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Latest News in Israel – 11th December

Video: It Is an American Right to Decide Where Its Embassy Will Be Located

Amb. Dore Gold told StandWithUs in San Diego this week: “I don’t believe that the violence that is being threatened by various groups and organizations happens spontaneously. Violence occurs because someone is planning the violence….If the Palestinian side seeks violence against Israel, or violence against the United States, we should observe that and we should do everything in our power to neutralize it.”

“We have to be very firm that we reject the use of violence for what is an American right, to decide where its embassy will be located, and to decide that it will be located in the capital of Israel.”

Security guard seriously wounded in Jerusalem terror stabbing

A Palestinian terrorist stabbed a security guard in the chest,  seriously wounding him, at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on Sunday, before being tackled by police and a passerby, officials said,

Graphic video footage from the scene showed the terrorist slowly handing his belongings to the security guard, who was checking travelers at the door to the station, before suddenly taking out a knife and plunging it into the guard’s chest.

The terrorist then tried to flee the scene, but a police officer and civilians chased after him and tackled him to the ground. Police denied media reports that the terrorist had been shot or killed. He was taken into custody for further questioning.

Medics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service said they tried to stop the bleeding and applied bandages during the five-minute ambulance ride to the hospital.

The victim, 46, was taken to the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment where doctors were battling to stabilize his condition and save his life, said Dr. Ofer Merrin, the head of trauma center.

“The knife, unfortunately, hit his heart. His condition has stabilized, but I cannot say that there’s not threat to his life because, like I said, he’s in serious condition,” the doctor said, adding that he was unconscious and connected to a respirator.

Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan blamed the Palestinian Authority for inciting terror attacks.

“This afternoon’s terror attack in Jerusalem is a direct result of the ongoing incitement to terror by the PA and Fatah, which is working with Hamas to instigate violence,” Erdan said.

“Abu Mazen continues to demonstrate that he is not a true partner for peace, and now that he has established a unity government with Hamas , he is responsible for Hamas’ murderous incitement as well. I am praying for the quick recovery of the security guard who was wounded in the attack,” he said referring to Abbas by his nickname.

According to the Shin Bet security service, the suspected terrorist is a 24-year-old Palestinian from the northern West Bank, near the city of Nablus.

He was later identified by Palestinian media as Yasin Abu al-Qar’a.

The 24-year-old Palestinian had a permit allowing him to work in the so-called “seam region,” surrounding the West Bank, but not inside Israel proper, the Shin Bet said.

He had no known terrorist ties, the security service added.

After he was subdued, the suspect was stripped to ensure he did not have a suicide vest or other weapon hidden under his clothes. Officers at the scene recovered the knife that was used in the attack.

The area around the bus station was closed off following the attack, but was later reopened to traffic.

Jerusalem Police Commissioner Yoram Halevi praised the officers and civilians who captured al-Qar’a. “Their quick reaction led the arrest of the terrorist in a matter of seconds, and preventing further attacks on innocent people,” he said.

The stabbing comes amid heightened tensions in the region, after Palestinian groups called for mass demonstrations and a violent uprising in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In light of the unrest and potential for violence, additional police officers have been deployed throughout the city of Jerusalem. (the Times of Israel)

IDF neutralizes Hamas terror tunnel on Gaza border

The IDF neutralized an attack tunnel on Saturday night that had been dug under Israel’s border with Gaza, the military announced Sunday.

The tunnel, believed to have been dug by the terrorist group Hamas, was dug several hundred meters into Israeli territory from the Khan Younis area of Gaza.

The announcement, cleared by Israeli censors who had previously barred reports of detection work around the central Gaza border, followed a surge of Palestinian unrest in response to last week’s U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The discovery of the tunnel comes just over a month after Israel detonated a similar cross-border attack tunnel dug by Islamic Jihad.

The latest tunnel, like its predecessors, was uncovered by the Israeli military with the help of advanced technological tools complemented by intelligence and operational efforts.

The tunnel destroyed Saturday was in advanced stages of completion, much closer to being operational than the Islamic Jihad tunnel that was destroyed a month earlier. The opening of the tunnel, which was not yet complete, was situated in an agricultural area inside Israel, several kilometers from any Israeli community.

The tunnel was not detonated, like the last tunnel that was discovered, but was neutralized in a “quiet” manner, to avoid being heard in Gaza.

After the news of the neutralization was made public Sunday, IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis remarked: “Hamas’ tunnel project suffered a devastating blow tonight. Over the last few weeks, we have been working to pinpoint the exact location of the tunnel. We gained full control over the tunnel and tonight we neutralized it permanently.”

The IDF stressed that the operation was conducted entirely within Israeli territory, without any entry into Gaza. Manelis noted in addition that there were no known Palestinian casualties as a result of the operation.

“We have a system, which takes time,” Manelis added. “But the results are significant.”

“The tunnel posed no threat to the citizens of Israel. It was kilometers away from any residential area,” he said. “But this was a blatant and obvious violation of Israeli sovereignty.

“Hamas is responsible for everything that comes out of the Gaza Strip – in the air, in the sea and underground. We will not allow our sovereignty to be compromised in any way. We will take decisive action against this flagship Hamas project. I advise anyone who chooses to challenge Israeli sovereignty to take the cost into account. The tunnels will turn into death traps,” Manelis pledged.

Sources in the military reported that at this stage, no weapons have been found inside the tunnel, but added that the tunnel had not been fully searched yet. According to Manelis, the construction of the tunnel was at a very high standard, equipped with electricity, communications equipment and a ventilation system.

“Hamas views tunnels as extremely important,” he said.

A network of Gaza tunnels allowed Hamas gunmen to blindside Israel’s superior military during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, and Israel has since stepped up work on countermeasures.

Manelis also noted that Saturday’s operation had been scheduled weeks ago and was not linked in any way to the American recognition of Jerusalem or the consequent unrest. (Israel Hayom)

Two Palestinians dead, scores injured in clashes with Israeli forces

Thousands of Palestinians held protests rallies and riots across the West Bank on Friday to vent their anger over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

According to the Red Crescent two Palestinians were killed and 254 were injured as of 4 p.m. The majority, 178 protestors suffered from tear gas inhalation. Another 52 Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets and 11 by live bullets.

As of Friday afternoon, the IDF counted around 30 violent riots involving 3,000 Palestinians that broke out across the West Bank in places such as Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Al Arub, Tulkarm, Kalandiya and Beit Ummar.

During those riots Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails and stones at IDF and Border Police troops, who responded with riot dispersal methods, including tear gas and stun grenades as well as firing warning shots in the air.

Six rioters were arrested, the IDF said.

On his Facebook page the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai urged the Palestinians in Arabic not to play into the hands of extremists.

“Interested extremists want to ferment the street with lies and distortions because this is a religious war, and in the end a violent reality will only harm the Palestinian public,” Mordechai said.

“I urge you not to let the extremists destroy the Christmas holidays, the tourists on your way to you, and the silence without which a significant positive blossom may be stuck or lost.”

He assured them that the status of the holy places in the city, including the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif and not changed.

“Israel preserves these sites and provides access to them and anyone who says otherwise is a liar,” Mordechai said.

Palestinian protesters react to tear gas fired by Israeli troops during clashes as Palestinians call for a “day of rage” in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah

Clashes also broke out in Gaza along the border with Israel, after Palestinians rolled burning tires and threw rocks at the IDF stationed there.

Some 53 Palestinians were injured and two people were killed, according to the Red Crescent.

The Health Ministry identified one of the dead as Mahmoud al-Masri, age 30.

The IDF said, ”During the riots IDF soldiers fired selectively towards two main instigators and hits were confirmed.”  (Jerusalem Post)

Hamas says Israel responsible for Gaza escalation as two killed in IAF strike

On Saturday Hamas blamed Israel for any escalation in violence, after two members of the terror group were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas training camp in the Strip.

“Israel bears full responsibility for any results of the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem. “Yesterday, the spark of the intfada was lit and it will continue to blaze until we achieve our aim,” he said, refering to widespread Palestinain protests against  against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel launched a series of air strikes after terror groups in Gaza fired several rockets into Israel. Some were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, but one landed in a residential area of the town of Sderot, without causing injuries.

In one of the IAF strikes on a Hamas base in Nusseirat, located in the central Gaza Strip, two Palestinians were killed. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza named the men as Mahmud al-Atal, 28 and Mohammed al-Safdi, 30.

It said that their bodies were only recovered several hours after the pre-dawn strike.  The terror group later confirmed the dead men were members of it’s military wing.

The strike followed three rocket attacks Friday night from Gaza into southern Israel.

“Today… in response to the rockets fired at southern Israeli communities throughout yesterday, Israel air force aircraft targeted four facilities belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip,” an English-language army statement said on Saturday.

It said the targets were “two weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse, and a military compound.”

“In each target, several components were hit,” it added.

Israeli strikes on Hamas facilities on Friday night wounded 14 people, among them women and children, the Hamas medical services said.

An injured Palestinian man arrives at a hospital to receive treatment following an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on December 8, 2017 .(AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

They followed three rocket attacks during Friday’s Palestinian “day of rage” over Trump’s decision.

In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

The move was hailed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.

In one attack, a rocket hit the southern Israeli city of Sderot although Israeli public radio said it did not explode and did not cause any casualties.

The Israeli military said that its Iron Dome air defense system intercepted an earlier rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave.

It said it later detected a second missile launch, but had not found evidence that it had reached Israeli territory.

The military retaliated Friday with air strikes on what it said were two targets.

“In response to the projectiles fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip earlier today, Israel air force aircraft targeted a Hamas training compound and an ammunition warehouse in the Gaza Strip,” an English-language statement said.

Gaza security officials said that both targets were in the vicinity of Beit Lahiya, in the northern part of the strip, close to the border with Israel.

A previously unknown Salafist group calling itself the Salahedin Brigades claimed responsibility for one of the attacks.

But the Israeli army said it held Hamas responsible for all “hostile activity” originating from the territory under its control. (the Times of Israel)

Defiant Netanyahu travels to ‘lion’s den’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left on Saturday night for a two-day trip to Paris and Brussels, going from the warmth of US President Donald Trump’s embrace of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to the cold of what one diplomatic official described as the “lion’s den.”

Outside of the Muslim world, the capitals of Western Europe have been the most critical of Trump’s decision, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling it “regrettable,” and the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini saying that it “has the potential to send us backward to even darker times than the ones we are already living in.”

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Macron in Paris on Sunday, and with Mogherini, as well as the 28 EU foreign ministers meeting for their monthly meeting, in Brussels on Monday.

Before boarding his plane, Netanyahu said that while he respects Europe, “I am not prepared to accept a double standard from it. I hear voices from there condemning President Trump’s historic statement but I have not heard condemnations of the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it.”

The premier said he was “not prepared to accept this hypocrisy,” and that at the EU forum “I will present Israel’s truth without fear and with head held high.”

Netanyahu was last in Paris in July, when he met Macron during events commemorating the round-up of French Jews during the Holocaust. The two men also spoke on the phone in late November about the crisis in Lebanon.

An Israeli prime minister has not traveled to Brussels, the heart of the EU, in 22 years.

Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, and the ramifications of the policy shift, are expected to be a dominant issue during the meetings. Various EU leaders have slammed Trump for the Jerusalem-recognition move, saying that by doing so he has taken Israel’s side on the Jerusalem issue.

The EU has for years adopted the Palestinian position on the matter, saying east Jerusalem needs to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Despite Mogherini’s tough words about the recognition, the EU foreign ministers did not immediately issue a condemnation of the move, because of opposition from Hungary and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic – a strong ally of Israel inside the EU – followed Trump’s recognition by announcing that it was recognizing west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists in Paris protested on Saturday against Netanyahu’s visit, holding Palestinian flags and pictures of Macron branded as an “accomplice.” Protests also took place in numerous capitals over the weekend, including in Berlin, Beirut, London, Mogadishu, Amman and Tehran, as well as in Istanbul.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted a presidential source as saying that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Macron spoke by phone on Saturday and agreed to “close cooperation” on the Jerusalem issue.

According to Huriyet, the two presidents “agreed to continue efforts to convince the US to reconsider its decision.”

Erdogan has called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul on Wednesday to discuss the matter. Observers in Jerusalem say that the Turkish president is trying to “ride” the issue into a leadership position on the Arab and Muslim street, similar to what he did following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 when he became the temporary darling of the Muslim world for his tough rhetoric and confrontational approach to Israel.

Erdogan also spoke on the phone with the presidents of Lebanon, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan on Saturday regarding the issue. Israel has strong ties with both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

One senior diplomatic official said that Netanyahu’s visit to Paris and Brussels will undoubtedly be “hot,” and that the prime minister is “furious” at Mogherini for her comments.

According to assessments in Jerusalem, there are influential voices in the EU saying that this is an opportunity to “provide an alternative” and to initiate a peace plan of their own, perhaps reviving the French initiative that died earlier this year when presidents François Hollande of France and Barack Obama of the US left office.

Netanyahu, according to diplomatic sources, has sought a meeting with all the EU foreign ministers for months, but had to overcome initial skepticism on their part.

He is expected to “stand up” to the Europeans, criticizing their “obsession” over the settlements and telling them that they are feeding Palestinian intransigence by giving the impression that a solution can be imposed on Israel from the outside.

Mogherini announced last week that she invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet the foreign ministers at their monthly parley next month.  (Jerusalem Post)

Three wounded as bus pelted with stones after Israeli-Arab protest

Three people were lightly wounded Saturday evening when a bus came under a stone-throwing attack after a demonstration in Wadi Ara against the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Stones were thrown at a bus, the bus driver was lightly injured,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. “Two people were arrested at the scene for being involved in it.”

Reports said the driver was wounded by glass shards and evacuated to the hospital and that two passengers were lightly wounded and treated at the scene near the town of Arara. The reports added that stones were also thrown at police vehicles and that a motorcycle belonging to Yediot Aharonot was damaged.

Rosenfeld declined to say how many people were involved in the stone-throwing, but he said reports that they were masked were inaccurate. “This was a localized incident,” he said.

During the demonstration, protesters blocked Route 65 South before being vacated by police. “It was reopened very quickly by police,” Rosenfeld said.

Meanwhile in the Negev, a protest against the US move was held in Rahat that drew about 100 people. Small protests were held Saturday in Tira and Tamra.

A larger protest in Umm el-Fahm, also in Wadi Ara, on Friday, which organizers said drew several thousands of people, ended without incident. “The main message was rejecting Trump’s decision and emphasizing the rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem and solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for independence,” said MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List), who spoke at the event.

“The Trump declaration is comparable to the Balfour Declaration,” Jabareen told The Jerusalem Post. “A country gives something it doesn’t own to a party that doesn’t deserve it.”

He said the position of his party, Hadash (one of the four parties that make up the Joint List), is that Jerusalem should be the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state, whether divided between east and west or through an arrangement that will keep it united.

The jubilant reaction of many Israeli Jews to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and plans to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv has heightened the feelings of alienation of Israeli Arab leaders, who insist that the eastern part of the city should become capital of an independent Palestinian state.

“I don’t know what all the ecstasy is about,” said MK Goumha Azbarga (Joint List). “A peace arrangement is in everyone’s interest. Netanyahu and the Right are dancing but the people who live here aren’t Trump and the Americans, it’s us together. This is bad for everyone. The sane people think of this differently than Netanyahu and are not in ecstasy.

“This blocks the way to any peaceful settlement and we want a peaceful settlement,” Azbarga said. “It has a bad impact on the Muslim and Arab worlds and also on the Palestinian issue, which is in everyone’s interest to resolve.”

Azbarga spoke to the Post after participating in the Rahat protest.

Israeli Arab leaders are planning a protest in Tel Aviv opposite the American Embassy on Tuesday, and on Friday a main protest event designed to draw people from throughout the country is planned for Sakhnin.

Meanwhile, MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) took strong issue with the response of his party leader Avi Gabbay to Trump’s move. Gabbay told a television interviewer: “A united Jerusalem is more important than peace because a united Jerusalem is the symbol of the people of Israel.”

Bahloul said, “Peace is the loftiest value that a politician and a human should strive for. I am sorry he made this pronouncement.”

“There is nothing like peace. If we solve the issue of Jerusalem [unilaterally] and war breaks out on all the fronts, what have we done? There will be endless casualties and tension. What will we have done to ourselves and future generations? We are adopting a recipe for war instead of for peace.”

Bahloul said that Trump “should not have made such a declaration because Jerusalem will always be the capital of two states even if the Palestinian state has not yet arisen.”

“With his declaration, he takes a one-sided position that harms the chances of the other side to establish its state and harms ‘two states for two peoples.’ He is cutting off hope from the Palestinians.”

Of the clashes, rocket attacks and air strike over the weekend, Bahloul said: “I am worried about anarchy and loss of control over matters despite the sincere attempt by the Palestinian Authority, even in this delicate situation, to create order and stability.”

Trump’s decision, he added, “pushes the Palestinians against the wall. Jordan is pressured and Egypt will also come under pressure. Turkey is making bellicose pronouncements. What do we need all of this for? Instead of convening everyone to the negotiating table, the Americans make provocative declarations.”

“Israel has the right to its capital in west Jerusalem but the Palestinians also have the right to a state with its capital in east Jerusalem,” he said. (Jerusalem Post)

The Real Palestinian Response to Trump’s Jerusalem Speech

by Bassam Tawil                  The Gatestone Institute


By misrepresenting the poster burning “ceremony” as a reflection of widespread Palestinian rage concerning Trump’s policy on Jerusalem, the international media is once again complicit in promoting the propaganda of Palestinian spin doctors. The journalists, including photographers and camera crews, have been handed detailed schedules of events that will take place in different parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

When we sit in our living rooms and watch the news coming out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, let us ask ourselves: How many of these “events” are, in fact, media burlesques? Why are journalists allowing themselves to be duped by the Palestinian propaganda machine, which spews hatred and violence from morning until night?

It is high time for some self-reflection on the part of the media: Do they really wish to continue serving as a mouthpiece for those Arabs and Muslims who intimidate and terrorize the West?

The “rivers of blood” we are being promised are flowing as we speak. Yet, it is the knife that Arabs and Muslims take to one another’s throats that is the source of this crimson current, not some statement made by a US president. Perhaps that could finally be an event worth covering by the roving reporters of the region?

A short three hours after US President Donald Trump phoned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to inform him of his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a number of Palestinian photojournalists received a phone call from Bethlehem.

The callers were Palestinian “activists,” who invited the photographers to come to the city to document an “important event.” When the photographers arrived, they discovered that the “important event” was a handful of Palestinian “activists” who wanted to burn posters of Trump in front of the cameras.

The “activists” waited patiently as the photojournalists and cameramen set up their equipment to get the “important event” on film. Shortly thereafter, the media was abuzz with reports about “angry Palestinian protesters taking to the streets to protest” Trump’s intention to move the embassy to Jerusalem and his recognition of the city as the capital of Israel. The handful of Palestinians who were filmed burning the Trump pictures were made to look as if they were part of a mass protest sweeping Palestinian communities.

The incident represents yet another example of the collusion between the Palestinians and the media, whose representatives are always more than happy to serve as mouthpieces for the Palestinian propaganda machine and provide an open platform for broadcasting Palestinian threats against Israel and the US.

Had the photographers and cameramen not shown up to the erstwhile “spontaneous” poster-burning event, the Palestinian activists would have been forced to quietly slink back to one of Bethlehem’s fine coffee shops.

Yet, there was no worry on that score: the Palestinian activists are well aware that local and foreign reporters are starving for sensationalism — and what better fits the bill than posters of Trump going up in flames in the middle of the birthplace of Jesus, on the eve of Christmas and as thousands of Christian pilgrims and tourists are converging on the city?

By misrepresenting the poster burning “ceremony” as a reflection of widespread Palestinian rage concerning Trump’s policy on Jerusalem, the international media is once again complicit in promoting the propaganda of Palestinian spin doctors. Palestinian leaders and spokesmen strive to create the impression that Trump’s policy regarding Jerusalem will bring the region down in flames. They also seek to send a message to the American people that their president’s policies endanger their lives. In effect, the media has volunteered to serve the Palestinian campaign of intimidation. And the media convergence on the poster-burning farce in Bethlehem is just the beginning.

Now that the Palestinians have managed, with the help of the media, to burn these images into the minds of millions of Americans, they are planning more staged protests. The goal: to terrify the American public and force Trump to rescind his decision regarding the status of Jerusalem. This tactic of intimidation through the media is not new. In fact, it is something that has been happening for decades, largely thanks to the buy-in of the mainstream media in the West.

Now, Palestinian and Western journalists have been invited to cover a series of protests planned by the Palestinians in the coming days and weeks in response to Trump’s policies. The journalists, including photographers and camera crews, have been handed detailed schedules of events that will take place in different parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The journalists have been promised more scenes of burning photos of Trump and US flags. Some of the journalists have even received tips as to the locations where “clashes” are supposed to take place between Palestinian rioters and Israel Defense Forces soldiers. In other words, the journalists have been told precisely where they need to be in order to document Palestinians throwing stones at the soldiers — and the predicted the IDF response.

Here is the funny part. If, for whatever reason, the cameras are a no-show, the “activists” are likely to be as well. In the Palestinian world, it is all about manipulating the media and recruiting it in favor of the cause. And the cause is always bashing Israel — with bashing Trump not far behind.

Yes, the Palestinians will protest in the coming days against Trump. Yes, they will take to the streets and throw stones at IDF soldiers. Yes, they will burn pictures of Trump and US flags. And yes, they will try to carry out terror attacks against Israelis.

But when we sit in our living rooms and watch the news coming out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, let us ask ourselves: How many of these “events” are, in fact, media burlesques? Why are journalists allowing themselves to be duped by the Palestinian propaganda machine, which spews hatred and violence from morning until night? And, why are the journalists exaggerating and compounding the Palestinian threats for violence and anarchy?

First, many of the journalists want to appease their readers and editors by offering them stories that reflect negatively on Israel. Second, some of the journalists believe that writing anti-Israel stories paves the way for them to win awards from assorted professed “virtue-signaling” organizations. Third, many journalists believe that writing anti-Israel reports give them access to so-called “liberals” and a supposedly “enlightened” coterie who romanticize being “on the right side of history.” They do not want to see that 21 Muslim states have been trying for many decades to destroy one Jewish state; instead, they appear to think that if journalists are “liberal” and “open-minded,” they need to support the “underdog,” who they believe are “the Palestinians.” Fourth, many of the journalists see the conflict as being between bad guys (supposedly the Israelis) and good guys (supposedly the Palestinians) and that it is their duty to stand with the “good guys,” even if the “good guys” are engaged in violence and terrorism.

Recently, more than 300 Muslim worshipers were massacred by Muslim terrorists while praying in a mosque in Sinai, Egypt. That tragedy was probably covered by fewer journalists than the orchestrated Trump-poster episode in Bethlehem. Where was the outcry in the Arab and Islamic world? Now, Arabs and Muslims are talking about “days of rage” in protest against Trump. Why were there no “days of rage” in the Arab and Islamic countries when more than 300 worshipers, many of them children, were massacred during Friday prayers?

It is high time for some self-reflection on the part of the media: Do they really wish to continue serving as a mouthpiece for those Arabs and Muslims who intimidate and terrorize the West?

Journalists are actively colluding with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to create the false impression that World War III will erupt if the US embassy is moved to Jerusalem. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians have been massacred since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” more than six years ago. They were killed by Muslim terrorists and other Arabs. The bloodshed continues to this day in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

So, make no mistake about it: the “rivers of blood” we are being promised are flowing as we speak. Yet, it is the knife that Arabs and Muslims take to one another’s throats that is the source of this crimson current, not some statement made by a US president. Perhaps that could finally be an event worth covering by the roving reporters of the region?

The Chaotic Arab World Has Nothing to Offer Israel

by Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar                     BESA Center    (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies)

The Chaotic Arab World Has Nothing to Offer Israel

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israel should not do the bidding of the divided and bankrupt Arab world and strive to contain Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions at an exorbitant human and material cost. Nor should it trust its Arab neighbors to offer genuine peace once the Iranian threat is eliminated.

Behavioural science recognizes two types of response to tense or threatening situations facing loosely connected groups. The first is characterized by the group’s uniting under a charismatic leader who radiates power, wisdom, organizational acumen, and the ability to protect his followers. Provided such a leader is available, this kind of group forms a united front and prepares for the struggle against the looming threat. The opposite occurs when there is no such leader to be found. In the resulting mayhem, members betray one another and try to escape to the other side in order to save themselves. In that second scenario, the individuals in the group couldn’t care less if the rest of the group goes to hell.

The second scenario is an exact description of the current situation in the Arab world, in which Iran has become a major threat. After years of trying to extend its control over the Arab nations, Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions grew by leaps and bounds when the two major world powers joined forces to empower it. Under President Obama, US actions strengthened Iran, allowed it to develop nuclear weapons (the real meaning of the 2015 agreement), ignored its ballistic missile development program, handed it vast sums of money, and allowed it to sign lucrative contracts – all while ignoring Tehran’s  involvement in local wars and support for world terror.

Moscow has been Tehran’s partner for years through a complex array of agreements and joint initiatives. It supplied nuclear power stations for electricity production, thereby granting the Iranians the ability to acquire knowledge and experience in nuclear science; handed over its missile technology; worked with Iran to regulate the world natural gas market (Russia, Iran, and Qatar are the world’s three largest gas suppliers); and joined forces with Tehran in the Syrian civil war in an attempt to save the Assad regime.

The EU followed the US and Russia in their promotion of Iranian interests, encouraging its members to join the lucrative Iranian contract-signing queue. (In truth, a good number of European states already had a history of ignoring economic sanctions imposed on Tehran by the West.) US Intelligence knew exactly what was going on but said nothing – or, to be more accurate, was silenced by the Obama administration.

Other economic giants took part in the Iran festival. China never quite understood why it should limit is economic ties to Tehran; nor did India find it a problem to maintain wide-ranging business interests in the country.

The Arab world, from Iraq in the east to Morocco in the west, from Syria in the north to Yemen in the south, has been noting the growing Shiite advance with undisguised apprehension. Sunni Muslim states such as Turkey and Pakistan (in fact, most Sunni Muslims) are anxious, but are reacting to the situation by collapsing instead of unifying and working together.

This collapse is both internal and external in every country, resulting in endless arguments about how each nation should react to the state of emergency. The question is whether it is better to act against Iran in some way – economically, politically, militarily – or end the problem by yielding to Tehran and saving lives.

Qatar threw in the towel years ago. The emirate shares a gigantic gas field with Iran, where they produce gas in partnership and share the huge profits. Qatar’s behavior infuriates the Saudis because the emirate is Arab, Sunni, and Wahhabi, as is the Saudi royal family, but has nevertheless stabbed the Saudis in the back. Saudi furor at Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and for the shenanigans of Al Jazeera are nothing compared to its anger over Qatari cooperation with Iran.

The Sunni minority in Iraq, once the country was freed in 2003 by the US-led international coalition from Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship, saw the government handed over to the Shiite majority on a silver platter (made in the West and covered in the blood of American and Western soldiers) before being caught in the Iranian net. Tehran now controls politicians, parties, army officers, militias, and industries in Iraq. It has thus reestablished the hegemony it had in eastern Mesopotamia before the Arabs defeated the Sassanian Persian Empire’s forces in Qadisiya, a city in southern Iraq, in November 636 – 1,381 years ago.

The Persians never forgave the Arabs for this defeat. The ayatollahs see Iran’s takeover of Iraq as an act of historic justice and long overdue revenge on the Arabs, whom they continue to consider primitive illiterates.

Syria, another Arab state, became an Iranian stooge after being totally destroyed by a blood-soaked civil war that led to the deaths of over half a million people, most of whom were Sunni. They died so Shiite Islam could annex their land as well. The Iranians owe a debt of gratitude to the Russian and Christian unbelievers who did the dirty work of eliminating the opposition, right down to its women and children.

Lebanon, another Arab state with a large Shiite population (possibly the majority by now due to its own demographics and the flight of Sunni Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Alawites from its borders) has an armed-to-the-teeth, Iranian-created and -controlled militia, Hezbollah, the fighting strength of which is greater than that of the Lebanese army. Iran has effectively controlled Lebanon for 35 years. The world knew, watched, and remained silent.

Yemen, another Arab state with a large Shiite population, was never really united. It was always divided by the different tribal, ethnic, and ideological loyalties of its population. That allowed Tehran to establish a state within a state with a well-equipped army that took over the capital and exiled the country’s president and government to Saudi Arabia. Iran now threatens international navigation in the Red Sea and the Mandeb Straits, essential passages connecting Europe, the Persian Gulf (with its oil and gas), and eastern Asia, with its merchandise and raw products.

Iran has even infiltrated the Palestinian Authority by supporting the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terror organizations. Erdoğan’s Turkey, too, has joined the list of states that do Tehran’s bidding and try to find favor in its eyes.

Iran has managed to gain control over the entire Muslim east, country by country, despite tough sanctions imposed by the West. In the process, it has caused much tension in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Emirates, Israel, and other Mediterranean states. That tension has a negative effect on the internal workings of these states, and the recent Saudi purges are a corollary of it.

An acrimonious debate is raging within the Saudi royal family on the way the monarchy has responded to the Iranian threat in general and the Iranian takeover of Yemen in particular, a development that poses an immediate threat to the Saudis, who have had rockets launched in their direction. The war in Yemen, like the support for the defeated Syrian rebels, has cost the Saudi treasury billions of dollars so far and if continued, will leave the country on the verge of bankruptcy.

Concurrent with this debate is the controversy over Saudi succession. Crown Prince Muhammad, son of the reigning monarch Salman, is 32 years old and has no administrative, political, or military expertise. There is a slew of much older cousins who have a good deal more experience than he does in the economic, administrative, and political spheres. In a traditional tribal society, age, experience, maturity, and a suitable personality are what make someone a legitimate leader, and Muhammad is not legitimate in the eyes of many of his cousins. It is quite possible that a putsch is in the making. He has, however, won the first round by arresting or eliminating several potential critics.

Tehran’s pressure on Riyadh destabilizes the monarchy. That is what is happening in Lebanon as well, where the airing of the government’s internal problems led Prime Minister Hariri to resign (temporarily). The situation in Iraq is also far from tranquil; angry arguments are raging about continued Iranian interference in the running of the country.

In response to the state of internal and inter-Arab mayhem, the Saudis called an emergency meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers. The Arab League is powerless. This paralytic organization has been unable to save a single Syrian, Iraqi, Yemenite, Libyan, Algerian, or Sudanese Arab in all the years of civil strife that have ravaged those countries.

Many Israelis have been encouraging their government to enter into an accord with the “Moderate Sunni Nations” because “Israel is not the problem, it is the solution.” This is based on a deep lack of understanding of the Arab way of doing things and complete ignorance about what is really going on in the countries surrounding Israel.

The only conclusion Israel should reach from the Middle East’s sad state of affairs is this: There is no one to rely on in the splintered Sunni Arab world, a world that is incapable of uniting against the Iranian threat. The Arabs betray one another, and some of them are tied to Tehran with every fiber of their beings. Are they really going to be loyal to whatever agreement they make with the Jews? They may ask the Israelis to save them from the clutches of the Iranian threat, but after they have done so at a high cost to their own sons and daughters, citizens, infrastructure, and cities, that “Moderate Sunni Axis” will treat the Jewish state exactly as it treated the Iraqi Kurds after they shed the blood of over a thousand male and female fighters to rescue the Arabs from ISIS. They threw them and their aspirations for independence into the dustbin of petty politics, interests, cynicism, and treachery.

Israel’s fate will be just the same once the Iranian threat has been eliminated from whatever is left of the destroyed, bankrupt, and divided Arab world. Israel should not spend a plug nickel in the quest for peace with a world as fragmented as the Arab world. Not one square centimeter of land for a worthless piece of paper containing the word “peace.”

Israel should ask the Arabs a single question: What are you giving us in exchange for our agreeing to make peace with you? The answer is clear. Apart from poverty, hatred, treachery, neglect, cynicism, and hypocrisy, the Arab world has nothing to offer Israel, because these are its only commodities. These are Israel’s neighbors, and when Israelis begin to understand this, they will be capable of dealing with those neighbors as they should.

Trump’s Speech: A Seismic Event and a Historic Watershed – Melanie Phillips (Jerusalem Post)

This is where blackmail and intimidation are faced down. This is where appeasement ends. President Trump’s speech recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has signaled that, for America, the century-long Arab attempt to destroy Israel’s legitimacy – the essence of the Middle East conflict – has failed. The incendiary threats of vengeful violence should be taken seriously. But the Arabs need no excuse to try to murder Israelis.

Appeasing those who threaten violence doesn’t reduce it. It encourages it. The more concessions are offered, the more the Palestinians believe even greater violence will deliver them final victory. Britain, France and Germany have obligingly once again genuflected to the men of violence by disapproving of Trump’s speech. If they had said they, too, would now recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the threat of violence would lose much of its point.

The Arab war against Israel is not a conflict about the division of land. It is a war of extermination based on a refusal to accept that the Jews have any right to that land. And Jerusalem is central to that refusal. They deny the Jews any rights to Jerusalem at all. That’s because they need to suppress what they can never admit: that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jews’ ancient kingdom which preceded Islam and the Arab and Muslim conquest by many centuries.

Trump was in error when he said Jerusalem was at the heart of three great religions. It is the Jews alone for whom Jerusalem is at the core of their religious faith. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran; Muslims pray toward Mecca, their holiest city.

Far from the Israeli presence there being illegal, the Jews are the only people who are entitled to the city as a matter of international law, historical truth and natural justice. Which is why the refusal by Western countries to recognize the unique Jewish right to Jerusalem has been so malevolent.

Those who say Trump’s move makes peace less likely couldn’t be more wrong. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is the essential step without which peace can never be achieved.

The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK).