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Latest Israel News – 3rd August

Enjoying the sunset on the Tel Aviv beachfront

Bathers, surfers, joggers, lovers and the many admirers of the beautiful sight of sunset all come together on the beach to enjoy the magical moments at a day’s end. (MFA)

Police confirm Yavne supermarket stabbing was terrorism

A 42-year-old Jewish man is in critical condition after being repeatedly stabbed in the upper body by a 19-year-old Palestinian terrorist at a Yavne supermarket in Central Israel Wednesday afternoon.

The suspect, identified as Ismail Ibrahim Ismail Abu Aram, is from the West Bank village of Yatta. Police said he entered a Shufersal grocery store on Sanhedrin Street at around noon and stabbed an employee several times before attempting to flee the scene.

According to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Abu Aram entered Israel illegally, but was not known to security services.

He was tackled by bystanders and held until police arrived and placed him under arrest.

“The Palestinian suspect came to a supermarket packed with people, and began stabbing the victim,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

“We know there was no preexisting relationship between the two whatsoever, so we confirmed it was a terrorist attack. The suspect is still being questioned and the area has been cordoned off as police continue their investigation.”

United Hatzalah paramedic Netanel Moyal said he treated the victim, as well as several witnesses for shock.

“I rushed over to the scene and treated the individual suffering from stab wounds to his upper body,” said Moyal. “While I was treating him, other volunteer EMS personnel joined me and he was taken by ambulance to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.”

A Shufersal representative said the company has been in continuous contact with the family of the injured worker and the hospital.

Abu Aram has been transferred to the Shin Bet for further questioning.

Following the stabbing attack, IDF forces from the Judea Brigade raided the West Bank home of the terrorist.

In addition, an IDF force guarding the Gush Junction identified a suspicious female Palestinian approaching him, and while apprehending her the suspect threw a knife that had been in her possession.

Wednesday’s stabbing is the latest in a wave of knife attacks reminiscent of the so-called “stabbing intifada” which rocked Jerusalem for over one year.

On July 21, a Palestinian terrorist entered Jewish home in the West Bank settlement of Halamish and stabbed three residents to death while they were eating Shabbat dinner. (Jerusalem Post)

Arab man says he murdered Jewish girlfriend to ‘free Palestinian prisoners’

The body of a missing Jewish woman from the Binyamin District of the West Bank was found by police last week after her Arab boyfriend confessed to strangling her and bashing her head with rocks in Holon to “release Palestinian prisoners.”

Police first received a report that Michal Halimi, 29, who was pregnant and married to another man, was missing at the end of May and launched an investigation to find her. A gag order, lifted Wednesday, was implemented for the duration of the search.

It remains unclear who the father of the child was.

“In the course of the investigation, it emerged that the missing woman had voluntarily left Binyamin, and apparently was staying at the home of a young Palestinian man from Nablus who she was in a relationship with,” police said Wednesday.

“Based on preliminary findings, including images and posts the two shared on Facebook, they intended to become engaged. As the investigation unfolded, the suspect was arrested and in the first stage of his interrogation contradictions arose regarding the whereabouts of the missing person, a fact that raised the suspicion of his involvement in her absence.”

As the investigation intensified, associates who were in regular contact with the suspect, identified as Muhammad Harouf, were detained and questioned. During their interrogations they confirmed that Halimi was in a relationship with Harouf, and that she went missing the day the two met in Holon.

As evidence mounted that Halimi was dead, the boyfriend eventually confessed to killing her in Holon and reconstructed the murder for police. Her corpse was located on July 24.

“According to his version, he met the deceased in the Holon area, choked her, threw stones at her head, covered her body, and left the scene in her car in order to ‘release Palestinian prisoners,’” police said.

Following Harouf’s arrest, the Israeli NGO Yad L’Achim accused the police of negligence in their handling of the investigation for taking too long to solve the murder, and for lifting the gag order without contacting the victim’s family.

The civil rights watchdog said Halimi’s husband asked the organization for aid in finding his wife shortly after her disappearance.

“The family discovered this morning that the gag order in the case was lifted and the murder was published in the media a few hours before Michal’s funeral,” it said in a statement.

“The conduct of the police in this case [mirrors] the conduct of other cases that we have accompanied them on in the past, when they are slow and do not understand the gravity of things.”

The NGO added that Halimi’s murder is “part of the long statistics of Jewish women who find themselves in romantic relationships with Arabs, and then find themselves in a violent and suffocating situation.”

“In Yad L’Achim, we encounter such cases on a regular basis, and try to help and support these women in finding a way to build a new life,” the organization said.

The suspect was arraigned on first-degree murder charges at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.           (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli-Palestinian conflict may not be solvable, Kushner says on tape

In a private, off-the-record conversation with congressional interns on Monday, Jared Kushner said he was not sure the Trump administration could offer anything “unique” to solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict and praised Israel’s handling of a recent crisis over the Temple Mount.

The discussion was recorded by one of the interns present and subsequently leaked to Wired, which published Kushner’s entire answer to a question about the White House’s attempts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, which US President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to as the “ultimate deal.”

“What do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know,” he said. “I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again we’re trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right end state is. And we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution.”

“And,” he went on, “there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”

Kushner, a real estate scion who was made a senior adviser to the president — his father-in-law — has been tasked with spearheading the administration’s efforts to negotiate peace.

He discussed the process by which he has been trying to make progress, which he said entailed exploring both conventional and unconventional methods.

“This is one of the ones I was asked to take on, and I did with this something that I do with every problem set you get, which is you try to study the historical context to understand how something got to where it is, who was successful, and who wasn’t successful,” Kushner said. “And you … research it and look at the conventional sources but also try to get some unconventional sources as well.”

“What I’ve determined from looking at it is that not a whole lot has been accomplished over the last 40 or 50 years we’ve been doing this,” he added.

That assessment seemed to bother some former Middle East peace negotiators, including Aaron David Miller, who noted on Twitter Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt (1978) and Jordan (1994).

One of the complicating factors, Kushner said, was how much emotional baggage is embedded in the conflict.

“I have tried to look at why people haven’t been successful in the negotiations, so I looked and studied all the different negotiations,” he said. “I spoke to a lot of people who have have been part of them, and I think the reason why is that this is a very emotionally charged situation.”

‘What do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know’

Kushner has learned that first-hand over the last several weeks. After a crisis erupted in Jerusalem surrounding the Temple Mount, Kushner led the administration’s efforts to calm the crisis, although it was Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt who was dispatched to the region.

“Look at what happened this past 10 days — a lot of seemingly logical measures taken on the different [unintelligible] part somehow became a little bit incendiary,” he said. “But we were able to calm it down by having a lot of really great dialogue between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis.”

After a July 14 terror attack in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli police officers with weapons they had smuggled onto the site, Israel installed new security measures, including metal detectors and cameras, which set off near-daily clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in and around the Old City, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

It also triggered a boycott by Muslim worshipers who threatened not to return to the site until all the installations were removed.

Israeli security forces hold position as they stand guard in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017.(AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)

Israeli security forces hold position as they stand guard in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, on July 27, 2017.(AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)

Five Palestinians died in clashes and a Palestinian terrorist killed three members of a family sitting down to Shabbat dinner in the West Bank settlement of Halamish.

A diplomatic dispute also erupted between Israel and Jordan after the killing of two Jordanians by an Israeli security guard near the Israeli embassy in Amman, including a teenager who had stabbed the security officer in what the Foreign Ministry suspects was a nationalistically motivated attack.

Kushner said this flare-up showed how “combustible” the conflict was, while he also went on to defend actions Israel took after the attack, saying Israel’s security measures were “not an irrational thing to do.”

“They say look, you know, this is a change to the status quo. The Temple Mount is a [unintelligible] occupation of Israel, and Israel was saying we don’t want anything to do with that, we just want to make sure people are safe,” he said. “And that really incited a lot of tension in the streets.”

He lamented the way Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions were being received by the Israeli press. “Bibi was getting beaten up by the press in Israel, because that was very politically unpopular for him to do,” he said, describing the Israeli premier’s decision to remove the security measures. Kushner is an old family friend of Netanyahu’s.

“Ultimately, we were able to work with them, and we were able to get the Israelis to take down the different forms of surveillance that the Jordanians were okay with, and we talked with the Palestinians the whole time to try to get their viewpoint on it,” he added.

King Abdullah II of Jordan, for his part, thanked Trump last week for the US role in mediating a resolution to the crisis.

Despite saying he wasn’t sure the US could offer anything “unique” to the parties, Kushner said he was “hopeful” about his efforts to reach a deal. One of the reasons were the lack of leaks that had been coming out of this portfolio, something he said was essential for building trust.

“If you’ve noticed about this conflict, and [unintelligible] nothing’s leaked out … which I think gives the parties more trust, and more ability to really express and share their viewpoints.

“I think you need to be able to probe people in private for them to have the confidence that it’s not going to be used against them, and that it’s not going to leak out in the press, which would be very, very hurtful,” he said. “That’s been a big advantage, which has allowed us to really have a lot of very interesting conversations.”  (the Times of Israel)

China pushing their four-point peace plan

China’s expressed interest in getting more actively involved in trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue stems from a concern that any explosion in the Middle East could jeopardize its oil and gas supply from the region, Israel’s former ambassador to China Matan Vilna’i said on Tuesday.

Vilna’i’s comments came a day after China’s UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi said at a press conference in New York that the international community should get behind a new four-point peace proposal put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Vilna’i pointed out that “60% of Chinese energy comes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, and they are very sensitive to what is happening here.”

The Chinese sensitivity to the region is further enhanced by the country’s mega infrastructure plan, called the One Belt One Road initiative, that runs through parts of the Middle East and which China hopes will revive the ancient Silk Road.

The four-point Middle East peace proposal, as outlined by Liu, calls for a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The second point calls for upholding “the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.”

Explaining this, Liu said China calls for the “earnest implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334” – the anti-settlement resolution adopted in the waning days of US president Barack Obama’s term – and for an immediate stop to all settlement activities.

He said China also calls for “immediate measures to prevent violence against civilians,” as well as for an “early resumption of peace talks.”

The third point in the plan is a call for the international community to “put forward peace-promoting measures.”

One such measure is China’s plan to convene by the end of the year a seminar of Israeli and Palestinian “peace activists” to discuss possible ideas to settle the conflict. This, according to Israeli sources, is meant to be more of a Track II academic gathering, rather than a full-blown peace conference.

And the fourth point in the proposal, Liu said, is to “take an integrated approach and promote peace through development.” The Chinese ambassador said that “while promoting political negotiations, attention should be given toward development and cooperation between Palestine and Israel.”

Beijing, he said, views both Israel and Palestine “as important partners in its Belt and Road initiative. China stands ready to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation in the spirit of development for peace.”

The ambassador said China has proposed launching a “China, Palestinian, Israeli tripartite dialogue mechanism in order to coordinate the implementation of major assistance programs in Palestine.”

The Foreign Ministry responded to the proposals on Tuesday by saying that “the way to peace goes through a return to negotiations without preconditions by the Palestinians.”

But Vilna’i, Israel’s ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016, said that Israel should welcome any actor who believes they can break the Israeli-Palestinian logjam, though he acknowledged that there was nothing new in the proposals.

He said that anything that might be able to build greater trust between Israel and the Palestinians should be seen as positive.

Galia Lavi, a research assistant and the coordinator of the China-Israel program at the Institute for National Security Studies, said the most interesting aspect of the proposal is the trilateral mechanism to deal with Chinese investments and projects in the region.

She said, for instance, that a Chinese plan to build a solar field in Gaza has gone nowhere because Israel has not granted its approval, and that this new mechanism could move projects such as those forward.

She said the Chinese have no real interest in getting actively involved in the peace negotiations or mediating between Israel and the Palestinians, and that they know that a peace agreement will not be signed tomorrow.

But the proposal, she said, does show signs of Chinese movement on the economic, rather than diplomatic, part of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and is something that fits in well with the One Belt One Road initiative.

Asked if the Chinese might link development of bilateral ties with Israel to movement on the diplomatic track with the Palestinians, as the European Union has done, Lavi said that the economic relationship between the two countries is “very important to China,” and that Beijing will not let that be affected by diplomatic issues.

But, she said, the question is whether Israel may need to worry that sometime down the road China might try to leverage its economic influence in the country into diplomatic influence as well.

“Israel has to think how it can make sure that its economic ties with China don’t give them leverage over our policy makers,” she said. “It must think about what assets we can sell, and how much investment to accept here. When China has too much leverage because of money, it might want to use it – I’m not sure that it will – but Israel has to prepare for that and make sure that the cards are still in our hands.” (Jerusalem Post)

Israel launches first environmental research satellite Venμs

Israel launched the country’s first environmental research satellite on Wednesday morning from a launch site in French Guiana, in a joint venture between the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and its French counterpart CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales).

The satellite took flight from South America at 4:58 a.m. Israel time, and was broadcasted live on the Israel Space Agency website.

The VENµS satellite’s goal is to obtain high-resolution photographs of specific sites to track environmental issues such as desertification, erosion, pollution, natural disasters, and other phenomena linked to climate change.

The camera on the satellite takes photographs in 12 wavelengths, more than are discernible to the human eye. The high resolution — plants can be distinguished as little as five meters apart — makes possible “precision agriculture,” in which farmers would be able to accurately plan for water, fertilizer, and pesticide needs.


The VENµS satellite is launched from South America

The satellite uses an Israeli-developed electrical propulsion system that allows it to navigate with more accuracy than older satellites.

VENµS, which stands for “Vegetation and Environment Monitoring on a New Micro Satellite,” will be able to take repeated photos of the same spot in the same light conditions (accounting for the position of the sun), allowing for more accurate tracking of changing environmental issues. This is called “heliosyncronis orbit” because it requires taking a photo of the same coordinates while the sun is in the same position. Previously, satellites have been able to provide heliosyncronis photos every 10-15 days, while the VENµS satellite will allow for comparable photographs every two days.

It is the first time that Israel is launching a satellite to focus on agricultural and ecological research. The satellite can record data about the status of the land, snow cover, foliage, forestation, agriculture, and quality of water sources, among other things.

The satellite is considered a “microsatellite,” weighing just 265 kilograms (584 pounds) with a wingspan of just 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) when the solar array is expanded. After two days, the satellite will reach its orbiting level of 720 kilometers (447 miles) above the surface of the earth.

The satellite will circle the earth 29 times in a 48-hour period, and will stay in commission for 4.5 years, at which time it will move to a lower orbit. The first satellite images are expected just five hours after launch, though they will be released to researchers in November. The satellite will focus on monitoring 100 pre-chosen spots for the first 2.5 years.

The Israel Space Agency, part of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Space, has invested NIS 5 million in research projects based on the satellite images that will be produced.

The satellite was launched at the same time as OPTSTAT-3000, a military observation satellite for the Italian military. Arianespace, a private launch systems company founded in 1980, launched both satellites. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) built both of the satellites in Israel.   (the Times of Israel)

Palestinians: The Metal Detector Scam

by Khadija Khan             The Gatestone Institute


Metal detectors and are commonplace at most prominent mosques in the Middle East, and more than 5,000 surveillance cameras (and 100,000 security guards) monitor pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj.

While the Palestinian terrorist was being treated for his wounds in an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Authority celebrated his actions and set in motion the mechanism according to which he will receive a salary of more than $3,000 per month for his attempt to become a “martyr” through murdering Jews.

It is time for the international community to stop enabling radicals to use the Palestinian people as pawns in their greater agenda, transparent to everyone, including all Muslims: to obliterate Israel through delegitimization.

After massive pressure from the Muslim world and international community, Israel removed all metal detectors and surveillance-camera infrastructure from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the location of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Possibly to obfuscate the reason that the metal detectors were installed in the first place — a terrorist attack on July 14, in which three Israeli Arab citizens killed two Israeli Druze police officers with weapons they had hidden inside the mosque — the Palestinian Authority (PA) called on Muslims to boycott the site and launch “days of rage” against the Jewish state.

Palestinians, claiming that the metal detectors were a “desecration” of the mosque — which is actually located on the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam – entered into violent clashes with Israeli security forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel and called on Muslims to “protect” Jerusalem.

Palestinians near Jerusalem’s Old City protest Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount, although the metal detectors had already been removed days before, on July 28, 2017. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

A Palestinian teenager posted on Facebook his intention to become a “martyr,” before entering the home of a Jewish family in the West Bank and slaughtering three of its members. While this terrorist was being treated for his wounds in an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Authority celebrated his actions and set in motion the mechanism according to which he will receive a salary of more than $3,000 per month for his attempt to become a “martyr” through murdering Jews.

Then, on July 23, a terrorist in Jordan — the country that has religious custodianship over the Temple Mount through the Islamic Waqf — attacked an Israeli security officer at the Israeli embassy compound in Amman. In self-defense, the officer shot and killed him, catching another Jordanian in the crossfire. In an deal between Israel and the Jordanian authorities, the guard and other embassy staff were released, apparently in exchange for a promise that the metal detectors would be removed from the entrance to the Temple Mount.

The metal detectors, however, had nothing to do with the real reason for the inflamed atmosphere — stoked by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and the terrorist organization Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip — in spite of the fact that the attack that spurred their installation was committed by Israeli Muslims against Israeli Druze. In reality, the security measures were taken by Israel to protect all people entering the site — where only Muslims are allowed to pray, while Christians and Jews may visit only under strict surveillance.

Proof that the violence was not provoked by measures that were actually aimed at preventing terrorists from infiltrating deadly weapons onto the Temple Mount lies in the fact that metal detectors and are commonplace at most prominent mosques in the Middle East, and more than 5,000 surveillance cameras (and 100,000 security guards) monitor pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj. Furthermore, everyone visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, another Jewish holy site, is required to pass through metal detectors before entering the plaza — a protection taken for granted.

The ongoing incitement against Israelis — this time using metal detectors as the excuse to claim that the Jewish state is attempting to change the “status quo” on the Temple Mount — not only disgraces Islam; it hurts the Palestinians whom the world claims to want to defend.

It is time for the international community to recognize this and stop enabling radicals to use the Palestinian people as pawns in their greater agenda, transparent to everyone, including all Muslims: to obliterate Israel through delegitimization.

A Dishonest Fallacy: Israel’s Occupation Isn’t Why anti-Semitism’s Spiking

Anti-Jewish agitators in every era claim they’re only responding to the ‘actual’ misdeeds of Jews. For violent Islamists and the left, Israel’s occupation is just the latest iteration

by Dave Rich               Haáretz


Identifying anti-Semitism and working out how to challenge and overcome it is no easy task, but in more than two decades of work and study in this field I’ve come up with one simple rule: Don’t mimic the anti-Semites you’re fighting.

At least, you’d think this is a simple rule; but British writer and activist Tony Klug fell straight into this trap when he wrote recently in Haaretz (If Israel’s Occupation Doesn’t End, Anti-Semitism Worldwide Will Rise to Sinister Heights) of an acquaintance who, he claimed, said to him: “I thought an anti-Semite was someone who hated Jews, not someone whom Jews hated.”

I first heard Klug use this line two months ago, at a conference on Zionism and anti-Semitism held in London by the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism. You can hear Klug make the comment here, followed by some laughter and applause. (Full disclosure: I am an Associate Research Fellow of the Pears Institute, on its Advisory Group and spoke at the same conference as Klug, but I had no role in the planning or organization of that conference).

However, this wasn’t the first time I’d heard the line itself, because for many years it was one of David Irving’s favorite jokes. He would tell it in his speeches to audiences of anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, and he usually got a much bigger laugh than Klug did.

I pointed this out to Klug, publicly, at the conference in May. I suggested that as he had used the same joke as David Irving – a man described by a British court, on losing his 2000 libel action against Professor Deborah Lipstadt, as “an active Holocaust denier [] anti-Semitic and racist and [..] associates with right wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism” – he might want to rethink.

At the time, Klug seemed unperturbed by the revelation that he was parroting David Irving. He was much more animated by the suggestion that he had intended to make a joke. He was deadly serious, he assured the gathered academics, in  implying that Jews have inverted the meaning of anti-Semitism to create a weapon of Jewish hatred against others. Apparently he still thinks it is a line worth using, despite knowing what company it puts him in.

In fact, Irving was not the first to come up with this quip. That dubious honor probably belongs to the late Joseph Sobran, who came up with it in the early 1990s. Sobran was fired by National Review in 1993 for writing a series of anti-Semitic columns, and became a fixture on the international Holocaust denial conference circuit where he, like Irving,  would tell people that “an anti-Semite used to mean a man who hated Jews. Now it means a man who is hated by Jews.”

Thanks to Klug, this line has now made its way from the proceedings of the Institute for Historical Review to a conference of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism. Perhaps Klug was unaware of the joke’s origins when he used it in May, but he has no such excuse when deciding to repeat it in Haaretz this week.

Why does this joke work? I think it is because it plays to a stereotype of the complaining Jew; the paranoid Jew who sees anti-Semitism everywhere; the dishonest, cunning Jew who uses his cleverness to confound his unsuspecting foe. It’s a joke that gives permission to laugh dismissively at Jewish fears of anti-Semitism.

Yet those fears are real and justified. Klug acknowledges that anti-Semitism is rising, but the best he can do to explain why this is the case is to blame it on the occupation; and the only solution he offers is for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and, with a wave of its magic wand, end anti-Semitism at a stroke.

History tells us that life is not so simple. Anti-Jewish agitators in every era have claimed that they are only responding to the actual misdeeds of Jews.

Anti-Semitism, being a conspiracy theory, a prejudice and a closed worldview all rolled into one, does not behave rationally. If Israel does make peace, social media will probably fill with theories about how it is a Rothschild plot to subjugate the region under the yoke of Jewish capital, or some similar nonsense that will be believed by millions.

Klug cites the Oslo period as one when anti-Semitism declined due, he claims, to hopes of peace in Israel and Palestine. But those years also saw a surge in Islamist terrorism in Israel and overseas designed specifically to derail that peace process. Tell the Jews of Argentina that they were safer in the 1990s, when Iran and Hezbollah destroyed the AMIA Jewish community center killing 85 people, than they are now.

This violent jihadist terrorism, combined with the conspiracy theories that circulate unchallenged in parts of Muslim communities and on the hard left as well as the far right, are what alarm European Jews today.

Too much of the left has too little to say about this and even less to offer Jews in terms of solidarity. Instead we are told to distance ourselves from Israel or face the consequences.

Israel needs to make peace for its own reasons, but it is naïve to imagine that the likes of David Irving will end their anti-Jewish propaganda if such a day comes to pass; and it is foolish for people who claim to oppose anti-Semitism to mimic that propaganda now.

“The Battle over Jerusalem Has Just Begun”

by Bassam Tawil           The Gatestone Institute


The Palestinians, feeling triumphant now that Israel has complied with their demand to remove the metal detectors and security cameras, have been clarifying that it is only the first step in their fight to eradicate any Israeli presence in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

They admit that this is a battle over sovereignty on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. For the Palestinians, the real battle is over who controls Jerusalem and its holy sites. The real battle, in their eyes, is over the Jews’ right to live in their own state in the Middle East. Many Palestinians have still not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist, and that is what this battle is really about.

The Palestinians have added it up just right. In their own words, they aim at an escalation of violence because they believe that what Israel did is the first step toward even more concessions and even further retreat.

The Palestinian “victory” celebrations that took place after Israel removed metal detectors and surveillance cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem bode badly for the future of stability and peace in the Middle East.

To the Palestinians and many Arabs and Muslims, the Israeli move is viewed as a sign of weakness. In their eyes, the removal of the security cameras and metal detectors is capitulation, pure and simple.

How do we know this? Easy: look at the Palestinian response. Rather than acknowledging the conciliatory nature of the Israeli government’s decision, aimed at easing tensions and preventing bloodshed and violence, the Palestinians are demanding more.

As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the controversy over the Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount, which came after three terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers at the holy site on July 14, is part of a larger battle with Israel.

We have reached a new level in this discourse: Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are now openly admitting that it is not the metal detectors or security cameras that are at issue.

Instead, they admit, this is a battle over sovereignty on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. For the Palestinians, the real battle is over who controls Jerusalem and its holy sites. The real battle, in their eyes, is over the Jews’ right to live in their own state in the Middle East. Many Palestinians have still not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist, and that is what this battle is really about.

The Palestinians, feeling triumphant now that Israel has complied with their demand to remove the metal detectors and security cameras, have been clarifying that it is only the first step in their fight to eradicate any Israeli presence in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

No one explained this Palestinian position better than the PA foreign minister, Riad Malki, who announced on July 27 that the Palestinians consider the Israeli decision to dismantle the metal detectors and security cameras as surrender. He also confirmed what many Israeli and Palestinian political analysts have been saying for the past few weeks — that the conflict over Israel’s security measures was merely an excuse used by the Palestinians to force Israel to make political and territorial concessions.

In a speech before the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, Malki explained: “The issue is not metal detectors or cameras, but who is in charge and who has sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Malki went on to explain that the Palestinians do not see the recent conflict as a security issue, but rather as a purely political matter. “The battle over Jerusalem has just begun,” he said, adding that the wave of Palestinian protests over the Israeli security measures had succeeded in “thwarting” Israel’s “conspiracy” to change the historical and legal status quo at the Temple Mount.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki (pictured above in 2009) said last week in a speech: “The issue is not metal detectors or cameras, but who is in charge and who has sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque… The battle over Jerusalem has just begun.” (Image source: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

We are witnessing a rare moment of truth from the PA foreign minister, in which, ironically, he refutes claims by many in the international community and media to the effect that the recent conflict was sparked by metal detectors and surveillance cameras.

The Palestinian protests that came in response to the security measures indicated that it was more about hating Israel and trying to force it to its knees than about the removal of metal detectors and cameras. During these protests, especially at the entrances to the Temple Mount, Palestinians chanted slogans that included threats to destroy Israel and kill Jews.

“We are marching toward Al-Aqsa (Mosque), and we will sacrifice millions of martyrs,” was one of the chants at the protests, which were led by top Palestinian religious and political leaders. Another chant: “Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, jaish Mohammed sa yaoud” (“Khaybar Khaybar O’ Jews, the army of Mohammed will return”) — a reference to the Battle of Khaybar in the year 628 between Prophet Mohammed and his followers against the Jews living in the oasis of Khaybar. The Jews were forced to surrender after being slaughtered and were thereafter permitted to live in Khaybar on condition that they give half of their produce to Muslims. The protesters also chanted slogans calling on Hamas’s military wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, to launch terror attacks against Israel.

For the most part, the foreign journalists covering the protests did not perceive these chants as intimidating or anti-Semitic. The protests were largely reported in a positive sense as peaceful “civil disobedience.” This is precisely the rhetoric, however, that fuels the Palestinian fire to take to the streets and hurl stones and petrol bombs at Israeli police officers and civilians.

Eighteen-year-old Omar Al-Abed, however, is one Palestinian who paid careful attention to such rhetoric. On July 22, he stormed the home of a Jewish family in Halamish, in the West Bank, and stabbed to death a grandfather and his son and daughter during a dinner to celebrate the birth of a grandchild. Shortly before setting out on his murderous mission, Al-Abed posted a note on his Facebook page in which he echoed many of the slogans from the protests, and went further by describing Jews as “sons of pigs and monkeys.”

The carnage in Halamish was perpetrated by a single Palestinian. Perhaps he acted alone, without having been indoctrinated to murder Jews and without communal support for doing so? Well, let us check: how did the Palestinian street react to his murderous rampage? How did Al-Abed’s own mother respond? The terrorist’s mother was filmed handing out sweets to visitors in celebration of her son’s decision to take the lives of the three Jews. “I’m proud of my son because he has raised our heads high,” she declared.

Perhaps the pride in the terrorist was simply a local affair? No, even that hope is smashed: as many Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, took to the streets to celebrate the brutal murder, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh phoned the terrorist’s father to tell him, “Your son brought pride to the nation.”

The Halamish bloodshed brought intense pride to the terrorist’s mother, to those around her, and to the Palestinian world at large.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who never misses an opportunity to paint himself as a peacemaker par excellence, chose to remain quiet about the murder. Make no mistake: his loud silence over the Halamish terror attack is being interpreted by many Palestinians as an act of condoning the murder of three Jews. Whether condoning the atrocity or terrified of his own people, one thing is certain: Abbas and most Palestinian leaders have trained the Palestinians well. When they smell Jewish blood, they attack.

This is precisely what is going on in the Temple Mount mayhem.

Now that Israel has complied with their demands regarding the security measures, Palestinians feel more emboldened than ever. Murder and incitement, in their case, does indeed pay. They got away with the murder of the two police officers at the Temple Mount; they got away with the murder of the three family members in Halamish, and, in their view, they also got away with the recent violent protests and incitement against Israel.

Buoyed by the Israeli “capitulation,” the Palestinians are now talking about a “historic victory” over Israel. They are boasting that they have twisted Israel’s arm and forced it to “retreat.” Palestinian cartoonists and commentators have expressed similar sentiments, arguing that the removal of the metal detectors and security cameras is largely the result of their violence, terrorism and threats.

Once again, an Israeli gesture is being misinterpreted by the Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims as weakness. This sort of deliberate misreading is far from new. Yet every time it occurs, it sets the stage for another cycle of violence. The result of Israeli conciliation is invariably Palestinian violence.

The Palestinians have added it up just right. In their own words, they aim at an escalation of violence because they believe that what Israel did is the first step toward even more concessions and even further retreat.

How Terrorists Use Foreign Aid to Fund Terror – Doug Lamborn and Elazar Stern (Washington Times

PA financial rewards for terror attacks is an issue that has brought us – members of the U.S. and Israeli legislatures – together, since Palestinian terror impacts both of our countries. It matters to Israel because the Palestinian funding invites constant attacks against Israelis.

It matters to the U.S. not just because innocent Americans and Israelis are being murdered, but also because in the last 25 years the U.S. has sent more than $5 billion in foreign aid to the Palestinians. This aid is meant to foster stability and promote peace in the region. Yet the Palestinian Authority is using our aid for the exact opposite purpose.

In the Israeli Knesset, a law has already passed the first stage of the legislative process that would impose a dollar-for-dollar deduction in the amount of tax revenues Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority based on the amount the PA pays terrorists.

Some will argue that we know exactly where our foreign aid is going. But the reality is that, despite our good intentions, when the U.S. pays for governance, utilities, and social welfare programs, it is freeing up PA money to pay for terrorist stipends.

Others argue that these American and Israeli initiatives could destabilize the West Bank – but prominent Israeli national security figures reject this prediction, and the fact remains that the status quo itself is unstable. Funding that enables the PA to reward violence and killing is not a recipe for calmness, whereas removing an incentive to carry out acts of terror will be an important step toward peace and stability.

But above all, our most basic moral value is the sanctity of human life. It is simply unacceptable to allow our money to promote murder. All civilized countries should stop aid money going to compensate acts of terror.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Elazar Stern is a member of the Knesset for the opposition Yesh Atid party.