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2nd November – Latest News in Israel

Recovering from stabbing, now to wed

Meir Pawlowski was wounded in a terror attack in Kiryat Arba earlier this month.

Now that he is recovered, Meir popped the question to his girlfriend. She said yes!

Mazal tov! We wish you both a life of health and happiness

photo-2

Israel opposes diplomatic initiative giving PA ‘prize’ for terrorism

Israel rejects any diplomatic initiative that would allow the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations, gives them any kind of political benefit from the current violence, and does not demand immediate cessation of Palestinian Authority incitement, a government official said on Thursday.

The official’s comments came as New Zealand’s non-resident ambassador, Jonathan Curry, met Thursday afternoon with National Security Council head Yossi Cohen to discuss the country’s draft UN Security Council resolution calling on the sides to return to talks and desist from measures poisoning the atmosphere.

For Israel this would mean not expanding settlements, and for the PA it would mean stopping its moves to take Israel to the International Criminal Court.

Curry, who is stationed in Ankara and comes to Israel on about a monthly basis for meetings, also met on the issue with top officials in the Foreign Ministry.

Israel has not formally responded to the New Zealand proposal, which one Israeli official said remains “amorphous.”

“It is not as if they have presented a concrete proposal,” the official said, adding that the purpose of the meetings with Curry was to understand the idea.

New Zealand is one of the 10 temporary members of the 15-country UN Security Council.

Each temporary member serves for two years, and New Zealand’s term is over at the end of 2016.

Diplomatic officials maintain that the driving force behind the proposal is New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

At last week’s Security Council debate on the Middle East, McCully said: “If the conditions are not right for direct talks, then surely it is the council’s role to try to create the right conditions. If the parties are not ready, then surely the council should tell them to get ready, help them get ready and give them a time frame within which to get ready.

“While those guilty of acts of violence must take responsibility for them, and be held to account, the council must take responsibility for the failure of the diplomatic and political process and move to resolve it.”

In a related development, Netanyahu met Thursday with visiting Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who said he appreciates the friendship between the two countries that is expressed in various international forums.

Honduras was one of three Latin American countries – in addition to Paraguay and Uruguay – that voted against an anti-Israel resolution at the IAEA board of governors meeting in September.

That motion was voted down 61-43.

Hernandez was accompanied on his visit to Israel by his defense, foreign, agriculture, and infrastructure ministers, as well as the head of the Honduran armed forces.

“We are here to strengthen the fact that Honduras in a friend of Israel and we will continue to support you in the spheres of security and freedom,” he said. The Honduran delegation followed by just a couple days the visit earlier this week of Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado.                                (Jerusalem Post)

Driver in suspected car ramming attack north of Kiryat Arba turns self in

Three Border Police officers were wounded by a Palestinian driver at the Beit Anoun Junction on Route 60, north of Kiryat Arba, in the Hebron area on Sunday.

The suspect, who originally fled the scene, turned himself in to Israeli authorities hours after the attack on Sunday evening following an IDF manhunt for him in the village of Beit Anoun. He was transferred to the custody of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for interrogation.

One of the victims was moderately wounded, while two others were lightly hurt, when the vehicle slammed into them, according to Magen David Adom. All three victims were approximately 20-years-old. The moderately wounded man was transported to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. The lightly wounded victims, a man and a woman, were transported by ambulance to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital.

The suspect fled the scene of the incident in his vehicle. The IDF set up road blocks in the area in order to catch the suspect.

According to police, the vehicle sped toward a group of Border Police officers at the Beit Anoun junction. The officers opened fire on the vehicle, which continued on its path.

The attack marked the second such incident at the same site on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, a Palestinian was shot and killed after he attempted to stab IDF soldiers at the Beit Anoun Junction. According to the IDF, the attempted attack occurred during Palestinian riots in the area. No Israelis were wounded in that attack.

Yochai Damari, the head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council, said that the traffic circle where Sunday’s attacks occurred was built two years ago. “We, the heads of the Regional Councils in the area, warned again and again to the relevant people of the danger that this traffic circle poses, and we offered alternative solutions,” he said.

“Cars come to the traffic circle, are forced to slow down, and get pelted with rocks and Molotov cocktails, which then requires large numbers of military forces,” he added.

“It’s important to note that this traffic circle was built with the help and funding of the European Union. I again ask that the government of Israel immediately close these dangerous places to traffic. It is unacceptable that soldiers and citizens are killed and wounded because of allowances for our enemies’ comfort.”               (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian attacker shot and killed after trying to stab soldier near Hebron

A Palestinian assailant attempted to stab a soldier at the Beit Anoun junction on Route 60, north of Kiryat Arab in the Hebron area on Sunday.

According to the IDF, the attempted attack occurred during Palestinian riots in the area.

No Israelis were wounded in the attack.

The suspected terrorist was shot and killed by security forces, the IDF stated.

The incident was the latest in a string of attempted stabbing attacks against security forces in the Hebron area.

On Saturday, ten Palestinian rioters were shot and injured by IDF Ruger rounds during a violent clash in the city.

An army spokeswoman said some 100 Palestinians launched a violent disturbance at the Hassam Shoter army position in the West Bank city, hurling rocks, Molotov cocktails, burning tires, and firing marbles from sling shots.

The IDF responded with Ruger rounds, aiming at the legs of rioters.

The condition of those wounded was not known to the army.

Earlier, thousands of Palestinians took part in funerals of terrorists killed in attacks on Israelis after Israel returned their bodies to the Palestinian Authority in Hebron.          (Jerusalem Post)

Two Israelis, one American wounded in Jerusalem, West Bank weekend terrorist attacks

An Israeli civilian, an American and a Border Police officer were wounded and three Palestinian assailants were killed over the weekend as knife-wielding Arabs carried out attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Dozens of other Palestinians were wounded in violent clashes with security forces in Ramallah, Hebron and outside of Bethlehem.

In Jerusalem, which has been largely quiet for the last few weeks, an Arab with a drawn knife charged at pedestrians who stood by a light-rail train station near Ammunition Hill on Friday, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

He stabbed an American student, 22, in the chest, and then tried to stab another student.

Police, security guards and an armed civilian in the area, shot him in a hail of bullets.

In the crossfire, a 20-year-old Israeli man was struck in the leg, and was transferred to the capital’s Hadassah University Medical Center on Mount Scopus in moderate condition. No charges are to be filed against the security guards who accidentally wounded the young Israeli.

The American victim was rushed to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in light-to-moderate condition, police said.

Magen David Adom paramedics at the scene said both victims were fully conscious and were expected to recover.

The terrorist, 23, from east Jerusalem, was treated at an area hospital but died.

Rosenfeld said nearly 5,000 Border Police officers, including multiple special task forces assisted by the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) and the IDF, continue to patrol the capital at the highest state of alert.

“Police are leaving nothing to chance, and will continue to prevent terrorist attacks, and immediately neutralize those who carry out attacks,” he said.

In the West Bank on Friday, where the bulk of the attacks have occurred in the last few weeks, two Palestinian assailants drove a scooter up to the Tapuah junction checkpoint on a scooter and then drew knives and stabbed one of the Border Police officers stationed there in the hand. Border police killed one of the assailants and seriously wounded the other.

On Saturday morning, a Defense Ministry Crossings Authority guard killed a Palestinian terrorist at the Gilboa crossing north of Jenin.

According to a Defense Ministry spokesman, the incident occurred when a Palestinian terrorist ambushed a security guard after hiding behind a taxi.

The security guard was combing the area when the terrorist began running toward the officer holding a weapon in his hand. After ordering the assailant to stop several times, the officer readied his weapon and killed the suspect.

Following the incident, the IDF closed the crossing to all traffic. The attack came one week after a Palestinian youth posing as a candy vendor tried to stab a security guard in the same location, before being shot dead.

In multiple locations in the West Bank, Palestinian rioters clashed with security forces.

On Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said an eight-month-old baby had died in the village of Beit Fajar outside the city of Bethlehem, as result of inhaling tear gas fired by the IDF in the area.

Hospital officials told Reuters the infant had a prior health condition and that it was unclear what had caused his death.

An IDF spokeswoman said forces confronted with stone-throwing Palestinians had used tear gas in the area, but that it was fired dozens of meters away from the home of the family and that an investigation concluded there was no direct link to the baby’s death.

Other clashes occurred in the village of Beit Umar, on the outskirts of Ramallah and in Hebron.

On Saturday in Hebron, thousands rallied at a public funeral for five Palestinian assailants killed by Israeli security forces in past weeks. Israel initially withheld their bodies in an effort quell the incitement it said stems from such large funerals in which the assailants are treated as innocent martyrs.

On Friday, it agreed to release five of the 11 bodies it was holding, on the understanding that a large funeral would not be held.

Also on Saturday in Hebron, 10 Palestinian rioters were shot and injured by IDF low-caliber rounds during a violent clash near the policeman’s check point on the side of the city that is under Palestinian civil control.

An army spokeswoman said some 100 Palestinians launched a violent disturbance at the checkpoint, hurling rocks, firebombs, burning tires and firing marbles from sling shots.

The IDF responded with low-caliber rounds, aiming at the legs of rioters.

The condition of those wounded was not known to the army.                                                       (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Air Force attacked Hezbollah targets in Syria

Israeli fighter jets penetrated Syrian airspace and attacked numerous Hezbollah targets in the South of Syria, according to Syrian media Saturday.

Estimated targets included a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah fighters traveling through Syria. According to reports, up to a dozen Israeli war planes conducted the mission close to the Lebenon-Syria border in the Qalamoun Mountains region.

Defense officials declined to comment on the report.

This would be the first attack attributed to Israel since Russia began operating in the area.

Israel has reportedly struck Hezbollah in Syria several times over the past year, although the military regularly declines to comment on foreign media reports.

Earlier this year, the Israel Air Force reportedly struck a vehicle located in a Druse village in southwestern Syria, killing Hezbollah men and a pro-Assad militiaman, as well as a military base in Lebanon.

The Druse village, Hader, is located near the Golan Heights.

The second strike targeted a Lebanese military installation near the Syrian border, wounding six, Arab media reported. It is believed to belong to a pro-Syrian Palestinian faction. In a newsflash, Syrian state television quoted a military source as saying that Israeli planes had struck a base belonging to the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a faction that backs President Bashar Assad.

The earlier strike on the Syrian Druse village allegedly involved an Israeli drone attack on a car on the outskirts of Hader. That attack killed three members of a militia fighting alongside the Syrian military. The attack was reported by Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV and other Lebanese media.

The dead were identified as members of the National Defense Forces, a pro-Damascus militia whose members often come from the areas where they fight.          (Jerusalem Post)

Terrorist shot, killed after attempted attack near Jenin

A Palestinian terrorist who attempted to stab security personnel with a knife at the Gilboa Crossing north of Jenin was shot and killed on Saturday morning.

The attacker, 18, from the nearby village of Kabatiya, tried to stab Defense Ministry Crossings Authority guards at the Jalame checkpoint. There were no injuries among Israelis in the incident.

According to a Defense Ministry spokesperson, the incident occurred when a Palestinian terrorist ambushed a security guard at the Gilboa Crossing after hiding behind a taxi.

The security guard was combing through the area when the terrorist began running towards the officer holding a weapon in his hand. After ordering the assailant to stop several times, the officer readied his weapon and killed the suspect.

Following the incident, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Kamil Abu Rokon, head of the Crossings Authority, said, “The guard followed procedure exactly the way he was trained,” adding the officer “identified the terrorist within seconds, attempted to halt his progress and subdued the suspect before he could harm” anyone in the area.

The attack came one week after a Palestinian youth posing as a candy vendor tried to stab a security guard at the Gilboa in the same location, before being shot dead.

The terrorist, Muhammad Zakarna, 16, also from Kabatiya, had approached the checkpoint with a carton of Krembo candies, the Defense Ministry said last week.

“He suddenly threw down the carton, pulled out a knife, and started running at the security personnel staffing the checking zone of the crossing,” the ministry said. A guard spotted the terrorist running between cars waiting to cross the checkpoint and shot him from short range.                                               (Jerusalem Post)

Ten Palestinian rioters shot in Hebron

Ten Palestinian rioters were shot and injured by IDF Ruger rounds during a violent clash in Hebron on Saturday.

An army spokeswoman said some 100 Palestinians launched a violent disturbance at the Hassam Shoter army position in the West Bank city, hurling rocks, Molotov cocktails, burning tires, and firing marbles from sling shots.

The IDF responded with Ruger rounds, aiming at the legs of rioters.

The condition of those wounded was not known to the army.

Earlier, thousands of Palestinians took part in funerals of terrorists killed in attacks on Israelis after Israel returned their bodies to the Palestinian Authority in Hebron.

In Jenin, Palestinians held a funeral procession for 18 year-old Mahmoud Talal Nazal who was shot by Israeli forces at a checkpoint earlier on Saturday.

Nazal was shot dead by Israeli Security Forces after attempting to stab Defense Ministry Crossings Authority guards at the Jalame checkpoint. There were no injuries among Israelis in the incident.

Following the incident, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Kamil Abu Rokon, head of the Crossings Authority, said, “The guard followed procedure exactly the way he was trained,” adding the officer “identified the terrorist within seconds, attempted to halt his progress and subdued the suspect before he could harm” anyone in the area.

The attack came one week after a Palestinian youth posing as a candy vendor tried to stab a security guard at the Gilboa in the same location, before being shot dead.

The terrorist, Muhammad Zakarna, 16, also from Kabatiya, had approached the checkpoint with a carton of Krembo candies, the Defense Ministry said last week.

“He suddenly threw down the carton, pulled out a knife, and started running at the security personnel staffing the checking zone of the crossing,” the ministry said. A guard spotted the terrorist running between cars waiting to cross the checkpoint and shot him from short range.                                                (Jerusalem Post)

Ahead of International Syria Talks, Israeli Minister Elkin Meets Russian FM Lavrov to Lay Out Israel’s Red Lines

Israel’s Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Strategic Affairs and Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin laid out Israel’s red lines in Syria in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday.

The Israeli minister, according to the report, relayed to Lavrov Israel’s three main concerns: preventing the flow of weapons to the terrorist group Hezbollah, maintaining a quiet border in the Golan Heights and upholding the ban on the use of chemical weapons.

While the meeting was scheduled in advance to discuss economic issues, ultimately it ended up happening a day before Russia headed to international talks on the Syrian war on Friday and Saturday.  The Israelis used Elkin’s trip as a chance to lay out their concerns.

“Israel believes this meeting is very important in light of the Vienna meetings and what appears to be a significant improvement for the battered Syrian president, Bashar Assad, ” reported nrg. Additionally, Lavrov reportedly described to Elkin some of Moscow’s plans for the months ahead in Syria.

According to the report, the Israelis made the request for the meeting between Lavrov, a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin’s, and Elkin, who is not only close to Netanyahu but was also his translator during the prime minister’s meeting with Putin last month as Russia was stepping up its aerial campaign in Syria.                (the Algemeiner)

Israeli Air Force taught Soviets a lesson over Egypt

The presence of ­Russian warplanes in Syria has raised concerns about a clash with Israeli aircraft, which periodically overfly the country.

If an Israeli-Russian air confrontation were to occur, it wouldn’t be for the first time.

In 1970, during the so-called War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt, Cairo appealed to Moscow to halt Israeli air attacks on its hinterland. The Israeli Air Force had begun attacking infrastructure deep in Egypt in an attempt to force Cairo to halt shelling of Israeli troops along the Suez Canal. Responding to their client state’s request, the Soviets deployed warplanes at three Egyptian airfields.

Preferring not to tangle with a superpower, Israel initially halted its deep raids. But when Soviet planes began flying into the frontline Suez Canal zone, Israel ­decided to engage them directly.

Israel’s best pilots were chosen for the operation. With years of combat against Arab air forces under their belts, the IAF pilots were among the most experienced in the world; between them, the 14 pilots selected had 59 “kills”. Nevertheless, going up against the pilots of a superpower was a ­challenge they did not take lightly.

On July 30, 1970, the IAF dispersed some of the planes around the sky in small formations that, on enemy radar screens, appeared to be on routine reconnaissance or ground attack missions. Some were deep in Sinai, out of radar range. The Soviet planes would be lured into an aerial ambush. The bait was an attack on an Egyptian radar station by two Phantom jets.

As the attack began, Russian-speaking Israeli intelligence personnel, monitoring the Soviet bases, reported planes going up. The MiG-21s, 24 in all, carried Egyptian Air Force markings, but the language of the pilots and controllers revealed their identity.

At a signal, the Israeli aircraft — Phantoms and Mirages — converged. The Israeli pilots had dubbed the canal zone “Texas” because of the frequent encounters there with Egyptian warplanes and surface-to-air missiles. But it had never been as Wild West as this day, with 36 warplanes rushing towards one another.

The Israeli radio monitors had come to know the Soviet pilots by their voices and appreciated their sense of humour. They now reported the pilots’ tone to be level as they became aware of the ­approaching Israeli aircraft and realised they were entering into combat, probably for the first time. Within seconds, the tone changed to bafflement and then panic as the Israeli planes split up and plunged into the Russian formations. The sky was suddenly full of aircraft swivelling in dogfights.

“We saw immediately that they were inexperienced,” said Colonel Avihu Bin-Nun, who went on to command the IAF.

“They could manoeuvre very nicely, but they couldn’t do the ‘final’ that you need in combat.”

Within three minutes, five Russian planes were shot down; only one of the pilots succeeded in parachuting to safety. By then, the Russian ground controller was shouting and directing the pilots, who he began calling by their first names, to land at any airfield they could see. One Israeli plane was hit but made it back to base.

The commander of the Soviet air force arrived in Egypt the next day. He told the pilots that if they talked about what happened to anyone, including family, their next flight would be to Siberia.

Choosing not to twist the bear’s tail, Israel announced it had shot down a number of Egyptian planes. The truth would eventually emerge. Egyptian airmen, ­frequently derided by their Soviet trainers as poor pilots, could not resist revelling in the Soviet ­embarrassment.

Hosni Mubarak, who was commander of the Egyptian air force at the time, discussed the incident years later with then-Israeli ­defence minister Ezer Weizman, himself a former IAF commander. On the day of the battle, said Mubarak, who had since become Egypt’s president, he saw the ­encounter unfold on radar screens at his headquarters.

“We knew you were laying an ambush,” he told Weizman.

“But we were angry at the Russians for telling us all the time that we didn’t know how to fly.”

A month after the clash, a ceasefire was declared between ­Israel and Egypt. Fighting would not resume along the Suez Canal until three years later with the onset of the Yom Kippur War. By then, ­Soviet-made SAMs controlled the skies over the battlefield, not the Israeli Air Force.

There have been hints that the Russians now in Syria might try to limit the IAF’s freedom of movement over that country, where it has periodically attacked arms shipments from Iran bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israeli ­Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon has made a point of saying Israel will continue to pursue its national interests in Syria, regardless.

Given the explosiveness of the region, Russians and Israelis would be wise to avoid playing out Top Gun 2.                             (The Australian)

Bill Clinton: Israel must decide how to ‘finish last chapter’ of Rabin’s story

Former President of the US Bill Clinton spoken warmly and passionately Saturday night to the tens of thousands of Israelis gathered at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv urging them and the country at large to continue the legacy of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and pursue the goal of peace with the Palestinians.

Some 100,000 people gathered at the site where Rabin was assassinated 20 years ago by Yigal Amir on November 4, 1995, to commemorate the late leader and listen to Clinton, as well as President Reuven Rivlin, current US President Barak Obama, by video, and others extol the values of democracy and urge a rejection of extremism and violence.

Clinton helped broker the 1993 Oslo Accords signed by Rabin with Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, for which he was killed by Amir.

Clinton himself was welcomed rapturously by the crowd, and he urged the gathered masses, and especially the youth, to adopt Rabin’s legacy of striving towards peace with the Palestinians and to finish what he started.

“Yitzhak Rabin defended this country, but more importantly, he advanced the values that are fundamental to Israel, he stood for freedom, for peace, acceptance of those different from of us and the preservation of democracy,” said Clinton.

“He refused to do the easy thing, which is to deny evident facts. He wanted to solve problems, not turn away from them or deny them.”

The former US president said that he had once asked Rabin why he had adopted the Oslo process and said that the prime minister responded that he did not believe the West Bank could provide Israel with security, and that he did not want Israel to arrive at a crossroads where it would have to choose between being Jewish or being a democracy.

Clinton said that Rabin had been steadfast in pursuing peace and that his mantra when a terrorist attack was staged was “we will fight terror as if there are no negotiations, and negotiate as if there is no terror.”

Addressing the crowd Clinton asked “What does this all amount to? That is up to you. You when you leave here must decide how to continue his legacy. In the end the decisions is yours

“The next step in the magnificent journey of Israel, a titan of technology, a volcano of energy, a beacon of democracy in a region with too little, the next step is deciding that Rabin was right, that you must share the future with Palestinian children, and to give peace a chance

“All of you need to decide how to finish his legacy. The last chapter needs to be written by the people for whom he sacrificed his life,” concluded Clinton.

Addressing the rally in a video message, Obama said of Rabin, his efforts towards peace and his assassination “A bullet can take a man’s life but his spirit, his dream for peace will never die.”

Turning to the present situation, Obama said peace was needed between Israel and the Palestinians and both parties would need to compromise and take risks.

“Peace is necessary because it is the only way to ensure true lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians,” the US president said.

President Reuven Rivlin, speaking who spoke earlier in the proceedings, was politely but not enthusiastically received, spoke out against extremism in Israeli, and said it was not only Rabin who was targeted by the assassination but the Israeli state itself.

“We were – all of us – in the crosshairs; the State of Israel, Israeli democracy, Israeli society, Israeli hope. We all were the target,” said the president.

“We stand here today, together, before that same murderer’s target – before the hatred and loathing of the extreme and violent fringes of society, to say: you shall not overcome us. The Jewish and democratic State of Israel, the state of the Declaration of Independence, will not become a sacrifice on your altar of violence and fear. Never.”

Rivlin said that the country must “shake off extremism and racism,” and spend more time in which the different sectors of society spend less time arguing who is right and more time listening to and understanding each other.

Former president Shimon Peres, who took Rabin’s place as prime minister after the assassination, intended to speak at the rally, but the organizers turned him down, saying that he was too much of a divisive political figure, Channel 2 reported. Peres attended the rally without speaking.

The rally and speakers were for the most part apolitical, a stance adopted by the organizers in recent years, although there were several very large green Meretz balloons lofted high at Rabin ?Square, while several Peace Now banners were also evident.

Other signs read “We have hope and it will be victorious,” “There is no security without a diplomatic solution,” and “The majority is moderate,”               (Jerusalem Post)

Poll: Most Israelis miss Rabin but don’t believe in Oslo process

While most Israelis miss Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated 20 years ago for political reasons, an even larger proportion do not believe that the Oslo Accords, of which Rabin was the foremost champion, were justified.

An Israel Hayom poll on Rabin and his legacy also found that the majority of Jewish Israelis classified themselves as either right-wing or right-leaning. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they were right-wing and 24% said they were right-leaning. A further 26% characterized themselves as being in the center, while 11% were left-leaning and 7% were left-wing. An additional 4% declined to characterize themselves.

But despite their right-wing views, most Israelis still honored Rabin’s legacy and respected his efforts to strike peace with the Palestinians. Seventy-six percent agreed that Rabin was a respectable leader and 55%, crossing political lines, said they missed him.

But when it came to the Oslo Accords, only a third thought that the process had been justified, while 42% felt that the accords were unwarranted. A relatively large number of respondents, 25%, did not have an opinion on the matter.

Asked whether they supported the Oslo Accords at the time they were reached, 33% said yes and 38% said no.

An overwhelming majority of those who were alive at the time of Rabin’s murder — 92% — remember exactly where they were at the time.

The answers to questions about the murder itself were not surprising: 71% said they believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Yigal Amir murdered Rabin, while 18% had doubts. Among those who were sure Amir was the culprit, a significant proportion — 40% — believed that he did not act alone but was following instructions.

Seventy-four percent agreed that the murderer should spend the rest of his life in prison, while 15% disagreed.

The Israel Hayom poll was conducted among a representative sample of 504 Jewish Israelis over the age of 18.                                     (Israel Hayom)

Knesset Education Committee slams incitement in Palestinian schools

A Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee meeting on incitement in Palestinian schools and media grew heated Wednesday, with Arab MKs saying the discussion was Israeli propaganda.

Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus presented his organization’s report on Palestinian Authority education, which assessed the prominent educational messages that could impact peace with Israel.

The report documents that in formal and informal educational frameworks, killers of Israelis are portrayed as heroes and role models, and that children are taught that Israel will eventually be replaced by “Palestine.”

At least 25 Palestinian Authority schools are named after terrorists; three are named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal terrorist attack in Israeli history in 1978, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

Marcus showed the MKs a film from PA television, in which a student expressed pride “to attend the Dalal Mughrabi School, which bears this pioneering name,” and another student said her “life’s ambition is to reach the level that the martyr fighter Dalal Mughrabi reached.”

Another clip from televised news in the PA showed a boy saying he learned in school to “fight the Jews, kill them and defeat them,” and another told children that Jews are “Satan with a tail.”

The report also contains chapters on incitement in Palestinian textbooks, educational materials glorifying Hitler, and the PA policy of blocking joint peace-building activities between Palestinian and Israeli children.

Marcus explained that the messages Palestinian children are receiving are nationalist – that Israel is not legitimate on any borders and its existence since 1948 is an occupation – and anti-Semitic – that Jews are evil by nature, descendants of monkeys and pigs, and fated to be killed by Muslims.

Education Committee chairman Ya’acov Margi (Shas) said “the incitement can spread like wildfire. We will do what we can as a committee… to moderate the discourse in Israeli society and in Palestinian society.”

MK Anat Berko (Likud), who initiated the discussion along with MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu), expressed concern that Palestinian education materials encourage students to commit suicide attacks.

“We see a generation of victims of the PA, that chose for them the path of terror, of non-critical thinking and of considering violence to be normal, built-in,” Berko, a former professor of criminology whose expertise is Palestinian suicide bombings, said.

Throughout the meeting, Joint List MKs interrupted with objections.

MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint List) accused Palestinian Media Watch of “bias, distortion and incitement and one-sided research. The research institute marked its target, and [Berko and Ben-Ari] are relying on it, as if it is scientific.”

“I don’t understand the point of the discussion,” MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) said.

“What do the initiators want? More statements about how the Palestinians incite? Everything said until now and all the presentations we were shown did not include one word, which is ‘occupation.’… We are talking about a Palestinian people living under an occupation for five decades. We’re talking about millions of Palestinians born in a reality of occupation that denies their basic human freedoms.”

Margi responded that he understands why Jabareen, who has a doctorate in law, would want to defend the Palestinians, but that he expects more from someone who came from Israeli academia.

“There is a big difference between a conflict and a legitimate political and grassroots struggle, and a situation in which the education system is producing another generation of Israel-haters,” Margi added.

Jabareen accused the Jewish MKs of being unable to see beyond the “Israeli media narrative” and said that Palestinian children have to be given hope that they will have a state with east Jerusalem as its capital, and that the root of the problem being discussed is the “occupation.”

MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) said “we are not calling for violence; we are against stealing and expulsion. The Palestinians are now being expelled from their land. We are in favor of a political and grassroots struggle within the confines of international law.”

Zoabi added that “the international community does not accept Israeli propaganda,” and called for the committee to hold a meeting on incitement in Israeli schools.

“Israel has an army that persecutes Palestinian boys and kills them,” she claimed, leading to a shouting match between MKs, and eventually, to Zoabi being removed from the meeting because she refused to stop speaking when her time was up.

MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) called Zoabi’s comment shocking and accused her of not condemning the murder of Jews, even though “we all condemned the murder in Duma.”

Zionist Union MK Eitan Broshi argued that Palestinian teachers can’t be told to relay different messages than the political leadership.

“I call to pass on the message of striving for a diplomatic and permanent agreement,” he said.

A principal from a mixed Jewish- Arab school in the capital’s Bet Hanina neighborhood said that he taught Jews and Arabs together for years, and that the students change once they get to know one another.

“No one has presented an alternative, how to make them not despair. The Palestinian population wants a change,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, Margi called on the Education Committee to increase oversight of east Jerusalem and all Arab schools to make sure incitement does not enter their educational materials, and called on the ministry to consider cooperating with its counterparts in other countries to increase supervision of Palestinian textbooks.       (Jerusalem Post)

Australians, New Zealanders, and Israelis commemorate the Battle of Beersheba

Former enemies who are now friends joined together on Friday in paying tribute to courageous soldiers who fought and fell in the Battle of Beersheba and in other campaigns during the First World War.

In a series of ceremonies organized by the Australian and Turkish embassies in conjunction with the municipality of Beersheba, the heroism of Australian, New Zealand, Turkish, and German soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice in this and other campaigns was saluted by Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, New Zealand Ambassador Jonathan Curr, Turkish Charge d’Affaires Cem Utkan, Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich, and Beersheba Deputy Mayor Heftsi Zohar.

Australian and New Zealand expats, representatives of Australian Zionist Youth groups from all over the country, diplomats, military attaches, and two Australian delegations currently in Israel were amongst those present.

Both Sharma and Curr gave brief descriptions of the battle, with Curr focusing more on the capture of Tel el-Saba, which was an important vantage point, and Sharma on the actual Battle for Beersheba and the saving of its wells from destruction by Ottoman forces.

“The Light Horse men took less than an hour to overrun the trenches and enter Beersheba,” said Sharma, adding that some 750 Turkish and German soldiers were taken prisoner.

The Turkish stronghold of Gaza fell a week later, he said, and allied troops then went on to capture Jerusalem, Jericho, Damascus, and Aleppo.

In October 1917, explained Sharma, the outcome of the First World War still hung in the balance. “We tend to forget this now, and blessed with hindsight imagine an Allied victory to be preordained. In fact, in October 1917, it looked anything but. At that time the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire and Germany were holding firm.”

Sharma went on to note that the failure of the Dardanelles campaign, a military catastrophe in Mesopotamia, and setbacks on the Western Front had greatly damaged Allied morale.

Two earlier attempts to break the Turkish defensive line running from Gaza on the coast to Beersheba, 43 kilometers inland, had failed, and this third attempt, a spontaneous charge, succeeded.

“The Ottoman Empire’s control of the Middle East was shattered irrevocably, setting the stage for the post-war settlement that still exists under varying degrees of strain in the Middle East today,” Sharma said.

What was most important from a Jewish perspective was what Sharma called the “asymmetry of history.”

On the same day as the Battle of Beersheba, on October 31, 1917, the British war cabinet in London approved the text for what would become the Balfour Declaration, a declaration of sympathy for Zionist aspirations, said Sharma.

“Together, these two developments, the Balfour Declaration and the Battle of Beersheba, would set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948.”

photo-3

The Commonwealth War Cemetery in Beersheba contains 1,241 graves of Commonwealth Soldiers killed in the First World War, 67 of them unidentified.

Sharma said that, “For most New Zealanders and Australians, and for those who know a little about this event, the battle is defined by the astonishing mounted charge of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade. It was both a dramatic and a decisive event – unplanned, hasty, yet victorious; reliant on the daring and bravery of those soldiers commanded to charge…directly on the town. At about 4:30 p.m., some 500 riders charged, bayonets in hand because they did not have swords.”

Curr quoted James McCaroll, a member of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, who had observed the charge from the vantage point of Tel el-Saba, which had been captured shortly before by New Zealand troops.

“A great sight suddenly sprung up on our left, lines and lines of horsemen moving. The Turks were on the run and the Australian Division was after them. We could see the horses jumping the trenches, dust everywhere.”

The charge of the Australian Light Horse became essential. Had it not taken place, Beersheba might not have been captured before the last light, when the Ottomans would have destroyed the water wells before withdrawing under cover of nightfall, said Curr.

He stressed the importance of remembering that New Zealand and Australian mounted riflemen, and soldiers of many other nations under the umbrella of the British and Ottoman Empires, did fight here nearly a century ago.

“For New Zealand and Australia, it would mark the beginning of military engagement in this region that continues to present day peacekeeping roles in missions such as UNTSO and the MFO,” said Curr.

The Battle of Beersheba, and the wider campaign in which it was fought, he added, “is the one where lasting peace has proved to be the most elusive. Although not directly connected to the battles of nearly 100 years ago, we still work and pray for an end to conflicts affecting Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Syrians and Egyptians. As we remember and salute our fallen from the past, may we not forget those who suffer the effects of conflict and terror in the present, and continue to work toward a region where all who call these places home may live in peace and security, hope and prosperity.”                              (Jerusalem Post)

Different name, same goal

by Zalman Shoval     Israel Hayom

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=14149

The argument over whether the present wave of Palestinian terror is another intifada or not is pointless and unnecessary; it is not the name that determines the objective, which is singular — to negate the right of the Jews to live in peace in their country. Denying the existence of the Jewish nation is one of the building blocks of Arab anti-Semitism, which refuses to recognize the Jews’ right to a state, particularly of course in Palestine.

This approach has been a running theme, beginning with the Arab uprisings of 1921, 1929 and 1936, to rejecting the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947, through the intifadas and terror of today. In 1948 the Arab side intended not only to defeat the Jewish state, but to uproot, once and for all, the very idea of Jewish nationalism.

The opposition by Mahmoud Abbas and his cohort to a peace agreement based among other things on recognition of the Jewish national home, or in other words the right of the Jews to a state, is not a tactical whim, rather a fundamentally strategic and ideological approach. The goal of the terror war being waged across the country — and it is a war, one in which the streets of Israel’s cities are the battlefield — is the same goal held by Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, his student Yasser Arafat, and Abbas as well (and of course Hamas and other Islamist groups): the removal of the Jews from their country. In this war there is no high command and there are no battle orders, instead there are online social networks and an atmosphere of support or, at the very least acceptance, fostered by the Palestinian Authority and Islamic elements inside Israel. Any Palestinian teenage boy or girl wielding a knife against a Jew, pelting him with rocks, or trying to run him over with a car, is deemed a “soldier” in this war against the Jewish nation.

Our American friends continue to dance at both weddings: Secretary of State John Kerry is demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “moderate his language,” while White House spokesman Josh Earnest is calling on “both sides to avoid provocative actions and rhetoric.” With that, even within administration circles some are beginning to understand that neither the settlements, nor Al-Aqsa for that matter, are the reason for the failure to secure peace or calm; rather the Palestinian refusal to come to terms with the permanent existence of the State of Israel. This is not, however, the majority view within the administration, and the well-intentioned Kerry will certainly seek to renew his efforts to mediate between the sides, efforts that will undoubtedly be for naught just like last time.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, despite not wanting to sully his foreign policy legacy (the Iran nuclear deal) with another failure on the Palestinian front, could pursue a resolution at the U.N. Security Council, toward the end of his presidency, to ultimately establish a Palestinian state within the Green Line (although without a target date, which the French have mentioned in their proposal). Indeed, this would be in contradiction to U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which does not require a complete Israeli withdrawal from all the territories. Such a resolution would allow Obama to depart with a sense of accomplishment, even though no efforts to actually implement the resolution would ever be made during his remaining time in office.

Preventing this type of resolution is now the primary task of Israeli diplomacy, not just because it renders any future negotiations between the sides moot, but because the U.S. has a tradition of diplomatic continuity — not legally binding, but for practical purposes. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the next administration, whether Democrat or Republican, will not completely abandon its predecessors initiatives.

Israel is avoiding the abyss, for now

by  Jonathan Spyer                    The Australian

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/israel-is-avoiding-the-abyss-for-now/story-e6frg6z6-1227588801326

For the past four weeks, Israel and the West Bank have been hit by a wave of stabbing attacks by Palestinian Muslims on Israeli Jews and protests in the West Bank.

Palestinian fury derives from claims that Israel planned to change the status quo banning Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, as it is known to Jewish people, or Haram al-Sharif, as it is known to Muslims.

The 15ha area, in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, in many ways constitutes the epicentre of the long conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, Arabs and the wider Muslim community.

It is the holiest place in Judaism. As the site of the First and Second Temples, it is the most resonant reminder for Israeli Jews of their sense of remembered and ancient sovereignty in the land.

For Palestinians, Arabs and the wider Muslim world, the area is revered as the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque, whose holiness is surpassed only by Mecca and Medina.

The fact of Israeli control of Jerusalem’s Old City since 1967 constitutes for many Palestinians a constant reminder of what they regard as the wrongs of the present situation, and the perceived historical injustice of Israel’s establishment. So the area is a permanent flashpoint. Its potential to ignite the flames of renewed conflict is ever present.

Some believe the wave of attacks heralds a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising. But several indications suggest that, although the wave of attacks is unprecedented in the decade since the end of the second intifada in 2005, it does not appear set to turn into a mass uprising.

So is the violence being contained, and if it is, what are the factors underlying this? And will the present trend hold?

Jerusalem has been flooded with an increased deployment of police, reinforced by 1200 border police officers, for the past two weeks. This week Israel police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld contended that this deployment, on a tactical level, had succeeded in preventing attacks and containing the situation.

Without doubt there has been a numerical decline in attacks in Jerusalem, and a similar reduction in incidents elsewhere in Israel, during the past week (though not in the West Bank).

Several additional elements have contributed to the tentative sense that the violence, if not yet defeated, is being contained.

First, the agreement reached between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman last Saturday lessens the plausibility of any claims that Israel plans to alter the status quo on the Mount.

This agreement, in the first instance between Netanyhau and Abdullah, provides an Israeli guarantee that the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is not going to be changed. The placing of cameras in the area will be a further positive contribution in making clear that no such change is being implemented.

Of course, no evidence has emerged of an Israeli plan at any stage to change the status quo in the area.

Rather, one of the more notable constants since the capture of the area by Israel in June 1967 has been the continued prohibition of Jewish or Christian prayer on the Mount, despite its great significance to these religions.

But the perception of a danger to the al-Aqsa Mosque, the product of a constant drumbeat kept up by Hamas, the Islamic movement in Israel, prominent clerics and sometimes Fatah party leaders including Abbas, has been the key element in firing up the incendiary atmosphere behind the attacks.

The agreement will not appease the youthful circles most closely involved in the violence. They are influenced by social media rather than high-level ­politics.

But it may well reduce the general level of apprehension regarding the situation on the Mount, and thus lessen the broader support necessary to turn the present situation into a large-scale ­uprising.

Second, it is noteworthy that co-operation between the Israeli security forces and those of the Palestinian Authority has not broken down as a result of the events. The authority leadership does not control the young people carrying out the stabbings. But if the authority wished to put its own structures behind the unrest, it could transform it at a stroke into something far more seri­ous.

On a verbal level, the Palestinian Authority accepts the stabbings and describes the perpetrators as “martyrs”.

Abbas contributed to the inflamed atmosphere underlying the attacks in a speech broadcast on PA TV on September 17 in which he called on Israelis/Jews not to place their “filthy feet” on the Mount.

But the goal of the Palestinian Authority president is to control and channel the unrest, not to escalate it. The authority may benefit from unarmed protests that keep the Palestinian cause the subject of world attention. But Abbas does not seek a general violent insurgency against Israel.

This reflects itself in the practical moves adopted by Abbas.

Fatah party armed groups such as the Tanzim and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades played a key role in the attacks on Israeli population centres in the 2000-05 period. Security co-operation broke down in northern autumn of 2000 in a prelude to the mayhem that followed.

But this time, despite his rhetorical condemnations, Abbas evidently prefers not to throw away the relative stability of recent years. The Tanzim and other Fatah armed groups have been instructed not to engage in violence. The official Palestinian Authority security forces are continuing co-operation with Israel.

Third, there is a more nebulous element here, harder to quantify but nevertheless apparent in conversations with Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

The general chaos in the surrounding area — in Syria, Sinai, Iraq and so on — has not escaped the attention of Palestinians or Israelis.

This serves as a disincentive to participation in violence among wide sections of society. It is easy to launch an uprising, harder to know where it may lead.

The second intifada was not that long ago. It is still remembered by all those over the age of 30. The suffering that it entailed and the surrounding examples of what a general breakdown in civil order can produce are probable contributors to the fact the demonstrations of recent weeks have stayed small, numbering in the hundreds rather than the thousands.

Fourth, the attacks are emerging not from organised structures but from a milieu of young Palestinians too young to remember the previous intifada, who receive their information from social media, where claims that Israel is about to change the status quo on the Temple Mount proliferate.

The experience of the Arab Spring shows the power and the limitations of loosely organised or unorganised groups of youth inspired by social media.

Activity generated by social media is immensely difficult for the security forces of a government to combat. There is no means to infiltrate or have forewarning of a person who is convinced by a message on social media, then chooses to go out and commit a murder using instruments available in most kitchens.

But other than expressing anger, a leaderless, directionless trend of this type ultimately is capable of only a limited impact. The stabbings will not produce any gains for the Palestinians. Nor will they have any particular effect on internal Palestinian politics.

In the agreement reached in Amman last weekend, Israel refused a Palestinian demand to return to the pre-2000 status quo on the Temple Mount, according to which Israeli security forces would not enter the area and the age of worshippers was not restricted. The reason for this refusal, clearly, was to dispel any attempt to claim that the wave of stabbings had achieved a concrete concession from Israel.

Fifth, the Palestinian Islamist movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad have thrown their support behind the protests and stabbings, and are seeking to derive political capital from them.

Several of the attacks were committed by individuals with connections to the Islamists. Five individuals con­nected to Hamas were arrested for the murders of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin on October 1. Muhanad Alkubi, who killed IDF soldier Omri Levy on October 18, was also in contact with that movement. Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on October 3, in which Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett lost their lives.

But there is a gap between the desires of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and their abilities to implement them. Hamas wants to turn the unrest into a mass movement that it can direct, as much against the Palestinian Authority as against Israel.

Abbas is unpopular. Palestinian elections have not taken place for nearly a decade. Hamas would like to increase the demonstrations and attacks on the West Bank and assume the leadership of them, turning them into a mass movement that could result in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and the movement’s seizing the leadership of the Palestinians.

At the same time, Hamas wishes to avoid another destructive war with Israel in its Gaza enclave. The reconstruction of the damage suffered in last year’s round of fighting is still under way. So focusing the unrest on the Palestinian Authority fiefdom of the West Bank would suit its purposes.

Islamic Jihad, which is purely a paramilitary group rather than a military-political one such as Hamas, also is energetically seeking to fan the flames. The movement has been the main factor in the demonstrations close to the Gaza border.

The intention of both these movements is to launch larger-scale and more sophisticated terror attacks against Israelis, along the lines of those witnessed during the second intifada.

Such attacks would win the support of the fluid population of very young Palestinians who are engaged in the present violence, and bring the situation to a new level of gravity.

It is worth remembering that at the height of the second intifada, 130 Israelis were killed in a single month of attacks (March 2002). By contrast, the past month has seen the deaths of 11 Israelis. Hamas and Islamic Jihad want to raise the price. But no such large-scale “quality” terror attacks have yet taken place.

This is not by chance. While a decision by an individual to carry out a stabbing as a result of incitement is hard for the intelligence structures of Israel (and the Palestinian Authority) to detect in advance, this is not so with regard to larger-scale attacks, which require a network of skilled personnel, prior knowledge and direction.

Structures of this kind are vulnerable to penetration and surveillance. Israel eventually managed to defeat the second intifada through a combination of intelligence work and targeting of commanders and activists of the organisations engaged against it.

The networks that enabled this still exist in the West Bank. These, until now, have prevented the Palestinian Islamist organisations from carrying out attacks that would necessitate a more determined Israeli response and increase the gravity of the situation.

There is another factor that should give pause even to the circles of Hamas, with regard to the advisability of encouraging a further deterioration of the security situation.

On October 22, the ‘‘Damascus Province’’ of Islamic State issued a video featuring a heavily armed militant speaking fluent, Palestinian-accented Hebrew.

It was the latest in a series of clips issued by the organisation supporting the present wave of ­violence. In the video, the man issued bloodcurdling threats against Israeli Jews, promising that Islamic State was coming “from the north and the south, from Sinai, from everywhere” and that “not one Jew” would be left alive “in Jerusalem or across Israel”.

The inspiration for the wave of knife attacks is fairly obvious. It is Islamic State that has ‘‘pioneered’’ murder with cold steel in the Middle East.

If Hezbollah, with its paramilitary methods, was the inspiration and spirit behind the second intifada, the corresponding inspiration today is the murderous religious fervour of Islamic State.

Earlier this month, the Israeli authorities arrested seven Arab citizens of Israel in the Nazareth area. They are accused of establishing the first Islamic State terror cell in Israel.

Renewed low-intensity war would almost certainly herald the arrival of Islamic State west of the Jordan River. Present indications suggest that while Israelis and Palestinians glimpsed that abyss in the strange and bloody October of 2015, it has not yet been entered.

Friends of both peoples should be hoping this situation continues to hold.

Jonathan Spyer is a journalist, author and Middle East analyst. Based in Jerusalem, he is director of the Rubin Centre for Research in International Affairs and is a fellow at the Middle East Forum

Putting an end to PA’s self-destructing playbook

All EU funds to Palestinian territories should be conditional on a renouncement of hate and incitement to violence, says Swedish MEP.

by Lars Adaktusson          Ynet News

http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/0,2506,L-4716865,00.html

In the European Parliament, when the name of Israel is muttered, the next two words that usually follow are settlements and occupation.

The European Union’s obsession with Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank has been the main drive behind all the recent initiatives spearheaded by the European External Action Service (EEAS), starting with the EU Guidelines on Israeli entities based outside the Green Line from December 2013 and continuing with the EU labelling of products coming out of the settlements and other similar measures.

They are also allegedly the main reason why some of my own colleagues sitting in the parliament are calling for a suspension of the Association Agreement with Israel.

Here in Europe, settlements are seen as the major stumbling block for the restart of peace talks. Admittedly, building new housing in the settlements does have a counterproductive effect when it comes to confidence building measures between the parties, and I for one have pointed out the need to respect international law. However, the complex nature of the settlements, the differentiation between outposts and building housing in an area already agreed to be part of the land swaps are nuances that should be considered if you choose to tackle them as one of the core conflict issues.

The Quartet Principles meeting from Vienna last Friday and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to Brussels on Monday are likely to produce a set of statements about measures that should be taken by both sides to de-escalate the tensions. We don’t, however, expect them to tackle head-on a key and core issue of the conflict, that of Palestinian incitement.

The “lone wolf” attacks that we have witnessed in the last few weeks against Israeli citizens have not only instilled a deep mistrust towards Israeli Arabs and East Jerusalem Arab residents, but have set the peace process way back. These attacks are symptomatic of a malaise in Palestinian society that the international partners, and Europe, in particular, have been trying to duck for several decades: Hate speech and incitement to violence.

For sure, this is not as quantifiable or traceable as housing construction in settlements, roadblocks or checkpoints, and yes, it will take a long-term policy oriented approach that the European governments have proven to date they lack an appetite for, particularly in matters of foreign affairs. Nevertheless, hate speech and incitement to terror are at the core of the conflict as much as partition of land is.

The government of Israel has been addressing the Palestinian concerns for the last couple of weeks: Reiterating that they do not seek a change in the status-quo of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and calling for a restart of the peace process in the midst of bus attacks, car ramming killings, stabbings and stone throwing. This is not about perceptual politics, rather showing that as a government, your first duty is to protect the lives and welfare of all your citizens.

Abbas, on the other hand, comes from the opposite school of thought. He keeps being silent on condemning his own people when resorting to Islamic extremism and petitions UNESCO to make the Western Wall as part of the Al-Aqsa compound on Temple Mount. How is this helping to calm things down? Mr. Abbas’ rhetoric reminds us of something that we are starting to be familiar with also here in Europe, the rise of divisive populist politics.

As with all politicians, myself included, our rhetoric needs to fall in line with what the population expects and demands of us. Let’s make the following mental exercise: Mute for a moment the TV commentators and let’s look at the images in front of our eyes. Why do Palestinians always seem to resort to inflammatory language and violence?

The EU should stop tiptoeing around this issue by continuing to make large wire transfers to the PA bank account in the hope that they know best how to deal with extremist elements in their society. We need to be assertive.

We need to support and facilitate activities and projects that foster respect for human values in Palestinian society whilst also ensuring that the rise of a new political class in the West Bank would put an end to the PA’s self-destructive playbook.

Extremist elements are gaining more and more ground amongst Israeli Arabs, in West Bank and Gaza. We have all seen the clips released by Islamic State calling to “turn them (Jews) into rotten corpses,” while Hamas is planning to carry suicide attacks from its cells in Hebron and Nablus.

Lastly, it is evident that Europe should not allow itself to be drawn into the blame game. However European leaders should call things as they are an While we are engaged in state-building measures, with funds and expertise, we should condition all the EU funds for the territories on an actual Palestinian renouncement to hate and incitement to violence. Building a Palestinian society who will see cutting people’s throats as abhorrent as it is for any western society is not a pro-Israeli position. It falls into the oft forgotten category: The right thing to do.

Our aspiring mediators or policy trend-setters should do just that, make sure cool heads prevail and focus on issues that would actually make a difference, such as Palestinian reconciliation and measures that would strengthen a civil society ready to live in peace side by side.

Until it does that, I fear the PA playbook will continue to prevail.

MEP Lars Adaktusson is vice chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Afghanistan and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Former Middle East correspondent for Swedish media, he is also one EIPA (Europe Israel Public Affairs) Advisory Board members.

Why Israel Helps Worldwide When Disaster Strikes – Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan (Times of Israel)

From the earthquake in Mexico City in 1985, to the flooding in the Philippines this year, for 30 years the State of Israel has been sending relief delegations abroad. Almost everywhere we go, we are the first to arrive, and in most cases, our contribution is the greatest in the period closest to when the disaster occurs. The Israeli temperament is well suited to functioning in disaster areas: we reach a site that is in complete chaos, and we know how to manage pretty well. We are able to handle authority, we know how to improvise, and we are good problem-solvers.

In Haiti after the earthquake, our staff numbered 240. It included nurses who had left their children behind at home, doctors, hospital department heads. Their readiness to help – to just drop everything and come work under difficult conditions – was amazing, living in tents, treating patients in intense heat and humidity, and with earthquake aftershocks all the time.

Our offering help to those wounded in the Syrian civil war – it’s not for the public relations. Providing help makes us feel human. We’ve had our own disasters throughout history, and we were not always offered help. It is our responsibility, therefore, to be a “light unto the nations.” We’re talking about realizing a human obligation. Yes, they come from an enemy country, and we do not give them a pre-test to find out what they think about Israel, even while the hospitalizations cost us millions.

We know that it doesn’t change Israel’s image in the world. But we are creating ties with the enemy that are of a different nature. We are saying to them: you can live alongside us without fighting. If, one day, there will be a government there, and on both sides of the border there will be people who will say to themselves, “We know from the past that we can gain from these mutual ties,” that will be our reward.

We, the Jewish people, must seek out the added value in life. It was the Zionist vision that insisted on revival through building. The Zionist perspective chose not to wallow in tragedy and in playing the victim. The highest expression of this value is the ability to help. We’ve been through it, we understand it, and we know how to help.

The writer is Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW