ISRAEL: AIR STRIKE FOLLOWING GAZA HAMAS ROCKET ATTACK

From The Jerusalem Post:

According to the IDF, two military facilities belonging to Hamas were targeted in the north and south of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Air Force targeted Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip on Monday night following an earlier rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled territory, according to a statement released by the IDF.

According to the statement, the airstrikes targeted two military facilities belonging to Hamas in the north and south of the Gaza Strip.

As Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, it is considered responsible for all attempts in Gaza that seek to harm Israel, reads the statement.

The group claimed responsibility via a statement that was shared through Israeli media. This is not the first time that the group, which has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack.

The projectile landed in an open area near the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council in southern Israel, the IDF said.

No injuries and no damage were reported. A red siren alert was not activated as it was detected early on that the projectile was aimed at an open area.

Turkey bid for Temple Mount takeover alerts MKs

From Israel Hayom:

“Once again we are seeing a clear example of the danger posed by foreign governments’ interfering with what is happening in Israel,” lawmakers say after learning of Turkey’s efforts to position itself as a Muslim power in Jerusalem via massive donations.

Israeli lawmakers expressed serious concern Wednesday over Turkey’s concerted effort to position itself as a Muslim power on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Israel Hayom reported Wednesday that Ankara has been funneling millions of dollars to the eastern section of the city, mostly via the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, known as TIKA. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an avid supporter of TIKA’s activities and encourages the organization through speeches decrying Israeli control in Jerusalem, which he sees as “an insult.”

Since 2004 TIKA has funded 63 projects in east Jerusalem to the tune of millions of dollars, under the guise of “protection and strengthening of Jerusalem’s Muslim heritage and character.”

Turkey’s allies in the city are the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel Sheikh Raed Salah, and the former mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Akram Sabri.

Israel outlawed the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch in 2015 over its incessant incitement to violence.

Habayit Hayehudi MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli and Likud MK Yehuda Glick on Wednesday asked Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Avi Dichter (Likud) to call a special session on Turkey’s interference in the sensitive holy site.

“Once again we are seeking a clear example of the danger posed by foreign governments interfering with what is happening in Israel,” Mualem-Rafaeli and Glick said in a joint statement. “In this case, we are not dealing with innocent organizations, but rather with an entity that has been outlawed over its support for violence and terrorism. It is time to establish clear procedures in this matter.”

The statement was referring to the Turkish-funded Murabitun and Murabitat fundamentalist organizations, which operate under the guise of Muslim study groups, and have for years engaged in harassing and intimidating Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount and disturbing the peace on the site.

“Fifty years have passed since the reunification of Jerusalem and as it turns out, we do not have [control over] the Temple Mount,” Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) said.

“Now we have learned that on top of limiting [Jewish] entry to the Temple Mount, Israel allows hostile elements to take hold of a place sacred to the Jewish people. We cannot accept this and the prime minister and public security minister must act to exercise Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem as a whole and particularly on the Temple Mount,” he said.

 

IRAN’: KHAMENEI ─ WE’LL WITNESS ISRAEL’S DEMISE

From The Jerusalem Post:

The Islamic Republic’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes remarks day before Iran marks then anti-Israel ‘Al Quds day.’

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lashed out at Israel in a deluge of rhetoric against the Jewish state ahead of the Iranian-initiated ‘Al Quds day,’ which protests Israel’s existence.

“There is no doubt that we will witness the demise of the Zionist entity [Israel],” read a post on his Twitter account Thursday.

Speaking at a meeting of academic and scientists in Tehran on Wednesday, the hardline Iranian leader stated that defending the Palestinians was tantamount to “defending the truth.”

“Today, fighting against the Zionist regime [of Israel] is fighting the hegemonic, arrogant system,” Khamenei said.

Iran and anti-Israeli proponents around the world will mark Al Quds day on Friday. The event is held every year on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has urged the global Muslim community to take part in the various international anti-Israel rallies on Friday.

In a communique on the matter, the regime in Tehran accused Israel of “tyranny, oppression and persecution” and blamed Israel for being “the main cause” behind the current crises in the Middle East.

Iran also charged Israel as being an “anti-human, child-killing and criminal Zionist regime, which, during the nearly 70 years of its disgraceful life has committed a large number of crimes against humanity.”

Iran’s own human rights record has been scrutinized by rights groups for issues including its treatment of women, homosexuals and minorities along with its policies on corporal punishment, political freedom and free speech.

In past years, Iranian demonstrators gas chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and torched flags of both nations as they commemorated Al Quds day.

On Sunday, several hundred people in London took part in the controversial Al Quds Day march held annually in the British capital.

A smaller counter-protest was held by Israeli supporters, mostly members of the local Jewish and Israeli community.

Pro-Israel advocates had called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to cancel the rally due to concerns that the march allows for displays of support for antisemitism and terrorism. More than 15,000 people signed a petition to ban the march, however is was held as scheduled and police managed to keep the sides separated to prevent clashes.

UNITED NATIONS: Funds pulled for Palestinian women’s center being named after terrorist

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From Israel Hayom:

“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstance,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises the U.N. for its decision.

The U.N. has stopped supporting a Palestinian community center in the West Bank that was named after a female terrorist who took part in a 1978 terrorist attack that killed 37 Israelis.

The women’s center in Burka, northwest of Nablus, was named for Dalal Mughrabi, a Fatah operative who died participating in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, in which a group of 11 Palestinian terrorists hijacked a civilian bus carrying Israeli families on an outing. Thirteen children were among those killed.

“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstance,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “The U.N. has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace.”

Norway, which also participated in the center’s funding, demanded on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority reimburse it for the funds, saying the “glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable.”

Sorida Hussein, head of the organization behind the women’s center that received the funds, said she was “happily surprised that the U.N. secretary general has the time to mention a small Palestinian village under Israeli occupation.”

She stressed “how good this center has been for the community regardless of its name,” saying its members chose the name after the U.N. completed the project last year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Norway and the U.N. for their actions.

NORTH CAROLINA: AN ANTI-ISRAEL HILLEL GROWS

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From FrontPageMag:

In November of last year, members of the University of North Carolina’s Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel voted on an “official” pro-Israel position document. The document, though it was meant to set out a “united declaration of principles”, is almost impossible to find online.

And with good reason. It was as pro-Israel as Kentucky Fried Chicken is pro-chicken.

Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel don’t represent any kind of pro-Israel position.

J Street is an anti-Israel hate group. Brooke Davies, the president of J-Street UNC-CH, has a social media feed brimming with support for other anti-Israel groups, including T’ruah and B’Tselem, and hatred for the Jewish State and her supporters. Davies even spitefully accused comedian Elon Gold of being a “hasbara mouthpiece”.

Hillel’s “Senior Jewish Educator”, Jenny Solomon is active in T’ruah. Her husband, Eric Solomon, is on T’ruah’s board. The North Carolina Hillel hired Jenny Solomon in June of last year. Next month, the anti-Israel couple led a T’ruah trip linked to BDS.

And Heels for Israel? It describes itself as “Working to collaborate with organizations like UNC Hillel and JStreetU”. J Street U defines itself as fighting against the “Occupation” by Jews of their own homeland.

If you collaborate with a group fighting Israel and Jews, what does that make you?

The unified policy insisted on confining Israel behind the ’48 Auschwitz borders, it demanded a PLO capital in East Jerusalem and condemned Jews living in “Settlements” in ’67 Israel. Its glossary described BDS in terms both negative and positive. And linked to a site supportive of BDS. It blasted Jews living in areas claimed by the PLO and Hamas as “a threat to the viability of the two-state solution.”

The signatories included the J Street leadership, the two Heels for Israel Campus co-liaisons, and Hillel’s leadership, Noa Havivi, Hillel co-president, Shira Chandler, the other co-president and Daniel Barondes, the Hillel Israel Chair.

The policy was pure J Street U. Its argument that the best way to fight BDS was to create distance from Israel by being critical of her policies embodied the divide and conquer attack that the anti-Israel hate group had launched to further eat away at support for the Jewish State.

Hillel’s Executive Director Ari Gauss disavowed the policy. But its existence was the symptom of a deeper rot.

That’s usually the way it goes at Hillel.

Hillel had co-sponsored an appearance by Yavilah McCoy with the Black Student Movement. At UNC, as at so many other colleges, the list of Black Nationalist demands had included BDS against the Jewish State. McCoy, a diversity consultant, had been unsympathetic when the racist hate group Black Lives Matter had added an attack on the Jewish State to their platform.

Yavilah McCoy is associated with the radical left-wing group Bend the Arc. Bend the Arc’s CEO Stosh Cotler, a former sex club dancer turned anti-Israel activist, had called for prosecuting Israeli soldiers for war crimes. Despite that Hillel International provided Cotler with a platform. When Black Lives Matter took its hateful position, Cotler’s statement appeared to curiously echo McCoy’s language.

Cotler blamed the Black Lives Matter attack in part on, “the invisibilization of Jews of Color within the Jewish community and progressive movement”. McCoy in the past had said, “When Jews accepted a white identity in America, they participated in sustaining white supremacy.”

Hillel had brought Yavillah McCoy to college campuses to preach her gospel of intersectionality. But UNC’s Black Student Movement had attempted to co-sponsor an appearance by Rania Khalek with Students for Justice in Palestine. Khalek has a long history of hating Jews and attacking Israel.

While students come and go, UNC Hillel has maintained a policy of collaborating with hate groups such as the Muslim Students’ Association and J Street.

Under Ari Gauss, Hillel brought in Ari Shavit. Gauss hosted Shavit’s appearance. Shavit, a leftist critic of Israel, was not being sponsored by J Street by then because of allegations of sexual harassment. But what wasn’t even good enough for J Street was still acceptable at Hillel.

UNC Hillel “proudly” hosted the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF). Despite its misleading name and branding, PCCF is an anti-Israel group. Parents of Israeli terror victims have accused PCCF of stigmatizing them and using grief to push anti-Israel propaganda. The group has even been linked to BDS movements.

When Muslim terrorism broke out in Israel, J Street used Hillel to host Lara Friedman of Peace Now, an anti-Israel group, which blamed the violence on the “settlements”. Friedman violently hates Israel. A typical article is headlined, “Israeli Occupation Is Poisoning America’s Democracy”. She and Peace Now have been fighting against legislation that would prevent BDS.

Lara Friedman has attacked Israel everywhere from the UN to UNC. We don’t expect much from the UN. Jewish parents of Hillel students expect more from UNC Hillel. UNC Hillel promoted Tea With Tagouri which was hosted by the UNC Muslim Students Association. Hillel did not seem concerned by Noor Tagouri’s hostility to Israel. And that is sadly typical.

Like Sherlock Holmes’ dog that did not bark, what is just as apparent at Hillel as the anti-Israel speakers is the lack of pro-Israel speakers. It’s not hard to see where the policy position came from.

And it’s not just Hillel in North Carolina.

When the Hillel International General Assembly invites Stosh Cotler, T’ruah’s Jill Jacobs and Eboo Patel, the situation at the local Hillel becomes all too inevitable. Hillel is more concerned with social justice than Jewish civil rights, with intersectionality rather than anti-Semitism and with progressive politics not Israel. That is why it is eager to collaborate with the Black Student Movement and the Muslim Students Association.

It is becoming increasingly impossible for Jews to reconcile their religion and their peoplehood with the politics of the left. That tension can be seen throughout the secular Jewish world. Intersectionality is inherently anti-Semitic. Its inevitable conclusion is that Jews have no right to exist.

In Israel, Jews are occupying colonists. In America they, in Yavillah McCoy’s words, “accepted a white identity” and so can be accused of being white supremacists. Everywhere Jews are the oppressors.

This is the old genocidal anti-Semitism of the left rearing its ugly head again. And Jewish leftists are eager to host it and sponsor it. They act as human shields against accusations of anti-Semitism. They put on a minstrel show Jewishness that is heavy on mock stereotypical expressions of “Oy” by leftists whose knowledge of Yiddish and Jewish identity begins and ends with an uncomfortable noise.

Hillel, like so much of the Jewish organizational infrastructure, has its head devoutly inclined not toward Jerusalem, but to the mecca of the left. Its tainted agenda taints the students it comes into contact with. That is true in North Carolina. But it’s also tragically true across the United States of America.

What the NY Times didn’t say about Barghouti

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From The Times Of Israel:

Op-Ed: Publishing an opinion piece full of invented horror stories, the Times neglected to tell its readers that the author is a murderer, convicted on multiple counts in a civilian court.

The thing which stands out most – and is most infuriating – about the opinion piece published by Marwan Barghouti in the New York Times is the single sentence below the article identifying the author. “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian,” it says dryly. That isn’t an error, that is an intentional deception.

Nothing is further from the truth. The missing part of the previous reports is that Marwan Barghouti is a murderer. He was convicted in a civilian (not military) court on five separate counts of murder of innocent civilians. He was involved in dozens of attempted terror attacks. He caused people to lose their families and led to people being maimed. He destroyed lives.

Barghouti doesn’t only believe in violence, he also believes that its permissible to lie. He believes in the approach, which typifies terror organizations, that the West is weak and naïve and so our media and good intentions should be cynically abused to attack us from within.

The attempt by the New York Times “to be balanced” amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth.

So Barghouti tells horror stories about torture he underwent during Israeli investigations. There is no factual basis for these stories. The torture he describes is prohibited under Israeli law and even Israel’s greatest opponents must acknowledge that we abide by our laws.

The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States.

Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind.

The peak of Barghouti’s violent ‘career’ came during the Second Intifada. It’s worth remembering that it broke out immediately after Israel’s prime minister at the time, Ehud Barak, made the Palestinians an offer that the whole world, including president Clinton, thought was impossible to refuse: a withdrawal to 1967 lines, a division of Jerusalem, a humanitarian solution to the refugee issue. Yasser Arafat said “no” and sent Barghouti and his people to murder Israelis in suicide attacks on buses and in shopping malls.

That’s why Barghouti is in prison. Not for his views, not for his desire for a Palestinian state, not for his right to freedom of expression. He could have – along with the prisoners who are with him – been a free citizen of an independent Palestinian state long ago. He chose the path of terror, murder and violence.

But the New York Times neglected to tell its readers that.

J Street seeks to block Friedman’s appointment as ambassador

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Left-wing org lobbies Senate to reject Friedman’s nomination as Ambassador to Israel, ‘accuses’ him of being friend of settlement movement.

J Street has begun a campaign to have the US Senate reject the nomination of David Friedman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

The Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on Friedman’s appointment by U.S. President Donald Trump this coming Thursday. As J Street says in its anti-Friedman campaign, “Friedman is a friend of the settlement movement who backs unlimited settlement expansion” in Judea and Samaria.

J Street, which states that it is a pro-Israel organization, has circulated a sample letter among its members that it recommends be sent to their Senators. The members are asked to “strongly urge” their Senators to “reject Donald Trump’s choice to be the next US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.”

J Street states that Mr. Friedman is “hostile” to the two-state solution, which it terms the “only way to ensure Israel’s future as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people.”

In fact, however, many politicians and thinkers on both sides of the Israeli spectrum have declared the two-state plan unworkable. Author A. B. Yehoshua, considered an “intellectual giant” of Israel’s left-wing, recently said, “I have believed in dividing the land for 50 years, and now I see that it cannot happen. 450,000 Jews in Area A [Judea and Samaria] can simply not be uprooted. Can Jerusalem ever be divided, realistically? We have to start thinking differently.”

J Street further accused Friedman of being a “friend of the settlement movement,” and even of having “made the case for Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.” Being a “friend of the settlement movement” is apparently a crime in J Street’s book.

Friedman supports the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and has said that he looks forward to working for peace in the Middle East “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem” – even before an official relocation of the embassy takes place.

J Street explains that it does not support BDS unconditionally, but does not oppose initiatives to boycott, divest from, or impose sanctions on Israel if these aid the progress towards a two-state solution, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and focus only on “occupied territory” beyond the Green Line.

Original Article: Arutz Sheva

Senator: US Should Designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a Terrorist Organization

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Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization, a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Thursday.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner made the comment in response to a question posed by The Algemeiner during a panel discussion on Capitol Hill — organized by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) — about the future of US policy on Iran.

In his prepared remarks at the start of the event, Gardner said President Donald Trump had the support of Congress “to reject the failed policies of the past and begin putting pressure on Iran to cease its illicit behavior.”

The sanctions announced by the Treasury Department last Friday, Gardner noted, were a “great start.”

“We must continue to impose additional sanctions on Iran related to their illicit missile tests, support for terrorism and human rights abuses,” he said.

Furthermore, Gardner went on to say, “Every global company should shun this regime as a matter of decent business practices.”

Regarding the July 2015 nuclear agreement reached by Iran and six world powers, Gardner stated, “I believe the administration must immediately take steps to begin negotiating a better deal, as President Trump promised on the campaign trail. We must make the case clearly to the Europeans, the Chinese and the Russians that a nuclear Iran a decade or 15 years from now is not in the interests of the international community…Our new Iran policy must regain the moral clarity that the Iranian regime is a threat to the United States, to our allies and not a partner for peace and stability in the region.”

Also speaking at Thursday’s event was former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton.

Referring to the Trump administration’s declaration last week that it was “officially putting Iran on notice” about its recent hostile actions — including a ballistic missile test — Bolton said, “I think it means that the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is about one heartbeat away from disappearing.”

“I don’t know what sort of broad political plan the administration has, but I don’t think it was accidental or just on the spur of the moment that [National Security Adviser] Mike Flynn made the comment about Iran being on notice,” Bolton said. “I think that’s a clear a signal as you can get that the administration understands what the game is.”

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that senior defense and intelligence officials had cautioned the Trump administration about the drawbacks of a potential executive order blacklisting the IRGC as a terror group.

Bolton said on Thursday that such a move should have happened already “ten years ago.”

“My view,” Bolton stated, “is it should be declared American policy to overturn the regime in Tehran, because that is the only way, ultimately, that we will get Iran to back off the pursuit of nuclear weapons…I don’t think it requires American military involvement. I think it requires support for the [Iranian] opposition. The regime is unpopular [in Iran], but it takes time.”

Original Article: Algemeiner

KHAMENEI TO TRUMP: NO ENEMY CAN PARALYZE IRAN

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Khamenei’s comments follow days of heated exchanges between US and Iranian officials.

Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed US President Donald Trump’s warning to Tehran to stop its missile tests, and called on Iranians to respond to Trump’s “threats” on Friday’s anniversary of the 1979 revolution.

“No enemy can paralyze the Iranian nation,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his website in a meeting with military commanders in Tehran.

“Trump says ‘you should be afraid of me’. No! The Iranian people will respond to his words on Feb 10, (the anniversary of revolution) and will show their stance against such threats.”

In his first speech following Trump’s inauguration, Khamenei also charged that Trump has shown America’s “real face” by proving Iranian allegations about American government corruption.

“We are thankful to [Trump] for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America,” he said.

“During his election campaign and after that, he confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the US ruling system,” he added.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have intensified after the Trump administration announced new sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic-missile program.

The US issued the new penalties in response to several Iranian missile launches that international powers say are in violation of Iran’s obligations.

Iran responded forcefully, proceeding with a military exercise that further tested its missile radar capabilities.

Iran’s officials vowed to continue launching “roaring missiles,” which they characterized as defensive in nature.

And they targeted US President Donald Trump himself calling him “reckless” and inexperienced.

Trump said on Twitter that Iran was “playing with fire.” And, in a statement, US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Iran’s “belligerent and lawless” behavior across the Middle East had only increased since it agreed to a deal with six foreign nations meant to govern its nuclear program for more than a decade.

“The international community has been too tolerant of Iran’s bad behavior. The ritual of convening a United Nations Security Council in an emergency meeting and issuing a strong statement is not enough,” Flynn said.

Iran last Saturday condemned the US visa ban against Tehran and six other majority-Muslim countries as an “open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation” and vowed to retaliate.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

CALM BEFORE THE STORM ALONG THE GAZA BORDER?

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Hamas and Israel both say they don’t want another war, but are ready for one.

A day after a large-scale Israeli retaliation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip gives a sort of misleading image of calm in southern Israel.

That same feeling of calm was also apparent shortly after Israel’s first retaliatory strike late Monday morning. A number of buses had just let out a dozen tourists who had come to the Black Arrow Monument, a memorial dedicated to fallen soldiers of the Paratroop Brigade in the years leading up to the Sinai Campaign of 1956, and which lies just 900 meters from the border with Gaza.

The tourists, who played musical instruments and took selfies with the blooming anemones, paid no attention to the smoke that was rising from the strip. It was indeed the quiet before the storm.

Over the course of the day on Monday, the IDF struck several Hamas targets with air strikes and artillery shells after the launching of a single rocket at southern Israel and later on gunfire targeting Israeli troops working on the border fence. The missile, whose launch was reportedly claimed by a small jihadist group, caused no damage or injuries when it hit in a field near Ashkelon.

Later on Monday evening, the IDF released a statement that the strikes were not only in response to the day’s attacks from Gaza, but also “for acts of aggression which have occurred over the course of the last month.”

Hamas released a statement saying that the terrorist group “holds the Israeli occupation fully accountable for the repercussions of the latest escalation that was launched against the Gaza Strip.”

Israel recently decided to change its policy regarding rocket fire from the Strip, deciding to no longer resort to a limited, measured response. The new policy, which was crafted by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, allows the IDF to strike all Hamas targets, assets and infrastructure in response to any rocket fire from the Strip.

That policy became apparent following the launching of a rocket at the southern town of Sderot in August by an Islamic State-linked Salafist group, when the air force struck Hamas targets 50 times – the most intense Israeli reprisal attack on Gaza since the Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Launches from Gaza in the past year have been infrequent, with fewer than 20 in 2016. Most of them have been claimed by small jihadist groups, many times as a means to pressure Hamas by raising tension between the terrorist organization and Israel. Hamas has cracked down on these small groups, recently carrying out a wave of arrests among Salafi, jihadist, and pro-Islamic State organizations.

Nonetheless, Israel considers Hamas to be responsible for any fire coming from its territory.

Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies, told The Jerusalem Post that while Monday’s retaliation was “significant, it was as per IDF considerations.”

Following a rocket strike “there is a scale that Israel determines” in order to assess what is a necessary response,” Schweitzer said, adding that in the August, the IDF may have taken advantage of the incident “to eliminate potential Hamas targets and to send a signal to Hamas.”

Since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has invested a significant amount of money and effort into its military capability.

In the next war, Hamas aims to inflict painful strategic blows on Israel with short- and long-range missiles, by kidnapping and killing Israeli civilians and soldiers via their attack tunnels, to using weaponized drones, infiltrating Israeli territory by the group’s naval commando forces and even cyber warfare against the IDF.

The terrorist group has also been investing in its drone capability.

While Hamas has yet to carry out an attack against Israel with drones, in recent years Hamas drones have sometimes breached Israeli airspace, causing the IDF to scramble jets.

Both the Islamic State group and Hezbollah have used weaponized drones to carry out attacks, and in October 2016 The New York Times reported that the Pentagon was struggling to deal with the aerial threat posed by ISIS. The terrorist group recently posted several pictures with advice on how to weaponize a small quadcopter with Russian-made anti-tank hand grenades, RPO anti-tank rockets and an anti-tank rocket launcher. The terrorists also claim to have used drones to drop explosive devices onto Iraqi and Syrian troops.

It is not hard to imagine that Israel could face a similar threat, as Hamas is reportedly producing drones that can carry explosive devices.

And while Israel has advanced anti-missile systems such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow, those systems don’t have 100% accuracy when shooting down small, but potentially dangerous, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can infiltrate Israeli airspace.

Like their attack tunnels, using weaponized drones is “a calculated risk,” Schweitzer said, adding that Hamas “must be very cautious about using this type of weapon.”

According to Schweitzer, “Israel must prepare for this threat, as its enemies will use this advanced technique to attack it.” Nevertheless, if the group does decide to use weaponized drones, “Hamas knows that if they use this, the retaliation will be very deadly, it will be an act of war.”

The group has also constructed military outposts along the border with Israel, patrolling the border area and arresting any individual who tries to cross into Israel. The Jerusalem Post has learned that individuals from Gaza try on an almost daily basis to cross into Israel, with an increase during the winter months, due in part to their desperation to escape the dire economic reality of the Strip.

According to a source in the Gaza Strip, Hamas considers anyone who wants to cross into Israel as suspicious, arresting and subjecting them to hours-long interrogations.

The worsening economic situation in Gaza led to widespread protests in the Strip in January, and while Turkey and Qatar stepped in to avert a crisis, the growing anger of Gaza residents is a ticking time bomb that can explode at any time. When that happens, Hamas may very well instigate a military escalation to deflect that anger toward Israel.

“I cannot say what will be the tipping point for Hamas, but they will be very cautious not to attack Israel,” Schweitzer said, stressing that, “If the group does retaliate, it will be a measured response.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

IN DC, JORDAN’S KING DISCUSSES US EMBASSY IN ISRAEL, ISIS, SYRIA

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Jordan’s King Abdullah is the first Arab leader in Washington for talks with the Trump administration.

Abdullah held a private breakfast with US Vice President Mike Pence and then met US Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon.

Pence and Abdullah discussed a range of issues from speeding up the fight against Islamic State, the crisis in Syria, and efforts to reach an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the White House said.

Abdullah also raised the issue of potential changes to the US embassy in Israel, the White House said in a statement.

Abdullah has just finished a visit to Russia where President Vladimir Putin thanked Jordan for supporting the Syrian peace process. Jordan is part of a US-led military campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria.

Less than a week into his presidency, Trump said in a television interview on Wednesday that he would “absolutely do safe zones in Syria” for refugees fleeing violence and that Europe had made a mistake by admitting millions of refugees from Syria.

The creation of safe zones would ratchet up US military involvement in Syria and mark a major departure from former President Barack Obama’s more cautious approach. Increased US or allied air power would be required if Trump chose to enforce “no fly” restrictions, and ground forces might also be needed to protect civilians in those areas.

Abdullah’s visit comes as Trump signed an executive order that would include a temporary ban on all refugees, and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Iran.

Jordan has been overwhelmed by the influx of refugees since the Syrian conflict began. The vast majority of refugees referred by the UN refugee agency to the United States come from Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq.

Trump is expected to greet Abdullah at a prayer event in Washington on Thursday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer separately told reporters in a daily briefing.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

 

No, Muslim Refugees Are Not Jewish WWII Refugees. Here Are 5 Reasons Why.

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In a desperately misguided attempt to placate the palpable fear of allowing thousands of Muslim refugees into United States without proper security screenings just days after an Islamic terrorist attack, several left-leaning media outlets have fallen back on comparing the Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust to Muslim refugees fleeing a chaotic Middle East.

The false analogy is incredibly offensive, not only to the victims of the Holocaust but history itself. Here are 5 reasons why Muslim refugees are not Jewish WWII refugees:

1. There was no threat of Jewish terrorists infiltrating the United States. The same cannot be said about Muslim terrorists.

As an ethno-religious group, Jews suffered tremendously under the genocidal programs of Nazi Germany. The West’s resistance to absorbing refugees was not informed by the actions of Jews themselves, but rather pre-existing isolationist policies developed as a consequence of WWI. The residue of European anti-Semitism may have been a factor as well.

In contrast, the threat of Islamic terror is self-evident. The litany of attacks against Western assets by Muslim fanatics cannot be overlooked.

“Jews who came to America were not themselves violent. They did not strap bombs on themselves and blow themselves up in theaters; they did not go into restaurants and execute diners, one by one,” notes American Thinker, adding, “they did not attempt to set up a caliphate wherever they moved to, although they did tend to dominate the deli, bagel-making, and stand-up comedy fields.”

2. Jewish victims of the Holocaust had nowhere else to go. Muslim refugees do.

Arab states have been notoriously resistant and outright hostile when confronted with an influx of Muslim refugees at their gates. “There are at least two dozen Muslim countries, many of them wealthy gulf states, who could easily afford to take in refugees. During the Holocaust, there was no Jewish state that could take in Jews. That’s a big difference,” asserts American Thinker.

At the time, there was no Jewish state of Israel or safe havens for Jews to flee to. Today, there are scores of Muslim-majority states and even Islamic theocracies that celebrate religious brotherhood with hypocritical zeal. Relatively stable Arab states even exploit the grievances of Muslim refugees from neighboring failed Arab states to deflect attention from human rights abuses at home.

Arab autocrats are heavily invested in the perpetuation of Muslim refugee crises; it gives them an excuse to blame the West and Israel for all the world’s ills, including hardships inflicted upon Muslim-majority populations by Arab leaders themselves. It’s far easier to blame the West and, of course, the Jews for crumbling infrastructure and poverty than address the problems head-on. Arab petro-dictators are far more inclined to raid the coffers of their own country’s wealth and maintain a regressive economic model that allows for corruption to flourish unchecked than welcome modernity and all of its potential benefits for the wider population.

3. The proliferation of Muslim refugees is a result of an intra-religious, Islamic civil war dating back to the founding of Islam in the 7th century. Judaism’s theological disputes are solved with the pen, not the sword.

Islamic religious apologists are selectively blind to the macabre history of Islam. Academic, historical, and scriptural accounts of the religion’s development all attest to the fact that Islam was indeed founded upon tribal schisms and bloodshed. The primary driver of violence in the Middle East today is Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence, a conflict stemming from the early days of Islam when warring factions quarreled over the rules of succession following the death of Muhammed.

As Leftist apologists are quick to point out, ISIS’s main victims are other Muslims. What they deliberately leave out, however, is the fact that ISIS is a Sunni-Salafist organization that targets non-Sunnis, including Shiites, Yazidis, Kurds, apostates, and anyone else they consider outside the framework of Muhammad’s carefully articulated framework of Islamic piety. Indeed, ISIS’s assaults are highly calculated and vindictive, attacking targets that have sought out revenge against Sunnis in the past, like Iraqi Shiites, or Westerners that have dared to question or criticize Muhammad.

Unlike Islam, Judaism, as a religion, has solved its theological disputes through intensive scholarship and oral arguments. The Talmud is the living testament of Jewish debate and exegesis. Contrary to their Islamic clerical counterparts, Rabbinical authorities have refrained from inciting violence in name of religion and have instead encouraged textual analysis and philosophical inquiry for the greater part of Jewish history and into the modern era.

4. Muslim refugees are far more religious (with many submitting to Qur’anic literalism) than Jewish refugees during WWII, an ethno-religious block that was predominately secular, assimilated into Western society, and already integrated into the mainstream European social fabric.

One of the main prejudiced complaints Hitler and the Nazis leveled against the Jews of Europe was that they were too integrated into society. Hitler sought a wholesale separation between Jews and Aryans based on eugenics-dependent racial lines. While anti-Semitism was still pervasive in Europe before the rise of the Third-Reich, the Jews nonetheless managed to thrive in a variety of fields, including the arts, literature, science, finance, and medicine. The Jews that were Orthodox practiced their faith in peace and privacy, without imposing their religion on wider society.

Today’s Muslim refugees come from relatively unstable, Islamic-centric societies where religion is both a public and private exercise. The wall of separation between personal Islamic faith and public Islamic law is virtually non-existent in Muslim-majority countries. Islam encompasses every aspect of life from marital relations to government administration.

As a result, Muslim refugees may have sympathies and views antithetical to Western values. According the a recent Pew Research Center poll highlighted in The Daily Caller, a significant proportion of Arab Muslims endorse sharia law as the ideal legal code for society and favor harsh punishments for non-believers that violate the tenets of Islam:

86 percent of Muslims in Pakistan, 84 percent in Afghanistan, 81 percent in the Palestinian territories, 80 percent in Egypt, 65 percent in Jordan, 57 percent in Iraq and 54 percent in Malaysia and Bangladesh favor stoning as a lethal punishment for adultery. A majority of Muslims in several countries also support the death penalty for Muslims who convert away from Islam, including in Afghanistan (79 percent), Egypt (88 percent), Pakistan (75 percent), the Palestinian territories (62 percent), Jordan (83 percent) and Malaysia (58 percent).

Ian Tuttle of The National Review explains the value-gap between Jews of the WWII era and Muslim refugees today, citing, “A recent Arab Opinion Index poll of 900 Syrian refugees found that one in eight hold a “to some extent”-positive view of the Islamic State (another 4 percent said that they did not know or refused to answer). A non-trivial minority of refugees who support a murderous, metastatic caliphate is a reason for serious concern. No 13 percent of Jews looked favorably upon the Nazi party.”

5. Muslim immigrants have disproportionately contributed to racist attacks against other minority groups, notably Jews. European Jews are still victims, rather than perpetrators, of anti-Semitic, white and Islamo-Supremacist, acts of harassment, bullying and intimidation.

According to the latest Pew Research Center polls, the majority of anti-Semitic attacks directed against Jews are initiated by members of the Muslim immigrant population. This is unsurprising given the culture of rampant anti-Semitism in the Arab world, particularly in Palestinian territories. “While European views towards Jews have become more negative, the deepest anti-Jewish sentiments exist outside of Europe, especially in predominantly Muslim nations. The percentage of Turks, Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Pakistanis with favorable opinions of Jews is in the single digits,” documents Pew.

Global Jewry’s numbers are dwindling dramatically, while Muslim populations across the world are skyrocketing. Muslims are one of the fastest growing groups in the world. In the West, Muslim birth rates are far higher than Christians, Jews, and the unaffiliated.

“The Muslim share of Europe’s total population has been increasing steadily,” cites Pew. “Muslims are younger than other Europeans. In 2010, the median age of Muslims throughout Europe was 32, eight years younger than the median for all Europeans (40).” The influx of Muslim refugees flooding the West will exacerbate this demographic shift as the overwhelming majority of migrants are male.

These male migrants import anti-Semitic ideologies and beliefs that may harm existing minority populations, especially Jews. When the Charlie Hebdo Islamic terrorists finished slaughtering French cartoonists they went straight to a kosher super-market to butcher Jews. The anti-Semitism of the Obama administration obscured the fact that the kosher super-market attack was religiously motivated. In a moment of shame that will live on in the historical annals of anti-Jewish bigotry, President Obama called the attacks “random,” as if random Islamic terrorists happened to randomly stumble upon random Jewish folks in randomly kosher super-market to commit mass slaughter.

Original Article: The Daily Wire