Israel nabs Hamas men from Bethlehem said linked to Jerusalem bus blast

nab bus

The Shin Bet said on Thursday that the lone fatality from the blast was the bomber, Abdel-Hamid Abu Srour.

Following days of unnerving police silence, exacerbated by rampant media speculation amid a court-imposed gag order, the Shin Bet on Thursday finally confirmed the identity of the Palestinian terrorist who detonated a bomb on Egged bus No. 12 in Jerusalem on Monday.

The confirmation comes less than 24 hours after Hamas claimed responsibility, and lauded its operative, Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, 19, of Beit Jala near Bethlehem, for carrying out the attempted mass murder that wounded 20 men, women and children.

Srour died Wednesday night at the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center following multiple surgeries after his legs were blown off in the explosion, which seriously wounded seven other passengers on Moshe Baram Street, a major thoroughfare in the southern portion of the city.

The explosion caused an inferno that engulfed a second empty Egged bus and car. Six fire trucks were needed to extinguish the blaze, which reduced all three vehicles to charred metal.

Remarkably, none of the Israeli passengers sustained critical injuries, with the only death being Srour’s.

However, according to police, Srour did not carry any identification, stymieing the intensive joint police and Shin Bet investigation that ensued.

“A major part of the investigation was to find out who [the terrorist] was, and who helped him plan the attack,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld shortly after Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court lifted the gag order early Thursday evening.

“Immediately following the explosion, police and the Shin Bet launched a joint investigation that has led to several arrests of terrorists who helped him plan the attack from Beit Jala, where Srour lived, on Wednesday.”

Srour’s father was among those arrested, Rosenfeld said, adding that more arrests are expected as the investigation continues.

Jerusalem District head Asst.- Ch. Yoram Halevy praised both the police and Shin Bet for their “fruitful cooperation,” which “brought the rapid arrest of the suspects.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

France to convene Mideast summit in May, without Israel or Palestinians

hollande talks

The conference will include representatives from the US, Russia, European Union, UN, Arab League and the members of the UN Security Council.

France will convene a summit on May 30 of some 30 countries and international organizations to discuss the parameters for an international peace conference to be held in the French capital in the second part of the year, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians will be invited to the summit, though they will be asked later to join the peace conference.

“There is no other solution to the conflict other than a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem a shared capital,” Ayrault said in Paris.

“The two sides are more divided than ever. I’m not naive, but am acting in good faith. There is no alternative. The other option is fatalism and I refuse it,” he said.

France’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, Pierre Vimont, completed a report earlier this month.

According to a spokesperson at the French embassy in Tel Aviv, the May 30 meeting would be on the basis of the 2002 Arab League’s peace plan.

The list of those to be invited to the parley was not released, though it is expected to include representatives from the US, Russia, European Union, UN, Arab League and the members of the UN Security Council. The invitations to the meeting are expected to be sent out on Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told reporters earlier this week that he was unclear what was in the French initiative, said the planned summit in Paris was not mentioned on Thursday during his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malik, meanwhile, said at the UN that the Palestinians “welcome” the summit and “are looking forward to help.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

BDS Professor Links Campus Rape to Israel

bds prof

Simona Sharoni is a professor, Israel-hater, BDSer, and one of those who gave Rachel Corrie college credit to go to Israel with the ISM.

Her niche in the loony Left world is to say that (because of “intersectionality”) there is a link between Israel’s existence and rape on college campuses.

While the idea of intersectionality had some merit when it was first defined, nowadays it is a catch-all buzzword to claim that the Jewish State is the very definition of evil.

From the far-Left Alternet site:
Why Feminists Should Care About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Dr. Simona Sharoni is a feminist scholar, researcher, and activist who has focused her career on the gendered nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Currently a Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Plattsburgh, Dr. Sharoni champions the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement…

In her recent academic work, Dr. Sharoni has been exploring the relevancy of the BDS campaign to a praxis of transnational feminist solidarity.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Sharoni spoke at an event at Columbia University, co-hosted by both Palestine student activist groups and No Red Tape, the anti-sexual assault group launched in January 2014.

Dr. Sharoni asks questions like, “What do Israeli Apartheid and the campus sexual assault crisis have in common? How can a feminist intersectional analysis help us understand violence at the heart of both cases? How can we use this comparative analysis to advocate for survivors of violence and to demand accountability for perpetrators?”

Aviva Stahl: Let’s start at the beginning. Why is BDS or what’s happening with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a feminist issue?

Dr. Simona Sharoni: Firstly, there is the fact that there is a direct connection between the violence of the occupation and sexual and gender based violence against Palestinian and Israeli Jewish women. The highly militarized conflict has gender dimensions.

For example, during my military service, we started raising the issue of the connection between the violence of the occupation and violence against women, because in Israel, men who serve, even after their mandatory military service, have their weapons in their home until they’re 55. There were many murders of women—intimate partner violence, which they used to call in Israel crimes of passion—that were actually done with weapons provided by the state.

By this logic, cookbook publishers are linked to women who stab their husbands with kitchen knives.

…BDS is a movement that emerged in response to a call for solidarity. Palestinian women’s groups were part of that broad civil society group that called for solidarity.

So feminists should be Zionist because of women-run Zionist organizations that have been around for more than a hundred years.

Aviva: Can you talk a little bit about some of the parallels between Israeli Apartheid and the campus sexual assault crisis?

Dr. Sharoni: Power is made invisible in the narration of both the Palestinian-Israel conflict and campus sexual assault. Focus is placed on the relationship, not on the system.

In other words, it’s not a conflict between two parties on an equal playing field, even when it’s a healthy relationship. For example when we talk about what’s happening on college campuses—sexism and rape culture, interfere with [that possibility for equality.]

As for Israelis and Palestinians—the discourse is that there’s a “cycle of violence.” And of course it’s not a cycle of violence. There’s a history of colonization, and a settler-colonial movement—that sowed the seeds for this conflict. So the violence stems from that, it doesn’t stem from, “this side did this to the other side.”

We have to highlight these structural power inequalities and the way that violence is embedded in them.

I guess police, corporate executives, government officials and teachers are inherently prone to violence because they do not have an equal relationship with the people that they have power over.

Intellectual-sounding arguments fall apart very easily when the same arguments cannot work in other contexts. What is the common denominator? The fact that a lot of people hate Israel, and need to justify their hate ex-post facto!

It’s a feminist idea, based on intersectional feminist analysis that views gender oppression as systemic and intertwined with other forms of systemic oppression. Postcolonial feminism addresses specifically feminist critiques of settler colonialism. The problem is that for many liberal Jewish feminists, the idea of treating Zionism as a settler colonial project is new and challenges how they were brought up to view Israel.

If we re-conceptualize the injustice of Palestine, and reframe it by taking an intersectional look at multiple oppressions and multiple struggles, then it makes sense. If you build a movement that moves away from narrow identity politics to coalition politics, you’re going to have people who are not comfortable, because they still have this single issue, one-identity understanding of the struggle.

But Jews who are the victims of antisemitic violence — like Monday’s bus bombing — cannot claim to be intersectionalized with feminism, even though there are plenty of women victims.

Why not? Because, (handwaving, yadda-yadda), Israel!

Here Sharoni almost admits that the real reason to link the issues is a strategy to delegitimize Israel, not because there is any merit in her laughable arguments.

Aviva: What is the importance of broad-based solidarity movements?

Dr. Sharoni: I think strategically, making the connection between the two struggles [Israeli Apartheid and campus sexual assault] makes sense. We do need to move from this narrowly defined strategies of identity politics—the idea that the group that is most hurt, and most targeted, has the burden of organizing…

The problem with how “intersectionality” is used nowadays is that it can be used as a bludgeon against anything. It is a fraudulent idea because the same logic can be used to come to opposite conclusions — in fact, opposite conclusions that make far more sense. So for example, the widespread and well-known cases of sexual abuse against female anti-Israel activists by Palestinians would indicate a far more direct relationship between Palestinians and rape.

An anti-Zionist professor at UCLA is accused of sexual assault — yet using the “logic” of people like Sharoni, this should indicate a much stronger link between anti-Zionism and rape than she claims Israel has.

Here’s one more “intersectional” relationship that is stronger than any of the absurd theories that Sharoni espouses:

She is one of the mentors who awarded Rachel Corrie college credit to go to “Palestine” to protest Israel. If it wasn’t for her, Corrie would be alive today. She is linked to Rachel Corrie’s death!

Murderer!

See how easy it is to come up with linkages when you don’t have to worry about things like logic, causality, or consistency?

This all shows that the anti-Israel academic crowd is made up of frauds.

It is no surprise that Sharoni is one of the frauds who signed a letter to McGraw Hill asking it to reinstate the Map that Lies in a textbook that had no reason to refer to it to begin with.

Original Article: Algemeiner

Chief Syrian Coordinator Claims Golan Heights For Syria

syria chief

The chief coordinator of Syria’s main opposition bloc: “The Golan is Syrian land and it will be returned to Syria.”

The chief coordinator of Syria’s main opposition bloc on Tuesday has blamed Israel for moves he claims support the continued rule of the country’s President Bashar Assad.

“If it weren’t for the support of the Israeli occupation, Bashar Assad wouldn’t remain [in power] until now,” Arab media quoted Riad Hijab as telling reporters.

While Israel and Syria have never had formal diplomatic ties, Syrian opposition forces have more than once claimed that the Assad regime has employed Israeli technology during the years-long bloody civil war.

During the press conference Tuesday, Hijab charged that former Syrian president, and the current leader’s father, Hafez Assad, was responsible for Israel’s current control of the strategic plateau due to his rejection of offers by the Jewish state to surrender to the pre-1967 borders in exchange for peace.

Responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks earlier in the week that the Golan Heights “will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty,” the Syrian opposition leader pledged that the territory would return to Syrian control.

“We won’t give up on our territorial completeness or on the unification of our social fabric,” Hijab asserted. “We won’t concede a single grain of soil. The Golan is Syrian land and it will be returned to Syria.”

Hijab also said there will be no solution for the more than four-year Syrian conflict as long as Assad remains in power.

“Bashar Assad will not remain and we will not forgive. Bashar Assad must face justice, he must be punished, he will not escape punishment. Not he or any of the criminals who commit massacres towards the Syrian people,” Hijab said.

He also called on major powers to urgently meet to re-evaluate a truce on the Syrian civil war that he said was no longer in place and said there could be no talks while the Syrian people continued to suffer.

“I ask the UN, and the great nations, with the United States at its head, if you are unable to let a bottle of milk pass, how will you be able to move a political process and achieve a political transition in Syria?”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Jordan cancels plan for security cameras on Temple Mount

TM cameras

PM says kingdom will halt program, aimed at preventing violent clashes at holy site, because of Palestinian opposition.

Jordan’s prime minister on Monday said his government had decided to call off a plan to install surveillance cameras at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, derailing a US-brokered pact to ease tensions at the volatile hilltop compound.

Abdullah Ensour told the state-run Petra News Agency that Jordan was calling off the plan due to Palestinian concerns.

“We were surprised since we announced our intention to carry out the project by the reactions of some of our brothers in Palestine who were skeptical about the project,” he said. “We have found that this project is no longer enjoying a consensus, and it might be controversial. Therefore we have decided to stop implementing it.”

The decision came just days before the Jewish holiday of Passover — a time of increased activity at the site. The Temple Mount is revered by Jews as the site of the biblical Temples, and by Muslims, who call it the Noble Sanctuary. It has been a frequent scene of violence in the past.

In a deal brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Jordan offered to install the cameras last fall after clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces.

The Palestinians had accused Israel of secretly plotting to take over the site — a charge Israel strongly denies — while Israel pointed to videos showing Palestinian protesters using the mosque as cover while throwing stones and firecrackers at police. The idea was that transparency by both sides would help ease tensions.

But the plan quickly ran into trouble, with the Palestinians objecting to Israeli demands to place cameras inside the mosque. The Palestinians also said that Israel would use the cameras to spy on them.

Israel wants cameras installed everywhere in the compound, including in the mosques, to document the alleged hoarding of stones and weaponry by Palestinians in preparation for clashes with Israeli security forces. Jordan, the custodian of the shrine, only wanted cameras in open areas to show alleged violations by Israeli security forces.

Palestinians earlier this month placed notices in the Jerusalem compound warning of plans to smash any security cameras installed at the site.

The Jordanian decision could deal an embarrassing blow to Kerry, who had hailed the deal at the time it was announced last October and pushed behind the scenes in recent months for the sides to wrap it up.

There was no immediate reaction from the US, Israel or the Palestinians.

Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces erupted at the compound in September, preceding a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence, including stabbing, shooting and vehicular ramming attacks that have killed 29 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese since October 1. Some 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in this period, most of them while carrying out attacks, according to Israeli officials.

Israel captured the Temple Mount, site of the biblical Temples, from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed the area, but it left Jordanian religious authorities in charge of the Muslim holy sites there. While Israel controls access to the holy site, Jews are barred from praying there.

Israel and Jordan have close but quiet relations in other areas, such as security coordination against Islamic extremists. Israeli and Jordanian officials have shied away from commenting about the cameras on the record, presumably not wanting to upset the delicate ties between the countries.

Original Article: The Times Of Israel

Abbas: ‘I do not want to run again’ for Palestinian Authority president

abbas no run1

Abbas also denied that the current attacks against Israelis constitute an “intifada” and added that he has repeatedly stated that he condemns such assaults.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said that he does “not want to run again” for president if new elections were held while claiming he has “made no mistakes” since taking over negotiating responsibilities on behalf of the Palestinian people over 10 years ago.

In an interview with German Internet publication Speiegel Online International, Abbas spoke on a wide range of topics including the current political crisis facing the “two-state solution,” the months-long rash of violent terror attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and his declining support among his own people.

The interview began with a few preliminary questions concerning Germany’s role in peace negotiations and then moved quickly ahead to what Speigel Online calls the “knife intifada.”
“This is not an intifada,” Abbas responded. “We have to understand why these young people are committing such attacks. This generation experiences the violence and humiliation of the occupation on a daily basis.”

Abbas continued by stating: “They experience how more and more settlers are coming to occupy their land. If Israel stops this, no child will take a knife to attack Israelis.”

The interviewer, however, pressed Abbas further and asked how he responds to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accusation that the PA is fueling “incitement?”

“I am against these attacks and I have said this over and over again,” Abbas responded, denying the charge.

Speigel Online then retorted, “But you meet with relatives of attackers and send condolence letters. Are you not sending the wrong signal by doing this?”

The interviewer then added, “You call attackers who have been killed ‘martyrs.’ Doesn’t that imply some sort of heroism?”

“We are not encouraging our youth to commit violence. But if someone dies at the hands of Israeli security forces, we call that person a martyr. This is our tradition,” the PA president replied.

Speaking on the state of negotiations between the PA and the Israeli government, the German outlet asked if Abbas has made any “mistakes” or if the “failures [were] on the side of the Israelis?”

“I am constantly asking the Americans and Europeans: What are my mistakes? They confirm that I made no mistakes. It is the Israeli side which misses all the chances for peace,” Abbas said.

The conversation wound down to its conclusion with the Palestinian leader being asked about his declining popularity and whether he fears Hamas will rise past the Palestinian Authority to take power.

“I am willing to have elections at any time, but Hamas refuses it. Currently, we are negotiating the creation of a unity government with Hamas in Qatar. We can conduct elections as soon as we have a unity government,” Abbas said in response.

Asked if he would seek another term as president, Abbas responded: “I do not want to run again.”

 

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

French-Jewish philosopher attacked at event for pro-Israel views

Finkielkraut

Despite avowedly left-wing politics, identifying as a ‘Zionist’ enough to get Alain Finkielkraut spat at, ejected from labor laws meeting.

Alain Finkielkraut, a pro-Israel, left-wing philosopher who was recently recognized as one of France’s greatest thinkers, was violently ejected from a public gathering on labor laws.

Finkielkraut, who is Jewish, was spat on and heckled by protesters shouting “fascist” and “racist” on Saturday at a rally organized by the Nuit Debout, or White Night, platform, set up in March 31 in opposition to laws proposed by the government of President Francois Hollande, a Socialist, that would make it easier for employers to fire workers in order to help France’s stagnant economy to grow.

Finkielkraut was filmed leaving the gathering, where he came only to listen to speeches, with his wife as insults were shouted at him. He initially tried to engage the hecklers, telling them: “I’m also a human being, am I not?” before he finally gave up and left.

A best-selling author, Finkielkraut in January entered the pantheon of French academia when he was admitted into the Academie Francaise, which is a council of 40 greats elected for life.

“I was ejected from a square which stands for rallying together for democracy and pluralism,” he said after his expulsion from Republique Square in Paris. “That democracy is nonsense, that pluralism is a lie. And I only came to listen, I didn’t even want to speak and share my opinions, but they wanted to purify the square from my presence.”

A declared Zionist and critic of Israeli “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, Finkielkraut said last month at a talk before Belgian Jews that some colleagues in France have shunned him for his support of the Jewish state.

Finkielkraut is a supporter of JCall, the European counterpart of JStreet, the American dovish group on Israel.

On Monday, JCall issued a statement condemning Finkielkraut’s ejection from the rally.

“Those who called Alain Finkielkraut a fascist and prohibited him from attending speeches organized at a public space have a different perception of dialogue” than his, JCall said in the statement. “Nuit Debout must distance themselves clearly from inflammatory actions and take measures to stop them.”

Myriam El Khomri, France’s minister on labor, said the incident “is regrettable. Everyone is allowed to participate in the debate.”

The loose collection of organizers of Nuit Debout events, who communicate mostly though Twitter, have not yet issued a statement on the incident.

Original Article: Israel National News

PM slams UNESCO resolution ignoring Jewish connection to Temple Mount

UNESCO new res

Netanyahu accuses body of ‘rewriting a basic part of human history’; decision says Israel ‘planting Jewish fake graves’ on site

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolution from last week in which Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall area in Jerusalem’s Old City are wholly ignored.

The resolution refers to Israel as the “occupying power” at every mention and uses the Arabic al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif without ever calling it the Temple Mount, as it is known to Jews. The text does refer to the Western Wall Plaza but places it in quotation marks, after using the Arabic Al-Buraq Plaza.

“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Netanyahu said Saturday. “UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop.”

The resolution accuses Israel of “planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries” and of “the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”

It also blasts recently approved plans to build an egalitarian prayer service space near Robinson’s Arch and “restriction of access” to the site during Muslim holidays.

Jews consider the complex, formerly the site of the two temples, to be Judaism’s holiest site. Muslims regard the compound — which today houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock — as the third-holiest site in Islam.

While Jewish visitors are allowed to enter the site, Jewish worship is banned under arrangements instituted by Israel when it captured the area from Jordan in the 1967 war.

The site has been the focal point of violence wracking Israel and the Palestinian territories — including dozens of Palestinian stabbing attacks on Israelis — over the past several months, amid claims by Palestinian leaders that Israel plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Israel has vehemently denied those charges.

Other condemnations of Israel brought forth in the resolution include the Jewish state’s blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip — which came after the Palestinian terrorist organization in 2007 ousted the PA from power in the enclave — as well as Israel’s control over the Tomb of the Patriarchs compound in Hebron and the Rachel’s Tomb compound in Bethlehem.

“[UNESCO] strongly deplores the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, which harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel and humanitarian relief items as well as the intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children, the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities and the denial of access to education, and requests Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately ease this blockade,” the resolution states.

“[The Executive Board] reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in Al-Khalīl/Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of Palestine,” the resolution continues, in refrence to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, citing “the ongoing Israeli illegal excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and a separation wall inside the Old City of Al-Khalīl/Hebron, that harmfully affect the integrity of the site, and the subsequent denial of freedom of movement and freedom of access to places of worship, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to end these violations in compliance with provisions of relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions.”

The UNESCO resolution, authorized by the executive board’s Programme and External Relations Commission, was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.

The resolution was approved by 33 states, including France, Russia, Spain and Sweden. Seventeen countries abstained while six voted against including the United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Ghana and Turkmenistan were altogether absent from the vote at the 58-member board.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote a biting letter to UNESCO calling the decision “a disgraceful attempt to rewrite history and rewrite reality as part of a sustained political campaign against the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

“UNESCO prides itself on promoting tolerance, inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue yet it passes resolutions which erases the Jewish people from the historical narrative. This latest one-sided resolution is a stain on the United Nations,” Lapid went on.

The Yesh Atid head, who sits in the opposition, said the organization must not allow itself “to be hijacked as part of the campaign to delegitimize Israel and isolate the Jewish people.”

“As we have seen with the United Nations Human Rights Council, this campaign not only strips away the ability of UN agencies to fulfill their goals but makes them a tool of modern anti-Semitism,” he said.

Last October, UNESCO dropped a Palestinian bid to declare the Western Wall a Muslim holy site amid widespread criticism but passed a resolution condemning ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and elsewhere in the Old City.

Original Article: The Times Of Israel

Netanyahu: We will do what it takes to fight terrorism

bibi fight terror

At a toast for Likud activists in honor of Passover, PM Netanyahu vows the fight against terrorism will continue.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Sunday evening attended a toast with Likud activists in honor of the Passover holiday.

The event, held at Kfar Maccabiah, was also attended by members of Knesset from the Likud alongside Holocaust survivors who were invited to the event as guests of the party.

“I come here with the ministers of the government following the special cabinet meeting we held in the Golan Heights, marking the first anniversary of the establishment of the government. This is the first gathering of the government of Israel on the Golan Heights in the last fifty years. I said that the Golan Heights will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu said, in a reference to the statement he made earlier Sunday on the Golan Heights.

“We look around us, and we see the turmoil in the entire Middle East, hundreds of thousands being slaughtered and millions are on the move, fleeing for their lives. States are collapsing, the flames of Islamic extremism are engulfing governments and countries, and here there is one country which is like an island of stability, an island of sanity, an island of progress, an island of confidence – this country is the state of Israel under the leadership of the Likud government,” he continued.

Netanyahu stressed that Israel is fighting Arab terror with unprecedented measures, saying, “We go into places that we have not entered before and we maintain a simple principle: the IDF will go anywhere it needs to in order to fight terrorism. No place is immune.”

“We are fighting inciters and centers of incitement, all the factors that assist terrorism, and we are seeing that as a result of the determined actions of the IDF, the Israel Police and the Shin Bet, as well as the policy of the Israeli government led by the Likud, we see a ‘gradual decline’, but we do not delude ourselves,” he continued.

“This can be reversed – we know we need to continue our aggressive policy with your help and your support,” the Prime Minister said.

Netanyahu concluded his address by saying, “During the upcoming holiday of Passover, as we all sit at the holiday table, we will celebrate our freedom, the strength of Israel, and our ability to defend ourselves on our own against any foe. Tonight we raise a glass in honor of the Likud, in honor of the State of Israel, and especially and first and foremost – in honor of our soldiers, policemen and policewomen, who protect us with their bodies.”
Original Article: Israel National News

IDF uncovers Hamas tunnel stretching from Gaza into Israel

 

Gaza idf

“We have proven our ability to detect deep tunnels and strike them,” senior IDF source says.

The IDF detected a deep Hamas cross-border tunnel in recent days, stretching from the southern Gaza Strip into Israel. The discovery of the tunnel was kept under a media ban until Monday morning.

The tunnel is 30 meters deep, and was likely dug after the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, according to IDF assessments, though this has not been fully verified.

A senior security source said a “systematic, intelligence-based, technological, engineering, and operational” approach resulted in the finding of the tunnel. “We have to turn this event, of finding a tunnel, into a technique, and find more tunnels,” he added.

“The challenge is very big. The tunnels are very deep. We have capabilities that do not exist anywhere else in the world. We can detect, at depths of 30 to 40 meters,” the source said. “It is a very complex process.” He declined to discuss the technological detection techniques, which remain classified, saying only that “we have developed all sorts of capabilities in recent years, and they have reached the fruition stage.” According to defense sources, prior to Operation Protective Edge, the defense establishment was able to find tunnels through randomly drilling holes next to each other along the Gaza border.

“This [the discovery] was not random, but the result of a pattern. It is a technique that identified their tunnel,” the source added.

A second defense source said Israel is “in a different place” compared to where it was prior to the 2014 conflict when it came to finding tunnels.

The Israeli defense establishment assesses that Hamas is digging several additional attack tunnels, and that these have likely come to within a few meters of the border, but have not yet crossed it.

Diggers could be ordered to tunnel under the Israeli border when an escalation looks imminent. With Israel’s new detection capabilities in place, however, it remains unclear how worthwhile it is for Hamas to continue to invest millions of shekels and hire thousands of diggers for its tunnel networks.

The IDF’s Gaza Division, which belongs to the Southern Command, has placed counter-tunnel measures – detecting and destroying them – as its number one priority in 2016. Many units, some of them technical, have been engaged in overt and covert capabilities as part of the effort.

“The tunnels are a very serious threat,” the source said, though he added that it “is not a strategic threat.” “In this case, we proved our ability to identify a deep space and to strike it. We know how to strike it, and this is a huge challenge,” he added.

He described a process that fused intelligence, engineering, and operational capabilities to locate and destroy the subterranean threat from Gaza. “If we can do this, detect and destroy them, and achieve it without reaching an escalation, that is our set mission. If this does lead to an escalation, it will not deter us either,” the source said.

“Our enemy is sophisticated. Hamas is not a group of idiots,” the officer warned. “Hamas draws lessons.” He added that the IDF is “always operating under the severe assumption that there are more intrusive tunnels out there.” The latest tunnel is similar to the “family of tunnels” the IDF exposed in Operation Protective Edge, the officer said.
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

PJTN IN THE NEWS: Anti-BDS Legislation Is Challenging 50-year American Precedent on Settlements

anti-bds leg

Almost half of the state legislatures in the U.S. are considering bills aimed at countering attempts to boycott Israel, but critics say some are a cause for concern.

Nearly half the states in the country are considering legislation aimed at countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement. But critics say some bills are cause for concern, either because they seek to legitimize Israeli settlements or go so far in punishing boycott supporters they infringe on constitutionally protected speech.
Two states, Illinois and South Carolina, passed laws last year mandating state divestment from companies that boycott Israel, according to a list maintained by Americans for Peace Now. Another 11 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia – are considering similar laws. Kansas and Pennsylvania are debating legislation that would defund universities that participate in an Israel boycott. And another six states are considering or have adopted nonbinding resolutions condemning Israel boycotts.

In all, 21 state legislatures have taken up bills concerning BDS. Proponents say the trend will intensify this year, as activists move to consolidate their gains by pushing laws in states that have already passed nonbinding resolutions condemning BDS.

“Those states see what they’re doing now as a follow-up, as a successor,” said Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University who has consulted with groups advancing anti-BDS legislation. “They’re implementing laws that use state contracting power to fight back against racism.”
Liberal activists see a different motivation, describing the push as a stealth maneuver to reverse nearly 50 years of U.S. policy of not recognizing the the legitimacy of Israeli settlements. Americans for Peace Now says 19 of the 54 BDS laws that have been proposed since 2014 extend penalties to those targeting only West Bank settlements. A bill adopted by the Indiana House of Representatives in January, for example, requires the state pension fund to divest from companies that participate in a boycott of businesses based in Israel “or territories controlled by the Jewish state of Israel.”
“Backers of this effort are cynically exploiting concerns about anti-Israel BDS to promote legislation that while purportedly about defending Israel, is actually about legitimizing settlements,” said Lara Friedman, Americans for Peace Now’s director of government relations. “Most American Jews and legislators don’t understand that their support for Israel is being abused to promote an agenda that is anathema to their long-held view.”

In some cases, traditional pro-Israel groups and lawmakers have driven the legislative push. Virginia’s legislation, backed by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, does not include language protecting the settlements. Ron Halber, the JCRC director, said that doing so would split a Jewish community still reeling from the contentious debate last year over the Iran nuclear deal.
“The greatest threat to Israel is the disunity of the American Jewish community,” Halber said. “Any legislation we do, we’re going to make sure both sides feel comfortable.”
Nationally, establishment pro-Israel groups including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee back congressional legislation that would extend anti-BDS protections to settlements, most recently a bipartisan bill that removes obstacles in federal law for states that want to divest from entities boycotting Israel.
New York’s bill, which was adopted by the state Senate in January and was ordered to have a third reading in the Assembly, does extend protections to Israeli settlements. The bill requires the state to produce a list of “persons” deemed to be engaging in a boycott who would then be rendered ineligible to do business with the state.
Jack Martins, the Republican state senator who initiated the bill, said that allies should defer to one another on security issues, noting that the Israeli government has cast efforts to single out settlements as a threat.
“As a sovereign nation they have the ability to make the decisions for themselves,” he said. “Any actions” boycotters “take against Israel or its components is an attack on our relationship with Israel.”
A spokeswoman for Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that backs the BDS movement and is among a network of groups countering the anti-boycott laws, said New York’s bill amounts to a “blacklist.”
“The tactic of economic pressure is becoming increasingly accepted and has prompted a backlash of questionable constitutionality,” spokeswoman Naomi Dann said.
The New York JCRC declined to say whether it supports the law, which is backed by the Zionist Organization of America and other right-wing groups. Simcha Felder, the Democratic state senator who co-sponsored the bill, said the law doesn’t limit anyone’s right to free expression.
“The legislation doesn’t prevent anyone from speaking or promoting a boycott, nor from making other vile and prejudicial statements,” Felder told JTA in an email. “That’s a person’s constitutional right. But they don’t have a constitutional right to be a New York State contractor.”Several activists involved in BDS legislation said the failure of Congress to act on Israel boycotts has forced the issue at the state level, where public pension funds often invest in companies targeted by the BDS movement. Though there are a number of proposals under consideration in Washington, none are as sweeping as the Illinois and South Carolina laws.
“There’s been no movement,” said Ira Silverstein, a Democratic state senator in Illinois who sponsored the nation’s first state anti-BDS law, which banned pension funds from dealing with entities that boycott Israel. “Congress has its own issues.”
Two trade laws passed in Washington in the last year include provisions extending previous congressional calls to discourage cooperation with entities that boycott Israel to those that solely target settlement goods. The Obama administration has said it will comply broadly with the laws, but will ignore provisions that seek protection for settlement goods.
Right-wing Jewish activists have allied with Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a pro-Israel Christian group that has been involved in advancing anti-BDS measures in several southern states. Joanne Bregman, a Jewish lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee, who has worked with Proclaiming Justice to the Nations on anti-BDS legislation, said she sees no difference between boycotting Israeli settlements and boycotting Israel proper.

“You either believe Judea and Samaria was always part of Israel or you do not,” Bregman said, using the biblical terms for the West Bank.

Elliot Bartky, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and his group, the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana, moved the legislation through the Indiana House.
In 2011, Bartky co-wrote an Op-Ed in the American Thinker that laid out a plan to challenge the “leftist” Jewish establishment. Bregman, who befriended Bartky after reading the Op-Ed, told JTA it was “startling” to encounter official Jewish reluctance to partner with Christian groups in advancing BDS legislation.
The Indianapolis JCRC in an email said it supports the Indiana law and acknowledged Bartky’s leadership in getting it passed.
“The JCRC has directed the lion’s share of our anti-BDS efforts toward educating the larger community outside the statehouse, particularly on central Indiana campuses where there has been a precipitous uptick in pro-BDS events,” said Lindsey Mintz, the JCRC director.

Original Article: HAARETZ

PJTN IN THE NEWS: Anti-BDS laws gain momentum across United States, but some say they go too far

fl anti-bds

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Nearly half the states in the country are considering legislation aimed at countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement. But critics say some bills are cause for concern, either because they seek to legitimate Israeli settlements or go so far in punishing boycott supporters they infringe on constitutionally protected speech.

Two states, Illinois and South Carolina, passed laws last year mandating state divestment from companies that boycott Israel, according to a list maintained by Americans for Peace Now. Another 11 states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia—are considering similar laws. Kansas and Pennsylvania are debating legislation that would defund universities that participate in an Israel boycott. And another six states are considering or have adopted nonbinding resolutions condemning Israel boycotts.

In all, 21 state legislatures have taken up bills concerning BDS. Proponents say the trend will intensify this year, as activists move to consolidate their gains by pushing laws in states that have already passed nonbinding resolutions condemning BDS.

“Those states see what they’re doing now as a follow-up, as a successor,” said Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University who has consulted with groups advancing anti-BDS legislation. “They’re implementing laws that use state contracting power to fight back against racism.”

Liberal activists see a different motivation, describing the push as a stealth maneuver to reverse nearly 50 years of U.S. policy of not recognizing the legitimacy of Israeli settlements. Americans for Peace Now says 19 of the 54 BDS laws that have been proposed since 2014 extend penalties to those targeting only West Bank settlements. A bill adopted by the Indiana House of Representatives in January, for example, requires the state pension fund to divest from companies that participate in a boycott of businesses based in Israel “or territories controlled by the Jewish state of Israel.”

“Backers of this effort are cynically exploiting concerns about anti-Israel BDS to promote legislation that while purportedly about defending Israel, is actually about legitimizing settlements,” said Lara Friedman, Americans for Peace Now’s director of government relations. “Most American Jews and legislators don’t understand that their support for Israel is being abused to promote an agenda that is anathema to their long-held view.”

In some cases, traditional pro-Israel groups and lawmakers have driven the legislative push. Virginia’s legislation, backed by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, does not include language protecting the settlements. Ron Halber, the JCRC director, said that doing so would split a Jewish community still reeling from the contentious debate last year over the Iran nuclear deal.

“The greatest threat to Israel is the disunity of the American Jewish community,” Halber said. “Any legislation we do, we’re going to make sure both sides feel comfortable.”

But New York’s bill, which was adopted by the state Senate in January and was ordered to have a third reading in the Assembly, does extend protections to Israeli settlements. The bill requires the state to produce a list of “persons” deemed to be engaging in a boycott who would then be rendered ineligible to do business with the state.

A spokeswoman for Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that backs the BDS movement and is among a network of groups countering the anti-boycott laws, said New York’s bill amounts to a “blacklist.”

“The tactic of economic pressure is becoming increasingly accepted and has prompted a backlash of questionable constitutionality,” spokeswoman Naomi Dann said.

The New York JCRC declined to say whether it supports the law, which is backed by the Zionist Organization of America and other right-wing groups. Simcha Felder, the Democratic state senator who co-sponsored the bill, said the law doesn’t limit anyone’s right to free expression.

“The legislation doesn’t prevent anyone from speaking or promoting a boycott, nor from making other vile and prejudicial statements,” Felder told JTA in an email. “That’s a person’s constitutional right. But they don’t have a constitutional right to be a New York State contractor.”

Several activists involved in BDS legislation said the failure of Congress to act on Israel boycotts has forced the issue at the state level, where public pension funds often invest in companies targeted by the BDS movement. Though there are a number of proposals under consideration in Washington, none are as sweeping as the Illinois and South Carolina laws.

“There’s been no movement,” said Ira Silverstein, a Democratic state senator in Illinois who sponsored the nation’s first state anti-BDS law, which banned pension funds from dealing with entities that boycott Israel. “Congress has its own issues.”

Two trade laws passed in Washington in the last year include provisions extending previous congressional calls to discourage cooperation with entities that boycott Israel to those that solely target settlement goods. The Obama administration has said it will comply broadly with the laws, but will ignore provisions that seek protection for settlement goods.

In Indiana and elsewhere, anti-BDS legislation has been pushed by right-wing Jewish activists allied with Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a pro-Israel Christian group that has been involved in advancing anti-BDS measures in several southern states. Joanne Bregman, a Jewish lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee, who has worked with Proclaiming Justice to the Nations on anti-BDS legislation, said she sees no difference between boycotting Israeli settlements and boycotting Israel proper.

“You either believe Judea and Samaria was always part of Israel or you do not,” Bregman said, using the biblical terms for the West Bank.

Bregman worked closely with Elliot Bartky, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, to move the legislation through the Indiana House. In 2011, Bartky co-wrote an Op-Ed in the American Thinker that laid out a plan to challenge the “leftist” Jewish establishment. Bregman told JTA it was “startling” to encounter official Jewish reluctance to partner with Christian groups in advancing BDS legislation.

The Indianapolis JCRC in an email said it supports the Indiana law and acknowledged Bartky’s leadership in getting it passed.

“The JCRC has directed the lion’s share of our anti-BDS efforts toward educating the larger community outside the statehouse, particularly on central Indiana campuses where there has been a precipitous uptick in pro-BDS events,” said Lindsey Mintz, the JCRC director.

Original Article: Heritage Florida Jewish News