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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Iranian Revolutionary Guards train new Hamas commando brigade in Gaza

Hamas' first commando unit set up by Iran

A team of Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) officers has just finished setting up Hamas' first commando unit especially trained to combat any Israel military force entering the Gaza Strip, DEBKAfile's military sources report. The new "Al Qods Brigades" unit of 400 men is to be the first of three. A week ago, July 23, the first unit held a passing-out parade and leave-taking ceremony from its two Iranian instructors.

DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report that the pair arrived in the Gaza Strip in the latter half of May on Iranian passports which gave their cover names as Morteza Rahban and Hojjat Safar-Zadeh.

Their journey took them from Sudan through Egypt and Sinai where they were led by Bedouin smugglers to the contraband tunnels accessing the Gaza Strip. They went back to Tehran by the same route.

The two officers were members of the IRGC's notorious Al Qods Brigades which undertakes overseas terrorist and covert activities on behalf of the Iranian regime. For the Al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Suleimaini, setting up a Hamas commando force in Gaza was a high and immediate priority.

This information reached the desk of US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who passed it on to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak when they met in Washington Friday, July 29. Panetta has scheduled a visit to Israel in October.

The urban guerrilla combat tactics which the Iranian instructors imparted to their Hamas trainees drew heavily on the experience al Qods is gaining in Syria, where its experts are helping President Bashar Assad crack down on protest – especially accentuating advanced disguise and camouflage techniques for striking at the enemy under cover.

Many of the weapons handed out to trainees came from Libyan rebels who received them from British and French intelligence for their war on Muammar Qaddafi. The rebels sold the arms to the purchasing agencies Iran, Hizballah and Hamas maintain secretly in Benghazi. The weapons were then smuggled to the Gaza Strip via Egypt.

The Gaza passing-out parade marked the end of an exercise the Hamas graduates carried out, which their Iranian instructors praised as "most successful."

The new Hamas commandos were also given a cover name – The Brigades for Reconstruction and Challenge – under which they will set up more brigades in the coming six months. The newly-trained units will then fan out to the areas bordering on Israel, armed with techniques and weapons for inflicting the highest possible number of casualties on any invading force.

Fifth Pipeline Bombing Marks Sinai Chaos - Israelis will ‘give up’ on Egyptian gas, expert says

For the fifth time this year the Sinai gas pipeline to Israel has been bombed marking local chaos as other attacks erupt.

An explosion was reported at a depot along the Egyptian natural gas pipeline in Sinai that normally supplies Israel and Jordan with gas, Army Radio reported Saturday.

 The attack on the pipeline was the third this month and the fifth since the beginning of 2011. It also followed a shootout between Egyptian security forces and apparent Islamic militants on Friday.

The pipeline was not currently supplying Israel with natural gas due to damage incurred from the previous blasts.

On Friday, an Egyptian army officer and three civilian bystanders were shot dead in fighting between an armed group and security forces in northern Sinai, security officials told Rueters on Saturday.

Also Friday, about 100 armed men rode through the town of el-Arish on motorcycles and in cars, waving flags with Islamic slogans and firing in the air, 

They then attacked a police station, engaging in a shootout with the police and army in which the army officer died.

Three civilians, a 70-year-old man, a 13-year-old boy and an 18-year-old youth were caught up in the shooting and died from bullet wounds, the ministry of health said in a statement.

Four army officers, nine security guards and six civilians were wounded in the attack and taken to an army hospital for treatment, MENA state news agency reported.

Witnesses told the Associated Press the attackers, many of whom wore masks, did not seem to be from the area as they lost their way several times before reaching the police station.


Blast is third this month, fifth this year; masked men attack police station after riding through el-Arish, waving flags with Islamic slogans.

After gunmen attacked the Egyptian gas pipeline in the northern Sinai on Saturday – the fifth such attack in the past six months – an Israeli energy expert said he believes that Israeli officials and the country’s major gas consumers have all but “given up” on that source of natural gas.

“According to the partial information we have, this explosion only affects the export of Egyptian gas to Israel,” Amit Mor, CEO and energy specialist at the Eco Energy consulting firm, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night. “It was directed against Israel and will not affect future supplies of gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.”

During Saturday’s attack, the saboteurs used rocket-propelled grenades to puncture a hole in a section of the pipeline that normally directs gas to Israel, but whose supply had not yet been resumed from the previous attack, on July 12, Reuters reported. The gunmen arrived in two trucks but sped away from the site after being confronted by Egyptian troops.

There were no casualties, the report said.

“It is crucial to Israel that the Egyptian government establishes security control, especially in northern Sinai – and especially at the crossing point in Rafah on the Egyptian- Gazan border – to prevent the smuggling of an arsenal against Israel, and also to secure the natural gas pipeline to Israel,” Mor told the Post. “I think the major consumers and government all have given up on the supply of Egyptian gas to Israel.”
The gas supply to Israel had been due to resume shortly, according to Mor.

“While important for geopolitical and economic reasons, Israel can do without that gas – although the public will pay much higher prices, especially for electricity, in the short term,” he said. “It is a major challenge to the current – and any future – Egyptian government to maintain sovereignty in Sinai.”

Mor added that the Egyptian gas situation would be a bellwether of future policy emanating from Cairo.

“The resumption of the full contractual obligation of gas supply to Israel can be used as a test-case of the Egyptian government to maintain its international obligations visa- vis foreign direct investments in Egypt on the one hand, and its future relations with Israel on the other,” he said.

PA’s Summer Camps Glorify Terrorists

A Fatah-sponsored summer camp has divided its campers into three groups named after terrorists who carried out lethal attacks against Israel

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a research institute which monitors the Palestinian Authority-based media, reported on its website that a PA-sponsored children’s summer camp has divided its campers into three groups named after terrorists Dalal Mughrabi, Salah Khalaf and Abu Ali Mustafa.

Dalal Mughrabi carried out led the most lethal terror attack in Israelis history in 1978. 37 Israeli civilians were killed in that attack, among them 12 children.

Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) was the head of the Black September terror group and was involved in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics in 1972 (an attack which was reportedly funded by current PA President Mahmoud Abbas).

Abu Ali Mustafa served as General Secretary of the terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He planned numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians before being killed by the IDF in 2001.

A fourth group was named after former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.

PMW noted that the summer camp was held under the auspices of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who visited the camp to participate in the closing ceremonies, which he also sponsored.

The PA daily Al-Ayyam reported about the summer camp, and PMW translated the report and presented it on its website:

“The head of the Public Relations Department of the Shahid Salah Khalaf Center, Nojoud Daraghmeh, announced the conclusion of the ‘Palestine in the Eyes of the Children of Martyrs (Shahids) Summer Camp’, which took place under the auspices of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and was organized by the National Association of Families of Palestine's Martyrs. [The summer camp was held] under the supervision of the National Committee of Summer Camps and with the participation of 70 boys and girls, the children and siblings of Martyrs from all [West] Bank districts. The summer camp included numerous activities and events," Al Ayam reported.

"Participants were divided into four groups, named after leaders and fighters: Martyr (Shahid) President Yasser Arafat, Martyr Commander Salah Khalaf, Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa, and Martyr Dalal Mughrabi. Several senior Palestinian Authority officials visited the summer camp, headed by [PM] Salam Fayyad and Fatah Central Committee members Jamal Muhaisen and Sultan Abu Al-Einein... A closing ceremony at the end of the summer camp was held under the auspices of Fayyad... who gave out awards [to officials involved in the summer camp]," the report added.

This summer camp is not the first one to bestow honors upon terrorists. Earlier this month, PMW reported about another camp, the “Lion Cubs and Flowers” summer camp, which named one group after Mughrabi, one group after the terrorist leader who masterminded Mughrabi’s attack, and one group after Arafat.

Abbas has personally been involved in the effort to transform Mughrabi into a role model for PA Arabs. Abbas funded a computer center in 2009 that was named for the terrorist, and in 2010 he sponsored an event to mark what would have been the murderer's 50th birthday.

In March 2010, even as the PA leader claimed he had cancelled a ceremony to name a public square after Mughrabi, scheduled to take place during a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the celebration was held "unofficially" -- with members of the PA leadership standing in for Abbas instead.

Berlin still has not pulled out of ‘anti-Israel’ Durban III

German Foreign Ministry undersecretary slams Israel’s settlement construction in Judea and Samaria in Security Council statement.

BERLIN – Germany’s Foreign Ministry is moving forward with preparations for the September Durban III anti-racism conference in New York City, a UN-sponsored event that presumably will single out Israel for attacks, as have previous “Durban” events.

In addition, speaking last week in the UN Security Council, a German Foreign Ministry undersecretary blasted Israel for its construction of settlements in the West Bank.

When asked if Germany planned to participate in Durban III, a German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post on Friday that the federal government “will decide on its participation in the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the international racism conference in light of the ongoing preparatory negotiations.”

The spokeswoman added that the German government was “against racism and all other forms of discrimination.

In the context of the international racism conference, [Germany] works to ensure that no individual countries are separately pilloried.”

Last April, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to repair relations that had been strained by Berlin’s criticism of the way Israel has been addressing the Middle East peace process. There were also reports of heated exchanges between the two leaders.

Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, told the Post on Friday that the excuse given by Germany for not staying away from the conference, as the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands plan to do, “simply does not stand up to scrutiny.”

“German representatives know that Israel is already ‘separately pilloried’ in the Durban Declaration and the co-chairs of the preparatory negotiations have already said explicitly that the Durban Declaration will not be ‘reopened.’ So the question remains: Why is Germany, of all countries, still contemplating celebrating the 10th anniversary of an anti-Semitic hatefest?” Bayefsky asked.

The main political declaration from Durban I, which also formed the basis for Durban II, held in Geneva in 2009, targets only Israel as a violator of human rights and lists the Palestinians as the victims of racism.

The Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Italy pulled out of Durban III last week. According to the online Prague Daily Monitor, the Czech government walked away from the event because of “unacceptable statements with anti-Jewish connotations.”

Canada was the first country to pull the plug on Durban III, in November.

Jason Kenney, Canadian minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, told the Post in June that the Durban process “sullies the reputation of the UN.”

In a reference to the 2009 conference, Kenney said that “a conference that gives a platform to [Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to advocate genocide is a sick joke.” He called on Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights who will be overseeing Durban III, to “stop the process and realize that the poison at Durban I “has placed the entire process under a permanent cloud.”

The United States and Israel are boycotting the Durban III conference.

Bayefsky told the Post that “Germany’s behavior toward the UN’s Durban III conference raises serious questions about its commitment to combat modern anti-Semitism. As an event which will commemorate the hatefest held in Durban in 2001, and its Durban Declaration, which singles out only one country on Earth – the Jewish state – it is shocking that Germany has not refused unequivocally to withdraw in solidarity with Israel, the United States, Canada, Italy and other European nations.”

Meanwhile, Werner Hoyer, a German Foreign Ministry undersecretary from the pro-business and traditionally Arab-friendly Free Democratic Party, told the UN Security Council last week that “Germany is deeply concerned about the ongoing apartment construction” in the West Bank. He said the building of apartments “violates international law and is a hurdle for peace and a danger for the two-state solution. All of these activities must immediately be stopped.”

The spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry told the Post that both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “are called upon to live up to their responsibilities and rapidly resume negotiations. One-sided steps on both sides are counterproductive.

This is true of Palestinian as well as Israeli actions.”

Fatah Youth group took part in Norwegian summer camp

Fatah Youth condemns Norway attacks, over 90 killed
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fatah Youth released a statement on Saturday condemning attacks in Norway which have reportedly killed over 90 people.

"It is with consternation that we have received the dramatic news of an awful terrorist attack against a summer camp ran by our comrades of Norwegian Labor Youth 'AUF,'" the statement said. 

The Fatah Youth group had taken part in the summer camp in the past on the Island of Utoya, near Oslo, where over 90 people were reportedly killed in a shooting spree on the Island and a bomb attack in Oslo on Friday, news reports said. 

"Fatah Youth declares its consternation about the terror attack. There are no words to describe an attack against people that have been our comrades in our struggle for freedom and independence. Very few people have stood by our side as much as the Norwegian people, and particularly our AUF comrades."

"We know those who have been cowardly assassinated. Those are people that have stood for the human and national rights of the Palestinian people both in Europe and while visiting Palestine. 

"Fatah Youth has participated for almost 15 years in the same summer camp and our youth has benefited by learning and sharing experiences on democracy and advocacy for peace and justice.

"We hope that those responsible for this criminal terror attack will be brought to justice. Such sick minds should not have a place in any society.

"As a people that has been victim of state terror for the last 64 years, the Palestinian people and particularly Fatah Youth presents its condolences to the families of those killed and sends a strong message of support to our comrades from the Norwegian AUF as well as from other sister parties that were participating in this summer camp," the statement concluded.

Is Terrorism Against Israel Really More Justified Than Terrorism Against Norway?

by Alan M. Dershowitz

In a recent interview, Norway's Ambassador to Israel has suggested that Hamas terrorism against Israel is more justified than the recent terrorist attack against Norway. His reasoning is that, "We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel." In other words terrorism against Israeli citizens is the fault of Israel. The terrorism against Norway, on the other hand, was based on "an ideology that said that Norway, particularly the Labor Party, is foregoing Norwegian culture." It is hard to imagine that he would make such a provocative statement without express approval from the Norwegian government.

I can't remember many other examples of so much nonsense compressed in such short an interview. First of all, terrorism against Israel began well before there was any "occupation". The first major terrorist attack against Jews who had long lived in Jerusalem and Hebron began in 1929, when the leader of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, ordered a religiously-motivated terrorist attack that killed hundreds of religious Jews-many old, some quite young. Terrorism against Jews continued through the 1930s. Once Israel was established as a state, but well before it captured the West Bank, terrorism became the primary means of attacking Israel across the Jordanian, Egyptian and Lebanese borders. If the occupation is the cause of the terror against Israel, what was the cause of all the terror that preceded any occupation?

I was not surprised to hear such ahistorical bigotry from a Norwegian Ambassador. Norway is the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israel country in Europe today. I know, because I experienced both personally during a recent visit and tour of universities. No university would invite me to lecture, unless I promised not to discuss Israel. Norway forbids Jewish ritual slaughter, but not Islamic ritual slaughter. Its political and academic leaders openly make statements that cross the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, such as when Norway's former Prime Minister condemned Barak Obama for appointing a Jew as his Chief of Staff. No other European leader would make such a statement and get away with it. In Norway, this bigoted statement was praised, as were similar statements made by a leading academic.

The very camp that was attacked by the lone terrorist was engaged in an orgy of anti-Israel hatred the day before the shooting. Yet I would not ever claim that it was Norway's anti-Semitism that "caused" the horrible act of terrorism against young Norwegians.

The causes of terrorism are multifaceted but at bottom they have a common cause: namely a belief that violence is the proper response to policies that the terrorists disagree with. The other common cause is that terrorism has often been rewarded. Norway, for example, has repeatedly rewarded Palestinian terrorism against Israel, while punishing Israel for its efforts to protect its civilians. While purporting to condemn all terrorist acts, the Norwegian government has sought to justify Palestinian terrorism as having a legitimate cause. This clearly is an invitation to continued terrorism.

It is important for the world never to reward terrorism by supporting the policies of those who employ it as an alternative to reason discourse, diplomatic resolution or political compromise.

I know of no reasonable person who has tried to justify the terrorist attacks against Norway. Yet there are many Norwegians who not only justify terrorist attacks against Israel, but praise them, support them, help finance them, and legitimate them.

The world must unite in condemning and punishing all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, regardless of the motive or purported cause of the terrorism. Norway, as a nation, has failed to do this. It wants us all to condemn the terrorist attack on its civilians, and we should all do that, but it refuses to live by a single standard.

Nothing good ever comes from terrorism, so don't expect the Norwegians to learn any lessons from its own victimization. As the Ambassador made clear in his benighted interview, "those of us who believe [the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel] will not change their minds because of the attack in Oslo." In other words, they will persist in their bigoted view that Israel is the cause of the terrorism directed at it, and that if only Israel were to end the occupation (as it offered to do in 2000-2001 and again in 2007), the terrorism will end. Even Hamas, which Norway supports in many ways, has made clear that it will not end its terrorism as long as Israel continues to exist. Hamas believes that Israel's very existence is the cause of the terrorism against it. That sounds a lot like the ranting of the man who engaged in the act of terrorism against Norway.

The time is long overdue for Norwegians to do some deep soul searching about their sordid history of complicity with all forms of bigotry ranging from the anti-Semitic Nazis to the anti-Semitic Hamas. There seems to be a common thread.

Israel Navy in Action

The Israeli navy has come a far way from being a crew of sailors. A new action-packed video shows commandos manning missiles – and boats.

The Israeli navy has come a far way from just being a crew of sailors. A new IDF action-paced video shows Navy commandos manning missiles and equipment – as well as boats.

“The Israel Navy is the military force of the IDF deployed at sea, responsible for sending alerts before several scenarios, responsible for the naval arena and taking care that the maritime merchant routes are able to proceed undisturbed, as part of routine security measures,” according to the IDF.

“Each of the different units of the Navy has unique capabilities for its own distinct missions. The naval combat fighter is expected to fight the enemy while he operates the most advanced machinery," the IDF added.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weaponry, Ammunition Uncovered on Arab Boat, Dead Sea - IDF Ordnance Corps - Kfir Infantry Brigade

On July 23rd (2011), the IDF and Israel Police thwarted an attempt by two Palestinians to smuggle weapons from Jordan to the Judea and Samaria Region. A rubber-inflated boat carrying ten AK-47s, ten magazines and approximately 300 matching bullets along with the Palestinian suspects, was apprehended by the IDF and Police in the Dead Sea.

The two Palestinians on-board will be questioned by Israeli security forces.


The Israeli Defense Forces' Ordnance Corps is a combat-support corps, responsible for the development and maintaining of the equipment needed by other forces within the Israel Defense Force to complete their missions. 
These include restoring and adding new defenses to armored vehicles and providing spare parts for vehicles and machinery.


Kfir Brigade is the youngest Infantry Corps brigade in the Israel Defense Forces.

Recruits are trained in chemical warfare, urban combat, advanced weaponry and fighting from armored vehicles. The brigade's specializes in high profile counter-terror operations, arrests of terrorists, patrols, manning checkpoints and regular security activities.

Arab Arson Nearly Hits Jewish Community

Just before the start of Shabbat, Arabs started a fire which came dangerously close to the homes of the community of Givat Ronen.

Arabs from Burin, encouraged and supported by extreme left-wing activists, started a huge fire near Burin on Friday.

The Shomron Regional Council reported that the fire spread up a nearby mountain and came dangerously close to the homes of the nearby community of Givat Ronen.

Firefighters who were called to put out the fire were pelted with stones, causing one of them injuries to his face, said the Council.

The attackers only retreated when IDF soldiers arrived on the scene and fired warning shots into the air.

The Shomron Regional Council also reported that Givat Ronen’s water pipe was burned in the fire, causing the community’s water supply to be cut off. As the fire was started close to the start of the Sabbath, a quick solution had to be found to ensure that the residents would have water during Shabbat.

Givat Ronen’s residents often find themselves under attack by Arabs. In May, the community was invaded by Arabs on the Sabbath, but the residents had nothing to defend themselves with but a handful of stones.

In April, the residents successfully beat back an attack on their community by Palestinian Authority Arabs.

Shomron Mayor Gershon Mesika said in response to the fire on Friday, “This is the third time in the past two weeks that Arabs and radical left-wing have rioted in the area between the village of Burin and Givat Ronen and started a huge fire. The same thing happened last summer.

“I call on the law enforcement and security authorities to arrest the rioters and immediately stop this nationalist violence.”

Israel, US Plan Joint Anti-Missile Exercise

Israel and the US will execute the "Juniper Cobra" anti-missile exercise in 2012 in the event of an Iran strike.

As Iran doggedly pursues nuclear capability, Israel and the United States plan to hold a joint large scale missile defense exercise next year to improve operational coordination of their defense systems.

Both the Arrow 2 and Iron Dome missile defense systems, and America's THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), as well as the ship based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System will take part in the exercise where actual launching interceptors will be used.To facilitate the "Juniper Cobra," exercise Air Force commander in the EUCOM Gen. Mark Welsh visited Israel for talks with Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan.Officials said the exercise scheduled to take place in early 2012 will be one of the most extensive and complex drills ever conducted.The aim of the exercise is to create the necessary infrastructureand interoperability between Israeli and American missile defense systems in the event the US government decides to deploy these systems in Israel pursuant to a conflict with Iran.

Horray for PALLYWOOD!

"An Oldie but Goodie!

The Arabs fake a funeral procession to bring heat on Israel.

This is who Israel is up against, a pack of deceitful aggressors, who manipulate the ignorant." 

Report: Israeli Jet Fighters in Qatar

Israeli-Qatari relations warming up? Hizbullah television says IAF fighter jets landed in Qatar.

Fighter jets belonging to the Israeli Air Force landed last weekend in military bases in Qatar, Hizbullah’s Al Manar television network reported on Friday.

The report, which was attributed to “informed sources,” has not been confirmed elsewhere. According to Al Manar, the sources pointed out that this is “a most dangerous development and one which was planned in advance between Qatar and Israel and the United States.”

The Lebanese news network claimed that Qatar and Israel have had close military coordination for a long time and added that “officials from both countries hold meetings to promote relations between the two countries in many fields, be it politically, militarily, or economically.”

Despite being an Arab country, Qatar has tried to brand itself as a peaceful neutral world power.

In recent months, Qatar has been one of the countries that tried to broker a deal to ease Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power. It is also reportedly mediating talks between the Taliban and the United States, as well as between the Taliban and the Karzai government in Afghanistan.

Qatar has also taken what can be seen as bold moves against other Arab countries. These include joining the international allied effort against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and indefinitely closing its embassy in Damascus, after it was attacked by pro-Assad demonstrators.

Dahlan Slams Abbas: He’s a Dictator and a Bully

Muhammad Dahlan and Mahmoud Abbas
After PA officers raid his home, Mohammed Dahlan attacks Abbas in Kuwaiti newspaper.

Former Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Dahlan slammed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday, saying that he is a dictator and a bully.

Voice of Israel radio presented Dahlan’s remarks which he made to a Kuwaiti-based newspaper. According to the report, Dahlan said that Abbas is “trying to establish a dictatorship in a period of post-dictatorships. Those who cannot bend the law according to their liking turn to methods of bullying.”

Dahlan made the comments in the wake of Thursday’s raid by the PA on his Ramallah home.

During the raid, armed police locked Dahlan in a room and confiscated computers, 16 weapons and 12 of his and his bodyguards’ vehicles, including two bullet-proof cars.

Dahlan was the ruling kingpin in Gaza until Hamas overthrew the Fatah faction in a terrorist militia war four years ago. He has built a personal political and financial empire that Abbas sees as threatening to his power.

Dahlan has been banned from Fatah and has even been accused by PA officials of sending Israeli arms to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

A rabid hater of Israel, Dahlan has had his diplomatic privileges revoked by Israel.

He had been living in Damascus and took the chance of coming back to PA-controlled areas one week ago. He has been charged with using government coffers and with bribery and murder to boost his own personal army and fortunes. His trial began behind closed doors this week.

Prime Minister of Slovenia Plants an Olive Tree

"Planting an olive tree is a symbolic gesture that represents our striving for peace as well as the promise that the Jewish people will never again undergo the horrors that it has suffered," said Borut Pahor, the Prime Minister of Slovenia.   

Prime Minister Pahor joined dozens of other international leaders in planting a tree in the Grove of Nations, which is located in Jerusalem beneath Yad Vashem, the memorial site for those who perished in the Holocaust. Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF World Chairman, Evan Sovitz, the Slovenian Ambassador to Israel, and Shmuel Merom, the Israeli Ambassador to Slovenia, took part in the planting ceremony. 

"I am extremely impressed every time I visit this beautiful country," added the Slovenian Prime Minister during the ceremony.  "Visiting Yad Vashem raises the penetrating question of how people can inflict such horrors on others.  The State of Israel is fighting for her right to exist, and Slovenia is extending a helping hand in a desire to build a better world together.   This is our responsibility as well as our obligation."   

Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF World Chairman, remarked that in Jewish tradition planting a tree is a sign of true friendship. "The Grove of Nations is different than any other forest in Israel," explained Stenzler.  "This is the place where heads of state express their identification with the Jewish people and their thoughts of friendship with the State of Israel."   

Stenzler explained to the participants about the extensive activities of KKL-JNF throughout the country such as forestation, the creation of new sources of water, development of infrastructures for communities and agriculture, and the battle against desertification. He called for cooperation in promoting environmental initiatives, and stated that KKL-JNF would gladly take part in any efforts to promote the environment and the friendship between the two countries. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, which was headed by Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF's master of ceremonies, the two ambassadors read the Planters' Prayer.   The Slovenian Prime Minister planted an olive tree with his own hands and watered it.     

When the planting was completed, Prime Minister Pahor turned to Chairman Efi Stenzler and made a request: "Take good care of my tree and make sure that it thrives."   Stenzler promised to do so, and invited him to return and visit the tree to see how it has taken root and how its branches have spread. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Radical Islamists Trying to Take Over Temple Mount

Hizb ut-Tahrir organization rallies thousands on Temple Mount calling for Islamic Caliphate rule.

On the 90th anniversary of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the vast Islamic Caliphate regime which fell in 1921 after WWI, thousands of members of the Radical Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir rallied on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They called for  Muslims to unite and embrace the Caliphate rulership once more.

The rally took place in early July. Demonstrators flew banners bearing inscriptions such as “The Ummah (Muslims) Want Muslim Caliphates.”  A giant banner was put up in the Al Aksa mosque courtyard on the Temple Mount. Other banners said “No to Democracy, Yes to Caliphates". The crowd controller, using a microphone, soon had the crowd chanting over and over, “O Muslim armies, awaken to help Muslims.”

The Hizb ut-Tahrir (‘Party of Liberation’) website calls for the Muslim armies to forcefully lift the Gaza IDF naval blockade with military action,  making it serve “as a tight noose” around Israel.

Caliphates were a totalitarian system of Muslim government established by Mohammed, who made himself the first Caliph, reigning until 632 C.E. The Caliph was a religious and political leader, who made the Koran's prescriptions, now developed into the legal body known as Sharia law, the law of the land. The Ottoman Empire embraced the idea of a caliphate, and was governed this way until its dissolution.

The Islamic Party of Liberation is a radical Islamic group founded in 1953 in East Jerusalem under Jordanian rule. They are active in Judea and Samaria and in Jordan, with most of their power in the southern Hebron mountain region and in East Jerusalem, where the hard core activists pray in the Temple Mount mosques.

The organization has branches spread across the Arab and Islamic world (primarily Central and South-East Asia), with activity in Islamic communities in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia.

The ‘Arab Spring’ upheavals seem to have put fresh wind in the sails of Hizb ut-Tahrir, now rallying and openly demanding Muslim unity under one caliphate government. A similar demonstration was held in Gaza, with more activity in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The leaders of Hizb ut-Tahrir see the new reality in the Middle East as the right time for the caliphate – as well as for the end of the State of Israel.

Lebanese outcry after belly dancer performs with Israelis

Outcry ensues after dancer raises Lebanese, Israeli flags in front of 90,000 at French music festival.

A Lebanese belly dancer has placed herself at the center of a cross-border war of words after performing at a French musical festival with an Israeli metal band, and brandishing the Israeli and Lebanese flags.

Johanna Fakhry, 22, says she can’t return to her homeland following threats from her family and compatriots for appearing on stage with the band Orphaned Land in front of 90,000 fans at the Hellfest festival last month in Clisson, France.

Amateur video of the performance has amassed 20,000 YouTube views over the past month. The clip shows Fakhry wearing traditional garb and waving a Lebanese flag while dancing around lead singer Kobi Farhi as he sings in Hebrew. She then stands next to the singer and helps him raise a significantly larger Israeli flag.

“This is all about peace, my friends,” Farhi tells the crowd as the two performers hold the banners up alongside each other. “We are all brothers and sisters. Now I want to see all of you jumping and party with us, okay?” The crowd responds with cheers and heavy-metal “devil horns” signs, and as the tempo picks up both performers jump up and down holding their flags.

With its mix of heavy metal and Middle Eastern influences, Orphaned Land has amassed a following in the region far beyond the most esteemed Israeli cultural ambassadors. Fans from Turkey, Bahrain and Iran regularly turn up for the band’s concerts in Europe.

“That phenomenon creates a loyal audience that stays with us, and even endangers [the audience’s] own life,” Farhi told The Jerusalem Post. Indeed, several years ago Egyptian authorities sentenced a fan to six months imprisonment for “Satanism” after he was found with an Orphaned Land CD.

The singer said the idea to make a political point onstage had been entirely Fakhry’s.

“This dancer contacted me on Facebook and said she wants to perform with us. Of course we said yes, and then she suggested we wave the Israeli and Lebanese flags,” he recalled. “I told her, ‘We’d love to, but we think it might endanger you, and expose you to a lot of criticism.’ She said, ‘I know.

 Bring the flag – this is my choice, and I want to use my art for the sake of peace.’” With Israel and Lebanon technically at war since 1948, Lebanese law forbids citizens to have contact with Israelis. Fakhry was born to a Muslim family in southern Lebanon, but has lived in France for most of her life and has French citizenship.

“Of course there were many negative responses – that’s not a shock – but to our surprise there were also many, many positive responses,” Farhi said.

He said he received Facebook messages ranging “from calling her a whore who sold the flag to the Mossad, to Lebanese who said they were moved to tears, that we expressed their hopes and dreams that we can all live here in peace.”

Fakhry has refused to recant. A response attributed to the dancer posted by New York-based Israeli blogger Roi Ben-Yehuda said, “I wanted to take this opportunity, so rare in history – witnessing on stage an Israeli group and a Lebanese dancer – to say that beyond the artistic exchange and our collaboration for the love of art, we were willing to make it a symbol of peace.

“And these two flags that we held as high as the fist can rise, transcends all these years of war and suffering. We both experimented, endured the vicissitude of this never-ending war. But we belong to this new generation – those who behold far the horizon, who open the boundaries,” she wrote.

“She can’t go back to Lebanon now,” Farhi said of the singer. “She stands behind her decision, she has no regrets. I’m in touch with her every day, and we’re performing with her once more in France in August. She may even come to Israel,” he said. “Our last names are very similar – she’s Fakhry, and I’m Farhi. The letters got switched at some point,” he added with a chuckle.

Attempts to contact Fakhry went unanswered Thursday, but the day before she told Channel 2 News in a short web interview that her family had barred her from returning to her country of birth.

“People started criticizing me, threatening me, saying they’d kill me – even my family,” she said.

“They’d say things like, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself – never come back to Lebanon.’ But I’m dealing with it, as long as I still have support from people I love.”

That same day, she told the website NOW Lebanon, “As a young child living in Lebanon, I, too, thought of Israel as an enemy, now I consider them friends. We are all one people.

“I want to tell my fellow Lebanese that I am proud of my roots and my country and who I am as a Lebanese. I will always raise the colors of my flag with great pride. Please understand me before you judge me. I don’t regret what I did on stage because my actions were delivering a passionate message of freedom and peace,” she added.

“Blue and White” Flotilla to Support Israel

Jewish youth movements plan to hold a pro-Israel flotilla on August 14. They will support the Israeli Navy and call on Hamas to free Gilad Schalit

The Young Leadership Department of the World Mizrachi Movement and the student organization Yavneh Olami have announced their plans to hold a special flotilla, this time in support of Israel.

The “Blue and White Flotilla,” which is scheduled to sail from Ashkelon to Ashdod on August 14, is aimed at providing a pro-Israeli response to the freedom flotillas that have been sent to Gaza by anti-Israeli organizations.

The organizers of the “Blue and White Flotilla” plan to hold a special ceremony during the flotilla to honor the soldiers of the IDF’s Shayetet 13.

It was the Shayetet 13 soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara during the 2010 flotilla which attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The soldiers were attacked by self-proclaimed 'peace activists' on board the ship, who attempted to lynch them and kidnap them.

Nine members of the lynch-mob were killed when the commandos were forced to open fire to save their imperiled comrades.

Anti-Israel organizations attempted to launch a similar flotilla this year, but it fizzled when the vessels that docked in Greece were refused permission by Hellenic authorities to sail for Gaza. Two were turned back by the coast guard after leaving port without authorization. Flotilla organizers claim two other boats were sabotaged.

The lone ship that did manage to set sail, the Dignite al Karama, was peacefully intercepted by the Navy and was taken to the Ashdod Port.

The organizers of the “Blue and White Flotilla” do not plan to stop at just supporting the Navy, and will also call on the Hamas terror group to release captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was kidnapped in June of 2006 by Hamas terrorists and has been held in Gaza ever since. He has not been allowed visits by the International Red Cross for the entire time, and the organization recently called on Hamas to prove that Shalit is still alive.

“Beyond an expression of solidarity and standing alongside the State of Israel, the goal of the ‘Blue and White Flotilla’ is to rouse young Jews around the world, prepare for and to assist Israel in coping with the challenges it faces in the near future, with the expected announcement of a Palestinian state in the United Nations, and in the face of further anti-Israel flotillas which are expected to arrive in the future,” the organizers said in a statement on Thursday.

“We intend to sail with several yachts and boats from Ashkelon to Ashdod, on Aug, 14, 2011,” they added. “During the journey, we will hold a special ceremony saluting the soldiers of Squadron 13 and the Navy, and call upon the terrorist organization, Hamas, and countries around the world, for the speedy release of Gilad Shalit, who remains in captivity for over five years.

“At the end of the flotilla there will be a special event and concert in Ashdod.”

PA Raids Dahlan’s Home, Locks Him Up in Room

PA police, in a rare show of force, raid the home of Mohammed Dahlan, arch-enemy of Abbas and who faces charges of murder and corruption.

Palestinian Authority, in a rare show of force Thursday morning, raided the Ramallah home of Mohammed Dahlan, arch-enemy of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and who faces charges of murder and corruption.

Armed police locked Dahlan in a room and confiscated computers, 16 weapons and 12 of his and his bodyguards' vehices, including two bullet-proof cars. Dahlan was the ruling kingpin in Gaza until Hamas overthrew the Fatah faction in a terrorist militia war four years ago.

The ability of the police and Palestinian Authority soldiers to overcome Dahlan proved their capability in capturing terrorists, something they generally have not done except to single out rival Hamas terrorists from Hamas - and now Dahlan, rival to Abbas.

Dahlan built a personal political and financial empire that threatened the power of Abbas.

Abbas’ Fatah party last month expelled Dahlan, and a PA court has rejected his appeal to remain in the movement, leaving the final expulsion order up to the Fatah Revolutionary Council, where a two-thirds majority is needed to approve his ouster.

He had been living in Damascus and took the chance of coming back to PA-controlled areas one week ago.

He has been charged with using government coffers and with bribery and murder to boost his own personal army and fortunes. His trial began behind closed doors this week. He is one of Israel's most implacable enemies.

Mr. President: It's Jerusalem, Israel

Dear Friend of Jerusalem,

If you are an American citizen born in Jerusalem, the United States Government will not include Israel as the place of birth on your passport. One Jerusalem is involved in an important effort to end this discrimination against Israel.

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by an American citizen born in Jerusalem. US citizen Menachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem in 2002. The US State Department has refused to list "Jerusalem, Israel" as his place of birth on his passport and would only write "Jerusalem" instead. This is despite the fact that in 2002 Congress instructed the State Department to "record the place of birth as Israel" in passports of American children born in Jerusalem if their parents request it.

The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court not to hear the case. The Supreme Court justices instead not only agreed to hear the case, but also directed the two sides to address the broad question of whether the law "impermissibly infringes the president's power to recognize foreign sovereigns."

This case is especially important at a time when the US President has effectively endorsed the division of Jerusalem in calling for a return to the 1967 lines, while an overwhelming majority of Congress supports defensible borders and a united Jerusalem.

You can help in several ways:

Send a Letter to your Congressman and ask him to support an amicus brief that must be filed by August 5. Sample letter and relevant information can be found HERE.

JOIN other citizens born in Jerusalem, who also want 'Israel' listed on their passports. Join the Born In Jerusalem website HERE.

Allen Roth & David Goder

Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Focusing on the Jewish Revolution that Led to the Destruction of the Second Temple

Israel Video Network

This is the story of the largest to its date revolt in the Roman empire - The Great Revolt of Judea. A legacy of corrupted Roman governors and oppression would result in bloody violence, short timed independence of Judea-Edomea-Adiabene alliance, a civil war and finally destruction of Jerusalem and slaughter of Judean population by the legions. Despite its proportions and estimated 300 thousand victims, it was just the first chapter of Jewish-Roman wars. Even larger events of Quitos War and Bar-Kokhba revolt would shake the Middle East and Mediterranean to the core, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands Jewish and Roman civilians, annihilation of entire Roman legions and Jewish armies with their allies. It would end with the doom of Judea, total destruction of its population, and enslavement of the survivors.

סיפור המרד הגדול הוא אחד הפרקים העצובים של עם ישראל לדורותיו, זהי פרשה של לוחמים יהודים עזי נפש שהצליחו להעיף בהרף עין את האימפריה הרומית מארץ ישראל, לכונן בריתות עם ממלכות באזור ולהשמיד את הצבא הרומי שהגיע מסוריה, לכונן משטר דמוקרטי ולהכריז עצמאות. אך זהו גם סיפור הכשלון באיחוד השורות, פילוג בעם, כתות קיצוניות, מלחמת אזרחים עקובה מדם, רציחה של מנהיגים שהיו מראשי המרד, וכתוצאה מפלה וחורבן. ללא הבנת העבר אין לנו את הזכות לבנות את העתיד, ולכן התובנה היא ברורה מכל - מלחמת אחים מובילה לאבדון.

Curb Your Enthusiasm - "Palestinian" Chicken Place

Larry and Jeff check out the new "Palestinian" chicken place in town

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kassam Rocket Lands South of Ashkelon

Terrorists fired a Kassam rocket from the Gaza region at southern Israel early Thursday morning.

The rocket landed in an open area south of the city of Ashkelon. There were no physical injuries or damage. The "red alert" siren was heard in the area just before the rocket fell.

This is the first rocket that has been launched at Israel since last week. Last Tuesday evening, a Kassam rocket fired from the Gaza region landed in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. There were no injuries or damage.

In response, an IAF aircraft targeted a terror activity site in the northern Gaza Strip and scored a direct hit against it, the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.

“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will respond with determination to any attempt to use terror against the State of Israel,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s statement. “The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

In the past few weeks, there has been a ‘quiet war’ in Gaza, with terrorists firing rockets at southern Israel nearly every day and the IDF responding by attacking terror targets in the Strip.