Marco Rubio DESTROYS J Street

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Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held confirmation hearings for David Friedman, President Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Israel. Friedman received considerable opposition from liberal Jewish organizations for his comments on the “two-state solution” and organizations like J Street. These organizations started a vicious campaign calling on US Senators to reject his confirmation, claiming that he is unfit for the role.

Enter Senator Marco Rubio.

Rubio opened his first round of questions to Friedman by referring to the confirmation process as “unreal” due to the amount of scrutiny Friedman is facing for prior statements. He then directed his attention to J Street.

Let me begin by saying I find this whole process to be unreal. This sort of ordeal you’re being put through to account for all the words, in particular given some of the groups that have been ratcheting all this up. This group J Street, that, for example, a few years ago invited the chief Palestinian negotiator Erekat to address their conference, a person who has justified the murder of Jews as self-defense, as a person as they invited to speak at the conference.

Rubio is absolutely correct. J Street, a Soros-funded anti-Israel group masquerading as the home for “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” invited Erekat to their 2015 conference. Not long after attending their conference, Erekat called on the Palestinian Authority to support lone-wolf Palestinian-Arab terrorist attacks against Jews, called for rejecting a future Jewish state, and called for cooperating with genocidal terrorist organizations like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Rubio continued to target J Street:

This is a group who has routinely attacked people who hold my views, with content that I find to be a smear and a mischaracterization of our views.

This is also correct. J Street’s Alan Elsner attacked Rubio during his candidacy for the Republican nomination last year, saying that Rubio could not be taken seriously as a potential Commander-in-Chief for wanting to “casually erode and eventually overthrow almost five decades of US bipartisan policy opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.” In the same article, Elsner justified a comparison between Rubio and the BDS movement, claiming that Rubio’s policy positions “leave no room for a political stance of supporting Israel while opposing settlement and occupation.”

J Street’s President Jeremy Ben-Ami once referred to the American Jewish Congress, the Jewish Federations, and the Jewish Community Relations Council as a “multi-headed hydra” that needed to be cut down to make room for J Street’s radical, anti-Israel views.

J Street has a long history of anti-Israel polemics. Following the savage murder of two Israeli parents nearly two years ago, J Street wrote a statement insinuating that Jews living in Judea and Samaria were the reason for Palestinian-Arabs murdering them in cold blood. The organization was also an outspoken supporter of the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, which gave the world’s leading sponsor of terror $150 billion dollars as a reward for not continuing their nuclear proliferation for ten years.

Original Article: The Daily Wire

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

Security cabinet orders arrests, closure of Jerusalem terrorist’s village

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After truck-ramming attack which killed four, police increase presence in Jabel Mukaber, ministers call to destroy family home as soon as possible.

In response to Sunday’s truck-ramming terror attack, the security cabinet decided late Sunday on a series of measures intended to deter new Palestinian attacks.

After convening Sunday night at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, the committee of 10 ministers voted to deny the release of the terrorist’s body to his family, in order to prevent the family from holding a public funeral at which his actions would be celebrated.

Fadi al-Qunbar, 28, a father of four from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, rammed his truck into a group of IDF soldiers touring the Jerusalem’s Haas Promenade in the city’s south.

Among the responses chosen by the ministers, the Qunbar family home will be destroyed at the earliest possible time — limited only by possible court appeals available to the family.

Standing family — unification requests by members of the Qunbar family to allow relatives from Gaza to come live with them in Jerusalem will be denied.

The neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, from which multiple terror attacks have originated over the past year, has been encircled by security forces, who placed a cordon on the village and begun carrying out security checks for anyone leaving the area toward other parts of Jerusalem.

The cabinet also ordered the security services to detain and investigate anyone found praising or celebrating the attack, after claims surfaced that some residents of East Jerusalem cheered and distributed sweets to passersby after the attack.

It also gave permission for security agencies to place anyone who expresses support for Islamic State, as Qunbar reportedly did, in administrative detention, a controversial counter-terror measure that allows the indefinite detention of terror suspects without trial.

Nine people were arrested in the immediate aftermath of the attack, including five family members of the terrorist. Police carried out multiple raids into Jabel Mukaber in the afternoon and evening hours.

Palestinian media reported that Qunbar was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a secular terror group, but Qunbar’s family insisted he was “religious,” and Israeli intelligence believes he supported the Islamic State jihadist group.

The four soldiers who were killed in the attack were named on Sunday evening: Yael Yekutiel, 20, Shir Hajaj, 22, Shira Tzur, 20, and Erez Orbach, 20. All will be buried on Monday at military cemeteries around the country. Sixteen more people were injured, two of them very seriously.

Original Article: The Times Of Israel

HAMAS HOLDS RALLY IN GAZA TO CELEBRATE TERRORIST RAMMING THAT KILLED 4 ISRAELIS

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“The message of our Islamic party Hamas is a message of encouragement and support for every jihadi who carries out an attack that puts an end to the acts of the Zionist enemy.”

Thousands of Hamas activists and supporters took to the streets of Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza on Sunday night to rally against Israel and praise the terrorist ramming attack in Jerusalem which killed four Israelis.

Earlier on Sunday, a Palestinian rammed his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers on a popular promenade in Jerusalem, killing four of them in an attack which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said had likely been inspired by Islamic State.

Chanting anti-Israeli slogans the protesters marched to the rally where sweets were handed out in celebration.

“The message of our Islamic party Hamas is a message of encouragement and support for every jihadi who carries out an attack that puts an end to the acts of the Zionist enemy,” Hamas leader Fathi Hamad, who led the rally, told Reuters.

The Palestinian Islamist group routinely praises those who carry out street attacks against Israelis.

The Palestinian attack in Jerusalem was the deadliest in months and targeted officer cadets as they disembarked from a bus that brought them to the Armon Hanatziv promenade which has a panoramic view of the walled Old City.

The military said an officer and three officer cadets were killed and that 17 others were injured.

Police identified the truck driver as a Palestinian from east Jerusalem and said he was shot dead. His uncle, Abu Ali, named him as Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qunbor, 28, a father of four from the Jabel Mukabar neighborhood.

Following the attack, Netanyahu said that access limitations were imposed in and around the east Jerusalem neighborhood and that further actions will be taken by Israel.

Late on Sunday, police were seen patrolling the area and stopping vehicles for checks. Palestinians threw fireworks at the forces, but no casualties were reported.

Actions inspired by Islamic State in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem have been rare and only a few dozen Arab Israelis and Palestinians are known to have declared their sympathy with the group.

A wave of Palestinian street attacks, including vehicle rammings, has largely slowed but not stopped completely since it began in October 2015 and 37 Israelis and two visiting Americans have been killed in these assaults.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

UN vote tops Wiesenthal list of top 10 antisemitic, anti-Israel cases in 2016

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Jewish human rights organization releases its 2016 ranking.

The US abstention from a recent vote against Israeli settlements at the UN Security Council topped the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s annual list released Tuesday of the 10 worst outbreaks of Jew-hatred and anti-Israel incidents.

The Jewish human rights organization ranked the Obama administration’s move as the top case, charging that it erased Jewish history.

“The most stunning 2016 UN attack on Israel was facilitated by President [Barack] Obama when the US abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction. It reversed decades-long US policy of vetoing such diplomatic moves against the Jewish State,” wrote the center.

The organization added: “It also urges UN members ‘to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967,’ effectively endorsing BDS.”

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn along with former British politician Baroness Jenny Tonge ranked second.

According to the ranking, “antisemitism in the [Labour] party has greatly escalated.

Corbyn, who previously called Hamas and Hezbollah his ‘friends,’ also promoted his strategy adviser Seumas Milne, a Hamas proponent.”

France earned the third spot for “singling out Israel. Amid a backdrop of devastating and murderous Islamist terrorist attacks, continued targeting of French Jewry and reports of the refusal of some Muslim police officers to guard synagogues, the French government became the first member of the European Union to implement the requirement of labels on all Israeli goods produced beyond the Jewish state’s 1967 borders.”

Fourth place included a list of BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) actions targeting Israel.

“Leaders of the German Teacher’s Union (GEW) local in Oldenburg have called for a total boycott of Israel. In September, the Oldenburg GEW local published a pro-BDS article by Christoph Glanz, a public school teacher and fanatic opponent of the Jewish state.

Glanz, who has tried posing as a Jew to avoid charges of anti-Semitism, recently called for the eradication of the State of Israel and relocation of its Jews to southwestern Germany,” notes the list.

Also included in spot four were the United Church of Christ, which overwhelmingly voted to endorse BDS, as well Ryerson University in Toronto, where the student union voted to endorse the BDS movement.

The head of the far-right US-based National Policy Institute, Richard Spencer, garnered the fifth spot for being “America’s 21st century Nazi.”

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas ranked sixth.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center cited past comments later retracted by Abbas in which he referred to false claims that Israeli rabbis had called for the poisoning of Palestinian wells.

“Just a week ago, a group of rabbis in Israel announced, in a clear announcement, demanding their government, to poison, to poison, the water of the Palestinians. Is this not incitement? Is this not clear incitement, to the mass murder of the Palestinian people?” Abbas had initially said.

The list also pointed to a Hamas TV program that aired a play in which Palestinian children dressed in military fatigues and armed with guns and knives “kill” those acting as Israelis.

The explosion of antisemitic attacks in the Netherlands catapulted the country to the seventh slot. At a high school “some of the graduates broke out in song with the lyrics, ‘Together we’ll burn Jews, because Jews burn the best’- a chant sometimes heard in the country’s soccer stadiums,” wrote the center.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was ranked eighth for worrying about terrorists and not their victims “Commenting on the violence in Israel of knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists, and measures taken by Israeli police in their wake during the so-called ‘Knifing Intifada’, Wallstrom, called for an investigation into what she called ‘extra-judicial killings’ by Israeli police,” she was quoted as saying.

The ninth slot covered antisemitism in the sports arena. Outbreaks of antisemitism were cited in the US, the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, the United Kingdom and Poland.

The last spot went to Poland for its persecution of “prominent historian Jan Tomasz Gross, who documented Polish participation in the murder of Jews in wartime Poland.

He is in the crosshairs of Polish authorities who are considering charges that could put him behind bars for three years for ‘harming the country’s reputation.’”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Thanks to Israel, I Can Have a Merry Christmas

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Leader of the Aramean Christian community Father Gabriel Nadaf explains why a Jewish and democratic Israel is crucial for Middle Eastern Christians.

The following article was published prior to Christmas in 2014. As the world continues to see the heart breaking pictures from Aleppo, Iraq, and other war torn areas throughout the region, it is without a doubt that the message of this article is as applicable as ever.

Right now, while Christians the world over are celebrating Christmas, entire communities of the followers of Christ cannot rejoice. The Middle East and parts of Africa continue to drown in rivers of blood, with various minorities being targeted by radical Islamic organizations such as ISIS, Hamas, Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and others.

The Christians there are stuck in the middle of a maelstrom of genocide and ethnic cleansing occurring on a daily basis through horrific acts of rape, crucifixion, theft, expulsion, destruction, burning of churches, forced conversions, abduction of nuns and the murder of priests, children, women and the elderly. Sometimes the murderers slaughter whole families, sometimes they murder some in front of the rest and then let the others live with the nightmare. People who can flee to the west, and those who can’t leave or who wish to remain must live with the danger.

The Middle East is effectively being cleansed of Christians. In the beginning of the 20th century, Christians constituted some 20% of the population in the region. Today, it’s 4% and falling. 77% of Iraq’s Christians have fled since 2000, in addition to the thousands who were murdered or forcibly expelled. 450,000 Christians have fled Syria since the civil war began in 2011, for fear they would share the same fate.

Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, had a clear Christian majority. Since 1995, when Israel handed the city to the Palestinian Authority, Christians have been leaving in droves. Today, Christians are only 15% of the population, some say it’s even less. Elsewhere in Palestinian controlled areas, Christians are also leaving, and in Hamas controlled Gaza, the situation is even worse.

Middle Eastern Christians are not just targets for abuse and murder, but are also regularly treated as second class citizens and coping with racism and religious, economic and social discrimination. All because they adhere to Christianity, which espouses peace and goodwill to all mankind.

This bears repeating again and again: Christians in Arab countries live as second class citizens, without rights, with their property stolen, their honor trampled, their children sacrificed and the slaughter ongoing.

Amid the chaos of the Middle East, only one island of sanity can be found where Christians are not persecuted, where they enjoy freedom of religion and ritual, freedom of expression, and where they can live in peace without fear of genocide. That island is the State of Israel. The state in which I and my Christian brothers were born allows Christians complete freedom. Jews and Christians live in Israel in peace and as good neighbors. This is not just because Jesus was born in Jewish Bethlehem and was born a Jew, but because Christians and Jews share a common heritage and a shared hope for a peaceful coexistence.

Israeli Christians are an inseparable part of the population’s fabric, and as its citizens they may elect and be elected to its parliament and local municipalities, rights they use regularly. As a demographic group, they are the most educated community in Israel, are integrated in the legal system as lawyers and judges, serve as officers in the police and the IDF, and occupy various positions in government offices and institutions. You can find many of them as students and faculty in universities, in the health system, on sports teams, in culture, and throughout the private sector. The churches, monasteries, and Christian sites are preserved and run by the various churches entirely freely.

Middle Eastern Christians were always taught that the Arab nation is as one, made up of Muslims and Christians: “We are brothers with a common enemy – the State of Israel,” so they told us. But in recent years, Christians have woken up from the lie which accompanied them for decades, encountering instead a reality of discrimination, persecution and death. This reality has brought Christians in the State of Israel to search for our true identity and return to our authentic roots, before the Arabs and Islam came to the region.

We, the Christians of the State of Israel and the Middle East, are not Arabs, but Arameans in our heart and soul. Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic, one can find Aramaic Holy Books in Middle Eastern churches and before the Muslims invaded, most of the Middle Eastern Christians spoke Aramaic.

This year, the State of Israel recognized the Aramean nation in the population registrar, and is in fact the first state in modern history to recognize this nation, thus allowing Christians to return to their historic identity which was blurred in the Middle East with a nation not their own over the centuries. Unfortunately, the world is not aware of this fact and does not thank the State of Israel which protects Christians and allows them a life of freedom. To the contrary, many in the international community have chosen through ignorance, anti-semitism and incorrect information to criticize Israel with the clear intent of harming and weakening it.

A few months ago, I held a number of meetings with senior officials from the European Parliament and at the European Commission in Brussels. When I told them about the freedom of Christians in Israel, I was shocked to learn that some of them knew nothing about this, and some even admitted that this was the first time that they had received such information on Christians in Israel. The reason for this is that the information that does reach the European Commission on a regular basis is partial and distorted, portraying Israel as a persecutor of Christians.

To me, this is a double crime. Those who choose to lie and distort information passed on to the media, the political establishment or the authorities while hiding the truth and with the sole purpose of hurting the State of Israel for political motives, thus gives aid to extreme elements which strive to destroy the Jews, Christians, Druze, Yezidis and other minorities. Through this illegitimate method, the international community contributes to the worsening of the already difficult humanitarian situation in the Middle East and also bears the responsibility for the situation which forces Christians from their homes. It is time that the world woke up, looked reality in the eye and understood the evil which strives to destroy the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.

The world is trying to weaken Israel and make it easy prey for terrorism. By doing so, they pass a death sentence on Christians in the Middle East and the Holy Land, where Jesus Christ our Lord was born. NGOs and pseudo-Christian organizations, which have not yet freed themselves of the old anti-semitism, who are not familiar with the history of the Holy Land and who disgrace Christianity, act in Israel and the Palestinian Authority and receive millions of Euros from EU countries and institutions.

These organizations adopt a clear anti-Israel policy, sometimes under the cover of “social” and “human rights” activity but with the clear political aim of harming the State of Israel. The results of this activity both directly and indirectly harm the rights of Israeli Christians, who wish to integrate into Israeli society, and harming the delicate fabric of relationships between communities in the State.

Just a few days ago, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) published a report on human rights in Israel in 2014. The report is slanted, manipulative and dangerous. This report, which contains chapters on “Arab minority rights”, “Freedom of Expression” and “Harming of Freedom of Expression During Protective Edge” completely ignores the issue of Christians striving for full integration and which represent true coexistence. The report does not refer once to the Arab incitement, persecution and violence, the attempts to silence us, the intolerance and attempts to harm our freedom of religion and ritual. These have been a regular occurrence over the past two years, including explicit calls for my murder and the murder of my friends from the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum.

The only mention of Christians in this manipulative report is the investigation of a citizen, who as part of an ongoing campaign of incitement published a picture of Recruitment Forum members on his facebook page along with a veiled threat. This is tagged by the report authors as an example of “policing” the internet and harming free speech. This report, which completely ignores our situation, exposes the bias of the ACRI towards anything which doesn’t fit their political agenda. It is a good example of how EU-funded organizations actually harm the rights of Jews and non-Jews in the State of Israel.

The international community must understand that if the Reaper’s scythe reaches the Land of Israel, then no Christians will remain in the birthplace of Christianity. There will no longer be a living basis for the Faith of Christ. Only by standing alongside Israel and understanding that ensuring its Jewish identity will ensure its democratic regime will ensure the continuing flowering of the Christian community here, which looks fated to be the last remnant of Christianity in the Middle East.

Original Article: MiDA

Fatah Lawmakers Warn European Parliament of Ongoing ‘Serious Deterioration of Democracy’ in Abbas-Led Palestinian Authority

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A group of Fatah lawmakers recently sent a letter to the European Parliament warning of an ongoing “serious deterioration of democracy” in the Palestinian Authority, The Algemeiner has learned.

In the letter, obtained by The Algemeiner, 13 Fatah members of the Palestinian Legislative Council — including Mohammed Dahlan, an arch-rival of PA President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas — wrote that Palestinians have been “suffering from the increasing human rights violations that the Palestinian presidential institution has been committing against our people, especially against the rule of law and the separation between the executive, legislative and judicial powers.”

Furthermore, the letter claimed, Abbas’ regime — which controls Palestinian areas of the West Bank — has “exploited the world’s silence to commit more and more violations on a daily basis.”

The letter’s signatories called for “direct intervention” by European governments to “monitor the behavior and decisions of the Palestinian presidential institution.”

“Your countries have provided generous financial, technical and legal support for the construction and rehabilitation of judicial and security institutions,” the letter went on to say. “However, these institutions have been repeatedly misused to suppress political freedoms and intervene in political disputes…You provide aid and grants to our people, but the presidential institution and its affiliate institutions use your money to punish and suppress those who disagree with them and speak in favor of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”

“We request you to urgently form inquiry committees and to open investigations into the reported violations,” the letter concluded. “This should be preceded by practical steps in the form of clear messages to be addressed to the Palestinian executive authority. We are ready to receive a fact-finding delegation from the European Parliament, and to send a Palestinian delegation to you to discuss the details of these and many other violations.”

The 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council has not met since 2007, the year Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip from the Fatah-ruled PA.

The most recent PLC elections took place in 2006, when Hamas won a majority with 70 seats. Fatah holds 45 seats.

Due to the continuing internal Palestinian political deadlock, the 81-year-old Abbas is currently in the 12th year of a four-year PA presidential term that began in 2005.

Last month, as reported in The Algemeiner, Fatah unanimously re-elected Abbas to serve as its leader for another five years.

The Algemeiner also reported last month that Egypt was pressuring Abbas to appoint a successor. The same report said Arab League member-states were seeking to bring Dahlan — currently living in exile in the United Arab Emirates — back into the Palestinian political picture, for the purpose of making him a candidate to take the aging PA president’s place in the future.

Earlier this year, as reported by The Algemeiner, an Israeli expert on Arab affairs said that the PA’s grip on the West Bank was weakening.

Original Article: Algemeiner

UK Labour Leader Corbyn Attends London Launch of Anti-Israel Book Authored by ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ Founder

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The leader of the UK’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn — long dogged by accusations of personal and party-wide antisemitism — met Tuesday evening with the founder of an internationally renowned anti-Israel student group, The Algemeiner has learned.

According to information gathered by covert campus watchdog group Canary Mission, Corbyn attended the London book signing of Dr. Hatem Bazian, senior lecturer at UC Berkeley and father of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Pictures from the evening — hosted by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) as part of a promotion tour for Bazian’s new book, Palestine…It Is Something Colonial — show the two men posing together.

“The fact that Britain’s opposition leader took the time to attend Bazian’s event and show solidarity with one of the most notorious fathers of anti-Israel agitation in academia indicates that Bazian’s influence is increasing,” Canary Mission said.

The meeting should “alarm” Britain’s Jewish community, Canary Mission said, as Corbyn is showing “open support for the demagogic founder of SJP, who once called for an intifada in the US and created the most influential student vehicle for the delegitimization of the Jewish people’s history and very identity.”

According to an IHRC summary of the event, Bazian spoke about his new book at length, which calls for the re-framing of “the Palestine situation through the lens of settler colonialism,” adding:

Dr. Bazian also looked back to 1492 — a period he describes as critical. He places Palestine within the context of the dismantling of Ottoman structures by colonial powers. It came to be that religion was deployed as something imperial that gave authority for dispossession. Today, the settlements in Palestine are rationalized with a biblical narrative. In the same way, Zionism uses nationalism and colonialism to justify the existence of Israel. It is an ideology that replicates Eurocentricity and surrenders to antisemitism instead of seeking to defeat it.

Bazian’s organization, SJP, has been at the center of numerous controversies on US college campuses. As was reported by The Algemeiner, a Brandeis study published in October found that “one of the strongest predictors of perceiving a hostile climate towards Israel and Jews is the presence of an active SJP group on campus.”

Though SJP continues to make waves at American universities, according to a leading Jewish human-rights and antisemitism expert who spoke with The Algemeiner in November, the group is “increasingly on the defensive” as it finds itself spending “much of its energy trying to deny its obvious bigotry” and responding to accusations of blatant Jew-hatred.

Corbyn, for his part, has been embroiled in several scandals over the years regarding his own anti-Israel views and affiliation with terror-sympathizers. In May, as The Algemeiner reported, then-British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Corbyn to explicitly retract a statement in which he referred to terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends.” Corbyn refused to comply.

Most recently, Corbyn has come under fire for his failure to properly address rampant Jew-hatred and antisemitic anti-Zionism within his own party. The findings of a Labour Party inquiry into these allegations were rejected by a leading UK antisemitism watchdog as a “meaningless whitewash.”

Corbyn’s office did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment on the encounter with Bazian.

Original Article: Algemeiner

IDF Announces: Disbanding of Hamas Terror Cell in West Bank

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Israeli security forces announced Thursday that they had disbanded a Hamas terror cell operating in the Hebron area in October through a joint Israel Defense Forces (IDF), police and Shin Bet operation.

According to the Shin Bet, the Hamas cell planned to carry out kidnappings of and shooting attacks against Israelis “in order to bargain for the release of prisoners.” The investigation also led to authorities seizing weapons and large quantities of ammunition, including two AK-47s, three pistols and a shotgun.

Security officials said the terror cell revolved around its leader Ibrahim Abdullah Ranimat, a 58-year-old Palestinian who is currently serving a life sentence in prison for his role in terrorist attacks during the 1990s, including the abduction and murder of IDF soldier Sharon Adri in 1996.

Ranimat’s three sons — Fadi Ibrahim Ranimat, Muhammad Ranimat and Shadi Ibrahim Ranimat — were arrested by security forces. Additionally, security forces arrested J’ad Sultan, who procured the weapons for the cell; Haitham Hamidan, who stored the weapons; and Rami Rajoub, who was also arrested for plotting with Ranimat while in prison.

Original Article: Algemeiner

Thousands of rockets to pound undefended Israeli civilians in next war

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There are significant defects regarding physical protection, early warning systems and the evacuation of the population, which would increase the risk of civilian life during a war.

Tens of thousands of rockets are expected to rain down on the Israeli home front in the country’s next war. Yet, Israel will face a lack of bomb-shelters, defective warning systems and an incomplete evacuation plan for civilians in critical areas, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira reported Tuesday.

According to the report, more than 2,090,000 civilians were without any form of protection or bomb-shelter in 2012.

Many expected the report to include sections on the defective handling of Hamas’s tunnel threat during the 2014 Gaza war or the IDF’s alleged questionable compliance with the laws of war during that operation, but these sections were absent.
The report briefly suggests that those sections were put off until later due to the intensity of the threat to the home front. Although, weeks ago, the absent sections were expected to be included and the threat to the home front has not changed since then.

The report is based on the comptroller’s comprehensive audits between September 2014-October 2015 on issues related to the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. The publication included review of the Home Front Command, especially in areas related to the protection of civilians.

According to the comptroller report, there are several significant defects regarding preparations in the fields of physical protection, early warning systems and the evacuation of the population, which would increase the risk of civilian lives during a war.

In addition, there has been increased criticism of shortcomings in the coordination between the various government bodies which deal with the home front, including the Defense Ministry, the IDF and the National Security Council.

The most glaring lack of bomb-shelters, or at least specially outfitted shelter-rooms, was in the Beduin sector in the South. The report found that despite a High Court of Justice petition demanding equal protections for Beduin communities, there has basically been no progress in increasing the safety of the populace there.

In July 2015 and March 2016 hearings before the High Court, the Beduin slammed the state for ignoring “unrecognized” Beduin villages. The High Court noted that rockets do not skip over villages simply because Israel does not officially recognize them.

Though the Defense Ministry in March responded that private citizens have a duty to build their own shelter-rooms, Shapira said that Beduin building plans are rarely approved – meaning essentially that they cannot build their own shelters.

Another common refrain from the state is that the Beduin are only one of many groups near the border who are still unprotected and that other villages are in even greater danger. The Beduin have responded that Jewish villages who are in the same rocket range as the Beduin have gotten far more new shelters than the Beduin have.

The report states that the IDF expects northern residents who love within 15 kilometers from the Lebanese border to spend an extended period of time in bomb-shelters during the next conflict with Hezbollah, since they are within reach of short and medium range rockets – which Hezbollah possesses in high volume.

A 2014 IDF survey found that even as most Golan residents had some form of nearby bomb-shelter, only half of investment properties did and the majority of residents near the Lebanese border did not have a nearby bomb-shelter.

As a result of the gaps in bomb-shelter coverage, the National Emergency Authority (RACHEL) decided on June 23, 2015 to establish a special unit to increase the volume of bomb-shelters in the North. As of October 2015, the new unit still did not exist. In November 2015, the head of RACHEL told the comptroller that he was only acting-head and that forming the new unit would need to wait for a more permanent head of RACHEL to take over and appoint leaders of the new unit.

The head of RACHEL also published an operational plan for increasing the volume of bomb-shelters. The plan was due to be complete by the end of 2015, but by March 2016, it still had not started. The IDF and RACHEL responded in early 2016 that private citizens or the Education Ministry were primarily responsible for the issue. The comptroller said he disagreed and placed primary responsibility with the Defense Minister.

Shapira said it is unrealistic to expect all private citizens to have the funds to build their own private shelter-room at an approximate cost of NIS 100,000 when the median income is NIS 6,707 per month and the average income is NIS 9,317 per month.

In the Gaza corridor, the comptroller said that the Defense Ministry must outfit nursery schools with bomb-shelters so that parents of the children can work. In contrast, the Defense Ministry policy has been that many nursery schools should simply be closed during periods of rocket attacks, which would make building bomb-shelters unnecessary.

On the positive side, Shapira complimented the state on outfitting Gaza corridor communities within seven kilometers of the border with special shelter-rooms.

Besides having bomb-shelter protection once rockets start landing, the report said that the early-warning system in the Gaza corridor did not function adequately to give the residents the stated 15 seconds to get to a shelter which it was supposed to give them.

Shapira complimented the defense establishment for improving the speed of the early-warning system for parts of the border, but said that it has still failed to improve the speed of warnings for other parts of the border.

Similarly, the report criticized the North’s advance-warning systems for failing to sound any warning or to go-off fast enough when short-range rockets were fired on Israel.

Next, the report blasted the Finance Ministry and the Defense Ministry for allocating only 78% and 30% of the set NIS 60 million per year budget toward improving advance-warning systems.

Another practical issue that the comptroller flagged is that the Defense Ministry has complained that local authorities are not supplying them proper structures on which they can fit the advance-warning systems, slowing down the improvement process.

Additionally, the comptroller said that plans to evacuate up to 300,000 civilians living in border areas close to rocket threats have moved forward, but far too slowly.

The “hotel guests” program for finding temporary quarters for evacuated citizens was approved in 2012, but neither the Interior Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the IDF nor local authorities have moved the program forward at anywhere near a pace which would enable 300,000 citizens to actually evacuate to new quarters.

Focusing on the big picture, the report said there was no collaboration between relevant government bodies and the army to examine the overall preparedness of the country against various threats until June 2016. It was also noted that the Ministerial Committee for Preparedness for Civil Emergencies was only established in October 2015 and only met once between then and July 2016.

And while the state comptroller noted that the IDF had offensive and interception capabilities that would reduce the rocket fire into Israel, he was not sure that the IDF was prepared for the scenario where tens of thousands of missiles and rockets could be fired into the country.

In March 2016, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the comptroller’s office that “the complexities of…the civilian arena in different emergencies is unclear in regards to the distribution of powers and responsibilities between the government departments and the bodies which deal with the Home Front Command, making it difficult to properly prepare.”

The state comptroller noted that although, according to the IDF chief-of-staff and defense minister, they had formulated a multi-annual plan for the home front, the plan was formulated without the consultation of Erdan, calling this and other poor coordination a “fundamental flaw.”

Regulation of authority between the Defense Ministry and the Public Security Ministry. and approval of plans for preparing the home front for emergencies by the government, are conditions for the exercise of resource allocation and implementation of plans. Therefore, the report noted, “any delay means a delay in emergency preparedness of the home front command.”

“Therefore, the level of preparedness of the home front at the national level not only shows the vulnerabilities in the country’s national preparedness,” but it does not allow for the best determination of action and priorities to improve the country’s preparedness level, the report stated.

According to a statement released by the defense establishment on Tuesday, there is coordination with the Public Security Ministry, referring to the wave of fires which hit Israel two weeks ago. The statement said that “despite the Public Security Ministry not declaring [the fires] a national disaster, all government ministries were present to help, and Home Front Command forces were in full coordination with the Israeli police.”

The statement noted that the defense establishment and Home Front Command along with RACHEL have formulated detailed plans in the event that residents from the North must be evacuated.

“Operational plans are updated every few months according to demographics in each community, under the supervision of an inter-ministerial steering committee. At the same time, government agencies have helped RACHEL make a significant leap forward in their ability to realize the plan, hotel guests, and extensive evacuation of the population in case of war and mass disasters,” read the statement.

Original article: The Jerusalem Post

The ADL’s Praise of Keith Ellison Betrays Its Mission to Combat Antisemitism

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Despite the volumes of evidence about Congressman Keith Ellison’s longstanding record of Israel-bashing and antisemitism, the Anti-Defamation League praised this leading contender for chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Appallingly, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt took to Twitter to characterize Ellison as an “important ally in the fight against antisemitism” and “on record in support of Israel.”

Last week, ZOA published a release, urging that Ellison not be appointed to head the DNC. Ellison’s dangerous positions, involvements and anti-Israel congressional initiatives have included the following:

This past summer, Ellison (aka Keith X. Ellison, aka Keith Hakim, aka Keith Ellison Muhammed) worked to insert anti-Israel positions and language into the 2016 Democratic national platform, and to keep pro-Israel planks out. Ellison complained in a DemocracyNow! interview that the Israeli “occupation” was to blame for a “humanitarian crisis” and lack of sewage processing in Gaza – while ignoring that Israel withdrew from every inch of Gaza, and that Hamas diverts the electricity needed to operate Gaza’s sewage treatment plant to energize their terror tunnels and operations.

Also in 2016, Ellison tweeted a sign falsely accusing Israel of expropriation and “apartheid.” And in September, Ellison defended the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) on the House floor. ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, involved in funneling money to Hamas.

In 2015, Ellison spearheaded and co-authored a letter (and obtained the signatures of 23 Democratic members of Congress) demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress about the Iran deal be delayed until after the sanctions deadline – when the visit would have been useless.

In 2014, Ellison was one of only eight members of Congress who voted against the bipartisan bill to provide $225 million to Israel’s “Iron dome” missile system.

In 2012, Ellison traveled from Minnesota to raise funds and speak at mosques in New Jersey, urging and helping Arab-American residents of the state to defeat pro-Israel Democratic Jewish Congressman Steve Rothman.

In 2010, Ellison convinced 53 other Democratic Congresspersons to sign his infamous “Gaza 54” letter to President Obama, which falsely accused Israel of humiliating and wreaking “collective punishment” on Gaza residents, and demanded that President Obama pressure Israel to lift the Gaza blockade – thereby enabling Hamas to obtain more weapons to kill and terrorize innocent Israeli civilians.

In a 2010 DemocracyNow! interview, Ellison also argued that the US not kill a leading terrorist located in Yemen, who was responsible for numerous deaths of Americans, and was continuing to foment some of the worst additional attacks, on the grounds that the terrorist would consider his own death to be a “reward.”

Ellison also received substantial campaign contributions from groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is the “parent” organization of Hamas, al Qaeda and other terrorist entities. Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UAE and Kuwait have all designated the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.

Ellison also spoke at Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) dinners, and defended CAIR on the House floor. Materials handed out at CAIR’s 2008 dinner (where Ellison spoke) referred to America as a terrorist organization, and called for the destruction of Israel and the United States. CAIR is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, involved in funneling money to Hamas.

In addition, the House of Representatives’ Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into Ellison’s failure to disclose that the Muslim American Society — a group founded by Muslim Brotherhood members to be the “overt arm…in the US” of that extremist organization — paid $13,350 for Ellison to go on hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2008. (See “Muslim Brotherhood-Tied Group Paid for Keith Ellison to Visit Mecca in 2008: Group was founded as ‘overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US,’” by Brent Scher, Washington Free Beacon, Nov. 21, 2016.)

In 2007, Ellison analogized President Bush’s prosecution of the war on terror after 9/11 to Hitler’s rise to power and activities after the Reichstag German Parliament Building fire.

From approximately 1989 until at least 1998, Ellison was an active leader in Louis Farrakhan’s antisemitic Nation of Islam. Ellison raised funds and led anti-police chants to support cop-killers; co-sponsored a vicious antisemitic speech by Kwame Ture (formerly known as Stokely Carmichael) — entitled “Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?” — and ignored Jewish law students’ pleas not to sponsor the program; and spoke at a public hearing on behalf of the Nation of Islam in support of a woman alleged to have said, “Jews are among the most racist white people I know.” In 1995, Ellison organized a rally featuring Khalid Abdul Muhammed saying, “If words were swords, the chests of Jews, gays and whites would be pierced.”

Back in 2007, the ADL criticized Ellison’s Bush-Hitler comparison.

However, the ADL is praising Ellison now – when an important leadership post of the Democratic party is at risk of falling into his hands — those of someone with a longstanding record of antisemitic, anti-Israel activities. Instead of calling out the real danger, the ADL has been busy condemning President-elect Trump’s appointee Stephen Bannon as an antisemite, though it recently retracted that false, baseless claim.

ADL’s failure to soundly condemn Ellison’s overwhelming record of anti-Israel and antisemitic activities displays rank partisanship, and is an abdication of the ADL’s stated mission of combating antisemitism.

The ZOA thus again urges the ADL to join us in speaking out against appointing Ellison to the extraordinarily powerful position of DNC chair.

Original Article: Algemeiner

Senior Hamas official: Trump might be a Jew

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In an interview with Al-Jazeera earlier this month, Zahar said that “Trump loves the Jews, and not only because he likes the Jewish religion.”

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar has suggested that US President-elect Donald Trump is secretly a Jew.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera earlier this month, translated by MEMRI, Zahar said that “Trump loves the Jews, and not only because he likes the Jewish religion. I do not rule out the possibility that he is a Jew.

“He loves the Jewish religion,” Al-Zahhar continued, “and the most important thing in the Jewish religion is Jewish money.”
Zahar then went on an antisemitic rant, saying that Harry Truman was bought by $2 million in “Jewish Money” and therefore recognized the State of Israel.

Zahar continued by saying that American culture was consumed by “unnatural violence…obscene language, obscene acts, obscene declarations and obscene attacks on other countries,” adding that “that is the American culture and upbringing, that is their true religion.”

Speaking to reporters in Gaza after Trump’s win, the Islamist group’s spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said: “The Palestinian people is not very much concerned about the changes in American policies towards the Palestinian cause because such a policy is constant and is based on bias in favor of the Israeli occupation. However, we urge the American President to re-evaluate this policy and to work on bringing justice to the Palestinians.”

Trump has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if elected, the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, marking a potential dramatic shift in US policy.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post