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Latest News in Israel – 9th March

Jaffa stabbing spree: Palestinian kills American tourist, wounds 10 others

A Palestinian assailant killed an American tourist and wounded at least 10 other victims in a stabbing spree that began in southern Tel Aviv’s Jaffa Port, in the third attack within a number of hours on Tuesday evening.

The American who succumbed to his wounds sustain in the attack had been evacuated to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

Tel Aviv police said the attacker began stabbing people near the entrance to the Jaffa Port, wounding a number people to varying degrees.

He then escaped on foot in the direction of Tel Aviv, running between vehicles stopped on the road and stabbing motorists. He managed to wound a number of other civilians before he was shot and subdued by police.

Police have ruled out the possibility that the attack was carried out by more than one individual, after carrying out searches in the area. According to Palestinian reports, the attacker was identified as a 22-year-old from the Palestinian village of Kalandiya in the West Bank.

According to Magen David Adom, among the wounded, four were in serious condition, another four were in moderate condition and two others suffered light wounds. According to Channel 2, one of the victims in serious condition was a pregnant woman. Another victim suffering serious wounds was a Russian tourist.

The incident occurred around the time that US Vice President Joe Biden arrived to the Peres Center for Peace, no more than a mile from the scene of the attack.

A source from Biden’s team said the US vice president’s delegation was aware of the incident and had not altered its schedule. The source said that vice president met with former Israeli President Shimon Peres as planned, adding that Biden was in a secure location and therefore did not need to change course.

Later Tuesday evening, Hamas welcomed the string of terror attacks against Israelis that occurred within hours of each other in Jaffa, Petah Tikva and Jerusalem.

The Palestinian terror group said the attacks proved that the current wave of Palestinian violence has not desisted and that attempts to thwart it have not succeeded.

Hours earlier, three Israelis were wounded in two separate terror attacks that occurred within minutes of each other in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva.

In the attack in Jerusalem, two Israeli police officers were wounded by an Arab gunman targeting the security forces outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City. MDA paramedics said that both of the victims were seriously wounded in the attack. The two wounded officers were evacuated for hospitalization.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said that the suspect fired at police officers, wounding one. Officers gave chase after the suspect, who fired at them again, wounding another officer. Police then shot and killed the suspect.

Shortly beforehand, one Israeli was moderately wounded in a suspected terror stabbing in Petah Tikva.

The assailant was also stabbed during the incident, after the haredi victim removed the knife from his neck and stabbed the assailant. The attacker was reported to have died.

Magen David Adom paramedics provided initial treatment to the victim, a man thought to be around 35-years-old at the scene, before transferring him to Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus.          (Jerusalem Post)

Jerusalem attacks leave two Border Police officers wounded, two terrorists dead

Two Border Police officers are in critical and serious condition after being shot in the head by an Arab terrorist outside the Old City’s Nablus Gate in east Jerusalem early Tuesday evening. Following a brief chase, the terrorist was shot dead at the scene.

Shortly after 5 p.m., police said the unidentified male assailant fired a Carl Gustav improvised semi-automatic gun at the officers while they were patrolling the well-travelled Slah Ad-Din Road, just outside the Old City walls, approximately 300 meters from Damascus Gate.

“Shots were fired on officers who were on a regular patrol in and around the area, and as a result we have two officers down who were seriously injured,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld at the scene of the attack.

“All of our police units responded in the area, and the terrorist was spotted with an improvised automatic weapon, chased, and shot and killed at the scene.”

Both officers were treated at the scene by United Hatzalah of Israel paramedics before being rushed to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, he said.

“Our bomb disposal experts are continuing to search for explosives in the area, and our forensics team is present to collect evidence,” Rosenfeld added.

As hundreds of curious Palestinians passively watched the chaotic scene unfold in the Arab neighborhood, dozens of heavily armed officers cordoned-off the area and searched for other possible suspects.

“At this moment in time we’re continuing security measures for the [US Vice President Joseph] Biden visit, which is beginning this evening here in Jerusalem, and heightened security continues as long as necessary,” Rosenfeld said.

United Hatzalah volunteer Daniel Katzenstein said his command center received a call about the shooting at 5:10 p.m. on Slah Ad-Din Road.

“It was originally not clear how many victims were injured,” he said. “We immediately dispatched our ambu-cycle unit, which raced to the scene, and our first responders reported active gunfire when they arrived, which continued for some time.”

Katzenstein said that despite the gun fire, the paramedics were able to access and treat one of the victims, who remained conscious after being shot in the head.

“We treated him until police secured the entire area, and then went with police to treat the second victim, who was more seriously injured and required CPR after losing consciousness and deteriorating at the scene,” he said.

At 7:30 p.m., Hadassah University Medical Center spokeswoman Hadar Elboim said that one of the officer’s, who is 48 years old, remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

“He’s in very bad condition and his life is at risk,” said Elboim.

The other officer, who is 31, remains conscious and is in moderate-to-serious condition, she said.

“Both their families are with them,” Elboim added.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, a knife-wielding Arab woman in her 50s was shot dead in Jerusalem after attempting to stab a Border Police officer in the Old City’s well-travelled Haguy Street.

At approximately 10 a.m., police said the unidentified woman from east Jerusalem approached a group of officers carrying out security measures in the area, which have been considerably heightened for US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit.

“She pulled a knife from her bag and tried to stab one of the officers, who acted immediately and responsibly upon realizing his life was in immediate danger and shot and killed the woman,” said Rosenfeld.

“She was pronounced dead at the scene, the knife was seized as evidence, and the area was immediately cordoned-off.”

None of the officers were wounded, he said, and a coroner arrived minutes later to collect the corpse.

Rosenfeld said an investigation has been launched to determine who the woman is, and if she acted alone or is part of a terror cell.

In the meantime, he said security measures have been implemented throughout the capital for Biden’s visit, with an emphasis on the downtown area and Old City.

“Several hundred officers are involved in security operations to ensure safety over the next two days during his visit,” Rosenfeld said.

“Police are continuing security patrols to provide an immediate response to terrorist attacks,” he added.

Most terrorist activity in the Old City and capital has been concentrated outside east Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, where several deadly attacks have been carried out and thwarted since the terror wave engulfed Jerusalem last October.

The flashpoint area outside Damascus Gate continues to be densely patrolled around the clock by security personnel.    (Jerusalem Post)

Female Arab assailant shot dead after attempting to stab Border Police officer in Old City

A knife-wielding Arab woman in her 50s was shot dead in Jerusalem Tuesday morning after attempting to stab a Border Police officer in the Old City’s well-travelled Haguy Street.

At approximately 10 a.m., police said the unidentified woman from east Jerusalem approached a group of officers carrying out security measures in the area, which have been considerably heightened for US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit.

“She pulled a knife from her bag and tried to stab one of the officers, who acted immediately and responsibly upon realizing he was in immediate danger and shot and killed the woman,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

“She was pronounced dead at the scene, the knife was seized as evidence, and the area was immediately cordoned-off.”

None of the officers were wounded, he said, and a coroner arrived minutes later to collect the corpse.

Rosenfeld said an investigation has been launched to determine who the woman is, and if she acted alone or is part of a terror cell.

In the meantime, he said security measures have been implemented throughout the capital for Biden’s visit, with an emphasis on the downtown area and Old City.

“Several hundred officers are involved in security operations to ensure safety over the next two days during his visit,” Rosenfeld said.

“Police are continuing security patrols to provide an immediate response to terrorist attacks,” he added.

Most terrorist activity in the Old City and capital has been concentrated outside east Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, where several deadly attacks have been carried out and thwarted since the terror wave engulfed Jerusalem last October.

The flashpoint area outside Damascus Gate continues to be densely patrolled around the clock by security personnel.            (Jerusalem Post)

Most Israelis believe a divided capital is already a foregone conclusion

As the debate over whether to divide the capital intensifies amid terrorist attacks that have politicians and security personnel scrambling for solutions, most Israelis believe that the model of a unified Jerusalem has failed, a poll found this week.

The Israel Democracy Institute conducted the survey by telephone interview with 600 Jewish and Arab Israelis from February 28 to March 1, constituting a representative national sample of the adult population.

With a maximum sampling error of 4.1 percent, and a confidence level of 95%, the surveyors repeated a question first posed to Israelis in 1999: “Do you agree or disagree with the opinion that Jerusalem is actually already divided into two cities – East and West?” A clear majority of Jewish Israelis (61%) agreed that Jerusalem is divided into a western and eastern city, while in 1999 the 44% of respondents thought so, while 49% disagreed.

Approximately 47% of Arab Israelis said the capital is divided, according to the current survey.

The survey found opinions largely drawn along political lines, with the highest proportions of those who said the city is divided coming from members of the Zionist Union (88.5%) and Meretz (85%), while Likud voters were split on the question (49% for each view).

Last month, Zionist Union and opposition leader Isaac Herzog proposed dividing the capital, when he presented a diplomatic plan at the Jerusalem Conference to relinquish Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority to improve security.

However, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (Likud) has repeatedly rejected any division of the capital.

As for a connection between discrimination against Arabs and terrorism, a majority of the Israeli Jewish public (57%) says there is no connection between discrimination in the areas of healthcare, education and other services against Arab Israelis and Jerusalem Arabs’ recent involvement in attacks against Israeli Jews.

Still, a majority of Israeli Arabs (52%) disagree. They report that there is indeed a connection between discrimination against them and terrorism.

The survey also studied questions regarding the security situation, which began to deteriorate last October.

When Jewish Israelis were asked whether they agreed with a statement made in late February by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheikh, that “the Palestinians sanctify death while we sanctify life,” an overwhelming majority (77%) strongly or moderately agreed.

Similarly, a sweeping consensus (90%) of the Jewish public thinks the IDF is operating in a “very or moderately moral fashion” in counteracting the current terrorist attacks.

Finally, the IDI study found that 50% of the Jewish public disagrees with the recommendation by Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Gadi Eisenkot that restraint should be applied in acting against the terrorists.  (Jerusalem Post)

Half of Israeli Jews favor expulsion of Arabs from Israel

The Pew Research Center released an explosive new study on religion and politics in Israel on Tuesday.

The study measured religious identification amongst Jews and political views among Israelis in general.

According to the Pew’s polling data, a whopping 48% of Israeli Jews believe that Israel should expel or transfer Arabs from the country, versus 46% who opposed such measures.

A large majority of Israeli Jews (79%) are of the opinion that Israel should give preference to Jews over Arabs.

The study, which was conducted from 2014 to 2015, surveyed 5,000 Israelis. Its surprising results suggest a shift away from support for a two-state solution and coexistence, long favored by the Israeli political establishment, and towards the hardline views of slain MK Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Kahane, who established the Jewish Defense League in the United States and the Kach Party in Israel, advocated the transfer of Israeli Arabs out of the country and the annexation of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. After winning a seat in the Knesset in 1984, the Kach Party was banned in 1988. Rabbi Kahane was assassinated in 1990 by an Al Qaeda-affiliated terror cell in New York City.

Jews in Israel are also highly skeptical of the Palestinian Authority’s motives in peace negotiations. A mere 10% believed the Palestinian Authority is genuinely interested in peaceful relations with Israel

Israeli Arabs held an equally dim view of Israel’s leadership, with only 20% saying they felt the Israeli government was sincere about pursuing peace. Israeli Arabs also increasingly believe a peaceful coexistence between Israel and a Palestinian state is impossible.

While 74% believed it was possible in 2013 that number dropped to 50% in the latest survey.             (Arutz Sheva)

White House ‘surprised’ Netanyahu spurning offer to meet Obama

The White House on Thursday expressed public surprise that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected an offer to meet with the president later this month, and said it only learned Netanyahu was canceling his trip to the United States from the media.

In a sign of yet another round of tension between the Israeli and American leaderships, the administration also publicly rejected earlier Israeli reports that the White House had been unable to schedule a time for the meeting as “false.”

Netanyahu’s extraordinary decision to spurn the presidential invite came a year after Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu in Washington, citing the proximity to Israeli elections, in what was widely regarded as a sign of the strain in ties between the two leaders; Netanyahu spoke in Congress during that trip against the Iran deal, without coordinating that appearance ahead of time with the administration.

Reports had been circulating for more than a week that Netanyahu might skip the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference later this month given that Obama would be out of the country at the time.

AIPAC’s Policy Conference kicks off on Sunday, March 20, and lasts until Tuesday, March 22. Obama is embarking on a historic trip to Cuba — the first by an American president since 1928 — on March 21. After his visit in Havana, Obama will travel to Argentina, returning to the US only on March 25. Still, sources in Jerusalem said last week that efforts were underway to schedule a meeting before the president takes off for Havana.

In fact, the White House said Monday that it had proposed a March 18 meeting two weeks ago. “We were looking forward to hosting the bilateral meeting, and we were surprised to first learn via media reports that the prime minister, rather than accept our invitation, opted to cancel his visit,” White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in an emailed statement.

“Reports that we were not able to accommodate the prime minister’s schedule are false,” Price added.

Earlier on Monday evening, an Israeli Channel 10 report had claimed Netanyahu’s office did offer to have the prime minister fly in on March 18 for a meeting with the president, but that no time could be found for a meet-up — an account the White House rejected as false.

Also earlier Monday, a senior Israeli official had indicated that the trip was off, but made no mention of the White House having scheduled a meeting.

“At the moment, it looks like we’re not going to Washington,” the official told The Times of Israel. “The thinking is that we’re seeing (Vice President Joe) Biden this week and the assumption is that in the discussion with Biden all the issues will come up.” Biden was due in Israel for a short visit on Tuesday.

The official also cited fears that the prime minister could inadvertently become entangled in the American presidential campaign: “Also, at AIPAC, many of the presidential candidates are giving speeches and might ask for meetings with the PM. We don’t want to get involved in the US election process.”

Later Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying Netanyahu would not be traveling to the US to attend the AIPAC conference, and would also miss a potential meeting with Obama. (The prime minister will instead address the AIPAC conference on March 20 via satellite.)

The statement from the PMO thanked Obama for offering to meet with the prime minister on March 18, but said that Netanyahu had decided against making the trip to the US.         (The Times of Israel)

Netanyahu: Gulf States’ decision to blacklist Hezbollah a sign of improving ties with Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday praised the Gulf states that declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization, hours after Balad and Hadash, two of the parties in the Joint List, condemned the decision because, for among other reasons, it is good for Israel.

Addressing the Knesset’s plenary in a speech about foreign policy, Netanyahu described the decision as “very important and even amazing,” but added that “what is equally amazing is that two parties in the Knesset criticized it.”

“Will you continue criticizing them when Hezbollah shoots rockets at your villages? Do they differentiate between blood and blood? [Hezbollah] wants to destroy the country, and you’re in the country. Have you gone crazy? Excuse my expression,” he said.

Netanyahu pointed to changes in the Arab world, which demonstrate that more countries in the Middle East understand that Israel is not their enemy and stands with them in the fight against Iran and Islamic State, “even if [the changes] haven’t reached certain parts of the Knesset.”

The changes in the Arab world “have great potential to change the diplomatic reality in the region. They give hope for a better future for all nations in the Middle East. I hope these ties will help advance our relations with the Palestinians, or at least the Palestinians who want to live with us in peace,” the prime minister said.

A Balad source said, “It is important to clarify that the decision of the Gulf interior ministers is risky, because it inflames the Sunni-Shi’ite conflict and adds oil to the fire of the bloody conflict and the ethnic divide in Lebanon and Syria in particular and in the Arab world in general.

“It is very dangerous to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, an organization representing a large part of the Lebanese people, despite the criticism of their participation in the fighting in Syria,” the source said.

Balad said in a statement that the decision against Hezbollah serves the regional interests of Israel and its allies.

Balad, established in 1995, has a pan-Arab nationalist ideology, similar to that of the Ba’ath Party of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Its original party head, former MK Azmi Bishara, fled to Qatar in 2007 after being accused of spying for Hezbollah. He had previously praised Hezbollah and the previous Syrian president Hafez Assad, the father of the current leader. However, there are differing views within Balad and Israeli- Arab society as a whole, with some supporting the Syrian rebels.

Hadash, led by Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, also condemned the Gulf states’ decision, attacking Saudi Arabia for spearheading the effort to blacklist Hezbollah.

“After Saudi Arabia failed in its attempt to harness Lebanese society and political forces against Hezbollah by halting its military aid to Lebanon, and after the Syrian people have succeeded in keeping Syria united, comes the decision to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization that proves that Gulf states are totally loyal to neo-colonialist and Zionist forces, the enemies of Arabs,” Hadash said.

Other MKs reacted angrily to the Arab lawmakers’ position.

Intelligence Services Minister Israel Katz, who is a member of the security cabinet, turned to the Knesset Ethics Committee to look into how Arab MKs are sabotaging Israel.

“Ayman Odeh and [Balad chairman] Jamal Zahalka: Join Azmi Bishara in Qatar, or go to Syria,” Katz said.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said the stance of Hadash and Balad is “beyond absurd and only proves again that every day that passes and this group of terrorists continues to sit in the Knesset is a disgrace to Israeli democracy.”

They represent “the worst extremists in the Arab world,” he said.

Netanyahu’s remarks about Hezbollah were part of a debate on foreign policy, initiated by Yesh Atid, during which the opposition slammed the prime minister, saying he is leading the country into crisis.

“Mr. Prime Minister, Israel cannot go without a foreign minister because of petty political concerns,” said Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid. “We must recognize that we have a deep and significant problem in Israel’s foreign relations, and take care of it.”

Netanyahu also holds the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Lapid listed the many foreign politicians with whom he has met in recent months, saying they all could not understand Israel’s policies and goals.

“I defended the government, but I and no one else has an answer to the question, ‘What does the government want?’ Everything is stuck. Nothing is moving,” he said.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) focused his speech on mocking Lapid, saying the Yesh Atid head wants to be Netanyahu’s foreign minister and so will prevent the Likud leader from ever losing his premiership.

Turning to Netanyahu, Herzog said: “Israel doesn’t have a policy. Sitting and doing nothing isn’t a policy. ‘Managing the conflict’ isn’t a policy… Israel, under your leadership, has no policy, so how can it have a foreign policy? How can it have public diplomacy? How can we explain the lack of policy? Yair, Yair, what exactly are you explaining… even if you want to look like a foreign minister?” Herzog said that, even though he doesn’t “make speeches as well as Bibi and Yair,” he works hard and has a diplomatic plan, which he proceeded to describe and defend again.

Liberman, who was foreign minister until last year, has criticized the prime minister’s foreign policy in recent weeks, but he and his faction were conspicuously absent from much of Monday’s debate, including the vote to accept Netanyahu’s message at the end, which the prime minister won.

Netanyahu’s message was that Israel’s foreign relations are improving in all areas, and he brought examples of the many leaders from around the world who come to the country.

The prime minister recounted that, when he was a child, when a foreign leader visited Israel, it made it into newsreels at the movie theaters.

Now, he said, leaders visit so often, that many don’t even make it into the 8 o’clock news.

“Can I get some diplomatic isolation so I have time to breathe?” he quipped.

Israel, he pointed out, has diplomatic relations with 161 countries, more than ever before, as well as others with which it has unofficial ties.

“I can count on my fingers the countries that don’t have any relations with Israel: North Korea, Iran, the Islamic State, the Houthis,” he said.

The true picture of Israel’s international standing, Netanyahu said, is that “there are problems, but there is a great flourishing in our relations with the nations of the world. As a responsible government, we will continue to strengthen our ties with these states, and I am convinced that the diplomatic momentum we see will continue and increase. There will be obstacles, but the trend is clear and undeniable.”

“Our [international standing] comes from our strength and our consistent and determined policy. The way to protect our standing is not to weaken ourselves with dangerous concessions. If there’s something that will harm our standing, it is only that. The way to strengthen our standing is to continue growing stronger in all areas. That is w hat we did and what we will continue to do,” he said.                   (Jerusalem Post)

Surveillance cameras to be installed on Temple Mount

Live-streaming footage from closed-circuit TV grid across holy site to be monitored by Israeli and Jordanian officials • No cameras will be installed inside Al-Aqsa mosque • Jerusalem official says measure will help maintain order on the Temple Mount.

Israel and Jordan agreed over the weekend to install surveillance cameras on the Temple Mount, which would enable both parties to monitor security incidents at the Jerusalem holy site. The closed-circuit TV grid is expected to become operational before the Passover holiday, in mid-April.

Israel considers the move an achievement, as according to one senior Jerusalem source, it would enable Israel to monitor and document Muslim rioters. “This is a significant supervisory measure to maintain order on the Temple Mount,” he said.

The move followed an agreement reach between Israel and the Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian trust that manages the Islamic edifices around Al-Aqsa mosque, after several weeks of violent riots on and around the Temple Mount. The riots were incited by false Palestinian propaganda alleging that Israel seeks to change the status quo at the site and that Al-Aqsa mosque was “in danger.”

Installing surveillance cameras across the compound was at the heart of a compromise brokered between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

According to the deal, live-streaming footage from the closed-circuit TV grid installed across the holy site will be monitored by Israeli and Jordanian officials at all times.

The Passover deadline was chosen as the number of Jews visiting the site usually increases during the holiday.

Monitoring the area is in both parties’ interests: Israel seeks to demonstrate that visits to the Temple Mount are subject to police supervision, as well as to document Palestinian aggression toward Jewish visitors, while the Palestinians claim monitoring the area will prove their allegations that Jewish visitors provoke Muslim worshippers.

Jordanian Waqf and Islamic Affairs Minister Hayel Dawood stressed over the weekend that surveillance cameras will not be installed inside the mosque itself. The latter fact is being presented as a Palestinian and Jordanian achievement, as Israel sought to install closed-circuit TV inside the prayer compound, where rioters have barricaded themselves in the past.         (Israel Hayom)

Federal liberal member for Deakin Michael Sukker has delivered a speech in Parliament slamming BDS.

It is with some dismay that I rise today to acknowledge that 2016 marks 15 years since the seeds of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, also known as BDS, began against Israel at the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. What passes for left-wing thought in our day and age has never been noted for coherent logic or factual accuracy. Nowhere are these leftist moral and intellectual failings more obvious than on the question of Israel in general and on the BDS campaign against the only democracy in the Middle East.

The member for Fremantle, who, I must say, made my day with her recent announcement of her departure from this place, exemplifies the Left’s noxious intellectual bankruptcy on matters Middle Eastern. By hitching her wagon to the anti-Israel BDS she exemplified how those who claim the rubric of progressive are actually quite oppressive when it comes to the Jewish people.

Make no mistake, BDS s nothing more than a declaration of economic war against the Jewish people. We have all seen the BDS causes and the anti-Semitic ugliness. We saw this on the streets in mob-scene blockades of Jewish owned businesses in Melbourne. We have also seen BDS in all of its genocidal ugliness when its founder, the Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, made it clear that the movement would settle for nothing less than the elimination of Israel as we know it.

Barghouti makes no bones about his ultimate objective. He declared in 2014:

“Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

It is clear that all those who support BDS, including the member for Fremantle, would grant the right of national self-determination to the Palestinian people but are determined to deny that right to the Jewish people. Support for the BDS program, at the very time we watch the rest of the Middle East sink into the bloody abyss of interethnic and interfaith conflict, can only be explained by two possibilities. Either the member for Fremantle and her BDS buddies are afflicted by a terminal state of delusion or a more ancient and insidious bigotry lurks beneath their fine words and lofty proclamations.

Proponents of BDS like to claim that they hold the moral high ground, but their uncritical endorsement of Barghouti and others like him puts them in very dubious company indeed. It is a strange bedfellows relationship when feminists and socialists put themselves in league with the sharia-law-advocating Jihadi fanatics of Hamas. In fact, just a few days ago in Gaza a senior Hamas commander, Mahmoud Ishtiwi, was tortured and executed because he was gay. According to the New York Times, the Hamas minister for defence:

…is harsher than other leaders—he wants his army to be pure.

But I guess disagreements over the status of women and gay rights pale by comparison to the fundamental issue that unites the so-called progressive left and the ultra conservative sharia-compliant Islamic right—and that is a mutual hatred of the Jewish state.

The Palestinian constitution declares that a future Palestine will be an explicitly ethnic Arab state whose legal code will be founded upon Islamic sharia law. The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has vowed it will be a Jew-free country, declaring he ‘won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli’ within its borders.

I will conclude with a simple observation that BDS is anti-Semitism pure and simple. It is anti-Semitic because it seeks to deny to the Jewish people the same rights of national self-determination that it supports for the Palestinians. BDS is also anti-Semitic because it supports the cause of a Palestinian state ethnically cleansed of Jews. It is for these reasons that BDS has been categorically rejected by the Australian people, who have consigned this movement to the extreme margins of our society.    (J Wire)

White House Working on Renewed Mideast Peace Push

The White House is working on plans for reviving long-stalled Middle East negotiations before President Barack Obama leaves office, including a possible United Nations Security Council resolution that would outline steps toward a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, according to senior U.S. officials.

The internal discussions are aimed at offering a blueprint for future Israeli-Palestinian talks in a bid to advance a critical foreign-policy initiative that has made little progress during Mr. Obama’s two terms in the White House, the officials said.

The strongest element on the list of options under consideration would be U.S. support for a Security Council resolution calling on both sides to compromise on key issues, something Israel had opposed and Washington has repeatedly vetoed in the past.

Other initiatives could include a presidential speech and a joint statement from the Middle East Quartet, an international group comprising the U.S., the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.

A senior administration official said no final decisions have been made and that Mr. Obama is considering a range of possibilities. The timing of any new White House move hasn’t been determined, but officials said it would be later this year.

The White House offered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a meeting with Mr. Obama later this month, but Mr. Netanyahu declined, administration officials said Monday.

By wading into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the final months of his presidency, Mr. Obama would be following a path some of his predecessors have taken. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both pushed for an agreement late in their second terms, but neither was able to bridge longtime divisions between the two sides.

For Mr. Obama, the effort would represent an uphill climb. Any initiative that doesn’t immediately enlist the two sides is unlikely to gain traction, especially after the last round of U.S.-brokered talks broke down in 2014 amid arguments over land swaps and prisoner exchanges.

U.S. officials said the president wants to put the issue on a more promising trajectory before his successor takes office in January. The recent increase in tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians has significantly dimmed the prospects of a deal and raised concerns within the White House that the situation could further deteriorate without any platform for negotiations.

Details of a new tack by the administration are in flux, officials said. But in one scenario, the U.S. would push Israel to halt construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories and recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, a key Palestinian demand.

Palestinians would in turn be asked to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end claims on a right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Under that scenario, the administration also would recommend the establishment of two states based on the 1949 armistice line between the armies of Israel and its Arab neighbors. Like proposals in previous rounds of negotiations, the approach would recommend land swaps to account for Israeli settlements built since 1967.

The White House discussions come as Vice President Joe Biden begins a visit Tuesday to Israel and the West Bank. Mr. Biden will meet with Mr. Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, though he isn’t expected to propose major initiatives, a senior administration official said in previewing the vice president’s trip.

An official in Mr. Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on White House plans.

Palestinian officials said they would welcome an intervention from Mr. Obama before he leaves office, adding an end to settlement building would be required to make a two-state solution possible.

“Over the next 10 months, President Obama could be the savior of the two-state solution or bury it,” said Husam Zomlot, a senior aide to Mr. Abbas.

“This is no time for small measures. Let’s put in place the foundation for the next administration,” he added.

The current discussions are a pivot for the White House, where officials­including Mr. Obama­have expressed deep skepticism about the likelihood of a return to peace talks before January 2017. The efforts under discussion aren’t likely to improve those prospects.

Mr. Obama’s final appearance at the annual U.N. General Assembly this fall could provide a platform for outlining a new approach.

“As it relates to the possibility for a major push on a two-state outcome, it remains our view that there is no other viable outcome other than a two-state” solution, the official said. “But I’ll be candid with you, and U.S. officials have been saying this now for quite some time: We don’t think we’re on the brink of a breakthrough in this area.”

Mounting a push for a Security Council resolution would be a significant shift in U.S. policy and one the Israeli government has feared could marshal international sentiment in a way that could make it harder to resist making concessions. Such a move could further strain already tense relations between Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu, who have clashed over U.S. diplomacy with Iran and the administration’s past attempts to forge a Middle East peace agreement.

Last year, the White House threatened to allow action at the U.N. to proceed without objection from the U.S. after Mr. Netanyahu said during his re-election campaign that he wouldn’t support a two-state solution. The Israeli leader subsequently walked back his statement, and the White House didn’t follow through with its threat.

Successive Democratic and Republican administrations have vetoed dozens of Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. The Obama administration vetoed a Security Council resolution in 2011 that declared Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.

The White House discussions have unfolded alongside other international initiatives to jump-start talks as officials from the U.N., EU and the Quartet become increasingly frustrated with both sides’ unwillingness to compromise.

France has said it would recognize a Palestinian state if a last attempt to bring the two sides together through an international conference fails, a stance Mr. Netanyahu has rejected as one-sided. Last month the Quartet said it would start drawing up recommendations on how to move forward on a two-state solution.

The worst violence between the two sides in a decade has raged across Israel and the Palestinian territories since September. Lone-wolf Palestinian assailants have killed some 30 Israeli civilians and soldiers in more than 300 attacks, according to Israel’s foreign ministry.

More than 150 Palestinians, mostly alleged attackers, have also been killed by Israeli security forces, according to Palestinian officials.

Palestinian officials say the assailants are disenfranchised under Israeli occupation and see no way to a political solution. Israeli officials argue that incitement by Palestinian leaders and online sources is spurring youth to violence.              (The Wall Street Journal)

India to Approve US $ 3 Billion Deals with Israel

According to Janes website, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is poised to approve the procurement of various Israeli military equipment worth an estimated US$3 billion ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tel Aviv later this year.

Official sources said this includes two additional Ilyushin Il-76-based Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Phalcon airborne early warning and control

(AEW&C) aircraft and four supplementary Rafael/IAI radar-equipped aerostats for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The CCS – the federal government’s primary body on defense and security matters, headed by Modi – is also expected to clear the INR100 billion joint development by IAI/Rafael and India’s state-run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of medium-range surface-to-air missiles

(MR-SAMs) for the Indian Army.

A DRDO/IAI/Rafael joint venture, formed in January 2006, successfully test-fired the 70 km-range Barak-8 air defense missile in late 2014 following a five-year delay. The Barak-8, to be series-produced by the state-run Bharat Dynamics Limited in Hyderabad, southern India, is to be fitted onto Indian Navy (IN) warships.

Other Israeli procurements likely to obtain CCS sanction comprise 250 advanced Rafael Smart Precise Impact and Cost Effective (SPICE) guidance kits for air-to-surface munitions and 164 Litening-4 laser designation pods for the IAF’s Su-30MKI, Jaguar, and Mirage 2000H strike aircraft fleets. This is a transaction that was approved by in the past, but according to recent reports, the Americans are trying to push their Javelin missiles instead of Raphael’s spike missiles. If the deal will be approved, it is estimated in over a billion dollars (Israel Defense)

How the US foiled a Black September plot to assassinate Golda Meir

The Black September terrorist organization hatched a plot to assassinate then-prime minister Golda Meir during a visit to New York, a former National Security Analyst told a radio talk show on Sunday.

In 2009, news reports revealed that the plot by the group, an offshoot of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was uncovered by the NSA.

James J. Welsh, who was an NSA analyst of Palestinian communications, told weekend US talk show host and Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein that Black September built three car bombs that it planned to detonate in three separate New York locations during Meir’s trip to the city on March 4, 1973.

According to Welsh, one of the bombs was placed in El Al’s cargo terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport. The other bombs were placed at locations in Manhattan.

“That could have been a really terrible situation had Golda Meir’s motorcade been passing by one of the vehicles parked alongside outside the airport,” Welsh told Klein.

“And then of course if she had visited over there in downtown New York, where those could have been detonated if the first bomb hadn’t succeeded.”

Welsh told Klein that it was “another intelligence agency that the US works with” – and not the NSA – that intercepted messages “from the Iraqi United Nations office to the Iraqi embassy in Washington.”

These messages contained very specific details about the plot, including the precise locations of the bombs.

“This message was to go to the Palestinian office in Baghdad for further transmittal, I’m sure to Beirut to Yasser Arafat,” Welsh said.

“The message was surprisingly a very detailed message about the placement of the bombs and why they were being done and we were just shocked,” he said. “When we got the message it was decoded and then a question began about, well gosh, how do we disseminate this message?”

“And it was shocking. We had never really quite seen anything this detailed. And it was like, you’ve got to be kidding. The question that arose is we’ve got a bit of a technical problem, legal problem here. NSA is not supposed to intercept materials, transmissions, messages in the United States. However, we hadn’t actually. It had come from another intelligence agency that the US works with.”

“And it was finally decided that we could then disseminate this message. The message went to a number of agencies, including the FBI, because the FBI had jurisdiction in these kinds of things.”

The feds then alerted the New York Police Department, which promptly dispatched sappers to neutralize the bombs.    (Jerusalem Post)

Woman’s seal from First Temple discovered

500-year-old seal bearing the name of a woman, Elihana bat Gael, has recently been discovered in an Israel Antiquities Authority excavation at the City of David in the Jerusalem Walls National Park.

The seal was found in a large building from the First Temple period. According to the IAA archeologists, “The owner of the seal was exceptional compared to other women of the First Temple period: she had legal status which allowed her to conduct business and possess property.”

Another seal belonging to a man named Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu was found nearby.

“Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon”, said the IAA archeologists.

After nine years of excavation done by the IAA, in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the City of David Foundation, archeologists were able to reach the layers of ancient Jerusalem from the First Temple period. The seals were found inside the structure, built out of magnificent ashlars.

“Personal seals, such as those of Elihana and Sa‘aryahu, were used for signing documents, and were frequently inlaid as part of a ring that was worn by the owner. In the ancient times, the seals marked the identity, genealogy and status of the owner of the seal,” Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, excavation directors on behalf of the IAA explained.


First Temple period seal belonging to ‘Elihana bat Gael’

On the rare woman’s seal appears the mirror-writing of “to Elihana bat Gael,” inscribed in ancient Hebrew letters. The female owner of the ring is mentioned here together with the name of her father.

According to Dr. Hagai Misgav of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, “Seals that belonged to women represent just a very small proportion of all the seals that have been discovered to date. This is because of the generally inferior economic status of women, apart from extraordinary instances such as this. Indeed, the name Elihana does not appear in the Bible, and there is no other information regarding the identity of the woman, but the fact that she possessed a seal indicates on her high social status”.

Dr. Misgav added that “most women’s seals that are known to us bear the name of the father rather than that of the husband. Here, as in other cases, this might indicate the relatively elevated status of Elihana, which depended on her original family, and not on her husband’s family. It seems that Elihana maintained her right to property and financial independence even after her marriage and therefore her father’s name was retained; however, we do not have sufficient information about the law in Judah during this period.”

The name Eliha is known from a contemporary Ammonite seal and is the feminine form of the name Eli, known from the Bible. The script appearing on the seal is remarkably similar to the script on Ammonite seals, and this might indicate the foreign origin of the artisan who carved the seal and possibly the foreign origin of Elihana, who apparently came from east of the Jordan River.

The second seal that was unearthed in the excavation was also in mirror-writing and bears the inscription “to Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu”. The name Sa‘aryahu appears on a sherd from Arad, and apparently means “the Lord, which was revealed in a storm” (Job 38).                          (Ynet News)

Palestinians: Have The Donors Finally Woken Up?

by Khaled Abu Toameh              The Gatestone Institute


The striking teachers are exposing the Palestinian Authority (PA) as playing Western donors for suckers.

No one, in fact, knows how many Palestinians are on the Palestinian payroll.

Donors might not be aware, for instance, that they are paying over 50,000 employees from the Gaza Strip to not work. This has been the case since 20007, when Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip. In response, the PA ordered all its employees to boycott Hamas and promised to pay them full salaries for sitting at home.

The Palestinian committee has been tasked to avoid scandal and ensure that donors do not get to the bottom of the case.

Western donors want to see a list of the names of Palestinians who are on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the PA is not happy about it.

What is driving this demand? Thousands of Palestinian school teachers in the West Bank are striking for better conditions. The Palestinian leadership, in response, has ordered a security crackdown on the strikers.

To justify the crackdown, PA officials have claimed that the strike was organized by Hamas as part of a conspiracy to embarrass and undermine the regime of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

What is really happening is that the teachers are blowing the whistle on PA corruption. They have accused the PA Ministry of Education of wasting donors’ funds and deceiving them by inflating the number of teachers. They claim that the list of employees (about 56,000) ostensibly hired by the ministry contains many fictitious names. These include teachers and administrative workers of the ministry.

The teachers also accuse the PA of lying to the donors about their salaries. The information provided by the PA to donors claimed that the PA pays higher salaries to the teachers than the teachers actually receive.

In other words, the striking teachers are exposing the PA as playing Western donors for suckers.

The PA’s Finance Ministry has yet to publish the general budget for the years 2015 and 2016. The last time the budget appeared on the ministry’s official website was in 2014. The striking teachers and other Palestinians say there is something fishy about the Finance Ministry’s failure to make public the annual budget for 2015 and 2016. They call this a lack of transparency.

According to various sources, the donors’ request took PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah by surprise. He has referred the request to the office of Mahmoud Abbas and is now awaiting the president’s personal intervention in the developing scandal.

One report revealed that the PA leadership has formed a secret legal committee, headed by Palestinian official Karim Shehadeh, to prepare a reply to the donors about the discrepancy in the salaries. The committee has been tasked to avoid scandal and ensure that donors do not get to the bottom of the case.

The donors’ request explains the hysterical response of the PA leadership to the ongoing teachers’ strike in the West Bank. In the past few weeks, PA security forces have rounded up dozens of striking teachers and imposed a reign of intimidation against others. When the teachers planned to hold a protest rally in Ramallah last week, the PA deployed hundreds of policemen and set up checkpoints in various parts of the West Bank in a bid to foil the protest and terrify the teachers.

In a typical game of smoke and mirrors, the Palestinian government this week denied that the donor countries demanded to inspect the payroll records. Yet Palestinian sources in Ramallah insisted that the reports were true. According to the sources, this marks a watershed in donors’ demand for accountability from the PA leadership.

Striking teachers is only one of the PA headaches. The donors’ demand for a full report on the names of PA public employees is bad news for Abbas. No one, in fact, knows how many Palestinians are on the PA payroll. Some figures estimate the number of employees at over 160,000, while others have put the figure at 250,000.

According to one study, the Palestinians have one policeman for every 52 people, compared to one teacher for each 72. Since its founding more than two decades ago, the PA has established ten different security services that employ more than 70,000 people.

Some Palestinians have charged that these numbers have been vastly inflated by using names of the deceased, those who live abroad and some who do not even exist. In the main, these salaries are covered by donor governments such as the US and EU, who for years have failed to check the lists of the public employees or verify the sums.

Moreover, donors might not be aware that they are paying over 50,000 employees from the Gaza Strip to not work. This has been the case since 20007, when Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip. In response, the Palestinian Authority ordered all its employees to boycott Hamas and promised to pay them full salaries for sitting at home.

If the donors are indeed demanding the report, it could mark the dawn of a new era — one in which the PA leadership is called on the carpet for its financial shenanigans. Of course, President Abbas and his friends might still find a way to blame Israel. This tactic has worked wonders in the past.

Thus, the jury is still out on whether the donors will show themselves to be the suckers the PA is hoping for, or if the Palestinians will finally begin to be held accountable for their behavior.

Trying to stop Palestinian incitement

Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin is suing the heads of Palestinian Television for incitement to murder Jews.

They published a video that gives people an understanding of what it’s like when the Palestinian Authority encourages an all-too susceptible Palestinian audience to “kill Jews,” over and over again.

Since September 13th, 2015, 32 people have been killed and more than 360 injured in Palestinian terror attacks.

Watch this powerful video and take a minute to sign on as a plaintiff in the war crimes case against the PA: http://tvterror.info/en/                    (United with Israel)