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Latest News in Israel – 9th November

MEMRI TV Compilation: The Knife Intifada

MEMRI has just released a new MEMRI TV compilation showing Palestinian officials, clerics, parents, and even small children praising the wave ofknifings and other terror attacks against Israelis and encouraging more Palestinians to attack Israelis and Jews.

This Is What Terrorism Looks Like

An Arab woman approaches a check point with an unarmed guard at Beitar Elite. The guard stops her and asks her for her identity card. She presents an identity card from the PA and he informs her that she cannot enter as there is no authorization for her to enter. She proceeds to pull a knife out of her purse and tries to stab the guard. He manages to evade her and eventually disarms her.

This is what it looks like- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWB0-k-wh9o

Obama rules out Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before leaving office

US officials said Thursday that President Barack Obama has made a “realistic assessment” that a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians is not possible during his final months in office.

The stark assessment comes ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House on Monday — the first meeting between the two leaders in more than a year. Preparation for that meeting has been overshadowed by Netanyahu’s appointment of a new media chief, Ran Baratz, who has previously branded Obama an anti-Semite and mocked Secretary of State John Kerry. Netanyahu was Thursday night said to have told Kerry that he was reviewing the appointment.

Officials said the two leaders will discuss steps to prevent a confrontation between the parties in the absence of a two-state solution. They said that while Obama remains committed to a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, he does not believe it’s possible before he leaves office in January 2017, barring a major shift.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told Israeli reporters that the president would want to hear from Netanyahu on Monday ways in which the prime minister will seek to keep a two-state solution viable even in the absence of direct negotiations. Rhodes said Obama regards a two-state solution as urgent, and reiterated the US stance that settlement building undermines faith in the diplomatic process and delays such a solution.

“The main thing the president would want to hear from Netanyahu is that, without peace talks, how does he want to move forward to prevent a one-state solution, stabilize the situation on the ground and to signal he is committed to the two-state solution,” said Rob Malley, the president’s senior adviser on the Middle East, according to Haaretz.

The president expects that Netanyahu will take trust-building steps that “leave the door open for a two-state solution,” Malley said, without elaborating. “We said for some time that we expect from both parties to show that they are committed to a two-state solution. We would expect they take steps that are consistent with that,” Malley said.

A wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, marked by dozens of Palestinian stabbing attacks on Israelis, broke out two months ago; clashes at Jerusalem’s contested Temple Mount have been followed by Palestinian terror attacks across Israel and into the West Bank, and Palestinian-Israeli clashes in the West Bank and at the border with the Gaza Strip.

At a press conference last month, Obama reiterated his long-held conviction that the only way Israel would be secure, and the Palestinians would meet their aspirations, was via a two-state solution. He indicated then, but did not spell out, that the US was not about to start a new peace effort, saying “it’s going to be up to the parties” to do that, “and we stand ready to assist.”

Kerry sought to broker an accord in 2013-2014, but the effort collapsed amid a stream of bitter accusations and recriminations between the sides.

With no realistic prospect of substantial negotiated progress, the Obama administration is said to remain determined to keep the idea of a two-state solution viable, and it is understood the president and the prime minister will discuss possible steps in that direction.

The two leaders will likely discuss means to prevent a further deterioration on the ground, including how to thwart further terrorism; tackle incitement more effectively; deal with the strained Palestinian Authority; and safeguard Israeli-Jordanian relations.

No meeting is known to be scheduled for the near future between Obama and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The two leaders are also expected to announce that their allied countries are at work on a new long-term agreement for US defense assistance to Israel. The current 10-year framework, which provided for over $30 billion in US military aid, expires in 2018, and there has been talk of a new 10-year framework valued at $40-50 billion in total.

Obama and Netanyahu are expected to discuss commitments that could see Israel get more than the 33 hi-tech F-35 jets already ordered, precision munitions and a chance to buy V-22 Ospreys and other weapons systems designed to ensure Israel’s military edge over its neighbors.

The weapons said to be under discussion reflect the prominence of Iran in US and Israeli military thinking.

The F-35 is the only aircraft able to counter the S-300 surface-to-air missile system that Russia has suggested it may sell to Tehran.

Officials said Israel may also seek to ensure that other US allies in the region do not get the F-35.

The White House has so far rebuffed Arab Gulf states’ requests to buy the planes.

But while Israel has been offered some bunker-busting bombs, divisions over how to handle Tehran may put the sale of 30,000 pound “Massive Ordnance Penetrators” that could be used to target Iranian nuclear sites off the table.

“This is not something that has been raised in the context of the MoU discussions,” said senior Obama national security aide Ben Rhodes, referring to the deal, known formally as a memorandum of understanding.

Military experts say Israel’s lack of bunker-busting capability has limited Netanyahu’s ability to launch a unilateral strike against Iran, effectively giving Washington a veto over military action.

The visit, Rhodes said, “would be an opportunity to discuss and hear from Israel its assessment of its security challenges and the related security needs it has… whether it is something like the F-35 or a variety of others.”

Obama and Netanyahu will be meeting face-to-face for the first time since the US and its partners reached a nuclear accord with Iran. Netanyahu has been a chief critic of the deal.

On that vexed issue, the meeting could mark the day when Netanyahu finally engages with the administration on the practical implications of the deal, enabling the two sides to get down to work coordinating their positions on countering the threats posed by an emboldened and soon-to-be wealthier Iran, and on the appropriate responses to possible Iranian violations of the deal.                                (The Times of Israel)

Obama to ask Netanyahu to avoid ‘one-state solution’

President Barack Obama is expected to encourage Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take steps to prevent Israel and the Palestinians from moving toward a “one-state solution” during their meeting at the White House next Monday, the president’s senior advisers said at a press briefing Thursday night, according to Haaretz.

The president’s senior adviser on the Middle East, Rob Malley, said at the briefing that Obama reached the conclusion that in his time left in office the Israelis and the Palestinians will not be able to reach a peace treaty and it’s doubtful that they will be able to resume direct talks on a permanent agreement.

According to Malley, Obama will still want to hear from Netanyahu what he is willing to do to reach some sort of progress in the current situation.

“The main thing the president would want to hear from Netanyahu is that without peace talks how does he want to move forward to prevent a one-state solution, stabilize the situation on the ground and to signal he is committed to the two-state solution,” he was quoted as having said.

Malley noted that Obama will want to hear from Netanyahu what trust-building steps he is willing to take in order to “leave the door open for a two-state solution.” According to him, these must be steps that will clarify that for Israel the two-state solution remains the only way forward facing the Palestinians.

“The onus is on the Israelis and Palestinians to say what they are willing to do… Not only safeguard the possibility of the two-state solution in the future but to show there are ways to move there,” Malley said.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, was also at the briefing and said that despite the inability to reach a peace deal, Obama “thinks there is urgency for moving in the direction of the two-state solution.”

Malley and Rhodes refused to say outright whether one of the steps Obama wants Netanyahu to take is a freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria, but they both stressed that construction in these areas “does not correspond” with the two-state solution, according to Haaretz.

The comments on the “two-state” solution come amid a continued push by Western countries for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume peace talks.

Obama recently touted the “two-state” solution in a video address at the memorial marking 20 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, saying, “Peace is possible, if both parties are willing to truly compromise and take risks for the only real solution – two states for two people; a democratic Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent and sovereign Palestinian state”.

It is not just the United States, however, that has been pushing the sides to resume talks. New Zealand recently presented a draft UN resolution aimed at reviving the stalled peace talks and calling on Israelis and the Palestinians to end the violence, prepare for peace talks and declares the two-state solution to be the “only credible pathway to peace”.

New Zealand’s initiative came after France circulated a draft for a council statement that failed to win agreement, highlighting difficulties to forge a consensus in the council.

Monday’s meeting between Obama and Netanyahu will be their first meeting since the six world powers, including the United States, reached the nuclear deal with Iran last summer.

They are also expected to discuss the defense aid package that the United States provides to Israel, with the current package set to expire in 2017.            (Arutz Sheva)

‘White House wants to boost security ties with Israel’

The US is committed to improving security ties with Israel, the White House said in advance of Monday’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at which the prime minister is expected to push for a 10-year, $50 billion military aid package.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit is a demonstration of the deep and enduring bonds between the US and Israel, as well as the unprecedented security cooperation, including our close consultations to further enhance Israel’s security,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington on Friday.

The meeting has been billed as an opportunity for both leaders to heal the wounds from their acrimonious battle over the Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

During their conversation, Obama and Netanyahu are likely to define their expectations from the deal, which is designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program. They also are expected to discuss ways the US can strengthen Israel militarily so it can stand strong against growing regional threats from Iran, ISIS, and Syria.

“The president looks forward to discussing with the prime minister regional security issues, including implementation of the joint comprehensive plan of action to peacefully and verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Earnest said.

Top on the agenda for Israel is the renewal of the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding that expires in 2017, under which Israel was guaranteed $31b. over 10 years so it could maintain its qualitative military edge over neighboring Arab states.

Israel believes the Iran deal strengthened Tehran’s military capacity and, in light of that danger and other regional threats, it wants to increase the MOU.

Israel could use the funds to acquire aircraft that can enhance its long-range strike capabilities, such as F-15i fighter jets and V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. The latter can be used for rescuing pilots who were forced to eject from their aircraft, or for special forces transport.

The IAF will soon begin receiving its first F-35A stealth fighter jets, which represent a major leap forward in longrange strike capabilities.

Israel also may show interest in purchasing bunker-busting GBU-28 laser-guided bombs and other precision-guided weaponry.

The defense establishment could also seek an increase in US financial assistance for Israel’s multi-layered missile-defense system, which includes the Arrow 2 ballistic missile-defense program; the Arrow 3 system, which intercepts missile threats in space; Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries; and the David’s Sling air-defense system.

US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters on Thursday night it would be impossible to finalize any agreement with regard to that deal during Monday’s meeting.

“We’re certainly not going to be in any position to complete what is an incredibly complicated and consequential discussion in this meeting,” Rhodes said.

Similarly, a New York Times editorial published Friday stated: “White House officials do not expect a new defense agreement to emerge from this meeting.

It is hard to see how such a large increase could be justified, especially when Congress is trying to keep a lid on federal spending and is cutting back many vital programs. And Israel has long been a leading recipient of American assistance.”

Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who is now an MK for the Kulanu Party, said it would be wrong to evaluate the success or failure of the meeting based simply on financial numbers and hardware. It is also important to define issues that arise from the implementation of the Iran deal, he said.

For example, “what would constitute a violation [of that deal] and what can Israel expect the American reaction to that violation to be,” Oren said.

He predicted it would be a good meeting. “I think that both sides have an interest in moving forward.”

The US has an historic commitment to helping Israel meet its military challenges and Obama has committed himself to this, Oren added.

But not all the tensions between Obama and Netanyahu have disappeared, now that the Iran deal is in place.

The two men have a very different view of what needs to happen when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which will also be a topic for discussion.

On Thursday, White House Middle East coordinator Rob Malley told reporters the Obama administration has faced the reality that a two-state solution would not be achieved during their time left in office.

Obama will be looking for Netanyahu to tell him what Israel will do to ensure that the door remains open for that option in the future.

On Friday, Earnest said part of the problem is that Netanyahu does not believe it is possible to achieve a two-state solution at this time.

“As long as the prime minister is suggesting that conditions are not ripe for a Palestinian state, it is going to be hard to have a two-state solution to the conflict between the two parties, if one of the parties is suggesting that the other one can’t have a state,” Earnest said.                 (Jerusalem Post)

Four Israelis wounded in vehicular terror attack in West Bank on Sunday

Four Israelis were wounded in a vehicular terror attack at the Tapuah junction in the Samaria region of the West Bank on Sunday morning.

Border police at the scene shot and killed the Palestinian driver.

“A short while ago, a terrorist arrived at a hitch-hiking post next to a roadblock at Tapuah [junction], accelerated his vehicle and hit a number of civilians who were standing there,” Border Police said.

Magen David Adom said two men, 22, were moderately to seriously wounded. A third man, 23, was moderately wounded and a pregnant woman was lightly wounded.

The wounded were taken to  Rabin Medical Center’s Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva. They are from Petah Tikiva, Nof Ayalon, Talmon and Yitzhar.

A volunteer for United Hatzalah who was passing by the junction, Yaakov Selah, said he pulled his car over when he saw security forces racing to the scene of the attack so that he could help the wounded.

MDA paramedics Gil Bismuth and Avigail Mamliya said that when they arrived they found “the victims lying on the ground and fully conscious, but suffering from wounds to their extremities. The attacker’s car, with the [dead] terrorist inside, was still nearby.”

Angry settlers have since blocked the road by the nearby village of Hawara to protest the attack.

Samaria Region Council head Yossi Dagan said, “The terrorists are trying to push us out of the land with force.” He reissued his call for the prime minister to respond to such attacks with announcements of new settlement construction.

More Jewish building is what will prevent future terror attacks, Dagan said.

Shortly before this incident, Border Police officers arrested a Palestinian man caught trying to scale a fence into Givat Hameyasdim in Ma’aleh Adumim, a spokesman for the Judea and Samaria police said.

The officers were responding to a call from a local security guard and fired into the air while arresting the man. The man, who police said is from the village of a-Ram, was not harmed in the incident.

Police said they are still trying to determine the man’s motives                        (Jerusalem Post)

Earlier News:

Four Israelis wounded in series of shooting and stabbing attacks in West Bank over weekend

On Friday evening, a 19-year-old IDF soldier was seriously wounded when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on him near Beit Anun, a few kilometers north of Hebron. He was admitted in serious condition to Hadassah- University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, suffering from gunshot wounds to his upper body.

Soldiers from the Kfir infantry brigade, acting on Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) intelligence, on Saturday evening arrested a 16-year-old resident of Bani Naim and handed him over to the Shin Bet for questioning.

He confessed to the shooting and disclosed the location of the rifle he used to carry out the attack, the Shin Bet said.

Also on Friday evening, two Israeli youths were shot and wounded – one of them, a 16-year-old, seriously – in a terrorist attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

The 16-year-old was admitted to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition with bullet wounds to his upper body and the second victim, 18, with a gunshot wound to his limbs.

Also on Friday, IDF soldiers at a gas station near Halhoul, north of Hebron, fired on and struck a Palestinian female motorist they suspected of attempting to run them over.

Video footage taken by a soldier, which was uploaded on the Internet, shows the woman’s car driving directly at the soldiers until they opened fire. Soldiers recovered a large commando knife from the woman’s handbag following the incident.

According to Palestinian reports, the attacker, Thereat al-Sha’rawi, was 72 years old. She died of her wounds at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Palestinians officials in Hebron dismissed IDF charges that she had tried to run down soldiers. A witness who works at the gas station described the incident as a “regular car accident.”

The witness, who was not identified, told Palestinian reporters that Sha’rawi was driving her car in an area where clashes were taking place between IDF soldiers and stone-throwers. He claimed that the woman tried to escape from the scene because of the tear gas fired by the soldiers.

“She drove toward the gas station, where the soldiers were stationed,” he recounted. “As soon as she got out of her car, the soldiers opened fire at her, killing her instantly. I saw three soldiers open fire at her.”

Sha’arawi’s husband, Fuad, was killed during the first intifada, according to Palestinian sources. They said the IDF raided her family home in Hebron early Saturday and told her relatives of intention to demolish the house.

Sha’arawi was the motherin- law of a senior Hamas figure from Hebron, Muhammad Natsheh, who is currently being held in an Israeli prison. A family member said she was driving her son’s car and was on her way to visit her brother.

Earlier on Friday, an Israeli civilian sustained moderate- to-serious wounds in a knife attack in the parking lot of the Rami Levy supermarket in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial park in the West Bank. The assailant fled and IDF units searched the area for him.

The terrorist had recorded a Facebook video message and released it online in which he identified himself as Bara Faika Issa and said he sacrificed his “soul to guard al-Aksa and protect our occupied land with a pure intention to stand before Allah with all my physical and mental power.”

In the recording, Issa said he did not receive any instruction from an organization to carry out the attack. After the attack, he turned himself in to the Palestinian Authority police.

The attack was the second in two weeks to occur in a parking lot of the Rami Levy supermarket chain. On October 28, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a female shopper in the back as she headed to her car in the lot at the Gush Etzion store.

The Rami Levy supermarket chain, which hires both Israelis and Palestinians, and where both populations shop, is seen as an island of coexistence.

An unnamed settler group, however, said the attack showed that the time had come for Rami Levy to stop hiring Palestinians and called on consumers to boycott the chain until it did so.

“We’re a group of Jews from the Samaria and Judea communities that decided, in light of the catastrophe around the Rami Levy branches with all the Arabs that work and shop there, that we will stop shopping in Rami Levy,” the group said.

“Join us so we can stop this hypocrisy,” the group said in a message it sent to the media.

Rami Levy, the owner of the chain that bears his name, said he has no intention of changing his hiring policy and that he does not take gender, race or ethnicity into consideration when evaluating potential employees.

“To do so, would be to give way to extremism and hand a victory over to the terrorists,” Levy said.

Most businesses and institutions hire Arab workers, including hospitals, gas stations and coffee shops, he said. Ironically, he said, he is also attacked by Palestinians who consider him to be “the biggest settler” for placing two of his stores in the West Bank.

People who are opposed to coexistence only help smear Israel’s name in the international community, he added.

Levy explained that when journalists, particularly from Europe, come to Israel he brings them to his stories so they can see that the negative stories they have heard about Israel are simply not true.

In the wake of the attack, he called on people to continue to come and shop in his stores and not to let fear keep them at home.

The deputy head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Yisrael Gantz, called on residents to remain alert and to continue with their normal routine.

“Today’s attack shows that there is no difference between Beersheba and Sha’ar Binyamin,” Gantz said.

The best response to the terrorist attack, Gantz said, is to stop supporting the “surreal idea” of a two-state solution.                        (Jerusalem Post)

Yitzhak Navon, Israel’s fifth president, dies at the age of 94

Yitzhak Navon, the fifth president of the State of Israel, passed away at the age of 94 on Saturday.

Funeral details have yet to be released.

A politician, author, playwright, and educator, Navon entered the President’s Residence on May 29, 1978. He served as president until 1983.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Arab literature and Islamic culture from Hebrew University, he joined the ranks of the right-wing underground Irgun. Shortly after, he left Irgun to join the pre-state Haganah, the fighting force which would eventually form the backbone of the IDF.

Before entering politics, Navon served as a diplomat in Uruguay and Argentina. After returning to Israel, he took up a position as the political secretary to then-foreign minister Moshe Sharett. In the 1950s and early 60s, Navon worked as the office director for then-prime minister David Ben-Gurion and his successor, Sharett.

In 1984, Navon was elected to the 11th Knesset. He was given the post of education minister as well as the title of deputy prime minister, positions that he held until 1990.

During his time as education minister, he introduced mandatory Arabic language instruction for Jewish students in public schools. In 1992, he quit politics to serve in various executive positions at cultural institutions.

Israeli political figures paid tribute to Navon shortly after news of his passing spread across the media landscape.

“We lost a man who loved people and who always stood alongside those who have been socioeconomically marginalized,” Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz said. “He always saw the individual as an individual irrespective of religion, race, or gender.”

Peretz said that during his time as a municipal leader in Sderot, Navon “helped me carry out a revolution in the education system, the results of which we are seeing today.”

“I’d like to send condolences to the Navon family, which is parting from a man loved by the entire nation,” Peretz said. “May his memory be a blessing.”                       (Jerusalem Post)

Michael Oren takes on ‘boycotting’ author Oz for shunning Foreign Ministry events

The decision by Amos Oz, one of Israel’s most celebrated authors, to shun events staged by the Foreign Ministry has drawn the ire of the former ambassador to the US and freshman parliamentarian Michael Oren.

Oren, who joined Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu list prior to the most recent election, said on Friday that Oz’s decision to stay away from officially sanctioned events amounts to a de facto boycott of Israel.

“The boycott which Amos Oz has declared on the Foreign Ministry provides a boost to the boycotts which Oz claims to oppose,” Oren said.

Oz, the author and Israel Prize laureate, decided to quietly decline Foreign Ministry invitations to attend formal functions abroad due to the “radicalization” of the government’s policies.

“I am often invited by my publishers abroad to take part in the launching of translations of my books. Following the radicalization in the policy of the present government in various areas, I told my hosts abroad that I prefer not to be a guest of honor in events organized for me by Israeli embassies,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“However, I strongly oppose the BDS [movement] and I strongly oppose the idea of boycotting Israel. My decision is aimed against the government not against my country,” he said.

A boycott goes “against everything I believe in,” he added. Oz doesn’t appear to have convinced Oren.

“Amos Oz, the most famous Israeli author in the world, claims that he is against boycotts yet he announced that he is boycotting the Foreign Ministry,” the former ambassador said.

“For years, the Foreign Ministry has given Amos Oz a platform to present his literary works,” he said. “Now, after he has solidified his standing, he feels comfortable enough to boycott those same events that served to promote him.”

“This is tantamout to nothing less than spitting into the well from which you have drank throughout the years,” Oren said. “While I admire him greatly as an author, Amos Oz represents a segment of the population that on the one hand supports democracy and pluralism only when it suits their opinions.”

“During my tenure as ambassador in Washington, I hosted authors and artists ranging from Etgar Keret, to Rita, to Idan Raichel, to David Broza, to Ahinoam Nini,” he said. “They came to the events out of love for their country and pride in its culture.”

Using a play-on-words with the title of one of Oz’s novels, Oren said: “This is a tale of no love and darkness.”

Oz, one of Israel’s best known authors, has been an outspoken supporter of a two-state solution and has often been critical of right-wing government policies.

Oz has repeatedly said he believes peace can be reached with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, thus reducing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an Israel-Gaza conflict.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment, saying only, “We are not responding in light of the respect we have for Amos Oz.”                              (Jerusalem Post)

US, Britain, using Israeli intel to determine cause of Egyptian crash

At least some of the intercepts being used in the ongoing investigation into what caused a Russian jetliner’s crash in Egypt’s Sinai comes from Israeli intelligence sources, CNN reported Sunday.

According to a US official briefed on intelligence matters pertaining to the situation, Israeli intelligence sources intercepted communications between ISIS affiliates in Sinai, who have since claimed responsibility for the downing of the plane.

Egyptian officials, who are leading the investigation, have been hesitant to comment on the possibility of a bomb on board the plane, although officials told reporters that they still considering “all the scenarios.”

Israeli officials would not comment on the claims.

Lead investigators have stated that they are “90 percent sure” that the noise heard in the final second of a cockpit recording was an explosion caused by a bomb, a member of the investigation team told Reuters on Sunday.

The Airbus A321 crashed 23 minutes after taking off from the Sharm al-Sheikh tourist resort eight days ago, killing all 224 passengers and crew. Islamic State militants fighting Egyptian security forces in Sinai said they brought it down.

“The indications and analysis so far of the sound on the black box indicate it was a bomb,” said the Egyptian investigation team member, who asked not to be named due to sensitivities. “We are 90 percent sure it was a bomb.”

His comments reflect a higher degree of certainty about the cause of the crash than the investigation committee has so far declared in public.

Lead investigator Ayman al-Muqaddam announced on Saturday that the plane appeared to have broken up in mid-air while it was being flown on auto-pilot, and that a noise had been heard in the last second of the cockpit recording. But he said it was too soon to draw conclusions about why the plane crashed.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday that it was more likely than not that a bomb brought down the airplane.

“We cannot be certain that the Russian airliner was brought down by a terrorist bomb, but it looks increasingly likely that that was the case,” Cameron said on Thursday before a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who is on a visit to Britain.

He said Britain had acted before the investigation was complete because the intelligence they had “gave us the concern that it was more likely than not it was a terrorist bomb”.

“We need to put in place more security at that airport so it’s safe to fly people home. That’s our priority, that’s what we’ll work with the Egyptians to do,” he said.

On Wednesday, a US official said  that the latest US intelligence suggests that the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 was most likely caused by a bomb on the plane planted by ISIS or an ISIS affiliate.                                      (Jerusalem Post)

Murdering civilians OK but Israel’s ‘excessive’ response condemned

by Vic Alhadeff          The Australian


Commissioner Andrew Scipione joined the NSW Police 35 years ago and has witnessed numerous acts of bravery during his career.

Yet after the teenager who murdered Curtis Cheng was shot by police, Scipione was moved to comment: “I don’t think I’ve seen a greater act of bravery than I saw last night.”

The sentiment was broadly endorsed by the Australian public, which recognised that had it not been for the response by police, the toll could have been higher.

Addressing a vigil for Cheng, Parramatta MP Julie Owens also commended the police constable. ­“Nobody expects to be shooting a 15-year-old,” she observed. “Can we all keep that special constable in our hearts.”

And news.com.au reported that the constable may be nominated for a bravery award.

Compare the above to the reaction Israel and Israelis overwhelmingly have to wear as a result of their collective response to the wave of stabbings and other violence they have endured during the past month.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby accused Israel of — you guessed it — using “disproportionate force” to stop the stabbings. “We’ve seen reports of what many would consider excessive use of force,” he pontificated. “Obviously, we don’t like to see that … We’re concerned about that.”

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry was similarly quick to “strongly condemn” Israel’s “provocative and arbitrary practices” and use of “disproportionate force”, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opined that Israel’s ­response “added to the already difficult challenges of restoring calm”.

Compounding the opprobrium has been inexplicable media coverage, one of many low points being the headline the BBC concocted for its online report of an attack in which rabbis Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett were stabbed to death and three others, including Bennett’s wife and baby, injured.

The terrorist, a 19-year-old law student and member of the group Islamic Jihad, had then seized a gun and opened fire on police, who shot him. Lavi leaves a wife and seven children.

The BBC report was headlined “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.” Following uproar on social media, it altered the heading to “Jerusalem: Palestinian kills two Israelis in Old City”. Even former BBC chairman Michael Grade felt compelled to take issue with the network for its coverage of the wave of attacks, while Al Jazeera found it neces­sary to express regret for a tweet that misrepresented the facts of the incident.

The difference between the reaction to the response to the Parramatta attack and the reaction to the responses to the wave of attacks unleashed on Israeli civilians could not be more telling.

Whereas Parramatta was widely interpreted as an act of terrorism underpinned by extremist ideology, a disingenuous web has cloaked and distorted much of the reporting of the attacks on Israelis, notwithstanding the reality that they are motivated by a parallel ideology. Repeated ad nauseam has been the canard that Israel plans to deny Muslim worshippers access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas irresponsibly perpetuating the myth.

If that were not damaging enough, he also stated: “Each drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid (martyr) will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded by Allah’s will.”

Making matters worse, Abbas declared that Palestinians would never surrender to the “Israeli aggression” against them and their holy sites or to the “executions of children like Ahmed Manasra”, referring to a 13-year-old Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli child. Displaying a photograph of Ahmed sprawled on the ground, he omitted to inform listeners that Ahmed was alive and being treated in an Israeli hospital. International media ran with his spurious claim.

All this from Israel’s so-called peace partner and despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated assurance that his government would maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount that has been in place since 1967.

The responses to the attacks from some quarters have been almost as reprehensible as the incidents themselves. Indiscriminate stabbing and shooting of Israeli children, women, rabbis, elderly civilians and soldiers are brushed aside, viewed by some as legitimate targets, whether they are passengers on a bus or 13-year-olds cycling home from school — and ignoring the desperate defence measures to which Israelis have resorted, such as leaving home carrying pepper-spray and kitchen utensils.

A rally in New York saw participants expand on the mantra of rendering Palestine free “from the river to the sea” with “by any means necessary”. “Bombs, guns, knives — resistance is resistance,” chimed a participant. And a march in London included this advice: “Thieving, murdering ‘Israelis’ go home to Poland, Germany, USA.”

It’s a sad commentary on humanity when the lives of people murdered in cold blood can seemingly count for nought.

Vic Alhadeff is chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

What to expect from the Obama-Netanyahu meeting

by Shmuel Rosner           Jewish Journal,


There are three ways the Obama-Netanyahu meeting at the White House on Nov. 9 — the two leaders’ first meeting after more than a year of talking mostly past each other — can go wrong.

  1. If President Barack Obama decides to surprise the prime minister and ruin the meeting.
  2. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides to surprise the president and ruin it.
  3. If a misunderstanding, or miscalculation, ruins it.

Other than that, as most analysts agree, the two men are more likely than not to “put on a professional, perhaps even a friendly show,” as David Horovitz wrote in Times of Israel.

From what I understand, both sides are preparing for the meeting with attention and care. The fact that the personal relationship between the two leaders is not very good; the fact that they’ve fought time and again in the last year; the fact that everyone knows they fundamentally disagree on many issues; the way Obama thinks Netanyahu is a leader with no vision and no courage; the way Netanyahu thinks Obama is a leader with no real grasp of the issues and dangerous ideological tendencies — all this makes it easier to avoid misunderstandings. This is not a meeting that anyone takes lightly by assuming that things can take care of themselves.

So let’s rule out misunderstandings.

Also, from what I understand, the prime minister does not want to put on yet another show of belligerence in Washington. The agreement with Iran is a done deal, and Netanyahu needs to move on, hoping for a better president in 2017, hoping for something down the road to be a game changer in the Middle East, possibly planning for something down the road through which Israel can change the game.

In fact, in their past meetings, Netanyahu never initiated confrontation. He did, of course, initiate confrontation over Iran in his decision to speak to Congress. But when he was invited to the White House, the plan was always for him to be on his best behavior, and when that did not happen — for example, when he lectured Obama back in 2011 — it was in response to a surprise move by Obama: The president decided to include an allusion to the 1967 line in his remarks. Netanyahu — offended and shocked — decided that this was not the time for silence.

So let’s rule out a decision by Netanyahu to surprise the president and ruin it.

This leaves us with the president. He has surprised Netanyahu in the past, and he has, time and again, made their White House encounters uncomfortable. Does he want to make it uneasy yet again?

Why would he want such a thing? Obama won the battle over Iran; he understands that a real achievement on the Israeli-Palestinian track is unlikely to materialize before the end of his term; he is busy with Syria, ISIS, Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign-affairs issues more pressing than anything in which Israel plays a major role. He has no reason to ruin the meeting — except that Obama’s logic tends to be somewhat different from what Jerusalem calls logic. And, of course, there is this tiny thing called ego. Obama might decide that there is a score to be settled.

Everybody’s tired

There is no great enthusiasm in Washington or Jerusalem in preparation for this meeting. No great hope for reconciliation. If, in past meetings, there was always a shred of hope that maybe this time the two leaders would finally begin a more cordial period in their relations; if, in past meetings, there were people who still said that it doesn’t have to be this way — this time, everybody is realistic. There is a need for a meeting, possibly the last meeting before Obama’s departure. But there will be no clean slate, no new page, no “Let’s try again.”

Obama is tired of Netanyahu; Netanyahu is tired of Obama; observers are tired of the Obama-Netanyahu relations; Congress is tired of having to deal with Iran; AIPAC is tired of having to clean up the mess; Hillary Clinton is tired of having to explain that she will not be another Obama when it comes to Israel; Republican candidates are tired of trying to outdo each other in statements of support for Israel; Israelis are tired of an American that seems lost in this region; and American Jews are tired of feeling trapped between a rock and a hard place.

Truthfully, all these players and observers are just killing time before the next games — be it the American election or another Middle East eruption — begin.

The agenda

Here is what Netanyahu wants from this meeting:

  1. Weaponry that could one day be useful in battling Iran, if and when the need arises.
  2. Some measure of understanding regarding possible Iranian “breaches” of the agreement.
  3. An understanding that what the Palestinian front currently needs is quieting down — not grand initiatives.

Here is what Obama wants from this meeting:

  • A. To make sure that Israel lets the Iran agreement run its course without interruption.
  • B. To satisfy Israel and its supporters (in Congress and elsewhere) enough for them not to harass him with more demands.
  • C. For Israel to avoid any moves in the West Bank that will further complicate the prospect for a future two-state solution.

Points 1 and 2 are somewhat problematic: The more weaponry Israel gets, the more it might be tempted to use it against Iran and disrupt the agreement from running its course.

Point A is very problematic: Obama is not going to tell Netanyahu what Iran needs to do in order for it to be considered a breach worthy of retribution. Netanyahu is going to suspect — for good reason — that, for Obama, no breach will be worthy of retribution.

Point 3 is the easy one — that is, unless the president decides to ruin the meeting by deciding to revisit his initiatives for the Palestinian front (or by surrendering to such a demand from his tireless secretary of state).

Point B is manageable: Israel will get enough to discourage it from complaining, but not enough for it to be fully satisfied.

Israeli innovation inspiring Australians

by Sharyn Mittelman                  AIJAC


“Innovation” is a centrepiece of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s agenda for Australia – and the government is looking to Israel for inspiration.

As the Prime Minister said yesterday at the Melbourne Institute’s 2015 Economic and Social Outlook conference, “A key focus of our Government is innovation. I said earlier, we need to be more innovative, we need to be more technologically sophisticated. We will deliver next month an innovation statement, a set of policies that will focus on how we attract and retain talent, how we support and encourage start-ups.”

At the forefront of planning this agenda is Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, who together with Robogals founder and 2012 Young Australia of the Year Marita Cheng, led an Australian delegation of 44 entrepreneurs, industry representatives and government envoys on a week-long expedition to Israel (Oct. 29 to Nov. 5), to inspire Australia’s innovation agenda.

Little Israel has become an innovation powerhouse – it has per capita the largest number of start-up companies in the world, it is ranked number 2 in the world for venture capital funds behind the US, it has more NASDAQ listed companies than any other country besides the US and China, it has the world’s 3rd highest rate of entrepreneurship, and Israel’s scientific research institutions are ranked 3rd in the world.

Discussing the delegation’s trip to Israel before he left, Wyatt Roy said, “They have the right culture, the right settings to drive innovation”, adding, “We can’t perfectly emulate Israel and nor should we try, but there is a lot we can learn.” He also noted Israel’s embrace of technology and entrepreneur subjects in education and the easy flow of investor capital for start-ups.

On Thursday, Mr. Roy spoke to the Open Opportunity Forum in Sydney via video conference, and suggested Australia should adopt Israel’s “chutzpah” mentality.  He said:

“I’ve often said that we need to embrace the best elements of our culture — that aspirational mindset, that ‘have a go’ mentality — and support the underdog… Here in Israel, it’s very much evident in every element of their society they embrace that Hebrew word, ‘chutzpah’, where they go out and they are prepared to take on an enormous amount of risk to have a go — and they’re not afraid of failure. Here in Israel they do fantastic research, and that’s with scientists, much like we have at home, but they really are quite able to cooperate in a very effective way between the government, higher education, science, research, and the private sector… And I think there’s an enormous amount that we can learn.”

The Australian Young Entrepreneurs Trade Mission has attracted attention both in Australia and Israel.


Wyatt Roy  with Israel’s Chief Scientist Avi Hasson

The Australian Financial Review reported on the delegation’s meeting with co-author of Start-Up Nation Saul Singer:

“Saul Singer, who co-wrote Start-up Nation, told an Australian trade mission in Jerusalem that if Australia joined forces with Israel it could become the innovation leader in the Asia-Pacific region…

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Innovation, Wyatt Roy, introduced Mr Singer to the Australian trade mission…

Mr Roy told The Australian Financial Review that Australia needed to ‘hand the microphone to entrepreneurs’. ‘We need to… celebrate success and make entrepreneurs into the rock stars that they need to be,’ he said.

Mr Roy said he was in favour of Australia adopting something similar to the Israeli approach for disseminating government funding for start-ups called the Office of the Chief Scientist.

‘Back home, people will think of government funding where there is a market failure,’ he said. ‘But if there is a market failure in Israel, people will say: ‘I am not going to invest here’.

‘If you only get the Chief Scientist funding something, people would think you are a failure. The success of the Chief Scientist funding is the brand of the person behind it. It is not the brand of the shiny government structure; it’s the brand of the individual.’

He said Israel’s Chief Scientist, Avi Hasson, was a cult figure among investors in tech companies. Mr Hasson is advised by leading venture capitalists and successful technology founders.

Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman said during the vote of thanks that Australia was ‘at a bit of a crossroads’.

‘We all know that the mining boom of the last 15 years has run out of steam and as a result a whole lot of issues have been exposed across our country, which need to be dealt with,’ he said. ‘This trade mission is about remaking Australia.'”

Moreover, Scott Middleton, CEO and founder of Terem Technologies, an Australian company that develops custom software and technology solutions for corporate innovations and high-tech ventures, was on the delegation with Mr. Roy and has written articles on Israel’s start up scene for Technology Spectator. In his article, “A nation of brand ambassadors”, he writes:

“Israelis are an arrogant lot. I mean that in a good way. It’s a characteristic that strikes you from the moment you touch down in Israel and it can be jarring for an Aussie used to the humility of a tall-poppy culture. This self-confidence, combined with a deep level of patriotism makes Israeli’s [sic] great brand ambassadors for their innovative, entrepreneurial culture.

Many Israeli businesses go off-shore to find global markets and build growth, but they never lose their sense of identity and their passion for the country. Because of this they become great brand ambassadors, selling Israel’s capacity overseas and selling the strengths of the country’s tech innovation community. Not all countries have as much confidence as Israel. But few have as little as Australia.”

And in another article, “The R&D business case for acquisitions in Australia”, Middleton comments:

“One noticeable feature of Israel’s innovation ecosystem is the maturity of the relationships between start-ups, established businesses and the government. A significant proportion of multinationals now undertaking research and development in Israel use acquisitions as a way of plugging innovative processes, culture, products and staff into their businesses.”

In Israel, the Jerusalem Post noted that two important Australian conferences were taking place in Israel in recent weeks:

“One is here under the auspices of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and its members are interacting with colleagues from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on matters relating to Australia’s security challenges.

The other is a young innovators and entrepreneurs delegation, which is in Israel under the auspices of the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce…

Co-chairmen are MP Wyatt Roy, Australia’s assistant minister for innovation, and Marita Chang…

For the majority this is their first trip to Israel, and they are full of admiration for Israel’s hospitality, achievements and innovation. Roy, now 25, was first elected to parliament at the age of 20, and had the distinction of being the youngest-ever Australian parliamentarian. Even at this early stage in his career, he is already being hailed as a future prime minister.”

The Australian government’s agenda for innovation – including its Assistant Minister for Innovation – appears to be a key part of what it hopes to offer to the public as an economic reform that will improve standards of living and prepare Australia for the changing economy.

As Prime Minister Turnbull said yesterday in his speech, “If a policy doesn’t work, chuck it out, if you see somebody is achieving your objective in a better way remember the sincerest form of flattery is plagiarism, copy them, take it over.”

There is much Australia can learn from Israel’s start-up scene as it develops its own innovation agenda. And as Saul Singer suggested, there is also the potential for partnerships that can only benefit both countries.

Why is the EU stigmatizing Israel?

Seeing European shops label Jewish products awakens painful memories.

by David Walzer       Politico


Many Israelis ­ both on the right and left of the political spectrum ­ look in utter astonishment at EU plans to compel European importers and retailers to brand Israeli products from the settlements with newly minted, Israel-specific consumer labeling. And it seems these labels would apply only to Israel, not to other countries or territories embroiled in territorial disputes. It is a step that threatens to reshape our relations, and I fear not for the better.

Europe is Israel’s main partner in trade and business. We are an ally for Europe in the Middle East, a region that now poses some very hard questions for Europe. Most importantly, we share the same humanist aspirations for our countries. This makes us part of the same family, and I hope this allows me to speak openly and honestly.

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Building on this kinship, recent months have seen a flourishing of diplomatic meetings between Israel and the EU. Before the summer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met High Representative Federica Mogherini in Jerusalem and once again in New York. Last month, the prime minister also hosted European Council President Donald Tusk in Jerusalem. I was there to witness it and the mood was professional and forward looking.

The prime minister was unequivocal about the direction of our country. Israel remains committed to a two-state solution. Two states for two peoples, this continues to be our end objective. He has since repeatedly expressed his desire to find concrete ways forward, in direct talks with the Palestinian leadership, which he said could take place in Brussels, Jerusalem or Ramallah itself.

In turn, EU leaders made clear their strong willingness to help advance the Middle East peace process. This is important. We welcome Europe’s aspiration and help to achieve this objective.

To make progress, however, the closest form of cooperation is necessary, and this needs to be based on trust, openness and impartiality.

* * *

The labeling of Israeli products will not contribute to this end. We are being told the economic impact of such labeling should be small. And the step is supposedly not meant as a boycott. But seeing European shops label Jewish products brings back some very painful memories for many Israelis. And it stings that we are being singled out for special treatment. While we fully respect that the EU needs to apply its own acquis, this makes it very hard to escape the conclusion that this is a political step, with the distinctly political message that Israel is to be blamed and punished for the stagnation of the peace process.

In Israel it is hard to explain how this could conceivably help kick-start peace talks. Nor does it appear to be a timely message. The Middle East is ablaze, with wars raging in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. These wars have become magnets for Daesh and Hezbollah Islamists, engaged in the random slaughter of civilians. We are facing an unprecedented refugee crisis. And in these times the EU sees fit, under the guise of consumer protection law, to slap quasi-sanctions on Israel, the only state in the region whose constitution embraces and defends Europe’s own values?

* * *

For Israel the key to a two-states-for-two-peoples solution lies in obtaining ironclad guarantees for its security. What we hope to receive from our partners abroad is some help in finding these. Security is and will always remain our Gold Standard. The problem we now face is that in a region awash with blood and rife with sectarianism, this is more difficult to achieve. Already, ISIL-affiliated terror cells are operating from within the Gaza Strip.

There are other challenges the EU could help tackle. The Palestinian leadership remains hesitant, divided and unwilling to come to the table. Netanyahu has now repeatedly offered to hold direct talks with President Abbas on a two-states-for-two-peoples solution, without setting preconditions. He did so as recently as the U .N. General Assembly in New York. But what has happened? Instead of engaging with us directly, what we are getting from President Abbas are bold flag-waving statements and other unilateral shenanigans.

What is needed is for the EU to help persuade Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to direct talks. Without such talks there can be no progress at all, not even a beginning. What is needed is for the EU to use its clout to help end the spate of attacks against Israeli citizens of the last few weeks, amongst others by getting Palestinian leaders to tone down their divisive rhetoric. What is needed is for the EU to do more to help disarm Gaza, whilst aiding the Palestinian Authority in regaining control over the Strip.

While labeling legislation is a red herring, a painful distraction, the latter steps would enhance the prospects of success in tangible and practical ways. There is no doubt Europe is capable of making a significant contribution to the Middle East peace process. But we need to grasp the nettle, not start another smoke and mirrors game. Moving the stalled peace process forward will be difficult enough as it is.

David Walzer is Israel’’s Ambassador to the EU and NATO.

Palestinians, not Israelis, Need the Gospel of Peace

by Jagdish N. Singh          The Gatestone Institute


Palestinian leaders, including the Palestinian Authority, have done a lot to whip up this violence and little to stop it. They may refer to peace and co-existence on some diplomatic occasions, but they preach and practice non-stop hatred and violence against Israel and the Jews.

It would have been more helpful if President Mukherjee had stressed his gospel of peace in the Palestinian territories, not Israel. Ever since its creation in 1948, Israel has believed in peaceful co-existence with Palestine. The successive offers of peace from Jerusalem have always supported this policy

In contrast, not only has the Palestinian leadership never believed in peaceful co-existence, but it has constantly indulged in racist incitement, and often violence, to try to eliminate Israel.

After a reception at the presidential palace in Israel in Mid-October, India’s President, Pranab Mukherjee, said: “We are distressed at the recent violence [in the region]. India condemns all forms of terrorism. We have always advocated a peaceful resolution of all disputes.” Later, the President told Israel’s Leader of the Opposition, Isaac Herzog, “Violence is not a solution to any crisis. Violence achieves nothing but more violence. We in India believe in a principle of live and let live.” What great new ideas!

Why, though, did President Mukherjee say so only in Israel? Apparently, he remained completely silent on the issue of terrorism when he visited the Palestinian Authority (PA) a day or two earlier. In Ramallah, he just reasserted India’s position that New Delhi remained committed to the Palestinian cause, and supported a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It would have been more helpful if President Mukherjee had stressed his gospel of peace in the Palestinian territories, not Israel. Ever since its creation in 1948, Israel has believed in peaceful co-existence with Palestine. The successive offers of peace from Jerusalem have always supported this policy. During President Mukherjee’s visit to Israel, its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said, “Israel wants peace, I want peace. I am interested in launching negotiations immediately, without preconditions. In order for this to happen, the terror incidents will have to stop and the Palestinians will have to recognize the State of Israel.”

In contrast, not only has the Palestinian leadership never believed in peaceful co-existence, but it has constantly indulged in racist incitement, and often violence, to try to eliminate Israel. It was, in fact, to stem this violence that Israel was forced to build a defensive barrier, to successfully forestall more attacks.

The Palestinian leadership, including the Palestinian Authority, may refer to peace and co-existence on some diplomatic occasions, but they preach and practice non-stop hatred and violence against Israelis and Jews. Palestinian leaders have done a lot to whip up this violence but little to stop it. They have, instead, been saying things that would worsen the situation. On September 16, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said, “Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shaheed [martyr] will reach Paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.”

On October 13, during a speech broadcast live on Palestinian television, Abbas accused Israelof “attacking holy places.” He said Israel’s “rejection” of peace and continued building of Jewish West Bank settlements were to blame for the current wave of violence. Palestinians “will not agree to the continuation of the situation on our lands…” Al-Aqsa [on the Temple Mount that is sacred also to Jews, as the location of the two destroyed Jewish Temples] is our right as Palestinians and as Muslims and no one else has a right there.” The Palestinians would not agree to any change in the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but the Israelis had never suggested one.

In his recent speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Abbas fraudulently said:

“As long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements (the 1993 Oslo Accords) signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them.” During the same speech, Abbas accused Israel of exacerbating tensions on the Temple Mount, citing “extremist Israeli group incursions on the Al-Aqsa mosque.”

The Palestinian leadership may refer to peace and co-existence on some diplomatic occasions, but they preach and practice non-stop hatred and violence against the Israelis and the Jews.

The misguided Palestinians, inspired by ISIS and armed with knives and firebombs, are following them. They are on a killing spree.

On October 15, 2015, Palestinian rioters in the West Bank city of Nablus set fire — again — to a holy site, Joseph’s Tomb. The tomb is believed by Jews to house the remains of Joseph, the son of the biblical patriarch Jacob. This tomb had also been previously set ablaze and ransacked in 2000. As the conflict in the region turns from bad to worse, the terrorist outfit Hamas is declaring yet another “day of rage” against Israel.

According to a recent report, the recent spate of Palestinian terror attacks throughout Israel, especially in Jerusalem, has also been the work of Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel. Hamas is stoking the violence in the West Bank, while trying to keeping a lid on the violence in Gaza.

The report quotes Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, as saying that Palestinian Authority chief Abbas is not actively encouraging terrorism. He is “even instructing his security forces to prevent terror attacks as much as possible.” However, members of the Abbas-led Fatah party — including so-called moderates — have been actively supporting terrorists. Senior PA and PLO officials “are part of the incitement campaign,” according to the Shin Bet. Abbas’s own Fatah party has been glorifying the violence and praising those who carry out the violence against the Israelis. Fatah has also been distributing leaflets honoring terrorists that include photos of Abbas as well as the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

It is Palestine, not Israel that needs the gospel of peace, Mr. President.

Jagdish N. Singh is a senior Indian journalist based in New Delhi, India.

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