Monday, May 30, 2016

WHO condemnation of Israel based on blatant PA lies - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

Investigation reveals singling out of Israel as only 'human rights violator' was based on PA report full of spurious claims, faked photos.

The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Health submitted a report that was used in formulating the UN World Health Organization's (WHO) discriminatory resolution last week, which singled out Israel as the world's only "health rights violator."

That report included numerous claims and photographs negatively portraying Israel. There's just one problem - many of the pictures were blatantly faked in an overt distortion of reality, and many of the unfounded claims were patently false.

CAMERA blog on Sunday revealed some of the contents of the PA report that informed WHO's decision.

For example, the PA report claims Israel is "holding prisoners in polluted areas, such as in the vicinity of the Dimona reactor or near areas in which waste from that reactor has been buried." 

It also alleges: "In April 2013 the Russian newspaper Pravda accused Israel of injecting a number of Palestinian prisoners who were approaching their release date with cancer-causing viruses. Despite Israel’s rejection of the accusations made by the newspaper, the question remains: is it true that Israel is injecting prisoners with viruses?"

Another libelous claim is given from a Palestinian doctor, who claimed Israel freezes terrorists' bodies and will only return them if they are buried immediately in a manner that "makes it impossible to ascertain whether the deceased individual’s organs have been stolen."

But it was the picture section where the report truly shone in terms of blatant falsehoods.

On page 30 of the report a picture is presented showing a youth lifted in the air and pulled between a group of religious Jewish youths and Border Police officers. The PA defined the picture as presenting "settlers attacking a Palestinian child while being observed by Israeli occupation forces."

However, blogger Israellycool revealed two years ago when the picture first began to circulate that it is a Getty Images picture from 2009 showing Jewish residents of Havat Gilad in Samaria being evicted - no Palestinian Arabs are at all present in the picture.

Then in its claims regarding 2014 Operation Protective Edge, the Palestinian Ministry of Health dug up a picture allegedly of an Israeli fighter jet performing a bombing run on Gaza, with the caption: "Photograph taken during the Israeli war on Gaza, 2014."

Here too the poorly Photoshopped image is not authentic by any stretch of the imagination. Israellycool exposed it as a hoax back in 2014, when it was taken from a blog illustrating a story on how Israel could potentially strike Iran's nuclear facilities. The PA erased the mountains and a tall building from the illustrative picture to make it look more similar to Gaza.

The report also uses photographs from Lebanon instead of Gaza in making its spurious accusations about Protective Edge, and it also uses a picture from Gaza dating back from 2012, passing it off as being from the most recent war that Hamas initiated.

When the report delves into the current wave of Arab terrorism that has raged since last September it maintains its libelous nature. One picture presents terrorist Yasmin Tamimi as a "girl killed in cold blood."

CAMERA notes that the terrorist is not a "girl," and it is not even clear she died. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights lists her as being 20-years-old and does not claim she was killed. The radical leftist group B'Tselem does not include her in its casualty list either.

Tamimi tried to stab a police officer after her engagement was reportedly called off. She was shot and seriously wounded, but survived and was evacuated for treatment at Jerusalem's Shaare Tzedek Hospital.

Another picture used to ostensibly show wounded terrorists from the current terror wave dates back from at least 2009, according to the blog.

Ari Yashar


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VIDEO - Israel and the Palestinians: What the media won't report - Col. Richard Kemp

by Col. Richard Kemp

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, and an expert on Middle East conflicts, discusses what the Palestinian leadership really wants.

Col. Richard Kemp


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Germany's New "Integration Law" - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

"Regaining control of our borders is an existential issue for our culture and the survival of our society." — Thilo Sarrazin, renowned German central banker and a former member of the Social Democrats.

  • The new law applies only to legitimate asylum seekers, not to the hundreds of thousands of economic migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East who have entered Germany illegally by posing as asylum seekers.
  • Of the more than 1.1 million migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015, only 476,649 have applied for asylum. Many of the rest have gone underground and are sustaining themselves through petty crime and drug dealing.
  • Nearly half (49%) of the migrants in Germany whose asylum applications were rejected during the past two years have not left the country, according to leaked government data.
After months of haggling, Germany's coalition government has agreed on a new "Integration Law" aimed at regulating the rights and responsibilities of asylum seekers in Germany.

The main focus of the law is to encourage refugees to learn enough German to be able to find a job and help pay for their living expenses.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has hailed the new law as a "milestone," and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says it represents a "true paradigm shift in Germany."

Critics counter that the new law is a largely symbolic measure directed at reassuring German voters and blunting the rise of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party.

Details of the Integration Law were announced on May 25 after a two-day government summit in Schloss Meseberg, a castle north of Berlin. Based on the motto "Support and Demand" (Fördern und Fordern), the new law makes the government an active participant in the integration process. Key components of the law include:
  • Integration Courses. Courses on German culture, society and values will be expanded from 60 hours to 100 hours. The number of available slots will be increased from 20,000 to 200,000 nationwide. The courses will be obligatory for all asylum seekers; those who refuse to attend will have their social welfare benefits cut.
  • Language Courses. Asylum seekers will now be allowed to apply for language courses six weeks after arriving in Germany (compared to three months before) and regardless of whether their asylum applications have been processed. All refugees seeking permanent residency must be proficient in German.
  • Work Programs. The government will create 100,000 low-wage jobs paying around one euro an hour. Refugees who refuse to work will have their benefits cut.
  • Labor Laws. Existing labor laws will be relaxed to encourage German companies to hire refugees, even if better qualified German or EU citizens are available for an advertised position.
  • Preventing Ghettoes. The new law will authorize regional governments to determine where refugees will live, either by allocating or banning them from certain areas, for the next three years. The objective is to prevent refugees from settling in migrant ghettoes.
  • Permanent Residency. Refugees who are proficient in German and can provide for their own upkeep in Germany can apply for permanent residency after five years; those with exceptional German skills can do so after three years.

The law has been accompanied by the so-called Meseberger Declaration on Integration, a statement of principles summarizing the government's new integration policy.

Addressing the proliferation of migrant sex crimes in Germany, the document states: "We will not accept assaults on women, children and others in need of protection, whether such attacks are directed against German citizens or against refugees."

Critics say the new law, which must be approved by the German Parliament, which will debate the measure in July, is inadequate to deal with Germany's integration problems.

For a start, the law applies only to legitimate asylum seekers, not to the hundreds of thousands of economic migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East who have entered Germany illegally by posing as asylum seekers.

Of the more than 1.1 million migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015, only 476,649 have applied for asylum, according to official statistics. Many of the rest have gone underground and are sustaining themselves through petty crime and drug dealing. The government has not said how it plans to "integrate" such migrants.

In addition, the government is already facing an acute shortage of instructors to teach the integration courses. It remains unclear where the government will find thousands of new instructors envisioned in the new law. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has admitted: "The bottleneck is not money but the lack of teachers."

Also unclear is who will pay for implementing the new law. According to a recent estimate, the total cost of "integrating" refugees will reach 25 billion euros ($28 billion) in 2016 alone. Leaders of some of Germany's 16 federal states are demanding that the central government assume responsibility for at least half this amount.

Moreover, some critics say the law lacks meaningful punitive measures. Although it does call for cutting welfare benefits to refugees who refuse to learn German, it does not threaten them with deportation. Of course, refugees fleeing warzones cannot be returned to their countries of origin, even if they refuse to learn German.

In any event, Germany is lenient when it comes to deportation. For example, nearly half (49%) of the migrants in Germany whose asylum applications were rejected during the past two years have not left the country, according to government data leaked to Die Welt.

Perhaps most importantly, the new law appears to be based on the assumption that the EU-Turkey migrant deal will hold. If Turkey reopens the floodgates to mass migration, and hundreds of thousands of additional migrants flow into Germany, integration efforts are likely to collapse.

Hans-Peter Uhl of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), said the new law does not go far enough: "Integration is good and important, but placing limits on the number of refugees would be much better."

Stephan Mayer, also of the CSU, added: "Whoever refuses deportation should be sent to a detention center and deported within four days."

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats (SPD) says the Integration Law is actually the precursor to a full-fledged Immigration Law, a claim disputed by Angela Merkel. Gabriel — who has called for airlifting migrants directly from the Middle East to Germany — says he plans to introduce a draft immigration law this fall; critics of the measure say it would encourage yet more migration to Germany.

Thilo Sarrazin, a renowned German central banker and a former member of the Social Democrats (SPD), has been warning Germans for years about the consequences of mass migration. In 2010, he wrote the best-selling book, "Germany Does Away with Itself" (Deutschland schafft sich ab), which shattered Germany's long-standing taboo on discussing the social changes transforming the country due to the presence millions of non-integrated Muslims.

In his latest book, "Wishful Thinking," (Wunschdenken), Sarrazin accuses Merkel of "no longer being concerned about the interests of Germans and the future of their nation, the protection of their living environment (Lebensumfelds) and their cultural identity." He concludes: "Regaining control of our borders is an existential issue for our culture and the survival of our society."

Thilo Sarrazin (left), a renowned German central banker and a former member of the Social Democrats (SPD), accuses Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) of "no longer being concerned about the interests of Germans and the future of their nation, the protection of their living environment and their cultural identity." Sarrazin concludes: "Regaining control of our borders is an existential issue for our culture and the survival of our society."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. His first book, Global Fire, will be out in 2016.


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The October surprise to end all October surprises - Leo L. Algminas

by Leo L. Algminas

The 10,000 or so emails from Hillary's home-brew server in Russian hands, hacked without much difficulty, even without disclosing their content, would sink her candidacy.

There may be more than one surprise in the works this year, given the dismal remaining candidates in the U.S. presidential race.  But the true game-changer could come from an unexpected source: Vlad Putin, the chief mourner of the passing of the Soviet Union.

In Putin's scheme for a world where Russia is again a superpower, there has to be one favorite among the current finalists still in the race.  Deep down, Bernie may well be his soul mate, but Putin knows there is little he can do to move Comrade Bernie up in the delegate count, and he could do considerable harm by openly endorsing him.

He knows Hillary, and the best he can expect from her victory is same-old, same-old – too slow and clumsy to get out of his way in re-establishing Russian dominance of Europe and beyond.  After all, Putin is getting up in years.  Before he replaced Hillary's reset button to work as his toilet-flusher as a reminder of her naiveté, he used it as a map-pointer to shift his troops to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

To Putin, Donald Trump is a surprise and not necessarily the negative buffoon he was expecting.  What is not to like if he will dismantle NATO as promised?  When The Donald learned that Georgia, contentious and an irritant to Putin, borders not Tennessee, but rather the obscure Azerbaijan, he said, to hell with both of them, not my problem!  Best of all, Putin knows he has the key to Hillary's excess baggage.  The question that remains is when to use it.

The 10,000 or so emails from Hillary's home-brew server in Russian hands, hacked without much difficulty, even without disclosing their content, would sink her candidacy.  Making them accessible to independent observers would be proof that she violated security laws and that proof could not be ignored by DOJ.  Indicted or not, even pardoned by Obama, that kind of criminal negligence could not be left hanging anywhere near the White House.

Putin and his cronies know this.  They also know that releasing Hillary's emails too soon would give the Democrats enough time to go to Plan B – namely, Biden.  One term for him with the Cherokee woman as his running mate would do much to unite the Donks and defeat the demoralized GOP in the November election.

Now, if only the media cooperates and shields Herself for a bit longer – long enough for the Dem National Convention to anoint her as their candidate.  By the month of October, Hillary should be slightly in the lead in the opinion polls, and as she starts to list the objects to add to her already extensive personal W.H. souvenir collection, a headline in mid-October in NYT: HILLARY'S HOME SERVER HACKED!  A month later: THE DONALD MOVES HIS INAUGURATION TO TRUMP TOWER.

Leo L. Algminas


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Islamic Discrimination Against Women - Michael Curtis

by Michael Curtis

The British government is to launch a full official independent review of the application of Islamic sharia law in England and Wales, and of the role of Sharia courts and Muslim arbitration tribunals.

If a thing goes without saying it goes even better if it is said. It has long been clear that Islamic Sharia law was incompatible with conventions on human rights regarding the place of women in the legal order and in all spheres of private and public life. Indeed, the European Court of Human Rights in a decision of July 31, 2001 that the “institution of Sharia law and a theocratic regime were incompatible with the requirements of a democratic society.”

Everyone genuinely concerned about the issue of gender equality and the fundamental rights of women will be pleased with the announcement by Theresa May, British Home Secretary, on May 25, 2016, that the British government is to launch a full official independent review of the application of Islamic sharia law in England and Wales, and of the role of Sharia courts and Muslim arbitration tribunals.

May is concerned that women have been victims of discriminatory decisions taken by Sharia courts. The review will focus on a number of issues, primarily the treatment of women in divorce, domestic violence, and custody cases. It will not be a review of the whole of Sharia law, which is the basis of guidance for Muslims who stay true to their religion.

In Britain today there are thought to be 85 Sharia courts or councils which rule in family and inheritance disputes between Muslims who agree to be bound by the decisions. Sharia law is based on the Koran, and the rulings since the 7th century by fatwas of Islamic scholars.  Many of those rulings are concerned with prayers, fasting, donations to the poor, and the nature and degree of punishment, whether cutting off hands or death of women by stoning for adultery, for offenders. The most controversial concern the ill treatment of and the discrimination against women.

The review ordered by Secretary May is to be carried out by a panel chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, a specialist in Islamic law, and will include family law experts and a retired High Court judge, and advised by two Imans said to be religious and theological experts.

The essential basis of the review is to assess if Sharia law has been and is being misused or exploited in a way incompatible with British law and is discriminating against certain groups especially women, and if it is causing harm in communities. The Home Office of the British government asserted there was evidence that some Sharia courts and councils were acting in a “discriminatory and unacceptable way.” In particular, British officials were concerned with the courts legitimized forced marriages and issuing divorce settlements that were unfair to women. This contradicts British law, as well as international law, which provides rights and security for all citizens.

Secretary May had already in March 2015 spoken of Muslim women being left penniless after they were “divorced.” Worse, they were forced to remain in abusive relationships because Sharia councils had decided that an Islamic husband has a right to chastise his wife. Part of the problem is that Muslim women may be unaware of their rights to leave violent husbands.

Many of the difficulties facing Muslim women were discussed in a book Choosing Sharia? by Dutch scholar Machteld Zee, who gained unprecedented access to and attended hours of divorce hearings and marital disputes at London’s Sharia Council and the Birmingham Central Mosque Sharia. Her detailed analysis of seven cases is disturbing with their evidence of overwhelming discrimination against women.

Zee concluded that judges were not mean, they were acting on the basis of Islam, that women are dependent on husbands and clerics. Her conclusion was that Islamic women are in a situation of “marital captivity,” and are not protected from domestic violence. Men are dominant in the relationship and benefit from Sharia court decisions and from the strong cultural pressures and the tight knit Islamic communities that uphold masculine superiority, and which condone violence against women.

The wider issue is the compatibility of Sharia court decisions with British law, values, policies, and principles. On one hand, a Sharia judge has asserted that divorces granted in British courts are worthless to Muslims. More to the point, the ECHR in 2001 said that Sharia law is incompatible with liberal democracy.

What is most important is that the Muslim leaders are not addressing the rights of women. It hardly need a full inquiry to ascertain that it is illegal for any arbitration tribunal, especially Sharia courts, to act in a manner that constitutes discrimination, harassment, or victimization on the grounds of sex.

Nevertheless, it is therefore welcoming that in addition to the new review of Secretary May, that a bill has been proposed in March 2016 by Baroness Cox in the British House of Lords making it illegal for an administrative tribunal to do anything that constitutes such discrimination. If passed, the bill would ensure that Sharia courts issue rulings that are compatible with the British Equality. Women’s rights groups must make sure that they do.

Michael Curtis


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End The Illegal EU Settlements! - Alex VanNess

by Alex VanNess

Who is building these settlements?  The European Union.

On May 25, a new report on the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians will be presented to the United Nations (UN). This report, produced by the Middle East Quartet — a group consisting of representatives from the United States, the European Union (EU), Russian, and the UN — claims that it will focus on both what it feels is to blame for the current stagnation in the peace process, as well as what can be done to facilitate its resumption.

Piggybacking off the report, France announced plans to convene an international conference on the conflict in Paris this summer. Representatives from the Middle East Quartet, the Arab League, as well as other foreign ministries will be there. However, notably missing from this conference — aimed at solving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis – will be the Israelis and Palestinians.

Unfortunately, it is likely that this report and the subsequent conference, will not discuss the persistent, illegal building going on in the region.

For years, illegal settlements have been built in Judea and Samaria, commonly referred to as the West Bank. These settlements are being built using the tax dollars of hard working European’s in opposition to international law. In addition, who is building these settlements?  The European Union.

Europe is consistently showing themselves to be a complete failure as a unbiased arbiter for peace as they undermine Jewish civil rights in the West Bank by both making up international law to suit their whims, as well as working to subvert the legally binding peace agreements, signed in their own backyard and to which the EU is a signatory.

The Oslo Peace Process — while deeply flawed and most likely an untenable pipe-dream — is still the legally binding set of agreements determining sovereign control of the West Bank under international law.

These agreements separate the West Bank into three administrative divisions: the Areas A, B and C. Area A is under full civil and security control by the Palestinian Authority (PA), Area B is under PA civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control and Area C is under full Israeli control.

The EU, in violation of Israeli sovereignty is meddling in a territorial dispute by illegally building hundreds of settlements in locations designated under Israeli sovereignty under Oslo. Areas such as Adumim; a rural area surrounding the city of Maale Adumim has seen the establishment of hundreds of illegal EU buildings.

EU ministers justify their breech of international law by arguing that Area C is “part of the occupied Palestinian territory.” However, the rules of sovereignty under International law, clearly forbids a nation or group of nations from intervening in the domestic or foreign matters of another country, in a manner that would harm that country’s sovereignty.

Not only is the EU illegally build in Area C, despite Israel’s legitimate legal claim of sovereignty, it is expected that the Quartet’s report will be harshly critical of Jewish peoples sovereign right to build and live in that area.

The State of Israel holds legitimate claim of sovereignty over the West Bank. The territory, prior to 1967, was never under the accepted sovereignty of a High Contracting Party. Prior to Israel’s acquisition of the territory, the last legal sovereign with legal stewardship over the territories was that of the League of Nations Palestine Mandate, which mandated the land for the Jewish people, in recognition of their historic connection to the land.

Moreover, even if we were to take the EU’s approach and view the West Bank as “occupied territory,” International Law clearly states that the occupying power has lawful administrative authority within the occupied areas and all actors in the region are obligated to obey the laws in effect there. The EU’s violation of zoning and building laws that are in effect in the area are a gross violation of international law and Israel’s sovereign governance of the region.

The Quartets report is also expected to boost Palestinian plans to secure a UN Security Council resolution condemning the settlements and setting a timetable for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Additionally, France has stated that they will recognize unilateral Palestinian state declaration if peace talks fizzle.

Both of these actions are a material breach of the legally binding agreements signed by the Palestinians. Specifically, the Wye River Memorandum, negotiated in 1998, which holds that neither side should initiate or take step to change the internationally recognized status of the region.

The EU and other powers attending the upcoming peace summit have a long history bias against Israel and the Jews.  The UN’s obsession with Israel borders on the deranged. Just recently, France and Russia supported the downgrading of Jewish connection to Jerusalem at the UN by voting in favor of a UNESCO resolution that sought to erasing Jewish ties to Temple Mount.

We must stop relying on European peace initiatives between Israel and its neighbors. They are unable to abide by their legally binding agreements and have proven themselves incapable of being unbiased arbiters in the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Alex VanNess is the Director of the Middle East Peace and Security Policy at the Center for Security Policy. Prior to coming to the Center, Mr. VanNess worked as an Intern for Congressman Doug Lamborn and then later as a member of staff for Congressman Tom McClintock of California. His articles have appeared in The American Thinker, Breitbart News, The Washington Examiner, and The Daily Caller, where he writes extensively on U.S. defense spending, the U.S./Israel strategic relationship, and the existential threats posed by Islamic fundamentalism. Alex holds a degree in Political Science and Peace & Conflict Studies from Wayne State University, and has studied Jewish Law and Philosophy at Shor Yoshuv Rabbinical College in New York.


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A new regional order - Prof. Eyal Zisser

by Prof. Eyal Zisser

Between Iran's hegemonic ambitions and the threat posed by Islamic State, the future of the entire region is at stake, and this reality lends the role Israel can play even greater importance

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, backed by Saudi Arabia, has been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to promote a diplomatic move that would pave the road to dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, with the aim of ensuring political tensions in the Palestinian Authority do not escalate, and facilitate continued security collaboration between Israel and the PA.

This Egyptian-Saudi move does not have one set goal when it comes to the Palestinian Authority, seeking instead to put in place the foundation for a framework of regional cooperation with Israel opposite the challenges the nations of the Middle East face.

This Egyptian and Saudi activity reflects the strategic change the Middle East has undergone in recent years. In the past, regional leaders would point the finger at Israel as the reason for any internal crisis in their countries, and at times even pursue escalation on their borders with it, so to distract local public opinion from the troubles at home. Regional leaders still look at Israel, but they no longer see it as a scapegoat that can be used to appease grumbling at home. Now they see it as a potential partner, an ally which may prove helpful in meeting the considerable challenges they face.

Egypt is facing a growing threat of radical Islamic terrorism in the form of Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State group's Sinai Peninsula-based proxy. The long list of terrorist attacks striking at major Egyptian cities is proof this threat is slowly edging closer to Cairo, all while the Muslim Brotherhood, backed by Hamas, continues to undermine el-Sissi's efforts to ensure domestic stability and prosperity. 

Furthermore, this already complex situation is clouded by the cold shoulder the Americans are showing el-Sissi in his hour of need.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, is in Iran's crosshairs. Riyadh and Tehran are no longer engaged in a battle by proxy, and are now on a direct collision course. The two have severed their diplomatic ties and are now knee-deep in Yemen's troubles, where the regime is trying to fend off the Houthi rebels. The Iranians now have a solid foothold in Yemen, Saudi Arabia's backyard, and they are heavily involved in the wars raging in Iraq and Syria. 

Riyadh also has to contend with Islamic State, and the jihadi group is sparing no effort to destabilize the kingdom's regime.

Between Iran's hegemonic ambitions and the threat posed by Islamic State, the future of the entire region is at stake, and this reality lends the role Israel can play even greater importance. This is why Egypt and Saudi Arabia's efforts no longer seek simply to defuse escalations that could breed war, nor are they geared solely toward promoting the Palestinian issue. This time, real and comprehensive regional cooperation is the ultimate goal, one that could bolster stability and security in the Middle East.

Jordan and Turkey have come to realize the same: Jordan now relies on Israel for its supply of drinking water and natural gas, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- facing the growing threat of Islamic State and potential Iranian-Russian moves in Syria that would undermine his own efforts in the war-torn country -- is actively pursuing warmer ties with Israel.

Neither Egypt nor the Saudis have a magic solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or for the Hamas-Fatah strife. Still, as this issue represents the lowest common denominator around which Arab public opinion can unite, marking any achievement in this arena is important. 

For Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey, however, the long-term goal seeks to stretch farther than ever before, and it may even exceed Israel's own expectations, despite the fact that the Palestinian issue will continue to prevent the secret ties pursued over shared interests from becoming a full-fledged alliance.

Prof. Eyal Zisser


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Authorities apprehend Hamas cell planning suicide attacks - Israel Hayom Staff

by Israel Hayom Staff

Gag order lifted, revealing recent arrest of Hamas cell behind the bombing of the No. 12 bus in Jerusalem in April • Cell comprises Hamas operatives from Bethlehem area • Cell planned a number of additional attacks, including car bombings, shootings.

An Egged bus on fire in Jerusalem after a bomb was detonated on board in April
Photo credit: Noam Revkin-Fenton

Israel Hayom Staff


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Iran is an artificial country - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The West ignores what is happening to the many minorities in Iran.

Iran is an artificial country which includes a large number of ethnic groups: Persians, Azars, Kurds, Turkmen, Baloch, Arabs and more. The largest group, the Persians, is also the most dominant and makes up 60% of the population. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is Azari.

Southwestern Iran, the Khuzistan region, is home to the Arab minority group, but that is where most of the oil and gas resources are to be found underground, right under the feet of that Arab minority. They are Shiites, exactly like the majority Persians, but are treated with disdain by the government. In the past, the region was called Arabistan to allude to the ethnic group living there, but after the 1925 Persian Conquest, the Persians changed its name to Khuzistan in an attempt to hide its Arab character. Today it is called Ahwaz, the name of its capital city.

The area's size is over 60,000 sq. kilometers, three times the size of the State of Israel, but its population, numbering 4.5 million, is half that of Israel. Although most of Iran's gas and oil reserves are in the region, most of the Arab population gets nothing out of it, and probably even suffers from it.

The Arab rulers do not recognize the Arab group as an ethnic minority and forbids the official and public use of the Arab language. Arabs are not allowed to engage in any political or cultural activity that might advance any ideas of perceived solidarity.

Iran's government built dams on the two main rivers of the region in order to bring the water to other regions within Iran, mainly Persian ones. As a result, agricultural lands near the rivers are starved for water and many of the Arab villagers found themselves without a source of income. Most of them moved to the cities where they live in abject poverty.

The oil fields in the Ahwaz region attract companies that drill, produce and refine the oil, both Western and Chinese, causing massive pollution -  to the point where it is dangerous to remain in the region. The Iranian regime is indifferent to this population's suffering, leading them to demonstrate in 2005 for recognition as a collective and cease operations whose aim is to steal the natural resources of the region. The regime dispersed the demonstrators, killing hundreds in the process.

There are several underground organizations active among the Khuzistan Arab population, at the forefront of which is the Ahwaz Patriotic Council, which makes no secret of its goal to free the area from Iranian occupation.

In August 2013 Iran executed six Ahwaz citizens. The region publicized that using the term "the Iranian enemy," claiming they were executed because of so-called "terror attacks" when they were really uninvolved students in Iranian universities who at most took part in non-violent demonstrations. Executions carried out on the regions residents are not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, hundreds have been hanged and displayed on the streets to act as a deterrent to anyone who is dreaming of independence or civil rights.

This year, on March 6th, an Arab religious leader named Bakr Al Naami, was arrested by the Iranian regime.  He lived in Ahwaz and not a sign of his whereabouts has come to light. The government does not say anything and even denies that he is in its hands, although not a few eye witnesses saw security men in civilian dress breaking into his home, removing him and speeding away with him in a car that belonged to the internal security service.

Security services have arrested him several times prior to this one and kept him in solitary confinement for months. The last time they also seized all his books and telephones. The regime considers him someone who "spreads anti-regime propaganda" and insults Islam, claiming that he left the Shiites, joined the Sunnis and organized readings of the Koran, prayers and holidays according to the customs kept in Sunni Arab countries.

Al Naami's family has turned to international organizations, including the official in charge of the Iranian file at the UN Human Rights Council, Dr. Ahmed Shahid, but to no avail.

According to one of the underground organizations working to free Arabs from the Iranian yoke, "The Movement for Arab Struggle to Free Ahwaz,"  persecution of the Arab minority is becoming more and more frequent and the regime has been forcibly entering the homes of activists and arresting many of them, including women: recently a female activist was arrested for three days and after her release was put under house arrest without being allowed to communicate with anyone.

The Iranian government put fabricated texts on her Facebook page, meant to prove her guilt. Her arrest led to a wave of protest among the Arab population in Iran and was publicized worldwide. The publicity forced the Iranians to release her and put her under house arrest, an indication that the regime is sensitive to publicity.

This sensitivity probably stems from the Iranian regime's fear of a rise in the anti-government feeling in the Arab minority which could spread to other minorities, mainly the Kurds and Baloch – pouring oil on the flames of tensions between the Persians and all the minorities in the country and affecting the government's stability.

The spokespersons of the organizations in the Ahwaz region use familiar terms, such as "rule of occupation" and "occupied land."

The so-called "enlightened " world normally ignores what the Iranian regime does in Ahwaz, just as it ignores most of the mass murders and wars in the Islamic and Arab world.  As long as there are no migrant refugees fleeing en masse to Europe or the United States, the West does not lift a finger to put an end to the ongoing disasters.

In addition, the Iranian regime, despite its oppression of minorities such as the Arabs, Kurds and Baloch, has become the darling of the West, and Western nations are standing on line to do business with the country that has just had billions poured into its emptying coffers.

Instead of tightening the sanctions on the Ayatollah's regime, the West has betrayed the persecuted minorities in Iran and allowed the Ayatollahs to believe that they can do whatever the wish to local minorities. The world does not bother to notice what goes on within Iran and wouldn't care even if it did. The fate of the oppressed and unfortunate people doomed to live under the Iranian regime's gallows does not interest them.

History will judge the Western leaders for their silence and "business as usual" with Iran, at the expense of the lives and welfare of millions of oppressed people forced to live under conditions that no one in the West would tolerate.  There is no greater hypocrisy.

Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

New IDF unit forging ties inside Syria - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

IDF forms new unit to create ties with local Syrians living close to Israeli border as future of Assad regime remains in doubt.

The Israeli Defense Forces announced on Sunday the formation of a special new unit charged with developing ties with Syrians living near Israel’s northern border.

While the plan may seem far-fetched, the idea draws heavily from a similar operation conducted during Israel’s presence in southern Lebanon, when the IDF worked to forge ties with elements of the Lebanese population.

Like Lebanon in the 1980s, Syria’s civil war has left large swaths of the country without effective governmental control.

While in many cases local governments or armed militias divided along confessional lines have stepped in to fill the vacuum, such areas are susceptible to terrorist infiltration or takeover.

Much like the status quo ante prior to the war in Lebanon, where PLO cells operated freely across much of the Lebanese-Israel frontier, Israeli security officials fear the chaos along the Israeli-Syrian border could give ISIS – or Iran – the perfect opportunity to strike northern Israel.

The Syrian frontier with Israel is largely beyond the control of the Syrian government, with various rebel factions and local militias controlling much of the border area, while the Al-Nusra terrorist group maintains a presence near the southern Golan Heights.

Many of the neighboring villages are Syrian Druze, and it is likely that as during the Lebanese civil war, the IDF will seek an understanding with ethnic minorities living along the Israeli border, like the Druze.

Arutz Sheva Staff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
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