Wednesday, January 17, 2018

From Ian:

Eli Lake: Palestinian President Shows the World Who He Really Is
There are two ways to understand the two-and-a-half hour rant Sunday from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in which he called for discarding past agreements with Israel.

The first way is straightforward: He means it. As Maya Angelou famously said, "when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." In the case of Abbas, he has been showing us who he is for a while now.

He defends Palestinian Authority payments for terrorists. He called murderers "heroic brothers" when they were released by Israel in 2013 as a condition for restarting peace talks. In December he urged the Organization of the Islamic Conference to reconsider its recognition of Israel.

So when Abbas gives a Castro-esque speech laced with fake history about Israel being a colonial project of Europeans, it fits a pattern.

The second way of understanding his rant requires some creative accounting. Abbas doesn't really mean it. Abbas has been a patient peace partner now for 15 years, but along comes President Donald Trump, who recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and asks Saudi Arabia to pressure Abbas to take a deal. What do you expect?

This is the interpretation of J-Street, the Soros-family-funded advocacy group that touts itself as pro-peace and pro-Israel. A J-Street statement on the Abbas speech began with this throat clearing: "Sunday’s speech by President Abbas no doubt reflected his own and the Palestinian people’s deep despair at the ever-deepening occupation and the lack of diplomatic progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

J-Street was careful to stipulate that this despair was "no excuse for calling into question either the Jewish connection to, or Palestinian recognition of, the state of Israel." But let's not lose the plot. This group asserts that Abbas would not have delivered his rant "if it were not for President Trump’s inept and disastrous missteps regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."


PodCast: Did Abbas kill the Israeli left?
Gil Hoffman speaks to Zionist Union Knesset member Nachman Shai on the impact of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s anti-Semitic speech and rejection of peace talks on the Israeli Left.

Shai, like Naftali Bennett Monday says the Abbas era is over, but unlike Bennett, Shai says the 2-state-solution is still alive. He also laments Israel’s inability to get out its message when its Foreign Ministry’s funding has been cut again. (h/t Elder Of Lobby)


Israeli official: UNRWA is one of the greatest frauds in history
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning said he expects the US Embassy to move to Jerusalem within the coming year.

"Three things are happening in the US which have never happened before," Netanyahu explained. "My estimation is that the US Embassy move will happen faster than we think. Within the span of a year - that's my educated guess."

"There is a dramatic change regarding Iran, and the President has a time limit, at the end of which the Iran deal will either be fixed or canceled."

Regarding UNRWA, the UN organization created for the purpose of helping "Palestinian refugees," Netanyahu said, "This is the first time they are being challenged. This organization perpetuates the Palestinians' refugee status. This is the first time someone is standing up and challenging that."

A Netanyahu official said he "believes that the the Americans are discussing Israel's proposal to transfer care of the refugees in Judea and Samaria from UNRWA to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)." The many millions of refugees who are not Palestinian Arabs are represented by one organization UNHCR. Only the Palestinian Arabs have an organization of their own.

The US on Wednesday morning cut UNRWA funding from $125 million to $60 million.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Michael Oren (Kulanu) said, "I congratulate US President Donald Trump on his decision to drastically cut funding to UNRWA. This is a false and corrupt organization, which fabricates millions of refugees in order to receive world funding. UNRWA perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by teaching Palestinian youth to hate the State of Israel and to work to erase it. The President's decision is a crucial and vital step to putting an end to one of the greatest frauds in history. UNRWA's fraud has caused great damage to Israel and to the entire Middle East."

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
The ruined Tiferet Yisrael synagogue, 1949


From the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine.report from April, 1949:

15. Since the presentation to the General Assembly of the Commission's first report to the Secretary-General, the Special Committee on Jerusalem has continued to work actively. In particular, it has held interviews with representatives of Arab and Jewish central and local authorities. On the basis of new instructions given to it by the Commission, the Committee is endeavouring to formulate, in conformity with the terms of paragraph 8 of the resolution of 11 December 1948, proposals which will at the same time be acceptable to both parties. The Commission is aware that acceptance by the two parties is not mentioned in the terms of reference which it received from the General Assembly on the subject of the international regime for Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the Commission feels that such acceptance would facilitate considerably the establishment and functioning of such a regime. In this connexion, the Commission is happy to report that, during its conversations in Beirut with the Arab delegations, the latter showed themselves, in general, prepared to accept the principle of an international regime for the Jerusalem area, on condition that the United Nations should be in a position to offer the necessary guarantees regarding the stability and permanence of such a regime. On the other hand, the Governments of the Arab States have reserved their right to give their final opinion after they have been acquainted with the text of the proposals which the Commission is to submit to the General Assembly.
16. The religious representatives mentioned above also emphasized to the Commission, during the Beirut meetings, the importance which they attach to the application of those paragraphs of the resolution which concern Jerusalem and the Holy Places. Some of them expressed a further desire to see the international regime extended to cover Nazareth.
Today's Arabs say insist that Jerusalem is wholly Arab, and it is inconceivable that any non-Arab control the city. But in 1949, when Transjordan did control half of Jerusalem and Israel the other half, the other Arab countries liked the idea of an international regime controlling Jerusalem.

And they even wanted to extend that regime to Nazareth, inside Israel.

What has changed between then and now? It is obvious: Nothing. Both then and now,  Arabs didn't care about who would administer Jerusalem as long as the people who controlled it weren't Jews. They wanted to reduce, however they could, the amount of land that Jews controlled - hence the absurd idea of not only including Nazareth in the corpus separatum, but also the corridor that would need to be created to travel there from Jerusalem - cutting Israel nearly in half.

There is no rich Arab history in Jerusalem. It was never an Arab capital. The city was a terrible place to live when under Muslim rule.

The only time Muslims showed interest was when either Christians, during the Crusades, or Jews nowadays, controlled the city. Otherwise, the city was all but ignored, with only occasional pilgrims passing through.

The Palestinian Arab obsession with Jerusalem, plastering photos of the Dome of the Rock on every surface, is a new phenomenon. Jerusalem is not even mentioned in the original PLO charter written in 1964!

Trump's speech did not affect the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem one iota. What it did was strengthen Israel's claim to part of Jerusalem. That idea, that Jews have any rights to any part of Jerusalem, is what is behind Mahmoud Abbas' temper tantrum today - and it can be traced back to how the Arab nations looked at Israeli control of the "New City" of Jerusalem in 1949.

The Palestinian Arabs'' true interest is in taking Jerusalem away from the Jews, just as the Arabs wanted to in 1949.

And both times by cynically using international instruments to accomplish that goal.




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  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

YNet reports:
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz's ambitious plan to connect extend the railroad tracks from Beit She'an East to the Sheikh Hussein crossing at the Jordanian border was allocated NIS 15 million in the 2019 budget.

The funds will be invested in planning the extension of the tracks to the border crossing.

Trains are set to carry passengers and cargo between the Israeli Mediterranean coast and Jordan, or more optimistically—if there is a peace agreement between the countries—all the way to Iraq and Saudi Arabia as well.
The main purpose is for freight, not people. The trains should reduce truck traffic that is going today from the port at Haifa to Jordan.

And beyond.

Buried in this Al-Monitor story about the proposed railway as a possible competitor to the Suez Canal we learn:
In the interview [with Arabic newspaper Elaph], Katz explained that the railway will cut freight expenses from Europe to the Gulf countries and indicated that 25% of Turkey’s exports to the Gulf travel through Haifa’s port and pass through Jordan.
That's probably a fair amount of goods that already go to Gulf states through Haifa. I imagine that many products from Europe also reach the Gulf through Haifa.

Part of the honor/shame dynamic is that one is shamed only if what he did is known. Arabs don't mind benefiting from Israel - as long as no one knows.






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Is there any more proof needed that J-Street cannot be taken seriously?

Israel's "peace partner" Mahmoud Abbas gives an hour-long rant that denies any connection between Israel and Judaism, that says that Jews chose to stay in Europe during the Holocaust rather than emigrate to Israel, that Ben Gurion was a bigot who hated Jews from Arab lands but ended up making secret agreements to have them persecuted in Arab countries so they would flee to Israel, hints that TWA chose to fly Jews from Yemen to Israel against their will because it is owned by Jews, and other hateful and antisemitic garbage.

J-Street briefly says that Abbas said some unacceptable things without elaborating - and then tells us why he was driven to such despair:

Sunday’s speech by President Abbas no doubt reflected his own and the Palestinian people’s deep despair at the ever-deepening occupation and the lack of diplomatic progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That frustration, however, is no excuse for calling into question either the Jewish connection to, or Palestinian recognition of, the state of Israel – or for language and proposals that are justifiably earning widespread condemnation.

This speech – and the undercutting of America’s role as a mediator in this conflict – would not have come about if it were not for President Trump’s inept and disastrous missteps regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By appointing a settlement movement ally as Ambassador to Israel, refusing to endorse the two-state solution and upending longstanding US policy on Jerusalem, the president and his team have taken one step after another to destroy the chances of peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Abbas revealed himself as a blatant antisemite. And not for the first time. His PhD thesis denied the Holocaust, saying that not so many Jews died and that Zionists colluded with Hitler to persecute them. He told the EU Parliament that rabbis encourage Israel to poison Palestinian wells. He said that Jews raise wild boars and dogs just to attack Palestinian farmers.

But to J-Street, Abbas is a moderate peace partner. To them, Abbas' long history of hate and bigotry doesn't exist, and when it is undeniable, they blame...Trump, The Source Of All That Is Evil In This World.

Because they know their audience. And to the J-Street crowd, Trump saying that Jerusalem is Jewish is the ultimate evil, and Abbas saying that Jews preferred to die in gas chambers rather than move to their ancestral homeland is a minor annoyance....that must be blamed on Trump.






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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


Abdullah Al Hadlaq was in the news a couple of months ago when MEMRI translated an interview of him saying Israel was legitimate, that he wants peaceful coexistence between Arab states and Israel, and that there was no Palestine before 1948.

Now he has a column in Kuwait's Al Watan saying that UNRWA should be defunded:
Everyone agrees completely with the sharp and logical criticism of the UNRWA by President Donald Trump. It is a biased and racist organization that perpetuates the refugee issue (Palestinians!), as well as the so-called right of return. The role of the Organization seems to be aimed at the destruction of the State of Israel, and the United Nations must therefore stop funding that racist organization until it vanishes.

On January 5, 2018, Washington froze $ 125 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), days after US President Donald Trump threatened to halt aid to the Palestinians in the future.

The United States announced that it would take a decision to suspend the funding of UNRWA programs unless the Palestinians ended their intransigence and returned to negotiations with Israel...

The pro-Iranian Islamic Hamas movement has opposed human rights approaches. As a result, the Hamas government has stopped UNRWA from teaching the human rights curriculum in its schools in Gaza. After arguing with the Hamas government, which accused UNRWA of adopting a human rights-sensitive platform for all, including the Jewish and Israeli people... the Agency temporarily stopped teaching human rights in its schools. The curriculum books were withdrawn from all UNRWA schools by the Ministry of Education of the Hamas government.

This is the case in which all forms of financial support and international funding of UNRWA must be stopped as long as their decisions are subject to the methods of terrorism, exclusion, racism and non-observance of the rights of other peoples. This approach is followed by the terrorist Hamas movement that governs the Gaza Strip and imposes it on UNRWA curricula and schools.
He may be an anomaly, but this stuff would not have been published anywhere in the Arab world a year ago.



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From Ian:

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians
The United States sent $60 million to keep the UN relief agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) in operation but withheld a further $65 million while it urged others to pay more, a State Department official said Tuesday.

“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” the official said.

The official told AFP the decision to withhold some funds was meant to encourage more “burden-sharing” by other members.

“The United States has been UNRWA’s single largest donor for decades. In years past, we contributed some 30 percent of UNRWA’s total income,” he said.
US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas pose for a photograph during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

“Without the funds we are providing today, UNRWA operations were at risk of running out of funds and closing down.

“The funds provided by the United States will prevent that from happening for the immediate future.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)

MEMRI: Kuwaiti Columnist: Stop Funding For Racist UNRWA Until It Dwindles And Dies
In his January 10, 2018 column in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan, 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq supported the criticism voiced by U.S. President Donald Trump about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and Trump's decision to cut its funding. Calling UNRWA a "biased and racist organization" that "perpetuates the problem of the 'Palestinian' refugees," that succumbs to Hamas's dictates, and that strives to destroy Israel, Al-Hadlaq called to stop all funding and aid to this organization until it crumbles and disappears.

Al-Hadlaq is known for his uncommon positions on Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which are reflected in many of his articles. For example, in past articles he wrote that Iran, rather than Israel, is the Gulf countries' real enemy;[1] that Hamas is a terrorist organization whose "reckless" rocket attacks on Israel kill innocent people, [2] and that Israel has the right to defend itself from Palestinian knife terrorism.[3] In a 2017 interview on the Kuwaiti TV channel Al-Rai, he even stated that Israelis are not occupiers but rather "a people that has returned to its homeland."[4]

The following are excerpts from his column:

"Everybody agrees with the harsh [but] reasonable criticism leveled by U.S. President Donald Trump at UNRWA, for it is a biased and racist organization that perpetuates the problem of the 'Palestinian'[5] refugees and the narrative of the so-called right of return, an organization whose role is apparently to work towards the destruction of the state of Israel. Hence, the U.N. should stop funding this organization until it crumbles and disappears.

"On January 5, 2018, a few days after President Trump threatened to stop future aid to the 'Palestinians', the U.S. froze $125 million in funding for UNRWA... and announced that the funding would not be renewed until the Palestinians stopped being stubborn and resumed negotiations with Israel... [It should be noted that] the U.S. grants $300 million annually to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

"The terrorist Hamas movement, which supports the Persian Iranian regime, rejected [UNRWA's] curricula on human rights.[6] This caused a grave crisis between the Hamas government and UNRWA, following which the latter suspended these curricula in its Gaza schools... Hamas's complaint was that these curricula address everyone's human rights, including those of the Jewish and Israeli people, and contravene the culture and rights of the 'Palestinian' people. There are no signs on the horizon of any solution for this broad crisis that developed between the terrorist Hamas government... and UNRWA...
UN defends Palestinian refugee agency as US aid cuts loom
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that the work of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which helps Palestinian refugees, "is critical" and that if the United States or any other donor cuts its contributions "we will have to find other sources."

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States may withhold future aid payments to UNRWA over what he called the Palestinians' unwillingness to talk peace with Israel. The U.S. is the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of nearly $370 million in 2016, according to UNRWA's website.

Dujarric said UNRWA has a mandate from the U.N. General Assembly to foster the "human development" of Palestinian refugees and serves "some of the most marginalized population in the Middle East."

He said the agency's health, education and humanitarian help "is a force for stabilization in a very volatile area."

Across the Middle East, millions of people who depend on UNRWA are bracing for the worst of the cuts go through, as they could also add instability to struggling host countries already coping with spillover from other regional crises.

UNRWA was established in 1949 and covers registered Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

The U.N. General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, as more than 5 million people now rely on it for services including education, health care and food.

Seen by the Palestinians and most of the international community as providing a valuable safety net, UNRWA is viewed far differently by Israel.
Should the U.S. Continue to Fund the Palestinians Regardless of Their Intransigence?
Leaving aside the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, the United States should withhold contributions to UNRWA until it implements critical reforms. In the medium term, Washington should seek to eliminate UNRWA, shifting responsibility for recent Palestinian refugees resulting from the war in Syria to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. We should also demand that the Palestinians assume responsibility for the services provided by UNRWA. That’s what sovereign governments are expected to do, and the Palestinians aspire to become a sovereign state.

Are there risks to this policy? Of course, but risks are also inherent in adhering to the same policies that have led to the deeply unsatisfactory, insecure status quo. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all failed in their ambition to negotiate a peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. Success hinges on the Palestinians understanding that there is a cost to their intransigence.

When Ambassador Haley announced that the United States was taking names, she implied that there would be consequences for voting against the United States and rewards for supporting America. President Trump followed up and made clear that voting for the condemnation would affect U.S. decisions to provide foreign assistance:

Let them vote against us; we'll save a lot. We don't care. But this isn't like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they're doing.

America’s influence is due in no small part to the belief of other governments that the Trump administration will follow through on its promises. Failing to follow through will undermine U.S. credibility in Turtle Bay and around the world. Not every UN vote is important, but if the United States wants to influence important votes in the future, it needs to do more than take names.

  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
In the preface to the book, Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017, Guardian writer Ian Black notes:


Language Matters
A Note on Terminology and Transliteration 
The terminology used in this book generally reflects contemporary usage. In Ottoman times it was common to refer in Arabic, Hebrew and English to Muslims, Christians and Jews, reflecting the primary identity of the communities living under the imperial millet system of religious autonomy. The term ‘Arab’ became more widely used in Palestine and beyond in the first years of the twentieth century. ...Before 1948 the term ‘Palestinian’ was far less widely employed than it is today and it made no distinction between Arabs and Jews. ‘In those days people didn’t use the word “Palestinian” so much’, as the economist Yusif Sayigh explained. ‘There were many things that were called Palestinian, but official names usually had the word “Arab” - for instance al-Hay’a al-Arabiya al-‘Ulya, the Arab Higher Committee, not the Palestinian Higher Committee. Because the Jews were Palestinian too."
The country’s leading English-language newspaper was the (Zionist) Palestine Post, founded in 1932. (It was renamed the Jerusalem Post when Palestine ceased to exist.) Its leading Zionist institution was named The Jewish Agency for Palestine but in Hebrew the country was always referred to as Eretz-Yisrael. The use of the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Israelis’ followed the creation of the state in 1948, but the word ‘Jews’ (Yahud) continued to be commonly used, especially in colloquial Arabic. The refugees who were driven out, fled and dispersed in the Nakba (catastrophe) were widely referred to as ‘Arabs’ in the 1950s and 1960s. In English the term ‘Palestine Arabs’ was common. Usage changed gradually after the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, while Arab recognition of the PLO as the ‘sole legitimate representative’ of the Palestinian people in 1974 reinforced that trend. ...

Arabic-language Palestinian media in the West Bank and Gaza Strip nowadays often describe Israel simply as al-ihtilal - the occupation.
 Black is quite sympathetic to Palestinian Arabs, but even he makes clear that they did not have that identity until relatively recently.

It makes the occasional article or tweet about "Palestine Airlines" or Palestine currency and stamps seem even more stupid than they already were.

And notice that even today, Arabs refer to Israel -not the territories, but Israel altogether - as "the occupation."




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Every now and then, it’s nice to pull back from the combat zone to take a look at some of the tools and weapons used in our battles with Israel’s enemies.  And, given that we’re primarily fighting against a propaganda war, Martin Luther King Day gives us the chance to learn about an important verbal jousting technique known as the “Halo Effect.”

Like many persuasive tools, the Halo Effect takes advantage of the fact that the human mind is extremely gifted at making associations, but that many of those associations are formed in the absence of full knowledge.  Some uninformed associations (like associating a rustle in the bushes with danger, even if it’s just the wind) have obvious evolutionary benefit.  But uninformed associations can have a dark side (prejudice, for example, falls into this category), and the mind’s tendency to associate first and ask questions later (if ever) leaves us vulnerable to manipulation.

It is the propagandist’s job to create uniformed associations to the benefit of their cause.  For example, the BDSers’ incessant incantation of “Israel=Apartheid” is meant to cement an association in the mind of an audience that Israel represents the kind of racist society associated with the “Apartheid” term.  The boycotters must pitch this message to those who have no idea what Israel is like, since such factual knowledge would instantly expose the Apartheid accusation as a lie.  But they also prefer their audience to know nothing (or next to nothing) about South Africa’s actual experience with the Apartheid system, which leaves the term serving simply as a marker for a bigoted society worthy of dismantlement.

In general, the Halo Effect is used to associate your own cause with a person, image or movement with positive connotations.  Invocation of Gandhi, for example, gives your cause a halo of spirit-driven, non-violent resistance to power, just as invoking Reagan or Kennedy associates you with the perception of uncompromised conservative or liberal principles (regardless of the complex lives and political beliefs of all three icons).

In the Arab-Israeli propaganda, no icon is the subject of more dispute than Martin Luther King, which is why quotes of his support of Zionism show up on so many pro-Israel web sites every Martin Luther King Day.  Anti-Israel propagandists, desperate to claim the mantle of the Civil Rights movement for themselves, ignore, deny or dispute King’s support for the Jewish state, and thus the ongoing war over King’s legacy.

Keep in mind that the Halo Effect does not require in-depth education of the public on the facts of the matter.  In fact, diving deeply into the complex real lives and beliefs of any icon (the ones already mentioned, or additional ones like Nelson Mandela or Albert Einstein) are as likely to lead to confusion over where they ultimately stood.  And for purposes of generating a halo to stand inside, a simple story will always trump a complex one.

So how to best use this technique, both to cement our own causes to worthy individuals and messages and prevent our enemies from doing the same?

I’ve already mentioned the importance of keeping your story simple.  But while simplification of complex stories is acceptable in political argumentation, such simplicity should never stray into inaccuracy.  For example, it’s fair to highlight that Nelson Mandela never advocated for BDS or point out his positive experiences with the Jewish state.  But using that to claim Mandela as an ardent Zionist would be a stretch into self-delusion or deception that could damage the credibility of anyone making such statements.

Identifying the line between telling an easily digestible tale and telling fibs is the key to using the Halo Effect to maximum advantage, as well as limiting its effectiveness for opponents.  For example, years ago a memo in which Nelson Mandela condemned Israel as an Apartheid state was exposed as a fraud, a hoax that has limited the BDSers ability to invoke his name ever since.  And while similarly inaccurate quotes from Martin Luther King condemning anti-Zionism were also exposed as incorrect, our side benefited from exposing this inaccuracy ourselves, rather than waiting for our opponents to do so.

So what’s the bottom line for activists whose main weapon is language?  First off, understand human psychology and the tools of persuasive communication (like the Halo Effect) well enough to put them to use for a worthy cause, and (2) always hitch these techniques to the truth (which is not that hard, given that the truth is on our side).






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From Ian:

Israeli security forces find cell phone bomb in Joseph's Tomb
Israeli security forces removed a bomb on Monday from Joseph's Tomb in Nablus in the West Bank, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

The bomb, found in a cell phone during a security scan to secure the tomb for about 1,000 worshipers, was removed from the tomb and detonated by security forces. Protestors threw stones at security forces upon their entry to and departure from the site, damaging their bus but resulting in no casualties.

Nablus, built on the site of the ancient Biblical city of Shehem, is located in Area A of the West Bank, which is exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority.

The Jewish holy site has been targeted by Palestinians in the past. In October of 2015, hundreds of rioters set the tomb ablaze before being dispersed by Palestinian Authority police. The religious site suffered severe damage, but again, no one was wounded.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the arson, stressing "his rejection of these actions and all actions that violate law and order, and which distort our culture, our morals and our religion.”
MEMRI: Palestinian Authority Honors Two Prisoners Serving Life Sentences For Kidnapping, Murder Of Israeli Soldier; Representative For PA President 'Abbas: 'The Two Prisoners Are A National Example'
On January 14, 2018, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Prisoners Affairs Authority, in conjunction with the governor of the Ramallah district and the Palestinian Prisoners Club, held an event in Ramallah to mark the 36th year of imprisonment of two Israeli-Arab terrorists – Kareem Younis, aka "The Eldest of Prisoners," and his cousin Maher Younis – serving life sentences in Israel for the 1980 kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg. During the event, senior Fatah officials heaped praise on the two, describing them as "national examples of steadfastness" and "one of the symbols of the Palestinian struggle."

Fatah deputy chairman and Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul, who spoke at the event as the representative of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said: "The two prisoners are a national example of steadfastness for the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation. They are a symbol from among the symbols of the Palestinian struggle, along with thousands of prisoners who have paid and are still paying a high price for the liberation of their people."

The head of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Authority, Issa Qaraqe, also spoke, saying: "The Israel jailor cannot break the willpower of the prisoners Kareem and Maher Younis, no matter how long their incarceration continues. Their struggle against the prisons of the occupation is a source of pride to all Palestinians."

Ramallah District Governor Dr. Laila Ghannam said: "The prisoners gave their lives for Palestine, and so it is our obligation to stand by them and support their families until they are released from prison."

Palestinian Prisoners Club head Qadura Fares said: "This event is in recognition of their sacrifice. They were and still remain a national school [sic] for the ongoing struggle against the occupation and its arrogance."
Melanie Phillips: Abbas tears off the mask
This outrageous speech was almost certainly prompted by the fact that Abbas and co realise that with Trump the game is now up. The US will no longer promote the interests of these Palestinian Arabs who have been given a free pass for their murderous lies all these years.

But Britain and the EU did not go along with Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They continue to misrepresent international law and blame Israel falsely for preventing a peaceful solution to the Middle East impasse while persistently excusing, justifying and thus conniving at Palestinian Arab rejectionism.

In short, Britain and the EU continue to support, validate and this connive at an agenda aimed at the extermination of Israel promoted by hallucinatory lies and libels about the Jewish people along with gross Holocaust denial.

Abbas’s speech should be sent to every member of the British parliament, and the Prime Minister, Theresa May, should be asked how Britain can continue to give any money at all to such open antisemites and Holocaust deniers. She should be asked how the British government can continue to support giving such people a state of their own. She should be asked why the British government has ignored this horrifying reality, and the constant mortal danger it poses for the Israelis, for so long.

But then, many British people will be unaware of the appalling nature of Abbas’s speech since the BBC chose to bowdlerise it, as BBC Watch observes here.

Abbas clearly felt he had nothing to lose by making this speech. America has made clear it will no longer give the time of day to such an unconscionable agenda. Only Britain and the EU continue to keep it alive, to their undying shame.

  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Haaretz has an article by former US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, where he tears apart Abbas' nonsensical and hateful speech:

His bizarre description of Israel as colonial creation of European powers, his canard that Israel has no organic connection to Jewish history, is completely inconsistent with any plausible logic of accepting a two-state deal. His accusation of Israel importing drugs to poison Palestinian youth is shameful.

And his ardent defense of the payments made to Palestinian terrorists in prison tells Israelis, Palestinians, and the U.S. Congress that he will not educate Palestinians to give up violence directed at civilians in their struggle for independence.

Here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say a more strategic version of Trump, capitalizing on (rather than wasting) the goodwill built up by envoys, had already - either before or together with his Jerusalem announcement -submitted a perfect plan for the "ultimate deal"/two-state solution, in which all legitimate Palestinian aspirations could be achieved. If Abbas believes the nonsense in his speech delegitimizing Israel’s existence, there is no way he could accept it.

But then Shapiro, who should know better, falls into the lazy false conventional wisdom that Israel's leadership is just as bad:
A similar thought experiment applies: Even if Abbas, or some other Palestinian leader, met every Israeli condition - recognition as a Jewish state, renouncing the right of return of refugees, extensive arrangements to ensure Israel’s security - there is no chance that the current coalition would meet him halfway.

What does Shapiro base this on? Bibi has spelled out these exact conditions as necessary for peace. Why doesn't Shapiro believe him?

Because he reads Haaretz?

Well, Haaretz is what proved that Bibi is far more willing to compromise than any Palestinian leader!

We've mentioned it before. Haaretz reported that Bibi accepted a US-drafted framework for peace and to create a Palestinian state.

This was in 2014. This is Haaretz' graphic summarizing what happened:

Is Shapiro confidently predicting that the current coalition would reject a plan that Bibi approves? It is possible, but he really needs to show support for such a position rather than declare it as fact outright. Israelis have shown enthusiasm for peace before, and it seems unlikely that a peace plan that addresses all Israeli concerns would be turned down.

Obviously, we will never know, because Palestinian intransigence is so much deeper and embedded than the most right wing parts of Israel's ruling coalition. But Shapiro knows the players. If he has evidence for his assertion, and is not falling into the Obama mindset of "Bibi=Likud='most right wing government in Israel's history'," he should spell it out.

And if he has some inside information  that Haaretz's reporting on the 2014 negotiations is inaccurate, and in fact Netanyahu is who rejected the Obama/Kerry framework, we need to know that as well.

UPDATES: Shapiro responded via tweet:
Not what I’m implying. I’m very clear on the responsibility Abbas bears. I also address the fact that the vast majority of the ministers in the current govt are very clear (& proud) that they do not seek and would not support 2 states. I listen to them and take them at their word.
I replied:
But do you think that Bibi would hold new elections if something like that happened? In other words, do you think they have veto power? Because if not, still no analogy.
He responded:
He very well might. Whether he would succeed or not, I have no idea. But your question makes my point: with *this* government, you could not get agreement for two states.
I am not so sure about that; Menachem Begin faced fierce opposition from his cabinet as well when he was selling the Egyptian peace treaty.

Also, a Palestinian Authority that drops the "right to return" and Jerusalem and allows, for example, Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley would be a completely different entity than we have seen. Saying that the government would not cooperate with true peace partner is a much different proposition than saying it won't cooperate with the current PLO, which never has acted contrary to Arafat's phased plan to destroy Israel.

I don't think Shapiro's assertion is so obvious. But at least he responded, and that was nice of him.

UPDATE 2: More of our thread:










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  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


From Times of Israel:
Army sappers detonated a cellphone-operated explosive device that was apparently planted by Palestinians at the entrance to the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the city of Nablus early Tuesday morning, ahead of a visit by approximately 1,000 Jewish worshipers, the army said.

There were no injuries or significant damage caused by the controlled blast, and the pilgrimage to the shrine continued as planned, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said.

A remote controlled bomb is not something that a lone-wolf terrorist does. This was a well-planned terror attack, done under the noses of the Palestinian Authority (if not with their actual tacit support.)

Dozens could have been killed and wounded. And the people who come to worship at Josephs Tomb are by and large not big Zionists - just religious Jews who brave terrible conditions to visit late at night.

Of course, under signed agreements, the Palestinian Authority is supposed to allow free access to Jews to their holy places. In reality, the Jews would be torn limb from limb if they tried to visit on their own, and they need to be protected by the army and border police.
According to the military, as the group was leaving the area, local residents began to throw rocks at the troops and the buses, causing no injuries, but some light damage to the vehicles.

This is as pure an example of Jew-hatred as one can imagine.

But B'Tselem doesn't support freedom to worship. It supports the people who attack the Jews.
Pilgrimages by Israeli or foreign civilians to the Joseph’s Tomb holy site are frequent catalysts for violence. In the past, Nablus residents have attacked the groups visiting the site with rocks, Molotov cocktails and rifle fire.

As a result, those interested in visiting the site require a military escort.

The left-wing B’Tselem rights group has condemned the routine practice, saying that “Israel has preferred the interest of Jewish worshipers over the rights of the Palestinian residents, their security, their safety and their daily routine.”
The only reason the army need to be there is to protect the Jews from mobs of stone throwers (and potential bombers.) Otherwise, the Jews could visit peacefully and leave peacefully, not having to come in groups of a thousand at midnight but coming throughout the day. Souvenir stands could be placed nearby and the economy of Nablus could improve.

It isn't the Jews who disrupt the lives of the resident of Nablus - it is the residents of Nablus who hate Jews so much that they must stone and firebomb them.

But B'Tselem shows that it really doesn't care about human rights at all. Palestinians have the absolute right to keep Jews out of their town, and Jews have no right to peacefully pray at their holy site.

I found the Facebook post where B'Tselem says this. It is an amazing inversion of cause and effect. Residents of Nablus are crying to B'Tselem "researchers" about how they hear and smell tear gas firings - but the idea that there would be no clashes if Palestinians didn't attack Jewish worshipers is simply incomprehensible to these "humanitarians." No, to B'Tselem, Palestinians are animals who literally cannot stop themselves from attacking Jews, and it is Jews who are responsible for being attacked by the unfortunate fact that they exist.

This is not human rights. This is supporting terror and Jew-hatred. And for this reason alone, B'Tselem has discredited itself as any kind of moral authority.




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  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

From Arutz-7:
Advanced in years, Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Bohrer, of blessed memory, passed away on Shabbat. He and his wife Helen were among the original founders of the town Bet El, living in an army camp under minimal conditions. Rabbi Bohrer was a renowned tour guide and speaker, and worked on behalf of Yeshivat Bet El since its founding 40 years ago.
Rabbi Bohrer dedicated his life to the success and building of Bet El Institutions, dedicating his talents and wisdom to furthering the blossoming of Bet El up to and including the last weeks of his life.
Based on this 1964 NYT article about his being the first Israeli to receive rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Bohrer must have been 87 years old:

I knew Rabbi Bohrer. In 2007, when he was 76, he acted as an unpaid tour guide for my family in Israel, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the land, or archaeology and geography, as well as of the Tanach (Hebrew scriptures) gave us a side of Israel we could never have seen otherwise.

He took us to Tzfat (Safed,) Tiberias, Hebron, Jerusalem, the memorial of the slain girls by a Jordanian soldier at the site of the Island of Peace massacre, the tomb of the prophet Samuel right after it was attacked and vandalized by Arabs, his beloved Bet El, Masada and the Dead Sea.

Rabbi Bohrer was a scary driver but his love for Israel was total. He literally dedicated his life to the land. He wrote scholarly papers all his life. I just found this video of him giving s lecture a couple of years ago about the transformation of Canaan to Eretz Yisrael:



My family kept in touch with him. He met me and Mrs. Elder other times we visited Israel. He did an enormous favor for me personally that can never be repaid, helping me to purchase my own Holocaust-era Torah (from eBay!)  and having a friend of his who is a scribe repair it to make it kosher, and then bringing it personally to America for me, explaining how to care for it.

We saw him nearly every year when he came to America for fundraising, and we discussed projects we wanted to collaborate on, but alas they will never come to be.

May his memory be a blessing.




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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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