Category Archives: Middle East News

Middle East News

The False Tyranny Narrative

Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim )is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in June 1967.

Yom Yerushalayim [May 23, 2017] is still six weeks off, but foreign critics already have launched their attack.
In their view, there is no miraculous Six Day War victory to extol; no grand return to the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria to toast; no historic reunification of Jerusalem to celebrate; no liberation and redemption to commemorate; no flowering of religious culture and national creativity to admire; no jubilee to enjoy. Not at all.

Instead, there is only an entrenched “occupation” of the West Bank to bemoan. Palestinian self-determination is being stifled, and this casts a pall over all.

Worse still, in their view, is that “Israel’s soul has been corrupted,” ostensibly, by the occupation.

The British Guardian got the ball rolling on this sullying narrative last week by giving full play to the nasty remarks of former GSS chiefs Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon at a Jerusalem event in support of Breaking the Silence and Babur Gallery.

Gillon painted a bleak picture of Israel’s political trajectory, saying that the country was being “driven by the occupation towards disaster”. He added: “This country was established on the values of liberal democracy; values we don’t fulfill any more. You can analyze what happened to us in the last 50 years, but everything is under the shade of occupation. It has changed us a society. It has made us an unpleasant society.”

Ayalon dove even deeper into calumny by alleging that Israel is being overtaken by a process of “incremental tyranny.” He cited recent moves by ministers in the Netanyahu government to change the laws to hit groups such as Breaking the Silence by banning them from events in schools and targeting their funding, while also “taking aim” at the country’s supreme court and independence of the media.

In short, all liberal, progressive, democratic, good and holy values are being crushed by the shadow of occupation. Yada, yada, yada.

This is a very dangerous and delegitimizing storyline. The Guardian, of course, ate it up.

By perpetuating myths about the illegality and immorality of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria; by exaggerating the impact of Israel’s military rule in the territories and minimizing the evils of Palestinian kleptocracy and intransigence; and by insinuating a non-existent trend towards dictatorship in Israeli society and politics – these critics threaten to smear Israel permanently with the stink of a decaying carcass.

This cannot be tolerated. Such defamation cannot be brooked. Israeli and Jewish leaders worldwide must push back hard against such slander, beginning now. Otherwise, every newspaper around the globe is going to echo the same malevolent messages in their coverage of the June jubilee.

Israel must assert loudly and clearly that its return to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is legitimate, not immoral. Its security control of the “Greater Israel” envelope is a source of regional stability, not conflict. The absence of peace and mutual recognition stems from Palestinian rejectionism, not a lack of Israeli imagination.  JPost by David M. Weinberg

Israel Turns 69

Video:  Faces of Israel

As Israel turns 69 the Central Bureau of Statistics announced that the Jewish state today has 8.680 million citizens, 10 times more Jews than at its founding.

The report cited that at the founding of the state in 1948, there were 11.5 million Jews in the world, of whom 6% were living in Israel. In contrast, in 2015 there were 14.411 million Jews in the world, 43% of whom were living in Israel. The country is rapidly approaching the tipping point where the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel.

Since last year, the country’s population grew by some 159,000 people, marking a 1.9% increase, the report found.

In addition, the figures showed that 174,000 babies were born this past year, while 44,000 deaths were recorded.

With regard to aliya, some 30,000 immigrants arrived this past year.

According to the report, three-quarters of Israel’s Jewish population are Sabras, native-born Israelis. This figure is more than double the percentage in 1948.

The report compared today’s Israel and the newborn state in a number of areas.

For example, in 1948 Israel had only one city – Tel Aviv – with more than 100,000 residents. (Jaffa was annexed to Tel Aviv in 1950.)

Today, 14 cities have populations of more than 100,000 residents, of which eight – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod, Petah Tikva, Netanya and Beersheba – have more than 200,000 residents.

The report found that in 2016, the GDP stood at NIS 1.2 billion – 46 times greater than in 1950, when Israel’s GDP stood at NIS 25.6b.

Furthermore, the data showed that in 1955, Israel faced a 7.2% unemployment rate compared to 4.8% in 2016. JPost

Mother-of-Pearl Menorah Etching Found In Ancient Caesarea

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists discovered a first of its kind 1,500-year-old mother-of-pearl tablet inscribed
with a six-branched menorah near a Roman-era temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar.

A 1,500-year-old mother-of-pearl tablet, etched with a menorah, that was recently discovered in Caesarea. (Clara Amit/Israel Antiquities Authority)

According to Gendelman [Israel Antiques Authority archaeologist ] the small slab of mother-of-pearl, likely dating from the late Roman-Byzantine period of the 4th-5th centuries CE, “points to clear Jewish presence at Caesarea during this period.”

The tablet came from what was “probably some kind of box,” he added, “I can even say probably for a Sefer Torah,” the handwritten scroll containing the first five books of the Old Testament that lie at the heart of Jewish law.

It was found near the Augusteum, the temple dedicated to Herod’s patron Augustus, which dominated the harbor in antiquity. Gendelman and his team also found Augusteum’s altar and part of a Greek inscription that has yet to be studied.  TimesofIsrael

UN Elects Saudi Arabia To Women’s Rights Commission

The women’s rights commission is responsible for the “promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” according to the commission’s website.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council voted late last week to place Saudi Arabia on the Commission on the Status of Women for a four-year term beginning in 2018, despite that country’s appalling record on the treatment of women.

Hillel Neuer, director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, expressed his outrage in a statement Friday:

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd.”

“Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”

According to UN Watch, the United States forced a formal vote, against China’s wishes, instead of allowing the normal practice of allowing regional groupings to select the nations on the commission by themselves, in secret.

However, the vote was still held behind closed doors, meaning it is not yet clear precisely which countries voted to honor one of the world’s foremost abusers of women’s rights. Neuer calculates, based on the voting math, that at least five European Union member states would have had to vote for Saudi Arabia for it to win a seat on the commission. BreitBart

Israeli Youth Hold Massive BBQ Outside Prison Of Hunger-Striking Palestinian Terrorists

Too funny!

The youth contingent of the National Unity Party is cooking a massive barbecue on Thursday, upwind from the prison in which over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners are holding a hunger strike. The succulent aroma of cooking meat will waft through Ofer Prison where the prisoners, most wanted for security offenses against Israelis, are protesting for better conditions.

“The time has come to stop listening to the hunger strikers and show them that we are not giving in to their whims,” ​​said Ophir Sofer, secretary-general of the National Union party. “We call upon the government and its leader to further worsen conditions for terrorists and to act with conviction for the release of the soldiers Goldin and Shaul who fought for us all.”

The hunger strike was called after a year and a half of negotiations with prison officials….

The hunger strike became the focus of controversy on Monday when its organizer, Marwan Barghouti, announced it in an op-ed in the New York Times. The NY Times presented Barghouti as ““a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian”, without mentioning that he is in an Israeli prison after being convicted of five counts of murder. The NY Times earned the ire of many, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said, “Barghouti is a politician like Assad is a pediatrician”

Many believe the hunger strike is a ploy by Barghouti to shore up his waning political presence. Barghouti has been caught on video eating in his cell during hunger strikes he has called.  BreakingNewsIsrael

 

NY Times Opens Its Opinion Page To Palestinian Terrorist Marwan Barghouti

The New York Times describes Marwan Barghouti a convicted killer serving 5 life sentences as a “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian”

The New York Times opened up valuable space in its opinion section this weekend for the accused terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

Born in the Palestinian village of Kobar, Barghouti, 57, is currently serving five consecutive life sentences.

He was found guilty in 2004 for being personally responsible for a series of murders. Barghouti was also found to have organized an attempted car bombing on a crowded civilian center.

During his trial, he was also charged with being directly involved in more than 30 attacks that claimed the lives of dozens of civilians. He was exonerated of most of these charges.

None of the reasons for why Barghouti is currently in an Israeli prison are mentioned by the Times.

Rather, at the end of his rather lengthy op-ed, the U.S. paper describes the convicted murderer thusly: “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.”

That’s one way to put it.

The op-ed published this weekend is titled, “Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons.”  WashingtonExaminer

The New York Times also appears to agree with Barghouti’s refusal to recognize the State of Israel as it includes no correction or comment.

Palestinian Media Watch details of Barghouti’s terrorist acts:

Marwan Barghouti is currently serving 5 life sentences for orchestrating three shooting attacks that killed 5 people: one attack in Jerusalem (June 12, 2001) in which Greek monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus was murdered by terrorist Ismail Radaida and another unidentified terrorist, another attack at a gas station in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem (Jan. 15, 2002) in which Yoela Hen, 45, was murdered by terrorists led by Mohammed Matla, and one shooting and stabbing attack at the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002) in which Eli Dahan, 53, Yosef Habi, 52, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat, 33, were murdered by terrorist Ibrahim Hasouna.

When arrested by Israel in 2002, Barghouti headed the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction). After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected member of the Palestinian Authority parliament. On Dec. 4, 2016, he was elected to Fatah’s Central Committee. PMW

Israel PM Netanyahu slams ‘New York Times For Barghouti op-ed

Calling imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian is like calling Syrian President Bashar Assad a pediatrician, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in a press release Tuesday. “These are murderers, these are terrorists and we will not lose clarity,” he added.

Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum fiercely condemned The New York Times for publishing an op-ed by Barghouti that neglected to mention that he is in prison for murder, not his political views.

Barghouti was convicted in June 2004 of five murders and an attempted murder, including that of a Greek Orthodox priest he mistook for a rabbi. He was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences and 40 additional years in prison. But the newspaper’s tagline on the article called him a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.

The Times later added on its website that Barghouti was a convicted murderer. JPost

The last sentence seems to make him into some sort of martyr.

This op-ed is full of distortions, lies, and invented horror stories that the New York Times published with no correction or comment.

Barghouti doesn’t only believe in violence, he also believes that its permissible to lie. He believes in the approach, which typifies terror organizations, that the West is weak and naïve and so our media and good intentions should be cynically abused to attack us from within.

The attempt by the New York Times “to be balanced” amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth.

So Barghouti tells horror stories about torture he underwent during Israeli investigations. There is no factual basis for these stories. The torture he describes is prohibited under Israeli law and even Israel’s greatest opponents must acknowledge that we abide by our laws.

The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States.

Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind. TimesOfIsrael

Assad’s Gas Attack Was Part Of Ethnic-Cleansing

The largest religious group in Syria are the Sunni Muslims which make up around 74% of the population.  Assad’s gas attack is part of a strategic vision to change the demographic make-up of Syria.

The location of the attacks this week, the town of Khan Sheikhoun, is just east of the Nusayriyah Mountains, the Alawite minority’s stronghold east of Syria’s Mediterranean coastline. At the same time, the town also sits smack on the M5 highway, Syria’s most important artery, which runs from the Jordanian border through Damascus and Homs to Aleppo.

The gas attack and the hospital bombings that followed it are part of an ethnic-cleansing effort that is designed to chase Sunni populations to the east of this north-south axis and replace them with Shi’ite Arabs from Iraq.

The quest to remap Syria ethnically has been raised by Iranian negotiators in talks with the Syrian opposition. The Iranian rationale is clear. Having already consolidated its political grip on Baghdad, Tehran now wants to extend its reach to the Mediterranean, by cultivating a belt of predominantly Shi’ite communities checkered by an assortment of subservient non-Sunni minorities.

Assad’s interest in this scheme is obvious. He will rule over a shrunken but much more cohesive Syria.

The problem is his other great ally, Russia. Iran’s plan leads to a clash of imperial wills with Moscow.

Moscow’s entry into the Syrian war was sparked by NATO’s removal of Russian ally Muammar Gaddafi, but the Kremlin’s deeper motivation was the historic Russian quest for a warm-water seaport. All czars since Peter the Great sought such a maritime prize, but Russia won it only 250 years after his death, when Hafez Assad leased the Tartus seaport to the USSR.

This is what Vladimir Putin was out to secure when he unleashed his fighter jets on Assad’s rebels, and this is what the Iranians are now threatening, whether consciously or not.

Israeli intelligence believes the Iranians are out to build their own seaport in Syria. That is what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Putin during their meeting in Moscow last month. Netanyahu would not peddle such a report to the Kremlin, had it not been convincingly substantiated. Jpost

Families Of Palestinian Terrorists Getting A Pay Raise

The money has been a fixed sum, now it will include a cost-of-living increase.

In defiance of the US, which is demanding that the Palestinian Authority completely stop financial rewards to families of terrorist “Martyrs” (Shahids), the PA is now raising the payments to the “Martyrs'” families. These PA payments include lifetime monthly allowances to families of suicide bombers, and other murderers who were killed during or after committing their crimes.
Muhammad Sbeihat, the Secretary-General of the National Association of the Martyrs’ Families of Palestine, which is the PLO organization dealing with the PA’s payments to “Martyrs'” families, explained last week:
“In the upcoming period the allowances of the Martyrs’ families will be linked to the cost of living index, which will cause an improvement in these allowances, if only slightly.”
[Al-Quds, April 4, 2017]
The fact that the PA is raising the amount of the allowances to Martyrs’ families, even slightly, at this time is in direct defiance of the United States. Palestinian Media Watch exposed in 2011  that the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists and allowances to families of terrorist Martyrs, and in 2016 exposed that the PA was lying when they claimed to have stopped payments to prisoners.
After years of international condemnation of the PA, the United States Congress recently proposed The Taylor Force Act to cut off financial all aid to the Palestinian Authority because of these payments to terrorists and their families. When Taylor Force, an American citizen, was murdered last year in Tel Aviv, American legislators were incensed to learn that the family members of the dead terrorist would be rewarded with lifetime payments, thus benefiting either directly or indirectly from American financial aid.
Similar legislation was proposed in the Israeli parliament last month, to deduct the equivalent amount that the PA pays to terrorists and their families from the tax revenues that Israel collects on the PA’s behalf.

The following are the payment amounts, mostly based on PA law signed by former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in 2011:
1- Immediate (one-time) payment: 6,000 shekels
2- Monthly (life-time) payments: 1,400 shekels/monthly, plus additions
2A: Addition for spouse: 400 shekels
2B: Addition for each child: 200 shekels
2C: Addition for residents of Jerusalem: 300 shekels
2D: Addition for residents of Israel: 300 shekels
3- Monthly payments to families abroad: $350
3A: Addition for spouse: $100
3B: Addition for each child: $50
Total expenditure per year (2016 budget): 660,315,772 shekels ($180,839,067)  PMW

The Female Navy Commander Who Launched Tomahawk Missiles Into Syria

The commander of the USS Porter — one of the two Navy destroyers that launched cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield last week — is Navy Commander Andria Slough a Naval Academy graduate.

During her military career, Slough has served as a combat information center officer and an auxiliaries and electrical officer with the USS O’Brien. She’s also served as a weapons officer in the USS The Sullivans and executive and commanding officer USS Defender, according to the Navy’s website. She’s the former deputy director for the Joint Maritime Ballistic Missile Defense Operations and Training.

Slough has a received awards like the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Pacific Fleet Shiphandler of the Year and the VADM John D. Bulkeley Leadership Award. CapitalGazette

Uncovered: Telegram From Nazi Leader Himmler To Muslim Leader Mufti Al Husseini

Archivists at Israel’s National Library have discovered a telegram sent by SS commander Heinrich Himmler to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, in which he promises Nazi Germany’s help in fighting the Jews.

This letter sheds more light on the strong connection and shared goals of Nazi Germany and the Muslim Leader Mufti al Husseini.

The National Library has uncovered a telegram written by Heinrich Himmler and sent to Mufti al-Husseini, in which the Nazi leader expressed his support of the Palestinian struggle against the Jews.

Germany will stand firmly by the Palestinian people in their fight against the “criminal” Balfour Declaration, was the main message conveyed in the telegram that was recently uncovered in the archives of Israel’s National Library. The rare document, which the library assesses dates back to 1943, was written by infamous SS commander Heinrich Himmler and sent to Haj Amin al-Husseini, who served as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem between 1921 to 1937.

The Nazi commander, who was one of the main masterminds behind the ‘Final Solution’ (the Nazi regime’s term for their plan to exterminate all of Europe’s Jews), wrote to the Muslim leader that “the joint recognition of the enemy, and the joint battle against him are what creates the firm allegiance between Germany and freedom-seeking Muslims all over the world.”

By Joy Bernard, Jerusalem Post, March 29, 2017

Himmler went on to tell the Mufti, who presided over the Palestinian territories during a particularly tumultuous period for the British Mandate ruling in the area, that his country was closely following the Palestinian resistance against the Balfour Declaration (the historic British document penned by Arthur James Balfour, the UK’s Foreign Secretary at the time, which openly supported “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”)

“The National-Socialist movement of the great Germany has made its fight against world Jewry a guiding principle since its very beginning,” Himmler wrote. “For that reason it [the movement] has been closely following the battle of freedom-seeking Arabs- and especially in Palestine- against the Jewish invaders,” the Nazi leader added.

He finished his warm letter to the Mufti by writing: “In this spirit, I am happy to wish you on the first anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, warm wishes for the continuation of your battle until the big victory.”

This newly revealed document sheds more light on the strong connections historians have affirmed before between the Mufti and the top hierarchy of the Nazi regime. In 1937, the British Mandate sought to arrest al-Husseini due to his involvement in the Arab uprising. The Mufti fled to Lebanon and from there to Iraq, where he joined a pro-Nazi group that rebelled against the Iraqi regime and carried out a military coup in April 1941. When the coup failed, al-Husseini escaped to Nazi Germany, arriving in Berlin in November 1941. JPost

Making Peace With Christianity – Behold The Man: Jesus In Israeli Art

“Fascinating article in Israel Hayom (Israel’s most read newspaper) about a surge of interest by Israeli Jews — and especially by Israeli artists, authors and scholars — in the person of Jesus, his Jewish roots, and the Jewish roots of Christianity. There’s even a new exhibit at the Israel Museum of Israeli Jewish paintings depicting Jesus not as an enemy of the Jews but as a tragic figure of history.”
Joel C. Rosenberg

The exhibit “Behold the Man: Jesus in Israeli Art” at the Israel Museum treats Jesus not as an enemy of the Jews but as a tragic figure • “New winds” that began blowing decades ago are leading the two faiths to develop a better relationship.

An exhibit titled “Behold the Man: Jesus in Israeli Art” is currently on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Visitors may be surprised to see that Jesus — the Jewish Yeshua from the Galilee — is treated by Israeli artists not as an enemy but as a tragic figure.

Coincidentally or not, this exhibit comes after the publication of Amos Oz’s book “Judas,” which includes a heart-wrenching description of the crucifixion, and after the airing of the 15-part documentary series “And the Earth Was Without Form and Void — The Story of the Land of Israel.” In one episode, dedicated to Jesus and the birth of Christianity, narrator Yochi Brandes says, “I love Yeshua.

Researching the birth of Christianity, I learned that he is not to blame for the anti-Semitism or the persecution of Jews that was committed in his name throughout the generations. Yeshua lived and died as a Jew. A good Jew. A loyal Jew. An observant Jew. I don’t view him as a messiah, but I certainly see him as a prophet. … When I was a little girl in the ultra-Orthodox world I learned that Jesus — Yeshu in Hebrew — was an acronym for ‘yimach shmo vezichro,’ may his name and his memory be erased. That is why I make a point of calling him Yeshua, that is how I express my love and admiration for the great Jew.”  Hayom

Video:  Behold the Man – Jesus in Israeli Art