IRAN: MISSILE STIKE STRUCK ISIS BUT IS ALSO AIMED AT US, SAUDIS, ISRAEL

From The Jerusalem Post:

That Iran would verbally threaten ISIS, Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel is not new. That it would launch six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles more than 600 kilometers into another country is.

Although Iran’s ballistic missiles hit ISIS in Syria on Sunday, the audience for the strike explicitly included the US and Saudi Arabia and, implicitly, Israel.

Recently, tensions have escalated on multiple fronts, between the US and the Saudis on one side and Iran on the other. The US and Saudi Arabia were specifically mentioned by an Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps spokesman as part of its audience for the “message” it sent by firing the missiles.

Israel, although not explicitly mentioned, has been the focus of constant threats by Iran – both directly and indirectly – via its support for Hezbollah and Hamas.

That Iran would verbally threaten ISIS, Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel is not new. That it would launch six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles more than 600 kilometers into another country is.

The question is how new, and does it transform Israel’s threat estimate? The argument – that firing the missiles greatly enhanced the threat Iran presents to Israel – would say its use of such powerful long-range weapons makes it more likely that it would use them again.

Going one step further, the argument would note: Even if Iran’s nuclear program is currently delayed by its deal with the West, in around another eight years, Iran could be launching ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads attached.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to take Iran’s missile launch seriously, saying on Monday: “We are following their actions and we are following their words. I have one message to Iran: ‘Don’t threaten Israel.’”

While the threat is nothing to scoff at, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman appeared to downplay it on Monday saying: “Israel is not worried, Israel is ready for any development. We are not concerned.”

Those arguing that Iran’s missile launch is not a serious change for Israel and is primarily one for ISIS, and possibly Saudi Arabia, can note that Iran has for years had the capability to hit Israel with its less advanced Shabab 3 and other missiles.

The longer range of the Zolfaghar might matter for US bases in the Middle East and for Saudi Arabia, but it adds no new threat for Israel.

Also, past conduct suggests that Iran’s missile strike, even as it shocked most of the world, is predictable behavior and may even have been understated.

According to both Iran and the anti-Iranian Mujahidin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), on April 18, 2001, Iran hit the Iraq-based MEK with between 44 and 77 missiles in as many as six locations.

Iran’s onslaught on the MEK came following the MEK’s launch of more than a dozen mortar attacks around Tehran.

Sunday’s six missiles against one ISIS location were a response to Islamic State’s June 7 audacious, simultaneous terrorist attack on Iran’s Parliament and the Ayatollah Khomeini shrine in the heart of Tehran.

So, in that sense, Iran’s attack on ISIS was far more modest than its last firing of ballistic missiles on the MEK.

Finally, in both the MEK and ISIS cases, Iran fired missiles on a weaker enemy to “teach a lesson” when it believed they had crossed some lines in confronting Iran deep in its territory.

Saudi Arabia has far more sophisticated firepower than ISIS or the MEK to hit back at Iran from a long distance; and the US and Israel each have even greater firepower than the Saudis to rain down on Iran if attacked by missiles.

Ultimately, though Iran’s missile strikes raised some eyes and were probably meant to show some toughness to the US and Saudi Arabia, for Israel, they did little more than confirm Iran as an ongoing and relevant threat that must be carefully monitored.

Amb. Nikki Haley: UNHRC report ‘reeks of anti-Israel bias’

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From Arutz Sheva:

U.S. envoy to the UN criticizes latest anti-Israel UNHRC report.

Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the UN, on Tuesday expressed concern about an anti-Israel report released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which offered to “advise and support” efforts to create a “blacklist” database of companies operating in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem.

The report, released on Monday, also criticizes Israel for failing to bring perpetrators of alleged war crimes to justice and blasts Israel for its alleged “rejection of the applicable legal framework and of its obligations in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Haley said, “This report is just the latest example of the Human Rights Council singling out Israel rather than focusing on the world’s actual human rights abusers. Not only does it undermine the credibility of the Human Rights Council on human rights issues, but it once again highlights the unfair bias of the UN when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“Rather than providing an impartial and informative update on human rights violations,” the statement continued, “the report reeks of the anti-Israel bias that Ambassador Haley has been calling out since day one on the job, most recently in Geneva last week.”

The statement also pointed out how the report ignores terror attacks by Hamas and other violent groups while “choosing to fixate on matters like the human rights practices of companies in the region.”

“It’s actions like these that are forcing us to evaluate the United States’ future on the Human Rights Council. The Council, and indeed the entire United Nations, were founded on the principles of equality and fairness. This report once again fails that mission,” said Haley.

The report was compiled by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raed al-Hussein, and will be discussed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on June 19.

It is the latest attempt by the UNHRC to single out Israel for criticism, which it often does while ignoring other conflicts in the region, such as the ongoing bloody civil war in Syria.

In March, the council passed a series of anti-Israel resolutions, including a motion condemning Israel for its construction in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and urging states and firms to avoid ties with “settlements”.

Just last week, Haley blasted the UNHRC for its obsession with criticizing Israel, saying, “It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Danon, criticized the report as well, calling it “biased and one-sided” and noting that it “ignores the daily incitement to violence and the ongoing terror attacks planned and executed against Israel by the Palestinians.”

GAZA: U.S. Pressure Behind Decision To Stop Terrorist Stipends

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From Hayom Israel:

Hamas leader in Gaza Yihya Sinwar is among the officials whose payments have been suspended – 47 Hamas lawmakers also lose payments – PA official says move part of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ punitive measure against Hamas.

The Palestinian Authority’s decision to suspend payments to freed Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip stemmed largely from American pressure, a Palestinian source said Monday, shortly after Ramallah announced the move.

The Palestinian Authority has been spending millions of dollars annually paying stipends to the families of terrorists who are either jailed in Israel or were killed while carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis, a practice Israel has repeatedly condemned.

According to a senior official in Ramallah, 47 Hamas parliament members freed in 2011 as part of the Schalit deal, along with some 270 ex-prisoners, are affected by the move to suspend the stipends. Among those affected is Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar.

Although most Hamas parliament members do not receive payments from the Palestinian Authority — as those ceased when Hamas violently seized control of the enclave in 2007 — hundreds of the 1,027 prisoners released as part of the Schalit deal who continued to receive salaries ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of shekels each month from a special fund operated by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Senior Hamas figures also continued to receive salaries from the Palestinian Authority, but not through the same fund. Instead, the PA carried out a bureaucratic maneuver, ostensibly adding them to the Palestinian security apparatuses’ payroll, thus effectively “laundering” the payments.

A senior official in Abbas’ office told Israel Hayom that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas carried out the move after his May 23 meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Bethlehem. During that meeting, which was reportedly very tense, Trump rebuked Abbas over Palestinian incitement.

Another Palestinian official, however, insisted the move was part of recent measures taken by Abbas against Hamas over its breach of the two factions’ 2014 reconciliation agreement.

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.

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