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Latest News in Israel – 21st June

EU thinks ‘feeding Israel to the crocs means they will be eaten last’

More than 3,000 supporters of Israel attended a pro-Israel event in Frankfurt on Sunday, sending a message to European foreign ministers who were expected to endorse a French diplomatic initiative opposed by Israel in Brussels the next day.

Billed as the largest pro-Israel event of its type in Europe, the fourth German Israel Congress marked the close of the year of celebrations commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel.

The event was the initiative of the Israel Allies Foundation, the umbrella organization of pro-Israel caucuses in 35 parliaments around the world, and I Like Israel, an umbrella organization of pro-Israel groups in Germany.

“This conference is taking place under the shadow of a damaging peace initiative that aims to pressure Israel to make irrational concessions and force Israel to give up its sovereignty in the name of a false peace,” Israel Allies Foundation Executive Vice President Josh Reinstein told attendees.

“They believe by feeding Israel to the crocodiles they will be eaten last. This conference is our answer to that initiative.”

Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov, who heads the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, attributed the French initiative and its support in Europe to historic anti-Semitism that has deep roots on the continent.

“We don’t understand why our friends in Western Europe create double-standards for Israel,” Ilatov told the crowd. “We don’t understand why they are attacking Israel and not countries in the Middle East that do not protect human rights and protect religious freedom.”

By contrast, former defense dminister Shaul Mofaz, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said that although he believes in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and not an internationally imposed solution, he still welcomed the French initiative.

“Israel should not ignore attempts to encourage negotiations,” Mofaz said. “We should not be afraid to discuss and have dialogue on the Palestinian issue. We need to be open to any attempt that will lead to dialogue.”

Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, who heads the Israel-Germany Friendship Caucus in the Knesset, said Germany is Israel’s second-most important ally after the US. He praised German banks for cracking down on the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin sent taped messages to the event that steered clear of politics. Netanyahu spoke of the “shared history with great tragedy” of Israel and Germany and their desire to see a common future.

“We must all stand united and strong against discrimination and hatred,” Rivlin said.

“I know it’s not easy to be a Zionist. I want to thank you for standing strong for Israel. Together we will overcome any challenge.”

Other key partners in the event included the German-Israeli Society, the Israeli Embassy, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the German Coordinating Council of Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation, the Economic and Trade Mission of the State of Israel and the American Jewish Committee.

“The potential of German-Israel cooperation and friendship – even after 50 years of diplomatic relations – has by far not reached its potential,” said I Like Israel chairman Sacha Stawski.

“We are honored to welcome ministers, members of Knesset, high level experts and personalities from Israel, Germany, the US and elsewhere to this year’s congress. This year’s congress will truly lead the way to building new partnerships between Germany and Israel.”

Stawski said he was glad some 200 supporting organizations, close to 60 exhibitors and participants from across Europe participated.

Andras Patkai, the Israel Allies Foundation’s European director, said the event displayed the mutual understanding and empathy of the complex challenges Israel and Germany currently face.

“At a time when Europe is under external pressure from the humanitarian crisis of trying to handle further waves of asylum-seekers from the Middle East, and the resulting internal pressure from the rise of violent hate groups as well as the political and economic consequences of the imminent British referendum on whether to stay in the EU or leave, Jewish communities throughout the continent are rightly concerned,” Patkai said.

“This is a time when leaders need to act and the German Israel Congress is a great show of strength and acceptance, celebrating the enormous value Israeli relations have brought to German society.”   (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu, Kerry expected to meet next week in Europe

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to meet next week in a European capital with US Secretary of State John Kerry, to discuss possible ways of moving the diplomatic process forward.

While Netanyahu and Kerry speak on a regular basis – they last spoke on Friday – they have not met since January, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Kerry has not been in Israel since November, when he arrived in an effort to help tamp down the violence that erupted in the latest wave of Palestinian terrorism that started a month before.

Among the likely agenda items will be the possibility of creating a regional umbrella to re-launch a diplomatic process with the Palestinians; the French diplomatic initiative; and a Quartet report to be released within the next few weeks spelling out the reasons for the current diplomatic logjam and suggesting ways to break through it.

The US, according to diplomatic sources, has been actively involved in writing this document, at times arguing with the other members of the Quartet – the EU, Russia and the UN – to ensure it is balanced.

Netanyahu and Kerry are also expected to discuss the situation in Syria.

While Kerry did attend the meeting of some 30 foreign ministers and officials in Paris earlier this month to launch the French initiative, Washington has not expressed a great deal of enthusiasm for the plan, beyond saying that the meeting was a good way for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to a two-state solution.

The US was instrumental earlier this month in significantly watering down the communique that came out of the Paris meeting, essentially rendering it little more than a pledge of allegiance by those in attendance to a two-state solution, with the participants reaffirming “their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

There is concern in Jerusalem, however, that the foreign ministers of the 28-member EU scheduled to meet in Luxembourg on Monday will throw their support behind the plan, something that would give it added momentum.

The Paris summit was considered by participants a “launching pad,” with the next step being the establishment of working groups to deal with issues such as security and economic development. The goal is to have an international conference by December, with the participation of Israel and the Palestinians. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority were invited to the Paris summit.

Netanyahu has come out adamantly against the French plan, arguing that it provides a disincentive to the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel, since they believe that if they hold out, the international community will impose a solution on Israel.

Jerusalem, meanwhile, is continuing to lobby European governments against the plan.

“Israel continues with its intensive diplomatic efforts, and we hope that our point of view will prevail,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, adding that Israel will continue pressing its point through the EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.                              (Jerusalem Post)

Two more ex-defense ministers attack Netanyahu

Three days after former defense ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Ehud Barak issued scathing attacks on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Herzliya Conference, two more former defense ministers made their voices heard on Sunday.

Former defense minister Amir Peretz, speaking in radio interviews, blamed Netanyahu for much of the country’s ills and said there must be a serious effort to ensure he is replaced.

“The prime minister is not the solution,” the Zionist Union MK said. “The prime minister is the problem. Everything must be done so that after the next election, he will no longer be prime minister.”

Former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, who has been on poor terms with Netanyahu since 2012, declined to speak negatively about him at the German Israel Congress in Frankfurt.

“I have no interest in criticizing him from here,” Mofaz said when asked whether the “brave leadership” he told the crowd the world required applied to Netanyahu.

Unlike Barak and Ya’alon, who downplayed the Iran threat, Mofaz emphasized the threat in his keynote address.

“Iran is a major destabilizing force, striving for regional hegemony by directing and financing terror directly and through its proxies,” Mofaz said.

He said the West should act as gatekeepers to thwart the Iranians and any attempt by Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons.

MKs from across the spectrum took aim Sunday at Barak, accusing him of going too far in his attacks. Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said “Barak was Israel’s worst prime minister,” and noted that he was forced out after a year and a half.

“The incitement in Israel has crossed redlines,” Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) said. “I am worried about the incitement against Netanyahu. We saw what happened in England, where differences over policies led to the tragedy of a member of Parliament getting killed.”

Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich said Barak split Labor and nearly destroy it after he insisted on joining a Netanyahu- led government against the will of his party.

“I would not put down his intelligence or his contributions to the state, but to call for a civil disobedience from his comfortable life is not trustworthy,” Yacimovich said.

Zionist Union MK Eitan Cabel said that even though he agreed with Barak’s attack, “he [Barak] did not make me miss him at all.” Calling Barak “Labor’s gravedigger,” he said, “We do not need you or your analysis.”

Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) said that since Barak left the Defense Ministry in 2013, so much had changed that he is no longer in the know. Kara mocked Barak’s new beard.

“He looks ultra-Orthodox, so why should we listen to his advice about security?” Kara asked. “What do the haredim know about security?”  (Jerusalem Post)

Abbas, Herzog Reportedly Agreed on Broad Peace Framework, Including a Divided Jerusalem

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog reached understandings on the main principles of a peace agreement through secret talks they conducted prior to the 2015 election, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Sunday night.

Former Labor MK Ephraim Sneh represented Herzog in the talks, while a senior Palestinian official represented Abbas.

The two agreed that the Arab Peace Initiative should be the basis for a new Middle East reality to be created by the signing of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. They also reached understandings on various issues, which were incorporated in a document drafted in April 2014.

However, Herzog shelved these understandings immediately after the election.

With regard to borders, the two reportedly agreed that the Palestinian state should include an area equivalent to 100 percent of the territory Israel captured during the Six-Day War of 1967, which would be adjusted through land swaps equivalent to four percent of this territory.

The two men also agreed that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian state and Israel would withdraw from neighborhoods in that part of the city, but both halves of the city would be governed by a single municipal administration. A multinational force would operate on the Temple Mount, but Israel would retain sovereignty in the area of the Western Wall.

On refugees, the parties agreed that that the solution would be based on UN Resolution 194, as called for in the Arab Peace Initiative. Specifically, the document said, what this means is that most refugees would receive financial compensation, while a symbolic number, to be jointly agreed on, would be allowed to “return” to Israel.

On security, the parties agreed to a symbolic Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley. They also agreed that Israel would able to monitor the border crossings between Jordan and Palestine via technological means, and that in the event of a drastic change in the existing order east of the Jordan River, Israel would be able to use two parts of the Jordan Valley as staging areas for its armored corps. Finally, counterterrorism efforts would be supervised by a joint body comprising representatives from Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

In response to Channel 10’s report, Herzog said, “In my contacts with the Palestinian Authority president during 2014, I made efforts whose goal was to reach understandings that would have prevented the wave of terror whose arrival I foresaw, just like I’m making efforts now so that this extreme right-wing government’s abandonment of the initiative for a regional conference won’t bring the next war down upon us.”

Top Palestinian officials downplayed the report, saying that the talks between Abbas and Herzog didn’t constitute an agreement. “We didn’t treat it as if it’s something that can be implemented, since obviously the one who makes the decision ultimately is the Israeli prime minister,” an official close to Abbas said. He added that it was the official Palestinian stance that East Jerusalem would be the capital of the Palestinian state, and that the city as a whole would be managed by a joint Israeli-Palestinian municipality.      (Haáretz)

Gaza terror groups vow to circumvent underground border wall

Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups on Saturday vowed a tough reaction to reported plans by Israel to build an underground cement barrier along the Gaza border.

The Hebrew daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday that security chiefs had decided to go ahead with a multi-billion-shekel project for a concrete wall above and far below the entire 60 kilometers of the Israel-Gaza border in order to block Palestinians from digging their way into the country and carrying out attacks.

Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan told the Hamas-affiliated news site al-Resalah, “The resistance is able to adapt to all circumstances for the sake of continuing its project to liberate [Palestine].”

He also claimed the reported plans were a sign of Israel’s “failure to face the tunnels,” and stressed that the procedures would “not limit the resistance’s ability to defend our people.”

Along with the Hamas official, leaders of other Palestinian factions in Gaza vowed to strike Israel should the underground wall be built.

Khader Habib, leader of the Islamic Jihad terror organization in Gaza, told al-Resalah that his group would not allow Israel to change facts on the ground in the Strip.

“If we are forced to, we will respond forcefully,” Habib warned.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Central Committee member Zulfikar Suergo said the building of the underground wall “would lead to the opening of a new front as it constitutes an aggression against Gaza.”

Talal Abu Zarifa, a senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said Israel must recognize that the cement wall would “not provide Israel with security,” and the tunnels were “only part of the equation.”

The underground barrier, first proposed following the 2014 Gaza war during which Hamas fighters penetrated into Israel through tunnels, would reportedly cost NIS 2.2 billion ($570 million), far less than previous expectations that put the bill for such a scheme at a prohibitive tens of billions of shekels.

The planned barrier was said to be designed to include both above-ground and underground protections against infiltration from the coastal enclave, and is reportedly set to include both physical barriers and improved technological detection.

In May and April, the IDF uncovered two tunnels that crossed into Israeli territory, the first such discoveries since the end of the war, in August 2014.

The tunnel found in April ran at a depth of approximately 100 feet (30-40 meters) below ground, extending dozens of meters inside Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.

Israel has labored for over a decade to find a technological or physical answer to Hamas tunnels under the border.   (the Times of Israel)

As Palestinian violence recedes, some question if lull can hold

A social media echo chamber creates a sense of an intifada run wild, but it’s not clear that those cheering terror attacks are also willing to carry them out

By Avi Issacharoff                               The Times of Israel


Eight and a half months after the “lone-wolf intifada” — or the Al-Quds Intifada, as Hamas refers to it — began amid scuffles on the Temple Mount and prayers by Knesset members there, the area received a visit that was unexpected given the political circumstances: Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah attended prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque on Saturday afternoon, accompanied by Palestinian general intelligence chief Majd Faraj and Preventive Security Service head Ziad Hab al-Rieh.

The visit was coordinated with Israel’s security establishment. It went off without a hitch. So did the prayer services of the second Friday of Ramadan 24 hours before, which were attended by 80,000 worshipers. The prayer services of the previous week, the first Friday of Ramadan, also took place quietly, with no unusual incidents.

This may sound surprising considering the terror attack that took place a week and a half ago at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv in which four people were killed, or considering all the incitement and hate speech filling social media.

But things are relatively quiet throughout the West Bank. While stones and firebombs have been thrown, there are almost no organized demonstrations or riots except for specific memorial days (Nakba Day, Naksa Day and so on). The number of terror attacks continues to decline significantly compared with the terrible final months of 2015.

Thus, for example, according to statistics on the Shin Bet’s website, there were 67 terror attacks and significant terror attacks in May (including firebombs), while there were 483 in October 2015. These numbers are similar to those of particularly quiet months over the past two years, such as March 2015 (61) or July 2015 (66). Something odd is happening on the Palestinian street: on the one hand, public opinion’s hatred of Israel and of the Palestinian Authority as well appears to be greater than ever. But on the other hand, things have calmed down on the ground and the number of terror attacks continues to drop. How can this be explained?

“If you look at Facebook pages of the young people and of the public in general, and also according to public opinion polls, you might easily think that dozens of people were waiting with bomb belts, knives, and rifles, ready to engage in terror attacks,” one Palestinian commentator told The Times of Israel. “But many times, Facebook creates an illusion, and both you and we do not understand that. There is a wide gap between the statements being made on the social networks or in public opinion polls and people’s willingness to act. And since the beginning of this year, at least, around January and February, we can see and fewer and fewer young people are willing to be killed carrying out these terror attacks.

“In the end, we need to understand that there is a difference between praising the Al-Quds Intifada or the attacks in Tel Aviv and the willingness to engage in a terror attack. Most of the public, and even most of the young people, prefer to continue working or studying and not be killed. What for? They also realize that the possibility that a stabbing attack will lead to change is close to zero. Also, today anyone who writes on Facebook or anyplace else that he wants to perpetrate a terror attack is arrested right away.”

His colleague sees things a bit differently.

“Many people are willing to take action today. Even violent action. They are fed up with their personal situation and the national situation; this is particularly true of the young people. So yes, the older generation and the middle generation mainly want quiet. But it’s different for the young people, and it could burst out at any moment.”

Why is that not happening? Why is the situation in the West Bank so calm?

“There are quite a few reasons for that. First, the realization that stabbing or ramming attacks bring no benefit. Nothing. So there’s more support now for shooting attacks and even for suicide attacks. Second, this is the Palestinian Authority. The young people see it as part of the problem, not part of the solution. In other words, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself came out against these terror attacks when he said that the security services were holding inspections at schools and confiscating knives. Also [intelligence chief Majid] Faraj made similar statements. So people are thinking twice. What benefit will come from something like this if the Palestinian leadership itself is working against anyone who plans or wants to perpetrate terror attacks?

“Look: in the First Intifada and even in the second, there was at least an attempt in the beginning to guide the public by means of posters or announcements: what would be done on which day. In the latest outbreak, there was nothing. There was no leadership, no guiding voice, no plan. And there are other reasons: this whole incident started around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with the visit of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and the statements that Israel wanted to divide Al-Aqsa. But people saw that this wasn’t really how it was. The visits by the Knesset members stopped, no change was made in the status quo and the restrictions on the worshipers’ ages no longer exist. Israel’s policy has a part in that, too. Take Jerusalem as an example: places from which people set out to commit terror attacks, such as Jabel Mukaber or Issawiya, were put under closure, while other, quieter neighborhoods, continued to enjoy freedom of movement. And this was something that people, even the young people, understood.”

But he sounds far from optimistic. “The situation is still very explosive. The motivation of these young people to fight against Israel and Israelis still exists. But as I see it, the next stage we see will be an outbreak against the Palestinian Authority itself, and against Israel at the same time. The hostility that the young people felt toward the ‘occupation’ is changing its form, and now it is against the PA. They see the PA as a heavy burden that damages the effort toward change and does not benefit it. They follow the incitement on social media, including against Abbas, and it influences them.”

One of the big stars on Palestinian social media is 33-year-old Fadi Elsalameen, who has 530,000 followers. He lives in the United States and was educated abroad; his mother is from Beersheba and his father from Hebron, and he has Israeli residency. From where he lives abroad, he criticizes Abbas and his sons, various high-ranking PA officials and Hamas as well. The only one who has escaped his critical remarks is Mohammed Dahlan, Abbas’s chief rival.

Elsalameen quotes extensively from essays written by Dahlan’s close associates (such as Hassan Asfour). Palestinian security officials say that they have proof of the connection between Elsalameen and Dahlan. And that is only part of the problem that the PA deals with on Facebook or on Twitter: criticism on these social networks is not aimed solely at Israel but also against Hamas, or against Abbas and the PA, as well.

So Fatah and the security services are leading opposing campaigns over social networks, but the battle is doubtless almost a lost cause from the start in light of the terrible frustration and hostility that the young people feel toward Abbas. And that is also part of the problem for whoever seeks to understand the situation in the Palestinian arena (or any other arena) at present. For some time, Facebook and Twitter have not been a true reflection of public opinion in the media. They are often influenced by organized and orchestrated campaigns.

Meanwhile, it is almost business as usual in the West Bank. As we learn from the high-ranking Palestinian officials’ visit to the Temple Mount, security coordination continues, even more strongly. Despite all the statements made by the PLO’s upper echelon, the PA’s security services are keeping close cooperation with Israel on the ground.

The unending discourse around the identity of Abbas’s successor also refuses to subside. Marwan Barghouti has succeeded in marking himself as the leading candidate for the presidential elections, though it is doubtful whether such elections will take place even if Abbas cannot continue functioning or announces his retirement. Barghouti has also succeeded in creating a feeling that he has a specific plan that will bring about change in the status quo, a plan that was published in these pages approximately a month ago. Incitement against Israel continues, as stated, but it is also accompanied by incitement against the PA. Violence is declining, and the toughest and most problematic question of all is whether the terror attack in Tel Aviv might signal a change in direction of the Palestinian attacks: beyond stabbing and ramming, back to shootings and bomb belts.

“Selling a House to a Jew is a Betrayal of Allah”

by Khaled Abu Toameh                 The Gatestone Institute


The renewed campaign against Palestinians suspected of selling real estate to Jews is also part of the belief that the entire land is Muslim-owned, and no Muslim is entitled to give up even one inch of it to a non-Muslim. In other words, it is forbidden for a Muslim to sell his home or land to a Jew or Christian. This would be the nail in the coffin of any Palestinian leader who attempts to make any territorial compromise as part of a peace agreement with Israel.

This campaign has raised fears that Palestinians may resume extrajudicial executions of suspected land dealers.

“The land dealers should know that they would not be able to avoid earthly and life punishment. Not only will they not be buried in Islamic cemeteries, but their entire families will also be punished and it would be forbidden to marry or to deal in any way with their family members.” — Palestinian National Work Commission in Jerusalem.

This campaign undermines Palestinians’ long-standing claim that Jews “illegally seize” Arab-owned houses and land in Jerusalem. It seems that rather than illegal seizure, Jews have been paying willing Arabs cold hard cash for the properties.

A Palestinian Muslim who commits the “crime” of selling property to Jews should not expect to be buried in an Islamic cemetery. Marriage to local Palestinians will no longer be an option for this criminal’s family members, and any weddings the family makes will have no guests attending.

Both the living and the dead, then, will pay the price for such “treason.”

This is only a sampling of the punitive measures that will now be faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who are involved in real estate transactions with Jews.

The latest measures were recently announced by a group of Palestinian activists in east Jerusalem, as part of a renewed campaign against Palestinians who are found guilty of selling a home or plot of land to a Jewish individual or organization.

The campaign, which has received the blessing of senior Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas officials, comes in the context of Palestinian efforts to thwart Israeli efforts to “Judaize” Jerusalem. It is also part of the belief that the entire land is Muslim-owned and no Muslim is entitled to give up even one inch of it to a non-Muslim. In other words, it is forbidden for a Muslim to sell his home or land to a Jew or Christian.

This campaign has raised fears that Palestinians may resume extrajudicial executions of suspected land dealers.

Although the activists behind the campaign did not openly call for the execution of Palestinians involved in real estate transactions with Jews, past experience shows that “suspects” are often kidnapped and killed by their own people.

Between 1996 and 1998, at least eight Palestinians suspected of selling property to Jews or serving as middlemen in such transactions were abducted and killed by Palestinian activists.

Palestinians consider the selling of homes or land to Jews an act of high treason. Palestinian Authority laws and fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) prohibit Palestinians from selling land to “any man or judicial body corporation of Israeli citizenship, living in Israel or acting on its behalf.”

In 2009, a Palestinian Authority court in Hebron sentenced Anwar Breghit, 59, to death for selling land to Israelis. While the sentence was never carried out, it achieved its aim: to deter others from engaging in similar transactions with Jews.

In 2014, PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued an executive order that amended sections of the penal code related to real estate transactions, and increased punishments for selling land to “hostile countries” and their citizens. Abbas’s decision came following reports that Palestinians had sold houses in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood to Jews.

Yet this sell-to-Jews-get-murdered equation is nothing new. In 1998, Amnesty International documented the pattern: “Torture of those accused of “collaboration” with Israel or selling land to Israelis appeared to be systematic,” the report said.

“Unlawful killings, including possible extrajudicial executions, continued to occur. Three land dealers were found dead during May [1998] after [PA] Justice Minister Freih Abu Meddein, announced that the Palestinian Authority would begin applying a Jordanian law which provided for the death penalty for those accused of selling land to Jews.”

Last week, a Palestinian group, the National Work Commission in Jerusalem, issued yet another warning to Palestinians suspected of involvement in real estate transactions with Jews. In a leaflet distributed in east Jerusalem, the group called for a religious, economic and social boycott of the suspected real estate dealers and their families.

“We call for additional measures to renounce and besiege the brokers and weak people among Palestinians in Jerusalem. We call for a total boycott of these people on all levels — social and economic — and to refrain from dealing with them in trade or purchases or sales or participating in their joys and sorrows and in any religious, national or cultural event. The land dealers should know that they would not be able to avoid earthly and life punishment. Not only will they not be buried in Islamic cemeteries, but their entire families will also be punished and it would be forbidden to marry or to deal in any way with their family members.”

The group, which consists of scores of Palestinian political activists and prominent figures from east Jerusalem, also threatened to post photos and personal details of the land dealers on social media. In addition, the group called on Arab countries to ban the entry of any Palestinian found guilty of involvement in real estate transactions with Jews.

This threat came only days after several Palestinian families from the Old City of Jerusalem launched a similar campaign targeting Palestinians suspected of involvement in real estate deeds with Jews. The families signed what they called “The Document of the Jerusalem Pledge and Its Covenant,” to prevent real estate transactions with Jews.

The document states that any Palestinian caught selling a house or land to Jews would be considered “out of the national ranks and a traitor to Allah and his Prophet.” It too warned that those who defy the ban would be deprived of a prayer at a mosque upon his or her death and would not be buried in an Islamic cemetery. The families called on the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian factions and institutions to take all measures to “chase out the collaborators and those who cover up for them, and expose them and shame them regardless of their influence and status.”

Mustafa Abu Zahra, a prominent Palestinian businessman from Jerusalem and one of the engineers of the document, called on the Palestinian Authority to “deter” anyone who thinks of selling of facilitating the sale of Arab-owned property to Jews.

Another Palestinian official, Najeh Bkeirat, who played a major role in the drafting of the document, claimed that Israel was seeking to “empty the Old City of Jerusalem from its native residents as it is already doing in Haifa, Jaffa and Acre.”

The renewed campaign against Palestinians suspected of selling real estate to Jews would be the nail in the coffin of any Palestinian leader who attempts to make any territorial compromise as part of a peace agreement with Israel. The stakes are very, very high: betrayal of Allah and Prophet Mohammed are at issue.

“This document constitutes a message of warning to the Palestinian Authority and its negotiators that they must not give up one grain of the soil of Jerusalem and the land of Palestine,” explained Palestinian columnist Ghassan Mustafa Al-Shami. “The document also represents a message to all the Palestinian national factions that they must take all the measures to pursue anyone who dares to think of selling Jerusalem and West Bank lands and houses, and that they should be put on trial for treason.”

Finally, this campaign undermines Palestinians’ long-standing claim that Jews “illegally seize” Arab-owned houses and land in Jerusalem. It seems that rather than illegal seizure, Jews have been paying willing Arabs cold hard cash for the properties. By endorsing such campaigns, the Palestinian Authority leadership is once again shooting itself not only in the foot, but also in the head.

Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism: Same Idea, New Cloak – Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy)

Showing that anti-Zionism is the modern form of anti-Semitism may be easy if we use the U.S. State Department 2010 definition of anti-Semitism: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.”

The State Department then provides a list of contemporary examples of anti-Semitism, many of which are performed by anti-Zionists.

Finally the State Department clarifies what anti-Semitism is relative to Israel and provides examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself as anti-Zionism:

Demonizing Israel – using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis; drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

Applying double standards for Israel by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist.

This definition makes it clear that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Demonization of Israel, adopting double-standards about Israel, and delegitimization of Israel are expressions of anti-Semitism which is hatred towards Jews.

The writer was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.