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Latest News in Israel – 18th December

IDF soldiers thwart attempted stabbing attack near Nablus

A Palestinian terrorist attempted to stab soldiers near the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus in the West Bank on Thursday, the IDF stated.

According to an initial investigation of the event, soldiers saw a suspicious Palestinian while carrying out security work on the road near Hawara and approached to question him.

The suspect then pulled out a knife, running toward the soldiers.

The soldiers responded with gunfire, killing the terrorist.

No soldiers were injured in the incident.

The incident is the latest in a slew of terror attacks directed against Israelis in the past two-and-a-half months that has seen more than 20 Israelis killed. Since Oct. 1, Israel has killed 67 Palestinian attackers. Palestinian sources say that an additional 46 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the IDF and police.

In a message delivered on his behalf to a conference on the “Rights of the Palestinian people,” UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said the recent terrorist attacks by Palestinians against Israelis are “bred from nearly five decades of Israeli occupation.”

“It is the result of fear, humiliation, frustration and mistrust,” he said. “It has been fed by the wounds of decades of bloody conflict, which will take a long time to heal. Palestinian youth in particular are tired of broken promises and they see no light at the end of the tunnel.”

In his message, which was delivered on Tuesday, Ban also blamed the “settlement enterprise” for the deterioration of the situation in the region.

“Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world, holds shrines sacred to billions of people worldwide – Muslims, Jews and Christians alike,” he added. “What happens in Jerusalem reverberates around the world.”

Ban also referred to the situation on Temple Mount and said that despite several reaffirmations by the Israeli government that it does not intend to change the status quo at the holy site, “any action which could be interpreted as attempting to change the delicate balance, and particularly the status quo of the holy sites, carries with it the risk of conflict.”

Ban also said there is an “urgent need for leaders to rein in incitement” and called on Israeli security forces to “ensure a calibrated use of force in response to incidents.”

At the conference – held in Jakarta, Indonesia, and organized by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the Question of Jerusalem – Israel was also accused of conducting ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem. The accusation was made by Shawan Jabarin, director-general of Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization.

Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People “a body detached from reality.”

He also addressed Ban Ki-moon’s accusation and stressed that “there is no justification for terrorism.”

“Instead of wasting your time trying to rationalize Palestinian terrorism, the United Nations should confront the Palestinian Authority to eradicate incitement coming from its highest echelons, permeating into the education system and social networks,” Danon said.                        (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu: Given Abbas’ incitement, no surprise majority of Palestinians support stabbing attacks

Polls showing that some 80 percent of the Palestinians support current stabbing attacks on Israelis should come as no surprise, given Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s continued incitement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

Netanyahu, during a visit to the IDF’s southern command headquarters with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, said that poll after poll in the PA shows that the Palestinians support the current terrorism and are opposed to a two-state solution.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research released a poll on Monday showing that two-thirds of the Palestinians support the current violence, and another two-thirds said that a two-state solution is no longer viable.

“This is not surprising because Abu Mazen [Abbas] continues to incite with lying propaganda about Al-Aksa, lying propaganda about [Israeli] executions, and by rejecting all true efforts to come to negotiations,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu said it was time for the international community to understand that “the reason there are no negotiations and no progress toward peace is not to be found on the Israeli side, but on the Palestinian one.”

In a related development, Israel Radio reported Tuesday that Netanyahu promised tens of millions of shekels to enhance security in Judea and Samaria, hit hard by the current wave of terrorism.

According to the report, Netanyahu made the promise in a meeting on Monday with Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council. The money will be used for lighting, improved cellular phone reception in certain areas, and protection for bus stops and hitchhiking posts.                   (Jerusalem Post)

Adamant ZAKA refuses to treat terrorists before Jews

The outraged director of the ZAKA emergency response service slammed on Thursday the ethics office of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), after the body called to first treat the most wounded person at the scene of a terror attack – even if that person is the Arab terrorist.

Yehuda Meshi Zahav specifically took to task ethics office chairman Prof. Avinoam Reches, after the latter asserted “Israel is not Iran,” and insisting that Jewish moral values would not be taken into account when treating the injured at terror scenes.

“The Jews brought morality to the world and no one will teach us what morality is,” Meshi-Zahav blasted.

“We will instruct our volunteers to first treat injured Jewish victim, without thinking twice,” he continued. “And only after [will they treat] the terrorist murderer who carried out the attack.”

“Despite the ethical code which mandates the most injured victim be treated first, you must know morality has a limit. If we will not keep our distinction, we will lose our direction. Even in Halacha, it is written: All who merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.”

ZAKA also noted that Prof. Asa Kasher, an Israel Prize laureate and one of the country’s leading researchers on questions of ethics, opposed the IMA’s new guidelines.

“You can’t say considerations should be only medical,” Kasher stated, calling it “inconceivable” for a seriously wounded terrorist to be treated before his just less seriously injured victim.  (Arutz Sheva)

Netanyahu signs controversial natural gas deal

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu signed Israel’s multibillion dollar gas deal with US energy giant Noble Energy Thursday morning, following months of intense debate.

Netanyahu gave his signature to the deal at the conclusion of a special ceremony at the Ne’ot Hovav industrial zone in southern Israel, following speeches by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and Manufacturers Association of Israel President Shraga Brosh.

Both Steinitz and Brosh lauded the deal, saying it would make energy prices cheaper for Israelis.

Netanyahu himself praised the long-fought deal as a “victory over populism,” referring to opponents who fought a bitter campaign against what they said was the government’s stamp of approval to a new monopoly.

The prime minister repeated his previous assertion that Israel needed to expedite the process to enable the country to benefit from an unprecedented deposit of natural gas worth billions of dollars, and which would make Israel “energy independent.”

“The gas was given to us as a gift from God,” he said prior to signing the deal. “He gave us huge gas reserves and turned us into an important force on the international front.”

While the political battle is over, the deal is still set to face challenges in the High Court.

Netanyahu has pushed hard for the framework deal setting out parameters for developing natural gas resources offshore with a consortium that includes US firm Noble Energy.

He has faced strong opposition from political rivals and other critics who say the agreement amounts to a giveaway to the energy companies, with thousands having staged street protests against it.

“The deal is important for the economy, security and foreign relations,” Netanyahu said before the signing.

Israel has faced increased pressure to move quickly after neighbouring Egypt’s recent discovery of what was described as the “largest ever” gas field in the Mediterranean.

The Jewish state will seek to export a portion of the gas to other countries in the region.

The Israeli cabinet approved the agreement in August, but a parliamentary committee this week voted against allowing it to bypass usual antitrust oversight, though the vote was non-binding.

Israel’s monopolies commission has warned the agreement could give Noble and its Israeli partner Delek an effective monopoly.

To sidestep its objections, Netanyahu wants to use an obscure clause allowing the deal to be pushed through by order of the economy minister – a portfolio held by him since Shas leader Aryeh Deri’s resignation, along with foreign affairs and other posts. He has sought to do so in part by citing security concerns, saying Israel must increase its sources of energy to prevent supplies being cut by attacks.

Israel has been trying to extract offshore gas since the discovery of the Tamar and Leviathan fields in 2009 and 2010.

While extraction has begun in Tamar, the far larger Leviathan has been hit by a series of delays.

The size of the Leviathan field is estimated at 18.9 trillion cubic feet (535 billion cubic metres, or bcm) of natural gas, along with 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

Noble and Delek also control the Tamar field, which holds 250 bcm of natural gas, and lies 80 kilometres (40 nautical miles) west of the northern Israeli port city of Haifa. (Arutz Sheva)

Israel holds ‘substantive’ talks with Quartet delegation that included EU reps

Israeli officials met with a high-level Quartet delegation this week, despite the fact that it includes an EU representative with whom Israel has said it will not meet on a bilateral basis to discuss the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.

The Quartet delegation, with representatives from the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, arrived Monday with the aim of trying to de-escalate the situation and find a way to move the diplomatic process forward.

The delegation met in the Prime Minister’s Office Monday night for a meeting the Foreign Ministry said was “long, substantive and serious” – discussing ways to stop the violence, restore security, stop incitement and look for future horizons in the diplomatic process.

Quartet representatives met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold and head of the Foreign Ministry’s International Division, Roni Leshno-Yaar.

According to a statement put out by the Foreign Ministry, both the Quartet and Israel agreed that a continuation of a diplomatic process is the best guarantor for peace and security. Israel stressed that it attributes importance to the continued negotiations.

The decision to dispatch the delegation was made at a meeting of the Quartet in September, but it was postponed first in October, and then earlier this month.

Netanyahu directed the Foreign Ministry last month to suspend all discussions with the EU on the diplomatic process because of its decision to label products from the settlements.

The suspension is pending a reassessment in Jerusalem of its ties with the EU institutions A senior government official told the Post on Tuesday, however, that Israel would meet with the Quartet delegation, because it had no intention of punishing the US, Russia or the UN. The official said that a separate meeting with the EU envoy, Fernando Gentilini, would probably not take place.          (Jerusalem Post)

Home Front Command prepares for increased rocket threat from Syria

The IDF Home Front Command is in the process of setting up a subdistrict on the Golan Heights, in response to the proliferation of terrorist organizations and projectile threats from neighboring Syria, a senior military source told The Jerusalem Post.

The high-ranking officer, from the command’s northern district, said the subdistrict on the Golan Heights will operate alongside an older subdistrict that operates in the Galilee serving border communities.

“The Golan is a very important component of our preparations,” he said. “The subdistrict has its own commander and headquarters. It is already fully operational, but will hold its first full headquarters at the end of 2016,” he added.

The subdistrict will be under the command of the recently established 210 territorial Golan Division, and is part of the Home Front Command’s adaption to a “multiple-front reality,” the officer said.

“We are trying to produce a culture of readiness. This is healthy,” he said. “I encourage [all] individuals and families to ensure they have safe rooms ready. The state does not know how to prepare this for citizens.

I recommend they set up proper fortified rooms. Future conflicts will see rocket fire for lengthy periods. I’d suggest they prepare a routine, including a television, Internet, and a small generator,” he added.

“We assess that the future war will have many aspects aimed at public perception. There will be a reality here that will not be simple, but Hezbollah will try to make us interpret this in a way that is worse than it really is. Our challenge will be to not to fall for that, and to know that we can deal with this,” he added.

A combination of timely, area-specific alerts, Home Front Command safety instructions, discipline on the part of the civilians, functioning local councils and government ministries, and active defense systems together mean the northern district can cope, even under an onslaught of short range Hezbollah rocket attacks, he said.

“Investing in a safe room should be at the top of [all] citizens’ priorities. Even more important is the alert we provide through sirens and a range of other means,” the officer said.

Asked by the Post to comment on Islamic State’s reported use of low-grade chemical attacks in Syria, the source said that overall, there has been a “significant decrease in the chemical weapons threat, due to the Assad regime’s surrender of [its] chemical weapons program.”

But on a tactical local level, groups like Islamic State, which has used chlorine in Syrian battles, could deploy such weapons in a projectile attack on the Golan Heights in the future.

“This could happen,” the source said. “We are preparing.”

Despite that assessment, the risk level has not yet risen to the extent that the Home Front Command feels a need to redistribute gas masks.

“We will know how to provide local solutions if necessary,” said the source.

“We are following what is occurring around us all of the time. The northern district is the most complex, due to the level of the threat and geographical features,” he added.

“We are monitoring Hezbollah in the North all of the time.

This is a dynamic area, with many changes that necessitate preparations.”

The command’s northern district has been busy preparing civilian authorities and giving them the tools to cope with emergencies, which include both armed conflict and natural disasters.

Local authorities that are located near the northern borders, such as Kiryat Shmona, Nahariya and Shlomi, are under the jurisdiction of the IDF Northern Command, but a Galilee Home Front Command subdistrict of forces still serves this area, just as a second subdistrict serves the Golan Heights.

“The dilemma we faced is, how do we serve these areas in emergencies? We needed to combine between classic defense plus civil defenses,” said the source.

The northern district deploys its own search and rescue battalions, which also are trained to provide assistance to residents under extreme circumstances, while also assisting local authorities and strategically important industry installations in formulating emergency responses.

“We have significantly expanded training of civilian bodies in the past year,” said the officer.

“We are building up the tool of evacuating northern communities under heavy fire, though it is not clear we will end up using this tool. Any decision would be a product of assessments made during war,” he said.

The Home Front Command’s northern district is made up of a 55 percent Arab population.

The source said the command provides equal service to all local residents.

“We have identified a lot of cooperation among Arab local authorities this year. Arab regional councils are preparing, they are concerned. We helped them set up response teams – these are first-responder assistance teams. They have basic tools, vests and an understanding of how to react. This is the reserve force of local councils.”    (Jerusalem Post)

2 Palestinians Go on Trial for Targeting Israeli Embassy in Berlin

Two men of Palestinian descent went on trial Wednesday for allegedly planning an attack on Israel’s embassy in Berlin, Germany.

The two 21-year-old Berlin-born men—identified as Mohamed El-N and Ali El-I—were supporters of the Islamic State terror group. They were indicted for targeting the Israeli embassy and a synagogue between December 2014 and July 2015. One of the defendants said in court that he “wanted to experience something incredible,” according to the Berliner Morgenost daily newspaper.

The men were arrested last summer for possession of illegal fireworks, starter pistol cartridges, and knives, but explosives were not found, according to a criminal court spokesman. A chemical expert did find the remains of materials used in pyrotechnics on their clothes.                (the Algemeiner )

Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue Dinner

It’s very trendy these days to get famous entertainers to sing the national anthem at a formal ceremony. But guests attending the festive dinner at the King David Hotel to enable the inclusion of more people in the Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue, headed by Australian businessman and philanthropist Albert Dadon, did not bargain for the operatic vocal range of the renditions of the Israeli, Australian and British anthems by countertenor David D’Or, who played vocal acrobatics with each of them to spontaneous applause and a roar of approval.

Speaking from the podium a little later, Australian Attorney-General Sen. George Brandis referred to D’Or’s rendition as “flamboyant.” A little later in the evening, when D’Or sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” Dadon, who is a jazz musician, which he was before he became a businessman, accompanied him on guitar.

It was a night of rubbing shoulders with politicians, social activists, academics and retired high-ranking military officials.

Among the latter were Avigdor Kahalani, Gershon Hacohen and Gal Hirsch, who was Gilad Erdan’s first choice for police commissioner, but proved to be too controversial a candidate. Also present were Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, British Ambassador David Quarrey and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who was telling everyone how, as a young boy, when his father was Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, he and his siblings had the chance to meet celebrities from all over. To prove it, he posted a photo of himself and his sister Ronit with Frank Sinatra on his Facebook page to mark the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth.

Among the other guests were Daniel Taub, former ambassador to the UK; MK Michael Oren, former ambassador to the US; attorney Arnold Roth, better known as chairman of the Malki Foundation; investment marketer Philip Braude; Australian businessman Barry Batagol, president of the Bentley Drivers Club of Australia; Joan Ryan, chairwoman of the British Labor Friends of Israel; Sir Eric Pickles, chairman of the Parliamentary Conservative Friends of Israel; John Spellar, former UK minister of state for the armed forces and former minister of state for Northern Ireland; Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce chairman Leon Kempler; Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce executive director Paul Israel; and Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science Hon. Christopher Pyne, MP. Gabbay said that he could understand Australian-accented English because his wife was from Australia.

Also seen were Gerald Steinberg, the head of NGO Monitor; former MK Moshe Feiglin, who had to give up his Australian citizenship for his short-lived term as a parliamentarian; Nachman Shai, who 30-plus years ago was the commander in chief of Army Radio, engaged in earnest conversation with present incumbent Yaron Dekel; award-winning Australian journalist Tony Walker, who 30 years ago was the Middle East correspondent for The Melbourne Age, and who keeps returning to Israel; Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey and many other notables.             (Jerusalem Post)

Liberia thanks Israel for helping to wipe out its Ebola outbreak

Visiting Liberian senate president says his nation has great admiration for Israel and “can learn much from you in the fields of innovation, technology, agriculture and medical research.” Liberia’s senate president Armah Zullu Jallah — making the first visit to Israel by any head of his country’s parliament — thanked this country for its help to wipe out the fatal disease Ebola in in Liberia.

Speaking with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein in his office on Wednesday, Jallah said that Liberia has great admiration for Israel and “can learn much from you in the fields of innovation, technology, agriculture and medical research.”

He especially thanked Israel for its help, in the form of mobile clinics, training of medical teams and and visits by Israeli medical experts, to end the severe Ebola outbreak there that killed many residents.

MK Edelstein replied: “I am proud that we did our part and helped Liberia become free of Ebola. It is a world interest to which the State of Israel is a partner. We are always ready to contribute our knowhow and skills.”

He added that it was the first time that a head of the Liberian president was visiting in the Knesset. After Jallah was received in a dignified ceremony in which Liberia’s flag was raised and signed the visitors’ book, the two parliamentary leaders sat down for a private talk on establishing a firm basis for working relations between the two parliaments and the countries.

Later, the Knesset speaker welcomed Jallah from the podium of the plenum. “Since we established diplomatic relations in the 1950s Liberia has shown friendship to Israel, except when it cut off ties as a result of the Yom Kippur War along with other African countries,” Eidelstein said. “When relations were renewed in 1983, we signed accords in the field of security, aviation technology, economics and more. We cooperate with you also through Foreign Ministry courses and are happy to do whatever we can in training and operating equipment. I thank you, in the name of the Knesset and its members, for the visit of Your Excellency and hope it will contribute to tightening the relations between the two countries in all aspects            (Jerusalem Post)

Israel ranked 18th best country in the world to live

Israel has secured the 18th ranking on this year’s United Nations Human Development Index (HDI).

Published annually, the HDI ranks 188 countries in terms of economic strength, education, health, average life expectancy, and gross national product per-capita, as some of the parameters related to quality of life.

This year, Israel came out ahead of Japan (20), France (22), Spain (26), and Italy (27).

For the 12th year in a row, Norway has earned the top spot on the HDI list, and this year was followed by Australia (2) and Switzerland (3).

Israel has gone up one place since last year, having come in 19th in 2014.

The country ranked last on the index was Niger. The bottom of the list included other African countries like Eritrea (186), Chad (185), and Burundi (184).

Most Middle East nations were not given high rankings – Egypt (108), Jordan (80), and Lebanon (67).

The Palestinian Authority, considered a country by the UN, was ranked at 113

Top 20 countries according to 2015 Human Development Index:

  1. Norway
  2. Australia
  3. Switzerland
  4. Denmark
  5. Netherlands
  6. Germany
  7. Ireland
  8. United States
  9. Canada
  10. New Zealand
  11. Singapore
  12. Hong Kong
  13. Liechtenstein
  14. Sweden
  15. United Kingdom
  16. Iceland
  17. Korea, South
  18. Israel
  19. Luxembourg
  20. Japan                                  (Arutz Sheva)

Technion breaks ground on first Israeli university in China

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology laid a cornerstone on Wednesday for the first Israeli University in China – The Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in Shantou, in the Guangdong province in southeastern China.

The new university represents an historic collaboration between the Technion and Shantou University in China, and was made possible with the support of the Governor of Guangdong Province, Shantou Municipality and the Li Ka Shing Foundation, which promotes education and healthcare initiatives.

“The combination of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel and the unbelievable scale and resources of China will result in a great partnership.  Together we will create a major research institute that will help not only China and Israel, but also mankind in general,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie at the groundbreaking.

Leading the ceremony were former Israeli President Shimon Peres, GTIIT Vice Chancellor, Technion Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover, Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis, Hong Kong business leader and philanthropist Li Ka-shing, and GTIIT Chancellor Li Jiange.

Li Ka-shing, whose foundation donated $130 million to fund the project – the largest donation ever made to the Technion and one of the largest donations to higher education in Israel – said: “In this day and age, no one has an iota of doubt that technological innovation underpins a country’s ability to create collective wealth, and that it is the key impetus to individual success.”

“Creativity is the defining centerpiece of our time — powering us into the future.  Establishing a creative paradigm is not easy to set right, only through education and the rule of law can we build a free and fair, fun and fruitful future for all,” he said.

At the ceremony, former President Peres said, “The establishment of a Technion campus in China is more proof that Israeli innovation is breaking down geographic borders.  China is one of Israel’s major partners in technology and hi-tech, and there are over 1,000 Israeli companies active in China.  I hope that the economic cooperation between these two countries will continue to expand, as both countries have much to share with, and learn from, one another.”

The university, set to enroll its first class of 200 students in 2016, will be comprised of three schools: the College of Engineering; the College of Science; and the College of Life Sciences.  Areas of study will eventually include chemical engineering, materials engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, mathematics, physics, biotechnology and food engineering, biology, and biochemical engineering.

“I am very happy for the cooperation materializing between the Technion; Guangdong Province, one of the richest and most important of China’s provinces, and Shantou University,” said Technion Distinguished Professor Aaron Ciechanover, GTIIT Vice Chancellor.

“The Technion will contribute its extensive experience in training engineers who know how to apply what they have learned, and turn their knowledge into commercial products that focus on science and technology.  Our Chinese partners will contribute their diligence and devotion, qualities that we Israelis are somewhat lacking.  Thus, this collaboration will benefit both sides,” he said.

By 2025 the GTIIT is expected to enroll some 5,000 students made up of 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students.

“I want to thank the Israeli Government and the colleagues at Technion, facilitating the progress of human civilization through science and technology has been the common aspiration of China and Israel.  GTIIT will continue the fine tradition of Technion in Shantou, Guangdong Province so as to build the ‘Silicon Valley’ in South China,” said Li Jiange, inaugural President of GTIIT.

In the future, an industrial park is planned for the GTIIT campus, which will serve as a foothold for Israeli companies to enter key markets in China.

Yona Yahav, mayor of Haifa, praised the cooperation and said that this week Shantou became Haifa’s fourth twin city.

“The connection between Shantou and Haifa is unique due to the high involvement of Haifa in the Chinese economy.  The ecosystem created by the economic cooperation between higher education and entrepreneurship, as exists in the case of the Technion and Haifa, is a successful model that the Chinese wish to implement in Shantou,” he said.

“The Haifa municipality sees national importance in advancing the cooperation and strengthening of ties between China and Israel,” he added.

Shantou University (STU) was founded in 1981 as a comprehensive university jointly supported by the Ministry of Education, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Li Ka Shing Foundation. The university consists of eight colleges and schools and has a population of some 10,000 students and 90,000 graduates.                  (Jerusalem Post)

Arab-Israeli Israeli archaeologists find Hebrew inscriptions on ancient slab of marble near Lake Kinneret


Slab of marble with Hebrew inscription found in Kursi.

Hebrew inscriptions were discovered on an ancient piece of rare marble discovered by Israeli archaeologists during an excavation on the shores of Lake Kinneret.

The 1,500-year-old slab was dug up by scientists in Kursi, which lies on the eastern shore of Israel’s most important source of drinking water.

The finding confirms historians’ belief that the ancient village of Kursi was inhabited either by Jews or Christians.

“This is the first indication that there was a Jewish presence, and it reinforces the belief that the town of Kursi was where Jesus performed the ‘Miracle of the Swine.'”

According to tradition, Jesus healed two men said to have been possessed by demons by pushing them into a herd of pigs.

The excavation was supervised by Prof. Michal Artzi of Haifa University and Dr. Haim Cohen in concert with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.  (Jerusalem Post)

More Lies from Abbas about The “Intifada”

by Bassam Tawil   The Gatestone Institute


We still have never encountered even one case where a terrorist complained about the absence of a two-state solution. Also, contrary to Abbas’s claim, none of the terrorists has ever complained about checkpoints or settlements. This latest wave of terrorism is not about “despair,” unemployment, poor living conditions or freedom of movement. Instead, it is another attempt by Palestinian “youths” to eliminate Israel, again using the false excuse that Jews are “desecrating” and “destroying” Islamic holy sites.

A review of the Facebook accounts of most of the terrorists shows that their main intention was to murder as many Jews as possible in order to become “martyrs” — to impose a reign of terror Jews, to force them to leave Israel.

Abbas is well aware that the “youths” are not complaining about the “occupation.” The “occupation” these ” youths” have a problem with is the one that began with the creation of Israel in 1948.

A new generation of Palestinians has once again been deceived into believing that the Jews are plotting to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Al-Aqsa Mosque stands, as always, unharmed in its place.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas now wants us to believe that the Palestinian “youths,” who are sent out to murder Jewish soldiers and civilians, are acting out of “despair.” He wants us to believe that these “youths” decided to murder Jews because their dream of a two-state solution has not been realized. Abbas is also trying to convince us that these “youths” are upset about Israeli checkpoints, construction in settlements, and visits by Jews to the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount).

These latest statements by President Abbas show that he is either completely disconnected from reality, or else thinks that everyone will believe whatever he tells them. His claim — that the Palestinian assailants who carry out stabbing and car ramming attacks against Israelis, are frustrated because the two-state solution has not yet been realized — is, frankly, an insult. We still have never encountered one case — ever — where a terrorist complained about the absence of a two-state solution. Also, contrary to Abbas’s claim, none of the terrorists has ever complained about settlements or checkpoints. In fact, these “youths” that Abbas is talking about are mostly affiliated with Hamas, and do not believe in any two-state solution. Like Hamas, these terrorists want to see Israel wiped off the map.

Abbas’s “youths,” who, since the beginning of October, have murdered 22 Israelis and wounded dozens of others, set out on their missions because their leaders have been telling them that the Jews are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. These “youths” are driven by hatred, not by ‘despair,” as Abbas has been claiming. His allegation that the “youths” are “lone wolves” acting on their own initiative is also not true. What is true is that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have publicly admitted that some of the terrorists were members of these two Islamist groups.

Take, for example, the most recent case, of 21-year-old Abdel Muhsen Hassouneh, the east Jerusalem terrorist who rammed his car into a group of Israelis at a bus stop earlier this week. He wounded 14 people, including an 18-month-old infant who remains in hospital in critical condition. Shortly after the attack, Hamas announced that this terrorist was one of its group.

Similarly, Islamic Jihad also endorsed some of the terrorists who carried out the recent attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank — again exploding the claim that the “youths” were acting on their own. On October 3, Islamic Jihad took credit for a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, in which two Israeli men were killed. The group announced that the terrorist, Muhannad al-Halabi, was an active member of Islamic Jihad.

A review of the Facebook accounts of most of the terrorists shows that their main intent was to murder as many Jews as possible in order to become “martyrs.” Their goal was to impose a reign of terror and intimidation on Jews to force them to leave Israel.

Abbas is well aware that the “youths” are not complaining about the “occupation” of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. The “occupation” these ” youths” have a problem with is the one that began with the creation of Israel in 1948. As recently as last month, official Palestinian Authority TV was stating this, adding that Israel would cease to exist: “The occupation must know… [Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, Nazareth] – all of this land belongs to us… and will return to us.”

Jewish visits to the Noble Sanctuary, or Temple Mount, are merely an excuse being used to proceed with the plan to eliminate Israel. The Al-Aqsa Mosque has not been destroyed or desecrated by Jews. The terrorists nevertheless continue to launch attacks against Israelis under the pretext that Jews are seeking to destroy Islamic holy sites.

The person who bears much of the responsibility for these attacks is Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. His ongoing lies and inflammatory, anti-Israeli rhetoric have contributed significantly to the poisoning of the hearts and minds of many of these “youths.” It was Abbas who told his people, a few days before the current wave of terrorism erupted, that he would not allow Jews to “contaminate with their filthy feet our holy sites.” It was also Abbas who announced that, “Every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood.”


The Palestinians, unfortunately, have already seen this movie. In September 2000, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority lied to their people about Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Noble Sanctuary. Then, Arafat and the PA told Palestinians that Sharon and the Jews were planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As a result of this incitement, Palestinians took to the streets and we found ourselves in the midst of something called the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which lasted from 2000 until 2005, and consisted of a wave of suicide bombings and various terror attacks that killed hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians. This intifada was supposedly meant to prevent the Jews from “destroying” the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinians knew — they saw — that Sharon and the Jews had not destroyed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, yet that did not prevent them from waging a massive campaign of terrorism against Israel. The Al-Aqsa Mosque stands, as always, unharmed in its place.

Today, history seems to be repeating itself, as a new generation of Palestinians has once again been deceived into believing that the Jews are plotting to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Palestinian youths were not driven by “despair,” and they are not driven by “despair” now. They are driven by hatred and bigotry towards Israel and Jews. The generation of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, like the “youths” of today, believed that suicide bombings and drive-by shootings would ultimately lead to the destruction of Israel.

We are now witnessing the same scenario. Although the Al-Aqsa Mosque has neither been desecrated nor destroyed, the stabbings and car attacks continue almost on a daily basis. Would you like to know why? Because there is a new generation of Palestinians who believes that this from of terrorism will bring them closer to achieving their goal of destroying Israel.

President Abbas knows that he is lying when he talks about the “despair” of Palestinians because of checkpoints and settlements. The terrorists from east Jerusalem held Israeli-issued ID cards which gave them the right to travel around freely and work in Israel.

The only difference between these terrorists and an Israeli citizen is that they cannot vote for members of parliament. One of the east Jerusalem terrorists, Abu Jamal, was even working for the Israeli phone company, Bezeq, and was receiving a monthly salary of nearly USD $4500. He and the other terrorists were certainly not driven by “despair.”

Some of the terrorists who came from the West Bank had Israeli-issued permits to work inside Israel. The permits did not stop these terrorists from setting out to murder Jews. Take, for example, the case of Raed Masalmeh, 36, who murdered two Israelis in Tel Aviv last month. He had a work permit and was employed at a restaurant in Jaffa. He was neither unemployed nor restricted in his freedom of movement. He is the last person who can be described as “desperate.”

The current wave of terrorism against Israelis is not linked to settlements, checkpoints or a two-state solution. Nor, as Abbas falsely claims, does it have to do with the Al-Aqsa Mosque or a feeling of “despair” and “frustration.” The terrorists have one thing in mind — destroying Israel and killing as many Jews as they can.

What we are witnessing these days is an attempt by a new generation of brainwashed Palestinians to eliminate Israel. These “youths” want to replace Israel with an Islamist empire. We have not heard even one of them complain about a checkpoint or settlement, or that he or she is seeking a Palestinian state next to Israel. This latest wave of terrorism is not about “despair.” It is not about unemployment, poor living conditions or freedom of movement. Instead, it is another attempt by Palestinian “youths” to eliminate Israel, by again using the false excuse that Jew are “desecrating” and “destroying” Islamic holy sites. This is something that President Abbas knows very well, but does not have the courage to admit. He prefers to continue lying not only to the international community, but even to his own public.

Arab woman[1]

Father Naddaf[1]