UNESCO Pretends Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is A Wholly Islamic Site


A resolution prompted by Arab nations attempts to hide the majority of the site’s history in order to defend one of Islam’s least plausible claims.

CounterJihad, October 14, 2016:

The United Nations’ agency for cultural preservation, UNESCO, has ruled that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has nothing to do with Jews or Israel — or Christians, either.  It is a site to be preserved for exclusively Islamic reasons, according to the ruling.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries, was a “theatre of the absurd.”  The ruling refers to Israel as “the Occupying Power” and is generally critical of Israeli preservation efforts, Israel’s intention to build a new visitor’s center near the site, and Israeli security forces’ efforts that have allegedly led to damage to the site.  In response to the ruling, Israel’s education ministry has suspended cooperation with UNESCO.

The Vatican, which holds observer status at UNESCO, has been asked to intervene to prevent the ruling from becoming finalized.  The resolution goes so far as to deny a Jewish connection to the Western Wall, where Jews still pray as they have since the Middle Ages.

Islam’s connection to the site is one of its least plausible theological claims.  That the site housed a Jewish temple in the days of Herod is a matter plainly demonstrable by archaeology, and that it was a Jewish site long before Herod is almost certainly true from scholarship.  Islam’s claim, however, is that the site is sacred because it is where Muhammad is supposed to have literally ridden his horse to heaven, following an already miraculous ride from present day Saudi Arabia to Israel in just one night.  The Western Wall is said to be sacred because it is where he tied his horse for a while before doing that — a tradition that does not date to the time of Muhammad at all, but is first observed in the literature in the 14th century.

There is nothing particularly wrong with holding to unlikely religious claims.  Christians generally hold that Jesus was bodily assumed into heaven, and although that claim goes along with Jesus having been actually divine, Catholics at least hold to a similar claim about St. Mary.  Nevertheless, it is strange to endorse those most unlikely of claims while also dismissing the most likely, and indeed clearly provable, of the claims of other faiths.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to see UNESCO’s ruling as otherwise than nakedly political.  The intent is clearly to favor Islam over Judaism and Christianity, and to favor Palestine over Israel.  It is not new for Israel to come in for hardship at the UN, nor for Muslim nations to attempt to use the United Nations to advance their religion’s primacy — or to prevent criticism of the worst practices of some of its adherents.  Nevertheless, it represents a shameful failure to live up to the United Nations’ higher ideals.

Despite Other Global Conflicts and Occupations, Israel is the Only Country the UN Calls an “Occupying Power”

Disarmament Conference at the European headquarters of the United NationsForget prolonged military occupations in East Timor, Cyprus, Georgia, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, and the Crimea; Israel is the UN’s only “occupier.”

CounterJihad by Bruce Cornibe, Sept. 26, 2016:

Is there any doubt that giving more power and authority to the  United Nations will not only compromise U.S. security but also the security of other other countries within the Western world, including Israel? Just take a look at the list of current members (here) that makeup the U.N. Human Rights Council, which includes some of the biggest human rights abusers. So, we are going to have the likes of Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China and other authoritarian regimes enlightening the free-world on human rights? What a joke. Maybe we should raise awareness that, in Saudi Arabia, one can allegedly receive a death sentence for renouncing his or her Islamic faith.

Furthermore, we have already seen members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) advocate for the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution (UNHRC) 16/18, which seeks to stifle criticism of Islam and Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. If anti-Western coalitions such as the O.I.C., allegedly “the largest United Nations bloc” (including 57 member states if counting the alleged ‘State of Palestine’), are so influential with the U.N. – how can we look to the U.N. for any kind of justice or fairness? We can’t. Just look how the U.N. deliberately tries to demonize Israel when discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict, while either ignoring or providing scant coverage to other important conflicts around the globe. The Wall Street Journal unveils the U.N.’s double standard with Israel:

Our research shows that the U.N. uses an entirely different rhetoric and set of legal concepts when dealing with Israel compared with situations of occupation or settlements world-wide. For example, Israel is referred to as the “Occupying Power” 530 times in General Assembly resolutions. Yet in seven major instances of past or present prolonged military occupation—Indonesia in East Timor, Turkey in northern Cyprus, Russia in areas of Georgia, Morocco in Western Sahara, Vietnam in Cambodia, Armenia in areas of Azerbaijan, and Russia in Ukraine’s Crimea—the number is zero. The U.N. has not called any of these countries an “Occupying Power.” Not even once.

It gets worse. Since 1967, General Assembly resolutions have referred to Israeli-held territories as “occupied” 2,342 times, while the territories mentioned above are referred to as “occupied” a mere 16 times combined. The term appears in 90% of resolutions dealing with Israel, and only in 14% of the much smaller number of resolutions dealing with the all the other situations, a difference that vastly surpasses the threshold of statistical significance. Similarly, Security Council resolutions refer to the disputed territories in the Israeli-Arab conflict as “occupied” 31 times, but only a total of five times in reference to all seven other conflicts combined.

Yet the bias goes further:

General Assembly resolutions employ the term “grave” to describe Israel’s actions 513 times, as opposed to 14 total for all the other conflicts, which involve the full gamut of human-rights abuses, including allegations of ethnic cleansing and torture. Verbs such as “condemn” and “deplore” are sprinkled into Israel-related resolutions tens more times than they are in resolutions about other conflicts, setting a unique tone of disdain.

Israel has been reminded by resolutions against it of the country’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions about 500 times since 1967—as opposed to two times for the other situations.

In particular, the resolutions refer to Article 49(6), which states that the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” This is the provision that the entire legal case against Israel settlements is based upon. Yet no U.N. body has ever invoked Article 49(6) in relation to any of the occupations mentioned above.

Israeli politician Danny Ayalon also gives a breakdown of the U.N. hypocrisy in this video. Not only does a large segment of U.N. General Assembly “Member States” comprise of countries where basic religious and political liberties for minorities are repressed, but it also includes rogue states that advance jihad either directly or indirectly like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it’s ridiculous that those in the Western world, including Israel (the only genuine democracy in the Middle East) have to take harangues by such actors. For example, at the U.N. General Assembly in 2012, on the Jewish day of atonement (Yom Kippur, high holy day), then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lambasted Israel and the international order – calling Israel a “fake government” and referring to them as “uncivilized Zionists” among other things.

Considering everything mentioned above it’s absurd how some U.S. leaders want to give the U.N. General Assembly even more power – especially with the U.S. currently wielding the “right to veto” resolutions, being one of the five “Permanent Member States” of theU.N. Security Council. While such efforts to make the U.N. more ‘democratic’ may sound appealing to some globalists, it ignores the fact that many U.N. member countries haven’t even truly bought into the U.N.’s flawed Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When U.S. politicians like President Obama and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seek to concede U.S. sovereignty to the empower the U.N., we need to remind them how bad of an idea that is for not only the U.S. but the rest of the free-world as well.

Netanyahu: The U.N. Is a Global ‘Moral Farce’

netanyahu-unWashington Free Beacon, by Jack Heretic, Sept.22, 2016:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu castigated the United Nations on Thursday in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, calling the organization a “moral farce.”

After stating that he believes Israel has a bright future with the U.N., Netanyahu gave a scathing indictment of the international institution for having a bias against the Jewish state.

“Year after year, I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the U.N. for its obsessive bias against Israel and the U.N. deserved every scathing word,” Netanyahu said. “For the disgrace of the General Assembly, that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic state of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet. Israel: 20, rest of the world: three.”

Netanyahu then lambasted two other U.N. entities, the Human Rights Council and the Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“And what about the joke called the U.N. Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the other countries of the world combined. As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the U.N.’s Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it, Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Israel, where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside, twice, over the Supreme Court, and have served as speaker of the Knesset and prime minister.”

“And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the U.N. body charged with preserving world heritage,” he continued. “Now, this is hard to believe, but UNESCO just denied the 4,000-year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That’s just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China.”

Before addressing why he believes Israel has an optimistic future, citing in part the country’s robust technology sector and growing diplomatic ties around the world, Netanyahu delivered another scathing line against the international body.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the U.N., begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce.”


READ: Full text of Netanyahu’s speech to UN General Assembly (jpost.com)

Mahmoud Abbas and Other Soviet Ghosts


Front Page Magazine, by Caroline Glick, Sept. 9, 2016:

Channel 1’s report Wednesday that in 1983, current Palestinian Authority Chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas served as a KGB agent is hardly the story of the year, but it does remind us of certain half-forgotten facts about the Cold War that are becoming ever more relevant today.

The PLO’s close and servile relationship with the KGB was first exposed in a systematic way in 1987, with the publication of Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief, the exposé of Soviet and Romanian Cold War operations written by former Romanian intelligence chief Lt.-Gen. Ion Pacepa. Pacepa, who defected to the US in 1978 after serving as the head of the DIE – Romania’s KGB – was the highest ranking intelligence officer from the Soviet bloc to ever defect.

In his book, Pacepa revealed that “the PLO was dreamt up by the KGB.”

Pacepa explained how Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, at the direction of Moscow, convinced Yasser Arafat to employ political warfare, centered on phony protestations that he had abandoned terrorism, to weaken the West’s resolve to defend itself and to cause Israel to doubt its own legitimacy.

Wednesday’s Channel 1 report on Abbas was based on new revelations from the Mitrokhin Archive. Vasili Mitrokhin was a senior archivist in the KGB who surreptitiously copied KGB documents for many years and hid his copies in his home. In 1991 Mitrokhin defected to Britain and took his archive of 25,000 copies of documents with him.

In 2004, the second volume of his edited archive was published. The volume, titled, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, focused on the KGB’s efforts to use the Third World as a strategic weapon in its battle against the West. The volume devotes two chapters to the KGB’s campaign against Israel.

Mitrokhin revealed that for the KGB, Israel was a target of subversion second only in importance to the US. The KGB fielded multiple political agents on the Israeli Left and multiple Palestinian agents in the PLO’s terrorist nexus.

According to the Channel 1 report, Abbas began his official service for the KGB in 1983.

In truth his KGB ties were already longstanding by 1983.

In 1982 Abbas received a doctorate from the Patrice Lumumba University – or KGB U – in Moscow. According to KGB defectors, 90 percent of the university’s faculty and staff received their paychecks from the KGB. Its purpose was to train KGB agents from the developing world, including terrorists. Abbas’s fellow alumni included master terrorist Carlos the Jackal and future Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Abbas received a doctorate for a thesis denying the Holocaust. That is, he used the cover of academia to vilify the Jewish state and deny Jewish history and suffering – a practice that has been his stock in trade in trade ever since.

Rather than devote his energies to murdering Israelis, along the lines of the subversive program Ceausescu presented to Arafat, Abbas’s main focus was the subversion of the European and the Israeli Left.

Until the mid-1970s, Arab terrorists were unable to make inroads in Israel because there were no significant political forces in Israeli society that questioned the justice and morality of the state or saw the PLO as anything other than a terrorist organization bent on the annihilation of Israel and the massacre of its citizens.

The situation changed with the rise of the Likud and the Right to power in 1977. As the Likud supplanted Labor as the largest party in Israel, the far Left became more susceptible to subversion.

Abbas focused his efforts on developing ties to the Israeli far Left. His efforts culminated in the 1993 Oslo peace deal which Abbas negotiated with Israeli leftist activists affiliated with then-foreign minister Shimon Peres through his deputy Yossi Beilin.

The PLO’s success in convincing the Rabin- Peres government that it had abandoned its goal of annihilating Israel came two years after the demise of the Soviet Union. In other words, the KGB’s campaign of anti-Western subversion outlived the Soviet Union.

Indeed it carries on with ever greater force and consequence. Today, the subversive campaigns that first bore fruits in the Vietnam War have brought about a situation where increasingly, Western elites cannot accept the basic morality of their societies.

Read more



Philos Project, by Andrew Harrod, Aug. 12, 2016:

Between Israel and Hezbollah, “another conflict is all but inevitable,” wrote retired Israeli Brigadier General Yakov Shaharabani. “It will be far more destructive and harmful than any other war Israel has fought in recent memory.” The former Israeli Air Force Intelligence chief thus introduced a sobering Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies report a decade after Israel’s last clash with the Lebanese terrorist organization.

Shaharabani said that the July 2006 Lebanon War “was the longest Israel had experienced since its War of Independence in 1948,” but any future clash with Hezbollah will make those destructive 34 days pale by comparison. According to his FDD coauthors, the Israeli government estimates that Hezbollah has approximately 150,000 rockets today as opposed to the mere 14,000 it possessed prior to the 2006 conflict. Writing for the Weekly Standard, Vanderbilt University law professor Willy Stern said that this gives Hezbollah a “bigger arsenal than all NATO countries – except the United States – combined.”

Stern elaborated that Hezbollah’s state sponsor Iran has “supplied its favorite terrorist organization with other top-of-the-line weaponry,” including advanced Russian-made anti-tank and anti-ship missiles and air defense systems. The FDD report noted that sanctions relief for Iran under the recent nuclear agreement will only darken this picture, for “Iran’s massive windfall is expected to trickle down to its most important and valuable proxy: Hezbollah.” Additionally, “Hezbollah has gained significant experience during five years of fighting in Syria” for the embattled Bashar Assad dictatorship.

Israeli Defense Forces leaders have presented Stern with grim scenarios in which “elite Hezbollah commandos will almost certainly be able to slip into Israel and may wreak havoc among Israeli villages in the north.” Given Hezbollah’s “capacity to shoot 1,500 missiles per day, Israel’s high-tech missile-defense system will be ‘lucky’ to shoot down 90 percent of incoming rockets, missiles and mortars.” Accordingly, “IDF planners quietly acknowledge that ‘as many as hundreds’ of Israeli noncombatants might be killed per day in the first week or two of the conflict.”

The FDD report documented Shaharabani’s prediction that the “next Lebanon war could actually devolve into a regional war.” With Hezbollah’s expanding into Syria, “Hezbollah and Iran plan to connect the Golan Heights to the terror group’s south Lebanese stronghold – to make it one contiguous front against Israel. Iran can also unleash violence on Israel through its Palestinian proxies,” meaning, for example, that Hamas rockets “could force the Israelis to divert Iron Dome and other anti-missile batteries to the southern front with Gaza.” As Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “was already embedded with Hezbollah during the last conflict, there is the very real possibility that Iranian forces could join Hezbollah in battle during the next confrontation.”

The FDD report noted that recurrent Israeli airstrikes against Hezbollah and Iranian targets in Syria raise the dangers of killing Russian advisers or coming into combat with Russian warplanes now supporting Assad against the Syrian rebels. Israeli consultations with Russia seek to avoid these clashes, but scholar Michael Doran warned at his Hudson Institute’s July 26 panel discussing the report that the “potential for friction there is enormous.” Recent American coordination plans with Russia in striking jihadist groups like the Islamic State would enable the Assad coalition to approach Israel’s borders, implicating an Israeli “red line” concerning the IRGC there.

Experts agree that a future Hezbollah-Israel conflict’s havoc will engulf as well Lebanon, termed at the Hudson Institute as “Hezbollahstan” by the Israeli embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission Reuven Azar. “The IDF no longer distinguishes between the sovereign nation of Lebanon and Hezbollah,” Stern has written, now that the Shiite-based organization has expanded its influence beyond its south Lebanon stronghold to countrywide domination. Simultaneously, “Hezbollah cleverly places its arsenal where any Israeli military response – even legal, carefully planned, narrowly targeted, proportionate measures – will lead to huge civilian casualties among Lebanese.” As report author Jonathan Schanzer noted at a July 25 FDD event, Hezbollah has “turned Shia villages into essentially missile silos.”

“We are not in the business of trying to provoke a new round,” Azar said, echoing certain arguments in the FDD report, yet several factors indicate that Israel will accept a decisive challenge with Hezbollah if it comes. While report author Tony Badran noted at the Hudson Institute that Hezbollah “is not even comparable to what it was in 2006,” the coming years “risk seeing a Hezbollah that is infinitely more capable in terms of its weapon systems. This time period of the Iran nuclear agreement also portends an Iran that is unleashed, that is probably by that point a threshold nuclear state with a legalized industrial scale program and recognized regional primacy in Iraq and Syria.” As the FDD report stated, the nuclear deal “has placed Iran on a patient pathway to a nuclear weapon. The clock is ticking. Israel’s window of opportunity to defeat Hezbollah in the shadow of the nuclear deal cannot be ignored.”

Not surprisingly, the FDD report cited Israeli assessments of Hezbollah as Israel’s greatest threat, a view confirmed by Schanzer’s past three years of meetings with Israeli officials. While Shaharabani at FDD discussed how Hezbollah would view not losing a future conflict with Israel as a victory, Israel would desire a short, yet decisive campaign against a growing threat, however contradictory these two goals. As he wrote, “Israel may find out very quickly that deterring Hezbollah is not a sufficient strategic goal. Therefore, defeating Hezbollah (or forcing it to leave Lebanon) might become its strategic objective.”

Although Shaharabani’s remarks noted that the more extensive Israel’s actions against Hezbollah, the likelier the intervention by Iran and others, the FDD report remained resolute. “Should war break out, the United State should actively delay the imposition of a premature ceasefire in order to buy the Israelis as much time as needed to complete their military campaign,” it read. This no substitute for victory approach makes eminent sense if, as Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar Joseph Bahout judged at FDD, Israel’s war with Hezbollah is unavoidable, only the “question is when and under which circumstances.”

Israeli athletes in Rio endure ‘shocking’ hostility, taunting by Muslim nations

Israel’s Yarden Gerbi reacts after winning the bronze medal of the women’s 63 kg judo competition at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. (Rex Features via Associated Press)

Israel’s Yarden Gerbi reacts after winning the bronze medal of the women’s 63 kg judo competition at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. (Rex Features via Associated Press)

Washington Times, by Valerie Richardson, Aug. 10 2016:

The 2016 Olympic Games have been billed as an opportunity to put politics aside in the spirit of international camaraderie, but that’s not necessarily how it’s working out for Israeli athletes.

Animosity toward the 47-athlete delegation has already triggered a reprimand from the International Olympic Committee and alarm from Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League, which issued a statement this week decrying anti-Israel “hostility” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Shocking but not surprisingly, the Lebanese and Saudi delegations obviously have the wrong idea about the Olympic games,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel group Stand With Us, in a Wednesday statement.

“Instead of using the events to forget animosity and promote peace between people, they have brought their brainwashed minds to Rio,” she said. “How unfortunate that they could not implement the good, peaceful intentions of the Olympics, and instead have used it as a forum to spread hate and continued rejection of peace.”

The confrontations with delegations of nations traditionally hostile to Israel have marred an otherwise successful Olympics for Israel. Two days ago, judo athlete Yarden Gerbi won the bronze, making her the nation’s first medal winner since the 2008 Olympics.

On Sunday, however, the IOC issued a reprimand to the head of the Lebanese Olympic delegation after he blocked Israeli athletes from entering a bus that the teams were supposed to share in order to reach the opening ceremonies.

Instead, Olympic organizers placed the Israeli athletes on a “special vehicle,” said Israeli sailing-team trainer Udi Gal.

“The bus driver opened the door, but this time the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the aisle and entrance,” said Mr. Gal on Facebook. “The organizers wanted to avoid an international and physical incident and sent us away to a different bus.”

He said he was “enraged and shocked by this event,” adding, “How is it possible that they let something like this happen and on the opening night of the Olympic Games?”

The Lebanese delegation head, Saleem al-Haj Nacoula, who was reportedly hailed in Lebanon as a hero, told Arabic media he was “surprised to see the Israeli delegation approaching and trying to get on.”

“I told the bus driver to close the door but a trainer who was with the Israelis prevented him from doing so,” he said, as reported by the Times of Israel. “I had to physically stand at the door and block him and the rest of the delegation from boarding, knowing that some were trying to force their way through and were looking for trouble.”

Days later, Joud Fahmy of Saudi Arabia forfeited a first-round judo match Sunday in what the Hebrew press described as a tactic to avoid facing Israel’s Gili Cohen in the second round.

The Saudi team disputed the charge, insisting on Twitter that Ms. Fahmy had sustained injuries to her arms and legs during training, although episodes of Arab athletes refusing to compete against Israelis are relatively common in international sports.

In June, for example, Syrian boxer Ala Ghasoun refused to participate in an Olympic qualifying match against an Israeli, saying that to do so “would mean that I, as an athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel.”

“I quit the competition because my rival was Israeli, and I cannot shake his hand or compete against him while he represents a Zionist regime that kills the Syrian people,” Mr. Ghasoun said in Arab media, according to Jerusalem’s i24 News.

During the 2012 London Olympics, Iranian judo champion Javad Mahjoud withdrew from a match against Israeli Arik Ze’evi. While Mr. Mahjoud cited health concerns, he had previously admitted to throwing matches in order to avoid facing athletes from Israel, according to the ADF.

Israel’s critics say the Jewish nation is not blameless in violating the spirit of the Olympics. Before the Rio games, the Palestinian Olympic committee accused Israel of holding up deliveries of its uniforms and equipment, which Israeli authorities have denied.

Shortly before the Olympics, several media outlets, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, reported that Palestinian swimmer Mary al-Atrash was unable to train at a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool as a result of Israeli travel restrictions.

“There is no Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Palestinian territories that Palestinians are allowed to use, so Atrash practises at the YMCA in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem,” the CBC said in its Aug. 1 article. “The pool is 25 metres long, half the length of the facility she’ll compete in at Rio.”

The reports drew a heated response from the Tablet’s Liel Liebovitz, who dismissed the Palestinians-have-no-pool story as a hardy perennial in Olympic years, even though he said the territories have several 50-meter pools at which she could train.

Mr. Liebovitz also pointed to a statement in July by an Israeli agency saying the swimmer would have been welcome to train in Jerusalem if she applied for a permit, which “like Palestinian athletes before her, she refused to do.”

Fans of the Israeli team were also indignant last week after Facebook failed to post the Israeli flag on its Olympics page. After a complaint by the Olympic Committee of Israel, the flag was added.

“We experienced a short-lived technical issue that prevented the Olympic profile frames for some countries from being displayed correctly in the profile picture selection menu,” said Facebook in a Wednesday statement. “We’ve since fixed this and now all countries should show up in that list.”

While the string of incidents has left supporters of Israel indignant, none comes close to the horror of the 1972 Munich Olympics, in which 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and killed by Palestinian terrorists.

“These days, anti-Israel vio­lence at the Olympics has been replaced by pol­i­tics,” said the ADF in a Monday statement, “with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from coun­tries hos­tile to Israel going to great lengths to avoid any inter­ac­tion with Israeli athletes.”

Also see:

Israeli-Saudi Ties Warming; Hizballah and Iran Livid

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock


The Israeli society that I encountered embraces a culture of peace, has accomplishments it wants to (protect), wants coexistence, and wants peace.

Those words weren’t spoken by an enthused congressman after a trip to Israel. They were spoken to BBC Arabic by Abd al-Mujid al-Hakim, director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Policy in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, and a member of a Saudi delegation that recently visited Israel.

The delegation, which included academics and businessmen, was led by Dr. Anwar Eshki, a retired Saudi general and former top adviser to the Saudi government. About a year earlier Eshki had shaken hands and shared a stage in Washington with Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold—seen as a major breakthrough at the time. But a public visit to Israel of this kind, which could only have been carried out with the approval of the highest level of the Saudi government, is a historical first and still has a taste of the surreal to it.

During the visit Eshki met again with Gold; with Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, responsible for Israeli administration of the territories; with Palestinian officials in Ramallah; and with opposition Members of Knesset.

One of those opposition MKs, Issawi Frej of the far-left, mostly Jewish Meretz Party, said:

The Saudis want to open up to Israel. It’s a strategic move for them. They want to continue what former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat started (with the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty). They want to get closer with Israel, and we could feel it clearly.

What’s going on?

Israeli commentator Yossi Melman, while noting that the visit marks a new plateau in the increasingly overt Israeli-Saudi ties, points out:

[O]n a covert level, according to foreign reports, the ties being cultivated are even more fascinating. Intelligence Online reported that Israel is selling intelligence equipment, as well as control and command centers, to the Saudi security forces. Previously, it had been reported in the foreign media that the heads of the Mossad, the organization responsible for Israel’s covert ties, met with their Saudi counterparts. Media outlets affiliated with Hezbollah even reported that officers from the two countries’ armies had met.

What’s going on, in other words, is that Israel and Saudi Arabia have common enemies in the region, and with American power withdrawing, Israel’s power constantly growing, ISIS threatening, and the Obama administration having paved a path to nuclear weapons for Iran, the Saudis—like Egypt, Jordan, and other Sunni states—are casting their troubled gaze toward Jerusalem.

Or as Melman puts it:

Israel and the Saudis share a fear for Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s efforts to increase its influence in the region. They also both have an interest in weakening the standing of Hezbollah, “the forward headquarters” of Iran on Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks often of Israel’s ties with the “Sunni Bloc,” and hints that the Saudis are included in this group.

It appears that he need hint no more.

Last week’s Saudi visit to Jerusalem—a dramatic, even stunning confirmation of Israel’s cooperation with that bloc—did not go unnoticed, of course, by the rival Shiite bloc. And they’re not happy about it.

Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah accused the Saudis of “normalizing for free, without receiving anything in return…. It seems the future of Palestine and the fate of its children have become a trivial matter for some Arab states recently.”

The Saudi visit, he said, “couldn’t have taken place without the agreement of the Saudi government. We know how things work there. In Saudi Arabia a person will be lashed for so much as tweeting.”

But if Nasrallah is not pleased with this development, his boss—Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei—is even less thrilled.

As Khamenei tweeted on Monday: “Revelation of Saudi government’s relations with Zionist regime was stab in the back of Islamic Ummah.”

None of this means that the Sunni Arab part of the Ummah is ready to warmly embrace Israel. While in Israel last week, Dr. Eshki—like Egyptian and Jordanian officials before him—said that real “normalization” would have to await a resolution of the Palestinian issue. It’s code for: “We’re not really ready to accept a Jewish state in our midst.”

Still, considering that Israel and Sunni Arab states used to fight wars every few years, a reality of nonbelligerency and pragmatic ties is a major improvement for Israel. Whoever is the next U.S. president might want to cooperate with the Israeli-Sunni alliance against Iran instead of giving the mullahs a “sunset clause” leading to nuclear night.

Israel charges UN employee with aiding Hamas in Gaza

Waheed Abd Allah Bossh, an engineer with the UN's Development Program, accused of using his position to aid the Hamas terrorist organization on August 9, 2016. (Shin Bet)

Waheed Abd Allah Bossh, an engineer with the UN’s Development Program, accused of using his position to aid the Hamas terrorist organization on August 9, 2016. (Shin Bet)

The Times of Israel, by  August 9, 2016:

Israel on Tuesday accused a United Nations employee of taking advantage of his position to assist the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, the third such allegation in less than a week.

According to the Shin Bet security service, Wahid Abd Allah Borsh, 38, an engineer in the UN’s Development Program, both funneled resources to the terrorist group and kept Hamas out of trouble with the international organization.

In July, Shin Bet officers arrested Borsh, a resident of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, as he made his way into the coastal enclave through the Erez Crossing, the security service said.

During his interrogation, Borsh told investigators that in 2014, he was directed by Hamas to “focus on his work in the UNDP in a way that would allow Hamas to extract the greatest possible benefit from him,” the Shin Bet said.

“This investigation also demonstrates how Hamas exploits the resources of international aid organizations at the expense of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip,” the security service said.

The UNDP did not have an immediate response to the allegations, but said it planned to release a statement “within the hour.”

Hamas, meanwhile, denied the allegations in an official statement. The group’s spokesperson Sami Abu Zurhi called the accusations “false and baseless,” and said they were aimed at helping Israel strengthen its “siege” of Gaza.

If Israel persists in its policy of accusing aid organizations in Gaza, it would face “dangerous consequences,” Zurhi said.

The UNDP has operated in the West Bank and Gaza since the late 1970s. In recent years, its Gaza branch has focused on rebuilding the homes and businesses destroyed in the conflicts between Israel and Hamas.

In light of the allegations, the Foreign Ministry demanded the United Nations carry out an “immediate investigation of the incident in order to ensure that an organization that is supposed to work toward peace and calm is not supporting a murderous terrorist group,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in a statement.

“Along with that, we must increase the oversight of the moneys that flow to human rights organizations, which are repeatedly used to transfer money to terrorist groups,” she said.

In addition to directing material support to Hamas, Borsh allegedly helped the group keep its weapons and materiel after they were found in UN locations.

“For example, when weapons or terrorist tunnel openings were discovered in houses being handled by the UNDP, Hamas would take control of the site and confiscate the arms and other materials,” the Shin Bet said.

“This violates clear UN procedures according to which UNMAS is supposed to be immediately notified as the United Nations Mine Action Service is the UN body in charge of dealing, inter alia, with explosive remnants of war,” it said.

Through his work as an engineer, Borsh allegedly directed the UNDP to work on projects that would benefit Hamas.

Read more

Also see:

Israel Approves $30 Million From Qatar To Hamas Employees In Gaza; Action Undercuts Years Of Work Against Global Muslim Brotherhood Charities

hamas2By on July 28, 2016

In a deal approved by Israel, Reuters has reported that Qatar will be providing $30 million to help pay the salaries of thousands of Hamas public servants in the Gaza Strip. According to the report:

Jul 23, 2016 –  DOHA — Qatar said on Thursday it would give $30 million to help pay the salaries of thousands of Gaza Strip public sector workers left without a full wage package since 2013.

The donation was welcomed by Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates the enclave who said it would help ease the wage shortages — that have tested already strained relations with the US-backed Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank.

There was no immediate comment from Palestinian Authority or Israel, who have long been suspicious of Qatar’s regular donations to Hamas and other Islamist groups across the region.

The emir of the wealthy Gulf state, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, said the payment of 113 million riyals was meant to ‘alleviate suffering and financial distress’, according to Qatar’s state news agency, QNA.


The Hamas-hired public servants have grown restive and in 2014 protested over their lack of payment which is partly due to a continued blockade imposed on Gaza by both Israel and Egypt.

‘The July payment will be made in full immediately once the Qatari financial fund is received,’ Youssef Al Kayyali,  Hamas’ deputy finance minister said.

Qatar, which hosts the largest US air base in the Middle East, has for years preserved influence with Islamist forces across the region it believes are the long-term future.

The breadth and resilience of Qatar’s links to Islamist groups including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has suffered a crackdown in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, fuels suspicions in other Gulf states.”

Israeli media has further reported that the Qatar/Hamas deal was approved by Israel as well as the Palestinian Authority. According to a Jerusalem Post report:

July 24, 2016 Qatar coordinated its decision to pay the July salaries of Hamas public sector employees with both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, according to a source speaking to the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds.

“The Qatari emir and foreign minister discussed this issue with President Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting in Doha during Ramadan and President Abbas did not express any opposition, especially since the transfer will take place in an official manner via the Palestinian Authority,” the source said.

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The source added that Doha coordinated the decision with the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.

“Qatar informed Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordecai and after Israel studied the proposal, it offered its approval,” the source revealed.

As for how the transfer of funds will take place, the source said that a European party will assume responsibility for their delivery from Qatar to Gaza.

The Times of Israel adds that the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, widely viewed as among the most “hawkish of Israeli politicians, personally “waved through” the Qatari cash infusion:

July 25, 2016…Haniyeh forgot to thank another important apparent benefactor: the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, which has reportedly waved through the Qatari cash infusion. Liberman, who once threatened to have Haniyeh assassinated within 48 hours of becoming defense minister, is understood to have agreed to the transfer of some 113 Saudi riyal ($31 million) to Hamas. Incongruous as it may seem, after less than two months in Tel Aviv’s Kirya military headquarters, Liberman appears to be a changed man, apparently tolerating an initiative that he opposed vehemently only a few years ago, during his stint as foreign minister.

Since at least 2003, criticism of groups that were funding Hamas, even if ostensibly for charitable purposes, was based on the notion of “fungibility”, that money received by Hamas for charitable purposes essentially freed up the same amount of money for terrorist purposes. As a former FBI analyst has written:

In 2003, then  Secretary of State E. Anthony Wayne told a congressional committee “if you are funding the organization [Hamas] even if there are many charitable activities going on, there is some fungibility between funds. You are strengthening the organization.” It is precisely this ease and readiness with which which Hamas transfers money from putatively charitable or political funds to military ones that belies any moral separation between the organizations various branches. Hamas’ ability to shift funds across its various ways is critical to its mission, because it facilitates the organization’s most effective means of raising funds for terrorist purposes; through humanitarian channels. The mixing of funds across different Hamas wings also shields the groups terrorist activities under a veil of political and humanitarian legitimacy

By allowing Qatar to transfer a large sum of money to Hamas, the Israel government has pulled the rug out from under those, including this publication, who for many years have criticized Global Muslim Brotherhood charities such as the Union of Good (UOG) and INTERPAL for their funding of Hamas. It is not clear to the GMBDW on what basis such entities or indeed even the Gaza flotilla movement can be now be criticized if they are essentially doing exactly what the Israel government has approved in the deal with Qatar.

The Qatari/Hamas deal comes on top of the “reconciliation” between Turkey and Israel in which Israel once again apologized for the deaths of passengers involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces during the June 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident. Despite the substantial evidence of Turkish government involvement in the planning and preparation for the flotilla, no responsibility appears to have been accepted by Turkey. As we wrote in our post on the Israeli/Turkish agreement, this evidence is fully known by Dore Gold, essentially the Israel Foreign Minister, who headed the organization that commissioned the report on the subject:

As the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) at that time, Dr. Gold was responsible for the 2011 JCPA report authored by the GMBDW editor titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” which demonstrated that the Global Muslim Brotherhood, including at that time its Turkish components as well as the Turkish government and AKP ruling party, was deeply involved in the planning and preparation leading up to the first Gaza flotilla that was involved in the violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. (In 2011, JCPA also published an article on the role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the unsuccessful second Gaza Flotilla.) Therefore Dr. Gold is aware not only of the Turkish government’s own culpability in the 2010 flotilla but also that since 2006, Turkey has become a new center not only for Hamas but also for the Global Muslim Brotherhood which is implacably opposed to the existence of the Jewish State. Furthermore, the JCPA report detailed Erdogan’s own ideological ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood network, ties which date back to Erdogan’s affiliation with WAMY in the 1970s making it unlikely that he will ever accept the existence of the Israeli state.

As we also wrote in that post:

The GMBDW fails to understand why the Israel government would choose at this time to bolster the Erdogan government as that very same government systematically continues to persecute and imprison more and more journalists and moves ever closer towards one-person rule. There have been suggestions that a potential natural gas pipeline through Turkey to Europe may be one of the motivations but that would simply would allow Turkey under Erdogan to hold Israel economic hostage whenever it chose, further compounding the strategic perils for Israel. Erdogan’s lifelong involvement with Hamas and the Global Muslim Brotherhood strongly suggest that any short-gains arising from a deal with Turkey are highly unlikely to endure and would only serve to bolster both Mr. Erdogan and Hamas. If Turkey under Erdogan  is willing to make a deal with Israel, it is a likely a sign of Turkish desperation and an opportunity to hasten Erdogan’s downfall instead of prolonging his rule.

Only two years ago it was being reported:

Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Egypt are angry with US Secretary of State John Kerry for pushing a cease-fire plan they believe was influenced by Turkey and Qatar. This reaction shows again Ankara and Doha’s unwelcome position in the region because of their unqualified support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The latest Qatari/Israel deal only adds adds to our confusion as it appears to further strengthen not only Hamas but the Hamas/Turkish/Qatari axis as well and therefore the entire Global Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey has already been involved in a recent aid shipment to Gaza  and the Qatari action only enhances the prestige of Qatar, deeply involved in the funding of Global Muslim Brotherhood projects around the world. Perhaps worst of all, and as already noted, the deal strikingly undercuts the efforts of many years to criticize and ultimately halt the flow of funds to Hamas, an effort largely involving the Global Muslim Brotherhood which aims at the destruction of the Israeli state as well as eventually the West itself. The apparent rationale for the Israeli action is the long argued position that engaging with groups such as Hamas is preferable to what are seen as the alternative, namely Al Qaeda and now ISIS despite that Hamas itself shares the same view that the West is the enemy of Islam and despite the political cooperation between Hamas leaders/supporters and designated terrorists, the subject of a forthcoming GMBDR report. In this sense, Israel joins the Obama Administration, the European Union, and a wide variety of other actors severely hampering the efforts to combat the Global Muslim Brotherhood. That Israel should join these ranks is perhaps the greatest surprise to the GMBDW since we started this publication.

Anthropology and Anti-Semitism

anthropologistsMEF, by Philip Carl Salzman
The Daily Caller
June 7, 2016

One of the core principles of modern anthropology is cultural relativism, the idea that researchers must not make value judgements about the societies they study. Anthropologists think of themselves as setting aside their biases and preferences in order to see a society and culture “from the native’s point of view.” Whether studying the raiding activity of Bedouin tribal nomads, witchcraft by African villagers, or head-hunting by grieving Philippine tribesmen, anthropologists embrace the sentiment that “nothing human is alien to me.”

Except when it comes to Jews. Once again, Jews and the Jewish state have been uniquely selected for official opprobrium by the American Anthropological Association (AAA). A motion to boycott Israeli academic institutions, an initiative reminiscent of anti-Jewish boycotts of the 1930s, was presented this spring to the membership, which voted online. The resolution, which claims that “the Israeli state has denied Palestinians – including scholars and students – their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, discrimination, and military occupation,” was defeated, according to the official tally released on June 6, by a vote of 2,423 against and 2,384 in favor.

Once again, the Jewish state has been singled out by the American Anthropological Association.

By the narrowest of margins, AAA will not formally join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This was surely a great disappointment to its Middle East Section, which has long been obsessed with defaming Israel. While the U.S.S.R. was invading Afghanistan and slaughtering its people in 1979, the Middle East Section discussed only Palestine, and condemned only Israel.

It is true that followers of the postmodern turn in anthropology have taken up a more critical approach to society and culture, in some cases siding with the underprivileged, such as women, untouchables, and native minorities. But until now the AAA has not considered boycotting a particular people or country. It has not considered boycotting Turkey for its military invasion and occupation of Cyprus or its war against its Kurdish minority. It has not considered boycotting Lebanon for keeping Palestinians as stateless pawns. It has not considered boycotting Gaza, although Hamas shot 12,000 rockets at Israeli civilian targets. It has not considered boycotting Saudi Arabia for its suppression of human rights, or Iran for hanging homosexuals from cranes in public places, or Russia for invading Ukraine, or China for its military occupation of Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Uigur Turkestan, and Tibet.

The AAA has not considered boycotting any other people or country.

Indeed, even Palestinian suffering merits action only when Jews are the alleged victimizer. This year the Middle East Section awarded its book prize to an excellent ethnography describing the marginalization and sufferings of Palestinians in Lebanon, but no boycott of Lebanon has been proposed.

Meanwhile, all around the Jewish state, in the Middle East and the Islamic world, are taking place the vilest atrocities of monumental scope. Next door to Israel, some 400,000 or more have been murdered in Sunni-Shia warfare, while the recently formed Islamic State has revived the Islamic practice of enslaving “infidels,” Christians and other minorities, gang raping the girls and women, and selling them (even on Facebook!) as sex slaves, while beheading any opposition and those not sufficiently conforming.

Notwithstanding the membership’s rejection of the boycott this year, the AAA Executive Board is moving ahead with a number of measures to punish the Jewish State, such as issuing a “statement of censure of the Israeli government” and sending a letter to the American government “identifying the ways in which U.S. resources and policies contribute to policies in Israel/Palestine that violate academic freedom and disenfranchise Palestinians.”

Remarkably, this compulsion to punish the Jewish state comes at a time when Palestinian youth, incited by the Palestinian authority and media, are engaged in a “stabbing intifada,” killing Jewish mothers, children, and elders. Palestinian Hamas, formally dedicated to destroying Israel and killing its Jews, continues to build tunnels from Gaza to attack Israel.

But for the AAA Executive Board and half its membership, only the world’s sole Jewish state is worthy of condemnation and denunciation. There is only one word for this selective demonization: anti-Semitism.

Philip Carl Salzman is a professor of anthropology at McGill University and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. This essay was sponsored by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Three Killed, More Wounded in Shooting Attack in Central Tel Aviv


Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, June 8, 206:

TEL AVIV – At least three people were killed and five or more were seriously wounded in a suspected terrorist shooting attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market, an upscale food and shopping center in the heart of central Tel Aviv.

Police confirmed that two attackers were arrested, and one was shot.

Israel’s Channel 2 reported one suspected terrorist was neutralized on Haarba’a Street, located about a quarter mile from the market.  Police officials were quoted as saying that the neutralized suspect is still alive and will be interrogated.

The Jerusalem Post cited unconfirmed reports from police sources saying two assailants had dressed up as ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Ynet added:

At first assessment, it appears that the terrorists sat at the popular restaurant Max Brenner before they set out on their shooting spree. One of the terrorists shot with a modified weapon that he left behind when he fled, though he was soon shot.

One bystander was quoted as saying “many shots [were] fired.

“We heard many shots. We understood it was terrorists,” another bystander reportedly said.

One witness told Israel’s Channel 2 that there was gunfire from “several” different directions.  Another said one shooter was carrying a “large” weapon.

Israel’s Defense Ministry is reportedly convening an emergency meeting, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to attend when he lands in Israel from a trip to Russia.

Sarona is located near one of the busiest intersections in Tel Aviv. It’s around the corner from an entrance to Israel’s Ayalon Highway and about three city bloccs from the Israel Defense Forces main headquarters in Tel Aviv.


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66% of Palestinians in Hamas-Controlled Gaza Believe Terrorism Serves the Palestinian Cause

children_1543287iThese numbers are symptoms of a larger issue at work in Palestinian culture: jihadist ideology promoted through corrupt leadership.

Counter Jihad, by Bruce Cornibe · | April 26, 2016

Amid months of heightened tension between Arabs and Israelis, Palestinian attitudes continue to show a propensity towards violence against Israelis. A recent poll by the JMCC (Jerusalem Media and Communications Center), sampling 1,000 random Palestinians ages 15-29, reveals that young Palestinians feel terrorism serves the Palestinian cause. The poll found a shocking 66% of youth in the Gaza Strip and 40% in the West Bank believe the recent terror attacks against Israelis furthers the Palestinian cause, while only 17% (Gaza Strip) and 23% (West Bank) say the attacks hinder the cause. This is an alarming statistic to say the least. Here are some other disturbing figures,

“More than 35% of respondents in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip predicted that the violence would develop into a fully-fledged uprising, the results showed.”

“Palestinian youth seem to be equally split over “military operations” against Israel: 43% in favor and against. Support among Palestinian youth for the two-state solution stands at 42%, according to the poll. Nearly 20% said they preferred a bi-national state.”

“An overwhelming majority of 67% of respondents believe that negotiations will not succeed in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In addition, the survey found, a majority of 63% of Palestinian youths oppose working with like-minded Israeli youths to find a solution to the conflict, while 27% supported the idea.”

These numbers are symptoms of a larger issue at work in Palestinian culture; jihadist ideology promoted through corrupt leadership. From Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, Palestinian leaders continue to push propaganda and incite violence against Israelis, leaving their citizens misinformed and misguided. One example is the Hamas controlled Al-Aqsa TV which runs programs such as “Pioneers of Tomorrow,” that encourages the audience to “throw stones” at Jews, and in one episode the host applauds a young child for her wish to be a police office and “shoot Jews.” Palestinian social media is another outlet where this this kind of violence is transmitted (poll shows about 60% of youth depend on “Facebook and Twitter as a first source of news”). Late last year Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, talked about the prevalence of “How to Stab a Jew” tutorials on the internet, while Twitter users utilized the Arabic hashtag, “Slaughtering the Jews,” encouraging further stabbings.

Make or Break Moment for Palestinian Violence

1502by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
April 21, 2016

The coming Passover holiday represents a make-or-break moment that could decide whether Palestinian violence and terrorism fizzles out, or escalates into a new and more dangerous phase.

Israel’s defense establishment is on alert to the possibility that tensions surrounding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount (known to Palestinians as the Al-Aqsa holy site) could resurface and trigger a new outburst of terrorism, just as a seven-month wave of largely unorganized terrorist attacks begins to draw down.

The tensions could well appear again during Passover, when the number of visits by religious Jews to the Temple Mount rises. There is no shortage of elements in the Palestinian arena – from Hamas media outlets to social media users – who will eagerly present such visits as part of an imagined Israeli conspiracy to take over the site.

As a result, Israel’s defense establishment has advised the government to prohibit any politicians, from any political party, to further inflame tensions by visiting the site.

Against this background, the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency has quietly thwarted a steady flow of mass-casualty, organized terror plots, planned and orchestrated by Hamas. Any one of these plots could have changed the strategic picture and led to an escalation on multiple fronts had they materialized.

Hamas has been deeply disappointed by the recent decrease in terrorism and by its failure to bypass Shin Bet’s intelligence networks.

On April 18, a Palestinian bomb blew up on board a bus in Jerusalem and injured 21 civilians, including, possibly, the bomber himself. A media ban is in place that prevents publication of further details on the investigation.

Israelis watched TV news broadcasts of scenes of a bus in flames and emergency vehicles attending the site with much concern. They had hoped such bombings, which tore through Israeli cities in the dark days of the second Palestinian Intifada 15 years ago, were long behind them.

Unlike 15 years ago, Israel’s security forces operate all across the West Bank on a nightly basis to thwart attacks. Yet it only takes one plot to slip through the cracks for the terrorists to achieve their goal.

The bus bombing goes to show the inherently unstable nature of the security situation. On one hand, the number of terror stabbings, shootings, and car ramming attacks – all part of the unorganized violence – have plummeted in the past two months. On the other, such incidents could soon resurge and be joined by organized, more lethal events.

Fatah’s official Facebook account praised the bus attack, but this is only part of the real picture.

Away from the rhetoric, on the ground, the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority has actually improved its security coordination with Israel, and has stopped 20 percent of organized terrorism plots brewing in the West Bank, according to figures cited recently by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

A senior Israeli military source said in April that “tensions in Jerusalem, particularly in the context of Al-Aqsa, are there. It characterizes the holiday period. We are going with the working assumption that we will encounter this.”

The source described seeing “a lot of orchestrated terror attempts by [the large Palestinian] organizations. We can see many attempts being made on a continuous basis.” In West Bank raids, security forces discovered ready-made explosive devices and high-quality assault rifles, like M-16s and Kalashnikovs in the possession of would-be terror cells.

“The numbers [of such attempts] are high,” the source said. “But we are very effective. “The Shin Bet is a very significant aspect of this. Although there are attempts, and there is very high motivation [to carry out attacks], we succeed in thwarting them, and they have not been able to reach a situation in which they can really launch a quality attack.”

Ten would-be kidnapping terror plots were thwarted since October, the source added.

Israel’s defense establishment also is improving in an area that it has, until now, really struggled to deliver results – the ability to pick up warning signs of a lone-wolf attack and stop it in time.

Improved social media analysis, using new big data algorithms, are part of this improvement, defense sources say.

Meanwhile, to the south, the IDF announced this week the detection of a new Hamas cross-border attack tunnel, stretching from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.

It is the first tunnel discovered since the cessation of hostilities in August 2014 between Hamas and Israel and represents the renewed effort by Hamas’s military wing to prepare attack options for when war breaks out again.

Hamas views the current ceasefire as a tactical regrouping break. It has no intention of stopping its multi-generational jihad against Israel’s very existence, and it views Gaza as its base of operations for this “holy war.”

The Hamas military wing, the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, is readying itself for future conflict. It is manufacturing rockets, mortar shells, and digging tunnels for Hamas’s elite Nuhba force of 5,000 heavily armed guerilla-terrorists who make up one quarter of all of Hamas’s armed members.

The plan was to inject these murder and kidnap squads into southern Israel through tunnels. But Hamas’s tunnel tactics are now in trouble. Israel used new technological and intelligence capabilities to detect the new tunnel, and has invested hundreds of millions of shekels in the research and development of new detection systems.

If the IDF’s Southern Command can begin to systematically detect tunnels as Hamas digs them, and destroy them, Hamas would find itself wasting treasure and blood (many workers die in tunnel collapses during the construction stage) for very little return. Hamas would lose one of its main investments in its future offensive capabilities.

That frustration could spur Hamas to try even harder to set up cells remotely that sow death and destruction in Israeli cities. Israel’s intelligence personnel will continue to work around the clock, away from the headlines and spotlights, to prevent that from happening.

Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post’s military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.

Palestinians Praise Jerusalem Bus Bombing Targeting Israelis

Firefighters look on as two buses burn in Jerusalem. Police launched an investigation into the incident, April 18, 2016. (Israel Police)

Firefighters look on as two buses burn in Jerusalem. Police launched an investigation into the incident, April 18, 2016. (Israel Police)

by IPT News  •  Apr 18, 2016

Palestinian factions from across the political spectrum are celebrating the latest terrorist bombing of a bus in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon. An explosive device planted on the bus wounded 21 people, including two in serious condition, and set fire to another bus and nearby vehicle.

An armed Fatah-affiliated group praised the attack, claiming that the bombing ushers in a new phase for the Palestinian terrorist uprising, reports journalist Khaled Abu Toameh.

1490Abu Toameh also tweeted a photo showing employees of Hamas’ al-Aqsa TV channel rejoicing over the terrorist attack and holding a tray of celebratory sweets. Other Palestinians in Gaza also celebrated the bombing, handing out candies and sweets in the streets.

Moreover, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook glorified the attack on his official Facebook page, calling the bombing “a gift…for our heroic [Palestinian] prisoners,” according to a translation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

“A message to the usurpers, the occupiers, and the settlers, that you will have no security until our people are secure, that injustice will not last, that right will prevail, and that the day of victory is soon,” Abu Marzook wrote.

These are the words and threats from a leader of a designated terrorist organization that notorious U.S. Islamists – including Linda Sarsour – treat as a legitimate political party.

As we often say, imagine if the roles were reversed and Israeli political officials celebrated a terrorist attack targeting unarmed Palestinians. It would dominate the news for days on end and the international community would leap to condemn the bloodthirsty sentiment.

But when it comes to attacks targeting Israelis or Jews, statements by Palestinian officials glorifying terrorism gets limited to no traction in the media.

In response to the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared: “we will find whoever prepared and dispatched the explosives, as well as those who helped them. We will settle accounts with those terrorists.”

Also see:

Obama Admin Open to U.N. Measures Focused on Israel



Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, April  14, 2016:

The Obama administration says it “will carefully consider” what are expected to be a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions aimed at Israel in the coming months, generating accusations in Congress that Washington is preparing to abandon Israel at the U.N., according to State Department officials and congressional sources apprised of the measure.

U.S. officials told the Washington Free Beacon that no decisions have been made yet about several draft resolutions being informally circulated in Turtle Bay, but that the administration is open to considering future drafts.

“We will carefully consider our future engagement and determine how to most effectively advance the objective we all share in achieving a negotiated two-state solution,” a State Department official not authorized to speak on record told the Free Beacon.

The administration has struggled this week to publicly articulate a consistent position on the issue.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Monday that the administration is open to U.N. action on Israeli settlements, but on Tuesday declared that the administration is flatly “opposed” to such action and would likely veto an Israel-focused measure.

Anne Patterson, an assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, testified to Congress on Wednesday that the administration has not yet committed to opposing future resolutions.

Asked by the Free Beacon to clarify the administration’s stance late Wednesday, a State Department official said that while the administration remains opposed to any “one-sided” action targeting Israel, it would not commit to vetoing all resolutions focused on Israel.

“Our position has not changed with regard to action at the U.N.,” the official said. “We continue to oppose one-sided resolutions that delegitimize Israel or undermine its security, but we are not going to speculate on hypothetical resolutions or other actions by the Security Council at this time.”

There are at least two drafts being circulated at the U.N. Security Council centered on the Jewish state, and more are expected in the months ahead.

One measure, led by the Palestinian Authority, seeks to formally condemn Israeli settlement activity, while a second measure, spearheaded by France, seeks to define the parameters for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

A second U.S. official familiar with the U.N. action emphasized that the administration does not yet have a stance on those specific resolutions or future resolutions.

“There’s not much new here. This and other drafts have been floating around for some time,” the official told the Free Beacon. “Nothing has been formally introduced or circulated in the [Security] Council. We have no position on the informal draft.”

Meanwhile, Patterson’s testimony has generated frustration among lawmakers, who fear that the administration is planning to stand down when the U.N. Security Council takes up action focused on Israel.

Patterson also had difficulty explaining how the administration will react to the new U.N. resolutions aimed at Israel.

“Will the administration state unequivocally that we will not introduce, we will not support, that we will block, that we will veto any resolution at the U.N. Security Council that seeks to impose a two-state solution on Israel or that offers some artificial timeline for negotiations,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) asked Patterson during a hearing.

“I can’t say without seeing a resolution,” Patterson responded.

Pressed by Ros-Lehtinen, Patterson continued to dodge the question.

“A draft exists and I haven’t personally seen it,” Patterson said.

“Do you think perhaps this lack of clarity to say, ‘We vetoed it before, we’re going to veto it again’ [is causing confusion]?” Ros-Lehtinen asked, describing the situation as “worrisome.”

“All I can say is that I think the administration’s record on this is pretty clear,” Patterson said, referring to the administration’s veto of past resolutions centered on Israel.

One senior congressional source working on the issue told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration appears to be setting the stage to endorse new U.N. action on Israel.

“It’s pretty clear the administration has been shifting the goal posts on this even though it should be a simple question to answer: Will the administration keep with longstanding U.S. policy and veto any resolution at the UNSC that would impose a resolution on Israel?” the source said.

“It’s worrisome because everyone keeps focusing on this ‘one-sided’ phrase that keeps getting thrown out, but who decides what a one-sided resolution is?” the source said. “If it’s the same people who decided what ‘consulting’ Congress meant during the [Iran] negotiations or the shift in Cuba policy, then there should be real cause for concern there. The president is still legacy shopping and I don’t think it would be a stretch to imagine him once again upending established U.S. policy and undermining what is supposed to be the bedrock of our policy of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

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