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Latest News in Israel – 15th March

Two attempted car rammings near Hebron; 3 Palestinian terrorists shot dead

Three Palestinian terrorists were shot and killed during the course of two separate attempted attacks that took place within 30 minutes of each other Monday morning near the Kiryat Arba settlement located just outside of the West Bank city of Hebron.

In the first incident, two suspected terrorists tried to target hitchhikers in an attempted vehicular-ramming attack at the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, according to initial reports

During the incident, a Palestinian vehicle containing two armed terrorists enters Kiryat Arba, did a U-turn and came to a sudden stop. The gunmen exited their vehicle and opened fire, lightly injuring an IDF soldier.

The two attackers were shot dead in IDF return fire.

Magen David Adom paramedics provided initial treatment to the wounded soldier before transferring him in light condition to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

According footage from the scene, both would-be assailants were found with Carl Gustav rifles in their vehicle.

During the second attack, a Palestinian vehicle traveling from Bnei Naim rammed a bus. An IDF soldier who was near the bus narrowly escaped injury. A terrorist attempted to exit the vehicle, but soldiers on the scene shot him dead.

The incident came 30 minutes after the first vehicular-ramming attack of the day.

The two soldiers who were lightly wounded from shrapnel from the car ramming attack received treatment on the scene from army medics.

Authorities are now trying to determine whether the attacks were coordinated by the assailants.                  (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu warns Hamas after weekend of rocket fire from Gaza

Israel will not allow Palestinians in Gaza to launch rockets into Israel and Hamas must prevent such incidents from occurring, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

He spoke after a violent weekend in which Hamas fired four rockets into southern Israel that struck open areas without causing injury.

Israel, whose stiff policy has been not to tolerate any rocket fire, retaliated by targeting four Hamas training camps. Debris from the explosions hit a home next to one of the camps, killing Yassin Abu Khoussa, 10, and his younger sister Israa Abu Khoussa.

“Our policy with respect to the Gaza Strip is very clear,” the prime minister said. “Israel won’t tolerate any rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

“The IDF will respond to such provocation. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Hamas is obligated to prevent [rocket] firing,” Netanyahu said.

He also outlined the steps that Israel is taking to prevent Arabs living in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Netanyahu told the cabinet he expected to receive a response from the attorney-general with regard to the legality of expelling the families of terrorists to Gaza.

Israel is also cracking down on Palestinian media outlets that encourage incitement against Israelis and Jews, he said.

Over the weekend the IDF closed an Islamic broadcast station in Ramallah, which Netanyahu said had promoted violence against Israel.

“This isn’t a question of freedom of the press, but of stopping incitement to murder,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister also explained that he had spoken over the phone with President François Hollande and asked him to similarly stop the broadcast of such channels in France.

France removed an Al-Aksa station from a satellite channel, but it found another avenue to broadcast its programming.

“We are working in other ways to stop these broadcasts,” Netanyahu said.

In addition, he said, the government was pushing for rapid legislation to punish those who employ and otherwise assist Palestinians working illegally within the Green Line.

On a separate topic, Netanyahu said he instructed the Foreign Ministry to urge the six world powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany – to stop Iranian violations of UN Security Council resolutions with respect to the firing of ballistic missiles. He did so after Iran conducted a ballistic missile test last week.       (Jerusalem Post)

Poll: 60% of Palestinians support attacks

Nearly 60 percent of Palestinians support the continuation of the current wave of attacks on Israelis, according to a public opinion poll published on Sunday.

Forty-one percent of respondents oppose it.

The proportion of those who favor the continuation of the attacks was highest in the Gaza Strip (75%), while in the West Bank only about half (51%) do so.

The poll, conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, covered some 1,200 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It was conducted in the first week of March and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The results showed that the twostate solution remains the most acceptable resolution to the conflict with Israel among Palestinians, with a majority of nearly 70% opposing any change in the official policy of the Palestinian Authority in this regard.

Only 24% of respondents supported a change in policy demanding equal rights for Arabs and Jews in one state.

Palestinians are divided over the issue of security coordination with Israel. More than 52% of respondents said they favored such coordination as opposed to 38% who said they were against it.

The JMCC poll indicated a drop in the level of satisfaction with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s performance.

Nearly 53% of respondents expressed satisfaction last August with his performance. Now, however, that figure has slipped to 45%.

There has been a rise in the popularity of jailed Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti – from 10% last August to 15% now. Still, Abbas maintained his first-place position in terms of the public’s trust (14%) followed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (10%) and Barghouti (9.9%).

There has also been a retreat in the level of trust in Hamas, down from 22% in March 2015 to 16.5% today.                   (Jerusalem Post)

New Iron Dome Version can Destroy Tunnels

Israel has started testing a secret new weapon for defeating the tunnel systems which the Palestinian Hamas and Hizballah are busy digging for surprise attacks against Israel. Western sources reported Friday, March 11, that the new weapon, dubbed the “Underground Iron Dome,” can detect a tunnel, then send in a moving missile to blow it up.

US intelligence sources disclosed only that new weapon is equipped with seismic sensors to detect underground vibrations and map their location before destroying them.

Western experts have been talking for years about a secret Israeli weapon capable of destroying Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility, which is buried deep inside a mountain not far from the Shiite shrine city of Qom. They suggested that this hypothetical weapon could be slipped through the Fordo facility’s vents, thread its way through the underground chambers and take down the illicit enrichment facility.

It was discussed again three years ago, when the Israeli Air Force on Aug. 23 2013 blew up the Popular Palestinian Front-General Command underground facility at Al-Naama on the South Lebanese coast, 15 km south of Beirut.

The PPF-GC leader Ahmed Jibril was then taking his orders from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

How this operation turned out was never revealed. But Western military sources saw it as a strong Israeli message to Tehran that its underground nuclear facilities were now vulnerable to attack. The secret JIbril command center was constructed in the 1970s by East German military engineers as one of most heavily fortified military sites in the Middle East.

As for the new weapon, the Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said that the US had allocated $40 million for completing in 2016 the establishment of “anti-tunnel capabilities to detect, map and neutralize underground tunnels that threaten the US or Israel.”

According to the spokesman, the main part of the development work (on the secret weapon) would be conducted in Israel in 2016. The US would receive prototypes and access to the test sites and hold the rights to any intellectual property.

The Israeli firms working on the anti-tunnel weapon are Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which developed the Iron Dome.

Sherwood denied claims from Israeli defense quarters that the US had earmarked $120 for developing the system, or that another $80 million would be available – half in 2017 and half in 2018.

According to past experience, unfinished Israeli weapons have more than once been rushed to the battlefield to meet an emergency war situation. The Iron Dome is one example. This has the advantage of testing innovative systems in real operational conditions, with the result that improvements and adjustments can be introduced much faster than planned.

Our sources add: Both Palestinian Hamas and the pro-Iranian Hizballah are working overtime on tunnels for sneaking terrorists and commando fighters into Israel to attack IDF posts and civilian locations. During Israel’s last counter-terror operation in the Gaza Strip, Hamas staged a deadly tunnel attack on the Israel side of the border and is planning repeats. Hizballah is training commando units for underground surprise incursions to capture parts of Galilee in northern Israel.

The Israeli government has spent more than $250 million since 2004 on efforts to thwart tunnel construction under the Gaza border.

IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot hinted at these efforts in February. “We are doing a lot, but many of [the things we do] are hidden from the public,” he told a conference at Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center. “We have dozens, if not a hundred, engineering vehicles on the Gaza border.”            (Debkafile)

Israeli innovation could save countless stab victims

An Israeli researcher at Ariel University in Samaria has discovered a revolutionary new method to stop the uncontrolled bleeding common in victims of stabbings – a medical innovation which could save countless lives in Israel and worldwide.

Over the past several months Israel has been engulfed by a wave of Arab terrorism, the majority of which have involved stabbings, as well as shootings and car ramming attacks.

More than 30 people have been murdered in the attacks and hundreds have been wounded. Many of the victims – which have included the elderly, children and mothers – bled to death after suffering multiple stab wounds and the accompanying rapid blood loss.

Along with ceaseless incitement, Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas and Fatah have circulated detailed instructions on how to most “effectively” stab or slash a victim to cause maximum damage, and as a result the injuries inflicted to Jewish victims are often extensive and extremely dangerous.

Until now the only blood stopping solutions for the type of deep wounds caused by such violent stabbings are either too weak to effectively deal with them, or so strong that they cause deadly blood clots. Even the most able medical first responders often do not have the most effective solutions to save lives when every second counts.

But Israeli scientist Moshe Rogosnitzky has discovered that gallium, a biometal currently used to stop bone loss in cancer patients, can, in liquid form (known as gallium nitrate), rapidly halt bleeding from deep wounds without causing blood clots.

The use of gallium for stopping bleeding from deep cuts provides additional benefits as well. Extensive research has shown that gallium is a very powerful anti-infective and speeds the healing of injuries caused by deep gashes which are often produced by the knives and other type of weapons used by terrorists.

Gallium works by inducing “flocculation” of the clotting protein in blood known as fibrinogen. This results in external clot formation. In stark contrast to other treatments for bleeding wounds, gallium does not induce clotting mechanisms in the blood. This avoids the highest risk of existing technologies that run the risk of causing deadly internal blood clots.

According to Rogosnitzky, Gallium has the potential to “dramatically increase the chances of survival by victims of terror or accidents. However, it is vital to get this discovery from the lab to the clinic as quickly as possible. The sooner it gets to the market, the sooner it can be used effectively to save lives.”

At this stage, gallium has to undergo studies to determine the optimal dose and delivery method prior to filing for marketing authorization by the health authorities. In addition, a comparative efficacy trial with other technologies for stopping bleeding needs to occur.

In order to speed up the process for clinical development and availability of gallium, Stop the Bleeding, an online fundraising campaign, has been initiated through We Fund the Cure – a US-based nonprofit.

Researchers say they urgently need the funding to move forward to the next stage.

“Unfortunately, there seems to be no immediate end in sight to the kind of violent attacks facing Israelis,” said Rogosnitzky. “Gallium can provide instantaneous help to victims in Israel.

“Our goal is to place gallium in every first aid kit and every ambulance, ensuring that every stabbing victim has an increased chance of survival.  In order to move forward quickly we need resources for clinical testing.

“Moreover, as blood loss remains the leading cause of death from stabbings and other external injuries, it is our hope that this innovation can help innocent victims of violent crime or accidents throughout the world by significantly reducing mortality rate and providing an effective and safe answer for blood loss from wounds.”             (Arutz Sheva)

Lapid slams international press group for ‘defending incitement’ to kill Israelis

The International Federation of Journalists is defending incitement to murder Israelis – and not press freedom – by condemning Israel’s closure of an Islamic Jihad TV station, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said Saturday night.

Lapid called for IFJ president Jim Boumelha to apologize for his organization’s statement on the closure of Falastin al-Yom (Palestine Today).

“Yesterday, after the channel was closed down, members of the military wing of Islamic Jihad held a rally protesting the closure. Islamic Jihad used Palestine Today to incite against Israel and encourage people to carry out attacks. The manager of station has been convicted of being a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The connection is so patently obvious that it calls into question your motives in condemning Israel’s actions,” Lapid wrote.

On Friday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), IDF and Israel Police shut down Palestine Today in Ramallah, a day after the security cabinet decided to close Palestinian media outlets that incite terrorism against Israelis in light of the ongoing Palestinian terrorism. The IDF declared the channel an illegal organization, using a 1945 emergency law, and security forces arrested the channel’s manager, 34-yearold Faruk Aliat, an Islamic Jihad operative who has been imprisoned in Israel in the past.

Palestine Today “calls for carrying out terrorist attacks against the State of Israel and its citizens. Its messages of incitement are broadcast through the television channel and spread on the Internet,” the Shin Bet said.

IFJ released a statement Saturday in response that it stands with its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists Union, “in condemning this brutal attack against free press and ask for UN immediate reaction [sic] to the escalation of attacks against the free press in the occupied territories.”

Boumelha added: “We cannot tolerate these continuous attacks from Israeli authorities to muzzle Palestinian press. Incitement of terrorism is a dangerous accusation to make against a media and a decision to close it down cannot occur without due process.”

The IFJ President called on “the UN high commissioner for human rights and the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to investigate violations of press freedom in Palestine without delay.”

Speaking to Army Radio Sunday, Boumelha emphasized the need for due process and disapproved of the IDF’s use of British Mandatory laws and shrugged off the military’s coordination with the judiciary.

(Many Israeli laws date from the British Mandate.) As for Palestine Today’s repeated incitement to violence, Boumelha said he’s responsible for journalists’ safety and freedom of expression, not for the content of their work.

Lapid pointed out in his letter to Boumelha that “Israel is a thriving democracy with a thriving press corps that has the absolute freedom to criticize and investigate.

Israel is also home to one of the largest international press corps in the world and they too operate here without hindrance.”

“However,” Lapid added, “freedom of the press does not extend to terrorist propaganda and to those who incite to murder. The content on Palestine Today would not pass the editorial guidelines of any of your members. I was a journalist for over three decades; this isn’t journalism. This isn’t free speech, this is hate speech…You are not defending press freedom; you are defending incitement to murder.”

Lapid urged the IFJ to retract its statement and apologize to families that have been harmed by Islamic Jihad.

Haim Shibi, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the National Federation of Israeli Journalists, accused Boumelha of “turning the IFJ into a clear anti-Israel propaganda tool, continually portraying the IDF as an army that hunts journalists, targets them and kills them.

“The man gave up on even appearing to understand Israel’s fight against terrorism,” Shibi said on Army Radio.

“He’s not a fair broker; we are always the bad ones… [Boumelha] hasn’t been a journalist for a long time now; he’s a propagandist.”

Shibi pointed to research done following the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s that showed that media was used to encourage violence and dehumanize the other side in the conflict.

“Sometimes the media is used to incite murder,” he stated. “[Palestine Today] isn’t journalism, it is a deadly tool.”

Last year, the IFJ suspended the National Federation of Israeli Journalists, claiming it did not pay its affiliation fee for three years.

Shibi called the claim an excuse: “Jim [Boumelha] kicked us out with different claims… He just doesn’t want us there. He pushed us into the corner, like lepers, apartheid- style.”

The Israeli journalist also said Boumelha blocked all efforts for Israeli and Palestinian journalists to work together. Shibi said he had suggested there be a hotline for Palestinian journalists to call if they have issues with Israeli forces, but Boumelha said he would never help it happen.

Boumelha wrote in a July 2015 letter to the Jerusalem Post that the NFIJ’s suspension was solely because of not paying dues, and that he did not oppose the hotline being set up, but that it did not get the necessary votes to make it an urgent motion at a European journalists’ meeting.

In response, Post columnist Liat Collins noted that Boumelha had politicized the IFJ and refused to meet with the Israeli affiliates to discuss the hotline or the fees – even when he visited Ramallah, which is a short drive away.

Collins quoted an email Boumelha wrote to Shibi from July 2014, in which the former said the hotline effort was not “credible,” because “most importantly, they [the Israeli Federation] have never expressed any solidarity with their Palestinian colleagues at their time of need.”                       (Jerusalem Post)

Israel denies Indonesian FM entry into Ramallah

Israel denied an entry permit to the foreign minister of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, preventing her from meeting with her Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki in Ramallah as planned on Sunday.

The Indonesian minister was also scheduled to inaugurate the first honorary Indonesian consulate in the Palestinian territories.

Israel refused to grant Marsudi an entry visa from Jordan to the West Bank because the Indonesian foreign minister had no plans to also meet with Israeli officials.

Israel and Indonesia do not have formal diplomatic ties.

Instead, Malki traveled to Jordan to meet with Marsudi, according to sources in the PA Foreign Ministry.

The sources said that Malki decided to go to Amman “out of appreciation for the historic and special ties between the State of Palestine and Indonesia.”

The sources pointed out that Indonesia has been very supportive of Palestinian issues, especially in international forums.

Indonesia has long supported Palestinian self-determination outside the context of the two-state solution and first recognized Palestine as a state in 1988.

Both former PA chairman Yasser Arafat and PA President Mahmoud Abbas have visited Indonesia. Abbas was in Jakarta just last week to attend the Organization of Islamic States summit on the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Indonesia has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians has been resolved.

Just after the Oslo Accords were agreed upon in 1993, former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin visited Jakarta.

But no high-level Indonesian diplomat at the level of foreign minister or president has ever made a trip to Israel.

The Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office had no response to the matter.                             (Jerusalem Post)

Six months of terror: Former defense officials explain why the wave has not faded

As the current wave of terrorism reaches its sixth month, former senior defense officials agree on one thing – the “lone wolf” attacks, which have come to characterize the wave of terror, are merely the superficial aspect of the phenomena.

According to the former officials, behind the “individual intifada” and “intifada of knives” labels, lurks the key element changing the rules of play – the internet. According to them, this is what distinguishes the current wave, which broke out on 13 September 2015, from the intifada that preceded it, and may also result in the current wave continuing for a significant amount of time, perhaps even years.

“I do not see this declining in the next few months,” said Col. (ret) Moshe Givati, who in the first intifada, which broke out in 1987, was the commander of the Gush Dan sector of the Home Front Command. “Every intifada lasts around five years. You can call this the ‘Intifada of the knives,’ ‘of the young’ or ‘the individuals,’ but either way, it will not fade soon.”

In 1986, Givati was made ​​Brigade Commander of the Judea and Samaria region, and during the first intifada established the Judea Brigade, under the Judea and Samaria Division, and was its first commander. He experienced firsthand the roots of Palestinian resistance.

“There is no connection between the first intifada and what is happening now,” he said. “Although the reasons for carrying out these attacks are the same reasons (as those motivating the attacks 30 years ago), especially regarding the growing frustration around our control of Judea and Samaria, the first intifada was a popular eruption of mass protest among women, children and the elderly. The first intifada began as a popular uprising, and only afterward did it become shaped by all kinds of organizations. At that time there were almost no computers or the internet, communication was sustained via leaflets and radio broadcasts. Slowly, as reporters began to report from on the ground, those in Tulkarem could see what was happening in Hebron.”

According to Givati, the first Intifada was expressed through mass demonstrations and burning tires or taking control of villages and declaring them “free.” “Until we came back and occupied course,” he continued. “There were hardly any terror attacks. Only here and there, particularly in Hebron, where Jews go into the Casbah (market).”

“This is the internet intifada,” agreed Israel Police Maj. Gen (ret) Shlomi Katabi. on the current wave of terror. “There is no infrastructure. Someone can wake up in the morning, read something and say, ‘I’m going to do something.”

During the first intifada, Katabi served as the commander of the Old City of Jerusalem in the Border Police, an area which was and remains a powder keg. During the second intifada, which broke out in 2000, he was serving as commander of the Judea and Samaria district in the police.

“Behind the first intifada, at the preliminary stages, there was an organized character to the action,” he explained. “Everything was being generated, incited and coordinated. There was a real sense of a policy toward terrorist attacks. Plans for when to attack and when not to. Today, however, because of the internet, everyone is influenced. Add to that the fact that almost everyone has been affected, either by the first or second degree, and as a result you see what we have on the streets today.”

Ami Meitav, who held a senior position in the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), finds another difference between the first intifada and the current wave of terrorism. According to him, unlike today, “the main goal of the first intifada was not to reach independence. It was an explosion of frustration from 20 years of Israeli rule and degrading treatment.”

During the first intifada, Meitav served as the coordinator of the southern region in the Shin Bet. While during the second intifada, he was coordinator of the “triangle region” and Jerusalem. “The second intifada was the result of a situation in which Arafat prepared the ground ready for a combustion, and was looking for an excuse to spark it,” he said. “Sharon provided it when he went to the Temple Mount. This intifada was planned by Palestinian Authority officials.”

Collapse of authority

“The first intifada took years to suppress,” said Givati. “We did it mainly by means of dispersing demonstrations, which until then we had not seen the like, and developed (our methods) along the way. There was only tear gas, and the army gradually developed other means, such as plastic or rubber bullets. Only later were undercover units established.”

Palestinians, he says, took years to understand that this does not lead to talks. According to Givati, the Palestinian side broke when Israel began to hit senior figures in the leadership. “While it’s true that the first intifada accelerated the Oslo process and led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, she not only led to a solution, but also a wave of terror – remember those who were sacrificed as a result of Peres and Rabin’s peace,” said Givati.

“These were terrible attacks, and then came the second intifada. It took place when there were armed Palestinian police, and it was more of a problem. Then came very grave terrorist attacks, like the one at the Park Hotel in Netanya, and we found ourselves fighting armed men from all kinds of factions, and we responded with Operation Defensive Shield. This intifada has also brought the Palestinians nothing.”

The former officials all agreed that what is feeding the current intifada is, as mentioned, the internet, which enables simple and instant communication. “The internet creates an environment which is conducive to encouraging attacks more easily than through the mediums of radio and TV,” said Major General (res) Giora Eiland, former head of the IDF Planning Branch during the second intifada, and the head of the National Security Council (NSC). “There is an atmosphere fed by ISIS, for example the use of knives, and the element of cruelty.”

“What is happening now is largely driven by young people who are using social networks,” adds Givati. “They are not breadwinners and their parents do not interest them. There is a complete collapse of authority – parental, educators, leadership. Think how terrible it is that a child did not belong to any organization and provider – makes an attack on a whim, and then destroy the house of his parents.”

“If there is no change in what is happening on social networks, and I do not see this change happening soon, then the genie is out of the bottle and will not return,” said Meitav. “This painful drip which we see on the streets today – it could be that it will become the routine in the coming years, and it is doubtful if anything can be done to stop it.”

According to Meitav, there was a resounding example of this last week. “I met a woman from Nazareth,” he says. “Muslim, very educated, very smart, very involved in Jewish life, but is convinced that Israel is digging under the Temple Mount. She told me: ‘Of course it’s true!’ It’s like a man coming to convince me that the moon shines by day and the sun at night. It is unreasonable. So factually, repeating lies over and over again, they are finally absorbed by intelligent ears, not to mention ears that seek to consume them.”

Zero sum game

The lack of an organized infrastructure makes the current wave unstable and almost unpredictable. “If there would have been the internet in the time of the first intifada, it still would not have been different from what we saw,” says Katabi. “Someone organized it, what to do and what not to do. Today there is an atmosphere of incitement, and in this situation there will always be the same people that will be affected. Boys, minors, who want to be heros and go out one morning to attack.”

“Your ability to fight terrorism depends on your ability to produce real-time intelligence,” adds Eiland. “But for this you need to know who the enemy is. But if all your enemies go to sleep at night, and at this point not even they know themselves that they are your enemy, and only when they wake up they decide they are your enemy – there’s a very great difficulty in preventing this. And this is definitely frustrating.”

What to do?

“The two-state solution is problematic because it is characterized by the paradigm of a zero sum game, and has long been perceived as the worst option. We are not succeeding to move forward with the solution. That is well known. The question is whether you can create a dramatic change in the messages coming out of the PA. The answer for me is that there is the possibility, but it does not happen by preaching or threatening them. You could do it with a package deal. Say, you – the PA – you make a dramatic change in your messages, and you get something in return.”

This “return,” in Eiland’s opinion, should be in the form of settlement construction, an issue that angers the Palestinians and the entire world, including the United States. “Look on the map as it is today and mark a line in each locality, including for isolated settlements,” he suggested. “Agree to freeze construction in the open spaces outside these areas. It will give great achievement for the Palestinians. If a third party, Americans or others, ensures that – you’ve created a dialogue, decreased the tension.”

Punishments, the former officials say, may be effective, but only for a very limited time. “There’s one thing I learned from Ariel Sharon when he commanded the Gaza Strip, which is the subject of the expulsion of Palestinian families,” said Givati. “It will serve as a deterrent and soothe the area, but concurrently as many Palestinians as possible should be enabled to come to work here, instead of the Sudanese or Chinese. Give them the economic benefit. They will not like us, not even the Arab Israelis, but they will live with it. Every attack that closes off sources for making a living makes things worse.”

“There is no stronger punishment than that of deportation,” adds Meitav. “It’s harsher than house demolitions. But it is highly doubtful whether the law would allow such a thing. I do not see how one can prevent a battered woman from carrying out an attack in Gush Etzion. So we are probably not able to exercise such a punishment within international law as it is, and so we may need to prepare for the reality that just as we pay the price on the roads – we will pay the price in stabbings and attacks by individuals.”                              (Jerusalem Post/Maáriv)

Victories on the homefront: How an 18-year-old Israeli with cerebral palsy who became a soldier

It’s a touching story of heroism, optimism, perseverance and belief in the abilities of every special child. Lotan’s mother gave birth to Lotan in the 24th week of her pregnancy, 4 months premature. The family spent 6 months in the ICU with their infant. After 2 months, Lotan suffered from oxygen deprivation, and thus began a lifelong, uphill battle for life and normalcy.

Lotan has cerebral palsy. “All along, they warned us that she wouldn’t walk, wouldn’t dance,” relates her mother. “But all along I insisted, ‘Yes, you will!’” And Lotan did.

During her senior year in high school, when IDF officials visited and lectured about the army, Lotan was enchanted. Her dream was to serve in the IDF too. Parents, teachers and friends gently attempted to dissuade her so she wouldn’t get hurt. Her parents even accompanied her to army registration where they received the doctor’s verdict that she was exempt from army service, but Lotan wasn’t deterred.

“I want to serve in army. I want to wear a uniform!” Her dogged persistence led her to meet the directors of Special in Uniform who showed Lotan that she wasn’t alone.

Developed ten years ago by Reserve Major Colonel Ariel Almog, former commander of the HFC base in Ramleh, Special in Uniform is a groundbreaking initiative of the Israel Defense Forces that incorporates young people with disabilities into the military and helps them integrate long-term into society and the workforce. The focus of the program is on ability, not disability, upon utilizing and emphasizing talents and capacities of people with disabilities in order to foster independence and integration into mainstream society despite physical challenges.

Several years ago, Special in Uniform joined forces with Israel’s Lend a Hand to the Special Child Foundation, a grassroots organization established in 2005 by parents of children with disabilities that operates in partnership with the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

Their common goal is to avail the program to thousands of young people in Israel who are suitable candidates for the program but are unaware of its existence. Executive Director of Lend a Hand Rabbi Mendy Belinitzki explains, “The Special in Uniform program starts in the army, but doesn’t end there. We clearly see how it afterwards effects better integration into society, community and the workforce.”

“‘We’re with you, Lotan. We’ll escort you through this,” they promised my daughter. It was then that I really began to believe that one day she would serve in the army,” says her mother.

Special in Uniform presently incorporates 200 youth into the military, helping them integrate into society and the employment sector. The initiative greatly contributes to the IDF as a whole and each individual soldier by fostering acceptance of diversity of people, thus creating a positive impact for a better society.

The program begins with a process of evaluation and assessment by a professional team, followed by a three-month course of life skills and occupational skills training. Military service commences with a 10-days basic training program, including group formation by professionals.


Afterwards the soldiers are integrated in a variety of functions including preparing protective kits, manning emergency depots, military store, printing shop, kitchen, shredding mill and more. Lt. Col (Res.) Tiran Attia, the director of the program, explains, “The[se children] were in special education schools… Suddenly they reach the age when everyone else joins the army, but the gates are closed. They can’t join. This program allows them to join the army, contribute, and give from themselves. Just like everyone else.”

With 230 participants and a long waiting list, Special in Uniform’s vision is to quickly expand the program to encompass 1,000 enrolled participants.

“It was such a moving experience to see her in uniform. I’m so proud of her. It was a major victory!” says her mother.

A victory not only for Lotan and her family, but for the IDF and Israeli society as a whole.                        (Jerusalem Post)

Hiker discovers extremely rare ancient gold coin

An Israeli woman hiking in the Galilee discovered an extremely rare, nearly 2,000-year-old gold coin – only the second such coin ever to be discovered.

The coin, dating back to the year 107 CE, bears the image of the Roman Emperor Augustus, and was unearthed by Laurie Rimon, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Blum in northern Israel.

Rimon handed her extraordinary find to the Israel Antiquities Authority, and will be awarded a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship.

The only other such coin currently known to the world is located in the famous British Museum. According to the IAA, the coins were part of a series of nostalgic coins that Emperor Trajan minted and dedicated to the Roman emperors that ruled before him.

Rimon made the discovery when her group of hikers arrived at an archaeological site. Noticing something shining in the grass, Rimon picked up the object and quickly realized it was an ancient gold coin.

The group’s guide, Irit Zuk-Kovacsi contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority with the help of archaeologist and veteran tour guide Dr Motti Aviam, and within two hours an IAA representative joined the group of hikers in the field. Laurie turned the rare find over to him admitting, “It was not easy parting with the coin. After all, it is not every day one discovers such an amazing object, but I hope I will see it displayed in a museum in the near future.”

Laurie Rimon with the coin Samuel Magal, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

Nir Distelfeld, an inspector with the IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, praised her for her “exemplary civic behavior by handing this important coin over to the Antiquities Authority.

“This is an extraordinarily remarkable and surprising discovery. I believe that soon, thanks to Laurie, the public will be able to enjoy this rare find.”

Distelfeld encouraged others to act similarly.

“It is important to know that when you find an archaeological artifact it is advisable to call IAA representatives to the location spot in the field. That way we can also gather the relevant archaeological and contextual information from the site”

According to Dr. Danny Syon, a senior numismatist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This coin, minted in Rome in 107 CE, is rare on a global level.

“On the reverse we have the symbols of the Roman legions next to the name of the ruler Trajan, and on the obverse – instead of an image of the emperor Trajan, as was usually the case, there is the portrait of the emperor “Augustus Deified”. This coin is part of a series of coins minted by Trajan as a tribute to the emperors that preceded him.”

The coin may date back to the famous Bar Kochba rebellion, according to Dr. Donald T. Ariel, head curator of the coin department at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“The coin may reflect the presence of the Roman army in the region some 2,000 years ago – possibly in the context of activity against Bar Kochba supporters in the Galilee – but it is very difficult to determine that on the basis of a single coin.

“Historical sources describing the period note that some Roman soldiers were paid a high salary of three gold coins, the equivalent of 75 silver coins, each payday. Because of their high monetary value soldiers were unable to purchase goods in the market with gold coins, as the merchants could not provide change for them.”

Similar bronze and silver coins with minted by Emperor Trajan  have been previously discovered, Dr. Ariel added, but “his gold coins are extremely rare. So far, only two other gold coins of this emperor have been registered in the State Treasures, one from Givat Shaul near Jerusalem, and the other from the Qiryat Gat region and the details on both of them are different to those that appear on the rare coin that Laurie found.”               (Arutz Sheva)

‘This isn’t a lone wolf intifada, it’s a Hamas intifada’

New study by terrorism expert claims that Israel is not dealing with individual attackers, but rather a coordinated effort led by Hamas, which is an expert in covering its tracks. The defense establishment, however, is still convinced this is an intifada of ‘lone wolves.’

by Ariela Ringel Hoffman     Ynet News


Bashar Mohammed Masalha is a 22-year old “lone wolf” attacker according to the Shin Bet, the IDF, and the police. Masalha, an illegal alien in Israel from the Palestinian village of Haja near Qalqiliya, went on a stabbing spree on Tuesday evening from Jaffa Port to the promenade, wounding eleven people and killing an American tourist.

Abd al-Rahman Radad from the West Bank village of Al-Zawiya near Tulkarm stabbed a yeshiva student in Petah Tikva on the same day, and is also a “lone wolf” attacker according to the security services’ definition. So are Fuad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, who shot two police officers in East Jerusalem, and Fadwa Abu Tir, who attempted to stab Border Police officers that same morning in the Old City.

Four terrorists, apparently with no organizational affiliation, that nobody sent, in another bloody day of the third intifada – the intifada of the lone wolves.

Except that last Tuesday was not just another coincidental day of blood spilling in the ongoing wave of terror attacks. On March 8, 2003, Israel assassinated Dr. Ibrahim al-Makhadmeh, who was sitting in his car in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza with three other Hamas terrorists. It was a major blow to the terror organization because al-Makhadmeh, a dentist, was one of Hamas’ founders and most prominent ideologues, second only to Ahmad Yassin.

Al-Makhadmeh is the one who wrote that armed resistance is the only path to independence “even if it costs the death of half of the Palestinian nation.” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also mentioned him in his speech last Tuesday, and in the same breath praised the terrorists for their contribution to the Palestinian struggle. And, indeed, the Facebook pages of two of the terrorists, as well as other findings, prove that Haniyeh had good reason to refer to them as martyrs on behalf of Hamas. And indeed, after the Tuesday attacks, Hamas published four identical statements on Facebook blessing and praising “its martyred sons and daughters.”

A look at Masalha’s Facebook page, shows he shared Hamas content and expressed solidarity with the Islamic movement long before he carried out the attack in Jaffa; that he was very religious and on on February 28 performed the Umra (a pilgrimage to Mecca that is not done during a Hajj); that he loved the “Mourabitoun” (literally, those who hold the fort), members of that organization which is affiliated to Hamas, who would sacrifice their lives for the land of Palestine. On the night of the attack, he wrote, “We are in our holy land and we do not fear our enemy or its force.”

One of the members of the Mourabitoun is Fadwa Abu Tir, a relative of the orange-bearded Mohammed Abu Tir, who ran as Hamas’ second candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006. Sheikh Kamal Khatib, the deputy head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic movement in Israel, said that she died while fulfilling her duty as a woman on International Women’s Day.

Seventeen-year-old Radad, who carried out the attack in Petah Tikva, comes from a family that has been affiliated with Hamas for many years. Two other Radads were arrested: Muatasem Radad was sentenced to 20 years in prison for planning a terror attack, and Iyad Radad carried out a suicide attack on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv in September 2002. Hamas claimed responsibility for the Allenby Street attack six years later, in accordance with policies outlined in a Hamas document on “lone wolf” attacks.

This book-length document written by Rajeb Hassan Al-Baba summarizes the principles for carrying attacks with “the white weapon”- a code name for knife attacks. It says, “Attacks should have the characteristics of a lone wolf attack.” It continues, “One who carries out an individual attack, should work on his own and not consult with anyone beforehand. Moreover, the knife used to stab the enemy should be obtained from the attacker’s house or from a store.” The document, which details what appear to be instructions for terrorists on how to carry out stabbing attacks, is available on Hamas’ website. “This system of operations,” the author of the document notes, “would ensure that the Shin Bet and Israeli security services will not be monitor the attacker, expect him, or predict anything that would allow them to foil the attack.” The document goes on to say that, “The attacker should yell ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) before, during, and after the stabbing, while finding creative ways to achieve that objective. The daring execution, by using the element of surprise, will confuse the enemy.”

Although these guidelines were written after the first intifada, under the title “The Efforts of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Palestinian Intifada 1987-1994,” they appear more relevant now than ever before, and likely serve as guidelines for the “knife intifada” attackers, some of whom were not even born during when the document was written. The guidelines reveal Hamas’ efforts to make these escalations in violence appear as a series of “lone wolf” attacks in order to cover its own involvement. And, beyond anything else, these guidelines beg the question whether this is indeed a “lone wolf intifada” of young men and women who wake up in the morning, take a knife from their mothers’ kitchens and go out to kill Jews – or is it an organized wave of terror attacks that Hamas and other terror organizations guide and encourage.

Weakening the deterrence

Orientalist Dr. Shaul Bartal of the Begin Sadat Center of Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan university, has recently completed a study titled “The Jerusalem Intifada – a study of the terror wave in Jerusalem 2014-2015.” The somewhat unimaginative title hides harsh criticism of the security establishment, even if it is worded in restrained academic language. It casts doubt on the “lone wolf” attacker theory, which is rampant throughout the security forces, academia and media.

“This study,” Bartal writes, “does not accept as given the often posited claim from various sources that these are ‘lone wolf’ attacks.” Not only does he not accept this claim, but in his opinion it also “makes it harder to characterize the potential attacker and helps to explain the failure of the security establishment in preventing the attacks. It also makes it harder for any administrative judicial action whose aim is to harm the attackers’ close family, and thus weakening the deterrence against similar terror attacks.”

“The current struggle,” writes Bartal, “is different than previous escalations of violence. The modus operandi this time is that of ‘lone wolf’ attackers who, although they belong to Palestinian terror organizations, carry them out without any proven connection or direct order from the organization they belong to.”

According to the study, which examined a series of attacks, this is a deliberate policy of Hamas, “which is aware of the many advantages and the protection that deception and obscuration provides its operatives, their families and the organization’s institutions. The Sunni organization uses the concept of concealment (‘taqiyyah’) which is more common in Shiite Islam, in order to make political and propaganda gains, mostly in order to change its image as a terror organization and present itself to the world as a legitimate organization. This is in contrast to the smaller organizations, such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which claimed responsibility for the attacks that their operatives carried out.”

His conclusion is that “the terror attacks that Israel is suffering are not ‘lone wolf’ attacks, but rather showy attacks from the Palestinian terror organizations that view these attacks as their way of taking revenge against the Zionsts.”

Twenty-eight Israelis were murdered in 2015, most of them since October, when the escalation began: 25 civilians and three members of security forces. According to statistics released by the Shin Bet recently, this is the largest number of people killed in terror attacks since 2008, when 38 Israelis were murdered. These statistics do not include the civilians and troops who were murdered since the beginning of 2016.

According to statistics the Shin Bet provided Yedioth Ahronoth, 70 percent of the attacks in 2015 were defined “lone wolf attacks.” Out of 170 attackers, 142 had no ties to any organization, only 13 were affiliated with Hamas, four with Fatah, three with the Islamic Jihad, the rest were affiliated with other organizations.

“Most of them”, the Shin Bet determines, “were suffering from economic, familial and social problems for a while, and only close to the time of the attack there adopted the idea of doing something for the Palestinian cause. Others, who were suffering from suicidal tendencies, saw in the escalation an opportunity to fulfill their wishes in a socially accepted and respected manner – as shahids (martyrs) and not as suicides. A considerable amount of the attacker were moved to action following exposure to inciting content on social media and Palestinian media, especially media associated with Hamas, but also with the Palestinian Authority. In some of the attacks, the terror organizations claimed responsibility or ‘adopted’ them after the fact, even though there was no connection between the attacker and the organization before the attack.

“Furthermore, some of the attackers expressed contempt by the factions’ behavior and acted because they did not feel confidence in the established organizations to defend Palestinians. For example, Bahaa Elian, who committed an attack in East Talpiot on October 13, 2015, posted a will on his Facebook page in which he clarified: ‘I prohibit the factions to claim responsibilities for my holy death. My death was for the homeland and not for you.’

Diana Hawilah, who was arrested in December 2015 after working with her twin sister Nadia to gather weapons and establish a terror cell, was questioned by the Shin Bet about her political views. When she was asked whom she would vote for if elections took place, she rejected the entire political system and said, ‘I cross them all out.'”

Hamas flags at the funeral

No organizational affiliation? Not according to Dr. Bartal, who reviewed 17 attacks that took place between July 2014 and August 2015, before the current escalation. All of these attacks were described as “lone wolf” attacks as well. But Bartal’s study concludes that aside from a single case, all of the terrorists belonged to a terror organization, “although it’s hard to determine how involved they were in the organization’s operations.”

Bartal notes each one. From March to May 2015, for example, there were four vehiclular attacks. Two of the attackers, Khaled Kutina and Fadi Saleh, were from the Shuafat refugee camp. They were both caught after the act and admitted to having ties to the Hamas operative Ibrahim al-Akari, who committed a vehicular attack at a Jerusalem light rail station on November 5, 2014. Al-Akari himself, as well as Abed a-Rahman a-Shaludi, were arrested and questioned before the attack about they activities on behalf of Hamas, but they were release. Ibrahim al-Akari is the brother of Musa al-Akari, one of Nachson Waxman’s kidnappers in 1994. Al-Shaludi is also the nephew of Muhi a-Din Sharif, the successor of Hamas’ “Engineer” Yahya Ayyash, who was himself nicknamed “Engineer 2.” Hamas, Bartal emphasizes, said that al-Akari and a-Shaludi are also its members.

In another vehicular attack on May 20, 2015, the terrorist Hamdan Abu Dhaim, a resident of Jabal Mukabar, was a relative of Alaa Abu Dhaim, a member of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades who committed the the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva massacre. During Abu Dhaim’s grand funeral, which took place in the village he was born in, Hamas flags were flown.

Even after concluding his research, Bartal continues monitoring terror attacks, and his findings, he says, are still valid now, even to last week’s attacks.

Israa Jaabis, who drove a booby-trapped car to the checkpoint near Ma’aleh Adumim on October 11, 2015, is the cousin of Muhammad Naif Jaabis, who committed a tractor attack in August 2014. She is defined as a “lone wolf,” but she came from Jericho with a booby-trapped vehicle, which she probably did not booby-trap herself.

Bezeq technician Alaa Abu Jamal, who committed a vehicular attack at a Jerusalem bus stop on October 13, 2015, was related to Uday and Ghassan Abu-Jamal, members of the Popular Front that committed the Har Nof synagogue massacre. He was interviewed by the Palestinian media, justified their actions, and a year later went out to carry out an attack himself.

On February 26, 2016, Mahmud Shaalan tried to stab soldiers at a Beit El checkpoint. He was shot and killed. He decided to carry out the attack on the anniversary of the Baruch Goldstein massacre, and during the funeral the terrorist’s body was covered with Fatah’s flag. His Facebook page, as well as other things published after his death, revealed that he was a Fatah operative.

Hamas, by the way, makes detailed lists of these attacks, and does not boast about shahids that don’t belong to it. Hamas’ research department publishes monthly and yearly reports. Last month, it published the summary for the year 2015. Overall, 5,383 terror attacks (“operations,” in their parlance), among them 156 knife attacks (in 99 of which “no Zionist was stabbed or killed”) 42 vehicular attacks, 123 shooting attacks, 193 bombings, and 1,043 Molotov cocktail attacks. The most active month, according to their graph, was October, when 1,328 operations were documented. Most of the operations were in Jerusalem, 1,215 in the city itself and 808 in its suburbs (Palestinian villages and Jewish settlements that are close to it). In Ramallah, there were 989 operations, while Hebron saw 833 attacks.

The Hamas report states the number of Israeli casualties: In 2015, 29 “Zionists” were killed, and an additional 755 were wounded. Fifteen of them were killed in stabbings, nine in shooting attacks, and four in vehicular attacks. Twenty-four were killed in the “Jerusalem intifada,” as they call it, meaning from October 1, 2015. The report’s authors also calculated the ratio of “dead Zionists” and “shahids”: One dead Zionist to four shahids in vehicular attacks, one to five in stabbing attacks, and three Zionists to two shahids in shooting attacks.

February’s report, released last week, counts nine stabbings, 69 Molotov cocktail attacks, 17 shooting attacks and 19 explosive attacks. Nineteen shahids were killed and 237 Palestinians were wounded. The Zionists suffered three losses and 39 injuries. The data, by the way, is completely accurate.

Most of the attacks detailed in Hamas’ report were defined by the Israeli security establishment as “lone wolf” attacks.

“Hamas is indeed behind the incitement, which is calling for violent action against Israel,” a senior military intelligence officer says, “but there is no basis for the claim that Hamas sends the attackers. The interrogation of the attackers that remained alive, their families and others close to them, including the use of intelligence methods that I will not detail here, shows that 67 percent had a personal motive to commit the attack, 25 percent committed the attacks for reasons I would describe as romantic: lost love, or pressure to wed a partner they did not want. Nine percent reported societal rejection and the desire to be accepted, and for 11 percent the reason was financial, such as heavy debts. It is true that 68 percent of those interrogated also talked about nationalistic motivations. There is incitement, but we did not find a single instance in which they were sent by a terror organization.”

But it’s fact that many of the attackers are found to be related to other terrorists or have expressed support of a terror organization.

“It’s possible that a person who did not talk about such things in the past does start posting stuff like this, but questioning the family reveals that he did not belong to a terror organization.”

Is it possible that the claim that these are “lone wolf” attacks serves as an explanation – an alibi – to the government and security establishment’s inability to deal with the attacks?

“Quite the opposite. It’s in our interest to say that it’s Hamas or other organizations. It would make it easier for us to deal with them.”

Bypassing the metal detectors

Lior Akerman, former deputy Shin Bet department head and a terrorism and intelligence expert, also doubts Dr. Bartal’s conclusions. “Hamas is a very sophisticated organization, and it still couldn’t create this intifada,” Ackerman says. “This claim has no basis in reality, even if the attackers are nourished by the incitement that is on social media. It’s a local, personal initiative. There is nothing organized here. It seems that the reason to turn them into organized attacks is tainted by political interests.”

The police, which handle terror attacks within the Green Line together with the Shin Bet, refused to answer our journalists’ questions.

An official in the defense establishment believes that “as in many other cases, the truth is somewhere in the middle.” According to him, “Taking limited responsibility for terrorism is a known Hamas practice; they adopt the terrorists after the fact, without admitting that they control them. On the other hand, the findings require further thought. They pose a challenge to security forces that is not easy to deal with, which is not compatible with a military doctrine that was established over the course of many years. It’s very difficult for large organizations to replace paradigms. So I don’t think that they reject this premise. I don’t attribute extraneous considerations to the IDF, the police or the Shin Bet. I don’t believe that they reject this concept, because defining this as a ‘lone-wolf intifada’ serves an alibi that they cling to, but I think that this argument only deals with the product of incitement, and these attackers have organizational affiliation or direction, which is very problematic. You have to take this insight in light of operational considerations: start by saying that this is not just a lone-wolf intifada, but also an intifada that is directed by the organizations—even if by remote control—and then derive the modus operandi from this.”

For example?

“For example, seeing what we can learn from the attack at the Sha’ar Benyamin, which killed Sergeant Tuvia Yanai Wiseman. We know that the three left their house in Beitunia armed with knives that were concealed on their persons, and they were able to penetrate two security circles: the industrial zone’s and the supermarket’s. What is less clear is why they chose to attack Sha’ar Benyamin, which is far from Beitunia, on the other side of Ramallah, when the closest settlement to them is Givat Ze’ev? Did someone lay the groundwork for them? Did someone report to them on the security arrangements that were in place? And how did they get there? And another thing: the knives were probably concealed in plastic so that they wouldn’t beep. They were 14 and 15—who taught them to do that? These questions also affect other cases. And this is not the lone example that requires new thinking. By the way, to my knowledge, there are those in the Shin Bet and the IDF who understand that there are many cases like this.”

In his report, Bartal specifies his study’s definition of a “lone-wolf attacker”, which, if adopted by the defense establishment, may completely change the picture. “By definition, three characteristics must exist: that they are indeed working independently, that they are not affiliated with a terrorist organization or network of any kind, and that they operate in a system they came up with and is not due to direct instruction or from an external source. If one of the conditions does not exist, then the attackers can’t be seen as “lone wolves,” but rather as organized terrorists. This distinction has ramifications on how to handle the waves of attacks by damaging the organizations, their operatives, and their supporters, as well as closer supervision, electronically or otherwise, via agents or any other intelligence means.”

The report summarize’s Bartal’s answer to the question: “What should Israel do?”

“Israel is not alone on the front against Islamic terrorism. The US, Britain and other countries have gained lots of experience with the phenomenon, and joining forces by adopting methods of inspection and obtaining information can be a great help. Part of tackling this problem requires supervision of social media, which somewhat damages privacy rights, but in today’s technological age, this is a necessary step. Israel must not ignore the organizational elements inherent in terrorist operations. Terrorists draw on these organizations for guidelines for actions and information, such as where to stab (on the body). Understanding that this is another front for the terrorist organizations will also affect the response methods. Terrorists do not grow out of thin air. Supervising an extensive circle of people is not self-evident, but it’s apparently the only way to prevent the next attack.”

Palestinians: Laughing Their Heads Off

by Khaled Abu Toameh                 The Gatestone  Institute


As in any comedy, there is a clown, and Biden was played for a fool by a Palestinian Authority leadership that finds that it pays to point its finger at Israel.

Here is a dirty little secret: the Palestinian attackers were not driven to murder Jews because of “settlements” and “checkpoints.”

Check their Facebook accounts: what fueled their hatred were the lies they had been fed for the past few years by President Abbas and other Palestinian leaders. Palestinian media outlets and spokesmen vomit poison against Israel.

And so the curtain rises on another act of the ceremonial, make-believe theater of the Middle East. In Abbas’s sneaky script, it is about settlements. In reality, it is about the refusal of the Americans to read, speak or even translate Arabic.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Ramallah last week, and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and his top officials are laughing their heads off.

Why not laugh? Biden arrived in the region hoping to persuade the Palestinian leaders to issue a “condemnation” of the reign of terror, which they continue to describe as a “popular and peaceful uprising.” This in itself reeks of gallows humor.

But what Biden got was even funnier, from the point of view of Abbas and his friends.

The Palestinian president offered “condolences” over the killing of a U.S. citizen in Jaffa the previous day: “The President [Abbas] offered his condolences over the killing of the US citizen, while stressing at the same time that the occupation authorities have killed 200 Palestinians over the past five months,” according to a statement released by the PA leadership in Ramallah.

Abbas’s crocodile tears were shed for Taylor Force, a West Point graduate from Texas who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian during a rampage on the Jaffa beachfront promenade. Abbas is doubtless also upset because Israel has killed Palestinian stabbers and shooters.

Just before Biden arrived in Ramallah, Abbas’s Fatah faction praised the murderer of Force, calling him a “martyr.” But Fatah was quick to delete the posts to avoid embarrassing the Palestinian leadership during Biden’s visit.

It seems that the murder of an American visitor is condemnable, but the murder of some 34 Israelis since last October, including a pregnant woman and civilians, is somewhat less so.

Where was the condemnation of the wounding of nine Israelis in the attack that killed Taylor Force? Where was the condemnation of the attacks the took place on that very day in Jerusalem and Petah Tikva?

But Abbas explained everything to Biden: Israel was in fact fully responsible for the “violence and bloodshed” because of the “occupation” and “settlements.”

Here is a dirty little secret: the Palestinian attackers were not driven to murder Jews because of “settlements” and “checkpoints.”

Check their Facebook accounts: what fueled their hatred were the lies they had been fed for the past few years by President Abbas and other Palestinian leaders, concerning Jews “desecrating” Islamic holy sites and plotting to destroy them. No checkpoint snags, no settlement issues, no protests against construction of new apartments in Jerusalem for Jewish families.

Many of these Palestinians went for Israeli blood because they have been taught — by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other Palestinian groups — to hate Israel. And they do not give a damn whether that Jew lives in Jaffa or in the West Bank. They also do not give a damn if some of their victims are Arabs.

Yet the comedy continues. Biden is reported to have urged Abbas and the Palestinian leadership to stop the anti-Israel incitement in their official media and on social media. Abbas vehemently denied that this incitement was taking place, and indeed, explained that the US leader had gotten things mixed up entirely: it was Israel that was guilty of incitement against the Palestinians.

While Abbas was busy offering his condolences for the killing of the U.S. citizen, his ruling Fatah faction was busy glorifying Palestinian assailants who killed Israelis.

In one instance, Fatah published an announcement inviting Palestinians to mark the 38th anniversary of the “martyrdom” of Dalal Al-Mughrabi.

Al-Mughrabi was a Fatah member who participated in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in Israel, in which 38 civilians were killed, including 13 children.

The condolence message was also long enough for Fatah to praise Palestinian assailants, including Abdel Malek Abu Kharoub, who carried out a recent shooting attack in Jerusalem. In a post on its official Facebook account, Fatah hailed Abu Kharoub as a “hero and martyr.”

Of course neither Biden nor any of his advisors and aides saw these posts. They prefer to continue burying their heads in the sand and pretending that once the “peace process” is revived, everything will be fine.

So it is business as usual for Abbas and crew. As in any comedy, there is a clown, and Biden was played for a fool by a PA leadership that finds that it pays to point its finger at Israel.

In Arabic, a language in which Western leaders are perhaps not fluent, Palestinian media outlets and spokesmen vomit poison against Israel. Condemnation of attacks on Israelis would be rather unlikely in such a drama.

And so the curtain rises on another act of the ceremonial, make-believe theater of the Middle East. In Abbas’s sneaky script, it is about settlements. In reality, it is about the refusal of the Americans to read, speak or even translate Arabic.

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