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3rd November – Latest News in Israel

80-year-old woman among 3 stabbed in Rishon Lezion terror attack

Three people were wounded Monday afternoon in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian in the central city of Rishon Lezion, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv.

Two people — a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s — were in serious condition, the Magen David Adom rescue service said. The third victim, 26, was lightly hurt.

The attacker, identified by authorities as a 19-year-old Palestinian man from Hebron, stabbed the 40-year-old man from behind on a bus on Tarmab Street, got off the bus and ran to the adjacent Herzl Street, where he stabbed the elderly woman and the young man.

As he ran down Herzl, locals realized what was happening and surrounded the man. He entered a beauty products store and stabbed one of the victims inside, then was locked in when a woman fled from the store and closed the door behind her.

Bystanders converged on the store just as police motorcycle units arrived. Police said they prevented the crowd from hurting or even killing the terrorist.

“The terrorist got off a bus, starting running around with a knife,” said one of the people who cornered the attacker. “People shouted, ‘There’s a terrorist!’ I and five other people saw him and chased after him. We [caught him] and started hitting him in the face [while he held a knife]. We tried to stop him, but he managed to stab two people.”

One city council member who was part of the group that stopped the attacker said he was herded into a store and locked in there by sticks placed on the door handles.

Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur confirmed that during the last minutes of the attack, the crowd has cornered the terrorist in a store. He praised the “fast work of citizens and security services, police and Magen David Adom.”

By the time police arrived, the terrorist had only gotten about 150 meters from the initial stabbing, the mayor said.

“We need to show everyone who tries to hurt us that we’re continuing with our routine,” he added.

Eli Bin, the head of MDA, said the two people in serious condition were evacuated quickly to the nearby Assaf Harofeh Hospital. The man who sustained light wounds was also being evacuated to the hospital.


Magen David Adom medics treat an Israeli in his 40s on a bus in Rishon Lezion shortly after the man was stabbed by a Palestinian from Hebron

Some people were being treated at the scene for shock, he said.

MDA medics Yoni Ohayon and Ophir Partenki described the scene of the attack: “When we arrived at the scene, we saw on Herzl Street, near the bakery, a woman, about 80 years old, lying on the pavement, conscious, and suffering from a bleeding wound in her upper body. We gave her first aid and evacuated her to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in moderate to serious condition.”

Another MDA medic, Nir Babai, describes treating the second casualty of the attack: “On the sidewalk sat a young man, about 26 years old, who was suffering from a stab wound in the leg. We administered initial care and evacuated him to the hospital.”

A third man wounded in the attack was treated by MDA medics Moshe Pinto and Effi Bar: “We were led to a man, about 35 years old, who was lying in a bus with a stab wound to his upper body. He was fully conscious and told us that he noticed a commotion on the bus when he suddenly felt a blow to his back. We administered initial treatment to his stab wounds and evacuated him to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in moderate to serious but stable condition.”

The attacker was taken for interrogation by police.

Dozens of Palestinian stabbing attacks have targeted Israelis in recent weeks in a wave of violence that also saw clashes between Palestinian protesters and IDF and Border Police forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem.                        (The Times of Israel)

Terrorist shot after stabbing elderly man in Netanya

An approximately 70-year-old man was stabbed and seriously wounded in a suspected terror attack in Netanya on Monday.

Police said that the assailant was an Arab resident of the West Bank.

A police officer shot the suspect and apprehended him.

Senior MDA medic Raz Levi arrived at the scene, saying “on the sidewalk an approximately 71-year-old-man was laying down, fully conscious, suffering from a stab wound to his upper body.”

According to Levi, the victim said that he was standing in the street when he felt a blow to his back.

The victim was transported to Laniado Medical Center in the city.

Earlier on Monday, a terrorist stabbed and wounded three Israelis in Rishon Lezion. Two of the injured were in serious condition and the third victim suffered light injuries.

The suspect in that earlier attack was also apprehended by police.                       (Jerusalem Post)

Abbas says all of Israel is “occupation”

Abbas: “How long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years (i.e., Israel’s creation), how long? Do you think it can last?”


by Itamar Marcus         Palestinian Media Watch

Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas disclosed his opinion about Israel, speaking last week to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Abbas made it clear that he rejects Israel’s right to exist in any borders as he denounced what he called the Israeli “occupation” of “67 years” – that is, since Israel’s creation in 1948. The PA routinely teaches its children that it sees all of Israel as an “occupation” that will end some day, as Palestinian Media Watch has shown. It is rare that Abbas himself says this in an international forum. Abbas said: “How long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last?” – implying that he sees all of Israel as “an occupation” that rightfully should not “last.”

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, haven’t you wondered: For how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years (i.e., Israel’s creation), how long? Do you think it can last, and that it benefits the Palestinian people?” [UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, official PA TV, Oct. 28, 2015]

Click to view http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=709&fld_id=709&doc_id=16055 Later on in the speech, Abbas repeated that he considers Israel an “occupation” since its creation. He also demonized Israel:

“[The] holy sites which have been desecrated every other second again and again for seven decades now under an occupation that does not quit killing, torturing, looting and imprisoning…”

It should be noted that Abbas’ first statement that he views Israel as an “occupation” since its creation “67 years” ago – did not appear in the transcript of his speech that the official PA news agency WAFA publicized in both English and Arabic. WAFA publicized Abbas’ rejection of the “occupation,” but the next sentence specifying “67 years… Do you think it can last?” did not appear in WAFA’s transcript.

WAFA quoting Abbas’ words:

“Ladies and gentlemen, haven’t you wondered; for how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last?” [WAFA (official PA news agency, English), Oct. 28, 2015]

Abbas’ actual words:

“Ladies and gentlemen, haven’t you wondered; for how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years (i.e., since Israel’s creation), until when? Do you think it can last?”

PA institutions and Abbas’ Fatah movement support this vision, as PMW has documented numerous times.

The PA National Security Forces regularly presents pictures of Israel as “Palestine” on its Facebook page. In the last week alone, the PA Security Forces presented Israeli cities Ashkelon, Haifa and Acre as “occupied”:

Text: “Good morning, the beach of occupied Ashkelon” [Facebook page of the PA National Security Forces, Oct. 27, 2015]

Text: “Good evening, occupied city of Haifa” [Facebook page of the PA National Security Forces, Oct. 25, 2015]

Text: “Good morning, occupied Acre”

[Facebook page of the PA National Security Forces, Oct. 24, 2015]

Similarly, Fatah continues to present all of Israel as “Palestine.” A post this week on the official Fatah Facebook page showed a map of “Palestine” that includes all of Israel in addition to the PA areas.

Text: “I love the homeland of the olives, from the letter P to the letter E

(i.e., all of Palestine)” [Official Facebook page of the Fatah Movement, Oct. 25, 2015]

A similar post today with the same declaration showed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a woman and a map of “Palestine” that includes all of Israel.

[Official Facebook page of the Facebook Movement, Oct. 29, 2015]

The following is the excerpt of Abbas’ speech as published by WAFA that is different from his actual speech:

“GENEVA, October 28, 2015 (WAFA)” “Haven’t you wondered; for how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? For how long will our people remain dispossessed of the full and undiminished enjoyment of their rights as protected by international legitimacy, most notably their fundamental right to life and self-determination, and their right to build their independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital as and to live as human beings in accordance with the provisions of international conventions and treaties. Is that too much to ask?”

Click here to view the rest of Abbas’ speech. http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=29689

Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz: We will always live with our sword

The security uncertainty that hovers over Israel will continue, and security challenges won’t vanish overnight, but Israel is strong, and should strive to achieve diplomatic progress with the Palestinians, former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said on Monday.

Speaking at a security conference organized by the Institute for National Security Studies at the Sapir Academic College in Sderot, Gantz said, “Will we forever live by our sword? We definitely will live with our sword. I don’t think our children or grandchildren won’t be soldiers. We must make efforts to try and not live only by our sword, but we will always be with a sword.” “I don’t know if a diplomatic initiative [with the Palestinians] can lead anywhere, but I think it is very important. Either it will succeed, or future generations will know with absolute strategic honesty that there really was an attempt to do things differently,” Gantz added.

“Security challenges don’t let us off the hook from trying,” he added.

Gantz stressed the importance of education, free healthcare and social services, the rule of law and justice, in addition to security issues.

But first, he said, national unity was vital.

“We won’t be able to do this until we carry out a check of ourselves, an all-Israeli check, of who are we, and how do want to look like, before reaching strategic decisions. We need to strengthen components of unity, and not try to sweep away components of disunity, which is what makes us diverse,” Gantz said.

“National unity does not only have to occur when swords are swung at us. Internal unity means that external security issues can be dealt with,” he stated.

Israelis currently lack a good example of a cultural and calm dialogue, Gantz said.

“I’m optimistic because we are good and caring society. There will always be extremists but the big majority [of Israelis] know how to live together.” Gantz, who led the military during the 2014 confict with Hamas, defended Operation Protective Edge, saying it was the “right act in the right hour.” “I think there was correct leadership by the prime minister, the defense minister, the Shin Bet, and military command, despite lots of background noise,” Gantz said.

Gantz praised what he described as “responsibility and stability” displayed by Israel’s leaders during the conflict, adding that the IDF “did things that are very advanced operationally and technologically.” “Of course there are things that have to be improved upon,” Gantz said.

“We have to continue to strive to shorten operations. Even though this is a very significant challenge,” he added.

Looking ahead, Gantz said, “I don’t really know what is going to happen here. In Gaza, as I understand the reality after Operation Protective Edge, Hamas is making a supreme effort to rebuild itself and its capabilities. It is deterred. And it is dealing with internal challenges.” “It is right for us to continue to deter Hamas,” the former chief of staff said.

Nevertheless, conflicts will continue to break out, until the enemy realizes that there is no point in using force, Gantz said.

He described the ongoing series of Palestinian knife terrorist attacks as “mushrooms of hate after the rain. We have to know how to stop them,” Gantz said, praising the Israel Police, the Shin Bet, and IDF for their responses.

“We must, as a society, ensure that we do not give up, that we respond with maximum force to an incident that is dangerous, and minimum force when this passes. It is easy, but not right, to release ourselves from this discussion,” Gantz said.                      (Jerusalem Post)

Jordanian sheikh issues fatwah against killing Jews

A well known Salafi sheikh in Jordan has caused wide outrage in the Muslim world, after issuing a fatwa (Islamic ruling) in a video making the rounds online in which he forbids murdering Jews outside the context of war and clashes.

Sheikh Ali Halabi, head of the Imam al-Albani religious studies center, is seen in the video being asked by a student as to whether it is allowed to murder Jews in “Palestine.”

“Someone who protects you, gives you electricity and water, transfers you money and you work for him and take his money – would you betray him, even if he was a Jew?,” he responds in the video.

In clashes and war killing Jews is fine according the sheikh, “but if you trust him and he trusts you, then it is forbidden to betray him. And therefore you are forbidden to murder him.”

Another student then asked the sheikh if armed IDF soldiers in the streets could be murdered, at which he said: “the same answer. Does a soldier holding a weapon in the street kill every Muslim he sees?” The student responded: “no.”

When asked if IDF soldiers “only attack if they are first attacked?,” the sheikh replied, “I don’t live in Palestine, but that is what the brothers there tell us. That he who does not attack Jews is not attacked in return.”

The sheikh made clear that his statements do not mean that he is not a hostile enemy of the “despised Jews.”

He didn’t want it to seem as if he was “defending the despised Jews. But this is the reality. Because if they would kill everyone they met, nobody would remain and the Palestinians would continue to escape to other countries in the world.”

The video was widely shared on social media, where a backlash was seen as activists condemned the sheikh and his fatwa.

Halabi’s statement brings to mind the case of Sheikh Ahmad Adwan of Jordan, who last year raised a stir by saying Allah gave the land of Israel to the Jews, and that there is no such thing as “Palestine.”

Earlier this year, another Jordanian sheikh declared his support for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount – and was arrested for airing such views by authorities.

Unfortunately, the opinions of the sheikhs appears to be an extreme minority view in Jordan which, despite a peace treaty with Israel, has frequently openly called for Israel’s destruction in mass rallies and statements by political leaders.                                  (Arutz Sheva)

Palestinian report: Israel harvested the corneas of dead terrorist

Israel harvested the corneas from one of the bodies of a terrorist responsible for an attack at the entrance to Jerusalem last month, according to reports by Palestinian media.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health issued an official statement, claiming to have made the discovery at the morgue where the body was being housed.

The attack took place on October 12 on bus line 185. A terrorist sitting in the back of the bus stabbed a soldier, called out “Allahu akbar,” and attempted to steal the soldier’s weapon.

A Jerusalem district police officer who was on the bus at the time heard the terrorist’s scream, ran in the direction of the attacker and attempted to wrestle him to the ground.

Passengers called to the driver to stop and open the doors so they could disembark and alert the police. The police officer held the terrorist and kept him subdued with the help of two other citizens, all the while the terrorist attempted to get hold of the soldier’s weapon and open fire.

Police forces arrived on the scene quickly. As the police worked to take the terrorist into custody, a police officer’s gun fell from its holster and the terrorist attempted to grab it. An officer notice the terrorist with his hand on the gun and shot him with precision and subdued the assailant.                 (Jerusalem Post)

IDF on Mount Hermon preparing for Iran-backed terrorism

IDF units on Mount Hermon, which borders Syria, are preparing to encounter Iranian- backed terrorist attacks, a senior military source said on Sunday.

According to the source, units operating under the command of the Mount Hermon Territorial Brigade have been training to respond to a “combined terrorist attack” that could involve border bombs, rockets, an attempted kidnapping of soldiers and possible anti-tank missile fire.

“There is someone who gets up every morning and asks, how can I carry out an attack on Israel? Most of the time, they run into great difficulties,” the source said.

The terrorists, he stressed, are being orchestrated by the Iranian- led radical axis, which currently controls just one small area bordering Israel, in and around the Syrian Druse village of Khadr.

A variety of Sunni rebels have control of all other areas bordering Israel. On a daily basis, rebel battalions based in nearby abandoned villages such as Bijan, exchange fire with pro-Assad military forces based in Khadr, as the Hermon Brigade watches from the mountain peaks above.

Israel does not wish to be dragged into the Syrian civil war, but it is closely monitoring the rapid changes sweeping the area. Most recently, since Russia began providing air support to the Assad regime, the Syrian army has become more assertive and has retaken several posts on the Syrian Golan lost in previous battles to the rebels.

Meanwhile, a battle for hearts and minds is raging in Khadr. In April, the IAF struck and killed four terrorists from Khadr who crossed into Israel from Syria and planted explosives near an abandoned IDF post. Other past incidents also involved residents of the village.

Yet like all Syrian communities along the border, Israel has also provided hospital treatment to long-suffering civilians from this village who have sustained horrific injuries.

Many residents “understand that Israel is not as terrible as they were led to believe” as a result of these humanitarian acts, the source said.

Nevertheless, the Iranian-led radical axis consisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps., Assad regime loyalist forces and Hezbollah are still very much present in Khadr and could be plotting the next attack.

“The other side thinks carefully about whether it wants to open a front against Israel. We are the fortified wall that will not allow this front to open,” the military source said. “Every breach [of our security] receives a clear answer.”

In the past, the threat was a Syrian army commando raid exploiting foggy weather to seize territory on the Golan.

Today, the source stated, “I’m not thinking about the Syrian commando unit, which is down to a third of its original size, and is busy defending Damascus. The current threats are Iranian-backed terrorist organizations, and this is a different type of threat that requires us to prepare our forces in a different way.”

The IDF has adapted by giving middle- and lower-ranking field officers more autonomy and flexibility and abandoning set, hierarchical military decision-making patterns that no longer fit the asymmetric threat from the other side of the border.

“The threat is changing. It is less static, and more mobile. It changes every day. If we remain fixed in our ways, we will no longer be relevant,” the officer said.

Battalion and company commanders must be familiar with past protocol, but then “reset” them and come up with new ways of dealing with the enemy, while seizing the initiative, he added.

Military units on the Golan Heights work closely with Military Intelligence and receive daily information on enemy activities rather than just big-picture strategic intelligence that once flowed in to the Hermon Brigade.

But, the source said, units on Mount Hermon are preparing for the scenario of attacks that do not come with prior intelligence warnings.

The source spoke two days after Syrian media reports said IAF jets attacked a Hezbollah weapons convoy in Syria, the type of incident that has led to attacks from Syria in the past.     (Jerusalem Post)

As Syria crumbles, Golan Druze seek Israeli citizenship

The fifth year of Syria’s brutal civil war has marked a sharp increase in the number of Druze residents on the Golan Heights seeking Israeli citizenship.

In contrast to the only two requests filed in 2010, the number of Golan Druze seeking citizenship rose to 80 so far in 2015, Channel 1 reported on Thursday.

Citing government statistics, the television report said that some 151 Druze have become naturalized Israeli citizens since the bloody war broke out in Syria in 2011.

According to the report, the majority of the applications have been filed by Druze youths, whose connection to Syria has likely been marred by the violence there.

The Druze have openly sworn allegiance to Syria ever since Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Day War. Many have maintained strong economic, familial and emotional ties with Syria and have remained outwardly loyal to its embattled president, Bashar Assad.

Of the 20,000 Druze residing in the Golan, only a few hundred have accepted Israeli citizenship since it was first offered in 1981.

At the time, Druze leaders declared that anyone who accepted an Israeli passport and cooperated with the “Zionist enemy” would pay the price of religious and social ostracism by exclusion from community life.

Yet, the Druze, members of a mystic sect that broke away from Shiite Islam in the 11th century, are ideologically loyal to the countries in which they reside. Israel’s Druze speak Hebrew and many of the community’s members in the Galilee region serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

The marked increase in applications could be an indication that the community’s 45-year-long loyalty to its Syrian homeland has become fractured by the raging war across the border.

In addition to disillusioned youth, some Golan Heights Druze are embracing Israeli citizenship out of a fear of widespread persecution in Syria if Assad’s regime ­ a government that protected the minority group ­ falls, or is forced out of power.

Druze are considered heretical to Sunni Islam, and have been targeted by the radical al-Nusra Front and Islamic State terrorist groups in recent years in Syria and Turkey.

Members of the Druze community confirmed to the television station the phenomenon was on the rise. But, fearing retaliation in their villages, nobody interviewed for the segment would speak on-camera.                (The Times of Israel)

Israel and Putin’s Russia – A tenuous relationship

There are no rational explanations for Putin’s extraordinary attitude toward Jews, which some have gone as far as to describe as being motivated by philo-Semitism.

by Isi Leibler                 The Jerusalem Post


For over 30 years, my principal public occupation in the global Jewish arena was to promote the struggle for liberation of Soviet Jewry.

This brought me into direct contact with Soviet ministers, officials and apparatchiks, enabling me to appreciate firsthand the obsessive anti-Semitism underlying the Kremlin’s policy toward Israel and the Jews.

This contrasts starkly with current Russian President Vladimir Putin’s positive attitude to Jews in general, despite the fact that he was a former officer of the Soviet secret police agency, the KGB, a body notorious for its anti-Semitism. This is even more extraordinary taking into account the fact that Putin today exploits nationalism as a major element to rally public support. And Russian nationalism, from the time of the czars and heavily reinforced by the Soviets, operated in tandem with a feral anti-Semitism.

There are no rational explanations for Putin’s extraordinary attitude toward Jews, which some have gone as far as to describe as being motivated by philo-Semitism. Some say he was influenced as a youngster by his Jewish German teacher, Mina Yuditskaya, now living in Israel and whom Putin invited for a social chat to the King David Hotel during his last visit.

He may also be highly sophisticated and pragmatic, and having seen the outcome of Soviet anti-Semitism, may have come to a realization that Jewish support would represent an asset at many levels.

Putin has ruthlessly suppressed violent anti-Semitism. He has gone out of his way to attend Jewish functions, such as the opening of a Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, to which he contributed $50 million of state funds and even symbolically personally donated a month’s salary.

He also attended Hanukka celebrations and conveyed warm messages of praise and goodwill to Jews on the advent of the Jewish New Year – utterly unprecedented, especially from a nationalist Russian leader.

It is also astonishing that, despite his strategic involvement and alliance with the Syrians and Iranians, Putin has determinedly kept the channels to Israel open, making a point to personally visit Israel. In fact, in June 2012, Israel was the first country he visited after his election. He frequently speaks warmly about the Jewish state, expressing pride that it contains the largest diaspora of former Russian citizens. At the Western Wall, accompanied by Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, he donned a kippa, which undoubtedly made his Bolshevik predecessors turn in their graves. He also seemed quite indifferent to the rage this created among his Arab allies.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deftly steered a delicate diplomatic course, seeking to retain a good relationship with the Russians without antagonizing the Americans in relation to both Ukraine and Georgia.

No Israeli minister has criticized Putin despite his alliance with Syria and Iran.

Indeed, until recently, Netanyahu managed to persuade Putin to postpone providing the Syrians with the S-300 air defense system, whose deployment would make it far more difficult for Israel to penetrate Syrian airspace in the event of a military confrontation.

However, due to US President Barack Obama’s incredible mismanagement, Putin’s major geopolitical breakthrough has transformed Russia overnight into a dominant power in the Middle East with greater influence in the region than even at its peak during the Cold War. Even Egypt has been alienated by US support for the Muslim Brotherhood to such an extent that it too has moved closer to the Russian camp.

The US has effectively enabled an economically weak Russia to seal an alliance with the Shi’ites, purportedly to combat Islamic State (IS) but in reality concentrating on rescuing Syrian President Bashar Assad, who, despite massive support from Iran and Hezbollah, was close to collapse.

Putin mocked the Americans for trying to promote “democracy” and in so doing creating the vacuum that was rapidly filled by IS. At the UN General Assembly, Putin, speaking about Western support for the so-called Arab Spring, said, “Do you realize what you have done? … Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster – and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.”

In contrast to a bumbling Obama, he emerged as a shrewd and tough strategist who can be relied upon to stand by his allies and confront his enemies.

As a consequence, the situation has become immensely more complicated for Israel and there are logical grounds for concern that Russia’s ongoing confrontation with the US will override Putin’s emotional philo-Semitism. His recent meeting in which he expressed solidarity with Assad in Moscow was hardly reassuring.

But the situation remains far from black and white. Immediately after announcing Russia’s intervention, Putin agreed to a three-hour summit meeting with Netanyahu, who flew to Moscow where parameters were drawn up in order to minimize any possible military overlap and try to protect some of Israel’s security concerns.

Coordination has been maintained at the very highest military levels between both countries, with Russia operating a direct hotline with Yossi Cohen, Israel’s national security adviser, informing him in advance of Russia bombing targets in Syria.

Furthermore, according to Ehud Ya’ari of Channel 2, the Russians have allocated a future role for Israel in their area of influence by offering to buy a substantial chunk of Israel’s newly discovered gas fields and provide military guarantees against Hezbollah attacks on the offshore locations. It is also proposing to export this gas to Europe.

But Israel remains the meat in the sandwich. It must walk on eggshells to avoid alienating the US Congress, which is bitterly opposed to Putin’s global expansionism.

Some predict that Putin is merely taking advantage of the opportunity to establish Russia as a Mediterranean Great Power. He is most unlikely to involve his ground forces after Russia’s ordeal in Afghanistan. Realizing that a complete victory is not in the cards, Putin may secure Assad, settle on a divided Syria and leverage Assad’s retirement in return for US concessions such as easing sanctions relating to Ukraine.

Profoundly conscious of the Iranian regime’s messianic aspirations to wipe Israel off the face of the planet, optimists consider the possibility that the Russians will inhibit the Iranians from directly attacking Israel. They argue that Shi’ite fundamentalists like the Iranians also pose long-term threats to the Kremlin with Russia’s growing and increasingly aggressive Muslim minority which is also being affected by IS – a large proportion of whose fighters originate from Russia and former Soviet countries.

The Netanyahu government is to be commended for its efforts to isolate itself from the conflict. But the situation is volatile and could unravel in the course of intensified superpower confrontations in this region. Israel is also cognizant of potential confrontations with the Russians should they continue to intervene when Iranians seek to transfer advanced missiles to Hezbollah.

However, it is a consolation that all things being even, Putin would prefer not to confront Israel and does not aspire to bring about its destruction, as did the Bolsheviks. However, that could change if Putin were to conclude that Israel represents a major barrier to his objective of creating a new Middle East.

It remains somewhat surrealistic for me to juxtapose Putin’s positive attitude with my experiences with Soviet anti-Semites. Neither I nor any of the refuseniks would have remotely dreamed that, living in Israel, we would witness the visit of a former KGB officer as president of Russia who displays friendship rather than malevolence to the Jewish people. We must pray that this will not be swept aside by realpolitik.

On That ‘Sudden’ Eruption in Palestinian Violence

by Daniel Doron              The Weekly Standard


The recent spike in suicidal terror attacks in Israel by mostly teenage Palestinian Arabs was allegedly sparked by the fire bombing of an Arab house near Jerusalem, and the death of an Arab infant and his parents. Because that horrific arson followed several non-lethal attacks by Jewish fanatics seeking “revenge” for regular fatal attacks by Palestinians, it was assumed that Jews perpetrated the atrocity (though no proof is available). As a result, violent Arab teenagers went on a rampage that lasted some three weeks, mostly in Jerusalem. Many Jews were stabbed to death, while most of the perpetrators were killed.

However, what really prompted these growing solitary teenage attacks was the intensified incitement by the Palestinian media and social networks, which are controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and by Palestinian leaders, notably the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas.

For months now, a drumbeat of murderous propaganda (seldom reported in the international media) has urged Arab adults and children to kill Jews in order to foil their alleged plot to destroy the venerated Al-Aqsa mosque. The mosque, situated on Jerusalem’s holy Mount Moriah, where the first and second Jewish Temples stood, marks the spot from which, according to Muslim tradition, the prophet Mohamed ascended to heaven. “The Jews” the inciters screamed, are plotting to destroy the mosques, and re-build on this hallowed mount their own Temple.

This is actually an old slander. “Save The Al-Aqsa Mosque” has been a rallying cry of radical Arab nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists since 1920, when the British were entrusted by the League of Nations with a mandate over former Ottoman Palestine, in order to establish a Jewish national home there. The Jews were given a small sliver of desert of their ancestral land (Mark Twain described it as “the prince of desolation”), while Arabs received most of the vast former Ottoman territories. The Arabs established 21 new Arab states on an area 650 times that of Israel. In return, their leader, Hussein, the Sheriff of Mecca, agreed not to make any claims on Palestine.

“Kill Jews to save Al-Aqsa” was repeatedly used by Arab leaders to provoke the massacre of innocent Jews, as in 1929 in Hebron, where many members of the ancient Jewish community were butchered and burned alive by their Muslim neighbors. Arabs perpetrated massacres of Jews also in 1921, 1933, 1936-39, and some years in between.

What prompted the Palestinian Authority to intensify its routine incitement this time around was a succession war brewing within the PA between the authority’s unpopular President Abbas, and local Palestinian clan leaders that command the Tanzim terrorist arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Abbas’s age (81), along with his waning power and popularity, offers them an opportunity to get rid of his “Tunisian gang”, before he installs his successor.

To defend himself against accusations of cooperating with Israel (he does, in his struggle with Hamas) Abbas has intensified incitement against Israel, a habitual tactic of shaky Arab dictators desperate to redirect public rage against a foreign enemy: Israel.

It’s a very old strategy. Recently disclosed British documents reveal that local Arabs were encouraged by British agents seeking to perpetuate British control over Palestine to fight the establishment of a Jewish national home from its inception by fomenting, as in India, ethnic and religious strife to divide and rule.

The British appointed a notorious anti-Semite – Husseini – as the Grand Mufti. They gave him control of the considerable treasure of the Muslim religious trusts that he used to finance his terror campaign. Husseini’s terrorists murdered not only Jews, but also most of the Mufti’s Arab political opponents, and heads of rival clans, especially those who sought an accommodation with the Jews. In 1943, Husseini planned with Hitler the extension of the Holocaust to North Africa and the Middle East. He left the Palestinian community leaderless, unable to establish a state when the UN partitioned Palestine in 1948.

The recent explosion of Arab violence is only another phase, then, in a century long war by Islamists to destroy Israel. Incitement as a political strategy is nothing new. Millions of Muslims, Sunni or Shiite, continue to transcend their mortal enmity (evident in the deadly rivalry between the Sunni Al Qaida and Isis and the Shiite Iran and Hezbollah) and unite to destroy tiny Israel.

Sorry Bill, It’s Not Up to Israel

by Jonathan S. Tobin                    Commentary Magazine


He should have known better. Bill Clinton spent the years after he left the White House loudly and bitterly lamenting the fact that Yasir Arafat cost him a Nobel Peace Prize. Clinton hosted a peace summit at Camp David in the summer of 2000 at which Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians an independent state including almost all of the West Bank, a share of Jerusalem and Gaza in exchange for peace. Arafat said no and months later launched a terrorist war of attrition. But in spite of this, Clinton told a huge crowd in Tel Aviv last night that “it is up to you” in order to make peace in the Middle East. Clinton was an honored guest at a peace rally/commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder. President Obama also sent taped remarks along similar lines that were played at the event.

It is all well and good to praise the search for peace. It is quite another to tell them that it is up to them to decide whether there will be peace. Because if there is anything that the last 22 years have taught us it is that it clearly not up to the Israeli people.

According to Clinton:

I always thought the role of the United States was to provide whatever help necessary to ensure Israel’s security, maximize the benefits of peace and minimize the risks. But the decision is yours.

The next step in the magnificent story of Israel… the next step will be determined by whether you decide that Rabin was right, that you have to share your future with your neighbors that you have to stand for peace, that the risk for peace isn’t as severe as the risk of walking away from it. We are praying that you will make the right decision.

Yet, as Clinton knows, Barak repeated the offer the next year, and Ehud Olmert sweetened it in 2008. Both times the Palestinians against refused. Then Benjamin Netanyahu offered withdrawals from most of the West Bank and committed himself to a two-state solution and still the answer was no. Before that, Ariel Sharon withdrew every soldier, settler and settlement from Gaza hoping to create an opening for peace and instead set the stage for the creation of an independent Palestinian state in all but name there that is an Islamist terrorist dictatorship. Each time Israel took the kind of risks for peace that its friends and critics had been urging it to do yet got neither peace nor credit for the sacrifice.

To be fair to Clinton, there’s little doubt that he cares about Israel and the Israeli people have always appreciated his genuine affection and returned it. That’s more than can be said for Obama, who, at best, regards Israel with condescension, restricting his praise for a mythical Israel of the past that didn’t face the real country’s terrible war and peace dilemmas.

But in spite of Clinton’s intimate knowledge of the peace process, he still clings to the notion that somehow it is within the power of the Jewish state to force an end to a century-long conflict with the Palestinians.

The signing of the Oslo accords on the White House lawn was a high point of Clinton’s presidency and sealed his relationship with Rabin. Clinton’s honoring a man who was tragically murdered is entirely appropriate. But the problem here is the implicit assumption that it was assassin Yigal Amir’s bullet that killed the peace process or the Israelis who peacefully demonstrated against their government for empowering terrorists and not the third man in the famous picture with Clinton and Rabin: Arafat.

What more can Israel do to convince the Palestinians to make peace than they have already done? According to the Obama administration and leftist critics of the Netanyahu government, they need to stop building homes in existing settlements in the West Bank and 40-year-old Jerusalem neighborhoods or release more convicted terrorists. But does anyone really think that will convince the Palestinians to make peace when offers like the ones Barak and Olmert made were not enough? Did Sharon’s experiment in trading land for peace — which turned out to be an exchange of territory for terror — not go far enough?

The problem isn’t Israel not recognizing Palestinians rights and aspirations. Even the supposed hard line Netanyahu has done that. The problem is that even PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian lauded by President Obama as a moderate and a champion of peace. won’t recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Moreover, it is that same Abbas who has been inciting terror fueled by religious hatred in recent months by cynically circulating canards about mythic Israeli plans to destroy mosques or proclaiming that he doesn’t want “filthy Jewish feet” profaning holy places.

Nor are is the building of homes in places that even Clinton and Obama know would be part of Israel after a peace agreement an obstacle to peace if the Palestinians ever choose peace rather than a continuation of the conflict.

It’s not the Israelis who need the lectures from Clinton and Obama. It’s the Palestinians. Like many in Israel who have always wanted to believe their country could magically make peace without the Palestinians having to change, that’s the line the U.S. seems to buy too. But it’s bunk, and if anyone should know it, it’s the president that still feels he was cheated out of a Nobel Prize by Palestinian intransigence.

Clinton is right when he cites Rabin’s belief that the costs of ignoring chances for peace are high. But the costs of a reckless pursuit of it are also high as the mounting toll of Israeli victims of terror proves. Thousands have died in no small measure because of the Oslo process that empowered terrorists like Hamas, Arafat and other killers honored by Abbas.

Yet this mistaken emphasis on what Israel can do is not a harmless gesture. The more international leaders, even those that rare correctly labeled as friendly to Israel like Clinton, mouth these bromides, the less inclined the Palestinians will be to finally make peace. Such lectures only reinforce their belief that sooner or later international opinion will isolate Israel and bring them one step closer to their fantasy of its destruction. They need to be reminded that throughout the century-long history of the conflict they are the ones who have always rejected compromise. Oslo was not a catastrophe because the intentions of Yitzhak Rabin or Bill Clinton were bad because the process they created provided no accountability for the Palestinians. Far from making compromise an imperative, it convinced the Palestinians that they didn’t have to do anything to make peace. That not only robs them of agency in their fate but also gives them reasons why they shouldn’t budge or cease cheering or subsidizing terror.

So far from advancing the cause of peace, speeches like Clinton’s actually retard it. Of course, if Clinton were to go to Ramallah and tell the Palestinians that it was up to them to finally make peace, he would not be greeted with thunderous cheers, as was the case in Tel Aviv. But it would be an important wake-up call for a people that are still trapped in its own rhetoric of delegitimization. Israel has taken plenty of risks for peace. It’s time for Americans to stop ignoring that fact and start putting pressure on Israel’s foes to take some risks of their own.

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