Wednesday, July 19, 2017

19-Jul-17: The Al-Aqsa factor: Rats, snakes and chickens

Jerusalem: Al Aqsa, Old City walls and new Jerusalem [Image Source: AP]
The police helicopter flying over our home as we type this is a reminder of where the attention of the security services here in Jerusalem is focused tonight.

We're in the middle of another official Palestinian Arab temper tantrum. They call it something else, of course. And while foreign news media are paying scant attention, the reality on the ground here as well as throughout Israeli and Jewish news media is heavy enough to cause a rising sense of anxiety about where the Palestinian Arabs are going to take this.

Here's what we knew last night:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party called for a “day of rage” to take place in eastern Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories on Wednesday.
Additionally, Fatah’s military branch, Tanzim, determined that Friday prayers this week would be conducted in Palestinian public squares, and that sermons would be devoted to supporting the Al-Aqsa Mosque and protesting Israel’s bolstered security at the Temple Mount. The calls follow clashes that broke out in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday when Muslim worshipers blocked a road in protest of new metal detectors placed by Israel at the entrance gates to the Temple Mount, three days after Arab terrorists killed two Israeli police officers near the flashpoint holy site. The protest was prompted by the Islamic Waqf, which together with other Muslim groups issued a statement calling on Muslims “to reject and boycott all the Israeli aggression measures, including changing the historical status quo including imposing the metal detectors.” ["Fatah Incites ‘Day of Rage’ in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories" | Algemeiner/JNS.org | July 18, 2017]
Image Source
From the same source, reports during the day today speak of serious disturbances and a rising drumbeat of officially-instigated Arab-on-Israeli violence:
Clashes erupted between Muslim rioters and Israeli police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday for the fourth consecutive day. Around 200 protesters convened near the Old City’s Lions’ Gate and performed Islamic prayers to protest the bolstered security implemented at the Temple Mount following last Friday’s terror attack that killed two Israeli police officers near the holy site.
Several of the protesters began shouting chants in support of the Temple Mount complex’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, and were asked by police to leave the area. When one of the protesters refused to comply with the police order, several other protesters began rioting and throwing water bottles at the officers. The police responded by implementing crowd control measures and arresting the man who defied the police order.
Wednesday’s protests came after Muslim rioters clashed with police in the Old City Tuesday night, after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party called for a “day of rage” to take place in eastern Jerusalem and the disputed territories. Riots also broke out in Jerusalem’s Old City Sunday when Muslim worshipers blocked...["Riots Continue in Jerusalem Amid Heightened Temple Mount Tensions", Algemeiner/JNS.org | July 19, 2017]
It's not hard for an observant bystander to detect just how calculated the whipping up of the current violence actually is. The larger challenge is in seeing how this is part of a much longer narrative - an effort over generations to depict the Arabs, then later the Palestinian Arabs, and the Islamic world in general, as being under attack by Israel and the Jews.

We tweeted earlier today about the importance of looking at history and understanding the deep old roots of this week's violence. It may have been triggered by three similarly-named, murder-minded clansmen - all Mohammeds from the Jabarin clan - traveling up to Jerusalem on Friday to have themselves a shooting attack. But it started a lot earlier:


Making that point more concisely is one specific caricature - this one:

Evidently posted by Fatah during 2014 and still online here
The website hosting it is an official one: the "Fatah Information and Culture" website and snapshotted for an analytical piece [here] on November 16, 2014 by Israel's Foreign Ministry. Fatah is headed by the president-for-life of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. That's his portrait next to his predecessor's in the screen-shot's top-left corner.

Many will see the drawing as a revolting piece of bigotry but it's more than that: Their sacred Al Aqsa under attack by ravenous, insatiable rats. Jewish rats. It's the work of a noted Palestinian Arab cartoonist, Mousa Ajoa whose bio emphasizes that he holds a BA in history (yes!). His work and career are profiled here on the Arab Cartoon Award website. He's a celebrity.

But the malevolence runs deep. The fact it's still online three years later indicates this cartoon touches a responsive, angry and - above all - useful spot in the Palestinian Arab psyche. (If they do take it down for some reason, we took the precaution of perma-archiving it here for future reference.)

Cartoons have a unique way of being the fuel for fires that ignite passions, violence and wars: this archive illustrates the point.

We're indebted to Gregg Mashberg (@gregg_mashberg) for alerting us to the existence of this hideous piece of agit-prop. Gregg downloaded the screenshot himself from the Fatah site in November 2014 and noted that, in his words, "It covers all the bases":
  • Published by Fatah, not Hamas
  • With the “moderate” Abu Mazen’s face on it side-by-side with that of the ultimate Palestinian hero
  • Depicts Jews as rats, as vermin, clearly marked with Stars of David for ease of identification as they swarm around, gnawing hungily away at the religious site's foundations
  • And, by the way, what is it that people do with vermin?
  • Particularly with vermin eating away at your key religious symbol?
  • This is Fatah and its leader Mahmoud Abbas calling for an “exterminator” to stop the Jews from destroying the Muslim shrine.
Not fake news - just ask the editors [Source: Al Jazeera]

(There's Palestinian Media Watch commentary on it here.)

Given what’s happening now - along with the reality that a picture often is worth 1,000 loud and vicious words – the conscious, systematic resort to inflammatory messaging and imagery like this is not an encouraging sign.

That's especially true given the long history that Al Aqsa's so-called "defenders" have of warning it's about to be defiled or destroyed or worse.

On that point, we recommend reading Nadav Shragai's comprehensive review of a century of "Al Aqsa is in danger" lies, libels and incitement to murder. It's online and downloadable from the JCPA site. It will help many readers get a better understanding of the scurrilous process that lies behind Al Jazeera's signature articles blaming Israel and warning against Israeli plots. When confronted with malicious witch-hunts and lethal journalism, as we all are at this moment, being equipped with facts and factual analysis can be its own reward.

Interestingly, we see, and you might have noticed, the absence of foreign leaders and leading figures in the peace-making movement and analysts of complicated world situations who are turning to Palestinian Arab civic and religious leaders with appeals to tone down the fury and rage. In other words, for a more proportionate response.

You might imagine that at least some of those personages - who in the past decried what they termed Israel’s indiscriminate,” heavy-handed and intentional measures - might have had something equally helpful to offer Abbas and his raging cronies.

Evidently not.

Perhaps they have learned not to mix in when the subject is, you know, about religion and sensitive stuff. Or perhaps there's a current shortage of courage and backbone?

Monday, July 17, 2017

17-Jul-17: Two images: Do the things that offend people say something about them?

Two photos here.

The first represents a cause around which large swathes of Palestinian Arabs and citizens of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, including most of the members of its parliament, have rallied.

Are those Arab populations offended? They certainly are.


The photo shows new enhanced security devices that were installed on the approaches to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem following Friday's lethal shooting attack by three Arab gunmen from the northern Israeli city of Um Al-Fahm.

They attackers managed to kill two Israeli Border Guard security men, both of them from Israel's Druze minority, who were protecting the Moslem holy sites. Scanning and detecting devices just like these have been used to screen every visitor to the nearby Kotel for years. Those visitors are not all Jews, but it's a site holy to the Jews and Jews are a very large of the crowds that throng the Kotel plaza.

Muslims heading for the Temple Mount have had the privilege of being exempt from security measures like these till now. This change evidently offends them deeply even as it will almost certainly enhance their safety and ours.


The second shows the funeral of the two victims of that shooting attack.

Haiel Sitawe, 30, from Maghar, a mostly Druze and Arab city in northern Israel, who signed up with the Border Police as part of his mandatory national service in 2012 and served in the unit responsible for securing the Temple Mount ever since; and Kamil Shnaan, 22, from Hurfeish, an almost entirely-Druze village also in Israel's north. Sitawe is survived by a wife, Irin, and a three-week-old son, as well as parents and three brothers. Shnaan was to celebrate his engagement party to his girlfriend in a week. He leaves behind parents, a brother and three sisters.

The deaths by shooting of the two men whose self-endangering presence was meant to protect the Al-Aqsa precinct and its worshipers from terrorist attack has aroused no expressions of their honor offended - not from Jordan (see our post from yesterday: "16-Jul-17: The Friday killings: Jordan condemns but pay attention whom") and not in any meaningful way from the Palestinian Arabs.

It's almost as if they want attacks like this to happen.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

16-Jul-17: The Friday killings: Jordan condemns but pay attention whom

Arabiyat
You can take seriously this report in today's Times of Israel if you like: "Jordan king condemns Temple Mount attack in call with Netanyahu". But note that it is barely re-reported outside Israel and the actual language of the Hashemite king's "condemnation" is hard to find.

On the other hand, Petra, the official voice of Jordan's government, still has its condemnation of Israel in the name of its Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Wael Arabiyat. 

 He manages to include
  • "violations committed by the occupation authorities" 
  • "and Jewish extremists against the Al-Aqsa Mosque"
  • "Jordan rejects Israel's closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque" 
  • [which prevents] "worshipers from praying under any circumstances"
In other words, for the Jordanians and their global audience Israel is the real culprit. As for condemning the shooters, if that's on the Petra site, we haven't found it.

It's a traditional game, played for decades by Jordan's kings and recently the subject of our comments here: "11-Jan-15: Does the king need to fly to Paris to stand with terror victims? He can do it better back in Jordan." Read that and you will realize it's easier and safer for the Jordanians to condemn a jihadist attack inside a French kosher food store than on the grounds of one of their holy places which - did you notice? - is formally under their guardianship:
The Hashemite monarchy, descended from the house of the Prophet Mohammed, who in Muslim belief rose to heaven from the Dome of the Rock, is guardian of the city’s Islamic holy places [i.e. Islamic sites in Jerusalem], by tradition and by the 1994 treaty. Any challenge to the religious status quo in the holy city strikes at the heart of Hashemite legitimacy, in Jordan and throughout the Arab world... ["Jerusalem’s holy places are a minefield for Jordan", Financial Times, November 4, 2014]
Obviously it's orders of magnitude easier for Jordan to blame Israel than to bite the bullet of Palestinian Arab and Jordanian (essentially one and the same) adoration of terror, jihad and killing Jews. It's called speaking from both sides of your mouth at the same time - but it's far, far less dangerous to those doing the speaking.

UNESCO is bound to start calling the Hashemite Kingdom to order any minute now.

UPDATE Sunday July 16, 2017 at 940 am: Turns out, thanks to the alert editors at JewishPress.com that Petra, the official voice of the Jordanian regime, did condemn the shooting attack in the middle of last night - and then, for reasons about which we can and absolutely ought to speculate, removed it. It's all here.

Here's the Jewish Press report on the part that briefly condemns the terrorist Palestinian Arab gunmen who desecrated an important Islamic sacred site - and then uncondemns them:
The condemnation did not address the details of the attack, and it did not send condolences to the dead and wounded police officers. Instead, the press release said that King Abdullah of Jordan spoke with Netanyahu about the need for “de-escalation” on the Temple Mount. Abdullah then reiterated his generic “condemnation of the attack in Jerusalem on Friday and the rejection of violence in all its forms, especially in holy sites and places of worship.” And of course, Abdullah then demanded that PM Netanyahu reopen the Temple Mount to Muslim worshipers, and warned Netanyahu 
and so on. A screen shot of the full text is at the JewishPress.com link.

Friday, July 14, 2017

14-Jul-17: In the Jerusalem Old City shadow of one of their more sacred sites, an Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack

Image Source: Al Jazeera
There has been an Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack this morning - the Moslem Sabbath - at a location adjacent to the sacred Temple Mount (in Hebrew: Har Habayit) plaza in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Two Israeli victims are reported to be seriously injured with gunshot wounds and were rushed to Hadassah Medical Center's Mount Scopus hospital for emergency treatment.

A third is injured more lightly as a result of being hit by shrapnel and sustaining wounds to the neck, arms and hands. He is being treated at Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center.

The three are described in a Times of Israel report as men in their 30s. (Past experience says the initial guesses are often wrong.)

Police opened fire on the Arab attackers and they are all now dead.

Police believe the armed gang approached the Temple Mount plaza shortly after 7:00 am today when the Temple Mount area is generally starting to be thronged by participants in the Friday prayers. They ran [as this graphic brief video shows] toward Lions' Gate - Sha'ar Ha'arayot in Hebrew - where they opened fire on the Israelis.

They then fled towards the Temple Mount complex with Israeli police in pursuit.

Video posted in the past hour shows one of the shooters lying on the ground with Israeli police, guns drawn and surrounding him. He suddenly jumps up, takes a flying leap with a knife drawn clearly trying to wound one of the police officers. He is shot before he can complete the stabbing.

The shooters were armed with two Carlo-style (from Carl Gustav) sub-machine guns and a pistol. A knife was also found at the scene. Photos are circulating on the Hebrew-language social media [link] this morning showing three Israeli photo-identification cards, said to prove that the Arab shooters were all the holders of Israeli citizenship or Israeli residential status.

As scenes of attempted carnage go, the Temple Mount is an especially historical and sacred one. (being frank about this, it's hard to ignore how often murderous attacks of a certain kind happen in synagogues, churches, mosques, sacred places and sacred times. Is there a pattern here?)

Lion's Gate is thought to have that name according to one theory because of the image of leopards - mistaken for lions - two on the left and two on the right - embedded in the wall beside the gate itself. (Another version says they are indeed lions.) It marks the start of the 600 meter long Via Dolorosa along which Jesus walked, according to tradition, on the way to his crucifixion. Fifty years ago, it was the entry point through which Israeli paratroops passed during the 1967 Six-Day War and famously unfurled an Israeli flag above the Temple Mount.

Despite its holy and historical nature, Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks do happen in the vicinity and with growing regularity. We have posted on attacks at or very close to Lions' Gate several times in the past 15 months:
Times of Israel says that in the wake of this morning's terrorist attack, Jerusalem Police chief Yoram Halevi canceled prayers for the day on the Temple Mount for the first time in decades, ordering the complex cleared and the entrances to the holy site closed. Police have also placed security checkpoints at the entrances to the Old City.

Aftermath on the Temple Mount this morning [Image Source]
How did the terrorists manage to bring weapons into the holy site? Normal procedure - perhaps to the surprise of people less familiar with how real life is lived here - is that Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount are subjected to less rigorous security checking than non-Muslim visitors, all of whom are obliged by the Israeli authorities to enter via the Mughrabi foot-bridge.

There's bound to be a high-level investigation since the implications of what happened there today are serious and broad.

Don't expect the Palestinian Arab media to be asking the serious questions. They're still totally stuck in their victim-centric reporting-narrative style - the sort of reporting (referring to the Fatah-controlled and scandalous Ma'an News Agency) that produces this opening line today:
Three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers were killed during an armed confrontation in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem early on Friday morning... ["3 Palestinian citizens of Israel, 2 police officers killed in Jerusalem shooting", Ma'an, today]
Armed confrontation?!

Al Jazeerah's man on the spot offers this insightful gem:
"It is reportedly the first time in years that the compound would be closed for prayers on Friday. Of course this has the potential to increase tensions among the about 10,000 Palestinians who normally pray here on Fridays," Fawcett said. ["Jerusalem: Palestinians killed after 'shooting attack'",  Al Jazeera, today]
Tensions?! The sub-machine guns and the knife don't raise the tensions. The critically injured Israelis don't raise the tensions. The cynical abuse of a site they declare to be holy doesn't raise the tensions. The utter silence of the Muslim religious leadership and their systematic, ongoing failure to condemn Arab-on-Israeli terrorist attacks don't raise the tensions.

But decisions by responsible law-and-order authorities, conditioned by long experience to know the nature of the Palestinian Arab mobs and the harm that generally follows (mainly in their own settlements and to their own children) their irresponsible violence - they raise the tensions.

Lethal journalism is what it's called.

UPDATE 12:30 pm Friday July 14, 2017:
Tragically, the two seriously injured Israelis shot by a gang of armed Arab attackers this morning have died of their wounds [Israel National News]. Times of Israel identifies them as two police officers, both from Israel's Druze community: Haiel Sitawe, 30, from Maghar, a mostly Druze and Arab city in northern Israel, who signed up with the Border Guard as part of his mandatory national service in 2012 and served in the unit responsible for securing the Temple Mount ever since; and Kamil Shnaan, 22, from Hurfeish, an almost entirely-Druze village also in Israel's north. Sitawe is survived by a wife, Irin, and a three-week-old son, as well as parents and three brothers. Shnaan was to celebrate his engagement party to his girlfriend in a week. He leaves behind parents, a brother and three sisters. His father, Shachiv Shnaan, served for a time as Knesset member representing, first the Labor party, and later Ehud Barak's short-lived Independence party.

The three dead attackers are all from the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, with a population of more than 50,000 Israel's third-largest Arab community and a center of power for Israel's Islamic Movement whose notorious so-called Northern Branch headed by Raed Sallah was outlawed by Israel in 2016 because of its ties to Hamas and the Moslem Brotherhood. The dead gunman are all called Muhammad Jabarin and all are plainly from the same clan: Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19; and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19. The Jabarin clan's home base is Musherifa, a village in the vicinity of Um-al-Fahm.

UPDATE 3:00 pm Friday July 14, 2017
An updated version of the Ma'an news report on the terror attack calls the two proudly-patriotic Israeli Druze police officers who were the victims of the shooting attack this morning "Palestinian citizens of Israel" whose lives ended "during an armed confrontation":

Source
We fear the intention of the Ma'an editorial spinmeisters was not to bring comfort to the families of the fallen Druze police men.

In similar black-is-white fashion, the savages of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fulsomely praised today's shooting attack with their own public statements. Hamas called the brazen bloodshed at a sacred site "heroic" and a ''natural consequence of a series of crimes''. Not to be outdone in the chase for outlandish similes, Islamic Jihad said the shootings were ''demonstrations of courage by our people against occupying forces that must now beware to cross a red line''.

Whether or not the Israeli side is going to be more cautious about crossing an imaginary Islamist line in the coming days, what's sadly clear (again) is that on a day in which five lives, all of them Arab, were lost in pointless Jerusalem violence, the fat-cats in Gaza are congratulating themselves as they pump the heads of their society's children with self-destructive notions of honor, courage and dying while killing the "occupiers" in the occupiers's own capital city.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

12-Jul-17: Palestinian Arab incitement to terror: hundreds of millions of wasted dollars and what they might have achieved

Here's a very visual and moving response to the issues we raised in yesterday's post "11-Jul-17: Incitement to terror: Sometimes it really is all about the money"


There's an especially clear background article about this we recommend highly: "The Department of Pay-for-Slay | How the Palestinian Authority not only incites terrorist murder—but supports it with U.S. tax dollars" [Feith and Gerber, Commentary Magazine, March 15, 2017]

Every cent of the money wasted on inciting young Palestinian Arabs to more and more acts of terror is money provided as foreign aid by Western governments to the perennially insolvent Mahmoud Abbas regime. This is a morality tale with catastrophic dimensions to it.

And continuing daily.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

11-Jul-17: Incitement to terror: Sometimes it really is all about the money

Taylor Force was murdered by an Arab assailant while he jogged on Tel Aviv's foreshore on March 8, 2016. He was 29 and a student at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. He is pictured here with his sister Kirsten [Image Source]
The US Senate is due to hold hearings tomorrow (Wednesday) on the Taylor Force Act which, if passed, is likely to substantially cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority:
The Taylor Force Act is a legislative bill co-sponsored in the United States Senate in 2016 by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Dan Coats (R-Indiana), and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri). The legislation proposes to stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA changes its laws to cease paying stipends funneled through the Palestinian Authority Martyr's Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists. [Wikipedia]
Palestinian Media Watch - an Israel-based nongovernmental organization and media watchdog group founded in 1996 by Itamar Marcus documents cases of incitement in Palestinian media - yesterday released a transcript (translated from the original Arabic) of an Israeli Police interrogation of a Palestinian Arab terrorist, one Khaled Rajoub, caught after an unsuccessful attempt to murder Israelis.

In the course of Rajoub's interrogation on February 2, 2014, he gave the police a stunningly candid rationalization for his deeds: so that he would be killed by the Israelis and his wife and children would become entitled to monthly payments from the PA's Rewards for Terror scheme.

It's material that ought to get the widest publicity. But, things being what they are, probably will not.

The text extracted below is based on a longer PMW online version ["Interrogation of Palestinian terrorist proves: PA payments motivate terror", Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, July 10, 2017] and an earlier version of that same report here.

Had this Rajoub died in the course of carrying out an Arab-on-Israeli terror attack, the PA would have certified him as a "martyr" (in Arabic: shaheed). His family would have become entitled to a monthly allowance of 2,800 New Israeli Shekels per month based on NIS 1,400 base pay, NIS 400 for the wife (for her life) and NIS 200 for each of the five children (for their lives). It's a good, family-sized salary in their society's terms. It would have brought honour on the head of the dead-ender who made it possible by attacking Israelis.

As PMW has reported, it's not only “martyr” families who receive monthly payments; under PA law, every terrorist prisoner is granted a monthly PA salary while in jail, ranging from 1,400 shekels to NIS 12,000 a month based on the time spent in prison. For Khaled Rajoub, the PA's Rewards for Terror and its financial rewards were all the incentive he needed. The scheme works.
Rajoub to his Israeli interrogators: "I am a man with a family of seven, including me and my wife. I don't work. I have accumulated large debts and am unable to pay them off. I reached a point where, if my son wants a shekel, I have nothing to give him. Therefore I decided to die. It didn't matter how, by hanging, any way, [just] to die. I thought about it and said to myself that if I die by hanging, or any other way, I won't get anything out of it, so I decided to do something serious such as committing murder, something in which I will both kill and die and then my family will get money [meaning from what we call the Palestinian Authority's Rewards for Terror scheme] and will live comfortably. In other words, something will come out of my death. In the end I decided to kill Israeli soldiers. I got in a car and drove to Al-Fawwar, to the junction because there's always a military post there, and I said [to myself] that I'll run [the soldiers] over in my car and kill as many as I can and they'll shoot me and kill me. However, I didn't find a military post in Al-Fawwar. I continued to drive to a second post, to the gate of [the Israeli community of Beit] Hagai because I know there are always soldiers standing there... I did not find [any soldiers] there either. I had no other hope or way, so I broke through the gate of the settlement [meaning Beit Haggai]... I broke in with my car and smashed it and rammed into the second gate. But I couldn't smash it and the guards were behind the second gate. I tried to smash it in order to bring it down on them but it didn't come down and they didn't shoot me, but captured me instead. I was injured during the incident and they took me to a hospital..."
Interrogator: "Do you have a gun?"

Rajoub to his Israeli interrogators: "I've never carried [a gun]."

Interrogator: "Did you consider bringing a gun?"

Rajoub to his Israeli interrogators: "I have nothing to eat. How can I buy a gun?" 
Interrogator: "Why did you decide to kill soldiers, and not someone else?"
Rajoub to his Israeli interrogators: "The best is to kill soldiers. That way they have guns and they'll shoot me and kill me. But if I'm not able to kill soldiers, I'll try settlers, guards - in other words any Israeli target - the important thing is that I will die and they will kill me, so that my children will receive a [PA] allowance and live happily."

Interrogator: "What did you want to achieve by killing soldiers or settlers, or any Israeli target?" 
Rajoub to his Israeli interrogators: "So they'd shoot me and I'd die, and my children would receive an allowance."

Interrogator: "Are you still determined to do that?" 
Rajoub to his Israeli interrogators: "Of course, 100%. I'm telling you: if you'll set me free, I'll do it again as soon as possible. I'll bring another car, and I'll run over [soldiers] at the first military post I see. I'll kill as many as possible, and they'll shoot me, and I'll die. There is no other solution... I say to you again - I don't regret what I did, and if I have the opportunity, I'll do it again, and I'll kill soldiers or any Israeli I come across."
Interrogator: "If you have the opportunity to kill soldiers or an Israeli [civilian] in another way - shooting, stabbing, or any other way - will you do it?"

Rajoub to his Israeli interrogators: "I don't know. Something like that requires checking. Why? Because someone like me, small and disabled in his leg - I barely walk - needs a thorough plan to kill in a different way. The easiest way for someone like me is to run over [someone] with a car."
(We're still trying to track down details of the circumstances of the terror attack.)

For what it's worth, let the record show we're strongly in favour of the Taylor Force Act and urge the US Congress to bring it into law as soon as possible. Can there be any doubt, after you read open and candid admissions like Rajoub's, that defunding the PA's Rewards for Terror scheme will save lives - on the Palestinian Arab side as well as on ours?

Are Europe and the UK listening?

Monday, July 10, 2017

10-Jul-17: Outside Tekoah, an Arab-on-Israel vehicle ramming attack followed by a thwarted knifing

Scene of today's vehicle ramming attack [Image Source]
On a fiercely hot July Monday, an IDF soldier of about 20 was today attacked and moderately injured in what the military are calling a suspected car ramming attack outside the West Bank community of Tekoa.

The attack happened at a junction on the road between Tekoa and Ma'ale Amos, a short distance south of the capital. The driver of the vehicle was shot dead by security forces according to a Times of Israel report.

The injured serviceman was treated at the scene by both civilian first responders and military medics. Magen David Adom, the Israeli ambulance service, says the soldier was not struck by the vehicle but instead hurt by a falling street light that hit him it was impact by the attack vehicle. The soldier has injuries to his arms and legs and was broughr to Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek Medical Center for emergency treatment. His condition, initially given as moderate, was lowered to mild at the hospital.

The attacker's knife  [Image Source]
The attacker has not yet been identified. It's reported that immediately after carrying out the ramming, he exited the vehicle and tried to stab a second IDF soldier before being shot. Army medics treated him at the scene but he was soon pronounced dead.

Here's how the Fatah-aligned Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency reports the attack:
An eyewitness told Ma'an that he saw the Palestinian, who was wearing a red shirt, lying motionless on the ground, and claimed that he saw two wounded Israeli soldiers -- one suffering from a serious injury and unable to move, and another with a minor injury. However, the Israeli army spokesperson said just one soldier had been wounded. According to Ma’an documentation, the man, who remained unidentified, became the 37th Palestinian to be killed by an Israeli in 2017. Eight Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time frame.
The Arabic-language report of the same Ma'an organization says the Arab-on-Israeli "alleged" attacker, whom it calls "martyr", is a 25 year old Arab called Mohammed Ibrahim Jibril.

Friday, July 07, 2017

07-Jul-17: Symantec's classification tool now calls our blog a hate site

Silencing unwanted voices in a previous generation [Wikipedia: Nazis burn
books]
[Two updates appear at the foot of this post.]

Elder of Ziyon has just posted an alarming piece [Symantec categorizes numerous pro-Israel blogs as "hate", July 4, 2017] which reports on what appears to be the systematic mis-characterization of certain websites with a pro-Israel orientation as "hate" sites.

This classification means some major Internet Service Providers (who use server-based filtering supplied by Symantec Corporation) will prevent access to those sites, effectively silencing them. The indications till now are that the gag applies principally or only to British ISPs. But it's not hard to see this malicious craziness spreading more widely.

It's a censoring process that has no clear published rules as far as we know. Symantec, the US supplier that provides this service to ISPs, allows for the classification of websites by reference to a long list of categories defined in an on-line document called "URL filtering categories" dated June 8, 2011. You can inspect it online at https://support.symantec.com/en_US/article.HOWTO100317.html But you can't know from there what logic goes into the classification itself.

That Symantec document defines a filtering category called "Hate" as
"Sites that promote hostility against particular individual or group on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, and origin."
If you are defined this way, large numbers of unsuspecting Internet customers of those ISPs will not be able to get access to your site. It's a serious issue.

Yesterday, thanks to a tweet [here] from a British source, we discovered that our blog is now classed by that Symantec filter, and its many ISP and corporate users, as a hate site:

Click for the source tweet (and an archived version)
(We appreciate very much the leg-work and the tip-off which made us aware. His longer analysis is here: http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/blog-by-parents-of-murdered-israeli.html)

Elder of Ziyon mentions several others that have gotten the same treatment: his own Elder of Ziyon site, Israellycool, Israel Matzav and Abu Yehuda. The website of the British gentleman we mentioned above, called Confronting antisemitism and Israel hatred is also ridiculously classed as a hate site.

There are bound to be others.

To be sure, we checked our site's status (using this address: thisongoingwar.blogspot.co.uk, since the problem seems to be focused on the UK) with Symantec's online classifier and confirmed that the report is right: ThisOngoingWar: A Blog is now, in its British address version, indeed classed as a hate site by the Symantec classification commissars:

Screen shot of Symantec's online classification tool [here] and the result we got: "Hate, English"
We clicked the "submit" button to request what Symantec calls a "review" and we're waiting for that dark process to run its course.

We plan to dig further to try to understand how easily a malicious individual ("lone wolf") or organized gang of haters ("cognitive warriors") can have voices unfriendly to their viewpoints silenced and essentially removed from public discourse.

From what we see so far, it's chillingly easy.

Is the gagging of our site connected to our recent efforts to have Twitter shut down the account of an undoubted hater/bigot, the murderer of our daughter, as we wrote here ["25-Jun-17: A voice of lethal, bigoted hatred is silenced... for a while"] a few days ago? We might find out. Stay tuned.

UPDATE 10:45 am July 7, 2017: A few additional insights to share.
  1. We Googled for lists of self-avowed hate sites, antisemitic sites and Holocaust-denial sites. (Sadly, they're not hard to find.) We fed those names into the Symantec tool and roughly half of them came up classified as "hate". The other half from Symantec's stand-point are fine. (Interested to know which hate sites we found that Symantec approves? Glad to answer you by email.)
  2. Symantec comes up with a "hate" label for the British URL of our blog, meaning thisongoingwar.blogspot.co.uk, every time we checked this morning. However if you enter the same site via its US or Australian or German or any non-UK version of its address (again, the very same site but via a slightly different Blogspot URL), Symantec classifies it as "Dynamic Site" and/or "Blogging, English". If the stakes weren't so high - and they surely are - this would be funny.
  3. The only thing for which we express hate in our blog is terrorism and those who do it. So we're not at all interested in a discussion about "well, maybe you really are hateful". We're not and the blog is not. Which leads us to say, with all the respect and understanding we have for complex technological challenges and algorithm-based solutions - after a long career managing serious tech companies on three continents - that if we held stock in Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC), we would certainly be wondering about the quality of its technology and be thinking about calling our broker right about now. 
UPDATE 10:15 am July 11, 2017: With no word of explanation, apology or notification to us of any sort from them, we have just discovered - by going online and once checking once again via Symantec's online classification tool [here] - that the site you are currently reading is now re-classified by Symantec. It's no longer a "hate" site. (Of course, it never was a hate site at any stage.)


Our treatment at the hands of this major public company with a global reputation has been shabby and unacceptable. We intend to learn more about what goes on under their sheets.

UPDATE 10:00 pm July 17, 2017: Not one word from anyone at Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ SYMC) - not before they called us a "hate" site; not during; and not after they removed the classification and disappeared. Does this say something about how their management runs the company? Possibly.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

05-Jul-17: At a security checkpoint near Jerusalem, alert personnel thwart terror attack

The gang members meditate on their actions
in Israeli custody after the intercept
[Image Source: Social Media]
People who like the idea that terrorist attacks against Israelis have receded into the past are advised to stop reading now and go to another page:
Terror attack in Jerusalem foiled | Border police arrest 6 suspects attempting to enter Jerusalem with explosives and knives | Border police units and police arrest 6 suspects in a vehicle at the Mizmorah crossing, one of the crossings in the outskirts of Jerusalem. The suspects from Nablus attempted to make their way into Jerusalem and were stopped at the crossing before entering. The vehicle was searched and a bag was found containing knives, stun grenades and Molotov cocktails, including flammable materials. The crossing was closed and a bomb disposal expert was called in the area to secure the scene. All of the suspects were transferred to the Border Police units for questioning. The units prevented an attack from taking place and police and border police operations continue in all areas. ["Terror attack in Jerusalem foiled", Israel National News, July 4, 2017]
(We would spell the name of the checkpoint Mizmoriah - מחסום מזמוריה. It's adjacent to the thriving Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Homa on Jerusalem's south side.)

Thank goodness for Israel's security checkpoints and alert security personnel.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

04-Jul-17: Guess whose forgiveness Qatar is seeking for its latest steps on Islamist terror

Al-Arouri
Given
  1. how widely Qatar's captive, fabulously-well-funded Aljazeera satellite news channels are watched, how massively influential they are on public opinion in places that get very little uncontrolled access to news and views and how extraordinarily well-resourced they are (with "more than 4,000 staff around the world" and 70 globally-dispersed bureaux - only the monstrously large and powerful BBC has more)
  2. the utter hideousness of Hamas' terror-centric actions, ideology, history, views, plans and ethics; and
  3. that Qatar is soon - unless stopped - going to be the host of the world's most watched sporting tournament, the 2022 FIFA World Cup
it's a shame the news report below is getting so little coverage.

But first a little background:
One week after hosting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Qatar will be hosting a conference by Hamas. Is there a better symbol of Qatar’s two-faced foreign policy?
Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is officially designated as a terrorist group by the United States, the Europe Union, Canada and Israel. Its human-rights abuses have been condemned by by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. It earned its "terrorist" title the old-fashioned way, through decades of killings and kidnappings. Hamas has rained rockets into Israel, causing death and destruction, since 2001. Its shower of Fajr-5 and other rockets have struck Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. Hamas deploys suicide-bombers who kill Americans visiting Israel, as well as our Israeli allies. Its 15-member governing body, which it calls without irony its politburo, has been based in Qatar since 2012.
Likewise, Qatar’s support for terrorist groups, like Hamas, is not in doubt. Hamas’ head lives in a hotel in Qatar’s capital, where he moves about freely. Qatar’s sheikhs have poured billions in the Brotherhood and its offshoots, including Hamas, over the years, according the U.S and EU reports. What's more, the Qataris don't deny their support for Hamas... ["Why Is Our Ally Qatar Hosting Terrorists Like Hamas?", Richard Miniter in Forbes Magazine, April 28, 2017]
Doha, Qatar [Image Source]
Now the news.

According to Times of Israel, which focuses sharply on Qatar and Hamas and thank goodness for that,
One of the most wanted Palestinian terrorists, believed by Israeli intelligence to have planned the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in the summer of 2014, has moved to Lebanon after being expelled last month from Qatar.
Lebanese terror group Hezbollah is hosting Saleh al-Arouri in its Dahieh stronghold in southern Beirut, Channel 2 news reported Monday. Citing unnamed Palestinian sources, the television station said that Arouri and two other senior Hamas figures have relocated to the Hezbollah-dominated neighborhood in the Lebanese capital, an area heavily protected with checkpoints on every access road...
On June 4, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt decided to cut ties with Qatar and force it out of an Arab coalition fighting in Yemen, claiming that it supported Iran and Islamist terrorism. Yemen joined the boycott a day later...
On June 5, Palestinian sources confirmed that Qatar — which is embroiled in a boycott by Saudi Arabia and four other Arab states — had asked several top Hamas officials to leave for Lebanon, Turkey and Malaysia...
In its report Monday, Channel 2 said that Arouri may have chosen Beirut because the list of countries willing to host him are now limited and he fears Israel may try to exact revenge for the murder of the teenagers...
The list of Hamas officials Qatar has asked to leave its territory — reportedly gleaned from interrogations of Palestinian security prisoners in Israel — included Arouri, who is said to be the group’s military commander in the West Bank and the founder of the West Bank branch of its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...
Israeli intelligence officials believe that Arouri helped plan the June 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens — Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel. That event was followed by a sharp crackdown on Hamas operatives in the West Bank by Israel, to which Hamas responded with heavy rocket fire. The rocket fire was answered, in turn, by Israel’s launching of a major operation against Gaza, which turned into all-out war between Hamas and the Jewish state during that summer...
Qatari officials have reportedly apologized for having to expel Hamas officials, but said it came as a result of “external pressures.”
["Top Hamas commander, booted from Qatar, said hiding with Hezbollah", Times of Israel, July 3, 2017]
Those last words highlighted in yellow-marker are enraging.

Qatar, a family-owned business operation camouflaged as a country, expects to be - and for the most part is - treated as a regular sovereign entity. Its royalty is received as your average noble rulers. But the bottom-line reality is that Qatar operates just like a thuggish Mob family and its Mafia culture does. Their principal allegiance is to fellow thugs. Do the appropriate people in the White House, the Department of Defense, the State Department comprehend this?

As for Arouri, we have had reason to bring him into our commentary numerous times in the past few years. For instance
The man is a monster.

And the aristocratic nobility - a key American strategic ally - have just begged forgiveness for having moved him along to another safe haven. They must be praying hard that their beloved comrades in Hamas don't hold a grudge.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

02-Jul-17: PA, vowing it will never, ever cut Rewards for Terror payments, is cutting hundreds of them

Image Source
The Palestinian Arab Rewards for Terror landscape is suddenly going through some changes.

That's not the official name of the long-running Palestinian Authority payments scheme that provides lifetime cash rewards and meaningless, well-paying jobs for convicted terrorists. But in the interests of calling a spade a spade it's how we have referred to it for years. (Others call it Pay-to-Slay which captures the nuance of this ugliness well.)

Some background from a June 16, 2017 on-line paper published by Middle East Media Research Institute [link]
Since its establishment, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been paying allowances to Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli prisons, both past and present, as well as to the wounded and to the families of individuals "martyred," including in carrying out attacks against Israelis... The allowances paid by the PA to incarcerated and released prisoners and to the families of "martyrs" were described in detail by MEMRI president Yigal Carmon in a July 6, 2016 testimony to the U.S. Congress (See MEMRI Daily Brief No. 97, MEMRI President Yigal Carmon's Testimony To House Committee On Foreign Affairs, July 6, 2016: Palestinian Authority Support For Imprisoned, Released, And Wounded Terrorists And Families Of 'Martyrs,' July 6, 2016)... The support for the prisoners is mainly anchored in two laws from 2004, Law No. 14 and Law No. 19, and in a 2013 amendment to the latter law... The laws and amendment stipulate that the PA must provide the prisoners with financial support and with education for them and their children, and that upon their release it must see to their rehabilitation and employ them in PA institutions. The laws grant the prisoners a series of benefits, including exemption from various fees for education, professional training and healthcare, as well as a monthly allowance during their incarceration, as well as a clothing allowance. The laws state further that, in case of released prisoners employed as PA civil servants, the years spent in prison are to be calculated as part of their tenure...
Both the Trump administration and Israel have been making increasingly urgent calls in recent months for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority's president-for-life, to stop the program.

The raucous Palestinian Arab responses have not been slow in coming. They keep hammering away on the same well-known themes: the payments "are not going to be stopped"; supporting the "prisoners" and the "martyrs" amounts to a "national duty that cannot be compromised"; they are "a red line", a "fundamental principle"; the mere raising of the issue is "U.S.-Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the PA". And in the words of an especially odious "senior foreign policy adviser" to Abbas, anyone who expects the Palestinian leadership to halt payments to Palestinian prisoners serving sentences in Israeli security prisons must be "mad".

Whatever.

In the meantime, as a report ["PA cuts salaries to Hamas prisoners"] published by the Al-Monitor site on June 23, 2017 explains, payments to certain parts of the Palestinian Arab jihadist ranks have indeed stopped. Quoting
Hamas leader Abdel Rahman Shedid, himself a former prisoner who was exiled to the Gaza Strip and currently serves as the head of the prisoners’ media bureau in Gaza...
it turns out the salaries of some
277 prisoners released in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal and affiliated with Hamas... were cut off by the Palestinian Authority (PA) without specifying why. Although this decision was not officially announced by the PA, it was implemented in early June [2017]. He told Al-Monitor that the decision will negatively affect former prisoners because many of them have no alternative sources of livelihood, especially those exiled abroad, while others are sick and depend on the salary in order to secure the cost of treatment, describing the decision as “unpatriotic and immoral.” Shedid, whose salary has also been cut off, said he was informed by PA officials, which he refused to name, that the salaries of the 277 former Hamas prisoners released as part of the 2011 swap deal were cut off... [Al Monitor]
Is this due to Israeli pressure? Or US persuasion? Perish the thought!
The decision to stop paying the 277 former prisoners falls within the context of the Palestinian division (Fatah-Hamas) and comes as part of the PA’s pressure on Hamas to cede power in Gaza to the consensus government. Issa Qaraqe, the chairman of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs (formerly the Ministry of Prisoners), told Al-Monitor, “The PA is still paying the stipends of the families of prisoners and martyrs and will continue to do so. This issue is considered a red line.” As for the salaries of the 277 former prisoners that were cut off, Qaraqe said, “This decision was taken by the PA amid the ongoing dispute with Hamas. The decision is part of the [PA’s] pressure on the movement and has nothing to do with the United States and Israel calling on the PA to stop paying the Palestinian prisoners [currently in Israeli jails]...” Meanwhile, the PA has yet to comment or explain the decision it took.... [Al Monitor]
While the Abbas people stay firmly non-committal, their official "government spokesperson", Yusuf al-Mahmoud, gave Al-Monitor some insight into the mutual backstabbing that is a constant feature of Palestinian Arab politics:
“I'm not sure how accurate this is, and that's why I cannot comment on the issue because no official decision was issued. But the government would never take any action that does not serve the interests of the Palestinian citizens and prisoners.” He explained that the government’s general stance would always take into consideration the people’s best interest... In addition to cutting off the salaries of former prisoners on June 1, the government cut off the salaries of nine members of the Fatah bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) who were dismissed from the movement for having “other allegiances,” in reference to dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan... [Al Monitor]
Reduced circumstances? Mass murderer and FBI fugitive Ahlam Tamimi
It's pleasing to note that one of the unrepentant thugs whose Rewards for Terror payments have been stopped for now is the barbarian, currently sought by the FBI for masterminding the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria, who murdered our daughter.

This Arabic media report [link] appears to have gotten little or no coverage in any language but indicates, according to our indispensable Arabic-language helpers, that the cashflow which has underpinned Ahlam Tamimi's very comfortable lifestyle in the Jordanian capital Amman for the past five and a half years (click to view some video of her living room) has just been substantially downgraded. She has been cut out of the Rewards for Terror. (She's closely aligned with Hamas. Is that why? We're digging.)

But there's no need to be passing the hat for this loathsome and thoroughly remorseless murderer of Jewish children so quickly. We're told by reliable sources she continues to be well-taken-care-of - and funded - by Jordan's powerful and resurgent Muslim Brotherhood. This must be a great comfort to her and her circle as they fight to frustrate the efforts of the United States Department of Justice to have her extradited to stand trial in a Federal court in Washington.

On the other hand, this can't have been the happiest of weeks what with a downgrading of her credit rating and her Twitter account having been shut down (for the second time) just a few days ago ["25-Jun-17: A voice of lethal, bigoted hatred is silenced... for a while"].

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

28-Jun-17: The obscene ordinariness of another woman with a knife at an Israeli checkpoint

Image Source
Reported this afternoon (Wednesday):
A Palestinian woman is caught with a knife at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. According to reports, the 36-year-old tells security forces that she planned to carry out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem. The suspect is taken in for questioning. [Times of Israel, June 28, 2017]
Ynet adds the detail in its report [here] that the would-be assailant was apprehended somewhere close to the ancient Tomb of Rachel. And in the Hebrew social media, this report says the woman is from Yatta, a large and troubled town with a population of about 65,000. It was in the news last year ["09-Jun-16: The Tel Aviv killings: Hamas claims credit but Fatah/PA demands some of the glory too"] in connection with the murderous activities of two of its young residents, and their ties to Hamas.

In the social media, there's a photo of the knife in her possession - the one she says she intended to use in this thwarted Arab-on-Israeli attack. We copied it above.

Among Israelis, it's commonly thought that a significant number of the families and clans of Yatta - in common with several other notable cities and towns in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority - have Jewish origins. Yatta was a noted Jewish settlement, described as such in documents dating back to the 5th century.

There's something about today's Palestinian Arab culture that not only makes it an ordinary detail of the daily news that a woman was found carrying a lethal knife but that she readily (as far as we can tell) confessed.

Could the PA's notorious Rewards for Terror financial program have any connection to this depravity?

28-Jun-17: In Australia, a campaign to press Jordan to extradite Malki's killer


Kudos to Australian parliamentarian Michael Danby MP who created and published the advertisement above, calling on Australia's political leadership to pressure the Jordanians to extradite our daughter's killer. As an awareness building campaign, we hope it gets plenty of support. The half-page ad appears prominently in today's edition of The Australian, an influential daily, on page 4.

We have written frequently about the search for justice for our murdered daughter. We got into higher gear in the wake of the announcement of US Federal criminal charges against the murderer, Ahlam Tamimi, which were unveiled in March. (See "14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and extradition is sought")

Jordan has had an extradition treaty with the United States since 1995, and the US, which has no doubt the treaty is in effect, has called for Jordan to extradite Tamimi. Jordan refuses: see "28-Mar-17: Terror, justice and the Hashemite king of Jordan". For the moment, and presumably for reasons of High Statesmanship, the US is being passive. We're in touch with two of its government departments to try to ensure they don't forget us or this painful and offensive issue.

Here's the message that Danby's office mailed out yesterday with the ad:
Malki Roth was a dual Australian-US citizen when she was murdered by the Hamas terrorist Ahlam Al-Tamimi in Jerusalem in 2002. You will know I have strongly advocated for her father Arnold and mother Frimet and their campaign to achieve justice for their daughter. We all understand the fight against terrorism is indivisible. By catching and punishing a monster like Al-Tamimi who lives freely in Jordan we are also acting against the threat to innocent lives everywhere. 
These powerful advertisements are designed to pressure the Turnbull Government to support the new 2017 FBI warrant for Al-Tamimi’s arrest. The United States has a current extradition treaty with Jordan and the Jordanians have previously extradited to the United States. Prime Minister Turnbull has now indicated that he will get the Australian embassy in Jordan to “assess the situation”. He, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and Attorney General George Brandis should do more than that. They should challenge the Jordanian Government to agree to the American request; extradite a convicted terrorist Ahlam Al-Tamimi to the United States achieving some kind of justice for Malki Roth z'l' 
It offers these follow-up contact points:
If you have friends and contacts in Australia, we hope you will encourage them to give us their support.

And if you have friends and contacts in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, ask them if they know the name Eyad Ismoil [background here - hat-tip to Daled Amos]. They should. But we have already learned about at least one very high-ranking public official (we're being cautious about giving away too much at this stage) in the Hashemite Kingdom who claims never to have heard of him or the important and relevant issue he represents. We must change that.

Finally, if the face on the left of the ad is not familiar to you, here's some background: "Malcolm Turnbull expects Australia will extradite Islamic State terrorist Neil Prakash".