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Friday, May 25, 2018

Egypt made a big deal over opening the Rafah crossing for Ramadan.

The statistics for the first 11 days of Ramadan shows that Egypt allowed 4200 Gazans to enter, but only three of them were admitted for medical treatment. (490 people returned to Gaza.)

In that same time period, Israel allowed 30 injured people to travel to Jordan for treatment. And Israel has allowed about 1000 Gazans to enter Israel altogether for "humanitarian reasons" (which usually means the people seeking medical attention and one family member.) I count 86 ambulance crossings into Israel in that time period.

Egypt has hardly flung the gates open when less than 400 cross everyday while tens of thousands want to leave. Yet there is no criticism of Egypt as far as I can tell - after all, Rafah has been almost completely closed this year before Ramadan.

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From the Twitter account of the Government of South Africa:

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but why should that be relevant?

I looked at the minutes of the cabinet meeting. This was the only international topic mentioned.

I looked at the minutes from every cabinet meeting this year. This was still the only statement on anything happening outside South Africa.

As hundreds are killed weekly around the world, the only people that the South African government seem to care about are the members of Hamas and other terror groups who are the vast majority of those killed in Gaza.


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Thursday, May 24, 2018

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

Jaspreet Oberoi is a blogger who recently had an article published in Ha’aretz, entitled “From Punjab to Palestine: Why young Sikhs like me are becoming pro-Palestinian activists.” I read it with interest, because I would like to know too.

I met some Sikhs in California, and had some in classes that I taught in the prehistoric 1970s. They were distinguished by being extremely hard workers who wanted to get along with everyone. The Sikh religion has a strong tradition of self-defense. They didn’t strike me as the type of folks that would be pro-Palestinian activists.

Oberoi’s photo shows a young man, probably in his 20s. He says in the article that he has lived in Canada for 8 years, having been born and raised in Punjab. He works as "a research scientist for a quantum computing company," but his recent Twitter feed is peppered with links to his Ha’aretz article; he is clearly very pleased to have been published in what he calls “Israel’s longest running newspaper.” Maybe he has a future as a journalist, and not just a blogger with a day job? 

So why is he becoming a pro-Palestinian activist? In his words,

Sikhs know what it feels to be effectively shooed out of your homeland and be forced to live in exile; what it's like to be shot at "just for fun," as target practice; what it's like to be harassed daily by state security forces; what it's like to have a seven year-old arrested on charges of "terrorism"; and what it's like when the world simply ignores your plight.

One would think that such an experience would be precisely what would make someone a Zionist! But apparently that isn’t how it works.

When someone like Jaspreet Oberoi hears that some 59 “Palestinian protestors” were killed by Israeli snipers on May 14, he suffers “anguish, pain, remorse and disgust.” And later, his feelings were further assaulted by the lack of popular outcry over the “massacre” in Canada:

But after pacifying myself, when I peeked around, there was a stoic silence. At least nobody in Canada was celebrating or justifying the massacre, unlike many right-wingers across the globe, but there wasn't a strong rebuke either.

Oberoi is immediately reminded of the horrific violence in India between Sikhs and the majority Hindus that began with Operation Blue Star in 1984 and the subsequent assassination of Indira Gandhi. He tells a story of a minority’s violent persecution, and how its complaints are ignored by the majority government and the rest of the world. And he keeps asking: does this sound familiar?

I admit that I am not competent to judge whether his account of the plight of the Sikhs in India is accurate. I’m sure there are facts and interpretations that he doesn’t mention, things I would hear about if I asked a supporter of Indian PM Modi. In any event, I am not about to write an article for an Indian newspaper about the Sikhs.

And of course there are things that Jaspreet Oberoi does not know about the Israeli-Arab conflict in general and recent events in Gaza in particular. For example, he doesn’t know that 53 of the 62 dead Gazans were operatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, according to spokespersons for those organizations, and that Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, announced that “We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” 

He does not understand that the “protest” was actually an attempted invasion, and that the IDF was defending Israel’s border and the people that live just a few minutes’ walk away from it, with what was actually the minimum force necessary.

Ha’aretz editors knew all this (it was in their own newspaper), even if Oberoi did not. They published his article anyway. But this post isn’t about Ha’aretz.

So we come back to the initial question: why does a young Sikh become a pro-Palestinian activist?

The cynical answer is that there is a demand for it. It is an easy way to get published in a prestigious venue, even if your writing isn’t of professional quality. Many Jews have taken this path with great success. A Jew attacking Israel has an authority that say, an Arab or European, doesn’t. But a Sikh presents an interesting, diverse, perspective too.

But I will give Oberoi the benefit of the doubt, and say that he simply doesn’t know any better. He is so deeply immersed in and affected by the real struggle of his own people, that he was triggered to write on a subject that he knew less than nothing about. 

It’s a common psychological phenomenon. Each of us has his own story, and we impose it on chaotic reality that we don’t understand. To a woman who had an unpleasant divorce, every man looks like her jerk of an ex-husband. It’s not an accident that the idea of calling Israel an “apartheid state” arose in South Africa, or that Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama, and the Movement for Black Lives have all drawn highly misleading parallels between Palestinian Arabs and African-Americans.

And why did he choose the Palestinians to identify with? Why not the Jews? Why indeed did he not end up a Zionist? Probably because he studied in Canada and that was the prevailing opinion. The easy, obvious choice.

It’s easier to apply a familiar pattern to a situation about which you are ignorant than to make the effort to learn about it. A good journalist or political analyst learns to avoid this trap. Mr. Oberoi hasn’t.

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From Ian:

Danny Danon: Why the UN should condemn Hamas
In recent weeks, Israel has faced violence at the security fence separating our country from Gaza. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, incited by Hamas - some armed with guns, improvised explosive devices and Molotov cocktails - have approached the fence to tear down any obstacle in their way and infiltrate Israel.

Instead of directing their condemnations at this internationally recognized terrorist organization for their war crimes against both Palestinians and Israelis, some countries and UN bodies have not only embraced Hamas' propaganda but have even criticized Israel's right to self-defense.

Such baseless charges against Israel are morally unjust. Those who criticize Israel's legitimate actions are either unaware, or are willfully ignorant, of the clearly violent nature of what's happening at the Gaza border. Israel is defending itself from terrorists committing orchestrated attacks, not from activists leading an innocent protest.

The real tragedy is that this situation was - and remains - completely avoidable. Israel removed all Jewish communities and military facilities from Gaza in 2005. In the years following, we have facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of aid for Gaza's local population.

Countries that criticize Israel must ask themselves how they would expect their security forces to react if terrorists armed with rifles and explosives marched on their borders.

The UN must use its power and resources to improve the situation on the ground in Gaza and enforce change. To do so it must start by condemning Hamas for attacking Israel and for holding the people of Gaza hostage.

PMW: PA and Fatah honor terrorists with huge billboard, including one serving 10 life sentences
Since the day of his arrest, the PA has paid terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah a monthly salary, which by now totals $155,909 (540,600 shekels)

The Palestinian Authority and Abbas' Fatah have come up with yet a new way to honor terrorist prisoners. A huge billboard with numerous photos of so-called "fighting prisoners" was inaugurated in the town of Husan, west of Bethlehem.

PA TV News said the billboard immortalizes 17 prisoners who are serving long sentences. Among the prisoners on the billboard is terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah, who is serving 10 life sentences for recruiting a suicide bomber who murdered 8.

The billboard was inaugurated at an event in which the head of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake participated as well as the prisoners' parents, local school students, and a scouts group. Karake stated that the billboard is a sign of the "support for the prisoners":
Karake: "These [activities] are a kind of support, stand, and aid for the fighting prisoners who fought and sacrificed for Palestine. We say that the prisoners' cause is a central and main cause, and it is the criterion for any just peace in the region." [Official PA TV News, April 24, 2018]

Under Palestinian Authority law, the PA pays every terrorist prisoner a monthly salary. Since 2000, the PA has raised the monthly salaries a number of times. Currently, every prisoner's salary starts at 1,400 shekels/month and increases every few years, reaching as high as 12,000 shekels/month after 30 years. Until now, terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah has received 540,600 shekels ($155,909) in reward for his crimes from the PA. His current salary is 6,000 shekels/month ($1,730).
PMW: We’ll take Jerusalem “if not peacefully then by force… Allah, drive out the Jews” - PA TV preacher
A preacher on official Palestinian Authority TV threatened that the Palestinians or Muslims in general will "soon" conquer Jerusalem "by force," unless it is handed over "peacefully":

"The Jews are an arrogant and tyrannical enemy, occupying Jerusalem and Palestine... Allah willing, we will soon take what was taken from us, if not peacefully then by force."[Official PA TV, April 13, 2018]

The preacher called on Allah to help "drive out the Jews" from Jerusalem, using the Muslims to do so. The preacher compared this to the way Allah helped drive out the crusaders who "left it humiliated and disgraced, dragging their tails behind them":
Preacher on PA TV: "The Jews are an arrogant and tyrannical enemy that is occupying the land of Jerusalem and the land of Palestine, and that they have no right to arrogance, tyranny, and occupation... Allah willing, we will soon take what was taken from us, if not peacefully then by force... How long did the European Crusaders live in this country? They lived here nearly 100 years, but by Allah's will, they left it humiliated.

They left it humiliated and disgraced, dragging their tails behind them, because Allah inscribed for this [Islamic] nation eternity and victory... Allah, protect our Al-Aqsa Mosque and our Jerusalem for us, and return it to the rule and sovereignty of the Muslims. Allah, drive the Jews out of it, humiliated and disgraced, by means of those [the Muslims] who are monotheists, humble, and purified."
[Official PA TV, April 13, 2018]

The same preacher asked Allah to "punish the wicked Jews" and prayed for their genocide in another sermon, which was broadcast by official PA TV in 2016 and exposed by Palestinian Media Watch:

Ruthie Blum: UNRWA's "Palestinian Refugee" Fraud?
In early 2018, President Donald Trump froze a large portion of the funding that the United States provides annually for UNRWA (the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees a in the Near East). Prior to imposing the $125 million freeze, Trump tweeted: "[W]e pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect."

The president's move came in response to the fact that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his henchmen yet again were rejecting American and Israeli peace overtures. Yet it was both welcome and necessary for reasons well beyond Palestinian intransigence. UNRWA not only has an abominable record of ties to terrorism, which makes a mockery of its mandate to " provide relief, human development and protection services;" but its entire existence is based on a false premise -- a special UN definition of "refugee" for Palestinians that sets them apart from other people in the world categorized as such. It thus has been able for decades to keep cash flowing freely into its coffers, providing "humanitarian services" for millions of Palestinians who are not refugees by any measure. As the ZOA's Morton Klein and Daniel Mandel recently wrote:

"All this stands in stark contrast to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the international body that deals with all refugee problems other than the Palestinian Arabs. UNHRC observes a universal definition of refugee status, one that applies solely to those who actually fled their country during hostilities, civil war, natural disaster, or other disturbances. UNHCR works to resettle refugees quickly and dismantle the temporary refugee camps housing them. Nor does it count descendants as refugees.

"This has immense practical ramifications: in literally all other cases other than the Palestinian Arabs, the number of refugees shrinks over time — chiefly through successful resettlement. In contrast, in the Palestinian Arab case, their numbers continue to expand ceaselessly.

"Thus, instead of the living original refugees officially numbering 30,000, UNRWA now services some 5.3 million Palestinian Arabs."

The actual number of Palestinian refugees is likely even lower than that cited by the authors: a classified State Department report, delivered to Congress in 2015, reveals it to be closer to 20,000. The report showed that billions of taxpayer dollars have been funneled over the years into an organization that seems to have been perpetuating a fraud. It is no wonder, then, that the Obama administration kept the report's contents a secret from the American public. More surprising is the fact that, since the report was first submitted to Congress in 2015 -- and subsequently exposed by the Washington Free Beacon in January, 2018 -- it has yet to be made public. To rectify this situation, fifty-one members of the House of Representatives signed a letter on April 18 -- spurred by the Middle East Forum -- calling on Trump to declassify the report.
The New Israel Fund’s Agenda: Defame Israel, Drag Its Officials before the ICC, and Encourage Support for Hamas among Its Arab Citizens
A self-styled “Zionist” organization committed to “progressive values,” the New Israel Fund (NIF) gives millions of dollars every year to far-left organizations inside the country. In response to the recent disturbances in Gaza, its beneficiaries sprang into action, with B’tselem and Breaking the Silence sending their representatives to slander the IDF on television while another recipient of its largesse, Adalah, participated in promoting a UN resolution condemning Israel for defending itself. Gilad Zwick elaborates:

At the end of the session at the UN where it was decided to investigate Israel, the Adalah lawyer Suhir Asad did not hide her disappointment at Australia for being one of the two countries voting against the resolution—the other being the U.S. Asad also fiercely condemned the representatives of states who dared condemn Hamas and had the temerity to agree that Israel has the right to defend itself. In other words, the Adalah representative does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization and thinks Israel does not have the right to exist. . . .

The involvement of the NIF in Israeli affairs does not end with activity abroad. It also supports protests in favor of Hamas by Israeli Arabs. During one such protest in Haifa on Friday, some nineteen people were arrested, including Jafer Farah, the director of the Mousawwa Center. . . . Mousawwa rejects Israel’s right of self-determination and in 2006 its activists published a position paper describing the country’s future as a “state of all its citizens” [rather than a Jewish state], a transformation that would include the changing of the national flag and anthem and the repeal of the Law of Return. . . . In 2014, while meeting with the president of the EU parliament, Farah [falsely] accused Israel of carrying out a “forced transfer” of the Arab population. . . . [T]he NIF gave Mousawwa more than 5 million shekels between 2008 and 2016.
Lame Excuse Jews
Ah, the risk of turning off American Jews. Yes, it is a risk. And apparently, the government is ready to take the risk. But why is there such risk? Is it because the government would not accept the support of both Jews and evangelicals? Of course not. Is it because the evangelicals would not extend their support if Jews also support Israel? Again, wrong answer. If there is a risk, it stems not from Israel shunning the Jews or from evangelicals shunning the Jews; it stems from Jews shunning the evangelicals, and possibly shunning an Israel supported by evangelicals.

In other words, it is not the choice of Israel, or of evangelical supporters of Israel, to turn off American Jews. It is the choice of American Jews to turn off. It is their choice to see the support of evangelicals as a reason, or excuse, to turn off (and, of course, we do not talk in Israel about all American Jews, we only talk about those Jews who “turn off”).

In many ways, the story of turning off because of evangelicals is not much different than the story of turning off because of other reasons — the Kotel compromise, Netanyahu in Congress, the Orthodox, the occupation, Gaza shooting, you name it. Israel does what it does, not always wisely, not always perfectly. Still, the choice to turn off is made by those turning off. And evangelical support is a lame excuse to turn off, as there is no mandatory either-or situation when it comes to supporting Israel. Jews can support Israel. Evangelicals can support Israel. One does not negate the other — unless you want it to.
Palestinian Lives Matter
Last week, I wrote a piece lamenting the fact that tens of thousands of Palestinians were being manipulated by a murderous terrorist organization to risk their lives for no other reason than its maniacal commitment to the destruction of the state of Israel. Many readers, including some former friends, wrote to tell me that I was a heartless monster for failing to sufficiently empathize with the Palestinians, and the accusation stung: Staunchly supporting Israel does and should not mean being unable to feel deeply moved by the despair of Gaza’s inhabitants, even if their calamity was brought about chiefly by their homicidal warlords.

And so, in the spirit of empathy, I’d like to offer a challenge of my own to all those—in the media, in prominent progressive organizations, and elsewhere—who were so rattled by the riots in Gaza. Call it a reality-based thought experiment. Here goes: Imagine a government, run by a bloodthirsty dictator, who bombed a heavily populated urban area containing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, reducing it to rubble. Furthermore, imagine that this benighted regime offered these poor Palestinians, the descendants of refugees living in squalor because of generations of systemic discrimination, two choices: Be ethnically cleansed from your makeshift neighborhoods, or continue to be bombed and gassed from the air until only a few thousand of you are left in the ruins. How would you react?

It ought to be a no-brainer: Covers in The New York Times condemning the massacre, impassioned pleas for justice from Senator Bernie Sanders, an emergency gathering of the UN Security Council, and prayer circles of progressive Jews all over the world, reciting the Kaddish for the murdered and chanting about Tikkun Olam. Right?

Wrong. In fact, none of these things would happen. Not one.
Injustin Trudeau
The backlash to Trudeau’s statement was strong and quick. He seems, perhaps unwittingly, to have stumbled onto a hornet’s nest and turned to two Jewish MPs to clean up his mess—Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather, representing electoral ridings in Toronto and Montreal, respectively, with large Jewish populations. They issued a peculiar statement. While not directly critical of the prime minister, they unequivocally condemned and held Hamas responsible for the deaths and injuries at border clashes.

It seems that Trudeau tapped two rookie Liberal MPs, of a total of 184 in his caucus, to be the fig leaves for what seems to be a rather bifurcated and confusing policy on Israel. Some observers speculate that Trudeau hopes to use this clumsy doublespeak to allow him to be “correct,” depending on where and how the chips fall. By dereliction, the prime minister has signaled that the Israel-Gaza issue is a “Jewish” one, as opposed to one of the most important geopolitical crises in the world. Hamas, like Hizballah, Syria, the Houthis, is yet another Iranian proxy. It is disturbing that two Jewish MPs, representing “Jewish” ridings, are the only ones in the Trudeau government speaking out in support of Israel.

On social media, Mr. Housefather, in particular, refers to Canada’s consistent pattern of supporting Israel in UN votes as clear evidence of the prime minister’s true support. Whereas UN votes are important, surely, so are Trudeau’s public comments explaining his support for Israel. He tends to express himself in a sweeping, imprecise manner, oft-repeating distaste for the obsessive bullying of Israel in international forums. All of which is laudable. And he likes to say things about what good friends Canada and Israel are, but that even good friends can, sometimes, disagree.

Indeed, and those are likely the lines he trotted out when he spoke on the telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu one day after his written thrashing of Israel following the Loubani incident. Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the exchange, but Trudeau issued a short readout on the call, reporting that he had expressed “thanks for the consular assistance Israel is providing . . . reaffirmed Canada’s call for a neutral process to ascertain how the actions of all the parties concerned . . . contributed to the events of May 14, including the reported incitement by Hamas . . .” And that they “agreed on the importance of addressing the economic crisis in Gaza and jointly affirmed the close and abiding friendship between Canada and Israel.”

In other words, PM Trudeau did nothing to walk back his perfervid criticism of Israel other than to acknowledge, as a possibility, “reported incitement by Hamas.” As if there is any doubt. What Prime Minister Trudeau does not say, in this case, is far more important than what he does.
Behind the Smokescreen Part II - Exclusive footage from Gaza
After the tremendous success of the short movie Behind the Smoke Screen, which shows exclusive footage from inside the Gaza Strip and has been viewed over two million times so far, filmmaker Pierre Rehov produced a sequel sub-titled The Great Deception.

"I shot the video because I observed many times first hand how Palestinians build their propaganda and I strongly believe that no peace will be possible as long as international media believe their narrative instead of seeing the facts," the French filmmaker told The Jerusalem Post with the release of the first part of the footage.

"Hamas knows that it can count on the international community when it launches initiatives such as those 'peaceful protests' which have claimed too many lives already, while Israel has no choice but to defend its borders."

While part I of the footage from Gaza, aimed at changing the international perception of the six-week protest dubbed the "Great March of Return," dealt with the subjects such as animal cruelty, women and children being used as human shields and environmental issues of the tire protests, part II turns to the issue of the character of the protests, juxtaposing examples of the UN condemning Israel for using excessive force with footage of violent protests and Hamas propaganda.

The video shows Palestinian protesters holding a map of Israel including the Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza overlaid with a Palestinian flag echoing the goal of Hamas specified in its charter, to conquer every last bit of Israel.
Behind The Smoke Screen 2 (final version)
While the UN is condemning Israel for defending itself against terror organization Hamas, the rest of the world has fallen into the Muslim terrorists' propaganda. Those images speak for themselves. The so called "Palestinians" have one ambition. To obliterate Israel. Their supporters have the same.

Former British Army Officer Analyses Israel-Gaza Situation

Palestinians Want To Drag Israel Into International Criminal Court On Bogus Charges
The Palestinian Authority claimed on Tuesday Israel was “brutal and calculated” in killing “unarmed” protesters on the Gaza border last week, requesting Israel be brought up on charges in the International Criminal Court.

Palestine’s supporters claim some sort of genocide of peaceful protesters took place, and they want the ICC to step in — even though it has no jurisdiction over Israel. The tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered on the border are anything but peaceful, however. Terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza, frequently uses civilians as a shield to carry out attacks, and its leader heavily encouraged residents to join in protest. Protester attempted to plant explosives and repeatedly chanted, “Kill the Jews.” Fifty of the 62 protesters killed were active terrorists, Hamas also admitted.

Without a police force, the ICC would have to depend on Israel arresting and punishing its own citizens, to comply with a verdict made thousands of miles away and with no reasonable authority. Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was not intended to provoke Palestinians, David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said last week.

As Israel hits new Gaza tunnel, Liberman says Hamas military project a ‘failure’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday called on the Hamas terror group to recognize that its military project has been a “failure,” several hours after Israeli planes bombed several sites throughout the Gaza Strip, including a seaport west of Gaza City and a tunnel.

“Tonight the IDF destroyed another tunnel built by terror group Hamas,” Liberman wrote on Twitter. “The attempts to attack the State of Israel from the air, at the [border] fence and underground will be blocked with an iron wall and with the IDF’s might.”

“It would be better if Hamas leaders understood that their military project is a failure and instead invest the resources on improving the life for Gaza residents,” the defense minister added.

The military said the overnight strikes were carried out in response to an incident on Tuesday in which Gazans sneaked across the border and destroyed an Israeli sniper’s post.
Czech FM: Hamas alone responsible for deadly Gaza violence
In a rare European expression of support for Israeli actions on the Gaza border, the Czech Republic’s top diplomat on Thursday said Hamas alone was to blame for the recent flareup of violence there.

In a statement entitled “Gaza — Telling things as they really are,” Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický also posited that deadly riots on May 14 had nothing to do with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on that day.

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

The result of the weekly riots, which started last month and during which Israeli troops killed more than 100 Palestinians, most of them members of Hamas, was undeniably “tragic,” his statement read.

“We have unequivocally expressed our concern and regret over the loss of human lives,” he said. “In this context, however, it must be stressed that this concern is not only about the victims of the ongoing violence, but also about its causes, including who initiated it.”
Former Israeli FM Livni: “Hamas Wanted To See Its Own People Killed on the Border”
During the recent violent riots held at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, Hamas “wanted to see its own people killed on the border while we tried to avoid it,” Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, told a group of reporters hosted by The Israel Project Wednesday.

Livni’s charge accurately reflects statements made last week by Yahya Sinwar, the Gaza-based head of Hamas. Sinwar told Al Jazeera that “the sacrifice of” Palestinian children would serve “as an offering for Jerusalem and the Right of Return.” He also said that Hamas was prepared to sacrifice “that which is most dear to us – the bodies of our women and children” to achieve its goals.

Looking at the region, Livni identified Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, as threats based on their religious ideology that does not accept the right of Israel to exist. She clarified that though the conflict she identified could be viewed as a religious war, it wasn’t a war between Muslims and all others, but between the believers in the extreme ideologies and others, including moderate Muslim states.

This breakdown, Livni argued, presented Israel with an opportunity to present a united front with the Sunni Arab states. What limits more active and public cooperation between Israel and its potential Arab allies is the Palestinian issue. Since the Arab League presented its peace initiative in 2002, it has been, what she called “the glass ceiling” limiting Israel’s cooperation with moderate Sunni states.

Honest Reporting: Gaza Border Coverage: The Blame Game
Israel undoubtedly took a substantial hit in much of the media as a result of the recent Gaza border violence. Questions are now being asked as to why it appears that Israel was unable to effectively tell its side of the story to the journalists on the ground and editors in the newsrooms around the globe.

We know from our own bitter experience that some media outlets will almost always run with the Palestinian narrative and perhaps no amount of explanation on the part of Israeli officials will turn this around.

Nonetheless, the Jerusalem Post’s editor Yaakov Katz was highly critical of the IDF’s handling of the public relations effort. The Times of Israel also surveyed whether the PR battle was unwinnable or just mismanaged.

On the other hand, there is still plenty of blame laid at the door of the media themselves. Danny Seaman, the former director of Israel’s Government Press Office argues that years of biased Mideast coverage has damaged media credibility to the point that it is indeed vulnerable to accusations of “fake news.”
IsraellyCool: LISTEN: South African Radio and TV Personality Gareth Cliff Defends Israel
Gareth Cliff is a highly popular South African radio and television personality with over 1.89 million followers on Twitter, and over half a million page likes on Facebook.

Last week, he discussed the palestinian “march of return” and the resultant casualties from the riots. His comments are right on point.

Gareth has received a lot of flack for his stance, especially given that South Africa is not exactly friendly to Israel, which is something I am sure he knew would happen.

So props to Gareth for choosing truth over popularity.

Not Even Tom Friedman Believes New York Times Gaza News Coverage
How was the New York Times’ coverage of the Gaza suicide-riots? So off-target that not even the Times’ own Pulitzer Prize-winning op-ed columnist, Thomas Friedman, believed it.

The Times news columns had been insisting that the suicide-riots (to use a term I picked up from a Weekly Standard editorial) were drawing international sympathy and attention to the Palestinian cause. Perhaps this was wishful thinking, or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but, in any event, that was the Times’ story, and it was sticking to it, at least until Friedman came along.

A “news analysis” in the April 8 Times by Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger reported, “Palestinians seem energized and enthusiastic about sustaining a generally nonviolent form of protest — even if it is Israel’s harsh response to it and the mounting Palestinian death toll that has put their conflict with Israel back on the international agenda…The Israelis, for a variety of reasons, have long been worried about such a shift. And they now find the world paying attention as they use disproportionate force to prevent what they believe could be a catastrophic breach in the Gaza fence.”

Now comes Friedman, in a May 23 New York Times op-ed:
history is full of such injustices and of refugees who have reconciled with them and moved on — not passed on their refugee status to their kids and their kids’ kids. It’s why so few Arabs, so few Europeans, so few anybody, rose to Hamas’s defense. People are fed up with it.

So the Times news columns imagine “widespread international anger,” “international censure,” “intensified international attention and censure,” and “the world paying attention.” Friedman, on the other hand, writes that “so few Arabs, so few Europeans, so few anybody, rose to Hamas’s defense. People are fed up with it.” These two depictions of reality, if not flat-out contradictory, are at least in tension with each other. My own sense is that on this particular point — measuring the scope, severity, and gravity of overall world reaction to the Gaza riots — Friedman has a more accurate perception of it and is closer to the truth of the matter than the Times news columns are.
BBC News plays down Hamas role in Gaza violence – part one
It is of course not claimed that Hamas has “forced” people to take part in the ‘Great Return March’ events. Hamas has, however, been involved in their organisation from the outset and has laid on transport and promised financial compensation to casualties and participants. Hamas leaders whipped up fervor prior to the May 14th events, urging participants to “bring a knife or a gun” and to use them “to capture soldiers or residents of Israel”.

What BBC audiences will remember though is that “no-one” told Jeremy Bowen that Hamas had sent them.

Viewers heard from a doctor at the Shifa hospital before the report ended:
Bowen: “This is the busiest time at the hospital since the 2014 war.

Sabbani: “As a human being I speak. It’s…it’s horrible to think about if you see yesterday the situation, it’s horrible. Crying, bleeding, pain, painful. What’s happening?

Bowen: “After the protests it seems that many people are hoping for some kind of turning point but the fundamentals of this conflict don’t change.”

The BBC’s Middle East editor’s job is to “make a complex story more comprehensive or comprehensible for the audience”. Obviously playing down Hamas’ role in the violence audiences saw on their TV screens on May 14th does not meet that purpose and – as we shall see in part two of this post – Bowen was not the only BBC journalist doing just that.
BBC News plays down Hamas role in Gaza violence – part two
As we saw in part one of this post, a filmed report by Jeremy Bowen aired on May 16th downplayed Hamas’ role in organising, encouraging and facilitating the ‘Great Return March’ publicity stunt that has been going on since the end of March.

A report from the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman heard by listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ on the same day included the same messaging.

Presenter Sarah Montague introduced the item (from 25:03 here) by promoting a narrative seen in much of the BBC’s coverage: alleged linkage between the ‘Great Return March’ violence – repeatedly described as “protests” – and the relocation of the US embassy in Israel.
UN Human Rights Council: Shoot (Your Mouth Off) First, Ask Questions Later (satire)
In a vote for an inquiry regarding the recent clashes at Israel’s border with Hamas-controlled Gaza, Australia voted against the resolution on the basis that “The UNHRC resolution pre-judged the outcome of an inquiry”. Britain abstained from the vote on the basis that it could not support an investigation that ignored Hamas’s role, and any media coverage of the conflict might interfere with celebration of Meghan and Harry’s wedding.

UNHRC chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein (who has no ingrained bias against Israel), has responded indicating that by reaching the conclusion before the investigation, the investigators job is simplified. The UN, which has been criticized for anti-Israel bias by previous UN chief Ban Ki Moon, “is the ideal organization to independently investigate”, said Mr al-Hussein “Look how well it worked with the Goldstone report; well, until Goldstone himself recanted the findings.”

The Syrian representative to the UNHRC defended its harsh critique of Israel, saying: “With our record over the last 6 years we are the authorities on human rights abuses”.
IDF soldier critically injured by stone slab dropped on him in West Bank
An IDF soldier from an elite unit was critically wounded early Thursday morning when a stone block was dropped on him at a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, the military said.

The piece of marble was thrown from a third-story rooftop at a group of troops who were conducting an arrest raid in the al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah, the army said.

The block hit the soldier in the head, and he was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in critical condition.

The soldier served in the elite Duvdevan Unit, which operates extensively in the West Bank.

According to the army’s initial investigation, he was wearing a helmet at the time of the attack.

The assailant was not arrested.

The military said it launched an investigation into the incident and that additional details were still being established.
Liberman vows to nab, ‘dead or alive,’ Palestinian who dropped slab on soldier
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed Thursday to catch the attacker who critically injured an Israeli soldier from an elite unit by dropping a marble slab three stories down onto his head during an army operation to arrest a wanted man near Ramallah in the West Bank.

“We view the incident with great severity,” Liberman wrote on Twitter.

“The despicable terrorist who hurt him won’t know any rest. It won’t be long before we lay our hands on him, dead or alive,” Liberman said.

He said that the whole of Israel was praying for the soldier’s recovery.
Defense Minister: 3,900 settlement homes to be green-lit next week
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Thursday that the government body responsible for authorizing settlement construction will green-light 3,900 housing units in the West Bank next week.

He said that the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which falls under his office’s jurisdiction, will grant final construction approval for 2,500 homes while an additional 1,400 in 30 settlements will be advanced through various other planning stages.

The defense minister said that among the plans slated to be approved are projects for 400 homes in Ariel, 460 homes in Ma’aleh Adumim, a 250-unit assisted living center in Elkana, 180 in Talmon, 170 in Neve Daniel, 160 in Kfar Etzion, 150 in Kiryat Arba, 130 in Avnei Hefetz, 130 in Tene Omarim, 80 in Hinanit, 60 in Halamish, 45 in Ma’ale Efraim and 40 in Avnei Hafetz. The sites of the other 245 homes were not specified.

“We have committed ourselves to promoting construction in Judea and Samaria,” said Liberman in a statement, using the biblical term for areas of the West Bank. “In the coming months, we will continue to settle and develop Judea and Samaria in practice.”
Palestinians slam Israel for flouting all laws in settlement announcement
Senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat on Thursday slammed Israel for announcing new West Bank settlements, saying it showed that Israel felt itself above all laws and called for the International Criminal Court to launch a probe into Israel’s actions.

The approval for 2,500 Jewish homes in the West Bank delivered the message that Israel felt it was “above the laws of man, above the Security Council, above the International Criminal Court, above the Human Rights Council,” Erekat said.

Defense Minster Avigdor Liberman announced earlier Thursday that the government body responsible for authorizing settlement construction would green-light 3,900 housing units in the West Bank next week.

He said that the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which falls under his office’s jurisdiction, would grant final construction approval for 2,500 homes while an additional 1,400 in 30 settlements would be advanced through various other planning stages.
Left-wing activist who turned in Palestinian land-sellers to be indicted
A left-wing Jewish activist who was exposed in a television report accusing him of helping Palestinian officials track down and possibly execute Palestinians who were considering selling land to Jews will be indicted for aiding the Palestinian Authority.

This would make Ezra Nawi the first Jew to be tried for aiding the Palestinian Authority — prohibited for Israelis under a clause from the 1995 Oslo Accords that subsequently entered Israeli penal law, with a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The Judea and Samaria District Police originally recommended that the prosecution charge Nawi and another activist of the left-wing Ta’ayush organization — Guy Butavia — with the far more serious crimes of contacting a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit a crime.

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i24 reports:
The Arab League on Wednesday cancelled a memorandum of understanding with Guatemala in retribution for the Latin American country's decision to transfer its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales inaugurated the country's mission in the holy city on May 16, just one day after the new US embassy in the city threw open its doors, garnering condemnation from the Palestinian leadership.

The Arab League's axing of its 2013 agreement with Guatemala "came in light of activating the [League's] decision to condemn the Central American country's relocation of its embassy and taking the suitable political and economic suitable measures in that regard," a statement from the pan-Arab body quoted by Xinhua said. 
The Guatemalan government responded (autotranslated) that "it is respectful of the sovereign decisions of the States and has the interest to maintain cordial and cooperative bilateral relations with all the States with which we maintain established diplomatic relations.. So far there is no treaty of cooperation [with the Arab League.]

"The Republic of Guatemala and the League of Arab States have a mechanism of Political Consultations, which promotes coordination to carry out an exchange of information, however it is important to clarify that there is no instrument on International Cooperation and to date there is no official communication on the subject."

Essentially, the 2013 agreement was a piece of paper that no one has done anything with yet.

Meanwhile,  the Guatemala-Israel Fund for Investment and Development announced $2 billion in joint projects between the two countries.

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The Gaza Health Ministry, run by Hamas, is complaining that its pharmacies are suffering from a severe shortage of medicines.

The director of the ministry said that there is significant depletion in their stocks of drugs, especially some antibiotics and blood dilution drugs such as Heparin and Clyxan.

"Despite the arrival of quantities of drugs donated to the ministry, but in light of the huge number of casualties and the great depletion from them these medicines do not fill the deficit," he said.

The Health Ministry is run by Hamas - which rejected truckloads of medicines and medical supplies sent by Israel last week.

So while Hamas tries, and succeeds in telling the world that Israel is blocking needed goods to Gaza, it is in fact Hamas itself that is doing it.

Here is a cartoon from the Fatah website showing Israel locking out goods from Gaza for Ramadan:

Yet on Tuesday, despite Hamas directing Gaza youths to firebomb the Kerem Shalom goods crossing, Israel facilitated the transfer of over 14,000 tons of goods to Gaza.

Propaganda once again wins over reality, and the world is eager to believe the lies.

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From Al Jazeera:
Iran's supreme leader has set out conditions for Tehran to stay in its nuclear deal with world powers, including steps by to be taken by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran after the US withdrawal from the deal.

European powers must continue buying crude oil, protect Iranian oil sales from US pressure and promise to not seek new negotiations on Iran's ballistic missile programme and Middle East activities, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's official website said on Wednesday.

"European banks should safeguard trade with the Islamic Republic. We do not want to start a fight with these three countries [France, Germany and Britain], but we don't trust them either," Khamenei said.

"Europe should fully guarantee Iran's oil sales. In case Americans can damage our oil sales … Europeans should make up for that and buy Iranian oil."

He warned if the Europeans did not meet these demands, Iran would resume its enrichment of uranium, halted under the deal to minimise the risk of Tehran developing the means to build nuclear weapons.
Khamenei isn't demanding that Europe continue buying Iranian oil, but that it increases its purchases to make up for any shortfall from the US.

Or else.

The UK, France and Germany should pledge not to seek negotiations on Iran's ballistic missile programme and regional activities, both demanded by Washington
A pledge to not even bring up an issue that can directly threaten the capitals of Europe!

Khamenei knows that the EU wants to do anything to keep the deal - they've pretty much said so - so it is only logical that he adds demand upon demand.

Europe should really learn how bargaining works in a souk. Because right now, not only are they eagerly willing to accept the initial price of the item, they are happy to allow the seller to raise his prices - and for the shopkeeper to threaten them if they don't buy it.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page.

Credit: יעקב via Wikimedia Commons
Credit: יעקב via Wikimedia Commons
Beit El, Binyamin Regional Council, May 23 - Housing starts in this community north of Jerusalem were put on hold this week following revelations that the development plans for the new homes had only been included in settlement watchdog groups several dozen times, a figure that does not meet official criteria for generating the impression that Israel is expanding Jewish settlements at a blistering pace and not, as the reality on the ground indicates, more slowly than any other government in the country's history.

Clerks at the Ministry of Housing and Construction reported Monday they were putting a provisional stop on the scheduled construction of fifty-five free-standing and semi-attached houses in Beit El, now that they discovered the deficient figures. According to precedent, development plans beyond the 1967 armistice line with Jordan must be included in no fewer than eighty reports by groups such as Peace Now and Yesh Gvul before actual construction may proceed. Without repeated mention of the same housing units as if they represent many different ones, explained a ministry official, the world will understand the actual figure, and remain unable to characterize Israel's settlement policy as "radical," "strangling hopes for a two-state solution," "pounding mails into the coffin of a peaceful resolution," or "beholden to far-right settlement zealots."

"There's cultural and political precedent we have to respect," noted Deputy Secretary-General of the ministry Gad Demmitt. "It's kind of a ritual. The government announces approval of certain plans, the international community condemns them, some time passes, the approval lapses, gets approved again, and Peace Now makes sure not to note the approval applies to units that had already received approval, so everyone thinks there are twice as many houses for Israelis going up than originally planned, but in fact it's zero. Repeat."

"Once the requisite number of watchdog reports have been issued, contractors bid for the project," continued Demmitt. "In this case, however, because of a bureaucratic oversight, the tender was issued without provoking the necessary outrage quotient from the usual suspects, and we will be forced to place a hold on this building initiative until that deficiency is remedied."

This incident marks the second time is as many months that such a bureaucratic failure has stymied government projects. In early April, the Ministry of Defense shelved an initiative to train the IDF Spokesman's Office in better use of social media because the six-month quota of UN resolutions against Israel had not been met.

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From Ian:

Sohrab Amari: The EU Picks Iran and Hamas
From the mullahs’ nuclear-weapons program to Hamas’s calculated campaign to rush the barrier fence with Israel to the Iranian-led insurgency in Yemen, Mogherini and the EU see only diplomatic challenges to overcome. And the answer is always, always to convene a gabfest in Basel, Lausanne, Vienna or some other plush Continental city, where civilizational clashes and historic animosities and sharp moral contrasts can be dissolved in technical solutions.

Never mind that the Iranian nuclear deal on its own terms puts Tehran on the glide path to the bomb, and never mind that it fails to address the mullahs’ missile program, regional aggression, and human-rights violations. “We had a process,” say the Brussels mandarins, “and that process must be preserved at all costs.” Never mind that Hamas is constitutionally committed to the destruction of world Jewry and has been staging terror attacks and bloody stunts for decades. “We had a process,” say the mandarins, “and Trump’s embassy move disrupts the process.” In this worldview, the likes of Iran and the Palestinians can appear as friends and good guys, because they cynically embrace European process games. All the while, the U.S. and Israel are cast as the bad guys since they don’t play geopolitics the European way.

Along with Mogherini, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel epitomized this bankrupt mindset. One of the three, Obama, has already exited the world stage. The tectonic electoral shifts underway in Europe mean the other two are likely to fade sooner than later.
PMW: PMW posters of terrorists and their PA salaries distributed to Israeli MPs at committee hearing
Palestinian Media Watch was invited to the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense committee once again last week for the latest debate on new legislation to deduct the amount the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families from Israel's tax transfers to the PA.

In order to impress upon members of Parliament the horror of the PA practice of paying salaries to terrorists, PMW produced 13 small posters with information about a number of Palestinian terrorists, their hundreds of victims and how much money the PA has paid each of the terrorists since they were arrested.

PMW's Director, Itamar Marcus, and Head of Legal Strategies, Maurice Hirsch, both actively participated in the debate. In addition, PMW had invited relatives of terror victims who also spoke at the hearing, demanding that Israel not transfer any money to the PA that might go to pay salaries to the murderers of their loved ones. Some of them held up PMW's posters while they spoke, documenting how much money the PA has already paid the terrorist who murdered their relatives.

Caroline Glick: Pompeo Presents the Trump Doctrine
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech Monday at the Heritage Foundation marked a pivotal moment in U.S. foreign policy.

Pompeo made several important arguments in the course of his half hour address, in which he set out President Donald Trump’s policy regarding Iran in the wake of his May 8 announcement that he is abandoning Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

The key line in his speech was, inarguably, “As President Trump said two weeks ago, he is ready, willing and able to negotiate a new deal [with Iran]. But the deal is not the objective. Our goal is to protect the American people.”

The basic insight that there is no intrinsic value to any agreement – or foreign policy initiative of any sort – that does not advance the interests of the United States or protect the American people is striking, because it has been absent from American foreign policy in relation to rogue regimes and entities for better part of the last generation.

In 1994, when then president Bill Clinton sought to contend with North Korea’s illicit nuclear program, the first fantasist president, Jimmy Carter, turned up in Pyongyang to see if there was a deal to be had.

Palestinians: Americans Now Legitimate Targets
Why are the Palestinians doing this? This is a bullying tactic to scare the US administration into supporting their cause and abandoning its "bias" in favor of Israel. This is a new/old tactic that the Palestinian leadership has long used to extract political support and financial aid from the world. It is like saying: Give me everything I want or I will exact revenge.

The Palestinians consider the present US administration one of the most hostile American governments in history towards the Palestinians. They are hoping that the bullying, threats and violent attacks on US citizens and officials will make the White House backtrack on its support for Israel and start appeasing them.

Ultimately, it is all about money. The Palestinian Authority is desperate for US financial aid; without it, the Palestinian leadership would not be able to survive. So the Palestinians are hoping to extort protection money from the Americans. It is like saying, "You see what will happen to you if you stop funding me? It could always get worse for you. I suggest that you restore my accountability-free funding, and perhaps I will see to it that you do not get hurt."

The Americans should call the Palestinian bluff and send a warning to the Palestinian leadership that there will be consequences for their rhetoric and actions if they do not cease the incitement and brainwashing. The US should use the money as leverage to demand this from the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority needs your money and you have the right to demand something good in return for it. There is no reason why any American should be funding the same Palestinian propaganda machine that is inciting not only against Israel, but also against the US and its citizens.
Israel lost the PR battle over Gaza. Was it unwinnable or just mismanaged?
While the army of Israel succeeded in fending off repeated infiltration attempts from the Gaza border during mass protests and clashes over the past seven weeks, the State of Israel lost the fight for public opinion — resoundingly, according to some.

“There’s a war being waged, and we’re not even on the battlefield,” Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy Michael Oren told The Times of Israel.

The story accepted by much of the world appears to be one of largely peaceful Palestinian protests met by overwhelming, disproportionate lethal force by the powerful Israel Defense Forces, said Oren. This beat out the Israeli narrative that says this was a military campaign by the Hamas terrorist group, which regularly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, using human shields as a cover for its attacks along the fence with the intention of getting as many of its own civilians shot by Israeli troops as possible, he said.

Universal sympathy for Israel was never likely.

Israeli officials repeated that Hamas was trying to get mobs of Gazans through the fence, including its own gunmen, potentially to carry out attacks inside Israel, and that the IDF’s prime obligation was to ensure this did not happen. But precisely because it didn’t happen, this was a mere claim on Israel’s part — and it was set against actual pictures of dead and injured Gazans.
How Palestinian Education and UNRWA Incitement Lead to Innocent Deaths
Teachers work hard to find real-life examples to help pique the interests of their skeptical students. Teachers in UNRWA schools face the same challenge. But to teach science to Palestinian students in Gaza, the West Bank, and parts of East Jerusalem, these teachers rely on textbooks that promote a program of incitement and violence against Jews.

A seventh-grade science textbook has an illustration of a boy with his head wrapped in a kiffeya, aiming a sling shot at Israeli soldiers.

The text reads: During the first Palestinian uprising, Palestinian youths used slingshots to confront the soldiers of the Zionist Occupation and defend themselves from their treacherous bullets. What is the relationship between the elongation of the slingshot’s rubber and the tensile strength affecting it? What are the forces that influence the stone after its release from the slingshot?

The consequences of these teachings — and more like them throughout the curriculum — were tragically revealed in the horrific events at the Gaza border this week.

First, the lessons violate UNESCO’s standards of peace and tolerance and respect of “the other.” The drawing of the soldiers as children — smaller than the stone thrower, as if they were harmless — falsely encourages young children to face a deadly enemy without fear. The subliminal message is that the stone thrower has a fighting chance against the armed soldier.
Barbara Kay: Hamas will always win the PR war, even as Israel wins the military victories
Manelis states that IDF soldiers “acted with courage and restraint, following strict rules of engagement to ensure minimum civilian injury and loss of life while still protecting the border.” The optics did not favour Israel, naturally, because the truth can’t make much headway when an enemy is prepared to put its own women and children in harm’s way, calculatedly using their bodies for propaganda purposes.

The IDF policy was indeed to warn first and shoot as a defensive action. Their first priority was, quite rightly, self-defence and defence of Israeli civilians. And as Manelis writes, “The soldiers of the IDF won this week by keeping Israeli families safe and by stopping Hamas from accomplishing its stated goals.”

But yeah, Hamas is winning the propaganda war, and the proof is that even a seasoned and objective journalist like Terry Glavin is so frustrated with the human cost of this reckless, feckless and essentially futile act of jihad, that he’s essentially asking Israel to find a way to stop it, as if there were some magical, casualty-free solution the IDF could employ, if only it chose to, in defending a border against a rabid mass of suicide-prone enemies.

Israel is constantly subjected to double standards — by the UN, by biased journalists, by anti-Semites on social media. In choosing to use this morally charged locution, “abomination,” with regard to the IDF, even the brilliant and knowledgeable and honourable Terry Glavin, whose writing on foreign affairs I greatly admire, has not only succumbed to uncharacteristic rhetorical carelessness, but in doing so, has given comfort and ammunition to polemical jackals for whom he normally and justifiably feels the greatest contempt.
Gil Troy: Even critics should praise Netanyahu’s statesmanship
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu masters the US embassy relocation, the Iranian threat, the Syrian chaos, the Gaza border invaders, the Russian-Vladimir Putin Rubik’s cube, the Donald Trump tsunami, and his new fragile alliance with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, amid the usual media lies, I confess, I’m glad Netanyahu’s in charge. I’m not happy enough to regret my previous calls that he resign. Had he retired gracefully – with a full pardon for himself and his wife – this summer, with his security credibility intact, Israel wouldn’t have a leader in this wobbly world reeking of ethical sloppiness.

Had he retired then, Israel would have a new leader building a reputation by now – and maybe relying on a still-credible Netanyahu for security advice. But I’m happy enough with Netanyahu’s careful statesmanship to betray the Bibi bashers – and today’s all-or-nothing partisans – by cheering what’s cheer-worthy.

The greatest threat Israel faces is the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah menace. Netanyahu’s policy has been clear: you draw red lines and follow through on threats – unlike Barack Obama bowing to chemical weapons in Syria. Iran is scary. Yet since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the regime has had zero capacity for casualties.

With its economy weak, demonstrations spreading, and US pressure growing – finally! – this dictatorship will continue to try extending its influence by sacrificing other pawns – Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, Israelis.
The Cradle of “Fake News”
What it comes down to is that principles such as the protection and the sanctity of borders, the right to self defense and use of military force to defend one’s country, that are a matter of fact anywhere else, are rights that Israel is denied.

This is a travesty when accompanied by journalists who openly support one side in the conflict and claim objectivity. A Reuters event in Jerusalem features a known Arab terrorist in a comic role; BBC reporter weeps on air for terrorist leader – these are but two examples of the conduct of the foreign media covering the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For years the media failed to accurately cover Arab terror while romanticizing the “Palestinian” narrative. Many of them fraternized with terrorists and willingly complied with censorship demands by Islamic extremists, and in so doing contribute to advancing the cause of extremists around the world. Feeding the phenomena of “Fake” news.

Until the emergence of social media, the public had no alternatives for getting information outside of the media. The public drew all the knowledge about the world from journalists. This gave journalists an almost religious standing, similar to the clergy of the Catholic Church of the past. Very much like the Church, the media chose to abuse their power. They broadcast whatever they liked according to their political beliefs.

The false idols are being smashed and the public are getting the truth from other sources. Much like the Reformation, we are today witnessing a rebellion against what were once considered trusted sources yet are now abusing that trust.
Why Has The Rainbow Nation Fallen For Hamas' Darkness And Deception?
South Africa's withdrawal of its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, hands a momentary victory to Hamas in its war of deception and terror. Hamas, the Islamic government and terror group, rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist without regard for human or civil rights — including the persecution, torture and killing of Palestinian Christians.

While the South African government likely views the Gazan side as the weaker and therefore "just" party regardless of terror actions or declarations of jihad against the Jews, Hamas' terror crusade has sent young Gazans to their deaths by inciting and compensating them thousands of dollars to penetrate the Gaza-Israel border fence in to kill innocent Israeli citizens, including children, to "retake Palestine" from the Jews.

South Africa must understand that its diplomatic break from Israel merely strengthens the Islamic Republic of Iran's hidden hand guiding Hamas' Gaza jihad and weakens the cause of peace, justice and self-determination for Palestinians and Israelis.

Hamas has long proved its terror bona fides in line with its 1987 covenant expressing its religious duty to destroy the Jewish people and its nation state. Since 1993, Hamas has killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in mass-casualty suicide attacks throughout Israel. Hamas' current terror crusade in Gaza has been engineered by Muslim Brotherhood groups in Europe and by Yahiya Sinwar, Hamas' new president, who has been a commander in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, Hamas's military wing.

Sinwar is widely considered Hamas' most ruthless leader since the organisation's founding in 1987.
Seth Frantzman: Gaza Strip: A look back at how we got here
In 1998, US president Bill Clinton flew into Gaza International Airport with six helicopters. Palestinian and American flags fluttered.

Yasser Arafat met Clinton, and they enjoyed ceremonies, meetings, speeches, a meal of lamb and three kinds of fish, according to reports at the time. Palestinians said they felt Clinton’s visit was a recognition of their demands for statehood. Twenty years later, the Gaza airport is in ruins, its runways and terminal, whose opening Clinton had overseen, are bulldozed and destroyed.

It’s been 20 years since Gaza had high hopes of being something other than the Hamas-run isolated tragedy it has become.

With the eight weeks of the “Great Return March” from March to May, the Palestinians in Gaza sought to put themselves back on the map of world attention. They may try again on the anniversary of the Six Day War, “Naksa Day,” to stage more protests. It’s still unclear if Hamas or the tens of thousands who turned out for the rallies, and the thousands who were wounded by live fire during the protests, succeeded in changing anything in Gaza. It’s worth pausing to consider how we got here.

The population of the Gaza Strip has increased from around 100,000 in 1947 to 500,000 in 1967 and 1.9 million today.
Palestinians ask International Criminal Court to probe Israel’s ‘crimes’
The Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Tuesday that he had asked the International Criminal Court to open an “immediate investigation” into alleged Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. Israel rejected the request as “cynical” and “absurd.”

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he submitted the “referral” to the court during a meeting with the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in The Hague on Tuesday.

Malki said the complaint seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since the Palestinians joined the ICC in June 2014.

He said that included Israeli settlement policies as well as recent violence in the Gaza Strip. Since March 30, tens of thousands of Palestinians have taken part in weekly “March of Return” protests, which Israel says are orchestrated by the ruling Hamas terror group and used as cover for attempted attacks and breaches of the border fence.

Malki called the request an important “test” of accountability for the ICC.
ICC prosecutor won’t be rushed to probe Israel’s ‘crimes’
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court signaled that she will not be rushed into making a decision on whether to launch an investigation into alleged “crimes” by Israel against the Palestinians.

In a statement issued after Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki called for an immediate investigation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Tuesday noted that she has been conducting a preliminary probe since January 2015 to establish whether she should open a full-blown investigation.

She said the “preliminary examination has seen important progress and will continue to follow its normal course” guided by provisions in the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

Bensouda said she must consider “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility, and the interests of justice” in deciding whether to open an investigation.
White House mulling possible move against Palestinian mission over ICC push
The White House is considering action against Palestinian diplomats in Washington after Ramallah asked the International Criminal Court on Tuesday to investigate alleged Israeli crimes, The Times of Israel has learned.

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

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

Last November, then US secretary of state Rex Tillerson refused to certify that the Palestinians were complying with that Congressional mandate, initiating intense speculation over whether the Palestinian facility in the capital’s Georgetown neighborhood would close.

The measure gives the sitting US president 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are engaging in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

If US President Donald Trump determines they are, the Palestinians can keep the office. If not, he has the right to shutter it.
MFA: Israel: Palestinian Referral to ICC Is Legally Invalid
The State of Israel takes a severe view in relation to the purported Palestinian referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is a cynical step without legal validity. The Palestinians continue to exploit the Court for political purposes, rather than work towards resuming the peace process with Israel.

It is absurd that the Palestinian actions vis-à-vis the Court come at a time when the Palestinians continue to incite to acts of terrorism, while exploiting women and children as human shields for violent attacks against the security of Israel's citizens.

The purported Palestinian referral is legally invalid, and the ICC lacks jurisdiction over the Israeli-Palestinian issue, since Israel is not a member of the Court and because the Palestinian Authority is not a state.

Israel expects the ICC and its Prosecutor not to yield to Palestinian pressure, and stand firm against continued Palestinian efforts to politicize the Court and to derail it from its mandate.

Israel acts in accordance with independent and thorough judicial review mechanisms, befitting a democratic state, and in accordance with international law.
State Dept: U.S.: Bringing Israel before ICC Is Counterproductive
QUESTION: The Palestinians today took the – took their brief or complaints against Israel to the International Criminal Court. And I am wondering: one, what you make of that move by the Palestinians; and secondly, if this is going to have any impact on the way the administration now approaches the Palestinians either legally or any other way.

MS NAUERT: Well, we have long believed that these types of actions are not conducive to peace. We are not a party to the International Criminal Court, as many of you know. We oppose the actions taking place against Israel at the International Criminal Court because we see that simply as counterproductive.

We have spoken about this many times before. Our position on this matter is well known. We oppose actions against Israel as – at the International Criminal – Criminal Court – pardon me – because it doesn’t help the cause for peace. And that is one of the priorities of this administration, getting the Israelis and Palestinians back to the table where they can have a good, concrete negotiation about the peace process going forward. And the ICC just doesn’t do that.

QUESTION: Okay. But the ICC was created – and I realize that the U.S. is not a member of it, but it was created to provide accountability. So is there anything that you think that Israel needs to be accountable for to the Palestinians?

MS NAUERT: Look, I’m not going to get into that question. I think we have long talked about the situation going on in Gaza. We’ve long talked about the misery that the people face in Gaza is because of Hamas. We have seen and have watched as the previous clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians and those of Gaza have taken place. We’ve continued to call on Hamas to take better care of its people; it’s not taking care of its people. And I don’t have really much beyond that to give you right now.

QUESTION: Just on the Gaza thing.


QUESTION: I want to ask you about Ambassador Friedman’s op-ed column. Is it the position of the administration, as it appears to be the position – the personal position of the ambassador, that the quote-unquote “liberal media” have blood on their hands for their coverage?

MS NAUERT: Matt, I can tell you I’m aware of the ambassador’s editorial. I don’t have anything to say about that. I could just refer you to Ambassador Friedman for any questions about that.
British politicians: Don’t let Israel be its own judge and jury in Gaza
British parliamentarians attacked their government for its failure to support the launch of a UN Human Rights Council probe against Israel for the 102 Palestinians allegedly killed on the Gaza border in the last seven weeks.

“If you are an ally of the government you can get away with breaking international law with impunity and you can also be allowed to be your own judge and jury, too,” charged British shadow (opposition) foreign secretary Emily Thornberry of the Labour Party.

She made the comment during a heated debate in the House of Commons on Monday during which British Foreign Secretary Alistair Burt fielded questions from parliamentary supporters and opponents of Israel.

The UK was one of 14 UNHRC member states that abstained from the resolution.

Burt said the government wanted to see an independent investigation into the deaths that occurred over the last seven weeks during the “Great March of Return”.

But it did not believe that a biased inquiry focused solely on Israel and not on Hamas would shed enough light on the situation.
IDF strikes underground Hamas terror target, seaport in Gaza
Israeli Air Force jets targeted underground terror infrastructure in the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning, the IDF said. Two further targets belonging to Hamas naval forces in Gaza were also targeted.

Local residents said the strikes destroyed a boat moored in Gaza City, with no reports of casualties. They said the boat, which was set ablaze, was due to sail to meet a flotilla of boats hoping to reach Gaza.

The IDF did not provide further details regarding the nature of the underground infrastructure.

The army said the strikes came in response to an arson attack on an Israeli military position by a number of Palestinians who infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning and ongoing attempts to harm Israel using drones and kites.

"The Hamas terror organization is accountable for all threats originating from the Gaza Strip, above and below ground, and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and Israeli sovereignty," said the army.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the arson attack, IDF forces targeted a Hamas observation post in the southern Gaza Strip.
Twenty-two Gazans transfered to Jordan to receive medical treatmen
On Tuesday, 22 Palestinians and their relatives were transferred from the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Jordan, according to the IDF spokesperson.

The transfer was facilitated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) at the request of Jordan's King Abdullah.

Jordanian ambulances transferring 22 Gazans to Jordan to receive medical treatment. (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)Jordanian ambulances transferring 22 Gazans to Jordan to receive medical treatment. (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Three Jordanian ambulances who had entered the country via the Allenby Bridge crossing in the morning transferred the injured Palestinians through the Erez Crossing out of the Gaza Strip.

Last week, the IDF coordinated the transfer of eight truckloads of vital medical equipment through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

However, Hamas turned away two large truckloads of Israeli humanitarian aid intended to relieve medical shortages in the Gaza Strip, with hospitals struggling to treat Palestinians wounded in clashes on the Israel-Gaza border. Hamas has frequently refused Israeli aid in the past.
Iran is Funding Hamas’s Violent ‘Protests’ at the Border, Media M.I.A.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is behind the recent Hamas-orchestrated violent demonstrations—dubbed the “March of Return”—at the Israel-Gaza border, according to Israeli authorities. Yet many major U.S. news outlets have failed to report Tehran’s role.

Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, stated:

““From the information we have, it appears Hamas is encouraging and sending protesters to the border fence in order to carry out violent acts and damage security infrastructure. In addition, it was found that Iran is providing funding to Hamas in order for it to carry out these violent activities along the Gaza Strip’s border fence.”

As CAMERA has detailed (see, for example “Palestinian Nazi Flags and Hamas Talking Points,” JNS, April 26, 2018) Hamas and other U.S.-designated terrorist groups have been organizing the demonstrations, interspersing armed operatives among civilians being used as human shields. Most of those killed in the demonstrations by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have been linked to terror organizations.

Hamas is one of many terror groups funded by the Islamic Republic, which the U.S. State Department has listed as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The group has long supported Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and others participating in the “March of Return.” Like Hamas, Iran’s ruling theocrats have called for Israel’s destruction and genocide of the Jewish people.

Indy falsely claims Israeli soldiers “were ordered to use live fire” on 40,000 demonstrators
Since March 31st, Hamas-led violent riots have been staged on the Gaza border. The terror group’s leaders have been clear that the intent of what’s termed the Great Return March – reportedly funded by Iran – was to have masses of Palestinians infiltrate the Israeli border to exact ‘revenge’ on Israelis and implement the so-called “right of return” for millions of Gazans. The political aims, also acknowledged by Hamas leaders, was to sacrifice Palestinian lives in order to bloody Israel’s image.

Naturally, Israel resolved to defend its border, as any sovereign nation would do, and protect its civilians from the potentially calamitous impact of a proscribed terrorist group breaching the border. Their strategy employed non-lethal means, such as warnings, rubber bullets and tear gas, and, as a last resort, live-fire. The admission by Hamas leaders that most of those killed in recent clashes were Hamas members suggests that the IDF’s use of live-fire was judicious, and certainly consistent with the rules of engagement that the armies of most democratic countries would use when confronted with a similar threat by an armed terror group.

However, the media, beginning with the first protests, decided on its own narrative, one completely at odds with the facts: Israeli troops open-firing on non-violent Palestinians “protesters”. So, stories almost exclusively focused on the body count and images of Palestinian suffering, whilst erasing from the equation the violent nature of the riots and the context of Hamas’s cynical decision to win the media war by sacrificing Palestinian lives.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Already Interviewed 6 Times Since Killed By IDF (satire)
Near the Erez Border Crossing, May 23 – A man slain at the hand of an Israeli sniper during disturbances at the fence separating the territory from Israel has appeared multiple times on news networks since the incident last Monday to talk with foreign correspondents about the brutal manner in which he was cut down.

Nasser Ashraf, 22, has granted interviews to six media outlets in the nine days that have elapsed after he participated in a riot some distance from the border fence and was fatally shot, including CNN, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Associated Press, and the New York Times. During each interview the man has offered a vivid depiction of the moments in which he was engaging in unprovocative, nonviolent assembly, then collapsed and had to be removed on a stretcher by others at the protest scene.

“It was barbaric, it was horrible,” he told Declan Walsh of the New York Times. “I was shot in the abdomen like three times and bled to death before anyone could help me. I could barely get off the stretcher after the cameras stopped pointing at it.” Walsh included Ashraf’s story in his coverage of the ongoing disturbances.
European official said to warn Israel: ‘Trump won’t be president forever’
As Jerusalem basked in tight-knit ties with Washington, a senior European official was said on Tuesday to have recently warned Israel not to “disparage” the EU, adding that US President Donald Trump’s legacy could be scaled back just as quickly as that of his predecessor Barack Obama.

“Trump won’t be president forever,” Hadashot TV on Tuesday quoted the unnamed official as saying during a recent visit to Israel.

“Just like nobody imagined that the Obama legacy would be erased so quickly, it can happen to the other side,” the source added.

“You shouldn’t disparage Europe. Look at the numbers: We are still your biggest trade partners. You don’t understand that we are under immense public pressure against Israel,” the senior official added.

Israel and the EU have lately been at loggerheads over the IDF’s handling of mass protests and riots on the Gaza border, as well as over Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal — as Prime Minister Benjamin had urged if it couldn’t be “fixed” — with Europe calling for the accord to remain in place. Israel has also hailed the US relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem last week, a move Europe has rejected.
French PM cancels planned trip to Israel, citing domestic reasons
France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has canceled a scheduled trip to Israel next month, citing domestic obligations, his office said on Wednesday.

Philippe, who had also planned a trip to Ramallah in the West Bank, had been expected to visit Jerusalem on June 1 to open the France-Israel Season of Culture together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry also confirmed the cancellation, saying it was due to “internal French reasons.”

The culture festival is due to last through November and to focus on the themes of innovation, creativity and youth.

Some 400 events across a wide range of disciplines — from the arts to education, economics and sciences — have been planned for 50 French towns and around 20 Israeli ones.

In Israel, the sponsors include the Prime Minister’s Office and a number of ministries, including the Ministry for Strategic Affairs which, under its current minister, Gilad Erdan — who is also public security minister — is focused on battling the worldwide Boycott, Divest, Sanctions campaign against Israel.
It’s too late to reform the ABC
There are unfortunate parallels between the UN Human Rights Council and the Australian Broad­casting Corporation.

Both have lofty ambitions, the former to promote human rights and expose abuses, the latter to represent Australian voices and deliver quality news. Both suffer from an intractable culture of bias that works against them fulfilling their charter.

So it was with yawning predictability that ABC’s premier Sunday political show, Insiders, went “straight to the politics” as host Barrie Cassidy said during a panel chat to deride Australia’s decision to vote against a UNHRC resolution to launch an inquiry into the deaths of almost 60 Palestinians in Gaza last week. In fact, the resolution went much, much further than that, but more on that later.

Cassidy kicked off discussion with this: “There are 47 organisations on this Human Rights Commission. Two opposed the ­inquiry — two of them. Who are they, Karen?”

“The United States and Australia were the only two countries, Barrie, to oppose this resolution in the HRC,” said Karen Middleton, from The Saturday Paper. “Australia’s campaigned to get on to the HRC for a couple of years, and it seems in order to vote no.”

Then it was the turn of Fairfax’s David Crowe: “If Theresa May’s government can abstain, surely that would be an option for Australia to abstain. Britain, Germany and Japan all abstaining, that’s certainly a legitimate option.”

“Absolutely. You wonder why we’re on the council,” added ­Middleton.

For bias and shallow analysis, it’s hard to go past three people all miffed that Australia voted no to a resolution from a UNHRC with a core prejudice against Israel. Gerard Henderson was the token conservative.

Notice the constant outnumbering of any conservative voice on the ABC? This makes a mockery of its charter that the ABC should reflect the diversity of Australian voices. Instead, our ABC keeps breaking its end of the $1 billion deal it gets from tax­payers to abide by its charter.

Given that Insiders didn’t provide informed and fair analysis of the UNHRC and the resolution last Friday, let’s do it here.
Sharri Markson on the latest ABC bias in discussing Israel - letting a Muslim academic rant for minutes on end about Israel's evil, and then cut off Greg Sheridan when he tried to put the other side.

IsraellyCool: Rowan Dean Rips Bob Carr for Legitimizing Terrorism
Fresh from agreeing to headline an event in support of the so-called palestinian “Right of Return” along with an outright terror supporter (before withdrawing after I exposed it), former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has disgraced himself again, this time condemning Israel for protecting herself.

Thankfully, Bob Carr does not represent all Australians. There are also those like Rowan Dean, who appeared on The Bolt Report to inject some truth in to the debate, as well as rip Carr for legitimizing terrorism.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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