreed to hand over recordings of the Prime Minister and his wife.

Around the World
• A leading Polish educator launched an anti-Semitic tirade on Facebook, blaming Jews for Soviet communism in Poland.

• The England Football Association Chief Executive is in hot water after likening the Star of David to a Swastika symbol, has apologized for offence caused, in a public statement:

I would like to apologize for any offence caused by the examples I gave when referring to political and religious symbols in football, specifically in reference to the Star of David, which is a hugely important symbol to Jewish people all over the world.

• Former Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez will face trial over accusations regarding her involvement with the 1994 terrorist bombing of a Jewish center in the capital. Fernandez denies any wrongdoing.

• The Jewish News’  Justin Cohen  writing for The Telegraph, points out that after years of the Royal family visiting some of the “world’s most authoritarian and regimes”,  they are finally heading to Israel for a tour of the region, and, he adds, its “about time.”

• Israel Seeks Stricter Sanctions on Iranian Missiles – Barak Ravid
• The Threat to Israel of Iranian Entrenchment in Syria – Ron Ben Yishai

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– AIPAC Doubles Down on Two-State Solution – Steven Frank
– Cut Off Qatar – Yigal Carmon
– Do Western “Goodists” Really Care about Helping Syrians, Palestinians? – Giulio Meotti

Featured image: by Unsplash/Jean Gerber;

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

Today’s IDNS was produced with help from HR-intern, Sara Cowen.

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Post  Admin on Mon 05 Mar 2018, 2:59 pm
Fatah Appoints Potential Successor to Abbas
Today’s Top Stories
1. Fatah appointed a potential successor for PA leader Mahmoud Abbas. Israel HaYom reports, “If PA President Mahmoud Abbas is incapacitated, Mahmoud al-Aloul will replace him as ‘acting president of Palestine’ for a period of three months until elections can be held.”

Further fueling speculation about his health, Abbas continued to pour cold water on Trump’s yet-to-be-released peace plan by cryptically saying he won’t end his life as a “traitor.” The 82-year-old Abbas was recently at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital for what Palestinian officials called routine medical checks.
Mahmoud Al-Aloul
2. Huffington Post: US lawmakers seek investigation of Al Jazeera amid Israel documentary controversy.

The request, in a letter [to Attorney General Jeff Sessions] being finalized this week and shared with HuffPost by a Hill source, comes amid a controversy over Al Jazeera’s filming of a documentary on the pro-Israel lobbying community in the U.S. The network used an undercover operative to secure months of footage in 2016, revealing private interactions with various advocacy groups, lawmakers and officials. But despite promising to release the film last year after British regulators OK’d a similar project in the U.K., Al Jazeera has yet to publish the documentary.

3. The UK Labour party belly-flopped into yet another anti-Semitism row — this one over tweets by key aide to party leader Jeremy Corbyn suggesting ‘Israel is committing genocide.’

Joss MacDonald, a Labour Party speech writer, has also branded Israel an ‘apartheid’ state and insisted people excuse its behaviour ‘because of the Holocaust.’

4. Shocking Headlines Omit ‘Israel’ From Royal Visit: Too many in the UK media made a right royal mess of their headlines announcing Prince William’s planned trip to Israel, as spotted by CUFI UK.

building campaign

In the News
• IDF accused Hamas of stealing electricity from Gazans by releasing a video released a video on Sunday “allegedly showing members of the Hamas terrorist group stealing electricity from power lines leading into the southern Gaza Strip.” Coverage and video at the Times of Israel and Ynet.

• Hezbollah reportedly blocked Hamas from building a military base in Lebanon, fearing the Palestinians would drag Lebanon into war by firing rockets at Israel without Hezbollah’s knowledge.

• This bungled headline is from Reuters, where one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s motorist — or something like that. We took the liberty of fixing it cuz headlines matter.

• Guatemala to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem in May, two days after the US. President Jimmy Morales told the Jerusalem Post he also expects more countries to follow suit.

• The IDF arrested a German national for throwing rocks at soldiers during a protest in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Police said they intend to deport the 24-year-old tourist, who confessed to the charges.

• British football chief Martin Glenn is in hot water over a comment equating the Jewish star of David with the Nazi swastika.

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former advisor, Nir Hefetz, is in talks with police to turn state’s witness in the Bezeq corruption investigation, reports Ynet. Netanyahu is suspected of giving telecom giant Bezeq regulatory benefits in exchange for positive coverage from a prominent news site owned by Bezeq’s majority shareholder. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

• Police released the name of another suspect in the Bezeq affair. Eitan Tzafrir was the former chief of staff at the Communications Ministry while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu served as communications minister.

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

– Avi Issacharoff: When Nakba Day meets US embassy move day, expect fireworks in Gaza
– Ben Cohen: The House of Windsor’s Israel problem
– Giulio Meotti: Christians in Jerusalem, ask your brethen in Syria and Egypt
– Emanuele Ottolenghi: Trump should block Iran’s air corridor to Syria
– Moshe Arens: In Syria, force will prevail
– Jose María Aznar, Stephen Harper: The world must unite to stop Iran (click via Twitter)
Featured image: CC BY-SA Piotr Jankowski ; Aloul via YouTube/palwatch; typewriter CC0 Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Wed 28 Feb 2018, 7:24 pm
Church of the Holy Sepulchre Reopens

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Today’s Top Stories
1. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre reopened to worshipers after Israel backed off from plans to tax church-owned commercial properties and suspended separate legislation impacting church land sales. The Jerusalem Post explains:

Netanyahu became involved after it became clear that the closure of the church had the potential to cause Israel considerable diplomatic damage, and both Jordan and the Palestinians claimed that this was an indication that Israel was “threatening the presence of Christians in the Holy Land.” . . .

Netanyahu agreed with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to establish a team led by Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, with the participation of all the relevant parties, to find a solution to both issues.

In the meantime, the municipality has frozen its tax collection efforts, and legislation concerning the sale of church property will be suspended.

More background and what happens next at Ynet.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Pilgrims lighting candles in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
2. Satellite images indicate Iran is building a new military base in Syria, northwest of Damascus. The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Ynet, Haaretz and Israel HaYom all picked up on a Fox News scoop.

According to the report, Western intelligence sources estimated that the base, which contains large hangars, can store ballistic missiles capable of hitting Israel and is operated by the Quds Force – the special operations arm of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

A base similar to the one revealed in the new satellite photos was discovered last November south of Damascus and was destroyed in December by an Israeli airstrike.

Fox News
New satellite photos show Iran establishing another base in Syria

12:09 AM - Feb 28, 2018

New satellite photos show Iran establishing another base in Syria
Iran has built another permanent military base outside Syria’s capital city complete with hangers used to store missiles capable of hitting all of Israel, according to Western intelligence sources.
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3. A French court ruled that the brutal murder of Sarah Halimi will be prosecuted as an anti-Semitic hate crime after all. Kobili Traore, a 28 year-old Muslim, was heard calling Halimi’s daughter a “dirty Jewess” and yelling verses from the Koran before throwing the 66-year-old retired physician out of the third-floor window of her Paris apartment.

French Jews were in a uproar earlier this February when a judge dropped the hate crimes charges from Traore’s indictment. Traore has confessed to the murder and is pleading temporary insanity.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• Bungled headline of the day: Jerusalem’s Christian leaders never used the words ‘Nazi-like persecution’ in their protest against the now-suspended tax plan and legislation. While Israelis bridle at being compared to Nazis, I can’t imagine church leaders will appreciate The Independent misquoting them. The word Nazi doesn’t even appear in the article. (Here’s why headlines matter.)


Contrast that headline with this Wall St. Journal snippet (click via Twitter):

In all, the Israeli attempts to collect taxes and impose a new law had angered the Palestinian Christian community and its leaders, who in a statement Sunday likened Israeli actions to persecution of Jews during “dark periods in Europe”—an oblique reference to Nazi Germany.

• MEMRI: Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party gave an apartment to the family of Ahmad Nassar, the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach in a drive-by shooting last month.

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Brazil in June, becoming the first Israeli PM to visit the South American country.

Israel Brazil

Around the World
• Dutch groups cancel speeches by Palestinian ex-terrorist Rasmea Odeh

• The British Labour Party may open a new probe of ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone, whose suspension from the party is nearing an end. Livingstone was suspended for comments claiming that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism. A number of MPs threatened to quit their seats if Livingstone is reinstated.

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

– Jonathan Tobin: The embassy will move — and the world won’t end
– Dr. Reuven Berko: When the ‘agent of peace’ cries for jihad
– David Horovitz: The weakening of Israeli democracy
– Gil Troy: The Netanyahu hangover brings out the worst in us all

Featured image: CC0 Pixabay; pilgrims CC BY-NC scottgunn;

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Post  Admin on Wed 28 Feb 2018, 9:31 am

Jordan Thwarts ISIS Attacks on Israeli, Western Targets
Today’s Top Stories
1. According to Jordanian media reports picked up by the Times of Israel, Jordanian security forces thwarted a terror plot targeting “Israeli businessmen, the US embassy in Jordan and other Western and Jordanian targets in Amman.” In all, 17 individuals affiliated with Islamic State were arrested

2. Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul won a bronze medal after a would-be Iranian opponent pulled out of the competition. The Jerusalem Post explains how Butbul was literally gifted the award Dusseldorf Grand Slam in Germany on Saturday.

Butbul, competing in the under-73 kilogram competition, received a bye into the second round where he was supposed to meet the winner of the bout between American Nick Delpopolo and Iran’s Mohammad Mahdi Brimanloo. However, after Delpopolo had to pull out injured, Brimanloo made sure to disqualify himself by being overweight in the weigh-in ahead of the start of the competition, sending Butbul into the last 16.

Tohar Butbul
Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul
3. Israeli security forces foiled a Temple Mount terror attack, arresting three Israeli-Arab suspects from Umm el-Fahm. The three were said to be planning a an attack similar to last year’s murder of two Israeli police officers at the holy site. The Jerusalem Post reports the three were arrested in January and February before they could acquire weapons.

Following the July attack, Israel installed metal detectors, which were then removed in the face of widespread Palestinian demonstrations.

4. HonestReporting Prompts IBT to Correct Tel Aviv Error: Tel Aviv is certainly not Israel’s capital.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• The Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post picked up on a poll which found that Palestinians are becoming extreme in their positions. Support for “armed resistance” rose, support for both the two-state solution and peace talks in general dropped. Trust in both Fatah and Hamas has also declined.

• Haaretz: The IDF is blocking activists from Breaking the Silence from leading tours in Hebron.

• Is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre issue being used to clobber Israel?
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
• Gazans prepared for possible war with Israel with a surprise drill.

The information and instructions to the civilian population on how to locate the nearest safe space and how to evacuate children to shelters were appropriated from the IDF’s Home Front Command’s website and from messages it issues to the Israeli public.

• Palestinians clashing with Israeli soldiers accidentally burnt down a Nablus plastic factory. A burning tire rolled at soldiers veered off course, heading straight inside the building. Israeli firefighters helped Palestinian emergency crews battle the blaze, but couldn’t save the factory.

• Hezbollah will be able to get around US financial sanctions thanks to a new clause in Lebanon’s electoral laws.

Police Probe PM
Shaul Elovitch
Israeli businessman, Shaul Elovitch arrives for extension of his remand in case 4000 at the District Court in Tel Aviv, February 22, 2018. Photo by Flash90
• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Ari Harow, who is already a state’s witness in the Yediot-Israel HaYom affair and the gifts affair, is expected to testify against the PM in the “Bezeq affair.” Police are investigating whether Netanyahu had an understanding with Bezeq’s majority shareholder, Shaul Elovitch in which the PM gave th telecom giant regulatory benefits in exchange for favorable coverage on the Elovitch-owned Walla! News site. Elovitch, his wife and son all stepped down from Bezeq’s board of directors.
(Disclosure: Harow briefly worked for HonestReporting more than a decade ago.)

• In first, prosecution explicitly points finger at Netanyahu in the Bezeq ‘bribes’ case:

In a first official on-record statement implicating him in the so-called Case 4000 corruption investigation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was named Tuesday as one of the people believed to have been involved in bribery as part of an illicit deal with the communications giant Bezeq.

• Israelis are in an uproar after texts showed that judge, attorney secretly coordinated in Case 4000.

– Jeff Barak: No politician is born to rule forever
– Moshe Arens: Give due process its due
– Moran Azulay: Political system entering a state of chaos
– Raoul Wootliff: A wayward judge may be the biggest blow to public trust in Netanyahu probe
– Nahum Barnea: Israel’s entire legal system has been polluted

Around the World
• Poland reportedly denied reports that it reportedly froze its controversial Holocaust law.

• Anti-Semitic images and cartoons are flooding the Polish press as the dispute over the Holocaust law drags on.

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Adam Milstein
#Antisemitic cartoons flood #Polish press as right-wing nationalist media becomes increasingly angry with internat'l opposition to new legislation that makes any discussion of Polish collusion with the Nazi occupation during World War II a criminal offense 

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• Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 more than double the US total from 2015, the Anti-Defamation League says.

The 2017 number includes more than 160 bomb threats sent to Jewish community centers and other institutions early that year. A Jewish teen from Israel has been arrested for making the vast majority of those threats, which were all not credible.

Discounting the JCC bomb threats, reported incidents still increased by 43 percent over 2016. Anti-Semitic incidents on schools and college campuses also doubled in 2017 for the second year in a row. Non-Jewish elementary and high schools experienced 457 anti-Semitic incidents, compared to 235 in 2016 and 114 in 2015.

• Jerusalem Post: Paypal closes second illegal French BDS account.

• Israel “Apartheid” Week is underway in London and Jewish students at one campus are taking action.

Students at King’s College London (KCL) are considering taking legal action after their elected representatives promoted “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW) events in a mass email to peers.

• If you’re going to use Israel to prove anything on either side of the US gun debate, please get your facts straight first: No, Israeli teachers don’t bring guns to school.


• According to Nigerian media reports, Israel is giving counter-terror training to Nigerian special forces who will be deployed against Boko Haram jihadis.

• Tunisian politics took a curious turn, with Israel and Jews at the center of the latest buzz:

Tunisia’s Islamist En Nahda Party is raising eyebrows by running a Jewish candidate in the upcoming municipal elections, in what it says is a sign of its openness.

But Simon Salameh’s nomination for the council in the Monastir district by the party within the governing coalition has come under criticism, referred to as a cold political ploy by the party and a sign of normalization with Israel.

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

– Yonah Jeremy Bob: Should Israel risk sharing intel with Trump after Obama admin concerns?
– Amb. Danny Danon: The Palestinian leadership is the problem, not the solution
– Zalman Shoval: The Palestinians’ failed gamble
– Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: Israel is one big settlement
– Yoni Ben Menachem: Jibril Rajoub vs. Muhammad Dahlan to replace Mahmoud Abbas
– Mordechai Kedar: Hamas: Full steam to nowhere
– Howard Feldman: It’s not easy to be a South African Jew
– Eli Lake: Iran wants to join the world order it undermines

Featured image: CC BY hobvias sudoneighm; Butbul via YouTube; Church of the Holy Sepulchre CC BY-NC-ND Christopher Chan; gun CC BY-ND vuvanhahung;

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Post  Admin on Sun 25 Feb 2018, 11:09 pm

Today’s Top Stories
1. Leaders of Jerusalem’s Christian denominations closed the Church of Holy Sepulcher indefinitely to protest plans by the Jerusalem municipality to collect property taxes from church-owned commercial properties and businesses, and also Knesset legislation that would impact the ability of churches to sell land.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified.

Mayor Nir Barkat defended the taxes, saying that places of worship would continue not to be taxed, but that church-owned businesses didn’t get the same exemption:

Barkat says the churches owed some NIS 650 million in back taxes

“I’m not prepared for Jerusalem’s residents to have to shoulder these huge sums,” he says.

Shortly before this roundup was published, a Knesset committee delayed today’s debate on the bill on church land sales.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
2. The US State Department confirmed that it will open a US Embassy in Jerusalem this coming May to dovetail with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Times of Israel explains:

The official said, “The Embassy will initially be located in Arnona [in south Jerusalem], on a compound that currently houses the consular operations of Consulate General Jerusalem. At least initially, it will consist of the Ambassador and a small team.” . . .

The date of the move is seen as largely symbolic, as the logistics of a permanent relocation are expected to take much longer. Most of the embassy staff could continue to operate from Tel Aviv during the early stages.

More on the development below.

3. Russia deployed advanced stealth jets in Syria with warning aimed at Israel.

The deployment came with a covert warning to Israel by a Russian official, who said that the presence of the Su-57s will doubtlessly send a political message, serving as a deterrent “for aircraft from neighboring states, which periodically fly into Syrian airspace uninvited.”
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#ISI reveals the first deployment of two #Russian stealth fighters #SU-57, as can be seen in Eros-B #satellite imagery from yesterday

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Officials in Foggy Bottom are considering a $500 million offer from billionaire casino magnate and newspaper publisher Sheldon Adelson to contribute for the relocation.

• The Palestinians are especially irked with the embassy move’s timing. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on May 14 (Israel’s Independence Day according to the English calendar) and not on April 18 (Israel’s Independence Day according to the Hebrew calendar). The Los Angeles Times explains the opening will coincide with the Palestinian “Naqba Day.”

For Palestinians, who mark their national days according to the Gregorian calendar, May is not a festive month. And to complicate things further, Palestinians observe the day of catastrophe on May 15, the first day of the new state’s existence rather than May 14, the day independence was declared.

Amb. Ron Dermer
May 14th 1948, President Truman recognizes Israel.

May 14th 2018, @POTUS Trump will move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

70 years apart.Two historic decisions. One united capital.


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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Feb 2018, 6:31 pm
Abbas at UN: Palestinians are Canaanites

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Palestinian President Abbas addressed the UN Security Council, calling for a peace conference to establish a two state solution based on 1967 borders.

The media made no mention of the critical context: that when speaking to a Palestinian audience, Abbas frequently says the opposite. For example,  in his speech of January 14 (just last month)  Abbas stood in front of a map of Israel and said, “This is our country,” stated that Jews have no connection to the land of Israel or to Jerusalem, referred the entirety of Israel as “Palestine” six separate times, and discussed the “occupation”…of 1948 (the year of Israel’s independence).

The biggest shocker at the UN was Abbas’s claim, “We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day.” This claim is not supported by modern scholarship, and actually contradicts the Koran.

On all these points, the media gave Abbas a free pass: simply repeating his claims with no additional research, background or context.

See more in our video here:

2. The Israeli corruption scandals continue to unfold as a former aide to Benjamin Netanyahu turns state’s witness and a dramatic recording is revealed of the owner of Israel’s major telecommunications company ordering favorable coverage of the Israeli PM possibly as a quid pro quo.

3. Revealed: The IDF thwarted an attempted Islamic State bombing of a flight from Australia thanks to Military Intelligence Unit 8200.

News breaks fast. Get HonestReporting alerts by e-mail 
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Israel and the Palestinians
• While Al Jazeera’s output can be highly problematic, at least the station is one of the few Arab ones to host Israeli spokespeople on air. An appearance by the IDF spokesperson for Arabic media has provoked a storm of criticism from those opposed to “providing a platform for the Zionist enemy” and “promoting normalization” with Israel.

• Was the return of a the body of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered three Israelis a mistake? The IDF Chief of Staff thinks so.

• Israel to issue 20,000 more work permits to Palestinians.

• The Palestinians’ envoy to the US faces silence from the White House.

Mideast Matters
• Bashar Assad is bringing a catastrophe to the hundreds of thousands of people in Eastern Ghouta while the world sits by.

• Egypt’s president says his country “scored a goal” by signing a $15 billion deal with an Israeli company to get natural gas that will help turn Egypt into a regional energy hub.

• Pro-Iranian militias in Iraq got their hands on at least nine high-tech, U.S.-made M-1 tanks as early as 2015, the U.S. government acknowledged earlier this month. Along with the belated admission, the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department say they are trying to take back the tanks.

Around the World
• What’s going on within South Africa’s ruling party when it comes to its policies towards Israel? Will a downgrade in relations be implemented? Nobody seems to know for sure.

• American journalist, editor, and political activist Clifford D. May writes in the Washington Times about the situation in Gaza, with historical perspective. May is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

• Professor Richard Landes produced this 20 minute video on how BBC and CNN covered the Middle East Conflict in the waning days of the Obama Administration, and the effect of  “pack journalism.”

Everyone Agrees: The BBC and CNN on UNSC Resolution #2334 and Kerry’s Speech from Al Durah Project on Vimeo.

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

– Do Arabs Back Israel in a Clash with Iran? asks Evelyn Gordon

Featured image: CC BY dulnan;

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

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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Feb 2018, 1:16 pm

9959.3392 in reply to 9959.3391 
UN chief: Israel-Hezbollah war would be ‘the worst nightmare’ February 19, 2018
UN chief: Israel-Hezbollah war would be ‘the worst nightmare’UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (AP)
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“The worst nightmare would be if there is a direct confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah,” Guterres stated, expressing concern about the possible destruction in Lebanon.
By: World Israel News Staff
UN Secretary-General Antonia Guterres said he was worried about the possibility of a direct confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah, Reuters reported.
Tensions have heated up since last week’s confrontation at Israel’s border with Syria, described as the worst since the 2006 Lebanon war.
“I am deeply worried about hard-to-foresee escalations in the whole region,” Guterres stated on Monday at Lisbon University, where he received an honorary degree. “The worst nightmare would be if there is a direct confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah…the level of destruction in Lebanon would be absolutely devastating, so there are major points of concern around this situation.”
Analysts have begun speculating as to the likelihood of an imminent direct confrontation between Israel and Iran’s proxies, primarily the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

‘I will not shut up,’ Haley tells Palestinians at UN February 20, 2018
‘I will not shut up,’ Haley tells Palestinians at UNUS Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (Eskinder Debebe/United Nations via AP)
The US ambassador to the UN responded to a previous comment from the top Palestinian negotiator suggesting that she “shut up,” cautioning the Palestinians that the US will not “chase after them.”

By: World Israel News Staff

Following a speech by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hale, delivered a blunt message before the international body.

At the outset of her address, Haley explicitly referred to comments from Palestinian brass earlier in the month, stating, “I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.”

“The United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership,” Haley remarked, addressing Abbas, who had left the UNSC session after his own speech. “Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”

Haley did not mince words, contrasting the various approaches available to the Palestinians, with “absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence” representing one path and “negotiation and compromise” representing a different approach.

“You can choose to denounce the United States, reject its role in peace talks, and pursue punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the UN. I assure that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations,” she warned. “Or you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, spoke even more forcefully, arguing that Abbas’ speech exposed the Palestinian leader as opposed to peace with Israel, not in favor of it.

“You have made it clear, with your words and with your actions, that you are no longer part of the solution. You are the problem,” Danon declared.


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Post  Admin on Tue 20 Feb 2018, 8:22 pm

Rocket-Fire from Gaza

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Today’s Top Stories
1. In response to sirens heard in southern Israeli communities, and reported rocket-fire, the Israel Air Force struck an underground network of terror tunnels in the Gaza Strip overnight on Sunday.

2. De-escalation in Gaza? In contrast to the above story about rocket-fire, Qatari envoy, Mohammed al-Emadi, told reporters in Gaza City:

We confirm through our relationship with the two sides that they are not interested in escalation or engaging in a confrontation that could ignite the entire region.

3. Did a Netanyahu aid offer the attorney general position to a judge in exchange for halting an investigation into Netanyahu’s wife Sara?

4. The UN’s World Health Organization, NGOs and much of the media primarily blame Israel for decreasing medical travel permits for Palestinians in Gaza. But it appears the decrease is actually due to the Palestinian government itself.

5. Thank you to the Sunday Times Ireland for correcting their article. Indeed, Irish FM Simon Coveney’s own press release stated that he met Netanyahu in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv.

6. Is Bibi the “most dangerous man in the Middle East?” The online news site Salon thinks so.

7.  In this report from Sophie McNeill on ABC News Australia, it appears that video footage of Tamimi has been deliberately cut mid-sentence to alter the impression that Tamimi was inciting violence – a key allegation in her trial.


Mideast Matters
• Swastikas and obscenities were found drawn around the entrance to the Polish Embassy in Israel on Sunday, one day after Poland’s prime minister made comments suggesting there were “Jewish perpetrators” of atrocities during World War II.

• Hezbollah said last week it could act against Israeli oil facilities if necessary. UN chief Guterres weighed in, saying he was worried about the possibility of a direct confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah. He admitted that the latest signals from the parties do not seem to indicate this is likely but he added:

Sometimes a spark is enough to unleash this kind of a conflict.

• Israeli natural gas company announced a $15 billion export deal with Egypt. Though seemingly unrelated, this directly connects with the above story about Hezbollah as it all comes back to the tension and economic potential surrounding Israel’s natural gas resources.

• Marcus Sheff says in the Jerusalem Post that it’s time for UNRWA to face the truth about textbooks, pointing out:

According to the textbooks being read by half a million Palestinian children, the only solution available is victory via resistance, jihad, radical Islamism and defeating Israel once and for all.

(UNRWA is the controversial UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees).

WATCH: HR’s Daniel Pomerantz catches UNRWA chief Chris Gunness contradicting himself on this very topic, on live television:

• Is Lebanon America’s friend? Successive US administrations believe it can be. Benny Avni believes they’re wrong.

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

–The UN’s Uncomfortable Truths about Iran – Amb. Nikki Haley
– UAE Leaders Tell Jewish Leaders of Concerns about Turkey, Iran Expansionism – Herb Keinon
– U.S. Wants Europeans to Commit to Improve Iran Deal – Arshad Mohammed, John Irish, and Robin Emmott

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Post  Admin on Sun 18 Feb 2018, 3:11 pm
Gaza IED and Israeli Retaliation

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Today’s Top Stories
1. After an IED on the Gaza border seriously wounded two IDF soldiers, Israel struck 18 targets in the strip: including  Hamas weapons-manufacturing sites and training infrastructures.

2. Poland just continues to shock and amaze.  The Prime Minister accused Jews (among others) of perpetrating the Holocaust (even as Poland denies any responsibility itself), while a Polish Senate leader encouraged Poles around the world to report on anyone making statements that might hurt “Poland’s good name.” (In light of Poland’s controversial new law, such reports could result in imprisonment if any of those reported on were to ever visit Poland.) Meanwhile, Polish Jews are experiencing what the AP describes as “an eruption of anti-Semitism.”

3.  PM Netanyahu, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, held a piece of wreckage from the Iranian drone intercepted over Israel and declared:

We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Israel’s Shin Bet security service announced that it foiled a plot by Palestinian Islamic Jihad-linked cell members to assassinate the Defense Minister,  reportedly by using a roadside IED.

• As the legal proceedings surrounding Israel’s Prime Minister continue to evolve, this column from the National Post gives some interesting insight.

• Hamas is condemning a U.S. bill that sanctions them for using civilians in Gaza as “human shields.”

• A number of NFL (American football) players are touring Israel. This time last year, some NFL players cancelled a trip after the Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy touted the trip as a PR coup, before it had even taken place.

Around the World
• Last November, Iranian wrestler Alireza Karimachiani  was banned from international competition for intentionally throwing a match in order to avoid competing against an Israeli opponent in the next round.  Iran is now contesting the ban, while thousands of Iranians on social media expressed their support for the decision of Karimachiani  and his coach.

• Continuing tension mounts between Israel and Lebanon over offshore gas.

• Rumours were flying that John Kerry might be accused of a violation of the Logan Act, due to his meetings with members of the Palestinian government. Yet it turns out the rumours are not true after all.

The Logan Act is an obscure US law that prohibits private citizens from negotiating against US international interests. Last December, rumours flew that Jared Kushner might be investigated for a violation of the Act, for helping to lobby Egypt against the anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution #2334.

• Could the dispute between Israel and Lebanon over gas erupt into war?

• The coming conflict between Iran and Israel – it may be more complex than you think.

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

– Iran’s Moves in Syria Threaten Region – Peter Brookes
– Palestinian Bid for UN Recognition of Little Value – Israel Kasnett
– Abbas Rejects Jerusalem Suburb Solution for a Palestinian Capital– Nadav Shragai

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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 8:27 pm
Israeli Police Recommend Criminal Charges Against Netanyahu

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Last night Israeli police recommended criminal charges against PM Netanyahu, as part of two investigations that go by the technical names, “Case 1000” and “Case 2000.” Allegations include bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu called the allegations baseless as well as “biased” and “extreme,” and vowed to complete his fourth term in office.

In Israel, the police perform the preliminary investigation into a potential crime. (Times of Israel wrote an entire series of articles on the topic). Following the investigation stage, the police must choose whether to recommend that the attorney general bring criminal charges, in the form of an official indictment. For this reason, the police recommendation last night is a significant step in this process. The next step will be for Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandelblit to decide whether or not to accept the recommendation and to issue an indictment. If he does, that will mark the beginning of a legal process likely to include a criminal trial, or possibly an out of court settlement.

Israeli law would not actually require the PM to step down until conviction, though there is no telling what political pressures might arise, as in the case of former PM Ehud Olmert in 2007-2008.

As a service to our readers we are making a variety of educational information available on this topic, however HonestReporting does not take positions on domestic Israeli political matters.

Take your pick of coverage: Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Reuters, Associated Press, LA Times, just to name a few. The Israeli Democracy Institute has some additional background on the technical legal aspects.

2. Yesterday the trial began for Ahed Tamimi, who was arrested last December for hitting soldiers in a video that went viral on the internet. In the midst of what was shaping up to be a media circus, Judge Menachem Lieberman officially announced his decision to conduct the trial “behind closed doors,”: meaning without the presence of the press, but with the presence of the defendant, her legal counsel and her family.

Amid a flurry of strong but uninformed opinions on how Israeli and international law actually work, HR’s Daniel Pomerantz clarified the situation on i24 News:

3. After Saturday’s events in Syria, in which Israel clashed with Iranian forces, Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren concluded that Washington has “almost no leverage on the ground,” but US Secretary of State Tillerson disagrees.

4. Is denying Israeli help worth suffering drought? According to South Africa’s Rumana Akoob, writing in the Daily Vox and Mail & Guardian, the answer is (apparently): yes.

5. Newsweek presents this anti-Israel propaganda video as a history documentary. HonestReporting takes it apart.

• What’s it like to be a journalist in the Ahed Tamimi trial? Apparently, something of a spectacle.

• What are the people who oppose Tamimi’s arrest saying? Nour Tamimi (Ahed’s cousin) writes an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

• For an additional dissenting view, see Amnesty International, which calls for Ahed Tamimi’s immediate release.

• On the other hand, writing in Haaretz, Petra Marquardt-Bigman presents a sobering account of Ahed Tamimi’s cynical politics and her family’s rather dark backstory.

• What’s the strategic and political backstory behind the police recommendation against Netanyahu? Times of Israel’s David Horowitz weighs in.

• What were the actual events that led up to the present accusations against the PM, and what’s the “Milchan law?” Haaretz’s Allison Kaplan Sommer shares her take.

• What does the international press think of the emerging Netanyahu legal drama? The New York Times is fairly typical in that their main focus is on continuity of Israeli leadership.

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

–  Israel awards top literature prize to novelist critical of its policies (David Grossman) – Reuters
– Continued Iranian Military Expansion in Syria Will Lead to Wider Conflict – Dennis Ross
– Israel Must Prepare for War on Its Northern Border – Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Eyal Ben-Reuven

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Post  Admin on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 3:59 pm
Hezbollah Sends Mentally Ill Man to Test Israeli Border Fence

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel detained and subsequently repatriated a mentally unstable Lebanese man who crossed the border. The Jerusalem Post reports:

The man claimed he had been sent by two Hezbollah operatives, Mahadi and Ali Shahror, who reportedly threatened him with forced mental hospitalization.

The suspect, who was caught close to where he crossed into Israel, was under close surveillance by troops since he approached the fence.

According to subsequent reports, the Lebanese man, identified as Ali Mari, previously crossed into Israel on his volition 10 months ago.

Cemil Tekeli
2. Israel arrested and deported a Turkish national suspected of helping Hamas operatives establish themselves in Turkey. According to Ynet, many of the Hamas figures Cemil Tekeli assisted were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. A second Israeli national, Dara’am Jabarin was also arrested. He is “suspected of aiding in money laundering and transfer of funds to West Bank for terror activity.”

Tekeli’s interrogation revealed that Turkey contributes to the military strengthening of Hamas via, inter alia, the SADAT company, which was established at the behest of Adnan Basha, an adviser with close ties to Turkish administration officials . . .

During Tekeli’s interrogation, it became clear Hamas is in direct contact with Turkish authorities via terrorist Jihad Ya’amur, who was involved in the abduction of IDF soldier Nachson Waxman and was released in the Shalit deal.

3. The trial of teenage Palestinian Ahed Tamimi began today, with the judge ordering the proceedings take place behind closed doors. Tamimi was arrested after trying to provoke a soldier by slapping him in front of video cameras.

building campaign

In the News
• The PA’s escalating its opposition to US peace mediation. Abbas told Putin the PA “refuses to cooperate with the US in any form,” while chief negotiator Saeb Erekat got op-ed space in the New York Times to explain why.

• After the open Israeli-Iranian clash in Syria, the Washington Post examines the morphing internationalization of the Syrian conflict.

• Palestinians are denouncing the PA for helping a pair of IDF soldiers escape Jenin lynch mob yesterday. The two accidentally drove into the city, apparently after misusing Waze. The PA also returned weapons stolen from the soldiers.

• Knesset applies Israeli law to Ariel University in the West Bank.

• Hamas meets with Abbas rivals, including Mohammed Dahlan, as detente with Fatah crumbles.

• In first, Israeli diplomats attend UN conference in Malaysia, a majority Muslim country that has no ties with the Jewish state.

Malaysia was compelled to host the Israelis, since it was required to grant visas to all delegations in order to hold the international conference, the report added.

Kuala Lumpur
• The White House denied Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that he is in talks with the US to annex settlement areas in the West Bank. See Raphael Ahren‘s take.

• The Media Line takes a closer look at the likelihood of ties between Israel and Pakistan.

• Antwerp man filmed destroying 20 mezuzahs, harassing Jews.

• Unattended package detonated at Pittsburgh-area JCC.

cyber• If fake news doesn’t keep you up at night, fake information might. Aviv Ovadya, chief technologist at the Center for Social Media Responsibility, warns that an “information apocalypse” — a new level of misinformation and deception that makes fake news seem like child’s play. Buzzfeed caught up with Ovadya.

Technologies that can be used to enhance and distort what is real are evolving faster than our ability to understand and control or mitigate it. The stakes are high and the possible consequences more disastrous than foreign meddling in an election — an undermining or upending of core civilizational institutions, an “infocalypse.” And Ovadya says that this one is just as plausible as the last one — and worse . . .

And much in the way that foreign-sponsored, targeted misinformation campaigns didn’t feel like a plausible near-term threat until we realized that it was already happening, Ovadya cautions that fast-developing tools powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality tech could be hijacked and used by bad actors to imitate humans and wage an information war.

• Lead screed goes to South Africa Mail & Guardian writer Rumana Akoob. I don’t care if she doesn’t want Israel’s help with Cape Town’s drought, though the reasons she offers are pure lies. See our Conflict Over Water resource page.

The wall built by the Israeli government is used not just to imprison Palestinians but also cut Palestinians off from water supplies. The Israeli argument is that the wall is to to prevent terrorist activities between West Bank villages and from coming into Israel. The intentional denial of water access is a method to oppress the people of Palestine, and is a slow genocide.


• Gaza’s going down the tubes, and a New York Times staff-ed offers a wishy-washy take on the problem. I would’ve respected the editors more had they actually blamed Israel.

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

– Ronen Bergman: The Middle East’s coming war
– JE Dyer: Iranian drone, Israeli counter-strike: Probing defenses is the new normal
– Dave Sharma: Iran’s ambitions threaten to ignite the next major Middle East conflict
– Anshel Pfeffer: After years of covert proxy wars, Iran shifts to direct contact With Israel
– Melanie Phillips: The Iranian drone
– Judah Ari Gross: IDF may need to alter its Syrian air strategy, but not because of a downed F-16
– Ben Sales: Israel, Iran and Syria just traded blows. Does this mean war?
– Richard Goldberg: Iran testing Trump, not just Israel
– Abdulrahman Al-Rashed: The diplomacy of downing jets in Syria
– David Makovsky: Israel signaling a heavy price for Iranian ‘entrenchment’ in Syria

Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Stefano Corso; Kuala Lumpur CC BY-NC-ND norsez Oh; cyber CC0 Pixabay; water CC0 Pexels;

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Post  Admin on Mon 12 Feb 2018, 10:37 pm
Putin Phone Call Ended Israeli Air Strikes
Today’s Top Stories
Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
1. According to Haaretz, Israel was considering further military action against the Iranians and Syrians when Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cool the guns.
The official announcement by the Russian Foreign Ministry objected to the violation of Syrian sovereignty by Israel and totally ignored the event that provoked the eruption – the infiltration of an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace. In the conversation with Netanyahu a few hours later, Putin asked him to avoid moves that could lead to “a new round of dangerous consequences for the region.”

The Russians are also concerned about the proximity of the Israeli bombings to sites where their soldiers and advisers are serving, including base T-4 near Palmyra, where the Iranian control post from which the anti-aircraft missile was fired was bombed.

2. The IDF believes its air strikes on Saturday destroyed nearly half of Syria’s air defenses.

building campaign

3. After Holocaust law, Poland moves to ban kosher slaughter.

The restrictions include a ban on exporting kosher meat from Poland, which is expected to affect many of Europe’s Jewish communities, as well as meat exports to Israel. Some of Israel’s supermarket chains import and sell kosher meat from Poland, increasing the competition in the Israeli meat market. A drop in meat exports from Poland could lead to a hike in meat prices in Israel.

The bill also seeks to ban slaughter when the animals are in an “unnatural state”—in other words, when the animal isn’t standing on all four feet, making a kosher Jewish slaughter practically impossible.

beef cattle

4. Read about the latest corrections HonestReporting prompted regarding drone confusion at the Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald.
In the News
• Israeli officials are mulling a response against Iran for this weekend’s drone infiltration.

• Iran’s stealth drone was shot down in a new way. What are the implications for tracking larger, manned, stealth aircraft?

Israel appears to have abandoned using radar-guided weapons to down the Iranian drone. Judging from the IDF supplied video, it almost certainly appears that the drone was destroyed by a missile controlled with an electro-optical sensor, allowing the helicopter pilot to track the drone and kill it. So, the lesson is that electro-optical systems are important in dealing with small platforms and against stealth targets.

• The Jerusalem Post takes a closer look at the cyber threats Iran and Hezbollah pose. Could they hack an IAF jet, missile defense systems, or turn an IDF drone against Israel?


• The drone shot down by Israel was an Iranian copy of a U.S. craft, Israel says.

• Two Israeli soldiers were attacked by a Palestinian mob after accidentally entering the West Bank City of Jenin on Monday afternoon. They were extracted by PA security forces, but not before one soldier’s rifle stolen, Ynet reports.

• Worth reading: The New York Times and Los Angeles Times take an in-depth look at Gaza’s deteriorating situation.

Around the World
• A number of Jewish leaders in the US, Europe and Israel would like to see Michael Oren succeed Natan Sharansky as head of the Jewish Agency, according to the Jerusalem Post. Sharansky is due to step down from the post in June.

• Anti-Semitic graffiti spray painted on Barcelona synagogue.

• Plenty of broken quills and burnt pixels on Israel’s escalating conflict with Iran:

– Tony Badran, Jonathan Schanzer: The Iran-Israel war flares up (click via Twitter)
– Nahum Barnea: The Iranian game of chess: More moves are on the way
– Marc Schulman: Is this the start of an Israeli-Iran war?
– Seth Frantzman: From the Euphrates to Beit Shean: The Islamic Republic’s dangerous game
– Richard Kemp: Failure to support Israel against Iran could end in war
– Noga Tarnopolsky: Trump’s silence on Israel-Iran skirmish speaks volumes
– Daniel Shapiro: As Syria and Iran threaten Israel, America signals its ally is on its own
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Iran’s opening shot
Anshel Pfeffer
Iranian drone took off from base under Russian control. Syrians trained by Russians fired Russian missiles at Israeli planes. Israel coordinates operations over Syria with Russia and asks Russia to prevent escalation.
The US has never been less relevant.

9:45 AM - Feb 10, 2018
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– Herb Keinon: War in Syria? It’s up to the Russians
– Ben Lynfield: Can Russia defuse the confrontation with Iran?
– Yoav Fromer: From Russia with disappointment
– Reuven Ben-Shalom: Questions following a ‘day of battle’
– Yoav Limor: The Iranian dilemma
– Yossi Yehoshua: First public Israel-Iran clash was only a taste of the next war
– David Halbfinger: Israel’s clash with Iran: 5 takeaways
– Aaron David Miller: Mideast tensions get even worse

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

– Tom Gross: Good news about Gaza you won’t hear on the BBC
– Aviva Klompas: Living with the Iran deal
– Alex Ryvchin: Abusing the Holocaust
– Robert Fulford: Law can’t obscure Poland’s anti-Semitism problem, then and now
Featured image: CC0 stevepb; Putin via YouTube/CBS This Morning; cattle CC0 MaxPixel; hacking CC0 FreeImages; debate CC0 Pixabay;
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Post  Admin on Sun 11 Feb 2018, 8:30 pm

Israel and Iran Openly Clash Over Syrian Border
Israeli soldiers surveying from Golan Heights military post overlooking the Syrian border on February 10, 2018. Northern Israel remains on high alert after an F-16 plane crashed near Kibbutz Harduf. IAF jets were sent to Syria following the infiltration of an Iranian drone. Syrian forces fired missiles forcing the pilots of one F-16 to eject themselves. Photo by Flash90
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Violence flared up along the Israeli-Syrian border over the weekend. It started on Saturday morning when an Iranian drone entered Israeli air space and was shot down by a helicopter. Israel launched retaliatory air strikes against Iranian targets and Syrian anti-aircraft batteries. One Israeli F-16 jet was shot down in a flaming crash — caught on video which Ynet explains — into a field near Kibbutz Harduf was c. The two pilots ejected themselves from the aircraft. One is currently listed in moderate condition at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. The second pilot was released from the hospital today.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, six people were killed in the Israeli strikes. Seth Frantzman nicely summarizes the tick-tock of what’s known.

Flights in and out of Ben Gurion Airport were halted for about an hour during the skirmish. Israel today boosted air defenses in the north. More on the story below.

HonestReporting flagged a number of faulty headlines. Iran Attack: It All Started When Israel Fired Back.

2. Mazen Adi, a former Syrian ambassador who once accused Israel of trafficking in human organs, has left a teaching position at Rutgers University. While a university spokesperson confirmed to local New Jersey media that Adi no longer teaches there, “it is not immediately clear whether he was fired or left on his own accord.”

Adi served as a diplomat for 16 years, including as ambassador to the UN, where he served as a mouthpiece for the Assad regime, justifying war crimes against civilians. He taught international law at Rutgers since 2015.

3. US Ambassador David Friedman took to Twitter to lock horns with Israel’s Haaretz daily. It has to do with the fact that A) Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal, who was stabbed to death last week by a Palestinian was a resident of the Har Bracha settlement in the northern West Bank, and B) Friedman had donated an ambulance to Har Bracha 20 years ago. Columnist Gideon Levy made his opposition to Har Bracha more than clear. Further background at the Jerusalem Post.

David M. Friedman
What has become of .@Haaretz ? Four young children are sitting shiva for their murdered father and this publication calls their community a “mountain of curses.” Have they no decency?

5:43 AM - Feb 9, 2018
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building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• Questions you’re probably asking about the Israeli-Iranian-Syrian skirmish:

– What’s known about the downed drone?
– What’s the drone threat Israel faces?
– When was the last time Israel lost a plane in combat?
– What would an extended conflict do to Israel’s economy?
– What are Syrian rebels saying about Israel now?
– Does the clash change the rules of the game? (Yes or no, depending on who you ask.)

• Tweet of the day goes to Daniel Shapiro.

Dan Shapiro
For those questioning whether the Iranian UAV in Israeli airspace was attacking Israel, what level of sovereignty-violation from an avowed enemy should Israel be expected to tolerate? Or maybe Israel should wait and see if the UAV has a payload? Please.

3:37 PM - Feb 10, 2018
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• Work is underway on a concrete wall along the Israeli-Lebanese border to protect from Hezbollah infiltration. Priority is being given to Israeli towns and kibbutzim. Ynet visited Rosh HaNikra, where initial work has already begun. This was written before the weekend border skirmish.

The main goal of the wall is to prevent Hezbollah’s elite “Radwan” force from infiltrating Israel during a conflict, and trying to capture an Israeli town or military outpost, an act that would deal a severe blow to Israeli morale and a boost for the terrorist group.

For their part, a UNIFIL spokesman said Wednesday that Israel had begun work south of the border line and added that the UN organization was closely monitoring the events. The spokesman, quoted in Lebanese media, said that UNIFIL was maintaining contact with officials on both sides of the border in order to solve the matter (Lebanese objections) and prevent unnecessary tension or deterioration.
• Saudi Arabia denied reports it gave Air India permission for overflights on a direct Tel Aviv-New Delhi line.

• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports that a growing number of Pakistanis are wondering if they should follow in India’s footsteps and “adopt constructive ties” with both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Qatari• “Qatar’s leaders have assured Jewish-American organizations that Al Jazeera’s documentary on the Israel lobby in the United States will not be aired, five sources in pro-Israel circles in Washington told Haaretz,” though subsequent reports suggest the video may be aired anyway. Qatar is engaged in a charm offensive with American Jewish leaders.

Last week a number of pro-Israel organizations in the United States received letters from Al Jazeera informing them that their employees would appear in the documentary.

The film is based on the work of an undercover reporter who gained access to pro-Israel organizations in 2016 and videotaped their employees at work. The documentary is similar to one that Al Jazeera aired last year on Britain’s Israel lobby. Al Jazeera gave the organizations three weeks to reply to their quotes that will appear in the film.

• Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri discussed the issue of deporting African migrants in a Washington Post Q+A.

• Israel appointed a new ambassador to Jordan as ties between the two countries continue to renormalize. Amir Weissbrod, a career diplomat, becomes Israel’s top envoy in Amman, closing the chapter on last year’s crisis over the shooting death of two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy by a security guard in an altercation that was disputed by both countries.

• The PA slammed a delegation of Arab journalists who visited Israel, calling for the Arab world to boycott them to deter other such visits, which it said “promoted normalization.” More at the Times of Israel.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Israel Foreign Min.
Hosted special guests from the Arab world in Jerusalem today - a delegation of Moroccan, Lebanese, Syrian, Kurdish & Yemeni journalists, visiting in order to get to know Israel, its history and its society from up close.
Welcome - اهلا وسهلا بكم

9:05 PM - Feb 5, 2018
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Around the World
• “Egypt’s army is bulldozing homes and olive groves to build a buffer zone around the airport in troubled North Sinai Province, but the operation will displace thousands, according to residents.” But it’s only an outrage if Israel does it. The El Arish airport buffer zone is in response to an ISIS assassination attempt on two high-level Egyptian security officials in December.

• Germany’s new governing coalition agreement denounces Israeli settlement policies and opposes American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But Israeli officials told the Jerusalem Post they weren’t especially perturbed.

• JTA: “A McGill University internal investigation absolved students involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel of outright anti-Semitism on campus but decried Jew hatred, triggering mixed reactions from the Jewish community.”
• A Florida lawmaker is calling for venues in Miami and Tampa to call off concerts by Lorde scheduled for April. The New Zealand singer made waves in December when she caved into BDS pressure and cancelled a Tel Aviv show. The Algemeiner picked up on State Representative Randy Fine’s tweet. See also local coverage.
In letters to the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority and the Tampa Sports Authority, Fine warned that Lorde’s April performances would violate Florida law, which bars state and local governments from conducting business exceeding $1 million with any organization engaged in a boycott of Israel . . .

“When Lorde joined the boycott in December, she and her companies became subject to that statute,” the representative continued. “The taxpayers of Miami and Tampa should not have to facilitate bigotry and antisemitism.”

• Ohio lawmakers are poised to pass anti-BDS legislation.

• Lithuanian ethics official faces call to step down after offering a cash reward for thesis pinning war crimes on Jews.

In the blog entry, Sadauskas offered 1,000 euros, or $1,221, to “a school student, a university student, a postgraduate student, a teacher or a scientist who will collect information, documents, materials and write a thesis (at least 10 printed pages) or a publication about individuals of the Jewish nationality who killed people, contributed to deportations or tortures,” the LETA news agency reported Thursday.

An IDF soldier standing guard in the Golan Heights in 2008
• Plenty of broken quills and burnt pixels about the hot border.
– Yaakov Katz: The open war with Iran has begun
– Amos Harel: In first, Israel and Iran are engaged in a head-to-head confrontation in Syria
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Conflict with Iran is here
– Judah Ari Gross: Freed from shroud of ‘foreign reports,’ Israel-Iran fight steps out from shadows
– Ron Ben-Yishai: Iran pushing for new northern status quo
– Avi Issacharoff: Riding high after IS defeat, Iranian axis tries its luck with Israel, US
– Dan Zaken: Northern flare-up: Iran testing Israel, Russia
– Anshel Pfeffer: Israel struggles to draw new red lines in Russia’s Syria playground
– Yoav Limor: Iran wants Putin to intervene
– Mary Dejevsky: Iran is extending its regional power in Syria – this is Israel’s worst nightmare
– Ben Lynfield: Can Russia defuse the confrontation with Iran?

• Last word, for now, goes to Amos Yadlin:

Amos Yadlin
1.The cheers in Damascus, Beirut, and Tehran are odd. Even the commentators in Israel who explain that Israel has lost its air superiority are far off the mark. True, sometimes there are loses, or mistakes on our side, but the balance is unequivocal:

6:35 PM - Feb 10, 2018
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• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Smadar Bat Adam: Gaza water crisis the result of Hamas’ incompetence
– Fred Maroun: Arab by birth, Zionist by choice
– Abdulrahman Al-Rashed: Do we allow Air India’s request?
– Jennifer Gerber: The UK pays disproportionate attention to Palestinian child prisoners
– Bassam Tawil: The Hamas-ISIS war, corrupt leaders
– Gary Rosenblatt: Is Israel losing the Democratic Party?
– Jonathan Tobin: The sinister reason behind Qatar’s wooing of the Jews

• Last but not least, Fisk’s being Fisk again.

Featured image: CC0 bykst; Qatar CC0 Pixabay; Lorde via YouTube/Elvis Duran Show; soldier CC BY-NC Israel Defense Forces;

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Post  Admin on Wed 07 Feb 2018, 3:57 pm
Saudis Approve Direct India-Israel Flights

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Saudi Arabia approved Air India to cross its airspace for direct flights between New Delhi and Tel Aviv. It’s the first time flights to Israel have been allowed through Saudi skies. Haaretz explains that the good diplomatic news also means stiff competition for Israel’s national airline, El Al:

The approval means that the duration of flights from India to Israel will be shortened by two-and-a-half hours, compared to the route currently in use. The new route will allow the airline to reduce fuel costs and sell cheaper tickers to passengers.

Right now the only carrier that flies directly to India is El Al, which flies an 8-hour route from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Mumbai. The route crosses the Red Sea south of Yemen, then turns east to India. Since New Delhi is a new destination from which there are no flights to Israel, the aviation company will be getting a 750,000 euro grant from the Tourism Ministry for operating the new line, according to a calculation of 250,000 euros per weekly flight. This grant is, among other things, the impetus for Air India to launch the line.

More at the Times of India.

Air India

2. Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law controversial legislation which criminalizes blaming Poland for the Holocaust.

3. Syrian state media claimed Israel attacked an Iranian research base west of Damascus and that defense systems intercepted some of the missiles. There were no details offered on damage or casualties. Israeli officials didn’t comment.

building campaign

In the News
• A Palestinian was shot dead while trying to stab an Israeli security guard at the entrance to Karnei Tzur, an Israeli settlement near Hebron, this morning.

• Iran’s prospective supreme leader visited the Israel-Lebanon border in January, escorted by Hezbollah commanders and Iranian officers. More on Ayatollah Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi’s tour at the Jerusalem Post and MEMRI.

• Israeli activists are scoffing as the leader of the Norway’s leftist Red Party nominated the BDS for a Nobel Peace prize.

Arsen Ostrovsky
What a joke! But then again, the Nobel Committee does have a track record of awarding 'non-violent' Palestinian leaders, you know, like Yasser Arafat. #BDS #Nobel

2:22 PM - Feb 4, 2018
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• With anti-Semitic attacks on the rise, France’s popular Jewish radio station moves into unmarked, secure studio.

• Chelsea soccer fans chant anti-Semitic songs less than a week after the team started an anti-hate campaign.

• Ron Ben-Yishai and Avi Issacharoff suggest a new West Bank intifada is brewing. The latter writes:

Everyone knows that the Abbas era is all but over; they’re just waiting for him to actually leave. No one knows exactly what the “day after” will look like, but there is a general consensus that it will be violent and tumultuous. Abbas’s regime is viewed with open hostility, and Hamas is gaining support.

• People are still buzzing about the Polish Holocaust law.

– Slawomir Sierakowski: Restricting the phrase ‘Polish death camps’ only raises its profile
– Frida Ghitis: Poland’s Holocaust law should terrify you
– Jan Gross: Poland’s death camp law is designed to falsify history (click via Google News)
– Vivian Bercovici: On the linguistics of Polish death camps and other things anti-Semitic

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

– Ira Rifkin: Surveys say younger evangelicals and Democrats abandoning Israel. Crisis in U.S. Middle East policy?
– Einat Wilf: Anti-feminism and anti-Zionism
– MP John Mann: I’m not Jewish but whatever I talk about I receive antisemitic abuse

Featured image: CC BY Thomas8047; Air India via YouTube/San Francisco International Airport; Auschwitz via YouTube/BBC News;
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Feb 2018, 2:53 pm
Israel Buries Terror Victim as Manhunt Continues

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israeli terror victim Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal was laid to rest this morning as security forces continued a manhunt for his killer. Ben Gal was stabbed to death at bus stop at the entrance to the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel yesterday afternoon.

The terrorist has been identified as Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, a 19-year-old Israeli Arab from Jaffa with a complicated background. Assi’s mother urged him to turn himself in. Security cameras caught the attack on video.

Rabbi Ben Gal, 29, lived in the nearby settlement of Har Bracha and taught in Ariel. He is survived by his wife and four children. In what Israel HaYom calls a “poignant twist of fate,” Miriam Ben Gal was already acquainted with Yael Shevach, the widow of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, who was murdered in a Palestinian terror attack last month.

Itamar Ben Gal
Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal
2. Is Hamas making a strategic decision to attack Israeli targets outside the Mideast? MEMRI notes a commentary published in a Hamas mouthpiece suggesting a “shift in the rules of the conflict.”

We must deliver painful blows to the enemy’s vulnerable underbelly, that is, target its interests, its investments, its diaspora and its representations around the world.

phone3. Did Mahmoud Abbas snoop on Palestinians with CIA help? Say it ain’t so!

A former Palestinian intelligence chief and the head of the West Bank bar association are suing the Palestinian self-rule government after a purported whistleblower alleged the two were targeted, along with many other allies and rivals of President Mahmoud Abbas, in a large-scale CIA-backed wiretapping operation . . .

The document alleges that three of the Palestinian security services set up a joint electronic surveillance unit in mid-2014 and monitored the phone calls of thousands of Palestinians, from senior figures in militant groups to judges, lawyers, civic leaders and political allies of Abbas.

4. A Three-Way Headline Bungle: A headline which fails on so many levels could’ve been avoided had editors read their story a little more carefully.

5. South Africa – Ringmaster in the Theater of the Absurd: Calling Israel an “apartheid state,” inviting Hamas to the ruling party’s conference, and refusing Israeli expertise to prevent a water – South Africa is truly a ringmaster in the theater of the absurd, writes journalist Rolene Marks in a special guest post.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• A month-long manhunt for the killer of Rabbi Raziel Shevach ended in a hail of gunfire in a northern West Bank village near Jenin last night. Ahmad Nasser Jarar, the Palestinian who masterminded the drive-by shooting, emerged from a building clutching an M-16 rifle and bag of explosives and advanced on troops. Ynet coverage.

• Mahmoud Abbas issues preconditions for returning to peace talks (it’s an evergreen headline).

The Palestinians are prepared to return to the negotiating table with Israel, but only on the basis of an international multilateral mechanism, the Arab Peace Initiative and international resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday.

• Following up on the New York Times, the Jerusalem Post fills in more background on what’s known about Israeli-Egyptian military cooperation against Sinai jihadists. Meanwhile, Cairo denied the report.

• Palestinians slam Jerusalem move to end tax breaks on churches and UN properties.

Church of Mary Magdalene
Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives
• Israel’s High Court of Justice is pressing the police, media and non-governmental organizations to compromise on access to areas of Jerusalem’s Old City during periods of tension, the Jerusalem Post reports. Journalists cried foul last year when police restricted access to parts of the Old City during the Temple Mount crisis while allowing Israeli citizens.

• Israeli actress Gal Gadot announced on Twitter that she’ll be voicing herself in an upcoming episode of The Simpsons. According to The Wrap, “Gadot will star in an episode titled “Bart’s Not Dead” airing in during season 30, which will debut next fall.” If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the BDS crowd going D’oh!

Gal Gadot
I grew up watching @TheSimpsons and now I get to voice myself in an episode!

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Post  Admin on Wed 31 Jan 2018, 8:59 pm
UN Indefinitely Postpones Settlement Blacklist
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Just before this roundup was published, Israeli media reported that a UN blacklist of companies doing business in Israeli settlements was indefinitely postponed.

Barak Ravid
BREAKING ON @news10: After strong pressure by U.S. & Israel the UN postpones indefinitely the publication of a "Blacklist" of foreign & Israeli companies which operate in the settlements in the West bank & East Jerusalem

12:45 PM - Jan 31, 2018
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2. According to Israeli media reports, the US may reject the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) practice of granting refugee status to descendants of Palestinian refugees.

Israel has for years demanded that the UN change its designation of Palestinian refugees, and that it use the same criteria it applies for other refugee populations worldwide. Humanitarian assistance to other refugee groups is overseen by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which does not extend refugee status to descendants of original refugees.

The TV report quoted Israeli diplomatic sources who are aware of the new US thinking on the issue as saying that a Trump declaration rejecting the UN criteria for Palestinian refugees would represent “a tremendous victory” for Israeli diplomacy . . .

Bringing the definition of a refugee in-line with other refugee populations around the world could be a game-changer for the Palestinian so-called “right” of return. We unpacked the UNRWA controversy in this ‘splainer video.

3. Haaretz: “Israel will submit a $1 billion dollar plan for easing the Gaza Strip’s humanitarian crisis, which it will ask the international community to fund, at an emergency meeting on Wednesday of donor states.”

The plan’s centerpiece will be Israeli assistance in building infrastructure projects, including desalination plants, electricity lines and a gas pipeline, as well as upgrading the Erez industrial park on the Israeli-Gazan border.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• The Irish Senate postponed last night’s scheduled vote on legislation criminalizing the import of settlement goods. The delay was partly in response to vociferous Israeli opposition and partly due to divisions within Ireland’s governing coalition.

• In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump called for ending US aid to “enemies,” which he suggested includes countries who voted at the UN to denounce his Jerusalem declaration. While domestic issues dominated the speech, Trump also denounced the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

• Soldiers thwarted a stabbing attack, arresting a Palestinian with a knife and a map of the West Bank settlement of Negohot, located near Hebron.

• Following up on this week’s Netanyahu-Putin meeting, a large delegation of high-level Russian security officials are due to arrive in Israel today to discuss Iranian entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon. According to Israeli media reports:

A senior Israeli official was quoted by Channel 10 as saying the talks will focus on the same issues discussed by the leaders in Moscow, including Iran’s attempt to increase its influence in Syria; Tehran’s attempts to build rocket factories for the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon; and efforts by Israel and the US to change the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Israel Russia

• Worth reading: Bloomberg News takes a closer look Jerusalem Arabs working in Jewish areas of the city, which helps curb violence.

Ro’aa is a symbol of how economics is reweaving the tapestry of the fractious city. She and an increasing number of young Arabs like her are finding more professional opportunities in the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem. That helps explain in part Jerusalem’s relative calm in the wake of U.S. President Trump’s Dec. 6 decision to recognize the city as the capital of Israel, especially in contrast with violent demonstrations the West Bank, Gaza Strip and other parts of the Arab world and even Europe. Even though the young Arabs of east Jerusalem strongly oppose the embassy transfer, they don’t want to undermine opportunity with violence.

Around the World
• Implementation of a Kansas law requiring public employees to declare that they do not boycott Israel was temporarily blocked by a federal judge. The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf a teacher who lost a contract because she boycotts Israel. Many states now have anti-BDS legislation, which critics say violates free speech rights. More at the Wichita Eagle and Haaretz.

• BDSniks at Montreal’s McGill U. are up in arms as the university’s board of governors considers rejecting the use of endowment to “to advance social or political causes.” Students trying to get McGill to divest from Israel as well as fossil fuel corporations say the proposed changes to the governors’ social responsibility committee would destroy any campus divestment campaign for five years.
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Prof. Eytan Gilboa: Trump’s business approach to foreign aid could also challenge Israel
– Nadav Shragai: An embarrassing freeze
– David Ignatius: The road to an Israeli-Palestinian deal is vanishing
– Cnaan Liphshiz: Netanyahu is trying hard to court Putin. Is his rhetoric working?
– Thomas Friedman: Can crazy still keep the peace between Israel and Iran?
– Benny Anvi: How Nikki Haley is pushing Europe to get tough on Iran

Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Mark Belokopytov; Israeli flag CC BY Nicolas Raymond; Russian flag CC BY Nicolas Raymond; puzzle vector CC BY-SA Wikimedia Commons; McGill CC BY-ND Viola Ng;

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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Jan 2018, 9:02 pm
Palestinian Authority Incitement Targets Americans
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Palestinian protesters disrupted a business seminar in Bethlehem which the U.S. helped organize, Reuters reports, damaging a consular vehicle as it sped away from protesters who threw tomatoes and eggs. And in the nearby UNRWA-run Aida refugee camp, Palestinians court-martialed and executed effigies of US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Noting the participation of Fatah members in the “trial” and “execution,” Bassam Tawil says the incitement was a “green light” for attacks on Americans.

In fact, the mock trial and “execution” of Trump and Pence gives a green light to Palestinians physically to target Americans.

This incitement against the US should come as a surprise to no one. The activists — who are burning photos and effigies of Trump and Pence and American flags — listen with rapt attention to the anti-American rhetoric coming from Palestinian Authority leaders. Trump and Pence are vilified on a daily basis by Palestinian leaders and media outlets . . .

Most importantly, this is not only a show of disrespect towards the US and its leaders: it is in fact a call for terrorism against American citizens. In the world of the Palestinians, any world leader who does not hate Israel or dares to challenge the Palestinian narrative is defined as the enemy. How will any of Trump’s Middle East envoys ever be able to visit Ramallah or Bethlehem after this wave of incitement?

1/2 Bethlehem Demonstration: Effigies of Trump and Pence "Executed” and Torched in Protest of U.S. Freeze on UNRWA Funding

7:59 AM - Jan 29, 2018
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2. The Irish senate is weighing legislation to criminalize trade with Israeli settlements and create a spillover effect in the US. As this roundup was published, the vote was due to be held tonight.

If enacted, it could put leading U.S. companies with Irish subsidiaries to a choice between violating the Irish law or violating the U.S. Export Administration Regulations, which require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction.

In addition to running afoul of U.S. federal law, the bill would subject companies to U.S. state-level sanctions, violate European Union and international law, threaten Ireland’s vital economic links to the United States, and hinder the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

But the Irish Times reports that divisions within the governing coalition may prevent the bill’s passage. And how’s this for an inappropriately opinionizing headline?

Irish Times

See Eugene Kontorovich‘s response:


Eugene Kontorovich
Irish Senate will vote today on bill that makes it a crime to take a taxi to Jerusalem's Old City; or take a tour of the Kotel; etc. Also defines "occupied territory" to only apply to Israel. An outrageous and unprecedented measure.

Eugene Kontorovich
Bill would be great incentive for aliyah to Irish Jews: if they visit the Kotel, or have a glass of Golan Heights wine on a visit to Israel; or learn at an old City yeshiva - they could be put in jail on their return.

7:43 AM - Jan 30, 2018 · Israel
3. The PLO is now urging Arab-Israelis to join in civil unrest ahead of Friday’s “Day of Rage” against Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, per The Media Line.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• The chief rabbi of the Western Wall apologized for segregating journalists by gender during Vice President Pence’s visit last week. In a letter to sent to Globes, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch promised improvements but says rules won’t change. More at the Washington Post.

Yanir Cozin
• An Israeli reporter who was made to undergo a “humiliating” security check by the Prime Minister’s security detail on Sunday charges that it was in retaliation for a series of tweets he posted about the treatment of reporters covering Pence in Jerusalem. Yanir Cozin covers diplomatic affairs for the Maariv daily. The Times of Israel explains:
In a series of Facebook posts, Cozin — a journalist accredited with Israel’s Government Press Office, and a regular at the Prime Minister’s Office — said he initially agreed to an extensive body search.

But when he was asked to remove his pants, Cozin refused and was subsequently barred from covering the weekly cabinet meeting.

In addition to the Western Wall mishap, an accredited Finnish reporter was prevented from covering the VP’s meeting with Netanyahu after refusing to be strip searched.

• The Israeli embassy in Amman is days away from reopening, according to Israeli media reports. Several embassy staffers are said to have already returned to their positions but no replacement for Ambassador Einat Schlein has been appointed.

Shalit swap
Palestinians in Gaza celebrate the arrival of terrorists freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.
• In case you were wondering about the Palestinians freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap of 2011, more than one-third of them returned to terror. Israel HaYom explains that freed terrorists make up a who’s who of the Palestinian terror scene.
According to an assessment from a senior security official, some 420 of the 1,027 terrorists imprisoned in Israel released as part of exchange deal for captured IDF Cpl. Gilad Schalit in November 2011 have found their way back into the circle of terrorism and violence. Some 210 were re-arrested, and 100 were put back behind bars. Terrorists freed in the Schalit deal have directly or indirectly been involved in the murder of seven Israelis . . .

A triumvirate of Schalit-deal terrorists – Sinwar, Tawfiq Abu Naim and Zuhair Jabarin, as well as Arouri and the three regional commanders – now controls Gaza. According to reports from the Palestinian Authority, they are working to carry out attacks in various parts of the West Bank and their main goal is another abduction of an Israeli. Sinwar, Abu Naim and Jabarin were all released from prison in Israel before their sentences were up. These three, along with some of their comrades, star in a popular video clip that Hamas released titled “From prison to power,” in which they express their commitment to carrying out another abduction, and they are trying their best.

• The PA leadership is floundering here. Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the PA will take Trump’s peace plan to the International Court of Justice (!?) while PA President Mahmoud Abbas called for an African role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

• Breaking a Palestinian boycott of meetings with Israeli officials, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will meet with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Sunday. The PA broke off high level contacts with Israel and US over Trump’s Jerusalem declaration in December. According to Israeli media reports picked up by the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel, Hamdallah initiated the meeting “to try and avert a financial crisis.”

Rami Hamdallah
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah
• A Palestinian was arrested apparently trying to sneak into the West Bank settlement of Itamar wearing IDF-style uniforms. While searching for a second Palestinian wearing similar clothes, soldiers found six Molotov cocktails. More at the Jerusalem Post.

• An Israeli judge ordered the dissolution of an eastern Jerusalem-based non-governmental organization for financing terror and donor fraud. The Committee of Agricultural Work had funneled millions of dollars to the Gaza-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. More at Israel HaYom.

• Slovenia’s parliament is expected to recognize Palestinian statehood in a symbolic measure.

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow where he discussed with Russian President Vladmir Putin Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon, military coordination, as well as US efforts to bolster the Iranian nuclear deal. More at the Times of Israel and Ynet.

Around the World
• The municipality of Frankfurt is severing ties with banks that enable boycotts of Israel. The Jerusalem Post explains the significance:

Frankfurt is the first German city to sanction banks and financial institutions for providing services to the BDS campaign targeting Israel. The Frankfurt decision to penalize financial entities could have far-reaching implications for the scores of BDS organizations that operate in Germany.

Frankfurt, with a population of nearly 720,000, is located in the state of Hesse and is considered the banking capital of Germany.

• Poll shows Democrats increasingly ditching Netanyahu, not Israel, experts say.

• Former London mayor and suspended Labour party politician Ken Livingstone repeated claims that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis.

The Labour chairman of the all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism said Mr Livingstone’s comments formed a deliberate pattern, and demanded his expulsion.

On Saturday, International Holocaust Memorial Day, Mr Livingstone, 72, a former mayor of London, appeared in a programme called Has the Holocaust been exploited to oppress others? on the Iranian state-owned channel Press TV.

John-Paul Pagano
Ken Livingstone observes Holocaust Memorial Day by appearing on state TV of Holocaust-denying regime: Holocaust hijacked by Zionism, chats with Jew-hating callers

6:40 PM - Jan 28, 2018

Ken Livingstone appears in Iranian propaganda show debating whether Holocaust commemoration has...
Ken Livingstone, who was investigated but only lightly punished by the Labour Party for his repeated claims that Hitler “was supporting Zionism”, has participated in a special programme on Iranian …
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• What made IDF Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis dramatically write an op-ed published in Lebanese media denouncing Iran and Hezbollah? Ron Ben-Yishai takes a closer look at the Israeli army’s first direct and official appeal to the Lebanese public.

• Plenty of spilled ink and burnt pixels over Poland and the Holocaust.
– Yair Lapid: Treblinka: The city of the dead
– Cnaan Liphshiz: Historical inaccuracies on both sides of the ‘Polish death camp’ debate.
– Tony Barber: Poland’s government exploits nationalistic grievances
– Ian O’Doherty: Why shouldn’t we remember the Holocaust?
– John Bercow: Anti-Semitism must be called out every day
– Adnan Oktar: The role of propaganda in the Holocaust
– The Australian (staff-ed): Holocaust must not be denied
– Daily Telegraph (staff-ed): The Holocaust must never be forgotten

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

– Bassam Tawil: Incitement gives Palestinians green light to target Americans
– Moshe Yaalon, Leehe Friedman: Israel and the Arab States: A historic opportunity to normalize relations?
– Zalman Shoval: Not a cost-free exercise
– Alexander Apfel: Netanyahu the likely winner in peace talks
– Dani Dayan: Anti-Zionism is just anti-Semitism by another name
– Pierre Rehov: UNRWA: The UN agency that creates Palestinian refugees
– Gerald Steinberg: Israel and UNRWA’s emergency meeting
– David Harris: An open letter to the foreign minister of Slovenia
– Hanin Ghaddar: Hezbollah has destroyed the Lebanon I once knew (click via Twitter)

Featured image: CC BY-ND chinatown news; Shalit exchange via YouTube/CBS News; Hamdallah via YouTube/Watania Media Agency; Frankfurt CC BY-SA drakestraw67; Auschwitz CC BY-NC Benjamin Griffiths;

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Post  Admin on Sun 28 Jan 2018, 9:29 pm
New Orleans Rescinds Contentious BDS Measure
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Today’s Top Stories
1. The New Orleans city council rescinded a controversial pro-BDS measure “citing a misunderstanding of the deep divisions that surround a movement to boycott the state of Israel and a flawed approval process.”

Council President Jason Williams, who voted for the measure initially before agreeing to rescind it, said the council was not the right venue for sorting out the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“We are not going to solve the Middle East crisis in the city of New Orleans today,” Williams said.

building campaign

2. Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon told the UN that there are now 82,000 fighters are under Iranian control in Syria.

There are 82,000 fighters “directly under Iranian authority in Syria,” Danon said, including 3,000 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, 9,000 members of Hezbollah and 10,000 members of “violent Shiia militias recruited from across the Mideast, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.

In addition, Danon said that Iran “directly commands” 60,000 local Syrian fighters.

“These are hard facts that cannot be disrupted. Iran’s military is actively training these militant extremists and its using Syria as its strategic base,” Danon said.

25 Jan

Ambassador Danon
Replying to @dannydanon
We are releasing this information because it is vital for the world to understand that if we turn a blind eye in Syria, the Iranian threat will only grow.

Ambassador Danon
Today, there are 82,000 fighters under Iran’s authority in Syria. 3,000 members of Iran’s  Revolutionary Guard, 9,000 fighters from Hezbollah, 10,000 members of Shia militias recruited from across the region, and an additional 60,000 local Syrian fighters.

3:59 PM - Jan 25, 2018
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3. Haaretz: Denmark’s parliament overwhelmingly voted to exclude West Bank settlements from bilateral agreements with Israel. The vote also:

– Strengthens government guidelines against investing in projects over the Green Line.
– Adopts UN Resolution 2334, which claims settlements violate international law.
– Supports a UN blacklist (in the works) of companies doing business in the West Bank.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Israel and Denmark currently have 13 direct bilateral agreements in the fields of aviation, culture, education, law, industry, taxes and visas.

The latest resolution will affect future agreements between the two countries, with regard to their implementation in the territories, whether with institutions or private citizens. Existing agreements might be effected pending updates.
Copenhagen, Denmark

Israel and the Palestinians
• As Gaza approaches ‘famine,’ Israel, rather than world, appears most concerned, the Times of Israel reports. Measures flying below the radar include allowing “dual-use” construction items that were previously banned because they could be used for building tunnels. And then there’s Gaza’s electricity situation:

The Palestinian Authority recently decided to renew the electricity supply to Gaza by resuming payments for power generated by Israel (now providing power to homes for six hours, followed by 12 hours of darkness).

But the decision to renew the power supply was not due to a sudden stroke of generosity by the PA. According to sources, it was the result of an ultimatum by Israel: The Jewish state warned the PA that if it didn’t renew payments for the Gaza power bill, the Israeli government would cover the costs with PA tax money it collects. Ramallah understood the message and made a public show of renewing electricity payments.

That likely explains why Israel will supply electricity to a Gaza sewage treatment facility due to become fully operational in two months, per Ynet.

Ronen Manelis
Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis
• IDF spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis managed to get op-ed space in a number of Lebanese opposition papers warning of war if Iran continues building precision weapons on Lebanese territory or if Hezbollah takes control of the country, Haaretz and Israel HaYom report.
Manelis urged the Lebanese people to “open their eyes” and acknowledge the fact that their county has become the subject of nothing short of a takeover by Iran.

“Perhaps most egregious is what lies beneath the surface,” he wrote. “Lebanese authorities’ acquiescence and the willingness of many in the international community to turn a blind eye have allowed Iran to turn Lebanon into one big missile factory. This goes beyond weapon shipments, funding or counseling. Iran has set up a new de facto branch, the ‘Lebanese branch’ right here.

On a related note, the Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter) profiles Maj. Avichay Adraee, whose Arabic language posts on Facebook and Twitter have garnered more than one million combined followers, many from countries Israel has no relations with.

• Over at the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley denounced PA chief Mahmoud Abbas, suggesting the US will move on without him:

“The United States remains deeply committed to helping the Israelis and Palestinians reach a historic peace agreement,” she said. “But we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace. To get historic results, we need courageous leaders.”

• If you’re looking for tea leaves to assess Mideast peace prospects, Mahmoud Abbas told the leader of Israel’s dovish Meretz party that “the Oslo accords are dead.”

• Is American evangelical support for Israel peaking? What’s behind it, and what do polls of younger Christians suggest for the future? And how is Israel responding? The Washington Post delves into the issue.

flag star cross

• PA police uncovered and defused 12 barrel bombs buried alongside a road near the Palestinian town of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank. It’s not clear who planted the bombs or when, but the stretch of road is located in Area A, where the PA has administrative and security responsibility. Each bomb weighed 20-30 kg. Ynet explains:

According to the Palestinian security source, a Palestinian man noticed suspicious objects peeking out of the ground on the side of the road, which were uncovered due to the heavy rainfall over the weekend.

An IDF spokeswoman told the Jerusalem Post that said that military vehicles “sometimes” pass along the road where the improvised explosive devices were found.

• The Guardian visited the Shuafat refugee camp in eastern Jerusalem to gauge the mood of Palestinians bracing for US aid cuts.

• My antennae are twitching over this lede sentence in the Daily Telegraph. I can’t recall ever seeing a mainstream news site use foreign language characters (in this case, Arabic) in the text of an article — much less the lede sentence.

Daily Telegraph

Around the World
• Ohio State University‘s Undergraduate Student Government is under fire “for a rushed, irregular secret ballot vote Wednesday night that rammed through a resolution in support of an anti-Israel boycott.”

As the USG was being expelled from the room at midnight, two secret ballot votes were quickly cast within minutes—the first attempt returned more ballots than senators present—and it was announced that the motion calling for the University Senate to create an ad-hoc committee to review OSU investments in companies complicit in human rights abuses had passed.

• Former U. Maryland Professor Melissa Landa filed a federal discrimination charge “alleging that her termination from the institution was retaliation by her superiors for her extramural pro-Israel advocacy.”

• Jerusalem Post: PayPal closes account of French BDS organization.

• Some International Holocaust Remembrance Day developments:

– Drawing Israeli rebuke, Polish lawmakers advanced legislation making it a crime to blame Poland for Nazi atrocities.
– Saudi-based Muslim body rejects Holocaust denial.
– A historic Holocaust awareness awakening in Saudi Arabia, of all places
– Social media storm breaks over Corbyn’s ‘Jew-free’ Holocaust Memorial Day statement
– Kurz says Austria bears ‘responsibility’ for Holocaust.
– Germany’s Merkel warns of increased anti-Semitism on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Warsaw Ghetto
Jews captured by the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto of 1943.
• Worth reading: Over at The Atlantic, Tamara Coffman Wittes and Daniel Shapiro weigh in on the latest polls suggesting that American support for Israel is becoming politicized. “Americans are far more divided on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than they are on Israel itself.”

• Matan Dansker reviewed Yoram Peri’s new book, “Mediatizing Wars: Power, Paradox and Israel’s Strategic Dilemma.” The book’s only available in Hebrew right now. The review is must-read:

The 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, known as the Second Lebanon War, is where the author pinpoints the change between “media” and “mediazation” in this region. Israel was unprepared for its soldiers being equipped with cellphones and cameras. These soldiers sent uncensored, and often gruesome, pictures from the battlefield, harming public morale, while Hezbollah carefully controlled its messages to its own audience as well as to the international community, presenting pictures of Lebanese citizens being bombed by Israel’s mighty military on social media. This had a direct negative effect on the war itself.

One of the most disturbing examples Peri cites is an incident that occurred in the deadliest confrontation of the Second Lebanon War, now known as the Battle of Bint Jbeil. A direct order was given by the IDF for its troops to capture a house, raise an Israeli flag on top of it and photograph it for PR purposes. Rather than the picture becoming the outcome of the conquest, it became the goal of the mission itself. This set a precedent in which soldiers’ lives were risked in an operation whose purpose is to advance a media need as opposed to a strategic need.

The book serves as a wake-up call to readers, especially in Israel. It shows how our mediatized world (including both conventional and social media) can give an unprecedented advantage to those perceived to be the underdog or the occupied.

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

– Amb. Danny Danon: Why does the UNRWA operate in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority?
– Peter Wertheim: Should the US cut aid to the Palestinians?
– Roger Cohen: It’s time for Mahmoud Abbas to go
– David Horovitz: Siding firmly with Israel, Trump plainly no longer convinced Abbas wants peace
– The Australian (staff-ed): Palestinians’ pointless boycott
– Jonathan Schanzer, Richard Goldberg: How Trump can help the Palestinians promote peace
– Anders Persson: Why there’s no chance Europe will solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
– Avi Issacharoff: As Gaza approaches ‘famine,’ Israel, rather than world, appears most concerned
– Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: Silencing and intimidating journalists
– Hussain Nadim: Pakistan: Making peace with Israel
– Qanta Ahmed: Jerusalem belongs to the Jews: An Islamic truth
– Naftali Bennett: My country bars enemies from entry. Yours would do the same
– Armin Rosen: How New Orleans almost got duped into endorsing BDS
– Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein: The UN’s horrid Holocaust hypocrisy
– New York Post (staff-ed): Amnesty International shows its anti-Israel bias yet again

Featured image: CC0 Public Domain Pictures/Alice Birkin; Denmark via YouTube/; Manelis via Twitter/Hen Mazzig; Christianity CC BY-SA HonestReporting; Warsaw Ghetto via Wikimedia Commons; quill CC0 Pixabay/Ashreila;

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

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Post  Admin on Thu 25 Jan 2018, 8:46 pm
US Reexamining All Aid to Palestinians?

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Washington is reportedly reexamining the entirety of US aid to Palestinians, according to Israeli media reports.

2. “Even as the Palestinian Authority faces major funding cuts from the US, it has purchased a new luxurious $50 million private jet to be used by President Mahmoud Abbas,” according to Israeli media reports.

King Abdullah
Jordan’s King Abdullah addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2013
3. Despite the discord over Jerusalem’s capital status, Arab leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, still favor resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Jordan’s King Abdullah explicitly said that there can be no peace process or solution without the US, but also insisted that Washington get peace efforts back on track by demanding a significant concession from Israel:

“The challenge that the Americans have with the Israelis is that if this [Jerusalem recognition] is to make any sense, it’s to give something pretty good to the Palestinians,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria during an open interview session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland . . .

Trump had hinted that the move would require something big in return from Israel, saying in a cryptic tweet that “Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.”

4. How to Keep HonestReporting in Your Facebook Feed: As Facebook changes the way material appears to you, ensure your Facebook feed keeps HonestReporting visible with these easy steps.

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5. Why Did Haaretz Publish a Pro-BDS Ad? Where do newspapers draw the line when it comes to publishing controversial advertisements?

6. Iraqi Jews, Al Jazeera and Theft: The descendants of Iraqi Jews want a priceless collection of books returned. The government of Iraq says the trove was stolen from them by the US forces. Whose trauma is it? A special guest post by Lyn Julius.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• Jerusalem is protesting after a South African diplomat at the UN Human Rights Council called Israel an apartheid state. Times of Israel coverage.

• Apparently conceding defeat on the terror tunnel front, Hamas is boosting its efforts to develop attack drones, Haaretz reports.

• Lawmakers are advancing the “muezzin bill” which would place limits on the times and volume of traditional Muslim calls to prayer. But Ynet reports Knesset support for the contentious legislation is fading.


• AP reports 100 film industry people signed a letter denouncing the Biarritz Film Festival for giving the public the “opportunity to appreciate Israeli content and talent.” The Guardian, which never fails to give a soapbox to these BDS open letters, is clearly slacking.

• Memo to Yahoo News: The reason Ahed Tamimi is being tried in a military court and not in the Israeli judicial system is because Israel hasn’t annexed the West Bank.

.@beatnikjourno Why did u fail 2 mention that there's military law precisely because Israel hasn't annexed the territory? & Nabi Saleh residents weren't throwing stones at soldiers; they were targeting civilian cars on a nearby road. Despite Tamimi's claims, stones can kill.

8:37 AM - Jan 25, 2018
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Around the World
• The Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel picked up on a worrisome Pew survey which finds the US partisan divide on Israel at a historically high level.

Responding to the poll, MK Michael Oren told the Times of Israel that Israel needs to win over progressive American support as a “strategic goal.”

Israel USA

• Half of European Jews hide their religion, survey shows

• The US wants Lebanon to cut Hezbollah out of the country’s financial sector

• If this guy had channeled his inner Ahed Tamimi and filmed himself slapping the dog, he’d be getting better press coverage.

Man bites police dog while resisting arrest

• After World War II, a group of Holocaust survivors plotted to kill six million Germans by poisoning the water supplies of Munich, Nuremberg, Hamburg and Frankfurt. You’ll be surprised to learn how surprisingly close they came to pulling it off.

• Russian professor kicks Moscow State U. Jewish student out of exam room for wearing a kippah.

• I always cringe when a sentence starts off with the words, Ï’m not anti-Semitic, but . . .” USA Today picks up on the backlash at R&B singer Erykah Badu comments in an interview with Vulture. As for what exactly was the good she saw in Hitler, I’m not going to play spoiler. Perfect idiocy ahead of International Holocaust Commemoration Day.

• 2 Torahs stolen from Hawaii synagogue.

• French lawmakers are now banned from wearing religious symbols in parliament, including kippot.

• I wonder if the New York Times’ hostility towards the Trump administration affects its ability to deal rationally with Israel. Just wondering after seeing this staff-ed about Pence’s visit.

• The pundits are Pence-ive:

– Rabbi Meir Soloveichik: Pence visits Israel’s capital (click via Twitter)
– Zev Chafets: Pence, the anti-Trump, takes Israel by storm
– Ron Ben-Yishai: Pence’s Knesset speech: Curb your enthusiasm
– Aaron David Miller: What Mike Pence just did in Jerusalem
– Ron Kampeas: Mike Pence’s faith drives his support for Israel. Does it drive Mideast policy?
– Boaz Bismuth: A shining speech in Jerusalem – the city upon the hill
– Jonathan Tobin: Why can’t the left accept Mike Pence’s evangelical love for Israel?

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

– Shmuel Rosner: Eroding support for Israel: What can we do?
– Haviv Rettig Gur: Boycotting the boycotters: Why Israel is as bad at fighting BDS as BDS is at fighting Israel
– Vijeta Uniyal: Divided EU won’t back Abbas on Palestinian ‘statehood’
– Shalom Lipner: Forget the ultimate deal. The Mideast needs the status quo.
– Asaf Romirowsky, Alex Joffe: How aid to Palestinians hurts – not helps – the peace process
– Alex Fishman: Trump’s Mideast plan: Take it or leave it
– Kim Ghattas: Palestine is a victim of the Iranian-Saudi war
– Maajid Nawaz: Human rights are universal, Amnesty. Even Jewish rights
– Clifford May: Hezbollah: The A-team of terrorists
– Richard Dannatt: Britain needs to wake up to the threat from Hezbollah

Featured image: CC0 Pexels/Rebecca Zaal King Abdullah via YouTube/World Economic Forum; mosque CCO Pixabay/Firas_Samir; thinking CC0 Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Jan 2018, 6:07 pm
EU Rebuffs Mahmoud Abbas — Sort Of

Today’s Top Stories
1. While US Vice President Mike Pence visited Israel, PA President Mahmoud Abbas flew to Brussels, seeking to enlist European Union recognition of Palestinian statehood and to sideline US peace efforts. For whatever it’s worth, EU officials are backing Abbas on Jerusalem, but are not throwing US mediation under the bus.

The Europeans themselves are interested in playing a “central role” in a renewed peace process, Mogherini said Monday, but she also acknowledged that the US must remain an indispensable part of it.

Abbas’ consolation prizes? Slovenia is poised to recognize Palestinian statehood and separate Israeli media reports indicate that France is quietly pushing to upgrade the PA’s status at the EU.

On the last day of his visit, the VP met with President Reuven Rivlin and visited Yad Vashem and the Western Wall. See below for more on his trip and the only-in-Israel media circus.

piggy bank2. As the Fatah-Hamas power struggle continues, the PA is imposing taxes on the Gaza Strip, Globes reports.

A decree published two weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) states that starting in the fall of 2018, residents of the Gaza Strip will lose the tax exemption they have enjoyed in recent years. They will start paying 20% income tax, land taxes, 17% VAT on all products, and customs duties on goods will be raised steeply.

On Monday, Gaza businesses and banks held a general strike to protest economic conditions in the Strip.

3. Top Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar admits the terror group is boosting ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

“Our relations with Iran and Hezbollah have returned to their natural path and we intend to develop these relations,” Al-Zahar’s said. “We will expand our ties with Iran and Hezbollah,” he added . . .

Al-Zahar also appeared to have admitted in the interview that Hamas, whose coffers are virtually empty, was in need of Iran and Hezbollah’s financial aid, a fact downplayed by Arab media.

4. Your Resources: Check out our new super resource page, chock full of links to articles, videos and other resources — all at your fingertips. A must to bookmark and share.

Your Resources

Israel and the Palestinians
• Vice President Pence addressed the Knesset (see transcript or video). The key takeaway from Monday’s speech? Official confirmation that the US intends to open its new embassy in Jerusalem before the end of 2019.

• Only-in-Israel media circus (part 1) A Finnish journalist was prevented from covering the Vice President’s meeting with Netanyahu after refusing to be strip searched by the Prime Minister’s security detail. Without identifying the reporter, the Associated Press wrote that the woman “said she was singled out because her father is Palestinian.”

Unless there’s a specific security threat, there’s no reason to treat the foreign press corps this way.

Given all of the technology and intelligence at Israel’s fingertips, we fail to see any good reason for the continued humiliation of professional accredited journalists upon entering the Prime Minister's office and the security attempts to conduct strip searches.

— Foreign Press Assoc. (@FPAIsPal) January 22, 2018

• There was a brief scuffle in the Knesset as some lawmakers from the Joint (Arab) list held up signs proclaiming “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” MKs aren’t allowed to hold up signs or props and Knesset ushers hustled the lawmakers out of the plenum. The Daily Mail sexed up the scuffle for an excessively clickbait headline.

• Does this Los Angeles Times snippet ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, the location of the first and second Temples, and Judaism’s holiest site?

Pence will also visit both the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest prayer sites. It stands just a short distance from one of Islam’s holiest sites, Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

• Only-in-Israel media circus (part 2) Female photographers covering Pence’s visit to the Western Wall got an unexpected shock when they were forced to work separately (behind) the male photographers. Several took to Twitter under the hashtag #PenceFence; judging from tweets by Noga Tarnopolsky and Yael Friedson, the veep’s hands were tied. JMore at Haaretz.

The #PenceFence debacle is a big deal because in the future editors and directors will prefer sending male reporters and photographers to assignments to guarantee coverage and that directly impacts women in journalism. @talschneider @NTarnopolsky

— ?Gabriella R? (@2samadams3) January 23, 2018

• Only-in-Israel media circus (part 3) Andrea Mitchell brought this on herself. NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent got schooled by Israeli reporter on Israeli politics over an inaccurate tweet.

Wrong on several points. 1, they are not “THE 13 Israeli-Arab members” – there are others. 2, it is always against the Knesset rules to hold up signs or use props and there are examples spanning decades of ppl being removed bc of it. 3, ushers, not security guards led them out

— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) January 22, 2018

• With UNRWA’s work and funding under the Trump administration’s microscope, The Independent visited a refugee camp in Gaza to gauge the mood. Reporter Sarah Helm muddies the water of the so-called Palestinian “right” of return.

Moreover, there is every reason to fear that the US cut to UNRWA’s budget has a political agenda and will be followed by a decision to remove the Palestinian refugees’ right of return home from any future deal. The right to return has been a core Palestinian claim, enshrined in UN resolutions, since the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 when the refugees were driven out of their homes in what is now Israel and have never been allowed back.

Memo to Helm and The Independent’s editors: Refugees don’t have an inherent right of return in international law. As Israeli jurists wrote in 2010, “Had this been a legal right and not a question of morals or politics, it would have already been discussed at the international court.”

• Haaretz: Israeli ministers are deliberating on applying 12 bills to West Bank settlements.

• Border Police thwarted an attempted Palestinian stabbing attack at the Tapuach Junction in the northern West Bank.

Around the World
Amena Khan
Amena Khan
• Hijab-wearing UK model Amena Khan pulled out of a L’Oreal beauty campaign amid a backlash after several anti-Israel tweets she posted in 2014 surfaced. Khan removed the tweets and apologized. (The New York Post has screengrabs.)

In the deleted messages captured by screenshots and tweet-saving services, Khan called Israel a “sinister state,” an “illegal state,” and said the country is full of “child murderers” and expressed hope for its defeat. In other posts on social media that had not been deleted, Khan accused Israel of “Torture. Murder. Rape. Genocide” and falsely claimed that “Orthodox Jews themselves condemn the actions of Israel.”

• Filipino police arrested a Hamas bomb-making and rocket expert on Saturday. Taha Mohammed al Jabouri, a 64-year-old Iraqi national, was nabbed following a tip off from the Iraqi embassy in Manila. Authorities say there are no indications he was involved in any terror plots in the Philippines and plan to deport him back to Iraq. More at the Philippine Star.

• French broadcaster blasted for prime-time Holocaust joke.

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

– Eldad Beck: Abbas’ EU comfort zone
– Moshe Arens: Abbas’ fiery speech clears up 24 years of hypocrisy
– Grant Rumley: The tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Abbas’ antics undercut Palestinian cause
– Jonathan Tobin: Don’t blame Trump for Abbas rejecting peace
– Herb Keinon: Pence’s speech: What was in it, and what was not
– James Stavridis: How the US and Israel can reshape the Mideast
– Giora Eiland: An independent Israeli policy vis-à-vis Gaza
– Prof. Elie Podeh: Israel-Jordan reconciliation: Better late than never
– Bassam Tawil: No difference between Fatah and Hamas
– Sharon Koifman: BDS doesn’t bother me
– Amb. Alan Baker: Palestinian manipulation of the International Criminal Court
– Swapan Dasgupta: Modi ends hypocrisy on India’s Israel policy
– Richard Kemp: We must end this appeasement and ban Hezbollah

Featured image: CC0 Unsplash/Charlotte; piggy bank CCO Public Domain Pictures/George Hodan; Khan via YouTube/sobat nu baheula tea; talk CCO Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:51 pm

Palestinian Terrorist Killed in Shootout
Today’s Top Stories
1. The hunt for Rabbi Raziel Shevach’s killers ended when an arrest raid in Jenin turned into a shootout shootout on Wednesday night. According to Ynet, “One of the terrorists, Ahmed Jarrar, was killed in the fighting that broke out when Israeli troops were searching for Shevah’s killers. Another terrorist was arrested, and several additional suspects were detained for questioning.”

Violent clashes continued throughout the night. Hamas claimed Jarrar as a member and denounced Israel-PA security cooperation.

Shevach was killed in a drive-by shooting near his home in the northern West Bank earlier this month.

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2. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri overturned a decision to ban Steven Spielberg’s latest film from the country’s cinemas. “The Post” was initially censored because of director Steven Spielberg’s ties to Israel. The Washington Post reports:

Hariri, who recently returned to his role after a brief and bizarre resignation involving Saudi Arabia, asked the Interior Ministry not to implement the ban, said a government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. Hariri did so, the official said, “because he is opposed to the idea of banning movies.”

3. The trial of two Hezbollah operatives charged with bombing a Bulgarian tour bus is underway in Sofia. Five Israelis and their driver were killed in the 2012 attack, which took place at the Black Sea resort town of Burgas. Another 32 Israelis were injured. The suspects — a Lebanese-Australian national and a Lebanese-Canadian national — are being tried in absentia as Lebanon has refused to extradite them. Jerusalem Post coverage.

4. Stories I’d Like to See: Religious Leaders Calling Out Abbas’ Biblical Revisionism: Religion plays a major part of Israeli and Palestinian narratives, but it’s rare to see the foreign press take a deeper look at the beliefs and their impact on the conflict.

Abbas revisionism

5. Appearing on South Africa’s Chai FM, HonestReporting’s Daniel Pomerantz discussed UNRWA, President Abbas’ speech and more. Listen here.

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• Belgium countered US cuts to UNRWA by chipping in $23 million.

• Worth reading: The New York Times takes a closer look at the debate over continued funding for UNRWA.

The agency, known by the acronym Unrwa, was set up in 1949 to aid those who fled or were expelled from their homes during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Meant to be temporary, it defined refugees loosely and expanded that definition over time. One key difference between it and the office of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, critics say, is that the agency routinely allows refugee status to be passed down for generations. Another is that it does not remove people from its list who have acquired citizenship in a new country, so the number always increases.

Hence the Palestinian refugee population has grown from approximately 700,000 Palestinians who fled the wars in 1948 and 1967 to more than 5.2 million registered refugees, some 1.7 million of them living in Unrwa-administered camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria today.

• Tweet of the day goes to Lenny Ben-David:

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Lenny Ben-David
Below is picture of #UNRWA's dense Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Almost 30K residents. IT MAKES NO SENSE.
1. It's located inside Area A under full control of the Palestinian Authority.
2. Why isn't housing built for them in nearby land?
3. Residents can't vote in Nablus elex 1/2

11:09 AM - Jan 18, 2018
 3 3 Replies   26 26 Retweets   22 22 likes
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• Pence visit highlights dilemma facing Egypt, Jordan over Jerusalem recognition.

• Last fallen soldier from Lebanon War laid to rest 31 years later.

• British Labour Party drops candidate who said Holocaust victims are ‘turning in their graves’ over Gaza.

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

– Eli Lake: Abbas shows the world who he really is
– Ben-Dror Yemini: Stop ‘understanding’ the Palestinians
– Bassam Tawil: Abbas’s big bluff – again
– Elliott Abrams: Trump gets UNRWA right
– Oded Revivi: If the Oslo accords are over, the real work of peace can begin (click via Twitter)
– Nadav Eyal: Israel and the Palestinians: So what now?
– Dror Eydar: Israel and India: Two nations, one goal
– Yossi Yehoshua: After neutralizing tunnels, IDF faces new threat

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Post  Admin on Wed 17 Jan 2018, 7:16 pm
US Cuts UNRWA Aid in Half
Today’s Top Stories
1. The US State Department confirmed it is began withholding money it originally planned to provide the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The US transferred $60 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) but held back on a further $65 million “for future consideration.” More on the Beltway politics at the Washington Post.

In response, UNRWA launched a fundraising campaign and reportedly began laying off teachers and aid workers.

For comparison, the US is also the largest donor to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which oversees assistance to all the other refugees in the world. In 2017, the UNHCR received $1.4 billion from the US, around 40 percent of its budget.

HR Video: Should America Stop Funding UNRWA? The US wants to cut support to the UN agency aiding Palestinian refugees. Is that wise? And what alternative is Israel suggesting?

2. The reason Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is ruling out US mediation for peace talks is because parts of the Trump administration’s peace proposal — yet to be issued — were leaked by the Saudis to Ramallah. According to Israeli media reports, Jerusalem isn’t the issue, it’s the excuse. The Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel explain:

According to the reports on Channel 2 and in Maariv, the Trump plan being written by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner would create a Palestinian entity that is less than a state, and it would not be based on the pre-1967 lines. Israel would control its borders and the Jordan Valley, Jerusalem would be an issue for negotiations, settlements might not have to be removed, and the Palestinian refugee issue would not be addressed.

“We understood that Trump’s declaration did not really matter and had no impact on what is happening on the ground,” Caspit quoted senior officials close to Abbas telling Knesset members who met with him last week. “We just used the declaration as a preemptive strike to torpedo the negotiations before the Americans finished drafting their peace plan, so we wouldn’t have to reject it publicly later on.”

The Palestinians were quoted saying that the international community accepted the Jerusalem excuse for ruling out negotiations because there is a consensus in the world on the city being the capital of two states.

3. German police raided a number of homes and businesses across the country in a massive search for 10 Iranian agents believed to have been targeting Jews and Israelis — specifically the Israeli embassy in Berlin and Jewish community institutions, including kindergartens. The suspects are thought to be members of the Quds Force, a special unit within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Was it the result of a Mossad tip?

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• The PLO Central Committee recommended suspending Palestinian recognition of Israel and security cooperation. The PCC also claimed the Palestinians are no longer bound by the Oslo accords. The Jerusalem Post notes that there’s no time frame for carrying out the threat. Palestinian leaders have threatened to end security cooperation a number of times in recent years but never followed through.

• After I criticized the media for whitewashing Abbas’ revisionism and rejectionism, I’m glad to see followup analysis from the Associated Press and Washington Post.

• In case you were looking for it, there’s an English translation of Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at MEMRI.

• In Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas insisted that Palestinians are the descendants of the Canaanites, who predated the biblical patriarch Abraham. This puts the PA chief at odds with his own chief envoy to the US, Maen Rashid Areikat, who has argued that the Canaanites were occupiers too because the Palestinians predated even them. Draw your own theological conclusions.

Abraham Journeying Into the Land of Canaan, by Gustave Dore
• Israel reportedly struck a Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus on Tuesday night.

• Security forces discovered and safely detonated a cell phone bomb planted at the entrance to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. It was discovered on Tuesday morning, ahead of a visit by 1,000 Jewish worshipers. The pilgrimage went on as planned, though Palestinians pelted the Jews with stones as they left the holy site.

• The Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza reopened for the first time since Israel destroyed a terror tunnel running directly underneath.

• Israeli authorities intercepted what was described as “the largest consignment ever” of military gear en route to the Gaza Strip. “The shipment included thousands of items of military clothing, including boots, coats and combat vests, all in camouflage colors,” and was seized at the Port of Ashdod on Monday.

Oliver McAfee
Oliver McAfee
• Search and rescue personnel believe that a British tourist missing in the southern Negev desert is suffering from “Jerusalem Syndrome,” a psychotic condition that can overwhelm people visiting Israel with delusions about God or prominent religious figures. The Daily Telegraph updates the latest on the search for the 29-year-old Oliver McAfee, last seen in late November.
An Israeli police search team discovered a series of pages ripped from the Bible carefully weighed down with rocks in the area that he was last seen. Other handwritten notes quoting Bible verses were also discovered.

Some of the notes included references to the story of Jesus fasting in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.

• The Independent introduces us to Jerusalem’s new deputy mayor, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.

Israel and India
• Just before this roundup was published, Haaretz reported that a previously scrapped $500 million deal to sell Spike anti-tank missiles to India “is back on the table.”

• Moshe Holzberg, orphaned in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, made his first visit to the Chabad House where his parents were killed. Indian media seemed to attach great importance, judging from the heavy interest by the Mumbai Mirror, Times of India, Indian Express and NDTV.

• Can Air India win Riyadh’s assent to direct India-Israel flights passing through Saudi skies?

India has been keen to map out speedier flight routes in Saudi skies to reduce the journey duration by around two hours by enabling it to fly west without the need take roundabout routes, thereby slashing costs on fuel and significantly increasing the number of tourists flying between Israel and India.

In addition, the new route would enable the airline to dramatically reduce the price of flight tickets and simultaneously stimulate competition among other airlines.

If Saudi Arabia agrees to the move, it would likely be presented to the Indians as a gesture and not to the Israelis, since Jerusalem has no formal diplomatic ties with Riyadh.

• For a sense of what they’re saying in the Indian media, see Jael Silliman and an Indian Express staff-ed.

Israel India flags

Around the World
• US reality TV host’s anti-Semitic outburst sparks anger when presenter Toni Snow asked a guest whether he was going to “Jew us down.”

• Daily Telegraph: The British government is funding a special trip for student leaders from all 108 UK universities and colleges to Auschwitz in a bid to combat campus anti-Semitism.

• Jewish cemetery in Eritrea vandalized, dozens of graves destroyed.

• Racist, anti-Semitic fliers dropped in Virginia neighborhood ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

• Plenty of spilled ink and burnt pixels over Abbas’ speech.

– David Horovitz: Abbas couldn’t make peace with the Jews; he believes his own lies about us
– Elior Levy: Despite threats, Abbas won’t halt security coordination
– Ben-Dror Yemini: The moderate Palestinian leader’s lies
– Daniel Shapiro: Abbas exits with one final, outrageous performance. Now, America must contain the damage
– Mordechai Kedar: The speech in which Abbas dug his own grave
– Charles Bybelezer: Having missed the boat, the Palestinian Authority is sinking
– Yossi Beilin: Abbas the spectator
– The Australian (staff-ed): Palestinian leader’s own goal
– Rafael Medoff: Mahmoud Abbas, the world’s worst historian
– Ron Kampeas: Will Abbas’ explosive comments kill the peace process?
– Michael Goodwin: Abbas proves to be nothing more than a two-faced, anti-Semite
– Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi: With his Ramallah rant, Mahmoud Abbas declares intention to proclaim a Palestinian entity

• I’ll buy David Hazony‘s cab driver barometer:

David Hazony
Based on a sampling of Jerusalem cab drivers, Abbas’ insult to Trump was far worse than “May your house be demolished” as appeared in Western media. More accurately would be rendered “may you and your descendants be destroyed.” Not very nice.

4:52 PM - Jan 15, 2018
9 9 Replies 51 51 Retweets 58 58 likes
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• Judging from the Irish Times‘ Michael Jansen’s response to the speech, you’d think Israel never had any prime ministers who offered the Palestinians anything in the years since Oslo.

• Speaking of “sh**hole countries,” Tom Gross recalls the time a French ambassador described Israel as a ‘sh***y little country’ – and polite society defended him. Gross concludes:

One would hope that if the representative of a major western government today were to describe the Jewish state, rather than African states, as sh—y, there would be an equal level of outrage. But somehow I doubt it.

• UNRWA aid unspun in the op-eds:

– Abdallah Al-Hadlaq: Stop funding for racist UNRWA until it dwindles and dies
– Nonie Darwish: The terrorism jobs program: Pampering the Palestinians must end
– Daniel Pipes: 99% of ‘Palestine refugees’ are fake
– Michael Rubin: US support for UNRWA has gone on long enough


• Why the righteous indignation from is Codepink co-founder and BDSnik Medea Benjamin about being banned from Israel, which she actively supports people to boycott anyway?

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

– Ron Finkel: Peace is coming, but it’s under the radar
– Giulio Meotti: Arab regimes terrified by Israel’s freedoms
– Shrenik Rao: Can India really play ‘best friends’ to Israel, Palestine and Iran at the same time?
– Alexander Aciman: Can a Jew love France?
– Seth Frantzman: Seven years later: The Arab Spring’s messy endings
– Jerusalem Post (staff-ed): Hawaii and Israel


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Post  Admin on Tue 16 Jan 2018, 6:05 pm
Media Whitewashes Abbas’ Revisionism and Rejectionism
Mahmoud Abbas’ two-hour address to the central committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization was the diplomatic equivalent of giving the finger to Israel, the US and peace prospects.

The speech was expected to articulate the Palestinian leadership’s response to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration and threatened cuts of aid for refugees.

But given how long the talk was, it must have been a challenge for reporters to focus on sorting out the “news” from the “rambling.” Indeed, the PA president rejected US mediation, blamed Israel for the “death” of the Oslo accords, and dropped tidbits such as someone offering the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis to become the capital of a Palestinian state. (Abbas didn’t say who made the offer.)

But there was a bigger picture that the mainstream media snoozed through. What most journalists would consider the boring, long-winded digressions were actually part of a bigger pattern of historical revisionism and rejection of any place for the Jews in the Mideast.

Sign HonestReporting’s petition to the Foreign Press Association in Israel demanding reporters and editors give a fuller picture of Palestinian rejectionism and refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The Speech
The Ramallah audience of PLO cadres, VIPs and the foreign press was regaled with Abbas’ theories of how Israel was founded — not by Jews — but by European “colonialists,” with plans going as far back as Oliver Cromwell in 1653. He accused Israel of sending drugs to Palestinian kids. He ridiculed US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s high heels.

Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl
And Abbas fabricated a quote to claim that Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, sought to exterminate Palestinians.

“We must wipe out the Palestinians from Palestine so that Palestine will be a land without a people for a people without a land.”

Abbas also claimed among other things, that the Jews of Europe chose to remain and die at the hands of the Nazis, that Jews from Iraq and Yemen were brought to Israel against their will, and that Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” to safeguard European interests.

The PA chief also hurled an epithet at President Donald Trump, saying in Arabic, Yekhreb Beitak, which means “May God destroy your home.” A Palestinian media professional explained to me that home refers not just to the physical house, but the household — its people and possessions. It’s a term used when two people are in a dispute, and although Arabs may use the term somewhat casually among themselves, it’s not a line one would use in a diplomatic setting. That would explain why the Associated Press called it a “jarring” language.

It’s not the first time Abbas twisted history for his own purposes. His doctoral thesis, written as a student in Moscow, argued that the killed “only” one million Jews, that the Zionist leaders collaborated with the Nazis, and that Jewish leaders inflated the Holocaust’s death toll to six million for their own advantage.

But the overall thrust of the speech was to erase Jewish ties to the land of Israel.

The Coverage
Too many media reports whitewashed Abbas’ coverage. Perhaps editors didn’t attach enough importance to the speech to give their correspondents a longer word count, which might account for the short, sanitized reports by Reuters, BBC News, CNN and Sky News.

Other news services touched on Abbas’ rant, but didn’t delve into the significance, such as AFP, The Independent, Irish Times and the Financial Times.

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
While the New York Times gave a sense of the PA chairman’s verbosity, the paper unfortunately didn’t fact-check Abbas, giving a pass to the false quote.
Testing his audience’s attention, Mr. Abbas also gave a lengthy history lecture reaching back to the 17th century, saying that Oliver Cromwell had first proposed shipping European Jews to the Holy Land, before tracing the beginning of Zionism to what he called the 19th-century journalist and activist Theodor Herzl’s efforts to “wipe out Palestinians from Palestine.”

“This is a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness,” Mr. Abbas said. “The Jews were used as a tool under the concept of the promised land — call it whatever you want. Everything has been made up.”

Indeed, Abbas has made everything up.

Can you imagine the headlines if an Israeli head of state denied the existence of the Palestinian people? Or fabricated quotes?

While I didn’t see any news coverage of the speech in The Guardian, an Ian Black commentary fretted over how the speech would play into the hands of right-wing Israelis. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Irish Independent took Associated Press reports one and two and scrubbed them.

Credit the Daily Telegraph and Washington Post for acknowledging Abbas being Abbas and getting fresh quotes from analysts to provide some meaning.

Palestinians may see Abbas as defiantly throwing down the gauntlet while Israelis see Abbas on the verge of imploding.

If there’s going to be peace, we need the press to step up and enlighten us on what Mahmoud Abbas really stands for.

Sign HonestReporting’s petition to the Foreign Press Association in Israel demanding reporters and editors give a fuller picture of Palestinian rejectionism and refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.


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