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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Here's how the New York Times describes the beginning of the second intifada in its obituary for Shimon Peres:

Mr. Peres, Mr. Rabin and Arafat were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

But the era of good feelings did not last. It was shattered in 2000 after a visit by the opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the sacred plaza in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The next day, the Israeli police fired on stone-throwing protesters, inaugurating a new round of violence that became known as the second intifada.
There are two major problems with this description.

One is that the years after Oslo were filled with terror attacks against Israelis. In fact, 279 Israelis were killed in the five years following the Oslo accords, more than in the 15 years beforehand - including the entire first intifada. That time period saw some of the worst suicide bombings, particularly on buses, that Israel had ever seen.

1994 Dizengoff St bus bombing , 22 killed

The conventional wisdom that Oslo brought peace is one of the worst myths pushed by the media.

The second is that the NYT is blaming Israeli actions on the outbreak of the second intifada. Here is a good description of the events from Ziv Hellman, a former Jerusalem Post editor:
On the morning of September 28, 2000, a six-member Likud Knesset delegation led by the then-leader of the Israeli opposition, Ariel Sharon, paid a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. From the moment the plans for the visit had been made public four days earlier, there was concern among Israeli security officials that the heavily media-covered visit might inflame some Palestinian nationalist sentiments because it would be viewed as a deliberately provocative symbol of Israeli control of all of Jerusalem, east and west.

These concerns prompted consultations on the matter between Israeli and Palestinian officials, culminating in a telephone conversation between Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and the head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Organization, Jibril Rajoub, in which Rajoub indicated, “If Mr. Sharon refrains from entering the Mosques on Temple Mount, there will not be any problem.” Only then did the Israeli police agree to permit the visit–along with a 1,500 member police escort, just in case.

Sharon’s visit was relatively brief, avoiding the mosques. It was completed by 8:30 a.m. and was followed by a vocal demonstration of about 1,000 Palestinians led by Israeli Arab Knesset members who hurled stones at Israeli policemen. But this too was relatively brief and not unprecedented in the context of previous Palestinian-Israeli clashes in that religiously and emotionally charged area of Jerusalem. By the afternoon, despite sporadic flare-ups of further clashes between police and demonstrators, Israeli security officials concluded that the matter was behind them.

They turned out to be seriously wrong.

Within hours, the Voice of Palestine was broadcasting denunciations. Sharon was said to have conducted “a serious step against Muslim holy places.” Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority chairman, called upon the entire Arab and Islamic world to “move immediately to stop these aggressions and Israeli practices against holy Jerusalem.” Repeated broadcasts throughout the evening and night described the visit as a deliberate defilement of the mosques.

By the morning of September 29, Palestinian public opinion was inflamed in way that Israeli intelligence had failed to predict. In the West Bank town of Qalqilya a Palestinian police officer participating in a joint security patrol with Israeli police opened fire and killed his Israeli counterpart, leading to the permanent suspension of all joint Israeli-Palestinian security patrols. Following Friday morning prayers in the mosques on the Temple Mount, hundreds of Palestinians rushed past Israeli border guards toward the platform overlooking the Western Wall plaza where Jewish worshippers were praying prior to the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

When heavy rocks began raining down from the compound on the Mount onto Jewish worshippers in the plaza below, the Israeli border guard contingent opened fire on the Palestinian rioters with rubber bullets, killing four and wounding more than 100 persons.
There is also convincing evidence that the second intifada was planned by Arafat beforehand. From Wikipedia:
Some have claimed that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority (PA) had pre-planned the Intifada.[137] They often quote a speech made in December 2000 by Imad Falouji, the PA Communications Minister at the time, where he explains that the Intifada had been planned since Arafat's return from the Camp David Summit in July, far in advance of Sharon's visit.[150] He stated that the Intifada "was carefully planned since the return of (Palestinian President) Yasser Arafat from Camp David negotiations rejecting the U.S. conditions".[151] David Samuels quotes Mamduh Nofal, former military commander of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who supplies more evidence of pre-28 September military preparations. Nofal recounts that Arafat "told us, Now we are going to the fight, so we must be ready".
Support for the idea that Arafat planned the Intifadah comes from Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, who said in September 2010 that when Arafat realized that the Camp David Summit in July 2000 would not result in the meeting of all of his demands, he ordered Hamas as well as Fatah and the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, to launch "military operations" against Israel.[154] al-Zahar is corroborated by Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of the Hamas founder and leader, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, who claims that the Second Intifada was a political maneuver premeditated by Arafat. Yousef claims that "Arafat had grown extraordinarily wealthy as the international symbol of victimhood. He wasn't about to surrender that status and take on the responsibility of actually building a functioning society."[155]
Arafat's widow Suha Arafat reportedly said on Dubai television in December 2012 that her husband had planned the uprising. "Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return.... Camp David had failed, and he said to me, 'You should remain in Paris.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because I am going to start an intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so,'" the research institute [MEMRI] translated Suha as saying.[156]
In the New York Times' view, only Israeli actions count towards destroying "good feelings" and starting conflict. Nearly 300 dead Israelis post-Oslo isn't enough to be considered noteworthy. A visit by Ariel Sharon where there were no casualties is awful, but Palestinians dropping stones onto worshippers at the Western Wall during prayers is reduced to "stone throwing Palestinians."

This is another example where reporters simply regurgitate myths as conventional wisdom - myths that they helped create with their own agendas, including in this case to minimize the deadly attacks in Israel during the Oslo process to "give peace a chance" as well as accepting without checking the Palestinian narrative that Ariel Sharon's pre-planned and approved visit sparked the violence.

(h/t Yenta)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Beyond partisanship
While in New York, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the presidential candidates of both major parties.
To his credit, Netanyahu managed to maintain a statesmanlike neutrality that reflects America’s broad, non-partisan support for Israel. The prime minister was less successful at doing this in the previous presidential elections, during which he was perceived as favoring Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.
In the months that remain until the November presidential election, Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders should strive to maintain their neutrality. The ties between Israel and the US are too strong and profound to turn support for Israel into a partisan issue.
Israel is an American ally in the most profound meaning of the word, and this should be reflected in our diplomacy.
Regardless of which party receives a mandate from the American people to enter the White House, relations with the US will remain strong. That is apparent from the statements made by both candidates, but it is also self-evident from the very nature of the alliance between the US and Israel. In every significant way Israel and America are allies.
Ideologically speaking, Israel shares America’s values.

Shmuley Boteach: Good times come as Israel omitted from the US debate
My, how four years change things. In Obama-Romney in 2012 Israel was a big and serious issue. It came up in the debates. Romney traveled to Israel. Netanyahu was accused of choosing sides.
Four years later, tonight in the Clinton-Trump showdown, Bibi merited a tiny mention in the closing moments of the debate when Trump said he had met with the Prime Minister the day before “and he’s not a happy camper.” He said it in relation to President Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement, which legitimized the Mullahs as a nuclear power and will give them $150 billion by which to sew terror mayhem throughout the world.
Hillary Clinton brags about being the original architect of the deal and she strongly defended it in the debate.
Aside from that, Israel was not mentioned at all.
Which is not to say that the Middle East did not come up. It came up plenty. It is to say that, believe it or not, Israel is seen, I assume, by both political candidates as an island of stability in an otherwise horrible region. So why even talk about it? I remember a saying attributed to Golda Meir which said something to the effect that good times would come to Israel when it appears in the media as much as Switzerland.
Benjamin Netanyahu on What Israel Has to Offer the World
In an in-depth interview, the Israeli prime minister discusses a range of topics. These include his economic reforms as finance minister in the early 2000s and what can be done to remove further impediments to growth, Israel’s relationship with Russia, what’s special about his country’s alliance with the U.S., and even his thoughts about divine providence.
Benjamin Netanyahu Receives Hudson's Herman Kahn Award

Netanyahu says both Clinton, Trump will protect Israel-US ties
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are strong supporters of Israel and that in terms of relations with the US, “it doesn’t matter which one is elected.”
The comments at the cabinet meeting, during which Netanyahu also trumpeted boosted ties with Africa at the UN, came hours after the two White House contenders wrapped up a bruising televised debate and two days after the prime minister separately met both candidates while in New York.
Netanyahu said that in those meetings both Clinton and Trump had expressed overwhelming backing for Israel.
“They both spoke about their support for Israel and the importance of relations between our countries,” Netanyahu said. “It doesn’t matter which of them will be elected, US support of Israel will remain strong, our pact will remain strong and will even get stronger in the coming years.”
Netanyahu met with both Clinton and Trump on Sunday in meetings designed to put Israel on good footing with the next US president. Almost identical statements from the prime minster’s office said that he discussed “issues relating to advancing peace and stability in the Middle East” with Clinton and “issues relating to Israel’s security and its efforts to achieve stability and peace in the Middle East” with Trump.
US Jews contribute half of all donations to the Democratic Party
A new study argues that the large majority of American Jews have a deep-seated notion that being Jewish is inextricably bound to being liberal.
That idea took hold after the large waves of Jewish immigration to the US in the late 19th century, according to the study’s author, American history professor Gil Troy.
American Jewish liberalism and association with the Democratic party is showing no signs of abatement, despite many predictions to the contrary since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, according to Troy’s research, which is being published by the Ruderman Family Foundation's Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa.
In particular, Troy notes that president Franklin Roosevelt, author of the New Deal program of social initiatives and policies, became a hero for American Jews who benefited from these measures and drew them even further toward the Democratic Party.
Terror victim remembers Clinton's 'inhuman coldness'
Yossi Tzur, who lost his son, Assaf, in a terror bus bombing, has unpleasant memories from his meeting with Hillary Clinton. He shared them with his Facebook friends Tuesday morning.
"On 2004, I went with a delegation of families of terror victims to the US, we talked to decision makers, in Congress, Senate and others, the time was when the debate over Israel right for a security fence was at its peak. Israel was taken to the international court in the Hague over the fence. Talking about the need for a fence was very important to us.
"We were welcomed with warmth, with empathy, all heard us and gave us their attention, well, almost everybody."
Tzur went on to describe the delegation's meeting with Rudy Giuliani. "You could feel the warmth of the man, his humanity, his care," he wrote. "You could see tears in his eyes when he told the stories. The meeting was scheduled for an hour, it took almost two hours and then he stood with us patiently taking photos with each and every one."
From New York, the delegation went to Washington for a series of meetings, one of them was in the Senate with NY Senator Hilary Clinton. Tzur recalled that "we arrived at her office in the Senate and were shown into a small meeting room, it could hardly fit all of us, it was dark, crowded, it didn’t even had water on the table. So we waited.
"Time went by, 15 minutes, 30, an hour. Her aids were embarrassed saying she is coming any minute now. After an hour and a half Clinton arrived.
"She looked as us seeing the group in the room, we could see she is not really there with us, we felt she was impatient and just looking to finish it and go. We felt really uncomfortable... Even before we could speak she said, you probably want a photo, come let's go out, leading us to the stairs. There she asked us to stand on the stairs and one of her aides took the photo. We still wanted to talk to her, people came ready to tell her their story, she didn’t intend to hear, it looked she didn’t want to hear. With inhuman coldness she went out amongst us all and disappeared in one of the corridors leaving us shocked and disappointed."
Michael Lumish: This week on NOTHING LEFT (Sept 27, 2016)
3 min Editorial: Tim Costello (World Vision Australia) and Hadassah Hospital
13 min Ian Fayman, candidate for Glen Eira Council
21 min Geoff Bloch, on Section 18C
41 min David Bedein, on Palestinian textbooks
1 hr 04 min Norman Rosenbaum, brother of murdered Yankel in New York
1 hr 41 min Isi Leibler, Jerusalem
Telling Our Positive Story Against BDS
Anyone involved with organized pro-Israel politics has likely gotten caught up in heated discussions over how to set a narrative and get activists to stick with it during the course of a campaign. Themes, messaging calendars and lists of talking points are several of the devices that have been proposed, and sometimes implemented, to get our side to settle on and consistently tell the same story.
This desire to control a narrative is the perfectly reasonable response to the fact that our opponents, while devious and deceitful, are also quite disciplined with regard to staying on message. The false or truncated information they produce might vary from campaign to campaign, and their message might be fine-tuned to play on the vulnerabilities of a particular audience. But their central “Israel = Apartheid” message stays consistent, speaker after speaker, article after article, event after event.
For a variety of institutional and cultural reasons, our side struggles to maintain similar message discipline. The organizational structure of the Jewish community leads to many independent groups creating their own strategies — including messaging strategies — which they prefer to “sell” to other groups, rather than abandon their own creation to pick up someone else’s theme.
Settler Leader: Main Victims of BDS Movement Are the Palestinians Themselves
The fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was one of the hottest topics at the National Israeli-American Council Conference in Washington, DC this weekend.
Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council — the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish communities in the West Bank — told The Algemeiner on the sidelines of the conference on Sunday that the main victims of BDS are actually the Palestinians themselves.
The BDS movement, Revivi emphasized, “does not serve the interests of private Palestinian individuals. It has an agenda that is remote from the needs of the Palestinian people and it jeopardizes the potential of reaching a peace agreement.”
“If we have a factory that employs Palestinian workers and it is threatened with being shut down due to BDS, it is Palestinians who will lose their jobs,” he said.
While the economic impact of BDS has been limited thus far, Revivi noted, the threat must not be underestimated.
Anti-Israel Group at San Diego State U to Host Radical Activist Who Called Jews ‘Sleazy Thieves’
An anti-Israel group at San Diego State University (SDSU) will host a lecture on Thursday by an infamous Israeli activist whose use of antisemitic rhetoric on social media recently sparked a major controversy.
SDSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has invited Miko Peled — who referred to Jews as “sleazy thieves” — to participate in “Palestine 101,” an event that, according to its Facebook page, “will give an introduction to and history of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.”
Writing in the SDSU student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, campus activist Anthony Berteaux expressed outrage. SJP’s invitation, he wrote, “suggests [it] accept[s] and condone[s] [Peled’s] antisemitism and that his rhetoric is something to be accepted.”
“We are capable of having difficult, nuanced conversations about the conflict between Israel and Palestine without having to resort to antisemitic rhetoric,” Berteaux wrote, calling on “silent” campus activists to “speak up” against Peled’s planned appearance on campus.
Israel Calls on Norwegian Theater to Denounce ‘Fake’ BDS Video
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is calling on the National Theatre of Norway to denounce a video falsely produced on its behalf by Norwegian actors calling for a boycott of its Israeli counterpart.
“Hypocritically hiding behind the guise of freedom of speech, Norwegian actors have produced a video — using official funding — in which a fake spokesperson for the National Theatre of Norway disgracefully calls for a boycott of Israel’s national theater, HaBima, and the entire state of Israel,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said.
The video, published online and transcribed in a Sept. 20 article in the Norwegian weekly, Morgenbladet, dramatized an “apology” from the Norwegian National Theatre for cooperating with HaBima on a project called, “Terrorisms.” The actress/spokesperson claimed the theater was unaware of the “powerful role HaBima and other Israeli art institutions play in normalizing the Israeli occupation.”
The actress also apologizes on behalf of the theater for being ignorant of the “colonial conflict based on ethnic cleansing, racism, occupation and apartheid.”
The MFA said the “disinformation clip is reminiscent of the works of the Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, or the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.”
This "Rose" Has Thorns
Yesterday I caught Lally Cadeau's final performance as Rose in Rose, the one-woman play written by American-British playwright Martin Sherman, and first produced in 1999 (and starred Olympia Dukakis). The Toronto show was mounted by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, part of its 10th anniversary line up.
Going in, the only thing I knew about the play was that it was about an elderly Holocaust survivor named Rose, and that Cadeau, who was playing the role for the second time, received rave reviews for her performance.
What I didn't know (spoiler alert) was the play's end game: to depict the state of Israel in the worst possible light; to smear it as a place where Jews, formerly the victims of Nazis, had now become the victimizers of Palestinians, who had assumed the mantle of victimhood from Jewry; to portray Israel as a land of brutes and hot heads who had turned it into a land of spoiled milk and rancid honey and who, even worse, had no legitimate claim to the land. (In one of the play's most egregious lines, Rose speaks of "ancient Palestinians," thereby implying that their connection to the land is every bit as venerable as the Jews' when in fact it pretty much dates from Yasser Arafat's arrival on the scene.)
It's utter tommyrot, of course, the same old spurious, anti-Zionist talking points spewed by the likes of Max Blumenthal and Walt & Mearshimer. The problem is that they are being voiced by a lovable Bubbie named Rose who, prior to this, has endeared herself to the audience by telling them the story of her the shtetl in the Ukraine! the Warsaw ghetto! the voyage on the Exodus! a new life in America!-- in all its harrowing, horrible and occasionally humorous details.
Anti-Israel UC Irvine Students Peacefully Scare the Shit Out of Jewish Students (satire)
The UC Irvine chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) disrupted a showing of the Israeli film “Beneath the Helmet” by yelling obscenities, physically blocking students, and attempting to force their way into the room where the event was being held.
When asked for comment, SJP President Celine Qussiny expressed pride over how the organization peacefully physically intimidated the participating students. She also maintained there is nothing wrong with the situation escalated to the point where police had to escort fearful Jewish attendees. “I think it’s great! Including law enforcement increases the diversity of the people involved in this Middle East debate and ushers in fresh ideas and discussion.”
She also wanted to make very clear that the organization differentiates between the Zionists they target and the Jewish students. “We don’t accept anti-Semitism, but we are indeed anti-Zionists. If it was up to me I would eliminate all the Zionists from campus. Although Zionists are mostly Jews, so odds are if you’re a Jew there is a good chance you are a Zionist. We only rough-up these coupon herders because we want to end the Israeli occupation. Anyway, what was the question again?”
BBC R4 ‘Today’ presenter startled by Gaza fact
The September 24th edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Today’ included an interview (from 01:46:26 here) in which presenter Sarah Montague discussed the question ‘are more black people now being shot by police in the US?’ with the Guardian’s Gary Younge.
At around 01:48:57 Younge made the following statement:
“…a black man’s life expectancy in DC is lower than a man’s life expectancy on the Gaza Strip…”
Montague interjected incredulously:
“Seriously? Sorry, but that is an…a startling statistic – if it’s true.”
Younge: “Absolutely. According to CIA figures about life expectancy in the Gaza Strip and the government figures on black life expectancy in DC, that was certainly true last time I looked.”
So was Montague’s scepticism justified?
CAMERA Prompts Los Angeles Times Correction on Gaza Occupation
CAMERA's Israel office has prompted correction of a Los Angeles Times book review which inaccurately referred to the occupation of the Gaza Strip. The Sept. 2 review had stated: "In many circles, you're more likely to hear about Israel's settlements, intransigence and its nearly 50-year-long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza than you are about its pluck or ingenuity." (Emphasis added.)
Earlier this month CAMERA contacted a Times editor, noting that the passage wrongly implies that the Gaza Strip is still under occupation. Israel completely withdrew in 2005, ending Israel's 38-year-old occupation of the Gaza Strip.
CAMERA reminded The Times of its Feb. 4, 2011 correction on virtually the same topic. That correction, also prompted by CAMERA, stated:
"Decolonizing Architecture": A review of the exhibition "Decolonizing Architectue" in the Feb. 2 Calendar section implied that Israel continues to occupy the Gaza Strip. In fact, Israeli forces pulled out of the area in 2005.
Regarding this month's error, the editor promptly responded to CAMERA, noting that the United Nations and groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regard the Gaza Strip as occupied, but agreed to run a clarification noting Israel's disagreement with the definition.
BBC News Amends Misleading Portrayal of Israeli Construction
Earlier this week we noted that a report titled “US approves record $38bn Israel military aid deal” which was published on the BBC News website’s US & Canada and Middle East pages on September 13th presented an inaccurate and misleading portrayal of Israeli construction. As was observed at the time:
The employment of phrases such as “Israeli settlement building,” “construction of Jewish settlements” and “construction of settlements” obviously leads BBC audiences to mistakenly believe that Israel is constructing new communities rather than – as is actually the case – building homes in existing towns and villages, most of which would under any reasonable scenario remain under Israeli control in the event of an agreement.
Following communication from BBC Watch, the version of the article currently available online has now been amended. The passage which previously stated “Pro-Palestinian groups criticised the deal, saying it rewards Israel despite the ongoing construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank” now reads as follows:
Pro-Palestinian groups criticised the deal, saying it rewards Israel despite the ongoing construction in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Man in military uniform with Nazi symbol injures 9 in Houston shooting
A man dressed in a vintage military uniform emblazoned with a Nazi symbol and toting a "Tommy Gun" and a hand gun unleashed a flurry of bullets near a Houston shopping center on Monday morning, injuring nine people before he was shot dead by police.
The shooter was identified as attorney Nathan DeSai, FOX26 reported, citing multiple sources. Authorities, however, refused to officially confirm the man's identity.
Officials said the gunman had 2,600 rounds of ammunition either on him or in his car and was carrying a .45 semi-automatic handgun and a .45 semi-automatic Thompson carbine. An "edged weapon still in its sheath" was also recovered from the shooter.
The man's apartment was filled with historic and vintage military items "going back to the Civil War," Houston Police Department Captain Dwayne Ready said during a Monday evening news conference.
Dresden mosque hit by bomb, Neo-Nazis blamed for terror attack
Germany is on high alert after two bombs were detonated in the eastern city of Dresden last night.
One went off outside the entrance to a local mosque, the other outside a congress hall. In both cases police spoke of "hate crimes." No-one was hurt in the blasts.
The explosion was triggered around 10pm last night and also hit a nearby international congress building.
Police have for long warned that neo-Nazis in Germany have been forming themselves into well armed paramilitary cells; the fear now is that this may be the precursor of more right wing terror to come.
"Although so far noone has claimed responsibility, we believe a xenophobic motive lies behind these crimes," said Dresden police chief Horst Kretzschmar.
"We also see a connection to the Unification Day ceremonies due to take place this weekend" - the annivesary of East and West Germany becoming one state shortly after the fall of communism in 1989.
Chinese Government Cracks Down on Practices of Small Jewish Community
The Chinese government has been cracking down on the religious practices of a small Jewish community whose ancestors settled in a central Chinese city over 1,000 years ago, according to The New York Times.
Some 100 to 200 individuals in the town of Kaifeng — out of 1,000 total who claim Jewish ancestry — remain actively observant, and they have been targeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government campaign to squash non-licensed religions.
The government has shut down organizations that helped to rebuild the Jewish community, prohibited gatherings for Passover and other Jewish holidays, closed Hebrew and Judaism classes and removed Jewish historical signs and objects from public spaces.
“The whole policy is very tight now,” Guo Yan, 35, a tour guide who runs a small museum on Kaifeng’s Jewish past, told the Times. “China is sensitive about foreign activities and interference.”
No arrests have been made and the Jewish community can still gather in small groups to pray, but they are closely monitored by the government.
The approved state religions in Communist China are limited to Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Taoism.
‘Avenger’ Holocaust Survivor Dies at 91
A Holocaust survivor who participated in a revenge plot to poison former SS officers after World War II has died at the age of 91.
Lithuanian-born Joseph Harmatz lost most of his family in the Holocaust and became one of the “Avengers,” a group of 50 young men and women who sought to punish the perpetrators of the Final Solution. Several members began working undercover at a bakery that was a supplier for an American prisoner of war camp, Stalag 13 at Langwasser near Nuremberg, Germany. On April 13, 1946, Harmatz oversaw the coating of 3,000 loaves of bread with arsenic with the goal of killing 12,000 SS personnel.
Harmatz once told the Associated Press that the mission was, “Kill Germans. As many as possible.”
While many SS officers became sick, none died as a result of the poison, though a recently declassified US military report revealed that the amount of arsenic used should have been fatal.
Authorities in Nuremberg investigated, but decided not to press charges because of the extraordinary circumstances.
Kiev’s Last Survivor of Nazi ‘Path to Death’ at Babi Yar
“We were gathered here, and sent along ‘the path to death’,” says Raisa Maistrenko, pointing to a Kiev ravine that 75 years ago witnessed one of the worst atrocities of World War II.
Maistrenko was only three when the Nazis helped by local collaborators slaughtered 34,000 Jews — mostly elderly, women and children — between September 29-30, 1941, as Hitler’s forces advanced toward Moscow on the eastern front.
Maistrenko is the Ukrainian capital’s last survivor of the 29 people who managed to escape execution, either by falling into the ravine before they were shot in the back, to lie on top of thousands of corpses and later flee, or wearing crosses to hide their true religion.
The 78-year-old’s 18 relatives never returned from Babi Yar — a site that unnervingly stands next to Kiev’s main TV tower and is rarely mentioned by modern locals.
– Go-cart in hand –
After entering Kiev, Nazi troops told the nearly 200,000 Jews who made up a quarter of the city’s population to pack up their documents, money and warm clothes and go to the ravine or face death.
“All the Jews decided to go because they thought they would be evacuated by train as the railway station was nearby. Nobody could possibly assume there would be a mass execution,” Maistrenko says in slow, hushed tones.
Her father had been drafted into the Soviet army and she lived with her mother in her grandparents’ apartment.
Jerusalem mayor ‘bumps into’ Jonathan Pollard in New York
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat held an impromptu meeting with Jonathan Pollard in New York on Monday.
Pollard and his wife Esther were sitting at an outdoor cafe in Manhattan, near a venue where Barkat was to appear at a fundraising event. The mayor’s office said in a statement that he “bumped into” the released spy.
Barkat stopped to chat, then took a gold Jerusalem pin from his lapel and gave it to Pollard, who had been awarded honorary citizenship in the capital city while he was in jail.
“Even though Jonathan is prohibited from coming to Jerusalem,” said Esther Pollard, “the eternal capital of the Jewish people can come to New York, or any other place in the world. We look forward to, and hope for, the day when we can come to Jerusalem and make it our true home.”
Former IDF Officers Improving Lives in India, Ethiopia
Three Israeli army officers set out on an adventure to Thailand in 2012 after completing their service in the Israel Defense Forces.
Nothing unusual here; an estimated 40,000 post-army Israelis go backpacking every year for extended periods to cheap and exotic destinations in Asia, Africa, or Latin America.
But these three had a new idea: to capitalize on the large number of Israeli travelers already in needy countries, in order to make a positive difference and show the world the compassionate face of former IDF soldiers, says Gili Cohen, now 29, cofounder of Fighters for Life (in Hebrew, Fighters without Borders).
Since its founding in 2013, FFL has been organizing annual volunteering missions for young Israeli backpackers heading to Gondar, Ethiopia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Mumbai, India.
Applicants accepted into the program begin preparing six months before departure. They meet with past FFL volunteers, do some volunteering in Israel, and devise an agenda for their two-week stay, usually including agriculture and construction projects as well as teaching English, math, music, and personal hygiene to children in orphanages or slums.
FFL returns to work with the same children the following year to assure continuity and a greater impact.
Donors, mostly from the South African Jewish community, underwrite the $12,000 bill for each mission. Costs are low because the 25 participants are flying on their own dime.
Who said women can't serve in combat roles?
'Don't take these attacks for granted'
The recent resurge of violence, which has so far mainly been attempts to stab soldiers and police officers, is another reminder of the dangers Rachel and soldiers like her face every day. It reminds her of other things, too. Things many of us take for granted, like how fast we as a society move on or don't give enough attention to incidents that fortunately end without casualties.
"Even as a soldier, when you hear about an attack, you obviously get stressed out and you make sure, first and foremost, that it's not your friends (who were involved in the attack)," she says. "It's hard to understand such a situation if you don't experience it yourself. In our country, it's easy to take it for granted, to say that 'there were only (a few) injuries,' or that someone 'was only lightly wounded.' But every incident like that changes someone's entire world in a moment. We carry it with us for the rest of our lives, for good and for bad. But this is our job, we need to be prepared for it."
How did your family react to this incident?
"My family was, of course, proud of me. But to me, there was more to this incident. The public always has a hard time accepting that women can be combat soldiers. To me, this is proof for all female combat soldiers. There are a lot of combat soldiers, (including) men, who would have run away in such a scenario, but us girls dealt with it. So who's to say that we can't?"
And what's next?
"Today I'm finishing my time as a platoon sergeant. I'll complete my three years of service soon, and be released (from the IDF). Then I plan to take the university entry exams, do the Israel Trail, and after that—only God knows."
Israeli Air Force Pilots Land atop Mount Olympus
The Israeli Air Force completed a 16-day exercise in Greece this week that included a landing atop the 2,918-meter (nearly 10,000-feet) Mount Olympus, the fabled home of the Greek gods, the military said.
Israeli Blackhawk and Sikorsky CH-35 heavy transport helicopters — in Hebrew the Ya’sur and Yanshuf, respectively — along with a Beechcraft King Air B-200 light transport plane, known as the Tzofit in Israel, took part in the exercise, according to the air force.
The IAF craft flew some 200 sorties during the 16 days and nights in the Hellenic country, often alongside their Greek counterparts.
The drill put Israeli pilots in unfamiliar locations, performing landings at higher altitudes and in different conditions than they experience in Israel.

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From Iran's Tasnim News:
The secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, says he considers the radical ideology of Wahhabism to be even more pernicious than the Zionist Israeli regime.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remark during his annual meeting with Muslim eulogists and the people responsible for commemoration mourning ceremonies during the Lunar month of Muharram, Press TV reported on Tuesday.

The Hezbollah chief said he considered Wahhabism to be responsible for damaging Islam’s image worldwide.

Wahhabism is more evil than Israel, especially [in] that it seeks to destroy others and eliminate whatever thing that has to do with Islam and its history,” he said.
We're Number 2! We're Number 2!

And if you consider America to be Big Satan and Israel to be Little Satan, Israel's position may have dropped to #3.

Iran and its lackeys must really be moderating!

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The stuff that legends are made from…

In a time that seems very dark it is important to see examples of strength and courage.

In a time when it seems that there are no honorable leaders it is important to see examples of people who are – leaders and honorable.

I hear Americans despair: “There is no one. They are all liars. No one really cares.”

An age is called dark, not because the light refuses to shine but because people refuse to see. They exist. They are real.

They are in Israel.

Ziv Shilon is the stuff legends are made from. His story became highly dramatic in October 2012…
It was 2 am and pitch-black when he crawled to where it was. The 24 year old Captain didn’t take anyone with him because he was afraid someone would get hurt. Not even a sniffer dog.

He had a feeling that he might get hurt but knew that someone had to dismantle the bomb. Or at least try.

The bomb exploded ripping off one of his hands, mangling the other.

Afraid of being taken hostage by the terrorists, the Captain picked himself off the ground and ran back to where his soldiers were waiting.

Horrified at the sight of his beloved Captain running towards him pouring blood, the medic was frozen to the spot. The Captain screamed at him: “Get a hold of yourself! Bandage my hands and get me to a hospital quick or I will die!”

On the way to the hospital the Captain had someone help him call his sister. He told her to come to the hospital, that he had lost his hands. He did not want to call his mother because she had been battling cancer and he didn’t want to worry her.

At the hospital the doctors struggled to save his hand, what remained. All they could do for the other was make a clean cut and sew up the stump of where his hand once been.

When the Captain was being moved to the hospital room he knew there would be lots of people around including media. He asked to be covered in the flag of the country he loves. He wanted to send a message, particularly to his soldiers. He would be strong and heal and they would continue to protect the country.

The Captain saluted the General who came to see him in the hospital. He was in so much pain he could barely lift his arm but he saluted none the less.

When the Prime Minister came to visit him the Captain thanked him. Humbled the Prime Minister could only answer: “You are thanking me? I came here to thank you! The nation salutes you.”

The Captain’s mother kissed the Prime Minister and told him: “I would make a meal for you if I could.”  He told her: “If you are inviting me I will come, with the Mayor of your town. But after that, when your son is better I will invite you to my house.”

There is more to this story but I am sure that in the reading many would not believe it. It sounds like some kitsch American movie doesn’t it?

Honor, love of country, duty, and true compassion… the head of state showing genuine humility to a not very important individual because of the qualities he embodies…  Such dramatic scenes could only happen in Hollywood. And in such a movie the screenwriter would be chastised. People would say it’s melodramatic, not believable.

But it’s not a movie. It’s our reality.

See the video of Prime Minister Netanyahu visiting Capitan Shilon. Note his attitude towards Ziv and his family:

People like Capitan Ziv Shilon are the backbone of the State of Israel.  Ziv is “just” another Israeli guy. Anywhere else he would be a legend.

Since his injury Ziv married the love of his life, competed in a marathon and had a beautiful baby girl. He gives lectures, teaching others that anything is possible. The power of the will is always stronger than the power of the body.

Ziv’s wife Adi is no less a hero than he is. She loved Ziv before he was injured and their bond has grown stronger since. Hers is the heroism of love, endurance, patience and so much more. Love makes you strong. She is proof of that.

When I need strength I look to people like Ziv and Adi Shilon. My challenges pale in comparison!

Theirs is not a Hollywood story. These extraordinary people are ordinary Israelis.

These are the people that walk among us.

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From Ian:

Ex-president Peres said fighting for life as condition worsens
Former president and prime minister Shimon Peres’s condition has significantly deteriorated over the past 24 hours, leaving the 93-year-old “fighting for his life,” according to sources and doctors who have been treating him since he suffered a serious stroke two weeks ago.
“Peres’s condition continues to be very serious and the lack of progress at this stage is a source for worry,” doctors at the Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv said Tuesday, according to reports carried by several Hebrew-language media outlets.
Doctors say his breathing, kidney function and several other indexes have dropped over the past few hours, raising concerns that he could be headed for multiple organ failure, according to reports.
“The president is fighting for his life,” a source close to Peres told AFP on condition of anonymity. “His health position is very, very difficult. His doctors are worried about his health.”
His spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Peres, 93, was hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center on September 13 after suffering a major stroke. He has been under sedation since then, with doctors reporting slight progress in his condition.
Caroline Glick: Ending the Palestinian Exception
It was never about building “Palestine.”
This then brings us to the US and Europe, and their unstinting support for Palestinian demands for the release of terrorists. What are they thinking? Earlier this month Prof. Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University Law School and the Kohelet Forum published a paper on the international community’s general interpretation of paragraph 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Protocol from 1949. The relevant clause states that an “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
As Kontorovich noted, this clause the forms the basis of the international community’s constant refrain that Israeli communities built beyond the 1949 armistice lines in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria are illegal.
In other words, it forms the basis of the West’s case against Israel and, by extraction, for the Palestinians’.
Just last week during his speech before the UN General Assembly, Obama attacked Israel for its continued settlement activity.
Kontorovich investigated the same international community’s view of communities built by citizens of a dozen other states in lands occupied by their governments in armed conflicts.
He noted that the activities of Moroccans in the Western Sahara, of Turks in Northern Cyprus, of Indonesians in East Timor and of other nationals in multiple other territories are legally indistinguishable from Israel’s activities in the areas it took control over from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israel war.
In none of these other cases, however, has the US, EU, UN or any other international or national authority ever invoked the Fourth Geneva Convention or otherwise claimed that those activities are a breach of international law. In other words, the legal basis for the criminalization and political condemnation of Israel in relation to the Palestinians is entirely specious and discriminatory.
In other words, US support for the so-called twostate solution, like the international community’s support for it, is really just a means of discriminating against Israel. It does not advance the cause of peace or justice, for Israelis or for Palestinians. It merely empowers terrorist gangsters to kill Israelis and extort both the Palestinians and the international community.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Holidays, Motivation and Shaheeds
When the Muslim holidays coincide with Jewish or Christian festivals, the maelstrom in the heart of potential terrorists is at an even higher level than usual, because the two religions which monopolize the public space were supposed to have disappeared, according to Islam. The gap between reality and the Islamic message of the destruction of Christianity and Judaism drives some of the jihadists to the point of madness in their readiness to attack and bring about the realization of the Koranic ideal "the religion of Allah is Islam." (19:3)
It follows that the common denominator of all Jihadists today and the topic that feeds their frenzy, is the commandment to take part in Jihad. Each terrorist feels – whether he is part of a cell or one of those called lone wolves – that his individual duty is Jihad for Allah in order to eliminate the heretics, whether or not he can complete the job and even if he pays with his life.
As far as he is concerned, this is the right and logical thing to do. Who would not sacrifice temporal life in a miserable and cruel world for eternal life in a world of pleasure?
Despite all this, there are other considerations that motivate not a few attackers, such as the desire for revenge or a need to prove courage and manliness. Women terrorists usually are trying to escape a cruel fate at the hands of family who feel their honor has been sullied because of the liberal behavior of the women of the family.
There are a good many internet sites that support the idea of the paradise awaiting the shaheed and color it with green grass, blooming trees and blue waters. When juxtaposed with the arid deserts that characterize most of the Arab and Islamic world, that verdant picture can exert a good deal of influence.
The world must own up to the truth about the terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims, admit the motivation behind them and the goals which bring them to go out to war against those whom they perceive as enemies.

Terror Prevention Isn’t Impossible
What to do? The answer is two-fold.
First, the FBI needs to get larger to handle the terrorism caseload. As Politico noted, the FBI is a fairly small agency whose mission extends far beyond fighting terrorism: “Its agent corps of around 13,000 is roughly equivalent to the size of the Chicago Police Department and about 40 percent of the size of the NYPD. Despite the billions poured into counterterrorism, the agent corps is only about 20 percent larger than it was before 9/11, and those ranks have been worn down: Washington’s budget squabbles and sequestration led in recent years to a lengthy hiring freeze.”
Second, local police departments need to step up. Michael Shaheen, former deputy commissioner for counterterrorism at the New York Police Department, wrote that other police departments, including those across the river in New Jersey, need to emulate the NYPD by devoting more resources to antiterrorism investigations. He notes: “Most local police departments will say they lack resources to pursue such leads — but that is simply no longer an excuse. As was done in the NYPD, priorities must be set and assets re-deployed to meet the terrorist threat — and that means deploying experienced detectives capable of running investigations against potential terrorist cells. Departments need informants, undercovers, and wiretaps. That is what it is all about. It can be done and should be done now in most major cities within the United States.”
Given the magnitude of the terrorist threat that we face–and Shaheen believes that “the threat of terrorism in the nation’s homeland is worse now that it has been since 2001”–we simply cannot allow a “business as usual” mindset on the part of law enforcement and the legislators who fund their operations. Federal and local agencies need to devote the necessary resources to stop future attacks–and appropriators from Congress to the city council need to make sure they have what they need. Even so, law enforcement will not be able to prevent every attack, but they should at least be able to keep more suspects who were already on their radar screen as potential terrorists from carrying out actual attacks.
Daphne Anson: Ex-CIA Officer on Islamic Antisemitism in Europe (video)
Former CIA operative Clare Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert specialising on such issues as the Middle East, national defense, weapons of mass destruction, and counterterrorism. Vice President of the non-profit forum the Intelligence Summit, she teaches courses at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Centre) on the Iranian Intelligence Services, and the expanding influence of Jihad and Sharia in Europe and the U.S. She's co-author of two published books on Iran.
At the current OCSE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Conference in Warsaw regarding Human Rights she pulled no punches in attributing the "resurgent and savage waves of antisemitism" in Europe, especially France, to Muslims and cites as a driver "scriptural writing of the Islamic canon".

NY Bomber Rahami Received ‘Islamic Education’ at Taliban-Linked Madrasa
The Guardian, citing a Pakistani security source, has confirmed that New York and New Jersey bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami spent time receiving “Islamic education” at a Taliban-linked seminary in Pakistan during his extended stay there.
Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Afghan descent whose writings strongly indicate a jihadist influence behind his plan to bomb multiple locations in the tri-state area, reportedly attended jihadist lectures and had some involvement to the Taliban community in Quetta, a known terror hotbed in Pakistan.
The Guardian identifies the school in question as the Kaan Kuwa Naqshbandi madrasa in the outskirts of Quetta, which the official noted Rahami may have visited on two separate occasions in which he was in Pakistan – in 2011 and 2013. On one visit, Rahami reportedly stayed for three weeks, indulging in “lectures and Islamic education.” The official revealing the information told The Guardian he felt the government was being overly careful in releasing information regarding Rahami’s time in the country, trying to “hide all the details of his visits to Quetta” instead.
Shortly after his second visit to Pakistan in 2013, Rahami’s father Mohammed reported him to the FBI as a potential terrorist threat. Ahmad Rahami had a fight with his siblings and was charged with stabbing his brother, but those charges were dropped after the family refused to continue on with the case. The FBI investigated Ahmad Rahami but told his father they found no evidence of jihadi radicalism, so the father recanted his complaint. The nature of the domestic dispute in question remains unknown. Mohammed Rahami insists the FBI failed his family, while FBI officials have said that Rahami merely called his son a “terrorist” while providing no evidence or mentioning his reportedly obsessive viewing of jihadi materials online, giving law enforcement little to work with.
Newly Released Transcript Proves Orlando Terrorist Was Avenging ISIS
Orlando police released the full transcripts of terrorist Omar Mateen’s phone conversations with police the night he killed 49 people and injured 53 others on June 12 at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Throughout multiple conversations with authorities, Mateen repeatedly states he sought to kill and terrorize Americans as payback for drone strikes in Iraq that killed a key ISIS leader, Abu Waheeb, in early May.
Mateen told the negotiator that Waheeb’s death is what “set him off.” Rukmini Callamachi of The New York Times explained his fixation with Waheeb reveals how intensely interested Mateen was in the terror group, as the leader is a lesser-known figure in ISIS.
Mateen repeatedly told police he wanted to send a message to Americans and get them to stop aerial drone strikes against ISIS forces.
“You have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq,” Mateen said.
In another portion of the phone call, Mateen called Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev his “homeboy,” and when police asked the Orlando terrorist what his name was, he called himself an “Islamic soldier.”
Two Teenage Girls Arrested In France After Planning To Carry Out Terror Atrocity
Authorities are holding two teenage girls in France suspected of plotting to carry out a devastating terror attack.
The two girls, aged 17 and 19, are from Nice, the same city where the terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 86 people in July with a truck. Bouhlel was from Tunisia.
Although law enforcement did not immediately find any weapons in the girls’ respective homes, they did discover the two were under the influence of Syrian jihadist Rachid Kassim, who was directing their actions and giving them terror guidance, The Local reports.
“They admitted they had been planning a violent attack under the influence of Rachid Kassim before abandoning their plans,” an investigation source told The Local
Of the two teenage girls, only one was known to police. The 17-year-old, a Muslim convert, had not been on any law enforcement radars prior to this incident. She was charged in September for associating with terrorists.
Israeli Professor: Palestinian Leaders Want One State, Not Two
Palestinian Authority officials have been using a deceptive version of the “two states for two peoples” motto when they speak to different audiences, according to a leading Israeli scholar.
Eytan Gilboa, professor of international communications at Bar-Ilan University and former consultant to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made the charge in his remarks at the 2016 National Israeli-American Conference held in Washington, DC this weekend.
More than 2,000 Israeli-Americans from around the country attended the conference. Gilboa’s panel, which attracted a standing-room only audience of about 150, also included Ron Prossor, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations; Dennis Ross, a former US Mideast envoy; Koby Huberman, co-founder of Israel Peace Initiative; and Dana Weiss of Israel’s Channel 2 news.
Gilboa said that PA officials leave out the words “for two peoples” when speaking in Arabic about statehood. “That’s because they do not accept the idea that the Jews are a national people with a right to national self-determination,” Gilboa said. “They still do not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a permanent Jewish state.”
This Palestinian rejectionism, Gilboa said, is reinforced by “the PA’s official maps, which still do not show Israel, and the textbooks they use in their schools, which do not recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
Bibi’s Problem Is Still Obama
While it’s not clear if either Trump or Clinton will gain much by their meetings with Netanyahu, the prime minister came away a big winner, at least for the moment. The willingness of both candidates to pose as Netanyahu’s friends indicates that, at least for now, the bipartisan pro-Israel consensus that is the foundation of the alliance remains intact. But what Netanyahu must ponder is not so much whether he can count on future support from either Trump or Clinton but what impact these pledges might have on a lame-duck Obama administration’s willingness to torch the alliance on its way out the door?
The really interesting dynamic here is whether, like Kerry, Obama is so angry at Israel that he’s willing to end his time in office by stabbing it in the back at the UN. Last week, former State Department staffer and veteran peace processer Dennis Ross predicted that if Trump were elected rather than Clinton, Obama might be more inclined to do something that would hamstring his successor and create pressure on Israel via a UN resolution that couldn’t be walked back by the next president. But assuming that Clinton means what she says about opposing UN intervention in the conflict, it’s not clear whether that will deter Obama or convince him to act against the Jewish state no matter who wins in November.
Netanyahu would do well not to completely trust either candidate. But considering that Obama came into office pledging to create more “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, Trump and Clinton’s statements both seem to portend at the very least a slight improvement on the last eight years regardless of the outcome of the election. If Kerry’s intemperate outburst about trying to rally the world to crack down on Israel is any indication, the problem remains of how to get through the next 116 days without the U.S. helping to pass the kind of resolution that will brand Israel as an outlaw state. Until then, Obama still has the power to create havoc in the Middle East, and there may be nothing that Trump, Clinton, or Netanyahu can do about it.
IsraellyCool: Photo Of The Day: Bibi Netanyahu’s Speech Critic
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu posted this on Facebook today:
Matthew Sullivan, an American security officer for the United Nations, waits for me every year at the exit of the UN General Assembly and offers his opinion about my speech. This year he told me: “Prime Minister Netanyahu, this was your second best speech.” I asked him, what was my best? He responded, “The one where you brought a diagram of an Iranian bomb.” Ok, we’ll see what I can come up with next year…
This is a good opportunity to thank Matthew and all of you for your support and blessings. It was my great privilege to stand in front of the representatives of all the countries of the world and tell them the truth about Israel
I’m willing to bet Matthew was not a huge fan of Abbas’ speech.
Saudi paper chides Palestinians for rejecting Netanyahu’s Knesset invite
A Saudi daily newspaper mildly chided the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for “automatically” rejecting an invitation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Israeli Knesset.
Netanyahu issued the invitation to Abbas on Thursday during his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Calling for a return to direct negotiations and a stop to Palestinian incitement, the Israeli leader said he would in turn speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.
In its editorial published Sunday, the Saudi Gazette wrote that the Palestinians “should not be too quick to dismiss the invitation,” arguing that it was “reminiscent of the one issued by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to visit Israel — and the rest is history.”
The paper said the invite led to the Camp David Accords — and the signing of a peace treaty — which “demonstrated that negotiations with Israel were possible and that progress could be made through sustained efforts at communication and cooperation.”
In Coverage of UN Speeches, New NY Times Bureau Chief Peter Baker Follows Old Pattern
Contrary to Baker's attempt to impose an equivalence between the two speeches, then, there was a qualitative difference between them. Readers of The New York Times, though, were provided with only one hint of a difference between the two leaders. This came in a separate set of articles, also by Peter Baker, published online shortly before the two leaders gave their speeches. The opening sentence of one piece made clear it was about "Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority." That's straightforward enough. By contrast, the opening sentence of the other piece signaled it was about "Benjamin Netanyahu, the brash prime minister of Israel."
CAMERA has previously drawn attention to the newspaper's habit of editorializing by employing derogatory adjectives in news stories about Israelis. In one month in 2013, for example, supposedly objective news reporters charged Israeli leaders with being "shrill," "stubborn," "cynical," "strident," "abrasive," and "derisive."
And now Peter Baker does the same, gratuitously inserting the word "brash" into the Israeli prime minister's title, but refraining from such subjective language when describing the Palestinian leader. (If he wanted to, Baker could surely find plenty of observers who describe Abbas with unflattering adjectives.)
Whether wiping out actual distinctions in speeches, or imposing particular opinions when characterizing the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, recent reporting by the new Jerusalem bureau chief has left those hoping for a more evenhanded approach by the New York Times continuing to wait for an improvement.
Passive-Aggressive Obama Facebook Tags Everyone but Netanyahu in UN Group Photo (satire)
In yet another sign of their frosty relationship, U.S. President Barack Obama neglected to tag Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a group Facebook photo of world leaders at the recent United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
Calling the incident “a grave insult to every Jew, Holocaust victim and democracy-loving fighter of global terror,” Netanyahu told the Sheldon Adelson-owned Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, that “Obama tagged every world leader except me – including genocidal Islamo-fascists like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and absolute nobodies like Slovakia’s Andrej Kiska!”
The perceived slight follows years of mounting diplomatic tensions between the two leaders over Iran’s nuclear program and Palestinian statehood, and analysts are calling the latest incident one of the pettiest yet, with a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution saying it even tops Obama’s infamous Facebook ‘unfriending’ of the Israeli PM last year.
According to the New York Times, Netanyahu subsequently tried to call Obama to ascertain whether “Tag-gate” was intentional or simply an oversight. “It went to voicemail after one ring, so I know he saw the call and pressed decline,” the Israeli leader reportedly complained to an aide within earshot of a NYT reporter, before adding, “Thank god we’ve only got a few months left with this jihadi-appeasing anti-Semite!”
As Gaza spirals downward, the IDF watches, digs in for the next fight
The Gaza Strip and its residents are barreling towards disaster, brought on by crippling unemployment, a nonexistent economy, water and electricity shortages, a growing population and the “Islamic dictatorship” of Hamas, while the IDF is trying — and thus far succeeding — to keep the coastal enclave’s terrorist leaders deterred and contained, a senior IDF officer from the Southern Command said Sunday.
The army official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, rattled off worrying statistics from the Gaza Strip: 41.2 percent unemployment, the highest unemployment rate in the world, according to the World Bank; a per capita GDP of NIS 6,488 ($1,725), which if Gaza were a country, would put it near the lowest in the world, between Haiti ($1,750) and Burkina Faso ($1,724), according to the International Monetary Fund; an economy that is mostly made up of foreign aid and charity from international organizations; and a population of 1.9 million — and growing.
Moreover, reconstruction following the 2014 Gaza war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge, has been slow, in part because Hamas has siphoned off a substantial portion of the reconstruction materials in order to create new attack, defense and smuggling tunnels, according to Israeli authorities.
“Hamas is not rebuilding Gaza, it’s rebuilding its military capabilities,” the officer told reporters.
As Hamas is working around the clock to rearm and dig deeper fortifications and attack tunnels, the IDF and Defense Ministry are shoring up Israel’s protection against the threat of terror attacks and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and preparing for the next round of conflict, he said.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Waqf Horrified To Discover Every Moment Of Jewish Day A Talmudic Ritual (satire)
Members of the Islamic religious council governing affairs at the Temple Mount compound found to their shock and dismay today that not only do Jews who visit the site perform Talmudic rituals, but that virtually every second of observant Jews’ lives is grounded in and governed by the Talmud.
Waqf officials have raised frequent and voluble objections to the behavior of Jews on the Temple Mount, the plateau on which both ancient Jewish Temples once stood and which now houses the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The accusations of Talmudic rituals have been used to incite violence against Jews throughout the country, and formed a central element of Palestinian rhetoric during and immediately before the current spate of stabbing attempts targeting Israelis.
To their chagrin, Waqf members have now been informed that Jews are continuously performing Talmudic rituals as part of their daily routine, from the moment they wake up in the morning to the moment they close their eyes at night – and often in the middle of the night if they are for some reason awake. The revelation has shaken the Waqf to its core, and the group agrees it must find a way to counter these powerful rituals that are obviously so dangerous that they are used to justify the current Knife Intifada.
“Talmudic ritual is everywhere,” observed a perturbed Ayama Diqedd. “Jews do it even when it looks like they’re doing nothing else. It could be a consciousness thing, just an internal effort to perceive the divine in things – something that’s completely invisible to anyone looking on. Even our vigilante – I mean vigilant – guards whose job it is to prevent prayer and other rituals near Al Aqsa cannot hope to catch every instance. It’s horrible.”
Imminent and ominous: The Facebook-Jihadi nexus
However, although Kutnicki and Newby recognize that Israel has long been at the epicenter of the battle against militant Jihadi Islam, they do not limit the focus to the Israeli sphere alone. They expand their study to the pernicious impact of this radical ideology world-wide, with particular emphasis on the West in general, and the US in particular.
But the real crux of “Banned” is the exposure of the divergent and discriminatory standards that Facebook appears to employ in its attitude towards posts, pages and groups that are sympathetic towards militant Islam on the one hand, and those critical of it, on the other.
Kutnicki and Newby catalogue numerous cases in which Facebook groups that opposed, or warn of, the malevolent aspects have been removed—often without reason or explanation. By contrast, posts that expound venomous—even violent—pro-Jihadi content have been allowed to continue to spread their hateful message—despite complaints as to their objectionable and intimidating nature.
Similar bias prevails against pro-Israeli postings and in favor of anti-Israel ones. Indeed the authors relate in accurate detail a case, which I personally experienced, when a fast growing pro-Israel group I established, “Support Israel’s Intellectual Warriors”, was subjected to a late night barrage of hard-core porn and repulsive horror images from Muslim sources.
As Kutnicki and Newby report, I immediately expunged the offending material, but Facebook removed the group stating I had violated its standards. Explanations from me and numerous outraged protests from angry members were all to no avail. The group was never reinstated—thus punishing the victim of the actions of the transgressors.
In summary then, “Banned” should be seen as a timely clarion call to all lovers of liberty, tolerance and diversity—and a jarring wake up call for action by the West—before it is too late
Palestinian activists boycott Facebook for two hours
Palestinian activists called on Facebook users to boycott Facebook and instead post tweets on Twitter under the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday to protest the closure of a number of Palestinian Facebook accounts.
Facebook, in cooperation with the Israeli government, has disabled over the past several months a number of Palestinian accounts that it has said “promote violence,” including those of top Hamas officials, such as Ezzat al-Rishq and Salah Bardawail.
Palestinian activists say Facebook intensified its campaign to close Palestinian accounts on Friday, disabling accounts of multiple editors of the al-Quds al-Ikbariyyah News Network and Shehab News Network pages in addition to those of many activists and journalists.
Facebook executives, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan met September 11 in Israel and agreed to work together to combat incitement.
Bassam Shweiki, a Palestinian activist from Hebron, who received notice on Sunday that his account has been disabled for three days, told The Jerusalem Post that Facebook is disabling “anything that smells Palestinian.”
Facebook apologizes for suspending Palestinian journalists’ pages
Facebook apologized Monday after temporarily disabling accounts linked to two Palestinian news sites critical of Israel.
Facebook pages of a number of editors of Quds News Network were suspended for several hours last Friday, a campaigner said, in what the social media giant later called a “mistake.”
Pages linked to the Shehab News Agency were also disabled, an editor there said.
Quds has 5.2 million likes on Facebook, while Shehab has 6.35 million.
The Arabic versions of the online newspapers are supportive of the Hamas terror group and have been accused of incitement to violence against Israelis.
“The pages were removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate,” Facebook said in a statement.
IsraellyCool: AJ+ Defends Terror Supporters And Inciters
AJ+, that oh-so-edgy offshoot of Al Jazeera, has come out with a video bemoaning Facebook “blocking Palestinian media from sharing their views on the platform.”
It is clear where Al Jizz Plus stands on this issue.
But let’s look at the pages featured in the video.
There’s Shehab News
the Hamas-affiliated news agency that is constantly publishing incitement and pro-terror posts.
Then there’s Quds News Network
..which does the same thing.
Jordan Imposes Media Blackout After Anti-Islam Cartoonist Assassinated
Jordan’s judiciary Monday slapped a media blackout on the murder of a Christian writer shot dead outside an Amman court where he faced charges over an anti-Islam cartoon.
The information ministry said the aim was to preserve “the secrecy of the investigation” and that the blackout applied to both social and traditional media.
Nahed Hattar was hit by three bullets before the alleged assassin was arrested at the scene of Sunday’s shooting in Amman’s central Abdali district, official media said.
The assailant — bearded and robed like a conservative Muslim — shot the a 56-year-old as he made his way up the steps outside the court.
The gunman, identified as a 49-year-old Jordanian, gave himself up to police, a security source said.
A judicial source said on Sunday that the assailant was remanded for 15 days and charged with premeditated murder, meaning that he could face the death penalty if convicted.
The suspect had acted alone and was not linked to any “terrorist” group, a source close to his interrogation said, asking not to be named.
Support for writer’s assassin triggers alarm in Jordan
The arrest of a gunman directly after the assassination of writer Nahed Hattar in Amman on Sunday is no consolation to an increasingly troubled country that now must come to terms with its own extremism.
Hattar was shot on the steps of the Palace of Justice before a session of his trial for allegedly insulting Islam. He had posted on Facebook a cartoon of a bearded man from ISIS in bed with two women ordering God – shown as a kindly looking white-bearded man – to bring him wine and cashews. The cartoon flew in the face of the Muslim belief that God is not to be depicted.
After an uproar on social media, Hattar removed the cartoon and clarified that it was against ISIS, not against God. But the Jordanian government, in an apparent nod to the outcry, arrested him.
He was released on bail, and despite what relatives say were numerous threats against his life, the government did not offer him protection.
Until the shooting, Jordanians could perhaps still take some comfort in the fact that their country is a relative island of stability in a tumultuous region, which is punctuated by civil wars in neighboring Iraq and Syria.
Social problems and tensions could be blamed, among other things, on the strain of absorbing more than 630,000 registered refugees from Syria.
Jordanian Author: U.S. Soldiers and Their Collaborators Are a Legitimate Target in Iraq

How Obama Sold the Iran Delusion
As the dusk closes in on Obama’s final months in office, its Iran delusion – the lynchpin, as Ben Rhodes himself said, of Obama’s foreign policy doctrine – carries on at full speed. Its latest manifestation surfaced in September, when the hapless Kerry announced alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Washington and Moscow would now be cooperating in the fight against ISIS – an astonishing reversal of a policy that, at least on paper, contained the demand for al-Assad’s removal. While the relationship between Iran and Russia has historically been tense, their interests in Syria align to the extent that Russian fighter planes have been using Iranian bases to launch horrific bombing raids against largely civilian targets.
The expectation that the JCPOA would lead to a new era of Iranian power has come to pass. The Iranians do not have carte blanche to do as they please, but any restraints on them are likely to be imposed by the Russians rather than the Americans. Clinton has remained silent on the details of her Iran policy, beyond making her basic scepticism about the Iran deal known, while Trump has used bombast to camouflage his reluctance to offend Russian President Vladimir Putin, warning the Iranians that their ships will be attacked if they approach US naval vessels, but studiously avoiding the implications that would come from such a clash.
What started as a delusion stoked by the Obama administration has now become a strategic point of departure. The two key measures for dealing with Iranian aggression – robust sanctions and military action – have virtually disappeared at a time when the war in Syria is intensifying and fears of a new Hezbollah assault on Israel are increasing. For that reason, the question of why so many American influencers bought into the Iran delusion will be superseded by a much more urgent one: how to stop the Iranian advance during the next American presidency.
Congress looks to override Obama veto of 9/11 bill
Congress is poised to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for the kingdom’s alleged backing of the terrorists who carried out the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
The showdown is scheduled for Wednesday. Proponents of the legislation say they have enough votes for what would be a first: During his nearly two full terms in office, Obama has vetoed nine bills. None has been overridden.
While there is broad and bipartisan support for bucking the president, the bill’s opponents also are pushing hard to keep the measure from being enacted. They’re warning the US will become vulnerable to retaliatory litigation in foreign courts that could put American troops in legal jeopardy.
Here’s a look at the key issues surrounding the bill, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, as the veto override vote nears:
Iran Begins Mass Producing New Ballistic Missile After Successful Test Launch
Iran released a video on Sunday showing the test-firing of a new ballistic missile that it has started mass producing, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The domestically-designed missile, named Zolfaqar, is seen successfully hitting its intended target in the recording, which was released hours after Iran’s defense minister inaugurated a production line for the weapon.
Zolfaqar is powered by solid fuel and can hit targets up to nearly 470 miles away “with pin-point accuracy,” according to Tasnim, which is affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The agency also claimed that the missile can resist electronic jamming signals.
Iran plans to put the Zolfaqar into service on March 2017, to coincide with the end of the current Iranian year.
The Pentagon charged in a report released last month that Iran had significantly upgraded its ballistic missile capabilities since last year’s nuclear deal. Weeks later, Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent visit to Latin America was partially intended to boost Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Iran Denies US Navy Harassment Allegations, Claims Patrol Ships Begged for it (satire)
As the US military continues to accuse the Islamic Republic of harassing US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf, Tehran maintains that American vessels are actually leading Iranian forces on.
“These American military officials: their lips say ‘no’ but their ships say ‘yes’,” Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Freddie Farhadi asserted. “American patrol ships are the whores of the high seas. You got a bunch of horny sailors, stuck together on a giant tin can, thousands of miles from the nearest happy ending from a Chinese hooker at a massage parlor. Of course they’re gonna want us to show them a good time. Nothing will make you forget how long it’s been since you’ve gotten laid faster than seven Iranian fast attack boats blasting salt water in your face,” Farhadi added.
In response to the escalating tensions, Donald Trump stated that “Those Iranians are so rude. No class, folks. You want class? Just check out the gold-plated, thronelike chairs in my Trump Tower office. I use the same interior designer that Saddam Hussein used for his palaces. Now that guy knew how to handle smart ass Persians: bomb the shit out of them now, ask questions never.”
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton claimed that “since Iran hasn’t donated a single cent to the Clinton Foundation, I’m in the unusual position of having to actually speak my mind. So, I will deliver an instantly forgettable statement as soon I receive medical treatment for another undisclosed illness that I will fight like hell to make sure you never learn about.”

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From Ammon News:
The government-owned National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) on Monday signed an agreement with Noble Energy under which the latter will provide 40 per cent of the Kingdom's electricity-generating needs.

In remarks to The Jordan Times on Monday, NEPCO said that the results of feasibility and technical studies it has conducted all indicated that the "deal would achieve an annual surplus for the company exceeding $300 million".

NEPCO also said that the deal will contribute to cutting its power-generation costs and "consequently avert sharp hikes in prices of electricity during the coming years".

NEPCO put the validating reasons behind the deal as part of its strategy to diversify energy resources in light of disruption in Egyptian gas supply to the country.

The company also said that signing the deal with Noble Energy will enhance regional cooperation and will make Jordan part of the project of the EU and the Union for the Mediterranean to utilise the gas fields discovered in the East Mediterranean.
Jordan's parliament bitterly opposed the deal - to no avail:
NEPCO's deal with Noble Energy was a matter of hot debate inside Parliament and at other platforms, with many MPs and activists expressing their rejection of importing natural gas from Israel.

In February this year, the 17th Lower House held a special meeting with the government to discuss the intended gas deal with Noble Energy. The session saw many MPs call on the government to shy from importing the Israeli gas, citing the frequent Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

At the time, the government left it unclear whether it had annulled the transaction with Noble Energy to buy natural gas from Israel.

In August this year, activists said they would sue the government over its gas deal with Israel, which they said would hurt the Kingdom’s economy.

“The government prefers to support the terrorist Israeli entity with billions of dollars through the deal instead of investing in renewable energy projects and creating jobs for Jordanians who suffer from high unemployment rates,” said the Jordanian National Campaign Against the Gas Agreement with the Zionist Entity.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the group said it had formed a legal team in cooperation with the Jordan Bar Association to file a lawsuit against the government.

The Facebook page for the Jordanian National Campaign Against the Gas Agreement with the Zionist here. It includes cartoons that both play to the fears of Israel shutting off the switch to Jordan to the usual "Zionists are baby-killers" motif that is so prevalent among Arabs.

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In what may be an unprecedented move, a Saudi newspaper has criticized Mahmoud Abbas for reflexively rejecting Binyamin Netanyahu's invitation for him to speak to Knesset during his speech at the UN last week:
The Palestinians should not be too quick to dismiss the invitation extended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to address Israel’s parliament in return to “gladly come to speak peace with the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.” Netanyahu’s gesture was quickly rejected by the Palestinians as a “new gimmick” but the invitation is reminiscent of the one issued by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to visit Israel — and the rest is history.

...The Palestinians have rebuffed Netanyahu’s past offers for such invitations, saying his hard-line position on all core issues made dialogue impossible.

...But the Palestinians should note that at the time, Egypt and Israel were mortal enemies, having fought three wars. Camp David called for a five-year transitional period of Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. The transitional period would include the introduction of Palestinian self-government and an end to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Much of the Arab world derided it as a weak deal. But in hindsight, if the provisions had been carried out, Israel and the Palestinians might not be in the impasse they are in at present.
Notably, top Egyptian intelligence official also derided Abbas in a leaked phone call:
A high-ranking Egyptian intelligence officer ridicules Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a leaked telephone conversation with exiled Palestinian strongman Mohammed Dahlan, it was revealed Saturday night.

Abbas was referred to as “stupid,” and his movement Fatah “screwed,” by Major General Wael el-Safty of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID), which is responsible for providing national security intelligence both at home and abroad.

In the latest leaked recording, only the Egyptian side of the conversation is audible. Safty’s voice is heard, but not [Mohammed] Dahlan’s responses.

Still, it is obvious that the person on the other end of the telephone is Dahlan, because he is referred to by his kunya, or traditional Palestinian name, Abu Fadi.

Furthermore, after exchanging pleasantries, Safty asks about members of Dahlan’s family by name.

“Abu Fadi, the years are passing,” the Egyptian intelligence officer reminisces early on in the tape.

Soon thereafter, they begin talking about someone whose “concentration isn’t at full capacity”. Safty then says this person “has nothing to offer”.

The tapes go on to make clear that the man they are talking about is Abbas, 81.

“You told me something I still remember to this day,” Safty tells Dahlan. “You said that he [Abbas] is like a camel.”

The implication here is that Abbas is repeatedly churning out old ideas without bringing anything new to the table. Camels, like cattle, are ruminant animals that digest then re-digest their food a number of times.

“He isn’t smart at all,” the Egyptian intelligence officer says. “The issue of [Abbas’] age also comes into it… He doesn’t want to change, he doesn’t want to do anything.”

At this point, the conversation turns from petty insults to expressions of real frustration with Abbas. Safty lets loose.

“Fatah is completely screwed,” he says. “The [Palestinian Liberation] Organisation is even worse.”

“He can’t even contain the factions [within Fatah],” he says. “These are the ones that Abu Mazen [Abbas’s kunya] couldn’t contain, these people drove me absolutely crazy, their positions have begun to align with Hamas.

“He can’t bring them together,” Safty tells Dahlan in utter exasperation. “I swear, he can’t bring them together.

“It's stupidity,” he says, before again referring to Abbas’s advancing age, adding that the PA president does not have many laps left to run: “The track is running out, if you excuse the phrase.”
Khaled Abu Toameh adds:
Abbas, his aides admit, is today more worried about the "Arab meddling" in the internal affairs of the Palestinians than he is about "collective punishment" or "settlement activities." In fact, he is so worried that he recently lashed out at those Arab countries that have launched an initiative to "re-arrange the Palestinian home from within" and bring about changes in the Palestinian political scene.

The Arab countries behind the initiative -- Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates -- are being referred to by many Palestinians as the "Arab Quartet."

In an unprecedented critique of these countries, Abbas recently declared:

"The decision is ours and we are the only ones who make decisions. No one has authority over us. No one can dictate to us what to do. I don't care about the discomfort of Washington or Moscow or other capitals. I don't want to hear about these capitals. I don't want the money of these capitals. Let's free ourselves from the 'influence' of these capitals."

Although he did not mention the four Arab countries by name, it was clear that Abbas was referring to the "Arab Quartet" when he was talking about "capitals" and their influence and money. Abbas's message: "How dare any Arab country tell me what to do, no matter how wealthy and influential it may be." Abbas sees the demand by these Arab countries for new Palestinian leadership, unity and reforms in Fatah as "unacceptable meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians."

So what exactly is it in the new Arab initiative that has so enraged Abbas, to the point that he is prepared to place at risk his relations with four of the Arab world's preeminent states?

According to reports in Arab media outlets, the "Arab Quartet" has drafted a plan to "activate the Palestinian portfolio" by ending the dispute between Abbas's Fatah and Hamas. The plan also calls for ending the schism within Fatah by allowing some of its expelled leaders, including Mohamed Dahlan, to return to the faction. The overall aim of the plan is to unite the West Bank and Gaza Strip under one authority and end the state of political anarchy in the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The "Arab Quartet" has even formed a committee to oversee the implementation of any "reconciliation" agreements reached between Fatah and Hamas and Abbas and his adversaries in Fatah. According to the plan, if such an agreement is not reached, the Arab League will intervene to "enforce reconciliation" between the rival Palestinian parties.
The irony of Abbas being subject to an imposed solution to his splits with the Dahlan faction and Hamas is too delicious. His major initiative, after all, is to have the international community impose a solution on Israel.
Abbas and Fatah leaders in Ramallah are convinced that the "Arab Quartet" members are actually planning to pave the way for promoting "normalization" between the Arab world and Israel -- all at the expense of the Palestinians. They claim that the four Arab countries are using and promoting Dahlan in order to facilitate their mission of rapprochement with Israel. These countries have reached the conclusion that as long as Abbas and the current PA leadership are around, it would be very difficult to initiate any form of "normalization" or peace treaties between Arab countries and Israel. The PA leadership's position has always been that peace between the Arab countries and Israel should come only after, and not before, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
Bibi's vision of peace between Arabs and Israel that he mentioned at the UN is further along than people realize - and Mahmoud Abbas is the main obstacle. The Arab world has been sick and tired of the Palestinian issue for years and the Arab leaders correctly realize that it is the Palestinian side that has blocked any chance for peace, by insisting on having its own demands fully met before any other movement.

At a time when the Arab world has real enemies and real problems, issues that they share with Israel, the Palestinian position becomes less and less relevant.

The cracks in the purported Arab unity on the issue of Israel are widening.

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