Tuesday, April 04, 2017

From Ian:

Over 100 killed in suspected chemical attack in Syria
A suspected chemical attack in Syria's northern Idlib province Tuesday killed over 100 people and wounded over 400 others, Syrian opposition groups reported. The Syrian government has denied using any such weapons on civilians.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 11 children were killed in the attack. The group said an airstrike by Syrian government or Russian jets that pounded the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idib, adding it had serious concerns the number of casualties will continue to grow.
The strikes caused many people to choke, leading to suspicions that the substances dropped was chlorine gas.
If inhaled, chlorine gas, a deadly agent widely used in World War I, turns into hydrochloric acid in the lungs, which can lead to internal burning and drowning through a reactionary release of water in the lungs.
Syrian opposition activists described Tuesday's attack as among the worst poison gas attacks in the country's six-year civil war.
Photos and video from Khan Sheikhoun that surfaced on social media show limp bodies of children and adults. Some are seen struggling to breathe; others appear foaming at the mouth.

Rocket Hits Syrian Hospital Treating Victims of Deadly Chemical Attack
President Bashar al-Assad has been accused of a sarin gas attack in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib that killed 100 civilians, including at least 11 children, on Tuesday.
Doctors treating victims at makeshift hospitals in the area say dozens of victims from Khan Sheikhoun are showing signs of sarin poisoning, including foaming at the mouth, breathing difficulties and limp bodies.
Moments after the attack a projectile hit a hospital in the area, bringing down rubble on top of medics as they struggled to treat victims.
Syrian opposition activists have claimed the chemical attack was caused by an airstrike carried out either by President Assad's forces or Russian warplanes. Russia's military said its planes did not carry out any strikes near the town.
It is believed that another 400 people were injured after being exposed to toxins the attack.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those killed had died from suffocation and the effects of the gas. The monitor could not confirm the nature of the gas, and said the strike was likely carried out by government warplanes.
Israeli leaders urge action, condemn Syria gas ‘massacre’
Israeli leaders called for the international community to take action Tuesday after a gas attack in Syria killed at least 58 people and injured over 200, many of them children.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “sharply condemned” the attack and called on the international community to complete the process of removing all of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.
“When I saw pictures of babies suffocating from a chemical attack in Syria, I was shocked and outraged. There’s no, none, no excuse whatsoever for the deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons,” he said in English at a memorial service for president Chaim Herzog.
Netanyahu also said the lack of action proved the international community was not to be trusted to come to Israel’s aid.
“This terrible war underlines our main imperative– we will always defend ourselves with our own strength, against any enemy and any threat,” he said.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Being Propped Up By Iran And Russia Is Totally Not Going To Be Shameful For My Regime By Basher Assad, President, Syrian Arab Republic (satire)
We Arabs are a proud people. Honor is perhaps the strongest value in our culture, often trumping life itself. It is a point of pride for an Arab nation to attain self-sufficiency, and a source of ongoing shame that few, if any, Arab states can hold their own without some kind of support – military, economic, or otherwise. But that will totally not be a problem for Syria in the long term as it becomes necessary to rely in greater and greater measure on the non-Arab military and economic support from Iran and Russia just to keep my regime intact, I promise.
Perhaps the greatest source of shame is our collective inability to oust from our midst the Zionist entity, which, by all assessments, we should have swept aside like so much detritus in 1948. They were ragtag Holocaust survivors (not that I’m accepting the historical reality of the Holohoax, but you understand the rhetorical angle here) who shouldn’t have lasted a week against our mighty warriors. Instead we found ourselves outfought even when we weren’t outgunned. Our continued impotence against the Jews only grew worse in 1967 when we lost the Golan Heights, from which we used to spend time taking potshots and lobbing artillery shells at Israeli kibbutzim. Good times.
In the years since, as Israel has emerged as a regional powerhouse whose economy is larger than all of ours combined, you can imagine how shameful the whole things has become for us. This Western colonial enterprise, as we call it, has consistently humiliated us on every front, driving home the reality that we Arabs simple cannot compete with the advancement and influence of the non-Arabs.



UN agency to release new document equating Israeli 'occupation' to US slavery
Less than a month after its executive-secretary resigned over a controversial report describing Israel as an “apartheid regime,” the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia is reportedly writing another report, this time equating “50 years of Israeli occupation” to the United States’ history of slavery.
The expected report will aim to establish “premises and approach for calculating the cumulative cost of the occupation,” according to a resolution passed by ESCWA last December, mandating the research.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is also said to be collaborating with ESCWA on the report.
Although no publication date has been announced for the document, according to reports in Israeli media, it is expected to symbolically coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War in June.
The agency’s last report caused much controversy, stating that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” It angered Israeli officials, who compared it to Der Sturmer – a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly antisemitic.
The leopard won't change its spots
Hamas military wing's spokesman Abu Ubaida's declaration of the group's willingness to establish a Palestinian state on the "occupied territory" seized during the 1967 war, and following that, his verbal trial balloons and leaks attributed to senior Hamas officials, seem to point to a dramatic "turnaround" in the murderous terrorist organization. However, the Palestinian publicists make it clear that this is once again a trick of semantics designed to reason with friends and enemies in the spirit of the Islamic operational code of intimidation, deception and fraud.
At the recent "Palestine problem" panel organized at the Zeitouna conference in Beirut, Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal revealed the principles of a new document, rumored to be a revised Hamas charter. According to him, the paper presents Hamas' strategic vision in light of lessons learned in 2016 and moving forward into 2017, in a manner that will unite all forces around the "resistance."
Hamas official Ismail Radwan stressed that the document, which is still being drafted, gives expression to the organization's logic and pragmatic political vision, and that there is no intention for it to replace the existing Hamas charter. Political commentator Ibrahim Madhoun claimed that the document is a political-diplomatic paper that expresses pragmatic insights stemming from the organization's political ties with world powers and other countries, including China and Russia, and its accumulated political experience and constraints dictated by regional and global changes on the ground. Madhoun believes that the document does not renounce the "red lines" of the Hamas charter, including the motif of the "resistance" (the armed struggle); and since Hamas's religious affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood is solely ideological, there is no need for the organization to truly sever this connection.
Death toll in Saint Petersburg subway bombing raised to 14
Russia’s health minister raised the death toll from Monday’s blast on the Saint Petersburg subway to 14.
Veronika Skvortsova said in a televised briefing on Tuesday that 11 people died on the spot, one died in an ambulance and two at the hospital. Forty-nine people are still hospitalized, Skvortsova said.
Saint Petersburg residents on Tuesday laid flowers outside the city’s subway where the bomb blast occurred. Thousands of miles to the east, authorities in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan identified one suspect as a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting the city, Russia’s second biggest and Putin’s hometown.
Netanyahu Sends Condolences to Russia Following Deadly Subway Bombing
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to Russia following Monday’s deadly subway explosion in St. Petersburg that killed at least 10 people and injured about 50 others.
“On behalf of the government of Israel, I send condolences to President Putin and to the families of those who were murdered, following today’s bombing on the St. Petersburg subway,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The citizens of Israel stand alongside the Russian people at this difficult time.”
Monday’s bombing occurred around 2:30 p.m. on St. Petersburg’s subway system on a train between the Technology Institute and Sennaya Square stations. A second bomb was later found at a nearby station and was disabled by police before it exploded. Both bombs contained shrapnel, according to initial news reports. Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that two people are believed to be behind the bombing, and authorities are searching for the suspects.
Al Jazeera Viewers Rejoice As St. Petersburg Mourns Its Terror Attack Victims
Al-Jazeera, the Qatari state-run propaganda site that made a name for itself after airing exclusive videos by Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda affiliates, bills itself as a legitimate international news broadcaster. With its Arabic channels airing across the Middle East, the network caters to a majority-Muslim and generally anti-Western audience. Following Monday’s horrific St. Petersburg metro station terror attack that left 11 dead and 45 others injured, many of Al-Jazeera’s viewers rejoiced on Facebook, posting celebratory responses to the deaths of innocent people in what appears to be yet another jihadist attack.
Here’s a screen shot of Al-Jazeera’s live feed airing coverage of the terror incident. Notice all the smiley faces blasted across the screen. Each one of those smiley faces represents a viewer’s live reaction to the news.
Instead of shame or outrage, many of the viewers cheer the disturbing news. Similar reactions were posted on the channel's Facebook page. While certainly not all responded in celebration, a shocking percentage did.
"Excellent," one viewer responded, posting several laughing faces. "Hopefully many are dead," posted another viewer. "God is great! May God increase," another wrote. "Thank you God," another said. Gleeful emoticons likewise appear frequently on the page.
JPost Editorial: Ties with Trump
Coordination, sensitivity and open communications on the issue of building in Judea and Samaria are integral to maintaining good relations between Israel and the US.
US President Donald Trump has made it clear on a number of occasions that he is interested in advancing a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. And from the point of view of the Trump administration, settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria could be counterproductive to that goal.
In February, during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first visit to the White House after Trump’s election, the president stated clearly that settlement expansion “may not be helpful” in achieving peace and asked Netanyahu to “hold back on settlements a little bit.”
Out of consideration for the Trump administration’s position on settlement expansion, the prime minister asked for and received the security cabinet’s support for restrictions on building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Starting immediately, construction will be allowed inside the boundaries of existing communities. No new settlements will be created, except one – a new site for the families evicted from Amona, which will be the first new settlement to be created in Judea and Samaria in more than two decades.
Yet Netanyahu has still come under fire from the Right.
Trump, Sissi said to plan peace summit during their meeting
Among the issues reportedly discussed during Monday’s 150-minute meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, were “ideas” for a possible Israeli-Palestinian peace summit to be held in Washington this coming summer.
While the initiative is in its beginning stages, the discussions complemented the recent meetings US Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt held with Arab leaders, American diplomatic sources told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper in a report Tuesday morning.
At the Arab League Summit in Jordan last week, Greenblatt told Arab foreign ministers that Trump was committed to reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that would “reverberate” throughout the Middle East and the world.
Greenblatt attended the summit as an “observer,” meeting with ministers of Jordan, Egypt and Qatar on its sidelines, as well as with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
During the summit Sissi said that his country had “sought and continues to seek a comprehensive and just solution to this issue, based on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Jewish Obama holdover is responsible for Trump shift toward PA
"Although Trump's approach is generally favorable towards Israel, the fact that his administration continues to rely on Obama officials is not to Israel's benefit – and the most blatant example of this is Yael Lempert." So says a diplomatic official who took part in the talks with special Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt.
Haggai Huberman reports that Lempert, very knowledgeable and experienced in Israel-PA relations and equally supportive of the PA position, has made herself available to fill in the gaps of the inexperienced Trump team – and the consequences have not been to Israel's favor.
"This was an important lesson for me," the official told Huberman. "We cannot simply expect that as soon as we present our position, the Trump Administration will go along with us. Lempert knows the details so well that she can manipulate and convince those who know less than her."
A former Clinton official said recently that Lempert tried to downgrade the US-Israel friendship under Obama, and that she is “one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left.” Daniel Horowitz wrote on the Conservative Review website that she was "Obama’s point person in the White House orchestrating his war against Israel.”
Another Obama holdover still serving under Trump is Michael Ratney, who was appointed in February as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State after serving as Special Envoy for Syria. He was the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem from 2012 to 2015. (h/t Jo Shmo)
Hotovely: The settlement enterprise is forever
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely addressed her disagreement with Education Minister Naftali Bennett over the government’s conduct during the Trump administration in the US.
Yesterday, Hotovely characterized Bennett’s conduct as not befitting leadership such that he came out criticizing the very same policy he had supported previously at the cabinet meeting. Likewise, she hinted that political and other interests were dictating his statements.
“It is important that the nationalist camp know the facts,” Hotovely said, establishing that not only was a strategic opportunity not missed as Bennett had suggested, but that a “great political gateway” had been opened through which “all the good forces can speak to the American administration, which is consolidating new policy.”
Hotovely continued to explain her words in light of her last visit to the US state department. “They are at a new stage of assessments, also as pertains to the issue of two states. They are completely open. The gates of political thinking have not been closed,” she said, bringing up the fact that only at the end of April will US Ambassador David Friedman arrive in Israel as further indication that Washington is in a period of preparation and learning.
Poll: 70% of Israelis prefer right-wing government
With talk of elections in the air, a new survey found that 70 percent of Israelis want a right-wing or center-right government.
According to the latest monthly Peace Index, published Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, only 24 percent of the country prefers a left-wing or center-left government. The survey included 500 Jewish and 100 Arab adults and had a 4.1 percent margin of error.
A coalition crisis over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the creation of a new broadcasting authority was averted this week. But the Prime Minister remains under investigation for corruption, and many in Israel expect elections sooner than later.
Even many of those who want a government that tilts toward the political left do not expect to get one, the survey found. Fully 81 percent of Jews said they think a right-wing or center-right government is likely to be elected, compared to just 8 percent who said they see a left-wing or center-left government coming to power.
Among Arab Israelis, 58 percent said they want a left-wing government, but only 10 percent predicted this would happen if elections were held in the near future.
Regev to Breaking the Silence: You have no place in Israel
Mifal Hapayis, Israel’s national lottery, cancelled a convention of the radical-left Breaking the Silence group that was to have taken place tonight at the Kiryat Ono’s city library, built with funds donateed by Mifal Hapayis.
The convention, organized at the initiative of MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), also met with opposition from Kiryat Ono’s Mayor Yisrael Gal.
Breaking the Silence slammed the cancellation, and said they would be protesting this evening outside the library.
“We couldn’t believe that, in our city, there would be calls for violence and the silencing of voices, only because several soldiers soldiers are coming to talk about where we sent them, what they saw, and what impressions they came out with,” they said.
“Although Mifal Hapayis and the Mayor are not allowing us to hold the event in the library, that doesn’t mean that we’re giving up and relinquishing our freedom of expression. We will demonstrate together against the attack of ‘Minister of Censorship’ Regev and Mifal Hapayis, which works in her service.”
UNSC won't focus on Israeli-Palestinian conflict under Nikki Haley presidency
For the first time in years, the United Nations Security Council will not focus its monthly open Middle East debate on Israel and the Palestinians, at least under the month-long presidency of US Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Haley, who presides over the Security Council for the month of April, told a news conference she would opt instead to push for UN peacekeeping reforms and broader human rights issues, despite the opposition of some member states.
She intends to have the April 20 debate revolve around such issues as Iran’s support for terrorism, the Syrian crisis, Hezbollah and Hamas among others, Haley said on Monday.
“So much has been put toward Israel and the Palestinian Authority and not enough has been put toward some of these other issues,” she said. “That is our goal for the Middle East open debate.”
US ambassador to UN Haley objects to ex Palestinian Authority PM Fayyad leading UN mission to Libya
Haley had come out strongly against the UN’s anti-Israel bias just after her first Security Council meeting in February, saying the US will no longer tolerate it.
U.S. Withdraws Funding for U.N. Population Fund
The State Department said on Monday it was ending U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund, the international body's agency focused on family planning as well as maternal and child health in more than 150 countries.
In a letter to U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, the State Department said it was dropping the funding because the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) "supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."
The cut marks U.S. President Donald Trump's first move to curtail funding for the United Nations and is likely to raise further questions about how deep those cuts will eventually go throughout the organization, where the United States is the top donor.
It comes after Trump in January reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy that withholds U.S. funding for international organizations that perform abortions or provide information about abortion.
Known by critics as the "global gag" rule, Trump broadened its scope to include all global health assistance in his Jan. 23 executive order that withholds at least half a billion dollars in U.S. funds. A lack of clarity around the rule, however, has left aid groups scrambling and both Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers seeking clarity.
EU ambassador denounces Israel's West Bank demolitions policy
The European Union has expressed frustration with Israel over its demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, with the EU ambassador taking the unusual step of reading out a joint statement denouncing the practice.
At a meeting last week with the Israeli foreign ministry's newly appointed director-general, the ambassador delivered a stern diplomatic message, saying Israel was failing in its international legal obligations and needed to change policy.
The issue came to a head after Israel issued demolition orders last month against 42 homes in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, where EU member states Belgium and Italy have funded a school and helped build structures for the local population of around 150.
"The practice of enforcement measures such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes and humanitarian assets (including EU-funded) and the obstruction of delivery of humanitarian assistance are contrary to Israel's obligations under international law," ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen said, with envoys from all EU member states present.
"We therefore call on Israel, as the occupying power, to meet its obligations vis-à-vis the Palestinian population..., completely stop these demolitions and confiscations and allow full access of humanitarian assistance."
Ireland to Fly Palestinian Flag Over City Hall in Idiotic Display of Solidarity
Apparently, Ireland thinks the "plight of the Palestinians" is akin to its own struggle for independence, hence the country has called for the recognition of a Palestinian state and now, in another mindless display of "solidarity," will fly the Palestinian flag over City Hall in Dublin for a month beginning May 15.
As usual, the entire motion is based on a number of false premises.
"If the flag was to cause a bit of a debate amongst some people who are unsure of it flying over City Hall I think that's a welcome development," said People Before Profit Councilor John Lyons, the Dublin City Councilman who introduced the motion.
"I think it's opening more people's eyes just to the actual reality of the daily life of Palestinians living under occupation which is a brutal life really," Lyons said, adding that the flag will fly "as a gesture of our solidarity with the people of Palestine living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, with the Palestinian citizens of Israel denied basic democratic rights and with the over 7 million displaced Palestinians denied the right of return to their homeland."
Correcting India's six decades of neglect towards Israel
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Tel Aviv later this year, he will correct a long tale of neglect and even diplomatic rejection of a friendship on offer for six long decades merely to please the Arabs abroad and cater to the appeasement of the Islamic lobby at home.
This is no party rhetoric. Take a look at the India-Jewish relationship over the millennia. India was the land of refuge for Jews as well as a trading centre for international trade for the children of Abraham (as per Yahowite belief) centuries before disaster struck them in AD 70.
Roman Emperor Titus, in an overreaction to the Jewish rebellion against the Roman colonialism, reduced their prestigious temple built by their emperor Solomon to rubble, killed some 70,000 Jews - men, women and children - and banished the entire ethnic group out of their ancestral home in Palestine.
India to receive armed Heron drones from Israel
Two years after buying its first armed Heron unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, India might be receiving them ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit this summer.
According to India’s Economic Times, 10 Heron TP-armed drones bought in September 2015 at a cost of $400 million are ready to be delivered to New Delhi once a final payment is completed.
The Heron TPs are Israel Aerospace Industries’s most advanced UAVs with a 40-hour endurance, maximum takeoff weight of 5,300 kg. and a payload of 1,000 kg., according to the Times. They can be used for both reconnaissance as well as combat and support roles, and can carry air-to-ground missiles to take out hostile targets.
At the AeroIndia show in Bangalore in February, IAI introduced their Long-Range Long-Endurance Heron TP-XP.
US Supreme Court to weigh Jordanian bank's liability for attacks in Israel
The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider reviving litigation seeking to hold Arab Bank Plc financially liable for militant attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories that accused the Jordan-based bank of being the "paymaster" to militant groups.
The justices agreed to hear an appeal by roughly 6,000 plaintiffs, who included relatives of non-US citizens killed in such attacks and survivors of the incidents, of a lower court ruling throwing out the litigation.
The plaintiffs accused Arab Bank under a US law called the Alien Tort Statute of deliberately financing terrorism, including suicide bombings and other attacks.
They are hoping to overturn a 2015 New York federal appeals court ruling that the bank could not be sued under the statute because it is a corporation.
Police classify stabbing in central Israel as terrorist attack
A stabbing in central Israel last week that was initially investigated as a criminal act was classified as a terrorist attack on Monday, the Shin Bet security agency said.
Malik Bassem Ismail Saada, 19, from the Hebron-adjacent town of Halhul, was arrested in the case and has implicated himself in the attack, the Central District Police said.
The incident took place in the evening hours of March 27 in Lod, when Saada attacked Revital Kenino, a local school principal, in one of the city's parking lots. Kenino, who was with her young daughter at the time of the attack, sustained moderate stab wounds. Her daughter was unharmed.
Saada, who was in Israel illegally, fled the scene. He was apprehended by police the next day as he was trying to return to Halhul.
He told investigators that he got the knife from the bakery where he worked without and sought a Jewish woman as a victim in a pre-planned attack.
Father of JCC bomb threat suspect: 'We are very sorry'
The father of the Israeli-American teenager believed to be behind hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in the United Stated issued an apology to American Jews but said his son's actions were motivated by illness.
"To all the Jews in the United States, I want to convey an unequivocal message. We are very sorry from the bottom of our hearts,” the unnamed father said on Israel’s Channel 2 on Monday, “We are good Jews, we do not hate you. There was no hatred here. He was motivated solely by the disease.”
The parents claim their 18-year-old son has severe autism and a brain tumor that affects his behavior, which led him to issue the threats against Jewish community centers in the United States and around the world. A gag order has been placed on the identity of the suspect.
The father, who works in high-tech, was arrested along with his son on suspicion that he was aware of the threats. He was then released on Thursday and he claims he was unaware of his son’s activities.
The father also said he was exposed to “destructive chemicals” and had multiple tumors operated on. “I underwent three operations to remove tumors, and my son also has a tumor,” the man said.
Arabs plan central 'Nakba' event at memorial for fallen soldiers
Jewish residents of the western Galilee region and relatives of soldiers who fell in battle during the War of Independence are shocked at news that Arab-Israelis are planning to hold their central “Nakba” celebration this year on Israeli Independence Day - at the site memorializing the fallen soldiers of the Yehiam Convoy.
During the War of Independence, the Convoy had been tasked with bringing supplies to Kibbutz Yehiam in the western Galilee, as the Kibbutz had been bombarded non-stop by Arab forces. Along the way, the Convoy was ambushed by Arabs, and 47 of its members were killed.
This year, the so-called "National Committee for the Protection of the Rights of the 'Displaced'," which organizes “Nakba Day” ceremonies, is planning to hold the central Nakba ceremony at the memorial site for the fallen soldiers of the Convoy, and expects an attendance of some 25,000. On “Nakba Day,” held annually around the time of Israeli Independence Day, Arabs in Israel lament the “catastrophe” of the creation of the State of Israel.
Family members of fallen soldiers are demanding that authorities prevent the event from taking place at the memorial site. “We come to the site on memorial days and on Independence Day to remember the fallen who fought bravely to free the trapped [Kibbutz] Yehiam. It cannot be that, suddenly, a march is held at the memorial site for the fallen,” said Yael Shavit and Nili Pachter, relatives of fallen commander Ben Ami Pachter, who led the Yehiam Convoy. “We demand that the march be transferred from the site of the memorial.”
Hamas warns Abbas against 'unilateral steps'
Hamas on Monday warned Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas against taking “unilateral steps” regarding the composition of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).
The organization called on Abbas to take into account an agreement reached between Palestinian organizations in Beirut that emphasized the importance of implementing the reconciliation agreements between Fatah and Hamas.
In a statement, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem demanded that Abbas re-establish the PNC, an institution that serves as the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) “parliament”, based on a partnership of all the Palestinian organizations.
Hamas seeks to join the PNC and other PLO institutions in an attempt to take over the internationally recognized organization as the sole representative of the Palestinian Arab people.
New Hamas Document Reaffirms Radical Islamist Goals
In a new political document — intended to re-brand Hamas as a more moderate group — the Gaza-based terrorist organization calls for the destruction of Israel through “armed resistance.”
“Resistance to the occupation, by all means and methods, is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and international norms and laws, at the heart of which is armed resistance. … Hamas refuses to infringe upon Resistance and its weapons, and emphasizes the right of our people to develop the means of Resistance and its mechanisms,” according to an Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) translation of the new document that was obtained by Al-Quds.
In the document, Hamas reaffirms that its objective is “the liberation of Palestine and confronting the Zionist project,” and that that the group’s “reference is Islam, in its principles and lofty goals.”
“Palestine,” according to Hamas, refers to all of Israel and the territories: “from the Jordan River eastward to the Mediterranean Sea on the West.”
While the document states that Hamas accepts a temporary Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, the group clearly proclaims that there will be “no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity…no renunciation of any part of the land of Palestine whatever the reasons, circumstances and pressures, and no matter how long the Occuption [lasts].”
Hamas wants to project a more peaceful stance to the international community, by trying to differentiate its conflict with the “Zionist entity” as opposed to the Jewish people. Nevertheless, the terrorist group goes out of its way to deny any Jewish rights to the land of Israel.
Hamas tells ‘collaborators’ to turn selves in amid hunt for assassins
Hamas said on Tuesday it would offer amnesty to Gazan “agents” for Israel if they turned themselves in to the security forces over the next week.
The offer comes amid a crackdown by Hamas on “collaborators” with the Israeli army following the recent assassination of one of its terror chiefs, Mazen Faqha, which it blames on Israel.
“For the sake of national and social responsibility, the interior and national security ministry will open the door of repentance to those who have fallen victim to the occupation and its intelligence services,” a statement by the Hamas-run Gaza interior ministry said, alluding to the idea that some Gazans are coerced by the Israeli army to work for it.
The “door of repentance” will be open for just one week starting Tuesday, the statement said.
The statement calls on “collaborators” to turn themselves in to the “nearest person in direct relationship with the security services.”
Hezbollah Cements Control of Lebanon With Beirut Drug Raids
The Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah recently raided drug houses in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Beirut, underlining its increasing entanglement with the Lebanese government.
“This is what a country that has given up its authority in favor of the ‘tiny state’ looks like,” said Ashraf Rifi, a Hezbollah critic and former justice minister of Lebanon.
“Arab media outlets opposed to Hezbollah emphasized the irony of having Hezbollah launch a war on drugs, when the organization itself is accused of using drug trafficking as a central source of income,” Ynet News reported.
Last October, three men linked to Hezbollah were accused of laundering drug money on behalf of the Colombian cartel after United States authorities said they illegally moved $500,000 into Miami banks. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency announced in February 2016 that it had arrested several individuals after investigating a “massive” international drug trafficking and money laundering operation run by Hezbollah. The agency said that Hezbollah worked with drug cartels to supply cocaine to the U.S. and Europe, then laundered the proceeds in a scheme that helped “provide a revenue and weapons stream for an international terrorist organization responsible for devastating terror attacks around the world.” Two Hezbollah officials were sanctioned for money laundering by the U.S. Treasury Department a week earlier.
‘Iran arms manufacturing facilities in Lebanon are new kind of threat’
Reports that Iran is building workshops and facilities to make advanced rockets inside Lebanon is a “huge development” that constitutes a “whole new kind of threat,” Chagai Tzuriel, director- general of the Intelligence Ministry, said Monday.
Tzuriel, at a briefing organized by The Israel Project, attributed the reports to a Kuwaiti newspaper, but seemed to accept their veracity. If true, it would mean the Iranians and Hezbollah are trying to get around the difficulty of transferring arms over land through Syria to Lebanon by manufacturing them there instead. Israel reportedly, on a number of occasions, has attacked convoys moving potentially “game-changing” armaments over land through Syria.
In addition to the weaponry, Iran continues to provide Hezbollah with $1 billion a year.
Tzuriel said Hezbollah has an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 of its best fighters in Syria, and has lost approximately 1,700 men in the war there with thousands others wounded.




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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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