Archive for the ‘Israel, Palestinians’ category

Self-flagellation, hypocrisy and double standards in the Duma arson case

January 8, 2016

Self-flagellation, hypocrisy and double standards in the Duma arson case | Anne’s Opinions, 7th January 2016

(While we must condemn any extremism and violence that emanates from the Israeli side as well as from the Arabs, the self-condemnation that has been going on since the Duma arson-murder has gone overboard — anneinpt)

In my post on the arrest of Jewish suspects in the Duma arson-murder, there was a slightly heated discussion in the comments about the perpetrators, the numbers of their supporters, and whether Israel has done or is doing enough to counteract this level of extremism amongst Jewish youngsters.

Amiram Ben-Uliel, indicted for the Duma arson murder

I am of the opinion that while there is always room for improvement in education and for strong and moral religious leadership, there are times when the self-flagellation of the Israeli Jewish religious Zionist right-wing (I use all those adjectives advisedly) goes overboard and in the end serves not to improve the situation but to increase defensiveness and resentment on the one hand, and provide fodder for Israel’s haters on the other hand.

Finding the right balance is very difficult, especially when the self-flagellation is urged on and leapt on with glee by Israel’s Left.

I have the nagging feeling that I didn’t make myself clear enough in my post, and then I found a few articles which express my feelings and my attitude more eloquently. Here are just a few excerpts but I urge you to read the entire articles.

First, Arlene Kushner, always sensible and level-headed, in an excellent article “It is time” where she questions the entire basis of the case against the suspects.

On the part of the Jews of Israel, there was, first, a stunned sorrow, on learning that a baby had been destroyed, that a family had been attacked in their home. But then there was the difficulty of taking in the fact that it may have been Jews who did this. Jews are not supposed to behave thus. The visceral reaction was that such an act demeaned us, as a people.

There were demonstrations to register opposition to terrorism; rabbis who spoke out forcefully against use of violence for resolving societal problems; editorials that decried what our society was in danger of becoming and demanded communal soul-searching.

And so, there was a way in which it was possible to say that we had demonstrated that this is not what what we are – we had demonstrated to ourselves and before the world that we are different. We stand against violence.

And yet there was a point at which this ceased to resonate positively. There was too much breast-beating, a tone that echoed a sort of communal guilt that was not appropriate. Condemning the terrorism implicit in burning a baby is one thing. Assuming that our whole society is generating a terrorist mentality – because of one act that may or may not have been committed by Jews – is something else.

(I didn’t say this explicitly in August, but I would suggest now that this was galut mentality. This rush to assume guilt. Seeking answers and being ready to acknowledge the fact of a Jew who committed a terror act is one thing – this went further.)

Add to this the way in which our political adversaries and enemies chose to use the terror act in Duma to attack Israel.

And the way in which leftist Israelis sought to use this as a weapon against “religious Zionists,” “nationalists” – representing them as violent crazies who must be restrained.

As for the EU, their response to this incident was vile:

“The Israeli authorities should … take resolute measures to protect the local population. We call for full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence,” declared a spokesperson for Federica Mogherini, head of foreign policy for the EU, in a prepared statement.

When, ever, did you hear an EU spokesperson say to Abbas or other PA leaders that it was time for them to take full accountability for the violence visited upon Jews by Arabs living in PA areas? When did they demand zero PA tolerance for violence? Rhetorical questions, of course. The EU does not see fit to predicate support for the PA on its accountability with regard to terrorism. And yet Mogherini’s spokesperson had the gall to speak about protecting the local Arab population from Jews.

Arlene addresses the problematic evidence that was posited – never officially presented so far – as “proof” that these Jewish youngsters committed the deed. She also writes about the alleged abuse and even torture carried out against the suspects in order to obtain confessions. She then notes:

It was explained by multiple persons – persons in gov’t and journalists – that the Shin Bet was dealing with a very serious situation that necessitated “toughness” – because these young people want to overthrow the government and are dangerous. Overthrow the government? That would justify a great deal. This was the original claim of Ya’alon that I referred to above.

But what does this mean? That the hilltop youth are thoroughly alienated by the government and would prefer one that works according to principles of Torah is likely true. But it’s a huge stretch from acknowledging this to saying they represent a “danger.” This, my friends, I find it difficult to believe. There has been no evidence to bolster this claim – not with all of the investigation of the group that has been done. A convenient charge to make, perhaps to justify actions that should not be justified How? How would they be a danger in any real sense? And if they are a danger, why have no indictments in this respect been brought?

What occurred to me as these charges were being made is that we have at least one Arab member of the Knesset (Hanin Zoabi) who speaks for the enemy – and yet she is still in the Knesset. But the young people are dangerous? Is there equity of judgment here, or is it a matter of what is politically correct, and what will fly?

~~~~~~~~~~

Still another explanation offered for why “tough interrogation” was required was that these young people represented a “ticking bomb.” By this was meant there was a real danger of their doing a second time what they had done once in Duma, so that information had to be secured quickly to prevent this from happening.

But this does not fly either. The arson at Duma happened at the end of July, and these young people were at large until approximately mid-November. That would have been plenty of time for them to perpetrate another terror attack, had that been their intention. There is no way to make the case for a ticking bomb here!

Just read the rest. I could quote the entire article here but for lack of space.

I now come to a very powerful article written (in Hebrew only) by Kalman Liebskind, an Israeli journalist with Maariv, Makor Rishon and other media. He writes about the hypocrisy of the Left on their glee at the indictment of right-wingers for the Duma murder. He also addresses withering criticism at the left, particularly the media’s double standards, when it comes to reporting on Arab terrorism as opposed to Jewish violence.

I will translate part of his article entitled “Dancing on the blood: The shock about the wedding video was a huge display of hypocrisy and cynicism“. But I urge you to read the entire article if you are a Hebrew speaker, and if not, get someone to translate it all. It’s long but very worth-while. (Hint to the uninitiated: do not use Google Translate!!).

The wedding of hate

The wedding video he referred to was this disgusting incident where where some of the celebrants at an Israeli wedding danced around waving guns and knives and stabbing a photo of baby Ali Dawabshe. Doubts still remain whether this was the action of Jewish extremists or a Shabak agent provocateur (which has precedent, e.g. in the case of Avishai Raviv and the Rabin assassination).

The Duma murder case, certainly after the effect of the wedding video, paralysed the majority of the national (rightist) camp. Not just paralysis, but withering real fear. Fear of “what will they say about us”, which is the worst kind of fear.

That fear – that maybe we won’t look good in the media, maybe they will smear us again, as they did after the Rabin assassination, as part of the supporters’ camp of the murderers – is a dangerous fear. It does not allow us to wonder and to criticise. It does not enable us to hold a complex discourse. It does not permit you to say you’re concerned about the torture, without the fear that it will turn you into Benzi Gopstein (an extreme right-winger). It doesn’t enable you to say that it was important to see the wedding video, but is equally important to remember that it described the behavior of several dozen people in all. This fear does not allow one to come out harshly against the rampage of all those involved in these investigations, to place question marks around the draconian measures taken against young people, who by now it is clear that some of them were not connected to the murder, and to wonder how the court served as a rubber stamp for anything asked of it.

So why do this paralysis and fear amongst the right-wingers in particular bother me so much? Because I have no expectations from the left and from the media. They are now in the midst of celebration. Once in a while they have a chance to put the national camp or the religious Zionist movement on the stake and mark them all a bed of killers, and such moments they sing “My Lord, My Lord, Let it never end.”

I have absolutely nothing to do with those who committed the murder Duma nor with the people who belong to the group that surrounds them. I am a Zionist, I believe in the State, I am against violence, in short: the complete opposite of the mutinous league of Meir Ettinger & Co. Therefore, my words are not said in order to defend them, but in order to say a lot of words in condemnation of those who cover these cases. Because if we are dealing with double standards, the media treatment of this group is infected with it.

This week, after I had internalized what had been explained to me, that this group should be treated like terrorists in every respect, I noticed that all the rules that apply to regular coverage of Palestinian terrorists, for some reason do not apply to them. Because when it comes to Palestinian terrorism, we are always busy trying to understand its origin. For an Arab does not murder just because he hates Jews. There is the occupation and there is despair, there are roadblocks and there is revenge for the death of his relatives.

And suddenly, I wondered to myself, where did all those people who usually seek reasons and justifications for terrorism?. After all, if the Arab murderers have good reasons, Jews too probably have several. Maybe it’s the Arab terrorism that brings death and destruction, maybe it’s the despair from our security forces who did not manage to put a end to this terrorism. Maybe it’s because of the Civil Administration which destroys illegal construction by Jews but not by Arabs.

But no. Now you will not hear these questions. There questions which are not asked. Like you will never hear, when Israeli Arabs carry out attacks or simply join Daesh, any discussion that will address the flowerbed in which they grew up, or the atmosphere that brought them to where they arrived. Arabs are individuals. They take charge.They do not have a supportive environment. They are “lone terrorists”.

In my eyes, to be clear, there are no good killers and there is no reason and never an excuse to justify violence. I’m just having trouble understanding why some murderers get “season-end discounts”, and some do not. And how is it that following the murder committed by Arabs, [TV channel 2 news anchor] Yonit Levy asked Minister Gilad Erdan why his government is not building a new Arab city, and yet there is no chance after the murder Duma, that he will be asked why the government is not building new settlements for Jews.

Regarding double standards, it must be explained as clearly as possible. Yes, the attitude towards Palestinians and towards Israelis in the interrogation rooms should not be the same. This is not a racist issue. The separation is not between Jews and Arabs, but between citizens of Israel and its enemies. The Palestinians are an external enemy. They are not part of us. We have no obligation towards them like we have for our own citizens. Incidentally, this difference not only must exist, it always has existed. We fought against external enemies with Merkava 3 tanks, against domestic enemies we do not. Not everything that is permissible in war against an external adversary, is allowed against an opponent at home.

I support the idea that everyone from this group who took part in violence should spend long years in jail. But I will not fall victim to the spin of the GSS [Shabak] which is trying to convince me that this group wanted to crown a king here and topple the regime. With all due respect, Meir Ettinger, age 20 and a bit, is not bringing down any regime and is not crowning any kings. Greater men than he have tried and not succeeded.

I’m not stupid. it’s clear to me that the media isnot dealing with this group of hilltop youth to this extent because it has a problem with those ten or 40 guys. This group is a decoy. Behind it lie the real goals, the more interesting targets. Religious Zionism. The settlers. I see the attacks on the settler society, the usual rubbish about the “flower-beds” in which these murderers grew up, and I’m horrified at the ability to incite and twist reality.

This society should not be receiving criticism, but the Israel Prize for Education. The settlement enterprise has raised children for years under incessant daily terror. There is hardly anyone who travels on the roads of Samaria, and was not at one time the target of attempted murder – by stones, firebombs or shooting. Amongst the settlement enterprise there is not one person who does not know someone who was killed: A friend, a neighbor or relative. There is hardly a school without a missing chair of a murdered child, or a chair on which sits an orphaned child whose father was murdered. And the one responsible for all this is the Palestinian Arab enemy who lives meters away. Reach out and touch him. The victims of these attacks see the society from whose midst the killers leave every day. They travel alongside them on the road, while their blood is boiling, but their hearts full of longing for their fallen friends.

And despite all of this, despite all the difficulties, all the pain, they bury their friends and continue to do good. To get up in the morning, go to work, to enlist and serve in the most contributing combat units, to give as much as possible. And, surprisingly, quite surprisingly, no one takes the law into their own hands. Almost no one takes revenge. A terrible Duma event such as this occurs once in many years. Those who are teaching this generation are succeeding, God knows how, to channel all the anger and all the sadness and frustration to better places. In Itamar they continue to do charitable kindness. In Yitzhar settlement they can alreay count the 5th kidney donor to an unknown recipient, and they will continue to recruit the sixth and seventh donors. I find it hard to see another society stand up to such ordeals and come out like that.

They are deserving of a salute for all this, they deserve a lot of living water to irrigate their flower-beds, and not cries of derision.

Liebskind goes on to talk about several other “scandals” that have made the headlines in Israel lately: a book banned by the Education Ministry from the school curriculum (not banned from the bookshops, please note); the “gas deal” enabling those whom the Left would call “oligarchs”, those people who invested their money in discovering Israel’s natural gas – to actually profit from their investment as well as enabling Israel to gain from it; a law proposed by the Justice Minister demanding transparency from foreign NGOs who mostly work to undermine Israel’s sovereignty, and then concludes:

This group [the Left] is trying in any which way to overturn our vote in the elections and make it meaningless. They took an educated decision not to enable the public’s elected representatives to rule or to advance their own world values in whose name they were elected. When 40-odd hilltop youth decide to undermine the legitimacy of the regime, it’s one thing. When the leading media leads this line aggressively, that bothers me a whole lot more.

There is one more article to which I would point you, by Ari Soffer in Arutz Sheva: Unravelling the Duma circus. He repeats much of the arguments of both Arlene Kushner and Kalman Liebskind but he also makes other interesting points:

What is the reason for this absurd dichotomy? For the circus of collective guilt and hysteria on the Left, and of self-delusion and conspiracy theories on the Right?

The answer is just one word: insecurity. The insecurity born of two millennia of exile is now amplified in our Jewish state, to the point that what should have been a professional, objective police investigation immediately morphed into a hopelessly politicized platform for all the emotional baggage of the Left and Right to be unloaded.

Underlying the reactions of both Left and Right are one or both of two fears. The first is that wretched psychological relic of the ghetto: “What will the world think?” As if our actions as a people must always be condemned to be judged against the yardstick of what others think.

The second fear is related, but more internal: What happens to our perceived moral superiority? It’s the Palestinians who commit acts of terror, not us, and an attack by Jewish terrorists would ruin this narrative which so many lean on as a psychological, intellectual and emotional crutch. Are we now no better than them?

(There is a third motivation, for those few poor Jewish souls who actually revel in guilt, those for whom Jewish guilt and notions of “we’re just as bad as/worse than them” is political currency. But that is a different story altogether.)

The response to either fear must either be to “prove” – to “the nations of the world” and/or to ourselves – that we are still good people, still better than the Palestinians. This can either be achieved by denying everything, or by preemptively confessing to every possible accusation (fair or unfair) and begging for forgiveness.

And yet, this is not a sane or rational response.

Could it have been Jewish extremists? Of course – we know there are fanatics capable of this. Meir Ettinger and others have even circulated booklets instructing how to conduct attacks in order to collapse the government and help usher in the crowning of a “king.”

Could it have been an Arab feud dressed up to look like a “price tag action”? Anything is possible, and that has actually happened in a minority of more minor cases, but it’s obvious that this is not the most likely option, and investigating the former avenue first is hardly proof of some kind of anti-Jewish bias.

Every single nation or community in the world has its extremists: from White Supremacists and Christian fundamentalists, to extreme Hindu nationalists, even Buddhist extremists in Burma – and of course Muslim extremists, who commit daily atrocities throughout the globe. But societies must not be judged by the actions of a few extremists but by the reaction of the wider society to them. In Israel, the reaction, from Left to Right (beyond the very furthest fringes), has been nonstop condemnation. In Palestinian society, the response – whether from the “moderate” Fatah or the “extremist” Hamas and Islamic Jihad – has been praise, glorification, encouragement and incitement of anti-Semitic terrorism. We condemn it, while they revel in it – that speaks volumes.

We need not “prove” our moral worthiness because the facts speak for ourselves. Those who would judge the people of Israel differently to any other nation should be dismissed out of hand as the bigots they are. We certainly don’t need to prove ourselves to them (nor is there any point in doing so).

But if we wish to end this phenomenon of double-standards by others, then we must stop applying them to ourselves as well.

We would do well to take Soffer’s words to heart, as well as to internalise the messages provided by Arlene Kushner and Kalman Liebskind.

Sweden: Rapes, Acquittals and Severed Heads

December 29, 2015

Sweden: Rapes, Acquittals and Severed Heads -One Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Sweden: November 2015, Gatestone InstituteIngrid Carlqvist, December 29, 2015

♦ Some 30 Muslim men thought that the woman was in violation of Islamic sharia law, by being in Sweden unaccompanied by a man. They thought that she should therefore be raped and her teenage son killed.

♦ Two Swedish citizens were convicted by a Gothenburg Court of joining an Islamist terror group in Syria and murdering two captives. Video evidence showed one victim being beheaded. “Every night when I have gone to bed, I have seen a head hanging in the air.” — Court Chairman Ralf G. Larsson.

♦ Sometime during the night, the victim was awakened by the Iraqi as he raped her. The woman managed to break free and locate a train attendant. At first, the woman did not want to call the police. “She felt sorry for him [the rapist] … and was afraid he would be deported back to Iraq.”

♦ One week after Sweden raised its terror alert level to the highest ever, the police raised another alarm — saying their weapons are simply not good enough to prevent a potential terror attack.

November 4: The Swedish Immigration Service sent out a press release, saying that it had hired close to a thousand additional employees since June. The Immigration Service now has over 7,000 employees, including hourly workers and consultants — double the 3,350 employees who worked there in 2012. Most of the new recruits work with the legal processing of asylum applications, but the units dealing with receiving migrants and filing their initial applications have also expanded considerably. As if the record influx of migrants this autumn were not crushing enough, the Immigration Service also had trouble retaining its staff. Employees complain about being badly treated: they are always expected to be on call, and possibly even work Christmas Eve.

November 4: Bobel Barqasho, a 31-year-old Syrian, was sentenced by Sweden’s Supreme Court to 14 years in prison. Before his case reached the Supreme Court, Barqasho had been sentenced by a lower court to 9 years in prison, then acquitted by the Court of Appeals. In February 2013, Barqasho threw his wife off a sixth-floor balcony. Against all odds, the woman survived the 13-meter (about 43 feet) fall, but was badly injured. When she woke up after five weeks in a coma, her head was held together by a helmet, her face felt loose, and her teeth were gone. In the Court of Appeals, the defense managed to plant reasonable doubt about the man’s guilt by claiming the woman was depressed and had jumped of her own free will] so the Court of Appeals set him free. By the time the Supreme Court pronounced its sentence of 14 years, Barqasho had disappeared. He is now being sought by Interpol.

November 6: The Grönkulla School in Alvesta closed after reports of a rape at the facility spread on social media. A Somali boy had apparently been sexually harassing a 12-year-old girl for some time. On October 17, he allegedly took his attentions a step farther, pulled the girl behind a bush and raped her. The girl’s father had been unsuccessful in trying to get the school to address the problem earlier, but even after the reported rape, the school’s management did not act. The boy was allowed to continue going to the school – just on a schedule different from the girl’s. Her distraught parents told the news website Fria Tider: “We are being spat on because we are Swedish.” In protest against the school’s management, many parents, viewing the school as having sided with the perpetrator, moved their children to other schools.

November 9: Social commentator and whistleblower Merit Wager revealed on her blog that administrators at the Immigration Service had all been ordered to “accept the claim that an applicant is a child, if he does not look as if he is over 40.” A staggering 32,180unaccompanied refugee children” had arrived during 2015 by December 1 — since then another 1,130 have come — and the government finally decided to take action. If its proposition is approved by Parliament, everyone who looks adult-aged will be forced to go through a medical age-determination procedure. One of the reasons Sweden stopped doing these in the first place, was that pediatricians refused to take part in them. They said the procedures were “unreliable.”

November 10: A 28-year-old Iraqi man was prosecuted for raping a woman on a night train between Finland and Sweden. The man had originally planned to seek asylum in Finland, but had found the living conditions there too harsh. He had therefore taken a train back to Sweden. In a couchette (sleeping car where men and women are together), the rapist and two other asylum seekers met one of the many Swedish women whose hearts go out to “new arrivals.” The woman bought sandwiches for the men; they drank vodka. When two of the men started groping the woman, she told them to stop, yet chose to lie down and go to sleep. Sometime during the night, she was awakened by the Iraqi as he raped her. The woman managed to break free and locate a train attendant. To the attendant’s surprise, the woman did not immediately want to press charges. The court documents state: “The train attendant asked if he should call the police. At first, the woman did not want him to do so, because she did not want to put N.N., an asylum seeker, in a tough spot. She felt sorry for him… and was afraid he would be deported back to Iraq.”

The man was given a sentence of one year in prison, payment of 85,000 kronor (about $10,000) in damages, and deportation — but will be allowed to come back to Sweden after five years.

November 10: An Algerian and a Syrian asylum seeker were indicted for raping a Swedish woman in Strängnäs. The men, 39-year-old from Algeria and 31-year-old from Syria, met the woman in a bar one night in August. When the woman left, one of the men followed her, pulled her to the ground, and assaulted her. Afterwards, the woman kept walking, and ran into two other men — the Syrian and another unidentified man — and was raped again. The Syrian reportedly also spit her in face and said, “I’m going to f–k you, little Swedish girl.” The men, who lived at the same asylum house, denied knowing each other when questioned by the police. The verdict was announced on December 1. Rapist number one was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, 117,000 kronor (about $14,000) in damages, and deportation to Algeria. Rapist number two was convicted of aggravated rape and sentenced to four years in prison. He cannot be deported, however, because “there are currently hindrances towards enforcing deportations to Syria.” He was also ordered to pay the woman 167,000 kronor (about $20,000) in damages.

November 13: A trial began against eight Eritrean men, between the ages of 19 and 26, who according to the District Court, “crudely and ruthlessly” gang-raped a 45-year-old woman. She had been waiting in a stairwell for a friend when the men invited her into an apartment. Inside, she was thrown on the floor, held down, beaten and brutally raped. When questioned by the police, she said, “It felt as if there were hands and fingers everyplace. Fingers penetrated me, vaginally, anally. It hurt very much. I could feel the fingernails.” She said she could also hear the Eritreans laughing and speaking in their own language while they raped her. “They seemed to be enjoying themselves,” she said.

When two of the men started fighting over who should rape her next, she tried to flee, but one of the men hit her over the head; she fell unconscious. After coming to, she escaped out a window and was able to reach a neighbor.

The District Court of Falun established that several men had taken part in the attack, but the District Attorney was unable to prove who had done what. Therefore, only one man was convicted of aggravated rape, and sentenced to five years in prison. The others were sentenced to only 10 months in prison for helping to conceal a serious criminal offense. After serving their time, the men will be allowed to stay in Sweden.

November 14: The Swedish Security Service, Säpo, warned again of Muslim terrorists hiding among migrants. The number of individuals listed as potential security threats has tripled this year, and includes several hundred who may be ready to carry out “Paris-style” attacks. As the Immigration Service has a huge backlog in trying to register all 150,000 asylum seekers who have come to Sweden so far in 2015, there are probably also many migrants that would be considered potential security threats.

November 14: Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, made yet another strange statement with diplomatic consequences. The day after the Paris attacks, in an interview with Swedish Public Television, Wallström was asked, “How worried are you about the radicalization of young people in Sweden who choose to fight for ISIS?” Wallström replied:

“Yes, of course we have a reason to be worried not only here in Sweden but around the world, because there are so many who are being radicalized. Here again, you come back to situations like that in the Middle East, where not least the Palestinians see that there isn’t any future for us [the Palestinians], we either have to accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

Two days later, the Swedish ambassador to Israel, Carl Magnus Nesser, was called to a meeting at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Its spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, later told Reuters, “The Swedish Foreign Minister’s statements are appallingly impudent… [She] demonstrates genuine hostility when she points to a connection of any kind between the terror attacks in Paris and the complex situation between Israel and the Palestinians.”

In a formal statement, the Swedish Foreign Ministry denied that Margot Wallström’s remark had connected the Paris attacks with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A Swedish Conservative (Moderaterna) Member of Parliament, Hanif Bali, sarcastically tweeted that it seemed the Foreign Minister is suffering from an “obvious case of Israel-Tourette’s.”

November 18: The Authority for Civil Protection and Contingency Planning (MSB) warned that the asylum situation was not only “very strained,” but that things keep getting worse — and that in some parts of Sweden, the authorities can only function until the end of December. Meanwhile, the Immigration Service calculated that another 13,000 beds are needed in so-called evacuation accommodations. “The problem cannot be fully solved even if the Armed Forces help provide more housing or if the MSB could arrange more tent accommodations,” the authority wrote.

The massive influx of asylum seekers has also led to native Swedes “being crowded out of the health care and social services systems,” according to the MSB. “It [the MSB] is so busy handling unaccompanied children and asylum seekers, that there simply is not enough time to tend to the everyday functions, such as healthcare and social services,” said Alexandra Nordlander, Chief of Operative Analysis at the MSB, to the daily tabloid, Aftonbladet.

November 19: A fire broke out at Lundsbrunn Spa, a few weeks after plans were announced to convert the historic building into the biggest asylum-seekers’ home in Sweden. According to the police, the fire was not an arson, but started in a wood-pellet stove.

Many hotels and spas have transforming themselves into asylum-seekers’ housing, in order to profit from lucrative deals offered by the Immigration Service. Lundsbrunn Spa, near a mineral spring, dates back to 1890; in 1817, a hospital was established on the grounds. The nearby village is home to fewer than 1,000 people, so when Lundsbrunn Spa decided to accept an offer from the Immigration Service, the village faced a doubling of its population. The owners of Lundsbrunn wrote on the Spa’s website that they see the transformation from spa to asylum-seekers’ home as a temporary measure.

November 20: Norwegian businessman Petter Stordalen, the billionaire owner of Nordic Choice Hotels, announced that the chain’s many properties in Scandinavia and the Baltic states would no longer serve their guests sausage and bacon for breakfast. The breakfast buffet of the Nordic Choice’s Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg was named earlier this year the best hotel breakfast in the world by the British newspaper, The Mirror. But apparently, this award did not matter. The cause for the hotel’s decision was cited as “health reasons.” The internet, however, was soon abuzz with speculation that the real reason was adaptation to Islamic dietary laws (halal). One week later, Stordalen backtracked. The reaction from hotel guests had been too strong. Many people vented their anger over the withheld bacon on Stordalen’s Facebook page. Stordalen commented: “The guests have spoken. Comfort Hotels are bringing back bacon.”

November 23: Hassan Mostafa Al-Mandlawi, 32, and Al Amin Sultan, 30, were indicted in the Gothenburg Municipal Court, suspected of having traveled to Syria in 2013 and murdering at least two people there. The charge was terrorist crimes, (alternatively crimes against international law) and murder. Chief Prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström, of the National Unit for Security Cases, said: “The act [was] committed with the intent to harm the state of Syria and intimidate the people, thus the classification: terrorist crimes. The hard part is to clarify fully whether these men have been part of an armed group, and acted within the frames of the armed conflict, or not.”

The accused men came to Sweden, one from Iraq and one from Syria, as children, but grew up in Sweden and are Swedish citizens. They traveled to Syria in 2013, and joined one of the many Islamist terror groups there. According to the prosecution, they murdered two captured workers in an industrial area of Aleppo by slitting their throats. The prosecutor wrote that, “Al-Mandlawi and Sultan have both expressed delight at the deeds.”

During the trial, films of the executions were shown, but both men still denied having committed the crimes. Those present in court agreed that the films were among the most disturbing ever displayed in a Swedish court. First, they show a man having his throat slit, the blood gushing before he dies. Then, the other victim’s head is severed from his body, and the killer holds up the severed head to loud cheers from the others. The court’s chairman, Ralf G. Larsson, told the news agency, TT: “Every night when I have gone to bed, I have seen a head hanging in the air.”

The verdict was announced December 14: Both men were convicted of terrorist crimes and sentenced to life in prison. The verdict will be appealed, the defense lawyers said.

1406Two Swedish citizens were convicted by a Gothenburg Court of joining an Islamist terror group in Syria and murdering two captives. Video evidence (left) showed one victim being beheaded. When asked if she is worried about the radicalization of young people in Sweden who choose to fight for ISIS, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström (right), blamed Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

November 25: The municipality of Ängelholm proudly announced that it had managed to hire a world-famous star to sing at the 500-year anniversary of the city of Ängelholm. Mezzo-soprano Susanne Resmark, of La Scala in Milan and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, would now, for the first time, sing in her hometown. The denizens of Ängelholm would get to enjoy the Resmark, considered by many one of the best Mezzo-sopranos, in a free performance. Two days later, however, the local paper, Helsingborgs Dagblad, ran a story on how Resmark had posted on her Facebook page comments critical of Islam. This apparently sent representatives of the municipality into a panic; they cancelled the star’s performance. The journalist behind the story, Jan Andersson, admitted in an interview with Dispatch International that the paper’s reporters had gone over Resmark’s statements with a microscope, in an effort to force the municipality to cancel her appearance. “We did a damn fine job!” Andersson said.

November 27: One week after Sweden raised its terror alert level to the highest ever in the country (four on a five-point scale), the police raised another alarm — saying their weapons are simply not good enough to prevent a potential terror attack. “We are sent out without adequate weapons, only a nine millimeter service pistol. We are also told that there may not be enough protective vests and ballistic helmets. It feels like being sent out on a lion hunt with a pea-shooter and a jumpsuit made out of zebra meat,” wrote a police officer called “Christian,” in an internal incident report reviewed by the news agency, Siren.

His colleague, “Niklas,” wrote that he had to patrol, without a protective helmet, a location considered at risk of terror attacks, because none of the available helmets fit his head: “Without the right equipment, and with inadequate training in tactics and shooting, we still had to work as live targets without any kind of chance to defend ourselves or our [locations] against a potential attack.”

The police say they want to be able to use more powerful weapons, such as the HK MP5, a submachine gun that is popular with law enforcement agencies around the world. Few, however, have had the required training for it. Also, the existing MP5s are kept at police stations — not in patrol cars. Martin Lundin, of the Department of National Operations, conceded there was some merit to the criticism: “We will probably need more people who are able to handle that weapon in the future.”

November 28: A large mob at an asylum house in Nora tried to break into a room where a woman had barricaded herself along with her son. Some 30 Muslim men apparently thought the woman was in violation of Islamic sharia law, by being in Sweden unaccompanied by a man. They thought that she should therefore be raped and her teenage son killed. Asylum house staff called the police, who averted the plan.

Turkey and Israel: A Rickety Handshake

December 23, 2015

Turkey and Israel: A Rickety Handshake, Gatestone InstituteBurak Bekdil, December 23, 2015

(What benefit beyond oil sales to Turkey — a minor one that Turkey could extinguish at its pleasure — would Israel receive? — DM)

♦ It would be truly embarrassing if a Turkey-Israel normalization results in new arms shipments into Gaza and rockets over Israeli skies — with the only achievement being a temporary peace with Turkey’s Islamists, who never hide their ideological kinship with Hamas.

♦ The future Turkish and Israeli ambassadors would always have to keep their bags packed, ready to return to their own capitals at the first dispute – which could be caused by Israeli retaliation against Arab terrorism or anything that may make Erdogan roar in front of cameras.

♦ How do you shake hands with a man whom you know ideologically hates you and wishes to mess up things at his earliest convenience?

None of this happened half a century ago; the timeline here covers only a span of a year and a half: A Turkish-Kurdish pop star wrote on her Twitter account, “May God bless Hitler. He did far less [than he should have done to Jews].” The mayor of Ankara replied: “I applaud you!” Hundreds of angry Turks, hurling rocks, tried to break into the Israeli diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul. The mayor of Ankara said: “We will conquer the consulate of the despicable murderers.” He blamed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris on Israel’s Mossad. Islamist columnists close to the government suggested imposing a “wealth tax” on Turkish Jews (who are full citizens). A governor threatened to suspend restoration work at a synagogue. And a credible research group at the Kadir Has University in Istanbul found in a poll that Turks view Israel as the top threat to Turkey.

Against such a background, Turkish and Israeli diplomats are negotiating a historical deal that will, in theory, end Turkey’s hostility toward the Jewish state and normalize diplomatic ties between Ankara and Jerusalem.

In 2010, a Turkish flotilla, led by the Mavi Marmara with hundreds of jihadists and anti-Israeli “intellectuals” aboard, sailed toward the coast of Gaza, aiming to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-run strip. Israel’s naval blockade aims to prevent weapons such as rockets being smuggled into Gaza. To stop the flotilla, naval commandos of the Israel Defense Forces boarded the vessel and, during clashes, killed nine aboard.

1080The Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara, which took part in the 2010 “Gaza flotilla” that attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. (Image source: “Free Gaza movement”/Flickr)

Since the incident, Turkey’s Islamist leaders have pledged to isolate Israel internationally and have downgraded diplomatic ties with Jerusalem. They have put forward three conditions before any normalization could take place: an Israeli apology, compensation for the families of the victims and the removal of the naval blockade on Gaza.

After President Barack Obama’s intervention, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013 apologized for “any error that may have led to the loss of life.” Turkey’s two other conditions remain unfulfilled. But diplomatic teams from Ankara and Jerusalem are apparently working on a deal. There are good reasons why an accord may or may not be possible.

Since the nearest Turkish election is four years from now, neither Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has any reason to cultivate further anti-Semitism at election rallies in order harvest votes from conservative masses who are deeply hostile to Israel and Jews. These are days when Turkey’s leaders need not practice their usual anti-Israeli rhetoric.

There is another reason related to “timing” that makes a deal attainable. After pledging to isolate Israel, Turkey has become the most isolated country in the region, especially after the recent crisis with Russia that emerged after two Turkish F-16 fighters shot down a Russian SU-24 aircraft along Turkey’s Syrian border on Nov. 24.

In its region, Turkey does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus and Armenia. It has downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel and Egypt. It is confronted by Shiite and Shiite-dominated regimes in Iran and Iraq, respectively. On top of all that, an angry Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, curses and threatens every day to punish Turkey. Turkey buys over half of its natural gas and 10% of its oil from Russia.

Therefore, a third incentive could be a mutually beneficial future deal for Turkey to buy natural gas from Israel. If the two countries build an underwater pipeline, Turkey can compensate for the potential loss of Russian gas supplies, starting in 2019. For Israel, a pipeline to Turkey would be the most commercially feasible route to export its gas to Turkey and other potential buyers beyond.

A Turkish-Israeli handshake would also be music to ears in Washington. Deep hostility and occasional tensions between its two allies in the Middle East have always been unnerving for the U.S. administration.

The road ahead has its problems. Turkey’s second condition for normalization, compensation, is not too difficult to overcome. But the third condition, that Israel should remove the naval blockade of Gaza — and risk weapons being smuggled into the hands of Hamas (or other terrorist groups) — could be an unsafe move for Israel.

It would be truly embarrassing if a Turkey-Israel normalization results in new arms shipments into Gaza and rockets over Israeli skies — with the only achievement being a temporary peace with Turkey’s Islamists, who never hide their ideological kinship with Hamas.

If Netanyahu decides to take risks and go for a deal, he must make sure that however the naval blockade of Gaza would be eased, it does not expose Israel to the risk of new acts of terror.

Another risk is the potential psychological domino effect any deal could cause. It is certain that Turkish Islamists will portray any deal as a success story — that they were able to “bring Israel to its knees.” This message, relayed through a systematic propaganda machine, could set a dangerous precedent and potentially encourage Arab Islamists to consider more assertive policies toward Israel in the future.

The future Turkish and Israeli ambassadors would always have to keep their bags packed, ready to return to their own capitals at the first dispute – which could be caused by Israeli retaliation against Arab terrorism or anything that may make Erdogan roar in front of cameras, “Our Palestinian brothers … Those murderer Jews again … Go back to your pre-1967 borders or you’ll suffer the consequences!”

Netanyahu’s problem is that he does not trust Erdogan in the least. He is right not to trust Erdogan. But then how do you shake hands with a man whom you know ideologically hates you and wishes to mess up things at his earliest convenience?

They will not drive us out because we have nowhere else to go

October 14, 2015

They will not drive us out because we have nowhere else to go | Anne’s Opinions, October 14th 2015
Professor William Jacobson, (a law professor at Cornell University, an avowed conservative, Zionist and staunch defender of Israel, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times in Israel) who runs the law-blog Legal Insurrection kindly invited me to write a guest post on how we Israelis are feeling during this onslaught of terror. You can read my post at LI . Following is a slightly different version, taking into account the events of the past couple of days – anneinpt)
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The words in my headline express what I and most of my family, friends and acquaintances are feeling at the moment. And yet, being obedient citizens and not generally of a murderous nature even when faced with an onslaught of terror, these feelings are not expressed in anything more violent than a noisy demonstration (which was cancelled last night precisely because of the security situation) and angry talkbacks or letters to the editor.

Even so, when Professor Jacobson asked if I wanted to wrote a post describing how we Israelis are feeling under the current onslaught of terror and vicious incitement, I thought to myself “How do I expand “furious, angry, frightened and frustrated” into a few hundred words? It is rather hard to put these harsh emotions into words and explain how they affect our lives, but I shall try.

Having taken not one single survey, (so my apologies for generalizing and extrapolating from my own emotions) I think the dominant feeling amongst the Israeli populace is not fear or terror (though there is that too) but anger, accompanied by a good deal of frustration.

We are angry at the government, particularly at Binyamin Netanyahu who urges us not to let the terror affect our lives. Mr. Netanyahu, it IS affecting our lives! How could it not? And yet, we are also frustrated because we know that Bibi is right. We were more frustrated a few days ago because we felt the government wasn’t being forceful enough in confronting the wave of terror, and concentrating on defensive rather than offensive steps. But they seem to be on the right path now, with the piling on of extra security in Jerusalem, on public transport and on the roads, plus easing the rules of engagement for the police and IDF and easing the way to obtaining a gun licence.

We are furious at the Arab members of the Knesset who incite their constituents to murder, who defy the government’s orders not to cause provocations by going up to the Temple Mount, who claim the Jews have no rights on the Temple Mount, and who then claim victimization and accuse the government of incitement.

For example, here is the (Arab) Joint List MK Zahalka screaming at Israelis;

“Why are you letting them in? It’s a disgrace, only to hurt Muslims’ feelings. This is not yours, get out of here, go home, you’re not wanted,”

Watch the video:

They are arsonists in a bone-dry forest, and they are as responsible for the terror as those miserable kids who are going around stabbing Israelis. The one piece of good news about which Israelis were very happy today (if that’s the right word) is that Bibi called for a criminal investigation against Hanin Zoabi for calling for a popular intifada. But knowing our soft-left Attorney General, I’m not holding my breath for an indictment to emerge.

It is not only the average Israeli who is angry at the Arab MKs. In a very unusual scenario, the Arab mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam, hurled a furious tirade against MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the United Arab List, accusing him and the rest of his party of “ruining” the city.

The unrest throughout Israel, in which dozens of stabbings and rock attacks have taken place in recent weeks, has caused a dearth of traffic in public places throughout the country, and has badly hurt the economy of Israeli Arab-owned businesses in Nazareth, Jaffa, Ramle, and other areas with large Arab populations.

Salam, frustrated with the situation, spotted Odeh speaking to the Channel Two reporter – and in the midst of the interview, began screaming at the MK in Arabic, telling him how he had “ruined this city, ruined everything. We did not have even one Jew here today, not one.

“What are giving interviews for? You have done nothing! You have destroyed the world! Get Out of here!,” screamed Salam, venting his frustration.

Watch the video:

We are upset, and more than a bit mystified, at the President – Rivlin, not Obama (though him too, but that’s another story) for asserting that we are not at war with Islam. Those are pretty words meant to tamp down the fire that threatens to engulf us, especially in Jerusalem, and they may be true in theory, but in practice, Islam is at war with us. How does one square that circle? Not facing up to reality has been the cause of most of our woes.

We are both furious and frustrated with Mahmoud Abbas who incites to murder out of one side of his mouth with dreadful libels about the Jews desecrating Al-Aqsa with “their filthy feet“:

Yet calls for calm from his own chieftains, and then again pronounces his solidarity with the Temple Mount rioters from the other side of his mouth. He cannot have it both ways. He cannot be arsonist and firefighter, though the world seems to have no problem accepting him as such.

We are angry, frustrated and terrified of our own hotheads who take the law into their own hands and who could ignite a civil war with the throw of a stone or the touch of a match.

We are spitting mad at the international media who distort, lie, slander and generally lie about Israel, and in particular about our efforts at self-defence. No matter what we do or how we go about it, you can be sure that the BBC, CNN, the NYT et al will distort the news into “all the news that we see fit to print, and if it’s not to our liking, we’ll edit it or invent it accordingly”.

I mentioned some examples of this media bias in my previous post. In another example, David Harris, director of the AJC, talks about the world’s deafening silence when Israelis are under attack:

And I’ve been wondering, not for the first time, what it would take for the world to wake up and acknowledge — without equivocation, resort to moral equivalence, or diplomatic gobbledygook — that Israel, the lone liberal democracy in the Middle East, is facing violence that must be condemned unequivocally, and that it, like any other nation, has the obligation to defend itself.

It’s striking how, when it comes to these issues, some otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people in government, media, or think tanks, just shut down their critical faculties. Instead, they resort to a Pavlovian response mechanism that essentially rejects any possible legitimacy for the Israeli position and blindly defends whatever Palestinian narrative comes along.

In this mindset, if Israelis are being shot or stabbed, they must have done something to “deserve” it.

If Israeli authorities mobilize the army and police to stop the terrorism, then, by definition, Israel is using “excessive force.”

No matter how inflammatory President Abbas’s speeches at the UN may be, he is a man of “peace.”

No matter how many times Israeli leaders call for face-to-face negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel is always branded as the “obstacle” to peace.

Isn’t it long overdue to get real, see things as they actually are, and stop living in a world of self-imposed illusions and falsehoods?

While they do not hesitate to push, prod, and criticize Israel when they believe, rightly or wrongly, that Israel isn’t acting in the spirit of a two-state vision, they’re too often deafeningly silent when it comes to Palestinian behavior — including right now.

This double standard is the height of condescension or, indeed, infantilization.

And Brett Stephens in a very hard-hitting article in the Wall Street Journal decries the Palestinians’ psychotic stage and the way the world’s media reports on it:

Regarding the causes of this Palestinian blood fetish, Western news organizations have resorted to familiar tropes. Palestinians have despaired at the results of the peace process—never mind that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas just declared the Oslo Accords null and void. Israeli politicians want to allow Jews to pray atop the Temple Mount—never mind that Benjamin Netanyahu denies it and has barred Israeli politicians from visiting the site. There’s always the hoary “cycle of violence” formula that holds nobody and everybody accountable at one and the same time.

And would this be supplemented by the usual fake math of moral opprobrium, which is the stock-in-trade of reporters covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? In the Middle East version, a higher Palestinian death toll suggests greater Israeli culpability. (Perhaps Israeli paramedics should stop treating stabbing victims to help even the score.) In a U.S. version, should the higher incidence of black-on-white crime be cited to “balance” stories about white supremacists?

Didn’t think so.

Treatises have been written about the media’s mind-set when it comes to telling the story of Israel. We’ll leave that aside for now. The significant question is why so many Palestinians have been seized by their present blood lust—by a communal psychosis in which plunging knives into the necks of Jewish women, children, soldiers and civilians is seen as a religious and patriotic duty, a moral fulfillment. Despair at the state of the peace process, or the economy? Please. It’s time to stop furnishing Palestinians with the excuses they barely bother making for themselves.

We are angry at the Administration who “urge us to be calm” but don’t urge the Arabs to turn off the terror. And we’re both highly amused yet really furious at the inane John Kerry who appears dangerously clueless or menacingly malevolent when it comes to understanding the Middle East. Click on the links within the following tweets to read the relevant stories:

The Elder of Ziyon has produced a great debunking of Kerry’s lies. proving that the conflict is not about the settlements at all:

The truth is that there has been next to no expansion. No land is being “gobbled up” by the supposedly voracious Jews. No Arab houses are being demolished so that Jews could move in.

The only reason these lies are so accepted is because people like John Kerry want to believe them.

More sickening is the idea that Kerry is justifying Arab violence by ascribing a bogus reason to it.

We are frustrated and depressed at the thought of this violence sparking up every few years for the smallest of reasons.

I find it profoundly depressing, almost nauseating, to realize that with the anti-Israel indoctrination by UNRWA-run schools with their extremist teachers, the anti-Jewish incitement from the rest of the Palestinian education system, and the malign influence of the Palestinian media, yet another generation of Palestinian children is brainwashed into vicious and unreasonable Jew-hatred, and there is not a chance in hell of us ever reaching any kind of workable way for the two nations to live at least in an armed truce if not peace in our little country.

It is terrifying to understand that the Palestinian masses can be “switched on” into an almost zombie-like mass hysteria by a few words – false words, vicious words, words that can, and do, light a conflagration; those words being “the Jews are attacking the Al-Aqsa Mosque!”.

Palestinian cartoons of incitement against Jews

 

It is even worse to bear when we all know that those words are utterly false. How many times does Bibi have to swear that Israel has no designs on the Mosque, that the Jews are not interested in entering the Mosque, that we have not changed that unholy status quo one iota; in fact it is the Muslims themselves who have changed the status quo by turning the holy site into a battlefield, complete with rocks, firecrackers and even weapons, ready to be turned on the Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall below the Mosque and on the Israeli police and troops who are there to protect those worshippers.

On these two subjects, the indoctrination of Palestinian children, and the Temple Mount libels, I would recommend two excellent articles from the Times of Israel, both of which describe the profoundly depressing nature of the conflict and its insolubility:

Armed with rocks and stones, the children of Oslo come of age by Avi Issacharoff:

This generation of Palestinian youth has been named the “children of Oslo” by Palestinian society. They were born after the Oslo agreements of 1993, and after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. They have heard about the old model of the Israeli occupation, but don’t really know what it means. The Palestinian Authority, from their perspective, has been the government since before they were born, yet they view it with open contempt and suspicion.

They’re addicted to the Internet and, of course, to Facebook. The official media outlets of the Authority, such as Palestinian television and radio stations, are so 1990s. They pass around videos and messages in WhatsApp and other apps — like the video of the terrorist from Nazareth who was shot in Afula by cops after they surrounded her on all sides — and in that way create a communication and news network all their own. Even al-Jazeera seems to them “news for old people.”

Yet more incitement from the Palestinian Authority

And the second article: A stabbing war born of hysterical intolerance by the always incisive editor David Horovitz:

There is an almost surreal aspect to this particular eruption of conflict: Israel has been plunged into a terror war because of a false assertion that it intends to allow Jewish prayer at the holiest place in Judaism. This rather begs the question of why Israel would not allow Jewish prayer at the holiest place in Judaism, which it captured and liberated, to a great outpouring of Jewish emotion in the 1967 war.

The answer? Utilizing the rabbinical halachic consensus that forbids Jews from setting foot on the Temple Mount for fear of desecrating the site of the Holy of Holies, Israel’s defense minister 48 years ago, Moshe Dayan, took the pragmatic decision not to fully realize renewed Jewish sovereignty at the Temple Mount, and therefore not to risk a religious confrontation with the Muslim world. Instead, Israel opted to bar Jewish prayer there and to permit the Jordanian-run Waqf authority to continue to administer the Muslim holy places. That Israeli forbearance has all too evidently been misunderstood and misrepresented among many Palestinians as evidence that the Jewish state has no genuine attachment to the Mount. That Israeli forbearance is now rewarded with violence.

As to the fear that we are experiencing, yes, we are scared of the terrorist acts that are popping up all around us, not only on the dangerous roads of Samaria, but in the middle of Jerusalem, in our major cities like Tel Aviv and Hadera (and even my quiet little hometown of Petach Tikva!), and on our major highways.

But we Israelis have known a lot worse. The deadly days of the Second Intifada are not easily forgotten, when we thought twice about going to the mall or riding a bus into town. Yet we did go to the mall and ride those buses and eat in those pizzerias; we just did it all with our eyes darting around and our ears sharpened for strange noises. My own method for dealing with the terror in those days was: no mooching in the mall if it was for no particular reason (that applied mainly to my teenage children), but if you need to go there to buy something, then go. Ditto for driving in Judea and Samaria, for eating out etc. In other words, the terror did affect our way of life, but we tried to minimize the impact as much as possible. We simply hunkered down and just got on with it.

That is the attitude that is starting to take effect now as well, at least for myself and my circle of family and friends. We are trying to carry on as normally as possible: my husband still drove on Route 443 from Jerusalem the other day although it is regularly stoned along the way because it was the quickest way home; my son drives in and out of his settlement because he has to work near Tel Aviv even though an IED was discovered on the approach road a couple of days ago. But – I admit I’m having second and third thoughts about visiting both him and our daughter in her settlement because there have been several stoning attacks and even, allegedly, a shooting the other day. For the moment I can wait a while to see my grandchildren. But for how long? At some point, if this situation continues, I will take the risk to drive out there. I can’t stay away forever. And the settlement’s residents too have to drive in and out in their daily lives.

For that is the one thing that the Arab world has not internalized about us – they will never drive us out, no matter how much terror they pour on us, no matter how much delegitimization they activate against us in the international sphere, no matter what weapons they launch at us.

For we have nowhere else to go.

Is Netanyahu finally getting serious about tackling Palestinian terrorism?

September 16, 2015

Is Netanyahu finally getting serious about tackling Palestinian terrorism? | Anne’s Opinions, September 16th 2015

(The Palestinians’ “low-level violence” is anything but. Israelis have been killed and Israeli sovereignty is being undermined in Jerusalem and in the holiest of Jewish sites: on the Temple Mount and the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. The Israeli government’s response has so far been limp to say the least – unless it is harassing Jewish Israelis. But maybe the tide has turned. — anneinpt))

The low-level Palestinian terrorism that has been plaguing Israelis for years, particularly firebombings, shootings and stonings have been documented on this blog and elsewhere innumerable times; similarly the ongoing destruction – under the guise of “youthful vandalism” – of the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, as well as attacking Jewish visitors to the cemetery. This terrorism has been gradually ramping up, and it was obvious to all that the longer no serious Israeli response was forthcoming, the more serious the situation was set to be.

Alexander Levlovitz Hy’d

On Rosh Hashana eve, another Israeli fell victim to Palestinian rock throwing: Alexander Levlovitz of Mevasseret was killed as he drove in East Talpiot, Jerusalem:

Police identified the Israeli man killed late Sunday night in a rock-throwing attack in Jerusalem as Alexander Levlovitz, 64.

Levlovitz died of his injuries in the early hours of Monday morning after he lost control of his car when it came under attack by assailants hurling stones; he drove into a ditch and hit a pole, initially sustaining serious wounds. Police were investigating whether Levlovitz suffered cardiac arrest when his car crashed.

Two other people travelling in the car were lightly injured in the incident in the East Talpiot neighborhood of southeast Jerusalem. The three were returning from an event celebrating the Jewish New Year.

Unknown assailants believed to be Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem reportedly attacked the car with stones. The assailants, allegedly from the nearby Palestinian village of Sur Bacher, also attacked other cars on East Talpiot’s Asher Winer street, Channel 2 reported.

“The driver who was involved in an accident, apparently as a result of stone-throwing… died at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

This attack might have been prevented if the police – at the government’s behest – would have taken a firmer hand against the perpetrators. Finally, much too late, the politicians appear to be waking up to the threat. President Rivlin called for firm action against terror following this stoning attack plus several days of rioting on the Temple Mount (more on that to follow), and he was joined in his call by politicians from both Left and Right.

Netanyahu too finally sprang into action, summoning an emergency meeting at his office at the close of Rosh Hashana to discuss ways to combat the growing terror threat:

At an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office late Tuesday to discuss measures to curb an increasing trend of Palestinians using homemade weapons against Israelis, Netanyahu said that stone-throwers would face harsher penalties in the future.

“I take the throwing of stones or firebombs against Israelis very seriously, and I intend to fight this phenomenon by any means necessary, including the use of implementing stricter sentences and enforcement,” he said.

The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and senior security officials.

The committee would submit its recommendations within a week, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Netanyahu also ordered the Israel Police and state prosecution to form a separate committee to examine ways to deter such attacks by increasing the severity of penalties and sentences.

The committee was specifically tasked by the prime minister with determining the efficacy of measures such as imposing high minimum sentences, and instituting steep fines on minors and their parents who participate in rock-throwing attacks.

Ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu vowed to use “any means necessary” to curb stoning-throwing attacks against Israelis and ongoing violence on the Temple Mount, which on Tuesday saw Palestinians clashing with Israeli police for a third consecutive day.

The emergency meeting came after three days of violent clashes on the Temple Mount and a rock-throwing attack that led to a fatal car crash in Jerusalem Sunday night, killing the driver, Alexander Levlovitz.

May the family of Alexander Levlovitz Hy’d be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may his memory be for a blessing.

In recent weeks we have seen how the uncontested Arab “vandalism” – in actual fact antisemitic acts of the basest sort – in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives has reached heights never seen since its partial destruction by the Jordanians in 1948. Graves were smashed and trees set on fire in the latest bout.

Smashed Jewish gravestones on the Mt. of Olives cemetery

Returning to the recent violence on the Temple Mount, Palestinian anti-Jewish violence in the Old City of Jerusalem and its environs has also been growing apace, partly because of a limp police response to the Palestinians’ violence combined with an unfairly firm hand against the Jewish victims.

Temple Mount screamers – Muslim harassers of Jewish visitors

One of the worst manifestations of Muslim supremacy has been the “Temple Mount screamers” who have been hired and are paid by radical Muslim organizations specifically to hound and harass Jews and others who wish to visit and pray at their holiest site. Up till this week they have been aided and abetted appeased by the Israeli police who simply want a quiet life and find it easier to chase the Jews away rather than confront the Muslim stalkers.

But finally the Israeli government has woken up, maybe after being embarrassed by a visiting US Congressman being harassed by these “screamers” – or maybe just by mounting furious domestic public opinion. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has now outlawed the Murabitun’ and ‘Murabitat:

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon signed an order Wednesday declaring the groups of Islamists who regularly harass Jews on the Temple Mount – the male “Murabitun” and female “Murabitat” – as illegal organizations.

The activists regularly riot on the Mount, curse, shout, and throw various objects at the Jews who ascend the Mount, and sometimes attack police as well.

Yaalon signed the order upon the recommendation of the Israel Security Agency and the Israel Police, after he became convinced that it was necessary for preserving the public peace and security of the nation.

“The activity of the Murabitun and Murabitat is a central element in creating the tension and violence on the Temple Mount in particular and in Jerusalem in general,” said a statement issued by Yaalon’s bureau. “This is dangerous and inciting activity against tourists, visitors and worshipers at the site, that leads to violence and could cause loss of life.”

Boker tov Eliyahu. Where has Yaalon been hiding up until now?!

The declaration was signed after it received the approval of the Attorney General, and it means that anyone participating in Murabitun/Murabitat activities, organizing or funding it, is carrying out a crime and is likely to face prosecution.

I’d like to see that happen in real life. In practice I’m willing to bet we’ll never see a prosecution but I would be delighted to be proven wrong. I’ll be happy to see one or two of them arrested. (Not holding my breath).

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan (Likud) sent Ya’alon letter last month, asking him to urgently declare the Arab organizations that create mayhem on the Temple Mount as illegal, so that security forces will have a freer hand against the rioters.

Erdan had been carrying out behind-the-scenes staff work, together with police, the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet), the State Attorney’s Office and even the Attorney General, who agreed to help advance the declaration.

In the discussions of the problem, Erdan was shown evidence that the Murabitun and Murabitat are directed by the northern arm of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

The purpose of their activity is to destabilize the status quo on the Temple Mount, and they have succeeded in creating escalation on the Mount, and in making the security situation there untenable.

Kol hakavod to Gilad Erdan, one of the few effective Israeli politicians in office today.

Miriam Elman at Legal Insurrection has produced an admirably thorough backgrounder to the “Screamers” – their financing and backing, their provocations and harassments, and their aim of denying the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jews. It’s outrageous and depressing reading. Read it all at the link.

As to what triggered the violence over Rosh Hashana, it all started when Israel hit back. Or rather, when the Israeli police discovered a stash of pipe bombs hidden by Palestinians on the Temple Mount, ready to be used against Jewish worshippers on Rosh Hashana:

Israeli police on Sunday discovered pipe bombs during what they said was a preemptive operation at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount, prompting one senior minister to warn that Israel would review measures at the site, which is holy to both Jew and Muslims.

The Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt condemned the Israeli government for the incident.

Yes, of course, because it’s always the police’s fault for discovering a crime, rather than the fault of the criminal.

Police said it approached the compound to prevent an attempt to disrupt Jewish visits to the site.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan warned that the discovery of the pipe bombs “forces us to reconsider the arrangements for the Temple Mount.

“It is unacceptable that Muslim rioters who barricaded themselves during the night on the Temple Mount can, at will, turn this holy site into a battlefield, including throwing stones, shooting firecrackers directly at security forces, and even bringing explosive devices into the area of the mount,” he said.

According to police, the intention of the demonstrators was to upset the movements of Jewish visitors in the compound ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which began Sunday evening and marks the Jewish new year.

“Masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police,” a police statement said. “Suspicious pipes that could be filled with homemade explosives were also found at the entry to the mosque.”

Police later confirmed that the objects were pipe bombs.

Once again, I don’t understand why it has taken the police or the political echelon so long to react. These Palestinian attacks with pipe bombs, stones and other weapons against Jews have been taking place for years.

In another recent anti-Jewish attack in Jerusalem, a Jewish worshipper was chased through the alleyways of the Old City:

Here is what the Muslims’ “third-holiest site” looks like from the inside:

The humour in the Sussex Friends of Israel’s cheeky comment disguises what is an important point: the Muslims lost all right to any claim to “holiness” just by the way they treat the Temple Mount as anything BUT a place of worship. To them it is simply yet another place from which to uproot Israel and its Jewish historical connection to the site.

The chutzpah of the EU, the UN and (incredibly) the US in urging “restraint” is once again beyond belief. Let them address their calls for restraint to the Muslims – to their Iranian backers, the Muslim Brotherhood financiers, and their Palestinian perpetrators.

Meanwhile let us hope that with the start of the New Year, the Israeli government will mark a new beginning and show us that it is finally getting serious about confronting this growing menace of Palestinian terrorism in Jerusalem, which threatens not only lives but our very sovereignty in our capital city.

Pope calls Abbas ‘angel of peace’ during Vatican visit

May 16, 2015

Pope calls Abbas ‘angel of peace’ during Vatican visit, Times of Israel, May 16, 2015

(Update: According to an article at PJ Media, the words weren’t precisely as reported. Instead, the Pope said “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace.”  For the Pope, in the course of recognizing “Palestine,” even to express a hope that Abbas may be an “angel of peace” seems as odd as expressing a hope that a rattlesnake may be a good and friendly companion for one’s children.  — DM)

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(The Pope seems to have an odd sense of humor. — DM)

000_DV2030018-e1431765591751-635x357Pope Francis welcomes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a private audience on May 16, 2015 in Vatican (AFP Pphoto pool/Alberto Pizzoli)

Pope Francis praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an “angel of peace” during a meeting at the Vatican.

Francis made the compliment Saturday during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace. He presented Abbas with a medallion and explained that it represented the angel of peace “destroying the bad spirit of war.”

Francis said he thought the gift was appropriate since “you are an angel of peace.”

Abbas is in town for the canonization Sunday of two new saints from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. It also comes days after the Vatican finalized a bilateral treaty with the “state of Palestine,” making explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Abbas, for his part, offered Francis relics of the two new saints.

Vatican-Palestinians_Horo-e1431781749661Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during an audience at the Vatican Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Alberto Pizzoli/Pool Photo via AP)

The treaty, which was finalized Wednesday but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.

A bilateral commission is putting the final touches to the agreement, on the Catholic Church’s life and activities in Palestine, which then “will be submitted to the respective authorities for approval ahead of setting a debate in the near future for the signing,” the Vatican said on Wednesday.

Some observers speculated that the agreement could be signed during Abbas’s visit.

The news of the treaty immediately drew ire from Israel.

“Israel heard with disappointment the decision of the Holy See to agree a final formulation of an agreement with the Palestinians including the use of the term ‘Palestinian State’,” said an Israeli foreign ministry official.

“Such a development does not further the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct bilateral negotiations. Israel will study the agreement and consider its next step.”

The agreement, 15 years in the making, expresses the Vatican’s “hope for a solution to the Palestinian question and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians according to the two-state solution,” Antoine Camilleri, the Holy See’s deputy foreign minister, said in an interview earlier this week.

In an interview with the Vatican’s Osservatore Romano newspaper, Camilleri said he hoped “the accord could, even in an indirect way, help the Palestinians in the establishment and recognition of an independent, sovereign and democratic State of Palestine.”

The Palestinian Authority considers the Vatican one of 136 countries to have recognized Palestine as a state, although the number is disputed and several recognitions by what are now European Union member states date back to the Soviet era.

Abbas’s visit came a day before two nuns who lived in Ottoman Palestine during the 19th century will be made saints at a Vatican ceremony.

Marie Alphonsine Ghattas of Jerusalem and Mariam Bawardy of Galilee will become the first Palestinian Arabs to gain sainthood.

Ghattas was born in Jerusalem in 1847, and died there in 1927. She was beatified — the final step before canonization — in 2009.

Bawardy was born in Galilee, now in northern Israel, in 1843. She became a nun in France and died in Bethlehem in 1878.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1983.

Although there are several saints who lived in the region during Christianity’s early days, Bawardy and Ghattas are the first to be canonized from Ottoman-era Palestine.

The canonization of a third Palestinian — a Salesian monk — is still under review by the Church.

Exclusive: Obama to back Palestinian state at Security Council – payback for Israel’s right-wing cabinet

May 7, 2015

Exclusive: Obama to back Palestinian state at Security Council – payback for Israel’s right-wing cabinet, DEBKAfile, May 6, 2015

Net-0b_clash_5.15Barack Obama plans to punish Israel again

DEBKAfile reports exclusively from Washington: US President Barack Obama did not wait for Binyamin Netanyahu to finish building his new government coalition by its deadline at midnight Wednesday, May 6, before going into action to pay him back for forming a right-wing cabinet minus any moderate figure for resuming negotiations with the Palestinians.

Banking on Netanyahu’s assertion while campaigning for re-election that there would be no Palestinian state during his term in office, Obama is reported exclusively by our sources to have given the hitherto withheld green light to European governments to file a UN Security Council motion proclaiming an independent Palestinian state. Although Netanyahu left the foreign affairs portfolio in his charge and available to be filled by a suitably moderate figure as per the White House’s expectations did not satisfy the US President.

The White House is confident that, with the US voting in favor, the motion will be passed by an overwhelming majority and therefore be binding on the Israeli government.

To show the administration was in earnest, senior US officials sat down with their French counterparts in Paris last week to sketch out the general outline of this motion. According to our sources, they began addressing such questions as the area of the Palestinian state, its borders, security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians and whether or not to set a hard-and-fast timeline for implementation, or phrase the resolution as  a general declaration of intent.

Incorporating a target date in the language would expose Israel to Security Council sanctions for non-compliance.

It was indicated by the American side in Paris that the Obama administration would prefer to give Netanyahu a lengthy though predetermined time scale to reconsider his Palestinian policy or even possibly to broaden and diversify his coalition by introducing non-aligned factions or figures into such key posts as foreign affairs.

At the same time, both American and French diplomats are already using the club they propose to hang over the Netanyahu government’s head for gains in other spheres.

French President Francois Hollande, for instance, the first foreign leader ever to attend a Gulf Council of Cooperation summit, which opened in Riyadh Tuesday to discuss Iran and the Yemen war, used the opportunity to brief Gulf Arab rulers on Washington’s turnaround on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

And US Secretary of State John Kerry plans to present the Obama administration’s new plans for Palestinian statehood to Saudi leaders during his visit to Riyadh Wednesday and Thursday, May 6-7. Kerry will use Washington’s willingness to meet Palestinian aspirations as currency for procuring Saudi and Gulf support for a Yemen ceasefire and their acceptance of the nuclear deal shaping up with Iran.